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World War II: Prelude to War

by: Amy Brogan

World War II: Prelude to War HIST 2051-001

Marketplace > University of Cincinnati > History > HIST 2051-001 > World War II Prelude to War
Amy Brogan
GPA 3.7

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About this Document

Discussion of the Frank Capra film used to inform troops before they shipped out, and identifying the opening movements of the war by the Allies in North Africa and up to D-Day. Battle fo the Bulge...
American Military History
James Streckfuss
Class Notes
Prelude to War, Frank Capra, North Africa, Calais, Normandy, Hedges, WWII
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amy Brogan on Thursday March 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 2051-001 at University of Cincinnati taught by James Streckfuss in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see American Military History in History at University of Cincinnati.


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Date Created: 03/10/16
Streckfuss Amy Brogan March 8 & 10, 2016 Prelude to War Film directed, produced, and narrated by Frank Capra (director of “It’s a Wonderful Life and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”) Animation by Walt Disney animators.  Isolationism o We were wrong to believe that our distance from Europe and the rest of the world kept us from harm  Man on the Street o “Common Man” thinks we should stay out of the war  Stereotypical accents to give sense range of ideas  Religious o Mentioned the Koran (shelved right next to the Bible) o All religious leaders wanted peace (Mohammad, Moses, Christ, etc.)  Vs. the evil menaces of Germany, Italy, and Japan  Moved to just Christianity after mentioning all of them  On Sunday John Schmo can go to any “Church” he likes  Not everyone practices worship on Sunday  Christianity’s job to save the world  Race Issues o “Hitler and his Buck-tooth pals”  Japs (Japanese)  Japanese Americans were forced into camps o Never really reference German race  Huns, Boche, Jerrys  German camps in the Eastern part of the US. Rounded up and imprisoned  George Bodechotz – crime was that his brother was a general (Karl was standing in the bunker during the assassination attempt, leg was injured)  Wilhelm Hubner – doctor in Eden Park – flyer in WWI and became a doctor, was contacted in the 20’s a chance to be 1 of 4 or 5 doctors to the Keiser in exile in the Netherlands. On his last visit, he called his friend Gerring up for dinner and the Fuer came with him. Hubner was asked what could be done to make relations better with the States– advised to end the “boones” the social clubs of the communist party. Gerring went on the BBC and told displaced Germans to stay loyal to their new countries. But then Germany invaded Poland while he was sailing back to the States and he was arrested upon landing. o Congress approved of this  Claimed the relocation centers were okay,  Routine to ignore the constitutional rights during war  Musical References o Talk of peaceful world: pleasant with easy melodies, kids playing on the scene o War World: foreboding martial music  3.5 minutes of drums and marching – starting with the marching of children and moves up to grown men with guns  Light o Good: bright, inviting o Evil: dark, foreboding  Afterthoughts o Overkill, but the message is that we have to pull out the kids that are being brainwashed so they could be free o Civilian Films:  “Casablanca” – all about isolationism, but known for the love story. Takes place in the last few days of Pearl Harbor, talks about how Americans are all asleep and how they will be brought kicking and screaming into the war World War II: North Africa and Europe (1943-1945)  Marshall on Mediterranean Campaigns o “Both Churchill and Roosevelt suffered because they had to take action. Public can’t sit and wait. What can you do that won’t ruin you?”  Synopsis o Why was North Africa important?  By controlling North Africa, the British could protect shipping on the Med. Sea. They needed the ability to ship oil from the Middle East through the Suez Canal.  British have to control both sides of the Mediterranean o What was the result of fighting in North Africa?  Italy could not drive the British from Egypt.  Hitler sent troops (under Erwin Rommel)  After back-and-forth battle for North Africa, the Allied forces handed the Germans a major defeat at the Battle of El Alamein o What happened in Italy?  British and American forces invaded Italy in 1943  The Italian people forced Mussolini from power, but Hitler rushed into Italy to stop the Allies st o 1 step is driving Italians out of North Africa. German sent their tank commander to keep that from happening, and the British sent their best.  Status Report Part 1 o Deployment time: 47 months o Division commanders: 4 o Continents: Africa, Europe o Nations/colonies: Morocco, Tunisia, Italy, France, Germany, Austria  Part 2 o Types of Operations  Amphibious Assault  Morocco, Sicily, (Salerno), Anzio, Riviera  Mountain (Apennines, Alps)  River Crossings  Volturno, Moselle, Rhine, Main o MOUT: Military Operations in Urban Terrain  Nuremberg o Garrison/Civil Affairs  Assessing the Enemy o Strengths  Large-unit mechanized operations  Ground-air coordination  Tactical combined arms  We had advantage in air power and geographic advantage (could go at Germany from two sides) o Weaknesses  Coalition partners  Politically it was difficult. The French was in Morocco and made those soldiers stay out of the war. French and British relationship was tense, so America was given the reign of Africa o “War As I Knew It” – Patton  Sea power  Logistics  Operation Torch: Campaign to move Germany out of Africa  Mediterranean Theatre: could use the African side of the sea to attack Sicily o Italian Military folded quickly once Allies attacked o Hitler had to send reinforcements  Italian Campaign (sept. – Nov. 43) o Stalled in Salerno, kept from breaking out into the interior o June ’44 we were able to take Rome (2 days before D-day) o Got: foothold on Southern Europe  Casualties o America: 400,000 o Russians: depending on the sources it was from 20 to 26 million  There was fighting on Russian soil, and it was mostly civilians o Lopsided because we weren’t on the ground for most of the war in Europe, and we were mostly an air war  The Strategic Bombing Offensive o Norden Bombsight: claimed it could put a bomb in a barrel at 20,000 feet  Precision really has only become available recently o George McGovern: known as a liberal anti-Vietnam senator, winds up Democratic President nomination but gets beaten by Nixon. During the war, he was an air force pilot  Why not just blow up the gas chambers? – question put to him at UC a few years ago  They were lying about the Norton. It took them 15 times to take out a bridge. – McGovern o B-17: mainstay of bombing offensive  Good example of idea of civilian buy-in; there were manufacturing in 48 of the 49 states for all the parts of the plane; “All American”  They could take a hit  Engaged in night “Area bombing” of targets and the city around them (hit the city, maybe the factories); more pragmatic approach than precision bombing  Versus day bombing of specific targets to just hit the factories  Includes bombing civilians o Moral angle: still sensitive enough in Britain that government has never given a ribbon for participating in the bombing campaign o Target analysis  Critically: in WWI a lot of bombing campaign contemplated targets selection list, and the bombers were sent out but the weather and equipment issues made them just try to bomb railroad stations. Should have bombed the rails and not the stations because the stations had repair crews. Bomb 20 miles out, knowledge is unknown until the train comes through.  Selecting a target: factory 20 miles from air base with high load and less fuel vs. further target and more fuel. Further target might make factories between you and them shut down just at the sound of the bombers. Interrupting the workflow is possible more affect  Accessibility  Recuperability  Vulnerability  Effect  Recognizability o Bombing Ball-bearing factories  Node Theory: there are thousands of potential targets, I’ve got to get by fighter planes, there are also tanks in the field and factories making their parts, railroads and enemy headquarters, etc. How to choose? Incapable of taking out everything.  Other hand: what do submarines, planes, and tanks all have in common? They all need ball bearings. Only 50 places making the resources that can be attacked and take out the army at the root. o Flak: short for “Flugzeug Abwehr Kannonen”  Any plane target – German o Combined Bomber Offensive:  Allied Aircraft Losses  RAF bomber command: 8, 325 bombers  8h and 15 Air Forces: 8,237 bombers; 3,924 fighters  Casualties (k, w, m, c)  RAF Bomber Command: 64,000  8 and 15 Air Forces: 73,000 st rd  Ardennes Campaign (1 and 3 Armies): 81,000 o Impact on Germany  Luftwaffe bomber : fighter ratio  1942 – 1:1  1944 – 1:4 (number went up, not what we wanted)  2/3 of German fighters combating bombers  55,000 AAA guns  1944 absenteeism in key industries as high as 25%  Workers not working in factories because they fear the bombs and production slows or stops  Bombing + diversion of resources cost German “half” its potential frontline weapons by 1944  Hurt, but not knocked out. Numbers of fighters goes up during the war instead of down. Wasn’t what we hoped for o Morality  Strategic bombing  Goals: break the enemy’s resolve  Methods: annihilation  Terrorism  Goals: break the enemy’s resolve  Methods: annihilation  Were the bombers terrorist?  Depends no which side you were on  Killing Civilians London “Blitz” 43,000 Hamburg 80,000 Dresden 100,000 Tokyo 100,000 Hiroshima 80,000 Nagasaki 40,000 Total 443,000  Siege of Leningrad: 1,000,000  Tokyo and Dresden were primarily made out of wood, and we knew that so we started fires on purpose to take the cities out  Noble Frankland, 1961  “The greatest immorality open to us in 1940 and 1941 was to lose to the war against Hitler’s Germany. To have abandoned the only means of direct attack which we had at our disposal would have been a long step in that direction.” o Tactical Airpower: The Eternal Debate  AAF Efficiency: mass assets, centralized C2, rigorous criteria  AGF Effectiveness: distribute assets, decentralized C2, liberal criteria  Tactical vs. Strategic  T: what’s done in support of the army  S: using their own targets  Debate: army and the navy didn’t want to lose power over tactical aviation o AAF Composition  Heavy Bomb Group: 4 squadrons, 48 aircraft  Medium Bomb Group: 4 squadrons, 64 aircraft  Fighter group: 3 squadrons, 75 aircraft  Coalition Warfare: WWII in Europe – SHAEF’s Mission o Directive to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force:  Task: You will enter the continent of Europe and, in conjunction with the other United Nations, undertake operations aimed at the heart of Germany and the destruction of her armed forces. The date for entering the continent is the month of May 1944. After adequate channel ports have been secured, exploitation will be directed towards securing an area that will facilitate both ground and air operations against the enemy. o Chain of command  Supreme Commander (Eisenhower, US)  Deputy Supreme Commander (Tedder, UK)  Gs 1-5  Assault Forces, 6 June o 150,000 troops (10,000 casualties) o 5,000 ships (600 warships) o 10,000 aircraft  German Defense in Normandy Hedgerows o Hedgerow: a lane of closely spaced shrubs and tree species, planted and trained to form a barrier or to mark the boundary of an area. o Natural defense system – battle of the Hedgerows o Bocage: area of intermittent woods and open areas o Hedgerow combined Arms: Task organization  M4 Sherman Tank + hedgerow cutter  Engineer team  Infantry squad  + light machine gun  + 60mm mortar


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