History: Battle of Britain

During 1940s(near beginning of WW2), Nazi Germany had been Successfully expanding there influence and power. By this time The Axis Powers had near complete grip on Europe because of their very direct, strategic and powerful invasion strategists. After the Nazis had invaded the neutral countries of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, Italy had declared war on France and the UK. France was defeated 6 weeks after Italy had declared war, leaveing the UK as the only one left separating the West from Nazi Germany. The Germans originally planned to invade the UK the same way they were able to defeat other countries; however the UK was ready to defend themselves. On July 10(the beginning of the battle), the Germans sent their airforce(the Luftwaffe) to lead a large scale attack on UK by causing an air and sea blockade. Germany was mainly targeting coastal-shipping convoys, ports and shipping centers in an attempt to convince the UK to agree to a kind of peace settlement or ceasefire. While the battle for the air was happening, the Royal Navy was preparing for Germany to attack from the sea. On July 16, Operation Sea Lion had begun(Hitlers plan to attack from both the air and sea). During the night both sides would send planes to bomb each other’s ships and planes. During the battle the Royal Air Force and military had to protect civilian populated cities from Germany’s Blitz bombing attacks. On the 31 of October, Nazi Germany faced their first real defeat at the hands of the allies because only a year later both Russia(was betrayed by Germany and joint the allies in June 1941) and the US(declared war on Germany and officially joined the war in December 1941 after a German U boat sunk a civilian ship) join the war on the side of the allies. This caused Germany to have to fight two major countries on two fronts, which was a main cause for Germany’s defeat in WW2. (Learn more.)

History: WW2

World War two started in 1939 and ended in 1945. WW2 was a global war involving around 57 countries. It was a fight between two major opposing alliances; The Allied Forces and the Axis Powers. The Axis powers were made up of three main powers, Italy(Benito Mussolini), Germany(Adolf Hitler) and Japan(Hirohito). The main Allies were the U.S.A(Franklin D. Roosevelt), UK(Winston Churchill), Soviet Union(Joseph Stalin) and China(Chiang Kai-shek). At first Nazi Germany started to expand it’s borders by invading nearby countries and formed a pact with the Soviet Union. Hitler and Stalin had originally planned on dividing the territories of Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland between themselves. At first, the UK and France tried resolving these growing problems peacefully by low-key saying “please stop”; however, when Poland was invaded they declared war on Germany. In 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway to stop the Allies from cutting off their iron ore shipments from Sweden. Due to the losses in Norway, Winston Churchill was assigned to be Prime Minister in 1940; this was the same day Germany launched an attack on France. As soon as France fell, Germany tried to use the same tactic against the UK, attempting to take over quickly. However, the resistance the UK was showing stalled Hitler’s original plan. Hitler came to the conclusion that they were waiting/hoping for the U.S.A. and Soviet Union to join the war against the Axis. Although the Soviet Union worked with Germany, they weren’t officially part of the Axis, despite Germany’s attempts to convince them. Hitler then decided to invade the Soviet Union in 1941, but it was unsuccessful. This caused the Soviet Union to join the Allies against Germany. The Japanese had also launched a surprise attack on the U.S.A.(attack on Pearl Harbor), causing them to join the war as part of the Allies. Now, Germany had a major fight on two fronts and this is where Germany is said to have started to lose the war. The Axis endured many defeats after, and in 1943, Italy surrendered. Benito Mussolini was then kicked out of his dictatorship role and Gen. Pietro Badoglio, seeking peace, took his place. Only a month later, Italy joined the Allies by declaring war on Germany. On June 6, 1944(D-day), after years of Soviet pressure, the Allies launched an attack to take back northern France from the Germans. In Italy, there were several Allied units sent to attack the southern part of France, putting stress on the German army. Eventually, the Germans stationed in France were all defeated and the Allies set their sights on Germany. While the events of D-day were happening, the Soviets planned a strategic attack on Belarus, Ukraine and Poland in order to drive the German troops out. Then they went to cut off and later defeat a considerably large amount of German troops in Romania and Bulgaria. The Allies were closing in on Germany and they made a last attempt to take back ground, but it was in vain. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered, but the war wasn’t over. Japan was still fighting and showing no interest in surrendering to the Allies. Japanese pilots started to purposely crash their planes into Allied ships in order to do some kind of damage. This action caused a lot of deaths on both sides. Japan knew they wouldn’t be able to win, and was hoping to hold out until a cease fire was called. The Allies repeatedly tried to get them to surrender, but Japan kept refusing. In order to end the fighting, Roosevelt agreed to send two atomic bombs to two civilian populated cities. After the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered, fearing another cities destruction. In September 2, 1945 Japan signed the Surrender documents and the war officially ended. WW2 was a very violent and bloody war that cost nearly 70-85 million people their lives(civilian and soldiers alike). As a result, the war prompted people to rise for independence and revolutions. There is a lot more to WW2 than what was mentioned here. There are also many WW2 memorial sites around the world dedicated to honoring/remembering those lost in the war.

(learn more) (how many were involved) (Some memorial sites) (more sites)

History: Edith Frank

Edith Holländer was born January 16, 1900 into a German Jewish family. Her parents were Abraham Holländer and Rosa Stern who were successful business people. The family was originally from Amsterdam, but started making there way to Germany around 1800. Edith had two older brothers and one older sister; however her sister died at 16 due to appendicitis. In 1924 she met Otto Frank and they were married in 1925; later she gave birth to two girls, Margot and Anne. When the Frank family had to movie to Amsterdam to escape the Nazis, Edith had an especially hard time adjusting. A family member said that she was German and didn’t feel at home living in the Netherlands. She didn’t learn Dutch easily and missed Germany. After the Nazis started to invade the Netherlands she went into hiding with her family. She lived 2 year with her family, the Van Pel’s, and Fritz Pfeffer(Mr. Dussel). After they were found and arrested; Edith was separated from Anne and Margot to be sent to a gas chamber. However Edith was able to escape this fate with a friend and hid in another section of the camp during Winter. Edith died of starvation in 1945, because she saved all her food for Anne and Margot. The camp was liberated 3 weeks later by the Red Army and her daughters were able to outlived her by one month.

Random Fact #9: World War 2

  • In all, the Allied Forces had about 16 million military deaths and at least 14 million civilian deaths.
  • In all, the Axis powers had about 8 million military deaths and at least 4 million civilian death( not including those who died in the Holocaust).
  • At least 17 million people were victims of Nazi persecution.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt was the president of the U.S.A. during WW2.
  • Nazi’s also targeted Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, disabled people, the elderly, and Roma in the Holocaust.
  • The Americans officially joined the war in December 7, 1941.
  • Many Jews often dyed their hair to avoid being sent to die because they were “to old”.
  • Prisoners in concentration camps also used beet juice and even their own blood to give themselves a more healthy appearance because they often were a very sickly pale complexion.
  • Auschwitz–Birkenau camp had the highest death count at 1,100,000 deaths.
  • When the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Soviet troops most of the prisoners were ill or dying.
  • One of the Russian officers who helped with the liberating of Auschwitz said, “I realized that they were prisoners and not workers so I called out, “You are free, come out!”. (Learn more about the liberation of Auschwitz)
  • There are many memorials honoring those who lost their lived in the war all across Europe: like in Germany, Washington DC, Poland, Japan, Italy, Russia, England and France to name a few. (Some memorial sites) (more sites)

History: Otto Frank

Otto Frank was a business man and the only survivor of the Secret Annex. He was born May 12, 1889 in the German Empire to Alice Betty and Michael Frank . Him being born in 1889 and being a survivor of the Holocaust means he lived through both WW1 and WW2. In his early life, during WW1, he served in the Imperial German Army. In August 1915, he was promoted lieutenant and served at the Battle of Cambrai. On the 12th of May, 1925, He married Edith Holländer and had two children. Their eldest daughter was Margot Frank and youngest was Anne Frank. When the Nazi’s and anti-Jewish decrees took hold of Germany, Otto moved his family to live with is mother-in-law in Aachen; then moved to Amsterdam. He attempted to get a visa for his family to the US or Cuba, but when war was declared it became impossible. Otto then decided to go into hiding with his family in July 6, 1942 after Margot received a notice to report to a labor camp. He lived in the Annex with 7 others for two years. They then were found in 1944 of August by the Nazi’s and in September Otto was separated from his family and sent to Auschwitz. During his time in Auschwitz wrote to his mother who was able to escape to Switzerland. January 27, 1945 the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Soviet troops. By that time Otto was to near death and found himself in the sick barracks. He later learned of the death of his family, and that he was the only survivor. In 1945 Anne’s death was confirmed and her diary was given to Otto. He at first didn’t read it, but later was convinced to publish it. Although some thing in the diary was edited out; on June 25, 1947, the first edition of the book was issued in Dutch under the title “Het Achterhuis“. In 1905, he remarried and moved to Switzerland. Later he and Johannes Kleiman (one of the helpers) established the Anne Frank Foundation to save the building that once hid them, and turned it into a museum (opened 1960). Otto later died August 19, 1980 in Basel, Switzerland of lung cancer. He lived to be 91 years.

History: Margot Frank

Margot Frank was the oldest daughter of Otto Frank and Edith Holländer and had one sibling, Anne. She was born February 16, 1926, in Frankfurt, Germany. Margot, like her sister also had a diary she wrote in, but as since been missing. Before Adolf Hitler became chancellor, she originally went Ludwig-Richter School in the Frankfurt suburbs. After the rise of antisemitism in Germany, she and her family moved to Amsterdam in the Netherlands to escape. Before she had to go to a Jewish school, she went to an elementary in Amsterdam, where she got excellent academic results. In all, Margot Frank was said to be very clever and was respected, but she was also reserved, timid and obedient. She didn’t argue as much as Anne did, and had a better relationship with their mother. She was admired a bit by Anne for being clever and good looking, and was said to have wanted to be a midwife. On February 1945, Margot died of typhus and shock when she was 19. Her sister died soon after of the same causes. She was buried in a mass grave with her sister in an unknown location; however, a tombstone dedicated to both of them is in the former Bergen-Belsen Concentration camp in Germany. More on Margot Frank.

History: Anne Frank

Anne Frank was one of 8 people that hide in The Secret Annex while Germany was under Nazi control. She was born in the 12th of June 1929, to Edith and Otto Frank. She was the original writer of “The Diary of a Young Girl”, also known as “The Diary of Anne Frank”. In this diary she wrote about what it was like being Jewish while living in Nazi occupied Amsterdam. She originally wrote in Dutch, but the Diary has since been translated into over 60 languages. In her early life, she showed talent in both reading and writing and was said to have written frequently; although she refused to disclose any information on what she was writing. Her sister, Margot Frank, show talent in arithmetic. Anne originally went to a Montessori school, while Margot went to public school. After the Nazi’s invaded the Netherlands, they both were forced to transfer to a Jewish Lyceum. In the end they both died in the Bergen-Belsen Concentration camp, due to an out break of Typhus and shock. Anne was 15 when she died. The camp later was burned to prevent spread of the illness, Anne and Margot were buried in a mass grave in an unknown location and there is a tombstone dedicated to them in the remains of the former camp. Interview with one of the helpers.

History: Winter War

The winter war was a fight between the Soviet Union and Finland during WW2. It started the 30 of November 1939; only 3 month after WW2 started. It lasted three and a half months and ended 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty. The war started because the Soviets wanted Finnish territory in exchange for land elsewhere. However Finland refused and USSR invaded the country. There were many casualties during the war and at least 80,000 lost on both sides. After the Moscow Peace Treaty was signed, Finland relinquished 11% of its territory. After, Finland was able to retain its Sovereignty and enhanced international reputation. Unfortunately, the bad performance of the Red Army, made Nazi leader Adolf Hitler think attacking them would be successful; also known as Operation Barbarossa. This failed and the USSR ended up joining the Allies in WW2.