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Ch 3: The Second World War (1939-1945)

About This Chapter

Watch online video lessons to learn about the events that occurred during World War II and critical leaders during this period. Each lesson is accompanied by a short multiple-choice quiz you can use to check your understanding of these history topics.

The Second World War (1939-1945) - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Watch the battles and major events of the Second World War unfold in this history chapter focused on 1939-1945. Learn how Hitler rose to power and about some of the events that led to the start of World War II. Experienced history instructors lead these lessons on initial invasions, key battles and the aftermath of the war. When you've finished watching the videos in this chapter, you should be familiar with:

  • Rise of national Socialism and Nazi seizure of Germany
  • Major causes of World War II
  • The European Theater
  • Anti-Semitism in Germany
  • Japan's attacks on the Allies
  • D-Day and the victory in Europe
  • Creation of the United Nations

Video Objectives
Occupations, Agreements & Appeasement: Causes of the Second World War Details Hitler's plan to restore honor to Germany and how this led to the start of the war. Depicts events that led to Hitler's invasion of Poland.
World War II: The Start of the Second World War Summarizes events during Hitler's invasion of Poland and Japan's invasion of China. Examines the declarations of war.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Beginning of American Involvement in World War II Explains the U.S.'s decision to end its neutrality stance. Takes a look at the goals of the Atlantic Charter, and reviews the events taking place on December 7, 1941.
The European Theater in World War II: The Eastern Front, Western Front and Fight for North Africa Highlights critical military operations on the Eastern and Western Fronts. Discusses the fight for North Africa and Italy.
The Holocaust: Anti-Semitism and Genocide in Nazi Germany Illustrates anti-Semitism in Germany and what led to the Final Solution. Explains how Hitler tried to eradicate both Jewish and non-Jewish people from the country. Details the end of the genocide.
How World War II Impacted American & European Society Describes the impact of the war on American and European societies. Illustrates central themes of women in the workplace, rationing and industrial mobilization. Describes the role that propaganda played in the war.
The Pacific Ocean Theater of WWII: Japan vs. The Allies Renders major Pacific Theater battles and Allied strategies like island hopping. Reviews key players and specific events that took place prior to the Allies' planned invasion of Japan.
The Yalta Conference and The Potsdam Conference: US Diplomacy & International Politics During World War II Describes the different agreements introduced to help end the war. Examines the events of these two critical conferences and the arrangements made for the post-war world.
The D-Day Invasion: The Beginning of the End of Nazi Germany Renders the Allied invasion of France that led up to Germany's surrender. Depicts major events like the Battle of the Bulge.
Victory in Europe: The Battle of Berlin and the Downfall of the Nazi Regime Details the Battle of Berlin and Hitler's death. Summarizes the fall of Nazi Germany, VE Day and celebrations in the U.S.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki: How the Atomic Bomb Changed Warfare During WWII Describes how the atomic bomb was developed. Explains how the bomb was used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and how it changed the war.
The Aftermath of WWII and the Creation of the United Nations Details the end of the war and its aftermath. Introduces the formation of the United Nations and identifies its basic function and structure.

13 Lessons in Chapter 3: The Second World War (1939-1945)
The Rise of Hitler & National Socialism

1. The Rise of Hitler & National Socialism

In this lesson, we will explore the rise of Adolf Hitler and National Socialism. We will place these developments in historical context and highlight major events and themes.

Occupations, Agreements & Appeasement: Causes of the Second World War

2. Occupations, Agreements & Appeasement: Causes of the Second World War

In this lesson, we will learn about the events leading up to the Second World War. We will focus on the occupations, agreements, and appeasements that preceded Hitler's invasion of Poland in 1939.

World War II: The Start of the Second World War

3. World War II: The Start of the Second World War

Learn all about the start of World War II and why the League of Nations could not stop aggression by Italy, Germany and Japan in the 1930s, which led to the outbreak of this second global conflict.

The Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Beginning of American Involvement in World War II

4. The Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Beginning of American Involvement in World War II

On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack against Allied possessions in the Pacific, including the American military base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After decades of conflict between the two nations, the U.S. declared war.

The European Theater in WWII: The Eastern Front, Western Front & Fight for North Africa

5. The European Theater in WWII: The Eastern Front, Western Front & Fight for North Africa

Hitler and Nazi Germany dominated the European fields of battle early in WWII. This lesson is an overview of key military operations between 1939 and 1943 in Europe on both the Eastern and Western fronts.

The Holocaust: Anti-Semitism and Genocide in Nazi Germany

6. The Holocaust: Anti-Semitism and Genocide in Nazi Germany

The Holocaust was the persecution and mass murder of as many as 11 million people by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. Learn about the people they targeted, the progression of events leading up to the Final Solution and the end of the genocide in this lesson.

How World War II Impacted American & European Society

7. How World War II Impacted American & European Society

In this lesson, you'll learn about the impact World War II on American and European society. We'll explore the notable social changes and trends brought about by the war.

The Pacific Ocean Theater of WWII: Japan vs. The Allies

8. The Pacific Ocean Theater of WWII: Japan vs. The Allies

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States entered WWII. Watch this video to learn about some of the key battles, as well as the general nature, of the Pacific theater of the war.

The Yalta Conference and The Potsdam Conference: US Diplomacy & International Politics During World War II

9. The Yalta Conference and The Potsdam Conference: US Diplomacy & International Politics During World War II

Throughout the course of WWII, leaders of many Allied nations met many times to discuss strategy. Then, near the end of the war, two historic conferences shaped the post-war world.

The D-Day Invasion: The Beginning of the End of Nazi Germany

10. The D-Day Invasion: The Beginning of the End of Nazi Germany

Operation Overlord, the invasion of Nazi-occupied Western Europe, began with the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, with Hitler's last stand taking place at the Battle of the Bulge. Learn about these and other events that contributed to the end of Nazi Germany.

Victory in Europe: The Battle of Berlin & the Downfall of the Nazi Regime

11. Victory in Europe: The Battle of Berlin & the Downfall of the Nazi Regime

In this lesson, we learn about the Battle of Berlin and the end of Germany's Nazi regime. We will place this event in historical context and we will understand its importance.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: How the Atomic Bomb Changed Warfare During WWII

12. Hiroshima and Nagasaki: How the Atomic Bomb Changed Warfare During WWII

As America and its WWII allies considered invading Japan, the Manhattan Project successfully developed an atomic weapon. Its use on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, precipitated VJ Day, the end of the Pacific war, on August 14, 1945.

WWII Aftermath & the Creation of the United Nations

13. WWII Aftermath & the Creation of the United Nations

In this lesson, we will look at the aftermath of the Second World War and the formation of the United Nations. We will identify why the United Nations was created and explore the organization's function and structure in the post-war world.

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