About This Chapter
Significant Events of World War II - Chapter Summary
Study this chapter to learn or review the most important historical events of World War II. Our instructors break down several events, such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the D-Day Invasion, and help you understand the beginning, middle and late stages of the war between the Axis and Allied Powers.
For your convenience, you can access these lessons at any time that fits your schedule. Self-assessment quizzes are included to help you check your understanding of major WWII concepts and assist you in retaining the information you've learned. After completing the chapter, you should be able to:
- Summarize the initial events of World War II
- Understand why the United States became involved in the war
- Outline the major conflicts and events that occurred on Europe's Eastern and Western Front
- Contextualize the causes of the the Holocaust
- Describe the conflicts between Japan and the Allied Powers in the Pacific Theater
- Determine how the Second World War affected the U.S. government and society
- Explain how the D-Day Invasion in France led to Germany's surrender
- Assess the impact of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- Examine international politics and diplomacy during the war as well as the events of the Potsdam and Yalta Conferences
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Japanese-American Internment: Facts and History
The attack on Pearl Harbor unleashed a wave of fear and prejudice toward Japanese Americans. In this lesson, we'll learn how the government forced them into internment camps, what life in the camps was like, and how the internment affected the nation.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
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.
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Other chapters within the AP US History: Exam Prep course
- Early American Civilizations
- Settling North America & the Colonies
- Important Events Leading to the American Revolution
- Events & Leaders of the American Revolution
- The Making of a Nation after the American Revolution
- The Virginia Dynasty
- Jacksonian Democracy
- Everyday Life in Antebellum America
- Manifest Destiny & American Expansion
- Buildup to the American Civil War
- The American Civil War
- After the Civil War: Reconstruction
- Industrialization & Urbanization (1870-1900)
- Social Issues of the Progressive Era (1900-1917)
- American Imperialism & World War I
- America in the 1920s (1920-1929)
- The Great Depression & New Deal (1929-1940)
- World Events & Politics After World War II (1946-1959)
- Events & Presidents During the Cold War (1950-1973)
- Civil Rights & Other Movements in the US (1954-1973)
- America in the 1970s
- America in the 1980s
- Recent American History (1992-2013)
- Changes in the Modern United States
- Critical Thinking Skills for AP US History
- AP U.S. History: Test-Taking Skills and Prep
- Developing and Writing Your AP Exam Essay
- How to Write a Good Essay on Your AP Exam