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World War II (1939–1945)

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Study Questions & Essay Topics

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1. Which event is generally considered to be the first belligerent act of World War II?

2. Which two countries were the first to declare war on Germany?

3. Against which country did the Soviet Union instigate an armed conflict in late 1939?

4. What were the first two western European countries that Germany invaded?

5. Which best describes Germany’s standard invasion strategy at the beginning of World War II?

6. What major mistake did the Allies make in preparing to defend against Germany’s attack on France?

7. What happened at Dunkirk in May 1940?

8. Where was the French surrender to Germany signed?

9. Why did the British Royal Navy attack French warships at Mers-el-Kebir?

10. What was Germany’s initial strategy for conquering Britain?

11. What was the “London Blitz”?

12. Overall, the Battle of Britain is considered to be

13. What was Italy’s primary role in the war?

14. What was Hitler’s primary justification for invading Russia?

15. What was the code name given to Germany’s plan to invade the USSR?

16. What happened to the Soviet air force during the opening days of the German invasion?

17. Which of the following was not a part of the Soviet defense plan against Germany?

18. On which region of the Soviet Union did Hitler place the highest priority?

19. Via what route did Russians manage to send some supplies to Leningrad during the German siege of the city?

20. Which country was the site of most of the Nazi extermination camps?

21. How did the Western Allies respond to Germany’s invasion of Russia?

22. What Japanese action created tension with the United States?

23. What U.S. action created tension with Japan?

24. Who was the Japanese admiral behind the Pearl Harbor attack?

25. Which of the following was not true about the Pearl Harbor attack?

26. What was unique about the Doolittle Raid?

27. Which battle is considered to be the turning point for the war in the Pacific?

28. The Battle of the Coral Sea was a unique naval battle in that

29. During the Battle of Midway, Japan lost

30. The Battle of Stalingrad was

31. Who met at Casablanca?

32. What was the focus of the Tehran Conference?

33. What was the significance of Guadalcanal to Japan?

34. Why was the Japanese capture of Rangoon such a bitter loss for the Allies?

35. Which statement best characterizes the series of battles in the Pacific following the Battle of Guadalcanal?

36. What was the significance of Mt. Suribachi?

37. Which country instigated the conflict in North Africa?

38. Why did Allied forces invade Italy after it had already surrendered?

39. What was Monte Cassino?

40. The Battle of Kursk is best described as

41. After the Battle of Kursk, German forces

42. What was the code name for the Allied invasion of Europe?

43. The Allied invasion of Europe was primarily directed at

44. What was the location of the second major Allied assault into Europe in 1944?

45. Why was the Luftwaffe so ineffective during the last part of the war?

46. Where did the Battle of the Bulge take place?

47. What were the V1 and V2?

48. Which Allied country’s forces arrived in Berlin first?

49. In the last six months of the war, what was the U.S. strategy for winning the conflict with Japan?

50. At what conference did the Allies set the terms for the Japanese surrender?

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