join the ap-world course
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📑 Document Based Questions (DBQ)
🚀 Thematic Guides
Theme 1 (ENV) - Humans and the Environment
Theme 2 (CDI) - Cultural Developments and Interactions
Theme 3 (GOV) - Governance
Theme 4 (ECON) - Economic Systems
Theme 5 (SOC) - Social Interactions and Organizations
Theme 6 (TECH) - Technology and Innovation
🗺 Regional Guides
The Pacific from 1200 to the Present
🐎 Unit 1: The Global Tapestry
1.0Overview of Unit 1: The Global Tapestry
1.1East Asia from 1200-1450
1.2Dar al-Islam from 1200-1450
1.4The Americas from 1200 to 1450
1.6Europe from 1200 to 1450
🐫 Unit 2: Networks of Exchange
2.0Overview of Unit 2: Networks of Exchange
2.3Indian Ocean Trade Routes
2.4Trans-Saharan Trade Routes
2.5Cultural Effects of Trade
2.6Environmental Effects of Trade
🕌 Unit 3: Land-Based Empires
3.0Overview of Unit 3: Land-Based Empires
3.1Expansion of Land-Based Empires
3.2Governments of Land-Based Empires
🍕 Unit 4: Transoceanic Interconnections
4.0Overview of Unit 4: Transoceanic Interconnections
4.1New Technologies from 1450-1750
4.4Maritime Empires Established
4.5Expansion of Maritime Empires
4.6Resistance to European Expansion
✊ Unit 5: Revolutions
5.2Revolutions from 1750-1900
5.5Technology in the Industrial Age
5.7Economic Effects of Industrialization
🚂 Unit 6: Consequences of Industrialization
6.0Overview of Unit 6: Consequences of Industrialization
💣 Unit 7: Global Conflict
7.0Overview of Unit 7: Global Conflict
7.6Causes of World War II
🥶 Unit 8: Cold War & Decolonization
8.0Overview of Unit 8: Cold War & Decolonization
8.2The Cold War
8.3Effects of the Cold War
8.4Spread of Communism After 1900
8.5Decolonization After 1900
8.6Newly Independent States After 1900
8.8End of the Cold War
✈️ Unit 9: Globalization
🤓 Historical Thinking Skills
Causation in the AP Histories
Continuity and Change Over Time in the AP Histories
Comparison in the AP Histories
👉 Introduction to AP World
⏱️ 3 min read
June 11, 2020
World War II, like World War I, was a total war. Colonies of the Allied Powers, such as India (Britain), also joined the war, making it a truly global conflict on a much greater scope than WWI as it now included more countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and even the Americas.
Number of Troops at Peak Strength
Number of Troops
Under Winston Churchill’s leadership, Great Britain remained unfazed by Germany’s blitzkrieg (swift war) tactics. His military ingenuity allowed him to hold off Hitler’s forces after the fall of France in 1940 despite being close to the defeated nation. Churchill’s determination to not let Britain fall motivated him to forge an alliance with Franklin Roosevelt and the US, officiated after the latter joined the war in response to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Under the Lend-Lease Act, both countries were able to share (US lending Britain) war materials, weapons, and equipment necessary for repelling the Axis Powers.
Franklin Roosevelt took advantage of the war to mobilize the United States’s undamaged factories and ramp up their production of everything from ammunition to aircraft. By doing so, he gave the American economy the boost it needed, enough to get the US out of the Great Depression. Like WWI, women were given ample opportunities in the job market and production rates were at all-time highs once again. The US also led the liberation efforts in the Pacific, which was the other major war theatre, against Japan through an “island hopping” strategy.
In terms of logistics, morale, and productivity, totalitarian regimes fell behind in mobilization efforts. Attitudes and policies made their war machines less effective as time went on.
Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union was already weakened by the Five Year Plans. The purges within farmer groups and communist party officials also eliminated some of the most brilliant military strategists in Russia. To add insult to injury, a miscommunication between Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt delayed reinforcements to the eastern front of the European theatre, leading to millions of Soviets dying before his two allies’ reinforcements could finally arrive.
Propaganda and art were used heavily by both western democracies and totalitarian states (more by the latter). Hitler’s Nazi Germany made use of nationalist propaganda to motivate German youth to participate in the war as an honorable and glorious notion. Anti-Semitic art was also spread throughout the country, a chilling precursor to one of the most tragic (on top of violent) series of events of history: the Holocaust.
World War II featured upgrades of previously featured weapons. To name a few, tanks are now better adapted to more environments, more varieties of firearms are used based on the range of combat, and atomic weapons such as those infamously dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have destructive capabilities hundreds of times deadlier than the classic mustard gas from WWI.
WWII is also the first conflict where civilians are purposely targeted as part of long-term military strategies in war. To encourage surrender, cities in Japan (Tokyo, Kobe) and Germany (Hamburg, Dresden) were continuously bombed, killing people by the thousands. With the development of technology comes higher casualty rates, clear indicators of the inevitability of death and destruction in extreme times like war.
Locations where the atomic bombs were dropped. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.
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