The US joined the war in December 1941 and in doing so, doomed the Axis' cause. Thanks to FDR's initiative to increase government spending and management of American industry, the Great Depression ended and an unprecedented era of economic boom for America began. The US's production capabilities proved to be the main factor in turning the tide of the war. The Allies took the offensive in the fall of 1942 in the North African campaign and after about 6 months of fighting, they ended up controlling North Africa and had secured a strong position in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, continued bombing of Germany weakened the German economy and German resistance. In the summer of 1943, Allies invaded and took over Italy, who soon surrendered. However, the Allies were stopped in their tracks when Hitler sent additional German forces to the Northern Italian peninsula. Fighting that continued in this mountainous region made slow--if any--headway.
Under pressure from the Russians to open a second, Western front, the Allies planned and executed the decisive counterattack code-named Operation Overlord. Put into action on D-Day, June 6, 1944, initial Allied losses were heavy, but they had finally obtained a foothold in Western Europe. The Germans put up a good fight for the advancing Allies, even managing a bloody counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge that pushed Allied forces back miles into France. Nonetheless, the Germans were on their last leg and finally surrendered May 8th 1945 after Hitler, seeing the desperate and unforgiving situation he was in, committed suicide to prevent his capture. (Good Riddance!)
In the 6 months following Pearl Harbor, the Japanese offensive managed to gain control over most of the Pacific Theatre. US production efforts and desire for revenge soon gained enough strength to halt Japanese expansion in the Battle of Coral Sea near Australia. After another Japanese defeat at the Midway, the US launched a counteroffensive near New Guinea. Over the course of the next two years, the US pushed the Japanese forces back island-by-island. Despite heavy losses and little--if any--opportunity for relief, Japanese soldiers continued to fight advancing American forces. This ended up causing some especially bloody fighting in the Philippines and in Okinawa.
American commanders feared the bloody fighting that was to be expected if they had to invade Japan. Following Roosevelt's death, President Truman made the fateful decision to use the US's secret weapon: the Atomic Bomb.
When Japan continued in its refusal to surrender, the US dropped "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The widespread death and destruction that resulted finally convinced the Japanese to surrender.
Three months after Germany had given up, the war was finally over!
Copyright © 2000 [Matt Wilhelm]. All rights reserved.