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The Allied Victory

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The Tide Turns on Two Fronts

In 1942, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin planned the Allies' strategy. Stalin wanted Britain and the United States to open a second front against Germany to relieve the pressure on his armies. Stalin wanted the attack in France. Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to a second front but chose to attack German General Erwin Rommel in North Africa.

In late 1942, the British army led by General Bernard Montgomery drove the Germans out of Egypt and back to the west. Meanwhile, American troops under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower landed behind the Germans and began moving east. The Germans were finally forced out of Africa in May 1943.

At the same time, the Soviets gained a major victory as well. German troops had invaded the Soviet city of Stalingrad in 1942. The Red Army forced the Germans to surrender in February 1943, ending the Battle of Stalingrad.

American and British soldiers next invaded Italy and captured Sicily in August 1943. Mussolini was driven from power and the new Italian government surrendered. But Hitler did not want to give up Italy. His army fought there until 1945.

How did the tide of war turn in favor of the Allies?
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The Allied Home Fronts

While the Allies continued to fight, people at home suffered. Some British and Soviet citizens died. In the United States, citizens faced shortages. Goods such as food, tires, gasoline, and clothing were in short supply. The government rationed these items. It limited how much a person could have so there would be enough for the military.

Some Americans were even imprisoned. Bitter feelings against the Japanese became widespread. As a result, mistrust of Japanese Americans grew. The U.S. government took thousands of Japanese Americans who lived on the west coast and moved them to relocation camps in the western United States. Two-thirds of these people were American citizens.

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Victory in Europe

In early 1944, the Allies built a massive force to retake France. In June, an invasion of thousands of ships, planes, and soldiers was launched. It was called D-Day. The invasion force suffered heavy losses but gained a foothold in northern France. A month later, Allied forces began to pour through German lines. In August, they marched in triumph into Paris. By September, they had driven the Germans out of France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and much of the Netherlands.

At the same time, the Soviets were pushing the Germans back in eastern Europe. In late 1944, Hitler ordered his army to make one final, largescale attack in the west. In the Battle of the Bulge, it punched through Allied lines until an Allied counterattack forced it back to Germany. By late April 1945, Soviet troops surrounded Berlin, Hitler’s headquarters. Five days later, he killed himself. A week later, the Germans surrendered. Roosevelt did not live to see this victory, however. He had died in early April. Harry Truman was now president.

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Victory in the Pacific

In the Pacific, the Allies began to move toward Japan in 1943. They landed troops in the Philippines in the fall of 1944. In the Battle of Leyte Gulf, in October 1944, the Japanese navy was crushed.

As American troops moved closer to Japan, they faced attacks by kamikaze. These Japanese suicide pilots sank Allied ships by crashing their bomb-filled planes into them. In March 1945, U.S. Marines captured the island of Iwo Jima, a strategic Japanese stronghold. By June, they had won control of Okinawa, an island just 350 miles from Japan.

Japan was the next stop. But the U.S. military feared that an invasion of Japan would cost half a million Allied lives. In August, President Truman ordered that an atomic bomb be dropped on the city of Hiroshima to try to end the war quickly. A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later. Tens of thousands of Japanese died. Japan surrendered in September.

What led to victory in the Pacific?
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