Leaders of World War II

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) 

NAZI GERMANY – AXIS

Hitler was the leader of the Nazi Party, Chancellor (1933-1945), and Dictator of Germany (1934-1945).

Born on April 20th 1889 in a small Austrian town called Braunau. He fought in World War I and was awarded the Iron Cross despite his unpopularity with the other soldiers.

During the Weimar Republic 30’s Hitler became involved in the Nazi party and wanted to lead Germany out of the troubles it was experiencing through the Treaty of Versailles. He was convinced that Jews were responsible for Germany’s defeat in the Great War.

Hitler wanted a great ‘Reich’ or empire for the German people and invaded most of Europe starting with Poland on September 1, 1939. His invasion of Poland prompted Britain and France to declare war on Germany. His actions resulted in the death of millions of people. At the same time, Hitler and his Nazis were killing millions more on their path to a pure world. He ordered the genocide of 11 million Jews and other ‘undesirables’ during the war which has become known as the Holocaust. These deaths included Jews, Gypsies, and other non-Aryans (his imagined superior race).

The leader was allied to Imperial Japan and Italy, forming the Axis Powers. His failure to take over Soviet Russia quickly in 1941, ultimately meant that Germany would start losing the war. Hitler became more and more paranoid of assassination attempts as the war was coming to an end. By 1945, Hitler knew the game was over and that the Allies were swiftly coming for him. Therefore, he and his new bride committed suicide on April 30, 1945.

 

Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

GREAT BRITAIN – ALLIES

This “British Bulldog” was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II.

With his inspiring orations, he helped maintain Britain’s spirit during one of the most troubling points in its history. He was both a brilliant military strategist and diplomat, securing political relations with the United States and Soviet Union.

Unfortunately, due to a disheartened post-war country, Churchill was thrown from office two months after the Allies secured their victory over Germany.

Joseph Stalin (1878-1953)

USSR – ALLIES

Stalin was the dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1929-1953. He ruled with an iron fist, turning the Soviet Union from a peasant country to an industrial and military power. Right before World War II began, Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler which agreed that they would not attack each other.

However, Hitler turned around and tried to invade Moscow, leading to the Battle of Stalingrad in August 1942. Stalin’s Red Army defeated Hitler’s troops by February 1943 and drove them away.

This deceit and double crossing made Stalin quickly move to the Allied side of the war. Who can blame him?

Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)

ITALY – AXIS

Mussolini was leader of the National Fascist Party and Prime Minister of Italy from 1922 to 1943. In 1940, he sided with Hitler and Germany in the war though he knew his army was not capable of lasting too long. German troops repeatedly came to his aid during battles. In 1943, the Italian people voted him out of office, leading to his quick arrest of which he escaped with the help of Germany. When 1945 came about, Mussolini knew the end was near and tried escaping north. However, he was captured and hung on the spot!

Hideki Tojo (1884-1948)

JAPAN – AXIS

Tojo was the Prime Minister of Japan 1941-1944. It was his idea to attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He thought that the United States could be stopped after suffering a massive blow. As we know, he was very wrong. The United States dropped two bombs on Japan in 1945 to retaliate and end the war.

Tojo was put on trial in 1948 and charged with being a war criminal who angered the U.S. into attacking Japan. He was found guilty and hanged that same year.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945)

USA – ALLIES

 

Roosevelt became president of the United States in 1933 and was elected four times after that! Despite suffering from polio, this president maintained his strong demeanor for the American people during the war. Though the U.S. practiced isolationism in the beginning of World War II, it still helped out the allies by offering weapons and support against the growing threat of the Nazis in Germany. On December 8, 1941, the U.S. declared war on Japan after Pearl Harbor was attacked and led an Allied victory a few years later.
FDR was the only president to leave the country during wartime, but have no fear, he kept in contact with the American people by reporting events and giving rousing speeches.

Harry S. Truman (1884-1972)

USA – ALLIES

Truman was the vice president of FDR in 1945 but only served 82 days. FDR died suddenly and Truman had to be quickly sworn in as the next President of the United States, inheriting a war along with it. No pressure! During his first few months, Truman dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, thus ending the war. After that, he signed the charter ratifying the United Nations, an organization that promotes collaboration and peace between countries. Not bad!

Daniel
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Daniel

Daniel is a history geek who has written about all periods of history during his student days from Tokugawa Japan to the American revolution to the collapse of the Soviet Union. As an illustrator and writer he combines history with a fun and intriguing graphical style. Now he presents a book series for children who have a curiosity about the world around them and its rich past, in the form of his new series 'Simple History'. Send your Fanmail to me! to: simplehistorybooks@gmail.com