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1942 Tide turning in World War II in Europe

KC‑7.3.III.D (KC)
Unit 7: Learning Objective M
WOR (Theme)

Video transcript

As we saw in the last video, in 1942 we start to see the tide turn in the Pacific. Just as reminder - In December of 1941, you have the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor which brings the United States into World War II. And as we get into 1942, you have the Doolittle Raid on the mainland of Japan which is a psychological victory for America and the allies. Then you have the Battle of Coral Sea and then Midway. Midway in particular was a huge -- I shouldn´t put red there, I should leave it blue -- was a huge success for the American Navy, followed by Guadalcanal after which the U.S. is able to go on the offensive against the Japanese. We see a significant turning of the tide in 1942 in the Pacific. And it also turns out to be the case in Europe that we see a turning of the tide in 1942. Just as Guadalcanal is occuring, you might remember that in 1941 Hitler and the Nazis decided they want to attack the Soviet Union, probably not a good idea, they going to stretch themselves thin, but they do so anyway. The Siege of Leningrad starts in 1941, and then in 1942 by August, they are able to reach Stalingrad, which is right about here. And Stalingrad, it´s now called Volgograd, is right about there if the map extended over there. This is a major series of battles in World War II. Movies are made about Stalingrad, incredibly bloody. Incredibly -- if you look at the pictures of the city of Stalingrad after the battles there, the city is essentially in ruins. But the battles in Stalingrad start in August of 1942 and they continue for several months, going up to February of 1943. But this marks the turning point for Hitler. He´s getting bogged down in Leningrad, he´s getting bogged down in Stalingrad, eventually gets defeated in Stalingrad in early 1943. And his armies are really spread thin. Stalingrad is a hugely important event or series of events in World War II. And let´s just be clear where we are right now. Stalingrad commences in August of 1942. And just to frame it in your mind - relativ to the Pacific Theater, this is right around - plus or minus a few weeks - of when Guadalcanal was going on, conflict between the Japanese and the American navies. You have these incredibly bloody series of battles at Stalingrad. Then in October, we´ve been talking about this back and forth, in North Africa and some people are: "Why are they even worried about North Africa?" And I should have mentioned this earlier, but we have to remember that there is somewhat strategic here called the Suez Canal. Why is the Suez Canal strategic? It connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. You don`t have to go all the way around Africa to go from Europe to the Indian Ocean. It`s an incredibly strategic passage or way to travel by sea between -- I guess for the world -- but especially between Europe and Asia. You can imagine, the British were very keen on protecting the Suez Canal and the axies would have loved to get control of the Suez Canal. Let me write this here. This right over here is the Suez Canal. And as we go into October, this is Stalingrad commences right over here. And as we go into October, the British are able to defeat or start to deafeat the axies and then push them back. This eventually leads to the British being able to go all the way to Tunisia. This is the final back- and-forth-blow that starts to secure victory for the allies in North Africa. And at the same time that this is commencing in October, you have other allied forces, starting to arrive in Morroco and Algeria. Forces from the U.S. are arriving in Morroco, and forces from the U.K., from Great Britain, are arriving in Algeria. This is going to give the allies control of North Africa, from which they can now mount assaults onto the European mainland, which we will see in the next series of videos. Definitely the tide is turning, and the allies are starting to be able to go on the offensive both in the Pacific and the European Theater.