If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

1943 Axis losing in Europe

In 1943, the Allies gained momentum in both Europe and the Pacific. In Europe, the Soviets were victorious at Stalingrad and Kursk, while the Allies pushed the Axis forces out of North Africa and began invading Italy. In the Pacific, the Americans were advancing closer to Japan.

Want to join the conversation?

  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user mathemagician
    If Hitler had not invaded Russia, could it have gained enough force to overpower Allied troops? Could they have had victory against the Allies?
    (13 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • leaf red style avatar for user BGG
      It's impossible to say for sure what would have happened. Like any other moment in history, changing it would have had unforeseeable consequences.

      However, some facts remain. Germany devoted the majority of it's military to Operation Barbarossa, the campaign against Russia, and most of the German casualties in the war occurred on the Russian front. The Russian won the war for us.

      If Germany had instead attacked Britain with their full might, they may well have been able to hold on to the territory they had indefinitely, if they didn't manage to destroy Britain outright. On the other hand, the US was backing up Britain with a lend lease program. If Britain had looked likely to fall, the US may have stepped in to prevent it, even if the attack on Pearl Harbor hadn't happened. Once the US entered the war, Germany would have been facing Britain and the US in a naval war where the allies had both supremacy and the economic advantage. Because of this, the war could have been forced to a standstill, and US and British forces might have tried to take Europe back from Germany.

      Like I said, it's impossible to say for sure. The Russian theater cost Germany the war, but the US and Britain by themselves may have been too formidable for the German war machine to handle.
      (23 votes)
  • leaf red style avatar for user Jouhou
    At Sal mentions bombings in Rome. As a city with many ancient structures, when the allied bombing of Rome began for the purpose of pushing back the occupying Axis soldiers, did Rome lose any of her ancient structures or cultural assets as a result of the bombing or conflict there? Thank you very much!
    (8 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • starky sapling style avatar for user Locke
    How many troops did the Allies have? How were they able to battle in so many places at the same time (such as America fighting with the Japanese but helping invade France at the same time)? Or was it that both were spread thin, but the Axis were weaker? I'm somewhat confused.
    (4 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • piceratops tree style avatar for user Cadmium Antimony
      During the war, some 16,112,566 Americans served in the United States Armed Forces. These troops fought along with 70+ million other allied troops*. Only a few hundred thousand of these fought in the Pacific Theater. Armed with this knowledge you should be able to imagine how so many battles were fought in so many places at one time. Hope this helps.
      *The Nazis only had 13.6 million troops and the Japanese only had 6,095,000. Even added together, it's a small enemy force compared to the allies and it surprises me that the war took so long.
      (3 votes)
  • male robot johnny style avatar for user Raghav Wahi
    what was the role of Spain and Portugal in world war 2?
    (4 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Swilson27
      Portugal was a neutral nation during World War II, and Spain was believed to be one also. However, Spain supplied materials and military support to the Axis Powers because of the strong assistance they received during the Spanish Civil War. The main part of Spain's involvement was through their volunteers, who fought on both sides. Portugal mainly exported goods to the Allies, the Axis Powers, as well as other neutral nations. Hope this helps!
      (5 votes)
  • starky ultimate style avatar for user Aditya
    Who is Mussolini and why did he get deposed of?
    (4 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • piceratops seed style avatar for user elle.doligas
    why did Canada lose during the Dieppe raid?
    (2 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • purple pi purple style avatar for user Peter
      Dieppe was really a test for whether the Allies could take and hold a harbour in France. The knowledge was vital for the planning of D-Day (in a later video). Having decided after Dieppe, that capturing a decent harbour was too hard, the Allies built a mobile harbour ("Mulberry") and took that to D-Day instead. If you ever get to go to that part of France, there are still a few bits of that mobile harbour to see.
      So although quite a lot of Canadians died at Dieppe, it saved many more troops later on at D-Day.
      The war cemetery in Dieppe is above the town, and last time I looked, was reasonably well signposted. As well as the Dieppe dead, there are a few others there, like pilots and the like shot down at other times.
      (4 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user David Anderson
    What's the status on the Catholic Church (specifically the Vatican/Vatican City) at this point considering all the turmoil in Italy with the bombings in Rome and the deposition of Benito Mussolini. Are they considered neutral?
    (3 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • piceratops seedling style avatar for user jcoutu18
    Did Spain just stay out of it?
    (3 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • leaf green style avatar for user Fabio Pulito
    Why was the Stalingrad battle such an important one? The city and the location don't seem to be particularly important, if compared with other major Russian centers. Why did the Axis needed so badly to take control of it? And why did the Russians fought so hard to defend it?
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • leafers ultimate style avatar for user Andrew Taktsuki
      The Axis wanted Stalingrad for propaganda purposes- the city literally carried the name of the Soviet Union's dictator Joseph Stalin. It also contained a tractor factory (which then produced the excellent T-34 tank, vital to the Russians) Along with that, its capture would open the path to the oil-rich Caucasus, which Hitler desperately needed to keep the German Blitzkrieg rolling, as Nazi Germany had no major supply of oil. The Soviets also wanted to keep it for propaganda purposes but realized that they could destroy the German 6th Army, which was a fairly large force vested in the attempt. They surrounded and defeated it in Operation Uranus, handing a major defeat to the Axis with the loss of one of its elite armies, ending the German blitzkrieg and turning the tide of the Eastern Front.
      (7 votes)
  • leafers seed style avatar for user Seung Sorensen
    If the Soviet Union was on the side of the Germans, Italians, and Japanese would they win World War 2?
    (2 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • stelly blue style avatar for user SweetSourBlueberry
      Well the Soviet Union, which had one of the greatest armies at the time if had been with the Germans, Italians, and Japanese, probably would have had a much higher chance of winning the war, though the other countries may have somehow won, so it is truly impossible to know the outcome of the war in that scenario.
      (4 votes)

Video transcript

In 1943 we see the tide really turns in favor of the allies especially in Europe but it's actually happening in the Pacific as well to begin with in 1943 the siege of Stalingrad which doesn't quite exactly fit on this map but would be right over here it ends with the soviets being notorious and this is actually an incredible story there's many movies about the siege of Stalingrad for a reason the soviets are able to mount a pretty epic counterattack by attacking the flanks of the axis army and their able to push the back and defeat the axis army Stalingrad itself gets reduced to rubble and you know if you actually look up pictures of it its kind of mind blowing to just even imagine what went on there and Stalingrad right over here although right now Leningrad in 1943 still under siege and if you want your stomach to really be sick look up images of things that happened over there but needless to say 1943 its a turning... or its not the turning point '42 really is the turning point but in 1943, the momentum's really in the allies favor the Soviets defeat the Germans at Stalingrad they are able to push the Germans and the axis powers out of the caucases and then they'd begin to advance and then the Soviets begin to advance and retake ground from the axis powers now at the same time you might remember that at the end of 1942 in North Africa in North Africa, let me go right over here I have all these maps layered over here you might remember that the British were able to push back the axis army back into Lybia and then this just continues as we go into 1943 and the allied armies essentially able to kick the axis army out of North Africa be victorious of North Africa you remember you have these the armies that are coming from Egypt you also had allies land in Morocco and Algeria and then they all meet up and by mid-year they're able to use their victory in North Africa as a launching point to start attacking the main land of Italy they first, they can go to Sicily or then they go to the actual main land, and there's an attack at Selerno and they start to really kind of fight their way up the Italian peninsula we're gonna do this in a blue color so you can see this is the allies, as were going to mid- and late- 1943 are able to take more and more of the Italian peninula now as this happens, conditions i Italy aren't good the Italian people aren't happy and they're actually able to depose Mussolini so let me write that down so this is, In 1943 Mussolini, oh i think there's another s, Mussolini is deposed Mussolini is, Mussolini is deposed and as we get later that year, Italy formally surrenders to the allies now with that said, Italy has surrendered but the entire country of Italy the entire peninsula, there's still axis troops there so the allies have to continue to slog through 1943 and 1944 and even to 1945 to completely rid Italy of the axis powers, and especially the Germans now Rome especially is fairly hard bombing campaigns start in Rome in order to completely get the axis powers out of there and that all is completely happening in 19- this is all happening in 1943 now other, other things of note and there's many things that are happening in Europe and once again these are just over view videos that are happening in 1943 is American forces early in 1943 are able to start doing bombing attacks on Germany itself and these bombing attacks only become more and more fierce as the war progresses another battle of note, In mid-1943 is the battle of kursk and this is really the last offensive that the axis powers are able to mount on the Eastern Front and they are defeated in this battle by the soviets and then once again that allows the Soviets to start going on the offensive so when you look at things from a European point of view the allies are definitely, they have the bulk over the momentum now they're now kind of putting the squeeze on the axis powers and frankly the same thing is happening in the Pacific especially the Americans, they are now on the offensive they're able to get closer and closer and closer to Japan