World War II (1939–1945) was the greatest military conflict in the history of mankind. Most of the countries of the world took part, and tens of millions of people were killed, both soldiers and ordinary people. A person could spend a lifetime learning about this great war. Here are a few notes about some of the events and issues that are mentioned in Eddie’s War.
This is Warsaw, Poland, after the German invasion of 1939. What was Hitler’s goal in conquering Poland? How did Britain, France, and the United States react when Poland was invaded?
In June 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a speech to Parliament urging his country to fight on and defeat Hitler. This famous speech is often called Churchill’s “finest hour” speech. (Listen to the speech to find out why.) How did the world react to this speech?
The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941, and US President Franklin Roosevelt declared war on Japan. If you were old enough in 1941 to enlist in the military, and you saw these posters, how would you feel? Were young men drafted during World War II, or did the government rely on volunteers? Did young women serve in the war? Compare how soldiers were recruited during World War II and during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s. How has the role of women in the military changed since World War II?
Above is a B-24 bomber, like the one Thomas flew. It was called the Liberator. The diagram below shows the inside.
The B-24 flew missions in Europe and in the Pacific, but there were many other aircraft as well. Learn something about the history of the B-24 and its advantages and disadvantages compared to other planes.
During World War II, many men were away from their jobs fighting in Europe and the Pacific, and many women who had never worked outside the home took over in the factories. What do you think happened when the men came home after the war?