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5.3 Other significant international events during the Second World War

The table below lists some significant international events which occurred during the Second World War. Use the research question column to help guide you as you investigate one or more of these events further.

Event Short explanation Research question

1939: German invasion of Poland

German expansion starts the war.

Why did Germany invade?

1940: Blitzkrieg

German forces overrun Western Europe.

How were they able to defeat their enemy so easily?

1940: Battle of Britain

Germany attempts to control the air over Britain so that they can invade.

Why was Britain able to keep control of the air?

1941: Barbarossa

Germany invades Russia.

Why did Germany invade?


1941–45: Holocaust

German mass killing of the Jews of Europe.

How did this happen?

1941: Pearl Harbor

Japanese entry into the war.

Why did Japan enter the war?

1942: Battle of Midway

The naval battle in the Pacific that destroys Japanese aircraft carrier capacity.

How were the Allies able to trap the Japanese navy?

1943–1945: Bombing campaigns in Europe

The strategy of bombing German cities and strategic areas.

Was it justified?

1944: D-Day

The Allied invasion of France that, along with the Russian advance on the eastern front, starts the defeat of Germany.

What enabled it to succeed?

1945: Atomic bomb

Deploying atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki forces the Japanese surrender.

Was it justified?

1946: War trials

Trials of German and Japanese leaders and officers for war crimes.

Were the trials fair?

You could start your research at the Australian War Memorial, Anzac Portal, Britannica or BBC.

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