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Video transcript
World War II was the largest conflict in all of human history. The largest and bloodiest conflict And so you can imagine it is quite complex My goal in this video is to start giving us a survey, an overview of the war. And I won't even be able to cover it all in this video. It is really just a think about how did things get started. Or what happened in the lead up? And to start I am actually going to focus on Asia and the Pacific. Which probably doesn't get enough attention when we look at it from a western point of view But if we go back even to the early 1900s. Japan is becoming more and more militaristic. More and more nationalistic. In the early 1900s it had already occupied... It had already occupied Korea as of 1910. and in 1931 it invades Manchuria. It invades Manchuria. So this right over here, this is in 1931. And it installs a puppet state, the puppet state of Manchukuo. And when we call something a puppet state, it means that there is a government there. And they kind of pretend to be in charge. But they're really controlled like a puppet by someone else. And in this case it is the Empire of Japan. And we do remember what is happening in China in the 1930s. China is embroiled in a civil war. So there is a civil war going on in China. And that civil war is between the Nationalists, the Kuomintang and the Communists versus the Communists The Communists led by Mao Zedong. The Kuomintang led by general Chiang Kai-shek. And so they're in the midst of the civil war. So you can imagine Imperial Japan is taking advantage of this to take more and more control over parts of China And that continues through the 30s until we get to 1937. And in 1937 the Japanese use some pretext with, you know, kind of a false flag, kind of... well, I won't go into the depths of what started it kind of this Marco-Polo Bridge Incident But it uses that as justifications to kind of have an all-out war with China so 1937...you have all-out war and this is often referred to as the Second Sino-Japanese War ...Sino-Japanese War Many historians actually would even consider this the beginning of World War II. While, some of them say, ok this is the beginning of the Asian Theater of World War II of the all-out war between Japan and China, but it isn't until Germany invades Poland in 1939 that you truly have the formal beginning, so to speak, of World War II. Regardless of whether you consider this the formal beginning or not, the Second Sino-Japanese War, and it's called the second because there was another Sino-Japanese War in the late 1800s that was called the First Sino-Japanese War, this is incredibly, incredibly brutal and incredibly bloody a lot of civilians affected we could do a whole series of videos just on that But at this point it does become all-out war and this causes the civil war to take a back seat to fighting off the aggressor of Japan in 1937. So that lays a foundation for what's happening in The Pacific, in the run-up to World War II. And now let's also remind ourselves what's happening... what's happening in Europe. As we go through the 1930s Hitler's Germany, the Nazi Party, is getting more and more militaristic. So this is Nazi Germany... Nazi Germany right over here. They're allied with Benito Mussolini's Italy. They're both extremely nationalistic; they both do not like the Communists, at all You might remember, that in 1938... 1938, you have the Anschluss, which I'm sure I'm mispronouncing, and you also have the takeover of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. So the Anschluss was the unification with Austria and then you have the Germans taking over the of Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia and this is kind of the famous, you know, the rest of the, what will be called the Allied Powers kind of say, "Okay, yeah, okay maybe Hitler's just going to just do that... well we don't want to start another war. We still all remember World War I; it was really horrible. And so they kind of appease Hitler and he's able to, kind of, satisfy his aggression. so in 1938 you have Austria, Austria and the Sudetenland ...and the Sudetenland... are taken over, are taken over by Germany and then as you go into 1939, as you go into 1939 in March they're able to take over all of Czechoslovakia they're able to take over all of Czechoslovakia and once again the Allies are kind of, they're feeling very uncomfortable, they kind of, have seen something like this before they would like to push back, but they still are, kind of, are not feeling good about starting another World War so they're hoping that maybe Germany stops there. So let me write this down... So all of Czechoslovakia... ...Czechoslovakia... is taken over by the Germans. This is in March of 1939. And then in August you have the Germans, and this is really in preparation for, what you could guess is about to happen, for the all-out war that's about to happen the Germans don't want to fight the Soviets right out the gate, as we will see, and as you might know, they do eventually take on the Soviet Union, but in 1939 they get into a pact with the Soviet Union. And so this is, they sign the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with the Soviet Union, this is in August, which is essentially mutual non-aggression "Hey, you know, you do what you need to do, we know what we need to do." and they secretly started saying "Okay were gonna, all the countries out here, we're going to create these spheres of influence where Germany can take, uh, control of part of it and the Soviet Union, and Stalin is in charge of the Soviet Union at this point, can take over other parts of it. And then that leads us to the formal start where in September, let me write this in a different color... so September of 1939, on September 1st, Germany invades Poland Germany invades Poland on September 1st, which is generally considered the beginning of World War II. and then you have the Great Britain and France declares war on Germany so let me write this World War II... starts everyone is declaring war on each other, Germany invades Poland, Great Britain and France declare war on Germany, and you have to remember at this point Stalin isn't so concerned about Hitler he's just signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and so in mid-September, Stalin himself invades Poland as well so they both can kind of carve out... ...their spheres of influence... so you can definitely sense that things are not looking good for the world at this point you already have Asia in the Second Sino-Japanese War, incredibly bloody war, and now you have kind of, a lot of very similar actors that you had in World War I and then they're starting to get into a fairly extensive engagement.