Axis Powers By Erin Smith Essay, Research Paper
The Axis Powers
World War II was started by the Axis Forces, which were comprised of
Germany, Italy, and Japan. They fought against the combined might of almost the
entire world, and, but for a supreme combined effort on the part of America, the
USSR, and Britain, almost won. During the war, the Axis Powers were totalitarian
states, controlled by their respective leader or leaders. These are their
During World War II, there were three men who were controlling the
Japanese government, none of which liked each other. The first, Emperor Hirohito,
born in 1901, was ruler from 1926 to 1989, the last divine imperial leader of
Japan. During the first nineteen years of his reign he gave over power of the
government to a militant party. The result of this was the war with China from
1937 to 1945 and adherence to the Axis Powers. At the end of the war Hirohito
wanted peace and, in 1945, he unconditionally surrendered to the Allies.
The second, Isoroku Yamamoto, born in 1884, was the reluctant Commander-
in-Chief of Japan’s naval forces during WW II. He had a clear grasp of the
situation and predicted that against a country like the U.S. or Britain, Japan
would quickly lose the war. He died in 1943, shot down by the U.S. 13th Air
Force in a surgical assassination strike.
The last, Tojo Hideki, was born in 1884, and was the most violent of the
three. He was the leader of the militaristic party that controlled the
government from 1926 to 1945, and the one who commanded the Japanese invasion of
Manchuria in 1937. He controlled all government and military campaigns until
1944, when, as a result of bad military defeats, he resigned as Prime Minister.
Tojo was later arrested, tried, and convicted by an international military court
for conventional war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity.
He was later executed in 1948.
These three men had control over the Japanese government, and allied
themselves to Germany and Italy, thus forming the Axis forces. So, as the
Pacific was being dominated by the Japanese, Europe and North Africa were being
equally terrorized by Germany and Italy, who were under the iron fists of Adolf
Hitler and Benito Mussolini, respectively.
Adolf Hitler was born in 1889, the son of a very low-ranking official,
and a peasant. He wasn’t very well educated, never completed high school, and
was also rejected from institutes of higher learning because of his lack of
talent. Although he was a poor student, he read non-stop, and it was from books
that he developed his anti-Semitic ideas. For most of his prime, he lived on
meager pay, and this eventually led to his joining the army. Once again, a
lacking of skills stopped his promotion to a higher rank, and he joined the
German Worker’s Party. It was later renamed the National Socialist German
Workers or Nazi Party, and he was eventually elected as the chairman or Furer.
Hitler wanted to try to overthrow the Weimar Republic, as Germany was
then called, and, after a failed uprising in Munich and his imprisonment, he
decided he would have to use legal means. During his incarceration, he wrote his
book Mein Kampf, or “My Struggle,” and planned his next moves carefully.
Hitler’s emotional speaking gave the most important thing to the poor,
unemployed people of Germany that anyone could have given: someone to blame. He
successfully took over the government by way of power politics, and nazified
politics, business, the news, and all other cultural and social activities.
Over the next few years (about 1934-1936), Hitler directly defied the
unfair (to Germans) Treaty of Versailles by rearming Germany, and making pacts
with the fascist Italian leader Benito Mussolini and the imperialist monarchy of
Japan. None of the European nations tried to stop Hitler’s actions, despite the
begging and pleading of Joseph Stalin that Hitler planned to rule the world.
Even after Germany annexed Austria-Hungary and Czechoslovakia the nations
refused to do anything. After this the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was
signed by Hitler and Stalin, and in a secret deal they divided Poland amongst
On September 1, 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland and ten days later
Britain and France declared war on Germany. Hitler quickly overran Denmark,
Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, too, but was prevented from
In 1940, the formation of the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan)
was complete. One year later, in 1941, because of his desperate need for natural
resources and disdain for communism, Hitler attacked the USSR, violating the
non-aggression pact. Though successful at first, Hitler was stopped cold by a
fierce Soviet winter and the Soviet tactic called Scorched Earth. As a result of
this tactic, Hitler only got 1/6 of the natural resources that he needed, and
was forced to retreat, thus marking a turning point in the war.
While all of this was going on, more than 6 million Jews were killed in
ghettos and concentration camps by Hitler’s orders. The Allied forces did not
even find out about the concentration camps until late in the war because of
lack of intelligence as a result of reconnaissance missions being on the edge of
the fronts. After the allies had overrun Berlin, on April 30, 1945, Hitler
committed suicide in his bunker along with his wife, Eva Braun. The war against
the Nazis ended ten days later.
Benito Mussolini was born in 1883 to a lower middle-class family with
radical socialist ideas. When he got older, Mussolini became the editor of an
Italian Socialist newspaper, but as a result of his support for World War I and
imperialist ideas, he was thrown out of the party. He then started a new
newspaper which later became a tool for the spreading of fascism throughout
After the war, Mussolini and other veterans formed a fascist party which
was supported by the king and the army. After Fascists were going to march on
Rome, the king formed a government with Mussolini, and after that Mussolini
grabbed the power of supreme dictator, and made the country a totalitarian
state. He also made peace between the Vatican and Italy. Also, Mussolini was
originally anti-Hitler but when he defied the League of Nations by invading
Ethiopia in 1935, he was forced to form an alliance with Hitler. Because of
Hitler’s dominance in the alliance, Mussolini was also forced to pass anti-
Semitic laws, and invade Albania, which was not as well accepted by his people
as the invasion of Ethiopia.
After Hitler invaded Poland, Mussolini did not immediately enter World
War II, because he was not ready for war. When he did enter the war in 1940,
Mussolini did most of Hitler’s fighting for him in Africa, invaded Greece, and
helped to subdue the Czechs. After many defeats, King Victor Emanuel of Italy
got rid of Mussolini in 1943, and called a truce with the Allies and allowed
them to invade southern Italy. Mussolini, however was rescued by German forces.
They set up a dictatorship in northern Italy, but Mussolini was a puppet of the
Nazi forces. Near the end of the war, Mussolini made an attempt to escape to
Switzerland with his mistress, but was caught and shot on April 30, 1945.
Between these five men, perhaps one of the biggest and most destructive
wars of all-time was unleashed on the world. Without it, who knows, perhaps we
would have never learned the secrets of the atom. They were some of the most
evil men of our time. They were the Axis forces.
The Allied Forces
During World War II, there were many countries that made up the Allied Powers,
and even more that were occupied by the Axis powers that fought back against
them. But, there were three nations that were the main Allied Forces in the war,
those being Britain, the United States, and the USSR (even though the U.S. and
the USSR didn’t enter until 1941). As with the Axis Powers, there were three men
who were key in their respective nations war-time actions, Joseph Stalin,
absolute ruler of the USSR, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United
States of America, and Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, Prime Minister of
Joseph Stalin was born in 1879 as Ioseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili,
the son of peasants. A Marxist and nihilist at a young age, he helped Vladimir
Ilyich Ulianov, also known as V.I. Lenin, take over the Russian government from
the Tsars in 1917, and after an extremely bloody rise to power, had dictatorial
control of one sixth of the land on earth.
Stalin was one of the first to recognize Hitler’s growing power, and
pleaded with other nations to stop him. When they did not, Stalin made a Nazi-
Soviet non-aggression pact with Hitler which, in a secret stipulation also
guaranteed Stalin control of the eastern half of Poland. Hitler later turned on
Stalin, and the Soviets repelled the German attacks using the “scorched earth
policy, which would leave the invaders not a kilogram of grain nor a liter of
gasoline.” This tactic originated in Russia during the time of Napoleon, and
Stalin introduced Hitler to it. Stalin also added his own twist on it by
dismantling factories in the Ukraine and reforming them in the Urals. Stalin’s
simplistic, yet effective military planning pushed Hitler out of the USSR, and
finally, on April 30, 1945, brought the Soviets into Berlin itself.
After the war, Stalin negotiated with Churchill and Truman, and more or
less succeeded in getting the USSR the most at the least cost. In the end,
though he completely politically brainwashed the Russian people and killed
thousands of the Soviet peoples in his paranoiac “purges,” he succeeded in
educating and industrializing the nation to a point that it was almost equal in
standards to America. After post-war negotiations, Stalin not only helped China
to establish itself as a socialist-communist nation, but also started the Cold
War and started the Russians in the space race. Unfortunately (for the Soviets)
his work was cut short when he died on March 5, 1953 of a massive brain
hemorrhage. No one was able to help him because he had killed or imprisoned all
of his personal doctors because of his paranoid fear that they were all trying
to kill him.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882. He married Anna
Eleanor Roosevelt, a distant cousin, and eventually got into politics. Then, in
1921, he was stricken with poliomyelitis, a form of infantile polio, and after a
long struggle with the disease, Roosevelt lost usage of his legs.
In 1932, Roosevelt started his first term of office as the President of
the United States of America. During this term, he helped to negate the effects
of the Great Depression. Roosevelt also won second, third and fourth terms with
victories in 1936, 1940, and 1944.
When the war in Europe broke out, Roosevelt quickly declared the US’s
neutrality, and began building up the nation’s armed forces to protect our
neutrality, should it be necessary. When Nazi-Germany forces invaded France,
though, Roosevelt started the lend-lease program, which provided aid for any
country fighting Germany or Italy, and he also started the first peace-time
Then, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese made their surprise attack on
Pearl Harbor. As a result, the United States declared war on all Axis Forces,
and became the third big player for the Allies, which included Britain and the
Soviet Union. Roosevelt managed to form the United Nations after the U.S.
entered the war, which meant that the nations fighting the Axis Forces pledged
not to make separate peace agreements, and it later replaced the League of
Nations, as the organization for keeping international peace.
Six months after the invasion of Normandy, which was planned at the
Quebec Conference, the Allies were storming Berlin. Unfortunately, Roosevelt did
not see the end of the war, because he died on April 12, 1945 of a stroke. The
most important decision of the war, the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki was made almost four months later by Harry S. Truman, thus ending
the war in the Pacific in one stroke.
Sir Winston Churchill was born on November 30, 1874, the son of an
American heiress and a British lord. He started out in the military at an early
age, and rose through the ranks quickly, but had to resign out of the admiralty
after several disastrous campaigns.
He was sometimes kept out of Parliament and other high-ranking positions
because Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain (the two men who controlled the
British government from 1924 to 1940, with the latter succeeding the former)
disliked his positions on certain topics. In the end, Churchill was the wisest
one, because when Britain declared war against Germany in 1939 for the invasion
of Poland, his campaign for rearmament and dislike for Chamberlain’s appease of
Hitler at Munich in 1938 were much more agreeable.
Churchill succeeded Chamberlain in the middle of 1940 as Prime Minister,
and rallied the British people around him telling them to continue fighting.
Churchill frequently collaborated with both Stalin and Roosevelt in what he
called “the Great Alliance.” Although Churchill was extremely active in shaping
the post-war world, he was frequently left out of secret talks between Stalin
After the finish of the war, Churchill was still a large figure in the
shaping of the world, despite the fact that the British’s military might had
become subordinate to the U.S. and Russia’s, and he was defeated in the British
elections because of his antiquated ideas on social reforms. Churchill finally
died at the age of ninety in 1965.