• World War II: Victory in Europe

    In the spring of 1944, Churchill and Roosevelt were ready to begin the next step in their plan. The British countryside was filled with army personnel, supplies, and weapons. Under the direction of General Eisenhower, the troops planned to invade and free France before moving onto the rest of Europe. Facing the German army head-on on land would be their biggest challenge.

    World War II: Victory in Europe

    Fun Facts

    • Shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944, paratroopers and glider troops landed behind enemy lines in the dark near the coast of France. Their job was to destroy communications so the German army couldn’t alert others.
    • Bombers and warships attacked the German troops on the French coast. At dawn, Allied ships and landing craft filled the English Channel, while Allied fighter planes overhead shot at German troops. American, British, and Canadian troops ran onto the beach at Normandy and fought a fierce battle against the Germans. Over 2,500 Allied soldiers died on D-Day, which the soldiers named, “the longest day.”
    • Allied troops moved quickly through Europe, first freeing France and then Brussels and Luxenbourg. They enjoyed success for the most part, but ran into trouble in the Ardennes forest of Belgium. Here, German forces trapped the 101st Airborne Division, among others. Reinforcements finally arrived to free the men who were starving and half-frozen. Over 77,000 Allied troops died here during the Battle of the Bulge.
    • At the same time, Russian troops pushed from the east and eventually entered Berlin on April 23, 1945. A few days later, it was announced that Hitler had committed suicide. On May 8, 1945, Eisenhower accepted Germany’s surrender. The war was over in Europe. V-E Day was marked by celebrations throughout Europe and America. People danced in the streets.

    Vocabulary

    1. Personnel: trained workers
    2. Suicide: to take one’s own life
    3. V-E Day: Victory in Europe day

    Questions and Answers

    Question: How many people died in World War II?

    Answer: Almost 400,000 American soldiers died in the war. Many of these soldiers died in POW (prisoner of war) camps. In total, between 21 and 25 million soldiers died worldwide. But that’s just the beginning. Between 60 and 80 million people died in total. Civilians were killed by disease, famine, and bombs in Europe, China, Russia, and Africa. When Allied forces arrived in Europe, they found nearly 20 German concentration camps. In these camps, bodies were stacked in piles. The Germans had built gas chambers to kill people, along with huge ovens to burn their bodies. Through Hitler’s evil plan, over 6 million Jews were murdered, along with five million others, including those with disabilities.

    Learn More

    Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl whose family hid during the Nazi regime. Her family was eventually discovered and she later died, but her diary helps us understand what happened.

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Tobin, Declan. (2019). Facts For Kids about World War II - Victory in Europe. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/world-war-ii-victory-europe/

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