Benito Mussolini – Benito Mussolini was a politician in Italy who was born on July 29, 1883 and died on April 28, 1945. Benito was a key to creation of Fascism in Italy and was indeed the leader of National Fascist Party and Italy’s prime minister from 1922-1943. His fascist party had taken control of Italy in the early 1920s. His party grew in popularity in Italy as most people were disenchanted with chaos nearby. Fascism relied on nationalism, one party control, other parties, socialist, Christian Democrats, etc. were banned, and on corporatism of the major industries. They were anti-Communist, but also anti-democracy. Benito was an Italian dictator by any means including murder. He was a bully to other countries as well as to his own people and hence the reason he formed an axis with Germany and Hitler. Mussolini entered WWII in 1940.
Operation Barbarossa. This was the name given to the Germany Nazi’s incursion of the Soviet Union during WWII. In June 1941 Hitler ordered 4.5 million Axis troops to invade Russia in the bid to grab “living space” for the “1000 Year Reich.” Early in the operation, as they moved east into Slavic and Jewish populations, the Nazi’s officially made the decision to carry out the Holocaust. They built the death camps in Poland, and killed a total of 8 million: six million Jews, the rest Slavs, Homosexuals, Gypsies, and the mentally ill. This was in spite of the fact that Germany and Russia had signed a non-aggression pact in 1939. The two countries were suspicious of each other and the agreement only gave them time to prepare for a plausible war. The Soviets suffered heavily as they were not prepared for the attack that spanned 2,900 Km. the Germans destroyed about 4,000 aircraft, wounded/killed about 600,000 Red Army Troops. The Germans almost took over Moscow but “General Winter” put German’s move into a halt by December 1941. This was one of the largest operations in the history which had 775,000 German causalities 800,000 soviets killed and an additional of 6 million soldiers wcaptured or wounded.
Rosie the Riveter. The number of women in the work force has increased by 60%. In contrast with the past, women in the workforce were more likely to be older and married. Many women worked in factory jobs, characterized by “Rosie the Riveter.” More worked in service jobs and especially in government as clerks, secretaries, and typists, living in crowded boarding houses in Washington and other cities. They also worked in the military axillaries, WACs in the army, Waves in the Navy. Rosie the Riveter was a cultural icon in the US and represented women who worked during the WWII. She is used as a symbol for women’s economic power. Rosie the Riveter was just a fictional character who depicted the ideal woman as efficient, pretty patriotic and loyal. She was used frequently and especially in 1942 to lure women to work with patriotism and economic incentives to continence them to work. The government succeeded as more and more women responded to the call depending on their marital status, age, and number of children. When the US entered the war, 12 million women were working and had increased to 18 million by the time the war was over. During the war the image of the woman as a worker was important, the prewar image of women as mothers and wives had disappeared. Rosie the Riveter altered the road taken by women forever.
The Normandy Invasion. The Allies and the Americans bombed German and Japanese cities producing hundreds of thousands of casualties opening the “Second Front against Hitler’s Germany. Both the German and Japanese air forces were devastated. The Normandy invasion, also known as D-Day, took place with heavy casualties, but eventually the Germans were pushed back from the beachhead. This further led to Germans being defeated in North Africa and a confrontation by Italy. Four thousand ships delivered the invasion not at Calais, were the Germans had been tricked into believing it would be, but further south. By mid September the Germans had been driven out of France after a seemingly hopeless fight. On October 30, with the Russian army on the outskirts of Berlin, Hitler committed suicide. The Normandy invasion was important as it set the stage through which Germans were driven out of France and the final destroy of the National Socialist regime.
Desegregating the Military. Truman countered by ending discrimination in federal employment and by desegregating the military. The Supreme Court in Shelly v. Kraemer ruled that “covenants” excluding blacks were illegal. This was the beginning of the civil rights movement. During the WWII, about 909,000 African Americans were enlisted in the military with more than half a million stationed overseas. After the WWII was over, President Truman had recognized how hypocritical it was to have a segregated military as he was vocal promoting democracy overseas. This was when the US discovered the full extent of Nazi’s genocidal plan against the Jews that white Americans started to examine their country’s racism. Truman was coming up for election and he felt that rooting out discrimination in the military could endear him to him secure the African American voters. Civil rights leaders sent Truman a letter that threatened him the African American youth could boycott the elections if he did not give executive orders to end segregation in the military. A month after he received the letter, Truman issued Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948 that barred segregation in the military forces with regard to race, religion, color or national origin. Although the military did not achieve racial integration immediately, military segregation was completely abolished by 1954.