Terrorism in World War II – Highlights


World War I Aftermath

    • Who: Germany(L), Italy(W), Japan(W)
    • What: Dissatisfied with Conclusion of WWI
    • Where: Versailles
    • When: 28, June, 1919
    • Why: Victors Japan and Italy felt slighted by territorial situation
      Germany forced to give reparation payments

Failure of the League of Nations

    • Who: France, Germany, England, USA
    • What: Moral / Economic Sanctions,
      limited navies, German-French boundary, arbitration agreement between Germany and Poland, war renounced as instrument of national policy
    • Where: Paris
    • When: 16 January, 1920
    • Why: To try to protect democracy

Rise of Fascism and the Axis

    • Who: Mussolini, Hitler
    • What: Germany adopts democratic constitution, Italy sees nationalism and militaristic totalitarianism—Facism,Hitler preaches racist facism, Promise to overturn Treaty of Versailles
    • Where: Germany, Italy
    • When: 1920s
    • Why: Nationalistic pride, bitterness over Treaty of Versailles


Japan against non-combatants

    • Who: Imperial Japanese Army treatment of Chinese, Filipino and American POWs and civilians
    • What: Rape of Nanking, Bataan Death March
    • When: 1937-1938, 1942
    • Where: Nanking (capitol of China at the time), Bataan, Philippines
    • Why: The Japanese troops treated POWs brutally. According to the Japanese, once the POWs were in their captivity, they could do with them as they wished.

Nazi Germany against non-combatants

    • Who: Nazi Regime acts of violence toward political and racial enemies
    • What: Beer Hall Putsch, Night of the Long Knives, Holocaust
    • When: 1923, 1934, 1933-45
    • Where: Munich, Various parts of Nazi Germany and German occupied territory
    • Why: Hitler wanted to remove political enemies and send a message to others. He had visions of a master race and blamed Jews for many of Germany’s problems

U.S. against non-combatants

    • Who: American military against Italian and German POWs and Japan
    • What: Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Biscari massacre
    • When: 1945, 1943
    • Where: Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan; Biscari, Italy
    • Why: The United States wanted to end the war in the Pacific without attacking the Japanese mainland. Some soldiers in Biscari claimed to be following orders in given in a speech by General Patton before the invasion.

Germans against Nazi Germany

    • Who: German conspirators who wanted to end the Nazi Regime. Primarily by assassinating Hitler and staging a coup
    • What: Airplane and suicide bombing attempt; July 20 plot
    • When: 1942, 1943, 1944
    • Where: Prussia, Berlin, the “Wolf’s Lair”
    • Why: The conspirators were against the Nazi regime for political reasons and because they saw the war was a losing effort


      • Japanese Against Non-Combats
        • Rape of Nanking (December 9, 1937)
          • General Tang Shengzhi (China)
            • General in Charge of Battle of Nanking
          • General Chiang Kai-Shek (China)
            • General in Battle of Shanghai
            • Left Shengzhi in charge of Battle of Nanking
          • Prince Asaka (Japan)
            • Commander of Japanese Imperial
            • Sent out KILL ALL CAPTIVES memo
            • Looked down upon by Japan, therefore used this opportunity to gain respect
          • General Matsui Iwane (Japan)
            • Aided Prince Asaka
        • Bataan Death Match (1942)
          • Major General Edward P. King Jr. (US)
            • Commander of US
            • Surrendered to the Japanese after the fall of Bataan against higher command
              • Single largest surrender of a military force in US history
              • Led to the death march
          • Generals Douglas McArthur and Jonathon Wainwright (US)
            • Generals who gave orders not to surrender, however Major General Edward King Jr. did so anyways
          • Lt. General Masaharu Homma (Japan)
            • General of Japanese army
          • Colonel Masanobu Tsuji (Japan)
            • Most directly involved in decisions to march and mistreat prisoner
      • Nazi German Against Non-Combats
        • Beer Hall Putsch (November 8, 1923)
          • Gustav Von Kahr (Bavaria)
            • Wanted to restore Monarchy
            • Hitler saw him as negative for his campaign
          • Adolf Hitler (Nazi Germany)
            • Wanted to restore a dictatorship
            • Turned on Kahr who was aiding him in regaining a good German name after WWI
        • Night of Long Knives (June, 1934)
          • Ernest Rohm (SA: Germany)
            • Chief of Nazi SA
              • Fear he instilled on people was a threat to Hitler’s power
          • Adolf Hitler (Nazi Germany)
            • Leader of SA
            • Believed that if Rohm carried that much fear, and power—he could potentially overthrow/overpower Hitler
      • Germany Against Nazi Germany
        • July 20th Plot (1944)
          • General Hans Oster (Germany)
            • Conspired to kill Hitler since 1938
            • Made an Attempt with Tresckow
          • Colonel Henning Von Tresckow (Germany)
            • Joined the conspiracy in 1941 and aided in an attempt to kill Hitler with Oster
          • Adolf Hitler (Nazi Germany)
            • Leader of Nazi Germany
      • Current Key Players
        • August Kreis (United States)
          • Neo-Nazi
          • Began as Member of the KKK (1980)
            • 13 years after his membership, he became a leader of the Klan
          • Member of Posse Comitatus
            • Far right social movement that opposes US government and believes in localism
          • Joined Aryan Nations in 1999
            • Became leader after previous leader, Richard Butler, died in 2004

Latest Developments

Neo-Nazis ties to Islamic Groups

    • Who: Rightest extremeists are making overtures to Islamic groups, specifically Al-Queda
    • What: In an effort to try to increase ties, a Neo-Nazi group, led by August Kreis is trying to forge an alliance with Al-Queda.  They are also looking to Ahmed Huber for assistance.
    • Where: Germany (home of the Aryan Nation movement) and the Middle East.  The ties specifically tie to potential attacks in Europe
    • When: Starting in June 2005
    • Why: Following the adage of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” the neo-nazis believe that this is an opportunity to combine forces and lash out against the Jews and the Americans. Together, they would be able to do more damage than separately.

Auschwitz Sign Theft

    • Who:  Petty thieves believed to be working for Neo-Nazis
    • What: Stole the sign off of Auschwitz which reads: Arbeit Macht Frei (work sets you free)
    • When: December 18, 2009
    • Where: Auschwitz, Poland, Sweden
    • Why: The sign is believed to have been stolen by petty thieves looking for monetary gain. Swedish authorities believe that the sign was going to be sold to a collector in Sweden in order to fund a Neo-Nazi bombing.

Restoring order in Japan

    • Who: Japanese government
    • What: Stepping up alert and increasing presence of riot police
    • Where: Japanese mainland including Tokyo and the humanitarian forces heading to Iraq
    • When: February, 2004
    • Why: In an effort to increase security, Japan is increasing it’s riot police force.  This is significant since at the end of WWII, Japan removed any form of standing army.  Thus, an increase in (armed) riot police is about as close to a show of force that the current Japanese government can have.


1.Iconic American photos of WWII

Women’s role in the War

2.American Radio Broadcast and Music

3.Hitler’s propaganda to dissuade European forces from fighting. “Live or Die”