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The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, Second Edition
Richard W. Bulliet, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, Lyman L. Johnson, David Northrup
History WIRED

The Collapse of the Old Order, 1929-1949


Governments in the 1930s
This map shows the various forms of government, from communism to democracy, that existed around the world during the Great Depression.

Europe in 1939 on the eve of World War II

The Second World War Alliance: A Global Perspective

Lest We Forget: World War II
This comprehensive site includes many maps of the battlefronts in Europe and in the Pacific.

Hyper War: A Hypertext history of the Second World War
This immense site has many links that include maps of key battles depicted primarily from an American perspective.

The Axis in World War II
This site offers a series of maps showing the advances and retreats of the armies of Japan, Germany, and Italy before and during the war.

World War II Theater Maps
From the same series as those at the previous site, these maps focus on Europe and the Pacific in more detail.

Germany in 1933

German Occupied Territory in Europe during World War II

Europe in 1942
This is another map of German-occupied Europe.

Operation Barbarossa
This map details the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

Scroll down for a large map depicting this Allied invasion of Western Europe.

Map of Nazi Concentration and Death Camps

Aftermath of World War II in Europe
This map shows the border changes and population shifts in Europe resulting from the defeat of Germany.

Losses in the Second World War
This map is a unique depiction of the casualty rates per country in Europe during World War II.

Wars and Atrocities in the Second Quarter of the Twentieth Century
This site presents an interesting means of explaining the death toll of World War II.

China: Age of Warlords
This map depicts the political devolution of power in China during the 1920s.

China: Guomindang Regime
This map of China illustrates the short life of the Guomindang regime.


America from the Great Depression to World War II
This comprehensive site offers hundreds of images of the United States during this period.

The Spartacus Internet Encyclopedia: USA 1840-1960, Roosevelt and the New Deal
View images and historical illustrations from this era of U.S. history.

The New Deal Network Gallery
This site offers more images of the United States during the Great Depression.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Digital Archives Audio Files
Listen to several speeches given by President Roosevelt about the Great Depression and World War II.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Digital Archives: On line Photos
This superb site offers images from both the 1930s and World War II in the United States.

Lest We Forget: World War II
This site provides numerous high-quality images from both the European and the Pacific theaters of the war.

World War II Sound and Image Archive
View several famous images and listen to radio broadcasts covering the war or propagandizing it.

World War II Photos

Wars of the Twentieth Century
This chart depicts the death tolls from various conflicts of the past century, with the numbers from World War II at the top.

Photos of World War II
This site offers images from multiple perspectives.

Photographs from the Battle of Stalingrad
Scroll down to observe images of the deadliest battle in Europe during World War II.

Iwo Jima
Revisit this bloody battle between American and Japanese troops.

National Archives: Pictures of World War II
View many famous images from an American perspective of World War II and the events that led up to it.

Hyperwar: Ships of the U.S. Navy
Explore naval technology during World War II from an American perspective.

The Virtual Museum: Evansville Shipyard
View images of this U.S. manufacturing center during World War II.

The Valour and the Horror: Canada at War
View several online exhibits depicting the Canadian experience during World War II.

The London Blitz of 1940
This site provides images from the German air campaign against Great Britain.

German Weapons in World War II

A People at War
This National Archives of the United States exhibit offers numerous images of the American people at war--both in battle and on the home front.

Women at War
Explore the wartime world of female factory workers at a chemical warfare manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama.

Rosie Pictures: Select Images Relating to American Women Workers During World War II

War Relocation Authority Camps in Arizona, 1942-1946
This site provides numerous images of the Japanese internment camps in the United States during World War II.

Third Reich Factbook Gallery
This site features images of Nazi Germany.

The Homefront
This site offers numerous images of Great Britain during the war.

Powers of Persuasion
This National Archives of the United States site displays American propaganda posters that were circulated during the war.

The Propaganda Poster Section
View images of World War II propaganda posters from Germany, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and Poland.

Soviet Propaganda from World War II

1930-1940's Soviet Propaganda Posters

Nazi Propaganda: Visual Material
This site offers numerous examples of Nazi propaganda from Germany extolling the virtues of Adolf Hitler.

The Arts: Leni Riefenstahl
Watch a clip from this director's famous Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will.

The Eternal Jew
Read about and view images from another Nazi propaganda film.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
This site features numerous exhibits from this museum depicting the Holocaust in 1930s and 1940s.

Zichronam l'Vracha: A Guide to Understanding the Holocaust
This site offers several images that explore the Nazi war against the Jews in Europe.

The Pink Triangle Pages: About the Gay and Lesbian Experience during World War II
This site depicts other victims of Nazi persecution in Europe.

Pictures from the Nanjing Massacre

Hiroshima Panaromic Pictures
This site features panaromic views of Hiroshima after the explosion of the atomic bomb.

Remembering Nagasaki
This site is a photographic essay focusing on the second city to suffer an atomic attack during World War II.

Activity One:

A major theme implicit in this chapter is the centralization of government that occurred throughout the industrialized world during the Great Depression and World War II.  Nowhere was this development more complete than in the Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph Stalin.   To learn more about this process, go to Library of Congress Soviet Archives Exhibit.  Read the introduction; then click on the arrow at the bottom of the page.  On the next page, click on the arrow below "Internal Workings of the Soviet System" and then read and evaluate this essay by clicking the arrow keys at the bottom of each page until you have finished.  Be sure to click on each icon and to study the primary source material.

Describe the political and economic system that Stalin created during the late 1920s and the 1930s.  How did the Soviet Union manage to become the world's third largest industrial power on the eve of World War II in Europe?  What role did the Soviet government play in this development?  What were the consequences of industrialization for the Soviet people; did their standard of living improve?  How was Stalin able to attain dictatorial powers in the Soviet Union during this time?  Many of Stalin's defenders have argued that his policies during the interwar years were necessary for the Soviet Union because they enabled the nation to withstand the German invasion during World War II.  Explain why you agree or disagree with this view.

Activity Two:

The United States also experienced a huge expansion of the role of government during the 1930s and 1940s.  The extent and duration of the Great Depression forced Western governments to respond with new and innovative strategies; in the United States, the approach taken was known as the "New Deal." For an overview, go to New Deal and read this brief essay. Describe the New Deal and its strategy for meeting the challenges of the Great Depression by answering the following questions: What role did government play in the New Deal? Who were most New Deal policies designed to help? What traditional attitudes toward government and its role in people's lives did the New Deal challenge?

To analyze the New Deal's impact on America further, go to Work Progress Administration (WPA) Projects in Georgia (read the essay at the beginning of this site and then view the images that interest you), A New Deal for the Arts (read the  essays and study the images at all of the hyperlinks here), and Social Security History (read up to the section titled "Atlantic Charter").  These web sites examine two very popular New Deal programs--the Work Projects Administration (which included federal employment of artists) and Social Security.  What were the goals of each program and whom were they designed to help? Does the U.S. government still engage in efforts such as these? Why do you think that the Depression led to the creation of such programs, and why are they still popular today?

The New Deal signaled a clear break from traditional nineteenth-century notions of economic thought and the role of government in the United States; other democratic governments in the West adopted similar policies. During the 1930s, many academics and philosophers encouraged governments to assume broader responsibilities. No scholar had more influence during this period than British economist John Maynard Keynes. To learn more about his impact, go to The Keynesian Revolution. Analyze the ways in which Keynes challenged traditional assumptions about economic growth and the role of government in the economy. Why, according to Keynes, did the Great Depression last so long?  What role did he believe government should play in restoring economic growth? Overall, what role did he urge governments to adopt in the economy? What older assumptions did he challenge? For example, how did he view balanced budgets, government spending, and interest rates?  How did the Stalin Revolution in the Soviet Union and the rise of welfare states such as the United States during the New Deal both represent a collapse of the old order?

Activity Three:

One reason that governments were able to assume more power during this period was their ability to mobilize resources and public support for their programs.  Which technological advancements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries do you believe would have helped these efforts?  The revolution in communication technology and the improved literacy rate in the advanced industrial nations enabled the proliferation of massive propaganda campaigns to encourage certain behaviors and values.

All industrial nations, whether democratic or nondemocratic, witnessed some sort of government-sponsored or government-encouraged propaganda campaigns between 1929 and 1939.  To learn about such efforts in the Soviet Union, see Propaganda and in the Propaganda State.  Also study the images at SOVIET PROPAGANDA: Posters & Cartoons of the 20th Century.  Be sure to click on "Next" at the bottom of the page.  To understand Nazi Germany's output, see Nazi Propaganda, German Propaganda Archives: Nazi Postcards, and German Propaganda Archives: The Fuhrer Makes History, 1938.  For Nazi use of film, see Triumph of the Will, Britannica.com: Riefenstahl, Leni, and The Eternal Jew.  For a video clip from The Eternal Jew, go to  Propaganda Gallery and click on the image next to the movie's title. For the United States see Powers of Persuasion and Casablanca.  For Great Britain's efforts, go to Propaganda.

What were the purposes of these various propaganda campaigns?   What forms of media did they use to spread their messages?  Who was (or were) the intended audience(s), and whom did the propaganda target as enemies?  What specific goals of each regime did its propaganda support?  How were Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, and other leaders portrayed?

Describe how the messages in these propaganda campaigns were conveyed.  For example, did the Soviets and Nazis disseminate complex ideological information, or did they communicate through simple messages?  Be sure to use examples from the web sites when you are writing your essay.  Why do you believe that these propaganda efforts were successful at mobilizing the respective societies?

Activity Four:

As Activity Three demonstrates, governments in the twentieth century increasingly were able to mobilize their societies for both good and evil purposes.  They could better meet the basic material needs of their citizens, but they were also capable of channeling their energy to produce death and destruction.  The first half of the century witnessed the worst human rights abuses in world history.  The massacre of Armenians by the Turkish Army during World War I, Stalin's suppression of peasant resistance to collectivization in the Soviet Union during the 1930s, and the Nazi annihilation of many European Jews during World War II can all be classified as genocide.   Go to Genocide: Definition and Controversies and see how the United Nations has defined this term.  Why is it difficult to agree upon a broad definition of this kind of crime against humanity?

To explore these atrocities further, go to The Armenian Genocide, COLLECTIVIZATION AND INDUSTRIALIZATION, and Statements by Hitler and Senior Nazis Concerning Jews and Judaism.  What did the Young Turks, the Soviet government, and the Nazis in Germany have in common?  What task were they trying to accomplish?  Whom did they single out as enemies, and why?  How did nationalism and ideology affect the attitudes of the Turks, Soviets, and Nazis?

Next, proceed to  The Armenian Genocide: Context and Legacy, Soviet Economic Development (only read the sections through the 1930s), and "FINAL SOLUTION."  What role did technology play in these atrocities?  Does this mean that genocide is only a twentieth-century phenomenon?  In other words, did the new technologies and the increased centralization of government during the twentieth century usher in an age in which genocide was possible?

Today the world is familiar with the Holocaust but not with the other systematic, state-led attempts to exterminate specific sectors of the population in the Soviet Union and Turkey.  Why do you think this is the case?  Finally, how do you think that increased knowledge of these atrocities has affected views of world history at the end of the twentieth century?