Manhattan Project: Begun in 1939, this project was the codename for the United States' secret Atomic Bomb project. With America's entry into the war, the project grew substantially and ultimately involved more than 125,000 people, 37 separate installations, 13 university laboratories and a number of the nation's top scientists. (History.com: "World War 2: Atomic Bomb") In 1942 the project was put under the control of the U.S. Army with General Leslie Groves in command and Robert Oppenheimer as its director. It was also at this time that the project was consolidated and moved to Los Alamos New Mexico where it culminated with the building and detonation of the first atomic device on July 16, 1945.
Hiroshima: Hiroshima is the site of the first atomic bombing of a city in wartime and took place on August 6, 1945. The attack was the culmination of the Manhattan Project, America's secret atomic bomb project, and destroyed 90% of the city, killing more than 80,000 people instantly. Thousands more would succumb to radiation poisoning in the weeks and months that followed the bombing. This attack, and a second three days later, forced the Japanese to finally surrender, something they were unwilling to do prior to the atomic bombings. (History.com: "The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.")
Pearl Harbor: Located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, it was the location of the home of the United States Pacific Fleet. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, precipitating America's entry into World War II. The Japanese fleet included six aircraft carriers, whose aircraft attacked the American naval base in two separate waves. In the attack, close to 3,500 Americans were killed or wounded, 350 aircraft were destroyed or damaged, and all 8 of America's battleships were either sunk or damaged. (Pearl Harbor.org)
Truman Doctrine: On March 12, 1947 then President Harry Truman addressed Congress and asked for $400 million in military and economic assistance. It his address, Truman spelled out a policy that would guide the United States for the next four decades. The Truman Doctrine stated that the United States would "support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure." (Our Documents) This policy was aimed at aiding any nation that was involved in resisting Communist infiltration and revolution supported by the Soviet Union.
The Brain Trust: The Brain Trust is a term coined by New York Times reporter James Kiernan referring to a group of advisors that assisted Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his campaign for president in 1932. This group consisted of a number of academic advisors including Raymond Moley, Rexford Tugwell, Adolph Berle, Basil O'Connor, Sam Rosenman, and Hugh Johnson. "These men would quickly help FDR develop an economic plan whose programs became the backbone of the New Deal." (The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project)
The United States of America was drawn into the Second World War when Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor Hawaii on December 7th, 1941. However, the war had been waging several years prior to this event without the participation of the United States. Beginning in the late 1930's, Japan had slowly, but continuously, expanded the territory under its control, particularly in China. This led to strained relations between Japan and the United States, which supported the people of China in their struggle. On the other side of the world, Germany, an ally of Japan, initiated a European war of expansion on September 1, 1939 by invading Poland. The invasion of Poland caused its allies, Great Britain and France, to declare war on Germany and engulfed the continent in war. While the Axis powers of Germany and Japan, along with their smaller ally Italy, were each engaged in combat in their perspective areas of the planet, there was no direct connection between the two conflicts until Japan attacked the United States. For reasons unknown, Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, engulfing the United States in both the conflict in the Pacific as well as the war in Europe.
The very first issue that the United States was forced to face was the German U-boat threat that pervaded the North Atlantic. Great Britain, which had faced the German war machine for more than two years, was desperately in need of supplies from America. German U-boats were sent into the Atlantic to prey on Allied shipping, but the inclusion of the enormous American navy turned the tide and relieved the pressure from the groups of U-boats, known as "wolf packs." This allowed the Allies, consisting of Great Britain, America, and several other nations resisting Axis aggression, to finally launch a counterattack against German controlled territory.
The first attack by the Allies against Germany came in North Africa in 1942. The Germans, with the Italians, had been battling the British across North Africa in an attempt to seize control of the Suez canal and the access to the Middle East. But the British had fiercely defended Egypt and held the Germans to a standstill, that is until the Americans attacked in their rear. With the British fighting the Germans in Egypt, the Americans invaded North Africa in Morocco, catching the Germans between the two Allied forces. Within a few months, General Rommel, commander of the German Afrika-Corps had been defeated and driven from North Africa.
Next the Allies turned to what had been called the soft underbelly of Europe and staged an invasion of Sicily. And with the capture of Sicily by American General George Patton, this set the stage for the invasion of the Italian mainland. However, once the Allies invaded Italy, the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, was overthrown by Italian patriots who wished to side with the Allies. But Germany would not allow its ally to surrender and immediately dispatched troops to save Mussolini and occupy Italy. This forced the Allies to fight the Germans up the Italian peninsula, a process that lasted until the end of the war. The soft underbelly of Europe turned out to be much harder than originally thought.
While the Allies drove the Germans from North Africa and began the invasion of Italy, Allied air forces, operating from bases in England, began an air campaign against German controlled Europe. Masses of aircraft were sent to drop bombs on targets across the continent in a scene much similar to German attacks during their Blitz against England early in the war. With the British attacking at night and Americans attacking during the day, Germany suffered a continuous assault on its industrial capacity. Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, also brought another powerful nation into the camp of the Allies and diverted large numbers of German military troops to the Russian front. With the inclusion of the Soviet Union, which was once an ally of Germany, the Allies slowly closed the noose around the neck of Germany and its occupied territory.
The death stroke against Germany came when the Allies staged an invasion of the continent at Normandy on June 6, 1944. Germany now found itself fighting on two fronts and soon became overwhelmed. Although the Germans fought tenaciously, and even staged a few surprise counterattacks, the continuous pressure brought about by the Russians in the East and the British and Americans in the West, eventually was too much for Germany to withstand. On April 30th, 1945 German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker and two days later German forces unconditionally surrendered, ending a conflict that lasted close to six years.
But Europe was only one theater of operation for the United States military, with the other being the Pacific. Japan had attacked the United States in December of 1941, precipitating a massive onslaught by the Japanese military. In the weeks and months following the start of the war, Japanese forces invaded a number of territories, driving out the Americans and their European allies. The Americans lost the Philippine Islands and American commander, General Douglas MacArthur was forced to flee to Australia. But there were three major battles which turned the tide against the Japanese initiative in the Pacific: Guadalcanal, Coral Sea, and Midway.
Guadalcanal and the battle of the Coral Sea were the first time the Japanese had been stopped in their military advance across the Pacific, however, these allied victories came at great cost. But the real turning point in the war against the Japanese came when the Japanese planned to attack and invade Midway Island. Having broken the Japanese radio code, the Americans were well aware of Japanese intentions and laid an ambush which destroyed a number of Japanese aircraft carriers and crippled the Japanese navy. This became the turning point in the Pacific war as the Japanese were not able to launch any major offensives and were basically forced to defend their occupied territory from this point onward.
Throughout 1943 and 1944 the Americans slowly enacted their "island hopping" campaign in which they…