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Turning Points of WWII

When considering the Second World War, we must be mindful of both ends of the spectrum regarding the two main theatres of war, Europe and the Pacific. The Allies had been involved both in the East and the West. It was, however, mainly the Americans that had been involved in the Pacific. This is large because their naval base at Pearl Harbour was destroyed on the 7th of December, 1941. The United States had also been a prevalent power in aiding the British and the Russians in their defeat of the Axis Powers of Europe. Through analysis, we can see that as the war began, the Axis and Japanese had had supremacy; the Axis in the West and the Japanese in the East.

Throughout the war, and as it plays on, however, there becomes a very evident shift in power, of which the Allied forces, who had always been second to the Axis, gain ultimate supremacy. In 1940-’41, the Battle of Britain marked one of the first events that can be regarded as pointing in the direction of turning points of the war, however, not strictly for any one party. This was a time which Britain and Germany had both come to see turning points. Previously, the British, at the hands of the Germans, were being repeatedly sacked; however, with the Battle of Britain, this eventually changed. While the Germans had almost succeeded in smashing the British resistance and savagely bombing many of the larger British cities, the British eventually came out victorious.

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The RAF had come together with new technological developments, namely radar, which gave the British advantage over the Germans. The British had now taken the place of Germany in war, while Germany had seen one of its first sights of failure. For this reason, the Battle of Britain has come to be, arguably by many, one of the early signs of turning in the war. Nevertheless, the trend of German defeat continued. In the latter days of the Battle of The Atlantic, the British, once again, after having been raided by the Germans, came to defeat the German U-Boats in a series of convoy battles between the times of March and May 1943. Even earlier, with “Operation Barbarossa,” the Nazi German invasion of the USSR, Hitler was suffering losses.

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Through “Operation Barbarossa,” Hitler planned to swiftly conquer the European portion of the USSR, the western line. In the end, however, the Red Army was able to push back the German attacks. Hitler had not come to achieve his expected territory. Now, the Battle of Stalingrad, many will argue, is the true turning point in the war, a point at which Germany was now headed downwards. The savage battle that raged on for control of Stalingrad resulted in a combined number of causalities near the 2 million mark. The brutality that occurred on both sides of the war marked utter disregard for military and civilian casualties. Even after having been put in the face of defeat, Hitler refused to surrender. In this regard, he became numb and paralyzed in his own ideological world, and as a result, lost due largely to his stubbornness.

After having pummelled the United States navy at Pearl Harbour and later causing more damage to the Americans at Batten, an area of which more naval and air forces were destroyed, the Japanese had gained supremacy. With great losses to the Japanese, the point of American retaliation was at the Battle of Midway. This, to the Americans, was a great victory and thus a great achievement which had benefitted the Americans in being able to dismantle the Japanese power in the sky. This had been accomplished by the Americans swiftly, as they sought after, attacked, and destroyed the Japanese fleet of carriers, thus crippling them in the skies.

Now, because carriers were not as quickly and as easily assembled as, say, other military equipment, the Japanese were in no position to be able to replenish their losses. Thus, the Japanese had completely lost control of the skies without carriers while handing over supremacy to the American fleet. The crucial battle of Leyte Gulf is also a significant event to point out. In this particular battle, the Japanese fleet, which had ceased to exist, resulted in Allied supremacy over the seas. The focused aim of the United States was to sever supplies such as oil and other needed resources from the Japanese. The aim of the United States resulted in great accuracy, and thus they were successful in their attempt to damage the lines of the Japanese.

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After sending the rest of what was considered their best naval vessels, which had later been destroyed, the Japanese ceased to be a threat at sea. Those vessels that had remained were abandoned and left in the port for the duration of what was left of the war in the Pacific. It is important to note that the Japanese have left with no choice but to abandon their fleets because of the American effort in severing Japanese supply lines. At this point, the United States had come to gain both supremacies in the air and supremacy at sea. This was the turning point in the Pacific.

Like the Europeans in the West, the war in the Pacific had also seen a great turning point in the war, and thus a turning point regarding the change in power. Germany, who had at one time been untouchable and well on its way to European domination, had come to see that the tables had been turned and that they would soon be defeated. In many regards, the story is the same in the Pacific. What was once the leading power in the East had now lost it all. Both the powers’ of Germany and that of Japan had been lost.

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Turning Points of WWII. (2021, Sep 12). Retrieved June 24, 2022, from