United States, National Archives and Records Administration. Available online at Images of American Political History, [22 Dec. 1999].

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, Munich, Germany, ca. June 1940.

Mussolini had promised the Italian people large territorial acquisitions and new colonies. Emboldened by German triumphs in Western Europe, Mussolini entered the war in hopes of meeting these expectations.

By December of 1941 all three of the major Axis powers – Germany, Japan, and Italy – were in the war and dominated large parts of Europe, Africa, East and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Ocean. The USSR entered the war on the Allied side when it was attacked by Germany in June of 1941.


Siding with Germany and hoping for large territorial acquisitions in North Africa, Italy entered the war in June of 1940.


Despite the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in June of 1941 Germany attacked the USSR. Dogged Soviet resistance and brutal winter conditions resulted in heavy casualties on both sides.


Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 brought the United States into the war and turned a largely European war into a truly global conflict.


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