3.1 The Beginning of World War II


Joseph Stalin

Bolshevik revolutionary, head of the Soviet Communists after 1924, and dictator of the Soviet Union from 1928 to 1953. He led the Soviet Union with an iron fist, using Five-Year Plans to increase industrial production and terror to crush opposition. Led t


Government that has complete control over over its citizens and puts down all opposition


Totalitarian system of government in which the government owns all property and industries

Benito Mussolini

Fascist dictator of Italy (1922-1943). He led Italy to conquer Ethiopia (1935), joined Germany in the Axis pact (1936), and allied Italy with Germany in World War II. He was overthrown in 1943 when the Allies invaded Italy.


Political system based on a strong, centralized government headed by a dictator

Adolf Hitler

Austrian-born founder of the German Nazi Party and chancellor of the Third Reich (1933-1945). His fascist philosophy, embodied in Mein Kampf (1925-1927), attracted widespread support, and after 1934 he ruled as an absolute dictator. Hitler's pursuit of ag


National socialism. In practice a far-right wing ideology (with some left-wing influences) that was based largely on racism and ultra-nationalism.

Francisco Franco

Spanish general whose armies took control of Spain in 1939 and who ruled as a dictator until his death (1892-1975).

Hideki Tojo

This general was premier of Japan during World War II while this man was dictator of the country. He gave his approval for the attack on Pearl Harbor and played a major role in Japan's military decisions until he resigned in 1944


A policy of making concessions to an aggressor in the hopes of avoiding war. Associated with Neville Chamberlain's policy of making concessions to Adolf Hitler.

Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (1939)

The Russians made an agreement with Germany at the beginning of World War II. The Germans promised not to invade Russia. The Russians promised the Germans land to mobilize their armies. Hitler broke the pact and invaded Russia, so Russia joined the Americ

Neutrality Acts

Originally designed to avoid American involvement in World War II by preventing loans to those countries taking part in the conflict; they were later modified in 1939 to allow aid to Great Britain and other Allied nations.

Lend-Lease Act

1941 law that authorized the president to aid any nation whose defense he believed was vital to American security

Axis Powers

Alliance of Germany, Italy, and Japan during World War II.

Allied Powers

Alliance of Great Britain, Soviet Union, United States, and France during World War II.

Arsenal of Democracy

Term introduced by President Franklin Roosevelt for America's role in World War II giving supplies to the British war effort.