Late 19th Century- Early 20th Century
Opium War: 1839, War fought between China and Great
Britain over China’s decision to prevent the British from
trading openly with the Chinese. The British ended up getting
the Chinese addicted to opium in an effort to balance their
trade imbalance (China was selling more tea to the British
than what the Chinese were buying from them). The British
won the war and as a result took possession of Hong Kong—
and other Chinese ports were opened up to European trade.
Treaty of Kanagawa (Japan/U.S.): 1854, treaty signed by the
Japanese Meiji emperor permitting Japan to trade with the
Spanish-American War: 1898, the U.S. defeated Spain and
took over possession of some of Spain’s colonies [Puerto
Rico, Guam, the Philippines, and Cuba until the U.S. gave
Cuba its independence shortly afterwards—although the U.S.
retained great power over Cuba]
Mexican War (Mexican and American War): 1846: after
defeating Mexico in this war, the U.S. takes possession of
California, New Mexico, and Arizona.
World War I: 1914-1918 causes of war: militarism,
alliances, nationalism, imperialism…spark: assassination of
Franz-Ferdinand, Arch-Duke of Austria-Hungary (the heir to
the Austro-Hungarian throne) in Sarajevo [Balkans—the
“powder-keg of Europe] by Serbian (Slavic) nationalists.
Austria issues an ultimatum to Serbia that is impossible to
fulfill Russia (the great Slavic nation) begin to mobilize to
protect Serbia against Austria-Hungary Germany issues a
“blank check” to Austria-Hungary (it will support any and all
Bolshevik (November) 1917 Revolution: the revolution that
installed a communist/Marxist government in Russia—later
renamed Russia the Soviet Union.
V. I. Lenin: Russian revolutionary—leader of the Bolsheviks
(Marxists who sought to overthrow the czar)—becomes the
first leader of the Soviet Union.
Joseph Stalin: (1928-1953) Soviet leader (dictator) that forced
the Soviet Union to industrialize and catch up with the West –
ruled the USSR with an iron fist.
China-1920s- 1940s: Sun Yixian: the first leader of the
Chinese Kuomintang or Nationalist Party who fought to
overthrow the last Chinese dynasty (the Qing Dynasty)
Kuomintang (Nationalist Party): overthrew the Qing
Dynasty—worked with small group of communists to defeat
Chinese warlords – eventually turned on the communists
Mao Zedong: leader of the Chinese communists—eventually
defeated Chiang Kai-chek’s Nationalists and established the
People’s Republic of China –a communist government—after
Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-chek): became the leader of the
Nationalist Party in the late 1920s—defeated by Mao Zedong
in 1949 and withdrew to Taiwan to establish the Republic of
China (democratic government).
India- post WWII: Gandhi: led the movement that eventually
won independence for India from Great Britain ----Partition:
India was divided between Muslim controlled Pakistan (north)
and Hindu controlled India (south) once independence was
granted in 1947.
alliances before the war: Triple Alliance: Germany, AustriaHungary, Italy (Italy drops out once war begins)
Triple Entente: Great Britain, France, and Russia
Events Leading Up to World War II:
Benito Mussolini: fascist dictator of Italy during World War II
alliances once war began: Central Powers: Germany, AustriaHungary, the Ottoman Empire---Allies: Great Britain, France,
Russia, and later, the United States (1917)
Adolf Hitler: leader of Germany’s Nazi Party—became
chancellor of Germany in 1933—led Germany during most of
November 11, 1918: Armistice signed (agreement signed to
cease fighting) FYI: This day used to be referred to as
Armistice Day—we now celebrate it as Veteran’s Day.
appeasement: the British (particularly) and the other countries
who won WWI and imposed strict regulations on Germany
began to allow Hitler to begin breaking Germany’s promises
(moving into the Rhineland, annexing Austria, etc)—hoping
that he would eventually stop. They were hoping to prevent
having to return to war against Germany.
Versailles Peace Treaty- 1919: formal peace treaty that
assigned blame to Germany—Germany forced to pay huge
sum in war reparations—U.S. President Woodrow Wilson
helped to write the treaty based on his Fourteen Points—
established the League of Nations (a body of nations whose
aim was to prevent war in the future). FYI: the U.S. Senate
refused to ratify the treaty because of one of the clause in the
League of Nations charter, which would require countries to
come to the aid of other countries when attacked.
Russia—and the birth of the Soviet Union:
Nicholas II: the last czar of Russia—the Czar who elects to
enter World War I—he is eventually overthrown (1917) and
Munich Conference: the meeting held in Munich, Germany
where the British and the French agreed to give Hitler part of
Czechoslovakia in exchange for his promise not to take any
other territory (a good example of appeasement).
World War II:
Nazi-Soviet Nonagression Pact: 1939, a treaty signed by the
Soviet Union (Stalin) and Germany (Hitler) promising each
other not to go to war against each other—they also secretly
agreed to divide Poland between them (this treaty was made
moot when the German army invaded the Soviet Union a year
Alliances-World War II:
Allied Powers: Great Britain, Soviet Union, the United States
(after 1941), and France (after liberation in 1944)
Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, and Japan
Battle of Midway: a turning point in the war in the Pacific
[this battle ended the Japanese momentum after the bombing
of Pearl Harbor—the U.S. Navy defeated the Japanese Navy
in this battle—the Japanese began fighting a defensive war
after this battle].
Holocaust: the efforts by the Nazis to harass, intimidate, and
finally to murder the Jews of Europe during WWII. Final
Solution: the Nazi’s decision to begin exterminating ALL
Jews in Europe—this decision was made in 1942.
Battle of Stalingrad: 1942-1943, a turning point in WWII—the
Soviets stopped the Nazi offensive on the Eastern Front by
defeating the German army at Stalingrad.
D-Day: June 6, 1944, the allied invasion of Normandy
(France) to begin a new front against the Germans—
eventually led to the liberation of France and later the defeat
Hiroshima and Nagasaki: In an effort to end the war with
Japan without having to invade the island, President Truman
ordered the dropping of atomic bombs on these two cities
[Hiroshima: August 6th, Nagasaki: August 9th--- the Japanese
formally surrendered on September 12, 1945].
Truman Doctrine (and containment): 1947, President
Truman’s promise to provide military and financial assistance
to any country who wanted to combat communism—the
administration had developed a policy to “contain”
communism (meaning the Soviets) and this was one way of
Marshall Plan: 1947, U.S. plan to rebuild Europe after
WWII—grants of money was offered to European countries to
help rebuilt infrastructure, etc. The Soviet Union declined this
countries in Eastern Europe.
Korean War: June 1950 to July 1953
the 38th parallel: the dividing line between communist
controlled North Korea and democratic South Korea –this was
the dividing line drawn after WWII between Soviet controlled
North and the American controlled South. After the Korean
War—the border remained at this point. outcome of war:
neither side won—North Korea was supported at first by the
Soviets and later by the Chinese communists—South Korea
was supported by the United States. The North remains a
communist state, the South is a democracy.
Vietnam: 1961-1973 (for the United States)
Ho Chi Minh: leader of the Vietnamese nationalists who
fought the French for independence—began fighting U.S.
troops after the U.S. entered the war—became president of
domino theory: the idea that if the U.S. allowed South
Vietnam to fall to communism, other Asian countries would
fall as well (a reason given to fight the communists in
Gulf of Tonkin incident: North Vietnamese shelling of U.S.
warship in international waters off the coast of Vietnam
(1964)—This provoked President Johnson to ask Congress to
pass a resolution (Gulf of Tonkin Resolution) supporting U.S.
troops being sent to Vietnam to fight the communists.
Palestine/Israel: Balfour Declaration: 1917, The British who
controlled Palestine at this time announced that it supported
the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
Menachem Begin [Israeli Prime Minister who made peace
with the Egyptians –Camp David Accords—returned the Sinai
Peninsula to Eygpt—which had been taken during the Six-Day
War in 196] and Answar Sadat [president of Egypt who made
peace with Israel—became the first Arab nation to recognize
the legitimacy of the state of Israel]
Camp David Accords: Peace treaty signed by Sadat (Egypt)
and Begin (Israel)—the treaty was negotiated in part by U.S.
president Jimmy Carter.
Berlin Airlift: when the Soviets blocked passage into West
Berlin (which was controlled by the French, British, and
Americans after WWII), these countries airlifted supplies into
West Berlin for 11 months until the Soviets backed down and
opened West Berlin again to traffic from Soviet-controlled
East Germany (Berlin was situated within the Soviet zone set
up after WWII).
PLO: Palestinian Liberation Organization founded by Yasir
Arafat – Palestinian organization that used terrorism and other
means to try and force Israel into giving returning land to the
Palestinians (when the state of Israel was created in 1948 by
the United Nations, Palestine was divided between the Jews of
Israel and the Palestinians. When Arab nations went to war
with Israel immediately afterwards, Israel ended up claiming
most of the rest of Palestine. Palestinians fled to neighboring
countries to live in refugee camps.
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization): military alliance
established after WWII to guard against Soviet aggression
(since the Soviets refused to remove their troops from East
European countries). Warsaw Pact: military alliance
established after the establishment of NATO—a military
alliance to protect the Soviet Union and their satellite
Cuban Revolution: 1959, Fidel Castro and his men overthrew
the U.S. backed dictator of Cuba. Bay of Pigs Invasion: 1961,
invasion of Cuba by Cuban expatriates to try to overthrow
Fidel Castro—the invasion failed because President Kennedy
changed his mind about giving the ex-Cubans air support.
Cuban Missile Crisis: 1962, (you better know what this was)