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While the United States chose a course of isolationism in the aftermath of World War I, escalating aggression in Europe and Asia threatened world stability. With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States was thrust into a conflict that would span the globe and trigger political, social and military repercussions that would resonate through the twentieth century.

Chapter Detail

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Chapter 1—The Rise of Nationalism (10:24)
In the years following World War I, the rise of nationalism, fascism, militarism and communism laid the ground work for the outbreak of World War II.
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Chapter 2—Clouds of War (03:48)
Events like the Spanish Civil War, Germany's annexation of the Sudentenland and England's appeasement of Hitler signaled the growing threat of war in Europe.
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Chapter 3—American Isolationism (02:52)
While Europe and Asia moved inexorably toward war, most Americans—but not President Roosevelt—remained staunchly against foreign entanglements.
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Chapter 4—War Comes to Europe (09:19)
On September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland to mark the beginning of World War II. Just one year later, England stood alone against Hitler's war machine.
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Chapter 5—Path to Infamuy (04:01)
Through 1941, Japan waged a war of aggression in the Pacific, culminating in the surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7th.
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Chapter 6—America Joins the War (11:39)
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. undertook a massive mobilization to raise the troops, build the weapons, and launch the ships to fight World War II.
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Chapter 7—Achieving Victory in Europe (12:03)
The United States and its Allies attacked on the Western front, fighting in the air, on land and at sea to defeat the Axis Powers, while the Soviet Red Army fought a brutal war in the East.
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Chapter 8—Achieving Victory in the Pacific (08:59)
Following Pearl Harbor, the Japanese laid claim to much of the Pacific before the U.S. turned the tide, culminating with the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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Chapter 9—After the War (04:36)
The conferences in Yalta and Potsdam laid-out a plan for the post-war world, but deep divisions between the Western democracies and the Soviet Union led to the onset of the Cold War.


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