The World War II Multimedia Database

For the 72 Million


Not the “beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning,” 1943 is the turning point of the war, as the Axis begins to lose the initiative everywhere. The Soviets smash the 6th Army in Stalingrad, killing or capturing 600,000 men. After a tough first six months of 1943, the Allied Navies in the Atlantic begin to destroy U-boats and build escort and merchant ships faster than the Germans can do anything about it.

The Germans are driven out of North Africa in May 1943. The Allies land in Sicily in July and cause Mussolini to be expelled from the government. He forms a rump fascist state in the northern town of Salo. Subsequent landings in italy would prove more difficult in the following year. Landings in France are planned for 1944, and men, ships, vehicles and supplies begin landing in the United Kingdom in great numbers.

The biggest tank battle of the war is fought outside a Russian town called Kursk. This is the last major German offensive in the East. For the next two years, the Nazis will fight a series of delaying battles back to Berlin. After a killing year, the Holocaust slows down, but still millions are to die across the camp system.

In 1943, the Americans began to deploy the results of their crash building program. The Japanese could not match the output of the huge naval shipbuilding program; they were being deprived of steel, oil, and other resources. MacArthur continued to move up the back of New Guinea. The Allies landed in the Aleutians in May 1943. The initiative had passed to the Allies in the Pacific, and they would never lose it. By November 1943, heavy fighting began on islands in the Central Pacific. The first stop, Tarawa, would be a bloody lesson in how to conduct amphibious warfare against entrenched defenders. For the Japanese, it would be annihilation. Only 17 survivors of the garrison would remain alive, with over a hundred Korean slaves. As the Americans move across the Central Pacific and up the New Guinea coast, the Japanese island garrisons would die almost to a man. By December 1943, the Pacific War was entering its second year. Yet, unbelievably, the hardest fighting lay ahead.

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