The mass murder of some 6 million European Jews (as well as members of some other persecuted groups, such as Gypsies and homosexuals) by the German Nazi regime during the Second World War. To the anti-Semitic Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, Jews were an inferior race, an alien threat to German racial purity and community. After years of Nazi rule in Germany, during which Jews were consistently persecuted, Hitler’s “final solution”–now known as the Holocaust–came to fruition under the cover of world war II, with mass killing centers constructed in the concentration camps of occupied Poland.
In such a hostile atmosphere, no single party was entirely to blame for the Cold War; in fact, some historians believe it was inevitable.
World War I began in 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and lasted until 1918. During the conflict, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers) fought against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States (the Allied Powers). Thanks to new military technologies and the horrors of trench warfare, World War I saw unprecedented levels of carnage and destruction. By the time the war was over and the Allied Powers claimed victory, more than 16 million people—soldiers and civilians alike—were dead.
Coming just two decades after the last great global conflict, the Second World War was the most widespread and deadliest war in history, involving more than 30 countries and resulting in more than 50 million military and civilian deaths (with some estimates as high as 85 million dead). Sparked by Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, the war would drag on for six deadly years until the final Allied defeat of both Nazi Germany and Japan in 1945.
The Dust Bowl refers to the drought-stricken Southern Plains region of the United States, which suffered severe dust storms during a dry period in the 1930's. As high winds and choking dust swept the region from Texas to Nebraska, people and livestock were killed and crops failed across the entire region.
In the fall of 1930, the first of four waves of banking panics began, as large numbers of investors lost confidence in the solvency of their banks and demanded deposits in cash, forcing banks to liquidate loans in order to supplement their insufficient cash reserves on hand. Bank runs swept the United States again in the spring and fall of 1931 and the fall of 1932, and by early 1933 thousands of banks had closed their doors.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only U.S. president to be elected four times. He led the United States through the Great Depression and World War II.
A New York governor who became the 26th U.S. president, Theodore Roosevelt is remembered for his foreign policy, corporate reforms and ecological preservation.
Adolf Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. He initiated World War II and oversaw fascist policies that led to the Holocaust, which resulted in the deaths of at least 11 million people.
Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for more than two decades, instituting a reign of terror while modernizing Russia and helping to defeat Nazism.