The Epic WWII Quiz: Part II


By: Nathan Chandler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wikimedia Commons

About This Quiz

In Part I of our Epic WWII Quiz, Germany invaded Poland, conquered Paris and began attacking Britain, while Japan inflicted misery on China. Now we begin the next round of fighting. Arm yourself and plunge into round two of our World War II quiz!

Throughout early 1940, Germany attacked numerous countries while its ally, Italy, twiddled its thumbs. Why was Mussolini reluctant to mount any sort of attack on the Allies?

Italy's Benito Mussolini was a shrewd man. Before launching any attacks, he wanted to see if Hitler's army was for real. Once the Nazis began winning, he decided to join them in the assaults on the Allies.


In October of 1940, Italy invaded Greece. How did Hitler respond to Mussolini's strategy?

Hitler slapped his forehead in exasperation. Mussolini didn't tell Hitler he was going to attack Greece, and Hitler considered this a major blunder, seeing North Africa as a more reasonable target.


At the end of December 1940, President Roosevelt gave a famous speech. What was the nickname of the speech?

Roosevelt gave a radio address that became known as the "Arsenal of Democracy" speech, in which he pledged to provide American allies with supplies to fight the Nazis. He did not, however, commit any troops to the fight.


In 1941, real fighting begins in which area?

Hitler wants control of North Africa. The British want to deny him these strategic locations. Battles rage around Libya and other areas of Africa.


In early 1941, the Americans accomplish which major feat?

American scientists discovered plutonium in February 1941. The material becomes vital to the Manhattan Project, the Allied program to develop a nuclear bomb.


In 1941, Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act, which authorized American supplies and weapons to the Allies. Most of the supplies went to which country?

Most of the support, of course, went to the British. But eventually, the Soviets received many billions of dollars in aid, too, as the U.S. hoped to choke off Germany from both sides.


The Nazi SS Einsatzgruppen began one of its biggest projects in June 1941. What was that project?

The Nazi SS Einsatzgruppen began its systematic killing of Polish Jews in June 1941. The efficiency and ruthlessness of these killings would become a hallmark of the Nazi empire.


In June of 1941, Hitler becomes frustrated with the Luftwaffe's inability to win the Battle of Berlin. What does he decide to do?

The stout British refuse to give ground to the Nazis. Hitler decides to slow the attacks on Britain and opens a new front -- by attacking the Soviet Union. The Eastern Front becomes a scene of truly unimaginable carnage.


Stalin was infuriated that Hitler betrayed his trust and attacked the Soviet Union. How did Stalin respond to the Nazis?

Stalin declared a scorched earth policy. His Soviet troops couldn't stop the Nazis, so they withdrew, destroying anything and everything that could potentially benefit the Germans as they advanced.


In the middle of 1941, the United States announced an embargo meant to prevent which product from reaching "aggressor states"?

In August 1941, the U.S. banned shipments of oil to aggressor states, primarily Japan. The Japanese had very few oil reserves and considered the embargo an act of war.


In the fall of 1941, the Nazis begin an agonizing siege of Leningrad. This siege will ultimately last about how long?

The Germans lay siege to Leningrad, whose citizens will eventually face bombs, disease and starvation. The siege lasts for around 900 gut-wrenching days.


The Germans initiate Operation Typhoon. What's the purpose of this operation?

The Germans steamrolled most Soviet defenses in 1941. Operation Typhoon took things to the next level -- it was meant to capture Moscow.


On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan attacks the U.S. base at Pearl Harbor. Every aspect of the attack is a complete success.

The Japanese attack is indeed devastating, but its primary purpose is to annihilate the Pacific fleet. It fails to do so … and that fact will come back to haunt the Empire of the Rising Sun.


Immediately after attacking Pearl Harbor, what did the Japanese do?

Pearl Harbor got the headlines, but it wasn't the only victim of Japanese aggression that week. The Empire immediately attacked the Philippine Islands, driving back American and Filipino forces.


In early 1942, the Germans held the Wannsee Conference, at which they announced the Final Solution to which "problem"?

The Final Solution was meant to solve the Jewish "problem." The answer? Deporting European Jews (and a lot of other people) to concentration camps and exterminating them.


At the same time that the Nazis began exterminating Jews, the United States was singling out which part of its own population?

Germany wasn't the only country that cracked down on locals. Following Pearl Harbor, the United States rounded up Japanese-Americans -- many of whom had zero ties to Japan -- into internment camps. Meanwhile, German-Americans (who are, of course, white) get to live their lives in relative peace.


During the Pacific War, the Japanese harbored fantasies of capturing Hawaii. Why?

Japan figured that if it could somehow capture Hawaii, it would have many Americans as hostages. Those hostages, in turn, could be used to force the U.S. to surrender.


The Japanese defeated American and Filipino forces in the Philippines during the Battle of Bataan. The American government essentially abandoned those beleaguered forces.

The Japanese created a stranglehold on the Philippines and made it nearly impossible for the Americans to land reinforcements. The American and Filipino armies were essentially abandoned and then forced to give up -- it was the biggest surrender in American history.


How did the Japanese treat the Americans and Filipinos following the Battle of Bataan?

The Japanese were disgusted by Allied troops who would willingly surrender rather than die in combat. They abused the troops, sent them on the infamous Bataan Death March and imprisoned them in horrible conditions that killed many of the P.O.W.s.


The Battle of the Coral Sea was a large naval clash between the Japanese and the Allies. Who won?

The Japanese won the tactical aspects of the battle. But the Allies were able to stop the Japanese march through the South Pacific. It was the first time the Allies managed to slow the Japanese advance.


In the middle of 1942, the Americans beat the Japanese at the Battle of Midway. It was the first loss by the Japanese navy in how long?

That's right, the Japanese navy was seemingly invincible -- it hadn't lost a battle for three and a half centuries. The Americans won Midway largely thanks to their superior code-breaking work.


What major accomplishment did the Americans achieve at the Battle of Midway?

The American Navy, armed with detailed intelligence regarding Japan's navy, managed to sink four Japanese aircraft carriers. It was a crippling blow to Japan's forces and one that sent them limping home.


American forces began an offensive at the Battle of Guadalcanal. They immediately captured a Japanese airfield.

The Americans captured a Japanese airfield and renamed it Henderson Field. The Japanese offered very little resistance at first … but the area soon turned into a muddy, bloody scene of murder and mayhem.


Which side launched Operation Torch, which invaded North Africa in 1942?

Operation Torch was led by the British and Americans and meant to crush the Germans in North Africa. The idea was to soften up the Nazis and give the Allies more leverage for an eventual landing in Europe.


In August 1944, what happened in Poland?

In August of 1944, the Polish Resistance led the Warsaw Uprising and took control of large chunks of the city. But the Allies failed to reinforce the locals … and the Nazis beat back the rebels.


How did the Nazis respond to the Warsaw Uprising?

The Nazis couldn't allow any sort of rebellion to stand. They crushed the resistance and then executed perhaps 200,000 civilians to punish the Poles and deter other cities from following suit.


Why did U.S. beaches in the Gulf of Mexico turn black during World War II?

The Germans blasted ship after ship in the Gulf of Mexico, which became one of the most dangerous shipping areas on the planet. As Allied tankers sank, they spewed oil, which in some places turned American beaches black.


The Nazis sank ships right outside of New York City.

The German navy had incredible reach in the Atlantic. U-boats prowled the entire Eastern seaboard, sinking hundreds of Allied ships, including some right outside New York City and other major metro areas.


In early 1943, an American fighter plane shot down a Japanese plane that was carrying which person?

American intelligence anticipated that Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto would be transported by plane, which they then shot down. The loss of Yamamoto was a tremendous blow to Japanese morale.


In 1943, "Black May" was a good month for which side?

In May of 1943, known as Black May, the Allies finally found tactics to counter German submarines, which had sunk ship after Allied ship. With improved tactics, the Allies were able to finally wrest control of the Atlantic from the Nazis. Now go take Part III of our Epic World War II quiz!


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