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By Susan E. Hamen

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Indd 36 5/31/13 1:21 PM surrendered his country to Germany on June 22. Germany occupied northern France and allowed Pétain to oversee a German-controlled government in the South of France. Many refused to acknowledge the rule of the Germans in the north and Pétain in the south. Some French people joined groups of resistance fighters. De Gaulle fled to London, where he organized a French government-in-exile and joined forces with the United Kingdom. With little effort and few losses, Hitler had conquered Western Europe in less than two months.

The British forces repelled him in Operation Crusader in November. Churchill, left, and Roosevelt, right, give a press conference on December 23, 1941. indd 57 57 5/31/13 1:21 PM The next October, the British won a decisive victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein in Egypt. Aided by a fresh supply of US weapons, including Sherman tanks, British commander Bernard Montgomery pushed Rommel hundreds of miles west. The battle is considered by many historians to be the turning point of the war in North Africa.

He argued the United Kingdom would soon fall and the Soviet Union could be taken in a matter of months. On June 22, 1941, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, called Operation Barbarossa, commenced. Though Stalin was as wary of Hitler as the German leader was of him, he did not expect the Nazis to break their nonaggression pact so soon. Soviet spies had warned him of a buildup of German forces, but Stalin failed to organize a defense. indd 44 5/31/13 1:21 PM German troops use a flamethrower to clear a Soviet bunker.

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