This section uses maps to let viewers delve into the stories told in WWII Behind Closed Doors. Explore the meetings between Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin through an interactive map in "The Conferences." Learn about the war that Stalin "the great leader and ruthless dictator" fought on the eastern front in "The Struggle for Poland," "Stalin Stands Alone,' and "Prelude to the Cold War." See the dangerous routes American ships, planes, trains, and trucks took to supply the Allies, particularly Great Britain and the Soviet Union, in "Supplying the Allies."
On June 22, 1941, Germany launched the largest land invasion in world history, codenamed Operation Barbarossa, as 3,000,000 troops and 3,600 tanks, with cover from 2,700 aircraft, swarmed eastward across Poland, Belorussia, and the plains of the Ukraine.
On October 2, 1941, Hitler launched a ferocious attack on Moscow, the Soviet capital, in hopes of quickly winning the war before winter. Inside Moscow, Stalin demanded that his army defend the city and ordered his secret police to shoot Soviet soldiers who retreated.
In the battle that turned the tide of the war on the eastern front, millions of Red Army and Axis troops fought for months in and around Stalingrad, in the Soviet Union. When it was over, the world realized, for the first time, that Hitler was not invincible.
The Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I acknowledged Poland as an independent state but left some of its borders unsettled. The Peace of Riga, signed on March 18, 1921 after the Polish-Soviet War, established Polish borders that would hold until September 1939.
With Germany divided into four zones of occupation after the war, the city of Berlin lay entirely within the Soviet sector. As tensions grew between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, Berlin became a lightning rod for international Cold War tensions.
As the war ended, Stalin worked to encourage and install Communist governments in the eastern Europe countries that the Red Army had "liberated" from the Nazis. In the years that followed, what Winston Churchill dubbed the "Iron Curtain" fell across a divided Europe.
The March 1941 Lend-Lease Act allowed the United States to ship military equipment, food, fuel, medical supplies, and services to its allies. In the next five years, the U.S. sent almost $51 billion worth of matériel to countries battling the Axis powers.
British prime minister Winston Churchill, U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin held a number of high profile meetings throughout the war. This map highlights the thirteen major Allied conferences held between August 1941 and July 1945.