The European Theater Of World War II

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In the European theater of World War II, 1942 marked the dominance of the Axis powers. German forces in the Soviet Union had reached Stalingrad and threatened the oil fields of the Caucasus; Axis forces in Africa seemed on the verge of pushing the British out of Egypt; and German U-boat wolf packs preyed on Allied shipping with relative impunity [1]. Late in 1942, however, two significant Allied successes served to turn the tide against the Axis powers. At El Alamein, a British offensive defeated General Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps, while almost simultaneously a huge Anglo-American force landed in North Africa to contest Axis control; Operation Torch. The operation marked the first time that British and American forces worked together on …show more content…

Both the Axis and Allies saw overseas French forces as the decisive advantage that would allow them to achieve their differing objectives in the Mediterranean.

In North Africa, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps, allied with the weak Italian army, had pushed the British eastward into capturing the Western Desert area of Libya and Alexandria, Egypt [9]. The British Eighth Army was still a viable force in Egypt, but had been on the defensive for some time and would not regain the initiative until late 1942, with the British victory at El Alamein, immediately prior to the Torch landings [9].

Strategic negotiations between U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill led to an agreement to send American troops to North Africa in late 1942 to strengthen British interests in the Mediterranean, and open a second front to take pressure off Russia on the Eastern Front. In return, the British would further American plans to defeat Hitler in Europe by supporting a major cross-Channel attack [4].
Inception of Operation Torch: In 1942, having been persuaded of the impracticality of launching an invasion of France as a second front, American commanders agreed to conduct landings in northwest Africa with the goal of clearing the continent of Axis troops and preparing the way for a future attack on southern Europe. Intending to land in

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