Globalization of the conflict
In 1941, the war went global. Since 1939, the Third Reich had spread in search of conquest, in Europe in the Balkans, in North Africa when Hitler come to the aid of Mussolini’s Italian troops, defeated by the British in Egypt, all the while conducting a war without quarter in the Atlantic, relentlessly attacking the allied convoys en route for Europe. Both the African campaign and the battle of the Atlantic are represented at the start of the first room, with large displays.
In Asia, Japan had already invaded China, in 1937. In 1941, these two distinct wars came together, setting the whole world aflame. This first room is consecrated to the two military events that marked 1941: in June, operation Barbarossa, that started the flood of German troops to the USSR and the spread of the conflict to the East in December, the Japanese attack on the American naval base of Pearl Harbor, that brought the United States, previously the arsenal of the democracies, into a war that thus became truly global. The war with Japan has a significant profile here, which was the intent.
40% of the victims of the 1937 - 1945 war did in fact die in Asia-Pacific, including 24 million Chinese. Japanese expansionism and its often brutal military conquests were made possible only by excessive worship of the Emperor, unquestioning nationalist fervour and an authoritarian system headed by the Japanese army. Finally, there is a large display devoted to the Japanese warrior, an essential cog in the Japanese war machine.
Before leaving this first room, be sure to take in this large photograph, a snapshot of the immense geopolitical upheavals in the world after September 1939: the globe shows the territory controlled by the Reich through progressive military conquest. The copy presented here is an Austrian globe presenting the border modifications made in 1943. A unique model.