From the readings and lectures, in what sense did World War II become more “global” during its first two or two-and-a-half years?
World War II began in 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland. Having divided it, and most of the rest of eastern Europe, the Germans then decided to move into western Europe. Blitzkrieg, or “lightning war” is what they called it. As Hitler ravenously attacked the west, he gained control of northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, half of Poland, a chunk of Lithuania, and a piece of Czechoslovakia.
In 1940 Italy got involved and declared war on France, happily taking a piece that was next to Italy. (Mussolini had found himself sympathizing with Hitler in the 30s.) Then, from August to November of 1940, the Battle of Britain raged. The Germans attempted to bomb the British into submission (even though they had agreed not to assemble an air-force in the Versailles Treaty). In April of 1941 there was made a Soviet – Japanese Non-Aggression Pact, so when the Germans attacked the Soviets a few months later in June, it really marked the beginning of brutal war. 3,000 miles of fronts, and millions of troops; Operation Barbarossa was the largest military campaign in history.
December 7th, 1941, FDR dangled the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, after having cut off trade with Japan. Both of these being considered acts of aggression, FDR was not in a position to have to fire the first shot (as he hoped he would not have to be). December 11th, Germany declared war on the United States.
Things turned tumultuous quickly, and many parts of the world were drawn into war in just the first two years. Global war became contagious, and death was the price.