Haha I love this, the same WW2 questions come up at least 3 times a day.
The main cause of World War II was the Versailles Treaty. It treated the German people unfairly, and unjustly so. The world's hate for the German people at that time was unjustified, especially since they weren't the cause for World War I. Hitler used his great ability to speak to large groups of people to his advantage when he came to power. Granted he had help, as his people killed or imprisoned his political enemies, but thats not the point. He got the German people, who at this point had been in a depression for over 10 years, so angry at the world, that they would basically follow him anywhere. He blamed all German problems on everyone else, especially the Jews. One of the provisions in the Versailles treaty was that the Germans had land taken away from them. Hitler wanted this land back. So while France and Britain sat and watched, Hitler and his blitzkrieg army marched all over austria, belguim, czecoslavakia, and then he teamed up with Russia to tag team Poland which fell in three days. Only when Nazi Germany invaded France did anyone begin to give a damn.
Now on the Pacific front, the Japanese wanted access to the oil rich Middle East and Alaska, but to do that they knew they had to take out the U.S. So they planned a well-thought out surprise attack on the U.S. Navy, planning to cripple the United States. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese carried out their attack on Pearl Harbor. It may have crippled the Navy fleet for a little bit, but it didn't have much outcome on the war. All they did was "awaken a sleeping giant".
Major battles: Europe: Battle of the Bulge- Stalingrad- Battle of Britain- Battle for the Hague- St. Nazaire Raid- Normandy Invasion (D-day)- Battle of Dunkirk
Pacific: Pearl Harbor- Iwo Jima- Coral Sea- Phillipines- Midway- Doolittle's Raid- Battle of Guam- Wake Island- Bataan- Corregidor
The difference in victory and defeat was life or death. If America lost to the Japanese in WW2 and Hitler took over Europe then we would be living a life of tyranny