This video is part of a series of 15 animated maps.

View series: The second World War, 1939-1945

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The Turning Point, autumn 1942 to end 1943

This map is part of a series of 15 animated maps showing the history of The second World War, 1939-1945.

With the prolongation of the combats and the extension of war zones, the outcome of the war depended on the ability on both sides to mobilize their economic and industrial resources. During the winter of 1942 and 1943, the balance weighed more and more in favour of the Allies.

On 8 November 1942, the Allies opened a second front in North Africa. The landing of the British and American armies in Morocco and Algeria pushed Germany into occupying the Free Zone in France.

On 2 February 1943, after a two-month siege, the German 6th Army surrendered in Stalingrad.

A few days later, on 9 February, Japanese resistance at Guadalcanal ended after 6 months, with terrible losses on both sides.

This date marks a turning point in the Pacific war. In the months that followed, the American troops took control of the Solomon, Gilbert and Marshall Islands, and installed airbases as they advanced closer and closer to Japan.

1943 was also a good year for the Allies in the Mediterranean.

Following Montgomery’s victory over Rommel at El-Alamein and the American landings on the beaches of Morocco and Algeria, the Axis armies were caught in a pincer movement. Ordered by Hitler to continue their resistance, they were nevertheless forced to surrender in Tunisia on 12 May 43, as they could not be evacuated.

Allied soldiers landed in Sicily on 10 July 43, where they met with little local resistance and then only by German troops on the island.

On 25 July, as a result of these military defeats, Mussolini was overthrown and arrested.

Early in September, the Allies crossed the Straits of Messina and on 8 September they landed at Salerno, the same day that the new Italian government announced the signature of an armistice.

But Hitler sent 30 divisions to occupy Italy and, during autumn 1943, the two armies were entrenched on either side of the Gustav Line, some 60 kilometres north of Naples.

In the USSR, while the 6th Army was suffering at Stalingrad, the Wehrmacht succeeded in retreating from the Caucasus and reformed the front in the spring.  

Early in July, the German General Staff attempted a grand offensive against Kursk. The largest tank battle of the Second World War lasted 12 days, but the Wehrmacht was unable to break through the Russian lines. From this point on, it was the Red Army that took the initiative on the Eastern Front.

Towards the end of 1943, an Allied victory seemed possible.  In November, Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt met in Tehran, Iran, to discuss the division of territory after the war. During this conference, the Americans and English agreed to open up a second front in the West in order to relieve Russia.