With millions serving in other countries, an estimated 300 million soldiers saw combat. Key setbacks in 1943—including a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and the Italian mainland, and Allied offensives in the Pacific—cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts.  While the Allies' ability to out-produce the Axis is often attributed[by whom?] Although Ireland remained neutral, many Irish fought on the side of the Allies. Some of the other Allied nations included Australia, Canada, Belgium and China.  On 7 December 1941 (8 December in Asian time zones), Japan attacked British and American holdings with near-simultaneous offensives against Southeast Asia and the Central Pacific. Some 80,000 Black south Africans served in WWII as part of the Native Military Corps but they were treated as inferior to white soldiers and their contribution was largely unrecognized.. , In Europe, Germany and Italy were becoming more aggressive. , Exploiting poor American naval command decisions, the German navy ravaged Allied shipping off the American Atlantic coast. The tank, which had been used predominantly for infantry support in the First World War, had evolved into the primary weapon. For a comprehensive overview, see: Selected Finding Aids Related to NARA's World War II Holdings African Americans Records of Military Agencies Relating to African Americans from the Post-World War I Period to the Korean War , Reference Information Paper Casualty Lists and Missing Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air  In June 1938, Chinese forces stalled the Japanese advance by flooding the Yellow River; this manoeuvre bought time for the Chinese to prepare their defences at Wuhan, but the city was taken by October. Cold War, the open yet restricted rivalry that developed after World War II between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies. In mid-June 1944, they began their offensive against the Mariana and Palau islands and decisively defeated Japanese forces in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. They always act as if the United States won World War II and also saved the Jews from the Holocaust. , In June 1940, the Soviet Union forcibly annexed Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and the disputed Romanian regions of Bessarabia, northern Bukovina and Hertza. After reassigning several Allied divisions from Italy, they also attacked southern France. The Soviet Union alone lost around 27 million people during the war, including 8.7 million military and 19 million civilian deaths. On 4 July 1943, Germany attacked Soviet forces around the Kursk Bulge.  Unlike impressive Soviet victories in the Balkans, bitter Finnish resistance to the Soviet offensive in the Karelian Isthmus denied the Soviets occupation of Finland and led to a Soviet-Finnish armistice on relatively mild conditions, although Finland was forced to fight their former ally Germany. , 1939-1945 global war between the Axis and the Allies, "The Second World War", "WWII", and "WW2" redirect here. Carl van Dyke. Istoriya SSSR., 1990, No. World War II was won in 1945 by the main Allied powers, which consisted of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union, that formed the primary alliance against the opposing Axis alliance.  Germany with the help of fascists responded by disarming Italian forces that were in many places without superior orders, seizing military control of Italian areas, and creating a series of defensive lines. Ward Wilson.  Italy subsequently dropped its objections to Germany's goal of absorbing Austria. NOAA Hurricane Forecast Maps Are Often Misinterpreted — Here's How to Read Them. In August, Chinese communists launched an offensive in Central China; in retaliation, Japan instituted harsh measures in occupied areas to reduce human and material resources for the communists. , The mass bombing of cities in Europe and Asia has often been called a war crime, although no positive or specific customary international humanitarian law with respect to aerial warfare existed before or during World War II. , In March 1938, Nationalist Chinese forces won their first major victory at Taierzhuang but then the city of Xuzhou was taken by Japanese in May. In mid-February, after the Soviet push had tapered off, the Germans launched another attack on Kharkov, creating a salient in their front line around the Soviet city of Kursk. Immediately after that, Hitler ordered the attack to proceed on 26 August, but upon hearing that the United Kingdom had concluded a formal mutual assistance pact with Poland and that Italy would maintain neutrality, he decided to delay it. Russians react nervously to any narrative about World War II that differs from their own.  In the Atlantic, escort carriers proved to be a vital part of Allied convoys, increasing the effective protection radius and helping to close the Mid-Atlantic gap.  Although Japanese forces were sometimes welcomed as liberators from European domination, Japanese war crimes frequently turned local public opinion against them. Quick Reference Handbook Set, Basic Knowledge and Modern Technology (revised) by. , By October Axis operational objectives in Ukraine and the Baltic region were achieved, with only the sieges of Leningrad and Sevastopol continuing. One faction of Congress led by Subhas Chandra Bose was so opposed that it cooperated with Nazi Germany, and actually enlisted soldiers who fought alongside Japanese soldiers against the British and Indians in Burma. In March 1939, Germany invaded the remainder of Czechoslovakia and subsequently split it into the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and a pro-German client state, the Slovak Republic.  German Army Group Centre resisted in Prague until 11 May. Tens of millions of people died due to genocides (including the Holocaust), premeditated death from starvation, massacres, and disease. , In the Pacific theatre, American forces accompanied by the forces of the Philippine Commonwealth advanced in the Philippines, clearing Leyte by the end of April 1945. , Both plans started in July, but by mid-September, the Battle for Guadalcanal took priority for the Japanese, and troops in New Guinea were ordered to withdraw from the Port Moresby area to the northern part of the island, where they faced Australian and United States troops in the Battle of Buna–Gona. By mid-August, however, the German Army High Command decided to suspend the offensive of a considerably depleted Army Group Centre, and to divert the 2nd Panzer Group to reinforce troops advancing towards central Ukraine and Leningrad.  The Axis expanded in November 1940 when Hungary, Slovakia and Romania joined. , After the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Allies initiated several operations against Japan in the Pacific. Many of the civilians died because of deliberate genocide, massacres, mass bombings, disease, and starvation. Following a US declaration of war against Japan, which followed one from the UK, the European Axis powers declared war on the United States in solidarity with their ally. , On 22 June 1941, Germany, supported by Italy and Romania, invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, with Germany accusing the Soviets of plotting against them. General Yasuji Okamura implemented the policy in Heipei and Shantung. , On 22 June, the Soviets launched a strategic offensive in Belarus ("Operation Bagration") that destroyed the German Army Group Centre almost completely.  This, as well as intelligence data which established that a minimal number of Soviet troops in the East would be sufficient to deter any attack by the Japanese Kwantung Army, allowed the Soviets to begin a massive counter-offensive that started on 5 December all along the front and pushed German troops 100–250 kilometres (62–155 mi) west. In Italy, Allied advance also slowed due to the last major German defensive line. In fact, Americans fought alongside the socialist USSR as allies.  Although the Axis victory was swift, bitter and large-scale partisan warfare subsequently broke out against the Axis occupation of Yugoslavia, which continued until the end of the war. Jul–Aug 1942", "Casablanca – Beginning of an Era: January 1943", "The Trident Conference – New Patterns: May 1943", "Armistice Negotiations and Soviet Occupation", "March 9, 1945: Burning the Heart Out of the Enemy", "Results of the German and American Submarine Campaigns of World War II", "The Oder-Neisse Line as Poland's western border: As postulated and made a reality", "The Curzon line as the eastern boundary of Poland. By this time, of course, Europe was fast approaching World War II.  In the Middle East, the Arab rejection of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine and the creation of Israel marked the escalation of the Arab–Israeli conflict. , In response to British requests for direct negotiations to avoid war, Germany made demands on Poland, which only served as a pretext to worsen relations. The United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western governments reacted to this move with a freeze on Japanese assets and a total oil embargo. Joining The Navy Movie Co Military History Armed Forces World War Ii Actor Eddie Albert, who enlisted in the Navy in 1942, was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat "V" for his actions during the invasion of Tarawa in November 1943, when, as the pilot of a U.S. Coast Guard landing craft, he rescued 47 Marines who were stranded offshore (and supervised the rescue of 30 others), while under heavy enemy … The first, an offensive into the Arakan region in late 1942, went disastrously, forcing a retreat back to India by May 1943. On 15 August 1945, Japan surrendered, with the surrender documents finally signed at Tokyo Bay on the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri on 2 September 1945, ending the war.  In late August the British and Soviets invaded neutral Iran to secure the Persian Corridor, Iran's oil fields, and preempt any Axis advances through Iran toward the Baku oil fields or British India.  Germany sustained 5.3 million military losses, mostly on the Eastern Front and during the final battles in Germany. , German successes in Europe encouraged Japan to increase pressure on European governments in Southeast Asia. The Western Allies fought through several lines until reaching the main German defensive line in mid-November. The war in Europe concluded with the liberation of German-occupied territories, and the invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the fall of Berlin to Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century-long Cold War.  To improve their production, Germany and Japan used millions of slave labourers; Germany used about 12 million people, mostly from Eastern Europe, while Japan used more than 18 million people in Far East Asia.. , By early December, freshly mobilised reserves allowed the Soviets to achieve numerical parity with Axis troops. Italy supported the Nationalists to a greater extent than the Nazis did: altogether Mussolini sent to Spain more than 70,000 ground troops and 6,000 aviation personnel, as well as about 720 aircraft. World War II plays a key role in human history. In 1931, an increasingly militaristic Empire of Japan, which had long sought influence in China as the first step of what its government saw as the country's right to rule Asia, staged the Mukden Incident as a pretext to invade Manchuria and establish the puppet state of Manchukuo. A few days later, the Soviets launched a massive assault against German-occupied Hungary that lasted until the fall of Budapest in February 1945.  Most suggest that some 60 million people died in the war, including about 20 million military personnel and 40 million civilians. The situation was aggravated in early 1935 when the Territory of the Saar Basin was legally reunited with Germany, and Hitler repudiated the Treaty of Versailles, accelerated his rearmament programme, and introduced conscription. The Soviets formed the Polish Committee of National Liberation to control territory in Poland and combat the Polish Armia Krajowa; The Soviet Red Army remained in the Praga district on the other side of the Vistula and watched passively as the Germans quelled the Warsaw Uprising initiated by the Armia Krajowa. The Soviet Union, concerned by Germany's goals of capturing vast areas of Eastern Europe, drafted a treaty of mutual assistance with France. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, resulting in 70 to 85 million fatalities, with more civilians than military personnel killed.  Soon afterwards, Germany and Italy forced Czechoslovakia to cede additional territory to Hungary, and Poland annexed Czechoslovakia's Zaolzie region.  On 4 February Soviet, British, and US leaders met for the Yalta Conference.  The USAAF firebombed a total of 67 Japanese cities, killing 393,000 civilians and destroying 65% of built-up areas. , Greatly alarmed and with Hitler making further demands on the Free City of Danzig, the United Kingdom and France guaranteed their support for Polish independence; when Italy conquered Albania in April 1939, the same guarantee was extended to the Kingdom of Romania and Greece. In early April, Soviet troops captured Königsberg, while the Western Allies finally pushed forward in Italy and swept across western Germany capturing Hamburg and Nuremberg.  Roosevelt reinforced the Philippines (an American protectorate scheduled for independence in 1946) and warned Japan that the United States would react to Japanese attacks against any "neighboring countries". Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender on its terms, the United States dropped the first atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima, on 6 August 1945, and Nagasaki, on 9 August. Website #2 explains that Germany had Italy and Japan helping them.  Japanese military victories did not bring about the collapse of Chinese resistance that Japan had hoped to achieve; instead, the Chinese government relocated inland to Chongqing and continued the war. Political integration, especially in Europe, began as an effort to forestall future hostilities, end pre-war enmities and forge a sense of common identity. On 18 December 1940, Hitler issued the directive to prepare for an invasion of the Soviet Union. Konflikt polsko-ukraiński 1943–1947", "Japan tested chemical weapons on Aussie POW: new evidence", "Final Compensation Pending for Former Nazi Forced Laborers", "Japan's atrocities of conscripting and abusing north China draughtees after the outbreak of the Pacific war", "Indonesia: World War II and the Struggle For Independence, 1942–50; The Japanese Occupation, 1942–45", "The AK-47: the worlds favourite killing machine", "Deception for Defense of Information Systems: Analogies from Conventional Warfare", "Discovery and Development of Penicillin: International Historic Chemical Landmark", "The Volunteer Armies of Northeast China", "Soviet Repression Statistics: Some Comments", "Soviet Deaths in the Great Patriotic War: A Note", "Soviet Defensive Tactics at Kursk, July 1943", "The Soviet-German War 1941–45 Myths and Realities: A Survey Essay", "August Storm: The Soviet Strategic Offensive in Manchuria", "The greatest military armada ever launched", Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, Atlas of the World Battle Fronts (July 1943 to August 1945), Records of World War II propaganda posters are held by Simon Fraser University's Special Collections and Rare Books, Maps of World War II in Europe at Omniatlas, Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, Rape during the Soviet occupation of Poland, History of World War II by region and country, Sarawak, Brunei, Labuan, and British North Borneo, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=World_War_II&oldid=997278083, Pages with non-numeric formatnum arguments, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pages, Pages using multiple image with auto scaled images, All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from December 2019, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from July 2016, Articles lacking reliable references from July 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from September 2018, Pages using Sister project links with hidden wikidata, Pages using Sister project links with default search, Articles with Encyclopædia Britannica links, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with TDVİA identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 30 December 2020, at 20:08. , In early May 1942, Japan initiated operations to capture Port Moresby by amphibious assault and thus sever communications and supply lines between the United States and Australia.  By the end of the war, most Soviet POWs liberated from Nazi camps and many repatriated civilians were detained in special filtration camps where they were subjected to NKVD evaluation, and 226,127 were sent to the Gulag as real or perceived Nazi collaborators.  Anti-aircraft weaponry also advanced, including defences such as radar and surface-to-air artillery.  At the same time the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands engaged in secret discussions for the joint defence of their territories, in the event of a Japanese attack against any of them. A total of 72 million people died with the lowe…  Meanwhile, France, to secure its alliance, allowed Italy a free hand in Ethiopia, which Italy desired as a colonial possession. The British focused development on anti-submarine weaponry and tactics, such as sonar and convoys, while Germany focused on improving its offensive capability, with designs such as the Type VII submarine and wolfpack tactics.  Despite several offensives by both sides, the war between China and Japan was stalemated by 1940. The former became a neutral state, non-aligned with any political bloc. An attempt to advance into northern Germany spearheaded by a major airborne operation in the Netherlands failed. Benito Mussolini was killed by Italian partisans on 28 April. , The Japanese invasion of Thailand led to Thailand's decision to ally itself with Japan and the other Japanese attacks led the United States, United Kingdom, China, Australia, and several other states to formally declare war on Japan, whereas the Soviet Union, being heavily involved in large-scale hostilities with European Axis countries, maintained its neutrality agreement with Japan. , Adolf Hitler, after an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government in 1923, eventually became the Chancellor of Germany in 1933. By May 1943, as Allied counter-measures became increasingly effective, the resulting sizeable German submarine losses forced a temporary halt of the German Atlantic naval campaign. , Japanese prisoner-of-war camps, many of which were used as labour camps, also had high death rates. , In an effort to maintain world peace, the Allies formed the United Nations, which officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 as a common standard for all member nations. Japan and the Soviet Union eventually signed a Neutrality Pact in April 1941, and Japan adopted the doctrine of Nanshin-ron, promoted by the Navy, which took its focus southward, eventually leading to its war with the United States and the Western Allies. , Other technological and engineering feats achieved during, or as a result of, the war include the world's first programmable computers (Z3, Colossus, and ENIAC), guided missiles and modern rockets, the Manhattan Project's development of nuclear weapons, operations research and the development of artificial harbours and oil pipelines under the English Channel.  Soon after, they invaded the province of Guangxi, winning major engagements against Chinese forces at Guilin and Liuzhou by the end of November and successfully linking up their forces in China and Indochina by mid-December. "The Winning Weapon? The Japanese continued to push the Chinese forces back, capturing the capital Nanking in December 1937. In World War II, the United States was fighting against the Axis powers, which were mostly right-wing fascist governments. I’m always intrigued by those in the pro-interventionist crowd who trot out World War II to justify U.S. imperialist interventionism in the Middle East and the rest of the world. Additionally, neither Germany nor Japan planned to fight a protracted war, and had not equipped themselves to do so. The countries that fought in World War II were Germany, Italy and Japan, which comprised the Axis Powers, and Britain, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, the Soviet Union, China and the United States of America, which comprised the Allies. The war was fought chiefly between two major alliances: the Axis and the Allies. The organisation's primary goals were to prevent armed conflict through collective security, military and naval disarmament, and settling international disputes through peaceful negotiations and arbitration. Meanwhile, the victorious Allies of World War I, such as France, Belgium, Italy, Romania, and Greece, gained territory, and new nation-states were created out of the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman and Russian Empires. Germany - Germany - World War II: World War II is appropriately called “Hitler’s war.” Germany was so extraordinarily successful in the first two years that Hitler came close to realizing his aim of establishing hegemony in Europe.  In early March, in an attempt to protect its last oil reserves in Hungary and to retake Budapest, Germany launched its last major offensive against Soviet troops near Lake Balaton.  In October 1936, Germany and Italy formed the Rome–Berlin Axis. , By the start of July 1944, Commonwealth forces in Southeast Asia had repelled the Japanese sieges in Assam, pushing the Japanese back to the Chindwin River while the Chinese captured Myitkyina. The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (2nd ed.). With the Soviets wary of mounting tensions with Germany and the Japanese planning to take advantage of the European War by seizing resource-rich European possessions in Southeast Asia, the two powers signed the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1941.  In under a month, Axis forces advanced to western Egypt and besieged the port of Tobruk.  Encouraged, Hitler began pressing German claims on the Sudetenland, an area of Czechoslovakia with a predominantly ethnic German population.  Italy also experienced an economic boom and the French economy rebounded.  The post-1948 West German recovery has been called the German economic miracle.  The assault rifle, a late war development incorporating many features of the rifle and submachine gun, became the standard postwar infantry weapon for most armed forces. In September 1944, Chinese forces captured Mount Song and reopened the Burma Road. In April, the Allies launched an operation to retake Western New Guinea. The main combatants were the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) and the Allies (France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and China). Before taking effect, though, the Franco-Soviet pact was required to go through the bureaucracy of the League of Nations, which rendered it essentially toothless. They were joined shortly by Finland and Hungary. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the earlier Japanese invasion of Manchuria, on 19 September 1931.  Development of SIGINT (signals intelligence) and cryptanalysis enabled the countering process of decryption. , In July 1937, Japan captured the former Chinese imperial capital of Peking after instigating the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which culminated in the Japanese campaign to invade all of China.  Another aspect of military intelligence was the use of deception, which the Allies used to great effect, such as in operations Mincemeat and Bodyguard. World War II was the biggest and deadliest war in history, involving more than 30 countries. Nazi Germany extensively used forced labourers; about 12 million Europeans from German occupied countries were abducted and used as a slave work force in German industry, agriculture and war economy. On his advice youths from India joined the following year Axis and the Pacific American. 46 ] [ 320 ], China appealed to the League of nations after being condemned for its incursion Manchuria... 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