WW2, A History
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Submitted By PanzerAce on 12/08/12
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World War II

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World War II
Infobox collage for WWII.PNG
Clockwise from top left: Chinese forces in the Battle of Wanjialing, Australian 25-pounder guns during the First Battle of El Alamein, German Stuka dive bombers on the Eastern Frontwinter 1943–1944, US naval force in the Lingayen Gulf,Wilhelm Keitel signing the German Instrument of Surrender, Soviet troops in the Battle of Stalingrad
Date 1 September 1939 – 2 September 1945(6 years, 1 day)
Location EuropePacificAtlanticSouth-East Asia,ChinaMiddle EastMediterranean andAfrica, briefly North America
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
Allies

 Soviet Union (1941–45)[nb 1]
 United States (1941–45)
 British Empire
Taiwan China (at war 1937–45)
 France[nb 2]
 Poland
 Canada
 Australia
 New Zealand
 South Africa
 Yugoslavia (1941–45)
 Greece (1940–45)
 Norway (1940–45)
 Netherlands (1940–45)
 Belgium (1940–45)
 Czechoslovakia
 Brazil (1942–45)
...and others


Client and puppet states
Philippines Philippines (1941–45)
Mongolia Mongolia (1941–45)
...and others

Axis

 Germany
 Japan (at war 1937–45)
 Italy (1940–43)
 Hungary (1940–45)
 Romania (1941–44)
 Bulgaria (1941–44)


Co-belligerents
 Finland (1941–44)
 Thailand (1942–45)
 Iraq (1941)


Client and puppet states
 Manchukuo
 Italian Social Republic (1943–45)
 Croatia (1941–45)
 Slovakia
...and others

Commanders and leaders
Allied leaders

Soviet Union Joseph Stalin
United States Franklin D. Roosevelt
United Kingdom Winston Churchill
Taiwan Chiang Kai-shek
...and others

Axis leaders

Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Empire of Japan Hirohito
Kingdom of Italy Benito Mussolini
...and others

Casualties and losses
Military dead:
Over 16,000,000
Civilian dead:
Over 45,000,000
Total dead:
Over 61,000,000 (1937–45)
...further details
Military dead:
Over 8,000,000
Civilian dead:
Over 4,000,000
Total dead:
Over 12,000,000 (1937–45)
...further details

World War II, or the Second World War (often abbreviated as WWII orWW2), was a global war that was under way by 1939 and ended in 1945. It involved a vast majority of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and theAxis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million people serving in military units. In a state of "total war", the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant events involving the mass death of civilians, including the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, it resulted in 50 million to over 70 million fatalities. These deaths make World War II by far the deadliest conflict in all of human history.[1]

Although the Empire of Japan was already at war with the Republic of China in 1937,[2] the world war is generally said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany, and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and most of the countries of the British Empire andCommonwealth. Germany set out to establish a large empire in Europe. From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or subdued much of continental Europe; amid Nazi-Soviet agreements, the nominally neutral Soviet Union fully or partially invaded, occupied and annexed territories of its six European neighbours, including Poland. The United Kingdom and its Commonwealth remained the only major force continuing the fight against the Axis, with battles taking place in North Africa as well as the long-running Battle of the Atlantic. In June 1941, the European Axis launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, giving a start to thelargest land theatre of war in history, which tied down the major part of the Axis' military forces. In December 1941, the Empire of Japan, which aimed to dominate the East Asia and Indochina, joined the Axis, attacked the United States and European territories in the Pacific Ocean, and quickly conquered much of the West Pacific.

The Axis advance was stopped in 1942, after Japan lost a series of naval battles and European Axis troops were defeated in North Africa and, decisively, at Stalingrad. In 1943, with a series of German defeats in Eastern Europe, the Allied invasion of Fascist Italy, and American victories in the Pacific, the Axis lost the initiative and undertook strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded France, while the Soviet Union regained all of its territorial losses and invaded Germany and its allies. The war in Europe ended with the capture of Berlin by Soviet and Polish troops and the subsequent German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. During 1944 and 1945 the United States defeated the Japanese Navy and captured key West Pacific islands, dropping atomic bombs on the country as the invasion of theJapanese Archipelago became imminent. The war in Asia ended on 15 August 1945 when the Empire of Japan agreed to surrender.

The total victory of the Allies over the Axis in 1945 ended the conflict. World War II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world. TheUnited Nations (UN) was established to foster international cooperation and prevent future conflicts. The great powers that were the victors of the war— the United States, Soviet Union, China, the United Kingdom, and France— became the permanent members of the United Nation's Security Council.[3]The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 46 years. Meanwhile, the influence of European great powers started to decline, while thedecolonisation of Asia and Africa began. Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery. Political integration, especially in Europe, emerged as an effort to stabilise postwar relations.

Chronology

The start of the war is generally held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland; Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. Other dates for the beginning of war include the start of theSecond Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937.[4][5]

Others follow British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred simultaneously and the two wars merged in 1941. This article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935.[6] British historian Antony Beevorviews the beginning of the Second World War as the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in August 1939.[7]

The exact date of the war's end is also not universally agreed upon. It has been suggested that the war ended at the armistice of 14 August 1945 (V-J Day), rather than the formal surrender of Japan (2 September 1945); in some European histories, it ended on V-E Day (8 May 1945). However, the Treaty of Peace with Japan was not signed until 1951,[8] and that with Germany not until 1990.[9]

Background

World War I radically altered the political map, with the defeat of the Central Powers, including Austria-Hungary, Germany and theOttoman Empire; and the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia. Meanwhile, existing victorious Allies such as France, Belgium, Italy, Greece and Romania gained territories, while new states were created out of the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Russian andOttoman Empires.

Despite the pacific movement in the aftermath of the war,[10][11] the losses still caused irredentist and revanchist nationalism to became important in a number of European states. Irredentism and revanchism were strong in Germany because of the significant territorial, colonial, and financial losses incurred by the Treaty of Versailles. Under the treaty, Germany lost around 13 percent of its home territory and all of its overseas colonies, while German annexation of other states was prohibited, reparations were imposed, and limits were placed on the size and capability of the country's armed forces.[12] Meanwhile, the Russian Civil War had led to the creation of theSoviet Union.[13]

The German Empire was dissolved in the German Revolution of 1918–1919, and a democratic government, later known as the Weimar Republic, was created. The interwar period saw strife between supporters of the new republic and hardline opponents on both the rightand left. Although Italy as an Entente ally made some territorial gains, Italian nationalists were angered that the promises made by Britain and France to secure Italian entrance into the war were not fulfilled with the peace settlement. From 1922 to 1925, the Fascistmovement led by Benito Mussolini seized power in Italy with a nationalist, totalitarian, and class collaborationist agenda that abolished representative democracy, repressed socialist, left wing and liberal forces, and pursued an aggressive foreign policy aimed at forcefully forging Italy as a world power—a "New Roman Empire".[14] In Germany, the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler sought to establish a fascist government in Germany. With the onset of the Great Depression, domestic support for the Nazis rose and, in 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. In the aftermath of the Reichstag fire, Hitler created a totalitarian single-party state led by the Nazis.[15]

The Kuomintang (KMT) party in China launched a unification campaign against regional warlords and nominally unified China in the mid-1920s, but was soon embroiled in a civil war against its former Chinese communist allies.[16] In 1931, an increasingly militaristicJapanese Empire, which had long sought influence in China[17] as the first step of what its government saw as the country's right to rule Asia, used the Mukden Incident as a pretext to launch an invasion of Manchuria and establish the puppet state of Manchukuo.[18] Too weak to resist Japan, China appealed to the League of Nations for help. Japan withdrew from the League of Nations after beingcondemned for its incursion into Manchuria. The two nations then fought several battles, in ShanghaiRehe and Hebei, until the Tanggu Truce was signed in 1933. Thereafter, Chinese volunteer forces continued the resistance to Japanese aggression in Manchuria, andChahar and Suiyuan.[19]

Benito Mussolini (left) andAdolf Hitler (right)

Adolf Hitler, after an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government in 1923, became theChancellor of Germany in 1933. He abolished democracy, espousing a radical, racially motivated revision of the world order, and soon began a massive rearmament campaign.[20] Meanwhile, France, to secure its alliance, allowed Italy a free hand in Ethiopia, which Italy desired as a colonial possession. 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.[21]

Hoping to contain Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy formed the Stresa Front. The Soviet Union, concerned due to Germany's goals of capturing vast areas of eastern Europe, wrote a treaty of mutual assistance with France. 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.[22][23] However, in June 1935, the United Kingdom made an independent naval agreementwith Germany, easing prior restrictions. The United States, concerned with events in Europe and Asia, passed the Neutrality Act in August.[24] In October, Italy invaded Ethiopia, and Germany was the only major European nation to support the invasion. Italy subsequently dropped its objections to Germany's goal of absorbing Austria.[25]

Hitler defied the Versailles and Locarno treaties by remilitarizing the Rhineland in March 1936. He received little response from other European powers.[26] When the Spanish Civil War broke out in July, Hitler and Mussolini supported the fascist and authoritarian Nationalist forces in their civil war against the Soviet-supportedSpanish Republic. Both sides used the conflict to test new weapons and methods of warfare,[27] with the Nationalists winning the war in early 1939. In October 1936, Germany and Italy formed the Rome-Berlin Axis. A month later, Germany and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, which Italy would join in the following year. In China, after the Xi'an Incident the Kuomintang and communist forces agreed on a ceasefire in order to present a united front to oppose Japan.

» Reply to Comment
Re: WW2, A History
1 week - 31,391v
Posted 2012/08/12 - 3:24 GMT
The war that showed that you mess with the U.S.A. Japan, we give you a bomb 100x the size of you and blow your butt up. 
 
It's just amazing how we won that war, only the U.S.A. could do such a thing! Of course the alies helped a lot but you gotta admit, without the U.S.A. Hitler would have ruled.
 
We have (still a lot of people do) pride in the U.S.A. 
» Reply to Comment
Re: WW2, A History
1 week - 32,767v
Posted 2012/08/12 - 4:37 GMT
Why is dis in Southwestern Spam?
» Reply to Comment
Re: WW2, A History
1 week - 32,767v
Posted 2012/08/12 - 15:59 GMT
Stryker, I agree, but the USA could only have saved the world :P of britan held out. The only reason Britain. held out was Canada (for food and war machines). All of britain's factories were gone.


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