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World War II

Allies Soviet Union[a] United Kingdom
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 Front winter 1943–1944, US naval force in the Lingayen Gulf,Wilhelm Keitel signing the German Instrument of Surrender, Soviet troops in the Battle of Stalingrad

Axis Germany Japan[h] Italy[i] Hungary Romania[j] Bulgaria[k]

World War II

United States China[b] France[c] Poland Canada Australia India Yugoslavia Greece Netherlands Belgium South Africa


Date Location


1 September 1939 – 2 September 1945(6 years, 1 day) Europe, Pacific, Atlantic, South-East Asia, China, Middle East,Mediterranean and Africa, briefly Northand South America Allied victory     Collapse of the Third Reich Fall of Japanese and Italian Empires Creation of the United Nations Emergence of the United Statesand the Soviet Union assuperpowers  Beginning of the Cold War(more...).

Finland Thailand Iraq

Client and puppet states:

New Zealand Norway Czechoslovakia Ethiopia[e] Brazil Denmark[f] Luxembourg

Albania Croatia Slovakia

Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Spherepuppets

Commanders and leaders
Allied leaders Joseph Stalin Winston Churchill Franklin D. Roosevelt Chiang Kai-shek Axis leaders Adolf Hitler Hirohito Benito Mussolini

Cuba Mexico Philippines Mongolia Iran[g]

Manchukuo China-Nanjing Mengjiang Philippines Burma Azad Hind Vietnam

erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. which tied down the major part of the Axis' military forces for the rest of the war. in a series of campaigns and treaties. also known as the Second World War. the Western Allies invaded France. The United Kingdom and the other members of the British Commonwealth were the only major Allied forces continuing the fight against the Axis. It involved the vast majority of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. In 1944. In December 1941. Japan joined the Axis. but the world war is generally said to have begun on 1 September 1939 with the invasion of Poland by Germanyand subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom. industrial. conquering or subduing much of continental Europe. at Stalingrad in Russia. Following the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. the strategic bombing of enemy industrial and/or population centers. and Germany was defeated in North Africa and then decisively. with battles taking place in North and East Africa as well as the long-running Battle of the Atlantic. giving a start to the largest land theatre of war in history. The war in Europe ended with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet and Polish troops and the subsequent German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. and quickly conquered much of the Western Pacific. The Axis advance was stopped in 1942. including Poland. although some conflicts in Asia that are commonly viewed as becoming part of the world war had begun earlier than 1939. was a global war. including the Holocaust. [1] The Empire of Japan aimed to dominate East Asia and was already at war with the Republic of China in 1937. the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union. the major participants threw their entire economic. In June 1941. and American victories in the Pacific. while the Soviet Union regained all of its territorial losses and invaded Germany and its allies. With an invasion of the [2] . with a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front. Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories between themselves their European neighbours. from more than 30 different countries. it resulted in an estimated 50 million to 85 million fatalities. It was the most widespread war in history. In a state of "total war". From late 1939 to early 1941. the Three Alls Policy. It is generally considered to have lasted from 1939 to 1945. Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945. and the first use of nuclear weapons in combat. near Hawaii. the Allied invasion of Italy which brought about that nation's surrender. These made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese began suffering major reverses in mainland Asia inBurma and South Central China whilst the United States defeated the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands. and directly involved more than 100 million people. Finland and theBaltic states. andscientific capabilities behind the war effort. the United States dropped atomic bombson the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 August and 9 August respectively. Germany formed the Axis alliance with Italy. In 1943. attacked the United States andEuropean territories in the Pacific Ocean. when Japan lost a critical battle at Midway. Marked by mass deaths of civilians. the Axis lost the initiative and undertook strategic retreat on all fronts.World War II (WWII or WW2).

he start of the war is generally held to be 1 September 1939. with the defeat of the Central Powers—including Austria-Hungary. Belgium. cementing the total victory of the Allies over the Axis. and France —became thepermanent members of the United Nations Security Council. beginning with the German invasion of Poland. rather than the formal surrender of Japan (2 September 1945). Despite the pacifist movement in the aftermath of the war. Meanwhile. This article uses the conventional dating. [10] the losses still caused irredentist and revanchist nationalism to become important in a number of European states. Political integration. emerged as an effort to stabilise postwar relations and cooperate more effectively in the Cold War. However.Japanese archipelago (known as Operation Downfall) imminent. Taylor. Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. The great powers that were the victors of the war—the United States. [7] The exact date of the war's end is also not universally agreed upon. the Soviet Union. China. especially in Europe. World War II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world. P. setting the stage for the Cold War. [6] The British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of the Second World War as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the Mongolia. which lasted for the next 46 years. Other dates for the beginning of war include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937. Thus ended the war in Asia. who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred simultaneously and the two wars merged in 1941. while the decolonisation of Asia and Africa began. the influence of European great powers started to decline. existing victorious Allies such as France. Italy. The United Nations (UN) was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. Irredentism and revanchism were strong in Germany because of the significant territorial. Germany lost around 13 percent of its home territory and all of its overseas . the Treaty of Peace with Japan was not signed until 1951. whereas new states were created out of the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Russian and Ottoman Empires. J. colonial. 15 August 1945. [3] The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers. Under the treaty. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935. Soviet Union from May to September 1939. [9] Background Main article: Causes of World War II World War I had radically altered the political map. and financial losses incurred by the Treaty of Versailles. the United Kingdom. in some European histories. [8] and that with Germany not until 1990. [5] [4] Others follow the British historian A. Germany and the Ottoman Empire—and the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia. it ended on V-E Day (8 May 1945). Meanwhile. and the Soviet Union's declaration of war on Japan with the invasion of Manchuria. It has been suggested that the war ended at the armistice of 14 August 1945 (V-J Day). Greece and Romania gained territories. Japan surrendered. Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery.

reparations were imposed. and class collaborationist agenda that abolished representative democracy. left-wing and liberal forces. while German annexation of other states was prohibited. Rehe and Hebei. and Chahar and Suiyuan. promising the creation of a "New Roman Empire". which had long sought influence in as the first step of what its government saw as the country's right to rule Asia. Japan withdrew from the League of Nations after being condemned for its incursion into Manchuria. The two nations then fought several battles. was created. In the aftermath of the Reichstag fire. [18] Adolf Hitler at a German National Socialist political rally in Weimar. an increasingly militaristic Japanese Empire. China appealed to the League of Nations for help. Too weak to resist Japan. repressed socialist. 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. China [16] [15] In 1931. the Fascist movement led by Benito Mussolini seized power in Italy with a nationalist. the Weimar Republic's legitimacy was challenged by right-wing elements such the Freikorps and the Nazi party. used the Mukden Incident as [17] a pretext to launch an invasion of Manchuriaand establish the puppet state of Manchukuo. [13] In Germany.colonies. Hitler created a totalitarian single-party state led by the Nazis. but was soon embroiled in a civil war against its former Chinese communist allies. and pursued an aggressive foreign policy aimed at forcefully forging Italy as a world power. later known as the Weimar Republic. From 1922 to 1925. he was appointed Chancellor of Germany. Thereafter. The interwar period saw strife between supporters of the new republic and hardline opponents on both the right and left. Chinese volunteer forces continued the resistance to Japanese aggression in Manchuria. With the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. domestic support for Nazism and its leader Adolf Hitler rose and. and limits were placed on the size and capability of the country's armed forces. until the Tanggu Truce was signed in 1933. in 1933. October 1930 . [14] The Kuomintang (KMT) party in China launched a unification campaign against regional warlords and nominally unified China in the mid-1920s. and a democratic government. Although Italy as an Entente ally made some territorial gains. of the Soviet Union. resulting in events such as the Kapp Putsch and the Beer Hall Putsch. in Shanghai. the Russian Civil War had led to the creation The German Empire was dissolved in the German Revolution of 1918–1919. [12] [11] Meanwhile. totalitarian.

Before taking effect though. accelerated his rearmament programme and introducedconscription. [24] Hitler defied the Versailles and Locarno treaties by remilitarising the Rhineland in March 1936. passed the Neutrality Act in August. Germany and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact. and Germany was the only major European nation to support the invasion. concerned with In October.Adolf Hitler. after an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government in 1923. Italy subsequently dropped its objections to Germany's goal of absorbing Austria. Italy invaded Ethiopia. [25] When theSpanish Civil War broke out in July. France. [21] Hoping to contain Germany. In October 1936. and soon began a massive rearmament campaign. eventually became the Chancellor of Germany in 1933. In China. wrote a treaty of mutual assistance with France. He received little response from other European powers. began to predict that a second Great War might take place. in June 1935. allowed Italy a free hand in Ethiopia. events in Europe and Asia. The Soviet Union. 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. Both sides used the conflict to test new weapons and methods of warfare. easing prior restrictions. the United Kingdom. after the Xi'an Incident the Kuomintang and communist forces agreed on a ceasefire in order to present a united front to oppose Japan. Hitler and Mussolini supported the fascist and authoritarian Nationalist forces in their civil war against the Soviet-supportedSpanish Republic. espousing a radical. France and Italy formed the Stresa Front. He abolished democracy. [27] . however. A month later. racially motivated revision of the world order. [20] [19] It was at this time that multiple political scientists Meanwhile. the United Kingdom made an independent naval agreement with Germany. the Franco-Soviet pact was required to go through the bureaucracy of the League of Nations. to secure its alliance. which Italy would join in the following year. Germany and Italy formed the Rome–Berlin Axis. concerned due toGermany's goals of capturing vast areas of eastern Europe. which rendered it essentially toothless. which Italy desired as a colonial possession. [26] with the Nationalists winning the war in early 1939. [23] [22] The United States.