The World War II Portal
World War II, or the Second World War, was a global military conflict. It began as the joining of what had initially been two separate conflicts, with the first beginning in Asia in 1937 (the Second Sino-Japanese War) and the other beginning in Europe in 1939 (the German and Soviet invasion of Poland).
The war split the majority of the world's nations into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It involved the mobilization of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history, and placed the participants in a state of "total war", which erased the distinction between civil and military resources and resulted in the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort. Over 70 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.
The Allies won the war, and as a result, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as the world's leading superpowers. This set the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 45 years. The United Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The self-determination spawned by the war accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Europe itself began moving toward integration.
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is a popular name for an offensive operational-level military doctrine
which involves an initial bombardment followed by the employment of motorized mobile forces attacking with speed and surprise to prevent an enemy from implementing a coherent defense
. The founding principles of these types of operations were developed in the 20th century by various nations, and adapted in the years after World War I
, largely by the German Wehrmacht
, to incorporate modern weapons
and vehicles as a method to help avoid the stalemate of trench warfare
and linear warfare
in future conflicts. The first practical implementations of these concepts coupled with modern technology were instituted by the Wehrmacht in the opening theatres of World War II
.The strategy was particularly effective to Germany in the invasions of Western Europe
and initial operations in the Soviet Union
. These operations were dependent on surprise penetrations, general enemy unpreparedness and an inability to react swiftly enough to German offensive operations.
Selected equipment -
The armament of the Iowa-class battleships
has undergone a massive evolution since the first Iowa
-class ship was laid down in June of 1940; The Iowas
remain among the most heavily-armed ships the United States ever put to sea. The main battery
of 16-inch (406 mm) guns could hit targets nearly 24 miles (39 km) away with a variety of artillery
shells, from standard armor piercing rounds
to tactical nuclear charges
called "Katies" (from "kt" for kiloton
).The secondary battery of 5-inch (127 mm) guns could hit targets nearly 9 miles (14 km) away with solid projectiles or proximity fused shells, and were equally adept in an anti-aircraft role and for damaging smaller ships. When commissioned these battleships carried a fearsome array of 20 mm and 40 mm anti-aircraft guns
, which were gradually replaced with Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles, Phalanx
anti-aircraft/anti-missile gatling gun
systems, and electronic warfare
suites. By the time the last Iowa
-class battleship was decommissioned in 1992, the Iowas
had set a new record for battleship weaponry: no other battleship class in history has had so many weapons at its disposal for use against an opponent.
Selected battle -
The Battle of Savo Island
, also known as the First Battle of Savo Island
and, in Japanese sources, as the First Battle of the Solomon Sea (第一次ソロモン海戦, Dai-ichi-ji Soromon Kaisen)
, took place August 8 – August 9, 1942. It was a naval battle
of the Pacific Campaign
of World War II
, between the Imperial Japanese Navy
naval forces. The battle was the first major naval engagement of the Guadalcanal campaign
.In the battle, a Japanese warship task force surprised and routed the Allied naval force, sinking one Australian
and three American cruisers
, while taking only moderate damage in return. The Japanese force consisted of seven cruisers and one destroyer
, commanded by Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa
. In response to Allied amphibious
landings in the eastern Solomon Islands
, Mikawa brought his task force down New Georgia Sound
(also known as "the Slot") to attack the Allied amphibious fleet and its screening force. The screening force consisted of eight cruisers and fifteen destroyers, commanded by British Rear Admiral Victor Crutchley VC
, but only five cruisers and seven destroyers were actually involved in the battle.
The following are images from various World War II-related articles on Wikipedia.
The hunger-winter of 1947. Thousands protest against the disastrous food situation. Sign says "we want coal. we want bread." (31 March 1947).
Croydon airport, England, 31 March 1939, before deportation
Czechoslovakian Jews at
Marshal Pétain, left, head of Vichy France, shaking hands with Hitler on October 24, 1940.
Marrakesh, January 1944
Prime Minister Churchill and General de Gaulle at
Manchukuo promoting harmony among peoples. The caption reads: "With the help of Japan, China, and Manchukuo, the world can be in peace."
1935 poster of the puppet state of
UN vs Axis War Production, near equality of strength in 1942
Iași pogrom, July 1941
Bodies being pulled out of a train carrying Romanian Jews from the
Animation of the European Theatre.
alt=Cost of The Second World War in Military and Civilian deaths in Europe
Doctors' trial, Nuremberg, 9 December 1946 – 20 August 1947
The 23 defendants during the
occupation zones of Germany, in its 1937 borders, with territories east of the Oder-Neisse line shown as annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union, plus the Saar protectorate and divided Berlin. East Germany was formed by the Soviet Zone, while West Germany was formed by the American, British, and French zones in 1949 and the Saar in 1957.
Soviet POWs held by the Nazis in Mauthausen concentration camp. It is estimated that at least 3.3 million Soviet POWs died in German custody.
Roosevelt and Churchill drafted the Atlantic Charter in August 1941
invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 which directly led to the Anglo-French declaration of war on Germany on 3 September. The Soviet Union joined Germany's invasion of Poland on 17 September.
Yalta Soviet-American 38th parallel division to the stalemate of 1953 that was officially ended in 2018 by North Korean Kim Jong-Un and South Korean Moon Jae-In
Evolution of the border between the two Koreas, from the
The major long-term goal of Roosevelt's foreign policy during the war was creating a United Nations to resolve all world problems
Kristallnacht, November 1938
Potsdamer Straße 26, Berlin, the day after
Greek counteroffensive against Italian-controlled Albania, late 1940.
Annexed or transferred to neighbouring countries by the treaty or later by plebiscites and League of Nation actions
Germany after Versailles----
Ruins in Stalingrad, typical of the destruction in many Soviet cities.
World map of colonization at the end of the Second World War in 1945
Auschwitz II extermination camp, summer 1944, thinking they were being resettled.
Jews arrive with their belongings at the
The official opening of the League of Nations, 15 November 1920
RM is what this person with hereditary illness costs the community in his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too. Read Neues Volk, the monthly magazine of the Office of Racial Policy of the Nazi Party."
The poster (c. 1937) reads: "60,000
Tarawa. The Marines secured the island after 76 hours of intense fighting. Over 6,000 American and Japanese troops died in the fighting.
Bodies of U.S. Marines on the beach of
Japanese troops entering
March or April 1938: Jews are forced to scrub the pavement in
Munich Dictate") and March 1939
All territories taken from Czechoslovakia by its neighbours in October 1938 ("
Carpathian Ruthenia on the selection ramp at Auschwitz II, c. May 1944. Women and children are lined up on one side, men on the other, waiting for the SS to determine who was fit for work. About 20 percent at Auschwitz were selected for work and the rest gassed.
Am Großen Wannsee 56–58, Berlin
A soldier of an Indian armoured regiment examines a light tank used by Indonesian nationalists and captured by British forces during the fighting in
UN vs Axis War Production, near equality of strength in 1942
Neville Chamberlain and Hitler at a meeting in Germany on 24 September 1938, and Hitler demanded the immediate annexation of Czechoslovak border areas.
British Prime Minister
The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere in 1942.
Japanese occupation of China in 1937
Gloster Gladiators of British RAF refuel in Iraq, 1941
Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the Chinese nationalist Kuomintang
Peenemünde, on the Baltic German coast (1943).
V-2 rocket launching at
Civilian casualties of European nations and % of population
Lwów, eastern Poland (later Ukraine), during the Lviv pogroms, July 1941.
Jewish women were stripped, beaten and raped in
Saloniki are forced to exercise or dance, July 1942.
Greek Jews from
Italian Social Republic (RSI) as of 1943 in yellow and green. The green areas were German military operational zones under direct German administration.
Clement Attlee, Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference, circa 28 July – 1 August 1945
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Selected biography -
Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Vasilevsky , September 30, 1895 – December 5, 1977) was a Soviet military commander, promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1943. He was the Soviet Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Minister of Defense during World War II, as well as Minister of Defense from 1949 to 1953. As the Chief of the General Staff, Vasilevsky was responsible for the planning and coordination of almost all decisive Soviet offensives, from the Stalingrad counteroffensive to the assault on East Prussia and Königsberg.Vasilevsky started his military career during the First World War, earning the rank of captain by 1917. At the beginning of the October Revolution and the Civil War he was conscripted into the Red Army, taking part in the Polish–Soviet War. After the war, he quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a regimental commander by 1930. In this position, he showed great skill in the organization and training of his troops. Vasilevsky's talent did not go unnoticed, and in 1931 he was appointed a member of the Directorate of Military Training. In 1937, following Stalin's Great Purge, he was promoted to General Staff officer.
Did you know...? -
Selected quote -
"No enemy bomber can reach the Ruhr. If one reaches the Ruhr, my name is not Hermann Goering. You may call me Hermann Meyer."
- — Hermann Göring, September, 1939
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