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World War II

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The beginning of the Second World War

The Second World War or World War II began on 1 September 1939 by the German attack of Poland. In Europe, the war ended on 8 May 1945 with the surrender of the German army; in Asia, the war ended on 2 September 1945 with the Japanese army's surrender. It was almost exactly six years long.

Over 60 million people died as a result, making it the deadliest war in human history. Many countries fought in this war. Germany, Italy, Japan and other countries were known as the "Axis". The United Kingdom, France, the Soviet Union, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Republic of China, and the United States were known as the "Allies". Italy (and some other countries) switched sides part way through the war.

Leadup to the war[edit | edit source]

After the German Empire and its allies lost World War I, Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. In the treaty, Germany give up its colonies and much of its land in Europe, and limits were put on the Germany military. Germany also had to pay reparations (money as compensation for the destruction World War I had caused) to the Allies. All of this was very unpopular in Germany, and led to an increase in antisemitism and other far-right views among German people.

The Nazi Party, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, came into power in Germany in 1933. Hitler wanted to revise the Treaty of Versailles, for example by getting back some of the European land Germany had lost. The Nazis also believes in pan-Germanism, meaning that they wanted to unite Germany with Austria and other German-speaking parts of Central Europe. They wanted German people to be seen as more important or valuable as people than other people, and Jews and Slavic people to be seen as less valuable.

In 1938, Austria became part of Germany, and later the same year the mostly German-speaking Sudetenland, which was part of Czechoslovakia, was also given to Germany. In 1939, Hitler tried again to take more land for Germany, asking Poland to give back the land that it had gotten from Germany in the Treaty of Versailles. Poland refused, and on 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland.

German invasion of Poland[edit | edit source]

On the 1 of September 1939 the German army invaded the Polish Republic for control of the Danzig region because prior to the end of World War I the German Empire controlled this area. In the agreement between the Soviet union and Germany, they agreed to split Poland between the two nations. This moment started WW2 as on September 3rd, the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany.

Western Front[edit | edit source]

In the spring of 1940, Germany invaded France, the Benelux countries, Denmark, and Norway.

Eastern Front[edit | edit source]

In 1941, Germany began Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. At first, the Soviet troops were pushed back, but after the battle of Moscow (1941-1942) and the battle of Stalingrad (1942-1943), the German army was pushed back and the Soviet soldiers progressively reconquered Eastern Europe.

USA enters the war[edit | edit source]

On 7 December 1941, Germany's allies Japan attacked the American navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, where much of the fleet was stationed. The United States had been neutral until then, and Japan made the attack without a formal declaration of war. The day after this, American president Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech before Congress where he urged it to go to war with Japan and its allies, and Congress agreed to declare war.

See also[edit | edit source]

Pgrey history.png History Portal — All articles about history.