World War 2

World War II is considered to be the deadliest war that has happened, killing over 70 million people.

The war was between countries that formed two groups: the “Allies” which consisted of the Allied Powers of Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States and the “Axis” Powers which consisted of Germany, Italy, and Japan.

The Start

Germany was being led by a fascist dictator named Adolf Hitler. His goal was to rule all of Europe and in his attempt to get more land the German troops invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939.

When Hitler refused to call a halt to the invasion, Britain and France made a declaration of war against Germany. This was the beginning of WW II.

The War Continues

Hitler and the German troops continued to advance and attack countries throughout Europe. By 1941 the Germans had invaded and overtaken France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Greece, Yugoslavia, and had made an attempted and failed invasion on the USSR.

Hitler and the Nazis had specific goals in their invasions: to strip all of the wealth from the invaded country to support the war effort and Germany and to kill or imprison all of those people that didn’t fit their image of what a German should look like.

They began with the imprisonment of all those of the Jewish faith, and then extended it to gypsies, anyone with a mental or physical disability, all people of color, and eventually the news media that didn’t support them, and all those that were professors or intellects.

The Jewish people suffered the highest casualties with over 6 million dead and thousands more in the detention camps.

The other Front

During the time that Germany was battling in the takeover of Europe, the country of Japan had its eyes on total control of all of Asia and the Pacific.

Prior to the official start of WW II, in 1937, Emperor Hirohito of Japan attacked China and this caused many years of conflict between the two countries.

The United States had managed to avoid participating in the war until the moment on December 8, 1941, when Japan bombed the American Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, destroying a majority of the U.S. fleet.

It was at that time that the United States made the declaration of war against Japan and this also included their German allies.

European Countries that were Neutral

There were a few countries in Europe that managed to remain neutral. This means that they made the choice to not join either of the major groups that were fighting.

Neutral countries during WW2

  • Andorra
  • Ireland
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

The Day the War Ended

An Allied army made the crossing in 1944 from Britain over to France to free them from Nazi rule and oppressions. It was a year later that Allied armies invaded Germany and forced a surrender from the Germans.

The response from the attacks from Japan on Pearl Harbor was met by the United States with the dropping of two nuclear bombs: one on Hiroshima and the other on Nagasaki. In August of that year, Japan also surrendered to the Allied forces and World War II was officially over.

Facts about World War II:

  • The Germans were always assumed to have the most of everything to fight their battles. However, in reality, in 1940, France had more guns, tanks, and men than Germany did.
  • The convoys of the Allies sailing on the open seas were safer than they thought they would be. The losses suffered by the Allied convoys was only around 1%; with higher losses from those that were sailing outside of a convoy.
  • Germany had focused a lot of effort on their aircraft for the war, however, the Japanese also had rocket power in their human-guided anti-shipping missiles known as “Kamikaze rockets.” They were a poor design and only ever managed the sinking of 3 Allied ships.
  • The most experienced commander on the battlefield was British Field Marshal Alexander. He was the only officer during the war to lead troops on the front-line.
  • During the war, Germany was famous for their propaganda promoting their country and Hitler’s Nazi-based Third Reich. Part of the misinformation included that they had a modern and highly mechanized army, when in reality Germany had fewer automotive vehicles than any country in the Western world.
  • Germany depended on trains, carts and horses and the soldiers walking to move their equipment around to the various battles. Not only did they not have the vehicles, but very few people in Germany knew how to drive or had access to fuel.