The Second World War" and "WWII" redirect here. For other uses, see The Second World War (disambiguation) and WWII (disambiguation).
World War II |
Clockwise from top left: Chinese forces in the Battle of Wanjialing, Australian 25-pounder guns during theFirst Battle of El Alamein, German Stuka dive bombers on the Eastern Front in December 1943, a U.S. naval force in the Lingayen Gulf, Wilhelm Keitel signing theGerman Instrument of Surrender, Soviet troops in theBattle of Stalingrad |
Date | 1 September 1939 – 2 September 1945(6 years and 1 day)[a] |
Location | Europe, Pacific, Atlantic, South-East Asia,China, Middle East, Mediterranean, North Africa and Horn of Africa, ...view middle of the document...
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. It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. In a state of "total war", the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian andmilitary resources. Marked by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust (in which approximately 11 million people were killed) and the strategic bombing of industrial and population centres (in which approximately one million were killed, and which included the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki), it resulted in an estimated 50 million to 85 million fatalities. These made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history.
The Empire of Japan aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific and was already at war with the Republic of China in 1937,but 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 the United Kingdom. From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, and formed the Axis alliance withItaly and Japan. Based on the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet...