World War II, or the Second World War (often abbreviated as WWII or WW2), was a global war that was under way by 1939 and ended in 1945. It involved a vast majority of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis.
Extent of the Holocaust
The exact number of people killed by the Nazi regime is still subject to further research. Recently declassified British and Soviet documents have indicated the total may be somewhat higher than previously believed. However, the following estimates are considered to be highly reliable.
5.6-6.1 million Jews
3.5-6 million Slavic civilians
2.5-4 million POWs
1-1.5 million political dissidents
200 000-800 000 Roma & Sinti
200 000-300 000 handicapped
10 000-250 000 homosexuals
2 000 Jehovah's Witnesses
The Nuremberg Trials is the general name for two sets of trials of Nazis involved in crimes committed during the Holocaust of World War II. The first, and most famous, began on November 20, 1945. It was entitled the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, which tried the most important leaders of Nazi Germany. The second set of trials, for lesser war criminals, was conducted under Control Council Law No. 10, at the U.S. Nuremberg Military Tribunals.
Fifty years ago, during a three-day period in August 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, killing more than 115,000 people and possibly as many as 250,000, and injuring at least another 100,000. In the aftermath of the war, the bombings raised both ethical and historical questions about why and how they were used. Would they have been used on Germany? Why were cities targeted so that so many civilians would be killed? Were there likely alternative ways to end the war speedily and avoid the Allies' scheduled November 1, 1945, invasion of Kyushu?
The Battle of the Bulge, fought over the winter months of 1944 – 1945, was the last major Nazi offensive against the Allies in World War Two. The battle was a last ditch attempt by Hitler to split the Allies in two in their drive towards Germany and destroy their ability to supply themselves...The Battle of the Bulge was the largest battle fought by the Americans in World War Two. 600,000 American troops were involved in the battle. The Americans lost 81,000 men while the Germans lost 100,000 killed, wounded and captured.
The best known D-Day is 6 June 1944. This was the beginning of the Allied invasion of Europe. It began with the landing at Normandy, France. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the invasion saw the largest amphibious assault in history in an effort to gain a toehold in Nazi-occupied France...The invasion of Normandy was also a means of countering Russia’s growing Communist influence in Europe. It was clear that Germany was going to be defeated at some future point.
The Battle of Stalingrad, which saw Hitler’s major push for dominance on the Eastern Front, was marked by terrible losses on both sides. The Russians alone had over a million men wounded or killed...the Germans found themselves surrounded in Stalingrad, vulnerable and starving in the rubble to which the Luftwaffe had reduced the city. Some would argue that the Germans never fully recovered from this most destructive of battles — one of the bloodiest of all time.
The Holocaust took place in the broader context of World War II. Still reeling from Germany's defeat in World War I, Hitler's government envisioned a vast, new empire of "living space" (Lebensraum) in eastern Europe. The realization of German dominance in Europe, its leaders calculated, would require war.
Japan's decision to attack Pearl Harbor were its need for resources of Malaya and especially the Dutch East Indies; the realization that those resources could be obtained in sufficient quantity only by force, and the conviction that the United States would declare war on Japan if those colonies were attacked whether or not the Japanese themselves initiated hostilities with America.
The seeds of the Second World War were sown when totalitarian regimes rose in Germany, Italy, and Japan (the countries responsible for forming the Axis Powers). Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader of Germany, in seeking to expand his country's territory, invaded Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium and France in 1939-40. Despite the efforts of Great Britain and other Allied countries, Germany ran virtually unchecked through Europe in the first few years of the war, but was stopped short of an invasion of England as the British held their own in the air-based Battle of Britain.
World War II began when Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. The war involved the mobilization of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history. Over seventy million people, the majority civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history. Over 400,000 Americans sacrificed their life while defending freedom.
World War 2 required a massive outpouring of manufacturing capabilities, giving rise to one of the world's largest industrial producers in the United States of America. The war, and its global reach, challenged many-a-nation to rise up and fight the fascist incursion brought about by Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Europe and North Africa and the empirical reach of Japan in the Pacific. With its roots planted firmly in the First World War, it was not surprising to see the fusion of man and machine to the extent that was witnessed in the Second World War.
World War II was the mightiest struggle humankind has ever seen. It killed more people, cost more money, damaged more property, affected more people, and caused more far-reaching changes in nearly every country than any other war in history. The number of people killed, wounded, or missing between September 1939 and September 1945 can never be calculated, but it is estimated that more than 55 million people perished.