World War II was a conflict that involved virtually every part of the world during the years 1939–45.
The principal belligerents were the Axis powers—Germany, Italy, and Japan—and the Allies—France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and, to a lesser extent, China.
The war was in many respects a continuation, after an uneasy 20-year hiatus, of the disputes left unsettled by World War I.
The 40,000,000–50,000,000 deaths incurred in World War II make it the bloodiest conflict, as well as the largest war, in history.
On August 15, 1945, Japan formally surrendered. World War II was over. A new age of nuclear weapons had begun, and a cold war between the two superpowers that emerged from the war—the United States and the Soviet Union—would result in many “surrogate wars” in the decades to come, wars fought in and between nations backed by one side or the other.
Top L: Battle of Wanjialing, Top R: First Battle of El Alamein, Mid L: Battle of Stalingrad, Mid R: German dive bombers over East Front winter 1943-1944, Bottom L: Wilhelm Keitel signing German Instrument of Surrender, Bottom R: Invasion of Lingayen Gulf
World War II, or the Second World War was a global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945 which involved most of the world’s nations, including all of the great powers, organised into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million military personnel mobilised. In a state of “total war“, the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant action against civilians, including the Holocaust and the only…
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