Portal:World War II

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The World War II Portal

Clockwise from top left: Commonwealth troops in the desert; Chinese civilians being buried alive by Japanese soldiers; Soviet forces during a winter offensive; Carrier-borne Japanese planes readying for take off; Soviet troops fighting in Berlin; A German submarine under attack.

World War II, or the Second World War, was a global military conflict. It began as the joining of what had initially been two separate conflicts, with the first beginning in Asia in 1937 (the Second Sino-Japanese War) and the other beginning in Europe in 1939 (the German invasion of Poland).

The war split the majority of the world's nations into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It involved the mobilization of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history, and placed the participants in a state of "total war", which erased the distinction between civil and military resources and resulted in the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort. Over 70 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.

The Allies won the war, and as a result, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as the world's leading superpowers. This set the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 45 years. The United Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The self determination spawned by the war accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Europe itself began moving toward integration.

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The Defense of Sihang Warehouse (simplified Chinese: 四行仓库; traditional Chinese: 四行倉庫; pinyin: Sìháng Cāngkù) took place from 26 October to 1 November 1937, and marked the beginning of the end of the three-month Battle of Shanghai in the opening phase of the Second Sino-Japanese War.Defenders of the warehouse, known in China as the Eight Hundred Heroes (simplified Chinese: 八百壮士; traditional Chinese: 八百壯士; pinyin: Bābǎi Zhùangshì), held out against numerous waves of Japanese forces and covered Chinese forces retreating west during the Battle of Shanghai. The successful defense of the warehouse provided a morale-lifting consolation to the Chinese army and people in the demoralizing aftermath of the Japanese invasion of Shanghai. The warehouse's location just across the Suzhou Creek from the foreign concessions in Shanghai meant the battle took place in full view of the western powers. This drew the attention, if only briefly, of the international community to Chiang Kai-shek's bid for world-wide support against Japanese aggression.


Selected equipment

A model depicting what the Montana class would have looked like had they been completed
The Montana-class battleships of the United States Navy were planned as successors to the Iowa class, being slower but larger, better armored, and having superior firepower. Five were approved for construction during World War II but changes in wartime building priorities resulted in their cancellation in favor of the Essex-class aircraft carriers before any Montana-class keels were laid.With an intended armament of twelve 16-inch (410 mm) guns and a greater anti-aircraft capability than the preceding Iowa class, the Montanas would have been the largest and the most heavily-armed battleships put to sea by the United States. They would have been the only US Navy battleship class to have come close to rivaling the Empire of Japan's Yamato-class battleships in terms of armor, weaponry, and displacement.Preliminary design work for the Montanas began before the US entry into World War II. The first two vessels were approved by Congress in 1939 following the passage of the Second Vinson Act. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor delayed construction of the Montana class.


Selected battle

U.S. Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers about to attack the burning cruiser Mikuma for the third time.
The Battle of Midway was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II. It took place from June 4, 1942 to June 7, 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, five months after the Japanese capture of Wake Island, and exactly six months to the day after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.During the battle, the United States Navy defeated a Japanese attack against Midway Atoll, losing one aircraft carrier and one destroyer, while sinking four Japanese carriers and a heavy cruiser.The battle was a decisive victory for the Americans, and is widely regarded as the most important naval engagement of the Pacific Campaign of World War II.The Midway operation, like the attack on Pearl Harbor, was not part of a campaign for the conquest of the United States, but was aimed at its elimination as a strategic Pacific power, thereby giving Japan a free hand in establishing its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. It was also hoped another defeat would force the U.S. to negotiate an end to the Pacific War with conditions favorable for Japan.


Selected picture

World War II aircraft worker
Credit: David Bransby, OWI

A 1942 aircraft worker at the Vega Aircraft Corporation in Burbank, California. Women on the United States home front during World War II took on many manufacturing jobs in factories, producing munitions and materiel for the battlefront. This photo was one of a series intended to chronicle many aspects of war mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training and women employees.

Selected biography

Lieutenant-General Horrocks, March 1945
Lieutenant-General Sir Brian Gwynne Horrocks KCB, KBE, DSO, MC (September 7, 1895 – January 4, 1985) was a British army officer. He is chiefly remembered as the commander of XXX Corps in Operation Market Garden and other operations during the Second World War. He also served in the First World War and the Russian Civil War, was a prisoner of war twice, and competed in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Later he was a television presenter, authored books on military history, and was Black Rod in the House of Lords for 14 years. In 1940 Horrocks commanded a battalion during the Battle of France, the first time he served under Bernard Montgomery, the most prominent British commander of the war. Montgomery later identified Horrocks as one of his most able officers, appointing him to corps commands in both North Africa and Europe. In 1943, Horrocks was seriously wounded and took more than a year to recover before returning to command a corps in Europe. It is likely that this period out of action meant he missed out on promotion; his contemporary corps commanders in North Africa, Leese and Dempsey, went on to command at army level and above.


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Selected quote

"All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don't ever let up. Don't ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain."
George S. Patton, 5 June 1944

Topics

World War II
Theatres Main events Specific articles Participants

Prelude
Causes
in Europe
in Asia

Main theatres
Europe
Eastern Europe
China
Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa
Asia and the Pacific
Atlantic

General timeline
Timeline

1939
Invasion of Poland
Winter War

1940
Invasion of Denmark/Norway
Battle of France
Battle of Britain

1941
Invasion of the Soviet Union
Battle of Moscow
Attack on Pearl Harbor

1942
Battle of Midway
Battle of Stalingrad
Second Battle of El Alamein

1943
Battle of Kursk
Guadalcanal campaign
Invasion of Italy

1944
Battle of Normandy
Operation Bagration
Battle of Leyte Gulf
Operation Market Garden
Battle of the Bulge

1945
Battle of Iwo Jima
Battle of Okinawa
Battle of Berlin
End in Europe
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Surrender of Japan

more...

Blitzkrieg
Cryptography
Equipment
Home Front
Military engagements
Production
Resistance
Technology

Civilian impact and atrocities
Nanking Massacre
Holocaust
Siege of Leningrad
Bataan Death March
Dutch famine of 1944
Bengal famine of 1943
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Unit 731
Strategic bombings
Comfort women
Allied war crimes
German war crimes
Japanese war crimes

Aftermath
Effects
Casualties
Expulsion of Germans
Cold War

The Allies
Australia Australia
Belgium Belgium
Brazil Brazil
British Raj British India
Canada Canada
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
Egypt Egypt
El Salvador El Salvador
France France (after June 16, 1940: Free France Free France)
Greece Greece
Netherlands Netherlands
New Zealand New Zealand
Norway Norway
Commonwealth of the Philippines Philippines
Poland Poland
Taiwan Republic of China
South Africa South Africa
Soviet Union Soviet Union
United Kingdom United Kingdom
United States United States
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia

more...

The Axis
Bulgaria Bulgaria
 NDH
Empire of Japan Japan
Finland Finland
France Vichy France
Hungary Hungary
Kingdom of Italy Italy
Nazi Germany Germany
Romania Romania
Thailand Thailand
Slovakia Slovakia

more...


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From the World War II task force of the Military history WikiProject:

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A ForceBattle of Uhtua-KiestinkiBattles of Repola-RukajärviBattle of PorlammiBattle of SiiranmäkiBattle of TuulosBattle of ŁuckBattle of RówneBattle of Włodzimierz WołyńskiBattle of LubartówBattle of MiednikiBattle of JodłaFrancis BlanchainShinshou DraengerChrister Lyst HansenHolocaust slave labor litigationOve KampmanLeague for Combat PolicyFrederick Charles LoughJulien MelineJohn NortonOperation RayonOperation BigotOperation MittelmeerOperation RichardOperation WaterfallOtto ProgramMartin PoppelRoehm's AvengersDorothy TartierePoul BruunRaoul BoulangerSerge Asher-RavanelBattle of West Ukraine (1941)Battle of ZunyiLiberation of Belgium (1944)Free Dutch ForcesYugoslav government in exileOperation AlacrityNumerous African colonies "in World War II";
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