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.

Featured article

Lt. Francisco Mercado, Jr. awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by General Leon Johnson
Hispanic Americans in World War II fought in every major battle in the European Theatre, from North Africa to the Battle of the Bulge, and in the Pacific Theater of Operations, from Bataan to Okinawa. According to the National World War II Museum, between 250,000 and 500,000 Hispanic Americans served in the Armed Forces during WWII, out of a total of 10,420,000, comprising 2.3% to 4.7% of the Armed Forces. The exact number is unknown as, at the time, Hispanics were integrated into the general white population census count. Separate statistics were kept for African-Americans and Asian-Americans.On December 7, 1941, when the United States officially entered the war, Hispanic Americans were among the many American citizens who joined the ranks of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps as volunteers or through the draft.


Selected equipment

HMS Royal Oak in 1937
His Majesty's Ship Royal Oak (pennant number 08) was a Revenge-class battleship of the British Royal Navy, torpedoed in Scapa Flow by the German submarine U-47 on 14 October 1939. Launched in 1914 and completed in 1916, Royal Oak first saw action at the Battle of Jutland. In peacetime, she served in the Atlantic, Home and Mediterranean fleets, coming under accidental attack on more than one occasion. The ship became the centre of worldwide attention in 1928 when her senior officers were controversially court-martialled. During a twenty-five year career, attempts to modernise Royal Oak could not address her fundamental lack of speed, and by the start of the Second World War, she was no longer suited to front-line duty.Royal Oak was anchored at Scapa Flow in Orkney, Scotland when she became the first of the five Royal Navy battleships and battlecruisers sunk in the Second World War. The loss of life was heavy: of Royal Oak complement of 1,234 men, 833 were killed that night or died later of their wounds.


Selected battle

Dead Japanese soldiers, killed assaulting United States Marine positions, lie on the sandbar at the mouth of Alligator Creek, Guadalcanal after the battle on August 21, 1942.
The Battle of the Tenaru (or Battle of the Ilu River) took place August 21, 1942, on the island of Guadalcanal, and was a land battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, between Imperial Japanese Army and Allied (mainly United States (U.S.) Marine) ground forces. The battle was the first major Japanese land offensive during the Guadalcanal campaign.In the battle, U.S. Marines, under the overall command of U.S. Major General Alexander Vandegrift, successfully repulsed an assault by the "First Element" of the "Ichiki" Regiment, under the command of Japanese Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki. The Marines were defending the Lunga perimeter, which guarded Henderson Field, which was captured by the Allies in landings on Guadalcanal on August 7. Ichiki's unit was sent to Guadalcanal in response to the Allied landings with the mission of recapturing the airfield and driving the Allied forces off of the island. Underestimating the strength of Allied forces on Guadalcanal, which at that time numbered about 11,000 personnel, Ichiki's unit conducted a nighttime frontal assault on Marine positions at Alligator Creek on the east side of the Lunga perimeter. Ichiki's assault was defeated with heavy losses for the Japanese attackers. .


Selected picture

Credit: Bill Genaust

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.Bill Genaust, who was standing almost shoulder-to-shoulder with Rosenthal about thirty yards from the flag raising, was shooting motion-picture film during the flag-raising. His film captures the flag raising at an almost-identical angle to Rosenthal's famous shot.

Selected biography

Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki was a soldier of the Second Polish Republic, the founder of the Secret Polish Army (Tajna Armia Polska) Polish resistance group and a member of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). During World War II, he became the only known person to volunteer to be imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp. While there, he organized the resistance movement in the camp, and as early as 1940, informed the Western Allies of Nazi Germany's Auschwitz atrocities. He escaped from the camp in 1943 and took part in the Warsaw Uprising. Pilecki was executed in 1948 by the communists. Until 1989, information on his exploits and fate was suppressed by the Polish communist regime.Witold Pilecki was born May 13, 1901, in Olonets on the shores of Lake Ladoga in Karelia, Russia, where his family had been forcibly resettled by Tsarist Russian authorities after the suppression of Poland's January Uprising of 1863–1864.


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Selected quote

"This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note, stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany."
Neville Chamberlain, 3 September 1939

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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