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 and Soviet 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

Native Solomon Islanders guide US 2nd Marine Raiders in pursuit of Japanese forces on Guadalcanal in November 1942
Carlson's patrol, also known as The Long Patrol or Carlson's long patrol, was an operation by the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion under the command of Evans Carlson during the Guadalcanal Campaign against the Imperial Japanese Army from November 6 to December 4, 1942. In the operation, the 2nd Raiders attacked forces under the command of Toshinari Shōji, which were escaping from an attempted encirclement in the Koli Point area on Guadalcanal and attempting to rejoin other Japanese army units on the opposite side of the U.S. Lunga perimeter.In a series of small unit engagements over 29 days, the 2nd Raiders killed almost 500 Japanese soldiers while suffering only 16 killed. The raiders also captured a Japanese artillery cannon that was delivering harassing gunfire on Henderson Field, the Allied airfield at Lunga Point on Guadalcanal.On August 7, 1942, Allied forces (primarily US Marines) landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida Islands in the Solomon Islands. Their mission was to deny the Japanese use of the islands as bases for threatening the supply routes between the U.S. and Australia, and to secure the islands as starting points for a campaign to isolate the major Japanese base at Rabaul while also supporting the Allied New Guinea campaign. The landings initiated the six-month-long Guadalcanal Campaign.


Selected equipment

USS Wisconsin, photographed at sea in her 1980s configuration.
The armament of the Iowa-class battleships has undergone a massive evolution since the first Iowa-class ship was laid down in June of 1940; The Iowas remain among the most heavily-armed ships the United States ever put to sea. The main battery of 16-inch (406 mm) guns could hit targets nearly 24 miles (39 km) away with a variety of artillery shells, from standard armor piercing rounds to tactical nuclear charges called "Katies" (from "kt" for kiloton).The secondary battery of 5-inch (127 mm) guns could hit targets nearly 9 miles (14 km) away with solid projectiles or proximity fused shells, and were equally adept in an anti-aircraft role and for damaging smaller ships. When commissioned these battleships carried a fearsome array of 20 mm and 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, which were gradually replaced with Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles, Phalanx anti-aircraft/anti-missile gatling gun systems, and electronic warfare suites. By the time the last Iowa-class battleship was decommissioned in 1992, the Iowas had set a new record for battleship weaponry: no other battleship class in history has had so many weapons at its disposal for use against an opponent.


Selected battle

Nazi Germany's attack on Greece
The Battle of Greece (also known as Operation Marita, was a World War II battle that occurred on the Greek mainland and in southern Albania. The battle was fought between the Allied (Greece and the British Commonwealth) and Axis (Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Bulgaria) forces. With the Battle of Crete and several naval actions, the Battle of Greece is considered part of the wider Aegean component of the Balkans Campaign of World War II.The Battle of Greece is generally regarded as a continuation of the Greco-Italian War, which began when Italian troops invaded Greece on October 28, 1940. Within weeks the Italians were driven from Greece and Greek forces pushed on to occupy much of southern Albania. In March 1941, a major Italian counterattack failed, and Germany was forced to come to the aid of its ally. Operation Marita began on April 6, 1941, with German troops invading Greece through Bulgaria in an effort to secure its southern flank. The combined Greek and British forces fought back with great tenacity, but were vastly outnumbered and outgunned, and finally collapsed. Athens fell on April 27.


Selected picture

USS Franklin
Credit: PHC Albert Bullock, United States Navy

The aircraft carrier USS Franklin is afire and listing by 13° after being hit by a Japanese air attack on March 19, 1945, during World War II. The crew is clearly seen on the flaming deck, watched by the crew of the light cruiser USS Santa Fe (from where this was taken), which was alongside assisting with firefighting and rescue work. The casualties totaled 724 killed and 265 wounded.

Selected biography

Sir Michael Francis Addison Woodruff was an English surgeon and scientist principally remembered for his research into organ transplantation. Though born in London, Woodruff spent his youth in Australia, where he earned degrees in electrical engineering and medicine. Having completed his studies shortly after the outbreak of World War II, he joined the Australian Army Medical Corps, but was soon captured by Japanese forces and imprisoned in the Changi Prison Camp. While there, he devised an ingenious method of extracting nutrients from agricultural wastes to prevent malnutrition among his fellow POWs.At the conclusion of the war, Woodruff returned to England and began a long career as an academic surgeon, mixing clinical work and research. Woodruff principally studied transplant rejection and immunosuppression. His work in these areas of transplantation biology, led Woodruff to perform the first kidney transplant in the United Kingdom, on 30 October 1960.


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Selected quote

"Fellow Australians

It is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that, in persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain is at war, and that, as a result, Australia is also at war...

There was never any doubt as to where Great Britain stood... There can be no doubt that where Great Britain stands, there stands the people of the entire British world."
Prime Minister Robert Menzies, 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
Denazification
Cold War
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Decline of the British Empire

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 MelineOperation RayonOperation BigotOperation MittelmeerOperation RichardOtto ProgramMartin PoppelRoehm's AvengersDorothy TartierePoul BruunRaoul BoulangerSerge Asher-RavanelBattle of West Ukraine (1941)Battle of ZunyiFree Dutch ForcesYugoslav government in exileOperation AlacrityOperation SafariLiberation of Finnmark
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