The World War II Portal
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.
The Invasion of Poland
, 1939, which precipitated World War II, was carried out by Nazi Germany
, the Soviet Union
and a small German-allied Slovak
contingent.The invasion of Poland marked the start of World War II in Europe
, as Poland's western allies, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, declared war
on Germany on September 3, soon followed by France, South Africa and Canada, among others
. The invasion began on September 1, 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
, and ended October 6, 1939, with Germany and the Soviet Union occupying the entirety of Poland. Although the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany soon after Germany attacked Poland, very little direct military aid was provided (see Phoney War
and Western betrayal
). Following a German-staged "Polish attack"
on August 31, 1939, on September 1, German forces invaded Poland from the north, south, and west. Spread thin defending their long borders, the Polish armies were soon forced to withdraw eastward.
The Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (R21)
was the lead ship
of the Royal Navy
's Majestic class
of light aircraft carriers. Operating from 1955 until 1982, she was the third and final conventional aircraft carrier to serve in the Royal Australian Navy
also served as the RAN flagship
, and was the only British Commonwealth
naval vessel to sink two friendly warships in peacetime. Her keel was laid down in April 1943, and she was launched as HMS Majestic (R77)
in February 1945. At the end of World War II
, work on the ship was suspended until she was purchased by the Royal Australian Navy in 1947. At the time of purchase, it was decided to incorporate new aircraft carrier technologies into the design, making Melbourne
the third ship to be constructed with an angled flight deck
. Delays in construction and integrating the enhancements meant that the carrier was not commissioned until 1955.Melbourne
never fired a shot in anger during her career, having only peripheral, non-combat roles in the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
and the Vietnam War
. However, she was involved in two major collisions with allied vessels. collising with and sinking HMAS Voyager
on 10 February 1964, and USS Frank E. Evans
on 3 June 1969.
The Battle of Edson's Ridge
, also known as the Battle of the Bloody Ridge
, Battle of Raiders Ridge
, and Battle of the Ridge
, was a land battle
of the Pacific campaign
of World War II
between Imperial Japanese Army
(mainly United States Marine Corps
) ground forces. It took place September 12–September 14, 1942 on Guadalcanal
Island in the Solomon Islands
, and was the second of three separate major Japanese ground offensives in the Guadalcanal campaign
.In the battle, U.S. Marines, under the overall command of U.S. Major General Alexander Vandegrift
, repulsed an attack by the Japanese 35th Infantry Brigade, under the command of Japanese
Major General Kiyotake Kawaguchi
. The Marines were defending the Lunga perimeter that guarded Henderson Field
on Guadalcanal, which was captured from the Japanese by the Allies in landings on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942. Kawaguchi's unit was sent to Guadalcanal in response to the Allied landings with the mission of recapturing the airfield
and driving the Allied forces from the island.