World War 2 was a conflict that had gripped the world during the early 20th century. It was fought between the Allied powers of the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union and the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan. In order to understand this 5 year long conflict we must understand World War One, on November 11, 1918 in a train car outside Compeinge, German representatives sign an arms agreement with the Allies ending World War One. This surrender would mark the beginning of a decade long hiatus that would be ended by Hitlerís invasion into Poland on September 1, 1939 thus starting ww2. During the years between World War 1 and World War 2 the world had seen many changes such as the formation of the league of nations, a decade of economic prosperity, the rise of communism in Russia, the formation of the Weimar Republic and many more. These would change again as 1929 came around as on that year the industrialized world would see the worst economic down turn it had ever seen. During the great depression many nations suffered including the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Japan.
Germany in particular was hit hard as the nation struggled to survive with the Treaty of Versaille putting mountains of debt on them by the allies after the war. This would give rise to hyperinflation since they couldnít produce the supplies needed to keep their economy afloat, rampant crime due to the governmentís incompetence to try to save their economy and extreme political partisanship as each faction tried to find a solution and gain power. One party in particular the National Socialist (Nazi) party led by Adolf Hitler would rise to power through election and political manipulation. After becoming Reich Chancellor, Hitler quickly appointed himself the Fuhrer (supreme leader) in 1934 and had become preoccupied with the idea of a race that is ďpureĒ from others and Lebensraum, which was the need of living space for Germany and its people. Hitler would soon start rearming the German military in the mid-30ís in secret as he did not want it known by Britain and France that he violated the Treaty of Versailles. He would later make alliances with Italy and Japan and in 1938 he would occupy Austria and annex Czechoslovakia in the preceding year. In 1939 a non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union would be made, greatly worrying London and Paris. Hitlerís main goal with this was insure an invasion of Poland which Britain and France were sending supplies to. On September 1, 1939 Germany forces would march across the German-Polish border and begin the invasion, three days later Britain and France declare war on Germany. By September 17 the Soviets invaded from the east and Poland quickly crumbles by 1940.
The country is then divided between Germany and the Soviet Union. WIthin that same year on April 9th Hitler invaded Norway and occupied Denmark, on May 10th, the German military had already taken over Belgium and the Netherlands with a military strategy that would be known as Blitzkrieg or Lightning war in english. Hitlerís troops would then cross the Meuse river and strike French troops at Sedan in the northern part to the maginot line, in late May the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) would evacuate to Dunkirk where it would be remembered as one of the events that defined Britainís role in World War 2. On July 14th German troops entered Paris and a new French government is formed under the leadership of French General Phillippe Petain. France would later be divided into two zones German occupied Northern France and the rest of France known as Vichy France. With the French subdued Hitler turned his attention to Britain who had a strategic advantage due to the nation being separate from the rest of Europe.
Throughout the summer of 1940 Hitler would order day and night raids over Britainís cities in order to prepare for a pre-planned invasion called Operation Sea Lion, this would eventually never come to fruition because the Royal Air Force (RAF) would defeat the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain thus forcing Hitler to delay the invasion. In 1941 Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act which allowed the US to ship supplies and armaments to nations as foreign aid, one of the first nations to receive it would be Britain. Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria would join the axis in 1941 and by April Yugoslavia and Greece were already under German control. During this time the ďFinal SolutionĒ as it was known was a plan to wipe out all jews living in German occupied Europe, this would be laid out with camps in Poland, around 4 million Jews would pass away in these camps. Also during this time Germany and the Soviets were in a non-aggression pact that would be violated on June 22, 1942 when Hitler would order the beginning of operation Barbarossa which was a plan to invade the Soviet Union and supply it with the Lebensraum the German people needed. By mid-July German ground forces were only 200 feet from Moscow thanks to their surprise invasion of Russia and the lack of skilled officers and commanders due to Stalinís Great Purge in which he had killed anyone deemed a threat to his rule. Hitler and his command would begin to argue when their next advance should be, it would be stalled until October in which a Soviet counter offensive would push the Germans back during the Russian winter. While Europe was in all out war, in the East the Japanese were in the middle of their own war with the Chinese which was known as the Second Sino-Japanese war, this had been going on since 1937. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese navy would launch an air raid of 360 Japanese aircraft on Pearl Harbor in order to knock the US out of the war before they could join and to intimidate the US into not interfering in international affairs. This had not just cost the lives of 2,300 US service members but also unified public opinion towards entering the war on behalf of the allies. With only one dissenting vote the US congress had on December 8th declared war on Japan with Germany declaring war on the US after. After a long thread of Japanese triumphs in the pacific, the Battle of Midway would serve as a turning point of the war as the Japanese offensive to take the island had failed. From August 1942 to February 1943 the US would experience consecutive victories in the pacific theater and by mid-1943 aggressive naval tactics would be adopted into the US military along with an island hopping strategy that would prove effective in the eventual goal of a Japanese defeat.
By 1943 the British and the US defeated the Germans and Italians in North Africa, within the same year Musoliniís government would collapse in July and fighting in Italy would last until the German surrender in 1945. On the eastern front German troops would be encircled in Stalingrad in November 1942, the last German troops would surrender on January 31, 1941 after shortages in food and medical supplies. On June 6, 1944 on the beaches of Normandy D-day would occur in which 156,000 Canadian, British and American soldiers would storm the German defences and establish a beachhead in France. From December 1944 to January 1945 the battle of the bulge would be fought, this will be the last major German offensive of the war. On May 8th the Soviets had already taken much of Germany, on April 30 during the battle of Berlin Hitler would commit suicide in his bunker. Unfortunately by 1945 FDR would die in office, leaving Harry S. Truman as the new commander-in-chief. From July to August the Potsdam conference would discuss a post-war Germany and how to end the war with Japan. In early August the US would drop two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by September 2 US General Douglas MacArthur would accept Japanís surrender on the USS Missouri. World war 2 was one of the most destructive wars till today with itís affects still lingering around. It is estimated there were 80-60 million casualties, 6 million of which were the Jews who were locked up in camps such as Auschwitz and Dachau and military deaths only making up 21-25 milion while civilian death made up 50-55 million deaths overall.