Second World War

Article

July 6, 2022

The Second World War was a global military conflict that took place between 1939 and 1945. Most of the nations of the world were involved in it —including all the great powers, as well as practically all the European nations—, grouped in two alliances military conflicts: the Allies, on the one hand, and the Axis powers, on the other. It was the largest military conflict in history, with more than one hundred million soldiers mobilized and a state of total war in which the major contenders devoted all their economic, military and scientific capacity to the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. military. Marked by events of enormous repercussion that included the mass death of civilians - the Holocaust, the intensive bombing of cities and the use, for the first time in a military conflict, of nuclear weapons - World War II was the deadliest in history. , with a result of between 50 and 70 million victims, 2.5% of the world population.[1] The beginning of the conflict is usually placed on September 1, 1939, with the German invasion of Poland, when Hitler decided to incorporate one of his most delicate expansionist claims: the Polish Corridor, which involved the invasion of the western half from Poland; the eastern half, along with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, was occupied by the Soviet Union, while Finland managed to maintain its independence from the Soviets (Winter War). The United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany, which they expected as a repetition of trench warfare ("pretend war") for which they had taken all kinds of precautions (Maginot line) that proved to be totally useless. The spectacular maneuvers of the blitzkrieg (lightning war) gave Germany control of Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and France itself in a few months, while the British army escaped in extremis from the beaches of Dunkirk during the Battle of France . Most of the European continent was occupied by the German army or its allies, among which fascist Italy stood out, whose military contribution was not very significant (Battle of the Alps, Greco-Italian War). The Battle of Britain, the first completely aerial battle in history, maintained pressure over the following period on the new government of Winston Churchill, determined to resist ("blood, sweat and tears") and finally won, among other things thanks to to a technological innovation (radar) and decisive US support, which he negotiated in several interviews with Franklin D. Roosevelt (Atlantic Charter, August 14, 1941). In 1941, the strategic need to occupy the oil fields of the Caucasus prompted Germany to invade the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), initially successful, but stalled in the Battle of Moscow and the sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad. At the same time, Japan, in its expansion campaign through Asia and in revenge for the economic embargo that the US government had imposed on them, attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941; the aggression precipitated the United States' entry into the war. A few months later, the Battle of Midway (in July 1942) would mark a turning point in the Pacific War due to the weakening of the Japanese combat capacity against the Americans. In North Africa, the British halted the advance of the German Afrika Korps from Libya into Egypt at the Battle of El Alamein (1942), after the Italian invasion of the Suez Canal (1940). The final period of the war was characterized by the complex operations necessary for the Allied landings in Europe (Sicily in July 1943; Anzio in January 1944; Normandy in June 1944) and by