Second World War


December 8, 2021

World War II was a global military conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all the great powers—organized into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most comprehensive war in history, with more than 100 million soldiers deployed. In a state of "total war", the main actors involved dedicated all their economic, industrial and scientific capacity to the service of the war effort, leaving aside the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by a significant number of attacks against civilians, including the Holocaust and the only time nuclear weapons were used in combat, it was the deadliest conflict in human history, resulting in between 50 and more than 70 million deaths. the starting point of the war as being the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany on September 1, 1939 and subsequent declarations of war against Germany by France and most countries of the British Empire and the Commonwealth. Some countries were already at war at this time, such as Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Italy in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War and China and Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Many of those initially uninvolved ended up joining the conflict in response to events such as the German invasion of the Soviet Union and Japanese attacks on US forces in the Pacific at Pearl Harbor and British overseas colonies, which resulted in declarations of war. against Japan by the United States, the Netherlands and the British Commonwealth. The war ended with the victory of the Allies in 1945, significantly altering the political alignment and the world social structure. While the United Nations (UN) was established to encourage global cooperation and prevent future conflicts, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for a Cold War that would span the next forty-six years ( 1945-1991). In the meantime, acceptance of the principle of self-determination accelerated movements of decolonization in Asia and Africa, while Western Europe began a movement of economic recovery and political integration.


The first day of September 1939 is generally considered the beginning of the war, with the German invasion of Poland; the UK and France declared war on Nazi Germany two days later. Other dates for the start of the war include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on July 7, 1937. Others follow British historian AJP Taylor, who considered that the Sino-Japanese War and the war in Europe and its colonies took place simultaneously and later merged in 1941. This entry uses the conventional date. Other dates sometimes used for the start of World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on October 3, 1935. British historian Antony Beevor sees the start of World War II in the battles of Khalkhin Gol, fought between the Empire of Japan and the Soviet Union from May to September 1939. There is also no consensus on the exact date of the end of the war. It has been suggested that the war ended with the armistice of August 14, 1945 (Day V-J), rather than Japan's formal surrender on September 2, 1945; some point to the end of the war on May 8, 1945 (Day V-E). However, the peace treaty with Japan was not signed until 1951, while the peace agreement with Germany was not ratified until 1990.


World War I radically altered the geopolitical map of Europe, with the defeat of the Central Empires (Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire) and the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks in 1917 in Russia. The victorious allies such as France, Belgium, I

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