Second World War

Article

July 6, 2022

World War II was a global armed conflict that lasted from September 1, 1939 to September 2, 1945. More than 60 countries took part in the war, including all the great powers, which formed two opposing military camps: the Axis bloc and the anti-Hitler coalition ("the Allies"). More than 100 million people took direct part in the hostilities. Opposing states threw all economic, industrial and scientific capabilities to the needs of the front, erasing the difference between civilian and military resources. Total human losses range between 50 and 80 million people, most of whom were residents of the Soviet Union and China. The Second World War was marked by numerous mass murders and crimes against humanity, primarily the Holocaust, strategic carpet bombing and the only military use of nuclear weapons in history. The main causes of the war were the political contradictions generated by the imperfect Versailles system and the aggressive expansionist policy of Nazi Germany, the Japanese Empire, and Italy. On September 1, 1939, Hitler's troops invaded Poland. On September 3, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany. During the years 1939–1941, thanks to a series of successful military campaigns and a series of diplomatic activities, Germany captured most of continental Europe. At the same time, the Soviet Union annexed (in whole or in part) the territories of neighboring European states: Poland, Romania, Finland, and the Baltic states, which had moved to its sphere of influence on the basis of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. After the start of hostilities in North Africa and the fall of France in mid-1940, the war continued primarily between the Axis countries and Great Britain, whose air force managed to repel German air attacks. At the same time, hostilities spread to the Balkan Peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean. Japan occupied part of China and Southeast Asia, taking control of important sources of raw materials. On June 22, 1941, the troops of the Axis countries numbering 3.5 million invaded the Soviet Union with the aim of conquering "living space" in Eastern Europe. Having opened the largest land front in history, German troops at first occupied the western regions rather quickly.