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 GermanS-mine (Schrapnellmine in German), also known as the Bouncing Betty, is the best-known version of a class of mines known as bounding mines. These mines launch into the air at about waist height and explode, propelling shrapnel horizontally at lethal speeds. The S-mine was an anti-personnellandmine developed by Germany in the 1930s and used extensively by German forces during World War II. It was designed to be used in open areas to attack unshielded infantry. Two versions were produced, designated by the year of their first production: the SMi-35 and SMi-44. There are only minor differences between the two models.The S-mine entered production in 1935 and served as a key part of the defensive strategy of the Third Reich. Until production ceased with the defeat of Germany in 1945, Germany produced over 1.93 million S-mines.These mines were responsible for inflicting heavy casualties and slowing, or even repelling, drives into German-held territory throughout the war. The design was lethal, successful and much imitated, and remains one of the definitive weapons of World War II.
Image 3Jews from Carpathian Ruthenia on the selection ramp at Auschwitz II, c. May 1944. Women and children are lined up on one side, men on the other, waiting for the SS to determine who was fit for work. About 20 percent at Auschwitz were selected for work and the rest gassed. (from The Holocaust)
Image 18Italian Social Republic (RSI) as of 1943 in yellow and green. The green areas were German military operational zones under direct German administration. (from Diplomatic history of World War II)
Image 19Jews arrive with their belongings at the Auschwitz II extermination camp, summer 1944, thinking they were being resettled. (from The Holocaust)
Image 26British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and Hitler at a meeting in Germany on 24 September 1938, and Hitler demanded the immediate annexation of Czechoslovak border areas. (from Causes of World War II)
Image 341935 poster of the puppet state of Manchukuo promoting harmony among peoples. The caption reads: "With the help of Japan, China, and Manchukuo, the world can be in peace." (from Diplomatic history of World War II)
Image 60Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 which directly led to the Anglo-French declaration of war on Germany on 3 September. The Soviet Union joined Germany's invasion of Poland on 17 September. (from Causes of World War II)
The forward magazine of the destroyerUSS Shaw explodes as a result of combat damage during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. At right, the bow of USS Nevada can be seen after her aborted escape attempt out channel. Many people mistakenly believe the ship shown exploding is USS Arizona, whose destruction during the attack accounted for over half of the men killed in action.
Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Vasilevsky , September 30, 1895 – December 5, 1977) was a Soviet military commander, promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1943. He was the Soviet Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Minister of Defense during World War II, as well as Minister of Defense from 1949 to 1953. As the Chief of the General Staff, Vasilevsky was responsible for the planning and coordination of almost all decisive Soviet offensives, from the Stalingrad counteroffensive to the assault on East Prussia and Königsberg.Vasilevsky started his military career during the First World War, earning the rank of captain by 1917. At the beginning of the October Revolution and the Civil War he was conscripted into the Red Army, taking part in the Polish–Soviet War. After the war, he quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a regimental commander by 1930. In this position, he showed great skill in the organization and training of his troops. Vasilevsky's talent did not go unnoticed, and in 1931 he was appointed a member of the Directorate of Military Training. In 1937, following Stalin's Great Purge, he was promoted to General Staff officer.