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The World War II Portal

Clockwise from top left: Commonwealth troops in the desert; Chinese civilians being buried alive by Japanese soldiers; Soviet forces during a winter offensive; Carrier-borne Japanese planes readying for take off; Soviet troops fighting in Berlin; A German submarine under attack.

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 Allies won the war, and as a result, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as the world's leading superpowers. This set the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 45 years. The United Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The self-determination spawned by the war accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Europe itself began moving toward integration.

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Japanese officers and petty officers of the 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force that seized Tulagi in May, 1942.
The invasion of Tulagi, on May 3 and May 4, 1942, was part of Operation Mo, the Empire of Japan's strategy in the South Pacific and South West Pacific Area in 1942. The plan called for Imperial Japanese Navy troops to capture Tulagi and nearby islands in the Solomon Islands Protectorate. The occupation of Tulagi by the Japanese was intended to cover the flank of Japanese forces that were advancing on Port Moresby in New Guinea as well as to provide a base for Japanese forces to threaten and interdict the supply and communication routes between the United States and Australia and New Zealand.Without the means to capably resist the Japanese offensive in the Solomons, the British Resident Commissioner of the Solomon Islands protectorate and the few Australian troops assigned to defend Tulagi evacuated the island just before the Japanese forces arrived on May 3. The next day, however, a U.S. aircraft carrier task force en route to resist the Japanese forces advancing on Port Moresby (that resulted in the Battle of the Coral Sea) struck the Japanese Tulagi landing force in an air attack, destroying or damaging several of the Japanese ships and aircraft involved in the landing operation.


Selected equipment

A model depicting what the Montana class would have looked like had they been completed
The Montana-class battleships of the United States Navy were planned as successors to the Iowa class, being slower but larger, better armored, and having superior firepower. Five were approved for construction during World War II, but changes in wartime building priorities resulted in their cancellation in favor of the Essex-class aircraft carriers before any Montana-class keels were laid. With an intended armament of twelve 16-inch (410 mm) guns and a greater anti-aircraft capability than the preceding Iowa class, the Montanas would have been the largest and the most heavily-armed battleships put to sea by the United States. They would have been the only US Navy battleship class to have come close to rivaling the Empire of Japan's Yamato-class battleships in terms of armor, weaponry, and displacement. Preliminary design work for the Montanas began before the US entry into World War II. The first two vessels were approved by Congress in 1939 following the passage of the Second Vinson Act. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor delayed construction of the Montana class.


Selected battle

USS Chicago low in the water on the morning of January 30, 1943, from torpedo damage inflicted the night before
The Battle of Rennell Island (Japanese: レンネル島沖海戦) took place on January 29 – January 30, 1943, and was the last major naval engagement between the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy during the lengthy Guadalcanal campaign in the Solomon Islands campaign during World War II. The battle took place in the South Pacific between Rennell Island and Guadalcanal in the southern Solomon Islands. In the battle, Japanese naval land-based torpedo bombers, seeking to provide protection for the impending evacuation of Japanese forces from Guadalcanal, made several attacks over two days on United States' warships operating as a task force south of Guadalcanal. In addition to approaching Guadalcanal with the objective of engaging any Japanese ships that might come into range, the U.S. task force was protecting an Allied transport ship convoy that was carrying replacement troops to Guadalcanal.As a result of the Japanese air attacks on the task force, one U.S. heavy cruiser was sunk, a destroyer was heavily damaged, and the rest of the U.S. task force was forced to retreat from the southern Solomons area.


Selected image

USS Shaw explodes
Credit: United States Navy
The forward magazine of the destroyer USS 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.

Selected biography

Admiral of the Fleet Lord Andrew Cunningham
Admiral of the Fleet Andrew Browne Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, KT, GCB, OM, DSO (7 January 1883 – 12 June 1963), older brother of General Sir Alan Cunningham, was a British admiral of the Second World War. Cunningham was born in Rathmines in the southside of Dublin on 7 January 1883. After starting his schooling in Dublin and Edinburgh, he enrolled at a naval academy, at the age of ten, beginning his association with the Royal Navy. After passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in 1898, he progressed rapidly in rank. He commanded a destroyer during the First World War and through most of the interwar period. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and two Bars, for his performance during this time, specifically for his actions in the Dardanelles and in the Baltics. In the Second World War, as Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, Cunningham led British naval forces to victory in several critical Mediterranean naval battles. These included the attack on Taranto in 1940, the first completely all-aircraft naval attack in history, and the Battle of Cape Matapan in 1941.


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"I said, to the people of the Philippines whence I came, I shall return. Tonight, I repeat those words: I shall return!"
Douglas MacArthur, 30 March 1942

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World War II
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1939
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The Axis
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From the World War II task force of the Military history WikiProject:

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Battle of Kiev (1943)Battle of Ko ChangColditz CastleSpiritual national defenceTuskegee Airmen
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Battle of Uhtua-KiestinkiBattles of Repola-RukajärviBattle of SiiranmäkiBattle of ŁuckBattle of RówneBattle of Włodzimierz WołyńskiBattle of LubartówBattle of MiednikiBattle of JodłaFrancis BlanchainShinshou DraengerChrister Lyst HansenHolocaust slave labor litigation (draft) • Ove KampmanLeague for Combat PolicyFrederick Charles LoughJulien MelineOperation BigotOperation MittelmeerOperation RichardOtto ProgramMartin PoppelRoehm's AvengersDorothy TartierePoul BruunRaoul BoulangerSerge Asher-RavanelBattle of West Ukraine (1941)Battle of ZunyiFree Dutch Forces (draft, please assist) • Template:Campaignbox Free Dutch (draft) • Liberation of Denmark (currently redirect) • Operation Vado (currently redirect) • Finnish 19th Division (Continuation War)Finnish 11th Division (Continuation War)Finnish VII Corps (Continuation War)Finnish VI Corps (Continuation War)Finnish IV Corps (Continuation War)Finnish Cavalry Brigade1st Jaeger Brigade2nd Jaeger BrigadeFinnish 1st Division (Continuation War)168th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)71st Rifle Division (Soviet Union)Group OinonenA.S. Ksenofontov (ru) • Ponomarev Dmitry Grigorievich (ru) (ref) • Siege of Tobruk (June 1942) (ref)
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Princess Irene BrigadeBattle of Bay of ViipuriDemilitarisation; Martha DesrumeauxMochitsura HashimotoOperation CascadeOperation Tan No. 2Burma Area ArmyBattle of CourlandBattle of Munda PointBattle of Voronezh (1943)Drive on Munda PointFirst Battle of KharkovRace to BerlinMarie FourcadeVictor Strydonck de BurkelDonald BlakesleeOperation NordwindBattle of Skerki BankMichael Sinclair (soldier)Battle of MaastrichtBattle of ZeelandLandings on RendovaNew Georgia counterattackOperation WaterfallPetsamo–Kirkenes OffensiveRaid on ChoiseulAmerican-British-Dutch-Australian CommandBattle of Viru HarborBattle of Wickham AnchorageWestern New Guinea campaign (and the individual battles of the campaign) • Operation Blockbustermore
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Twelfth Army (United Kingdom)4th Airborne Division (United Kingdom)5th Airborne Division (United Kingdom)XVI Corps (United Kingdom)Battle of DakarBattle of the Lys (1940)Battle of ZeelandBattle of the GrebbebergFranco-Thai WarBattle of Ko ChangSwitzerland during the World WarsBerthe FraserDietrich von Saucken
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Battle of Borneo (1941–42)Garderegiment Fuseliers Prinses IreneJapanese invasion of French IndochinaJapanese invasion of ThailandLuxembourg in World War IINew Georgia CampaignOperation CartwheelOperation ChastiseRoyal Netherlands Motorized Infantry BrigadeSolomon Islands campaign
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pt:Tobrouk (militar)

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