Open main menu

Wikipedia β

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.

Featured article

The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, located in Arlington, Virginia is based on the photo.
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. The photograph was extremely popular, being reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and ultimately came to be regarded as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time.Of the six men depicted in the picture, three (Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, and Michael Strank) did not survive the battle; the three survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes) became celebrities upon their identification in the photo. The picture was later used by Felix de Weldon to sculpt the USMC War Memorial, located adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C.


Selected equipment

The plugboard, keyboard, lamps, and finger-wheels of the rotors emerging from the inner lid of a three-rotor German military Enigma machine
The Enigma machine was a cipher machine used to encrypt and decrypt secret messages. More precisely, Enigma was a family of related electro-mechanical rotor machines, comprising a variety of different models.The Enigma was used commercially from the early 1920s on, and was also adopted by the military and governmental services of a number of nations—most famously by Nazi Germany before and during World War II.The German military model, the Wehrmacht Enigma, is the version most commonly discussed.The machine has gained notoriety because Allied cryptologists were able to decrypt a large number of messages that had been enciphered on the machine. Decryption was made possible in 1932 by Polish cryptographers Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski from Cipher Bureau. In mid-1939 reconstruction and decryption methods were delivered from Poland to Britain and France. The intelligence gained through this source, codenamed ULTRA, was a significant aid to the Allied war effort.


Selected battle

The heavily damaged Japanese cruiser Aoba disembarks dead and wounded crewmembers near Buin, Bougainville and the Shortland Islands a few hours after the battle on October 12, 1942.
The Battle of Cape Esperance, also known as the Second Battle of Savo Island and, in Japanese sources, as the Sea Battle of Savo Island (サボ島沖海戦), took place October 11 – 12, 1942, and was a naval battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and United States Navy. The battle was the third of five major naval engagements during the Guadalcanal campaign and took place at the entrance to the strait between Savo Island and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.On the night of October 11, Japanese naval forces in the Solomon Islands area, under the command of Gunichi Mikawa, sent a major supply and reinforcement convoy to their forces on Guadalcanal. The convoy consisted of two seaplane tenders and six destroyers and was commanded by Rear Admiral Takatsugu Jojima. At the same time but in a separate operation, three heavy cruisers and two destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral Aritomo Gotō were to bombard the Allied airfield on Guadalcanal (called Henderson Field by the Allies) with the object of destroying Allied aircraft and the airfield's facilities.


Selected picture

Buchenwald concentration camp
Credit: Pvt. H. Miller, U.S. Army

Slave laborers at Buchenwald, one of the Nazi concentration camps, at the camp's liberation in April 1945 by the United States Army's 80th Division. Some 250,000 people were incarcerated in Buchenwald. Although it technically was not an extermination camp, one estimate places the number of deaths in there at 56,000. Author and future Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel is on the second row from the bottom, seventh from the left.

Selected biography

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt often referred to by his initials FDR, was the thirty-second President of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945 and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. He was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems. Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until almost 1940, the programs he initiated such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continue to have instrumental roles in the nation's commerce. One of his most important legacies is the Social Security system. As Britain warred with Nazi Germany, Roosevelt provided Lend-Lease aid to Winston Churchill and the British war effort before America's entry into World War II in December, 1941.


Did you know...?

DYKSquare.png

Categories

Selected quote

"No enemy bomber can reach Berlin. If one reaches Berlin, my name is not Goering. You may call me Meyer."
Hermann Göring, September, 1939

Topics

World War II
Theatres Main events Specific articles Participants

Prelude
Causes
in Europe
in Asia

Main theatres
Europe
Eastern Europe
China
Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa
Asia and the Pacific
Atlantic

General timeline
Timeline

1939
Invasion of Poland
Winter War

1940
Invasion of Denmark/Norway
Battle of France
Battle of Britain

1941
Invasion of the Soviet Union
Battle of Moscow
Attack on Pearl Harbor

1942
Battle of Midway
Battle of Stalingrad
Second Battle of El Alamein

1943
Battle of Kursk
Guadalcanal campaign
Invasion of Italy

1944
Battle of Normandy
Operation Bagration
Battle of Leyte Gulf
Operation Market Garden
Battle of the Bulge

1945
Battle of Iwo Jima
Battle of Okinawa
Battle of Berlin
End in Europe
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Surrender of Japan

more...

Blitzkrieg
Cryptography
Equipment
Home Front
Military engagements
Production
Resistance
Technology

Civilian impact and atrocities
Nanking Massacre
Holocaust
Siege of Leningrad
Bataan Death March
Dutch famine of 1944
Bengal famine of 1943
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Unit 731
Strategic bombings
Comfort women
Allied war crimes
German war crimes
Japanese war crimes

Aftermath
Effects
Casualties
Expulsion of Germans
Denazification
Cold War
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Decline of the British Empire

The Allies
Australia Australia
Belgium Belgium
Brazil Brazil
British Raj British India
Canada Canada
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
Egypt Egypt
El Salvador El Salvador
France France (after June 16, 1940: Free France Free France)
Greece Greece
Netherlands Netherlands
New Zealand New Zealand
Norway Norway
Commonwealth of the Philippines Philippines
Poland Poland
Taiwan Republic of China
South Africa South Africa
Soviet Union Soviet Union
United Kingdom United Kingdom
United States United States
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia

more...

The Axis
Bulgaria Bulgaria
 NDH
Empire of Japan Japan
Finland Finland
France Vichy France
Hungary Hungary
Kingdom of Italy Italy
Nazi Germany Germany
Romania Romania
Thailand Thailand
Slovakia Slovakia

more...


Things you can do

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

Attention needed
...to referencing and citation  • ...to coverage and accuracy  • ...to structure  • ...to grammar  • ...to supporting materials 
Popular pages
Full list
Cleanup needed  
Battle of Kiev (1943)Battle of Ko ChangColditz CastleSpiritual national defence
Requested articles 
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 litigationOve 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) • Operation SafariLiberation of Denmark (currently redirect) • Operation Vado (currently redirect) • German torpedo boat AlbatrosFinnish 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 OinonenSS MindenTsutsumi Fusaki (ru) • A.S. Ksenofontov (ru) • Ponomarev Dmitry Grigorievich (ru) (ref)
Expansion needed  
Princess Irene BrigadeBattle of Bay of ViipuriDemilitarisation; Martha DesrumeauxMochitsura HashimotoOperation CascadeOperation Tan No. 2Burma Area ArmyBattle of CourlandBattle of Voronezh (1943)First Battle of KharkovRace to BerlinMarie FourcadeVictor Strydonck de BurkelDonald BlakesleeOperation NordwindBattle of Skerki BankMichael Sinclair (soldier)Battle of MaastrichtBattle of ZeelandOperation WaterfallPetsamo–Kirkenes OffensiveAmerican-British-Dutch-Australian Commandmore
Images needed  
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 Wars
Merging needed  
Add an article here!
Citations needed  
Add an article here!
Translation needed 
de:Josef Meisingernl:Type 5 Na-Topt:Tobrouk (militar)

Associated Wikimedia