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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.

Featured article

In Poland, fast moving armies encircled Polish forces (blue circles), but the blitzkrieg idea never really took hold – artillery and infantry forces acted in time-honoured fashion to crush these pockets.
Blitzkrieg is a popular name for an offensive operational-level military doctrine which involves an initial bombardment followed by the employment of motorized mobile forces attacking with speed and surprise to prevent an enemy from implementing a coherent defense. The founding principles of these types of operations were developed in the 20th century by various nations, and adapted in the years after World War I, largely by the German Wehrmacht, to incorporate modern weapons and vehicles as a method to help avoid the stalemate of trench warfare and linear warfare in future conflicts. The first practical implementations of these concepts coupled with modern technology were instituted by the Wehrmacht in the opening theatres of World War II.The strategy was particularly effective to Germany in the invasions of Western Europe and initial operations in the Soviet Union. These operations were dependent on surprise penetrations, general enemy unpreparedness and an inability to react swiftly enough to German offensive operations.


Selected equipment

A USAAF B-17G-30-DL levels off for a bomb run.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed for the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 bombers, the Boeing entry outperformed both the other competitors and more than met the Air Corps' expectations. Although Boeing lost the contract due to the prototype's crash, the Air Corps was so impressed with Boeing's design that they ordered thirteen B-17s. The B-17 Flying Fortress went on to enter full-scale production and was considered the first truly mass-produced large aircraft, eventually evolving through numerous design advancements, from B-17A to G.The B-17 was primarily employed in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial, civilian and military targets. The United States Eighth Air Force based in England and the Fifteenth Air Force based in Italy complemented the RAF Bomber Command's nighttime area bombing in Operation Pointblank, to help secure air superiority over the cities, factories and battlefields of Western Europe in preparation for Operation Overlord. This machine was nicknamed the "Flying Fortress" because of its eight machine guns and three cannons.


Selected battle

United States Marines wade ashore on Tulagi Island on August 7, 1942.
The Battle of Tulagi and Gavutu–Tanambogo was a land battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, between Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied (mainly United States (U.S.) Marine) ground forces. It took place August 7 – August 9, 1942, on the Solomon Islands, during the initial Allied landings in the Guadalcanal campaign.In the battle, U.S. Marines, under the overall command of U.S. Major General Alexander Vandegrift, successfully landed and captured the islands of Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo among which the Japanese Navy had constructed a naval and seaplane base. The landings were fiercely resisted by the Japanese Navy troops who, outnumbered and outgunned by the Allied forces, fought and died almost to the last man.At the same time that the landings on Tulagi and Gavutu–Tanambogo were taking place, Allied troops were also landing on nearby Guadalcanal, with the objective of capturing an airfield under construction by Japanese forces. In contrast to the intense fighting on Tulagi and Gavutu, the landings on Guadalcanal were essentially unopposed. The landings on both Tulagi and Guadalcanal initiated the six-month long Guadalcanal campaign and a series of combined-arms battles between Allied and Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area.


Selected image

Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler
Credit: Istituto Nazionale Luce
Benito Mussolini of Fascist Italy (left) and Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany, two of the Axis leaders of World War II, before one of the Honor Temples of Königsplatz, Munich, sending off their armies to North Africa and into Egypt against the British.

Selected biography

Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the thirty-third President of the United States (1945–1953). As vice president, he succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died less than three months after he began his fourth term.During World War I Truman served as an artillery officer. After the war he became part of the political machine of Tom Pendergast and was elected a county judge in Missouri and eventually a United States Senator. After he gained national prominence as head of the wartime Truman Committee, Truman replaced vice president Henry A. Wallace as Roosevelt's running mate in 1944.As president, Truman faced challenge after challenge in domestic affairs. The disorderly reconversion of the economy of the United States was marked by severe shortages, numerous strikes, and the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act over his veto. He confounded all predictions to win re-election in 1948, largely due to his famous Whistle Stop Tour of rural America. After his re-election he was able to pass only one of the proposals in his Fair Deal program.


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"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

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Blitzkrieg
Cryptography
Equipment
Home Front
Military engagements
Production
Resistance
Technology

Civilian impact and atrocities
Nanking Massacre
The 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
Kingdom of Egypt Egypt
El Salvador El Salvador
French Third Republic France (after June 16, 1940: Free France Free France)
Kingdom of Greece Greece
Netherlands Netherlands
Dominion of New Zealand New Zealand
Norway Norway
Commonwealth of the Philippines Philippines
Poland Poland
Republic of China (1912–1949) Republic of China
Union of South Africa South Africa
Soviet Union Soviet Union
United Kingdom United Kingdom
United States United States
Kingdom of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia

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The Axis
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
 Independent State of Croatia
Empire of Japan Japan
Finland Finland
 Vichy France
Kingdom of Hungary (1920–46) Hungary
Kingdom of Italy Italy
Nazi Germany Germany
Kingdom of Romania Romania
Thailand Thailand
 Slovakia

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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 defenceTuskegee Airmen
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) • 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)
Expansion needed
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 Wars; Berthe Fraser
Merging needed
Add an article here!
Citations needed
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
Translation needed 
pt:Tobrouk (militar)

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