Portal:World War II

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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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.


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Pennsylvania leading battleship Colorado and cruisers Louisville, Portland, and Columbia into Lingayen Gulf, Philippines, January 1945
A battleship is a large, heavily armored warship with a main battery consisting of the largest calibre of guns. Battleships are larger, better armed, and better armored than cruisers and destroyers.Battleship design continually evolved to incorporate and adapt technological advances to maintain an edge. The word battleship was coined around 1794 and is a shortened form of line-of-battle ship, the dominant wooden sailing warship during the Age of Sail. The term came into formal use in the late 1880s to describe a type of ironclad warship, now referred to as pre-dreadnought battleships. In 1906 the launching of HMS Dreadnought heralded a revolution in battleship design, and battleships constructed subsequently were referred to as dreadnoughts. Battleships were a potent symbol of naval dominance and national might, and for decades the battleship was a major factor in both diplomacy and military strategy. The global arms race in battleship construction in the early 20th century was one of the causes of World War I, which saw a clash of huge battle fleets at the Battle of Jutland. The Naval Treaties of the 1920s and 1930s limited the number of battleships but did not end the evolution of design. Both the Allies and the Axis Powers deployed battleships of old construction and new during World War II.


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Anti-aircraft shell bursts, fired at attacking Japanese aircraft, fill the sky above USS Enterprise (center left) and her screening ships during the battle on October 26, 1942.
The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, October 26, 1942, sometimes referred to as the Battle of Santa Cruz or in Japanese sources as the Battle of the South Pacific (南太平洋海戦), was the fourth carrier battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II and the fourth major naval engagement fought between the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy during the lengthy and strategically important Guadalcanal campaign. In similar fashion to the battles of Coral Sea, Midway, and the Eastern Solomons, the ships of the two adversaries were rarely in direct visual range of each other. Instead, almost all attacks by both sides were mounted by carrier or land-based aircraft.In an attempt to drive Allied forces from Guadalcanal and nearby islands and end the stalemate which had existed since September 1942, the Imperial Japanese Army planned a major ground offensive on Guadalcanal for October 20–October 25, 1942.


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The following are images from various World War II-related articles on Wikipedia.

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Calisthenics at Manzanar
Credit: Ansel Adams
Female internees practicing calisthenics at Manzanar War Relocation Center, California. In 1943, Ansel Adams was invited to photograph the everyday life of the Japanese American internees in the camp. Adams' intent was to "show how these people, suffering under a great injustice, (…) had overcome the sense of defeat and despair by building for themselves a vital community in an arid (but magnificent) environment."

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Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki was a soldier of the Second Polish Republic, the founder of the Secret Polish Army (Tajna Armia Polska) Polish resistance group and a member of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). During World War II, he became the only known person to volunteer to be imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp. While there, he organized the resistance movement in the camp, and as early as 1940, informed the Western Allies of Nazi Germany's Auschwitz atrocities. He escaped from the camp in 1943 and took part in the Warsaw Uprising. Pilecki was executed in 1948 by the communists. Until 1989, information on his exploits and fate was suppressed by the Polish communist regime.Witold Pilecki was born May 13, 1901, in Olonets on the shores of Lake Ladoga in Karelia, Russia, where his family had been forcibly resettled by Tsarist Russian authorities after the suppression of Poland's January Uprising of 1863–1864.


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"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 8 December 1941

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
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
Nazi Germany Germany
Kingdom of Italy Italy
Empire of Japan Japan
 Slovakia
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
 Independent State of Croatia
Finland Finland
 Vichy France
Kingdom of Hungary (1920–1946) Hungary
Kingdom of Romania Romania
Thailand Thailand

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

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...to referencing and citation  • ...to coverage and accuracy  • ...to structure  • ...to grammar  • ...to supporting materials 
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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 HansenOve KampmanLeague for Combat PolicyJulien MelineOperation MittelmeerOperation RichardOtto ProgramMartin PoppelRoehm's AvengersPoul BruunRaoul BoulangerBattle of West Ukraine (1941)Battle of ZunyiLiberation of Denmark (currently redirect) • Operation Vado (currently redirect) • Finnish 19th Division (Continuation War)Finnish 11th Division (Continuation War)Finnish VII Corps (Continuation War)Finnish Cavalry Brigade1st Jaeger Brigade2nd Jaeger Brigade168th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)71st Rifle Division (Soviet Union)Group OinonenOperation Vesuvius (currently redirect) • Capture of Kassala (currently redirect) • Battle of PankowBrandenburg–Rathenow OffensiveJapanese internment of European civilians during World War IIMiranda de Ebro concentration campGerman occupation of the Netherlands (current redirect) • Soviet home front during World War IILabour Charter (Vichy France)Berles-Monchel and Aubigny-en-Artois massacres (1940) • Febvin-Palfart massacre (1940) • German massacres of French colonial prisoners of war1941 Nord-Pas de Calais miners' strikeSpitfire fundsGood War (historiography)Nederlandsche Oost CompagnieWest African Pioneers2nd Marching Battalion of Ubangui-ShariBataillon du PacifiquePersecution of freemasons in Nazi Germany and German-occupied EuropeMohammed El MaadiLégion Français des CombattantsLuxembourgers in the WehrmachtChantiers de la Jeunesse (Vichy France)
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Princess Irene BrigadeBattle of Bay of ViipuriDemilitarisationFree Dutch ForcesMartha 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 FourcadeDonald BlakesleeOperation NordwindBattle of Skerki BankMichael Sinclair (soldier)Battle of MaastrichtBattle of ZeelandLandings on RendovaNew Georgia counterattackOperation WaterfallPetsamo–Kirkenes OffensiveAmerican-British-Dutch-Australian CommandBattle of Viru HarborBattle of Wickham AnchorageWestern New Guinea campaign (and the individual battles of the campaign) • Operation BlockbusterOperation CooneyThe Holocaust in FranceKnowledge of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany and German-occupied EuropeFrancoist Spain and the HolocaustJapan campaignVolcano and Ryukyu Islands campaignmore
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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 FraserWestern Allied invasion of GermanyLXXXIII Army Corps (Wehrmacht)
Merging needed
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Battle of Borneo (1941–42)Battle of ImphalGarderegiment Fuseliers Prinses IreneJapanese invasion of French IndochinaJapanese invasion of ThailandLuxembourg in World War IINew Georgia CampaignOperation CartwheelOperation ChastiseRoyal Netherlands Motorized Infantry BrigadeSolomon Islands campaignBattle of RadomSeishin OperationMoravia–Ostrava OffensivePanzerjäger
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5th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment [ru]Novorossiysk-Taman Operation [ru]1943 Novorossiysk Operation [ru]1943 Air Battles over Kuban [ru]Battle of Rostov (1943) [ru]Battle of Olshansky [ru]Nalchik-Ordzhonikidzevskaya Operation [ru]Bukrinsky Landing [ru]Cape Tarhan Landing [ru]1942 Sudak Landing [ru]Mozdok-Malgobek Operation [ru]Alexander Sergeyevich Ksenofontov [ru]Henri de Vernejoul [fr]André Bergeret [fr]Battle of Nice [fr]Liberation de Saint-Malo [fr]Battle of Seuil Valley [fr]René-Jean-Paul Cassagne [fr]Cameroun's rallying to the Free French [fr]Battle of Bouno-Misaki [ja]

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