page contents


The Second World war: A brief History

World War 2 was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945.  It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million people serving in military units. Marked by the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, it resulted in over 60 million fatalities and remains the by far the deadliest conflict in all of human history.

It was fought in Europe, Russia, North Africa and Asia between the majority of the worlds nations.  On one side were the Axis Powers, including Germany, Italy and Japan. On the other side were the Allies, which included Britain, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, the Soviet Union, China and the United States of America.

Poona, India 20.03.44

Britain received help from Commonwealth nations, such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada as well as countries in the British Empire such as India. Some countries stayed neutral and did not join the war, including Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ireland.

World War 2 is generally said to have begun on 1 September 1939 with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and Britain. Whilst Hitler wanted Germany to control Europe, Japan wanted to control Asia and the Pacific and was already at war with the Republic of China from 1937.

North West frontier

By the summer of 1940 the Nazi forces had conquered Holland, Belgium, France, Denmark and Norway. Enemy planes dropped bombs on cities in Britain and Allied ships were sunk by submarines. Hilter wished to invade Britain as quickly as he had taken France but this proved difficult. Germany, unlike Britain, was not a sea power and the Channel was a formidable obstacle. In July 1940, German planes started bombing British coastal towns, defences and ships in the English Channel in order to gain control of the skies in the South of England. By mid-September 1940, after many battles, Germany postponed their planned land invasion of Britain as the RAF effectively fought off the German Luftwaffe during the The Battle of Britain.


In 1941 the Soviet Union (Russia) was attacked by Germany. In 1941 America also joined the war, after Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

By 1943 the Allies were winning. One reason was that Allied factories were building thousands of tanks, ships and planes. In 1944, a huge Allied army crossed from Britain to liberate France. Then Allied armies invaded Germany. The war in Europe ended with the capture of Berlin by Soviet and Polish troops and the subsequent German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. The war in Europe was over.

Body on cart

The Pacific war went on until August 1945. There was fierce fighting on Pacific islands and big naval battles at sea. The Allies used their nuclear weapons and dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima on 6 August, and Nagasaki on 9 August. The Soviet Union declared war on Japan by invading Manchuria on the 9th August 1945. In the wake of the use of nuclear weapons on Japan, and with an invasion imminent, the Japanese surrendered on 15 August 1945. World War 2 had ended.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Contact and comments