Portal:World War II

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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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A propaganda poster calling on Australians to avenge the sinking of Australian Hospital Ship Centaur by the Japanese submarine I-177 in May 1943
Although Australia was remote from the main battlefronts, there was considerable Axis naval activity in Australian waters during World War II. A total of 54 Axis ships, both German and Japanese warships and submarines, entered Australian waters between 1940 and 1945 and attacked ships, ports and other targets. Among the best-known attacks are the sinking of HMAS Sydney by a German raider in November 1941, the bombing of Darwin by Japanese naval aircraft in February 1942, and the Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour in May 1942. In addition, many Allied merchant ships were damaged or sunk off the Australian coast by submarines and mines. Japanese submarines also shelled several Australian ports and submarine-based aircraft flew over several Australian capital cities.The Axis threat to Australia developed gradually and until 1942 was limited to sporadic attacks by German armed merchantmen. The level of Axis naval activity peaked in the first half of 1942 when Japanese submarines conducted anti-shipping patrols off Australia's coast, and Japanese naval aviation attacked several towns in northern Australia.


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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.


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U.S. Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers about to attack the burning cruiser Mikuma for the third time.
The Battle of Midway was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II. It took place from June 4, 1942 to June 7, 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, five months after the Japanese capture of Wake Island, and exactly six months to the day after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.During the battle, the United States Navy defeated a Japanese attack against Midway Atoll, losing one aircraft carrier and one destroyer, while sinking four Japanese carriers and a heavy cruiser.The battle was a decisive victory for the Americans, and is widely regarded as the most important naval engagement of the Pacific Campaign of World War II.The Midway operation, like the attack on Pearl Harbor, was not part of a campaign for the conquest of the United States, but was aimed at its elimination as a strategic Pacific power, thereby giving Japan a free hand in establishing its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. It was also hoped another defeat would force the U.S. to negotiate an end to the Pacific War with conditions favorable for Japan.


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Japanese Instrument of Surrender
Credit: United States Navy

General Douglas MacArthur signs the Japanese Instrument of Surrender as Supreme Allied Commander during formal ceremonies on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Behind General MacArthur are Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright and Lieutenant General A.E. Percival.

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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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"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
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
23x15px 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...


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Template:/box-header 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 
Cleanup needed  
Battle of Kiev (1943)Raid on DrvarColditz Castle
Requested articles 
A ForceBattle of Uhtua-KiestinkiBattles of Repola-RukajärviBattle of PorlammiBattle of SiiranmäkiBattle of TuulosBattle 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 RayonOperation BigotOperation MittelmeerOperation RichardOtto ProgramMartin PoppelRoehm's AvengersDorothy TartierePoul BruunRaoul BoulangerSerge Asher-RavanelBattle of West Ukraine (1941)Battle of ZunyiFree Dutch ForcesYugoslav government in exileOperation AlacrityOperation SafariLiberation of Finnmark
Expansion needed  
Princess Irene BrigadeBattle of Bay of ViipuriBattle of BruneiBattle of LabuanDemilitarisation; 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 The AfsluitdijkBattle of ZeelandOperation Waterfallmore
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Twelfth Army (United Kingdom)4th Airborne Division (United Kingdom)5th Airborne Division (United Kingdom)XVI Corps (United Kingdom)
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Translation needed 
de:Josef Meisingernl:Type 5 Na-Topt:Tobrouk (militar)

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