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.
The German S-mine
), also known as the Bouncing Betty
, is the best-known version of a class of mines known as bounding mines
. These mines launch into the air at about waist height and explode, propelling shrapnel
horizontally at lethal speeds. The S-mine was an anti-personnel landmine
developed by Germany
in the 1930s and used extensively by German forces during World War II
. It was designed to be used in open areas to attack unshielded infantry. Two versions were produced, designated by the year of their first production: the SMi-35 and SMi-44. There are only minor differences between the two models.The S-mine entered production in 1935 and served as a key part of the defensive strategy of the Third Reich
. Until production ceased with the defeat of Germany in 1945, Germany produced over 1.93 million S-mines.These mines were responsible for inflicting heavy casualties and slowing, or even repelling, drives into German-held territory throughout the war. The design was lethal, successful and much imitated, and remains one of the definitive weapons of World War II.
The Battle of Savo Island
, also known as the First Battle of Savo Island
and, in Japanese sources, as the First Battle of the Solomon Sea (第一次ソロモン海戦 Dai-ichi-ji Soromon Kaisen)
, took place August 8 – August 9, 1942. It was a naval battle
of the Pacific Campaign
of World War II
, between the Imperial Japanese Navy
naval forces. The battle was the first major naval engagement of the Guadalcanal campaign
.In the battle, a Japanese warship task force surprised and routed the Allied naval force, sinking one Australian
and three American cruisers
, while taking only moderate damage in return. The Japanese force consisted of seven cruisers and one destroyer
, commanded by Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa
. In response to Allied amphibious
landings in the eastern Solomon Islands
, Mikawa brought his task force down New Georgia Sound
(also known as "the Slot") to attack the Allied amphibious fleet and its screening force. The screening force consisted of eight cruisers and fifteen destroyers, commanded by British Rear Admiral Victor Crutchley VC
, but only five cruisers and seven destroyers were actually involved in the battle.
Air Marshal Sir George Jones KBE
(18 October 1896 – 24 August 1992) was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force
(RAAF). He rose from being a private
soldier in World War I
to Air Marshal in 1948. He served as Chief of the Air Staff
from 1942 to 1952, the longest continuous tenure of any RAAF chief. Jones was a surprise appointee to the Air Force’s top role, and his achievements in the position were coloured by a divisive relationship during World War II
with his head of operations and nominal subordinate, Air Vice Marshal William Bostock
.Jones first saw action as an infantryman
in the Gallipoli campaign
of 1915, before transferring to the Australian Flying Corps the following year. Initially an air mechanic, he undertook flying training in 1917 and was posted to a fighter
squadron in France
, achieving seven victories to become an ace
. After a short spell in civilian life following World War I, he joined the newly-formed RAAF in 1921, rising steadily through training and personnel commands prior to World War II.