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.
, also known as The Long Patrol
or Carlson's long patrol
, was an operation by the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion
under the command of Evans Carlson
during the Guadalcanal Campaign
against the Imperial Japanese Army
from November 6 to December 4, 1942. In the operation, the 2nd Raiders attacked forces under the command of Toshinari Shōji
, which were escaping
from an attempted encirclement in the Koli Point area on Guadalcanal
and attempting to rejoin other Japanese army units on the opposite side of the U.S. Lunga perimeter.In a series of small unit engagements over 29 days, the 2nd Raiders killed almost 500 Japanese soldiers while suffering only 16 killed. The raiders also captured a Japanese artillery cannon that was delivering harassing gunfire on Henderson Field
, the Allied
airfield at Lunga Point on Guadalcanal.On August 7, 1942, Allied forces (primarily US Marines
) landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi
, and Florida Islands
in the Solomon Islands
. Their mission was to deny the Japanese use of the islands as bases
for threatening the supply
routes between the U.S. and Australia
, and to secure the islands as starting points for a campaign
to isolate the major Japanese base at Rabaul
while also supporting the Allied New Guinea campaign
. The landings initiated the six-month-long Guadalcanal Campaign
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 second Battle of Smolensk (7 August 1943 – 2 October 1943) was a Soviet strategic offensive operation conducted by the Red Army as part of the Summer-Autumn Campaign of 1943 in the Western USSR. Staged almost simultaneously with the Battle of the Dnieper (13 August – 22 September), the offensive lasted two months and was led by Generals Andrei Yeremenko commanding the Kalinin Front and Vasily Sokolovsky commanding the Western Front. Its goal was to clear the Nazi Germany presence from the Smolensk and Bryansk regions. Smolensk had been under German occupation since the first Battle of Smolensk in 1941.Despite an impressive German defense, the Red Army was able to stage several breakthroughs, liberating several major cities including Smolensk and Roslavl. As a result of this operation the Red Army was able to start planning for the liberation of Belorussia. However, the overall advance was quite modest and slow in the face of heavy German resistance, and the operation was therefore accomplished in three stages: August 7–20, August 21–September 6, and September 7–October 2.
This Chinese child soldier, an army division returning to China following the capture of Myitkyina airfield, Burma, under the allied command of US Major General Frank Merrill in May 1944. Chinese and allied troops had earlier crossed through the treacherous jungle of the Kumon Bum Mountains before attacking Japanese troops to the south. A number of international conventions have since come into effect that try to limit the participation of children in armed conflicts. However, according to Human Rights Watch, as many as 300,000 children remain direct participants in war in over twenty countries around the world today.
Otto Moritz Walther Model was a German general and later field marshal during World War II. He is noted for his defensive battles in the latter half of the war, mostly on the Eastern Front but also in the west, and for his close association with Adolf Hitler and Nazism. He has been called the Wehrmacht's best defensive tactician. Although he was a hard-driving, aggressive panzer commander early in the war, Model became best known as a practitioner of attrition warfare—his associate, General Erhard Raus, called it "zone defence".It emphasised strong fortifications, a reluctance to give ground (although not an absolute refusal to withdraw), and the importance of not allowing major enemy breakthroughs. This approach brought him much success, but his death in 1945 meant he would later be overshadowed by his rivals who advocated manoeuvre warfare.Model first came to Hitler's attention before World War II, but their relationship did not become especially close until 1942.