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 United States Marine Corps
) is a branch of the United States armed forces
responsible for providing force projection
from the sea,using the mobility of the U.S. Navy
to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces
and is one of seven uniformed services
. Administratively within the Department of the Navy
, operationally the U.S. Marine Corps acts as a separate branch of the military, often working closely with US Naval forces
for training, transportation, and logistic purposes.Originally organized as the Continental Marines
on November 10, 1775 as naval infantry
, the Marine Corps has evolved in its mission with changing military doctrine and American foreign policy
. The Marine Corps has served in every American armed conflict
including the Revolutionary War
. It attained prominence in the 20th century when its theories and practice of amphibious warfare
proved prescient and ultimately formed the cornerstone of the Pacific campaign
of World War II
.By the mid 20th century, the Marine Corps had become the dominant theorist and practitioner of amphibious warfare. Its ability to respond rapidly to regional crises has made it, and continues to make it, an important body in the implementation and execution of American foreign policy.
was a light tank
used by the Soviet Union
from the 1930s until World War II
. It was based on the British Vickers 6-Ton
tank and widely considered one of the most successful designs of the 1930s.The T-26 made-up the majority of the Red Army
's armour force until late 1941, and saw a long history in the armed forces of various different nations around the world. For almost a decade the T-26 proved to be one of the best tanks in production, with a total of around 12,000 units produced.Success and failure in the Spanish Civil War
, where it served as the most widely used tank, ultimately played a major role in influencing the Soviet doctrine of tank warfare in the late 1930s. The T-26 participated in German invasion of the Soviet Union
in 1941 as one of the most numerous tanks inservice,contributing to the defense of the Soviet Union.Although the T-26's reputation was marred by its abysmal performance during World War II
, it was nevertheless the most important tank of the Spanish Civil War
and played major roles during the Winter War
and the Battle of Khalkhin Gol
in 1939. Between its introduction and its retirement, the T-26 saw a great deal of modernization efforts between 1932 and 1941.
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.
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
, where his family had been forcibly resettled by Tsarist Russian authorities after the suppression of Poland's January Uprising