Second World War In Brief For Beginners

World War II was a world-wide military confrontation which was fought between the Allied Powers, led by Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States, on one side, and the Axis Powers led by Germany, Italy, and Japan on the other, from 1939 to 1945. The Second World War was the largest and deadliest war in the history of mankind as more than 55 million people died and disappeared. It broke out on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland to recover the strip of land, which had been taken away from her by the Treaty of Versailles, in order to reattach East Prussia to the rest of Germany. This global military conflict finally ended in August 1945 with the dropping of two atomic bombs on two Japanese cities.

As a direct consequence of World War II, Europe and the world were split into a Western, free, capitalist block of nations, which was led by the United States of America and military united by the North Atlantic Military Organization, and an Eastern, non-democratic, communist block led by the Soviet Union, with the political, economical, and geographical boundary running through Germany, dividing this country in two; West Germany, and East Germany, which was a satellite country of the Soviet Union. In Asia, the defeat of Japan led to its adoption of a new constitution and a democratic form of government. In China, the protracted civil war, that had begun 1927, resumed inmediately after World War II, culminating in 1949 with the victory of the Communist forces under Mao Tse-tung over the Nationalist Army under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek.

The general causes of World War II are the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the rise of nationalism, the unresolved territorial issues, and the emergence of dictatorships, which resulted in part from the global economic instability of the 1920’s and 1930’s. In Germany, the resentment of the Treaty of Versailles, signed after the Great War, and other deep historical and cultural developments, fueled the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers Party, NAZI, in 1933. Japan in the 1930’s was ruled by a military regime devoted to becoming a world power. The need for natural resources for its growing industry and population, led Japan to invade China. This disrupted the economic interests of the United States, which reacted by making loans to China, providing covert military assistance, and imposing broad embargoes of raw materials upon Japan.


After World War I and the November Revolution of 1918, the Weimar Republic was established in Germany in 1919. Despite the bad economic situation and spiraling inflation, it had survived due, perhaps to the respect that most Germans had for their President and World War I hero, Paul von Hindenburg, who had been elected in 1924. But by 1932 things had begun to change, Hindenburg was too old, and a new charismatic leader had arosen on the horizon from the murky trenches of the Somme; it was the twilight of the Weimar Republic and the dawn of a new day. The chain of political events to the right circumstances happened fast. Hitler himself had never expected it would be that easy.

In May 1932, upon Brüning resignation, Paul von Hindenburg appointed Franz von Papen as Chancellor, but, as Papen did not have enough support in the Reichstag, he called new elections. In these elections, the Nazis obtained their biggest electoral success, winning 230 seats, thus becoming the largest party in the Reichstag. Yet Hitler did not have overall majority. As Franz von Papen could not govern effectively, new elections were called in November, 1932. Although the Nazis lost some seats in these new elections, they still remained the largest party in the Reichstag, with 33.1% of the vote. Because Papen failed to secure a majority, Paul von Hindenburg dismissed him and appointed Kurt von Schleicher as the new Chancellor.

With social instability on the rise, and the German Communist Party gaining more seats in the November elections, a group of prominent industrialists who feared that a Bolshevik revolution might break out, sent a petition to Paul von Hindenburg asking for Hitler to become Chancellor. Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to their request. On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Later, after the death of Paul von Hindenburg in 1934, he would dissolve the Reichstag and rule Germany alone with limitless powers.

On March 1, 1936, Adolf Hitler sent three German battalions into the Rhineland, the demilitarized zone where, according to the Treaty of Versailles, no German military units should be deployed. The French government was unwilling to take action unilateraly, without the support of the British. The British government refused going to war over the issue, justifying its position by claiming that Germany was only marching into its own territory. On March 13, 1938, obedient to Hitler’s plans, the Austrian Nazi government invited the German Army to occupy Austria to proclaim union with Germany. Hitler’s gamble had worked out.

Hitler was now in a favorable position to move on Czechoslovakia. The country had been created in 1918 from territory that had previously been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany (the Sudetenland). Three and a half million Germans lived in Czechoslovakia. The German speaking people complained that the Czech government discriminated against them. Hitler threatened to march into Czechoslovakia unless Britain accepted Germany’s plans to takeover the Sudetenland. After discussing the issue with the Edouard Daladier of France, and Eduard Benes of Czechoslovakia, Chamberlain informed Hitler that his proposals were unacceptable.

Upon Benito Mussolini’s suggestion, on September 29, 1938, a four-power summit was held in Munich where representatives of England, France, Italy, Germany convened to talk about this issue. Anxious to avoid war, and an alliance with Joseph Stalin, Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier agreed that Germany could have the Sudetenland. In return, Hitler promised not to make any further territorial demands in Europe. On September 29, 1938, Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Edouard Daladier and Benito Mussolini signed the Munich Agreement which granted the Sudetenland to Germany. At the meeting Hitler perceived that Chamberlain would do anything to avoid a new war in Europe. So, the remainder of Czechoslovakia was consequently invaded and annexed by Germany in March 1939.

When the German armies proceeded to occupy the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, not abiding by the Munich agreement, France and Poland pledged in May 1939 to provide each other with military assistance should one of them were attacked. The British government had already offered support to the Polish people in March. But on August 24, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This pact included a secret agreement by which Germany and the Soviet Union would divide Central Europe into German and Soviet areas. Each country agreed to allow the other a free hand in its area of influence. Hitler was now ready to conquer Poland.

The Outbreak of Hostilities: Invasion of Poland

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Two days later, on September 3, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany. The French mobilized slowly, mounting only a symbolic offensive in the Saar, that they soon abandoned, while the British could not take any direct, quick action in support of the Polish people in the short time they had available. Meanwhile, the Germans reached Warsaw on September 9, plowing through Polish territory as they broke through their defences.

The Soviet Army had occupied the eastern part of Poland by September 17, taking control of territory that Germany had agreed was Soviet sphere of influence. A day later, the Polish president and the commander-in-chief both fled to Romania. On October 1, after a one-month siege, German troops entered the city of Warsaw. The last Polish units finally surrendered on October 6. In the aftermath of the German September Campaign, Poland contributed significantly with the fleeing military forces to the Allies for the duration of the World War II.

While the British and French stayed on the defensive, Germany paused to regroup during the winter, from October 1939 to April 1940. This period was referred to by journalists as the “Phony War,” because almost no ground combat took place. During this time Great Britain and France began to re-arm with the French beginning the completion of the Maginot Line. British citizens were also prepared as rations were brought in and bomb shelters were opened to public.

Battle of the Atlantic

In the North Atlantic, German U-boats (submarines) operated against Allied shipping. The German submarines made up in skill, luck, courage, and daring what they lacked in numbers. One U-boat sank the British aircraft carrier HMS Courageous, while another destroyed the battleship HMS Royal Oak in its home anchorage of Scapa Flow. Altogether, the German U-boats sank more than 110 vessels in the first four months of the war.

The battle of the Atlantic would last until the end of the World War II and would be a very decisive theater of conflict. If the Atlantic had not been won and British shipping halted, Great Britain would have been isolated and unable to fight on against Germany. During this long submarine campaign the German U-boats sank thousands of tons of Anglo-American shipping. But besides the submarine threat, the German Navy also fought with smaller warships which were known as Pocket Battleships. On December 13, 1939, the German battleship Graf Spee marauded in the South Atlantic when British warships from the Royal Navy’s South American Division took on the might of the Graf Spee, which was seriously damaged in the Battle of the River Plate and had to be scuttled at the end by its crews.

Soviet-Finish War

The Soviet Union attacked Finland on November 30, 1939, starting the Winter War. After fierce fighting and courageous resistance put up by the Finnish Army, Finland surrendered to the Soviet Union in March 1940 and signed the Moscow Peace Treaty in which the Finns made territorial concessions. Later that year, in June, the Soviet Union occupied Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, annexing Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina from Romania.

Invasion of Denmark and Norway

On April 9, 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway in Operation Weserübung, to counter the threat of an impending Allied invasion of Norway. Denmark did not resist, but Norway fought back, and was joined by British, French, and exile Polish forces which had landed in support of the Norwegians at Namsos, Andalsnes, and Narvik. By late June, these Allied forces were completely defeated and the Germans were in control of Norway.

Invasion of France and the Low Countries

On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded Belgium and the Netherlands with the objective of penetrating northern France, putting an end to the Phony War. The British Expeditionary Force and the French Army marched into northern Belgium, planning to fight a mobile war in the north while maintaining a static continuous front along the Maginot Line further south. But the Allied plans were immediately shattered by the German military tactic used for the first time in history which is known as Blitzkrieg (Lightning War).

During the first phase of the invasion, the Wehrmacht’s Panzergruppe von Kleist quickly made their way through the Ardennes, breaking the French line at Sedan on May 13, then slashed across northern France to the English Channel. This movement split the Allies in two. Meanwhile Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands fell quickly against the attack of German Army Group B. As the British Expeditionary Force had been encircled in the north, the British Navy with the help of small merchant and fishing ships proceeded to evacuate the British troops from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo, which was one of the biggest military evacuations in history.

The German Army continued the invasion of France, advancing near the coast and behind the Maginot Line. Italy joined the war on June 10, attacking France in the south. France surrendered and signed an armistice with Germany on June 22, 1940, which led to the establishment of the Vichy France puppet government in the unoccupied part of France.

Battle Of Britain

After the defeat of France, Britain decided to keep fighting. Germany started to make preparations in the summer of 1940 to invade Great Britain through Operation Sea Lion, while England prepared its defences. Germany had to gain air control as the first step before such invasion by defeating the Royal Air Force. The battle between the two air forces became known as the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe first began intensely targeting RAF Fighter Command, but the Royal Air Force raids on Berlin on civilian population led Hitler to change his directive that the British civilians had not to be attacked, so the Luftwaffe turned to bombing London, instead, in retaliation. Because the German could not defeat the Royal Air Force, Operation Sea Lion was postponed and eventually cancelled.

North African Campaign

In August 1940, Italian troops invaded and captured British Somaliland in August. In September, the Italian Army attacked British forces in Egypt, starting the North African Campaign. The aim was to make Egypt and the Suez Canal Italian possessions. But the British, reinforced by Australian and Indian troops, counterattacked in Operation Compass. This offensive was halted in 1941 when most of the Australian Forces were shipped to Greece to defend it from German attack. Meanwhile, German forces under the command of General Erwin Rommel landed in Libya and renewed the assault on Egypt.

Italian Invasion of Greece

After the Greek Premier John Metaxas rejected an ultimatum to hand over Greek territory, Italian troops invaded Greece on October 28, 1940, from its bases in Albania. By mid-December, 1940, the Greeks took one fourth of Albania. The Greek army had inflicted the first defeat on Italy in the war and Germany would soon be forced to intervene.

War Spreads

On March 11, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act. It was the first large step away from American isolationism. The Lend-Lease Act provided for substantial assistance to the UK, the Soviet Union, and other countries.

On May 10, 1941, Rudolf Hess landed on Renfrewshire, Great Britain, by parachute, with the purpose of trying to negotiate a truce between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany. Many high level Germans did not want to fight Britain because they saw this country as a fellow Aryan superpower and saw it as a potential great ally. Nevertheless, Rudolf Hess broke his ankle and was captured by British Forces. He was kept under arrest at the Tower of London and was tried and sentenced to life at the end of Wold War Two.

German Invasion of Greece

As the Greeks had defeated the invading Italians and around 530,000 Italian soldiers were being pinned down still fighting the Greeks, Germany came to the rescue of her ally and invaded Greece through Bulgaria, who had joined the Axis Powers. The Greek troops put up a tenacious fight. Despite the brave Greek resistance, the Greek army collapsed against. The intervention in the Balkan peninsula, delayed the German invasion of the Soviet Union by six weeks, which turned out to be disastrous when the German Army froze on the outskirts of Moscow as a result of the Russian winter.

The Battle of Crete

After having occupied the Greek mainland, the German Army invaded the island of Crete. This Greek island was dedended by 40,000 Greek, British, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers. The German took Crete through airborne assault on three airfields, Maleme, Rethimno, and Heraklion. This operation was carried out by the 7th Parachute Division and the 5th Mountain Division, which were both elite units of the German Army. The Allied forces fought back desperately, but were forced to give ground. Unable to defeat the Germans, they withdrew what they could of their forces. By June 1, 1941, the highly trained German troops had finished mopping up the last pockets of resistance.

Invasion of Soviet Union

On June 22, 1941, Operation Barbarossa began. It was the largest invasion in history. Three German army groups advanced deep into Soviet territory, destroying almost the entire western Soviet Army in big battles of encirlement. As the German Army marched eastwards, the Soviets dismantled important factories vital for the war effort, moving them the Ural Mountains for reassembly. By late November, the German had reached a line at the gates of Leningrad, Moscow, and Rostov. The advance ground to a halt. The German General Staff had not only understimated the Soviet Army capacity to draft new troops, but also the Russian winter.

They were surprised by the presence of new forces, which included fresh Siberian troops under the command of General Zhukov, and by the onset of a particularly cold winter. German forward units had advanced within sight of the golden onion domes of Moscow’s Saint Basil’s Cathedral. But, on December 5, 1941, the Soviets counterattacked, pushing the Germans back 150 miles.

Pacific Theater

In 1937 Japan had invaded China. In the summer of 1941 the United States began an oil embargo against Japan, which was a protest of Japan’s incursion into French Indo-China and the continued invasion of China. Japan planned an attack on Pearl Harbor to permanently damage the US Pacific fleet. On December 7, 1941, a Japanese carrier fleet launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During the raid two US battleships were sunk and six damaged. But the raid failed to find any US aircraft carriers and did not damage Pearl Harbor’s usefulness as a naval base. The Japanese attack united public opinion in the United States against Japan. The next day, December 8, the United States declared war on Japan. And Germany declared war on the United States on December 11. Hitler expected that Japan would support Germany by attacking the Soviet Union opening a new front for the Soviets. Japan did not oblige. This diplomatic move was a big mistake, for declaring the war on the United States unified the American public’s support for the war.

By April, 1942, Japan had invaded the Philippines and the British colonies of Hong Kong, Malaya, Borneo, and Burma, with the intention of seizing of the oil fields of the Dutch East Indies. The Japanese also obtained more victories in the South China Sea, Java Sea and Indian Ocean, bombing the Allied naval base at Darwin, Australia. In a matter of months, all these territories capitulated to the Japanese as thousands of British, American, and Indian forces surrendered to the invading army.

Allied Conferences

The Atlantic Charter was issued as a joint declaration by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, at Argentia, Newfoundland, on August 14, 1941. But after America had entered the war, Churchill met with Roosevelt again at the end of December 1941. They agreed that defeating Germany had priority over defeating Japan. The Americans proposed a 1942 cross-channel invasion of France. But the British strongly opposed and suggested instead a small invasion in Norway.

The Tide Turns

In April, 1942, Major General James Doolittle conducted an air raid on Tokyo, dropping bombs in industrial areas. Although Doolittle Raid was a small operation that did little actual damage, it boosted morale in the US, causing Japan to shift resources to homeland defence.

In May, 1942, Japan began operations to capture Port Moresby to sever the line of communications between the United States and Australia. Nevertheless Allies intercepted and threw back the Japanese naval forces at the Battle of the Coral Sea. Japan’s next plan was to take Midway Atoll and attrack American carriers into battle to be eliminated. In early June, Japan put their operations into action but the Americans broke Japanese naval codes in late May, and were fully aware of the plans and force dispositions, using this knowledge to achieve a decisive victory over the Imperial Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway on June 5, 1942, sinking four Japanese aircraft carrier. With their capacity for aggressive action greatly diminished as a result of the Midway battle, Japan focused on an attempt to capture Port Moresby by an overland campaign in the Territory of Papua.

In July, 1942, a Japanese attack on Port Moresby was carried out along the rough Kokola Track. There an Australian battalion defeated the 5,000-strong Japanese force. New Guinea was the first land defeat of Japan in World War II. The United States planned a counterattack against Japanese positions in the southern Solomon Islands, primarily Guadalcanal, as a first step towards seizing Rabaul, the main Japanese base in Southeast Asia. Guadalcanal soon became a focal point for both sides with heavy commitments of troops and ships in a battle of attrition. The Battle of Guadalcanal began in August 1942, and, by the start of 1943, the Japanese were defeated on the island and withdrew their troops.

Eastern Front

On the Eastern Front, the German forces, reinforced by Romanian and Italian units, defeated Soviet offensives in the Kerch Peninsula and at Kharkov. Then Wehrmacht launched their main summer offensive against southern Russia in June, 1942, in order to take the oil fields of the Caucasus. The Soviets decided to resist the German onslaught at Stalingrad, which was on the Volga River, and by mid-November the Germans had nearly taken Stalingrad in vicious street fighting when the Soviets began their second winter counter-offensive, starting with an encirclement of German forces at Stalingrad and an assault on the Rzhev salient near Moscow, though the latter failed disastrously. Ending on February 2, 1943, the Battle of Stalingrad was the fiercest battle of World War II and the first serious defeat suffered by Germany who lost the entire 6th Army.

After the surrender of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, the Red Army launched eight offensives during the winter. Many were concentrated along the Don basin which resulted in initial gains until the German forces were able to halt the Soviets. In the spring of 1943, the German Army began to make preparations for an offensive in the region of Kursk. Having anticipated the attack, the Soviets spent their time fortifying the area and concentrating armored divisions. On July 4, the Germans launched their assault on the Kursk salient. As the German forces made little progress, a week later Hitler cancelled the operation. The Battle of Kursk was a decisive military engagement and the biggest tank battle in history. The Soviets were then able to mount a massive counter-offensive and, by June 1944, had driven Axis forces from the Soviet Union and made incursions into Romania.

North Africa

In July, 1942, a German offensive in Libya pushed the Allies back into Egypt until they were stopped at El Alamein. A few months later the Allies began an attack of their own in Egypt, driving the Axis Forces west across Libya. This was followed up by an Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa. Then the pincered Axis forces in Africa withdrew into Tunisia, which was conquered by the Allies by May 1943. Hitler responded by ordering the occupation of Vichy France, though the Vichy Admiralty managed to scuttle their fleet to prevent its capture by German forces.


After the surrender of Axis forces in Tunisia on May 13, 1943, the Allies invaded Sicily on July 10, 1943, in Operation Husky, taking the island in a month. On july 25, Benito Mussolini was removed from office by the King of Italy, and arrested with positive consent of the Great Fascist Council. A new government led by Pietro Badoglio took power and decided that Italy would stay in the war. But Badoglio had begun secret negotiations with the Allies. On September 3,1943, the Allies invaded mainland Italy. Badoglio escaped and left the Italian Army without orders. Then the German took over the fight and halted the Allies advance in the winter of 1943-1944 at the Gustav line south of Rome. Nevertheless the road to Rome was heavily defended by this defensive line and the German made their stand at Monte Cassino.

The Allies could not break the Gustav line until they finally landed on Anzio on January 22, 1944, on the southern coast of Latium. It was named Operation Shingle. Rome was taken and Benito Mussolini, who had been rescued by the Germans, created a new state in northern Italy, the Italian Social Republic on Lake Garda. As the Germans lost ground in Italy, Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci tried to escape to Switzerland, but they were identified and taken prisoners by communist partisans and later executed in April 1945.

Pacific Theater

After American and Australian troops retook the occupied parts of Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and the Dutch East Indies, in November 1943, the US marines won the Battle of Tarawa, which was the first heavily opposed amphibious assault in the Pacific theater. The American offensive continued in the southwest Pacific with the capture of the Marshall Islands before the end of February, 1944. The main American objective was the Mariana Islands, especially Saipan and Guam, in which the Japanese were strongly entrenched. But, by July 9, 1944, after a month of heavy fighting, Saipan was taken. Now Tokyo was within range of the B-29 bombers.

The Japanese committed much of their declining naval strength in the Battle of the Philippine Sea but suffered heavy losses in both ships and aircraft. Guam was invaded on July 21, and captured on August 10, 1944. The Island of Tinian was taken on August 1. On October 20, 1944, General MacArthur’s troops invaded the Philippines. After the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Philippines was finally taken on October 27, 1944. Then the American forces landed on Luzon in January 1945 and Mindanao in March. British, American and Chinese forces defeated the Japanese in Burma from October to March, then the British pushed on to Rangoon by May 3, 1945. American forces also moved toward Japan, taking Iwo Jima by March, and Okinawa by June. American B-29 bombed Tokyo and other Japanese cities as American submarines cut off Japanese imports.

European Theater (1944)

On June 6, 1944, the Western Allies landed on Normandy, northern France. The invasion of Normandy was successful. It was codenamed Operation Overlord. German resistance was tenacious and stubborn, especially around Caen and Bocage. The British and Canadian units had the hardest and deadliest job of fighting Waffen-SS armored forces equipped with Panther and Tiger tanks. But the Allies finally broke through, defeating the German Army units in France. Paris was liberated on August 25 as Allies kept pushing back the German forces in western Europe during the latter part of the year. An attempt to advance into northern Germany spear-headed by a major airborne operation in Holland, code named Market Garden, was not successful and they were repulsed by the Germans.

In December, 1944, German forces counter-attacked in the Ardennes against the Western Allies. It took six weeks for the Allies to halt the attack. In this German counter-offensive, known as the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler sought to drive a wedge between the Allies and bring them to agree to a favorable armistice, after which, Germany could concentrate all her efforts on the Eastern Front. But the mission was doomed to failure as the Allies had no intention of granting an Armistice under any conditions.

Eastern Front

On June 22, 1944, the Soviets launched a major attack in Belarus in Operation Bagration which resulted in the defeat of the German Army Group Center. Another Soviet offensive forced the German troops to retreat from Western Ukraine and Eastern Poland. These successful advances of the Soviet Army prompted resistance forces in Poland to begin several uprisings. But the largest of these, in Warsaw, as well as a Slovak Uprising in the south, were put down by German forces. The Red Army’s strategic attack on German forces in eastern Romania cut off and destroyed German Army units there. This triggered successful coup d’état in Romania and Bulgaria, who then shifted to the Allies side.

In September 1944, the Red Army moved into Yugoslavia, forcing the rapid withdrawal of the German Army Groups E and F in Greece, Albania, and Yugoslavia to avoid being cut off by the Soviets. At this point, the Yugoslav Partisans under Marshal Josip Broz Tito controlled much of the Yugoslav territory and were engaged in small intensity battles against the German forces further south. In northern Serbia, the Red Army, with limited support from Bulgarian forces, assisted the Partisans in a joint liberation of the capital city of Belgrade on October 20. Few days later, the Soviets launched a massive assault against German occupied Hungary that lasted until the fall of Budapest in February 1945. In January 1945, the Soviets attacked the Germans in Poland, pushing them from the Vistula to the Oder river in Germany, overrunning East Prussia.

Allied Victory

In February 1945, Allied forces made preparations to enter Germany as they got close to the Rhine river, while the Soviets invaded Pomerania and Silesia. In March, the British and American armies crossed the Rhine north and south of the Ruhr. Once the Allies had crossed the Rhine, the British fanned out northeastward towards Hamburg, crossing the river Elbe. The US 9th Army moved south while the US 1rst Army went north. On April 4 the encirclement was completed, trapping the German Army Group B in the Ruhr Pocket. In late April Soviet forces stormed Berlin. The two forces met on Elbe river on April 25, 1945.

After Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, Admiral Karl Dönitz became leader of the German Government. But, after ferocious fighting, the German forces in Berlin finally crumbled, surrendering the city to the Soviets on May 2, 1945. German forces in Italy also surrendered on May 2, 1945, while the German armies in northern Germany surrendered on May 4, 1945. The German High Command under General Alfred Jodl surrendered unconditionally all remaining German forces on May 7, 1945, in Reims, France. The Allies celebrated V-E Day on May 8.

Pacific Theater

The new American President, Harry Truman, and the US military decided to use their new super-weapon to bring the war to an end. The Battle of Okinawa had shown that an invasion of the Japanese mainland, which had been planned for November, would result in thousands of casualties. Perhaps around 200,000 thousand American soldiers and more than 600,000 Japanese civilians and military would have died, had the American government decided not to use the atomic bomb.

On August 6, 1945, the B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay”, piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets, dropped the nuclear weapon named “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, completely destroying the city. The United States called upon Japan to surrender, but as no response was made, on August 9, the B-29 “Bocks Car”, piloted by Major Charles Sweeney, dropped another atomic bomb named “Fat Man” on Nagasaki. On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally. On September 2, 1945, the Japanese signed the Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri battleship, anchored in Tokyo Bay.

Text Source 


Beware, this picture book of World war 2 is unsanitized. If you can stand to look at frightening pictures, this book may be for you.

It reproduces pictures such as a full color photo of a German soldier being comforted by his comrades after his arm was shot off, showing his arm laying on the ground next to him and showing the dazed expression on his face. If you are not too squeamish to look at that, then you may have the stomach for this book. Many pictures of Nazi atrocities are included as well as pictures of amputee refugee children. There are many other types of photos too, such as typical battle scene shots and pictures of the home front. However, for the most part, this book is unvarnished.

We have seen many war pictures showing battle scenes. We have also seen pictures of the wounded in a somewhat unrevealing manner.

This book does not hold back. If you want to see the horrors of war, buy this book but be prepared to be troubled after looking through it and if you have nightmares afterwards, don't say you were not forewarned.

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Quotes about war....

"War grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man."
--Napoleon Hill

"We have failed to grasp the fact that mankind is becoming a single unit, and that for a unit to fight against itself is suicide."
--Havelock Ellis

'Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed."
--Mao Tse-Tung (1893 - 1976)

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."
--George McGovern

"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic."
--Joseph Stalin

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
--Voltaire, War

In war, truth is the first casualty.
-- Aeschylus

"The ability and inclination to use physical strength is no indication of bravery or tenacity to life. The greatest cowards are often the greatest bullies. Nothing is cheaper and more common than physical bravery."
--Clarence Darrow, Resist Not Evil

"The victor will never be asked if he told the truth."
--Adolf Hitler

"To walk through the ruined cities of Germany is to feel an actual doubt about the continuity of civilization."
--George Orwell

"Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country."
--Bertrand Russell

Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself.
--Francis Meehan

Snippets From History

German Soldiers in Russia: Part 1

Hubert Menzel was a major in the General Operations Department of the OKH (the Oberkommando des Heers, the German Army headquarters), and for him the idea of invading the Soviet Union in 1941 had the smack of cold, clear logic to it: 'We knew that in two years' time, that is by the end of 1942, beginning of 1943, the English would be ready, the Americans would be ready, the Russians would be ready too, and then we would have to deal with all three of them at the same time.... We had to try to remove the greatest threat from the East.... At the time it seemed possible.'

Battle for Berlin, 1945

'We started to fire at the masses,' says one former German machine gunner. 'They weren't human beings for us. It was a wall of attacking beasts who were trying to kill us. You yourself were no longer human.'


Berlin after it fell to the Russians, 1945

"Vladlen Anchishkin, a Soviet battery commander on the 1st Ukrainian Front, sums up the horror of the whole event, when he tells how he took personal revenge on German soldiers: 'I can admit it now, I was in such a state, I was in such a frenzy. I said, 'Bring them here for an interrogation' and I had a knife, and I cut him. I cut a lot of them. I thought, 'You wanted to kill me, now it's your turn.'
Read More


Dramatic Pictures: Battle For Stalingrad
"...Effective command no longer possible... further defense senseless. Collapse inevitable. Army requests immediate permission to surrender in order to save lives of remaining troops."
General Paulus' radio message to Hitler on January 24, 1943

"...Capitulation is impossible. The 6th Army will do its historic duty at Stalingrad until the last man, the last bullet..."

Hitler's response to General Friedrich Paulus' request to withdraw from the city


Points To Ponder....

The fall of France was shocking. It reduced France to virtually a non-player in the Second World War. The efforts of Charles de Gualle were more symbolic than material. But the martial instincts of the French must never be doubted. Under Napoleon they were a formidable military power. The French definitely have more iron in their blood then say, the Italians [I do not mean it in a derogatory sense. War never makes sense]


Bias Of Western Historians

Soviet resistance made possible a successful Allied invasion of France, and ensured the final Allied victory over Germany.

It can hardly be called mere 'resistance'! If it hadn't been for the Russians, Hitler would have made mincemeat of British forces in Africa and landed on British shores in no time. Hitler attacked Russia first because it had more land and resources than Britain. It is as simple as that.

Eastern Front: Bias Of Western Historians