World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Finland the Republic of Finland, is a country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, Russia to the east. Finland is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia; the capital and largest city is Helsinki. Other major cities are Espoo, Tampere and Turku. Finland's population is 5.52 million, the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region. 88.7% of the population is Finnish and speaks Finnish, a Uralic language unrelated to the Scandinavian languages. Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union; the sovereign state is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital city of Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, one autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces one third of the country's GDP. Finland was inhabited when the last ice age ended 9000 BCE.
The first settlers left behind artefacts that present characteristics shared with those found in Estonia and Norway. The earliest people were hunter-gatherers; the first pottery appeared in 5200 BCE. The arrival of the Corded Ware culture in southern coastal Finland between 3000 and 2500 BCE may have coincided with the start of agriculture; the Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in the Fennoscandian and Baltic regions and the sedentary farming inhabitation increased towards the end of Iron Age. At the time Finland had three main cultural areas – Southwest Finland and Karelia – as reflected in contemporary jewellery. From the late 13th century, Finland became an integral part of Sweden through the Northern Crusades and the Swedish part-colonisation of coastal Finland, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. In 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland.
In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant all adult citizens the right to vote, the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by civil war, with the Bolshevik-leaning Red Guard supported by the new Soviet Russia, fighting the White Guard, supported by the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the country became a republic. During World War II, the Soviet Union sought to occupy Finland, with Finland losing parts of Karelia, Kuusamo and some islands, but retaining their independence. Finland established an official policy of neutrality; the Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War era. Finland joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, the Eurozone at its inception, in 1999.
Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a agrarian country until the 1950s. After World War II, the Soviet Union demanded war reparations from Finland not only in money but in material, such as ships and machinery; this forced Finland to industrialise. It developed an advanced economy while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model, resulting in widespread prosperity and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, human development. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and the Press Freedom Index and as the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016 in the Fragile States Index, second in the Global Gender Gap Report, it ranked first on the World Happiness Report report for 2018 and 2019. A large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Finnish Constitution.
The earliest written appearance of the name Finland is thought to be on three runestones. Two have the inscription finlonti; the third was found in Gotland. It dates back to the 13th century; the name can be assumed to be related to the tribe name Finns, mentioned at first known time AD 98. The name Suomi has uncertain origins, but a candidate for a source is the Proto-Baltic word *źemē, meaning "land". In addition to the close relatives of Finnish, this name is used in the Baltic languages Latvian and Lithuanian. Alternatively, the Indo-European word * gʰm-on "man" has been suggested; the word referred only to the province of Finland Proper, to the northern coast of Gulf of Finland, with northern regions such as Ostrobothnia still sometimes being excluded until later. Earlier theories suggested derivation from suomaa or suoniemi, but these are now considered outdated; some have suggested common etymology with saame and Häme, but that theory is uncertain
A memoir is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private, that took place in the subject's life. The assertions made in the work are understood to be factual. While memoir has been defined as a subcategory of biography or autobiography since the late 20th century, the genre is differentiated in form, presenting a narrowed focus. A biography or autobiography tells the story "of a life", while a memoir tells a story "from a life", such as touchstone events and turning points from the author's life; the author of a memoir may be referred to a memorialist. Memoirs have been written since the ancient times, as shown by Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico known as Commentaries on the Gallic Wars. In the work, Caesar describes the battles that took place during the nine years that he spent fighting local armies in the Gallic Wars, his second memoir, Commentarii de Bello Civili is an account of the events that took place between 49 and 48 BC in the civil war against Gnaeus Pompeius and the Senate.
The noted Libanius, teacher of rhetoric who lived between an estimated 314 and 394 AD, framed his life memoir as one of his literary orations, which were written to be read aloud in the privacy of his study. This kind of memoir refers to the idea in ancient Greece and Rome, that memoirs were like "memos", or pieces of unfinished and unpublished writing, which a writer might use as a memory aid to make a more finished document on; the Sarashina Nikki is an example of an early Japanese memoir, written in the Heian period. A genre of book writing, Nikki Bungaku, emerged during this time. In the Middle Ages, Geoffrey of Villehardouin, Jean de Joinville, Philippe de Commines wrote memoirs, while the genre was represented toward the end of the Renaissance, through the works of Blaise de Montluc and Margaret of Valois, that she was the first woman to write her Memoirs in modern-style; until the Age of Enlightenment encompassing the 17th and 18th centuries, works of memoir were written by Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury.
While Saint-Simon was considered a writer possessing a high level of skill for narrative and character development, it wasn't until well after his death that his work as a memoirist was recognized, resulting in literary fame. Over the latter half of the 18th through the mid-20th century, memoirists included those who were noted within their chosen profession; these authors wrote as a way to publish their own account of their public exploits. Authors included politicians or people in court society and were joined by military leaders and businessmen. An exception to these models is Henry David Thoreau's 1854 memoir Walden, which presents his experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond. Twentieth-century war memoirs became a genre of their own, from the First World War, Ernst Jünger and Frederic Manning's Her Privates We. Memoirs documenting incarceration by Nazi Germany during the war include Primo Levi's If This Is a Man, which covers his arrest as a member of the Italian Resistance Movement, followed by his life as a prisoner in Auschwitz.
In the early 1990s, memoirs written by ordinary people experienced a sudden upsurge, as an increasing number of people realized that their ancestors’ and their own stories were about to disappear, in part as a result of the opportunities and distractions of technological advances. At the same time and other research began to show that familiarity with genealogy helps people find their place in the world and that life review helps people come to terms with their own past. With the advent of inexpensive digital book production in the first decade of the 21st century, the genre exploded. Memoirs written as a way to pass down a personal legacy, rather than as a literary work of art or historical document, are emerging as a personal and family responsibility; the Association of Personal Historians formed in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the early days of the modern memoir, as an international trade association for professionals who assist individuals and organizations in documenting their life stories, preferably in archival formats.
With the expressed interest of preserving history through the eyes of those who lived it, some organizations work with potential memoirists to bring their work to fruition. The Veterans History Project, for example, compiles the memoirs of those who have served in a branch of the United States Armed Forces – those who have seen active combat. Association of Personal Historians Diary Fake memoirs Histoire de ma vie Last will and testament Time Magazine. Memoir Network
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
A military is a heavily-armed, highly-organised force intended for warfare known collectively as armed forces. It is officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct military uniform, it may consist of one or more military branches such as an Army, Air Force and in certain countries and Coast Guard. The main task of the military is defined as defence of the state and its interests against external armed threats. Beyond warfare, the military may be employed in additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within the state, including internal security threats, population control, the promotion of a political agenda, emergency services and reconstruction, protecting corporate economic interests, social ceremonies and national honor guards. A nation's military may function as a discrete social subculture, with dedicated infrastructure such as military housing, utilities, hospitals, legal services, food production and banking services.
In broad usage, the terms "armed forces" and "military" are treated as synonymous, although in technical usage a distinction is sometimes made in which a country's armed forces may include both its military and other paramilitary forces. There are various forms of irregular military forces; the profession of soldiering as part of a military is older than recorded history itself. Some of the most enduring images of classical antiquity portray the power and feats of its military leaders; the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC was one of the defining points of Pharaoh Ramses II's reign, his monuments commemorate it in bas-relief. A thousand years the first emperor of unified China, Qin Shi Huang, was so determined to impress the gods with his military might that he had himself buried with an army of terracotta soldiers; the Romans paid considerable attention to military matters, leaving to posterity many treatises and writings on the subject, as well as a large number of lavishly carved triumphal arches and victory columns.
Issue: Possibly cognate with Thousand, cf. Latin and Romance language root word "mil-")The first recorded use of the word military in English, spelled militarie, was in 1582, it comes from the Latin militaris through French, but is of uncertain etymology, one suggestion being derived from *mil-it- – going in a body or mass. The word is now identified as denoting someone, skilled in use of weapons, or engaged in military service, or in warfare; as a noun, the military refers to a country's armed forces, or sometimes, more to the senior officers who command them. In general, it refers to the physicality of armed forces, their personnel and the physical area which they occupy; as an adjective, military referred only to soldiers and soldiering, but it soon broadened to apply to land forces in general, anything to do with their profession. The names of both the Royal Military Academy and United States Military Academy reflect this. However, at about the time of the Napoleonic Wars,'military' began to be used in reference to armed forces as a whole, in the 21st century expressions like'military service','military intelligence', and'military history' encompass naval and air force aspects.
As such, it now connotes any activity performed by armed force personnel. Military history is considered to be the history of all conflicts, not just the history of the state militaries, it differs somewhat from the history of war, with military history focusing on the people and institutions of war-making, while the history of war focuses on the evolution of war itself in the face of changing technology and geography. Military history has a number of facets. One main facet is to learn from past accomplishments and mistakes, so as to more wage war in the future. Another is to create a sense of military tradition, used to create cohesive military forces. Still, another may be to learn to prevent wars more effectively. Human knowledge about the military is based on both recorded and oral history of military conflicts, their participating armies and navies and, more air forces. There are two types of military history, although all texts have elements of both: descriptive history, that serves to chronicle conflicts without offering any statements about the causes, nature of conduct, the ending, effects of a conflict.
Despite the growing importance of military technology, military activity depends above all on people. For example, in 2000 the British Army declared: "Man is still the first weapon of war." The military organization is characterized by a strict hierarchy divided by military rank, with ranks grouped as officers, non-commissioned officers, personnel at the lowest rank. While senior officers make strategic decisions, subordinated military personnel fulfil them. Although rank titles vary by military branch and country, the rank hierarchy is common to all state armed forces worldwide. In addition to their rank, personnel occupy one of many trade roles, which are grouped according to
The Waffen-SS was the armed wing of the Nazi Party's SS organisation. Its formations included men from Nazi Germany, along with volunteers and conscripts from both occupied and un-occupied lands; the Waffen-SS grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions during World War II, served alongside the Heer and other security units. It was under the control of the SS Führungshauptamt beneath Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. With the start of World War II, tactical control was exercised by the High Command of the Armed Forces, with some units being subordinated to Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS directly under Himmler's control. In keeping with the racial policy of Nazi Germany, membership was open only to people of Germanic origin; the rules were relaxed in 1940, the formation of units composed or of foreign volunteers and conscripts was authorised. These SS units were made up of men from among the nationals of Nazi-occupied Europe. Despite relaxation of the rules, the Waffen-SS was still based on the racist ideology of Nazism, ethnic Poles were barred from the formations.
Members of the Waffen-SS were involved in numerous atrocities. At the post-war Nuremberg trials, the Waffen-SS was judged to be a criminal organisation due to its connection to the Nazi Party and direct involvement in numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity. Former Waffen-SS members, with the exception of conscripts, who comprised about one third of the membership, were denied many of the rights afforded to military veterans; the origins of the Waffen-SS can be traced back to the selection of a group of 120 SS men on 17 March 1933 by Sepp Dietrich to form the Sonderkommando Berlin. By November 1933 the formation had 800 men, at a commemorative ceremony in Munich for the tenth anniversary of the failed Munich Putsch the regiment swore allegiance to Adolf Hitler; the oaths pledged were "Pledging loyalty to him alone" and "Obedience unto death". The formation was given the title Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. On 13 April 1934, by order of Himmler, the regiment became known as the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler.
The Leibstandarte demonstrated their loyalty to Hitler in 1934 during the "Night of the Long Knives", when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political killings and the purge of the Sturmabteilung. Led by one of Hitler's oldest comrades, Ernst Röhm, the SA was seen as a threat by Hitler to his newly gained political power. Hitler wanted to conciliate leaders of the Reichswehr and conservatives of the country, people whose support Hitler needed to solidify his position; when Hitler decided to act against the SA, the SS was put in charge of eliminating Röhm and the other high-ranking SA officers. The Night of the Long Knives occurred between 30 June and 2 July 1934 and saw the killing of up to 200 people; this included the entire SA leadership ending its power. This action was carried out by SS personnel, the Gestapo. In September 1934, Hitler authorised the formation of the military wing of the Nazi Party and approved the formation of the SS-Verfügungstruppe, a special service troop under Hitler's overall command.
The SS-VT had to depend on the German Army for its supply of weapons and military training, they had control of the recruiting system through local draft boards responsible for assigning conscripts to the different branches of the Wehrmacht to meet quotas set by the German High Command. The SS was given the lowest priority for recruits. With the difficulties presented by the quota system, Heinrich Himmler formed two new SS regiments, the SS Germania and SS Deutschland, which together with the Leibstandarte and a communications unit made up the SS-VT. At the same time Himmler established the SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz and SS-Junkerschule Braunschweig for military training of SS officers. Both schools used regular army training methods and used former army officers as instructors. In 1934, Himmler set stringent requirements for recruits, they were to be German nationals who could prove their Aryan ancestry back to 1800, without a criminal record. A four-year commitment was required for the SS-VT and LSSAH.
Recruits had to be between the ages of 23, at least 1.74 metres tall. Concentration camp guards had to make a one-year commitment, be between the ages of 16 and 23, at least 1.72 metres tall. All recruits were required to have 20/20 eyesight, no dental fillings, to provide a medical certificate. By 1938, the height restrictions were relaxed, up to six dental fillings were permitted, eyeglasses for astigmatism and mild vision correction were allowed. Once the war commenced, the physical requirements were no longer enforced, any recruit who could pass a basic medical exam was considered for service. Members of the SS could be of any religion except Judaism, but atheists were not allowed according to Himmler in 1937. Historian Bernd Wegner found in his study of officers that a large majority of the senior officers corps of the Waffen-SS were from an upper-middle-class background and would have been considered for commissioning by traditional standards. Among Waffen-SS generals six out of ten had a "university entrance qualification, no less than one-fifth a university degree".
In 1936, Himmler selected former Lieutenant General Paul Hausser to
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world. OCLC is funded by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services. OCLC maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system. OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, library directors who wanted to create a cooperative computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio; the group first met on July 5, 1967 on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization, hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system.
Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars; the first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States.
As OCLC expanded services in the United States outside Ohio, it relied on establishing strategic partnerships with "networks", organizations that provided training and marketing services. By 2008, there were 15 independent United States regional service providers. OCLC networks played a key role in OCLC governance, with networks electing delegates to serve on the OCLC Members Council. During 2008, OCLC commissioned two studies to look at distribution channels. In early 2009, OCLC negotiated new contracts with the former networks and opened a centralized support center. OCLC provides bibliographic and full-text information to anyone. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat—the OCLC Online Union Catalog, the largest online public access catalog in the world. WorldCat has holding records from private libraries worldwide; the Open WorldCat program, launched in late 2003, exposed a subset of WorldCat records to Web users via popular Internet search and bookselling sites.
In October 2005, the OCLC technical staff began a wiki project, WikiD, allowing readers to add commentary and structured-field information associated with any WorldCat record. WikiD was phased out; the Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal Classification System when it bought Forest Press in 1988. A browser for books with their Dewey Decimal Classifications was available until July 2013; until August 2009, when it was sold to Backstage Library Works, OCLC owned a preservation microfilm and digitization operation called the OCLC Preservation Service Center, with its principal office in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The reference management service QuestionPoint provides libraries with tools to communicate with users; this around-the-clock reference service is provided by a cooperative of participating global libraries. Starting in 1971, OCLC produced catalog cards for members alongside its shared online catalog. OCLC commercially sells software, such as CONTENTdm for managing digital collections.
It offers the bibliographic discovery system WorldCat Discovery, which allows for library patrons to use a single search interface to access an institution's catalog, database subscriptions and more. OCLC has been conducting research for the library community for more than 30 years. In accordance with its mission, OCLC makes its research outcomes known through various publications; these publications, including journal articles, reports and presentations, are available through the organization's website. OCLC Publications – Research articles from various journals including Code4Lib Journal, OCLC Research, Reference & User Services Quarterly, College & Research Libraries News, Art Libraries Journal, National Education Association Newsletter; the most recent publications are displayed first, all archived resources, starting in 1970, are available. Membership Reports – A number of significant reports on topics ranging from virtual reference in libraries to perceptions about library funding. Newsletters – Current and archived newsletters for the library and archive community.
Presentations – Presentations from both guest speakers and OCLC research from conferences and other events. The presentations are organized into five categories: Conference presentations, Dewey presentations, Distinguished Seminar Series, Guest presentations, Research staff