Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams consisting of six players each: one goaltender, five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team. Ice hockey is most popular in Canada and eastern Europe, the Nordic countries and the United States. Ice hockey is the official national winter sport of Canada. In addition, ice hockey is the most popular winter sport in Belarus, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia and Switzerland. North America's National Hockey League is the highest level for men's ice hockey and the strongest professional ice hockey league in the world; the Kontinental Hockey League is much of Eastern Europe. The International Ice Hockey Federation is the formal governing body for international ice hockey, with the IIHF managing international tournaments and maintaining the IIHF World Ranking.
Worldwide, there are ice hockey federations in 76 countries. In Canada, the United States, Nordic countries, some other European countries the sport is known as hockey. Ice hockey is believed to have evolved from simple stick and ball games played in the 18th and 19th century United Kingdom and elsewhere; these games were brought to North America and several similar winter games using informal rules as they were developed, such as "shinny" and "ice polo". The contemporary sport of ice hockey was developed in Canada, most notably in Montreal, where the first indoor hockey game was played on March 3, 1875; some characteristics of that game, such as the length of the ice rink and the use of a puck, have been retained to this day. Amateur ice hockey leagues began in the 1880s, professional ice hockey originated around 1900; the Stanley Cup, emblematic of ice hockey club supremacy, was first awarded in 1893 to recognize the Canadian amateur champion and became the championship trophy of the NHL. In the early 1900s, the Canadian rules were adopted by the Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace, the precursor of the IIHF and the sport was played for the first time at the Olympics during the 1920 Summer Olympics.
In international competitions, the national teams of six countries predominate: Canada, Czech Republic, Russia and the United States. Of the 69 medals awarded all-time in men's competition at the Olympics, only seven medals were not awarded to one of those countries. In the annual Ice Hockey World Championships, 177 of 201 medals have been awarded to the six nations. Teams outside the "Big Six" have won only five medals in either competition since 1953; the World Cup of Hockey is organized by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association, unlike the annual World Championships and quadrennial Olympic tournament, both run by the International Ice Hockey Federation. World Cup games are played under NHL rules and not those of the IIHF, the tournament occurs prior to the NHL pre-season, allowing for all NHL players to be available, unlike the World Championships, which overlaps with the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs. Furthermore, all 12 Women's Olympic and 36 IIHF World Women's Championships medals were awarded to one of these six countries.
The Canadian national team or the United States national team have between them won every gold medal of either series. In England, field hockey has been called "hockey" and what was referenced by first appearances in print; the first known mention spelled as "hockey" occurred in the 1773 book Juvenile Sports and Pastimes, to Which Are Prefixed, Memoirs of the Author: Including a New Mode of Infant Education, by Richard Johnson, whose chapter XI was titled "New Improvements on the Game of Hockey". The 1573 Statute of Galway banned a sport called "'hokie'—the hurling of a little ball with sticks or staves". A form of this word was thus being used in the 16th century, though much removed from its current usage; the belief that hockey was mentioned in a 1363 proclamation by King Edward III of England is based on modern translations of the proclamation, in Latin and explicitly forbade the games "Pilam Manualem, Pedivam, & Bacularem: & ad Canibucam & Gallorum Pugnam". The English historian and biographer John Strype did not use the word "hockey" when he translated the proclamation in 1720, instead translating "Canibucam" as "Cambuck".
According to the Austin Hockey Association, the word "puck" derives from the Scottish Gaelic puc or the Irish poc. "... The blow given by a hurler to the ball with his camán or hurley is always called a puck." Stick-and-ball games date back to pre-Christian times. In Europe, these games included the Irish game of hurling, the related Scottish game of shinty and versions of field hockey. IJscolf, a game resembling colf on an ice-covered surface, was popular in the Low Countries between the Middle Ages and the Dutch Golden Age, it was played with a wooden curved bat, a wooden or leather ball and two poles, with t
Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included, it is home to the nation's capital city and the nation's most populous city, Ontario's provincial capital. Ontario is bordered by the province of Manitoba to the west, Hudson Bay and James Bay to the north, Quebec to the east and northeast, to the south by the U. S. states of Minnesota, Ohio and New York. All of Ontario's 2,700 km border with the United States follows inland waterways: from the west at Lake of the Woods, eastward along the major rivers and lakes of the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence River drainage system; these are the Rainy River, the Pigeon River, Lake Superior, the St. Marys River, Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River from Kingston, Ontario, to the Quebec boundary just east of Cornwall, Ontario.
There is only about 1 km of land border made up of portages including Height of Land Portage on the Minnesota border. Ontario is sometimes conceptually divided into Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario; the great majority of Ontario's population and arable land is in the south. In contrast, the larger, northern part of Ontario is sparsely populated with cold winters and heavy forestation; the province is named after Lake Ontario, a term thought to be derived from Ontarí:io, a Huron word meaning "great lake", or skanadario, which means "beautiful water" in the Iroquoian languages. Ontario has about 250,000 freshwater lakes; the province consists of three main geographical regions: The thinly populated Canadian Shield in the northwestern and central portions, which comprises over half the land area of Ontario. Although this area does not support agriculture, it is rich in minerals and in part covered by the Central and Midwestern Canadian Shield forests, studded with lakes and rivers. Northern Ontario is subdivided into two sub-regions: Northeastern Ontario.
The unpopulated Hudson Bay Lowlands in the extreme north and northeast swampy and sparsely forested. Southern Ontario, further sub-divided into four regions. Despite the absence of any mountainous terrain in the province, there are large areas of uplands within the Canadian Shield which traverses the province from northwest to southeast and above the Niagara Escarpment which crosses the south; the highest point is Ishpatina Ridge at 693 metres above sea level in Temagami, Northeastern Ontario. In the south, elevations of over 500 m are surpassed near Collingwood, above the Blue Mountains in the Dundalk Highlands and in hilltops near the Madawaska River in Renfrew County; the Carolinian forest zone covers most of the southwestern region of the province. The temperate and fertile Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Valley in the south is part of the Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests ecoregion where the forest has now been replaced by agriculture and urban development. A well-known geographic feature is part of the Niagara Escarpment.
The Saint Lawrence Seaway allows navigation to and from the Atlantic Ocean as far inland as Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario. Northern Ontario occupies 87 percent of the surface area of the province. Point Pelee is a peninsula of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario, the southernmost extent of Canada's mainland. Pelee Island and Middle Island in Lake Erie extend farther. All are south of 42°N – farther south than the northern border of California; the climate of Ontario varies by location. It is affected by three air sources: cold, arctic air from the north; the effects of these major air masses on temperature and precipitation depend on latitude, proximity to major bodies of water and to a small extent, terrain relief. In general, most of Ontario's climate is classified as humid continental. Ontario has three main climatic regions; the surrounding Great Lakes influence the climatic region of southern Ontario. During the fall and winter months, heat stored from the lakes is released, moderating the climate near the shores of the lakes.
This gives some parts of southern Ontario milder winters than mid-continental areas at lower latitudes. Parts of Southwestern Ontario have a moderate humid continental climate, similar to that of the inland Mid-Atlantic states and the Great Lakes portion of the Midwestern United States; the region has warm to cold winters. Annual precipitation is well distributed throughout the year. Most of this region lies in the lee of the Great Lakes. In December 2010, the snowbelt set a new record when it was h
The Stanley Cup is the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League playoff winner. It is the oldest existing trophy to be awarded to a professional sports franchise, the International Ice Hockey Federation considers it to be one of the "most important championships available to the sport"; the trophy was commissioned in 1892 as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup and is named after Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada who donated it as an award to Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. The entire Stanley family supported the sport, the sons and daughters all playing and promoting the game; the first Cup was awarded in 1893 to Montreal Hockey Club, winners from 1893 to 1914 were determined by challenge games and league play. Professional teams first became eligible to challenge for the Stanley Cup in 1906. In 1915, professional ice hockey organizations National Hockey Association and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association reached a gentlemen's agreement in which their respective champions would face each other annually for the Stanley Cup.
It was established as the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926 and the de jure NHL championship prize in 1947. There are three Stanley Cups: the original bowl of the "Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup", the authenticated "Presentation Cup", the spelling-corrected "Permanent Cup" on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame; the NHL has maintained its associated trademarks. The NHL has registered trademarks associated with the name and likeness of the Stanley Cup, although there has been dispute as to whether the league has the right to own trademarks associated with a trophy that it does not own; the original bowl is 18.5 centimetres high and 29 centimetres wide. The current Stanley Cup is topped with a copy of the original bowl, made of a silver and nickel alloy, it weighs 15.5 kilograms. A new Stanley Cup is not made each year, unlike the trophies awarded by the other major professional sports leagues of North America; the winners kept it until a new champion was crowned, but winning teams get the Stanley Cup during the summer and a limited number of days during the season.
Every year since 1924, a select portion of the winning players, coaches and club staff names are engraved on its bands, unusual among trophies. However, there is not enough room to include all the players and non-players, so some names must be omitted. Between 1924 and 1940, a new band was added every year that the trophy was awarded, earning the nickname "Stovepipe Cup" due to the unnatural height of all the bands. In 1947, the cup size was reduced. In 1958, the modern one-piece Cup was designed with a five-band barrel which could contain 13 winning teams per band; the oldest band is removed when the bottom band is full and preserved in the Hockey Hall of Fame in order to prevent the Stanley Cup from growing, a new blank band added to the bottom. It has been referred to as The Cup, Lord Stanley's Cup, The Holy Grail, or facetiously as Lord Stanley's Mug; the Stanley Cup is surrounded by numerous legends and traditions, the oldest of, the winning team drinking champagne from it. Since the 1914–15 season, the Cup has been won a combined 101 times by 18 current NHL teams and 5 defunct teams.
It was not awarded in 1919 because of a Spanish flu epidemic or in 2005 because of the 2004–05 NHL lockout. It was held by nine different teams between 1893 and 1914; the Montreal Canadiens have won it a record 24 times and are the most recent Canadian-based team to win it, doing so in 1993. After the Lord Stanley of Preston was appointed by Queen Victoria as Governor General of Canada on June 11, 1888, he and his family became enthusiastic about ice hockey. Stanley was first exposed to the game at Montreal's 1889 Winter Carnival, where he saw the Montreal Victorias play the Montreal Hockey Club; the Montreal Gazette reported that he "expressed his great delight with the game of hockey and the expertise of the players". During that time, organized ice hockey in Canada was still in its infancy and only Montreal and Ottawa had anything resembling leagues. Stanley's entire family became active in ice hockey. Two of his sons and Algernon, formed a new team called the Ottawa Rideau Hall Rebels. Arthur played a key role in the formation of what became known as the Ontario Hockey Association, became the founder of ice hockey in Great Britain.
Arthur and Algernon persuaded their father to donate a trophy to be "an outward and visible sign of the hockey championship". Stanley sent the following message to the victory celebration held on March 18, 1892, at Ottawa's Russell House Hotel for the three-time champion Ottawa Hockey Club: I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup which should be held from year to year by the champion hockey team in the Dominion. There does not appear to be any such outward sign of a championship at present, considering the general interest which matches now elicit, the importance of having the game played and under rules recognized, I am willing to give a cup which shall be held from year to year by the winning team. I am not quite certain that the present regulations governing the arrangement of matches give entire satisfaction, it would be worth consid
Hockey Hall of Fame
The Hockey Hall of Fame is an ice hockey museum located in Toronto, Canada. Dedicated to the history of ice hockey, it is a hall of fame, it holds exhibits about players, National Hockey League records, memorabilia and NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup. Founded in Kingston, the Hockey Hall of Fame was established in 1943 under the leadership of James T. Sutherland; the first class of honoured members was inducted in 1945, before the Hall of Fame had a permanent location. It moved to Toronto in 1958 after the NHL withdrew its support for the International Hockey Hall of Fame in Kingston, Ontario, its first permanent building opened at Exhibition Place in 1961. The hall was relocated in 1993, is now in downtown Toronto, inside Brookfield Place, a historic Bank of Montreal building. An 18-person committee of players and others meets annually in June to select new honourees, who are inducted as players, builders or on-ice officials. In 2010, a subcategory was established for female players; the builders' category includes coaches, general managers, team owners and others who have helped build the game.
Honoured members are inducted into the Hall of Fame in an annual ceremony held at the Hall of Fame building in November, followed by a special "Hockey Hall of Fame Game" between the Toronto Maple Leafs and a visiting team. As of 2018, 280 players, 109 builders and 16 on-ice officials have been inducted into the Hall of Fame; the Hall of Fame has been criticized for focusing on players from the National Hockey League and ignoring players from other North American and international leagues. The Hockey Hall of Fame was established through the efforts of James T. Sutherland, a former President of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. Sutherland sought to establish it in Kingston, Ontario as he believed that the city was the birthplace of hockey. In 1943, the NHL and CAHA reached an agreement. Called the "International Hockey Hall of Fame", its mandate was to honour great hockey players and to raise funds for a permanent location; the first nine "honoured members" were inducted on April 30, 1945, although the Hall of Fame still did not have a permanent home.
The first board of governors consisted of Red Dutton, Art Ross, Frank Sargent, Lester Patrick, Abbie E. H. Coo, Wes McKnight, Basil E. O'Meara, J. P. Fitzgerald and W. A. Hewitt. Kingston lost its most influential advocate as permanent site of the Hockey Hall of Fame when Sutherland died in 1955. By 1958, the Hockey Hall of Fame had still not raised sufficient funds to construct a permanent building in Kingston. Clarence Campbell President of the NHL, grew tired of waiting for the construction to begin and withdrew the NHL's support to situate the hall in Kingston. In the same year, the NHL and the Canadian National Exhibition reached an agreement to establish a new Hall of Fame building in Toronto, in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame located at Exhibition Place; the temporary Hockey Hall of Fame opened as an exhibit within the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in August 1958, 350,000 people visited it during the 1958 CNE fair. Due to the success of the exhibit, NHL and CNE decided that a permanent home in the Exhibition Place was needed.
The NHL agreed to fund the building of the new facility on the grounds of Exhibition Place, construction began in 1960. The first permanent Hockey Hall of Fame, which shared a building with the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, was opened on August 26, 1961, by Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. Over 750,000 people visited the Hall in its inaugural year. Admission to the Hockey Hall of Fame was free until 1980, when the Hockey Hall of Fame facilities underwent expansion. By 1986, the Hall of Fame was running out of room in its existing facilities and the Board of Directors decided that a new home was needed; the Hall vacated the Exhibition Place building in 1992, its half was taken over by the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. (The building was demolished. Development of the new location in the BCE Place complex, featuring the former Bank of Montreal at the corner of Yonge and Front Streets in Toronto, began soon after; the design was by S. George Curry; the new Hockey Hall of Fame opened on June 18, 1993.
The new location has 4,700 m2 of exhibition space, seven times larger. The Hockey Hall of Fame now hosts more than 300,000 visitors each year; the first curator of the new Hall of Fame was Bobby Hewitson. Following Hewitson's retirement in 1967, Lefty Reid was appointed to the position. Reid was curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame for the next 25 years, retiring in 1992. Following Reid's retirement, former NHL referee-in-chief Scotty Morrison, the president of the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1986, was appointed curator. Morrison supervised the relocation of the Hall of its exhibits; the current curator is Phil Pritchard. The Hockey Hall of Fame is led by Lanny McDonald, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Denommé, it is operated as a non-profit business called the "Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum", independent of the National Hockey League. The Hall of Fame was sponsored by the NHL and Hockey Canada and revenue is generated through admissions; the Hockey Hall of Fame has 15 exhibit areas covering 60,000 square feet.
Visitors can view tr
The Chicago Blackhawks are a professional ice hockey team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League, they have won six Stanley Cup championships since their founding in 1926. The Blackhawks are one of the "Original Six" NHL teams along with the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Since 1994, the club's home rink is the United Center, which they share with the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls; the club had played for 65 years at Chicago Stadium. The club's original owner was Frederic McLaughlin, who owned the club until his death in 1944. Under McLaughlin, a "hands-on" owner who fired many coaches during his ownership, the club won two Stanley Cup titles; the club was owned by the Norris family, who as owners of the Chicago Stadium were the club's landlord, owned stakes in several of the NHL teams. At first, the Norris ownership was as part of a syndicate fronted by long-time executive Bill Tobin, the team languished in favor of the Norris-owned Detroit Red Wings.
After the senior James E. Norris died in 1952, the Norris assets were spread among family members and James D. Norris became owner. Norris Jr. took an active interest in the team and under his ownership, the club won one Stanley Cup title in 1961. After James D. Norris died in 1966, the Wirtz family became owners of the franchise. In 2007, the club came under the control of Rocky Wirtz, credited with turning around the organization, which had lost fan interest and competitiveness. Under Rocky Wirtz, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup three times between 2010 and 2015. On May 1, 1926, the NHL awarded an expansion franchise for Chicago to a syndicate headed by former football star Huntington Hardwick of Boston. At the same meeting, Hardwick arranged the purchase of the players of the Portland Rosebuds of the Western Hockey League for $100,000 from WHL president Frank Patrick in a deal brokered by Boston Bruins' owner Charles Adams. However, only one month Hardwick's group sold out to Chicago coffee tycoon Frederic McLaughlin.
McLaughlin had been a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I. This division was nicknamed the "Blackhawk Division" after a Native American of the Sauk nation, Black Hawk, a prominent figure in the history of Illinois. McLaughlin named the new hockey team in honor of the military unit, making it one of many sports team names using Native Americans as icons. However, unlike the military division, the team's name was spelled in two words as the "Black Hawks" until 1986, when the club became the "Blackhawks," based on the spelling found in the original franchise documents; the Black Hawks began play in the 1926–27 season, along with fellow expansion franchises the Detroit Cougars and New York Rangers. The team had to face immediate competition in Chicago from Eddie Livingstone's rival Chicago Cardinals, which played in the same building. McLaughlin took a active role in running the team despite having no background in the sport, he was very interested in promoting American hockey players very rare in professional hockey.
Several of them, including Doc Romnes, Taffy Abel, Alex Levinsky, Mike Karakas, Cully Dahlstrom, become staples with the club, under McLaughlin, the Black Hawks were the first NHL team with an all-American-born lineup. The Black Hawks played their first game on November 17, 1926, against the Toronto St. Patricks in the Chicago Coliseum; the Black Hawks won their first game 4–1, in front of a crowd of over 7,000. The Hawks' first season was a moderate success. However, they lost the 1927 first-round playoff series to the Boston Bruins. Following the series, McLaughlin fired head coach Pete Muldoon. According to Jim Coleman, sportswriter for the Toronto-based The Globe and Mail, McLaughlin felt the Hawks were good enough to finish first. Muldoon disagreed, in a fit of pique, McLaughlin fired him. According to Coleman, Muldoon responded by yelling, "Fire me, you'll never finish first. I'll put a curse on this team that will hoodoo it until the end of time." The Curse of Muldoon was born – although Coleman admitted years after the fact that he had fabricated the whole incident – and became one of the first widely-known sports "curses."
While the team would go on to win three Stanley Cups in its first 39 years of existence, it did so without having finished in first place, either in a single- or multi-division format. The Black Hawks proceeded to have the worst record in the league in 1927–28, winning only seven of 44 games. For the 1928–29 season, the Black Hawks were slated to play in the new Chicago Stadium, but due to construction delays and a dispute between McLaughlin and Chicago Stadium promoter Paddy Harmon, they instead divided their time between the Coliseum, the Detroit Olympia, the Peace Bridge Arena in Fort Erie, Ontario, they moved to Chicago Stadium the following season. By 1931, with goal-scorer Johnny Gottselig, Cy Wentworth on defense, Charlie Gardiner in goal, the Hawks reached their first Stanley Cup Final, but fizzled in the final two games against the Montreal Canadiens. Chicago had another stellar season in 1932. However, two years Gardiner led his team to victory by shutting out the Detroit Red Wings in the final game of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Winger (ice hockey)
Winger, in the game of ice hockey, is a forward position of a player whose primary zone of play on the ice is along the outer playing area. They work by flanking the centre forward; the name was given to forward players who went up and down the sides of the rink. Nowadays, there are different types of wingers in the game — out-and-out goal scorers, checkers who disrupt the opponents, forwards who work along the boards and in the corners, they tend to be smaller than defenseman. This position is referred to by the side of the rink that the winger takes, i.e. "left wing" or "right wing." The wingers' responsibilities in the defensive zone include the following: getting open for a pass from their teammates intercepting a pass to the opposing defenceman attacking the opposing defencemen when they have the puckWingers should not: play deep in their defensive zone help out their teammates along the boards Wingers should be playing high in the zone, always be vigilant for a breakout pass or a chance to chip the puck past the blue line.
When wingers receive a pass along the boards, they can exercise a number of options: Bank the puck off the boards or glass to get it out of the zone Redirect or pass the puck to a rushing forward Shoot the puck out to the centre line to another forward who can either set up an attack, or dump the puck into the offensive zone to summon a line change Carry the puck themselves into the offensive zone to attempt a breakaway or an odd man rush Wingers are the last players to backcheck out of the offensive zone. On the backcheck, it is essential. Once the puck is controlled by the opposing team in the defensive zone, wingers are responsible for covering the defenceman on their side of the ice. Prior to the puck being dropped for a face-off, players other than those taking the face-off must not make any physical contact with players on the opposite team, nor enter the face-off circle. After the puck is dropped, it is essential for wingers to engage the opposing players to prevent them from obtaining possession of the puck.
Once a team has established control of the puck, wingers can set themselves up into an appropriate position. Some wingers are employed to handle faceoffs. Rover Centre Defenceman Forward Goaltender Power forward List of NHL players
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