King John (play)
The Life and Death of King John, a history play by William Shakespeare, dramatises the reign of John, King of England, son of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and father of Henry III of England. It is believed to have been written in the mid-1590s but was not published until it appeared in the First Folio in 1623. King John receives an ambassador from France who demands with a threat of war, that he renounce his throne in favour of his nephew, whom the French King Philip believes to be the rightful heir to the throne. John adjudicates an inheritance dispute between Robert Faulconbridge and his older brother Philip the Bastard, during which it becomes apparent that Philip is the illegitimate son of King Richard I. Queen Eleanor, mother to both Richard and John, recognises the family resemblance and suggests that he renounce his claim to the Falconbridge land in exchange for a knighthood. John knights the Bastard under the name Richard. In France, King Philip and his forces besiege the English-ruled town of Angiers, threatening attack unless its citizens support Arthur.
Philip is supported by Austria, believed to have killed King Richard. The English contingent arrives. Kings Philip and John stake their claims in front of Angiers' citizens, but to no avail: their representative says that they will support the rightful king, whoever that turns out to be; the French and English armies clash. Each army dispatches a herald claiming victory, but Angiers' citizens continue to refuse to recognize either claimant because neither army has proven victorious; the Bastard proposes that England and France unite to punish the rebellious citizens of Angiers, at which point they propose an alternative: Philip's son, Louis the Dauphin, should marry John's niece Blanche, a scheme that gives John a stronger claim to the throne, while Louis gains territory for France. Though a furious Constance accuses Philip of abandoning Arthur and Blanche are married. Cardinal Pandolf arrives from Rome bearing a formal accusation that John has disobeyed the pope and appointed an archbishop contrary to his desires.
John refuses whereupon he is excommunicated. Pandolf pledges his support for Louis, though Philip is hesitant, having just established family ties with John. Pandolf brings him round by pointing out that his links to the church are firmer. War breaks out. Eleanor is left in charge of English possessions in France, while the Bastard is sent to collect funds from English monasteries. John orders Hubert to kill Arthur. Pandolf suggests to Louis that he now has as strong a claim to the English throne as Arthur, Louis agrees to invade England. Hubert finds himself unable to kill Arthur. John's nobles urge Arthur's release. John is wrong-footed by Hubert's announcement that Arthur is dead; the nobles, defect to Louis' side. Upsetting and more heartbreaking to John is the news of his mother's death, along with that of Lady Constance; the Bastard reports. Hubert has a furious argument with John. John, sends him to report the news to the nobles. Arthur dies jumping from a castle wall; the nobles believe he was murdered by John, refuse to believe Hubert's entreaties.
John attempts to make a deal with Pandolf, swearing allegiance to the Pope in exchange for Pandolf's negotiating with the French on his behalf. John orders the Bastard, one of his few remaining loyal subjects, to lead the English army against France. While John's former noblemen swear allegiance to Louis, Pandolf explains John's scheme, but Louis refuses to be taken in by it; the Bastard arrives to no avail. War breaks out with substantial losses on each side, including Louis' reinforcements, who are drowned during the sea crossing. Many English nobles return to John's side after a dying French nobleman, warns them that Louis plans to kill them after his victory. John is poisoned by a disgruntled monk, his nobles gather around him. The Bastard plans the final assault on Louis' forces, until he is told that Pandolf has arrived with a peace treaty; the English nobles swear allegiance to John's son Prince Henry, the Bastard reflects that this episode has taught that internal bickering could be as perilous to England's fortunes as foreign invasion.
King John is related to an anonymous history play, The Troublesome Reign of King John, the "masterly construction" but infelicitous expression of which led Peter Alexander to argue that Shakespeare's was the earlier play. E. A. J. Honigmann elaborated these arguments, both in his preface to the second Arden edition of King John, in his 1982 monograph on Shakespeare's influence on his contemporaries; the majority view, first advanced in a rebuttal of Honigmann's views by Kenneth Muir, holds that the Troublesome Reign antedates King John by a period of several years. Shakespeare derived from Holinshed's Chronicles certain verbal points of action. Honigmann discerned in the play the influence of John Foxe's Acts and Monuments, Matthew Paris' Historia Maior, the Latin Wakefield Chronicle, but Muir demonstrated that this apparent influence could be explained by the priority of the Trou
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a drama school in London, England that provides training for film and theatre. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious drama schools in the United Kingdom, founded in 1904 by Herbert Beerbohm Tree. RADA is an affiliate school of the Conservatoire for Drama, its higher education awards are validated by King's College London and its students graduate alongside members of the departments which form the King's Faculty of Arts & Humanities. It is based in the Bloomsbury area of Central London, close to the Senate House complex of the University of London. Undergraduate students are eligible for government student loan through the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama. RADA has a significant scholarships and bursaries scheme, offering financial assistance to many students at the Academy; the current director of the academy is Edward Kemp. The president is Sir Kenneth Branagh, the chairman is Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen and its vice-chairman was Alan Rickman until his death in 2016.
RADA was founded in 1904 by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, an actor manager, at His Majesty's Theatre in the Haymarket. In 1905, RADA moved to 52 Gower Street, a managing council was set up to oversee the school, its members included George Bernard Shaw, who donated his royalties from his play Pygmalion to RADA, gave lectures to students at the school. In 1920, RADA was granted a Royal Charter, in 1921, a new theatre was built on Malet Street, behind the Gower Street buildings; the Prince of Wales opened the theatre. The Gower Street buildings were torn down in 1927, replaced with a new building, financed by George Bernard Shaw, who left one third of his royalties to the academy on his death in 1950. In 1923, John Gielgud studied at RADA for a year, he became President of the academy, its first honorary fellow. A number of famous actors took on leading roles at RADA, such as Richard Attenborough, Oliver Neville, Nicholas Barter, Alan Rickman. 1924 saw RADA's first government subsidy, a grant of £500.
The academy received other government funding over the years, including a £22.7m grant from the Arts Council National Lottery Board, used to renovate its premises, rebuild the Varnbrugh Theatre. In 2001, RADA joined forces with the London Contemporary dance School to create the UK's first Conservatoire for Dance and Drama; the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance joined this Conservatoire in 2005. RADA expanded its course offering over the years, adding Short Courses for actors and courses for American and Japanese students in London in 1995-98. In 2000 the Academy founded RADA Enterprises Ltd, which includes RADA in Business, providing training in communications and teambuilding that uses drama training techniques in a business context; the profits are fed back into the Academy to fund students' training. RADA is based in the Bloomsbury area of Central London; the main RADA building is with a second premises nearby in Chenies Street. The Goodge Street and Euston Square underground stations are both within walking distance.
The Gower and Malet Street building was re-devoloped in the late 1990s to designs by Bryan Avery, incorporated the new theatres and linking the entrances on both streets. RADA has a cinema. In the Malet Street building, the Jerwood Vanburgh Theatre is the largest performance space with a capacity of 183. There is a 150-seat cinema. In January 2012, RADA acquired the lease to the adjacent Drill Hall venue in Chenies Street and renamed it RADA Studios; the Drill Hall is a Grade II listed building with a long performing arts history, was where Nijinsky rehearsed with Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes in 1911. This venue has a 200-seat space, the Studio Theatre, a 50-seat space, the Club Theatre. In April 2016, planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of the Chenies Street premises, to comprise the new Richard Attenborough Theatre, new library and office spaces, a refectory with public access and the Academy’s first on-site student accommodation; the RADA library contains around 30,000 items.
Works include around 10,000 plays. The collection was started in 1904 with donations from actors and writers of the time such as Sir Squire Bancroft, William Archer, Arthur Wing Pinero and George Bernard Shaw. Other facilities at RADA include acting studios, a scenic art workshop with paint frame, costume workrooms and extensive costume store and fight studios, design studios and metal workshops, sound studios, rehearsal studios, the RADA Foyer Bar, which includes a licensed bar, a café and a box office. RADA accepts up to 28 new students each year into its three-year BA in Acting course, with a 50-50 split of male and female students. Admission is based via the four-stage audition process. Auditions are held in London as well as in New York, Dublin and Leicester. RADA teaches Technical Theatre & Stage Management - a two-year Foundation Degree and with a further'completion' year to BA level which has to be separately applied for and which allows for specialisation in all theatre craft areas.
The TTSM course admits up to 36 s
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer and novelist. He was born in India. Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book and many short stories, including "The Man Who Would Be King", his poems include "Mandalay", "Gunga Din", "The Gods of the Copybook Headings", "The White Man's Burden", "If—". He is regarded as a major innovator in the art of the short story. Kipling was one of the most popular writers in the United Kingdom, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James said: "Kipling strikes me as the most complete man of genius, as distinct from fine intelligence, that I have known." In 1907, at the age of 41, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize and its youngest recipient to date. He was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, both of which he declined. Kipling's subsequent reputation has changed according to the political and social climate of the age and the resulting contrasting views about him continued for much of the 20th century.
George Orwell saw Kipling as "a jingo imperialist", "morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting". Literary critic Douglas Kerr wrote: " is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled, but as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognised as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with." Rudyard Kipling was born on 30 December 1865 in Bombay, in the Bombay Presidency of British India, to Alice Kipling and John Lockwood Kipling. Alice was a vivacious woman, about whom Lord Dufferin would say, "Dullness and Mrs Kipling cannot exist in the same room." Lockwood Kipling, a sculptor and pottery designer, was the Principal and Professor of Architectural Sculpture at the newly founded Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art in Bombay. John Lockwood and Alice had met in 1863 and courted at Rudyard Lake in Rudyard, England.
They married and moved to India in 1865. They had been so moved by the beauty of the Rudyard Lake area that when their first child was born they named him after it. Two of Alice's sisters married artists: Georgiana was married to the painter Edward Burne-Jones, her sister Agnes to Edward Poynter. Kipling's most famous relative was his first cousin, Stanley Baldwin, Conservative Prime Minister three times in the 1920s and'30s. Kipling's birth home on the campus of the J J School of Art in Bombay was for many years used as the Dean's residence. Although the cottage bears a plaque noting it as the site where Kipling was born, the original cottage may have been torn down decades ago and a new one built in its place; some historians and conservationists are of the view that the bungalow marks a site, close to the home of Kipling's birth, as the bungalow was built in 1882—about 15 years after Kipling was born. Kipling seems to have said as much to the Dean. Kipling wrote of Bombay: According to Bernice M. Murphy, "Kipling's parents considered themselves'Anglo-Indians' and so too would their son, though he spent the bulk of his life elsewhere.
Complex issues of identity and national allegiance would become prominent in his fiction."Kipling referred to such conflicts, for example: "In the afternoon heats before we took our sleep, she or Meeta would tell us stories and Indian nursery songs all unforgotten, we were sent into the dining-room after we had been dressed, with the caution'Speak English now to Papa and Mamma.' So one spoke'English', haltingly translated out of the vernacular idiom that one thought and dreamed in". Kipling's days of "strong light and darkness" in Bombay ended; as was the custom in British India, he and his three-year-old sister Alice were taken to the United Kingdom—in their case to Southsea, Portsmouth—to live with a couple who boarded children of British nationals who were serving in India. For the next six years, the children lived with the couple, Captain Pryse Agar Holloway, once an officer in the merchant navy, Sarah Holloway, at their house, Lorne Lodge, at 4 Campbell Road, Southsea. In his autobiography, published 65 years Kipling recalled the stay with horror, wondered if the combination of cruelty and neglect which he experienced there at the hands of Mrs Holloway might not have hastened the onset of his literary life: "If you cross-examine a child of seven or eight on his day's doings he will contradict himself satisfactorily.
If each contradiction be set down as a lie and retailed at breakfast, life is not easy. I have known a certain amount of bullying, but this was calculated torture—religious as well as scientific, yet it made me give attention to the lies I soon found it necessary to tell: and this, I presume, is the foundation of literary effort". Trix fared better at Lorne Lodge; the two Kipling children, did have relatives in England who
Jude the Obscure (serial)
Jude the Obscure is a British television serial directed by Hugh David, starring Robert Powell, Fiona Walker, Alex Marshall, first broadcast on BBC Television in early 1971. It is based on Thomas Hardy's novel Jude the Obscure; the action is set in England in the late 19th century. Jude Fawley is a young stonemason’s apprentice living in the village of Marygreen with his Aunt Drusilla, his former schoolmaster, Richard Phillotson leaves the village to take up a college appointment in Christminster, a university city based on Oxford. Jude has the ambition to study at Christminster and become a clergyman and is learning Greek and Latin. Meanwhile, he is seduced by Arabella Donn, a pig-keeper’s daughter, whom he marries when she claims to be pregnant. Arabella emigrates to Australia. Jude completes his apprenticeship and moves to Christminster, where he works as a mason, hoping to enter the university, but he is turned down for admission by the dean of Cardinal College, he meets and falls in love with his cousin, Sue Bridehead.
However, Phillotson allows Sue to live with Jude. Arabella returns, Jude divorces her, Sue gets a divorce from Phillotson, but Arabella has brought with her a son of Jude's, born after she left him, sends Young Jude to live with his father. Jude and Sue have two small children of their own and are expecting a third, but are being ostracised for living together unmarried. Jude is sacked, the family moves from town to town in search of work. Young Jude believes the children are the source of these troubles, murders Sue's two children, hangs himself, leaving a suicide note. Sue has a miscarriage, she comes to believe she is being punished by God for leaving her husband, so she returns to him. Jude, remarries Arabella, but he makes a final visit to Sue in freezing weather, is taken ill, dies, aged only thirty. Sue is left to an unhappy life with Phillotson; the six episodes are titled: At Marygreen To Christminster To Melchester To Shaston To Aldbrickham Christminster Again The serial was first broadcast in Britain on BBC Two between 6 February and 13 March 1971, in six 45-minute episodes, in the US on Masterpiece Theatre from 3 October to 7 November 1971.
In Britain, it appeared on Saturday evenings from 9:35 to 10:20 p.m. thus timed to be kept away from younger children. The production was well received in Britain and the US and according to one critic "helped promulgate the British miniseries on PBS". One reviewer described the serial as a dark production and pertinent in the context of recent reforms to divorce law. John Leonard, writing in Life magazine as "Cyclops", noted "a surprising amount of sex, lots of bells, bad weather", he considered that “an absorbing if not enthralling several hours of drama... falls apart into silliness”, that Alex Marshall as Arabella "steals the series". The production was issued on VHS video in 2000 by BBC/Warner and is available on DVD. Source: Jude the Obscure on IMDb
Just So Stories
Just So Stories for Little Children is a 1902 collection of origin stories by the British author Rudyard Kipling. Considered a classic of children's literature, the book is among Kipling's best known works. Kipling began working on the book by telling the first three chapters as bedtime stories to his daughter Josephine; these had to be told "just so" or she would complain. The stories describe how one animal or another acquired its most distinctive features, such as how the leopard got his spots. For the book, Kipling illustrated the stories himself; the stories have appeared in a variety of adaptations including a animated films. Evolutionary biologists have noted that what Kipling did in fiction in a Lamarckian way, they have done in reality, providing Darwinian explanations for the evolutionary development of animal features; the stories, first published in 1902, are origin stories, fantastic accounts of how various features of animals came to be. A forerunner of these stories is Kipling, in The Second Jungle Book.
In it, Mowgli hears the story of. The Just So Stories each tell how a particular animal was modified from an original form to its current form by the acts of man, or some magical being. For example, the Whale has a tiny throat because he swallowed a mariner, who tied a raft inside to block the whale from swallowing other men; the Camel has a hump given to him by a djinn. The Leopard's spots were painted by an Ethiopian; the Kangaroo gets its powerful hind legs, long tail, hopping gait after being chased all day by a dingo, sent by a minor god responding to the Kangaroo's request to be made different from all other animals. The Just So Stories began as bedtime stories told to his daughter "Effie", they had to be told just so. So at last they came to be like charms, all three of them,—the whale tale, the camel tale, the rhinoceros tale." How the Whale Got His Throat — why the larger whales eat only small prey. How the Camel Got His Hump -- how the idle camel was given a hump. How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin — why rhinos have folds in their skin and bad tempers.
How the Leopard Got His Spots — why leopards have spots. The Elephant's Child/How the Elephant got his Trunk --; the Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo — how the kangaroo assumed long legs and tail. The Beginning of the Armadillos — how a hedgehog and tortoise transformed into the first armadillos. How the First Letter Was Written — introduces the only characters who appear in more than one story: a family of cave-people, called Tegumai Bopsulai, Teshumai Tewindrow, Taffimai Metallumai, shortened to Taffy. Explains how Taffy delivered a picture message to her mother. How the Alphabet Was Made — tells how Taffy and her father invent an alphabet; the Crab That Played with the Sea — explains the ebb and flow of the tides, as well as how the crab changed from a huge animal into a small one. The Cat That Walked by Himself — explains how man domesticated all the wild animals the cat, which insisted on greater independence; the Butterfly That Stamped — how Solomon saved the pride of a butterfly, the Queen of Sheba used this to prevent his wives scolding him.
The Tabu Tale. Kipling illustrated the original editions of the Just So Stories. Illustrators of the book include Joseph M. Gleeson; as well as appearing in a collection, the individual stories have been published as separate books: in large-format, illustrated editions for younger children. A 1938 black and white Soviet cartoon of "How the Rhinoceros got his Skin." Just So, a 1984 musical by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles. The Elephant's Child was made into a Soviet cartoon in 1967 from Soyuzmultfilm studio; the Elephant's Child was made into a children's opera for the Kings Singers in 1996 by Daron Hagen. The Cat Who Walked by Himself, a Soviet drawn animation screen version created by Aleksandra Snezhko-Blotskaya at Soyuzmultfilm studio in 1968; the Cat Who Walked by Herself, a 1988 Soviet animated feature film based on "The Cat that Walked by Himself" from a film studio "Soyuzmultfilm". Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, a 1992 British animated compilation of twelve of Rudyard Kipling's classic tales directed by Timothy Forder, created by Sanctuary Digital Entertainment studio.
Just So Stories, a French-British animated co-production from France 3 was produced in 2008. H. W. Boynton, writing in The Atlantic in 1903, commented that only a century earlier children had had to be content with the Bible, Pilgrim's Progress, Paradise Lost, Foxe's Book of Martyrs, but in his day "A much pleasanter bill of fare is being provided for them". Boynton argued that with Just So Stories, Kipling did for "very little children" what The Jungle Book had done for older ones, he described the book as "artfully artless, in its themes, in its repetitions, in its habitual limitation, occasional abeyance, of adult humor. It strikes a child as the kind of yarn his father or uncle might have spun if he had just happened to think of it. John Lee described the book as a classic work of children's literature. Sue Walsh
As You Like It
As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 and first published in the First Folio in 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility; as You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, accompanied by her cousin Celia to find safety and love, in the Forest of Arden. In the forest, they encounter a variety of memorable characters, notably the melancholy traveller Jaques who speaks many of Shakespeare's most famous speeches. Jaques provides a sharp contrast to the other characters in the play, always observing and disputing the hardships of life in the country. Critical response has varied, with some critics finding the play a work of great merit and some finding it to be of lesser quality than other Shakespearean works; the play remains a favourite among audiences and has been adapted for radio and musical theatre. The piece has been a favourite of famous actors on stage and screen, notably Vanessa Redgrave, Juliet Stevenson, Maggie Smith, Rebecca Hall, Helen Mirren, Patti LuPone in the role of Rosalind and Alan Rickman, Stephen Spinella, Kevin Kline, Stephen Dillane, Ellen Burstyn in the role of Jaques.
The play is set in a duchy in France, but most of the action takes place in a location called the Forest of Arden. This may be intended as the Ardennes, a forested region covering an area located in southeast Belgium, western Luxembourg and northeastern France, or Arden, near Shakespeare's home town, the ancestral origin of his mother's family—who incidentally were called Arden. Frederick has exiled his older brother, Duke Senior. Duke Senior's daughter, has been permitted to remain at court because she is the closest friend and cousin of Frederick's only child, Celia. Orlando, a young gentleman of the kingdom who at first sight has fallen in love with Rosalind, is forced to flee his home after being persecuted by his older brother, Oliver. Frederick becomes banishes Rosalind from court. Celia and Rosalind decide to flee together accompanied by the court fool, with Rosalind disguised as a young man and Celia disguised as a poor lady. Rosalind, now disguised as Ganymede, Celia, now disguised as Aliena, arrive in the Arcadian Forest of Arden, where the exiled Duke now lives with some supporters, including "the melancholy Jaques", a malcontent figure, introduced weeping over the slaughter of a deer.
"Ganymede" and "Aliena" do not encounter the Duke and his companions. Instead, they meet Corin, an impoverished tenant, offer to buy his master's crude cottage. Orlando and his servant Adam, find the Duke and his men and are soon living with them and posting simplistic love poems for Rosalind on the trees. Rosalind in love with Orlando, meets him as Ganymede and pretends to counsel him to cure him of being in love. Ganymede says that "he" will take Rosalind's place and that "he" and Orlando can act out their relationship; the shepherdess, with whom Silvius is in love, has fallen in love with Ganymede, though "Ganymede" continually shows that "he" is not interested in Phebe. Touchstone, has fallen in love with the dull-witted shepherdess and tries to woo her, but is forced to be married first. William, another shepherd, attempts to marry Audrey as well, but is stopped by Touchstone, who threatens to kill him "a hundred and fifty ways." Silvius, Phebe and Orlando are brought together in an argument with each other over who will get whom.
Ganymede says he will solve the problem, having Orlando promise to marry Rosalind, Phebe promise to marry Silvius if she cannot marry Ganymede. Orlando sees Oliver in the forest and rescues him from a lioness, causing Oliver to repent for mistreating Orlando. Oliver meets Aliena and falls in love with her, they agree to marry. Orlando and Rosalind and Celia, Silvius and Phebe, Touchstone and Audrey all are married in the final scene, after which they discover that Frederick has repented his faults, deciding to restore his legitimate brother to the dukedom and adopt a religious life. Jaques melancholic, declines their invitation to return to the court, preferring to stay in the forest and to adopt a religious life as well. Rosalind speaks an epilogue to the audience, commending the play to both men and women in the audience; the direct and immediate source of As You Like It is Thomas Lodge's Rosalynde, Euphues Golden Legacie, written 1586-7 and first published in 1590. Lodge's story is based upon "The Tale of Gamelyn", wrongly attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer and sometimes printed among his Canterbury Tales.
Although it was first printed in 1721, "The Tale Gamelyn" must have existed in manuscript form in Shakespeare's time. It is doubtful that Shakespeare had read it, but Lodge must have built his pastoral romance on the foundation of "The Tale of Gamelyn", giving it a pastoral setting and the artificial sentimental vein, much in fashion at the time; the tale provided the intertwined plots, suggested all the characters except Touchstone and Jaques. Some have suggested two other minor debts; the first is Michael Drayton's Poly-Olbion, a poetic description of England, but there is no evidence that the poem was written before As You Like It. The second suggested source is The Historie of Orlando Furioso by Robert Greene, acted about 1592, it is sugg
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