A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates credit. Lending activities can be performed either indirectly through capital markets. Due to their importance in the financial stability of a country, banks are regulated in most countries. Most nations have institutionalized a system known as fractional reserve banking under which banks hold liquid assets equal to only a portion of their current liabilities. In addition to other regulations intended to ensure liquidity, banks are subject to minimum capital requirements based on an international set of capital standards, known as the Basel Accords. Banking in its modern sense evolved in the 14th century in the prosperous cities of Renaissance Italy but in many ways was a continuation of ideas and concepts of credit and lending that had their roots in the ancient world. In the history of banking, a number of banking dynasties – notably, the Medicis, the Fuggers, the Welsers, the Berenbergs, the Rothschilds – have played a central role over many centuries.
The oldest existing retail bank is Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, while the oldest existing merchant bank is Berenberg Bank. The concept of banking may have begun in ancient Assyria and Babylonia, with merchants offering loans of grain as collateral within a barter system. Lenders in ancient Greece and during the Roman Empire added two important innovations: they accepted deposits and changed money. Archaeology from this period in ancient China and India shows evidence of money lending. More modern banking can be traced to medieval and early Renaissance Italy, to the rich cities in the centre and north like Florence, Siena and Genoa; the Bardi and Peruzzi families dominated banking in 14th-century Florence, establishing branches in many other parts of Europe. One of the most famous Italian banks was the Medici Bank, set up by Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici in 1397; the earliest known state deposit bank, Banco di San Giorgio, was founded in 1407 at Italy. Modern banking practices, including fractional reserve banking and the issue of banknotes, emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Merchants started to store their gold with the goldsmiths of London, who possessed private vaults, charged a fee for that service. In exchange for each deposit of precious metal, the goldsmiths issued receipts certifying the quantity and purity of the metal they held as a bailee; the goldsmiths began to lend the money out on behalf of the depositor, which led to the development of modern banking practices. The goldsmith paid interest on these deposits. Since the promissory notes were payable on demand, the advances to the goldsmith's customers were repayable over a longer time period, this was an early form of fractional reserve banking; the promissory notes developed into an assignable instrument which could circulate as a safe and convenient form of money backed by the goldsmith's promise to pay, allowing goldsmiths to advance loans with little risk of default. Thus, the goldsmiths of London became the forerunners of banking by creating new money based on credit; the Bank of England was the first to begin the permanent issue of banknotes, in 1695.
The Royal Bank of Scotland established the first overdraft facility in 1728. By the beginning of the 19th century a bankers' clearing house was established in London to allow multiple banks to clear transactions; the Rothschilds pioneered international finance on a large scale, financing the purchase of the Suez canal for the British government. The word bank was taken Middle English from Middle French banque, from Old Italian banco, meaning "table", from Old High German banc, bank "bench, counter". Benches were used as makeshift desks or exchange counters during the Renaissance by Jewish Florentine bankers, who used to make their transactions atop desks covered by green tablecloths; the definition of a bank varies from country to country. See the relevant country pages under for more information. Under English common law, a banker is defined as a person who carries on the business of banking by conducting current accounts for his customers, paying cheques drawn on him/her and collecting cheques for his/her customers.
In most common law jurisdictions there is a Bills of Exchange Act that codifies the law in relation to negotiable instruments, including cheques, this Act contains a statutory definition of the term banker: banker includes a body of persons, whether incorporated or not, who carry on the business of banking'. Although this definition seems circular, it is functional, because it ensures that the legal basis for bank transactions such as cheques does not depend on how the bank is structured or regulated; the business of banking is in many English common law countries not defined by statute but by common law, the definition above. In other English common law jurisdictions there are statutory definitions of the business of banking or banking business; when looking at these definitions it is important to keep in mind that they are defining the business of banking for the purposes of the legislation, not in general. In particular, most of the definitions are from legislation that has the purpose of regulating and supervising banks rather than regulating the actual business of banking.
However, in many cases the statutory definition mirrors the common law one. Examples of statutory definitions: "banking business" means the business of receiving money on current or deposit account and collecting cheques drawn by or paid in by customers, the making
S&P Global Inc. is an American publicly traded corporation headquartered in New York City. Its primary areas of business are analytics, it is the parent company of S&P Global Ratings, S&P Global Market Intelligence, S&P Global Platts, is the majority owner of the S&P Dow Jones Indices joint venture. The predecessor companies of S&P Global have history dating to 1888, when James H. McGraw purchased the American Journal of Railway Appliances, he continued to add further publications establishing The McGraw Publishing Company in 1899. John A. Hill had produced several technical and trade publications and in 1902 formed his own business, The Hill Publishing Company. In 1909 both men, having known each other's interests, agreed upon an alliance and combined the book departments of their publishing companies into The McGraw-Hill Book Company. John Hill served with James McGraw as Vice-President. In 1917, the remaining parts of each business were merged into The McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. In 1986, McGraw-Hill bought out competitor The Economy Company the United States' largest publisher of educational material.
The buyout made McGraw-Hill the largest educational publisher in the United States. In 1964, after Hill died, both McGraw-Hill Publishing Company and McGraw-Hill Book Company merged into McGraw-Hill, Inc. In 1966, McGraw-Hill purchased credit rating agency Poor's from, Paul Talbot Babson. In 1979, McGraw-Hill purchased Byte magazine from its owner/publisher Virginia Williamson who became a vice-president of McGraw-Hill. In 1995, McGraw-Hill, Inc. became Inc. as part of a corporate rebranding. In 2007, McGraw-Hill launched an online study network, GradeGuru.com, which gave McGraw-Hill an opportunity to connect directly with its end users, the students. The site closed on April 29, 2012. On October 3, 2011, McGraw-Hill announced it was selling its entire television station group to the E. W. Scripps Company for $212 million; the sale was completed on December 30, 2011. It had been involved in broadcasting since 1972, when it purchased four television stations from a division of Time Inc.. The sale included KZKC-LP Bakersfield.
McGraw Hill has produced the "Glencoe" series of books for decades. On November 26, 2012, McGraw-Hill announced it was selling its entire education division, known as McGraw-Hill Education to Apollo Global Management for $2.5 billion. On March 22, 2013, it announced. On May 1, 2013, shareholders of McGraw-Hill voted to change the company's name to McGraw Hill Financial. McGraw-Hill divested the subsidiary McGraw-Hill Construction to Symphony Technology Group for US$320 million on September 22, 2014; the sale included Engineering News-Record, Architectural Record and Sweet's. McGraw-Hill Construction has been renamed Dodge Analytics. In February 2016, it was announced that McGraw-Hill Financial would change its name to S&P Global Inc. by the end of April 2016. The company changed its name following a shareholder vote on April 27, 2016. In April 2016, the company announced it was selling J. D. Power and Associates to investment firm XIO Group for $1.1 billion. S&P Global now organizes its businesses in four units based on the market in which they are involved.
S&P Global Ratings provides independent investment research including ratings on various investment instruments. S&P Global Market Intelligence is a provider of multi-asset class and real-time data, research and analytics to institutional investors and commercial banks, investment advisors and wealth managers and universities. Subsidiaries include Leveraged Data. Launched on July 2, 2012, S&P Dow Jones Indices is the world's largest global resource for index-based concepts and research, it produces the Dow Jones Industrial Average. S&P Dow Jones Indices calculates over 830,000 indices, publishes benchmarks that provide the basis for 575 ETFs globally with $387 billion in assets invested, serves as the DNA for $1.5 trillion of the world’s indexed assets. Headquartered in London, S&P Global Platts is a provider of information and a source of benchmark price assessments for the commodities, petrochemicals and agriculture markets, it has offices in more than 15 cities, including major energy centres such as London, Dubai and Houston, international business centres such as São Paulo and New York City.
James H. McGraw Johnathan Heflin James McGraw, Jr. Curtis W. McGraw Donald C. McGraw Shelton Fisher Harold McGraw, Jr. Joseph Dionne Harold W. McGraw III Douglas L. Peterson During the course of its history, McGraw Hill and from 2016 S&P Global has expanded through acquisition, not just within the publishing industry but into other areas such as financial services and broadcasting. Please note that the publishing and education assets are a part of McGraw-Hill Education from the company separation in 2013. Note that this list only includes acquisitions made by McGraw-Hill, not its subsidiaries. McGraw-Hill does not release financial information regarding its acquisitions or divestitures. After acquiring a portfolio of diverse companies, McGraw Hill divested itself of many units to form McGraw Hill Fina
Saxony the Free State of Saxony, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, bordering the federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. Its capital is Dresden, its largest city is Leipzig. Saxony is the tenth largest of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of 18,413 square kilometres, the sixth most populous, with 4 million people; the history of the state of Saxony spans more than a millennium. It has been a medieval duchy, an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, a kingdom, twice a republic; the area of the modern state of Saxony should not be confused with Old Saxony, the area inhabited by Saxons. Old Saxony corresponds to the modern German states of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, the Westphalian part of North Rhine-Westphalia. Saxony is divided into 10 districts: 1. Bautzen 2. Erzgebirgskreis 3. Görlitz 4. Leipzig 5. Meißen 6. Mittelsachsen 7. Nordsachsen 8. Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge 9. Vogtlandkreis 10. Zwickau In addition, three cities have the status of an urban district: Chemnitz Dresden Leipzig Between 1990 and 2008, Saxony was divided into the three regions of Chemnitz and Leipzig.
After a reform in 2008, these regions - with some alterations of their respective areas - were called Direktionsbezirke. In 2012, the authorities of these regions were merged into one central authority, the Landesdirektion Sachsen; the Erzgebirgskreis district includes the Ore Mountains, the Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge district includes Saxon Switzerland and the Eastern Ore Mountains. There are numerous rivers in Saxony; the Elbe is the most dominant one. Oder and Neiße define the border between Poland. Other rivers include the Weiße Elster; the largest cities in Saxony according to the 31 December 2015 estimate are listed below. To this can be added that Leipzig forms a metropolitan-like region with Halle, known as Ballungsraum Leipzig/Halle; the latter city is located just across the border of Saxony-Anhalt. Leipzig shares, for an S-train system and an airport with Halle. Saxony has, after the most vibrant economy of the states of the former East Germany, its economy grew by 1.9% in 2010. Nonetheless, unemployment remains above the German average.
The eastern part of Germany, excluding Berlin, qualifies as an "Objective 1" development-region within the European Union, was eligible to receive investment subsidies up to 30% until 2013. FutureSAX, a business plan competition and entrepreneurial support organisation, has been in operation since 2002. Microchip-makers near Dresden have given the region the nickname "Silicon Saxony"; the publishing and porcelain industries of the region are well known, although their contributions to the regional economy are no longer significant. Today, the automobile industry, machinery production, services contribute to the economic development of the region. Saxony is one of the most renowned tourist destinations in Germany - the cities of Leipzig and Dresden and their surroundings. New tourist destinations are developing, notably in the lake district of Lausitz. Saxony reported an average unemployment of 6.2% in 2017. By comparison, the average in the former GDR was 6.8% and 5.5% for Germany overall. The unemployment rate stood at 5.5% in October 2018.
The Leipzig area, which until was among the regions with the highest unemployment rate, could benefit from investments by Porsche and BMW. With the VW Phaeton factory in Dresden, many parts suppliers, the automobile industry has again become one of the pillars of Saxon industry, as it was in the early 20th century. Zwickau is another major Volkswagen location. Freiberg, a former mining town, has emerged as a foremost location for solar technology. Dresden and some other regions of Saxony play a leading role in some areas of international biotechnology, such as electronic bioengineering. While these high-technology sectors do not yet offer a large number of jobs, they have stopped or reversed the brain drain, occurring until the early 2000s in many parts of Saxony. Regional universities have strengthened their positions by partnering with local industries. Unlike smaller towns and Leipzig in the past experienced significant population growth; the population of Saxony began declining around the middle of the 20th century, a process which accelerated after German reunification in 1990.
The second decade of the 21st century has seen demographic decline stabilize through immigration. In recent years the cities of Dresden and Leipzig, some towns in their hinterlands, have had population increases; the following table illustrates the population of Saxony since 1905: The average number of children per woman in Saxony was 1.49 in 2010, the highest of all German states. In 2016, the value reached 1.59. Within Saxony, the highest is the Bautzen district with 1.77, while Leipzig is the lowest with 1.49. Dresden's birth rate of 1.58 is the highest of all German cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants. Births from January–September 2016 = 28,714 Births from January–September 2017 = 28,129 Deaths from January–September 2016 = 39,386 Deaths from January–September 2017 = 41,284 Natural growth from January–September 2016 = -10,672 Natural growth from January–September 2017 = -13,155 Saxony has a long history as a duchy, an electorate of the Holy
Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
Mendelssohn & Co.
Mendelssohn & Co. was a private bank based in Berlin, Germany. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was one of the preeminent banking houses in Europe, it was established in 1795 by Joseph Mendelssohn in Berlin. In 1804, his younger brother Abraham Mendelssohn Bartholdy joined the company. In 1815, they moved into their new headquarters at Jägerstraße 51, thereby laying the foundations of Berlin's financial district. Mendelssohn & Co. remained in that building until its divestiture in 1939. Mendelssohn rose to prominence among European banks. Starting in the 1850s, they acted as Royal bankers for the Russian Tsar, dominating the Central European financial market for Russian sovereign bonds until World War I; the Mendelssohn family through the descendants of the founding brothers continued to run the company. Mendelssohn & Co. survived the financial meltdown of the 1930s comparatively well. Following the death of Franz von Mendelssohn and Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy in 1935, Rudolf Löb was appointed as chairman of the bank, the first non-family member to be chairman.
In 1938, under intense pressure of the Nazis' Aryanization policy, Mendelssohn & Co. were forced to hand over their assets to Deutsche Bank, to shut down. Rudolf Löb Fritz Mannheimer Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Förster, Andreas. "Das ungeklärte Ende des Bankhauses Mendelssohn". Berliner Zeitung.. James, Harold; the Deutsche Bank and the Nazi economic war against the Jews. New York: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 70–77. ISBN 0-521-80329-2. Köhler, Ingo. Die "Arisierung" der Privatbanken im Dritten Reich. Munich: C. H. Beck. Pp. 244–256. ISBN 3-406-53200-4. Documents and clippings about Mendelssohn & Co. in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics
Frankfurt is a metropolis and the largest city of the German federal state of Hesse, its 746,878 inhabitants make it the fifth-largest city of Germany after Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne. On the River Main, it forms a continuous conurbation with the neighbouring city of Offenbach am Main, its urban area has a population of 2.3 million. The city is at the centre of the larger Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region, which has a population of 5.5 million and is Germany's second-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr Region. Since the enlargement of the European Union in 2013, the geographic centre of the EU is about 40 km to the east of Frankfurt's central business district. Like France and Franconia, the city is named after the Franks. Frankfurt is the largest city in the Rhine Franconian dialect area. Frankfurt was a city state, the Free City of Frankfurt, for nearly five centuries, was one of the most important cities of the Holy Roman Empire, as a site of imperial coronations, it has been part of the federal state of Hesse since 1945.
A quarter of the population are foreign nationals, including many expatriates. Frankfurt is an alpha world city and a global hub for commerce, education and transportation, it is the site of many European corporate headquarters. Frankfurt Airport is among the world's busiest. Frankfurt is the major financial centre of the European continent, with the headquarters of the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank, KfW, several cloud and fintech startups and other institutes. Automotive and research, consulting and creative industries complement the economic base. Frankfurt's DE-CIX is the world's largest internet exchange point. Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's largest trade fairs. Major fairs include the Frankfurt Motor Show, the world's largest motor show, the Music Fair, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest book fair. Frankfurt is home to influential educational institutions, including the Goethe University, the UAS, the FUMPA, graduate schools like the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.
Its renowned cultural venues include the concert hall Alte Oper, Europe's largest English theatre and many museums. Frankfurt's skyline is shaped by some of Europe's tallest skyscrapers; the city is characterised by various green areas and parks, including the central Wallanlagen, the City Forest and two major botanical gardens, the Palmengarten and the University's Botanical Garden. Important is the Frankfurt Zoo. In electronic music, Frankfurt has been a pioneering city since the 1980s, with renowned DJs including Sven Väth, Marc Trauner, Scot Project, Kai Tracid, the clubs Dorian Gray, U60311, Omen and Cocoon. In sports, the city is known as the home of the top tier football club Eintracht Frankfurt, the Löwen Frankfurt ice hockey team, the basketball club Frankfurt Skyliners, the Frankfurt Marathon and the venue of Ironman Germany. Frankfurt is the largest financial centre in continental Europe, it is home to the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and several large commercial banks.
The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is one of the world's largest stock exchanges by market capitalization and accounts for more than 90 percent of the turnover in the German market. In 2010, 63 national and 152 international banks had their registered offices in Frankfurt, including Germany's major banks, notably Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank, KfW and Commerzbank, as well as 41 representative offices of international banks. Frankfurt is considered a global city. Among global cities it was ranked 10th by the Global Power City Index 2011 and 11th by the Global City Competitiveness Index 2012. Among financial centres it was ranked 8th by the International Financial Centers Development Index 2013 and 9th by the Global Financial Centres Index 2013, its central location within Germany and Europe makes Frankfurt a major air and road transport hub. Frankfurt Airport is one of the world's busiest international airports by passenger traffic and the main hub for Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa. Frankfurt Central Station is one of the largest rail stations in Europe and the busiest junction operated by Deutsche Bahn, the German national railway company, with 342 trains a day to domestic and European destinations.
Frankfurter Kreuz, the Autobahn interchange close to the airport, is the most used interchange in the EU, used by 320,000 cars daily. In 2011 human-resource-consulting firm Mercer ranked Frankfurt as seventh in its annual'Quality of Living' survey of cities around the world. According to The Economist cost-of-living survey, Frankfurt is Germany's most expensive city and the world's 10th most expensive. Frankfurt has many high-rise buildings in the city centre, forming the Frankfurt skyline, it is one of the few cities in the European Union to have such a skyline and because of it Germans sometimes refer to Frankfurt as Mainhattan, a portmanteau of the local Main River and Manhattan. The other well known and obvious nickname is Bankfurt. Before World War II the city was globally noted for its unique old town with timber-framed buildings, the largest timber-framed old town in Europe; the Römer area was rebuilt and is popular with visitors and for eve
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