Joseph Papp was an American theatrical producer and director. He established The Public Theater in. There, Papp created a year-round producing home to focus on new musicals. Among numerous examples of these were the works of David Rabe, Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Charles Gordone's No Place to Be Somebody, Papp's production of Michael Bennett's Pulitzer Prize–winning musical, A Chorus Line. Papp founded Shakespeare in the Park, helped to develop other off-Broadway theatres and worked to preserve the historic Broadway Theatre District. Papp was born as "Joseph Papirofsky" in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, the son of Yetta, a seamstress, Samuel Papirofsky, a trunkmaker, his parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. He was a high school student of Harlem Renaissance playwright Eulalie Spence. Papp founded the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1954, with the aim of making Shakespeare's works accessible to the public. In 1957, he was granted the use of Central Park for free productions of Shakespeare's plays.
These Shakespeare in the Park productions continue after his death at the open-air Delacorte Theatre every summer in Central Park. Papp spent much of his career promoting his idea of free Shakespeare in New York City, his 1956 production of Taming of the Shrew, outdoors in the East River Amphitheatre on New York's Lower East Side, was pivotal for Papp because critic Brooks Atkinson endorsed Papp's vision in The New York Times. Actress Colleen Dewhurst, who played the leading character, recalled the effect of this publicity: By age 41, after Papp had established a permanent base for his free summer Shakespeare performances in Central Park's Delacorte Theater, an open-air amphitheatre, Papp looked for an all-year theater he could make his own. After looking at other locations, he fell in love with the location and the character of Lafayette Street’s Astor Library. Papp rented it, in 1967 for one dollar per year, from the City, it was the first building saved from demolition under the New York City landmarks preservation law.
After massive renovations, Papp moved his staff to the newly named Public Theater, hoping to attract a newer, less conventional audience for new and innovative playwrights. At the Public Theater, Papp's focus moved away toward new work. Notable Public Theater productions included Charles Gordone’s No Place to Be Somebody and the plays of David Rabe, Tom Babe and Jason Miller. Papp called. Papp's 1985 production of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart addressed, in its time, the prejudicial political system, turning its back on the AIDS crisis and the gay community. Designer Ming Cho Lee commented: "With the new playwrights, the whole direction of the theater changed none of us realized for a while.... The Public Theater became more important than the Delacorte; the new playwrights became more interesting to Joe than Shakespeare."Among all the plays and musicals that Papp produced, he is best known for four productions that transferred to Broadway runs: Hair, The Pirates of Penzance, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf and A Chorus Line.
The last of these originated with a series of taped interviews, at the Public, of dancers' reminiscences, overseen by director/choreographer Michael Bennett. Papp had not kept the rights to produce Hair, he did not gain from its Broadway transfer, but he kept the rights to A Chorus Line, the show's earnings became a continuous financial support for Papp's work. It received 12 Tony Award nominations and won nine of them, including Best Musical, in addition to the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, it ran for 6,137 performances, becoming the longest-running production in Broadway history up to that time. The show pioneered the workshop system for developing musicals, revolutionizing the way Broadway musicals were created thereafter, many of the precedents for workshops' aesthetics and contract agreements were set by Papp, Bennett and A Chorus Line. Delacorte Theatre productions introduced many new actors and actresses to outdoor Shakespeare and to New York audiences for free. Among the memorable performances were George C. Scott's Obie-award winning Richard III in 1958.
Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner CBE, known as Sting, is an English musician, singer and actor. He was the principal songwriter, lead singer, bassist for the new wave rock band the Police from 1977 to 1984, launched a solo career in 1985, he has included elements of rock, reggae, new-age and worldbeat in his music. As a solo musician and a member of the Police, he has received 17 Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year for ”Every Breath You Take”, three Brit Awards, including Best British Male in 1994 and Outstanding Contribution in 2002, a Golden Globe, an Emmy and four nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. In 2002, he received the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement from the British Academy of Songwriters and Authors and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Police in 2003. In 2000, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recording. In 2003, Sting received a CBE from Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for services to music.
He was made a Kennedy Center Honoree at the White House in 2014, was awarded the Polar Music Prize in 2017. With the Police, Sting became one of the world's best-selling music artists. Solo and with the Police combined, he has sold over 100 million records. In 2006, Paste ranked him 62nd of the 100 best living songwriters, he was 63rd of VH1's 100 greatest artists of rock, 80th of Q magazine's 100 greatest musical stars of the 20th century. He has collaborated with other musicians on songs such as "Money for Nothing" with Dire Straits, "Rise & Fall" with Craig David, "All for Love", with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart, "You Will Be My Ain True Love" with Alison Krauss, introduced the North African music genre raï to Western audiences through his international hit "Desert Rose" with Cheb Mami. In 2018, he released the album 44/876, a collaboration with Jamaican musician Shaggy, which won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 2019. Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner was born on 2 October 1951, in Wallsend, England, the eldest of four children of Audrey, a hairdresser, Ernest Matthew Sumner, a milkman and engineer.
He grew up near Wallsend's shipyards. At eight or ten years old, he was inspired by the Queen Mother waving at him from a Rolls-Royce to divert from the shipyard prospect towards a more glamorous life, he helped his father deliver milk and by ten was "obsessed" with an old Spanish guitar left by an emigrating friend of his father. He attended St Cuthbert's Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne, he visited nightclubs such as Club A'Gogo to see Manfred Mann, who influenced his music. After being a bus conductor, building labourer and tax officer, he attended Northern Counties College of Education from 1971 to 1974 and qualified as a teacher, he taught at St Paul's First School in Cramlington for two years. Sting performed jazz in the evening and during breaks from college and teaching, he played with the Phoenix Jazzmen, Newcastle Big Band, Last Exit. He gained his nickname after his habit of wearing a black and yellow sweater with hooped stripes with the Phoenix Jazzmen. Bandleader Gordon Solomon thought he looked like a bee, which prompted the name "Sting".
In the 1985 documentary Bring on the Night a journalist called him Gordon, to which he replied, "My children call me Sting, my mother calls me Sting, this Gordon character?" In 2011, he told Time. You could shout'Gordon' in the street and I would just move out of your way." In January 1977, Sting moved from Newcastle to London and joined Stewart Copeland and Henry Padovani to form the Police. From 1978 to 1983, they had five UK chart-topping albums, won six Grammy Awards, won two Brit Awards, their initial sound was punk-inspired. Their final album, was nominated for five Grammy Awards including Album of the Year in 1983, it included their most successful song, "Every Breath, written by Sting. According to Sting, who appeared in the documentary Last Play at Shea, he decided to leave the Police while onstage during a concert of 18 August 1983 at Shea Stadium in New York City because he felt that playing that venue was " Everest". While never formally breaking up, after Synchronicity, the group agreed to concentrate on solo projects.
As the years went by, the band members Sting, dismissed the possibility of reforming. In 2007, the band did reform and undertook a world tour. Four of the band's five studio albums appeared on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, two of the band's songs, "Every Breath You Take" and "Roxanne", each written by Sting, appeared on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In addition, "Every Breath You Take" and "Roxanne" were among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In 2003, the band were inducted into the Roll Hall of Fame, they were included in Rolling Stone's and VH1's lists of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". In 1978, Sting collaborated with members of Hawkwind and Gong as the Radio Actors on the one-off single "Nuclear Waste". In September 1981, Sting made his first live solo appearance, on all four nights of the fourth Amnesty International benefit The Secret Policeman's Other Ball in London's Drury Lane theatre at the invitation of producer Martin Lewis.
He performed solo versions of "Roxanne" and "Message in a Bottle". He led an all-star band (dubbed "the
The French Resistance was the collection of French movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy régime during the Second World War. Resistance cells were small groups of armed men and women, who, in addition to their guerrilla warfare activities, were publishers of underground newspapers, providers of first-hand intelligence information, maintainers of escape networks that helped Allied soldiers and airmen trapped behind enemy lines; the men and women of the Resistance came from all economic levels and political leanings of French society, including émigrés, students, conservative Roman Catholics, citizens from the ranks of liberals and communists. The French Resistance played a significant role in facilitating the Allies' rapid advance through France following the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, the lesser-known invasion of Provence on 15 August, by providing military intelligence on the German defences known as the Atlantic Wall and on Wehrmacht deployments and orders of battle.
The Resistance planned and executed acts of sabotage on the electrical power grid, transport facilities, telecommunications networks. It was politically and morally important to France, both during the German occupation and for decades afterward, because it provided the country with an inspiring example of the patriotic fulfillment of a national imperative, countering an existential threat to French nationhood; the actions of the Resistance stood in marked contrast to the collaboration of the French regime based at Vichy, the French people who joined the pro-Nazi Milice française and the French men who joined the Waffen SS. After the landings in Normandy and Provence, the paramilitary components of the Resistance were organised more formally, into a hierarchy of operational units known, collectively, as the French Forces of the Interior. Estimated to have a strength of 100,000 in June 1944, the FFI grew and reached 400,000 by October of that year. Although the amalgamation of the FFI was, in some cases, fraught with political difficulties, it was successful, it allowed France to rebuild the fourth-largest army in the European theatre by VE Day in May 1945.
Following the Battle of France and the second French-German armistice, signed near Compiègne on 22 June 1940, life for many in France continued more or less at first, but soon the German occupation authorities and the collaborationist Vichy régime began to employ brutal and intimidating tactics to ensure the submission of the French population. Although the majority of civilians neither collaborated nor overtly resisted, the occupation of French territory and the Germans' draconian policies inspired a discontented minority to form paramilitary groups dedicated to both active and passive resistance. One of the conditions of the armistice was; this burden amounted to about 20 million German Reichsmarks per day, a sum that, in May 1940, was equivalent to four hundred million French francs. Because of this overvaluation of German currency, the occupiers were able to make fair and honest requisitions and purchases while, in effect, operating a system of organized plunder. Prices soared, leading to widespread food shortages and malnutrition among children, the elderly, members of the working class engaged in physical labour.
Labour shortages plagued the French economy because hundreds of thousands of French workers were requisitioned and transferred to Germany for compulsory labour under the Service du Travail Obligatoire. The labour shortage was worsened by the fact that a large number of the French were held as prisoners of war in Germany. Beyond these hardships and dislocations, the occupation became unbearable. Onerous regulations, strict censorship, incessant propaganda and nightly curfews all played a role in establishing an atmosphere of fear and repression; the sight of French women consorting with German soldiers infuriated many French men, but sometimes it was the only way they could get adequate food for their families. As reprisals for Resistance activities, the authorities established harsh forms of collective punishment. For example, the increasing militancy of communist resistance in August 1941 led to the taking of thousands of hostages from the general population. A typical policy statement read, "After each further incident, a number, reflecting the seriousness of the crime, shall be shot."
During the occupation, an estimated 30,000 French civilian hostages were shot to intimidate others who were involved in acts of resistance. German troops engaged in massacres such as the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre, in which an entire village was razed and every resident murdered because of persistent resistance in the vicinity. In early 1943, the Vichy authorities created a paramilitary group, the Milice, to combat the Resistance, they worked alongside German forces. The group collaborated with the Nazis, was the Vichy equivalent of the Gestapo security forces in Germany, their actions were brutal and included torture and execution of Resistance suspects. After the liberation of France in the summer of 1944, the French executed many of the estimated 25,000 to 35,000 miliciens for their collaboration. Many of
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (film)
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is a 1978 Australian drama film directed and produced by Fred Schepisi, starring Tom E. Lewis, Freddy Reynolds and Ray Barrett; the film featured early appearances by Bryan Brown, Arthur Dignam, John Jarratt. It is an adaptation of the novel The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith by Thomas Keneally; the story is about an exploited Aboriginal Australian who goes into hiding. It is based on actual events surrounding Jimmy Governor; the film lost A$179,000 at the box office. For Schepisi the film's reception was a disillusioning experience and he left Australia soon after to work in Hollywood, returning to Australia ten years to make Evil Angels. While not prosecuted for obscenity, the film was seized and confiscated in the UK under Section 3 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 during the video nasty panic. Jimmie Blacksmith, a half-caste child of an Aboriginal mother and a white father, is raised to adulthood by the Reverend Neville and his wife Martha, hoping their influence will civilize him and provide him greater opportunities in early twentieth century Australia.
With a letter of recommendation from his foster family, he goes out in search of work to establish himself, but is taken advantage of by multiple parties. His first employer, Healey shortchanges his pay by nitpicking his fencebuilding work, refuses to write a job recommendation to avoid admitting he himself is illiterate. Jimmie works for a local constable, who uses him as muscle against other local Aboriginals, including capturing a former friend, molested and murdered while in custody, forced to cover up the death. Jimmie finds some stability working on the farm of the Newby family, who still treat him little better than other employers, decides to summon and marry a white girlfriend, Gilda Marshall, very pregnant when she arrives to move in with him. Gilda gives birth to a white child not fathered by Jimmie. Shortly after the birth, Jimmie's full-caste brother Mort and uncle Tabidgi come to the Newby property, Jimmie enlists their help in his fence-building work. However, Mr. Newby uses their presence as an excuse to deny Jimmie his pay and needed provisions, claiming the extra men were not part of their arrangement.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Newby and a schoolteacher friend Miss Graf try to convince Gilda to take her baby and leave Jimmie for a teaching opportunity in another part of the country, which Gilda refuses. Furious at the mistreatment his family is facing, Jimmie enlists Tabidgi to help put a "scare" into the Newby women while the men are away, planning to threaten them with hatchets; this and brutally turns into a rampage that leaves Mrs. Newby, Miss Graf, all the Newby daughters but one infant dead. Jimmie's family flee the compound, shortly after Tabidgi and the child are left behind as Jimmie and Mort continue on the run, they soon murder Jimmie's previous employer Healey as well, with Jimmie announcing that he has declared war, in the manner he once heard the fighting against the Boers described. As press coverage about Jimmie's killings become nationwide news, a reporter makes regular probing inquiries to his butcher, whom he is aware doubles as the city's hangman for the police, about what may take place when Jimmie is captured.
Tabidgi, since captured and sentenced to death for accessory to murder, tells the convicting court that the decision to kill was not part of the plan and came to them on impulse. Still uncaptured and Mort come upon a schoolteacher, McCready, who they wound by gunfire, they decide to take him from his home. As the brothers argue about the morality of their crimes of killing women and children, McCready makes bitterly humorous observations about the influence of white people on the native Aboriginies, he convinces Jimmie to go on alone and abandon Mort by indicating that Mort's soul has had none of Jimmie's detrimental white influences. Mort in turn takes McCready to a farm to recover, but is killed by a hunting party led by the Newby males and Miss Graf's fiancee Dowie Steed. Jimmie himself is shot at in a lake, but manages to crudely tend to his wounds and hide out in a convent for a night, he is found the next morning and taken by police, who vainly try to prevent townspeople from beating him as they take him to jail.
In the final scene, Jimmie is read the last rites by Rev. Neville in his cell, as the butcher/hangman from earlier observes them, declares that despite the unique physical characteristics of Jimmie, his hanging will go as normal as any other. Tom E. Lewis as Jimmie Blacksmith Freddy Reynolds as Mort Blacksmith Ray Barrett as Farrell Jack Thompson as Rev. Neville Angela Punch McGregor as Gilda Marshall Steve Dodd as Tabidgi Peter Carroll as McCready Ruth Cracknell as Mrs. Heather Newby Don Crosby as Newby Elizabeth Alexander as Petra Graf Peter Sumner as Dowie Steed Tim Robertson as Healey Ray Meagher as Dud Edmonds Brian Anderson as Hyberry Jane Harders as Mrs. Healey The film's budget was raised from a variety of sources. Tommy Lewis was spotted by Fred Schepisi's wife at Melbourne airport just walking past, he was approached and was cast. Filming went for fourteen weeks; the film won the Best Original Music Score, Best
Nigel John Dermot Neill, known professionally as Sam Neill, is a New Zealand actor, producer and vineyard owner. Born in Omagh, Northern Ireland, he moved to Christchurch with his family in 1954. Neill first achieved recognition with his appearance in the 1977 film Sleeping Dogs, which he followed with leading roles in My Brilliant Career, Omen III: The Final Conflict, Possession, A Cry in the Dark, Dead Calm, The Piano, he came to international prominence with his portrayal of Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park, reprising the role in 2001's Jurassic Park III. Outside of film, Neill has appeared in numerous television series, such as Reilly, Ace of Spies, The Tudors, Happy Town and Peaky Blinders, he has presented and narrated several documentaries. Neill is the recipient of a New Zealand Film Award and a Logie Award, as well as three Golden Globe and two Primetime Emmy Award nominations, he has three children and one stepchild. Neill was born in 1947 in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to Priscilla Beatrice and Dermot Neill.
His father, an army officer, was a third-generation New Zealander, while his mother was born in England. His great-grandfather Percy Neill left Belfast in Northern Ireland for New Zealand in 1860, settling in Dunedin, he was the son of a wine merchant importing wine from France. At the time of Neill's birth, his father was stationed in Northern Ireland, serving with the Irish Guards, his father's family owned Co. the largest liquor retailers in New Zealand at the time. Neill holds British and Irish citizenship through his place of birth, but identifies as a New Zealander. In 1954, Neill moved with his family to New Zealand, where he attended the Anglican boys' boarding school Christ's College, Christchurch, he went on to study English literature at the University of Canterbury, where he had his first exposure to acting. He moved to Wellington to continue his tertiary education at Victoria University, where he graduated with a BA in English literature. In 2004, on the Australian talk show Enough Rope, interviewer Andrew Denton touched on the issue of Neill's stuttering.
It affected most of his childhood and as a result he was "hoping that people wouldn't talk to " so he would not have to answer back. He stated, "I kind of outgrew it. I can still... you can still detect me as a stammerer."He first took to calling himself "Sam" at school because there were several other students named Nigel, because he felt the name Nigel was "a little effete for... a New Zealand playground". Neil's first film was a New Zealand TV movie The City of No, he followed it with The Water Cycle and the TV movie Hunt's Duffer. Neill directed a film for the New Zealand National Film Unit, Telephone Etiquette, he was in Landfall. Neill's breakthrough performance in New Zealand was the film Sleeping Dogs, the first local movie to be seen abroad. Neill went to Australia, he was the romantic male lead in My Brilliant Career, opposite Judy Davis. He made some Australian films that were less seen – The Journalist, Just Out of Reach and Attack Force Z, appeared in television productions like Young Ramsay and Lucinda Brayford.
In 1981 he won his first big international role, as Damien Thorn, son of the devil, in Omen III: The Final Conflict. He was one of the leading candidates to succeed Roger Moore in the role of James Bond, but lost out to Timothy Dalton. Among his many Australian roles is playing Michael Chamberlain in Evil Angels, a film about the case of Azaria Chamberlain. Neill has played heroes and villains in a succession of film and television dramas and comedies. In the UK, he won early fame and was Golden Globe nominated after portraying real-life spy, Sidney Reilly, in the mini-series Reilly, Ace of Spies. An early American starring role was in 1987's Amerika, playing a senior KGB officer leading the occupation and division of a defeated United States, his leading and co-starring roles in films include the thriller Dead Calm, the two-part historical epic La Révolution française, The Hunt for Red October, Death in Brunswick, Jurassic Park, The Jungle Book, John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness, Event Horizon, Bicentennial Man, the comedy The Dish.
Neill has acted in New Zealand films, including The Piano, Perfect Strangers, Under the Mountain, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. He returned to directing in 1995 with the documentary Cinema of Unease: A Personal Journey by Sam Neill which he wrote and directed with Judy Rymer. In 1993, he co-starred with Anne Archer in Question of Faith, an independent drama based on a true story about one woman's fight to beat cancer and have a baby. In 2000, he provided the voice of Sam Sawnoff in The Magic Pudding. In 2001, he narrated a documentary series for the BBC entitled Space, he portrayed the eponymous wizard in a miniseries based on the legends of King Arthur. He reprised his role in Merlin's Apprentice. Neill starred in the historical drama The Tudors. "I
Frederic Alan Schepisi, AO is an Australian film director and screenwriter. His credits include The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Roxanne, Six Degrees of Separation, Mr. Baseball and Last Orders. Frederic Alan Schepisi was born in Melbourne, the son of Loretto Ellen and Frederic Thomas Schepisi, a fruit dealer and car salesman of Italian descent, he began his career in advertising and directed both commercials and documentaries before making his first feature film, The Devil's Playground, in 1976. Schepisi won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Direction and the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Screenplay for both The Devil's Playground and Evil Angels. In 1991, Schepisi's film The Russia House was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 41st Berlin International Film Festival. In 2005, Schepisi directed and co-produced the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, for which he was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special and the Directors Guild of America Award for Best Director of a TV Film.
In 2007, he was the Chairman of the Jury at the 29th Moscow International Film Festival. In April 2008, it was announced that Film Finance Corporation Australia was providing funding for Schepisi's film The Last Man, about the final days of the Vietnam War, it was scheduled to begin filming in Queensland, with Guy Pearce and David Wenham in leading roles, towards the end of the year. In 2011, Schepisi directed The Eye of the Storm. Filmed in Melbourne and Far North Queensland, based on the novel by Patrick White, The Eye of the Storm stars Charlotte Rampling, Judy Davis and Geoffrey Rush; the story is about "children understanding themselves through the context of family". In 2012, he directed Pictures starring Juliet Binoche and Clive Owen. Schepisi has directed a number of music videos, including for the 2008 song "Breathe" by Kaz James featuring Stu Stone. Asked about the "gypsy-like existence" of a filmmaker, Schepisi has said: "It's the hardest thing. I think. It's hard on your family. Mary travels with me and when everyone was younger and it was possible, I liked them to travel with me and be with me.
Mary's an artist. Schepisi has one grandchild. Fred Schepisi has seven children, he had four children with his first wife Joan. His third wife, whom he married in 1984 and with whom he had a seventh child, is American, he supports Australia becoming a republic and is a founding member of the Australian Republican Movement. The Devil's Playground The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith Barbarosa Iceman Plenty Roxanne Evil Angels The Russia House Mr. Baseball Six Degrees of Separation I. Q. Fierce Creatures Last Orders It Runs in the Family Empire Falls The Eye of the Storm Words and Pictures Andorra Bitter Sweet – romance drama for Avco Embassy Official website Fred Schepisi on IMDb Facebook page Twitter OnlyMelbourne.com.au biography
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