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Portal:World War II

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The World War II Portal

Clockwise from top left: Commonwealth troops in the desert; Chinese civilians being buried alive by Japanese soldiers; Soviet forces during a winter offensive; Carrier-borne Japanese planes readying for take off; Soviet troops fighting in Berlin; A German submarine under attack.

World War II, or the Second World War, was a global military conflict. It began as the joining of what had initially been two separate conflicts, with the first beginning in Asia in 1937 (the Second Sino-Japanese War) and the other beginning in Europe in 1939 (the German and Soviet invasion of Poland).

The war split the majority of the world's nations into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It involved the mobilization of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history, and placed the participants in a state of "total war", which erased the distinction between civil and military resources and resulted in the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort. Over 70 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.

The Allies won the war, and as a result, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as the world's leading superpowers. This set the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 45 years. The United Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The self-determination spawned by the war accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Europe itself began moving toward integration.

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In Poland, fast moving armies encircled Polish forces (blue circles), but the blitzkrieg idea never really took hold – artillery and infantry forces acted in time-honoured fashion to crush these pockets.
Blitzkrieg is a popular name for an offensive operational-level military doctrine which involves an initial bombardment followed by the employment of motorized mobile forces attacking with speed and surprise to prevent an enemy from implementing a coherent defense. The founding principles of these types of operations were developed in the 20th century by various nations, and adapted in the years after World War I, largely by the German Wehrmacht, to incorporate modern weapons and vehicles as a method to help avoid the stalemate of trench warfare and linear warfare in future conflicts. The first practical implementations of these concepts coupled with modern technology were instituted by the Wehrmacht in the opening theatres of World War II.The strategy was particularly effective to Germany in the invasions of Western Europe and initial operations in the Soviet Union. These operations were dependent on surprise penetrations, general enemy unpreparedness and an inability to react swiftly enough to German offensive operations.


Selected equipment

Nevada underway off of the Atlantic coast of the United States in 1944
USS Nevada (BB-36), the second United States Navy ship to be named after the 36th state, was the lead ship of the two Nevada-class battleships; her sister ship was Oklahoma. Nevada was a giant leap forward in dreadnought technology, as she showcased four new features that would be included on almost every subsequent U.S. battleship: gun turrets with three guns, anti-aircraft guns, oil in place of coal for fuel, and the "all or nothing" armor principle. All of these new features resulted in Nevada becoming the first U.S. Navy "super-dreadnought". Nevada served in both of the World Wars: during World War I, Nevada was based in Bantry Bay, Ireland, for the last few months of the war to support the supply convoys that were sailing to and from Great Britain. In World War II, she was one of the battleships that were trapped when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Subsequently salvaged and modernized at Puget Sound Navy Yard, Nevada served in four amphibious assaults: the Normandy Landings and the invasions of Southern France, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. At the end of World War II, the Navy decided that Nevada was too old to be retained in the post-war fleet, so they assigned her to be a target ship in the Bikini atomic experiments of July 1946. After being hit by two atomic bombs, she was still afloat but heavily damaged and radioactive. She was sunk during naval gunfire exercise in 1948.


Selected battle

Dead Japanese soldiers, killed assaulting United States Marine positions, lie on the sandbar at the mouth of Alligator Creek, Guadalcanal after the battle on August 21, 1942.
The Battle of the Tenaru (or Battle of the Ilu River) took place August 21, 1942, on the island of Guadalcanal, and was a land battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, between Imperial Japanese Army and Allied (mainly United States (U.S.) Marine) ground forces. The battle was the first major Japanese land offensive during the Guadalcanal campaign.In the battle, U.S. Marines, under the overall command of U.S. Major General Alexander Vandegrift, successfully repulsed an assault by the "First Element" of the "Ichiki" Regiment, under the command of Japanese Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki. The Marines were defending the Lunga perimeter, which guarded Henderson Field, which was captured by the Allies in landings on Guadalcanal on August 7. Ichiki's unit was sent to Guadalcanal in response to the Allied landings with the mission of recapturing the airfield and driving the Allied forces off of the island. Underestimating the strength of Allied forces on Guadalcanal, which at that time numbered about 11,000 personnel, Ichiki's unit conducted a nighttime frontal assault on Marine positions at Alligator Creek on the east side of the Lunga perimeter. Ichiki's assault was defeated with heavy losses for the Japanese attackers.


Selected image

F6F Hellcat crashes on USS Enterprise
Credit: United States Navy
Crash landing of an F6F Hellcat into the port side 20mm gun gallery of the USS Enterprise, November 10, 1943. Lieutenant Walter L. Chewning, Jr., USNR, the Catapult Officer, is climbing up the plane's side to assist the pilot from the burning aircraft. The pilot, Ensign Byron M. Johnson, escaped without significant injury. Note the plane's ruptured belly fuel tank.

Selected biography

Werner Mölders in October 1940
Werner Mölders (18 March 1913 – 22 November 1941) became the first pilot in aviation history to claim 100 aerial victories—that is, 100 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft, and was decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds for his achievements. He was instrumental in the development of new fighter tactics which led to the finger-four formation. Prevented from flying further combat missions for propaganda reasons, at the age of 28 Mölders was promoted to Oberst, and appointed Inspector General of Fighters. He died in an air crash in which he was a passenger.


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Selected quote

"I said, to the people of the Philippines whence I came, I shall return. Tonight, I repeat those words: I shall return!"
Douglas MacArthur, 30 March 1942

Topics

World War II
Theatres Main events Specific articles Participants

Prelude
Causes
in Europe
in Asia

Main theatres
Europe
Eastern Europe
China
Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa
Asia and the Pacific
Atlantic

General timeline
Timeline

1939
Invasion of Poland
Winter War

1940
Invasion of Denmark/Norway
Battle of France
Battle of Britain

1941
Invasion of the Soviet Union
Battle of Moscow
Attack on Pearl Harbor

1942
Battle of Midway
Battle of Stalingrad
Second Battle of El Alamein

1943
Battle of Kursk
Guadalcanal campaign
Invasion of Italy

1944
Battle of Normandy
Operation Bagration
Battle of Leyte Gulf
Operation Market Garden
Battle of the Bulge

1945
Battle of Iwo Jima
Battle of Okinawa
Battle of Berlin
End in Europe
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Surrender of Japan

more...

Blitzkrieg
Cryptography
Equipment
Home Front
Military engagements
Production
Resistance
Technology

Civilian impact and atrocities
Nanking Massacre
The Holocaust
Siege of Leningrad
Bataan Death March
Dutch famine of 1944
Bengal famine of 1943
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Unit 731
Strategic bombings
Comfort women
Allied war crimes
German war crimes
Japanese war crimes

Aftermath
Effects
Casualties
Expulsion of Germans
Denazification
Cold War
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Decline of the British Empire

The Allies
Australia Australia
Belgium Belgium
Brazil Brazil
British Raj British India
Canada Canada
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
Kingdom of Egypt Egypt
El Salvador El Salvador
French Third Republic France (after June 16, 1940: Free France Free France)
Kingdom of Greece Greece
Netherlands Netherlands
Dominion of New Zealand New Zealand
Norway Norway
Commonwealth of the Philippines Philippines
Poland Poland
Republic of China (1912–1949) Republic of China
Union of South Africa South Africa
Soviet Union Soviet Union
United Kingdom United Kingdom
United States United States
Kingdom of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia

more...

The Axis
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
 Independent State of Croatia
Empire of Japan Japan
Finland Finland
 Vichy France
Kingdom of Hungary (1920–46) Hungary
Kingdom of Italy Italy
Nazi Germany Germany
Kingdom of Romania Romania
Thailand Thailand
 Slovakia

more...


Things you can do

From the World War II task force of the Military history WikiProject:

Attention needed
...to referencing and citation  • ...to coverage and accuracy  • ...to structure  • ...to grammar  • ...to supporting materials 
Popular pages
Full list
Cleanup needed
Battle of Kiev (1943)Battle of Ko ChangColditz CastleSpiritual national defenceTuskegee Airmen
Requested articles 
Battle of Uhtua-KiestinkiBattles of Repola-RukajärviBattle of SiiranmäkiBattle of ŁuckBattle of RówneBattle of Włodzimierz WołyńskiBattle of LubartówBattle of MiednikiBattle of JodłaFrancis BlanchainShinshou DraengerChrister Lyst HansenHolocaust slave labor litigationOve KampmanLeague for Combat PolicyFrederick Charles LoughJulien MelineOperation BigotOperation MittelmeerOperation RichardOtto ProgramMartin PoppelRoehm's AvengersDorothy TartierePoul BruunRaoul BoulangerSerge Asher-RavanelBattle of West Ukraine (1941)Battle of ZunyiFree Dutch Forces (draft, please assist) • Liberation of Denmark (currently redirect) • Operation Vado (currently redirect) • Finnish 19th Division (Continuation War)Finnish 11th Division (Continuation War)Finnish VII Corps (Continuation War)Finnish VI Corps (Continuation War)Finnish IV Corps (Continuation War)Finnish Cavalry Brigade1st Jaeger Brigade2nd Jaeger BrigadeFinnish 1st Division (Continuation War)168th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)71st Rifle Division (Soviet Union)Group OinonenA.S. Ksenofontov (ru) • Ponomarev Dmitry Grigorievich (ru) (ref); Siege of Tobruk (June 1942) (ref)
Expansion needed
Princess Irene BrigadeBattle of Bay of ViipuriDemilitarisation; Martha DesrumeauxMochitsura HashimotoOperation CascadeOperation Tan No. 2Burma Area ArmyBattle of CourlandBattle of Munda PointBattle of Voronezh (1943)Drive on Munda PointFirst Battle of KharkovRace to BerlinMarie FourcadeVictor Strydonck de BurkelDonald BlakesleeOperation NordwindBattle of Skerki BankMichael Sinclair (soldier)Battle of MaastrichtBattle of ZeelandLandings on RendovaNew Georgia counterattackOperation WaterfallPetsamo–Kirkenes OffensiveRaid on ChoiseulAmerican-British-Dutch-Australian CommandBattle of Viru HarborBattle of Wickham AnchorageWestern New Guinea campaign (and the individual battles of the campaign) • Operation Blockbustermore
Images needed
Twelfth Army (United Kingdom)4th Airborne Division (United Kingdom)5th Airborne Division (United Kingdom)XVI Corps (United Kingdom)Battle of DakarBattle of the Lys (1940)Battle of ZeelandBattle of the GrebbebergFranco-Thai WarBattle of Ko ChangSwitzerland during the World Wars; Berthe Fraser
Merging needed
Add an article here!
Citations needed
Battle of Borneo (1941–42)Garderegiment Fuseliers Prinses IreneJapanese invasion of French IndochinaJapanese invasion of ThailandLuxembourg in World War IINew Georgia CampaignOperation CartwheelOperation ChastiseRoyal Netherlands Motorized Infantry BrigadeSolomon Islands campaign
Translation needed 
pt:Tobrouk (militar)

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