The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
Shikotan known as Shpanberg, is an island, administered by the Russian Federation as part of Yuzhno-Kurilsky District of Sakhalin Oblast, and, claimed by Japan as part of Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture. Russia recognised Japanese sovereignty over the island in the 19th century. In September 1945, during the final days of World War II, the island was invaded by 600 Soviet troops, it is one of the islands which the Soviet Union agreed in 1956 to transfer to Japan in the event of a peace treaty between the two countries. The name of Shikotan derives from the Ainu language and means "the village proper" or "real town"; the total land area of Shikotan is 225 km². The island is hilly; the shores of the island are indented and covered with oceanic meadows. The highest altitude is 412 m; the island is formed by the volcanic rock and sandstone of the Upper Cretaceous and Cenozoic periods. There are two extinct volcanoes on Shikotan: Mount Notoro. Shikotan's vegetation consists of Sakhalin fir, deciduous trees, bamboo underbrush, juniper brushwood.
There are two settlements: Krabozavodskoye. The primary economic activities are fisheries and fishing, with the principal marine products being cod and kelp. An earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused major damage on the island's coastline on October 4, 1994; the 2014 anime film Giovanni's Island is a fictionalized account of the fate of Japanese civilians living on Shikotan at the time of the 1945 Soviet occupation. Kuril Islands dispute Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956 Shikotan District, Hokkaido Kuril Island Network - A volunteer group dedicated to raising awareness of the habitat on the Kurils - Satellite image of Shikotan [http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20061008f1.html Ainu speaker and activist explains the meaning of the South Kuril island names
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won more than any other newspaper; the Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U. S; the paper is owned by The New York Times Company, publicly traded and is controlled by the Sulzberger family through a dual-class share structure. It has been owned by the family since 1896. G. Sulzberger, the paper's publisher, his father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. the company's chairman, are the fourth and fifth generation of the family to helm the paper. Nicknamed "The Gray Lady", the Times has long been regarded within the industry as a national "newspaper of record"; the paper's motto, "All the News That's Fit to Print", appears in the upper left-hand corner of the front page. Since the mid-1970s, The New York Times has expanded its layout and organization, adding special weekly sections on various topics supplementing the regular news, editorials and features.
Since 2008, the Times has been organized into the following sections: News, Editorials/Opinions-Columns/Op-Ed, New York, Sports of The Times, Science, Home and other features. On Sunday, the Times is supplemented by the Sunday Review, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine and T: The New York Times Style Magazine; the Times stayed with the broadsheet full-page set-up and an eight-column format for several years after most papers switched to six, was one of the last newspapers to adopt color photography on the front page. The New York Times was founded as the New-York Daily Times on September 18, 1851. Founded by journalist and politician Henry Jarvis Raymond and former banker George Jones, the Times was published by Raymond, Jones & Company. Early investors in the company included Edwin B. Morgan, Christopher Morgan, Edward B. Wesley. Sold for a penny, the inaugural edition attempted to address various speculations on its purpose and positions that preceded its release: We shall be Conservative, in all cases where we think Conservatism essential to the public good.
We do not believe that everything in Society is either right or wrong. In 1852, the newspaper started a western division, The Times of California, which arrived whenever a mail boat from New York docked in California. However, the effort failed. On September 14, 1857, the newspaper shortened its name to The New-York Times. On April 21, 1861, The New York Times began publishing a Sunday edition to offer daily coverage of the Civil War. One of the earliest public controversies it was involved with was the Mortara Affair, the subject of twenty editorials in the Times alone; the main office of The New York Times was attacked during the New York City Draft Riots. The riots, sparked by the beginning of drafting for the Union Army, began on July 13, 1863. On "Newspaper Row", across from City Hall, Henry Raymond stopped the rioters with Gatling guns, early machine guns, one of which he manned himself; the mob diverted, instead attacking the headquarters of abolitionist publisher Horace Greeley's New York Tribune until being forced to flee by the Brooklyn City Police, who had crossed the East River to help the Manhattan authorities.
In 1869, Henry Raymond died, George Jones took over as publisher. The newspaper's influence grew in 1870 and 1871, when it published a series of exposés on William Tweed, leader of the city's Democratic Party—popularly known as "Tammany Hall" —that led to the end of the Tweed Ring's domination of New York's City Hall. Tweed had offered The New York Times five million dollars to not publish the story. In the 1880s, The New York Times transitioned from supporting Republican Party candidates in its editorials to becoming more politically independent and analytical. In 1884, the paper supported Democrat Grover Cleveland in his first presidential campaign. While this move cost The New York Times a portion of its readership among its more progressive and Republican readers, the paper regained most of its lost ground within a few years. After George Jones died in 1891, Charles Ransom Miller and other New York Times editors raised $1 million dollars to buy the Times, printing it under the New York Times Publishing Company.
However, the newspaper was financially crippled by the Panic of 1893, by 1896, the newspaper had a circulation of less than 9,000, was losing $1,000 a day. That year, Adolph Ochs, the publisher of the Chattanooga Times, gained a controlling interest in the company for $75,000. Shortly after assuming control of the paper, Ochs coined the paper's slogan, "All The News That's Fit To Print"; the slogan has appeared in the paper since September 1896, has been printed in a box in the upper left hand corner of the front page since early 1897. The slogan was a jab at competing papers, such as Joseph Pulitzer's New York World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal, which were known for a lurid and inaccurate reporting of facts and opinions, described by the end of the century as "yellow journalism". Under Ochs' guidance, aided by Carr
Kuril Islands dispute
The Kuril Islands dispute known as the Northern Territories dispute, is a disagreement between Japan and Russia and some individuals of the Ainu people over sovereignty of the South Kuril Islands, which stretch between northern Hokkaido and southern Kamchatka, in the Sea of Okhotsk. These islands, like other islands in the Kuril chain that are not in dispute, were annexed by the Soviet Union in aftermath of the Kuril Islands landing operation at the end of World War II; the disputed islands are under Russian administration as the South Kuril District of the Sakhalin Oblast. They are claimed by Japan, which refers to them as its Northern Territories or Southern Chishima, considers them part of the Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture; the San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed between the Allies and Japan in 1951, states that Japan must give up "all right and claim to the Kuril Islands", but it does not recognize the Soviet Union's sovereignty over them. Japan claims that at least some of the disputed islands are not a part of the Kuril Islands, thus are not covered by the treaty.
Russia maintains that the Soviet Union's sovereignty over the islands was recognized in post-war agreements. Japan and the Soviet Union ended their formal state of war with the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, but did not resolve the territorial dispute; the islands in question are: Iturup —Etorofu Island Kunashir —Kunashiri Island Shikotan —Shikotan Island Habomai Islands —Habomai Islands The first Russo-Japanese agreement to deal with the status of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands was the 1855 Treaty of Shimoda, which first established official relations between Russia and Japan. Article 2 of the Treaty of Shimoda, which provided for an agreement on borders, states "Henceforth the borders between Russia and Japan will pass between the islands Iturup and Urup; the whole island of Iturup belongs to Japan and the whole island Urup and the other Kuril Islands to the north constitute possessions of Russia". The islands of Kunashiri and the Habomai Islands, that all lie to the south of Uturup, are not explicitly mentioned in the treaty and were understood at the time to be a non-disputed part of Japan.
The treaty specified that the island of Sakhalin/Karafuto would remain un-partitioned betweeen Russia and Japan, as in the past. In the 1875 Treaty of Saint Petersburg Russia and Japan agreed that Japan would give up all rights to Sakhalin in exchange for Russia giving up all rights to the Kuril Islands in favor of Japan. However, a controversy remains as to what constitutes the Kuril islands, due to translation discrepancies of the French official text of that treaty; the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 was a military disaster for Russia. The 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, concluded at the end of this war, gave the southern half of Sakhalin Island to Japan. Although Japan occupied parts of Russia's Far East during the Russian Civil War following the October Revolution, Japan did not formally annex any of these territories and they were vacated by Japan by the mid-1920s. There was no hostile activity between the USSR and the Empire of Japan after the Battle of Khalkin Gol ended the Japanese–Soviet Border War in 1939 and before the USSR declared war on Japan on August 8, 1945.
The Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact was signed in Moscow on April 13, 1941, but was renounced by the Soviet Union in 1945 as in accordance with the Pact itself, it remains relevant for 5 years and automatically renews for the next 5 years if any of the countries does not renounce the Pact a year before the date of its expiry. So, the USSR renounced the Pact. On August 14, 1945, Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration and on the following day announced unconditional capitulation; the Soviet operation to occupy the Kuril Islands took place between August 18 and September 3. Japanese inhabitants were repatriated two years later; the modern Kuril Islands dispute arose in the aftermath of World War II and results from the ambiguities in and disagreements about the meaning of the Yalta agreement, the Potsdam Declaration and the Treaty of San Francisco. The Yalta Agreement, signed by the US, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, stated: The leaders of the three great powers – the Soviet Union, the United States of America and Great Britain – have agreed that in two or three months after Germany has surrendered and the war in Europe is terminated, the Soviet Union shall enter into war against Japan on the side of the Allies on condition that:...
2. The former rights of Russia violated by the treacherous attack of Japan in 1904 shall be restored, viz.: The southern part of Sakhalin as well as the islands adjacent to it shall be returned to the Soviet Union. 3. The Kurile Islands shall be handed over to the Soviet Union. Japan and the US claimed that the Yalta agreement did not apply to the Northern Territories because they were not a part of the Kuril Islands, although US geographers have traditionally listed them as part of the Kuril chain. In a 1998 article in the journal Pacific Affairs, Bruce Elleman, Michael Nichols and Matthew Ouimet argue that the US never accepted the cession of all the Kuril Islands to the Soviet Union and has maintained from Yalta onwards that it agreed at Yalta that Moscow could negotiate directly with Tokyo to come to a mutually acceptable solution, that the US would support in such a peace agreement the Soviet acquisition of the Kurils; as a key piece of evidence
Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov is a Russian diplomat and politician. In office since 2004, he is the Foreign Minister of Russia, he was the Russian Representative to the UN, serving from 1994 to 2004. Lavrov was born on 21 March 1950 to an Armenian father and a Russian mother from Georgia, his mother worked in the Soviet Ministry for Foreign Trade. Lavrov graduated from high school with a silver medal. Since his favorite class was physics, he planned to enter either the National Research Nuclear University or the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, but he entered the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and graduated in 1972. During his education at the MGIMO, Lavrov studied international relations. Soon he learned Sinhalese the only official language of Sri Lanka, as well as Dhivehi, the official language of the Maldives. Moreover, Lavrov learned English and French, but has stated that he is unable to speak the French language fluently. After he was admitted to the university, along with other students, was sent for a month to build the Ostankino Tower.
During his summer vacations, Lavrov worked in Khakassia and the Russian Far East. Each semester Lavrov with his fellow students conducted drama performances, which were presented on the main stage of the university. During the third year of his studies, Lavrov married. Lavrov graduated in 1972. According to the rules of that time, a graduate of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations had to work for the Foreign Ministry for a certain amount of time. Lavrov was employed in the Soviet embassy in Sri Lanka as an advisor, as he was a specialist on the country. At the time, the Soviet Union and Sri Lanka had close market and economic cooperation and the Soviet Union launched the production of natural rubber in the country; the Soviet embassy in Sri Lanka maintained relations with the Maldives. The embassy in Sri Lanka employed only 24 diplomats. Lavrov was given the task of continuously analysing the situation in the country, but he worked as a translator, personal secretary and assistant to Rafiq Nishonov.
In addition, he gained the diplomatic rank of an attaché. In 1976 Lavrov returned to Moscow, he worked as a third and second secretary in the Section for the International Economic Relations of the USSR. There he was involved in analytics and his office worked with various international organizations including the United Nations. In 1981, he was sent as a senior adviser to the Soviet mission at the United Nations in New York City. In 1988 Lavrov returned to Moscow and was named Deputy Chief of the Section of the International Economic Relations of the USSR. Between 1990 and 1992 he worked as Director of the International Organization of the Soviet Foreign Ministry. In October 1990, Andrey Kozyrev, who led the control of the international organizations at the time, was named Foreign Minister of the Russian SFSR. In that year, the powers of the Soviet Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic were distributed; until the Russian SFSR had only a ceremonial role.
In October 1991, the foreign ministers of all Soviet republics, except Georgia and the Baltic states, held a meeting where they dealt with the Union of Foreign Ministries. In November 1990, the State Council decided to change its name from the Union of Foreign Ministries to the Foreign Ministry of the Soviet Union and in December that year, the Foreign Ministry of Soviet Russia became the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation. In 1992 Lavrov was named director of the Department for International Organizations and Global Issues in the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation. In April 1991, he was named deputy foreign minister. Lavrov was asked to oversee the activities of the Human Rights and International Cultural Cooperation and the two departments – for the CIS countries, international organizations and international economic cooperation. Lavrov worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until 1994 when he returned to work in the United Nations, this time as the Permanent Representative of Russia.
While in the latter position, he was the President of the United Nations Security Council in December 1995, June 1997, July 1998, October 1999, December 2000, April 2002, June 2003. On 9 March 2004, President Vladimir Putin appointed Lavrov to the post of minister of foreign affairs, he succeeded Igor Ivanov in the post. On 21 May 2012, Lavrov was reappointed foreign minister to the cabinet led by prime minister Dimitri Medvedev. Lavrov is regarded as continuing in the style of his predecessor: a brilliant diplomat but a civil servant rather than a politician. A Russian foreign policy expert at London's pro-Western Chatham House, has described him as "a tough, reliable sophisticated negotiator", but adds that "he's not part of Putin's inner sanctum" and that the toughening of Russian foreign policy has got little to do with him. In 2012, a Russian delegation travelled to Syria to affirm Russia's backing of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. Lavrov and Mikhail Fradkov, who were part of the delegation, were given a royal welcome by thousands of pro-Assad supporters.
The supporters waved Russian flags in thanks to Russia's veto of a UN resolution calling for tough sanctions on the Syrian government. After the March 2014 Crimean status referendum, Lavrov proposed that Ukraine should be independent of any bloc, that the Russian language be recognised and that the constitution be organised along federal lines. Lavrov reminded readers that the zero-sum "either-or" bloc-politics of Ukraine were first suggested in 2004 by Karel De Gucht Foreign Minister of Belgium. Wh
Okinawa Prefecture is the southernmost prefecture of Japan. It encompasses two thirds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1,000 kilometres long; the Ryukyu Islands extend southwest from Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu to Taiwan. Naha, Okinawa's capital, is located in the southern part of Okinawa Island. Although Okinawa Prefecture comprises just 0.6 percent of Japan's total land mass, about 75 percent of all United States military personnel stationed in Japan are assigned to installations in the prefecture. About 26,000 U. S. troops are based in the prefecture. The oldest evidence of human existence on the Ryukyu islands is from the Stone Age and was discovered in Naha and Yaeyama; some human bone fragments from the Paleolithic era were unearthed from a site in Naha, but the artifact was lost in transportation before it was examined to be Paleolithic or not. Japanese Jōmon influences are dominant on the Okinawa Islands, although clay vessels on the Sakishima Islands have a commonality with those in Taiwan.
The first mention of the word Ryukyu was written in the Book of Sui. Okinawa was the Japanese word identifying the islands, first seen in the biography of Jianzhen, written in 779. Agricultural societies begun in the 8th century developed until the 12th century. Since the islands are located at the eastern perimeter of the East China Sea close to Japan and South-East Asia, the Ryukyu Kingdom became a prosperous trading nation. During this period, many Gusukus, similar to castles, were constructed; the Ryukyu Kingdom entered into the Imperial Chinese tributary system under the Ming dynasty beginning in the 15th century, which established economic relations between the two nations. In 1609, the Shimazu clan, which controlled the region, now Kagoshima Prefecture, invaded the Ryukyu Kingdom; the Ryukyu Kingdom was obliged to agree to form a suzerain-vassal relationship with the Satsuma and the Tokugawa shogunate, while maintaining its previous role within the Chinese tributary system. The Satsuma clan earned considerable profits from trade with China during a period in which foreign trade was restricted by the shogunate.
Although Satsuma maintained strong influence over the islands, the Ryukyu Kingdom maintained a considerable degree of domestic political freedom for over two hundred years. Four years after the 1868 Meiji Restoration, the Japanese government, through military incursions annexed the kingdom and renamed it Ryukyu han. At the time, the Qing Empire asserted a nominal suzerainty over the islands of the Ryukyu Kingdom, since the Ryūkyū Kingdom was a member state of the Chinese tributary system. Ryukyu han became Okinawa Prefecture of Japan in 1879 though all other hans had become prefectures of Japan in 1872. In 1912, Okinawans first obtained the right to vote for representatives to the National Diet, established in 1890. Near the end of World War II, in 1945, the US Army and Marine Corps invaded Okinawa with 185,000 troops. A third of the civilian population died; the dead, of all nationalities, are commemorated at the Cornerstone of Peace. After the end of World War II, the Ryukyu independence movement developed, while Okinawa was under United States Military Government of the Ryukyu Islands administration for 27 years.
During this "trusteeship rule", the United States established numerous military bases on the Ryukyu islands. During the Korean War, B-29 Superfortresses flew bombing missions over Korea from Kadena Air Base on Okinawa; the military buildup on the island during the Cold War increased a division between local inhabitants and the American military. Under the 1952 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, the United States Forces Japan have maintained a large military presence. Since 1960, the U. S. and Japan have maintained an agreement that allows the U. S. to secretly bring nuclear weapons into Japanese ports. The Japanese tended to oppose the introduction of nuclear arms into Japanese territory by the government's assertion of Japan's non-nuclear policy and a statement of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. Most of the weapons were alleged to be stored in ammunition bunkers at Kadena Air Base. Between 1954 and 1972, 19 different types of nuclear weapons were deployed in Okinawa, but with fewer than around 1,000 warheads at any one time.
Between 1965 and 1972, Okinawa was a key staging point for the United States in its military operations directed towards North Vietnam. Along with Guam, it presented a geographically strategic launch pad for covert bombing missions over Cambodia and Laos. Anti-Vietnam War sentiment became linked politically to the movement for reversion of Okinawa to Japan. In 1965, the US military bases, earlier viewed as paternal post war protection, were seen as aggressive; the Vietnam War highlighted the differences between the United States and Okinawa, but showed a commonality between the islands and mainland Japan. As controversy grew regarding the alleged placement of nuclear weapons on Okinawa, fears intensified over the escalation of the Vietnam War. Okinawa was perceived, by some inside Japan, as a potential target for China, should the communist government feel threatened by the United States. American military secrecy blocked any local reporting on what was occurring at bases such as Kadena Air Base.
As information leaked out, images of air strikes were published, the local population began to fear the potential for retaliation. Political leaders such as Oda Makoto
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