Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well
Friedrich Sustris was an Italian-Dutch painter and architect. He was a son of the artist Lambert Sustris. Sustris got his training from his father Lambert in Padua. From 1563 to 1567 he was trained by Giorgio Vasari in Florence, after he had returned from a stay in Rome in 1560, his first patron was Hans Fugger. He was the son-in-law of Jan Kraeck. From 1573 onwards Sustris worked for William V, Duke of Bavaria in Landshut before he became chief architect to the Bavarian court with William's accession to the throne in 1579. Decoration and remodelling of Trausnitz Castle in Landshut Expansion of the Residenz, Munich St. Michael's Church and the Old Academy in Munich Frederik Sustris on Artnet
Peter de Witte, known in Italy as Pietro Candido and in Bavaria as Peter Candid was a Flemish-born Mannerist painter, tapestry designer and draughtsman active in Italy and Bavaria. He was an artist at the Medici court in Florence and at the Bavarian court of Duke William V and his successor Maximilian I in Munich. Candid was born in Bruges and moved with his parents to Florence at the age of 10, his father Elias was a tapestry weaver, hired by the newly opened Medici weaving workshop, the Arazzeria Medicea, led by the Flemish master Jan Rost. The original Flemish family name was'de Witte'; the word'witte' means'white' in Flemish and, why the family adopted the Italian family name' Candido' in Italy, an Italian word which means'white'. Peter would change his family name to'Candid'. Peter started his apprenticeship in Italy in the early 1560s under an unknown master; the earliest known record of Candid's work as an artist is in relation to payment for a fresco made in Florence in 1569. He is first mentioned as a member of the'Accademia delle Arti del Disegno' in 1576.
The Accademia delle Arti del Disegno was a prestigious academy of artists in Florence whose members have included Michelangelo Buonarroti, Lazzaro Donati, Agnolo Bronzino, Benvenuto Cellini and others. Beginning in 1578 he painted a series of three altarpieces for churches in Volterra, including an Adoration of the Shepherds and a Lamentation over the Dead Christ; the 16th century Flemish biographer Karel van Mander who knew Candid when he visited Italy, recounted that Candid worked with Giorgio Vasari on the Sala Regia in the Vatican and on the cupola of the Florence Cathedral. After working in Rome at the Sala Regia in the years 1582 and 1583, he returned to Florence. By 1586 he was called to the Ducal court of Munich upon the recommendation of the sculptor Giambologna, another Flemish artist working in Italy with whom Candid was associated, he was first court painter to Duke William V of Bavaria and Maximilian I of Bavaria. For the Duke and Elector Maximilian, Candid worked on several fresco cycles in numerous buildings, including the Antiquarium and the State Rooms of the ducal palace Munich Residenz and the State Room in the Schleissheim Palace and made the designs for the ceilings of the Goldener Saal in the Augsburg Town Hall.
In the period 1600 to 1628 he was the leading artist in Munich. He was active as an art dealer and had business dealings with Philipp Hainhofer, a merchant, banker and art collector in Augsburg remembered, among other things, for his curiosity cabinets, he married and had five children, including a son Wilhelm, a painter but after 1625 became a court official. His daughter married the engraver Filips Sadeler in 1624, he was the teacher of Johann Ulrich Loth. He died in Munich. Peter Candid was an versatile artist, not only a painter but a designer of tapestries and sculptures, his pictorial work ranges from history paintings, mythological scenes and allegories. He created large altarpieces as well as complex decorative projects, he was an oil painter as well as a fresco artist. He is credited with introducing Italian fresco painting as a preferred medium in Bavaria; the iconography, which he developed, exerted an influence well into the 18th century. He completed many fresco's and oil paintings in Italy and made tapestry designs and other works for Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
His style in Florence was influenced by the school of Michelangelo, although he was closer to Bronzino and Alessandro Allori than to Vasari. His work shows the influence of the Flemish tradition. In Munich he worked as part of a team of Italian artists under the direction of the Dutch-Italian painter Friedrich Sustris, in Florence, he realised frescoes after Sustris' designs for the court. He produced many altarpieces, he became more autonomous after Sustris died and Maximilian I of Bavaria had ascended the throne at the end of the century. Candid further was responsible for all interior paintings at the new buildings added by Duke Maximilian to his palaces and continued to realise altar pieces, he executed small paintings on copper panels on religious and allegorical themes in a Mannerist style. In his works he worked in a style transitory from the Late Renaissance to the early Baroque; this is evident in the Assumption of Mary, the altarpiece for the Munich Frauenkirche completed in 1620. Peter Candid was an important designer for the weaving workshop, set up by Duke Maximilian.
It was managed by the Flemish master weaver Hans van der Biest. Van der Biest had been invited from Flanders by the Duke to set up a tapestry workshop with craftsmen from the Low Countries in 1604, he was given a large stipend and funds to visit the Southern Netherlands to source materials and recruit weaving professionals. The tapestries to be produced were principally intended to decorate the Munich Residenz, the royal palace of the Duke in Munich. Despite its modest size of about 20 weavers the workshop produced tapestries of an excellent quality with vibrant colours, dynamic scenes and entertaining details; the workshop stayed in operation until 1615. Candid created cartons for this workshop. From these were woven three series of tapestries made up of about 50 hangings worked through with gold; the tapestries were a set of 12 Grotesques, 11 scenes from the Story of Otto von Wittelsbach, the founder of the House of Wittelsbach, 18 tapestries depicting The Months, The Seasons and Day and Night.
He designed but did not make the cartons for a series of 12 tapestries depicting biblical and mythological scenes. The carto
Suppression of the Society of Jesus
The suppression of the Jesuits in the Portuguese Empire, the Two Sicilies, Parma, the Spanish Empire and Austria and Hungary is a complex topic. Analysis of the reasons is complicated by the political maneuvering in each country, not carried on in the open but has left some trail of evidence; the papacy reluctantly went along with the demands of the various Catholic kingdoms involved, advanced no theological reason for the suppression. The power and wealth of the Society of Jesus with its influential educational system was confronted by adversaries in this time of cultural change in Europe, leading to the revolutions that would follow. Monarchies attempting to centralize and secularize political power viewed the Jesuits as being too international, too allied to the papacy, too autonomous from the monarchs in whose territory they operated. By the brief Dominus ac Redemptor Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Society of Jesus, as a fait accompli and with no reasons given. Russia and the United States allowed the Jesuits to continue their work, Catherine the Great allowed the founding of a new novitiate in Russia.
Soon after their restoration by Pope Pius VII in 1814, the Jesuits began returning to most of the places from which they had been expelled. Prior to the eighteenth-century suppression of the Jesuits in many countries, there was an early ban in territories of the Venetian Republic between 1606 and 1656/7, begun and ended as part of disputes between the Republic and the Papacy, beginning with the Venetian Interdict. By the mid-18th century, the Society had acquired a reputation in Europe for political maneuvering and economic success. Monarchs in many European states grew progressively wary of what they saw as undue interference from a foreign entity; the expulsion of Jesuits from their states had the added benefit of allowing governments to impound the Society's accumulated wealth and possessions. However, historian Charles Gibson cautions, "ow far this served as a motive for the expulsion we do not know."Various states took advantage of different events in order to take action. The series of political struggles between various monarchs France and Portugal, began with disputes over territory in 1750 and culminated in suspension of diplomatic relations and dissolution of the Society by the Pope over most of Europe, some executions.
The Portuguese Empire, the Two Sicilies and the Spanish Empire were involved to one degree or another. The conflicts began with trade disputes, in 1750 in Portugal, in 1755 in France, in the late 1750s in the Two Sicilies. In 1758 the government of Joseph I of Portugal took advantage of the waning powers of Pope Benedict XIV and deported Jesuits from South America after relocating the Jesuits and their native workers, fighting a brief conflict, formally suppressing the order in 1759. In 1762 the Parlement Français, ruled against the Society in a huge bankruptcy case under pressure from a host of groups – from within the Church but secular notables and the king's mistress. Austria and the Two Sicilies suppressed the order by decree in 1767. There were long-standing tensions between the Portuguese crown and the Jesuits, which increased when the Count of Oeiras became the monarch's minister of state, culminating in the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1759; the Távora affair in 1758 could be considered a pretext for the expulsion and crown confiscation of Jesuit assets.
According to historians James Lockhart and Stuart B. Schwartz, the Jesuits' "independence, wealth, control of education, ties to Rome made the Jesuits obvious targets for Pombal's brand of extreme regalism."Portugal's quarrel with the Jesuits began over an exchange of South American colonial territory with Spain. By a secret treaty of 1750, Portugal relinquished to Spain the contested Colonia del Sacramento at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata in exchange for the Seven Reductions of Paraguay, the autonomous Jesuit missions, nominal Spanish colonial territory; the native Guaraní, who lived in the mission territories, were ordered to quit their country and settle across the Uruguay. Owing to the harsh conditions, the Guaraní rose in arms against the transfer, the so-called Guaraní War ensued, it was a disaster for the Guaraní. In Portugal a battle escalated with inflammatory pamphlets denouncing or defending the Jesuits who for over a century had protected the Guarani from enslavement through a network of Reductions, as depicted in The Mission.
The Portuguese colonizers secured the expulsion of the Jesuits. On 1 April 1758, Pombal persuaded the aged Pope Benedict XIV to appoint the Portuguese Cardinal Saldanha to investigate allegations against the Jesuits. Benedict was skeptical as to the gravity of the alleged abuses, he ordered a "minute inquiry", but so as to safeguard the reputation of the Society, all serious matters were to be referred back to him. Benedict died the following month on May 3. On May 15 Saldanha, having received the papal brief only a fortnight before, declared that the Jesuits were guilty of having exercised "illicit and scandalous commerce," both in Portugal and in its colonies, he had not visited Jesuit houses as ordered, pronounced on the issues which the pope had reserved to himself. Pombal implicated the Jesuits in the Távora affair, an attempted assassination of the king on 3 September 1758, on the grounds of their friendship with some of the supposed conspirators. On 19 January 1759, he issued a decree sequestering the property of the Society in the Portuguese dominions and the following September deported the Portuguese fathers, about one thousand in number, to the Pontifical States, keeping the foreigners in prison.
Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the country's most populated comune, it is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber; the Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been defined as capital of two states. Rome's history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe; the city's early population originated from a mix of Latins and Sabines.
The city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is regarded by some as the first metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the "Caput Mundi". After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome fell under the political control of the Papacy, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance all the popes since Nicholas V pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.
In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The famous Vatican Museums are among the world's most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018. Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the city hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p. A. and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL.
Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services. Rome is an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies. According to the founding myth of the city by the Ancient Romans themselves, the long-held tradition of the origin of the name Roma is believed to have come from the city's founder and first king, Romulus. However, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was derived from Rome itself; as early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain: from Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn has the same root as the Greek verb ῥέω and the Latin verb ruo, which both mean "flow". There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites.
Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village. However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city developed through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine; this aggregation was facilitated by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities. These in turn boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy; these developments, which according to archaeological ev
House of Wittelsbach
The House of Wittelsbach is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria. Members of the family reigned as Dukes of Merania, Dukes and Kings of Bavaria, Counts Palatine of the Rhine, Margraves of Brandenburg, Counts of Holland and Zeeland, Elector-Archbishops of Cologne, Dukes of Jülich and Berg, Kings of Sweden and Dukes of Bremen-Verden; the family provided two Holy Roman Emperors, one King of the Romans, two Anti-Kings of Bohemia, one King of Hungary, one King of Denmark and Norway and one King of Greece. The family's head, since 1996, is Duke of Bavaria. Berthold, Margrave in Bavaria, was the ancestor of Otto I, Count of Scheyern, whose third son Otto II, Count of Scheyern acquired the castle of Wittelsbach; the Counts of Scheyern left Scheyern Castle in 1119 for Wittelsbach Castle and the former was given to monks to establish Scheyern Abbey. The Wittelsbach Conrad of Scheyern-Dachau, a great-grandson of Otto I, Count of Scheyern became Duke of Merania in 1153 and was succeeded by his son Conrad II.
It was the first Duchy held by the Wittelsbach family. Otto I's eldest son Eckhard I, Count of Scheyern was father of the Count palatine of Bavaria Otto IV, the first Count of Wittelsbach and whose son Otto was invested with the Duchy of Bavaria in 1180 after the fall of Henry the Lion and hence the first Bavarian ruler from the House of Wittelsbach. Duke Otto's son Louis I, Duke of Bavaria acquired the Electorate of the Palatinate in 1214; the Wittelsbach dynasty ruled the German territories of Bavaria from 1180 to 1918 and the Electorate of the Palatinate from 1214 until 1805. On Duke Otto II's death in 1253, his sons divided the Wittelsbach possessions between them: Henry became Duke of Lower Bavaria, Louis II Duke of Upper Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine; when Henry's branch died out in 1340 the Emperor Louis IV, a son of Duke Louis II, reunited the duchy. The family provided two Holy Roman Emperors: Louis IV and Charles VII, both members of the Bavarian branch of the family, one German King with Rupert of the Palatinate, a member of the Palatinate branch.
The House of Wittelsbach split into these two branches in 1329: Under the Treaty of Pavia, Emperor Louis IV granted the Palatinate including the Bavarian Upper Palatinate to his brother Duke Rudolf's descendants, Rudolf II, Rupert I and Rupert II. Rudolf I in this way became the ancestor of the older line of the Wittelsbach dynasty, which returned to power in Bavaria in 1777 after the extinction of the younger line, the descendants of Louis IV; the Bavarian branch kept the duchy of Bavaria until its extinction in 1777. The Wittelsbach Emperor Louis IV acquired Brandenburg, Holland and Hainaut for his House but he had released the Upper Palatinate for the Palatinate branch of the Wittelsbach in 1329, his six sons succeeded him as Duke of Bavaria and Count of Holland and Hainaut in 1347. The Wittelsbachs lost the Tyrol with the death of duke Meinhard and the following Peace of Schärding – the Tyrol was renounced to the Habsburgs in 1369. In 1373 Otto, the last Wittelsbach regent of Brandenburg, released the country to the House of Luxembourg.
On Duke Albert's death in 1404, he was succeeded in the Netherlands by William. A younger son, John III, became Bishop of Liège. However, on William's death in 1417, a war of succession broke out between John and William's daughter Jacqueline of Hainaut; this last episode of the Hook and Cod wars left the counties in Burgundian hands in 1432. Emperor Louis IV had reunited Bavaria in 1340 but from 1349 onwards Bavaria was split among the descendants of Louis IV, who created the branches Bavaria-Landshut, Bavaria-Straubing, Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Bavaria-Munich. With the Landshut War of Succession Bavaria was reunited in 1505 against the claim of the Palatinate branch under the Bavarian branch Bavaria-Munich. From 1549 to 1567 the Wittelsbach owned the County of Kladsko in Bohemia. Catholic by upbringing, the Bavarian dukes became leaders of the German Counter-Reformation. From 1583 to 1761, the Bavarian branch of the dynasty provided the Prince-electors and Archbishops of Cologne and many other Bishops of the Holy Roman Empire, namely Liège.
Wittelsbach princes served for example as Bishops of Regensburg, Freising, Liège, Münster, Hildesheim and Osnabrück, as Grand Masters of the Teutonic Order. In 1623 under Maximilian I the Bavarian dukes were invested with the electoral dignity and the duchy became the Electorate of Bavaria, his grandson Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria served as Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands and as Duke of Luxembourg. His son Emperor Charles VII was king of Bohemia. With the death of Charles' son Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria the Bavarian branch died out in 1777; the Palatinate branch kept the Palatinate until 1918, having succeeded to Bavaria in 1777. With the Golden Bull of 1356 the Counts Palatine were invested with the electoral dignity, their county became the Electorate of the Palatinate. Princes of the Palatinate branch served as Bishops of the Empire and as Elector-Archbishops of Mainz and Elector-Archbishops of Trier. After the death of the Wittelsbach king
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