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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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Major General Pedro del Valle (second from left) is greeted by Colonel Chesty Puller on Pavuvu in late October 1944, while Major General Rupertus (far left) looks on
The participation of Puerto Ricans in World War II as members of the United States armed forces included guarding U.S. military installations in the Caribbean and active combat participation in both the European and Pacific theatres of the war. Puerto Ricans and people of Puerto Rican descent have participated as members of the U.S. armed forces in every conflict in which the United States has been involved since World War I.Puerto Ricans had obtained U.S. citizenship as a result of the 1917 Jones–Shafroth Act and were expected to serve in the military. When an Imperial Japanese Navy carrier fleet launched an unexpected attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Puerto Ricans were required to bear arms in defense of the United States. During World War II, more than 53,000 Puerto Ricans served in the U.S. military.Puerto Rican women who served had their options restricted to nursing or administrative positions. In World War II some of the island's men played active roles as commanders in the military. The military did not keep statistics in regard to the total number of Hispanics who served in the regular units of the Armed Forces only of those who served in Puerto Rican units; therefore, it is impossible to determine the exact number of Puerto Ricans who served in World War II


Selected equipment

HMAS Melbourne in 1981, with USS Midway in line astern
The Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (R21) was the lead ship of the Royal Navy's Majestic class of light aircraft carriers. Operating from 1955 until 1982, she was the third and final conventional aircraft carrier to serve in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Melbourne also served as the RAN flagship, and was the only British Commonwealth naval vessel to sink two friendly warships in peacetime. Her keel was laid down in April 1943, and she was launched as HMS Majestic (R77) in February 1945. At the end of World War II, work on the ship was suspended until she was purchased by the Royal Australian Navy in 1947. At the time of purchase, it was decided to incorporate new aircraft carrier technologies into the design, making Melbourne the third ship to be constructed with an angled flight deck. Delays in construction and integrating the enhancements meant that the carrier was not commissioned until 1955.Melbourne never fired a shot in anger during her career, having only peripheral, non-combat roles in the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation and the Vietnam War. However, she was involved in two major collisions with allied vessels. collising with and sinking HMAS Voyager on 10 February 1964, and USS Frank E. Evans on 3 June 1969.


Selected battle

The heavily damaged Japanese cruiser Aoba disembarks dead and wounded crewmembers near Buin, Bougainville and the Shortland Islands a few hours after the battle on October 12, 1942.
The Battle of Cape Esperance, also known as the Second Battle of Savo Island and, in Japanese sources, as the Sea Battle of Savo Island (サボ島沖海戦), took place October 11 – 12, 1942, and was a naval battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and United States Navy. The battle was the third of five major naval engagements during the Guadalcanal campaign and took place at the entrance to the strait between Savo Island and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.On the night of October 11, Japanese naval forces in the Solomon Islands area, under the command of Gunichi Mikawa, sent a major supply and reinforcement convoy to their forces on Guadalcanal. The convoy consisted of two seaplane tenders and six destroyers and was commanded by Rear Admiral Takatsugu Jojima. At the same time but in a separate operation, three heavy cruisers and two destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral Aritomo Gotō were to bombard the Allied airfield on Guadalcanal (called Henderson Field by the Allies) with the object of destroying Allied aircraft and the airfield's facilities.


Selected picture

Japanese Instrument of Surrender
Credit: United States Navy

General Douglas MacArthur signs the Japanese Instrument of Surrender as Supreme Allied Commander during formal ceremonies on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Behind General MacArthur are Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright and Lieutenant General A.E. Percival.

Selected biography

Otto Becher DUKJ3812.JPG
Rear Admiral Otto Humphrey Becher CBE, DSO, DSC & Bar (13 September 1908 – 15 June 1977) was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy. Born in Harvey, Western Australia, Becher entered the Royal Australian Naval College in 1922. After graduating in 1926, he was posted to a series of staff and training positions prior to specialising in gunnery. A lieutenant commander at the outbreak of the Second World War, Becher assisted in the extraction of Allied troops from the Namsos region of Norway while aboard the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire, and was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross. Following service in the Mediterranean theatre, he returned to Australia in 1942 as officer-in-charge of the gunnery school at HMAS Cerberus. He spent two years at Cerberus before being given command of the Q class destroyer HMAS Quickmatch in March 1944. While commanding the Quickmatch in operations against Japanese forces in the Pacific, Becher earned a Bar to his Distinguished Service Cross.


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Selected quote

"I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma: but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest."
Winston Churchill, 1 October 1939

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
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
Egypt Egypt
El Salvador El Salvador
France France (after June 16, 1940: Free France Free France)
Greece Greece
Netherlands Netherlands
New Zealand New Zealand
Norway Norway
Commonwealth of the Philippines Philippines
Poland Poland
Taiwan Republic of China
South Africa South Africa
Soviet Union Soviet Union
United Kingdom United Kingdom
United States United States
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia

more...

The Axis
Bulgaria Bulgaria
 NDH
Empire of Japan Japan
Finland Finland
France Vichy France
Hungary Hungary
Kingdom of Italy Italy
Nazi Germany Germany
Romania Romania
Thailand Thailand
Slovakia Slovakia

more...


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

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Battle of Kiev (1943)Battle of Ko ChangColditz CastleSpiritual national defence
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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) • Operation SafariLiberation of Denmark (currently redirect) • Operation Vado (currently redirect) • German torpedo boat AlbatrosFinnish 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 Oinonen
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Princess Irene BrigadeBattle of Bay of ViipuriDemilitarisation; Martha DesrumeauxMochitsura HashimotoOperation CascadeOperation Tan No. 2Burma Area ArmyBattle of CourlandBattle of Voronezh (1943)First Battle of KharkovRace to BerlinMarie FourcadeVictor Strydonck de BurkelDonald BlakesleeOperation NordwindBattle of Skerki BankMichael Sinclair (soldier)Battle of MaastrichtBattle of ZeelandOperation WaterfallPetsamo–Kirkenes OffensiveAmerican-British-Dutch-Australian Commandmore
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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
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