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.

Featured article

The Defense of Sihang Warehouse (simplified Chinese: 四行仓库; traditional Chinese: 四行倉庫; pinyin: Sìháng Cāngkù) took place from 26 October to 1 November 1937, and marked the beginning of the end of the three-month Battle of Shanghai in the opening phase of the Second Sino-Japanese War.Defenders of the warehouse, known in China as the Eight Hundred Heroes (simplified Chinese: 八百壮士; traditional Chinese: 八百壯士; pinyin: Bābǎi Zhùangshì), held out against numerous waves of Japanese forces and covered Chinese forces retreating west during the Battle of Shanghai. The successful defense of the warehouse provided a morale-lifting consolation to the Chinese army and people in the demoralizing aftermath of the Japanese invasion of Shanghai. The warehouse's location just across the Suzhou Creek from the foreign concessions in Shanghai meant the battle took place in full view of the western powers. This drew the attention, if only briefly, of the international community to Chiang Kai-shek's bid for world-wide support against Japanese aggression.


Selected equipment

USS Bridgeport (AD-10)
USS Bridgeport (AD-10/ID-3009) was a destroyer tender in the United States Navy during World War I and the years after. She was a twin-screw, steel-hulled passenger and cargo steamship built in 1901 at Vegesack, Germany as SS Breslau of the North German Lloyd line. Breslau was one of the seven ships of the Köln class of ships built for the Bremen to Baltimore and Galveston route.Interned at New Orleans, Louisiana at the outbreak of World War I, Breslau was seized in 1917 by the United States after her entry into that conflict and commissioned into the Navy as USS Bridgeport. Originally slated to be a repair ship, she was reclassified as a destroyer tender the following year. Bridgeport completed several transatlantic convoy crossings before she was stationed at Brest, France, where she remained in a support role after the end of World War I. After returning to the United States in November 1919, she spent the next five years along the East Coast and in the Caribbean tending destroyers and conducting training missions. She was decommissioned in November 1924 and placed in reserve at the Boston Navy Yard.


Selected battle

USS Minneapolis at Tulagi with torpedo damage a few hours after the battle on December 1, 1942
The Battle of Tassafaronga, sometimes referred to as the Fourth Battle of Savo Island or, in Japanese sources, as the Battle of Lunga Point (ルンガ沖夜戦?), was a nighttime naval battle that took place November 30, 1942 between United States (US) Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy warships during the Guadalcanal campaign. The battle took place in Ironbottom Sound near the Tassafaronga area on Guadalcanal.In the battle, a US warship force of five cruisers and four destroyers under the command of Carleton H. Wright attempted to surprise and destroy a Japanese warship force of eight destroyers under the command of Raizo Tanaka. Tanaka's warships were attempting to deliver food supplies to Japanese forces on Guadalcanal.Using radar, the US warships opened fire and sank one of the Japanese destroyers. Tanaka and the rest of his ships, however, reacted quickly and launched numerous torpedoes at the US warships. The Japanese torpedoes hit and sank one US cruiser and heavily damaged three others, enabling the rest of Tanaka's force to escape without significant additional damage but also without completing the mission of delivering the food supplies.


Selected picture

SS Thistlegorm
Credit: Woodym555

A winch and associated parts sitting on the deck of the SS Thistlegorm, a transport ship that was sunk by a German bomber during World War II, on 5 October 1941 near Ras Muhammad in the Red Sea. The wreck was originally located by Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1956, yet only in the last two decades has it become a busy recreational dive site.

Selected biography

Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki was a soldier of the Second Polish Republic, the founder of the Secret Polish Army (Tajna Armia Polska) Polish resistance group and a member of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). During World War II, he became the only known person to volunteer to be imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp. While there, he organized the resistance movement in the camp, and as early as 1940, informed the Western Allies of Nazi Germany's Auschwitz atrocities. He escaped from the camp in 1943 and took part in the Warsaw Uprising. Pilecki was executed in 1948 by the communists. Until 1989, information on his exploits and fate was suppressed by the Polish communist regime.Witold Pilecki was born May 13, 1901, in Olonets on the shores of Lake Ladoga in Karelia, Russia, where his family had been forcibly resettled by Tsarist Russian authorities after the suppression of Poland's January Uprising of 1863–1864.


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Selected quote

"Fellow Australians

It is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that, in persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain is at war, and that, as a result, Australia is also at war...

There was never any doubt as to where Great Britain stood... There can be no doubt that where Great Britain stands, there stands the people of the entire British world."
Prime Minister Robert Menzies, 3 September 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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A ForceBattle of Uhtua-KiestinkiBattles of Repola-RukajärviBattle of PorlammiBattle of SiiranmäkiBattle of TuulosBattle 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 RayonOperation 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 AlbatrosBattle of Sidon (1941)
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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)German invasion of LuxembourgBattle of ZeelandBattle of the GrebbebergA. H. VedelFranco-Thai WarBattle of Ko ChangSwitzerland during the World Wars
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