Portal:World War II
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Portal:World War II

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

Polish Home Army positions, outlined in red, on day 4 (August 4, 1944).
The Warsaw Uprising (Powstanie Warszawskie) was a World War II struggle by the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa) to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. The Uprising began on August 1, 1944, as part of a nationwide rebellion, Operation Tempest. It was intended to last for only a few days until the Soviet Army would reach the city. The Soviet advance stopped short, however, while Polish resistance against the German forces continued for 63 days (until October 2).The Uprising began at a crucial juncture as the Soviet Army was approaching Warsaw. The Uprising's chief objective was to drive the German occupiers from the city, helping with the larger fight against the Axis. Secondary political objectives were to liberate Warsaw before the Red Army arrived, so as to underscore Polish sovereignty, and to undo the Allied division of Central Europe into spheres of influence. Polish authorities were to reappear in liberated Warsaw and challenge the Soviet puppet government that was to rule Poland.


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HMS Royal Oak in 1937
His Majesty's Ship Royal Oak (pennant number 08) was a Revenge-class battleship of the British Royal Navy, torpedoed in Scapa Flow by the German submarine U-47 on 14 October 1939. Launched in 1914 and completed in 1916, Royal Oak first saw action at the Battle of Jutland. In peacetime, she served in the Atlantic, Home and Mediterranean fleets, coming under accidental attack on more than one occasion. The ship became the centre of worldwide attention in 1928 when her senior officers were controversially court-martialled. During a twenty-five year career, attempts to modernise Royal Oak could not address her fundamental lack of speed, and by the start of the Second World War, she was no longer suited to front-line duty.Royal Oak was anchored at Scapa Flow in Orkney, Scotland when she became the first of the five Royal Navy battleships and battlecruisers sunk in the Second World War. The loss of life was heavy: of Royal Oak complement of 1,234 men, 833 were killed that night or died later of their wounds.


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U.S. Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers about to attack the burning cruiser Mikuma for the third time.
The Battle of Midway was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II. It took place from June 4, 1942 to June 7, 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, five months after the Japanese capture of Wake Island, and exactly six months to the day after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.During the battle, the United States Navy defeated a Japanese attack against Midway Atoll, losing one aircraft carrier and one destroyer, while sinking four Japanese carriers and a heavy cruiser.The battle was a decisive victory for the Americans, and is widely regarded as the most important naval engagement of the Pacific Campaign of World War II.The Midway operation, like the attack on Pearl Harbor, was not part of a campaign for the conquest of the United States, but was aimed at its elimination as a strategic Pacific power, thereby giving Japan a free hand in establishing its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. It was also hoped another defeat would force the U.S. to negotiate an end to the Pacific War with conditions favorable for Japan.


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General Dwight D. Eisenhower addresses American paratroopers prior to D-Day.
General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the order of the day, "Full victory - nothing else", to paratroopers of the 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, at RAF North Witham in England, just before they board their airplanes to participate in the first assault of the D-Day invasion. Eisenhower's success in planning and executing the battle led him to be seen as a hero by the American public.

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Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the thirty-third President of the United States (1945-1953). As vice president, he succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died less than three months after he began his fourth term.During World War I Truman served as an artillery officer. After the war he became part of the political machine of Tom Pendergast and was elected a county judge in Missouri and eventually a United States Senator. After he gained national prominence as head of the wartime Truman Committee, Truman replaced vice president Henry A. Wallace as Roosevelt's running mate in 1944.As president, Truman faced challenge after challenge in domestic affairs. The disorderly reconversion of the economy of the United States was marked by severe shortages, numerous strikes, and the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act over his veto. He confounded all predictions to win re-election in 1948, largely due to his famous Whistle Stop Tour of rural America. After his re-election he was able to pass only one of the proposals in his Fair Deal program.


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"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

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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 defenceTuskegee Airmen
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Battle of Uhtua-KiestinkiBattles of Repola-RukajärviBattle of SiiranmäkiBattle of ?uckBattle of RówneBattle of W?odzimierz Wo?y?skiBattle of LubartówBattle of MiednikiBattle of Jod?aFrancis BlanchainShinshou DraengerChrister Lyst HansenHolocaust slave labor litigation (draft) • Ove KampmanLeague for Combat PolicyJulien 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. KsenofontovSiege of Tobruk (June 1942)5th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (ru) • Novorossiysk-Taman operation (ru) • 1943 Novorossiysk operation (ru) • 1943 Aerial Battles over Kuban (ru) • Battle of Rostov (1943) (ru) • Olshansky amphibious landing (ru) • Nalchik-Ordzhonikidzevskaya operation (ru) • Bukrinsky landing (ru) • Cape Tarhan Landing (ru) • 1942 Sudak Landing (ru) ] • Turning point of World War II
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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
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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 WarsBerthe FraserWestern Allied invasion of Germany
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Battle of Borneo (1941-42)Battle of ImphalGarderegiment Fuseliers Prinses IreneJapanese invasion of French IndochinaJapanese invasion of ThailandLuxembourg in World War IINew Georgia CampaignOperation CartwheelOperation ChastiseRoyal Netherlands Motorized Infantry BrigadeSolomon Islands campaignBattle of Radom
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