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.

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Native Solomon Islanders guide US 2nd Marine Raiders in pursuit of Japanese forces on Guadalcanal in November 1942
Carlson's patrol, also known as The Long Patrol or Carlson's long patrol, was an operation by the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion under the command of Evans Carlson during the Guadalcanal Campaign against the Imperial Japanese Army from November 6 to December 4, 1942. In the operation, the 2nd Raiders attacked forces under the command of Toshinari Sh?ji, which were escaping from an attempted encirclement in the Koli Point area on Guadalcanal and attempting to rejoin other Japanese army units on the opposite side of the U.S. Lunga perimeter.In a series of small unit engagements over 29 days, the 2nd Raiders killed almost 500 Japanese soldiers while suffering only 16 killed. The raiders also captured a Japanese artillery cannon that was delivering harassing gunfire on Henderson Field, the Allied airfield at Lunga Point on Guadalcanal.On August 7, 1942, Allied forces (primarily US Marines) landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida Islands in the Solomon Islands. Their mission was to deny the Japanese use of the islands as bases for threatening the supply routes between the U.S. and Australia, and to secure the islands as starting points for a campaign to isolate the major Japanese base at Rabaul while also supporting the Allied New Guinea campaign. The landings initiated the six-month-long Guadalcanal Campaign.


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Pennsylvania leading battleship Colorado and cruisers Louisville, Portland, and Columbia into Lingayen Gulf, Philippines, January 1945
A battleship is a large, heavily armored warship with a main battery consisting of the largest calibre of guns. Battleships are larger, better armed, and better armored than cruisers and destroyers.Battleship design continually evolved to incorporate and adapt technological advances to maintain an edge. The word battleship was coined around 1794 and is a shortened form of line-of-battle ship, the dominant wooden sailing warship during the Age of Sail. The term came into formal use in the late 1880s to describe a type of ironclad warship, now referred to as pre-dreadnought battleships. In 1906 the launching of HMS Dreadnought heralded a revolution in battleship design, and battleships constructed subsequently were referred to as dreadnoughts. Battleships were a potent symbol of naval dominance and national might, and for decades the battleship was a major factor in both diplomacy and military strategy. The global arms race in battleship construction in the early 20th century was one of the causes of World War I, which saw a clash of huge battle fleets at the Battle of Jutland. The Naval Treaties of the 1920s and 1930s limited the number of battleships but did not end the evolution of design. Both the Allies and the Axis Powers deployed battleships of old construction and new during World War II.


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USS Enterprise (center left), maneuvering radically under aerial attack and afire on August 24, 1942. Anti-aircraft shell bursts directed at the attacking Japanese dive bombers are visible above the carrier.
The naval Battle of the Eastern Solomons (also known as the Battle of the Stewart Islands and, in Japanese sources, as the Second Battle of the Solomon Sea (), took place on August 24-August 25, 1942, and was the third carrier battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II and the second major engagement fought between the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Guadalcanal Campaign. As at Coral Sea and Midway, the ships of the two adversaries were never in direct visual range of each other. Instead, all of the attacks by either side were carried out by either carrier or land-based aircraft.After several damaging air attacks, the naval surface combatants from both the United States of America (U.S.) and Japan withdrew from the battle area without either side securing a clear victory. However, the U.S. and its allies apparently gained a greater tactical and strategic advantage from the battle than Japan because the Allied forces suffered fewer losses than the Japanese, who lost a significant number of aircraft and experienced aircrews.


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Mauthausen-Gusen
Credit: Lt. A. E. Samuelson, United States Army
Prisoners interned by the Nazis in Ebensee concentration camp, a subcamp of Mauthausen-Gusen in Ebensee, Austria, are liberated by the United States Army. The prisoners are malnourished, incredibly pale and show signs of abuse and mistreatment. The camp was reputedly used for medical experiments by Aribert Heim, known as "Doctor Death".

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Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Vasilevsky , September 30, 1895 – December 5, 1977) was a Soviet military commander, promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1943. He was the Soviet Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Minister of Defense during World War II, as well as Minister of Defense from 1949 to 1953. As the Chief of the General Staff, Vasilevsky was responsible for the planning and coordination of almost all decisive Soviet offensives, from the Stalingrad counteroffensive to the assault on East Prussia and Königsberg.Vasilevsky started his military career during the First World War, earning the rank of captain by 1917. At the beginning of the October Revolution and the Civil War he was conscripted into the Red Army, taking part in the Polish-Soviet War. After the war, he quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a regimental commander by 1930. In this position, he showed great skill in the organization and training of his troops. Vasilevsky's talent did not go unnoticed, and in 1931 he was appointed a member of the Directorate of Military Training. In 1937, following Stalin's Great Purge, he was promoted to General Staff officer.


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"The people of England will curse themselves for having preferred ruin from Churchill to peace from Hitler."
William Joyce, 2 August 1940

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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 HansenOve KampmanLeague for Combat PolicyJulien MelineOperation BigotOperation MittelmeerOperation RichardOtto ProgramMartin PoppelRoehm's AvengersDorothy TartierePoul BruunRaoul BoulangerSerge Asher-RavanelBattle of West Ukraine (1941)Battle of ZunyiLiberation 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 OinonenOperation Vesuvius (currently redirect) • Capture of Kassala (currently redirect) • Liberation of LilleBattle of PankowBrandenburg-Rathenow OffensiveJapanese internment of European civilians during World War IIMiranda de Ebro concentration campThe Holocaust in the Netherlands (current redirect) • German occupation of the Netherlands (current redirect) • Axis occupation of MonacoSoviet home front during World War IILabour Charter (Vichy France)Berles-Monchel and Aubigny-en-Artois massacresFebvin-Palfart massacre1941 Nord-Pas de Calais miners' strikeSpitfire fundsGood War (historiography)
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Princess Irene BrigadeBattle of Bay of ViipuriDemilitarisationFree Dutch ForcesMartha 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 OffensiveAmerican-British-Dutch-Australian CommandBattle of Viru HarborBattle of Wickham AnchorageWestern New Guinea campaign (and the individual battles of the campaign) • Operation BlockbusterOperation CooneyThe Holocaust in FranceKnowledge of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany and German-occupied EuropeFrancoist Spain and the HolocaustJapan campaignVolcano and Ryukyu Islands campaignmore
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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 GermanyLXXXIII Army Corps (Wehrmacht)
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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 RadomSeishin OperationMoravia-Ostrava OffensivePanzerjäger
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5th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment [ru]Novorossiysk-Taman Operation [ru]1943 Novorossiysk Operation [ru]1943 Air Battles over Kuban [ru]Battle of Rostov (1943) [ru]Battle of Olshansky [ru]Nalchik-Ordzhonikidzevskaya Operation [ru]Bukrinsky Landing [ru]Cape Tarhan Landing [ru]1942 Sudak Landing [ru]Mozdok-Malgobek Operation [ru]Alexander Sergeyevich Ksenofontov [ru]Henri de Vernejoul [fr]André Bergeret [fr]Battle of Nice [fr]Liberation de Saint-Malo [fr]Battle of Seuil Valley [fr]René-Jean-Paul Cassagne [fr]Cameroun's rallying to the Free French [fr]Battle of Bouno-Misaki [ja]

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