1. World War II pitted two sets of countries against one other: the “Allies” and the “Axis.” Britain, France, Russia, China, and the United States were the principal Allied Powers. Germany, Italy, and Japan were the key Axis Powers.
2. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Germany was ruled by Adolf Hitler.
He intended for Germany to rule Europe with the help of the Nazi Party. On September 1, 1939, German troops invaded Poland in order to seize more land and power. Britain and France declared war on Germany after Hitler refused to stop the invasion. World War II had begun.
3. German soldiers advanced across Europe during World War II.
They had invaded France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Yugoslavia*, and the USSR* by the summer of 1941.
Read more: You Should Know These 100 Psychology Facts!
4. Millions of Germans were imprisoned and slaughtered because they did not suit the ‘ideal’ German image.
Hitler intended to produce the “greatest” and “strongest” race possible, which for the Nazi Party included excluding Jews, Gypsies, and those with physical and mental problems. Outside of Germany, such organizations were persecuted in the nations invaded by German forces in an attempt to destroy a “racial enemy.”
5. The Jews were the most heavily targeted group by the Nazis.
During World War II, almost six million Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust, one of history’s most heinous catastrophes. Hitler, a racist, blamed Jews for Germany’s defeat in World War I and said they were a threat to the German people and society.
6. Japan aimed to conquer Asia and the Pacific at the same time that Germany pushed for power in Europe.
Japan launched an invasion of China in 1937, just before World War II formally began, under Emperor Hirohito, resulting in years of conflict between the two countries.
Read more: 101 Useless Facts You Shouldn’t Know!
7. The United States did not enter the war until 1941 when Japan attacked the country.
— at their naval base in Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor. The United States declared war on Japan and its German allies on December 8, 1941 (the very next day).
8. During World War II, some countries stayed ‘neutral.’
Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland were among the countries that refused to join either side.
9. On May 8, 1945, the Germans surrendered.
An Allied army crossed the Channel from Britain in 1944 to liberate France from Nazi tyranny. The Allies invaded Germany a year later, forcing the Germans to surrender. Japan surrendered to Allied forces in August of the same year, following nuclear assaults on its main cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. World War II had come to an end.
10. During World War II, almost 64 million people died.
– that’s greater than the population of the United Kingdom as a whole.
The Second World War ran from 1939 to 1945. There were a number of significant events leading up to and during the war. Here’s a rundown of some of the significant events:
In the Run-Up to the War
Adolf Hitler is elected Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. His Nazi Party, often known as the Third Reich, rises to power, making Hitler the de facto dictator of Germany.
The Rome-Berlin Axis Treaty is signed on October 25, 1936, by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
The Anti-Comintern Pact is signed by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan on November 25, 1936. This was an anti-communist and anti-Russian agreement.
Japan invades China on July 7, 1937.
On March 12th, 1938, Hitler annexes Austria into Germany. The Anschluss is another name for this.
World War II (WWII)
1939 Germany invades Poland on September 1st. The Second World War begins.
On September 3, 1939, France and the United Kingdom declare war on Germany.
From April 9 to June 9, 1940, Germany invades and occupies Denmark and Norway.
From May 10 to June 22, 1940, Germany employs blitzkrieg, or lightning war, to gain control of much of western Europe, including the Netherlands, Belgium, and northern France.
Winston Churchill is elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on May 30, 1940.
Italy joins the Axis countries and enters the war on June 10th, 1940.
On July 10, 1940, Germany conducts an air attack on the United Kingdom. The Battle of Britain is the name given to these attacks, which persist until the end of October.
The Axis Alliance is formed when Germany, Italy, and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact on September 22, 1940.
Germany and the Axis Powers assault Russia with a massive army of nearly four million men on June 22, 1941.
1941 The Japanese assaulted the US Navy in Pearl Harbor on December 7th. The United States joins the Allies in World War II the next day.
The US Navy destroys the Japanese navy at the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942.
The Allies attack and conquer Sicily on July 10, 1942.
Italy surrenders to the Allies on September 3rd, 1943, but Germany assists Mussolini in escaping and establishing a government in Northern Italy.
1944 D-day and the Normandy invasion take place on June 6, 1944. The Allies invade France and drive the Germans back.
Paris is freed from German occupation on August 25, 1944.
The Germans make a massive attack in the Battle of the Bulge on December 16, 1944. They lose to the Allies, effectively ending the German army’s existence.
1945 The island of Iwo Jima is invaded by US Marines on February 19. They take the island after a bloody battle.
On April 12, 1945, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt passes away. President Harry Truman succeeds him.
1945 The US Third Army, led by General Patton, crosses the Rhine River on March 22.
Adolf Hitler commits suicide on April 30, 1945, knowing that Germany has lost the war.
Germany surrenders to the Allies on May 7, 1945.
The Atomic Bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. The city is in ruins.
A second atomic bomb was detonated in Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945.
Japan surrenders to US General Douglass MacArthur and the Allies on September 2, 1945.