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World war ii in their own words: an oral history of pennsylvania's veterans - Larry Martin s WWII In Their Own Words


World War II (often abbreviated to WWII or WW2 ), also known as the Second World War , was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries —including all of the great powers —eventually forming two opposing military alliances : the Allies and the Axis . It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. In a state of total war , the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort , erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources.

World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history , marked by 50 million to 85 million fatalities, most of which were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres , the deliberate genocide of the Holocaust , strategic bombing , starvation, disease and the first use of nuclear weapons in history. [1] [2] [3] [4]

The start of the war in Europe is generally held to be 1 September 1939, [9] [10] beginning with the German invasion of Poland ; Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, [11] [12] or even the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. [13] [14]

World War II (often abbreviated to WWII or WW2 ), also known as the Second World War , was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries —including all of the great powers —eventually forming two opposing military alliances : the Allies and the Axis . It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. In a state of total war , the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort , erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources.

World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history , marked by 50 million to 85 million fatalities, most of which were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres , the deliberate genocide of the Holocaust , strategic bombing , starvation, disease and the first use of nuclear weapons in history. [1] [2] [3] [4]

The start of the war in Europe is generally held to be 1 September 1939, [9] [10] beginning with the German invasion of Poland ; Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, [11] [12] or even the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. [13] [14]

World War II in the Pacific was caused by a number of issues stemming from Japanese expansionism to problems relating to the end of World War I.

A valuable ally during World War I, the European powers and the United States recognized Japan as a colonial power after the war. In Japan, this led to the rise of ultra-right wing and nationalist leaders, such as Fumimaro Konoe and Sadao Araki, who advocated uniting Asia under the rule of the emperor.

To keep the economy growing, an emphasis was placed on arms and weapons production, with much of the raw materials coming from the United States. Rather than continue this dependence on foreign materials, the Japanese decided to seek out resource-rich colonies to supplement their existing possessions in Korea and Formosa. To accomplish this goal, the leaders in Tokyo looked west to China, which was in the midst of a civil war between Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang (Nationalist) government, Mao Zedong's Communists, and local warlords.




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