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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Troops from the First Division landing on Omaha Beach - photograph by Robert F. Sargent
Omaha Beach was the code name for one of the principal landing points of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, during World War II. The beach was located on the northern coast of France, facing the English Channel, and was 5 miles (8 km) long, from east of Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes to west of Vierville-sur-Mer. Landings here were necessary in order to link up the British landings to the east with the American landing to the west, thus providing a continuous lodgement on the Normandy coast. Taking Omaha was to be the responsibility of United States Army troops, with sea transport provided by the U.S. Navy and elements of the Royal Navy.On D-Day, the untested 29th Infantry Division, joined by eight companies of U.S. Rangers redirected from Pointe du Hoc, were to assault the western half of the beach. The battle-hardened 1st Infantry Division was given the eastern half. The initial assault waves, consisting of tanks, infantry and combat engineer forces, were carefully planned to reduce the coastal defences and allow the larger ships of the follow-up waves to land.


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Finnish T-26 at the Parola Tank Museum
The T-26 was a light tank used by the Soviet Union from the 1930s until World War II. It was based on the British Vickers 6-Ton tank and widely considered one of the most successful designs of the 1930s.The T-26 made-up the majority of the Red Army's armour force until late 1941, and saw a long history in the armed forces of various different nations around the world. For almost a decade the T-26 proved to be one of the best tanks in production, with a total of around 12,000 units produced.Success and failure in the Spanish Civil War, where it served as the most widely used tank, ultimately played a major role in influencing the Soviet doctrine of tank warfare in the late 1930s. The T-26 participated in German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 as one of the most numerous tanks inservice,contributing to the defense of the Soviet Union.Although the T-26's reputation was marred by its abysmal performance during World War II, it was nevertheless the most important tank of the Spanish Civil War and played major roles during the Winter War and the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in 1939. Between its introduction and its retirement, the T-26 saw a great deal of modernization efforts between 1932 and 1941.


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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.


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The following are images from various World War II-related articles on Wikipedia.

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The crew of the sinking Zuikaku salute as the flag is lowered on 25 October 1944.
Credit: Kazutoshi Hando
The crew of the sinking Zuikaku salute as the flag is lowered on 25 October 1944.

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Helmut Lent in 1943
Helmut Lent (13 June 1918 – 7 October 1944) was a German night fighter ace in World War II who shot down 110 aircraft, 103 of them at night. Lent claimed his first aerial victories at the outset of World War II in the invasion of Poland and over the German Bight. During the invasion of Norway he flew ground support missions before he was transferred to the newly established Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (NJG 1), a night fighter wing. Lent claimed his first nocturnal aerial victory on 12 May 1941 and on 30 August 1941 was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. His steady accumulation of aerial victories resulted in regular promotions and awards. On the night of 15 June 1944, Major Lent was the first night fighter pilot to claim 100 nocturnal aerial victories, a feat which earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds on 31 July 1944. On 5 October 1944, Lent flew a Junkers Ju 88 on a routine transit flight from Stade to Nordborchen, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of Paderborn. On the landing approach one of the engines cut out, stalling the aircraft. All four members of the crew were mortally injured. Three men died shortly after the crash and Lent succumbed to his injuries two days later on 7 October 1944.


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"No enemy bomber can reach the Ruhr. If one reaches the Ruhr, my name is not Hermann Goering. You may call me Hermann Meyer."
Hermann Göring, September, 1939

Topics

World War II
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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

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Blitzkrieg
Cryptography
Equipment
Home Front
Military engagements
Production
Resistance
Technology

Civilian impact and atrocities
Nanking Massacre
The 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
Kingdom of Egypt Egypt
El Salvador El Salvador
French Third Republic France (after June 16, 1940: Free France Free France)
Kingdom of Greece Greece
Netherlands Netherlands
Dominion of New Zealand New Zealand
Norway Norway
Commonwealth of the Philippines Philippines
Poland Poland
Republic of China (1912–1949) Republic of China
Union of South Africa South Africa
Soviet Union Soviet Union
United Kingdom United Kingdom
United States United States
Kingdom of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia

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The Axis
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
 Independent State of Croatia
Empire of Japan Japan
Finland Finland
 Vichy France
Kingdom of Hungary (1920–1946) Hungary
Kingdom of Italy Italy
Nazi Germany Germany
Kingdom of Romania Romania
Thailand Thailand
 Slovakia

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Things you can do

From the World War II task force of the Military history WikiProject:

Attention needed
...to referencing and citation  • ...to coverage and accuracy  • ...to structure  • ...to grammar  • ...to supporting materials 
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Cleanup needed
Battle of Kiev (1943)Battle of Ko ChangColditz CastleSpiritual national defenceTuskegee Airmen
Requested articles
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Liberation of Denmark (currently redirect) • Operation Vado (currently redirect) • • • • • • • • • • • • • Operation Vesuvius (currently redirect) • Capture of Kassala (currently redirect) • • • • • • The Holocaust in the Netherlands (current redirect) • German occupation of the Netherlands (current redirect) • • • •  [fr]
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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 Holocaustmore
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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)
Merging needed
Citations needed
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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