Started by Bucky, 23-01-2011
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QuoteWorld War II, or the Second World War (often abbreviated as WWII or WW2), was a global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945 which involved most of the world's nations, including all of the great powers, organised into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million military personnel mobilised. In a state of "total war," the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant action against civilians, including the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, it was the deadliest conflict in human history, that resulted in fifty million to over seventy million fatalities.The war is generally accepted to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and most of the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth. Germany set out to establish a large German empire in Europe. During 1939 — early 1941 in a series of successful military campaigns and political treaties Germany conquered or politically subdued most of continental Europe apart from the USSR. Britain and the Commonwealth remained the only major force continuing the fight against the Axis in the Mediterranean and in extensive naval warfare. In June 1941, the European Axis launched an invasion of the USSR, giving a start to the largest land theatre of war in history, which, from this moment on was tying down the major part of the Axis military power. In December 1941, Japan, which had already been at war with China since 1937, and which aimed to establish a dominance over East Asia and South East Asia, attacked the US and European possessions in the Pacific, quickly conquering a significant part of the region.The Axis advance was stopped in 1942 after the defeat of Japan in a series of naval battles and after devastating defeats of European Axis troops in the Mediterranean and at Stalingrad. In 1943, with a series of German defeats in Eastern Europe, the Allied invasion of Italy and American victories in the Pacific the Axis had lost strategic initiative and passed to strategic retreat on all fronts.In 1944 the Western Allies invaded France, whereas the Soviet Union regained all territorial losses and invaded the territory of Germany and its allies.
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