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.

Featured article

A Japanese Ko-hyoteki class midget submarine, believed to be Midget No. 14, is raised from Sydney Harbour
In late May and early June 1942, during World War II, submarines belonging to the Imperial Japanese Navy made a series of attacks on the cities of Sydney and Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. On the night of 31 May1 June, three Ko-hyoteki class midget submarines, each with a two-member crew, entered Sydney Harbour to sink Allied warships. After being detected and attacked, the crews of two of the midget submarines scuttled their boats and committed suicide without engaging Allied vessels. The third attempted to torpedo the heavy cruiser USS Chicago but instead sank the converted ferry HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 sailors. This midget submarine then disappeared, its fate remaining a mystery until in 2006 amateur scuba divers discovered its wreck off Sydney's northern beaches.Immediately following the raid the five Japanese fleet submarines that carried the midgets to Australia embarked on a campaign to disrupt merchant shipping in eastern Australian waters. Over the next month the submarines attacked at least seven merchant vessels, sinking three. As part of this campaign two of the submarines bombarded the ports of Sydney and Newcastle, during the early morning of 8 June.


Selected equipment

HMS Royal Oak in 1937
His Majesty's Ship Royal Oak (pennant number 08) was a Revenge-class battleship of the British Royal Navy, torpedoed in Scapa Flow by the German submarine U-47 on 14 October 1939. Launched in 1914 and completed in 1916, Royal Oak first saw action at the Battle of Jutland. In peacetime, she served in the Atlantic, Home and Mediterranean fleets, coming under accidental attack on more than one occasion. The ship became the centre of worldwide attention in 1928 when her senior officers were controversially court-martialled. During a twenty-five year career, attempts to modernise Royal Oak could not address her fundamental lack of speed, and by the start of the Second World War, she was no longer suited to front-line duty.Royal Oak was anchored at Scapa Flow in Orkney, Scotland when she became the first of the five Royal Navy battleships and battlecruisers sunk in the Second World War. The loss of life was heavy: of Royal Oak complement of 1,234 men, 833 were killed that night or died later of their wounds.


Selected battle

The second Battle of Smolensk (7 August 1943 – 2 October 1943) was a Soviet strategic offensive operation conducted by the Red Army as part of the Summer-Autumn Campaign of 1943 in the Western USSR. Staged almost simultaneously with the Battle of the Dnieper (13 August22 September), the offensive lasted two months and was led by Generals Andrei Yeremenko commanding the Kalinin Front and Vasily Sokolovsky commanding the Western Front. Its goal was to clear the Nazi Germany presence from the Smolensk and Bryansk regions. Smolensk had been under German occupation since the first Battle of Smolensk in 1941.Despite an impressive German defense, the Red Army was able to stage several breakthroughs, liberating several major cities including Smolensk and Roslavl. As a result of this operation the Red Army was able to start planning for the liberation of Belorussia. However, the overall advance was quite modest and slow in the face of heavy German resistance, and the operation was therefore accomplished in three stages: August 7–20, August 21–September 6, and September 7–October 2.


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Selected picture

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".

Selected biography

Otto Becher DUKJ3812.JPG
Rear Admiral Otto Humphrey Becher CBE, DSO, DSC & Bar (13 September 1908 – 15 June 1977) was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy. Born in Harvey, Western Australia, Becher entered the Royal Australian Naval College in 1922. After graduating in 1926, he was posted to a series of staff and training positions prior to specialising in gunnery. A lieutenant commander at the outbreak of the Second World War, Becher assisted in the extraction of Allied troops from the Namsos region of Norway while aboard the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire, and was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross. Following service in the Mediterranean theatre, he returned to Australia in 1942 as officer-in-charge of the gunnery school at HMAS Cerberus. He spent two years at Cerberus before being given command of the Q class destroyer HMAS Quickmatch in March 1944. While commanding the Quickmatch in operations against Japanese forces in the Pacific, Becher earned a Bar to his Distinguished Service Cross.


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Selected quote

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 8 December 1941

Topics

World War II
Theatres Main events Specific articles Participants

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

more...

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

more...

The Axis
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
 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

more...


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 
Popular pages
Full list
Cleanup needed
Battle of Kiev (1943)Battle of Ko ChangColditz CastleSpiritual national defenceTuskegee Airmen
Requested articles
Battle of Uhtua-KiestinkiBattles of Repola-RukajärviBattle of SiiranmäkiBattle of ŁuckBattle of RówneBattle of Włodzimierz WołyńskiBattle of LubartówBattle of MiednikiBattle of JodłaFrancis BlanchainShinshou DraengerChrister Lyst HansenHolocaust slave labor litigation (draft) • Ove 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 OinonenSiege of Tobruk (June 1942)Turning point of World War IIOperation Vesuvius (currently redirect) • Capture of Kassala (currently redirect) • Liberation of LilleBattle of PankowBrandenberg–Rathenow Offensive
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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 Cooneymore
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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
Add an article here!
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 Operation
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Tobrouk (WWII) [pt]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]Battle of Würzburg (1945) [de]Battle of Bouno-Misaki [ja]

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