World War II

27.03.2015 |

Episode #1 of the course “Biggest wars in history”


Date: 1 September 1939 – 2 September 1945

Location: Worldwide

Estimated casualties: 60,000,000 – 85,000,000

World War II (WWII) was the most widespread and bloodiest war in history. It involved more than 30 countries and left more than 50 million people dead, including both civilian and military casualties. It began with Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939 and lasted for about six years.

The most active countries were known as the Axis powers and the Allies. The Axis powers included Germany, Japan, and Italy. The Allies included France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States. China was also an Allied power, but they were not nearly as involved as the others. The war extended the Soviet Union’s power in Europe, aiding the communist movement. After the war, there was a massive power shift away from western European countries and to the United States and the Soviet Union.

WWII began when Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland on August 31, 1939, and an attack was launched the following day. As a result, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany just days later, marking the beginning of WWII. The Germans proved to be a formidable fighting force despite the strength of the Allied forces, particularly because the Germans had a large comparable number of weapons at the beginning of the war. WWII was also the first real conflict where combat air force was used, which increased the overall number of causalities.

Other than the military causalities, this war is also well-known for Adolf Hitler’s killing and torture of roughly 6 million Jews, which he called the “Final Solution.” Today, it is commonly known as the Holocaust.

Heavy German losses caused Adolf Hitler to take his own life on April 30, 1945. The war ended with America’s order for two atomic bomb drops on Japan in August 1945. Japan formally surrendered just days later.


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