World War II (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Democracy and communism vs. fascism; German or Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe; Japanese or American dominance in the Pacific. Result: Germany lost territory and was occupied and partitioned; the Soviet Union replaced Germany as the dominant power in Eastern Europe; Japan lost territory and was occupied.
World War II was the largest, most destructive, and most widespread war in history. During the conflict, more than 50 million people died and hundreds of millions were wounded, physically and psychologically. The war, fought on land, sea, and air, was the epic struggle of the twentieth century and was central to the whole century. It was caused in large part by the unresolved issues of World War I (1914-1918), and its aftermath became the Cold War (1945-1991).
Two coalitions of nations, the Axis and the Allies, fought the war. The Axis states were fascist and militaristic. Fascism was an extreme form of racist nationalism under the leadership of dictators who claimed to express the collective will of their peoples. The major powers of the Axis side were Germany, Italy, and Japan. The major Allied powers were Britain, France, the United States, and the Soviet Union (three democratic states and one communist state, respectively). Some nations switched allegiances during the war. Italy changed sides in 1943. After 1940, France had forces on both sides, the Free French...
(The entire section is 3049 words.)
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World War II (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
World War II began in 1939 as a conflict between Germany and the combined forces of France and Great Britain and eventually included most of the nations of the world before it ended in August 1945. It caused the greatest loss of life and material destruction of any war in history, killing 25 million military personnel and 30 million civilians. By the end of the war, the United States had become the most powerful nation in the world, the possessor and user of atomic weapons. The war also increased the power of the Soviet Union, which gained control of Eastern Europe and part of Germany.
World War II was caused in large part by the rise of totalitarian regimes in Germany and Italy and by the domination of the military in Japan. In Germany, ADOLF HITLER, head of the National Socialist or Nazi party, became chancellor in 1933. Within a short time, he had assumed dictatorial rule. Hitler broke the Versailles Treaty, which had ended WORLD WAR I and disarmed Germany, and proceeded with a massive buildup of the German armed forces. Hitler believed that the German people were a master race that needed more territory. His first aim was to reunite all Germans living under foreign governments. In 1936 he reclaimed the Rhineland from French control and in 1938 annexed Austria to Germany. That same year he took over the German areas of Czechoslovakia and in 1939 annexed all of that country.
(The entire section is 1534 words.)