Let You Know History Of World War II: It is the largest armed conflict that humanity has known.
A deadly war that involved tens of millions of fighters around the world.
Let’s retrace on a map, a summary of the main events of World War II.
At the end of World War I, Germany and its allies are defeated and held solely responsible for the war.
With heavy sanctions imposed upon them, the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires are dismantled, while Germany has to repay what many consider an unreasonable debt.
Its colonies and some of its territories are ceded to the victors, and to Poland which is recreated.
These sanctions are seen as humiliation by the German people.
The German economy is weakened by excessive debt and suffers hyperinflation.
National mints try to address this by printing banknotes, causing a devaluation of its currency.
Between 1914 and November 1923, the value of the mark grew by 1,000 billion.
The following year, radical measures are taken to halt inflation and stabilize and revive the economy.
But in 1929 the Wall Street crash in New York causes the worst economic crisis of the 20th century.
Its impact is felt worldwide, with Germany not spared either, causing the unemployment rate to explode.
Severely weakened, Germany sees a rise of nationalism in 1933 that allows the rise to power of the Nazi party with Adolf Hitler at its helm.
Despite the strict conditions imposed upon Germany after WWI, the new totalitarian regime resets the country and restores military service.
The country also begins an aggressive foreign policy with the dream of uniting all German-speaking people.
Italy, despite its victory with the Allies, is frustrated by the amount of territory it gained after WWI.
Since 1922, the country is ruled by the dictatorial fascist party of Benito Mussolini.
Italy begins a colonial policy by seizing Ethiopia and prepares an invasion of Albania.
In Spain, begins three years of a civil war opposing the Republican government who’s supported by the USSR and the International Brigades, and the nationalist camp led by Francisco Franco and aided by Italy and Germany.
The two countries took the opportunity to test their armies and to get closer diplomatically.
In Asia, Japan continues its expansionist policy.
The country takes advantage of the civil war in China to invade new territories.
The Japanese army uses chemical and biological weapons and commits massacres of populations, Germany is now powerful enough to launch its territorial expansion.
It first annexed Austria with support from the local Nazi party.
Next, the west of Czechoslovakia was invaded.
The Slovak Republic becomes a German satellite state while Hungary grows closer diplomatically.
After the occupation of a part of Lithuania, Germany signs with the USSR a non-aggression pact and a plan to carve up Europe.
It then attacks Poland, which provokes the United Kingdom and France to declare war,marking the beginning of World War II.
Although the German forces are concentrated in the East, the Allied troops do not take initiative in the West.
Instead, France and the United Kingdom try to cut the strategic iron ore route that passes through Norway and supplies the German military industry.
Germany reacts by invading Denmark and Norway.
Within days, the country captures Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
Hitler’s new military strategy is called Blitzkrieg, which surprises opposition defenses with rapid, high-intensity attacks in a concentrated area.
British forces retreat in the face of this German military prowess, and the German army bears down on Paris.
The French army is defeated and an armistice is signed.
Germany occupies the north and west of France, leaving its other territory and colonies under the control of the new government.
Germany thus has indirect control of French colonies without having to send an army there.
However, parts of the French colonies and the Belgian Congo chooses to stay in the camp of the Allies.
In London, which already hosts several governments in exile, General Charles de Gaulle creates Free France which continues to fight Nazi Germany.
Brazzaville is named as its capital.
Pursuant to agreements signed with Germany,the Soviet Union seizes the Baltic states and a part of Romania.
Germany, Italy, and Japan combined to form the Axis Powers.
All dominions and British colonies, with the exception of Ireland, enter the war.
In Africa, fighting begins between Italian colonies and Allied forces.
While in Europe, despite the massive aerial bombing of British cities, Germany fails to take over the country.
Hitler then changes his plans: he now wants to invade the USSR.
But the plan is delayed by Italy, that fails to invade Greece and is forced to retreat by Allied forces.
After the accession of Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria to the Axis forces, the German armies head south to invade Yugoslavia and Greece.
Everywhere in Europe, the resistance is organized in different forms.
Sometimes, people organize strikes, demonstrations, or protect wanted persons.
Some groups spy for the Allies, conduct sabotage, or print resistance newspapers.
In Eastern Europe, guerilla forces undermine the Axis armies.
In Yugoslavia and Greece, resistant communists and royalist groups confront each other.
Germany isn’t spared the anti-Nazi resistance, with some attempts to assassinate Hitler which fail.
On June 22, Axis forces launched – on some counts – the largest military operation in history to attack USSR,which now passes de facto into the camp of Allied forces.
The bulk of the German troops, well equipped and motorized, rush to the east.
To support the Soviets, Allies occupy Iran which then opens up a supply route through the Caucasus.
German armies arrive in Leningrad and begin a siege of the city that would last 872 days and cause more than 1 million civilian deaths.
Further south, German troops were stopped at the gates of Moscow, where they suffer a harsh and deadly winter.
Behind the front lines, the SS massacre Slavic and Jewish populations.
In Asia, Japan occupies French Indochina.
To counter its expansionist policy, the United States imposes upon it an embargo on oil and steel.
In response, the Japanese conduct a surprise attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor.
A massive aerial bombing damages a large part of the US naval fleet.
The United States enters the war on the Allied side.
At first, they concentrate their forces on the Pacific front.
The country also provides supplies to the USSR, which continues resisting the German advance.
Japan, for its part, conquers new territories in the Pacific.
In addition to the massacres, Japan sends 10 million Chinese civilians into forced labor camps.
In Indonesia, millions of prisoners suffer the same fate on the island of Java.
In Burma and Thailand, Allied prisoners are exhausted in the construction of a railway line.
Moreover, hundreds of thousands of women are forcibly recruited into prostitution for the Japanese army.
In Europe, concentration and extermination camps are built to the massacre, among others, Jews, resistance fighters, political opponents, gypsies, homosexuals, and people with disabilities.
Fearing a second front in Europe, Hitler built the Atlantic Wall, a series of military installations protecting the coast from invasion.
But the Allies first landed in Morocco and Algeria.
Italian Libya finds itself caught between two fronts.
Having lost control of its colonies, Vichy France is invaded.
In the East, Axis forces try to cut the supply route of the Caucasus.
But for the first time, the German offensive undergoes a major military setback.
The Soviets take the initiative and counterattack.
Africa is now entirely controlled by Allies who organize a landing in Sicily.
The new Italian government requests an armistice, causing the Germans to invade.
The USSR advances rapidly westward, forcing the German army to concentrate on that front.
On June 6, 1944, the Allies land in Normandy.
Their armies quickly take over and liberate Paris.
In the West, as in the East, countries are liberated or switch camps.
With victory in sight, Allied powers announce the creation of the United Nations.
Countries that declared war on Germany and Japan would be admitted at its founding conference.
This triggers a wave of declarations of war but without major consequence.
On April 30, Hitler commits suicide in his bunker just before the arrival of the Soviets.
Eight days later, the country surrenders.
The United States and USSR join forces to overcome the Empire of Japan.
The Soviets began a military invasion via Manchuria while the US drops two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
On August 15, Japan surrenders, marking the end of World War II.
After 6 years of war, the human toll is heavy with at least 60 million dead, mostly civilians.
Many cities are completely destroyed.
Europe and the USSR subject millions of German prisoners of war to bonded labour,many of whom would die.
Germany and Austria are carved up among the victors.
The old guard of European powers is left exhausted and ruined by the war.
The United States and USSR emerge as the remaining global superpowers.
Despite the role of the UN, which aims to maintain peace and international security, both sides would eventually engage in indirect
confrontations around the world.
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