All themes
World War II
The Lead Up to the War
The Beginning of WWII
Pearl Harbor
US Involvement in WWII
Segregation in the Armed Forces
Port Chicago: A Case of Racism in the War Effort?
The Use of Terror as a Weapon
Civilian Victims
The Japanese American Internment Camps
The End of the War
Printable version
The Second World War

The First World War ended in 1918. More than 9 million soldiers had died on the battlefields of Europe, including 110,000 Americans. The world viewed this war as the "the war to end all wars." Peace did not last long. The German army’s invasion of Poland in Sept 1, 1939 plunged Europe into a major war once again. Country after country was occupied by the German army in the course of only 2 years. The war became a true World War in 1941 when Germany attacked Russia, and Japan bombed the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.

There were basically two groups of countries which fought against each other in the Second World War. On one side were Germany, Italy and Japan, and on the other side the Allies, including the United States, Russia, Great Britain and France. Germany started the war and its army occupied many European countries. The Japanese army occupied several countries in Asia. The main aim of the Allies was to liberate these countries.

Millions of victims

By the time the Second World War ended, in 1945, the largest and deadliest continuous war in human history had been fought. The exact number of victims is unknown, but estimates range from a minimum of 40 million to a maximum of 55 million men, women and children.This is more than 3% of the entire world population at that time. More than 20 million people in the Soviet Union perished and some 6 million Jews died in what has become known as the Holocaust or SHOAH, the attempted genocide of European Jews.

Anne Frank Guide
This day in history
Today: 11 December 2018
Then: 11 December 1941

Germany and Italy declare war on the United States; the U.S. respond in kind.

View the timeline