Portal:World War II
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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 map outlining the Japanese and U.S. (but not other Allied) ground forces scheduled to take part in the battle for Japan. Two landings were planned: (1) Olympic -- the invasion of the southern island, Ky?sh?, (2) Coronet -- the invasion of the main island, Honsh?.
Operation Downfall was the overall Allied plan for the invasion of Japan near the end of World War II. The operation was cancelled when Japan surrendered following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan.Operation Downfall consisted of two parts--Operation Olympic and Operation Coronet. Set to begin in October 1945, Operation Olympic was intended to capture the southern third of the southernmost main Japanese island of Ky?sh?, with the recently captured island of Okinawa to be used as a staging area. Later, in the spring of 1946, Operation Coronet was the planned invasion of the Kant? plain near Tokyo on the Japanese island of Honsh?. Airbases on Ky?sh? captured in Operation Olympic would allow land-based air support for Operation Coronet. Japan's geography made this invasion plan obvious to the Japanese as well; they were able to accurately deduce the Allied invasion plans and adjust their defensive plans accordingly. The Japanese planned an all-out defense of Ky?sh?, with little left in reserve for any subsequent defense operations.


Selected equipment

Verdeja
The Verdeja was a series of light tanks developed in Spain between 1938 and 1954 in an attempt to replace German Panzer I and Soviet T-26 tanks in Spanish service. The program was headed by Captain Félix Verdeja Bardales and led to the development of four prototype vehicles, including a self-propelled howitzer armed with a 75 mm gun. It was designed as an advanced light tank and was one of the first development programs which took into account survivability of the crew as opposed to the protection of the tank. The tank was influenced by several of the light tanks which it was intended to replace, including the Panzer I and T-26, both of which were originally used during the Spanish Civil War. The Verdeja was considered a superior tank to the T-26 after a lengthy testing period, yet was never put into mass production.Three light tank prototypes were manufactured between 1938 and 1942, including the Verdeja 1 and the Verdeja 2. Interest in the vehicle's development waned after the end of the Second World War. Despite attempts to fit a new engine in the Verdeja 2 and convert the Verdeja 1 into a self-propelled artillery piece, ultimately the program was unofficially canceled in favor of adopting the US M47 Patton Tank in 1954.


Selected battle

American soldiers of the 75th Division photographed in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge.
The Ardennes Offensive (16 December 1944 - 25 January 1945) was a major German offensive on the Western Front and was launched towards the end of World War II. It was also Adolf Hitler's last offensive in the war. This offensive was called Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein (Operation The Guard on the Rhine) by the German armed forces (Wehrmacht). It was officially named the Battle of the Ardennes by the U.S. Army, but it is known to the general public simply as the Battle of the Bulge. The "bulge" was the initial incursion the Germans put into the Allies' line of advance, as seen in maps presented in contemporary newspapers.The offensive was launched in the Ardennes. The German offensive was supported by subordinate operations known as Unternehmen Bodenplatte, Unternehmen Greif, and Unternehmen Währung. Germany's planned goal for these operations was to split the British and American Allied line in half, capturing Antwerp, Belgium, and then proceeding to encircle and destroy four Allied armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis Powers' favor.


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Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI
Credit: Chowells
A Supermarine Spitfire Mark XVI. The Spitfire was an iconic British single-seat fighter used by the RAF and many Allied countries in the Second World War. The Spitfire saw service during the whole of WWII in all theatres of war, and in many different variants. It is often credited with winning the Battle of Britain.

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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"This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note, stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany."
Neville Chamberlain, 3 September 1939

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From the World War II task force of the Military history WikiProject:

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Battle of Kiev (1943)Battle of Ko ChangColditz CastleSpiritual national defenceTuskegee Airmen
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Battle of Uhtua-KiestinkiBattles of Repola-RukajärviBattle of SiiranmäkiBattle of ?uckBattle of RówneBattle of W?odzimierz Wo?y?skiBattle of LubartówBattle of MiednikiBattle of Jod?aFrancis BlanchainShinshou DraengerChrister Lyst HansenOve 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 OinonenOperation Vesuvius (currently redirect) • Capture of Kassala (currently redirect) • Liberation of LilleBattle of PankowBrandenburg-Rathenow OffensiveJapanese internment of European civilians during World War IIMiranda de Ebro concentration campThe Holocaust in the Netherlands (current redirect) • German occupation of the Netherlands (current redirect) • Axis occupation of MonacoSS Volunteer Sturmbrigade FranceSoviet home front during World War IILabour Charter (Vichy France)
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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 CooneyThe Holocaust in FranceKnowledge of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany and German-occupied EuropeFrancoist Spain and the Holocaustmore
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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)
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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 OperationMoravia-Ostrava OffensivePanzerjäger
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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 Bouno-Misaki [ja]

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