The World War II Portal
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.
The Invasion of Poland
, 1939, which precipitated World War II, was carried out by Nazi Germany
, the Soviet Union
and a small German-allied Slovak
contingent.The invasion of Poland marked the start of World War II in Europe
, as Poland's western allies, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, declared war
on Germany on September 3, soon followed by France, South Africa and Canada, among others
. The invasion began on September 1, 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
, and ended October 6, 1939, with Germany and the Soviet Union occupying the entirety of Poland. Although the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany soon after Germany attacked Poland, very little direct military aid was provided (see Phoney War
and Western betrayal
). Following a German-staged "Polish attack"
on August 31, 1939, on September 1, German forces invaded Poland from the north, south, and west. Spread thin defending their long borders, the Polish armies were soon forced to withdraw eastward.
The Iowa-class battleships
were a class
of six fast battleships
ordered by the United States Navy
in 1939 and 1940 to escort the Fast Carrier Task Forces
that would operate in the Pacific Theater
of World War II. Four were completed in the early to mid-1940s; two more were laid down, but they were canceled prior to completion and eventually scrapped. The ships served in every major U.S. war of the mid and latter half of the 20th century. In World War II, they defended aircraft carriers and shelled Japanese positions before being placed in reserve at the end of the war. Recalled for action during the Korean War
, the battleships provided artillery support for UN
forces fighting against North Korea
. In 1968, New Jersey
was recalled for action in the Vietnam War
and shelled Communist
targets near the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone
. All four were reactivated and armed with missiles during the 1980s as part of the 600-ship Navy
. In 1991, Missouri
fired missiles and 16-inch (406 mm) guns at Iraqi
targets during the Gulf War
. All four battleships were decommissioned in the early 1990s as the Cold War
drew to a close, and were initially removed from the Naval Vessel Register
; however, at the insistence of the United States Congress
, two were reinstated to the Naval Vessel Register for maintenance in the mothball fleet
in 1995. These last two battleships were removed from the Naval Vessel Register in 2006.
Paul Nobuo Tatsuguchi ( , Tatsuguchi Nobuo)
, sometimes mistakenly referred to as Nebu Tatsuguchi
(August 31, 1911 - May 30, 1943), was a surgeon
in the Imperial Japanese Army
(IJA) during World War II
. He was killed during the Battle of Attu
on Attu Island
on May 30, 1943. A devout Seventh-day Adventist
, Tatsuguchi studied medicine and was licensed as a physician
in the United States (US). He returned to his native Japan
to practice medicine at the Tokyo
, where he received further medical training. In 1941, he was ordered to cease his medical practice and conscripted into the IJA as an acting medical officer. In late 1942 or early 1943, Tatsuguchi was sent to Attu, which had been occupied by Japanese forces in October 1942. The United States Army
landed on the island on May 11, 1943 intending to retake the island from the Japanese. Throughout the resulting battle, Tatsuguchi kept a diary in which he recorded the events of the battle and his struggle to care for the wounded in his field hospital.
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