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Portal:World War II
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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.
In late May and early June 1942, during World War II, submarines belonging to the Imperial Japanese Navy made a series of attacks on the cities of Sydney and Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. On the night of 31 May–1 June, three Ko-hyoteki classmidget submarines, each with a two-member crew, entered Sydney Harbour to sink Allied warships. After being detected and attacked, the crews of two of the midget submarines scuttled their boats and committed suicide without engaging Allied vessels. The third attempted to torpedo the heavy cruiserUSS Chicago but instead sank the converted ferry HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 sailors. This midget submarine then disappeared, its fate remaining a mystery until in 2006 amateur scuba divers discovered its wreck off Sydney's northern beaches.Immediately following the raid the five Japanese fleet submarines that carried the midgets to Australia embarked on a campaign to disrupt merchant shipping in eastern Australian waters. Over the next month the submarines attacked at least seven merchant vessels, sinking three. As part of this campaign two of the submarines bombarded the ports of Sydney and Newcastle, during the early morning of 8 June.
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 and Wisconsin 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.
Image 21Jews from Carpathian Ruthenia on the selection ramp at Auschwitz II, c. May 1944. Women and children are lined up on one side, men on the other, waiting for the SS to determine who was fit for work. About 20 percent at Auschwitz were selected for work and the rest gassed. (from The Holocaust)
Image 23Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 which directly led to the Anglo-French declaration of war on Germany on 3 September. The Soviet Union joined Germany's invasion of Poland on 17 September. (from Causes of World War II)
Image 27Italian Social Republic (RSI) as of 1943 in yellow and green. The green areas were German military operational zones under direct German administration. (from Diplomatic history of World War II)
Image 66British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and Hitler at a meeting in Germany on 24 September 1938, and Hitler demanded the immediate annexation of Czechoslovak border areas. (from Causes of World War II)
Image 671935 poster of the puppet state of Manchukuo promoting harmony among peoples. The caption reads: "With the help of Japan, China, and Manchukuo, the world can be in peace." (from Diplomatic history of World War II)
Otto Moritz Walther Model was a Germangeneral and later field marshal during World War II. He is noted for his defensive battles in the latter half of the war, mostly on the Eastern Front but also in the west, and for his close association with Adolf Hitler and Nazism. He has been called the Wehrmacht's best defensive tactician. Although he was a hard-driving, aggressive panzer commander early in the war, Model became best known as a practitioner of attrition warfare--his associate, General Erhard Raus, called it "zone defence".It emphasised strong fortifications, a reluctance to give ground (although not an absolute refusal to withdraw), and the importance of not allowing major enemy breakthroughs. This approach brought him much success, but his death in 1945 meant he would later be overshadowed by his rivals who advocated manoeuvre warfare.Model first came to Hitler's attention before World War II, but their relationship did not become especially close until 1942.
"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."