World War 2
World war 2 is also called ‘Global War’ or ‘Total War’. It is called Total War because it was not the normal war in which the force of two or more nations fights with each other but this war includes bombarding on the civilians also. Every person in the fighting country was indirectly a part of the war. Before this war, civilians were never targeted and the only fight occurs between the forces of the countries. Asia, Europe, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Africa, war occurred at every place was the battleground, this is why it is also referred to as the Global War.
World War 2 started on 1st September 1939 but some historians believe that the Sino-Japanese War of 1937 was the starting of World War 2. This war was between China and Japan that later become part of the Second World War and the Sino-Japanese war went on until August 1945.
It is said that around 60 to 80 million people died, out of which 50 million were civilians and approximately 25 million were soldiers. It is the deadliest conflict in human history.
Countries involved in World War 2
The war was between allies and axis powers. The allied countries include France, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the USSR, China, Poland, Greece, and Yugoslavia. Whereas the Axis powers were Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Causes of World War 2
1. Rise of Militarism in Japan: From the 19th century onwards, the military power in Japan was increasing enormously and they were capturing the nearby islands and places by attacking them with the help of their army.
2. The unjust treaty of Versailles (1919): This treaty was signed after the First World War and it was considered unjust because the whole blame of the war goes on Germany alone and France misused this thing and made Germany look bad in the eyes of the whole world between the time of first and second war.
3. Imperialism: The old imperial power like France and the United Kingdom were jealous of new imperials like Japan and Germany as they have started increasing their colonies now. So, there was a competition between new and old imperials for resources. Power, minerals, oils.
4. Rise of Nationalism and Dictatorship in Japan, Italy, and Germany: Due to the increase in dictatorship and nationalism in these countries, they started feeling like they can do anything by attacking others and via war, they can do what they want and defeat whom they want.
5. Failure of League of Nations: This was made by the Treaty of Versailles after the First World War and its main objective was to prevent or stop any kind of World War situation in the future. Manchuria and Ethiopia are examples of the failure of the League of Nations.
6. Irrational Boundaries drawn after World War 1: Many new countries were made after the first war and their boundaries were drawn artificially which means there was no consideration done that people with the same language, ethnicity, and ideology came together. As a result, many Germans were now part of a new country named Poland, many Germans were now part of Czechoslovakia but they were still German from inside.
Rise of Hitler and NSDAP
1. Hitler and his party (National Socialist German Workers Party, commonly known as Nazi Party) were the most important reason behind all this. The ideology of this party was Anti-Semitic or Anti-Jews. They were also strict opposers of Marxist and Communalism, they believed that ARYAN RACE is the superior race and all other people other than Aryan Race must be either thrown out of Germany or should be killed.
2. Hitler became the chancellor (a position equivalent to Prime Minister) in January 1933. Although his party didn’t get the complete majority still they were called up to form a government because of the highest vote percentage among all the political parties.
3. As soon as Hitler came into power, he carried out re-arming of the German army and air force. According to the treaty of Versailles, Germany was not allowed to have an army or air force. A rule came into force that all the Jews have to make a symbol of the Star of David on their hand so that they can be recognized as Jews. The civil liberties of Jew people were also suspended by Hitler.
4. Democracy was demolished and Hitler became the dictator. “Restoring the glory of Fatherland” was the principle or motive of Hitler.
War Breaks Out 1939
1. On 1st September 1939, Germany attacked Poland and World War 2 gets started. As soon as Germany attacked Poland, France and England declare war against Germany. At the same time, USSR attacked Poland from the East (as they promised Germany in a secret talk). After that, Poland was divided into two parts, one part goes to USSR and another one to Germany.
War Breaks Out 1940
1. Germany had already planned to attack France and England using a new tactic named ‘Blitzkrieg’. Using this tactic, firstly Germany attacked Denmark and Norway and won both. In blitzkrieg, the army movement was very fast and the use of artilleries was done and also bombs were dropped in the moving direction of the army so that the opposition can not defend well from the German Army. Belgium and Netherlands also fall to Blitzkrieg of Germany.
2. On the other hand, USSR attacked the Baltic states and Finland resulting in the win of the USSR. At the same time, Italy also joined in and invades France in June. Germany attacked France on 10th June 1940 and won Paris on 14th June. It means that it took only 4 days to win France.
3. All this happened so fast that the fear of Hitler settled down in the whole world and everyone believed that the German army has become very powerful under Hitler as they were continuously winning one country after another.
4. As soon as France got defeated, the Battle of Britain started, in which the air force of Germany (Luftwaffe) started bombarding London. Many civilians died in this bombarding and this campaign is also known as “The Blitz”. It was the world’s first fight that was fought only in the sky using fighter jets, no ground involvement of forces was there. It is said to be the first aerial battle in the world.
5. Germany signed a pact with Japan, Germany, and Italy named “The Tripartite Pact” and it is where the Axis Powers started officially. Later Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania also joined them. According to this Pact, an attack on any of these is considered to be the attack on all of them and then they all attack the opposition together.
War Breaks Out 1941
1. British forces from Egypt push back Italians in Libya but German reinforcements arrive and send the British back to Egypt. After that, Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece and now almost the whole of Europe was under Germany and Hitler.
2. In June 1941, USSR was attacked by the Axis Powers and this operation was named “Barbarossa”. This operation is believed to be the biggest operation in the world as that amount of army was never deployed at one time in history. Hitler broke the agreement with USSR as he thought that they will get living space in the USSR for the harvesting and cultivation of crops for Nazi Germany. As soon as the winter set in USSR, the German army bogged down.
3. In the Pacific Ocean, “The Pearl Harbour Attack” took place and Japan attacked multiple locations of the USA and UK (including Hawaii, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines) on 8th December 1941. Hence the USA decided to join the war with the Allied Powers.
1942 (Entry of USA)
1. As soon as the USA enter the war, they fought with Japan for the next two years in the Pacific Ocean throughout the islands and won almost all of them till 1944. Japan’s main losses were at the battle of Midway and the battle of Guadalcanal because a huge number of Japanese soldiers died in these two battles.
2. Heavy loss of life and war crimes on the eastern front and Russians started to push back Germans. The main loss in this battle was that around 10 million civilians died in it.
3. The Siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and Battle of Stalingrad (Volgograd) were very dangerous because the German army covered the whole cities and many people died just because of starvation.
1. The Soviet army was slowly leading forward in Eastern Germany and Europe and taking away the countries from Germans one by one. On the other hand, allied armies were fighting in Northern Italy and slow progress was there because of strong resistance from Germany.
2. Allied navy was now very close to Japan.
3. Japanese army attacked in Assam through Burma and the Battle of Imphal and Kohima took place in which Subhash Chandra Bose and INA were on the lead.
4. Now finally after 4 years, Hitler’s army started losing the battles one after another.
5. June 6th, 1944 is called “D-Day” because the allied forces landed in France and also won it from Germany. It was the most amphibious landing till today.
1. When allied armies took over Berlin, the German army surrendered on 29th April 1945, and on 30th April, Hitler committed suicide in his bunker along with his wife. And Germany officially lost, this is because 30th April is also called “Victory in Europe Day”.
2. Burma, Indonesia, and the Philippines were also retaken by the allied forces.
3. Till now only Japan was left. To win Japan, two nuclear bombs were used. One bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on 6th August and the other was dropped on Nagasaki on 9th August 1945. The bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima was named “The Little Boy” and that on Nagasaki was named “Fat Man”.
4. Finally, Japan surrendered on 15th August 1945 and World War 2 ended.