Second World War


In 1939, World War II began. This conflict was the most destructive in terms of damage and devastation.

Causes of the Second World War

The primary reasons of World War II are as stated below.

Dissatisfaction with the Versailles Treaty

The stipulations of the Treaty of Versailles were unpopular in Germany and Italy. Germany was subjected to a number of tight limitations. It had a sizable war indemnity, and France had taken control of its mineral-rich Saar and Rhineland regions. The entire German colony in Asia and Africa was taken by force. Her ability to wage war was likewise diminished. The development of militant nationalism was influenced by all these critical reasons.

Fascism and Nazism's Ascendance

Italian fascism grew, and Nazism swept throughout Germany. Both despised democracy and held the idea of a totalitarian state. Germany intended to restore Germany's international standing, whereas Italy under Mussolini sought to restore the lost majesty of the old Roman Empire. Warfighting was the only way to do this. Thus, the Second World War was inescapable.

Policy of Appeasement

The appeasement strategy involves ignoring the aggression of other nations. To accept hostile demands from an aggressive nation in order to achieve peace Because they believed that the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles were extremely harsh for Germany and Italy, Britain and France adopted the policy of appeasement towards those two countries. Additionally, France and Britain wished to stop the spread of communism. They worried that Germany may turn into a stronghold of communism. As a result, when Germany armed the Rhineland and occupied Austria and Czechoslovakia, they did nothing.

The Japanese Invasion

The expansionist agenda of the Japanese government was being implemented. Despite the League's objections, it conquered Manchuria and displayed hostility in other regions of China. When China requested assistance from the League, nothing happened. Japan joined the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis in order to increase its influence in the area. Additionally, it took control of American and British territory in China. Since the western countries believed that Japanese aggression would further weaken China, they adopted an appeasement strategy.

Failure of The League of Nations

  • After the First World War, the League of Nations was established to stop further conflicts. The League's strong members adopted an appeasement strategy and showed no interest in upholding the idea of shared responsibility after the United States declined to join.

  • Discontent was brought on by the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles in Germany and Italy. When Poland acquired a portion of Lithuania in 1920, Japan seized Manchuria (China) in 1931, and Italy annexed Ethiopia (Africa) in 1936, the league did nothing to punish the violating nations.

  • Many tiny nations thus lost trust in the League and formed coalitions with other nations to safeguard their interests.

Hitler's invasion of Poland (Immediate Cause)

Hitler's invasion of Poland in September 1939 was one of the war's primary initiators. For the following reasons, he conquered Poland −

  • Two halves of Germany were split apart by the Treaty of Versailles. Poland was granted access to the Port of Danzig and a portion of the German land route to Poland. Germany desired to reclaim her lost lands. Hitler could readily communicate with East Prussia since Germans made up the majority of the population in Danzig. Poland was accused by Germany of perpetrating crimes against German citizens there.

  • The German army marched into Poland on September 1st, 1939. Germany attacked France after receiving an ultimatum from France and Britain. The Second World War officially began on September 3 when France and Great Britain formally declared war on Germany.

Spread and Cause of War

Soon, all of Europe was at war. Britain, France, and the United States were referred to as the Allies, while Germany, Italy, and Japan joined forces and became known as the Axis powers. Additionally, Soviet Russia invaded Eastern Poland and captured former Russian territory. The conflict affected almost every nation. Only Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland maintained their neutrality.

By May 1940, Germany had taken control of Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium. Germany quickly initiated military operations against the adversary. This became known as a "lightning war," or blitzkrieg.

  • ⦁ Fall of France − After the German soldiers entered France, they took control of Paris on June 14, 1940.

  • The Battle of Britain − The German air force started bombing the British territory during the Battle of Britain. The British Royal Air Force launched airstrikes against German territory in reprisal. Hitler invaded Soviet Russia in June 1941 in defiance of the peace treaty that had been made between Germany and Russia.

  • Battle of Stalingrad − Hitler attacked Stalingrad in August 1942, but the cold weather and a Soviet counteroffensive compelled the Germans to give up. Germany therefore suffered a defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad.

  • Battle of Berlin − In April 1945, the Germans were trapped with the British, Americans on one side and Russians on the other. Hitler killed himself as the Allies advanced into Berlin to seize it, and on May 7, 1945, the last of the German soldiers submitted. Europe observed May 8 as a day of celebration.

  • The USA's entry into the conflict − America stayed out of the war at its commencement. In Hawaii's Pearl Harbour, it had a naval fleet. The American naval armada at Pearl Harbour caused dread throughout Japan. Japan launched a surprise aircraft assault on the American naval force at Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941. Important airfields were assaulted, and the battleships were sunk. Japan did not, however, damage the base's ship repair facilities or the US carriers. In the incident, 3700 people were murdered. Due to their outrage over this episode, the Americans enlisted in the Second World War on December 8, 1941.

Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The American campaign to free the islands in the southwest Pacific got underway. Although the Japanese fleet was utterly decimated by the American navy and air force, Japan steadfastly maintained its position in Manchuria and other parts of China. The American soldiers in the Philippines were facing stiff opposition from the Japanese. By this time, the US had created an atomic weapon.

After great deliberation, the decision was made to destroy Japan. The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. It killed thousands of people while destroying half of the city. Japan was invited to submit by the American administration, but it refused. On August 9, 1945, the United States unleashed a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The Japanese government gave up with no terms attached. The Second World War ended as a result of this.

Damages Resulting from the War

This war was the bloodiest since it resulted in the deaths of more than 50 million troops and civilians. Twelve million more perished in detention camps aside from this. Numerous nations had a decline in their population sizes. While the Soviet Union lost roughly 10% of its people, Poland lost about 20% of its population. The countries involved in the conflict experienced significant economic losses. Numerous former colonies, including India, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, supported the Allies in the conflict.


Qns 1. What precipitated World War II?

Ans. On September 1, 1939, Germany attacked Poland, sparking the start of the war. Due to Great Britain's assurance of Polish independence, Germany was declared to be at war with Britain two days later. Britain's ally France followed suit. Then, Italy, a German ally, started fighting with Germany. A non-aggression agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union (the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) was signed in 1939, but Germany eventually declared war on the Soviet Union.

Qns 2. How did World War Two end?

Ans. When U.S General Douglas MacArthur officially accepted Japan's surrender on board the U.S battleship Missouri, which was moored in Tokyo Bay with a flotilla of more than 250 Allied warships, on September 2, World War II came to an end.

Qns 3. Who perished in World War Two?

Ans. During World War II, an estimated 40,000,000 to 50,000,000 people perished.

Qns 4. How many nations participated in World War 2?

Ans. With more than 100 million soldiers deployed, more than 50 countries were engaged in combat.

Qns 5. When was the Second World War given a name?

Ans. The enclosed letter, dated 10 September 1945, and jointly signed by the Secretaries of War and the Navy, recommending that the term "World War II" be officially designated as the name for the current war covering all theatres and the entire period of hostilities, was approved by the President on September 11, 1945.

Updated on: 29-Dec-2023


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