World War II was a conflict that involved almost every part of the world. The war started in 1939 and ended dramatically in 1945. The war mainly involved the the Axis Powers and the Allied Powers. The Axis Powers consisted of Germany, Italy, and Japan. The Allied Powers consisted of the United States, Great Britain, Soviet Union, France, and China.
The cause of World War II was simple. It was just a continuation of disputes that were left alone after World War I. Germany was very bitter because of their catastrophic defeat in World War I. They also disagreed with the harsh terms by the Treaty of Versailles. Adolph Hitler was given dictatorial powers in 1933. He made the Intensely Nationalistic and Anti-Semitic National Socialist (Nazi) Party.
After Hitler was given dictatorship powers he started rebuilding the German Army secretly. Germany violated the Treaty of Versailles in March 1936 when Hitler ordered the military occupation of the Rhineland.
Benito Mussolini, the dictator of Italy joined Germany and Japan on the axis powers in 1936. In the name of anti-communism, Germany and Italy both intervened in the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
German troops occupied Austria on March 1938. Germany annexed and neutralized Czechoslovakia by March 1939. In April 1939 Italy annexed Albania. On September 1, Hitler began an invasion of Poland. Poland was being protected by Great Britain and France, so two days later the two countries declared war on Germany.
Germany and Soviet Union divided Poland between themselves by the end of 1939. The Soviet Union had occupied Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and attacked Finland which they defeated in March, 1940.
Any ships that were going to Great Britain were heavily attacked by Germany submarines that occupied the seas around the country. Germany occupied several Norwegian ports and all of Denmark. On May 10, 1940 Germany occupied the Netherlands and Belgium. By June 22, 3/5ths of France was occupied by Germany, including Paris.
Great Britain received numerous bomb raids from the Germany Lutfwaffe (Air Force) to set it up for the Battle of Great Britain. The Battle of Great Britain was won by the Royal Air Force so Hitler postponed the attack.
In November of 1940, The Axis Powers gained Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. In 1941, Bulgaria joined the Axis Powers. In April, Hitler attacked Greece and Yugoslavia, both of which were occupied. Hitler abandoned the Nonaggression Pact of 1939 and attacked the Soviet Union. Germany drove it's units deep into Soviet territory almost reaching Moscow. Heavy counterattacks and winter slowed down the attack.
Japan got tired of its war in China and took advantage or Europe in it's dire situation and seized European colonial holdings in the far east. Japan wanted to cripple it's main opponent in the Pacific War. Japan attacked United States installations at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the Phillipines on December 7-8, 1941. On December 8, 1941 the U.S. Congress declared war on the U.S.
Although Japan laid out numerous attacks on the Americans in the Pacific they lost many sea battles(Coral Sea and Midway) on May and June, 1942. In North Africa the British had beaten Italian forces in 1940-1941. The British in Africa, however, were also in a seesaw battle with German Afrika Korps.
In 1942 the allied offensive began with U.S.-British landings in North Africa. In may, 1943 German forces were squeezed into Tanisia by allied troops. Troops from North Africa landed in Sicily and invaded Italy in September. Italy joined the Allies, and rest of the war would be fought bitterly with Japan and Germany.
After an unsuccessful siege of Stalingrad(August 1942-February 1943) Germany lost momentum in Russia. German forces withdrawed partially because of an expected allied invasion. The invasion came on June 6, 1944, also called D-Day. There, 156,000 allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. They were under command of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The allies then began the advance eastward that ended the German occupation of the homeland in March-April 1945. Soviet forces- moving west- occupied the eastern half of Germany.
Berlin was eventually surrounded by Soviet troops. Hitler then commited suicide on April 30; German forces surrendered May 8th.
U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur's "island hopping" strategy led to the Allied invasion of the Phillipines on October 1944. The naval battle in Leyle Gulf eliminated the Japanese Navy. The capture of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in March and June of 1945 opened a hole for bombing or an invasion.
The Pacific War came to a close after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th of 1945. Japan surrendered Septermber 2nd, 1945. World War II was now at an end.