The Second World War

What was the Second World War?
The Second World War was a global conflict that lasted from September 1939 until August 1945.
Who was involved in the Second World War?
The Second World War spread to virtually every part of the world. It was fought between the Axis powers and the Allies.
  • Germany, Italy and Japan were in alliance with each other and were known as the Axis powers.
  • Britain was one of the Allies, and was supported by the countries in its empire. It declared war on Germany on 3rd September, 1939.
  • France fought alongside Britain until it was occupied by German forces in June, 1940. After this, Free French forces continued to fight for the Allies.
  • The USSR joined the Allies following the German invasion of Russia in June 1941.
  • The USA joined the Allies following the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan in December 1941.
  • After 1941, the USA, USSR and Britain formed the Grand Alliance against the Axis powers.
Why did the Second World War break out in 1939?
The Second World War was caused by a complicated and far-reaching combination of factors including:
  • Long-term resentment caused by the post-war treaties.
  • The failure of the League of Nations.
  • Hitler's foreign policy and the actions of Germany.
  • The impact of the Depression after 1929.
  • The rise of political extremism.
  • Failure to stop aggressive countries.
When was the Second World War?
The Second World War began on 3rd September 1939. Germany surrendered on VE Day on the 8th May 1945 and Japan surrendered on VJ Day, 15th August 1945.
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