If World War I had broken out after a single and sudden event, World War II, 25 years later, was in many ways more predictable. This dramatic and lethal conflict lasted from 1939 to 1945. The two main factions were the ” Axis ” ( Germany, Italy and Japan ) and the ” allies ” ( France, Great Britain, United States, Soviet Union, China ). In this article, we will give you a complete guide about when did ww2 end.
In many respects, it was a continuation, after a 20-year hiatus, of theWorld War I. Although, as we shall see, with many innovations. With a total death toll ranging between 40 and 50 million, the Second World War is the bloodiest conflict.
A destroyed state: Poland
European states are preparing for war during the Munich conference in September 1938. The democracies practically ceded the Sudetenland to Germany. Only a month later, the Nazi plans were ready to occupy two other populous Czechoslovakia regions: Moravia and Bohemia, which in March 1939 Hitler will annex to the Third Reich, while the various nations that made up Czechoslovakia fought, each for its independence, in particular Slovakia. This causes a change in France and Great Britain’s attitude, securing many nations’ military assistance, especially Poland. Poland would be Hitler’s next target, which aimed at the city of Danzig.
Germany Meantime. Germany and Italy were making the pact of steel: if one of the two countries were at war, even in the role of aggressor, the other country would have to intervene at its side. Italy was not militarily prepared for war, and Mussolini knew it, but Hitler had said (verbally) that the war would not break out for two or three years: when did ww2 end was much closer than expected.
Germany In all this, the USSR had not yet taken sides. The Russians feared that German aggression would turn exclusively on them, while Westerners were concerned about Russian ambitions in Eastern Europe. Moreover, Poland would never have allowed Soviet troops to pass through its territories. At this point, unexpectedly, the Nazis and the USSR sign a non-aggression pact ( Molotov-Ribbentrop, August 1939). At this point, Hitler can attack Poland ( September 1, 1939 ) without fearing Russian repercussions, starting the Second World War. Despite the pact of steel, Italy declares non-belligerence, France and England formally declare war on Germany.
Germany’s rapid conquests: When Did WW2 End
Poland’s conquest takes place surprisingly quickly, especially thanks to the innovative German military technique, Blitzkrieg ( Blitzkrieg ): the real novelty of the Second World War was the use of armoured vehicles (tanks and armoured cars), thanks to which the war was no longer static. By the end of September Warsaw, he surrendered to the Germans bombing, while the Russians occupied areas east ruthlessly: the ‘ cold execution of thousands of Polish officers massacred by the Soviets and hidden in eight mass graves.
That would have been found years after. For the moment, it was their end of Poland: a state with just 20 years of life, which had received virtually no aid from its formal allies, France and England. After these events, the war remains stalled for seven months. Russia attacks Finland to resolve some border issues, while Germany, already in the spring of 1940, manages to occupy Denmark (which surrenders without a fight) and Norway. The Nazis now controlled most of northern and central Europe: at this point, it was France’s turn.
The defeat of France in the middle of the Second World War
The German army’s passage through Holland and France’s occupation a couple of months, from 10 May to June 1940, the German occupation of central and northern France is complete. The French army was avant-garde and very numerous. However, the French generals’ antiquated conception, still tied to the concept of war of position, relying on a line of defensive fortifications, the Maginot Line, which left Holland uncovered, the Luxembourg and Belgium. In mid-May, the Germans had invaded Holland. They had passed through the Ardennes forest’s natural limit thanks to tanks, bypassing the French, Belgian armies, and the British contingent, forced to a quick re-boarding in the French port city of Dunkirk, on the border with Belgium.
Government On June 14, the Nazis are in Paris. The new prime minister is Philippe Petain, an 84-year-old marshal, who immediately signs an armistice with Germany on June 22, ironically in the same place where the Germans had signed an armistice with French British 22 years earlier. The new French government marks the end of the Third Republic. According to Petain, the fault of the defeat in the when did ww2 end & the Republican Franca and its advanced democratic system, which was too permissive.
The new constitution promulgated by the marshal marked France’s return to the exaltation of authority, family and religion, corporatism in work, and the exaltation of agricultural work. Vichy’s seat of government was a small spa town, and the effective sovereignty of the government was limited to the southern half of France and the colonies: the Germans occupied the rest. In fact, Vichy France was nothing more than a Germans’ satellite state, which on 3 July interrupted all kinds of relations with Great Britain.
Italy in the Second World War
While Hitler occupied France, Mussolini, convinced of an imminent end of the Second World War, announced with considerable delay the Italian intervention alongside his Nazi ally. The reasons why Italy had not entered the war earlier (despite the pact of steel ) were the actual unpreparedness of the army and the lack of raw materials. However, the speed with which France had definitely collapsed had not only changed Mussolini’s mind. But also to the king, to the industrialists, and the more moderate fascist hierarchs. It seemed that Italy would achieve a glorious victory with minimal effort. On June 10, 1940, from the balcony of Piazza Venezia, in Rome, from which he used to speak to the people. The Duce announced to the crowd the entry of Italy into the Second World War.
The first Italian failures: When Did WW2 End.
The offensive against France starts on June 21, only one day before Pétain signed the armistice with the Nazis. It is not the desired success: the penetration into French territory is minimal, and the losses rather high. Despite this, exhausted France immediately asked for an armistice (signed on June 24), which envisages only some small changes in the borders and limited demilitarization. At the same time, Mussolini attacks the British in the Mediterranean. For this reason, for the moment, he refuses German offers of help in North Africa.
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Italians will attack Greece on October 28, 1940, once again colliding with resistance above expectations and returning to Albania. In December, the British conquer Cyrenaica, and it is at this point that Mussolini must accept German aid to regain the region. In 1941 the British were able to conquer the Italian colonies in East Africa: Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea. It was clear that Italy could not make it in the Second World War without the Germans’ help. Who in April 1941 will also intervene in the Balkans and Greece.
England resists the first obstacle to German victory in World War II.
At the end of the 1940s, the only power able to face the advance of Nazi Germany with any success during the Second World War was England. The prime minister, the conservative Winston Churchill, had a simple power program since May 1940: the total war against Nazi Germany. Which, for its part, to see the recent conquests recognized, would even be willing to negotiate, for the moment. In the fall of 1940, Hitler had nothing to do but try to invade England. Britain’s strong point was its own fleet. For this reason, the Nazis chose the air route, continuously bombing both military and industrial targets for three months (including the city of London itself).
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The bombing of Coventry (November 14, 1940), an industrial town in the heart of the country, with a delightful medieval centre, is one of the most emblematic cases: the 150,000 bombs destroy not only military targets. But also thousands of houses, much of the centre of the town. And a stunning 14th-century cathedral, killing more than 500 civilians and leaving thousands homeless. The horrors of bombing, heralded by siren sounds and carried out mostly at night, would become a terrible World War II constant.
The British resistance: When Did WW2 End
Despite cases like this, the German air force (Luftwaffe) are, however, countered with some British anti-aircraft effectiveness, the Royal Air Force (RAF), and the operation. Hitler had called the “Sea Lion” is stopped and postponed. . For the first time, the Nazi war machine was forced to stop, at least for a while.
The landing in Normandy: towards the end of the Second World War
Between 1943 and ’44, the Soviets, at the cost of enormous sacrifices, repel the Germans and begin to advance towards the West: in the spring of ’45, they will conquer Berlin. At the end of 1943, the Tehran conference, where the three main allied states, Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill, had met, and the Anglo-Americans had pledged to land on the coast of France, in Normandy.
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The operation takes place on 6 June 1944 at dawn. The code name is Operation Overlord: Photographer Robert Capa documented this operation in some dramatic photos that portray the assault on Omaha Beach in all the action heat. Within a month, more than 1.5 million men will be in France. At the end of July, the German defences are definitively crushed, and by August, Paris is now free, while the Nazis reorganized for the last time around the old borders of 1939.
The decline of Nazism: When Did WW2 End
By the autumn of 1944, World War II’s fronts had completely changed, and Germany was one step away from defeat. Countries under German influence (Romania, Bulgaria, Finland and Hungary) changed sides or surrendered. Germany suffered constant bombing, destroying its phenomenal industrial production and demoralizing the Germans. Often hitting non-military targets and destroying entire cities. However, Adolf Hitler would never have surrendered, never would have declared his defeat in the Second World War: he hoped for a break in the alliance between the Soviets and the West, who, however, remained faithful to the agreements.
In this period, in a conference in Moscow, Churchill and Stalin begin to establish the reciprocal spheres of influence (which took tiny account of the peoples’ will) for the post when did ww2 end. They are almost in Berlin while at the same time chasing the Nazis from Hungary. And in April, they reached Vienna and then Prague. The allies simultaneously attacked from the French front, crossing the Rhine on 22 March. The German soldiers concentrated their efforts on the Eastern front.
On April 25, in Italy, the CLN proclaims a general insurrection while the Germans leave Milan. Shot by the partisans and exposed in Piazzale Loreto in Milan. As for Hitler, on April 30, he fired a revolver shot in the temples in his underground bunker (now the seat of government). At this point, the Reich can only ask the allies to surrender. And the hostilities formally ceased in the following two days. The two dictators who most wanted it died when did ww2 end, which ended after almost six years. The only Axis country to remain standing was Japan.
Hiroshima: the last act of the Second World War
The Americans began systematically bombing Japan at the end of ’44 with large aircraft carriers and gigantic ‘strategic bombers’ (real flying fortresses). But Japan did not seem at all about to surrender. On the contrary, suicide bombers continued inexorably to blow themselves up on American ships. In the meantime, President Roosevelt had died (12 April 1945), and it was his successor Harry Truman. Who decided to use the atomic bomb (or nuclear fission bomb, developed based on the studies carried out by Enrico Fermi ), a devastating device developed for a short time against Japan.
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Nagasaki’s goal was to make a long and complex war shorter. But America also wanted to demonstrate its power to the allies (particularly the Soviets). So on 6 August 1945, the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. And after three days, another one was dropped on Nagasaki. In addition to the immense number of immediate deaths (100,000 and 60,000) and the devastation of both cities. There was the long-term effect of radiation. With Emperor Hirohito’s surrender (2 September 1945), the Second World War ends once.
The dead of the second world war
The death toll in World War II is higher than any other war in history. It is estimated that the victims of this conflict are 70 million. And that the Soviet Union paid the highest price with 23 million deaths. Numbers close to these figures caused them only another great catastrophe, the black plague of 1347-1353, which killed a third of the world population. in a few years. The figures are not accurate. Still, it is estimated that the deaths caused by the pandemic have been between 25 and 50 million.
A few numbers on the dead of World War II
- Soviet Union: 23 million
- Germany: 7.4 million
- Japan: 2.6 million
- England: 430,000
- Italy: 450,000
- France: 620,000
- USA: 220,000
- Belgium: 100,000
- Netherlands: 200,000
- Norway: 12,000
- Czechoslovakia: 350,000
- Hungary: 400,000
- Greece: 160,000
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The outbreak of the Second World War and the early stages
- In September 1938, there is the Munich conference. Germany is authorized to occupy the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia.
- In March 1939, Hitler annexed Bohemia and Moravia to the Reich.
- In May 1939, Italy and Germany signed the steel pact.
- On August 39, Russia and Germany sign a non-aggression pact (Molotov-Ribbentrop)
- Following the pact, Germany attacks Poland on September 1, 1939, without fearing Soviet repercussions: the Second World War.
- At the end of September, thanks to the innovative blitzkrieg, Poland gives way.
- Seven months of stalemate followed. In 1940, Russia attacked Finland while Hitler occupies Denmark and Norway.
- From 10 May to the end of June 1940, Germany ended the occupation of north-central France, passing through Holland.
- On 14 June, the Nazis in Paris
- The new French president, Philippe Pétain, signs an armistice with Germany on 22 June.
- Petain establishes an authoritarian regime which is, in fact, a satellite state of the Nazis.