World War II
|World War II|
Animation of alliances during the Second World War.
Anglo Masonic Protestants
|Commanders and leaders|
Franklin D. Roosevelt
World War II (abbreviated WWII or WW2), or the Second World War, was a worldwide military conflict; the amalgamation of two separate conflicts, one beginning in Asia in 1937 as the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the other beginning in Europe with the declaration of war by the United Kingdom and France against a revanchist Germany on 3 September 1939, as the former two had signed separate defence pacts with Poland agreeing to assist militarily should that country's borders be crossed by another power. Also, when the Soviet Union invaded Poland on September 17th, Britain and France failed to declare war on them.
The conflict in Europe is regarded as the historical successor to World War I.
Spanning much of the globe, World War II resulted in the deaths of tens millions of people, making it the deadliest conflict in human history. Civilians everywhere were a major casualty: in particular over a million due to the terrorist bombing of Germany during World War II.
Countries involved mobilized more than 100 million military personnel. 'Total War' erased the distinction between civil and military resources and saw the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort (although this activity was similar to WWI.
The conflict ended in an Allied victory. As a result, the United States and Soviet Union emerged as the world's two leading superpowers; half of Europe and parts of Asia sank under the criminal terror of Bolshevism, setting the stage for the Cold War for the next 45 years.
The war continues to have an impact on the contemporary world.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Events leading up to the war in Asia
- 1.2 Events leading up to the war in Europe
- 1.3 Stalin's secret offer
- 1.4 Attack on Poland
- 1.5 The Winter War
- 1.6 Blitzkrieg
- 1.7 The war becomes global
- 1.8 Germany's Second Offensive
- 1.9 Germany's third offensive
- 1.10 Winter battles 1943–1944
- 1.11 Battles in 1944
- 1.12 Allied invasion of Western Europe
- 1.13 Battles in 1945
- 1.14 End of the war in Europe
- 1.15 End of the war in Asia
- 2 Aftermath of the war
- 3 Quotes
- 4 Revisionist and other not politically correct views
- 5 Further reading
- 6 External links
- 7 References
Poland was quickly completely over-run and defeated. Remnants of its government fled to the UK. During the winter of 1939–1940 there was little indication of hostilities since neither side was willing to engage the other directly. This period was called the Phoney War. The Soviet Union forced the Baltic countries to allow it to station Soviet troops in their countries under pacts of "mutual assistance". Finland rejected territorial demands and was invaded by the Soviet Union in November 1939. The resulting conflict ended in March 1940 with Finnish concessions. In 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway in the spring in order to prevent a British invasion of Norway which would have disrupted Germany’s iron ore supply lines. That summer Germany invaded the Low Countries, in order to protect her Atlantic seaboard.
As a result of France declaring war on Germany on 3 Sept 1939, the Germans finally invaded on 10 May 1940 (Battle of France 10 May – 25 June 1940). After France's capitulation, she signed an Armistice with Germany. The French government remained in France and controlled the civil administration of the entire country, as before, and became a neutral country There was a northern France and Atlantic coast German military zone. The United Kingdom was now isolated. The Germans attempted to cut the island off from vital supplies with its surface raiders and U-boats, and attempted to obtain air superiority in case it became necessary to invade the island. The Royal Air Force, however, successfully defended Britain in the Battle of Britain. Having been driven from the continent, and then from Norway which they invaded before the Germans, Britain now concentrated on combating Axis forces in the Mediterranean Basin. It had limited success however; having organised a coup in Yugoslavia, which had been cautiously pro-German and neutral, Britain then failed to prevent the Axis conquest of the Balkans and, at first, fought indecisively in the desert campaign against the Italians, who initially drove the British back to within 147 miles of Cairo. It had greater success in the Mediterranean Sea itself, severely damaging the Royal Italian Navy.
The United States were at this time already waging a proxy war against Germany by providing military aid to Britain.
Events leading up to the war in Asia
After World War I, the victorious Western powers adopted policies that recognized the Japanese Empire as a colonial power. Many Japanese politicians and militarist leaders, such as Fumimaro Konoe and Sadao Araki, promoted the idea that Japan had a right to conquer Asia and unify it, under the rule of Emperor Hirohito.
Japan was forced to send in troops to Manchuria in 1931 after its railways there had been mined and blown up. On the 7 July 1937, following border disputes, Japan invaded China and made significant advances, but were stalled in the Battle of Shanghai. The city eventually fell to the Japanese in December, along with with the capital city Nanjing. As a result, the Chinese Nationalist government moved its seat to Wuhan and then to Chongqing for the remainder of the war. Conquered areas of China became subject to a harsh occupation, with alleged atrocities against civilians, most notably the alleged Rape of Nanking. The Japanese Army also frequently used chemical weapons. Neither Japan or China officially declared war until 9 December, 1941, when a declaration of war was issued by Lin Sen, President of the Chinese Republic.
In the Spring of 1939, Soviet Union and Japanese forces clashed in Mongolia. The growing Japanese presence in the Far East was seen as a major strategic threat by the Soviets and their fear of having to fight a two front war was a primary reason for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with National Socialist Germany. The Japanese invasion of Mongolia was repulsed by Soviet units under General Georgiy Zhukov. The Soviet Union and Japan concluded a non-aggression pact in 1941 and were at peace until 1945. Japan now looked south to expand its empire, leading to conflict with the United States over the Philippines, an America colony, and control of shipping lanes to the oil-rich Dutch East Indies. With their eastern flank secured the Soviet Union focused on the west, while the Japanese directed their attention south, towards the British, Dutch, and American colonies of the South Pacific.
Japanese forces invaded French Indochina on September 22, 1940. The United States (after having renounced the U.S.-Japanese trade treaty of 1911), United Kingdom, Australia and the Netherlands (which controlled the oil of the Dutch East Indies), reacted in 1941 by instituting embargoes on exports of natural resources to Japan. The western powers also began making loans to China and providing covert military assistance.
Japan was faced with the choice of withdrawing from China and Indochina, negotiating some compromise, buying what they needed somewhere else, or going to war to conquer territories that contained oil, iron ore, bauxite and other resources necessary for continued operations in China. Japan's leaders believed that the existing Allies were preoccupied with the war against Germany, and that the United States would not be war-ready for years and would compromise before waging full-scale war. Japan thus proceeded with its plans for the war in the Pacific by launching nearly simultaneous attacks on Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, Hawaii, the Philippines, and Wake Island.
Japan's leaders stated that the goal of its military campaigns was to create the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. This, they claimed, would be a co-operative league of Asian nations, freed by Japan from European and American imperialist domination, in fact destructive Jewish influences, and liberated to achieve autonomy and self-determination, which is much more natural, than foreign influences.
Events leading up to the war in Europe
In Europe, the judeo-bolsheviks failed in their attempt to set communism in Spain. Germany began making territorial demands in an attempt to correct the artificial boundaries that had been determined by the victor nations of The Great War. The Saarland went back to the Reich and France was not happy. In 1938 United Kingdom and France wanted new war after Austria was unified with Germany but Italy did everything to avoid the conflict in Europe. France, that was still occupying Italian lands in Nizza and Corsica started to enter in attrict with Italy as they got closer to Germany. They came to an international agreement regarding Bohemia and Moravia, previously part of Austria-Hungary and at the same time Germany got back Memel.
Poland's aggressive policies against Germany were encouraged by the French, their de facto protectors since 1919, who trained their military and provided armaments and loans, and by Britain. Poland engaged in continuous provocations against Germany and German citizens and caused great distress to the Free City of Danzig which was 98.5 % German. In March 1939 the British gave a guarantee to Poland that if they were attacked by another country, Britain would come to their aid.
Stalin's secret offer
Churchill and Stalin negotiated the starting of co-operation in a war of many fronts against Germany since April 1939. In July it was agreed that when Germany and the Soviet Union attack Poland, the declaration of war of the western allies would be focused only against German actions. Stalin had planned to attack Germany with 1 million soldiers before the German aggression on Soviet Union had begun.
Attack on Poland
On September 1, 1939, Germany attacked Poland, because the Polish government did not do enough to stop ongoing provocations and atrocities against the German minorities inside Poland, as well as its failure to negotiate seriously concerning the Danzig situation. The Gleiwitz incident was said by the post WWII Allies to be a false flag operation by National Socialist Germany, which was then used as a major justification for invading Poland. On September 3, the United Kingdom issued an ultimatum to Germany, but no reply was received. Britain, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany, followed later that day by France. Soon afterwards, British marionettes, like South Africa, Canada and Nepal also declared war on Germany. Immediately, the UK began seizing German ships and implementing a blockade.
Despite the French and British treaty obligations and promises to the Polish government, both France and the UK at the time were unwilling to attack Germany, and definitively not the Soviet Union, that occupied the eastern part of Poland. The French mobilized slowly and then mounted only a short offensive in the Saar. Meanwhile, on September 8, the Germans reached Warsaw.
On September 17, the Soviet Union, pursuant to its prior agreement with Germany, invaded Poland from the east. Poland was soon overwhelmed. Although UK and France had declared war on Germany when Germany attacked Poland, their diplomatic relations with Soviet Union did not get any worse.
After Poland fell, Germany paused to regroup during the winter while the British and French stayed on the defensive. The period was referred to by journalists as "the Phoney War" because of the inaction on both sides.
The Winter War
Following the invasion of Poland, the Soviet Union forced Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland to allow it to station Soviet troops in their countries. Finland rejected all demands and was invaded by the Soviet Union in November 1939.
In Eastern Europe, the Soviets began occupation of Baltic states with enormous brutality, documented in books such as Latvia: Year of Horror. A brief, bloody conflict with Finland, referred to as the Winter War, ended with land concessions to the Soviets on March 12, 1940. Meanwhile, Britain and France did nothing, refusing to declare war as they had when Germany reclaimed Danzig.
In early April 1940, German and Allied forces launched nearly simultaneous operations around Norway to secure access to Swedish iron ore. It was a two-month campaign which resulted in complete German control of Norway, though at a heavy cost to the German navy. The fall of Norway led to the Norway Debate in London, which resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who was replaced by war-monger Winston Churchill.
On May 10, 1940, the Germans invaded France, that declared Germany the war 1939 September, and the Low Countries. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the French Army advanced into Flanders and planned to fight a mobile war in the north, while maintaining a static continuous front along the Maginot Line further south. This was foiled by an unexpected German thrust through the Ardennes, splitting the Allies in two. The BEF and French forces, encircled in the north, were evacuated from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. France, overwhelmed by the Blitzkrieg, was forced to sign an armistice with Germany on June 22, 1940, leading to the direct German occupation of Paris and two-thirds of France, and the establishment of a pro-German government in Vichy, known as Vichy France.
With only the United Kingdom remaining as an opposing force in Europe, Germany began to prepare Operation Sealion, the invasion of Britain. Most of the British Army's heavy weapons and supplies had been lost at Dunkirk, but the Royal Navy was still stronger than the Kriegsmarine and kept control of the English Channel. The Germans using their Luftwaffe attempted to gain air superiority over Britian by destroying the Royal Air Force (RAF). The ensuing air war in the late summer of 1940 became known as the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe initially targeted RAF Fighter Command aerodromes and radar stations, but Luftwaffe Commander Hermann Göring and Hitler, angered by British bombing raids on German cities, switched their attention towards bombing English cities, an offensive which became known as The Blitz. This diversion of resources allowed the RAF to rebuild their airbases, eventually leading Hitler to give up on his goal of establishing air superiority over the English Channel; this in turn led to the permanent postponing of Operation Sealion.
With Germany and her allies having total control of the continent, the United Kingdom and its allies settled for strategic bombing and special forces operations in mainland Europe. Many of the conquered nations formed and military units within the United Kingdom as well as domestic resistance (terror) movements. Germany, meanwhile, fortified its position by constructing the Atlantic Wall.
The war becomes global
Stalin had worked out the blueprint for Operation Groza to attack Germany in July 6, 1941. German intelligence had found it out and Germany started planning the preventive assault on Soviet Union.
Since the Soviet Union after 1939 concentrated 80% of its military potential to its western border, on June 22, 1941, Germany, along with other European Axis members and Finland, declared the war on Soviet Union. During the summer, the Axis made significant gains into Soviet territory, inflicting immense losses in personnel and material. However, by the middle of August, the German Army High Command decided to suspend the offensive of a considerably depleted Army Group Center, and to divert the Second Panzer Group to reinforce troops advancing toward central eastern Ukraine and Leningrad during the Eastern Campaign. The Kiev offensive was overwhelmingly successful, resulting in encirclement and elimination of four Soviet armies, and made further advance into Crimea and industrially developed eastern Ukraine (the First Battle of Kharkov) possible.
After the USA tried to bar Japan from all Asian affairs, on December 7, a Japanese carrier fleet launched an attack on the USA naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack was by no means unexpected, even though official information tried to state that. The raid destroyed most of the American aircraft on the island and put the main American battle fleet out of action (three battleships were sunk, and five more were heavily damaged, though only USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma were permanently lost, the other six battleships were repaired and eventually returned to service). Nevertheless, the four American aircraft carriers that had been the intended main target of the Japanese attack were off at sea. At Pearl Harbor, the main dock, supply, and repair facilities were quickly repaired. Furthermore, the base's fuel storage facilities, whose destruction could have crippled the Pacific fleet, were untouched. The attack united American public opinion to demand vengeance against Japan. The following day, December 8, the United States declared war on the Japanese Empire, as did the United Kingdom. Inevitably, as a result of the Tripartite Pact, Germany and Italy were bound to support their ally, the Japanese Empire, and subsequently declared war on the United States.
Simultaneously with the attack on Hawaii, the Japanese attacked Wake Island, an American territory with crucial airfields in the central Pacific. The initial landing attempt was repulsed by the garrison of USA Marines, and fierce resistance continued until December 23. The Japanese sent heavy reinforcements, and the garrison surrendered when it became clear that no American relief force was coming.
Japan also invaded the Philippine Islands, a U.S.A. colony, on 8 December, 1941. American forces, under General Douglas MacArthur, were forced to retreat to the Bataan Peninsula. Dogged resistance continued until April, buying precious time for the Americans. Following their surrender, the survivors were led on the so-called Bataan Death March. American resistance continued for an additional month on the island fortress of Corregidor, until it too surrendered. General MacArthur, who had been ordered to retreat to Australia, vowed, "I shall return."
Less than 24 hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan invaded the British territories of Hong Kong, Malaya, Borneo, and Burma soon followed, with Japan's intention of seizing the oilfields of the Dutch East Indies. Despite fierce resistance by British Imperial Forces, including the Indian Army, and American forces, all these territories capitulated to the Japanese in a matter of months. Disaster struck the British Royal Navy on 10 December 1941, when they lost two major capital ships, the new battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battle-cruiser HMS Repulse. Both ships had been attacked by at least 85 Japanese bombers and torpedo planes based in Saigon in French Indo-China, and 840 UK sailors perished. Churchill was to say of the event, "In all of the war I have never received a more direct shock." Singapore now fell to the Japanese on February 15. Approximately 80,000 British Imperial Forces (along with 50,000 taken in Malaya), went into Japanese POW camps, representing the largest-ever surrender of British-led personnel. Churchill concurred that the British defeat at Singapore as one of the most humiliating British defeats of all time.
Allied naval forces were all but destroyed in the Battle of the Java Sea, the largest naval battle of the war up to that point, on February 28 through to March 1, 1942. The joint command was wound up shortly afterwards, to be replaced by three Allied supreme commands in southern Asia and the Pacific.
In the six months after Pearl Harbor the Japanese had achieved nearly all of their naval objectives. Their fleet of eleven battleships, ten carriers, eighteen heavy and twenty light cruisers remained relatively intact. They had seriously damaged or sunk all U.S. battleships currently in the Pacific. The British and Dutch Far Eastern fleets had been destroyed, and the Royal Australian Navy had been driven back to port. Their ring of conquests settled on a defensive perimeter of their choosing, extending from the Central Pacific to New Guinea to Burma. The only significant strategic force remaining to the Allies was the still operational naval base at Pearl Harbor, including the U.S. Pacific Fleet's four aircraft carriers.
Germany's Second Offensive
On January 6, 1942, Stalin, confident of his earlier victory, ordered a general counter-offensive. Initially the attacks made good ground as Soviet pincers closed around Demyansk and Vyazma and threatening attacks were made towards Smolensk and Bryansk. But despite these successes the Soviet offensive soon ran out of steam. By March, the Germans had recovered and stabilized their line and secured the neck of the Vyazma Pocket. Only at Demyansk was there any serious prospect of a major Soviet victory. Here a large part of the German 16th Army had been surrounded. Hitler ordered no withdrawal and the 92,000 men trapped in the pocket were to hold their ground while they were re-supplied by air. For 10 weeks they held out until April when a land corridor was opened to the west. The German forces retained Demyansk until they were permitted to withdraw in February 1943.
In May 1943, the Soviets attempted to retake the city of Kharkov, in Eastern Ukraine. They opened with concentric attacks on either side of Kharkov and in both sides broke through German lines and a serious threat to the city emerged. In response, the Germans accelerated the plans for their own offensive and launched it 5 days later. The German 6th Army struck at the salient from the south and encircled the entire Soviet army assaulting Kharkov. In the last days of May, the Germans destroyed the forces inside the pocket. Of the Soviet troops inside the pocket, 70,000 were killed, 200,000 captured and only 22,000 managed to escape.
Hitler had by now realized that his Armies were too weak to carry out an offensive on all sectors of the Eastern Front, but if the Germans could seize the oil and fertile rich area of the Southern Soviet Union this would give the Germans the means to continue with the war. Operation Blue attempted the destruction of the Red Army's southern front, consolidation of the Ukraine west of the River Volga, and the capture of the Caucaus oil fields. The Germans reinforced Army Group South by transferring divisions from other sectors and getting divisions from Axis allies. By late June, Hitler had 74 Divisions ready to go on the offensive, 51 of them German.
The Soviets did not know where the main German offensive of 1942 would come. Stalin was convinced that the German objective of 1942 would be Moscow and over 50 % of all Red Army troops were deployed in the Moscow region. Only 10 % of Soviet troops were deployed in the Southern Soviet Union.
On June 28, 1942, the German offensive began. Everywhere Soviet forces fell back as the Germans sliced through Soviet defenses. By July 5, forward elements of 4th Panzer Army reached the River Don near Voronezh and got embroiled in a bitter battle to capture the city. The Soviets, by tying down 4th Panzer Army, gained vital time to reinforce their defenses. The Soviets for the first time in the war were not fighting to hold hopelessly exposed positions but were retreating in good order. As German pincers closed in they only found stragglers and rear guards. Angered by the delays, Hitler re-organized Army Group South to two smaller Army Groups, Army Group A and Army Group B. The bulk of the Armored forces were concentrated with Army Group A which was ordered to attack towards the Caucasus oil fields while Army Group B was ordered to capture Stalingrad and guard against any Soviet counter attacks.
By July 23, the German 6th Army had taken Rostov but Soviet troops fought a skillful rearguard action which embroiled the Germans in heavy urban fighting to take the city. This also allowed the main Soviet formations to escape encirclements. With the River Don's crossing secured in the south and with the 6th Army's advance flagging, Hitler sent the 4th Panzer Army back to join up with 6th Army. In late July, 6th Army resumed its offensive and by August 10, 6th Army cleared the Soviet presence from the west bank of the River Don but Soviet troops held out in some areas, further delaying 6th Army's march east. In contrast, Army Group A after crossing the River Don on July 25 had fanned out on a broad front. The German 17th Army swung west towards the Black Sea, while the 1st Panzer Army attacked towards the south and east sweeping through country largely abandoned by Soviet troops. On August 9, 1st Panzer Army reached the foothills of the Caucasus mountains, an advance of more than three hundred miles.
In order to protect their forces in the Caucasus, the Germans attempted to capture Stalingrad, on their northeastern flank, crossing the Don River and advancing on the city. Germans bombers killed over 40,000 people and turned much of the city into rubble. The Soviet leadership realized that the German plan was the seizure of the oil fields and began sending large number of troops from the Moscow sector to reinforce their troops in the South. Zhukov, one of Stalin's most trusted generals, assumed command of the Stalingrad front in early September and mounted a series of attacks from the North which further delayed the German 6th Army's attempt to seize Stalingrad. On September 13, the Germans advanced through the southern suburbs and by September 23, 1942, the main factory complex was surrounded and the German artillery was within range of the quays on the river, across which the Soviets evacuated wounded and brought in reinforcements. Ferocious street fighting, hand-to-hand conflict of the most savage kind, now ensued in the ruins of the city. Besides being a turning point in the war, Stalingrad was also revealing in terms of the discipline and determination of both the German Wehrmacht and the Soviet Red Army. The Soviets first defended Stalingrad against a fierce German onslaught. So great were Soviet losses that at times, the life expectancy of a newly arrived soldier was less than a day, and life expectancy of Soviet officer was three days. Their sacrifice is immortalized by a soldier of General Rodimtsev, about to die, who scratched on the wall of the main railway station (which changed hands 15 times during the battle) “Rodimtsev’s Guardsmen fought and died here for their Motherland.” Exhaustion and deprivation gradually sapped men's strength. Hitler, who had become obsessed with the battle of Stalingrad, refused to countenance a withdrawal. General Paulus, in desperation, launched yet another attack early in November by which time the Germans had managed to capture 90 % of the city. The Soviets, however, had been building up massive forces on the flanks of Stalingrad which were by this time severely undermanned as the bulk of the German forces had been concentrated in capturing the city and Axis satellite troops were left guarding the flanks. The Soviets launched Operation Uranus on November 19 1942, with twin attacks that met at the city of Kalach four days later, encircling the 6th Army in Stalingrad.
The Germans requested permission to attempt a breakout, which was refused by Hitler, who ordered Sixth Army to remain in Stalingrad where he promised they would be supplied by air until rescued. About the same time, the Soviets launched Operation Mars in a salient near the vicinity of Moscow. Its objective was to tie down Army Group Center and to prevent it from reinforcing Army Group South at Stalingrad.
Meanwhile, Army Group A's advance into the Caucasus had stalled as Soviet troops had destroyed the oil production facilities and a year's work was required to bring them back up, the other remaining oil fields lay south of the Caucasus Mountains. Throughout August and September, German Mountain troops probed for a way through but by October, with the onset of winter, they were no closer to their objective. With German troops encircled in Stalingrad, and Soviet armies threatening their lines of retreat, Army Group A began to fall back.
By December, Field Marshal von Manstein hastily put together a German relief force of units composed from Army Group A to relieve the trapped Sixth Army. Unable to get reinforcements from Army Group Center, the relief force only managed to get within 50 kilometers (30 mi) before they were turned back by the Soviets. By the end of the year, the Sixth Army was in desperate condition, as the Luftwaffe was able to supply only about a sixth of the supplies needed.
Shortly before surrendering to the Red Army on February 2, 1943, Friedrich Paulus was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall. This was a message from Hitler, because no German Field Marshal had ever surrendered his troops or been taken alive. Of the 300,000 strong 6th Army, only 91,000 survived to be taken prisoner, including 22 generals, of which only 5,000 men ever returned to Germany after the war. This was to be the greatest, and most costly, battle in terms of human life in history. Around 2 million men were killed or wounded on both sides, including civilians, with Axis casualties estimated to be approximately 850,000 and 750,000 for the Soviets.
Germany's third offensive
After the surrender of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad on February 2, 1943, the Red Army launched eight offensives during the winter. Many were concentrated along the Don basin near Stalingrad. These attacks resulted in initial gains until German forces were able to take advantage of the over extended and weakened condition of the Red Army and launch a counter attack to re-capture the city of Kharkov and surrounding areas. This was to be the last major strategic German victory of World War II.
The rains of spring inhibited campaigning in the Soviet Union, but both sides used the interval to build up for the inevitable battle that would come in the summer. The start date for the offensive had been moved repeatedly as delays in preparation had forced the Germans to postpone the attack. By July 4, the Wehrmacht, after assembling their greatest concentration of firepower during the whole of World War II, launched their offensive against the Soviet Union at the Kursk salient. Their intentions were known by the Soviets, who hastened to defend the salient with an enormous system of earthwork defenses. The Germans attacked from both the north and south of the salient and hoped to meet in the middle, cutting off the salient and trapping 60 Soviet divisions. The German offensive in the Northern sector was ground down as little progress was made through the Soviet defenses but in the Southern Sector there was a danger of a German breakthrough. The Soviets then brought up their reserves to contain the German thrust in the Southern sector, and the ensuing Battle of Kursk became the largest tank battle of the war, near the city of Prokhorovka. The Germans lacking any sizable reserves had exhausted their armored forces and could not stop the Soviet counteroffensive that threw them back across their starting positions.
Winter battles 1943–1944
The Soviets captured Kharkov following their victory at Kursk and with the Autumn rains threatening, Hitler agreed to a general withdrawal to the Dnieper line in August. As September proceeded into October, the Germans found the Dnieper line impossible to hold as the Soviet bridgeheads grew. Important Dnieper towns started to fall, with Zaporozhye the first to go, followed by Dnepropetrovsk. Early in November the Soviets broke out of their bridgeheads on either side of Kiev and recaptured the Ukrainian capital. The 1st Ukrainian Front attacked at Korosten on Christmas Eve, and the Soviet advance continued along the railway line until the 1939 Soviet-Polish border was reached.
The Soviets launched their winter offensive in January 1944 in the Northern sector and relieved the brutal siege of Leningrad. The Germans conducted an orderly retreat from the Leningrad area to a shorter line on Narva river, where all Soviet attacks were beaten back until September 1944 in the battle of Narva. By March the Soviets struck into Romania from Ukraine. The Soviet forces encircled the First Panzer Army north of the Dniestr river. The Germans escaped the pocket in April, saving most of their men but losing their heavy equipment. During April, the Red Army launched a series of attacks near the city of Iaşi, Romania, aimed at capturing the strategically important sector which they hoped to use as a springboard into Romania for a summer offensive. The Soviets were held back by the German and Romanian forces when they launched the attack through the forest of Târgul Frumos as Axis forces successfully defended the sector through the month of April.
As Soviet troops neared Hungary, German troops occupied Hungary on March 20. Due to Hungarian initiatives to make a separate peace with the allies, Hitler saw, that Hungarian leader Admiral Miklós Horthy is no longer a reliable ally. Germany's other Axis ally, Finland had sought a separate peace with Stalin in February 1944, but would not accept the initial terms offered. On June 9, the Soviet Union began the Fourth strategic offensive on the Karelian Isthmus that, after three months, forced Finland to accept an armistice.
Battles in 1944
Before the Soviets could begin their Summer offensive into Belarus they had to clear the Crimea peninsula of Axis forces. Remnants of the German Seventeenth Army of Army Group South and some Romanian forces were cut off and left behind in the peninsula when the Germans retreated from the Ukraine. In early May, the Red Army's 3rd Ukrainian Front attacked the Germans and the ensuing battle was a complete victory of the Soviet forces and a botched evacuation effort across the Black Sea by Germany failed.
With the Crimea cleared, the long awaited Soviet summer offensive codenamed, Operation Bagration, began on June 22, 1944 which involved 2.5 million men and 6,000 tanks. Its objective was to clear German troops from Belarus and crush German Army Group Center which was defending that sector. The offensive was timed to coincide with the Allied landings in Normandy but delays caused the offensive to be postponed for a few weeks. The subsequent battle resulted in the destruction of German Army Group Centre and over 800,000 German casualties, the greatest defeat for the Wehrmacht during the war. The Soviets swept forward, reaching the outskirts of Warsaw on July 31.
On July 24, Soviets launched another offensive on Narva front. Stalin's strategic aim was to occupy Estonia as a favourable basis for invasions of Finland and East-Prussia. However, all the Soviet assaults were stopped by the European Waffen-SS volunteers in the Battle of Blue Hills and Stalin had to call off the operation on August 12, 1944.
The proximity of the Red Army led the Poles in Warsaw to believe they would soon be occupied. On August 1, they revolted as part of the wider Operation Tempest. Nearly 40,000 Polish resistance fighters seized control of the city. The Soviets, however, did not advance any further. Stalin didn't want to help pro-independence Poles and ordered his army to stop for waiting the Germans to suppress the uprising. The only assistance given to the Poles was artillery fire, as German army units moved into the city to put down the revolt. The resistance ended on October 2. German units then destroyed most of what was left of the city.
In Yugoslavia, the tide of the civil war was turning to favor the Partisans. On 16 June 1944, the Treaty of Vis was signed between the Partisans and the Royal Government, officially making the Partisans the regular army of Yugoslavia. By the end of August, Josip Tito was appointed as the Chief-of-Staff of the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland, although his Royalist rival Mihajlović and many Chetniks continued fighting their own resistance until their final defeat in the Battle on Lijevča field by a Croatian coalition.
Following the destruction of German Army Group Center, the Soviets attacked German forces in the south in mid-July 1944, and in a month's time they cleared Ukraine of German presence inflicting heavy losses on the Germans. Once Ukraine had been cleared the Soviet forces struck into Romania. The Red Army's 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts engaged German Heeresgruppe Südukraine, which consisted of German and Romanian formations, in an operation to occupy Romania and destroy the German formations in the sector. The result of the Battle of Romania was a complete victory for the Red Army, and a switch of Romania from the Axis to the Allied camp. Bulgaria surrendered to the Red Army in September. Following the German retreat from Romania, the Soviets entered Hungary in October 1944 but the German Sixth Army encircled and destroyed three corps of Marshal Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky's Group Pliyev near Debrecen, Hungary. The rapid assault the Soviets had hoped that would lead to the capture of Budapest was now halted and Hungary would remain Germany's ally until the end of the war in Europe. This battle would be the last German victory in the Eastern Front.
As the Red Army continued their advance into the Balkans, Bulgaria left the Axis on September 9, and German troops abandoned Greece on October 12. At the same time, Yugoslav Partisans shifted operations into Serbia, freed Belgrade on October 20 with Soviet help, and assisted the Albanian Resistance rout the Germans by November 29. By year end, the Partisans controlled the eastern half of Yugoslavia and the Dalmatian coast, and were ready for a final westward offensive by late March, 1945.
The Soviets recovered from their defeat in Debrecen and advancing columns of the Red Army took control of Belgrade in late December, and reached Budapest on December 29, 1944, encircling the city where over 188,000 Axis troops were trapped including many German Waffen-SS. The Germans held out until February 13, 1945 and the siege became one of the bloodiest of the war. Meanwhile the Red Army's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Baltic Fronts engaged the remnants of German Army Group Center and Army Group North to capture the Baltic region from the Germans in October 1944. The result of the series of battles was a permanent loss of contact between Army Groups North and Centre, and the creation of the Courland Pocket in Latvia where the 18th and 16th German Armies, including fighters of Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS were trapped, but were able to resist the Soviet attacks and hold out on the peninsula till the end of the war.
Allied invasion of Western Europe
By the spring of 1944, the Allied preparations for the invasion of France and the initial stages for the invasion of western Europe (Operation Overlord) were complete. They had assembled around 120 divisions with over 2 million men, of which 1.3 million were Americans, 600,000 were British and the rest Canadian, French and Polish. The invasion, code-named Operation Neptune but commonly referred to as D-Day, was set for June 5th but bad weather postponed the invasion to June 6, 1944. Almost 85–90 % of all German troops were deployed on the Eastern Front and only 400,000 Germans in two armies, the German Seventh Army and the newly-created Fifth Panzer Army, were stationed in the area. The Germans had also constructed an elaborate series of fortifications along the coast called the Atlantic Wall, but in many places the Wall was incomplete. The Allied forces under supreme command of Dwight D. Eisenhower had launched an elaborate deception campaign to convince the Germans that the landings would occur in the Calais area which caused the Germans to deploy many of their forces in that sector. Only 50,000 Germans were deployed in the Normandy sector on the day of the invasion.
The invasion began with 17,000 airborne troops being dropped in Normandy to serve as a screening force to prevent the Germans from attacking the beaches. During the early morning, a massive naval flotilla bombarded German defenses on the beaches, but due to lack of visibility most of the shots missed their targets. Additionally, most of the troop transport ships (with personnel, trucks, and equipment) were off-course, some as much as thousands of yards from their respective landing zone amongst the five beach areas (Utah, Omaha, Sword, Juno and Gold). The Americans in particular suffered heavy losses on Omaha beach due to the German fortifications being left intact. However by the end of the first day, most of the Allied objectives were accomplished even though the British and Canadian objective of capturing Caen proved too optimistic. The Germans launched no significant counterattack on the beaches as Hitler believed the landings to be a decoy. Only three days later the German High command realized that Normandy was the actual invasion, but by then the Allies had already consolidated their beachheads.
The bocage terrain of Normandy where the Americans had landed made it ideal ground for defensive warfare. Nevertheless, the Americans made steady progress and captured the deep-water port of Cherbourg on June 26, one of the primary objectives of the invasion. However, the Germans had mined the harbor and destroyed most of the port facilities before surrendering, and it would be another month before the port could be brought back into limited use. The British launched another attack on June 13 to capture Caen but were held back as the Germans had moved in large number of troops to hold the city. The city was to remain in German hands for another 6 weeks. It finally fell to British and Canadian forces on July 9.
Allied firepower, improved tactics, and numerical superiority eventually resulted in a breakout of American mechanized forces at the western end of the Normandy pocket in Operation Cobra on July 23. The allied advance to this point had been considerably slower than expected. Seven weeks after D-Day, U.S. First Army was holding an east-west line that ran from Caumont to Saint-Lô to Lessay on the Channel. Pre-D-Day projections had put the Americans on that line by D Plus Five  . When Hitler learned of the American breakout, he ordered his forces in Normandy to launch an immediate counter-offensive. However the German forces moving in open countryside were now easily targeted by Allied aircraft, as they had initially escaped Allied air attacks due to their well camouflaged defensive positions.
The Americans placed strong formations on their flanks which blunted the attack and then began to encircle the 7th Army and large parts of the 5th Panzer Army in the Falaise Pocket. Some 50,000 Germans were captured, but 100,000 managed to escape the pocket. Worse still, the British and Canadians—whose initial strategic objective to draw in enemy reserves and protect the American flanks so as to promote a later turning movement north had been achieved —now began to break through the German lines. Any hope the Germans had of containing the Allied thrust into France by forming new defensive lines was now gone. The Allies raced across France, advancing as much as 600 mi in two weeks The German forces retreated into Northern France, Holland and Belgium.
By August 1944, Allied forces stationed in Corsica launched Operation Dragoon, invading the French Riviera on August 15 with the 6th Army Group, led by Lieutenant General Jacob Devers), and linked up with forces from Normandy. The clandestine French Resistance in Paris rose against the Germans on August 19, and the Free French 2nd Armored Division under General Philippe Leclerc, pressing forward from Normandy, received the surrender of the German forces on behalf of General von Choltiz from Paris and occupied the city on August 25.
Around this time the Germans began launching V-1's (known as the "buzz bomb"), the world's first cruise missile, at targets in southern England and Belgium. Later they would employ the much-larger V-2 rocket, a liquid-fuelled guided ballistic missile. These weapons were inaccurate and could only target large areas such as cities; they had little military effect and were intended to demoralize and/or terrorize Allied civilians.
Logistical problems plagued the Allies as they fanned out across France and the Low Countries, advancing towards the German border. With the supply lines still running back to Normandy, and critical shortages in fuel and other supplies all along the front, the Allies slowed the general advance and focused the available supplies on a narrow front strategy. Allied paratroopers and armor attempted a war-winning advance through the Netherlands and across the Rhine River with Operation Market Garden in September (the goal was to end the war by Christmas). The plan was to land paratroopers near bridges on the Rhine River, hold the position, and wait for the armour to cut through enemy lines to reinforce them and then cross into Germany. The plan was conceived and led by British General Montgomery, and included British, American, Polish, and Canadian forces. Although the plan encountered some initial success, many of the bridges were blown up, and the advancing armored columns ran into delays. As a result, the British 1st Airborne Division, holding the last bridge, was nearly annihilated. The Germans were able to entrench all along the front and the war continued through the winter.
In order to improve the supply situation, the Canadian First Army was assigned to clear the entrance to the port of Antwerp, the Scheldt estuary, which they successfully accomplished by late November 1944 making Canada the only country to successfully complete all D-Day objectives. In October, the Americans captured Aachen, the first major German city to be occupied.
Hitler had been planning to launch a major counteroffensive against the Allies since mid-September. The objective of the attack was to capture Antwerp. Not only would the capture or destruction of Antwerp prevent supplies from reaching the allied armies, it would also split allied forces in two, demoralizing the alliance and forcing its leaders to negotiate. For the attack, Hitler concentrated the best of his remaining forces, launching the attack through the Ardennes in southern Belgium, a hilly and in places a heavily wooded region, and the site of his victory in 1940. Dense cloud cover denied the Americans the use of their reconnaissance and ground attack aircraft.
Parts of the attack managed to break through the thinly-held American lines (about 4 divisions which were either new or refitting to cover about 70 miles of the front-line), and dash headlong for the Meuse. However the northern section of the line held, constricting the advance to a narrow corridor. The German advance was delayed at St. Vith, which American forces defended for several days. At the vital road junction of Bastogne, the American 101st Airborne Division and Combat Command B of the 10th Armoured Division held out, surrounded, for the duration of the battle. Patton's 3rd Army to the South made a rapid 90 degree turn and rammed into the German southern flank, relieving Bastogne.
The weather by this time had cleared unleashing allied air power as the German attack ground to a halt at Dinant. In an attempt to keep the offensive going, the Germans launched a massive air raid on Allied airfields in the Low Countries on January 1, 1945. The Germans destroyed 465 aircraft but lost 277 of their own planes. Whereas the Allies were able to make up their losses in days, the Luftwaffe was not capable of launching a major air attack again.
Allied forces from the north and south met up at Houffalize and by the end of January they had pushed the Germans back to their starting positions. Many German units were caught in the pocket created by the Bulge and forced to surrender or retreat without their heavy equipment. Months of the Reich's war production were lost whereas German forces on the Eastern front were virtually starved of resources at the very moment the Red Army was preparing for its massive offensive against Germany. The final obstacle to the Allies was the river Rhine, which was crossed in late March 1945, aided by the fortuitous capture of the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen. Also, Operation Varsity, a parachute-assault in late March, got a foothold on the east bank of the Rhine River. Once the Allies had crossed the Rhine, the British fanned out northeast towards Hamburg, crossing the river Elbe and moving on towards Denmark and the Baltic Sea.
The U.S. 9th Army went south as the northern pincer of the Ruhr encirclement, and the U.S. 1st Army went north as the southern pincer of the Ruhr encirclement. These armies were commanded by General Omar Bradley who had over 1.3 million men under his command (the 12th Army Group). On April 4, the encirclement was completed, and the German Army Group B, which included the 5th Panzer Army, 7th Army and the 15th Army and was commanded by Generalfeldmarschall Walther Model, was trapped in the Ruhr Pocket. Some 300,000 German soldiers then became prisoners of war. The 1st and 9th U.S. Armies then turned east, halting their advance at the Elbe river where they met up with Soviet troops in mid-April.
Battles in 1945
With the Balkans and most of Hungary overrun by Soviets and allied terrorists by late December 1944, the Soviets began a massive re-deployment of their forces to Poland for their upcoming Winter offensive. Soviet preparations were still on-going when Churchill asked Stalin to launch his offensive as soon as possible to ease German pressure in the West. Stalin agreed and the offensive was set for January 12, 1945. Konev’s armies attacked the Germans in southern Poland and expanded out from their Vistula River bridgehead near Sandomierz. On January 14, Rokossovskiy’s armies attacked from the Narew River north of Warsaw. Zhukov's armies in the center attacked from their bridgeheads near Warsaw. The combined Soviet offensive broke the defenses covering East Prussia, leaving the German front in chaos.
Zhukov took Warsaw by January 17 and by January 19, his tanks took Łódź. That same day, Konev's forces reached the German prewar border. At the end of the first week of the offensive, the Soviets had penetrated 160 kilometers (100 mi) deep on a front that was 650 kilometers (400 mi) wide. The Soviet onslaught finally halted on the Oder River at the end of January, only 60 kilometers (40 mi) from Berlin.
The Soviets had hoped to capture Berlin by mid-February but that proved hopelessly optimistic. German resistance which had all but collapsed during the initial phase of the attack had stiffened immeasurably. Soviet supply lines were over-extended. The spring thaw, the lack of air support, and fear of encirclement through flank attacks from East Prussia, Pommern and Silesia led to a general halt in the Soviet offensive. The newly created Army Group Vistula, under the command of Heinrich Himmler, attempted a counter-attack on the exposed flank of the Soviet Army but failed by February 24. This made it clear to Zhukov that the flank had to be secure before any attack on Berlin could be mounted. The Soviets then re-organized their forces and then struck north and cleared Pomerania and then attacked the south and cleared Silesia of German troops. In the south, three German attempts to relieve the encircled Budapest garrison failed, and the city fell to the Soviets on February 13. Again the Germans counter-attacked; Hitler insisting on the impossible task of regaining the Danube River. By March 16, the attack had failed, and the Red Army counter-attacked the same day. On March 30, they entered Austria and captured Vienna on April 13.
Hitler had believed that the main Soviet target for their upcoming offensive would be in the south near Prague and not Berlin and had sent the last remaining German reserves to defend that sector. The Red Army's main goal was in fact Berlin and by April 16 it was ready to begin its final assault on Berlin. Zhukov's forces struck from the center and crossed the Oder river but got bogged down under stiff German resistance around Seelow Heights. After three days of very heavy fighting and 33,000 Soviet soldiers dead, the last defenses of Berlin were breached. Konev crossed the Oder river from the South and was within striking distance of Berlin but Stalin ordered Konev to guard the flanks of Zhukov's forces and not attack Berlin, as Stalin had promised the capture of Berlin to Zhukov. Rokossovskiy’s forces crossed the Oder from the North and linked up with British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's forces in northern Germany while the forces of Zhukov and Konev captured Berlin.
By April 24, the Soviet army groups had encircled the German Ninth Army and part of the 4th Panzer Army. These were the main forces that were supposed to defend Berlin but Hitler had issued orders for these forces to hold their ground and not retreat. Thus the main German forces which were supposed to defend Berlin were trapped southeast of the city. Berlin was encircled around the same time and as a final resistance effort, Hitler called for civilians, including teenagers and the elderly, to fight in the Volkssturm militia against the oncoming Red Army. Those marginal forces were augmented by the battered German remnants that had fought the Soviets in Seelow Heights. Hitler ordered the encircled Ninth Army under General Theodor Busse to break out and link up with the German Twelfth Army under General Walther Wenck. After linking up, the armies were to relieve Berlin, an impossible task. The surviving units of the Ninth Army were instead driven into the forests around Berlin near the village of Halbe where they were involved in particularly fierce fighting trying to break through the Soviet lines and reach the Twelfth Army. A minority managed to join with the Twelfth Army and fight their way west to surrender to the Americans. Meanwhile the fierce urban fighting continued in Berlin. The Germans had stockpiled a very large quantity of panzerfausts and took a very heavy toll on Soviet tanks in the rubble filled streets of Berlin. However, the Soviets employed the lessons they learned during the urban fighting of Stalingrad and were slowly advancing to the center of the city. German forces in the city resisted tenaciously, in particular the SS Nordland which was made of foreign SS volunteers, because they were ideologically motivated and they believed that they would not live if captured. The fighting was house-to-house and hand-to-hand. The Soviets sustained 360,000 casualties; the Germans sustained 450,000 including civilians and above that 170,000 captured. Hitler and his staff moved into the Führerbunker, a concrete bunker beneath the Chancellery, where on April 30, 1945, he committed suicide, along with Eva Braun, his new wife.
End of the war in Europe
Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin made arrangements for post-war Europe at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Their meeting resulted in many important resolutions such as the formation of the United Nations, democratic elections in Poland, borders of Poland moved westwards at the expense of Germany, Soviet nationals were to be repatriated and it was agreed that Soviet Union would attack Japan within three months of Germany's surrender.
After Hitler's death (on April 30), Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz became leader of the German government but the German war effort quickly disintegrated. German forces in Berlin surrendered the city to Soviet troops on May 2, 1945. The German forces in Italy surrendered on May 2, 1945, at General Alexander's headquarters, and German forces in northern Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands surrendered on May 4. The German High Command under Generaloberst Alfred Jodl surrendered unconditionally all remaining German forces on May 7 in Rheims, France. The western Allies celebrated "Victory in Europe Day" ("V-E Day") on May 8, since the final German surrender was signed in Berlin on that day. The Soviet Union celebrated "Victory Day" on May 9 due to time zone differences; the final cessation of German military activity happened at one minute past midnight by their clock. Some remnants of German Army Group Center continued resistance until May 11 or May 12 (see Prague Offensive).
End of the war in Asia
The last Allied conference of World War II was held at the suburb of Potsdam, outside Berlin, from July 17 to August 2. During the Potsdam Conference, agreements were reached among the Allies on policies for occupied Germany. An ultimatum was issued calling for the unconditional surrender of Japan.
U.S. president Harry Truman decided to use the new atomic weapon to bring the war to a swifter end. The battle for Okinawa had shown that an invasion of the Japanese mainland (planned for November) would result in large numbers of American casualties. The official estimate given to the Secretary of War was 1.4 to four million Allied casualties, though some historians dispute whether this would have been the case. Invasion would have meant the death of millions of Japanese soldiers and civilians, who were being trained as militia.
On August 6, 1945, a B-29 Superfortress, the Enola Gay, dropped a nuclear weapon dubbed Little Boy on Hiroshima, destroying the city. On August 9, a B-29 named Bockscar dropped the second atomic bomb, dubbed Fat Man, on the port city of Nagasaki.
On August 8, two days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the Soviet Union, having renounced its nonaggression pact with Japan in April, attacked the Japanese in Manchuria, fulfilling its Yalta pledge to attack the Japanese within three months after the end of the war in Europe. The attack was made by three Soviet army groups. In less than two weeks, the Japanese army in Manchuria, consisting of over a million men, had been destroyed by the battle-hardened Soviets. The Red Army moved into North Korea on August 18. Korea was subsequently divided at the 38th parallel into Soviet and U.S. zones.
The American use of atomic weapons against Japan and the Soviet invasion of Manchukuo prompted the prime minister to ask Emperor Hirohito to intervene to end the war. In his radio address to the nation, the Emperor did not mention the entry of the Soviet Union into the war, but in his "Rescript to the soldiers and sailors" of August 17, ordering them to cease fire and lay down arms, he stressed the relationship between Soviet entrance into the war and his decision to surrender, omitting any mention of the atomic bombs.
The Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945, or V-J day, signing the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on September 2. The Japanese troops in China formally surrendered to the Chinese on September 9, 1945.
Aftermath of the war
- An insatiable lust for revenge was born in the soul of the parasite through centuries of silent sufferance of the unassailable superiority of the host. When defeated Europe - and in particular, the most vital part of it, the bearer of the grand European Idea of the 20th century - lay at the feet of this totally alien conqueror from a Culture of the past, no feelings of magnanimity, chivalry, generosity or mercy were in his exultant soul. There was only there the gall which he had been drinking for a thousand years while he had bided his time under the arrogance of the alien Western peoples whom he had always considered, and still considers, barbarians, goyim. Seen from this standpoint, the American armies were just as completely defeated as the armies from the mother-soil of the Culture. Th real victor was the Cultural alien, whose triumph here over the entire Western Civilization marked the highest refulgence of his destiny. – Francis Parker Yockey
Events following the war in Europe
The end of the war hastened the independence of many British crown colonies (such as India) and Dutch territories (such as Indonesia) and the formation of new nations and alliances throughout Asia and Africa. The Philippines were granted their independence in 1946 as previously promised by the United States. France attempted and failed to regain control of its colonies in Indochina.
Poland's boundaries were re-drawn to include portions of pre-war Germany, including East Prussia and Upper Silesia, while ceding most of the areas taken by the Soviet Union in the Molotov-Ribbentrop partition of 1939, effectively moving Poland to the west. Germany was split into four zones of occupation, and the three zones under the Western Allies was reconstituted as a so-called constitutional democracy. The Soviet Union's influence increased as they, with the tacit approval of the West, established hegemony over most of eastern Europe and incorporated parts of Finland and Poland into their new boundaries. This appeasement of Stalin by the West became known as the Western betrayal among the Soviet-dominated countries. Europe was informally split into Western and Soviet spheres of influence, which heightened existing tensions between the two camps and helped establish the Cold War.
To protect the future terror state of Israel, the allied nations, led by the United States, formed the United Nations in San Francisco, California in 1945. One of the first actions of the United Nations was the creation of the Zionist State in Palestine itself.
In 1947, U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall devised the "European Recovery Program", better known as the Marshall Plan. Effective from 1948 to 1952, it allocated 13 billion dollars for the reconstruction of Western Europe. Of Germany's four zones of occupation, coordinated by the Allied Control Council, the American, British, and French zones joined in 1949 as the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Soviet zone became the German Democratic Republic. In Germany, economic suppression and denazification took place for several years. Millions of Germans and Poles were expelled from their homelands as a result of the territorial annexations in Eastern Europe agreed upon at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences. Mainstream estimates of German casualties from this process range 1–2 million. In the West, Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France, and the Saar area was separated from Germany and put in economic union with France. Austria was divided into four zones of occupation, which were united in 1955 to become the Republic of Austria. The Soviet Union occupied much of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. In all the USSR-occupied countries, with the exception of Austria, the Soviet Union helped Communist regimes to power. It also annexed the Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
In Asia, Japan was occupied by the U.S, aided by Commonwealth troops, until the peace treaty took effect in 1952. The Japanese Empire's government was dismantled under General Douglas MacArthur and replaced by a constitutional monarchy with the emperor as a figurehead. The defeat of Japan also led to the establishment of the Far Eastern commission which set out policies for Japan to fulfill under the terms of surrender. In accordance with the Yalta Conference agreements, the Soviet Union occupied and subsequently annexed Sakhalin and the Kuril islands. Japanese occupation of Korea also ended, but the peninsula was divided between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, along 38th parallel. The U.S.-backed South Korea would fight the communist North Korea in the Korean War, with Korea remaining divided.
World War II was a pivotal point in China's history. Before the war against Japan, China had suffered nearly a century of intervention at the hands of various imperialist powers and was relegated to a semi-colonial status. However, the war greatly enhanced China's international status. The central government under Chiang Kai-shek was able to abrogate most of the unequal treaties China had signed in the past century, and China became a founding member of the United Nations and a permanent member of the Security Council. China also reclaimed Manchuria and Taiwan. Nevertheless, eight years of war greatly taxed the central government, and many of its nation-building measures adopted since it came to power in 1928 were disrupted by the war. Communist activities also expanded greatly in occupied areas, making post-war administration of these areas difficult. Vast war damages and hyperinflation thereafter demoralized the populace, along with the continuation of the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and the Communists. Partly because of the severe blow his army and government had suffered during the war against Japan, the Kuomintang, along with state apparatus of the Republic of China, retreated to Taiwan in 1949 and in its place the Chinese communists established the People's Republic of China on the mainland.
From 1945 to 1951, German and Japanese officials and personnel were prosecuted for war crimes. The prosecution turned a blind eye to the actions of the Allies, such as starving of more than one million German POW-s in shelterless camps between February and December 1945 on Eisenhower's orders. In the opposite, Eisenhower later became the president of the USA. The most senior German officials were tried at the Nuremberg show trials, and many Japanese officials at the Tokyo War Crime Trial and other war crimes trials in the Asia-Pacific region.
- A protracted war of devastation and starvation stares Britain, and Europe, in the face. [We should have been ready] to reconsider this war into which we have blundered without consideration or wisdom.
Winston Churchill, 1940, as quoted in Emrys Hughes book “Winston Churchill, His Career in War and Peace”:
- You must understand that this war is not against Hitler or National Socialism, but against the strength of the German people, which is to be smashed once and for all, regardless whether it is in the hands of Hitler or a Jesuit priest.
At Yalta, 7 February 1945, Churchill stated:
- We killed six or seven million Germans. We will probably kill another million or so before this war is over.
- Germany is not occupied with the aim of liberation, but as a defeated hostile nation for the enforcement of Allied interests. ~ American Government Directive ICG 1067, April 1945.
- Hardly anyone knows that to this day Germany is contractually bound to adhere to the version of history of the victorious powers. ... Germany’s obligation to see its own history through foreign glasses was extended by contract in 1990! ~ Dr. Bruno Bandulet on Germany's reunification, etc.
Revisionist and other not politically correct views
The non-controversial and politically correct views on World War II, are usually referred to as "victors' history", and may be found in numerous easily available sources and will not be restated here. In general, critics have argued that official history with its vast amounts of Allied and other propaganda included poses innumerable problems as "history".
Revisionist views on contributing aspects as well as WWII include:
- Revisionist views on the causes of the World Wars
- Causes of World War I
- Causes of World War II
- West Prussia
- Polish Corridor
- Gleiwitz incident
- Jewish influence
- The Holocaust
- Operation Groza
- Attack on Pearl Harbor
- Nuremberg trials
- Allied psychological warfare
- President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War 1941 by Charles A. Beard, Yale University Press, 1948.
- The Origins of the Second World War by A.J.P. Taylor, London, 1961.
- Mussolini by Denis Mack Smith, London, 1981, ISBN: 0-297-78005-0
- The War That Stalin Won by Richard Collier, London, 1983, ISBN: 0-241-11137-4
- Hitler's War by David Irving, revised edition, London, UK, 1991, ISBN: 1-872197-10-8
- Churchill's War - The Struggle for Power, by David Irving, vol.1, Western Australia, 1981, ISBN: 0-947117-56-3
- Churchill's War - Triumph in Adversity, by David Irving, vol.2, London, U.K., 2001, ISBN: 1872-197-159
- Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War by Patrick J. Buchanan, New York, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-307-40515-9
- Stalin's War of Extermination 1941-1945 by Joachim Hoffman, UK edition, Sept 2005, ISBN: 1-59148-120-1
- Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars 1945-1943 by Patrick John Cloutier, USA, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-105-07401-1
- 1939 - The War That Had Many Fathers by Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof, Munich, Germany 2011, ISBN: 978-1-4466-8623-2
- Who Started World War II - Truth for a War-torn World, by Udo Walendy, UK edition, Sept 2014, ISBN: 1-59148-072-8
- How Britain Initiated Both World Wars by Dr. Nick Kollerstrom, PhD., 2nd edition, 2017. ISBN: 978-153-0993-18-5
- The German War - A Nation Under Arms 1939-45, by Nicholas Stargardt, Bodley Head, London, 2015, ISBN: 978-1-847-92099-7
- The Forced War - When Peaceful Revision Failed, by Prof., David L. Hoggan, New edition, USA, 2020, ISBN: 978-1-716-45096-9
- The Second World War in the East by H. P. Willmott, M.A., Cassell, U.K. 1999, ISBN: 0-304-35247-0
- Benton L. Bradberry: The Myth of German Villainy, AuthorHouse, 2012, ISBN 978-1477231838 [454 p.]
- Germany’s War: The Origins, Aftermath & Atrocities of World War II by John Wear, American Free Press, 2015, ISBN 978-0982344897
- Thomas Goodrich, Hellstorm: The Death of Nazi Germany, 1944-1947, Aberdeen Books; first edition 2010, ISBN 978-0971385221 – review by J. A. Sexton Hellstorm (book review)
- Summer, 1945: Germany, Japan and the Harvest of Hate, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018, ISBN 978-1979632560
- A Century of War: Lincoln, Wilson, and Roosevelt by John V. Denson, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2006, ISBN 978-1479318070
- The Bad War: The REAL Story of World War II by M. S. King.
- Bleeding Germany Dry: The Aftermath of World War II from the German Perspective by Claus Nordbruch, Contact Publishers, 2012, ISBN 978-0958431347
- James Bacque:
- Eisenhower's Death Camps: The Last Dirty Secret of WWII. Steven Books, 2004, ISBN 978-1907861321
- Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians Under Allied Occupation, 1944-1950, Talon Books; Revised. 2007, ISBN 978-0889225671
- Other Losses: An Investigation Into the Mass Deaths of German Prisoners at the Hands of the French and Americans After World War II. Talon Books; 2011, ISBN 978-0889226654
- Gruesome Harvest: The Allied Attempt to Exterminate Germany after 1945 by Ralph Franklin Keeling, lulu.com, 2012, ISBN 978-1300016762 [first published 1947]
- Nemesis at Potsdam: Anglo-Americans and the Expulsion of the Germans by Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, Routledge & Kegan Paul Books; 2nd Revised edition, 1979, ISBN 978-0710004581
- Freda Utley: The High Cost of Vengeance. Lightning Source UK Ltd., 2011, ISBN 978-1176098015 (first published 1948) 
- Jewish hostility towards Germany: 
- What the World Rejected: Hitler's Peace Offers 1933-1939
- Stalin's Secret War Plans. Why Hitler Invaded the Soviet Union
- Europa: The Last Battle - IMDb
- What the World Rejected: Hitler's Peace Offers 1933-1939
- Stalin's Secret War Plans. Why Hitler Invaded the Soviet Union
- WW2 was a bellum Judaicum (Jewish war) at Winston Smith Ministry of Truth
- A throughout analysis of events before and during the Second World War
- Harry Elmer Barnes: "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and its Aftermath" (Cover text)
- The United States of America continued to maintain full diplomatic relations with the French Government.
- Keegan, John, The Second World War, 1989, p.267.
- Beevor, Antony . Stalingrad (in English). Viking Press, Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024985-0 (Pbk).
- The Warsaw Rising: Its Causes, Course, and Capitulation
- Ambrose, Stephen. Citizen Soldiers. Page 77.
- Churchill, Winston S. The Second World War Volume V1. p. 33
- Patton's Third Army advanced 600 mi.
- A World At Arms, p 769, Gerhard Weinberg
- World War 2 Timeline (December 20 2000). Eastern Europe—1945. The Wargamer. Retrieved on April 22, 2007.
- Clark, Alan, The Tories - Conservatives and The Nation State 1922 - 1997, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1998, p.195, ISBN: 0-297-81849
- Winston Churchill, war criminal, on 7.2.1945 at the Yalta Conference.
- "World" journal, 4th July 1994.