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World War II

World War II was the largest military conflict in US history. World War II was an extremely complex event, with much more to talk about than we have time to right now, but I do want to highlight a few main points about World War II that you should know.

First of all, it started in 1939 and ended in 1945. Now, when talking about the war in the context of the US, US did not enter the war until 1941.

Mini-test: Social Studies – World War II 

61. In _______, the United States entered World War II, which had started in________ and ended in _______.
A.
B.
C.
D.
62. Which of the following statements about World War II is incorrect?
A.
B.
C.
D.

 

Next Lesson: The Cold War: The United States and Russia

The transcript is for your convenience
World War II is essentially the Allied powers versus the Axis powers. So, instead of just two countries fighting against each other, it was groups of countries fighting against other groups of countries who were joined together by treaties.

The Allied powers were primarily made up of the US, the Soviet Union, Britain, and France, whereas the Axis powers were primarily Italy, Germany, and Japan. So, they were many more smaller countries on both sides of the conflict, but those were the main countries that had the largest influence in the war. Essentially, what happened is Japan wanted to become a large power in East Asia. So, it was already at war over there prior to 1939. Now, Germany started to invade Poland, and then France and Britain declared war on Germany. Basically, Adolf Hitler, the leader of Germany, wanted to increase the size of Germany by conquering other countries around it, and making those countries part of Germany.

In addition, the Holocaust refers to the harsh treatment of Jews and other political enemies of Adolf Hitler. Different political enemies were put into concentration camps, where they were treated extremely poorly, and many of them died. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history. Over 100 million people were involved in it. So, as you can imagine, millions and millions of people died from the conflict. It was interesting because during World War II, countries weren’t involved in the war, and involved in domestic things. All their domestic resources were put into the war, their scientific resources, their manufacturing resources, all were put into trying to win the war.

World War II is the only time in a war that nuclear warfare has been put into place. What happened in 1941 is Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, a port in Hawaii of the US. So, that’s when the US started joining the war in 1941. So, to help bring about the end of the war in what is known as D-Day, Allied forces invaded the beach on Germany, and eventually conquered Berlin, and Germany had an unconditional surrender that helped bring about the end of the war in Germany.

But since it was a World War, and it was taking place all throughout the world, simply conquering and capturing Berlin  was not enough to bring an end to a conflict. Japan was still alive and well during that time. So, by the US dropping two atomic bombs on cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan, the US was helped to bring about Japan’s surrender.

When World War II was over, world powers did not want to see another war like this come about. So, the United Nations was created, with larger countries and more influential countries in the world having a larger say in the dealings of the United Nations. Also, the Cold War, which came later after World War II,  came about because of World War II. World War II basically set the stage for the Cold War because since the Soviet Union and the US were both on the Allied side, they both came out of the war as winners, and were superpowers. And so, the two superpowers kind of faced off in the Cold War, which was to come after World War II.

Next Lesson: The Cold War: The United States and Russia