High School > History > World War 2
Right after World War I, many nations took part in the Treaty of Versailles, hoping to put an end to any future global conflicts that might happen. However, this plan did not work, as just under 30 years later, another world war started. This progressed in huge part because Germany felt that they were at a great loss with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
On September 1, 1939, Germany, under the leadership of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland and prompted Great Britain and France to declare war against Germany. This sparked World War II, which was the most destructive war history has ever seen.
There were even more people who died during this war than in the first world war. Estimates put the numbers at 60 to 80 million casualties, both soldiers and civilians. To put these numbers into perspective, that is about 3% of the total population of the world in 1940.
The war lasted for six years, and the Nazis committed countless horrific war crimes during the war, most notably the Holocaust. Around 6 million Jews were brutally murdered in concentration camps all over Germany and its neighboring allies. This is a World War II legacy that the world and the history books will never forget.
The fighting was also not just limited to Europe. Russia and Japan have also joined the battles on both sides. Russia was fighting against Germany, while Japan was on the German side. The combination of Germany, Italy, and Japan were the main enemy of the time, known as the Axis Powers.
The war ended in 1945 after the United States unveiled its secret weapon, which was the atomic bomb. Two of them were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantly destroying the cities and their residents. On September 2, 1945, General Douglas McArthur accepted the terms of surrender of the Japanese, finally ending the war.