Thursday, November 27, 2008


SBD "Dauntless" dive bombers from USS Hornet (CV-8)
Battle of Midway
enlarged from a 16mm color motion picture film
Original uploader Palm dogg at wikipedia

Assault troops await orders on D-day
From The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Advance behind a tank assault
From The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

World War II, one the darkest periods in the history of the world, raged from 1939 to 1945 and involved almost the entire world.
Countries were destroyed, created or changed forever. Fifty million people lost their lives between 1939 and 1945 and hundreds of millions more suffered injuries and wounds. Yet many today do not know when, where, or by whom the war was fought or that their fathers and grandfathers fought battles from the volcanic islands of the South Pacific Ocean to the icy waters of the North Atlantic; or from the jungles of Burma to the deserts of North Africa; or from the grassy steppes of Russia to the skies over Britain.
(Copyright © 2008 OSU Department of History)
World war II was fought predominantly in Europe and across the Pacific and eastern Asia, and pitted the Axis powers of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Japan against the Allied nations of Great Britain, France, China, the United States, and Soviet Union. While the Axis enjoyed early success, they were gradually beaten back, with both Italy and Germany falling to Allied troops and Japan surrendering after the use of the atomic bomb.
The seeds of World War II were sown in the Treaty of Versailles which ended World War I. Crippled economically by the terms of the treaty and the Great Depression, Germany embraced the fascist Nazi Party. Led by Adolf Hitler, the rise of the Nazi party mirrored the ascent of Benito Mussolini's fascist government in Italy. Taking total control of the government in 1933, Hitler remilitarized Germany, stressed racial purity, and sought "living space" for the German people. In 1938, he annexed Austria and bullied Britain and France into allowing him to take the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. The following year, Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union and invaded Poland on September 1, beginning the war.
On September 1, the beginning of the German attack, Great Britain and France sent Hitler an ultimatum - withdraw German forces from Poland or Great Britain and France would go to war against Germany.
On September 3, with Germany's forces penetrating deeper into Poland, Great Britain and France both declared war on Germany.
World War II had begun.
(©2008, a part of The New York Times Company)

German conquests in Europe during World War II.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benito Mussolini & Adolf Hitler, 1940
Photograph Courtesy of
the National Archives & Records Administration

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States of America was forced to emerge from years of isolationism and enter the worst conflict in world history.
Early U.S. involvement in the war was on an indirect level, as America delivered valuable supplies to Allied comrades. However, that involvement became official after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a day that in the immortal words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt would "live in infamy." With U.S. aid, the Allies began to recapture the territory which had been lost to the Nazis in the early days of the war. Victories in North Africa and Sicily in 1943 exerted pressure on the Axis powers, and Italy ceased to be an enemy after Mussolini was ousted in the summer of 1943.
American, British, and Canadian troops invaded German-occupied France on June 6, 1944 -- an event which would forever be known as D-Day. The invasion and subsequent Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944 eventually turned the tide of the war in favor of the Allies. Germany's defeat became a foregone conclusion when Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945; final surrender would come eight days later.
In the Pacific Theater, the U.S. and Japan waged a back-and-forth struggle, with Japan scoring early victories in the Philippines and the South Pacific. The U.S. halted the Japanese advance at the Battle of Midway on June 5, 1942, one of the first battles in naval history where neither of the main fleets came within sight of each other. Fierce fighting in Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima ensued, with the Allies coming out on top only after heavy losses. The Battle of the Philippines in 1944 was the beginning of the end for Japan, as the Japanese Navy was all but wiped out by Allied forces.
Fire bombs were dropped on Tokyo and other Japanese cities in early 1945, but despite the damage, Japan was still reluctant to concede defeat. U.S. President Harry Truman subsequently authorized the dropping of atom bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which occurred on August 6 and 9, 1945. Japan surrendered unconditionally on September 2, 1945.
The statistical results of World War II were stunning.: all told, approximately 61 million people lost their lives, with the Soviet Union (over 25 million) and China (11 million) suffering the most fatalities, most of them civilians. As a result of the war, the United States emerged as the world's leading military and economic power, and geopolitical boundaries changed radically, with the Soviet Union controlling most of Eastern Europe. The strained relations between these two nations would set the stage for the Cold War, which would define global politics for decades to come.
(©2008 Military Advantage)

Greatest Loss of Military Forces by Country in World War II:
1. Soviet Union 7,500,000
2. Germany 3,250,000
3. Japan 1,500,000
4. China 1,300,000 (estimation)
5. Britain 326,000
6. United States 292,000
Content provided by: Larry Gormley, HistoryShots
Source(s): The Historical Atlas of World War II, John Pimlot
Copyright © 2008 OSU Department of History

Bomber Production in World War II:
Year Germany Britain United States
1 1940 2,852 3,488 0
2 1941 3,373 4,668 0
3 1942 4,502 6,253 12,627
4 1943 4,800(est) 7,600(est) 29,365
5 1944 2,300(est)
Content provided by: Larry Gormley, HistoryShots
Copyright © 2008 OSU Department of History

Best Tanks of World War II:
Tank Model Country
1 T34 Soviet Union
2 Sherman United States
3 Panther German
4 Panzer IV German
5 Lee/Grant United States
6 Tiger I German
7 Churchill Britain
8 KV I Soviet Union
9 Matilda II Britain
Content provided by: Sanders Marbles
Copyright © 2008 OSU Department of History

World War II Timeline Picture Indexes:
1938 - 1939 - 1940 - 1941 - 1942 - 1943 - 1944 - 1945 images
Air War 1943 images
Air War 1944 images
Atlantic Battle images
Balkan Front images
Bataan Pictures
Casablanca Conference 1943 images
China Front images
Dilbert 1943 images
Eastern Front images
FDR images
FDR Memorial
German Armor
Italian Front images
Landing Craft images
Lendlease, Teheran, China images
North Africa 1942 images
Nuremberg images
Sicily 1943 images
Spanish Civil War 1936-39 images

When most people think of the images of World War II, they think in black in white. From the image of American G.I.s raising a flag over Iwo Jima to the picture of Russian soldiers on the Reichstag, most of the public photos from the war are in shades of grey. But that doesn't mean color photos weren't taken. In a new book, DER SPIEGEL presents 330 largely-unknown full color images from the last world war: Multimedia: Pictures of World War II (click here)

WWII pictures

Esso WWII Pictures
Photographs of the Pacific Battlefields of WWII by Richard Marin

Further reading:
The Home Front Volume I by Nancy M. Taylor NZ official history (1986)
The Home Front Volume II by Nancy M. Taylor NZ official history (1986)
Political and External Affairs by Frederick Lloyd Whitfeld (1958) NZ official history
© 2008 Victoria University of Wellington

British War Economy
By W. K. Hancock
Fellow of All Souls, Oxford; Chichele Professor of Economic History
and M. M. Gowing, B.Sc. (Econ.)
Edited by W.K. HANCOCK

Statistical Digest of the War
Transcribed and formatted for HTML by David Newton for the HyperWar Foundation
Edited by W.K. HANCOCK

British War Production
By M. M. Postan
Fellow of Peterhouse, Professor of Economic History in the University of Cambridge
Edited by W.K. HANCOCK

Problems of Social Policy
By Richard M. Titmuss
Edited by W.K. HANCOCK

WWII Timeline 1917-45


Richard said...

Forgive me if I'm wrong but the second picture looks like US marines in the pacific not D-day as stated in caption or was it all at the same time!?

The figures of dead are mind numbing did the russian leaders just not value other lives above their own?

I found this by accident but will have a good look around thank you RJM

rompedas said...

Hi Richard,
Thanks for the comment. They're African Americans in WWII.