World War 2 continues to be the biggest mass warfare ever witnessed in the history of mankind. By taking into account the death toll, the countries involved, as well as the anguish it atrociously caused to the lives of millions affected, the war continues to be one of the historical events that are creepier than the scariest episode of the much-talked-about zombie apocalypse. For this reason, we find it compelling to compile some engrossing facts about the war, causes as well as those who were involved in the war to educate emerging generations on facts that shaped our modern history.
Causes of World War 2
Many historians believe World War 2 was long overdue even before it happened. According to some historians, the atrocious war, which started in 1939 was a continuation of World War I. Generally, the key thing that led to World War 2 was Japanese Militarism. The country began using military force in international affairs particularly in East Asia. As a result, the country had some fall-outs with the UK and the US. Then Italy and Germany joined.
Besides Japan’s militarism, other events also ushered in the dark era of 1939 and they include political takeover in Germany by Hitler and his Nazi Party (1933), Hitler’s hostile foreign policy, Italian Fascism in the 1920s and invasion of China in the 1930s. While all these are events leading to the historic war, the immediate cause of the war was German invading Poland in September 1939 which led France and Britain declaring war on the country.
See Also: 10 Disturbing Facts about World War 1
Countries Involved – The Allies And The Axis
World War II can be summed up as the war between the Allies and the Axis. While the Allies consisted of the US, Great Britain, the Soviet Union as well as China, the Axis was entirely made up of Germany, Japan, and Italy. By 1945, these two groups were joined by the thirteen listed countries; Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, British Commonwealth of Nations, Netherlands, Poland, Norway, South Africa, Yugoslavia, Greece, France, and the Philippines. Thereafter, other countries such as Belguim, India, Algeria and more joined in the fight.
World War II Leaders
World War II leaders include those at the helm of leadership both in the Allies and the Axis during the gruesome war. Allied leaders were strictly made up of Britain and those who fought in her favour during the war. The list includes Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister (1939-1940); Winston Churchill British Prime Minister (1940-1945); Joseph Stalin, Communist dictator of Russia (1928-1953); F. D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America (1933-1945); Harry Truman, became the leader at the final year of the second world war following the death of F. D. Roosevelt who declared war on Japan; Charles de Gaulle, French General who led the war against Germany. He became country’s Head of State after the victory. Others on the Allied list are William King, the then Prime Minister of Canada; Robert Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia and Michael Savage, Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Leaders of the Axis include Adolf Hitler, German Head of State; Hideki Tojo, Prime Minister of Japan (1941-1944); Emperor Hirohito, Emperor of Japan and Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister of Italy (1922-1943).
Propaganda of World War 2
The United States originally did not intend to get involved in the war but when the British failed to combat the Germans, they were left with no option but to use propaganda to lure the US to their side. They had to hire a group of well-known celebrities to spy on the US in their bid to convince them into joining the war. The group, which would later come to be known as “Baker Street Irregulars,” consisted of Ian Fleming—the creator of James Bond movie, Roald Dahl—an author of children books, Leslie Howard and Noel Coward. All the aforementioned recruits were chosen on the basis of charm, seduction, as well as their ability to influence foreigners. And they all did a stunning job for Britain. In fact, they managed to slip a made-up map of South America into President Roosevelt’s office, which actually convinced him that the Germans were planning to conquer the whole world. So if you’re wondering how the US got themselves entangled in World War II, then you technically know who to blame.
After America’s involvement, there was a mass conspiracy as the two countries engaged in generating propaganda. This was basically in a bid incite others into supporting the Allies and hate their rivals whose actions were presented in a very bad light. To cause anticipated hatred of their rivals by the rest of the world, the propagandists used the media as their major medium of conveying the propaganda including the use of local mediums like newspapers and posters. The whole efforts, which aimed at gaining more supporters on the side of the allies partly helped in their victory.
World War 2 Facts
1. The Soviet Union and the United States might have turned out to be the greatest enemies after the war, but they actually fought on the same side during the war. It all started with a cold war between these two victorious nations of the Second World War, which later converted the two nations into enemies, resulting into a series of grave combats between them that would go on for decades after the World War II elapsed.
2. Even after being defeated by Chinese in Northern Burma, and the British forces pushing their way to Rangoon as the US forces took over Okinawa and Iwo Jima, Japan remained unbending and totally refused to surrender. By that time, Both Italy and Germany had already surrendered, and Hitler committed suicide. But Japan continued to wage war until the August of 1945 when Truman decisively dropped the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb. That was when they finally decided to surrender, marking the end of World War II.
3. One of the most outrageous World War 2 facts is the murdering of about 6 million Jews during the Holocaust. Hitler’s thirst for more blood pushed him into murdering more than 6 million non-Jews as well. His primary targets were the disabled people, Catholics, non-heterosexuals, as well as the gipsies. In short, if you had happened to be in Germany at that time and did not fit into the ideal description of “Blonde-hair and blue-eyes,” then Hitler could either have had you slain or heaved you into a concentration camp, where you could have been starved to death or fumigated for being less of a human being.
4. The youngest person that fought in the World War II was 12-year-old Calvin Graham. Shortly after Pearl Harbour was attacked, Calvin Graham got recruited in the US Navy—May 1942. He was then given a crucial role in the Guadalcanal battle, serving aboard the USS-South-Dakota. Plus, he helped with the fire control efforts aboard, something that earned him a Bronze Star on top of the Purple Heart he had already received. This went on until his mother revealed his age, after which he was confined in a brig for about 3 months. He was then released after his sister threatened to reveal the whole story to the press. All the medals he had earned during his soldierly servings were then stripped off him.
5. Even after Germany and Russia worked out their differences and signed a peace treaty, as well as the US establishing a fairly good relationship with their one time great enemy Japan, Russia and Japan—two countries that never fought during the war—have yet to sign a peace treaty to herald the end of World War II because of the four-Southern-Kurile-Islands that up to date remain a conflicting issue between them. Even though the Soviet forces continued to occupy these islands after the war, the Japanese still consider themselves the rightful owners of the islands. And all the countless attempts to settle this issue once and for all have for long been yielding zero success.
6. European nations were completely debilitated by the war. This, together with a series of revolts from their colonies in Asia and Africa, made them withdraw their colonial power. Even more threatening was the fact that rebels had gained laudable experience from the Second World War, and were willing to use it to their full advantage in Guerrilla-combating the colonists out of their land. This fueled land reforms and independence in a number of countries in both Africa and Asia.
7. World War I came with the fake Paris. And just to prove to the world that some tricks can be recycled and still be effective, the US used almost the same trick 21 years later and whether you believe or not; the deception worked. But for them, the trick wasn’t about creating a fake town or anything of the sort. Instead, the US decided to make their Lockheed Burbank Aircraft factory appear like a tiny town when viewed from the air just to protect it from Japanese attacks.
Remote And Immediate Effects Of The War
The effects of this war have been both immediate and prolonged. The immediate effect was the death of about 60 million people including 40 million civilians; children and adults.
Additionally, several European economies collapsed as the majority of their industrial structures and facilities were reduced to rubble. Another visible immediate effect of the war included high rape incidents, robbery and other violent crimes.
Apart from being the deadliest war to ever crawl the human world, World War II is also known for being the most expensive war in human history. In fact, as we speak, the US government is yet to fully recuperate from its massive disbursements on the war. The government of all nations that took part in the war spend the bulk of their total outlay on manufacturing aircrafts, landing-crafts, weapons, jeeps, trucks, and tanks, from a spending pool that could otherwise be used to stimulate the economic growth of their respective countries. It also affected the relationships between countries who allied with the West and those against the region.