World War II

Time Period
1939  - 1945
World War II was the most destructive war ever fought, claiming 50 million military and civilian deaths. Six million Jews perished in the Nazi Holocaust. Nearly two billion people from 61 countries served in the war, including 16 million Americans.

Great Britain and France declared war against Germany after Adolf Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939. Germany soon controlled much of Europe. Japan, anxious to expand its own empire, sided with Germany in 1941. The United States entered the war after Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

On June 6, 1944, U.S. and allied forces landed in Normandy, mounting a renewed European push against Germany. On April 30, 1945, as Russian troops entered Berlin, Hitler was killed, or, more likely, killed himself. Germany surrendered eight days later. Japan surrendered in August 1945, after the U.S. dropped the first-ever atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Interactive Timeline(s)
Prominent Religious Events and People in American History
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Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima- National Archives and Records Administration

German bombers over London during the Battle of Britain- Wikimedia Commons

Allied landings at Normandy- National Archives and Records Administration

Soviet counteroffensive during the Battle of Stalingrad- RIA Novosti archive, image 44732- Zelma (CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ds-05458

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