World War Two
A global armed conflict that arose in 1939 following the German invasion of Poland, and ended in 1945 with the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It involved a vast majority of the world's nations, including all of the major powers, eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million people serving in military units. In a state of "total war", the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources.
The Road to War
In mid-1937, after an incident between Japanese and Chinese forces, the Empire of Japan began a conquest of the various Chinese nations. Due to China's proximity to many European colonies, this led to increased tension in the Pacific, eventually leading Japan to ally with Germany in order to help fight the British, French, and Dutch. At the same time, Germany proceeded to invade many European nations, including Austria, Czechoslovakia, and eventually Poland.
By 1940, the Allies were driven from mainland Europe. The Germans were busily bombing the British Isles, the Soviet Union was occupied with their conquest of Finland, and the Italians had fought the Commonwealth to a standstill in Africa. Then, in 1941 Japan attacked the US Pacific Fleet based in Hawaii. This led to a declaration of war between the United States and Japan. Japan's ally, Germany, also joined in the fight, and at the same time launched a disastrous invasion of the Soviet Union. Just like the Great War just 20 years earlier, American troops flooded to the Pacific, Africa, and Europe. The tide was turning in the Allies' favor.
By early 1944, almost the entire free world had joined forces to resist the Axis. American and Soviet forces had pushed Japan back to a few island strongholds, and a massive Allied army had landed in Nazi-held France. The Italians had fallen to British forces a few years earlier, and the Soviet Union had narrowly stopped the German Army outside Moscow. Within the year, Berlin had fallen, and B-29s were poised to strike the Japanese home islands. In mid-1945, President Truman ordered two nuclear bombs to be dropped on Japan. Unable to fight an enemy that could kill hundreds of thousands with a single bomb, Japan quickly surrendered to the Allies. Nearly six years and 70,000,000 corpses later, The Second World War had come to an end.