Why do people say that the British didn't do a thing in WW2?

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I hear Hiroshima citizens have a longer predicted lifespan than most.[/quote]

I want to thank everyone for enlightening me more about history.

And apparently children nuclear weapons will make your life longer: :D

Jaythulhu:
Why, exactly, aren't the sacrifices of the Australian or New Zealand troops sent to die by ignorant british leaders mentioned anywhere in this thread? We bled to the point of annihilation in WW2 at the hands of british foolhardiness, but we don't rate a mention? For shame, escapists. Go do your homework, and those of you who aren't american but are part of the commonwealth, the shame is doubly piled upon ye, especially with ANZAC day in less than 48 hours.

Most of the discrepancies have been over the other nations.

I always do remember the ANZACs, their lovely hats, and their help in the Pacific and North Africa. I remember there was a picture of the battle of El Alamein, showing them on the attack. The picture was staged but I assume that similar things occurred anyway.

I also remember that Australia spent a lot of time under threat from the Axis, with bombings and attacks on shipping.

Chase Yojimbo:
1 nation sais such things... Americans... that is all, lol.

*facepalm*

Try reading the first post again. OP is being taught in Iceland.

Joshimodo:
Stupidity. The UK had a huge part in WWII, moreso than many other countries. America took all the glory, of course, since it arrived incredibly late to the party and was fresh-faced, since they had been attacked a handful of times in comparison to the Blitzkrieg and constant stalemates.

Most people don't realise that Russia was the main folly of the Germans. One thing you do not do in a war is piss off a very large, virtually un-assaultable country with millions of conscript soldiers.

That, and Hitler really didn't read his history at all either. You never invade Russia in winter, period. If the cold doesn't kill you outright, it will slow you down enough for Russia to amass its defenses to repel you, and leave you weakened enough that it won't take much to finish you off. It completely destroyed Napoleon's army 140 years before the Nazis tried.

There's a hilarious quote in an old episode of the X-Files when Mulder says "What if Eisenhower had told the rest of the Allies that D-Day was in Belgium!?" Referring to the misinformation one of his informants has been feeding him.

My thought was "Belgium would have been attacked by a combined force of some of the best trained troops in the world, using top of the lime amphibious assault craft and backed up by a powerful navy. And the Americans would have been slaughtered."

That pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter. America did nothing to help that the Russians couldn't have done, and all the time England remained standing, we provided a diversion for Russia, both at home and in Africa. Sure, America sent weapons and finally took their thumbs out of their arses to send troops, but the war was won the second the Nazis opened up the Russian front.

Also, Vive La Resistance is a phrase coined by the "lack of French activity", as some people laughingly call it.

*cough*D-Day*cough*

Planned, by the way, by a fellow named Winston Churchill.

I can't believe anyone who calls themselves a History teacher would spread/teach such a lie - yes the American's contributed heavily to a WW2 Victory, but England and YES FRANCE, fought for longer and lost more men - AND DID DO SOMETHING!

Although it is disputable whether Britain or France could have won the War without American aid, it is widely agreed that without all 3 members of the triple entant (AMERICA,UK,FRANCE Alliance), none of them would have won the war alone.

Now I am not gonna say who tried harder (Britain bled for Europe more than America, America had its own war with Japan which was of bigger concern initially) - But I am going to educate you all - or those who are uninformed! NOW READ! and form your own conclusions.

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On 1 September 1939, Germany and Slovakia - a client state in 1939 - attacked Poland. France, Britain, and the countries of the Commonwealth declared war on Germany but provided little military support to Poland other than a small French attack into the Saarland. On 17 September 1939, after signing an armistice with Japan, the Soviets launched their own invasion of Poland.By early October, Poland was divided among Germany, the Soviet Union, Lithuania and Slovakia, although Poland never officially surrendered and continued the fight outside its borders.At the same time as the battle in Poland, Japan launched its first attack against Changsha, a strategically important Chinese city, but was repulsed by late September.

Following the invasion of Poland and a German-Soviet treaty governing Lithuania, the Soviet Union forced the Baltic countries to allow it to station Soviet troops in their countries under pacts of "mutual assistance." Finland rejected territorial demands and was invaded by the Soviet Union in November 1939. The resulting conflict ended in March 1940 with Finnish concessions. France and the United Kingdom, treating the Soviet attack on Finland as tantamount to entering the war on the side of the Germans, responded to the Soviet invasion by supporting the USSR's expulsion from the League of Nations. In June 1940, the Soviet Armed Forces invaded and occupied the neutral Baltic States.

In Western Europe, British troops deployed to the Continent, but in a phase nicknamed the Phoney War by the British and "Sitzkrieg" (sitting war) by the Germans, neither side launched major operations against the other until April 1940. The Soviet Union and Germany entered a trade pact in February of 1940, pursuant to which the Soviets received German military and industrial equipment in exchange for supplying raw materials to Germany to help circumvent a British blockade.

In April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway to secure shipments of iron ore from Sweden, which the Allies would try to disrupt. Denmark immediately capitulated, and despite Allied support, Norway was conquered within two months. British discontent over the Norwegian campaign led to the replacement of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain by Winston Churchill on 10 May 1940.

On that same day, Germany invaded France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The Netherlands and Belgium were overrun using blitzkrieg tactics in a few days and weeks, respectively. The French fortified Maginot Line was circumvented by a flanking movement through the thickly wooded Ardennes region, mistakenly perceived by French planners as an impenetrable natural barrier against armoured vehicles. British troops were forced to evacuate the continent at Dunkirk, abandoning their heavy equipment by the end of the month. On 10 June, Italy invaded, declaring war on both France and the United Kingdom; twelve days later France surrendered and was soon divided into German and Italian occupation zones, and an unoccupied rump state under the Vichy Regime. On 14 July, the British attacked the French fleet in Algeria to prevent its possible seizure by Germany.

With France neutralised, Germany began an air superiority campaign over Britain (the Battle of Britain) to prepare for an invasion. The campaign failed, and the invasion plans were cancelled by September. Using newly captured French ports, the German Navy enjoyed success against an over-extended Royal Navy, using U-boats against British shipping in the Atlantic. Italy began operations in the Mediterranean, initiating a siege of Malta in June, conquering British Somaliland in August, and making an incursion into British-held Egypt in September 1940. Japan increased its blockade of China in September by seizing several bases in the northern part of the now-isolated French Indochina.

Throughout this period, the neutral United States took measures to assist China and the Western Allies. In November 1939, the American Neutrality Act was amended to allow 'Cash and carry' purchases by the Allies. In 1940, following the German capture of Paris, the size of the United States Navy was significantly increased and, after the Japanese incursion into Indochina, the United States embargoed iron, steel and mechanical parts against Japan.In September, the United States further agreed to a trade of American destroyers for British bases. Still, a large majority of the American public continued to oppose any direct military intervention into the conflict well into 1941.

At the end of September 1940, the Tripartite Pact united Japan, Italy, and Germany to formalize the Axis Powers. The Tripartite Pact stipulated that any country, with the exception of the Soviet Union, not in the war which attacked any Axis Power would be forced to go to war against all three. During this time, the United States continued to support the United Kingdom and China by introducing the Lend-Lease policy authorizing the provision of war materiel and other items and creating a security zone spanning roughly half of the Atlantic Ocean where the United States Navy protected British convoys. As a result, Germany and the United States found themselves engaged in sustained naval warfare in the North and Central Atlantic by October 1941, even though the United States remained officially neutral.

The Axis expanded in November 1940 when Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania joined the Tripartite Pact. These countries participated in the subsequent invasion of the USSR, with Romania making the largest contribution to recapture territory ceded to the USSR and pursue its leader Ion Antonescu's desire to combat communism. In October 1940, Italy invaded Greece but within days was repulsed and pushed back into Albania, where a stalemate soon occurred. In December 1940, British Commonwealth forces began counter-offensives against Italian forces in Egypt and Italian East Africa. By early 1941, with Italian forces having been pushed back into Libya by the Commonwealth, Churchill ordered a dispatch of troops from Africa to bolster the Greeks. The Italian Navy also suffered significant defeats, with the Royal Navy putting three Italian battleships out of commission by carrier attack at Taranto, and neutralising several more warships at Cape Matapan.

The Germans soon intervened to assist Italy. Hitler sent German forces to Libya in February, and by the end of March they had launched an offensive against the diminished Commonwealth forces. In under a month, Commonwealth forces were pushed back into Egypt with the exception of the besieged port of Tobruk. The Commonwealth attempted to dislodge Axis forces in May and again in June, but failed on both occasions. In early April, following Bulgaria's signing of the Tripartite Pact, the Germans intervened in the Balkans by invading Greece and Yugoslavia following a coup; here too they made rapid progress, eventually forcing the Allies to evacuate after Germany conquered the Greek island of Crete by the end of May.

The Allies did have some successes during this time. In the Middle East, Commonwealth forces first quashed a coup in Iraq which had been supported by German aircraft from bases within Vichy-controlled Syria, then, with the assistance of the Free French, invaded Syria and Lebanon to prevent further such occurrences. In the Atlantic, the British scored a much-needed public morale boost by sinking the German flagship Bismarck. Perhaps most importantly, during the Battle of Britain the Royal Air Force had successfully resisted the Luftwaffe's assault, and on 11 May 1941, Hitler called off the bombing campaign.

In Asia, despite several offensives by both sides, the war between China and Japan was stalemated by 1940. In order to increase pressure on China by blocking supply routes, and to better position Japanese forces in the event of a war with the Western powers, Japan had seized military control of southern Indochina.

In August of that year, Chinese communists launched an offensive in Central China; in retaliation, Japan instituted harsh measures (the Three Alls Policy) in occupied areas to reduce human and material resources for the communists. Continued antipathy between Chinese communist and nationalist forces culminated in armed clashes in January 1941, effectively ending their co-operation. With the situation in Europe and Asia relatively stable, Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union made preparations. With the Soviets wary of mounting tensions with Germany and the Japanese planning to take advantage of the European War by seizing resource-rich European possessions in Southeast Asia, the two powers signed the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1941. By contrast, the Germans were steadily making preparations for an attack on the Soviet Union, amassing forces on the Soviet border.

On 22 June 1941, Germany, along with other European Axis members and Finland, invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. The primary targets of this surprise offensive were the Baltic region, Moscow, and Ukraine, with an ultimate goal of ending the 1941 campaign near the Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line, connecting the Caspian and White Seas. Hitler's objectives were to eliminate the Soviet Union as a military power, exterminate Communism, generate Lebensraum ("living space") by dispossessing the native population and guarantee access to the strategic resources needed to defeat Germany's remaining rivals.

Although the Red Army was preparing for strategic counter-offensives before the war, Barbarossa forced the Soviet supreme command to adopt a strategic defence. During the summer, the Axis made significant gains into Soviet territory, inflicting immense losses in both personnel and materiel. By the middle of August, however, the German Army High Command decided to suspend the offensive of a considerably depleted Army Group Centre, and to divert the Second Panzer Group to reinforce troops advancing toward central Ukraine and Leningrad.

The Kiev offensive was overwhelmingly successful, resulting in encirclement and elimination of four Soviet armies, and made further advance into Crimea and industrially developed Eastern Ukraine (the First Battle of Kharkov) possible.

The diversion of three quarters of the Axis troops and the majority of their air forces from France and the central Mediterranean to the Eastern Front prompted the United Kingdom to reconsider its grand strategy. In July, the UK and the Soviet Union formed a military alliance against Germany and jointly invaded Iran shortly afterwards to secure the Persian Corridor and Iran's oilfields. In August, the United Kingdom and the United States jointly issued the Atlantic Charter.

By October, when Axis operational objectives in Ukraine and the Baltic region were achieved, with only the sieges of Leningrad and Sevastopol continuing, a major offensive against Moscow had been renewed. After two months of fierce battles, the German army almost reached the outer suburbs of Moscow, where the exhausted troops were forced to suspend their offensive. Large territorial gains were made by Axis forces, but their campaign had failed to achieve its main objectives: two key cities remained in Soviet hands, the Soviet capability to resist was not broken, and the Soviet Union retained a considerable part of its military potential. The blitzkrieg phase of the war in Europe had ended.

By early December, freshly mobilised reserves allowed the Soviets to achieve numerical parity with Axis troops. This, as well as intelligence data that established a minimal number of Soviet troops in the East sufficient to prevent any attack by the Japanese Kwantung Army, allowed the Soviets to begin a massive counter-offensive that started on 5 December along a 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) front and pushed German troops 100-250 kilometres (62-160 mi) west.

German successes in Europe encouraged Japan to increase pressure on European governments in south-east Asia. The Dutch government agreed to provide Japan oil supplies from the Dutch East Indies, while refusing to hand over political control of the colonies. Vichy France, by contrast, agreed to a Japanese occupation of French Indochina. The United States, United Kingdom, and other Western governments reacted to the seizure of Indochina with a freeze on Japanese assets, while the United States (which supplied 80 percent of Japan's oil) responded by placing a complete oil embargo. The seizure meant Japan was essentially forced to choose between abandoning its ambitions in Asia and the prosecution of the war against China, or seizing the natural resources it needed by force; the Japanese military did not consider the former an option, and many officers considered the oil embargo an unspoken declaration of war.

Japan planned to rapidly seize European colonies in Asia to create a large defensive perimeter stretching into the Central Pacific; the Japanese would then be free to exploit the resources of Southeast Asia while exhausting the over-stretched Allies by fighting a defensive war . To prevent American intervention while securing the perimeter it was further planned to neutralise the United States Pacific Fleet from the outset. On 7 December (8 December in Asian time zones), 1941, Japan attacked British and American holdings with near-simultaneous offensives against Southeast Asia and the Central Pacific. These included an attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor and landings in Thailand and Malaya.

The February 1942 Fall of Singapore saw 80,000 Allied soldiers captured and enslaved by the Japanese.

These attacks prompted the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, other Western Allies, and China (already fighting the Second Sino-Japanese War), to formally declare war on Japan. Germany and the other members of the Tripartite Pact responded by declaring war on the United States. In January, the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, China, and 22 smaller or exiled governments issued the Declaration by United Nations, which affirmed the Atlantic Charter. The Soviet Union did not adhere to the declaration; it maintained a neutrality agreement with Japan, and exempted itself from the principle of self-determination.

Meanwhile, by the end of April 1942, Japan had almost fully conquered Burma, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, Singapore, and Rabaul, inflicting severe losses on Allied troops and taking a large number of prisoners. Despite a stubborn resistance in Corregidor, the Philippines was eventually captured in May 1942, forcing the government of the Philippine Commonwealth into exile.Japanese forces also achieved naval victories in the South China Sea, Java Sea and Indian Ocean, and bombed the Allied naval base at Darwin, Australia. The only real Allied success against Japan was a Chinese victory at Changsha in early January 1942. These easy victories over unprepared opponents left Japan overconfident, as well as overextended.

Germany retained the initiative as well. Exploiting dubious American naval command decisions, the German navy ravaged Allied shipping off the American Atlantic coast. Despite considerable losses, European Axis members stopped a major Soviet offensive in Central and Southern Russia, keeping most territorial gains they achieved during the previous year.In North Africa, the Germans launched an offensive in January, pushing the British back to positions at the Gazala Line by early February, followed by a temporary lull in combat which Germany used to prepare for their upcoming offensives.
Axis advance stalls

In early May 1942, Japan initiated operations to capture Port Moresby by amphibious assault and thus sever communications and supply lines between the United States and Australia. The Allies, however, intercepted and turned back Japanese naval forces, successfully preventing the invasion. Japan's next plan, motivated by the earlier bombing on Tokyo, was to seize Midway Atoll and lure American carriers into battle to be eliminated; as a diversion, Japan would also send forces to occupy the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. In early June, Japan put its operations into action but the Americans, having broken Japanese naval codes in late May, were fully aware of the plans and force dispositions and used this knowledge to achieve a decisive victory at Midway over the Imperial Japanese Navy.

With its capacity for aggressive action greatly diminished as a result of the Midway battle, Japan chose to focus on a belated attempt to capture Port Moresby by an overland campaign in the Territory of Papua. The Americans planned a counter-attack against Japanese positions in the southern Solomon Islands, primarily Guadalcanal, as a first step towards capturing Rabaul, the main Japanese base in Southeast Asia.

Both plans started in July, but by mid-September, the battle for Guadalcanal took priority for the Japanese, and troops in New Guinea were ordered to withdraw from the Port Moresby area to the northern part of the island, where they faced Australian and United States troops in the Battle of Buna-Gona. Guadalcanal soon became a focal point for both sides with heavy commitments of troops and ships in the battle for Guadalcanal. By the start of 1943, the Japanese were defeated on the island and withdrew their troops. In Burma, Commonwealth forces mounted two operations. The first, an offensive into the Arakan region in late 1942, went disastrously, forcing a retreat back to India by May 1943. The second was the insertion of irregular forces behind Japanese front-lines in February which, by the end of April, had achieved dubious results.

A Soviet soldier waving the Red Banner over the central plaza in Stalingrad, 1943.
On Germany's eastern front, the Axis defeated Soviet offensives in the Kerch Peninsula and at Kharkovand then launched their main summer offensive against southern Russia in June 1942, to seize the oilfields of the Caucasus and occupy Kuban steppe, while maintaining positions on the northern and central areas of the front. The Germans split the Army Group South into two groups: Army Group A struck lower Don River while Army Group B struck south-east to the Caucasus, towards Volga River. The Soviets decided to make their stand at Stalingrad, which was in the path of the advancing German armies.

By mid-November the Germans had nearly taken Stalingrad in bitter street fighting when the Soviets began their second winter counter-offensive, starting with an encirclement of German forces at Stalingrad and an assault on the Rzhev salient near Moscow, though the latter failed disastrously. By early February 1943, the German Army had taken tremendous losses; German troops at Stalingrad had been forced to surrender and the front-line had been pushed back beyond its position before the summer offensive. In mid-February, after the Soviet push had tapered off, the Germans launched another attack on Kharkov, creating a salient in their front line around the Russian city of Kursk.

British Crusader tanks moving to forward positions during the North Africa Campaign.
By November 1941, Commonwealth forces had launched a counter-offensive, Operation Crusader, in North Africa, and reclaimed all the gains the Germans and Italians had made. In the West, concerns the Japanese might utilize bases in Vichy-held Madagascar caused the British to invade the island in early May 1942. This success was offset soon after by an Axis offensive in Libya which pushed the Allies back into Egypt until Axis forces were stopped at El Alamein. On the Continent, raids of Allied commandos on strategic targets, culminating in the disastrous Dieppe Raid, demonstrated the Western Allies' inability to launch an invasion of continental Europe without much better preparation, equipment, and operational security.

In August 1942, the Allies succeeded in repelling a second attack against El Alamein and, at a high cost, managed to deliver desperately needed supplies to the besieged Malta. A few months later, the Allies commenced an attack of their own in Egypt, dislodging the Axis forces and beginning a drive west across Libya. This attack was followed up shortly after by an Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa, which resulted in the region joining the Allies. Hitler responded to the French colony's defection by ordering the occupation of Vichy France; although Vichy forces did not resist this violation of the armistice, they managed to scuttle their fleet to prevent its capture by German forces. The now pincered Axis forces in Africa withdrew into Tunisia, which was conquered by the Allies in May 1943.

Following the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Allies initiated several operations against Japan in the Pacific. In May 1943, Allied forces were sent to eliminate Japanese forces from the Aleutians, and soon after began major operations to isolate Rabaul by capturing surrounding islands, and to breach the Japanese Central Pacific perimeter at the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. By the end of March 1944, the Allies had completed both of these objectives, and additionally neutralised the major Japanese base at Truk in the Caroline Islands. In April, the Allies then launched an operation to retake Western New Guinea.

In the Soviet Union, both the Germans and the Soviets spent the spring and early summer of 1943 making preparations for large offensives in Central Russia. On 4 July 1943, Germany attacked Soviet forces around the Kursk Bulge. Within a week, German forces had exhausted themselves against the Soviets' deeply echeloned and well-constructed defences and, for the first time in the war, Hitler cancelled the operation before it had achieved tactical or operational success. This decision was partially affected by the Western Allies' invasion of Sicily launched on 9 July which, combined with previous Italian failures, resulted in the ousting and arrest of Mussolini later that month.

On 12 July 1943, the Soviets launched their own counter-offensives, thereby dispelling any hopes of the German Army for victory or even stalemate in the east. The Soviet victory at Kursk heralded the downfall of German superiority, giving the Soviet Union the initiative on the Eastern Front. The Germans attempted to stabilise their eastern front along the hastily fortified Panther-Wotan line, however, the Soviets broke through it at Smolensk and by the Lower Dnieper Offensives.

In early September 1943, the Western Allies invaded the Italian mainland, following an Italian armistice with the Allies. Germany responded by disarming Italian forces, seizing military control of Italian areas, and creating a series of defensive lines. German special forces then rescued Mussolini, who then soon established a new client state in German occupied Italy named the Italian Social Republic. The Western Allies fought through several lines until reaching the main German defensive line in mid-November.

German operations in the Atlantic also suffered. By May 1943, as Allied counter-measures became increasingly effective, the resulting sizable German submarine losses forced a temporary halt of the German Atlantic naval campaign. In November 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met with Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo and then with Joseph Stalin in Tehran. The former conference determined the post-war return of Japanese territory, while the latter included agreement that the Western Allies would invade Europe in 1944 and that the Soviet Union would declare war on Japan within three months of Germany's defeat.

British troops firing a mortar during the Battle of Imphal, North East India, 1944.
In January 1944, the Allies launched a series of attacks in Italy against the line at Monte Cassino and attempted to outflank it with landings at Anzio. By the end of January, a major Soviet offensive expelled German forces from the Leningrad region, ending the longest and most lethal siege in history. The following Soviet offensive was halted on the pre-war Estonian border by the German Army Group North aided by Estonians hoping to re-establish national independence. This delay slowed subsequent Soviet operations in the Baltic Sea region.[182] By late May 1944, the Soviets had liberated Crimea, largely expelled Axis forces from Ukraine, and made incursions into Romania, which were repulsed by the Axis troops. The Allied offensives in Italy had succeeded and, at the expense of allowing several German divisions to retreat, on 4 June Rome was captured.

The Allies experienced mixed fortunes in mainland Asia. In March 1944, the Japanese launched the first of two invasions, an operation against British positions in Assam, India, and soon besieged Commonwealth positions at Imphal and Kohima. In May 1944, British forces mounted a counter-offensive that drove Japanese troops back to Burma, and Chinese forces that had invaded northern Burma in late 1943 besieged Japanese troops in Myitkyina. The second Japanese invasion attempted to destroy China's main fighting forces, secure railways between Japanese-held territory and capture Allied airfields. By June, the Japanese had conquered the province of Henan and begun a renewed attack against Changsha in the Hunan province.

Allied Invasion of Normandy, June 6 1944.

On 6 June 1944 (known as D-Day), the Western Allies invaded northern France and, after reassigning several Allied divisions from Italy, southern France. These landings were successful, and led to the defeat of the German Army units in France. Paris was liberated by the local resistance assisted by the Free French forces on 25 August and the Western Allies continued to push back German forces in Western Europe during the latter part of the year. An attempt to advance into northern Germany spear-headed by a major airborne operation in the Netherlands ended with a failure. The Allies also continued their advance in Italy until they ran into the last major German defensive line.

On 22 June, the Soviets launched a strategic offensive in Belarus (known as "Operation Bagration") that resulted in the almost complete destruction of the German Army Group Centre. Soon after that, another Soviet strategic offensive forced German troops from Western Ukraine and Eastern Poland. The successful advance of Soviet troops prompted resistance forces in Poland to initiate several uprisings, though the largest of these, in Warsaw, as well as a Slovak Uprising in the south, were not assisted by the Soviets and were put down by German forces. The Red Army's strategic offensive in eastern Romania cut off and destroyed the considerable German troops there and triggered a successful coup d'état in Romania and in Bulgaria, followed by those countries' shift to the Allied side.

In September 1944, Soviet Red Army troops advanced into Yugoslavia and forced the rapid withdrawal of the German Army Groups E and F in Greece, Albania and Yugoslavia to rescue them from being cut off. By this point, Communist-led partisans under Marshal Josip Broz Tito controlled much of the territory of Yugoslavia and were engaged in delaying efforts against the German forces further south. In northern Serbia, the Red Army, with limited support from Bulgarian forces, assisted the partisans in a joint liberation of the capital city of Belgrade on 20 October. A few days later, the Soviets launched a massive assault against German-occupied Hungary that lasted until the fall of Budapest in February 1945. In contrast with impressive Soviet victories in the Balkans, the bitter Finnish resistance to the Soviet offensive in the Karelian Isthmus denied the Soviets occupation of Finland and led to the signing of Soviet-Finnish armistice on relatively mild conditions, with a subsequent shift to the Allied side by Finland.

By the start of July, Commonwealth forces in Southeast Asia had repelled the Japanese sieges in Assam, pushing the Japanese back to the Chindwin River while the Chinese captured Myitkyina. In China, the Japanese were having greater successes, having finally captured Changsha in mid-June and the city of Hengyang by early August. Soon after, they further invaded the province of Guangxi, winning major engagements against Chinese forces at Guilin and Liuzhou by the end of November and successfully linking up their forces in China and Indochina by the middle of December.

In the Pacific, American forces continued to press back the Japanese perimeter. In mid-June 1944 they began their offensive against the Mariana and Palau islands, scoring a decisive victory against Japanese forces in the Philippine Sea within a few days. These defeats led to the resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Tōjō and provided the United States with air bases to launch intensive heavy bomber attacks on the Japanese home islands. In late October, American forces invaded the Filipino island of Leyte; soon after, Allied naval forces scored another large victory during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history.

Axis collapse, Allied victory

On 16 December 1944, Germany attempted its last desperate measure for success on the Western Front by marshalling German reserves to launch a massive counter-offensive in the Ardennes to attempt to split the Western Allies, encircle large portions of Western Allied troops and capture their primary supply port at Antwerp in order to prompt a political settlement. By January, the offensive had been repulsed with no strategic objectives fulfilled. In Italy, the Western Allies remained stalemated at the German defensive line. In mid-January 1945, the Soviets attacked in Poland, pushing from the Vistula to the Oder river in Germany, and overran East Prussia. On 4 February, U.S., British, and Soviet leaders met in Yalta. They agreed on the occupation of post-war Germany, and when the Soviet Union would join the war against Japan.

In February, the Soviets invaded Silesia and Pomerania, while Western Allied forces entered Western Germany and closed to the Rhine river. In March, the Western Allies crossed the Rhine north and south of the Ruhr, encircling a large number of German troops, while the Soviets advanced to Vienna. In early April, the Western Allies finally pushed forward in Italy and swept across Western Germany, while Soviet forces stormed Berlin in late April; the two forces linked up on Elbe river on 25 April. On 30 April 1945, the Reichstag was captured, signalling the military defeat of Third Reich.

Several changes in leadership occurred during this period. On 12 April, U.S. President Roosevelt died and was succeeded by Harry Truman. Benito Mussolini was killed by Italian partisans on 28 April. Two days later, Hitler committed suicide, and was succeeded by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz.

German forces surrendered in Italy on 29 April and in Western Europe on 7 May. On the Eastern Front, Germany surrendered to the Soviets on 8 May. A German Army Group Centre resisted in Prague until 11 May. In the Pacific theatre, American forces accompanied by the forces of the Philippine Commonwealth advanced in the Philippines, clearing Leyte by the end of April 1945. They landed on Luzon in January 1945 and seized Manila in March, leaving it in ruins. Fighting continued on Luzon, Mindanao and other islands of the Philippines until the end of the war.

In May 1945, Australian troops landed on Borneo, overrunning the oilfields there. British, American and Chinese forces defeated the Japanese in northern Burma in March, and the British pushed on to reach Rangoon by 3 May. American forces also moved toward Japan, taking Iwo Jima by March, and Okinawa by the end of June.American bombers destroyed Japanese cities, and American submarines cut off Japanese imports.

On 11 July, the Allied leaders met in Potsdam, Germany. They confirmed earlier agreements about Germany,and reiterated the demand for unconditional surrender of all Japanese forces by Japan, specifically stating that "the alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction". During this conference the United Kingdom held its general election, and Clement Attlee replaced Churchill as Prime Minister. When Japan continued to reject the Potsdam terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August. Between the two bombs, the Soviets, pursuant to the Yalta agreement, invaded Japanese-held Manchuria, and quickly defeated the Kwantung Army, which was the primary Japanese fighting force. The Red Army also captured Sakhalin Island and the Kurile Islands. On 15 August 1945 Japan surrendered, with the surrender documents finally signed aboard the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri on 2 September 1945, ending the war.

Aftermath of World War II

In an effort to maintain international peace, the Allies formed the United Nations, which officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, and adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, as a common standard of achievement for all member nations.
The alliance between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union had begun to deteriorate even before the war was over, and the powers each quickly established their own spheres of influence. In Europe, the continent was essentially divided between Western and Soviet spheres by the Iron Curtain which ran through and partitioned Allied occupied Germany and occupied Austria. The Soviet Union created the Eastern Bloc by directly annexing several countries it occupied as Soviet Socialist Republics that were originally effectively ceded to it by Germany in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, such as Eastern Poland, the three Baltic countries, part of eastern Finland and northeastern Romania.

Other states that the Soviets occupied at the end of the war were converted into Soviet Satellite states, such as the People's Republic of Poland, the People's Republic of Hungary, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the People's Republic of Romania, the People's Republic of Albania, and later East Germany from the Soviet zone of German occupation.

In Asia, the United States occupied Japan and administrated Japan's former islands in the Western Pacific, while the Soviets annexed Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands; the former Japanese-governed Korea was divided and occupied between the two powers. Mounting tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union soon evolved into the formation of the American-led NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact military alliances and the start of the Cold War between them.

Soon after the end of World War II, conflict flared again in many parts of the world. In China, nationalist and communist forces quickly resumed their civil war. Communist forces were eventually victorious and established the People's Republic of China on the mainland, while nationalist forces ended up retreating to Taiwan. In Greece, civil war broke out between Anglo-American supported royalist forces and communist forces, with the royalist forces victorious.

Soon after these conflicts ended, North Korea invaded South Korea, which was backed by the United Nations, while North Korea was backed by the Soviet Union and China. The war resulted in essentially a stalemate and ceasefire, after which North Korean leader Kim Il Sung created a highly centralised and brutal dictatorship, according himself unlimited power and generating a formidable cult of personality.

Following the end of the war, a rapid period of decolonization also took place within the holdings of the various European colonial powers. These primarily occurred due to shifts in ideology, the economic exhaustion from the war and increased demand by indigenous people for self-determination. For the most part, these transitions happened relatively peacefully, though notable exceptions occurred in countries such as Indochina, Madagascar, Indonesia and Algeria. In many regions, divisions, usually for ethnic or religious reasons, occurred following European withdrawal. This was seen prominently in the Mandate of Palestine, leading to the creation of Israel, and in India, resulting in the creation of the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.

Economic recovery following the war was varied in differing parts of the world, though in general it was quite positive. In Europe, West Germany recovered quickly and doubled production from its pre-war levels by the 1950s. Italy came out of the war in poor economic condition, but by 1950s, the Italian economy was marked by stability and high growth. The United Kingdom was in a state of economic ruin after the war, and continued to experience relative economic decline for decades to follow.

France rebounded quickly, and enjoyed rapid economic growth and modernisation. The Soviet Union also experienced a rapid increase in production in the immediate post-war era. In Asia, Japan experienced incredibly rapid economic growth, becoming one of the most powerful economies in the world by the 1980s.

China, following the conclusion of its civil war, was essentially a bankrupt nation. By 1953, economic restoration seemed fairly successful as production had resumed pre-war levels. This growth rate mostly persisted, though it was briefly interrupted by the disastrous Great Leap Forward economic experiment. At the end of the war, the United States produced roughly half of the world's industrial output; by the early 1970s though, this dominance had lessened significantly.

the stonker:
Simple question in fact I was in history today learning about WW2 and my teacher said that the british didn't do a thing and that the americans oh the bloody americans held up everything defending the land.
For when I read the book then it was mostly in Russia and the russians did most of the killing and the biggest sacrifices.
So guys I'm thinking what did the british do?

P.s.I'm a british patriot (16) who lives in Iceland so the education here for history isn't exactly great.

Edit: In retrospect this probably the longest post ever made on the escapist :P

What book are you reading? The only thing ive read about the British not doing anything is after they got bombed by Germany.

KillerMidget:

TheRightToArmBears:

Furburt:
Well, the British successfully stopped the Germans in North Africa, contributed a vast amount to D-Day and Operation Overlord, and fought tooth and nail in Burma and India. They also cracked the ENIGMA code, which was one of the most significant turning points of the war.

Really, saying that any side didn't do anything is just naive.

And fighting off Operation Sealion too.

Oh, ok. I only did GCSE history so the only bit of WW2 I've really studied is the Blitz.

At the very least managed to hold the nazi's at bay on the western front. Britian could never have done mroe than defend at this point. The resources of the opposing forces were far more than britain could ever have mustered but fortunately the channel of water made an excellent barrier against the nazi forces meaning britain could potentially destroy any large force trying to cross the channel. Its why hitler had such an intense air campaaign. Bombed the living shit outta london.

If your teacher said that, your teacher is a fucking idiot and should be called out as such.

Short answer to "why do people say that the British didn't do a thing in WW2?": because they're fucking idiots. No more, no less.

Your teacher is a COMPLETE idiot. Period.

If I had to rank countries that were responsible for the Allied victory in WWII on order of importance I would put Britain above the US, at least as far as the European Theater is concerned.

1. USSR
2. Britain
3. United States of America

Symplify:
In the States we really only learn about what the U.S. did, and some of the major battles in Russia. We didn't even learn that there were other nations who stormed Normandy till High School. That probably has something to do with it.

That is a major failing of the system. No wonder America tends to be so inward looking. Time and time again I come across intelligent, brilliantly informed Americans, only to realise that they're sadly in a minority. It really depends on the individual schools and the level of funding the receive unfortunately.

Just one nitpick. ENIGMA was actually cracked by the Polish.

Also the teacher might dislike the British in WW2 as they invaded Iceland at about the same time Germany invaded Norway (I think. Could be slightly wrong on the time but Iceland was definitely occupied by the Brits.)

Also I have a completely un-biased viewpoint on this as my country stayed Neutral.

Jaythulhu:
Why, exactly, aren't the sacrifices of the Australian or New Zealand troops sent to die by ignorant british leaders mentioned anywhere in this thread? We bled to the point of annihilation in WW2 at the hands of british foolhardiness, but we don't rate a mention? For shame, escapists. Go do your homework, and those of you who aren't american but are part of the commonwealth, the shame is doubly piled upon ye, especially with ANZAC day in less than 48 hours.

We don't get much respect do we? I try and take solace in the fact that there are countries whose names I can't even remember who get even less.

Britain not doing anything during WW2? The British Empire essentially bled itself out fighting World War 2, causing it to crumble in the post-war years.

While the US and ESPECIALLY the USSR contributed a lot to the Allied war effort, ignoring UK's contribution to the war is about as ignorant as you can get regarding the entire war.

Honestly, I was shocked at the title of this thread. I honestly did not think anyone claimed anything like that.

EDIT: Obviously, Dominion states did a lot for the war effort as well. Especially Canada and Australia.

With so many people agreeing, how did this thread get to be four pages big?

Thank you, Canada for getting my town out of German hands btw.

Jaythulhu:
Why, exactly, aren't the sacrifices of the Australian or New Zealand troops sent to die by ignorant british leaders mentioned anywhere in this thread? We bled to the point of annihilation in WW2 at the hands of british foolhardiness, but we don't rate a mention? For shame, escapists. Go do your homework, and those of you who aren't american but are part of the commonwealth, the shame is doubly piled upon ye, especially with ANZAC day in less than 48 hours.

I always remember the ANZAC's. My Great-Grandfather fought with them in Gallipoli and my Uncle (who know lives in OZ) is good friends with several Nam veterans. And say what you want about people not remembering you in WW2 but try and see how many people know you fought there.

Ninjamedic:

dmase:
....You mean the French right?

Your forgetting the french resistance.

and we all now they were elite soldiers!

Your teacher is an ass. America joined later than everyone else, they did not make the biggest contribution to the war.

Also, not only that, but I would also argue that if it wasn't for ALL the countries and nations that fought, then things would have been different.

They all contributed to beating the German's, it's not about who did more than who, its about working together.

I think you're teacher doesn't quite know enough about history. Frankly I've never heard anyone say the British didn't do a thing, because as most people rightly know - The British played an incredible role in WW2.

Because most people try to simplify the historic points for themseles by only assosiating between four factions, with them being the Americans, the Russians, The Japanese, and the Germans.

well, the americans did actually do a lot of shit. but that's mostly because they spent all the nation's money to the war. what many people seem to forget is that stalin in total killed more people than hitler. the red army was a shitload of persons, so the generals didn't care at ALL if their soldiers died. from the beginning the russians were allied with the germans. they just changed side and were forgiven. now to the actual point. the british did do a lot. it's just that for example RAF wasn't very good. but your teacher was clearly wrong if he or she says the brits wasn't doing anything.

It's no secret that the American public education system is an atrocity, so statements like this crop up. But we do have freedom of information, and people who are so inclined can pick up a book and educate themselves about a variety of subjects. Just like the news, you have to pick and choose the sources you trust.

My father is very much a WWII enthusiast, and inspired me to read about it myself. It doesn't take a historian to know that Britain fought like hell, the U.S. had the most robust manufacturing base in the world and supplied materiel, and the Soviets had the misfortune of soaking up most of the casualties. I do not think that any country other than the USSR could have fought back Germany at the time. Democratic countries would not have been able to tolerate those kinds of losses.

I'm from the US myself, and I have no wish to dismiss the personal sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of my countrymen. But anyone who thinks we fought the war single-handed is pretty fucking ignorant.

Well, I'm not going to parrot what every one else has said. I mean it's already been said what the Brits did in WW2... we did a lot. Just short of the Russians we did the most at WW2. I would say that a lot of people are forgetting the help we got from Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Also it's worth noting that the S.A.S was formed in WW2... and they were the one of the main factors in beating Rommels Afrika core... going around in Jeeps onto air fields and Sabotaging* there planes.

* By sabotaging, I mean machine gunning the shit out of them.

The Mighty Thesaurus:
I'm pretty sure the Germans were the biggest factor in the Allied victory

I think you mean mostly just Hitler ;) A very good point, though.

Amnestic:
This doesn't really belong in gaming discussion.

Either way: Lack of historical education is probably the answer.

Both of these, or your teacher is caught up on the American forces exploits. As someone else already pointed out, not matter how you look at it, the British did play a major role in the war, and to say they did nothing, well your teacher must hate the British for some reason.

Steve5513:
Your teacher is an ass. America joined later than everyone else, they did not make the biggest contribution to the war.

Also, not only that, but I would also argue that if it wasn't for ALL the countries and nations that fought, then things would have been different.

you are both right and wrong. first, americans didn't want to join WWII, they gave back to the japs for attacking them. second, the americans didn't do so much in europe except giving supplies and fight in france.

I also think that mainly comes from american patriotism. Not only their educational system, but also all the Hollywood films... tell me one american WWII film where another allied nation fights alongside the US.
I can't think of any at the moment...

DragonsAteMyMarbles:
Relatedly, here's my favourite quotation regarding the British performance in WWII;
The German war machine is rolling up the map of Europe. Country after country, falling like dominoes. Nothing can stop it, nothing. Until one tiny, damp little island says "No. No, not here." A mouse in front of a lion. Amazing.
May not be completely accurate, but I like it.

Great quote. And even better episode!

claymorez:
-snip-

Whoa, man. I hope your keyboard didn't catch fire from all the typing.

the stonker:
Simple question in fact I was in history today learning about WW2 and my teacher said that the british didn't do a thing and that the americans oh the bloody americans held up everything defending the land.
For when I read the book then it was mostly in Russia and the russians did most of the killing and the biggest sacrifices.
So guys I'm thinking what did the british do?

P.s.I'm a british patriot (16) who lives in Iceland so the education here for history isn't exactly great.

Ask your history teacher where America was the first 3 years of the war..(at least i think ity was 3)
(Pre pearl harbour)
Remind him of D-Day and the rallying of pretty much every British sailor be it the smallest of fishing boats to the mightiest warship, ask him of the hundreds who sacrificed their lives to do so.
Ask him what the souls of the dead British soldiers would say to him for the opinion.
And then call him a fucking Prick for me.

(Sorry to get offensive but thats how I feel)

Cos the americans were glory-hogs and can never be the sidekick, they have to be the hero.
Even though sometimes they just make things worse.

Quaxar:
I also think that mainly comes from american patriotism. Not only their educational system, but also all the Hollywood films... tell me one american WWII film where another allied nation fights alongside the US.
I can't think of any at the moment...

DragonsAteMyMarbles:
Relatedly, here's my favourite quotation regarding the British performance in WWII;
The German war machine is rolling up the map of Europe. Country after country, falling like dominoes. Nothing can stop it, nothing. Until one tiny, damp little island says "No. No, not here." A mouse in front of a lion. Amazing.
May not be completely accurate, but I like it.

Great quote. And even better episode!

claymorez:
-snip-

Whoa, man. I hope your keyboard didn't catch fire from all the typing.

:P I'll take that as a complement xD

And although it took me a while - if that post at least teaches people something then it was time well spent!

claymorez:
I can't believe anyone who calls themselves a History teacher would spread/teach such a lie - yes the American's contributed heavily to a WW2 Victory, but England and YES FRANCE, fought for longer and lost more men - AND DID DO SOMETHING!

Although it is disputable whether Britain or France could have won the War without American aid, it is widely agreed that without all 3 members of the triple entant (AMERICA,UK,FRANCE Alliance), none of them would have won the war alone.

Now I am not gonna say who tried harder (Britain bled for Europe more than America, America had its own war with Japan which was of bigger concern initially) - But I am going to educate you all - or those who are uninformed! NOW READ! and form your own conclusions.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On 1 September 1939, Germany and Slovakia - a client state in 1939 - attacked Poland. France, Britain, and the countries of the Commonwealth declared war on Germany but provided little military support to Poland other than a small French attack into the Saarland. On 17 September 1939, after signing an armistice with Japan, the Soviets launched their own invasion of Poland.By early October, Poland was divided among Germany, the Soviet Union, Lithuania and Slovakia, although Poland never officially surrendered and continued the fight outside its borders.At the same time as the battle in Poland, Japan launched its first attack against Changsha, a strategically important Chinese city, but was repulsed by late September.

Following the invasion of Poland and a German-Soviet treaty governing Lithuania, the Soviet Union forced the Baltic countries to allow it to station Soviet troops in their countries under pacts of "mutual assistance." Finland rejected territorial demands and was invaded by the Soviet Union in November 1939. The resulting conflict ended in March 1940 with Finnish concessions. France and the United Kingdom, treating the Soviet attack on Finland as tantamount to entering the war on the side of the Germans, responded to the Soviet invasion by supporting the USSR's expulsion from the League of Nations. In June 1940, the Soviet Armed Forces invaded and occupied the neutral Baltic States.

In Western Europe, British troops deployed to the Continent, but in a phase nicknamed the Phoney War by the British and "Sitzkrieg" (sitting war) by the Germans, neither side launched major operations against the other until April 1940. The Soviet Union and Germany entered a trade pact in February of 1940, pursuant to which the Soviets received German military and industrial equipment in exchange for supplying raw materials to Germany to help circumvent a British blockade.

In April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway to secure shipments of iron ore from Sweden, which the Allies would try to disrupt. Denmark immediately capitulated, and despite Allied support, Norway was conquered within two months. British discontent over the Norwegian campaign led to the replacement of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain by Winston Churchill on 10 May 1940.

On that same day, Germany invaded France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The Netherlands and Belgium were overrun using blitzkrieg tactics in a few days and weeks, respectively. The French fortified Maginot Line was circumvented by a flanking movement through the thickly wooded Ardennes region, mistakenly perceived by French planners as an impenetrable natural barrier against armoured vehicles. British troops were forced to evacuate the continent at Dunkirk, abandoning their heavy equipment by the end of the month. On 10 June, Italy invaded, declaring war on both France and the United Kingdom; twelve days later France surrendered and was soon divided into German and Italian occupation zones, and an unoccupied rump state under the Vichy Regime. On 14 July, the British attacked the French fleet in Algeria to prevent its possible seizure by Germany.

With France neutralised, Germany began an air superiority campaign over Britain (the Battle of Britain) to prepare for an invasion. The campaign failed, and the invasion plans were cancelled by September. Using newly captured French ports, the German Navy enjoyed success against an over-extended Royal Navy, using U-boats against British shipping in the Atlantic. Italy began operations in the Mediterranean, initiating a siege of Malta in June, conquering British Somaliland in August, and making an incursion into British-held Egypt in September 1940. Japan increased its blockade of China in September by seizing several bases in the northern part of the now-isolated French Indochina.

Throughout this period, the neutral United States took measures to assist China and the Western Allies. In November 1939, the American Neutrality Act was amended to allow 'Cash and carry' purchases by the Allies. In 1940, following the German capture of Paris, the size of the United States Navy was significantly increased and, after the Japanese incursion into Indochina, the United States embargoed iron, steel and mechanical parts against Japan.In September, the United States further agreed to a trade of American destroyers for British bases. Still, a large majority of the American public continued to oppose any direct military intervention into the conflict well into 1941.

At the end of September 1940, the Tripartite Pact united Japan, Italy, and Germany to formalize the Axis Powers. The Tripartite Pact stipulated that any country, with the exception of the Soviet Union, not in the war which attacked any Axis Power would be forced to go to war against all three. During this time, the United States continued to support the United Kingdom and China by introducing the Lend-Lease policy authorizing the provision of war materiel and other items and creating a security zone spanning roughly half of the Atlantic Ocean where the United States Navy protected British convoys. As a result, Germany and the United States found themselves engaged in sustained naval warfare in the North and Central Atlantic by October 1941, even though the United States remained officially neutral.

The Axis expanded in November 1940 when Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania joined the Tripartite Pact. These countries participated in the subsequent invasion of the USSR, with Romania making the largest contribution to recapture territory ceded to the USSR and pursue its leader Ion Antonescu's desire to combat communism. In October 1940, Italy invaded Greece but within days was repulsed and pushed back into Albania, where a stalemate soon occurred. In December 1940, British Commonwealth forces began counter-offensives against Italian forces in Egypt and Italian East Africa. By early 1941, with Italian forces having been pushed back into Libya by the Commonwealth, Churchill ordered a dispatch of troops from Africa to bolster the Greeks. The Italian Navy also suffered significant defeats, with the Royal Navy putting three Italian battleships out of commission by carrier attack at Taranto, and neutralising several more warships at Cape Matapan.

The Germans soon intervened to assist Italy. Hitler sent German forces to Libya in February, and by the end of March they had launched an offensive against the diminished Commonwealth forces. In under a month, Commonwealth forces were pushed back into Egypt with the exception of the besieged port of Tobruk. The Commonwealth attempted to dislodge Axis forces in May and again in June, but failed on both occasions. In early April, following Bulgaria's signing of the Tripartite Pact, the Germans intervened in the Balkans by invading Greece and Yugoslavia following a coup; here too they made rapid progress, eventually forcing the Allies to evacuate after Germany conquered the Greek island of Crete by the end of May.

The Allies did have some successes during this time. In the Middle East, Commonwealth forces first quashed a coup in Iraq which had been supported by German aircraft from bases within Vichy-controlled Syria, then, with the assistance of the Free French, invaded Syria and Lebanon to prevent further such occurrences. In the Atlantic, the British scored a much-needed public morale boost by sinking the German flagship Bismarck. Perhaps most importantly, during the Battle of Britain the Royal Air Force had successfully resisted the Luftwaffe's assault, and on 11 May 1941, Hitler called off the bombing campaign.

In Asia, despite several offensives by both sides, the war between China and Japan was stalemated by 1940. In order to increase pressure on China by blocking supply routes, and to better position Japanese forces in the event of a war with the Western powers, Japan had seized military control of southern Indochina.

In August of that year, Chinese communists launched an offensive in Central China; in retaliation, Japan instituted harsh measures (the Three Alls Policy) in occupied areas to reduce human and material resources for the communists. Continued antipathy between Chinese communist and nationalist forces culminated in armed clashes in January 1941, effectively ending their co-operation. With the situation in Europe and Asia relatively stable, Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union made preparations. With the Soviets wary of mounting tensions with Germany and the Japanese planning to take advantage of the European War by seizing resource-rich European possessions in Southeast Asia, the two powers signed the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1941. By contrast, the Germans were steadily making preparations for an attack on the Soviet Union, amassing forces on the Soviet border.

On 22 June 1941, Germany, along with other European Axis members and Finland, invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. The primary targets of this surprise offensive were the Baltic region, Moscow, and Ukraine, with an ultimate goal of ending the 1941 campaign near the Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line, connecting the Caspian and White Seas. Hitler's objectives were to eliminate the Soviet Union as a military power, exterminate Communism, generate Lebensraum ("living space") by dispossessing the native population and guarantee access to the strategic resources needed to defeat Germany's remaining rivals.

Although the Red Army was preparing for strategic counter-offensives before the war, Barbarossa forced the Soviet supreme command to adopt a strategic defence. During the summer, the Axis made significant gains into Soviet territory, inflicting immense losses in both personnel and materiel. By the middle of August, however, the German Army High Command decided to suspend the offensive of a considerably depleted Army Group Centre, and to divert the Second Panzer Group to reinforce troops advancing toward central Ukraine and Leningrad.

The Kiev offensive was overwhelmingly successful, resulting in encirclement and elimination of four Soviet armies, and made further advance into Crimea and industrially developed Eastern Ukraine (the First Battle of Kharkov) possible.

The diversion of three quarters of the Axis troops and the majority of their air forces from France and the central Mediterranean to the Eastern Front prompted the United Kingdom to reconsider its grand strategy. In July, the UK and the Soviet Union formed a military alliance against Germany and jointly invaded Iran shortly afterwards to secure the Persian Corridor and Iran's oilfields. In August, the United Kingdom and the United States jointly issued the Atlantic Charter.

By October, when Axis operational objectives in Ukraine and the Baltic region were achieved, with only the sieges of Leningrad and Sevastopol continuing, a major offensive against Moscow had been renewed. After two months of fierce battles, the German army almost reached the outer suburbs of Moscow, where the exhausted troops were forced to suspend their offensive. Large territorial gains were made by Axis forces, but their campaign had failed to achieve its main objectives: two key cities remained in Soviet hands, the Soviet capability to resist was not broken, and the Soviet Union retained a considerable part of its military potential. The blitzkrieg phase of the war in Europe had ended.

By early December, freshly mobilised reserves allowed the Soviets to achieve numerical parity with Axis troops. This, as well as intelligence data that established a minimal number of Soviet troops in the East sufficient to prevent any attack by the Japanese Kwantung Army, allowed the Soviets to begin a massive counter-offensive that started on 5 December along a 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) front and pushed German troops 100-250 kilometres (62-160 mi) west.

German successes in Europe encouraged Japan to increase pressure on European governments in south-east Asia. The Dutch government agreed to provide Japan oil supplies from the Dutch East Indies, while refusing to hand over political control of the colonies. Vichy France, by contrast, agreed to a Japanese occupation of French Indochina. The United States, United Kingdom, and other Western governments reacted to the seizure of Indochina with a freeze on Japanese assets, while the United States (which supplied 80 percent of Japan's oil) responded by placing a complete oil embargo. The seizure meant Japan was essentially forced to choose between abandoning its ambitions in Asia and the prosecution of the war against China, or seizing the natural resources it needed by force; the Japanese military did not consider the former an option, and many officers considered the oil embargo an unspoken declaration of war.

Japan planned to rapidly seize European colonies in Asia to create a large defensive perimeter stretching into the Central Pacific; the Japanese would then be free to exploit the resources of Southeast Asia while exhausting the over-stretched Allies by fighting a defensive war . To prevent American intervention while securing the perimeter it was further planned to neutralise the United States Pacific Fleet from the outset. On 7 December (8 December in Asian time zones), 1941, Japan attacked British and American holdings with near-simultaneous offensives against Southeast Asia and the Central Pacific. These included an attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor and landings in Thailand and Malaya.

The February 1942 Fall of Singapore saw 80,000 Allied soldiers captured and enslaved by the Japanese.

These attacks prompted the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, other Western Allies, and China (already fighting the Second Sino-Japanese War), to formally declare war on Japan. Germany and the other members of the Tripartite Pact responded by declaring war on the United States. In January, the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, China, and 22 smaller or exiled governments issued the Declaration by United Nations, which affirmed the Atlantic Charter. The Soviet Union did not adhere to the declaration; it maintained a neutrality agreement with Japan, and exempted itself from the principle of self-determination.

Meanwhile, by the end of April 1942, Japan had almost fully conquered Burma, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, Singapore, and Rabaul, inflicting severe losses on Allied troops and taking a large number of prisoners. Despite a stubborn resistance in Corregidor, the Philippines was eventually captured in May 1942, forcing the government of the Philippine Commonwealth into exile.Japanese forces also achieved naval victories in the South China Sea, Java Sea and Indian Ocean, and bombed the Allied naval base at Darwin, Australia. The only real Allied success against Japan was a Chinese victory at Changsha in early January 1942. These easy victories over unprepared opponents left Japan overconfident, as well as overextended.

Germany retained the initiative as well. Exploiting dubious American naval command decisions, the German navy ravaged Allied shipping off the American Atlantic coast. Despite considerable losses, European Axis members stopped a major Soviet offensive in Central and Southern Russia, keeping most territorial gains they achieved during the previous year.In North Africa, the Germans launched an offensive in January, pushing the British back to positions at the Gazala Line by early February, followed by a temporary lull in combat which Germany used to prepare for their upcoming offensives.
Axis advance stalls

American dive bombers engage the Mikuma at the Battle of Midway, June 1942.

In early May 1942, Japan initiated operations to capture Port Moresby by amphibious assault and thus sever communications and supply lines between the United States and Australia. The Allies, however, intercepted and turned back Japanese naval forces, successfully preventing the invasion. Japan's next plan, motivated by the earlier bombing on Tokyo, was to seize Midway Atoll and lure American carriers into battle to be eliminated; as a diversion, Japan would also send forces to occupy the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. In early June, Japan put its operations into action but the Americans, having broken Japanese naval codes in late May, were fully aware of the plans and force dispositions and used this knowledge to achieve a decisive victory at Midway over the Imperial Japanese Navy.

With its capacity for aggressive action greatly diminished as a result of the Midway battle, Japan chose to focus on a belated attempt to capture Port Moresby by an overland campaign in the Territory of Papua. The Americans planned a counter-attack against Japanese positions in the southern Solomon Islands, primarily Guadalcanal, as a first step towards capturing Rabaul, the main Japanese base in Southeast Asia.

Both plans started in July, but by mid-September, the battle for Guadalcanal took priority for the Japanese, and troops in New Guinea were ordered to withdraw from the Port Moresby area to the northern part of the island, where they faced Australian and United States troops in the Battle of Buna-Gona. Guadalcanal soon became a focal point for both sides with heavy commitments of troops and ships in the battle for Guadalcanal. By the start of 1943, the Japanese were defeated on the island and withdrew their troops. In Burma, Commonwealth forces mounted two operations. The first, an offensive into the Arakan region in late 1942, went disastrously, forcing a retreat back to India by May 1943. The second was the insertion of irregular forces behind Japanese front-lines in February which, by the end of April, had achieved dubious results.

A Soviet soldier waving the Red Banner over the central plaza in Stalingrad, 1943.
On Germany's eastern front, the Axis defeated Soviet offensives in the Kerch Peninsula and at Kharkovand then launched their main summer offensive against southern Russia in June 1942, to seize the oilfields of the Caucasus and occupy Kuban steppe, while maintaining positions on the northern and central areas of the front. The Germans split the Army Group South into two groups: Army Group A struck lower Don River while Army Group B struck south-east to the Caucasus, towards Volga River. The Soviets decided to make their stand at Stalingrad, which was in the path of the advancing German armies.

By mid-November the Germans had nearly taken Stalingrad in bitter street fighting when the Soviets began their second winter counter-offensive, starting with an encirclement of German forces at Stalingrad and an assault on the Rzhev salient near Moscow, though the latter failed disastrously. By early February 1943, the German Army had taken tremendous losses; German troops at Stalingrad had been forced to surrender and the front-line had been pushed back beyond its position before the summer offensive. In mid-February, after the Soviet push had tapered off, the Germans launched another attack on Kharkov, creating a salient in their front line around the Russian city of Kursk.

British Crusader tanks moving to forward positions during the North Africa Campaign.
By November 1941, Commonwealth forces had launched a counter-offensive, Operation Crusader, in North Africa, and reclaimed all the gains the Germans and Italians had made. In the West, concerns the Japanese might utilize bases in Vichy-held Madagascar caused the British to invade the island in early May 1942. This success was offset soon after by an Axis offensive in Libya which pushed the Allies back into Egypt until Axis forces were stopped at El Alamein. On the Continent, raids of Allied commandos on strategic targets, culminating in the disastrous Dieppe Raid, demonstrated the Western Allies' inability to launch an invasion of continental Europe without much better preparation, equipment, and operational security.

In August 1942, the Allies succeeded in repelling a second attack against El Alamein and, at a high cost, managed to deliver desperately needed supplies to the besieged Malta. A few months later, the Allies commenced an attack of their own in Egypt, dislodging the Axis forces and beginning a drive west across Libya. This attack was followed up shortly after by an Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa, which resulted in the region joining the Allies. Hitler responded to the French colony's defection by ordering the occupation of Vichy France; although Vichy forces did not resist this violation of the armistice, they managed to scuttle their fleet to prevent its capture by German forces. The now pincered Axis forces in Africa withdrew into Tunisia, which was conquered by the Allies in May 1943.

Following the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Allies initiated several operations against Japan in the Pacific. In May 1943, Allied forces were sent to eliminate Japanese forces from the Aleutians, and soon after began major operations to isolate Rabaul by capturing surrounding islands, and to breach the Japanese Central Pacific perimeter at the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. By the end of March 1944, the Allies had completed both of these objectives, and additionally neutralised the major Japanese base at Truk in the Caroline Islands. In April, the Allies then launched an operation to retake Western New Guinea.

In the Soviet Union, both the Germans and the Soviets spent the spring and early summer of 1943 making preparations for large offensives in Central Russia. On 4 July 1943, Germany attacked Soviet forces around the Kursk Bulge. Within a week, German forces had exhausted themselves against the Soviets' deeply echeloned and well-constructed defences and, for the first time in the war, Hitler cancelled the operation before it had achieved tactical or operational success. This decision was partially affected by the Western Allies' invasion of Sicily launched on 9 July which, combined with previous Italian failures, resulted in the ousting and arrest of Mussolini later that month.

On 12 July 1943, the Soviets launched their own counter-offensives, thereby dispelling any hopes of the German Army for victory or even stalemate in the east. The Soviet victory at Kursk heralded the downfall of German superiority, giving the Soviet Union the initiative on the Eastern Front. The Germans attempted to stabilise their eastern front along the hastily fortified Panther-Wotan line, however, the Soviets broke through it at Smolensk and by the Lower Dnieper Offensives.

In early September 1943, the Western Allies invaded the Italian mainland, following an Italian armistice with the Allies. Germany responded by disarming Italian forces, seizing military control of Italian areas, and creating a series of defensive lines. German special forces then rescued Mussolini, who then soon established a new client state in German occupied Italy named the Italian Social Republic. The Western Allies fought through several lines until reaching the main German defensive line in mid-November.

German operations in the Atlantic also suffered. By May 1943, as Allied counter-measures became increasingly effective, the resulting sizable German submarine losses forced a temporary halt of the German Atlantic naval campaign. In November 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met with Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo and then with Joseph Stalin in Tehran. The former conference determined the post-war return of Japanese territory, while the latter included agreement that the Western Allies would invade Europe in 1944 and that the Soviet Union would declare war on Japan within three months of Germany's defeat.

British troops firing a mortar during the Battle of Imphal, North East India, 1944.
In January 1944, the Allies launched a series of attacks in Italy against the line at Monte Cassino and attempted to outflank it with landings at Anzio. By the end of January, a major Soviet offensive expelled German forces from the Leningrad region, ending the longest and most lethal siege in history. The following Soviet offensive was halted on the pre-war Estonian border by the German Army Group North aided by Estonians hoping to re-establish national independence. This delay slowed subsequent Soviet operations in the Baltic Sea region.[182] By late May 1944, the Soviets had liberated Crimea, largely expelled Axis forces from Ukraine, and made incursions into Romania, which were repulsed by the Axis troops. The Allied offensives in Italy had succeeded and, at the expense of allowing several German divisions to retreat, on 4 June Rome was captured.

The Allies experienced mixed fortunes in mainland Asia. In March 1944, the Japanese launched the first of two invasions, an operation against British positions in Assam, India, and soon besieged Commonwealth positions at Imphal and Kohima. In May 1944, British forces mounted a counter-offensive that drove Japanese troops back to Burma, and Chinese forces that had invaded northern Burma in late 1943 besieged Japanese troops in Myitkyina. The second Japanese invasion attempted to destroy China's main fighting forces, secure railways between Japanese-held territory and capture Allied airfields. By June, the Japanese had conquered the province of Henan and begun a renewed attack against Changsha in the Hunan province.

Allied Invasion of Normandy, June 6 1944.

On 6 June 1944 (known as D-Day), the Western Allies invaded northern France and, after reassigning several Allied divisions from Italy, southern France. These landings were successful, and led to the defeat of the German Army units in France. Paris was liberated by the local resistance assisted by the Free French forces on 25 August and the Western Allies continued to push back German forces in Western Europe during the latter part of the year. An attempt to advance into northern Germany spear-headed by a major airborne operation in the Netherlands ended with a failure. The Allies also continued their advance in Italy until they ran into the last major German defensive line.

On 22 June, the Soviets launched a strategic offensive in Belarus (known as "Operation Bagration") that resulted in the almost complete destruction of the German Army Group Centre. Soon after that, another Soviet strategic offensive forced German troops from Western Ukraine and Eastern Poland. The successful advance of Soviet troops prompted resistance forces in Poland to initiate several uprisings, though the largest of these, in Warsaw, as well as a Slovak Uprising in the south, were not assisted by the Soviets and were put down by German forces. The Red Army's strategic offensive in eastern Romania cut off and destroyed the considerable German troops there and triggered a successful coup d'état in Romania and in Bulgaria, followed by those countries' shift to the Allied side.

In September 1944, Soviet Red Army troops advanced into Yugoslavia and forced the rapid withdrawal of the German Army Groups E and F in Greece, Albania and Yugoslavia to rescue them from being cut off. By this point, Communist-led partisans under Marshal Josip Broz Tito controlled much of the territory of Yugoslavia and were engaged in delaying efforts against the German forces further south. In northern Serbia, the Red Army, with limited support from Bulgarian forces, assisted the partisans in a joint liberation of the capital city of Belgrade on 20 October. A few days later, the Soviets launched a massive assault against German-occupied Hungary that lasted until the fall of Budapest in February 1945. In contrast with impressive Soviet victories in the Balkans, the bitter Finnish resistance to the Soviet offensive in the Karelian Isthmus denied the Soviets occupation of Finland and led to the signing of Soviet-Finnish armistice on relatively mild conditions, with a subsequent shift to the Allied side by Finland.

By the start of July, Commonwealth forces in Southeast Asia had repelled the Japanese sieges in Assam, pushing the Japanese back to the Chindwin River while the Chinese captured Myitkyina. In China, the Japanese were having greater successes, having finally captured Changsha in mid-June and the city of Hengyang by early August. Soon after, they further invaded the province of Guangxi, winning major engagements against Chinese forces at Guilin and Liuzhou by the end of November and successfully linking up their forces in China and Indochina by the middle of December.

In the Pacific, American forces continued to press back the Japanese perimeter. In mid-June 1944 they began their offensive against the Mariana and Palau islands, scoring a decisive victory against Japanese forces in the Philippine Sea within a few days. These defeats led to the resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Tōjō and provided the United States with air bases to launch intensive heavy bomber attacks on the Japanese home islands. In late October, American forces invaded the Filipino island of Leyte; soon after, Allied naval forces scored another large victory during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history.

Axis collapse, Allied victory

On 16 December 1944, Germany attempted its last desperate measure for success on the Western Front by marshalling German reserves to launch a massive counter-offensive in the Ardennes to attempt to split the Western Allies, encircle large portions of Western Allied troops and capture their primary supply port at Antwerp in order to prompt a political settlement. By January, the offensive had been repulsed with no strategic objectives fulfilled. In Italy, the Western Allies remained stalemated at the German defensive line. In mid-January 1945, the Soviets attacked in Poland, pushing from the Vistula to the Oder river in Germany, and overran East Prussia. On 4 February, U.S., British, and Soviet leaders met in Yalta. They agreed on the occupation of post-war Germany, and when the Soviet Union would join the war against Japan.

In February, the Soviets invaded Silesia and Pomerania, while Western Allied forces entered Western Germany and closed to the Rhine river. In March, the Western Allies crossed the Rhine north and south of the Ruhr, encircling a large number of German troops, while the Soviets advanced to Vienna. In early April, the Western Allies finally pushed forward in Italy and swept across Western Germany, while Soviet forces stormed Berlin in late April; the two forces linked up on Elbe river on 25 April. On 30 April 1945, the Reichstag was captured, signalling the military defeat of Third Reich.

A devastated Berlin street in the city centre post Battle of Berlin, taken 3 July 1945.

Several changes in leadership occurred during this period. On 12 April, U.S. President Roosevelt died and was succeeded by Harry Truman. Benito Mussolini was killed by Italian partisans on 28 April. Two days later, Hitler committed suicide, and was succeeded by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz.

German forces surrendered in Italy on 29 April and in Western Europe on 7 May. On the Eastern Front, Germany surrendered to the Soviets on 8 May. A German Army Group Centre resisted in Prague until 11 May. In the Pacific theatre, American forces accompanied by the forces of the Philippine Commonwealth advanced in the Philippines, clearing Leyte by the end of April 1945. They landed on Luzon in January 1945 and seized Manila in March, leaving it in ruins. Fighting continued on Luzon, Mindanao and other islands of the Philippines until the end of the war.

In May 1945, Australian troops landed on Borneo, overrunning the oilfields there. British, American and Chinese forces defeated the Japanese in northern Burma in March, and the British pushed on to reach Rangoon by 3 May. American forces also moved toward Japan, taking Iwo Jima by March, and Okinawa by the end of June.American bombers destroyed Japanese cities, and American submarines cut off Japanese imports.

On 11 July, the Allied leaders met in Potsdam, Germany. They confirmed earlier agreements about Germany,and reiterated the demand for unconditional surrender of all Japanese forces by Japan, specifically stating that "the alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction". During this conference the United Kingdom held its general election, and Clement Attlee replaced Churchill as Prime Minister. When Japan continued to reject the Potsdam terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August. Between the two bombs, the Soviets, pursuant to the Yalta agreement, invaded Japanese-held Manchuria, and quickly defeated the Kwantung Army, which was the primary Japanese fighting force. The Red Army also captured Sakhalin Island and the Kurile Islands. On 15 August 1945 Japan surrendered, with the surrender documents finally signed aboard the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri on 2 September 1945, ending the war.

Aftermath of World War II

In an effort to maintain international peace, the Allies formed the United Nations, which officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, and adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, as a common standard of achievement for all member nations.
The alliance between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union had begun to deteriorate even before the war was over, and the powers each quickly established their own spheres of influence. In Europe, the continent was essentially divided between Western and Soviet spheres by the Iron Curtain which ran through and partitioned Allied occupied Germany and occupied Austria. The Soviet Union created the Eastern Bloc by directly annexing several countries it occupied as Soviet Socialist Republics that were originally effectively ceded to it by Germany in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, such as Eastern Poland, the three Baltic countries, part of eastern Finland and northeastern Romania.

Other states that the Soviets occupied at the end of the war were converted into Soviet Satellite states, such as the People's Republic of Poland, the People's Republic of Hungary, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the People's Republic of Romania, the People's Republic of Albania, and later East Germany from the Soviet zone of German occupation.

In Asia, the United States occupied Japan and administrated Japan's former islands in the Western Pacific, while the Soviets annexed Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands; the former Japanese-governed Korea was divided and occupied between the two powers. Mounting tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union soon evolved into the formation of the American-led NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact military alliances and the start of the Cold War between them.

Soon after the end of World War II, conflict flared again in many parts of the world. In China, nationalist and communist forces quickly resumed their civil war. Communist forces were eventually victorious and established the People's Republic of China on the mainland, while nationalist forces ended up retreating to Taiwan. In Greece, civil war broke out between Anglo-American supported royalist forces and communist forces, with the royalist forces victorious.

Soon after these conflicts ended, North Korea invaded South Korea, which was backed by the United Nations, while North Korea was backed by the Soviet Union and China. The war resulted in essentially a stalemate and ceasefire, after which North Korean leader Kim Il Sung created a highly centralised and brutal dictatorship, according himself unlimited power and generating a formidable cult of personality.

Following the end of the war, a rapid period of decolonization also took place within the holdings of the various European colonial powers. These primarily occurred due to shifts in ideology, the economic exhaustion from the war and increased demand by indigenous people for self-determination. For the most part, these transitions happened relatively peacefully, though notable exceptions occurred in countries such as Indochina, Madagascar, Indonesia and Algeria. In many regions, divisions, usually for ethnic or religious reasons, occurred following European withdrawal. This was seen prominently in the Mandate of Palestine, leading to the creation of Israel, and in India, resulting in the creation of the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.

Economic recovery following the war was varied in differing parts of the world, though in general it was quite positive. In Europe, West Germany recovered quickly and doubled production from its pre-war levels by the 1950s. Italy came out of the war in poor economic condition, but by 1950s, the Italian economy was marked by stability and high growth. The United Kingdom was in a state of economic ruin after the war, and continued to experience relative economic decline for decades to follow.

France rebounded quickly, and enjoyed rapid economic growth and modernisation. The Soviet Union also experienced a rapid increase in production in the immediate post-war era. In Asia, Japan experienced incredibly rapid economic growth, becoming one of the most powerful economies in the world by the 1980s.

China, following the conclusion of its civil war, was essentially a bankrupt nation. By 1953, economic restoration seemed fairly successful as production had resumed pre-war levels. This growth rate mostly persisted, though it was briefly interrupted by the disastrous Great Leap Forward economic experiment. At the end of the war, the United States produced roughly half of the world's industrial output; by the early 1970s though, this dominance had lessened significantly.

what you said.

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