Outline of World War II


The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to World War II:

World War II, or the Second World War was a global military conflict that was fought between September 1st, 1939 and September 2nd, 1945. The war was pitted two major military alliances against each other: the Allies of the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, China and others against the Axis of Germany, Japan, Italy and others. Over 60 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.[1]

The Second World War was known for modern warfare and tactics such as air warfare, strategic bombing, blitzkrieg and the first, and only, use of nuclear weapons in warfare. It is also known for the numerous war crimes committed during its duration, mostly by Axis forces but also by Allied forces, that left tens of millions of civilians dead through genocides, massacres and starvation; such as the Holocaust, Three Alls Policy, Genocide of ethnic Poles, Unit 731, Nanjing massacre, Hunger Plan and the Warsaw Uprising.

Causes of World War IIEdit

Participants in World War IIEdit

The Axis powersEdit

Major Axis powersEdit

Other Axis powersEdit

The Allied powersEdit

The 'Big Five' major alliesEdit

Other major alliesEdit

War crimesEdit

The Second World War was characterized by many instances of War crimes:


The HolocaustEdit

Other genocidesEdit


Mistreatment of civiliansEdit

People in World War IIEdit

Leaders in World War IIEdit

Axis leadersEdit

Allied leadersEdit

Military forces of World War IIEdit

Timeline of World War IIEdit

The following list includes some of the largest events in World War II:








World War II by regionEdit

Theatres and major campaignsEdit




For all theatres in Africa, see: African theatres


World War II by countryEdit

Technology during World War IIEdit

Technology during World War II

Equipment of World War IIEdit

Vehicles of World War IIEdit

Weapons of World War IIEdit

Other initiatives in World War IIEdit

Propaganda during World War IIEdit

Common military awardsEdit

Soviet UnionEdit

United StatesEdit

United KingdomEdit

France and BelgiumEdit


Nazi GermanyEdit

Aftermath of World War IIEdit

The end of World War IIEdit

Immediate eventsEdit

The post-war worldEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Kingdom of Italy was an axis power until it changed sides to the Allies after an armistice in 1943. After the armistice, the Italian Social Republic was set up as a German puppet state
  2. ^ As the Slovak Republic, a German client state
  3. ^ During the Continuation War
  4. ^ From June 1941
  5. ^ From December 1941
  6. ^ China had been fighting an undeclared war against Japan since 1937, with various other conflicts since 1931. On December 9th, 1941, they officially joined the war
  7. ^ In June 1940, France surrendered and a government-in-exile, Free France, was formed that fought with the Allies until the Provisional government was formed in 1944
  8. ^ Yugoslavia was occupied after an invasion, but there were prominent partisan groups that continued fighting
  9. ^ The emperor was the titular leader of Japan and had the final say on decisions, but his power was still (somewhat) limited. The Prime Minister (Fumimaro Konoe and later Hideki Tojo for most of the war) held immense political power, and thus the emperor was not a dictator in the way Hitler or Mussolini were[2]
  10. ^ Victor Emmanuel III was the Italian head of state and did overrule Mussolini on certain occasions (such as refusing to join the Second World War until 1940 and even deposing him in 1943), but Mussolini used more de facto power and influence than the king
  11. ^ Stalin was neither the head of state nor the head of government, but he held de facto dictatorial power
  12. ^ China was fragmented at the time due to a halted civil war and legacies of the warlord era; thus, other leaders such as Mao Zedong of the Chinese Communists and various warlords (such as Li Zongren, Yan Xishan and (initially) Chang Hsueh-liang) had significant power. However, Kai-shek was the leader of the nationalists which allied with the communists and controlled most of China during the Second World War
  13. ^ Other dates have been proposed, but September 1st, 1939 is generally accepted
  14. ^ The United States Congress did not officially declare war until the next day
  15. ^ Signed on September 3, declared on September 8
  16. ^ Undeclared from 1937-1941, this war merged into World War II in 1941


  1. ^ Dunnigan, James; Albert Nofi. Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You About the Greatest, Most Terrible War in History,true true -Thomas William Morrow & Company, 1994. ISBN 0-688-12235-3
  2. ^ Bix, p. 457.


  • Bix, Herbert P. (September 4, 2001). Hirohito and the making of modern Japan. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-093130-8. Retrieved April 6, 2022.

External linksEdit

  • Yahoo—"World War II"
  • Directory of Online World War II Indexes & Records
  • WWW-VL: History: WWII
  • World War II Database
  • The Second World War—Spartacus Educational
  • Deutsche Welle special section on World War II created by one of Germany's public broadcasters on World War II and the world 60 years after.
  • Canada and WWII
  • End of World War II in Germany
  • World War II Encyclopedia by the History Channel
  • World War II Awards and their recipients.
  • U.S. National Archives Photos
  • World War II Poster Collection Archived 2009-09-05 at the Wayback Machine hosted by the University of North Texas Libraries' *Digital Collections
  • World War II Propaganda Leaflet Archive
  • World War 2 Pictures In Colour
  • Multimedia map—Presentation that covers the war from the invasion of the Soviet Union to the fall of Berlin
  • Radio news from 1938 to 1945
  • The Art of War Online Exhibition at the UK National Archive
On-line documents
  • World War II Military Situation Maps. Library of Congress
  • After Action Reports (AAR’s) and other official documents about the American Divisions during the Second World War
  • Maps from the Pacific and Italian theaters
  • Officially Declassified U.S. Government Documents about World War II Archived 2008-03-21 at the Wayback Machine
  • The Soviet History of World War II, 28 October 1959—Central Intelligence Agency, Office of Current Intelligence.
  • Daily German action reports
  • WW2 People's War—A project by the BBC to gather the stories of ordinary people from World War II
  • The World at War (1974) is a 26-part Thames Television series that covers most aspects of World War II from many points of view. It includes interviews with many key figures (Karl Dönitz, Albert Speer, Anthony Eden etc.) (Imdb link)
  • The Second World War in Colour (1999) is a three episode documentary showing unique footage in color (Imdb link)
  • Battlefield (documentary series) is a television documentary series initially issued in 1994–1995 that explores many of the most important battles fought during the Second World War.
  • The War (2007) is 7-part PBS documentary recounting the experiences of a number of individuals from American communities.