World War II was arguably the largest world scale conflict the world has ever seen. During the period of 1939 to 1945, World War II was centered towards stopping the aggression of the Axis Powers known as Japan, Italy and Germany.
It all began with the rise of Nazi Germany that started towards the end of World War I, where Germany’s economy was in ruins. The World War I Treaty of Versailles threw all of the blame on Germany, who has to pay some heavy reparations to the countries involves. In addition to paying reparations, Germany was forced to rebuild itself from the bottom up.
In the late 1920’s, the Great Depression worsened Germany’s satiation even more.
A declining Germany caused lots of radical political parties to burst into the scene. Communists, right wing nationalists, and an extremist movement called the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (also known as the Nazi Party) began to move in. The Nazi Party held more than 100,000 members and began to win elections with ease. In 1933, Adolf Hitler was named the German chancellor.
During this pre-World War II period, Germany began to reject the Treaty of Versailles and oppose its restrictions. Hitler promised a sad people rebuilding and taking over of other territories. After attacking Poland in 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany and the war began.
Japan joined Germany as its closest ally in World War II after a rearrangement of priorities. Also hit by the Great Depression, Japan needed more land to help its population and saw territorial expansion as a legit way out. This caused them to start occupying other lands and create a plan to establish a new order where Western influence was no longer needed.
In 1940, Japan signed an agreement with Germany and Italy to become allies. This caused the United States to place a trade embargo on Japan which caused Japan to hit the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Springing to action, the United States joined World War II and joined the epic battle told on text books today.
In the end, the United States spent the most money on the war, clocking in at $341 billion. Germany spent $272 billion and Japan $56 billion. Even worse, many estimate human losses to be at 44 million for the Allies and 11 million or the Axis! This number also includes the number of civilians killed during the Holocaust.
When it came to power, there was a tremendous shift in the world balance with the United States and the Soviet Union retaining power with Britain, France, Japan, and Germany left in the wayside.
Fortunately, this time is over and we enjoy a much more peaceful time.