How many years did the Second World War last?

Second World War

The Second World War lasted almost six years - from 1939 to 1945. It began on September 1, 1939, when the dictator Adolf Hitler, who was in power in Germany at the time, ordered his troops to attack neighboring Poland. The Second World War got its name from the fact that it was the second war in the 20th century in which all the powerful states of the world were involved: After the attack on Poland, the German army marched into other countries. They conquered Denmark and Norway, then all of Western Europe from France to the Netherlands. The German army had allied itself with the Italians. But Hitler and his supporters, the National Socialists, wanted more: in 1941 they attacked the mighty Soviet Union, today's Russia.

Genocide in Europe

But the Germans not only waged war against soldiers from other countries: they also began fighting and murdering people they considered inferior. Especially those who had different political views or belonged to a different race were persecuted by Hitler's supporters, the National Socialists. This affected, for example, homosexuals, the disabled, Sinti and Roma or even young people who did not want to adapt to the state. The Nazis particularly hated Jews. During their rule, six million Jews were murdered in Germany alone.

Fight in Asia

Even before the war in Europe, fighting had taken place in Asia since 1937. Japan tried to expand its influence in China and South Asia through fighting. The Americans wanted to prevent this, which led to the Japanese army attacking the American military port Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in 1941. This opened a war between Japan and the USA, which Britain among others came to the aid. The Japanese initially conquered large parts of Southeast Asia, then the Americans and their allies began the counterattack, which did not end until August 1945. The Americans used the first two atomic bombs and destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

60 million dead

The USA and Great Britain, both democratic states, formed an alliance with this state, which was also ruled by a dictator, in World War II after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. It took a long time for the Soviet Union to stop the German advance and counterattack. The Americans, British and their allies tried to help the Russians first through a sea war in the Atlantic and through bombing raids in Germany. It was not until 1944 that the allied troops were able to attack Germany by land and finally defeat it in May 1945. 60 million people died in the Second World War - many of them civilians.

The creation of the UN

The Americans, British and Soviets called their war alliance the United Nations since 1941. 27 nations joined him. In 1945 this war alliance became a permanent organization, the United Nations, or UN for short. This organization wanted to ensure that there would be lasting peace in the world after the end of this great war.


After the end of the war, the four most important victorious powers - the USA, France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union - occupied Germany. They divided the land among themselves into four zones and tried to manage it together. However, they got into controversy over many issues, including the Cold War. Ultimately, Germany was divided into two states: the Federal Republic of Germany, or FRG for short, and the German Democratic Republic, or GDR for short. The FRG was a democratic state based on the Western model, the GDR was shaped by the Soviet Union.

Status: 08/18/2016, 10:15 am