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Video:Overview of WWII

with David Wilson

WWII is as prolific as it was devastating. In this history video from About.com, discover what precipitated World War II, how the U.S. became involved, and the major political events that occurred afterward.See Transcript

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Transcript:Overview of WWII

Hello, my name is David Wilson. I'm an historian and a teacher of U.S. and World History. I'm here today for About.com, and in this segment we're going to be discussing an overview of World War II.

Who Fought in World War II?

World War II was a worldwide military conflict between two sets of allied countries. The countries referred to as the Allies were the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union, and many others who joined after the conflict began, against what were referred to as the Axis Powers: Germany, Japan, and Italy. The battles were fought literally all over the globe, from Alaska, to tiny islands in the Pacific Ocean, to the continent of Europe, all across the Pacific Rim.

The Beginning of World War II

In the European Theater, the road to war was built upon the reparations system that was put in place at the end of World War I. By 1933, Adolph Hitler had become dictator of Germany. Hitler recognized that most world leaders desperately wanted to avoid another world war, and slowly began violating the Treaty of Versailles by building his military power, which was something forbidden in the treaty. Hitler then invaded Poland in 1939. England and France declared war on Germany, September 3, 1939. The United States stayed out of the conflict until the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941 by Japanese aircraft.

Victory in Europe

World War II had profound effects on the United States as the factories were adapted to produce war goods, food and supplies were strictly rationed, and an entire generation of American men flocked to join the military.

Victory in Europe occurred on May 8, 1945. The American armies, along with the allies, then turned their direction to the fight in the Pacific, whereby victory over the Empire of Japan occurred in the same year on August 15, 1945 after the deployment of two atomic weapons on the Japanese mainland.

Political Effects of World War II

There were two other political effects that took place at the end of World War II: one was the formation of the United Nations; and the other was NATO. Both of these political organizations were designed to prevent the world from ever again coming into conflict such as it did in World War I or World War II.

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