World War 2
Second World War The deadliest conflict in human history
World War II, which began in 1939 and ended in 1945, was the deadliest and most destructive war in history, claiming the lives of more than 50 million people. Adolf Hitler started the war in 1939 when his German forces invaded Poland. Great Britain and France responded by declaring war on Germany on September 3. The war between the U.S.S.R. and Germany began on June 22, 1941, with Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The war in the Pacific began on December 7/8, 1941, when Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor and other American, Dutch, and British military installations throughout Asia. The Allied landings at Normandy on June 6, 1944, opened a second front in Europe, and Germany’s abortive offensive at the Ardennes in the winter of 1944–45 marked the Third Reich’s final push in the west. The Red Army advanced from the east and effectively claimed all the territory under its control for the Soviet sphere. The Allied armies converged on Berlin. Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, and the war in Europe ended on May 8.