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PICS: 10 facts about World War II everyone should know

Joltin’ Josie the Pacific Pioneer was the first B-29 bomber to enter the Pacific Theater of World War II. (NOAA Ocean Exploration/Released)
December 16, 2022

While World War II ended more than 75 years ago, the global conflict’s impact on the world is still obvious today.

Here are ten facts about World War II everyone should know:

1. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, with an estimated 40-50 million fatalities. It involved the vast majority of the world’s nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis.

Navy and Marine Personnel posing for a photo opportunity during WWII. (DVIDS)

2. The war began on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, and it ended on September 2, 1945, with the surrender of Japan.

3. The United States entered World War II on December 7, 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. played a pivotal role in the Allied victory, providing economic and military support to the Allied powers.

Fire in this fighter plane was quickly extinguished by Marines at the Guadalcanal airport after a Japanese bomb hit the hangar shown in the background. The plane was not seriously damaged. (DVIDS)

4. The war saw the rise of authoritarian regimes, including Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, which were responsible for numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity.

5. The Holocaust, in which six million Jews and millions of others were systematically murdered by the Nazi regime, is considered one of the worst atrocities in human history.

6. The war also saw the use of new and deadly weapons, including nuclear bombs, which were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, leading to Japan’s surrender and the end of the war.

U.S. Marines stand in a foxhole near the front lines of combat on Saipan, July 1, 1944. (DVIDS)

7. The war had a profound impact on the world and led to significant political, social, and economic changes, the creation of the United Nations.

8. The war also led to the breakup of the European colonial empires and the emergence of the Cold War between the Western powers, led by the United States, and the Eastern powers, led by the Soviet Union.

A Marine throws a grenade during the fight for Betio Island in Nov. 1943. (DVIDS)

9. Some of the most famous battles of the war include the Battle of Stalingrad, the D-Day invasion, and the Battle of Midway.

10. The war had a significant cultural impact and is often depicted in literature, film, and other forms of media. It also inspired numerous works of art, including music, literature, and visual arts. Some of the most famous works of art inspired by the war include the novel “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut and the film “Saving Private Ryan.”