FAQ - History & Social Studies

When Was World War 2

When Was World War 2?

World War 2, which is also commonly spelled, World War II, took place between September 1rst, 1939 to September 2nd, 1945.



What Countries Were Involved in World War II?



World War II was fought between “the Axis” and “the Allies.” The Axis consisted primarily of Germany, Italy, and Japan. However, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, all joined the Axis Powers at certain points in the War.


The Allies consisted of all of the following nations:


·         Australia

·         Belgium

·         Brazil

·         Canada

·         China

·         Czechoslovakia

·         Denmark

·         Estonia

·         France

·         Greece

·         India

·         Latvia

·         Lithuania

·         Malta

·         The Netherlands

·         New Zealand

·         Norway

·         Poland

·         South Africa

·         United Kingdom

·         United States

·         USSR

·         Yugoslavia



What Was the Cause of World War II?


After World War I ended, Germany, was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles. In this treaty, Germany was made to accept responsibility for causing World War I, was forced to pay enormous reparations, and was forbidden from having a large military. Germany also was forced to give away 10 percent of its land and all of its overseas colonies.


In the early 1920s, following the end of World War I, Germany faced incredible hyperinflation as the nation tried to print money to pay the war reparations. At the height of the hyperinflation period in Germany in 1923, the exchange rate between one U.S. dollar and the German Mark (Germany’s currency) was one U.S. dollar to one trillion German Marks.


Hyperinflation in Germany created extreme financial difficulties for the country which were made worse in the late 1920s when the world at large faced a global financial collapse due to the 1929 stock market crash. In this period of major hardship, Germany turned to an up-and-coming political leader named Adolf Hitler.


Hitler became Germany’s official leader in 1933. He promised to bring back strength and prosperity to Germany. Under Hitler’s leadership, Germany started rebuilding its military against the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler and his Nazi political party implemented fascism in Germany. Wanting to regain land that was lost in the Treaty of Versailles and to expand Germany’s territory Germany started to invade countries in the late 1930s. In 1936, Germany invaded areas of France, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. On September 1rst, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and England and France immediately declared war on Germany. Thus, World War II began.


Another factor that led to World War II was when Japan, one of Germany’s allies, invaded China in the late 1930s. Japan also bombed Pearl Harbor, a key United States naval base in Hawaii, on December 7th, 1941. This led to America officially joining the war shortly after and resulted in a dramatic increase in war activity in the Pacific.


Who Were the Primary Leaders of World War II?


Allied Leaders


·         Winston Churchill:  Great Britain

·         Franklin D. Roosevelt: United States

·         Harry S. Truman: United States

·         Joseph Stalin: Soviet Union

·         Chiang Kai-Shek: China

·         Charles de Gaulle: France


Axis Leaders


·         Adolf Hitler: Germany

·         Benito Mussolini: Italy

Hirohito: Japan