WW2 Summary

World War II - WW2 Summary: This article is divided into five different sections, dealing with different aspects of WW2. The main focus is on the years 1937-1945.

More specifically, the focus is on the period of WW2 from September 1st 1939 through until May 8th 1945 (the war in Europe ended in Berlin) or September 2nd 1945 (the war in Asia ended in Tokyo).


Below is a list of the five sections of this WW2 summary:


  • - Events before the war began in Europe
    - The Blitzkrieg and its effect
    - The turning years
    - Landing, retreat and surrender
    - After the end of WW2

WW2 Summary - Events before the war began in Europe -

On September 18th 1931, Japan occupied the Chinese province of Manchuria, a sign that WW2 was slowly approaching. From 1931, Japan and China were locked together in war.



The appointment of Adolf Hitler as the new Chancellor of the German Reich (Reichskanzler) by the German President Paul von Hindenburg (the so-called Nazi seizure of power) in 1933 is another important event in this WW2 summary. It is also notable that both Japan and German chose to withdraw from the League of Nations.

Notably, the USSR joined the League of Nations in 1934. In 1935, Hitler denounced the restrictions imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles as null and void and introduced conscription, for a WW2 summary important. The signs of a possible war were increasing with each passing month.

The German-Italian Treaty (also known as the Rome-Berlin Axis) and the Anti-Comintern Pact between Germany came in 1936. On July 7th 1937, a clash between Japanese and Chinese troops near to Beijing saw the beginning of the second Sino-Japanese war in the far east. Historically, this is a scientifically controversial beginning of the WW2.

By 1938 there were increasing signs that war was coming ever closer. The Union of Germany and Austria - an interesting date in this WW2 summary - were swiftly followed by the occupation of the Sudentenland in Czechoslovakia by German troops.

WW2 Summary

WW2 Summary - Blitzkrieg and its effects -

For a WW2 summary this is a important time. WW2 commenced on September 1st 1939 in Poland (see WW2 start). It was in the years 1939 - 1941/2 that the Blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) was used to devastating effect by the German army, who made a series of surprise attacks on neighbouring countries.

Later on, Germany’s focus shifted to countries further afield in Africa and East, towards the Soviet Union. By the time of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Habor (December 7th 1941) the WW2 had expanded from a European conflict to a global one in which the United States was now involved in Europe and Asia.

When looking at the chronological sequence of events in this WW2 summary, it is striking that there is an ever-growing number of WW2 theatres. This summary shows that the concept of world war may now be regarded as justified. The Axis powers (Germany, Italy and Japan) were at war with their neighbours to enforce ideological and economic interests.

The chief opponents of the Axis powers were France, England and China. Agreements between Germany and the USSR (the Hitler-Stalin Pact) enabled both countries to aggressively expand, with the Soviets carrying out extensive troop movements in order to expand westwards. In this WW2 summary a important aspect.

However, the pact was broken in the year 1941, an important year in the context of this summary. This was the year that the non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia was broken as German troops moved onto Russian soil.

WW2 Summary - The turning years -

This part of the summary of WW2 covers the period from 1942-1943. It can be referred to as ‘the turn’, refering to the change of fortunes for the Axis forces. The invasion by German troops to more distant lands, whether in Russia or Africa came to a stop. In the winter of 1941/1942 the German advance on Russia stopped in Moscow.

In the summer of 1942, the advance of German troops in Africa were also ground to halt. Seen as a characteristic moment in the history of WW2, the German 6th army surrendered at Stalingrad. In Africa, The German Afrika Crops capitulated on May 13th 1943. Two months later, in July, Allied troops landed in Sicily.

WW2 Summary - Landing, retreat and surrender -

In this fourth section of the WW2 summary, the landing of the Allies can be viewed as the beginning of the end for Germany. The Allied attack began in 1943 with air raids on German cities during the day.

The first German city to be occupied by the Allies was Aachen. Warsaw was another early city to fall. Dresden was the target of a two-day air attack. In Japan, an American air-raid reduced more than a quarter of the city’s buildings to rubble and ash.

This summary cannot neglect the April 16th 1945 Red Army attack on Berlin. The unconditional surrender of Germany came in May 1945, with separate treaties being signed on the 8th and the 9th with Berlin in the foreground. It was on these days that the WW2 in Europe ended.

The war continued in the Pacific theatre, however. On August 6th and 9th 1945, the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. Japan surrendered less than a month later on September 2nd 1945 in the Bay of Tokyo, signifying the end of the WW2 in Asia.

WW2 Summary - After the end of the WW2 -

This is the fifth section of the summary of WW2, taking in some final considerations. All the major powers of the 20th century participated in the WW2 in some capacity. It was not only the biggest war in the history of humanity, it was also one with the most loss. WW2 saw 60 million die in combat, as well as victims of genocide, repression and war crimes.

In the context of the holocaust, 6 million Jews perished. Let it be noted that the above figures are not completely reliable and very much depend on the figures given by selected sources.

WW2 saw the introduction of biological and nuclear weapons (by the United States and Japan) as well as mechanical and chemical weapons. A strong arms and weapons industry in all nations supplied weapons and allowed for large-scale bombing operations of densely-populated areas (see WW2 summary - landing ,retreat and surrender).

Due to a divergence in ideological and economic views, the Allied powers did not remain united after the end of the war, with the Soviet Union retreating behind the Iron Curtain.

It was in this period that the Cold War began. The Cold War was to affect the whole of Europe and the world in the decades to come (see After WW2 for more information). Please note, that this WW2 summary is not complete, of course, and again that the figures can change strongly depending on selected sources.


Short cut to WW2 History.




Book Recommendation

Richard Holmes

World War II: The Definitive Visual History

Very good book on the 2nd World War II, which provides comprehensive information about the events and chronology.


It gives an impressive overview of the causes, progress, and the most important events during this period (about 1200 stunning images). Important war aims and strategies are explained, and portrays of important personalities are included (as an example: Rommel and Churchill).


Not unimportant, the price is really low, in our view for such a good illustrated book.


For more information and an option to purchase at Amazon Click to the right.










WW2 Facts (with book recommendation):



WW2 Start

WW2 End

WW2 History

WW2 Summary

WW2 Timeline


WW2 Countries:


Germany WW2 

Russia WW2

WW2 America

England WW2

WW2 Japan



WW2 Facts-Dates:


When did WW2 Start

WW2 Weapons

WW2 Tanks

WW2 1945

U-Boats WW2

WW2 Aircraft


Spezial Topics:


Germany after WW2

WW2 Movies

WW2 Soldiers

World War 2 Casualties

World War 1 and 2