The main countries that participated in World War II were those that made up “the Axis” (Germany, Italy and Japan) and the so-called “Allies” (United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China and the United States).
In turn, other countries provided some kind of support to one of the two sides. For example, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria sided with Nazi Germany in supporting the Axis.
For their part, the nations that supported the Allies were more numerous. These include Belgium, Australia, Denmark, Canada, Norway, New Zealand, India, the Netherlands, Brazil, Greece, Yugoslavia, South Africa, Estonia and Lithuania.
Other countries decided to remain neutral, either because of the distance that separated them from the central conflict (for example, the South American countries), because of the lack of resources to participate in an armed conflict of such proportions (Spain after the Civil War) or because they did not sympathize with the cause (Switzerland or Vatican City).
The Axis was one of the two opposing forces during World War II. Originally, it was made up of German and Italian forces, two nations ruled by radical nationalist governments. Later, Japan was added to this group.
World War II began due to the action of the German government, whose expansionist aims materialized with the invasion of Poland in September 1939. By the late spring of 1940, Germany had invaded Denmark, Norway, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
In 1941 the Nazi forces tried to invade the territory of the Soviet Union. However, they were expelled after the defeat at Stalingrad (1943).
In addition to supporting an imperialist policy, the Nazis’ plans included the destruction of any human society that did not belong to what they called “the Aryan race.” Jews were one of the main victims of this racist policy.
In the last years of the war, the Allies attacked the German army from different fronts, which broke the Nazi organization and weakened them. In May 1945, Germany surrendered and on the 8th of that same month the war in Europe ended.
In 1940, Italy began to participate in the World War alongside Nazi Germany. However, the lack of organization and resources made the Italian army unsuccessful in its endeavors.
In 1943, the allied forces began to invade Italian territory, causing the government of Benito Mussolini to collapse. While this was happening, Victor Enmanuel III, King of Italy, signed an armistice with the Allies.
However, the north of the territory was invaded by the Germans. Thus, the Socialist Republic of Italy (also known as the Republic of Saló) was formed. In the south the monarchy continued to rule.
In April 1945, revolutionary movements took place with the aim of liberating northern Italy. Finally, on April 25, with the help of the US military, the Germans were driven out of the country.
Some historians consider that the cause of World War II was actually the invasion of China by Japan.
The intervention of the Japanese army was observed mostly on the Pacific front. One of the most prominent actions of the Japanese forces was the attack on Pearl Harbor, where they defeated the Americans.
A short time later the Americans responded by dropping two atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. This caused Japan to surrender, marking the end of World War II and bringing its different consequences .
The Allies were the force that opposed the Axis. At first they were made up of the United Kingdom and France. However, in 1940 the invasion of France reduced the allied forces. In 1941 the Soviet Union was annexed.
In that same year, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States and China entered World War II. In this way, the “big four” were united: the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China and the United States.
In 1939 the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany in defense of the rights of Poland. But with the invasion of French territory by the Nazis, the British government became the only force opposing the Axis.
This situation continued until 1941, when the three remaining Allied nations were annexed.
In the beginning the Soviet Union had alliances with Nazi Germany. However, in 1941 the German army tried to invade Soviet territory. As a result, the Soviet government declared war on Germany and joined the Allied countries.
The Soviets were responsible for more than 80% of the casualties of the German army, playing an important role in the defeat of the Nazis.
One of his most relevant interventions was in the Battle of Stalingrad, which is considered by historians as a decisive point for the victory of the Allies.
China had had conflicts with Japan since 1931. Furthermore, its relations with Germany had declined since the start of the war.
However, the fact that moved China against the Axis was the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. On December 9, 1941, China declared war on Germany.
When the war began in 1939, the United States declared itself neutral. Despite this, it was noted that she sympathized with the Allied forces.
However, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the US government declared war on the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941. In this way, it became part of the Allied forces and declared war on Germany and Italy.
The US military intervened in the liberation of many European nations, including Italy. In addition, it carried out decisive actions that ended the war, such as the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
At the end of the war, the United States maintained political and economic relations in Europe. This was done in order to help rebuild nations devastated by conflict.
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