World War II Facts

World War II Facts

World War II (WWII or WW2), also known as the Second World War, was a global war. It took place between 1939 to 1945. Most of the world's countries, including all of the great powers, fought as part of two military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The war was fought as a "total war", meaning all resources a country had were used in the war, even those that didn't belong to the army, such as factories. It involved more countries, cost more money, and killed more people than any other war in human history. Between 50 and 70 million people died. See the fact file below for more information and facts about World War II.

World War 2 is the biggest mass war known to man. It is an event that will be remembered in human history forever. So many people were killed and so many countries were involved.

This page contains some of the key facts about WW2. How many people died? Which nations were involved? Why did it start. The fact file below covers these and more interesting facts from the Second World War that shaped modern history and the democracy based society we live in today.

How Many People Died in World War 2?

It is estimated that over 50-70 million people died during the conflicts of WW2. The official numbers can never be confirmed because of the staggering number of deaths. To put that number in perspective, the current population of the entire United Kingdom is approximately 64.1 million people.

The death toll in World War 2 is equivalent to every single person in the United Kingdom losing their lives.

World War 2 Facts and Information

Troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching "Omaha" Beach on "D-Day", 6 June 1944.
Troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching “Omaha” Beach on “D-Day”, 6 June 1944.
  • World War II was a military conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945 and involved nearly all the nations of the world.
  • World War II was caused by the Treaty of Versailles and the German people’s resentment toward the League of Nations. The Treaty of Versailles was created in 1919 to ensure peace in Europe following World War I. The treaty said that land was to be taken away from Germany. It also stated that Germany would pay for damages caused by the war, and that Germany could only have a small army with no air force, submarines or tanks.
  • Adolph Hitler was able to convince the German people to give him the power to improve conditions in Germany and restore the country’s strength and dignity. He vowed to tear up the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Hitler began invading Austria and Czechoslovakia. He also built up the German army and their weapons. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. When that happened, Britain and France declared war on Germany.
  • Germany made treaties with Italy and Japan. The three became the Axis powers. Leaders of the Axis powers were Adolf Hitler, Emperor Hirohito and Benito Mussolini.
 The countries that made up the Allied powers included Russia, France, British Empire, Italy, United States, Rumania, Serbia, Belgium, Greece, Portugal and Montenegro. Major Leaders of the Allies were Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.
  • The war covered territories in Europe, the Pacific, the Atlantic, South-East Asia, China, Middle East, the Mediterranean and Africa.
  • On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Island. The United States entered the war.
  • The number of U.S. soldiers who served in World War II was 16,112,566, and the number wounded was 671,846. Over 100,000 Allied bomber crewmen were killed over Europe. Nearly 62 million people died during and leading up to the war.
  • The Allies dropped 3.4 million tons of bombs, averaging of about 27,700 tons of bombs each month. On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. A B29 super fortress bomber, called the ‘Enola Gay’ dropped the bomb. On August 9, 1945, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Over 225,000 people were killed or later died from radiation poisoning in both these attacks. These attacks virtually ended the was with Japan.
  • Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945. Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945. On August 14, 1945, Japan surrendered. World War II ended on August 15, 1945. The war not officially over until President Harry Truman issued a “proclamation of formal cessation of World War II hostilities”. This occurred on December 31, 1946.