World War II occurred as a result of unfinished business from World War I. Other significant events at the time contributed to the causes of World War II, such as the Great Depression and the Japanese expansion through invading its neighboring countries. Many of the countries involved in World War II were the same ones from World War I.
World War II was fought between two major powers, the Allied and the Axis Powers. The Axis Powers consisted of countries that were unsatisfied by the outcome of World War I. This meant that the winning side of World War I formed a new group to face the dangers of those countries seeking revenge. The main countries that were part of the Allied Powers were Great Britain, France, Russia, China and the United States.
The first country of the Allied Powers to declare war on Germany and the Axis powers was Great Britain and the British Commonwealth countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and India.
After trying to avoid war, Hitler’s invasions of European countries were not going to stop. Despite signing an agreement after his invasion of Czechoslovakia promising that he would stop taking other countries, he invaded Poland right after this agreement was signed by Germany, Great Britain, and France.
Seeing no peaceful way to stop Hitler after the appeasement strategy failed, Great Britain’s Prime Minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain, declared war on September 3rd, 1939. One week later each of the Commonwealth countries started declaring war on the Axis powers as well.
Many British colonies in Africa and America had parts in World War II under British rule. In Africa, colonies in Southern and East Africa participated in the battles that happened in the Northern and Middle Eastern parts of Africa.
In the Americas, Great Britain ruled many colonies through assigning a governor from London on each of those colonies. British Honduras, British Guiana, and British West Indies participated in World War II, as a part of the British Empire.
Only a year after declaring war, Neville Chamberlain passed away and Winston Churchill assumed the role of Britain’s Prime Minister. Churchill motivated his country and his people through phenomenal speeches, one most notably during the Battle of Britain when the Germans were bombing them.
France was a very important power in the European theater of the war. Since France was part of the agreement that Hitler broke by invading Poland, France decided to declare war on Germany and, by extension, the rest of the Axis Powers. France declared war on September 3rd, 1939, the same day as the United Kingdom. The leader of France during this time was Charles de Gaulle.
French colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Americas such as French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Martinique, French Guiana, and Guadeloupe participated in World War II as a part of France.
The United States
For the first two years of World War II, the United States did not directly fight or send troops into the battlefield. Rather, the United States provided support to Great Britain in the war while remaining neutral. However, in 1941, President Roosevelt announced that the United States was declaring war against the Axis Powers, after the Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor.
Once the United States joined the Allied forces, the odds of winning World War II shifted in favor of the Allies.
Communist power changes sides
At this point, everything made sense in terms of the Powers division. The Nazis and Fascists were on one side and the Democrats of the western world were on the other. As a communist country, the Soviet Union started the war on the side of the Axis Powers.
The Soviet Union and China
The Soviet Union was part of the Axis Powers until Germany, under the leadership of Hitler, tried to invade the Soviet Union in 1941. This unforeseen move cost the Axis Powers the support they could have had from the Soviet Union which, of course, joined the Allied Powers right after this attack.
Being supported by the Soviet Union and invaded before World War II by Japan, China Joined the Allied Powers to fight the Japanese out of the Chinese lands. All these powerful countries entering the Allied Power’s side against Germany meant that it was only a matter of time before Hitler and Mussolini were defeated. And that is exactly what happened!
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