The war began in Europe on September 1, 1939 when Germany attacked Poland and ended on September 2, 1945 with the surrender of Japan aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The nations that were victorious were Great Britain, France, the U.S., Russia and China. The losing nations were Germay, Italy and Japan. It was unfortunate that The Great Depression helped create a enviroment where militaristic authoritrianism flourished.
Italy got very little for its efforts in WWII. The internal disorder and diplomatic frustration was the turning point that allowed the Italian government to be overturned and taken over by a fascist named Benito Mussolini.
For those that don't know, or didn't read the article on WWI, Germany had hard terms imposed on them after the first world war. They resented this fact, and this allowed the Anti Democratic and Nationalstic Right-Wing organizations to grow and led to the sadistic powers of the anti-semetic leader Adolf Hitler.
Japan, like Italy had been victorious in WWI. However, they thought that they should be the dominant power in Eastern Asia. From 1927 on, the nationalistic military officers began appearing in cabnet posts, and pressing for a more aggressive China policy.
Time was at hand and the road to war had begun. There was territoral aggrandizement by Japan in China, by fascist Italy in Ethiopia, and by Nazi Germany in central and eastern Europe. All of these things would eventually bring war to the U.S.'s doorstep.
The bombing of Pearl Harbor on Oahu island in Hawaii in 1941 resulted in the immediate entry of the United States into WWII. On December 7, 1941 at 7:50 am, the first wave of Japanese planes struck Pearl Harbor bombing airfields and battleships that were moored at the concrete quays. Eighteen ships were hit and the battleship Arizona was a wreck. The U.S. lost about 2,400 soldiers with 1,300 wounded and 1,000 missing. President Roosevelt spoke what Americans already knew: that this would be a day that would live in infamy.
On a personal note, my husband's grandfather was a medic during this war. He watched Gen. Patton cross the Rhine, and helped open up the Belsom Bergen Concentration Camp. Grandpa passed away in January of 1998, but his memory lives on in those he loved. May this be a tribute to him.
This is a picture of the WWII Memorial which is currently under construction. The dedication service is scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend, 2004.
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