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World War II The greatest war of world history began Sept 1 1939 with the invasion of Poland by Germany It ended six years later almost to the day Sept 2 1945 with a formal surrender by the government of Japan and all of its military forces to the United States in a ceremony aboard the American battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay The major participants were Germany Italy and Japan on the side that lost and the United States Great Britain and Soviet Union France and China on the side that were against them World War II On Sept 1 1939 Hitler launched the attack against Poland that started World War II Hitler held personal command of the armed forces and pushed his plans for total war against the strong army leaders Germany was not strong enough to defeat the Allied powers As the war went on Britain refused to surrender despite the defeat of Denmark Norway Holland Belgium and France Hitler decided on an invasion of England Germanys massive air attacks failed In October 1940 he issued Operation Sea Lion code name for the invasion Hitlers victories had made him master of Europe The outbreak of World War II in 1939 Mussolini the dictator of Italy became involved with German dictator Adolf Hitlers plans for conquest In 1936 Italy and Germany signed an agreement The agreement created the Rome-Berlin Axis In 1938 Germany annexed Austria and the Sudeten land of Czechoslovakia with Mussolinis approval Early in 1939 Mussolini and Hitler signed a pact under which Italy was pledged to support Germany even in a war of aggression On Sept 1 1939 Germany invaded Poland without declaring war Two days later France and Britain declared war on Germany Germany turned their power against Polands largest cities and military centers destroying bridges railheads marshaling areas and power stations Poland was virtually defeated before they could take the field The Battle of Britain in which Britain
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