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World War II global military conflict that in terms of lives lost and material destruction was themost devastating war in human history It began in 1939 as a European conflict between Germanyand an Anglo-French coalition but eventually widened to include most of the nations of the worldIt ended in 1945 leaving a new world order dominated by the United States and the USSR More than any previous war World War II involved the commitment of nations entire humanand economic resources the blurring of the distinction between combatant and noncombatantand the expansion of the battlefield to include all of the enemys territory The most importantdeterminants of its outcome were industrial capacity and personnel In the last stages of the wartwo radically new weapons were introduced the long-range rocket and the atomic bomb In themain however the war was fought with the same or improved weapons of the types used inWorld War I The greatest advances were in aircraft and tanks Three major powers had been dissatisfied with the outcome of World War I Germany theprincipal defeated nation bitterly resented the territorial losses and reparations payments imposedon it by the Treaty of Versailles Italy one of the victors found its territorial gains far fromenough either to offset the cost of the war or to satisfy its ambitions Japan also a victor wasunhappy about its failure to gain control of China France Great Britain and the US had attained their wartime objectives They had reducedGermany to a military cipher and had reorganized Europe and the world as they saw fit TheFrench and the British frequently disagreed on policy in the postwar period however and wereunsure of their ability to defend the peace settlement The US disillusioned by the Europeansfailure to repay their war debts retreated into isolationism During the 1920s attempts were made to achieve a stable peace The first was the establishment1920 of the League of Nations as a forum in which nations could settle their disputes
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