World War 2 (WWII) was the Second World War of the 20th Century, but more so than the first, was truly a global war in nature. The generally acknowledged dates of the War by Western countries ranges from 1939 through 1945; however, the more progressive view includes the start of the war when Japan invaded China earlier in the 1930s. World War 2 involved the majority of the countries in the world to include all major powers which formed two predominant alliances throughout the war: the Axis and the Allies. During the war, there were more than 30 countries with greater than 100 million personnel who served in uniform from the various World War 2 countries. Each of the participants entered into a “Total War” during the conflict devoting the totality of their civilian and military resources to the efforts. By the end of WW2, the world would see between 50 and 85 million deaths making the conflict the most deadly in modern history.
Allied Powers of World War 2
The Allies in WW2 were the nations that were opposed to Adolf Hitler and the Axis Powers during the war. In 1939, the coalition of countries that formed this group consisted of Poland, France, and the United Kingdom. The British Commonwealth (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Newfoundland) joined the Allies soon after the outbreak of war. In mid-1941, the Soviet Union joined the group after Operation Barbarossa and the United States would join after the attack on Pearl Harbor. By 1942, the United States, Soviet Union, and Great Britain would control the policies and major resource allocation of the Allies. Using alliance as a means to try and stop all wars of aggression, additional Allies would join the group throughout the war and ultimately help create the United Nations in 1945.
Allied Countries of World War 2
Soviet Union (starting in June 1941)
United States (starting in December 1941 after the attack on Pearl Harbor)
Allied Power Supporters
Axis Powers (Primary Signers of the Tripartite Treaty)
The Axis Powers were the nations who found the Allies and other countries during World War 2. The Alliance started to form as early as 1936 when Italy, Germany, and Japan started to sign treaties with each other and in 1939 turned into a military alliance referred to as the “Rome-Berlin Axis.” The next year, 1940, saw the Tripartite Pact signed that set the military goals for the alliance. Once World War 2 ended in 1945, the Axis alliance was no more.
Who were the Co-Signers of the Tripartite Treaty?
Bulgaria (March 1st, 1941)
Hungary (November 20th, 1940)
Romania (November 23rd, 1940)
Slovakia(November 24th, 1940)
Countries that Were Formerly at War with the Axis Prior to WW2.
Austria (annexed to Germany, “Anschluss”, March 13th, 1938)
Ethiopia (annexed by Italy in 1936, after the Abyssinia crisis, independence was restored in 1941)
Republic of China (at war with Japan since 1931).
WW2 Countries that Were Occupied, Attacked, or Switched Sides During WW2
Albania (occupied by Italy April 7th 1939, the by Germany on September 26th 1943)
Belgium (invaded by Germany May 10th 1940)
Czechoslovakia (Bohemia and Moravia were occupied by Germany March 15th 1939)
Denmark (occupied by Germany April 9th 1940, then Greenland was occupied by the United States on April 9th 1941)
Estonia (occupied by the Soviet Union from June 18th 1940, the occupied by Germany September 5th 1941, finally re-annexed by the Soviet Union in 1944)
Finland (attacked by the Soviet Union November 30th 1939 and again June 26th 1941)
France (surrendered to Germany June 22nd 1940)
Greece (invaded by Italy October 28th 1940, then occupied by German forces from April 6th 1941)
Iceland (occupied by Great Britain May 10th 1940, and then occupied by the United States from July 1941)
Latvia (occupied by the Soviet Union from June 18th 1940, by Germany June 25th 1941, re-annexed by the Soviet Union in 1944)
Lithuania (Occupied by the Soviet Union from June 18th 1940, then occupied by Germany on June 22nd 1941, and finally re-annexed by the Soviet Union in 1944)
Luxembourg (invaded by Germany May 10th 1940)
The Netherlands (invaded by Germany May 10th 1940)
Norway (Country was invaded by Germany on April 9th 1940)
Poland (invaded by Germany and the Soviet Union in September 1939)
Tunisia (Occupied by the United States in 1943)
Yugoslavia (Germany occupied the country starting on April 6th 1941)
WW2 Neutral Countries
Spain (Could be argued to be a supporter of the Axis)
Sweden (except during the Winter War)
World War 2 Countries References
Axis Powers of World War 2, World War 2 Facts, Accessed on November 20, 2013.
HistoryOrb.com World War 2 Timeline, Accessed on November 21, 2013.
National World War 2 Museum World War 2 Timeline, Accessed on November 21, 2013.
PBS.org Interactive, The Perilous Fight, World War 2 Timeline, Accessed on November 21, 2013.
PBS.org Timeline of World War 2, Accessed on November 21, 2013.
United States Holocaust Memorial World War 2 Timeline, Accessed on November 21, 2013.