Q:

When did the Second World War begin and end?

A:

Quick Answer

Word War II began in Europe on September 1, 1939, and ended on May 8, 1945. The beginning of the war was marked by the German invasion of Poland, while the end is considered to be Germany's unconditional surrender.

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Full Answer

Most historians date the beginning of World War II in Asia to December 7/8, 1941, when Japan attacked British assets in East Asia and Pearl Harbor in the United States. The war in the Pacific ended with the Japanese announcement of the intention to surrender on August 15, 1945; the surrender took place on September 2, 1945.

Although the start of hostilities in Europe is clearly delineated by the invasion of Poland, the war in Asia is less certain, as Japan's regional hostility had been ongoing for several years with attacks on China and aggression toward smaller powers. The prevailing attitudes common at the beginning of the European war are commemorated in W.H. Auden's classic poem "September 1, 1939."

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    When did World War 2 start and end?

    A:

    Though the conflicts began much earlier, World War II did not officially begin until September 1, 1939. The massive war ended 6 years later in 1945.

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  • Q:

    How did World War II end?

    A:

    World War II officially ended with the formal surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945 after the U.S.A. dropped two atomic bombs on the country, which killed over a 100 thousand people. The Allies offered Japan a chance to surrender prior to dropping the bombs, but they refused. Germany had already surrendered to the Allies in May.

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  • Q:

    When did World War II start?

    A:

    World War II started on September 17, 1939, with the joint Soviet and Nazi invasion of Poland. Following this invasion, Britain and France declared war on Germany.

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  • Q:

    What ended World War II?

    A:

    On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers, and Japanese officials signed the surrender documents on September 2, 1945, ending the war. The Japanese boarded the USS Missouri, a United States battleship, to sign the surrender documents.

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