Due to the instability in Europe following WWI, tensions and evil rose to the top two decades later and proved to be even more devastating. World War II was the biggest and deadliest war in history, involving more than 30 countries. Sparked by the 1939 Nazi invasion of
Poland, the war dragged on for six bloody years until the Allies defeated Nazi Germany and Japan in 1945. The conflict would take more lives and destroy more land and property around the globe than any previous war. Among the estimated, 45-60 million people killed were 6 million Jews murdered in Nazi concentration camps due to Hitler's diabolical "Final Solution," now known as the Holocaust. Civilians made up an estimated 50-55 million deaths, while the military comprised 21 to 25 million of those lost during the war. Millions more were injured, and still more lost their homes and property.
December 7, 1941, over 300 Japanese aircraft attacked the major U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, taking the Americans completely by surprise and claiming the lives of more than 2,300 troops.
After a long string of Japanese victories, the U.S. Pacific Fleet won the Battle of Midway in June 1942, proving to be a turning point in the war. On Guadalcanal, one of the southern Solomon Islands, the Allies also had success against Japanese forces in a series of battles from August 1942 to February 1943, helping turn the tide further in the Pacific. In mid-1943, Allied naval forces began an aggressive counterattack against Japan, involving a series of amphibious assaults on key Japanese-held islands in the Pacific.
The Guadalcanal campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and code named Operation Watchtower by American forces, was a military campaign fought between 7 August and 9 February on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theater of World War II. It was the first significant land offensive by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.
On 7 August, Allied forces, predominantly United States Marines, landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida in the southern Solomon Islands, intending to use Guadalcanal and Tulagi as bases in supporting a campaign to eventually capture or neutralize the significant Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain. The Japanese defenders, who had occupied those islands since May 1942, were outnumbered and overwhelmed by the Allies, who captured Tulagi and Florida and the airfield – later named Henderson Field – under construction.
On June 6–celebrated as "D-Day" the Allies began a massive invasion of Europe, landing 156,000 British, Canadian, and American soldiers on the beaches of Normandy, France. In response, Hitler poured all the remaining strength of his army into Western Europe, ensuring Germany's defeat in the east.
Soviet troops soon advanced into Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania. At the same time, Hitler gathered his forces from driving the Americans and British back from Germany in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944-January 1945), the last major German offensive of the war.
Heavy casualties sustained in the campaigns at Iwo Jima (February 1945) and Okinawa (April-June 1945) and fears of Japan's even costlier land invasion led Truman to authorize the use of a new and devastating weapon. Developed during a top-secret operation code named The Manhattan Project, the atomic bomb was unleashed on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August. On August 15, the Japanese government issued a statement declaring they would accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. On September 2, General Douglas MacArthur accepted Japan's formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters, Brothers, Sisters, Neighbors. America came together and supported our men and women serving, and their families back home. Whether working in a factory, rationing supplies, buying war bonds, or salvaging metal - Americans came together in great numbers to ensure our men and women had a home to return to.
All wars are horrific. Tragic. Traumatizing. Leaving scars for generations to come. We don't know them all, but we certainly owe them all.
Find strength in numbers, America did during WWII. Let us do it again.