The Second World War
The Second World War lasted from 1939 to 1945. This war is considered the worst in history: over 60 million people lost their lives. Particularly many victims of this war were not soldiers, but ordinary inhabitants. They died from weapons, starved to death or were deliberately murdered. Among them were six million Jews.
Germany was ruled by the National Socialists at that time. Their boss, Adolf Hitler, had already occupied several countries before the actual war. In 1939, he concluded a treaty with the Soviet Union. This made him feel powerful enough to conquer Poland. But France and Britain would not allow this, and so war broke out. Later, Germany also attacked other countries, for example the Soviet Union. The countries that fought against Germany and its allies are called allies.
In East Asia, Japan conquered many countries and a large part of China. Japan was allied with Germany. From 1941, Japan also fought against the USA. The war in Asia ended when the USA dropped atomic bombs on Japan: Japan surrendered and was occupied by the USA.
The war ended in 1945, with Germany, Japan and their allies defeated or joining the Allies. They were given new governments. The war changed many things in Europe and Asia. In the end, the USA and the Soviet Union were the most powerful states in the world.