The World War 2 Diaries

“The world must know what happened,
and never forget.”
-American General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower was talking specifically about Nazi death camps when he said those words in 1945, but his words could just as easily speak for whole war.

eisenhower-d-dayEisenhower briefs American soldiers before D-Day.
Pic: Wikimedia @ World War 2 Diaries

World War 2 was the most destructive conflict the world has ever seen and has even been called “the largest single event in human history”.

The war cost over 70 million lives, mostly civilians. It was a “total war” - nations geared their entire economies towards the fighting and no-one was left untouched.

When you think of World War One you think of trench warfare - armies were locked into a muddy stalemate, fighting for weeks and even months to claim just a few meters of enemy territory.

spitfireThe British Supermarine Spitfire was one of the most
famous aircraft of the war.
Pic: Wikimedia @ World War 2 Diaries

World War Two, however, was much more mobile, a war driven largely by tanks and plankes.

Armies swept across hundreds of miles in days and aircraft meant even that even the skies were rarely safe.

New technologies such as radar, guided missiles, jet planes, and the atomic bomb changed the very nature of warfare.

This was also the first war in which women played a major role, serving not only on the home front but as pilots, nurses, spies and even, in some cases, front line soldiers.

After the war the map of the world was fundamentally changed and split into nations aligned with the United States and those under the influence of the Soviet Union.

Israel was established as a homeland for the Jews, a group which suffered horribly in the Holocaust in World War 2.

In the East, China was still burdened by civil war and was on a path to becoming the world’s most populous communist nation. Britain had no choice but to dismantle her empire, leading to the creation of new states such as India and Pakistan.

A slideslow of World War 2 images

  • Japanese soldiers in a gas attack in Shanghai, China, 1937.  The Second Sino-Japanese War was to merge into World War 2.
  • Italian Fascist Dictator Mussolini rides with Hitler in an open-topped car in Florence in 1938.
  • German troops entering Poland.  The invasion which started World War 2 began on September 1, 1939.
  • British Prime Minister Winston Churchill trying out a tommy gun while inspecting troops in 1940.
  • Hitler and other Nazi leaders in a conquered Paris in 1940.
  • The USS Arizona on fire and sinking following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
  • Women played a huge role on the home front in World War II, replacing male workers who were fighting in the war.
  • British soldiers attacking in North Africa, October 24, 1942.
  • A German submarine (U-Boat) under attack in the South Atlantic, November, 1943.
  • American B-17 bombers in flight over England.
  • Japanese troops looking at a Reclining Buddha statue in Burma during World War 2.
  • The Big Three Allied leaders - Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin  meet at the Yalta Conference in February, 1945.
  • A Japanese-American soldier, fighting in the Allied invasion of Italy in 1943.
  • U.S. Army troops wade ashore on Omaha Beach during the D-Day landings, June 6, 1944.
  • Soviet troops raise a flag over the captured Reichstag in Berlin, May 2, 1945.
  • Holocaust survivors liberated from the Mauthausen camp, Austria, by the U.S. Army on May 5, 1945.
  • V-J Day (Victory over Japan) Celebrations mark the end of the war in Times Square, New York, August 14, 1945.

About this site

german-tank-world-war-iiA German tank destroyer in Russia during
World War 2. Pic: Wikimedia @
World War 2 Diaries

The World War 2 Diaries is an attempt to make sense of World War II and tell some of the thousands of stories that came out of it.

So far the site just features biographies of some of the key figures of the war including Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler.

Further original articles will gradually be added to cover all aspects of the Second World War including major battles, weapons and armaments, causes and consequences and war crimes and the Holocaust.

Why learn about the war?

chinese soldiers world war 2Chinese soldiers fighting the Japanese in the
 Battle of Wanjialing , 1938. Pic: Wikimedia
@ World War 2 Diaries

Although more than 65 years have passed since the conflict ended World War 2 continues to absorb academics, students and history buffs around the world.

But the ranks of people who lived through the war are dwindling fast.

After World War 2 world leaders tried to create a world in which further conflicts would be impossible.

Unfortunately, war is still with us today. To work towards a better world it’s vital to study the causes and effects of past wars so we have a better hope of avoiding war in the future. In the words of British statesman Edmund Burke “Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.”

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