What happened in the world war

Peace issues


How did the Second World War come about?

Hitler prepared the planned war for a long time by taking concrete steps:

  • In 1933 Germany left the League of Nations, a forerunner of today's "United Nations".
  • In 1935, Germany canceled the obligations imposed after World War I, stopped paying reparations, no longer adhered to armaments restrictions and reintroduced general conscription, expanded the army and produced tanks, planes and other weapons in large numbers.
  • In 1936 Hitler occupied the Rhineland, which had been demilitarized since the First World War.
  • In 1938 German troops marched into Austria. Austria became part of Germany.
  • Other areas in Eastern Europe were connected to the German Empire.



The other European countries saw what Hitler was doing with concern but did not believe that Hitler would actually start a war. Because Hitler had signed friendship treaties and non-aggression treaties with Poland and the Soviet Union.

He had also signed a non-aggression pact with France and a naval treaty with England.

On September 1, 1939, the Second World War began when the Germans invaded Poland.


Who was involved in World War II?

Few countries in the world were not involved.

1. The Axis Powers:On one side stood Germany and its great allies Italy and Japan. These three countries were known as the "Axis Powers". Later 12 countries were part of it.

2. The Allies:On the other hand were the allies with the Soviet Union, France, Great Britain, the United States, and China, to name a few. 50 countries belonged to the allies.

3. The neutrals:In Europe, only Sweden, Switzerland, the Republic of Ireland, as well as Spain and Portugal were not included in the war. These countries behaved neutrally, so they did not want to belong to any of the warring parties.


Where did the Second World War take place?

1. In Europe from September 1st, 1939 - May 8th, 1945: Almost all countries in Europe were affected by the war. The Soviet Union was overwhelmed with war until shortly before Moscow.

2. In the Pacific from December 7th, 1941 - September 6th, 1945: Above all Japan, China and Korea and numerous island states were affected. Japan was allied with Germany and was at war with the United States, China, and Great Britain.

3. In North Africa from 9.9.1940 - 13.5.1943: Great Britain and Germany in particular fought against each other here.

4. On the oceans: Civilian ships as well as warships were attacked and sunk by submarines without warning.


What did the Second World War mean for the people in Germany?

All adults and children were given ration cards for a certain amount of bread, butter, sugar or meat. The longer the war lasted, the less food there was.

As the war went on, the men were all at war. The necessary labor was partly covered by Jewish forced laborers and Russian prisoners of war. The women now had to take on many tasks that men had previously done. A Reich Labor Service and a military service were introduced for young women. Children and adolescents were also called in to help out. For example, the Hitler Youth collected winter clothing for soldiers on the "Eastern Front".


Why did people have to leave their homeland?

During the Second World War, millions of people were on the run or were expelled from their homeland. Many fled on foot or on horse-drawn carts. Many families were torn apart in the process.

In the Soviet Union, around 13 million people fled the German Wehrmacht. Millions were killed in the process.

More and more Jews fled Germany because of the persecution. It is estimated that over 500,000 people have fled Germany.

Millions of Germans fled the Soviet army in eastern Germany.


Why didn't the Germans give up?

Usually when someone realizes they are losing a fight, they give up. But the Germans did exactly the opposite, they fought bitterly and with all their might.

There was certainly the terror and fear of the Nazi regime. Threats and punishments made people suffer and follow Hitler.

Fear of the victors' revenge also played a role. The Germans knew about the atrocities they had done to others. Now they were afraid that the same would happen to them. There was also the idea that after a defeat there would be no future for Germany and therefore everything would matter anyway.

The soldiers had been taught that it was about bravery and honor and that a German would fight to the death and never give up. For Hitler there was always only victory or downfall.

But there are other aspects: Many Germans supported Hitler voluntarily and enthusiastically. The Germans benefited from plundering other countries in many ways. POWs and forced laborers were cheap labor. The German population also benefited from the property of the murdered Jewish families.