World War II
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
World War II, or the Second World War (often abbreviated as WWII or WW2), was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million military personnel mobilised. In a state of "total war", the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant events involving the mass death of civilians, including the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, it is the deadliest conflict in human history, resulting in 50 million to over 70 million fatalities.
The Holocaust was the killing of approximately six million European Jews, as well as another six million others who were deemed "unworthy of life" (including the disabled and mentally ill, Soviet POWs, homosexuals, Freemasons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Roma) as part of a program of deliberate extermination planned and executed by the National Socialist government in Germany led by Adolf Hitler.
Effects on culture