World War 2 Quiz – Trivia Quizzes


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The instability caused in Europe by World War I (1914-18) laid the groundwork for another worldwide battle, World War II, which erupted two decades later and proved far more deadly. Adolf Hitler, the head of the Nazi Party, rose to power in an economically and politically unstable Germany, rearmed the country, and forged strategic alliances with Italy and Japan to further his dreams of world dominance. Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 prompted the United Kingdom and France to declare war on Germany, kicking off World War II. Over the next six years, the struggle would claim more people and damage more land and property than any preceding conflict. Six million Jews were murdered in Nazi concentration camps as part of Hitler’s diabolical “Final Solution,” commonly known as the Holocaust, among the estimated 45-60 million people exterminated.

The devastation of the Great War (as World War I was known at the time) had significantly destabilized Europe, and World War II arose in many ways from concerns left unsolved by the previous struggle. Political and economic instability in Germany, as well as persistent bitterness over the severe terms imposed by the Versailles Treaty, drove Adolf Hitler’s ascent to power and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, abbreviated as NSDAP in German and the Nazi Party in English.

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Did you know that? Adolf Hitler prophesied a general European war in his biography and propaganda tract “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle) as early as 1923, which would result in “the extinction of the Jewish race in Germany.”

Hitler quickly consolidated power after becoming Chancellor of Germany in 1933, declaring himself Führer (supreme leader) in 1934. Obsessed with the superiority of the “pure” German race, which he labeled “Aryan,” Hitler believed that war was the only way to achieve the “Lebensraum,” or living space, required for the German race to expand. He secretly initiated Germany’s rearmament in the mid-1930s, in contravention of the Versailles Treaty. After forming coalitions with Italy and Japan against the Soviet Union, Hitler invaded Austria in 1938 and annexed Czechoslovakia the following year. Hitler’s blatant hostility remained unchecked because the US and Soviet Union were preoccupied with internal politics at the time, and neither France nor Britain (the two other nations most ravaged by the Great War) was keen on conflict. Also, you must try to play this World War 2 Quiz.

World War 2 Quiz

The start of World War II (1939)
Hitler and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin signed the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact in late August 1939, causing a panic in London and Paris. Hitler had long planned an invasion of Poland, a country to which the United Kingdom and France had promised military assistance if Germany attacked. The alliance with Stalin ensured that whenever Hitler attacked Poland, he would not confront a war on two fronts and that he would have Soviet support in capturing and splitting the country itself. Hitler invaded Poland from the west on September 1, 1939; two days later, France and Britain declared war on Germany, kicking off World War II.

On September 17, Soviet troops launched an eastward invasion of Poland. Poland fell immediately under attack from both sides, and by early 1940, Germany and the Soviet Union had shared control of the country, according to a secret protocol annexed to the Nonaggression Pact. Stalin’s armies then invaded the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) and beat a resolute Finland in the Russo-Finnish War.

On April 9, 1940, Germany attacked Norway and conquered Denmark at the same time, and the war officially began. On May 10, German forces launched a “blitzkrieg,” or lightning war, over Belgium and the Netherlands. Three days later, Hitler’s troops crossed the Meuse River and attacked French forces at Sedan, which was located at the northern end of the Maginot Line, an extensive network of fortifications built after World War I and regarded as an unbreakable defensive barrier. The Germans, in fact, smashed through the barrier with their tanks and planes and went to the rear, leaving it ineffective. In late May, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was evacuated by water from Dunkirk, while French forces in the south launched a futile resistance. With France on the point of collapse, Italy’s fascist ruler Benito Mussolini established the Pact of Steel with Hitler, and on June 10, Italy declared war on France and Britain.

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Operation Barbarossa pitted Hitler against Stalin (1941-42)
Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria had joined the Axis by early 1941, and German troops overran Yugoslavia and Greece in April. Hitler’s conquest of the Balkans was a foreshadowing of his true goal: an invasion of the Soviet Union, whose vast territory would provide the German master race with the “Lebensraum” it required. The elimination of Jews throughout German-occupied Europe was the other half of Hitler’s goal. Around the time of the Soviet onslaught, plans for the “Final Solution” were announced, and over the next three years, more than 4 million Jews would perish in the death camps established in occupied Poland. This World War 2 Quiz will help you remember certain details.

The Pacific Campaign of World War II (1941-43)

With Britain facing Germany in Europe, the United States was the only country capable of dealing with Japanese aggression, which by late 1941 had included an expansion of its continuing war with China and the acquisition of European colonial assets in the Far East. On December 7, 1941, 360 Japanese aircraft attacked the main US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, utterly catching the Americans off guard and killing almost 2,300 troops. The attack on Pearl Harbor helped to unite American public opinion in support of entering World War II, and Congress declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941, with only one dissenting vote. Germany and the other Axis powers declared war on the United States almost immediately.

World War II is over (1945)
During the Potsdam Conference in July-August 1945, US President Harry S. Truman (who had entered office following Roosevelt’s death in April), Churchill, and Stalin reviewed the ongoing war with Japan as well as the peace treaty with Germany. The Soviet Union, Britain, the United States, and France would administer four occupation zones in postwar Germany. Churchill and Truman acquiesced to Stalin on the contentious issue of Eastern Europe’s future because they required Soviet support in the battle against Japan.

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