World War II Quiz

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9 Questions

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Summary

World War II: A Summary

  • World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945 and involved the majority of the world's countries, fought as part of two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis.

  • The war resulted in an estimated 70 to 85 million fatalities, mostly among civilians, due to genocides, starvation, massacres, and disease.

  • The causes of World War II are debated, but contributing factors included tensions in Europe after World War I, the rise of fascism, and conflicts in Asia.

  • Germany, under Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, leading to the declaration of war by the United Kingdom and France on Germany two days later.

  • Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe from late 1939 to early 1941, in a military alliance with Italy, Japan, and other countries called the Axis.

  • Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with the Republic of China by 1937 and attacked American and British territories in December 1941, leading to the United States and United Kingdom declaring war against Japan.

  • The war ended with the liberation of German-occupied territories and the invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the Fall of Berlin to Soviet troops, Hitler's suicide, and the German unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945.

  • The United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts, with the Soviet Union and the United States emerging as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War.

  • The League of Nations was created during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference to prevent a future world war, but irredentist and revanchist nationalism emerged in several European states.

  • The interwar period saw strife between supporters of the new republic and hardline opponents on both the right and left, with Italy and Germany adopting totalitarian, expansionist foreign policies.

  • Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931, and in 1937, Japan captured the former Chinese imperial capital of Peking, leading to the Soviets quickly signing a non-aggression pact with China to lend materiel support.

  • World War II changed the political alignment and social structure of the globe and set the foundation for the international order of the world's nations for the rest of the 20th century and into the present day, with most countries whose industries had been damaged moving towards economic recovery and expansion.

  • The war's exact start and end dates are not universally agreed upon, with various events such as the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, the Spanish Civil War, and the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the forces of Mongolia and the Soviet Union from May to September 1939 being viewed as the beginning of World War II.Summary of World War II: Prelude to War

  • Japan began its military expansion in China in 1937, resulting in the Second Sino-Japanese War.

  • The Soviet Union and Japan had sporadic border clashes in the late 1930s, leading to the signing of a Neutrality Pact in April 1941.

  • Germany and Italy became more aggressive in Europe, with Germany annexing Austria and demanding the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia.

  • The United Kingdom and France followed a policy of appeasement, leading to the Munich Agreement and the eventual annexation of Czechoslovakia by Germany.

  • Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, leading to declarations of war by the United Kingdom and France.

  • The Phoney War period saw little direct military support to Poland from the Western Allies.

  • Germany successfully invaded France in 1940, leading to an armistice and the creation of the Vichy Regime.

  • The United Kingdom rejected Hitler's peace offer and the Battle of Britain began in July 1940.

  • The United States increased the size of its navy and provided aid to the Allies through Lend-Lease programs.

  • The Tripartite Pact united Japan, Italy, and Germany as the Axis powers in September 1940.

  • Italy suffered significant defeats in North Africa and the Mediterranean, prompting Germany to deploy troops to the region.

  • Germany invaded Yugoslavia and Greece in April 1941, forcing them to surrender within a month.

  • The Axis powers launched a surprise attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, leading to the largest and deadliest theater of the war.World War II: Major Events and Strategies

  • Hitler believed that the United Kingdom's refusal to end the war was based on the hope that the United States and the Soviet Union would enter the war against Germany sooner or later.

  • On 31 July 1940, Hitler decided that the Soviet Union should be eliminated and aimed for the conquest of Ukraine, the Baltic states, and Byelorussia.

  • On 22 June 1941, Germany, supported by Italy and Romania, invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa.

  • The primary targets of this surprise offensive were the Baltic region, Moscow, and Ukraine, with the ultimate goal of ending the 1941 campaign near the Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line, from the Caspian to the White Seas.

  • Japan invaded and occupied northern Indochina in September 1940, planning to create a large defensive perimeter stretching into the Central Pacific.

  • On 7 December 1941, Japan attacked British and American holdings with near-simultaneous offensives against Southeast Asia and the Central Pacific, including an attack on the American fleets at Pearl Harbor and the Philippines.

  • During 1942, Allied officials debated on the appropriate grand strategy to pursue and agreed that defeating Germany was the primary objective.

  • By the end of April 1942, Japan and its ally Thailand had almost fully conquered Burma, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, Singapore, and Rabaul.

  • In May 1942, the Americans extracted a British commitment to limit Allied operations in the Mediterranean to an invasion of the Italian mainland and to invade France in 1944.

  • In early May 1942, Japan initiated operations to capture Port Moresby by amphibious assault and thus sever communications and supply lines between the United States and Australia.

  • By mid-September, the Battle for Guadalcanal took priority for the Japanese, and troops in New Guinea were ordered to withdraw from the Port Moresby area to the northern part of the island.

  • Despite considerable losses, in early 1942 Germany and its allies stopped a major Soviet offensive in central and southern Russia, keeping most territorial gains they had achieved during the previous year.World War II: Key Events and Battles

  • In 1942, the Germans launched a summer offensive on the Eastern Front, splitting Army Group South into two groups and heading towards the Caucasus and the Volga River. The Soviets made their stand at Stalingrad on the Volga, where the Germans nearly took the city in bitter street fighting.

  • By early 1943, the Soviets had launched a second winter counter-offensive, encircling German forces at Stalingrad and assaulting the Rzhev salient near Moscow. The Germans suffered tremendous losses and were pushed back beyond their position before the summer offensive.

  • In the Western Europe/Atlantic and Mediterranean theater, the Germans ravaged Allied shipping off the American Atlantic coast. In North Africa, Commonwealth forces launched a counter-offensive, Operation Crusader, and reclaimed all the gains the Germans and Italians had made. The Germans launched an offensive in January 1942, pushing the British back to positions at the Gazala line by early February. The Allies succeeded in repelling a second attack against El Alamein in August 1942.

  • In June 1943, the British and Americans began a strategic bombing campaign against Germany to disrupt the war economy and reduce morale. The Allies launched an attack in Egypt, dislodging Axis forces and beginning a drive west across Libya. Anglo-American landings in French North Africa resulted in the region joining the Allies.

  • After the Guadalcanal campaign, the Allies initiated several operations against Japan in the Pacific, including eliminating Japanese forces from the Aleutians and capturing surrounding islands. By the end of March 1944, the Allies had neutralized the major Japanese base at Truk in the Caroline Islands.

  • In July 1943, Germany attacked Soviet forces around the Kursk Bulge and exhausted themselves against the Soviets' defences. Hitler cancelled the operation before it had achieved tactical or operational success. The Western Allies launched an invasion of Sicily, resulting in the ousting and arrest of Mussolini. The Soviets launched their own counter-offensives and dispelled any chance of German victory or stalemate in the east.

  • In September 1943, the Western Allies invaded the Italian mainland, leading to the German occupation of Italy and the creation of a series of defensive lines. The Soviet Union cut off and destroyed German troops in eastern Romania and triggered a successful coup d'├ętat in Romania and Bulgaria, followed by those countries' shift to the Allied side.

  • On 6 June 1944, the Western Allies invaded northern France and attacked southern France. Paris was liberated on 25 August, and the Western Allies continued to push back German forces in western Europe during the latter part of the year. Soviet troops launched a strategic offensive in Belarus in June 1944 that almost completely destroyed the German Army Group Centre.

  • On 16 December 1944, Germany made a last attempt on the Western Front by launching a massive counter-offensive in the Ardennes and along the French-German border. By 16 January 1945, the offensive had been repulsed with no strategic objectives fulfilled. In February, the Soviets entered Silesia and Pomerania, while the Western Allies closed to the Rhine river.

  • Soviet troops stormed and captured Berlin in late April 1945, and German forces surrendered in Italy on 29 April. On 30 April, Hitler committed suicide,

Description

Test your knowledge of one of the deadliest conflicts in human history with our World War II quiz. From the causes of the war to major events and battles, this quiz covers it all. See if you can identify key events such as the invasion of Poland and the Battle of Stalingrad, or the strategies employed by the Axis and Allied powers. Learn about the impact of World War II on the world, including the emergence of the Cold War and the establishment of the United Nations. Challenge yourself and see

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