Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!

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The largest armed conflict the world has ever seen, with a huge scope - for the first time spanning the world - and fought with powerful new weapons, culminating in the atomic bomb, turned against the civilian population (rather than the soldiers) to a larger extent then ever before.  It had its beginning in expansion attempts by [[Germany]] - invading [[Austria]], [[Czechoslovakia]], and finally [[Poland]] (Sep 1 1939) in its quest for ''Lebensraum'', resulting in a declaration of war from [[Britain]] and [[France]].

France fell quickly to a new tactic, the ''Blitzkrieg'', and Britain was left to fend for itself.  Soon, though, the [[Soviet union]] was drawn into the conflict.  At first it had acted as Hitler's ally, partitioning the east with him - they invaded [[Estonia]], [[Latvia]], [[Lithuania]], [[Finland]], and east [[Poland]] in the busy year of 1939.  However, on June 22, 1941, the Germans broke the treaty and invaded, advancing almost as far as [[Moscow]] before being defeated by the worst Russian winter since [[Napoleon]].

That same year war spread to the Pacific.  [[Japan]] had been active in attempts to expand its holdings, notably in the [[Sino-Japanese war]].  Now in an attempt to eliminate its main potential opposition, the American navy, it attacked [[Pearl Harbor]] and proceeded to invade much of southeast Asia and many Pacific islands.  Unfortunately for its ally, Germany, this also drew America into the European theatre.

Eventually the allied powers, now including the states, were victorious.  Germany's power was broken by his disastrous Russian campaign, and the succesful liberation of France reopened the western front on the continent.  Hitler commited suicide, the Russians took Berlin, and the country was partitioned.  By then Japan had begun to weaken as well, and surrendered after two of its civilian cities (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) were destroyed by nuclear weapons.  The war ended in 1945.

The combatants after 1941 were:
 *Allied powers
 [[United Kingdom]]
 [[United States]]

 *Axis powers

It ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Axis powers.

 *Major battles of World War Two
 [[/Pearl Harbor]]
 [[/Battle of the Atlantic]]
 [[/Leyte Gulf]]
 [[/El Alamein]]
 [[/Battle of the Bulge]]
 [[/Battle of Britain]]

 *Major figures of World War Two
 [[Dwight Eisenhower]]
 [[Douglas MacArthur]]
 [[Chester Nimitz]]
 [[George Patton]]
 [[Franklin Roosevelt]]
 [[Winston Churchill]]
 [[Bernard Montgomery]]
 [[Benito Mussolini]]
 [[Charles DeGaulle]]
 [[Adolph Hitler]]
 [[Chiang Kai-Shek]]
 [[Joseph Stalin]]
 [[Hideki Tojo]]

 *Major bombings of World War Two

[[WW II]] and [[WWII]] are abbreviations of World War II.

See also: [[World War I]], [[Cold War]], etc.

Much, much more left to be added...