Introduction to World War II

WW2 Intro Photo (Normandy Landing) This introduction to World War II is a series of relatively short articles aimed at introducing WW2 to those who might not be familiar with it. It is broken down into five sections:

The goal of this section is to lay out a general overview of WW2 so that the articles on the World War II Database website could be read in better context.

Start: What Was WW2?





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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. tom says:
    21 Apr 2008 12:47:42 PM

    i am doing research for a fiction piece ( novel ) i am working on. do anybody know a source of information on warships that were homebased in Norfolk / Hampton Roads during WW II.

    thank you ... tom honea
  2. Allan says:
    27 Apr 2008 05:33:02 PM

    hi and thanks

    does anybody know at wars end what was the approx. effective size of the german army division strength wise.
  3. Silvio Comenho says:
    20 Sep 2008 05:26:53 AM

    Very good website, but I found no reference to the Brazilian Army (FEB) and Air Force (FAB). Brazil declared war to the Reich on August 22 1942 and was the only Latin American country to fight against the germans, sending troops to Italy and fighting alongside with the American Army and the USAAF (350th fighter group). References
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_Expeditionary_Force and http://www.sentapua.com.br/ (portugese and English). Silvio Comenho
  4. Anonymous says:
    20 Oct 2008 07:25:03 AM

    wow this is ver interesting to know whta they had to go through thats crzy
  5. Anonymous says:
    15 Jan 2009 09:47:04 PM

    My dad was in the 81st Inf. in WW2, he is now 101 years old and can still remember the islands he fought on. I am sending him some photos from this site,I have some of his photos he took on different islands in the Pacific, if you are intresterd I could send them to you.
  6. allan says says:
    10 Feb 2009 08:08:28 AM

    No. And I doubt anyone could supply that information. A decimated army doesn't comprise of 'divisions' but more 'scattered collections' of men and arms. The only divisions remaining intact at the wars end where in Norway, Channel Islands etc and they comprised of the unfit, the unwell, the recalcitrant and others. You need to be more specific with the question - i.e. on which 'front' in which 'country etc etc etc. Alas.
  7. Anonymous says:
    13 Mar 2009 05:52:14 AM

    1939


    September 1st
    Germany invaded Poland. First use of Blitzkrieg. Britain and France gave Germany an ultimatum to get out. Blackout and evacuation plans were put in place in Britain.

    September 2nd Chamberlain sent Hitler an ultimatum: withdraw German troops from Poland or war will be declared.
    The Luftwaffe gained air superiority over the Polish air force.

    September 3rd
    Germany ignored the ultimatum and Britain and France declared war on Germany. British troops (the BEF) were sent to France.

    The passenger liner "Athenia" was sunk by U-30 off of Ireland. 112 of the passengers were killed.

    September 4th The RAF raided German warships based in the Heligoland Bight.
    September 6th South Africa declared war on Germany Egypt broke off relations with Germany,
    September 9th The IV Panzer Division reached Warsaw.
    September 17th Russia's Red Army attacked Poland from the east
    September 24th 1,150 German aircraft bombed Warsaw
    September 26th The Luftwaffe attacked the Royal Navy at Scapa Flow.
    September 27th
    Poland surrendered to Germany.

    October 6th Last Polish troops ceased fighting. Hitler launched his "Peace Offensive" but this was rejected by Neville Chamberlain
    October 14th 'HMS Royal Oak' is torpedoed at Scapa Flow by U-47
    November 30th Russia's Red Army invaded Finland
    December 13th The Battle of the River Plate was fought
    December 14th Russia expelled from the League of Nations
  8. Anonymous says:
    13 Mar 2009 01:16:58 PM





    I thought an Admiral and the Founder of the Naval War College Foundation and should be included in the WW II database.

    Admiral Richard W. Bates

    Biographical Sketch

    Rear Admiral Richard W. Bates was born in San Francisco, California, on January 16, 1892, to Henry Lester and Helen Rixon Bates. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy from the Third District, California, in 1911 and graduated in the Class of 1915. His first duty assignment was on board the USS YORKTOWN (GBT-1) stationed in Central American waters. From YORKTOWN he went to the USS CINCINNATI (C-7), operating on the east coast of South America, where he served as Executive Officer until 1918. He was Executive Officer in the USS SPROSTON (DD-173), 1919-1920.

    In 1920 Bates attended the Naval Post Graduate School in Annapolis, Maryland. The following year found him at Columbia University, studying electrical propulsion of ships. Awarded a Master of Science degree in June 1922, he continued instruction in electrical engineering at General Electric, Schenectady, New York, and Westinghouse Electric, East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This was followed by duty as the Electrical Officer in the USS MARYLAND (BB-46), 1922-1925 assistant in engineering at the Post Graduate School, 1925-1927, and Engineering Officer in the USS RICHMOND (CL-9), 1927-1930.

    In the decade before America’s entry into the Second World War, Rear Admiral Bates saw duty with the Hydrographic Office, Honolulu and as Commander of the Naval Station, Honolulu Commanding Officer of the destroyer, USS BUCHANAN (DD-131), the oil tanker, RAMAPO (AO-12), the destroyers USS LONG (DD-209), and USS CLARK (DD-361), flagship of Destroyer Squadron Three, Battle Force.

    When the war broke out, Bates was a student at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He continued at the College as a member of the staff until 1943 when he took command of the cruiser USS MINNEAPOLIS (CA-36). Under his command the ship engaged in the bombardment of Wake Island, participated in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands and sank the Japanese light cruiser KATORI off Truk in April 1944.

    During May-August 1944, Bates was on the staff of the Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet. In September he served with the Commander Cruiser Division Four as Chief of Staff of the Bombardment, Fire Support and associated groups of the Seventh Fleet during the Philippine Islands campaign. December found him Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Battleship Division Two and involved in the Lingayen-Luzon and Okinawa operations. This was followed in May 1945 by his appointment as Commander of the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron, Pacific Fleet and in December of the same year with appointment as Chief of Staff to Commander, Philippine Sea Frontier.

    Bates returned to the Naval War College in 1946 as Head of the Department of Research and Analysis which was tasked with studying Second World War naval battles. Retired in 1949, he remained with the College, continuing his battle analyses in charge of what now had become the World War II Battle Evaluation Group. Although the work was not completed, the project was terminated in 1958.

    In 1969 Bates was appointed Vice President of the newly formed Naval War College Foundation, Inc., a private, non-profit association founded to support College programs not covered by appropriated funding. He was elected president in 1972, serving in that capacity until his death on December 27, 1973.

    Chronology of Naval Service

    1911 Appointed to U.S. Naval Academy from Third District, California.

    1915 Graduated from USNA and commissioned Ensign, USN.
    USS OHIO (BB-12) and USS MARYLAND (ACR-8).

    1916 USS YORKTOWN (GBT-1).

    1919 USS CINCINNATI, (C-7), Executive Officer.
    CUBA (Cuban gunboat), Gunnery Instructor.

    1919-1920 USS SPROSTON (DD-173), Executive Officer.

    1920 Promoted to Lieutenant.

    1920-1921 Post Graduate School, Annapolis, MD, student.

    1922 Columbia University, student.
    General Electric Co., Schenectady, NY.
    Westinghouse Electric, East Pittsburgh, PA.

    1922-1925 USS MARYLAND (BB-46), Electrical Officer.

    1925-1927 Post Graduate School, Annapolis, MD, staff.

    1927 USS RICHMOND (CL-9), Engineer Officer.

    1930-1932 Naval Station, Honolulu, Hawaii, Officer in Charge, Hydrographic Office Aide to Commandant Fourteenth Naval District Permanent Senior Patrol Officer.

    1932-1933 USS BUCHANAN (DD-131), Commanding Officer.

    1933-1934 USS RAMAPO (ATO-12), Commanding Officer and Executive Officer.

    1934-1935 USS LONG (DD-201), Commanding Officer.

    1935-1938 Bureau of Engineering, Washington, DC.

    1938-1940 USS CLARK (DD-361), Commanding Officer.

    1940-1941 Naval War College, Senior Class.

    1941 Promoted to Captain.
    Naval War College, Head, Department of Strategy.

    1943 USS MINNEAPOLIS, Commanding Officer.
    Promoted to Commodore.

    1944 Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, staff.
    Bombardment, Fire Support & Associated Groups, Seventh Fleet, Chief of Staff.

    1944-1945 Commander, Battle Division Two, Chief of Staff and Aide.

    1945 Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons, Pacific Fleet, Commander.

    1945-1946 Commander Philippine Sea Frontier, Chief of Staff.

    1946-1949 Naval War College, staff.

    1947 Reverted to rank of Captain.

    1949 Retired. Promoted to Rear Admiral on retired list.

    1949-1958 World War II Battle Evaluation Group, Naval War College, Newport, RI.

    1969-1973 Naval War College Foundation, Inc., Vice President and President.

    1973 Died, Newport, RI, December 27.


  9. ronnie kelly says:
    6 Nov 2009 04:00:10 PM

    My late father was on the uss portunus agp-4. Where can I find info on this ship and maybe a ships roster?
  10. DAVID BARBRER says:
    17 Dec 2009 03:35:00 AM

    can ibe put on your mailing list please
  11. Marichal Claude says:
    18 Dec 2009 05:08:10 AM

    Cherche photos des Cantons de l'Est,Malmedy,St.Vith,Faymonville,Elsenborn.....
  12. Jim Dolbow says:
    4 Apr 2010 06:10:56 AM

    @Ronnie

    here's a brief history of the USS Portunus:

    http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/p10/portunus-i.htm

  13. Ra2 Ilaitia Balenaivalu says:
    10 May 2010 10:10:10 PM

    I'am working on an assignment and i find this website very interesting.And also needing help.Describe the steps taken by some pacific islands as soldiers to support the allied powers and the problems faced by them as pacific soldiers? if anyone cud help me plis email me on hillsclamon@yahoo.com
    and overoll thank's for keeping history alive.
  14. Janice says:
    3 Aug 2010 10:22:55 AM

    Please advise where to start, I know my dad was in WW2 in the navy. My brother, and I would like to know which ship. Thanks
  15. Ayschel says:
    15 Sep 2010 02:11:35 AM

    I had visit your website just a couple of weeks ago, and everytime I use the computer, i visit it and read every available article above.
    I was fascinated by the world's most destructive war on the history of mankin-World War II.
    And I had gain information from books, films, and the internet.
    This website help me alot in studying World War II.
    Thanks...
  16. Zack Kowatch says:
    29 Oct 2010 05:55:46 AM

    My grandpa was in the WW2. He was on an air craft carer.
  17. VEWenneker says:
    11 Nov 2010 05:56:16 PM

    For all of you looking to find the ships your fathers and grandfathers were aboard during World War II, you must first contact the NATIONAL MILITARY PERSONNEL RECORDS CENTER on Paige Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri. Please do a GOOGLE and/or another large search engine for their complete address and downloadable facts and forms.
  18. matang says:
    9 Jan 2011 05:31:59 AM

    a useful site for me to complete my research..thanks a lot..
  19. prutha says:
    16 Jan 2011 03:48:51 AM

    there is no proper introduction to world war II
  20. W.Groeneveld says:
    24 Jan 2011 05:11:44 AM

    The Japanese in WWII brought in about three months an area under their control more than twice the area in Europe that the Wehrmacht took ten months!
    This difference is too big to explain away with things like bad luck or the wheater.On top of all this S.E.Asia was far more difficult terrain far bigger distances often long distances over sea and a lack of good infrastructure
  21. Anonymous says:
    21 Feb 2011 01:18:49 PM

    Looking for all and any info on the USS Tide AM-125 sunk off the coast of Normandy during D-Day.
  22. Anonymous says:
    24 May 2011 03:36:32 AM

    i want a small intro on WW2 fr my project
  23. dr. gebauer says:
    27 Jun 2011 06:40:23 PM

    Anyone desiring to find out or research a ship's history can use the Naval Historical Center website or "The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships",( Naval Heritage Command) an on line resource as well.

    More interesting is the fact that virtually every American warship and auxilary in WWII had a nickname ( usually awarded by the crew ). Can anyone tell me what American warship had the nickname "USS Tapioka"?? I have a 96 year old veteran in an assisted living facility who can remember the nickname, but not the true name, due to the number of times Tapioka pudding was served in the galley.
  24. Fred Leander says:
    18 Jul 2011 03:29:42 PM

    Hi, there - your overview of Axis and Allies is rather lacking. You should add Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria as Axis partners. All these countries contributed with forces at the Eastern Front.

    You should also add Norway as an Allied country. Norway contributed by manning 70 naval vessels fighting under the command of the Royal Navy. Also several squadrons in the RAF. Last, but not the least, a thousand Norwegian merchant ships, manned by 40.000 Norwegian sailors helped supplying the Allied war effort.

    Regds

    Fred
  25. Liz Maresca says:
    24 Jul 2011 05:15:12 PM

    can anyone tell me how do I check on any responses to a comment I made about my dad Arnold Maresca on the bunker hill. I do not know how to see if anyone remembers him and has any stories for me about him. thank you bowliz1@aol.com
  26. Phonse Griffiths says:
    18 Nov 2011 04:01:45 PM

    In 1941 United States President and the Prime Minister of Great Britain met in utmost secret of the coast of Newfoundland and hammered out an eight point declaration called the Atlantic Charter,I am with the Atlantic Charter Foundation,www.atlanticcharter.ca,I am seeking photos and other info I do not have,if you have some things around your home,would greatly appreciate you share them with us to help give this historic meeting the recognition it deserves.
  27. Claudia says:
    21 Nov 2011 10:05:14 AM

    Tapioca is the name of a Brazilian dish. They probably babtized the ship when the US was stationed in Brazil.
  28. AFDoc says:
    8 Jan 2012 01:57:04 PM

    I am looking for information regarding a database of CBI Blood chits.. My father-in-law was a pilot Flying Tigers his blood chit number was 7763 how can I varify this and look up any information about him using the blood chit number?
  29. yogscast is awesome says:
    2 Feb 2012 09:52:33 AM

    i think World War 2 is vry enterestig...
    The origins of the Second World War are generally viewed as being traced back to the First World War (1914-1918). In that war Germany under the ultra-nationalistic Kaiser Wilhelm II along with its allies, had been defeated by a combination of the United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia and others.

    The war was directly blamed by the victors on the miltant nationalism of the Kaiser's Germany; it was Germany that effectively started the war with an attack on France through Belgium.

    France, which had suffered a previous defeat at the hands of Prussia (a state that merged one year later with others to form Germany) in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, demanded revenge for its financial devastation during the First World War (and its humiliation in the earlier war) ensured that the various peace treaties, specifically the Treaty of Versailles imposed tough financial reparations and restrictions on Germany.

    A New Republic
    A new democratic German republic, known as the Weimar Republic, came into being. After some success it was hit by hyperinflation and other serious economic problems.

    Right wing nationalist elements under a variety of movements, but most notably the Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler, sought to blame Germany's "humiliating" status on the harshness of the post-war settlement, on the weakness of democratic government, and on the Jews, whom it claimed possessed a financial stranglehold on Germany.

    Hitler was appointed Reichskanzler (Chancellor) on January 30, 1933, by the aged President von Hindenburg.

    Hitler's government exercised much of its power through the special emergency powers possessed by the President under the constitution. thanks, and hey go to youtube and yogscast minecraft.
  30. Anonymous says:
    21 Mar 2012 10:43:19 AM

    Does anyone have info on the Yugoslavian Youth who were brutal SS.... My Grandfather, a Holocaust survivor called them the "Horvatian Youth"
  31. David MacFarlane says:
    27 Feb 2013 02:51:41 AM

    My late father served in Madagascar in 1942(Op IRONCLAD. Why was no Campaign Medal ever awarded for this action?
  32. Anonymous says:
    22 Jul 2013 11:23:48 AM

    I jst found out Pappy Boyington was flyin from the aistrip my dad was a airplane metalsmith "AM2" for. I have a lot to share and alot of pictures that might be someone you're just looking for . I have a flag I sure would like the names translated {Japanese}. It is not the common luck flag the enemy troops carried.It is something else. I need aome help. Will help anyone in return. Thank you - "pround son of south pacific WW2 Veteran"
  33. Anonymous says:
    19 Oct 2013 09:37:19 PM

    Not a comment but need help. My father was taken POW in the Philippians and he always told us that he was one of the POW's that built the infamous "Bridge on the River Kwai".
    I was wondering if anyone has any information regarding the POW Camp that was responsible for building that bridge?
  34. Anonymous says:
    20 Apr 2014 04:52:35 PM

    I would like to know the name or number of the Japanese POW camp where they built the Bridge on the River Kwai was built. My father was a British Serviceman who helped built that bridge.
  35. Jack Johnson says:
    24 Apr 2014 09:25:16 AM

    My father, Theodore Johnson served on the USS Centaurus - AKA-17 with the Coast Guard during WWII. I do not see this ship listed in your database.
  36. Anonymous says:
    25 Apr 2014 04:44:42 PM

    Trying to do a research essay on woman in the workforce during WWII. Anybody know of any good databases to get info? Having a hard time

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Famous WW2 Quote
"We no longer demand anything, we want war."

Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939