Overview of World War II

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World War II

World War II, fought in parts of Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and Africa between 1939-1945, was the most destructive war in history, claiming the lives of more than 60 million military personnel and civilians.

Overview of World War II

This section features timelines and chronological accounts to give you a straightforward overview of World War II.

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General World War II Resources

This section links to general World War II resources that feature articles, exhibitions, primary source documents and other material covering the entire war.

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Resources for the Holocaust

Soon after becoming chancellor of Germany in 1933, Adolf Hitler began instituting a series of anti-Semitic laws and interning Jews. By the end of the war in 1945, an estimated 6 million European Jews had perished in concentration camps. Learn more about the Holocaust through these extensive Holocaust resources.

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Resources for the Pacific War

Fighting in the Pacific Theater of World War II began with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and ended with the United States dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Insights for the Pacific War

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Atomic Bomb Resources

The United States developed the world’s first atomic bomb between 1942-1945. In August 1945, it dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bringing an end to World War II and changing modern warfare forever. This section contains atomic bomb resources for information about the science and people behind the weapon.

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World War II Document Archives

These archives of World War II primary source documents will aid serious research into the war.

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