When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, it propelled the world into the most widespread conflict in history. World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945. DW looks at the history of the war and its aftermath.
The Second World War started with Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland in September 1939 and ended in Europe with the Western Allies' invasion of Germany, the capture of Berlin by the Soviet Union and the unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945. In Asia the war ended on August 15, 1945, when Japan surrendered to the United States following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the following articles, DW looks at various aspects of World War II, including the issues that led up to the conflict, the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, the Holocaust and the peace-building process following Germany's defeat and the division of the country. Several articles also look at the impact the war had on other regions in Europe, Russia and Asia.