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World War II in Europe
huge area of heavy fighting across Europe
Travel topics > Cultural attractions > Historical travel > Military tourism > World War II > World War II in Europe
See also: European history
World War II or the Second World War took place over many continents: while the Pacific War took place in Asia and Oceania, the European theatre saw combat from September 1939 to May 1945. The war was by far the most destructive conflict in European history in terms of loss of human lives as well as historic architecture.
The European theatre included North Africa; see World War II in Africa.
Theatres of World War II:
Europe • AfricaChinaPacific
Understand
This is not peace. It is an armistice for 20 years.
—French Marshall Ferdinand Foch, Versailles, 28 June 1919
Background
The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors by Irish painter William Orpen
After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles required Germany to give up its colonial empire, to cede parts of its territory to neighboring countries, to recognise the independence of Austria and to pay reparations which were seen by most Germans as crippling its economy. The treaty added insult to injury by forcing Germany to accept sole responsibility for the war; the "guilt clause", as it became known, caused great resentment and anger among Germans, especially veterans. Although Germany was able to temporarily recover somewhat with the help of loans from the United States during the Roaring Twenties, the onset of the Great Depression in 1929 led to the withdrawal of American investment, resulting in a severe financial crisis, and many years of hardship for the German people much worsened by the deflationary austerity politics of the Brüning government (1930-1932).
The claimed injustices of the treaty and the economic problems, as well as the "Stab in the Back Myth" that denied the absolute nature of Germany's military defeat in 1918, were factors in Adolf Hitler's rise to power. The Nazi Party won a plurality in the Reichstag in the 1933 elections, leading to Hitler being appointed Chancellor. Following the death of President Paul von Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler seized the position of President, and combined the positions of Chancellor and President into a new position known as Führer, thus completing his rise to absolute power. Hitler then relied on and manipulated popular sentiment against minorities he deemed undesirable, including Jews, Roma people, disabled people, suspected communists and homosexuals and began the process of summarily executing some of them and rounding others up into concentration camps. Perhaps one of the best known pogroms was Kristallnacht in 1938, when Nazi paramilitaries and local civilians murdered many Jews, and also destroyed synagogues, as well as Jewish property and businesses, throughout Nazi Germany (including modern-day Austria and parts of the Czech Republic) and the city of Danzig (today part of Poland).
After coming to power, Hitler blatantly flouted the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, first by re-militarising the Rhineland in 1936. Hitler and Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini also ignored the international agreement not to intervene in the Spanish Civil War, with Germany even sending air force units to destroy Guernica. The war brought Francisco Franco to power and made the two fascist regimes closer politically. Hitler then sent troops into Austria to initiate a merger of the two countries under German rule, in a widely popular move known as Anschluss, in March 1938. Following that, he annexed the German-speaking Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia in October 1938.
As Britain and France were both weary of war following the toll taken on them by World War I, they initially adopted a policy of appeasement in an effort to avert a repeat of the war. In particular, they threw Czechoslovakia under the bus, accepting Hitler's assurance that the Sudetenland would be his "last territorial demand in Europe"; British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain proudly proclaimed that he had negotiated "peace in our time". However Hitler's subsequent invasion of Poland would be the last straw.
The war
Germans tearing down the border barrier between Gdansk and Poland on the first day of the war
The war in Europe began on 1 September 1939, as Germany invaded Poland, and the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany two days later, as they had declared in advance that they would consider an attack on Poland to be a casus belli. The countries of the British Empire also declared war.
From 17 September, the Soviet Union invaded Poland, which was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union. While the Soviets failed to defeat Finland in the Winter War, the Western Front was brought to a deadlock called the phoney war during which neither France nor Germany engaged in major offensive action. Then in spring 1940, Germany swiftly captured Denmark, Norway, the Benelux and France using tactics they called Blitzkrieg (lightning war), mainly fast-moving tanks with strong air support. A mainly British force in France was almost trapped there but managed to escape via Dunkirk. France surrendered; part of it was occupied and the rest put under a pro-German puppet government whose capital was Vichy.
Meanwhile, despite remaining nominally neutral, Portugal would cooperate with the British by allowing them to set up military bases there under the auspices of the 1386 Treaty of Windsor. Neutral Ireland was the only country on earth to offer official condolences on the occasion of Hitler's death, but tens of thousands of Irish people volunteered to join the British forces, or fought in the U.S. Army after having emigrated there. Spain managed to evade Hitler's demands for troops and aid by pointing to the recent civil war, but did send "volunteers" to the Eastern Front. However, Spain also sold tungsten to the Allies. Sweden initially seemed to lean more towards the Axis but helped save the Danish Jews by offering them refuge, and later leaned more towards the Allies, as the Axis was losing the war. After the breakup of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, Finland was allied with Germany against the Soviet Union, though they never turned their own Jewish community over to the Nazis, and towards the end of the war, they would successfully fight the Lapland War to expel the Germans from Finnish territory. Switzerland, meanwhile, remained an important financial conduit for both sides, accepted a limited number of refugees and built a "national redoubt" that made invasion seem too costly for the Nazis to try it.
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
—Churchill on the Battle of Britain
Ruins of the Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a 1940 bombing raid
For the next year, there was no fighting on the ground in Europe, but the Battle of Britain went on in the air. Unlike the French, the British were successful at repelling the Germans, and apart from the Channel Islands, were able to defend against occupation for the duration of the war. The Battle of the Atlantic continued until 1945. As part of that, British and Canadian forces occupied neutral Iceland in May 1940; they were later joined by American troops who would remain long after the war concluded and only withdrew in 2006.
In mid-1940, Mussolini-led Italy joined the war on the German side and there were soon a series of engagements between Italian forces based in their colony of Libya and Commonwealth forces based in Egypt. Toward the end of 1940 the Germans joined in, and fighting in North Africa continued until 1943. See World War II in Africa.
The most destructive campaign in Europe was the Eastern Front, where the Axis attacked the Soviet Union, starting with a sneak attack in June 1941. The Axis also grabbed most of the Balkans plus Greece at around the same time. The Soviet Army retreated to Leningrad (today's St. Petersburg), Moscow and Stalingrad (today's Volgograd). Both sides lost millions of soldiers in a stalemate which lasted until spring 1943; Stalingrad was one of the bloodiest battles in history with nearly two million casualties.
After they finally won at Stalingrad, the Soviets counter-attacked and began to roll west. The largest tank battle in history was fought around Kursk, west of Moscow, in July 1943; it ended with a costly Soviet victory. From then on, the Soviets had the initiative, though the battles continued to be protracted and bloody. The Soviet Union ended up occupying the eastern half of Europe including Berlin and much of Germany.
The Americans initially stayed out of the war, though they did assist Britain in several ways, until they were attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Once they were in, though, they made large contributions both in the European theatre and in the Pacific War.
Late in 1942, the Allies mounted seaborne invasions of both Morocco and Tunisia, and by early 1943 both the Italians and Germans were driven out of North Africa. Then in mid-1943 the Allies invaded first Sicily and then the mainland of Italy. This invasion led to the toppling of Mussolini and his imprisonment, but he was freed by a Nazi-German commando raid and put in charge of a puppet state in northern Italy, fighting on the Axis side until 1945.
Omaha Beach, one of the places where the Allied forces landed
Despite urgent Soviet pleas for a "second front now", there was no ground fighting, except a few commando raids, in northwestern Europe from mid-1940 to mid-1944. From 1939 the RAF bombed Germany extensively, and after the US joined the war in 1942, the labour was divided, with the USAF attacking by day and the RAF and other Commonwealth air forces at night. In some places, notably Hamburg and Dresden, the two groups bombed continually for several days and created a firestorm (flames rising almost 500m and at ground level hot enough to melt glass) that almost completely wiped out the cities. After the war, there was some rather harsh criticism of Bomber Command's Sir Arthur Harris, and of Churchill, for these raids, but others argued they were necessary and justified.
Then in June 1944 the Western Allies made the largest seaborne invasion in history, departing from the United Kingdom and landing in the French region of Normandy; see D-Day beaches. The Germans were already losing to the Soviets on the Eastern Front and being heavily bombed. From D-Day onward, they also lost ground in the north-west.
Soviet forces reached Berlin on 16 April 1945, beginning the Battle of Berlin which lasted until the entire city fell under Soviet control on 2 May. Hitler would commit suicide in Berlin on 30 April 1945. The war in Europe ended with the unconditional surrender of Germany on 7 May 1945.
Aftermath
Subsequently, some German political and military leaders were indicted for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials; many got prison sentences and some were executed. However, some high ranking Nazis had escaped during the last days of the war or successfully hid from the Allies while others committed suicide, including Hitler himself, Himmler and Göring. Other Nazis were acquitted, sentenced to prison terms or never put on trial in the first place, and some war criminals got only nominal sentences. Some former Nazis later had successful careers in the German military, government, civil service or courts. While this happened in both German states, the East German Stasi which had partial access to Soviet and German wartime archives deliberately leaked compromising information about the Nazi-era crimes of high ranking German politicians for propaganda purposes. The German-speaking minorities in neighboring countries such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, the Netherlands and the Soviet Union were viewed with suspicion by locals following the Nazi occupation, in part due to the high level of support for the Nazi regime among them. Subsequently, many were expelled to Germany in the years immediately after the war. The expelled refugees were integrated into German society but many formed a revanchist and politically right wing faction often led by old Nazis. Refugees turning away from the Social Democrats over Willy Brandt's policy of rapprochement and acknowledgement of the Oder Neiße Boundary led to a vote of no confidence and snap elections in 1972.
Memorial at the site of the Treblinka extermination camp
During the war, Nazi Germany and other Axis nations conducted a campaign of internment, forced labour, inhuman types of experimentation on captive human subjects that usually ended in their murder, and outright mass murders, today known as the Holocaust. Concentration camps and other remnants from these crimes against humanity are described in the article about Holocaust remembrance. As the Western Allies were fearful of the data ending up in the hands of the Soviet Union, many of the Nazi scientists who conducted the human experimentation were granted immunity from prosecution and resettled in the United States, where many would end up having successful careers in industry and academia.
The demographics of Europe would be permanently changed after the war, as most of Europe's Jews were killed by the Nazis, while most of the survivors would flee Europe for Israel or the United States in the years following the war. Today, the only Jewish communities that remain in significant numbers from the pre-War years are the ones in Russia and the United Kingdom that managed to avoid Nazi occupation. However, the start of the Arab-Israeli conflict and resulting anti-Jewish purges would lead to a large exodus of Jews from Muslim countries, with many of those from France's former North African colonies of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco settling in France and re-establishing the Jewish community there. Germany meanwhile once again has a Jewish community, in part growing through immigration from the former Soviet Union or even Israel since the 1990s.
The present day German-Russian Museum in Karlshorst, Berlin. The unconditional German surrender was signed in this building.
Germany itself would be split into four occupation zones, which were occupied by the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union respectively, with the city of Berlin, located entirely within the Soviet zone, also being split among similar lines. The American, British and French zones were gradually merged to form capitalist West Germany from 1946 to 1949, while the Soviet zone became communist East Germany. West Berlin became a de facto exclave of West Germany despite being located entirely within the Soviet zone, and the Berlin Wall was built to keep East Germans from defecting to the West via West Berlin. This would last until 1990, when the communist regime in East Germany fell, and Germany would once again be reunited as a single nation. Austria was likewise partitioned into four zones of occupation with Vienna also being split, but Nazi-era annexations of surrounding suburbs being undone. However, by 1955 Austria had convinced the Soviets and the Western Allies to withdraw their occupation forces in exchange for a promise of perpetual neutrality and not to form any kind of union with Germany. Vienna subsequently became the headquarters of many international organisations and a city of spies, but many high-ranking Austrian Nazis escaped prosecution.
Most casualties of the war and its aftermath were young men. This caused a deficit of males, which has persisted until the early 21st century in the former Soviet Union. While birth rates were suppressed during the war, the numerous generation born in the late 1940s became known as the Baby boomers, who came to be a dominant generation in the 1960s and 70s counterculture. The 1960s decline in birth rates often ascribed to the effect of modern contraception and changing attitudes towards sexuality was also exacerbated by the potential parents never being born during the war.
In the following decades, Europe was divided between two power blocs in a latent conflict known as the Cold War, which ended through the Eastern European revolutions in the late 1980s and early 90s.
Legacy
Wars have usually pioneered the usage of mass media; the printing press in the Thirty Years War, telegraphy and photography in the American Civil War, and radio in World War I. World War II was the war of motion pictures; while film had existed for decades, it came to be used on a scale never seen before, for newsreels, propaganda, entertainment and education, using new technologies such as sound, colour, incidental music, animation and even television. The motion picture archives from the war are enormous, and some war movies including documentaries are fantastic epics, though the selection is uneven and biased. A lot of the German movie production during the Nazi era served propaganda purposes of some kind but most of it was (at least on the surface) escapist entertainment, still with very few exceptions, movies from that era are rarely screened in Germany and if they are, there is often an introduction that explains the historical context. Meanwhile allied movies of the era - even those that were war propaganda - are still appreciated for their artistic merit, including in the former Axis countries.
The war has also been the background of too many books, documentaries and historical dramas to make a representative selection.
As a result of the war, the Swastika is inextricably linked with Nazism and anti-Semitism in the Western world, to the point that its historic use in much of the world, as a symbol for divinity, well-being and prosperity, is now largely forgotten, except in Asia where it continues to have positive connotations among Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains.
Sites
We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
—UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill, 4 June 1940
There are minor monuments, and exhibits in local museums, all over Europe and North Africa; those may be well worth looking for. This section makes no claim to being comprehensive; we just try to list some of the more important ones.
Map of World War II in Europe
Belarus
Belgium
Canada
Although no fighting took place on Canadian soil, as a self-governing British dominion, Canadian soldiers participated in the war as part of the British forces, primarily in European theatre, and played major roles in the D-Day landings.
3
Canadian War Museum, Ottawa. Canada's main military history museum, with displays commemorating the efforts of Canadian troops in various wars and peacekeeping missions, including both world wars.
(updated Aug 2021)
Czech Republic
With the emerging danger of Nazi Germany, Czechoslovakia built a system of border fortification between 1935 and 1938. As a result of 1938 Munich treaty, the army gave up the resistance efforts and abandoned the defense line. The fortification system is mostly well preserved and can be toured in several locations.
The Lidice memorial site
3
Hanička artillery fortress (Tvrz Hanička) (It is not possible to arrive to the museum by car, parking is at 50.187135 N, 16.509408 E. From the parking lot take the marked tourist route (red) in the direction Anenský vrch, an approximate walking distance between the parking and the fortress is 20-30 min.), ☏ +420 491 616 998, ✉ tvrzhanicka@seznam.cz​. In the 1970s, Hanička was intended to be rebuilt into a nuclear bunker and the construction works lasted until 1993, but they were never completed. You can take a guided tour through some of the objects. The Educational Trail "Fortification of Rokytnice and surroundings" runs through the museum area and provides information about the fortifications and their history in Czech, Polish and English. 80 Kč (reduced 40 Kč). (updated Jun 2015)
Czechoslovakia was occupied by Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1945, with Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia being established at approximately the area of today's Czech republic. The centre for Czechoslovak resistance was the government-in-exile in London. They decided to attack Reinhard Heydrich, the acting Reichsprotektor of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. British-trained Czech soldiers Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík lead the operation. Heydrich was wounded during the assassination attempt on 27 May 1942 and died on 4 June in hospital. The act was followed by a brutal retaliation, during which two entire villages Lidice north-west of Prague and Ležáky in East Bohemia were completely destroyed by German forces. Inhabitants were massacred; men were shot, women taken to concentration camps or killed and children gassed or given over to German families for Germanisation. The memorials of the civilian victims tell the story of these war crimes.
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Lidice memorial, Tokajická 152, 273 54 Lidice, ☏ +420 312 253 088, ✉​muzeum@lidice-memorial.cz​. Nov-Feb: daily 09:00-16:00, Mar: daily 09:00-17:00, Apr-Oct: daily 09:00-18:00. Commemoration on the annihilation of village Lidice by Germans on 9 June 1942, as a retaliation for the assassination of the acting Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich. 80 Kč (reduced 40 Kč).
(updated Jun 2015)
5
Ležáky memorial, ☏ +420 469 344 179, ✉ lezaky@lezaky-memorial.cz​. Nov-Mar: M-F 09:00-16:00, Apr-Oct: Tu-Su 09:00-17:00, otherwise upon agreement. A memorial to a massacre of a small Czech village by German troops on 24 June 1942, as a retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. 30 Kč (reduced 20 Kč). (updated Jun 2015)
France
Allied parade after the liberation of Paris
Germany
Present-day view of where Hitler's bunker (the Führerbunker) was in Berlin
As Hitler fought the war to the bitter end (fighting on, long after any chance at military victory was gone) and military innovations (notably bomber aircraft) made this war far more destructive than the one before it, especially for Germany, hardly any place important during the Nazi era was left untouched by the war.
Italy
Netherlands
Poland
The remains of the Wolf's Lair
Poland saw a disproportionally high number of civilian deaths mainly because it was invaded by both the Soviets and the Germans in the early stage of the war with both trying to "remodel" their part of the country according to their wishes, which in practice meant killing members of all groups that could potentially resist the occupation such as intellectuals, politicians, Catholic priests and high-ranking military. As Poland had a big and thriving Jewish community it was also hit particularly hard by the Shoah, with Poles both aiding the Nazi crimes and helping Jews escape. Poland was the only country where aiding Jews was explicitly punished by death and the Polish underground responded by making the betrayal of Jews also punishable by death. See Holocaust remembrance#Poland​.
Russia
The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in 1939 and were guardedly friendly for some years; the Soviet Union even took a chunk of Poland, with German permission, in September 1939. However Germany broke the pact by invading the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 (Operation Barbarossa).
The Russian name for World War II translates as the Great Patriotic War. The Soviet Union bore the brunt of the fighting and had more dead (both civilian and military) in this war than any other country; only China was even close.
The Nazis considered Slavs an inferior race and fought a war of extermination on the Eastern Front. When forced to retreat, as they often were at first, the Russians used a "scorched earth" policy, burning crops in the fields and destroying everything else that might be useful to the enemy. Although the Germans made quick territorial gains in the initial stages of the war, the German soldiers were not prepared for the brutal Russian winters, and the Soviets were able to use this to their advantage and counterattack.
POWs of both sides were mistreated horribly on the Eastern Front and sometimes the surviving Soviet POWs were regarded as "traitors", as having survived the inhumane conditions without "treason" was deemed impossible. A large number of Soviet prisoners, especially those from Ukraine, the Baltic States and Byelorussia, did collaborate with the Nazis, for several reasons, including as a way of avoiding the high probability of death as Soviet POWs, hostility to the Soviet Union, and virulent antisemitism. Some of the SS "volunteers" among the Soviet POWs were used to shoot Jews and serve as guards in extermination camps.
Georgy Zhukov, the Soviet general who commanded at both Stalingrad and Kursk, also has a museum near the site of his first major victory, trouncing the Japanese in the 1939 Battle of Khalkhin Gol in Mongolia.
Crimea
Yalta Conference featuring the "Big Three". (Front row, from left to right) British prime minister Winston Churchill, American president Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin
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Livadia Palace (Crimea). The summer retreat of the Tsars, in Yalta, this is where the famous Yalta Conference took place from February 4 to 11, 1945 in which Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met to discuss how they wanted to rebuild and reform Europe after the war. Roosevelt stayed in the palace during the conference period.
 
Nordic countries
Sweden was non-belligerent (no proclamation of neutrality was made) throughout the war, while Norway and Denmark were both occupied by Germany despite the attempts of their governments to remain neutral. Even so, all three countries prepared for war and thus a number of bunkers still exist in all three countries. Most of them were built after the Nazis took over Norway and many never saw a shot fired in anger, but their presence even in remote areas is somewhat eerie. Routes used by refugees from Norway, and by the Norwegian resistance, can be experienced on a hike.
Finland, on the other hand, was directly involved in the Second World War, fighting three separate campaigns. In 1939 the Soviet Union attacked Finland in the Winter War. Finland succeeded in taking advantage of the exceptionally severe winter, destroying troops caught on the few and narrow roads in sparsely populated regions with "motti" tactics. In the peace treaty Finland still lost territory, including Vyborg, then one of the most important cities of Finland. When Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, Finland saw its chance to regain the lost land – and to conquer Karelia, a controversial dream of many nationalists, excused as a way to get an easier-to-defend border – in the Continuation War. When the tide turned, Finland was overwhelmed, but succeeded to fight to enough of a standstill that peace could be negotiated. Finally the Lapland War was fought to expel the German troops from Lapland. In places like Hanko, Kymenlaakso, North Karelia and Lapland, you can still see fortifications and bunkers. Also on the coast there are stories to be told, and e.g. on Örö the coast artillery of the time is left to be visited. More can be seen on the Karelian Isthmus and in other regions that were part of Finland before WW2.
Iceland was invaded by the UK without mounting any resistance in 1940. The British transferred control of the island to the United States in July 1941, which violated American neutrality. Allied soldiers came to outnumber adult Icelandic men, establishing a strong Anglo-Saxon influence, with American fast food and arguably the highest proficiency in English in any non-Anglophone country. While Iceland had been a Danish dominion for centuries, the country voted to become independent in 1944. Today, steel hut barracks and other wartime installations remain spread around the island. Iceland's main international airport, Keflavík International Airport, was initially built as an American military airbase during the war.
Turkey
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Yenice Railway Station (Yenice Garı) (east of Tarsus on the Mersin–Adana commuter line). While Turkey was neutral throughout most of the war, none of its neighbours were, and there was pressure from both camps to join in the fight with them. In 1943, Winston Churchill and Turkish president İsmet İnönü secretly met in a railcar in the unlikely location of the train station of Yenice, a small town in southern Turkey (selected as a compromise between the suggested conference sites of Cyprus, then ruled by Britain, and Ankara, the Turkish capital) to discuss the Turkish entry to the war on the Allied side (Turkey formally joined the Allies only in the final days of the war, in 1945). The event is commemorated by a large sign on the façade of the station building, and the railcar in which the meeting took place, colloquially known as the Beyaz Vagon ("white car") has been renovated and parked in the siding of a major rail junction just to the west of the station.
(updated Jan 2018)
United Kingdom
A replica of a "bombe" computer at Bletchley Park, these were used to decipher German Enigma messages
During the first years of the war, cities like London and Coventry were heavily bombed, though the British were successful in repelling the Germans and avoided occupation except for the Channel Islands. In the waning years of the war, the Germans shot V-1 (a crude version of a cruise missile) and V-2 (the first ballistic missile ever to be used in war) on south-east England in a last-ditch effort to turn the tide, but missed more often than actually hitting anything. Britain's superiority in military intelligence played a role in this - when V2s hit, British news reports would often indicate they had either over- or undershot their intended target (e.g. instead of hitting central London, they'd supposedly hit a field 20 miles due north or something similar) and the Nazis would "correct" the course into hitting empty fields for real. Furthermore, sabotage was a common problem in V2 production as they were made by forced laborers who were literally worked to death and thus had every motivation of harming the Nazi war effort.
United States
While no fighting occurred in the contiguous United States, several American ships, including civilian ones, were sunk by German submarines off the East Coast even before the United States formally entered the war. The United States would only formally enter the war on 8 December 1941, after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor the day before.
Western Balkans
World War II began in Yugoslavia in April 1941 when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The resistance movement, known as the Partisans and led by Josip Broz Tito, fought a guerrilla liberation war against the occupying forces and their puppet regimes. With help from Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union, the Partisans emerged victorious in Yugoslavia, and a federal socialist republic with Tito as leader was formed after the war. There were also other groups, including Yugoslav monarchists who tried to re-establish the interwar Yugoslav monarchy and even some who fought to annex parts of Yugoslavia to Italy. On the whole the anti-Nazi partisan movement in Yugoslavia was the largest in Europe.
Numerous memorials to fallen Partisan fighters and victims of atrocities committed by Axis forces can be found throughout the region.
See also

This travel topic about World War II in Europe is a usable article. It touches on all the major areas of the topic. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.
Last edited on 21 September 2021, at 22:42
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