WORLD WAR 2 BATTLES AT A GLANCE

The World War 2 Battles were fought from the fjords of Norway to the deserts of North Africa, from the beaches of Normandy to the steppes of Russia, and from Italy to the central Pacific Ocean. This is a website which presents overviews of the battles and theaters of operations.

The Big Picture

What happened in the major WW2 theaters of operations?

  • The Western Front saw first a period a military glory for Hitler's Germany, with victories from Norway to France, but also the inability to defeat Britain. The turning point on the Western Front would come in mid-1944, when the Allies landed in Normandy, starting the liberation of Europe and then pushing into Germany until the ultimate defeat of the Third Reich.

Photo by OmahaBeach44 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)] , via Wikimedia Commons

  • The Eastern Front represented a clash of giant proportions between Germany and the Soviet Union, unfolded on vast spaces. Although the Wehrmacht had seemed to retain its aura of invincibilityconquering much of the Soviet Union's European territory in the first months, the Red Army managed to avoid a total collapse, despite the massive losses suffered. The Soviets would then turn the fate of the war in their favor, recapturing all the lost ground and reaching into the heart of Germany.
  • The North African Campaign proved to be very volatile in the first period, the British Commonwealth or the Italians/Germans having the upper hand at a time.The British came to tilt the balance on their side at El Alamein. With the Anglo-American landings in Morocco and Algeria, the Axis forces were tightened in a pincer, Africa becoming the first continent where the war ended with an Allied victory.
  • A moderate German resistance characterized the Italian Campaign in Sicily and Southern Italy, but the Germans mounted a stiff defense starting with the Gustav Line, north of Naples. Costly regarding the casualties, the Allied Campaign in Italy ended when the war in Europe was almost finished.
  • The Pacific War saw in the beginning a few major battles in which Japan failed to obtain a decisive victory over the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Americans took then the strategic initiative, gradually restricting the Japanese expansion in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The Japanese military remained for several years a formidable opponent, trying to turn the tide in their favor and defending tenaciously on many islands of the Pacific, before the war to end following the atomic bombings.

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