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What was World War 2?

World War 2 was a global war from 1939-1945 between the Allied powers and Axis powers.

World War 2 started after Germany, led by dictator Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland in 1939. France and the UK declared war on Germany. Italy and Japan joined with Germany, and other countries in Europe and around the world became part of the conflict. Countries sided with either the Allies or the Axis powers.

The main Allied powers were: Great Britain, France (except during the German occupation, 1940–44), the Soviet Union (entered in June 1941), and the United States (entered December 8, 1941).

The main Axis powers where: Germany, Italy and Japan.

It is estimated that between 70-85 million people died during WWII. (Around 3% of the world's population 1940s.)

Special days to remember and commemorate those who fought, and died during World War II are held annually around the world.  
 

World War 2 facts:

 

  • World War 2 started 1 September and ended on the 8th May 1945 after the Germany unconditionally surrendered. 
  • Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939.
  • UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany 3 September 1939. 
  • The countries involved were either on the side of the Allies or the Axis.
  • Winston Churchill became Prime Minister 10 May 1940.
  • The Battle of Britain was an aerial battle the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe between 10 July 1940 to 31 October 1940.
  • Japan on the Axis side continued fighting until surrendering on 2 September 1945. (VJ Day).

 

World War 2 map activity

This  activity features a map of Europe during the Second World War for you to identify (and list in your book) which countries were Allies, Axis, Axis controlled or neutral. This will show you which sides the different European countries were on. If you are able to print of the activity sheet you could also colour it in according to which countries were Allies, Axis, Axis controlled or neutral.

 

How did World War 2 end?

World War 2 ended on 8 May 1945 when Germany unconditionally surrendered. Adolf Hitler had committed suicide on 30 April 1945. 

Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) is celebrated annually on 8 May to commemorate the Allies acceptance of the Nazi's surrender. 

Activity Sheet

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