When Did World War 2 Begin? A Comprehensive Guide to the Start of the Global Conflict

World War 2, one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, began on September 1, 1939.

Events Leading Up to the Start of World War 2

Rise of Fascism and Nationalism

One of the major events leading up to World War 2 was the rise of fascism and nationalism in Europe. Countries such as Italy, Germany, and Japan were all under authoritarian regimes that sought to expand their territories and influence. These countries believed in the superiority of their own race or nation, which led to conflicts with other countries.


  • In Italy, Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime invaded Ethiopia in 1935.
  • In Germany, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party came to power in 1933 and began rearming the country.
  • In Japan, a militaristic government took control in the 1930s and began expanding into China.

Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles, signed at the end of World War 1, also played a role in the start of World War 2. The treaty imposed harsh reparations on Germany and limited its military capabilities. This led to resentment among many Germans who felt humiliated by the treaty.


  • Germany was forced to accept responsibility for starting World War 1.
  • Germany lost territory and had to pay reparations to France and Britain.
  • The treaty limited Germany’s military size and banned certain weapons.

Appeasement Policy

Another event leading up to World War 2 was the appeasement policy followed by Western powers towards aggressive nations such as Germany. Many countries believed that giving into demands would prevent war from breaking out.


  • Britain and France allowed Germany to annex Austria in 1938.
  • The Munich Agreement of 1938 allowed Germany to take over the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.
  • Western powers did not intervene when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935.

The Role of the Treaty of Versailles in the Outbreak of World War 2

The Treaty of Versailles, signed at the end of World War 1, played a significant role in the outbreak of World War 2. The treaty imposed harsh penalties on Germany that led to resentment and economic instability, which in turn helped fuel the rise of fascist regimes.


One of the key provisions of the treaty was that Germany had to pay reparations for damages caused during World War 1. These payments were a huge burden on Germany’s economy and led to inflation and unemployment.


  • Germany had to pay over $30 billion in reparations.
  • The payments were made over several years and put a strain on Germany’s economy.
  • Inflation soared as the German government printed more money to pay off debts.

Military Restrictions

The treaty also limited Germany’s military capabilities by reducing its army size and banning certain weapons. This left Germany vulnerable to attack from other countries.


  • The treaty limited Germany’s army size to 100,000 troops.
  • Certain weapons such as tanks and submarines were banned for German use.
  • This left Germany with a weaker military than many other European countries.

Nationalism and Resentment

The Treaty of Versailles also created a sense of nationalism and resentment among many Germans who felt humiliated by the treaty. This helped fuel the rise of fascist regimes such as the Nazi party.


  • The treaty forced Germany to accept responsibility for starting World War 1.
  • Germany lost territory and had to pay reparations to France and Britain.
  • Many Germans felt that the treaty was unfair and unjust.

Major Players and Countries Involved in the Start of World War 2

The start of World War 2 involved many countries, both major powers and smaller nations. The war began with Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939, but tensions had been building for years before that.

Axis Powers

The Axis Powers were led by Germany, Italy, and Japan. These countries formed an alliance in 1940 with the goal of expanding their territories and influence.


  • Germany was led by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party.
  • Italy was under the rule of Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime.
  • Japan was controlled by a militaristic government.

Allied Powers

The Allied Powers were made up of various countries that opposed the Axis Powers. The United States, Great Britain, France, Russia (later replaced by the Soviet Union), and China were all major players in this alliance.


  • The United States entered the war after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
  • The British played a key role in defeating Germany in North Africa and Europe.
  • The Soviet Union fought against Germany on the Eastern Front.

Neutral Countries

Many countries tried to remain neutral during World War 2, but some were eventually drawn into the conflict.


  • Spain remained neutral throughout the war.
  • Sweden and Switzerland also remained neutral.
  • Countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands were invaded by Germany despite their attempts at neutrality.

Immediate Impact of Germany’s Invasion of Poland on Europe

Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 marked the beginning of World War 2. The invasion had an immediate impact on Europe and led to a chain reaction of events that would shape the course of the war.

Allied Response

The Allied Powers responded to Germany’s invasion by declaring war on Germany. This marked a turning point in the war and led to years of fighting across Europe.


  • The United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany after its invasion of Poland.
  • The Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east two weeks later.
  • The invasion led to years of fighting across Europe as Germany attempted to expand its territory.

Soviet Occupation

The Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland following its invasion in September 1939. This occupation would have lasting effects on Poland’s history and relationship with Russia.


  • The Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland until 1941 when it was invaded by Nazi Germany.
  • The occupation included mass arrests, deportations, and executions of Polish citizens.
  • The occupation helped shape Poland’s distrust of Russia and its communist government.

German Aggression

Germany’s invasion of Poland was just the beginning of its aggression towards other European countries. The invasion marked the start of a larger conflict that would eventually involve much of the world.


  • Germany invaded Denmark, Norway, Belgium, France, and many other countries in the years following its invasion of Poland.
  • The invasion led to years of fighting and destruction across Europe.
  • The war had a profound impact on the world and shaped international relations for decades to come.

America’s Entry into World War 2 and Its Impact on the Outcome

The United States entered World War 2 after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941. America’s entry into the war had a significant impact on the outcome and helped turn the tide in favor of the Allied Powers.

Lend-Lease Act

Prior to entering the war, the United States provided military aid to Allied Powers through programs such as the Lend-Lease Act. This aid helped keep Britain supplied with weapons and supplies during some of its darkest days.


  • The Lend-Lease Act allowed for military aid to be provided to Allied Powers without requiring immediate payment.
  • This aid included weapons, vehicles, food, and other supplies necessary for war efforts.
  • The program helped keep Britain supplied during times when it was unable to produce enough resources on its own.

Military Contributions

Once America entered World War 2, it became a major player in military operations across Europe and Asia. American soldiers fought in many of the war’s most significant battles and contributed greatly to the Allied Powers’ victories.


  • American forces played a key role in the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944.
  • The United States Air Force conducted bombing campaigns across Germany and Japan.
  • American soldiers fought in major battles such as the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of Midway.

Nuclear Weapons

One of America’s most significant contributions to World War 2 was its development and use of nuclear weapons. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki helped bring an end to the war but also had long-lasting effects on international relations.


  • The United States developed atomic bombs during the war as part of the Manhattan Project.
  • The bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, leading to Japan’s surrender.
  • The use of nuclear weapons had a profound impact on international relations and led to increased tensions between countries with nuclear capabilities.

In conclusion, World War 2 started on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland.


Why did World War 2 start?

Great Britain and France declared war on Germany in response to Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939, which marked the commencement of World War II.

When did the US enter WW2?

Starting in September 1940, the United States started to provide the Allies with substantial military resources and aid during World War II. Even though the United States did not formally join the war until December 1941.

When did World War 3 end?

From 1945 to 1992, the Earth experienced a third and final global war known as World War III. This catastrophic conflict included the use of nuclear weapons, and saw acts of genocide and eco-terrorism. The devastating effects of the war continued to linger as late as 2079.

Why did the US wait to get involved in WW2?

The isolationists held the belief that World War II was primarily a conflict between foreign nations and that the United States had no valid reason to intervene. They argued that the optimal course of action was for the US to focus on enhancing its own defenses and refrain from provoking either side.

How long was the Vietnam war?

The direct involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War, which lasted for eight years, had come to an end. However, about 7,000 civilian employees of the U.S. Department of Defense were still present in Saigon to assist South Vietnam in their ongoing conflict with Communist North Vietnam.

Who killed more in ww2 Japan or Germany?

The casualties of World War II were devastating for many countries. Germany lost over 2 million soldiers, with an additional 1.9 million missing in action. China lost over 1.3 million soldiers, with 115,000 missing. Japan had over 1.5 million soldiers killed and 810,000 missing. Great Britain lost nearly 400,000 soldiers, with an additional 90,000 missing.

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