World War II in Newspapers

World War II was a global war fought between 1939 and 1945 in which countries around the world were divided between two alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The war began with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939 and ended with the surrender of Japan in 1945. In addition to the high number of military casualties, there were numerous civilian causalities as well, compounded by events such as the Holocaust and the atomic bombing of Japan.

Explore the topics below to learn more about this period through newspaper articles and clippings.

German forces entering Warsaw in September 1939 during Invasion of Poland

1939 Invasion of Poland

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded neighboring Poland in what is considered the opening conflict of World War II. Background In the year and a half leading up to the invasion, Adolf Hitler had been expanding Germany’s territory. On August 23, 1939, Germany signed a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union that had a secret …Read More

442nd Regimental Combat Team in France in late 1944

442nd Regimental Combat Team

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was a World War II U.S. Army regiment composed almost entirely of second-generation Japanese Americans, known as Nisei. It was the most decorated unit relative to size and service length in U.S. military history. Formation The predecessor of the 442nd was the 100th Infantry Battalion, formed in June 1942 predominantly …Read More

Anne Frank smiling for her school photograph, December 1941

Anne Frank

Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl whose diary, created over two years in hiding during World War II, has since become one of the most read memoirs of the Holocaust. Early Years Annelies Marie Frank was born on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany, the second daughter of Edith and Otto Frank. By 1934, …Read More

Atomic cloud over Hiroshima

Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

During the final stage of World War II, the United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. The United States dropped the bombs after obtaining the consent of the United Kingdom, as required by the Quebec Agreement. The two bombings killed at …Read More

Pearl Harbor Bombing

Attack on Pearl Harbor

On 7 December 1941, an aerial attack against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, left thousands dead and pushed the U.S. to enter World War II. Background Japanese expansion in China strained relations with the United States for decades before the attack, and tensions worsened when Japan and China entered open …Read More

Prisoners on the Bataan Death March, April 1942

Bataan Death March

Summary During the Bataan Death March, which began April 9, 1942, tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers were forced on a grueling 65-mile trek across the Philippine island of Luzon, following their surrender to the Japanese. Thousands of men died on the march, and thousands more would die later in prisoner of war …Read More

A company of American Marines are briefed during the Battle of Iwo Jima, 20 February 1945

Battle of Iwo Jima

The Battle of Iwo Jima (19 February – 26 March 1945) was a major battle in which the United States Marine Corps landed on and eventually captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) during World War II. The American invasion, designated Operation Detachment, had the goal of capturing the entire …Read More

USS St. Lo explodes after being hit by a kamikaze aircraft during Battle of Leyte Gulf

Battle of Leyte Gulf

From October 23–26, 1944, the Japanese navy unsuccessfully went up against the U.S. navy off the coast of the Philippines in one of the largest naval battles in history. The Japanese loss at Leyte Gulf would give the Americans unchallenged dominance in the Pacific for the rest of World War II. Background & Objectives The …Read More

USS Yorktown is hit by a Japanese aerial torpedo during the Battle of Midway

Battle of Midway

Summary On June 4–7, 1942, American naval and air forces met the Japanese near Midway Atoll in one of the most decisive naval battles of the war. The Battle of Midway would become a turning point in the naval war in the Pacific, as the Japanese losses sustained there proved irreparable. Background The Japanese had …Read More