World War II

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

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

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on the morning of December 7, 1941. Wikipedia Learn more about the through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources …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 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

German troops in Stalingrad, 1942

Battle of Stalingrad

The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943) was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, …Read More

American infantrymen of the 290th Regiment , during the Battle of the Bulge, January 1945

Battle of the Bulge

On December 16, 1944, Germany launched a massive surprise attack on American lines in the Ardennes (a forested area in Belgium and Luxembourg), breaking through to create a 45-mile salient in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge. Background The goal behind the German offensive was to capture Antwerp, an important Allied port …Read More

Battle of the Philippine Sea

Battle of the Philippine Sea

The Battle of the Philippine Sea (fought June 19–20, 1944, between U.S. and Japanese fleets in the Pacific) was the largest carrier-to-carrier battle of World War II and a major victory for the United States. With the American invasion of Saipan creating a direct threat to the Japanese home islands, Japan decided to force the American …Read More