World War II
World War II was the largest conflict in human history and devastated Europe, Asia, North Africa, and large portions of the Pacific. It began as two separate wars: one involving Japan against China in the 1930s; the other involving Germany against Poland, France, and Great Britain in 1939. With the entry of the United States into both wars in December 1941, the two conflicts merged into a single global struggle during which a coalition of Allied powers (the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, China, Free France, and a host of smaller nations) defeated a coalition of Axis states (Germany, Italy, Japan, and smaller satellites). This article uses a largely narrative approach, interspersed with a separate section on economic, psychological, and demographic aspects of the conflict, to describe the origins, course, and consequences of the war.