The war lasted for more than five years (1939–1945). But by the number of casualties and material destruction it was the biggest break out of madness in the history of humankind. It was the result of years long development of authoritarian regimes and rule of ideologies in the European countries. The Fascist powers of Germany, Italy and Japan started the war, by German occupation of Poland on 1 September1939. It ended when Germany capitulated on 9 May and Japan on 2 September 1945. The horrors of war ended with atom bombs and a total destruction of two Japanese cities. The basic feature of the Second World War, with regard to all the previous conflicts, was a huge number of civilian casualties. The Soviet Union lost twnty million people, China twelve million, Germany seven million … In Poland and in Yugoslavia, one sixth of the total population died. The Second World War aftermath showed how little a human life was valued in the century of technology and dictatorship. In some countries, like Yugoslavia for instance, there were parallel civil wars going on for the change of regimes and for new ideologies
The Second World War was fought at several fronts. The Western Front was formed when Hitler’s Germany invaded France , becoming a serious threat to Britain. The Eastern Front was opened by invading the Soviet Union. The North Africa Campaign was an attempt of Germany and Italy to take over the British and French major colonies. Japan tried to win the domination in Asia and on the Pacific. Things started to turn in favour of the Allies when the USA got involved. There were some plans to open up the Balkans Campaign in 1943 but it did not happen. Until the Russian troops came, Serbia was engaged in the guerrilla war.
The key figure in German Nazi ideology, Adolf Hitler, committed suicide. Other war leaders were convicted of crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials.