A global conflict lasting from 1939-1945, World War II was the greatest and most destructive war in history. Massive battles took place in Europe, Asia, Africa, and even the far-flung islands of the Pacific. More than 17 million military men of various warring nations perished during the conflict, and approximately 57 million civilians died as war casualties or were murdered in acts of genocide, such as occurred in Nazi death camps.
In the end, WWII had strained the financial resources of major nations so much so, they teetered on the brink of collapse. As the dust settled, these nations began the arduous process of rebuilding and starting anew—the memory of hard-fought battles and lives lost never to be forgotten.
THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY – THE TIDE TURNS
The largest invasion by sea to date, the Battle of Normandy engaged nearly three million troops from twelve Allied nations that crossed the English Channel to Normandy in occupied France. The bloody battle on the beaches of Normandy resulted in heavy casualties, permanently etching its mark on history as a reminder of the grim tragedies of war.
THE BATTLE OF ITALY – THE AXIS BROKEN
After the Axis powers were defeated in North Africa, the Allies decided to invade Italy, where popular support for the war was flagging. If Italy could be removed from the war, the Mediterranean Sea could be opened up to supplies for Allied forces in the Middle East and Far East. Victory for the Allies ensued and Mussolini was removed from power.
THE BATTLE OF STALINGRAD – DEATH OF AN ARMY
Described as the "bloodiest battle in human history and arguably one of the greatest come-backs in military history," the Battle of Stalingrad was a major turning point in the war—proving to be the start of the Soviet Union's liberation and the Allies' victory over Nazi Germany.