How did World War 2 start and end?
WW-2 began with Germany's invasion of Poland on 01 September
and ended with the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri on
The question "How did World War 2 start?" or "What started World
War 2?" can be considered distinct from "What caused World War 2?"
For the latter, see the Related Question link to the right.
There are many views on exactly when and where World War 2
started, and what started it.
One view is that there was only one world war. It started in 1914
and finished in 1945, with a break from 1918-1939 while the Germans
regrouped. (Kaiser Wilhelm was very similar to Hitler: a
hate-filled expansionist with vissions of world domination.)
More commonly, people believe World War 2 started in 1939. On
August 31, 1939, Hitler and the Nazis staged a Polish attack on a
minor German radio station in order to justify a German invasion of
Poland. On September 1, Hitler declared war on Poland stating one
of his reasons for the invasion was because of "the attack by
regular Polish troops on the Gleiwitz transmitter."
France and Britain had a defensive pact with Poland. This forced
France and Britain to declare war on Germany, which they did on
Some say World War 2 started in late 1931 with the Japanese
invasion of Manchuria. This is sometimes referred to as the Mukden
Incident. The major invasion of China by Japan was in 1937.
Japan had long been coveting mainland resources, invading China
and (en route) Korea for centuries. Under the guise of The
Co-Prosperity Sphere (8-Lands Under One Umbrella), Japan plotted an
imperial takeover of Asia and the Pacific in the style of Western
imperialism less than a century earlier.
The US opposed this movement and placed embargoes on Japan.
Searching for supplies and rebelling against US intervention, Japan
embarked on its Oriental conquest. Hoping to keep the US Air Force
out of Japan's way, Admiral Yamamoto led the attack on Pearl
Harbor. Unfortunatley they opened fire 30 minutes before the
proclamation of war was officially delivered, so many viewed it as
a violation of military convention (Adm. Yamamoto regretted this
fact; he admired Western military practices).
Note that one reason many people say WWII started in 1939 by
Hitler's invasion of Poland instead of by Japan in 1937 is because
the former is the moment when the first main Allied nation declared
war on an Axis nation (Britain declares war on Germany). Rather
than be specific and say the first shots of origin started with
Japan's invasion, it is pointed out that no main Allied nation had
declared war at that time.
The War in
Some people consider the war in Africa as starting with the 1935
invasion of Ethiopia by Italy.
the war started whe Germany invaded Poland in 1939 war was