In September 1939, Britain entered into what would become the world’s most devastating war to date. Learn all about the events that changed the lives of millions in our World War 2 facts….

World War 2 facts

World War 2 facts

1. World War 2 was a battle between two groups of countries

– the “Allies” and the “Axis“. The major Allied Powers were Britain, France, Russia, China and the United States. The major Axis Powers were Germany, Italy and Japan.

National Geographic Kids magazine: chimp cover

Love animals? You’d love our magazine!

Ask your parents to check out Nat Geo Kids magazine!


2. Before World War 2 began, Germany was ruled by a man named Adolf Hitler

Together with the Nazi Party, he wanted Germany to rule Europe. To gain more land and power, on 1 September 1939 German troops invaded Poland. After Hitler refused to stop the invasion, Britain and France declared war on Germany – World War II had begun.

3. During the course of the war, German forces advanced through Europe.

By the summer of 1941 they had invaded France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Yugoslavia* and the USSR*.


Did you know that we have a FREE downloadable Second World War primary resource? Great for teachers, homeschoolers and parents alike!

4. Millions of Germans were imprisoned and killed because they didn’t fit the image of the ‘perfect’ German

Hitler wanted to create what he thought was the “best” and strongest race – and to the Nazi Party, this excluded certain groups, such as Jews, Gypsies and those with physical and mental disabilities. In an attempt to eliminate a “racial enemy” outside of Germany, such groups were also persecuted in the countries invaded by German forces.

World War 2 facts

5. The group most heavily targeted by the Nazis were the Jews

Around six million Jewish people were killed during World War 2 in one of history’s most terrible events – the Holocaust. Racist in his views, Hitler blamed Jewish people for Germany losing World War I and claimed they were dangerous to German people and society.

6. Around the same time that Germany fought for power in Europe, Japan wanted to control Asia and the Pacific

In 1937 (before World War 2 had officially begun) under Emperor Hirohito, Japan attacked China, bringing the two nations into years of conflict.

World War 2 facts

7. The US didn’t join the war until 1941, when Japan attacked the United States

– at their Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. On 8 December 1941 (the very next day), the US declared War on Japan and, in turn, its German allies.

8. Some countries remained ‘neutral’ in World War 2

Such countries were Spain, Sweden and Switzerland – who chose not to join either side.

World War 2 facts

9. The Germans surrendered on 8 May 1945

In 1944, an Allied army crossed from Britain to free France from Nazi rule. One year later, Allied armies invaded Germany, forcing the Germans to surrender. After nuclear attacks on Japan’s major cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan also surrendered to Allied forces in August the same year. World War 2 had ended.

10. Around 64 million people died in World War 2

– that’s more than the entire population of the United Kingdom.
World War 2 facts

Find out more about the countries involved in World War 2 with our Germany, Japan and USA facts. Plus, learn about the life of Anne Frank, a young German girl who wrote a world-famous diary… 

With thanks to Dr. Matthew Thomas from the National Army Museum and Ian Kikuchi from the Imperial War Museum, London.
*Yugoslavia was a country established in 1918 in south-east Europe, which included modern-day Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
*USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the Soviet Union) was a former country which included modern-day Russia, Ukraine and Estonia, as well as other socialist states.

What did you think of our World War 2 facts? Let us know by leaving a comment below.




Your comment will be checked and approved shortly.



  • Aalyiah


  • rg

    this is so sad

  • hhhhh

    that is so cooooooool

  • WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ishe

    I knew seven of them already but the three I learned were interesting

  • sad

  • JayElsie

    Totally awesome

  • JayElsie

    I loved it!!!

  • bob

    good website

  • dina

  • parkzilla123

  • jason

    it was so amazing

  • Jessica


  • 10hamster


  • The Croc


  • The Croc


  • Ines

  • Nines

  • martha


  • lily

    so sad so manny people died

  • urmomsxbox

    This is ok, it did help me with my work, but the layout could be better

  • Dinnnnnn

    Very nice

  • Pawsome

    interesting facts! really nice

  • Math

  • IAlexandra

    Nice, this really helped me with my school work, Thanks!!

  • Alexa

    This is nice, really helped me with school work, Thanks!! :D

  • sam

    you are sooo cool

  • chelsea

    wow so exciting

  • sam

    soooooo cool cool

  • star1112

    so you are good

  • Daniel


  • kyle

    cool and interesting

  • Nice

  • Bash


  • Keryn

    Very Interesting

  • zoe

    it was amazing learning about this.

  • Girrafe


  • My name is She


  • yes

  • Ibragim.zhemukhov


  • dodododo


  • Wow

  • Jay

    this was a great website

  • nice

  • Hazel

    Love them really helped my research

  • Katie

    Coolest website ever

  • Good job on the article, maybe include some more information on events though.

  • zyriyab5

  • Izabella

    Let's take action!