World War 2


Introduction

World War 2 is summarised in Wikipedia:

World War 2  was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world’s countries, including all the great powers, forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. In a state of total war, directly involving more than 100 million personnel from more than 30 countries, the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, resulting in 70 to 85 million fatalities, with more civilians than military personnel killed. Tens of millions of people died due to genocides, including the Holocaust, premeditated death from starvationmassacres, and diseaseAircraft played a major role in the conflict, including in strategic bombing of population centres, the development of nuclear weapons, the only two uses of this weapon in war.

The formal date of the beginning of the war is regarded as 1st September 1939 when Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister confronted Adolf Hitler, the German ‘Fuhrer’, following the invasion of Poland. This date had, however, been preceded by the annexation of Austria and the division of Poland between Germany and Russia. Similarly, the first Japanese expedition into China began as early as 1937.  On the other hand, the United States did not fully engage in the War until after the bombing of the US fleet in Pearl Harbour in 1941. Apart from its sheer military might, the US was instrumental in terminating the war in Japan by dropping two nuclear bombs on the Japanese mainland. World War 2 ended in Europe on 8th May 1945, the date of the ultimate surrender of Germany.

The nature of the war and its gravity was described by Admiral Sir Ian Forbes in his address at Rowlands Castle’s VJ Day Commemoration. For Rowlands Castle, perhaps the most symbolic moment was the presence of King George VI in May 1944 at a parade of troops before they departed for Normandy.         

Even though Britain was not invaded, the war affected those at home in a number of ways. In Rowlands Castle the scene is depicted in the Model Railway, where civilian communities looked on as troops were assembled for invasion of Normandy. Canadian Troops arrived earlier for their training camps, as described by Brian Tomkinson. Civilians in Southern England and other bombing target areas, particularly Portsmouth, suffered aerial strikes and attacks from Buzz Bombs and V2 rockets. In these areas local service companies, like Portsmouth Water Company made arrangements to protect the water supplies. These plans are described in their booklet based on war-time photos. Unfortunately, other personal tragedies occurred locally and randomly, when both Allied and German aircraft crashed into the forests. Sonya Teale’s audio interviews record affectionate memories of some residents, then in their childhood, of the troops’ presence in the Village.


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