This global conflict split the majority of the world's nations into two opposing military alliances: the Allied Forces and the Axis Powers. Spanning much of the globe, World War II resulted in the death of over 70 million people, making it the deadliest conflict in human history. The war saw Nazi Germany's systematic genocide against the Jews of Europe, an act that has come to be called the Holocaust. The war also saw the first deployment of atomic weapons.
Germany subdued most of continental Europe by way of conquest by mid-1940. Only the United Kingdom was in the position to continue fighting Germany and Italy in North Africa and in the North Atlantic. This changed in June, 1941, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The United States remained neutral until December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked several U.S. and European possessions in the Pacific.
The tide turned against the Axis in 1942, with Japan losing the Battle of Midway, Axis troops meeting defeat in North Africa, and Germany meeting defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad, which commenced in 1942 and ended in 1943. From then on, the Axis were on a continued state of retreat until their total defeat.
The war ended in defeat for the Axis in 1945. Germany and Japan were forced into unconditional surrender; Germany in May, 1945 after the Soviet capture of Berlin; and Japan in August of that year, after the deployment of the first atomic bombs by the U.S.
The United States and the Soviet Union emerged from the war as the world's two superpowers.
World War II is a frequent pivot point in the works of Harry Turtledove, particularly his alternate history works. There are several stories that are set during or after World War II, but have their point of divergence in the period between 1937 and 1945. There are several stories that are set in timelines in which World War II took a different course or reached a different resolution. However, Turtledove rarely describes the exact course of the altered war in detail.
In most instances, what is known about the altered war can be summed up in a few paragraphs, and this article should include those versions of World War II.
The versions of World War II that are fictitious from beginning to end and which Turtledove writes about in extensive detail should be given separate articles. As of this writing there are only two such versions:
- The Second Great War, the version Turtledove created for the Southern Victory series.
- World War II (The War That Came Early), the version created for the on-going The War That Came Early series.
World War II in Crosstime TrafficEdit
Crosstime Traffic was aware of several alternates in which Nazi Germany and its Axis allies had won World War II and Fascism came to dominate the world. These were deemed particularly terrible. In some of them, the Axis had conquered the United States. The Crosstime Traffic employee Eduardo Caruso considered these alternates to be "only slightly worse" than one in which the Soviet Union won the Cold War.
World War II in Days of InfamyEdit
World War II began for the United States when the Empire of Japan invaded and occupied the American territory of Hawaii in December 1941-February, 1942. Despite the desire of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to focus on the larger threat of Germany, Japan posed a more immediate threat, and so the American military effort turned to retaking Hawaii as quickly as possible.
In June, 1942, the United States sent a fleet of three aircraft carriers and assorted troopships and destroyers to retake the islands. The Japanese navy met the Americans, sinking two of the carriers (the Saratoga and the Yorktown) and forcing a retreat. Embarassed, the United States continued its production. In 1943, the United States returned, with a massive fleet, comprised of some 7 aircraft carriers, 5 light carriers, close to a dozen escort carriers, several destroyers, and troop carriers. This invasion proved to be the end of Japanese rule in Hawaii, as the Japanese naval contingent was destroyed, and the Japanese supplyline, already taxed, was broken completely. American forces landed at Oahu, and after a period of bitter fighting, were able to subdue Japan's ground forces.
Hawaii then became the launching pad for the American war effort in the Pacific theater.
World War II in The GladiatorEdit
The Soviet name for World War II, the Great Patriotic War, entered into the vocabulary of its allies and enemies alike after it won the Cold War. The Soviet Union suffered mightily during the war, a fact it never let the world forget. Even after the Cold War ended, the Soviet Union kept a tight reign on Germany, its primary adversary from 1941-1945.
World War II in In the Presence of Mine Enemies Edit
The Axis emerged from the Second World War victorious, as the United States remained neutral, leaving the rest of the world to its own devices. Germany occupied most of Europe after it defeated Britain and the Soviet Union. Germany and its ally Italy carved up Africa, taking colonies from the vanquished Allies. Germany also took control over the much of the Middle East and India. Germany's co-belligerent, Japan, asserted its hegemony over the rest of Asia.
Roughly a generation later, Germany and Japan defeated and occupied the U.S. during the Third World War.
World War II in The Man With the Iron HeartEdit
Although World War II ended officially in Europe on May 8, 1945 with the surrender of Germany, conflict and violence continued beginning on May 9, 1945, with the nationwide uprising staged by the German Freedom Front under the leadership of Reinhard Heydrich. The uprising continued on even after the surrender of Japan in August and September, 1945. The mounting casualties provoked many in the United States to question the value of a continued occupation, especially since the war had been deemed "won".
World War II came screeching to a halt in May 1942 when the Race invaded Earth. Members of the Axis and the Allied Forces had to ally with one another in an alliance system known as the Big Five so that humanity could oppose the Race as a species. The war against the Race ended in a draw, with the Big Five and several of their satellite states surviving and more distant nations falling into the Race's empire.
Though most of the major combatants of World War II--and their mutual antagonisms--survived the war against the Race, the threat represented by the continued presence of the Conquest Fleet remained sufficient to keep the human powers from resuming hostilities after the Peace of Cairo for fear that the Race would exploit divisions in the alliance system which had stalemated it to conquer the rest of the planet.
World War II in "Joe Steele"Edit
United States President Joe Steele had wanted to avoid entry into World War II, hating both Germany's leader Adolf Hitler and the Soviet Union's leader Leon Trotsky with equal fervor. However, as Hitler grew more successful in Europe, Steele reluctantly supported both Britain and the Soviet Union with arms. In December, 1941, Japan attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor and its holdings in the Philippines.
The Soviet Union had taken the brunt of the German attack, and had survived. Steele was content to let the two countries batter each other, but when the Soviet Union gained the upper hand at Trotskygrad, Steele began preparing for the invasion of Normandy, which took place in 1944. Less than a year later, Adolf Hitler committed suicide and Germany surrendered. At the end of 1945, the United States invaded Japan. Despite horrific casualties on both sides, the United States invasion pressed on successfully. Emperor Hirohito was killed by an incendiary bomb. The Soviet Union, realizing that the United States was winning, invaded the northern islands. Japan didn't surrender, as there was no one in authority who could surrender; it simply stopped fighting.
World War II in "News From the Front"Edit
The United States' entry into World War II proved to be disasterous for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The war was not popular on the homefront, and the American media was quick to find fault in every decision the president made. Britain's homefront was similarly divided, with most of the population squarely against Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
World War II in "The Phantom Tolbukhin"Edit
World War II in "Ready for the Fatherland"Edit
World War II effectively ended in Europe in 1943, when German Field Marshall Erich von Manstein shot Adolf Hitler for an insult. Germany, lead by Manstein, offered a separate peace with the Soviet Union, which was accepted. Subsequently, the United States and Britain were unable to liberate Western Europe. The United States focused its attention on Japan, invading it in 1945. The Soviet Union also invaded, taking the nothern islands.
In the aftermath, global politics were dominated by the United States and Britain, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union.
World War II in "Shtetl Days"Edit