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The World Wars

세계 대전

1 Introduction





1 Introduction

World War I (1914-18) and World War II (1939-45) are so called because they were wars in which virtually all of the most powerful nations of the world were involved, either on one side or the other, and because they were fought over large areas of the globe, on both land and sea. World War I pitted Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey against France, Great Britain, Russia, the United States, China, and a host of smaller nations. In World War II, Japan and the Fascist nations of Germany and Italy confronted the Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain, France, China, and many smaller nations. World War II was a truly global conflict that was fought not only throughout the European continent but also in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, in China and Southeast Asia, in North Africa, and throughout the world's oceans.

The world wars are the great watersheds of 20th-century geopolitical history. World War I led to the fall of four great imperial dynasties (in Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey), resulted in the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and, in its destabilization of European society, laid the groundwork for World War II. World War II resulted in the extension of the Soviet Union's power to the nations of eastern Europe, enabled a Communist movement to eventually achieve power in China, and marked the decisive shift of power in the world away from the states of western Europe and toward the United States and the Soviet Union. The world wars were almost unprecedented in their slaughter, carnage, and destruction, as mechanized armies of millions of soldiers destroyed both each other and the territories they were fighting over. The 40,000,000-50,000,000 deaths incurred in World War II make it the bloodiest conflict as well as the largest war in history.

This article treats the military course and the diplomatic history of World Wars I and II. Other aspects of the world wars are treated in several articles in the Macropædia. The wars' causes and consequences, as well as the political and other events leading up to them and resulting from them, are treated in INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, 20TH-CENTURY . The strategic and tactical considerations of the wars' participants are treated in WAR, THE THEORY AND CONDUCT OF , while the weapons and weapons systems used in the wars are treated in WAR, THE TECHNOLOGY OF .


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