A little while back we had a somewhat contentious thread about the results of a very general quiz relating to WWII given to some young people. The answers, to be charitable, were decidedly uneven and confirmed what most rogues here believed that the teaching of WWII history is haphazard at best. This made me wonder about what should be taught as a High School level basic understanding of WWII and its effect on Humanity in general and the United States in particular. I am not proposing a graduate level understanding, but the bare minimum necessary to comprehend the war and to build a solid foundation upon which a deeper exploration could be developed if they chose. Who commanded which army at such and such battle would fall out of this as would a litany of dates and statistics. This is a decidedly American view of the war, but then as this is predominately a American-centric forum I feel this is not out of line here and the fact that the US was a major participant in the conflict as a whole. Certainly someone from Eastern Europe might see some areas as more prominent. Here is my list and look forward to your comments. ONE WWII was the largest and most destructive conflict in Human history resulting in the death of between 50 million and 80 million people world wide. It also devastated most of Europe and Asia. TWO The conflict was largely waged between 1939 and 1945, though events before and after these dates contributed to both the death total and devastation inflicted. THREE The conflict was waged between two massive military alliances, the Axis led by Nazi Germany in Europe and Imperial Japan in Asia. Opposing them were the Allies consisting of Great Britain, Soviet Union and the United States. Both sides had a number of lesser allies affiliated to each power block, but the five principal nations represented the 5 most powerful countries in the world at that time. FOUR Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party led Germany, while Japan was led by a military war cabinet in all respects though nominally subservient to the Emperor Hirohito who was more a figurehead rather than a true leader. Winston Churchill led Great Britain and Commonwealth/Empire through the majority of the war, while the Soviet Union was led by Joseph Stalin. For the United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presided for much of the war and was succeeded by Harry S Truman during the final months of the war. FIVE The principal cause of WWII was the profound and militant rise of nationalism within Germany, Japan and other Axis nations that called for expansion of their borders by conquest to either create or expand existing empires. In addition to this Nazi doctrine called for the elimination of any race considered inferior or 'sub-human' to Aryan ideals. This mass extinction of men, woman and children was known as The Final Solution in Germany and more commonly since as the Holocaust. SIX The principle victims of the Holocaust was Jews of Europe who lost nearly 80% of their number to killing literally on a industrial scale. Other victims were Gypsy's, Slav's, Communist's, Homosexuals and the Mentally and Physically handicapped. Though there was no really organised effort to kill civilians in the Pacific war, large numbers of Chinese and other nationalities did die due to harsh treatment and indifference of Japanese civil and military policies. SEVEN The United States did not become a active participant in the war until Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7th,1941, though it did offer support to the other Allies well before this date and tried to hobble Japan politically and economically prior to the attack. America would become known as The Arsenal of Democracy due to its vast economic, agricultural and industrial capacity that not only supplied all her own needs but significant levels of the needs of all her allies, including Great Britain and the Soviet Union. EIGHT No significant battles were fought on US soil save Pearl Harbor, but the war would still have a profound effect on American homeland. Vast factories would spring up all over the country and the influx of women and minorities into the workforce would promote significant migration of both groups challenging the existing thoughts on equality and race relations within the US. NINE The high water mark of the Axis was the late summer-fall-winter of 1942 where Germany and her European allies controlled Europe from the French Atlantic coast to the Volga river in Russia and the Arctic circle to the coast of Northern Africa. In the Pacific, Japan controlled much of the Asian mainland to the central Pacific. After this point the Axis would be in retreat on all fronts. TEN The war in Europe would end in the late spring of 1945 with the suicide of Adolf Hitler, the capture of the Nazi capitol of Berlin and the meeting of Anglo-American forces from the west and Soviet forces from the East in central Germany. In the Pacific, Japan would surrender in the late summer of 1945 when the Japanese Home Islands were cut off from the remnants of her Empire, the Soviet Union entered the war in the Pacific and the dropping of two Atomic Bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ELEVEN Much of Europe and Asia would almost immediately descend into two new political and military alliances called the West and the Eastern Bloc with the US leading the West and the Soviet Union the East. This antagonism would lead to what was called The Cold War and would last over 40 years till the fall of Communism in Europe and the Soviet Union. Numerous brush fire wars, insurgencies and other forms of conflict would be waged across the globe, but the possibility of Nuclear Armageddon would restrain both sides from escalating to general conflict like WWII. TWELVE America would emerge as the one unqualified victor in the war, a homeland untouched war, a vibrant and modern economy and industrial base, cutting edge technology, relatively few casualties, a modern and massive war machine that could span the globe at will and the first Atomic weapons would make the United States into the first and only true superpower since the height of the British Empire. Her wealth, industry and technology would, through the Marshall Plan, allow Western Europe and Asia, allies and former enemies, to recover in a fraction of the time it would have taken otherwise. I now await your merciless picking apart of my list.