Clockwise from top left: Chinese forces at the Battle of Almaty; American artillery in North Africa; German planes over Russia; British ships in the Mediterranean; A French general surrendering; British troops during the Battle of Glasgow.
The Second Great War, also known as World War II was an armed global conflict lasting from 1940 to 1948. It divided most of the world into two alliances: the Allies, led by the US, UK and Germany; and the Axis, led by France. It was the most widespread war in history, with fighting taking place on every inhabited continent. It is the deadliest war in human history, with 70 million dead, significantly civilian casualties from the Holocaust and the usage of nuclear weaponry.
Though China and Russia were already fighting, the Italian invasion of the Republic of Italy is where the war is generally said to be begun. France, Italy, and Russia quickly conquered most of Europe, and turned there attention to Africa and Asia. The combined efforts of British, American, and Chinese soldiers stopped the Axis advance, and turned the tide of the war. By 1946, France and Italy were defeated, and the Allied invasion of Russia began. By 1948 Russia was defeated and the war was over.
The war's end established Germany, the US and China as the three main superpowers in the world, and they competed in the Cold War for the next 57 years. Several Fascist states survived the war, and kept control over their African colonies. The Free World Alliance was established to watch over the world and prevent future conflicts.