</center> World War III, or the Third World War (commonly abbreviated as WW-III or WW-3) was a global scale military conflict spanning six of seven continents and five of five major oceans. Starting with the German invasion of Austria and North Czechoslovakia in 1937 and the subsequent Franco-Spanish declaration of war on Germany, the Third World War would last for ten years until the surrender of Germany and England in late 1947.
Involving most of the world's nations and all of the greatest powers of the time, World War III was the most costly war in history in both financial and casualties terms. Over 90 million lives were lost and a total estimated four trillion US dollars were spent in today's terms.
The two sides, the Allies and the Axis, fought each other from 1932 (start of the Third Sino-Japanese War) and officially stopped fighting in 1952, when at long last the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire were no longer at war, although proxy wars between Japan and the Republic of China lasted until the 70's and proxies between the Republic of China and the Empire of China continue to this day. The main cause of the War was that, simply put, the Axis Powers held imperialistic desires, with the Fourth Reich wanting to rule all of Europe, the Japanese Empire in the Far East and Pacific, and the Italian wish to restore the Holy Roman Empire.
This was evident starting with the Japanese effort to start what became the First Manchurian Revolution in 1930 and then the establishment of the Empire of Manchukuo, the puppet state of Japan. Subsequently, Germany took the steps of annexing the German-speaking region of the Sudetenland, which was a part of South Czechoslovakia.
Within the next seven years, Germany, Italy, and Japan would consume more and more land while England struggled to keep a hold on the colonies taken from the British. However, everything collapsed when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1937 at the same time that Germany invaded South Czechoslovakia.
Almost immediately Prime Minister Edward Daladier wanted to declare war upon Italy and Germany for this until General Francisco Franco, the President of Spain, convinced him to offer an ultimatum to Hitler and Mussolini, which they refused. Thus began the Third World War.
The War lasted for ten years, with Axis gaining upon gain until the Allies managed to stop them in Early 1944. By this time, the Russian Empire had begun to push Germany and Japan out of its borders, while China, Mongolia, and America had started to repel Japanese advances into the Pacific and Asia. In Europe, Spain was nearly a rump state until the formation of the Iberian Empire, allowing Spain to push Germany eastwards. At the same time, Free France was blockading England and had seized the Channel.
In 1946, the United States developed the first atomic bomb, to be used against the Axis if necessary. Via the Monterrey Conference, the Allies agreed to use "a great weapon of much force upon Japan and its allies unless a surrender was delivered." However, the Japanese continued to resist, which resulted in the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan officially delivered surrender to the Allies through Douglas MacArthur in Manila.
In Europe, Spain had made a landing in Sicily and pushed through Italy until Rome was besieged. Mussolini escaped on a plane while the Spanish completed the liberation of Italy. (Mussolini's plane later crashed into the Strait of Gibraltar.)
The only remaining threat was Germany, reduced to a bit of Eastern Germany and Western Poland, although Germany surrendered on December 19, 1947, effectively ending the Third and Final (to date) World War.
The start of the war is generally held to be 6 July 1937, beginning with the German invasion of North Czechoslovakia, although other historians say it started in 1933, with the beginning of the Third Sino-Japanese War. Even more further past, some say it started with the Manchurian Revolution of 1930 or even further back in 1920, when the Second Sino-Japanese War occurred for two years.
Similarly, there is no universally agreed upon endpoint. Generally accepted is the German Surrender (December 1947). Other factions say that it did not end until the Allies signed the Final Treaty of Peace with the Germanys in 2003.