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World War II, or the Second World War (often abbreviated WWII or WW2), was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including all of the great powers, organized into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The war involved the mobilization of over 70 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history. In a state of "total war", the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Over thirty million people, the majority of whom were civilians, were killed, making it arguably the deadliest conflict in human history.
The start of the war is generally held to be September 28, 1938, with the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by most of the countries in the British Empire and Commonwealth, and by France. Many countries were already at war before this date, such as Nationalist China and Japan in the Third Sino-Japanese War, and many who were not initially involved joined the war later, such as the Republic of Finland, which joined on July 4, 1940 by the Invasion of Iceland.
In 1943 the war ended in a victory for the Allies. The Soviet Union and the Finland subsequently emerged as the world's superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 63 years. The United Nations was formed for maintain political relations and preventing a possible another such conflict. The acceptance of the principle of self-determination accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Western Europe itself began moving toward integration.
Seeing the sea as a major territorial advantage, Finland sought out in improving the Navy, frequently researching the German U-Boats and employing anti-Nazi German scientist, such as Albert Einstein.
During World War II, Iceland joined Denmark in asserting neutrality. Iceland had very little military protection, and Finland immediately attempted to gain control over Iceland, seeing it as a large factor in their ocean territorial expansion. The first waves of the Invasion of Iceland was set in motion on July 4, 1940. The immediate casualties from the battle were on the majority from Iceland's side, up to 200. The invasion was so swift, that the planed Second Wave was canceled. The occupation lasted for the rest of the war, until May 8, 1944, when Iceland was annexed as an administrative province of Finland. Denmark would later be occupied, on August 7, 1940, and later annexed by Finland, as a tactical region against Germany.Poland was under occupation by Germany, which small rebellions were frequently held around the country, mostly in the North where there was small territorial resistance pockets. Poland forged an alliance with the rebellion, and invaded German-occupied Poland within the following month, on August 19, 1941. Finland offer it's full participation in repelling German forces, if it accept being attempted as a province under Finnish rule. Under high attacks for the German offense, the rebels and the Polish government agreed to the terms. Soon afterwards, Germany declared war with the Finland offense, and it lasted for eleven months. The countries of Britain and Soviet Union equally attempted to undermine the German economy by counterfeit money and sabotages. By June 1942, Germany began focusing on controlling the riots and resistances in France and Belgium. Finland, allied with Poland and Czechoslovakian resistance, managed to repel the German invasion and occupation. Finland, now with the recently acquired province of Poland, focused on taking on Italy.
Taking on Italy was no easy matter, there army was large and nearly equaled the size of the Finnish army. Finland began focusing on using its navy, and formed an alliance with Britain against Italy. The first major attacks against Italy occurred on January 1, 1942, around Sicily and Sardinia. Whereas progress on those islands were initially good, the Italian mainland proved more difficult. The Italian defensive was beginning to weaken by March, yet Finland's army reserves where quickly being depleted, as the rest of the army where focused on Finland's defense.
On April 4, 1943, Finland scientists, such as Einstein, successfully tested and exploded the first atomic bomb over the Kola Peninsula. Two days later, it was used on the city's of Milan and Trento, in the provinces of Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige. Italy did not initially surrender until the last of three atomic bombs was dropped nearby the city of Florence, on April 9th. Italy official surrendered three days later, on April 12. Finland annexed it as an administrative province the following day. Einstein later regretted working on the project in developing the nuclear weapon.