Hello, I’m Veronica

The sky is not completely dark at night. Were the sky absolutely dark, one would not be able to see the silhouette of an object against the sky.


    Dafydd Iwan
    Image caption,Dafydd Iwan performing Yma o Hyd at Wales match against Ukraine on Sunday

    Dafydd Iwan’s Yma o Hyd [meaning Still Here, in English] has become Wales’ unofficial anthem, but could equally be that of their opponents on Sunday.

    The folk singer said when he performed his 1983 song at the World Cup play-off final he was singing to everyone.

    He said beforehand while his tune was about protecting the Welsh language, it was equally relevant to Ukraine’s position today.

    “There’s no comparison between the plights of Wales and Ukraine,” he said.

    “I’ll sing for their country as much as my own.”

    The former Plaid Cymru president said after Wales’ 1-0 victory: “So many non-Welsh speakers came up and spoke to me, saying how proud they were of being able to sing a Welsh song and being part of this excitement.”

    Wales manager Robert Page had called the play-off “the most important game in our history”.

    Wales’ inglorious beginning to their international adventure was in 1876 with a 4-0 defeat to Scotland.

    But 31 years later, in 1907, they lifted their first home nations championship, spearheaded by Manchester City and Manchester United legend Billy Meredith.

    Nick Jones, curator of Wrexham’s Welsh Football Museum, said that promising period was hampered by the two world wars.

    Gareth Bale
    Image caption,Gareth Bale celebrates the 1-0 victory over Ukraine on Sunday

    “A very talented Welsh team was thwarted by the outbreak of World War One,” he said.

    “After the Great War they’d go on to win three more home international titles in 1920, the last of Billy Meredith’s caps, as well as 1924 and 1928.

    “Their first international match against anyone outside of the UK was versus France, a 1-1 draw in 1933, but the looming World War Two meant that again they couldn’t compete against another non-UK side at home until 1949, when they took on Belgium.

    “So by the time they qualified for the 1958 World Cup, even though they’d been playing international football for over 80 years, they were actually quite inexperienced against the rest of the world.”

    Wales qualified for the 1958 tournament by winning two games 2-0 against an Israel team no-one in the Middle East wanted to play. After the creation of the state of Israel sporting contests were frequently hampered by the Arab League boycott.

    After drawing all their group matches in Sweden, Wales and Hungary could only be separated by another play-off.

    But star player John Charles’ legs were left so battered and bruised by Hungary he was not fit to take on Brazil in the quarter-finals.

    The South Americans won the game thanks to a certain 17-year-old called Pele – and went on to lift the World Cup itself.

    Billy Meredith in action for Manchester United in 1908
    Image caption,With Billy Meredith Wales won their first ever Home Nations Championship in 1907

    Mr Jones said the lack of mass TV coverage meant many people did not even know the Wales team had been away.

    He said: “There’s anecdotes from a few players about lugging their suitcases down the train platform on their homecoming, only to be greeted by train guards who complimented them on their tans, and inquired where they’d been for their holidays.”

    Eighteen years later, Wales qualified for the 1976 Euros quarter-finals.

    As they were knocked out before the last four met in Yugoslavia for the finals, opinions differ as to whether this should be counted as a real tournament qualification.

    Mr Jones knows where he stands.

    “Just because the tournament format has changed now, we shouldn’t forget that there was a Welsh team who were ranked in Europe’s top eight in that year,” he said.

    A year later Scotland’s Joe Jordan broke Welsh hearts at Anfield. In the penultimate game of qualification for the 1978 World Cup a penalty was wrongly awarded against Dave Jones.

    In the run up to Mexico ’86 another handball eliminated Wales, as David Phillips conceded the penalty which saw Scotland qualify at Wales’ expense.

    Phillips was still in the Wales team seven years later, when Wales perhaps came the closest they ever have to reaching the World Cup since 1958, as they lost their final qualifier 2-1 to Romania. It was a game fans remember for Paul Bodin missing a penalty, which would have put Wales 2-1 up.

    CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 29: Rob Page the caretaker manager / head coach of Wales during the international friendly match between Wales and Czech Republic at Cardiff City Stadium on March 29, 2022 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
    Image caption,Wales manager Robert Page dubbed this week’s game: “The most important game in our history”

    “Everyone is always talking about Paul Bodin, with the missed penalty, but why weren’t other players taking the penalty, strikers etc?

    “Bod was the penalty taker. He was calm, he was assured when he used to take the penalties, but it was one of those days that happened.”

    Three players in that squad would be vital in Wales’ next successful period.

    As managers, Mark Hughes, Gary Speed and Chris Coleman helped take Wales to the next level.

    Mark Hughes almost took Wales to the big time, but the team lost to Russia in the play-off for the 2004 Euros in Portugal.

    But it was Gary Speed who assembled the team which was led, after Speed’s death, by Chris Coleman to the 2016 Euros – finally. And, more than that, they made the semi-finals, knocked out by eventual winners Portugal.

    Catherine Jones, from Swansea, who works in banking in London, said: “I watched those 2016 matches in the London-Welsh club.

    “And when Hal Robson-Kanu’s goal went in against Belgium in our quarter-final win, I’ll never forget all the beer going up in the air.

    “It somehow meant more than it would have done if I’d been back in Wales.”

    Cardiff City Stadium
    Image caption,The Cardiff City Stadium has seen some memorable nights for Wales fans in recent years – and Sunday will be another

    Wales then qualified for their second Euros in a row when they got to the 2020 tournament. After making it though the group stage they went out after they were thumped by Denmark.

    This time David Phillips has more confidence in Welsh chances.

    “We have got bigger, we have got better, and we can’t take Robert Page out of that equation,” he said.

    “We’ve got some exciting youngsters coming through. Add to that people like Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale, and Joe Allen.

    “I know people will say this will be the last opportunity, potentially, for them to reach the World Cup final, but they are only 31-32, and still have enough about them.”

    Wales lost to Brazil, including the teenage Pele, in the World Cup in Sweden in 1958
    Image caption,Wales lost to Brazil, including the teenage Pele, in the World Cup in Sweden in 1958

    One of the surviving members of that 1958 World Cup squad says he believed the current team could do well in Qatar.

    Cliff Jones, 87, who was capped 59 times for Wales, says “something the Welsh teams always have is a bit of ‘hwyl’, a bit of spirit and they’ve got loads and they’ve got skilful players in certain positions.”

    To the team, he said: “I would hope they realise what they’ve done and how good it is that they’ve achieved so much in this competition. They’ll give anybody a game and I think they’ll do very well for themselves.”


  • Travel Solo Not Alone..

    • Oh, you’re going alone?
    • Off soul searching are we?
    • Won’t that be tough to organise/expensive/dangerous/lonely?

    Solo travel is often confused with absolute solitude by some people. At the thought of being a single traveller, or of taking an  ‘adventure alone’, some people’s heads automatically jump to ‘doing yoga in a monastery for a month’. Naturally, that’s not usually the case. There’s no easier time to meet new people than when you travel alone. Whether that’s at a bar, a hostel, on a train, a walking tour or a group excursion. Solo travel is still incredibly powerful even if it means you’re just booking solo to join a bunch of like-minded strangers on a proper wild group adventure.

    Actually it’s usually significantly easier to organise an adventure if it’s just for yourself. It means you don’t have to keep nagging Clare for her passport number or wondering if the hostel is good enough for your mate David with the fancy shirt collection.

    This is a love letter to solo travel, dedicated to anyone who has ever abandoned a plan to do something they really wanted to do, simply because they had nobody to go and do it with them. It’s a fairly common excuse for not doing something, that, but it’s also one which holds up about as well as a sand castle in a bathtub – because solo travel, solo adventure holidays, and going on holiday alone really do embody all that is great about travel.

    There you were, looking up accommodation and train times from one Eastern European capital to another. You were all set to go. Only to present your perfectly plotted-out plan to the usual suspects in your What’s App group and find out they don’t have the annual leave, money or, err, desire to climb that particularly niche mountain you’ve decided you want to get yourself up in remote Georgia.

    If I waited to have a travel buddy to go do all the things I wanted to do, I would never do them.

    Things is, if you’ve really got your heart set on something, then it’s unlikely the thought of it is going to leave your head in a hurry. So, regardless of what others say, let us let you in on a secret: flying solo and doing things on your own, or indeed with a small group of complete strangers, can actually be… pretty amazing.

    Did you know that more than 70% of our volunteers are traveling solo and for 90%, it’s their first time volunteering with IVHQ? Volunteering abroad solo gives you the freedom and flexibility to shape your volunteer experience in whatever way you’d like. You’ll be empowered to make a difference while exploring a new culture – all on your own terms.

    All of our programs are open to solo volunteers – discover a few of our top rated solo volunteer opportunities below.

    Travel to the 27 vibrant states in the multilingual, multicultural and pluralistic Union of India. Each of the Indian states has something exclusive to offer to wide-eyed tourists who flock throughout the year. India is a major travel and tourist destination because of its rich and versatile travel experience in terms of recreational and adventure activities, historic and modern tourist sites, cultural and spiritual insight. Travel to India is like exploring its treasure trove. The priceless monuments like the Taj Mahal and the Imambara attract tourists to India besides revealing its rich architectural and cultural heritage.

    There are several pilgrim tours to the Indian states that are of tourist interest. Devotees and tourists travel to the sacred shrines that dot the holy land of India. For the tourists who love nature, animal and adventure the various Indian states offer wildlife tours. Travelling to the incomparable Indian states offers variety of sights, sounds and smells. Tourists are spellbound by travelling to the hill resorts and beaches. Holiday tours, picnics, vacations are the best spent in India. Amongst the Indian states most travelled by tourists are Goa, Kerala, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh.

    That may seem obvious to you. We hope that it is. But for a lot of people, it’s not. There are still stigmas around doing things alone in many social circles. If you tell people you went to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes by yourself, a lot of people will probably still raise an eyebrow, for example. Cinema by yourself? Sure. Why should you miss out just because your friends don’t share your love for CGI’d apes? The cinema is hardly the most social environment, anyway. It’s the same with concerts. You don’t go to see Metallica to catch up with your bestie (bit loud). But a lot of people still give up on a gig if they can’t get a mate to go with them.

    When asked why they don’t go alone, the answer is often (via a mumble and an awkward glance or four) something along the lines of: “It’s just… weird, isn’t it?”

    Did you know that Iceland, Czech Republic and Slovenia are all amongst the safest countries in the world according to the Global Peace Index 2019 (measured using the level of “Societal Safety and Security”; the extent of “Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict” and the degree of militarisation per country), for example? The United Kingdom is joint in 45th place along with Laos, for comparison, and the USA is back in 128th position on the list.

    Author Gale Straub, who has spoken to over 300 adventure-seeking women on her She Explores podcast, has written a great piece for Vox on the topic, with a particular focus on women’s solo travel. Straub highlights a quote from an interviewee saying: “If I waited to have a travel buddy to go do all the things I wanted to do, I would never do them”.

    To reel off the obvious benefits: if you travel alone, you get to pick the itinerary yourself. You don’t have to go to that weird overcrowded tourist trap which everyone knows is overpriced, but still goes to anyway. You don’t have to wait for other people to book, or to leave your room, or to wake up. The world is your oyster. Or your plate of chips, if you don’t like oysters. Or your bowl of pasta. You get the idea.

    Travel, and in particular adventure travel, is bound to throw up challenges, but solving them gives you those stories and that power and self-fulfilment that can only come from travelling. Just the act of making a plan yourself and following through on it can be incredibly liberating. Particularly when the alternative is staying at home, feeling like you’re at a bit of a loose end.


    (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

  • Sun and moon in between changes..

    Sun and moon difference….

    The Sun is made up of hot clouds of gases, but the Earth and the moon are simply made up of rocks.

    •The moon revolves around the Earth, the Earth revolves around the Sun and the Sun revolves around its own axis.

    •The earth is a planet, the Sun is a star and the moon is a natural satellite.

    •The Sun and the Earth doesn’t change its shape but the moon continuously changes its shape( means it appears to be changing shapes).

    •The Earth takes 365 days to complete one revolution around the Sun and this time period is termed as a year.

    •The moon takes 29.53 days(30 days for approx) to complete its revolution around the Earth and this time period is termed as lunar month.

    Hope thiz helps you♥!!!
    All the best ✌

    •The Sun emits its own light, the moon reflect the light of the sun and the Earth traps some of the heat and light of the Sun

    The sun and the moon are the two most prominent celestial objects in Earth’s sky. They affect the daily lives of people in significant ways but are very different in their characteristics and effects on the solar system and the Earth. Both of these bodies have been the subjects of extensive scientific research, as well as myths and tales across the ages.

    Measurements of Time

    Both the sun and the moon serve as bases for systems of time measurement. The moon is the Earth’s only natural satellite and is the basis of the month on modern calendars. The moon takes 27.3 days to fully rotate around the earth. The sun, around which the Earth orbits, is the basis of the calendar year and day. The sun itself rotates within a period of about 25 days.

    How They Were Formed

    The moon and sun are both bright round objects in the sky. Indeed, viewed from the Earth’s surface, both appear as similarly sized disks. That said, however, they are otherwise very different. The sun is a star, while the moon is a large mass of rock and dirt. According to most theories, the sun formed from the solar nebula, a giant mass of cloud and dust that collapsed because of its gravity. When it did, the material that pulled into the center formed the sun. When the Earth was formed in the early solar system, it didn’t have a moon. The moon was likely created when a large planet collided with the Earth. The resulting particle cloud rose and eventually condensed into the moon.

    Makeup and Light Emission

    The moon’s surface is made of rocks and dirt. Under the crust is a mantle and small core, similar to the makeup of the Earth. The sun, like most stars, is a mass of gases. In the sun’s case, this is mostly hydrogen and helium, with small amounts of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and several other elements. Both bodies appear to emit light, at least to the human eye. The sun, however, produces its own energy and therefore its own light. The moon has no light of its own but reflects the light of the sun.

    Effects on Earth

    The sun is the source of light for the Earth and is the reason that life exists on the planet. It causes plants to grow, it heats the planet, it provides people with energy through solar panels and causes sunburns. The moon affects ocean tides because its gravitational attraction is stronger on the side of the Earth nearer to the moon. This attraction causes the “bulges” in the oceans. Because the Earth rotates faster than the moon does, these bulges move around, creating the world’s tides.

    Temperature Differences

    The climates of both bodies are extreme. The moon has only a thin exosphere, rather than an atmosphere, and is heated by the sun, meaning the temperature of the “light” side reaches 123 degrees Celsius (253 degrees Fahrenheit). The dark side cools to negative negative 233 degrees Celsius (negative 387 degrees Fahrenheit). The sun’s temperature is even hotter, with the photosphere (the light-emitting zone) ranging in temperature from 4,123 to 6,093 degrees Celsius (7,460 to 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit). The other layers of the sun’s atmosphere are even hotter, with the corona reaching 500,000 degrees Celsius (900,000 degrees Fahrenheit).

    Hope thiz helps you all the 🙏🏽🙏🏽 ..


    This article is about the film. For other uses, see The Shawshank Redemption (disambiguation).

    The Shawshank Redemption
    Theatrical release poster
    Directed byFrank Darabont
    Screenplay byFrank Darabont
    Based onRita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption
    by Stephen King
    Produced byNiki Marvin
    StarringTim RobbinsMorgan FreemanBob GuntonWilliam SadlerClancy BrownGil BellowsJames Whitmore
    CinematographyRoger Deakins
    Edited byRichard Francis-Bruce
    Music byThomas Newman
    Castle Rock Entertainment
    Distributed byColumbia Pictures
    Release datesSeptember 10, 1994 (TIFF)September 23, 1994 (United States)
    Running time142 minutes[1]
    CountryUnited States
    Budget$25 million[2]
    Box office$73.3 million

    The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the 1982 Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. It tells the story of banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murders of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. Over the following two decades, he befriends a fellow prisoner, contraband smuggler Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), and becomes instrumental in a money-laundering operation led by the prison warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton). William SadlerClancy BrownGil Bellows, and James Whitmore appear in supporting roles.

    Darabont purchased the film rights to King’s story in 1987, but development did not begin until five years later, when he wrote the script over an eight-week period. Two weeks after submitting his script to Castle Rock Entertainment, Darabont secured a $25 million budget to produce The Shawshank Redemption, which started pre-production in January 1993. While the film is set in Maineprincipal photography took place from June to August 1993 almost entirely in Mansfield, Ohio, with the Ohio State Reformatory serving as the eponymous penitentiary. The project attracted many stars of the time for the role of Andy, including Tom HanksTom Cruise, and Kevin CostnerThomas Newman provided the film’s score.

    While The Shawshank Redemption received critical acclaim on its release, particularly for its story and the performances of Robbins and Freeman, it was a box-office disappointment, earning only $16 million during its initial theatrical run. Many reasons were cited for its failure at the time, including competition from films such as Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump, the general unpopularity of prison films, its lack of female characters, and even the title, which was considered to be confusing for audiences. It went on to receive multiple award nominations, including seven Academy Award nominations, and a theatrical re-release that, combined with international takings, increased the film’s box-office gross to $73.3 million.

    Over 320,000 VHS rental copies were shipped throughout the United States, and on the strength of its award nominations and word of mouth, it became one of the top video rentals of 1995. The broadcast rights were acquired following the purchase of Castle Rock by Turner Broadcasting System, and it was shown regularly on the TNT network starting in 1997, further increasing its popularity. Decades after its release, the film was still broadcast regularly, and is popular in several countries, with audience members and celebrities citing it as a source of inspiration or naming it a favorite in various surveys, leading to its recognition as one of the most “beloved” films ever made. In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


    In 1947, Portland, Maine banker Andy Dufresne is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences at the Shawshank State Prison. He is befriended by Ellis “Red” Redding, an inmate and prison contraband smuggler serving a life sentence. Red procures a rock hammer and a large poster of Rita Hayworth for Andy. Assigned to work in the prison laundry, Andy is frequently sexually assaulted by “the Sisters” and their leader, Bogs.

    In 1949, Andy overhears the captain of the guards, Byron Hadley, complaining about being taxed on an inheritance and offers to help him shelter the money legally. After an assault by the Sisters nearly kills Andy, Hadley beats and cripples Bogs, who is subsequently transferred to another prison. Andy is not attacked again. Warden Samuel Norton meets Andy and reassigns him to the prison library to assist elderly inmate Brooks Hatlen, a front to allow Andy to manage financial matters for other prison staff, guards from other prisons, and the warden himself. Andy begins writing weekly letters to the state legislature requesting funds to improve the prison’s decaying library.

    Brooks is paroled in 1954 after serving 50 years, but he cannot adjust to the outside world and eventually hangs himself. The legislature sends a library donation that includes a recording of The Marriage of Figaro; Andy plays an excerpt over the public address system and is punished with solitary confinement. After his release from solitary, Andy explains that hope is what gets him through his time, a concept that Red dismisses. In 1963, Norton begins exploiting prison labor for public works, profiting by undercutting skilled labor costs and receiving bribes. Andy launders the money using the alias “Randall Stephens”.

    Tommy Williams is incarcerated for burglary in 1965. Andy and Red befriend him, and Andy helps him pass his General Educational Development (GED) exam. A year later, Tommy reveals to Red and Andy that his cellmate at another prison had claimed responsibility for the murders for which Andy was convicted. Andy approaches Norton with this information, but Norton refuses to listen, and when Andy mentions the money laundering, Norton sends him back to solitary confinement. Norton has Hadley murder Tommy under the assumption of an escape attempt. Andy refuses to continue the money laundering, but Norton threatens to destroy the library, remove Andy’s protection from the guards, and move him to worse conditions. Andy is released from solitary confinement after two months, and he tells a skeptical Red that he dreams of living in Zihuatanejo, a Mexican town on the Pacific coast. Andy also tells him of a specific hayfield near Buxton, asking Red—once he is released—to retrieve a package that Andy buried there. Red worries about Andy’s well-being, especially when he learns Andy asked a fellow inmate for 6 ft (1.8 m) of rope.

    At the next day’s roll call, the guards find Andy’s cell empty. An irate Norton throws a rock at a poster of Raquel Welch hanging on the cell wall, revealing a tunnel that Andy dug with his rock hammer over the past 19 years. The previous night, Andy used the rope to escape through the tunnel and prison sewage pipe, taking Norton’s suit, shoes, and ledger, containing proof of the money laundering. While guards search for him, Andy poses as Randall Stephens, withdraws over $370,000 (equivalent to $3.09 million in 2021) of the laundered money from several banks, and mails the ledger and other evidence of the corruption and murders at Shawshank to a local newspaper. State police arrive at Shawshank and take Hadley into custody, while Norton commits suicide to avoid arrest.

    The following year, Red is finally paroled after serving 40 years. He struggles to adapt to life outside prison and fears that he never will. Remembering his promise to Andy, he visits Buxton and finds a cache containing money and a letter asking him to come to Zihuatanejo. Red violates his parole by traveling to Fort Hancock, Texas, and crossing the border into Mexico, admitting that he finally feels hope. He finds Andy on a beach in Zihuatanejo, and the two reunited friends happily embrace.


    A standing caucasian man with short white and grey hair, wears glasses and a blue coat: He faces left towards the camera smiling.
    An African American man with a beard and short hair, both a mix of white and grey, and wearing an earring in each ear: He is smiling towards the camera.

    Tim Robbins in 2012 (left) and Morgan Freeman in 2006

    • Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne:
      A banker sentenced to life in prison in 1947 for the murder of his wife and her lover[3]
    • Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding:
      A prison contraband smuggler who befriends Andy[4][5]
    • Bob Gunton as Samuel Norton:
      The pious and cruel warden of Shawshank penitentiary[3]
    • William Sadler as Heywood:
      A member of Red’s gang of long-serving convicts[4][6]
    • Clancy Brown as Byron Hadley:
      The brutal captain of the prison guards[7][8]
    • Gil Bellows as Tommy Williams:
      A young convict imprisoned for burglary in 1965[4][9]
    • James Whitmore as Brooks Hatlen:
      The elderly prison librarian, imprisoned since the early 1900s[10]

    The cast also includes Mark Rolston as Bogs Diamond, the head of “the Sisters” gang and a prison rapist;[11] Jeffrey DeMunn as the prosecuting attorney in Dufresne’s trial; Alfonso Freeman as Fresh Fish Con; Ned Bellamy and Don McManus as, respectively, prison guards Youngblood and Wiley; and Dion Anderson as Head Bull Haig.[4] Renee Blaine portrays Andy’s wife, and Scott Mann portrays her golf-instructor lover Glenn Quentin.[12] Frank Medrano plays Fat Ass, one of Andy’s fellow new inmates who is beaten to death by Hadley,[4][13] and Bill Bolender plays Elmo Blatch, a convict who may actually be responsible for the crimes for which Andy is convicted.[14] James Kisicki and Claire Slemmer portray the Maine National Bank manager and a teller, respectively.[15][16]


    The film has been interpreted as being grounded in Christian mysticism.[17] Andy is offered as a messianic, Christ-like figure, with Red describing him early in the film as having an aura that engulfs and protects him from Shawshank.[18] The scene in which Andy and several inmates tar the prison roof can be seen as a recreation of the Last Supper, with Andy obtaining beer/wine for the twelve inmates/disciples as Freeman describes them as the “lords of all creation” invoking Jesus’ blessing.[19] Director Frank Darabont responded that this was not his deliberate intention,[20] but he wanted people to find their own meaning in the film.[21] The discovery of The Marriage of Figaro record is described in the screenplay as akin to finding the Holy Grail, bringing the prisoners to a halt, and causing the sick to rise up in their beds.[22]

    Early in the film, Warden Norton quotes Jesus Christ to describe himself to Andy, saying, “I am the light of the world”, declaring himself Andy’s savior, but this description can also reference Lucifer, the bearer of light.[23] Indeed, the warden does not enforce the general rule of law, but chooses to enforce his own rules and punishments as he sees fit, becoming a law unto himself, like the behavior of Satan.[3]The cast also includes Mark Rolston as Bogs Diamond, the head of “the Sisters” gang and a prison rapist;[11] Jeffrey DeMunn as the prosecuting attorney in Dufresne’s trial; Alfonso Freeman as Fresh Fish Con; Ned Bellamy and Don McManus as, respectively, prison guards Youngblood and Wiley; and Dion Anderson as Head Bull Haig.[4] Renee Blaine portrays Andy’s wife, and Scott Mann portrays her golf-instructor lover Glenn Quentin.[12] Frank Medrano plays Fat Ass, one of Andy’s fellow new inmates who is beaten to death by Hadley,[4][13] and Bill Bolender plays Elmo Blatch, a convict who may actually be responsible for the crimes for which Andy is convicted.[14] James Kisicki and Claire Slemmer portray the Maine National Bank manager and a teller, respectively.[15][16] Analysis[edit] The warden has also been compared to former United States President Richard Nixon. Norton’s appearance and public addresses can be seen to mirror Nixon’s. Similarly, Norton projects an image of a holy man, speaking down sanctimoniously to the servile masses while running corrupt scams, like those of which Nixon was accused.[24]

    Andy and Red’s reunion was filmed at the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The location has been interpreted as a form of escape or paradise.

    Zihuatanejo has been interpreted as an analogue for heaven or paradise.[25] In the film, Andy describes it as a place with no memory, offering absolution from his sins by forgetting about them or allowing them to be washed away by the Pacific Ocean, whose name means “peace”.[note 1] The possibility of escaping to Zihuatanejo is only raised after Andy admits that he feels responsible for his wife’s death.[25] Similarly, Red’s freedom is only earned once he accepts he cannot save himself or atone for his sins. Freeman has described Red’s story as one of salvation as he is not innocent of his crimes, unlike Andy who finds redemption.[26] While some Christian viewers interpret Zihuatanejo as heaven, film critic Mark Kermode wrote that it can also be interpreted as a Nietzschean form of guiltlessness achieved outside traditional notions of good and evil, where the amnesia offered is the destruction rather than forgiveness of sin, meaning Andy’s aim is secular and atheistic. Just as Andy can be interpreted as a Christ-like figure, he can be seen as a Zarathustra-like prophet offering escape through education and the experience of freedom.[25] Film critic Roger Ebert argued that The Shawshank Redemption is an allegory for maintaining one’s feeling of self-worth when placed in a hopeless position. Andy’s integrity is an important theme in the story line, especially in prison, where integrity is lacking.[27]

    Robbins himself believes that the concept of Zihuatanejo resonates with audiences because it represents a form of escape that can be achieved after surviving for many years within whatever “jail” someone finds themselves in, whether a bad relationship, job, or environment. Robbins said that it is important that such a place exists for us.[28] Isaac M. Morehouse suggests that the film provides a great illustration of how characters can be free, even in prison, or imprisoned, even in freedom, based on their outlooks on life.[29] Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre described freedom as an ongoing project that requires attention and resilience, without

    which a person begins to be defined by others or institutions, mirroring Red’s belief that inmates become dependent on the prison to define their lives. Andy displays resilience through rebellion, by playing music over the prison loudspeaker, and refusing to continue with the money-laundering scam.[3]

    Many elements can be considered as tributes to the power of cinema. In the prison theater, the inmates watch the film Gilda (1946), but this scene was originally intended to feature The Lost Weekend (1945). The interchangeability of the films used in the prison theater suggests that it is the cinematic experience and not the subject that is key to the scene, allowing the men to escape the reality of their situation.[30] Immediately following this scene, Andy is assaulted by the Sisters in the projector room and uses a film reel to help fight them off.[31] At the end of the film, Andy passes through a hole in his cell hidden by a movie poster to escape both his cell and ultimately Shawshank.[32]

    Andy and Red’s relationship has been described as a nonsexual story between two men,[33] that few other films offer, as the friendship is not built on conducting a caper, car chases, or developing a relationship with women.[34] Philosopher Alexander Hooke argued that Andy and Red’s true freedom is their friendship, being able to share joy and humor with each other.[3]


    Director Frank Darabont (pictured in 2011) bought the adaptation rights to The Shawshank Redemption for $5,000 in 1987


    Darabont first collaborated with author Stephen King in 1983 on the short film adaptation of “The Woman in the Room“, buying the rights from him for $1—a Dollar Deal that King used to help new directors build a résumé by adapting his short stories.[8] After receiving his first screenwriting credit in 1987 for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Darabont returned to King with $5,000[35] to purchase the

    explore genres other than the horror stories for which he was commonly known.[36] Although King did not understand how the story, largely focused on Red contemplating his fellow prisoner Andy, could be turned into a feature film, Darabont believed it was “obvious”.[8] King never cashed the $5,000 check from Darabont; he later framed it and returned it to Darabont accompanied by a note which read: “In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve.”[37]

    Five years later, Darabont wrote the script over an eight-week period. He expanded on elements of King’s story. Brooks, who in the novella is a minor character who dies in a retirement home, became a tragic character who eventually hanged himself. Tommy, who in the novella trades his evidence exonerating Andy for transfer to a nicer prison, in the screenplay is murdered on the orders of Warden Norton, who is a composite of several warden characters in King’s story.[8] Darabont opted to create a single warden character to serve as the primary antagonist.[38] Among his inspirations, Darabont listed the works of director Frank Capra, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), describing them as tall tales; Darabont likened The Shawshank Redemption to a tall tale more than a prison movie.[39] He also cited Goodfellas (1990) as an inspiration on the use of dialogue to illustrate the passage of time in the script, and the prison drama Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) directed by John Frankenheimer.[40] While later scouting filming locations, Darabont happened upon Frankenheimer who was scouting for his own prison-set project Against the Wall. Darabont recalled that Frankenheimer took time out from his scouting to provide Darabont with encouragement and advice.[41]

    At the time, prison-based films were not considered likely box-office successes, but Darabont’s script was read by then-Castle Rock Entertainment producer Liz Glotzer, whose interest in prison stories and reaction to the script, led her to threaten to quit if Castle Rock did not produce The Shawshank Redemption.[8] Director and Castle Rock co-founder Rob Reiner also liked the script. He offered Darabont between $2.4 million[42] and $3 million to allow him to direct it himself.[8] Reiner, who had previously adapted King’s 1982 novella The Body into the 1986 film Stand by Me, planned to cast Tom Cruise as Andy and Harrison Ford as Red.[8][43]

    Castle Rock offered to finance any other film Darabont wanted to develop. Darabont seriously considered the offer, citing growing up poor in Los Angeles, believing it would elevate his standing in the industry, and that Castle Rock could have contractually fired him and given the film to Reiner anyway, but he chose to remain the director, saying in a 2014 Variety interview, “you can continue to defer your dreams in exchange for money and, you know, die without ever having done the thing you set out to do”.[8] Reiner served as Darabont’s mentor on the project, instead.[8] Within two weeks of showing the script to Castle Rock, Darabont had a $25 million budget to make his film[2] (taking a $750,000 screenwriting and directing salary plus a percentage of the net profits),[42] and pre-production began in January 1993.[39]


    Clancy Brown at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International

    Freeman was cast at the suggestion of producer Liz Glotzer, who ignored the novella’s character description of a white Irishman, nicknamed “Red”. Freeman’s character alludes to the choice when queried by Andy on why he is called Red, replying “Maybe it’s because I’m Irish.”[40] Freeman opted not to research his role, saying “acting the part of someone who’s incarcerated doesn’t require any specific knowledge of incarceration … because men don’t change. Once you’re in that situation, you just toe whatever line you have to toe.”[2] Darabont was already aware of Freeman from his minor role in another prison drama, Brubaker (1980), while Robbins had been excited to work alongside the actor, having grown up watching him in The Electric Company children’s television show.[41]

    Darabont looked initially at some of his favorite actors, such as Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall, for the role of Andy Dufresne, but they were unavailable;[40] Clint Eastwood and Paul Newman were also considered.[44] Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, and Kevin Costner were offered, and passed on the role[8]—Hanks due to his starring role in Forrest Gump,[40] and Costner because he had the lead in Waterworld.[45] Johnny DeppNicolas Cage, and Charlie Sheen were also considered for the role at different stages.[45] Cruise attended table readings of the script, but declined to work for the inexperienced Darabont.[8] Darabont said he cast Robbins after seeing his performance in the 1990 psychological horror Jacob’s Ladder.[46] When Robbins was cast, he insisted that Darabont use experienced cinematographer Roger Deakins, who had worked with him on The Hudsucker Proxy.[8] To prepare for the role, Robbins observed caged animals at a zoo, spent an afternoon in solitary confinement, spoke with prisoners and guards,[33] and had his arms and legs shackled for a few hours.[2]

    Cast initially as young convict Tommy, Brad Pitt dropped out following his success in Thelma & Louise, and the role went to a debuting Gil Bellows.[2][8] James Gandolfini passed on portraying prison rapist Bogs.[8] Bob Gunton was filming Demolition Man (1993) when he went to audition for the role of Warden Norton. To convince the studio that Gunton was right for the part, Darabont and producer Niki Marvin arranged for him to record a screen test on a day off from Demolition Man. They had a wig made for him as his head was shaved for his Demolition Man role. Gunton wanted to portray Norton with hair as this could then be grayed to convey his on-screen aging as the film progressed. Gunton performed his screen test with Robbins, which was filmed by Deakins. After being confirmed for the role, he used the wig in the film’s early scenes until his hair regrew. Gunton said that Marvin and Darabont saw that he understood the character, which went in his favor, as did the fact his height was similar to Robbins’, allowing Andy to believably use the warden’s suit.[38]

    Portraying the head guard Byron Hadley, Clancy Brown was given the opportunity to speak with former guards by the production’s liaison officer, but declined, believing it would not be a good thing to say that his brutal character was in any way inspired by Ohio state correctional officers.[47] William Sadler, who portrays Heywood, said that Darabont had approached him in 1989 on the set of the Tales from the Crypt television series, where he was a writer, about starring in the adaptation he was intending to make.[48] Freeman’s son Alfonso has a cameo as a young Red in mug shot photos,[40] and as a prisoner shouting “fresh fish” as Andy arrives at Shawshank.[49] Among the extras used in the film were the former warden and former inmates of the reformatory, and active guards from a nearby incarceration facility.[2][50] The novella’s original title attracted several people to audition for the nonexistent role of Rita Hayworth, including a man in drag clothing.[42]


    On a $25 million budget,[51] principal photography took place over three months[8] between June and August 1993.[52][53] Filming regularly required up to 18-hour workdays, six days a week.[8] Freeman described filming as tense, saying, “Most of the time, the tension was between the cast and director. I remember having a bad moment with the director, had a few of those.” Freeman referred to Darabont’s requiring multiple takes of scenes, which he considered had no discernible differences. For example, the scene where Andy first approaches Red to procure a rock hammer took nine hours to film, and featured Freeman throwing and catching a baseball with another inmate throughout it. The number of takes that were shot resulted in Freeman turning up to filming the following day with his arm in a sling. Freeman sometimes simply refused to do the additional takes. Robbins said that the long days were difficult. Darabont felt that making the film taught him a lot, “A director really needs to have an internal barometer to measure what any given actor needs.”[8] He found his most frequent struggles were with Deakins. Darabont favored more scenic shots, while Deakins felt that not showing the outside of the prison added a sense of claustrophobia, and it meant that when a wide scenic shot was used, it had more impact.[2]

    Marvin spent five months scouting prisons across the United States and Canada, looking for a site that had a timeless aesthetic, and was completely abandoned, hoping to avoid the complexity of filming the required footage, for hours each day, in an active prison with the security difficulties that would entail.[54] Marvin eventually chose the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, to serve as the fictional Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine, citing its Gothic-style stone and brick buildings.[53][54] The facility had been shuttered three years earlier in 1990,[55] due to inhumane living conditions.[53]

    The 15-acre reformatory, housing its own power plant and farm, was partially torn down shortly after filming was completed, leaving the main administration building and two cellblocks.[53] Several of the interior shots of the specialized prison facilities, such as the admittance rooms and the warden’s office, were shot in the reformatory. The interior of the boarding room used by Brooks and Red was in the administration building; exterior shots of the boarding house were taken elsewhere. Internal scenes in the prison cellblocks were filmed on a sound stage built inside a nearby shuttered Westinghouse Electric factory. Since Darabont wanted the inmates’ cells to face each other, almost all the cellblock scenes were shot on a purpose-built set housed in the Westinghouse factory,[53] except for the scene featuring Elmo Blatch’s admission of guilt for the crimes for which Andy was convicted. It was filmed in one of the actual prison’s more confined cells.[56] Scenes were also filmed in Mansfield, as well as neighboring Ashland, Ohio.[57] The oak tree under which Andy buries his letter to Red was located near Malabar Farm State Park, in Lucas, Ohio;[44] it was destroyed by winds in 2016.


    World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world’s countries—including all of the great powers—forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis powers. In a total war directly involving more than 100 million personnel from more than 30 countries, the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. Aircraft played a major role in the conflict, enabling the strategic bombing of population centres and the only two uses of nuclear weapons in war. World War II was by far the deadliest conflict in human history; it resulted in 70 to 85 million fatalities, a majority being civilians. Tens of millions of people died due to genocides (including the Holocaust), starvationmassacres, and disease. In the wake of the Axis defeat, Germany and Japan were occupied, and war crimes tribunals were conducted against German and Japanese leaders.

    The exact causes of World War II are debated, but contributing factors included the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Soviet–Japanese border conflicts, the rise of fascism in Europe and rising European tensions since World War I. World War II is generally considered to have begun on 1 September 1939, when Nazi Germany, under Adolf Hitlerinvaded Poland. The United Kingdom and France subsequently declared war on Germany on 3 September. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union had partitioned Poland and marked out their “spheres of influence” across FinlandEstonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, and formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan (along with other countries later on). Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, and the fall of France in mid-1940, the war continued primarily between the European Axis powers and the British Empire, with war in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britainthe Blitz of the UK, and the Battle of the Atlantic. On 22 June 1941, Germany led the European Axis powers in an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the Eastern Front, the largest land theatre of war in history.

    Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with the Republic of China by 1937. In December 1941, Japan attacked American and British territories with near-simultaneous offensives against Southeast Asia and the Central Pacific, including an attack on the US fleet at Pearl Harbor which resulted in the United States declaring war against Japan. Therefore, the European Axis powers declared war on the United States in solidarity. Japan soon captured much of the western Pacific, but its advances were halted in 1942 after losing the critical Battle of Midway; later, Germany and Italy were defeated in North Africa and at Stalingrad in the Soviet Union. Key setbacks in 1943—including a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and the Italian mainland, and Allied offensives in the Pacific—cost the Axis powers their initiative and forced them into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned towards Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945, Japan suffered reversals in mainland Asia, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key western Pacific islands.

    The war in Europe concluded with the liberation of German-occupied territories, and the invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the fall of Berlin to Soviet troops, Hitler’s suicide and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender on its terms, the United States dropped the first atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima, on 6 August, and Nagasaki, on 9 August. Faced with an imminent invasion of the Japanese archipelago, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, and the Soviet’s declared entry into the war against Japan on the eve of invading Manchuria, Japan announced on 15 August its intention to surrender, then signed the surrender document on 2 September 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies.

    World War II changed the political alignment and social structure of the globe. The United Nations (UN) was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts,[1] with the victorious great powers—China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States—becoming the permanent members of its Security Council. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century-long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia. Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery and expansion. Political and economic integration, especially in Europe, began as an effort to forestall future hostilities, end pre-war enmities and forge a sense of common identity.

    Start and end dates

    See also: Timeline of World War II

    Timelines of World War II
    Prelude(in Asiain Europe)
    194319441945 onwards
    By topic
    DiplomacyDeclarations of warEngagementsOperationsBattle of Europe air operationsEastern FrontManhattan ProjectUnited Kingdom home frontSurrender of the Axis armies

    It is generally considered that in Europe World War II started on 1 September 1939,[2][3] beginning with the German invasion of Poland and the United Kingdom and France’s declaration of war on Germany two days later. The dates for the beginning of the war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937,[4][5] or the earlier Japanese invasion of Manchuria, on 19 September 1931.[6][7] Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred simultaneously, and the two wars became World War II in 1941. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935.[8] The British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the forces of Mongolia and the Soviet Union from May to September 1939.[9] Others view the Spanish Civil War as the start or prelude to World War II.[10][11]

    The exact date of the war’s end is also not universally agreed upon. It was generally accepted at the time that the war ended with the armistice of 14 August 1945 (V-J Day), rather than with the formal surrender of Japan on 2 September 1945, which officially ended the war in Asia. A peace treaty between Japan and the Allies was signed in 1951.[12] A 1990 treaty regarding Germany’s future allowed the reunification of East and West Germany to take place and resolved most post-World War II issues.[13] No formal peace treaty between Japan and the Soviet Union was ever signed,[14] although the state of war between the two countries was terminated by the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, which also restored full diplomatic relations between them.[15]


    Main article: Causes of World War II


    World War I had radically altered the political European map, with the defeat of the Central Powers—including Austria-HungaryGermanyBulgaria and the Ottoman Empire—and the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia, which led to the founding of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, the victorious Allies of World War I, such as France, Belgium, Italy, Romania, and Greece, gained territory, and new nation-states were created out of the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman and Russian Empires.

    The League of Nations assembly, held in GenevaSwitzerland, 1930

    To prevent a future world war, the League of Nations was created during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The organisation’s primary goals were to prevent armed conflict through collective security, military and naval disarmament, and settling international disputes through peaceful negotiations and arbitration.[16]

    Despite strong pacifist sentiment after World War I,[17] irredentist and revanchist nationalism emerged in several European states in the same period. These sentiments were especially marked in Germany because of the significant territorial, colonial, and financial losses imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. Under the treaty, Germany lost around 13 percent of its home territory and all its overseas possessions, while German annexation of other states was prohibited, reparations were imposed, and limits were placed on the size and capability of the country’s armed forces.[18]

    The German Empire was dissolved in the German Revolution of 1918–1919, and a democratic government, later known as the Weimar Republic, was created. The interwar period saw strife between supporters of the new republic and hardline opponents on both the right and left. Italy, as an Entente ally, had made some post-war territorial gains; however, Italian nationalists were angered that the promises made by the United Kingdom and France to secure Italian entrance into the war were not fulfilled in the peace settlement. From 1922 to 1925, the Fascist movement led by Benito Mussolini seized power in Italy with a nationalist, totalitarian, and class collaborationist agenda that abolished representative democracy, repressed socialist, left-wing and liberal forces, and pursued an aggressive expansionist foreign policy aimed at making Italy a world power, and promising the creation of a “New Roman Empire“.[19]

    Adolf Hitler at a German Nazi political rally in Nuremberg, August 1933

    Adolf Hitler, after an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government in 1923, eventually became the Chancellor of Germany in 1933 when Paul Von Hindenburg and the Reichstag appointed him. He abolished democracy, espousing a radical, racially motivated revision of the world order, and soon began a massive rearmament campaign.[20] Meanwhile, France, to secure its alliance, allowed Italy a free hand in Ethiopia, which Italy desired as a colonial possession. The situation was aggravated in early 1935 when the Territory of the Saar Basin was legally reunited with Germany, and Hitler repudiated the Treaty of Versailles, accelerated his rearmament programme, and introduced conscription.[21]

    The United Kingdom, France and Italy formed the Stresa Front in April 1935 in order to contain Germany, a key step towards military globalisation; however, that June, the United Kingdom made an independent naval agreement with Germany, easing prior restrictions. The Soviet Union, concerned by Germany’s goals of capturing vast areas of Eastern Europe, drafted a treaty of mutual assistance with France. Before taking effect, though, the Franco-Soviet pact was required to go through the bureaucracy of the League of Nations, which rendered it essentially toothless.[22] The United States, concerned with events in Europe and Asia, passed the Neutrality Act in August of the same year.[23]

    Hitler defied the Versailles and Locarno treaties by remilitarising the Rhineland in March 1936, encountering little opposition due to the policy of appeasement.[24] In October 1936, Germany and Italy formed the Rome–Berlin Axis. A month later, Germany and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, which Italy joined the following year.[25]


    The Kuomintang (KMT) party in China launched a unification campaign against regional warlords and nominally unified China in the mid-1920s, but was soon embroiled in a civil war against its former Chinese Communist Party allies[26] and new regional warlords. In 1931, an increasingly militaristic Empire of Japan, which had long sought influence in China[27] as the first step of what its government saw as the country’s right to rule Asia, staged the Mukden Incident as a pretext to invade Manchuria and establish the puppet state of Manchukuo.[28]

    China appealed to the League of Nations to stop the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Japan withdrew from the League of Nations after being condemned for its incursion into Manchuria. The two nations then fought several battles, in ShanghaiRehe and Hebei, until the Tanggu Truce was signed in 1933. Thereafter, Chinese volunteer forces continued the resistance to Japanese aggression in Manchuria, and Chahar and Suiyuan.[29] After the 1936 Xi’an Incident, the Kuomintang and communist forces agreed on a ceasefire to present a united front to oppose Japan.[30]

    Pre-war events

    Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1935)

    Main article: Second Italo-Ethiopian War

    Benito Mussolini inspecting troops during the Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935

    The Second Italo-Ethiopian War was a brief colonial war that began in October 1935 and ended in May 1936. The war began with the invasion of the Ethiopian Empire (also known as Abyssinia) by the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy (Regno d’Italia), which was launched from Italian Somaliland and Eritrea.[31] The war resulted in the military occupation of Ethiopia and its annexation into the newly created colony of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana, or AOI); in addition it exposed the weakness of the League of Nations as a force to preserve peace. Both Italy and Ethiopia were member nations, but the League did little when the former clearly violated Article X of the League’s Covenant.[32] The United Kingdom and France supported imposing sanctions on Italy for the invasion, but the sanctions were not fully enforced and failed to end the Italian invasion.[33] Italy subsequently dropped its objections to Germany’s goal of absorbing Austria.[34]

    Spanish Civil War (1936–1939)

    Main article: Spanish Civil War

    The bombing of Guernica in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, sparked fears abroad in Europe that the next war would be based on bombing of cities with very high civilian casualties.

    When civil war broke out in Spain, Hitler and Mussolini lent military support to the Nationalist rebels, led by General Francisco Franco. Italy supported the Nationalists to a greater extent than the Nazis did: altogether Mussolini sent to Spain more than 70,000 ground troops and 6,000 aviation personnel, as well as about 720 aircraft.[35] The Soviet Union supported the existing government of the Spanish Republic. More than 30,000 foreign volunteers, known as the International Brigades, also fought against the Nationalists. Both Germany and the Soviet Union used this proxy war as an opportunity to test in combat their most advanced weapons and tactics. The Nationalists won the civil war in April 1939; Franco, now dictator, remained officially neutral during World War II but generally favoured the Axis.[36] His greatest collaboration with Germany was the sending of volunteers to fight on the Eastern Front.[37]

    Japanese invasion of China (1937)

    Main article: Second Sino-Japanese War

    Japanese Imperial Army soldiers during the Battle of Shanghai, 1937

    In July 1937, Japan captured the former Chinese imperial capital of Peking after instigating the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which culminated in the Japanese campaign to invade all of China.[38] The Soviets quickly signed a non-aggression pact with China to lend materiel support, effectively ending China’s prior co-operation with Germany. From September to November, the Japanese attacked Taiyuan, engaged the Kuomintang Army around Xinkou,[39][unreliable source?] and fought Communist forces in Pingxingguan.[40][41] Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek deployed his best army to defend Shanghai, but after three months of fighting, Shanghai fell. The Japanese continued to push the Chinese forces back, capturing the capital Nanking in December 1937. After the fall of Nanking, tens or hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants were murdered by the Japanese.[42][43]

    In March 1938, Nationalist Chinese forces won their first major victory at Taierzhuang, but then the city of Xuzhou was taken by the Japanese in May.[44][unreliable source?] In June 1938, Chinese forces stalled the Japanese advance by flooding the Yellow River; this manoeuvre bought time for the Chinese to prepare their defences at Wuhan, but the city was taken by October.[45] Japanese military victories did not bring about the collapse of Chinese resistance that Japan had hoped to achieve; instead, the Chinese government relocated inland to Chongqing and continued the war.[46][47]

    Soviet–Japanese border conflicts

    Main article: Soviet–Japanese border conflicts

    Red Army artillery unit during the Battle of Lake Khasan, 1938

    In the mid-to-late 1930s, Japanese forces in Manchukuo had sporadic border clashes with the Soviet Union and Mongolia. The Japanese doctrine of Hokushin-ron, which emphasised Japan’s expansion northward, was favoured by the Imperial Army during this time. With the Japanese defeat at Khalkin Gol in 1939, the ongoing Second Sino-Japanese War[48] and ally Nazi Germany pursuing neutrality with the Soviets, this policy would prove difficult to maintain. Japan and the Soviet Union eventually signed a Neutrality Pact in April 1941, and Japan adopted the doctrine of Nanshin-ron, promoted by the Navy, which took its focus southward, eventually leading to its war with the United States and the Western Allies.[49][50]

    European occupations and agreements

    ChamberlainDaladierHitlerMussolini, and Ciano pictured just before signing the Munich Agreement, 29 September 1938

    In Europe, Germany and Italy were becoming more aggressive. In March 1938, Germany annexed Austria, again provoking little response from other European powers.[51] Encouraged, Hitler began pressing German claims on the Sudetenland, an area of Czechoslovakia with a predominantly ethnic German population. Soon the United Kingdom and France followed the appeasement policy of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and conceded this territory to Germany in the Munich Agreement, which was made against the wishes of the Czechoslovak government, in exchange for a promise of no further territorial demands.[52] Soon afterwards, Germany and Italy forced Czechoslovakia to cede additional territory to Hungary, and Poland annexed Czechoslovakia’s Zaolzie region.[53]

    Although all of Germany’s stated demands had been satisfied by the agreement, privately Hitler was furious that British interference had prevented him from seizing all of Czechoslovakia in one operation. In subsequent speeches Hitler attacked British and Jewish “war-mongers” and in January 1939 secretly ordered a major build-up of the German navy to challenge British naval supremacy. In March 1939, Germany invaded the remainder of Czechoslovakia and subsequently split it into the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and a pro-German client state, the Slovak Republic.[54] Hitler also delivered an ultimatum to Lithuania on 20 March 1939, forcing the concession of the Klaipėda Region, formerly the German Memelland.[55]

    German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop (right) and the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, after signing the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, 23 August 1939

    Greatly alarmed and with Hitler making further demands on the Free City of Danzig, the United Kingdom and France guaranteed their support for Polish independence; when Italy conquered Albania in April 1939, the same guarantee was extended to the Kingdoms of Romania and Greece.[56] Shortly after the FrancoBritish pledge to Poland, Germany and Italy formalised their own alliance with the Pact of Steel.[57] Hitler accused the United Kingdom and Poland of trying to “encircle” Germany and renounced the Anglo-German Naval Agreement and the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact.[58]

    The situation reached a general crisis in late August as German troops continued to mobilise against the Polish border. On 23 August, when tripartite negotiations about a military alliance between France, the United Kingdom and Soviet Union stalled,[59] the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Germany.[60] This pact had a secret protocol that defined German and Soviet “spheres of influence” (western Poland and Lithuania for Germany; eastern Poland, Finland, EstoniaLatvia and Bessarabia for the Soviet Union), and raised the question of continuing Polish independence.[61] The pact neutralised the possibility of Soviet opposition to a campaign against Poland and assured that Germany would not have to face the prospect of a two-front war, as it had in World War I. Immediately after that, Hitler ordered the attack to proceed on 26 August, but upon hearing that the United Kingdom had concluded a formal mutual assistance pact with Poland and that Italy would maintain neutrality, he decided to delay it.[62]

    In response to British requests for direct negotiations to avoid war, Germany made demands on Poland, which only served as a pretext to worsen relations.[63] On 29 August, Hitler demanded that a Polish plenipotentiary immediately travel to Berlin to negotiate the handover of Danzig, and to allow a plebiscite in the Polish Corridor in which the German minority would vote on secession.[63] The Poles refused to comply with the German demands, and on the night of 30–31 August in a confrontational meeting with the British ambassador Nevile Henderson, Ribbentrop declared that Germany considered its claims rejected.[64]

    Course of the war

    For a chronological guide, see Timeline of World War II.

    See also: Diplomatic history of World War II

    War breaks out in Europe (1939–40)

    Main article: European theatre of World War II

    Soldiers of the German Wehrmacht tearing down the border crossing into Poland, 1 September 1939

    On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland after having staged several false flag border incidents as a pretext to initiate the invasion.[65] The first German attack of the war came against the Polish defenses at Westerplatte.[66] The United Kingdom responded with an ultimatum to Germany to cease military operations, and on 3 September, after the ultimatum was ignored, Britain and France declared war on Germany,[67] followed by AustraliaNew ZealandSouth Africa and Canada. During the Phoney War period, the alliance provided no direct military support to Poland, outside of a cautious French probe into the Saarland.[68] The Western Allies also began a naval blockade of Germany, which aimed to damage the country’s economy and the war effort.[69] Germany responded by ordering U-boat warfare against Allied merchant and warships, which would later escalate into the Battle of the Atlantic.[70]

    Soldiers of the Polish Army during the defence of Poland, September 1939

    On 8 September, German troops reached the suburbs of Warsaw. The Polish counter offensive to the west halted the German advance for several days, but it was outflanked and encircled by the Wehrmacht. Remnants of the Polish army broke through to besieged Warsaw. On 17 September 1939, two days after signing a cease-fire with Japan, the Soviet Union invaded Poland[71] under the pretext that the Polish state had ostensibly ceased to exist.[72] On 27 September, the Warsaw garrison surrendered to the Germans, and the last large operational unit of the Polish Army surrendered on 6 October. Despite the military defeat, Poland never surrendered; instead, it formed the Polish government-in-exile and a clandestine state apparatus remained in occupied Poland.[73] A significant part of Polish military personnel evacuated to Romania and Latvia; many of them later fought against the Axis in other theatres of the war.[74]

    Germany annexed the western and occupied the central part of Poland, and the Soviet Union annexed its eastern part; small shares of Polish territory were transferred to Lithuania and Slovakia. On 6 October, Hitler made a public peace overture to the United Kingdom and France but said that the future of Poland was to be determined exclusively by Germany and the Soviet Union. The proposal was rejected,[64] and Hitler ordered an immediate offensive against France,[75] which was postponed until the spring of 1940 due to bad weather.[76][77][78]

    Finnish machine gun nest aimed at Soviet Red Army positions during the Winter War, February 1940

    After the outbreak of war in Poland, Stalin threatened EstoniaLatvia and Lithuania with military invasion, forcing the three Baltic countries to sign pacts that stipulated the creation of Soviet military bases in these countries. In October 1939, significant Soviet military contingents were moved there.[79][80][81] Finland refused to sign a similar pact and rejected ceding part of its territory to the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union invaded Finland in November 1939,[82] and the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations.[83] Despite overwhelming numerical superiority, Soviet military success during the Winter War was modest,[84] and the Finno-Soviet war ended in March 1940 with some Finnish concessions of territory.[85]

    In June 1940, the Soviet Union occupied the entire territories of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,[80] and the Romanian regions of Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina and the Hertsa region. In August 1940, with German and Italian support, Hungary demanded Transylvania from Romania, through German arbitration Hungary would only receive Northern Transylvania leading to the Second Vienna Award, also known as the Vienna Diktat, a region with ethnic Romanian majority.[86] In September 1940, Bulgaria demanded Southern Dobruja from Romania with German and Italian support, leading to the Treaty of Craiova.[87] The loss of one-third of Romania’s 1939 territory caused a coup against King Carol II, turning Romania into a fascist dictatorship under Marshal Ion Antonescu with a course set firmly towards the Axis in the hopes of a German guarantee.[88] Meanwhile, Nazi-Soviet political rapprochement and economic co-operation[89][90] gradually stalled,[91][92] and both states began preparations for war.[93]

    Western Europe (1940–41)

    Main article: Western Front (World War II)

    German advance into Belgium and Northern France, 10 May-4 June 1940, swept past the Maginot Line (shown in dark red)

    In April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway to protect shipments of iron ore from Sweden, which the Allies were attempting to cut off.[94] Denmark capitulated after a few hours, and Norway was conquered within two months[95] despite Allied supportBritish discontent over the Norwegian campaign led to the resignation of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who was replaced by Winston Churchill on 10 May 1940.[96]

    On the same day, Germany launched an offensive against France. To circumvent the strong Maginot Line fortifications on the Franco-German border, Germany directed its attack at the neutral nations of Belgiumthe Netherlands, and Luxembourg.[97] The Germans carried out a flanking manoeuvre through the Ardennes region,[98] which was mistakenly perceived by Allies as an impenetrable natural barrier against armoured vehicles.[99][100] By successfully implementing new Blitzkrieg tactics, the Wehrmacht rapidly advanced to the Channel and cut off the Allied forces in Belgium, trapping the bulk of the Allied armies in a cauldron on the Franco-Belgian border near Lille. The United Kingdom was able to evacuate a significant number of Allied troops from the continent by early June, although abandoning almost all their equipment.[101]

    On 10 June, Italy invaded France, declaring war on both France and the United Kingdom.[102] The Germans turned south against the weakened French army, and Paris fell to them on 14 June. Eight days later France signed an armistice with Germany; it was divided into German and Italian occupation zones,[103] and an unoccupied rump state under the Vichy Regime, which, though officially neutral, was generally aligned with Germany. France kept its fleet, which the United Kingdom attacked on 3 July in an attempt to prevent its seizure by Germany.[104]

    London seen from St. Paul’s Cathedral after the German Blitz, 29 December 1940

    The air Battle of Britain[105] began in early July with Luftwaffe attacks on shipping and harbours.[106] The United Kingdom rejected Hitler’s peace offer,[107] and the German air superiority campaign started in August but failed to defeat RAF Fighter Command, forcing the indefinite postponement of the proposed German invasion of Britain. The German strategic bombing offensive intensified with night attacks on London and other cities in the Blitz, but failed to significantly disrupt the British war effort[106] and largely ended in May 1941.[108]

    Using newly captured French ports, the German Navy enjoyed success against an over-extended Royal Navy, using U-boats against British shipping in the Atlantic.[109] The British Home Fleet scored a significant victory on 27 May 1941 by sinking the German battleship Bismarck.[110]

    In November 1939, the United States was taking measures to assist China and the Western Allies and amended the Neutrality Act to allow “cash and carry” purchases by the Allies.[111] In 1940, following the German capture of Paris, the size of the United States Navy was significantly increased. In September the United States further agreed to a trade of American destroyers for British bases.[112] Still, a large majority of the American public continued to oppose any direct military intervention in the conflict well into 1941.[113] In December 1940 Roosevelt accused Hitler of planning world conquest and ruled out any negotiations as useless, calling for the United States to become an “arsenal of democracy” and promoting Lend-Lease programmes of aid to support the British war effort.[107] The United States started strategic planning to prepare for a full-scale offensive against Germany.[114]

    At the end of September 1940, the Tripartite Pact formally united Japan, Italy, and Germany as the Axis powers. The Tripartite Pact stipulated that any country, with the exception of the Soviet Union, which attacked any Axis Power would be forced to go to war against all three.[115] The Axis expanded in November 1940 when HungarySlovakia and Romania joined.[116] Romania and Hungary later made major contributions to the Axis war against the Soviet Union, in Romania’s case partially to recapture territory ceded to the Soviet Union.[117]

    Mediterranean (1940–41)

    Main article: Mediterranean and Middle East theatre of World War II

    Soldiers of the British Commonwealth forces from the Australian Army’s 9th Division during the Siege of TobrukNorth African Campaign, September 1941

    In early June 1940, the Italian Regia Aeronautica attacked and besieged Malta, a British possession. From late summer to early autumn, Italy conquered British Somaliland and made an incursion into British-held Egypt. In October, Italy attacked Greece, but the attack was repulsed with heavy Italian casualties; the campaign ended within months with minor territorial changes.[118] Germany started preparation for an invasion of the Balkans to assist Italy, to prevent the British from gaining a foothold there, which would be a potential threat for Romanian oil fields, and to strike against the British dominance of the Mediterranean.[119]

    In December 1940, British Empire forces began counter-offensives against Italian forces in Egypt and Italian East Africa.[120] The offensives were highly successful; by early February 1941, Italy had lost control of eastern Libya, and large numbers of Italian troops had been taken prisoner. The Italian Navy also suffered significant defeats, with the Royal Navy putting three Italian battleships out of commission by means of a carrier attack at Taranto, and neutralising several more warships at the Battle of Cape Matapan.[121]

    German Panzer III of the Afrika Korps advancing across the North African desert, April-May 1941

    Italian defeats prompted Germany to deploy an expeditionary force to North Africa and at the end of March 1941, Rommel‘s Afrika Korps launched an offensive which drove back the Commonwealth forces.[122] In under a month, Axis forces advanced to western Egypt and besieged the port of Tobruk.[123]

    By late March 1941, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia signed the Tripartite Pact; however, the Yugoslav government was overthrown two days later by pro-British nationalists. Germany responded with simultaneous invasions of both Yugoslavia and Greece, commencing on 6 April 1941; both nations were forced to surrender within the month.[124] The airborne invasion of the Greek island of Crete at the end of May completed the German conquest of the Balkans.[125] Although the Axis victory was swift, bitter and large-scale partisan warfare subsequently broke out against the Axis occupation of Yugoslavia, which continued until the end of the war.[126]

    In the Middle East in May, Commonwealth forces quashed an uprising in Iraq which had been supported by German aircraft from bases within Vichy-controlled Syria.[127] Between June and July, they invaded and occupied the French possessions Syria and Lebanon, with the assistance of the Free French.[128]

    Axis attack on the Soviet Union (1941)

    Main article: Eastern Front (World War II)

    European theatre of World War II animation map, 1939–1945 – Red: Western Allies and the Soviet Union after 1941; Green: Soviet Union before 1941; Blue: Axis powers

    With the situation in Europe and Asia relatively stable, Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union made preparations for war. With the Soviets wary of mounting tensions with Germany and the Japanese planning to take advantage of the European War by seizing resource-rich European possessions in Southeast Asia, the two powers signed the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1941.[129] By contrast, the Germans were steadily making preparations for an attack on the Soviet Union, massing forces on the Soviet border.[130]

    Hitler believed that the United Kingdom’s refusal to end the war was based on the hope that the United States and the Soviet Union would enter the war against Germany sooner or later.[131] On 31 July 1940 Hitler decided that the Soviet Union should be eliminated and aimed for the conquest of Ukraine, the Baltic states and Byelorussia.[132] However, other senior German officials like Ribbentrop saw an opportunity to create a Euro-Asian bloc against the British Empire by inviting the Soviet Union into the Tripartite Pact.[133] In November 1940, negotiations took place to determine if the Soviet Union would join the pact. The Soviets showed some interest but asked for concessions from Finland, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Japan that Germany considered unacceptable. On 18 December 1940, Hitler issued the directive to prepare for an invasion of the Soviet Union.[134]

    German soldiers during the invasion of the Soviet Union by the Axis powers, 1941

    On 22 June 1941, Germany, supported by Italy and Romania, invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, with Germany accusing the Soviets of plotting against them. They were joined shortly by Finland and Hungary.[135] The primary targets of this surprise offensive[136] were the Baltic region, Moscow and Ukraine, with the ultimate goal of ending the 1941 campaign near the Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line, from the Caspian to the White Seas. Hitler’s objectives were to eliminate the Soviet Union as a military power, exterminate Communism, generate Lebensraum (“living space”)[137] by dispossessing the native population[138] and guarantee access to the strategic resources needed to defeat Germany’s remaining rivals.[139]

    Although the Red Army was preparing for strategic counter-offensives before the war,[140] Operation Barbarossa forced the Soviet supreme command to adopt a strategic defence. During the summer, the Axis made significant gains into Soviet territory, inflicting immense losses in both personnel and materiel. By mid-August, however, the German Army High Command decided to suspend the offensive of a considerably depleted Army Group Centre, and to divert the 2nd Panzer Group to reinforce troops advancing towards central Ukraine and Leningrad.[141] The Kiev offensive was overwhelmingly successful, resulting in encirclement and elimination of four Soviet armies, and made possible further advance into Crimea and industrially developed Eastern Ukraine (the First Battle of Kharkov).[142]

    Soviet civilians leaving destroyed houses after a German bombardment during the Battle of Leningrad, 10 December 1942

    The diversion of three quarters of the Axis troops and the majority of their air forces from France and the central Mediterranean to the Eastern Front[143] prompted the United Kingdom to reconsider its grand strategy.[144] In July, the UK and the Soviet Union formed a military alliance against Germany[145] and in August, the United Kingdom and the United States jointly issued the Atlantic Charter, which outlined British and American goals for the post-war world.[146] In late August the British and Soviets invaded neutral Iran to secure the Persian Corridor, Iran’s oil fields, and preempt any Axis advances through Iran toward the Baku oil fields or British India.[147]

    By October, Axis operational objectives in Ukraine and the Baltic region were achieved, with only the sieges of Leningrad[148] and Sevastopol continuing.[149] A major offensive against Moscow was renewed; after two months of fierce battles in increasingly harsh weather, the German army almost reached the outer suburbs of Moscow, where the exhausted troops[150] were forced to suspend their offensive.[151] Large territorial gains were made by Axis forces, but their campaign had failed to achieve its main objectives: two key cities remained in Soviet hands, the Soviet capability to resist was not broken, and the Soviet Union retained a considerable part of its military potential. The blitzkrieg phase of the war in Europe had ended.[152]

    By early December, freshly mobilised reserves[153] allowed the Soviets to achieve numerical parity with Axis troops.[154] This, as well as intelligence data which established that a minimal number of Soviet troops in the East would be sufficient to deter any attack by the Japanese Kwantung Army,[155] allowed the Soviets to begin a massive counter-offensive that started on 5 December all along the front and pushed German troops 100–250 kilometres (62–155 mi) west.[156]

    War breaks out in the Pacific (1941)

    Main article: Pacific War

    Following the Japanese false flag Mukden Incident in 1931, the Japanese shelling of the American gunboat USS Panay in 1937, and the 1937–38 Nanjing MassacreJapanese-American relations deteriorated. In 1939, the United States notified Japan that it would not be extending its trade treaty and American public opinion opposing Japanese expansionism led to a series of economic sanctions, the Export Control Acts, which banned U.S. exports of chemicals, minerals and military parts to Japan and increased economic pressure on the Japanese regime.[107][157][158] During 1939 Japan launched its first attack against Changsha, a strategically important Chinese city, but was repulsed by late September.[159] Despite several offensives by both sides, the war between China and Japan was stalemated by 1940. To increase pressure on China by blocking supply routes, and to better position Japanese forces in the event of a war with the Western powers, Japan invaded and occupied northern Indochina in September 1940.[160]

    Japanese soldiers entering Hong Kong, 8 December 1941

    Chinese nationalist forces launched a large-scale counter-offensive in early 1940. In August, Chinese communists launched an offensive in Central China; in retaliation, Japan instituted harsh measures in occupied areas to reduce human and material resources for the communists.[161] The continued antipathy between Chinese communist and nationalist forces culminated in armed clashes in January 1941, effectively ending their co-operation.[162] In March, the Japanese 11th army attacked the headquarters of the Chinese 19th army but was repulsed during Battle of Shanggao.[163][unreliable source?] In September, Japan attempted to take the city of Changsha again and clashed with Chinese nationalist forces.[164][unreliable source?]

    German successes in Europe encouraged Japan to increase pressure on European governments in Southeast Asia. The Dutch government agreed to provide Japan with some oil supplies from the Dutch East Indies, but negotiations for additional access to their resources ended in failure in June 1941.[165] In July 1941 Japan sent troops to southern Indochina, thus threatening British and Dutch possessions in the Far East. The United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western governments reacted to this move with a freeze on Japanese assets and a total oil embargo.[166][167] At the same time, Japan was planning an invasion of the Soviet Far East, intending to capitalise off the German invasion in the west, but abandoned the operation after the sanctions.[168]

    Since early 1941 the United States and Japan had been engaged in negotiations in an attempt to improve their strained relations and end the war in China. During these negotiations, Japan advanced a number of proposals which were dismissed by the Americans as inadequate.[169] At the same time the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands engaged in secret discussions for the joint defence of their territories, in the event of a Japanese attack against any of them.[170] Roosevelt reinforced the Philippines (an American protectorate scheduled for independence in 1946) and warned Japan that the United States would react to Japanese attacks against any “neighboring countries”.[170]

    The USS Arizona was a total loss in the Japanese surprise air attack on the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Sunday 7 December 1941.

    Frustrated at the lack of progress and feeling the pinch of the American–British–Dutch sanctions, Japan prepared for war. Emperor Hirohito, after initial hesitation about Japan’s chances of victory,[171] began to favour Japan’s entry into the war.[172] As a result, Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe resigned.[173][174] Hirohito refused the recommendation to appoint Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni in his place, choosing War Minister Hideki Tojo instead.[175] On 3 November, Nagano explained in detail the plan of the attack on Pearl Harbor to the Emperor.[176] On 5 November, Hirohito approved in imperial conference the operations plan for the war.[177] On 20 November, the new government presented an interim proposal as its final offer. It called for the end of American aid to China and for lifting the embargo on the supply of oil and other resources to Japan. In exchange, Japan promised not to launch any attacks in Southeast Asia and to withdraw its forces from southern Indochina.[169] The American counter-proposal of 26 November required that Japan evacuate all of China without conditions and conclude non-aggression pacts with all Pacific powers.[178] That meant Japan was essentially forced to choose between abandoning its ambitions in China, or seizing the natural resources it needed in the Dutch East Indies by force;[179][180] the Japanese military did not consider the former an option, and many officers considered the oil embargo an unspoken declaration of war.[181]

    Japan planned to seize European colonies in Asia to create a large defensive perimeter stretching into the Central Pacific. The Japanese would then be free to exploit the resources of Southeast Asia while exhausting the over-stretched Allies by fighting a defensive war.[182][183] To prevent American intervention while securing the perimeter, it was further planned to neutralise the United States Pacific Fleet and the American military presence in the Philippines from the outset.[184] On 7 December 1941 (8 December in Asian time zones), Japan attacked British and American holdings with near-simultaneous offensives against Southeast Asia and the Central Pacific.[185] These included an attack on the American fleets at Pearl Harbor and the PhilippinesGuamWake Islandlandings in Malaya,[185] Thailand and the Battle of Hong Kong.[186]

    The Japanese invasion of Thailand led to Thailand’s decision to ally itself with Japan and the other Japanese attacks led the United StatesUnited Kingdom, China, Australia, and several other states to formally declare war on Japan, whereas the Soviet Union, being heavily involved in large-scale hostilities with European Axis countries, maintained its neutrality agreement with Japan.[187] Germany, followed by the other Axis states, declared war on the United States[188] in solidarity with Japan, citing as justification the American attacks on German war vessels that had been ordered by Roosevelt.[135][189]

    Axis advance stalls (1942–43)

    US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British PM Winston Churchill seated at the Casablanca Conference, January 1943

    On 1 January 1942, the Allied Big Four[190]—the Soviet Union, China, the United Kingdom and the United States—and 22 smaller or exiled governments issued the Declaration by United Nations, thereby affirming the Atlantic Charter,[191] and agreeing not to sign a separate peace with the Axis powers.[192]

    During 1942, Allied officials debated on the appropriate grand strategy to pursue. All agreed that defeating Germany was the primary objective. The Americans favoured a straightforward, large-scale attack on Germany through France. The Soviets were also demanding a second front. The British, on the other hand, argued that military operations should target peripheral areas to wear out German strength, leading to increasing demoralisation, and bolster resistance forces. Germany itself would be subject to a heavy bombing campaign. An offensive against Germany would then be launched primarily by Allied armour without using large-scale armies.[193] Eventually, the British persuaded the Americans that a landing in France was infeasible in 1942 and they should instead focus on driving the Axis out of North Africa.[194]

    At the Casablanca Conference in early 1943, the Allies reiterated the statements issued in the 1942 Declaration and demanded the unconditional surrender of their enemies. The British and Americans agreed to continue to press the initiative in the Mediterranean by invading Sicily to fully secure the Mediterranean supply routes.[195] Although the British argued for further operations in the Balkans to bring Turkey into the war, in May 1943, the Americans extracted a British commitment to limit Allied operations in the Mediterranean to an invasion of the Italian mainland and to invade France in 1944.[196]

    Pacific (1942–43)

    Map of Japanese military advances through mid-1942

    By the end of April 1942, Japan and its ally Thailand had almost fully conquered BurmaMalayathe Dutch East IndiesSingapore, and Rabaul, inflicting severe losses on Allied troops and taking a large number of prisoners.[197] Despite stubborn resistance by Filipino and US forces, the Philippine Commonwealth was eventually captured in May 1942, forcing its government into exile.[198] On 16 April, in Burma, 7,000 British soldiers were encircled by the Japanese 33rd Division during the Battle of Yenangyaung and rescued by the Chinese 38th Division.[199] Japanese forces also achieved naval victories in the South China SeaJava Sea and Indian Ocean,[200] and bombed the Allied naval base at Darwin, Australia. In January 1942, the only Allied success against Japan was a Chinese victory at Changsha.[201] These easy victories over the unprepared US and European opponents left Japan overconfident, as well as overextended.[202]

    In early May 1942, Japan initiated operations to capture Port Moresby by amphibious assault and thus sever communications and supply lines between the United States and Australia. The planned invasion was thwarted when an Allied task force, centred on two American fleet carriers, fought Japanese naval forces to a draw in the Battle of the Coral Sea.[203] Japan’s next plan, motivated by the earlier Doolittle Raid, was to seize Midway Atoll and lure American carriers into battle to be eliminated; as a diversion, Japan would also send forces to occupy the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.[204] In mid-May, Japan started the Zhejiang-Jiangxi campaign in China, with the goal of inflicting retribution on the Chinese who aided the surviving American airmen in the Doolittle Raid by destroying Chinese air bases and fighting against the Chinese 23rd and 32nd Army Groups.[205][206] In early June, Japan put its operations into action, but the Americans, having broken Japanese naval codes in late May, were fully aware of the plans and order of battle, and used this knowledge to achieve a decisive victory at Midway over the Imperial Japanese Navy.[207]

    US Marines during the Guadalcanal Campaign, in the Pacific theatre, 1942

    With its capacity for aggressive action greatly diminished as a result of the Midway battle, Japan chose to focus on a belated attempt to capture Port Moresby by an overland campaign in the Territory of Papua.[208] The Americans planned a counter-attack against Japanese positions in the southern Solomon Islands, primarily Guadalcanal, as a first step towards capturing Rabaul, the main Japanese base in Southeast Asia.[209]

    Both plans started in July, but by mid-September, the Battle for Guadalcanal took priority for the Japanese, and troops in New Guinea were ordered to withdraw from the Port Moresby area to the northern part of the island, where they faced Australian and United States troops in the Battle of Buna–Gona.[210] Guadalcanal soon became a focal point for both sides with heavy commitments of troops and ships in the battle for Guadalcanal. By the start of 1943, the Japanese were defeated on the island and withdrew their troops.[211] In Burma, Commonwealth forces mounted two operations. The first, an offensive into the Arakan region in late 1942, went disastrously, forcing a retreat back to India by May 1943.[212] The second was the insertion of irregular forces behind Japanese front-lines in February which, by the end of April, had achieved mixed results.[213]

    Eastern Front (1942–43)

    Red Army soldiers on the counterattack during the Battle of Stalingrad, February 1943

    Despite considerable losses, in early 1942 Germany and its allies stopped a major Soviet offensive in central and southern Russia, keeping most territorial gains they had achieved during the previous year.[214] In May, the Germans defeated Soviet offensives in the Kerch Peninsula and at Kharkov,[215] and then launched their main summer offensive against southern Russia in June 1942, to seize the oil fields of the Caucasus and occupy the Kuban steppe, while maintaining positions on the northern and central areas of the front. The Germans split Army Group South into two groups: Army Group A advanced to the lower Don River and struck south-east to the Caucasus, while Army Group B headed towards the Volga River. The Soviets decided to make their stand at Stalingrad on the Volga.[216]

    By mid-November, the Germans had nearly taken Stalingrad in bitter street fighting. The Soviets began their second winter counter-offensive, starting with an encirclement of German forces at Stalingrad,[217] and an assault on the Rzhev salient near Moscow, though the latter failed disastrously.[218] By early February 1943, the German Army had taken tremendous losses; German troops at Stalingrad had been defeated,[219] and the front-line had been pushed back beyond its position before the summer offensive. In mid-February, after the Soviet push had tapered off, the Germans launched another attack on Kharkov, creating a salient in their front line around the Soviet city of Kursk.[220]

About Me

The sky is not completely dark at night. Were the sky absolutely dark, one would not be able to see the silhouette of an object against the sky.

Follow Me On

Subscribe To My Newsletter

Subscribe for new travel stories and exclusive content.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started