How many US soldiers died in World War II

World war, second

World War Two, 1939-1945. General course: Since the beginning of the 30s, the politics of Germany, Italy and Japan became increasingly aggressive and pursued the goal of winning sales and raw material markets and settlement areas. Japan occupied Manchuria in 1931, the Sino-Japanese War officially broke out in 1937, Italy conquered Abyssinia in 1935/36 and occupied Albania in April 1939, Germany under A. Hitler first removed the obstacles to the Versailles Treaty (Saar area 1935, demilitarized Rhineland 1936, general conscription 1935/36) and spread to neighboring countries in 1938 (1938 annexation of Austria and annexation of the Sudetenland, 1939 occupation of today's Czech Republic and the Memelland). Although the British government had issued a guarantee for the state independence of Poland on March 31, 1939 and a Franco-Polish military alliance existed, Germany began after the conclusion of a non-aggression pact (August 23, 1939) with the Soviet Union (with the division of Poland and the Baltic States in spheres of interest) launched war against Poland on September 1, 1939, whereupon Great Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939.

The Polish troops were quickly defeated (the battle for Warsaw ended on September 27th, the last Polish units surrendered on October 6th), on September 17th the Soviet Union intervened, occupied parts of Poland, and stationed troops in the Baltic states and waged war for Karelia against Finland in the winter of 1939/40. Germany and the Soviet Union began a policy of exploitation and deportation in Poland.

The Western powers (French troops and British expeditionary corps) stayed passively behind the Maginot Line in 1939/40, but prepared to occupy bases in Norway. On April 9, 1940, Germany occupied Denmark, attacked Norway and occupied it until June 10, 1940. On May 10, 1940, Germany began the offensive in the west, German troops invaded the Netherlands (capitulation on May 14), and Luxembourg Belgium (surrender on May 28th), broke through the Maginot Line in the Ardennes, separated the British troops from the French, but 340,000 British, Belgians and French escaped to Great Britain. With the Armistice of Compiègne of June 22nd, 1940, three fifths of France became a German zone of occupation, while a dependent French government was established in Vichy and C. de Gaulle acted as the spokesman for the free French in exile. In June 1940 Italy entered the war on the side of Germany, the Soviet Union had annexed the Baltic states and parts of Romania (Moldavian SSR).

In the second half of 1940 Hitler was at the height of power, offers of peace were rejected by Great Britain, where W. Churchill had become Prime Minister on May 10, 1940, the Germans did not dare to land in England, but instead reinforced it Submarine war and began air strikes.

On September 27, 1940, Germany, Italy and Japan signed a treaty of mutual support against an attack by the USA and recognized their areas of interest (Hungary, Slovakia and Romania joined in November 1940, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia in March 1941). From the autumn of 1940 onwards, the United States began to support Great Britain more and more, while Germany's preparations for an attack on the Soviet Union began. However, these were initially slowed down by Italy's defeats in the Mediterranean. Italy had started attacks on Egypt from Libya in September and on Greece on October 28, 1940, but lost part of its fleet and suffered heavy defeats. In May 1941 the Italians surrendered in Abyssinia, and from February 1941 German troops had to support the Italians in Libya. After a coup in Belgrade, Germany's war against Yugoslavia and Greece began on April 6, 1941. On April 17th, Yugoslavia, on May 11th, Greece and the islands (Crete May 20th-31st) were in German hands. Greece was largely placed under Italian, Serbia under German military administration, Croatia became a satellite state (Ustascha under A. Pavelić), and the rest of the area was divided between Germany, Italy and Bulgaria.

On June 22, 1941, the German Wehrmacht (with Romanian, Hungarian, Italian and Finnish allies) invaded the Soviet Union in order to eliminate the bulk of the Soviet troops (4.7 million soldiers) in a lightning campaign. Despite the rapid advance on Leningrad (which was besieged until 1944) and Moscow and 1.5 million Soviet prisoners of war, no decisive victory was achieved. The violence policy in the occupied territories (commissioner order, task forces) led to resistance and partisan movements; Favored by the early winter, the Red Army began a counter-offensive on December 5, 1941, which brought it considerable success.

From late autumn 1941 the war became a world war when the Japanese attacked the American Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and Germany and Italy declared war on the USA on December 11, 1941. The US leasing and lending law of March 11, 1941 enabled Great Britain to expand its armaments; on August 14, 1941, F. D. Roosevelt and W. Churchill had promulgated the Atlantic Charter "for the final elimination of Nazi tyranny". On August 25, 1941, Great Britain and the Soviet Union occupied Iran and signed an aid agreement. After the USA entered the war, they and Great Britain combined their strategic plans, Germany remained the main adversary.

In 1942, the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the war. Although the effectiveness of the German army was already limited, it launched a major offensive and captured Sevastopol on July 2 and Rostov on July 23, and began the battle for Stalingrad at the end of August. On 19./20. The 11th Russian counter-offensive, the German 6th Army was encircled. 2. Surrender in 1943. The withdrawal from the Caucasus and the stabilization of the front succeeded only with great difficulty. In July 1943, the Red Army finally took the initiative on the Eastern Front.

In North Africa, the German troops advanced to El Alamein near Cairo in the summer of 1942, from October 1942 to February 1943 the British pushed the German troops back to Tunis, and on May 13, 1943, the fighting in North Africa ended. In the meantime the Allies had occupied Morocco and Algeria, and the Germans had occupied southern France. From July 10th to 17th 8. In 1943 the Allies conquered Sicily, on July 25th Mussolini was overthrown, on September 3rd the Allies landed in Italy, whose government capitulated on September 8th and declared war on October 13th on Germany. This gave the Allies airfields and the opportunity to attack targets in Austria from the air.

The German submarine war was successful until the summer of 1942, then the defensive measures of the Allies (aerial surveillance of the seas, use of radar) led to high losses for the Germans, and the supply of Great Britain and the concentration of large troops could no longer be significantly disrupted become. From 1942 onwards there were increased bombing raids from England on targets in Northern Germany, American daytime raids began in 1943, and on August 13, 1943 Wiener Neustadt was the first Austrian city to be bombed, followed by other cities; the most important industrial centers in Germany were systematically destroyed.

In 1944 the advance of the Red Army accelerated, forcing Romania (September 12, 1944), Finland (September 19, 1944) and Bulgaria (October 28, 1944) to an armistice, the German troops had to evacuate Greece and landed in Yugoslavia since 1943 ever larger areas under the control of Tito's partisans, who took Belgrade on October 20, 1944. By the end of 1944, the Soviet troops surrounded Budapest and conquered East Prussia.

In the west, the Allies landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944, quickly built a bridgehead and began the advance in August 1944. Paris was occupied on August 25, Brussels on September 3, and Aachen on October 21. A second invasion army advanced from southern France to the Rhine. The German Battle of the Bulge from 16.-24. 12. 1944 failed.

In Germany, where on July 20, 1944 the attempt of a military resistance movement to eliminate Hitler through an assassination attempt had failed, the latter subjected the army completely to Nazi control and called the Volkssturm in September 1944; fortifications were built on the southeastern border. In Germany and Austria, the armaments factories and railway junctions were deliberately bombed. The Allied War Conferences in Moscow (October 19-30, 1943), Tehran (November 28-1.12, 1943), Quebec (September 11-16, 1944) and Yalta (April 4th-11th 1943). 2. 1945) were already concerned with post-war planning, while from mid-January the Red Army in the east and the Allies in the west invaded Germany. On April 25, 1945, Americans and Soviets met near Torgau on the Elbe, on May 2, Berlin, where Hitler had committed suicide on April 30, surrendered, on May 7, the German Wehrmacht surrendered to the Western powers in Reims , on May 9th in Berlin-Karlshorst in front of the Soviet Union.

In the Pacific, the Second World War ended after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 with the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945.

In World War II, 27 million soldiers died and 25 million civilians (including 6 million Jews) were killed, and 3 million people went missing. The Soviet Union lost 20 million people, Germany 4.8 million (another 2.5 million through flight, displacement and deportation immediately after the war).

Effects on Austria: After annexation to the German Reich on March 13, 1938, Austria ceased to exist as a separate state. Almost 66,000 members of the armed forces were sworn in and taken over into the German armed forces. The 2-year military service customary in the German Reich from 1936 onwards also applied to the Austrians in the two new military districts XVII (Vienna) and XVIII (Salzburg); however, the Wehrmacht leadership avoided purely "Austrian" units. A mix of the army divisions and the air force units with Reich German personnel was sought and increasingly realized in the following years. Nevertheless, there were numerous associations in which Austrians made up a high percentage. Already in the campaigns in Poland, Norway and France the divisions that had been newly established in 1938 were used (44th and 45th Infantry Divisions, 2nd and 3rd Mountain Infantry Division, 4th Panzer Division, 4th Light Division, renamed 9th Panzer Division from the end of 1939). By the end of the war, a total of 30 large army units had been set up on Austrian territory, some of which consisted mostly of Austrians. The 2nd Panzer Division, which was relocated to Vienna after the Anschluss, also had many Austrians in its ranks. Air force associations and the navy also exhausted the military strength of the "Ostmark" to a large extent. The Waffen SS also recruited tens of thousands of Austrians. A total of around 1.25 million Austrians (including women as Wehrmacht helpers) were deployed in the military in the Second World War (in addition to the Wehrmacht, the Volkssturm, Reichsarbeitsdienst, "Organization Todt" and others). Around 15,000 Austrians who had fled and wanted to make their contribution to the liberation of their homeland fought in the Allied armed forces.

Soon after the Anschluss, the Austrian economy was largely included in the expansion of the German Reich's armaments industry. More than 300,000 unemployed were taken in by the labor shortage in German industry by the summer of 1939. Industrial companies received large armaments orders (Steyr-Daimler-Puch, Böhler), until 1942 new armaments factories were established, such as the "Hermann-Göring-Werke" in Linz (steel), the Nibelungen factories in St. Valentin (tanks), the Ostmark-Motorenwerk ( Aircraft engines) in Wiener Neudorf and the Messerschmitt factories (fighter planes) in Wiener Neustadt, the Heinkelwerk in Schwechat (fighter planes) etc. From 1942 the labor demand could no longer be met, so that more and more foreign workers from Western Europe and forced laborers from Eastern Europe and finally tens of thousands of prisoners of the Mauthausen concentration camp were used under often inhuman conditions for the construction of bunkered or underground armaments factories and for production. Tens of thousands died of exhaustion or were killed in Mauthausen as "unfit for work". At the beginning of 1945 around 500,000 people were working in the arms industry on Austrian territory.

Many factories were known to the Allies as early as 1943 through agents or aerial reconnaissance. To destroy it, the Allied aerial warfare began on August 13, 1943, also against the Austrian area, which was erroneously referred to as the "air raid shelter of the Reich", with an air raid by the 9th US Air Force (from North Africa) on Wiener Neustadt. The 15th US Air Force and the British 205th bomber squadron flew increasingly violent attacks against Austrian targets from southern Italy (Foggia) from November 1943. Up until May 1944, the main targets of attack were primarily the aircraft factories, from February 1944 ball bearing factories (Steyr) and from April also the greater Vienna area with its 6 refineries and fuel plants. From January 1945 violent attacks on traffic targets began in order to prevent supplies and troop transports to the front, which was getting closer and closer to the imperial borders. Low-flying aircraft caused severe damage to bridges and railway systems, and the civilian population was also exposed to a greater threat. The German air defense (around 150 fighter planes were stationed in Austria up to the summer of 1944) and the anti-aircraft troops (in autumn 1944 the 24th anti-aircraft division around Vienna had 432 heavy anti-aircraft guns) failed to prevent US attacks with up to 800 four-engine bombers . The air strikes cost the lives of well over 20,000 people (in Vienna alone there were at least 8,769 deaths in the 52 air strikes). Severe damage was caused to public utilities, traffic and industrial facilities, 75,959 apartments were destroyed and 101,096 damaged.

In autumn 1944 it was foreseeable that the Red Army would soon reach the border from Hungary. In October 1944, the expansion of the "Southeast Wall" began along what is now the Austro-Hungarian border. Since the expansion was not completed and there was a shortage of soldiers, this blocked position was quickly closed by the units of the 3rd Ukrainian Front (Marshal FI Tolbuchin) after the failure of the last German offensive in Hungary (March 6-16, 1945) overrun. On March 29, 1945 the first units of the Red Army crossed the border at Güns / Köszeg. In a few days the remnants of the German 6th (SS) Panzer Army were pushed into the area south of Vienna, while the German 6th Army tried to set up a new front in Eastern Styria. Vienna was surrounded in the west by the Soviet 6th Guards Panzer Army, but an encirclement together with units of the 2nd Ukrainian Front (Marshal R. I. Malinovskij), which advanced from Marchfeld to Vienna, did not succeed. The battle for Vienna, which was to be prevented or shortened by a - failed - military resistance action, lasted from April 6th to 13th. 4. 1945 and led to high casualties on both sides and among the civilian population, as well as severe destruction (fire in St. Stephen's Cathedral). While the advance of the Red Army in the Vienna Woods south of Vienna was slow, units of the 4th Guards Army advanced into the St. Pölten area by April 15 and took up defensive positions. In the Weinviertel the eventful fighting (German 8th Army against units of the 2nd Ukrainian Front) continued until the German surrender.

After a stormy advance through southern Germany, the 7th US Army reached the Tyrolean border in Ausserfern on April 28, 1945. The low German resistance (remnants of Army Group G) enabled the US troops to take Innsbruck, which had been liberated by a resistance organization, and occupy Tyrol within 4 days. From April 30, 1945, Vorarlberg was occupied by troops of the French 1st Army; Here, too, the German resistance (Army High Command 24) was very weak. The city of Salzburg was handed over to the US troops on May 3, 1945 without a fight, there were only a few short skirmishes. By May 6, 1945, units of the 3rd US Army occupied Upper Austria almost completely after some hard fighting with relatively low American losses. Carinthia was only occupied on May 8, 1945 by British troops advancing from Veneto and by Yugoslav units marching in from Slovenia.

The formation of the Provisional Government Renner on April 27, 1945 in Vienna, which was only able to expand its competence to all of Austria on October 20, was the first step towards regaining Austria's sovereignty.