80 years ago, on the 1stSeptember 1939, the Second World War in Europe began when France and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany following the invasion of Poland by Germany. However it should be noted that, although neither had declared war on the other, Japan (aiming to dominate Asia and the Pacific) had already been at war with China since 1937.
The great powers formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. Over 30 countries and over 100 million military personnel were involved. Estimates of the total number of fatalities vary considerably between 60 and 85 million. Although 11-17 million deaths were a result of Nazi racist policies most of those who died were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. Civilian deaths were a result of massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated starvation and disease and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
20 million military personnel died, of whom 23 are commemorated on Weaverham’s War memorial and 20 on Hartford’s.