World War II, global military conflict that, in terms of lives lost and material destruction, was the most devastating war in human history. It began in 1939 as a European conflict between Germany and an Anglo-French-Polish coalition but eventually widened to include most of the nations of the world. It ended in 1945, leaving a new world order of the Superpowers dominated by the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

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