How Much Do You Know About These Famous WWII Invasions?

By: John Miller
Image: wikipedia

About This Quiz

The Second World War was marked by endless attacks and counterattacks, often retracing the same battle-scarred ground for years at a time. Most of those little incursions are lost to history. The big invasions, though, were quite literally history-changing. Can you name one of the big WWII invasions right off the top of your head?

There were a lot of enormous invasions during the war, in both the European and Pacific theaters. Do you know who launched the invasion that started the entire war? And did you know that that invasion was justified thanks to a fabricated excuse?

Did you know that Hitler really wanted to invade Britain … but never did? Do you know why? And do you know where he vented his rage instead of England?

Do you know which side coordinated and perfected amphibious invasions during the war? Do you recall where the most important invasion of the entire conflict took place?

New technologies and weapons changed the way armies conducted their invasions during this global conflict. Where once shallow waters were off limits, WWII found navies taking their fight all the way to the beaches – forever changing battle tactics.

What do you really know about the invasions of World War II? Close your eyes, imagine the shouts of generals, hear the bullets whizzing by, and take our invasions quiz now!

A German invasion of which country helped to trigger World War II?

In September 1939, Nazi forces stormed into Poland on orders from Adolf Hitler, who wanted to restore German power and prestige in Europe … and in the rest of the globe, too.

In 1937, which country launched an invasion into China?

Half a world away from Poland, and two years prior to the German invasion of Poland, the Japanese launched a major invasion into China, setting the stage for war in the Far East. Western Allies looked on in horror as the world descended into mayhem and murder.

In early 1940, which country did the Nazis NOT invade?

After a winter lull, the Nazi war machine was gaining momentum of the worst kind. In early 1940, the Germans were still making their way west, starting with countries like the Netherlands and to the south, France ... but not Britain.

Which country did NOT participate in the 1939 German invasion of Poland?

Both the USSR and Slovak Republic opted to join German forces in their smiting of the Polish people. Spain sat out WWII due to the recent devastation of the Spanish Civil War.

What was the name of the German operation that invaded Poland in 1939?

It was called "Fall Weiss," or "Case White," the codename for the German invasion of Poland. Sadly for Poland, the plan went well for Germany's army, the Wehrmacht.

In 1940, Germany executed "Fall Rot," the codename for the invasion of which Allied country?

"Fall Rot," or "Case Red," was a pet project of Hitler -- it referred to the invasion of Germany's perennial enemy, France. The French saw the attack coming years in advance.

Germany launched "Fall Rot," its invasion of France, on May 10, 1940. How long did it take for the Nazis to conquer this major Allied nation?

In just 46 days, the Nazis tore through the French countryside and into Paris, which surrendered rather than face Nazi devastation. Everywhere in the West, panic seized the public consciousness.

Which Axis country mounted an invasion of Kenya in 1940?

As Germany took care of business in Europe, Italy wreaked havoc in Africa, pushing into Kenya and Sudan. The war was getting bigger and deadlier by the day.

In 1940, why did Britain invade and occupy Iceland?

As the Germans plowed their way west, Britain's leaders decided to capture Iceland first, lest it fall into Nazi hands. There was no resistance to the invasion force of roughly 750 troops.

Following the Japanese invasion of China, how many Chinese troops and civilians died in WWII?

No other nation suffered like China during the war. The Japanese went on a murderous rampage that may have killed as many as 20 million men, women, and children.

Operation Sea Lion was a German codename for the invasion of which country?

Hitler was hoping that the British would surrender, but when it became clear that Winston Churchill and his people had no intentions of giving up arms, the Nazis planned Operation Sea Lion. But due to British and Allied might, the plan never really had a chance.

Before launching an invasion of Britain, what did Hitler want to accomplish?

Hitler recognized that before any invasion of Britain, Germany would have to achieve air and naval superiority. Fortunately for the course of world history, that never happened.

How many casualties did the French suffer during the Nazi invasion of May 1940?

Try as they might, the French could not withstand the Nazi invasion. More than 350,000 were killed or wounded during the invasion, which ended in a catastrophe for the Allies.

In December of 1941, the Japanese invaded which American stronghold?

After the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese fleet concentrated much of its firepower in the Philippines. They captured the entire area, sending U.S. troops in a miserable and bloody retreat.

Before the war, which country constructed an enormous fortress called the Maginot Line, meant to repel a German invasion?

In the interwar years following WWI, France suspected that the Germans would rise up and attack once more, so they built a long, massive fort called the Maginot Line. The fortress was nearly impregnable, complete with its own underground rail line.

How did the Nazis manage to defeat the Maginot Line, a huge fort built by the French expressly for the purpose of keeping the Germans at bay?

France did its best to create an invincible barrier called the Maginot Line. But the Germans merely skirted the fortress to the north … and then went wild in the French countryside.

In 1941, the Germans launched Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of which country?

Hitler, exasperated by Britain's unwillingness to surrender, turned his rage east towards the USSR, an early ally in the war. Opening the Eastern Front may have cost Germany the war.

Which country invaded Alaska in 1942?

In June 1942, Japan sent forces to invade the Aleutian Islands, which were part of the Alaska Territory. Because the area was so remote, it took more than a year for U.S. troops to arrive and finally push the Japanese away from the strategically important area.

On June 6, 1944, the Allies launched Operation Neptune, a massive invasion of _______.

The fate of the free world hung in the balance -- on June 6, 1944, the Allies initiated Operation Neptune, better known as "D-Day," the invasion of Normandy. In the bloodied waters of the English Channel, the Allies stormed ashore … and the Nazis flinched.

How many objectives did the Allies achieve during the first day of the D-Day invasion?

On paper, the D-Day invasion didn't look very successful. The Allies failed to accomplish any of their primary objectives … but they did manage to establish a foothold in Normandy.

D-Day was the largest ____ invasion in human history.

D-Day was a massive undertaking that turned into the largest amphibious assault ever. The Germans did not go quietly, causing more than 10,000 Allied casualties.

How many Allied troops took part in the D-Day invasion?

More than 160,000 Allied troops crossed the English Channel into harm's way. 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft blasted the Normandy coast in hopes of loosening Germany's grip on the area.

In December 1944, the exhausted Germans mounted one last desperate invasion in the area of ______, and it became known as the Battle of the Bulge.

By December 1944, the Germans were at the end of their reign of terror. But they launched an attack through the dense Ardennes region of Belgium, causing a "bulge" in the front lines. The Battle of the Bulge had begun.

True or false, did the United States suffer more casualties at the Battle of the Bulge than any other battle of WWII?

Roughly 610,000 American troops dug in to stop the German invasion of Belgium. By the end of the month-long ordeal, about 90,000 of them became casualties, by far the most American casualties in a single battle during the war.

In January 1945, the USSR invaded Poland and made which discovery?

In January 1945, the Soviets pushed into Poland and found the Auschwitz concentration camp, a primary tool of the German Holocaust. Gaunt prisoners greeted the Soviets with cheers and tears.

The __________ invasion of Okinawa was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater.

In April of 1945, weary U.S. troops began the largest amphibious invasion in the Pacific, the assault on the island of Okinawa. The pitched battle turned into a nightmarish scene of atrocities committed by both sides.

The American invasion of Okinawa was so brutal that the Japanese referred to the fighting as _______.

By 1945, the war had stripped away the veneer of humanity in the Pacific. Both sides brutalized each other in what the Japanese called the "rain of steel."

Which country did NOT lead the way during the invasion of Germany in 1945?

Poland and the USSR, which suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazis for years, were the two primary armies that pushed into Germany, forcing the Nazis to fall back to Berlin.

Operation Torch was a joint British-American invasion of which area?

In 1942, the Allies launched Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. The weeklong operation was a decisive win for the British and Americans.

In February 1945, American and Filipino troops attack and invade which city?

For much of the war, the Japanese held the Filipino city of Manila. The Allies invaded with ferocity, and more than 100,000 civilians died as the city was almost completely leveled.

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