World War II Quiz

Kelly Scott

About This Quiz

World War II was supposed to be the war to end all wars. It was one of the largest conflicts the world has ever seen with total military deaths by some estimates as high as 80-million soldiers and an additional 30-million to 50-million civilians. Never before has a war had such staggering death and destruction, nor has there been a war that stretched throughout the globe. There were few if any countries who were not impacted by the devastation. It was a war that made heroes, defeated evil, and in the middle saw the best and worst of humanity. Sadly, most stories of greatness were lost forever among the sheer numbers. 

How much do you know about World War II? The battles, the victories, losses and those who led the Allies versus the Axis? You may have heard of D-Day, but can you recall VE-Day? 

Which country attacked which country and which Axis nation surrendered first, and why? Did you know that there were three dictators in Europe at the time of the war? You know Hitler and Mussolini, but who was the other one?

While World War II is considered one of the largest scale and most destructive wars in the history of the world, it can also teach us a lot about humanity and how to prevent future world wars. It all starts with knowledge. So, how much do you know about the war to end all wars? Buckle up and take this quiz soldier. It's going to be a bumpy ride. 

When did World War II begin?

The start of the war in Europe is generally held to be September 1, 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland; Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on July 7, 1937, or even the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on September 19, 1931.

Which country was annexed by Germany and the USSR?

Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbors, Poland, Finland, Romania and the Baltic states.

When did Germany attack the USSR?

The traditional Western and Soviet view was that Nazi Germany launched a sudden and unprovoked attack—Operation Barbarossa—on an innocent USSR on June 22, 1941.

When did Japan attack Pearl Harbor?

On the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan), the Japanese Navy conducted a surprise military strike against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

At the time of World War II there were three dictators in Europe. Two were Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Who was the third dictator who did not take part in World War II?

Franco's Spain maintained an official policy of neutrality during World War II, although the German navy was allowed to use Spanish harbours from 1940 to 1943, German agents gathered intelligence in Spain on Allied activity, and the Blue Division fought alongside the European Axis Powers against the Soviet Union. By the 1950s, the nature of his regime changed from an extreme form of dictatorship to a semi-pluralist authoritarian system.

Who led the Indian National Army?

Subhas Chandra Bose, was an Indian nationalist whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India, but whose attempt during World War II to rid India of British rule with the help of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan left a troubled legacy.

Who said this famous quote: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

Did you know that Churchill was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States? He also won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Which German leader landed in Britain on May 10, 1941 and was arrested?

Hess flew solo to Scotland to try to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom, but he was taken prisoner and eventually was convicted of crimes against peace, serving a life sentence.

When was atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima?

The two bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed at least 129,000 people, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history.

When did Japan announce their surrender?

Emperor Hirohito announced his intentions to surrender on August 15, 1945, however the war didn't fully end until September 2, 1945. This is known as V-J (Victory over Japan) Day around the world.

Who commanded the Eighth Army at El Alamein?

"Before Alamein we never had a victory," said Winston Churchill later, "after Alamein we never had a defeat."

Who famously said, "We shall never surrender"?

Churchill was an eloquent speaker. This quote was given just before the Battle of Britain and the complete text is: "... we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

Which island was awarded the George Cross for gallantry?

It was awarded by King George VI of the United Kingdom in a letter dated April 15, 1942 to the island's Governor Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie, so as to "bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people" during the siege it underwent in the early parts of World War II. The George Cross is woven into the Flag of Malta and can be seen wherever the flag is flown.

In which French area were the D-Day landings?

The Normandy Invasion is also called Operation Overlord, The launch date of this invasion, June 6, 1944 , is now known as D-Day and is marked by the simultaneous landing of U.S., British, and Canadian forces on five separate beachheads in Normandy. By the end of August 1944 all of northern France was liberated.

Approximately how many warships and boats were sunk in World War II?

Germany alone had nearly 1000 submarines sunk.

In which year did the German Army invade Russia?

It is commonly believed that the invasion of Russia was one of Hitler's greatest strategic blunders. Up to that point the German war machine had conquered and subjugated all her enemies (except for Britain), while at the same time Russia had been providing her with much needed resources such as oil and wheat. England's position was deteriorating quickly and the United States was still neutral. The invasion of Russia cut off those precious supplies, and even though the Russians took unprecedented losses the Germans ultimately failed to take Moscow and suffered heavily in the winter that followed.

Where did the Battle of Buna-Gona take place?

The Battle of Buna–Gona was part of the New Guinea campaign in the Pacific Theater. It followed the conclusion of the Kokoda Track campaign and November 16, 1942 until January 22, 1943. The battle was conducted by Australian and United States forces against the Japanese beachheads at Buna, Sanananda and Gona.

Which two ships sunk off Malaya three days after Japan entered the war?

These two naval ships were sunk by land-based bombers and torpedo bombers of the Imperial Japanese Navy on December 10, 1941. It illustrated the effectiveness of aerial attacks against even the heaviest of naval assets if they were not protected by air cover, and led the Allies to place importance on their aircraft carriers over battleships.

In which country did the battle of El Alamein take place?

German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel returned late to the battle from illness and tried to turn the tide, but General Montgomery and the British's advantage in personnel and artillery proved too overwhelming. Rommel managed to escape complete annihilation by withdrawing his men to Tunisia.

Which officer led the Dam Busters raid (Operation Chastise) in 1943?

Operation Chastise was an attack on German dams carried out in May 1943 by the Royal Air Force, better known as the "Dam Busters." Using a specially developed "bouncing bomb" the Möhne and Edersee Dams were breached, causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley and of villages in the Eder valley; the Sorpe dam sustained only minor damage.

What date was VE-Day?

Victory in Europe Day, generally known as VE Day or simply V Day, was the public holiday celebrated on May 1945 (7 May in Commonwealth realms) to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces.[1] It thus marked the end of World War II in Europe.

What name was given to the dead man, deliberately dropped into the sea to be found by German agents, who carried false papers to deceive the Axis powers about Allied intentions to attack Europe?

Glyndwr Michael was the homeless man whose body was used in Operation Mincemeat, the successful World War II deception plan that lured German forces to Greece prior to the Allied invasion of Sicily. The invasion was a success, with Allied losses numbering several thousand fewer than would have been expected had the deception failed. He had died after ingesting rat poison that contained phosphorus.

What is the name of the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1946?

The Wehrmacht was consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe (air force). The designation Wehrmacht replaced the previously used term, Reichswehr (1919–35), and constituted the Third Reich’s efforts to rearm the nation to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted.

What was the name of the French underground movement that fought against the Germans in World War II?

During the Occupation of France in World War II, The Maquis were composed of men who had escaped into the mountains to avoid conscription into France's Service du Travail Obligatoire (STO) to provide forced labor for Germany. To avert capture and deportation to Germany, they became increasingly organized into non-active resistance groups.

Which famous World War II general said, "We shall return," just before retreating from the Philippines in 1942?

Douglas MacArthur, born in 1880, was a five-star American general and Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s. He played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II and received the Medal of Honor for his service there, making him and his father Arthur MacArthur, Jr., the first father and son to be awarded the medal.

What was "Operation Dynamo" code for?

Also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, Operation Dynamo was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk, France, in May-June 1940. When large numbers of Belgian, British, and French troops were cut off and surrounded by the German army during the Battle of France, Churchill called the events in France "a colossal military disaster", saying "the whole root and core and brain of the British Army" had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured.

What was the only part of the UK to be occupied by German troops?

Before German troops landed in June-July 1940, evacuation took place, although many young men had already left to join the Allied armed forces. Thousands of children were evacuated with their schools to England and Scotland.

Which robust Russian tank was largely responsible for the German defeat on the Eastern Front?

The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank that had a profound and lasting effect on the field of tank design. Although its armour and armament were surpassed later in the war, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential tank design of World War II.

With whom did Britain sign a 20 year 'Treaty of Alliance' and mutual assistance in 1942?

The treaty was signed in London on 26 May 1942 by British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and by Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov.

In which industry were Britain's Bevin Boys called up to work in 1943?

Chosen by lot as 10% of all male conscripts aged 18–25, plus some volunteering as an alternative to military conscription, nearly 48,000 Bevin Boys performed vital but largely unrecognized service in the mines, many of them not released from service until well over two years after World War II hostilities ended.

Which British author broadcast from Germany to America in 1941 and was branded as a traitor?

Early in his career Wodehouse would produce a novel in about three months, but he slowed in old age to around six months. He used a mixture of Edwardian slang, quotations from and allusions to numerous poets, and several literary techniques to produce a prose style that has been compared with comic poetry and musical comedy.

What was the name of the German coding machine?

German military messages enciphered on the Enigma machine were first broken by the Polish Cipher Bureau, beginning in December 1932. This success was a result of efforts by three Polish cryptologists, Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski, working for Polish military intelligence.

Who said, "The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home"?

The complete quote is as follows: Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I'd shoot a snake!

Approximately how many military and civilian citizens of the USSR died in World War II?

Although the exact figures are disputed, World War II casualties of the Soviet Union from all related causes number approximately 29,000,000. During the Soviet era information on casualties was considered top secret; only later in the Glasnost period was information on Soviet World War II casualties published.

What is the name of the weapon captured by the Germans in early North African and Eastern Front encounters and soon reverse engineered their own version?

Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable recoilless antitank rocket launcher weapon, widely fielded by the United States Army. Also referred to as the "Stovepipe", the innovative bazooka was among the first generation of rocket-propelled anti-tank weapons used in infantry combat.

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