World War II
Clockwise from top left: Chinese forces in the Battle of Wanjialing, Australian 25-pounder guns during the First Battle of El Alamein, German Stuka dive bombers on the Eastern Front in December 1943, a US naval force in the Lingayen Gulf, Wilhelm Keitel signing the German Instrument of Surrender, Soviet troops in the Battle of Stalingrad
Clockwise from top left: Chinese forces in the Battle of Wanjialing, Australian 25-pounder guns during the First Battle of El Alamein, German Stuka dive bombers on the Eastern Front in December 1943, a US naval force in the Lingayen Gulf, Wilhelm Keitel signing the German Instrument of Surrender, Red Army troops in the Battle of Stalingrad
Timeline OTL
Date July 7, 1937-September 2, 1945 (Asian/Pacific Theater)
September 1, 1939-May 8, 1945 (European Theater)
Location Worldwide
Result Allied Victory

Emergence of The USSR (with its Warsaw Pact) and The USA (with its NATO Pact) as Superpowers. Beginning of The Cold War

Allied Forces

Soviet Soviet Union
Britain United Kingdom
USA48star United States
ChinaROC China
Franceflag France
...and others


Nazi Germany Flag Germany
Italy Italy
Japan Japan
...and others

World War II
Timeline In the Presence of Mine Enemies
Date July, 1937 to sometime in 1940s
Location Global
Result Axis victory
World War II
Timeline "The Last Article"
Date July, 1937 to sometime in 1940s
Location Global
Result Axis victory
World War II
Timeline "The Phantom Tolbukhin"
Date July, 1937 to sometime in 1940s
Location Global
Result Axis victory(?)
World War II
Timeline Worldwar
Date July, 1937 to June, 1942
Location Earth wide
Result Inconclusive; war interrupted by Race Invasion
World War II
Timeline "Ready for the Fatherland"
Date September, 1939 to 1946(?)
Location Global
Result Stalemate in Europe, Allied victory in Asia
War of Retribution
Timeline "Shtetl Days"
Date September, 1939 to sometime in 1940s
Location Global
Result Axis victory

World War II, or the Second World War, was a global military conflict, the amalgamation of what had initially been two separate conflicts, that engulfed the vast majority of the countries of the world. The first began in Asia in 1937 as the Second Sino-Japanese War; the other began in Europe in 1939 with Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland. (1 September 1939 is the "consensus" start-date.)

This global conflict split the majority of the world's nations into two opposing military alliances: the Allied Forces and the Axis Powers. Spanning much of the globe, World War II resulted in the death of over 70 million people, making it the deadliest conflict in human history. The war saw Nazi Germany's systematic genocide against the Jews of Europe, an act that has come to be called the Holocaust. The war also saw the first deployment of atomic weapons.

Germany subdued most of continental Europe by way of conquest by mid-1940. Only the United Kingdom was in the position to continue fighting Germany and Italy in North Africa and in the North Atlantic. This changed in June, 1941, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The United States remained neutral until December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked several U.S. and European possessions in the Pacific.

The tide turned against the Axis in 1942, with Japan losing the Battle of Midway, Axis troops meeting defeat in North Africa, and Germany meeting defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad, which commenced in 1942 and ended in 1943. From then on, the Axis were on a continued state of retreat until their total defeat.

The war ended in defeat for the Axis in 1945. Germany and Japan were forced into unconditional surrender; Germany in May 1945 after the Soviet capture of Berlin; and Japan in August of that year, after the deployment of the first atomic bombs by the U.S.

The United States and the Soviet Union emerged from the war as the world's two superpowers.

Literary Comment[]

World War II is a frequent setting in the works of Harry Turtledove, particularly his alternate history works. There are several stories that are set during or after World War II, but have their Point of Divergence in the period between 1937 and 1945. There are several stories that are set in timelines in which World War II took a different course or reached a different resolution. However, Turtledove rarely describes the exact course of the altered war in detail.

In most instances, what is known about the altered war can be summed up in a few paragraphs, and this article should include those versions of World War II.

Fictitious versions of World War II that Turtledove writes about in extensive detail from beginning to end should be given separate articles. These include:

World War II in "Birdwitching"[]

Megamagical sorceries of mass destruction swept two Nipponese cities off the map at the end of the Second Great Slaughter.

World War II in The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump[]

The Second Sorcerous War saw the resurgence of Alemania, which had recovered from its defeat in the previous conflict. The Leader of Alemania, a man whose unexplained evil was the subject of speculation for decades to come, led a brutal extermination campaign against ethnic groups he disliked. Nevertheless, Alemania was defeated in this war as well.

World War II in "Cayos in the Stream"[]

One of the more unconventional skirmishes of World War II occurred off the coast of Cuba in 1942. Prize winning American novelist Ernest Hemingway, who had outfitted his personal yacht with weapons, sank a German U-boat with the help of his crew of fishermen. Hemingway earned a Distinguished Service Medal for the deed.

World War II in Crosstime Traffic[]

Crosstime Traffic was aware of several alternates in which Nazi Germany and its Axis allies had won World War II and Fascism came to dominate the world. These were deemed particularly terrible. In some of them, the Axis had conquered the United States. The Crosstime Traffic employee Eduardo Caruso considered these alternates to be "only slightly worse" than one in which the Soviet Union won the Cold War.[1] Another alternate in which Germany won World War I was viewed by all Crosstime employees as a particularly bad one, though it was comparatively "less nasty" than one in which Nazi Germany won World War II.

In the home timeline, there was a video game which involved aliens invading Earth during World War II.[2]

World War II in The Gladiator[]

The Soviet name for World War II, the Great Patriotic War, entered into the vocabulary of its allies and enemies alike after it won the Cold War.[3] The Soviet Union suffered mightily during the war, a fact it never let the world forget. Even after the Cold War ended, the Soviet Union kept a tight rein on Germany, its primary adversary from 1941-1945.

World War II in Days of Infamy[]

World War II began for the United States when the Empire of Japan invaded and occupied the American territory of Hawaii in December 1941-February 1942. Despite the desire of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to focus on the larger threat of Germany, Japan posed a more immediate threat, and so the American military effort turned to retaking Hawaii as quickly as possible.

In June 1942, the United States sent a fleet of three aircraft carriers and assorted troopships and destroyers to retake the islands. The Japanese navy met the Americans, sinking two of the carriers (the Saratoga and the Yorktown) and forcing a retreat. Embarrassed, the United States continued its production. In 1943, the United States returned, with a massive fleet, comprising some 7 aircraft carriers, 5 light carriers, close to a dozen escort carriers, several destroyers, and troop carriers. This invasion proved to be the end of Japanese rule in Hawaii, as the Japanese naval contingent was destroyed, and the Japanese supply line, already taxed, was broken completely. American forces landed at Oahu, and after a period of bitter fighting, were able to subdue Japan's ground forces.

Hawaii then became the launching pad for the American war effort in the Pacific theater.

World War II in The Guns of the South[]

In 2004, Eugen Blankaard wrote The Afrikaner Resistance Movement: What It Is, in which Blankaard insisted that South Africa should have supported Nazi Germany during World War II. A time-displaced copy of the book was interpreted for President Robert E. Lee in 1868. His interpreter Avram Goldfarb mistranslated the Afrikaans words for "Second World War" as "Second Worldwar."

World War II in "The House That George Built"[]

In February 1941, England and Germany were at war. H.L. Mencken feared that President Roosevelt was planning to bring America into the war on England's side, a move which Mencken regarded as stupid.

World War II in In the Presence of Mine Enemies[]

The Axis emerged from the Second World War victorious, as the United States remained neutral, leaving the rest of the world to its own devices. Germany occupied most of Europe after it defeated Britain and the Soviet Union. Germany and its ally Italy carved up Africa, taking colonies from the vanquished Allies. Germany also took control over the bulk of the Middle East and India. Germany's co-belligerent, Japan, asserted its hegemony over the rest of Asia.

Roughly a generation later, Germany and Japan defeated and occupied the U.S. and Canada during the Third World War.

World War II in "The Last Article"[]

After having conquered the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union earlier in the decade, the Germans accepted the surrender of the British outpost in India in 1947, and set about the business of crushing native disobedience.

World War II in "The Man who Came Late"[]

Unbeknownst to most mortals, World War II was only one front in the war between Law and Chaos.

World War II in The Man With the Iron Heart[]

Although World War II ended officially in Europe on 8 May 1945 with the surrender of Germany, conflict and violence continued beginning on 9 May, with the nationwide uprising staged by the German Freedom Front under the leadership of Nazi Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich. The uprising continued on even after the surrender of Japan in August and September, 1945. The mounting casualties provoked many in the United States to question the value of a continued occupation, especially since the war had been deemed "won".

World War II in "Must and Shall"[]

In 1942, the Germans attempted to thwart the United States' entry into World War II by arming that country's discontented white Southern subjects with weapons, smuggled to the port of New Orleans. FBS agents foiled this plan, and America turned to fighting tyranny abroad.

World War II in "News From the Front"[]

The United States' entry into World War II proved to be disastrous for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The war was not popular on the homefront, and the American media was quick to find fault in every decision the president made. Britain's homefront was similarly divided, with most of the population squarely against Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

World War II in "No Period"[]

A Jewish-American writer contemplated his failed first marriage, and wondered if it might have worked in some alternate timeline. He remembered his former father-in-law was a Finn who'd flown a Fokker D.XXI during World War II. This led the writer to remember that Finland was a co-belligerent of Nazi Germany during the war. This in turn led him to wonder how things would have turned out for the marriage in world like the one in the television series The Man in the High Castle, the writer wondered if the marriage would have survived if Adolf Hitler had won World War II. He realized that, as a Jew, he'd have been murdered in such a scenario, and so changed the thought-experiment.[4]

World War II in Or Even Eagle Flew[]

Thanks to the efforts of American flyer Amelia Earhart, the RAF allowed some women pilots to fly combat missions during World War II. Earhart's own country wasn't so forward thinking, prompting Earhart to remain in the RAF until she was shot down in 1943.

World War II in "The Phantom Tolbukhin"[]

Germany defeated and occupied much of the Soviet Union during World War II. Soviet partisans continued their war against the Germans throughout the remainder of the 1940s.

World War II in "Ready for the Fatherland"[]

World War II ended on the Russian front on 19 February 1943, when German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein shot Adolf Hitler for an insult. Germany, under the new leadership of Manstein, offered a separate peace with the Soviet Union, which was accepted. Subsequently, all German forces from the Eastern Front were redeployed to secure Europe, and prevented the United States and the United Kingdom from gaining a toehold on the Continent, although the British did take Sicily and make it a de facto part of their empire. The United States focused its attention on Japan, invading it in 1945. The Soviet Union also invaded, taking the northern islands.

In the aftermath, global politics were dominated by the Anglo-American alliance, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union, in a three-way cold war, briefly interrupted by an exchange of sunbombs between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., which ended before it could escalate into a full-on war, a situation which still persisted in 1979.

World War II in "Shtetl Days"[]

Germany emerged victorious from the War of Retribution in the mid 20th Century, and subsequently imposed its will onto much of the world. This included the elimination of the Jews.

World War II in "The Weather's Fine"[]

One horrible winter, Europe was stuck in the early forties for weeks. Everyone hoped that wouldn't happen again any time soon.[5]

World War II in Worldwar[]

World War II came screeching to a halt in May 1942 when the Race invaded Earth. Members of the Axis and the Allied Forces had to ally with one another in an alliance system known as the Big Five so that humanity could oppose the Race as a species. The war against the Race ended in a draw, with the Big Five and several of their satellite states surviving and more distant nations falling into the Race's empire.

Though most of the major combatants of World War II--and their mutual antagonisms--survived the war against the Race, the threat represented by the continued presence of the Conquest Fleet remained sufficient to keep the human powers from resuming hostilities after the Peace of Cairo for fear that the Race would exploit divisions in the alliance system which had stalemated it to conquer the rest of the planet.

World War II in "Zigeuner"[]

During World War II, German Führer Adolf Hitler made the destruction of the Zigeuner, Bolsheviks, homosexuals, and other Untermenschen a priority.[6] To that end, Hitler directed the SS to round up and eliminate the Zigeuner they found in the areas Germany occupied. Hitler also directed Germany's allies to do the same thing. Even when the war had plainly turned against Germany and its allies in October 1944, men such as SS Haupsturmführer Joseph Stieglitz oversaw the capture and deportation of a Zigeuner village near Nagylengyel in western Hungary.[7]

See also[]

The following alternate history wars, only sketchily described in their respective stories, are broadly analogous to World War II:


  1. The Gladiator, pg. 262, HC.
  2. Gunpowder Empire.
  3. Ibid., pg. 27, HC.
  4. https://www.tor.com/2020/11/30/no-period-harry-turtledove/
  5. Kaleidoscope, pg. 66, MPB.
  6. Asimov's Science Fiction, September/October, 2017, Vol. 41 Nos. 9 & 10, pg. 99.
  7. Ibid., pg. 92-99.