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World War II The greatest war of world history began Sept. 1, 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany. It ended six years later almost to the day (Sept. 2, 1945) with a formal surrender by the government of Japan and all of its military forces to the United States in a ceremony aboard the American battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The major participants were Germany, Italy, and Japan, on the side that lost, and the United States, …

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…bombs dropped on Japan. Because the destruction was kept in Urakami Valley, the impact of the bomb on the city as a whole was less devastating than at Hiroshima, although destruction was greater. More than one half of the residential units escaped serious damage, but within a radius of 3,000 feet of the center of the explosion all buildings were almost completely destroyed. It was estimated that more than 35,000 died and a larger number were injured.