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Ww2 essay topics

Welcome. This website aims to enhance insight of interesting and exciting World War 2 topics. Instead of over-detailed or too technical essays, its focus is presenting and explaining why and how things happened the way they did in World War 2, with a better perspective of when they happened during that war. It’s more useful and interesting to learn about World War 2 that way.

Sections: Strategy , Battles , Weapons , People , Intelligence

The "Big picture" perspective of the strategy and war effort of the warring nations in World War 2.

  • World War 2 summary – brief answers to the key questions about World War 2.
  • World War 2 casualties – insights, and statistics by country.
  • Causes of World War 2 – the root causes of World War 2.
  • The biggest mistakes – the alternative decisions which could dramatically change the course of the war.
  • When did Hitler lose the war – an attempt to mark the time when Adolf Hitler lost the chance to win World War 2.
  • The turning points of World War 2 – a list of the great strategic turning points of the war.
  • Russia in World War 2 – the great war plan, preparations, collapse, and recovery – a revised view.
  • Timeline – the main events timeline, before and during the war.

Battles and operations

The dramatic battles and operations, from vast campaigns to small but important raids, in land, at sea, and in the air, that decided the outcome of World War 2.

  • The Battle of Britain – the key causes for the German defeat in the Battle of Britain.
  • Kursk – the greatest tank battle of the war, and the last major German offensive in the East.
  • Stalingrad – the German army’s greatest defeat, and a major turning point of the war.
  • Midway – in this battle of aircraft carriers, Japan lost the initiative in the Pacific.
  • Blitzkrieg – the German tactic of rapidly advancing tank forces and massive air support.
  • Dambusters – the daring special air attack on German dams, using bouncing bombs.
  • Doolittle’s raid – America’s first air raid over Japan, that hit Tokyo in total surprise.

From the ancient spear, to today’s GPS-guided bomb, many wars saw the appearance of new weapons based on amazing technologies, but none saw such a dramatic and diverse flow of exciting new scientific developments and new weapons as World War 2. During six years of war, the most scientifically advanced nations recruited the best minds and enormous resources to an unprecedented arms race.

Land weapons:

  • Infantry weapons – rifles, sub machine guns, pistols, and other weapons.
  • T-34 – simply the best main battle tank of World War 2.
  • M4 Sherman – the main American tank. It won by numbers.
  • German tanks – Panzers, the German tanks which stormed Europe.
  • Tiger – the most formidable German tank. Lethal, heavy, and almost indestructible.

Airplanes and air weapons:

  • Bombers – the strategic weapons that struck at the enemy’s heart.
  • De Havilland Mosquito – the most versatile and successful allied aircraft.
  • Fallschirmjager – the German paratroopers and their combat operations.
  • Fieseler Storch – the first true short take-off and landing aircraft.
  • Kamikaze pilots – suicide warfare in World War 2, and its military and cultural rationale.
  • The Manhattan Project – the making of the atomic bomb.
  • Messerschmitt Me-262 – the world’s first operational jet fighter.
  • P-51 Mustang – the American long range fighter which defeated the Luftwaffe over Germany.
  • RADAR – the technology which revolutionized air and naval warfare.
  • Stuka dive bomber – the airborne element of the German Blitzkrieg weapons.

Ships and naval weapons:

  • Submarines – they almost defeated Britain, and paralyzed Japan. Also about frogmen and human torpedoes.
  • PT boats, Torpedo boats – The fast night raiders of the sea.

Leaders, Generals, Heroes

Despite the mobilization of millions, individual people greatly affected the course and outcome of wars. National leaders, Generals and Admirals, aces and heroes, and brilliant scientists.

  • Leaders – a complete list of the national leaders of the countries which participated in World War 2 .
  • German Field Marshals – a chronological review of the German field marshals of World War 2.
  • Heinrich Himmler – the power-hungry head of the Nazi SS.
  • Adolf Hitler – founder of Nazism, dictator of Germany 1933-1945. The ultimate aggressor and the ultimate evil.
  • Joseph Goebbels – the Nazi propaganda master.
  • Hermann Goering – Adolf Hitler’s brutal and greedy deputy, and head of the Luftwaffe.

  • Medal of Honor – the highest U.S. military decoration.
  • George Patton – the master of mobile warfare.

  • Knight’s Cross – the medal awarded to Germany’s greater heroes and commanders, and its recipients.
  • Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto – Japan’s best Admiral, who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • Otto Skorzeny – Germany’s commando leader, nicknamed "The most dangerous man in Europe".
  • Erich Hartmann – a young German fighter pilot who became the highest scoring ace in history, with 352 victories.
  • Hans Joachim Marseille – the most amazing fighter pilot of World War 2 .
  • Quotes – a few selected wartime quotes which are still very meaningful today.
  • Intelligence

    In World War 2, military intelligence dramatically advanced. The use of new scientific methods and technologies, as well as great human efforts involving endless work, great risks, and brilliant thinking, made intelligence become an equally important part of the armed forces, a crucial element for victory.

    • Enigma – the German military cipher machine, and the allied efforts to break its code.
    • Luftwaffe bomber wing KG 200 – this top secret unit flew the most special missions with the most special aircraft.
    • Navajo code talkers – American-Indian Marines who used their complex native language to form an unbreakable code.

    Military Theory

    How to fight? How to win? – the following essays answer these questions, and provide many concrete examples from World War 2.

    • The principles of war – the timeless rules of thumb for fighting, strategy, and tactics.
    • The mechanisms of defeat – the various material and psychological ways to achieve victory.

    World War II Essay

    Length: 1611 words (4.6 double-spaced pages)

    The war started in September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded the territory of Poland, which was allied with Great Britain and France. German officials signed a peace treaty in August 24-25 with the Soviet Union to prevent them from acting in the invasion and to stay in peace between both countries. So Great Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany the day of September 3, 1939. After this event, Canada also declared war on Germany at September 10, 1939. Germany rapidly crushed Poland, since it had an incredible army with 100 infantry divisions and six armored divisions. Due to the peace treaty between Germans and Soviets, in September 17th the Soviet also invaded and took eastern Poland. Later in the year, on November 30th, the USSR invaded Finland while Great Britain and France where occupied with Germany. At this time, Japan was in the Far East, and had Asia in turmoil. Imperial Japan invaded china and various other territories .

    . middle of paper .

    . ther atomic bomb, leaving Japan helpless. Japan surrendered in several places from September 7th to September 16th.

    Britannica Online, Encyclopedia. “3.” http://www.school.eb.com.proxygsu-scob.galileo.usg.edu/eb/article-53533 (accessed March, 2011).

    Stokes, Phil. “1.” 1999. http://www.secondworldwar.co.uk/dates.html (accessed March, 2011).

    Stokesbury, James L. http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar610460&st=world+war (accessed march, 2011).

    Robinson, Bruce. April 23, 2004.http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/ww2_summary_01.shtml (accessed march 30, 2011).

    worldwar-2.net, “War in Europe.” 2006.http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/war-in-europe/war-in-europe-index.htm (accessed march, 2011).

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    Every college or university student is required to write a research paper during the academic career. As with the norm, the course instructors may provide a student with a subject and ask them to select a topic of their choice and discuss it in the essay. Your course tutor may ask you to write about World War II as an assignment. This is an extremely broad subject, and it can be difficult to narrow down to a specific topic for your essay. The truth is that they are many topics you can base your essay on.

    Some scholars focus on how and when the events took place during World War 2. Alternatively, they are others that solely focus on the timeline before and after WW2 happenings. In the same way, students can also select topics on World War 2 based on tactical strategies that led to important developments or historical changes. There were a lot of events that happened during World War 2 including battles, operations, vast campaigns as well as crucial raids like Stalingrad, Blitzkrieg plan, Kursk and Doolittle’s raid. All these events affected the course of the war. A student can concentrate on these topics when writing a research paper on World War II.

    The best way to come up with topics on World War 2 is through brainstorming and writing down a list of phrases, words or related questions. Students can base their essay topics about World War 2 by relating to the battled techniques employed during the war, or the weapons used – such as naval weapons, land weapons, and air weapons. Similarly, the topic can be based on heroes, leaders, admirals and generals who greatly influenced the series of events that took place during the war. Moreover, WW2 topics can include information on military intelligence – that is, how soldiers used analytical intelligence and scientific technologies to attain victory. Here are several potential topics that you can discuss in your World War II essay:

    1. When did the United States of America join the WW2?
    2. Which Historic Cities and Sites Destroyed during the World War 2?
    3. How Did Mediums of Communication like Radio influence major Events?
    4. Did World War 2 Have any Impact on Domestic Violence?
    5. What was the Impact of WWII on the Economy of Countries that Participated?
    6. What were the Major Causes of WWII?
    7. The Effect of Food Rationing During World War II.
    8. How Military Intelligence Impacted WW2.
    9. Did World War 2 lead to the Emergence of New Vocabulary?
    10. Did World War II Give Rise to Any Medical Developments?

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    There is nothing like a good argumentative essay to sink your teeth into. The key is finding a topic that hasn’t either been done to death or bores you to death. The Second World War is fantastic because even though it is an incredibly popular choice there is still plenty of wriggle room in it; scope to write about it from a slightly different angle.

    So, to save you running through the whole war trying to figure out the best way forward, I have come up with a list of what I feel are the best 20 argumentative essay topics:

    1. Choose a decisive battle and argue it from either side. The Battle of Berlin, and The Battle of Guadalcanal immediately spring to mind.
    2. The role of women in World War 2
    3. Compare and contrast the French Resistance movement to Resistance movements that we are currently seeing in the Middle East
    4. Examine the effectiveness of Hitler’s attempts to control the media during the war. Did he set a dangerous precedent? Compare to modern day dictatorships like North Korea.
    5. The First World War was supposed to be the war that ended all wars. Examine the triggers that led to the outbreak of war.
    6. Was Hitler justified in invading Poland and subsequently occupying Czechoslovakia? How is that any different to modern day Russian incursions into Ukraine and Crimea?
    7. Was the attack on Hiroshima justifiable?
    8. Examine the treatment of Prisoners of War by the Japanese. Is there an argument so support their behavior, or was their treatment barbaric and a violation of international war, period?
    9. Is it right that the international community should still be actively pursuing and trying former guards in concentration camps? Is it time that we let bygones be bygones? Should the world move on?
    10. Did the holocaust really happen?
    11. Is the current conflict between Israel and Palestine in any way rooted in the Second World War?
    12. Is the destruction of ancient cities like Nimrod by ISIS in any way comparable to the Nazi burning of books?
    13. Would Europe be a better place if Hitler had succeeded in his goal to invade Britain?
    14. Can Russia and the West ever be truly at peace?
    15. The recent rise in Anti-Semitism – Have we learned nothing from World War 2?
    16. Can civilian deaths in war ever be justifiably called collateral damage? Use the allied bombing of Dresden as an example.
    17. Look in depth at food rationing – Was it fairly implemented? Was there a genuine need to introduce it? Is there an argument to say that it was an unnecessary hardship?
    18. Examine the treatment of deserters. Is desertion cowardice or bravery?
    19. Were war veterans treat properly after WW2? Have any lessons been learned?
    20. Examine the role of the secret services during WW2.

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    World War I (1914–1919)

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    World War I has often been described as an “unnecessary war.” Why? Do you agree?

    World War I has been called unnecessary because the original dispute that triggered the conflict was limited, yet it triggered a massive, global war. In short, the conflict stemmed merely from Austria-Hungary and Serbia’s disagreement over how to handle the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand: the Austro-Hungarian government believed that the Serbian government was connected with the assassination and therefore demanded to be involved in the investigation and judicial process within Serbia. No other countries had a direct interest in the matter. Russia and Germany were the next to get involved, not because of animosity toward each other but because of their intentions to protect Serbia and Austria-Hungary, respectively. France, Britain, and the Ottoman Empire had even less interest in the matter. Thus, one could argue that much of the war could have been avoided if Russia and Germany had simply kept out of the matter.

    On the other hand, real tensions existed among many of the principal nations prior to the war, and these conflicting ambitions contributed to the war’s escalation. In particular, the naval arms race between Germany and Britain was intensifying, and growing German colonial ambitions raised the tension level further. Additionally, the spread of nationalism in southern Europe was destabilizing Austria-Hungary, making the country dangerously vulnerable to minority uprisings. Thus, many observers and strategists felt that an armed conflict between the European powers was inevitable; the disagreement over the archduke’s assassination simply provided a spark and an outlet.

    2. What, if any, are the connections between the causes of the war in 1914 and the reasons that the war was still going on in 1918 ?

    In many ways, World War I in mid- 1914 and World War I in mid- 1918 are unrelated. What started as a local conflict over a political assassination had become an unbelievable bloodbath: the Indian troops fighting in Mesopotamia, the Australians fighting in Gallipoli, and the Americans fighting in France had little invested in the conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. The same was largely true at the government level in many of the warring nations. For the Allied Powers, the fight was mostly about Germany, not Austria-Hungary. By 1918 , those who were still fighting were doing so because they could not find a way to stop without facing unacceptable losses.

    On the other hand, some of the roots of the original conflict—factors that predated Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination—were still present and still unresolved. Nationalism, which was spreading rapidly through southern and eastern Europe, became the major cause of mutinies in the Austro-Hungarian army. Ultimately, these mutinies caused Austria-Hungary’s collapse, isolating Germany and helping bring about the war’s end. Thus, one could argue that the same problem that had started the war was at least partly responsible for ending it.

    Consider the role of diplomacy in World War I. How was it a positive influence? How was it a negative one?

    Although diplomacy traditionally is used to prevent armed conflicts from happening, in the case of World War I, it in many ways played the opposite role, whether intended or not. Few of the combatant nations in World War I were directly interested in the disputes between Serbia and Austria-Hungary, and in many cases they became involved only because of treaties obligating them to defend other countries. Although some of these treaties were publicly known, many had been made in secret, preventing potential enemies from ascertaining the consequences of their actions.

    This opaqueness of diplomacy was arguably one of the main factors that led Germany to make such aggressive moves early in the war, as many German leaders believed that Britain would never enter the war against them. Russia likewise pursued a number of secret treaties and agreements both before and during the war. Italy even went so far as to shop around secretly when trying to decide which side offered the greatest potential benefits. Ultimately, these secret diplomatic maneuverings escalated the war to catastrophic levels. As a result, one of President Wilson’s Fourteen Points policy was that henceforth, all treaties and trade agreements between nations be held with full public disclosure.

    Suggested Essay Topics

    1 . What is trench warfare, and why was so much of World War I dominated by this method of fighting? Consider such elements as technology, strategy, attitudes of leaders, and any other factors you can think of. How did trench warfare affect the duration of the war?

    2 . After the war, Germany was punished much more severely than were the remnants of Austria-Hungary. Do you think this was reasonable? In your answer, consider the roles each country shared in starting and escalating the war. Also consider the roles of Serbia and Russia.

    3 . How did the use of new technologies during World War I influence the war? Which sides benefited the most from which technologies? Did any of them play a role in either lengthening or in shortening the war? Which technologies were the most important?

    4 . Discuss the U.S. policy on American troops serving in Europe during World War I. Why do you think American commanders were hesitant to allow U.S. soldiers to serve in British and French regiments? What effect did this policy have on America’s relations with the other Allied countries?

    5 . What was the Schlieffen Plan and why was it unsuccessful during World War I?

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    World War II (1939–1945)

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    Study Questions

    Compare the roles of Germany and Japan during World War II. Generally speaking, were their aggressions fundamentally similar or fundamentally different?

    The respective roles of Germany and Japan in the initiation and escalation of World War II seem similar on the surface—a combination of economic ambition and racist ideology. However, the countries’ root motivations and the ways in which they were expressed were fundamentally different.

    Both Germany and Japan engaged in large-scale territorial conquests in the years leading up to World War II. Hitler and other Nazi officials in Germany advocated the concept of lebensraum, the natural “living space” required by what they considered the racially superior German people. Under this doctrine, Hitler claimed openly that German territory needed to be expanded through conquest of surrounding nations. Though some of Japan’s leaders held similar beliefs in the racial superiority of the Japanese people, they also had concrete motivations for territorial expansion: Japan’s population was growing too large for the confines of the Japanese islands, and colonial holdings in Asia were arguably becoming necessary to feed and clothe the Japanese people.

    Also, Japan’s economic problems were far more severe than Germany’s. Although the German people were indeed humiliated by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, Germany actually ended up not paying the bulk of the economic reparations that the treaty demanded. Rather, Hitler channeled the German people’s resentment to fuel his own schemes. Japan, however, though a victor in World War I, suffered when the United States and several European nations imposed high tariffs and blocked industrial imports. As a result, many Japanese people began to believe that whites were hostile to the idea of a developed non-white nation.

    In response, Japan’s leaders asserted the superiority of their people and tried to change Japan into a colonial power itself, rather than a colonial subject. They therefore invaded and attempted to “develop” other Asian countries, including China and Korea. However, though Japanese policies in these countries were sometimes brutal, and often motivated by ideas of racial superiority, they were a far cry from the overtly genocidal goals of the Nazi death camps.

    Ultimately, whereas Japan’s racist ideology and territorial ambitions grew as a result of real economic problems and Western exclusion, Hitler used Germany’s alleged economic woes and residual resentment from the Treaty of Versailles to promote his own racist ideas and premeditated plan to expand Germany’s borders.

    Consider the role of technology during World War II. Did it fundamentally affect the outcome of the war? If so, how? If not, why not?

    World War II saw the new application of many new technologies by military forces on all sides of the conflict, and some of them had a profound impact on the war. The airplane in particular became a fundamental instrument of war and changed the way many battles were fought. Much the same may be said of the aircraft carrier, which became crucial to the United States after so many of its battleships were lost at Pearl Harbor. As a result of these developments, the Battle of Britain in 1940 marked the first time in history when air power alone determined the course of a major battle, and the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942 was the first naval battle in history fought exclusively in the air, by carrier-based planes. Both sides also realized the effectiveness of radar as a way of warning against approaching enemy planes. Germany experimented with new missile technologies as well as both jet- and rocket-powered aircraft, but none of these projects was perfected in time to change the outcome of the war.

    Although the majority of these new technologies had an effect on the war, they generally were created by one side in response to similar technologies being developed by the other side—the net effect of which was to balance out the new power these technologies offered. The notable exception was the atomic bomb, which the United States developed in secret from 1942 to 1945 and which Japan had no way to counter at the time. Indeed, Japan declared its surrender just days after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 . Even today, however, historians debate whether the atomic bomb changed the outcome of the war, as Japan may have been already very close to surrendering.

    Explain Germany’s mistakes in Russia and the ways in which they affected the outcome of the war.

    Most historians concur that Hitler’s decision to invade the Soviet Union was one of the primary causes of Germany’s ultimate defeat. By invading the USSR, Germany made essentially the same mistake that Japan made by expanding so far across the Pacific. The huge expanse of the Soviet Union and the vast distances between its major cities required an enormous German invasion force. Despite this geographical challenge, Hitler assumed that Operation Barbarossa would take only six months, expecting Russia to capitulate rapidly after the shock of Germany’s initial, devastating attack. When events transpired differently, the German forces were faced with an enormous challenge, as their forces were dispersed and poorly equipped to deal with the brutal Russian winter. Russian soldiers and civilians, conversely, had plenty of room to retreat east when necessary, which caused the pursuing Germans to extend their supply lines so far that they were unable to maintain them. It was under these conditions that the Germans had to fight the massive battles of Stalingrad and Kursk. After the Germans lost both of these battles, they were no longer capable of maintaining their position and were forced to retreat to the west. Within a matter of months, the pursuing Red Army had pushed the Germans back through eastern Europe and toward a last stand on their home turf, which was the beginning of the end of the Nazi empire.

    Suggested Essay Topics

    1 . How and why was Germany allowed to annex Austria and the Sudetenland? Was there any justification for Britain and France’s policy of appeasement?

    2 . Discuss the role that Italy played in World War II. How did the nation become involved in the conflict? How did its participation affect the direction of the war and Germany’s fortunes?

    3 . Discuss the issues surrounding the United States’ decision to use atomic bombs against Japan. What motives were behind this action, and what arguments have been made against it?

    4 . Explain how the situation in Europe immediately following the fall of Germany led directly to the Cold War. In your opinion, should the Western Allies have acted to oppose Soviet domination of Eastern Europe?

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