The German Reich invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, thus initiating one of the greatest and bloodiest conflicts in human history. War-torn Europe was divided among countries that were either occupied, occupiers, collaborators of Nazi Germany, or otherwise neutral. Millions of civilians perished due to armed struggle, the policy of destruction, and worsening living conditions. Many more fell victim to war crimes committed, in particular, by the German Nazi regime.

Use materials from this section to introduce students to World War II.