How Much Do You Know About World War II?

Can you pass this basic knowledge test of WWII?

Introduction

The Second World War, usually abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a period of global warfare unprecedented in history. Between 1939 and 1945, more than 100 million people in more than 30 countries were drawn into the bloodiest war of all time. It plunged many countries into a state of total war. From Europe to the Far East, all the major global powers and their colonies played a part in this war.

This war changed the shape of the world and the consciousness of humanity forever. It birthed the United Nations. It led to tremendous advances in industry and technology, being the first and only war where nuclear weapons were used. It initiated global decolonization. It dimmed the power of prominent European countries. It also brought forth global superpowers, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America, setting the stage for the Cold War, which dominated global politics for over five decades. The Holocaust, the systemic extermination of over 11 million individuals overseen by Nazi Germany, was one of the worst crimes against humanity in recorded history. While the war may have ended decades ago, it is by no means an isolated historical event; its effects are still felt today.

Studying history is important so that we can learn from it. This quiz will probe your knowledge about some of the principal events, major turning points, prominent people, main fronts, battles, and campaigns of World War II.

Description

The Second World War, usually abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a period of global warfare unprecedented in history. Between 1939 and 1945, more than 100 million people in more than 30 countries were drawn into the bloodiest war of all time. It plunged many countries into a state of total war. From Europe to the Far East, all the major global powers and their colonies played a part in this war.

This war changed the shape of the world and the consciousness of humanity forever. It birthed the United Nations. It led to tremendous advances in industry and technology, being the first and only war where nuclear weapons were used. It initiated global decolonization. It dimmed the power of prominent European countries. It also brought forth global superpowers, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America, setting the stage for the Cold War, which dominated global politics for over five decades. The Holocaust, the systemic extermination of over 11 million individuals overseen by Nazi Germany, was one of the worst crimes against humanity in recorded history. While the war may have ended decades ago, it is by no means an isolated historical event; its effects are still felt today.

Studying history is important so that we can learn from it. This quiz will probe your knowledge about some of the principal events, major turning points, prominent people, main fronts, battles, and campaigns of World War II.

Short Description

Find out how much you know about the events, main players, theaters, and other historical facts of this unique period in human history.


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Let's Play!

1. Which event is most widely considered the start of World War II?


1. Which event is most widely considered the start of World War II?

1. The Italian invasion of Abyssinia (Oct. 3, 1935)

2. Germany's invasion of Poland (Sep. 1, 1939)

3. The militarization of the Rhineland (Mar. 1936)

4. Repudiation of the Treaty of Versailles by Adolf Hitler

The German invasion of Poland is regarded as the start of the war. It provoked Britain and France to declare war against Germany two days after the invasion.



2. Which country was not part of the Axis military alliance?


2. Which country was not part of the Axis military alliance?

1. Germany

2. Italy

3. Hungary

4. Yugoslavia

The Axis included Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Thailand, Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria.



3. Who said, "I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany"?


3. Who said, "I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany"?

1. Winston Churchill

2. King George VI of Britain

3. Neville Chamberlain

4. Albert Lebrun

Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Britain, said this in the formal announcement of Britain's declaration of war against Germany.



4. Why did Germany invade Denmark and Norway in April of 1940?


4. Why did Germany invade Denmark and Norway in April of 1940?

1. To protect its shipments of iron ore from Sweden

2. To secure launch points for its offensive against the United Kingdom

3. To secure safe passage for the Soviet Fleet through the Baltic Sea

4. To oppose Britain's landing in Iceland and the Faroe Islands

In April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway to protect shipments of iron ore from Sweden, which it needed for its armament programs.



5. What was the momentous Norway Debate?


5. What was the momentous Norway Debate?

1. Norway's debate on appealing to Allied Forces for assistance

2. A debate in Britain's House of Commons following their Norway Campaign

3. Britain's debate over assisting Norway after the German invasion

4. Norway's debate on whether they should oppose or surrender to the German invasion

The Norway Debate was the debate in the British House of Commons that led to Winston Churchill's leading a coalition government of Britain until the end of the war in Europe.



6. Why was the German victory in the Battle of France so quick and decisive?


6. Why was the German victory in the Battle of France so quick and decisive?

1. The German army had superior training and communications

2. The Allied forces placed all their faith in the Maginot Line

3. The German Blitzkrieg came largely through Belgium

4. All of the above

The correct answer is all of the above. German forces overran Allied forces in France largely because of their superior preparedness and because France's Maginot Line lack defense along its Belgium border (where the attack came from).



7. The Few was a nickname for what?


7. The Few was a nickname for what?

1. The German conspirators who tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler

2. The Chief-of-Staff under Adolf Hitler

3. The select few British officers privy to Ultra Intelligence

4. The Royal Air Force pilots who won the Battle of Britain

The correct answer is the Royal Air Force pilots who defeated German forces in the Battle of Britain. Prime Minister Winston Churchill said of them, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."



8. Who was the Desert Fox?


8. Who was the Desert Fox?

1. German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel

2. British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery

3. Marshal Graziani of Italy

4. Lieutenant General Sir Kenneth Anderson

Field Marshall Erwin Rommel was the Desert Fox. His leadership of the German and Italian forces in the North Africa campaign earned him the nickname from British journalists.



9. What was Operation Valkyrie?


9. What was Operation Valkyrie?

1. The sustained German aerial assault on Britain in 1940

2. An offensive by the German Luftwaffe to destroy the French Air Force

3. An attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler

4. The reconstruction of a German Enigma machine by the Polish Cipher Bureau

Operation Valkyrie, on July 20, 1944, was a group of German conspirators’ attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters. It was led by Claus von Stauffenberg.



10. What was the Enigma?


10. What was the Enigma?

1. The code name for German submarine stealth operations

2. A typewriter-like machine used by the Germans to encrypt secret messages

3. The secret emblem of the Waffen-SS

4. The name of a United States reconnaissance aircraft

The Enigma typewriter was a machine used for encrypting and decoding messages for secret communications used extensively by the Germans during the war.



11. Why did the Netherlands become a target for German occupation during the war?


11. Why did the Netherlands become a target for German occupation during the war?

1. To expand the northern flank of Germany's western front

2. To secure Dutch airspace

3. It represented a strategic location for Germany's planned invasion of Britain

4. It offered Germany a secure position for the invasion of Belgium

The Netherlands was situated between Britain and Germany, making it an ideal air and naval base for a planned invasion of Britain.



12. How did the Battle of Britain come to be so named?


12. How did the Battle of Britain come to be so named?

1. Historians gave it this name retroactively

2. General Charles de Gaulle spoke of it in the wake of the Battle of France

3. Winston Churchill pronounced that the Battle of Britain was about to begin

4. Adolf Hitler said in a speech that he was determined "to take battle to Britain"

On June 18, 1940, Winston Churchill said, "The Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin." Germany's sustained aerial offensive against Britain began three weeks later.



13. What was the Blitz?


13. What was the Blitz?

1. The German aerial bombing offensive against Britain

2. The name given to Erwin Rommel's most successful Panzer division

3. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

4. The insignia of the SS

The Blitz, German for lightning, was the German aerial bombing against Britain, lasting from September 7, 1940, to May 11, 1941.



14. What was the French Resistance?


14. What was the French Resistance?

1. The French movement that opposed General Charles de Gaulle

2. The French movements that fought to liberate France from German occupation

3. The French movement that opposed alliance with Britain at the start of the war

4. The French movement that favored an alliance with Germany and Italy

The French Resistance was the collection of French movements that fought to liberate France.



15. What turning point in the war was hailed as "the end of the beginning," if not "the beginning of the end"?


15. What turning point in the war was hailed as "the end of the beginning," if not "the beginning of the end"?

1. Britain's victory in the Battle of Britain

2. The Soviet Union's defeat of Germany at Stalingrad

3. The D-Day landing of Allied troops in Normandy

4. The victory of the Allied forces at the second Battle of El Alamein

Winston Churchill said, after the Allied victory in the Second Battle of El Alamein, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."



16. Who was the Spartan General?


16. Who was the Spartan General?

1. General Dwight D. Eisenhower

2. General George C. Marshall

3. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery

4. General Maxime Weygand

British Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery was known as the Spartan General. He was a highly decorated British senior officer.



17. What was Operation Crusader?


17. What was Operation Crusader?

1. An attempt by British Intelligence to infiltrate the Gestapo

2. A British military operation against Axis forces in North Africa

3. An Allied offensive to prevent German occupation of Palestine

4. An attempt by the French resistance to save the French Air Force

Operation Crusader was a British military operation against the Axis forces in North Africa from November 18 to December 30,1941. It was the first victory of British forces over German ground forces in the war.



18. What was Operation Torch?


18. What was Operation Torch?

1. The Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa in 1942

2. The Soviet offensive to capture Berlin in 1945

3. An attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler

4. Organized aid to victims of the Blitz

Operation Torch was the Anglo-American invasion of French Morocco and French Algeria in November 1942. It was the first major operation in which U.S. forces took part in the European/North African theater of the war.



19. Who, or what, were the Schutzstaffel, SS?


19. Who, or what, were the <em>Schutzstaffel</em>, SS?

1. The British Secret Service

2. Protection Squadron of Adolf Hitler

3. The Soviet Submarine fleet

4. A Security Services group of Western allies

The SS (literally "Protection Squadron") was a paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany and German-occupied Europe.



20. Who were the Gestapo?


20. Who were the Gestapo?

1. The German secret police

2. Private bodyguards of Adolf Hitler

3. The security branch of the Soviet politburo

4. An alternate name for Germany's Replacement Army

The Gestapo was the secret police of Nazi Germany and German-occupied Europe.



21. Why was the Battle of Moscow a significant moment in the war in Europe?


21. Why was the Battle of Moscow a significant moment in the war in Europe?

1. It turned the tide against German attempts to invade Russia

2. It was a major setback for the German army

3. It led Adolf Hitler to assume personal charge of the Wehrmacht

4. All of the above

All of these are correct. In the extreme winter of 1941, exhausted German troops faced fresh Russian troops at Moscow, permanently turning the tide on German efforts to occupy Russia.



22. Why was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a major turning point in World War II?


22. Why was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a major turning point in World War II?

1. It permanently incapacitated the American naval fleet

2. It severely depleted the Japanese Air Force

3. It compelled the United States of America to enter the war

4. It increased tensions between Admiral Yamamoto and other high-ranking Japanese officials

The Japanese attack on the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, compelled the United States to enter the war.



23. Why is the Battle of Midway considered to have been the major turning point of the war in the Pacific?


23. Why is the Battle of Midway considered to have been the major turning point of the war in the Pacific?

1. The Battle of Midway caused irreparable damage to the Japanese fleet

2. It was the Allies' first major naval victory against the Japanese navy

3. It precipitated a major offensive by Allied forces against Japan

4. All of the above

All of these are correct. The Battle of Midway, in June 1942, was a decisive naval battle in which the Japanese navy suffered such losses in both men and equipment, causing it to lose superiority in the Pacific theater of the war.



24. Who was the overall commander of the Allied invasion of Sicily?


24. Who was the overall commander of the Allied invasion of Sicily?

1. British General Sir Harold Alexander

2. American Major General Walter Bedell Smith

3. American General Dwight D. Eisenhower

4. British Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham

The correct answer is U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Allied invasion of Sicily, which initiated the Italian Campaign, fell under his overall command.



25. What was D-Day?


25. What was D-Day?

1. The day the United States entered the war

2. The day Germany invaded France

3. The day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima

4. The landing of the Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy

D-Day (June 6, 1944) was the first day that Allied forces invaded Normandy to begin the liberation of Western Europe from German occupation.



26. Which was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II?


26. Which was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II?

1. The North African campaign

2. The Battle of the Atlantic

3. The Battle of Greece

4. The Continuation War

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, running from 1939 to the defeat of Germany in 1945.



27. What is a Spitfire?


27. What is a Spitfire?

1. A submachine gun designed and favored by the Soviet infantry

2. A light-weight canon favored by British field artillery units

3. A British fighter aircraft

4. A flamethrower deployed by the German Wehrmacht

The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries during World War II.



28. Which of the following was not a military award of honor of the United Kingdom during World War II?


28. Which of the following was not a military award of honor of the United Kingdom during World War II?

1. The Knight's Cross

2. The Distinguished Service Order

3. The Africa Star

4. The Victoria Cross

The Knight's Cross was the highest award in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II.



29. What event is widely considered to be the end of World War II?


29. What event is widely considered to be the end of World War II?

1. The formal surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945

2. The suicide of Adolf Hitler

3. The capture of Berlin by Soviet troops in 1945

4. Germany's unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945

The unconditional surrender of Germany in May 1945 is usually held to mark the end of World War II because it was German hostilities which had precipitated it. The Pacific theater didn't end, however, until Japan's formal surrender in September 1945.



30. What was VE day?


30. What was VE day?

1. Victory in Europe Day

2. Victory over the Enemy Day

3. Viceroy Exit Day

4. Edge of Victory Day

VE day was Victory in Europe Day (May 8, 1945), the day of Germany's formal, unconditional surrender.



31. What treaty or treaties formally marked the end of hostilities in Europe following World War II?


31. What treaty or treaties formally marked the end of hostilities in Europe following World War II?

1. The Paris Peace Treaties

2. The Moscow Peace Treaty

3. The Potsdam Agreement

4. The German-Soviet Frontier Treaty

The correct answer is the Paris Peace Treaties, signed on February 10, 1947.




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