World War II was the bloodiest and farthest-reaching military conflict in human history, which resulted in the annihilation of some 60 million people. This authoritative and thorough volume summarizes the essential information regarding the war in vibrant, accessible entries. It features: * brief biographical portraits of notable military and political leaders, from Bradley to Zhukov * informative analyses of significant battles and political events, from blitzkrieg to Yalta * details on military organizations, army, navy, and air force units, and theaters of war * descriptions of individual weapon classes, from flame throwers to U-boats * insightful articles on war-related issues, such as home front and financing the war * profiles of the key participating countries * explanation of war-specific terms, such as unconditional surrender and civil defense * entries on lesser known topics--including Navajo code breakers and Afrika corps * Further reading lists following each entry * A list of museums and historical sites, including on-line information * A complete chronology of important dates * Cross-references following each entry While focusing primarily on the American war effort, the author has incorporated extensive material about the other major participants in the conflictnotably the Soviet Union, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, France, Italy, and China. O'Neill does not hesitate to tackle controversial issues--from the atomic bomb to the lack of an American heavy tank. Over 220 photographs and maps, and a detailed index make World War II: A Student Companion an excellent introductory resource for students and readers interested in modern history.