World War II, WWII or WW2, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved almost all of the world's countries, especially the great powers, and polarized the globe into two major military alliances that opposed each other: The Allies and the Axis.
It was the most widespread war in history, and involved 100 million people from over 30 nations. It was one of the few wars in history where humanity entered a state of total war: a state where civilian and military assets became one and the same as nations across the world mobilized all of their resources to fight in exhaustive and devastating military campaigns. Red Matter for the first time became integral to research and development teams across all nations that had access to the exotic material in a desperate bid to create weapons and to deploy large numbers of magically-gifted individuals to use them.
It was during this war that one of the worst genocides humanity ever experienced, the Holocaust, occurred.
The Soviet Union, despite having been a member of the Allied powers, was perceived as an untrustworthy threat to Western interests, and the alliance soon entered a period of tension where an arms race, both nuclear and Red Matter based, ushered in the Cold War.
While no historical event has one sole cause, it is safe to say that had the Treaty of Versailles never existed neither would have World War II. It is impossible to overestimate the amount of anger, resentment, and suffering inflicted on Germany through the "War Guilt clause," and thus similarly difficult to overestimate how much it contributed to the later war.
Despots and dictators tend to come to power when the people are demoralized and angry, looking for a scapegoat and hope. An Austrian named Adolf Hitler offered Germany both in its darkest hour, and the world once again plummeted towards war.
World War II was, at its core, two almost completely unrelated wars. There was war in Europe and Africa, spearheaded by Nazi Germany and fueled by hatred and pain from the first war and a desire for territorial expansion, The Pacific war theater fought for control for Asia and the Pacific, fed by Japanese resentment of western colonialism and a desire to establish themselves as a true power.
The two wars were fought almost entirely separately on the side of the Axis, as neither Germany or Japan showed interest in coordinating their forces or sharing supplies, and may have been unable to do so in any event due to their distance from each other. Unfortunately for the Axis, their campaigns for expansion were ineffective; Italy would attempt invasions, said invasions often poorly planned or equipped and often turning into tactical disasters, forcing Germany to divert resources in order to stabilize the situation.
Imperial Japan on the other hand expanded rapidly through Asia and the Pacific, conquering Southeast Asia, Indochina and devastating and occupying the eastern coast of China. Their expansion is owed to their highly productive war machine, the warrior culture instilled in their populace, and the Red Matter technologies that had given them a cutting edge in warfare thanks to the direction of Hirohito, who was a practicing technomancer and revered as a deity. Japanese magical technology gained the Empire a decisive advantage in the early stages of the war, dispensing great misery on its conquered territories.
Germany and the Axis Powers invaded Denmark and Norway during their conquest of Europe with the intention to secure deposits of Rm, due to fears that the Allies would begin to amass their own stockpiles. This fear was justified when the United States, with the heavily Rm-saturated Canada at its side, entered the war in 1941 after Imperial Japan, in overconfidence, made the mistake of attempting to cripple the US and prevent them from interfering by attacking Pearl Harbor.
During the war, the US experimented with Red Matter enhanced technology, conducting magi-tec research at classified military installations in the Rocky Mountains and around Union City. Area 51 was created to intentionally spread rumors that it was related to Rm-technology development in order to draw the Empire of Japan's attention away from the real facilities in the very real possibility of an invasion. The Soviet Union likewise experimented with Areum, including the creation of a subspecies of Ferals, based on bears, which they used as stopgap shock troops against Nazi Germany.
Near the end stages of the war, Operation Cherry Blossoms At Night was a Japanese operation to sabotage the US industrial base by releasing a biological attack on its western seaboard in order to slow the American advance to buy more time for Japanese forces to replenish and counterattack. The deployment of the pathogen proved extremely effective, but the resultant heavy civilian casualties outraged the Americans and their allies, and contributed to their decision to deploy a Rm-enhanced nuclear warhead on the Japanese mainland months later.
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ultimately forced Japan to sign an agreement of unconventional surrender, ending the war in 1945.
The end of the World War and rising political tensions, as well as the demonstrated capabilities of Rm led into a state of tension between the Soviet Union and the rest of the Allied powers.
The United States, along with the United Kingdom and most other powers, immediately scrambled to secure more Rm deposits in anticipation for what could potentially be an even greater magi-tec war. Though the United States already had its northern neighbor of Canada as a potential source of the magical strategic material, further expeditions to Antarctica were launched in earnest with the objective of surveying the icy plains for potential deposits of Rm.
Though the Allies were victorious, many considered victory pyrrhic. The Second World War was one of the most devastating conflicts ever fought, with civilian and military casualties nearing almost a hundred million. Its devastating effects ravaged thousands of communities across the world and destabilized global affairs for decades to come. This severe disruption led to vows that such destruction was to be avoided at all costs in the future, resulting in increased international cooperation in forms such as the United Nations, which sought to resolve disputes with voices in a debate chamber instead of guns on a battlefield.
In its closure, the war brought a weapon capable of not only outright obliteration of enemy states, but the capability of annihilating life on Earth. A scramble for both nuclear weapons and reaching space to deploy them ensued in the following years, while political tensions accelerated arms races and weapons development in a tense standoff between the United States and Soviet Union in what would be known as the Cold War.
World War II greatly proved the effectiveness and viability of magic on the battlefield. Because magi-tec was used to such great effect, the following wars and military hardware produced in the aftermath of the war made great use of magically-enhanced weaponry, the most famous of which was the ACS-1 Citadel-class aerial battleship. All future military forces would go on to incorporate more magical weaponry into their arsenals, and actively encouraged or drafted wizards into their ranks in a quest to gain the decisive edge over their enemies and rivals.
Magi-tec as a whole became immensely popular after the war, with booming industries growing around its proliferation. In addition, technology as a whole accelerated at a vast rate with the aid of the wizarding world, resulting in vast improvements in transportation, construction, infrastructure, medicine, farming, power generation and thousands of other fields during the latter half of the 20th century.