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Germany's 1939 invasion of Poland triggered World War II. In time, Italy, Japan, and six other nations would join Germany to form the Axis powers. Opposing the Axis powers were the Allies. Before the war was over, the allies included Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the United States, China, and 45 other countries. World War II was the most destructive war in human history. Many millions of people were killed. Armies fought in cities and villages all over the world and on the great oceans. When the war finally ended in 1945, many cities across Europe and Asia lay in ruins.