The main combatants of World War II were the Axis powers, consisting of Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan and the Kingdom of Italy (along with smaller states like Finland, Romania, Hungary, and Iraq), and the Allied forces, consisting of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, the United States of America, and various governments-in-exile, like France, Poland, Greece, and Ethiopia. It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. It resulted in an estimated 50 million to 85 million fatalities. These made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history. The war ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Axis. It is generally regarded as a turning point in human history, given the horrible scale of war crimes committed (including, but not limited to, the Holocaust, the Rape of Nanking, the displacement of numerous ethnic minorities in the Soviet Union and many more), the acceleration of decolonization and the reordering of the world into two blocs at its end.
It is important to note, and highlighted in several White Wolf publications, that World War II and its crimes were a fundamentally human endeavor. Hitler was not a secret infernalist, Churchill was not the puppet of a vampire, and Stalin was not a stooge of a mage cabal. The crimes committed were thought of by entirely ordinary people, with no supernatural nudging required. While some groups may have profited from the war, the main instigators, actors, and victims were human.
Vampire: The MasqueradeEdit
Vampires greatly profited from the war. The pogroms and death camps resulted in a secure way for regular feeding, and members of all Clans and sects made accommodations with the Nazi war machine. As it is custom, blame for the events tends to fly around. While such notions are exaggerated, certain individual vampires, like Prince Breidenstein of Berlin, supported the Nazis in an effort to eliminate competitors or gain revenge, although none of their numbers ever controlled Hitler himself. Some spread stories of heroic vampires that Embraced camp inmates and helped them flee, but these are generally regarded as fanciful tales certain vampires (like the notorious Lord Ashton) tell themselves to feel better about their role.
Numerous elders were destroyed in the fighting, while the war caused an exodus of Kindred from the Old World into the New, straining their domains and caused even more tension between the Anarchs and the Camarilla in these lands. The ideals of the Third Reich live on in Anarch groups like the Final Reich, or the individual interpretations of former Nazis that were Embraced, with Doktor Totentanz the most infamous example.
Werewolf: The ApocalypseEdit
The Garou usually do not become involved in mortal conflicts, having enough conflicts of their own. World War II was an exception. The Get of Fenris nearly split over the issue. A faction among them saw the Übermensch that Nazi esotericism exalted as their own ancestors, and believed it was time for humanity to learn its rightful place. If necessary, the would use the Weaver's tools to reduce humanity once again, as they did before. Other Fenrir rejected this, claiming that humans and their politics were secondary to the duty of the Garou to protect Gaia. Other tribes chose not to support the war, but focused instead of protecting their own Caerns against the growing mass of Banes that were on the rise. Individual packs supported partisans, particularly on the Eastern Front. Especially enthusiastic were the Bone Gnawers, who greeted the war as a way to prove themselves. During the conflicts, the hostile parties began to disregard the Veil, magnifying the horror of war with the effect of the Delirium.
The Wyrm grew powerful in the resulting slaughter of the war and the concentration camps. With the aid of the Thule Society, the SS created projects that sought to recreate the Übermensch through breeding, using lost "vril magic from Atlantis". To this end, they utilized torturous dark magic in order to attract "vril spirits". The Fenrir that had sided with the Reich protected these facilities against their brethren until all was lost. The war also awakened one of the wyrm-dragons known as Zmei, who began to search for the resting place of Baba Yaga. Theurges prophesied that the war was one of the heralds of the End Times, a fear that seemed to be proven true when the first atomic bombs were unveiled and used.
The shame of a large part of their tribe having supported the Third Reich weighed heavily on the Get, who resolved to hunt any member of their tribe that had supported them, along with their allies. The damage done by the World War still taints the Umbra, both in Eastern Europe and Japan. In Europe, the sites of the death camps remain dead spots in the Umbra that can inspire Harano in any Garou that comes near them. In Japan, major dragon lines have been tainted, pumping Wyrm corruption through the ecosystem of the island and sapping the strength of Gaian spirits.
Mage: The AscensionEdit
While modern mages are uncomfortable with the truth, both sides had originally large Axis supporters. Hitler's delving into occult mysteries and the State Shinto mysticism of Japan attracted numerous Traditionalists, while the Technocrats appreciated the apparent success with which these countries had left the Great Depression and had become superpowers, hoping to use their ideals to install one world government.
In Japan, the Akashic Brotherhood and Dreamspeakers devoted to Shintoism served the empires as spies and assassins, eliminating Chinese mages that could become a threat. The eastern allies of the Technocracy, the Five Elemental Dragons, still deny any involvement in the atrocities and continue to blame western technomancers for Japanese war crimes. The western Technocrats deny this and claim that the crimes were entirely mundane, without any Awakened interference. In Europe, the Iron Circle of the Verbena, preserver of the secrets of the Valdaermen, inserted themselves into the occult societies of the Nazis and began a hunt against rival Awakened, even from among their allies in the Traditions. Hermetics were part of numerous occult societies and threw their weight behind the Party. Several Sons of Ether leant their scientific knowledge to the Nazis and used their funding for their own experiments. Technocrats in Germany involved themselves deeply into the studies of the Third Reich, with no Convention being exempt (although the Virtual Adepts claimed to have eradicated all of their brethren that supported the Axis before the end of the war, thanks to Turing). These mages would conduct experiments that were recorded in forbidden documents like the Black Papers, including the shattering of Avatars and the rediscovery of the Psychopomps. Their practices were strange blends of technology and mysticism, combining the worst traits of both to horrifying effects. Other mystic factions, like the Nebuu-Afef, tried to join the Nazis, but were hindered by unknown forces.
Resistance rose in the later years of the war, although individual mages had already fought for their homelands earlier. The Euthanatoi had uncovered evidence of the crimes committed by the Nazis from the ghosts of the dead and presented evidence before the Council of Nine. When the Council was locked in bureaucratic debate, the death-mages took matters into their own hand, delivering the Good Death to known Axis-supporting mages. On the Technocratic side, the Virtual Adepts proved invaluable in convincing the rest of the Union of the corruption of the Axis, providing information about the persecution of scientists and the dealing of Hitler with occult forces. Some even claim that the Adepts were vital for drawing the United States into the war, and one of their outstanding members, Alan Turing, was vital in deciphering the Enigma Cipher. As both sides of the Ascension War learned of the crimes of the Axis forces, and of the Nephandi that grew fat on the suffering behind the scenes, they chose to put aside their differences. Cross-faction cabals were built, like Situation Six, who fought the Nephandi who seemed omnipresent. Their conjoined efforts proved successful, as they prevented a coven of Nephandi near Berlin to summon their masters into the world during the event known as the Sundering of Berlin. At the Wewelsberg Tribunal, several mages who had worked with the Axis were sentenced to gilgul by a shared council of the Traditions and the Technocratic Union.
Several Nazi mages would live on. The Technocracy absorbed the hypertech studies of the occult groups of the Third Reich for their own use, hoping to cleanse it of the superstition that had tainted it and make it rational.
Wraith: The OblivionEdit
The dead, as always, were the first ones to suffer from the aftermaths of global conflict. As the war heated, more and more victims of Nazi war crimes and pogroms ended up in the Shadowlands. The Reapers of Stygia worked triple shifts, and whole black markets came into existence that traded the recent dead to guilds who sought them for their own experiments. Several more fell into the hands of Renegades or Spectres. Heretic cults drawing on Nazi ideology flourished and hunted the souls of those who perished in pogroms and internment camps, while former resistance fighters saw the Hierarchy as not so different from the Nazi bureaucracy. Oblivion's influence spread, with the barriers between Stygia and the Well of the Void splintering, still weak from the effects of the last Great Maelstrom.
Charon had waged war against the Yellow Springs in that time, to secure the souls of westerners who died in the Middle Kingdom from the greedy censors of Yu Huang. As such, he was stunned when the Ferrymen guided the souls of numerous victims of the genocide to the Great Senate of Stygia itself. The wraiths told the Deathlords and the emperor of their fate and demanded justice. Charon, however, saw the main danger of the Nazi death camps in their weakening of the Shroud, which could destabilize the whole Shadowlands if a new Maelstrom would erupt. He entrusted the matter to the Deathlords, who called in the Tempest Conference with several high-ranking Anacreons. The result were the Partition Accords, which divided the dead of the Holocaust among the seven Legions, established ghettos outside all major necropolis that would house them under the direct protection of the Deathlords, and elite groups of Legionnaires would travel to the death camps and work to stabilize the region. As the war became more severe, with hundreds and thousands of wraiths entering the Shadowlands, the Accords were quickly overloaded. Resistance fighters formed the Army of Fire, who accused the Hierarchy of sheltering the wraiths of Nazis. The main blow came when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The event caused the Malfean Gorool to awaken, who was only stopped through Charon's sacrifice. The Fifth Great Maelstrom tore the already shaken Shadowlands apart, isolating Necropoles from Stygia and drawing every soul caught in its winds into Oblivion. In the aftermath, the Deathlords, now the sovereigns over the Dark Kingdom of Iron, established the Covenant of the Millions to accommodate the thousands of victims, creating the Dark Kingdom of Wire as exclaves where the victims of the Holocaust could conduct their own affairs, punish their tormentors, and close the Nihils that had opened at that sites of tragedy. Many Renegades still believe the Hierarchy granted several high-ranking Nazi officials new identities and incorporated them into their structure, shielding them from the vengeance of their former victims.
In the Yellow Springs, the wraiths of Nippon hoped to use the advances of the Japanese army to free themselves from the tyranny of Yu Huang. Using modern relic weapons, the rebels proved to be a match for the Imperial Army, under the leadership of the wraith of Oda Nobunaga. The Japanese managed to bait the gros of the Imperial Army to Hiroshima, where they were annihilated when the bomb fell. The Fifth Maelstrom destroyed a large part of the Jade Kingdom's infrastructure and left the emperor seething with rage. His empire was shaken with revolts in all the Conquered Territories that would continue well past the war's end, and only in the 1950s, Japan was reconquered, Nobunaga slain in personal combat against Yu Huang, and the Thousand Years of Peace were declared in celebration.
Changeling: The DreamingEdit
Changelings were deeply affected by the banality of the war, but especially in Europe, found themselves in both sides out of loyalty to their homes. Several Unseelie entered Chrysalis, inspired by the dark dreams of racial supremacy and the ethos of National Socialism. Nockers worked in secret Nazi laboratories to find more efficient ways to bring death to the enemy, while several others were hauled off into concentration camps as mentally ill persons. Redcaps found ways to indulge their hunger in the SS and in the occupied territories. On the Allies's side, most Changelings joined the resistance fighters, among them mainly Satyrs and Eshu.
Kindred of the EastEdit
While the Kuei-jin had no real involvement in the war in Europe, they were strongly involved in the war in the Pacific. The gaki of House Genji were deeply involved in the imperial ambitions of Japan, already extorting the Korean Green Courts of Jade and chi. Their successes made them the strongest uji in Japan, with their daimyo assuming the title of Kanpaku, "Emperor of the Night". When Japan declared war against China, the gaki followed, intending to take the place of the Quincunx. The Blood Court and the Flame Court fell before them, with fighting coming to a standstill in Shanghai. Numerous dragon nests fell under gaki control and even as the Allied retook ground, the Genji held their territory.
Their fortune reversed only during the Burning, when the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The resulting chi corruption and chaos stifled the Genji war effort, inspired a rebellion from the Bishamon and caused the Kuei-jin of the remaining courts to strike back against them. The Kanpaku was forced to face the Eye of Heaven and declared Akuma, while the Genji lost their former preeminent position to the Bishamon.
Hunter: The Reckoning Edit
The various secret organizations that hunt the monsters of the World of Darkness were also affected by the war. The Arcanum was infiltrated by the Thule Society, their german chapter-houses plundered and the Arcanum were forced to relocate much of their lore into safe spaces. The Sons of Tertullian supported the Nazi regime, believing them to be a good vehicle to strike out against “possessed” individuals, with their exorcisms camouflaged as interrogations of undesirables.
The Nazis themselves were prodigious hunters themselves. Under a top secret SS research institute, Project: Werewolf, supernaturals found among the captured people were shipped for further studies. Werewolves, vampires and others were dissected and submitted to brutal experiments that hoped to utilize their abilities in the service of the Third Reich.
Demon: The FallenEdit
While no Fallen was active during the war, the prophetic tome Days of Fire contains a prophecy that foretold the coming of World War II, including the destruction of the "People of the Book" and the "rape of the Middle Kingdom".
For detailed information about the actual conflict, see World War II.