Morally, for Earth's two billion individuals in those years, WWII (1931-1946) was about one thing and one thing only.
It was this : should they remain as neutral, pacifist, bystanders to a long series of international bullyings - or should they become interventionalists and fight to protect the weaker and the smaller ?
This way of looking at WWII emphasizes that nations were not the only active participants in this conflict, regardless of many academic and popular historians make that claim explicitly or implicitly.
So Spain might have been officially Neutral during WWII , but semi-unofficially many of its men went off to fight with the Axis against the Russian communists while a few others slipped away quietly and volunteered to fight in the Allied armed forces.
Britain was always a combatant on the Allied side, but it too have its divisions of opinion among its citizens.
It had its willing and unwilling conscripts, its eager volunteers and and its turncoat traitors.
It also had a great many citizens ("funk holers") who laid low, kept their mouth shut and who did as little as possible with regard to working in the war economy to shorten the war and thought only of ways to make money and keep safe.
Many of them were quite prepared to make nice with either the British or the German government, depending on who won the war.
I say WWII lasted 15 years .
For me, it really began in Manchuria - attacked in 1931 by Japan while 2 billion other earthlings basically did nothing to stop it.
Its mid-point was the infamous Munich Agreement in late 1938, again a sell-out of a small nation, a sell-out agreement cheered to the walls by 2 billion earthlings.
Even the formal ending of the war didn't stop the deaths.
In 1946, Moldova , a small food-producing part of the USSR, saw many of its farmers semi-deliberately starved to death despite a surplus of food produced.
This was because Moscow took most of Moldova's food to send to Eastern Europe so the Russians could play the role of food-delivering liberators, even if it meant that their own people back home starved.
Fearful of making the large republics like the Ukraine hate Moscow even more for yet another deliberate famine, Stalin chose to pick on a small republic - one he knew couldn't bite back effectively.
Other governments knew of general famine situations throughout the USSR in 1946 but little real noise was made urging Moscow to feed its own first and let America surpluses fed soviet-controlled Eastern Europe.
So Stalin bullied Moldova and again another bully got away with it.
Hirohito, Hitler and Stalin : Bully - Bully - Bully.
Many people said, between 1931 to 1946, that these affairs were just 'schoolyard fights' in distant lands and no concerns of theirs : they chose to be non-interventionalists, chose not to help the smaller party.
But when a High School senior / beefy football star beats up a little girl in the primary grade and chooses to do so in the schoolyard, we should call it for what it really is : a savage case of bullying.
The kids who silently stand around watching an uneven schoolyard 'fight' all grow up one day : and they then stand around silently while Germany beats the hell out of Belgium and Greece et al.
Bystander children become adult bystanders at a whole series of holocausts enacted out in the global schoolyard.....