Works Set in World War II
aka: Works Set In World War 2

This page covers works set during World War II.


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Films:

A number of the works below cover multiple categories and are grouped according to their main setting.

In an era where the only major forms of mass entertainment were radio, theatre and cinema (British television went off for the duration), it is not surprising that a very large number of movies were made during the war itself. Most of them were propaganda of some form or another, but some of these films (including some flag-wavers) have stood the test of time, such as Casablanca, In Which We Serve and Went the Day Well?.

    The Early War in Europe (1939-1940) 

The early part of the war, from the invasion of Poland in September 1939 to the fall of France in summer 1940. It ended with the victory and domination of continental Western Europe by Nazi Germany, and the occupation of the Eastern half of Poland and the Baltic states by USSR.
  • The Heroes of Westerplatte (2013), about the fierce, one-week long defense of a military depot by its Polish garrison against invading Germans on the peninsula of Westerplatte in September 1939.
  • Siege is a documentary short from 1940 about the German siege of Warsaw, Poland in September 1939.
  • 9.April follows a group of Danish bicycle infantry sent to slow down the German advance into Denmark until reinforcements can arrive.
  • Films featuring "Operation Dynamo", the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force and French troops surrounded by Germans in the city of Dunkirk during the Battle of France in late May 1940:
  • Dunkirk (1958) is about the siege and evacuation from the British point of view.
  • Weekend at Dunkirk (Week-end à Zuydcoote, 1964) is about the siege and evacuation from the French point of view.
  • Atonement (2007) has a section covering the evacuation on the beaches. It's mostly known for a stunning five-minute single tracking shot along the whole beach.
  • Dunkirk (2017) also about the siege and evacuation, from three British points of view.
  • The 7th Company, a French-Italian film trilogy about the comedic antics of three French soldiers getting lost somewhere on the front in May 1940 during the Battle of France.
  • Bon Voyage, the exodus of the French populations fleeing the German advance on the roads and the French government relocating itself in the city of Bordeaux.
  • Appeal of 18 June (2010). A TV film about the famous 18 June 1940 speech by General De Gaulle, who founded the Free French Forces in exile in London.

    The Finnish Front (1939-1944) 

The war between Finland and USSR, more specifically the Winter War of 1939-40 and the Continuation War of 1941-44 (which is included in the Eastern Front as Finland was co-belligerent with Germany). Has been depicted several times on film, but these films are little known outside Finland.
  • Kukushka (The Cuckoo), a Russian film.
  • Tuntematon Sotilas (The Unknown Soldier), based on a novel of the same name written by war veteran Väinö Linna. Two versions exist, one from 1955 and another made 30 years later.
  • Talvisota, a Finnish film set in the Winter War

    The Eastern Front (1941-1945) 

The bloodiest theatre of the war (the number of deaths there alone- over 25 million- would make the Eastern Front the worst war in history in its own right). Has been covered in film quite a bit in the Soviet and Russian film industry for obvious reasons, but most of the examples aren't that well known outside of Eastern Europe. In most of the former USSR the focus is not on World War II in general, but on "The Great Patriotic War" of 1941-45 - the Soviet-German war. A few US-made 1943-45 propaganda movies made about the Eastern Front glossed over many of the Soviet Union's more questionable activities, which would come back to haunt their creators and actors just a few years later during the late-40s to early-50s Red Scare.

It is common to see Germans in works threatened with being sent to the Eastern Front - a posting there was nothing but trouble, and became a near-certain-death-sentence from '43 onwards.

Somewhat under-represented in (non-German) Western and Anglophone media, for the likely reason that the protagonists weren't Western Allies.

    The Pacific Front (1941-1945) 

Most of the works here focus on the American and Japanese part in the Far East, although Commonwealth forces also played a major role (primarily the ANZAC forces, for obvious reasons). Films about the Australian and New Zealand war efforts started appearing with the rise of those country's film industries, the relative lack of British films on the subject is probably due to the European theater being much important in the minds of most people at the time. Only recently have films dealing with the Second Sino-Japanese War started to appear, unsurprisingly given the delicate politics of the matter.

Think partisan warfare, big naval battles (most famously Midway and Guadalcanal), Jungle Warfare, beach landings, starving civilians, and the inconsistent (mis)treatment of non-combatants.
  • Away All Boats: Jeff Chandler (not John Wayne) as a John Wayne/Vince Lombardi-type of Navy Captain, this time about one of the amphibious assault ships that the U.S. Navy invented out of whole cloth in order to prosecute the Pacific War.
  • Battle Cry: Covers the Battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Saipan.
  • The Battle of Midway: John Ford's famous documentary short (18 minutes) about the battle, including live combat footage taken by Ford and an assistant cameraman on Midway atoll on June 4, 1942.
  • Battle of Okinawa: a Japanese film about the battle itself from Japanese POV.
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai - focuses on British POWs put to work on the notorious "Railroad of Death" in Burma.
  • City of Life and Death - aka 'Nanjing, Nanjing', focuses on the aftermath of the Battle of Shanghai and the pacification of the lower Yangtze.
  • Crusade In The Pacific: America Goes to War, an early (1951) 24 episode documentary serial that is surprisingly Fair for Its Day with relatively little of the racism, jingoism and triumphalism that mar other works of the period and not, despite the title, focused entirely on the US war effort. Covers both the prewar era and the postwar occupation, but does not cover the fire raids or the Soviet Union's last-minute contribution, perhaps because the Korean War was going on at the time. Useful if you're looking for coverage of some of the less ballyhooed aspects of the Pacific war, like the ANZAC campaign to liberate Indonesia. It even contains surprisingly sympathetic views of the causes and rise of Japanese militarism and Indonesia's postwar anti-colonialism.
  • Empire of the Sun - the life of a boy living in the British concession in Shanghai, and then a POW camp.
  • Father Goose: 1960's romcom involving the adventures of Cary Grant as an unwilling coast watcher.
  • The Fighting Seabees - Another John Wayne propaganda film about some of the unsung heroes of World War II, the US Navy Construction Battalions ("CB" - get it?) who managed to build airfields, bases and port facilities across the Pacific much faster than anyone believed possible prior to the war.
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Only partially takes place during WW2. The protagonist Eddie fights in the Philippines.
  • Flags of Our Fathers - the lives of the flag-raisers in the famous photo of raising the flag upon Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima.
  • Flowers of War - about the Rape of Nanking, as witnessed by an American.
  • Fort Graveyard - A rare example of a film focusing on Japan vs. Manchurian China.
  • The Great Raid: about the raid at the Japanese POW camp near the Philippine city of Cabanatuan.
  • Guadalcanal Diary - made during the war, based on a 1943 memoir.
  • Hacksaw Ridge, the true story of conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss, who saved saving the lives of over 75 of his comrades during the Battle of Okinawa.
  • The Hasty Heart, a group of allied soldiers in hospital at the end of the war befriend a dying man so that he can spend his last days with friends.
  • Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, about a U.S. Marine and an Irish nun who find themselves stranded on a Japanese-occupied island.
  • The Human Condition - A socialist-leaning Japanese contractor in Manchuria starts to realize his country may be the bad guys...it got worse.
  • In Harm's Way: Following the exploits of a group of American naval officers in Hawaii during the early part of the war. The last John Wayne film produced in black and white.
  • Kokoda - Australian soldiers in New Guinea.
  • The Last Emperor - not purely a World War II movie, it focuses on Puyi, the eponymous "last emperor" of China and only emperor of Manchukuo, a puppet state the Japanese established in Manchuria from 1931 to 1945.
  • Lust, Caution - focuses on the Japanese occupation of China and local Chinese resistance.
  • Midway - about the turning point of the Pacific war, notable for lacking a special effects budget and using mostly Stock Footage, though still surprisingly good.
  • Mister Roberts: About one of the most essential but also most monotonous and least glamorous parts of the war, the men who served on the cargo ships far behind the fighting.
  • Objective, Burma! - controversial at the time as Australian Errol Flynn leads a group of US army soldiers on a raid in Burma, leading to some of the first British complaints about America Won World War II as Burma was a wholly British Commonwealth theater.
  • Operation Petticoat - 1958 comedy starring Cary Grant as a submarine captain trying to escape the Philippines at the beginning of the war with a broke-down sub loaded with Army nurses and Filipino civilians—and the sub is painted bright pink. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Pearl Harbor - An un-acclaimed US production about the same battle (as well as the Doolittle Raid, the Battle of Britain, and a love triangle drama that leads up to the actual battle) that depicts the Pearl Harbor attack as envisioned by video game addicts who flunked Modern American History class in high school.
  • PT109 - about the wartime exploits of future US President John F Kennedy.
  • Report from the Aleutians: John Huston's propaganda documentary about a forgotten part of the Pacific war, namely, the Aleutian Islands campaign.
  • Run Silent, Run Deep: Submarine warfare off the Japanese home islands.
  • Sands of Iwo Jima - John Wayne propaganda film
  • South Pacific- Set mid-war, after the southern islands had become a backwater.
  • They Were Expendable - John Ford directs John Wayne and Robert Montgomery in this movie about PT Boats of the Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines in 1941-42. It doesn’t end well, though it at least gets a Bittersweet Ending for the leads.
  • The Thin Red Line - about a squad of Marines island-hopping, although the title is an allegorical reference to a small Scottish force in the Crimean War.
  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo - the story of the Doolittle Raid.
  • Tora! Tora! Tora! - An acclaimed joint US/Japanese production that depicts the Pearl Harbor attack from both sides.
  • A Town Like Alice: adaption of Nevil Shute's novel about British civilian prisoners of the Japanese in Mayla (based on real-world events surrounding a group of Dutch women.)
  • USS Indianpolis: Men of Courage: Revolves around the infamous sinking of Heavy Cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) by Japanese Submarine I-58, and the 5-day ordeal of her surviving crew members in shark-infested waters.
  • The Wackiest Ship in the Army: Two men man the USS Echo (a sailboat) alongside a fairly (at first) incompetent crew as they sail to Japan in hopes of studying enemy tactics.
  • Windtalkers - focuses on a group of Amerindians trained as signalmen because their language is entirely unknown outside the U.S.
  • Without Seeing The Dawn – depicts a Filipino (specifically, Visayan/Ilonggo) farming community that's quickly, and savagely, drawn into the war with the Japanese occupation bursting in midway through the novel. The protagonist joins the U.S. colonial Armed Forces to fight the Japanese, and upon returning to his hometown becomes a guerrilla.
  • The Wolverine: The movie starts with a flashback when Nagasaki was about to be bombed.
  • Zero: a film focusing on the development, testing and ultimate failure of the Zero fighter plane in aerial combat.

    German Occupation of Europe (1939-1945) 

Life in the countries of Europe that were occupied by the military forces of Nazi Germany at various times between 1939 and 1945. Often involves Les Collaborateurs versus La Résistance. In many cases, it also overlaps with the Holocaust.
  • The Adventures of Tartu: A British Captain is sent undercover into occupied Czechoslovakia to steal the formula of a new Nazi poison gas and sabotage the gas plant where it being manufactured.
  • Allied: A romance-thriller about an RCAF intelligence officer and a French La Résistance figher, who is accused of being part of Les Collaborateurs.
  • Army of Shadows: Dramatic film showing the work of a French Resistance unit. Unusual for being directed by an actual veteran of the Resistance, Jean-Pierre Melville.
  • Atlantic Wall: French comedy in which a peaceful French restaurant owner finds himself in possession of German V1 flying bombs launching pads plans. He brings them to the Allies and reluctantly takes part in a secret assassination plot on the eve of D-Day.
  • Beyond the Border tells the story of a group of Swedish soldiers trying to save the younger brother of one of them who accidently crossed the border into Norway and got captured by the Nazis.
  • Dieppe: Canadian miniseries that explores the largest amphibious raid on Nazi-occupied Europe between the surrender of France in 1940 and the Allied invasion of 1944.
  • Edge of Darkness: The people of a Norwegian fishing village rise up against the German occupiers.
  • Effroyables Jardins: Two French villagers decide to blow up a railway station to make themselves a name in La Résistance. It backfires and Germans take hostages in the area, including the two protagonists. One of the German soldiers takes pity on the hostages and start entertaining them with his clown nose - he worked at the Medrano Circus before the war.
  • Five Branded Women: Yugoslavia
  • Flammen og Citronen (Danish film): Tells the story of two Danish resistance movement fighters, nicknamed Flammen and Citron, during the Nazi occupation of Denmark.
  • La Grande Vadrouille: French comedy in which a British Lancaster bomber plane gets shot over German-occupied Paris. Its crew and the two Frenchmen who found themselves forced to help them will do everything they can to reach the Free Zone to escape.
  • A sizeable number of films are based on Operation Anthropoid, the assassination of the Nazi posterboy, SS-Obergruppenführer and Reichsprotektor of Bohemia-Moravia Reinhard Heydrich, in German-occupied Prague in May 1942:
    • Hangmen Also Die (1943 American film): The first film on the subject, filmed only a couple of months after the events, and very loosely based on them..
    • Hitler's Madman (1943 American film): A slightly more faithful version compared to Hangmen Also Die.
    • Atentát (1964 Czech film)
    • Operation Daybreak (1975 Czech-American film)
    • Lidice (2011 Czech film): About the attack and its horrific aftermath, namely the massacre and destruction of the village of Lidice as reprisals.
    • Anthropoid (2016 British film): Focuses entirely on the operation from the point of view of the Czech resistance protagonists who carried out the attack.
    • The Man with the Iron Heart (2017 French film): Based on a novel. It focuses both on Heydrich and his life and on the Czech resistance protagonists who carried out the attack.
  • Kanal: The Warsaw Uprising in which the Polish Home Army fought against the Germans in occupied Warsaw in 1944.
  • Lacombe, Lucien: A sullen teen in occupied France becomes a collaborator.
  • The Last Metro: A woman in Paris during the occupation struggles to hide her husband, who is Jewish.
  • The Night of the Generals: A murder mystery set in occupied Poland and later France.
  • One of Our Aircraft Is Missing: In which a British bomber crew are forced to bail out over the occupied Netherlands, and attempt to escape with the assistance of the Dutch.
  • The Others, a ghost movie set on the Channel Island of Jersey during the German occupation.
  • The Passage: An elderly shepherd (Anthony Quinn) attempts to help a scientist and his family escape across the mountains into Spain while pursued by evil Malcolm McDowell.
  • Pope John Paul II
  • Riphagen: An (in)famous gangster from Amsterdam who turned collaborator.
  • The Scarlet and the Black: Italy
  • This Land Is Mine: France
  • Simon and the Oaks: Sweden
  • To Be or Not to Be: A comedy about a Warsaw theater troupe of actors who use their acting skills to escape occupied Poland.
  • The Trip Across Paris: Two men involved in the Black Market in Paris in 1943.
  • Le Vieux Fusil
  • Zwartboek: The Occupation in Netherlands.

    North Africa (1940-1943) 

Initially, just between The Commonwealth, Italy, and other independent nations. Later, the Germans (led by Erwin Rommel) and the Americans also took part. An area of desert tank warfare, it also saw the creation of the SAS and the work of the Long Range Desert Group.Famous for the presence of two very quirky but effective generals, George S. Patton and Bernard "Monty" Montgomery.
  • The Big Red One - the first part of the film is set during the Battle of North Africa.
  • The Desert Fox - starring James Mason as Rommel
  • The Desert Rats - Another telling of the siege of Tobruk, starring Richard Burton. Also stars Mason as Rommel.
  • El Alamein: The Line of Fire - the italian point of view of the Battle of El Alamein.
  • Five Graves to Cairo, set in Egypt during Rommel's drive to El Alamein
  • Ice Cold in Alex
  • Indigènes/Days Of Glory focuses on North Africans fighting for the Free French through North Africa and into Italy.
  • Patton - the first half of the film takes place here.
  • Play Dirty - A group of convicted criminals go on a mission behind the battle lines to destroy an Afrika Korps fuel depot.
  • The Rats Of Tobruk - focuses on ANZACs holed up in the besieged Libyan coastal town of Tobruk
  • Sahara - an impromptu multi-national force of stragglers gathers around a lost American tank to defend a strategic oasis.

    Southeastern Europe (1941-1945) 

Greece, Yugoslavia, and the Mediterranean Theatre. The Yugoslav film industry celebrated the achievements of the Partisans, naturally. Note: there is some overlap with the La Résistance/Special Forces category (see below).

    Italian Front (1943-1945) 

The invasion of Italy by the Allies, starting in 1943 after their victory in North Africa. Winston Churchill thought the country was the "Soft underbelly of the crocodile" for the Axis, given the pitiful state of the Italian forces by that point. Unfortunately, German defense lines proved to be much stronger than expected, and the country suffered from both war crimes (from both sides) and a civil war between the pro-Allies and Benito Mussolini's loyalists.
  • The Battle of San Pietro, a dramatic documentary about the bloody December 1943 battle for the eponymous town.
  • Fortress tells a fictional (but inspired by real events) story of Lucky Lass, a B-17 Flying Fortress as it flies in the campaign against Italy.
  • The Green Devils Of Monte Cassino - Follows German parachutists during the battle of Monte Cassino, in 1944.
  • Hornets' Nest - set in and around the fictional Italian town of Reanoto.
  • Miracle at St. Anna, a Spike Lee joint.
  • Road47 takes place entirely in the winter of 1944 in Italy.
  • Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom - Torture porn at its most depraved, set in the city of the last fascist government. The fascist setting is really just an excuse for... icky stuff.
  • Two Women (La Ciociara). The story of an Italian woman trying to protect her young daughter from the horrors of war.
  • A Walk in the Sun - From The Golden Age of Hollywood, comes a war drama set in Italy and made just as the war ended.
  • Parts of Pink Floyd: The Wall. Roger Waters' father died in combat in Anzio, the song "When the Tigers Broke Free" is dedicated to him.

    The Western Front (1944-1945) 

The fighting around northern and western Europe in 1944-1945, from the Normandy landings to the conquest of Western Germany. where the Americans play a large role. The British, Canadians and Free French (as well as a considerable number of other nationalities) were involved, but they tend to be left out of US films.

Expect fighting in the woods, French villages and some very grateful Frenchwomen.
  • 36 Hours (1965) concerns a German attempt to find out the date and place of the D-Day landings by means of an elaborate deception.
  • Battleground depicts a company of infantrymen enduring the Siege of Bastogne.
  • Battle of the Bulge: Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • The Big Red One - the second half of the film follows the US First Infantry Division during their campaign through Western Europe.
  • The Bridge - A German film about seven teenaged soldiers defending a bridge against the Americans in the last days of the war
  • The Bridge at Remagen - A fictionalized version of the capture of the last standing bridge over the Rhine River in March 1945.
  • A Bridge Too Far looks at the Allied offensive in the Netherlands
  • The Bunker (2001) - horror film about a group of retreating German soldiers taking refuge in an abandoned bunker and find themselves haunted by dark figures as they try to retain order.
  • Eye Of The Needle where a Nazi spy discovers the Allies are pulling a king-sized fast one with Operation Fortitude on Germany to hide the true invasion destination for D-Day.
  • Fury - follows the crew of the namesake M4A3 Sherman tank during the advance of the US forces into Germany in early 1945.
  • Hell Is for Heroes - a squad on the Siegfried Line bluffs a German pillbox into thinking they are a much larger force.
  • Is Paris Burning? deals with the liberation of Paris in August 1944, focusing on the German commander resisting his orders to destroy the city while the 1st Free French Armored Division spearheads a desperate Allied drive to redeem French honor by saving their capital.
  • Kelly's Heroes focuses on a hodgepodge unit put together by the title character for an attempt to steal Nazi Gold.
  • The Longest Day covers both the events leading up to and on the 6th of June, 1944, the longest day for both the Allied invaders and the Axis defenders.
  • The Monuments Men - Based on a True Story film about a unit of art experts in the army tasked with protecting and rescuing plundered art from the Nazis.
  • Patton - follows General Patton. The second half of the film takes place here.
  • Saving Private Ryan focuses on a squad of Rangers as they make their way through the semi-organised chaos of Operation Overlord in search of the titular Private Ryan.
  • Storming Juno - a docudrama retelling the Canadian assault of Juno Beach on D-Day
  • The Victors follows one U.S. squadron through Britain, France, Italy, and Germany.
  • What Did You Do In The War, Daddy? - a comedy that follows an outfit of U.S. soldiers assigned to capture a small village in Sicily.
  • When Trumpets Fade, set in the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest.

    The Air War (1940-1945) 

In which the two sides of the war try to bomb each other into submission. A fair chunk of these are British and a number are based on true stories.

The Blitz, which followed the Battle of Britain, was a German attempt to bomb the UK into surrendering, which didn't really work. The Battle of Britain had been a close run thing, as the British had spent much of the 1930s not investing in their fighter force as they had believed "the bomber will always get through". It took Winston Churchill to persuade them otherwise- the Spitfire and the Hurricane arriving just in time. The Blitz was at its peak during 1940-1941 and 1944-1945, the latter mostly using V1 and V2 missiles. There were still attacks on the United Kingdom in-between, but Germany's resources were focused on the Eastern Front at the time.

While the actions of the Allied bombing missions in Germany have been subject to quite a bit of historical debate (although there were legitimate industrial targets in German cities, the bombing of German civilians did not have the planned effect of destroying German industry or morale- it simply made them more resolved, much like what had happened during the Blitz), it should be noted that these bombing raids were very dangerous for British airmen. They flew at night, unlike the USAAF (US Army Air Force) who did the day missions. Of every 100 airmen, 55 on average would end up dead. The issue of not awarding separate medals for the British Bomber Command crews (who got the Air Crew Europe star that everyone else who flew over Europe did) is raised from time to time.

This is not to say that the USAAF had it any better. Flying by day meant they had a monstrously high casualty rate, particularly before P-51s were available for long range escort. There was a policy of "25 and out". Once an airman had done 25 missions, his war was over. The ball turret gunner, despite not having a parachute close to hand and being exposed to ground fire, wasn't actually that dangerous, relatively speaking. Just unpleasant, as they ended up doing somersaults in a tiny, cold, plexiglass and metal ball looking at a really long drop. The 25 got upped to 30 and then 35. The average crew got shot down around the 20th mission.

The Air War in the Pacific has received comparatively less attention, even though the scope and nature of the Pacific theater meant that air power played an even larger role there than it did in Europe. The strategic bombing campaign against Japan in particular has not received much attention, perhaps because it's difficult to portray massive fire raids against civilians in a heroic light. Even those who participated rarely considered it to be anything more than a necessary evil.
  • 633 Squadron:
  • Battle of Britain: the RAF during the desperate days at the height of The Blitz.
  • The Big One
  • Catch-22: a very dark Black Comedy set in the Mediterranean campaign.
  • The Dam Busters: based on a true story about an elite air unit
  • Desperate Journey: Well, sort of about the air war. The story involves an RAF bomber grew that gets shot down over Germany and then goes on a, yes, desperate journey across Germany.
  • The German
  • Into The White: A German and a British plane are shot down during a dog fight and the crews cooperate to survive in the Norwegian mountains.
  • Both versions of Memphis Belle:
  • Mosquito Squadron
  • Reach for the Sky
  • Red Tails: Lucas Film finally gives The Tuskeegee Airmen the patriotic war movie they deserve a half-century after the war.
  • The Tuskeegee Airmen an earlier and arguably less patriotic take on the same subject: Elite African American fighter pilots who are subjected to racism while fighting for their country.
  • Twelve O'Clock High: The US 8th Air Force's daylight bombing campaign.
  • Victory Through Air Power: Disney Wartime Cartoon (yes, Disney) that explains the vital role of airpower in modern warfare.
  • ''The War Lover": examines what it takes to be an Ace Pilot: is he a hero, or a psychopath?
  • The Way To The Stars surveys the entire western European air war as the protagonist progresses from New Meat RAF bomber pilot to a ground controller supporting both the British and American air forces.

Though less common, there are several movies about the Air War in the Pacific:

  • Air Force - one of the earliest examples, a 1942 film about a B-17 bomber crew travelling to the Philippines in December 1941, passing through Hawaii on the day after the Pearl Harbor attack.
  • Flying Tigers — 1942 propaganda film with John Wayne
  • The Flying Leathernecks — John Wayne yet again!
  • God Is My Copilot - About the Flying Tigers
  • Pearl Harbor — Features the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo.
  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo — John Wayne somehow missed this one.

    Submarines/The Battle of the Atlantic (1939-1945) 

In which the German U-boats try to starve Britain into submission and stop equipment from getting to the Allies. The subs (on both sides) are hot, cramped and nasty. In fact, calling them submarines is slightly inaccurate, considering that most of their time was spent on the surface.

This campaign started pretty much on day one of the war, making it the longest battle in human history. A German U-boat mistook a passenger liner running without lights for an armed merchant ship... You get the idea.

Three-quarters of those who went out in the U-boats did not return.

  • Das Boot— a German movie from the U-boat crews' perspective: "hunters" who are actually the hunted and not likely to survive in any case.
  • U571—an American movie that caused outrage in Britain due to showing the first captured Enigma machine to be recovered by an American submarine crew.
  • Enigma
  • We Dive at Dawn — a British movie made in 1942, set on a British submarine.
  • Lifeboat — an Alfred Hitchcock movie made in 1943 about the survivors of a sunken merchant ship who are trapped in the titular lifeboat with the U-Boat captain who sank them.
  • The Long Voyage Home — Merchant sailors taking military supplies to England while German U-boats prowled the Atlantic. Made prior to the American entry into the war.
  • The Enemy Below — an American destroyer escort and a German U-boat duel on the high seas. Inspired the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Balance of Terror."
  • The Cruel Sea — film version of the novel by Nicholas Monserrat, about the crew of a British corvette escorting convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic.
  • Action in the North Atlantic — a tribute to the Merchant Marine, the civilian crews who had to sail the ships that carried the supplies that sustained the allied effort in WWII. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Raymond Massey.
  • Below — A psychological horror film set aboard an American sub on patrol in the Atlantic.

The Americans carried out their own submarine warfare against Japan, which succeeded in putting a large proportion of the country's people on the verge of death from starvation-related diseases.

The early years of the war in the Atlantic also saw some combat between surface ships, in particular the raids of the German battleships Admiral Graf Spee and the (in)famous Bismarck.

    La Resistance/Special Forces (1939-1945) 

The most famous is arguably the French Resistance (Trope Namer of La Résistance), but the other movements throughout Europe, most notably Greeks, Yugoslavs, Soviets and Poles, were very effective in their respective countries too. The German Resistance is also portrayed for their valiant, though eventually futile, attempt to save Germany from Hitler's rule.

    Prisoners of War (1940-1945) 

Germans generally respected the Geneva Conventions with regards to US, UK and French POWs, although by the end of the war when almost everyone was on the verge of starvation they were seriously considering throwing the Conventions out of the window with the Allied bombing raids as the excuse. Geneva had never so much as been in the building when it came to the Slavic peoples - captured Red Army soldiers usually ended up as slaves or starved in death camps at best. And assuming they actually survived to be liberated their treatment upon returning home was frequently nearly as bad since Stalin's Soviet Union practiced You Have Failed Me on a massive scale and shuttled them directly from German prison camps to Siberian labor camps where they served, ironically enough, alongside the German prisoners of war the Soviets belatedly (and sometimes never) got around to releasing. Conversely, a number of repatriated Italian (and even some German) ex POW later emigrated back to the US and Canada, a testament both to the treatment they received and the relative lack of opportunity at home.

You did not want to fall into the hands of the Japanese.

    The Holocaust (1939-1945) 

The Holocaust is the genocide Nazi Germany carried out on its territory and throughout occupied Europe primarily against Jewish people, but also against a couple other sorts of people their ideology deemed worthy of being exterminated, such as political opponents, Slavs, homosexuals and Gypsies.
  • Amen about the attempt of a priest to warn the Pope in Vatican about the gassings of Jews on behalf of SS officer Kurt Gerstein, who witnessed mass murders by Zyklon B gas.
  • Au revoir les enfants
  • Bent
  • The Boy In The Striped Pajamas
  • Conspiracy, a film based on the Wannsee Conference where the Final Solution is set in motion.
  • The Counterfeiters
  • Escape from Sobibór
  • Europa Europa - the true story of Solomon Perel, a Jewish boy who survived the Holocaust by pretending to be German and ended up being in the Hitler Youth
  • The Garden of the Finzi-Continis - persecution of Italian Jews ending in their roundup for deportation
  • God On Trial
  • The Grey Zone, about the Jewish sonderkommandos in the death camps.
  • Jakob the Liar
  • Judgment at Nuremberg is not actually about the actual trial of the surviving key Nazis, but it's rather a fictional tale based on the Judges' Trial and a real life case.
  • Kapo - A teenaged Jewish girl escapes Auschwitz only to become a despised "kapo" (prisoner guarding other prisoners) in a different labor camp.
  • Der letzte Zug
  • Life Is Beautiful
  • Night and Fog
  • The Pianist about Jewish pianist Władysław Szpilman, who escaped deportation and managed to survive in Warsaw between 1939 and 1945.
  • The Round Up about the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup. 13000 Jews were arrested (including more than 4000 children) in Paris by the French police (which collaborated) and deported to the death camps in Poland.
  • Sarahs Key
  • Schindler's List about the German industrialist who managed to save about 1200 Jews from extermination by employing them in his businesses.
  • Shoah - the definitive documentary on the Holocaust
  • Son of Saul - A Sonderkommando prisoner at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp
  • Sterne - (Translation: Stars)
  • Woman In Gold - the true story of Maria Altmann, an Austrian Jew who fled during the Anschluss and fifty years later sought litigation to retrieve a painting of her aunt that was stolen by the Nazis

    Home Fronts (1939-1945) 

The impact of the war on civilian life in the various countries that took part in the conflict.
United Kingdom:

USA:

Germany:

  • Aimée & Jaguar, the true story of the lesbian affair between German housewife Lilly Wust and Jewish woman Felice Schragenheim.
  • Before the Fall, about the Nazi National Political Academy.
  • Lili Marleen, a fictional story around the famous hit song.
  • The Marriage of Maria Braun deals with story Maria's journey from the earliest stages of Germany's surrender to the mid-1950s making it in Post-war West Germany.
  • My Führer, a comedy in which Adolf Hitler is so depressed that he hires a Jewish acting coach to help him prepare a New Year speech.
  • The Night fell on Gotenhafen, about the tragedy of the Wilhelm Gustloff, which was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine in January 1945. It is the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history, up to 9400 German civilians and soldiers died trying to evacuate East Prussia to flee the Soviet advance.
  • Rosenstrasse, a film about the 1943 protest in the eponymous street. Many "pure German blood" wives and relatives of Jewish men took to the street in protest against their deportation.
  • The Tin Drum — Starts in the city of Danzig, which was part of Germany until 1919, when the League of Nations made it a Free City and allowed Poland access to the Baltic sea there, thus cutting East Prussia off from the rest of Germany. The city was still mostly German ethnically, and was the first to be attacked by Germany on September 1st 1939.

Italy:

  • Malèna: A pubescent boy is entranced by the beauty of the most gorgeous woman in his village—who has been left in desperate straits after her husband is killed in battle.
  • Shoeshine: Two street urchins struggle to survive in the grim poverty of the Roman underclass immediately following liberation in 1944.

Japan:

  • Army, a Japanese film made during the war, 1944 to be exact, about the duty of the Japanese to support the war and the duty of Japanese parents to give their sons to the Emperor. Contains a very subtle anti-war message.
  • Doctor Akagi, set in a Japanese town during the last days of the war.
  • Grave of the Fireflies (2008 live-action film, not to be confused with the animated film of the same name) - a slice of Japanese civilian life in 1945. Based on the same novel as the animated film.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha - a stylised account of the life of a Japanese entertainer-courtesan
  • Morning for the Osone Family, 1946 Japanese film about the suffering an upper-middle class family undergoes due to the conflict.

    Other 
Films that don't really fit elsewhere.
  • 49th Parallel : A group of Nazi submariners are trapped in Canada when their sub is sunk, and attempt to escape to the neutral US.
  • Biloxi Blues depicts a young draftee's experiences in basic training during the war.
  • The Brylcreem Boys, depicting combatants from both sides in a POW camp in neutral Ireland.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger takes place in the United States and Europe during World War II. Leading an international Allied unit, Captain America fights Hydra, a Nazi science division led by Red Skull.
  • The Eagle Has Landed is about a German commando unit infiltrating the English countryside to assassinate Winston Churchill.
  • Fatherland Alternate history (where Hitler was not defeated) set in the 1960's of an investigation into the Final Solution.
  • Fighter in the Wind, the main character is a Korean who joined Japanese air force in the first part of the movie.
  • Five Fingers, loosely based on the real exploits of Agent Cicero spying for the Germans in neutral Turkey.
  • Frankenstein's Army
  • Homecoming: Follows a doctor and his nurse in a U.S. Army surgical unit in both Italy and France.
  • How I Unleashed World War II
  • It Happened Here, an Alternate History about the Nazi occupation of Britain.
  • King of the Zombies: A German agent in the Caribbean kidnaps an American admiral and tortures him in an attempt to learn the defences of the Panama Canal. Plus zombies.
  • A Matter of Life and Death, a supernatural love story about an RAF pilot who bailed out of a plane without a parachute and lived, much to heaven's chagrin. Set mainly in a British military convalescent hospital, and in the afterlife.
  • Mission to Moscow, about the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in the years leading up to the war; now infamous for its pro-Stalinist message.
  • Morituri: A German living in India is blackmailed into sabotaging a Nazi merchant ship carrying rubber from Japan.
  • My Way follows two men who fight in the Imperial Japanese Army, then the Red Army, then the Wehrmacht before being captured by Americans after D-Day. Inspired by the story of Yang Kyoungjong.
  • Nowhere In Africa: deals with a German Jewish family who flees to Kenya to avoid the Holocaust who try to run a ranch (in between being occasionally rounded up as enemy aliens, due to being German)
  • Operation Crossbow offers a fictionalized account of the titular Allied espionage operation to hinder the German development and use of long-range weapons.
  • Return To Never Land: The story begins in World War II London, during the Luftwaffe's bombing campaign in preparation for Operation: Sea Lion.
  • Saboteur, essentially The 39 Steps set in wartime America.
  • Sailor of the King
  • Seventeen Moments of Spring, a famous Soviet series about a spy in the Gestapo.
  • Shield and Sword, another series about Soviet spies.
  • The Tin Drum takes place before, during, and just after the war.
  • Went the Day Well? depicts the infiltration and takeover of a fictional English village by Nazi soldiers in advance of a planned invasion of Britain.

Other media:

    Anime & Manga 
  • Adolf
  • Axis Powers Hetalia, obviously, although it spans from the Roman Empire to the present day.
  • Barefoot Gen: A 1973-1974 manga that was adapted by Madhouse into two anime films in 1983 and 1986. The story mainly concerns the bombing of Hiroshima, and is well known for its very graphic and horrifying depictions of the dead and dying as a result of the bombing.
  • El Alamein no Shinden
  • First Squad
  • Grave of the Fireflies - The downward spiral a Japanese boy and his younger sister dying from starvation towards the end of the war. (No, that doesn't need a spoiler tag: you are told this at the start of the movie.) Based on the novel of the same name authored by Akiyuki Nosaka.
  • Hellsing: The Big Bad and his Mooks are SS troops who have since been turned into vampires. A prequel manga titled Hellsing: The Dawn, covers two major characters dropping into Poland to make sure their vampires don't see the frontlines.
  • In This Corner of the World: A 2007-2009 manga that later received a 2011 Live-Action Adaptation and a 2016 anime film. Set mainly in Kure in 1944 and 1945, it starts out as a historical Slice of Life story but the war steadily intrudes further and further into the characters' everyday lives, the clock ticking down all the while to Little Boy.
  • Kurogane Pukapuka Tai, a yuri manga about an IJN cruiser crewed entirely by women (except for the captain).
  • Momotaro's Sea Eagles: 37-minute 1943 film, one of the oldest surviving examples of Japanese anime. Cute cuddly animals who are also Imperial Japanese Navy pilots blow the hell out of Pearl Harbor.
  • Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors: 1945 film, sequel to the above, oldest anime feature film. Cute cuddly animals become fearless paratroopers, and wind up invading a British-held island.
  • Rail of the Star: an Anime about Japanese civilians desperate to escape North Korea after the war that notably glosses over why Japanese civilians would be desperate to escape Korea after the war.
  • Space Battleship Yamato uses a famous World War 2 battleship as the protagonist ship, while enemy small craft are torpedo and dive bombers,and the whole "Quest for Iscandar" is basically a sci-fi, cathartic fantasy of Yamato's sucidal last mission actually succeeding.
    • Completely unrelated to the anime is the 2005 live action film "Otoko-tachi no Yamato", literally "The Men's Yamato" - depicting Operation Ten-Go and the IJN Yamato's final mission, the last major Japanese naval operation in the Pacific.
  • Strike Witches is an Alternate History version of WWII with aliens and girls who don't wear pants.
  • Zipang

     Comic Books 
  • Biggles appeared in a number of comics set in World War II.
  • Blake and Mortimer is mostly set in The '50s, but occasionally uses the conflict in its backstory. Its first story's plot, The Secret of the Swordfish, is basically World War II set 20 Minutes into the Future, when the villain is a thinly veiled Expy of Imperial Japan. The 2014 book Plutarch's Staff plot is set in 1944.
  • Block 109, an Alternate History comic book.
  • Captain America punched Hitler in his very first issue. Most Golden Age superheroes, since they were published during the war, fought Nazis at some point.
  • A time-travel story in Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! had the team's speedster Fastback forcibly sent back in time to Earth-C's D-Day, where he winds up briefly helping the Allies fight the Ratzis alongside Golden Age DC funny-animal hero, the Terrific Whatzit (who turns out to be Fastback's uncle).
  • The Desert Peach is a well-researched comic based in Africa, about the Desert Fox's fictional gay younger brother.
  • Il était une fois en France is a thriller centered around the life of Real Life historical figure Joseph Joanovici.
  • Maus: The portions narrated by Art's father take place mostly in Poland during the Holocaust, while the framing story takes place in the modern day.
  • Snoopy from Peanuts showed up a few times; Charles Schulz (himself having been in the military in this time) had these show up around 06 June during the later years.
  • DC Comics has a long history of war comics, mostly written and drawn by Bob Kanigher, Joe Kubert and Russ Heath. Probably the most famous is Sgt. Rock, but there was also the Unknown Soldier, the Haunted Tank and The Losers.
  • Howling Commandos was Marvel's WW2-set comic, and introduced Nick Fury.
  • Northern Irish writer Garth Ennis, through his series War Stories and Battlefields, along with DC books like Enemy Ace: War In Heaven and revivals of British titles like Battler Britton and Johnny Red.
  • Steel. The original 5-issue series has the eponymous Super Soldier fighting in World War II.
  • Clark Kent was rated 4F (unfit for military service) due to poor vision because he accidentally used his X-Ray vision to read the eye chart in the next room. And since everyone knew Clark really, really needed his glasses he couldn't talk the military brass into letting it slide. Of course, all that meant was Superman kept showing up everywhere Clark Kent traveled as a war correspondent. Hmmm... nothing suspicious about that.
  • Terry and the Pirates.
  • Watchmen. In an Easter Egg during the course of the novel we learn that The Comedian saw action in his masked identity against the Japanese in the South Pacific in 1942.
  • Fiends of the Eastern Front: A group of Rumanian soldiers participate during World War II, first fighting alongside the Germans, then with the Russians when Rumania switches sides in 1944.
  • Über: An Alternate History with Alien Space Bats. Days before defeat comes to the Axis Powers, the Nazis successfully create Super Soldiers (the titular Ubers) that turn the tide of the war back in their favor. The Allies have to create their own super soldiers in the process, and things rapidly go From Bad to Worse for both sides. Author Kieron Gillen wrote this as a deconstruction of more traditional "super soldiers in WWII" stories.
  • Kismet: Man of Fate chronicled the adventures of a Muslim combatant on the European resistance.
  • Pat Patriot: America's Joan of Arc was about a super heroine who acted as an inspirational figure among the Americans.
  • Super-American had a patriot from the future time traveling to fight the Nazis.
  • The Lone Warrior is a Superhero thwarting Nazi plots on a military base.
  • Ace of Space fought Nazis a few times.

    Fanfiction 
  • The Children of Time episode "The Manhattan Conspiracy" takes place in New Mexico just before and during the first testing of the atomic bomb. The Cult of Skaro is looking to utilize the radiation of the bomb, and the Tenth Doctor & Co. arrive just in time to interfere.

    Literature 
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Film of the Book turns a single sentence mentioning the Pevensie kids being sent to live in the country "because of the air raids" into a dangerous scene that takes place right in the middle of the London Blitz.
    • Something of a reality to that- there was a second evacuation of vulnerable Londoners during the Blitz as many had returned after the initial feared raids hadn't materialised.
  • Asiunia is based on the authors childhood in occupied Poldand.
  • The Amazing Adventuresof Kavalier And Clay: Joe Kavalier, one of the main characters, escapes from Prague in 1939 after Nazi Germany occupied Czechoslovakia and takes refuge in New York City. He enlists in the US Navy and is shipped to Antarctica after the ship with refugees destined for New York City, in which his younger brother Thomas was travelling in, was destroyed by a German U-boat.
  • Len Deighton's loose "war trilogy": City of Gold, set in North Africa; Bomber, all about a single bombing raid and its effects on a town in England and a town in Germany; and Goodbye Mickey Mouse about a bomber escort group. There's also SS-GB which is Alternate History where England is under Nazi occupation.
  • Jack Higgins has written quite a few.
  • Catch-22, a very dark Black Comedy set in the Mediterranean campaign
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, in part based on his experiences during the bombing of Dresden.
  • The Guernsey / Armishire books in the Chalet School series are set during the Second World War, and the effects of the war on the school are a major part of the plots of The Chalet School in Exile, The Chalet School Goes To It and The Highland Twins at the Chalet School.
  • Robert Ludlum has a few too.
  • Dean Koontz's Lightning at least, that's Stefan's time period of origin and where various pivotal events take place. Other events range from 1955 to 1988.
  • Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks, featuring an fictional invasion of England.
  • Poul Anderson's alternate history Operation Chaos. In fact, one of the first things the narrator says is, better too much information than too little, and if you already know who won World War II, let me say it anyhow. Turns out you don't even know who fought World War II or where. (The timelines diverged early in the twentieth century.)
  • Jane Yolen's fairytale adaption Briar Rose is one of these. Definitely falls under True Art Is Angsty, even if it doesn't COMPLETELY manage a Downer Ending.
    • Also by Jane Yolen, "The Devil's Arithmetic" – The Holocaust, the Grandfather Paradox, and sadly, a bucketload of teachable moments.
  • Also, Number the Stars takes place in Denmark, World War II.
  • Snow Treasure by Marie Mcswigan is based on a true story about a bunch of Norwegian kids that snuck their country's gold past Nazis in the winter of 1939-1940 and adults who got it to America.
  • The Diary of Anne Frank is a diary written by a Jewish girl who went into hiding during the war. She was eventually captured and killed, and her family had parts of her diary published posthumously.
  • The French novel Suite Francaise by the Ukrainian-French writer Irène Némirovsky, set in the German occupied France. The author was planning 5 volumes of which she managed to complete only 2 before being deported and killed in Auschwitz as a Jew.
  • Connie Willis wrote a series of novels (Blackout/All Clear) and short stories ('Firewatch' 'Jack') about the experiences of British citizens during the war (and especially London during the Blitz.)
  • Courier From Warsaw
  • The English Patient, set mostly in Italy and North Africa, with a bit of 1941-45 - Soviet-German war. A few US-made 1943-45 propaganda movies made about the Eastern Front glossed over many of the Soviet Union's more questionable activities, which would come back to haunt their creators and actors just a few years later during the late-40s to early-50s Red Scare.
  • Cryptonomicon.
  • The Barrett Tillman novel Dauntless set during Midway. One character killed during the story is the father of Bud Callaway, President in his earlier novel The Sixth Battle.
  • Atonement, or about two-thirds of the story - set in Dunkirk and the English homefront.
  • The Book Thief is about Liesel Meminger growing up in a foster home in WWII Nazi Germany. And with a foster family that ends up hiding a Jew in their basement, too.
  • The Caine Mutiny. Set on the Pacific front, but hardly features any combat.
  • TheWindsOfWar and WarAndRemembrance is practically a grand tour of World War II.
  • Douglas Reeman has written at least twenty novels of the Royal Navy in WWII, including several set on the Pacific front (both The Pride and the Anguish and Strike from the Sea focus on the fall of Singapore).
  • Mailed Fist deals with a troop of British Churchill tanks between D-Dy and the war's end.
  • Night by Elie Wiesel, an autobiography about his time in the concentration camps and on the way there.
  • Similar to the above, Primo Levi's If This Is a Man details the author's survival in Auschwitz.
  • Alistair MacLean wrote several novels based on his experiences in WWII, among them South by Java Head and HMS Ulysses.
  • The novels by Sven Hassel on the 27th Penal Panzer Regiment.
  • Soviet lieutenant general Vasily Chuikov commanded the famous 62nd Army during and after the Battle of Stalingrad. He wrote several books of memoirs, most notably The Beginning of the Road about the succesful defense of Stalingrad, The Guards of Stalingrad go West about the liberation of Soviet Union and Fall of the Third Reich about the Soviet thrust into Germany.
  • To Know Oneself in Combat (Poznat sebya v boyu), memoirs of Alexander Pokryshkin, Soviet Air Force Marshall and official Hero of the Soviet Union, who fought against the German Luftwaffe.
  • Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman is an epic novel which tells the struggle of Russian people against the German invasion. Since Grossman himself was a news reporter at the frontlines, his book is widely considered to be historically accurate. It portrays soldiers of the Red Army as heroes fighting against all odds, at the same time heavily criticizing Soviet bureaucracy. It was therefore banned in the Soviet Union for some time.
  • Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad by William Craig tells the story of the legendary Soviet sniper Vasily Zaitsev.
  • Field marshall Erich von Manstein wrote Lost Victories as memoirs of his command over Wehrmacht in the Eastern front.
  • Settling Accounts (Harry Turtledove Alternate History pitting the USA against the Confederate States of America; CSA president Jake Featherston is Hitler in all but name. What minority is he wiping out in the death camps? Confederate Negroes).
  • Also by Harry Turtledove, the Darkness series, which is WWII set in a fantasy environment, with each side replaced with a Fantasy Counterpart Culture and magic wands and dragons instead of guns and bombers.
  • A third Harry Turtledove book set is the Worldwar series, about an alien invasion in May, 1942, following to the end of that war, plus further series looking at the 1960s and the 1990s.
  • And series four by Turtledove is The War That Came Early where World War II started a year early when the Munich Conference fell apart and Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia.
  • The Wing Commander novelizations are explicitly intended as sci-fi remakes of certain key points in WW2.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha mainly took place during the Great Depression, though it was the start of the war that changed many things for the main character Sayuri.
  • A Thread of Grace takes place in the year and a half between Italy's surrender and V-E day.
  • Silent Ship, Silent Sea: A coming of age story aboard a damaged destroyer at Guadelcanal.
  • Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall is Spike Milligan's account of serving in the Royal Artillery in North Africa during the war.
  • Shanghai Girls starts out in China in 1937, around the time Japanese soldiers invade.
  • The Blindness of the Heart (Die Mittagsfrau) takes place in Germany and starts out in the World War I era, and then things get worse for the characters when the war begins: at least one character dies in the camps, and the main character is forced to deny her Jewish heritage and carry falsified Aryan papers.
  • Biggles appears in a number of books set in WW2.
  • The Animorphs book "Elfangor's Secret" has the heroes chasing a time-traveling Controller. By the time they get to World War II, things have been changed enough that Hitler is now a lowly jeep driver, though the war still happens, including the D-Day invasion happening on the same day.
  • Robert Westall set several of his books and short stories during World War II, most famously The Machine Gunners but also, Blitzcat, The Blitz, and Blackham's Wimpey from the anthology Break of Dark.
  • The Naked and the Dead, set on a fictional island at the Pacific.
  • Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series is set from early 1942 onwards, based around two Asiatic destroyers and the japanese Battlecruiser Amagi and her crew sent to an alternate reality.
  • Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones. Maximilian Aue is an SS officer of French and German ancestry. He helps carry out massacres during the Holocaust and finally flees from Germany to start a new life in northern France. Aue is present during several of the major events of the war.
  • Living Alone by Stella Benson
  • The Snow Goose
  • Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean
  • The Hiding Place is the telling of survivor Corrie ten Boom's experiences in occupied Europe.
  • Lelejska gora by Mihailo Lalić is an introspective novel about a Yugoslav Partisan named Lado Tajović.
  • Silent Gunpowder by Branko Ćopić tells the story of a WW2 Serbian village located in central Yugoslavia (now Bosnia) whose inhabitants are forced to choose between alligning with royalist Chetniks or communist Partisans.
  • Jedenje bogova (Eating the Gods) by Goran Čučković is a short novella about the atrocities committed by Croatian fascists in German-occupied Yugoslavia. It is not an easy read, by any means.
  • Armored units in the Yugoslav battlefield 1941-1945 (Oklopne jedinice na jugoslovenskom ratištu 1941-45) by Bojan Dimitrijević and Dragan Savić describes in great detail the armored units of all warring factions in Yugoslavia (Wehrmacht, Waffen SS, Italians, Red Army, Partisans, Chetniks, Croatian Ustaše etc.).
  • Constantine's crossing (Konstantinovo raskršće) by Dejan Stojiljković is a novel about Partisans, Chetniks and Ghostapo in search of the Spear of Destiny.
  • Vercors' Le Silence de la mer, which was written in 1942 and secretly published in Occupied Paris.
  • Ken Follett's Winter of the World begins in 1933 and ends in 1949, more than half of the action describes the Second World War from the perspective of several protagonists from several origins (American, British, Russian, and German).
  • In Margery Benery-Isbert's The Ark, the actual events of World War II are in flashback, but only months earlier for the refugee characters; one son managed to return from the front, but the father has not.
  • The war heavily figures in the ''Aunt Dimity'' series, although the books themselves are set in the present. Dimity Westwood and Lori's mother met and became friends in wartime London; following her mother's wishes expressed in a letter, Lori researches people in Dimity's past in the first book. Several of the residents of Finch were child evacuees who returned to live there as adults, and one Italian POW settled in the area, later fathering several children who appear in later books. In Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince, Gracie Thames notes that she and her husband named three of their children for family members who were killed by the Nazis when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.
  • Elizabeth Enright's Melendy Quartet
  • Catherynne M. Valente's children's novel The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making takes place during and is affected by the war. The protagonist September is dealing with big changes in her home life while her father is away fighting and her mother works long hours in a factory.
  • Code Name Verity revolves around a British spy in occupied France who's been captured by the Nazis and tortured into giving up the codes to the radios she was trying to smuggle to La Résistance. The second half revolves around her best friend, the pilot who flew her to France, who ends up working with La Résistance to accomplish the spy's true objective—the destruction of the prison she's being held in.
  • Mister Roberts takes place in the Pacific but features no action, to the great dissatisfaction of the title character.
  • Charlotte Gray is about an Englishwoman who goes to France to join La Résistance and find her boyfriend, an airmen who went MIA there. Thought to be Very Loosely Based on the True Stories of Agents Nancy Wake and Pearl Cornioley.
  • In Chrono Hustle World War 2 is occasionally mentioned as one of the time periods the time doors can go to. Characters finally actually go there at the end of #10.
  • The protagonist of A Tale of Time City is a Blitz Evacuee who gets pulled outside of time on her way out of London.
  • Third Reich Victorious: an anthology edited by Peter G. Tsouras, containing ten self-contained scenarios in which Germany ends up winning the war.
  • Rose Under Fire is set in Ravensbrück, a concentration camp, during the last year of the war.
  • All The Light We Cannot See takes place mostly in occupied France, specifically the walled city of Saint-Malo
  • Stuka Pilot, the memoir of Hans-Ulrich Rudel, the top scoring pilot in Germany and, single-handedly, the deadliest man in an airplane: the Ju 87 Stuka dive-bomber.
  • Perilous Passage by Bruce Nicolaysen, which is about fleeing from the Nazis through the icy Spanish mountains.
  • Skärvor av kristall by Solveig Olsson-Hultgren takes place in 1938 and 1939. The new great war hasn't started quite yet, but many people know that it's just around the corner. Louise's boyfriend is a Jewish refugee from Germany.
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is about two sisters in occupied France.
  • The D Agency novel series follows a covert Japanese intelligence agency across the years 1939 - 1941.
  • La Brèche is a science-fiction novel about a history-themed Reality TV show from 2060 (it uses Time Travel) sending two a war correspondent and a WWII historian to cover the Omaha Beach landing.
  • Summer of My German Soldier, a YA novel about a Jewish-American girl who befriends a German POW in wartime Arkansas.
  • The Just William stories by Richmal Crompton began long before the war (and were still coming out long after it ended) but several collections were written during the war and see William and his family and friends cope with life on the Home Front, dealing with rationing and hunting for imagined German spies.

     Live-Action TV 

    Radio 

     Tabletop Games 

    Theater 
  • Imagine This- a musical set in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942.
  • Mister Roberts takes place in the Pacific but far from combat. V-E Day happens during the course of the play's action.
  • South Pacific is likewise set far from the action in a backwater Pacific island.
  • A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino: A borderline case. Set in October 1941, the war in Europe has been ongoing for two years, but it's yet to formally begin in the Philippines, then a U.S. colonial territory (of course, the Pacific theatre begins with Pearl Harbour in December 1941—Hawaii itself being an out-and-out U.S. colony—and reaches Manila itself a few weeks later). The spectre of war hangs over the entire city, however, with practice blackouts, air-raid sirens, and news of Americans being evacuated in advance.
  • The Long And The Short And The Tall is a play about a section of Britsh infantrymen trapped behind enemy lines in Burma.
  • There Shall Be No Night is a play set in Finland as the Finns battle to save themselves during the 1939-40 Winter War.

     Video Games 
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War starts out as a metaphor for World War II, until things take a twist for the weird toward the end.
  • Sierra's "Aces" line, consisting of Aces of the Pacific (Pacific air war), Aces Over Europe (European air war), and Aces of the Deep (Battle of the Atlantic, from a U-boat viewpoint).
  • Afrikakorps vs Desert Rats by French developer Monte Cristo. Three other games followed with the same engine:
    • D-Day
    • 1944 Battle of the Bulge
    • Moscow to Berlin: Red Siege
  • B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Battlefield
  • Battlefield Heroes, at least a very cartoony version of it.
  • The prologue to Battlefield: Bad Company 2, "Operation Aurora", is set in 1944, involving a US team sent into Japan to discover a Japanese superweapon.

    Web Comics 

     Web Original 
  • Emperor Tigerstar has videos depicting the changing front lines in World War II for both theatres separately or altogether in a single video every single day.
  • One episode of Bedtime Stories (YouTube Channel) has the first half set late in the European War, where American soldiers discover an abandoned town hall just outside Hanover during the push into Germany. And it's heavily implied that the Nazis were doing research into the occult in the building's basement.
    • Another episode, "The Curse of the Ourang Medan", while not set in World War II proper, makes mention of activities during and after the war, such as Operation Paperclip, the Allied effort to recruit German scientists to the West, as well as a German chemical weapon called Tabun, which is considered to be the most likely suspect in making the titular cargo ship sink.

     Western Animation 


Alternative Title(s): Works Set In Worldwar 2

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WorksSetInWorldWarII?from=Main.WorksSetInWorldWar2