World War II In Other Languages

Do others countries in the world refer to World War II as such. Or do they call it something else? Or do they translate it different? What about World War I?

I guess what I’m getting at is do the Germans just use the German words for World and War and Two? Or what?

Well, when I visited the USSR in 1990, they referred to WW2 as “The Great Patriotic War”.

Just info, I know it doesn’t really answer your question.

In French they call it the Seconde Guerre mondiale (second world war). Interestingly, they use the word seconde – second of two things – rather than deuxième, second in an indefinite series.

According to Wikipedia, in German they call it the Zweiter Weltkrieg (second world war). A glance at the interlanguage links reveals “second world war” or “world war 2” in all languages whose cognates I can make out.

Interestingly, Babelfish says that the title of the Russian article – Вторая мировая война – is “second world war.” The Wikipedia article on the Great Patriotic War (Великая Отечественная война ) says that this refers exclusively to the war between the Soviet Union and the Axis between 1941 and 1945, on what we would call the Eastern Front.

Japanese has a few names.

太平洋戦争: Taiheiyou Sensou, The Pacific War (perhaps used more just to refer to the war as it related to Japan)
第二次世界大戦: Dainiji Sekai Taisen, The Second World War (for the entire US-Europe-Asia war)
第二次大戦: Dainiji Taisen, The Second Great War (I rarely hear this one, I just found it in a dictionary)

Some of the ultranationalist wingnuts may have their own names for it, but looking around at Yuko Tojo’s website, she just calls it the Dainiji Taisen.

Yes, and we always use the ordinal number, never the “movie title” style.

One of my professors told me that the Chinese term for WWII tranlates along the lines of “War to defend the nation against the Japanese”.

In Spanish, at least in Latin America, Segunda Guerra Mundial. WWI is Primera Guerra Mundial.

Its wartime name was the Greater East Asian War.

Pretty much most of my discussions with Japanese concerning WWII has been about the Pacific side of things, so I’ve almost always heard the first term used, even on TV specials about the war.

I haven’t hear the third term.

In Finnish, it’s “second World War”, “Toinen maailmansota”. However, that applies to the whole…world…thing; you would say “toisen maailmansodan aikainen” to describe something from the period of time between 1939-1945. Finland fought two wars of their own against Russia during this time; the Winter War (“Talvisota”) from 1939-40 and the Continuation War (“Jatkosota”) from 1942-44. When referring to events in Finland, you would most likely use those terms.

Hebrew – boring. “The First World War” and “The Second World War”
(מלחמת העולם הראשונה, מלחמת העולם השניה )

Hungarian: Második világháború* (“Second worldwar”)
Polish: Druga wojna Światowa (“Second war of the world”)

In Spain and Philippines too.

WWI is also sometimes called La Gran Guerra, the Great War.

In Bulgarian, it’s just the same. First World War, Second World War.
(Първа Световна Война, Втора Световна Войнa.)

Not sure what is the official english translation of your phrase. Also see: War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression

However, either phrase does not refer to WW2 as commonly understood in the West. To be specific, there are two wars and two terms. the Anti-Japanese War (Kang ri or Kang Zhan) started long before WW2. Exact date varies according to scholar but can be as early as 1931.

In Chinese, WW2 is translated pretty literally. Usually the Pacific war demarkation is 7 Dec 1941.

But when people say “the World War”, they mean WW2.

Weltkrieg II, coming to a theatre near you!

In what was then the Irish Free State, which was neutral, it was euphemistically called “The Emergency” (éigeandáil, in Irish I think).

Same in English: my old school had plaques dedicated to alumni who died in “The Great War” and “The World War” meaning WWI and WWII.

In Indonesian, it is “Perang Dunia II” – “perang” means “war” and “dunia” means world. So it is pretty much a literal translation of the English.