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Things I just found out.... WWII ended in 1990!
blaisepascal
Well, yesterday...

So we all know that the Korean War never officially ended, it's just in a 50+ year armistice, right? But the two Koreas are still somewhat hostile to each other, and there's still a heavily guarded DMZ between them. So most people looking at the situation can sort of agree that they aren't really at peace, so the continued armistice with no peace treaty makes a little amount of sense.

But occasionally you'll get situations where things get forgotten, or events overtake the diplomacy, or whatever.

For instance, there's the 335-years war between the Dutch and the Isles of Scilly. It seems that near the end of the English Civil War the Royalists retreated to the Isles of Scilly, which are off the southern coast of Britain, and the Dutch (allies of the Protestant faction of the English Civil War) ended up declaring war on the Isles of Scilly separately from England. Soon, though, before any military action could take place in the war with the Isles of Scilly, the Protestants were considered the winners, peace treaties were negotiated and signed all around by all involved parties -- excepted the Scillions, who had been plainly forgotten about. Skip forward over 300 years, and one of the folks running the Isle of Scilly writes to the equivalent to the Dutch State Department asking to clear up this silly myth he's heard about the Scillions and the Dutch being at war. The Dutch look into it, and reply that it's no myth, they really are in a state of war. Peace negotiations conclude rapidly, treaties are signed, and the war ends 335 years after it began, without a shot being fired or a single combat casualty.

I read about the 335-years war on TvTropes, on their page about Forever Wars (fictional wars which have gone on so long the current combatants no longer have any idea why they are fighting). The 335-years was was listed under "Real Life" -- along with the Isreal-Palestine confilict, the Suni-Shiia conflict, the Hundred Years War, the Thirty Years War, etc.

Wikipedia also has an article on the 335-years war, from which I abstracted the above synopsis. From there, I jumped to a list of similarly extended wars and was surprised to see WWII on the list. The European Theater didn't end until 1990.

Here's what happened: When Germany surrendered, it was split into occupation zones controlled by the occupying powers, the US, England, France, and the USSR. In 1949, the occupation zones became the basis for new governments: the US, English, and French zones became the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, and the USSR zone became the Deutsche Demokratische Republik. For various reasons (a lack of a national government, legal ease of occupying a country when in state of war, etc) the official Peace Treaty between Germany and the Allied Powers hadn't been fully worked out before the split and formation of new governments. This presented a diplomatic problem: There wasn't a single Germany to resolve the peace treaty issue. So there it stayed until after German reunification. The US formally and (technically unilaterally) ended its state of war with Germany in 1951, but it wasn't until 1991 that all the paperwork between the six nations was finally completed.

Ya learn something new everyday. What will I learn today? What will you learn today?

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Well, I just learned this.

It was actually more than just a bureaucratic problem. The Soviets were truly afraid of a united Germany ever rising again as an independent power. BOTH Germanies were at least nominally still occupied territories until that treaty was signed, and East Germany was *actually* occupied by the Red Army for much of that time. An occupied power cannot conclude a peace treaty, since they have no truly independent existence and any such treaty automatically invalidates the occupation.

(This, in turn, is one of the many reasons the Arab-Israeli conflict will never, ever end unless Israel pries its settlements out of the territory it's willing to cede).

I wonder if the fall of the Soviet Union finally ended World War II between them and Japan.

The Soviet Union and Japan haven't been at war since 1956, when they signed a Joint Declaration to that effect. They still haven't gotten around to a formal peace treaty.

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