Abridged Encyclopedia of World War 2  
  K to Kuusinen  
   
  Kajioka, Sadamichi - (1891-1944) Kajioka was a Japanese naval officer who rose to the rank of Vice Admiral. At the start of the Pacific War, Kajioka was in command of the Wake Island invasion force. Overly confident that the island's defenses had been reduced by air bombardment, his forces suffered heavy casualties in the first assault. His second assault, reinforced with heavy cruisers and aircraft carriers was successful. Kajioka was then assigned to command the invasion of Lae, New Guinea in March 1942. His forces narrowly escaped disaster when the U.S. Navy launched a counterattack across the Owen Stanley Range. Kajioka was the commander of the Port Moresby invasion force during the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942. Kajioka was recalled to Japan, and was sent to the reserves. In early 1944 he was reactivated and given command of the No.6 Escort Division. Kajioka was killed in action on September 12, 1944 when his destroyer IJN Shikinami was torpedoed by the USS Growler east of Hainan in the South China Sea. He was posthumously promoted to vice admiral.  
   
  Kalinin, Mikhail S. - (1875-1946)  Kalinin was the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, the nominal head of the Soviet Union, from 1938 to just before his death in 1946.  
   
  Kallio, Kyösti - (1873-1940) Kallio served as Prime Minister of Finland four times. During the Winter War he resisted the idea of giving up any territory to the Soviet Union, but was forced to agree to sign the Moscow Peace Treaty in 1940. His health begun to fail and he was not active in the dealings with Germany leading to the Continuation War. On August 27, 1940 he suffered a serious stroke and Risto Ryti took over his duties.  
   
  Kaltenbrunner, Ernst - (1903-1946) At the time of the Anschluss (1938), Kaltenbrunner was an Austrian-born senior official of Nazi Germany and was appointed secretary of state for the Austrian secret police. In January 1943 he succeeded Reinhard Heydrich as head of the RSHA (Reich Main Security Office), participating energetic in implementing the Final Solution. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and condemned to death at Nuremberg and hanged in 1946.  
   
  Karelian Isthmus - The Karelian Isthmus is the approximately 30 to 60 wide stretch of land, situated between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia and formed the border between Finland and the Soviet Union before the Winter War of 1939 and 1940 when it was ceded to the Soviet Union as part of the peace treaty that ended that conflict.  
   
  Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic - The Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic was created by merging the KASSR with the Finnish Democratic Republic, created from territory ceded by Finland in the Winter War by the Moscow Peace Treaty. This territory included the Karelian Isthmus and Ladoga Karelia, and the cities of Viipuri and Sortavala.  
   
  Katyn Massacre - The Katyn Massacre was a mass execution of Polish nationals carried out by the Soviet secret police (NKVD), in April and May of 1940. The number of victims is estimated at about 22,000 Of the total killed, about 8,000 were officers taken prisoner during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, another 6,000 were police officers, with the rest being Polish intelligentsia. The term "Katyn massacre" originally referred specifically to the massacre at Katyn Forest but has become synonymous with several simultaneous executions of prisoners of war. The Nazis announced the discovery of mass graves in the Katyn Forest in 1943. When the London-based Polish government-in-exile asked for an investigation by the International Red Cross, the Soviets immediately severed diplomatic relations with it. The Soviets claimed the victims had been murdered by the Nazis, and continued to deny responsibility for the massacres until 1990, when it officially acknowledged and condemned the perpetration of the killings by the NKVD, as well as the subsequent cover-up.  
   
  Kaufmann, Henrik - (1885-1963) Kaufmann was the Danish ambassador to Washington when the Nazis occupied Denmark in April 1940 and refused to recognize the resignation of the court and government of Copenhagen. He immediately organized Free Denmark, and on April 9, 1941, the anniversary of the German occupation of Denmark, he signed on his own initiative "in the Name of the King" an "Agreement relating to the Defense of Greenland" authorizing the United States to defend the Danish colonies on Greenland from German aggression. Kauffmann's treaty was approved by the local officials on Greenland but declared void by the Danish government in Copenhagen and he was stripped of his post, an action which he ignored as he considered Denmark to be occupied by a hostile power .He also brought the important Danish merchant marine into the Allied camp. Kauffmann directed the Free Denmark movement throughout the war and was quite influential in stimulating the Resistance movement inside Denmark.  
   
  Kawaguchi, Kiyotake - (1892-1961) Kawaguchi was a Major General in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War 2. In 1940, Kawaguchi was appointed commander of the 35th Infantry Brigade. Kawaguchi's reinforced brigade made participated in action in British Borneo, the Netherlands East Indies, and the Philippine Islands. In August and September 1942 Kawaguchi and the 35th Infantry Brigade were landed as reinforcements on Guadalcanal in response to the Allied landings on the island. In the resulting Battle of Edson's Ridge on September 13, 1942, Kawaguchi's forces were defeated with heavy losses. Kawaguchi was subsequently relieved of command and evacuated from the island and back to Japan. After the war, Kawaguchi was convicted of war crimes and spent seven years in prison.  
   
  Kaya, Okinori - (1889-1977) Kaya was a bureaucrat without direct ties to big business, Kaya was Japanese Minister of Finance during 1937-38 and 1941-44. He believed that continued good relations with the United States were essential, especially after the outbreak of war with China in 1937, because Japan depended on the U.S. for raw materials. In a dispute over economic mobilization in 1938, corporate interests had him removed from the cabinet. After heading the North China Development Corporation during 1939-41, Kaya returned as wartime finance minister under Prime Minister Tojo. He incorrectly predicted that inflation would be modest during the war, and he gradually lost control over planning and production to the armed forces. In 1948 he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East for his part in leading Japan's war effort.  
   
  Keitel, Wilhelm - (1888-1946) Keitel was a German military officer who rose to the rank of/ Field Marshal. In 1938 Keitel was named head of the OKW (Supreme Command of the Armed Forces) and as Germany’s de facto war minister, he was one of Germany's most senior military leaders during World War 2. Throughout the war he obeyed Hitler's orders, even those repugnant to the honor of an officer, in servile fashion. On May 8, 1945 he signed Germany's surrender on the behalf of the Wermacht. At the Allied court at Nuremberg he was tried, sentenced to death and hanged as a major war criminal.  
   
  Kell, Sir Vernon - (1873-1942) Kell was the first head of MI-5 (the United Kingdom's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency) from 1909 to 1914). Kell returned to the post in 1924 and served  before being dismissed by Winston Churchill in May 1940.  
   
  Kennedy, Sr., Joseph P. - (1888-1969) Kennedy was a prominent American businessman, investor, and political figure. He was a leading member of the Democratic Party and of the Irish Catholic community and served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1938 until late 1940. His term as ambassador and his political ambitions ended abruptly during the Battle of Britain in November 1940, with the publishing of his controversial remarks suggesting that "Democracy is finished in England. Kennedy was the father of future U.S. President John F. Kennedy.  
   
  Kennard, Sir Howard W. - the British Ambassador to Poland at the outbreak of World War 2.  
   
  Kesselring, Albert - (1885-1960) Kesselring was a German Luftwaffe officer who rose to the rank of Field Marshal. During the war he commanded air forces in the invasions of Poland and France, the Battle of Britain, and Operation Barbarossa. As Commander-in-Chief South, he was overall German commander in the Mediterranean theatre, which included the operations in North Africa. Kesselring also was in charge of the defensive campaign against the Allies in Italy until he was injured in an accident in October 1944. In the final campaign of the war, he commanded German forces on the Western Front.  After the war, Kesselring was tried for war crimes and sentenced to death. The sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment and he was released in 1952 on health grounds.  
   
  Khalkhyn Gol - The The Khalkhyn Gol or Khalkha River is a river in eastern Mongolia and Inner Mongolia in northern China. In 1939, the river was the site of the Battles of Khalkhin Gol, one of the Soviet-Japanese border conflicts. Soviet and Mongolian forces defeated the Japanese Kwantung Army during this conflict which helped steer the overall Japanese strategy to take southern Pacific and Asia territories.  
   
  Kimmel, Husband E. - (1882-1968) Kimmel was an American naval officer who rose to the temporary rank of four-star admiral. Kimmel was Commander-in-chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Kimmel was one of the American military officers who bore the brunt of the blame for the failure to anticipate the attack. Kimmel was removed from his command and his rank was reduced to his permanent two-star rank of Rear Admiral.  
   
  King Jr., Edward P. - (1884-1958) King was a Major General in the U.S. Army who was the last commander of American and Filipino forces on the Bataan peninsula in the spring of 1942. King, accepting sole responsibility to disobey MacArthur's and Wainwright's orders, chose to surrender over 78,000 American and Filipino soldiers on April 9, 1942. This was the largest surrender of a military force in American history.  
   
  King, Ernest J. - (1878-1956) King was Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations (COMINCH-CNO) during World War 2. As COMINCH, he directed the United States Navy's operations, planning, and administration and was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was the U.S. Navy's second most senior officer after Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, and the second admiral to be promoted to five star rank.  
   
  King, William L. Mackenzie - (1874-1950) King was the dominant Canadian political leader from the 1920s through the 1940s. He served as the Prime Minister of Canada three times including the complete duration of World War 2.  
   
  Kinkaid, Thomas C. - (1888-1972) Kinkaid was an American naval officer who rose to the rank of Admiral. He built a reputation as a "fighting admiral" in the aircraft carrier battles of 1942 and commanded the Allied forces in the Aleutian Islands Campaign. He was Commander Allied Naval Forces and the Seventh Fleet in the Southwest Pacific Area where he conducted numerous amphibious operations. Kinkaid commanded an Allied fleet during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the last naval battle between battleships in history.  
   
  Kiska - Kiska is an island in the Rat Islands group of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Kiska and nearby Attu were occupied by the Japanese in June 1942 as a separate campaign concurrent with the Japanese plan for the Battle of Midway. The Japanese occupied Kiska until July 28, 1943 when they successfully removed their troops under the cover of severe fog, without the Allieds knowledge.  The Allied invasion force of over 34,000 men recaptured the island on noticing August 15, 1943 finding the island abandoned. Kiska was one of only two pieces of American territory that was occupied by enemy forces during the war.  
   
  Kita, Nagao - Kita was stationed in Hawaii as the Japanese consul general. Kita helped gather information about the schedule of the American fleet at Pearl Harbor and was the coordinator of espionage in Hawaii prior to the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.  
   
  Kleeberg, Major General Franciszek - (1888-1941) Kleeberg was the Polish general at the Battle of Kock against the Germans in 1939 who never lost a battle during the invasion of Poland. Kleeberg was eventually forced to surrender after his forces ran out of ammunition and the end of the Battle of Kock signaled the end of the Polish campaign.  
   
  von Kleist, Paul L. E. (1881-1954) von Kleist was a German military officer who rose to the rank of Field Marshall. von Kleist proved himself to be an excellent commander on the Eastern Front. Hitler, however, abhorred von Kleist’s policy of treating local populations humanely, his open disdain for the Nazis, and his independent outlook, and in 1944 von Kleist was dismissed and went into retirement. In 1946 Kleist was tried in Yugoslavia for war crimes and was given a fifteen-year sentence. Two years later he was extradited to the Soviet Union and and spent the rest of his life in a Soviet prison.  
   
  Klopper, Hendrik B. - (1902-1978) Klopper was a South African military commander who had a rank of Major General during the war. Klopper was the fortress commander of Tobruk when he was forced to surrender its garrison to Axis forces on June 21, 1942. Klopper escaped from captivity in 1943 and was officially exonerated for the Tobruk disaster.  
   
  von Kluge, Günther A. F. - (1882-1944) von Kluge was a German military officer who rose to the rank of Field Marshal during the war. von Kluge participated in the invasions of Poland, France, and the Soviet Union and in the defense in the western theater against the Allies towards the end of the war.  
   
  Knox, William Franklin "Frank" - (1874-1944) Knox was an American newspaper editor and publisher. He was the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1936 and  U.S. Secretary of the Navy during most of World War 2.  
   
  Knudsen, William S. - (1879-1948) Knudsen was a leading automotive industry executive at both Ford Motor Company and General Motors. In 1940 U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Knudsen to come to Washington to help with war production because of his experience. In 1942 Knudsen was commissioned a Lt. General in the U.S. Army, the only civilian ever to join the Army at such a high initial rank. He worked as a consultant and troubleshooter for the War Department. He served in the Army until June 1, 1945.  
   
  Koga, Mineichi - (1885-1944) Koga was a Japanese naval officer who rose to the rank of fleet admiral and commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Combined Fleet. At the start of the Pacific War, Koga commanded naval operations during the capture of Hong Kong. Following the death of Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku in April 1943, Koga succeeded Yamamoto as Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet. Koga was killed when his plane crashed during a typhoon between Palau and Davao while overseeing the withdrawal of the Combined Fleet from its Palau headquarters on March 31, 1944.  
   
  Kokoda Trail - The Kokoda Trail was a pass over the Owen Stanley Range in the Australian territory of Papua New Guinea. The trail was the site of a series of battles between Japanese and Allied, primarily Australian forces. The Japanese pushed across the mountain range towards their goal of Ports Moresby and then were forced to withdraw short of their objective because of a lack of supplies and reinforcements.  
   
  Konev Ivan S. - (1897-1973) Konev was a Soviet military officer who rose to the rank of Marshal. Konev led Red Army forces on the Eastern Front and retook much of Eastern Europe from occupation by the Axis Powers and helped in the capture of Berlin.  
   
  Konigsberg - Konigsberg was the capitol of East Prussia.  
   
  Konoye, Prince Fumimaro - (1891-1945) Konoye was a Japanese politician who twice served as Prime Minister of Japan in the years leading up to the Pacific conflict. Konoye was a founder and a leader of the Taisei Yokusankai, a para-fascist organization.  
   
  Koryzis, Alexandros - (1885-1941) Koryzis was the Prime Minister of Greece briefly in 1941. He assumed this role on January 29, 1941, when his predecessor, the dictator Ioannis Metaxas died, during the Greco-Italian War. Prior to this, he was governor of the Bank of Greece. Although largely powerless, as the government was effectively controlled by King George II, he still bore the burden of the German invasion which commenced on April 6 of the same year. Less than two weeks later, on April 18, as German troops marched towards Athens and the city was placed under martial law, he committed suicide by shooting himself.  
   
  Koshiro, Oikawa - (1883-958) Koshiro was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy. He served as Naval Minister prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor and on the Supreme War Council during World War 2. Koshiro resigned from the Navy in May 1945 in protest over the Emperor's refusal to entertain peace proposals.  
   
  Kota Bharu - The Kota Bharu area was the initial landing point of the Japanese invasion forces on December 8, 1941 in their Malayan campaign when they successfully engaged the British in jungle warfare and ultimately captured the British fortress of Singapore.  
   
  Kurusu, Saburo - (1886-1954) Kurusu was a Japanese career diplomat. As Imperial Japan's ambassador to Germany from 1939 to November 1941, he signed the Tripartite Pact along with the foreign ministers of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy on September 27, 1940. After this posting he was sent to the United States to help Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura to negotiate peace and understanding with the United States. He was still engaged in these negotiations when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  
   
  Kutrzeba, Tadeusz - (1885-1947) Kutrzeba was an army general of the Second Polish Republic. During the Invasion of Poland in 1939 he commanded the Poznan Army composed of four infantry divisions and two cavalry brigades. He devised the Polish counterattack plan of the battle of Bzura and commanded the Poznan and Pomorze Armies during the battle. After the siege of Warsaw he was captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war in several prisoner of war camps. After the war he became chairman of the September Campaign Historical Committee in London.  
   
  Kuusinen, Otto W. - (1881-1964) Kuusinen was a Finnish-born Soviet politician who after the defeat of the Reds in the Finnish Civil War, fled to the Soviet Union. When the Red Army began its advance during the Winter War on November 30, 1939, Kuusinen was pronounced head of the Finnish Democratic Republic (also known as the Terijoki Government) - Soviet Marshal Josef Stalin 's puppet régime intended to rule Finland. When the war did not go as planned and the Soviet leadership decided to negotiate a peace with the Finnish government Kuusinen's government was quietly disbanded. Kuusinen was made chairman of the presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Karelo-Finnish SSR in 1940.  
     
   
     
   
 

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