Hearts of Iron II

Hearts of Iron II

Infobox VG
title = Hearts of Iron II

developer = Paradox Interactive
publisher = Paradox Interactive
distributor =
designer =
engine =
version = 1.3b
released = January 4, 2005
genre = Strategy, war
modes = Single player, Multiplayer
ratings = ESRB: E (Everyone)
USK: 12+
PEGI: 3+
platforms = Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
media = 1 CD-ROM
requirements = PC: Pentium III with 800 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 1 GB of free hard drive space, 4 MB DirectX-compatible video card, DirectX-compatible sound card.
Macintosh: PowerPC G3 with 500 MHz, 256 MBs RAM, 1GB of free hard drive space, Mac OS X 10.1.
input =

"Hearts of Iron II" is a grand strategy computer war game for the PC based upon its predecessor, "Hearts of Iron". It takes place in the period from 1 January 1936 through 31 December 1947, and allows the player to assume control of any one of over 175 nations of the time and guide its development through the years before, during and after the Second World War. It was developed by Paradox Interactive and released 4 January 2005. The lead game programmer was Johan Andersson.


The game features a number of elements which make it a grand strategy game. These include the ability to build land divisions, aircraft squadrons, and naval ships/squadrons, as well as the ability to combine these into corps and armies. The player also has the ability to control the appointment of commanders of forces under their nation's flag (or that of controlled puppet nations) as well as to control the appointment of individual government ministers and military commanders in key General Staff positions. The player also has a broader ability to control the heads of state and government; however, this option is only available to democracies and only then through elections, in which the player chooses the winner. Technological research is controlled by the player. All this is on a global scale, with the player simultaneously dealing and interacting with nations across the world in freeze-time rather than traditional turn-based form.

Playable nations

The player can choose to play almost any nation from the time period, apart from some very small states such as Andorra, Monaco, The Vatican or others. The player can also play as a new nation that gains its independence as the game progresses, but will have to wait until the nation actually declares independence in the game before it can be played. However, many smaller nations do not have strong 'tech teams', nor do they possess a strong industrial base - which makes the game much more difficult. The main nations to play are Germany, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, the USA and Japan.


The player is able to manage his nation's foreign and internal policies on the Diplomacy page. The player can stage coups, declare war, annex territories and make alliances. The player can also socially engineer the policies of his nation using sliders, such as:
* Democratic vs Authoritarian
* Political Left vs Political Right
* Open Society vs Closed Society
* Free Market vs Central Planning
* Standing army vs Drafted army
* Hawk Lobby vs Dove Lobby
* Interventionism vs IsolationismMoving the sliders in either direction will result in different bonuses and penalties, allowing for a range of choices and strategies.

On the same page the player can appoint leaders and ministers with some exceptions. The Head of State and Head of Government can only be changed through moving the Political Left vs Political Right slider, or through elections and other one-time events. The positions available are:
* Head of State
* Head of Government
* Foreign Minister
* Armaments Minister
* Minister of Security
* Head of Military Intelligence
* Chief of Staff
* Chief of the Army
* Chief of the Navy
* Chief of the Air Force

Resource management

"Hearts of Iron II" features nine resources, of which six, namely energy, rare materials, metal, oil, money, and supplies are conventional resources, and the other three being manpower, Industrial Capacity ('IC') and Transport Capacity ('TC').

* "Energy, Rare Materials (e.g. rubber), and Metal" are produced by individual provinces and pooled together to power the nation's industry.
* "Supplies" are consumed by a player's army. A poor supply line affects the combat ability of any army. "Oil" is consumed by mechanized or armored units, air units and naval units.
* "Money" is raised through the production of consumer goods. The amount gained also varies based on government type and policy settings. Money is needed to carry out diplomatic actions, as well as pay research teams.
* "Manpower" is needed to recruit and reinforce all of a player's armed forces. One unit of Manpower generally represents 1000 men, as a normal infantry division of 10,000 men requires ten Manpower.
* Each factory in a nation contributes one "Industrial Capacity (IC)". The total number of factories is known as the "Base IC". Several factors, such as difficulty, ministerial appointments, technologies, and resources available can modify this number, producing the "actual IC". Each "actual IC" requires two points of energy, one of metal and half a point of rare materials in order to function.
* "Transport Capacity (TC)" is an abstract number that represents the trucks, trains and river barges which are used to supply a player's armed forces with fuel and supply. TC is a direct function of a player's Industrial Capacity; the player has a TC that is 150% his IC. When the TC used exceeds the available amount, movement, supplies and reinforcements are delayed.

The six conventional resources can be traded with other countries, subject to potential disruption by enemy forces if the routes to the other country are occupied. Trade offers can be made to any other country, even ones with poor diplomatic relations, although allied nations are more willing to accept more favorable trade offers. Manpower, IC and TC are not tradeable.


In the game, a player assumes direct control of a nation at the start of a scenario through 1948. The following scenarios are available:

*"The Road to War", beginning on New Year's Day, 1936;
*"The Gathering Storm", beginning in September 1938, just before the Munich Agreement; Added in the v1.2 patch.
*"Blitzkrieg", beginning with Hitler's declaration of war upon Poland (the Invasion of Poland) on 1 September 1939;
*"Awakening the Giant", beginning on 22 June 1941, at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa.
*"Götterdämmerung", beginning on 20 June 1944, two weeks after the Western Allies landed at Normandy.

Playable operations are:

*"Fall Gelb", the German invasion of France in 1940
*"Operation Barbarossa", the German invasion of the Soviet Union in spring of 1941
*"The Ardennes Offensive", centered around the Battle of the Bulge, on the Franco-Belgian-German frontier in winter of 1944, which was also playable in the game's demo.
*"Southern Conquests", evolving around the Japanese centrifugal offensive into the southern resource area, following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
*"Operation Watchtower" - the battle for Guadalcanal in the Solomons.
*"Fall Weiss", the German invasion of Poland
*"Fall Grün", the planned German attack on Czechoslovakia
*"Platinean War", a fantasy scenario where German-backed Argentina and American-backed Brazil clash in a conflict that will involve most of South America
*"Winter War", the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939-1940
*"Desert Fox", the African campaign that culminated in the Battle of El Alamein
*"Operation Husky", the Allied landings in Sicily and the subsequent Italian Campaign
*"Operation Overlord", the Allied landings in Europe
*"Operation Downfall", the planned Allied invasion of the Japanese home isles
*"Spanish Civil War", the conflict between the Spanish republicans and nationalists in 1936-1939
*"Battle of the Coral Sea", the Japanese plan to capture Port Moresby on New Guinea by sea and the following carrier battle.
*"Fall Blau", the German 1942 summer offensive against the USSR, eventually culminating in the Battle of Stalingrad; Added in the v1.2 patch.


"Hearts of Iron II" is a grand strategy game. The lowest independent land unit is the division, although brigades such as engineers, artillery, or armoured cars can be attached to these. On sea, units are either single capital ships or flotillas of small ships such as destroyers. For the air force, the unit is a Wing or Group (depending on nationality).

Land divisions include infantry, mountain troops, marines, garrisons, militia, paratroopers, cavalry , motorised infantry, mechanized infantry, light, medium and heavy armor.

Land brigades include engineers, armoured cars, field artillery, light and heavy armor, anti-tank guns, and anti-aircraft artillery. Police brigades are also available and help suppress partisan activity in occupied provinces.

On the map the player can direct divisions or groups of divisions to move, attack, support attack, support defend or strategically redeploy. Fighting starts when an army starts moving into a defended enemy territory (The invading units do not have to be inside enemy territory to attack). A province is immediately occupied when the invaders successfully arrive there with no opposition left. Because of this, a player can blitz through large swaths of enemy lands with minimal micromanagement, a feature that was heavily criticised by veterans of the first HOI game, though it more easily allows a representation of the conquests of Poland etc. In addition, units who move constantly lose organization and risk losing supply, so poorly executed attempts to blitzkrieg can be stopped. The time it takes to move the units from one province to another may represent such occupation as well.

Provinces can be fortified by the building of defensive structures and supply infrastructure, to improve combat performance or the ability to detect the enemy. These structures include radar, supply infrastructure, forts, coastal defenses, and static AA. Many fortifications are pre-built, such as the Maginot Line along the French-German border.

Air divisions include bombers (strategic bombers, tactical bombers, naval bombers), and fighters (bomber escorts, interceptor fighters, fighters). These divisions can, depending on type, engage in the following missions: air superiority, logistical strikes, strategic strikes, naval strikes, combat air support (either interdiction or ground attack), and convoy attacks.

Sea divisions include transports, carriers, battleships, battlecruisers, heavy and light cruisers, destroyers, and submarines. Each unit has a strength, speed, and effective engagement range. Naval combats simulate the range between convoys allowing only some units to fire (if they are in range), while others cannot. This can make naval combats tactically complex, making it important to mix the right combination of units for the engagement.

Changes from "Hearts of Iron"

Computer players are more likely to mount large-scale offensives, whereas in the original attacks or counter-attacks would often be both limited and understrength. The world map in "Hearts of Iron II" has also been altered: the number of territories in many key areas, especially northern France, European Russia, North Africa, North America and coastal Asia have been increased substantially. While new provinces were added, others were removed, such as Zanzibar and Goa.

Diplomacy has also been updated. Before one used diplomatic points (points gained on a monthly basis, with certain nations beginning the game with a supply) to engage in diplomatic actions. In this version, the player may specify the type, duration and format of agreements made, especially regarding supply of raw materials or trade for technology. The technological system has been overhauled. Rather than allocate industrial capacity to research, the player allocates money to research teams that specialize in branches of technology. Developing new vehicles or aircraft requires fewer steps: technical prerequisites are now included within the model as a research item. There is a new category of "Secret Weapons", which require specific conventional advances before becoming available at all. These represent experimental advanced technologies, such as electronic computers, atom bombs and some German wunderwaffe.

Controversy and censorship

Like its predecessor "Hearts of Iron", the game is banned in the People's Republic of China. The main point of contention seems to be that the game portrays the various Chinese warlords as independent entities, while according to the PRC government they were nominally part of the Republic of China, represented in-game as 'Nationalist China'. Also, the Tibetan flag used in-game is banned in China. Paradox has stated that it will not reduce the level of historical accuracy in order to appease the PRC censorsFact|date=September 2007. Paradox has, however, made efforts to appease German censors. In the game Germany is represented with the flag of the German Empire as used by Germany until 1935, and not the Swastika flag. Laws in Germany prohibit the use of the Swastika. Additionally in the German version of the game pictures of leading Nazi leaders such as Hitler, Göring and Himmler were removed and their names subsequently altered, though this is not required under German censorship laws.


In November 2005 a stand-alone expansion pack to the game, "" was announced. It was released April 2006. The expansion pack features among other things a reworked intelligence model (which allows the player to use espionage, sabotage and other things in an "intelligence page" accessible through the main screen), extended time-line, improved AI and a scenario editor.

Another expansion was released in April 2007 in an alternate world scenario called "". It further allows more time and the player has the ability to choose 1964 as the end point. It allows the adding of modules to ships (such as improved radar, fire-control, anti-submarine or anti-aircraft weaponry) and submits two new scenarios for play, as well as an enhanced AI.

A bundle package called Hearts of Iron: Anthology was released on August 31, 2007. It contains the previously released titles of the Hearts of Iron series, i.e. "Hearts of Iron", Hearts of Iron II, ' and '.

ee also

*"Hearts of Iron"
*"Hearts of Iron III"

External links

* [http://www.paradoxplaza.com/ Paradox Entertainment]
* [http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=255 The official forum for Hearts of Iron 2]
* [http://www.paradoxplaza.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=58&Itemid=144 Hearts of Iron 2 at Paradox]
* [http://www.gamershell.com/download_7840.shtml Hearts of Iron 2 demo]
* [http://www.paradoxian.org/hoi2wiki/index.php/Main_Page Hearts of Iron 2 Wiki]
* [http://www.vpltd.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=202 Mac OS X version]

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