I don't know a lot about Grindelwald other than what I've seen in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. However, I believe he rose to power in the early to mid 1940s and studied at Durmstrang.

The timing and his Germanic-sounding name sound, to me at least, like too much of a coincidence given what was going on in Europe at that time.

Was Grindelwald behind, or involved at all in the Second World War?

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    Fantastic Beasts is set in 1926 and Grindelwald was captured in 1945. As far as I'm aware the Fantastic Beasts series is going to cover the events of Grindelwalds downfall. Therefore, this is likely to be answered in the upcoming movies and so I am closing this as per our Future Works Policy. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 5 '18 at 15:57
  • Side note: I know there is some information on Grindelwald in the main Harry Potter books so on reflection this might already be answered. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 5 '18 at 16:30
  • From the context in which Grindelwald was first mentioned in the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the most natural inference was that he had been involved in the wizarding version of the Second World War. However, the later books never fleshed that out, so far as I can remember. – Buzz Jul 5 '18 at 17:35
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    The answer clearly illustrates that this does not fall under future works. Anything asking for more detail about the connection/involvement would, but a simple "was he involved" has an answer. – Dave Johnson Jul 5 '18 at 18:34

It’s possible - J.K. Rowling hinted the two wars ‘fed each other’.

In an interview, J.K. Rowling says that the wizarding war with Grindelwald and World War II were times to be parallel, and she thinks there’d be a wizarding war at the same time. She doesn’t say whether Grindelwald was directly involved in World War II, and she avoids saying much more.

ES: You don’t have to answer but can you give us some backstory on him?

JKR: I'm going to tell you as much as I told someone earlier who asked me. You know Owen who won the [UK television] competition to interview me? He asked about Grindelwald [pronounced "Grindelvald" HMM…]. He said, “Is it coincidence that he died in 1945,” and I said no. It amuses me to make allusions to things that were happening in the Muggle world, so my feeling would be that while there's a global Muggle war going on, there's also a global wizarding war going on.

ES: Does he have any connection to --

JKR: I have no comment to make on that subject.


MA: Do they feed each other, the Muggle and wizarding wars?

JKR: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Mm.

MA: You've gone very quiet.

[All laugh; JKR maniacally.]

MA: We like when you get very quiet, it means —

ES: You’re clearly hiding something.
- Leaky Cauldron interview (16 July, 2005)

There does seem to be a connection, but it’s not clear whether it’s a direct one or if it’s a more general “all the world was in turmoil at that time” connection. From what she says, it’s possible J.K. Rowling just thought it an interesting out-of-universe allusion, and wanted to time it so that it would be wartime for wizards as well, without active involvement from Grindelwald, whether or not he was directly involved in causing it. It’s also possible he was directly involved, she doesn’t want to say.

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  • Well done for finding that interview, I remember reading it before but couldn't find when trying to answer – Jeremy French Jul 6 '18 at 8:54

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