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World War II Timeline


The Bolsheviks, led by Lenin and Stalin, perform a coup in Russia, founding the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics (USSR).


Benito Mussolini and the Fascits come to power in Italy.


September 18 Empire of Japan invades Manchuria, China.


January 30 Adolf Hilter and the Nazis come to power in Germany, forming the Third Reich.
March 24 Enabling Act passed by the German Parliament gives Hitler dictatorial powers.
April 26 The Gestapo is born, created by Hermann Göring in the German state of Prussia.
July 14 Nazi Party is declared the only legal party in Germany.
November 24 Nazis pass a Law against Habitual and Dangerous Criminals, which allows beggars, the homeless, alcoholics and the unemployed to be sent to concentration camps.


June 30 Hitler, Göring and Himmler conduct a purge of the SA (storm trooper) leadership known as the Night of Long Knives.
July 20 The SS (Schutzstaffel) is made an independent organization from the SA.
August 2 German President von Hindenburg dies. Hitler becomes Führer.
  19 Ninety (90) percent of German voters vote 'Yes' to approving Hitler's new powers.


Italy invades Ethiopia.


February 10 The German Gestapo is placed above the law.
March 7 Nazis occupy the Rhineland in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.
May   Italy conquers Ethiopia.
June 17 Heinrich Himmler is appointed chief of the German Police.
August 1 Olympic games begin in Berlin.


July 7 Japan launches a major assualt on China.
November 1 Italy and Germany form the Rome-Berlin Axis.


March   Himmler then establishes Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz.
  13 Germanany annexes Austria. Hitler announces Anschluss (union) with Austria.
October 1 German troops begin occupation the Sudetenland.
September 28 Munich Pact signed between Germany, France, England and Italy sacrificing Czechoslovakia to Germany.
December 14 Hermann Göring takes charge of resolving the "Jewish Question."


March 15 Nazi troops seize Czechoslovakia.
  31 France and Britain annouce that they will guarantee Polish indenpendence and territorial integrity against any possible aggressors.
April 7 Italian troops occupy Albania.
  13 The indenpendence and territorial integrity of Greece and Rumania are guarantee by France and Britain.
August 23 The USSR and Germany sign a non-agression pact.
September 1 Germany invades Poland.
  3 Great Britain and France declare war on Germany. World War II begins. Australia and New Zealand also declare war on Germany.
  5 South Africa declares war on Germany.
  6 The United States proclaims its neutrality.
  10 Canada declares war on Germany.
  17 In an agreement with Hitler, the Soviet Union invades Poland.
  27 Poland falls to Germany.
October 14 The British battleship Royal Oak is sunk by German U-Boat U-47.
November 30 Soviet forces invade Finland.


  German U-Boats sink U.S. And Canadian convoys to Britain.
March 12 Finland surrenders to the Soviet Union.
April 9 Germany invades Norway and Denmark.
  9 Denmark falls without a fight to Germany and sinks its own navy in Copenhagen Harbor.
May 10 Winston Churchill replaces Neville Chamberlin as Prime Minister.
    Germany invades Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium.
  11 Luxembourg falls to Germany.
  14 Netherlands falls to Germany.
  28 Belgium surrenders to Germany.
June 4 British and French troops trapped at Dunkerque are evacuated to Great Britain.
  5 Battle of France begins.
  8 German battlecruisers sink the British carrier Glorious and two destroyers.
  9 Norway falls to Germany.
  10 Italy declares war on Great Britain and France.
  11 Great Britain and France declare war on Italy.
  14 Paris falls to Germany. French government moves to Bordeaux.
  22 France capitulates, forming Vichy government under Marshal Henri Petain.
  30 Germany seizes the Channel Islands. This is the only British territory occupied by Germany.
July 10 The Battle for Britain begins. Germany attacks ports and shipping in the English Channel.
  21 The USSR formally annexes Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
August 1 Italian forces invade British Somaliland.
    German Luftwaffe bombs British RAF air bases.
  17 Germany declares a total blocade of the British Isles. Any Allied or neutral vessels found in British waters will be attacked on sight.
  19 Italian forces in Ethiopia conquer British Somaliland.
September   Germany begins bombing British cities, including London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow and others.
  2 Destroyers for Bases deal between Britain and the U.S. is ratified. This allows for 50 destroyers, needed for convoy duties, to go to Britain in exchange for bases in the Caribbean and Bermuda.
  22 Japanese attack French Indochina.
  27 The Tripartite Pact is signed, bringing Japan in as an Axis nation.
October 7 German forces enter Romania on the pretext of helping to train Romania's army.
  28 Italy invades Greece.
  31 British forces occupy the Greek island of Crete.
November 20 Hungary joins the Axis.
  20 Slovakia joins Axis powers.
  23 Romania joins the Axis.
December 8 British attack Italian forces in Egypt.
    Greek troops push Itailian forces into Albania.


January 15 British forces invade Ethiopia.
February 14 The first detachments of General Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps disembark at Tripoli to assist Italian forces in Libya.
March 1 Bulgaria joins the Axis.
  11 In the United States, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Act.
  24 German pocket battleship Bismark sinks Britian's battleship Hood.
  24 General Erwin Rommel begins his first offensive in Libya.
  25 Yugoslavia joins the Axis.
  27 Anti-Nazi forces topple pro-Axis government in Yugoslavia.
April 6 German forces invade Greece and Yugoslavia.
  13 Japan signs nonaggression pact with the USSR.
  17 Yugoslavia surrenders to German troops.
  27 Athens falls to the German army.
    Axis completely occupy Greece.
May   German battleship Bismark sunk by Britain's Royal Navy.
June 22 Operation Barbarossa begins. Germany invades the Soviet Union.
  25 Finland declares war on the Soviet Union.
July 7 U.S. troops land in Iceland.
August 14 Atlantic Charter signed.
September   German forces capture Kiev, USSR.
November 14 U-Boats sink British aircraft carrier Ark Royal.
  19 Soviet army launches counter offensive at Stalingrad.
December   Soviet troops repulse German advance on Moscow.
  2 Tokyo authorizes attack of Pearl Harbor.
  7 In a suprise attack, Japanese Imperial Fleet bombs the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.
  8 The United States declares war on the Empire of Japan.
  8 Japanese forces invade Wake Island.
  9 China declares war on the Axis.
  9 Japanese land on the Gilbert Islands.
  10 Japanese forces captures Gaum.
  11 Germany and Italy declare war on the United States.
  16 Admiral Chester Nimitz appointed Commander in Chief Pacific.
  23 Wake Island falls to the Japanese.
  25 Hong Kong captured by the Japanese.


January 1 United Nations Declaration signed by 26 nations.
  2 Manila in the Philippine Islands falls to the Japanese.
  11 Japanese forces land in the Dutch East Indies.
  20 At the Wannsee Conference, deputy head of the SS Reinhard Heydrick reveals plans for theFinal Solution to the so-called Jewish problem.
  22 The besieged city of Leningrad evacuates its citizens.
  25 Thailand declares war on Britain and the United States.
February 1 U.S. Ships raid Marshal and Gilbert Islands.
  5 The United States declares war on Thailand.
  13 Adolf Hilter abandons the idea of invading Britain.
  14 British troops in Singapore surrender to the Japanese.
  23 Britain, Australia, the United States and New Zealand ratify the Mutual Aid Agreement.
  27 Allies lose the Battle of Java Sea to Japan.
March 7 Japan occupies The Netherlands Indies.
April 9 Bataan surrenders to the Japanese.
  18 Lt. Colonel James Doolittle leads 16 B-25s, launched from the U.S. aircraft carrier Hornet, on a bombing mission of Tokyo, Japan.
  30 Premier Joseph Stalin declares that the USSR has no territorial ambitions except to wrest its own lost lands from Nazi control.
May 6 Japanese occupy Corregidor.
  8 Allies win the Battle of the Coral Sea against Japan.
  22 Mexico declares war on Germany, Italy and Japan.
June 4 The Battle of Midway between U.S. and Japanese forces begins.
  7 The Battle of Miday ends in an U.S. victory. This ends the Japanese eastward expansion in the Pacific.
  21 German troops seize Tobruk, North Africa.
  25 Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower assumes command of U.S. forces in Europe.
July 2 British defeat the Germans at El Alamein.
August 7 The U.S. 1st Marine Division land on Gaudalcanal.
  22 Brazil declares war on Germany and Italy.
September 15 The U.S. carrier Wasp and a destroyer are lost escorting troop ships heading for Guadalcanal.
October 3 First successful lauch of a German V-2 rocket.
  26 The U.S. carrier Hornet is fatally damaged leaving the U.S. Pacific Fleet with one carrier.
November 5 Vichy French forces in Madagascar surrender to the Japanese.
  11 German and Italian forces occupy Vichy France to prevent an Allied invasion from North Africa.
  12 British troops recapture Tobruk.
  19 Soviets counterattack at Stalingrad.
  27 French scuttle their fleet at Toulon, France.
December 2 The first successful controlled nuclear chain reaction is made. This is the first step in making an atomic bomb.


January 31 German Field Marshall Von Paulus surrenders to the Soviets.
February 2 German troops at Stalingrad surrender.
March 2 Battle of Bismark Sea between the U.S. and Japanese fleets begins.
  3 The U.S. wins Battle of Bismark Sea.
  13 Japanese troops retreat across the Yangtze River.
April 18 Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is killed after his aircraft was destroyed by U.S. fighters.
May 7 Tunis and Bizerte fall to the Allies.
  12 Organized Axis resistance in Africa ends.
  30 Organized Japanese resistance in Attu ends.
July 10 Allies invade Sicily.
  19 First Allied bombing of Rome, Italy.
September 3 Allies land on Italian mainland.
  3 Italy signs secret armistice with Allies.
October 1 U.S. Fifth Army enters Naples, Italy.
  2 Allies capture Finschhafen.
  13 Italy declares war on Germany.
November 1 U.S. troops land on Bougainville Island.
  6 Soviets retake Kiev.
  20 U.S. Marines invade Tarawa and Makin.
    Allies march into Rome, Italy.


January 22 The Allied of Italy begins in Anzio.
  27 The Soviets break the siege of Leningrad.
  31 U.S. troops attack Kwajalein atoll.
February 17 U.S. forces raid Truk Island.
March 19 Hungary conquered by Germany.
  22 Japanese troops invade India.
April 22 Allied forces land at Hollandia.
June 5 U.S. troops enter Rome, the first Axis capital to be captured.
  6 Operation Overlord begins. Allied forces invade Normandy, France.
  15 U.S. Marines invade Saipan Island.
  15 U.S. Army Air Force B-29's raid Japan.
  30 Germany forms the first operational jet fighter unit comprised of Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighters.
July 21 U.S. forces land on Gaum Island.
August 25 Liberation of Paris.
  25 Romania declares war on Germany.
September 4 The British Second Army liberates the port of Antwerp in Belgium.
  8 First V-2 rocket strikes London.
  9 Bulgaria declares war on Germany.
  10 Finland signs armistice with the USSR.
  15 U.S. Marines invade Peleiu Island.
  19 Finland signs armistice with Allies.
October 20 U.S. Army lands on Leyte.
  21 German troops at Aachen,Germany surrender to U.S. forces following a 10-day siege.
  24 The Battle of Leyte Gulf between Japan and the U.S. begins.
  26 U.S. Pacific Fleet defeats the Japanese Fleet in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
November 7 President Franklin D. Roosevelt is re-elected to an unprecedented fourth term.
December 24 The twin-engined German Arado 234B is the first jet bomber used in a bombing operation.
  27 Allies defeat Germans in the Battle of the Bulge.


January 2 An American Sikorsky helicopter is used in convoy escort duties for the first time.
  9 Allied troops invade Luzon, Philippines.
  11 Soviet troops enter Warsaw, Poland.
  21 Hungary declares war on Germany.
February 4 U.S. President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Churchill and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin meet for the beginning of the Yalta Conference named Argonaut.
  12 The Yalta Conference, Argonaut, ends.
  13 Soviet forces occupy Budapest, Hungary.
  19 U.S. Marines invade Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands.
  23 U.S. Marines hoist flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.
March 7 U.S. First Army crosses Rhine River at Remagen, Germany.
  30 Danzig is captured by the Red Army.
April 1 The invasion of Okinawa by U.S. forces begins.
  7 U.S. Navy planes sink the Japanese super battleship, Yamato, during the Battle of the East China Sea.
  12 U.S. President Roosevelt dies. Vice President Harry S. Truman succeeds him.
  13 Vienna, Austria captured by the Soviets.
  22 Soviet troops reach Berlin.
  25 U.S. and Soviet forces meet at Torgau, Germany.
  28 Desposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is executed by Italian partisans.
  30 Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commits suicide in the Fuhrerbunker in Berlin.
May 1 Admiral Karl Doenitz succeeds Hitler as chancellor.
  2 German troops in Italy surrender.
  2 Berlin surrenders to the Soviet army.
  7 Germany surrenders to the Allies.
  8 V-E Day. President Truman declares victory in Europe.
July 14 Italy declares war on Japan.
  16 The world's first atomic bomb is exploded at Alamogordo, New Mexico.
  26 Allies issue the Potsdam Declaration.
August 2 Potsdam Conference ends.
  6 The first atom bomb carried by an U.S. B-29 bomber, Enola Gay, is dropped on Hiroshima.
  9 The second atomic bomb, carried by Bock's Car, is dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
  14 Japan accepts unconditional surrender terms from the Allies.
September 2 Japanese officials sign terms of surrender on the U.S. battleship Missouri.
  8 Japanese forces in China surrender.
  12 Japanese forces in southeast Asia surrender.
Last updated 19 March+ 2006

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