July 29, 1921
Adolph Hitler becomes the leader of the National Socialist German Workers (Nazi) Party.
October 29, 1922
Fascist leader Benito Mussolini is appointed the Premier of Italy.
January 3, 1925
Mussolini ends democracy in Italy by dismissing the Italian Parliament.
January 30, 1933
Adolph Hitler is appointed the Chancellor of Germany.
June 14, 1933
The Nazis make all other political parties in Germany illegal.
October 25, 1936
Hitler and Mussolini announced a Rome-Berlin alliance -- the Axis.
March 12, 1938
Germany invades Austria and annexes it the next day.
September 29, 1938
Germany, Britain, France, and Italy sign the Munich Pact allowing Germany to invade the
Sudeten territories of Czechoslovakia.
March 15, 1939
German troops enter Prague and complete the invasion of Czechoslovakia, ignoring the
March 31, 1939
Britain declares that it will support Poland.
Italy invades Albania.
Allies form non-aggression pacts with Turkey, Greece, Romania, and Poland.
August 23, 1939
Germany and the USSR sign a secret non-agression pact dividing up Poland.
September 1, 1939
Germany invades Poland.
September 3, 1939
Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany after German forces
penetrate deeper into Poland. This marks the beginning of World War II.
September 10, 1939
Canada declares war on Germany.
September 17, 1939
The USSR invades eastern Poland.
September 27, 1939
Poland surrenders to Germany.
November 30, 1939
The Russo-Finnish War begins when the USSR invades Finland.
December 18, 1939
The first Canadian troops arrive in Britain.
March 12, 1940
Finland surrenders to the USSR, ending the brief Russo-Finnish war that began when the
Soviets invaded Finland on November 30, 1939.
April 9, 1940
Denmark surrenders to Germany. Germany invades Norway.
May 10, 1940
Winston Churchill becomes the new Prime Minister of Britain, replacing Chamberlain.
Germany invades the Netherlands (Holland); it surrenders four days later. Germany invades
May 26, 1940
Operation Dynamo begins, the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk
on the Belgian coast.
May 28, 1940
Belgium surrenders to Germany.
June 10, 1940
Norway surrenders to Germany. Italy declares war on Britain and France.
June 14, 1940
German troops enter Paris.
June 18, 1940
The USSR invades the Baltic states.
June 22, 1940
France surrenders to Germany.
June 30, 1940
Germany invades the Channel Islands. This will be the only part of Britain to be occupied
by the Germans.
July 3, 1940
The British sink the French fleet at Oran.
July 10, 1940
The Battle of Britain begins. Germany bombs Britain, and the British defend themselves
from the air in what Winston Churchill would call their "finest hour."
August 3, 1940
Italy invades British Somaliland, marking the beginning of World War II in Africa.
September 13, 1940
Italy invades Egypt.
September 27, 1940
Germany, Italy, and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact, making Japan part of the Axis.
October 7, 1940
Germany invades Romania.
October 28, 1940
Italy invades Greece, but fails to conquer it.
October 31, 1940
The Battle of Britain ends. The powerful German Luftwaffe fails to crush British morale.
November 14, 1940
Greece repels the Italian invasion.
November 20, 1940
Hungary and Romania sign the Tripartite Pact, becoming part of the Axis.
December 3, 1940
Greece invades Italian-held Albania.
December 11, 1940
British troops capture the Egyptian cities of Sidi Barrani (December 11) and Sollum
(December 17) from the Italians.
January 5, 1941
Australian troops capture Bardia, Libya.
January 22, 1941
British and Australian troops capture Tobruk, Libya.
February 25, 1941
British troops capture Mogadishu, Italian Somaliland.
March 1, 1941
Bulgaria signs the Tripartite Pact, becoming part of the Axis.
March 11, 1941
The U.S. Congress passes the Lend-Lease Act giving Roosevelt the authority to sell, transfer,
or lease war goods to the government of any Allied country, thereby effectively ending American
March 25, 1941
Yugoslavia signs the Tripartite Pact, briefly becoming part of the Axis, but the pro-German
government is toppled two days later.
March 30, 1941
The German Afrika Korps begins its offensive in North Africa.
April 10, 1941
The U.S. occupies Greenland.
April 6, 1941
Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece.
April 13, 1941
The USSR and Japan sign a neutrality pact.
April 17, 1941
Yugoslavia surrenders to Germany.
April 27, 1941
Germany captures Athens, Greece.
May 29, 1941
Germany pushes Britain back to Egyptian border.
May 27, 1941
Bismarck, German battleship, sunk by British warships while she was on maiden voyage.
May 31, 1941
German airborne troops defeat the British in Crete.
June 4, 1941
Britain invades Iraq and overthrows its pro-German government.
June 8, 1941
Britain invades Syria and overthrows its Vichy French government.
June 22, 1941
Germany invades Russia, thereby beginning Operation Barbarossa. Italy and Romania
declare war on the USSR.
June 23, 1941
Hungary and Slovakia declare war on the USSR.
June 26, 1941
Finland declares war on the USSR.
July 7, 1941
The U.S. occupies Iceland.
July 25, 1941
Britain and Russia occupy Iran.
August 14, 1941
The U.S. and Britain sign the Atlantic Charter declaring their joint opposition to fascism,
despite the U.S. still being nominally neutral.
September 5, 1941
Germany occupies Estonia.
September 15, 1941
Germany begins the Siege of Leningrad. It would not end until January 1944.
October 1, 1941
The U.S. begins supplying the USSR under the Lend-Lease Act.
October 2, 1941
Germany begins the drive towards Moscow.
October 16, 1941
The USSR evacuates its seat of government to Kuibyshev.
November 22, 1941
Britain gives Finland an ultimatum: halt all offensive operations against the USSR or face a
war with the Allies.
December 5, 1941
Germany abandons its attack on Moscow; the USSR counterattacks.
December 7, 1941
Japan attacks the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
December 7, 1941
Japan invades Siam and Malaya.
December 8, 1941
The Allies -- except the USSR -- declare war on Japan.
December 11, 1941
Germany and Italy declare war on the U.S.
December 22, 1941
The Arcadia Conference between the U.S. and Britain begins in Washington, DC.
December 25, 1941
Japan invades Hong Kong.
January 1, 1942
The Declaration of the United Nations is signed by the leaders of 26 nations.
January 2, 1942
Japan captures Manila in the Philippines.
January 12, 1942
Japan invades Burma.
January 14, 1942
The U.S. and Britain conclude the Arcadia Conference in Washington, DC. Roosevelt and
Churchill agreed to establish a Combined Chiefs of Staff and to the make defeating Germany
their first priority. Winning the war in Europe would come before winning the war in the Pacific.
January 20, 1942
Germany holds the Wannsee Conference in Berlin to find a "Final Solution" for the Jews.
January 25, 1942
Japan invades the Solomons.
January 26, 1942
The first U.S. troops arrive in Britain.
February 15, 1942
Japan invades Singapore.
March 8, 1942
Japan invades Rangoon in Burma.
April 9, 1942
U.S. troops on Bataan in the Philippines surrender to the Japanese , and the Bataan Death
April 18, 1942
Doolittle's raiders bomb Toyko.
May 4, 1942
The U.S. Navy repels the Japanese at the Battle of the Coral Sea. This helps save Australia
and blocks the Japanese juggernaut in the Pacific.
May 6, 1942
The remaining U.S. troops on Corregidor in the Philippines surrender to the Japanese .
June 4, 1942
The U.S. defeat the Japanese at the Battle of Midway. Together with the Battle of the
Coral Sea, this marks the turning point in the war in the Pacific.
June 10, 1942
Germany decimates the Czech village of Lidice after Czech resistance fighters kill SS official
June 18, 1942
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiates the Manhattan Project to develop an atomic bomb.
June 21, 1942
The German Afrika Korps recaptures Tobruk, Libya, from the British.
July 3, 1942
Japanese troops take Guadalcanal.
July 22, 1942
Germany begins deporting hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to the
Treblinka concentration camp.
August 7, 1942
U.S. troops land on Guadalcanal.
August 22, 1942
Brazil declares war on Germany and Italy.
October 23, 1942
The battle between German and British troops at El Alamein in North Africa begins.
November 8, 1942
The Allies invade North Africa, beginning Operation Torch. U.S. forces landed in Algeria, Oran,
November 10, 1942
Vichy French forces stop fighting the Allies. Allied forces begin move into Tunisia.
November 13, 1942
British troops recapture Tobruk, Libya.
December 9, 1942
Australian and U.S. Army forces under MacArthur fight back the Japanese at Gona in New
January 2, 1943
Australian and U.S. Army forces under MacArthur fight back the Japanese at Buna in New
January 14, 1943
The Casablanca Conference between the U.S. and Britain begins. Roosevelt and Churchill
agree that Germany must surrender unconditionally, and plan the Allied invasion of Sicily.
January 31, 1943
Over 90,000 German troops at Stalingrad surrender to the Soviets. It is a significant turning
point in the war against Germany.
February 8, 1943
U.S. troops complete the capture of Guadalcanal from the Japanese .
April 19, 1943
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins after German troops attempt to deport the ghetto's last
surviving Jews. About 750 Jews fought back the Germans for almost a month.
May 11, 1943
The Trident Conference between the U.S. and Britain begins. Roosevelt and Churchill decide
to delay the Allied invasion of France and in its place plan the Allied invasion of Italy. In Alaska,
U.S. troops land on Attu in the Aleutian islands to retake it from the Japanese .
May 12, 1943
Axis forces in North Africa surrender.
May 16, 1943
German troops crush the last resistance of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and kill thousands of
Jews. The rest are sent to the Treblinka concentration camp to die.
July 1, 1943
The U.S. government begins directly withholding income tax from wages.
July 10, 1943
Over 160,000 Allied troops land in Sicily, beginning Operation Husky.
July 24, 1943
The Allies begin bombing Hamburg.
July 25, 1943
Benito Mussolini's fascist government is overthrown in Italy. The new Italian government begins
August 1, 1943
The Allies bomb the Ploesti oil fields in Romania.
August 11, 1943
The Quebec Conference between the U.S. and Britain begins.
August 15, 1943
U.S. troops retake Kiska island in the Aleutians.
August 17, 1943
Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, is successfully concluded when American troops
September 3, 1943
British troops land on mainland Italy, beginning the Allied campaign in Italy. American troops
land six days later. The new Italian government formally surrenders.
September 10, 1943
German troops occupy Rome. Mussolini soon declares himself the head of a new fascist Italian
government in German-occupied northern Italy.
October 13, 1943
Italy declares war on Germany.
November 1, 1943
U.S. Marines land on Bougainville island in the Solomons.
November 20, 1943
U.S. Army troops land on Makin island in the Gilberts. The next day, U.S. Marines land on
Tarawa. Within four days, both islands were secured, but at the cost of thousands of casualties.
November 8, 1943
The Teheran Conference between the U.S., Britain, and the USSR begins. Roosevelt, Churchill,
and Stalin meet together for the first time.
December 1, 1943
The Teheran Conference between the U.S., Britain, and the USSR is successfully concluded.
Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin agree that the Western Allies would invade France in June
1944 and that when it began the USSR would launch a new offensive from the east.
December 24, 1943
Dwight Eisenhower is named supreme commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces.
January 22, 1944
The Allies land at Anzio, Italy.
January 27, 1944
The German siege of Leningrad that began in September 1941 finally ends.
February 20, 1944
The Allies begin massive bombing campaign of Germany.
February 22, 1944
The USSR bombs Stockholm, Sweden. Four days later the USSR bombs Helsinki, Finland.
March 19, 1944
German troops occupy Hungary.
April 10, 1944
The USSR retakes Odessa.
May 12, 1944
German troops surrender in the Crimea.
June 4, 1944
The Allies capture Rome.
June 6, 1944
D-Day. Operation Overlord -- the Allied invasion of German-occupied Western Europe -- begins
on the beaches of Normandy, France.
June 13, 1944
Germany launches the first V-1 flying-bomb on Britain.
June 15, 1944
U.S. troops make an amphibious assault on the Japanese -held island of Saipan in the
June 19, 1944
The U.S. defeat the Japanese in a massive air battle known as the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
The Japanese lost more than 400 planes and three carriers. This victory paved the way for
eventual success in the Marianas invasion.
June 27, 1944
The Allies liberate Cherbourg.
July 3, 1944
The USSR retakes Minsk.
July 7, 1944
Japanese troops on Saipan surrender.
July 9, 1944
The Allies liberate Caen.
July 20, 1944
German military leaders attempt but fail to kill Adolf Hitler in the Rastenburg Assassination
Plot. Hitler then kills about 200 suspected plotters. U.S. troops make an amphibious assault
on the Japanese -held island of Guam in the Marianas.
July 23, 1944
U.S. troops make an amphibious assault on the Japanese -held island of Tinian in the Marianas.
August 4, 1944
The Allies liberate Florence.
August 10, 1944
U.S. troops complete the recapture of Guam.
August 15, 1944
The Allies landing in the South of France, beginning Operation Anvil.
August 20, 1944
The USSR invades German-occupied Romania.
August 23, 1944
August 25, 1944
The Allies liberate Paris.
September 2, 1944
The Allies liberate Pisa.
September 4, 1944
The Allies liberate Brussels and Antwerp.
September 8, 1944
The USSR invades Bulgaria. Germany launches the first V-2 flying-bomb on Britain.
September 9, 1944
Bulgaria makes peace with the USSR, then declares war on Germany.
September 11, 1944
The Allies enter Germany.
September 17, 1944
The ambitious Allied airborne assault in Arnhem, Holland -- Operation Market-Garden -- fails to
shorten the war against Germany.
September 22, 1944
The Allies liberate Boulogne.
September 26, 1944
The USSR occupies Estonia. Over 6,000 Allied survivors of Operation Market-Garden in
Arnhem, Holland are taken prisoner by the Germans.
September 28, 1944
The Allies liberate Calais.
October 1, 1944
Soviet troops enter Yugoslavia.
October 4, 1944
The Allies enter Greece, following the withdrawal of German troops.
October 14, 1944
The Allies liberate Athens.
October 20, 1944
The Allies capture Belgrade.
October 21, 1944
The Allies capture Aachen, the first city to be taken in Germany.
October 23, 1944
Soviets troops enter East Prussia.
October 26, 1944
The U.S. Navy defeats the Japanese in the Battle in Leyte Gulf. The Japanese Navy was now
November 4, 1944
Axis forces in Greece surrender.
November 24, 1944
U.S. B-29 bombers begin the massive bombing campaign against mainland Japan. In Europe,
the Allies capture Strasbourg.
November 29, 1944
The Allies capture Albania.
December 16, 1944
Germany begins its last-ditch offensive in the Ardennes, beginning the Battle of the Bulge.
December 26, 1944
U.S. troops hold Bastogne, stalling the German offensive in the Ardennes.
January 9, 1945
U.S. Army troops land on Luzon in the Philippines.
January 17, 1945
Advancing from the East, Soviet troops capture Warsaw.
January 26, 1945
Japanese troops retreat to the coast of China.
January 27, 1945
Soviet troops liberate the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps, discovering hundreds
of corpses from people who were recently murdered, thousands of people barely alive, and the
earthly remains of approximately 1,000,000 men and women.
January 28, 1945
In Western Europe, the Battle of the Bulge ends. Americans suffered some 75,000 casualties
and the Germans lost 80,000 to l00,000. The Americans can recover from their military losses;
the Germans cannot. Few people besides Hitler believe Germany can still win the war.
January 30, 1945
A Soviet submarine sinks the Wilhelm Gustloff. It is the single deadliest sinking in maritime
history, killing between 6,000 and 10,000 people, most of whom were civilian refugees and
wounded German soldiers.
February 4, 1945
The Yalta Conference between the U.S., Britain, and the USSR begins. Roosevelt, Churchill,
and Stalin discuss their plans for Europe after the war, and Stalin agrees to declare war on
Japan. In the Pacific, the Allies finally retake Manila in the Philippines after three years of brutal
February 13, 1945
The Allies begin firebombing Dresden, Germany, killing at least 135,000.
February 19, 1945
In the Pacific, U.S. Marines land on Iwo Jima.
February 20, 1945
In Europe, the Allies capture Saarbrucken.
March 3, 1945
Finland declares war on Germany.
March 7, 1945
The Allies capture two significant targets in Germany -- the Remagen bridge over the Rhine,
and the city of Cologne.
March 9, 1945
U.S. firebombing of Tokyo kills about 85,000 Japanese.
March 16, 1945
U.S. troops complete the capture of Iwo Jima from the Japanese, at the cost of 20,000
March 20, 1945
The Allies capture Mandalay, Burma.
March 30, 1945
Soviet troops capture Danzig.
April 1, 1945
U.S. troops invade Okinawa, the first Japanese home island to be reached. The fierce Japanese
defenders would inflict about 35,000 American casualties. In Europe, the Allies surround over
300,000 German troops in the Ruhr, and the final Allied offensive in northern Italy begins.
April 10, 1945
The Allies capture Hanover, Germany.
April 11, 1945
U.S. troops reach the Buchenwald concentration camp and discover that the prisoners had
liberated themselves from a forced evacuation. A few days later, British troops liberate the
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp for women.
April 12, 1945
President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at age 63. Harry S. Truman
becomes president of the United States.
April 13, 1945
Soviet troops capture Vienna, Austria.
April 15, 1945
The Allies capture Arnhem, in the Netherlands.
April 18, 1945
The last of the German troops trapped on the Ruhr River surrender.
April 23, 1945
Soviet troops reach Berlin.
April 25, 1945
U.S. and Soviet troops meet at the Elbe River in Germany.
April 28, 1945
Benito Mussolini is captured by Italian anti-fascists and executed.
April 29, 1945
U.S. troops liberate the Dachau concentration camp where they discover evidence of gruesome
April 30, 1945
Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide in a Berlin bunker as Soviet troops advance through
the city. Nazi Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels is scheduled to become the new German
Chancellor but he also kills himself -- after having his wife and six children killed. Karl Donitz is
named as Hitler's successor.
May 2, 1945
Soviet troops complete the capture of Berlin. The remaining German troops in Italy surrender.
May 7, 1945
Germany surrenders unconditionally.
May 8, 1945
V-E Day is declared -- Victory in Europe.
May 9, 1945
Soviet troops occupy Prague and the Allies liberate the Channel Islands.
June 21, 1945
U.S. troops complete the capture of Okinawa, providing a secure base for the final assault on
July 16, 1945
The world's first atomic bomb is successfully tested in New Mexico -- The Trinity Test. The
parts of the bombs to be dropped on Japan are already on their way. In Germany, the Potsdam
Conference between the U.S., Britain, and the USSR begins. Disagreements over the future of
Europe plant more seeds for the coming Cold War.
July 26, 1945
The U.S., Britain, and China issue the Potsdam Declaration which gives an ultimatum to Japan:
unconditionally surrender immediately, or face "prompt and utter destruction." In Britain,
Clement Atlee replaces Winston Churchill as Prime Minister.
August 6, 1945
A U.S. B-29 named Enola Gay drops the "Little Boy" atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan.
Approximately 140,000 people in the area will die by the end of the year.
August 8, 1945
The USSR declares war on Japan. Soviet troops invade Japanese-held Manchuria.
August 9, 1945
A U.S. B-29 named Bock's Car drops the "Fat Man" atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.
Approximately 70,000 people in the area will die by the end of the year.
August 14, 1945
Japan agrees to unconditionally surrender.
August 15, 1945
V-J Day is declared -- Victory over Japan.
September 2, 1945
Japan signs the formal surrender agreement on board the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay. World
War II, the most devastating war in human history, is over.
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