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Timeline of World War II

Timeline of World War II

Timeline of World War II

Welcome to our timeline of World War II.
There were numerous events leading up to World War II before 1939. Here is is a brief overview:

1919 – The Treaty of Versailles is signed, officially ending World War I. The treaty imposes harsh penalties on Germany, including the payment of massive reparations and the loss of significant territory.

1922 – Benito Mussolini comes to power in Italy and establishes a fascist dictatorship. He begins to pursue expansionist policies, including the invasion of Ethiopia in 1935.

1929 – The Great Depression begins, causing widespread economic hardship and instability around the world.

1931 – Japan invades Manchuria, a region in northern China, and establishes a puppet state there. This marks the beginning of Japan’s aggressive expansionist policies in East Asia.

1933 – Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany and begins to implement his policies of German nationalism, anti-Semitism, and territorial expansion. He withdraws Germany from the League of Nations and begins to re-arm the country.

1935 – Italy invades Ethiopia, leading to widespread condemnation from the international community but little effective action.

1936 – Germany reoccupies the Rhineland, a demilitarized zone along the border with France, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. This marks the first aggressive territorial move by Germany.

1937 – Japan launches a full-scale invasion of China, sparking the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conflict will continue until the end of World War II and result in millions of casualties.


March 12: Austria is annexed by Nazi Germany as German forces cross the border, a move known as the Anschluss. A flawed plebiscite in April resulted in a vote in favour of 99.7%.

September 30: The Munich Agreement is signed, allowing Nazi Germany to annex the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

October 1: German troops occupy the Sudetenland.

October 5: Germany invalidates all passports of Jewish citizens, who are re-issued passports with letter ‘J’ stamped in red. This was a change requested by Sweden and Switzerland which wanted a way of easily identify Jews trying to enter their countries and thereby deny them entry.

November 9-10: Kristallnacht occurs, with widespread violence and destruction of Jewish businesses and synagogues in Germany.


January 1: In Germany Jewish shopkeepers and artists are banned from any commercial activity from today onwards. Jews are also banned from working with non-Jewish citizens.

January 5: The German government announces the expansion of its navy.

January 26: Germany and Japan sign the Anti-Comintern Pact.

February 4: The German battleship Bismarck is launched.

February 27: The German foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, meets with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in Moscow to discuss a possible alliance.

March 15: Germany occupies Czechoslovakia, violating the Munich Agreement of 1938.

March 16: Hungary occupies part of Czechoslovakia known as ‘Carpatho-Ukraine’.

March 21: The Soviet Union signs a non-aggression pact with Lithuania.

March 21: Hitler demands that Danzig be returned to Germany.

March 31: The British and French governments guarantee the independence of Poland.

April 1: The Spanish Civil War ends with the defeat of the Republican forces.

April 3: Britain and France declare that they will support Poland in the event of a German invasion.

April 7: Italy invades Albania which is subsequently annexed.

April 20: Hitler celebrates his 50th birthday.

May 11: Soviet and Japanese forces clash in the battle of Khalkin Gol which would end in defeat for Japan and influence Japanese thinking towards the Soviet Union in the coming years.

May 22: Germany and Italy sign the Pact of Steel, forming an alliance.

June 14: The Soviet Union demands that Romania cede Bessarabia and Bukovina.

June 22: Germany and the Soviet Union sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, dividing Eastern Europe into spheres of influence.

June 28: Austria is officially annexed by Germany.

July 23: Germany presents Britain with an ultimatum demanding that Poland cede the city of Danzig and allow Germany to build a highway across the Polish Corridor.

August 23: The Soviet Union signs a non-aggression pact with Japan.

September 1: German forces invade Poland, beginning World War II.

September 3: Britain, France, Australia, British India and New Zealand declare war on Germany.

September 3: ‘Bloody Sunday’ massacre of 1000 ethnic Germans takes place in Polish city of Bydgoszcz.

September 4: The first air raid on London takes place.

September 5: The United States declares its neutrality in the conflict.

September 17: The Soviet Union invades Poland from the east.

September 28: Warsaw surrenders to the Germans.

October 2: Declaration of Panama is approved by states in the Americas establishing a neutrality zone enforced by the US Navy of 300 miles from the continental coast.

October 3: British Expeditionary Force takes up positions in the defensive line in western Europe.

October 6: Germany and the Soviet Union hold a victory parade in Brest-Litovsk.

October 10: Polish military surrenders to German army.

October 13: U-47 infiltrates the British naval base at Scapa Flow and sinjs battleship HMS Royal Oak with the loss of 833 men.

October 16: The first German air raid on the British mainland takes place.

October 18: Soviet forces enter Estonia causing he evacuation of 12,600 ethnic Germans.

October 19: First Jewish ghetto is established at Lublin in Poland.

October 23: Polish Jews ordered to wear Star of David armbands.

October 30: British government releases report that concentration camps are being built in Germany for Jews and anti-nazi citizens.

November 1: Soviet Union officially annexes eastern territories of Poland.

November 6: German forces arrest university staff at Krakow and send them to concentration camps.

November 26: Soviet Union reports border post shelled by Finland – likely false flag – as pretext for initiating ‘Winter War’ invasion of Finland. 

November 30: The Soviet Union attacks Finland with a massive artillery bombardment.

December 13: The Battle of the River Plate ends with the scuttling of the Admiral Graf Spee.

December 14: The Soviet Union is expelled from the League of Nations.

December 18: The British government announces a naval blockade of Germany.

December 24: The German battleship Scharnhorst sinks the British aircraft carrier HMS Glorious.


January 2: Soviet attacks in Finland are halted with massive losses.

January 7: Food rationing is established in Britain.

January 22: Britain and France announce that they will not recognize any changes to the borders of Norway or Sweden.

January 24: Reinhard Heydrich is appointed by Goring to work on the “Jewish Question”.

February 4: Britain and France propose expeditionary force to aid Finland of 100,000 men but plan is dropped after Norway and Sweden refuse permission for the soldiers to transit their territories.

February 15: Soviet forces break through Finish defences in the Mannerheim Line.

February 16: The British destroyer HMS Cossack rescues British prisoners from a German ship in the Atlantic.

February 29: Finland signs a peace treaty with the Soviet Union, ceding territory.

March 1: Bulgaria joins the Axis powers.

March 13: ‘Winter War’ ends with Finland ceding territories to Soviet Union in exchange for peace. Finland survived the Soviet onslaught, inflicting very heavy losses on the invaders in terms of men and material but recognise that they could not hold out. 

March 13: Germany invades Denmark and Norway.

April 3: 22,000 Polish officers, policemen and others are murdered by Soviet NKVD in the Katyn Massacre.

April 9: Germany invades Denmark and Norway.

April 10: Nazi puppet government set up in Oslo under Vidkun Quisling. The following day British destroyers and aircraft make surprise attack in First Battle of Narvik.

April 12: British troops occupy Faroe Islands. 

April 14 – 16: British forces land in Norway in unsuccessful struggle with German forces for control until withdrawal from central Norway begins on 27th April.

May 1: British evacuation from Norway underway and will continue until June. 

May 10: Germany invades France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

May 10: British forces occupy Iceland.

May 10: Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Britain.

May 15: The Netherlands surrenders to Germany.

May 28: Belgium surrenders to Germany.

May 26 – June 04: The British Expeditionary Force and thousands of French and other allies evacuated from Dunkirk, France.

June 04: Churchill delivers his “we shall fight them on the beaches… we shall never surrender” speech to the House of Commons.

June 10: Italy declares war on France and Britain.

June 14: German forces enter Paris.

June 18: De Gaulle forms French government in exile.

June 22: France signs an armistice with Germany and surrenders officially on June 25.

June 26: Soviet forces demand annexation of Bessarabia from Romania.

July 1: Channel Islands occupied by German forces and following day Hitler orders plans for invasion of Britain – code name: Operation Sea Lion.

July 3: British navy sinks French navy at Oran fearing it will be turned over to the Germans by collaborationist French government.

July 10: The Battle of Britain begins with German air raids on southern England.

July 18: Vichy French forces attack Gibraltar by air.

August 15: The Battle of Britain intensifies with a major German air raid on southern England.

August 24: German bombers hit London, destroying a church in Cripplegate. Churchill orders a retaliatory raid on Berlin on August 26.

September 7: The Blitz begins with German air raids on London.

September 16: The United States institutes a draft.

September 22: Japanese forces occupy French Indo-China.

September 27: Germany, Italy, and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact, forming the Axis powers.

October 3: Jews in Warsaw directed to move to the  ghetto – forced move on October 31.

October 14: Balham underground station disaster – 66 killed after German bomb penetrates station and explodes.

October 21: German bombing continues all over Britain – Liverpool bombed for 200th time.

October 28: Italy invades Greece.

November 5: President Roosevelt is re-elected for a third term.

November 7: Ireland refuses to allow British to use port facilities for naval use.

November 8: Italian invasion of Greece stalls.

November 10: The British defeat the Italian fleet at Taranto, Italy.

November 11: The Royal Navy sinks the German battleship Bismarck.

November 14: Greek counter offensive against Italian forces – Italians evicted on November 19.

December 6 – 9: British forces defeat Italian forces in North Africa and capture Benghazi, Libya.

December 8: Franco rules out Spanish entry to war forcing Hitler to cancel plans to capture Gibraltar.

December 18: Hitler issues Directive No. 21, outlining plans for the invasion of the Soviet Union – Operation Barbarossa.

December 22 – 29: The German Luftwaffe launches a major air raid on Manchester and London.

December 28: Greek forces pushing back Italians in Albania – Italy requests military assistance from Germany.


January 5: British forces in North Africa capture Bardia and take 45,000 Italian prisoners.

January 6: President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his Four Freedoms speech to the U.S. Congress.

January 21: British and Australian forces attack Italian forces capturing Tobruk.

January 23: Charles Lindburgh recommends that United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany.

January 31: Indian 4th Division captures 1000 Italian prisoners in Eritrea when they capture the town of Agordat.

February 3: Rommel appointed head of ‘German Army troops in Africa’ – soon to be known as ‘Afrika Korps’.

February 9: British navy attacks Genoa and Livorno as Churchill asks USA to “Give us the tools…”

February 10: Malta under daily air attack – situation critical.

February 14: Rommel arrives in Africa and Afrika Korps moving east towards British forces.

February 15: Deportation of Austrian Jews to Poland ghettos begins. 

February 27: The Bulgarian government signs the Tripartite Pact, joining the Axis powers.

March 1: Bulgaria signs a secret treaty with Germany and Italy, agreeing to provide troops for a future invasion of Yugoslavia.

March 4: British commando raid on Narvik.

March 7: British forces begin to arrive in Greece.

March 19: Large fire bombing raid on London.

March 24: Afrika Korps offensive in Libya – British forces pushed back to Egypt within 3 weeks.

April 1: Bombing of British cities continues and attacks on attacks on naval convoys heavy during month.

April 3: Pro-Axis govenment installed in Iraq.

April 6: Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece.

April 7: Luftwaffe bomb Belgrade. 

April 8: German forces occupy Salonika in Greece. 

April 9: Palestinian leader Amin Al-Husseini issues fatwa in radio speech in Baghdad calling on all muslins to engage in ‘holy war’ against Britain.

April 10: The destroyer USS Niblack becomes the first U.S. Navy vessel to engage in combat with German forces in the Atlantic.

April 13: The Soviet Union and Japan sign a neutrality pact.

April 14: Collaborationist mob in Antwerp attack synagogues in the city in ‘Antwerp Pogrom’.

April 15: British sink Afrika Korps convoy and covering Italian destroyers.

April 17: Yugoslavia surrenders to Germany.

April 18: Greek Prime Minister commits suicide

April 18: British forces from India begin invasion of Iraq.

April 21: The Greek army in Albania surrenders to German forces, 223,000 prisoners taken. The following day British forces begin to evacuate Greece.

April 27: German forces occupy Athens – Greece surrenders.

May 1 – 8: The German Luftwaffe in major bombing campaign against Britain’s cities, including Liverpool, Nottingham and Belfast.

May 9: U-Boat U110 captured by British who recover intact Enigma machine.

May 10: Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, flies to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with Britain.

May 10: Widespread strike in Belgium against occupation.

May 14: RAF authorised to attack German forces in Vichy territory in Syria.

May 20: German paratroopers land on the island of Crete kicking off a vicious battle until Allied forces withdraw on June 1.

May 24: HMS Hood sunk by German battleship Bismark.

May 27: Bismark sunk by British after being crippled by British air attack on the previous day.

June 8: Collaborationist French colonies in Syria and Lebanon invaded by British and Commonwealth forces.

June 13: 60,000 approx Baltic people deported to Siberia by Soviets.

June 15: British forces, attacking in Operation Battleaxe, fail to relieve the Siege of Tobruk and narrowly avoid encirclement by Afrika Korps.

June 22: Germany launches Operation Barbarossa, invading the Soviet Union.

June 24: Lithuanian mob kill dozens of Jews in the streets of Vilnius as civilians cheer them on whilst German army enters the city.

June 26: Hungary and Slovakia declare war on the Soviet Union.

June 28: The German army encircles 300,000 Soviet soldiers near Minsk.

June 29: Forces of Finland and Germany launch Operation Arctic Fox – an attempt to cut the rail link to Murmansk.

July 2: Ponary Massacre begins in Vilnius. German forces were to eventually murder 100,000 people – many shot or buried alive.

July 3: Estonian ‘Forest Brothers’ begin operations against Soviet forces several days prior to arrival of German army.

July 7: U.S. forces replace British in occupation of Iceland.

July 10: German forces take Minsk and elements of Italian and Croatian forces arrive to take part in the invasion

July12: Vichy French forces surrender in Syria.

July 16: German armoured units reach Smolensk.

July 21: Luftwaffe heavily bombs Moscow and the German army reaches the outskirts of the city on the following day.

July 26: In retaliation for the occupation of French Indo-China, US seizes all Japanese assets in the US.

July 28: Reinhard Heydrich instructed to submit as soon as possible the plan for ‘…carrying out the desired final solution to the Jewish question’.

August 1: Japanese occupy Saigon.

August 5: German forces encircle 300,000 Soviet soldiers at Smolensk, take Orel, and seize Smolensk the following day.

August 11: Japanese bomb Chungking, nominal capital of Nationalist China.

August 18: Hitler orders temporary halt to Action T4, the extermination of disabled or handicapped Germans, and transfers staff to concentration camps.

August 25: British and Soviet forces begin operations to occupy oil fields in Iran.

August 30: The ‘Shetland Bus’ begins operation making a clandestine link between Britain and occupied Norway.

September 1: The German and Finnish armies cut off Leningrad and the siege of of the city begins from September 8.

September 10: German forces surround Kiev.

September 19: Requirement for all Jews to wear the Star of David in all territories under German control. Jews are forbidden to live with non-Jews and to leave any town without written permission.

September 27: The SS Patrick Henry, the first U.S.-built Liberty ship, is launched in Baltimore.

September 28: German SS troops kill 30,000 Jews at Babi Yar, on the outskirts of Kiev.

October 2: Operation Typhoon, German attack against Moscow, begins.

October 3: Mahatma Ghandi urges Indians to begin passive resistance to British in India.

October 8: The German army reaches Sea of Azov but losing momentum due to resistance and weather conditions.

October 10: German forces surround 600,000 Soviet troops to the east of Smolensk.

October 12: Massacre of Jews at Stanislawow by German SS and Ukrainian collaborators – 8,000 / 12,000 killed.

October 14: Heavy snow and cold near Moscow immoblizes German armoured formations but assault continues following day – Soviet government starts to evacuate but Stalin remains in city.

October 18: Soviet forces arrive in Moscow having been transferred from Asia.

October 19: Germany declared occupied Luxembourg to be “Judenrein” (cleansed of Jews).

October 22: Odessa Massacre begins. 34,000 Jews shot or burnt alive. The Slobodka Ghetto is emptied and 35,000 Jews forced to remain outside without shelter in freezing conditions – many perish.

October 29: All occupants of the Vilna ghetto killed.

October 31: The U.S. destroyer Reuben James is sunk by a German U-boat, leading to the U.S. implementing a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare against German U-boats.

November 3: German forces capture Kursk.

November 4: Japanese Emperor Hirohito authorises attack on Pearl Harbour.

November 12: Battle of Moscow rages in freezing conditions.

November 14: HMS Ark Royal sinks after being torpedoed by U-81 the previous day.

November 21: Germans capture city of Rostov on Don but the Soviets counter attack and recapture the city on January 28.

December 1: Malta bombed for 1000th time.

December 5: Germans call off assault on Moscow which has met heavy resistance and severe weather.

December 7: Japanese naval air forces bomb Pearl Harbour and Japan declares war on the United States and Great Britain. Japanese forces launch attacks in Thailand and Malaya as well as air attacks in the Pacific islands.

December 7: Hitler signs “Night and Fog” decree.

December 8: Roosevelt’s “day of infamy” speech. Japanese capture Tarawa Island and begin assault on Hong Kong. 

December 10: Japanese aircraft sink HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales in South China Sea.

December 13: Bulgaria and Hungary declare war against the United States and Britain.

December 15: Italian ‘human torpedoes’ attack British ships in Alexandria.

December 15: Afrika Korps pushed back by British forces in North Africa.

December 17: Germans and Romanians begin the Battle of Sebastapol in Crimea.

December 20: Jewish ghetto at Stanislawow sealed and inmates at Bogbanovka Concentration camp massacred the following day – 40,000 killed.

December 22 – 24: Japanese landings in Philippines, Borneo and Wake Island. US forces in Philippines begin retreat to Bataan.

December 27: British and Norwegian commandos raid port of Vagsoy in Operation Archery.

December 28: Japanese paratroops land on Sumatra.


February 8: The Battle of Singapore begins, with Japanese forces launching an invasion of the British colony.

February 15: Singapore falls to Japanese forces, resulting in the capture of over 80,000 Allied troops.

March 8: The first U.S. troops arrive in Australia.

April 9: The Battle of Bataan in the Philippines ends with the surrender of the remaining American and Filipino forces.

April 13: Soviet Union and Japan sign the Soviet-Japanese Non-aggression Pact valid for five years.

April 18: The Doolittle Raid, a U.S. bombing mission on Tokyo, is carried out in retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

May 4-8: The Battle of the Coral Sea takes place, with U.S. and Australian forces stopping a Japanese attempt to invade Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

May 26-June 4: The Battle of Midway, a decisive naval battle between U.S. and Japanese forces, takes place, resulting in a significant victory for the U.S. and a turning point in the Pacific theater.

June 7: Japanese forces invade the Aleutian Islands.

June 8: Malta receives a further squadron of Spitfires.

June 12 – 14: Heavy British losses in combat with Afrika Korps at Battle of Gazala.

June 21: Afrika Korps capture Tobruk.  

June 30: The Germans launch a major offensive against Soviet forces in southern Russia, known as Operation Blue.

July 1 – 30: First Battle of El Alamein in Egypt. British hold German advance but battle ends in stalemate.

July 16: French police arrest 13,152 Jews for deportation to Auschwitz.

July 22: Extermination camp at Treblinka opens – deportation of Jews in Warsaw ghetto begins.

August 1: German forces advancing towards Stalingrad.

August 7-9: The Battle of Guadalcanal, the first major Allied offensive in the Pacific, begins with a U.S. Marine invasion of the Japanese-held island.

August 13: Montgomery appointed British commander in North Africa.

August 19: Operation Jubilee, British and Canadian raid on Dieppe ends in disaster with majority of allied force killed or captured.

August 23-27: The Battle of Milne Bay, a major Allied victory against Japanese forces in Papua New Guinea, takes place.

August 23: German bombing raids hit Stalingrad.

August 30: Battle of Alam Haifa begins with Afrika Korps attacks but will end in Axis defeat. British tactics and airpower play a significant role. 

September 2: Battle of Stalingrad begins – German forces meet stubborn resistance when they reach the suburbs.

September 4: IRA instigate rioting in Belfast.

September 13-15: The Battle of Edson’s Ridge, a significant engagement in the Guadalcanal campaign, takes place between U.S. and Japanese forces.

September 1: Stalingrad surrounded and battle rages as Soviet forces ferried across the Volga under cover of night.

September 18: USS Wasp sunk by Japanese off Guadalcanal as battle rages on land.

September 28: Japanese in retreat in New Guinea.

October 23: Second Battle of El Alamein begins – it will end with a decisive British victory over the Afrika Korps who begin the retreat away from Egypt.

October 26: Japanese navy defeat US navy at battle of Sata Cruz – USS Hornet sunk and USS Enterprise heavily damaged.

November 1: Operation Supercharge begins British advance from El Alamein.

November 8: The Allied invasion of North Africa, known as Operation Torch, begins with landings in Morocco and Algeria. French forces resist allied landings but are defeated.

November 10: German forces occupy Vichy France.

November 10: Afrika Korps routed in North Africa by British forces making rapid advance through Libya.

November 15: British forces in pursuit of Afrika Korps reach Tunisia.

November 19: Soviet forces launch Operation Uranus, a counteroffensive and encirclement against German forces at Stalingrad.

November 25: German army at Stalingrad surrounded – Hitler issues “no surrender” order to General Paulus, in command of besieged force.

November 26: Hundreds of people injured in rioting between US and Australian service men in Brisbane.

December 2: The first controlled nuclear chain reaction is achieved at the University of Chicago, marking a significant development in the Manhattan Project, the U.S. effort to develop nuclear weapons.

December 7: British commando raid on German held Bordeaux, Operation Frankton, destroys six ships.

December 22: Germans in retreat in Caucasus.

December 23: Japanese bomb Calcutta.

December 28: French collaborationist forces in Somaliland surrender to British.

December 31: British navy defeats German navy in the Battle of the Barents Sea. As a result, Hitler loses confidence in German surface fleet and focusses more on u-boats.


January 10: Soviet offensives at Stalingrad and in Caucasus.

January 14: The Casablanca Conference is held between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, where they agree to continue the war until the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers is achieved.

January 15: British forces launch offensive in Libya.

January 18: Uprising in Warsaw Ghetto after inhabitants refuse to surrender for deportation.

January 21: Last airfield available to German forces in Stalingrad is captured by the Soviets.

January 23: British forces capture Tripoli.

January 27: First all American air raid against Germany targets port city of Wilhelmshaven.

January 29: Japanese naval forces defeat US navy in the Battle of Rennell Island and as a result complete the evacuation of their forces at Guadalcanal. 

February 2: The Battle of Stalingrad officially ends with the surrender of the remaining German forces to the Soviet Union, marking a major turning point in the war in Europe.

February 8: The Chindits begin incursion into occupied Burma.

February 13: The Battle of Kasserine Pass begins in Tunisia, with the German Afrika Korps defeating inexperienced U.S. forces.

February 14: Soviets liberate Rostov on Don.

February 18: Goebbels delivers “total war” speech in Berlin – German public reeling after previously being informed of loss of 6th army at Stalingrad.

February 18: Arrest of White Rose resistance group members in Munich.

February 22: Japanese POWS refuse to work at Featherstone POW Camp in New Zealand –  dispute degenerates into violence with 48 inmates and 1 camp guard killed.

February 28: Operation Gunnerside, heavy water plant at Vemork in Norway destroyed by Norwegian raiders.

March 2-4: The Battle of the Bismarck Sea takes place off the coast of Papua New Guinea, with U.S. and Australian forces sinking eight Japanese ships.

March 6: British forces defeat Afrika Korps at Battle of Medenine – last time Rommel commands forces in Africa.

March 11: German forces enter Kharkov in fierce fighting and capture the city 3 days later.

March 13: Germans liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Krakow.

March 16-April 27: The Battle of the Atlantic continues, with U-boats sinking a record number of Allied ships.

March 20 – 26: British and American forces advancing in Tunisia.

May 13-July 25: The Battle of North Africa ends with the surrender of Axis forces in Tunisia, marking a significant victory for the Allies.

April 4: American and Filipino prisoners break out of Davao Penal Colony in the Philippines – escapees bring first news of Bataan Death March to the world.

April 13: German radio announces discovery of Katyn Massacre.

April 18: Admiral Yamamoto, Japanese naval strategy lead, killed after being shot down over Bougainville. In Tunisia, British and American air forces inflict heavy losses on German air units attempting to rescue Afrika Korps in the “Palm Sunday Massacre”.

April 19: Warsaw ghetto rising attempting resist deportations. In Belgium, partisans attack a railway convoy carrying Jews to Auschwitz.

April 30: Operation Mincemeat – deception plan launched involving concealing false plans about allied operations on a dead body which is dumped at sea and subsequently recovered by Spanish fisherman and passed to Germans.

May 2: Allies closing in on remains of Afrika Korps in Tunisia. Japanese aircraft bomb Darwin.

May 7: British forces capture Tunis.

May 13: Afrika Korps surrender – 250,000 prisoners taken.

May 16: Warsaw ghetto uprising defeated by Germans – 14,000 Jews killed and 40,000 sent to death camps.

May 16: ‘Dambuster Raid’ knocks out electrical power in Rhur area.

May 17: Germans launch 5th major offensive against Tito’s partisans in Yogoslavia.

May 24: Admiral Donitz orders u-boats to leave Atlantic after heavy losses caused by better allied tactics.

June 8: Japanese begin evacuation of Aleutians.

June 11: British forces capture 11,000 Italian prisoners when they invade island of Pantelleria.

June 21: Operation Cartwheel begins with US Marines landing in Solomon Islands.

July 5-13: The Battle of Kursk, one of the largest tank battles in history, takes place between German and Soviet forces in Russia, resulting in a Soviet victory.

July 7: Walter Dornberger briefs Hitler on V-2 rocket who directs it should be given top priority.

July 10: Operation Husky, the allied landing in Sicily begins.

July 11: Ukrainian Insurgent Army massacres ethnic Poles in Dominipol – Ukrainian peasants assist in massacre and looting. Afterwards, the village was burned.

July 12: Battle of Prokhorovka – largest tank battle in history and part of the Battle of Kursk is fought. Soviet forces suffer very heavy losses.

July 22: American forces capture Palermo.

July 24: Operation Gomorrah, the heaviest bombing raid in history to date, targets Hamburg and results in 37,000 deaths and 180,000 injured citizens. The resulting firestorm destroys the city.

July 25: Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is ousted from power and arrested.

August: 2: 2,897 Romani are murdered at Auschwitz.

August 5: Sweden states it will no longer assist Germany by allowing transit of good on its railways. Soviets recapture Orel and Belgorod.

August 6: German forces moving into Italy.

August 11: German and Italian forces begin evacuation from Sicily.

August 16: Jews launch uprising in Bialystok ghetto.

August 17: Sicily now in allied control.

August 23: Soviet forces liberate Kharkov.

September 3: British forces invade Italy, with landings in Calabria.

September 8: The Italian government surrenders to the Allies.

September 9: Allied landing in Salerno and British forces capture Taranto.

September 11: British forces enter Bari.

September 12: Mussolini rescued from captivity in commando raid by Otto Skorzeny.

September 13: Salerno invasion under heavy pressure from German counter attacks.

September 14: German forces commit Holocaust of Viannis in Crete.

September 16: British forces begin landings on Greek islands in Aegean and Dodecanese.

September 21: American forces victorious in Battle of the Solomon Islands.

September 21: German forces execute 4,500 Italian soldiers who had surrendered to them in Cephalonia. 

September 25: Soviet forces liberate Smolensk.

September 26: German forces attack Island of Leros in Greece and occupy Corfu the following day.

September 28: Citizens of Naples begin uprising against Germans.

September 30: Gestapo begins rounding up Danish Jews for deportation.

October 1: Uprising in Naples completed and German occupation over.

October 3: German forces invade and occupy Kos.

October 7: Japanese execute 98 American civilians on Wake Island.

October 14: USAAF loses on bombing raid against Schweinfurt so heavy that daylight bombing is suspended until bombers can be escorted by P-51 Mustang fighters.

October 29: Soldiers replace dock workers in London due to strike action.

November 1: US Marines land on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.

November 3: 43,000 Jews in camps in Poland are shot in Aktion Erntefest over two days.

November 6: Soviets liberate Kiev.

November 9: Belgian Resistance publishes fake collaborationist newspaper ‘Le Soir’ mocking German situation in conflict.

November 11: American bombing continues to hit Rabaul. 

November 12: German forces defeat British in assault against Dodecanese Islands.

November 15: Himmler orders Gypsies and “part-gypsies” to be dealt with in same way as Jews and placed in concentration camps.

November 16: German forces defeat British and Italian allies in Leros.

November 19: Prisoners at Janowska concentration camp stage uprising when they are asked to cover up evidence of killings.

November 20: US Marines land on Tarawa and Makin Atoll in Operation Galvanic.

November 22: Cairo Conference is held between Roosevelt, Churchill and Chang Kai-shek to discuss war against Japan.

November 23, 24 & 27: Large scale bombing raids against Berlin cause mass destruction and loss of life.

November 28: The Tehran Conference is held between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, where they agree to launch a cross-Channel invasion of German-occupied Europe in 1944.

December 2: German bombing of allied shipping in Bari. A ship carying mustard gas is hit causing large loss of life.

December 12: Rommel is appointed head of ‘Fortress Europe’.

December 26: Scharnhorst is sunk by British warships in the Arctic.

December 26: US Marines land in New Britain.

December 29: Japanese hand over Andaman Islands to collaborationist Azad Hind organisation.


January 3: USMC fighter ace Pappy Boyington shot down after making his 26th air victory – he survives in a POW camp.

January 4: Soviets enter Polish territory for first time during war.

January 9: British forces capture port of Maungdaw in Burma.

January 12: SS United Victory launched – first ‘Victory Ship’ transport ship.

January 17: Battle of Monte Cassino begins with British assault against Gustav Line.

January 20: RAF drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin.

January 22: Allied forces land at Anzio, Italy, but their advance is stalled by stiff German resistance. The following day HMS Janus is sunk of the landing zone.

January 27: Leningrad is fully liberated by Soviet forces, ending the Siege of Leningrad that had lasted for 872 days.

January 28: Soviets encircle two German army corps in the Korsun Pocket – 2/3 of the Germans escape but lose most of their heavy equipment.

January 31: Operation Flintlock – US Marines land on Kwajalein Atoll in Marshall Islands.

February 2: German forces defeat Americans at Battle of Cisterna near Anzio.

February 4: Kwajalein is captured by American forces.

February 5: US Navy bombards Kuril Islands.

February 15: Second Battle of Monte Cassino begins with allied bombing of historic monastery.

February 26: End of “big week” bombing campaign over Germany. P-51 Mustang fighter offers key protection due to long range ability.

March 1: Soviets launch Narva Offensive. City of Narva destroyed by bombing on March 6.

March 7: Japanese begin invasion of India with attack at Imphal which will last 4 months.

March 8: Soviet offensive west of the Dnieper force German army into major retreat.

March 15: Third Battle of Monte Cassino begins with destruction of the town of Cassino by bombing.

March 17: Vienna heavily bombed.

March 19: Operation Margarethe – German forces occupy Hungary.

March 21: Finland rejects Soviet peace terms.

March 28: Japanese in retreat in Burma.

April 3: Allies bomb Budapest.

April 4: De Gaulle takes command of all Free French Forces.

April 6: Japanese forces surround British at Imphal and Kohima.

April 10: Soviets liberate Odessa.

April 11 – 16: Soviets liberate Yalta and Kerch in Crimea.

April 17: Japanese launch Operation Ichi-Go with over 600,000 men in central China.

April 27: Slapton Sands Tragedy – hundreds of American servicemen killed in Slapton in Devon in D-Day invasion training excercise.

April 30: Large scale training and preparation for D-Day in Southern England.

May 6: Large scale bombing in preparation for D-Day.

May 9: Sevastapol liberated by Soviet forces.

May 11: Forth Battle of Monte Casino begins with General Anders and 2nd Polish Corps in attack.

May 12: Nationalist Chinese forces invade Burma.

May 13: Soviets in control of whole of Crimea – thousands of German and Romanian prisoners taken.

May 18: Polish forces finally defeat Germans at Monte Cassino – German troops withdraw to ‘Hitler Line’.

May 21: Allied bombing in France in preparation for D-Day. 

May 23 -25: Allied forces break out of Anzio bridgehead and link up with forces advancing from south.

May 27: US Marines land in Dutch New Guinea.

May 31: Japanese defeated an Imphal with heavy loses and begin retreat from India.

June 4: The Allies liberate Rome from German occupation.

June 5: RAF drops 5000 tons of bombs on German gun positions in Normandy.

June 6: D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history, takes place with the landing of Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy, France.

June 7: Bayeux liberated by British forces.

June 9: Soviets invade Finland.

June 10: German massacre of civilians at Oradour Sur Glane.

June 10-11: The Oradour-sur-Glane massacre occurs in France, where a German Waffen-SS unit kills 642 civilians, including women and children.

June 12: American airstrikes against Marianas Islands with US Marine landing 3 days later.

June 13: German V1 attacks against England begin and will continue until launch sites are captured in October.

June 15: The Allies begin an offensive in the Pacific with the Battle of Saipan, resulting in a U.S. victory and the securing of a major air base for the Allies.

June 17: Free French forces land on Elba and complete capture of island 2 days later.

June 19 – 20: US Navy defeats Japanese in Battle of Phippine Sea. US pilots shoot down 200 Japanese aircraft for 29 loses in the ‘Great Marianas Turkey Shoot’.

June 20: British forces capture Perugia.

June 22: The Soviet Union launches Operation Bagration, a massive offensive against German forces in Belarus. German Army Group Centre effectively destroyed in decisive Soviet victory.

June 25: Soviet attack against Finland result in Battle of Tali-Ihantala. Finland would achieve a victory against overwhelming odds. The huge losses incurred in this battle would influence the Soviet decision making to seek a ceasefire rather than pursue a costly conquest of Finland.

June 26: American forces capture Cherbourg.

July 3: Soviets liberate Minsk

July 6: Largest banzai charge of war in Saipan results in 4,300 Japanese deaths. Saipan was secured 3 days later in a conquest which caused 30,000 Japanese casualties. Japanese officials encourage civilians to commit suicide in later stages of struggle.

July 10: Tokyo bombed for the first time since the Doolittle Raid.

July 17: Rommel badly wounded in air attack against his car in France.

July 20: The failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler by German officers occurs, known as the July 20 Plot.

July 21: US Marines land on Guam.

July 23 – 27: Polish uprising at Lwow against Germans. Towards the end of the uprising Soviet forces arrive. Soviets complete capture of Lwow and NKVD arrest 5000 of the Polish soldiers involved in the uprising and send them to Gulag camps.

August 1: The Warsaw Uprising begins in Poland, with Polish resistance fighters attempting to liberate Warsaw from German occupation.

August 15: Allied forces land on the southern coast of France, beginning the invasion of southern France known as Operation Dragoon.

August 20: Soviet forces invade Romania. Romania joins allies 3 days later.

August 25: Paris is liberated by Allied forces.

August 28: German forces in Toulon and Marseille surrender.

August 29: Anti-German uprising in Slovakia.

September 1: Canadian forces capture Dieppe.

September 3: British forces liberate Brussels. 

September 5: British forces liberate Antwerp.

September 6: British forces liberate Ghent and Leige.

September 8: Canadian forces liberate Ostend. Soviets enter Bulgarian territory and first V2 rocket strikes on London and Paris.

September 10: American forces enter Germany at Aachen and allies reach Dijon. In occupied Holland, railway workers go on strike – Germans impose food embargo triggering famine.

September 15: US Marines land in Palau Islands starting a bloody 2 month battle.

September 16: Soviet forces reach Bucharest.

September 17: British forces reach San Marino – battle with Germans lasts 3 days.

September 17: The Battle of Arnhem begins. The largest airborne operation in history, takes place in the Netherlands, resulting in a German victory and the failure of the Allied operation 10 days later.

September 18: Allied forces capture Brest.

September 19: USSR and Finland sign ‘Moscow Armistice’. 

September 20: Estonian government uprising and appeal to Soviets for Estonian independence. Soviet advance triggers mass evacuation of 7% of population.

September 21: British forces capture Rimini.

September 25: British defeat at Arnhem – 1st Airboure Division suffers 80% casualties.

September 28: Soviets capture Estonian mainland and begin amphibious operations the following day to capture islands.

September 30: German garrison in Calais surrenders to Canadian forces.

October 1: Soviet forces enter Yugoslavia.

October 2: Germans complete suppression of the Warsaw Uprising.

October 5: Canadian forces reach Dutch border. Soviet forces invade Hungary and launch an attack on Riga in Latvia.

October 7: Uprising of Sonderkommando at Auschwitz. The revolt is crushed with 450 casualties.

October 10: Soviets reach the River Niemen in Prussia. Allied forces liberate Corinth.

October 12: Athens liberated by Greek Resistance fighters. US air attacks on Taiwan.

October 14: British forces enter Athens. Rommel commits suicide whilst under suspicion of plotting against Hitler.

October 18: In Germany all men aged 16 – 60 drafted for military service.

October 23 – 26: American forces decisively defeat Japanese at the Battle of Leyte. B-29 bombers now launching air attacks on Japan from Tinian Island.

October 25: Romania liberated by Soviet and Romanian forces.

October 27: Start of the Battle of Hurtgen Forest which will last until December.

November 1: British forces liberate Solonika and distribute food in Athens which is suffering a famine.

November 2: Canadians complete liberation of Belgium when they liberate Zeebrugge.

November 4: Germans in mainland Greece evacuate.

November 5: USS Lexington heavily damaged by kamikaze attack.

November 10: Germans hitting Britain with approx. 8 V-2 rockets daily.

November 17: Germans evacuate Tirana in Albania.

November 23: Metz liberated by Free French forces.

November 24: First B-29 raid on Tokyo from planes based at Tinian Island.

November 26: Himmler orders destruction of Auschwitz.

December 1: Thiaroye Massacre in Senegal – revolting former POWs who had been repatriated after liberation are killed by French forces. Hundreds injured and between 35 and 400 deaths.

December 3: Unrest in Athens between leftist NLF and government with British backing.

December 14: Japanese massacre 100 American POWs in Palawan.

December 15: American and Filipino landings in Philippines.

December 16: German offensive aimed at Antwerp – ‘Battle of the Bulge’ begins. Bastogne is surrounded by Germans 2 days later.

December 17: Malmedy Massacre – German forces execute 84 American POWs. Typhoon Cobra hits US ships in Third Fleet causing 3 destroyers to capsize – 800 casualties.

December 24: U Boat sinks SS Leopoldville in Atlantic causing crew and approx. 750 US service men to lose their lives.

December 26: Siege of Bastogne broken by tanks from US 3rd Army. Agana Race Riot in Guam between rival groups of US Marines.

December 28: Churchill in Athens to try to reconcile rival Greek factions.

December 29: Soviets begin siege of Budapest.


January 1: German forces launch Operation Nordwind offensive in Alsace and Operation Baseplate, an air offensive in Belgium and Holland. US 11th Armoured Division commit Chenogne Massacre against German POWs – 80 killed.

January 2: B-29s based in India bomb Bangkok. 

January 5: Japanese retreat across the River Irrawaddy in Burma.

January 7-8: German forces attempt to re-capture Strasbourg.

January 9: American forces land in Luzon amid increasing kamikaze attacks.

January 13: Major Soviet offensive begins in Prussia.

January 17: Soviets enter Warsaw. Battle of Bulge ends with German failure.

January 24: Germans in retreat in Prussia. Soviets attack German held Poznan. 

January 27: The Soviet Union liberates the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

January 28: Soviets complete occupation of Lithuania.

January 31: Soviets cross Oder River – now only 50 miles from Berlin.

February 3: Battle of Manila begins as US and Filipino forces reach city. Japanese begins massacre of citizens later known as the ‘Rape of Manila’. Notorious Nazi judge, Roland Freisler killed in bombing raid against Berlin.

February 9: Free French defeat last Germans west of Rhine with elimination of the Colmar Pocket.

February 13: Budapest liberated by Soviet forces.

February 14: The Yalta Conference ends, with the leaders of the Allied powers discussing the post-war reorganization of Europe. Prague bombed by US aircraft in error.

February 15: The bombing of Dresden, Germany, by Allied forces takes place, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 25,000 people.

February 19-March 26: The Battle of Iwo Jima takes place, resulting in a U.S. victory and the capture of the island from Japanese forces.

February 23: US and Filipino forces liberate POWs in Raid on Los Banos – 2147 prisoners liberated.

February 25: US B-29s carry out incendiary raid against Tokyo.

February 28: US and Filipino forces land in Palawan.

March 3: Battle of Manila ends with allied victory. Allied air attack against V-2 rocket site mistakenly strikes The Hague causing 511 civilian deaths.

March 4: Finland declares war against Germany.

March 5: German forces launch attack against Soviets in Hungary.

March 7: American capture in-tact bridge at Remagen and capture city of Cologne.

March 7: German forces evacuate Danzig.

March 9: US firebombing attacks in Tokyo. Japanese forces overthrow Vichy French in Indo-China and install puppet Emperor Boa Dai. 

March 11: US aircraft firebomb city of Nagoya.

March 16: Battle of Okinawa ends with US victory but high level is American casualties in excess of Japanese deaths.

March 19: US navy aircraft bombing Japanese port cities. Deutsch Shutzen Massacre in Austria results in 60 killed.

March 20: Indian forces liberate Mandalay.

March 21: British air attack on Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen.

March 24: British and Canadian airbourne assault in Wessel. 16,000 paratroops landed in largest air assault on a single day in a single location.

March 29: Allies capture Frankfurt and Soviet forces enter Austria.

April 1: American forces land in Okinawa.

April 2: Soviet forces launch Vienna Offensive. 

April 4: Soviet forces seize Bratislava.

April 7: Japanese battleship Yamato is sunk.

April 9: RAF attacks destroy remaining German large warships ‘Admiral Hipper’ and ‘Admiral Scheer’.

April 10: Buchenwald liberated by Americans.

April 12: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies, and is succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.

April 13: Soviet Vienna Offensive ends in German defeat. Germans kill 1000 slave workers in Gardelegen Massacre by burning them alive in a barn – a few hours later American forces arrive.

April 15: British forces liberate Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

April 16: Battle of Seelow Heights as Soviet forces close on Berlin.

April 20: Hitler celebrates his final birthday in the bunker in Berlin – the following day the Soviets launch attacks in and around the city.

April 25: Soviet and American forces meet on the Elbe, dividing Germany in half.

April 27: Berlin encircled by Soviet forces. Last German forces leave Finland moving to Norway.

April 28: Mussolinia and his mistress Clara Petacci are shot and hung upside down in Milan, both having been captured the previous day attempting to escape to Switzerland. 

April 29: Hitler marries his mistress, Eva Braun. American forces liberate Dachau and all Axis forces in Italy surrender.

April 30: Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his bunker in Berlin.

May 1: Goebbels and his wife murder their children and commit suicide.

May 2: Berlin surrenders to the Soviets.

May 4: German forces in Netherlands, Denmark and northern Germany surrender to Montgomery. 

May 4: Karl Donitz orders all U-boats to cease operations. 

May 5: Czech resistance begin uprising ahead of Soviet Prague Offensive.

May 6: German forces open fire on Dutch civilians celebrating the end of the war in Dam Square in Amsterdam – 22 killed and 120 seriously injured.

May 7: Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allied powers, officially ending the war in Europe, known as Victory in Europe Day (VE Day).

May 8: German forces in the Courland Pocket surrender to the Soviets.

May 9: Soviet forces enter Prague. Germans in the Channel Islands surrender.

May 11: German forces in Czechoslovakia surrender.

May 15 – 16: British defeat Japanese navy in Battle of Malacca Strait. 

May 21: Himmler is captured whilst in disguise – he commits suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill 2 days later.

May 25: Battle of Odzak in Bosnia ends with victory for Tito’s Partisans against the collaborationist Croatian forces – ending fighting in Europe.

May 29: Uprising in Syria and Lebanon against resumption of French rule.

June 5: Allies agree to divide Germany into four areas of control. 

June 10: Australian forces land in Brunei and complete capture 3 days later. 

June 13: Japanese Admiral Ota Minoru and thousands of navy servicemen commit ritual suicide after failing to defend Okinawa.

June 15: Osaka hit by heavy bombing. 

June 22: Japanese defeat on Okinawa complete.

July 1: Australian forces land in Borneo. 

July 16: The first successful atomic bomb test is conducted by the United States in New Mexico.

July 26: Labour Party win British general election. Clement Atlee replaces Churchill as Prime Minister.

July 28: Japanese battleships Haruna and Ise are sunk by bombing at Kure.

July 30: USS Indianapolis is sunk by a Japanese submarine. The location is unknown and many sailors drown or are eaten by sharks over the next four days.

July 31: American aircraft bomb Kobe and Nagoya.

August 1: Ukrainian insurgents attack police station in Baligrod in Poland.

August 2: End of the Potsdam Conference which authorises the relocation of German civilians from Eastern Europe and Prussia to Germany as defined by the borders agreed by the allies.

August 6: The United States drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing approximately 140,000 people.

August 8: The Soviet Union declares war on Japan and invades Japanese-held Manchuria and launches amphibious attack on the Kuril Islands.

August 9: The United States drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing approximately 70,000 people.

August 10: Japanese government announce that it will accept the Potsdam Declaration provided that the position of the Emperor is protected.

August 15: Japan surrenders unconditionally to the Allied powers, officially ending the war, known as Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day).

August 17: Indonesia declare independence from Japan. 

August 19: Viet Minh assume leading role in struggle for independent Vietnam and later occupy Hanoi and proclaim a provisional government.

August 20: Collaborator Vidkun Quisling goes on trial in Oslo.

August 22: Japanese in Manchuria surrender to Soviets. 

August 27 – 30: Japanese in Burma and Hong Kong surrender.

September 2: The formal surrender ceremony takes place aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

September 2: Ho Chi Minh issues Declaration of Independence but is ignored by Truman. 

September 4: German forces in Svalbard surrender.

September 5: Singapore liberated by British and Indian forces. 

September 8: American forces arrive in southern Korea whilst Soviets occupy north – Korea split at 3th parallel.

September 9: Japanese forces in China surrender. 

September 22: British re-arm 1,400 French POWs liberated from a camp outside Saigon.

October 1: South Vietnam under French control but in the North Chinese forces implement a destructive occupation.

October 15: Collaborationist Prime Minister of France, Pierre Laval, is executed. 

October 25: Japanese governor of Taiwan turns island over to Kuomintang. 

November 20: Start of Nuremberg War Crimes tribunal.

December 31: British Home Guard disbanded.


January 3: Commander of Einsatzgruppe D, Otto Ohlendorf, admits to murder of 90,000 Jews during trial at Nuremberg – he is sentenced to death.

January 7: SS Commander Erich von dem Bach-zelewski admits to organising mass murder of Jews during trial. He manages to avoid being held to account for his despicable crimes.

February 14: Soviets attempt to blame Katyn Massacre on Germans.

February: Chinese and British depart Vietnam leaving Viet Minh to fight French – widespread starvation results in 2 million deaths in the post war period in Indo-China.

July 4: Kielce Pogrom against Jews committed by Polish soldiers, police and civilians – 42 killed. 

October 1: Sentences read out in Nuremberg trial.

October 15: Herman Goring commits suicide. The following day all convicted and sentenced to death are hanged.


April 10: End of the Einsatzgruppen Trial in Nuremburg in which senior SS commanders involved in Einsatzgruppe operations were tried for Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes and Membership of Criminal Organisations. Of those found guilty, the majority had death sentences commuted to life imprisonment or prison terms reduced dramatically so that they were then released within a few years. Five of twenty four defendants found guilty were executed – all on June 7th 1951. Those put to death were: Otto Ohlendorf, Erich Naumann, Paul Blobel, Eduard Strauch and Werner Braune. 

December 23: Japanese “class A” war criminals are executed.


– The White Rose Movement (Article about German student resistance movement)


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