World War Two 1939 – 1945

World War Two

This timeline details the main events of World War Two also known as the Second World War and the years immediately preceding the outbreak of war

1931
1931 (18th September)
Pacific
Japan invaded Manchuria. China appealed to the League of Nations for support but Japan withdrew from the League.
1935
1935 (14th April)
Europe
Stresa Front
This was an agreement between Britain, Italy and France to guarantee the independence of Austria.
1935 (2nd May)
Europe
Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance
This was a pact of mutual assistance between France and the Soviet Union to contain Germany.
1935 (3rd October)
Europe
Italian forces invaded Ethiopia. Although the move was sanctioned by the League of Nations many countries were reluctant to impose trade sanctions for fear of damaging their economies. Italy’s action also led to the breakdown of the Stresa Front.
1936
1936 (7th March)
Europe
Germany re-occupied the Rhineland. France protested and asked for British support against Hitler, but the British were reluctant to get involved believing Germany to be simply taking what was theirs anyway.
1936 (1st November)
Europe
Rome-Berlin Axis
Germany and Italy agreed to work together on matters of mutual interest.
1936 (25th November)
Global
Anti Comintern Pact
This pact was signed by Germany and Japan and made provision against Communist activities particularly by the Soviet Union and China.
1937
1937 (7th July)
Pacific
Japan invaded China and took Peking (Beijing).
1937 (21st August)
Pacific
Sino-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact
Russia and China signed this pact. As a result, the Soviet Union sent weapons and economic aid to China.
1937 (6th November)
Global
Anti Comintern Pact
Italy joined Germany and Japan in this pact against Communist activities particularly by the Soviet Union and China.
1938
1938 (11th March)
Europe
Anschluss with Austria
Adolf Hitler annexed Austria and made the two German-speaking nations one.
1938 (15th September)
Europe
Sudetenland Crisis
Hitler demanded that the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia, which had a majority German population, be given to Germany. He made it clear that he would declare war if the land was not returned.
1938 (29th September)
Europe
Munich Conference
In a bid to stop Hitler invading the Sudetenland region Chamberlain, Daladier, Mussolini and Hitler met to try to prevent an outbreak of war. The Czech Prime Minister was not invited to attend. Hitler insisted that if he was allowed to have the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia then it would be the end of his expansion ideas. In the interests of maintaining peace in Europe it was decided to agree to Hitler’s demand. The four leaders agreed to guarantee Czechoslovakia’s new borders.
1939
1939 (14th March)
Europe
The Slovaks declared their independence and formed the Slovak Republic
1939 (15th March)
Europe
Hitler sent his troops into Czechoslovakia. He occupied Bohemia and set up a protectorate over Slovakia.
1939 (23rd March)
Europe
Hitler sent troops into the Lithuanian city of Memel and reclaimed it for Germany.
1939 (31st March)
Europe
British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, made a guarantee to Poland that Britain would defend Poland if Germany invaded on condition that Poland mobilised its army and resisted German invasion.
1939 (7th April)
Europe
Italy invaded and took control of Albania.
1939 (22nd May)
Europe
Pact of Steel
This was a military and political alliance between Italy and Germany and strengthened the relationship between the two countries.
1939 (23rd August)
Europe
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Germany and the Soviet Union signed this non-aggression treaty which included a secret clause for the division of Poland.
1939 (25th August)
Europe
Mutual Assistance Treaty
This treaty was signed by Britain and Poland.
1939 (1st September)
Europe
German troops invaded Poland. Polish forces fought back but were no match for Hitler’s Blitzkrieg attack.
1939 (3rd September)
Europe
At 9 am an ultimatum was issued to Germany demanding they withdraw troops from Poland. Germany had until 11 am to comply. Germany did not comply and Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany.
1939 (6th September)
Global
South Africa declared war on Germany.
1939 (8th September)
Europe
German troops lay siege to Warsaw.
1939 (10th September)
Global
Canada declared war on Germany.
1939 (17th September)
Europe
The Soviet Red Army attacked and invaded eastern Poland.
1939 (27th September)
Europe
Polish troops at Warsaw were unable to withstand the German attack and surrendered to Germany.
1939 (6th October)
Europe
The Polish army surrendered. Germany took western Poland and the Soviet Union annexed the east.
1939 (6th October)
Europe
Adolf Hitler attempted to instigate peace negotiations with Britain and France but his suggestion was rejected.
1939 (early October)
Europe
The Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were forced to sign a mutual assistance pact with the Soviet Union. Soviet troops were duly stationed in all three countries.
1939 (November)
United States
The United States amended its Neutrality Act to allow the Allies to purchase supplies.
1939 (8th November)
Europe
An assassination attempt on Hitler failed.
1939 (30th November)
Europe
Winter War
The Soviet Union invaded Finland and war began between the two counties.
1939 (13th December)
South America
Battle of the River Plate
This was a naval battle between the German fleet and a combined British/New Zealand fleet in the southern Atlantic off Argentina. The battle was won by the Allies.
1939 (14th December)
The Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finalnd.
1940
1940 (8th January)
Europe
Food rationing began in Britain
1940 (16th February)
Europe
The Altmark Incident
This was a naval skirmish off the Norwegian coast between the British and German fleets. It ended in victory for Britain.
1940 (17th February)
Europe
In Britain, children were evacuated away from the cities.
1940 (13th March)
Europe
Moscow Peace Treaty
The signing of this treaty ended the Soviet-Finnish war. Finland gave up land to the Soviet Union but retained its sovereignty.
1940 (9th April)
Europe
Germany invaded Denmark and Norway.
1940 (16th March)
Europe
Germany bombed the Scapa Flow naval base in the Orkney Islands, Scotland.
1940 (10th May)
Europe
Germany invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
1940 (10th May)
Europe
Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Britain after Neville Chamberlain resigned. Chamberlain had been facing strong criticism for his handling of the war, particularly his policy of appeasement.
1940 (13th May)
Europe
Germany invaded France taking a route through the Ardennes region of Belgium/Luxembourg. The Allies mistakenly thought that Germany would cross the German French border.
1940 (14th May)
Europe
Local Defence Volunteers (Home Guard) was formed in Britain.
1940 (15th May)
Europe
The Netherlands surrendered to Germany.
1940 (20th May)
Europe
The German army had rapidly advanced through Belgium and had trapped the British and French armies on the beach at Dunkirk.
1940 (26th May)
Europe
Dunkirk Evacuation
A call went out to all owners of sea-worthy vessels asking them to travel to Dunkirk and rescue troops off the beaches. Over ten days more than 338,000 men were rescued.
1940 (28th May)
Europe
Belgium surrendered to Germany.
1940 (10th May)
Europe
Norway surrendered to Germany.
1940 (10th June)
Europe
Italy declared war on Britain and France and invaded France.
1940 (11th June)
Europe
Italy placed Malta under siege. It was recognised that control of the British colony was vital for success in North Africa.
1940 (14th June)
Europe
The Soviet Union began annexing the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
1940 (14th June)
Europe
The Nazis entered Paris and the city fell to Germany.
1940 (22nd June)
Europe
Marshal Petain became French Prime Minister after agreeing to collaborate with the Nazis. Charles de Gaulle, under-secretary of national defence and war refused to agree to the truce and fled to London where he formed the French government in exile and proclaimed himself leader of the Free French.
1940 (July)
Pacific
The United States placed an aircraft fuel ban on Japan.
1940 (1st July)
Europe
German U Boats began attacking merchant ships in the Atlantic.
1940 (3rd July)
North Africa
Battle of Mers el Kebir
This was a naval attack on the French fleet stationed off the coast of Algeria. France was occupied by Nazi Germany and the French fleet off Algeria had refused to give up their ships to the British and so the British destroyed the ships to prevent them falling into German hands.
1940 (10th July)
Europe
Battle of Britain
Throughout July German Luftwaffe bombers attacked British ports.
1940 (23rd July)
Europe
The Soviet Union had taken full control of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
1940 (13th August)
Europe
Battle of Britain
Having bombed British ports, the German Luftwaffe began bombing RAF airfields.
1940 (15th August)
Europe
Battle of Britain
In a bid to break the spirit of the British people the Luftwaffe began making daylight raids over Britain.
1940 (23rd August)
Europe
Battle of Britain
Bombing raids began on central London.
1940 (25th August)
Europe
The British responded to the German bombing raids on London by bombing Berlin.
1940 (3rd September)
Europe
Operation Sea Lion
Hitler drew up a plan to invade and occupy Britain.
1940 (7th September)
Europe
The Blitz
In Britain, the city of London and other major cities were repeatedly bombed during the daytime and later during the night as well.
1940 (13th September)
North Africa
Italy invaded British controlled Egypt.
1940 (22nd September)
Tripartite Pact
This three-way alliance was signed by Germany, Italy and Japan uniting them as the Axis Powers.
1940 (28th September)
Europe
Battle of Britain
Adolf Hitler decided to postpone Operation Sea Lion, effectively ending the Battle of Britain.
1940 (late September)
Pacific
The Chinese city of Changsha held out against an attack by Japan.
1940 (7th October)
Europe
Germany invaded Romania.
1940 (28th October)
Europe
Italy invaded Greece but suffered heavy casualties and quickly withdrew.
1940 (November)
Negotiations between Germany and the Soviet Union were held to see if the Soviet Union would join the Tripartite Pact. The two were unable to agree terms.
1940 (5th November)
Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected US President.
1940 (11th November)
Mediterranean
Battle of Taranto
This was a naval battle between Britain and Italy fought in the Mediterranean Sea off Taranto, Italy. The battle was a decisive British victory.
1940 (14th November)
Europe
A German bombing raid devastated much of the British city of Coventry.
1940 (20th November)
Europe
Hungary signed the Tripartite Pact and joined the Axis Powers.
1940 (23rd November)
Europe
Romania signed the Tripartite Pact and joined the Axis Powers.
1940 (24th November)
Europe
Slovakia signed the Tripartite Pact and joined the Axis Powers.
1940 (9th December)
North Africa
Operation Compass
Britain launched an offensive in North Africa against the Italians.
1940 (18th December)
Europe
Adolf Hitler began preparations for an invasion of the Soviet Union.
1940 (29th December)
Europe
Germany made an air raid on London.
1941
1941 (January)
Europe
Clothes rationing began in Britain.
1941 (22nd January)
North Africa
British and Australian forces captured Tobruk.
1941 (11th February)
North Africa
British forces entered Italian held Somalia.
1941 (12th February)
North Africa
German General Erwin Rommel arrived in Tripoli, Libya.
1941 (14th February)
North Africa
German Afrika Korps began arriving in North Africa.
1941 (1st March)
Europe
Bulgaria signed the Tripartite Pact and joined the Axis Powers.
1941 (7th March)
Europe
British forces reached Greece.
1941 (11th March)
President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act which agreed that the United States would lend equipment and munitions to “the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.”
1941 (25th March)
Europe
Yugoslavia signed the Tripartite Pact and joined the Axis Powers.
1941 (27th March)
Mediterranean
Battle of Cape Matapan
This was a naval battle fought between the British and Italian fleets of Cape Matapan, Greece. It ended with victory for the British.
1941 (27th March)
Europe
Pro-British nationalists overthrew the Yugoslav government and rejected the Tripartite Pact.
1941 (6th April)
Europe
Battle of Greece
Germany invaded Greece.
1941 (6th April)
Europe
Germany invaded Yugoslavia.
1941 (13th April)
Pacific
Japanese-Soviet Non-aggression Pact
This treaty was signed in Moscow and agreed neutrality between the two countries.
1941 (14th April)
North Africa
German General Erwin Rommel attacked Tobruk.
1941 (17th April)
Europe
Yugoslavia could not hold out and surrendered to Germany
1941 (27th April)
Mediterranean
Battle of Greece
Greece surrendered to Germany.
1941 (10th May)
Europe
The Blitz, German bombing of Britain, ended.
1941 (10th May)
Europe
The British Air Force made a bombing raid on Hamburg, Germany.
1941 (15th May)
North Africa
Operation Brevity
British forces launched a counter-attack in Egypt.
1941 (20th May)
Mediterranean
Battle of Crete
German forces invaded Crete.
1941 (24th May)
Europe
Battle of the Denmark Strait
This was a naval battle between Britain and Germany fought in the Denmark strait between Iceland and Greenland. During the battle the British naval ship HMS Hood was sunk by the German battleship Bismark. Although the battle was a German victory, the Bismark was badly damaged and had to put into dry dock for repairs.
1941 (27th May)
Europe
The British navy chased after the damaged Bismark as it sailed to dry dock. Realising the ship was doomed the crew scuttled (deliberately sank) the ship.
1941 (1st June)
Mediterranean
Battle of Crete
Germany took control of the Greek island of Crete
1941 (8th June)
Middle East
The Allies invaded and took control of Syria and Lebanon to prevent Germany from using the French-controlled countries as a base to attack Egypt.
1941 (14th June)
The United States froze all German and Italian assets in America
1941 (22nd June)
Europe
Operation Barbarossa
Germany invaded the Soviet Union with 3 million soldiers and 3,500 tanks. Hitler hoped to remove the Soviet Union as a world power, defeat Communism and gain lebensraum (living space) for German people..
1941 (28th June)
Europe
The German army took the city of Minsk in the Soviet Union.
1941 (July)
Pacific
Japan sent troops into southern Indochina. Britain and the Netherlands had land in the region and many western governments froze Japanese assets and placed and refused to send oil to Japan.
1941 (3rd July)
Europe
Joseph Stalin instructed Soviet troops to use a scorched earth policy as they retreated. This involved burning everything including buildings and crops to leave the enemy with no supplies or shelter.
1941 (12th July)
Europe
Britain and the Soviet Union signed a Mutual Assistance Agreement.
1941 (14th July)
Middle East
The British occupied Syria.
1941 (26th July)
Pacific
The United States froze Japanese assets in America in retaliation for the Japanese invasion of China.
1941 (14th August)
Atlantic Charter
President Roosevelt of the United States and Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Britain, agreed a set of aims for World War Two. Although the United States still remained neutral, the Charter clearly showed that America was on the Allies’ side.
1941 (23rd August)
Europe
First Battle of Kiev
German troops encircled Soviet troops in Kiev trapping nearly half a million Red Army soldiers.
1941 (8th September)
Europe
The siege of Leningrad
German troops put the Russian city of Leningrad under siege.
1941 (19th September)
Europe
First Battle of Kiev
The city of Kiev fell to Germany.
1941 (2nd October)
Europe
Operation Typhoon
The Germans launched their advance on Moscow.
1941 (16th October)
Europe
Germany took Odessa in the Soviet Union.
1941 (24th October)
Europe
First Battle of Kharkov
Germany took the city of Kharkov in the Soviet Union.
1941 (13th November)
Mediterranean
The British Aircraft Carrier, the Ark Royal, was sunk off Gibraltar by a German U Boat.
1941 (18th November)
North Africa
Operation Crusader
This was an offensive to relieve the siege of Tobruk. However, the German army launched an attack on the British/ Commonwealth troops and the Allies lost over 500 tanks.
1941 (20th November)
Europe
Germany took Rostov in the Soviet Union.
1941 (27th November)
Europe
The Soviet Union re-took Rostov.
1941 (27th November)
North Africa
Operation Crusader
New Zealand forces reached Tobruk and relieved the siege.
1941 (5th December)
Europe
The Soviet Union launched a counter-offensive on German troops near to Moscow and managed to push them back towards Germany.
1941 (7th December)
Pacific
Japan made a surprise air strike on the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor destroying 8 battleships and 188 aircraft. 2,403 Americans lost their lives.
1941 (8th December)
Pacific
Japan attacked British Malaya.
1941 (8th December)
Britain, Australia and America declared war on Japan.
1941 (8th December)
Pacific
Battle of Wake Island
The Japanese invaded Wake Island which belonged to the United States.
1941 (8th December)
Pacific
Battle of Hong Kong
Japanese forces invaded British Hong Kong.
1941 (8th December)
Pacific
Japan invaded Singapore and Thailand.
1941 (9th December)
Pacific
China declared war on Japan.
1941 (10th December)
Pacific
Japan invaded the Philippines which were controlled by the United States.
1941 (10th December)
Pacific
Japan took the American island of Guam.
1941 (11th December)
Germany declared war on America.
1941 (11th December)
Pacific
Japan invaded Burma
1941 (16th December)
North Africa
Rommel was forced to retreat in North Africa
1941 (16th December)
Pacific
Japan invaded British Borneo.
1941 (17th December)
Europe
Battle of Sevastopol
German and Romanian forces attempted to take Sevastopol and the Crimean Peninsula but were prevented by a Soviet relieving force.
1941 (19th December)
Europe
Hitler took personal charge of the German army.
1941 (21st December)
Pacific
Thailand signed a mutual assistance treaty with Japan
1941 (23rd December)
Pacific
American troops in the Philippines withdrew to Bataan.
1941 (23rd December)
Pacific
Battle of Wake Island
Japan took Wake Island.
1941 (25th December)
Pacific
Admiral Chester Nimitz took control of the US Pacific Naval Fleet.
1941 (25th December)
Pacific
Battle of Hong Kong
British Hong Kong surrendered to Japan.
1942
1942 (1st January)
The United Nations Declaration was signed by 26 allied nations.
1942 (2nd January)
Pacific
Manila, capital of the Philippines was taken by Japan.
1942 (7th January)
Pacific
Battle of Bataan
The town of Bataan in the Philippines was attacked by Japan
1942 (11th January)
Pacific
The Dutch East Indies were invaded by Japan.
1942 (11th January)
Pacific
Dutch Borneo was invaded by Japan.
1942 (19th January)
Pacific
Japan took North Borneo.
1942 (21st January)
North Africa
Erwin Rommel launched a counter-attack in North Africa.
1942 (26th January)
Europe
American forces began to arrive in Britain.
1942 (31st January)
Pacific
Battle of Singapore
Singapore was placed under siege by Japan.
1942 (early February)
North Africa
British/ Commonwealth forces had been pushed back from Tobruk to Gazala.
1942 (15th February)
Pacific
Battle of Singapore
Singapore surrendered to Japan.
1942 (19th January)
Pacific
The Japanese air force made a series of bombing raid on Darwin, Australia.
1942 (22nd February)
Pacific
American troops withdrew from the Philippines.
1942 (27th February)
Pacific
Battle of the Java Sea
This naval battle between Japan and United States lasted until March 1st and saw the Japanese victorious.
1942 (18th March)
Pacific
General MacArthur took charge of the War in the Pacific.
1942 (24th March)
Pacific
Japan invaded the Andaman Islands.
1942 (3rd April)
Pacific
Battle of Bataan
Japan attacked US and Filipino troops at Bataan.
1942 (6th April)
Pacific
The first US troops arrived in Australia,
1942 (9th April)
Pacific
Battle of Bataan
US troops in Bataan surrendered to Japan
1942 (10th April)
Pacific
Bataan Death March
Around 75,000 allied troops captured in Bataan were forced to walk 65 miles to a prison camp. They were split into groups of 100 men to make the 5 day march. They were given very little food or water and those that fell behind were whipped or bayoneted. Thousands died along the route.
1942 (29th April)
Pacific
Japan took Central Burma.
1942 (early May)
Pacific
Britain invaded and took Madagascar to prevent the Japanese from using it as a base.
1942 (1st May)
Pacific
Japan took Mandalay, Burma.
1942 (4th May)
Pacific
Battle of the Coral Sea
This naval/air battle fought over 4 days was a victory for America. It was important because it prevented Japan from cutting communications between Australia and the United States.
1942 (5th May)
Pacific
Battle of Corregidor
This battle was fought between Japanese and US troops for control of the Philippines. It ended with Japan taking the Philippines the following day.
1942 (8th May)
Europe
Germany launched a new offensive in the Crimea.
1942 (12th May)
Europe
Second Battle of Kharkov
Soviet forces attempted to re-take the city from Germany but were repulsed.
1942 (20th May)
Pacific
Japan took Burma.
1942 (26th May)
North Africa
Battle of Gazala
This battle was fought in North Africa between British forces and German and Italian forces at Gazala near Tobruk, Libya.
1942 (27th May)
Europe
Reinhard Heydrich, architect of the Holocaust Final Solution was mortally injured when a grenade was exploded under his car in Czechoslovakia by resistance fighters.
1942 (30th May)
Europe
The British made a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany
1942 (late May)
Pacific
The Americans broke Japanese naval codes. This gave them inside information as to the whereabouts and planned actions of the Japanese navy.
1942 (2nd June)
Europe
Operation Sturgeon Catch
Axis forces launched a new offensive to take the Crimea. They encircled Soviet forces on land and at sea and mounted bombing raids on the Red Army.
1942 (4th June)
Europe
Reinhard Heydrich died of injuries sustained on 27th May.
1942 (4th June)
Pacific
Battle of Midway
This three-day naval battle was a decisive victory for the US navy against the Japanese fleet. It is considered one of the turning points of the war.
1942 (5th June)
Europe
The Nazis ordered the town of Lidice liquidated as punishment for Heydrich’s assassination.
1942 (21st June)
North Africa
Battle of Gazala
This battle ended when German General Erwin Rommel captured the city of Tobruk.
1942 (30th June)
North Africa
German General Erwin Rommel reached El Alamein, near Cairo, Egypt.
1942 (1st July)
North Africa
First Battle of El Alamein
This battle for control of El Alamein lasted 27 days and ended in stalemate.
1942 (3rd July)
Europe
Germany took Sevastopol, Soviet Union.
1942 (4th July)
Europe
Operation Sturgeon Catch
After withstanding air, sea and land attacks for a month, the Soviet army surrendered and Germany took Sevastopol.
1942 (9th July)
Europe
Germany began an advance towards Stalingrad, Soviet Union.
1942 (21st July)
Pacific
Japan invaded New Guinea.
1942 (7th August)
Pacific
Battle of Guadalcanal
US troops landed on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.
1942 (7th August)
North Africa
General Bernard Montgomery took control of British forces in North Africa.
1942 (8th August)
Pacific
Battle of Guadalcanal
US troops captured the Japanese airfield on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.
1942 (8th August)
Pacific
Battle of Guadalcanal
During the night Japanese warships make a night attack on the US fleet off Guadalcanal. The US navy suffered a heavy defeat with the loss of many ships which left American troops stranded on Guadalcanal.
1942 (9th August)
Mediterranean
Operation Pedestal, Relief of Malta
This was a battle to break the siege of Malta by German ships. The six-day battle ended in victory for the Allies.
1942 (19th August)
Europe
Battle of Dieppe/ Dieppe Raid
This battle was an attempt by the Allies to take control of the French port of Dieppe from the Germans. The Allies failed and the battle ended in victory for Germany.
1942 (21st August)
Pacific
Battle of Guadalcanal
US forces were attacked by the Japanese but held their ground.
1942 (23rd August)
Europe
Battle of Stalingrad
Germany began the battle by launching a bombing raid on Stalingrad.
1942 (24th August)
Pacific
Battle of the Eastern Solomon Islands
The Japanese were defeated by the US navy.
1942 (25th August)
Pacific
Battle of Milne Bay
A Japanese force attacked the allied airfield at Milne Bay. A combined American/Australian force successfully defeated the Japanese.
1942 (30th August)
Pacific
US troops invaded the Aleutian Islands.
1942 (2nd September)
North Africa
Battle of Alam Halfa
British General, Bernard Montgomery, successfully pushed back German forces.
1942 (12th September)
Pacific
Battle of Guadalcanal/ Battle of Bloody Ridge/ Battle of Edison’s Ridge
This two-day battle was a victory for the Allies.
1942 (27th September)
Pacific
The British launched a new offensive against Japan in Burma.
1942 (11th October)
Pacific
Battle of Guadalcanal/ Battle of Cape Esperance
This naval battle between the US and Japan saw the US victorious.
1942 (13th October)
Pacific
Battle of Guadalcanal
A US relieving force landed on Guadalcanal.
1942 (14th October)
Pacific
Battle of Guadalcanal
The Japanese launched a naval bombardment of the airfield on Guadalcanal. The attack lasted 3 days and nights.
1942 (23rd October)
North Africa
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Allies commanded by Bernard Montgomery defeated the Axis Powers led by Erwin Rommel in a battle which lasted 13 days. The victory is noted as a turning point in the war.
1942 (26th October)
Pacific
Battle of Guadalcanal/ Battle of Santa Cruz
Although this naval battle was inconclusive, tactically it ended in America’s favour since Japanese ships had been turned away from Guadalcanal.
1942 (8th November)
North Africa
Operation Torch
The United States invasion of North Africa began. American forces commanded by General Dwight Eisenhower landed in north west Africa and took control of French Morocco and Algeria.
1942 (11th November)
Europe
Hitler was concerned by the lack of resistance to the Allied invasion of French north Africa and decided that France needed to be occuped. The French island of Corsica was invaded and occupied and Vichy France was occupied the following day.
1942 (19th November)
Europe
Battle of Stalingrad
The Soviet Union launched a counter-offensive against the German army.
1942 (23rd November)
Pacific
The Japanese made a bombing raid on Darwin, Australia.
1942 (30th November)
Pacific
Guadalcanal/ Battle of Tassafaronga
This naval battle was a victory for Japan.
1942 (mid December)
Pacific
British and Commonwealth troops launched an offensive into the Arakan region of Burma (Myanmar). The offensive failed and the Allies were forced to retreat to India.
1942 (20th December)
Pacific
The Japanese made a bombing raid on Calcutta, India.
1942 (31st December)
Europe
Battle of the Barents Sea
This naval battle between Germany and Britain was a victory for the British.
1943
1943 (2nd January)
Europe
German troops began retreating from the Caucasus.
1943 (10th January)
Europe
Battle of Stalingrad
The Soviet Union launched a new counter-offensive against the German army.
1943 (14th January)
Casablanca Conference
This ten-day meeting between Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt discussed war aims and outcomes. It was decided that the war could only end with a German unconditional surrender. The Allies also agreed to launch an invasion of occupied Europe through Sicily.
1943 (22nd January)
Pacific
The Japanese were defeated in New Guinea (Papua New Guinea).
1943 (23rd January)
North Africa
British troops took Tripoli in Libya.
1943 (1st February)
Pacific
Battle of Guadalcanal
Japanese troops left Guadalcanal.
1943 (2nd February)
Europe
Battle of Stalingrad
After a six-month battle, German troops surrendered to Soviet forces. This was a decisive turning point in the war.
1943 (8th February)
Europe
The Soviet Union took Kursk.
1943 (8th February)
Pacific
British/ Indian troops launched an offensive on Burma (Myanmar).
1943 (14th February)
North Africa
Battle of Kasserine Pass
This battle between United States and Germany for control of Tunisia, saw the Americans pushed back and Germany victorious.
1943 (19th February)
Europe
The Third Battle of Kharkov
The Soviet Union launched a new offensive to reclaim Kharkov but were unable to take the city.
1943 (2nd March)
North Africa
Germany began to retreat from Tunisia.
1943 (2nd March)
Pacific
Battle of Bismarck Sea
This two-day naval battle saw the US victorious over Japan.
1943 (7th May)
North Africa
The Allies took Tunisia.
1943 (13th May)
North Africa
The Allies defeated axis forces.
1943 (16th May)
Europe
The British Royal Air Force launched a bombing raid on the industrial Ruhr region in Germany.
1943 (17th May)
Europe
Operation Chastise/ Dambuster Raids
This was a British attack by 617 squadron using a ‘bouncing bomb’ developed by Wallis Barnes, to break three dams in the Rhur region of Germany causing flooding which would disrupt German industrial production.
1943 (31st May)
Pacific
US and Canadian forces took control of the Aleutian Islands from the Japanese.
1943 (5th July)
Europe
Germany launched a new offensive on Kursk.
1943 (10th July)
Europe
The Allies invaded Nazi-occupied Europe landing at Sicily.
1943 (12th July)
Europe
Battle of Kursk
This battle, recorded as the largest tank battle in history, was a victory for Soviet forces.
1943 (24th July)
Europe
Operation Gomorrah
British and American aircraft made a bombing raid on Hamburg, Germany.
1943 (6th August)
Pacific
Battle of Vella Gulf
This naval battle fought over two days for control of the Solomon Islands was a victory for the US over Japan.
1943 (17th August)
Europe
Sicily fell to the Allies.
1943 (23rd August)
Europe
Fourth Battle of Kharkov/ Belgorod-Kharkov Stragec Offensive Operation
Soviet troops successfully defeated German forces and re-took the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod.
1943 (3rd September)
Europe
The Allies invaded the Italian mainland.
1943 (8th September)
Europe
Italians removed Mussolini from power and installed a new government. The new government surrendered and agreed to join the Allies.
1943 (11th September)
Europe
German troops occupied Rome.
1943 (12th September)
Europe
German troops freed Mussolini and set him up as head of a puppet government in Northern Italy.
1943 (2nd November)
Pacific
Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
This naval battle fought off New Guinea (Papua New Guinea) was a decisive US victory.
1943 (13th October)
Europe
Italy declared war on Germany.
1943 (6th November)
Europe
Soviet troops re-took the city of Kiev.
1943 (18th November)
Europe
The Allies launched a bombing raid on Berlin.
1943 (20th November)
Pacific
Battle of Tarawa & Battle of Makin
US troops invaded the Gilbert Islands and took control three days later.
1943 (28th November)
Tehran Conference
Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met in Tehran to discuss the end of the war settlement.
1943 (24th December)
Europe
The Soviet began an offensive to retake Ukraine.
1943 (26th December)
Pacific
The Allies invaded the Solomon Islands.
1944
1944 (6th January)
Europe
Soviet troops advanced into Poland.
1944 (22nd January)
Europe
Battle of Anzio
This was a six-month battle (ending on 5th June) fought between British, American and Canadian allied troops and German and Italian troops. It ended with an allied victory that enabled the Allies to gain a foothold in Southern Italy.
1944 (29th January)
Europe
Siege of Leningrad
After a devastating siege lasting 900 days, the city was relieved and the siege lifted.
1944 (31st January)
Pacific
US troops invaded the Marshall Islands.
1944 (2nd February)
Europe
Battle of Narva
German forces halted the Soviet advance west when they secured victory in this battle fought in modern day Estonia.
1944 (15th February)
Europe
Battle of Monte Cassino (Battle of Rome)
The Allies needed to break through the German line and take Rome. This first assault failed to break through.
1944 (6th March)
Pacific
U Go Offensive
The Japanese launched a successful offensive on the British at Assam India. They then lay siege to Imphal and Kohima in India.
1944 (15th March)
Europe
Battle of Monte Cassino/ Battle of Rome
This was the second of four assaults to break the German line preventing advance on Rome.
1944 (18th March)
Europe
British bombing raid on Hamburg
1944 (8th April)
Europe
The Soviet Union launched an offensive to retake the Crimea.
1944 (19th April)
Pacific
Ichi Go Offensive
The Japanese launched a new offensive in China with the aim of taking air bases in China and creating a land route to French Indochina (Vietnam).
1944 (22nd April)
Pacific
The Allies launched an offensive to retake Western New Guinea from the Japanese.
1944 (9th May)
Europe
Soviet troops re-took Sevastopol.
1944 (11th May)
Europe
Battle of Monte Cassino (Battle of Rome)
This was the third of four assaults to break the German line preventing advance on Rome.
1944 (12th May)
Europe
German forces in the Crimea surrendered.
1944 (5th June)
Europe
Battle of Monte Cassino (Battle of Rome)
This fourth attempt to break the German line preventing advance on Rome was successful and the Allies entered Rome.
1944 (6th June)
Europe
D-Day/ Normandy Landings
Allied forces invaded Normandy. Thousands of transports carried an invasion force commanded by General Eisenhower to the beaches at Normandy. British forces landed on Gold and Sword beaches, Canadian forces landed on Juno beach and American forces landed on Omaha and Utah beaches.
1944 (9th June)
Europe
A new Soviet offensive against Finland began.
1944 (22nd June)
Europe
Operation Bagration
The Soviet army launched an offensive that pushed German troops out of Belarus.
1944 (27th June)
Europe
US troops liberated Cherbourg, France.
1944 (9th July)
Europe
British and Canadian troops liberated Caen, France
1944 (3rd July)
Pacific
U Go Offensive
The Japanese were pushed out of India and back to Burma by British forces.
1944 (13th July)
Europe
Lvov-Sandomierz Strategic Offensive Operation
The Soviet army pushed German troops out of Ukraine and Eastern Poland.
1944 (19th July)
Pacific
US troops invaded Guam.
1944 (20th July)
Europe
July Bomb Plot
This was an assassination plot organised by Colonel Stauffenberg. Stauffenberg left a bomb in a briefcase under a table in the Wolf’s Lair. The bomb exploded as planned but failed to kill Hitler. Stauffenberg and those involved in the plot were executed.
1944 (27th July)
Pacific
US troops took Guam.
1944 (28th July)
Europe
Soviet forces took Brest-Litovsk.
1944 (8th August)
Pacific
US troops took the Mariana Islands.
1944 (15th August)
Europe
Operation Dragoon
Allied forces landed in southern France and secured the French Mediterranean ports.
1944 (25th August)
Europe
Paris, the French capital, was liberated.
1944 (31st August)
Europe
Soviet troops took Bucharest, Romania.
1944 (4th September)
Europe
The allied advance reached Belgium.
1944 (4th September)
Europe
The Soviet Union and Finland agreed a cease fire.
1944 (8th September)
Europe
The first V2 flying bombs killed three people in London.
1944 (17th September)
Europe
Operation Market Garden
This was an attempt by the Allies to secure the River Rhine and create a route into northern Germany. Paratroopers parachuted into the Netherlands and liberated Eindhoven and Nijmegen before being halted at Arnhem.
1944 (25th September)
Europe
Battle of Arnhem
The allied invasionary force had reached the bridge over the Rhine at Arnhem but were met and defeated by German forces.
1944 (26th September)
Europe
Soviet troops invaded and occupied Estonia.
1944 (11th October)
Pacific
US bombing raid on Okinawa.
1944 (14th October)
Europe
Allied troops liberated Athens, Greece.
1944 (14th October)
North Africa
German General Erwin Rommel committed suicide.
1944 (19th October)
Europe
Soviet troops occupied Latvia.
1944 (23rd October)
Pacific
Battle of Leyte Gulf
This naval battle between the US fleet and Japanese fleet was a decisive victory for the Allies.
1944 (25th October)
Pacific
Kamikaze attacks
The Japanese began making a series of kamikaze attacks on allied ships and bases. Kamikaze attacks involved pilots directing their aircraft at targets to cause maximum damage. For the pilots it was a suicide mission.
1944 (29th October)
Europe
Budapest Offensive
The Soviet army launched an offensive on Hungary.
1944 (11th November)
Pacific
The US began a naval bombardment of Iwo Jima.
1944 (24th November)
Europe
French troops captured Strasbourg.
1944 (4th December)
Europe
Civil War broke out in Greece.
1944 (16th December)
Europe
Battle of the Bulge/ Ardennes Offensive
After the failure of Operation Market Garden to secure a route to northern Germany, allied troops advanced through the Ardennes in Belgium. Germany launched a final offensive to try to stop the allied advance. After a 5 week battle the Germans were forced to retreat.
1944 (27th December)
Europe
Soviet troops reached Budapest and put the city under siege.
1945
1945 (17th January)
Europe
German forces were defeated in the Ardennes allowing the Allies to further advance on Germany.
1945 (17th January)
Europe
Soviet troops took Warsaw, Poland.
1945 (3rd February)
Pacific
US troops attacked Japanese held Manila, capital of the Philippines.
1945 (4th February)
Yalta Conference
Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met for a week to discuss terms for the end of the war. They agreed on the division and occupation of Germany after the war ended.
1945 (13th February)
Europe
The Allies made a bombing raid on the German city of Dresden.
1944 (29th October)
Europe
Budapest Offensive
The Soviet army took Hungary.
1945 (16th February)
Pacific
US troops took Bataan from the Japanese.
1945 (19th February)
Pacific
Battle of Iwo Jima
US troops invaded this strategically placed Japanese controlled island.
1945 (3rd March)
Pacific
US troops took Manila.
1945 (6th March)
Europe
Operation Spring Awakening
This was the last German offensive of the war. In a bid to recover oil reserves near Lake Balaton, Hungary, the German army attacked Soviet forces in the area. The offensive was a failure as German forces were defeated by the Soviets.
1945 (7th March)
Europe
The Allies managed to cross the River Rhine at Remagen.
1945 (9th March)
Pacific
The Americans launched a bombing raid on Tokyo, Japan. It remains the deadliest conventional bombing raid in history.
1945 (20th March)
Pacific
British troops took Mandalay, Burma.
1945 (26th March)
Pacific
Battle of Iwo Jima
US troops won the battle and took control of Iwo Jima.
1945 (30th March)
Europe
Soviet troops took Danzig, Poland.
1945 (1st April)
Pacific
Battle of Okinawa
US troops invaded the Japanese island of Okinawa.
1945 (2nd April)
Europe
Soviet forces launched an attack on Vienna, Austria and took the city 11 days later.
1945 (9th April)
Europe
Soviet forces took Konigsberg (Kaliningrad).
1945 (12th April)
President Roosevelt died following a brain haemorrhage. He was succeeded by Harry S Truman.
1945 (18th April)
Europe
German troops in the Ruhr surrendered to the Allies.
1945 (20th April)
Europe
The Allies took Nuremberg. The city had been the centre of the Nazi regime.
1945 (21st April)
Europe
Soviet troops reached the outskirts of Berlin.
1945 (25th April)
Europe
American and Soviet troops met at the Elbe river.
1945 (28th April)
Europe
Italian partisans captured Mussolini and executed him.
1945 (29th April)
Europe
German forces in Italy surrendered to the Allies.
1945 (30th April)
Europe
Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker. His long-term mistress who he had recently married also committed suicide.
1945 (30th April)
Europe
Admiral Donitz succeeded Hitler as leader of Germany. He tried to negotiate an agreement with the Western Allies whereby Germany would surrender to the Western Allies but would continue to fight the Soviet Union. The agreement was denied.
1945 (1st May)
Pacific
Australian forces launched an attack on Japanese held Borneo supported by allied naval and air forces.
1945 (2nd May)
Europe
Soviet forces reached Berlin and received the surrender of the Berlin garrison.
1945 (3rd May)
Europe
The Allies took the city of Hamburg.
1945 (7th May)
Europe
Admiral Donitz agreed Germany’s unconditional surrender. Hostilities would formally cease the following day.
1945 (8th May)
Europe
VE (Victory in Europe) day
Celebrations to mark the end of the war in Europe were held in towns and cities across Europe.
1945 (20th May)
Pacific
The Japanese began withdrawing from China.
1945 (5th June)
Europe
As agreed at the Yalta Conference, the Allies divided Germany and Berlin into sectors controlled by British, Americans, French and Soviets.
1945 (22nd June)
Pacific
Battle of Okinawa
The Japanese island fell to the Allies.
1945 (28th June)
Pacific
The Philippines fell to the Allies.
1945 (16th July)
Potsdam Conference
Churchill, Stalin and Truman met to discuss end of war settlements and arrangements. The partitioning of Germany was confirmed and the need for a Japanese unconditional surrender was agreed. The Japanese government stated that it would not agree to an unconditional surrender and vowed to fight to the end.
1945 (16th July)
The first atomic bomb was tested in the New Mexico desert.
1945 (17th July)
Pacific
The Allies took control of Burma (Myanmar).
1945 (26th July)
British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who had led the country through the war, lost the General Election to the Labour Party and Clement Atlee became Prime Minister.
1945 (6th August)
Pacific
The US bomber Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The bomb, known as ‘Little Boy’ was a fusion bomb.
1945 (8th August)
Pacific
The Soviet Union declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria. The Soviet army defeated the Japanese army.
1945 (9th August)
Pacific
A second atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. This bomb, named ‘Fat Man’, was a plutonium implosion bomb.
1945 (14th August)
Pacific
Japan surrendered unconditionally to the allies.
1945 (30th August)
Pacific
The British re-occupied Hong Kong.
1945 (2nd September)
Pacific
VJ (Victory in Japan) day
US General Douglas MacArthur accepted Japan’s unconditional surrender on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri.

 

Published Jul 19, 2016 @ 12:37 pm – Updated – Oct 20, 2019 @ 4:30 pm

 

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2016 – 2019). World War Two 1939 – 1945. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/world-war-two-1939-1945 Last accessed December 8th, 2019