Events of WWII

  • U-boats sink merchant vessels

    The Battle of the Atlantic was a commerce war waged by German U-Boats against Britain’s merchant marine. For nearly six years, Germany launched over 1,000 U-Boats into combat, in an attempt to isolate and blockade the British Isles, thereby forcing the British out of the war.
  • Vichy France begins

    Vichy France was the government of France from July 1940 to August 1944. This government, which succeeded the Third Republic, officially called itself the French State. Marshal Philippe Pétain proclaimed the government following the military defeat of France by Nazi Germany during World War II and the vote by the National Assembly on 10 July 1940.
  • Battle for Britain

    The Battle of Britain is the name given to the air campaign waged by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940. The objective of the campaign was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF), especially Fighter Command.
  • Japan joins Axis

    The Tripartite Pact, also called the Three-Power Pact, Axis Pact, Three-way Pact or Tripartite Treaty was a pact signed in Berlin, Germany on September 27, 1940, which established the Axis Powers of World War II. The pact was signed by representatives of Germany (Adolf Hitler), Italy (foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano) and Japan (ambassador Saburo Kurusu).
  • Hitler breaks Non-Aggression agreement and invades the Soviet Union

    Hitler breaks Non-Aggression agreement and invades the Soviet Union
    Germany implemented Operation Barbarossa, invading the Soviet Union. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a 2,900 km (1,800 mile) front.
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  • FDR approves “shoot on sight”

    When news of the encounter reached the United States, public concern ran high. Initial reports claimed that Greer had been fired upon by a German submarine and that a British aircraft aided in repelling the attack. Roosevelt makes a speech and says that "the aggression is not ours. [Our concern] is solely defense... There will be no shooting unless Germany continues to seek it." With this "shoot on sight order", the period of "undeclared war" in the Atlantic began.
  • Japanese ambassadors arrive in Washington, DC

    Nomura was sent as ambassador to the United States, replacing Kensuke Horinouchi. Through much of 1941, Ambassador Nomura negotiated with United States Secretary of State Cordell Hull in an attempt to prevent war from breaking out between Japan and the United States. On November 15, 1941, Nomura was joined by a "special envoy" to Washington, Saburō Kurusu. Nomura and Kurusu were negotiating with Hull when Pearl Harbor was bombed on Sunday December 7, 1941.
  • Pearl Harbor attacked

    Pearl Harbor attacked
    The attack of Pearl Harbor was an unannounced military strike conducted by the Japanese navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941. It resulted in the United States' entry into World War II. The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from influencing the war that the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia, against Britain and the Netherlands, as well as the U.S. in the Philippines.
  • Germany and Italy declare war on U.S.

    The United States declared war on Japan the day after the Japanese attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. In response, Italy and Germany, Japan’s allies, declared war on the United States, making the U.S. a full partner in the war against Germany.
  • MacArthur promises to return

    MacArthur promises to return
    MacArthur promises "I Shall Return" to continue the fight for the freedom of the Phillipines from Japanese invasion.It was one of the most famous promises in history. Just months after their attack on Pearl Harbor, the fearsome Japanese military was rapidly advancing on Manila where General Douglas MacArthur was Allied commander and Roosevelt asked him to leave.
  • Bataan death march

    The Bataan Death March took place in the Philippines in 1942 and was later accounted as a Japanese war crime. The march, involving the forcible transfer of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war captured by the Japanese in the Philippines from the Bataan peninsula to prison camps, was characterized by wide-ranging physical abuse and murder.
  • Battle of Coral Sea

    Battle of  Coral Sea
    The Battle of Coral Sea was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other. It was also the first naval battle in history in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.
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  • Battle of Midway

     Battle of Midway
    The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea and six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy defeated an Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) attack against Midway Atoll, inflicting irreparable damage on the Japanese. More Info
  • End of Battle of Stalingrad

    The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the most important battles of World War II. Around 1.5 million people died there in less than 6 months. It was the first disaster of the war for the Germans, and the first important vicotry for the Russians.
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  • Guadalcanal

    Between August 1942 and February 1943, the United States and its Pacific Allies fought a brutally hard air-sea-land campaign against the Japanese for possession of the island of Guadalcanal. The Allies' first major offensive action of the Pacific War, the contest began as a risky enterprise since Japan still maintained a significant naval superiority in the Pacific ocean.
  • General Eisenhower and his forces land in North Africa

    Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started 8 November 1942.
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  • Sicily falls

    Sicily falls
    The fall of Sicily, also called Operation Husky, was a major World War II campaign, in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis (Italy and Nazi Germany). The Allies drove Axis air and naval forces from the island; the Mediterranean's sea lanes were opened and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was toppled from power. It opened the way to the Allied invasion of Italy.
  • Rome falls

    June 4, 1944 saw the liberation of Rome, the first Axis capital to fall to the allies just one day before another army sailed against Normandy.
  • D-Day

    Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Normandy.
  • MacArthur returns

    After more than two years of tough fighting over a wide expanse of the Southwest Pacific, MacArthur was authorized to invade the Philippines. Choosing Leyte rather than the principal island of Luzon as the initial landing site, MacArthur waded ashore in October, 1944 and proclaimed to waiting newsmen, "I have returned".
  • Kamikaze attacks begin

    The Japanese first used suicide attacks on warships in the Allied fleet supporting the American landings on Leyte in the Philippines. The first ship to be hit was HMAS "Australia" which was seriously damaged on October 21.
  • Battle of the Bulge

    Battle of the Bulge
    The Battle of the Bulge was the last major Nazi offensive against the Allies in World War Two. The battle was a last ditch attempt by Hitler to split the Allies in two in their drive towards Germany and destroy their ability to supply themselves. Hitler had convinced himself that the alliance between Britain, France and America in the western sector of Europe was not strong and that a major attack and defeat would break up the alliance.
  • US flag raised on Mt. Suribachi

    US flag raised on Mt. Suribachi
    The Battle of Iwo Jima was a battle in which the United States fought for and captured Iwo Jima from Japan. Johnson called for a platoon of Marines to climb Suribachi. With them, he sent a small American flag to fly if they reached the summit. Again, Marines began the ascent, expecting to be ambushed at any moment. Using a length of pipe they found among the wreckage atop the mountain, the Marines hoisted the U.S. flag over Mount Suribachi, the first foreign flag to fly on Japanese soil.
  • Okinawa taken

    The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June, 1945. The capture of Okinawa was part of a three-point plan the Americans had for winning the war in the Far East. It was known to be the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War.
  • Truman becomes president

    Truman becomes president
    Truman became preisdent on April 12, 1945 when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his fourth term.
  • Hitler commits suicide

     Hitler commits suicide
    The generally accepted cause of the death of Adolf Hitler on 30 April 1945 is suicide by gunshot and cyanide poisoning. Hitler had a supply of cyanide capsules which he had obtained through the SS. Meanwhile, on 28 April Hitler learned of Heinrich Himmler's attempt to independently negotiate a peace treaty. Hitler considered this treason and began to show signs of paranoia.
  • V-E Day

    Victory in Europe Day was on May 8, 1945, the date when the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.
  • Hiroshima

    On Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 AM, the nuclear bomb 'Little Boy' was dropped on Hiroshima by an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, directly killing an estimated 80,000 people.
  • Nagasaki

    On the morning of August 9, 1945, the U.S. B-29 Superfortress Bockscar, flown by the crew of 393rd Squadron commander Major Charles W. Sweeney, carried the nuclear bomb code-named "Fat Man", with Kokura as the primary target and Nagasaki the secondary target.
  • V-J Day

    V-J Day
    Victory over Japan Day is a name chosen for the day on which the Surrender of Japan occurred, effectively ending World War II. President Truman announced that the Japanese Government had agreed to comply in full with the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of Japan.
  • Formal surrender of Japan

    Formal surrender of Japan
    In the morning of September 2, 1945, more that two weeks after acceping the Allies terms, Japan formally surrendered. The ceremonies, less than half an hour long, took place on board the battleship USS Missouri, anchored with other United States' and British ships in Tokyo Bay.