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Key Battles and Events of WWII

By hua1111
  • Germany invades Poland

    Germany invades Poland
    On Sep 1, 1939, German forces bombard Poland on land and from air as Adolf Hitler seeks to regain lost territory and power. They used the “blitzkrieg” method, which aimed to destroy the enemy’s air capacity, railroads, communication lines, and munitions dumps, followed by a massive land invasion. In the end, western Poland fell to the Nazis and eastern Poland was occupied by the Soviet Union.
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  • Britain & France declare war on Germany

    Britain & France declare war on Germany
    On Sep 3, 1939, in response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Britain and France along with Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany. the speech was given by the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, in Westminster, London. However, these countries were too far away to provide any help to Poland. Therefore, western Poland fell to the Nazis and eastern Poland was occupied by the Soviet Union.
  • Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Britain

    Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Britain
    On May 10, Chamberlain formally lost the confidence of the House of Commons.
    Churchill is known for his military abilities therefore was appointed as British prime minister.
    In the first year of his administration, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany, but Churchill promised his country and the world that the British people would “never surrender.”
  • Evacuation of Dunkirk

    Evacuation of Dunkirk
    On May 26, 1940, the British began to implement Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Allied forces from Dunkirk. Knowing German troops would soon launch an attack on Dunkirk. British citizens were encouraged to lend any sea worthy vessels. Braving attacks from the German Luftwaffe, hundreds of sea vessels were rushed to Dunkirk. By June 4, when the Germans closed, more than 338,000 soldiers were saved. These experienced troops would play a crucial role in future resistance against Nazi Germany.
  • Italy enters war on side of Axis powers

    Italy enters war on side of Axis powers
    Italy entered World War II on the Axis side on June 10, 1940, because the defeat of France became apparent. On this day after being neutral to either side in the battle between Germany and the Allies, Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, declares war on France and Great Britain. Although Italy declared war on the 10th it wasn't until the 20th that Italian troops were mobilized in France.
  • France signs armistice with Germany

    France signs armistice with Germany
    With Paris fallen and German conquering France, Marshal Henri Petain the French prime minister arranges an armistice with the Nazis. On June 22 the armistice was signed with the Germans, near Compiegne in a train car. The armistice went into effect on June 25, and caused more than half of France being occupied by the Germans.
  • Battle of Britain

    Battle of Britain
    The Battle of Britain is a military campaign in which the RAF defended the UK against the Luftwaffe. Initially Hitler did not particularly wish to invade Britain, after the fall of France, he assumed British would simply surrender. However it didn't. So on July 10, the Germans began the first in a long series of bombing raids against Great Britain. However, came to an end when Luftwaffe failed to gain air superiority over the RAF despite months of targeting Britain’s air bases and military posts
  • Operation Sea Lion

    Operation Sea Lion
    Operation Sea lion was the name given by Hitler for the planned invasion of Great Britain in 1940. In order to carry out Operation Sea Lion they needed to take down RAF. However, the Germans lost the Battle of Britain. Therefore, on 17 September 1940, Hitler had no choice but to postpone Sea Lion indefinitely and it was never put into action.
  • Tripartite Pact signed

    Tripartite Pact signed
    The Tripartite Pact, was an agreement between Germany, Japan and Italy signed in Berlin on 27 September 1940. With this the Axis powers are formed. The Pact provided for mutual assistance if any of the signatories suffer attack from any nation. The Tripartite Pact was directed primarily at the United States to think twice before turning on the side of the Allies. Its practical effects were limited, since Germany and Japan's operational theatres were on opposite sides of the world.
  • Siege of Tobruk

    Siege of Tobruk
    On 10 Apr,Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel ordered the 15th Panzer Division to attack Tobruk, Libya directly from the west.Tobruk was defended by troops of the Australian 9th Division under Lieutenant General Leslie Morshead. Overall Morshead had about 25000 fighters involving British,Australian,and Indian.The siege was lifted in late Nov as the Allied Operation Crusader was successful. The Allies suffered over 3000 casualties,most of whom were Australian. The Axis suffered about 8000 casualties.
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    Africa & Europe

  • Operation Barbarossa

    Operation Barbarossa
    Under the codename Operation "Barbarossa," Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. The invasion along a 1,800-mile front took the Soviet leadership completely by surprise and caught the Red Army in an unprepared and partially demobilized state. Although the Red Army experienced greater losses than the Germans during the campaign, the inability of German forces to defeat the Soviet Union marked a significant setback for the German military effort.
  • Bombing Pearl Harbor

    Bombing Pearl Harbor
    The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor. By destroying a large portion of the American fleet, they hoped to conquer the Philippines and Malaya while America was still recovering from its own damages. American military leaders were not expecting an attack so close to home, leaving Pearl Harbor relatively undefended. This attack resulted in US declare war on Japan thus entering WWII.
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  • Britain and US declare war on Japan

    Britain and US declare war on Japan
    On 8 December 1941, the United States Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan in response to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor the prior day. On the same day the government of the United Kingdom declared war on Japan as well, following the Japanese attacks on Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong.
  • Japan takes Singapore

    Japan takes Singapore
    On February 8, 5000 Japanese troops landed on Singapore Island. The British were both outmanned and outgunned. On February 13, Singapore’s main defensive weapons were destroyed. With no other option, Singapore surrendered. Over 62,000 Allied soldiers were taken prisoner, half of which died as prisoners of war.
    With the surrender of Singapore, Britain lost its foothold in Asia.
  • Battle of Midway

    Battle of Midway
    At dawn on June 4 1942, Japanese carrier aircraft bombed and heavily damaged the base on Midway. However, the Japanese aircraft had not managed to start against the US fleet, before they fell under attack themselves. The battle lasted four days and turned into a sea and air battle, which later became one of the most decisive U.S. victories against Japan during World War II. Japan’s navy never managed to recover after the attack at Midway and it was on the defensive after this battle.
  • First Battle of El Alamein

    First Battle of El Alamein
    The First Battle of El Alamein was a battle fought in Egypt between the Axis forces of the Panzer Army Africa and Allied forces of the Eighth Army. Benito Mussolini saw this as his opportunity to partake of the victors’ spoils and Hitler anticipated adding Egypt to his empire. The battle ended on July 27. The Allies suffered about 13,250 wounded, captured, missing and killed, while the Axis suffered 17,000. The British prevented a second advance by the Axis forces into Egypt.
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  • Battle of Stalingrad

    Battle of Stalingrad
    On July 17 1942,Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia. The Soviet military stayed strong despite rapid bombing. By November 1942, the Soviet surrounded the Nazis as they were starving and cold. On February 2 1943, the Nazis surrendered, bringing an end to the bloodiest battle in WWII with more than 2 million casualties. The Soviet victory is an turning point in WWII and plays an important role in the downfall of Nazi Germany.
  • Second Battle of El Alamein

    Second Battle of El Alamein
    The Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October–11 November 1942) was a decisive battle of the Second World War that took place near the Egyptian railway stop of El Alamein. It ended the long fight for the Western Desert, and was the only great land battle won by the British and Commonwealth forces without direct American participation.
  • D-Day Landings

    D-Day Landings
    On June 6 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops storm the beaches of Normandy France. More than 13,000 aircraft and 5,000 ships supported the operation.
    The D-Day Landings is an operation which proved to be the turning point on WWII and were the most vital step to liberate Europe from years of German military occupation. However, it came at the cost of an estimated 10,000 Allied casualties, of which 6,603 Americans, 2,700 British, and 946 Canadians.
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  • Battle of the Bulge

    Battle of the Bulge
    The Battle of the Bulge (16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945) was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. It was an attempt to push the Allied front line west from northern France to north-western Belgium. The German troops impersonated U.S military which caused much chaos in the U.S troops. However, in the end the Germans lost so many experienced troops and equipment that there was no way their army could launch another attack on Allied forces.
  • Mussolini captured and executed

    Mussolini captured and executed
    As the allies advanced north through Italy, Mussolini knew the end was in sight. Together with his mistress, and a few followers, Mussolini fled and headed for the Swiss border. Unfortunately, he was stopped and discovered by Italian partisans. On April 28, 1945, at the picturesque Lake Como, a communist partisan by the name of Walter Audisio shot Mussolini in the chest. His body along with his mistress's and his followers were transported to Milan and were hung upside down for public display.
  • Hitler commits suicide

    Hitler commits suicide
    On April 29, Hitler received news that Berlin would receive no more troops, thus the city would be lost to the Russians, also confirmed that Mussolini had been caught in Italy, shot and his body, had been hung upside down in a square in Milan. Hitler knew that he will not tolerate such humiliation, so on Apr 30 1945, along with his wife, holed up in a bunker under his headquarters in Berlin, Adolf Hitler commits suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule and shooting himself in the head.
  • German forces surrender

    German forces surrender
    On May 7, 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Reims, France. General Jodl hoped to limit the terms of German surrender to only those forces still fighting the Western Allies. But General Dwight Eisenhower demanded complete surrender of all German forces. With no choice, Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, Hitler’s successor, ordered him to sign. Thus, the war in the West was over.
  • V.E.day

    V.E. day was the public holiday celebrated on 8 May 1945 to mark the formal acceptance of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces by the Allies of World War II. This is the day that German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms, thus marked the end of World War II in Europe.
  • Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima

    Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima
    On August 6, 1945, the American bomber Enola Gay dropped a five-ton bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. A blast equivalent to the power of 15,000 tons of TNT turned most parts of the city to ruins and immediately killed 80,000 people. Tens of thousands more died in the following weeks from wounds and radiation poisoning. Although Japan did not surrender because of this, it did effect the morale.
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  • Soviet Union declares war on Japan

    Soviet Union declares war on Japan
    The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima by the Americans did not have the effect intended: unconditional surrender by Japan.The only Japanese civilians who even knew what happened at Hiroshima were either dead or suffering terribly.Japan had not been too worried about the Soviet Union. But the Soviets surprised them with their invasion of Manchuria, an assault so strong that Emperor Hirohito began to plead with his War Council to reconsider surrender.
  • Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki

    Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki
    On this day the second atom bomb is dropped on Japan by the United States, at Nagasaki. The devastation wrought at Hiroshima was not sufficient to convince the Japanese War Council to accept the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender. So a second bomb had to be dropped on Aug 9. The number killed is estimated at anywhere between 60,000 and 80,000. The bombing of Nagasaki later resulted in the unconditional surrender of Japan.
  • Japanese surrender – End of WWII

    Japanese surrender – End of WWII
    Japan is at a devastating stage, after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet Union declaring war on Japan. Emperor Hirohito gave a recorded radio address across the Empire on August 15 in which he announced the surrender of Japan to the Allies.The surrender ceremony was held on September 2, aboard the United States Navy battleship USS Missouri, at which officials from the Japanese government signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, thereby bringing an end to WWII.
  • United Nations is born

    United Nations is born
    The United Nations was born out of the League of Nations and was founded to safeguard democracy, freedom and peace in the aftermath of Nazism and WWII. On Oct 24, the United Nations Charter became effective and is ready to be enforced.It was presided over by President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. Representatives of 50 nations attended. The UN aims to seek peaceful solutions to international conflicts.