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The Second World War (1939-1945)

  • Treaty of Versailles

    Treaty of Versailles
    The Peace conference in Versailles after the World War I forced Germany to accept humiliating conditions of peace. Other countries, like Japan, Soviet Russia and Italy got less than what they expected. The discontent generated by Versailles led to the birth of totalitarianisms.
  • Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of the Reich

    Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of the Reich
    The rise of the Nazi party in Germany and concern about the growth of socialism gave Hitler the reins of power.
  • Italy invades Ethiopia

    Italy invades Ethiopia
    Eager to build a great colonial empire, he pushed Mussolini to attack Ethiopia. The aggression, in open violation of the League of Nations, brought fascist Italy closer to Hitler's Germany.
  • Spain devastated by the Civil War

    Spain devastated by the Civil War
    The rivalry between left and right in Spain resulted in a Civil War. Franco's nationalists, supported by Germany and Italy, prevailed in 1939 over the socialist regime supported by the USSR and France.
  • Japan attacks China

    Japan attacks China
    The Japanese attacked the weak Chinese Republic, conquering Shanghai and Nanjing in the early years of the conflict. The western reaction prompted Japan to ally itself with Germany and Italy.
  • Anschluss

    By threatening an invasion, Hitler manages to get a referendum for Austria's annexation to Germany. The result is overwhelming and Hitler can triumphantly enter Vienna.
  • The Munich Agreement led to a new War

    The Munich Agreement led to a new War
    With the aim of annexing Sudetenland (Czechoslovakia) to Germany, Hitler summons the leaders of France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany to Monaco to discuss a peaceful annexation. He gets the territories he wants, but, in open violation of the pact, he manages to invade the rest of Czechoslovakia the following year.
  • Germany invades Poland: the Second World War begins

    Germany invades Poland: the Second World War begins
    After establishing a non-aggression pact with Soviet Russia, Hitler attacks Poland, occupying it in three weeks. This time, the allied powers react, declaring war on Germany in September 3rd. World War II begins.
  • Period: to

    World War II

  • The Winter War

    The Winter War
    The Soviet attempt to invade Karelia succeeds, but at a very high price. Finnish resistance to a numerically and technologically superior invader demonstrates to the world the inefficiency of the Russian army.
  • Battle of the Rio de la Plata

    Battle of the Rio de la Plata
    The German battleship Admiral Graf Spee, which caused countless losses among the British merchant ships, was finally damaged by the British, forcing Admiral Hans Langsdorff to self-sink the ship.
  • Operation Weserübung

    Operation Weserübung
    The German attack on Norway and Denmark, aimed at preventing the British from using the Scandinavian ports, was a rapid success, which led the Germans to victory in less than a month.
  • The fall of France: Hitler's greatest success

    The fall of France: Hitler's greatest success
    Following the Fall Gelb (the Yellow Plan), German forces storm into France from the Ardennes. Within a month, French troops were defeated and forced to retreat from a masterful German attack, coordinated between ground and air force troops. On 14 June 1940, Paris fell into German hands and on 22 June France surrendered.
  • Dunkirk's retreat saves England

    Dunkirk's retreat saves England
    The German delay allows the British to rescue 400 thousand men trapped in Dunkirk. This is a spectacular rescue operation, completed by a fleet of private as well as military vessels (the Small Boats), which allowed Great Britain to continue fighting for other years.
  • Battle in the skies of Britain

    Battle in the skies of Britain
    To prepare for the landing operations, Hitler ordered to gain dominance over the English skies. The strong British morale, played by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, allowed the British to resist the bombings of the Luftwaffe on their territory to the bitter end. Unable to conquer England, Hitler began to focus on Eastern Europe.
  • Italian invasion of Greece

    Italian invasion of Greece
    In order not to lag behind German successes, Mussolini invaded Greece, convinced of obtaining a quick victory. The Italians, however, found themselves in difficulty, due to the broad British support provided to the Greeks during the offensive.
  • War in the Balkans

    War in the Balkans
    Following the failure of Italian operations in Greece, Hitler decides to attack the Balkans, snatching Yugoslavia and Greece from the Allies. After just a month, the Balkan Peninsula is conquered and Germany can concentrate on the war on Russia.
  • The siege of Tobruk

    The siege of Tobruk
    To conquer the oil wells of the Middle East, Hitler orders to advance in North Africa. Rommel's advance, however, is hampered by British troops in Tobruk's stronghold, who resisted, counterattacking (Operation Crusader) at the end of the year.
  • The greatest invasion of all time: Operation Barbarossa

    The greatest invasion of all time: Operation Barbarossa
    Hitler kicks off Operation Barbarossa, the attack on the Soviet Union, which in the first few months has achieved an amazing success. In just five months, the Germans occupied Kharkiv, Kiev, Minsk, Smolensk, Riga and much of European Russia, pushing themselves to the gates of Moscow.
  • Hitler at the gates of Moscow

    Hitler at the gates of Moscow
    The attack on the Russian capital begins in October, but the Soviet resistance to the bitter end slows down the Germans. In the end, the terrible Russian winter comes and prevents the Germans from advancing further, allowing the Soviets, more accustomed to low temperatures, to fight back. That suffered in Moscow is the first major defeat of the Wehrmacht in Europe.
  • The awakening of the giant: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor

    The awakening of the giant: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor
    In response to the American embargo on oil, Emperor Hirohito's Japan attacks the naval base in Pearl Harbor (Hawaii). The American fleet in the Pacific is devastated: although the aircraft carriers were saved, being in other places, the attack sank 5 battleships and destroyed 200 planes. The surprise attack led America, ruled by Franklin Roosevelt to declare war on the Axis powers.
  • The Campaign in Malaysia

    The Campaign in Malaysia
    Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked the British colonies in East Asia, with the aim of conquering their resources (oil, rubber and metals). Within two months, Malaysia was conquered by Japanese troops.
  • The night of Alexandria

    The night of Alexandria
    Italian special forces secretly attacked the English port of Alexandria, bombing the ships and seriously damaging two battleships. Their action, if carried out to the end, could have seriously reversed the fate of the war in the Mediterranean.
  • Battle for the Atlantic

    Battle for the Atlantic
    As in the First World War, Germany resorted to the naval blockade to starve Britain. German U-Boot sank merchant ships, preventing England from obtaining military and civilian resources. The actions of the German submarines risked bringing the United Kingdom to collapse, but the entry into the war of the USA, which sent part of its fleet to help the English one, marked the turning point for the war on the sea.
  • Rommel advances in Africa

    Rommel advances in Africa
    In 1942, Rommel's AfrikaKorps achieved major victories in Africa. Between January and July, the Italian-Germans managed to defeat the British by advancing towards Egypt. The Battle of Gazala, fought in June, was Rommel's greatest success and led Axis troops to recapture Tobruk and go to El Alamein, 100 km from Alexandria.
  • The fall of Singapore

    The fall of Singapore
    In Singapore, the British suffered the biggest defeat of the war. In a week, from 8 to 15 February, the Japanese conquered the island-city district by district. The humiliating English surrender delivered all of East Asia to Hirohito.
  • Operation Chariot

    Operation Chariot
    The British raid on Saint-Nazaire was decisive for the fate of the war on the sea. It prevented the German battleships from refueling in the only large naval base on the Atlantic, reversing the balance.
  • Battle of the Coral Sea

    Battle of the Coral Sea
    The Battle of the Coral Sea was important because it was the first naval battle in which the enemy fleets did not come into contact with each other, leaving the air force to sink the opposing vessels. The Allies were defeated on a tactical level and accused the sinking of the Lexington aircraft carrier. But the losses suffered forced Japan to retreat, allowing the Anglo-Americans to regroup.
  • Germany under siege

    Germany under siege
    The British response to the Battle of England was the massive bombing campaign against German industries and cities. Particularly heavy was the bombing of Cologne on May 30, which in 90 minutes razed the city to the ground.
  • Fire from the sky: Battle of the Midway

    Fire from the sky: Battle of the Midway
    The American victory over the Midway islands was a serious blow to the Empire of the Rising Sun: it blocked the Japanese advance towards the east and allowed the American fleet to reorganize itself in view of the imminent offensive against the western Pacific.
  • Mussolini's victory on the sea: Pantelleria

    Mussolini's victory on the sea: Pantelleria
    The Malta base was placed under siege by the Italian-German fleet. The British rescue missions were defeated by the Italians near the island of Pantelleria, but the island still persisted for a long time.
  • Battle of Guadalcanal

    Battle of Guadalcanal
    The Americans landed in Guadalcanal, conquering the island, home to an air base. Surprised by the offensive, the Japanese made numerous attempts between August and November to retake the island and the air base. The island, the scene of almost daily clashes, eventually remained in American hands. It was the first major tactical victory against the Japanese and marked the turning point in the Pacific War.
  • The failed raid on Dieppe

    The failed raid on Dieppe
    Although the Anglo-American raid on Dieppe (France) resulted in a devastating failure, it allowed the Allies to better study the amphibious war plans, which proved to be fundamental during D-Day.
  • Reoccupation of New Guinea

    Reoccupation of New Guinea
    The re-occupation of New Guinea eased Japanese pressure on Australia, opening the way for the Moluccan re-occupation to the Anglo-Americans.
  • The greatest battle in History: Stalingrad

    The greatest battle in History: Stalingrad
    The Germans managed to occupy the city of Stalin, a crucial junction towards the oil wells of the Caucasus, but the Soviet counter-offensive at the beginning of the Russian winter forced them to fight an urban war in which each house became a battlefield. The surrender of the German Sixth Army on February 8 marked the end of a battle that caused 2 million victims, as well as marking the end of the Nazi advance eastward.
  • Battle of El-Alamein

    Battle of El-Alamein
    Rommel, one step away from the conquest of Egypt, was stopped by the British troops of Montgomery. The defeat of Axis forces was followed by a retreat to Tunisia, which led to the loss of all Italian northern Africa.
  • The enterprises of the Chindits

    The enterprises of the Chindits
    The Japanese advance in Burma was hampered by raids led by Windgate. Their actions behind enemy lines permanently compromised the Japanese advance.
  • Germany enters the Total War

    Germany enters the Total War
    At Sportpalast in Berlin, Goebbels introduces a new type of conflict. Now, for the Nazis, to dictate the strategies of the Nazis is not the conquest of strategic places, but the total annihilation of the enemy at any cost.
  • Gathering Storm: the Battle of Kursk

    Gathering Storm: the Battle of Kursk
    After Stalingrad, the Germans suffered another crushing defeat in the Soviet Union. The biggest tank battle in history was fought in Kursk. The winner was the Soviet general Zukhov, who was able to reorganize his forces towards the re-occupation of Ukraine.
  • The invasion of Italy

    The invasion of Italy
    Under pressure from Churchill, who believed the Mediterranean to be the "soft belly" of the Axis, the Anglo-Americans landed in Sicily, with the aim of invading the Italian Peninsula and spreading to Europe from the south. The conquest of the largest island in the Mediterranean led, within two weeks, to the arrest of Mussolini and the formation of a new government in Italy.
  • The fall of Italy and the Republic of Salò

    The fall of Italy and the Republic of Salò
    Arrested on July 25, Mussolini was detained in Campo Imperatore, on the Gran Sasso. The Germans freed him after Operation Quercia and transferred him to Northern Italy, where he established the Italian Social Republic, based in Salò. Thus began a civil conflict in Italy between the Fascist Republic and the Southern Kingdom, supported by the Allies, which forced Hitler to move vehicles and troops from the Soviet Union to Italy.
  • The Tehran Conference

    The Tehran Conference
    Meeting in Tehran, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin discuss the political framework to be given to Europe following the end of the war. Stalin's decision to open a Second Front in France is also approved.
  • The road for Rome: Battle of Montecassino

    The road for Rome: Battle of Montecassino
    To open the way to Rome, the Anglo-Americans launched an offensive along the Gustav Line, near Montecassino. After four battles and five long months of fighting, which also led to the destruction of the 6th century Benedictine Abbey, the Allies took possession of the Liri valley on 18 May.
  • Operation Shingle

    Operation Shingle
    To cut the German lines, the Allies landed in Anzio, 50 kilometers from Rome. The landing, however, resulted in a strategic failure, due to the slow progress, which prevented the Americans from reaching Montecassino in time.
  • The liberation of Leningrad

    The liberation of Leningrad
    After a very long siege lasting three years, the city of Leningrad, on the banks of the Neva, was freed from a mighty Soviet counter-offensive in January 1944. Hitler's main target at the beginning of the Camapgna of Russia, Leningrad suffered indescribable suffering for months, but its population managed to resist any German bombing, deserving admiration all over the world.
  • The longest day: Normandy landigs of the D-Day

    The longest day: Normandy landigs of the D-Day
    The decisive turning point occurred on June 6, 1944, when the Second Front was finally opened. About 200 thousand Allied soldiers landed on the Normandy coast, taking the Germans by surprise. The sacrifice of the 10,000 Anglo-Americans who died on the beaches of Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold and Sword was not in vain. Their action was instrumental in deciding the fall of the Third Reich and in paving the way for the liberation of western Europe.
  • Fire in the steppes: Operation Bagration

    Fire in the steppes: Operation Bagration
    After stripping the eastern front to protect France, the Germans were outnumbered in Russia. To seize the moment, Stalin launched the tremendous Bagration Operation. The unstoppable Soviet advance, which took the name of "Road Roller", led to the re-occupation of Belarus within a month and the arrival of Soviet forces on the outskirts of Warsaw in early August.
  • Operation Valkyrie

    Operation Valkyrie
    The attempt to kill Hitler perpetrated by the German high military spheres resulted in a failure. The Nazi retaliation gave Hitler absolute control over the Wehrmacht, but led to the elimination of capable generals.
  • The horror of the Shoah

    The horror of the Shoah
    The advance of the Soviets to the east and the Allies to the west forced the Germans to clear the concentration camps, where in previous years they had systematically eliminated millions of "undesirables" (Jews, homosexuals, Slavs, opponents of Nazism). The liberation of some camps by Allied troops showed the world the horrors that Hitler and his loyalists had committed.
  • Warsaw uprising

    Warsaw uprising
    Once the Red Army reached the gates of the Polish capital, Warsaw rose up in arms against the German occupier. The Russian's lack of support for the Poles, however, led to the brutal repression by the Wehrmacht of the insurgents and the destruction, after two months of urban guerrilla warfare, of much of the city.
  • Allied forces enter Paris

    Allied forces enter Paris
    After four years of occupation, the Allied forces liberated the city of Paris. At the head of the Anglo-American troops was De Gaulle, with his men from Free France.
  • Montgomery's disaster: Operation Market-Garden

    Montgomery's disaster: Operation Market-Garden
    Montgomery aimed to use his paratroopers to occupy five strategically important bridges along the Rhine River. The operation was partially successful, but the arrival of a German armoured division derailed the allied airborne troops, who were forced to retreat.
  • Battle of the Gulf of Leyte

    Battle of the Gulf of Leyte
    The Battle of the Gulf of Leyte was the largest naval battle in history. The American victory was decisive to allow the Allies to reconquer the Philippines and their immense resources. The Japanese, defeated and humiliated, had to renounce their Empire and began to prepare for the defense of the Japanese archipelago.
  • Soviet invasion of Hungary

    Soviet invasion of Hungary
    The Soviet advance reached Hungary in late September. Between October 1944 and January 1945, Budapest was besieged by the Russians and conquered on February 13, 1945, opening the way for Stalin's occupation of Eastern Europe.
  • Nazi Germany's last stand

    Nazi Germany's last stand
    The German offensive in the Ardennes was Hitler's latest attempt to turn the tide of the western front. The Allies were totally taken aback by the attack, which created an immense pocket in southern Belgium. The scarcity of means of the Germans, however, allowed the Anglo-Americans, led by Patton, to respond and repel the enemies.
  • Fire hailstorm over Dresden

    Fire hailstorm over Dresden
    The carpet bombing of Dresden, conducted by the Anglo-Americans, was one of the greatest Allied war crimes. After the systematic destruction of much of the city, the historic center of one of the most important cities, culturally and historically, in Germany was forever lost.
  • Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa

    Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa
    The American conquest of Iwo Jima was slow and bloody. Despite a month of long fighting, the US Marines managed to take over the island and its important air base on February 26. Even more bloody was the conquest of the Okinawa archipelago, which caused 150 thousand Japanese deaths. The bloodbath forced the Allies to seek another strategy to occupy Japan.
  • The death of Franklin Roosevelt

    The death of Franklin Roosevelt
    After twelve years of presidency, Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in Washington with the war still going on. His death led to the rise of Vice President Harry Truman, who led the US to victory in the conflict.
  • Apocalypse over Berlin

    Apocalypse over Berlin
    In April 1945, the Soviets reached Berlin and besieged it. It followed the defense to the bitter end by Hitler's last reserves of the German capital. After two weeks of urban warfare that led to the destruction of the city, the Russians arrived at the Reichstag, forcing the Nazis to surrender.
  • Italian Civil War is over

    Italian Civil War is over
    With the liberation of Milan, the war in Italy comes to an end. The partisan insurrections throughout Northern Italy led to the surrender of the last forces of the Republic of Salò. Mussolini, who tried to escape to Switzerland, was captured by the partisans near Dongo and shot on April 28th.
  • Hitler commits suicide

    Hitler commits suicide
    Locked up in his bunker, with the Soviets 200 meters from him and aware that, by now, there was nothing more to do, Hitler and his partner Eva Braun commit suicide, swallowing a cyanide pill and shooting himself in the head. The leadership of the Third Reich passed to Admiral Karl Dönitz, who surrendered to the Soviets on 2 May.
  • Victory Day in Europe

    Victory Day in Europe
    The Third Reich, the last Axis nation still fighting in Europe, surrendered on May 8, 1945. The Anglo-Americans and the Soviets had succeeded in the task of liberating Europe. Despite this, the war in the Pacific continued.
  • Partition of Germany

    Partition of Germany
    After the German surrender, the British, American, French and Soviet forces divided the territory of Germany and Austria into areas of influence, which were maintained for two years. Berlin was also divided into two sectors, one Allied, the other Soviet. The partition of Germany caused division in West and East Germany during the Cold War.
  • The atomic bomb

    The atomic bomb
    To bring Japan to surrender, Truman gave orders to use the new American weapon: the Atomic Bomb. On August 6, Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima. On the 9th, Fat Man destroyed Nagasaki. Within half an hour, 160,000 civilian casualties were wiped out.
  • Japan surrenders: WWII is over

    Japan surrenders: WWII is over
    Following the atomic bombings and the Soviet attack on Manchuria, Hirohito realized that there was nothing left to do now. On August 15, Japan surrendered to the Allies and the surrender was formalized on September 2. After 6 years of fighting in Europe, Africa and the Pacific, World War II finally came to an end.
  • Birth of the United Nations

    Birth of the United Nations
    Roosevelt's idea, which devoted much of its management of the war to it, the founding of a supranational body, the United Nations, occurred at the end of the war. The UN served to protect democracy and world peace at the end of the Second World War carnage, which caused 71 million deaths.
  • Evil trial

    Evil trial
    After the Allied victory over Nazi Germany, the high spheres of the still alive Hitler government (among which Göring, Speer, Dönitz, Hess and Keitel stood out) were tried by a special allied tribunal, which demonstrated to the world the crimes Nazi Germany had been responsible.
  • An Iron Curtain in Europe

    An Iron Curtain in Europe
    In a speech given to Fulton, Churchill speaks of an "Iron Curtain" erected by the Soviets in the territories occupied by them during the Second World War. Eastern Europe, from that moment, had fallen under the orbit of the USSR, which controlled that territory politically and economically.
  • Return of Democracy in Italy

    Return of Democracy in Italy
    At the first democratic referendum held in Italy since 1925, the Italian people decided to abolish the monarchy and establish a republic. Alcide de Gasperi was the first prime minister of the new republic. The royal family was exiled to Portugal and efforts were made to endow Italy with a constitution.
  • The Cold War begins

    The Cold War begins
    The frictions between the US and the USSR following the war, due to the different ideological conceptions of Truman and Stalin, led to the breakdown of relations between the capitalist West and the communist East. The Cold War begins, which for more than forty years will affect the geopolitical balance of the world.