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The Second World War

  • Germany invades Poland

    Germany invades Poland
    By the end of September the Germans and Russians had occupied Poland. Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany, it consisted of rapid thrusts by motorized divisions and Panzers supported by air power.
  • Britain and France declare war on Germany

    Britain and France declare war on Germany
    Britain and France, both allies of the invaded nation, declare war on Germany in reaction to Hitler's invasion of Poland.
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    The Phoney war

    After five months pause, the Russians invaded Finland and took over Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, compelling Finland to hand over frontier regions that would allow the Russians to defend themselves better against any invasion from the west.
    Hitler appears to have believed that the pause would weaken Britain and France's resolve and encourage them to negotiate a peace treaty.
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    The Battle of Atlantic

    This was the battle against German U-boats that were seeking to starve Britain of food and raw resources.
  • Canada declares war

    Canada declares war
    Canada declared war on Germany. Only volunteers would serve overseas, according to Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.
    Canada had not been adequately prepared for war. The regular army, which consisted of 4500 soldiers and was supplemented by 51,000 partially trained reservists, had almost no modern equipment. The navy's combat potential consisted of just six destroyers, the smallest class of ocean-going vessels, while the air force had less than 20 contemporary combat aircraft.
  • Germany invaded Norway

    Germany invaded Norway
    Hitler's troops invaded Denmark and landed in the major Norwegian ports. The Germans needed control of Norway because Narvik was the primary port for Swedish iron ore, which was critical to the German weapons industry. The Germans replied with a parachute invasion and the installation of a puppet regime commanded by Quisling after the Norwegian government refused. Norwegian military continued to fight with British troops despite German control disguised as a Quisling administration.
  • Winston Churchill became British Prime Minister

    Winston Churchill became British Prime Minister
    The Low Countries and France were attacked by Hitler. Chamberlain's confidence in the House of Commons was formally lost on the same day. Winston Churchill, was nominated to succeed Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  • Germany invades Holland, Belgium and France

    Germany invades Holland, Belgium and France
    On the 10th of May, simultaneous attacks on Holland, Belgium, and France were launched, and once again, Blitzkrieg tactics resulted in quick wins. The Dutch surrendered after just four days, shocked by the bombing of Rotterdam, which killed over a thousand people. Only Dunkirk remained in Allied control when Belgium surrendered at the end of May, leaving British and French soldiers in Belgium precariously exposed as German motorised divisions surged through northern France.
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    The Battle of Dunkirk

    A third of a million Allied troops were saved to fight again, and Churchill used the 'Dunkirk spirit' as propaganda to boost British morale. In truth, the Allies were dealt a major blow: the troops in Dunkirk had lost all of their arms and equipment, making it impossible for Britain to assist France.
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    Desert War

    Desert War took place in the deserts of Egypt and Libya. With the Italian declaration of war and the invasion of Egypt from Libya, military operations started. The Italian army "10a Armata" was destroyed during Operation Compass, a five-day British invasion in December. Mussolini sought assistance from Hitler, who dispatched a small German army to Tripoli. Because Italy was the major Axis force in the Mediterranean and the Afrika Korps was nominally under Italian command.
  • Germany invades Paris

    Germany invades Paris
    As German forces arrive and seize Paris, Parisians are awakened by the sound of a German-accented voice proclaiming a curfew via loudspeakers. Northern France and the Atlantic coast were captured by the Germans, providing them vital submarine bases, and the French army was demobilised. Under Marshal Petain, unoccupied France was given its own administration, although it lacked true independence and collaborated with the Germans.
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    The Battle of Britain

    The Battle of Britain was the first battle in history fought entirely in the air, between Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) and Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe. Both sides sent pilots and support personnel into the air to fight for control of airspace above the United Kingdom, Germany, and the English Channel. The powerful, combat-experienced Luftwaffe intended to easily overrun Britain, but the Royal Air Force proved to be a formidable opponent.
  • The Blitz

    The Blitz
    Hitler desired a submissive, neutralised Britain so that he could focus on his plans for the East, which included a invasion of the Soviet Union. 337 tonnes of bombs were dumped on London by German planes. Despite the fact that civilians were not the intended target on that day, the poorest of London's slum districts, the East End, felt the effects of misdirected bombs and flames that broke out and spread throughout the region.
  • Mussolini invades Egypt

    Mussolini invades Egypt
    Mussolini sent an army from the Italian colony of Libya to Egypt, which advanced about 60 miles. The British, on the other hand, quickly drove the Italians out of Egypt, forced them far into Libya, and destroyed them at Bedafomm, taking 130 000 prisoners and 400 tanks. Hitler was beginning to see Mussolini as an embarrassment.
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    The Holocaust

    The German Nazi dictatorship engaged in ideological and systematic state-sponsored persecution of European Jews.
    Jews were an inferior race to anti-Semitic Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who saw them as a foreign danger to German racial purity and society. After years of Nazi administration in Germany, during which Jews were persecuted on a regular basis, Hitler's final solution was carried out under the guise of World War II, with mass killing centres built in occupied Poland's concentration camps.
  • U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt "Lend-Lease Act"

    U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt "Lend-Lease Act"
    The Lend-Lease Act stated that the US government could lend or lease war supplies to any country deemed "essential to the security of the United States," rather than selling them. During World War II, the United States was able to provide military help to its overseas allies while staying nominally neutral in the fight thanks to this strategy.
  • German battleship Bismarck

    German battleship Bismarck
    The Bismarck was given the command to sail into the Atlantic. The battleship would be nearly hard to trace once it was out in the open ocean, wreaking havoc on Allied convoys bound for Britain. When Britain learned of its movement, it dispatched nearly the entire British Home Fleet to track it down. In the North Atlantic near France, the British navy destroys the German battleship Bismarck. The death toll in Germany was over 2,000.
  • Operation Barbarossa

    Operation Barbarossa
    German Panzer divisions and the Luftwaffe helped Germany establish an early lead over the large but poorly prepared Soviet forces by launching a three-pronged offensive toward Leningrad in the north, Moscow in the centre, and Ukraine in the south. Initially, German forces advanced rapidly throughout the wide front, capturing millions of Soviet soldiers.
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    Operation Barbarossa

    Hitler attacked Russia for the simple and adequate reason that he had always intended to lay the foundations of his millennium-long Reich by annexing the territory between the Vistula and the Urals. The Russian campaign was not a luxury for Hitler: it was the be-all and end-all of Nazism, and it was a case of now or never.
  • Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor
    The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (their naval base in the Hawaiian Islands), brought the US into the war. The attack's motivations were linked to Japan's economic difficulties. Admiral Yamamoto planned the attack brilliantly. There was no declaration of war: 353 Japanese planes arrived at Pearl Harbor undetected and destroyed 350 planes and five battleships in two hours, murdering or injuring 3700 people. The 7th of December was called " a date that will live in infamy" by Roosevelt.
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    Pacific War

    The Pacific War, sometimes known as the Asia–Pacific War, was fought in Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and Oceania during World War II. It encompassed the enormous Pacific Ocean theatre, the South West Pacific theatre, the South-East Asian theatre, the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the Soviet–Japanese War on a geographical scale.
  • U.S declare war

    U.S declare war
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the historic statement before the United States Congress on December 8, 1941, the day after the assault on Pearl Harbor, to urge a declaration of war against the Imperial Japanese Empire.
  • Battle of Mindway

    Battle of Mindway
    The Americans repelled a massive Japanese attack on Midway Island in the Pacific, which comprised five aircraft carriers, almost 400 aircraft, 17 big warships, and a 5000-man invasion force. With just three carriers and 233 planes, the Americans destroyed four Japanese carriers and approximately 330 planes.
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    Battle of Stalingrad

    The southern prong of the German invasion of Russia, which had advanced deep into Crimea and captured Rostov-on-Don, was eventually halted at Stalingrad. The Gennans arrived in Stalingrad at the end of August 1942, but the Russians refused to surrender despite the fact that they had mostly destroyed the city.
  • The battle of El Alamein begins

    The battle of El Alamein begins
    The British Eighth Army, under by Montgomery, drove Rommel's Afrika Korps back at El Alamein in Egypt. The Axis assault was momentarily halted; when Rommel tried to break through, he was halted again at Alam Halfa; and ultimately, seven weeks later in the October fight, he was forced out of Egypt for good by the British and New Zealanders.
  • The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

    The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
    The surviving Jews of the Warsaw ghetto rose up in resistance in April 1943; the uprising was ruthlessly suppressed, and the majority of the Jews were murdered. When Warsaw was liberated in January 1945, only approximately 10,000 people remained alive.
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    Battle of Kursk

    On the Eastern Front, the greatest tank combat in military history takes place, involving an estimated 6,000 tanks, 4,000 aircraft, and 2 million men. Germany assaults the Red Army at Kursk, Russia, in its final blitzkrieg onslaught, but the Soviets are prepared due to delays and the cracking of the German Wehrmacht code, and prevent Hitler from conquering Russia.
  • Mussolini falls from power

    Mussolini falls from power
    Benito Mussolini, fascist dictator of Italy, is voted out of power by his own Grand Council and arrested upon leaving a meeting with King Vittorio Emanuele, who tells Il Duce that the war is lost. Mussolini responded to it all with an uncharacteristic meekness.
  • Battle of Montecassino begins

    Battle of Montecassino begins
    The Allies attack the Gustav Line, defended by the Axis, in the mountain village of Monte Cassino, as they advance across Italy toward Rome. Both parties assure the Vatican that it will not be targeted or utilised in military activities after being evacuated by the Germans. The abbey, however, is destroyed in an Allied bomber strike, causing popular outrage and serving as a refuge for the Nazis after the destruction.
  • "D-Day"

    Now that Italy had been defeated, the U-boats had been brought under control, and Allied air dominance had been secured, the moment seemed right. Since 1941, the Russians had urged the Allies to launch this Second Front in order to ease pressure on them. Between Cherbourg and Le Havre, a 60-mile length of Normandy beaches were used for the landings. Despite fierce German opposition, 326.000 soldiers with tanks and large trucks arrived successfully by the end of the first week.
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    Battle of Bulge

    The Battle of the Bulge was significant because Hitler had risked all in the offensive, losing 250.000 troops and 600 tanks that could not be replenished at the time. Germany was invaded on both fronts, east and west, in early 1945. The British intended to rush ahead and seize Berlin before the Russians, but supreme commander Eisenhower refused to be rushed, and Stalin's soldiers took Berlin in April.
  • Bombing in Dresden

    Bombing in Dresden
    The British and Americans reacted with a'strategic air assault,' which comprised huge bombing raids on military and industrial targets in attempt to sabotage the German war effort. The Ruhr, Cologne, Hamburg, and Berlin were all devastated. When nearly 50.000 people were killed in a single night attack on Dresden, it appeared that raids were carried out to weaken civilian morale.
  • Battle of Iwo Jima

    Battle of Iwo Jima
    U.S. Marines assault the volcanic island of Iwo Jima, 660 miles south of Tokyo, in search of a key staging ground for a prospective attack on Japan's mainland. Weeks of bloodshed ensue, and while the Americans finally seize control, 7,000 Marines are killed and 20,000 are injured. Only 216 of the 18,000 Japanese soldiers survive. Later on, the island is used as an emergency landing site for B-29 bombers.
  • U.S. President Roosevelt dies

    U.S. President Roosevelt dies
    "I have a terrible headache," Roosevelt remarked on April 12. Unconscious, he was taken inside his bedroom after slumped forward in his chair. Dr. Howard Bruenn, the president's attending cardiologist, identified the medical situation as a massive intracerebral hemorrhage. Roosevelt died on that day, at the age of 63.
  • Hitler dead

    Hitler dead
    Adolf Hitler, locked up in a bunker under his Berlin headquarters, commits suicide by ingesting a cyanide capsule and shooting himself in the head. Soon later, Germany surrendered unconditionally to Allied forces, putting an end to Hitler's dream of a "1,000-year" Reich.
  • Atomic Bomb Hiroshima

    Atomic Bomb Hiroshima
    When the United States delivers an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, it becomes the first and only nation to deploy atomic weapons during a war. Approximately 80,000 people are murdered and another 35,000 are injured as a direct result of the explosion. By the end of the year, at least another 60,000 people would have died as a result of the fallout.
  • Atomic Bomb Nagasaki

    Atomic Bomb Nagasaki
    The Japanese War Council was unable to accept the Potsdam Conference's demand for unconditional surrender despite the destruction caused at Hiroshima. The United States drops a second atomic bomb on Japan at Nagasaki, ending in Japan's unconditional surrender.