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  • 1944 BCE

    Korematsu vs. United States

    In 1944, the Supreme Court decided, in Korematsu v. United States, that the government’s policy of evacuating Japanese
    Americans to camps was justified on the basis of “military necessity.”
  • 1944 BCE

    The Battle of the Bulge

    Tanks drove 60 miles into Allied territory creating a bulge in the lines that gave this desperate lastditch offensive its name, the Battle of the Bulge. As the Germans swept westward, they captured 120 American GIs near Malmédy. Elite German troops—the SS troopers—herded the prisoners into a large field and mowed them down with machine guns and pistols.
  • 1944 BCE

    Bloody Anzio

    One of the hardest battles the Allies encountered in Europe was fought less than 40 miles from Rome. This battle, “Bloody Anzio,” lasted four months—until the end of May 1944—and left about 25,000 Allied and 30,000 Axis casualties. During the year after Anzio, German armies continued to put up strong resistance. The effort to free Italy did not succeed until 1945, when Germany itself was close to collapse.
  • 1943 BCE

    Unconditional Surrender

    the two leaders agreed to accept only the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers. That is, enemy nations would have to accept whatever terms of peace the Allies dictated. The two leaders also discussed where to strike next. The Americans argued that the best approach to victory was to assemble a massive invasion fleet in Britain and to launch it across the English Channel, through France, and into the heart of Germany.
  • 1942 BCE

    Battle of Atlantic

    In the first four months of 1942, the Germans sank 87 ships
    off the Atlantic shore. Seven months into the year, German wolf packs had destroyed a total of 681 Allied ships in the Atlantic. Something had to be done or the war at sea would be lost. By mid-1943, the tide of the Battle of the Atlantic had turned. A happy Churchill reported to the House of Commons that June “was the best month from every point of view we have ever known in the whole 46 months of the war.”
  • 1942 BCE

    U.S Convoy System

    The Allies responded by organizing their cargo ships into convoys. Convoys were groups of ships traveling together for mutual protection, as they had done in the First World War. The convoys were escorted across the Atlantic by destroyers equipped with sonar for detecting submarines underwater. They were also
    accompanied by airplanes that used radar to spot U-boats on the ocean’s surface.
  • 1942 BCE

    Battle of Stalingrad

    he German army confidently approached Stalingrad in August 1942. “To reach the Volga and take Stalingrad is not so difficult for us,” one German soldier wrote home. “Victory is not far away.” In defending Stalingrad, the Soviets lost a total of 1,100,000 soldiers—more than all American deaths during the entire war. Despite the staggering death toll, the Soviet victory marked a turning point in the war. From that point on, the Soviet army began to move westward toward Germany.
  • 1942 BCE

    Operation Torch

    Churchill and Roosevelt didn’t think the Allies had enough troops to attempt an invasion on European soil. Instead, they launched Operation Torch, an invasion of Axis-controlled North Africa, commanded by American General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • 1942 BCE

    Women's Auxiliary Army Corps

    The military’s work force needs were so great that Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall pushed for the formation of a Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC). “There are innumerable
    duties now being performed by soldiers that can be done better by women,” Marshall said in support of a bill to establish the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. Under this bill, women volunteers would serve in noncombat positions.
  • 1942 BCE

    War Productions Board

    The War Production Board (WPB) assumed that responsibility.
    The WPB decided which companies would convert from peacetime to wartime production and allocated raw materials to key industries. The WPB also organized drives to collect scrap iron, tin cans,paper, rags, and cooking fat for recycling into war goods.
  • 1942 BCE


    To remove them would have destroyed the islands’ economy and hindered U.S. military operations there. However, he was eventually forced to order the internment, or confinement, of 1,444 Japanese Americans, 1 percent of Hawaii’s Japanese-American population.
  • 1941 BCE

    Lend-Lease Act

    Roosevelt compared his plan to lending a garden hose to a neighbor whose house was on fire. He asserted that this was the only sensible thing to do to prevent the fire from spreading to your own property. Isolationists argued bitterly against the plan, but most Americans favored it, and Congress passed the Lend Lease Act in March 1941.
  • 1941 BCE

    Manhattan Project

    In 1941, the committee reported that it would take from three to five years to build an atomic bomb. Hoping to shorten that time, the OSRD set up an intensive program in 1942 to develop a bomb as quickly as possible. Because much of the early research was performed at Columbia University in Manhattan, the Manhattan Project became the code name for research work that extended
    across the country
  • 1941 BCE

    Office of Price Administration

    Roosevelt responded to this threat by creating the Office of Price Administration (OPA). The OPA fought inflation by freezing prices on most goods. Congress also raised income tax rates and extended the tax to millions of people who had never paid it before.
  • 1941 BCE

    Hitler's Invasion of the Netherlands

    Next, Hitler turned against the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, which were overrun by the end of May. The phony
    war had ended.
  • 1940 BCE

    Germany and Italy's invasion of France

    Italy entered the war on the side of Germany and invaded France from the south as the Germans closed in on Paris from the north. On June 22, 1940, at Compiègne, as William Shirer and the rest of the world watched, Hitler handed French officers his terms of
  • 1940 BCE

    Marshal Philippe Petain

    Germans would occupy the northern part of France, and a Nazi-controlled puppet government, headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain, would be set up at Vichy, in southern France.
  • 1940 BCE

    The Battle of Britain

    In the summer of 1940, the Germans began to assemble an invasion fleet along the French coast. Because its naval power could not compete with that of Britain, Germany also launched an air war at the same time. The Luftwaffe began making bombing runs over Britain. Its goal was to gain total control of the skies by destroying Britain’s Royal Air Force. Hitler had 2,600 planes at his disposal.
  • 1939 BCE

    Rome-Berlin Axis

    The war forged a close relationship between the German and Italian dictators, who signed a formal alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis. After a loss of almost 500,000 lives, Franco’s victory in 1939 established him as Spain’s fascist dictator. Once again a
    totalitarian government ruled in Europe
  • 1939 BCE


    This invasion was the first test of Germany’s newest military strategy, the blitzkrieg, or lightning war. Blitzkrieg made use of advances in military technology—such as fast tanks and more powerful aircraft—to take the enemy by surprise and then quickly crush all opposition with overwhelming force.
  • 1939 BCE

    Phony War

    For the next several months after the fall of Poland, French and British troops on the Maginot Line, a system of fortifications built along France’s eastern border, sat staring into Germany, waiting for something to happen.
  • 1936 BCE

    Francisco Franco

    In 1936, a group of Spanish army officers led by General Francisco Franco, rebelled against the Spanish republic. Revolts broke out all
    over Spain, and the Spanish Civil War began. The war aroused passions not only in Spain but throughout the world.
  • 1935 BCE

    Hitler Invades the Rhineland

    In 1933, Hitler pulled Germany out of the League. In 1935, he began a military buildup in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. A year later, he sent troops into the Rhineland, a German region bordering France and Belgium that was demilitarized as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. The League did nothing to stop Hitler.
  • 1935 BCE

    Mussolini's Invasion of Ethiopia

    Meanwhile, Mussolini began building his new Roman Empire. His first target was Ethiopia, one of Africa’s few remaining independent countries. By the fall of 1935, tens of thousands of Italian soldiers stood ready to advance on Ethiopia. The League of Nations reacted with brave talk of “collective resistance to all acts of unprovoked aggression.”
  • 1933 BCE

    Hitler's Military Build-up in Germany

    The failure of the League of Nations to take action against Japan did not escape the notice of Europe’s dictators. In 1933, Hitler pulled Germany out of the League.
  • 1933 BCE

    Third Reich

    By mid 1932, the Nazis had become the strongest political party in Germany. In January 1933, Hitler was appointed chancellor (prime minister). Once in power, Hitler quickly dismantled Germany’s democratic Weimar Republic. In its place he established the Third Reich, or Third German Empire. According to Hitler, the Third Reich would be a “Thousand-Year Reich”—it would last for a thousand years.
  • 1932 BCE

    Storm Troopers

    The Great Depression helped the Nazis come to power. Because of war debts and dependence on American loans and investments, Germany’s economy was hit hard. By 1932, some 6 million Germans were unemployed. Many men who were out of work joined Hitler’s private army, the storm troopers (or Brown Shirts).The German people were desperate and turned to Hitler as their last hope.
  • 1931 BCE

    Japanese Invasion of Manchuria

    Ignoring the protests of more moderate Japanese officials, the militarists launched a surprise attack and seized control of the Chinese province of Manchuria in 1931. Within several months, Japanese troops controlled the entire province, a large region about twice the size of Texas, that was rich in natural resources.
  • 1925 BCE

    Mein Kampf

    In his book Mein Kampf [My Struggle], Hitler set forth the basic beliefs of Nazism that became the plan of action for the Nazi Party. Nazism the German brand of fascism, was based on extreme nationalism. Hitler, who had been born in Austria, dreamed of uniting all German-speaking people in a great German empire.
  • 1924 BCE

    Joseph Stalin's Totalitarian Government in the Soviet Union

    After V. I. Lenin died in 1924, Joseph Stalin, whose last name means “man of steel,” took control of the country. Stalin focused on creating a model communist state. In so doing, he made both agricultural and industrial growth the prime economic goals of the Soviet Union. Stalin abolished all privately owned farms and replaced them with collectives large government-owned farms, each worked by hundreds of families.
  • 1921 BCE

    Benito Mussolini's Fascist Government in Italy

    While Stalin was consolidating his power in the Soviet Union, Benito Mussolini was establishing a totalitarian regime in Italy, where unemployment and inflation produced bitter strikes, some communist-led. By 1921, Mussolini had established the Fascist Party. Fascism stressed nationalism and placed the interests of the state above those of individuals. To strengthen the nation, Fascists argued, power must rest with a single strong leader and a small group of devoted party members.
  • 1919 BCE

    Adolf Hitler's Rise to Power in Germany

    In Germany, Adolf Hitler had followed a path to power similar to Mussolini’s. At the end of World War I, Hitler had been a jobless soldier drifting around Germany. In 1919, he joined a struggling group called the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, better known as the Nazi Party. Despite its name, this party had no ties to socialism.
  • Hitler's Anschluss

    On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into Austria unopposed. A day later, Germany announced that its Anschluss, or “union,” with Austria was complete. The United States and the rest of the world did nothing.
  • Munich Agreement

    On September 30, 1938, they signed the Munich Agreement, which turned the Sudetenland over to Germany without a single shot being fired.
  • Nonaggression Pact

    As tensions rose over Poland, Stalin surprised everyone by signing a nonaggression pact with Hitler. Once bitter enemies, on August 23, 1939 fascist Germany and communist Russia now committed never to attack each other. Germany and the Soviet Union also signed a second, secret pact, agreeing to divide Poland between them. With the danger of a two-front war eliminated, the fate of Poland was sealed.
  • Britain and France declare war on Germany

    On September 3, two days following the terror in Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany. The blitzkrieg tactics worked perfectly. Major fighting was over in three weeks, long before France, Britain, and their allies could mount a defense.
  • Hitler's Invasion of Denmark and Norway

    Suddenly, on April 9, 1940, Hitler launched a surprise invasion
    of Denmark and Norway in order “to protect freedom and independence.” But in truth, Hitler planned to build bases along the coasts to strike at Great Britain. Next, Hitler turned against the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, which were overrun by the end of May. The phony war had ended.
  • Pearl Harbor Attack

    a Japanese dive-bomber swooped low over Pearl Harbor the largest U.S. naval base in the Pacific. The bomber was followed by
    more than 180 Japanese warplanes launched from six aircraft carriers. In less than two hours, the Japanese had killed 2,403
    Americans and wounded 1,178 more. The surprise raid had
    sunk or damaged 21 ships, including 8 battleships—nearly the whole U.S. Pacific fleet. For all the damage done at Pearl Harbor, perhaps the greatest was to the cause of isolationism.
  • D-Day

    Banking on a forecast for clearing skies, Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for D-Day—June 6, 1944, the first day of the invasion. Shortly after midnight, three divisions parachuted down behind German lines. They were followed in the early morning hours by thousands upon thousands of seaborne soldiers—the largest land-sea-air operation in army history.
  • Harry S. Truman

    President Roosevelt did not live to see V-E Day. On April 12, 1945, while posing for a portrait in Warm Springs, Georgia, the president had a stroke and died. That night, Vice President Harry S. Truman
    became the nation’s 33rd president.
  • Death of Hitler

    The next day Hitler shot himself while his new wife swallowed
    poison. In accordance with Hitler’s orders, the two bodies
    were carried outside, soaked with gasoline, and burned.
  • V-E Day

    A week later, General Eisenhower accepted the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich. On May 8, 1945, the Allies celebrated V-E Day—Victory in Europe Day. The war in Europe was finally over.