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World War II

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    World War II

    World War 2
    The origins of the Second World War are generally viewed as being traced back to the First World War (1914-1918). In that war Germany under the ultra-nationalistic Kaiser Wilhelm II along with its allies, had been defeated by a combination of the United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia and others. The war was directly blamed by the victors on the miltant nationalism of the Kaiser's Germany; it was Germany that effectively started the war with an attack on France through Belgi
  • Finland signs a peace treaty with Soviets.

    Finland signs a peace treaty with Soviets.
    FINNISH-SOVIET WAR In 1918 Finland was divided into two sections, the red section and the white section. The red section’s choice of government was socialist, while the white section’s choice of government was anti-communist and leaned toward democracy. Eventually the two sections went to war with each other and the anti-communists persevered as the victors. Finland gained the right to democracy through their rebellion, once the Finnish King let his title go after Germany lost World War One. Th
  • The beginning of the WW2

    The beginning of the WW2
    Germans invade Poland
    At 4:45 a.m., some 1.5 million German troops invade Poland all along its 1,750-mile border with German-controlled territory. Simultaneously, the German Luftwaffe bombed Polish airfields, and German warships and U-boats attacked Polish naval forces in the Baltic Sea. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler claimed the massive invasion was a defensive action, but Britain and France were not convinced. On September 3, they declared war on Germany, initiating World War II.
  • Britain and France declare war on Germany

    Britain and France declare war on Germany
    On September 3, Prime Minister Chamberlain went to the airwaves to announce to the British people that a state of war existed between their country and Germany. World War II had begun.
  • British Royal Air Force attacks the German Navy.

    British Royal Air Force attacks the German Navy.
  • United States proclaims its neutrality; German troops cross the Vistula River in Poland.

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    Siege of Warsaw

  • Soviet Union invades Poland

    Soviet Union invades Poland
    On this day in 1939, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov declares that the Polish government has ceased to exist, as the U.S.S.R. exercises the “fine print” of the Hitler-Stalin Non-aggression pact—the invasion and occupation of eastern Poland. Hitler’s troops were already wreaking havoc in Poland, having invaded on the first of the month. The Polish army began retreating and regrouping east, near Lvov, in eastern Galicia, attempting to escape relentless German land and air offensives.
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    Soviet invasion of Poland

    The Soviet invasion of Poland was a Soviet military operation that started without a formal declaration of war on 17 September 1939. On that morning, 16 days after Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. The invasion and battle lasted for the following 20 days and ended on 6 October 1939 with the two-way division and annexation of the entire territory of the Second Polish Republic by both Germany and the Soviet Union.
  • Warsaw surrenders

    Warsaw surrenders
    On this day in 1939, 140,000 Polish troops are taken prisoner by the German invaders as Warsaw surrenders to the superior mechanized forces of Hitler’s army. The Poles fought bravely, but were able to hold on for only 26 days. On the heels of its victory, the Germans began a systematic program of terror, murder, and cruelty, executing members of Poland’s middle and upper classes: Doctors, teachers, priests, landowners, and businessmen were rounded up and killed. The Nazis had given this operati
  • USSR attacks Finland

    On this day in 1939, the Red Army crosses the Soviet-Finnish border with 465,000 men and 1,000 aircraft. Helsinki was bombed, and 61 Finns were killed in an air raid that steeled the Finns for resistance, not capitulation. The overwhelming forces arrayed against Finland convinced most Western nations, as well as the Soviets themselves, that the invasion of Finland would be a cakewalk. The Soviet soldiers even wore summer uniforms, despite the onset of the Scandinavian winter; it was simply assu
  • Rationing begins in Britain.

    Rationing begins in Britain.
    On January 8, 1940, the British government began rationing goods to cope with wartime shortages. One of the main strategies of the Axis powers was to intercept shipments of food headed for Great Britain, an island that must import a large percentage of its food. To deal with the resulting shortage, citizens were issued ration books containing coupons. When buying food, the purchaser gave the seller a coupon along with money; each household was allowed a certain amount of rationed goods per week.
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    Germany invades Norway and Denmark

    Germany invades Denmark and Norway. Denmark surrenders on the day of the attack; Norway holds out until June 9.
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    France Surrenders

    Germany attacks western Europe—France and the neutral Low Countries. Luxembourg is occupied on May 10; the Netherlands surrenders on May 14; and Belgium surrenders on May 28. On June 22, France signs an armistice agreement by which the Germans occupy the northern half of the country and the entire Atlantic coastline. In southern France, a collaborationist regime with its capital in Vichy is established.
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    Germans enter Paris

    The Soviet Union occupies the Baltic States on June 14–18, engineering Communist coup d’états in each of them on July 14–15, and then annexing them as Soviet Republics on August 3–6.
  • Second Vienna Award:

    Second Vienna Award:
    Second Vienna Award: Germany and Italy arbitrate a decision on the division of the disputed province of Transylvania between Romania and Hungary. The loss of northern Transylvania forces Romanian King Carol to abdicate in favor of his son, Michael, and brings to power a dictatorship under General Ion Antonescu.
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    Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria invade and dismember Yugoslavia. Y

    April 6, 1941–June 1941
    Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria invade and dismember Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia surrenders on April 17. Germany and Bulgaria invade Greece in support of the Italians. Resistance in Greece ceases in early June 1941.
  • Croatia declares independence

    Croatia declares independence
    The leaders of the terrorist Ustasa movement proclaim the so-called Independent State of Croatia. Recognized immediately by Germany and Italy, the new state includes the province of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Croatia joins the Axis powers formally on June 15, 1941.
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    Nazi Germany and its Axis partners (except Bulgaria) invade the Soviet Union.

    June 22, 1941–November 1941
    Nazi Germany and its Axis partners (except Bulgaria) invade the Soviet Union. Finland, seeking redress for the territorial losses in the armistice concluding the Winter War, joins the Axis just before the invasion. The Germans quickly overrun the Baltic States and, joined by the Finns, lay siege to Leningrad (St. Petersburg) by September. In the center, the Germans capture Smolensk in early August and drive on Moscow by October. In the south, German and Romanian troop
  • The United States declares war on Japan

    December 8, 1941
    The United States declares war on Japan, entering World War II. Japanese troops land in the Philippines, French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), and British Singapore. By April 1942, the Philippines, Indochina, and Singapore are under Japanese occupation.
  • Battle of Midway begins

    Battle of Midway begins
    June 1942
    British and US navies halt the Japanese naval advance in the central Pacific at Midway.
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    Germany and her Axis partners launch a new offensive in the Soviet Union.

    June 28, 1942–September 1942
    Germany and her Axis partners launch a new offensive in the Soviet Union. German troops fight their way into Stalingrad (Volgograd) on the Volga River by mid-September and penetrate deep into the Caucasus after securing the Crimean Peninsula.
  • Operation Torch

    Operation Torch
    November 8, 1942
    US and British troops land at several points on the beaches of Algeria and Morocco in French North Africa. The failure of the Vichy French troops to defend against the invasion enables the Allies to move swiftly to the western border of Tunisia, and triggers the German occupation of southern France on November 11.
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    The Battle of Stalingrad

    November 23, 1942–February 2, 1943
    Soviet troops counterattack, breaking through the Hungarian and Romanian lines northwest and southwest of Stalingrad and trapping the German Sixth Army in the city. Forbidden by Hitler to retreat or try to break out of the Soviet ring, the survivors of the Sixth Army surrender on January 30 and February 2, 1943.

    May 13, 1943
    Axis forces in Tunisia surrender to the Allies, ending the North African campaign.
  • Italian surrender is announced

    Italian surrender is announced
    The Badoglio government surrenders unconditionally to the Allies. The Germans immediately seize control of Rome and northern Italy, establishing a puppet Fascist regime under Mussolini, who is freed from imprisonment by German commandos on September 12.
  • Defeat at Kursk Heralds Twilight of the Panzers

    Defeat at Kursk Heralds Twilight of the Panzers
    July 5, 1943
    The Germans launch a massive tank offensive near Kursk in the Soviet Union. The Soviets blunt the attack within a week and begin an offensive initiative of their own.
  • The Holocaust in Hungary

    March 19, 1944
    Fearing Hungary’s intention to desert the Axis partnership, the Germans occupy Hungary and compel the regent, Admiral Miklos Horthy, to appoint a pro-German minister president.
  • A Forgotten Anniversary

    A Forgotten Anniversary
    June 4, 1944
    Allied troops liberate Rome. Within six weeks, Anglo-American bombers could hit targets in eastern Germany for the first time.
  • FDR signs GI bill

    FDR signs GI bill
    The Soviets launch a massive offensive in eastern Byelorussia (Belarus), destroying the German Army Group Center and driving westward to the Vistula River across from Warsaw in central Poland by August 1.
  • Vistula–Oder Offensive

    January 12, 1945
    The Soviets launch a new offensive, liberating Warsaw and Krakow in January, capturing Budapest after a two-month siege on February 13, driving the Germans and their Hungarian collaborators out of Hungary in early April, forcing the surrender of Slovakia with the capture of Bratislava on April 4, and capturing Vienna on April 13.
  • The United States drops an atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

    August 9, 1945
    The United States drops an atomic bomb on Nagasaki.
  • The end of WW2 & Japan surrenders

    The end of WW2 & Japan surrenders
    September 2, 1945
    Having agreed in principle to unconditional surrender on August 14, 1945, Japan formally surrenders, ending World War II.