World War II

  • Invasion of Manchuria / China Falls to Japan

    The Japanese invasion of Manchuria began on September 18, 1931, when the Kwantung Army of the Empire of Japan invaded Manchuria immediately following the Mukden Incident. The Japanese established a puppet state called Manchukuo, and their occupation lasted until the end of World War II.
  • Blitzkrieg into Poland

    Blitzkrieg into Poland
    Germany enters Poland. “Lightning War”, also known as Blitzkrieg, is used against the Polish. Essentially, this means the troops are moving fast while being supported by air force. At the time, Poland’s military is so outdated (so much so that they are using horses) that they are defeated quickly. At the same time, the Soviets invade form the East, making the process even faster.
  • German Invasion of France

    German Invasion of France
    Germany captures Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Soon after, German troops invade France in a blitz. This results in a wedge between British and French troops, causing 340,000 troops to retreat back to Britain from Dunkirk.
  • Dunkirk

    Occurred on the Western Front- Allies vs Germany. During the battle, Germany continued their advance and allowed for the allies to organize and evacuate accordingly.
  • Battle of Britain / The Blitz

    Hitler claims: “Britain will be ours in three months!” Germany begins bombing British airfields, key ports and military bases. Winston Churchill, Britain’s Prime Minister tries to rally the British people, while gaining foreign aid and support. Germany started to get desperate after a while and began to bomb major cities like London. Temporarily, Hitler gives up the invasion.
  • Germany takes Greece

    Germany and Italy capture Greece from Britain and begin attacking North Africa. Then Germany invaded Russia in June of 1940.
  • Operation Barbarossa

    Operation Barbarossa
    On June 22, 1941, Adolf Hitler launched his armies eastward in a massive invasion of the Soviet Union. The invasion covered a front from the North Cape to the Black Sea. By this point German combat effectiveness had reached its peak. Barbarossa was the crucial turning point in World War II, for its failure forced Nazi Germany to fight a two-front war against a “coalition possessing immensely superior resources.”
  • Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor
    360 Japanese planes attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. US losses 19 ships, 150 planes, and 2,400 soldiers. Japan also attacked bases on Guam, Midway, Wake Island, and the Philippines. Most of our aircraft carriers were out on maneuvers, which was our lucky break. The aircraft carrier was the most important ship in a navy. On December 8, 1942, congress votes for war on Japan.
  • Operation Torch

    Operation Torch
    January 1, 1942, The Big Three meet with the Allies and make a decision entitled Operation Torch. They will travel from Africa to Sicily to Italy. They will then hold off Japan and support China. November 8, 1943, the US begins Operation Torch and invades Algeria. By May 1943, the Allies control North Africa.
  • Battle of Bataan

    Battle of Bataan
    Most intense phase of Japan’s invasion of the Philippines. General MacArthur had his troops gather on the Bataan Peninsula to fight against the Japanese invaders. At the time, Japan controlled nearly all of SE Asia. Bataan Peninsula was one of the only remaining strongholds for the Allies so it was vital they keep it. After three months of fighting, they had to surrender and Bataan became the largest US surrender since the Civil War.
  • New Guinea

    New Guinea
    The invasion of NG Mandate, Papua, and Western NG were attempted by the Japanese. The Allies slowly started to clear the Japanese out as a result. They started with Papua and then the Mandate. Disease was a major cause of death during the battles, rather than actual fighting.
  • Philippines 1942

    Philippines 1942
    Japan’s new target is The Philippines. US troops there are led by General MacArthur. FDR makes him the Supreme Allied Commander (SAC). We lasted three months but ran-out of supplies and had no more reinforcements. General MacArthur then orders retreat to Australia.
  • Doolittle Raid

    Doolittle Raid
    Specially modified US planes were to bomb Tokyo. Very little damage was done, but it was good for US morale, nonetheless.
  • The Bataan Death March

    The Bataan Death March
    60,000 prisoners are marched 70 miles thru steamy jungles to POW camps. Over 10,000 of them die from abuse, starvation, and exhaustion. Sometimes, stragglers would be beheaded or beaten to death.
  • Coral Sea

    Coral Sea
    Northeast of Australia, the Japanese goal was one, to cut off shipping lanes between the US and Australia and two, to set up an invasion of Australia. A two-day air battle occurred following this and it became the first naval battle fought in the air. The US is victorious and Japan is forced to retreat.
  • Midway

    Japanese thought process was that capturing Midway was a huge step to capturing Hawaii and US mainland. However, the US code breakers learned of the attack and Admiral Chester Nimitz prepared to defend Midway. It became a four day battle which included HUGE losses for the US but LARGER losses for Japan (275 planes and four aircraft carriers (and the battle of course)) This is a turning point in the Pacific because Japan loses ability to fight offensively in the war on the US.
  • Guadalcanal

    Occurs on the Solomon Islands. Fighting takes six months, resulting in allied control of the islands. This is where we learn to fight in jungles as well as learn tactics like using Navajo languages for battlefield communication.
  • Stalingrad

    Stalingrad was a deadly street fight that occurred in the rubble of a big city. Of two battles, this ended Germany’s ability to fight offensively on the Eastern front.
  • The Second Battle of El Alamein

    The Second Battle of El Alamein
    Took places near the Egyptian Railway Halt of El Alamein. The Allies had a victory. This battle changed the tide of the North African campaign and ended the Axis threat in Egypt.
  • Kursk

    A famous tank battle. 300,000 German troops are captures. Of two battles, this ended Germany’s ability to fight offensively on the Eastern front.
  • Sicily

    The Allies control North Africa but are not ready for Cross Channel Invasion. The Big Three meet in Casablanca, Morocco and make two decisions. One being, Operation Husky- attack Sicily, then Italy. This would create a second front and give us control of the Mediterranean Sea. This would require unconditional surrender of Germany. Operation Husky begins in July and 160,000 allied troops invade Sicily and gain complete control in thirty nine days.
  • Salerno

    The Allies invade Salerno, Italy in the south. Italy surrenders but Germany takes control of Italy and continues to fight. After ten months of bitter fighting, the allies control southern Italy and Rome, but Operation Husky stalls.
  • Anzio

    Many German troops attacked on the Allied beachheads outside of Anzio as an attempt to push the allies out. The attacks were failed and Germany was forced to retreat with 40,000 casualties.
  • D-Day

    At 6:30am, troops land in Normandy, France. There are sixty miles of beaches, not where Germany expected the invasion to occur. It was mostly an easy invasion due to surprise, but some beaches were very difficult. On Omaha Beach, there were mines in the water and on the beach. There were also troops and artillery in the cliffs. Sixty percent of the American troops were killed but the beach is taken. A second front is created.
  • Guam

    US forces retook the island of Guam after weeks of fighting, leading to over 7,000 American casualties and over 18,000 Japanese killed.
  • Operation Dragoon

    Operation Dragoon
    Code name for the Allied invasion of Southern France. Paris is liberated, following the attack. Charles de Gaulle sets up a new French government, and Germany is pushed out of France.
  • Battle of Leyte Gulf

    Battle of Leyte Gulf
    Usually considered the largest navy battle of WWII. Fought in the Philippines between Japan v US and Australia. The US traps Japan in a straight and defeats them decisively. This was the first appearance of Kamikaze pilots. 12,500 soldiers were lost on Japanese terms as well as their remaining craft carrier. We finally retake the Philippines in February 1945.
  • Gilbert & Marshall Islands

    Gilbert & Marshall Islands
    The Gilbert and Marshall Islands were VERY important strategic operations of the United States Pacific Fleet and Marine Corps in the Central Pacific. The purpose was to create airfields that would allow land based air support for the upcoming operations across the Central Pacific. It began with a three-day battle for the island of Betio at the Tarawa atoll. It ended with US casualties including 3,300 dead or missing and 4,830 wounded and Japan casualties including 17,000 dead and 141 captured.
  • Battle of the Bulge

    Battle of the Bulge
    Germany launches a last ditch counter-offensive move. They decide to hit a weak spot in the allied lines. They create a 50 mile deep and 80 mile wide bulge. Several US troops were trapped in the middle of the bulge at Bastogne. USA eventually stops the offensive and forces a retreat. The US losses 80,000 soldiers. Germany losses 120,000 soldiers.
  • Bastogne

    The Siege of Bastogne was between American and German forces at the Belgian town of Bastogne. This was a part of the Battle of the Bulge. The goal of the German offensive was the harbor at Antwerp.
  • Yalta Conference

    Yalta Conference
    The Big Three meet. Stalin demands control of Poland and much of Eastern Europe after the war. FDR approves but Russia must help in the Pacific and free elections must be held in the areas Russia controls.
  • Iwo Jima

    Iwo Jima
    American soldiers make their first strike on the Japanese Home Islands at Iwo Jima. The American invasion of Iwo Jima during World War II occurred from the need for a base near the Japanese coast. Three U.S. marine divisions landed on the island while Iwo Jima was defended by approx. 23,000 Japanese army and navy troops. Despite the difficulty of the conditions, the US wiped out the forces after a month of fighting.
  • Okinawa

    Last and biggest of the Pacific island battles of World War II, the Okinawa battle involved the 287,000 troops of the U.S and 130,000 soldiers of the Japanese. By the end of the 4 month battle, Japan had lost more than 77,000 soldiers and the Allies had suffered more than 65,000 casualties—including 14,000 dead.
  • Hitler's Suicide

    Hitler's Suicide
    Germany announces the suicide of Hitler. Eva Braun takes cyanide pills, then he does but also shoots himself. His guards burn his body and buried it in a grave.
  • German Surrender

    After Hitler’s death, German troops begin to surrender. Soon, Germany agrees to unconditional surrender. The war in Europe is officially over.
  • Potsdam

    The Big Three meet to plan the invasion of Japan. Truman tells the Allies about the Atom Bomb. Truman decides that using it should happen but only if necessary.
  • Japanese Surrender / Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Japanese Surrender / Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    US gives Japan an ultimatum: “Unconditional surrender or face prompt and utter destruction.” The US doesn't mention the Atom Bomb, which arguably is the reason Japan does not comply and ignores. Aug 6, The Enola Gay drops an Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima. 80% of the city is destroyed, with 18,000 deaths. August 9, 1945, a second bomb is dropped on Nagasaki. 35,000 die instantly. August 15, Japan surrenders with no conditions. On September 2, a peace treaty is signed on board the USS Missouri.
  • Battle of the Atlantic

    Battle of the Atlantic
    Allies want to prepare for the cross-channel invasion by bringing supplies to Britain. German U-Boats are making the Atlantic a dangerous place. So, Allies begin using convoys and use newly invented sonar. The Allies win the Battle of the Atlantic and preparations begin.