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World War II Timeline

  • Battle of Britain

    Battle of Britain
    From August-October 1940, German planes continuously bombed various sites in Britain as the last step for conquering all of Western Europe. They attempted to break British morale, but failed. In the end, British planes shot down more German planes than the German did British, so they Germans realized they couldn't win and redirected their efforts to Russia. This also marked the first time the Germans were defeated.
  • Operation Barbarossa

    Operation Barbarossa
    On this day, Nazi Germany and its Allies began a massive invasion of the Soviet Union because they "wanted more living space", but mainly wanted more oil fields. German forces killed or wounded about 600,000 Red Army troops and were close to reaching Moscow before the Soviets rebounded and pushed them back. This was an especially important battle because Hitler broke the Soviet-Nazi Non-Aggression Pact and the Soviet Union switched to the Allies.
  • Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor
    On this day, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, a U.S. military and naval base in Oahu, Hawaii because they were upset that the U.S. stopped trade with them and froze Japanese assets within the U.S. 2,400 American citizens died, 2 navy ships were sunk, and many planes were destroyed. Following this, the United States declared war on Japan and officially joined World War II.
  • Bataan Death March

    Bataan Death March
    After U.S. General Douglas MacArthur left the Phillipines, U.S. Forces held off surrendering to the Japanese until April 9th, 1942. Then, the Japanese army stationed on the Bataan Peninsula forced about 75,000 U.S. and Filipino POWs to march about 60 miles to prison camps. The conditions were horrible and diseases or starvaton killed about 7-10,000 people before even reaching the camps. Afer the war, Japanese General Homma Masaharu was tried for war crimes and found guilty and executed.
  • Operation Overlord

    Operation Overlord
    U.S. and British forces, lead by Dwight D Eisenhower, began the invasion of Normandy to start the defeat of Hitler and end the war in Europe by pushing German forces out of France. This attack was is know as "the begining of the end" and liberated France in the end, which made victory for the Allies much more evident.
  • Battle of the Bulge

    Battle of the Bulge
    In the Ardennes Forest in Belgium, German forces tried to split U.S. and British forces. Germany did this because they wanted to change their fate and slow or stop the Allies from taking Germany. They did succeed in slowing the Allied victory, but they also made it easier for Allied forces to cross the Rhine River because the German forces were defeated and pushed back, the opposite of their goal.
  • Yalta Conference

    Yalta Conference
    From February 4th-11th 1945, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, the leaders of Britain, the Soviet Union, and the USA respectively, met to plan the fnal defeat and occupation of Germany in Yalta, Ukraine. They agreed that Berlin/Germany would be divided into four zones, that Stalin would enter the war vs. Japan after Germany was defeated, and the surrender terms for Germany and Japan. They also agreed to form the United Nations.
  • Battle of Iwo Jima

    Battle of Iwo Jima
    From February 19-March 26 1945, the U.S. fought for and captured Iwo Jima, an island off of the coast of Japan controlled by Japan. In one of the bloodiest battles of the War in the Pacific, the United Sates eventually won the island to provide a staging area for attacks on the Japanese main islands.
  • V-E Day

    V-E Day
    In Berlin, Germany formally surrendered to Britain, the U.S.A and Eisenhower, and the Soviet Union after being defeated in several battles and loosing territory they annexed, so they were not able to win. Germany's surrender marked the end of World War II in Europe.
  • Dropping the Atomic Bomb

    Dropping the Atomic Bomb
    On August 6th and August 9th 1945, the USA dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japanese cities, out of the famous plane, the Enola Gay. These bombs killed about 120,000 people total but were used to prompt a Japanese surrender because was Japan was prepared to fight to the last man. Therefore, an invasion would kill even more people. This also showed the Soviet Union that the U.S. had a weapon of mass destruction, which started the Cold War.
  • V-J Day

    V-J Day
    Japan announced that they unconditionally surrendered to the Allies. This was prompted after the mass destruction and deaths caused by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshuma and Nagasaki. This resulted in the final end to World War II.