World War II Timeline

  • Great Depression Begins

    Great Depression Begins
    The Great Depression of the 1930s (October 29, 1929) was the worst economic crisis in the nation’s history. It also affected millions of others around the globe. When the American economy failed, so did Europe’s.
  • Japan Conquers Manchuria in Northern China

    On September 19, 1931, the Japanese Kwangtung Army attacked Chinese troops in Manchuria in an event commonly known as the Manchurian Incident. Essentially, this was an attempt by the Japanese Empire to gain control over the whole province, in order to eventually encompass all of East Asia.
  • Hitler Becomes Chancellor of Germany

    Hitler Becomes Chancellor of Germany
    In the election of January 30, 1932, Hitler demanded the right to become Chancellor. Hitler was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945.
  • Roosevelt First the Elected President

    Roosevelt First the Elected President
    Roosevelt was first elected president on March 3, 1933 and was in office until April 12, 1945. He was the only United States President to be elected to four terms. FDR served during the worst times in the history of the U.S., including the Great Depression and World War II.
  • Nuremberg Laws

    Nuremberg Laws
    The Nuremberg Laws of September 15, 1935 were anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany.
  • Hitler and Mussolini Form the Rome-Berlin Axis

    On October 21, 1936, Germany signed a formal alliance which came to be known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.
  • British Appeasement of Germany

    British Appeasement of Germany
    British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s policies towards Nazi Germany of avoiding were with Germany between 1937 and 1939.
  • Japan Invades China

    On July 7, 1937 Japan invades China and, after the collapse of France, moved to acquire bases in French Indo-China- this led by degrees to the war in the Pacific, especially after the US oil embargo in July 1941.
  • Germany Invades Austria

    Germany Invades Austria
    On March 12, 1938 German troops invaded Austria. Hitler was received with great enthusiasm by the Austrian people, and he immediately announced had become part of the German Reich.
  • Kristallnacht

    Kristallnacht
    Kristallnacht, also referred to as Night of Broken Glass was a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on November 9/10, 1938. The attacks left the streets covered with broken glass from the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues.
  • Nazis Implemented "Final Solution"

    Nazis Implemented "Final Solution"
    The “Final Solution” was the plan to annihilate the Jews of Europe. Allegedly resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust.
  • Germany & Soviet Union Have a Nonaggression Pact

    The Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Republics was a nonaggression pact signed in Moscow on August 23, 1939. The pact remained in effect until June 22, 1941, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.
  • Germany Invades Poland

    Germany Invades Poland
    On September 1, 1939 German forces bombard Poland on land and air, as Hitler seeks to regain lost territory and ultimately rule Poland. World War II had begun.
  • Germany invades Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and France

    On June 22, 1940, France was under the regime of Marshall Philippe Petain from the Nazi German defeat of France to the Allied liberation in WWII.
  • German Air Force (Luftwaffe) Bombs London and Other Civilian Targets in the Battle of Britain

    The Luftwaffe shifted its focus from attacking RAF Fighter Command’s bases and communications networks to bombing British cities. After a preliminary raid on September 5, the bombing started proper on the afternoon of the 7th.
  • Japan Joins the Axis Powers

    September 27, 1940 Japan signs the Axis Pact (Axis Powers). The war ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Axis powers and the dissolution of the alliance.
  • Tuskegee Airmen

    Tuskegee Airmen
    The Tuskegee Airmen are the African-American pilots who fought in WWI. During WWII, African-Americans in many U.S. states were still subject to the Jim Crow Laws. The Tuskegee Airmen were subjected to racial discrimination, both within and outside the army. Despite these adversities, they trained and flew with distinction.
  • Lend-Lease Act

    Lend-Lease Act
    To ease Britain's shortage of war materials, Roosevelt pushed for the creation of the Lend-Lease Program. Officially titled An Act Further to Promote the Defense of the United States, the Lend-Lease Act was signed into law on March 11, 1941.
  • Germany Invades the Soviet Union

    Beginning on June 22, 1941 over four million soldiers of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a 1,800 mi front, the largest invasion in the history of warfare.
  • Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor
    The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters was a surprise military strike against the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941.
  • Japanese-American Incarceration

    Japanese-American Incarceration
    In the spring and summer of 1942, the U.S., as an ostensible matter of military necessity, incarcerated virtually the entire Japanese American population of the West Coast states.
  • Manhatten Project

    Manhatten Project
    Shortly after entering the war, the United States had set up The Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was a top-secret government project to develop the atomic bomb.
  • German Forces Surrender at Stalingrad

    German Forces Surrender at Stalingrad
    During the summer of 1942, German forces fighting at Stalingrad surrender, despite Hitler’s earlier declaration that “Surrender is out of the question. The troops will defend themselves to the last!”
  • Bataan Death March

    Bataan Death March
    In April 1942, more than 70,000 Filipino and American troops surrendered to the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. From there, the Japanese marched the soldiers over 65 miles to a prison camp. On the way, about 10,000 prisoners died from shootings, beatings, and starvation. This tragedy became known as the Bataan Death March.
  • Battle of Midway

    Battle of Midway
    Between June 4 and 7, 1942 was the U.S. victory over Japanese off Midway Island that proved to be the turning point of the war.
  • Guadalcanal

    Guadalcanal
    The Guadalcanal was the first U.S. land victory over the Japanese, 1943. The Allies gained their first major land victory against the Japanese on the island of Guadalcanal.
  • British Forces Stop the German advance at El Alamein

    In November 1942, the British stopped Rommel’s advance at El Alamein and then forced the Germans to retreat.
  • Rosie the Riveter

    Rosie the Riveter
    Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the U.S. representing the American women who worked in factories during WWII. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military. Rosie the Riveter is commonly used as a symbol of feminism and women’s economic power.
  • D-Day

    D-Day
    Allied invasion on France, June 6, 1944. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history.
  • Battle of the Bulge

    Battle of the Bulge
    In December 1944 the final German assault in Ardennes region of Belgium and Luxemburg. German troops pushed back Allied forces before U.S. forces regrouped and defeated them.
  • Yalta Conference

    Yalta Conference
    On February 4, 1945, Allied leaders met in the Soviet resort of Yalta. The Yalta Conference was a conference where Allies planned the post-war world.
  • Iwo Jima

    Iwo Jima
    February 19 through March 26 of 1945 was a major battle where the United States Armed Forces fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima.
  • Okinawa

    Okinawa
    By the end of 1944, with Japan’s defenses weakened, the Allies began bombing Japan. They chose the Japan held islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In April 1945, U.S. marines invaded Okinawa.
  • Allied Forces Advance on Berlin, Germany Surrenders

    Allied Forces Advance on Berlin, Germany Surrenders
    On April 1945 Soviet forces entered Berlin. In March 1945, Allied forces crossed the Rhine, advancing into the heart of Germany. Nazi Germany surrendered in May 1945.
  • Roosevelt Dies, Truman Becomes President

    Roosevelt's death Franklin Delano Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. Truman's Presidency Harry S. Truman replaced him on that day in 1945.
  • Formation of the United States

    April 25, 1945, 50 nations met in San Francisco to discuss a new peacekeeping organization to replace the weak and ineffective League of Nations. June 26, 1945- all 50 nations ratified the charter, creating a new international peacekeeping body known as the United Nations. President Roosevelt had urged Americans not to turn their backs on the world again. Unlike the League of Nations, the United States is a member of the United Nations.
  • Potsdam Conference

    Potsdam Conference
    July 17 through August 2, 1945 Allies held the Potsdam Conference to plan the war’s end. Decision was made to put Nazi war criminals on trial.
  • Atomic Bombs Dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki

    Atomic Bombs Dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki
    President Truman told Japan that if it did not surrender, it faced destruction. The Japanese refused to give in. on August 6, 1945, the B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb on the industrial city of Hiroshima. On August 9, the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki.
  • Japanese Officials Sign An Official Letter Of Surrender On The U.S.S. Missouri, Ending World War II

    September 2, 1945, Japanese and Allied leaders met aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. There, Japanese officials signed an official letter of surrender. The war was over.