World War II Timeline

  • Great Depression begins

    Great Depression begins
    The Stock Market Crash occurred on October 29, 1929. The Great Depression left mass unemployment and caused widespread unrest. It was the worst economic crisis in the nation’s history. Many European countries had borrowed money from U.S banks to rebuild after World War I. When the American economy failed, so did Europe’s. Germany was also treated most severely and the War had left the economies of Europe in ruins. Many Europeans began to turn to new leaders to solve these economic problems.
  • Period: to

    World War II

    World War II started with the Great Depression on October 29, 1929, and ended when the Japanese officals signed the offical letter of surrender on September 2, 1945.
  • Japan conquers Manchuria in northern China

    Japan conquers Manchuria in northern China
  • Roosevelt first elected president

    Roosevelt first elected president
    On March 4, 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd president. On November 8 1932, he was elected president. Roosevelt took three immediate steps that boosted public confidence during the great depression. First, he declared a bank holiday, second he promised that only the banks that were in good shape would be allowed to reopen, and third FDR communicated with the public through fireside chats.
  • Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany

    Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany
    After the elections in 1932, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. He then overthrew the constitution and took control of the government. He called himself der Fuhrer, or “the Leader”.
  • Nuremberg Laws

    Nuremberg Laws
    The Nuremberg Race Laws were laws that were established on September 15, 1935 which excluded German Jews citizenship and prohibited them from marrying or having any relationships with another person.
  • Hitler and Mussolini form the Rome-Berlin Axis

    Hitler and Mussolini form the Rome-Berlin Axis
  • Japan invades China

    Japan invades China
  • Germany invades Austria

    Germany invades Austria
    German troops invaded Austria on March 12, 1938. Austria was then incorporated into Germany the next day. The German annexation was approved in a plebiscite that was manipulated to indicate that about 99% of Austrian people wanted the union with Germany. The Germans quickly extended anti-Jewish legislation to Austria.
  • Britain's appeasement of Germany

    Britain's appeasement of Germany
    British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler in Munich, Germany. They reached an agreement: Germany would gain control of Sudetenland and Hitler promised to stop seeking more territory. The Munich Agreement was part of the British and French policy of appeasement, meeting Germany’s demands in order to avoid war. Winston Churchill strongly disagreed and believed that Hitler would not stop with the Sudetenland.
  • Kristallnacht

    Kristallnacht
    Kristallnacht refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish programs which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938. Kristallnacht occurred throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in area of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia.
  • Germany and Soviet Union have a nonagression pact

    Germany and Soviet Union have a nonagression pact
  • Germany invades Poland - blitzkrieg (start of WWII)

    Germany invades Poland - blitzkrieg (start of WWII)
    After Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later, starting WWII. German forces drove deep into Poland while using a new method of warfare called blitzkrieg, or “lightning war,” which stressed speed and surprise in the use of tanks, troops, and planes.
  • Germany invades Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and France (Vichy France)

    Germany invades Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and France (Vichy France)
    Germany invades Denmark and Norway on April 9, 1940, and Germany invades Belgium and France on May 10, 1940.
  • German air force (Luftwaffe) bombs London and other civilian targets in the Battle of Britain-

    German air force (Luftwaffe) bombs London and other civilian targets in the Battle of Britain-
  • Japan joins the Axis Powers

    Japan joins the Axis Powers
  • Lend-Lease Act

    Lend-Lease Act
    In 1941, Congress approved the Lend-Lease Act which allowed the United States to lend or lease resources and equipment to the Allies. The United States sent Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and other Allies about $50 billion worth of goods.
  • Germany invades Soviet Union

    Germany invades Soviet Union
  • Manhattan Project

    Manhattan Project
    Shortly after entering the war, the U.S had set up the Manhattan Project. This was a top-secret program to build an atomic bomb. It was led by American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and took the project team three years to construct the weapon.
  • Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor
    In 1941, Hideki Tojo came to power, and Japan became more warlike. The Tojo government planned to conquer the Dutch East Indies, a source of oil, and other Asian territories (The U.S navy stood in their way). On December 7, 1941, Japanese warplanes bombed the huge American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack came as a complete surprise and killed about 2,400 servicemen and citizens, along with destroying many warplanes and ships, leaving the U.S fleet devastated.
  • The Nazis implemenet the "Final Solution"

    The Nazis implemenet the "Final Solution"
    The Nazis used the term “Final Solution” to refer to their plan of persecution of the Jews, Gypsies, and the Slavic people. The Nazis established concentration camps to incarcerate Jews and other victims of the racial hatred during the time.
  • Tuskegee Airmen

    Tuskegee Airmen
    About one million African Americans served in the armed service. Because of racial prejudice, they served in segregated units. One unit was the Tuskegee Airmen, African-American pilots and crew members who served with honor in North Africa and Europe. On December 27, 1941 Tuskegee Airmen was constituted as the 100th squadron.
  • Japanese-American incarceration

    Japanese-American incarceration
    A number of Americans directed their anger toward the people of Japanese ancestry after the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in February 1942, which allowed for the removal of Japanese and Japanese Americans from the Pacific Coast. This action became known as Japanese-American internment. More than 110,000 men, women, and children were forced to sell their homes and possessions, leave their jobs, and move to prison-like camps.
  • 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, or starvation. This became known as the Bataan Death March.
  • Battle of Midway

    Battle of Midway
    The U.S and Japanese navies clashed again after the Battle of the Coral Sea in June of off the island of Midway in the central Pacific. The U.S Navy destroyed four Japanese carriers and at least 250 planes. America lost one carrier and about 150 planes. The battle of Midway was a turning point in the war for the allies.
  • Guadalcanal

    Guadalcanal
    Most of the Allied progress in the Pacific was made by American troops. They gained their first major land victory against the Japanese on the island of Guadalcanal. A group of Navajo Indians played a role in the victory. To keep the Japanese intelligence from breaking American codes, the U.S military used the Navajo language to transmit important messages. The Marines recruited over 400 Navajos to serve as Code Talkers.
  • British forces stop the German advance at El Alamein

    British forces stop the German advance at El Alamein
  • German forces surrender at Stalingrad

    German forces surrender at Stalingrad
    In September 1942, German forces attacked the Russian city of Stalingrad, an important industrial center. The Soviet army fiercely defended the city, and Hitler refused to let the Germany army retreat. Fighting continued through the winter, and the Soviet troops drove tanks across the frozen landscape and launched a massive counterattack that trapped the Germans and cut them off their food and supplies.Thousands of Nazis soldiers froze or starve to death.In February 1943, the Germans surrenderd.
  • Rosie the Riveter

    Rosie the Riveter
    In 1940, about 14 million women worked (About 25% of the nation’s labor force). By 1945, that number grew to more than 19 million-about 30% of the work force. Women worked in munitions factories, shipyards, and offices. The country promoted “Rosie the Riveter”- an image of a strong woman hard at work at an arms factory. It was a symbol for its new group of wage earners. Rosie the Riveter was on the front cover of Post on May 29, 1943 as a propaganda for women working in the war service.
  • D-Day

    D-Day
    On June 6, 1944 more than 150,000 Allied soldiers crossed the English Channel to the coast of Normandy in northern France. Major John R. Armellino was the commanding officer of one of the first units to land. This Allied invasion of France became known as D-Day, It was the largest seaborne invasion in history.
  • Battle of the Bulge

    Battle of the Bulge
    In December 1944, Hitler launched a final assault, the Battle of the Bulge. German troops pushed back Allied forces in the Ardennes region of Belgium and Luxembourg before U.S forces regrouped and defeated them. The battle’s human toll was costly, with about 120,000 German casualties and about 80,000 American casualties.
  • Yalta Conference

    Yalta Conference
    In February 1945, Allied leaders met in the Soviet resort of Yalta. Attending the Yalta Conference were Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin ("Big Three"). These leaders made plans for the end of the war and the future of Europe. Stalin promised to declare war on Japan after Germany surrendered, and they also agreed to establish a postwar international peace-keeping organization. In addition, they discussed the type of governments that would be set up in Eastern Europe after the war.
  • Iwo Jima

    Iwo Jima
    For the Allies to succeed in winning the war, they had to establish bases closer to mainland. They chose the Japanese-held islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In February 1945, U.S marines invaded Iwo Jima. In late February American soldiers planted the U.S flag at the top of Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi, signaling their victory.
  • Okinawa

    Okinawa
    In April 1945, U.S marines invaded Okinawa. In the several months it took the U.S marines to conquer both islands, more than 18,000 U.S died, and Japanese deaths exceeded 120,000.
  • Roosevelt dies, Truman becomes president

    Roosevelt dies, Truman becomes president
  • Allied forces advance on Berlin, Germany surrenders

    Allied forces advance on Berlin, Germany surrenders
    In late April of 1945, the Russians reached Berlin. Adolf Hitler sensed the end of war was near. On April 30, he committed suicide. On May 2, the Soviet Army captured Berlin. Five days later, German leaders officially signed an unconditional surrender at General Eisenhower’s headquarters in France. The Allies declare the next day, as V-E Day, or Victory in Europe Day.
  • Formation of the United Nations

    Formation of the United Nations
    On April 25, 1945, 50 nations met in San Francisco to discuss a new peacekeeping organization to replace the weak and ineffective League of Nations. On 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
    On July 17, 1945 Allies held the Potsdam Conference to plan the war’s end. The Decision was made to put Nazi war criminals on trial. This conference ended on August 2, 1945.
  • Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and 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 dropped an atomic bomb on the industrial city of Hiroshima. It killed more than 75,000 people and turned five square miles into wasteland. On August 9, the U.S dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing another 40,000.
  • Japanese officials sign an official letter of surrender on the U.S.S. Missouri, ending World War II

    Japanese officials sign an official letter of surrender on the U.S.S. Missouri, ending World War II
  • Nuremburg Trials

    Nuremburg Trials
    On November 20, 1945 the Nuremburg Trials occurred. 24 defendants, including some of Hitler’s top officials were included. Hermann Goering who was the creator and head of Gestapo (Secret police) was charged with crimes against humanity. 19 people were found guilty, and 12 were sentenced to death. People are responsible for their actions, even in wartime. The Nuremburg Trials ended on October 1, 1946.
  • Marshall Plan

    Marshall Plan
    In 1948, Congress approved Secretary of State George Marshall’s plan to help boost European economies. The U.S gave more than $13 billion to help the nations of Europe get back on their feet.