World War II Timeline

  • Japan Invades Manchuria

    Japan Invades Manchuria
    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. This proved to be one of the causes of World War II.
  • Italy Invades Ethiopia

    Italy Invades Ethiopia
    Ethiopia had valuable exports and at the time they were also forming a modern army with the help of several European powers, but was purchased with their own money.
  • Germany Re-Occupies the Rhineland

    Germany Re-Occupies the Rhineland
    The Rhineland is an area of Germany that borders France. It is of economic importance and militarily is still considered strategically significant.
  • Spanish Civil War Start

    Spanish Civil War Start
    The war ended with the victory of the conservative Nationalists, the overthrow of the democratic government, and the exile of thousands of left-leaning Spaniards, many of whom fled to refugee camps in Southern France. With the establishment of a dictatorship led by General Francisco Franco in the aftermath of the Civil War, all right-wing parties were fused into the structure of the Franco regime.
  • Franco Becomes Dictator of Spain

    Franco Becomes Dictator of Spain
    Franco was a Spanish general, dictator and the leader of the Nationalist military rebellion in the Spanish Civil War, and totalitarian head of state of Spain, from October 1936 until his death in November 1975.
  • Rome-Berlin Axis Pact

    Rome-Berlin Axis Pact
    At their zenith in the midst of World War II, the Axis powers ruled empires that dominated large parts of Europe, Africa, East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean, but the war ended with their total defeat and dissolution.
  • Anshluss in Austria

    Anshluss in Austria
    A union of Germany and Austria to create a 'Greater Germany', any attempt at an Anschluss was banned by the Treaty of Versailles, but Hitler drove it through anyway on March 13 1938.
  • Munich Agreements

    Munich Agreements
    The Munich Pact was an agreement permitting the Nazi German annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. The Sudetenland were areas along Czech borders, mainly inhabited by ethnic Germans. The agreement was negotiated at a conference held in Munich, Germany, among the major powers of Europe without the presence of Czechoslovakia. Today, it is widely regarded as a failed act of appeasement toward Nazi Germany.
  • Spanish Civil War End

    Spanish Civil War End
    The war ended with the victory of the conservative Nationalists, the overthrow of the democratic government, and the exile of thousands of left-leaning Spaniards, many of whom fled to refugee camps in Southern France. With the establishment of a dictatorship led by General Francisco Franco in the aftermath of the Civil War, all right-wing parties were fused into the structure of the Franco regime.
  • Hitler Renounces the Provisions of the Treaty of Versailles

    Hitler Renounces the Provisions of the Treaty of Versailles
    Germany violated the treaty by occupying the rest of Czechoslovakia.
  • Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact is Signed

    Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact is Signed
    Since fighting a two front war in World War I had split Germany's forces, it had weakened and undermined their offensive; thus, played a large role in Germany losing the First World War. Hitler was determined not to repeat the same mistakes. So, he planned ahead and made a pact with the Soviets - the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.
  • Britain Signs a Pact with Poland

    Britain Signs a Pact with Poland
    On August 25, two days after the Nazi-Soviet Pact, the Polish-British Common Defence Pact was signed. The treaty contained promises of mutual military assistance between the nations in the event either was attacked by another European country.
  • Germany Invades Poland

    Germany Invades Poland
    German forces invaded Poland from the north, south, and west. As the Germans advanced, Polish forces withdrew from their forward bases of operation close to the Polish-German border to more established lines of defence to the east. After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, the Germans gained an undisputed advantage.
  • Britain and France Declare War on Germany

    Britain and France Declare War on Germany
    On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland, and two days later Britain and France declared war on Germany because they had a treaty with Poland in which they had undertaken to help Poland if its independence was threatened by force.
  • Hitler Invades France

    Hitler Invades France
    In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phony War.
  • Battle of Britain Start

    Battle of Britain Start
    The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940. The objective of the campaign was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force, especially Fighter Command.
  • Battle of Britain End

    Battle of Britain End
    The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940. The objective of the campaign was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force, especially Fighter Command.
  • Operation Barbarossa

    Operation Barbarossa
    Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War 2 that began on 22 June 1941. Over 3.9 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a 2,900 km front, the largest invasion in the history of warfare.
  • Attack on Pearl Harbor

    Attack on Pearl Harbor
    The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and the Battle of Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions
  • Battle of the Coral Sea Start

    Battle of the Coral Sea Start
    The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other. It was also the first naval battle in history in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.
  • Battle of the Coral Sea End

    Battle of the Coral Sea End
    The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other. It was also the first naval battle in history in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.
  • Battle of Stalingrad Start

    Battle of Stalingrad Start
    The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia.
  • Battle of Stalingrad End

    Battle of Stalingrad End
    The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia.
  • Allied Victory in Africa

    Allied Victory in Africa
    During the Second World War, the North African Campaign took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia.
  • Allied Conference in Tehran Start

    Allied Conference in Tehran Start
    The Tehran Conference was a strategy meeting held between Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill from 28 November to 1 December 1943. It was held in the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, Iran and was the first of the World War II conferences held between all of the "Big Three" Allied leaders. It closely followed the Cairo Conference and preceded both the Yalta and Potsdam Conference.
  • Allied Conference in Tehran End

    Allied Conference in Tehran End
    The Tehran Conference was a strategy meeting held between Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill from 28 November to 1 December 1943. It was held in the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, Iran and was the first of the World War II conferences held between all of the "Big Three" Allied leaders. It closely followed the Cairo Conference and preceded both the Yalta and Potsdam Conference.
  • D-Day

    D-Day
    June 1944 was a major turning point of World War II, particularly in Europe. Although the initiative had been seized from the Germans some months before, so far the western Allies had been unable to mass sufficient men and material to risk an attack in northern Europe.
  • Battle of the Bulge Start

    Battle of the Bulge Start
    The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive, launched toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, hence its French name, and France and Luxembourg on the Western Front.
  • Battle of the Bulge End

    Battle of the Bulge End
    The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive, launched toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, hence its French name, and France and Luxembourg on the Western Front.
  • Allied Conference in Yalta Start

    Allied Conference in Yalta Start
    The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and General Secretary Joseph Stalin, respectively, for the purpose of discussing Europe's post-war reorganization.
  • Allied Conference in Yalta End

    Allied Conference in Yalta End
    The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and General Secretary Joseph Stalin, respectively, for the purpose of discussing Europe's post-war reorganization.
  • Germany Surrenders

    Germany Surrenders
    The final battles of the European Theatre of World War II as well as the German surrender to the Western Allies and the Soviet Union took place in late April and early May 1945. Generally ended the war.
  • Allied Conference in Potsdam Start

    Allied Conference in Potsdam Start
    The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from July 16 to August 2, 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The three nations were represented by Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and later, Clement Attlee, and President Harry S. Truman.
  • Allied Conference in Potsdam End

    Allied Conference in Potsdam End
    The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from July 16 to August 2, 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The three nations were represented by Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and later, Clement Attlee, and President Harry S. Truman.
  • Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the Allies of World War II conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.