• October 2, 1935- May 1936

    October 2, 1935- May 1936
    Fascist Italy invades, conquers, and annexes Ethiopia.
  • October 25–November 1, 1936

    October 25–November 1, 1936
    Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy sign a treaty of cooperation on October 25; on November 1, the Rome-Berlin Axis is announced. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan sign the Anti-Comintern Pact, directed against the Soviet Union and the international Communist movement.
  • July 7, 1937

    July 7, 1937
    Japan invades China, initiating World War II in the Pacific.
  • March 11–13, 1938

    March 11–13, 1938
    Germany incorporates Austria in the Anschluss.
  • September 29, 1938

    September 29, 1938
    Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and France sign the Munich agreement which forces the Czechoslovak Republic to cede the Sudetenland, including the key Czechoslovak military defense positions, to Nazi Germany.
  • March 14–15, 1939

    Under German pressure, the Slovaks declare their independence and form a Slovak Republic. The Germans occupy the rump Czech lands in violation of the Munich agreement, forming a Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
  • August 23, 1939

    August 23, 1939
    Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union sign a nonaggression agreement and a secret codicil dividing eastern Europe into spheres of influence.
  • November 30, 1939–March 12, 1940

    The Soviet Union invades Finland, initiating the so-called Winter War. The Finns sue for an armistice and have to cede the northern shores of Lake Lagoda and the small Finnish coastline on the Arctic Sea to the Soviet Union.
  • May 10, 1940–June 22, 1940

    Germany attacks western Europe—France and the neutral Low Countries. Luxembourg is occupied on May 10; the Netherlands surrenders on May 14; and Belgium surrenders on May 28. On June 22, France signs an armistice agreement by which the Germans occupy the northern half of the country and the entire Atlantic coastline. In southern France, a collaborationist regime with its capital in Vichy is established.
  • June 28, 1940

    June 28, 1940
    The Soviet Union forces Romania to cede the eastern province of Bessarabia and the northern half of Bukovina to the Soviet Ukraine.
  • July 10, 1940–October 31, 1940

    The air war known as the Battle of Britain ends in defeat for Nazi Germany.
  • August 30, 1940

    August 30, 1940
    Second Vienna Award: Germany and Italy arbitrate a decision on the division of the disputed province of Transylvania between Romania and Hungary. The loss of northern Transylvania forces Romanian King Carol to abdicate in favor of his son, Michael, and brings to power a dictatorship under General Ion Antonescu.
  • September 13, 1940

    The Italians invade British-controlled Egypt from Italian-controlled Libya.
  • September 27, 1940

    September 27, 1940
    Germany, Italy, and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact.
  • October 1940

    Italy invades Greece from Albania on October 28.
  • February 1941

    The Germans send the Afrika Korps to North Africa to reinforce the faltering Italians.
  • April 10, 1941

    The leaders of the terrorist Ustasa movement proclaim the so-called Independent State of Croatia. Recognized immediately by Germany and Italy, the new state includes the province of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Croatia joins the Axis powers formally on June 15, 1941.
  • June 22, 1941–November 1941

    Nazi Germany and its Axis partners (except Bulgaria) invade the Soviet Union. Finland, seeking redress for the territorial losses in the armistice concluding the Winter War, joins the Axis just before the invasion. The Germans quickly overrun the Baltic States and, joined by the Finns, lay siege to Leningrad (St. Petersburg) by September. In the center, the Germans capture Smolensk in early August and drive on Moscow by October. In the south, German and Romanian troops capture Kiev (Kyiv) in Sep
  • December 6, 1941

    A Soviet counteroffensive drives the Germans from the Moscow suburbs in chaotic retreat.
  • December 7, 1941

    December 7, 1941
    Japan bombs Pearl Harbor.
  • June 1942

    June 1942
    British and US navies halt the Japanese naval advance in the central Pacific at Midway.
  • July 5, 1943

    July 5, 1943
    The Germans launch a massive tank offensive near Kursk in the Soviet Union. The Soviets blunt the attack within a week and begin an offensive initiative of their own.
  • June 22, 1944

    The Soviets launch a massive offensive in eastern Byelorussia (Belarus), destroying the German Army Group Center and driving westward to the Vistula River across from Warsaw in central Poland by August 1.
  • August 23, 1944

    The appearance of Soviet troops on the Prut River induces the Romanian opposition to overthrow the Antonescu regime. The new government concludes an armistice and immediately switches sides in the war. The Romanian turnaround compels Bulgaria to surrender on September 8, and the Germans to evacuate Greece, Albania, and southern Yugoslavia in October.
  • August 9, 1945

    August 9, 1945
    The United States drops an atomic bomb on Nagasaki.
  • September 2, 1945

    September 2, 1945
    Having agreed in principle to unconditional surrender on August 14, 1945, Japan formally surrenders, ending World War II.