WWII and Cold War eras timeline (AP) by Doyle Wang

  • Japan's invasion of China

    Japan's invasion of China
    On this date, the Empire of Japan officially launched its full scale invasion of China. Though Chinese defenders under the command of Chinese Nationalist leader Jiang Jieshi fiercely resisted the invading Japanese forces, they were unable to keep the Japanese at bay. By the end of 1937, most major cities of China such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, and the Chinese capital city of Nanjing were occupied by the Japanese.
  • Germany's invasion of Poland

    Germany's invasion of Poland
    On this day, Adolf Hitler's Nazi forces of Germany invaded neighboring Poland. This event is known to most people as the official start of the Second World War. Shortly after the Germans and their Luftwaffe launched their blitzkrieg on the Poles, the allies of Poland, Britain and France, declared war on Germany. Despite having a million defenders, the Polish defenders were unable to fend off the invaders since the Soviets were invading them from the east, and Poland fell within a month.
  • Battle of Britain begins

    Battle of Britain begins
    Shortly, after swiftly conquering France and much of Western Europe, Hitler and the German military focused their attention to defeating their British rivals in their very home island. Their bombing campaign against the British began on this date when the German Luftwaffe launched a series of bombing raids on mainly civilian areas in the city of London.
  • Signing Tripartite Pact

    Signing Tripartite Pact
    The leaders of Japan, Germany, & Italy sign this agreement to officially form there alliance by pledging to help one another. This agreement by the three countries formally formed their Axis powers-alliance, and they hoped that it would intimidate the United States from joining the war on the side of the Allies.
  • Lend Lease act

    Lend Lease act
    Proposed by US Pres. FDR and passed by the US Congress on this date, this foreign policy by the US allowed it to send arms & munitions to the Allied forces, especially the British, but did not send any troops to fully carry out any military intervention in WWII.
  • German Blitzkrieg of USSR

    German Blitzkrieg of USSR
    Launched by the Germans against the Soviet Union, this full-scale invasion ordered by Hitler broke his non-aggression pact that he had previously made with Stalin and prompted the Soviets to join the Allies in order to defeat Nazi Germany in Europe.
  • German armies besiege Leningrad

    German armies besiege Leningrad
    Part of Hitler's effort to conquer the Soviet Union was to occupy the Soviet city of Leningrad by shutting off all roads that led to the city and cutt off all outside contacts from the city as well. This besiegement of Leningrad by the Germans was one of the longest lasting sieges in human history as well as one of the most costly.
  • Bombing of Pearl Harbor

    Bombing of Pearl Harbor
    On the early Sunday morning of this day that will live in infamy, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise sneak attack on the United States military naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The sudden aerial attack killed 2403 Americans and sunk three American battleships, including the USS Arizona. The US declared war on Japan the following day, and a few days later, Germany & Italy declared war on the US in the defense of their Japanese allies, formally bringing full involvement of the US into WWII
  • Formation of the UN

    Formation of the UN
    The UN began to take shape on this date when US Pres. FDR & Prime minster Winston Churchill along with 26 other allied nations decided to form the international organization dedicated to peacekeeping after the end of WWII.
  • Wannsee Conference

    Wannsee Conference
    Meeting of Nazi leaders in Berlin who came up with a 'final solution' that ordered the complete extermination of all European Jews.
  • Battle of Midway

    Battle of Midway
    This battle is remembered as the turning point in the Pacific theatre of WWII. American codebreakers managed to reveal a secret master plan by the Japanese to sink all US aircraft carriers.American naval forces under the command of Admiral Chester Nimitz manage to fight off a planned aerial ambush by the Japanese. After this decisive Allied victory, the US and other Allied nations had the advantage of being on the offensive while the Japanese were forced to be put on the defensive.
  • D-Day

    A coalition of Allied forces under the command of US General Dwight Eisenhower launched a large-scale landing invasion of the German-occupied beaches of Normandy, France, making it the largest land-invasion ever attempted in human history. Facing heavy resistance from the German defenders, the Allies drove the Germans out of Normandy and began their liberation of Nazi-occupied western Europe.
  • Yalta Conference

    Yalta Conference
    US Pres. FDR, UK prime minster Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Josef Stalin met in this second wartime meeting during WWII in Crimea, in which all three agreed to prompt the declining Axis nations to unconditionally surrender in order to end the war.
  • Iwo Jima/Okinawa

    Iwo Jima/Okinawa
    American forces fought and won these two battles during the months of WWII. Both of these battles each lasted for at least a month as the US forces faced fierce resistance by the islands' Japanese occupants, who were unwilling to give up to them without a fight. Nevertheless, these two key Allied victories allowed the US to have better reach at the Japanese home islands and contributed to Japan's unconditional surrender.
  • Hitler's suicide

    Hitler's suicide
    Unwilling to risk capture by the approaching Soviet forces that were storming Berlin, Hitler, along with his wife Eva Braun, killed themselves in his underground bunker in the German captial city. Germany later surrendered unconditionally several days later, ending Hitler's despotic reign of terror.
  • VE Day

    VE Day
    Nazi Germany officially surrendered to the Allies on this very date, thus ending the European theatre of WWII and forever making this day known as VE Day (Victory in Europe),
  • Potsdam Conference

    Potsdam Conference
    This historic meeting of the leaders of the victorious Allied nations of WWII, mainly US Pres. Harry Truman, Soviet priemer Josef Stalin, and British prime minister Winston Churchill took place in a suburb of the German captial city of Berlin called Potsdam. All of the Allied nations agreed to martially try Nazi war criminals and split up control of Germany but were unable to settle their conflict over the goals of western capitalist nations and communist nations lead by the Soviet Union.
  • Atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

    Atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
    The American B-29 bomber plane Enola Gay carried out the first atomic bombing in history on Japan. The plane dropped the atomic bomb 'Little Boy' on the the Japanese city of Hiroshima on this date, killing over 100,000 civilians. Since the Japanese refused to surrender to the US, a second atomic bomb called 'fat man' was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, killing 80,000 civilians.
  • VJ DAY

    VJ DAY
    Knowing that they could not afford any more of the prompt and utter destruction by the atomic bombings on their home land, the Japanese announced on this day that they will formally surrender to the Allies. This day is famously known as VJ Day (Victory in Japan). The Japanese later signed the surrender documents on Sept. 2nd.
  • Truman Doctrine

    Truman Doctrine
    Proposed by US Pres. Harry Truman, this foriegn policy formulated by the president allowed the US to take any form of intervention necessary to impede and counter the growing influence of communism by its main superpower rival, the Soviet Union.
  • Marshall plan

    Marshall plan
    Proposed by US General & WWII hero George Marshall on this day and then signed by US Pres. Harry Truman, this funding recovery plan was carried out to help European countries involved WWII, including Germany, Italy, & the rest of the Axis European nations, recover from the devastation that resulted from the war. The plan was made to contain the growing influence of the USSR that was trying to spread its communist influence into Europe from the east and attempting to get itself more allies.
  • Formation of NATO

    Formation of NATO
    This organization was formed by the US, Britain, and other westen European allies in order to unite themselves and prepare to counter against what they feared as possible Soviet invasion of western Europe.
  • Mao ZeDong announces the formation of the People's Republic of China

    Mao ZeDong announces the formation of the People's Republic of China
    After defeating the Chinese nationalist gov't under Jiang Jieshi, Mao Zedong and the CCP consolidated their control of China on this date, and they began implementing socialist policies similar to what was implemented by Stalin in the USSR,
  • Korean War begins

    Korean War begins
    North Korean forces invaded anti-communist South Korea by the orders of North Korean leader Kim-Il Sung, who planned to unite the Korean peninsula under communist rule. US Pres. Harry Truman and the UN decided to intervene in order to stop the communists from taking control of Korea, eventually leading to the Korean War.
  • Stalin dies, Krushchev takes control

    Stalin dies, Krushchev takes control
    After Stalin died of a stroke on this date, one of his few remaining rivals within the ruling Bolsheviks, Nikita Khrushchev, rose to power as the new leader of the USSR
  • Warsaw pact formation

    Warsaw pact formation
    In response to the formation of NATO, the Soviet Union decided to form its own alliance communist controlled eastern European nations such as Poland, Romania, etc.
  • Vietnam War begins

    Vietnam War begins
    The armed confliect between communist North Vietnam and anti-communist South Vietnam began this day, and it gained the full military involvement of the US several years later as North Vietnam along with Vietcong rebels in South Vietnam attempted to unite the divided country under communism
  • Sputnik

    Launched by the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, this first artificial satellite that orbited Earth kickstarted the space race front of the tense standoff between the US & the USSR.
  • Bay of Pigs invasion

    Bay of Pigs invasion
    This botched invasion of Cuba launched by the US to take down the newly formed communist regime in Cuba began on this day. The failure of getting Cuba's residents to turn against their new despot was a major setback in America's foreign influence in Latin America.
  • Building of the Berlin Wall begins

    Building of the Berlin Wall begins
    To consolidate its hold in East Berlin & east Germany, the Soviets began to build this massive barrier to shut off contact between the residents of the totalitarian communist controlled East Berlin and the free residents of capitalist West Germany.
  • Cuban missile Crisis

    Cuban missile Crisis
    This suspenseful standoff between the US and its communist neighbor Cuba nearly turned the Cold War into what people feared would be a nuclear holocaust. America's main rival, the communist superpower USSR, began transporting nuclear missiles to its western ally Cuba. To prevent the Soviet Union from being able to fire its nukes at America, US Pres. John F. Kennedy sent US warships to set up a blockade, which prompted the USSR to end its plan of annhilating its rival.
  • Gorbachev solididfies power over USSR

    Gorbachev solididfies power over USSR
    Mikhail Gorbachev furthered his rise to power over the Soviet Union after attempting myriad times to salvage the dying Soviet Empire. All of his attempts failed despite his high position in the Soviet gov't, and the USSR eventually collapsed later in 1991
  • Collapse of Soviet Union

    Collapse of Soviet Union
    The communist superpower that dominate Russia and several other its neighbors officially dissolved on this date, officially ending the Cold War and the dominance of communist governments in Russia, some parts of Asia, and eastern Europe.