WWII and Cold War Timeline

  • Germany Invades Poland

    Germany Invades Poland
    Germany invades Poland and defeats the Polish army within weeks. German forces converged on Warsaw and forced it to surrender, leading to Britain and France declaring war on Germany.
  • Battle of Britain

    Battle of Britain
    The Battle of Britain was an attempt by the German air force to gain air superiority over the British Royal Air Force. The battle lasted from July to September 1940. Germany failed to show their superiority and refrained from invading Britain, which was a turning point of WWII.
  • Tripartite Pact

    Tripartite Pact
    The Tripartite Pact was an alliance between Germany, Italy, and Japan that formed the Axis powers. This pact provided mutual protection in the event that one of these three countries were attacked by any nation not already involved in the war. This pact was meant to be a warning to the United States against joining the Allies.
  • Lend-Lease Act

    Lend-Lease Act
    This act allowed U.S. military aid to foreign nations during WWII. It allowed the transfer of military supplies without compensation to countries whose defense the President saw as vital to defense of the U.S., such as Britain, China, and the Soviet Union.
  • Germany's Blitzkrieg on Soviet Union

    Germany's Blitzkrieg on Soviet Union
    Bliztbrieg was German "lightning war." German forces invaded the Soviet Union and drove the Soviet army back to Moscow, but soon lost as winter set in and the Soviet forces pushed back.
  • Germany takes Leningrad

    Germany takes Leningrad
    Leningrad was one of the primary targets of Hitler's "Operation Barbarossa". The Germans placed a seige on the city that lasted 872 days and devastated the population.
  • Bombing of Pearl Harbor

    Bombing of Pearl Harbor
    The bombing of Pearl Harbor was a two hour Japanese attack on an American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii. The Japanese destroyed 20 naval vessels, 200 airplanes, and killed 2000 people. The next day, the U.S. declared war on Japan.
  • Wannsee Conference

    Wannsee Conference
    This was a conference held in the Berlin surburb of Wannsee with 15 high-ranking Nazis and German government officials to discuss implementation of the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question", or the annihilation of Jews known as the Holocaust.
  • Battle of Midway

    Battle of Midway
    This battle took place six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor and was a U.S. victory, marking a turning point in the Pacific war.
  • D-Day

    The Battle of Normany (Operation Overlord) was one of the biggest amphibious military invasions in history, carried out by tricking the Germans into thinking that the Allies would invade from a different location. This battle was won by the Allies and turned the tide of the war against the Germans.
  • Battle of Iwo Jima/Okinawa

    Battle of Iwo Jima/Okinawa
    Three U.S. naval divisions landed on the island of Iwo Jima in February and defeated the Japanese in one month. The Battle of Okinawa began in April and was part of a three-point American plan to win the war in the Far East. It cost both sides many lives and became one of the major battles of WWII.
  • Yalta Conference

    Yalta Conference
    Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin met and agreed on the Soviet Union entering the war against Japan after Germany's surrender and the establishment of governments responsive to the will of the people.
  • Hitler's Suicide

    Hitler's Suicide
    When Hitler learned of Russia's plan to overtake his chancellery, Hitler swallowed a cyanide pill and shot himself in the head.
  • VE Day

    VE Day
    Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies.
  • Potsdam Conference

    Potsdam Conference
    The Potsdam Conference was a meeting between the leaders of the "Big "Three": Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (later replaced by Clement Attlee), and U.S. President Harry Truman. At this conference, they discussed post-war arrangements in Europe and future moves in Japan and resulted in the "Postwar Declaration" which offered Japan an ultimatum: surrender unconditionally, or face utter destruction.
  • Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    On August 6th, the U.S. dropped the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, wiping out 90% of the city. Three days later, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, leading up to Japan's unconditional surrender on August 15th.
  • VJ Day

    VJ Day
    On this day, Japan announced its unconditional surrender to the Allies, ending WWII.
  • United Nations

    United Nations
    The UN is an international organization established to maintain world peace and security.
  • Truman Doctrine

    Truman Doctrine
    This doctrine stated that the U.S. would provide political, military, and economic assistance to any democratic nations under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces.
  • Japan's Invasion of China

    Japan's Invasion of China
    Japan invaded China and began the Second Sino-Japanese War. Japan took Beijing and moved toward Nanjing, where the infamous Rape of Nanjing took place.
  • Marshall Plan

    Marshall Plan
    This plan stated that the U.S. would help rehabilitate the economies of 17 western and southern European countries to create stable conditions for democratic institutions.
  • NATO

    This treaty was signed between 12 North American and Western European countries as an agreement to come to a member country's aid should it be attacked by an outside force.
  • Mao Zedong and People's Republic of China

    Mao Zedong and People's Republic of China
    Mao proclaimed the People's Republic of China, ruled by the Communist Party of China, and named himself head of state.
  • Korean War

    Korean War
    This war began with a North Korean invasion into South Korea, prompting the U.S. to intervene and fight a defensive war against North Korea. The war ended at nearly the same front lines as it began and ended with the Korean peninsula still divided in two.
  • Stalin's Death/Khrushchev

    Stalin's Death/Khrushchev
    After Stalin's death in 1953, Khrushchev began his rise to power, eventually becoming Premier of the USSR in 1958.
  • Warsaw Pact

    Warsaw Pact
    This was a pact between the Soviet Union, Albania, Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria, stating that each of these countries would come to the defense of any of the members should they be attacked by an outside force, and it also united all the armies of these countries under the Soviet army.
  • Sputnik

    Sputnik was the world's first artificial satellite, launched into space by the Soviet Union, effectively putting them ahead in the Space Race.
  • Bay of Pigs

    Bay of Pigs
    This was a failed invasion of Cuba led by Cuban exiles and supported by the U.S. in order to overthrow Fidel Castro and establish a non-communist government.
  • Berlin Wall

    Berlin Wall
    Communist government of East Germany built a barbed wire and concrete “Antifascistischer Schutzwall” (antifascist bulwark) between East and West Berlin to keep Western “fascists” from entering East Germany. This wall stood until November 9, 1989.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    This was a 13-day political and military stand-off between the U.S. and the Soviet Union over the presence of Soviet missiles on Cuba, ending with an agreement that the Soviet Union would remove the missiles if the U.S. promised not to invade Cuba.
  • Gorbachev

    Gorbachev was the last General Secretary of the Soviet Union who brought about economic, social, and political reform and ended the Arms Race with the U.S.
  • Fall of the Soviet Union

    A few days before the fall of the Soviet Union, representatives of 11 Soviet republics met in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, to announce their secession from the Soviet Union and their establishment of a Commonwealth of Independent States, leaving the Soviet Union with Georgia as its only republic.
  • Vietnam War

    Vietnam War
    This war was fought between nationalist forces attempting to unify the country of Vietnam under a communist government and the United States and South Vietnam trying to prevent the spread of communism.