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WWII Timeline

  • Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany

    Adolf Hitler had followed a path to power similar to Mussolini’s. At the end of World War I, Hitler had been a jobless soldier drifting around Germany. In 1919, he joined a struggling group called the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, better known as the Nazi
    Party. promised to bring Germany out of chaos. Hitler also wanted to enforce racial “purification” at home. In his view,
    Germans—especially blue-eyed, blond-haired “Aryans”—formed a “master race”. Committed mass genocides.
  • Mein Kampf

    Mein Kampf [My Struggle], Hitler set forth the basic beliefs of
    Nazism that became the plan of action for the Nazi Party. Nazism, the German brand of fascism, was based on extreme nationalism. Mein Kampf, was “to secure for the German people the land and soil to which they are entitled on this earth,” even if this could be
    accomplished only by “the might of a victorious sword.
  • Benito Mussolini's fascist government

    Benito Mussolini was establishing a totalitarian regime in Italy. played on the fears of economic collapse and communism. In this way, he won the support of many Italians. By 1921, Mussolini had established the Fascist Party. Fascism stressed nationalism and
    placed the interests of the state above those of individuals.In October 1922, Mussolini marched on Rome with thousands of his followers, whose black uniforms gave them the name “Black Shirts.
  • Joseph Stalin's totalitarian government

    After V. I. Lenin died in 1924, Joseph Stalin, took control of the country. Stalin focused on creating a model communist state. In so doing, he made both agricultural and industrial growth the prime economic goals. Stalin abolished all privately owned farms and replaced them with collectives, large government-owned farms, each worked by hundreds of families. All economic activity was placed under state management. Also used "five year plans" to direct all economy under state control.
  • Mein Kampf

    [My Struggle], Hitler set forth the basic beliefs of
    Nazism that became the plan of action for the Nazi Party. Nazism, the German brand of fascism, was based on extreme nationalism. Hitler, who had been born in Austria, dreamed of uniting all German-speaking people in a great German empire.
  • Storm Troopers

    Many men who were out of work joined Hitler’s private army, the storm troopers (or Brown Shirts). The German people were desperate and turned to Hitler as their last hope
  • Japanese Invasion of Manchuria

    Halfway around the world, nationalistic military leaders were trying to take control of the imperial government of
    Japan. These leaders shared in common with Hitler a belief in the need for more living space for a growing population. Ignoring the protests of more moderate Japanese officials, the militarists launched a surprise attack and seized control of the Chinese province of Manchuria in 1931. Japan controlled within a few months.
  • Third Reich

    Hitler quickly dismantled Germany’s democratic Weimar Republic. In its place he established the Third Reich, or Third German Empire. According to Hitler, the Third Reich would be a “Thousand-Year Reich”—it would last for a thousand years.
  • Hitler's Military Build-up in Germany

    The failure of the League of Nations
    to take action against Japan did not escape the notice of Europe’s dictators. In 1933, Hitler pulled Germany out of the League. In 1935, he began a military buildup in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. A year later, he sent troops into the Rhineland, a German region bordering France and Belgium that was demilitarized as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. The League did nothing to stop Hitler.
  • Hitler Invades the Rhineland

    The failure of the League of Nations
    to take action against Japan did not escape the notice of Europe’s dictators. In 1933, Hitler pulled Germany out of the League. In 1935, he began a military buildup in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. A year later, he sent troops into
    the Rhineland, a German region bordering France and Belgium that was demilitarized as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. The League did nothing to stop Hitler.
  • Mussolini;s Invasion of Ethiopia

    His first target was Ethiopia, one of Africa’s few remaining independent countries. By the fall of 1935, tens of thousands of Italian soldiers stood ready to advance on
    Ethiopia. The League of Nations reacted with brave talk of
    “collective resistance to all acts of unprovoked aggression.”
    When the invasion began, however, the League’s
    response was an ineffective economic boycott—little more
    than a slap on Italy’s wrist. By May 1936, Ethiopia had fallen.
  • Hitler's Anschluss

    The Paris Peace Conference following World War I had created the relatively small nation of Austria out of what was left
    of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The majority of Austria’s 6
    million people were Germans who favored unification with
    Germany. On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into
    Austria unopposed. A day later, Germany announced that its
    Anschluss, or “union,” with Austria was complete. The United
    States and the rest of the world did nothing.
  • Munich Agreement

    On September 30, 1938, they signed the Munich Agreement, which turned the Sudetenland over to Germany without a single shot being fired.
  • Francisco Franco

    In 1936, a group of Spanish army officers led by General Francisco Franco, rebelled against the Spanish republic. Revolts broke out all
    over Spain, and the Spanish Civil War began. leads the rebel Nationalist army to victory in Spain and gains complete
    control of the country in 1939.
  • GB and France declare war on Germany

    On September 3, two days following the terror in Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany.
  • Rome-Berlin Axis

    The Western democracies remained neutral. Although the Soviet Union sent equipment and advisers, Hitler and Mussolini backed Franco’s forces with troops, weapons, tanks, and fighter planes. The war forged a close relationship between the German and Italian dictators, who signed a formal alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis. After a loss of almost 500,000 lives, Franco’s victory in 1939 established him as Spain’s fascist dictator. Once again a
    totalitarian government ruled in Europe.
  • Nonagression Pact

    As tensions rose over Poland, Stalin surprised everyone by signing a nonaggression pact with Hitler. Once bitter enemies, on August 23, 1939 fascist Germany and communist Russia now committed never to attack each other. Germany and the Soviet Union also signed a second, secret pact, agreeing to divide Poland between them. With the danger of a two-front war eliminated, the
    fate of Poland was sealed.
  • Blitzkreig

    blitzkrieg, or lightning war. Blitzkrieg made use of advances in military technology—such as fast tanks and more powerful aircraft—to take the enemy by surprise and then quickly crush all
    opposition with overwhelming force.
  • Phony War

    For the next several months after the fall of Poland,
    French and British troops on the Maginot Line, a system of fortifications built along France’s eastern border staring into Germany, waiting for something to happen. On the Siegfried Line a few miles away German troops stared back. The blitzkrieg had given way to what the Germans called the sitzkrieg (“sitting war”), and what some newspapers referred to as the phony war.
  • Hitler's Invasion of Denmark and Norway

    Suddenly, on April 9, 1940, Hitler launched a surprise invasion
    of Denmark and Norway in order “to protect [those countries’] freedom and independence.” But in truth, Hitler planned to build bases along the coasts to strike at Great Britain. Next, Hitler turned against the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, which were overrun by the end of May. The phony war had ended
  • Marshall Philippe Petain

    Germans would occupy the northern part of France, and a Nazi-controlled puppet government, headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain, would be set up at Vichy, in southern France
  • Hitler's Invasion of the Netherlands

    Next, Hitler turned against the Netherlands,
    Belgium, and Luxembourg, which were overrun by the end of May. The phony war had ended
  • Germany and Italy's invasion of France

    A few days later, Italy entered the war on the side of Germany and invaded France from the south as the Germans closed in on Paris from the north. On June 22, 1940, at Compiègne, as William Shirer and the rest of the world watched, Hitler handed French officers his terms of surrender. Germans would occupy the northern part of
    France, and a Nazi-controlled puppet government, headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain, would be set up at Vichy, in southern France
  • Battle of Britain

    In the summer of 1940, the
    Germans began to assemble an invasion fleet along the
    French coast. Because its naval power could not compete
    with that of Britain, Germany also launched an air war at
    the same time. The Luftwaffe began making bombing runs over Britain. Its goal was to gain total control of the
    skies by destroying Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF). Hitler
    had 2,600 planes at his disposal.
  • Lend-Lease Act

    By late 1940, Britain had no more cash to spend in the arsenal of democracy. Roosevelt tried to help by suggesting a new plan that he called a lend-lease policy. Under this plan, the president would lend or lease arms and other supplies to “any country whose defense was vital to the United States.”
  • Pearl Harbor

    Japanese bombing on pearl harbor consisting of over 180 war planes. Brought US into WW2
  • Korematsu v. United States

    Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7,
    1941, U.S. military officials argued that Japanese Americans posed a threat to the nation’s
    security. Based on recommendations from the military, President Franklin Roosevelt
    issued Executive Order 9066, which gave military officials the power to limit the civil
    rights of Japanese Americans. Military authorities began by setting a curfew for Japanese
    Americans.
  • Battle of the Atlantic

    After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hitler
    ordered submarine raids against ships along America’s east coast. The German aim in the Battle of the Atlantic was to prevent food and war materials from reaching Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Britain depended on supplies from the sea. The 3,000-milelong shipping lanes from North America were her lifeline.
    months of 1942, the Germans sank 87 ships off the Atlantic shore.
  • Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC)

    The military’s work force needs were so great that Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall pushed for the formation of a Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC). Under this bill, women volunteers would serve in noncombat positions such as nurses, pilots, ambulance drivers, etc.
  • War Productions Board

    War Production Board (WPB) Rationed fuel and materials vital to the war effort, such as gasoline, heating oil, metals, rubber, and plastics
    Department of the Treasury, Issued war bonds to raise money for the war effort.
  • Internment

    While Mexican Americans and African Americans struggled with racial tension, the war produced tragic results for Japanese Americans. When the war began, 120,000 Japanese Americans lived in the United States. However, he was eventually forced
    to order the internment, or confinement, of 1,444 Japanese Americans, 1 percent of Hawaii’s Japanese-American population.
  • Battle of Stalingrad

    In November 1941, the bitter cold had stopped them in
    their tracks outside the Soviet cities of Moscow and Leningrad. When spring came, the German tanks were ready to roll. In the summer of 1942, the Germans took the offensive in the southern
    Soviet Union.The German army confidently approached Stalingrad in August 1942. For weeks the Germans pressed in on Stalingrad, conquering it house by house in brutal hand-to-hand combat. By the end of September, they controlled 9/10 of the city.
  • Operation Torch

    While the Battle of Stalingrad raged, Stalin pressured Britain and America to open a “second front” in Western Europe. He argued
    that an invasion across the English Channel would force Hitler to divert troops from the Soviet front. In November 1942, some 107,000 Allied troops, the great majority of them Americans, landed in Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers in North Africa. Surrendered in May 1943.
  • Manhattan Project

    Roosevelt responded by creating an Advisory Committee on Uranium to study the new discovery. In 1941, the committee reported that it would take from three to five years to build an atomic bomb. Hoping to shorten that time, the OSRD set up an intensive program in 1942 to develop a bomb as quickly as possible. Because much of the early research was performed at Columbia University in Manhattan, the Manhattan Project became the code name for research work that extended across the country
  • Office of Price Administration

    As war production increased, there were fewer consumer products available for purchase. Roosevelt responded to this threat by creating the Office of Price Administration (OPA). The OPA fought inflation by freezing prices on most goods. Congress also raised income tax rates and extended the tax to millions of people who had never paid it before. The higher taxes reduced consumer demand on scarce goods by leaving workers with less to spend
  • U.S. Convoy System

    The Allies responded by organizing their cargo ships into convoys. Convoys were groups of ships traveling together for mutual protection, as they had done
    in the First World War. The convoys were escorted across the Atlantic by destroyers equipped with sonar for detecting submarines underwater
  • Unconditional Surrender

    Even before the battle in North Africa was won,
    Roosevelt, Churchill, and their commanders met in Casablanca. At this meeting, the two leaders agreed to accept only the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers. That is, enemy nations would have to accept whatever terms of peace the Allies dictated. The two leaders also discussed where to strike next.
  • Bloody Anzio

    Hitler was determined to stop the Allies in Italy
    rather than fight on German soil. One of the hardest battles the Allies encountered in Europe was fought less than 40 miles from Rome. This battle, “Bloody Anzio,” lasted four months—until the end of May 1944—and left about 25,000 Allied and 30,000 Axis casualties. During the year after Anzio, German armies continued to put up strong resistance.
  • D-Day

    Under Eisenhower’s direction in England, the Allies gathered a force of nearly 3 million British, American, and Canadian troops. D-Day June 6, 1944, the first day of the invasion. Shortly after midnight, three divisions parachuted down behind German lines. They were followed in the early morning hours by thousands upon
    thousands of seaborne soldier, the largest land-sea-air
    operation in army history. German retaliation was brutal, particularly at Omaha Beach
  • Battle of the Bulge

    In October 1944, Americans captured their first German town, Aachen. Tanks drove 60 miles into Allied territory, creating a bulge in the lines that gave this desperate last ditch offensive its name, the Battle of the Bulge. The battle raged for a month. MAJOR LOSS FOR GERMANY, DECISIVE BATTLE OF THE WAR
  • Death of Hitler

    On April 29, he married Eva Braun, his longtime companion. The
    same day, he wrote out his last address to the German people.
    In it he blamed the Jews for starting the war and his generals for losing it. The next day Hitler shot himself while his new wife swallowed poison. In accordance with Hitler’s orders, the two bodies
    were carried outside, soaked with gasoline, and burned.
  • Harry S. Truman

    President Roosevelt did not live to see V-E Day. On
    April 12, 1945, while posing for a portrait in Warm Springs, Georgia, the president had a stroke and died. That night, Vice President Harry S. Truman became the nation’s 33rd president.
  • V-E Day

    A week later, General Eisenhower accepted the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich. On May 8, 1945, the Allies celebrated V-E Day—Victory in Europe Day. The war in Europe was finally over.