WWII Timeline

  • Japan's Invasion of China

    Japan's Invasion of China
    The Japanese forces invaded China in 1937, which some people say was the true beginning of the second world war. Japanese trops were conducting intensive military manuevers at the Marco Polo bridge, when conflict broke out. Great losses were suffered by both sides and the fighting continued until 1945.
  • Germany Invades Poland

    Germany Invades Poland
    German forces surrounded Poland from all sides and closed in to eventually capture the capital of Warsaw. This was a major strategic advantage for the Germans in terms of land, so this provoked declarations of war from Britain and France.
  • The Battle of Britain

    The Battle of Britain
    A long bombing campaign waged by the German military over the skies of Britain. The British Royal Air forces battled against the Germans for three months. During this time, Hitler switched his attack strategy to ttarget all major cities in Britain to demoralize the people as well as destroy industries.
  • Tripartite Pact

    Tripartite Pact
    Tha Axis powers were formed as Germany, Italy, and Japan signed the Tripartite pact to become allies.
  • Lend-Lease Act

    Lend-Lease Act
    Permitted the President to transfer arms or any other defensive resources to aid allied countries. This allowed the US to help with the war without officially being involved yet.
  • German Blitzkrieg on the Soviet Union

    German Blitzkrieg on the Soviet Union
    The German armies invaded and powered through most of the Soviet Union until 1942 when the Soviets launched a massive defense and destroyed all German forces in the country.
  • Germany Takes Leningrad

    Germany Takes Leningrad
    The Siege on Leningrad lasted 3 years and ultimately resulted in a German withdrawal at the hands of the Red Army despite many costly battles.
  • Attack of Pearl Harbor

    Attack of Pearl Harbor
    Hundreds of Japanese planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack was relatively short, but it caused roughly 3,000 casualties and destroyed most of the ships present at the base. This caused the US to declare war on Japan.
  • Wannsee Conference

    Wannsee Conference
    15 high ranking German officials met to discuss their "final solution" for the European Jews. This was a codename for the systematic annihilation of the European Jews at the hands of the Nazis.
  • Battle of Midway

    Battle of Midway
    The United States Navy destroyed the might of the Japanese Navy by wiping out four massive aircraft carriers at Midway Island. This was an important turning point in the war because Japan was never able to recover from this defeat.
  • D-Day

    Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy France to take back Western Europe from Nazi control.
  • Yalta Conference

    Yalta Conference
    A conference in Crimea that brought FDR (USA), Winston Churchill (Britain), Joseph Stalin (Russia) together to deal with issues such as the postwar fate of Germany and Japan as well as the formation of the United Nations.
  • Battle of Iwo Jima/ Okinawa

    Battle of Iwo Jima/ Okinawa
    The battle for the island of Iwo Jima took place between the United States and Japan because of Iwo Jima's close proximity to the Japanese mainland. This was ultimately an American victory with 6,000 American casualties and 20,000 Japanese casualties.
  • Hitler's Suicide

    Hitler's Suicide
    German dictator Adolf HItler takes his own life, most likely by swallowing cyanide and shooting himself in the head. There is still much speculation about the circumstances of his death.
  • VE Day

    VE Day
    The Allied powers celebrated VE day to symbolize victory in Europe after the surrender of Germany and Italy marked the official end of the war in Europe.
  • Potsdam Conference

    Potsdam Conference
    US President Harry Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin met in Potsdam, Germany to continue the discussions started at the Yalta Conference. The main issue was deciding how to handle Germany postwar and how to re-align European borders.
  • Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima Japan

    Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima Japan
    The United States dropped its first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima in Japan in an attempt to get the Japanese to surrender. The bomb wiped out 90% of the city and would eventually kill hundreds of thousands of people.
  • Atomic bombing of Nagasaki Japan

    Atomic bombing of Nagasaki Japan
    This was the last major act of World War II. The US dropped a second atomic bomb in Japan, this time on the city of Nagasaki. Nagasaki was a key target for the Americans because it was a large military port.
  • VJ Day

    VJ Day
    This was the day that World War II officially ended with the surrender of Japan's armed forces to the Allied powers. September 2nd is also recognized because Japan's formal surrender occured that day.
  • Formation of the United Nations

    Formation of the United Nations
    Representatives from 50 nations met in San Fransisco to sign the Charter of the United Nations, which oput into effect the organization that would connect the world in terms of major issues and decisions.
  • Truman Doctrine

    Truman Doctrine
    President Truman declared a new US foreign policy that stated that the United States needed to assist any country whose stability was threatended by communism. His initial focus was on Greece and Turkey.
  • Marshall Plan

    Marshall Plan
    A plan passed by congress in 1948 that would give funds to help Western Eurpoe rebuild itself.
  • Founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

    Founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
    An alliance of 26 countries that were originally joined to combat communism and to reinforce the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949. Now, they have pledged allegiance to one another in the event of an external threat.
  • Mao Zedong and the People's Republic of China

    Mao Zedong and the People's Republic of China
    Mao Zedong, the leader of the Communist party in China establishes himself as the leader of the People's Republic of China. This change in power was in an effort to unite China under communist authority.
  • Period: to

    Korean War

    A conflict between communist North Korea and China against South Korea and the United States/ United Nations. THe war left Korea as two separate countries and brought the Cold War to Asia. North and South Korea are still tense today.
  • Death of Joseph Stalin

    Death of Joseph Stalin
    Soviet Russia dictator Joseph Stalin dies of a severe heart attack. There is still speculation as to the circumstances of his death. He was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev who led the Soviets through most of the Cold War.
  • The Warsaw Pact

    The Warsaw Pact
    The foil to NATO. The Soviet Union and seven other eastern European countries signed an agreement that gave the Soviets command of the armed forces of the member states.
  • Period: to

    Vietnam War

    A long costly conflict between the Northern Communist Vietnam and its allies as well as South Vietnam and the United States. It ended when the US withdrew all troops and Vietnam was united under communism.
  • Sputnik Launch

    Sputnik Launch
    The Soviet Union launches the first man-made object to orbit the Earth. This rose question to the dominance of the United States in science and technology and was one of the events leading up to the Cold War.
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion

    Bay of Pigs Invasion
    American forces attempted to invade Cuba and overthrow dictator FIdel Castro. However, the US forces were quickly overrun by Castro's military.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    American and Soviet leaders faced off in a thirty day stalemate over the installation of nuclear war missiles in Cuba, which is very close to US shores. Eventually the threat of war was avoided by the Soviets removing the missiles in exchange for the US promising not to invade Cuba.
  • MIkhail Gorbachev becomes leader of Russia

    MIkhail Gorbachev becomes leader of Russia
    Mikhail Gorbachev assumes his new office as leader of the Soviet Union. His reforms helped to end the Cold War and led to the elimination of communism in Europe.
  • Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Fall of the Berlin Wall
    The concrete wall that separated East and West Germany was torn down and citizens who had faced decades of oppression were free to cross to the other side as Germany was united freely.
  • The Soviet Union Falls

    The Soviet Union Falls
    Mikhail Gorbachev resigns to make way for an era of independent states in eastern Europe, and the death of the Soviet Union.