Events of World War 2

By Derek Ferguson For Maj. McCleary Fifth Period


Japan Invades Manchuria

September 1931

Japanese imperialism and expansion leads to an invasion of Manchuria and the beginning of World War 2 in Asia


November 1937

Part of the Nuremberg Laws resulting in the stripping of rights and citizenship from Jews.

Germany Attacks Poland

August 1939

Germany attacks Poland and crosses the line for other European Powers, leading to rising tensions and eventually a declaration of war.

Soviet Troops Occupy Poland

September 1939 - October 1939

Stalin invades the eastern half of Poland and expands Soviet Power.

France and Great Britain Declare War on Germany

September 1939

As tensions rise in Europe, France and Great Britain declare war, officially starting World War 2 in Europe.

German Invasion of Denmark and Norway

April 1940

Hitler adds more nations to his fascist empire.

Phony War

April 1940

The Phony War was a short time of no fighting where the British and French on their Maginot Line stared at the Germans on their Siegfried Line.

Battle of Dunkirk

May 1940 - June 1940

Germany manages to push the British and French back to the coastal city of Dunkirk; Great Britain compiled an amatuer fleet and rescued over 300,000 soldiers.

France Falls

May 1940

France is completely overrun by the Germans, but a resistance remains along with a government-in-exile.

Soviets Occupy Finland

June 1940

The Soviets invade Finland looking for easy territory to conquer, however they are quite surprised when Finland stages an enormous defense; Stalin takes the country by brute force, but he also takes massive losses.

Battle of Britain

July 1940 - September 1940

The Battle of Britain was an attempt by Hitler to knock-out the Royal Air Force and invade with infantry; Germany failed, and it was learned that Hitler could be stopped.

War in the Balkans

October 1940 - June 1941

The War in the Balkans was a series of battles planned by Hitler to gain land to build bases in preparation of his betrayal against Russia.

Siege of Tobruk

April 1941 - November 1941

The Seige of Tobruk was an Axis attack against Allied Defenders in an attempt to push them away from a vital area for the Axis supply chain.

Operation Barbarossa

June 1941

Operation Barbarossa was the name of Hitler's plan to betray Russia; the invasion of Russia included four million German soldiers and accounted for 95% of German losses (65% of Allied).

Battle of Leningrad

September 8, 1941 - January 27, 1944

The Siege of Leningrad was an attack from the Germans to take the city of Leningrad. Although completely surrounding the Russians, Germany was unable to take the city.

Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941

Japan surprise attacks Pearl Harbor in an effort to cripple its carriers and Pacific Fleet; unfortunately, the carriers were away and nearly all the ships were salvaged and put back into action in a short amount of time. This was the action that caused America to declare war on Japan.

Battle of Wake Island

December 7, 1941 - December 13, 1941

The Battle of Wake Island ended with the surrender of US Marines and the loss of a military base for the US. Japan would continue to hold the island until the end of WW2.

Japan attacks the Philippines

December 8, 1941

Japan is trying to rid the Pacific of American and British colonies, and attacks the Philippines in the process; General Douglas Macarthur says "I shall return."

Doolittle's Raid

April 1942

Doolittle's Raid was an attack on Japan using bombers to show that the mainland was not impervious to the American war machine; although it was a "suicide mission", Lt. Col. Doolittle managed to bail out of his bomber over China.

Battle of the Coral Sea

May 1942

The Battle of the Coral sea was a naval engagement between the United States and Japanese navies. Although the Allies lost more ships, the Japanese would be the losers in the end because their invasion was repelled.

Battle of Midway

June 1942

The Battle of Midway was another attemp to remove US power from the Pacific. It failed miserably and the Japanese lost 2/3 of its carrier force in the battle.

Battle of Guadalcanal

August 1942 - February 1943

The Guadalcanal Campaign was a series of land, air, and sea battles with the US objective of removing the Japanese presence from the islands; numerous lives were lost in this highly destructive battle (including 2 US Admirals). Resulted in US victory.

Battle of Stalingrad

August 1942 - February 1943

The Battle of Stalingrad was a pivotal moment in the European Theatre of WW2; the massive amount of German losses required them to reinforce using troops pulled from the west, but after their defeat, the Germans ever regained initiative on the easter front.

Normandy Invasion

June 1944 - July 1944

The Normandy Invasions allowed Allies to regain a foothold on the western front and was a pivotal moment of the war because it gave the Allies momentum to continue to Germany.

Battle of Leyte Gulf

October 1944

The Battle of Leyte Gulf was the largest of World War 2. It ended with the destruction of the majority of Japan's heavy ships, and the Japanese Navy never set sail with a comparable amount of ships. Also, the remaining heavy ships were either out of fuel or crippled and remained in their docks for the remainder of World War 2.

Battle of the Bulge

December 1944 - January 1945

The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive in which they moved with complete secrecy to take back needed supply roads for their next advance. Germany's attack would fail and they would not regain momentum in the war.

V-E Day

May 8, 1945

V-E Day marks the end of fighting in Europe.


August 1945

Although warned with "prompt and utter destruction", Japan refused to surrender. The United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, punctuating their threat; Japan promptly surrendered.

V-J Day

September 2, 1945

Japan surrenders and World War 2 officially ends with Victory over Japan day.

Nuremberg Trials

November 1945

The Nuremberg Trials were the trials where German and Japanese leaders and soldiers were charged with war crimes and given consequence for their actions.