President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the 1937 Neutrality Act, which bans travel on hostile ships, forbids the arming of American merchant ships trading with hostiles, and issues an arms embargo with warring nations.
"FDR Signs Neutrality Act." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
German Nazis launch a campaign of terror against Jewish people and their homes and businesses in Germany and Austria. The violence left approximately 100 Jews dead, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged and hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools and graveyards vandalized. An estimated 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, many of whom were then sent to concentration camps for several months; they were released when they promised to leave Germany.
"Nazis Launch Kristallnacht." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
"Wenn es dem internationalen Finanzjudentum in und außerhalb Europas gelingen sollte, die Völker noch einmal in einen Weltkrieg zu stürzen, dann wird das Ergebnis nicht der Sieg des Judentums sein, sondern die Vernichtung der jüdischen Rasse in Europa! "
"If international finance Jewry in and outside Europe should succeed in once again plunging the nations into a world war, then the result will not be the victory of Jewry, but rather the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!"
"Adolf Hitler's Words in German with English Translation." Adolf Hitler's Words in German with English Translation. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
The death of German President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Adolf Hitler becomes absolute dictator of Germany under the title of Fuhrer. The German army took an oath of allegiance to its new commander-in-chief, and the last remnants of Germany’s democratic government were dismantled to make way for Hitler’s Third Reich.
"Hitler Becomes Fuhrer." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2016
On September 1, 1939 German Nazis invade Poland with some 1.5 million soldiers while the Luftwaffe bombed them. two days later on Sept 3, Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany
"Germans Invade Poland." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
The people of Paris awake to the sound of a German-accented voice announcing that a curfew was being imposed for 8 p.m. that evening-as German troops enter and occupy Paris. By the time German tanks rolled into Paris, 2 million people had already fled. The German Gestapo went to work: arrests, interrogations, and spying were the order of the day, as a gigantic swastika flew beneath the Arc de Triomphe.
"Germans Enter Paris." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
300 German bombers raid London, in the first of 57 consecutive nights of bombing. This bombing “blitzkrieg” (lightning war) would continue until May 1941.
"The Blitz Begins." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
"Adolf Hitler launched his armies eastward in a massive invasion of the Soviet Union: three great army groups with over three million German soldiers, 150 divisions, and three thousand tanks smashed across the frontier into Soviet territory. The invasion covered a front from the North Cape to the Black Sea, a distance of two thousand miles. By this point German combat effectiveness had reached its apogee; in training, doctrine, and fighting ability, the forces invading Russia represented the finest army to fight in the twentieth century. Barbarossa was the crucial turning point in World War II, it forced Nazi Germany to fight a two-front war against a coalition possessing immensely superior resources."
History.com Staff. "Operation Barbarossa." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
At 7:55 a.m. a swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes bearing the red symbol, representing the rising sun, descend on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged, and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded.
History.com Staff. "Pearl Harbor." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
“Yesterday,” the president proclaimed, “December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.” Within an hour, the president had his declaration of war. FDR signed the declaration at 4:10 p.m., wearing a black armband to symbolize mourning for those lost at Pearl Harbor.
"The United States Declares War on Japan." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
Soviet forces surrounded and crushed an entire German army under General Friedrich Paulus. It stopped the German advance into the Soviet Union and marked the turning of the tide of war in favor of the Allies. The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the bloodiest battles in history, with combined military and civilian casualties of nearly 2 million.
History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
Benito Mussolini, fascist dictator of Italy, is voted out of power by his own Grand Council and arrested upon leaving a meeting with King Vittorio Emanuele.
"Mussolini Falls from Power." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
Allied powers crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, beginning the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control during World War II. Within three months, the northern part of France would be freed and the invasion force would be preparing to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet forces moving in from the east. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches. Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the Battle of Normandy. This figure includes over 209,000 Allied casualties, with nearly 37,000 dead among the ground forces and a further 16,714 deaths among the Allied air forces.
"D-Day." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
More than 500 Resistance fighters died in the struggle for Paris, as well as 127 civilians. Once the city was free from German rule, French collaborators were often killed upon capture, without trial.
"Liberation of Paris." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
Operation Market Garden was the largest airborne battle in history, being bigger than Operation Mercury. It was also the only real attempt by the Allies to use airborne forces in a strategic role in Europe. It involved thousands of aircraft and armored vehicles, and hundreds of thousands of troops and was the only major Allied defeat of the Northwest European campaign.
"Operation Market Garden, 17-27 September 1944." Operation Market Garden September 17 - 27 1944. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
"In December 1944, Adolph Hitler attempted to split the Allied armies in northwest Europe by means of a surprise blitzkrieg thrust through the Ardennes to Antwerp. Caught off-guard, American units fought desperate battles to stem the German advance at St.-Vith, Elsenborn Ridge, Houffalize and Bastogne. As the Germans drove deeper into the Ardennes in an attempt to secure vital bridgeheads, the Allied line took on the appearance of a large bulge, giving rise to the battle’s name. Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s successful maneuvering of the Third Army to Bastogne proved vital to the Allied defense, leading to the neutralization of the German counteroffensive despite heavy casualties." The Battle of the Bulge was the costliest battle ever fought by the U.S. Army, which suffered over 100,000 casualties.
History.com Staff. "Battle of the Bulge." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
A week of intensive bargaining by the leaders of the three major Allied powers ends in Yalta, a Soviet resort town on the Black Sea. It was the second conference of the “Big Three” Allied leaders–U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin–and the war had progressed mightily since their last meeting, which had taken place in Tehran in late 1943.
"Yalta Conference Ends." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
Great Britain and the United States celebrate Victory in Europe Day. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine.
"Victory in Europe." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
n American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The explosion wiped out 90 percent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people.
History.com Staff. "Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
Aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan formally surrenders to the Allies, bringing an end to World War II. By the summer of 1945, the Japanese navy and air force were destroyed. The Allied naval blockade of Japan and intensive bombing of Japanese cities had left the country and its economy devastated. At the end of June, the Americans captured Okinawa, a Japanese island from which the Allies could launch an invasion of the main Japanese home islands. General Douglas MacArthur was put in charge of the invasion, which was code named “Operation Olympic” and set for November 1945. On Sunday, September 2, more than 250 Allied warships laid anchored in the Tokyo Bay. The flags of the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and China flew above the deck of the Missouri. Just after 9 a.m., Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed on behalf of the Japanese government. General Yoshijiro Umezu then signed for the Japanese armed forces.
"Japan Surrenders." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.