World War 2


Ethiopia invaded

October 3 1935

In 1935, the League of Nations was faced with another crucial test. Benito Mussolini, the Fascist leader of Italy, had adopted Adolf Hitler's plans to expand German territories by acquiring all territories it considered German. Mussolini followed this policy when he invaded Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) the African country situated on the horn of Africa. Mussolini claimed that his policies of expansion were not different from that of other colonial powers in Africa.

Hitler/Mussolini sent troops to Spanish Civil War

April 1 1937

In April 1937, German Condor Legion aircraft were ordered to support a Nationalist advance into the area by carrying out bombing runs on important roads, bridges and installations.

Rome-Berlin Axis

Nov. 6, 1937

a military and political alliance between fascist Germany and Italy, formalized by the Berlin Agreement of Oct. 25, 1936.
The creation of the axis attested to the open preparation of the fascist states for the unleashing of World War II. The Anti-Comintern Pact signed by Germany and Japan on Nov. 25, 1936, was a continuation of the Rome-Berlin Axis; Italy joined on Nov. 6, 1937.

Anti-Comintern pact

November 6 1937

Anti-Comintern Pact, agreement concluded first between Germany and Japan (Nov. 25, 1936) and then between Italy, Germany, and Japan (Nov. 6, 1937), ostensibly directed against the Communist International (Comintern) but, by implication, specifically against the Soviet Union.

Annexation of Austria

March 12 1938

ww2dbaseAustria was Adolf Hitler's birth country, and she was the first nation to be annexed by Hitler's Nazi Germany. The idea of a unification of all German-speaking people under one flag, Anschluß (frequently Anglicized as Anschluss), had been an idea that had existed since the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806.

Sudetenland taken over

September 30 1938

In the early hours of Sept. 30, 1938, leaders of Nazi Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy signed an agreement that allowed the Nazis to annex the Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia that was home to many ethnic Germans.

Czechoslovakia invaded

March 15 1939

On this day, Hitler’s forces invade and occupy Czechoslovakia–a nation sacrificed on the altar of the Munich Pact, which was a vain attempt to prevent Germany’s imperial aims.

Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

August 23 1939

shortly before World War II (1939-45) broke out in Europe–enemies Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union surprised the world by signing the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, in which the two countries agreed to take no military action against each other for the next 10 years.

Nazi invasion of Poland

September 1 1939

Germany invaded Poland. The Polish army was defeated within weeks of the invasion. From East Prussia and Germany in the north and Silesia and Slovakia in the south, German units, with more than 2,000 tanks and over 1,000 planes, broke through Polish defenses along the border and advanced on Warsaw in a massive encirclement attack.

Hitler attacks Denmark and Norway

April 9 1940

German warships enter major Norwegian ports, from Narvik to Oslo, deploying thousands of German troops and occupying Norway. At the same time, German forces occupy Copenhagen, among other Danish cities.

German forces were able to slip through the mines Britain had laid around Norwegian ports because local garrisons were ordered to allow the Germans to land unopposed. The order came from a Norwegian commander loyal to Norway’s pro-fascist former foreign minister Vidkun Quisling. Hours after the invasion, the German minister in Oslo demanded Norway’s surrender. The Norwegian government refused, and the Germans responded with a parachute invasion and the establishment of a puppet regime led by Quisling (whose name would become a synonym for “traitor”).

Hitler attacks Netherlands Belgium and France

April 9 1940

As the British were laying their mines, Hitler's forces were on their way to Norway, and on the 9th of April his paratroops landed at six of Norway's ports, between Oslo and Narvik. And that same day the Germans moved to take control of the land directly between it and Norway: Denmark. On the first day of that invasion the Danish king, Christian X, ordered his troops to cease fire, the king saving lives and the Germans conquering Denmark in one day.

On month later, on May 10, the day that Churchill became Britain's prime minister, Hitler sent his troops into Belgium and the Netherlands without forewarning – although he had promised to respect their neutrality. His excuse was that the Belgians and Dutch had been conducting military talks with the Western powers and that Germany had to take power in these countries to protect their neutral status and to protect Germany's Ruhr region. And the German public bought their government's argument.

, Miracle at Dunkirk

May 26 1940

n World War II, the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and other Allied troops from the French seaport of Dunkirk (Dunkerque) to England. Naval vessels and hundreds of civilian boats were used in the evacuation, which began on May 26. When it ended on June 4, about 198,000 British and 140,000 French and Belgian troops had been saved.

Battle of Britain

June 1 1940

n the summer and fall of 1940, German and British air forces clashed in the skies over the United Kingdom, locked in the largest sustained bombing campaign to that date. A significant turning point of World War II, the Battle of Britain ended when Germany’s Luftwaffe failed to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force despite months of targeting Britain’s air bases, military posts and, ultimately, its civilian population. Britain’s decisive victory saved the country from a ground invasion and possible occupation by German forces while proving that air power alone could be used to win a major battle.

French/German armistice

June 25 1940

The French Government directs a cessation of fighting against the German Reich in France as well as in French possessions, colonies, protectorate territories, mandates as well as on the seas.

It [the French Government] directs the immediate laying down of arms of French units already encircled by German troops.

Hitler invasion of the Soviet Union

June 22 1941

Under the codename Operation "Barbarossa," Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, in the largest German military operation of World War II.

The destruction of the Soviet Union by military force, the permanent elimination of the perceived Communist threat to Germany, and the seizure of prime land within Soviet borders for long-term German settlement had been core policy of the Nazi movement since the 1920s.

Battle of Stalingrad

July 17 1942

successful Soviet defense of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd), Russia, U.S.S.R., during World War II. Russians consider it to be one of the greatest battles of their Great Patriotic War, and most historians consider it to be the greatest battle of the entire conflict. It stopped the German advance into the Soviet Union and marked the turning of the tide of war in favour of the Allies.


June 6 1944

more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.

Battle of Berlin

April 16 1945

The final chapter in the destruction of Hitler's Third Reich began on April 16, 1945 when Stalin unleashed the brutal power of 20 armies, 6,300 tanks and 8,500 aircraft with the objective of crushing German resistance and capturing Berlin. By prior agreement, the Allied armies (positioned approximately 60 miles to the west) halted

Devastation in Berlin
Soviet troops at the Brandenburg Gatetheir advance on the city in order to give the Soviets a free hand. The depleted German forces put up a stiff defense, initially repelling the attacking Russians, but ultimately succumbing to overwhelming force. By April 24 the Soviet army surrounded the city slowly tightening its stranglehold on the remaining Nazi defenders. Fighting street-to-street and house-to-house, Russian troops blasted their way towards Hitler's chancellery in the city's center.

V-E Day

may 8 1945

both 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.

The eighth of May spelled the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms: In Prague, Germans surrendered to their Soviet antagonists, after the latter had lost more than 8,000 soldiers, and the Germans considerably more; in Copenhagen and Oslo; at Karlshorst, near Berlin; in northern Latvia; on the Channel Island of Sark–the German surrender was realized in a final cease-fire. More surrender documents were signed in Berlin and in eastern Germany.

Hitler sends troops to the Rhineland


On 7 March 1936 German troops marched into the Rhineland. This action was directly against the Treaty of Versailles which had laid out the terms which the defeated Germany had accepted. This move, in terms of foreign relations, threw the European allies, especially France and Britain, into confusion. What should they do about it?