WWII Timeline


Germany Invades Poland - WWII Initiates

September 1, 1939

Great Britain and France Declare War on Germany

September 3, 1939

War is declared in an effort to protect Poland.

Soviet Union Attacks Poland From the East

September 17, 1939

Soviet Union and Germany signed a nonaggression pact before the war, and the Soviets are attacking due to the partnership of Stalin and Hitler.

Warsaw Surrenders and Polish Government Flees

September 27, 1939 - September 29, 1939

Warsaw surrenders on September 27. The Polish government flees into exile via Romania. Germany and the Soviet Union divide Poland among themselves.

Winter War

November 30 1939 - March 12 1940

The Soviet Union invades Finland.

Germany Invades Denmark and Norway

April 9, 1940 - June 9, 1940

Denmark surrenders the day of the attack while Norway holds out until June 9th.

Germany Attacks Western Europe

May 10, 1940 - June 22, 1940

Germany attacks western Europe—France and the neutral Low Countries. Luxembourg is occupied on May 10; the Netherlands surrenders on May 14; and Belgium surrenders on May 28. On June 22, France signs an armistice agreement by which the Germans occupy the northern half of the country and the entire Atlantic coastline. In southern France, a collaborationist regime with its capital in Vichy is established.

Italy Enters the War

June 10 1940

Italy Invades Southern France

June 21 1940

Battle of Britain

July 10, 1940 - August 6, 1940

The air war, Battle of Britain, ends in defeat for Germany.

Tripartite Pact

September 27, 1940

Germany, Italy, and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact.

Axis Forces Gain Allies

November 20, 1940 - November 23, 1940

Slovakia (November 23), Hungary (November 20), and Romania (November 22) join the Axis.

Bulgaria Joins the Axis Forces

March 1 1941

The Independent State of Croatia Was Born

April 10, 1941

The leaders of the terrorist Ustasa movement proclaim the so-called Independent State of Croatia. Recognized immediately by Germany and Italy, the new state includes the province of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Croatia joins the Axis powers formally on June 15, 1941.

Coratia Joins the Axis Forces

June 15, 1941

The Soviet Union is Attacked

June 22, 1941 - November 1941

Nazi Germany and its Axis partners (except Bulgaria) invade the Soviet Union. Finland, seeking redress for the territorial losses in the armistice concluding the Winter War, joins the Axis just before the invasion. The Germans quickly overrun the Baltic States and, joined by the Finns, lay siege to Leningrad (St. Petersburg) by September. In the center, the Germans capture Smolensk in early August and drive on Moscow by October. In the south, German and Romanian troops capture Kiev (Kyiv) in September and capture Rostov on the Don River in November.

Soviet Counteroffense

December 6, 1941

A Soviet counteroffensive drives the Germans from the Moscow suburbs in chaotic retreat.

Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941

2,386 Deaths

The United States Enters the War

December 8, 1941

The U.S. Declares war on Japan, therefore, entering the war as an Ally country.

Axis Powers Declare War on the United States

December 11, 1941 - December 13, 1941

Ally Bombings on Germany

May 30, 1942 - May 1945

The British bomb Köln (Cologne), bringing the war home to Germany for the first time. Over the next three years Anglo-American bombing reduces urban Germany to rubble.

Battle of Midway

June 4, 1942 - June 7, 1942

British and US navies halt the Japanese naval advance in the central Pacific at Midway.

Axis Retreat Through Egypt

October 23 1942 - October 24 1942

British troops defeat the Germans and Italians at El Alamein in Egypt, sending the Axis forces in chaotic retreat across Libya to the eastern border of Tunisia.

The German Sixth Army Surrenders

November 23 1942 - February 2 1943

Soviet troops counterattack, breaking through the Hungarian and Romanian lines northwest and southwest of Stalingrad and trapping the German Sixth Army in the city. Forbidden by Hitler to retreat or try to break out of the Soviet ring, the survivors of the Sixth Army surrender on January 30 and February 2, 1943.

Allies Land on Sicily

July 14 1943

US and British troops land on Sicily. By mid-August, the Allies control Sicily.

Benito Mussolini is Fired!

July 25, 1943

The Fascist Grand Council deposes Benito Mussolini, enabling Italian marshall Pietro Badoglio to form a new government.

Germany Takes Rome and Mussolini

September 8 1943

The Badoglio government surrenders unconditionally to the Allies. The Germans immediately seize control of Rome and northern Italy, establishing a puppet Fascist regime under Mussolini, who is freed from imprisonment by German commandos on September 12.

Kiev is Liberated

November 6, 1943

Soviet troops liberate Kiev.

Allies Liberate Rome

June 4, 1944

The Allies land on the Normandy Beaches

June 6 1944

British and US troops successfully land on the Normandy beaches of France, opening a “Second Front” against the Germans.

Allied Troops Reach Paris

August 20 1944 - August 25 1944

Allied troops reach Paris. On August 25, Free French forces, supported by Allied troops, enter the French capital. By September, the Allies reach the German border; by December, virtually all of France, most of Belgium, and part of the southern Netherlands are liberated.

Battle of the Bulge

December 16, 1944 - January 1, 1945

The Germans launch a final offensive in the west in an attempt to re-conquer Belgium and split the Allied forces along the German border. By January 1, 1945, the Germans are in retreat.

The Soviet's Final Offense

April 16, 1945

The Soviets launch their final offensive, encircling Berlin.

Adolf Hitler is Dead

April 30, 1945

Adolf Hitler commits suicide.

Germany Surrenders to the Western Allies

May 7, 1945

Germany Surrenders to the Soviets

May 9, 1945

Atomic Bombs Dropped on Japan

August 6 1945 - August 9 1945

U.S. Counterattack After Pearl Harbor Bombing
August 6: Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima
August 9: Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki

The Soviet Union Invades Japan

August 8, 1945

The Soviet Union declares war on Japan and invades Manchuria.

Japan Surrenders - WWII Ends

September 2, 1945

Having agreed in principle to unconditional surrender on August 14, 1945, Japan formally surrenders, ending World War II.