World War II


Germany reoccupies the Rhineland


The series of events leading up to World War II began in 1936, when Germany violated the Treaty of Versailles by reoccupying the Rhineland.

Anti-Comitern Pact


The Anti-Comintern Pact united Germany, Italy, and Japan against the Soviet Union.

German annexation of Austria


Hitler then made threats to move into Czechoslovakia by force, but at the Munich Conference, Great Britain and France agreed to give Germany the German-speaking parts of Czechoslovakia in return for peace. The Munich Conference was between Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. Czechoslovakia was not invited, but went along with the results of the conference.

Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact

August 1939

Hitler wanted this Pact so that he could attack Poland without worrying about retailiation from the Soviet Union. On September 1, Germany invaded Poland, and World War II began.

Germany invaded Poland/World War II begins

September 1, 1939

Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. On September 3, Great Britain and France declared War on Germany.

Phony War

October 1939 - April 1940

After the invasion of Poland in September 1939, there was a seven month lull in fighting as Germany did not mount any major offenses.

Defeat of European countries

July 1940

Within three months of the Phony War, Germany defeated Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. Great Britain stood alone by July, 1940. At that point, the United States began to prepare for war.

Tripartite Pact

September 1940

Between Germany, Italy, and Japan

Japanese embargo

September 1940

U.S. airplane fuel and scrap metal shipments to Japan were embargoed after Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy.

Germany invades Russia


German invasion of the S.U.

June 1941

This invasion carried the brunt of the European War for the next three years.

Atlantic Charter

August 1941

The Atlantic Charter (Roosevelt and Churchill) supported principles such as freedom from fear and want, freedom of the seas, access to raw materials for all nations of the world and easing of trade restrictions, and abandonment of the use of force.

Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941

Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. Japanese forces also struck the Philippines, Guam, and Midway Island on the same day in a coordinated attack.

U.S. declares war on Japan

December 8, 1941

The United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941, after Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese planes.

Germany and Italy declare war on U.S.

December 11, 1941


1942 - 1944

American forces forced the Japanese back through the Pacific.

American-British invasion of North Africa


The Allies chose to attack North Africa (under Dwight Eisenhower) rather than open a second front on the European continent as the Soviet Union desired.

Japanese control of Singapore

February 1942

The Japanese continued to advance in the Pacific after Pearl Harbor.

Executive Order 9066

February 19, 1942

Removed people of Japanese ancestry in California, Oregon, Arizona, and Washington (more?) to "relocation centers". As war was breaking out, longstanding prejudices against persons of Japanese ancestry living in the West Coast were intensified; rumors flew of possible invasions and sabotage, leading to mass anti-Japanese hysteria. In spite of the hysteria, many Japanese-Americans enlisted or were drafted into the armed forces.

Japanese control of the Philippines

May 1942

The Japanese continued to advance in the Pacific after Pearl Harbor.

Battle of Coral Sea

May 7, 1942 - May 8, 1942

American forces stopped the Japanese move toward Australia.

Battle of Midway

June 3, 1942 - June 6, 1942

Midway was the turning point of fighting in the Pacific; U.S. sank 4 Japanese aircraft carriers.


September 1942 - January 1943

The Soviets defeated the Germans.

Casablanca Conference


Churchill, Roosevelt, and other leaders of the Allied powers agreed that the war would continue until the “unconditional surrender” of Germany and Japan.

Italy joins Allies


American-British invasion of Italy

September 1943

The Italians surrendered in September, but the Germans continued to defend the peninsula.


June 6, 1944

American, British, Canadian, and free-French forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, in Operation Overload to attack the Germans who had overtaken France; the Germans were surprised by this invasion and were eventually driven out of France and Belgium. French invasion had been postponed for several reasons: President Roosevelt knew that extensive planning would go into this invasion, Britain did not want to invade France prior to June 1944, fighting in North Africa required numerous Allied troops, and the planning of the invasion of Italy in 1943 was so extensive that the French invasion was postponed for a year. The attack to free France from German control involved massive air, land, and sea attacks.


June 6, 1944

Allied forces invaded France at Normandy, crossing the Rhine by March 7th.

Battle of the Philippine Sea

October 23, 1944 - October 25, 1944

The Americans defeated the Japanese forces.

Battle of the Bulge

December 1944 - January 1945

The Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Offensive, was the largest land battle of World War II the United States participated in. The United States took heavy losses, but the Germans were not able to penetrate the American line--they merely created a "bulge," and expended irreplaceable men and weapons.

Iwo Jima

February 1945 - March 1945

Yalta Conference

February 1945

Discussion of post-war Europe; the Allied Powers decided to divide Germany into temporary zones of control.


April 1945 - June 1945

Germany surrenders

May 8, 1945

Soviet forces met American forces at the Elbe River on April 25th, after the Allies had crossed the Rhine on March 7th.

Potsdam Conference

July 1945

Brought the conflicting interests of the United States and the Soviet Union into the open.

Potsdam Declaration

July 26, 1945

The Potsdam Declaration promised "prompt and utter destruction" if Japan did not unconditionally surrender.


August 6, 1945


August 9, 1945

V-J Day/Unofficial Japanese surrender

August 14, 1945

Official Japanese surrender/end WWII

September 2, 1945

We lost 405,399 lives.
40,000,000+ people were killed worldwide.