Timeline

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Editors: Barbara C. Bigelow , George Feldman , Christine Slovey , and Kelly King Howes
Date: 2000
World War II Reference Library
From: World War II Reference Library(Vol. 1: Almanac. )
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Article
Pages: 10
Content Level: (Level 3)

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Timeline

  • 1917: The czar (emperor) is overthrown in Russia and a Communist government comes to power. The Russian empire is eventually renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), known as the Soviet Union.
  • 1919: Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending World War I. Extreme nationalist groups in Germany blame socialists, communists, and Jews for Germany's defeat.
  • 1919: Communist revolutions in various parts of Germany are put down with great bloodshed.
  • 1919: Adolf Hitler joins the tiny German Workers' Party in Munich. The party soon changes its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), called the Nazi Party for short.
    Timeline
  • 1922: Benito Mussolini and his Fascist Party march on Rome, Mussolini is named premier of Italy.
  • 1923: Hyperinflation hits Germany; its currency becomes worthless, causing severe economic distress.
  • 1923: In November, Adolf Hitler leads a failed attempt to take over the German government. Police end the rebellion, called the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, and arrest Hitler and other leaders of the party.
  • 1924: At his trial for treason and armed rebellion, Adolf Hitler gains the attention of extreme nationalists. While serving only eight months of a five year prison sentence, Hitler dictates Mein Kampf (My Struggle).
  • 1924: Benito Mussolini becomes dictator of Italy.
  • 1926: Hirohito becomes emperor of Japan, giving his reign the name Showa ("enlightened peace").
  • 1927: Chiang Kai-Shek establishes the Kuomintang or Nationalist government in Nanking, China.
  • 1930: A worldwide economic depression hits Germany especially hard. Thirty-three percent of the workforce is unemployed.
  • 1931: The Japanese army seizes Manchuria in a short war with China, establishing Manchuria as the independent country of Manchukuo, which is actually controlled by the Japanese.
  • 1932: In German parliamentary elections held in July, the Nazis become the largest party in Germany, with about 37 percent of the vote. Nazi stormtrooper violence increases.
  • 1932: Franklin D. Roosevelt begins the first of four terms as president of the United States.
  • 1933: Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor (head of the government) of Germany on January 30. Within a few
    Timeline months he and his National Socialist German Workers' Party take control of the German government.
  • 1933: The Reichstag building is set afire. Nazis blame the Communists and Hitler receives emergency powers from President Paul von Hindenburg. Free speech and press are restricted. Nazi stormtroopers receive police powers.
  • 1933: Dachau, the first permanent concentration camp, is opened in a suburb of Munich in March. Ten thousand opponents of Nazis, especially communists, are arrested and sent to the newly established concentration camps.
  • 1933: In April, Nazis organize a national boycott of Jewish-owned businesses. The first anti-Jewish laws are passed, removing almost all Jews from government jobs including teaching.
  • 1934: Upon the death of German president Paul von Hindenburg, the office of chancellor is combined with president. Adolf Hitler is now the Führer (leader) of the Third Reich (empire) with absolute powers. All officers and soldiers of the army swear allegiance to Hitler.
  • 1935: March 16, Germany announces the reintroduction of the military draft and a major expansion of its army, violating the Treaty of Versailles.
  • 1935: Germany passes the Nuremberg laws, which define Jews in racial terms, strip them of German citizenship, and ban marriages between Jews and non-Jews.
  • 1935: Italy invades Ethiopia on October 3. By May 1936, Ethiopia is conquered.
  • 1936: Germany and Italy enter into agreements that establish a political and military alliance between the two countries called the "Rome-Berlin Axis."
  • 1936: Germany and Japan sign the Anti-Comintern (anti-communist) Treaty.
    Timeline
  • 1937: In the first example of aerial bombing against a civilian population, the German air force bombs Guernica, Spain, on April 26, aiding Francisco Franco's fascist troops during the Spanish Civil War.
  • 1937: Japan invades China, captures Peking (Beijing), Shanghai, Canton, and other major cities. In Nanking, invading Japanese troops rape, torture, and murder tens of thousands of Chinese civilians.
  • 1938: Austrians vote in favor of the Anschloss, an agreement that makes their country part of Nazi Germany. Crowds cheer the German dictator Adolf Hitler as he enters the Austrian capital Vienna.
  • 1938: Soviet and Japanese troops engage in bloody battles on the border of China and Soviet east Asia.
  • 1938: Europe is at the brink of war as Adolf Hitler makes territorial demands on Czechoslovakia. At a conference in Munich in September, leaders of France and Britain agree to grant Germany a section of Czechoslovakia with a large German-speaking population.
  • 1938: November 9, the Nazis stage Kristallnacht (Crystal Night or "night of broken glass"), in which homes, businesses, and synagogues of German Jews are destroyed.
  • 1939: Adolf Hitler violates the Munich agreement by taking over the remainder of Czechoslovakia by March 1939.
  • 1939: August 23, Germany and the Soviet Union sign the Nazi-Soviet Pact. The two countries promise not to attack each other and secretly agree to divide Poland after Germany conquers it.
  • 1939: World War II officially begins. Germany invades Poland on September 1; Britain and France declare war on Germany two days later. Poland surrenders on September 27.
    Timeline
  • 1939: Britain begins evacuating children from London to rural towns to protect them from German air raids.
  • 1939: Jews in German-occupied Poland are ordered to wear a yellow star at all times.
  • 1940: April 10, Germany invades Norway and Denmark. Denmark soon surrenders, but fighting continues in Norway, aided by British and French forces. The Norwegian government flees to Britain.
  • 1940: Winston Churchill becomes prime minister of Great Britain.
  • 1940: Germany invades the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France on May 10. The Netherlands surrenders on May 14 and Belgium on May 28.
  • 1940: Italy declares war on France and Britain and invades France on June 10.
  • 1940: French troops evacuate Paris on June 13 and German forces enter the city the next day. France signs an armistice with Germany on June 22. German troops occupy northern France, while a government friendly to Germany (Vichy France) has some independence in the south.
  • 1940: The Germans begin bombing England in a long air campaign called the Battle of Britain. The Germans are defeated by the fighter pilots of Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) and Hitler abandons plans to invade Britain.
  • 1940: Germany, Japan, and Italy sign a military alliance called the Tripartite Pact. Within six months, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria will also join the alliance.
  • 1941: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Act.
  • 1941: April 13, Japan and the Soviet Union sign a treaty promising that neither will attack the other.
    Timeline
  • 1941: June 22, Germany invades the Soviet Union in an offensive called Operation Barbarossa and quickly takes control of much of the country.
  • 1941: Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt meet aboard a warship off the coast of Newfoundland and issue the Atlantic Charter, in which they agree to promote peace and democracy around the world.
  • 1941: Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, falls to the German army on September 19. On September 29 and 30, thirty-three thousand Jews are killed at Babi Yar outside Kiev.
  • 1941: Japan bombs the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7. The United States and Britain declare war on Japan. Japan's allies, Germany and Italy, declare war on the United States on December 10.
  • 1942: In January, the U.S. Ration board announces rationing of rubber. In May, sugar is rationed. By the end of the year, gasoline is also being rationed.
  • 1942: Manila, capital of the Philippines, surrenders to the Japanese on January 2.
  • 1942: Executive Order 9066 directs all Japanese Americans living on the West Coast to internment camps.
  • 1942: May 6, American and Filipino troops on the island of Corregidor in Manila Bay surrender to the Japanese.
  • 1942: May 7, the U.S. Navy defeats the Japanese fleet in the Battle of the Coral Sea in the Pacific.
  • 1942: In May, 1,000 British bombers destroy Cologne, Germany's third largest city.
  • 1942: The Americans defeat the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Midway, June 4 to 7, in one of the most decisive naval battles in history.
  • 1942: In July, British bombers attack Germany's second largest city, Hamburg, on four straight nights, causing a firestorm that kills 30,000 civilians.
    Timeline
  • 1942: August 7, American troops land on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in the mid-Pacific, the first American offensive operation of the war.
  • 1942: In the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt, the British Eighth Army wins a strategic victory against Italian forces and the German Afrika Korps.
  • 1942: November 8, the Allies launch Operation Torch, an invasion of German-occupied North Africa that ends with the Germans being chased from the region.
  • 1943: January 31, the Germans surrender to the Russian troops at Stalingrad, marking a major turning point of the war.
  • 1943: Small groups of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto begin attacking German troops on April 19. They continue fighting for almost one month until the Germans have killed almost all of the Jewish resisters and completely destroyed the ghetto.
  • 1943: July 10, American, British, and Canadian troops land on Sicily, a large island south of the Italian mainland, and defeat German forces there.
  • 1943: Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is removed from office by the Fascist Grand Council on July 25 and tries to establish a separate government in northern Italy.
  • 1943: The Allies invade the Italian mainland on September 3; the new Italian government surrenders to the Allies on September 8.
  • 1944: June 6, Allied forces land in Normandy in the largest sea invasion in history, called Operation Overlord.
  • 1944: On the third anniversary of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, June 22, the Soviets launch a massive offensive called Operation Bagration, inflicting immense losses on the German army and driving them back almost 400 miles in a month.
    Timeline
  • 1944: July 20, a group of German army officers attempt to kill German leader Adolf Hitler and make peace with the Allies. Many of the conspirators, along with their families, are tortured and executed in retaliation.
  • 1944: August 25, Paris is liberated by Free French and American forces.
  • 1944: The largest naval battle in history, the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines, October 23 to 26, ends in the almost total destruction of the Japanese fleet.
  • 1944: December 16, the Germans launch a major counter-offensive against the Americans in the Ardennes Forest, known as the Battle of the Bulge.
  • 1945: January 12, the Soviets begin an offensive along the entire Polish front, entering Warsaw on January 17, and Lodz two days later. By February 1, they are within 100 miles of the German capital of Berlin.
  • 1945: January 18, the Nazis begin evacuating the Auschwitz death camp. Almost 60,000 surviving prisoners are forced on a death march out of the camp.
  • 1945: February 14, Allied raids on Dresden result in firestorms while the city is crammed with German refugees from the fighting farther east.
  • 1945: February 19, American Marines land on Iwo Jima in the Pacific.
  • 1945: March 7, American troops cross the Rhine River in Germany, the last natural obstacle between the Allied forces and Berlin.
  • 1945: American troops land on Okinawa on April 1, beginning the largest land battle of the Pacific war. The Japanese forces are defeated by June.
  • 1945: April 12, U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt dies; Harry S. Truman becomes president of the United States.
    Timeline
  • 1945: April 28, former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is captured by resistance fighters and executed.
  • 1945: With Soviet troops in the city limits, Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his fortified bunker beneath Berlin on April 30. The new German government surrenders unconditionally on May 8.
  • 1945: July 16, the first atomic bomb is tested in the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico.
  • 1945: August 6, the United States drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. A second bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9.
  • 1945: August 8, the Soviet Union declares war on Japan; a large Soviet force invades Manchuria the following day.
  • 1945: August 15, the Allies accept the unconditional surrender of Japan. Formal surrender papers are signed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2.
  • 1945: War crimes trials begin in Nuremberg, Germany, in November.
  • 1948: The Soviets block all overland traffic between Berlin and the Allied-controlled zones of Germany. Allies airlift food and fuel to West Berlin for eleven months.
  • 1949: The Soviets establish East Germany as a Communist state called the German Democratic Republic; France, England, and the United States join their power zones into a democratic state called the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany).
  • 1949: Communists led by Mao Zedong take control of China; Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists are forced into exile on Taiwan.
  • 1952: General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes president of the United States.
  • 1961: Communists build the Berlin Wall around East Berlin.
    Timeline
  • in order to stop East Germans seeking a higher standard of living from fleeing to West Germany through West Berlin.
  • 1988: The U.S. Congress formally apologizes to Japanese Americans for interning them in concentration camps during World War II. Living persons who spent time in the camps are offered a one-time payment of $20,000.
  • 1989: The Berlin Wall is destroyed.
  • 1990: East Germany and West Germany are reunited.
  • 1998: Volkswagen agrees to pay reparations to slave laborers who worked in their factories during the war.
  • 1999: Dinko Sakic, the last known living commander of a World War II concentration camp, is tried for war crimes.
    Timeline

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Unemployed workers turn to a German soup kitchen for a free meal. (Reproduced by permission of Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz)

Unemployed workers turn to a German soup kitchen for a free meal. (Reproduced by permission of Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz)

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German soldiers examining the remains of the burned Reichstag. (Reproduced by permission of Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz)

German soldiers examining the remains of the burned Reichstag. (Reproduced by permission of Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz)

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Adolf Hitler in Austria. (Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos)

Adolf Hitler in Austria. (Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos)

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The Polish Cavalry was no match against Germany's tanks. (Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos)

The Polish Cavalry was no match against Germany's tanks. (Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos)

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The Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor. (Reproduced by permission of the National Archives and Records Administration)

The Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor. (Reproduced by permission of the National Archives and Records Administration)

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American and Filipino troops surrender at Corregidor. (Reproduced by permission of the Corbis Corporation [Bellevue])

American and Filipino troops surrender at Corregidor. (Reproduced by permission of the Corbis Corporation [Bellevue])

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Survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising are rounded up at gunpoint. (Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos)

Survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising are rounded up at gunpoint. (Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos)

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|CX3411800008