The History Place - World War II in Europe

Timeline with Photos and Text

Jump to: 1939 - 1940 - 1941 - 1942 - 1943 - 1944 - 1945

1918

November 11 - World War I ends with German defeat.

1919

April 28 - League of Nations founded.
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June 28 - Signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

1921

July 29 - Adolf Hitler becomes leader of National Socialist (Nazi) Party.

1923

November 8/9 - Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch.

1925

July 18 - Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" published.

1926

September 8 - Germany admitted to League of Nations.

1929

October 29 - Stock Market on Wall Street crashes.

1930

September 14 - Germans elect Nazis making them the 2nd largest political party in Germany.

1932

November 8 - Franklin Roosevelt elected President of the United States.

1933

January 30 - Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.

February 27 - The German Reichstag burns.

March 12 - First concentration camp opened at Oranienburg outside Berlin.

March 23 - Enabling Act gives Hitler dictatorial power.

April 1 - Nazi boycott of Jewish owned shops.

May 10 - Nazis burn books in Germany.

In June - Nazis open Dachau concentration camp.

July 14 - Nazi Party declared Germany's only political party.

October 14 - Germany quits the League of Nations.

1934

June 30 - The Nazi "Night of the Long Knives."

July 25 - Nazis murder Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss.

August 2 - German President Hindenburg dies.

August 19 - Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of Germany.

1935

March 16 - Hitler violates the Treaty of Versailles by introducing military conscription.

September 15 - German Jews stripped of rights by Nuremberg Race Laws.

1936

February 10 - The German Gestapo is placed above the law.

March 7 - German troops occupy the Rhineland.

May 9 - Mussolini's Italian forces take Ethiopia.

July 18 - Civil war erupts in Spain.

August 1 - Olympic games begin in Berlin.

October 1 - Franco declared head of Spanish State.

1937

June 11 - Soviet leader Josef Stalin begins a purge of Red Army generals.

November 5 - Hitler reveals war plans during Hossbach Conference.

1938

March 12/13 - Germany announces 'Anschluss' (union) with Austria.

August 12 - German military mobilizes.

September 30 - British Prime Minister Chamberlain appeases Hitler at Munich.

October 15 - German troops occupy the Sudetenland; Czech government resigns.

November 9/10 - Kristallnacht - The Night of Broken Glass.

See also: The History Place - Holocaust Timeline

1939  Return to Top of Page

January 30, 1939 - Hitler threatens Jews during Reichstag speech.

March 15/16 - Nazis take Czechoslovakia.

March 28, 1939 - Spanish Civil war ends.

May 22, 1939 - Nazis sign 'Pact of Steel' with Italy.

August 23, 1939 - Nazis and Soviets sign Pact.

August 25, 1939 - Britain and Poland sign a Mutual Assistance Treaty.

August 31, 1939 - British fleet mobilizes; Civilian evacuations begin from London.

September 1, 1939 - Nazis invade Poland.

September 3, 1939 - Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany.

September 4, 1939 - British Royal Air Force attacks the German Navy.

September 5, 1939 - United States proclaims its neutrality; German troops cross the Vistula River in Poland.

September 10, 1939 - Canada declares war on Germany; Battle of the Atlantic begins.

September 17, 1939 - Soviets invade Poland.

September 27, 1939 - Warsaw surrenders to Nazis; Reinhard Heydrich becomes the leader of new Reich Main Security Office (RSHA).

See also: The History Place - Biography of Reinhard Heydrich.

September 29, 1939 - Nazis and Soviets divide up Poland.

In October - Nazis begin euthanasia on sick and disabled in Germany.

November 8, 1939 - Assassination attempt on Hitler fails.

November 30, 1939 - Soviets attack Finland.

December 14, 1939 - Soviet Union expelled from the League of Nations.

1940  Return to Top of Page

January 8, 1940 - Rationing begins in Britain.

March 12, 1940 - Finland signs a peace treaty with Soviets.

March 16, 1940 - Germans bomb Scapa Flow naval base near Scotland.

April 9, 1940 - Nazis invade Denmark and Norway.

May 10, 1940 - Nazis invade France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister.

May 15, 1940 - Holland surrenders to the Nazis.

May 26, 1940 - Evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk begins.

May 28, 1940 - Belgium surrenders to the Nazis.

June 3, 1940 - Germans bomb Paris; Dunkirk evacuation ends.

June 10, 1940 - Norway surrenders to the Nazis; Italy declares war on Britain and France.

June 14, 1940 - Germans enter Paris.

June 16, 1940 - Marshal Pétain becomes French Prime Minister.

June 18, 1940 - Hitler and Mussolini meet in Munich; Soviets begin occupation of the Baltic States.

June 22, 1940 - France signs an armistice with Nazi Germany.

June 23, 1940 - Hitler tours Paris.

June 28, 1940 - Britain recognizes General Charles de Gaulle as the Free French leader.

July 1, 1940 - German U-boats attack merchant ships in the Atlantic.

July 5, 1940 - French Vichy government breaks off relations with Britain.

July 10, 1940 - Battle of Britain begins.

July 23, 1940 - Soviets take Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

August 3-19 - Italians occupy British Somaliland in East Africa.

August 13, 1940 - German bombing offensive against airfields and factories in England.

August 15, 1940 - Air battles and daylight raids over Britain.

August 17, 1940 - Hitler declares a blockade of the British Isles.

August 23/24 - First German air raids on Central London.

August 25/26 - First British air raid on Berlin.

September 3, 1940 - Hitler plans Operation Sea Lion (the invasion of Britain).

September 7, 1940 - German Blitz against Britain begins.

September 13, 1940 - Italians invade Egypt.

September 15, 1940 - Massive German air raids on London, Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool and Manchester.

September 16, 1940 - United States military conscription bill passed.

September 27, 1940 - Tripartite (Axis) Pact signed by Germany, Italy and Japan.

October 7, 1940 - German troops enter Romania.

October 12, 1940 - Germans postpone Operation Sea Lion until Spring of 1941.

October 28, 1940 - Italy invades Greece.

November 5, 1940 - Roosevelt re-elected as U.S. president.

November 10/11 - Torpedo bomber raid cripples the Italian fleet at Taranto, Italy.

November 14/15 - Germans bomb Coventry, England.

November 20, 1940 - Hungary joins the Axis Powers.

November 22, 1940 - Greeks defeat the Italian 9th Army.

November 23, 1940 - Romania joins the Axis Powers.

December 9/10 - British begin a western desert offensive in North Africa against the Italians.

December 29/30 - Massive German air raid on London.

1941  Return to Top of Page

January 22, 1941 - Tobruk in North Africa falls to the British and Australians.

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February 11, 1941 - British forces advance into Italian Somaliland in East Africa.

February 12, 1941 - German General Erwin Rommel arrives in Tripoli, North Africa.

February 14, 1941 - First units of German 'Afrika Korps' arrive in North Africa.

March 7, 1941 - British forces arrive in Greece.

March 11, 1941 - President Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Act.

March 27, 1941 - A coup in Yugoslavia overthrows the pro-Axis government.

April 3, 1941 - Pro-Axis regime set up in Iraq.

April 6, 1941 - Nazis invade Greece and Yugoslavia.

April 14, 1941 - Rommel attacks Tobruk.

April 17, 1941 - Yugoslavia surrenders to the Nazis.

April 27, 1941 - Greece surrenders to the Nazis.

May 1, 1941 - German attack on Tobruk is repulsed.

May 10, 1941 - Deputy Führer Rudolph Hess flies to Scotland.

See also: The History Place - Biography of Rudolph Hess

May 10/11 - Heavy German bombing of London; British bomb Hamburg.

May 15, 1941 - Operation Brevity begins (the British counter-attack in Egypt).

May 24, 1941 - Sinking of the British ship Hood by the Bismarck.

May 27, 1941 - Sinking of the Bismarck by the British Navy.

June 4, 1941 - Pro-Allied government installed in Iraq.

June 8, 1941 - Allies invade Syria and Lebanon.

June 14, 1941 - United States freezes German and Italian assets in America.

June 22, 1941 - Germany attacks Soviet Union as Operation Barbarossa begins.

In June - Nazi SS-Einsatzgruppen begin mass murder.

June 28, 1941 - Germans capture Minsk.

July 3, 1941 - Stalin calls for a scorched earth policy.

July 10, 1941 - Germans cross the River Dnieper in the Ukraine.

July 12, 1941 - Mutual Assistance agreement between British and Soviets.

July 14, 1941 - British occupy Syria.

July 26, 1941 - Roosevelt freezes Japanese assets in United States and suspends relations.

July 31, 1941 - Göring instructs Heydrich to prepare for the Final Solution.

August 1, 1941 - United States announces an oil embargo against aggressor states.

August 14, 1941 - Roosevelt and Churchill announce the Atlantic Charter.

August 20, 1941 - Nazi siege of Leningrad begins.

September 1, 1941 - Nazis order Jews to wear yellow stars.

September 3, 1941 - First experimental use of gas chambers at Auschwitz.

September 19, 1941 - Nazis take Kiev.

September 29, 1941 - Nazis murder 33,771 Jews at Kiev.

October 2, 1941 - Operation Typhoon begins (German advance on Moscow).

October 16, 1941 - Germans take Odessa.

October 24, 1941 - Germans take Kharkov.

October 30, 1941 - Germans reach Sevastopol.

November 13, 1941 - British aircraft carrier Ark Royal is sunk off Gibraltar by a U-boat.

November 20, 1941 - Germans take Rostov.

November 27, 1941 - Soviet troops retake Rostov.

December 5, 1941 - German attack on Moscow is abandoned.

December 6, 1941 - Soviet Army launches a major counter-offensive around Moscow.

December 7, 1941 - Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor; Hitler issues the Night and Fog decree.

December 8, 1941 - United States and Britain declare war on Japan.

December 11, 1941 - Hitler declares war on the United States.

December 16, 1941 - Rommel begins a retreat to El Agheila in North Africa.

December 19, 1941 - Hitler takes complete control of the German Army.

1942  Return to Top of Page

January 1, 1942 - Declaration of the United Nations signed by 26 Allied nations.

January 13, 1942 - Germans begin a U-boat offensive along east coast of USA.

January 20, 1942 - SS Leader Heydrich holds the Wannsee Conference to coordinate the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question."

January 21, 1942 - Rommel's counter-offensive from El Agheila begins.

January 26, 1942 - First American forces arrive in Great Britain.

In April - Japanese-Americans sent to relocation centers.

April 23, 1942 - German air raids begin against cathedral cities in Britain.

May 8, 1942 - German summer offensive begins in the Crimea.

May 26, 1942 - Rommel begins an offensive against the Gazala Line.

May 27, 1942 - SS Leader Heydrich attacked in Prague.

May 30, 1942 - First thousand-bomber British air raid (against Cologne).

In June - Mass murder of Jews by gassing begins at Auschwitz.

June 4, 1942 - Heydrich dies of wounds.

June 5, 1942 - Germans besiege Sevastopol.

June 10, 1942 - Nazis liquidate Lidice in reprisal for Heydrich's assassination.

June 21, 1942 - Rommel captures Tobruk.

June 25, 1942 - General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrives in London.

June 30, 1942 - Rommel reaches El Alamein near Cairo, Egypt.

July 1-30 - First Battle of El Alamein.

July 3, 1942 - Germans take Sevastopol.

July 5, 1942 - Soviet resistance in the Crimea ends.

July 9, 1942 - Germans begin a drive toward Stalingrad in the USSR.

July 22, 1942 - First deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto to concentration camps; Treblinka extermination camp opened.

August 7, 1942 - British General Bernard Montgomery takes command of Eighth Army in North Africa.

August 12, 1942 - Stalin and Churchill meet in Moscow.

August 17, 1942 - First all-American air attack in Europe.

August 23, 1942 - Massive German air raid on Stalingrad.

September 2, 1942 - Rommel driven back by Montgomery in the Battle of Alam Halfa.

September 13, 1942 - Battle of Stalingrad begins.

October 5, 1942 - A German eyewitness observes SS mass murder.

October 18, 1942 - Hitler orders the execution of all captured British commandos.

November 1, 1942 - Operation Supercharge (Allies break Axis lines at El Alamein).

November 8, 1942 - Operation Torch begins (U.S. invasion of North Africa).

November 11, 1942 - Germans and Italians invade unoccupied Vichy France.

November 19, 1942 - Soviet counter-offensive at Stalingrad begins.

December 2, 1942 - Professor Enrico Fermi sets up an atomic reactor in Chicago.

December 13, 1942 - Rommel withdraws from El Agheila.

December 16, 1942 - Soviets defeat Italian troops on the River Don in the USSR.

December 17, 1942 - British Foreign Secretary Eden tells the British House of Commons of mass executions of Jews by Nazis; U.S. declares those crimes will be avenged.

December 31, 1942 - Battle of the Barents Sea between German and British ships.

1943  Return to Top of Page

January 2/3 - Germans begin a withdrawal from the Caucasus.

January 10, 1943 - Soviets begin an offensive against the Germans in Stalingrad.

January 14-24 - Casablanca conference between Churchill and Roosevelt. During the conference, Roosevelt announces the war can end only with "unconditional German surrender."

January 23, 1943 - Montgomery's Eighth Army takes Tripoli.

January 27, 1943 - First bombing raid by Americans on Germany (at Wilhelmshaven).

February 2, 1943 - Germans surrender at Stalingrad in the first big defeat of Hitler's armies.

February 8, 1943 - Soviet troops take Kursk.

February 14-25 - Battle of Kasserine Pass between the U.S. 1st Armored Division and German Panzers in North Africa.

February 16, 1943 - Soviets re-take Kharkov.

February 18, 1943 - Nazis arrest White Rose resistance leaders in Munich.

March 2, 1943 - Germans begin a withdrawal from Tunisia, Africa.

March 15, 1943 - Germans re-capture Kharkov.

March 16-20 - Battle of Atlantic climaxes with 27 merchant ships sunk by German U-boats.

March 20-28 - Montgomery's Eighth Army breaks through the Mareth Line in Tunisia.

April 6/7 - Axis forces in Tunisia begin a withdrawal toward Enfidaville as American and British forces link.

April 19, 1943 - Waffen-SS attacks Jewish resistance in the Warsaw ghetto.

May 7, 1943 - Allies take Tunisia.

May 13, 1943 - German and Italian troops surrender in North Africa.

May 16, 1943 - Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto ends.

May 16/17 - British air raid on the Ruhr.

May 22, 1943 - Dönitz suspends U-boat operations in the North Atlantic.

June 10, 1943 - 'Pointblank' directive to improve Allied bombing strategy issued.

June 11, 1943 - Himmler orders the liquidation of all Jewish ghettos in Poland.

July 5, 1943 - Germans begin their last offensive against Kursk.

July 9/10 - Allies land in Sicily.

July 19, 1943 - Allies bomb Rome.

July 22, 1943 - Americans capture Palermo, Sicily.

July 24, 1943 - British bombing raid on Hamburg.

July 25/26 - Mussolini arrested and the Italian Fascist government falls; Marshal Pietro Badoglio takes over and negotiates with Allies.

July 27/28 - Allied air raid causes a firestorm in Hamburg.

August 12-17 - Germans evacuate Sicily.

August 17, 1943 - American daylight air raids on Regensburg and Schweinfurt in Germany; Allies reach Messina, Sicily.

August 23, 1943 - Soviet troops recapture Kharkov.

September 8, 1943 - Italian surrender to Allies is announced.

September 9, 1943 - Allied landings at Salerno and Taranto.

September 11, 1943 - Germans occupy Rome.

September 12, 1943 - Germans rescue Mussolini.

September 23, 1943 - Mussolini re-establishes a Fascist government.

October 1, 1943 - Allies enter Naples, Italy.

October 4, 1943 - SS-Reichsführer Himmler gives speech at Posen.

October 13, 1943 - Italy declares war on Germany; Second American air raid on Schweinfurt.

November 6, 1943 - Russians recapture Kiev in the Ukraine.

November 18, 1943 - Large British air raid on Berlin.

November 28, 1943 - Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin meet at Teheran.

December 24-26 - Soviets launch offensives on the Ukrainian front.

1944  Return to Top of Page

January 6, 1944 - Soviet troops advance into Poland.

January 17, 1944 - First attack toward Cassino, Italy.

January 22, 1944 - Allies land at Anzio in Italy.

January 27, 1944 - Leningrad relieved after a 900-day siege.

February 15-18 - Allies bomb the monastery at Monte Cassino.

February 16, 1944 - Germans counter-attack against the Anzio beachhead.

March 4, 1944 - Soviet troops begin an offensive on the Belorussian front; First major daylight bombing raid on Berlin by the Allies.

March 15, 1944 - Second Allied attempt to capture Monte Cassino begins.

March 18, 1944 - British drop 3000 tons of bombs during an air raid on Hamburg, Germany.

April 8, 1944 - Soviet troops begin an offensive to liberate Crimea.

May 9, 1944 - Soviet troops recapture Sevastopol.

May 11, 1944 - Allies attack the Gustav Line south of Rome.

May 12, 1944 - Germans surrender in the Crimea.

May 15, 1944 - Germans withdraw to the Adolf Hitler Line.

May 25, 1944 - Germans retreat from Anzio.

June 5, 1944 - Allies enter Rome.

June 6, 1944 - D-Day landings on the northern coast of France.

June 9, 1944 - Soviet offensive against the Finnish front begins.

June 10, 1944 - Nazis liquidate the town of Oradour-sur-Glane in France.

June 13, 1944 - First German V-1 rocket attack on Britain.

June 22, 1944 - Operation Bagration begins (the Soviet summer offensive).

June 27, 1944 - U.S. troops liberate Cherbourg, France.

July 3, 1944 - 'Battle of the Hedgerows' in Normandy; Soviets capture Minsk.

July 9, 1944 - British and Canadian troops capture Caen, France.

July 18, 1944 - U.S. troops reach St. Lô, France.

July 20, 1944 - Assassination attempt by German Army officers against Hitler fails.

July 24, 1944 - Soviet troops liberate first concentration camp at Majdanek.

July 25-30 - Operation Cobra (U.S. troops break out west of St. Lô).

July 28, 1944 - Soviet troops take Brest-Litovsk. U.S. troops take Coutances.

August 1, 1944 - Polish Home Army uprising against Nazis in Warsaw begins; U.S. troops reach Avranches.

August 4, 1944 - Anne Frank and family arrested by the Gestapo in Amsterdam, Holland.

August 7, 1944 - Germans begin a major counter-attack toward Avranches.

August 15, 1944 - Operation Dragoon begins (the Allied invasion of Southern France).

August 19, 1944 - Resistance uprising in Paris.

August 19/20 - Soviet offensive in the Balkans begins with an attack on Romania.

August 20, 1944 - Allies encircle Germans in the Falaise Pocket.

August 25, 1944 - Liberation of Paris.

August 29, 1944 - Slovak uprising begins.

August 31, 1944 - Soviet troops take Bucharest.

September 1-4 - Verdun, Dieppe, Artois, Rouen, Abbeville, Antwerp and Brussels liberated by Allies.

September 4, 1944 - Finland and the Soviet Union agree to a cease-fire.

September 13, 1944 - U.S. troops reach the Siegfried Line in western Germany.

September 17, 1944 - Operation Market Garden begins (Allied airborne assault on Holland).

September 26, 1944 - Soviet troops occupy Estonia.

October 2, 1944 - Warsaw Uprising ends as the Polish Home Army surrenders to the Germans.

October 10-29 - Soviet troops capture Riga.

October 14, 1944 - Allies liberate Athens; Rommel commits suicide.

October 21, 1944 - Massive German surrender at Aachen, Germany.

October 30, 1944 - Last use of gas chambers at Auschwitz.

November 20, 1944 - French troops drive through the 'Beffort Gap' to reach the Rhine.

November 24, 1944 - French capture Strasbourg.

December 4, 1944 - Civil War in Greece; Athens placed under martial law.

December 16-27 - Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes.

December 17, 1944 - Waffen-SS murder 81 U.S. POWs at Malmedy.

December 26, 1944 - Patton relieves Bastogne.

December 27, 1944 - Soviet troops besiege Budapest.

1945  Return to Top of Page

January 1-17 - Germans withdraw from the Ardennes.

January 16, 1945 - U.S. 1st and 3rd Armies link up after a month long separation during the Battle of the Bulge.

January 17, 1945 - Soviet troops capture Warsaw, Poland.

January 26, 1945 - Soviet troops liberate Auschwitz.

February 4-11 - Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin meet at Yalta.

February 13/14 - Dresden is destroyed by a firestorm after Allied bombing raids.

March 6, 1945 - Last German offensive of the war begins to defend oil fields in Hungary.

March 7, 1945 - Allies take Cologne and establish a bridge across the Rhine at Remagen.

March 30, 1945 - Soviet troops capture Danzig.

In April - Allies discover stolen Nazi art and wealth hidden in German salt mines.

April 1, 1945 - U.S. troops encircle Germans in the Ruhr; Allied offensive in northern Italy.

April 12, 1945 - Allies liberate Buchenwald and Belsen concentration camps; President Roosevelt dies. Harry Truman becomes President.

April 16, 1945 - Soviet troops begin their final attack on Berlin; Americans enter Nuremberg.

April 18, 1945 - German forces in the Ruhr surrender.

April 21, 1945 - Soviets reach Berlin.

April 28, 1945 - Mussolini is captured and hanged by Italian partisans; Allies take Venice.

April 29, 1945 - U.S. 7th Army liberates Dachau.

April 30, 1945 - Adolf Hitler commits suicide.

May 2, 1945 - German troops in Italy surrender.

May 7, 1945 - Unconditional surrender of all German forces to Allies.

May 8, 1945 - V-E (Victory in Europe) Day.

May 9, 1945 - Hermann Göring is captured by members of the U.S. 7th Army.

May 23, 1945 - SS-Reichsführer Himmler commits suicide; German High Command and Provisional Government imprisoned.

June 5, 1945 - Allies divide up Germany and Berlin and take over the government.

June 26, 1945 - United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco.

July 1, 1945 - American, British, and French troops move into Berlin.

July 16, 1945 - First U.S. atomic bomb test; Potsdam Conference begins.

July 26, 1945 - Atlee succeeds Churchill as British Prime Minister.

August 6, 1945 - First atomic bomb dropped, on Hiroshima, Japan.

August 8, 1945 - Soviets declares war on Japan and invade Manchuria.

August 9, 1945 - Second atomic bomb dropped, on Nagasaki, Japan.

August 14, 1945 - Japanese agree to unconditional surrender.

September 2, 1945 - Japanese sign the surrender agreement;  V-J (Victory over Japan) Day.

October 24, 1945 - United Nations is born.

November 20, 1945 - Nuremberg war crimes trials begin.

1946  

October 16 - Hermann Göring commits suicide two hours before his scheduled execution.

Statistics of World War II

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See also: The History Place three-part narrative history of Adolf Hitler (62 chapters)
I. The Rise of Hitler - from unknown to dictator of Germany.
II. The Triumph of Hitler - the prewar years of Nazi Germany.
III. The Defeat of Hitler - the quest for a Nazi empire.

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