World War II Timeline




A Chronology Of Events


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During the nearly six years that World War 2 raged, approximately 61 million individuals (miliary and civilian) lost their lives. Russia suffered more than any other nation, with nearly 25 million deaths, followed by China with 11 million and Germany with 7 million. The United States entered World War 2 after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. During the next four years, the U.S. lost 295,000 soldiers in death, and had a total of 405,399 American casualties (including wounded). In comparison, during the Civil War fought in the United States from 1861-1865, 624,511 individuals lost their lives.

April 14, 1939 President Roosevelt appeals for peace in Europe.
August 2, 1939 Albert Einstein writes letter to President Roosevelt about the possibility of constructing a nuclear bomb.
September 1, 1939 Germany invades Poland. Britain and France give Hitler ultimatum.

September 3, 1939 Great Britain and France declare war on Germany.
September 17, 1939 Soviet forces, under terms of a secret agreement with Germany, marched into Poland from the East.
November 4, 1939 United States passes Neutrality Act of 1939.

April 9, 1940 Germany invades Denmark and Norway.
May 10, 1940 German army invades Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
May 10, 1940 Chamberlain resigns as British Prime Minister; Winston Churchill becomes new Prime Minister.
May 11, 1940 Luxembourg falls to Germany.
May 12, 1940 Germans cross French frontier using air/tank/infantry "Blitzkrieg" tactics.
May 13, 1940 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivers the "Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat" speech before the House of Commons.
May 14, 1940 Netherlands falls to Germany.
May 28, 1940 Belgium surrenders to Germany


June 4, 1940 British and French troops evacuated to Great Britain at Dunkerque, France
June 10, 1940 Italy enters war on the side of Germany, declares war on UK and France. Italy invades France.
June 14, 1940 Germans enter Paris.
June 22, 1940 France and Germany sign armistice at Compiègne.
August 1940 Italy attacks British territory in North Africa, conquers Somaliland.
September 2, 1940 President Roosevelt transfers fifty "over-age" destroyers to Great Britain in exchange for ninety-nine year leases on eight naval and air bases.


September 16, 1940 Congress passes the Selective Training and Service Act (Burke-Wadsworth Act), requiring registration for military service of all men between 21 and 35 years old.
September 27, 1940 Germany, Italy and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact in Berlin.
November 14, 1940 Germany bombs Coventry, England.
January 6, 1941 President Roosevelt delivers his annual message to Congress, calling for a world founded on freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. ("Four Freedoms Speech")
March 11, 1941 Congress passes the Lend-Lease Act.
April 6, 1941 German forces invade Greece and Yugoslavia

April 9, 1941 United States signs agreement with Denmark to protect Greenland from invasion in exchange for the right to establish a base there.
June 22, 1941 Germany invades the Soviet Union.
July 1941 United States establishes a military base in Iceland.
August 14, 1941 United States and Great Britain set forth the Atlantic Charter, which announces their post-war objectives.

October 31, 1941 German submarine sinks the American destroyer Reuben James, killing seventy-six.
October 17, 1941 General Hideki Tojo becomes prime minister of Japan.
November 1941 Congress authorizes arming of American merchant ships.

December 7, 1941 Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Philippines, and Guam; U.S. Pacific fleet crippled
December 8, 1941 President Roosevelt addresses the Congress, asking for a declaration of war against Japan.
December 8, 1941 U. S. Congress declares war on Japan
December 11, 1941 Germany and Italy declare war on U. S.
December 11, 1941 United States declares war on Germany.

February 15, 1942 British surrender Singapore to Japanese.
February 19, 1942 President Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066 forcing many Japanese and Japanese Americans in western U.S. to be exiled to "relocation centers." (Japanese Relocation Order)
March 21, 1942 Congress passes legislation supporting Roosevelt's Japanese Relocation Order.
April 9, 1942 U.S. forces on Bataan peninsula in Philippines surrender.

April 18, 1942 American airplanes bomb Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kobe.
June 4-6, 1942 1942 Battle of Midway ends Japanese expansion east.
August 7, 1942 United States Marines land on Guadalcanal

November 8, 1942 British and America troops land in Morocco (North Africa)
November 17, 1942 Roosevelt makes statement on North African policy.
November 19, 1942 Soviets counterattack Germany at Stalingrad
February 12, 1943 President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill meet at Casablanca in French Morocco and agree to fight for an "unconditional surrender" of the Axis nations.
September 3, 1943 Allied troops land on Italian mainland after conquest of Sicily.
September 8, 1943 Italy surrenders.

September 21, 1943 House of Representatives approves a resolution by Representative William Fulbright (AR) which called for "the creation of appropriate international machinery with power adequate to establish and maintain a just and lasting peace."
October 1943 Moscow Conference and Declaration signed by United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union and China.
November 1943 Roosevelt and Churchill meet with Generalisimo Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo.
December 1, 1943 Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin meet for the first time at the Tehran Conference.
June 4, 1944 U.S. and British troops enter Rome.
June 6, 1944 Allied troops cross the English Channel and land on beaches in Normandy, France (D-Day)
June 13, 1944 First German V-I guided missile falls on London.

July 20, 1944 Hitler wounded in bomb plot.
July 22, 1944 Representatives of 44 nations conclude the Bretton Woods Agreement recommending the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD or World Bank), and requiring free trade among the member nations.
August 25, 1944 Paris liberated.
August 26, 1944 General Eisenhower announces the destruction of the German Seventh Army.
October 20, 1944 Americans invade Philippines.
December 16, 1944 Germans launch counteroffensive in BelgiumBattle of the Bulge.
January 1944 Army releases all loyal Japanese-Americans from internment camps.
February 1944 Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin meet in Yalta in the Crimea. (Yalta Conference)

April 12, 1945 President Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage. Truman becomes president
April 28, 1945 Mussolini killed at Lake Como.
May 1, 1945 Admiral Doenitz takes command in Germany; suicide of Hitler announced.
May 7, 1945 Germany surrenders unconditionally in Rheims, France
May 8, 1945 V-E (Victory in Europe) day.

June 26, 1945 United Nations Charter signed.
June 11, 1945 Panel of seven scientists issues a report to the U.S. secretary of war urging the United States not to use nuclear bombs against Japan, but rather to demonstrate a nuclear explosion before representatives of the United Nations to convince Japan to surrender. (Franck Report)
July 1945 Potsdam Conference in Potsdam, Germany.

August 6, 1945 First atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. President Truman broadcasts address to the nation from the SS Augusta.
August 8, 1945 U.S.S.R. declares war on Japan.
August 9, 1945 Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki
August 14, 1945 President Truman announces that hostilities between U.S. and Japan have ended.
September 2, 1945 Japanese delegation signs surrender documents aboard the battleship Missouri. President Truman declares V-J (Victory over Japan) day.
October 4, 1945 Military occupation of Japan.

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