World War two Timeline

Before the official beginning of World War II, many countries acted in an aggressive and warlike manner. In Germany, Adolf Hitler opened the first concentration camps as early as 1933 and became the “Fuhrer” or sole dictator of Germany in 1934.

In 1935, Benito Mussolini rose to power and became dictator of Italy. Both rulers quickly started enlarging their territory by taking over smaller countries. Germany took over Austria and Czechoslovakia while Mussolini absorbed Ethiopia and Abyssinia. Meanwhile, In Asia, The Chinese and Japanese armies were at war. Japan signed a treaty with Germany, adding British and French to their list of enemies.

There were two sides in the war:

  • Allied Powers (including U.S., Britain, France, USSR, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Yugoslavia), and
  • Axis Powers (including Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria).

World war 2 started in September 1939 when Germany attacked Poland. But, the United States did not enter the war until after the Japanese bombed the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941.

The Bloodiest Battles of World War II:

  • Battle of Stalingrad – From 23 August 1942 until 2 February 1943
  • Battle of Berlin – Fron 16 April until 2 May 1945

The key timeline of World War Two are:


  • August 23, 1939: Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin sign a nonaggression pact
  • In this agreement, the Soviet Union agrees to allow Germany to invade Poland as long as Germany ignores Russia’s invasion plans.
  • September 1, 1939: Germany invades Poland
  • September 3, 1939: Great Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany
  • September 5, 1939: The United States under Franklin D. Roosevelt declares neutrality. Roosevelt promises American that they will not go to war
  • September 10, 1939: Canada declares war on Germany. This is the beginning of the war in the Atlantic Ocean
  • September 29, 1939: Hitler and Stalin divide Poland
  • November 30, 1939: The Soviets attack Finland


  • April 1940: Germany Invades Norway and Denmark
  • May 1940: Germany invades the Netherland, Belgium and Luxembourg
  • May 10, 1940: Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain
  • June 1940: Germany invades and conquers France
  • July 1940: Germany begins to attack merchant ships in the Atlantic
  • In the Pacific, Japan begins to occupy French islands in the Pacific. The United States remains out of the war, but stops sending oil and other fuel to Japan
  • September 1940: Germany begins bombing London
  • They bomb London every night for 57 nights, killing more than 40,000 people. Germany, Italy and Japan sign a treaty promising to remain allies in the war against England and France
  • October 1940: Italy, with Germany’s help, invades Greece


  • March 1941: The United States begins lending England supplies, ammunition and other aid. President Roosevelt still refuses to send troops to aid in the war.
  • June 1941: Germany invades the Soviet Union. The United States freezes all German and Italian assets in United States banks.
  • September 1941: Germany begins the Siege of Leningrad. German troops cut off all supplies to the city for more than 2 years. During the siege, more than 500,000 people starve to death.
  • October 1941: Germany sinks a United States warship in the Northern Atlantic.
  • November 1941: The United States tells Japan to get out of China.
  • December 7, 1941: Japan attacks the United States when they bomb Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Japan also attacked the United States territories of Guam and Wake Island.
  • December 8, 1941: The United States and Britain declare war on Japan.
  • December 11, 1941: Germany declares war on the United States.


  • January 1942: Germany begins patrolling the east coast of the United States with U-Boats. The first United States troops arrive in Britain. Japan takes the Philippines and Manila. In Germany, the government begins the “Final Solution” of the Jews.
  • April 1942: Japanese soldiers force 76,000 prisoners to march to distant camps on the Bataan peninsula. Many soldiers die on the “Bataan Death March.” On the west coast of the United States, the military forces Japanese-Americans into Internment camps.
  • May 1942: United States warships stop Japanese warships that are heading for New Guinea.
  • June 1942: United States forces stop the Japanese fleet during the Battle of Midway. This was the turning point of the war in the Pacific. In Germany, The government begins gassing Jews in the concentration camps.
  • July 1942: In Poland, German forces deport all Jews from Warsaw to concentration camps.
  • August 1942: United States forces defeat Japanese forces in Guadalcanal.
  • September 1942: Japanese plane bombs forests in Oregon. This is the first bombing in the continental United States.
  • October 1942: The British Eighth Army defeats Germany in North Africa.


  • January 1943: The Australian Navy beats back Japanese forces, protecting Australia from Japanese invasion. The United States begins bombing Germany.
  • February 1943: Germany troops surrender in Stalingrad.
  • April 1943: United States forces break Japanese codes and learn about the movement of Japanese generals and officials. This gives the United States an advantage.
  • June 1943: A Japanese ship rams a PT boat. The future president John F. Kennedy survives the attack. In Europe, United States and British pilots begin round-the-clock bombing in Germany.
  • July 1943: United States and British troops land in Italy.
  • September 1943: Italy surrenders to the Allies. Germany invades Italy and forces United States and British troops back, rescuing Mussolini.
  • October 1943: Allied troops invade Naples, re-taking Italy. Italy declares war on Germany.


  • January 1944: Leningrad saved from siege.
  • June 6, 1944: D-Day United States and British troops land on the beaches of Normandy. This begins the liberation of Europe.
  • September 1944: The Japanese shoot down the plane of future president George Bush over Okinawa. Bush parachutes to safety.
  • December 1944: German forces attack Allied forces in the forest of Ardennes. It is called The Battle of the Bulge because it forces the Allied Army to bulge in their weakest point.


  • January 1945: Allied forces defeat the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge.
  • April 1945: Italian freedom fighters capture and kill Mussolini. Soviet Troops enter Berlin. Hitler dies. United States troops free the prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp.
  • May 7, 1945: Germany surrenders.
  • August 6, 1945: The United States drops the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.
  • August 9, 1945: The United States drops the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.
  • August 14, 1945: Japan surrenders, ending World War II.