Chronology of the Second World War

(The information presented here is taken from the Spartacus educational website (minor editing done). 

All links are to pages on that web site.)

 

Event

Date

Adolf Hitler demands the free city of Danzig in Poland.

21-Mar-1939

Britain and France pledge to support Poland.

29-Mar-1939

Italy invades and occupies Albania.

07-Apr-1939

Britain and France pledge to support Romania and Greece.

13-Apr-1939

Soviet Union proposes a triple alliance with Britain and France.

18-Apr-1939

Sweden, Norway and Finland reject Germany's offer of non-aggression pacts.

17-May-1939

Winston Churchill urges the government to form a military alliance with the Soviet Union.

09-Jul-1939

Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler sign the Nazi-Soviet Pact.

23-Aug-1939

Britain and Poland sign a treaty of mutual assistance.

25-Aug-1939

The German Army invades Poland and annexes the free city of Danzig.

01-Sep-1939

Britain and France declare war on Nazi Germany.

03-Sep-1939

Parliament passes the National Services (Armed Forces) Act.

03-Sep-1939

Neville Chamberlain appoints Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty.

03-Sep-1939

The German Army reaches the city of Brest-Litovsk on the Polish border with the Soviet Union.

17-Sep-1939

The Red Army invades Poland.

17-Sep-1939

Reinhard Heydrich announces that all Jews in Poland are to be imprisoned in Ghettos.

21-Sep-1939

The Polish Army surrenders in Warsaw.

27-Sep-1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt announces that the USA will remain neutral in the European war.

03-Oct-1939

The British battleship Royal Oak is sunk by U-boat captained by Gunther Prien.

14-Oct-1939

The Schutz Staffeinel (SS) establish the first Jewish Ghetto in Piotrkow.

28-Oct-1939

Germany formally annexes western Poland into the German Reich.

01-Nov-1939

Joseph Stalin formally annexes eastern Poland into the Soviet Union.

02-Nov-1939

The Red Army invades Finland.

30-Nov-1939

The Soviet Union is expelled from the League of Nations.

14-Dec-1939

The Red Army attacks the Mannerheim Line in Finland.

11-Feb-1940

Finland signs a peace treaty with the Soviet Union.

12-Mar-1940

Paul Reynaud replaces Edouard Daladier as prime minister of France.

20-Mar-1940

Britain and France agree not to sign a separate peace with Nazi Germany.

28-Mar-1940

Neville Chamberlain appoints Lord Beaverbrook as minister of aircraft production.

03-Apr-1940

Soldiers in the British Army land at Namsos in Norway.

08-Apr-1940

The German Army invades Denmark and Norway.

09-Apr-1940

Adolf Hitler launches his Western Offensive and invades France.

10-May-1940

Neville Chamberlain resigns as prime minister and is replaced by Winston Churchill.

10-May-1940

Anthony Eden announces the formation of the Home Guard.

14-May-1940

Netherlands surrenders and Queen Wilhelmina flees to England.

14-May-1940

Parliament grants Winston Churchill and his government wide emergency powers.

22-May-1940

General Gerd von Rundstedt and the German Army pierce the French defenses at Sedan.

23-May-1940

Adolf Hitler orders the German forces in France and Belgium to halt their advance.

23-May-1940

Adolf Hitler orders the German forces in resume their advance into France and Belgium.

25-May-1940

Evacuation from Dunkirk begins.

27-May-1940

Belgium surrender to the German Army and Leopold III is arrested.

28-May-1940

Winston Churchill appoints Stafford Cripps as British ambassador to the Soviet Union.

30-May-1940

The last of the 338,000 British, French and Belgian forces evacuated from Dunkirk.

04-Jun-1940

J. B. Priestley gives first BBC radio broadcast.

05-Jun-1940

Benito Mussolini declares war on the Allies.

10-Jun-1940

Gotthard Heinrici and the 12th Corps break through the Maginot Line.

14-Jun-1940

The German Army enters Paris.

14-Jun-1940

The USA rejects France's renewed appeal for help against the German Army.

15-Jun-1940

Henri-Philippe Petain begins to negotiate an armistice with Germany.

17-Jun-1940

France signs armistice with Nazi Germany and is divided into two zones.

22-Jun-1940

Winston Churchill recognizes Charles De Gaulle as leader of the Free French.

28-Jun-1940

The Royal Navy destroys most of the French Navy at Mers-el-Kébir.

03-Jul-1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt bans the shipment of strategic materials to Japan.

05-Jul-1940

Ark Royal sinks Dunkerqueat at Mers-el-Kébir.

06-Jul-1940

The Luftwaffe launch the start of the Battle of Britain.

10-Jul-1940

Henri-Philippe Petain becomes president of Vichy France.

11-Jul-1940

Winston Churchill invites Hugh Dalton to establish the Special Operations Executive.

16-Jul-1940

The Italian Army advances into British Somaliland.

03-Aug-1940

The Luftwaffe began attacking RAF Fighter Command's aircraft, airfields and installations.

13-Aug-1940

The Luftwaffe carry out a all-night bombing raid on London and begins the Blitz.

23-Aug-1940

The Royal Air Force bombs Berlin.

25-Aug-1940

Rodolfo Graziani and Italian Army make a rapid advance into Egypt.

13-Sep-1940

City of Bernares sunk by a German torpedo killing 73 children on the way to Canada.

17-Sep-1940

Winston Churchill decides to abandon the attempt to capture the port of Dakar.

25-Sep-1940

Vidkun Quisling installed by the Germans as prime minister of Norway.

25-Sep-1940

Yosuke Matsuoka of Japan signs the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Italy.

27-Sep-1940

Winston Churchill appoints Kingsley Wood as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

03-Oct-1940

Winston Churchill appoints Ernest Bevin as Minister of Labour.

03-Oct-1940

Adolf Hitler postpones Operation Sealion.

12-Oct-1940

Adolf Hitler meets Francisco Franco an attempt to persuade Spain to join the war.

23-Oct-1940

The Mustang P-51B makes its first flight.

26-Oct-1940

The Italian Army invades Greece.

28-Oct-1940

The Royal Navy attacks the Italian Navy at Taranto.

11-Nov-1940

The Luftwaffe bomb Coventry killing 380 people and injuring 865.

14-Nov-1940

The Royal Air Force bomb Hamburg in Germany.

16-Nov-1940

Airborne radar successfully used by the Royal Air Force for the first time.

18-Nov-1940

British Army captures Tobruk.

22-Jan-1941

Bulgaria signs the Tripartite Pact and joins forces with Germany, Italy and Japan.

01-Mar-1941

The British Army invades Italian-controlled Ethiopia.

07-Mar-1941

US Congress passes the Lend-Lease Act.

11-Mar-1941

General Erwin Rommel mounts his first attack in the Desert War.

24-Mar-1941

General Andrew Cunningham, commander of allied forces in East Africa, enters Addis Ababa..

06-Apr-1941

Italian Army in Ethiopia surrenders to Allied forces.

06-Apr-1941

Germany, Italy and Bulgaria invade Yugoslavia.

10-Apr-1941

General Paul von Kleist and the 1st Panzer Group enter Belgrade.

12-Apr-1941

Yosuke Matsuoka of Japan signs non-aggression pact with Soviet Union.

14-Apr-1941

Yugoslavia surrenders to the German Army.

17-Apr-1941

Marmaduke Pattle, RAF's leading war ace, killed while fighting in Greece.

20-Apr-1941

Greece surrenders to the German Army.

21-Apr-1941

General Erwin Rommel and his army enter Egypt.

25-Apr-1941

The Luftwaffe destroy the House of Commons in Westminster.

10-May-1941

Rudolf Hess flies to Scotland and is arrested by the authorities.

10-May-1941

Frank Whittle's jet-propelled Gloster E28 takes its first flight.

15-May-1941

The Bismarck sinks the British battlecruiser Hood.

24-May-1941

The Bismarck attacked and sunk by the Royal Navy.

27-May-1941

The Bismarck is sunk by the British Navy.

26-May-1941

The British government introduces plans to ration clothes and furniture.

01-Jun-1941

Syria invaded by British Army and Free French forces.

08-Jun-1941

Operation Punishment comes to and end.

22-Jun-1941

Adolf Hitler launches Operation Barbarossa.

22-Jun-1941

Finland declares war on the Soviet Union.

25-Jun-1941

Hungary declares war on the Soviet Union.

27-Jun-1941

Armistice signed in Syria.

12-Jul-1941

Soviet Union and Britain sign an agreement of mutual aid.

12-Jul-1941

Richard Acland launches the Common Wealth Party.

26-Jul-1941

The German Army advances on Leningrad.

12-Aug-1941

Military forces from Soviet Union and Britain invade Iran.

25-Aug-1941

The German Army captures Kiev, the Ukrainian capital in the Soviet Union.

20-Sep-1941

The German Army advances on Moscow.

06-Oct-1941

The Royal Air Force bombs the German city of Nuremberg.

13-Oct-1941

General Hideki Tojo becomes prime minister of Japan.

16-Oct-1941

Masha Bruskina, first Soviet partisan to be executed in public by the German Army.

26-Oct-1941

The British aircraft carrier, Ark Royal is sunk off Gibraltar.

13-Nov-1941

Emperor Hirohito officially approves the attack on the United States.

01-Dec-1941

Britain declares war on Finland, Hungary and Romania.

05-Dec-1941

Japanese forces attack the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

07-Dec-1941

Japanese troops invade Malaya, Thailand and the Philippines.

08-Dec-1941

Japanese forces sink the Prince of Wales and Repulse off the east coast of Malaya.

10-Dec-1941

Japanese troops invade Burma.

11-Dec-1941

America First Committee is dissolved.

11-Dec-1941

The National Service Act, that conscripted unmarried women, was passed by Parliament.

18-Dec-1941

Adolf Hitler sacks Heinrich von Brauchitsch as commander in chief of the German Army.

19-Dec-1941

Japanese Army capture Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

22-Dec-1941

Hong Kong surrendered with the loss of its 12,000 garrison

25-Dec-1941

Japanese Army capture Kuala Lumpur, the capital of the Malaya.

11-Jan-1942

Reinhard Heydrich organizes the Wannsee Conference.

20-Jan-1942

General Arthur Percival orders retreat to Singapore.

25-Jan-1942

USA government announces the establishment of relocation camps for Japanese Americans.

29-Jan-1942

Japanese troops land on the northwest corner of Singapore

08-Feb-1942

The Scharnhorst and the Prinz Eugen start their successfully break out of Brest.

12-Feb-1942

General Arthur Percival surrenders Singapore to Japanese.

15-Feb-1942

Japanese Air Force bomb Darwin in Australia.

19-Feb-1942

General Douglas MacArthur and the United States forces leave the Philippines

22-Feb-1942

The Royal Air Force bomb Lubeck in Germany.

23-Mar-1942

Allied raid on St Nazaire.

27-Mar-1942

Hermann Balck and the 3rd Panzer Division captures Salonika.

09-Apr-1942

George VI awards the George Cross to the people of Malta.

09-Apr-1942

The United States Air Force bomb Tokyo.

18-Apr-1942

Pierre Laval becomes minister of foreign affairs in Vichy France.

18-Apr-1942

The Luftwaffe start bombing Exeter, Bath and other historic cities in Britain.

23-Apr-1942

Japanese Army capture Mandalay in Burma.

01-May-1942

Start of the battle of Coral Sea.

06-May-1942

Reinhard Heydrich is shot in Prague by Czech resistance fighters.

27-May-1942

Arthur Harris orders the first 1000 bomber attack on Germany at Cologne.

30-May-1942

Start of the battle of Midway.

03-Jun-1942

The Gestapo destroy the village of Lidice in Czechoslovakia.

10-Jun-1942

Erwin Rommel defeats Neil Richie at Gazala.

14-Jun-1942

Erwin Rommel and the German Army captures Tobruk.

21-Jun-1942

General Erich von Manstein captures Sevastopol on the Black Sea.

02-Jul-1942

Donald Bennett appointed as commander of the Pathfinder Force.

05-Jul-1942

Japanese Army land on Guadalcanal.

07-Jul-1942

The Messerschmitt Me 262 makes its first test flight.

18-Jul-1942

The Royal Air Force bomb Hamburg in Germany.

26-Jul-1942

Alexander Vandegrift and the US Marines land on Guadalcanal.

07-Aug-1942

The US Marines use the Navajo Code for the first time.

07-Aug-1942

General Bernard Montgomery is appointed commander of the British 8th Army.

13-Aug-1942

The Flying Fortress begins making first daylight bombing raids on Europe.

17-Aug-1942

5,000 Canadian and 1,000 British troops raid the port of Dieppe in France.

19-Aug-1942

The German Army enters Stalingrad.

24-Aug-1942

The Duke of Kent dies in an air crash in Scotland.

25-Aug-1942

Erwin Rommel attacks Eighth Army at Alam el Halfa.

30-Aug-1942

The B-29 Stratofortress makes its first flight.

21-Sep-1942

General Bernard Montgomery orders counter-attack at El Alamein.

23-Oct-1942

Thomas Kinkaid faces Nobutake Kondo at the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands.

26-Oct-1942

Hornet is sunk during the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands.

27-Oct-1942

The German Army defeated at El Alamein.

04-Nov-1942

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, leads the invasion of Tunisia.

08-Nov-1942

Admiral Jean Darlan surrenders French North Africa to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

11-Nov-1942

Adolf Hitler orders the occupation of Vichy France.

11-Nov-1942

The British Army recaptures Tobruk.

12-Nov-1942

Admiral William Halsey leads successful naval campaign at Guadalcanal.

13-Nov-1942

Erich von Manstein and the 4th Panzer Army begin the attempt to relieve the 6th Army.

12-Dec-1942

Admiral Jean Darlan assassinated by member of French Resistance in Algiers.

24-Dec-1942

The Luftwaffe renews its air attacks on London.

18-Jan-1943

The Allies capture Tripoli.

23-Jan-1943

British and US military aircraft begin round-the-clock bombing of Nazi Germany.

25-Feb-1943

Jurgen von Arnium replaces Erwin Rommel as commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps.

09-Mar-1943

Germany announces the discovery of 4,443 Polish officers at Katyn in the Soviet Union.

13-Apr-1943

Yitzhak Zuckerman leads the Warsaw Uprising.

19-Apr-1943

The Allies capture Tunis.

07-May-1943

Over 130,000 members of the German Army surrender in Tunisia.

13-May-1943

Wing Commander Guy Gibson leads the Dambusters Raid.

16-May-1943

Jean Moulin holds the first meeting of the Conseil National de la Resistance in Paris.

27-May-1943

Jean Moulin, leader of the French Resistance, murdered by the Gestapo.

08-Jul-1943

A German aircraft bombs Whitehall Cinema in East Grinstead and kills 235 people.

09-Jul-1943

Allied troops land on German-occupied Sicily.

10-Jul-1943

Air Marshall Arthur Harris orders further bombing of Hamburg.

24-Jul-1943

Victor Emmanuel III dismisses Benito Mussolini from office in Italy.

25-Jul-1943

The Red Army recaptures the city of Kharkov.

23-Aug-1943

Bernard Montgomery and the 8th Army land at Reggio in Italy.

03-Sep-1943

The Tirpitz and Scharnhorst bombard the Spitzbergen weather station.

07-Sep-1943

Benito Mussolini is rescued from prison by a team led by Otto Skorzeny.

12-Sep-1943

Benito Mussolini establishes a new fascist government at Salo on Lake Garda, Italy.

15-Sep-1943

Italy's new prime minister, Pietro Badoglio, signs armistice with the Allies.

23-Sep-1943

The Red Army recaptures the city of Smolensk.

25-Sep-1943

General Mark Clark and 5th Army capture Naples.

13-Oct-1943

Italy's prime minister, Pietro Badoglio, declares war on Germany.

13-Oct-1943

Evans Carlson and the 2nd Raider Battalion land in Guadalcanal.

04-Nov-1943

The Red Army recaptures the city of Kiev.

06-Nov-1943

The intensive bombing of Berlin by the RAF begins.

18-Nov-1943

Allied invasion of the Gilbert Islands.

20-Nov-1943

Eduard Benes and Joseph Stalin sign a Soviet-Czech peace treaty in Moscow.

12-Dec-1943

The Scharnhorst is sunk by the Duke of York off the coast of Norway.

26-Dec-1943

Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin meet at Tehran in Iran.

28-Dec-1943

General John Lucas and US 5th Army land at Anzio.

22-Jan-1944

Allied invasion of the Marshall Islands.

31-Jan-1944

Allied forces bomb monastery at Monte Cassino.

15-Feb-1944

The Luftwaffe make their heaviest raids on London since May 1941.

19-Feb-1944

Merrill's Marauders begin their first campaign in Burma.

24-Feb-1944

Orde Wingate launches Operation Thursday in Burma.

05-Mar-1944

United States Air Force begin daylight air attacks on Berlin.

06-Mar-1944

Orde Wingate killed in plane crash in Burma.

14-Mar-1944

Pierre Brossolette, one of the leaders of the French Resistance, murdered by the Gestapo.

22-Mar-1944

Paul von Kleist and Erich von Manstein recalled to Germany and sacked by Adolf Hitler.

29-Mar-1944

Allied bombing of Nuremberg Raid.

30-Mar-1944

The German Army evacuates Sevastopol.

09-May-1944

Allied troops take Monte Cassino.

18-May-1944

General Mark Clark and Allied troops capture Rome.

04-Jun-1944

Second Front opened with Allied landings in Normandy.

06-Jun-1944

Pietro Badoglio resigns and Invanoe Bonomi forms new government in Italy.

09-Jun-1944

The SS carry out a revenge attack on the Maquis at Oradour-sur-Glane.

10-Jun-1944

First V1 Flying bomb lands on Britain.

13-Jun-1944

The Red Army recaptures the city of Minsk.

03-Jul-1944

Allied troops capture Caen in Normandy.

09-Jul-1944

Hideki Tojo resigns as prime minister of Japan.

18-Jul-1944

July Plot against Adolf Hitler fails.

20-Jul-1944

Polish resistance forces in Warsaw rebel against German occupation.

01-Aug-1944

V1 Flying bomb brought down by a Gloster Meteor, Britain's first jet-fighter.

04-Aug-1944

Allied troops land on the French coast between the ports of Toulon and Cannes.

14-Aug-1944

Ernst Thaelmann is executed at Buchenwald.

18-Aug-1944

United States Army enters Paris.

24-Aug-1944

Romania declares war on Germany.

25-Aug-1944

British troops enter Brussels, the capital of Belgium.

04-Sep-1944

First V2 Rocket lands on Britain.

08-Sep-1944

The French provisional government abolishes the Vichy legislature.

10-Sep-1944

Allied troops enter Nazi Germany.

11-Sep-1944

Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt meet in Quebec to discuss post-war Germany.

11-Sep-1944

Romania signs an armistice with the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union.

12-Sep-1944

Start of Operation Market Garden.

17-Sep-1944

Finland signs an armistice with the Soviet Union.

19-Sep-1944

Allied troops forced to withdraw from Arnhem.

25-Sep-1944

Adolf Hitler calls up all remaining males between 16 and 60 in Germany for army service.

25-Sep-1944

Canadian troops liberate the French port of Calais.

28-Sep-1944

The German Army crushes Warsaw Uprising.

02-Oct-1944

The British Army land in German-occupied Greece.

04-Oct-1944

The Red Army enters Czechoslovakia.

06-Oct-1944

Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Franklin D. Roosevelt meet in Moscow.

09-Oct-1944

Erwin Rommel is forced to commit suicide by the Nazi government.

14-Oct-1944

General Douglas MacArthur returns to the Philippines.

20-Oct-1944

General Walter Krueger and the US 6th Army landed on Leyte.

22-Oct-1944

The Battle of Leyte Gulf begins.

24-Oct-1944

Bulgaria signs an armistice with the Allies.

28-Oct-1944

The Tirpitz is sunk after being hit by Tallboy bombs.

12-Nov-1944

The Red Army establish new government in Hungary.

21-Dec-1944

The British 14th Army begin a new offensive in Burma.

03-Jan-1945

US forces make landings on the island of Luzon.

09-Jan-1945

The Red Army liberate Warsaw.

17-Jan-1945

The Red Army capture Budapest.

18-Jan-1945

Start of Operation Ten-Go.

02-Feb-1945

Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Franklin D. Roosevelt meet at the Yalta Conference.

04-Feb-1945

Air Marshall Arthur Harris orders the bombing of Dresden.

13-Feb-1945

United States Army land on Iwo Jima.

19-Feb-1945

United States Army capture Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

28-Feb-1945

United States Army Air Force creates firestorm in Tokyo.

09-Mar-1945

British and Indian troops capture Mandalay in Burma.

20-Mar-1945

United States Army cross the River Rhine between Mainz and Mannheim.

22-Mar-1945

Last V2 Rocket lands on Britain.

27-Mar-1945

The Red Army enters Austria.

29-Mar-1945

United States Army land on Okinawa.

01-Apr-1945

A 700 plane kamikaze attack sink and damage 13 US destroyers..

06-Apr-1945

The Japanese giant battleship Yamato sunk off Okinawa.

07-Apr-1945

General Harold Alexander and British forces mount a new offensive in northern Italy.

09-Apr-1945

Pastor Dietrich Bonhoffer is hanged by the Nazi authorities.

09-Apr-1945

Franklin D. Roosevelt dies and is replaced by Harry S. Truman.

12-Apr-1945

Liberation of Belsen and Buchenwald.

13-Apr-1945

Ernie Pyle, America's most famous war journalist, killed by Japanese sniper.

17-Apr-1945

Liberation of Dachau.

25-Apr-1945

United Nations Conference held in San Francisco.

25-Apr-1945

Benito Mussolini is executed in Milan by Italian partisans.

28-Apr-1945

German forces in Italy surrender to the Allies.

29-Apr-1945

Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide.

30-Apr-1945

Joseph Goebbels commits suicide.

01-May-1945

Commander of German troops in Berlin surrenders.

02-May-1945

Queen Wilhelmina returns to the Netherlands.

02-May-1945

Frank Messervy and his troops captures Rangoon in Burma.

03-May-1945

All military forces in Germany surrender to the Allies.

04-May-1945

Denmark liberated by Allied troops.

05-May-1945

End of the Battle of the Atlantic.

07-May-1945

General Alfred Jodl signs the official surrender of Germany.

08-May-1945

Winston Churchill announces VE day.

08-May-1945

The German Army in Czechoslovakia surrender to the Red Army.

09-May-1945

Heinrich Himmler commits suicide.

22-May-1945

William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) is captured at Flensburg.

28-May-1945

Manhattan Project scientists test atom bomb at Alamogordo, New Mexico.

16-Jul-1945

United States Army Air Force drops atom bomb on Hiroshima.

06-Aug-1945

United States Army Air Force drops atom bomb on Nagasaki.

09-Aug-1945

General Tomoyuki Yamashita surrenders army in the Philippines.

02-Sep-1945

General Douglas MacArthur accepts Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay.

02-Sep-1945