• Brief and clear timeline of WW2

    Chronological timeline of the war

    Dates, facts and figures of the Second World War

Lasting six years and one day, the Second World War started on 1 September 1939 with Germany's invasion of Poland and ended on 2 September 1945 with the Japanese surrender. Here is a brief timeline of the main events that engulfed the world into a catastrophic conflict.

Timeline of 1918 - 1939
November 11 1918
The First World War ends
The United States, Britain, France and other allies defeat Germany ending to WW1, also known as 'the war to end all wars'.
January 1919
Deutsche Arbeiterpartei is formed
In January 1919, Anton Drexler founded the German Workers’ Party. This party was formed from a group who had previously met regularly to discuss political matters. The party met weekly in a beer hall in Munich. After the pressures of war Munich was politically unstable. People were inclined to support new ideas that advocated extreme change. Adolf Hitler became involved with the fledgling German Workers Party which he would later transform into the Nazi Party (NSDAP).
January 1919
Birth of the Sturmabteilung (SA)
In the early days Hitler was surrounded by the unwieldy Sturmabteilung or SA, who were tough, unemployed ex-soldiers who frequented Munich beer halls such as the Torbräukeller. They were recruited by Ernst Röhm to protect Nazi speakers at public meetings. The Brownshirts, as they became known due the brown uniforms, were party supporters who acted as bodyguards.
January 28 1923
1st Nazi Party Day
The 1st Party Day or 'Parteitage' held between January 27 and 29, 1923, with the slogan Deutschland Erwache. Two brigades of men marched through the city of Munich and Hitler spoke at all meetings declaring the swastika would be the national symbol of the future Germany.
8 November 1923
Coup attempt (Beer Hall Putsch)
On the 8 November 1923, Hitler alongside other high party officials such as Göring, Hess and Himmler attempted to pull off a military coup and overthrow the Weimar Republic. Hitler and the Nazi Party collaborated with others such as General Ludendorff and Gustav von Kahr to make this plan work. This was called the Munich Putsch, although it is sometimes referred to as the Beer Hall Putsch.
1 April 1923
Convicted and sentenced
Sixteen Nazi Party members and four police officers were killed in the ensuing violence. Hitler briefly escaped the city but was arrested on 11 November 1923, and put on trial for high treason, which gained him widespread public attention. Hitler was convicted and on 1 April sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Landsberg Prison.
20 December 1924
Released from Landsberg Prison
Adolf Hitler in front of the Bayertor gate across the Lech river after his release from Landsberg fortress prison. He spent only 9 months behind the bars (his initial sentence was 5 years). Hitler used the time in Landsberg Prison to reconsider his political strategy and dictate the first volume of 'Mein Kampf'.
4 April 1925
Start of the Schutzstaffel (SS)
The Schutzstaffel SS was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany, and later throughout German-occupied Europe during WW2. In 1925, Heinrich Himmler joined the unit, which had by then been reformed and given its final name. Under his direction (1929–1945) it grew from a small paramilitary formation during the Weimar Republic to one of the most powerful organizations in Nazi Germany. From the time of the Nazi Party's rise to power until the regime's collapse in 1945, the SS was the foremost agency of security, surveillance, and terror within Germany and German-occupied Europe.
18 July 1925
Mein Kampf a autobiographical manifesto
Mein Kampf or 'My Struggle' is a 1925 autobiographical manifesto by Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler. The work describes the process by which Hitler became antisemitic and outlines his political ideology and future plans for Germany. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926.The book was edited first by Emil Maurice, then by Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess.
January 30 1933
Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany
Ex-chancellor Franz von Papen persuades Hindenburg to make Hitler chancellor. After President Hindenburg dies Hitler takes on dictatorial powers and German rearmament intensifies.
October 25 to November 1 1936
Birth of the Axis of Evil
Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy sign a treaty of cooperation on October 25 and on November 1, 1936 the Rome - Berlin Axis is announced.
9 - 10 November 1938
Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass
Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass, was a pogrom against Jews carried out by the Nazi Party's Sturmabteilung (SA) paramilitary forces along with civilians throughout Nazi Germany on 9 - 10 November 1938. The name Kristallnacht comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings and synagogues were smashed. The pretext for the attacks was the assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old German-born Polish Jew living in Paris. Historians view Kristallnacht as a prelude to the Final Solution and the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust.
August 23, 1939
Nazi and Soviet Nonaggression agreement
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union sign a nonaggression agreement and a secret codicil dividing eastern Europe into spheres of influence.
September 1, 1939
The Second World War begins
Germany invades Poland, inciting Poland’s allies Britain and France to declare war on Germany on September 3, 1939. Australia and New Zealand also declared war on Germany.
September 17, 1939
Soviet Union invades Poland
Working in collaboration with Adolf Hitler, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin orders the invasion of Poland and securing a share of Polish territory.
September 27, 1939
Warsaw is captured
The Polish forces could not withstand the 'Blitzkrieg' of the German troops and Warsaw surrenders. Nine days later the whole of Poland capitulates.
September 27, 1939
Poland surrenders
With civilian losses estimated at 200,000 Poland surrenders to Germany. Polish lands are divided between the Soviet Union and Germany, as are 660,000 prisoners of war. Many atrocities were still to come for the Polish poeple.
Timeline of 1940
April 9, 1940
Germany conquers Norway and Denmark
In a lightning attack or Blitzkrieg, German forces attack Norway and Denmark. Denmark is occupied in one day. German forces land in Norway near Oslo, the capital, and in other places, securing the south. Germany also moves to secure the ports of Narvik and Trondheim in the north. British forces intervene, landing at Narvik, Namsos, and Andalsnes, but will be forced to withdraw by the first week of June 1940. Norway surrenders to Germany on June 10.
May 10 1940
Germany invades The Netherlands
The Battle of the Netherlands was a military campaign part of Operation Fall Gelb, the German invasion of the Low Countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) and France during World War II. The battle lasted from 10 May 1940 until the surrender of the main Dutch forces on 14 May. Dutch troops in the province of Zealand continued to resist the Wehrmacht until 17 May when Germany completed its occupation of the whole country. After the devastating bombing of Rotterdam by the Luftwaffe on 14 May, the Germans threatened to bomb other Dutch cities if the Dutch forces refused to surrender. The General Staff knew it could not stop the bombers and ordered the Dutch Army to cease hostilities.
May 10 1940
Germany invades Belgium
The Battle of Belgium or Belgian Campaign, often referred to within Belgium as the 18 Days' Campaign, formed part of the greater Battle of France, an offensive campaign by Germany during the Second World War. It took place over 18 days in May 1940 and ended with the German occupation of Belgium following the surrender of the Belgian Army.
May 10 1940
Germany invades France
On 3 September 1939, France had declared war on Germany, following the German invasion of Poland. The Germans invaded Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands on 10 May, Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and German forces defeated the Allies on 25 June. France was conquered, ending land operations on the Western Front until the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. German forces occupied Paris unopposed on 14 June 1940. After the flight of the French Vichy government and the collapse of the French Army, German commanders met with French officials on 18 June to negotiate an end to all hostilities. On 22 June, the Armistice was signed at Compiègne by France and Germany.
June 4 1940
We shall fight on the beaches
Winston Churchill delivers his famous, "We shall never surrender", speech to the House of Commons.
September 7, 1940
The "Blitz" against Britain begins
The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War. The term was first used by the British press and originated from the term Blitzkrieg, the German word for 'lightning war'. It lasted until May 11, 1941
Timeline of 1941
January 2, 1941
Germany bombs Cardiff
Llandaff Cathedral was damaged by German bombing during the worst night of the Cardiff Blitz
December 7, 1941
Japan attacks Pearl Harbor (USA)
The Japanese attack of the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, began just before 08:00, on Sunday, December 7, 1941. The United States was a neutral country at the time. In the two hour raid that followed, 18 warships, 188 aircraft and around 2.000 servicemen were lost. Luckily, the 3 aircraft carriers of the fleet were all at sea at the time of the attack. The attack led to the United Sates together with Britain, declaring war on Japan.
December 11, 1941
Germany declares war on the United States
Four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States declaration of war against the Japanese Empire, Nazi Germany declared war against the United States, in response to what was claimed to be a series of provocations by the United States government when the US was still officially neutral during WW2. The decision to declare war was made by Adolf Hitler, apparently offhand, almost without consultation. It has been referred to as Hitler's "most puzzling" decision of WW2.
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