This is a timeline of events that stretched over the period of World War II.
- 1: The Invasion of Poland begins at 4:30 a.m. with the German Luftwaffe attacking several targets in Poland. The United Kingdom and France demand Germany's immediate withdrawal.
- 1: The United Kingdom home front is opened as the government declares general mobilization of the British Army and begins evacuation plans in preparation of German air attacks.
- 3: France, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, and New Zealand declare war on Germany after German refusal to withdraw from Poland.
- 4: Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command launches a raid on the German battleship Admiral Scheer in the Heligoland Bight. Six of the 24 attacking aircraft are lost, and while the German vessel is hit three times, all of the bombs fail to explode.
- 7: French patrols enter Germany near Saarbrücken.
- 9: Canada declares war on Germany.
- 17: The Soviet Union invades Poland from the east, occupying the territory east of the Curzon line as well as Białystok and Eastern Galicia.
- 18: Warsaw is surrounded by German troops.
- 25: German home front measures begin with food rationing.
- 27-28: Extensive bombardments of Warsaw.
- 28: The Polish capital Warsaw surrenders to the Germans.
- 1: Polish codebreakers bring an early Enigma machine to Paris.
- 2: RAF drops propaganda leaflets on Berlin.
- 3: British forces move to Belgian border, anticipating German invasion of the West.
- 5: The Soviet Union begins talks with Finland to adjust the border between the two countries.
- 6: Chinese army reportedly defeats the Japanese at the battle of Changsha.
- 6: Polish resistance in the Polish September Campaign comes to an end. Finland begins mobilizing its army; Hitler speaks before the Reichstag, declaring a desire for a conference with Britain and France to restore peace.
- 9: Hitler issues orders to prepare for the invasion of Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
- 10: The last of Poland's military surrenders to the Germans.
- 10: The German navy suggests occupying Norway to Hitler.
- 11: An estimated 158,000 British troops are now in France.
- 11: Adolf Eichmann begins deporting Jews from Austria and Czechoslovakia into Poland.
- 14: The British battleship HMS Royal Oak is sunk in Scapa Flow harbour by U-47.
- 19: Portions of Poland are formally inducted into Germany; the first Jewish ghetto is established at Lublin
- 20: The "Phony War": French troops settle in the Maginot line's dormitories and
tunnels; the British build new fortifications along the "gap" between the Maginot line and the Channel.
- 27: Pope Pius XII's encyclical condemns racism and dictatorships.
- 30: The British government releases a report on concentration camps being built in Europe for Jews and anti-Nazis.
- 1: Jews are forced to wear the emblem of the Star of David
- 7: Italy again declares its neutrality.
- 13: Battle of the River Plate, British naval squadron attacks the Admiral Graf Spee.
- 14: The USSR is expelled from the League of Nations.
- 17: Admiral Graf Spee scuttled in Montevideo harbour.
- 18: The first Canadian troops arrive in Europe.
- 27: The first Indian troops arrive in France.
- 28: Meat rationing program begins in Britain.
- 1: Japanese Diet announces record high budget with over half its expenditures being military.
- 5: Britain and France decide to intervene in Norway to cut off the iron ore trade — in anticipation of an expected German occupation and ostensibly to open a route to assist Finland. The operation is scheduled to start about March 20.
- 9: Erich von Manstein is placed in command of German XXXIII Armor Corps, removing him from planning the French invasion.
- 14: British government calls for volunteers to fight in Finland.
- 15: Soviet army captures Summa in Finland thereby breaking through the Mannerheim Line.
- 16: British destroyer HMS Cossack forcibly removes 299 British POWs from the German transport Altmark in neutral Norwegian territorial waters.
- 17: Manstein presents to Hitler his plans for invading France via the Ardennes forest.
- 21: General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst is placed in command of the upcoming German invasion of Norway; work begins on the construction of Auschwitz.
- 24: The Ardennes plan for invading the west is adopted.
- 3: Soviets begin attacks on Viipuri, Finland's second largest city.
- 5: Finland tells the Soviets they will agree to their terms for ending the war.
- 12: Finland signs a peace treaty with the Soviet Union.
- 16: German air raid on Scapa Flow causes first British civilian casualties.
- 18: Mussolini agrees with Hitler that Italy will enter the war "at an opportune moment".
- 21: Paul Reynaud becomes Prime Minister of France following Daladier's resignation the previous day.
- 28: Britain and France make a formal agreement that neither country will seek a separate peace with Germany.
- 30: Japan establishes a puppet regime at Nanking, China, under Wang Jingwei.
- 3: Churchill is appointed chairman of the Ministerial Defense Committee following the resignation of Lord Chatfield.
- 4: Hitler gives the go ahead for the invasion of Norway and Denmark.
- 5: Chamberlain makes an ill-timed remark that Hitler has "missed the bus".
- 8: Allied mining of Norwegian waters is put into action.
- 9: Germany invades Denmark and Norway; Denmark surrenders.
- 10: First Battle of Narvik, British destroyers and aircraft successfully make a surprise attack against a larger German naval force. A second attack on April 13 will also be a British success.
- 12: British troops occupy the Danish Faroe Islands.
- 14: British and French troops begin landing in Norway.
- 5: Norwegian government in exile established in London.
- 9: Conscription in Britain extended to age 36.
- 10: Germany invades Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom upon the resignation of Neville Chamberlain. The United Kingdom invades Iceland.
- 11: Luxembourg occupied.
- 13: Dutch government in exile established in London.
- 14: The creation of the Local Defense Volunteers (the Home Guard) is announced by Anthony Eden.
- 14: Rotterdam is carpet-bombed by the Luftwaffe. The Netherlands decide to surrender with the exception of Zealand.
- 15: The capitulation of the Dutch army is signed.
- 17: In The Netherlands the province of Zealand surrenders.
- 18: Maxime Weygand replaces Maurice Gamelin as commander of the French armed forces
- 25: Boulogne-sur-Mer surrenders to the Germans
- 26: Calais surrenders to the Germans
- 26: Operation Dynamo, the Allied evacuation from Dunkirk, begins.
- 28: Belgium surrenders to the Germans; Germans evacuate Narvik
- 3: Last day of Operation Dynamo. 224,686 British and 121,445 French and Belgian troops have been evacuated; Germans bomb Paris.
- 10: Italy declares war on France and the United Kingdom; Norway surrenders.
- 11: French government decamps to Tours.
- 13: Paris occupied by German troops; French government moves again, this time to Bordeaux.
- 16: Philippe Pétain becomes premier of France upon the resignation of Reynaud's government.
- 17: Sinking of liner HMT Lancastria off St Nazaire while being used as a British troopship—Britain's worst maritime disaster since the Anglo-Dutch wars.
- 18: General De Gaulle forms the Comité Français de la Libération Nationale, a French government in exile; Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are occupied by the Soviet Union.
- 21: Franco-German armistice negotiations begin at Compiegne.
- 22: Franco-German armistice signed.
- 24: Franco-Italian armistice signed.
- 25: France officially surrenders to Germany at 0:35.
- 28: General De Gaulle recognised by British as leader of Free French.
- 30: Germany invades the Channel Islands.
- 1: Channel Islands occupied by German forces; French government moves to Vichy.
- 2: Hitler orders preparation of plans for invasion of Britain, code-named Operation Sealion.
- 4: Destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir by the Royal Navy; Vichy French government breaks off diplomatic relations with Britain in protest.
- 5: Romania aligns itself with the Axis.
- 10: Battle of Britain begins.
- 21: Czechoslovak government in exile arrives in London.
- 22: The Special Operations Executive is created.
- 25: All women and children are ordered to evacuate Gibraltar.
- 2: General De Gaulle sentenced to death in absentia by a French military court.
- 4: Italian forces under General Guglielmo Nasi invaded British Somaliland during the East African Campaign.
- 17: Hitler declares a blockade of the British Isles.
- 19: Italian forces took Berbera, the capital of British Somaliland, which completed the invasion of the British colony. After taking British Somaliland, the Italians began a series of minor cross-border raids into British-held Sudan and Kenya.
- 25: First British air raid on Berlin.
- 3: Operation Sealion set for 21 September.
- 6: King Carol abdicates the Romanian throne in favour of his son Michael while control of the government is taken by Marshal Antonescu.
- 10: Operation Sealion postponed until 24 September.
- 13: Italian colonial forces in Libya under General Rodolfo Graziani crossed the border into Egypt and initiated the Western Desert Campaign. Five Italian divisions advanced about 95 km to Sidi Barrani and set up defensively in a series of armed camps.
- 14: Operation Sealion postponed until 27 September, the last day of the month with suitable tides for the invasion.
- 16: Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 introduces the first peacetime conscription in United States history.
- 17: Hitler postpones Operation Sealion until further notice.
- 22: Japanese forces occupy Việt Nam, restricting local French administrators to figurehead authority.
- 24: Vichy French aircraft bomb Gibraltar.
- 27: The Tripartite Pact is signed by Japan, Germany and Italy.
- 7: Germany invades Romania to restrain the Romanian Army.
- 12: Any German invasion of Britain postponed until Spring 1941 at the earliest.
- 15: Clarence Addison Dykstra becomes Director of Selective Service in the United States.
- 16: Draft registration begins in the United States.
- 28: Italy issued ultimatum to Greece and Greek Prime Minister Metaxas replied: "So it is war" (celebrated as "Okhi!" ("No!") Day in Greece). The Italian Army launched attacks into Greece from Italian-held Albania and began the Greco-Italian War.
- 31: The Warsaw District government moved all Jews living in Warsaw to the Ghettos.
- No fixed date: Border skirmishes erupted along the Mekong frontier between Vichy French forces in French Indochina and Royal Thai forces in Thailand. These skirmishes ultimately escalated and resulted in the French-Thai War.
- 11: British naval forces launch attack against Italian navy at Taranto. Swordfish bombers from HMS Illustrious damage three battleships, two cruisers and multiple auxiliary craft.
- 20: Hungary signs the Tripartite Pact.
- 23: Romania signs the Tripartite Pact.
- 24: The Slovak Republic signs the Tripartite Pact.
- 8: Franco rules out Spanish entry into the war.
- 9: Operation Compass: The British Western Desert Force began offensive against Italian forces in North Africa. Initial attacks launched against the five Italian camps near Sidi Barrani. Italian forces routed, captured, or destroyed.
- 11: Having cleared Greek soil of Italian invading forces, Greek forces invaded Italian-held Albania during the Greco-Italian War.
- 18: Plans for Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, were confirmed.
- 28: The Greco-Italian War continued to go badly for the Italians and, with the Greeks holding roughly one-quarter of Albania, Italy requested military assistance from Germany against the Greeks.
- 5: Operation Compass: Australian troops of the Western Desert Force captured Italian-held Bardia.
- 10: Lend-Lease is introduced into the U.S. Congress
- 12: Operation Compass: British, Australian, and New Zealand troops of the Western Desert Force launch assault on Italian-held Tobruk.
- 16: British forces start the first attacks of their East African counter-offensive, on Italian-held Ethiopia, from Kenya
- 17: The Battle of Koh Chang ended in a decisive victory for the Vichy French naval forces during the French-Thai War.
- 19: The 4th and 5th Indian Divisions continue the British counter-offensive in East Africa, attacking Italian-held Eritrea from the Sudan.
- 12: Operation Compass: British, Australian, and New Zealand troops of the Western Desert Force completed capture of Italian-held Tobruk.
- 23: Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler
- 24: British forces in Kenya continue the East African counter-offensive, attacking Italian Somaliland
- 3: Operation Compass: The Western Desert Force captured Italian-held Derna.
- 3: Germany forcibly restores Pierre Laval to office in occupied Vichy, France.
- 7: Operation Compass: After several days of desperate fighting, the Western Desert Force cut off and destroyed the retreating Italian 10th Army during the Battle of Beda Fomm. The British captured roughly 130,000 Italians.
- 11: Lieutenant-General Erwin Rommel arrives in Tripoli.
- 19: The start of the "three nights' Blitz" over Swansea, [South Wales. Over these three nights of intensive bombing, which lasted a total of 13 hours and 48 minutes, Swansea town centre was almost completely obliterated by the 896 High Explosive bombs employed by the Luftwaffe. A total of 397 casualties and 230 deaths were reported. The Three nights Blitz ended in the early hours of February 22.
- 25: Mogadishu, the capital of Italian Somaliland, captured by British forces during the East African Campaign.
- 1: Bulgaria signs the Tripartite Pact thus joining the Axis powers.
- 4: British commandos carry out attack on oil facilities at Narvik in Norway.
- 11: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs the Lend Lease Act allowing Britain, China and other allied nations to purchase military equipment and to defer payment until after the war.
- 25: Yugoslavia signs the Tripartite Pact.
- 27: Crown Prince Peter becomes Peter II of Yugoslavia and takes control of Yugoslavia after an army coup overthrows the pro-German government of the Prince Regent; Japanese spy Takeo Yoshikawa arrives in Honolulu, Hawaii and begins to study the United States fleet at Pearl Harbor; British forces advancing from the Sudan win the decisive Battle of Keren in Eritrea
- 29:Battle of Cape Matapan - Off the Peloponnesus coast in the Mediterranean, British naval forces defeat those of Italy sinking five warships. Battle started on March 27.
- 30: The Afrika Korps begins the German offensive in North Africa.
- 6: Forces of Germany, Hungary, and Italy initiate the invasions of Yugoslavia and Greece.
- 6: The Italian Army ousted from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
- 10: Greenland occupied by the United States.
- 10: While still being invaded, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was split up by Germany and Italy and the Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH) was established under Ante Pavelić and his Ustaša.
- 12: Belgrade surrenders.
- 12: German siege of British forces in Tobruk begins.
- 13: Japan and the Soviet Union sign a neutrality pact.
- 17: Yugoslavia surrendered. A government in exile formed in London.
- 18: Amedeo, Duke of Aosta Viceroy of Italian East Africa surrendered his embattled forces at Amba Alagi. A guerrilla war continues until Italy surrenders in September 1943.
- 21: 223,000 Greek soldiers surrender.
- 23: Greek government evacuated to Crete.
- 27: Athens occupied by German troops.
- 1: British forces in Iraq come under attack by Iraqis.
- 9: United Kingdom takes control of Iraq and are reinforced by the arrival of 21st Indian Division at Basra; The German submarine U-110 is captured by the British Royal Navy. On board is the latest Enigma cryptography machine which Allied cryptographers later use to break coded German messages.
- 9: A Japanese brokered peace treaty signed in Tokyo ends the French-Thai War.
- 10: Rudolf Hess captured in Scotland after bailing out of his plane; The United Kingdom's House of Commons is damaged by the Luftwaffe in an air raid.
- 15: First Civilian Public Service camp opens for conscientious objectors in the United States; Operation Brevity is the first, unsuccessful attempt launched to relieve the Siege of Tobruk.
- 20: German paratroopers attack Crete.
- 24: British battle cruiser HMS Hood sunk by German battleship Bismarck; Greek government leaves Crete for Cairo.
- 26: In the North Atlantic, Fairey Swordfish aircraft from the carrier HMS Ark Royal fatally cripple the Bismarck in torpedo attack.
- 27: German battleship Bismarck is sunk in North Atlantic.
- 28: British and Commonwealth forces begin to evacuate Crete.
- 1: Allies complete the withdrawal from Crete.
- 4: Britain invades Iraq, the anti-British government there is overthrown.
- 8: Vichy French-controlled Syria and Lebanon invaded by Australian, British, Free French and Indian forces.
- 9: Finland initiate mobilization and put some units under German command.
- 14: All German and Italian assets in the United States are frozen.
- 15: Operation Battleaxe attempts and fails to relieve the Siege of Tobruk.
- 16: All German and Italian consulates in the United States are ordered closed and their staffs to leave the country by July 10.
- 22: Germany invades the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa
- 23: Hungary and Slovakia declare war on the Soviet Union.
- 26: Finland declares war on the Soviet Union.
- 28: Albania declares war on the Soviet Union.
- 4: Mass murder of Polish scientists and writers, committed by German troops in captured Polish city of Lwów.
- 5: British government rules out possibility of negotiated peace; German troops reach the Dnieper River.
- 7: Iceland occupied by the United States.
- 8: Yugoslavia dissolved by the Axis.
- 12: Britain and Soviet Union sign mutual defence agreement, promising not to sign any form of separate peace agreement with Germany.
- 13: Montenegro starts the first popular uprising in Europe against the Axis Powers.
- 25: Neutral Iran occupied by Britain and the Soviet Union.
- 26: In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.
- 28: Japanese troops occupy Việt Nam. The Vichy French colonial government is allowed by the Japanese to continue to administer Vietnam. French repression continues.
- 31: Lewis B. Hershey succeeds Clarence Dykstra as Director of the Selective Service System in the United States; Under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Göring, orders SS general Reinhard Heydrich to "submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question."
- 6: American and British governments warn Japan not to invade Thailand.
- 9: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill meet at NS Argentia, Newfoundland. The Atlantic Charter is created as a result.
- 18: Adolf Hitler orders a temporary halt to Nazi Germany's systematic euthanasia of mentally ill and handicapped due to protests. However, graduates of the T-4 Euthanasia Program were then transferred to concentration camps, where they continued in their trade.
- 25: British and Soviet troops invade Persia (Iran) to save the Abadan oilfields and the important railways and routes to Russia for the supply of war material.
- 1: A pro-German Government of National Salvation formed in Serbia under Milan Nedić. It is informally known as Nedić's Serbia.
- 4: The USS Greer becomes the first United States ship fired upon by a German submarine in the war, even though the United States is a neutral power. Tension heightens between the two nations as a result.
- 5: Germany occupies Estonia.
- 6: The requirement to wear the Star of David with the word "Jew" inscribed, is extended to all Jews over the age of 6 in German-occupied areas.
- 8: Siege of Leningrad begins - German forces begin a siege against the Soviet Union's second-largest city, Leningrad; Stalin orders the Volga Deutsche deported to Siberia.
- 11: Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the United States Navy to shoot on sight if any ship or convoy is threatened.
- 15: Self-government of Estonia, headed by Hjalmar Mäe, is appointed by German military administration.
- 16: Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran is forced to resign in favor of his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran under pressure from the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union.
- 19: Nazis take Kiev.
- 2: Operation Typhoon - Germany begins an all-out offensive against Moscow.
- 8: In their invasion of the Soviet Union, Germany reaches the Sea of Azov with the capture of Mariupol.
- 16: Soviet Union government moves to Kuibyshev, but Stalin remains in Moscow.
- 17: The destroyer USS Kearney is torpedoed and damaged near Iceland, killing eleven sailors - the first American military casualties of the war.
- 18: General Hideki Tojo becomes the 40th Prime Minister of Japan.
- 20: Lt. Col. Fritz Hotz, the German commander in Nantes, is killed by Resistance; 50 hostages are shot in reprisal.
- 30: Franklin Delano Roosevelt approves US$1 billion in Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union.
- 31: The destroyer USS Reuben James is torpedoed by a German U-boat near Iceland, killing more than 100 United States Navy sailors.
- 6: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin addresses the Soviet Union for only the second time during his three-decade rule (the first time was earlier that year on July 2). He states that even though 350,000 troops were killed in German attacks so far, that the Germans have lost 4.5 million soldiers (a gross exaggeration) and that Soviet victory was near.
- 12: Battle of Moscow - Temperatures around Moscow drop to −12 °C and the Soviet Union launches ski troops for the first time against the freezing German forces near the city.
- 13: The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal is hit by German U-boat U-81
- 14: HMS Ark Royal capsizes and sinks, having been torpedoed by U 81.
- 17: Joseph Grew, the United States ambassador to Japan, cables the State Department that Japan had plans to launch an attack against Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (his cable was ignored).
- 18: Operation Crusader: British troops launch an offensive in Libya, North Africa and at last relieve the Siege of Tobruk.
- 19: Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran sink each other off the coast of Western Australia.
- 22: Britain issues an ultimatum to Finland to end war with Russia or face war with the Allies.
- 24: The United States grants Lend-Lease to the Free French.
- 26: Japanese attack fleet of 33 warships and auxiliary craft, including six aircraft carriers, sailed from northern Japan for the Hawaiian Islands; The Hull note ultimatum is delivered to Japan by the United States.
- 27: Battle of Moscow - Germans reach their closest approach to Moscow. They are subsequently frozen by cold weather and attacks by the Soviets.
- 5: The United Kingdom declares war on Finland, Hungary and Romania.
- 7: Japan launches an aerial attack on Pearl Harbor and declares war on the United States and the United Kingdom. Air attacks also on Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, Thailand, the Philippines, and Shanghai. Canada declares war on Japan (Prime Minister King announces war on evening of 7th, the Canadian parliament confirms the declaration the following morning.) The U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the forerunner of the CIA) allies with Hồ Chí Minh and his Việt Minh guerrillas to harass Japanese troops and to help rescue downed American pilots. Hồ Chí Minh becomes "Agent 19" under the supervision of MAJ Archimedes Patti.
- 8: Japan invades Malaya; the United States and the United Kingdom declare war on Japan; The Netherlands declares war on Japan,
- 9: China officially declares war on Japan 
- 10: British battleships HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales sunk by Japanese air attack.
- 11: Germany and Italy declare war on the United States, United States reciprocates and declares war on Germany and Italy; US forces repel a Japanese landing attempt at Wake Island.
- 12: The United States and the United Kingdom declare war on Romania and Bulgaria after they had declared war on both the United States and the United Kingdom; India declares war on Japan; United States seizes French ship Normandie.
- 13: Hungary declares war on the United States and the United Kingdom, the United States and the United Kingdom reciprocate and declare war on Hungary.
- 16: Japan invades Borneo.
- 17: Battle of Sevastopol begins.
- 18: Japanese troops land on Hong Kong Island.
- 19: Hitler becomes Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the German Army
- 23: A second Japanese landing attempt on Wake Island is successful, and the American garrison surrenders after hours of fighting.
- 25: Hong Kong surrenders; UK forces retake Benghazi.
- 27: British Commandos raid the Norwegian port of Vaagso, causing Hitler to reinforce the garrison and defenses.
- 28: Starts the Operation Anthropoid (the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich).
- 1: The term "United Nations" is first officially used to describe the Allied pact.
- 2: Manila is captured by Japanese forces. The Japanese Admiral stays in Solvec (owned by Charles Henry de Silva), Philippines.
- 7: Siege of the Bataan Peninsula begins.
- 11: Japanese troops capture Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Japan declares war on the Netherlands and invades the Netherlands East Indies.
- 19: Japanese forces invade Burma.
- 20: Nazis at the Wannsee conference in Berlin decide that the "final solution to the Jewish problem" is relocation, and later extermination.
- 23: The Battle of Rabaul begins.
- 25: Thailand declares war on the United States and United Kingdom; Japanese troops invade the Solomon Islands.
- 26: The first American forces arrive in Europe landing in Northern Ireland.
- 31: The last organized Allied forces leave Malaya, ending the 54-day battle.
- 9: Top United States military leaders hold their first formal meeting to discuss American military strategy in the war.
- 11: Operation Cerberus - Flotilla of Kriegsmarine ships dash from Brest through the English Channel to northern ports; British fail to sink any one of them
- 15: Singapore surrenders to Japanese forces.
- 19: Japanese warplanes attack Darwin, Australia; President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs executive order 9066 allowing the United States military to define areas as exclusionary zones. These zones affect the Japanese on the West Coast, and Germans and Italians primarily on the East Coast.
- 22: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt orders General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines as American defense of the nation collapses.
- 23: Japanese submarine I-17 fires sixteen high-explosive shells toward an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, causing little damage.
- 25: Princess Elizabeth registers for war service
- 27: Battle of the Java Sea begins; The USS Langley, the first United States aircraft carrier, is sunk by Japanese warplanes off Java.
- 28: Japanese land forces invade Java.
- 9: The Secretary of War reorganized the United States Army into three major commands - Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Services of Supply, later redesignated Army Service Forces
- 10: Fall of Rangoon.
- 17: U.S. General Douglas MacArthur arrives in Australia, after abandoning his headquarters in the Philippines.
- 28: British Commandos raid the French port of St. Nazaire, assisted by an old destroyer loaded with explosives. The port is destroyed completely and does not resume service till 1947; however, around two-thirds of the raiding forces are lost.
- 3: Japanese forces begin an all-out assault on the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula. Bataan fell on April 9 and the Bataan Death March began.
- 5: The Japanese Navy attacks Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Royal Navy cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire are sunk southwest of the island.
- 9: The Japanese Navy launches air raid on Trincomalee in Ceylon (Sri Lanka); Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and Royal Australian Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire are sunk off the country's East Coast.
- 15: Malta is awarded the George Cross by King George VI for "heroism and devotion".
- 18: Doolittle Raid on Nagoya, Tokyo and Yokohama.
- 23: Beginning of so-called Baedeker Blitz on English provincial towns; attacks continue sporadically until June 6.
- 27: A national plebiscite is held in Canada on the issue of conscription.
- 4: The Battle of the Coral Sea starts.
- 5: British forces begin "Operation Ironclad": the invasion of Madagascar to keep the Vichy French territory from falling to a possible Japanese invasion.
- 6: On Corregidor, the last American forces in the Philippines surrender to the Japanese.
- 8: The Battle of the Coral Sea comes to an end. This is the first time in the naval history where two enemy fleets fought without seeing each other's fleets.
- 9: On the night of 8/9 May 1942, gunners of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery on Horsburgh Island in the Cocos Islands rebelled. Their mutiny was crushed and three of them were executed, the only British Commonwealth soldiers to be executed for mutiny during the Second World War.
- 12: Second Battle of Kharkov - In the eastern Ukraine, the Soviet Army initiates a major offensive. During the battle the Soviets will capture the city of Kharkov from the German Army, only to be encircled and destroyed.
- 15: In the United States, a bill creating the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) is signed into law.
- 21: Invasion of Malta postponed indefinitely.
- 27: Operation Anthropoid - assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague.
- 1: Mexico declares war on Germany, Italy and Japan.
- 4: The Battle of Midway; Reinhard Heydrich dies in Prague due to the assassination by Czechoslovak paratroopers (Operation Anthropoid)
- 5: United States declares war on Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
- 7: Japanese forces invade the Aleutian Islands. This is the first invasion of American soil in 128 years.
- 9: Nazis burn the Czech village of Lidice as reprisal for the killing of Reinhard Heydrich.
- 12: Future essayist Anne Frank receives a diary for her thirteenth birthday.
- 13: The United States opens its Office of War Information, a center for production of propaganda.
- 18: Manhattan Project started.
- 21: Afrika Korps recaptures Tobruk.
- 28: Operation Blue, the German plan to capture Stalingrad and the Russian oil fields in the Caucasus, begins.
- 1: First Battle of El Alamein begins.
- 3: Guadalcanal falls to the Japanese.
- 9: Anne Frank's family goes into hiding in an attic above her father's office in an Amsterdam warehouse.
- 16: On order from the Vichy France government headed by Pierre Laval, French police officers round up 13,000-20,000 Jews and imprison them in the Winter Velodrome. (See Rafle du Vel'd'Hiv.)
- 18: The Germans test fly the Messerschmitt Me-262 using only its jets for the first time.
- 19: Battle of the Atlantic - German Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz orders the last U-boats to withdraw from their United States Atlantic coast positions in response to an effective American convoy system.
- 21: Japanese establish beachhead on the north coast of New Guinea in the Buna-Gona area; small Australian force begins rearguard action on the Kokoda Track Campaign.
- 22: The systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto begins.
- 27: First Battle of El Alamein ends.
- 7: Operation Watchtower begins the Battle of Guadalcanal as American forces invade Gavutu, Guadalcanal, Tulagi and Tanambogo in the Solomon Islands.
- 8: In Washington, DC, six German would-be saboteurs are executed (two others were cooperative and received life imprisonment instead).
- 13: General Bernard Montgomery appointed commander of British Eighth Army in North Africa.
- 15: Operation Pedestal arrives at the island fortress of Malta.
- 19: Operation Jubilee, a raid by British and Canadian forces on Dieppe, France, ends in disaster.
- 22: Brazil declares war on the Axis countries.
- 26: Battle of Milne Bay begins: Japanese forces launch full-scale assault on Australian base near the eastern tip of New Guinea.
- 30: Luxembourg is formally annexed to the German Reich.
- Manhattan Engineering District is formally created, full-effort production of the atomic bomb is begun.
- 1: Stalingrad is now completely encircled by German forces.
- 3: Australian and U.S. forces defeat Japanese forces at Milne Bay, the first outright defeat for Japanese land forces during the Pacific War; An attempt by the Germans to liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Lakhva leads to an uprising.
- 12: RMS Laconia, carrying civilians, Allied soldiers and Italian POWs, is torpedoed off the coast of West Africa and sinks.
- 3: First successful launch of A4-rocket from Test Stand VII at Peenemünde, Germany. The rocket flew 147 kilometres wide and reached a height of 84.5 kilometres and was therefore the first man-made object reaching space.
- 4: British Commandos raid Sark, capturing one German soldier.
- 11: Battle of Cape Esperance - On the northwest coast of Guadalcanal, United States Navy ships intercept and defeat a Japanese fleet on their way to reinforce troops on the island.
- 14: A German U-boat sinks the ferry SS Caribou, killing 137.
- 18: Hitler issues Commando Order, ordering all captured commandos to be executed immediately.
- 22: Conscription age in Britain reduced to 18.
- 23: Second Battle of El Alamein begins with massive Allied bombardment of German positions.
- 24: The three task forces of Operation Torch, the first American-led force to fight in the European and African Theaters of war, departed Hampton Roads, Virginia and Britain for Morrocco.
- 29: In the United Kingdom, leading clergymen and political figures hold a public meeting to register outrage over Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews.
- 1: Operation Supercharge, the Allied breakout at El Alamein, begins.
- 3: Second Battle of El Alamein ends - German forces under Erwin Rommel are forced to retreat during the night.
- 8: Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of Vichy-controlled Morocco and Algeria, begins; French resistance Coup in Algiers, by which 400 French civil resistants neutralized the Vichyist XIXth Army Corps and the Vichyist generals (Juin, Darlan, etc.), so allowing the immediate success of Operation Torch in Algiers, and from there in the whole French North Africa.
- 10: In violation of a 1940 armistice, Germany invades Vichy France following French Admiral François Darlan agreement to an armistice with the Allies in North Africa.
- 12: Battle of Guadalcanal begins - A naval battle near Guadalcanal starts between Japanese and American forces.
- 13: British Eighth Army recaptures Tobruk; Battle of Guadalcanal - Aviators from the USS Enterprise sink the Japanese battleship Hiei.
- 15: Battle of Guadalcanal ends - Although the United States Navy suffered heavy losses, it was able to retain control of Guadalcanal.
- 19: Battle of Stalingrad - Soviet Union forces under General Georgy Zhukov launch the Operation Uranus counterattacks at Stalingrad, turning the tide of the battle in the USSR's favor.
- 22: Battle of Stalingrad - The situation for the German attackers of Stalingrad seems desperate during the Soviet counter-attack Operation Uranus and General Friedrich Paulus sends Adolf Hitler a telegram saying that the German 6th Armee is surrounded.
- 23: German U-boat sinks SS Ben Lomond off the coast of Brazil. One crewman, Chinese second steward Poon Lim, is separated from the others and spends 130 days adrift until he is rescued April 3 1943
- 27: At Toulon, the French navy scuttles its ships and submarines to keep them out of German hands.
- 28: The large-scale German "pacification" of Zamojszczyzna begins.
- 2: Below the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiate the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (a coded message, "The Italian navigator has landed in the new world" was then sent to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt).
- 4: In Warsaw, two Christian women, Zofia Kossak and Wanda Filipowicz risk their lives by setting up the Council for the Assistance of the Jews.
- 7: British commandos conduct Operation Frankton a raid on shipping in Bordeaux harbour.
- 24: French Admiral Darlan, the former Vichy leader who had switched over to the Allies following the Torch landings, assassinated in Algiers.
- 10: Soviet troops launch all-out offensive on Stalingrad.
- 14: Casablanca Conference of Allied leaders begins.
- 15: Japanese are driven off Guadalcanal.
- 18: Soviet officials announce they have broken the Wehrmacht's siege of Leningrad; The Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto rise up for the first time, starting the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
- 23: Allies capture Tripoli, Libya.
- 27: 50 bombers mount the first all American air raid against Germany (Wilhelmshaven was the target).
- 31: Large parts of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, including Field Marshal Paulus, surrender.
- 1: Vidkun Quisling is appointed Prime Minister of Norway by the Nazi occupiers.
- 2: In Russia, the Battle of Stalingrad comes to an end with the surrender of the German 6th Armee.
- 3: The death of the Four Chaplains when their ship was struck by a torpedo.
- 7: In the United States, it is announced that shoe rationing will go into effect in two days.
- 8: Battle of Guadalcanal - United States forces defeat Japanese troops.
- 11: General Eisenhower is selected to command the allied armies in Europe.
- 14: Rostov-na-Donu, Russia is liberated by the Red Army; Battle of the Kasserine Pass - German General Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps launch an offensive against Allied defenses in Tunisia; it is the United States' first major battle defeat of the war.
- 16: Soviet Union reconquers Kharkov, but is later driven out in the Third Battle of Kharkov
- 18: In a speech at the Berlin Sportpalast German Propagandaminister (Propaganda Minister) Joseph Goebbels declare a "Total War" against the allies; The Nazis arrest the members of the White Rose movement.
- 28: Operation Gunnerside, 6 Norwegians led by Joachim Ronneberg successfully attack the heavy water plant Vemork.
- 1: Heinz Guderian becomes the Inspector-General of the Armoured Troops for the German Army.
- 2: Battle of the Bismarck Sea - United States and Australian forces sink Japanese convoy ships.
- 8: American forces are attacked by Japanese troops on Hill 700 in Bougainville in a battle that will last five days.
- 13: On Bougainville, Japanese troops end their assault on American forces at Hill 700; German forces liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Kraków.
- 22: The entire population of Khatyn in Belarus is burnt alive by the German occupation forces.
- 26: Battle of the Komandorski Islands - In the Aleutian Islands the battle begins when United States Navy forces intercept Japanese attempting to reinforce a garrison at Kiska.
- 7: Bolivia declares war on Germany, Japan and Italy.
- 13: Radio Berlin announces the discovery by Wehrmacht of mass graves of Poles killed by Soviets in the Katyn massacre.
- 7: Tunis captured by British First Army.
- 9: German and Italian forces in Tunisia announce surrender to British.
- 11: American troops invade Attu Island in the Aleutian Islands in an attempt to expel occupying Japanese forces.
- 12: Trident Conference begins in Washington, D.C. with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill taking part.
- 13: German Afrika Korps and Italian troops in North Africa surrender to Allied forces.
- 16: The Dambuster Raids by RAF 617 Squadron on German dams; The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ends.
- 17: Surviving RAF Dam Busters return.
- 19: Winston Churchill addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
- 24: Admiral Karl Dönitz orders the majority of U-Boats to withdraw from the Atlantic; Josef Mengele becomes Chief Medical Officer in Auschwitz.
- 22: U.S. Army 45th Infantry Division land in North Africa prior to training at Arzew, French Morocco while serving in World War II.
- 4: General Władysław Sikorski and several other members of the Polish government in exile are killed in what is ostensibly an air accident in Gibraltar.
- 5: Battle of Kursk begins; An Allied invasion fleet sails to Sicily.
- 6: Americans and Japanese fight the Battle of Kula Gulf off Kolombangara.
- 10: The Allied invasion of Sicily marks the beginning allied invasion of Axis-controlled Europe with landings on the island of Sicily, off mainland Italy by the U.S. Army 45th Infantry Division.
- 12: The Wehrmacht and the Red Army fight the Battle of Prokhorovka.
- 19: Rome is bombed by the Allies for the first time in the war.
- 22: Deportations of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto begins. The extermination camp Treblinka is opened.
- 24: Operation Gomorrah begins: British and Canadian aeroplanes bomb Hamburg by night, those of the Americans by day. By the end of the operation in November, 9,000 tons of explosives will have killed more than 30,000 people and destroyed 280,000 buildings.
- 25: In Italy the Gran Consiglio del Fascismo retires its consent to Mussolini; Mussolini is arrested and the power is given to Maresciallo d'Italia Gen. Pietro Badoglio.
- 28: Operation Gomorrah - The British bomb Hamburg caused a firestorm that kills 42,000 German civilians.
- 6: Americans and Japanese fight the Battle of Vella Gulf off Kolombangara.
- 14: Quadrant Conference begins in Quebec City. Canadian Prime Minister MacKenzie King meets with Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- 17: The US 7th Army under General George S. Patton arrive in Messina, Italy followed several hours later by the British 8th Army under Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery, thus completing the Allied conquest of Sicily.
- 19: Roosevelt and Churchill sign the Quebec Agreement, formal agreement for coordinating atomic bomb research.
- 23: The Battle of Kursk ends with a heavy defeat for the German forces.
- 29: Germany dissolves the Danish government after it refuses to deal with a wave of strikes and disturbances to the satisfaction of the German authorities. (See: Occupation of Denmark)
- 3: Mainland Italy is invaded by Allied forces under Bernard L. Montgomery, for the first time in the war.
- 5: The 503rd Parachute Regiment under American General Douglas MacArthur lands and occupies Nadzab, just east of the port city of Lae in northeastern Papua New Guinea.
- 8: United States General Dwight D. Eisenhower publicly announces the surrender of Italy to the Allies and the USAAF bombed the German General Headquarter for the Mediterranean zone Frascati bombing raid September 8, 1943; Julius Fucik is executed by Nazis.
- 9: Iran declares war on Germany, under pressure of Allied forces who have occupied the country; Salerno landings in Italy.
- 23: Italian Social Republic founded in German-occupied parts of Northern Italy.
- 6: Americans and Japanese fight the Naval Battle of Vella Lavella.
- 7: Naples post office explosion
- 13: The new government of Italy sides with the Allies and declares war on Germany.
- 18: Chiang Kai-shek took the oath of office as president of China.
- 21: Lucie Aubrac and others in her French Resistance cell liberate Raymond Aubrac from Gestapo imprisonment
- 22: RAF delivers a highly destructive air strike on the German industrial and population center of Kassel
- 1: In Operation Goodtime, United States Marines land on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.
- 2: In the early morning hours, American and Japanese ships fight the inconclusive Battle of Empress Augusta Bay off Bougainville; British troops, in Italy, reach the Garigliano River.
- 6: The Red Army liberates the city of Kiev.
- 15: Allied Expeditionary Force for the invasion of Europe is officially formed; German SS leader Heinrich Himmler orders that Gypsies and "part-Gypsies" were to be put "on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps."
- 16: After flying from Britain, 160 American bombers strike a hydro-electric power facility and heavy water factory in German-controlled Vemork, Norway; Japanese submarine sinks surfaced USA submarine USS Corvina near Truk
- 18: 440 Royal Air Force planes bomb Berlin causing only light damage and killing 131. The RAF lost nine aircraft and 53 aviators.
- 20: Battle of Tarawa begins - United States Marines land on Tarawa and Makin atolls in the Gilbert Islands and take heavy fire from Japanese shore guns.
- 22: US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and ROC leader Chiang Kai-Shek meet in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss ways to defeat Japan.
- 23: The Deutsche Opernhaus on Bismarckstraße in the Berlin neighborhood of Charlottenburg was destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1961 and called the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
- 25: Americans and Japanese fight the naval Battle of Cape St. George between Buka and New Ireland.
- 27: The Cairo Declaration is released.
- 28: Tehran Conference - US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin meet in Tehran to discuss war strategy (on November 30 they established an agreement concerning a planned June 1944 invasion of Europe codenamed Operation Overlord).
- 29: Second session of AVNOJ, the Anti-fascist council of national liberation of Yugoslavia, is held in Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina, determining the post-war ordering of the country.
- 3: Edward R. Murrow delivers his classic "Orchestrated Hell" broadcast over CBS Radio describing a Royal Air Force nighttime bombing raid on Berlin.
- 4: Bolivia declares war on all Axis powers; In Yugoslavia, resistance leader Marshal Tito proclaims a provisional democratic Yugoslav government in-exile.
- 24: US General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
- 26: German battle cruiser Scharnhorst sunk.
- 4: The Battle of Monte Cassino begins.
- 5: Murder of Danish playwright Kaj Munk.
- 14: The Soviet troops start the offensive at Leningrad and Novgorod.
- 15: The 27th Polish Home Army Infantry Division recreated, marking the start of Operation Tempest by the Polish Home Army.
- 17: British forces, in Italy, cross the Garigliano River; Meat Rationing ends in Australia.
- 18: Siege of Leningrad ends.
- 20: The Royal Air Force drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin; The U.S. Army 36th Infantry Division, in Italy, attempts to cross the Rapido River.
- 22: Allies begin Operation Shingle, the assault on Anzio, Italy. The U.S. Army 45th Infantry Division stand their ground at Anzio against violent assaults for 4 months.
- 27: The two year Siege of Leningrad is lifted.
- 29: The Battle of Cisterna takes place.
- 30: United States troops invade Majuro, Marshall Islands.
- 31: American forces land on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
- 1: United States troops land in the Marshall Islands.
- 3: United States troops capture the Marshall Islands.
- 7: In Anzio, Italian forces launch a counteroffensive.
- 8: The plan for the invasion of France, Operation Overlord, is confirmed.
- 14: SHAEF headquarters established in Britain by General Eisenhower; Anti-Japanese revolt on Java.
- 15: Battle of Monte Cassino - the monastery atop Monte Cassino is destroyed by Allied bombing.
- 17: Battle of Eniwetok Atoll begins. The battle ended in an American victory on February 22.
- 20: "Big Week" begins with American bomber raids on German aircraft manufacturing centers; The United States takes Eniwetok Island.
- 28-29: The Admiralty Islands are invaded by U.S. forces in the Battle of Los Negros and Operation Brewer.
- 1: USS Tarawa and USS Kearsarge laid down; Anti-fascist strike in northern Italy.
- 12: The Creation of the politic Committee of national liberation in Greece.
- 15: Battle of Monte Cassino - Allied aircraft bomb German-held monastery and stage an assault; The National Counsil of the French Resistance approves the Resistance programme.
- 17: German forces in Rîbniţa kill almost 400 prisoners, Soviet citizens and anti-fascist Romanians.
- 18: German forces occupy Hungary.
- 20: RAF Flight Sergeant Nicholas Alkemade's bomber is hit over Germany and he has to bail out without a parachute from the height of over 4000 meters. Tree branches interrupt his fall and he lands safely on deep snow.
- 23: Members of the Italian Resistance attack Nazis marching in via Rasella. 33 Nazis are killed.
- 24: The Fosse Ardeatine massacre in Rome, Italy. 335 Italians are killed, including 75 Jews and over 200 members of the Italian Resistance from various groups; Orde Wingate killed in plane crash.
- 30: Soviets occupy Danzig.
- 14: Odessa is liberated by Soviet forces.
- 24: British troops force open the road from Imphal to Kohima.
- 8: D-Day for Operation Overlord set for June 5.
- 9: The German Army evacuates Sevastopol.
- 12: Soviet troops finalize the liberation of Crimea.
- 18: Battle of Monte Cassino ends with an Allied victory; Polish troops hoist their red and white flag on the ruins of Monte Cassino; Deportation of Crimean Tatars by the Soviet Union government.
- 2: The provisional French government is established.
- 4: Operation Overlord postponed 24 hours due to high seas; American, English and French troops enter Rome.
- 5: Rome falls to the Allies. It is the first capital of an Axis nation to fall; More than 1000 British bombers drop 5000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries on the Normandy coast in preparation for D-Day.
- 6: Battle of Normandy begins - Operation Overlord, code named D-Day, commences with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in France. The allied soldiers quickly break through the Atlantic Wall and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.
- 7: Bayeux liberated by British troops.
- 9: Stalin launches an offensive against Finland with the intent of defeating Finland before pushing for Berlin.
- 10: 642 men, women and children are killed in the Oradour-sur-Glane Massacre in France.
- 13: Germany launches a V1 Flying Bomb attack on England.
- 15: Battle of Saipan: The United States invades Saipan.
- 17: Free French troops land on Elba. Iceland is declared a republic.
- 18: Elba declared liberated.
- 20: Siege of Imphal lifted.
- 21: Allied offensive in Burma.
- 22: Operation Bagration: General attack by Soviet forces to clear the German forces from Belarus which resulted in the destruction of the German Army Group Centre, possibly the greatest defeat of the Wehrmacht during WWII; Burma Campaign: The Battle of Kohima ends in a British victory.
- 25: The Battle of Tali-Ihantala between Finnish and Soviet troops begins. Largest battle ever to be fought in the Nordic countries.
- 26: Cherbourg liberated by American troops.
- 3: Minsk is liberated by Soviet forces.
- 9: Caen is liberated by the Allies.
- 18: Infamous ‘death ride of the armoured divisions’ as British XIII Corps repulsed by heavy German counter-attack.
- 19: The entire Government of Japan resigns, Emperor Hirohito asks General Kuniaka Koiso to form a new government.
- 20: The July 20 Plot is carried out by Col. Claus von Stauffenberg in a failed attempt to assinate Hitler.
- 24: Majdanek Concentration Camp is liberated by Soviet forces.
- 1: Warsaw Uprising by the Polish Home Army commences.
- 4: Florence liberated by the Allies.
- 10: Guam liberated by American troops.
- 15: Operation Dragoon begins with the amphibious Allied landings in southern France.
- 19: French Resistance begins uprising in Paris.
- 20: "Operation Jassy-Kishinev" Battle in former Bessarabia.
- 23: Romania breaks with the Axis and joins the Allies.
- 25: Paris is liberated; De Gaulle and Free French parade triumphantly down the Champs-Élysées.
- 29: The Slovak National Uprising breaks out.
- 2: Allied troops enter Belgium.
- 3: Brussels liberated by British Second Army while Lyon is liberated by French and American troops.
- 4: Antwerp liberated by British 11th Armoured Division.
- 6: Ghent and Liège liberated by British troops.
- 8: Ostend liberated by Canadian troops; Russians invade Bulgaria.
- 9: De Gaulle forms provisional government in France, and Bulgaria makes peace with the USSR then declares war on Germany.
- 10: Luxembourg liberated by U.S. First Army.
- 11: First Allied troops enter Germany.
- 17: Operation Market Garden, the attempted liberation of Arnhem, begins.
- 19: Nancy liberated by U.S. First Army; Armistice is signed between the Soviet Union and Finland
- 25: British troops pull out of Arnhem with failure of Operation Market Garden. Over 6,000 paratroopers are captured.
- 30: German garrison in Calais surrenders to Canadian troops.
- 1: Soviet troops enter Yugoslavia.
- 2: Germans finally succeed in putting down Warsaw Uprising by Polish Home Army.
- 4: German troops withdrawn from Greece; Allied troops enter Greece.
- 5: Canadian troops cross the border into the Netherlands.
- 6: Soviet and Czechoslovak troops enter North-eastern Slovakia.
- 6: The Battle of Debrecen began as German and Soviet forces advance against each other in eastern Hungary.
- 14: Athens liberated by Allies.
- 20: Allies invade Philippines; The Red Army and Yugoslav partisans under the command of Josip Broz Tito liberate Belgrade.
- 21: Aachen occupied by U.S. First Army; it is the first major German city to be captured.
- 23: Battle of Leyte Gulf begins. Largest sea battle in history.
- 25: Russians invade Norway.
- 29: The Battle of Debrecen ended with close to a German victory as German and Hungarian forces encircle a large Soviet army group.
- 2: Canadian troops take Zeebrugge in Belgium; Belgium now entirely liberated.
- 4: Remaining Axis forces in Greece surrender.
- 24: Strasbourg liberated by French troops.
- 29: Albania liberated by Allies.
- 3: The Home Guard is stood down.
- 15: The Battle of the Bulge begins as German forces attempt a breakthrough in the Ardennes region.
- 29: Soviets launch the Battle of Budapest against German and allied Hungarian forces in and around the Hungarian capital city.
- 2: Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay dies in plane crash.
- 14-27 Roer Triangle is cleared by the 2nd British Army during Operation Blackcock.
- 16: United States First and Third Armies link up following Battle of the Bulge; Soviet troops liberate Budapest.
- 17: Warsaw liberated by Red Army troops.
- 27: The Battle of the Bulge officially ends; Auschwitz concentration camp is liberated by Soviet troops.
- 30: Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff off the coast of East Prussia.
- 2: Ecuador declares war on Germany.
- 4: Yalta Conference of Allied leaders begins; Belgium now cleared of all German forces.
- 8: Paraguay declares war on Germany.
- 12: Peru declares war on Germany.
- 13: The Battle of Budapest ended with Soviet victory.
- 13/14: Dresden firebombed by Allied air forces. Large parts of city destroyed.
- 14: Uruguay declares war on Germany.
- 14: Bombing of Prague - a mistake during the bombing of Dresden.
- 19: U.S. Marines invade Iwo Jima
- 23: U.S. forces raise the American flag at Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima.
- 25: Turkey declares war on Germany.
- 28: The United States Army captures Manila, capital of the Philippines.
- 6: Germans launch Lake Balaton Offensive against Soviet forces in Hungary.
- 9: The US firebombs Japan.
- 9: Amid rumors of a possible American invasion, Japanese overthrow the Vichy French Decoux Government which had been operating independently as the colonial government and proclaim an "independent" Empire of Việt Nam, with Emperor Bảo Đại as nominal ruler. Premier Trần Trọng Kim forms the first Vietnamese government.
- 16: Lake Balaton Offensive ended in Soviet victory.
- 20: German General Gotthard Heinrici replaced Heinrich Himmler as commander of Army Group Vistula, the army group directly in line with the Soviet advance towards Berlin.
- 20: Mandalay liberated by Indian 19th Infantry Division.
- 22-23: US and British forces cross the Rhine.
- 28: Argentina declares war on Germany.
- 29: The Red Army enters Austria.
- 30: Russian forces liberate Danzig.
- 1: U.S. troops invade Okinawa.
- 2: Soviets launch Vienna Offensive against German forces in and around the Austrian capital city.
- 4: Ohrdruf death camp is liberated by the Allies.
- 4: Georgian Uprising of Texel starts.
- 9: Battle of Königsberg ends in Soviet victory.
- 10: Buchenwald concentration camp liberated.
- 12: President Roosevelt dies suddenly. Harry Truman becomes president of the United States.
- 13: Vienna Offensive ended with Soviet victory.
- 15: Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is liberated; Arnhem is liberated.
- 16: The Battle of the Seelow Heights and the Battle of the Oder-Neisse began as the Soviets continued to advance towards the city of Berlin.
- 16: Sinking of the Goya in Bay of Danzig.
- 19: The Battle of the Seelow Heights and the Battle of the Oder-Neisse ended in Soviet victory. The Soviet advance towards the city of Berlin continued.
- 21: Soviet forces under Georgiy Zhukov (1st Belorussian Front), Konstantin Rokossovskiy (2nd Belorussian Front), and Ivan Konev (1st Ukrainian Front) launch assaults on the German forces in and around the city of Berlin as the opening stages of the Battle of Berlin.
- 21: Hitler ordered SS-General Felix Steiner to attack the 1st Belorussian Front and destroy it. The ragtag units of "Army Detachment Steiner" were something more than a corps but far less than the army required to face an entire Soviet front.
- 22: Hitler informed late in the day that, with the approval of Gotthard Heinrici, Steiner's attack was never launched. Instead, Steiner's forces were authorized to retreat.
- 22: In response to the news concerning Steiner, Hitler launched a furious tirade against the perceived treachery and incompetence of his military commanders in front of Wilhelm Keitel, Hans Krebs, Alfred Jodl, Wilhelm Burgdorf, and Martin Bormann. Hitler's tirade culminated in an oath to stay in Berlin, head up the defense of the city, and shoot himself at the end.
- 22: Hitler ordered German General Walther Wenck to attack towards Berlin with his Twelfth Army, link up with the Ninth Army of General Theodor Busse, and relieve the city. Wenck launched an attack, but it came to nothing.
- 24: Forces of the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front linked up in the initial encirclement of Berlin.
- 25: Elbe Day: First contact between Soviet and American troops at the river Elbe, near Torgau in Germany.
- 26: Hitler summoned Field Marshall Robert Ritter von Greim from Munich to Berlin to take over command of the Luftwaffe from Hermann Goering. While flying into Berlin with Hanna Reitsch, von Greim was seriously wounded by Soviet anti-aircraft fire.
- 27: The encirclement of German forces in Berlin was completed by the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front.
- 28: Head of State for the Italian Social Republic, Benito Mussolini, was captured in northern Italy while trying to escape. Mussolini and other members of his puppet government were then executed by Italian partisans and their bodies put on display in Milan.
- 29: Dachau concentration camp is liberated by the U.S. 7th Army. All forces in Italy officialy surrender and a ceasefire is declared.
- 29: Robert Ritter von Greim and Hanna Reitsch flew out of Berlin in an Arado Ar 96 trainer.
- 30: German dictator Adolf Hitler dictated his last will and testament shortly before committing suicide in his bunker in Berlin.
- 30: In accordance with Hitler's last will and testament, Joseph Goebbels was appointed Reich Chancellor and Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz was appointed Reich President.
- 30: Major Archimedes Patti US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) meets with Hồ Chí Minh who shows his support for America and later asks Patti to take this message back to the American people., ".. . that the Vietnamese loved the Americans; ... tell the Americans that the Vietnamese would never fight the Americans". American arms and instructors support is increased to Hồ and Giáp.
- 1: Reich Chancellor Joseph Goebbels sent German General Hans Krebs to negotiate the surrender of the city of Berlin with Soviet General Vasily Chuikov. Chuikov, as commander of the Soviet 8th Guards Army, commanded the Soviet forces in central Berlin. Krebs was not authorized by Goebbels to agree to an unconditional surrender. His negotiations with Chuikov ended with no agreement.
- 1: Reich Chancellor Joseph Goebbels committed suicide in Berlin along with his wife and children. General Hans Krebs committed suicide later.
- 2: The Battle of Berlin ended when German General Helmuth Weidling, commander of the Berlin Defense Area, unconditionally surrendered the city of Berlin to Soviet General Vasily Chuikov.
- 2: Trieste is captured by New Zealand troops and Yugoslavian partisans.
- 3: Rangoon liberated.
- 4: Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic, was over-run by advancing Soviet forces. The remaining members of Prime Minister Jozef Tiso's pro-German government fled to Austria.
- 5: Czech resistance fighters started Prague uprising.
- 5: Soviets started Prague Offensive.
- 5: Mauthausen concentration camp is liberated.
- 5: German troops in the Netherlands officially surrender—symbolically, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands accepts the surrender.
- 5: Denmark liberated by Allied troops.
- 6: German soldiers open fire on crowd celebrating the liberation in Amsterdam.
- 7: Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies in Rheims, France. In accordance with orders from Reich President Karl Dönitz, General Alfred Jodl signed for Germany.
- 8: Ceasefire takes effect at one minute past midnight; V-E Day in Britain.
- 8: The remaining members of the Prime Minister Jozef Tiso's pro-German Slovak Republic capitulated to the American General Walton Walker's XX Corps in Kremsmünster, Austria.
- 8: Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies in Berlin, Germany. In accordance with orders from Reich President Karl Dönitz, General Wilhelm Keitel signed for Germany.
- 8: In accordance with orders from Reich President Karl Dönitz, Colonel-General Carl Hilpert unconditionally surrendered his troops in the Courland Pocket.
- 8: Prague uprising ended with negotiated surrender with Czech resistance which allowed the Germans in Prague to leave the city.
- 8: Việt Nam is considered a minor item on the agenda; in order to disarm the Japanese in Việt Nam, the Allies divide the country in half at the 16th parallel. Chinese Nationalists will move in and disarm the Japanese north of the parallel while the British will move in and do the same in the south. During the conference, representatives from France request the return of all French pre-war colonies in Southeast Asia (Indochina). Their request is granted. Việt Nam will once again become French colony following the removal of the Japanese.
- 9: Red Army entered Prague as part of the Prague Offensive.
- 9: German garrison in Channel Islands agreed to unconditional surrender.
- 11: Prague Offensive ended in Soviet victory.
- 11: German Army Group Centre in Czechoslovakia surrenders.
- 16: British troops complete liberation of Channel Islands.
- 20: Georgian Uprising of Texel ends, ending hostilities in Europe.
- 23: British forces captured and arrested the members of what was left of the Flensburg government. This was the German government formed by Reich President Karl Dönitz after the suicides of both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels.
- 20: Schiermonnikoog, a Dutch Island, is the last part of Europe Allied troops reach.
- 6: Norway declares war on Japan.
- 16: U.S. conducts the Trinity test, the first test of a nuclear weapon.
- 17: Potsdam Conference begins; Allies determine future of Germany.
- 24: Truman informs Joseph Stalin that the United States has nuclear weapons (Stalin is already aware, via espionage).
- 6: The first nuclear weapon ever used in war, "Little Boy", is dropped on Hiroshima by the Enola Gay.
- 8: Soviet Union declares war on Japan; the invasion of Manchuria begins about an hour later.
- 9: A second atomic bomb, "Fat Man", dropped by Bockscar, is dropped on Nagasaki; Soviet troops enter China and Korea.
- 15: Emperor Hirohito issues a radio broadcast announcing Japan's unconditional surrender; V-J Day declared in the United Kingdom.
- 16: Emperor Hirohito issues an Imperial Rescript ordering Japanese forces to cease fire.
- 19: At a spontaneous non-communist meeting in Hà Nội, Hồ Chí Minh and the Việt Minh assumed a leading role in the movement to wrest power from the French. With the Japanese still in control of Việt Nam, Bảo Đại went along because he thought that the Việt Minh were working with the OSS and could guarantee independence for Việt Nam.
- 30: Royal Navy force under Rear-Admiral Cecil Harcourt liberates Hong Kong.
- 2: Japan signs the articles of surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
- 2: In Việt Nam, Chinese Nationalists accept surrender of Japanese Occupation Forces north of the 16th parallel. The British are to accept surrender south of the line under British Major General Douglas Gracey's 20th Indian Division, some 26,000 men in all. British General Gracey arrives in Saigon (South Việt Nam) which is in turmoil. The Communist dominated Việt Minh Independence League with support from United States officials seizes power: Hồ Chí Minh establishes the Government of the Democratic Republic of Việt Nam (GDRV) in Hà Nội, and issues his Declaration of Independence, drawing heavily upon the American Declaration of Independence. Emperor Bảo Đại abdicates.
- 3: Japanese troops in the Philippines and Singapore agree to surrender to American and British forces, respectively.
- 5: Singapore officially liberated by British and Indian troops.
- 16: Japanese garrison in Hong Kong officially signs the instrument of surrender.
- 22: The British release 1,400 French Paratroop POWs from Japanese camps around Saigon. With some of the 20,000 French citizens living there, the French riot, killing Việt Minh suspects and ordinary Vietnamese civilians in Saigon. The defeated Japanese forces are re-armed to assist and restore order. The Việt Minh respond by calling a national strike and organize a guerrilla campaign against the French.
- 23: French troops return to Việt Nam and clash with Communist and Nationalist forces and seize power in the south, with British help.
- 24: General Jacque Philippe Leclerc arrives in Saigon and declares, "We have come to claim our inheritance". The first Indochina War of 1946 - 1954, had begun.
- 1: In the South of Việt Nam, a purely bilateral British/French agreement recognizes French administration of the southern zone. In the North, 180,000 Chinese troops go on a "rampage". Hồ's Việt Minh are hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with it. Hồ Chí Minh accepts an Allied compromise for temporary return of 15,000 French troops to rid the North of anti-Communists. The Chinese troops of Chiang flee to Taiwan, looting as they depart. As World War II ends, starvation kills over 3 million Vietnamese.
- 31: The Home Guard is disbanded.
- Timeline of events preceding World War II
- Timeline of the WWII Eastern Front
- Timeline of the Manhattan Project
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