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World War II Timeline (190 Pics)

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”
― Winston S. Churchill

November 11, 1918
Germany surrenders, ending World War I.
June 28, 1919
Treaty of Versailles signed. Many consider the harsh terms a condition ultimately leading to World War II. The terms included: 1) German territorial losses of Alsace-Lorraine (to France), Eupen and Malmedy (to Belgium), Northern Schleswig (to Denmark), Hultschin (to Czechoslovakia) and West Prussia, Posen and Upper Silesia (to Poland). Also, the League of Nations took over the overseas colonies of Germany. 2) Germany's army was reduced to 100.000 men. Moreover, Germany was not allowed to have an air force, tanks or submarines. 3) War damages were to be paid by Germany, but no specific amount was set. In effect, Germany had to write a blank cheque so the Allies could withdraw money from Germany whenever they wanted.
July 29, 1921
Hitler becomes leader of the Nationalist Socialist Party. Hitler gained popularity through his tirades against the Versailles treaty, Jews, Marxists and political opponents.


November 8/9, 1923
The Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler's failed coup attempt. Hitler and Ludendorff (generalquartiermeister of the Nazi-party) marched along with 2000 Nazi supporters to the city center of Munich where they confronted the police, which resulted into riots. 16 Nazi supporters and 4 policemen were killed. Hitler was wounded during the riots. Two days after the attempted coup, Hitler was arrested for treason.

July 18, 1925
Hitler's Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is published. After the failed coup Hitler had plenty of time to kill in prison and so he wrote the notorious Mein Kampf, an autobiography in which he outlines his political ideas for the future of Germany.

Note: The book cover in the photo says "Eine Abrechnung", this translates to "A Reckoning". Eine Abrechnung is Volume 1 of Mein Kampf. In 1927 Hitler wrote Volume 2.
October 29, 1929
Black Tuesday, the stock market crashes on Wall Street, start of The Great Depression.
September 14, 1930
Nazi party elected as the second largest party in Germany. With Hitler's popularity still on the rise due to his extraordinary speeches, aided by  Joseph Goebbels (later to become Minister of Propaganda), the Nazi party first took their place in the Reichstag.
November 8, 1932
Franklin D. Roosevelt elected president. His campaign focused on The New Deal, which consisted of a series of laws meant to counter The Great Depression. The "three R's" proposed in this New Deal focused on Relief for the poor, Recovery of the economy and Reformation of the financial system to prevent further crisis.
January 30, 1933
Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany.
February 27, 1933
Reichstag on fire. Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch communist, was arrested by Nazi's and quickly confessed to trying to burn the Reichstag down. Hitler used this to pass an emergency decree which suspended civil liberties. After this decree, communists were arrested en masse (parliament members included), causing the Nazi party to gain the majority in parliament and thus consolidating Nazi power.
March 23, 1933
Hitler becomes legal dictator. The Enabling Act or "The Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich" as it was officially called, in effect meant giving Hitler legal dictatorship.
May 10, 1933
Bücherverbrennung. Contrary to popular belief, the Nazi book burnings were not decreed by Hitler, but they were a campaign by the German Student Union. Books that were burned were mainly books of Jewish origin and books opposing the Nazi ideology (mainly communist, anarchist and socialist books).
July 14, 1933
Nazi party becomes the only political party in Germany as all other parties are banned and prohibited.
June 30, 1934
The Night Of Long Knives. Hitler purged its own Nazi party by arresting and executing several Nazi politicians affiliated with the SA (the German paramilitary), who voiced some concerns about Hitler's policies. In doing so, Hitler secured his position as supreme Nazi leader.
August 19, 1934
Hitler becomes Führer. On August 2 German president Paul von Hindenburg died. Von Hindenburg was Hitler's last obstacle to acclaim absolute power. On the night of von Hinderburg's passing, Hitler decreed a law combining the offices of President and Chancellor. The law explicitly states: "This law is effective as of the time of the death of Reich President von Hindenburg." Then, on August 19, 95% of registered voters approved of the new law, making Hitler Führer of Germany.
March 16, 1935
Hitler violates the Treaty of Versailles. Now, with Hitler having absolute power, his foreign policies start taking shape. Hitler reinstates military conscription, which is against the term of the Treaty of Versailles. The Allies do nothing.
February 10, 1936
Gestapo placed above the law. Himmler (left), leader of the Gestapo, shakes hands with Göring (right), creator of the Gestapo.
March 7, 1936
German re-militarization of Rhineland. Another violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Once again, the Allies sit and watch.
May 9, 1936
Italy takes Ethiopia, marking the end of the Second Italo-Ethiopian war, which started in 1935. Mussolini's victory earned him praise from colonialists who praised him for his drive to act and subdue colonial states.
June 11, 1937
Stalin purges Communist Party. Following the example of Hitler, Stalin purges Communist Leaders who are a threat to the current Communist Stalin regime.
November 5, 1937
The Hossbach Memorandum. As early as 1937, Hitler already presented his war plans to the prominent Nazi leaders during a secret meeting. He claimed the German people were entitled to a greater living space (Lebensraum) than other peoples and therefore his cause was just. He also stated Germany should attack no later than 1943-1945 for fear of obsoletion of his army and to utilize the element of surprise.
March 12, 1938
Anschluss of Austria. Hitler crossed the Austrian border at Braunau (his birthplace) with an army of 4000 men. Meeting no resistance, Hitler marched on to Linz and announced the Anschluss of Austria, starting his dream of a Greater German Empire.
September 30, 1938
British Prime Minister declares "It is peace in our time" after signing a non-aggressionpact with Hitler, signed during a conference in Munich.
October 15, 1938
German troops occupy Sudetenland (Czechoslovakia). Sudetenland was home to a German minority of 3 million people. A lot of these people strongly supported the occupation of Sudetenland by Germany.

 November 9/10, 1938
Kristallnacht. During this night, troops of the SA (SturmAbteilung) targeted anything Jewish. Synagogues, stores and other Jewish buildings were destroyed with the German authorities keeping a blind eye. 30.000 Jews were arrested and put into concentration camps.
March 15/16, 1939
Nazis take Czechoslovakia. The Munich pact, the pact after which Chamberlain exclaimed peace for our time, basically gave Sudetenland away to Germany in 1938. Chamberlain reluctantly signed this treaty in exchange that Germany should take no more aggressive action. On March 15, Chamberlain regretted this pact as Hitler crossed the border and takes Czechoslovakia anyway. Still, there is no action from the side of the Allies.
May 22, 1939
Pact of Steel. Germany and Italy sign a treaty which links them both politically and military, thus forming a powerful Axis through continental Europe.
August 23, 1939
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Germany and the Soviet Union sign a treaty of non-aggression. But this treaty was more than just a pact of non-aggression as a secret protocol was included to divide the territories of Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Finland between Germany and the Soviet Union.
August 25, 1939
Anglo-Polish Military Alliance. Britain and Poland signed a treaty which meant mutual military assistance in case of an attack by "some European country". In a secret protocol of this treaty, Britain promised Poland military support if it was to be attacked by Germany specifically.
September 1, 1939
Germany invades Poland.
September 3, 1939
Britain declares war on Germany. At 9 AM the British ambassador in Germany delivered an ultimatum stating that all hostilities are to be ceased before 11 AM or war will be declared. Germany failed to deliver a response and Britain was drawn into the war. Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand also declared war on Germany.
September 5, 1939
United States proclaims neutrality.
September 10, 1939
Canada declares war on Germany. Start of the battle of the Atlantic, the longest battle of World War II, which focused on a naval blockade of Germany by the Allied forces.
September 17, 1939
Soviet Union invades Poland.
September 27, 1939
Poland surrenders after the siege of Warsaw. On September 1 Germany started immediately with bombing Warsaw, followed by a ground attack on September 8. September 27 marked the day the Warsaw and the Polish people could not hold on anymore and surrendered. 140.000 Polish soldiers were taken prisoner, 18.000 civilians are estimated to have perished during this siege.
September 29, 1939
Germany and the Soviet Union divide Poland as agreed upon in the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact.
October, 1939
Aktion T4. Aktion T4 was the euthanasia program of the Nazis to euthanize the sick and disabled. Or as this programs states: "Life unworthy of life". The poster reads: "60,000 Reichsmark is what this person suffering from a hereditary defect costs the People's community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too".

Note: Aktion T4 is named after the address of the headquarters of the euthanasia program in Berlin located at Tiergartenstrasse 4. Today, Tiergartenstrasse 4 houses the Memorial and and Information Centre for the Victims of the Nazi Euthanasia Program.
November 8, 1939
Failed assassination attempt on Hitler. This day commemorates the 16th anniversary of his failed Beer Hall Putsch and he gave a speech praising the people present for their loyalty since the beginning of the Nazi party. He had started his speech 30 minutes earlier than initially was planned and also left a few minutes earlier than planned. 12 minutes after Hitler left the building, a time bomb, concealed in a pillar, exploded, killing 8 and wounding 60. Had Hitler given his speech as planned, the course of history might have been very different.
November 30, 1939
Soviet Union attacks Finland, starting the Winter War. The League of Nations thought the attack illegal and expelled the Soviet Union from the League of Nations.
March 12, 1940
Finnish-Soviet peace treaty. The Soviet army underestimated the Finnish weather conditions in winter. The Soviets, being used to these harsh conditions, thought nothing of the Finnish military, which is also the reason why they incurred heavy losses against the Finnish. The Finnish, using guerilla tactics in the heavy snow had one ultimate secret weapon: ski's. Their ski's allowed them to launch surprise attacks and quickly retreat before taking severe losses. However, in the end they were no match for the vast Soviet numbers and the war ended with territorial and economic Finnish losses.
April 9, 1940
Germany invades Denmark and Norway. Denmark almost immediately surrendered under German threats of bombing Copenhagen. Norway was a tougher nut to crack. It took Germany until June 10, 1940 to make Norway surrender.
May 10, 1940
Germany invades France, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. The French had built a great line of defense, stretching from Switzerland to the Belgian border (The Maginot Line). The Germans, having no intention to gain substantial loss of life, swept through The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg to avoid The Maginot Line in a way that strongly reminds of the Schlieffenplan (Germany's invasion plan in World War I).

Also on this day, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Britain by replacing Neville Chamberlain, who resigned. Chamberlain is often seen as the Prime Minister who lacked spine, in contrary to his successor who often used aggressive language when speaking of foreign policies.
May 15, 1940
The Netherlands surrender. On 14 May, Germany bombed the Dutch city of Rotterdam, reducing it to rubble. The Dutch defense plan had consisted of the New Hollandic Waterline, basically a line of forts through the north-south axis of The Netherlands. The lands surrounding these forts could be set under water to stop advancing armies. But in an era of airplanes, waterlines offer little defense. The Dutch quickly realized their situation was hopeless after German bombers simply flew over their defensive lines and surrendered 5 days after the German invasion had started.

Note: The photo above depicts Rotterdam after the German bombardments. After the German occupation of The Netherlands, the Allied forces started bombing Rotterdam for strategic reasons (first they dropped warning leaflets, so civilians could take cover). At one instant an Allied bomber misplaced its bombs and blew up a residential area killing hundreds. This was covered up until the 1990's and is therefore still called the Forgotten Bombardment.
May 26, 1940
Evacuation of Dunkirk. With the German forces quickly advancing through Germany, the Allied forces realized they were being overwhelmed. What followed was an Allied retreat towards the French coastal town of Dunkirk, where troops could be evacuated to Britain. 338.000 soldiers were evacuated from the French beaches, while 40.000 men had to stay behind and were taken as prisoner of war.
May 28, 1940
Belgium capitulates. With the evacuation of Dunkirk still going on, the Germans rush to Dunkirk. On June 4, the last ship sailed to Britain, leaving Dunkirk to the Germans.
June 10, 1940
Norway surrenders. Mussolini joins the war on the Axis side.
June 15, 1940
Germans enter Paris.
June 18, 1940
Soviet Union invades the Baltic States. The Soviet invasion was greatly despised by the League of Nations, which is not likely to have bothered Stalin very much, since the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations in 1939 after Germany and the Soviet Union divided Poland between them.

Note: The photo shows Soviet tanks entering Riga, Latvia.
June 22, 1940
France signs armistice with Germany at Compiègne. The choice for Compiègne was not a random one, because it was the exact location where Germany was forced to sign the surrender after World War I. But this was not enough for Hitler. He ordered the exact same rail carriage in which the Germans surrendered to be dragged out of a museum so the French humiliation would be complete. As a result of the armistice, French was divided in an occupied zone under German control (north and western France) and a sovereign state, Vichy France, lead by Marshall Pétain. Two weeks after the armistice, Vichy France broke off all relations with Britain, essentially making Vichy France a collaborative state to Germany.

Note: Keitel (left) handing over the terms to Weygand (second on the right).
July 10, 1940
Battle of Britain. The largest air battle of World War II, which lasted nearly 4 months, involving Britain and Canada (1963 aircraft) versus Germany and Italy (2550 aircraft). Losses were immense, 1547 Allied aircraft were destroyed against 1887 Axis aircraft. Moreover, civilian casualties amounted to 90.000 of which 40.000 fatal. Although British casualties were severe, this battle is widely regarded as a great victory for Britain as the Luftwaffe took a severe hit and was rendered ineffective.

Note: The photo shows British Spitfires of the 610 Squadron.
August 3, 1940
Italy invades British Somaliland (East Africa).
September 13, 1940
Italy invades (British) Egypt.
September 16, 1940
United States passes conscription bill. At this stage of the war public opinion was still turned against the "European War". Yet, this conscription bill shows clear signs of war preparation.
September 27, 1940
The Tripartite Pact. A defensive pact signed by Germany, Italy and Japan, mainly aimed at the United States. The pact would later be joined by Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Croatia and Slovakia.
October 28, 1940
Italy invades Greece. Mussolini, looking to the German successes, felt the pressure of also gaining military success, which made him take some hasted actions like the invasion of Greece. Also, Mussolini might have been somewhat overconfident and claimed right after the invasion started: "I will be drinking coffee at the Acropolis in 2 hours". The Greeks had other plans. Italian advancement was slow and met heavy resistance. Eventually, Mussolini was forced back to Albania (which he took in 1939) and the Greeks even launched an attack on Albania. Hitler, who was already angry at Mussolini for invading a possible ally, needed to intervene and sent forces to Greece on April 6, 1941. By April 27, the German army reached Athens.

Note: The photo shows the initial Italian army invading Greece.
November 5, 1940
Roosevelt re-elected president of the United States. Roosevelt remains the only president in US history to have been elected 3 consecutive terms. He was elected on the promise of staying out of the war.

Spoiler: Roosevelt was even elected a fourth consecutive term.
December 9, 1940
Britain launches counter attack against the Italians in North Africa. The photo shows a Scottish regiment marches past the Great Pyramids of Gizeh.
January 22, 1941
Britain and Italian forces took Tobruk, Libya. Tobruk was a port of strategic significance and would later have to be defended at all costs. This was the first use of Australian tanks, of dubious quality, in World War II.
February 12, 1941
Erwin Rommel arrives in Tripoli, North Africa to command the Axis forces. Rommel is also known as The Desert Fox due to his skills in desert warfare (and warfare in general). Just as Hitler, Rommel had fought in World War I and became a highly decorated officer. In World War II he had already served as commander during the invasion of France after being appointed commander in Africa. Later in his career he would also command German forces during the Allied invasion of Normandy.
March 7, 1941
British land in Greece. In an attempt to halt the Italian advance and aid the Greek army, Britain sent 58.000 British and Australian troops to Greece. However, these forces were no match for the German forces sent by Hitler to fix the Italian fiasco in Greece. In April, 13.958 British soldiers were captured.

Note: The photo shows British soldiers killed in Greece.
March 11, 1941
Roosevelt signs Lend-Lease Act. This act enabled the US to help "any country whose defense the president deems vital to the defense of the United States" with arms, supplies and other goods. Nations receiving these goods include Free France, United Kingdom, The Soviet Union and The Republic of China. At this point it's hard to pretend US neutrality.
March 25, 1941
Yugoslavia joins the Tripartite Pact and becomes an Axis member. Two days later, a group of pro-Western Serbian Air Force officers (supported by Britain), placed Peter II on the throne at 17 years old. The Germans, angered by the loss of their ally responded with invading Yugoslavia on April 6. On April 17, Yugoslavia signed an armistice, making Yugoslavia an Axis puppet state.
April 14, 1941
German siege of Tobruk starts. With Rommel in command, the Axis forces try to take back the strategical important city on the coast of Libya. The siege took 241 days and caused lots of casualties on both sides (Allies: 5989 casualties, Axis: 12.296 casualties). Supply problems caused the Germans to eventually abandon the siege.
May 10, 1941
Rudolf Hess (vice-Führer) flies to Scotland. Rudolf Hess was worried that Germany would have to fight a war on two fronts. As he felt more left out by the Nazi party leaders everyday, he decided to act on his own. In an attempt to negotiate peace with Britain, surpassing Hitler, Rudolf Hess flew to Scotland in a small plane, using landmarks as orientation points. As night fell over Britain he got lost and nearly ran out of fuel so he parachuted himself to safety. He was almost immediately arrested even though the local authorities did not know he was the Vice-Führer of Germany, because Hess gave a fake name. After the war, Hess was sentenced to a lifetime in prison since he was only convicted of crimes against peace and conspiracy with other German leaders to commit crimes (instead of war crimes such as other Nazi leaders). At the age of 93 he hung himself in prison. Remarkable story.

Note: The photo shows the wreckage of the plane flown by Hess.
June 8, 1941
Allied forces invade Syria and Lebanon. Syria and Lebanon both fell under Vichy France, which made them allies to the Axis powers. On July 10, 1941 an armistice was signed, handing Syria and Lebanon over the Free France under Charles De Gaulle. Before World War II ended, both states were independent.
June 22, 1941
Germany invades the Soviet Union. Operation Barbarossa starts as German forces enter the Soviet Union. Two weeks after the invasion Stalin calls his people to a scorched earth policy, asking civilians to burn their lands and crops so that advancing German troops could not use Soviet supplies. Within six days the German army conquers Minsk and another two weeks later they cross the river Dnieper in Ukraine.

Note: The photo shows Russians rescuing their assets and belongings after their houses have been set on fire by fellow Russians following the scorched earth policy.
June, 1941
First reports of German mass executions. A picture says more than a thousand words.
July 12, 1941
Britain and the Soviet Union sign a mutual assistance agreement.

Note: Churchill (left), Stalin (second on the right).
W. Averell Harriman (US Ambassador to USSR - middle) and Vyacheslav Molotov (rightmost).
July 31, 1941
Göring orders Heydrich to start with The Final Solution.

Letter from Göring to Heydrich:
Berlin, July 31, 1941

To Gruppenführer Heydrich:

Supplementing the task assigned to you by the decree of January 24, 1939, to solve the Jewish problem by means of emigration and evacuation in the best possible way according to present conditions, I hereby charge you to carry out preparations as regards organizational, financial, and material matters for a total solution (Gesamtlösung) of the Jewish question in all the territories of Europe under German occupation.

Where the competency of other central organizations touches on this matter, these organizations are to collaborate.

I charge you further 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 (Endlösung) of the Jewish question.

Göring
August 14, 1941
The Atlantic Charter. The Atlantic Charter was a pivotal policy statement issued on 14 August 1941, that, early in World War II, defined the Allied goals for the post-war world. The leaders of the United Kingdom and the United States drafted the work and all the Allies of World War II later confirmed it.

The eight principal points of the Charter were:
1) No territorial gains were to be sought by the United States or the United Kingdom;
2) Territorial adjustments must be in accord with the wishes of the peoples concerned;
3) All people had a right to self-determination;
4) Trade barriers were to be lowered;
5) There was to be global economic cooperation and advancement of social welfare;
6) The participants would work for a world free of want and fear;
7) The participants would work for freedom of the seas;
8) There was to be disarmament of aggressor nations, and a post-war common disarmament.

Note: Roosevelt (left) and Churchill (right) aboard the HMS Prince of Wales.
September 1, 1941
Jews are ordered to wear a yellow star. Two days later the first experiment with gas chambers took place at Auschwitz.
September 8, 1941
German siege of Leningrad begins. This siege would last until November 27, 1944 with both German and Soviet troops taking heavy casualties. German casualties amounted 579.985, while Soviet army casualties amounted  3.436.066. Moreover, Soviet civilian casualties amounted to over a million. Axis forces tried to circle Leningrad (now with the help of Finland) and managed to do so. Unfortunately for the Axis powers, Leningrad is located close to a great lake (Lake Ladoga).  As Lake Ladoga was frozen solid during the winter, the Soviets created a supply line over the frozen lake, to keep the defending Soviet army going. During the siege several attempts have been made by Soviet armies to break the encirclement, but most failed. It wasn't until February 27, 1944 that a final blow to the encircling German army could be given and the siege was lifted.
September - December, 1941
German armies advance into Soviet territory.
September 19, Kiev falls, 33.711 Jews murdered in Kiev.
October 2, Germans advance on Moscow.
October 16, Odessa falls.
October 24, Kharkov falls.
November 20, Rostov falls.
November 27, Rostov retaken by the Soviets.
December 5, German advance for Moscow fails.
December 7, 1941
Japanes attack on Pearl Harbour. A Japanese surprise attack damages a great proportion of the US Naval fleet in order to establish dominance in the Pacific Ocean. Nearly 2500 US civilians are killed during the raids. The next day, the United States and Britain declare war on Japan. December 9, China declares war on Japan.
December, 1941 - February, 1942
Japanese advancements
1941
December 10 - Japanese invade Philippines and seize Guam.
December 11 - Japanese invade Birma.
December 16 - Japanese invade British Borneo.
December 22 - Japanese invade Luzon.
December 23 - US General Douglas MacArthur begins withdrawal from Bataan (Philippines).

1942
January 7 - Japanese attack Bataan.
January 11 - Japanese attack Dutch Indies and Dutch Borneo.
February 8 - Japanese invade Singapore.
February 19 - Japanese air raid against Darwin, Australia.
February 23 - Japanese attack US mainland as they shell an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California.
December 11, 1941
Hitler declares war on the United States.
January 13, 1942
German submarines (U-Boats) take offensive action along the east coast of the United States.

Note: The photo shows an American tanker destroyed before the coast of Hobe Sound, Florida.
January 20, 1942
The Wannsee Conference. Reinhard Heydrich hosts a meeting at the Wannsee, near Berlin, to put the Final Solution into action.
January 26, 1942
US forces arrive in Britain.

Note: The photo shows US forces marching down Piccadilly, London.
March 8, 1942
The Dutch on Java surrender to Japan.
April, 1942
Japanese-Americans are sent to 'relocation centers'. Between 110.000 and 120.000 Japanese-Americans have been sent to camps during the course of the war. Many of these internees lost their possessions since they were only allowed to keep what they could carry.
April 6, 1942
US Troops arrive in Australia.
April 10, 1942
Bataan Death March. After surrendering Bataan to the Japanese the day before, 76.000 US prisoners of war are relocated to another camp. They have to walk 60 miles (96 kilometers) while being physical abused by the Japanese. 5.000 men did not reach their destination as they perished along the road. The March was condemned a Japanese war crime after the war.
April 18, 1942
Doolittle Raid. The first US air raid on Japanese soil with Tokyo as its main target. The attack was launched from the USS Hornet, an air carrier ship. Though the operation had no significant military effect, it certainly boosted morale in the United States.
May 20, 1942
Japanese forces capture Birma completely and reach India.

Note: The photo shows Indian prisoners of war being used as practice shooting targets for new Japanese recruits.
May 27, 1942
Attempted assassination on SS-Leader Reinhard Heydrich in Prague. The Czechoslovakian government-in-exile wanted to kill Heydrich and sent two assassins (Gabčík and Kubiš), trained by British Special Forces, to kill him. When Heydrich was driving in Prague, while on his way for a meeting with Hitler in Berlin, Gabčík tried to kill him with a sub-machine gun, but the gun jammed. Heydrich then stopped the car to confront him, but then Kubiš threw a modified anti-tank bomb at Heydrich's car, causing him severe trauma. Both assassins escaped. Heydrich died comatose in the hospital on June 4, 1942.

Note: The picture shows Heydrich in Prague, about to step into the car in which he was attacked. The car is still exposed in the Military History Museum in Prague.
May 30, 1942
First British thousand-bomber raid against Cologne, Germany. A thousand-bomber raid simply means that at least thousand bombers were sent to bomb. Later, Essen and Bremen (both in June) were hit by a thousand-bomber raid.

Note: The photo shows Cologne after the air raid of May 30, 1942.
June, 1942
Mass executions of Jews by use of gas chambers begins at Auschwitz.

Note: The picture shows the inside of a gas chamber where the wall is marked with despairing clawing fingernails.
June 4-7, 1942
Battle of Midway. The Battle of Midway was a turning point in the pacific theater. During this naval battle, the US Fleet delivered such damage to the Japanese Fleet that their fleet was rendered ineffective for the remainder of the war. Japanese casualties amounted 4 carriers, 2 heavy cruisers and 248 aircraft. US casualties only amounted 1 sunk carrier, 1 destroyer and approximately 150 aircraft. Still, the Japanese radio announced a great Japanese victory.
June 21, 1942
Rommel takes Tobruk. After his first failed siege of Tobruk, Rommel now took it after a 25-day long siege. The whole operation from his advancement up to his capture of Tobruk is known as the Battle of Gazala. During the war in Northern Africa, front lines were constantly moving, which made the battlefield a tactical play field. The use of tanks was heavily relied upon during battles in this region. The British forces lost 1188 tanks during the complete Gazala campaign, while Germany only suffered a loss of about 400 tanks.
July 1, 1942
Start of the First Battle of El Alamein, Egypt. Although the battle is regarded to have ended in stalemate, British forces would have been happiest with the outcome as the battle stopped the German forces from advance further to Caïro and the Suez canal.
July 3, 1942
Germany takes Sevastopol. After a siege of eight months Germany finally takes Sevastapol, which is of great strategic value due to its geographical location on the coast of the Black Sea. Sevastopol could therefore be used as a naval base to reach the Mediterranean Sea. This victory broke Soviet resistance on the Crimea and started the German advance on Stalingrad.
July 22, 1942
First deportations to concentration camps from the Warsaw Ghetto. At least 254.000 Jews were sent to concentration camps from the ghetto's.
August 7, 1942
American invasion of Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands). The Japanese were quickly driven out, but there would be several battles for Guadalcanal (over 6 months) as Japanese forces later attempted to retake it. During the complete Guadalcanal campaign US dead amounted 7.100 compared to 19.200 Japanese dead. The strategic advantages of Guadalcanal were immense (supply and military base) and the Japanese never regained initiative during the war.
September 2, 1942
British forces push Rommel back in the Battle of Alam el Halfa. Montgomery, recently appointed general of the British eighth army, stopped the Germans from advancing again and taking the upper hand in the North African battlefields. This battle marked the last great offensive of Axis forces in North Africa.
September 13, 1942
Battle of Stalingrad begins. The battle for Stalingrad lasted more than five months and is notorious for its close combat fighting. To begin with, the city has been bombarded to rubble, also targeting civilians. The Germans then took the city, but never controlled the city as marauding Soviet troops scavenged among the ruins of the city, fighting a guerilla resembling war. On November 19, 1942 the Soviets launched a counter offensive (Operation Uranus) which flanked the city. Meanwhile, Hitler, as commander of the army, ordered troops to stay in the city instead of trying to break out, thereby allowing Soviet forces to encircle Stalingrad. The German General Paulus was captured on January 31, 1943 and was instantly promoted to field marshall. This way Hitler tried to pressure him into taking the honorable way out (suicide) instead of surrendering. On February 2, 1943 the Germans surrendered as a result of lack of supplies and moral. Field marshall Paulus became a critic voice against the Nazi regime during his time in Soviet prison. This battle marks a turning point in the war on the Eastern front as Germany did not gain the initiative anymore  for the rest of the war.
November 1, 1942
Operation Supercharge. The Allied attempt to break the line at El Alamein (Second Battle of El Alamein) ended in a great victory for the Allies. It boosted morale, because it was the first great offensive against Germany since the beginning of the war in 1939. One week after the battle Operation Torch started, which was the operation to invade French Northern Africa and clear Axis presence in North Africa.

Note: The Australian troops attacking at El Alamein shown in the picture are posing for the photo.
November 11, 1942
Germany and Italy invade their ally Vichy France. As a counter measure to the Allied invasion of North Africa Hitler invaded Vichy France to keep the left flank of Germany from being exposed to Allied threats. As a bonus, Hitler wanted to capture the Vichy Fleet at Toulon. Vichy France Admiral Darlan had different plans and defected to the Free French. His first act as Free French general was to demolish his own fleet at Toulon so that the Germans could not take it. Darlan took the position of High Commissioner of France on the Allied side, which greatly outraged De Gaulle, who was not willing to work with a notorious collaborator. On December 24 he was assassinated in his Headquarters by an anti-Vichy Frenchmen.
January 2, 1943
Germans retreat in the Caucasus.
January 14, 1943
Start of the Casablanca Conference. The goal of this conference was to plan the next phase of the war for the Allies. The Allies also formed the "Casablanca Declaration", which stated it would only accept unconditional surrender of the Axis powers.
January 23, 1943
Allied forces take Tripoli.

Note: The photo shows a piper of the Gordon Highlanders playing from a Valentine tank as it drives into Tripoli.
February 18, 1943
The Sportpalast Speech. This speech was given by Joseph Goebbels, German Propaganda Minister and asked the people whether they would want total war (war that is unrestricted in terms of the weapons used, the territory or combatants involved, or the objectives pursued, especially one in which the laws of war are disregarded). The audience was carefully selected to get as much of a cheered response as possible.
March 2, 1943
German withdrawal from Tunisia.
March 16-20, 1943
Largest battle of the Battle of the Atlantic. The goal for both Axis and Allies forces in the Battle of the Atlantic was to block supplies from their enemies. German U-Boats mainly sank US merchant ships sailing to Britain, while the Allied forces simply tried to block any trade to Germany. As the war progressed, so did naval tactics. German U-Boats had developed a wolfpack technique, where they would surround a prey and suddenly attack from all sides. This tactic lead to the greatest German naval victory in the war a wolfpack sank 27 Allied merchant ships.
April 18, 1943
Admiral Yamamoto shot down. The plane of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, one of the masterminds behind Pearl Harbor, was located by American codebreakers and consequently shot down. His death was a major blow to Japanes military morale.
April 19, 1943
Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The remaining Jews in the ghetto were ordered for transportation. When they refused to obey German orders, SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen Stroop ordered the burning of blocks, building by building. During these riots 13.000 Jews were killed and 56.000 were still deported to concentration camps.
May 7, 1943
Allies take Tunisia. The Tunisia Campaign, which started in November 1942, ended with the fall of Tunis. After the city fell, some 230.000 German and Italian soldiers surrendered, effectively ending Axis presence on the African continent. With Africa cleared of Axis powers, Allied focus switched to Europe, especially Italy.

Note: The photo shows surrendered German and Italian forces.
June 11, 1943
Heinrich Himmler orders the liquidation of all all Jewish Ghetto's in Poland.
July 5, 1943
Battle of Kursk begins. This battle lasted for a week and a half and was notorious for the great number of tanks involved in the battle (nearly 3000 German tanks vs over 5000 Soviet tanks). The battle was initiated by the German army, who tried to push forward and halt the Soviet advancement. However, German forces were outnumbered and the German advance quickly halted. Then the Soviet forces took over the initiative, pushing the German forces back, indicating the last offensive actions taken by Nazi Germany in the Eastern front. Total casualties on the German side amounted nearly 198.000 men and 760 destroyed tanks and assault guns, whereas the Soviets lost over 250.000 men. Another 680.000 Soviets were wounded during this battle. Also, over 6000 Soviet tanks and assault guns have been destroyed in this battle.
July 9, 1943
Allied invasion of Sicily. First Allied action in Europe since they had been driven out. The operation consisted of massive amphibious attacks supported by airborne attacks. The Allied operations was a success as 1.5 month later all axis forces were expelled from the island. As a result of the Allied invasion, Hitler decided to sent part of his Eastern European force to Italy, which cost him the upper-hand in the battle of Kursk.
July 19, 1943
Allied bombing of Rome. There was no unanimous agreement among the Allied leaders to bomb Rome. The Vatican, which was a neutral country during World War II would also be at risk during a bombing of Rome. In an attempt to save Rome (and The Vatican) from further ruin, pope Pius XII wrote Roosevelt and asked him to spare Rome. He also declared Rome to be an 'open city' (a city which promises not to defend itself in exchange for the city being spared a bombing). However, the bombing continued, which also fell hard on a large group of Catholic US soldiers.
July 27, 1943
Allies bomb Hamburg. The bombings of Hamburg were part of a so called strategic bombing operation by the Allies. In such a bombing, the aim is to destroy morale of the enemy by destroying complete cities (often at the cost of heavy civilian casualties). Hamburg has been heavily hit throughout the war by strategic bombing, but on July 27, 1943, bombing was so heavy it created a firestorm in the city. 42.600 civilians were killed and another 37.000 were wounded.
July 25, 1943
Mussolini arrested. After the Allied invasion of Sicily, the Italians knew what was coming for them and war sentiment quickly changes. Not only with the people, but also with the Italian king (Victor Emmanuel III) who put Mussolini under arrest. His imprisonment led to the fall of the Italian Fascist government.
August 23, 1943
Soviet advance towards Germany continues as they re-take Kharkov.
September 8, 1943
Italy surrenders and leaves the Axis alliance. However, civil war breaks out between pro- and anti-Mussolini/fascism supporters, which would last until May 2, 1945.
September 11, 1943
German forces take Rome. With Mussolini in jail, Hitler sees himself losing another ally and more importantly, sees the southern border of the German Empire exposed to the invading Allied forces. He reacts by sending his troops into Italy and he quickly takes Rome. One day after the occupation of Rome, Hitler sends a squad of special forces to rescue Mussolini from prison, which was a successful operation. Mussolini was then reinstated as head of the Italian Social Republic, or German occupied Italy.
October 13, 1943
Italy declares war on Germany. Notably, this is not the Fascist state of Mussolini in Northern Italy that declared war on Germany, but the far larger southern part of Italy. The remaining war efforts of Italy mainly concern helping with the removal of German forces from their own lands, whereas foreign fighting is limited.
1944
Allied advance in the Pacific Theater.
January 9 - British and Indian troops take Maungdaw, Burma.
February 1-7 - US Forces capture Kwajalein (Marshall Islands).
April 22 - Allies invade Aitape and Hollandia in New Guinea (photo).
May 27 - Allies invade Biak Island, New Guinea.
June 15 - US Marines invade Saipan, Mariana Islands.
July 19 - US Marines invade Guam.
July 24 - US Marines invade Tinian.
August 3 - US and Chinese forces take Myitkyina.
September 15 - US Troops invade Morotai and the Paulaus.
November 28, 1943
Tehran Conference. Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill meet at Tehran, Iran to discuss strategy for the coming parts of the war. The main point of discussion was the opening of a second (Western) front against Germany.
January 6, 1944
Soviet troops cross the Polish border.
January 17, 1944
Battle of Monte Cassino begins. The first attempt from a total of four ended in failure for the Allies. The Battle of Monte Cassino was basically the battle for a monastery on top of a steep hill and was hard to reach because of its geographical location and surroundings. Monte Cassino was left unoccupied by the Germans, but they had left some garrisons around the monastery, which left the Allied to believe the monastery of strategic value. After the failed Allied attempt to take Monte Cassino, they bombed it, but their goal was not reached. Fresh German paratroopers were dropped at the hill and they retook their defensive positions. In the end, four attempts to take Monte Cassino were needed to succeed, by then it was May 18, 1944 and the Allies had been severely slowed down in their advance to northern Italy.
January 27, 1944
Siege of Leningrad ends. Several Soviet army groups attack the German front lines in an attempt to break the siege of Leningrad in which they finally succeed after 900 days. The German forces are immediately driven 100 kilometers away from Leningrad.
April 8, 1944
Soviet offensive to liberate Crimea starts.

Note: The photo shows soldiers from the 4th Ukrainian Front Army as they prepare for the Crimea offensive.
May 9, 1944
Soviets re-take Sevastopol on the Crimea. Few Germans were spared during the attacks as retaliation for the onslaught they brought to the Crimea 2 years earlier. Some 57000 Axis troops were killed during the Soviet Crimean Spring campaign. The Soviets themselves saw more than 17000 of their troops killed.
May 11, 1944
Allies attack the Gustav Line. The Gustav Line was a defensive line between Naples and Rome that crossed Italy.

Note: Monte Cassino is part of the Gustav Line. The attack started on May 11 was much broader than the attack on Monte Cassino alone.
May 12, 1944
Germany surrenders the Crimea.
June 5, 1944
Allies enter Rome.
June 6, 1944
D-Day. Stalin finally gets his way when the Allies try to open a Western front against Germany. The invasion was scheduled some days earlier, but the weather conditions didn't allow for massive amphibious operations. Moreover, airborne operations were also used on a massive scale to drop troops behind enemy lines in an attempt to break the defensive lines.
June 9, 1944
Soviet offensive against Finland starts. With Leningrad relieved and the German forces driven south, the Soviet army started hitting north of Leningrad. Meanwhile, the front in Normandy is still expanding.

Note: The photo shows Finnish soldiers in a trench.
June 10, 1944
Oradour-Sur-Glane Massacre. A group of SS-soldiers entered the town and gathered the whole village in the town square to show their papers. Women and children were then led to the church, while the men were led to six barns. Allegedly, the SS commando's then started shooting their machine guns, aiming for their victims legs. Those who survived the initial shooting were poured with fuel and set on fire. The few who still could escape through windows were shot by machine guns, which were placed around the barns. 642 died, only 1 survived the massacre. At night, the village was reduced to rubble. A new village was built beside the old village, but the old village was never restored or cleaned up. Oradour-sur-Glane is still the same as it was the day after the massacre.
June 13, 1944
First German V-1 attack on Britain. These were one of the first pulsejet-powered cruise missiles.
June 22, 1944
Operation Bagration begins. The plan that was to clear all German forces from Soviet soil (including Eastern Poland).

Note: The photo shows German prisoners of war marching to Moscow, taken in Belarus during a Bagration battle.
June 27, 1944
Cherbourg, Normandy liberated by American forces.
July 3, 1944
Soviets recapture Minsk.

Note: The four women in the picture are Belorussian partisans who welcome the Soviet army into Minsk.
July 9, 1944
British and Canadian forces liberate Caen.

Note: The photo shows Canadian soldiers having lunch at Caen.
July 20, 1944
Failed assassination attempt on Hitler. In a plot to overthrow the current Nazi leaders, some high placed officers and Tom Cruise conspired the assassination of Hitler in his Wolf's Lair (military headquarters for the eastern front). They felt it was useless to continue the war and wanted to make peace with the Allies as soon as possible. The coup failed. Hitler wasn't harmed and most of the conspirators were soon caught and put to death.

Note: The photo shows the Wolf's Lair after detonation of the bomb.
July 24, 1944
Soviet troops liberate the first concentration camp, Majdanek, Poland. It is estimated some 78000 people died here, most of them Jews.
August 4, 1944
Anne Frank and her family arrested. Anne Frank, who is now famous for her diary, spent the last years of her life in hiding. To this day, it is still unknown who handed her over to the Gestapo. She died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp February or March, 1945.
August 15, 1944
Operation Dragoon starts. The Allied invasion of southern France. It immediately drove the German forces back from their positions.
August 19, 1944
Soviet Union attack Romania and starts Balkan liberation campaign.

Note; The photo shows Romanian solders later in 1944.
August 25, 1944
Paris liberated.
August 31, 1944
Soviet troops liberate Bucharest, Romania.
September 1-4, 1944
Liberation of Verdun, Dieppe, Artois, Rouen, Abbeville, Antwerp and Brussels by the Allied forces. After the liberation of Antwerp The Battle of the Schelde started in which the Allied forces tried to take control of The Schelde. Without control of The Schelde the port was still strategically useless.

Also on this day, the Soviet Union and Finland sign a cease-fire.

Note: The picture shows Brussels liberated by US Forces.
September 13, 1944
US Forces reach the Siegfried Line, a German defensive stronghold on the German border reaching from Switzerland to The Netherlands.

Note: The picture shows Allied forces crossing the Siegfried Line, but the picture is actually from March 27, 1945.
September 17, 1944
Start of Operation Market Garden. An Allied airborne operation with the goal of establishing a stronghold in occupied Holland in order to do a pincer movement to capture the German industrial region of the Ruhr. The Allied airborne force consisted of 41.628 paratroopers and (among other goals) aimed to capture bridges at Nijmegen and Arnhem. Due to a slow Allied advance at Nijmegen, the Germans were able to redirect troops into Arnhem where they resisted fiercely. In the end, the Allied forces could not resist the German forces anymore and were forces to evacuate, culminating in one of the greatest Allied operational defeats during WW II. Allied casualties amounted between 15.000 and 17.000 and 88 tanks, compared to 3.000 – 10.000 casualties and 30 tanks on the German side.

Note: If you’re interested in a good movie about this operation you should watch A Bridge Too Far (1977).
September 26, 1944
Soviet forces occupy Estonia again.

Note: The photo shows Estonians escaping on a boat right before the second Soviet occupation.
October 2, 1944
The Polish Home Army surrenders to the Germans, ending the Warsaw Uprising. The long anticipated help from the Soviet forces did never come and in the remaining Polish forces were unable fight on anymore. Most civilians were released West of Warsaw, but some were sent to labour camps (90.000) and some were sent to concentration camps (60.000).
October 13, 1944
Soviet forces take Riga, Latvia. The remaining German Army took great losses during the battle for Latvia. By taking Riga, the German Army Group North became isolated for the remainder of the war.
October 14, 1944
Athens liberated and Rommel commits suicide. Rommel was implicated in the 20 July Plot (Valkyrie) to assassinate Hitler. However, since Rommel was widely regarded as a national hero for his successes in Africa, Hitler wanted to get rid of Rommel quietly. He therefore forced Rommel to commit suicide in return for Rommel’s family being unharmed after his death. Rommel caved and committed suicide on October 14, 1944. Meanwhile, with the Soviets forces reaching the southern Balkans, the Allied forces launched an operation to liberate Athens, since it was undesired Athens should fall to the communists. British forces were first to reach Athens on October 14. This race ultimately led to the Greek Civil War, starting in 1946, where Greek democrats (backed by US and UK forces) fought Greek communists.
October 21, 1944
German troops surrender en masse after the Battle of Aachen. Aachen, marked the first German city to surrender to the Allies during this war. The battle was hard which slowed Allied plans to quickly advance further into Germany. During the fighting already 3.473 Germans prisoners were taken. After the fall, 5.600 more surrendered to the Allies.
October 25, 1944
First Kamikaze raids by Japan. Japanese pilots were ordered to drive their explosive-loaded planes into US ships. This method proved to be more effective than conventional attacks. It was a school example of the Japanese Bushido: Death over defeat.
October 30, 1944
Last use of gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Note: The photo shows an actual used gas chamber at Auschwitz.
November 23, 1944
The French Free Army liberates Strasbourg. The capture of Strasbourg led to the collapse of the Wehrmacht. Strasbourg, a city on the border with Germany, was regarded as a gateway into Germany. When French forces took it, discipline broke down both high and low in the hierarchical ranks.
December 16-27, 1944
Battle of the Bulge. The Battle of the Bulge was a major German all-or-nothing offensive trough the Belgian Ardennes, which is densely forested. Even with this tactical disadvantage, both sides used tanks on a great scale. The surprise attack caught the Allied forces off guard and they took heavy losses at first. The Battle of the Bulge got its name from the temporary map, which showed a bulge in the front lines of the Allied armies, caused by the German offense. At December 19, the German offense was halted and the Allied counteroffensive begun which quickly drove the Germans back. The Germans forces on the Western front were now almost depleted and could hardly be replaced, which marked the end major German operations at this theatre of war. Allied casualties during this battle amounted approximately 90.000 compared to 70.000 – 125.000 German casualties.
December 26, 1944
Soviet Siege of Budapest, Hungary. This day marks the day of the start of the 50-day siege of Budapest, which resulted in utter destruction of the city. As a result of starvation, bombardments and other military actions, about 38.000 civilians lost their lives. Soviet forces said they had taken 180.000 Axis prisoners, however they allegedly rounded up Hungarian civilians and added these to their prisoner of war numbers. Soviet forces also engaged in severe atrocities when army discipline broke down and the Soviet Army looted, raped and randomly murdered through the streets of Budapest. Estimates of raped Hungarian girls and women range from 5.000 to 200.000. The siege of Budapest marked the second to last action in the German South Front.
1 January, 1945
German retreat from the Ardennes.
January 17, 1945
Soviet troops capture Warsaw.

Note: The photo shows a Polish Army under Soviet command parading through the streets of Warsaw.
January 26, 1945
Auschwitz liberated by Soviet forces. How to capture the horrors of Auschwitz better then by eyewitness account, Bart Stern:

“So I was hiding out in the heap of dead bodies because in the last week when the crematoria didn’t function at all, the bodies were just building up higher and higher. So there I was at nighttime, in the daytime I was roaming around in the camp, and this is where I actually survived, January 27, I was one of the very first, Birkenau was one of the very first camps being liberated. This was my, my survival chance.”

Upon entering the concentration camp, some 7.000 prisoners were still imprisoned. In total, it is estimated that 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz. 1.1 million did not survive the camp.
February 4-11, 1945
Yalta conference. During this conference Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met in Yalta to discuss the post-war reorganization of Europe. Some key points include:
1) Unconditional surrender of Germany and Berlin split into four zones after the war.
2) Demilitarization and denazification of Germany.
3) German reparations are to be partially paid with forces labour.
4) Poland would receive territorial compensation from the west of Germany.
5) Stalin pledges to permit free elections in Poland.
6) Stalin agrees to enter the war against the Empire of Japan 2-3 months after Germany is defeated.
7) All liberated European countries and former Axis satellite states are to have democratic elections.
February 13-14, 1945
Dresden bombed to rubble. 1249 heavy Allied bombers released more than 3.900 tons of high-explosives on the city killing between 25.000 – 27.500 civilians. A big debate started after the war whether the bombings were necessary since Germany was already on the brink of losing the war.
February 19, 1945
Allied invasion of Iwo Jima. Just three days after the US Forces retook Bataan they launched their attack on the strategically important island of Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima was within flying distance from the Japan mainland, meaning it would be an excellent base for air raids on Japan. The holding of Iwo Jima is infamous for the network of tunnels and bunkers the Japanese created there, which meant lots of close combat (often with kamikaze actions) and heavy casualties. On February 23, the US Flag was already raised on Iwo Jima, even though fighting lasted until March 26.

Note: For those of you who want to know more about this battle (and picture), I can highly recommend the movie Letters From Iwo Jima. Although I suspect many of you have already seen it.
March 6, 1945
Launch of Operation Spring Awakening. This operation in Hungary was a last attempt to save the much needed oil reserves of Hungary (and The Reich). The operation was a complete failure with heavy German losses (32.889 casualties and 152 tanks lost) compared to Allied losses limited (12.358 casualties and 31 tanks lost). Germany would not engage in any other major operations in this war.
March 7, 1945
Allies take Cologne and establish a bridge across the Rhine.
March 30, 1945
Soviets take Danzig.

Note: The photo shows Soviet artillery forces advancing on Danzig.
April 1, 1945
Allied invasion of Okinawa. The island of Okinawa (550 km or 340 miles away from mainland Japan) was to be used as a base for the Allied invasion of mainland Japan. The battle was one of the heaviest in the Pacific with Allied casualties amounting over 20.000 and Japanese casualties between 77.000 and 110.000. The Japanese soldiers again fought with kamikaze attacks, rather dying than surrendering, which made it hard to expel all Japanese forces from the island. Many believe this battle was a direct cause for the atomic bombings of Japan, since the ferocity of Japanese fighting diminished US hopes for a quick end to the war. Instead, atomic bombs could be used as a quicker means to end the war and some thought it could also realize fewer casualties in the end.
April, 1945
Allies discover stolen Nazi art and wealth in salt mines.

Note: The photo shows generals Bradley (left), Patton (center) and Eisenhower (right) in a salt mine in Merkers, Germany.
April 10-12, 1945
Allies liberate concentration camps Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen. The main cause of death in the Buchenwald camp was starvation and illness. Many also died from human experimentation, often for vaccines. Total death toll was 56.545 in Buchenwald alone. Bergen-Belsen functioned as a prisoner of war camp and an exchange camp, where Jews were held hostage in exchange for German prisoners of war abroad. Diseases roamed this camp and many died from diseases even after liberation. Approximately 50.000 died in Bergen-Belsen. In March, shortly before liberation, Anne Frank and her sister (probably both from typhus) died in this camp.

Also, on April 12, 1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt died as a result of cerebral hemorrhage. Harry S. Truman, vice-president at the time, immediately became President.

Note: The photo shows American soldiers escorting children survivors of Buchenwald out of the main gate of the camp. Among the children pictured is future Nobel Peace Prize winner Eli Wiesel (fourth child in the left column).
April 16, 1945
Soviet launch attack on Berlin. Two Soviet armies attacked Berlin from the east and south, while another Soviet Army engaged the last German forces north of Berlin.
April 21, 1945
Soviets reach Berlin.
April 28, 1945
Mussolini executed and Venice liberated. With the Allies advancing through Italy, Italian partisans revolted in more cities each day, Mussolini’s positions became untenable. He fled Milan, with his mistress Claretta Petacci, and tried to reach the Swiss border. However, they were caught by partisans and shot. Their bodies were dragged to the Piazzale Loreto in Milan and hung on display where the crowd abused their bodies further.
April 29, 1945
Concentration camp Dachau liberated by US forces. This concentration camp was initially intended to hold political prisoners. Later, Jews and prisoners from occupied countries were also placed in Dachau. There are 31.951 documented kills in Dachau on a population of 206.206. At the time of liberation, some 10.000 – 30.000 were sick. The Dachau camp was also infamous for its brutality with treatments such as standing cells or ‘tree or pole hanging’ (look it up). As a means of reprisal, some SS-camp guards have been massacred by the liberating US forces.

Note: The photo shows an American soldier in Dachau after liberation.
April 30, 1945
Hitler commits suicide. With the Soviet forces roaming the outskirts of Berlin, Hitler feels the pressure of failure. He is still in the Führer Bunker with his wife (married two days before) and knows the end is coming. Around 1 PM, Hitler and Eva say their farewells to the staff and inner circle of the Nazi party who are still present in the bunker. Eva took a cyanide pill and Hitler shot himself. Their bodies were taken to the garden outside the bunker and burned, so that their corpses could not fall into the hands of the Soviets. Hitler appointed Karl Dönitz as the new Führer, and on May 1 Dönitz announced the death of Hitler over the radio. In an attempt to save the army, he ordered the remaining German troops west, towards the Allies, while negotiating surrender to the Allied forces.

Note: The photo shows a fake dead Hitler, staged for the World Press.
May 2, 1945
All German troops in Italy surrender and Soviets take the Reichstag. The raising of the Soviet flag on the Reichstag became a symbol of Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.
May 7, 1945
German unconditionally surrenders. General Alfred Jodl signs the unconditional surrender of Germany in Reims, France to the Allies. Two days later, Field Marshall Keitel signs the unconditional surrender of Germany to the Soviet forces in Berlin as the Soviets insisted on another ceremonial surrender on Soviet occupied soil.  
May 8, 1945
V-E Day (Victory In Europe Day). This holiday marks the Allied acceptance of German surrender. From Moscow to Los Angeles people celebrated the end of the European war in the streets.
May 9, 1945
Göring captured by US Forces.
May 20, 1945
Japanese forces retreat from China.
May 23, 1945
Himmler commits suicide by cyanide pill.
June 26, 1945
United Nations Charter signed, effectively founding the United Nations.
July 1, 1945
American, French and British troops move into Berlin and occupy their designated zones.

Note: the photo shows, from right to left: Jean de Lattre de Tassigny (French), Georgy Zhukov (Soviet), Dwight D. Eisenhower (US) and Bernard Montgomery (British) in Berlin.
July 16, 1945
Potsdam Conference and first US atomic bomb test. The Potsdam Conference was a conference between the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain and it aimed to deal with issues on peace treaties and post-war order. Also, the first US atomic bomb test took place this day at Trinity Site, New Mexico. The bomb was of the same design (Fat Man) that was later used on Nagasaki. The father of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, later said after seeing the detonation: “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”
July 26, 1945
Attlee succeeds Churchill as British Prime Minister. After the European war, Herbert Morrison, deputy Prime Minister of Britain, declared the Labour Party would not accept the current coalition to remain in place while the war with Japan was still going on. Churchill was therefore forces to call an election. With Churchill campaigning aggressively as ever (sometimes his speeches were thought to be in bad taste, for example when he stated that “the Labour Government would require some form of the Gestapo.”) and the Labour Party focussing on rebuilding Britain, the people clearly chose for a path of construction and thus the Labour Party with Attlee as Prime Minister.
August 6, 1945
First atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. In an attempt to force the Empire of Japan to surrender a controversial decision was made; the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The bomb was aimed at the Aioi Bridge, was misplaced by 800 ft (240m). It exploded right over Shima Surgical Clinic. The radius of total destruction was 1 mile (1.6km) with resulting fires over 4.4 square miles (11 square km). Some 70.000 – 80.000 people were instantly killed, which was 30% of Hiroshima population. Another 70.000 were injured.
August 8, 1945
Soviets declare war on Japan and invade Manchuria.
August 9, 1945
Second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. The US planes flew out with the city of Kokura as the main target for the second atomic bomb, but the city was heavily guarded by Japanese air force. After three attempts, the US planes decided to go for their secondary target, Nagasaki. At 7:50, the air raid alert was sounded in Nagasaki, but the all-clear signal was given at 8:30. At 9:53, the Japanese spotted two B-29 air planes, but since there were only two they reckoned it a reconnaissance mission. At 11:01 the bomb was dropped and it exploded 47 seconds later. 39.000 died and another 25.000 were injured on a population of 195.000. More plans for atomic bombings were made, with the next bomb to be ready at 17-18 August. Another 3 in September were scheduled and even 3 more in October. However, President Harry S. Truman intervened with a new secret order that “no atomic bomb is to be released over Japan without express orders from the President”. This changed the order that targeted Japanese cities as bombs were made ready (fire at will).
August 15, 1945
Japan agrees to unconditional surrender. With an Allied invasion of Japan imminent and the Japanese Imperial Fleet in no condition to fight, the Japanese had no other than to surrender.
September 2, 1945
Japan signs the unconditional surrender. The formal surrender of Japan took place on the USS Missouri under Supreme Allied Commander Douglas MacArthur. Japanese Foreign Minister Shigemitsu signed for the Japanese government, while General Umezu signed for the Japanese armed forces, effectively ending World War II. This day is also known as V-J Day (Victory In Japan Day).
November 20, 1945
Nuremberg trials begin. The trials led by Allied command, tried German Nazi prominents for their involvement in the Holocaust and other war crimes. Twelve prominent Nazi members were found guilty, but only ten of them hanged: Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Alfred Jodl, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg, Fritz Sauckel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart and Julius Streicher. Göring committed suicide in his cell two hours before his execution. A guard is supposed to have slipped him a cyanide pill. Martin Bormann also escaped execution by hanging when he tried to escape Berlin, but he was either shot or he also committed suicide.

Note: The photo shows Göring at his trial.
Of course, there are still events uncovered in this timeline. If you have more knowledge to share or some corrections.

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