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Below is a fairly complete timeline of World War II. This can be used as a great tool to quickly reference events.

1939

  • January 25: A uranium atom is split for the first time at Columbia University in the United States.
  • January 27: Hitler orders Plan Z, a 5-year naval expansion programme intended to provide for a huge German fleet capable of defeating the Royal Navy by 1944. The Kriegsmarine is given the first priority on the allotment of German economic resources. This is the first and only time the Kriegsmarine is given the first priority in the history of the Third Reich.
  • March 14: The pro-German Slovak Republic is created. Carpatho-Ukraine is created, which Hungary invades that same day.
  • March 15: Germany occupies and annexes Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia in violation of the Munich Agreement. The Czechs do not attempt to put up any organized resistance having lost their main defensive line with the annexation of the Sudetenland.
  • March 16: Hungary annexes the Carpatho-Ukraine.
  • March 20: German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop delivers an oral ultimatum to Lithuania, demanding that it cede the Klaipėda Region (German name Memel) to Germany.
  • March 21: Hitler demands the return of the Free City of Danzig to Germany.
  • March 23: German–Romanian Treaty for the Development of Economic Relations between the Two Countries is signed.
  • March 23:Germany annexes the Klaipėda Region.
  • March 23:Germany and Slovakia sign the Treaty on the protective relationship between Germany and the Slovak State, creating the German Zone of Protection in Slovakia.
  • March 23: The Slovak–Hungarian War begins.
  • March 31: The United Kingdom and France offer a guarantee of Polish independence.
  • March 31: The Slovak–Hungarian War ends.
  • April 1: The Spanish Civil War ends in Nationalist victory. Spain becomes a dictatorship with Francisco Franco as the head of the new government.
  • April 3: Hitler orders the German military to start planning for Fall Weiss, the codename for the attack on Poland, planned to be launched on August 25, 1939.
  • April 4: Hungary and Slovakia sign the Budapest Treaty, handing over a strip of eastern Slovak territory to Hungary.
  • April 7–12: Italy invades Albania with little in the way of military resistance. Albania is later made part of Italy through a personal union of the Italian and Albanian crown.
  • April 14: U.S. President Roosevelt sends letter to German Chancellor Hitler and Italian Prime Minister Mussolini seeking peace.
  • April 18: The Soviet Union proposes a tripartite alliance with the United Kingdom and France. It is rejected.
  • April 28: In a speech before the Reichstag, Hitler renounces the Anglo-German Naval Agreement and the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact
  • May 11: Soviet–Japanese border conflicts: The Battle of Khalkhin Gol begins with Japan and Manchukuo against the Soviet Union and Mongolia. The battle ends in Soviet victory on September 16, influencing the Japanese to not seek further conflict with the Soviets, but to turn towards the Pacific holdings of the Euro-American powers instead.
  • May 17: Sweden, Norway, and Finland reject Germany's offer of non-aggression pacts.
  • May 22: The Pact of Steel, known formally as the "Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy", is signed by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The Pact declares further cooperation between the two powers, but in a secret supplement the Pact is detailed as a military alliance.
  • June 14: The Tientsin Incident occurs, in which the Japanese blockade the British concession in the North China Treaty Port of Tientsin.
  • July 10: Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain reaffirms support for Poland and makes it clear that Britain did not view Free City of Danzig as being an internal German-Polish affair and would intervene on behalf of Poland if hostilities broke out between the two countries.
  • August 2: The Einstein-Szilárd letter is sent to President Roosevelt. Written by Leó Szilárd and signed by Albert Einstein, it warned of the danger that Germany might develop atomic bombs. This letter prompted action by Roosevelt and eventually resulted in the Manhattan Project.
  • August 23: The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact is signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, with secret provisions for the division of Eastern Europe – joint occupation of Poland and Soviet occupation of the Baltic States, Finland and Bessarabia. This protocol removes the threat of Soviet intervention during the German invasion of Poland.
  • August 25: In response to a message from Mussolini that Italy will not honor the Pact of Steel if Germany attacks Poland, Hitler delays the launch of the invasion by five days to provide more time to secure British and French neutrality.
  • August 30: German ultimatum to Poland concerning the Polish Corridor and the Free City of Danzig
  • September 1: Without response to its ultimatum, Germany invades Poland, start of World War II (the Soviet Union invades Poland on September 17).
  • START OF THE WAR

  • Septermber 1: The Republic of China and the Empire of Japan are involved in the early stages of the third year of armed conflict between them during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The war is in what will be known as the "Second Period", which starts in October 1938 and ends in December 1941. This conflict will eventually be swept up into World War II when Japan joins the Axis and China joins the Allies.
  • September 1: The Invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany starts at 4:45 a.m. with the Luftwaffe attacking several targets in Poland. The Luftwaffe launches air attacks against Kraków, Łódź, and Warsaw. Within five minutes of the Luftwaffe attacks, Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine orders the old Battleship Schleswig-Holstein to open fire on the Polish military transit depot at Westerplatte in the Free City of Danzig on the Baltic Sea, but the attack is repulsed. By 8:00 a.m., troops of the German Army, still without a formal declaration of war issued, launch an attack near the Polish town of Mokra.
  • September 1: Norway and Switzerland declare their neutrality.
  • September 1: The British government declares general mobilization of the British Armed Forces and starts evacuation plans in preparation of German air attacks.
  • September 2: The United Kingdom and France issue a joint ultimatum to Germany, requiring German troops to evacuate Polish territory; President Douglas Hyde of the Republic of Ireland declares the neutrality of his nation; the Swiss government orders a general mobilization of its forces.
  • September 2: The National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939 is enacted immediately and enforces full conscription on all males between 18 and 41 resident in the UK.
  • September 2: The Free City of Danzig is annexed by Germany. Resistors entrenched in the city's Polish Post Office are overwhelmed.
  • September 3: At 11:15 a.m. British Standard Time (BST), British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announces on BBC Radio that the deadline of the final British ultimatum for the withdrawal of German troops from Poland expired at 11:00am and that "consequently this nation is at war with Germany". The Parliaments of Australia and New Zealand and the Viceroy of India also declare war on Germany within hours of Britain's declaration.
  • September 3: At 12:30pm BST the French Government delivers a similar final ultimatum; which expires at 3:00pm BST.
  • September 3: Within hours of the British declaration of War, SS Athenia, a British cruise ship en route from Glasgow, Scotland to Montreal, Quebec, Canada is torpedoed by the German submarine U-30 250 miles (400 km) Northwest of Ireland. 112 passengers and crew members are killed. The "Battle of the Atlantic" starts.
  • September 3: Bromberg massacre: many ethnic German civilians are killed in the Polish city of Bromberg.
  • September 4: At 8:00 a.m. Newfoundland Standard Time (NST), Dominion of Newfoundland declares war on Germany.
  • September 4: In the first British offensive action of the war, the Royal Air Force launch a raid on the German fleet in the Heligoland Bight. They target the German pocket-battleship Admiral Scheer anchored off Wilhelmshaven at the western end of the Kiel Canal. Several aircraft are lost in the attack and, although the German vessel is hit three times, all of the bombs fail to explode.
  • September 4: Japan announces its neutrality in the European situation. The British Admiralty announces the beginning of a naval blockade on Germany, one of a range of measures by which the British will wage economic warfare on the Axis powers.
  • September 4: The United States launches the Neutrality Patrol.
  • September 5: South African Prime Minister Barry Hertzog fails to gain support for a declaration of South African neutrality and is deposed by a party caucus for Deputy Prime Minister Jan Smuts.
  • September 5: The United States publicly declares neutrality.
  • September 6: South Africa, now under Prime Minister Jan Smuts, declares war on Germany.
  • September 6: Battle of Barking Creek, a friendly fire incident, results in the first RAF fighter pilot fatality of the war.
  • September 6: The German army occupies Kraków in the south of Poland; Polish army is in general retreat.
  • September 7: France begins a token offensive, moving into German territory near Saarbrücken.
  • September 7: The National Registration Act 1939 is passed in Britain introducing identity cards and allowing the government to control labour.
  • September 8: The British Government announces the re-introduction of the convoy system for merchant ships and a full-scale blockade on German shipping.
  • September 9: The French Saar Offensive stalls at the heavily mined Warndt Forest having advanced approximately 8 miles (13 km) into lightly defended German territory.
  • September 10: After passing both Houses of the Canadian parliament by unanimous consent and receiving Royal Assent by the Governor General of Canada, Lord Tweedsmuir, Canada declares war on Germany on September 10th.
  • September 11: Viceroy of India Lord Linlithgow announces to the two houses of the Indian Legislature (the Council of State and the Legislative Assembly) that due to India's participation in the war, the plans for the Federation of India under the Government of India Act 1935 will be indefinitely postponed.
  • September 12: General Gamelin orders a halt to the French advance into Germany.
  • September 14: Destroyers escorting the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal sank the U-39 with depth charges. All crew members were rescued and taken prisoner. It was the first sinking of a German U-boat in WWII.
  • September 15: The Polish Army is ordered to hold out at the Romanian border until the Allies arrive.
  • September 16: The German Army complete the encirclement of Warsaw.
  • September 16: The French complete their retreat from Germany, ending the Saar Offensive.
  • September 17: The Soviet Union invades Poland from the east, occupying the territory east of the Curzon line as well as Białystok and Eastern Galicia.
  • September 17: Aircraft carrier HMS Courageous is torpedoed and sunk by U-29 on patrol off the coast of Ireland.
  • September 17: The Imperial Japanese Army launches attacks on the Chinese city of Changsha, when their forces in northern Jiangxi attacked westward toward Henan.
  • September 18: Polish President Ignacy Mościcki and Commander-in-Chief Edward Rydz-Śmigły leave Poland for Romania, where they are both interned; Russian forces reach Vilnius and Brest-Litovsk. Polish submarine escapes from Tallinn; Estonia's neutrality is questioned by the Soviet Union and Germany.
  • September 19: The German and Soviet armies link up near Brest Litovsk.
  • September 19: Soviet Union blockades the harbour of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.
  • September 19: The Japanese Imperial Army attacks the Chinese National Revolutionary Army along the Xinqiang River using poison gas during the Battle of Changsha.
  • September 20: German submarine U-27 is sunk with depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Fortune and HMS Forester.
  • September 21: Romanian Prime Minister Armand Călinescu is assassinated by the Iron Guard, an ultra-nationalistic group in Romania.
  • September 23: The Imperial Japanese Army drive the Chinese National Revolutionary Army out of the Xinqiang River area, and the 6th and 13th Divisions cross the river under artillery cover and advances further south along the Miluo River during the Battle of Changsha.
  • September 24: Soviet air force violates Estonian airspace. The Estonians negotiate with Molotov in Moscow. Molotov warns the Estonians that if the Soviet Union doesn’t get military bases in Estonia, it will be forced to use "more radical actions".
  • September 25: German home front measures begin with food rationing.
  • September 25: Soviet air activity in Estonia. Soviet troops along the Estonian border include 600 tanks, 600 aircraft and 160 000 men.
  • September 26: Following a massive artillery bombardment, the Germans launch a major infantry assault on the centre of Warsaw.
  • September 26: Russian bombers seen in the Tallinn sky.
  • September 27: In the first offensive operations by the German Army in Western Europe, guns on the Siegfried Line open up on villages behind French Maginot line.
  • September 28: German–Soviet Frontier Treaty is signed by Molotov and Ribbentrop. The secret protocol specifies the details of partition of Poland originally defined in Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (August 23, 1939) and adds Lithuania to the Soviet Union sphere of interest.
  • September 28: The remaining Polish army and militia in the centre of Warsaw capitulate to the Germans.
  • September 28: Soviet troops mass by the Latvian border. Latvian air space violated.
  • September 28: Estonia signs a 10-year Mutual Assistance Pact with the Soviet Union, which allows the Soviets to have 30 000-men military bases in Estonia. As a gift in return Stalin promises to respect Estonian independence.
  • September 29: The Japanese Imperial Army reaches the outskirts of Changsha. However, it is unable to conquer the city because its supply lines are cut off by the Chinese National Revolutionary Army.
  • September 30: The German pocket-battleship Admiral Graf Spee sinks its first merchant ship, the British freighter Clement while off the coast of Pernambuco, Brazil.
  • September 30: French forces on the French-German border fall back to the Maginot Line in anticipation of a German invasion.
  • October 1: Latvian representatives negotiate with Stalin and Molotov. Soviets threaten an occupation by force if they do not get military bases in Latvia.
  • October 2: Declaration of Panama is approved by American Republics. Belligerent activities should not take place within waters adjacent to the American continent. A neutrality zone of some 300 miles (480 km) in breadth is to be patrolled by the U.S. Navy.
  • October 3: British forces move to the Belgian border, anticipating a German invasion of the West.
  • October 3: Lithuanians meet Stalin and Molotov in Moscow. Stalin offers Lithuania the city of Vilnius (in Poland) in return for allowing Soviet military bases in Lithuania. The Lithuanians are reluctant.
  • October 5: Latvia signs a 10-year Mutual Assistance Pact with the Soviet Union, which allows the Soviets to have 25,000 men in military bases in Latvia. Stalin promises to respect Latvian independence.
  • October 6: Chinese army reportedly defeats the Japanese at the Battle of Changsha.
  • October 6: Polish resistance in the Polish September Campaign comes to an end. Hitler speaks before the Reichstag, declaring a desire for a conference with Britain and France to restore peace.
  • October 7: Lithuanians again meet the Soviets in Moscow. The Soviets demand military bases.
  • October 9: Germany issues orders (Case Yellow) to prepare for the invasion of Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
  • October 10: The last of Poland's military surrenders to the Germans.
  • October 10: The leaders of the German navy suggest to Hitler they need to occupy Norway.
  • October 10: British Prime Minister Chamberlain declines Hitler's offer of peace.
  • October 10: Lithuania signs a 15-year Mutual Assistance Pact with the Soviet Union, which allows the Soviets to have 20,000 men in military bases in Lithuania. In a secret protocol, Vilnius is made Lithuanian territory.
  • October 11: An estimated 158,000 British troops are now in France.
  • October 12: Adolf Eichmann starts deporting Jews from Austria and Czechoslovakia into Poland.
  • October 12: French Premier Édouard Daladier declines Hitler's offer of peace.
  • October 12: Finland's representatives meet Stalin and Molotov in Moscow. Soviet Union demands Finland give up a military base near Helsinki and exchange some Soviet and Finnish territories to protect Leningrad against Great Britain or the eventual future threat of Germany.
  • October 14: The British battleship HMS Royal Oak is sunk in Scapa Flow harbour by U-47, under the command of Günther Prien.
  • October 14: Finns meet Stalin again. Stalin tells that "an accident" might happen between Finnish and Soviet troops, if the negotiations last too long.
  • October 16: First air attack on Great Britain, aimed at ships in the Firth of Forth, Scotland.
  • October 18: First Soviet forces enter Estonia. During the Umsiedlung, 12,600 Baltic Germans leave Estonia.
  • October 19: Portions of Poland are formally inducted into Germany; the first Jewish ghetto is established at Lublin.
  • October 20: The "Phoney 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.
  • October 20: Pope Pius XII's first encyclical condemns racism and dictatorships.
  • October 27: Belgium announces that it is neutral in the present conflict.
  • October 30: The British government releases a report on concentration camps being built in Europe for Jews and anti-Nazis.
  • October 31: As Germany plans for an attack on France, German Lieutenant-General Erich von Manstein proposes that Germany attack through the Ardennes rather than through Belgium – the expected attack route.
  • November 1: Parts of Poland, including the Danzig Corridor, are annexed by Germany. Soviet Union annexes the eastern parts of occupied Poland to Ukraine and Belorussia.
  • November 3: Finland and Soviet Union again negotiate new borders. Finns mistrust Stalin's aims and refuse to give up territory breaking their defensive line.
  • November 4: The U.S. Neutrality Act is passed: the French and British may buy arms, but on a strictly cash basis. American isolationists find the act an "outrage."
  • November 4: A German physicist working at Siemens AG sends an anonymous letter to the British Embassy in Oslo offering Britain a report on present and future German weapons technologies.
  • November 8: Hitler escapes a bomb blast in a Munich beerhall, where he was speaking on the anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. British bombers coincidentally bomb Munich.
  • November 13: Negotiations between Finland and Soviet Union break down. Finns suspect that Germans and Russians have agreed to include Finland in the Soviet sphere of influence.
  • November 14: The Polish government-in-exile moves to London.
  • November 16: The first British civilian casualty occurs when a German bomber kills James Isbister in an air raid on Orkney in Scotland.
  • November 17: The IRA is blamed for bombs set off in London.
  • November 20: The Luftwaffe and German U-boats start mining the Thames estuary.
  • November 23: Polish Jews are ordered to wear Star of David armbands.
  • November 24: Japan announces the capture of Nanning in southern China.
  • November 26: The Soviets stage the shelling of Mainila, Soviet artillery shells a field near the Finnish border, accusing Finns of killing Soviet troops.
  • November 29: The USSR breaks off diplomatic relations with Finland.
  • November 30: The Soviet Union attacks Finland in what would become known as the Winter War.
  • December 1: Russia continues its war against Finland; Helsinki is bombed. In the first two weeks of the month, the Finns retreat to the Mannerheim line, an outmoded defensive line just inside the southern border with Russia.
  • December 2: The Red Army takes Petsamo.
  • December 5: The Russian invaders start heavy attacks on the Mannerheim line. The Battles of Kollaa and Suomussalmi begin.
  • December 7: Italy again declares its neutrality. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark also proclaim their neutrality in the Russo-Finnish quarrel.
  • December 11: The Russians meet with several tactical defeats by the Finnish army.
  • December 12: The destroyer HMS Duchess sinks after a collision with the battleship HMS Barham off the coast of Scotland with the loss of 124 men.
  • December 13: The Battle of the River Plate off Montevideo, Uruguay. A British naval squadron attacks the Admiral Graf Spee.
  • December 14: The Graf Spee retreats, badly damaged, into Montevideo harbor.
  • December 14: The USSR is expelled from the League of Nations in response to the Soviet invasion of Finland on November 30.
  • December 15: Soviet Army assaults Taipale, Finland during the Battle of Taipale.
  • December 17: The Graf Spee is forced by International Law to leave Montevideo harbor; it is scuttled just outside the harbor. Its captain, Hans Langsdorff, is interned.
  • December 18: The first Canadian troops arrive in Europe.
  • December 18: Germany defeats Britain in the Battle of the Heligoland Bight.
  • December 20: Captain Hans Langsdorff commits suicide.
  • December 27: The first Indian troops arrive in France.
  • December 28: The British Minister of Food W.S. Morrison announced that starting January 8, rationing would be expanded to include butter, bacon, ham and sugar.
  • December 29: As the year ends, the Finns continue to have successes in fighting the invaders, along the way capturing many men and vehicles.
  • December 31: German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels makes a radio address reviewing the official Nazi version of the events of 1939. No predictions were made for 1940 other than saying that the next year "will be a hard year, and we must be ready for it."

1940

  • January 1: 10,000 Japanese troops launch a counter-attack in eastern Shanxi Province in China in an attempt to relieve the nearly-surrounded Japanese 36th Division.
  • January 2: The Soviet offensive in Finland is halted by several Finnish victories; numerous Soviet tanks are destroyed.
  • January 7: Rationing of basic foodstuffs is established in the UK.
  • January: A major Finnish victory at Suomussalmi is reported; one whole Soviet division is eliminated, and again numbers of military vehicles are captured.
  • January 7: General Semyon Timoshenko takes command of Soviet Army forces in Finland.
  • January 10: Mechelen incident: a German plane, carrying plans for Fall Gelb, crashes in neutral Belgium.
  • January 16: Captured documents reveal Hitler's plans for the invasion of Scandinavia and a postponement of the invasion of France and the Low Countries until the spring, when the weather is more compatible for an invasion.
  • January 17: The Soviets are driven back in Finland and retaliate with heavy air attacks.
  • January 20: German submarine U-44 torpedoes and sinks Greek steamer Ekatontarchos Dracoulis off Portugal at 0415 hours, killing 6. U-44 had been hunting for Ekatontarchos Dracoulis for the past 6 hours.
  • January 21: A U-boat sinks British destroyer HMS Exmouth and its crew of 135 are all lost.
  • January 24: Reinhard Heydrich is appointed by Göring for the solution to the "Jewish Question."
  • January 27: Germany makes final plans for the invasion of Denmark and Norway.
  • February 1: The Japanese Diet announces a record high budget with over half its expenditures being military.
  • February 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.
  • February 9: Erich von Manstein is placed in command of German XXXVIII (38) Armour Corps, removing him from planning the French invasion.
  • February 10: USSR agrees to supply grain and raw materials to Germany in a new trade treaty.
  • February 14: British government calls for volunteers to fight in Finland.
  • February 15: The Soviet army captures Summa, an important defence point in Finland, thereby breaking through the Mannerheim Line.
  • February: Hitler orders unrestricted submarine warfare.
  • February 16: British destroyer HMS Cossack forcibly removes 303 British POWs from the German transport Altmark in neutral Norwegian territorial waters, sparking the Altmark Incident.
  • February 17: The Finns continue retreat from the Mannerheim Line.
  • February: Manstein presents to Hitler his plans for invading France via the Ardennes forest.
  • February 21: General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst is placed in command of the upcoming German invasion of Norway.
  • March 1: Adolf Hitler directs his generals in planning the invasion of Denmark and Norway.
  • March 3: Soviets start attacks on Viipuri, Finland's second largest city.
  • March 5: Finland tells the Soviets they will agree to their terms for ending the war. The next day they send emissaries to Moscow to negotiate a peace treaty.
  • March 11: Meat rationing starts in Britain.
  • March 12: In Moscow, Finland signs a peace treaty with the Soviet Union after 105 days of conflict. The Finns are forced to give up significant territory in exchange for peace.
  • March 16: German air raid on Scapa Flow causes first British civilian casualties.
  • March 18: Hitler and Mussolini meet at the Brenner pass on the Austrian border; Benito Mussolini agrees with Hitler that Italy will enter the war "at an opportune moment".
  • March 21: Paul Reynaud becomes Prime Minister of France following Daladier's resignation the previous day.
  • March 28: Britain and France make a formal agreement that neither country will seek a separate peace with Germany.
  • March 29: The Soviets want new territories. Molotov speaks to the Supreme Soviet, about "an unsettled dispute", the question of Romanian Bessarabia.
  • March 30: Japan establishes a puppet regime at Nanking, China, under Wang Jingwei.
  • March 30: Britain undertakes secret reconnaissance flights to photograph the targeted areas inside the Soviet Union in preparation for Operation Pike, utilising high-altitude, high-speed stereoscopic photography pioneered by Sidney Cotton.
  • April: 22,000 Polish officers, policemen, and others are massacred by the Soviet NKVD in the Katyn massacre.
  • April 3: The Ministerial Defence Committee, with the First Lord of the Admiralty (Winston Churchill) as its chair, replaces Lord Chatfield's ministerial position of Minister for Coordination of Defence.
  • April 9: Germans land in several Norwegian ports and take Oslo; the Norwegian Campaign lasts two months. The British start their Norwegian Campaign. Denmark is invaded and surrenders in six hours. The German heavy cruiser Blücher is sunk at the Battle of Drøbak Sound.
  • April 10: Germans set up a Norwegian government under Vidkun Quisling, former minister of defence.
  • April: The German light cruiser Königsberg is sunk by British Fleet Air Arm dive bombers.
  • April 11: 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.
  • April 12: British troops occupy the Danish Faroe Islands.
  • April 14: British and French troops start landing at Namsos, north of Trondheim in Norway.
  • April 15: British troops land at Harstad, near Narvik, Norway.
  • April 16: More British landings in Norway, notably north and south of Trondheim; the struggle for Trondheim continues until the 22nd.
  • April 27: British troops start pull-out from central Norway, north and south of Trondheim.
  • May 1: Allies begin evacuating Norwegian ports; the efforts will continue until June.
  • May 5: Norwegian government in exile established in London.
  • May 8: Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain barely survives Norway Debate vote in the House of Commons.
  • May 9: Conscription in Britain extended to age 36.
  • May 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.
  • April: Belgium declares a state of emergency. Churchill is called on to form a wartime coalition government.
  • April: The massive German offensive against the Western front: The invasion of Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France begins. In a bold stroke, German paratroops capture the Belgian fort Eben Emael.
  • May 10: The Battle for The Hague becomes the first failed paratrooper attack in history as the Dutch quickly defeat the invaders.
  • May 11: Luxembourg is occupied.
  • April: Churchill offers the former Kaiser Wilhelm II, who is now living in the Netherlands, asylum in the United Kingdom; he declines.
  • May 12: The Belgians blow up all the bridges over the Meuse River to halt the German advance.
  • May 12: Battle of Hannut begins in Belgium.
  • May 13: Dutch government-in-exile established in London.
  • April: General Heinz Guderian's Panzer corps breaks through at Sedan, France.
  • April: Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands flees to asylum in the United Kingdom.
  • April: Churchill's "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" speech in Commons.
  • May 13: The Dutch lose the Battle of the Grebbeberg to the Germans.
  • May 14: The creation of the Local Defence Volunteers (the Home Guard) is announced by the new Secretary of State for War Anthony Eden. It is mostly composed of the elderly and retired.
  • April: Churchill asks President Roosevelt and Canada for aid in these dark days. Outlines of the new British coalition, which includes Labour, Liberal, and Conservative members, is made public.
  • May 14: The Dutch defeat the Germans at the Battle of the Afsluitdijk.
  • May 14: The Rotterdam Blitz led to German success in the Battle of Rotterdam, while causing many civilian deaths and tremendous damage. The Netherlands decided to surrender with the exception of Zealand.
  • May 15: The capitulation of the Dutch army is signed.
  • April: In a response to the Rotterdam Blitz, the first large-scale strategic bombing of World War II targets Gelsenkirchen, followed by Hamburg, Bremen, Cologne, Essen, Duisburg, Düsseldorf and Hanover during the next days.
  • April: German forces cross over the Meuse River.
  • May 16: Churchill visits Paris and hears that the French war is as good as over.
  • May 16: The Belgian government leaves Belgium for Bordeaux in France, as the Belgian army retreats. It later moves to London.
  • May 17: Germans enter Brussels and also take Antwerp.
  • April: Paul Reynaud forms new French government, including 84-year-old Marshal Pétain, the French hero of World War I.
  • May 18: Maxime Weygand replaces Maurice Gamelin as commander of the French armed forces.
  • April: Antwerp captured.
  • May 18: Germans win the Battle of Zeeland.
  • May 19: Amiens in France is besieged by German troops; Rommel's forces surround Arras; other German forces reach Noyelles on the Channel.
  • May 19: The British complete their invasion of Iceland.
  • May 20: General Guderian's Panzer groups take Abbeville, threatening Allied forces in the area.
  • May 23: Oswald Mosley, leader of the pre-war British fascists, is jailed; he and his wife will spend the duration in prison.
  • May 24: The British make a final decision to cease operations in Norway.
  • May 25: The Allied forces, British and French alike, retreat to Dunkirk. Hitler orders a halt to the advance of Germans toward the Allied beachhead and allows Hermann Göring to use the Luftwaffe to attack. British R.A.F. defends the beachhead.
  • April: Sporadic Luftwaffe bombings in England.
  • April: Boulogne-sur-Mer surrenders to the Germans.
  • May 25: Soviet Union is preparing a total takeover in the Baltic States organizing and staging conflicts between the Baltic States and the USSR. Soviet government accuses Lithuania of kidnapping Soviet soldiers.
  • May 25-28: 86 Belgian civilians are murdered by German forces in the village of Vinkt.
  • May 26: The Patrol vessel A4 arrives in Plymouth, evacuating the final 40 tonnes of national gold reserves out of Belgium.
  • May 26: Calais surrenders to the Germans.
  • April: Operation Dynamo, the Allied evacuation of 340,000 troops from Dunkirk, begins. The move will last until June 3 under ferocious bombardment by the Luftwaffe.
  • May 28: Belgium surrenders to the Germans; King Leopold III of Belgium surrenders and is interned.
  • May 30: Crucial British Cabinet meeting: Churchill wins a vote on continuing the war, in spite of vigorous arguments by Lord Halifax and Chamberlain.
  • May 31: The Japanese heavily bomb Nationalist capital Chungking, on the upper Yangtze.
  • June 3: Last day of Operation Dynamo. 224,686 British and 121,445 French and Belgian troops have been evacuated.
  • June: Germans bomb Paris.
  • June 4: Winston Churchill delivers his, "We shall never surrender", speech to the House of Commons.
  • June 7: German battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst sink the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious and two destroyers off Norway; the British ships have had no air cover.
  • June 9: Red Army provokes conflicts on the Latvian border.
  • June 10: Italy declares war on France and the United Kingdom. Norway surrenders. King Haakon and his government had evacuated to Britain three days previously.
  • June 11: French government decamps to Tours. The Siege of Malta begins.
  • June 12: More than 10,000 British soldiers of the 51st (Highland) Division are captured at Saint-Valéry-en-Caux.
  • June 13: Paris occupied by German troops; French government moves again, this time to Bordeaux.
  • June 14: Elements of the French Navy (Marine Nationale) based in Toulon carried out offensive operations against Italian targets along the Ligurian coast.
  • June: A total military blockade on the Baltic States by the Soviet Baltic Fleet. Soviet troops along the Baltic borders are ready to organise communist coups in the Baltic States. Soviet bombers shoot down a Finnish passenger airplane Kaleva flying from Tallinn to Helsinki and carrying three diplomatic pouches from the U.S. legations in Tallinn, Riga and Helsinki.
  • June 15: Eight-hour ultimatum to surrender is given to Lithuania by the Soviets. President Smetona escapes from the country so the takeover is not possible to do in a formally legal way. Soviet troops enter Lithuania and attack Latvian border guards.
  • June: Start of the evacuation of British troops from ports in western France in Operation Ariel.
  • June 16: Philippe Pétain becomes premier of France upon the resignation of Reynaud's government.
  • June: The French sloop La Curieuse forces the Italian submarine Provano to surface and then sinks it by ramming.
  • June: Soviet Union gives eight-hour ultimatum to Latvia and Estonia to surrender.
  • June 17: Sinking of liner RMS Lancastria off St Nazaire while being used as a British troopship— at least 3,000 are killed in Britain's worst maritime disaster.
  • June: Soviet troops enter Latvia and Estonia.
  • June 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.
  • June 20: The French seek an armistice with the Italians.
  • June 21: Franco-German armistice negotiations begin at Compiègne.
  • June: Elements of two Italian armies cross into France during Italian invasion of France.
  • June 21: The French battleship Lorraine opened fire on the Italian port of Bardia in Italian North Africa. During some of the last actions of the French against the Italians, French naval aircraft attacked Taranto and Livorno in mainland Italy.
  • June 21: Soviet-led coups in the Baltic States. In the only military resistance in Tallinn, 2 die on Estonian side and about 10 on the Soviet side.
  • June 22: Franco-German armistice signed.
  • June 24: Franco-Italian armistice signed.
  • June 25: France officially surrenders to Germany at 01:35.
  • June: Last major evacuation of Operation Ariel; 191,870 Allied soldiers, airmen and some civilians had escaped from France.
  • June 26: The Soviet Union send an ultimatum demanding Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina from Romania.
  • June 27: Romanians propose negotiations. Molotov replies that the demands are land concessions or war. New ultimatum from the Soviets to the Romanians.
  • June 28: General De Gaulle recognised by British as leader of Free French.
  • June: Marshal Italo Balbo, Commander-in-Chief of Italian North Africa, is accidentally killed in a "friendly fire incident" by Italian anti-aircraft fire at Tobruk, Libya.
  • June 28: The Red Army occupies Romanian Bessarabia and the northern part of Bukovina.
  • June 28: The Luftwaffe bombs the demilitarised British Channel Islands, they had not been informed of the demilitarization. In Guernsey, 33 are killed and 67 injured, in Jersey, 9 are killed and many are injured.
  • June 28: Axis and Allied convoys clash south-west of Crete.
  • June 30: Germany invades the Channel Islands.
  • July 1: Channel Islands occupation is completed by German forces.
  • July 1: French government moves to Vichy.
  • July 1: Marshal Rodolfo Graziani is named as Balbo's replacement in North Africa.
  • July 1: The Italian Royal Air Force starts bombing the British Mandate of Palestine.
  • July 2: Hitler orders preparation of plans for invasion of Britain, code-named Operation Sea Lion.
  • July 2: Alderney surrenders to the Germans.
  • July 2: Brighton beach is closed to the public and mines, barbed wire and other defences are put into place.
  • July 3: Cardiff is bombed by the Luftwaffe for the first time.
  • July 3: The British attack and destroy the French navy, fearing that it would fall into German hands.
  • July 4: The destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria by the Royal Navy; Vichy French government breaks off diplomatic relations with Britain in protest. At Alexandria the French agree to demilitarise the battleship Lorraine and several smaller ships.
  • July: The Duke of Windsor (tainted by suspicion of pro-Nazism) is named governor of the Bahamas, putting him some distance from controversy.
  • July 4: Sark surrenders to the Germans. The Germans now control all of the British Channel Islands.
  • July 4: The German News Bureau released excerpts of the documents captured during the fall of France relating to Operation Pike, an Anglo-French plan to bomb Soviet oil fields. The compromised operation was subsequently aborted.
  • July 4: The Italians capture Kassala
  • July 5: Two Belgian politicians, Camille Huysmans and Marcel-Henri Jaspar, form an unofficial government in exile in London, afraid that the official Belgian government, still in France, will surrender to the Germans.
  • July 9: A fairly indecisive naval skirmish happens off the coast of Italy. No ships are lost.
  • July 10: The Battle of Britain begins with Luftwaffe raids on channel shipping.
  • July: President Roosevelt asks Congress for huge increases in military preparations.
  • July 11: RAF raids on enemy emplacements in the Netherlands and on German munitions factories.
  • July 12: Luftwaffe attacks on Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • July 14: Soviets organize rigged elections in the Baltic States. The parliaments will be in the control of the Soviets.
  • July 16: Adolf Hitler submits to his military the directive for the invasion of the United Kingdom, Operation Sea Lion.
  • July 18: In response to Mers-el-Kébir, the Vichy French Air Force bombs British-held Gibraltar.
  • July 19: General Johan Laidoner of Estonia is deported to Siberia.
  • July 19: Allied ships clash with two Italian light cruisers, sinking one in the Battle of Cape Spada.
  • July 21: Czechoslovak government in exile arrives in London.
  • July: In the Baltic States Soviet controlled parliaments request membership of USSR.
  • July 22: The Havana Conference meets; the nations of the Western hemisphere meet to discuss neutrality and economic cooperation.
  • July: Fumimaro Konoye is named the Prime Minister of Japan.
  • July 23: The British "Home Guard" is officially established, drawing on elderly men and those considered unable to serve in the regular armed forces.
  • July 25: All women and children are ordered to evacuate Gibraltar.
  • July 26: The United States of America activates the General Headquarters (GHQ), United States Army, which is designed to facilitate mobilization by supervising the organization and training of the army field forces within the continental United States, which is code named the Zone of the Interior.
  • July 30: The President of Estonia, Konstantin Päts, is arrested and deported to Russia by the Soviets.
  • August: The so-called Spéngelskrich ("War of Pin-badges") begins in occupied Luxembourg as civilians wear patriotic lapel badges prominently, in defiance of Nazi attempts to "Germanize" the territory.
  • August 1: Hitler sets 15 September as the date for Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of Britain.
  • August 1: Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov reaffirms Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in the Soviet Supreme while verbally attacking both Britain and the USA. He also asserts that the boundaries of the Soviet Union are moved to the shores of the Baltic Sea.
  • August 1: The Italian Royal Navy establishes its BETASOM submarine base in Bordeaux and joins the "Battle of the Atlantic."
  • August 1-4: Operation Hurry, the first of the Malta Convoys, is accomplished.
  • August 2: General Charles de Gaulle sentenced to death in absentia by a French military court.
  • August 2: The USSR annexes Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.
  • August 3: The USSR formally annexes Lithuania.
  • August 4: Italian forces under General Guglielmo Nasi invade and occupy British Somaliland during the East African Campaign.
  • August 5: Failure to achieve air superiority and bad weather in the Channel results in a postponement of the invasion of Great Britain.
  • August 5: The USSR formally annexes Latvia.
  • August 6: The USSR formally annexes Estonia.
  • August 11-15: Battle of Tug Argan fought in British Somaliland during the Italian invasion. To avoid encirclement, the British withdraw.
  • August 13: This is "Adler Tag" or "Eagle Day". Hermann Göring starts a two-week assault on British airfields in preparation for invasion. (For some German historians, this is the beginning of the "Battle of Britain.")
  • August 14: British scientist Sir Henry Tizard leaves for the United States on the Tizard Mission, giving over to the Americans a number of top secret British technologies including the magnetron, the secret device at the heart of radar. Radar is already proving itself in the defence of Britain.
  • August 15: RAF victories over the Luftwaffe continue, in a wide-ranging fight along the East coast. British fighter aircraft production begins to accelerate.
  • August 15: Sinking of the Greek cruiser Elli by an Italian submarine on 15 August 1940 at the harbour of Tinos.
  • August 16: The Battle of Britain continues; Germans are hampered by poor aircraft range and British extensive use of RADAR.
  • August 16: A first draft of the Destroyers for Bases Agreement by the US and Britain is made public.
  • August 17: Hitler declares a blockade of the British Isles.
  • August 18: Heavy fighting in the Battle of Britain; Germans suffering severe losses on bomber formations. Göring declares cowardice among his fighter pilots and orders them to closely guard the bombers, further restricting their capabilities.
  • August 19: Italian forces take Berbera, the capital of British Somaliland and the British defenders flee to Aden. The fall of Berbera completes the invasion of the British colony. By the end of the month, the Italians control British Somaliland and several towns and forts along the border with Sudan and Kenya including Kassala, Gallabat, and Moyale.
  • August 20: Italy announces a blockade of British ports in the Mediterranean area.
  • August 20: Churchill's speech "Never was so much owed by so many to so few" speech delivered to the House of Commons.
  • August 20: Chinese Communists launch the Hundred Regiments Offensive against the Japanese in North China.
  • August 22: Germans are now shelling Dover and the nearby coastal area with long-range artillery.
  • August 24: German aircraft mistakenly bomb a church in Cripplegate, accidentally dictating the future shape of the Battle of Britain.
  • August 25: Churchill orders the bombing of Berlin in retaliation for the previous night's bombing of Cripplegate.
  • August 26: Both London and Berlin are bombed, Berlin for the first time.
  • August 27: Douala in French Cameroon is captured, and soon afterwards the entire colony is captured as well
  • August 30: The bombing of England continues; London is now bombed in retaliation for the bombing of Berlin; thus, the beginning of "the London Blitz."
  • August 30: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini dictated the so-called Second Vienna Award which forced Romania to hand over the Northern Transylvania (including the entire Maramureș and part of Crișana) to Hungary.
  • August 31: Luftwaffe attacks on British airfields continue, as well as on London. Attacks on Radar installations prove ineffective.
  • August 31: Two Royal Navy destroyers are sunk off the Dutch coast in the so-called "Texel Disaster".
  • September 2: The Destroyers for Bases Agreement is completed. Britain obtains 50 destroyers in exchange for giving the United States land grants in various British possessions for the establishment of US naval and air bases, on ninety-nine-year rent-free leases on bases in the Bahamas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Jamaica, and British Guiana.
  • September 3: Hitler postpones the invasion of Britain, as the Luftwaffe fails to break the British defenses. However, fears of the forthcoming invasion continue to haunt Britain.
  • September 6: King Carol abdicates the Romanian throne in favour of his son Michael while control of the government is taken by Marshal Antonescu.
  • September 7: In one of the major misjudgements of the war, the Luftwaffe shifts its focus to London, away from the RAF airfields. Success may be measured only in the estimated 2,000 civilian dead. Other British cities are hit. The Blitz starts
  • September 9: During the Western Desert Campaign, Italian colonial forces in Libya under General Mario Berti launch the invasion of Egypt. The first objective is to advance from defensive positions within Libya to the border with Egypt.
  • September 9: Tel Aviv in the British Mandate of Palestine is bombed by Italian aircraft causing 137 deaths.
  • September 10: Operation Sea Lion is now set for 24 September.
  • September 10: The Italian Air Corps is formed to fight in the Battle of Britain.
  • September 13: After re-taking Fort Capuzzo just inside Libya, Italian colonial forces cross the border and advance into Egypt. The Italians take the small port of Sollum, but the only resistance to the invasion is a light British screening force which withdraws as the Italians advance.
  • September 14: Operation Sea Lion is postponed until 27 September, the last day of the month with suitable tides for the invasion.
  • September 15: Massive German bombing flights on English cities; most are driven off. The RAF begins to claim victory in the Battle of Britain.
  • September 16: Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 introduces the first peacetime conscription (this time for men between 21 and 35) in United States history.
  • September: The Italian invasion of Egypt comes to a halt when approximately five Italian divisions set up defensively in a series of armed camps after advancing about 95 km (59 mi) to Sidi Barrani. The Italians never approach the main British positions at Mersa Matruh.
  • September 17: Decoded messages now reveal that Hitler has postponed Operation Sea Lion until further notice.
  • September 18: Radio Belgique, a French and Dutch language radio service of the BBC, begins broadcasting to occupied Belgium from its base in London.
  • September 22: Heavy convoy losses to U-boats in the Atlantic.
  • September: The Japanese occupy French Indochina; local French administrators become only figurehead authorities.
  • September 23: Free French and British forces attempt a landing at Dakar, French West Africa; Vichy French naval forces open fire sporadically for two days, and the expedition is called back.
  • September 24: Berlin suffers a large bombing raid by the RAF.
  • September 24: In response to Dakar, the Vichy French Air Force bombs Gibraltar for the first time since 18 July.
  • September 25: Vichy French aircraft return to Gibraltar for a second day of bombings.
  • September 25: Japanese 5th Division march into Hanoi, French Indochina.
  • September 27: The Tripartite Pact is signed in Berlin by Germany, Italy, and Japan, promising mutual aid. An informal name, "Axis", emerges.
  • September 28: Vidkun Quisling becomes head of state in Norway.
  • October 1-31: The United States separates the Corps Areas established in 1921 to perform the administrative tasks of the various regions of the US from the four Field Armies that had been established in 1932.
  • October 1: Chinese Nationalist and Chinese Communists fight each other in southern China. Meanwhile Japanese forces have a setback at Changsha.
  • October 2: The bombing of London continues throughout the month.
  • October 3: Warsaw's Jews are directed to move into the Warsaw ghetto.
  • October 4: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini meet at the Brenner Pass to discuss the prospects in the war.
  • October 7: Responding to a Romanian request made on 7 September, Germany deploys a military mission to Romania to provide training for the Romanian Army and guard the Romanian oilfields.
  • October 9: Neville Chamberlain resigns from the House of Commons for health reasons; Winston Churchill is elected head of the Conservative Party.
  • October 12: Any German invasion of Britain is postponed until spring 1941 at the earliest.
  • October 12: The Royal Navy clash with and defeat several Italian ships which attacked them after a convoy mission to Malta.
  • October 13: British civilians are still being killed by German bombs though the attacks have dropped off significantly.
  • October 14: Balham station disaster. German bomb pierces 32 feet underground killing 66 people.
  • October 15: Clarence Addison Dykstra becomes Director of Selective Service in the United States.
  • October 15: Mussolini and his closest advisers decide to invade Greece.
  • October 16: Draft registration begins in the United States.
  • October 19: The Italians bomb Bahrain.
  • October 20: Italian aircraft bomb Cairo, Egypt and American-operated oil refineries in the British Protectorate of Bahrain.
  • October 21: Liverpool is bombed for the 200th time.
  • October 23: Adolf Hitler meets with Franco at Hendaye, near the Spanish-French border; little is accomplished, and least of all Hitler's hope to convince Franco to enter the war on the Axis side.
  • October 24: After meeting with Franco, Hitler goes to Montoire where a meeting with Philippe Pétain took place signifying the start of organised French collaboration with the Nazi regime.
  • October 24: The Italian Air Corps sees its first action during the Battle of Britain.
  • October 25: Berlin and Hamburg are bombed heavily.
  • October 28: At about 03:00 am the Italian ambassador to Greece issues ultimatum to Greece and Greek Prime Minister Metaxas replies: "So it is war". The Italian Royal Army launches attacks into Greece from Italian-held Albania and begins the Greco-Italian War. Hitler is angered at the initiative of his ally.
  • October 29: Very heavy convoy losses during this period as numbers of U-boats increase.
  • October 29: The first number drawings for US Selective Service Act draftees.
  • October 30: President Roosevelt, in the middle of an election campaign, promises not to send "our boys" to war.
  • October 31: The Warsaw District government moves all Jews living in Warsaw to the ghettos.
  • November 1: Turkey declared neutrality in the Italo-Greek war.
  • November 2: The Italian advance into Greece continues. Vovousa is captured and Italian aircraft bomb Salonika.
  • November 5: President Roosevelt wins a third term. The British see the event as promising of more help from the US.
  • November 5: HMS Jervis Bay, a merchant cruiser, is sunk on convoy duty, but much of the convoy escapes. The loss becomes a media event.
  • November 7: It becomes clear that Ireland will refuse to allow the United Kingdom to use its ports as naval bases.
  • November 8: The Battle of Elaia–Kalamas ends and the Italians end their futile offensive in Greece.
  • November 9: Neville Chamberlain dies.
  • November 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. The event secures British supply lines in the Mediterranean. The British success will be studied by Japanese military already preparing for an attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • November 12: Molotov meets Hitler and Ribbentrop in Berlin. New World order is under discussion. Molotov expresses Soviet interest in Finland, Bulgaria, Romania, Dardanelles and Bosporus, but Hitler talks along broad lines about worldwide spheres of influence between Russia, Germany, Italy and Japan.
  • November 12: In the Battle of Gabon, British forces finish wresting central Africa from the Vichy French.
  • November 13: Molotov meets Hitler again asking acceptance to liquidate Finland. Hitler now resists every attempt to expand Soviet influence in Europe. He sees Britain as defeated and offers India to the Soviet Union.
  • November 13: The Battle of Pindus ends in a Greek victory.
  • November 14: A heavy night raid on Coventry. Coventry Cathedral is destroyed and the medieval centre of the city is levelled.
  • November 14: The Greek counter-offensive against the Italians begins.
  • November 15: The Soviet Union is invited to join Tripartite Pact and to share in the spoils of British Empire. Warsaw's Jewish ghetto is cordoned off from the rest of the city.
  • November 16: Churchill orders some British troops in North Africa to be sent to Greece, despite concerns by his military leaders that they are needed in the current campaign against the Italians in North Africa.
  • November 19: The Greeks continue to advance, and evict Italian troops from Greek soil.
  • November 20: Hungary signs the Tripartite Pact.
  • November 21: The Belgian government, in exile in Britain, declares war on Italy.
  • November 22: Fall of Korytsa to the Greeks.
  • November 23: Romania signs the Tripartite Pact.
  • November 24: The Slovak Republic signs the Tripartite Pact.
  • November 25: The Soviet Union gives her terms to join the Tripartite Pact including substantial new territorial gains for Russia.
  • November 29: A massive overnight bombing raid on Liverpool.
  • November 30: A large bombing raid on Southampton in southern England; the city is hit again the next night, followed by Bristol on 2 December, and Birmingham on the 3rd
  • December 1-8: Greek forces continue to drive the Italian armies back, capturing the cities of Pogradec, Sarandë, and Gjirokastër.
  • December 1: Bombing raids are exchanged throughout the month between Germany and Britain. First German bombs, then Britain's.
  • December: Joseph P. Kennedy, the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom is asked to resign by President Roosevelt after he gives a newspaper interview expressing the view that "Democracy is finished in England".
  • December 5: The RAF bombs Düsseldorf and Turin.
  • December 6-9: British and Indian troops of the Western Desert Force launch Operation Compass, an offensive against Italian forces in Egypt. The Italians have seven infantry divisions and the Maletti Group in fortified defensive positions. Initial attacks are launched against the five Italian camps around and south of Sidi Barrani. The camps are overrun, Italian General Pietro Maletti is killed, and the Maletti Group, the 1st Libyan Division, the 2nd Libyan Division, and the
  • December: 4th Blackshirt Division are all but destroyed. The remaining Italian units in Egypt are forced to withdraw towards Libya.
  • December 8: Francisco Franco rules out Spanish entry into the war; the immediate result is that Hitler is forced to cancel an attack on Gibraltar.
  • December 12: In North Africa, over 39,000 Italians lost or captured in Egypt.
  • December 16: The first RAF night raid--on Mannheim, Germany.
  • December 16: In North Africa, the British are in command at Sollum in Egypt and take Fort Capuzzo in Libya.
  • December 18: Hitler issues directive to begin planning for Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union.
  • December 22-24: Bombing raids on Manchester.
  • December 28: The Greco-Italian War continues to go badly for the Italians and the Greeks hold roughly one-quarter of Albania.
  • December 28: Italy requests military assistance from Germany against the Greeks.
  • December 29: Large German air-raids on London; St Paul's Cathedral is damaged.

1941

  • January 1: Accounting of the previous night's bombing of London reveals that the Old Bailey, the Guildhall, and eight churches by Christopher Wren were destroyed or badly damaged.
  • January 1: RAF bombs aircraft factories in Bremen, Germany.
  • January 2: German bombers, perhaps off course, bomb Irish Free State for the second night in a row.
  • January 2–4: Bardia is bombed by British bombers and bombarded by naval vessels off shore.
  • January 3: RAF bombers attack Bremen and the Kiel Canal in Germany. The Kiel Canal Bridge suffers a direct hit and collapses on Finnish ship Yrsa.
  • January 5: Operation Compass: Australian troops of XIII Corps (the re-designated Western Desert Force) capture Italian-held Bardia and 45,000 Italian prisoners are taken.
  • January 5: Tobruk, the next target, is 70 miles away.
  • January: The leader of Wallonia's fascist party, Léon Degrelle, gives a speech in the German-occupied city of Liège announcing the support of the Rexist Party for German Nazism.
  • January 6: The Greeks advance towards Klisura Pass.
  • January 7: British and Commonwealth offensive in North Africa nears Tobruk; the airport is taken.
  • January 10: Lend-Lease introduced into the U.S. Congress.
  • January: German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement is signed.
  • January: German aircraft damage aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, which is heading for Malta. German Luftwaffe, it is now clear, has command of air over the Mediterranean. The attack is also the opening of Malta's agony over the next months.
  • January: Greek forces in Albania take the strategically important Klissoura pass.
  • January 11: In London, 57 people are killed and 69 injured when a German bomb lands outside the Bank of England, demolishing the Underground station below and leaving a 120-foot crater.
  • January 12: Operation Compass: British and Australian troops of XIII Corps prepare for the assault on Italian-held Tobruk.
  • January 13: Heavy Luftwaffe night raid on Plymouth.
  • January 14: First use of "V for Victory" by Victor de Laveleye on the BBC's Belgian service, Radio Belgique.
  • January 15: The rivalry between Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Communists becomes more evident; large numbers of the latter are forced to give up their arms, reluctantly of course.
  • January 16: British forces start the first attacks of their East African counter-offensive, on Italian-held Ethiopia, from Kenya.
  • January 16: German bombers pound Valletta, Malta, and HMS Illustrious is hit again.
  • January 17: The Battle of Ko Chang ended in a decisive victory for the Vichy French naval forces during the Franco-Thai War.
  • January 17: Molotov meets German Ambassador Schulenburg in Moscow. The Soviets are surprised that they have not received any answer from Germany to their offer to join the Axis (November 26, 1940). Schulenburg replies that it has to be first discussed with Italy and Japan.
  • January 18: Air raids on Malta are increasing in focus and intensity.
  • January 19: The 4th and 5th Indian Divisions continue the British counter-offensive in East Africa, attacking Italian-held Eritrea from the Sudan.
  • January 19: Hitler and Mussolini meet at Berchtesgaden; Hitler agrees to provide aid in North Africa.
  • January 21: Operation Compass: British and Australian troops of XIII Corps complete capture of Italian-held Tobruk.
  • January 21: There are reports that Romanian Fascist ("Iron Guards") are executing Jews in Bucharest.
  • January 23: HMS Illustrious, heavily damaged, leaves Malta for repairs in Alexandria.
  • January 23: Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler
  • January 24: British forces in Kenya continue the East African counter-offensive, attacking Italian Somaliland.
  • January 29: Death of the Greek dictator, Ioannis Metaxas.
  • January 30: British forces in North Africa take Derna; 100 miles west of Tobruk.
  • January 31: Indian 4th Division flanks and then captures Agordat, Eritrea, Italian East Africa. 1,000 Italian troops and 43 field guns are captured.
  • February 1: Admiral Husband Kimmel is appointed the Commander of the US Navy in the Pacific.
  • February 3: Lieutenant-General Erwin Rommel is appointed head of "German Army troops in Africa." This unit is later to be officially designated as the "Afrika Korps."
  • February : Germany forcibly restores Pierre Laval to office in Vichy.
  • February 7: Operation Compass: After several days of desperate fighting, a flying column of XIII Corps called Combe Force cuts off the retreating Italian 10th Army during the Battle of Beda Fomm. The Italians are unable to break through the small blocking force and the British accept the surrender of roughly 130,000 Italians in and to the south of Benghazi.
  • February 8: US House of Representatives passes the Lend-Lease bill.
  • February 9: Mussolini is informed that German reinforcements are on the way to North Africa.
  • February 9: British forces reach El Agheila, Cyrenaica.
  • February 9: British battleships shell Genoa and British aircraft attack Livorno.
  • February 9: Churchill again pleads with the US: "give us the tools."
  • February 10: Malta's critical period: now through March, it is under heavy daily attack.
  • February 11: Elements of the Afrika Korps start to arrive in Tripoli, Tripolitania.
  • February 11: British forces enter Italian Somaliland.
  • February 14: Rommel arrives in Tripoli.
  • February 14: Afrika Korps starts to move eastward towards the advance British positions at El Agheila. The British in North Africa have been weakened by the transfer of some troops to Greece.
  • February 15: Deportation of Austrian Jews to ghettos in Poland begins.
  • February 19: The start of the "three nights Blitz" of Swansea, South Wales. Over these three nights of intensive bombing, Swansea town centre is almost completely obliterated.
  • February 20: German and British troops confront each other for the first time in North Africa—at El Agheila in western Libya.
  • February 21: German forces move through Bulgaria toward the Greek front.
  • February 24: German U-boat offensive in the Atlantic is now increasingly successful.
  • February 24: Admiral Darlan is appointed the head of the Vichy government in France.
  • February 25: The British submarine Upright sinks the Italian cruiser Armando Diaz in one of the numerous sea battles in the North African campaign.
  • February 25: Mogadishu, the capital of Italian Somaliland, is captured by British forces during the East African Campaign.
  • February 28: RAF planes bomb Asmara, Eritrea.
  • March 1: Hitler gives orders for the expansion of Auschwitz prison camp, to be run by Commandant Rudolf Höss.
  • March 1: Bulgaria officially signs the Tripartite Pact.
  • March 4: British commandos carry out attack on oil facilities at Narvik in Norway.
  • March 4: British military force in Libya is thinned down as some men are sent to assist the Greeks in their emerging battle with approaching German troops.
  • March 4: Prince Regent Paul of Yugoslavia agrees to join the Axis pact.
  • March 7: First British troops land in Greece, at Piraeus.
  • March 8: Another bombing of London, notable because Buckingham Palace is hit.
  • March 9: The Italian Spring Offensive in the Albanian front begins.
  • March 10: British and Italian troops meet in a brief conflict in Eritrea.
  • March 10: Portsmouth suffers heavy casualties after another night of heavy bombing by the Luftwaffe.
  • March 11: United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs the Lend Lease Act (now passed by the full Congress) allowing Britain, China, and other Allied nations to purchase military equipment and to defer payment until after the war.
  • March 12: German Panzers arrive in North Africa providing heavy armour for the first major German offensive.
  • March 13: The Luftwaffe strikes with a large force at Glasgow and the shipping industry along the River Clyde.
  • March 17: Huge convoy losses in mid-Atlantic this week.
  • March 17: The United States of America converts its Corps Areas to Defense Commands, with the term Corps reassigned as an intermediate field command of a Field Army.
  • March 19: Worst bombing of London so far this year, with heavy damage from incendiary bombs; Plymouth and Bristol are bombed again.
  • March 20: The Italian Spring Offensive is called off, after heavy losses and virtually no progress.
  • March 21: The Yugoslav cabinet resigns in protest against Prince Paul's pact with the Nazis. Street demonstration occurs, expressive of a deep dislike for Germany.
  • March 24: Rommel attacks and reoccupies El Agheila, Libya in his first offensive. The British retreat and within three weeks are driven back to Egypt.
  • March 25: Italian MTMs of the Decima MAS sink the heavy cruiser HMS York (90), a large tanker (the Norwegian Pericles), another tanker and a cargo ship in Suda Bay, Crete.
  • March 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.
  • March 27: Japanese spy Takeo Yoshikawa arrives in Honolulu, Hawaii and begins to study the United States fleet at Pearl Harbor.
  • March 27: Hitler orders his military leaders to plan for the invasion of Yugoslavia. One result of this decision will be a critical time delay in the invasion of Soviet Union.
  • March 27: British forces advancing from the Sudan win the decisive Battle of Keren in Eritrea.
  • March 27: Battle of Cape Matapan: the British navy meets an Italian fleet off southern Greece. The battle continues until the 29th.
  • March 31: The Afrika Korps continues the German offensive in North Africa; Mersa Brega, north of El Agheila, is taken.
  • April 1: British retreat after the losses at El Agheila, Libya. Rommel is surprised, then decides to continue his offensive.
  • April 1: During this month the heavy bombing of British cities continues, and convoy losses remain heavy.
  • April 1: In Iraq, pro-German Rashid Ali and other members of the "Golden Square" stage a military coup d'état and overthrow the regime of the pro-British Regent 'Abd al-Ilah. Rashid Ali names himself Chief of a "National Defence Government."
  • April 2: After taking Agedabia, Rommel decides to take all of Libya and moves his troops toward Benghazi. All of Cyrenaic (Libya) seems ready for the taking.
  • April 3: A pro-Axis government is installed in Iraq.
  • April 3: Bristol, England, suffers another heavy air attack.
  • April 3: British troops take Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, from the Italian armies.
  • April 3: Rommel takes Benghazi, Libya; Tobruk will remain a threat for the next seven months.
  • April 4: Rommel is now about 200 miles east of El Agheila, heading for Tobruk and Egypt.
  • April 4: An Atlantic convoy suffers almost 50% losses to U-boat campaign.
  • April 6: Forces of Germany, Hungary, and Italy, moving through Romania and Hungary, initiate the invasions of Yugoslavia and Greece.
  • April 6: The Italian Army is driven out from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • April 6: The northern wing of Rommel's forces take Derna, on the Libyan coast. The southern wing moves toward Mechili, and takes it on the 8th.
  • April 7: The Luftwaffe begins a two-day assault on Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Hitler is infuriated by the Yugoslav resistance.
  • April 8: The Germans take Salonika, Greece.
  • April 10: Greenland is occupied by the United States. With the approval of a "free Denmark", the US will build naval and air bases as counters to the U-boat war.
  • April 10: While still being invaded, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia is split up by Germany and Italy. The Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH) is established under Ante Pavelić and his Ustaša.
  • April 10: Germans encircle the port of Tobruk, Libya, opening the siege; some of Rommel's forces move east to take Fort Capuzzo and Sollum, on the border with Egypt.
  • April 10: The destroyer USS Niblack attacks a German U-boat that had just sunk a Dutch freighter. The Niblack was picking up survivors of the freighter when it detected the U-boat preparing to attack. The Niblack attacked with depth charges and drove off the U-boat.
  • April 11: Though still a "neutral" nation, the United States begins sea patrols in the North Atlantic.
  • April 11: Heavy Luftwaffe raids on Coventry and Birmingham, England.
  • April 12: Belgrade, Yugoslavia, surrenders.
  • April 12: The Germans defeat Commonwealth forces at the Battle of Vevi.
  • April 13: Malta is bombed again; it continues to be a thorn in the side of German supply movements in the Mediterranean.
  • April 13: Japan and the Soviet Union sign a neutrality pact.
  • April 13: In Iraq, a small contingent of British reinforcements are air-lifted to RAF Shaibah.
  • April 14: Rommel attacks Tobruk, but is forced to turn back. Other attacks, also failures, occur on the 16th and 30th.
  • April 14: The German LSSAH Panzer division captures the strategic Kleisoura Pass and begins cutting the line of retreat for the Greek army in Albania.
  • April 15: British destroyers intercept an Afrika Korps convoy and sink all five transports and the three covering Italian destroyers.
  • April 16: A heavy Luftwaffe raid on Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  • April 16: Germans continue the invasion southward into Yugoslavia; they cut off the Greek army in Albania, which had had notable success against the Italians in January.
  • April 17: Yugoslavia surrenders. A government in exile is formed in London. King Peter escapes to Greece.
  • April 18: Greek Prime Minister Alexandros Koryzis commits suicide; the British plan the major evacuation of Greece.
  • April 18: In Iraq, in accordance with the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty, British forces from India start to land at Basra.
  • April 19: London suffers one of the heaviest air raids in the war; St. Paul's is mildly damaged but remains closed; other Wren churches are heavily damaged or destroyed.
  • April 21: With their retreat cut off by the German advance, 223,000 Greek soldiers of the Greek army in Albania surrender.
  • April 22: The British, both military and civilian, begin to evacuate Greece.
  • April 23: Greek government is evacuated to Crete, which Churchill is determined to defend.
  • April 24: British and Australian forces evacuate from Greece to Crete and Egypt.
  • April 24: Plymouth suffers the third night of heavy bombing by the Luftwaffe.
  • April 25: Rommel wins an important victory at Halfaya Pass, close to the Egyptian border.
  • April 25: Axis forces defeat Commonwealth forces at Thermopylae after Australian general George Vasey staunchly claims that they will not be beaten.
  • April 26: Rommel attacks the Gazala defence line and crosses into Egypt; Tobruk continues to hold however.
  • April 27: Athens is occupied by German troops. Greece surrenders.
  • April 27: Hurricane fighter planes are delivered as important reinforcements for besieged Malta.
  • April 30: Rommel is ordered to cease attacks on Tobruk after another failure.
  • April 30: In Iraq, Iraqi armed forces occupy the plateau to the south of the RAF Habbaniya air base and inform the base commander that all flying should cease immediately.
  • May 1: Seven nights of bombing of Liverpool by the Luftwaffe begins, resulting in widespread destruction.
  • May 2: British forces at RAF Habbaniya launch pre-emptive air strikes against Iraqi forces besieging them and the Anglo-Iraqi War begins.
  • May 3: British forces in Ethiopia begin the investment of Amba Alagi where Italian forces under the Duke of Aosta have taken up defensive positions.
  • May 4: Belfast, Northern Ireland, experiences another heavy bombing by the Luftwaffe.
  • May 5: Five years from the day he was forced to flee, Emperor Haile Selassie enters Addis Ababa, his capital, in triumph.
  • May 6: With much of the Iraqi air force destroyed and facing regular bombardment themselves, the Iraqi ground forces besieging RAF Habbaniya withdraw.
  • May 6: The Luftwaffe arranges to send a small force to Iraq.
  • May 7: Between Habbaniya and Fallujah, two Iraqi columns are caught in the open and attacked by roughly forty British aircraft; the Iraqis suffer heavy casualties.
  • May 8: Heavy convoy losses in the Atlantic continue; however, one U-boat (U-110) is captured by the British navy and another copy of the "Enigma" machine is discovered and saved. It will help to turn the fortunes in the Atlantic battle.
  • May 8: Bombing of Nottingham by the Luftwaffe.
  • May 9: A Japanese brokered peace treaty signed in Tokyo ends the French-Thai War.
  • May 10: Rudolf Hess is captured in Scotland after bailing out of his plane; his self-appointed mission was to make peace with the United Kingdom.
  • May 10: The United Kingdom's House of Commons is damaged by the Luftwaffe in an air raid. Other targets are Hull, Liverpool, Belfast, and the shipbuilding area of the River Clyde in Scotland. This is close to the end of the Blitz, as Germany shifts its focus toward Soviet Union and the East.
  • May: The "Strike of the 100,000" begins in Liège in Belgium on the anniversary of the German invasion of 1940. It soon spreads across the whole province until nearly 70,000 workers are on strike.
  • May 12: The RAF bombs several German cities, including Hamburg, Emden, and Berlin.
  • May 12: The Soviet Union recognizes Rashid Ali's "National Defence Government" in Iraq.
  • May 13: Yugoslav Army Colonel Draža Mihailović summons up the "Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland" which mostly consists of Serbs, but also includes Slovenes, Bosnians, and Croats. Mihailović treks from Bosnia to Ravna Gora in central Serbia, and issues an uprising call promising a struggle against the occupiers and the restoration of the Yugoslavian Monarchy. At this point, Josip Broz Tito and the Yugoslav Partisans are aligned with the Soviet Union, which is still friendlywith Germany.
  • May 13: The bulk of the German "Flyer Command Iraq" (Fliegerführer Irak) arrives in Mosul to support the Iraqi government of Rashid Ali.
  • May 14: The RAF is authorized to act against German aircraft in Syria and on Vichy French airfields.
  • May 15: First Civilian Public Service camp opens for conscientious objectors in the United States.
  • May 16: Rommel defeats a counter-attack, "Brevity", at Halfaya Pass. The two sides trade alternating control of Fort Capuzzo and Halfaya Pass.
  • May 17: British forces in the Habbaniya area advance on Iraqi-held Fallujah and, in five days fighting, push the Iraqis out.
  • May 18: The Duke of Aosta, Viceroy of Italian East Africa, surrenders his forces at Amba Alagi.
  • May 20: German paratroopers land on Crete; the battle for Crete will continue for seven days.
  • May 20: The German military mission to Iraq, Special Staff F (Sonderstab F), is created to support of "The Arab Freedom Movement in the Middle East". Sonderstab F is to include Fliegerführer Irak and other elements already in Iraq.
  • May 21: The US merchantman SS Robin Moor is sunk by German submarine U-69. The incident startles the nation, and President Roosevelt shortly announces an "unlimited national emergency."
  • May 21: The Italian Viceroy in Ethiopia surrenders. Remnants of Italian troops keep on fighting.
  • May 22: Iraqi forces unsuccessfully counter-attack the British forces in Fallujah and are rebuffed.
  • May 23: German dictator Adolf Hitler issues "Führer Directive No. 30" in support of "The Arab Freedom Movement in the Middle East", his "natural ally against England."
  • May 24: British battlecruiser HMS Hood is sunk by a powerful salvo from German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic.
  • May 24: The Greek government leaves Crete for Cairo.
  • May 26: In the North Atlantic, Royal Navy Fairey Swordfish aircraft from the carrier HMS Ark Royal fatally cripple the Bismarck in torpedo attack.
  • May 27: The German battleship Bismarck is sunk in the North Atlantic by the Royal Navy, after evasive tactics, and a damaged steering system which forced it into an endless series of circular movements.
  • May 27: The British forces from the Habbaniya area begin an advance on Baghdad and, within four days, approach the city from the west and from the north.
  • May 27: Twelve Italian aircraft arrive at Mosul to join Fliegerführer Irak.
  • May 28: British and Commonwealth forces begin to evacuate Crete.
  • May 28: By this date, it is clear that operation "Brevity" has failed.
  • May 29: Members of the German military mission flee Iraq.
  • May 30: Rashid Ali and his supporters flee Iraq.
  • May 31: Heavy Luftwaffe bombing on neutral Ireland's capital; numerous civilian casualties.
  • May 31: The Mayor of Baghdad surrenders the city to British forces and ends the Anglo-Iraqi War.
  • June 1: Commonwealth forces complete the withdrawal from Crete.
  • June 1: Rationing of clothes begins in the United Kingdom.
  • June 2: Tuskegee Airmen begin with the formation of the 99th Fighter Squadron.
  • June 4: Kaiser William II, former German Emperor, dies in exile in the Netherlands.
  • June 6: More British fighter planes are delivered to Malta; Luftwaffe attacks continue.
  • June 8: Vichy French-controlled Syria and Lebanon are invaded by Australian, British, Free French, and Indian forces.
  • June 9: Finland initiates mobilisation, preparations against possible attack of Soviet aggressor.
  • June 9: The British and Australians cross the Litani River, beating back Vichy French forces. During this battle, Moshe Dayan, leading an Australian unit, loses his eye. He becomes famous when his story is published a day later.
  • June 10: Assab, the last Italian-held port in East Africa, falls.
  • June 13: The Australians continue to fight through the Vichy French defenses and advance towards Beirut, winning the Battle of Jezzine.
  • June 13: Soviets begin deporting Lithuanians to Siberia. Deportations continue for five days and total 35,000 Lithuanians, among them 7000 Jews.
  • June 14: All German and Italian assets in the United States are frozen.
  • June 14: 10,100 people from Estonia, 15,000 from Latvia and 34,000 (or 35,000, starting a day earlier) from Lithuania are deported to Siberia by the Soviet Union.
  • June 15: British Operation Battleaxe attempts and fails to relieve the Siege of Tobruk. The British are heavily defeated at Halfaya Pass nicknamed "Hell-fire pass".
  • June 16: All German and Italian consulates in the United States are ordered closed and their staffs to leave the country by July 10.
  • June 20: Under the directives of the United States Department of War, the bulk of the personnel of what had been known as the United States Army Air Corps up to this date are brought into what becomes the United States Army Air Forces from this date forward, with General Henry H. Arnold as its first commander. As part of the reorganization, General Headquarters Air Force is renamed Air Force Combat Command; the new Army Air Forces organization consists of Air Force Combat Command (its combat element), with the existing logistics and training element retaining the older "United States Army Air Corps" designation.
  • June 22: Germany invades the Soviet Union with Operation Barbarossa, a three-pronged operation aimed at Leningrad, Moscow, and the southern oil fields of the Caucasus, ending the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Romania invades south-western border areas of the Soviet Union in Europe on the side of Germany.
  • June 22: British general in Libya/Egypt Wavell is replaced by General Auchinleck.
  • June 22: June Uprising against the Soviet Union in Lithuania.
  • June 23: In the late evening, Hitler first arrives at his headquarters at Rastenburg, East Prussia, codenamed "Wolf's Lair" (Wolfsschanze). Between this date and November 20, 1944, Hitler will have spent 800 days at Wolf's Lair.
  • June 23: German troops massacre 42 at Ablinga.
  • June 24: German forces enter Vilnius. Lithuanian militia men go on shooting spree, killing dozens of Jews on the streets, with civilian spectators cheering them on. The Germans kidnap 60 Jewish "hostages" and 30 Poles. Only 6 return.
  • June 25: The Soviet Union bombs Helsinki. Finland pronounces a state of war between Finland and Soviet Union. Continuation war is started.
  • June 26: Hungary and Slovakia declare war on the Soviet Union.
  • June 27: The occupation of Lithuania starts officially.
  • June 28: Italian-occupied Albania declares war on the Soviet Union.
  • June 28: Huge German encirclement of 300,000 Red Army troops near Minsk and Białystok.
  • June 29: Finnish and German troops begin Operation Arctic Fox against the Soviet Union.
  • June 29: Nuremberg Laws imposed on Jews of Lithuania and Vilnius in particular.
  • July 1: General Auchinleck takes over from General Wavell in North Africa.
  • July 1: The British win the Battle of Palmyra against the French in the Middle East.
  • July 1: All American men over 21 are required to register for the draft.
  • July 1: German troops occupy Latvia's capital, Riga, on the way to Leningrad.
  • July 2: Ponary massacre killings begin, with the shooting of Soviet POWs captured during Operation Barbarossa, which began two weeks earlier, and with the deportation of hundreds of Jews from Vilnius to Soviet dug fuel tank pits near the Ponariai suburb of Vilnius, where they are shot or buried alive. Reports by survivors are accepted as hallucinations. The mass deportations and shooting of Jews continued until 1943.
  • July 2: Hungarian troops take over Stanisławów and other towns in what is now Ukraine.
  • July 3: Stalin announces a "scorched earth policy".
  • July 3: The United States of America elevates its General Headquarters, United States Army in order to command and plan for military operations within the Zone of the Interior.
  • July 3: Italian General Pietro Gazzera surrenders the remnants of his forces in the Jimma area.
  • July 3: British troops employ brave and risky flanking tactics to win the Battle of Deir ez-Zor.
  • July 4: Mass murder of Polish scientists and writers, committed by German troops in captured Polish city of Lwów.
  • July 4: Vilna Ghetto first Judenrat established.
  • July 5: British Government rules out possibility of negotiated peace with Nazi Germany.
  • July 5: British torpedo planes sink an Italian destroyer at Tobruk; on the 20th, two more are sunk.
  • July 5: German troops reach the Dnieper River.
  • July 5: The Ecuadorian–Peruvian War conflict begins in South America.
  • July 7: British and Canadian troops in Iceland are replaced by Americans.
  • July 8: Yugoslavia, a country formed by the Versailles treaty, is dissolved by the Axis into its component parts; especially important will be Croatia, with a pro-Axis government.
  • July 8: Britain and the USSR sign a mutual defence agreement, promising not to sign any form of separate peace agreement with Germany.
  • July 9: Vitebsk (Belarus) is captured; this opens the battle of Smolensk, an important communications centre, considered by the German high command to be "the gateway to Moscow."
  • July 10: The occupation of Latvia starts officially. Guderian's Panzers take Minsk; the Germans advance farther into Ukraine.
  • July 10: Units of the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia begin to arrive. A legion from the Independent State of Croatia is part of the Italian corps.
  • July 12: The Vichy French surrender in Syria.
  • July 12: Assistance Pact signed between the United Kingdom and the USSR.
  • July 13: Montenegro starts an uprising against the Axis Powers shortly after the Royalists in Serbia begin theirs. Questionable Communist plans instigate parallel uprising and civil war.
  • July 15: The Red Army starts a counter-attack against the Wehrmacht near Leningrad.
  • July 15: Argentia naval air base is set up in Newfoundland; it will prove an important transfer station for the Allies for some years.
  • July 16: German Panzers under Guderian reach Smolensk, increasing the risk to Moscow.
  • July 17: Luftwaffe air attacks on Malta continue.
  • July 19: The "V-sign", displayed most notably by Churchill, is unofficially adopted as the Allied signal, along with the motif of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
  • July 20: Heinrich Himmler visits Soviet POWs near Minsk and Lublin and decides to build the concentration camp near Lublin known as Majdanek concentration camp.
  • July 21: The Luftwaffe strikes heavily at Moscow.
  • July 26: In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indochina, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.
  • July 26: Germans order a Judenrat established in Stanisławów, Galicia. It is headed by Israel Seibald.
  • July 28: Japanese troops occupy southern French Indochina. The Vichy French colonial government is allowed by the Japanese to continue to administer Vietnam. French repression continues. The Vichy French also agree to the occupation by the Japanese of bases in Indochina.
  • July 28: The Germans push against Smolensk, and in the meantime solidify their presence in the Baltic states; native Jewish populations of the Baltic states are being exterminated.
  • July 31: 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."
  • July 31: The Japanese naval ministry accuses the United States of intruding into their territorial waters at Sukumo Bay, and then fleeing. No evidence is offered to prove this allegation.
  • July 31: Lewis B. Hershey succeeds Clarence Dykstra as Director of the Selective Service System in the United States.
  • July 31: Ecuadorian–Peruvian War ends.
  • August 1: The US announces an oil embargo against "aggressors."
  • August 1: Japanese occupy Saigon, Vietnam.
  • August 1: The Germans declare Galicia as the fifth district of the Generalgouvernement.
  • August 2: All civilian radios in Norway confiscated by the German occupation.
  • August 2: SS Commander Hans Krueger (alternative spelling, Hans Krüger) orders the registration of hundreds of Jewish and Polish intelligentsia in Stanisławów, who are subsequently tortured and murdered. This is the first implementation of the "one bullet one Jew" method in Galicia.
  • August 5: German armies trap Red Army forces in Smolensk pocket and take 300,000 soldiers; Orel is taken.
  • August 6: Germans take Smolensk.
  • August 6: American and British governments warn Japan not to invade Thailand.
  • August 9: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill meet at NS Argentia, Newfoundland. The Atlantic Charter is created, signed, and released to the world press.
  • August 11: Malta is relieved by a convoy.
  • August 11: Chungking, the nominal capital of Nationalist China located far up the Yangtze River, suffers several days of heavy bombing.
  • August 12: Hitler, against the advice of his generals, shifts some forces from the Moscow front to Leningrad and the Crimean offensives.
  • August 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 Action T4 operation were then transferred to concentration camps, where they continued in their trade.
  • August 20: German 250th Infantry Division, nicknamed "Blue Division" and consisted of Spanish volunteers, was formed and began to move to Poland.
  • August 22: German forces close in on Leningrad; the citizens continue improvising fortifications.
  • August 25: British and Soviet troops invade Iran to save the Abadan oilfields and the important railways and routes to Soviet Union for the supply of war material.
  • August 27: German U-boat U-570, being forced to surface off Iceland is captured by the British Royal Navy and is later put into combat service as HMS Graph.
  • August 28: German forces with the help of Estonian volunteers take Tallinn from Soviets.
  • August 30: The Shetland bus, a clandestine special operations group that made a permanent link between Shetland, Scotland and German-occupied Norway, begins operations.
  • August 31: The first signs appear that a Leningrad "siege" is beginning.
  • August 31: "The Great Provocation" in Vilnius – German forces stage an attack on their soldiers by Jews, leading to a 'retaliation' mass arrest of the residents of old Jewish quarter, to be murdered at Ponary, three days later.
  • September 1: With the assistance of Finnish armies in the north, Leningrad is now completely cut off.
  • September 1: A pro-German Government of National Salvation formed in the Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia under Milan Nedić.
  • September 1: All Jews under German rule must wear the yellow star of David badge with "Jew" clearly written in it, are forbidden to live with or marry non-Jews, and are forbidden to leave their towns without written consent, in accordance with the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. The decree, signed by Heydrich, is to take effect on September 19.
  • September 3: Murder of all 3,700 residents of the old Jewish quarter in Vilnius begins at the Ponary death site along with 10 members of the Judenrat. First written testimony of occurrences at Ponary by a survivor.
  • September 3: Vilna Ghetto Jews required to hand over any gold or silver.
  • September 4: USS Greer becomes the first United States warship fired upon by a German U-boat in the war, even though the United States is a neutral power. Tension heightens between the two nations as a result. The U.S. is now committed to convoy duties between the Western Hemisphere and Europe.
  • September 5: Germany occupies Estonia.
  • September 6: 6,000 Jews shot at Ponary, a day after the order to form the Vilna Ghetto was issued.
  • September 7: Berlin is heavily hit by RAF bombers.
  • September 8: Siege of Leningrad begins – a reasonable date to start measuring "the 900 days." German forces begin a siege against the Soviet Union's second-largest city, Leningrad; Stalin orders the Volga Germans deported to Siberia.
  • September 10: German armies now have Kiev completely surrounded.
  • September 11: Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the United States Navy to shoot on sight if any ship or convoy is threatened.
  • September 15: "Self-government" of Estonia, headed by Hjalmar Mäe, is appointed by German military administration.
  • September 15: "Moving Aktion" in Vilna Ghetto. Of 3,500 Jews "moved" between ghetto sections, only 550 arrive. The remaining 2,950 Jews are shot at the Ponary massacre death site.
  • September 16: Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran is forced to resign in favour of his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran under pressure from the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union.
  • September 19: German capture of Kiev is now formal. The Red Army forces have suffered many casualties in defending this chief city in Soviet Ukraine.
  • September 26: The U.S. Naval Command orders an all-out war on Axis shipping in American waters.
  • September 27: The first "Liberty Ship", the SS Patrick Henry is launched. Liberty Ships will prove to be major parts of the Allied supply system.
  • September 27: The National Liberation Front (EAM) is founded in Greece.
  • September 28: German SS troops kill over 30,000 Jews at Babi Yar on the outskirts of Kiev, Soviet Ukraine, in response to sabotage efforts which the Germans attributed to local Jews.
  • September 28–29: The Drama Uprising against the Bulgarian occupation in northern Greece begins. It is swiftly put down, with about 3,000 people executed as reprisals.
  • October 1: Majdanek concentration camp (German: Konzentrationslager Lublin) and later to become extermination camp is opened.
  • October 1: Vilna Ghetto Yom Kippur Aktions (German annihilation operations) begin. In four separate incidents 3,900 Jews are kidnapped, shot and killed at the Ponary massacre death site, continued with an additional 2,000 Jews kidnapped and killed there, in the next two days.
  • October 2: Operation Typhoon – German "Central" forces begin an all-out offensive against Moscow. Leading the defense of the capital is General Georgi Zhukov, already a Hero of Soviet Union for his command in the conflict against the Japanese in the Russian Far East and at Leningrad.
  • October 3: Mahatma Gandhi urges his followers to begin a passive resistance against British rule in India.
  • October 7: Heavy RAF night bombings of Berlin, the Ruhr, and Cologne, but with heavy losses.
  • October 8: In their invasion of the southern Soviet Union, Germany reaches the Sea of Azov with the capture of Mariupol. However, there are signs that the invasion is beginning to bog down as rainy weather creates muddy roads for both tanks and men.
  • October 10: German armies encircle about 660,000 Red Army troops near Vyasma (east of Smolensk); some make a glowing prediction of the end of the war.
  • October 12: HMS Ark Royal delivers a squadron of Hurricane fighter planes to Malta.
  • October 12: Bloody Sunday massacre at Stanisławów, 8,000–12,000 Jews were rounded up and shot into pits by SIPO (Ukrainian police) together with German uniformed SS men. Dr. Tenenbaum of the Judenrat heroically refuses the offer of exemption and is shot along with the others.
  • October 13: Germans attempt another drive toward Moscow as the once muddy ground hardens.
  • October 14: Temperatures fall further on the Moscow front; heavy snows follow and immobilize German tanks.
  • October 15: The Germans drive on Moscow.
  • October 16: Soviet Union government begins move eastward to Samara, a city on the Volga, but Joseph Stalin remains in Moscow. The citizens of Moscow frantically build tank traps and other fortifications for the coming siege.
  • October 16: Vilna Ghetto Aktion. 3,000 Jews killed.
  • October 17: The destroyer USS Kearny (DD-432) is torpedoed and damaged by U-568 near Iceland, killing eleven sailors. They are the first American military casualties of the war.
  • October 17: The government of Japanese prime minister Prince Fumimaro Konoye collapses, leaving little hope for peace in the Pacific.
  • October 18: Red Army troop reinforcements arrive in Moscow from Siberia; Stalin is assured that the Japanese will not attack the USSR from the East.
  • October 18: General Hideki Tōjō becomes the 40th Prime Minister of Japan.
  • October 19: An official "state of siege" is announced in Moscow; the city is placed under martial law.
  • October 19: German-occupied Luxembourg is declared "Judenrein" ("Cleansed of Jews").
  • October 20: Lt. Col. Karl Hotz, the German commander in Nantes, is killed by Resistance; 50 hostages are shot in reprisal. The incident will become a model for future occupation policies.
  • October 21: New Zealand troops land in Egypt and take over Fort Capuzzo.
  • October 21: Negotiations in Washington between the US and Japan seem headed toward failure.
  • October 22: Odessa massacre begins and continues for two days. 25,000 to 34,000 Jews are led in a long procession and are shot and killed in an antitank ditch, or burnt alive after being crowded into four buildings.
  • October 22: The massacre began after, that day, a delayed bomb planted by the Soviets kills 67 people at the Romanian headquarters, including the Romanian commander General Glogojeanu.
  • October 22: 35,000 Jews are expelled to the Slobodka Ghetto and are left in freezing conditions for 10 days. Many perish in the cold.
  • October 24: In Ukraine, the important mining and industrial centre of Kharkov falls to the German Army Group South forces.
  • October 24: Vilna Ghetto Gelbschein I Aktion. 5,500 Jews including 140 old or paralyzed people killed.
  • October 27: German Army Group South forces reach Sevastopol in the Crimea, but the tanks of the "Northern" forces are slowed or stopped entirely by mud.
  • October 28: Bolekhiv first aktion massacre – 1,000 of the leading Jews rounded up by list, tortured, and on the following day 800 of the surviving Jews, were shot or buried alive at a nearby forest. The re-discovered atrocities and testimony in 1996 lead to Patrick Desbois's research on the German method of "One Bullet, One Jew" extermination in 1941 and 1942.
  • October 29: Vilna Ghetto II liquidated. 2,500 Jews killed.
  • October 30: Franklin Delano Roosevelt approves US$1 billion in Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union.
  • October 31: The destroyer USS Reuben James is torpedoed by Erich Topp's U-552 near Iceland, killing more than 100 United States Navy sailors. It is the first loss of an American "neutral warship."
  • November 1: President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces that the U.S. Coast Guard will now be under the direction of the U.S. Navy, a transition of authority usually reserved only for wartime.
  • November 2: Political conflict in Yugoslavia as leftists under Tito (Josip Broz) are in competition with the more conservative Serbs under Draža Mihailović.
  • November 3: Germans take Kursk.
  • November 3: Vilna Ghetto Gelbschein III Aktion. 1,200 Jews killed.
  • November 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.
  • November 7: Heavy RAF night bombings of Berlin, the Ruhr, and Cologne, but with heavy losses.
  • November 9: Force K, including the light cruisers HMS Penelope and HMS Aurora and destroyers HMS Lively and HMS Lance, sank 7 merchant ships, a tanker, and 1 destroyer during the Battle of the Duisburg Convoy.
  • November 12: Battle of Moscow – Temperatures around Moscow drop to minus 12 °C and the Soviet Union launches ski troops for the first time against the freezing German forces near the city.
  • November 12: HMS Ark Royal delivers a squadron of Hurricane fighter planes to Malta.
  • November 13: Germans start a new offensive against Moscow as the muddy ground freezes again.
  • November 13: The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal is torpedoed by the German submarine U-81 and sinks the following day.
  • November 15: The Germans drive on Moscow.
  • November 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).
  • November 17: Ernst Udet, head of the Luftwaffe's Production and Development, commits suicide over his perceived inability to properly perform his mission.
  • November 18: Operation Crusader: British Commonwealth and other Allied troops cross into Libya and at least temporarily relieve the Siege of Tobruk.
  • November 19: Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran sink each other off the coast of Western Australia. All 648 crewmen are lost on HMAS Sydney.
  • November 21: Battle of Rostov – Rostov-on-Don, an important hub on the southern front, is taken by the Germans.
  • November 22: Britain issues an ultimatum to Finland to end war with the Soviet Union or face war with the Allies.
  • November 22: Rommel starts a counteroffensive, retaking Sidi Rezegh (south of Tobruk) which the Allies had taken a few days earlier. British tank losses are heavy.
  • November 23: Rommel's attack continues around Sidi Rezegh; Allied losses continue to rise.
  • November 23: The United States reaches an agreement with the Dutch government in exile whereby the Americans occupy Suriname to protect the bauxite mines there.
  • November 24: The United States grants Lend-Lease to the Free French.
  • November 24: Rommel begins a surprising 15-mile foray into Egypt; he meets no opposition.
  • November 25: U-331 sinks the British battleship HMS Barham while covering Mediterranean convoys.
  • November 26: A Japanese attack fleet of 33 warships and auxiliary craft, including six aircraft carriers, sails from northern Japan for the Hawaiian Islands.
  • November 26: The Hull note ultimatum is delivered to Japan by the United States.
  • November 26: After his brief dash into Egypt, Rommel retreats to Bardia for refuelling; it is during this brief withdrawal that Tobruk is temporarily relieved when the 8th Army meets with the besieged.
  • November 28: Battle of Rostov – Rostov-on-Don is recaptured by the Red Army.
  • November 28: Battle of Moscow – German Panzers are on the outskirts of Moscow, near the Moscow-Volga Canal.
  • November 28: The last Italian armed forces in East Africa surrender at Gondar.
  • December 1: Malta marks its 1,000th bombing raid.
  • December 1: Fiorello H. La Guardia publishes Administrative Order 9 creating the Civil Air Patrol for U.S Coastal Patrol and naming its national commander Major General John F. Curry.
  • December 1: Approximately 20,000 Stanisławów Jews ordered into the Ghetto area, and non-Jews ordered out.
  • December 1: SS officer Karl Jaeger reports "Lithuania clean of Jews" with some exceptions.
  • December 2: Prime Minister Tojo rejects "peace feelers" from the US.
  • December 2 : A German combat engineer patrol reaches the town of Khimki while scouting for a hole in the Russian defense perimeter around Moscow. It is the closest advance the Germans make to the Russian capital.
  • December 3: Conscription in the United Kingdom now includes all men between 18 and 50. Women will not be neglected since they will serve in fire brigades and in women's auxiliary groups.
  • December 3: General strike begins among native mine-workers in the Belgian Congo.
  • December 3: Vilna Ghetto 'Criminal Aktion' begins, continued the next day. 157 Jews are killed at Ponary.
  • December 4: The temperature on the Moscow front falls to −31 °F (−37 °C). German attacks are failing.
  • December 4: Japanese naval and army forces continue to move toward Pearl Harbor and South-east Asia.
  • December 5: Germans call off the attack on Moscow, now 11 miles away; the USSR counter-attacks during a heavy blizzard.
  • December 6: The United Kingdom declares war on Finland.
  • December 6: Vilna Ghetto Gestapo Workers Aktion – 800 Jews and 10 Poles shot at the Ponary massacre death site. Temperatures are minus 23 degrees Celsius.
  • December 7: (December 8, Asian time zones) Japan launches an attack on Pearl Harbor, declares war on the United States and the United Kingdom and invades Thailand and British Malaya and launches aerial attacks against Guam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Shanghai, Singapore and Wake Island. Canada declares war on Japan. Australia declares war on Japan.
  • December 7: Adolf Hitler signs the German "Night and Fog decree" dictating the elimination of anti-Nazi resistance activities in Western Europe.
  • December 8: The United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and New Zealand declare war on Japan.
  • December 8: Japanese forces take the Gilbert Islands (which include Tarawa). Clark Field in the Philippines is bombed, and many American aircraft are destroyed on the ground.
  • December 8: Japanese troops attack Thailand in the Battle of Prachuab Khirikhan.
  • December 8: The Battle of Hong Kong begins
  • December 8: The Malayan Campaign begins.
  • December 8: Kamenka, Krasnaya Polyana, and Kriukovo, are liberated by the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army. The Germans are never again within artillery range of Moscow.
  • December 9: China officially declares war on Japan, although a de facto state of war has existed between the two countries since the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of July 7, 1937. China also declares war on Germany and Italy. Australia officially declares war on Japan. South Africa declares war on Japan, regarded as if at war from eight December 1941.
  • December 9: Striking miners of the Union Minière at Elizabethville in the Belgian Congo are fired on by Belgian colonial forces during negotiations, killing an estimated 70 people.
  • December 10: British battlecruiser HMS Repulse and battleship HMS Prince of Wales are sunk in a Japanese air attack in the South China Sea.
  • December 11: Germany and Italy declare war on the United States. The United States reciprocates and declares war on Germany and Italy.
  • December 11: US forces repel a Japanese landing attempt at Wake Island.
  • December 11: Japanese invade Burma.
  • December 12: Japanese landings on the southern Philippine Islands—Samar, Jolo, Mindanao.
  • December 12: The United States and the United Kingdom declare war on Romania after It had declared war on both the United States and the United Kingdom; India declares war on Japan.
  • December 12: US seizes French ship Normandie.
  • December 13: Bulgaria and Hungary declare war on the United States and the United Kingdom, the United States and the United Kingdom reciprocate and declare war on Bulgaria and Hungary.
  • December 13: Japanese under General Yamashita continue their push into Malaya. Under General Homma the Japanese forces are firmly established in the northern Philippines. Hong Kong is threatened.
  • December 14: The British cruiser HMS Galatea is sunk by U-557 off Alexandria, beginning a series of naval defeats for the Allies.
  • December 15: Italian "human torpedoes" damage two British battleships, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant in Alexandria harbour.
  • December 15: Commonwealth troops push Rommel back at the Gazala line.
  • December 16: Vilna Ghetto 'Gestapo block' Aktion. 300 Jews shot at the Ponary massacre site.
  • December 16: Rommel orders a withdrawal all the way to El Agheila, where he had begun in March. He awaits reinforcements of men and tanks.
  • December 16: Japan invades Borneo.
  • December 16: The German offensive around Moscow is now at a complete halt.
  • December 17: Battle of Sevastopol begins.
  • December 18: Japanese troops land on Hong Kong Island.
  • December 19: Hitler becomes Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the German Army.
  • December 19: HMS Neptune, leading Force K, strikes a minefield and sinks with one survivor and a loss of 766 crew.
  • December 20: The battle for Wake Island continues with several Japanese ships sunk or damaged.
  • December 20: Stanisławów Ghetto officially closed from the outside and sealed with walls.
  • December 20: Vilna Ghetto 400 Jews killed by Lithuanian militias inside the ghetto.
  • December 21: The suffering of besieged Leningrad continues; it is estimated that about 3,000 are dying each day of starvation and various diseases.
  • December 21: The inmates at Bogdanovka concentration camp are massacred to quell an outbreak of typhus. Roughly 40,000 die.
  • December 22: The Japanese land at Lingayan Gulf, on the northern part of Luzon in the Philippines.
  • December 22: Start of the Arcadia Conference in Washington, D.C., the first official meeting of British and American political and military leaders.
  • December 23: A second Japanese landing attempt on Wake Island is successful, and the American garrison surrenders after hours of fighting.
  • December 23: General MacArthur declares Manila an "Open City."
  • December 23: Japanese forces land on Sarawak (Borneo).
  • December 24: In the Philippines, American forces retreat into Bataan Peninsula.
  • December 24: Japanese bomb Rangoon.
  • December 24: All Jewish ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe are required to gather all fur coats or other furs from the Jews.
  • December 24: On Christmas Eve the Free French liberate Saint Pierre and Miquelon from Vichy France.
  • December 25: Hong Kong surrenders to Japan.
  • December 25: Allied forces retake Benghazi.
  • December 25: Red Army and Navy amphibious forces land at Kerch, in the Crimea; their occupation will last through April.
  • December 27: British and Norwegian Commandos raid the Norwegian port of Vågsøy, causing Hitler to reinforce the garrison and defences.
  • December 28: Japanese paratroopers land on Sumatra.

1942

  • January 1: Twenty-six Allied countries signed the Declaration by United Nations during the Arcadia Conference.
  • January 2: Manila is captured by Japanese forces. They also take Cavite naval base, and the American and Filipino troops continue the retreat into Bataan.
  • January 5: The beginning of a major Red Army offensive under General Zhukov.
  • January 6: The British advance continues to El Agheila, on the western edge of Libya.
  • January 6:In his State of the Union speech, President Roosevelt promises more aid to Britain, including planes and troops.
  • January 7: The Soviet Winter counter-offensive comes to a halt, after having pushed the exhausted and freezing German Army back 62–155 mi from Moscow. 'Operation Barbarossa' had failed.
  • January 7:Siege of the Bataan Peninsula begins.
  • January 7:Heavy air attacks on Malta; it is estimated that the bomb tonnage dropped on the island is twice that dropped on London.
  • January 8: Japanese troops penetrated the outer lines of defense at Kuala Lumpur, Malaya.
  • January 9: Japanese advances in Borneo met with little opposition.
  • January 10: Japan declares war on the Netherlands.
  • January 11: Japanese troops capture Kuala Lumpur, Malaya.
  • January 11:Japan invades the Dutch East Indies.
  • January 13: The Red Army takes Kirov and Medya, as its counter-offensive continues.
  • January 13:The German U-boat offensive comes closer to the US shores starting the Second Happy Time.
  • January 15: German authorities begin to deport Jews from the Lodz ghettos to the Chelmno Concentration Camp.
  • January 19: Japanese forces take large numbers of British troops prisoner, north of Singapore.
  • January 20: Nazis at the Wannsee conference in Berlin decide that the "final solution to the Jewish problem" is relocation, and later extermination.
  • January 20:Japanese bomb Singapore as their troops approach the city.
  • January 21: Rommel's Afrika Korps begins a surprise counter-offensive at El Agheila; his troops, with new reinforcements and tanks, capture Agedabia, then push north to Beda Fomm.
  • January 21: At the Vilna Ghetto the Fareynikte Partizaner Organizatsye a Jewish partisan organisation is established, including Aba Kovner.
  • January 23: The Battle of Rabaul, on New Britain begins.
  • January 24: American troops land in Samoa, as part of a strategy to stop the Japanese advance in the Pacific.
  • January 25: Thailand declares war on the United States and United Kingdom.
  • January 25:Japanese troops invade the Solomon Islands.
  • January 26: The first American forces arrive in Europe landing in Northern Ireland.
  • January 27: The British withdraw all troops back into Singapore.
  • January 28: Brazil breaks off relations with the Axis powers.
  • January 29: Rommel's Afrika Korps recaptures Benghazi, Libya in his drive east. For the next few months, the two sides will rest and rearm.
  • January 30: Hitler speaks at the Berlin Sportpalast and threatens the Jews of the world with annihilation; he also blames the failure of the offensive in Soviet Union on the weather.
  • January 31: The Japanese take the port of Moulamein, Burma; they now threaten Rangoon as well as Singapore.
  • January 31:On the Eastern front, the Germans are in retreat at several points.
  • January 31:The last organised Allied forces leave Malaya, ending the 54-day battle.
  • Feburary 1: Vidkun Quisling becomes the Nazi-aligned Minister-President of Norway
  • Feburary 1: Rommel's forces reach El Gazala, Libya, near the border with Egypt; during a "Winter lull" he will remain there.
  • Feburary 1: The United States Navy conducts the Marshalls-Gilberts raids attacking Jaluit, Mili, and Makin (Butaritari) islands as well as Kwajalein, Wotje, and Taroa.
  • Feburary 2: General Joseph ("Vinegar Joe") Stilwell is named Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek and Commander-in-Chief of the Allied forces in China.
  • Feburary 3: Japanese air power conducts airstrikes against Java, especially the naval base at Surabaya.
  • Feburary 3: Port Moresby, New Guinea is bombed by the Japanese, increasing the threat to Australia posed by Japan.
  • Feburary 7: Americans continue their defence of Bataan against General Homma's troops.
  • Feburary 9: British troops are now in full retreat into Singapore for a final defence.
  • Feburary 9: Top United States military leaders hold their first formal meeting to discuss American military strategy in the war.
  • Feburary 10: The cruise liner SS Normandie catches fire and capsizes in New York harbour. Although the cause is probably a welder's torch, various conspiracies are imagined in the media.
  • Feburary 11: The "Channel Dash" - The German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, rush out of Brest through the English Channel to northern ports, including Wilhelmshaven, Germany; the British naval units fail to sink any of them.
  • Feburary 11: USS Saratoga is torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-6 480 miles southwest of Pearl Harbor
  • Feburary 13: The battle for Bataan continues.
  • Feburary 15: Singapore surrenders to Japanese forces; this is arguably the most devastating loss in British military history.
  • Feburary 16: Being discussed in high American government circles are plans for the internment of Japanese-Americans living generally in the western US.
  • Feburary 16: The Japanese commit the Banka Island Massacre in which they open fire on Australian military nurses, killing 21.
  • Feburary 17: Orders are given for Rangoon to be evacuated as Japanese forces approach.
  • Feburary 19: Japanese aircraft attack Darwin, in Australia's Northern Territory.
  • Feburary 19: 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.
  • Feburary 19: A military conscription law is passed in Canada.
  • Feburary 20: Japanese troops cross the important Salween River in Burma.
  • Feburary 20: Japanese invade Bali and Timor by a combined use of paratroops and amphibious troops.
  • Feburary 21: The American Air Corps is now firmly established at bases in the UK.
  • Feburary 22: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt orders General Douglas MacArthur to evacuate the Philippines as American defence of the nation collapses.
  • Feburary 25: The internment of Japanese-American citizens in the Western United States begins as fears of invasion increase.
  • Feburary 25: Princess Elizabeth registers for war service.
  • Feburary 26: Vivian Bullwinkel, the only survivor of the Banka Island Massacre, is captured and imprisoned by the Japanese.
  • Feburary 27: Battle of the Java Sea - Under a Dutch Rear Admiral Karl Doorman, the combined forces lose 2 light cruisers and 3 destroyers.
  • Feburary 27: USS Langley is attacked by nine Japanese Betty bombers in the Java Sea, damaged and later scuttled to prevent capture.
  • Feburary 28: Japanese land forces invade Java.
  • March 1: A Red Army offensive in the Crimea begins; in the north, the siege of Leningrad continues.
  • March 3: Japanese aircraft make a surprising raid on the airfield and harbour at Broome, Western Australia.
  • March 4: Japanese naval Operation K intended as a reconnaissance of Pearl Harbor and disruption of repair and salvage operations.
  • March 5: The Japanese capture Batavia, the capital of the Dutch East Indies.
  • March 5: New conscription laws in the United Kingdom include women and men up to the age of 45.
  • March 6: Malta receives more fighters for its on-going defence.
  • March 8: The Japanese land at Lae and Salamaua, on Huon Bay, New Guinea, beginning their move toward Port Moresby, New Guinea, and then Australia.
  • March 9: Japanese troops entered Rangoon, Burma, which was abandoned by the British two days earlier. It appears that the Japanese are in control of Java, Burma, and New Guinea.
  • March 9: The Secretary of War reorganizes the General Headquarters (GHQ), United States Army into three major commands - Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Services of Supply, the latter of which is later redesignated Army Service Forces. At the same time, the four Defense commands and all Theaters Of Operations (TOPNS) are subordinated to the War Department General Staff.
  • March 11: The Japanese land on Mindanao, the southernmost island in the Philippines.
  • March 12: American troops begin to land in Nouméa, New Caledonia; it will become an important staging base for the eventual invasion of Guadalcanal.
  • March 13: RAF launches an air raid against Essen, Germany.
  • March 14: Japanese land troops in the Solomon Islands, underscoring Australia's dangerous situation, especially if, as it is soon made clear, an airfield is built on Guadalcanal.
  • March 14: The Japanese are now threatening American forces around Manila Bay; the retreat to Corregidor begins.
  • March 17: U.S. General Douglas MacArthur arrives in Australia, after leaving his headquarters in the Philippines.
  • March 17: The United Kingdom institutes rationing of electricity, coal, and gas; the clothing ration is decreased as well.
  • March 20: Operation Outward begins, a program to attack Germany by means of free-flying balloons.
  • March 22: A fractured convoy reaches Malta, after heavy losses to the Luftwaffe and an Italian sea force. Continued heavy bombing attacks on the island with slight opposition from overtaxed RAF air forces.
  • March 25: RAF sends bomber raids against targets in France and Germany.
  • March 26: Jews in Berlin must now clearly identify their houses.
  • March 28: The RAF sends a raid against Lübeck, destroying over 30% of the city, and 80% of the medieval centre. Hitler is outraged.
  • March 28: British commandos launch Operation Chariot, a raid on the port at Saint Nazaire, France. HMS Campbeltown, filled with explosives on a time-delay fuse, rams the dock gates and commandos destroy other parts of the naval service area. The port is completely destroyed and does not resume service till 1947; however, around two-thirds of the raiding forces are lost.
  • April 1: The Eastern Sea Frontier, desperately short on suitable escort vessels after the Destroyers for Bases Agreement, institutes an interim arrangement known as the "Bucket Brigaid," wherein vessels outside of protected harbors are placed in anchorages protected by netting after dark, and move only under whatever escort is available during the day. As word of this and similar measures reaches Dönitz, he does not wait to test their effectiveness, but instead shifts his U-boats to the area controlled by the Gulf Sea Frontier, where American anti-submarine measures are not as effective. As a result, in May more ships will be sunk in the Gulf, many of them off the Passes of the Mississippi, than off of the entire Eastern Seaboard.
  • April 1: The Pacific War Council meets for the first time in Washington. Intended to allow the smaller powers involved in fighting the Japanese to have some input into US decisions, its purpose is soon outstripped by events, notably the collapse of the ABDA Command.
  • April 2: Over 24,000 sick and starving troops (American and Filipino) are now trapped on the Bataan Peninsula.
  • April 2: Japanese make landings on New Guinea, most importantly at Hollandia.
  • April 3: Japanese forces begin an all-out assault on United States and Filipino troops in Bataan.
  • April 3: Sustained Japanese air attacks on Mandalay in Burma.
  • April 4: Germans plan "Baedeker raids" on touristy or historic British sites, in revenge for the Lübeck bombing.
  • April 5: On Bataan, the Japanese overwhelm Mt. Samat, a strong point on Allied defensive line.
  • April 5: The Japanese Navy attacks Colombo in Ceylon. Royal Navy heavy cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire are sunk southwest of the island.
  • April 5: Adolf Hitler issues Directive No. 41, outlining his plans for the coming summer offensive in Russia. The main offensive is directed to seize the Russian oil fields in the Caucasus; a secondary thrust is to capture Stalingrad and protect the flank of the main advance.
  • April 6: Japanese naval forces put troops ashore on Manus Island in the Bismarck Archipelago (some sources give a date of 8 April for these landings).
  • April 8: Heavy RAF bombing of Hamburg.
  • April 8: American forces are strained for one last offensive on Bataan.
  • April 8:With the withdrawal of HMS Penelope from Malta, Force K in Malta comes to a close.
  • April 9: The Japanese Navy launches an air raid on Trincomalee in Ceylon; Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and Royal Australian Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire are sunk off the country's east coast.
  • April 9: Bataan falls to the Japanese. The "Bataan Death March" begins, as the captives are taken off to detention camps in the north. Corregidor, in the middle of Manila Bay, remains a final point of resistance.
  • April 10: Japanese land on Cebu Island, a large middle island of the Philippines.
  • April 12: Japanese forces capture Migyaungye in Burma.
  • April 13: Anton Schmid an Austrian soldier of the Wehrmacht is put to death, after witnessing the Ponary Massacre and saving Jews.
  • April 14: Winston Churchill, concerned that the situation in Malta will cause the Axis forces in North Africa to be better supplied than British forces, sends a telegram to Sir Stafford Cripps in Cairo, asking him to pressure General Auchinleck to take offensive action before this can occur.
  • April 14: USS Roper becomes the first American ship to sink a U-boat.
  • April 15: Malta is awarded the George Cross by King George VI for "heroism and devotion".
  • April 15: Soldiers of the I Burma Corps begin to destroy the infrastructure of the Yenangyaung oil fields to prevent the advancing Japanese from capturing them intact.
  • April 17: French General Henri Giraud, who was captured in 1940, escapes from a castle prison at Königstein by lowering himself down the castle wall and jumping on board a moving train, which takes him to the French border.
  • April 18: Doolittle Raid on Nagoya, Tokyo and Yokohama. Jimmy Doolittle's B-25s take off from USS Hornet. The raids are a great boost of morale for Americans whose diet has been mostly bad news.
  • April 18: The Eastern Sea Frontier, the United States Navy operational command in charge of the East Coast of the United States, somewhat belatedly forces a blackout along the East Coast. This deprives U-boat commanders of background illumination, but provides only a very little relief from U-boat attack; as the nights grow shorter more U-boat attacks are occurring in daylight hours.
  • April 20: General Dobbie, Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Malta, sends a message to Winston Churchill saying "it is obvious that the very worst may happen if we cannot replenish our vital needs, especially flour and ammunition, and that very soon...." Churchill concludes from this and other "disturbing news" that Dobbie is not capable enough for such an important job, and decides to replace him with Lord Gort.
  • April 20: USS Wasp delivers 47 Spitfire Mk. V fighters of No. 603 Squadron RAF to Malta; the planes are destroyed, mostly on the ground, by intense Axis air raids before they can affect the course of battle.
  • April 23: Beginning of so-called Baedeker Raids by the Luftwaffe on English provincial towns like Exeter, Bath, Norwich, and York; attacks continue sporadically until June 6.
  • April 24: Heavy bombing of Rostock, Germany by RAF.
  • April 26: Hitler assumes a kind of supreme authority over Germany.
  • April 27: Rostock is bombed for fourth night in a row.
  • April 27: A national plebiscite is held in Canada on the issue of conscription. It passes in favor of conscription; French Canadians are the main, though not the only, objectors.
  • April 27: The finalized thirty-three page draft for the German Amerika Bomber trans-Atlantic range strategic bomber design competition is submitted to the RLM.
  • April 28: The bulk of the British assault troops depart Durban in South Africa for Madagascar; the slower ships, carrying transport and heavy weapons, have departed in great secrecy some days earlier.
  • April 29: The "Baedeker raids" continue, focused on Norwich and York.
  • April 29: Japanese cut Burma Road with the capture of Lashio in Burma.
  • April 29: Adolf Hitler summons Benito Mussolini and Galeazzo Ciano to a summit conference at Salzburg. Like most Hitlerian conferences, this one is actually a thinly-disguised attempt to harangue the invitees into compliance with the Fuehrer's will; in this case, the Italians are to commit more troops to the Eastern Front. Hitler is successful, and Mussolini agrees to send an additional seven divisions, as well as the two already promised. These unfortunate troops will be formed into the Eighth Italian Army and attached to von Bock's (later von Weichs's) Army Group B.
  • May 1: Rommel readies for a new offensive during the early part of this month.
  • May 1: Troops of the Japanese Fifteenth Army under General Shojiro Iida take Mandalay and Monywa, securing the western terminus of the Burma Road.
  • May 2: In response to American intelligence intercepts, which warn of the impending Japanese landings, the Australian garrison is evacuated from Tulagi.
  • May 3: In the initial move of the Japanese strategic plan to capture Port Moresby, Japanese forces under Admiral Kiyohide Shima make unopposed landings on Tulagi, opening the Battle of the Coral Sea.
  • May 3: American General Joseph Stilwell decides that nothing more can be accomplished in Burma, and that the time has come to evacuate.
  • May 4: US Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher's Task Force 17 makes the first carrier strike of the Battle of the Coral Sea, attacking Japanese naval targets near Tulagi.
  • May 4: Howell and his party of 114, mostly Americans, begin their trek to the Indian border and safety. To reach India, Stilwell will not only have to stay ahead of the Japanese, but beat the coming monsoon.
  • May 5: Heavy Japanese artillery attack on Corregidor.
  • May 5: British forces begin "Operation Ironclad": the invasion of Madagascar to keep the Vichy French territory from falling to a possible Japanese invasion.
  • May 5: The city of Exeter is bombed by the Luftwaffe, another "Baedeker Raid".
  • May 5: In the Coral Sea, both Japanese and American carrier aircraft spend this day and the following one searching for each other's ships, with no success, even though at one point the opposing carrier groups are separated by less than a hundred miles of ocean.
  • May 5: General Stilwell abandons his trucks, which constantly become stuck and so are actually impeding progress rather than aiding it. He retains his Jeeps, which do better. Late in the day his party arrives at Indaw.
  • May 6: On Corregidor, Lt. General Jonathan M. Wainwright surrenders the last U.S. forces in the Philippines to Lt. General Masaharu Homma. About 12,000 are made prisoners. Homma will soon face criticism from his superiors over the amount of time it has taken him to reduce the Philippines, and be forced into retirement (1943).
  • May 6: After a pep talk, General Stilwell and his party of 114 set out from Indaw on foot, with only 11 Jeeps to carry their supplies and any incapacitated, to reach the Indian border. He sends a last radio message which ends, "Catastrophe quite possible." The radio is then destroyed.
  • May 7: Vichy forces surrender Diego Suarez, the most important port in Madagascar, to British forces involved in Operation Ironclad. However, the Vichy forces are able to withdraw in good order.
  • May 7: In the Coral Sea, Japanese search planes spot refueling ship USS Neosho and destroyer USS Sims, which have retired from Fletcher's Task Force 17 into what should have been safer waters to refuel Sims. They are mistaken for an aircraft carrier and a cruiser. Japanese Admiral Takagi, believing he has at last found the location of Fletcher's main force, orders a full out attack by carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku and sinks both ships. This distraction helps prevent the
  • Japanese from finding the real location of Fletcher's carriers. Meanwhile, Fletcher has a similar false alarm, the spotting of two cruisers and two destroyers being mistakenly encrypted as "two carriers and four cruisers." By chance, though, planes from USS Lexington and USS Yorktown stumble across light carrier Shōhō while pursuing the false lead and sink her, leading to the first use in the American Navy of the signal, "Scratch one flattop." Admiral Inoue is so alarmed by the loss of Shōhō he halts the Port Moresby invasion group north of the Louisiades until the American carriers can be found and destroyed.
  • May 7:In Burma, General Stilwell must abandon his Jeeps. From here on all in the party will have to march. The fifty-nine-year-old General decides a cadence of one hundred five beats per minute will best match the disparate abilities of his party, and they march fifty minutes and rest ten each hour.
  • May 8: In the Coral Sea, each side finally locates the other's main carrier groups, consisting of Japanese carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku, and American carriers Lexington and Yorktown. Several attacks follow. Only Zuikaku escapes unscathed; Shōkaku has her flight deck bent, requiring two months' repairs; Lexington is sunk and Yorktown damaged. Fletcher retires; this action closes the Battle. While arguably a stalemate or even tactical victory for the Japanese, who have sunk
  • the most tonnage and the only large carrier, the Battle of the Coral Sea is usually seen as a strategic victory for the United States, as Admiral Inoue cancels the Port Moresby operation, the first significant failure of a Japanese strategic operation in the Pacific Theatre. In addition, Yorktown will be repaired in time to make important contributions at Midway (although she will not survive), whereas neither the damaged Shōkaku nor Zuikaku (which, although not directly attacked, has suffered unsustainable losses in aircraft), will be able to refit in time for Midway, giving the Japanese only four operable carriers available for that battle.
  • May 8:The Germans take the Kerch peninsula in the eastern Crimea.
  • May 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.
  • May 9: USS Wasp and HMS Eagle deliver a second contingent of Spitfires to Malta in Operation Bowery. A few days later, a grateful Churchill will signal Wasp "Who says a Wasp can't sting twice?" These aircraft, employed more aggressively than those previously delivered, turn the tide in the skies over Malta during the next few days, and the Axis is forced to abandon daylight bombing. This is a major turning point in the Siege, and thus in the North African Campaign, although
  • the approaches to the island remain subject to deadly and accurate Axis air attack, preventing efficient re-supply of the island.
  • May 9: In Burma, General Stilwell and his party begin crossing the Uyu River. Only four small rafts are available, and the crossing takes the better part of two days.
  • May 10: Unaware that the tide is turning even as he speaks, Kesselring informs Hitler that Malta has been neutralized.
  • May 10: Churchill, growing ever more frustrated with General Auchinleck's inactivity, finally sends him a telegram with a clear order; attack in time to cover for the Harpoon/Vigorous convoys to Malta during the dark of the moon in early June. This places Auchinleck in the position of complying or resigning. Auchinleck does not immediately reply, leaving Churchill, CIGS, and the War Cabinet in a state of suspense.
  • May 12: German submarine U-553, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Karl Thurmann, sinks British freighter Nicoya near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, signalling the opening of the Battle of St. Lawrence.
  • May 12: Second Battle of Kharkov – In the eastern Ukraine, Soviet forces of Marshal Timoshenko's Southwest Theatre of Operations, including Gorodnyanski's 6th Army and Kharitonov's 9th Army, initiate a major offensive to capture Kharkov from the Germans. 9th Army is to attack first, with a primary objective of Krasnograd, and a secondary one of Poltava; 6th Army is to follow immediately. After 9th Army has captured Krasnograd, 6th Army is to swing north and link up with
  • 28th Army and 57th Army, the latter two formations having meanwhile cut the railway between Belgorad and Kharkov.
  • May 12: The 33-page Amerika Bomber trans-Atlantic strategic bomber design competition proposal document makes it to Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering's offices, with ten copies printed — six of these were sent to the Luftwaffe, and four held in reserve.
  • May 13: General Stilwell and his party cross the Chindwin River. They are now almost certainly safe from the Japanese, but still dependent on their own supplies in a very remote area and racing to beat the monsoon.
  • May 14: In response to the Soviet offensive in the Kharkov area, Hitler orders elements of Richthofen's Fliegerkorps VIII north to do ground support missions. As a result, by the end of the day 14 May, the Germans have established a tentative but increasing air superiority over the Kharkov sector. In addition, on this day Hitler orders General Kleist, whose command is in positions opposite and to the south of the Soviets' left flank, to quickly prepare and launch a strong
  • armoured counter-offensive.
  • May 14: In Burma, General Stilwell and his party begin ascending the Naga Hills. They are met at Kawlum by a relief expedition headed by British colonial administrator Tim Sharpe. "Food, doctor, ponies, and everything," notes a grateful Stilwell in his diary.
  • May 15: In the United States, a bill creating the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) is signed into law.
  • May 15: General Stilwell crosses the border into India.
  • May 16: United States 1st Armored Division arrives in Northern Ireland.
  • May 17: In the salient north of Kharkov, Russian 28th and 57th Armies are having trouble making progress against General Paulus's (German) 6th Army.
  • May 17: For once, Adolf Hitler has not hobbled his local commander with a strict "no retreat" order, and Paulus is free to conduct an efficient delaying action. In addition, Paulus' troops are largely up to strength and fully equipped as a result of preparations for the upcoming drive to Stalingrad. In the south salient, Kharitonov's 9th Army has routed the Romanian (3rd and/or 4th Army; accounts differ) troops in his path and captured Krasnograd, and is proceeding to Poltava; Gorodnyanski's 6th Army has made its planned turn to the north to link up with 28th and 57th Armies. 9th Army's impetus has stretched Kharitonov's armoured units out along a seventy-mile track, diluting their strength; and attempts to cover his left flank by driving the Germans back from it have been unsuccessful. The Russians take only a few prisoners along this flank, but Timoshenko is dismayed by the variety of units, especially armoured units, this handful of men represent (this is because Kleist is concentrating troops in this area in preparation for his counter-offensive). Timoshenko loses confidence and has his Political Officer Nikita Khrushchev ring up the Stavka and ask for permission to halt while he secures his left flank; Stavka refuses.
  • May 17: It has been a week since Churchill sent his ultimatum to General Auchinleck, and he has not yet received a reply. He sends a terse follow-up: "It is necessary for me to have some account of your general intentions in light of our recent telegrams." Again there is no immediate reply.
  • May 18: The Red Army is in a major retreat at Kerch, after large numbers surrender.
  • May 18: In the salient north of Kharkov, the Soviet offensive has bogged down. In the southern salient, Kleist has launched his counter-offensive. It is immediately successful and by the end of the first day the leading elements have reached the confluence of the Oksol and Donetz rivers, greatly narrowing the base of the salient. In the process the Germans traverse and disrupt so many lines of communication that Kharitonov's 9th Army begins to lose cohesion as a fighting force, and becomes useless as a screen to protect Gorodnyanski's 6th Army which, because of its northward progress, is badly disposed to repel the German attacks coming from the south.
  • May 19: The Assam Rifles give General Stilwell's party a formal salute in honor of their arrival at Ukhrul, but can offer no motorized transport; the nearest road passable by trucks is still a day's march away, and there are no Jeeps yet in this part of India.
  • May 19: At Kharkov, Kleist's counter-offensive continues to prosper; and now Paulus launches a second counter-attack from the north, designed to link up with Kleist's and encircle as many Soviet troops as possible. The Stavka, gradually becoming aware of the extent of the danger, orders Gorodnyanski's 6th Army to halt their advance. But by now Timoshenko is planning to extricate what forces he can before the two German spearheads link up.
  • May 19: General Stilwell and his party at last reach the truck roadhead at Litan; by this time the monsoon rains have started.
  • May 19: General Auchinleck at last replies to Churchill's somewhat urgent telegram of the 10th, saying he will have an attack ready by the sailing of the Harpoon/Vigorous convoys for Malta.
  • May 20: The Japanese conquest of Burma is complete; it is called a "military catastrophe". Coincidentally, on this same day General Stilwell arrives in Imphal and dismisses his evacuation party. All 114 have arrived, although some have to be hospitalized due to exhaustion; one of whom, Major Frank Merrill, later commander of Merrill's Marauders, is diagnosed to have had a mild heart attack en route.
  • May 20: At Kharkov, as Kleist's and Paulus' forward elements draw ever closer together, Timoshenko sends his subordinate General Kostenko into the salient to organize a fighting retreat, or, failing that, maximize what can be saved.
  • May 20: Molotov arrives in London, and high-level discussions begin the next day.
  • May 21: Invasion of Malta postponed indefinitely.
  • May 21: In discussions with Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden, Molotov continues to press Soviet demands for territorial acquisitions made during the run-up to war, including the Baltic states, Eastern Poland, and Bessarabia. Churchill cannot or will not agree to these demands, and the talks become deadlocked.
  • May 22: Mexico declares war on the Axis.
  • May 23: Kleist's and Paulus' tanks meet up at Balakleya, southeast of Kharkov, encircling most of the Soviets' 6th and 9th Armies.
  • May 23: At the high-level Soviet/United Kingdom talks in London, Anthony Eden suggests abandoning attempts to reach territorial understandings, and instead conclude a twenty-years' alliance. Molotov, whose diplomatic position is weakening rapidly as the Soviet military situation deteriorates at Kerch and Kharkov, expresses interest.
  • May 25: In preparation for the next battle, the Japanese naval strategists send diversionary forces to the Aleutians.
  • May 26: The Anglo-Soviet Treaty: their foreign secretaries agree that no peace will be signed by one without the approval of the other. (An important treaty since Himmler and others will attempt to separate the two nations at the end of the war.)
  • May 26: Rommel begins a Spring offensive at the Gazala line (west of Tobruk). It opens with "Rommel's Moonlight Ride," a dramatic mechanized dash around 1st Free French Brigade Group positions at Bir Hakeim on the British left (desertward) flank, conducted by moonlight during the night of 26/27 May. In the process Rommel disperses 3rd Indian Motorized Brigade, some six hundred of whom are taken prisoner and then released in the desert, and who will make their way to Bir Hakeim. The offensive lasts well into June and ends with a total victory for Rommel.
  • May 26: The Free French land on Wallis and Futuna and get rid of the pro-Vichy government there.
  • May 27: Reinhard Heydrich, head of Reich Security, is fatally hurt in Prague during Operation Anthropoid by Czechoslovak soldiers; he will die on June 4 from his wounds.
  • May 27: British use American Sherman tanks in attempts to stop Rommel's attacks on the Gazala line.
  • May 27: USS Yorktown, damaged at the Coral Sea, limps into Pearl Harbor; it is ordered to get repaired and ready as fast as possible for the impending battle.
  • May 27: In occupied Belgium, wearing of the "yellow badge" becomes compulsory for Jews.
  • May 29: The Jews in France are ordered to wear the yellow Star of David.
  • May 29: Japanese forces have large successes south of Shanghai.
  • May 29: Rommel turns his troops to Bir Hachim on the south edge of the Gazala line; once it is taken, he can move north and destroy the Allied emplacements in the line.
  • May 30: "The Thousand Bomber Raid" on Cologne, revealing new area bombing techniques.
  • May 30: USS Yorktown leaves Pearl after hasty repairs and moves to join USS Enterprise for the next expected battle.
  • May 31: Huge German successes around Kharkov, with envelopment of several Red Army armies.
  • May 31: Japanese midget subs enter Sydney harbour and sink one support ship; fears of invasion grow.
  • June 1: First reports in the West that gas is being used to kill the Jews sent to "the East".
  • June 1: To further secure his supply lines, Rommel launches an attack on 150th Brigade of British 50th Infantry Division, whose position he has surrounded. Since he is attacking from the east against a position designed to defend against attacks from the west, and since there is scant hope of relief, there is little 150th Brigade can do and they are soon overwhelmed.
  • June 2: Further heavy bombing of industrial sites in Germany, centred mainly on Essen.
  • June 3: The British coal industry is nationalised.
  • June 3: Japan launches air raids against Alaska in the Battle of Dutch Harbor, beginning the Aleutian Islands Campaign.
  • June 3: The Battle of Midway opens with ineffective attacks by land-based American B-17s on the approaching Japanese fleet. Admiral Nagumo, in charge of the Japanese carrier force (Hiryu, Soryu, Akagi, and Kaga) is unable to locate any American aircraft carriers and decides to attack Midway's land-based air defences the first thing the next morning, which in any event is one of his planned tasks.
  • June 4: In the Battle of Midway, the day opens with Admiral Nagumo's attack on the air defences of the island.
  • June 5: At Gazala, British forces of the Eighth Army commanded by General Ritchie launch a major counter-attack against Rommel's forces in the Cauldron. The attack fails, partly because Rommel has already recovered his critical logistics situation and has established an excellent defensive position, but also in large part due to German anti-tank tactics; 32nd Army Tank Brigade, for example, loses 50 of 70 tanks. By early afternoon Rommel is clearly in control of the situation and attacks the British position known as "Knightsbridge" with the Ariete and 21st Panzer divisions. Several British tactical headquarters positions are overrun and command and control of the British forces becomes problematic; as a result, several brigades are stranded in the Cauldron when the British retirement begins. In addition, the British suffer further heavy tank losses.
  • June 5:United States declares war on Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania.
  • June 7: Japanese forces invade Attu and Kiska. This is the first invasion of American soil in 128 years. Japanese occupation of Attu and Kiska begins.
  • June 7: The Battle of Midway comes to a close; USS Yorktown sinks; four Japanese carriers and one cruiser are sunk. The battle is viewed as a turning point in the Pacific war.
  • June 7: The Greek People's Liberation Army makes its first appearance at Domnista, where Aris Velouchiotis proclaims the start of armed resistance against the Axis.
  • June 8: Malta receives a squadron of Spitfires.
  • June 8: A Japanese submarine fires several shells into a residential area in Sydney but with little effect.
  • June 9: At Bir Hakeim, Rommel renews his attacks on the 1st Free French Brigade's "box." Although the Free French continue to hold out, their perimeter, never the largest, is dangerously reduced in size, and their position becomes untenable. General Ritchie orders 1st Free French Brigade to withdraw the following day.
  • June 10: Nazis burn the Czech village of Lidice as reprisal for the killing of Reinhard Heydrich. All male adults and children are killed, and all females are taken off to concentration camps.
  • June 10: Rommel pushes the Free French forces out of Bir Hakeim, a fortress south-west of Tobruk. Although the 1st Free French brigade is largely surrounded, their commander, General Koenig, is able to find and fight his way through gaps in Rommel's widely dispersed forces.
  • June 11: Two convoys set out for Malta, one from Gibraltar (code named 'Harpoon') and the other from Alexandria (code named 'Vigorous'), with desperately needed supplies of food, fuel, and ammunition. The hope is that the Axis will concentrate their attacks on whichever convoy they find first, allowing the other one to get through.
  • June 12: Heavy fighting in Sevastopol with serious losses of life on both sides.
  • June 12: At Gazala, the British are forced out of the defensive position known as 'Knightsbridge;' it is only approximately fifteen miles from the Tobruk perimeter (some sources give a date of 13 June for this; the withdrawal may have been in operation on both calendar days).
  • June 13: The United States opens its Office of War Information, a centre for production of propaganda.
  • June 13: 'Black Saturday' for the 8th Army at the Battle of Gazala; during the course of the day Rommel does great damage to the British armour. At the end of the day not only have unsustainably large amounts of British armour been destroyed, but both 50th Division and 1st South African Division, who have largely retained their forward positions along the Gazala Line, are threatened with envelopment. The position of 50th Division is especially grave since Rommel's armour now ranges freely between them and safety.
  • June 14: At the Gazala Line, the British position has become untenable, and General Auchinleck authorizes General Ritchie to make a concerted withdrawal from forward positions along the line.
  • June 14: 1st South African Division is able to withdraw along the coastal road, but the road cannot accommodate all the troops at once, and this route is in any event is under threat of being cut by Rommel's forces; so troops including 50th Division must first breakout to the southwest, through the area occupied by Italian X Corps, and then turn east to rejoin 8th Army. This somewhat daring operation is concluded successfully. The RAF forces available, although outnumbered, make a valiant effort to cover the retreat. Churchill sends Auchinleck a telegram beginning, 'To what position does Ritchie want to withdraw the Gazala troops? Presume there is no question in any case of giving up Tobruk.'
  • June 14: The convoy 'Vigorous', en route to Malta, sights a large Italian naval squadron headed toward it. 'Harpoon' comes under attack for the first time; 'Vigorous' has been under air attack almost since leaving port.
  • June 15: General Auchinleck sends Churchill a reply to the latter's telegram of the 14th, saying in part, "...I have no intention whatever of giving up Tobruk."
  • June 16: Two convoys moving toward Malta suffer heavy losses; German air forces continue to bomb the island itself. Operation Harpoon arrives in Malta, but only two of the six supply ships survive; one of them has lost part of its cargo due to mine damage. The sinking of the tanker Kentucky means that there will be precious little aviation fuel added to the dwindling RAF stocks on Malta. Late in the day, Operation Vigorous is cancelled; the convoy diverts back to Alexandria.
  • June 16: Churchill, about to leave for America, takes the unusual step of sending a letter to King George VI, advising him to make Anthony Eden Prime Minister should Churchill not survive the journey.
  • June 17: Tobruk is now surrounded.
  • June 18: Manhattan Project is started, the beginning of a scientific approach to nuclear weapons.
  • June 18: Winston Churchill arrives in Washington for meetings with Roosevelt.
  • June 18: The siege of Tobruk intensifies; some defending forces are pulled back to Egypt.
  • June 21: Afrika Korps recaptures Tobruk, with 35,000 men captured; the road to Egypt is now open as the British retreat deep into Egypt. Tobruk's loss is a grievous blow to British morale. German land forces have been assisted by Luftwaffe attacks.
  • June 24: General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrives in London ready to assume the post of Commander of American forces in Europe.
  • June 25: Another massive British "Thousand Bomber" raid, this time on Bremen; the raiders suffer grievous losses.
  • June 26: The Germans drive toward Rostov-on-Don.
  • June 27: Convoy PQ 17 sets sail from Iceland; only 11 of 37 ships will survive.
  • June 28: Case Blue, the German plan to capture Stalingrad and the Soviet Union oil fields in the Caucasus, begins. Generally, forces are shifted to the South.
  • June 28: Mersa Matruh, Egypt, about 140 miles from Alexandria, falls to Rommel.
  • June 30: United States deploys II Corps to the European Theater.
  • July 1: First Battle of El Alamein begins as Rommel begins first assault on British defences.
  • July 1: Sevastopol falls to the Germans; the end of Red Army resistance in the Crimea.
  • July 2: Churchill survives a censure motion in the House of Commons.
  • July 3: Guadalcanal is now firmly in the hands of the Japanese.
  • July 4: First air missions by the United States Army Air Forces in Europe.
  • July 11: Rommel's forces are now stalemated before El Alamein, largely because of a lack of ammunition.
  • July 12: It now becomes clear that Stalingrad is the largest challenge to the invaders.
  • July 12: A balloon from Operation Outward knocks out a power station near Leipzig.
  • July 15: The only action around El Alamein is light skirmishing.
  • July 16: Vel' d'Hiv Roundup: On order from the Vichy France government headed by Pierre Laval, French police officers mass arrest 13,152 Jews and hold them at the Winter Velodrome before deportation to Auschwitz.
  • July 18: The Germans test fly the Messerschmitt Me 262 V3 third prototype using only its jet engines for the first time.
  • July 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 increasingly effective American convoy system.
  • July 20: After landing in the Buna-Gona area, the Japanese in New Guinea move across the Owen Stanley mountain range aiming at Port Moresby in the south-eastern part of the island, close to Australia; a small Australian force begins rearguard action on the Kokoda Track.
  • July 22: The systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto begins.
  • July 22: Treblinka II, "a model" extermination camp, is opened in Poland.
  • July 24: Germans take Rostov-on-the-Don; the Red Army is in a general retreat along the Don River.
  • July 26: A second attack by the British under Auchinleck fails against Rommel. First Battle of El Alamein may be said to be over.
  • July 27: Heavy RAF incendiary attack on Hamburg.
  • July 29: The Japanese take Kokoda, halfway along the Owen Stanley pass to Port Moresby.
  • July 30: Continuing stalemate at El Alamein between Rommel and Auchinleck.
  • August 1: The Germans continue their successful advance toward Stalingrad.
  • August 3: A convoy to Malta is decimated by the Luftwaffe and U-boats.
  • August 5: The U.S. planning team for Operation Torch, which includes George S. Patton; Jimmy Doolittle; Kent Lambert; and Hoyt S. Vandenberg, meets in Washington, D.C. to join the combined planning team from London, England.
  • August 5: Henrik Hersch Goldschmidt aka Janusz Korczak and almost 200 children of his orphanage, along with his staff, are led to the Treblinka II death camp, and killed there that day, probably with gas.
  • August 7: Operation Watchtower begins the Guadalcanal Campaign as American forces invade Gavutu, Guadalcanal, Tulagi and Tanambogo in the Solomon Islands.
  • August 8: Six of the eight German would-be saboteurs involved in Operation Pastorius are executed in Washington, D.C.
  • August 8: The naval Battle of Savo Island, near Guadalcanal; the Americans lose three cruisers, the Australians one.
  • August 9: Numerous riots in favour of independence in India; Mahatma Gandhi is arrested.
  • August 10: Rommel begins an attack around El Alamein, but by September he is back to his original lines.
  • August 11: HMS Eagle, a carrier on convoy duty to Malta, is torpedoed and sinks with heavy loss of life.
  • August 12: At a conference in Moscow, Churchill informs Stalin that there will not be a "second front" in 1942.
  • August 12: American forces establish bases in the New Hebrides islands.
  • August 12: Fighting increases as the Germans approach Stalingrad.
  • August 13: General Bernard Montgomery appointed commander of the Eighth Army, which encompassed Allied ground forces in Egypt and Libya; Churchill is anxious to see more offensive action on the part of the Allies in North Africa.
  • August 13: Disastrous end to the Malta convoy, but one tanker and four merchant ships get through.
  • August 15: Malta is supplied via Operation Pedestal.
  • August 17: First US Army Air Forces B-17 heavy bomber raid in Europe, targeting the Sotteville railroad yards at Rouen, France.
  • August 18: In New Guinea, both Japanese and Australian reinforcements arrive.
  • August 19: Operation Jubilee, a raid by British and Canadian forces on Dieppe, France, ends in disaster; they come under heavy gunfire and eventually most are killed or captured by the German defenders.
  • August 20: Henderson Field on Guadalcanal receives its first American fighter planes.
  • August 21: Japanese counter-attack at Henderson Field; in another foray at the Tenaru (or Ilu) River, many Japanese are killed in a banzai charge.
  • August 22: Brazil declares war on the Axis countries, partly in response to numerous riots by a populace angry at the sinking of Brazilian ships.
  • August 22: Massacre of Jews at Stanislau, Poland (later Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine): in what the Nazi authorities describe as a "reprisal action", 1,000 Jews are shot, including women and girls who are raped beforehand at Gestapo headquarters; the head of the Judenrat(Mordechai Goldstein) is hanged publicly, along with 20 members of the Jewish police.
  • August 23: Massive German air raid on Stalingrad.
  • August 24: The naval battle of the Eastern Solomons; USS Enterprise is badly damaged and the Japanese lose one light carrier, Ryujo.
  • August 26: Battle of Milne Bay begins: Japanese forces land and launch a full-scale assault on Australian base near the eastern tip of New Guinea.
  • August 27: Marshal Georgii Zhukov is appointed to the command of the Stalingrad defence; the Luftwaffe is now delivering heavy strikes on the city.
  • August 28: Incendiary bombs dropped by a Japanese seaplane cause a forest fire in Oregon.
  • August 30: The Battle of Alam Halfa, a few miles south of El Alamein begins. This will be Rommel's last attempt to break through the Allied lines in Egypt; the air superiority of the Desert Air Force will play a significant role for the Allies.
  • August 30: Luxembourg is formally annexed to the German Reich.
  • August 31: Start of the 1942 Luxembourgish general strike against conscription.
  • September 1: US Navy Construction Battalion personnel, Seabees, began to arrive at Guadalcanal.
  • September 3: The Battle of Stalingrad proper may be said to have begun on this date, with German troops in the suburbs; even civilian men and boys are conscripted by the Red Army to assist in the defence.
  • September 4: Irish Republican Army riots occur in Belfast during the night.
  • September 4: Manhattan Engineering District is formally created, full-effort production of the atomic bomb is begun.
  • September 4: Chief of State of Vichy France Philippe Pétain and Prime Minister Pierre Laval create what will become the Service du travail obligatoire (STO).
  • September 5: Australian and U.S. forces defeat Japanese forces at Milne Bay, Papua, the first outright defeat for Japanese land forces in the Pacific War. Their evacuation and the failure to establish an airbase eases the threat to Australia.
  • September 6: The Black Sea port of Novorossiysk is taken by the Germans.
  • September 9: A Japanese plane drops more incendiaries on Oregon, but with little effect.
  • September 10: RAF blasts Düsseldorf with large incendiary bombing.
  • September 12: RMS Laconia, carrying civilians, Allied soldiers, and Italian POWs, is torpedoed off the coast of West Africa and sinks.
  • September 12: SS commander Brandt orders 3,000–4,000 Stanislau Jews deported to the Belzec death camp on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year holiday, and they were killed there that day.
  • September 12–14: American troops push back the Japanese in the Battle of Edson's Ridge.
  • September 13: The Battle for Stalingrad continues; it is now totally surrounded by the Germans. On the Soviet Union side General Vasily Chuikov is put in charge of the defence.
  • September 14: The Japanese retreat again from Henderson Field, Guadalcanal.
  • September 14: The Japanese are now within 30 miles of Port Moresby, New Guinea, on the Kokoda trail.
  • September 14: Continued convoy losses in the Atlantic.
  • September 15: Americans send troops to Port Moresby as reinforcements for the Australian defenders.
  • September 15: Light carrier USS Wasp is sunk by a Japanese submarine off Guadalcanal.
  • September 18: Battle of the "grain silo" in Stalingrad; the Germans are beaten back. The Red Army begins ferrying troops across the Volga at night.
  • September 19: Allied attack on Jalo, Libya is repulsed by Germans.
  • September 20: RAF bombs Munich and Saarbrücken.
  • September 20: The Greek Panhellenic Union of Fighting Youths blows up the offices of the pro-Nazi National-Socialist Patriotic Organisation in central Athens, thwarting attempts to raise a Greek volunteer legion for the Eastern Front.
  • September 23: General Rommel leaves North Africa for medical treatment in Germany.
  • September 23–27: In the Third Battle of Matanikau River, Guadalcanal, Japanese naval bombardment and landing forces nearly destroy Henderson Field in an attempt to take it, but the land forces are soon driven back.
  • September 24: United States of America deploys the I Corps to the Pacific Theater.
  • September 28: The Japanese continue their retreat back down the Kokoda Track in New Guinea.
  • September 30: The Eagle Squadron (American volunteers in the RAF) are officially transferred to the US Army Air Force.
  • September 30: Hitler speaks to the nation and boasts that Stalingrad will be taken.
  • October 3: First successful launch of A4-rocket at Peenemünde, Germany. The rocket flies 147 kilometres wide and reaches a height of 84.5 kilometres and is therefore the first man-made object reaching space.
  • October 4: British Commandos raid Sark, a Channel Island, capturing one German soldier.
  • October 6: By mutual arrangement, the Allies agree on a strategy whereby Americans will bomb in the daytime and the RAF at night.
  • October 7: Third Battle of the Matanikau.
  • October 11: Battle of Cape Esperance.
  • October 11: 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. With the help of radar they sink one cruiser and several Japanese destroyers.
  • October 12: The Red Army methods of ferrying troops across the Volga and into Stalingrad directly seems to be a success, as the German advance comes to a halt.
  • October 12: The US 100th Infantry Battalion, a force of over 1,400 predominantly Nisei became active.
  • October 13: Heavy bombardment of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal by the Japanese navy.
  • October 14: A German U-boat sinks the ferry SS Caribou, killing 137.
  • October 18: Hitler issues Commando Order, ordering all captured commandos to be executed immediately.
  • October 18: Admiral William "Bull" Halsey is given command of the South Pacific naval forces.
  • October 21: Heavy RAF activity over El Alamein.
  • October 22: Conscription age in Britain reduced to 18.
  • October 22: American General Mark Clark secretly lands in Algeria to confer with Vichy officials and Resistance groups in preparation for impending Allied invasion.
  • October 23: Second Battle of El Alamein begins with massive Allied bombardment of German positions. Then Australian forces, mainly, begin advance while offshore British naval forces support the right flank (n.b. the ongoing concurrent victories being prepared at Guadalcanal and Stalingrad).
  • October 23: Battle for Henderson Field
  • October 24: US Navy Task Force 34, consisting of aircraft carriers, a variety of support ships, including troop ships and other vessels, set sail from Hampton Roads, Virginia with Patton's forces for Operation Torch, the landing in North Africa. The other two task forces of Operation Torch, the first American-led force to fight in the European and African theatres of war, depart Britain for Morocco.
  • October 24: Crisis at El Alamein: British tanks survive German 88 mm fire; Montgomery orders the advance to continue despite losses.
  • October 25: Rommel hurriedly returns from his sickbed in Germany to take charge of the African battle. (His replacement, General Stumme, had died of a heart attack).
  • October 25: The Japanese continue their attacks on the Marines west of Henderson Field.
  • October 26: The naval Battle of Santa Cruz. The Japanese lose many aircraft and have two aircraft carriers severely damaged. USS Hornet is sunk and USS Enterprise is damaged.
  • October 29: The Japanese continue to send troops as reinforcements into Guadalcanal.
  • October 29: In the United Kingdom, leading clergymen and political figures hold a public meeting to register outrage over Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews.
  • October 29: United States 1st Armored Division moves from Northern Ireland to England.
  • October 31: The British make a critical breakthrough with tanks west of El Alamein; Rommel's mine fields fail to stop the Allied armour.
  • November 1: Operation Supercharge, the Allied breakout at El Alamein, begins.
  • November 1: The Americans begin the Matanikau Offensive against the Japanese
  • November 3: Second Battle of El Alamein ends - German forces under Erwin Rommel are forced to retreat during the night.
  • November 3: American victory over the Japanese in the Koli Point action
  • November 5: German III Panzer Corps and Romanian 2nd Mountain Division capture the town of Alagir, which is the furthest south the Axis would reach on the Eastern Front.
  • November 6: Carlson's Patrol begins.
  • November 8: Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of Vichy-controlled Morocco and Algeria, begins.
  • November 8: French resistance coup in Algiers, consisting of about 400 fighters neutralise the Vichyist XIXth Army Corps and the Vichyist generals (Juin, Darlan, etc.), contributing significantly to the immediate success of the operation.
  • November 8: The United States Combat Command "B" of the 1st Armored Division lands east and west of Oran as part of Operation Torch.
  • November 10: In violation of a 1940 armistice, Germany invades Vichy France; they are responding to the fact that French Admiral François Darlan has signed an armistice with the Allies in North Africa.
  • November 10: Oran, Algeria falls to US troops; 17 French ships are sunk at Oran, causing a rift between the French and the Allies. There are more Allied landings near the Tunisian border.
  • November 10: Montgomery begins a major British offensive beginning at Sollum on the Libya/Egypt border. The British reach Bardia on the 11th, Tobruk on the 12th, and Benghazi on the 18th.
  • November 10: Lieutenant General Montgomery is knighted and made a full General.
  • November 10: Churchill speaks: "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
  • November 11: Convoys reach Malta from Alexandria; an official announcement proclaims that the island is "relieved of its siege".
  • November 12: Battle of Guadalcanal - A climactic naval battle near Guadalcanal starts between Japanese and American naval forces.
  • November 12: The Red Army makes an attempt to relieve Stalingrad at Kotelnikov.
  • November 13: British Eighth Army recaptures Tobruk.
  • November 13: Battle of Guadalcanal: aviators from USS Enterprise sink the Japanese battleship Hiei. Notably, USS Juneau is sunk with much of its crew, including the five Sullivan brothers.
  • November 14: USS Washington attacks the Japanese battleship Kirishima; the Japanese ship would capsize at 03:25 on the morning of 15 November.
  • November 15: The naval battle of Guadalcanal ends. Although the United States Navy suffers heavy losses, it still retains control of the sea around Guadalcanal.
  • November 15: The British move westward in Tunisia.
  • November 15: British Eighth Army recaptures Derna.
  • November 17: Japanese send reinforcements into New Guinea; Americans are stymied at Buna.
  • November 18: Heavy British RAF raid on Berlin with few losses.
  • November 19: At Stalingrad the Soviet Union forces under General Georgy Zhukov launch Operation Uranus aimed at encircling the Germans in the city and thus turning the tide of battle in the USSR's favor.
  • November 20: The Allies take Benghazi, Libya; the Afrika Corps continues the retreat westward.
  • November 21: The Red Army attempt at encirclement of Stalingrad continues with obvious success.
  • November 21: American army moves to shove Japanese off the extreme western end of Guadalcanal.
  • November 22: Battle of Stalingrad: The situation for the German attackers of Stalingrad seems desperate during the Soviet counter-attack; General Friedrich Paulus sends Adolf Hitler a telegram saying that the German 6th Army is surrounded.
  • November 22: Red Army troops complete the encirclement of the Germans at Kalach, west of Stalingrad.
  • November 23: "Der Kessel"-- the Cauldron, a description of the heavy fighting at Stalingrad; Hitler orders General Paulus not to retreat, at any cost.
  • November 25: The encirclement of Stalingrad continues to stabilise. Hitler reiterates his demand of Paulus not to surrender.
  • November 25: Operation Harling: a team of British SOE agents, together with over 200 Greek guerrillas from both ELAS and EDES groups, blow up the Gorgopotamos railway bridge, in one of the war's biggest sabotage acts.
  • November 26: Hostilities erupt between the American and Australian soldiers in Brisbane. Fighting breaks out which results in fatalities, it is dubbed the Battle of Brisbane.
  • November 27: At Toulon, the French navy scuttles its ships (most notably Dunkerque and Strasbourg) and submarines to keep them out of German hands; the French have declined another option – to join the Allied fleets in North African waters.
  • November 29: The Allied offensive in Tunisia meets with only minimum success.
  • November 30: The naval Battle of Tassafaronga (off Guadalcanal); this is a night action in which Japanese naval forces sink one American cruiser and damage three others.
  • November 30: The Free French liberate the island of Réunion on the Indian Ocean from the Vichy regime.
  • December 1: Gasoline rationing begins in the United States.
  • December 1: The US cruiser Northampton is sunk as Japanese destroyers attempt to come down "the Slot" to Guadalcanal.
  • December 2: Heavy fighting in Tunisia, as German forces are pushed into the final North African corner.
  • December 2: Below the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiate the first nuclear chain reaction. A coded message, "The Italian navigator has landed in the new world" is sent to President Roosevelt.
  • December 4: The first US bombing of mainland Italy --Naples.
  • December 4: Carlson's patrol ends.
  • December 6: RAF bombs Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
  • December 7: On the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, USS New Jersey, America's largest battleship is launched (commissioned five months later).
  • December 7: British commandos conduct Operation Frankton a raid on shipping in Bordeaux harbour.
  • December 9: The Marines turn over Guadalcanal to the American army.
  • December 12: Rommel abandons El Agheila and retreats to Tripoli; the final stand will be at the Mareth line in southern Tunisia.
  • December 12: In a large operation named "Operation Winter Storm", the Germans attempt to break through to forces trapped in Stalingrad.
  • December 13: The Luftwaffe flies in meagre supplies to the beleaguered Stalingrad troops.
  • December 15: American and Australian troops finally push Japanese out of Buna, New Guinea.
  • December 15: Allies clash with Japanese troops in the Battle of the Gifu.
  • December 22: The Germans begin a retreat from the Caucasus.
  • December 22: The battle for "Longstop Hill" begins; a key position outside Tunis, the Germans eventually take it and hold it until April.
  • December 22: The remainder of the United States 1st Armored Division arrived at North Africa for Operation Husky.
  • December 24: French Admiral Darlan, the former Vichy leader who had switched over to the Allies following the Torch landings, is assassinated in Algiers.
  • December 24: The United States reorganizes its Combat Arms Regiments with their Organic Battalions into Separate Groups and Battalions.
  • December 25: American bombers hit Rabaul.
  • December 26: Heavy fighting continues on Guadalcanal, now focused on Mount Austen in the west.
  • December 28: The governor of pro-Vichy French Somaliland surrenders to invading British and Free French forces.
  • December 31: In the Battle of the Barents Sea, the British win a strategic victory, leading Hitler to largely abandon the use of surface raiders in favor of U-boats.

  • As the year draws to a close, things look much brighter for the Allies than they did a few months ago: Rommel is trapped in Tunisia, the Germans are encircled at Stalingrad, and the Japanese appear ready to abandon Guadalcanal.

1943

  • January 1: German 1st Panzer Division withdraws from the Terek River area in southern Russia to prevent encirclement.
  • January 2: Americans and Australians recapture Buna, New Guinea.
  • January 7: Japanese land more troops at Lae, New Guinea.
  • January 9: United States Western Task Force redesignated I Armored Corps.
  • January 10: Soviet troops launch an all-out offensive attack on Stalingrad; they also renew attacks in the north (Leningrad) and in the Caucasus.
  • January 14: The Casablanca Conference of Allied leaders begins. Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt discuss the eventual invasion of mainland Europe, the impending invasion of Sicily and Italy, and the wisdom of the principle of "unconditional surrender".
  • January 15: The British start an offensive aimed at taking far-off Tripoli, Libya.
  • January 16: Iraq declares war on the Axis powers.
  • January 16: The Royal Air Force begins a two-night bombing of Berlin.
  • January 18: The Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto rise up for the first time, starting the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
  • January 18: Besieged defenders of Leningrad link up with relieving forces.
  • January 19: General Georgy Zhukov is promoted to Marshal as the Stalingrad struggle grinds to a close.
  • January 20: USS Silversides attacks a Japanese convoy 286 miles from Truk, Caroline Islands en route to the Solomon Islands, sinking transport Meiu Maru and damaging Surabaya Maru.
  • January 21: Last airfield at Stalingrad is taken by Red Army forces, ensuring that the Luftwaffe will be unable to supply German troops any further; Hitler demands that Friedrich Paulus continue fighting and promotes Paulus to Field Marshal in order to bolster morale. Shortly after, Paulus and his forces surrender to Soviet forces, the first time a German Field Marshal is lost to surrender and thus captured by the enemy.
  • January 21: Red Army armies have more victories in the Caucasus.
  • January 22: Allies liberate Sanananda, New Guinea.
  • January 23: British capture Tripoli, Libya.
  • January 23: Japanese continue their fight in western Guadalcanal; they now seem to have given up completely on the New Guinea campaign.
  • January 24: The Casablanca Conference ends; Allies insist on unconditional surrender from Germany.
  • January 24: German forces in Stalingrad are in the last phases of collapse.
  • January 25: United States XIV Corps arrives in Pacific Theater.
  • January 26: Soviet troops retake Voronezh.
  • January 27: 50 bombers mount the first all American air raid against Germany. Wilhelmshaven, the large naval base, is the primary target.
  • January 28: A new conscription law in Germany: men between 16 and 65 and women between 17 and 50 are open to mobilization.
  • January 28: George Zhukov awarded the first Order of Suvorov 1st Class.
  • January 29: The naval battle of Rennell Island, near Guadalcanal, begins. The Japanese beat the Americans and the USS Chicago is lost.
  • January 29: Another two-day bombing of Berlin by the RAF.
  • January 30: The last Japanese have cleared out of Guadalcanal by a brilliant evacuation plan undetected by the Americans.
  • January 31: Friedrich Paulus (Generalfeldmarschall in command of the German 6th Army) and his staff surrender to Soviet troops in Stalingrad.
  • February 2: In the Soviet Union, the Battle of Stalingrad comes to an end with the official surrender of the German 6th Army. The German public is informed of this disaster, marking the first time the Nazi government has acknowledged a failure in the war effort.
  • February 2: Rommel retreats farther into Tunisia, establishing his troops at the Mareth Line. Within two days, Allied troops move into Tunisia for the first time.
  • February 5: The Allies now have all of Libya under their control.
  • February 5: Essen is bombed, marking the beginning of a four-month attack on the Ruhr industrial area.
  • February 7: In the United States, it is announced that shoe rationing will go into effect in two days.
  • February 8: The Chindits (a "long range penetration group") under British General Orde Wingate begin an incursion into Burma.
  • February 9: Nuremberg is heavily bombed.
  • February 8: United States' VI Corps arrives in North Africa.
  • February 9: Guadalcanal is finally secured; it is the first major achievement of the American offensive in the Pacific war.
  • February 9: Munich and Vienna are heavily bombed, along with Berlin.
  • February 11: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower is selected to command the Allied armies in Europe.
  • February 13: Rommel launches a counter-attack against the Americans in western Tunisia; he takes Sidi Bouzid and Gafsa. The Battle of the Kasserine Pass begins: inexperienced American troops are soon forced to retreat.
  • February 14: Rostov-on-Don is liberated by the Red Army.
  • February 16: Soviet Union reconquers Kharkov, but is later driven out in the Third Battle of Kharkov.
  • February 16: Prime Minister of Vichy France Pierre Laval and Minister of Justice Joseph Barthélemy formally create the Service du travail obligatoire (STO)
  • February 18: In a speech at the Berlin Sportpalast German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels declares a "Total War" against the Allies; the Nazis arrest the members of the White Rose movement, an anti-Nazi youth group.
  • February 18: Chindits under Wingate cut the railway line between Mandalay and Myitkyina.
  • February 21: Americans take the Russell Islands, part of the Solomons chain.
  • February 22: Hans and Sophie Scholl of the White Rose movement are executed.
  • February 22: Japanese POWs refuse to work at Featherston prisoner of war camp; this escalates into a deadly clash between the inmates and the guards.
  • February 26: Rommel retreats northward from the Mareth Line in Tunisia.
  • February 28: Operation Gunnerside: six Norwegians led by Joachim Rønneberg successfully attack the heavy water plant Vemork.
  • March 1: Heinz Guderian becomes the Inspector-General of the Armoured Troops for the German Army.
  • March 2: Battle of the Bismarck Sea. U.S. and Australian naval forces, over the course of three days, sink eight Japanese troop transports near New Guinea.
  • March 2: Wingate's Chindits continue their localised strikes in Burma.
  • March 5: German advances around Kharkov threaten earlier Red Army gains.
  • March 5: Continued RAF bombing of the Ruhr valley, particularly Essen.
  • March 6: Battle of Medenine, Tunisia. It is Rommel's last battle in Africa as he is forced to retreat.
  • March 8: Continuing German counter-attacks around Kharkov.
  • March 9: Members of the Calcutta Light Horse carry out a covert attack against a German merchantship, which had been transmitting Allied positions to U-boats from the Mormugao Harbour in neutral Portugal's protectorate, the Indian territory of Goa.
  • March 10: The USAAF 14th Air Force is formed in China, under General Claire Lee Chennault, former head of the "Flying Tigers."
  • March 10: The US House of Representatives votes to extend the Lend-Lease plan.
  • March 11: The Germans enter Kharkov and the fierce struggle with the Red Army continues.
  • March 12 Karditsa in Greece becomes the first city in Europe to be liberated from Nazi occupation, after a campaign fought by ELAS, the Greek People's Liberation Army.
  • March 13: German forces liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Kraków.
  • March 14: Germans recapture Kharkov.
  • March 16: The first reports of the Katyn massacre in Poland seep to the West; reports say that more than 22,000 prisoners of war were killed by the NKVD, who eventually blame the massacre on the Germans.
  • March 16: Stalin for the ninth time demands a "Second Front," accusing his allies of treachery.
  • March 17: Devastating convoy losses in the Atlantic due to increased U-boat activity; the middle of the Atlantic is apparently not sufficiently covered by planes or ships.
  • March 18: General George S. Patton leads his tanks of II Corps into Gafsa, Tunisia.
  • March 20: Montgomery's forces begin a breakthrough in Tunisia, striking at the Mareth line.
  • March 23: American tanks defeat the Germans at El Guettar, Tunisia.
  • March 26: The British break through the Mareth line in southern Tunisia, threatening the whole German army. The Germans move north.
  • March 26: Battle of the Komandorski Islands. In the Aleutian Islands United States Navy forces intercept Japanese attempting to reinforce a garrison at Kiska. Poor leadership on both sides leads to a stalemate of sorts, and the Japanese withdraw without achieving their goal.
  • April 1: Allies continue to squeeze the Germans into the corner of Tunisia.
  • April 3: Racial tensions between American Marines and New Zealand troops of Māori origin result in the Battle of Manners Street, a small-scale riot in which no lives were lost.
  • April 4: The only large-scale escape of Allied prisoners-of-war from the Japanese in the Pacific takes place when ten American POWs and two Filipino convicts break out of the Davao Penal Colony on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. The escaped POWs were the first to break the news of the infamous Bataan Death March and other atrocities committed by the Japanese to the world.
  • April 7: Hitler and Mussolini come together at Salzburg, mostly for the purpose of propping up Mussolini's fading morale.
  • April 7: Allied forces–the Americans from the West, the British from the East–link up near Gafsa in Tunisia.
  • April 7: Bolivia declares war on Germany, Japan, and Italy.
  • April 10: The British 8th Army enters Sfax, Tunisia.
  • April 13: Radio Berlin announces the discovery by Wehrmacht of mass graves of Poles purportedly killed by Soviets in the Katyn massacre.
  • April 15: Finland officially rejects Soviet terms for peace.
  • April 15: Heavy RAF raid on Stuttgart.
  • April 18: Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, chief architect of Japanese naval strategy, is killed when his plane is shot down by American P38's over Bougainville. He was on an inspection tour.
  • April 18: The "Palm Sunday massacre": large numbers of German troop-transport aircraft are shot down before reaching Tunisia, where they were to pick up the isolated German troops.
  • April 19-30: The Bermuda Conference takes place in Hamilton, Bermuda. U.K. and U.S. leaders discuss the plight of the European Jews.
  • April 19: The Warsaw Ghetto uprising: On the Eve of Passover, Jews resist German attempts to deport the Jewish community.
  • April 19: In occupied Belgium, partisans attack the a railway convoy transporting Belgian Jews to Auschwitz. It is the largest attack on a Holocaust train of the war and 236 Jews escape.
  • April 26: The British finally take "Longstop Hill" in Tunisia, a key position on the breakout road to Tunis.
  • April 28: Allies attempt to close the mid-Atlantic gap in the war against the U-boats with long-range bombers.
  • April 30: Operation Mincemeat: Lt. Jewell's crew release a body bearing false documents near the Spanish coast. Later, the body washes up on the Spanish coast and is discovered by a local fisherman. They will go on to mislead the Germans about the site and timing of the Allied invasion of France.
  • May 1: Allies close in on the cornered Germans in the Tunis area.
  • May 2: Japanese aircraft again bomb Darwin, Australia.
  • May 7: Tunis captured by British First Army. Meanwhile the Americans take Bizerte.
  • May 9: The Japanese begin a three-day massacre of civilians; about 30,000 Chinese are killed in the Changjiao massacre.
  • May 11: American troops invade Attu Island in the Aleutian Islands in an attempt to expel occupying Japanese forces.
  • May 12: The Trident Conference begins in Washington, D.C. with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill taking part. The discussions are mostly on future strategy.
  • May 13: Remaining German Afrika Korps and Italian troops in North Africa surrender to Allied forces. The Allies take over 250,000 prisoners.
  • May 15: The French form a "Resistance Movement."
  • May 16: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ends. The ghetto has been destroyed, with about 14,000 Jews killed and about another 40,000 sent to the death camps at Majdanek and Treblinka.
  • May 16: The Dambuster Raids are carried out by RAF 617 Squadron on two German dams, Mohne and Eder. The Ruhr war industries lose electrical power.
  • May 17: The Germans launch their fifth major offensive against Tito's partisans in Yugoslavia.
  • May 19: Winston Churchill addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress. He praises the partnership of the two Allies.
  • May 22: Allies bomb Sicily and Sardinia, both possible landing sites.
  • May 24: Admiral Karl Dönitz orders the majority of U-boats to withdraw from the Atlantic because of heavy losses to new Allied anti-sub tactics. By the end of the month, 43 U-boats are lost, compared to 34 Allied ships sunk. This is referred to as "Black May".
  • May 24: Josef Mengele becomes Chief Medical Officer in Auschwitz.
  • May 29: RAF bombs Wuppertal, causing heavy civilian losses.
  • May 30: Attu Island is again under American control.
  • May 31: American B-17's bomb Naples.
  • June 4: General Henri Giraud becomes Commander-in-Chief of the Free French forces.
  • June 8: Japanese forces begin to evacuate Kiska Island in the Aleutians, their last foothold in the Western hemisphere. The event is almost to the year of their landing.
  • June 11: British 1st Division takes the Italian island of Pantelleria, between Tunisia and Sicily, capturing 11,000 Italian troops.
  • June 12: The Italian island of Lampedusa, between Tunisia and Sicily, surrenders to the Allies.
  • June 13: Heavy US aircraft losses over Kiel.
  • June 17: Allies bomb Sicily and the Italian mainland, as signs increase of a forthcoming invasion.
  • June 21: Operation Cartwheel opens with landings by the United States 4th Marine Raider Battalion at Segi Point on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands, beginning the New Georgia Campaign. It will not be secured until August.
  • June 23: American troops land in the Trobriand Islands, close to New Guinea. The American strategy of driving up the Southwest Pacific by "Island Hopping" continues.
  • June 24: Continuing attacks against the Ruhr industrial valley. One result is the evacuation of large numbers of German civilians from the area.
  • June 30: American troops land on Rendova Island, New Georgia, another part of Operation Cartwheel.
  • July 4: Exiled Polish leader General Władysław Sikorski dies in an air crash in Gibraltar.
  • July 5: Operation Citadel (the Battle of Kursk) begins.
  • July 5: Conclusion of the National Bands Agreement in occupied Greece, which is to coordinate the actions of the Resistance movement in Greece.
  • July 6: U.S. and Japanese ships fight the Battle of Kula Gulf in the Solomons.
  • July 7: Walter Dornberger briefs the V-2 rocket to Hitler, who approves the project for top priority.
  • July 10: Operation Husky (the Allied invasion of Sicily) begins.
  • July 11: Ukrainian Insurgent Army massacres Poles at Dominopol.
  • July 12-13: The Japanese win a tactical victory at the Battle of Kolombangara.
  • July 12: The Battle of Prokhorovka begins; the largest tank battle in human history and part of the Battle of Kursk, it is the pivotal battle of Operation Citadel.
  • July 13: Hitler calls off the Kursk offensive, but the Soviets continue the battle.
  • July 19: The Allies bomb Rome for the first time.
  • July 21: The Operation Bellicose targeting of Friedrichshafen Würzburg radars is the first bombing of a V-2 rocket facility.
  • July 22: U.S. forces under Patton capture Palermo, Sicily.
  • July 23: The USAAF orders the first 100 examples of the planned Convair B-36 six-engined intercontinental strategic bomber.
  • July 24: Hamburg, Germany, is heavily bombed in Operation Gomorrah, which at the time is the heaviest assault in the history of aviation.
  • July 25: Mussolini is arrested and relieved of his offices after a meeting with Italian King Victor Emmanuel III, who chooses Marshal Pietro Badoglio to form a new government.
  • August 1: Operation Tidal Wave: Oil refineries at Ploiești, Romania, are bombed by U.S. IX Bomber Command.
  • August 1: Japan declares independence for the State of Burma under Ba Maw.
  • August 2: 2,897 Romani are gassed when their camp at Auschwitz is liquidated.
  • August 2: John F. Kennedy's PT-109 is rammed in two and sunk off the Solomon Islands.
  • August 3: The first of two "George S. Patton slapping incidents" occurs in Sicily.
  • August 5: Swedish government announces it will no longer allow German troops and war material to transit Swedish railways.
  • August 5: Russians recapture Orel and Belgorod.
  • August 6-7: The U.S. wins the Battle of Vella Gulf off Kolombangara in the Solomons.
  • August 6: German troops start pouring in to take over Italy's defences.
  • August 11: German and Italian forces begin to evacuate Sicily.
  • August 15: The Land Battle of Vella Lavella island in the Solomons begins.
  • August 15: US and Canadian troops invade Kiska Island in the Aleutians, not knowing the Japanese have already evacuated.
  • August 16: Polish Jews begin a resistance with scant weaponry in Białystok. The leaders commit suicide when they run out of ammo.
  • August 16: U.S. troops enter Messina, Sicily.
  • August 17: All of Sicily now controlled by the Allies.
  • August 17: Heavy loss of Allied bombers in the Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission.
  • August 17: Operation Crossbow begins with Operation Hydra when the RAF bombs the Peenemünde V-2 rocket facility.
  • August 17-18: Portugal, referencing the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373, allows the Allies to use the Azores Islands for air and naval bases.
  • August 19: Roosevelt and Churchill signed the Quebec Agreement during the Quebec Conference.
  • August 23: Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev liberates Kharkov, Ukraine. The Battle of Kursk has become the first successful major Soviet summer offensive of the war.
  • August 29: During the Occupation of Denmark by Nazi Germany, martial law replaced the Danish government.
  • August 31: The Northwest African Air Forces conducts an air raid against the Italian city of Pisa.
  • September 1: 22,750,000 British men and women are either in the services or Civil Defence or doing essential war work, according to the U.K. Ministry of Labour.
  • September 3: A secret Italian Armistice is signed and Italy drops out of the war. Mainland Italy is invaded when the British XXIII Corps lands at Reggio Calabria.
  • September 3: Nazi Germany begins the evacuation of civilians from Berlin.
  • September 4: Soviet Union declares war on Bulgaria.
  • September 4: The 503rd Parachute Regiment under American General Douglas MacArthur lands and occupies Nadzab, just west of the port city of Lae in northeastern New Guinea. Lae falls into Australian hands and Australian troops take Salamaua.
  • September 8: Eisenhower publicly announces the surrender of Italy to the Allies. The Germans enact Operation Achse, the disarmament of Italian armed forces.
  • September 8: The USAAF bombs the German General Headquarters for the Mediterranean zone at Frascati.
  • September 9: The Allies land at Salerno, Italy; meanwhile the British troops take Taranto in the heel of the Italian "boot". Allied strategy aims at a "drive" up the "boot".
  • September 9: Iran declares war on Germany.
  • September 10: German troops occupy Rome. The Italian fleet meanwhile surrenders at Malta and other Mediterranean ports.
  • September 11: British troops enter Bari in southeastern Italy.
  • September 12: Mussolini is rescued by aircraft from mountaintop captivity by German SS troops led by Otto Skorzeny. Mussolini is then set up by Hitler, who remains loyal to his old friend, as the head of the puppet "Italian Social Republic."
  • September 13: The Salerno beachhead is in jeopardy, as German counterattacks increase.
  • September 14: German troops commence the Holocaust of Viannos in Crete that will continue for two more days.
  • September 15: Chiang Kai-shek asks that General Stilwell, American military advisor/commander, be recalled for suggesting an alliance with the Communists.
  • September 16: British forces land on various Italian-held Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, beginning the Dodecanese Campaign.
  • September 16: British and American troops link up near the Salerno beachhead.
  • September 19: German troops evacuate Sardinia.
  • September 21: The battle of the Solomons can now be considered at an unofficial end.
  • September 21: The Massacre of the Acqui Division begins: After resisting for a week, the Italian Acqui division on the Greek island of Cephallonia surrenders to the Germans. During the next days, over 4,500 Italians are executed and a further 3,000 are lost during transport at sea.
  • September 22: Australian forces land at Finschhafen, a small port in New Guinea. The Japanese continue the battle well into October.
  • September 22: British midget submarines attack the German battleship Tirpitz, at anchor in a Norwegian fjord, crippling her for six months.
  • September 25: The Red Army retakes Smolensk.
  • September 26: Germans assault the island of Leros, beginning the Battle of Leros.
  • September 27: The Germans take over the island of Corfu from the Italians, the previous occupiers.
  • September 27: Sheng Shicai has Mao Zedong's brother Mao Zemin and Chen Tanqiu, a founder of the Communist Party of China, executed.
  • September 28: The people of Naples, sensing the approach of the Allies, rise up against the German occupiers.
  • September 30: With the Gestapo starting to round up Danish Jews, certain Danes are secretly sending their Jewish countrymen to Sweden by means of dangerous boat crossings.
  • October: This month: Ruzagayura famine starts (until December 1944) in the Belgian African colony of Ruanda-Urundi.
  • OCtober 1: Neapolitans complete their uprising and free Naples from German military occupation.
  • OCtober 3: Churchill appoints Lord Louis Mountbatten the commander of South East Asia Command.
  • OCtober 3: The Germans conquer the island of Kos.
  • OCtober 4: Corsica is liberated by Free French forces.
  • OCtober 5: The Allies cross Italy's Volturno Line.
  • OCtober 6: The Naval Battle of Vella Lavella completes the second phase of Operation Cartwheel.
  • OCtober 7: 98 American civilian prisoners were executed on Wake Island.
  • OCtober 9: United States VII Corps arrives in European Theater.
  • OCtober 10: Chiang Kai-shek takes the oath of office as chairman of Nationalist Government (China).
  • OCtober 12: Operation Cartwheel begins a bombing campaign against Rabaul.
  • OCtober 13: Italy declares war on Germany.
  • OCtober 14: 229 of 292 B-17s reached the target in the Second Raid on Schweinfurt. Losses are so heavy that the long range daylight bombing campaign is suspended until the bombers can be escorted by P-51 fighters.
  • OCtober 14 : Members of the Sobibor extermination camp underground, led by Polish-Jewish prisoner Leon Feldhendler and Soviet-Jewish POW Alexander Pechersky, succeeded in covertly killing eleven German SS officers and a number of camp guards. Although their plan was to kill all the SS and walk out of the main gate of the camp, the killings were discovered and the inmates ran for their lives under fire. About 300 out of the 600 prisoners in the camp escaped into the forests.
  • OCtober 18: The Third Moscow Conference convened.
  • OCtober 19: The German War Office contracts the Mittelwerk to produce 12,000 V-2 rockets.
  • OCtober 22-23: An air raid on Kassel causes a seven-day firestorm.
  • OCtober 23: Cruiser HMS Charybdis sunk, and destroyer HMS Limbourne damaged, by German torpedo boats off the North coast of Brittany with large loss of life. Bodies of 21 sailors and marines washed up on the Island of Guernsey. Buried with full military honours by the German Occupation authorities, allowing around 5,000 Islanders to attend and lay some 900 wreaths.
  • OCtober 25: The Red Army takes Dnipropetrovsk.:29: Troops replace striking London dockworkers.
  • OCtober 31: Heavy rains in Italy slow the Allied advance south of Rome.
  • November 1: In Operation Goodtime, United States Marines land on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. The fighting on this island will continue to the end of the war.
  • November 2: In the early morning hours, American and Japanese ships fight the inconclusive Battle of Empress Augusta Bay off Bougainville, but the Japanese are unable to land reinforcements.
  • November 2: British troops, in Italy, reach the Garigliano River.
  • November 3: Some 43,000 Jews were shot at three camps in Poland in Aktion Erntefest in a two-day "Harvest Festival".
  • November 5: The Italians bomb the Vatican in a failed attempt to knock out the Vatican radio.
  • November 6: The Red Army liberates the city of Kiev. This is an anniversary of the Russian Revolution in 1917.
  • November 9: Allies take Castiglione, Italy.
  • November 9: General De Gaulle becomes President of the French Committee of National Liberation.
  • November 9: Members of the Belgian Resistance publish a fake issue of the collaborationist newspaper Le Soir, mocking the German strategic situation.
  • November 11: American air power continues to hit Rabaul.
  • November 12: Germans overrun British forces on the Dodecanese islands, off Turkey.
  • November 14: Heavy bombers hit Tarawa, in the Gilbert Islands in the Pacific.
  • November 15: Allied Expeditionary Force for the invasion of Europe is officially formed.
  • November 15: German SS leader Heinrich Himmler orders that Gypsies and "part-Gypsies" are to be put "on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps."
  • November 16: Anti-German resistance in Italy increases; there are explosions in Milan.
  • November 16: The Battle of Leros ends with the surrender of the British and Italian forces to the Germans.
  • November 16: 160 American bombers strike a hydro-electric power facility and heavy water factory in German-controlled Vemork, Norway.
  • November 16: Japanese submarine sinks surfaced submarine USS Corvina near Truk.
  • November 18: 440 Royal Air Force planes bomb Berlin causing only light damage and killing 131. The RAF lose nine aircraft and 53 aviators.
  • November 19: Prisoners of the Janowska concentration camp stage a mass escape/uprising when they are ordered to cover up evidence of a mass-murder. Most are rounded up and killed.
  • November 20: Operation Galvanic begins - United States Marines land on Tarawa and United States Army forces assault Makin atoll in the Gilbert Islands and take heavy fire from Japanese shore guns. The American public is shocked by the heavy losses of life on Tarawa.
  • November 20: British troops under Montgomery continue their slow advances on the eastern side of Italy.
  • November 22: The Cairo Conference: 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.
  • November 23: Heavy damage from Allied bombing of Berlin. Notably, the Deutsche Opernhaus on Bismarckstraße in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg is destroyed.
  • November 24: Heavy bombing of Berlin continues.
  • November 25: Americans and Japanese fight the naval Battle of Cape St. George between Buka and New Ireland. Admiral Arleigh Burke's destroyers distinguish themselves.
  • November 25: Rangoon is bombed by American heavy bombers.
  • November 26: The Red Army offensive in the Ukraine continues.
  • November 26: The Cairo Conference ("Sextant") ends; Roosevelt, Churchill, and Chiang Kai-shek complete the Cairo Declaration, which deals with the overall strategic plan against Japan.
  • November 27: Huge civilian losses in Berlin as heavy bombing raids continue.
  • November 28: The 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 30 November they establish an agreement concerning a planned June 1944 invasion of Europe codenamed Operation Overlord). Stalin at last has the promise he has been waiting for.
  • November 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 order of the country.
  • November 30: In Malaya, Japanese introduce the GOVERNMENT NOTIFICATION No. 41 to encourage families to grow their own food crops and vegetables. Families who are successful will be awarded prizes while families who fail to comply with this notification or leave their vacant lands unplanted will be punished. This notification was written by Itami Masakichi (Penang Shu Chokan) on 25 November 2603/1943.
  • December 2: The Germans conduct a highly successful Air Raid on Bari, Italy. One of the German bombs hits an Allied cargo ship carrying mustard gas, releasing the chemical which killed 83 Allied soldiers. Over 1000 other soldiers died in the raid.
  • December 3: Edward R. Murrow delivers his classic "Orchestrated Hell" broadcast over CBS Radio describing a Royal Air Force nighttime bombing raid on Berlin.
  • December 4: Bolivia declares war on all Axis powers.
  • December 4: In Yugoslavia, resistance leader Marshal Josip Broz Tito proclaims a provisional democratic Yugoslav government in-exile.
  • December 12: Rommel is appointed head of "Fortress Europa", chief planner against the expected Allied offensive.
  • December 13: German soldiers carry out the Massacre of Kalavryta in southern Greece.
  • December 13: United States VIII Corps arrives in European Theater.
  • December 14: United States XV Corps arrives in European Theater.
  • December 16: Kalinin is retaken in a large Red Army offensive.
  • December 24: US General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
  • December 26: German battleship Scharnhorst is sunk off North Cape (in the Arctic) by a British force led by the battleship HMS Duke of York.
  • December 26: American Marines land on Cape Gloucester, New Britain.
  • December 27: General Eisenhower is officially named head of Overlord, the invasion of Normandy.
  • December 28: In Burma, Chinese troops have some success against the Japanese.
  • December 29: Control of the Andaman Islands is handed over to Azad Hind by the Japanese

1944

  • January 3: Major Gregory Pappy Boyington, the USMC fighter ace, was shot down after downing the last 3 of his 26 victories, and would spend the next 20 months in Japanese POW Camps.
  • January 4: The 1st Ukrainian Front of the Red Army enters Poland.
  • January 9: British forces take Maungdaw, Burma, a critical port for Allied supplies.
  • January 11: Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister and Mussolini's son-in-law, is executed by Mussolini's revived Fascist government sympathizers.
  • January 12: The SS United Victory, the first Victory ship, is launched; this class of transport will prove to be crucial in hauling men and supplies across the oceans.
  • January 16: General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in London, returning from a week of rest and planning in Washington, D. C., and assumed command of the European Theater by General Orders No. 4. His new title was Commanding General, U.S. Forces, European Theater of Operations.
  • January 17: The first Battle of Monte Cassino begins when the British X Corps attacks along the Garigliano river at the western end of the German Gustav Line.
  • January 19: Red Army troops push westward toward the Baltic countries.
  • January 19: British Operation Outward accidentally claims lives in Sweden by knocking out lighting and causing a train crash.
  • January 20: The Royal Air Force drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin.
  • January 20: The U.S. Army 36th Infantry Division, in Italy, attempts to cross the Gari River but suffers heavy losses.
  • January 22: Allies begin Operation Shingle, the landing at Anzio, Italy, commanded by American Major General John P. Lucas. The Allies hope to break the stalemate in south Italy, but they are unable to break out of the beachhead and the line holds until late May. The minesweeper USS Portent (AM-106), commanded by Lt. H.C. Plummer, hit a mine and sank southeast of Anzio, Italy.
  • January 23: The British destroyer HMS Janus is sunk off Anzio.
  • January 24: The Allied forces have a major setback on the Gari River.
  • January 24: In German-occupied Belgium, the Social Pact, detailing plans for post-war social reform, is secretly signed.
  • January 27: The Siege of Leningrad ended after 872 days, as Soviet forces finally forced the Germans to withdraw. Some 2 million died, mostly of starvation and disease.
  • January 28: The Russian Army completes encirclement of two German Army corps at the Korsun pocket, south of Kiev. Two-thirds of the Germans escape in the breakout next month with the loss of most heavy equipment.
  • January 30: The Japanese kill 44 suspected spies in the Homfreyganj massacre.
  • January 30: At Anzio, Italy the disastrous Battle of Cisterna took place, as MG John P. Lucas sent Darby's Rangers to begin the breakout from the beachhead. One of the four battalions in the action returned with only 6 of 767 men, the rest killed, wounded or captured.
  • January 30: The Brazzaville Conference begins in French Equatorial Africa. During the conference (which lasts until 8 February), the French Committee of National Liberation (CFLN) agrees to major reforms to the French colonial empire.
  • January 30: U.S. Navy shelling and carrier bombing began in the Marshall Islands, preliminary to invasions the following day.
  • January 31: Operation Flintlock began, as American forces land on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands. United States troops also invade Majuro, Marshall Islands.
  • February 1: U.S. Marines mop up on Roi and Namur in the northern part of the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands.
  • February 2: The Narva front near the east border of Estonia is formed between the Soviet and German forces.
  • February 3: Germans defeat American troops in the Battle of Cisterna near Anzio.
  • February 3: American planes bomb Eniwetok in the Marshalls, later to be a major B-29 base.
  • February 4: Kwajalein, the world's largest atoll and a major Japanese naval base, is secured.
  • February 5: The American Navy bombards the Kuril Islands, northernmost in the Japanese homelands.
  • February 7: In a radio interview, the last Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Uluots, as acting Head of State, supports mobilisation.
  • February 8: The plan for the invasion of France, Operation Overlord, is confirmed.
  • February 10: Winston Churchill urges Harold Alexander to order the Anzio generals to show more aggression.
  • February 11: German forces sent to relieve the Korsun pocket in Ukraine are now only 10 miles away.
  • February 14: The Russian 374th Rifle Regiment forms a bridgehead on the western shore of Lake Peipus. The Mereküla Landing Operation of the special unit of the Soviet Baltic Sea Fleet in the rear of the Germans at the Narva front at Mereküla is resisted.
  • February 14: The underground organisation, the National Committee of the Republic of Estonia, is formed in Tallinn.
  • February 14: Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) headquarters are established in Britain by U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • February 14: An anti-Japanese revolt on Java occurs.
  • February 15: The second Battle of Monte Cassino begins with the destruction of the historic Benedictine monastery on Monte Cassino by Allied bombing. The Allies believed the grounds were used as an observation post by the Germans.
  • February 15: The Soviet bridgehead on the west coast of Lake Peipus is annihilated.
  • February 15: Soviet Leningrad Front initiates the Narva Offensive, February 15–28.
  • February 16: Germans launch a major counter-attack at Anzio, threatening the American beachhead.
  • February 16: Germans, with Panzer forces leading, fail to break out of the Korsun pocket.
  • February 16: Diplomats from the USSR and Finland meet to sign an armistice.
  • February 17: American Marines land on Eniwetok.
  • February 18: The light cruiser HMS Penelope is torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Anzio with a loss of 415 crew.
  • February 18: American naval air raid takes place on the Truk islands, a major Japanese naval base, but they will be one of the bypassed fortresses of the Japanese outer defence ring.
  • February 19: Leipzig, Germany is bombed for two straight nights. This marks the beginning of a "Big Week" bombing campaign against German industrial cities by Allied bombers.
  • February 20: A colonial military garrison in Luluabourg in the Belgian Congo mutinies, killing three.
  • February 22: John P. Lucas is replaced as commander of the U.S. VI Corps by Major General Lucian Truscott at Anzio.
  • February 23: US Navy planes attack the Mariana Islands of Saipan, Guam and Tinian.
  • February 26: The "Big Week" bombing campaign comes to a successful conclusion; the American P-51 Mustang fighter with its long range proves invaluable in protecting American bombers over Germany.
  • February 26: Red Air Force continues to bomb Helsinki, as Finland continues peace talks.
  • February 27: USS Cod sinks a Japanese merchant ship by torpedo.
  • February 28: Belgian industrialist Alexandre Galopin is assassinated in occupied Belgium by Flemish paramilitaries.
  • February 29: The Admiralty Islands are invaded by U.S. forces, marked by the Battle of Los Negros and Operation Brewer. The struggle for this important fleet anchorage will continue until May. Rabaul is now completely isolated.
  • March 1: The keels of USS Tarawa and USS Kearsarge are laid down.
  • March 1: Anti-fascist strikes occur in northern Italy.
  • March 1: Leningrad Front initiate the Narva Offensive, March 1–4.
  • March 1: The Allies bomb the Vatican for the 2nd time
  • March 3: German forces around Anzio, having failed to drive the Allies from the beachhead, go over to a defensive posture.
  • March 6: Wingate's Chindits make several successful forays in Burma.
  • March 6: The Soviet Air Force bombs Narva, the city is destroyed. The Leningrad Front initiates the Narva Offensive, March 6–24.
  • March 6: The Allies receive intelligence that the Japanese may be about to attack Western Australia, causing them to greatly bolster defenses there. When no attack comes, forces return to their regular stations on the 20th.
  • March 7: Japanese begin an invasion attempt on India, starting a four-month battle around Imphal.
  • March 8: American forces are attacked by Japanese troops on Hill 700 in the Bougainville; the battle that will last five days.
  • March 8: A Red Army offensive on a wide front west of the Dnieper in the Ukraine forces the Germans into a major retreat.
  • March 9: The Soviet Long Range Aviation carries out an air raid on Tallinn, Estonia. The military objects are almost untouched. Approx. 800 civilians die and 20,000 people are left without a shelter.
  • March 10: The creation of the Political Committee of National Liberation in Greece.
  • March 13: On Bougainville, Japanese troops end their failed assault on American forces at Hill 700.
  • March 15: The third Battle of Monte Cassino begins. The small town of Cassino is destroyed by Allied bombers.
  • March 15: Americans take Manus Island in the Admiralty chain.
  • March 15: The National Council of the French Resistance approves the Resistance programme.
  • March 16: United States XI Corps arrives in Pacific Theater.
  • March 17: Heavy bombing of Vienna, Austria.
  • March 18: The Red Army approaches the Romanian border.
  • March 19: German forces occupy Hungary in Operation Margarethe.
  • March 19: Yugoslav partisans attack Trieste, on the border of Italy and Slovenia.
  • March 20: Red Army advances in the Ukraine continue with great success.
  • March 21: Finland rejects Soviet peace terms.
  • March 22: Japanese forces cross the Indian border all along the Imphal front.
  • March 22: Frankfurt is bombed with heavy civilian losses.
  • March 24: The Fosse Ardeatine massacre in Rome, Italy. 335 Italians are killed, including 75 Jews and over 200 members of various groups in the Italian Resistance; this is a German response to a bomb blast that killed German troops.
  • March 24: Orde Wingate is killed in a plane crash.
  • March 24: Heavy bombings of German cities at various strategic locations last for 24 hours.
  • March 25: Soviet air force bombs the city of Tartu, Estonia.
  • March 26: On Narva front, Strachwitz Offensive destroys part of the Soviet bridgehead.
  • March 28: Japanese troops are in retreat in Burma.
  • March 30: RAF suffers grievous losses in a huge air raid on Nuremberg.
  • April 3: Allied bombers hit Budapest in Hungary, now occupied by the Germans, and Bucharest in Romania, ahead of the advancing Red Army.
  • April 4: General Charles de Gaulle takes command of all Free French forces.
  • April 5: US Air Force bombs Ploesti oil fields in Romania, with heavy losses.
  • April 6: The Japanese drive on the Plain of Imphal, supposedly halted, proves strong enough to surround British forces at Imphal and Kohima, in India.
  • April 8: The Red Army attacks in an attempt to retake all of the Crimea, the Germans retreat westward to Sevastopol.
  • April 10: Soviet forces enter Odessa, Ukraine.
  • April 11: Soviet forces take Kerch, beginning the reconquest of Crimea.
  • April 15: Heavy air raids on Ploesti oil fields (Romania) by both the RAF and the US Air Force.
  • April 16: Soviet forces take Yalta; most of Crimea has been liberated.
  • April 17: Japanese launch Operation Ichi-Go with over 600,000 men in central China. The objective is to conquer areas where American bombers are located. The first phase is the Battle of Central Henan.
  • April 21: The Badoglio government in Italy falls and he is quickly asked to form another.
  • April 21: An Allied air raid on Paris kills a large number of civilians.
  • April 22: Operations Reckless and Persecution: US troops land at Hollandia and Aitape in northern New Guinea to cut off Japanese forces in Wewak.
  • April 24: British troops force open the road from Imphal to Kohima in India.
  • April 25: LTG George Patton suffered yet another controversy setback, when giving a speech at the welcome Center in Knutsford, England. He opined that "the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union" were destined to rule the post-war world. A reporter's story the next day left out Soviet Union, and the Kremlin was offended; Patton was reprimanded by Eisenhower.
  • April 27: The Slapton Sands tragedy: hundreds of American soldiers and sailors are killed over two days in a training exercise in preparation for D-Day at Slapton in Devon.
  • April 30: Vast preparations for D-Day are going on all over southern England.
  • April 30: American navy air raids continue in the Caroline Islands, including Truk.
  • May 6: Heavy Allied bombings of the Continent in preparation for D-Day.
  • May 8: D-Day for Operation Overlord set for 5 June.
  • May 9: Sevastopol in the Crimea is retaken by Soviet forces.
  • May 11: The fourth battle of Monte Cassino begins led by general Anders of the 2nd Polish Corps.
  • May 12: Large numbers of Chinese troops invade northern Burma.
  • May 13: The entirety of Crimea is under Soviet control. Many thousands of German and Romanian soldiers have been captured, but many thousands have been evacuated.
  • May 13: The bridgehead over the Gari River is reinforced.
  • May 15: More than 130 Allied political leaders and military officers, including King George VI, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, GEN Dwight D. Eisenhower, LTG George S. Patton, GEN Bernard L. Montgomery, and LTG John C. H. Lee met for the final joint briefing for D-Day at St. Paul’s School in Hammersmith, west of London, England.
  • May 18: The Battle of Monte Cassino ends in Allied victory. Polish troops of the 2nd Polish Corps led by general Władysław Anders capture Monte Cassino. German troops in west Italy have withdrawn to the Hitler Line.
  • May 18: Allied troops take airfields at Myitkyina, Burma, an important air base; the struggle over the city itself will continue for nearly three months.
  • May 18: The last Japanese resistance in the Admiralty Islands, off New Guinea comes to an end.
  • May 21: Increased Allied bombing of targets in France in preparation for D-Day.
  • May 23: Allies start a new breakout from Anzio.
  • May 25: Allies at Anzio link up with Allies from south Italy. Though Harold Alexander wishes to trap the German Tenth Army, American Fifth Army commander Mark W. Clark orders Truscott to turn north toward Rome. The Germans in Italy form a new defensive position on the Caesar C line.
  • May 27: Operation Horlicks starts, as Americans land on Biak, Dutch New Guinea, a key Japanese air base; stubborn Japanese resistance until August.
  • May 31: The Japanese retreat from Imphal (India) with heavy losses; their invasion of India is over.
  • June 2: The provisional French government is established.
  • June 2: The U.S. begins Operation Frantic with a bombing of Debrecen, Hungary.
  • June 3: There are daily bombings of the Cherbourg peninsula and the Normandy area.
  • June 4: Allies enter Rome, one day after the Germans declared it an open city. German troops fall back to the Trasimene Line.
  • June 4: Operation Overlord is postponed 24 hours due to high seas. German U-505 was captured by US forces, and towed to Bermuda.
  • June 5: Operation Overlord commences when more than 1,000 British bombers drop 5,000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries on the Normandy coast in preparation for D-Day. And the first Allied troops land in Normandy; paratroopers are scattered from Caen southward.
  • June 5: In the Pacific, the U.S. fleet transporting the expeditionary forces for the invasion of Saipan in the Mariana Islands leaves Pearl Harbor.
  • June 6: D-Day begins 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.
  • June 7: Bayeux is liberated by British troops.
  • June 9: No agreement having been reached on their mutual borders, Soviet forces launch an offensive against Finland with the intent of defeating Finland before pushing for Berlin.
  • June 10: At Oradour-sur-Glane (a town near Limoges), France, 642 men, women, and children are killed in a German response to local Resistance activities.
  • June 10: In the Distomo massacre in Greece, 218 civilians are killed.
  • June 12: American aircraft carriers commence air strikes on the Marianas, including Saipan, preparing for invasion.
  • June 13: Germany launches a V1 Flying Bomb attack on England, in Hitler's view a kind of revenge for the invasion. He believes in Germany's victory with this "secret weapon." The V-1 attacks will continue through October, when the last launch site is taken by Allied forces.
  • June 13: The U.S. Naval bombardment of Saipan begins. In response, Admiral Toyoda Soemu, commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy, orders his fleet to attack U.S. Navy forces around Saipan.
  • June 15: U.S. Marine and Army forces invade the island of Saipan. U.S. submarines sight the Japanese fleet en route.
  • June 17: Free French troops land on Elba.
  • June 18: Elba is declared liberated.
  • June 18: Allies capture Assisi, Italy.
  • June 19-20: The Battle of the Philippine Sea, nicknamed the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot by Americans, takes place. The United States Fifth Fleet wins a decisive naval battle over the Imperial Japanese Navy near the Mariana Islands. Over 200 Japanese planes are shot down while the Americans only lose 29 to enemy action.
  • June 19: A severe Channel storm destroys one of the Allies' Mulberry harbours in Normandy.
  • June 19: The Red Army prepares for "Operation Bagration," a huge offensive in Byelorussia (White Russia).
  • June 20: The British take Perugia, Italy.
  • June 20: The Siege of Imphal is lifted after three months.
  • June 21: Allied offensive in Burma.
  • June 22: V-1s continue to hit England, especially London, sometimes with horrifying losses.
  • June 22: Operation Bagration: General attack by Soviet forces to clear the German forces from Belarus This results in the destruction of the German Army Group Centre, possibly the greatest defeat of the Wehrmacht during World War II.
  • June 22: In the Burma Campaign, the Battle of Kohima ends with a British victory.
  • June 23: The National Committee of the Republic of Estonia makes a declaration "to the Estonian People." The declaration was made public to the world press in Stockholm in July 1944 and in Tallinn on 1 August 1944.
  • June 25: The Battle of Tali-Ihantala between Finnish and Soviet troops begins. Largest battle ever to be fought in the Nordic countries.
  • June 26: Cherbourg is liberated by American troops.
  • June 27: San Marino is bombed by the Allies, under the belief that Axis forces had been stationed there
  • July 1: The Leningrad diarist Tanya Savicheva dies of starvation at the age of 14. Her diary of her family's death during the siege becomes famous.
  • July 2: V-1s continue to have devastating effects in South-East England in terms of material destruction and losses of life.
  • July 3: Minsk in Belarus is liberated by Soviet forces.
  • July 3: The Allies find themselves in the "battle of the hedgerows", as they are stymied by the agricultural hedges in Western France which intelligence had not properly evaluated. Various impromptu devices and inventions, often made out of cut-up German "hedgehog" shore defense devices and mounted to Allied tanks, are designed and made to successfully deal with the matter.
  • July 3: Siena, Italy falls to Algerian troops of the French forces.
  • July 6: Largest Banzai charge of the war: 4,300 Japanese troops are slaughtered on Saipan.
  • July 7: Soviet troops enter Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • July 9: After heavy resistance Caen, France is liberated by the British troops on the left flank of the Allied advance.
  • July 9: Saipan is declared secure, the Japanese having lost over 30,000 troops; in the last stages numerous civilians commit suicide with the encouragement of Japanese military.
  • July 10: Japanese are still resisting on New Guinea.
  • July 10: Tokyo is bombed for the first time since the Doolittle raid of April 1942.
  • July 11: President Roosevelt announces that he will run for an unprecedented fourth term as U.S. President.
  • July 12: Hitler rejects General Field Marshal Walther Model’s proposal to withdraw the German forces from Estonia and Northern Latvia and retreat to the Daugava River.
  • July 13: The Soviets take Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • July 13: The Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive begins.
  • July 16: First troops of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (FEB) arrive in Italy.
  • July 17: Field Marshal Rommel is badly wounded when his car is strafed from the air in France.
  • July 18: General Hideki Tojo resigns as chief minister of the Japanese government as the defeats of the Japanese military forces continue to mount. Emperor Hirohito asks General Kuniaki Koiso to form a new government.
  • July 18: St. Lo, France is taken, and the Allied breakout from hedgerow country in Normandy begins.
  • July 19: American forces take Leghorn (Livorno), Italy far up the Italian boot.
  • July 20: The July 20 Plot is carried out by Col. Claus von Stauffenberg in a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. Hitler was visiting headquarters at Rastenburg, East Prussia. Reprisals follow against the plotters and their families, and even include Rommel.
  • July 21: US Marines land on Guam.
  • July 22: Hitler gives permission to retreat from the Narva River to the Tannenberg defence line in the Sinimäed hills 20 km West from Narva.
  • July 23: The Poles rise up against the Germans in the Lwow Uprising.
  • July 24: Marines land on Tinian Island, last of the Marianas (after Saipan and Guam); Tinian will eventually be a B-29 base, and the base from which the atomic bombers departed.
  • July 24: Operation Cobra is now in full swing: the breakout at St. Lo in Normandy with American troops taking Coutances.
  • July 24: At the start of the Soviet Narva Offensive, July 24–30, the Soviet 8th Army is beaten by the Estonian 45th Regiment and East Prussian 44th Regiment. The army detachment "Narwa" begins to retreat to the Tannenberg line.
  • July 24: Majdanek Concentration Camp is liberated by Soviet forces, the first among many. The Soviet Union is now in control of several large cities in Poland, including Lublin.
  • July 24: US bombers mistakenly bomb American troops near St. Lo, France.
  • July 26: The first aerial victory for a jet fighter occurs, with an Me 262 of the Luftwaffe's Ekdo 262 damaging a de Havilland Mosquito reconnaissance aircraft of the Royal Air Force's No. 540 Squadron RAF.
  • July 26: The Leningrad Front's Narva Offensive captures the town.
  • July 27-10 August: Battles on the Tannenberg Line. At the start of the battles there are 25 Estonian and 24 Dutch, Danish and Flemish infantry battalions on the German side at the Narva Front. The artillery forces, and the tank, engineer and other special units are composed mainly of Germans. The attack by the Soviet Armed Forces is stopped, tens of thousands of men are killed in both sides.
  • July 28: The Red Army take Brest-Litovsk, the site of the Russo-German peace treaty in World War I.
  • July 28: The first operational use of the Me 163B Komet rocket fighter occurs by units of JG 400 in defense of the Leuna synthetic fuel facilities, the Third Reich's largest synthetic fuels complex.
  • July 29: A decisive day in the Battle of Narva, allowing the German army detachment "Narwa", including Estonian conscript formations to delay the Soviet Baltic Offensive for another one and a half months.
  • August 1: The Warsaw Uprising, staged by the Polish Home Army, begins: the Polish people rise up, expecting aid from the approaching Soviet Union armies, but it never comes.
  • August 1: The Red Army isolates the Baltic States from East Prussia by taking Kaunas.
  • August 1: The Americans complete the capture of the island of Tinian.
  • August 3: Myitkyina, in northern Burma, falls to the Allies (the Americans and Chinese under Stilwell), after a vigorous defence by the Japanese.
  • August 4: Florence is liberated by the Allies, particularly British and South African troops. Before exiting, the Germans under General Albert Kesselring destroy some historic bridges and historically valuable buildings.
  • August 4: Rennes, France, is liberated by American forces.
  • August 5: Wola massacre: 40-50 thousand civilians murdered by German and collaborating Russian forces in the Wola district of Warsaw.
  • August 5: The Cowra breakout: Japanese POWs escape from an Australian prison near Cowra, New South Wales. Two guards are killed and posthumously awarded the George Cross.
  • August 6: Germans round up young men in Krakow to stop the potential Kraków Uprising (1944).
  • August 6: Ukrainian insurgents kill 42 Polish civilians in the Baligród massacre.
  • August 7: First trials of the bomb conspirators against Hitler begin in a court presided over by notorious Judge Roland Freisler.
  • August 8: Plotters in the bomb plot against Hitler are hanged and their bodies hung on meat hooks. Reprisals against their families continue.
  • August 9: President Roosevelt chooses General Douglas MacArthur's plan to invade the Philippines and turns down Admiral Chester W. Nimitz's plan to invade Taiwan.
  • August 10: Guam is liberated by American troops; all of the Marianas are now in American hands. They will be turned into a major air and naval centre against the Japanese homeland.
  • August 10: USAAF bombers attack Palembang in the Dutch East Indies
  • August 14: The failure of the Allies to close the Falaise pocket in France proves advantageous to the Germans fleeing to the east who escape the pincer movement of the Allies.
  • August 14: A clash between Italian POWs and American servicemen ends in the Fort Lawton Riot
  • August 15: Operation Dragoon begins, marked by amphibious Allied landings in southern France.
  • August 15: The Allies reach the "Gothic Line", the last German strategic position in North Italy.
  • August 18: Following the assassination of a collaborationist politician in Belgium by the resistance, 20 civilians are massacred in Courcelles by paramilitaries in retaliation.
  • August 18: The Red Army reaches the East Prussian border.
  • August 19: The French Resistance begins an uprising in Paris, partly inspired by the Allied approach to the Seine River.
  • August 19: In a radio broadcast, Jüri Uluots, the acting Head of State of Estonia, calls the Estonian conscripts to hold the Soviet Armed Forces back until a peace treaty with Germany is signed.
  • August 20: The Red Army relaunches its offensive into Romania.
  • August 20: 168 Allied airmen arrive at Buchenwald concentration camp.
  • August 21: The Dumbarton Oaks Conference begins, setting up the basic structure of the United Nations.
  • August 22: The Japanese are now in total retreat from India.
  • August 22: German Chancellor Adolf Hitler issued the first of several orders to the German commander of Paris, General Dietrich von Choltitz, to destroy the city.
  • August 23: Romania breaks with the Axis, surrenders to the Soviet Union, and joins the Allies.
  • August 25: Paris is liberated; De Gaulle makes a triumphant speech at the Hotel de la Ville, which is also broadcast nationwide. The German military under Lt. Gen. von Choltitz disobeys Hitler's orders to burn the city and destroy all bridges over the Seine. Meanwhile the southern Allied forces move up from the Riviera, take Grenoble and Avignon.
  • August 26: De Gaulle and the Free French parade triumphantly down the Champs-Élysées under some sniper fire.
  • August 28: The Germans surrender at Toulon and Marseille in southern France.
  • August 28: Patton's tanks cross the Marne.
  • August 29: The anti-German Slovak National Uprising starts in Slovakia.
  • August 30: The Allies enter Rouen, in northwestern France.
  • August 31: American forces turn over the government of France to Free French troops.
  • August 31: The Soviet army enters Bucharest.
  • September 1: Canadian troops capture Dieppe, France.
  • September 2: Allied troops enter Belgium.
  • September 3: Brussels is liberated by the British Second Army.
  • September 3: Lyon is liberated by French and American troops.
  • September 4: A cease fire takes effect between Finland and the USSR.
  • September 4: Operation Outward ends.
  • September 5: Antwerp is liberated by British 11th Armoured Division and local resistance.
  • September 5: The uprising in Warsaw continues.
  • September 5: United States III Corps arrives in European Theater.
  • September 5: The Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourgish governments in exile sign the London Customs Convention, laying the foundations for the Benelux economic union.
  • September 6: The "blackout" is diminished to a "dim-out" as threat of invasion and further bombing seems an unlikely possibility.
  • September 6: Ghent and Liège are liberated by British troops.
  • September 8: Ostend is liberated by Canadian troops.
  • September 8: Soviet troops enter Bulgaria.
  • September 8: The Belgian government in exile returns to Belgium from London where it has spent the war.
  • September 8: The first successful operational use of the German V-2 rocket took place: two were launched at London, and one at Paris. A woman was killed by one that fell on the Chiswick area of London.
  • September 9: Charles de Gaulle forms the Provisional Government of the French Republic in France.
  • September 9: The Fatherland Front of Bulgaria overthrows the national government and declares war on Germany.
  • September 10: Luxembourg is liberated by U.S. First Army.
  • September 10: Two Allied forces meet at Dijon, cutting France in half.
  • September 10: First Allied troops enter Germany, entering Aachen, a city on the border.
  • September 10: Dutch railway workers go on strike. The German response results in the Dutch famine of 1944.
  • September 11: United States XXI Corps arrives in European Theater.
  • September 11: the Air battle over the Ore Mountains (after German attacks on the US bomber formation, accompanying US Mustangs engage the German fighters)
  • September 12: The Second Quebec Conference (codenamed "Octagon") begins: Roosevelt and Churchill discuss military cooperation in the Pacific and the future of Germany.
  • September 13: American troops reach the Siegfried Line, the west wall of Germany's defence system.
  • September 14: Soviet Baltic Offensive commences.
  • September 15: American Marines land on Peleliu in the Palau Islands; a bloody battle of attrition continues for two and a half months.
  • September 15: The Lapland War begins
  • September 16: The Red Army enters Sofia, Bulgaria.
  • September 17: Operation Market Garden, the attempted liberation of Arnhem and turning of the German flank begins.
  • September 17: British and commonwealth forces enter neutral San Marino and engage German forces in a small-scale conflict which ends 20 September.
  • September 18: Brest, France, an important Channel port, falls to the Allies.
  • September 18: Jüri Uluots proclaims the Government of Estonia headed by Deputy Prime Minister Otto Tief.
  • September 19: The Moscow Armistice is signed between the Soviet Union and Finland, bringing the Continuation War to a close.
  • September 19: Nancy liberated by U.S. First Army.
  • September 20: The Government of Estonia seizes the government buildings of Toompea from the German forces and appeals to the Soviet Union for the independence of Estonia.
  • September 20: United States XVI Corps arrives in European Theater.
  • September 21: British forces take Rimini, Italy.
  • September 21: The Second Dumbarton Oaks Conference begins: it will set guidelines for the United Nations.
  • September 21: In Belgium, Charles of Flanders is sworn in as Prince-Regent while a decision is delayed about whether King Leopold III can ever return to his functions after being accused of collaboration.
  • September 21: San Marino declares war on the Axis.
  • September 21: The Government of Estonia prints a few hundred copies of the Riigi Teataja (State Gazette) and is forced to flee under Soviet pressure.
  • September 22: The Red Army takes Tallinn, the first Baltic harbour outside the minefields of the Gulf of Finland.
  • September 22: The Germans surrender at Boulogne.
  • September 23: Americans take Ulithi atoll in the Caroline Islands; it is a massive atoll that will later become an important naval base.
  • September 24: The Red Army is well into Poland at this time.
  • September 25: British troops pull out of Arnhem with the failure of Operation Market Garden. Over 6,000 paratroopers are captured; of the British 1st Airbourne Division, just under 8,000 of the 10,005 paratroopers are declared casualties, a staggering 80% loss. Hopes of an early end to the war are now abandoned.
  • September 25: United States IX Corps arrives in Pacific Theater.
  • September 26: In Caserta, Italy the Greek government in exile concluded an agreement with various guerrilla leaders who acknowledged its authority. There are signs of civil war in Greece as the Communist-controlled National Liberation Front and the British-backed government seem irreconcilable.
  • September 28: Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., dead of a heart attack on 12 July 1944, is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership and actions on D-Day at Utah Beach.
  • September 30: The German garrison in Calais surrenders to Canadian troops. At one time, Hitler thought it would be the focus of the cross-Channel invasion.
  • October 1: A Hungarian delegation arrives in Moscow to negotiate an armistice with the USSR.
  • October 1: Soviet troops enter Yugoslavia.
  • October 2: Germans finally succeed in putting down the Warsaw Uprising by the Polish Home Army.
  • October 2: American troops are now in a full-scale attack on the German "West Wall".
  • October 2: Allied forces land on Crete.
  • October 5: Canadian troops cross the border into the Netherlands.
  • October 5: The Red Army enters Hungary and also launch an offensive to capture Riga, Latvia.
  • October 6: Soviet and Czechoslovak troops enter northeastern Slovakia.
  • October 6: The Battle of Debrecen begins as German and Soviet forces advance against each other in eastern Hungary.
  • October 7: A riot took place at Auschwitz concentration camp when the Sonderkommando Jewish collaborators came to understand that they also were slated for extermination. Over 450 were killed in suppressing the revolt, along with many others who escaped the camp in the melee.
  • October 9: The Moscow Conference (1944) begins: Churchill and Stalin discuss spheres of influence in the postwar Balkans.
  • October 10: The Red Army reach the Niemen River in Prussia and continue the battle around Riga.
  • October 10: The Allied combined forces take Corinth, Greece.
  • October 12: Athens is liberated by the EAM.
  • October 12: US Navy carriers attack Formosa (Taiwan).
  • October 12: United States XXIII Corps Arrives in the European Theater.
  • October 14: British troops enter Athens.
  • October 14: Field Marshal Rommel, under suspicion as one of the "bomb plotters" voluntarily commits suicide to save his family. He is later buried with full military honors.
  • October 15: Hungarian regent Miklós Horthy is overthrown by the Germans, who replace him with Ferenc Szálasi.
  • October 15: Allied bombardment of Aachen continues, the first major battle on German soil.
  • October 16: Red Army forces are attacking German forces in East Prussia.
  • October 18: Hitler orders a call-up of all remaining men from 16 to 60 for Home Guard duties in the Volkssturm Militia.
  • October 20: The Battle of Leyte: U.S. forces land on Leyte, Philippines. MacArthur lands and states: "I have returned".
  • October 20: The Red Army and Yugoslav partisans under the command of Josip Broz Tito liberate Belgrade.
  • October 21: Aachen is occupied by U.S. First Army; it is the first major German city to be captured.
  • October 23-26: The Battle of Leyte Gulf: The United States Third Fleet and the United States Seventh Fleet win a decisive naval battle over the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Philippine Islands.
  • October 23: The Allies recognise General de Gaulle as the head of a provisional government of France.
  • October 23: B-29s are now using Tinian Island, in the Marianas, as a base for the systematic bombing of Japan.
  • October 23: Soviet forces in cooperation with Tito's Partizan forces, liberated Novi Sad in Yugoslavia.
  • October 24: Allied assault forces of Operation Market-Garden begin leaving The Netherlands as other Allied units take their places to hold the Allied line. The relieved forces retreat to Mourmelon to rest and reoutfit in preparation for the surprise Nazi German offensive attack at the Ardennes Forest, known as "The Battle of the Bulge".
  • October 25: Three distinct air engagements in the Battle of Leyte Gulf take place as U.S. Navy carrier-based planes destroy many Japanese ships in the waters off the Philippines.
  • October 25: Romania is fully liberated by Red Army and Romanian troops.
  • October 27: The Battle of Hürtgen Forest is developing. It will continue through October and November and have its last attacks in December.
  • November 1: British forces occupy Salonika, Greece, and distribute food in Athens, which is experiencing famine.
  • November 1: "Operation Infatuate", an Allied attempt to free the approaches to Antwerp begins; amphibious landings take place on Walcheren Island.
  • November 2: Canadian troops take Zeebrugge in Belgium; Belgium is now entirely liberated.
  • November 4: Remaining Axis forces withdraw from the Greek mainland. German occupation forces will remain in several Greek islands until capitulation.
  • November 4: British Gen. John Dill dies in Washington, D.C., and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, the only foreigner to be so honored at the time.
  • November 5: US planes bomb Singapore.
  • November 5: The aircraft carrier USS Lexington is heavily damaged by kamikaze attacks.
  • November 7: Franklin Delano Roosevelt wins an unprecedented, unrepeated fourth term as U.S. president.
  • November 9: General Patton's troops and tanks cross the Moselle River and threaten Metz.
  • November 10: V-2 rockets continue to hit Britain, at the rate of about eight a day.
  • November 12: After numerous bombings while anchored in a fjord at Tromsø, Norway, the German battleship Tirpitz is sunk.
  • November 17: The Germans give up Tirana, Albania which is liberated by local partisans.
  • November 20: Hitler leaves his wartime headquarters at Rastenberg, East Prussia, never to return; he goes to Berlin, where he will soon establish himself at the bunker.
  • November 23: Metz, France is taken, and Strasbourg, in eastern France, is liberated by French troops.
  • November 24: The first B-29 originating from Tinian, in the Marianas, raids Tokyo.
  • November 25: Japanese take Nanning in south China, as the war in that theatre continues.
  • November 25: The USS Intrepid is hit by kamikazes for the third time; other American ships are heavily damaged.
  • November 26: The war in Italy is at a stalemate, partly because of heavy rains.
  • November 26: Heinrich Himmler orders the crematoriums and gas chambers of Auschwitz II-Birkenau dismantled and blown up.
  • November 28: Antwerp is now a major supply port for the onward moving Allies.
  • November 30: Kunming, China, an important air base, is threatened by Japanese attacks.
  • November 30: United States XXII Corps arrives in European Theater.
  • November 30: The Thiaroye Massacre begins in French West Africa
  • December 3: The British army and the police shot unarmed protestors in Athens; the crowd carried Greek, American, British and Soviet flags, and chanted: "Viva Churchill, Viva Roosevelt, Viva Stalin’"
  • December 3: The Dekemvriana ("December events") begin in the Greek capital, Athens, between members of the leftist National Liberation Front and government forces, backed by the British. The clashes are limited to Athens, however, and the rest of the country remains relatively tranquil.
  • December 3: The British Home Guard is stood down.
  • December 5: The Allies are now in control of Ravenna, Italy.
  • December 8: The softening-up bombardment of Iwo Jima begins.
  • December 14: Japanese defenders in Palawan in the Philippines kill over 100 American POWs in the Palawan Massacre.
  • December 14: Units of Air Group 80 from USS Ticonderoga flew seven strikes against Japanese positions in northern Luzon in the Philippines.
  • December 15: Americans and Filipinos land troops at Mindoro island in the Philippines.
  • December 15: Bandleader and US Army Major Glenn Miller went missing as his single-engine transport was crossing the English Channel; he was headed to Paris to work out arrangements to entertain troops in France.
  • December 16: The Battle of the Bulge begins as German forces attempt a breakthrough in the Ardennes region. The main object of Hitler's plan is the retaking of Antwerp.
  • December 17: The Malmedy massacre: SS troops execute 84 American prisoners in the Ardennes offensive. The SS troops are led by SS commander Joachim Peiper.
  • December 17: Typhoon Cobra hits the Third Fleet of Admiral Halsey; three destroyers capsize and almost 800 lives are lost.
  • December 18: Bastogne, an important crossroads, is surrounded.
  • December 22: The battle for Bastogne is at its height, with soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division running low on ammunition, food and other vital supplies. Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe's famous "Nuts!" reply is sent to German commanders at Bastogne demanding surrender; the news of the message serves to bolster morale of the Allied troops.
  • December 23: The skies clear over the Ardennes, permitting Allied aircraft to begin their attacks on the German offensive, the one factor that Hitler feared in his planning.
  • December 24: The American counter-attack at the "Bulge" begins.
  • December 24: The Belgian transport ship SS Leopoldville is sunk off the coast of France. More than 800 lives, predominantly those of American servicemen, are lost.
  • December 24: Manchester is attacked by V1 flying bombs
  • December 26: The siege of Bastogne is broken by Patton's Third Army tanks, and with it the Ardennes offensive collapses into failure.
  • December 26: Racial tensions within the US military boil over into the Agana race riot on Guam.
  • December 28: Churchill and his Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden are in Athens in an attempt to reconcile the warring factions.
  • December 29: Soviet troops begin the Siege of Budapest.
  • December 31: The Soviet-backed Hungarian Provisional Government declares war on Germany.

1945

  • January 1: The Germans begin a surprise offensive (Operation Nordwind) in northern Alsace.
  • January 1: Unternehmen Bodenplatte (Operation Baseplate) is launched by the Luftwaffe against western Allied air bases in Belgium and Holland by elements of ten different Jagdgeschwadern (fighter wings), as its last major air offensive of the war in the West.
  • January 1: American troops kill dozens of German POWs at Chenogne
  • January 2: 46 American B-29 bombers based near Calcutta, India attacked a railroad bridge near Bangkok, Thailand and other targets in the area.
  • January 2: The Japanese increasingly use kamikaze tactics against the US naval forces nearby.
  • January 3: The Allies take the offensive east of the Bulge but they fail to close the pincers (which might have surrounded large numbers of Germans) with Patton's tanks.
  • January 4: US navy air attacks on Formosa (Taiwan)
  • January 5: The German offensive Nordwind crosses the border into Alsace.
  • January 5: Japanese retreat across the Irrawaddy River in Burma with General Slim's troops in pursuit.
  • January 6: American B-29s bomb Tokyo again.
  • January 7: Germans, as part of the plan to retake Strasbourg, break out of the "Colmar Pocket", a bridgehead on the Rhine, and head east.
  • January 8: The battle of Strasbourg is underway, with Americans in defence of their recent acquisition.
  • January 9: Americans land on Luzon. There are more kamikaze attacks on the American navy.
  • January 11: The first convoy moves on the Ledo Road (or "Stilwell" road) in northern Burma, linking India and China.
  • January 12: The East Prussian Offensive, a major Red Army offensive in East Prussia, begins on January 13th.
  • January 13: 1st Byelorussian Front launched its winter offensive towards Pillkallen, East Prussia, meeting heavy resistance from the German 3rd Panzer Army.
  • January 14: British forces clear the Roer Triangle during Operation Blackcock; it is an area noted for its industrial dams.
  • January 15: Hitler is now firmly ensconced in the Führerbunker in Berlin with his companion Eva Braun.
  • January 15: The British commander in Athens, General Ronald Scobie, accepts a request for a ceasefire from the Greek People's Liberation Army. This marks the end of the Dekemvriana, resulting in clear defeat for the Greek Left.
  • January 16: The U.S. First and Third Armies link up following the Battle of the Bulge.
  • January 17: Warsaw is entered by Red Army troops. A government favourable to the Communists is installed.
  • January 17: It is announced officially that the Battle of the Bulge is at an end.
  • January 19: Hitler orders that any retreats of divisions or larger units must be approved by him.
  • January 20: The Red Army advances into East Prussia. Germans renew the retreat.
  • January 20: Franklin D. Roosevelt is sworn in for a fourth term as U.S. President; Harry Truman is sworn in as Vice President.
  • January 23: German jurist and anti-Nazi activist Helmuth James von Moltke was hanged for treason in Berlin.
  • January 24: The Battle of Poznań began for the German-occupied stronghold city of Poznań in Poland.
  • January 25: The American navy bombards Iwo Jima in preparation for an invasion.
  • January 25: The Allies officially win the Battle of the Bulge.
  • January 27: Auschwitz concentration camp is entered by Soviet troops.
  • January 28: The Red Army completes the occupation of Lithuania.
  • January 30: The Malta Conference (1945) began with Winston Churchill meeting with the Combined Chiefs of Staff on the Island of Malta in the Mediterranean to plan the end of WWII in both Theaters, and to discuss the ramifications of the Soviets now controlling most of Eastern Europe. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would join the Conference for one day on 2 February 1945; both would fly to Yalta on 3 February for the Yalta Conference with Stalin.
  • January 31: The Red Army crosses the Oder River into Germany and are now less than 50 miles from Berlin.
  • January 31: A second invasion on Luzon by Americans lands on the west coast.
  • January 31: The whole Burma Road is now opened as the Ledo Road linkage with India is complete.
  • February 1: Ecuador declares war on Germany and Japan.
  • February 2: Naval docks at Singapore are destroyed by B-29 attacks.
  • February 3: The Battle of Manila (1945) begins: Forces of the U.S. and Philippines enter Manila. The Manila massacre takes place during the fighting.
  • February 3: Heavy bombing of Berlin. Judge Roland Friesler is killed while trying to save court documents.
  • February 4: The Yalta Conference of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin begins; the main subject of their discussions is postwar spheres of influence.
  • February 4: Belgium is now cleared of all German forces.
  • February 8: Paraguay declares war on Germany and Japan.
  • February 9: The Colmar Pocket, the last German foothold west of the Rhine, is eliminated by the French 1st Army.
  • February 12: Peru declares war on Germany and Japan.
  • February 13: The Battle of Budapest ends with Soviet victory, after a long defense by the Germans.
  • February 13-14: The bombing of Dresden takes place; it is firebombed by Allied air forces and large parts of the historic city are destroyed.
  • February 14: The 1945 Bombing of Prague: American planes bomb the wrong city.
  • February 15: Venezuela declares war on Germany and Japan.
  • February 16: American paratroopers and Philippine Commonwealth troops land on Corregidor Island, in Manila Bay. Once the scene of the last American resistance in early 1942, it is now the scene of Japanese resistance.
  • February 16: American naval vessels bombard Tokyo and Yokohama.
  • February 19: U.S. Marines invade Iwo Jima.
  • February 22: Operation Clarion, a massive bombing of German rail and other transport infrastructure by approximately 9,000 U.S. and British aircraft takes place, carrying over into 23 February.
  • February 23: U.S. Marines raise the American flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.
  • February 23: Turkey declares war on Germany and Japan.
  • February 23: In the Philippines, U.S. Army forces staged the Raid on Los Baños freeing 2147 Allied military and civilian prisoners from the Japanese.
  • February 24: Egypt declares war on the Axis. Moments after making this Declaration before Parliament, Prime Minister Ahmad Maher Pasha is assassinated.
  • February 25: Taking off on the 24th, a US B-29 incendiary raid on Tokyo, Japan takes place.
  • February 26: Syria declares war on Germany and Japan.
  • February 26: After ten days of fighting, American and Filipino troops recapture Corregidor.
  • February 28: A Philippine government is established.
  • February 28: U.S. and Filipino forces invade Palawan, an island of the Philippines.
  • March 3: Manila is fully liberated.
  • March 3: Battle of Meiktila, Burma comes to an end with General Slim's troops overwhelming the Japanese; the road to Rangoon is now cleared.
  • March 3: The Allies attempted to destroy V-2s and launching equipment near The Hague by a large-scale bombardment, but due to navigational errors the Bezuidenhout quarter was destroyed, killing 511 Dutch civilians.
  • March 4: Finland declares war on Germany, backdated to September 15, 1944.
  • March 6: Germans launch an offensive against Soviet forces in Hungary.
  • March 7: The Battle of Remagen: When German troops fail to dynamite the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine, the U.S. First Army captures the bridge and begins crossing the river. The Army also takes Cologne, Germany.
  • March 7: Germans begin to evacuate Danzig.
  • March 8: Private Karl Hulten, an Army Airborne Regiment deserter, was hanged in an English prison for a flurry of crimes ending in what came to be called the Cleft chin murder.
  • March 9: The US firebombs Tokyo (the attack was code-named Operation Meetinghouse), with heavy civilian casualties.
  • March 9: Amid rumours of a possible American invasion, Japanese overthrow the Vichy French Jean Decoux Government which had been operating independently as the colonial government of Vietnam: they proclaim an "independent" Empire of Vietnam, with Emperor Bảo Đại as nominal ruler. Premier Trần Trọng Kim forms the first Vietnamese government.
  • March 10: Japanese Fu-Go balloon bombs damage the Manhattan Project's Hanford Site in Washington State slightly, but cause no lasting effects.
  • March 11: Nagoya, Japan is firebombed by hundreds of B-29s.
  • March 15: V-2 rockets continue to hit England and Belgium.
  • March 16: The German offensive in Hungary ends with another Soviet victory.
  • March 16: Iwo Jima is finally secured after a month's fighting, in the war's only Marine battle where the number of American casualties is larger than the Japanese's. Sporadic fighting will continue as isolated Japanese fighters emerge from caves and tunnels.
  • March 18: Red Army approaches Danzig (postwar Gdańsk).
  • March 19: Heavy bombing of important naval bases in Japan, Kobe and Kure.
  • March 19: Deutsch Schutzen massacre occurs, in which 60 Jews are killed.
  • March 20: German General Gotthard Heinrici replaces Heinrich Himmler as commander of Army Group Vistula, the army group directly opposing the Soviet advance towards Berlin.
  • March 20: Mandalay liberated by Indian 19th Infantry Division.
  • March 20: Tokyo is firebombed again.
  • March 20: Patton's troops capture Mainz, Germany.
  • March 21: British air raid on a Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, in support of the Danish resistance movement takes place.
  • March 22-23: US and British forces cross the Rhine at Oppenheim.
  • March 23: By this time it is clear that Germany is under attack from all sides.
  • March 24: Operation Varsity, an Anglo-American-Canadian assault under Montgomery crossed the Rhine at Wesel.
  • March 27: The Western Allies slow their advance and allow the Red Army to take Berlin.
  • March 28: Argentina declares war on Germany, the last Western hemisphere country to do so; its policies for sheltering escaping Nazis are also coming under scrutiny. Argentina had not declared war before due to British wishes that Argentine shipping be neutral (and therefore Argentine foodstuffs would reach Britain unharmed), this, however, went against the plan of the USA, who applied much political pressure on Argentina.
  • March 29: The Red Army enters Austria. Other Allies take Frankfurt; the Germans are in a general retreat all over the centre of the country.
  • March 30: Red Army forces capture Danzig.
  • March 31: General Eisenhower broadcasts a demand for the Germans to surrender.
  • April 1: U.S. troops start Operation Iceberg, which is the Battle of Okinawa. It would have been a leaping off base for a mainland invasion.
  • April 1: Americans retake Legaspi, Albay in the Philippines.
  • April 2: Soviets launch the Vienna Offensive against German forces in and around the Austrian capital city.
  • April 2: German armies are surrounded in the Ruhr region.
  • April 4: Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic, is overrun by advancing Soviet forces. The remaining members of Prime Minister Jozef Tiso's pro-German government flee to Austria.
  • April 4: The Ohrdruf death camp is liberated by the Allies.
  • April 6: The Spring 1945 offensive in Italy begins in northern Italy.
  • April 7: The Japanese battleship Yamato is sunk in the north of Okinawa as the Japanese make their last major naval operation.
  • April 9: The Battle of Königsberg ends in a Soviet victory.
  • April 9: A heavy bombing at Kiel by the RAF destroys the last two major German warships.
  • April 9: Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer is executed at Flossenburg prison.
  • April 10: Buchenwald concentration camp is liberated by American forces.
  • April 11: Japanese kamikaze attacks on American naval ships continue at Okinawa; the carrier Enterprise and the battleship Missouri are hit.
  • April 11: Spain breaks off diplomatic relations with Japan.
  • April 12: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies suddenly. Harry S. Truman becomes president of the United States.
  • April 13: The Vienna Offensive ends with a Soviet victory.
  • April 13: Gardelegen Massacre takes place. Over 1000 slave laborers were closed in a barn which then was set on fire. It was one of the last massacres on civil population perpetrated by Germans. Just few hours later, American troops captured Gardelegen
  • April 14: Large-scale firebombing of Tokyo.
  • April 15: Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is liberated by the British Army.
  • April 16: The Battle of the Seelow Heights and the Battle of the Oder-Neisse begin as the Soviets continue to advance towards the city of Berlin.
  • April 18: Ernie Pyle, famed war correspondent for the GIs, is killed by a sniper on Ie Shima, a small island near Okinawa.
  • April 19: Switzerland closes its borders with Germany (and the former Austria).
  • April 19: Allies continue their sweep toward the Po Valley.
  • April 19: The Soviet advance towards the city of Berlin continues and soon reaches the suburbs.
  • April 20: Hitler celebrates his 56th birthday in the bunker in Berlin; reports are that he is in an unhealthy state, nervous, and depressed.
  • April 21: Soviet forces under Georgiy Zhukov's (1st Belorussian Front), Konstantin Rokossovskiy's (2nd Belorussian Front) and Ivan Konev's (1st Ukrainian Front) launch assaults on the German forces in and around the city of Berlin in the opening stages of the Battle of Berlin.
  • April 21: Hitler orders SS-General Felix Steiner to attack the 1st Belorussian Front and destroy it. The ragtag units of "Army Detachment Steiner" are not fully manned.
  • April 22: Hitler is informed late in the day that, with the approval of Gotthard Heinrici, Steiner's attack was never launched. Instead, Steiner's forces were authorised to retreat. In response, Hitler launches 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 culminates in an oath to stay in Berlin to head up the defence of the city. Hitler orders General Walther Wenck to attack towards Berlin with the Twelfth Army, link up with the Ninth Army of General Theodor Busse, and relieve the city. Wenck launched an attack, but it will come to nothing.
  • April 23: Hermann Göring sends a radiogram to Hitler's bunker, asking to be declared Hitler's successor. He proclaims that if he gets no response by 10 PM, he will assume Hitler is incapacitated and assume leadership of the Reich. Furious, Hitler strips him of all his offices and expels him from the Nazi Party.
  • April 23: Albert Speer makes one last visit to Hitler, informing him that he (Speer) ignored the Nero Decree for scorched earth.
  • April 24: Himmler, ignoring the orders of Hitler, makes a secret surrender offer to the Allies, (led by Count Folke Bernadotte, head of the Red Cross), provided that the Red Army is not involved. The offer is rejected; when Hitler hears of the betrayal on the 28th, he orders Himmler shot.
  • April 24: Forces of the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front link up in the initial encirclement of Berlin.
  • April 24: Allies encircle the last German armies near Bologna, and the Italian war in effect comes to an end.
  • April 25: Elbe Day: First contact between Soviet and American troops at the river Elbe, near Torgau in Germany.
  • April 26: Hitler summons Field Marshal Robert Ritter von Greim from Munich to Berlin to take over command of the Luftwaffe from Göring. While flying into Berlin, von Greim is seriously wounded by Soviet anti-aircraft fire.
  • April 27: The encirclement of German forces in Berlin is completed by the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front.
  • April 27: Last German formations withdraw to Norway from Finland and the Lapland War ends; the Finnish flag is raised at the three-country cairn in celebration.
  • April 28: Head of State for the Italian Social Republic, Benito Mussolini, heavily disguised, is captured in northern Italy while trying to escape. Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci, are shot and hanged in Milan the next day. Other members of his puppet government are also executed by Italian partisans and their bodies put on display in Milan.
  • April 29: Dachau concentration camp is liberated by the U.S. 7th Army.
  • April 29: All forces in Italy officially surrender and a ceasefire is declared.
  • April 29: Allied air forces commence Operations Manna and Chowhound, providing food aid to the Netherlands under a truce made with occupying German forces.
  • April 29: Hitler marries his companion Eva Braun.
  • April 30: Hitler and his wife commit suicide with a combination of poison and a gunshot. Before he dies, he dictates his last will and testament. In it Joseph Goebbels is appointed Reich Chancellor and Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz is appointed Reich President.
  • May 1: German General Hans Krebs negotiates the surrender of the city of Berlin with Soviet General Vasily Chuikov. Chuikov, as commander of the Soviet 8th Guards Army, commands the Soviet forces in central Berlin. Krebs is not authorized by Reich Chancellor Goebbels to agree to an unconditional surrender, so his negotiations with Chuikov end with no agreement.
  • May 1: Goebbels and his wife murder their children and commit suicide.
  • May 1: Yugoslavian Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito and his troops capture Trieste, Italy. New Zealand troops play a supporting role.
  • May 1: The war in Italy is over but some German troops are still not accounted for.
  • May 1: Australian troops land on Tarakan island off the coast of Borneo
  • May 2: Soviet forces capture the Reichstag building and install the Soviet flag.
  • May 2: The Battle of Berlin ends when German General Helmuth Weidling, commander of the Berlin Defence Area, (and no longer bound by Goebbels's commands), unconditionally surrenders the city of Berlin to Soviet General Vasily Chuikov.
  • May 3: Rangoon is liberated.
  • May 3: The German cruiser Admiral Hipper is scuttled, having been hit heavily by the RAF in April.
  • May 3: Éamon de Valera, Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, offers regrets for Hitler's death to German officialdom.
  • May 4: Karl Dönitz orders all U-boats to cease operations.
  • May 4: German troops in Denmark, Northern Germany and The Netherlands surrender to Montgomery.
  • May 4: Neuengamme concentration camp is liberated.
  • May 5: Formal negotiations for Germany's surrender begin at Reims, France.
  • May 5: Czech resistance fighters begin the Prague uprising and the Soviets begin the Prague Offensive.
  • May 5: German troops in the Netherlands officially surrender; Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands accepts the surrender.
  • May 5: Mauthausen concentration camp is liberated.
  • May 5: Kamikazes have major successes off Okinawa.
  • May 5: Japanese fire balloons claim their first and only lives—a Sunday school group in Bly, Oregon.
  • May 6: German soldiers open fire on a crowd celebrating the liberation of the Netherlands in Dam Square. At the brink of peace, 120 people were badly injured and 22 pronounced dead.
  • May 6: This date marks the last fighting for American troops in Europe.
  • May 7: Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies at the Western Allied Headquarters in Rheims, France at 2:41 a.m. In accordance with orders from Reich President Karl Dönitz, General Alfred Jodl signs for Germany.
  • May 6: Hermann Göring, for a while in the hands of the SS, surrenders to the Americans. Elements of Task Force Smythe, U.S. 80th ID in Austria, fire last shots of the war in Europe when 80th Recon Platoon is strafed by 2 German planes and returns fire causing one plane to leave trailing smoke.
  • May 8: Victory in Europe Day: The ceasefire takes effect at one minute past midnight.
  • May 8: In accordance with Dönitz's orders, Colonel-General Carl Hilpert unconditionally surrenders his troops in the Courland Pocket.
  • May 8: Germany surrenders again unconditionally to the Soviet Union army but this time in a ceremony hosted by the Soviet Union. In accordance with orders from Dönitz, General Wilhelm Keitel signs for Germany.
  • May 8: The remaining members of President Jozef Tiso's pro-German Slovak Republic capitulates to the American General Walton Walker's XX Corps in Kremsmünster, Austria.
  • May 8: The Prague uprising ends with negotiated surrender with Czech resistance which allowed the Germans in Prague to leave the city.
  • May 8: In order to disarm the Japanese in Vietnam, 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 Indochina. Their request is granted.
  • May 9: The Soviet Union officially pronounces May 9 as Victory Day.
  • May 9: The Red Army enters Prague.
  • May 9: The German garrison in the Channel Islands agree to unconditional surrender.
  • May 9: German troops on Bornholm surrender to Soviet troops.
  • May 11: The Soviets capture Prague, the last European capital to be liberated. Eisenhower stops Patton from participating in the liberation.
  • May 11: German Army Group Centre in Czechoslovakia surrenders.
  • May 11: War in New Guinea continues, with Australians attacking Wewak.
  • May 14: Nagoya, Japan, is heavily bombed.
  • May 14: Fighting in the southern Philippines continues.
  • May 14–15: The Battle of Poljana begins and ends.
  • May 20: The Georgian Uprising of Texel ends, concluding all World War II conflicts in the Netherlands.
  • May 23: British forces capture and arrest 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.
  • May 23: Heavy bombing of Yokohama, an important port and naval base.
  • May 23: Heinrich Himmler, head of the notorious SS, dies of suicide via cyanide pill.
  • May 25: The Battle of Odžak ends, concluding all World War II conflicts in Yugoslavia and Europe.
  • May 29: Fighting breaks out in Syria and Lebanon, as nationalists demand freedom from French control.
  • June 2: Air Group 87 aircraft from USS Ticonderoga strike airfields on Kyushu, Japan, in an attempt to stop special attack aircraft from taking off.
  • June 5: The Allies agree to divide Germany into four areas of control (American, British, French and Soviet).
  • June 5: The U.S. fleet under William Halsey, Jr., suffers widespread damage from a huge Pacific typhoon.
  • June 10: Australian troops land in Brunei.
  • June 11: Schiermonnikoog, a Dutch island, is the last part of Europe freed by Allied troops.
  • June 13: The Australians capture Brunei.
  • June 15: Osaka, Japan, is heavily bombed.
  • June 16: The Japanese are in a general retreat in central China.
  • June 17: Japanese Admiral Ota Minoru commits ritual suicide for failing to defend Okinawa, Japan.
  • June 19: The United Kingdom begins demobilization.
  • June 21: The defeat of the Japanese on Okinawa is now complete.
  • June 26: The United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco.
  • June 27: The first oil pump is restored at Tarakan Island.
  • July 1: Australian troops land at Balikpapan, Borneo in the Western Allies' last major land operation of the war.
  • July 5: General Douglas MacArthur announces that the Philippines have been liberated.
  • July 6: Norway declares war on Japan.
  • July 10: US Navy aircraft participate in attacks on Tokyo for the first time.
  • July 14: Italy declares war on Japan.
  • July 16: The U.S. conducts the Trinity test at Alamogordo, New Mexico, the first test of a nuclear weapon.
  • July 17: The Potsdam Conference begins under British Prime Minister Churchill, Soviet Prime Minister Stalin and U.S. President Truman. The Allied leaders agree to insist upon the unconditional surrender of Japan.
  • July 22: America and Japan engage in a small bloodless skirmish in the Battle of Tokyo Bay. The Japanese take slight losses
  • July 24: Truman hints at the Potsdam Conference that the United States has nuclear weapons.
  • July 24: British and Americans commence the Bombing of Kure.
  • July 26: The Labour Party win the British general election by a landslide. Clement Attlee replaces Churchill as British Prime Minister and immediately flies to the negotiating table at Potsdam. The Potsdam Declaration is issued.
  • July 28: The Japanese battleships Haruna and Ise are sunk by aircraft from US Task Force 38 while in shallow anchorage at Kure Naval Base.
  • July 30: The USS Indianapolis is sunk shortly after midnight by a Japanese submarine after having delivered atomic bomb material to Tinian. Because of poor communications, the ship's whereabouts are unknown for some time and many of its men drown or are attacked by sharks in the next four days.
  • July 31: U.S. conducts air attacks on the cities of Kobe and Nagoya in Japan.
  • August 1: Ukrainian insurgents attack the police station in Baligrod, Poland. Polish soldiers defend the station, driving off the attackers, who torch several houses as they retreat
  • August 2: End of the Potsdam Conference: Issues such as the expulsion of Germans from the eastern quarter of Germany and elsewhere in eastern Europe are mandated in the Potsdam Agreement.
  • August 6: The B-29 bomber Enola Gay drops the first atomic bomb "Little Boy" on Hiroshima.
  • August 8: The Soviet Union declares war on Japan; the Soviet invasion of Manchuria begins about an hour later which includes landings on the Kuril Islands. The Japanese have been evacuating in anticipation of this.
  • August 9: The B-29 bomber Bockscar drops the second atomic bomb "Fat Man" on Nagasaki.
  • August 14: Japanese military personnel and right-wingers attempt to overthrow their government and prevent the inevitable surrender.
  • August 14: The last day of United States Force combat actions. All units are frozen in place.
  • August 15: Emperor Hirohito issues a radio broadcast announcing the Surrender of Japan; though the surrender seems to be "unconditional", the Emperor's status is still open for discussion.
  • August 15: Victory over Japan Day celebrations take place worldwide.
  • August 16: Emperor Hirohito issues an Imperial Rescript ordering Japanese forces to cease fire.
  • August 17: Indonesia declares independence from Japan.
  • August 17: General Order No. 1 for the surrender of Japan is approved by President Truman.
  • August 19: At a spontaneous non-communist meeting in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh assume a leading role in the movement to wrest power from the French. With the Japanese still in control of Indochina in the interim, Bảo Đại goes along because he thought that the Viet Minh were still working with the American OSS and could guarantee independence for Vietnam. Later, Ho Chi Minh's guerrillas occupy Hanoi and proclaim a provisional government.
  • August 19: Hostilities between Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Communists break into the open.
  • August 22: Japanese armies surrender to the Red Army in Manchuria.
  • August 27: Japanese armies in Burma surrender at Rangoon ceremonies.
  • August 30: Royal Navy force under Rear-Admiral Cecil Harcourt liberates Hong Kong.
  • August 31: General MacArthur takes over command of the Japanese government in Tokyo.
  • September 2: The Japanese Instrument of Surrender is signed on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
  • September 2: The commander of the Imperial Japanese Army General Tomoyuki Yamashita surrenders to Filipino and American troops at Kiangan, Ifugao in Northern Philippines.
  • September 2: Ho Chi Minh issues his Proclamation of Independence, drawing heavily upon the American Declaration of Independence from a copy provided by the Office of Strategic Services. Ho declares himself president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and pursues American recognition but is repeatedly ignored by President Truman.
  • September 4: The last German troops surrender on Svalbard
  • September 5: Singapore is officially liberated by British and Indian troops.
  • September 6: The US Initial Post-Surrender Policy for Japan, which governs US policy in the occupation of Japan, is approved by Truman.
  • September 9: The Japanese troops in China formally surrender, end of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
  • September 12: Japanese rule of Korea ends after Governor General Nobuyuki Abe stands down.
  • September 13: British forces under Major-General Douglas Gracey's 20th Indian Division, some 26,000 men in all, arrive in Saigon to disarm and accept the surrender of the Japanese Occupation Forces in Vietnam south of the 16th parallel. 180,000 Chinese Nationalist soldiers, mainly poor peasants, arrive in Hanoi to disarm and accept surrender north of the line. After looting Vietnamese villages during their entire march down from China, they then proceed to loot Hanoi.
  • September 16: The Japanese garrison in Hong Kong officially signs the instrument of surrender.
  • September 22: The British rearm 1,400 French soldiers from Japanese internment camps around Saigon. In Saigon, on the night of 24 September, a mob composed of Viet-Minh militants and sympathizers attacks French colonial administration and kills around 150 European civilians. An estimated 20,000 French civilians live in Saigon.
  • September 29: US General Robert Milchrist Cannon accepts the surrender of arms from Japanese Navy and Army soldiers on the islands of Miyako and Ishigaki at Sakishima Gunto.