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1918

  • October 29: Start of the German Revolution.
  • November 11: The Armistice with Germany marks the end of World War I.
  • December 27: Start of the Greater Poland Uprising against German rule.

1919

  • January 4 - 15: The Spartacist uprising takes place and is crushed by the German government, marking the end of the German Revolution.
  • January 18: Opening of the Paris Peace Conference to negotiate peace treaties between the belligerents of World War I.
  • February: The Polish-Soviet War begins with border clashes between the two states.
  • March 2: Foundation of the Third International, or Comintern in Moscow. Comintern's stated aim is to create a global Soviet republic.
  • March 12: The Austrian Constituent National Assembly demands Austria's integration to Germany.
  • May 15: The Turkish War of Independence begins as Greek troops land in Smyrna.
  • June 28: Germany and the Allied powers sign the Treaty of Versailles after six months of negotiations. The German armed forces are limited in size to 100,000 personnel and Germany is ordered to pay large reparations for war damages. The United States signed the treaty but did not ratify it, later making a separate peace treaty with Germany.
  • July: An unknown corporal (Gefreiter) named Adolf Hitler, a Verbindungsmann (spy) for an Aufklärungskommando (reconnaissance unit) of the Reichswehr's (army) Education and Propaganda Department (Dept Ib/P) in Bavaria, is assigned to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the what was to become the Nazi Party.
  • September 10: German Austria signs the Treaty of Saint-Germain. The peace treaty with the Allies regulates the borders of Austria, forbids union with Germany and German Austria has to change its name to Austria. The United States did not ratify the treaty and later makes a separate peace treaty with Austria.
  • November 27: Bulgaria signs the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine. The peace treaty with the Allies regulates the borders of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian army is reduced to 20,000 men and Bulgaria is ordered to pay war reparations.

1920

  • January 10: Creation of the Free City of Danzig which was neither approved by Germany nor Poland.
  • January 21: The Paris Peace Conference comes to an end with the inaugural General Assembly of the League of Nations. Although one of the victors of World War I, the United States never joins the League.
  • March: The failed Kapp Putsch takes place against the German government. The German military remains passive and the putsch is defeated by a general strike.
    The German Ruhr Uprising, spurred by the general strike against the Kapp Putsch, is crushed by the German military
  • June 4: Hungary signs the Treaty of Trianon with the Allied powers. The treaty regulated the status of an independent Hungarian state and defined its borders. The United States did not ratify the treaty and later makes a separate peace treaty with Hungary.
  • August 10: Turkey signs the Treaty of Sèvres with the Allied powers (except the US never declared war on Turkey). The treaty partitions the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish armed forces are reduced in size. Greece did not accept the borders as drawn up in the treaty and did not sign it. The Treaty of Sèvres was annulled in the course of the Turkish War of Independence and the parties signed and ratified the superseding Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
  • October: Żeligowski's Mutiny, a Polish force led by General Lucjan Żeligowski capture Vilnius, officially without support from the Polish state
  • November: Franklin D. Roosevelt is defeated for the office of Vice President of the United States by Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge.

1921

  • March: The Polish–Soviet War ends with the Peace of Riga.
  • August 25: The U.S.–German Peace Treaty and the U.S.–Austrian Peace Treaty are signed, marking the formal end of the state of war between the two states and the United States instead of the Treaty of Versailles and the Treaty of Saint-Germain that were not ratified by the United States.
  • August 29: The U.S.–Hungarian Peace Treaty is signed, marking the formal end of the state of war between the two states instead of the Treaty of Trianon that was not ratified by the United States.

1922

  • February 6: The Washington Naval Conference ends with the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty by the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, France, and Italy. The signing parties agree to limit the size of their naval forces.
  • April 16: Germany and the Soviet Union sign the Treaty of Rapallo, re-establishing diplomatic relations, renouncing financial claims on each other and pledge future cooperation.
  • October: The Russian Civil War (ongoing since 7 November 1917) ends in Bolshevik victory with the defeat of the last White forces in Siberia.
  • October 29: Fascist leader Benito Mussolini is appointed prime minister of Italy by king Victor Emmanuel III after the March on Rome.
  • November 1: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey abolishes the Ottoman Sultanate.

1923

  • January 11: France and Belgium occupy the Ruhr in an effort to compel Germany to step up its payments of war reparations.
  • June: The great inflation of 1923, the value of the mark is destroyed.
  • July 24: The Treaty of Lausanne, settling the boundaries of modern Turkey, is signed in Switzerland by Turkey and the Entente powers. It marks the end of the Turkish War of Independence and replaces the earlier Treaty of Sèvres.
  • August 31: The Corfu incident: Italy bombards and occupies the Greek island of Corfu seeking to pressure Greece to pay reparations for the murder of an Italian general in Greece.
  • September 27: The Corfu incident ends; Italian troops withdraw after the Conference of Ambassadors rules in favor of Italian demands of reparations from Greece.
  • October 29: Turkey officially becomes a Republic following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
  • November 8: The Beer Hall Putsch takes place, in which Adolf Hitler unsuccessfully leads the Nazis in an attempt to overthrow the German government. It is crushed by police the next day.

1924

  • January 21: Leader of the Soviet Union Vladimir Lenin dies, and Joseph Stalin begins purging rivals to clear the way for his leadership.
  • February 1: The United Kingdom extends diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union.
  • April 1: Adolf Hitler is sentenced to 5 years in jail for his participation in the Beer Hall Putsch (he serves only 8 months).
  • April 6: Fascists win elections in Italy with a 2/3 majority.
  • June 10: Italian Fascists kidnap and kill socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti in Rome.
  • August 16: The Dawes Plan is accepted. It ends the Allied occupation of the Ruhr and sets a staggered payment plan for Germany's payment of war reparations.
  • August 18: France begins withdrawing its troops from the Ruhr in Germany.

1925

  • May 12: Retired Field Marshall Paul Von Hindenburg is elected President of Germany.
  • July 18: Hitler's autobiographical manifesto Mein Kampf is published.
  • December 1: The Locarno Treaties are signed in London (they are ratified 14 September 1926). The treaties settle the borders of western Europe and normalize relations between Germany and the Allied powers of western Europe.

1926

  • January 3: Theodoros Pangalos declares himself dictator of Greece.
  • January 31: British and Belgian troops leave Cologne, Germany.
  • April 4: Greek dictator Theodoros Pangalos is elected president.
  • April 24: The Treaty of Berlin is signed by Germany and the Soviet Union, which declares neutrality if either country is attacked within the next five years.
  • May 25: Ukrainian nationalist leader Symon Petliura is assassinated by Russian Jew Sholom Schwartzbard in Paris.
  • September 8: Germany joins the League of Nations.
  • December 25: Emperor Taishō dies and his son Hirohito becomes the Emperor of Japan.

1927

  • April 12: The Chinese Civil War begins between nationalists and communists.
  • May 20: Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom sign the Treaty of Jeddah.
  • June 7: Peter Voikov, Soviet ambassador to Warsaw, is assassinated by a White movement activist.
  • November 12: Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin with undisputed control of the Soviet Union.
  • December 14: Iraq gains independence from the United Kingdom.

1928

  • May 3: The Jinan Incident begins, a limited armed conflict between the Republic of China and Japan.
  • June 4: Huanggutun Incident: Japanese agents assassinate the Chinese warlord Zhang Zuolin.
  • August 2: Italy and Ethiopia sign the Italo-Ethiopian Treaty, pledging cooperation and friendship.
  • August 27: The Kellogg-Briand Pact is signed in Paris by the major powers of the world. The treaty outlaws aggressive warfare.
  • October 1: The Soviet Union launches the first five-year plan, an economic effort to increase industrialization.

1929

  • February 9: Litvinov's Pact is signed in Moscow by the Soviet Union, Poland, Estonia, Romania and Latvia. The Pact outlaws aggressive warfare along the lines of the Kellog-Briand Pact.
  • February 11: Italy and the Holy See sign the Lateran Treaty, normalizing relations between the Vatican and Italy.
  • March 4: Herbert Hoover becomes President of the United States.
  • March 28: Japan withdraws troops from China, ending the Jinan Incident.
  • April 3: Persia signs Litvinov's Pact.
  • June 7: The Lateran Treaty is ratified, making the Vatican City a sovereign state.
  • July 24: The Kellogg-Briand Pact goes into effect.
  • August 31: The Young Plan, which sets the total World War I reparations owed by Germany at US$26,350,000,000 to be paid over a period of 58½ years, is finalized. It replaces the earlier Dawes Plan.
  • October 29: The Great Depression begins with the Wall Street Crash.

1930

  • April 22: The United Kingdom, United States, France, Italy and Japan sign the London Naval Treaty regulating submarine warfare and limiting naval shipbuilding.
  • June 30: France withdraws its remaining troops from the Rhineland ending the occupation of the Rhineland.

1931

  • September 18: Mukden Incident: the Japanese stage a false flag bombing against a Japanese-owned railroad in the Chinese region of Manchuria, blaming Chinese dissidents for the attack, an incident that many claim is the official start of what would become the Second World War.
  • September 19: Using the Mukden Incident as a pretext, the Japanese invade Manchuria.

1932

  • January 7: The Stimson Doctrine is proclaimed by United States Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson in response to Japan invading Manchuria. The Doctrine holds that the United States government will not recognize border changes that are made by force.
  • January 28: January 28 Incident: using a flare-up of anti-Japanese violence as a pretext, the Japanese attack Shanghai, China. Fighting ends on March 6, and on May 5 a ceasefire agreement is signed wherein Shanghai is made a demilitarized zone.
  • February 27: Fighting between China and Japan in Manchuria ends with Japan in control of Manchuria.
  • March 1: Japan creates the puppet state Manchukuo out of occupied Manchuria.
  • April 10: Paul von Hindenburg is reelected President of Germany, defeating Adolf Hitler in a run-off.
  • May 30: Chancellor of Germany Heinrich Brüning resigns. President Hindenburg asks Franz von Papen to form a new government.
  • August 30: Hermann Göring is elected chairman of the German Senate.
  • November 21: President Hindenburg begins talking to Hitler about forming a new government.
  • December 3: Hindenburg names Kurt von Schleicher Chancellor of Germany.

1933

  • January 1: Defense of the Great Wall: Japan attacks the fortified eastern end of the Great Wall of China in Rehe Province in Inner Mongolia.
  • January 30: Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Hindenburg.
  • February 27: Germany's parliament building the Reichstag is set on fire.
  • February 28: The Reichstag Fire Decree is passed, nullifying many German civil liberties.
  • March 4: Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as President of the United States.
  • March 20: Germany's first concentration camp, Dachau, is completed.
  • March 23: The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.
  • March 24: Anti-Nazi boycott of 1933
  • March 27: Japan leaves the League of Nations over the League of Nations' Lytton Report that found that Manchuria belongs to China and that Manchukuo was not a truly independent state.
  • April 1: Germans are told to boycott Jewish shops and businesses in response to the Jewish boycott of German goods organized the previous month.
  • April 26: The Gestapo secret police is established in Germany.
  • May 2: Hitler outlaws trade unions.
  • May 31: The Tanggu Truce is signed between China and Japan, setting the ceasefire conditions between the two states after the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. China accedes to all Japanese demands, creating a large demilitarized zone inside Chinese territory.
  • June 21: All non-Nazi parties are banned in Germany.
  • July 14: The Nazi party becomes the official party of Germany.
  • August 25: Haavara Agreement: The agreement was designed to help facilitate the emigration of German Jews to Palestine.
  • September 12: Leó Szilárd conceives the idea of the nuclear chain reaction.
  • October 19: Germany leaves the League of Nations.
  • November 24: Homeless, alcoholic, and unemployed sent to Nazi concentration camps.

1934

  • January 26: Germany and Poland sign the 10 year German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact.
  • February 12–16: The Austrian Civil War is fought, ending with Austrofascist victory.
  • March 20: All German police forces come under the command of Heinrich Himmler.
  • June 30: Night of the Long Knives in Germany. Potential rivals to Hitler within the Nazi Party, including SA leader Ernst Röhm. Former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and other prominent anti-Nazi conservatives are killed by the SS and the Gestapo.
  • July 20: The SS becomes an organization independent of the Nazi Party, reporting directly to Adolf Hitler.
  • July 25: Austrian Nazis assassinate Engelbert Dollfuss during the failed July Putsch against the Austrian government.
  • August 2: Upon the death of President Hindenburg, Hitler makes himself Führer of Germany, becoming Head of State as well as Chancellor.
  • August 8: Members of the Wehrmacht begin swearing a personal oath of loyalty to Hitler instead of to the German constitution.
  • September: The Soviet Union joins the League of Nations.
  • December 1: Sergey Kirov, head of the Leningrad communist party, is murdered on the orders of Stalin, precipitating a genocidal purge that killed millions.
  • December 5: The Abyssinia Crisis begins with the Walwal incident, an armed clash between Italian and Ethiopian troops on the border of Ethiopia.
  • December 29: Japan renounces the Washington Naval Treaty and the London Naval Treaty.

1935

  • January 7: The League of Nations approves the results of the Saar plebiscite, which allows Saar to be incorporated into German borders.
  • June 18: The Anglo-German Naval Agreement is signed by Germany and the United Kingdom. The agreement allows Germany to build a fleet that's 35% the tonnage of the British fleet. In this way, the British hope to limit German naval re-armament.
  • August 31: The Neutrality Act of 1935 is passed in the United States imposing a general embargo on trading in arms and war materials with all parties in a war and it also declared that American citizens travelling on ships of warring nations travelled at their own risk.
  • September 15: The Reichstag passes the Nuremberg Laws, institutionalizing discrimination against Jews and providing the legal framework for the systematic persecution of Jews in Germany.
  • October 2: Italy invades Ethiopia, beginning the Second Italo–Abyssinian War. League denounces Italy and calls for an oil embargo that fails.
  • November 14: Final British General election for over a decade. Stanley Baldwin replaces Ramsey MacDonald as Prime Minister.

1936

  • January: George V, King of the British Empire, is "put to sleep" by his doctors. David, Prince of Wales becomes King Edward VIII.
  • February 6: Germany hosts the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria.
  • March 7: In violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany seizes the Rhineland.
    After the Rhineland move Hitler met separately with French journalist Bertrand de Jouvenal and British analyst Arnold J. Toynbee emphasizing his limited expansionist aim of building a greater German nation, and his desire for British understanding and cooperation.
    King Edward VIII, over the head of the Baldwin Govrernment, orders the military to stand down in relation to the move.
  • March 25: The Second London Naval Treaty is signed by the United Kingdom, United States, and France. Italy and Japan each declined to sign this treaty.
  • May 5: Italian troops march into the Ethiopian capital, Addis Addeba, marking the end of the Second Italo–Abyssinian War.
  • June 3: Luftwaffe Chief of Staff General Walther Wever loses his life in an air crash, ending any hope for the Luftwaffe to ever have a strategic bombing force similar to the Allies.
  • July 17: The failed Spanish coup of July 1936 by Nationalist forces marks the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.
  • October 18: Göring is made head of the German Four Year Plan, an effort to make Germany self-sufficient and increase armaments.
  • October: The Great Purge commences in the Soviet Union with widespread repression of suspected opponents of the regime. The purge leads to the imprisonment and death of many military officers, weakening the Soviet Armed Forces ahead of World War II.
  • August 1: Germany hosts the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
  • November 14: Suiyuan Campaign begins as Japanese-backed Mongolian troops attack the Chinese garrison at Hongort.
  • November 15: The aerial German Condor Legion goes into action for the first time in the Spanish Civil War in support of the Nationalist side.
  • November 25: The Anti-Comintern Pact is signed by Japan and Germany. The signing parties agree to go to war with the Soviet Union if one of the signatories is attacked by the Soviet Union.
  • December 1: Hitler makes it mandatory for all males between the ages 10-18 to join the Hitler Youth.
  • December 12: The two sides in the Chinese Civil War temporarily suspend hostilities to fight the Japanese.
    Edward VIII is forced to abdicate and is succeeded by Albert, Duke of York, who assumes the name King George VI
  • December 23: The first 3,000 men of the Italian expeditionary force (later named Corpo Truppe Volontarie) lands in Cadiz in support of the Nationalist side in the Spanish Civil War.

1937

  • January 20: President Roosevelt begins his second term.
  • May 28: Neville Chamberlain becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain.
  • July 7: The Marco Polo Bridge Incident occurs, beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War.
  • October 5: President Roosevelt gives the Quarantine Speech outlining a move away from neutrality and towards "quarantining" all aggressors.
  • November 6: Italy joins the Anti-Comintern Pact.
  • December 8: Japan established the puppet state of Mengjiang in the Inner Mongolia region of the Republic of China.
  • December 11: Italy leaves the League of Nations.
  • December 12: The USS Panay incident occurs, where Japan attacked the American gunboat Panay while she was anchored in the Yangtze River.
  • December 13: Start of the Rape of Nanking following Japanese victory in the Battle of Nanking.

1938

  • January 26: The Allison incident occurs further straining relations between Japan and the United States.
  • March 6: Japanese troops reach the Yellow River in China.
  • March 13: Austria is annexed by Germany.
  • March 24: Second Sino-Japanese War: Battle of Taierzhuang commences. The battle ends with Chinese victory on 7 April after intense house-to-house fighting inside the city of Taierzhuang. Second Sino-Japanese War: Battle of Xuzhou begins, and ends in Japanese victory on May 1 as Chinese troops break out from the encircled city.
  • July 6–16: Évian Conference: The United States and the United Kingdom refuse to accept any more Jewish refugees.
  • July 29: The Soviet–Japanese border conflicts begin with the Battle of Lake Khasan.
  • August: Soviet Union wins the Battle of Lake Khasan against Japan.
  • September 27: U.S. President Roosevelt sends letter to German Führer Adolf Hitler seeking peace.
  • September 30: The Munich Agreement is signed by Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy. The agreement allows Germany to annex the Czechoslovak Sudetenland area in exchange for peace in an attempt to appease Hitler.
  • October 5: Germany invalidates the passports of all its Jewish citizens who are reissued passports with the letter "J" stamped in red. This change was made after requests by Sweden and Switzerland who wanted a way of easily denying Jews entry into their countries.
  • November 7: Polish Jew Herschel Grynszpan mortally wounded German consular aide Ernst vom Rath in Paris.
  • November 9: Following vom Rath's death, the Kristallnacht pogrom begins in Germany; thousands of Jewish shops and synagogues are smashed, looted, burned, and destroyed throughout the country.