World War II – Timeline: The Road To Disaster

Timeline: The Road To Disaster

With over 60 million deaths, World War II has gone down in history as the bloodiest conflict ever. Here’s a timeline of the most important events.


January 30: Hindenburg, the president of the German Reich, appoints Adolf Hitler as chancellor


March 16: Germany introduces compulsory military service and embarks on major rearmament


March 12: German troops march into Austria

September 29: Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain und Daladier meet in Munich. They come to an agreement that Czechoslovakia must cede the Sudeten areas to Germany


August 23: Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression treaty (the Hitler-Stalin Pact)

September 1: Germany attacks Poland; Great Britain and France declare war on the German Reich two days later

September 17: The Red Army marches into Eastern Poland


April 9: German troops occupy Denmark and Norway

May 10: Germany begins the attack on Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and France

June 22: Ceasefire between Germany and France


February 11: The first units of the German Africa Corps arrive in Tripoli

April 6: The campaign against Yugoslavia and Greece begins. Both countries surrender after a few weeks

June 22: Germany attacks the Soviet Union

December 7: Japanese attack on the American naval base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

December 11: Germany and Italy declare war on the US


July 3: The German-Italian advance in North Africa grinds to a halt at El-Alamein

November 22: The German Sixth Army is surrounded by Soviet troops at Stalingrad


January 3 to February 2: The Sixth Army surrenders

July 10: The Western Allies land in Sicily

November 28 to December 1: Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin agree, during a conference in Tehran, to divide Germany


June 6: Allied troops land in Normandy (“D-Day”)

June 22: Beginning of the Soviet Summer Offensive. The Red Army crushes the German army group “Mitte”

July 20: Failure of the assassination attempt on Hitler by Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg

October 22 to 25: In the largest naval battle ever the US-navy defeats the Japanese fleet in the Leyte Gulf in the Philippines

December 16: The last German push begins in the Ardennes and comes to a halt after a few days


January 27: The Red Army liberates the concentration camp Auschwitz

February 4 to 11: Conference of Yalta: Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin agree that France should also become an occupying power in Germany

February 13/14: Allied bomb raids destroy Dresden

April 25: American and Soviet troops meet in Torgau on the Elbe river

April 30: Hitler commits suicide in Berlin

May 7 to 9: The German capitulation is signed in Reims and ratified in Karlshorst in Berlin, ceasefire in Europe

August 6 and August 9: America drops nuclear bombs on the cities of Hiroshima und Nagasaki

September 2: Japan surrenders


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