World War II
World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945. There were several major events leading up to the war and then during the war. Here is a timeline listing some of the major events:
Leading up to the War
1933 January 30 - Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany. His Nazi Party, or the Third Reich, takes power and Hitler is essentially the dictator of Germany.
1936 October 25 - Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy form the Rome-Berlin Axis treaty.
1936 November 25 - Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan sign the Anti-Comintern Pact. This was a pact against communism and Russia.
1937 July 7 - Japan invades China.
1938 March 12 - Hitler annexes the country of Austria into Germany. This is also called the Anschluss.
World War II
1939 September 1 - Germany invades Poland. World War II begins.
1939 September 3 - France and Great Britain declare war on Germany.
1940 April 9 to June 9 - Germany invades and takes control of Denmark and Norway.
1940 May 10 to June 22 - Germany uses quick strikes called blitzkrieg, meaning lightning war, to take over much of western Europe including the Netherlands, Belgium, and northern France.
1940 May 30 - Winston Churchill becomes leader of the British government.
1940 June 10 - Italy enters the war as a member of the Axis powers.
1940 July 10 - Germany launches an air attack on Great Britain. These attacks last until the end of October and are known as the Battle of Britain.
1940 September 22 - Germany, Italy, and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact creating the Axis Alliance.
1941 June 22 - Germany and the Axis Powers attack Russia with a huge force of over four million troops.
1941 December 7 - The Japanese attack the US Navy in Pearl Harbor. The next day the US enters World War II on the side of the Allies.
1942 June 4 - The US Navy defeats the Japanese navy at the Battle of Midway.
1942 July 10 - The Allies invade and take the island of Sicily.
1943 September 3 - Italy surrenders to the Allies, however Germany helps Mussolini to escape and set up a government in Northern Italy.
1944 June 6 - D-day and the Normandy invasion. Allied forces invade France and push back the Germans.
1944 August 25 - Paris is liberated from German control.
1944 December 16 - The Germans launch a large attack in the Battle of the Bulge. They lose to the Allies sealing the fate of the German army.
1945 February 19 - US Marines invade the island of Iwo Jima. After a fierce battle they capture the island.
1945 April 12 - US President Franklin Roosevelt dies. He is succeeded by President Harry Truman.
1945 March 22 - The US Third Army under General Patton crosses the Rhine River.
1945 April 30 - Adolf Hitler commits suicide as he knows Germany has lost the war.
1945 May 7 - Germany surrenders to the Allies.
1945 August 6 - The United States drops the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The city is devastated.
1945 August 9 - Another atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
1945 September 2 - Japan surrenders to US General Douglass MacArthur and the Allies.
Take a ten question quiz at the World War II Timeline questions page.
Learn More about World War II:
Back to World War II for Kids
Back to History for Kids