Timeline of World War II From 1939 to 1945

USS Arizona during the Japanese surprise air attack on the American pacific fleet, 7 December 1941
USS Arizona during the Japanese surprise air attack on the American pacific fleet, 7 December 1941. Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

World War II (WWII) was a long and bloody war that lasted for six years. Officially beginning on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, World War II lasted until both the Germans and the Japanese had surrendered to the Allies in 1945. Find out what happened in this timeline of World War II.

1939

  • August 23 - Germany and the Soviet Union sign the
  • Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact
  • September 1 - Germany invades Poland, starting World War II
  • September 3 - Britain and France declare war on Germany
  • September - Battle of the Atlantic begins

1940

  • May - Auschwitz established
  • May 10 - Germany invades France, Belgium, and the Netherlands
  • May 26 - Evacuation begins of Allied troops from Dunkirk, France
  • June 10 - Italy declares war on France and Great Britain
  • June 22 - France surrenders to Germany
  • July 10 - Battle of Britain begins
  • September 16 - The United States begins its first peacetime draft

1941

  • March 11 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease bill
  • May 24 - The British ship Hood is sunk by Germany's Bismarck
  • May 27 - The Bismarck is sunk
  • June 22 - Germany invades the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa)
  • August 9 - Atlantic Conference begins
  • September 8 - Siege of Leningrad begins
  • December 7 - The Japanese launch a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
  • December 11 - Germany and Italy declare war on the United States; then the United States declares war on Germany and Italy

    1942

    1943

    1944

    1945

    • February 4 - Yalta Conference begins
    • February 13 - Allies begin bombing Dresden
    • February 19 - Battle of Iwo Jima begins
    • April 1 - Battle of Okinawa
    • April 12 - Franklin D. Roosevelt dies
    • April 16 - Battle of Berlin begins
    • April 28 - Mussolini is hanged by Italian partisans
    • April 30 - Adolf Hitler commits suicide
    • May 7 - Germany signs an unconditional surrender
    • July 17 - Potsdam Conference begins
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    Your Citation
    Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Timeline of World War II From 1939 to 1945." ThoughtCo, Sep. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/world-war-ii-timeline-1779991. Rosenberg, Jennifer. (2017, September 3). Timeline of World War II From 1939 to 1945. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/world-war-ii-timeline-1779991 Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Timeline of World War II From 1939 to 1945." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/world-war-ii-timeline-1779991 (accessed November 23, 2017).