Summary Outline of Key Events By Bruce Robinson
- Hitler invades Poland on 1 September. Britain and France declare war on Germany two days later.
- Rationing starts in the UK.
- German ‘Blitzkrieg’ overwhelms Belgium, Holland and France.
- Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Britain.
- British Expeditionary Force evacuated from Dunkirk.
- British victory in Battle of Britain forces Hitler to postpone invasion plans.
- Hitler begins Operation Barbarossa – the invasion of Russia.
- The Blitz continues against Britain’s major cities.
- Allies take Tobruk in North Africa, and resist German attacks.
- Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, and the US enters the war.
- Germany suffers setbacks at Stalingrad and El Alamein.
- Singapore falls to the Japanese in February – around 25,000 prisoners taken.
- American naval victory at Battle of Midway, in June, marks turning point in Pacific War.
- Mass murder of Jewish people at Auschwitz begins.
- Surrender at Stalingrad marks Germany’s first major defeat.
- Allied victory in North Africa enables invasion of Italy to be launched.
- Italy surrenders, but Germany takes over the battle.
- British and Indian forces fight Japanese in Burma.
- Allies land at Anzio and bomb monastery at Monte Cassino.
- Soviet offensive gathers pace in Eastern Europe.
- D Day: The Allied invasion of France. Paris is liberated in August.
- Guam liberated by the US Okinawa, and Iwo Jima bombed.
- Auschwitz liberated by Soviet troops.
- Russians reach Berlin: Hitler commits suicide and Germany surrenders on 7 May.
- Truman becomes President of the US on Roosevelt’s death, and Attlee replaces Churchill.
- After atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrenders on 14 August.
BBC © 2014
And they said…
- We no longer demand anything, we want war. – Germany’s foreign minister, August 1939.
- We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender. – Winston Churchill.
- The world must know what happened, and never forget. – General Eisenhower, while visiting nazi death camps, 1945.
- Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. – Winston Churchill, about R.A.F fighter pilots.