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World War II Timeline

The benchmarks of the war, from the invasion of Poland in 1939 to the surrender of Japan in 1945

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

September 1939
Germany invades Poland, starting World War II. Britain and France declare war on Germany.

April 1940
Germany invades Norway and Denmark.

May 1940
Germany invades Belgium and the Netherlands.

July 1940
Germany begins bombing Britain.

June 1941
Germany invades the Soviet Union.

December 1941
Japan bombs Pearl Harbor. The U.S. declares war on Japan.

February 1942
Japan captures Singapore.

May 1942
Japan captures the Philippines and Burma.

June 1942
The tide turns — the Allies defeat Japan in the Battle of Midway.

February 1943
German troops surrender in Stalingrad, USSR.

May 1943
Axis troops in northern Africa surrender.

September 1943
Italy surrenders.

November 1943
U.S. forces invade Tarawa.

June 1944
D-day: Allied troops land in France and begin invasion.

October 1944
Japan's navy is defeated near the Philippines.

December 1944
Germans fight back in Battle of the Bulge.

March 1945
Allied troops capture Iwo Jima.

May 1945
Germany surrenders, ending World War II in Europe.

August 1945
Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

September 1945
Japan signs surrender agreement, ending war.

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