World War II Technology

Technology during World War II played a crucial role in determining the outcome of the greatest war of all. Much of it had begun development during the interwar years of the 1920s and 1930s, some was developed in response to lessons learned during the war, and yet more was only beginning to be developed as the war ended. The massive research and development demands of the war had a great impact on the scientific community. Given the scope of the war and the rapid technological escalation which happened during the war, a vast array of technology was employed, as different nations and different units found themselves equipped with different levels of technology. Military technology developments spanned across all areas of industry.

Effects on Warfare

Almost all types of technology were utilized, although main areas of technology which saw major developments were:

  • Weaponry; including ships, vehicles, aircraft, artillery, rocketry, small arms, and biological, chemical and atomic weapons.
  • Logistical support; including vehicles necessary for transporting soldiers and supplies, such as trains, trucks, and aircraft.
  • Communications and intelligence; including devices used for navigation, communication, remote sensing and espionage.
  • Medicine; including surgical innovations, chemical medicines, and techniques
  • Industry; including the technologies employed at factories and production/distribution centers.

This was perhaps the first war where military operations were aimed at the research efforts of the enemy e.g.

  1. The exfiltration of Niels Bohr from German-occupied Denmark to Britain in 1943
  2. The sabotage of Norwegian heavy water production
  3. The bombing of Peenemunde

Military operations were also conducted in order to obtain intelligence on the enemy's technology e.g. the Bruneval Raid for German radar and Operation Most III for the German V-2.

Between the wars

After the Treaty of Versailles the Western democracies were satiated powers and expected a general peace. Their political environment was one where the aim was disarmament. (In Britain there was the Ten Year Rule.) Consequently they conducted very little military R & D. On the other hand, Germany and the Soviet Union were dissatisfied powers that for different reasons cooperated with each other on military R & D. The Soviets offered Weimar Germany facilities deep inside the USSR for building and testing arms and for military training, well away from Treaty inspectors' eyes. In return, the Soviets asked for access to German technical developments, and for assistance in creating a Red Army General Staff.

The first German officers went to the Soviet Union for these purposes in March, 1922. One month later, Junkers began building aircraft at Fili, outside Moscow, in violation of Versailles. The great artillery manufacturer Krupp was soon active in the south of the USSR, near Rostov-on-Don. In 1925, a flying school was established at Vivupal, near Lipetsk, to train the first pilots for the future Luftwaffe. Since 1926, the Reichswehr had been able to use a tank school at Kazan (codenamed Kama) and a chemical weapons facility in Samara Oblast (codenamed Tomka). In turn, the Red Army gained access to these training facilities, as well as military technology and theory from Weimar Germany.

In the late 1920s, Germany helped Soviet industry begin to modernize, and to assist in the establishment of tank production facilities at the Leningrad Bolshevik Factory and the Kharkov Locomotive Factory. This cooperation would break down when Hitler rose to power in 1933. The failure of the World Disarmament Conference marked the beginnings of the arms race leading to war.

In France the lesson of World War I was translated into the Maginot Line which was supposed to hold a line at the border with Germany. The Maginot Line did achieve its political objective of ensuring that any German invasion had to go through Belgium ensuring that France would have Britain as a military ally. France had more, and much better, tanks than Germany as of the outbreak of their hostilities in 1940. As in World War I, the French generals expected that armour would mostly serve to help infantry break the static trench lines and storm machine gun nests. They thus spread the armour among their infantry divisions, ignoring the new German doctrine of blitzkrieg based on the fast movement using concentrated armour attacks, against which there was no effective defense but mobile anti-tank guns - infantry Antitank rifles not being effective against medium and heavy tanks.

Air power was a major concern of Germany and Britain between the wars. Trade in aircraft engines continued, with Britain selling hundreds of its best to German firms - which used them in a first generation of aircraft, and then improved on them much for use in German aircraft.


Military weapons technology experienced rapid advances during World War II, and over six years there was a disorientating rate of change in combat in everything from aircraft to small arms. Indeed the war began with most armies utilizing technology that had changed little from World War I, and in some cases, had remained unchanged since the 19th century. For instance cavalry, trenches, and World War I-era battleships were normal in 1940, however within only six years, armies around the world had developed jet aircraft, ballistic missiles, and even atomic weapons in the case of the United States.

The best jet fighters at the end of the war easily outflew any of the leading aircraft of 1939, such as the Spitfire Mark I. The early war bombers that caused such carnage would almost all have been shot down in 1945, many with two shots, by radar-aimed, proximity fuse-detonated anti-aircraft fire, just as the 1941 "invincible fighter", the Zero, had by 1944 become the "turkey" of the "Marianas Turkey Shoot". The best late-war tanks, such as the Soviet JS-3 heavy tank or the German Panther medium tank, handily outclassed the best tanks of 1939 such as Panzer IIIs. In the navy the battleship, long seen as the dominant element of sea power, was displaced by the greater range and striking power of the aircraft carrier. The chaotic importance of amphibious landings stimulated the Western Allies to develop the Higgins boat, a primary troop landing craft; the DUKW, a six-wheel-drive amphibious truck, amphibious tanks to enable beach landing attacks and Landing Ship, Tanks to land tanks on beaches. Increased organization and coordination of amphibious assaults coupled with the resources necessary to sustain them caused the complexity of planning to increase by orders of magnitude, thus requiring formal systematization giving rise to what has become the modern management methodology of project management by which almost all modern engineering, construction and software developments are organized.

World War II Aircraft Technology

In the Western European Theatre of World War II, air power became crucial throughout the war, both in tactical and strategic operations (respectively, battlefield and long-range). Superior German aircraft, aided by ongoing introduction of design and technology innovations, allowed the German armies to overrun Western Europe with great speed in 1940, largely assisted by lack of Allied aircraft, which in any case lagged in design and technical development during the slump in research investment after the Great Depression. Since the end of World War I, the French Air Force had been badly neglected, as military leaders preferred to spend money on ground armies and static fortifications to fight another World War I-style war. As a result, by 1940, the French Air Force had only 1562 planes and was together with 1070 RAF planes facing 5,638 Luftwaffe fighters and fighter-bombers. Most French airfields were located in north-east France, and were quickly overrun in the early stages of the campaign. The Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom possessed some very advanced fighter planes, such as Spitfires and Hurricanes, but these were not useful for attacking ground troops on a battlefield, and the small number of planes dispatched to France with the British Expeditionary Force were destroyed fairly quickly. Subsequently, the Luftwaffe was able to achieve air superiority over France in 1940, giving the German military an immense advantage in terms of reconnaissance and intelligence.

German aircraft rapidly achieved air superiority over France in early 1940, allowing the Luftwaffe to begin a campaign of strategic bombing against British cities. With France out of the war, German bomber planes based near the English Channel were able to launch raids on London and other cities during the Blitz, with varying degrees of success.

After World War I, the concept of massed aerial bombing—"The bomber will always get through"—had become very popular with politicians and military leaders seeking an alternative to the carnage of trench warfare, and as a result, the air forces of Britain, France, and Germany had developed fleets of bomber planes to enable this (France's bomber wing was severely neglected, whilst Germany's bombers were developed in secret as they were explicitly forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles).

The bombing of Shanghai by the Imperial Japanese Navy on January 28, 1932 and August 1937 and the bombings during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), had demonstrated the power of strategic bombing, and so air forces in Europe and the United States came to view bomber aircraft as extremely powerful weapons which, in theory, could bomb an enemy nation into submission on their own. As a result, the fear of bombers triggered major developments in aircraft technology.

Nazi Germany had put only one large, long-range strategic bomber (the Heinkel He 177 Greif, with many delays and problems) into production, while the America Bomber concept resulted only in prototypes. The Spanish Civil War had proved that tactical dive-bombing using Stukas was a very efficient way of destroying enemy troops concentrations, and so resources and money had been devoted to the development of smaller bomber craft. As a result, the Luftwaffe was forced to attack London in 1940 with heavily overloaded Heinkel and Dornier medium bombers, and even with the unsuitable Junkers Ju 87. These bombers were painfully slow—German engineers had been unable to develop sufficiently large piston aircraft engines (those that were produced tended to explode through extreme overheating), and so the bombers used for the Battle of Britain were woefully undersized. As German bombers had not been designed for long-range strategic missions, they lacked sufficient defenses. The Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter escorts had not been equipped to carry enough fuel to guard the bombers on both the outbound and return journeys, and the longer range Bf 110s could be out-manoeuvred by the short range British fighters. (A bizarre feature of the war was how long it took to conceive of the Drop tank.) The air defense was well organized and equipped with effective radar that survived the bombing. As a result, German bombers were shot down in large numbers, and were unable to inflict enough damage on cities and military-industrial targets to force Britain out of the war in 1940 or to prepare for the planned invasion.

British long-range bomber planes such as the Short Stirling had been designed before 1939 for strategic flights and given a large armament, but their technology still suffered from numerous flaws. The smaller and shorter ranged Bristol Blenheim, the RAF's most-used bomber, was defended by only one hydraulically operated machine-gun turret, and whilst this appeared sufficient, it was soon revealed that the turret was a pathetic defence against squadrons of German fighter planes. American bomber planes such as the B-17 Flying Fortress had been built before the war as the only adequate long-range bombers in the world, designed to patrol the long American coastlines. Defended by as many as six machine-gun turrets providing 360° cover, the B-17s were still vulnerable without fighter protection even when used in large formations.

Despite the abilities of Allied bombers, though, Germany was not quickly crippled by Allied air raids. At the start of the war the vast majority of bombs fell miles from their targets, as poor navigation technology ensured that Allied airmen frequently could not find their targets at night. The bombs used by the Allies were very high-tech devices, and mass production meant that the precision bombs were often made sloppily and so failed to explode. German industrial production actually rose continuously from 1940 to 1945, despite the best efforts of the Allied air forces to cripple industry.

Significantly, the bomber offensive kept the revolutionary Type XXI U-Boat from entering service during the war. Moreover, Allied air raids had a serious propaganda impact on the German government, all prompting Germany to begin serious development on air defence technology—in the form of fighter planes.

The jet aircraft age began during the war with the development of the Heinkel He 178, the first true turbojet. Late in the war the Germans brought in the first operational Jet fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 262. However, despite their technological edge, German jets were overwhelmed by Allied air superiority, frequently being destroyed on or near the airstrip. Other jet aircraft, such as the British Gloster Meteor, which flew missions but never saw combat, did not significantly distinguish themselves from top-line piston-driven aircraft.

Aircraft saw rapid and broad development during the war to meet the demands of aerial combat and address lessons learned from combat experience. From the open cockpit airplane to the sleek jet fighter, many different types were employed, often designed for very specific missions.

During the war the Germans produced various Glide bomb weapons, which were the first smart bombs; the V-1 flying bomb, which was the first cruise missile weapon; and the V-2 rocket, the first ballistic missile weapon. The last of these was the first step into the space age as its trajectory took it through the stratosphere, higher and faster than any aircraft. This later led to the development of the Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Wernher Von Braun led the V-2 development team and later emigrated to the United States where he contributed to the development of the Saturn V rocket, which took men to the moon in 1969.

Theoretical foundation

The laboratory of Ludwig Prandtl at Göttingen was the main center of theoretical and mathematical aerodynamics and fluid dynamics research from soon after 1904 to the end of World War II. Prandtl coined the term boundary layer and founded modern (mathematical) aerodynamics. The laboratory lost its dominance when the researchers were dispersed after the war.

World War II Military Vehicles Technology

The Treaty of Versailles had imposed severe restrictions upon Germany constructing vehicles for military purposes, and so throughout the 1920s and 1930s, German arms manufacturers and the Wehrmacht had begun secretly developing tanks. As these vehicles were produced in secret, their technical specifications and battlefield potentials were largely unknown to the European Allies until the war actually began. When German troops invaded the Benelux nations and France in May 1940, German weapons technology proved to be immeasurably superior to that of the Allies.

The French Army suffered from serious technical deficiencies with its tanks. In 1918, the Renault FT-17 tanks of France had been the most advanced in the world, although small, capable of far outperforming their slow and clumsy British, German, or American counterparts. However, this superiority resulted in tank development stagnating after World War I. By 1939, French tanks were virtually unchanged from 1918. French and British Generals believed that a future war with Germany would be fought under very similar conditions as those of 1914–1918. Both invested in thickly-armoured, heavily-armed vehicles designed to cross shell damaged ground and trenches under fire. At the same time the British also developed faster but lightly armoured Cruiser tanks to range behind the enemy lines.

In contrast, the Wehrmacht invested in fast, light tanks designed to overtake infantry. These vehicles would vastly outperform British and French tanks in mechanized battles. German tanks followed the design of France's 1918 Renault versions—a moderately-armoured hull with a rotating turret on top mounting a cannon. This gave every German tank the potential to engage other armoured vehicles. In contrast, around 35% of French tanks were simply equipped with machine guns (again designed for trench warfare), meaning that when French and German met in battle, a third of the French assault vehicles would not be able to engage enemy tanks, their machine-gun fire only ricocheting off German armour plates. Only a handful of French tanks had radios, and these often broke as the tank lurched over uneven ground. German tanks were, on the contrary, all equipped with radios, allowing them to communicate with one another throughout battles, whilst French tank commanders could rarely contact other vehicles.

The Matilda Mk I tanks of the British Army were also designed for infantry support and were protected by thick armour. This was ideal for trench warfare, but made the tanks painfully slow in open battles. Their light cannons and machine-guns were usually unable to inflict serious damage on German vehicles. The exposed caterpillar tracks were easily broken by gunfire, and the Matilda tanks had a tendency to incinerate their crews if hit, as the petrol tanks were located on the top of the hull. By contrast the Infantry tank Matilda II fielded in lesser numbers was largely invulnerable to German gunfire and its gun was able to punch through the German tanks. However French and British tanks were at a disadvantage compared to the air supported German armoured assaults, and a lack of armoured support contributed significantly to the rapid Allied collapse in 1940.

World War II marked the first full-scale war where mechanization played a significant role. Most nations did not begin the war equipped for this. Even the vaunted German Panzer forces relied heavily on non-motorised support and flank units in large operations. While Germany recognized and demonstrated the value of concentrated use of mechanized forces, they never had these units in enough quantity to supplant traditional units. However, the British also saw the value in mechanization. For them it was a way to enhance an otherwise limited manpower reserve. America as well sought to create a mechanized army. For the United States, it was not so much a matter of limited troops, but instead a strong industrial base that could afford such equipment on a great scale.

The most visible vehicles of the war were the tanks, forming the armored spearhead of mechanized warfare. Their impressive firepower and armor made them the premier fighting machine of ground warfare. However, even more important to a fighting mechanized army were the large number of trucks and lighter vehicles that kept the army moving.

World War II Ships Technology

Naval warfare changed dramatically during World War II, with the ascent of the aircraft carrier to the premier vessel of the fleet, and the impact of increasingly capable submarines on the course of the war. The development of new ships during the war was somewhat limited due to the protracted time period needed for production, but important developments were often retrofitted to older vessels. Advanced German submarine types came into service too late and after nearly all the experienced crews had been lost.

The German U-boats were used primarily for stopping/destroying the resources from the United States and Canada coming across the Atlantic. Submarines were critical in the Pacific Ocean as well as in the Atlantic Ocean. Japanese defenses against Allied submarines were ineffective. Much of the merchant fleet of the Empire of Japan, needed to supply its scattered forces and bring supplies such as petroleum and food back to the Japanese Archipelago, was sunk. This kept them from training adequate replacements for their lost aircrews and even forced the navy to be based near its oil supply. Among the warships sunk by submarines was the war's largest aircraft carrier, the Shinano.

The most important shipboard advances were in the field of anti-submarine warfare. Driven by the desperate necessity of keeping Britain supplied, technologies for the detection and destruction of submarines was advanced at high priority. The use of ASDIC (SONAR) became widespread and so did the installation of shipboard and airborne radar.

Weapons technology during World War II

The actual weapons; the guns, mortars, artillery, bombs, and other devices, were as diverse as the participants and objectives. A bewildering array were developed during the war to meet specific needs that arose, but many traced their development to prior to World War II. and were aimed with the aid of radar and airplanes. Torpedoes began to use magnetic detonators; compass directed, programmed and even acoustic guidance systems; and improved propulsion. Fire-control systems continued to develop for ships' guns and came into use for torpedoes and anti-aircraft fire. Human torpedoes and the Hedgehog (weapon) were also developed.

  • Armour weapons: The Tank destroyer, Specialist Tanks for Combat engineering including mine clearing Flail tanks, Flame tank, and amphibious designs
  • Aircraft: Glide bombs - the first "smart bombs", such as the Fritz X anti-shipping missile, had wire or radio remote control; the world's first jet fighter (Messerschmitt 262) and jet bomber (Arado 234), the world's first operational military helicopters (Flettner Fl 282), the world's first rocket-powered fighter (Messerschmitt 163)
  • Missiles: The Pulse jet powered V-1 flying bomb was the world's first cruise missile, Rockets progressed enormously: V-2 rocket, Katyusha rocket artillery and air launched rockets.
  • HEAT, and HESH anti-armour warheads.
  • Proximity fuze for shells, bombs and rockets. This fuze is designed to detonate an explosive automatically when close enough to the target to destroy it, so a direct hit is not required and time/place of closest approach does not need to be estimated. Magnetic torpedoes and mines also had a sort of proximity fuse.
  • Guided weapons (by radio or trailing wires): glide bombs, crawling bombs, rockets.
  • Self-guiding weapons: torpedoes (sound seeking, compass guided and looping), V1 missile (compass and timer guided)
  • Aiming devices for bombs, torpedoes, artillery and machine guns, using special purpose mechanical and electronic analog and (perhaps) digital "computers". The mechanical analog Norden bomb sight is a well known example.
  • Napalm was developed, but did not see wide use until the Korean War
  • Plastic explosives like Nobel 808, Hexoplast 75, Compositions C and C2

Small arms development

New production methods for weapons such as stamping, riveting, and welding came into being to produce the number of arms needed. While this had been tried before, during World War I, it had resulted in quite possibly the worst firearm ever adopted by any military for use: the French Chauchat light machine gun. Design and production methods had advanced enough to manufacture weapons of reasonable reliability such as the PPSh-41, PPS-42, Sten, MP 40, M3 Grease Gun, Gewehr 43, Thompson submachine gun and the M1 Garand rifle. Other Weapons commonly found During World War II include the American, Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), M1 Carbine Rifle, as well as the Colt M1911; The Japanese Type 100 submachine gun, the Type 99 machine gun, and the Arisaka bolt action rifle all were significant weapons used during the war.

World War II saw the birth of the reliable semi-automatic rifle, such as the American M1 Garand and, more importantly, that of the first real assault rifles. The Germans essentially created and pioneered the idea of an "assault rifle" or sturmgewehr, coining the name for the species in the process. Earlier renditions that hinted at this idea were that of the employment of the Browning Automatic Rifle and 1916 Fedorov Avtomat in a walking fire tactic in which men would advance on the enemy position showering it with a hail of lead. The Germans first developed the FG 42 for its paratroopers in the assault and later the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44), the world's first true assault rifle. The FG 42 would probably hold this place but for its use of a full powered rifle cartridge making it hard to control by an unskilled operator.

Developments in machine gun technology culminated in the Maschinengewehr 42 (MG42) which was of an advanced design unmatched at the time. It spurred post-war development on both sides of the upcoming Cold War and is still used by some armies to this day including the German Bundeswehr's MG 3. The Heckler & Koch G3, and many other Heckler & Koch designs, came from its system of operation. The United States military meshed the operating system of the FG 42 with the belt feed system of the MG42 to create the M60 machine gun used in the Vietnam War.

Despite being overshadowed by self-loading/automatic rifles and sub-machine guns, bolt-action rifles remained the mainstay infantry weapon of many nations during World War II. When the United States entered World War II, there were not enough M1 Garand rifles available to American forces which forced the US to start producing more M1903 rifles in order to act as a "stop gap" measure until sufficient quantities of M1 Garands were produced.

During the conflict, many new models of bolt-action rifles were produced as a result of lessons learned from the First World War with the designs of a number of bolt-action infantry rifles being modified in order to speed up production as well as to make the rifles more compact and easier to handle. Examples of bolt-action rifles that were used during World War II include the German Mauser Kar98k, the British Lee-Enfield No.4, and the Springfield M1903A3. During the course of World War II, bolt-action rifles and carbines were modified even further to meet new forms of warfare the armies of certain nations faced e.g. urban warfare and jungle warfare. Examples include the Soviet Mosin-Nagant M1944 carbine, which were developed by the Soviets as a result of the Red Army's experiences with urban warfare e.g. the Battle of Stalingrad, and the British Lee-Enfield No.5 carbine, that were developed for British and Commonwealth forces fighting the Japanese in South-East Asia and the Pacific.

When World War II ended in 1945, the small arms that were used in the conflict still saw action in the hands of the armed forces of various nations and guerrilla movements during and after the Cold War era. Nations like the Soviet Union and the United States provided many surplus, World War II-era small arms to a number of nations and political movements during the Cold War era as a pretext to providing more modern infantry weapons. Besides seeing conflict long after World War II ended, the small arms of World War II are now considered collector's items with many civilian firearm owners and collectors around the world due to their historical nature, low cost (due to many of these firearms now appearing on the firearms market in large numbers over the past decade), and their durability.

The atomic bomb

The massive research and development demands of the war included the Manhattan Project, the effort to quickly develop an atomic bomb, or nuclear fission warhead. It was perhaps the most profound military development of the war, and had a great impact on the scientific community, among other things creating a network of national laboratories in the United States.

Development was completed too late for use in the European Theater of World War II. Its invention meant that a single bomber aircraft could carry a weapon sufficiently powerful to devastate entire cities, making conventional warfare against a nation with an arsenal of them suicidal.

The strategic importance of the bomb, and its even more powerful fusion-based successors, did not become fully apparent until the United States lost its monopoly on the weapon in the post-war era. The Soviet Union developed and tested their first nuclear weapon in 1949, based partially on information obtained from Soviet espionage in the United States. The competition between the two superpowers would lead to the Cold War. The strategic implications of such a massively destructive weapon still reverberate in the 21st century.

There was also a German project to develop an atomic weapon. This failed for a variety of reasons, most notably German Antisemitism. The first tier of continental high energy physicists (Einstein, Bohr, Fermi, and Oppenheimer) who did much of their early study and research in Germany, were either Jewish or, in the case of Enrico Fermi, married to a Jew. Oppenheimer, who was an American Jew, was also a Socialist by conviction, and associated with the Communist Party. When they left Germany, the only significant atomic physicist left in Germany was Heisenberg, who dragged his feet on the project. He made some faulty calculations suggesting that the Germans would need significantly more heavy water than was necessary. The project was then doomed due to insufficient resources.

Electronics, communications and intelligence technology

Electronics rose to prominence quickly in World War II. While prior to the war few electronic devices were seen as important pieces of equipment, by the middle of the war such instruments as radar and ASDIC (sonar) had proven their value. Additionally, equipment designed for communications and the interception of those communications was becoming critical.

Digital electronics, particularly, were also given a massive boost by war-related research. The pressing need for numerous time-critical calculations for various projects like code-breaking and ballistics tables accentuated the need for the development of electronic computer technology. The semi-secret ENIAC and the super-secret Colossus demonstrated that systems using thousands of valves (vacuum tubes) could be reliable enough to be useful, paving the way for the post-war development of stored program computers.

The United Kingdom and the United States were the leaders in electronics. The US center for basic radar development was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Radiation Laboratory. The British developed the cavity magnetron which gave a high power source of microwaves suitable for radar, and which is now used in microwave ovens.

Electronic and optical countermeasures such as jamming and radar absorbing material were developed.

While the war stimulated many technologies, such as radio and radar development, it slowed down related yet non-critical fields such as television and radio.

Industrial technology during World War II

While the development of new equipment was rapid, it was also important to be able to produce these tools and get them to the troops in appropriate quantity. Those nations that were able to maximize their industrial capacity and mobilize it for the war effort were most successful at equipping their troops in a timely way with adequate material. An outstanding German innovation was the Jerrycan which carries by its name a tribute to its success.

One of the biggest developments was the ability to produce synthetic rubber. Natural rubber was mainly harvested in the South Pacific, and the Allies were cut off from a large quantity of it due to Japanese expansion. Thus the development of synthetic rubber allowed for the Allied war machine to continue growing, giving the US a significant technical edge as World War II continued.

For the Germans it was the development of alternative fuels as in hydrogen peroxide - which would be a forerunner to the development of fuel-cell technology and synthetic fuel technology.

New medicines

One of the most dramatic single medical advances was probably the wide spread use of penicillin to treat wounds and bacterial diseases.

World War II Timeline 1945

This is a timeline of events that stretched over the period of World War II.

World War II Timeline January 1945

  • 1: The Germans begin a surprise offensive Operation Nordwind along the Saar and aimed at retaking Strasbourg.
  • 1: Unternehmen Bodenplatte is launched by the Luftwaffe against western Allied air bases in Belgium and Holland by elements of ten different Jagdgeschwadern (fighter wings), as its last major air offensive of the war in the West.
  • 2: The Japanese increasingly use kamikaze tactics against the US naval forces nearby.
  • 3: The Allies take the offensive east of the Bulge but they fail to close the pincers (which might have surrounded large numbers of Germans) with Patton's tanks.
  • 4: US navy air attacks on Formosa (Taiwan)
  • 5: The German offensive "North Wind" crosses the border into Alsace.
  • 5: Japanese retreat across the Irrawaddy River in Burma with General Slim's troops in pursuit.
  • 6: American B-29's bomb Tokyo again.
  • 7: Germans, as part of the plan to retake Strasbourg, break out of the "Colmar Pocket", a bridgehead on the Rhine, and head east.
  • 8: The battle of Strasbourg is underway, with Americans in defence of their recent acquisition.
  • 9: Americans land on Luzon, the central island of the Philippines and there inside by the Philippine Commonwealth troops and recognized guerillas; there are more kamikaze attacks on the American navy.
  • 12: The first convoy moves on the Ledo (or "Stilwell") road in northern Burma, linking India and China.
  • 12: A major Red Army offensive in East Prussia begins.
  • 14: British forces clear the Roer Triangle during Operation Blackcock; it is an area noted for its industrial dams.
  • 15: Hitler is now firmly ensconced in the bunker in Berlin with his companion Eva Braun.
  • 15: The British commander in Athens, General Ronald Scobie, accepts a request for a ceasefire from the Greek People's Liberation Army. This marks the end of the Dekemvriana, resulting in clear defeat for the Greek Left.
  • 16: United States First and Third link up following Battle of the Bulge; Soviet troops meanwhile lay siege to Budapest.
  • 17: Warsaw liberated by Red Army troops. A government favourable to the Communists is installed.
  • 17: It is announced officially that the Battle of the Bulge is at an end.
  • 18: Americans drive on Manila.
  • 20: The Red Army advances into East Prussia. Germans renew the retreat.
  • 20: Franklin D. Roosevelt is sworn in as President (his fourth term); Harry Truman is sworn in as Vice President.
  • 25: American navy bombards Iwo Jima in preparation for invasion.
  • 25: The Allies officially win the Battle of the Bulge.
  • 27: Auschwitz concentration camp is liberated by Soviet troops.
  • 28: The Red Army completes the occupation of Lithuania.
  • 31: Red Army crosses the Oder River into Germany and are now less than 50 miles from Berlin.
  • 31: A second invasion on Luzon by Americans by inside to the Filipino soldiers and guerilla fighters, this time on the west coast.
  • 31: The whole Burma Road is now opened as the Leado Road linkage with India is complete.

World War II Timeline February 1945

  • 1: Ecuador declares war on Germany.
  • 2: Naval docks at Singapore are destroyed by B-29 attacks.
  • 3: U.S. forces enter Manila by helping with the Allied Philippine Commonwealth troops and recognized guerillas, Japanese forces in the city massacre 100,000 Filipinos civilians and devastates the city. A vicious urban battle ensues, to last for some weeks. Also known as Battle for Liberation of Manila
  • 3: Heavy bombing of Berlin.
  • 4: Yalta Conference ("Argonaut" of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin begins; the main subject of their discussions is postwar spheres of influence.
  • 4: Belgium is now cleared of all German forces.
  • 8: Paraguay declares war on Germany.
  • 9: The "Colmar Pocket", the last German foothold west of the Rhine, is eliminated.
  • 12: Peru declares war on Germany.
  • 13: The Battle of Budapest ends with Soviet victory, after a long defence by the Germans.
  • 13/14: The controversial bombing of Dresden; it is firebombed by Allied air forces and large parts of the historic city are destroyed. Allies claim it is strategically important.
  • 14: Bombing of Prague; later called a mistake on the order of the bombing of Dresden.
  • 16: American naval vessels bombard Tokyo and Yokohama.
  • 16: American paratroopers and the Philippine Commonwealth troops land on Corregidor Island, in Manila Bay. Once the scene of the last American resistance in early 1942, it is now the scene of Japanese resistance.
  • 19: U.S. Marines invade Iwo Jima.
  • 21: Vicious fighting in and around Manila was joint by Filipino and American troops.
  • 23: U.S. Marines raise the American flag on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima.
  • 24: Egypt declares war on Axis.
  • 24: Massive bombing of Germany by approximately 9,000 bombers.
  • 25: US incendiary raids on Japan.
  • 25: Turkey declares war on Germany.
  • 25: After ten days of fighting, American and Filipino troops recapture Corregidor.
  • 26: Syria declares war on Germany and Japan.
  • 28: The Sixth United States Army captures Manila, capital of the Philippines by continued the Allied Philippine Commonwealth troops and recognized guerilla fighters after an unyielding Japanese defence force. A Philippine government is established.
  • 28: The combined Filipino and American military forces increase their presence in the Philippines by invading Palawan, a western island in the group.

World War II Timeline March 1945

  • 3: The combined Filipino and American soldiers take Manila, the Philippines.
  • 3: Battle of Meiktila, Burma comes to an end with General Slim's troops overwhelming the Japanese; the road to Rangoon is now cleared.
  • 4: Finland declares war on Germany, backdated to September 15, 1944.
  • 6: Germans launch an offensive against Soviet forces in Hungary.
  • 7: When German troops fail to dynamite the Remagen Bridge over the Rhine, Americans begin crossing the Rhine into Germany.
  • 7: Germans begin to evacuate Danzig.
  • 9: The US firebombs a number of cities in Japan, including Tokyo, with heavy civilian casualties.
  • 9: Amid rumours of a possible American invasion, Japanese overthrow the Vichy French Jean Decoux Government which had been operating independently as the colonial government of Vietnam: they proclaim an "independent" Empire of Vietnam, with Emperor Bảo Đại as nominal ruler. Premier Trần Trọng Kim forms the first Vietnamese government.
  • 10: Japanese Fugo Attacks damage the Manhattan Project slightly but cause no lasting effects
  • 11: Nagoya, Japan is firebombed by hundreds of B-29's.
  • 15: V-2 rockets continue to hit England and Belgium.
  • 16: The German offensive in Hungary ends with another Soviet victory.
  • 16: Iwo Jima is finally secured after a month's fighting;the battle is the only time that the number of American casualties is larger than the Japanese's. Sporadic fighting will continue as isolated Japanese fighters emerge from caves and tunnels.
  • 18: Red Army approaches Danzig (postwar Gdańsk).
  • 19: Heavy bombing of important naval bases in Japan, Kobe and Kure.
  • 20: German General Gotthard Heinrici replaces Heinrich Himmler as commander of Army Group Vistula, the army group directly opposing the Soviet advance towards Berlin.
  • 20: Mandalay liberated by Indian 19th Infantry Division.
  • 20: Tokyo is firebombed again.
  • 20: Patton's troops capture Mainz, Germany
  • 20: Mandalay, in central Burma, is now firmly under British and Indian control.
  • 22-23: US and British forces cross the Rhine at Oppenheim.
  • 23: By this time it is clear that Germany is under attack from all sides.
  • 24: Montgomery's troops cross the Rhine at Wesel.
  • 27: The Western Allies slow their advance and allow the Red Army to take Berlin.
  • 28: Argentina declares war on Germany, the last Western hemisphere country to do so; its policies for sheltering escaping Nazis are also coming under scrutiny. Argentina had not declared war before due to British wishes that Argentine shipping be neutral (and therefore Argentine foodstuffs would reach Britain unharmed), this, however, went against the plan of the USA, who applied much political pressure on Argentina.
  • 29: The Red Army enters Austria. Other Allies take Frankfurt; the Germans are in a general retreat all over the centre of the country.
  • 30: Red Army forces capture Danzig.
  • 31: General Eisenhower broadcasts a demand for the Germans to surrender.

World War II Timeline April 1945

  • 1: U.S. troops start Operation Iceberg, which is the Battle of Okinawa. It would have been a leaping off base for a mainland invasion.
  • 1: Americans retake Legaspi, Albay in the eastern Philippines was helping the Philippine Commonwealth troops and Bicolano guerillas, one of the original Japanese landing sites in December,1941.
  • 2: Soviets launch Vienna Offensive against German forces in and around the Austrian capital city.
  • 2: German armies are surrounded in the Ruhr region.
  • 4: Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic, is over-run by advancing Soviet forces. The remaining members of Prime Minister Jozef Tiso's pro-German government fled to Austria.
  • 4: Ohrdruf death camp is liberated by the Allies.
  • 5: Po Valley Campaign begins in northern Italy.
  • 7: The Japanese battleship Yamato is sunk in the North of Okinawa as the Japanese make their last major naval operation.
  • 9: Battle of Königsberg ends in Soviet victory.
  • 9: A heavy bombing at Kiel by the RAF destroys the last two major German warships.
  • 9: Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer is executed at Flossenburg prison.
  • 10: Buchenwald concentration camp liberated by American forces.
  • 11: Spain breaks diplomatic relations with Japan.
  • 11: Japanese kamikaze attacks on American naval ships continue at Okinawa; the carrier Enterprise and the battleship Missouri are hit heavily.
  • 12: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies suddenly. Harry S. Truman becomes president of the United States.
  • 13: Vienna Offensive ends with Soviet victory.
  • 14: Large-scale firebombing of Tokyo.
  • 15: Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is liberated by the British Army.
  • 16: The Battle of the Seelow Heights and the Battle of the Oder-Neisse begin as the Soviets continue to advance towards the city of Berlin.
  • 18: Ernie Pyle, famed war correspondent for the GI's, is killed by a sniper on Ie Shima, a small island near Okinawa.
  • 19: Switzerland closes its borders with Germany (and former Austria).
  • 19: Allies continue their sweep toward the Po Valley.
  • 19: The Soviet advance towards the city of Berlin continues and soon reach the suburbs.
  • 20: Hitler celebrates his 56th birthday in the bunker in Berlin; reports are that he is in an unhealthy state, nervous, and depressed.
  • 21: Soviet forces under Georgiy Zhukov (1st Belorussian Front), Konstantin Rokossovskiy (2nd Belorussian Front), and Ivan Konev (1st Ukrainian Front) launch assaults on the German forces in and around the city of Berlin as the opening stages of the Battle of Berlin.
  • 21: Hitler ordered SS-General Felix Steiner to attack the 1st Belorussian Front and destroy it. The ragtag units of "Army Detachment Steiner" are not fully manned.
  • 22: Hitler is informed late in the day that, with the approval of Gotthard Heinrici, Steiner's attack was never launched. Instead, Steiner's forces were authorised to retreat.
  • 22: In response to the news concerning Steiner, Hitler launches a furious tirade against the perceived treachery and incompetence of his military commanders in front of Wilhelm Keitel, Hans Krebs, Alfred Jodl, Wilhelm Burgdorf, and Martin Bormann. Hitler's tirade culminates in an oath to stay in Berlin to head up the defence of the city.
  • 22: Hitler ordered German General Walther Wenck to attack towards Berlin with his Twelfth Army, link up with the Ninth Army of General Theodor Busse, and relieve the city. Wenck launched an attack, but it came to nothing.
  • 23: Hermann Göring sends a radiogram to Hitler's bunker, asking to be declared Hitler's successor. He proclaims that if he gets no response by 10 PM, he will assume Hitler is incapacitated and assume leadership of the Reich. Furious, Hitler strips him of all his offices and expels him from the Nazi Party.
  • 23: Albert Speer makes one last visit to Hitler, informing him that he ignored the Nero Decree for scorched earth.
  • 24: Meanwhile, Himmler, ignoring the orders of Hitler, makes a secret surrender offer to the Allies, (led by Count Folke Bernadotte, head of the Red Cross) provided that the Red Army is not involved. The offer is rejected; when Hitler hears of Himmler's betrayal, he orders him shot.
  • 24: Forces of the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front link up in the initial encirclement of Berlin.
  • 24: Allies encircle last German armies near Bologna, and the Italian war in effect comes to an end.
  • 25: Elbe Day: First contact between Soviet and American troops at the river Elbe, near Torgau in Germany.
  • 26: Hitler summons Field Marshall Robert Ritter von Greim from Munich to Berlin to take over command of the Luftwaffe from Göring. While flying into Berlin, von Greim is seriously wounded by Soviet anti-aircraft fire.
  • 27: The encirclement of German forces in Berlin is completed by the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front.
  • 28: Head of State for the Italian Social Republic, Benito Mussolini, heavily disguised, is captured in northern Italy while trying to escape. Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci, are shot and hanged in Milan the next day. Other members of his puppet government are also executed by Italian partisans and their bodies put on display in Milan.
  • 29: Dachau concentration camp is liberated by the U.S. 7th Army. All forces in Italy officially surrender and a ceasefire is declared.
  • 29: Hitler marries his companion Eva Braun.
  • 30: Hitler and his wife commit suicide, he by a combination of poison and a gunshot. Before he dies Adolf Hitler dictates his last will and testament. In it Joseph Goebbels is appointed Reich Chancellor and Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz is appointed Reich President.
  • 30: While Donitz ascends to his high office, Goebbels and his wife kill their six children and then take poison in the bunker.
  • 30: Soviet troops declared final victory over Germany.

World War II Timeline May 1945

  • 1: As one of his last acts Reich Chancellor Joseph Goebbels has sent German General Hans Krebs to negotiate the surrender of the city of Berlin with Soviet General Vasily Chuikov. Chuikov, as commander of the Soviet 8th Guards Army, (and one time leader of the defence at Stalingrad) commands the Soviet forces in central Berlin. Krebs is not authorized by Goebbels to agree to an unconditional surrender, so his negotiations with Chuikov end with no agreement.
  • 1: Partisan leader Tito and his troops capture Trieste in northwest Italy. New Zealand troops play a supporting role.
  • 1:Goebbels and his wife kill their children and then commit suicide.
  • 1: The war in Italy is over but some German troops are still not accounted for.
  • 1: Australian troops land on Tarakan island off the coast of Borneo
  • 2: The Battle of Berlin ends when German General Helmuth Weidling, commander of the Berlin Defence Area, (and no longer bound by Goebbels commands), unconditionally surrenders the city of Berlin to Soviet General Vasily Chuikov.
  • 3: The German cruiser Hipper is scuttled, having been hit heavily by the RAF in April.
  • 3: Eamon de Valera, Prime Minister of Ireland, offers regrets for Hitler's death to German officialdom.
  • 3: Rangoon is liberated.
  • 4: Neuengamme concentration camp is liberated.
  • 4: German troops are surrendering throughout Europe, notably to Montgomery in the North.
  • 5: Czech resistance fighters started Prague uprising.
  • 5: Soviets started Prague Offensive.
  • 5: Mauthausen concentration camp is liberated.
  • 5: German troops in the Netherlands officially surrender; Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands accepts the surrender.
  • 5: Denmark liberated by Allied troops.
  • 5: Formal negotiations for Germany's surrender begin at Reims, France.
  • 5: Kamikazes have major successes off Okinawa.
  • 5: Japanese Fire balloons claim their first and only lives
  • 6: This date marks the last fighting for American troops in Europe.
  • 6: German soldiers open fire on a crowd celebrating the liberation in Amsterdam.
  • 7: Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies at the Western Allied Headquarters in Rheims, France at 2:41 a.m. In accordance with orders from Reich President Karl Dönitz, General Alfred Jodl signs for Germany.
  • 7: Hermann Göring, for a while in the hands of the SS, surrenders to the Americans.
  • 8: Ceasefire takes effect at one minute past midnight; V-E Day in Britain
  • 8: The remaining members of the Prime Minister Jozef Tiso's pro-German Slovak Republic capitulates to the American General Walton Walker's XX Corps in Kremsmünster, Austria.
  • 8: Germany surrendered again unconditionally to the Soviet Union army but this time in a ceremony hosted by the Soviet Union. In accordance with orders from Reich President Karl Dönitz, General Wilhelm Keitel signs for Germany.
  • 8: In accordance with orders from Reich President Karl Dönitz, Colonel-General Carl Hilpert unconditionally surrenders his troops in the Courland Pocket.
  • 8: Prague uprising ends with negotiated surrender with Czech resistance which allowed the Germans in Prague to leave the city.
  • 8: Soviet forces capture the Reichstag during which the soviets install the famous flag of Soviet Union over Reichstag.
  • 8: Viet Nam is considered a minor item on the agenda; in order to disarm the Japanese in Viet Nam, the Allies divide the country in half at the 16th parallel. Chinese Nationalists will move in and disarm the Japanese north of the parallel while the British will move in and do the same in the south. During the conference, representatives from France request the return of all French pre-war colonies in Indochina. Their request is granted. Viet Nam will once again become French colony following the removal of the Japanese.
  • 9: Red Army entered Prague as part of the Prague Offensive.
  • 9: Soviet Union officially pronounces May 9 as the Victory Day.
  • 9: German garrison in Channel Islands agreed to unconditional surrender.
  • 11: Prague Offensive ends with Soviet capture of the capital city, the last major city to be liberated, though the war is over. Eisenhower stops Patton from participating in the liberation.
  • 11: German Army Group Centre in Czechoslovakia surrenders.
  • 11: War in New Guinea continues, with Australians attacking Wewak.
  • 14: Nagoya, Japan is heavily bombed.
  • 14: Fighting in the southern Philippines continues.
  • 16: British troops complete liberation of Channel Islands.
  • 18: Continued fierce fighting on Okinawa.
  • 20: Georgian Uprising of Texel ends, concluding hostilities in Europe.
  • 23: British forces capture and arrest the members of what was left of the Flensburg government. This was the German government formed by Reich President Karl Dönitz after the suicides of both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels.
  • 23: Heavy bombing of Yokohama, an important port and naval base.
  • 23: Heinrich Himmler, head of the notorious SS, dies of suicide by cyanide pill.
  • 29: Fighting breaks out in Syria and Lebanon, as nationalists demand freedom from French control.

World War II Timeline June 1945

  • 5: A huge Pacific typhoon hits the American navy under Admiral Halsey; the fleet suffers widespread damage.
  • 5: Allies agree to divide Germany into four areas of control.
  • 10: Australian troops land at Brunei, Borneo.
  • 13: The Australians capture Brunei
  • 15: Osaka, Japan is bombed heavily.
  • 16: The Japanese are in a general retreat in central China.
  • 19: The United Kingdom begins demobilisation.
  • 20: Schiermonnikoog, a Dutch island, is the last part of Europe freed by Allied troops.
  • 21: The defeat of the Japanese on Okinawa is now complete.
  • 26: The United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco.
  • 27: The first oil pump is restored at Tarakan Island

World War II Timeline July 1945

  • 1: Australian troops land at Balikpapan, Borneo in the Western Allies last major land operation of the war
  • 4: General MacArthur announces that the Philippines have been liberated.
  • 6: Norway declares war on Japan.
  • 10: US Navy aircraft participate in attacks on Tokyo for the first time.
  • 14: Italy declares war on Japan.
  • 16: U.S. conducts the Trinity test at Alamogordo, New Mexico, the first test of a nuclear weapon.
  • 17: The Potsdam Conference begins. The Allied leaders agree to insist upon the unconditional surrender of Japan.
  • 22: America and Japan engage in a small bloodless skirmish in the Battle of Tokyo Bay. The Japanese take slight losses
  • 24: Truman hints at the Potsdam Conference that the United States has nuclear weapons.
  • 24: British and Americans commence the Bombing of Kure
  • 26: The Labour Party win the United Kingdom general election by a landslide. The new United Kingdom Prime Minister Clement Attlee replaces Churchill at the negotiating table at Potsdam.
  • 28: The Japanese battleship Haruna is sunk by aircraft from US Task Force 38.
  • 30: The USS Indianapolis is sunk shortly after midnight by a Japanese submarine after having delivered atomic bomb material to Tinian; because of poor communications, the ship's whereabouts are unknown for some time and many of its men drown or are attacked by sharks in the next four days.
  • 31: US air attacks on the cities of Kobe and Nagoya in Japan.

World War II Timeline August 1945

  • 2: End of the Potsdam Conference: Issues such as the expulsion of Germans from the eastern quarter of Germany and elsewhere in eastern Europe are mandated in the Potsdam Agreement.
  • 6: Enola Gay drops the first atomic bomb "Little Boy" on Hiroshima.
  • 8: Soviet Union declares war on Japan; the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation begins about an hour later which includes landings on the Kurile Islands. The Japanese have been evacuating in anticipation of this.
  • 9: Soviet troops enter China and Korea.
  • 9: Bockscar drops the second atomic bomb "Fat Man" on Nagasaki.
  • 14: An attempted coup by Japanese military and right-wingers to overthrow the government and prevent the inevitable surrender.
  • 14: Last day of United States Force combat actions. All units frozen in place.
  • 15: Emperor Hirohito issues a radio broadcast announcing Japan's surrender; though the surrender seems to be "unconditional", the Emperor's status is still open for discussion.
  • 15: World-wide celebration of VJ Day.
  • 16: Emperor Hirohito issues an Imperial Rescript ordering Japanese forces to cease fire.
  • 17: Indonesia declares independence from Japan.
  • 19: At a spontaneous non-communist meeting in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh assume a leading role in the movement to wrest power from the French. With the Japanese still in control of Indochina in the interim, Bảo Đại goes along because he thought that the Viet Minh were still working with the American OSS and could guarantee independence for Vietnam. Later, Ho Chi Minh's guerrillas occupy Hanoi and proclaim a provisional government.
  • 19: Hostilities between Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Communists break into the open.
  • 22: Japanese armies surrender to the Red Army in Manchuria.
  • 27: Japanese armies in Burma surrender at Rangoon ceremonies.
  • 30: Royal Navy force under Rear-Admiral Cecil Harcourt liberates Hong Kong.
  • 31: General MacArthur takes over command of the Japanese government in Tokyo.

World War II Timeline September 1945

  • 2: The commander of the Imperial Japanese Army General Tomoyuki Yamashita surrenders to Filipino and American troops at Kiangan, Ifugao in Northern Philippines.
  • 2: Japan signs the articles of surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
  • 2: Ho Chi Minh issues his Proclamation of Independence, drawing heavily upon the American Declaration of Independence from a copy provided by the OSS. Ho declares himself president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and pursues American recognition but is repeatedly ignored by President Harry S. Truman.
  • 5: Singapore is officially liberated by British and Indian troops.
  • 13: British forces under Major-General Douglas Gracey's 20th Indian Division, some 26,000 men in all, arrive in Saigon which is in turmoil, South Vietnam to disarm and accept surrender of Japanese Occupation Forces in South Vietnam south of the 16th parallel. 180,000 Chinese Nationalist soldiers, mainly poor peasants, arrive in Hanoi, North Vietnam to disarm and accept surrender north of the line. After looting Vietnamese villages during their entire march down from China, they then proceed to loot Hanoi.
  • 16: Japanese garrison in Hong Kong officially signs the instrument of surrender.
  • 22: The British release 1,400 French Paratroopers from Japanese internment camps around Saigon. Those French soldiers enter Saigon and go on a deadly rampage, attacking Viet Minh and killing innocent civilians including children, aided by French civilians who joined the rampage. An estimated 20,000 French civilians live in Saigon.

World War II Timeline October 1945

  • 1: In southern Vietnam, a purely bilateral British/French agreement recognizes French administration of the southern zone. In northern Vietnam, Chinese troops go on a "rampage". Hồ's Việt Minh are hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with it.
The non fraternization directive for U.S. troops against German civilians was rescinded. Previously even speaking to a German could lead to court martial, except for "small children", these had been exempt in June 1945. ((:

World War II Timeline November 1945

  • 29: The prohibition against marriage between GIs and Austrian women was rescinded on November 29. Later It would be rescinded for German women too. Black soldiers serving in the army were not allowed to marry white women, (in the case that they remained in the army) so they were restricted until 1948 when the prohibition against interracial marriages was removed.

World War II Timeline December 1945

  • 31: The British Home Guard is disbanded.
  • The US prohibition against food shipments to Germany is rescinded. "CARE Package shipments to individuals remained prohibited until 5 June 1946".

March 1946

?:Hồ Chí Minh accepts an Allied compromise for temporary return of 15,000 French troops to rid the North of anti-Communists. British/Indian troops depart Vietnam and Nationalist Chinese troops flee to Taiwan, looting as they depart, leaving the war in Vietnam to continue with the conflict between the French and the Viet Minh. As World War II ends, starvation kills over 2 million Vietnamese.

December 1946

U.S. President Harry S. Truman declares: Although a state of war still exists, it is at this time possible to declare, and I find it to be in the public interest to declare, that hostilities have terminated. Now, THEREFORE, I, HARRY S. TRUMAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the cessation of hostilities of World War II, effective twelve o'clock noon, December 31, 1946.

February 10, 1947

U.S. Signs Peace treaties with Italy, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, and Romania.

19 October 1951

End of state of war with Germany was granted by the U.S. Congress on 19 October 1951, after a request by president Truman on 9 July. In the Petersberg Agreement of November 22, 1949 it was noted that the West German government wanted an end to the state of war, but the request could not be granted. The U.S. state of war with Germany was being maintained for legal reasons, and though it was softened somewhat it was not suspended since "the U.S. wants to retain a legal basis for keeping a U.S. force in Western Germany".

May 5, 1955

End of occupation of West Germany. West Berlin remained as a special territory. The Eastern quarter of Germany remained annexed by the Allies, but Germany would not legally accept this as a fact until in 1970 when West Germany signed treaties with the Soviet Union (Treaty of Moscow) and Poland (Treaty of Warsaw) recognizing the Oder-Neisse line between Germany and Poland.


Last major repatriation of German Prisoners of War and German civilians who were used as forced labor by the Allies after the war, in accordance with the agreement made at the Yalta conference. Most Prisoners of War held by the U.S. France and the U.K. were released by 1949.

World War II Timeline 1944

This is a timeline of events that occurred during 1944 in World War II.

World War II Timeline January 1944

  • 4: The Battle of Monte Cassino begins.
  • 4: The 1st Ukrainian Front of the Red Army enters Poland.
  • 8: Filipino troops enter the province of Ilocos Sur in the Philippines against the Japanese forces.
  • 9: British forces take Maungdaw, Burma, a critical port for Allied supplies.
  • 11: The first battle of Monte Cassino. The Americans are driven off.
  • 12: Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister and Mussolini's son-in-law is executed by Mussolini's revived Fascist government sympathisers.
  • 17: British forces, in Italy, cross the Garigliano River
  • 19: Red Army troops push westward toward the Baltic countries.
  • 19: British Operation Outward accidentally claims lives in Sweden by causing a train crash by knocking out lighting
  • 20: The Royal Air Force drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin
  • 20: The U.S. Army 36th Infantry Division, in Italy, attempts to cross the Rapido River but suffers heavy losses.
  • 22: Allies begin Operation Shingle, the landing at Anzio, Italy. The U.S. Army 45th Infantry Division stand their ground at Anzio against violent assaults for 4 months. Time and again aggressive German artillery and troop attacks nearly overwhelm the beachhead.
  • 24: The Allied forces have a major setback on the Rapido River.
  • 30: United States troops invade Majuro, Marshall Islands.
  • 31: American forces land on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
  • 31: Americans are still struggling to protect the beachhead at Anzio.

World War II Timeline February 1944

  • 1: United States Marines mop up on Roi and Namur in the Marshall Islands.
  • 1: The battles at both Monte Cassino and Anzio intensify.
  • 2: Narva front near the east border of Estonia is formed between the Soviet and German forces.
  • 3: United States taking of the Marshall Islands is nearing completion.
  • 3: The Red Army take prisoner two German Army corps at the Korsun "pocket", south of Kiev.
  • 3: American planes bomb Eniwetok in the Marshalls, later to be a major B-29 base.
  • 4: Kwajalein, the world's largest atoll and a major Japanese naval base is secured.
  • 5: American Navy bombards the Kuril Islands, northernmost in the Japanese homelands.
  • 6: Germans continue to have continuing success in staving off the Allies at Cassino.
  • 7: In Anzio, the Allies continue to be threatened by German artillery attacks.
  • 7: In a radio interview, the last Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Uluots as acting Head of State supports mobilisation.
  • 8: The plan for the invasion of France, Operation Overlord, is confirmed.
  • 14: Meerapalu Landing of the 374th Rifle Regiment forms a bridgehead in the on the western shore of Lake Peipus.
  • 14: Mereküla Landing of the special unit of the Soviet Baltic Sea Fleet in the rear of the Germans at the Narva front at Mereküla is resisted.
  • 14: The underground organisation, the National Committee of the Republic of Estonia, is formed in Tallinn.
  • 14: SHAEF headquarters are established in Britain by U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • 14: Anti-Japanese revolt on Java.
  • 15: The Soviet bridgehead on the west coast of Lake Peipus is annihilated
  • 15: Soviet Leningrad Front initiates the Narva Offensive, February 15–28.
  • 15: The "second" Battle of Monte Cassino begins. The history-rich monastery atop Monte Cassino is destroyed by Allied bombing. The bombing is controversial since the Germans deny the Allied charge that the grounds were used as observation posts.
  • 16: Germans launch a major counter-attack at Anzio, threatening the American beachhead.
  • 16: Germans, with Panzer forces leading, fail to break out of the Korsun pocket.
  • 16: Diplomats from the USSR and Finland meet to sign an armistice.
  • 17: American Marines land on Eniwetok Atoll.
  • 18: The Light Cruiser HMS Penelope is torpedoed and sunk of the coast of anzio Italy with a loss of 415 crew
  • 18: American naval air raids on the Truk islands, a major Japanese naval base, but it will be one of the bypassed fortresses of the Japanese outer defence ring.
  • 19: Leipzig, Germany is bombed for two straight nights. This marks the beginning of a "Big Week" bombing campaign against German industrial cities by Allied bombers.
  • 23: US Navy planes attack the Mariana Islands of Saipan, Guam, Tinian.
  • 26: The "Big Week" bombing campaign comes to a successful conclusion; the American P-51 Mustang fighter with its long range proves invaluable in protecting American bombers over Germany.
  • 26: Red Air Force continues to bomb Helsinki, as Finland continues peace talks.
  • 28: The Admiralty Islands are invaded by U.S. forces, marked by the Battle of Los Negros and Operation Brewer. The struggle for this important fleet anchorage will continue until May. Rabaul is now completely isolated.

World War II Timeline March 1944

1: The keels of USS Tarawa and USS Kearsarge are laid down.
: Anti-fascist strikes occur in northern Italy.
: Leningrad Front initiate the Narva Offensive, March 1–4
6: Wingate's Chindits make several successful forays in Burma.
: The Soviet Air Force bombs Narva, the city is destroyed. The Leningrad Front initiates the Narva Offensive, March 6–24
: The Australians receive faulty intelligence that the Japanese are about to mount an attack on Western Australia, causing them to greatly bolster defenses there. When no attack comes, they return to their regular stations on the 20th
7: Japanese begin an invasion attempt on India, starting a four-month battle around Imphal.
8: American forces are attacked by Japanese troops on Hill 700 in the Bougainville; the battle that will last five days.
: A Red Army offensive on a wide front west of the Dnieper in the Ukraine forces the Germans into a major retreat.
9: The Soviet Long Range Aviation carries out an air raid on Tallinn, Estonia. The military objects are almost untouched. Approx. 800 civilians die and 20,000 people are left without a shelter.
12: The creation of the Political Committee of National Liberation in Greece.
13: On Bougainville, Japanese troops end their failed assault on American forces at Hill 700.
15: The National Council of the French Resistance approves the Resistance programme.
: The "third" Battle of Cassino begins with the small town of Cassino destroyed.
: Americans take Manus Island in the Admiralty chain.
16: United States XI Corps arrives in Pacific Theater.
17: Heavy bombing of Vienna.
18: German forces occupy Hungary. The Red Army approach Romanian border.
19: Yugoslav partisans attack Trieste, on the border of Italy and Croatia.
20: Red Army advances in the Ukraine continue with great success.
21: Finland rejects Soviet peace terms.
22: Japanese forces cross the Indian border all along the Imphal front.
: Frankfurt is bombed with heavy civilian losses.
24: The Fosse Ardeatine massacre in Rome, Italy. 335 Italians are killed, including 75 Jews and over 200 members various groups in the Italian Resistance; this is a German response to a bomb blast that killed German troops.
: Orde Wingate is killed in a plane crash.
: Heavy bombings of German cities at various strategic locations last for 24 hours.
25: Soviet air force bombs the city of Tartu, Estonia.
26: On Narva front, Strachwitz Offensive destroys part of the Soviet bridgehead.
28: Japanese troops are in retreat in Burma.
30: RAF suffers grievous losses in a huge air raid on Nuremberg.

World War II Timeline April 1944

  • 3: Allied bombers hit Budapest in Hungary, now occupied by the Germans, and Bucharest in Romania, ahead of the advancing Red Army.
  • 4: General Charles de Gaulle takes command of all Free French forces.
  • 5: US Air Force bombs Ploesti oil fields in Rumania, with heavy losses.
  • 6: The Japanese drive on the Plain of Imphal, supposedly halted, proves strong enough to surround British forces at Imphal and Kohima, in India.
  • 7: Red Army take Kerch in the eastern Crimea and drive toward Sevastopol
  • 12: German troops begin evacuation of the Crimea.
  • 14: Crimea and Odessa are liberated by Soviet forces.
  • 15: Heavy air raids on Ploesti oil fields by both the RAF and the US Air Force.
  • 17: Americans land on Mindanao, in the southern Philippines.
  • 17: Japanese launch a major offensive in central China, aiming toward southeast China air bases where American bombers are located. By the next day they have had some successes.
  • 17: Yalta, an important port in the southeast Crimea, is taken by the Red Army.
  • 21: The Badoglio government in Italy falls and he is quickly asked to form another.
  • 21: An air raid on Paris kills a large number of civilians.
  • 22: American navy planes carry out widespread attacks in New Guinea. US troops land at Hollandia and Aitape in northern New Guinea. Japanese forces in New Guinea will now be cut off.
  • 24: British troops force open the road from Imphal to Kohima in India.
  • 27: The Slapton Sands tragedy: American soldiers are killed in a training exercise in preparation for D-Day at Slapton in Devon.
  • 30: Vast preparations for D-Day are going on all over southern England.
  • 30: American navy air raids continue in the Carolina Islands, including Truk.

World War II Timeline May 1944

  • 6: Heavy Allied bombings of the Continent in preparation for D-Day.
  • 8: D-Day for Operation Overlord set for June 5.
  • 9: The German Army evacuates Sevastopol the largest city and an important port in the Crimea; the Red Army moves in.
    : The Battle at the "Gustav line" near Monte Cassino continues without resolution.
  • 11: The British cross the Rapido River. A "fourth" battle of Monte Cassino begins, concurrent with the opening of an offensive campaign toward Rome.
  • 12: Soviet troops finalise the liberation of Crimea.
    : Large numbers of Chinese troops invade northern Burma.
  • 13: The bridgehead over the Rapido River is reinforced.
  • 18: Battle of Monte Cassino ends with an Allied victory; Polish troops hoist their red and white flag on the ruins of Monte Cassino. The Germans have ceded it and departed.
    : Allied troops take airfields at Myitkyina, Burma, an important air base; the struggle over the city itself will continue for nearly three months.
    : The last Japanese resistance in the Admiralty Islands, off New Guinea comes to an end.
  • 21: Increased Allied bombing of targets in France in preparation for D-Day.
  • 23: Allies advance toward Rome, after a linkup of American II and III corps.
  • 25: Germans are now in retreat in the Anzio area. American forces break out of the beachhead and link up with the Fifth Army; both then begin their advance on Rome.
  • 27: Operation Hurricane starts. Americans land on Biak, Dutch New Guinea, a key Japanese air base; stubborn Japanese resistance until August.
  • 31: The Japanese retreat from Imphal (India) with heavy losses; their invasion of India is over.

World War II Timeline June 1944

  • 2: The provisional French government is established.
  • 3: There are daily bombings of the Cherbourg peninsula and the Normandy area.
  • 4: Operation Overlord is postponed 24 hours due to high seas.
    : American, British, and French troops enter Rome.
  • 5: Rome falls to the Allies, becoming the first capital of an Axis nation to do so.
    : Operation Overlord commences when more than 1,000 British bombers drop 5,000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries on the Normandy coast in preparation for D-Day. And the first Allied troops land in Normandy; paratroopers are scattered from Caen southward.
    : In the Pacific, the U.S. fleet transporting the expeditionary forces for the invasion of Saipan in the Mariana Islands leaves Pearl Harbor.
  • 6: D-Day begins with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in France. The allied soldiers quickly break through the Atlantic Wall and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.
  • 7: Bayeux is liberated by British troops.
  • 9: No agreement having been reached on their mutual borders, Stalin launches an offensive against Finland with the intent of defeating Finland before pushing for Berlin.
  • 10: At Oradour-sur-Glane (a town near Limoges), France, 642 men, women, and children are killed in a German response to local Resistance activities.
    : In the Distomo massacre in Greece, 218 civilians are killed.
  • 12: American aircraft carriers commence air strikes on the Marianas, including Saipan, preparing for invasion.
  • 13: Germany launches a V1 Flying Bomb attack on England, in Hitler's view a kind of revenge for the invasion. He believes in Germany's victory with this "secret weapon." The V-1 attacks will continue through June.
    : The U.S. Naval bombardment of Saipan begins. In response, Admiral Toyoda Soemu, commander-in-chief of the Japanese Navy, orders his fleet to attack U.S. Navy forces around Saipan.
  • 15: U.S. Marine and Army forces invade the island of Saipan. U.S. submarines sight the Japanese fleet en-route.
  • 16: The main portions of the Japanese fleet rendezvous in the western part of the Philippine Sea, completing their refueling the next day.
  • 17: Free French troops land on Elba.
  • 18: Elba is declared liberated.
    : Allies capture Assisi, Italy.
  • 19: With the U.S. Navy in position, the Battle of the Philippine Sea begins. It will be the largest aircraft carrier battle in history. Known by navy pilots as "the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot," large numbers of Japanese planes are destroyed and pilots shot down.
    : A severe Channel storm destroys one of the Allies' Mulberry harbours in Normandy.
    : The Red Army prepares for "Operation Bagration," a huge offensive in Byelorussia (White Russia).
  • 20: The Battle of the Philippine Sea ends with three Japanese carriers sunk and three more damaged, forcing the fleet to withdraw.
    : The British take Perugia, Italy.
    : The Siege of Imphal is lifted after three months.
  • 21: Allied offensive in Burma.
  • 22: V-1's continue to hit England, especially London, sometimes with horrifying losses.
    : Operation Bagration: General attack by Soviet forces to clear the German forces from Belarus This results in the destruction of the German Army Group Centre, possibly the greatest defeat of the Wehrmacht during World War II.
    : In the Burma Campaign, the Battle of Kohima ends with a British victory.
  • 23: The National Committee of the Republic of Estonia makes a declaration “to the Estonian People.” The declaration was made public to the world press in Stockholm in July 1944 and in Tallinn on 1 August 1944.
  • 25: The Battle of Tali-Ihantala between Finnish and Soviet troops begins. Largest battle ever to be fought in the Nordic countries.
  • 26: Cherbourg is liberated by American troops.

World War II Timeline July 1944

  • 2: V-1's continue to have devastating effects in terms of material destruction and losses of life.
  • 3: Minsk in Belarus is liberated by Soviet forces.
  • 3: The Allies find themselves in the "battle of the hedgerows", as they are stymied by the agricultural hedges in Western France which intelligence had not properly evaluated.
  • 3: Siena, Italy falls to Algerian troops of the French forces.
  • 6: Largest Banzai charge of the war: 4,300 Japanese troops are slaughtered on Saipan.
  • 7: Soviet troops enter Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • 9: After heavy resistance Caen, France is liberated by the British troops on the left flank of the Allied advance.
  • 9: Saipan is declared secure, the Japanese having lost over 30,000 troops; in the last stages numerous civilians commit suicide with the encouragement of Japanese military.
  • 10: Japanese are still resisting on New Guinea.
  • 10: Tokyo is bombed for the first time since the Doolittle raid of April, 1942.
  • 11: President Roosevelt announces that he will run for an unprecedented fourth term.
  • 12: Hitler rejects General Field Marshal Walther Model’s proposal to withdraw the German forces from Estonia and Northern Latvia and retreat to the Daugava River.
  • 13: The Soviets take Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • 13: The Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive begins.
  • 16: First troops of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (FEB) arrive in Italy
  • 17: Field Marshal Rommel is badly wounded when his car is strafed from the air in France.
  • 18: St. Lo, France is taken, and the Allied breakout from hedgerow country in Normandy begins.
  • 18: General Hideki Tojo resigns as chief minister of the Japanese government as the defeats of the Japanese military forces continue to mount. Emperor Hirohito asks General Kuniaki Koiso to form a new government.
  • 19: American forces take Leghorn (Livorno), Italy far up the Italian boot.
  • 20: The July 20 Plot is carried out by Col. Claus von Stauffenberg in a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. Hitler was visiting headquarters at Rastenburg, East Prussia. Reprisals follow against the plotters and their families, and even include Rommel.
  • 21: US Marines land on Guam.
  • 22: Hitler gives permission to retreat from the Narva River to the Tannenberg defence line in the Sinimäed hills 20 km West from Narva.
  • 24: At the start of the Soviet Narva Offensive, July 24–30, the Soviet 8th Army is beaten by the Estonian 45th Regiment and East Prussian 44th Regiment. The army detachment "Narwa" begins to retreat to the Tannenberg line.
  • 24: Majdanek Concentration Camp is liberated by Soviet forces, the first among many. The Soviet Union is now in control of several large cities in Poland, including Lublin.
  • 24: US bombers mistakenly bomb American troops near St. Lo, France.
  • 24: Marines land on Tinian Island, last of the Marianas (after Saipan and Guam); Tinian will eventually be a B-29 base, and the base from which the atomic bombers departed.
  • 24: "Operation Cobra" is now in full swing: the breakout at St. Lo in Normandy with American troops taking Coutances.
  • 26: The Leningrad Front's Narva Offensive captures the town.
  • 26: The first aerial victory for a jet fighter occurs, with an Me 262 of the Luftwaffe's Ekdo 262 damaging a de Havilland Mosquito reconaissance aircraft of the Royal Air Force's No. 540 Squadron RAF.
  • 27 July to 10 August: Battles on the Tannenberg Line. At the start of the battles there are 25 Estonian and 24 Dutch, Danish and Flemish infantry battalions on the German side at the Narva Front. The artillery forces, and the tank, engineer and other special units are composed mainly of Germans. The attack by the Soviet Armed Forces is stopped, tens of thousands of men are killed in both sides.
  • 28: The Red Army take Brest-Litovsk, the site of the Russo-German peace treaty in World War I.
  • 29: A decisive day in the Battle of Narva, allowing the German army detachment "Narwa", including Estonian conscript formations to delay the Soviet Baltic Offensive for another one and a half months.

World War II Timeline August 1944

  • 1: The Second Warsaw Uprising, this time by the Polish Home Army commences; the Polish people rise up, expecting aid from the approaching Soviet Union armies. The tragic event will last 63 days.
  • 1: The Red Army isolates the Baltic States from East Prussia by taking Kaunas.
  • 1: The Americans complete the capture the island of Tinian.
  • 2: The battle for Guam, another island in the Marianas, however, continues.
  • 3: Myitkyina in northern Burma, falls to the Allies (the Chinese and Americans under Stilwell), after a vigorous defence by the Japanese.
  • 4: Florence is liberated by the Allies, particularly British and South African troops; before exiting, however, the Germans under General Kesselring destroy some historic bridges and historically valuable buildings.
  • 4: The trials of the bomb conspirators against Hitler are underway in a court presided over by notorious Judge Roland Freisler.
  • 4: Rennes is liberated by American forces.
  • 5: Japanese POWs escape from an Australian prison near the town of Cowra. Two guards are killed and posthumously awarded the George Cross
  • 8: Plotters in the bomb plot against Hitler are hanged, their bodies hung on meat hooks; reprisals against their families continue.
  • 10: Guam is liberated by American troops and all of the Marianas are now in American hands. They will be turned into a major air and naval centre against the Japanese homeland.
  • 11: The Warsaw Rising continues; the Red Army remain on the west side of the Vistula, apparently unwilling to help their supposed allies against the occupying Germans.
  • 14: The failure of the Allies to close the Falaise gap in France, proves advantageous to the Germans fleeing to the east who escape the pincer movement of the Allies.
  • 14: A clash between Italian POWs and American servicemen ends in the Fort Lawton Riot
  • 15: The Allies reach the "Gothic Line", the last German strategic position in North Italy.
  • 15: Operation Dragoon begins, marked by amphibious Allied landings in southern France.
  • 16: The Red Armies makes moves to close in on Warsaw.
  • 18: The Red Army reaches the East Prussian border.
  • 19: French Resistance begins uprising in Paris, partly inspired by the Allied approach to the Seine River.
  • 19: In a radio broadcast, Jüri Uluots, the acting Head of State of Estonia, calls the Estonian conscripts to hold the Soviet Armed Forces back until a peace treaty with Germany is signed.
  • 20: The Red Army crosses the border into Romania.
  • 21: The Dumbarton Oaks Conference begins, setting up the basic structure of the United Nations.
  • 22: The Japanese are now in total retreat from India.
  • 23: Romania breaks with the Axis, surrenders to the Soviet Union, and joins the Allies.
  • 25: Paris is liberated; De Gaulle and Free French parade triumphantly down the Champs-Élysées. The German military disobeys Hitler's orders to burn the city. Meanwhile the southern Allied forces move up from the Riviera, take Grenoble and Avignon.
  • 28: The Germans surrender at Toulon and Marseilles, in southern France.
  • 28: Patton's tanks cross the Marne.
  • 29: An anti-German rising starts in Czechoslovakia.
  • 30: The Allies enter Rouen, in northwestern France.
  • 31: The Soviet army enters Bucharest.
  • 31: American forces turn over the government of France to Free French troops.

World War II Timeline September 1944

  • 1: Canadian troops capture Dieppe, France, scene of their humiliation in August, 1942.
  • 2: Allied troops enter Belgium.
  • 2: Finland agrees to an armistice with the Soviet Union and demands a withdrawal of German troops.
  • 3: Brussels liberated by British Second Army while Lyon is liberated by French and American troops.
  • 4: Operation Outward ends
  • 5: Antwerp is liberated by British 11th Armoured Division.
    : The uprising in Warsaw continues; Red Army forces are available for relief and reinforcement, but are apparently unable to move without Stalin's order.
    : United States III Corps arrives in European Theater.
  • 6: The "blackout" is diminished to a "dim-out) as threat of invasion and further bombing seems an unlikely possibility.
    : Ghent and Liège are liberated by British troops.
  • 8: Ostend is liberated by Canadian troops.
    : Soviet Union invades Bulgaria. Bulgaria declares war on Germany.
  • 9: The first V-2 rocket lands on London.
    : De Gaulle forms provisional government in France, and Bulgaria makes peace with the USSR then declares war on Germany.
  • 10: Luxembourg is liberated by U.S. First Army.
    : Two Allied forces meet at Dijon, cutting France in half.
    : First Allied troops enter Germany, entering Aachen, a city on the border.
    : Dutch railway workers go on strike. The German response results in the Dutch famine of 1944.
  • 11: United States XXI Corps arrives in European Theater.
  • 13: American troops reach the Siegfried line, the West wall of Germany's defence system.
  • 14: Soviet Baltic Offensive commences.
  • 15: American Marines land on Peleliu in the Palau Islands; a bloody battle of attrition continues for two and a half months.
  • 16: The Red Army enters Sofia, Bulgaria.
  • 17: Operation Market Garden, the attempted liberation of Arnhem and turning of the German flank begins.
  • 17: Assorted British and commonwealth forces enter neutral San Marino and engage German forces in a small-scale conflict known as the Battle of San Marino
  • 18: Brest, France, an important Channel port, falls to the Allies.
    : Jüri Uluots proclaims the Government of Estonia headed by Deputy Prime Minister Otto Tief.
  • 19: Armistice is signed between the Soviet Union and Finland.
    : Nancy liberated by U.S. First Army
  • 20: The Government of Estonia seizes the government buildings of Toompea from the German forces and appeals to the Soviet Union for the independence of Estonia.
    : United States XVI Corps arrives in European Theater.
  • 20: The Battle of San Marino ends
  • 21: British forces take Rimini, Italy.
    : The Second Dumbarton Oaks Conference begins: it will set guidelines for the United Nations.
    : San Marino declares war on the Axis
    : The Government of Estonia prints a few hundred copies of the Riigi Teataja (State Gazette) and is forced to flee under the Soviet pressure.
  • 22: The Red Army takes Tallinn, the first Baltic harbour outside the minefields of the Gulf of Finland.
    : The Germans surrender at Boulogne.
  • 23: Americans take Ulithi atoll in the Carolina Islands; it is a massive atoll that will later become an important naval base.
  • 24: The Red Army is well into Poland at this time.
  • 25: British troops pull out of Arnhem with failure of Operation Market Garden. Over 6,000 paratroopers are captured. Hopes of an early end to the war are abandoned.
    : United States IX Corps arrives in Pacific Theater.
  • 26: There are signs of civil war in Greece as the Communist-controlled National Liberation Front and the British-backed government seem irreconcilable.
  • 30: German garrison in Calais surrenders to Canadian troops. At one time, Hitler thought it would be the focus of the cross-Channel invasion.

World War II Timeline October 1944

  • 1: Soviet troops enter Yugoslavia.
  • 2: Germans finally succeed in putting down Warsaw Uprising by Polish Home Army. The Soviet Union armies have never moved to assist the Polish Home Army.
    : American troops are now in a full-scale attack on the German "West Wall".
    : Allied forces land on Crete.
  • 5: Canadian troops cross the border into the Netherlands.
    : Red Army enters Hungary; meanwhile they launch an offensive to capture Riga, Latvia.
  • 6: Soviet and Czechoslovak troops enter northeastern Slovakia.
    : The Battle of Debrecen begins as German and Soviet forces advance against each other in eastern Hungary.
  • 9: Allied Conference ("Tolstoy") in Moscow: Churchill and Stalin discuss spheres of influence in the postwar Balkans.
  • 10: The Red Army reach the Niemen River in Prussia and continue the battle around Riga.
    : The Allied combined forces take Corinth, in southern Greece.
  • 12: Athens is liberated by EAM and evacuated by German troops.
  • US Navy carriers attack Formosa (Taiwan).
    : The Second Quebec Conference ("Octagon"). President Roosevelt and Churchill discuss military cooperation in the Pacific, and the division of Germany.
    : United States XXIII Corps Arrives in European Theater.
  • 14: British troops entering Athens.
    : Field Marshal Rommel, under suspicion as one of the "bomb plotters" voluntarily commits suicide to save his family. He is later buried with full military honors.
  • 15: Allied bombardment of Aachen continues, the first major battle on German soil.
  • 16: The Germans depose Admiral Horthy, regent and dictator of Hungary; once a fervent ally of Germany, he had lost the trust of the German government.
    : The Red Army and Yugoslav partisans under the command of Josip Broz Tito liberate Belgrade. The Red Army forces are also in East Prussia.
  • 18: Hitler orders a call-up of all men from 16 to 60 for Home Guard duties.
  • 20: Soviet forces in command of General Zhukov, with help of Yugoslavia Partizan and Chetnik forces liberated Belgrade.
  • 21: Aachen is occupied by U.S. First Army; it is the first major German city to be captured.
  • 22: Canadian soldier; Smokey Smith from the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada earns the Victoria Cross for his actions at the River Savio
  • 23: The Allies recognise General de Gaulle as the head of a provisional government of France.
    : Battle of Leyte Gulf begins. Largest sea battle in history. Americans experience more kamikaze attacks]] from Japanese aircraft; the USS Princeton is hit with grave damage.
    : The battle of San Bernardino Strait; the Japanese attempt to stop MacArthur's landing on Leyte. Small aircraft carriers save the day as Admiral Halsey is lured north out of the action.
    : B-29's are now using Tinian Island, in the Marianas, as a base for the systematic bombing of Japan. Soviet forces in cooperation with Tito's Partizan forces, liberated Novi Sad in Yugoslavia (Serbia today)
  • 25: Romania is fully liberated by Red Army and Romanian troops.
  • 27: The battle of the Hurtgen Forest is developing, and will continue through October and November and have its last spasms in December.

World War II Timeline November 1944

  • 1: British forces take Salonika in northern Greece. The situation for civilians in Athens is now desperate.
  • : "Operation Infatuate": An Allied attempt to free the approaches to Antwerp; notably there are amphibious landings on Walcheren Island.
  • 2: Canadian troops take Zeebrugge in Belgium; Belgium is now entirely liberated.
  • 4: Remaining Axis forces withdraw from the Greek mainland. German occupation forces will remain in several Greek islands until capitulation.
  • British Gen. John Dill dies in Washington, D.C., and is buried in Arlington Cemetery, the only foreigner to be so honored.
  • 5: US planes bomb Singapore, under Japanese control since 1942.
    : Zionist terrorists assassinate the British government representative in the Middle East.
  • 6: Franklin Delano Roosevelt wins a fourth term.
    : The aircraft carrier USS Lexington is heavily damaged by kamikazes.
  • 9: General Patton's troops and tanks cross the Moselle River and threaten the city of Metz.
  • 10: V-2 rockets continue to hit Britain, at the rate of about eight a day.
  • 12: After numerous bombings while anchored in a fjord at Tromso, Norway, the German battleship Tirpitz is sunk.
  • 17: The Germans give up Tirana, Albania, and the capital is liberated by the Albanian partisans (Allies).
  • 21: San Marino declares war on Germany
  • 20: Hitler leaves his wartime headquarters at Rastenberg, East Prussia, never to return; he goes to Berlin, where he will soon establish himself at the bunker.
  • 23: Metz, France is taken, and Strasbourg, in eastern France, is liberated by French troops.
  • 24: The first B-29 originating from Tinian, in the Marianas, raid Tokyo.
    : The USS Intrepid is hit by kamikazes for the third time; other American ships are heavily damaged.
  • 25: Japanese take Nanning in south China, as the war in that theatre continues.
  • 26: The war in Italy is at a stalemate, partly because of heavy rains.
  • 28: Antwerp is now a major supply port for the onward moving Allies.
  • 30: Kunming, China, an important air base, is threatened by Japanese attacks.
    : United States XXII Corps Arrives in European Theater.

World War II Timeline December 1944

  • 3: The Dekemvriana ("December events") begin in the Greek capital, Athens, between members of the leftist National Liberation Front and government forces, backed by the British. The clashes are limited to Athens however, and the rest of the country remains relatively tranquil.
  • 3: The British Home Guard is stood down.
  • 5: The Allies are now in control of Ravenna, Italy.
  • 8: The softening up bombardment of Iwo Jima begins.
  • 15: Americans and Filipinos land troops at Mindoro, the Philippines.
  • 16: The Battle of the Bulge begins as German forces attempt a breakthrough in the Ardennes region. The main object of Hitler's plan is the taking of Antwerp.
  • 17: A typhoon hits the Third Fleet of Admiral Halsey; three destroyers capsize.
  • 17: The Malmedy massacre: SS troops execute 86 American prisoners in the Ardennes offensive. The SS troops are led by SS commander Jochen Peiper.
  • 18: Bastogne, an important crossroads, is surrounded.
  • 20: General McAuliff's famous message of "Nuts" is sent to German officers at Bastogne demanding surrender.
  • 22: The battle for Bastogne is at its height, with Americans running low on ammunition.
  • 23: The skies clear over the Ardennes, permitting Allied aircraft to begin their attacks on the German offensive, the one factor that Hitler feared in his planning.
  • 24: The American counter-attack at the "Bulge" begins.
  • 24: The Belgian transport ship S.S. Leopoldville is sunk off the coast of France. More than 800 lives, predominantly those of American servicemen, are lost.
  • 24: Manchester is attacked by V1 flying bombs
  • 26: The siege of Bastogne is broken, and with it the Ardennes offensive proves a failure.
  • 26: Racial tensions within the US military boil over into the Agana race riot on Guam
  • 28: Churchill and his Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden are in Athens in an attempt to reconcile the warring factions.
  • 29: Soviets launch the Battle of Budapest against German and Hungarian forces in and around the Hungarian capital city.
  • 31: Hungary, now led by a Soviet-controlled government, declares war on Germany.