Key facts of WW2 1939 – 1945
1 September 1939
The leader of Germany (Adolf Hitler) invades Poland. Britain and France declare war on Germany two days later. Before World War 2 had ended most countries in the world had become involved.
Rationing starts in the UK
340,000 British troops evacuated from Dunkirk on a hastily assembled fleet of over 800 boats arranged by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
July – October 1940
British victory in Battle of Britain. This was the 1st battle fought only in the air between German Luftwaffe and Royal Air Force. It forced Hitler to postpone invasion plans of Britain.
Hitler begins the invasion of Russia.
The Blitz (bombing) continues against Britain’s major cities.
December 7 1941
Japan attacks Pearl Harbour, and the US enters the war.
American naval victory at Battle of Midway, marks turning point in Pacific War.
Mass murder of Jewish people at Auschwitz begins.
German surrender at Stalingrad, Russia marks Germany’s first major defeat.
Allied victory in North Africa Campaign enables invasion of Italy to be launched.
Allies land in Italy and fight Germans as they advance towards Rome, the capital of Italy, which they capture on 5 June 1944
6 June 1944
D-Day – the start of The Normandy Campaign: The Allied invasion of France. Paris is liberated in August 1944
Auschwitz liberated by Soviet troops.
Russians reach Berlin: Hitler commits suicide and Germany surrenders on 7 May. World War 2 ended in Europe on 8 May 1945 – this is known as VE Day
2 September 1945
After atomic bombs are dropped on cities in Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) Japan surrenders on 2 September 1945 – this is known as VJ Day