September 1, 1939
Germany invades Poland

Wishing to regain territory lost after the First World War, Hitler invades Poland.

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

September 3, 1939
Britain declares war on Germany

Having issued Germany with an ultimatum after the invasion of Poland the UK., France, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany.

Within a week they were joined by South Africa and Canada. This group became known as the Allies.

April 1940
Germany invades Denmark and Norway

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

May 10, 1940
Germany commences Blitzkrieg

Germany launched an offensive against France directing its attacks through the neutral countries of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Image courtesy of the Bundesarchiv

May 13, 1940
Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister

May 26, 1940
The evacuation of Dunkirk

The retreat of Allied forces from the beaches of Dunkirk in northern France. The forces had been cut off and surrounded by German troops after weeks of battle.

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

June 10, 1940
Italy declares war on Britain and France

Italy invaded France and in doing so declared war on the UK and France.

June 22, 1940
Armistice between France and Germany

France signed an armistice with Germany as a result of the dominance of the German army’s invasion of the country. The armistice resulted in the German and Italian occupation of areas of France.

Image courtesy of the Bundesarchiv

July 10, 1940
Battle of Britain

Commencement of the aerial bombardments of British towns and cities and a battle for dominance of the air.

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

August 1940
Italy makes advances in Africa

Italy conquered British Somaliland and made attempts to conquer British held Egypt.

September 27, 1940
Tripartite Pact

The Pact formally united Germany, Italy and Japan as the Axis Powers.

Image courtesy of the Bundesarchive

November 1940
Hungary, Slovakia and Romania joined the Axis

December 1940
British counter attack in Africa

British forces counter attacked Italian forces in Egypt and Italian held East Africa.

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

March 1941
Deployment of the Afrika Korps

Germany deployed an expeditionary force to North Africa – known as the Afrika Korps to support their strategic military aims in Africa.

March 1941
Bulgaria and Yugoslavia joined the Axis.

Image courtesy of the Bundesarchiv

April 1941
The siege of Tobruk

Axis forces in Africa advanced into western Egypt and besieged the port town of Tobruk.

June 1941
Axis forces invade the Soviet Union

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

July 12, 1941
The Anglo-Soviet Agreement

The UK and the Soviet Union formed a military alliance agreeing to assist one another and not make separate peace arrangements with Germany.

August 14, 1941
USA and Britain issue the Atlantic Charter

The UK and the USA issued the Atlantic Charter – a broad statement of US and British aims for a post-war world – after a meeting between US President Frankin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Newfoundland.

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

December 1941
Japan and the USA enter the war

Japan attacks British and American bases in south east Asia and the Central Pacific, including Pearl Harbor. This led to the UK, USA, China and Australia to formally declare war on Japan. In turn Germany followed by the other Axis states declared war on the USA.

February 1942
Japan captured Singapore

The capture of Singapore from the British resulted in tens of thousands of prisoners.

April 1942
Japan make gains in South East Asia

Japan had fully conquered Burma, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, Singapore and Rabaul inflicting severe losses on Allied forces and taking a large number of military and civilian prisoners.

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

June 1942
Battle of Midway

US ships thwarted an attempt by the Japanese to destroy their ships and take possession of the Midway Atoll in the Pacific.

November 1942
Battle of Stalingrad

The German Army approach Stalingrad on the Eastern Front. This resulted in the first major defeat for the Germans.

Image courtesy of the Bundesarchiv

May 12, 1943
Axis surrender of North Africa

British and American forces defeat Axis forces in North Africa resulting in the Axis surrender of North Africa and the cessation of fighting.

June 1943
The Allies started a campaign of bombing in Germany

Britain and America commenced a strategic bombing campaign against German towns and cities.

Image courtesy of the Bundesarchiv

July – August 1943
Allied invasion of Sicily

Allied troops take Sicily having invaded one month earlier.

September 1943
Italy signs an armistice with the Allies

Mussolini was overthrown resulting in the new Italian government signing an armistice with the Allies. In response Germany invaded the north of Italy, rescued Mussolini and established a fascist republic in the north of Italy.

January 1944
The siege of Leningrad was lifted

After a military blockade by German forces which lasted over 2 years, Soviet forces were able to expel German forces.

June 1944
The Allies liberated Rome

From the control of the Germans

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

June 6, 1944

Western Allies invaded northern France leading to the defeat of the German Army in France.

July 1944
Japanese forces evicted from Burma

Having been invaded by Japanese led forces in 1942, British colony Burma was successfully reoccupied by Allied forces in 1944.

September 8, 1944
The first V2 bombings

Resulted in the deaths of three people in London.

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

April 1945
Soviet forces reach Berlin

The City of Berlin was to sit within the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany. Soviet forces achieved their aim of being the first Allied forces to reach Berlin in April 1945.

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

May 7, 1945
Germany surrenders

Admiral Donitz, Hitler’s successor, unconditionally surrenders to the Allies.

May 8, 1945
Victory in Europe (VE) Day

The Allies formally accepted Germany’s unconditional surrender leading to celebrations across Europe. The war against Japan, however, was still ongoing.

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

August 6, 1945 and August 9, 1945
Atomic bombs are dropped on Japan

After Japan failed to surrender according to the terms of surrender drawn up by the USA, UK and China at the Potsdam Conference the USA proceeded to drop atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

August 15, 1945
Announcement of Japanese surrender.

Japan unconditionally surrendered to the Allies. The official surrender document was not signed until 2 September 1945 leading to the official end of the war.