World War 2 Timeline

The build-up to the war.

1918 – WW1 ends. Creation of Weimar Republic.

1919 – Treaty of Versailles.

1920 – Nazi party formed.

1921 – Hitler becomes leader – ‘fuhrer’ – of the Nazi party.

1923 – Munich Putsch – an attempted seize at power by the Nazis.

1924 – Hitler imprisoned. Writes Mein Kampf.

1927 – First Nuremburg Rally.

1933 – Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany. All political parties – except Nazi party – banned in Germany.

1935 – Significant army expansion by Germany.

1936 – Germany allies with Italy. Spanish Civil War begins (right-wing forces aided by Germany).

1938 – Munich Agreement between Germany, and France and Britain.

March 1939 – Germany invades Czechoslovakia (against terms of Munich Agreement). Britain and France vow to protect Poland in event of invasion.

August 1939 – Soviet Union and Russia agree to split Poland between them.

September 1939 – Germany invades Poland; Britain and France declare war on Germany.


The war.


Denmark, Norway, and Belgium invaded and occupied by Germany.

January – Food rationing begins in Britain.

May – Churchill takes over from Chamberlain as Prime Minister of Britain; Evacuation of Dunkirk begins.

June – Mussolini declares war on France; Paris falls to Germany; France surrenders.

August – Battle of Britain begins. The Blitz terrorises Britain.

October – Hitler abandons plans to invade Britain.


February – Fighting begins in Northern Africa between Germany and the Allies.

April – Greece invaded and occupied by Germany.

May – Blitz ends.

June – Germany begins Operation Barbarossa: the attempted invasion of Russia.

September – Siege of Leningrad (now St Petersburg) began; Nazis capture Kiev.

October – Germany attacks Moscow.

December – Moscow fights back at Germany; Japan attacks Pearl Harbour; Britain and USA declare war on Japan; Germany declares war on USA.



January – Japan attacks Philippines.

February – Japan attacks Northern Australia.

June – Siege of Sebastopol.

August – Germany attacks Stalingrad.

October – Battle of El Alamein begins.

November – Russians fight back in Stalingrad.



Spring – Constant fighting for power in Russian cities.

May – Germany surrenders Northern Africa to Allies.

July – Rome suffers Allied bombing; Mussolini arrested.

August – Italy seeks armistice with Allies; Germany sends troops to Italy to prevent this.

September – USA and Britain invade Italy.

November – German troops leave Kiev.

 World War 2 Timeline


January – Siege of Leningrad ends.

May – Sebastopol reclaimed by Russia.

June – Allied troops enter Rome; D-Day landings in Normandy.

July – An assassination plot by Claus von Stauffenberg comes closest of any attempts to killing Hitler. He survives.

August – German troops leave Paris.

September – Brussells liberated by Allies.

December – Battle of the Bulge begins.



January – Battle of the Bulge ends; Germany begins what will ultimately be the final retreat; Russia liberates Budapest and Warsaw.

February-March – Battle of Iwo Jima.

March – Last bomb lands in Britain.

April – F. D. Roosevelt dies; Russian troops enter Vienna; British and American troops enter Germany; Mussolini executed; Hitler commits suicide.

May – Berlin surrenders to Russia; Germany surrenders; V-E Day.

August – Atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

September – Japan surrenders; V-J Day.

November – Nuremburg trials begin.

Relevant dates in the Holocaust:


January – Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.

March – Dachau concentration camp built; Enabling Act grants Hitler power of a dictator.

April – Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses; Gestapo is created.

From September 1933 onwards – Jews prohibited from holding a gradually increasing list of local offices and positions.


May – Jews banned from serving in the German military.

June – Forced abortions made legal for women carrying babies with ‘defects’.

September – Nuremburg Race Laws passed.



August – Summer Olympics in Berlin. Anti-Semitism is hidden from international audience.



Early months – A series of further restrictions and limitations placed upon Jewish lives/businesses.

November – Kristellnacht. Nazi troops murder Jews across Germany and destroy their homes and businesses; Jewish pupils expelled from non-Jewish schools.



April – Jews moved to Jewish houses.

September – Quote from Nazi newspaper, Der Stürmer, published by Julius Streicher – “The Jewish people ought to be exterminated root and branch. Then the plague of pests would have disappeared in Poland at one stroke.”

November – Polish Jews forced to wear yellow stars.



January – Auschwitz built.

February – German Jews deported to Poland.

April – Lodz Ghetto in Poland established – 230,000 Jews are placed inside, isolated from the rest of the world.

July – Nazis consider plan to deport all Jews to Madagascar.

November – Ghettos established in Warsaw and Krakow.



Hans Frank, Gauleiter of Poland, states, “I ask nothing of the Jews except that they should disappear.”

March – German Jews forced into labour.

June – Nazis invade Russia (inheriting some 3 million Jews).

July – Majdanek concentration camp (near Lublin, Poland) becomes operational.

September – German Jews forced to wear yellow stars.



January – Auschwitz-Birkenau begins using gas to exterminate Jews en masse.

March – Jews from occupied territories sent to Auschwitz.

June – Yellow stars enforced in occupied German territories; Auschwitz expands to accommodate mass imports of Jews.

July – Jews from the Warsaw ghetto sent to Treblinka camp.

December – German Jews sent to Auschwitz.



January – Gypsies arrested and sent to concentration camps.

March – Krakow ghetto is exterminated.

August – A revolt in Treblinka sees the ‘offenders’ hunted and massacred by the Nazis; Treblinka ceases exterminations, having killed approx. 870,000 Jews.

October – 7,220 Danish Jews are shipped to safety by the Danish Underground.



April – Three men escape from Auschwitz and return safely to Czechoslovakia. They are able to send out warnings regarding the true nature of the ‘work’ camps.

July – Russian troops liberate Majdanek camp. Approx. 360,000 Jews had died there.

August – Anne Frank and those living with her are captured and sent to Auschwitz; the last ghetto in Poland – Lodz – is liquidated.

October – Gas chambers in Auschwitz are used for the final time.

 World War 2


January – Death marches out of the camps begin as Allied troops close in on German territories; Russia liberates Auschwitz – approx. 2 million people had been killed there, 1.5 million of which were Jews.

March – Anne Frank dies in Bergen-Belsen.

April – British troops liberate Bergen-Belsen.

May – Germany surrenders; camps liberated en masse by Allied troops.



October – Hans Frank states, “A thousand years will pass and the guilt of Germany will not be erased.”

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