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World War II was one of the most devastating wars that took more lives and destroyed more land than any previous war. It killed 45-60 million people, 6 million of whoom were the Jews in the Nazi concentration camps during the “Holocaust” period. This essay presents the timeline of World War II.
World War II begins on the 1st of September, 1939, when Nazi Germany invades Poland’s capital in a massive encirclement attack. In two days the France and Brittan declare war on Germany. This is considered an event that jumpstarted the Second World War. When Germany invaded Poland, Poland had an alliance with France and Brittan so when Germany attacked they were automatically forced to help Poland. This caused a domino effect as well with Germany’s other invasions which started World War 2.
On April 9, 1940, Germany invades Norway and Denmark. Then it launches an invasion of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and, finally, France, which signs its official surrender to Germany on June 22, 1940. In July that year Germany begins its bombing raid against Great Britain in the Battle of Britain. Not long after this, Italian troops invade British-controlled Egypt in an attempt to expand Italian territories in North Africa and capture the Suez Canal.
On September 27, 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact in Berlin to formalize the alliance of the Axis Powers. The Pact provides for mutual assistance should any of its members suffer attack by any nation not already involved in the war.
On June 22, 1941, occurs the largest German military effort of World War II – Nazi Germany launches Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Within a few weeks, the Soviet Union has formally joined the Allied nations.
On December 7, 1941, Japan launches a surprise attack on American soil and bombs Hawaii’s naval base at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. More than 2,300 American soldiers and sailors die in the attack, and another 1,100 are wounded. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt requests, and subsequently receives, a declaration of war against Japan. With approval from Congress, the United States begins the mobilization of civilian defense groups on the home front. In response to the United States’ war declaration on Japan, and as part of the Axis Powers Tripartite agreement, Germany and Italy declare war on the United States. The previously neutral United States reciprocates the declarations, officially entering World War II as part of the Allied Powers.
In February of 1942 Japan overcomes British resistance and captures Singapore, Britain’s last strategic foothold in the East. Meanwhile, in a war effort against Japan, President Roosevelt signs the Executive Order 9066, also known as the Japanese-American Internment order, which calls for the capture and incarceration of all Japanese-Americans in the United States. In the months following the order, over 100,000 American citizens of Japanese descent, including children, are interned at scattered locations across the United States.
After several months of combat with U.S. and Filipino forces, Japan captures the Philippines when the last Allied troops surrender on the island of Mindanao on May 12, 1942. Then Japan overcomes Allied efforts and completes the capture of Burma, ending British rule in the country. But in June, 1942, the Allies defeat Japan near the Hawaiian coast in the Battle of Midway. The battle marks a turning point in favor of the Allies.
After a three year stalemate in North Africa, Axis troops surrender to Allied forces in Tunisia on May 13, 1943. Then on September 8, General Dwight D. Eisenhower publicly announces Italy’s surrender to the Allies, which had been signed five days earlier in Sicily. The Battle of Sicily was important battle for the Allies in winning the war. British and US troops were deployed on the island of Sicily in Italy and took control over the axis powers. This was an important victory because it resulted in Italy being driven out of the war. Italy becomes the first of the Axis Powers to break and substantially weaken the Tripartite Pact.
During the November, 28 and December 1, of 1943, President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin meet in Tehran, Iran to coordinate military strategy around the Allied invasion of German-occupied France and discuss political issues such as postwar settlements.
On June, 6, 1944, Allied troops land on the beaches of Normandy, France, in a highly calculated effort to liberate Western Europe from Nazi control. The invasion, code named D-Day, becomes the largest amphibious military operation in history. In October that year Japan’s navy is defeated by the Allies in the Battle of Leyte Gulf near the Philippines.
From December 16, 1944 to January 16, 1945, Germany launches its last major offensive campaign in the Ardennes region of Belgium and Luxembourg. The Battle of the Bulge becomes the largest battle fought along the Western Front during World War II, and the German forces are ultimately driven back by Allied troops.
On February 4–11, 1945, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Premier Stalin meet in Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula. During the Yalta Conference, the leaders discuss terms for Germany’s unconditional surrender, including postwar reparations, government, and borders. Additionally, the Soviet Union agrees to join the fighting against Japan in the Pacific, following Germany’s surrender. In March that year, after a month-long battle with Japanese forces, Allied troops capture the island of Iwo Jima in the western Pacific.
On May 7, 1945, Germany surrenders to the Allies in Reims, France, ending World War II in Europe. Then, on August 6, the United States drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, becoming the first and only nation to use atomic weaponry in a wartime effort. The bomb’s immediate impact takes the lives of an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 Japanese, American, and Korean inhabitants. In the months following the explosion, the total fatalities rises to an estimated 135,000 as a direct or indirect result of the bomb. In three days the United States drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. An estimated 40,000 to 75,000 people die immediately following the explosion, while an additional 60,000 people suffer severe injuries. By the end of 1945, the total death count reaches an estimated 80,000.
Finally, on September 2, 1945, Japan formally surrenders to the Allies and signs the Japanese Instrument of Surrender in Tokyo Bay, effectively ending World War II in its entirety.
Conclusively, this essay has summarized the timeline of World War II, one of the most devastating wars in world’s history.
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