World War II (often abbreviated to WWII or WW2), also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries, including all the great powers, eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Here is more info about included key dates:
1. September 1, 1939 - Germany invades Poland
Germany invades Poland, initiating World War II in Europe.
2. November 30, 1939–March 12, 1940 - Soviet Union starts Winter War
The Soviet Union invades Finland, initiating the so-called Winter War. The Finns sue for an armistice and have to cede the northern shores of Lake Lagoda and the small Finnish coastline on the Arctic Sea to the Soviet Union.
3. April 9, 1940–June 22, 1940 - Germany attacks western Europe
Germany invades Denmark and Norway. Denmark surrenders on the day of the attack; Norway holds out until June 9. On
May 10, 1940–June 22, 1940, Germany attacks France and the neutral Low Countries. Luxembourg is occupied on May 10; the Netherlands surrenders on May 14; and Belgium surrenders on May 28. On June 22, France signs an armistice agreement by which the Germans occupy the northern half of the country and the entire Atlantic coastline. In southern France, a collaborationist regime with its capital in Vichy is established.
4. June 10, 1940 - Italy invades France
Italy enters the war. Italy invades southern France on June 21.
5. March 1, 1941 - Bulgaria joins the Axis.
Bulgaria joins the Axis.
6. April 6, 1941–June 1941 - Battle for Eastern Europe
Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria invade and dismember Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia surrenders on April 17. Germany and Bulgaria invade Greece in support of the Italians. Resistance in Greece ceases in early June 1941.
7. June 22, 1941–November 1941 - Germany invades Soviet Union
Nazi Germany and its Axis partners (except Bulgaria) invade the Soviet Union. Finland, seeking redress for the territorial losses in the armistice concluding the Winter War, joins the Axis just before the invasion.
8. December 7, 1941 - Attack on Pearl Harbor
Japan bombs Pearl Harbor.
9. December 8, 1941 - USA enters WW II
The United States declares war on Japan, entering World War II. Japanese troops land in the Philippines, French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), and British Singapore. By April 1942, the Philippines, Indochina, and Singapore are under Japanese occupation.
10. May 30, 1942–May 1945 - British strikes back
The British bomb Koln (Cologne), bringing the war home to Germany for the first time. Over the next three years Anglo-American bombing reduces urban Germany to rubble.
11. August, 23 1942 – February, 2 1943 - Siege of Stalingrad
Germany and her Axis partners launch a new offensive in the Soviet Union. German troops fight their way into Stalingrad (Volgograd) on the Volga River by mid-September and penetrate deep into the Caucasus after securing the Crimean Peninsula.
12. October 23–24, 1942 - Battle of El Alamein
British troops defeat the Germans and Italians at El Alamein in Egypt, sending the Axis forces in chaotic retreat across Libya to the eastern border of Tunisia.
13. November 23, 1942–February 2, 1943 - Defeat of Sixth Army
Soviet troops counterattack, breaking through the Hungarian and Romanian lines northwest and southwest of Stalingrad and trapping the German Sixth Army in the city. Forbidden by Hitler to retreat or try to break out of the Soviet ring, the survivors of the Sixth Army surrender on January 30 and February 2, 1943.
14. July 5, 1943 - Battle at Kursk
The Germans launch a massive tank offensive near Kursk in the Soviet Union. The Soviets blunt the attack within a week and begin an offensive initiative of their own.
15. June 4, 1944 - Liberation of Rome
Allied troops liberate Rome. Within six weeks, Anglo-American bombers could hit targets in eastern Germany for the first time.
16. October 20, 1944 - Philippines Campaign
US troops land in the Philippines. Philippines Campaign was the American and Filipino campaign to defeat and expel the Imperial Japanese forces occupying the Philippines during World War II. The Japanese Army overran all of the Philippines during the first half of 1942
17. August 25, 1944 - Liberation of Paris
Anglo-American forces break out of the Normandy beachhead and race eastward towards Paris.
18. April 16, 1945 - At the doors of Berlin
The Soviets launch their final offensive, encircling Berlin from the east and the western allies from teh west.
19. May 7-9, 1945 - End of War in Europe
Germany surrenders to the western Allies and Soviets.
20. August 6, 1945 - The atomic bomb
The United States drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
21. September 2, 1945 - End of World War II
Having agreed in principle to unconditional surrender on August 14, 1945, Japan formally surrenders, ending World War II.