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Timeline for World War II
1933
(01/30)  Adolf Hitler, Nazi party leader, is appointed Chancellor of Germany and quickly transforms the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideals of national socialism.
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1935
(09/15)  The Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews of their citizenship. (Digital History ID 1035)
(10/03)  Benito Mussolini, the Fascist leader of Italy, invades Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) the African country situated on the horn of Africa. The aim of invading Ethiopia is to boost Italian national prestige, which was wounded by Ethiopia's defeat of Italian forces at the Battle of Adowa in 1896, which saved Ethiopia from Italian colonization.
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1938
(09/29)  The Munich Pact hands over a third of Czechoslovakia in the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany. Representatives from Czechoslovakia are not present at the meetings. To avoid war, British and French leaders agree to turn over the land in return for a promise from Adolf Hitler that he would not make any additional territorial demands in Europe. A year later, the German army seizes the rest of Czechoslovakia.
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(11/09)  Nazis loots and burns synagogues as well as Jewish-owned stores and houses in Germany and Austria in what became known as "Kristallnacht" (the night of broken glass). (Digital History ID 641)
1939
(08/23)  Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression pact four days before World War II begins. Both countries state that they will not attack each other. Less than a week later, Germany invades Poland.
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(09/01)  Following Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland, Great Britain and France declare war on Germany. World War II begins.
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(09/01)  World War II begins as Nazi Germany invaded Poland. (Digital History ID 998)
(09/03)  Britain and France declared war on Germany, two days after the Nazi invasion of Poland. (Digital History ID 1002)
1941
(12/07)  Japanese force launch a surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, destroying or damaging 19 warships and 150 airplanes and killing 2,402 U.S. soldiers and sailors. Japan also stages attacks on Guam, Hong Kong, The Malay Penninsula, Midway Island, and the Philippines. The surprise attack results in the US entry into World War II.
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(12/07)  Japanese forces launch a surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, destroying or damaging 19 warships and 150 airplanes and killing some 2,400 people. Japan also stages attacks on Guam, Hong Kong, the Malay Peninsula, Midway Island, and the Philippines. (Digital History ID 1156)
(12/08)  Congress declared war against Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Digital History ID 1158)
1942
(02/19)  In Executive Order 9066, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorizes the forced relocation and internment of over 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese residing along the Pacific coast of the United States to camps called "War Relocation Camps," in the wake of Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
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(03/23)  The US government begins evacuating 112,000 Japanese-Americans from their West Coast homes to internment camps throughout the United States. (Digital History ID 820)
(04/09)  Some 37,000 American and Philippine defenders on Bataan surrender to Japanese forces, which is followed by the "Bataan Death March" which results in nearly 10,000 deaths. (Digital History ID 483)
(04/18)  Sixteen American B-25s, led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle raided Tokyo and other Japanese cities in the first Allied air attack on Japan. (Digital History ID 509)
(05/15)  Gasoline rationing goes into effect on the east coast of the United States, becoming nationwide in December. This results in limiting sales to three gallons a week for non-essential vehicles. The main idea is to conserve rubber, not gasoline, since the Japanese had seized plantations in the Dutch East Indies that produced 90% of America's raw rubber. The Office of Price Administration issues stickers to motorists that determine how much gas they were entitled to buy each week.
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(05/15)  Gasoline rationing goes into effect in 17 states, limiting sales to three gallons a week for non-essential vehicles. (Digital History ID 1474)
(06/03)  At the battle of Midway, the Japanese lose four aircraft carriers. (Digital History ID 1518)
(06/27)  FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover announces the arrest of 8 Nazi saboteurs who had landed from submarines on Long Island and the Florida coast. (Digital History ID 883)
1943
(02/01)  The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up of Nisei—Japanese-American citizens—is formed. The unit fought eight major campaign in Italy, southern France, Germany and Central Europe, and was awarded 18,143 decorations, including 9,500 Purple Hearts and 52 Distinguished Service Crosses. (Digital History ID 1277)
(08/02)  PT-109, a small naval vessel commanded by Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, sinks after being sheared in two by a Japanese destroyer off the Solomon Islands. (Kennedy was credited with saving members of the crew.) (Digital History ID 969)
1944
(06/06)  60,000 Allied troops land along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Eisenhower calls the operation a crusade in which "we will accept nothing less than full victory."
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(06/06)  The "D-Day" invasion of France involves more than 1 million troops on five beaches along 60 miles of the Normandy coast. (Digital History ID 1529)
1945
(01/27)  Soviet troops liberate the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland. (Digital History ID 1264)
(04/28)  Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, are executed by Italian partisans as they attempted to flee the country. (Digital History ID 541)
(04/29)  American soldiers liberate the Dachau concentration camp. (Digital History ID 543)
(04/30)  As Russian troops approach his Berlin bunker, Adolf Hitler commits suicide along with his wife of one day, Eva Braun. (Digital History ID 549)
(05/08)  President Harry S. Truman announces the end of World War II in Europe. (Digital History ID 575)
(08/09)  The United States drops an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people. (Digital History ID 1416)
(08/14)  President Truman announces that Japan had surrendered unconditionally, ending World War II. (Digital History ID 1424)
(08/27)  American troops begin landing in Japan following the surrender of the Japanese government in World War II. (Digital History ID 986)
(08/6)  An atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, the headquarters of the Second Army Headquarters, as well as a communications center and storage depot. A second atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki three days later. These two events are the only active deployments of nuclear weapons in war to date.
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(11/20)  24 Nazi leaders go on trial before an international war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. 18 were later convicted. (Digital History ID 667)
1946
(09/30)  An international military tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, finds 18 top Nazi leaders guilty of war crimes. (Digital History ID 1084)
(10/16)  Ten Nazi war criminals found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials are hanged. (Digital History ID 957)
1947
  The Diary of Anne Frank is published. It chronicles two years of the life of a young Jewish girl during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. (Digital History ID 33)
1949
(04/08)  The United States, Britain, and France agree to unify their zones of occupation and create West Germany. (Digital History ID 477)
1951
(04/11)  President Harry Truman removes General Douglas MacAurthur from his position as commander of U.S. forces in the Far East. (Digital History ID 488)
1960
(05/11)  Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann is captured in Buenos Aires by Israeli agents and brought to Israel for trial. (Digital History ID 1468)
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