WW2 History

Information about WW2 history in short terms. The progress of WW2 (World War II) can be measured in two periods, 1939 - 1945, or 1937 - 1945 taking into account the Japanese invasion of China (the second Sino-Japanese war). WW2 lasted more than 5 ½ years in Europe. This page details significant events during WW2 and is naturally not a complete account of events/history.



Important facts and information for WW2 history was gathered from a variety of sources and prepared in terms of clarity. This article is divided into four sections in order to present the information in the most meaningful way possible.

WW2 History

  • WW2 history - start -

  • WW2 history - the turning of the war -
    WW2 history - landing, retreat and surrender -

  • WW2 history - chronology -



After the German attack of Poland on September 1st 1939 (see WW2 begins), the German fighting style of Blitzkrieg was at the forefront.

The history 1939 - 1941-42 is largely characterized by a series of German blitzkriegs (“lightning war”) waged on neighbouring states. It was not until later that the German army advanced to countries further afield, such as North Africa and the Soviet Union.

WW2 History - the turning of the war -

The second part of WW2 history roughly spans the period from 1942 - 1943. One can describe this period as ‘the turning of the war’. The German army, previously advancing with ease, found their progress halted, whether in Africa or the Soviet Union. The winter of 1941/2 saw the end of the advance on Moscow, and the following summer of 1942 saw German ambitions in Africa thwarted.

This stage of WW2 history also sees the surrender of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, followed by the German Afrika Corp just two months later on May 13th 1943.

The Allies landed in Sicily shortly after, in July 1943. WW2 history was progressing into its third and final section.

WW2 History

WW2 History - landing, retreat and surrender -

The third and final stage of WW2 history can be viewed as the end-stage, with the landing of the Allies in Italy and France and the fall of the German Reich. This stage began in 1943, when the Allies started with air raids on German cities during the day. The first German city to fall to advancing Allies was Aachen.

The Allies were soon closing in on Berlin, occupying major cities on the war such as Warsaw. Dresden was mostly destroyed after a two-day air raid by Great Britain. In Asia, American air raids destroyed more than a quarter of Tokyo’s buildings. On April 16th 1945 the Soviet Union’s Red Army started their attack on Berlin - an attack that did not stop until the end of WW2 (May 8/9th 1945) in Europe.

In Japan, in Japan, the war continued, with atomic bombs being dropped twice, once at Hiroshima (August 6th 1945) and once at Nagasaki (August 8th 1945). These bombings devastated Japan so much that the country surrendered unconditionally on September 2nd 1945 aboard the US ship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the end of WW2 history.

WW2 history - chronology -

First stage: the consequences of the Blitzkrieg (WW2 history from 1939 to 1941/42)

- September 1st 1939: Germany invades Poland (detailed explanations can be found WW2: Begins)

- September 3rd 1939: Great Britain, France, New Zealand, Australia and India declare war on Germany

- September 17th 1939: Poland is invaded again in the East by the Soviets, as agreed in a secret pact with Germany

- November 30th 1939: The Soviet Army invades Finland

- March 12th 1940: Finland and Russia sign the Moscow Peace Treaty

- April 1940 Allied forces land in Norway

- September 5th 1940: The German army invades Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg

- June 1940: Italy joins the war with the Axis forces

- June 1940: Paris occupied by the Germans

- June 1940: Germany and France sign an armistace agreement

- July 10th 1940: The Battle of Britain begins (see aircraft for more information)

- September 27th 1940 The Tripartite Pact between Germany, Italy and Japan is signed

- October 28th 1940: Italy invades Greece

- April 6th 1941: Germany attacks Yugoslavia and Greece

- June 22nd 1941: Germany attacks the Soviet Union without a formal declaration of war, launching Operation Barbarossa

- Winter of 1941-1942: the German advance on Moscow comes to a halt

- December 7th 1941: Japanese aircraft raid the American naval base of Pearl Harbor in the Pacific, beginning the war in the east

- December 11th 1941: Germany and Italy declare war on the United States

- December 25th 1941: Japan conquers Hong Kong

Second stage: the turning around of the war (WW2 history from 1942 to 1943)

- January 31st 1943: in the southern district of Stalingrad, German troops surrender

- February 2nd 1943: in the northern district of Stalingrad the last units of the German 6th Army surrender

- May 13th 1943: The German Afrika Corps and Italian soldiers capitulate in Tunisia

- May 24th 1943: The Battle of the Atlantic is a loss for the Germans as they lose the U-Boat war

- July 10th 1943: Allied forces land in Sicily, launching Operation Husky

- September 3rd 1943: Italy signs an armistice with the Allies

- September 8th 1943: the war is over in Italy

- October 13th 1943: Italy declares war on Germany

Third stage: landing, retreat and surrender (WW2 history from 1943 to 1945)

- January 14th 1943: at the Casablanca Conference, Roosevelt and Churchill agree that the war must end with the “unconditional surrender” of Germany

- January 1943: Germany suffers its first air raids on cities during the daytime

- June 6th 1944: Operation Overlord begins - Allied forces land on the beaches of Normandy in France

- August 15th 1944: Operation Dragoon begins - Allied forces begin landing on beaches in the south of France

- October 21st 1944: American troops occupy the German city of Aachen

- October 24th/25th 1944: The Battle of Leyte Gulf - the largest battle conducted in sea and air of all time

- January 17th 1945: German armies retreat from Warsaw

- February 13th/14th 1945: Dresden is bombed for two days

- March 9th 1945: The American air raids on Tokyo begin, destroying more than a quarter of the city’s buildings.

- April 16th 1945: The Red Army begins the assault on Berlin

- April 29th 1945: German troops surrender in Italy

- May 8th/9th 1945: Germany surrenders unconditionally, ending WW2 in Europe

- August 6th 1945: The atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima

- August 8th 1945: the atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki

02/09/1945 Japanese surrender on board Missouri in Tokyo Bay

WW2 history ends here, If you are looking for more information, you can maybe you have a look at WW2 end or WW2 summary.



Book Recommendation

Richard Holmes

World War II: The Definitive Visual History

Very good book on the 2nd World War II, which provides comprehensive information about the events and chronology.


It gives an impressive overview of the causes, progress, and the most important events during this period (about 1200 stunning images). Important war aims and strategies are explained, and portrays of important personalities are included (as an example: Rommel and Churchill).


Not unimportant, the price is really low, in our view for such a good illustrated book.


For more information and an option to purchase at Amazon Click to the right.










WW2 Facts (with book recommendation):



WW2 Start

WW2 End

WW2 History

WW2 Summary

WW2 Timeline


WW2 Countries:


Germany WW2 

Russia WW2

WW2 America

England WW2

WW2 Japan



WW2 Facts-Dates:


When did WW2 Start

WW2 Weapons

WW2 Tanks

WW2 1945

U-Boats WW2

WW2 Aircraft


Spezial Topics:


Germany after WW2

WW2 Movies

WW2 Soldiers

World War 2 Casualties

World War 1 and 2