Major events during and leading up to the Second World War
November 11 (Monday)
End of WWI
The Armistice with Germany marks the end of World War I. German troops evacuate occupied territories and Allied troops subsequently move in and occupy the German Rhineland.
January 18 (Saturday)
Paris Peace Conference
Opening of the Paris Peace Conference to negotiate peace treaties between the belligerents of World War I.
June 28 (Saturday)
Treaty of Versailles
Germany and the Allied powers sign the Treaty of Versailles after six months of negotiations. The German armed forces are limited in size to 100,000 personnel and Germany is ordered to pay large reparations for war damages. The United States signed the treaty but did not ratify it, later making a separate peace treaty with Germany.
January 21 (Wednesday)
League of Nations
The Paris Peace Conference comes to an end with the inaugural General Assembly of the League of Nations. Although one of the victors of World War I, the United States never joins the League.
October 29 (Sunday)
Fascist leader Benito Mussolini is appointed prime minister of Italy by king Victor Emmanuel III after the March on Rome.
November 8 (Thursday)
Beer Hall Putsch
The Beer Hall Putsch takes place, in which Adolf Hitler unsuccessfully leads the Nazis in an attempt to overthrow the German government. It is crushed by police the next day.
January 21 (Monday)
Death of Lenin
Leader of the Soviet Union Vladimir Lenin dies, and Joseph Stalin begins purging rivals to clear the way for his leadership.
April 6 (Sunday)
Fascist Italy Rises
Fascists win elections in Italy with a 2/3 majority.
April 21 (Monday)
Adolf Hitler is sentenced to 5 years in jail for his participation in the Beer Hall Putsch (he serves only 8 months).
July 18 (Saturday)
Adolf Hitler's autobiographical manifesto Mein Kampf is published
September 8 (Wednesday)
Germany in LoN
Germany joins the League of Nations.
October 1 (Monday)
USSR Five Year Plan
The Soviet Union launches the First Five-Year Plan, an economic effort to increase industrialization.
February 11 (Monday)
Italy and the Holy See sign the Lateran Treaty, normalizing relations between the Vatican and Italy.
June 7 (Friday)
The Lateran Treaty is ratified, making the Vatican City a sovereign state.
August 31 (Saturday)
The Young Plan, which sets the total World War I reparations owed by Germany at US$26,350,000,000 to be paid over a period of 58½ years, is finalized. It replaces the earlier Dawes Plan.
October 29 (Tuesday)
Stock Market Crash
The Great Depression begins with the Wall Street Crash.
January 30 (Monday)
Adolf Hitler is Chancellor
Nazi leader Adolf Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg.
March 4 (Saturday)
FDR is President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as President of the United States.
March 20 (Monday)
Germany's first concentration camp, Dachau, is completed.
March 23 (Thursday)
Hitler is Dictator
The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.
April 26 (Wednesday)
The Gestapo secret police is established in Germany.
July 14 (Friday)
Nazi Party is dominant
The Nazi party becomes the official party of Germany.
January 26 (Friday)
Set up for betrayal V1
Germany and Poland sign the 10 year German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact.
August 2 (Thursday)
Upon the death of President Paul von Hindenburg, Adolf Hitler makes himself Führer of Germany, becoming Head of State as well as Chancellor.
August 31 (Saturday)
Neutrality Act of 1935
The Neutrality Act of 1935 is passed in the United States imposing a general embargo on trading in arms and war materials with all parties in a war and it also declared that American citizens travelling on ships of warring nations travelled at their own risk.
September 15 (Sunday)
The Reichstag passes the Nuremberg Laws, introducing antisemitism in German legislation
October 2 (Wednesday)
Invasion of Ethiopia
Italy invades Ethiopia, beginning the Second Italo–Abyssinian War.
March 7 (Saturday)
First Versailles Violation
In violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany remilitarizes the Rhineland.
October 1 (Thursday)
USSR Great Purge Starts
The Great Purge commences in the Soviet Union with widespread repression of suspected opponents of the regime. The purge leads to the imprisonment and death of many military officers, weakening the Soviet Armed Forces ahead of World War II.
October 18 (Sunday)
Est. Leader of German 4 Year Plan
Hermann Göring is made head of the German Four Year Plan, an effort to make Germany self-sufficient and increase armaments.
November 25 (Wednesday)
The Anti-Comintern Pact is signed by Japan and Germany. The signing parties agree to go to war with the Soviet Union if one of the signatories is attacked by the Soviet Union.
November 6 (Saturday)
Italy wants in too
Italy joins the Anti-Comintern Pact.
March 13 (Sunday)
Austria is incorporated by Germany.
September 30 (Friday)
The Munich Agreement is signed by Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy. The agreement allows Germany to annex the Czechoslovak Sudetenland area in exchange for peace in an attempt to appease Hitler.
November 9 (Wednesday)
The Kristallnacht pogrom begins in Germany; many Jewish shops and synagogues are smashed, looted, burned, and destroyed throughout the country.
January 27 (Friday)
Adolf Hitler orders Plan Z, a 5-year naval expansion programme intended to provide for a huge German fleet capable of defeating the Royal Navy by 1944. The Kriegsmarine is given the first priority on the allotment of German economic resources. This is the first and only time the Kriegsmarine is given the first priority in the history of the Third Reich.
March 15 (Wednesday)
Violation of Munich Conference
Germany occupies the Czech part in violation of the Munich Agreement. The Czechs do not attempt to put up any organized resistance having lost their main defensive line with the annexation of the Sudetenland.Germany establishes the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The protectorate includes those portions of Czechoslovakia not incorporated into Germany, Poland, Hungary, or the new Slovak Republic.
April 3 (Monday)
Begin of Plan Fall Weiss
Adolf Hitler orders the German military to start planning for Fall Weiss, the codename for the attack on Poland, planned to be launched on August 25, 1939.
April 7 (Friday)
Italian Invasion of Albania
Italy invades Albania with little in the way of military resistance. Albania is later made part of Italy through a personal union of the Italian and Albanian crown.
March 18 (Monday)
Start of Germany and Italy's Alliance
Mussolini and Hitler announce Italy's formal alliance with Germany against England and France.
May 7 (Tuesday)
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin resigns in disgrace. He will be replaced by Winston Churchill on May 10.
May 10 (Friday)
Winston Churchill Comes to Office
May 10 (Friday)
The German Blitzkrieg ("lightning war") Begins
The German Blitzkrieg ("lightning war") begins, as Rotterdam and other Dutch cities are attacked from the air. By the end of the month, the Dutch armies will have surrendered, Belgium will have surrendered, and the evacuation of British and French troops from Dunkirk will be underway.
June 10 (Monday)
Italy Declares War
Italy declares war on Britain and France, and U.S. President Roosevelt announces a shift from neutrality to "non-belligerency," meaning more active support for the Allies against the Axis
August 17 (Saturday)
Germany declares a blockade of British waters, and begins a bombing campaign which, by September, will be killing hundreds each day. In November, German air raids will kill more than 4,500 Britons.
August 27 (Tuesday)
The Axis Alliance
Germany, Italy and Japan enter into a 10-year military and economic alliance that comes to be known as the "Axis". Hungary and Romania will join the Axis in November.
November 5 (Tuesday)
Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected to an unprecedented third term as president, with 54 percent of the popular vote. He defeats Republican Wendell L. Willke.
April 6 (Sunday)
Greece and Yugoslavia are invaded by German troops.
June 22 (Sunday)
German troops invade Soviet Russia,breaking the "nonaggression" pact signed in 1939. Two dayslater, President Roosevelt promises US aid to Russia.
December 7 (Sunday)
Just before 8 a.m., Honolulu time,360 Japanese planes attack Pearl Harbor,the U.S. military base on the Hawiian island of Oahu. The attackcripples the U.S. Pacific fleet, and kills more than 2,300 Americansoldiers, sailors, and civilians. The attack precedes Japan'sformal declaration of war, which is delivered by the Japanese foreignminister to the U.S. embassy in Tokyo more than seven hours later.
December 8 (Monday)
U.S Joins War
President Roosevelt addresses the U.S. Congress, saying thatDecember 7 is "a date that will live in infamy." After a vote of82-0 in the U.S. Senate, and 388-1 in theHouse, in favor of declaring war on Japan, Roosevelt signs thedeclaration of war. (See Roosevelt'sfamous address to Congress requesting that war be declared.)
December 11 (Thursday)
Germany and Italy declare war on the U.S.President Roosevelt calls an end to official U.S.neutrality in the war inEurope, declaring war on Germany and Italy.
View The Providence Journal cover,December 12th.
January 2 (Friday)
Japanese troops capture Manila.
January 10 (Saturday)
Japan Attacks Again
Japanese troops invade the Dutch East Indies.
February 15 (Sunday)
Japan Strikes Again
Japanese troops capture Singapore
June 21 (Sunday)
German field marshal Erwin Rommel and his troops capture Tobruk, in Libya.
August 22 (Saturday)
The Battle of Stalingrad begins. The battle will claim the lives of 750,000 Russian soldiers, 400,000 German soldiers, nearly 200,000 Romanian soldiers, 130,000 Italian soldiers, and 120,000 Hungarian soldiers.
November 10 (Tuesday)
In response to Mahatma Gandhi's demand that India be granted independence from Britain immediately, Prime Minister Churchill, in a speech at Mansion House, says "I have not become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire."