Detailed Timeline of European History


 Detailed Timeline of
European History


Inter-War Period (1919-39)

<< World War II (1939-45) >>

Post-War Era (1945-89)

World War II (1939 – 1945)
Devastation of Europe, Change in
Global Balance of Power

WWII Timeline:  |
1939
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1940
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1941 
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1942
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1943
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1944
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1945
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Effect of
World War II on Each Country

Hungary Awarded Romanian Territory by
Nazis (1941):
As part of the Nazi’s
promise to Hungary for joining the Axis Powers, they are awarded a
significant portion of northern Romania, which contained a significant
Hungarian population.

(Timeline Continued Below)


Jewish Exterminations Enter Full-Swing
(1941):
Now that Germany was firmly in
control of most of Europe, they began to aggressively implement their
final solution in regards to the Jews and other undesirables.
Allied-control in Middle East
From
1933-40, less than 100,000 Jews had been exterminated. In 1941, about
1,100,000 were slaughtered. In addition to being murdered in death
camps, Jews (including children) were forced to serve as subjects in
cruel and torturous medical experiments. Many were forced to perform
slave labor to support the war effort before being killed or literally
worked to death (or starved to death). Death camps were set up
throughout German-controlled territory. Other groups captured and
exterminated included ethnic Poles, ethnic Roma, Soviet POWs, the
disabled, homosexuals and political dissenters (such as various
religious leaders).

Axis Powers Take Iraq from UK
(April, 1941):
In April, Axis-friendly
regime overthrows UK-supported government in Baghdad.


German/Axis Invasion and Conquest of
Yugoslavia (April, 1941):
The Germans
commenced the invasion on Yugoslavia the same day as their invasion of
Greece (April 6). Victory came swiftly, with Yugoslavia surrendering
just 11 days later. Yugoslavia was divided among Germany, Italy, Hungary
and Bulgaria.

Germany Helps Italy to Conquer Greece
(April, 1941):
With the Italians
struggling to gain a foothold in Greece, Germany decides its
participation is necessary. The Germans force Romania and then Bulgaria
to allow their troops to pass through, beginning their invasion of
Greece from Bulgaria to the north on April 6. With German’s involvement,
the Axis Powers quickly defeat Greece and supplemental Allied troops
within a little more than a month. Germany then dictated how Greece
would be divided among the Axis Powers.

Germany Sets Up Independent State of
Croatia (1941):
Nazi Germany puppet
state. Declared itself a monarchy before the completion of the conquest
of Yugoslavia. Most of Croatia’s coastline was awarded to Italy.

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Axis occupation of Balkans

Allies Retake Iraq from Axis Powers
(May, 1941).


Nazi Germany invasion of Soviet UnionGermany Begins Invasion of USSR
(June 22, 1941):
On this date, the
Germany army crossed the German-Soviet border, commencing Operation
Barbarossa. The Nazi army quickly conquered Soviet-controlled Poland,
the Baltic nations, Ukraine SSR, Belarus SSR and a large chunk of
Western Russia. Despite this crippling blow to the Soviets, the Germans
failed to realize their objective of achieving victory. Although it
controlled many dense population centers and important industrial
sectors, it failed to capture Moscow, Leningrad or Stalingrad. This
would turn the tide against Germany in both the USSR campaign and the
war in general, as the Germans would become overextended, enabling the
Soviets to regroup and push back. Operation Barbarossa became the
largest and most deadly single military campaign in the history of the
world.


Note: Purpose of Nazi Invasion of
USSR
. Hitler had
always intended to invade the USSR, with the purpose of expanding the
territory for Germans to inhabit, and to increase access to needed raw
materials. Furthermore, Hitler viewed the Slavs as an inferior race,
while also despising communism, providing justification to destroy and
deport Soviets from the Soviet land he coveted. The Nazi-Soviet
Non-Aggression Pact of 1939 simply gave Germany the time to build
strength in Central Europe before poising themselves to conquer Eastern
Europe. By fall of 1941, Hitler felt his army was prepared, and that the
USSR was weakened following their poor performance in the Winter War vs.
Finland.

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German invasion of Baltic statesGermany Takes Baltic Nations from USSR
(1941):
As part of Germany’s invasion
of the USSR, it also invades and conquers the Baltic nations (Estonia,
Latvia and Lithuania) which the Soviets just captured the year before.
For Baltic peoples, the Nazi occupation is less harsh than that under
the Soviets. However, it is far worse for the Jewish residents, a large
portion who are massacred under Nazi rule, as part of their
extermination program.

Allies Take Syria
(June, 1941)
:
The Allies determine that the Vichy
France-controlled colony in the Middle East is supporting the Axis war
effort. In June, the UK and fellow Allies invade from Iraq, successfully
gaining control of Syria by July.

German Siege of Leningrad (USSR) Begins
(Sept. 8, 1941):
The German army
attempted to destroy and starve the city of Leningrad through heavy
bombardments and blockade. The worst of the siege lasted from September
until December of 1941. Although the Germans would not abandon siege
until January of 1944, they would lose their greatest advantage before
the end of 1941, when the Soviets established a narrow land link to the
outside world. More than 1.1 million would die during the siege.

Germany Initiates Battle of Moscow
(Oct. 2, 1941):
The German army
attempted to submit the Soviet capital to their control. The Soviets
managed to keep the Nazi army just outside city lines, forcing the
Germans to abandon their objective by January of 1942, although the
front line remained precariously close to Moscow over the course of the
next few years. It marked the first Soviet victory against the invading
Germans in WWII. By preventing a quick conquest of Moscow and Leningrad
to the NW, the Soviets forced the Germans into a long, protracted war of
attrition, which would prove unsustainable for the Nazis in a spacious
foreign nation, forcing their all-out retreat in 1944.

Japan Attack of Pearl Harbor, U.S.
(Dec. 7, 1941):
In 1940, the U.S.
prohibited the shipment of various types of war-related goods to Japan,
escalating tensions. After Japan invaded and conquered French Indochina
(Vietnam) in the summer of 1941, with Germany’s endorsement, the U.S.
responded by freezing Japanese assets and placing an embargo on oil
exports to Japan. Japan was highly dependent on U.S. oil, and therefore
considered the embargo an act of war. This provoked the surprise attack
on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941, abruptly drawing the U.S.
into the war with full public support. The successful invasion proved to
be a strategic blunder. First, Japan assumed that the U.S. would enter
war against it at any moment, but this turned out to be a false
assumption, as the U.S. only intended to declare war against Germany and
Italy. By engaging the U.S. into the Pacific Theater, Japan turned the
tide of the war against itself. Second, Japan focused its attack on
battleships, but it was aircraft carriers and submarines that proved
decisive in the Pacific Theater.

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Note: U.S. Support of Allies Before
Joining War
. In 1941,
the U.S. significantly increased the size of its navy in light of the
escalating threats from hostile German and Japanese ships. The U.S. Navy
protected commercial ships conducting business with Allied nations and
China, adding tension with Axis Powers, setting the stage for the entry
of the U.S. into WWII on the side of the Allies.

Allied Vessel Losses Decrease
Significantly in Battle of the Atlantic (1941):

1940 was a disastrous year for Allied ships (primarily UK and its
former/current colonies), as German submarines and surface vessels
hunted commercial ships mercilessly, while also managing to sink several
battleships. Even “neutral” US commercials vessels were being sunk. This
continued into 1941, but by spring, the Allies successfully implemented
new strategies and technologies to drastically minimize losses.
Increasing numbers of destroyers and other battleships were deployed to
escort commercial ships. The British also innovated new technology to
better detect enemy vessels, while also cracking Nazi naval codes.

(Timeline Continued Below)

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Japan Conquers Indochina (Vietnam) from
France (1941):
With the blessing of
Hitler, Japan conquers the French colony of Indochina (Vietnam) from
Vichy France.

Japan Conquers Allied Territories in
Southeast Asia (1941):
Japan also
invaded Malaya (UK territory), Singapore (UK), Hong Kong (UK),
Philippines (US) and Dutch East Indies (Netherlands). Japan was
successful with each of these invasions, occupying each of these Allied
possessions.

African Theater
(1941)
:
North Africa:
Germans send forces into Libya to help the Italians
against the Allied forces out of Egypt. With the aid of the Nazis, the
Axis Powers push the Allied forces back into Egypt (primarily UK and
Commonwealth forces).
East Africa: British troops retake British Somaliland from the
Italians (Horn of Africa, East Africa). They then proceed to conquer the
entire Italian colony of East Africa (modern Somalia and Ethiopia),
bringing an end to “Italian East Africa”, and ending the East Africa
campaign of WWII.

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WWII Timeline:  |
1939
|

1940
  | 
1941 
|

1942
  |

1943
  |

1944
  |

1945
  |

Next:
World War II (1942)

Previous:
World War II (1940)

Effect of
World War II on Each Country


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World War
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