Cold War

Hitler invaded Poland.

Britain and France declared war on Germany.

Poland resisted German attacks for 2-3 weeks but collapsed when USSR attacked Poland from the East.

Germany and USSR divided Poland between them (September 27th).

  November USSR attacked Finland.
  December USSR expelled from League of Nations.
1940 March USSR and Finland agreed peace treaty.
  April USSR murdered around 5000 Polish army officers at Katyn. The bodies were not discovered until 1943.
  April - June German forces occupy Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France.
  June - July USSR invaded and took control of Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia.
  June - October Battle of Britain - Britain defeated Hitler's plans to invade Britain.
  September Germany, Italy and Japan formed the Axis Alliance.
  October-November Romania and Hungary joined Axis forces.
1941 January - March Fierce fighting in North Africa and Balkan regions.
  April Yugoslavia and Greece fell to German forces.
  June German (and Italian, Romanian and Finnish) forces attack USSR in Operation Barbarossa (June 22nd). Huge advances are made against the Red Army and they captured Minsk by June 28th. By the end of the war, USSR suffered 13 million military and 7 million civilian casualties.

Germans invade the Ukraine.

Britain and USSR agree Mutual Assistance pact.

Nazi murder squads began rounding up and killing Communists and Jews in Soviet territory.

  August US President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill met and announced the Atlantic Charter. Charter set out their aims for fighting the war and for the world after Axis were defeated.
Nazis surrounded Soviet city of Leningrad and siege continued until 1944.
  September Nazis captured Kiev.
  October Nazis advanced on Moscow; also captured Soviet cities of Odessa, Kharkov and Sebastopol.
  December German forces driven back from Moscow.
1942 From 1942 until end of war

USA and Britain send supplies and equipment to USSR in convoys.

US and RAF bombers attack German cities with heavy bombing raids.


United Nations Organisation formed to oppose Axis.

Nazis held Wannsee Conference which puts 'Final Solution' - mass murder of Jews - into operation.

  May Germans began major advance into Crimea region of USSR.
  July Crimea fell to Germans who then advanced on Stalingrad.
  November Red Army forces began a counter attack to drive Germans back at Stalingrad. Stalingrad becomes one of the decisive battles of the war.
1943 February Months of brutal fighting at Stalingrad resulted in major defeat for Germans. Red Army began to push back Germans in central USSR.
  May Battle of Kursk sees critical defeat of Nazi forces.
  September Italy left war.
  November Big Three - Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill - meet at Tehran Conference in Persia (now Iran).
  November - December Soviet troops continued to push German forces out of Ukraine.
1944 January

Soviet troops advanced into Poland.

German forces finally driven back from Leningrad.

  March Red Army advanced into Belorussia.
  April - May Soviet troops liberated Crimea from German control.

D-Day landings of US and British Empire forces in German controlled France.

Red Army drive back Finnish troops.

  July Soviet troops liberated first concentration camp.
  August Polish resistance rise up against German army in rebellion centred on Warsaw. Germans defeated Poles in bitter fighting. Event was particularly controversial because Red Army forces did not advance on Warsaw as expected while the uprising took place.

USSR and Finland agree ceasefire.

Red Army liberated Romania.

Red Army retook Baltic States.

  December Red Army forces reached Budapest (capital of Hungary).
1945 January Red Army forces captured Polish capital Warsaw.
  February Big Three met at Yalta Conference in Crimea.
  March-April US, French and British Empire forces entered Germany from the West, while Red Army entered Germany from the East.
Hitler committed suicide.
  May 8th VE Day - end of war in Europe.

Potsdam Conference between the Big Three.

USA carried out first successful test of atom bomb.


US dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

USSR declared war on Japan.

  September 2nd VJ Day - end of World War 2.