Special Sub-Topic: Important Dates of World War II
|September 1, 1939.|
Germany invades Poland. This is the date that the fighting in Europe started for World War II. After another full day of futile communications and warnings by the French and British Embassies in Berlin failed to stop the German aggression in Poland, both France and Great Britain declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939.
|May 10, 1940.|
Germany invades France. The period between Poland's surrender and the invasion of France was known as the 'Twilight War'. That all changed with Germany's Blitzkrieg into France on May 10th.
|June 22, 1941.|
Operation Barbarossa - Germany invades the Soviet Union. Hitler launched his quest that he spelled out in 'Mein Kampf' back in 1923. Mainly, he was looking for 'lebensraum' or living space for the Aryan race and the vast lands of Russia would serve as the bread basket that would feed Germany and the Eastern Europeans would be the slaves who worked the fields.
|December 7, 1941.|
Japan attacks US Fleet in Pearl Harbor. The 'date that will live in infamy.' The United States declared war on Japan the next day and Germany subsequently declared war on the United States, thus entering the US into World War II.
|June 4-7, 1942.|
Battle of Midway. The Battle of Midway proved aptly named, not just because it was fought near the island of Midway in the Pacific Ocean, but because it was the last battle in the Pacific that the United States forces were on the defensive. From that point forward, the US was always the attacker until Japan ultimately surrendered.
|July 9, 1943.|
Allied forces invade Sicily. After defeating the Nazis in North Africa, The US and British forces next turned their attention to Italy. This was the first Allied offensive directly against one of the three countries that made up the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, Japan).
|June 6, 1944.|
D-Day - Allied invasion of Nazi-controlled France. While every United States planned invasion was coded as D-Day for the day the invasion would take place, the Invasion of Normandy, France by the Allies has had the D-Day moniker attached to it after the fact as well.
|February 23, 1945.|
United States raises its flag on Mount Suribachi. The US invasion of Iwo Jima began on February 19, 1945. The island was not captured until over a month later. The flag raising simply marked the US capture of the high ground of Iwo Jima at the southeastern point of the island. Joe Rosenthal's picture immortalized the moment for all time. (I highly recommend reading "Flags of our Fathers" if you want to learn more about this event.)
|May 8, 1945.|
VE Day - Germany unconditionally surrenders. VE stood for Victory in Europe. The war in Europe ended on the 8th of May, just eight days after Hitler committed suicide, but the war in the Pacific against Japan raged on.
|August 6, 1945.|
Atomic Bomb dropped by the US on Hiroshima, Japan. Seeking a quicker end to the war in the Pacific, the United States used the first nuclear attack on Japan in hopes of avoiding a lengthy and costly conventional attack on mainland Japan. After a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender.
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