Flashback: 80 years of World War II
It’s been 80 years of World War II which started on September 1, 1939, but the hurt and damage is still not forgotten. Even Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier asked for Poland’s forgiveness 80 years after the start of the War. Let’s take a look at the important dates of this most gruesome event in history.
- The World War II was fought at different locations by the armies of various countries. Europe, Pacific, Atlantic, South-East Asia, China, Middle East, Mediterranean and Northern Africa were few locations where the war took place.
- The Allies comprised Joseph Stalin (Russia), Franklin D. Roosevelt (USA), Winston Churchill (Great Britain), Chiang Kai-shek (China) and Charles de Gaulle (France). While the Axis were Adolf Hitler (Germany), Hirohito (Japan), and Benito Mussolini (Italy).
- On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded the sovereign nation of Poland. England and France, which had, over the previous months, repeatedly provided assurances to Poland of swift retaliation against a German attack, are forced into declaring war against Germany and its allies on 3 September.
- France, completely devastated by the German war machine, signs a peace armistice with Germany in June, 1940.
- Rationing started in the UK. Later this year, German ‘Blitzkrieg’ overwhelmed Belgium, Holland and France. Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister of Britain. British Expeditionary Force evacuated from Dunkirk. British victory in Battle of Britain forces Hitler to postpone invasion plans.
- On 22 June, 1941, Hitler initiated the operation Barbarossa— the invasion of Russia. While the Axis continued to rout London.
- Eventually, there were millions of casualties in Russia on both sides. In November 194?, the Soviets gain a hard earned victory in the Battle of Stalingrad.
- On 7 December, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, leading to the US and Britain declaring war on Imperial Japan.
- In 1942, Singapore fell to the Japanese in February – around 25,000 prisoners taken.
- 12 May, 1943, The Allies declared complete victory over the Axis in North Africa and route them on the continent. Italy had surrendered but Germany continued the war.
- On 25 August, 1944, the Allies finally liberated Paris from the Germans.
- On 28 April, 1945, Mussolini was captured by Italian partisans and executed.
- On 30 April, 1945, Hitler committed suicide in his bunker along with his partner Eva Braun.
- The German military surrendered unconditionally to the western Allied military. Since then, 8 May is celebrated as Victory Day in Europe.
- On 6 August, 1945, the Americans dropped the Atomic Bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima after multiple refusals by Japanese generals to surrender. The Americans followed this up with another Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki on 9 August.
- In September, 1945, Japan officially surrendered to the US, thus bringing the Second World War to an end.