Timeline Leading up to and during World War II

War news

War news

Keith was in the middle of his military service in the 1930’s. No one escaped what was happening in Europe and the Pacific during this time.  The two World Wars, the Great Depression and Korea forever impacted the lives of my parents and all families.

What follows is just a little of the events that lead up to the Second World War.  For more indepth information you will find that timeslines for the wars are plentiful on the web, here are a few:



I went back a little farther than some timelines in order to see what was happening as Keith did his military service during the 1930’s.

1931 – September 18, Japan invades Manchuria

1934 – August 19 Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of Germany

1935 – March 16 Hitler violates the Treaty of Versailles by introducing military conscription.

1935 – Sept 15 German Jews stripped of rights by Nuremberg Race Laws.

1936 – Feb. 10 The German Gestapo is placed above the law
1936 – March 7 – German troops occupy the Rhineland
1936 – May 9 – Mussolini’s Italian forces take Ethiopia
1936 – July 18 – Civil war erupts in Spain
1936 – October 1 – Franco declared head of Spanish State

1937 – July 7, Japan invades China.
1938 – Japanese capture Peking, Shanghai and other cities.

1938 – March 11-13 Germany incorporates Austria into the Anschluss.

1938 – September 29 – The Munich Agreement forces
Czechoslovakia to ceded land to Nazi Germany.

1938 – October Japanese land near Hong Kong capture Canton cutting off the Chinese Nationalists from ocean ports.

1938 November the New Order for East Asia is declared by Japan – relations with the west deteriorate.

1939 – March 15-16 Nazi take Czechoslovakia
1939 – March 28 Spanish Civil war ends
1939 – May 22 – Nazis sign Pact of Steel with Italy
1939 – August 23 Nazi and Soviets sign Pact
1939 – Sept 1 – Nazis invade Poland
1939 – Sept 3 – Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany
1939 – Sept 5 – US proclaims neutrality
1939 – Sept 10 – Canada declares war on Germany
1939 – Sept 17 – Soviets invade Poland and on the 27th Warsaw surrenders to Nazis and on the 29th the Nazis and Soviets divide up Poland.
1939 – December 14 Soviet Union expelled from League of Nations.

1940 Nov 1939 to March 1940 Soviet Union invades Finland.
1940 April to June – Germany invades Denmark and Norway.
1940 May to June – Germany attacks Western Europe – France and the Low Countries – Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium. France signs armistice.
1940 June Italy enters the war
1940 June Soviet Union forces Romania to cede eastern provinces.
1940 June Soviet Union occupies the Baltic States
1940 July to October The Battle of Britain ends in defeat for Nazi Germany.
1940 September – Italy invades Egypt
1940 September 27 – Germany, Italy and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact.
1940 October Italy invades Greece
1940 November – Slovakia, Hungary and Romania join the Axis.

1941 March Bulgaria joins the Axis
1941 April to June – Yugoslavia is taken over by Germany, Italy and others.
1941 June to November Nazi Germany and its Axis partners invade the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union counter attacks.
1941 December 6, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor

1941 December 8, the United States declares war on Japan.
1941 December 11, the United States declares war on Germany after they had declared war on the U.S.

End of the War September 2, 1945.