Hitler Invades Poland1.5 Million of Hitler's troops invaded Poland. Hitler claimed this attack was actually done through defensive action, this was very unconvincing to Britain and to France hence declaring war with Germany two days later. Hitler's main intention in invading Poland was to bring "Lebensraum" or "Living Space" to the mass German population.
German 'Blitzkrieg' overwhelms Belgium, Holland and France - Fall of FranceThe battle of France, also known as the fall of France, was Hitler's mass invasion if France during the Second World War. German troops pushed the British forces and the French by invading the significant country.
The Evacuation of DunkirkThe evacuation of more than 300,000 allied troops from the coast of France was a majorly important date during WWII. These troops were pushed back by German forces after invading and taking land from the French. These vulnerable troops were essentially sitting ducks to German troops. Without the mass rescue of British forces and even English civilians, Germany had the possibility to wipe out a mass number of the allied forces.
The Battle of BritainBritish and German airforces engaged in the largest sustained bombing campaign over England till that time. The British defeated the Germans after they failed to gain air superiority over the Royal air force despite targeting Britain's air bases an extensive period. This British victory saved the country from potential ground invasions from the Germans. It depicted that Britain air force had the power alone to win major battles.
Fall of SingaporeUnited Kingdom and Settlements (India, Malaya), Australia vs Japan (25th Army + Navy)
Greatest WW2 victory for Japan - reinforced idea of war as a divine mission for the emperor.
Singapore was the hardest island in Indochina to take - Churchill called it the 'Gilbratar of the East'. It was taken within a week by the Japanese.
A well organised attack on Singapore city with tanks, bombers and landing troops from Japan took the city and large base quickly, along with 90,000 POWs.
Attacks on AustraliaFebruary 1942 - March 1944
Australian waters, major northern towns and some large cities
Japan and German submarines and aircraft vs Australia Australia threatened and pushed around by an enemy that struck fast and hard, and usually weren’t seen.
Australia called to arms after being surrounded on all sides by Japan, and sometimes Germany.
Only times Australia directly affected in homeland defence.
Biggest attack was on Darwin, with 188 aircraft sinking 9 ships and 236 killed.
Battle of Midway4–7 June 1942
Island of Midway, Hawaii
Japan (combined fleet) vs US (pacific fleet, marines and air force)
Japan up until this point had seen great successes in occupying Indochina in its ‘sphere of influence’ and tried to threaten America. However, America was prepared for their attack and sunk 4 carriers and 360 aircraft, crippling Japan to a point where they could never fully recover. It was quoted by John Keegan as “the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare".
D-Day (Normandy Landings)6 June 1944
Normandy Beaches, Northern France
Allies vs Germany The largest land invasion in history, with 357,100 infantrymen storming the beaches of Normandy.
Allied deception tactics, including foil and radio made Germans unprepared.
The beginning of the end for Germany, as many tanks, airplanes and troops found their way into France for the first time since 1940.
Every allied power, including the UK, US, Australia, Norway and the Free French rushed the beaches of Normandy.
Battle of the Bulge16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945
Ardennes and Northeastern France
Allies vs Germany The last push of Germany’s forces in order to eliminate the allies. They attempted to push through the Ardennes, just as they very successfully did in 1940, but were repelled after three weeks by Americans. They broke the siege at Bastogne and destroyed Germany’s last hopes of victory; it was the breaking point of the Nazis, with two giants crashing down on top of their weakened army.
Battle for Berlin16 April – 2 May 1945
Germany vs Allied powers The very last stand for the Nazis.
Hitler’s stronghold of Berlin was attacked from all sides by Soviets, and after two weeks of holding out the city, Hitler killed himself.
End of the Nazis, and the start of the Cold War.
Every person fought viciously at the battle for Berlin, including the old and very young children.
After the fighting, a mass rape (in literal sense) began, with as many as two million German women raped, some as young as 12.
Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Japanese SurrenderAugust 6, 9 and 14
US vs Japan Instead of facing a brutal fight up the mainland, the Americans decided to coerce the Japanese into a surrender.
An atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, which had important bases and factories, as well 100,000+ civilians. When the Japanese didn’t surrender within three days, an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, which nearly exclusively held civilians. The Japanese emperor surrendered 5 days later, and Japan was no longer part of WW2 - and so WW2 ended.