By Tim Lambert

The Second World War in 1939

1 September 1939 The Germans invade Poland

3 September 1939 Britain and France declare war on Germany

17 September 1939 Russia invades Poland from the east

5 October 1939 All resistance in Poland ends

30 November 1939 Russia invades Finland

The Second World War in 1940

13 March 1940 Finland surrenders

9 April 1940 Germany occupies Denmark and invades Norway

10 May 1940 Germany invades Belgium and the Netherlands. Other German forces invade France.

24 May 1940 The Germans capture Boulogne

26 May 1940 The Germans capture Calais

28 May 1940 British troops capture Narvik

28 May-4 June 1940 British forces are evacuated by sea from Dunkirk

7-8 June 1940 British forces are withdrawn from Norway

5 June 1940 The Germans start a new offensive against the French

10 June 1940 Italy declares war on Britain and France

14 June 1940 The Germans capture Paris

22 June 1940 France surrenders

12 July 1940 The Luftwaffe begins bombing British ports and shipping

12 August 1940 Germany begins bombing British airfields

7 September 1940 The Germans begin bombing London

13 September 1940 Italian forces in Libya (an Italian colony) attack British forces in Egypt.

28 October 1940 The Italians invade Greece

11 November 1940 British planes take off from an aircraft carrier and attack the Italian fleet at Taranto

14 November 1940 The Greeks drive back the Italians

9 December 1940 British troops in Egypt counterattack the Italians

The Second World War in 1941

22 January 1941 British troops capture Tobruk in Italian held Libya

5 February 1941 British troops capture Beda Fromm in Libya

31 March 1941 German forces sent to North Africa to prop up the Italians attack the British

6 April 1941 Germany attacks Yugoslavia and Greece (both of which are pro-British)

14 April 1941 German forces reach the border of Egypt

28 April 1941 The last British forces in Greece are evacuated to Crete

9 May 1941 The British navy capture a German enigma code book from a U-boat

20 May 1941 German paratroopers land on Crete

27 May 1941 The German battleship The Bismarck is sunk

31 May 1941 The last British troops in Crete are evacuated to Egypt

21 June 1941 Germany invades Russia

5 December 1941 The Russians begin a counter-offensive against the Germans

7 December 1941 The Japanese attack the American Fleet at Pearl Harbor

8 December 1941 Japanese troops land in Malaysia (a British colony)

11 December 1941 Germany and Italy declare war on the USA

21 December 1941 The Japanese invade the Philippines (an American colony)

25 December 1941 The Japanese capture Hong Kong

The Second World War in 1942

12 January 1942 The Japanese invade Burma (a British colony)

15 February 1942 The Japanese capture Singapore (a British colony)

27 February 1942 Japan wins the naval battle of the Java Sea

9 March 1942 The Japanese capture Batavia the capital of Java

1 May 1942 The Japanese capture Mandalay in Burma

6 May 1942 The Japanese occupy the whole of the Philippines

7-8 May 1942 The Japanese and Americans fight a naval battle in the Coral Sea. Afterwards the Japanese are forced to call off a plan to capture Port Moresby in New Guinea

4 June 1942 The Japanese are totally defeated at the battle of Midway Island

21 June 1942 The Germans in North Africa capture Tobruk from the British

7 August 1942 US troops land on the Japanese held island of Guadalcanal

23 October 1942 The British attack the Germans and Italians at El Alamein in Egypt

4 November 1942 The Germans in Egypt retreat

8 November 1942 British and American forces land in Morocco and Algeria

19 November 1942 The Russians counter-attack a German army at Stalingrad

The Second World War in 1943

31 January 1943 The bulk of the German army at Stalingrad surrenders

2 February 1943 The last part of the German army at Stalingrad surrenders

9 February 1943 The Japanese withdraw from Guadalcanal

13 May 1943 The Germans and Italians in North Africa surrender

30 May 1943 The first 1,000 bomber raid is launched against Cologne

5 July 1943 The German army launches an attack at Kursk in Russia

10 July 1943 The British and Americans invade Sicily

12 July 1943 The German advance at Kursk is halted

25 August 1943 The Russians recapture Smolensk. The Americans recapture New Georgia from the Japanese.

3 September 1943 The British land in Italy

7 September 1943 The Americans land at Salerno in Italy

6 November 1943 The Russians recapture Kiev

The Second World War in 1944

22 January 1944 The allies land at Anzio

4 June 1944 The allies capture Rome

6 June 1944 British, American and Canadian soldiers land in Normandy

13 June 1944 The first V1 flying bombs are fired at London

15 June 1944 American troops land on Saipan Island

22 June 1944 The Russians launch another offensive and they advance rapidly

19-20 June 1944 The Japanese are severely defeated at the battle of the Philippine Sea

27 June 1944 American troops capture Cherbourg

13 July 1944 British troops capture Caen

9 August 1944 American troops capture Le Mans

15 August 1944 Allied soldiers land in southern France

25 August 1944 American troops enter Paris

3 September 1944 British troops capture Brussels

17 September 1944 British British paratroopers land at Arnhem but the operation is a failure.

13 October 1944 The Russians recapture Riga, the capital of Latvia

23-25 October 1944 The Japanese navy is totally defeated at the battle of Leyte Gulf

16 December 1944 The Germans launch an offensive in the Ardennes Forest

20 December 1944 The German advance is halted

The Second World War in 1945

9 January 1945 American troops land on the island of Luzon

23 January 1945 The Russians launch a major offensive in Poland

17 February 1945 American forces land on Iwo Jima

7 March 1945 The Americans capture a bridge over the Rhine intact

20 March 1945 British troops recapture Mandalay

22 March 1945 American forces under Patton cross the Rhine

23 March 1945 British forces cross the Rhine

1 April 1945 Allied forces encircle a German army in the Ruhr area. American soldiers land on Okinawa.

18 April 1945 German forces in the Ruhr area surrender

25 April 1945 The Russians encircle Berlin

2 May 1945 German forces in north Italy surrender. All resistance in Berlin ends.

3 May 1945 British troops recapture Rangoon

4 May 1945 German forces in Holland, Denmark and northwest Germany surrender

7 May 1945 The Germans surrender

8-9 May 1945 At one minute past midnight the war in Europe officially ends

22 June 1945 Japanese soldiers on Okinawa surrender

6 August 1945 An atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima

9 April 1945 Another atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki

15 August 1945 Japan surrenders

Life in Britain during the Second World War

A history of Weapons

A history of Germany