This is a timeline of the events that stretched over the period of World War II from January 1945 to its conclusion and legal aftermath.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
2: 46 American B-29 bombers based near Calcutta, India attacked a railroad bridge near Bangkok, Thailand and other targets in the area. : The Japanese increasingly use kamikaze tactics against the US naval forces nearby.
3: The Allies take the offensive east of the Bulge but they fail to close the pincers (which might have surrounded large numbers of Germans) with Patton's tanks.
28: The Red Army completes the occupation of Lithuania.
31: The Red Army crosses the Oder River into Germany and are now less than 50 miles from Berlin. : A second invasion on Luzon by Americans lands on the west coast. : The whole Burma Road is now opened as the Ledo Road linkage with India is complete.
16: American paratroopers and Philippine Commonwealth troops land on Corregidor Island, in Manila Bay. Once the scene of the last American resistance in early 1942, it is now the scene of Japanese resistance. : American naval vessels bombard Tokyo and Yokohama.
24: Massive bombing of Germany by approximately 9,000 bombers. : Egypt declares war on the Axis.
25: US incendiary raids on Japan. : After ten days of fighting, American and Filipino troops recapture Corregidor.
26: Syria declares war on Germany and Japan.
28: A Philippine government is established. : U.S. and Filipino forces invade Palawan, an island of the Philippines.
3: Manila is fully liberated. : Battle of Meiktila, Burma comes to an end with General Slim's troops overwhelming the Japanese; the road to Rangoon is now cleared. : The Allies attempted to destroy V-2s and launching equipment near The Hague by a large-scale bombardment, but due to navigational errors the Bezuidenhout quarter was destroyed, killing 511 Dutch civilians.
4: Finland declares war on Germany, backdated to September 15, 1944.
6: Germans launch an offensive against Soviet forces in Hungary.
7: The Battle of Remagen: When German troops fail to dynamite the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine, the U.S. First Army captures the bridge and begins crossing the river. The Army also takes Cologne, Germany. : Germans begin to evacuate Danzig.
9: The US firebombs Tokyo (the attack was code-named Operation Meetinghouse), with heavy civilian casualties. : Amid rumours of a possible American invasion, Japanese overthrow the Vichy French Jean Decoux Government which had been operating independently as the colonial government of Vietnam: they proclaim an "independent" Empire of Vietnam, with EmperorBảo Đại as nominal ruler. Premier Trần Trọng Kim forms the first Vietnamese government.
11: Nagoya, Japan is firebombed by hundreds of B-29s.
15: V-2 rockets continue to hit England and Belgium.
16: The German offensive in Hungary ends with another Soviet victory. : Iwo Jima is finally secured after a month's fighting, in the war's only Marine battle where the number of American casualties is larger than the Japanese's. Sporadic fighting will continue as isolated Japanese fighters emerge from caves and tunnels.
23: By this time it is clear that Germany is under attack from all sides.
24: Operation Varsity, an Anglo-American-Canadian assault under Montgomery crossed the Rhine at Wesel.
27: The Western Allies slow their advance and allow the Red Army to take Berlin.
28: Argentina declares war on Germany, the last Western hemisphere country to do so; its policies for sheltering escaping Nazis are also coming under scrutiny. Argentina had not declared war before due to British wishes that Argentine shipping be neutral (and therefore Argentine foodstuffs would reach Britain unharmed), this, however, went against the plan of the USA, who applied much political pressure on Argentina.
29: The Red Army enters Austria. Other Allies take Frankfurt; the Germans are in a general retreat all over the centre of the country.
13: The Vienna Offensive ends with a Soviet victory. : Gardelegen Massacre takes place. Over 1000 slave laborers were closed in a barn which then was set on fire. It was one of the last massacres on civil population perpetrated by Germans. Just few hours later, American troops captured Gardelegen
18: Ernie Pyle, famed war correspondent for the GIs, is killed by a sniper on Ie Shima, a small island near Okinawa.
19: Switzerland closes its borders with Germany (and the former Austria). : Allies continue their sweep toward the Po Valley. : The Soviet advance towards the city of Berlin continues and soon reaches the suburbs.
20: Hitler celebrates his 56th birthday in the bunker in Berlin; reports are that he is in an unhealthy state, nervous, and depressed.
23: Hermann Göring sends a radiogram to Hitler's bunker, asking to be declared Hitler's successor. He proclaims that if he gets no response by 10 PM, he will assume Hitler is incapacitated and assume leadership of the Reich. Furious, Hitler strips him of all his offices and expels him from the Nazi Party. : Albert Speer makes one last visit to Hitler, informing him that he (Speer) ignored the Nero Decree for scorched earth.
24: Himmler, ignoring the orders of Hitler, makes a secret surrender offer to the Allies, (led by Count Folke Bernadotte, head of the Red Cross), provided that the Red Army is not involved. The offer is rejected; when Hitler hears of the betrayal on the 28th, he orders Himmler shot. : Forces of the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front link up in the initial encirclement of Berlin. : Allies encircle the last German armies near Bologna, and the Italian war in effect comes to an end.
25: Elbe Day: First contact between Soviet and American troops at the river Elbe, near Torgau in Germany.
26: Hitler summons Field Marshal Robert Ritter von Greim from Munich to Berlin to take over command of the Luftwaffe from Göring. While flying into Berlin, von Greim is seriously wounded by Soviet anti-aircraft fire.
29: Dachau concentration camp is liberated by the U.S. 7th Army. : All forces in Italy officially surrender and a ceasefire is declared. : Allied air forces commence Operations Manna and Chowhound, providing food aid to the Netherlands under a truce made with occupying German forces. : Hitler marries his companion Eva Braun.
30: Hitler and his wife commit suicide with a combination of poison and a gunshot. Before he dies, he dictates his last will and testament. In it Joseph Goebbels is appointed Reich Chancellor and Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz is appointed Reich President.
1: German General Hans Krebs negotiates the surrender of the city of Berlin with Soviet General Vasily Chuikov. Chuikov, as commander of the Soviet 8th Guards Army, commands the Soviet forces in central Berlin. Krebs is not authorized by Reich Chancellor Goebbels to agree to an unconditional surrender, so his negotiations with Chuikov end with no agreement. : Goebbels and his wife murder their children and commit suicide. : Yugoslavian Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito and his troops capture Trieste, Italy. New Zealand troops play a supporting role. : The war in Italy is over but some German troops are still not accounted for. : Australian troops land on Tarakan island off the coast of Borneo
6: German soldiers open fire on a crowd celebrating the liberation of the Netherlands in Dam Square. At the brink of peace, 120 people were badly injured and 22 pronounced dead. : This date marks the last fighting for American troops in Europe. 
7: Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies at the Western Allied Headquarters in Rheims, France at 2:41 a.m. In accordance with orders from Reich President Karl Dönitz, General Alfred Jodl signs for Germany. : Hermann Göring, for a while in the hands of the SS, surrenders to the Americans. Elements of Task Force Smythe, U.S. 80th ID in Austria, fire last shots of the war in Europe when 80th Recon Platoon is strafed by 2 German planes and returns fire causing one plane to leave trailing smoke.
8: Victory in Europe Day: The ceasefire takes effect at one minute past midnight. : In accordance with Dönitz's orders, Colonel-General Carl Hilpert unconditionally surrenders his troops in the Courland Pocket. : Germany surrenders again unconditionally to the Soviet Union army but this time in a ceremony hosted by the Soviet Union. In accordance with orders from Dönitz, General Wilhelm Keitel signs for Germany. : The remaining members of President Jozef Tiso's pro-German Slovak Republic capitulates to the American General Walton Walker's XX Corps in Kremsmünster, Austria. : The Prague uprising ends with negotiated surrender with Czech resistance which allowed the Germans in Prague to leave the city. : In order to disarm the Japanese in Vietnam, the Allies divide the country in half at the 16th parallel. Chinese Nationalists will move in and disarm the Japanese north of the parallel while the British will move in and do the same in the south. During the conference, representatives from France request the return of all French pre-war colonies in Indochina. Their request is granted.
11: The Soviets capture Prague, the last European capital to be liberated. Eisenhower stops Patton from participating in the liberation. : German Army Group Centre in Czechoslovakia surrenders. : War in New Guinea continues, with Australians attacking Wewak.
14: Nagoya, Japan, is heavily bombed. : Fighting in the southern Philippines continues.
23: British forces capture and arrest the members of what was left of the Flensburg government. This was the German government formed by Reich President Karl Dönitz after the suicides of both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels. : Heavy bombing of Yokohama, an important port and naval base. : Heinrich Himmler, head of the notorious SS, dies of suicide via cyanide pill.
29: Fighting breaks out in Syria and Lebanon, as nationalists demand freedom from French control.
2: Air Group 87 aircraft from USS Ticonderoga strike airfields on Kyushu, Japan, in an attempt to stop special attack aircraft from taking off.
5: The Allies agree to divide Germany into four areas of control (American, British, French and Soviet). : The U.S. fleet under William Halsey, Jr., suffers widespread damage from a huge Pacific typhoon.
28: The Japanese battleships Haruna and Ise are sunk by aircraft from US Task Force 38 while in shallow anchorage at Kure Naval Base.
30: The USS Indianapolis is sunk shortly after midnight by a Japanese submarine after having delivered atomic bomb material to Tinian. Because of poor communications, the ship's whereabouts are unknown for some time and many of its men drown or are attacked by sharks in the next four days.
31: U.S. conducts air attacks on the cities of Kobe and Nagoya in Japan.
1: Ukrainian insurgents attack the police station in Baligrod, Poland. Polish soldiers defend the station, driving off the attackers, who torch several houses as they retreat
14: Japanese military personnel and right-wingers attempt to overthrow their government and prevent the inevitable surrender. : The last day of United States Force combat actions. All units are frozen in place.
19: At a spontaneous non-communist meeting in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh assume a leading role in the movement to wrest power from the French. With the Japanese still in control of Indochina in the interim, Bảo Đại goes along because he thought that the Viet Minh were still working with the American OSS and could guarantee independence for Vietnam. Later, Ho Chi Minh's guerrillas occupy Hanoi and proclaim a provisional government. : Hostilities between Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Communists break into the open.
22: Japanese armies surrender to the Red Army in Manchuria.
27: Japanese armies in Burma surrender at Rangoon ceremonies.
12: Japanese rule of Korea ends after Governor General Nobuyuki Abe stands down.
13: British forces under Major-General Douglas Gracey's 20th Indian Division, some 26,000 men in all, arrive in Saigon to disarm and accept the surrender of the Japanese Occupation Forces in Vietnam south of the 16th parallel. 180,000 Chinese Nationalist soldiers, mainly poor peasants, arrive in Hanoi to disarm and accept surrender north of the line. After looting Vietnamese villages during their entire march down from China, they then proceed to loot Hanoi.
16: The Japanese garrison in Hong Kong officially signs the instrument of surrender.
22: The British rearm 1,400 French soldiers from Japanese internment camps around Saigon. In Saigon, on the night of 24 September, a mob composed of Viet-Minh militants and sympathizers attacks French colonial administration and kills around 150 European civilians. An estimated 20,000 French civilians live in Saigon.
1: In Southern Vietnam, a purely bilateral British/French agreement recognizes French administration of the southern zone. In northern Vietnam, Chinese troops go on a "rampage". Hồ's Việt Minh are hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with it.
The non fraternization directive for U.S. troops against German civilians was rescinded. Previously even speaking to a German could lead to court martial, except for "small children", these had been exempt in June 1945.
15: Former Prime Minister Pierre Laval is executed by the French Provisional Government.
21 US Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson opens for the prosecution with a speech lasting several hours, leaving a deep impression on both the court and the public.
26 The Hossbach Memorandum (of a conference in which Hitler explained his war plans) is presented.
29 The film "Nazi concentration camps" is screened.
30 Witness Erwin von Lahousen testifies that Keitel and von Ribbentrop gave orders for the murder of Poles, Jews, and Russian prisoners of war.
29: The prohibition against marriage between GIs and Austrian women was rescinded on November 29. Later it would be rescinded for German women too. Black soldiers serving in the army were not allowed to marry white women, (in the case that they remained in the army) so they were restricted until 1948 when the prohibition against interracial marriages was removed.
11 The film The Nazi Plan is screened, showing long-term planning and preparations for war by the Nazis.
28: The US Coast Guard was transferred under the US Treasury Department.
15 Witness Rudolf Höss, former commandant of Auschwitz, confirms that Kaltenbrunner had never been there, but admits to having carried out mass murder.
29 The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), also known as the Tokyo Trials or the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, is convened to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for "Class A" crimes, which were reserved for those who participated in a joint conspiracy to start and wage war.
21: Witness Ernst von Weizsäcker explains the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1939, including its secret protocol detailing the division of Eastern Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union.
9: Victor Emmanuel III abdicates the Italian throne, one of the last Axis leaders left in power.
20: Albert Speer takes the stand. He is the only defendant to take personal responsibility for his actions.
Karl Dönitz was a German admiral who played a major role in the naval history of World War II. Dönitz briefly succeeded Adolf Hitler as the head of state of Nazi Germany.
Hans Michael Frank was a German war criminal and lawyer who worked for the Nazi Party during the 1920s and 1930s, and later became Adolf Hitler's personal lawyer. After the invasion of Poland, Frank became Nazi Germany's chief jurist in the occupied Poland "General Government" territory. During his tenure throughout World War II (1939–45), he instituted a reign of terror against the civilian population and became directly involved in the mass murder of Jews. At the Nuremberg trials, he was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and was executed.
Wilhelm Frick was a prominent German politician of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), who served as Reich Minister of the Interior in the Hitler Cabinet from 1933 to 1943 and as the last governor of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. After World War II, he was tried and convicted of war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials and executed by hanging.
16 All other war criminals sentenced to death are hanged.
15 October: End of the Paris peace conference.
December 31, 1946
U.S.President Truman declares, "Although a state of war still exists, it is at this time possible to declare, and I find it to be in the public interest to declare, that hostilities have terminated. Now, therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the cessation of hostilities of World War II, effective twelve o'clock noon, December 31, 1946."
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd president of the United States from 1945 to 1953, succeeding upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt after serving as vice president. He implemented the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, and established the Truman Doctrine and NATO.
February 10, 1947
The United Nations signs the Paris peace accords with Italy, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, and Romania, technically ending World War II for them.
The Paris Peace Treaties were signed on 10 February 1947 following the end of World War II in 1945. The Paris Peace Conference lasted from 29 July until 15 October 1946. The victorious wartime Allied powers negotiated the details of peace treaties with Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Finland. The treaties allowed the defeated Axis powers to resume their responsibilities as sovereign states in international affairs and to qualify for membership in the United Nations.
December 23, 1948
Japanese "Class A" war criminals, including two former Prime Ministers, are put to death.
October 19, 1951
End of state of war with Germany was granted by the U.S. Congress, after a request by President Truman on 9 July. In the Petersberg Agreement of November 22, 1949 it was noted that the West German government wanted an end to the state of war, but the request could not be granted. The U.S. state of war with Germany was being maintained for legal reasons, and though it was softened somewhat it was not suspended since "the U.S. wants to retain a legal basis for keeping a U.S. force in Western Germany".
The Petersberg Agreement is an international treaty that extended the rights of the Federal Government of Germany vis-a-vis the occupying forces of Britain, France, and the United States, and is viewed as the first major step of Federal Republic of Germany towards sovereignty. It was signed by Chancellor of West Germany Konrad Adenauer and the Allied High Commissioners Brian Hubert Robertson (Britain), André François-Poncet (France), and John J. McCloy on 22 November 1949. The Hotel Petersberg, near Bonn, was at that time the seat of the High Commissioners and the place of signature. It was the first modification of the Occupation statute.
End of occupation of West Germany. West Berlin remained as a special territory. The Eastern quarter of Germany remained annexed by the Allies, but Germany would not legally accept this as a fact until in 1970 when West Germany signed treaties with the Soviet Union (Treaty of Moscow) and Poland (Treaty of Warsaw) recognizing the Oder-Neisse line between Germany and Poland.
Rudolf Heß, the last prisoner held by the UN under the Nuremberg protocols, is found hanged in his room. Spandau Prison, where he was held alone for many years and one of the few remaining Four Power institutions in Germany, is demolished the same year.
January 7, 1989
The Showa Emperor, known in life as Hirohito, dies; he is the last Axis leader in power.
September 12, 1990
The United States, the USSR, the United Kingdom, and France, together with the governments of East and West Germany, sign the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, the final treaty ending the war, paving the way for German reunification. The Four Powers renounce all rights they formerly held in Germany, including those regarding the city of Berlin.
Unexploded ordnance, such as mines and bombs, still turn up from time to time, and have, on rare occasions, caused death and injury. As of the start of 2018, there are still tens of thousands of veterans of the conflict still alive.
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, and also known as the Fall of Berlin, was one of the last major offensives of the European theatre of World War II.
The European theatre of World War II, also known as the Second European War, was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe, starting with Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 and ending with the Soviet Union conquering most of Eastern Europe and Germany’s unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. The Allied powers fought the Axis powers on two major fronts as well as in a massive air war and in the adjoining Mediterranean and Middle East theatre.
The final battles of the European Theatre of World War II as well as the German surrender to the Allies took place in late April and early May 1945.
The Western Front was a military theatre of World War II encompassing Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany. World War II military engagements in Southern Europe and elsewhere are generally considered under separate headings. The Western Front was marked by two phases of large-scale combat operations. The first phase saw the capitulation of the Netherlands, Belgium, and France during May and June 1940 after their defeat in the Low Countries and the northern half of France, and continued into an air war between Germany and Britain that climaxed with the Battle of Britain. The second phase consisted of large-scale ground combat, which began in June 1944 with the Allied landings in Normandy and continued until the defeat of Germany in May 1945.
The Race to Berlin was a competition between two Soviet marshals, Georgy Zhukov and Ivan Konev, to be the first to enter Berlin during the final months of World War II.
The following events occurred in April 1945:
The end of World War II in Asia occurred on 2 September 1945, when armed forces of the Empire of Japan surrendered to the forces of the Allies. The surrender came almost four months after the surrender of the Axis forces in Europe and brought an end to World War II.
The Flensburg Government, also known as the Flensburg Cabinet, the Dönitz Government, or the Schwerin von Krosigk Cabinet, was the short-lived government of Nazi Germany during a period of three weeks around the end of World War II in Europe. The government was formed following the suicide of Adolf Hitler on 30 April 1945 during the Battle of Berlin. It was headed by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz as the Reichspräsident and Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk as the Leading Minister.
The Courland Pocket was a group of German forces of Reichskommissariat Ostland on the Courland Peninsula that was cut off and surrounded by the Red Army from July 1944 through May 1945.
Events in the year 1945 in Japan.
This is a timeline of events that stretched over the period of World War II. For events preceding September 1, 1939, see the timeline of events preceding World War II.
This is a timeline of events that stretched over the period of World War II.
This is a timeline of events that stretched over the period of World War II from 1941, marked also by the beginning of Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern Front.
This is a timeline of events that occurred during World War II in 1943.
This is a timeline of events that occurred during 1944 in World War II.
The War That Came Early is a six-volume alternate history series by Harry Turtledove, in which World War II begins in 1938 over Czechoslovakia. The first volume, Hitler's War, was released in hardcover in 2009 without a series title. Subsequently, the paperback edition was announced as The War That Came Early: Hitler's War.
Events in the year 1943 in Germany.
Events in the year 1944 in Germany.
Events in the year 1945 in Germany.
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