US Involvement in WWII


American Involvement in World War II
Event/Battle Date Location Significance
Germany invades Poland September 1, 1939 Polish-German border Following non-aggression treaty with Soviet Union, German troops invade Poland. England and France declare war on Germany. Soviets invade Poland from East.
Germany's blitzkrieg takes western Europe March-June 1940 Western Europe Denmark, Norway, Nethlerlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France are crushed by German offensive.
Battle of Britain Fall 1940 Great Britain German bombers ruin British cities in attempt to obtain British surrender before U.S. entry. Britain's breaking of German code ("Ultra") helps Britain endure air attacks.
U.S. enacts draft bill September 1940 Washington D.C. Registration of all men between 21 and 35. Limit of 900,000 men in time of peace.
Destroyer for Bases deal September 1940 Washington D.C. and London U.S. transfers 50 old destroyers to Britain in exchange for the use of eight British Atlantic bases.
Lend-Lease plan November 1940 Washington D.C. U.S. agrees to "lend" military equipment to cash-strapped Britain.
Germany invades Russia June 1941 Polish-Russian border Germany begins two-front war with invasion of Russia. Germans halt 15 miles from Moscow in December 1941.
Atlantic Charter August 1941 North Atlantic FDR and Churchill agree to war aims, self-determination, and condemnation of Nazism.
Japan attacks Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 Hawaii 361 Japanese warplanes attack American airfields and shipyards, disabling 19 ships, destroying 200 planes, and killing over 2300 men. Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Malaya, Philippines soon fall to Japan.
FDR asks for war on Japan December 8, 1941 Washington, D. C. Congress approves entry into war. Germany and Italy declare war on U.S.
Battle of Coral Sea May 1942 South Pacific Carrier-based U.S. planes halt Japanese advance on Australia.
Midway June 1942 Central Pacific Threat on Hawaii ended as four Japanese aircraft carriers are sunk. Perhaps the turning-point naval battle in the Pacific theater.
Allies attack Germans in North Africa November 1942 North Africa Huge Allied landing forces Germany to retreat to Tunisia, where they are surrounded by British and American forces.
Guadalcanal February 1943 Solomon Islands, South Pacific Americans take first island in start of island-hopping strategy.
Event/Battle Date Location Significance
Germans surrender at Stalingrad February 1943 Central Russia Germans surrender after fierce hand-to-hand fighting and huge casualties for each side.
Germans surrender at Tunisia May 1743 Tunisia, North Africa Over 250,000 German and Italian troops are captured as Allies prepare to invade Sicily and Italy.
Allies invade Sicily July 1943 Sicily In largest amphibious invasion in history, over 250,000 American and British troops land. Germans and Italians retreat to mainland of Italy.
Italy surrenders September 1943 Italy Although Italian troops quit fighting the Allies, Germans continue in fierce fighting. Rome finally surrenders on June 4, 1944.
D-Day Invasion June 6, 1944 Normandy coast of France Allies use 4600 ships to invade German-held France. Suffering heavy casualites, the Allies are able to retake Paris in August.
Battle of Leyte Gulf October 1944 Pacific east of Philippines 60 Japanese ships in arguably the largest naval battle in history.
Battle of Hurtgen Forest September 1944-February
Belgian-German border In the longest single battle in American history, the U.S. suffer over 24,000 battle casualties in a poorly planned and executed plan that underestimated the strength of German forces.
Battle of the Bulge December 1944 French-German-Belgian border German counteroffensive almost succeeds in retaking Belgium but is finally crushed with Allied reinforcements.
Tokyo Bombing Raids March 1945 Tokyo, Japan American bombers destroy 250,000 buildings and kill 83,000 in massive fire-bombing.
Russians take Berlin April 1945 Berlin, Germany Russians take German capital after house-to-house fighting. Hitler commits suicide.
V-E Day May 7, 1945 Europe German government issues unconditional surrender to Allied forces.
Okinawa April to June 1945 Southern tip of Japan Fighting from caves and bunkers, Japanese inflict 80,000 losses on Americans. Over 30 American ships are sunk by Japanese suicide missions.
Gen. MacArthur retakes Philippines July 1945 Philippine Islands After Manila's fall to Americans in May, Japanese surrender here after inflicting 60,000 American casualties.
Hiroshima August 6, 1945 Japan 180,000 killed, wounded, or missing after atomic bomb is dropped. Two days later Soviet Union enters war against Japan, fulfilling Yalta Conference pledge.
Nagasaki August 9, 1945 Japan Second bomb is dropped after Japanese delay surrender. 80,000 killed or missing.
V-J Day September 2, 1945 Tokyo Bay Japan surrenders with one condition: the emperor must retain his throne.