27 May 1942 Doris Miller is awarded the Navy Cross.

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Photo courtesy of Naval Historical Center

World War II Timeline

The timeline below outlines the major events in the war from 1939 to 1945. By the war's end, millions of people had perished and the balance of world power shifted to the Soviet Union and the United States.

August 23: Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact signed
September 1: Germany invades Poland
September 3: Britian and France declare war on Germany
September 17: Soviet Union invades Poland
September 27: Poland surrenders to Germany
November 30: Soviets invade Finland

March 12: Finns sign peace with Soviets, with far-reaching concessions
April 9: Germany invades Denmark and Norway, meeting resistance only from Norway
May 10: Germany invades Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg; Churchill becomes PM of Great Britian
May 14: Germany invades France; The Netherlands surrenders
May 28: Belgium Surrenders to Germany
May 26 - June 4: Evacuation of British and French soldiers at Dunkirk
June 10: Italy declares war on Britian and France
June 14: Germans enter Paris
June 22: France surrenders to Germany
July 10: Beginning of the Battle of Britian
July 23: Soviets take Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia
August 25: First British air raid on Berlin
December 15: British drive the Italian Army out of Egypt

March 11: Lend-Lease Bill passed, allowing Roosevelt to provide aid to Britian and other Allied nations
March 28: British fleet dominates Italian Navy, gaining superiority in the Mediterranean
March 30: Afrika Korps launches counteroffensive in North Africa
April 6: Nazis invade Greece and Yugoslavia
April 14: Rommel attacks Tobruk
April 18: Yugoslav forces surrender, but guerilla resistance continues in force
May 10: Deputy Fuhrer Rudolph Hess parachutes into Scotland on a personal "peace mission." He is immediately put into a POW camp.
May 24: British flagship Hood sunk by the German battleship Bismark
May 27: Bismark sunk by British Navy, a Polish vessel is the first to engage her
June 14: Roosevelt freezes all Axis assets in the US; State Department orders the closing of all German consular offices
June 22: Germany attacks the Soviet Union on a 1,000 mile front
August 14: Atlantic Charter signed by Roosevelt and Churchill
September 8: Germans encircle Leningrad, beginning a 900 day siege of the city
September 19: Germans occupy Kiev
November 18: Britsh begin desert offensive in Libya
December 7: Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese
December 8: US declares war on Japan
December 11: Germany and Italy declare war on United States

June 21: Rommel captures Tobruk
June 25: Eisenhower appointed commander of US forces in Europe
July 1: Sevastopol falls to Germans
August 19: British/Canadian commandos raid Dieppe, suffering heavy losses
August 31: British defeat Afrika Korps at the Battle of Alam Halfa
November 5: Rommel, beaten at Alamein, retreats to Tunisia
November 13: British retake Tobruk
November 19: Battle of Stalingrad marks beginning of Soviet counteroffensive

January 14 - January 24: Roosevelt and Churchill hold Casablanca Conference
January 30: RAF makes first daylight raid on Berlin
February 2: Germans surrender at Stalingrad
May 12: Allies achieve victory in North Africa
July 9: Allies invade Sicily
July 25: Mussolini resigns as Italian premier, Badoglio is his replacement
August 1: Ploesti oil fields bombed by USAAF
August 17: Conquest of Sicily completed
September 3: Allies invade Italian mainland
September 8: Italians surrender to Allies. Germans carry on fight, putting up fierce resistance
September 10: Germans capture Rome
October 1: Allies capture Naples
October 13: Italy declares war on Germany
November 6: Soviets liberate Kiev
November 28 - December 1: "Big Three" meet at Teheran
December 24: Eisenhower appointed SCAEFE (Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force - Europe)

January 22: Allies land at Anzio behind German lines
February 2: Soviets enter Estonia, Latvia
March 20: Nazis invade Hungary to meet threat in Balkans
May 9: Soviets liberate Sevastopol
May 23: Allies begin offensive from the Anzio beachhea
June 4: Allies take Rome
June 6: Operation Overlord - Invasion of "Fortress Europe" - D-Day
June 13: First operational use of the V-1 rocket by Germans against England
June 27: Germans abandon Cherbourg
July 11: Soviets enter Latvia and Lithuania
July 18: British Second Army breaks German lines at Caen, France
July 20: Attempt on Hitler's life results only in slight injury
July 26: Americans break through German lines near St. Lo, France
August 11: Germans abandon Florence, Allies close in
August 15: Allies invade Southern France
August 21: US troops close in on Paris
August 23: Rumania surrenders to Soviets; joins Allies
August 25: Paris liberated
September 3: British liberate Brussels
September 4: Finland and Russia sign armistice
September 8: First German V-2 rockets land on London
September 17: Allied airborne troops land deep inside the Netherlands, marking the beginning of Operation Market-Garden (which would become the last German victory of the war)
October 3: After two months of fighting, the Warsaw Uprising is quelched, leaving over 90% of Warsaw in ruin
November 7: Roosevelt elected to fourth term as President
December 16: Ardennes Offensive (Battle of the Bulge) undertaken by Germans
December 26: US forces at Bastogne relieved by Allied spearhead, effectively ending the Ardennes Offensive

January 17: Soviets capture Warsaw
February 4 - February 11: "Big Three" meet at Yalta; plan occupation of Germany, etc.
March 4: Finland declares war on Germany
March 7: US First Army crosses the Rhine at Remagen Cologne falls to the Allies
April 12: Roosevelt dies, succeeded by Harry S Truman
April 13: Vienna falls to the Red Army
April 16: Soviets begin final push to Berlin
April 25: "East Meets West" between US and Soviets at Torgau
April 28: Mussolini killed
April 30: Hitler commits suicide; Soviet flag raised over Berlin; 33,000 prisoners freed from the Dachau death camp
May 2: Berlin falls to Soviets; German troops in Northern Italy surrender
May 7: Germany surrenders unconditionally to Allies
May 8: V-E day celebrated by Allied nations
June 5: Four Powers (US, Russia, Britain, France) assume supreme power in Germany
June 26: UN established
August 2: Pottsdam Accords signed and made public

"Lest We Forget - World War II"

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