Winston Churchill is born in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England.
Joseph Stalin is born in Gori, Georgia.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is born in Hyde Park, New York.
Benito Mussolini is born in Predappio, Italy.
Hideki Tojo, future prime minister of Japan, is born in Tokyo.
Adolf Hitler is born in Braunau am Inn, Austria.
Churchill enters the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
While studying at the Tiflis Spiritual Seminary, Stalin visits private bookshops where he reads banned works by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin.
At the Battle of Omdurman in Sudan, Churchill participates in the British army's last great cavalry charge, resulting in an Anglo-Egyptian victory. Two years later, as a member of the Conservative party, he is elected to Parliament (M.P.) from Oldham.
Hirohito, future emperor of Japan, is born in Tokyo.
Stalin is arrested in Batumi, a city in the Russian Empire, after organizing worker strikes and demonstrations. It is the first of his many arrests and imprisonments.
Roosevelt receives a B.A. degree in history from Harvard University.
Stalin arrives in Siberia, where he has been exiled for his revolutionary activities. He escapes early the next year and begins working for the Bolsheviks, Lenin's faction of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party.
Russia's Czar Nicholas II issues the October Manifesto in response to the uprisings and revolts taking place in Russia. This document leads to the creation of a Russian Duma, or Parliament, the following year.
Churchill becomes Great Britain's home secretary. He resigns the post in October 1911 to become first lord of the admiralty.
Roosevelt begins his term in the State Senate of New York, after being elected the previous November.
After most of the Bolshevik Party's first Central Committee is arrested, Lenin co-opts Stalin to join the Committee and work as one of the party's leaders in Russia.
Stalin is arrested in St. Petersburg and is later sentenced to a four year exile in Siberia, where he remains until 1917.
Roosevelt reports to his new job in Washington, D.C., assistant secretary of the Navy for President Woodrow Wilson.
Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, is assassinated in Sarajevo; Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia exactly one month later, beginning World War I.
Churchill resigns as first lord of the admiralty and joins the British army in France, where he fights in the trenches. In January, he is promoted to 2nd Lieutenant Colonel and commands a battalion, the 6th Royal Scots Fusilliers.
Russia's Emperor Nicholas II abdicates after rioting erupts in St. Petersburg.
With Lenin's support, Stalin is elected to the Bolshevik Party's Central Committee.
Under orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolsheviks in Russia begin an armed uprising to overthrow the provisional government. In what becomes known as the October Revolution, Lenin subsequently seizes power.
Russia loses significant territory to Germany when the Bolsheviks sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, bowing out of World War I.
Civil war intensifies in Russia.
The Treaty of Versailles is signed, officially ending World War I.
The Polish-Soviet War breaks out as Poland and Russia battle over territory that lies between them. After Poland defeats Russia, the war officially ends with the Treaty of Riga, signed March 18, 1921.
Roosevelt runs as the U.S. vice-presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket with James Cox. They lose.
Churchill attends the Cairo Conference, which establishes the government, ethnic composition, and political boundaries of Iraq and other portions of the Middle East.
Roosevelt contracts polio; he is crippled for the rest of his life, requiring a wheelchair to move about and a support to stand.
Stalin becomes the general secretary of the Bolshevik Party's Central Committee and later in the year founds the Communist Party newspaper, Pravda.
Benito Mussolini becomes prime minister of Italy and establishes a fascist government.
Churchill loses in the general election and is ousted from Parliament.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is created.
Lenin dies in Gorki, outside Moscow. St. Petersburg is renamed Leningrad in his honor; Stalin begins to dominate Soviet politics.
Churchill is elected M.P. for Epping and then rejoins the Conservative party. He begins to serve as chancellor of the exchequer (until 1929).
Hitler publishes the first volume of Mein Kampf, his autobiographical text outlining his ideologies and political aspirations, including his racist sentiments and belief in Aryan superiority.
Hirohito becomes emperor of Japan.
The Soviet Union begins its first Five-Year Plan, calling for farms to organize into collective units and all parts of the economy to be put under state control.
Roosevelt is elected governor of the state of New York.
The New York Stock Market crashes, heralding the beginning of the Great Depression for the United States—an economic calamity that would affect most of the world.
Roosevelt is elected the 32nd U.S. president.
Time magazine names Roosevelt “Man of the Year” for 1932. He will also be man of the year in 1934 and 1941.
Roosevelt is inaugurated president and begins to serve the first of an eventual four terms. He quickly convenes a special session of Congress that lasts 100 days. Congress enacts 15 major “New Deal” laws to provide relief and recovery from economic hardships and to reform the country's economic institutions..
Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany.
Roosevelt issues an executive order establishing the Works Progress Administration; the WPA eventually employs millions of Americans on construction and public works projects, as well as cultural and artistic pursuits.
Roosevelt signs the Wagner Labor Relations Act into law, establishing the National Labor Relations Board that guarantees the organizing and collective bargaining rights of U.S. workers, and creates standards for working hours and wages.
With Roosevelt's signature, the Social Security Act becomes law; a payroll tax is established to provide a guaranteed income for elderly citizens and allow compensation for workers who find themselves disabled or unemployed.
Stalin begins to purge potential rivals in the Communist Party and the Red Army. In what becomes known as the Great Terror, over one million people, including ordinary citizens, are imprisoned or executed in the next two years.
Roosevelt is re-elected president.
Japanese and Chinese forces clash in the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, starting a war between the two countries.
Hitler annexes Austria. On October 1, after the Munich conference with the British and French leaders, he occupies the Sudentenland, about a third of the territory in Czechoslovakia.
Time magazine names Hitler 1938's “Man of the Year.”
The Nomonhan Incident, or the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, begins between Japanese and Soviet forces in Mongolia. Under Marshall Georgy Zhukov, the Soviets are victorious by September.
Joachim von Ribbentrop, foreign minister of Nazi Germany, arrives in Moscow and negotiates a non-aggression pact with Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and Stalin. Ribbentrop returns to Moscow on September 27 and again meets with Molotov and Stalin. Stalin assures his support of the alliance and pledges aid for Germany in the war.
The German army invades Poland from the west, igniting World War II. Two days later, Great Britain and France declare war on Germany.
Approximately 600,000 Red Army troops invade Poland from the east. During September, Poland is roughly halved, occupied both by German and Soviet troops.
Soviet forces push into Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; these territories will become part of the Soviet Union in August 1940. In November 1939, the USSR incorporates Ukraine and Belorussia.
Soviet forces invade Finland, beginning the Finnish-Soviet War, or Winter War. The conflict ends when a defeated Finland signs the Moscow Peace Treaty on March 13, 1940.
Stalin declares Polish veterans of the 1920 Polish-Soviet War a threat to the Soviet state. The NKVD deports hundreds of thousands of people, often entire families, from Poland to the Soviet Gulag.
Time magazine names Stalin “Man of the Year” for 1939. He receives the same distinction in 1942.
At the Kremlin, Stalin and senior Soviet politicians sign a document that authorizes the murder of almost 22,000 members of the Polish elite. This massacre, which becomes known as the Katyn Forest Massacre, takes place in April and May.
Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Act, allowing the U.S. to provide aid on a non-cash basis to at-war nations such as Great Britain. In November 1941, Lend-Lease is extended to the Soviet Union.
Germany invades Norway and Denmark.
On the same day that Germany invades France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg, Churchill becomes prime minister of the United Kingdom after Neville Chamberlain resigns. He also serves as minister of defense.
In Italy, Mussolini declares war on Great Britain and France.
Hitler signs an armistice with France at Compiegne.
Soviet icebreakers help the German ship Komet navigate around Soviet territory to the north (through the Arctic Ocean) to the Pacific Ocean. The Komet attacks Allied ships for several months.
German Luftwaffe begins nightly bombing raids on London, known as the Blitz.
The Tripartite Pact is signed by Japan, Italy, and Germany, formalizing the Axis alliance.
Roosevelt is re-elected president for a record third term.
Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov arrives in Berlin for meetings with Joachim von Ribbentrop, foreign minister of Nazi Germany.
Hungary joins the Axis. Three days later, Romania also joins.
Churchill is named Time Magazine's “Man of the Year” for 1940.
In Operation Barbarossa, Germany invades the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Politburo forms the State Defense Committee with Stalin at its head.
The Soviet Union and Great Britain sign an agreement of mutual aid. The following week, the Polish government-in-exile and the Soviet Union sign an agreement for cooperation in London.
In Placentia Bay off Newfoundland, Churchill and Roosevelt meet for the first time; they issue the Atlantic Charter.
German forces lay siege to Leningrad. The siege continues for 900 days.
German forces launch Operation Typhoon, their attack on Moscow. When they fail to take the city before winter, the Red Army counterattacks on December 5, derailing Hitler's plans for a quick victory in the USSR.
In Moscow, Stalin meets with the head of the Polish government-in-exile, General Wladyslaw Sikorski, and dodges questions about missing Polish officers. The next day, the Polish Republic and the USSR sign a declaration of friendship and mutual assistance.
Japanese planes attack the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; the following day the United States declares war on Japan and enters World War II. On December 11, Germany and Italy, allies of Japan, declare war on the U.S.
In a meeting with British foreign secretary Anthony Eden, Stalin proposes a secret protocol that would allow the Soviets to reclaim pre-1941 territory after the war.
Churchill meets with Roosevelt in Washington, D.C. The talks last until January 14, 1942. Churchill also addresses the U.S. Congress and travels to Canada on this trip.
A Soviet counterattack against the Germans at Kharkov results in huge losses for the Red Army.
Stalin sends Soviet foreign minister Molotov to Washington to ask Roosevelt and senior military staff to open a “second front.”
Churchill meets with Roosevelt at Hyde Park, New York. They travel together to Washington for further talks.
The largest allied convoy yet, PQ17, leaves Iceland with materiel bound for the USSR. In early July, the convoy is attacked twice by the Germans; 153 seamen lose their lives as 24 of the 39 vessels are sunk, leading to a temporary halt to further convoys.
The Germans launch Operation Blue in the Soviet Union, pressing forward on the eastern front.
Churchill and Stalin meet in Moscow. Churchill informs Stalin of a delay in opening a second front in Europe, but informs him of U.S. plans to invade North Africa in November and of British aerial bombing of German cities.
The Battle of Stalingrad begins as Axis forces from Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Romania move against the Soviet city on the Volga river.
In Operation Uranus, more than one million Red Army troops advance and encircle the German troops at Stalingrad; German field marshal Friedrich Paulus surrenders on January 31, 1943, though pockets of German troops fight on for another two days.
Churchill meets with Roosevelt in Casablanca, Morocco, where they issue the Unconditional Surrender Doctrine to convince Stalin that they will not negotiate an end to the fighting with Hitler.
Germans announce they have discovered mass graves of more than 4,000 murdered Poles at Katyn Forest near Smolensk. The Germans and the Soviets blame one another for the atrocity.
In the Warsaw ghetto, armed Jews rise up and battle the Nazis until mid-May. When the fighting ends, the Germans raze the ghetto and destroy Warsaw's Great Synagogue.
Churchill and Roosevelt meet in Washington, DC; they decide to delay an attack on France until the spring of 1944.
Allied troops land in German-occupied Sicily in Operation Husky.
The Red Army defeats Germany at the battle of Kursk.
Churchill meets with Roosevelt at Hyde Park, New York; the two then attend a conference in Quebec, Canada.
In preparation for Operation Avalanche, the Allied invasion of Italy, small groups of British troops begin landing at Reggio, near the “toe” of the Italian boot. The main invasion begins on September 9, when the Allies land near Salerno.
Stalin announces that Soviet forces have retaken Smolensk. The NKVD then cordon off a section of the Katyn forest to begin a coverup of the murder of the Polish officers.
In Teheran, Iran, the “Big Three”—Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill—meet for the first time, where they discuss strategy for 1944.
The Siege of Leningrad ends as the Red Army breaks through German lines.
Poles fighting with the British Army see action at Monte Cassino during Operation Diadem; the Allies, who had been trying to take Monte Cassino since January 12, finally occupy the monastery on May 18.
Allied troops land at Normandy, France, in the D-Day invasion.
The Red Army begins Operation Bagration, a massive attack against Germany with over two million men.
The Red Army reoccupies Lwow, Poland.
The Polish Home Army, an underground resistance group, rises up in Warsaw against the Germans. More than 200,000 Polish civilians die before the Poles surrender in early November.
Allied troops enter Paris.
Churchill and Roosevelt meet again in Quebec, Canada.
Churchill begins a series of meetings with Stalin in Moscow to discuss the postwar fate of Eastern and Southern European, making a percentages agreement for control of several countries. On October 13, Stalin and Churchill meet with the Polish government-in-exile to discuss Poland's future borders.
Soviet forces cross the German border.
Stalin decrees that the Soviet 6th Air Force Army will now be the Air Force of the Polish Army.
Roosevelt is re-elected president for the fourth time.
The Battle of the Bulge begins in the forest of Ardennes, Belgium; by the end of January, the Allies have successfully held off the Germans' last great counterattack.
The Red Army enters Warsaw; Stalin soon installs a Communist puppet government.
The Red Army liberates Auschwitz, a notorious Nazi concentration camp, where many of the six millions Jews killed in the Holocaust lose their lives.
Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin meet in Yalta, Crimea, to plan postwar arrangements.
The Red Army captures Budapest, the capital of Hungary.
Off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, Churchill meets with Roosevelt for the last time.
U.S. Marines land on Iwo Jima, a ten-mile square island 660 miles south of Tokyo.
In Warsaw, Poland, sixteen non-communist Poles representing the Polish government-in-exile are transported by Soviet police more than seven hundred miles to Moscow's Lubyanka prison and put on trial. Thirteen are sentenced to prison.
The Battle of Okinawa begins in the Pacific.
Soviets repudiate the Soviet-Japanese neutrality pact signed in 1941; the pact is no longer in effect by April 13.
U.S. troops liberate the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald. After the war, the Soviets rename this facility Soviet Special Camp # 2 and begin using it.
President Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia; Harry S. Truman becomes the 33rd U.S. president.
The Battle for Berlin begins.
After being captured by Italian partisans as he tried to leave the country, Benito Mussolini is executed in the Piazzale Loreto in Milan.
Adolf Hitler takes his own life in his bunker in Berlin.
Victory in Europe (V-E) Day as Germany surrenders. The following day, German officers sign surrender documents at Soviet Marshall Zhukov's headquarters in Berlin while the Red Army moves into Prague, Czechoslovakia.
In England, a report titled “Russia Threat to Western Civilization” is completed; Churchill ponders “Operation Unthinkable,” a British attack on the USSR.
Germany and Austria are divided into zones of occupation (Soviet and Western).
An immense WWII victory parade is held in Moscow.
At Alamogordo, New Mexico, the atomic bomb is first tested.
Churchill, Truman, and Stalin meet in Potsdam, Germany. Churchill leaves on July 25 after the British Conservative party loses an election. He is replaced the next day by Clement Atlee, Great Britain's new prime minister. (Churchill continues to serve in Parliament until 1964.)
The U.S. drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, a second bomb is dropped on Nagasaki.
The USSR declares war on Japan and launches Operation August Storm against the Japanese in China.
Emperor Hirohito announces the Japanese surrender.
Victory over Japan (V-J) Day.
World War II formally ends when Japanese representatives sign surrender documents aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
The first phase of the Nuremberg war crimes trials begin; twenty-two Nazis are tried between November 1945 and October 1946 in front of an international military tribunal.
The United Nations is officially founded after the U.N. charter is ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the U.S., and a majority of other states.
Churchill visits the U.S. and Cuba and meets with Truman; on March 5, Churchill gives his “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.
In a meeting of the USSR's main military council, Stalin charges Marshall Zhukov with various offenses; Zhukov is denounced and banished from Moscow.
In London's Allied victory parade, organized by the Labor Government of Clement Atlee, no Polish soldiers are invited to participate so as not to upset the Communist government in Poland.
Truman signs Executive Order 9835, or the Loyalty Order, intended to root out members of the U.S. federal government sympathetic to Communism. That fall, members of Hollywood are summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee; the “Second Red Scare” is underway.
In a commencement speech at Harvard University, Secretary of State Marshall addresses the idea of providing economic assistance to Europe. On April 3, 1948, President Truman signs the Economic Cooperation Act, known widely as the “Marshall Plan.”
Stalin begins a blockade of the American, British, and French zones in Berlin. The blockade is eventually lifted the following May as the British and Americans are able to supply Berlin by air.
After his conviction for war crimes at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Hideki Tojo is hanged in Tokyo, Japan.
Stalin summons Alexei Kuznetsov, one of the Soviet leaders in Leningrad during the siege of the city, to the Kremlin, where he is tortured and murdered; he is one of about two thousand Leningrad officials to be imprisoned, exiled, or murdered.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is created.
The Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb.
The Korean War begins.
In Great Britain, the Conservative Party wins the election; at age 76, Churchill once again becomes prime minister.
Churchill meets President Truman in Washington, D.C. and President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower in New York; he delivers his final address to the U.S. Congress.
Eisenhower is inaugurated as the 34th U.S. president.
Stalin dies; Nikita Khrushchev becomes general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.
Churchill attends the Bermuda conference where he meets with President Eisenhower to gain support for a top-level dialogue with the new Soviet leadership.
Churchill retires as prime minister but lives another decade, dying at age 90 on January 24, 1965 in London.
The Warsaw Pact, an alliance among the satellite states in Eastern Europe held by the USSR since World War II, is signed by Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.