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Timeline of World War II
1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
March 15 Czechoslovakia surrenders after Adolf Hitler annexes the country into the Third Reich. Although the Czechs had warmly welcomed the Germans when they entered the Sudetenland months earlier, they stood silently in despair when the Nazis entered Prague.
August 31 Germany's Adolf Hitler signs the order for an assault on Poland. After the Germans stage a phony raid on a Gleiwitz radio station, they blame the Polish for the "unprovoked attack."
September 1 Without declaring war, Germany invades Poland. The coordinated air-and-land attack is conducted with such brutal efficiency that "blitzkrieg" becomes a feared offensive tactic.
September 3 Honoring their treaty with Poland, France and Great Britain enter the war against Germany.
September 4 Japan, engaged in war with China, declares its neutrality in the European War.
September 5 As war broke out in Europe, American sentiment heavily favored isolationism. With the nation still skeptical of Allied propaganda after it had lured the U.S. into the first World War, the United States declares its neutrality in the European War.
September 10 Canada declares war on Germany.
September 27 Warsaw, Poland, surrenders to German forces. Poland is partitioned by Germany and Russia.
October 16 In the first attack on British territory, the Germans hit the Brits at the Firth of Forth. They damage cruisers South-Hampton and Edinburgh and the destroyer Mohawk.
November 14 The Soviet Union is expelled from the League of Nations for its aggression against Finland.
December 2 The 1940 Olympic Games, to be held in Finland, are cancelled.
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1939 | NEXTNext
Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933, and then made Fuhrer in 1934, a position that gave him complete control of the state and the military.
National Archives

Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933, and then made Fuhrer in 1934, a position that gave him complete control of the state and the military.

Germans ride into Prague as people watch silently in the street. March 15, 1939
AP Images

Germans ride into Prague as people watch silently in the street. March 15, 1939

President Roosevelt remained focused on the problems at home as he declared American neutrality.
National Archives

President Roosevelt remained focused on the problems at home as he declared American neutrality.