World War II begins when Nazi Germany invades Poland’s capital in a massive encirclement attack. Within weeks of the invasion, German forces defeat the Polish army and receive Warsaw’s official surrender.
December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor
Germany, Italy, and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact in Berlin to formalize the alliance of the Axis Powers. The Pact provides for mutual assistance should any of its members suffer attack by any nation not already involved in the war.
June 6, 1944 D-Day
In the largest German military effort of World War II, Nazi Germany launches Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Within a few weeks, the Soviet Union has formally joined the Allied nations.
May 7, 1945 Germany Surrenders
Japan launches a surprise attack on American soil and bombs Hawaii’s naval base at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. More than 2,300 American soldiers and sailors die in the attack, and another 1,100 are wounded.
Allied troops land on the beaches of Normandy, France, in a highly calculated effort to liberate Western Europe from Nazi control. The invasion, code named D-Day, becomes the largest amphibious military operation in history.
On this day in 1945, the German High Command, in the person of General Alfred Jodl, signs the unconditional surrender of all German forces, East and West, at Reims, in northwestern France. At first, General Jodl hoped to limit the terms of German surrender to only those forces still fighting the Western Allies