Timeline: Battles of the Second World War

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1 Timeline: Battles of the Second World War The battles here are presented along chronological lines, not according to locale. BATTLE: THE INVASION OF POLAND WHEN: September 1 st, 1939 WHERE: Poland WHAT: The Germans invaded Poland using blitzkrieg tactics. OUTCOME: Britain and France declared war on Germany. Canada s declaration followed a week later. It started the Second World War. Blitzkrieg allowed the Germans to sweep through Poland with little resistance. Canada was not automatically obligated to go to war, but chose to do so a week after Britain s declaration. BATTLE: THE PHONY WAR WHEN: October 1939 April 1940 WHERE: Western Europe Allied troops and Canadians were all waiting for combat to begin. WHAT: It was expected that Germany was going to invade Western Europe. OUTCOME: Germany did not invade due to bad weather and indecision. BATTLE: EVACUATION OF DUNKIRK WHEN: 1940 WHERE: The English Channel WHAT: British and French troops retreated to the French beaches at Dunkirk and became trapped. In spite of this being a defeat, this event represented a moral victory for the Allies. A few weeks later, France surrendered to Germany.

2 OUTCOME: 900 ships sailed from England and rescued 340,000 soldiers. BATTLE: THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN WHEN: Summer of 1940 WHERE: Britain WHAT: Air attacks by the Luftwaffe on Britain s RAF airfields OUTCOME: Hitler eventually abandoned air attacks on the airfields and ordered daylight bombing raids on London. This allowed Britain s forces to regroup and later win the battle. The use of radar and the German cipher machine (the Engima) contributed to Britain s power in the airs. Hitler s change in tactics in response to Churchill s bombing of Berlin likely cost him the war. This battle was the first time that Hitler was denied conquest. The battle left the future Allies with a base from which to attack Hitler in Europe. BATTLE: THE INVASION OF THE SOVIET UNION WHEN: June 22 nd, 1941 WHERE: Soviet Union WHAT: Hitler launched an invasion called Operation Barbarossa with 3 million German troops. OUTCOME: The Germans advanced but were stopped just outside of Moscow for now. Hitler invaded the Soviet Union to fulfill his vision of Lebensraum and to destroy communism. The Soviets reacted with a scorched earth policy Hitler now had a two front war. BATTLE: PEARL HARBOUR WHEN: December 7 th, 1941 WHERE: Pearl Harbour, Hawaii This attack brought the United States into the war. In Europe this gave Britain a much-

3 WHAT: The Japanese launched a surprise attack on the American naval base. OUTCOME: The United States and Britain declared war on Japan. needed ally. Canada declared war against Japan and Canadian troops were sent to fight in Hong Kong. BATTLE: THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY WHEN: June, 1942 WHERE: Midway Islands, north and west of Hawaii WHAT: The Americans intercepted the Japanese fleet which was preparing to conquer these islands. OUTCOME: The Japanese were soundly defeated. This marked a turning point in the Pacific Theatre. The American fleet sank the best units of Japanese naval aviation (aircraft carriers). The Japanese were on the defensive after this battle. BATTLE: DIEPPE WHEN: August, 1942 WHERE: Dieppe coast of France WHAT: 5,000 Canadians landed on the beach with the goal of taking the beach and the town back from the Germans. OUTCOME: The attack failed and many Canadians were killed and taken prisoner. More Canadian troops died in these few hours than on any other day in the war. Part of the reason for the failure was that Britain decided to forgo the much-needed aerial and naval support. Allies learned that heavy air and sea support would be necessary for any future invasion of France. BATTLE: BATTLE OF EL ALAMEIN WHEN: October 1942 This victory was a turning point in the war.

4 WHERE: 60 miles west of Cairo, North Africa WHAT: The Germans and the Italians sought control of Egypt. It was the first time the Allies had defeated the forces of the fascist countries. This victory prevented the Germans from seizing the Suez Canal. OUTCOME: The British won in a decisive victory. BATTLE: BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC WHEN: The duration of the war WHERE: Between North America and Britain WHAT: Germany wanted to cut off all Allied supplies to Britain; British and Canadian navies wanted to put an end to the German submarine threat. TECHNOLOGY USED: U-Boats; the convoy system (merchant ships surrounded by destroyers for protection); long-range bombers; sonar OUTCOME: The Allies beat the German submarines, wolfpacks, by dropping bombs and depth charges. The Royal Canadian Navy provided much of the protection for merchant ships. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Navy had expanded to include 370 ships and 100,000 personnel. 2,000 members of the Canadian Navy lost their lives in combat. Canada s involvement was crucial to the Allied victory. Many Canadians also served by manning the freighters that transported material to Europe. BATTLE: THE BATTLE OF STALINGRAD WHEN: September 1942 January 1943 WHERE: Stalingrad WHAT: Hitler attacked Stalingrad because of its name, and to go past it to the Caucasus oil fields. This victory was an enormous boost in morale for the Allied forces. After this battle, the Germans suffered defeat after defeat on the eastern front as Stalin s forces moved closer to Berlin.

5 OUTCOME: The Soviets captured or killed the entire German army. BATTLE: THE ITALIAN CAMPAIGN WHEN: WHERE: A landing on Sicily and then onto the peninsula of Italy. WHAT: Allied forces, including Canadians, landed on Sicily using an amphibious attack, and then moved onto the mainland. OUTCOME: The Germans were finally driven back by a French-Canadian unit which then pushed through to free northern Italy in the fall of The Vandoos, a French-Canadian unit, played a big part in liberating Rome from German control. Mussolini was captured and hung in public in The capture of Italy was an important step towards the liberation of Europe, and it kept many German troops occupied. BATTLE: THE NORMANDY LANDING WHEN: June 6 th, 1944 WHERE: The shores of Normandy WHAT: Operation Overlord was the Allied invasion of German-held Europe. OUTCOME: The Allied forces gained a foothold in Europe to begin pushing back the German army. This was the largest Canadian military operation of the Second World War. Canadian forces were assigned the target called Juno; over 5,000 Canadians were killed. There were more than 200,000 Allied casualties. Allies gained the much-needed beachhead in Europe. BATTLE: BATTLE OF LEYTE GULF WHEN: October 1944

6 WHERE: The Philippines WHAT: The Americans took on virtually the whole Japanese fleet. The Japanese introduced the kamikaze suicide technique: planes loaded with explosives would deliberately crash into an American ship. OUTCOME: The Americans sank one half of the Japanese fleet. BATTLE: THE LIBERATION OF HOLLAND WHEN: May 1945 WHERE: Holland WHAT: Canadian forces drove the NAZIS to retreat from Holland and surrender. This Canadian victory allowed Allied troops to continue forward towards Germany. Canadians have been much respected in Holland ever since. OUTCOME: On May 8 th 1945 the last German troops surrendered. BATTLE: HIROSHIMA WHEN: August 6 th, 1945 WHERE: Hiroshima, Japan This was the first atomic bomb used in warfare. WHAT: Truman decided to drop an atomic bomb on the city. OUTCOME: 100, 000 people were killed. BATTLE: NAGASAKI WHEN: August 9 th, 1945 WHERE: Nagasaki, Japan A total of 170,000 people died due to both atomic bombs.

7 WHAT: Truman dropped another atomic bomb since Japan did not surrender immediately This Introduced the nuclear era in modern international affairs. OUTCOME: 35,000 people were killed.

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