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WWII Timeline – Fall 1945

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at October – December 1945 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Fall 1945

October 24, 1945

The United Nations was “born,” formally coming into existence on this day when its charter was ratified by its five permanent members: the United States, Great Britain, France, China, and the Soviet Union.

Otto Frank received word that his daughters Anne and Margot died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Hermine “Miep” Gies, one of the Dutch citizens who hid the Frank family and four other Dutch Jews from the Nazis, gave him the diary written by Anne that she found in the annex after the family was arrested.

November 13, 1945

Free French leader General Charles de Gaulle was elected head of the provisional French government.

November 20, 1945

The best-known of the Nuremberg trials, the Trial of Major War Criminals, was held from November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946. The former leaders of Hitler’s Third Reich on trial in Nuremberg, Germany included,

  • Hermann Göring
  • Rudolf Hess
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop
  • Wilhelm Keitel
  • Ernst Kaltenbrunner
  • Alfred Rosenberg
  • Hans Frank
  • Wilhelm Frick
  • Julius Streicher
  • Walther Funk
  • Hjalmar Schacht
  • Karl Dönitz
  • Erich Raeder
  • Baldur von Schirach
  • Fritz Sauckel
  • Alfred Jodl
  • Franz von Papen
  • Arthur Seyss-Inquart
  • Albert Speer
  • Konstantin von Neurath
  • Hans Fritzsche

The trial was conducted by a joint United States-British-French-Soviet military tribunal, with each nation supplying two judges.

The four counts in the indictment were:

  • Count 1 – Conspiracy to commit crimes alleged in the next three counts
  • Count 2 – Crimes Against Peace, including planning, preparing, starting, or waging aggressive war
  • Count 3 – War Crimes, including violations of laws or customs of war
  • Count 4 – Crimes Against Humanity, including murder, extermination, enslavement, persecution on political or racial grounds, involuntary deportment, and inhumane acts against civilian populations

The History Place reports that,

The majority of the defendants claimed they were unknowing pawns of Adolf Hitler or were simply following orders. Evidence used against the defendants included Nazi propaganda films and extensive Nazi paperwork documenting mass murder and other crimes. Also shown were films taken by the Allies after the liberation of extermination camps.

For more detail about the trial, follow the link below in Sources.

December 9, 1945

General George S. Patton broke his neck in a car accident near Mannheim, Germany. The accident left him paralyzed from the neck down.

December 21, 1945

General Patton died in a hospital in Luxemburg from injuries he sustained in the December 9 car crash.

December 22, 1945

Britain and the U.S. formally recognized the new government of Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman issued an executive order known as the “Truman Directive,” which gave preference to displaced persons for immigrant visas under existing U.S. immigration quota restrictions. Overall immigration into the United States did not increase but more displaced persons were admitted than before. About 22,950 displaced persons, of whom two-thirds were Jewish, entered the United States between December 22, 1945 and 1947 under provisions of the Truman Directive.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The History Place: Nuremberg War Crimes Trial

Most recent post from the series:

Summer 1945

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

WWII Timeline – Summer 1945

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at July – September 1945 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Summer 1945

July 1, 1945

American, British, and French troops moved into Berlin.

July 5, 1945

Liberation of the Philippines from Japanese rule was announced by General Douglas MacArthur.

July 10, 1945

One thousand bomber raids against Japan began.

July 13, 1945

Italy (formerly an Axis power) declared war on Japan.

July 14, 1945

The first U.S. Naval bombardment of the Japanese home islands began when US Navy warships attacked the Japanese cities of Kamaishi and Muroran.

July 16, 1945

The first atomic bomb was successfully tested in the U.S. when the first-ever nuclear bomb was detonated in New Mexico at the Alamogordo Test Range. The bomb, nicknamed “Gadget,” created a crater nearly 1,000 feet wide. The test, code-named the “Trinity” nuclear test, began the Atomic Age.

July 17 – August 2, 1945

The Potsdam Conference, the last of the WWII meetings held by the “Big Three” heads of state (American President Harry S. Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his successor, Clement Attlee, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin) was held near Berlin. The conference established a Council of Foreign Ministers and a central Allied Control Council for administration of Germany. Talks primarily centered on the future of postwar Europe, but the “Big Three” also issued a declaration demanding “unconditional surrender” from Japan.

July 26, 1945

Clement Atlee of the Labour Party was elected British Prime Minister to succeed Conservative Winston Churchill.

The USS Indianapolis delivered components of the atomic bomb “Little Boy” at Tinian Island in the South Pacific.

July 28, 1945

A B-25 Mitchell bomber pilot became disoriented in heavy fog and crashed his aircraft into the Empire State Building in New York City. Although the accident did not compromise the building’s structural integrity, it caused fourteen deaths, three crewmen and eleven people in the building.

July 30, 1945

A Japanese submarine sank the Cruiser USS Indianapolis resulting in the loss of 881 crewmen. The ship sank before a radio message could be sent out leaving survivors adrift for two days. Only 316 onboard survived.

August 6, 1945

The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan from a B-29 flown by Col. Paul Tibbets, killing as many as 140,000 people.

August 8, 1945

The Soviet Union declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria.

August 9, 1945

The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan from a B-29 flown by Maj. Charles Sweeney, killing as many as 80,000 people. Emperor Hirohito and Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki sought an immediate peace with the Allies.

August 14, 1945

Japan agreed to unconditional surrender. Some consider this date (August 15 in the UK because of time differences) as V-J (Victory over Japan) Day, but others consider September 2, when the surrender document was signed, to be V-J Day.

General Douglas MacArthur was appointed to head the occupation forces in Japan.

August 15, 1945

Some of the first child Holocaust survivors arrived in England from Europe.

August 16, 1945

General Jonathan M. Wainwright, a prisoner of war since May 6, 1942, was released from a POW camp in Manchuria.

Winston Churchill delivered an address in the British House of Commons stating,

…it is not impossible that tragedy on a prodigious scale is unfolding itself behind the iron curtain which at the moment divides Europe in twain.

August 27, 1945

B-29’s dropped supplies to Allied POWs in China.

August 29, 1945

The Soviets shot down a B-29 dropping supplies to POWs in Korea,

U.S. Troops landed near Tokyo to begin the occupation of Japan.

August 30, 1945

The British reoccupied Hong Kong.

September 2, 1945

President Harry S. Truman declared V-J (Victory over Japan) Day as Japan formally surrendered and signed a surrender agreement during a ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, as one thousand aircraft carrier-based planes flew overhead, officially ending WWII.

September 3, 1945

General Tomoyuki Yamashita of the Imperial Japanese Army, commander in the Philippines, surrendered to General Jonathan Wainwright at Baguio.

September 4, 1945

Japanese troops on Wake Island surrendered.

September 5, 1945

The British landed in Singapore.

September 8, 1945

General Douglas MacArthur entered Tokyo.

September 9, 1945

The Japanese in Korea surrendered.

September 13, 1945

The Japanese in Burma surrendered.

September 25, 1945

The Nazi party was declared illegal in Germany.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Potsdam Conference

Fold3 Blog Post: The 75th Anniversary of the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis

Most recent post from the series:

Spring 1945

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

WWII Timeline – Spring 1945

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at April – June 1945 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Spring 1945

Spring 1945

The Nazis continued marches of concentration camp and prisoner of war camp inmates. Some were marched westward away from advancing Soviet troops and some were marched eastward away from advancing American and British troops. At the same time, German civilians fleeing the advancing Russians often shared the road with the inmates marching. 

April 1945

The Allies discovered stolen Nazi art and wealth hidden in German salt mines.

Yugoslav Communist leader Josip Tito’s Partisan units captured Zagreb and toppled the Ustasa regime. Top Ustasa leaders fled to Italy and Austria.

Early April 1945

The Soviets drove the Germans and their Hungarian collaborators out of Hungary.

April 1, 1945

American troops encircled German forces in the Ruhr.

In the Pacific Theater, the Battle of Okinawa began with the final amphibious landing of the war when the U.S. Tenth Army invaded Okinawa.

April 4, 1945

The Soviets forced the surrender of Slovakia with the capture of Bratislava.

The Ohrdruf camp, a subcamp of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, was liberated. It was the first Nazi camp liberated by U.S. troops. It was later visited by General Dwight D. Eisenhower (on April 12).

April 6, 1945

Codename “Operation Grapeshot” began. It was the Spring 1945 Allied offensive in Italy, the final Allied attack during the Italian Campaign near the end of WWII. This attack into the Lombardy Plain in Northern Italy by the 15th Allied Army Group ended on May 2 with the formal surrender of German forces in Italy.

April 7, 1945

American fighter pilots based on Iwo Jima escorted Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers in their first P-51 Mustang fighter-escorted mission against Japan.

U.S. Aircraft Carrier-based fighters sank the Japanese super-battleship Yamato and several Japanese escort vessels which planned to attack U.S. Forces at Okinawa.

April 11, 1945

U.S. troops from the 6th Armored Division of the Third Army liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp shortly after the prisoners stormed the watchtowers and seized control of the camp.

U.S. forces liberated the Dora-Mittelbau camp.

April 12, 1945

President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his Warm Springs, Georgia vacation home. Vice President Harry Truman, who had held the office for eighty-three days and had had little contact with Roosevelt, was summoned to the White House. Truman was unaware that Roosevelt had died. After being sworn in as President, one of Truman’s first acts was to meet with Roosevelt’s advisers to learn of matters of national security, including the existence of the atomic bomb.

Canadian forces liberated prisoners at the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands.

April 13, 1945

The Soviets captured Vienna, Austria.

April 15, 1945

British troops liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Anne Frank and her sister Margot died of typhus at this camp a month earlier.

April 16, 1945

The Soviets launched their final offensive and encircled Berlin.

April 18, 1945

German forces in the Ruhr surrendered.

Pulitizer prize winner Ernie Pyle was killed by a Japanese sniper’s bullet while reporting on the Battle of Okinawa.

April 23, 1945

Soviets troops reached Berlin.

The 358th and 359th U.S. Infantry Regiments (90th US Infantry Division) liberated Flossenbürg.

April 28, 1945

The Allies took Venice.

Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, captured as they attempted to flee to Switzerland, were executed by Italian partisans.

April 29, 1945

The U.S. 7th Army liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp.

Adolf Hitler married longtime mistress, Eva Braun.

April 30, 1945

Holed up in a bunker under his headquarters in Berlin, Adolf Hitler committed suicide. He and Eva Braun poisoned themselves and their dogs with cyanide capsules and Hitler shot himself in the head with his service pistol.

May 1945

Allied troops conquered Okinawa, the last island stop before the Japanese islands.

May 1, 1945

Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Reich Minister of Propaganda, and his wife Magda committed suicide after murdering their six children.

May 2, 1945

German troops in Italy surrendered.

The Theresienstadt Ghetto/Concentration Camp in the Czech Republic was taken over by the Red Cross.

The BBC History website reported about this date,

…After one of the most intense battles in human history, the guns at last stopped firing amongst the ruins of Berlin. According to Soviet veterans, the silence that followed the fighting was literally deafening. Less than four years after his attack on the Soviet Union, Hitler’s self-proclaimed thousand-year Reich had ceased to exist.

George Edwin Farrar, Lawrence Newbold, and other POW’s of Stalag Luft IV were liberated on the road near Gudow, Germany by the British Royal Dragoons.

May 5, 1945

The Mauthausen Concentration Camp was liberated. The camp was known for its “Todesstiege” (Stairs of Death) in the rock quarry at Mauthausen. The Nazis forced prisoners to repeatedly carry heavy granite blocks up 186 stairs until they died or were murdered if they failed.

May 7, 1945

Germany surrendered to the western Allies at General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Headquarters in Reims, France. German Chief-of-Staff, General Alfred Jodl, signed the unconditional surrender, to take effect the following day.

May 8, 1945

V-E (Victory in Europe) Day was declared as German troops continued to surrender to the Allies throughout Europe.

May 9, 1945

Germany surrendered to Russia at Soviet headquarters in Berlin. The Soviets had insisted that a second ceremonial signing take place in Soviet-occupied Berlin.

Hermann Göring was captured by members of the U.S. 7th Army.

May 14, 1945

The Austrian Republic was re-established.

May 20, 1945

The Japanese began withdrawal from China.

May 23, 1945

The German High Command and Provisional Government were imprisoned.

SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler committed suicide while in British custody.

May 25, 1945

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff approved “Operation Olympic,” the invasion of Japan, scheduled for November 1, 1945.

June 5, 1945

The Allies divided up Germany into four Zones of Occupation and took over the government.

June 9, 1945

Japanese Premier Suzuki announced Japan would fight to the very end rather than unconditionally surrender.

June 18, 1945

Japanese resistance ended on Mindanao in the Philippines.

American President Harry Truman authorized “Operation Olympic.”

June 22, 1945

In the Battle of Okinawa, which had begun on April 1, Japanese resistance ended as the U.S. Tenth Army completed its capture of Okinawa.

June 26, 1945

The United Nations charter was signed by fifty nations in San Francisco, California, USA.

June 28, 1945

General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters announced the end of all Japanese resistance in the Philippines.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Spring 1945 Offensive in Italy

Battle of Okinawa

Ohrdruf Camp

Adolf Hitler Suicide

The Battle for Berlin

Mauthausen Concentration Camp

Joseph Goebbels

Most recent post from the series:

Winter 1945

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

WWII Timeline – Winter 1945

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at January – March 1945 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Winter 1945

1945

As Allied troops advanced, the Nazis conducted marches of concentration camp and prisoner of war camp inmates away from outlying areas. Some were marched westward away from advancing Soviet troops and some were marched eastward away from advancing American and British troops. Prisoners received little aid from people in towns they passed through, and in some cases were harassed and assaulted. At the same time, German civilians fleeing the advancing Russians often shared the road with the marching camp inmates. 

January 1945

By January of 1945, the combined efforts of the Allied armies drove the Germans back to their original starting positions in the Battle of the Bulge. American troops reached the sight of the Malmedy Massacre of December 17, 1944 (see Fall 1944 post), now buried under two feet of winter snow.

The bodies of the eighty-one American POW’s lay frozen in the same spot they were murdered the previous month. They were located through the use of mine detectors and were numbered as each was uncovered. Forty-one of the POW’s had been shot in the head.

Columns of German POW’s were led by the site by their American captors during the U.S. medical team’s identification and recovery process, but no act of vengeance was perpetuated on the enemy soldiers.

January 1-17, 1945

German forces withdrew from the Ardennes.

January 3, 1945

In preparation for planned assaults against Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and mainland Japan, American General Douglas MacArthur was placed in command of all U.S. ground forces and American Admiral Chester Nimitz in command of all U.S. naval forces.

January 4, 1945

The British occupied Akyab in Burma.

January 6, 1945

The Russians liberated Budapest, Hungary, and in doing so, freed over 80,000 Jews.

January 9, 1945

The U.S. Sixth Army invaded Lingayen Gulf and landed on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.

January 11, 1945

U.S. Aircraft Carrier-based planes carried out an air raid against Japanese bases in Indochina.

January 12, 1945

In the Vistula–Oder Offensive, the Soviet Red Army made a major advance into German-held territory in Poland.

January 14, 1945

Russian troops invaded eastern Germany.

January 16, 1945

The U.S. 1st and 3rd Armies reconnected after a month-long separation during the Battle of the Bulge.

January 17, 1945

As part of the Vistula–Oder Offensive, Soviet troops captured and liberated Warsaw, Poland.

Swedish Foreign Ministry diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who in 1944 had saved nearly 33,000 Jews, was detained by Soviet agents and was never heard from again. (See post for July 1944 in Summer 1944 timeline series).

January 18, 1945

The Nazis evacuated 66,000 prisoners from Auschwitz.

January 19, 1945

As part of the Vistula–Oder Offensive, Soviet troops captured and liberated Krakow, Poland.

January 20, 1945

Crematory II at Auschwitz-Birkenau was destroyed by the SS using explosives, along with Crematory III, just seven days before the death camp was liberated by the Soviets.

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in for his fourth and final term in office.

January 26, 1945

Crematory V at Auschwitz-Birkenau was blown up by the SS as the Soviets were approaching.

January 27, 1945

Soviet troops liberated the remaining prisoners at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. By this time, an estimated 2,000,000 persons, including 1,500,000 Jews, had been murdered there.

January 28, 1945

The Allies finally eradicated the Ardennes salient (the Bulge).

The Burma road was reopened.

January 30, 1945

Adolf Hitler delivered his final radio address.

A Soviet submarine sank the MV Wilhelm Gustloff, a German armed military transport ship, in the Baltic Sea while evacuating German civilian refugees from East Prussia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Estonia and military personnel from Gotenhafen as the Red Army advanced. An estimated seven thousand to more than nine thousand died.

February 1945

Peru, Lebanon, Turkey, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Egypt joined the Allies and declared war on Nazi Germany and Japan.

Iran declared war against Japan.

February 3, 1945

The U.S. Sixth Army attacked the Japanese in Manila.

February 4, 1945

The U.S. First Army took the first of seven Ruhr Valley dams in Germany.

February 4 – 11, 1945

American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Union Premier Joseph Stalin attended the conference at Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula to discuss post-war spheres of influence.

February 6, 1945

The march of prisoners of war of Stalag Luft IV, of which my father George Edwin Farrar was one, began.

Tens of thousands of German civilians fled Breslau (now Wrocław), Poland before the westward advance of the Soviet Red Army.

February 12, 1945

All German women between the ages of 16 and 60 were called to service in the Volkssturm, the German people’s army.

February 13, 1945

The Soviets captured Budapest, Hungary after a two-month siege.

The 70th motorized infantry brigade of the Soviet Red Army liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp.

February 13 – 15, 1945

The German city of Dresden was destroyed by firestorm after Allied (British Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces) aircraft conducted bombing raids. Between 20,000 and 45,000 civilians were killed.

February 16, 1945

U.S. troops recaptured Bataan, a province on the Philippine island of Luzon, in the Philippines.

February 19, 1945

U.S. Marines invaded Iwo Jima with an amphibious assault.

February 23, 1945

U.S. Marines raised the flag atop Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

March 1, 1945

A U.S. submarine sank a Japanese merchant ship loaded with supplies for Allied POWs. The act resulted in a court martial for the captain of the submarine since the ship had been granted safe passage by the U.S. Government.

March 2, 1945

U.S. airborne troops recaptured Corregidor, an island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in southwestern part of Luzon Island in the Philippines.

March 3, 1945

U.S. And Filipino troops took Manila.

March 6, 1945

The last German offensive of the war began in an effort to defend the oil fields in Hungary.

March 7, 1945

The Allies took Cologne.

U.S. troops of the US 9th Armored Division captured the Ludendorff Railroad Bridge at Remagen, between Koblenz and Bonn, Germany, and crossed the Rhine River .

March 9/10, 1945

U.S. B-29 aircraft firebombing raids on Tokyo destroyed sixteen square miles of the city and killed an estimated 100,000 people.

March 10, 1945

The U.S. Eighth Army invaded the Zamboanga Peninsula on Mindanao in the Philippines.

March 15, 1945

Anne Frank died of typhus at the Bergen-Belsen Nazi Concentration Camp.

March 20, 1945

British troops liberated Mandalay, Burma.

March 26, 1945

The Battle for Iwo Jima ended with the Allied capture of the island from the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA).

March 27, 1945

The last German V-2 rocket struck Great Britain. The V-2 campaign killed nearly three thousand Britains.

B-29 aircraft laid mines in Japan’s Shimonoseki Strait to interrupt shipping.

March 30, 1945

Soviet troops captured Danzig, a port city on the Baltic Sea.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Most recent post from the series:

Fall 1944

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020