World War ii
Part 2


The year was 1941, and the blood bath in Europe finally reached American shores. The belligerents,  the Allied powers and the German Tripartite nations, no longer believed in a short war.

The early Nazi euphoria over their quick victories against weaker nations was gradually replaced with the realization that they were engaged in a war on multiple fronts facing much stiffer resistance. Their Italian ally proved ineffective in the Balkans and on the African continent, and it required German forces to replace them.

The German hopes for victory were further clouded when their Japanese ally attacked the United States, and it added the American war machine to the war.


January 5: British and Australian troops began the offensive to remove the Italian army from North Africa. They crossed the Libyan desert to attack an Italian stronghold in Libya. In four days they captured Bardia, an important port on the Mediterranean Sea, along with 38,000 Italian prisoners.

January 10: Portsmouth, south English coast, pounded by German planes and leave 25 dead to be buried in a common grave.

January 21: RAF bombs damaged and sunk Italian cruiser in Tobruk Harbor (Libya):

 50 miles from the Egyptian border and the door to the Suez Canal.

 In one day, Allied forces captured the city and took 20,000 Italian prisoners.

April 11:Gen. Erwin Rommel leads his panzers to besiege the city for 8 months. Aussies heroically hold Tobruk against tanks and dive bombers. Germans begin "Operation Sonnenblume" to cover Italian ineffectiveness.

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February 9: British navy shells Italian mainland oil and power stations at Genoa.

March 1: Germans force Bulgaria with threat of invasion to join them against Allies.

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March 4: British raiding party on German occupied Norwegian island blowing up oil plant.

March 11: President Roosevelt signs Bill empowering the sale, lease or lend arms to Allies. The aid ranged from $4,000 to Iraq to $31,000,000,000 to Great Britain and Commonwealth countries.

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March:  British ladies at anti-aircraft stations protecting domestic shores.

March 21: Aussies and Indian troops take other Italian strongholds in Libyan desert. But 5 days later Germans land in force to back-up Italians and force British evacuation from previously hard won cities such as Benghazi. 

April :  In the horn of Africa, the Allies have greater success as South African ally ousts Italians from Abyssinia (Ethiopia) capital after 5 years of Italian dictatorship. But Germans are not deterred as they invade Yugoslavia and Greece to cover Italian failures. Hungary forced to support Axis forces. Between April 17-20 both Yugoslavia and Greece surrender. Athens is occupied April 27.

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May 2-10: British with aid from loyal Iraqi troops block Nazi control of Iraqi oil fields.

May:                                            German atrocities in Poland

Over 40,000 Poles are murdered in occupied Poland.

Above; civilians dig graves for murdered countrymen.

May 11:Rudolph Hess, number 2 in Nazi hierarchy, escapes Germany and crashes near Glasgow, Scotland and becomes prisoner of war.

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May 19: Scottish regiments accept surrender of 18,000 Italian soldiers as Italy loses Abyssinia (Ethiopia) after 5 years under Italian rule.

H.M.S. Hood (left on horizon) shortly before being sunk in the North Atlantic. In an "epic chase of revenge", British sink largest German battle ship, Bismark, on May 27.

Above: Sinking of Bismark as seen from the deck H.M.S. Dorsetshire whose torpedoes then sunk the Bismark.

June 15: British and Free French troops enter Syria forcing German ally, Vichy French, to abandon Damascus.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       World War ii Pictures

June 22: Germany invades the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa

June 30: Germans take Minsk (Soviet Ukraine) after fierce week long 4000 tank battle.

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July 9: Treaty signed by Soviets and Britain in London aimed at Germany.

July: British Royal Air Force (RAF) continue daylight raids over France and  bomb power station.

July 25: British anticipate Japanese aggression on their Asian colony of Malaya and reinforce defenses there.

August 14: Historic meeting Of President Roosevelt and PM Churchill on board  H.M.S. Prince of Wales. President on arm of son, Elliot. Churchill hands FDR personal letter from King George. British and American agree on Atlantic Charter envisioning defeat of Germany and a lasting peace.

August 25: British and Russian troops insure Iranian oil supply will not fall into the hands of Germany and depose Shah's pro-Nazi government.

August: Russian women dig anti tank defenses in preparation of Nazi attack on Moscow.

September 19: Russians use "scorched earth' tactic and burn Kiev before abandoning it to Germans.

October 16: Odessa (Russian Ukraine) falls to German and Romanian soldiers.

November 14: HMS Ark Royal sunk by U-Boat in Mediterranean Sea.

December 7 and December 22: Japanese strike Pearl Harbor and then declare war. Japan invades Philippines and met by American guns on Corregidor in Manila Bay and surrender on May 6.

December 15-December 30: Germans withdraw from attack on Moscow in Russian winter.

December 25: Japanese seize British Crown colony, Hong Kong.


January 20 : Japanese and Thai troops invade Burma opposed by British and Chinese troops.

February 15:  Further south, Japanese attack Singapore which initially resists and then forced to surrender.

March 3: RAF bombs Renault factory (near Paris) producing war materiel for Germany

March Western Russian frontier, Russian successful counter attack. (suggested view  Youtube Rzhev, "meat grinder" height of battle time 43.59)

April: In the Philippines, Bataan death march begins with many American deaths along the route caused by barbaric treatment from Japanese captors.

April 18: Lt.Col. James Doolittle and his B-25 squadron of crewmen rescued by Chinese ally after running out of fuel subsequent to bombing Tokyo.

May 26-31: Germans repulsed at Tobruk, Lybia only to fall on June 18 before the overwhelming numbers of the Africa Korps led by General Erwin Rommel.

June 7: Japanese cruiser sunk by U.S. bombers.

July: Australian forces  in jungle action against Japanese in Papua, New Guinea

August 8: On Guadalcanal beach, Japanese option to surrender was suicide (hari kari). Americans do not pacify island until February 10, 1943.

August: U.S. troops engage Japanese in New Guinea jungle.

September: Russians make stand at Stalingrad as Germans destroy the city.

November: Americans guard Italian prisoners in Tunisia.

December 12: American troop ship,  President Calvin Coolidge, sunk by mine in the South Pacific . 5,000 lives saved with 5 lost by quick thinking ship's Captain, Henry Nelson.


See Part 1: World War 2 Pictures 1939-1940

See Part 3:World War 2 Photos 1943

See Part 4: World War ii Photos 1944

See Part 5: World War 2 Photographs 1945

American Wars | Causes of World War 2 | World War ii Pictures

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