World War II was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945. Fought between the Allied powers (the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union) and the Axis powers (Germany, Japan, and Italy), the war began with Germany's invasion of Poland in September 1939 and quickly spread to other parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia. The massive war was marked by major battles on land, sea, and air, including the invasion of Normandy, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the devastating nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war had a profound impact on the world, causing millions of deaths, widespread destruction, and significant changes in global power dynamics. The war ended in 1945 with the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan. The Allied victory came at a great cost, with an estimated 70 million people dead, including civilians and military personnel. The war also led to the formation of the United Nations and marked the beginning of the [Cold War](, a period of political and military tension between the Western powers and the Soviet Union that lasted for several decades until the fall of the USSR in 1991. World War II remains one of the most significant events in human history, shaping the course of the 20th century and beyond. ## Major events of WWII - 1939: - September 1: Germany invades Poland, triggering the official start of World War II. - September 3: France and the United Kingdom declare war on Germany. - September 17: Soviet Union invades Poland from the east. - 1940: - May 10: Germany invades Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. - May 26-June 4: The Dunkirk evacuation of Allied troops from France. - June 14: Paris falls to the Germans. - June 22: France signs an armistice with Germany, ending the Battle of France. - July 10: Battle of Britain begins with German air attacks on British airfields and cities. - 1941: - June 22: Germany invades the Soviet Union, launching Operation Barbarossa. - December 7: Japan attacks the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, bringing the United States into the war. - 1942: - January 1: The United Nations is formed, with 26 Allied nations. - February 2: The first American forces arrive in Europe, landing in Northern Ireland. - June 4-7: The Battle of Midway in the Pacific, a decisive victory for the United States. - November 8: The Allied invasion of North Africa, Operation Torch, begins. - 1943: - July 10: The Allied invasion of Sicily, Operation Husky, begins. - July 25-August 2: The Battle of Hamburg, the first of the RAF's "Operation Gomorrah" raids on German cities. - September 8: The Italian government surrenders to the Allies. - 1944: - June 6: D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy, France. - July 20: A failed assassination attempt on Hitler by German officers. - August 25: Paris is liberated by Allied forces. - December 16: Germany launches a surprise offensive in the Ardennes, the Battle of the Bulge. - 1945: - January 27: The Soviet Red Army liberates Auschwitz concentration camp. - April 30: Hitler commits suicide in his bunker in Berlin. - May 8: Victory in Europe (VE) Day, marking the end of the war in Europe. - August 6: The United States drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. - August 9: The United States drops a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. - August 15: Emperor Hirohito announces Japan's surrender, marking the end of World War II.