World War 2 Timeline – 1945

by Ben Johnson

Important events of 1945 and the final year of World War Two, including the atomic bombing of Hiroshmia and Nagasaki.

28 Jan The Battle of the Bulge ends – from now on the German Army is on retreat into Germany itself.
13 Feb The bombing raids on the German city of Dresden start. Many thousands of civilian lives would be lost in the firestorm created by 1,300 Allied bombers.
16 Feb The Battle of Iwo Jima starts as the US Navy begins a 3 day bombardment of the island.
19 Feb US Marines land on Iwo Jima.
23 Feb US Marines raise the US flag on the summit of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. Of over 20,000 Japanese defenders, only 1,000 were taken prisoner.
Raising the flag at Iwo Jima
Raising the flag at Iwo Jima
7 March British and American troops cross the Rhine.
29 March The last bomb of the war falls on Britain, a V1.
1 April America troops take Okinawa – the last island held by the Japanese.
12 April After 12 years as US president, Franklin D Roosevelt dies from a massive stroke. He had led his country tirelessly, through some of its most turbulent times, to the impending defeat of Nazi Germany, and with the Japanese in full retreat.
13 April Russians forces capture Vienna.
18 April All resistance in the Ruhr ends and 370,000 German prisoners are taken.
22 April Hitler decides to stay in Berlin ‘until the end’.
25 April American and British troops meet at Torgau in Germany.
30 April With Soviet troops less than 500 metres from his Führerbunker, Adolf Hitler committed suicide. He had shot himself with his own pistol, alongside him was his new wife Eva (née Braun), she had died after taking cyanide capsules. The capsules had already proved lethal after tests conducted on Hitler’s dog Blondi.
Newspaper heading reading "Hitler Dead"
2 May Berlin surrenders to the Russian Army.
4 May The German VII Army surrenders.
7 May The new German president, Admiral Karl Dönitz, authorises the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany.
8 May Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
11 May German forces in Czechoslovakia surrender.
22 June U.S. forces overcomes the last major pockets of Japanese resistance on Okinawa Island, ending one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, the Japanese commander of Okinawa’s defense, commits suicide rather than surrender.
12 July Results declared in the UK general election show a suprise landslide victory for Clement Atlee’s Labour Party, he replaces Winston Churchill as prime minister. In winning their first majority government, Labour are provided with the mandate to implement postwar reforms.
Atlee and the King!
Clement Atlee and King George VI
6 Aug The first atomic bomb is dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima by a US B29 Superfortress bomber, called the ‘Enola Gay’. It is estimated that 200,000 people die as a result.
9 Aug A second atomic bomb ‘Fat Man’ is dropped on the Japanese military port of Nagasaki by US Superfortress ‘Bockscar’, a further 200,000 deaths result.
2 Sept Japan surrenders. Victory in Japan (VJ) Day is celebrated.

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