June 6, 1944 - Led by Eisenhower, over a million troops (the largest invasion force in history) stormed the beaches at Normandy and began the process of re-taking France. The turning point of World War II.
Site of critical World War II Soviet victory that reversed Germany's advance to the East. In late 1942, Russian forces surrounded the Germans, and on Feb. 2, 1943, the German Sixth Army surrendered. First major defeat for the Germans in World War II.
1303. Winston Churchill
Prime minister of Great Britain during World War II.
1304. Casablanca Conference
Jan. 14-23, 1943 - FDR and Chruchill met in Morocco to settle the future strategy of the Allies following the success of the North African campaign. They decided to launch an attack on Italy through Sicily before initiating an invasion into France over the English Channel. Also announced that the Allies would accept nothing less than Germany's unconditional surrender to end the war.
1305. Cairo Conference
November, 1943 - A meeting of Allied leaders Roosevelt, Churchill, and Chiang Kai-Shek in Egypt to define the Allies goals with respect to the war against Japan, they announced their intention to seek Japan's unconditional surrender and to strip Japan of all territory it had gained since WW I.
1306. Tehran Conference
December, 1943 - A meeting between FDR, Churchill and Stalin in Iran to discuss coordination of military efforts against Germany, they repeated the pledge made in the earlier Moscow Conference to create the United Nations after the war's conclusion to help ensure international peace.
1307. "Unconditional surrender
It means the victor decides all the conditions the loser must agree to. The Allies wanted Germany and Japan to agree to unconditional surrender.
The U.S. Army in the Pacific had been pursuing an "island-hopping" campaign, moving north from Australia towards Japan. On April 1, 1945, they invaded Okinawa, only 300 miles south of the Japanese home islands. By the time the fighting ended on June 2, 1945, the U.S. had lost 50,000 men and the Japanese 100,000.
1309. Battle of the Bulge
December, 1944-January, 1945 - After recapturing France, the Allied advance became stalled along the German border. In the winter of 1944, Germany staged a massive counterattack in Belgium and Luxembourg which pushed a 30 mile "bulge" into the Allied lines. The Allies stopped the German advance and threw them back across the Rhine with heavy losses.
1310. Manhattan Project
A secret U.S. project for the construction of the atomic bomb.
1311. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967)
Physics professor at U.C. Berkeley and CalTech, he headed the U.S. atomic bomb project in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He later served on the Atomic Energy Commission, although removed for a time the late 1950's, over suspicion he was a Communist sympathizer.
1312. Atomic bomb
A bomb that uses the fission of radioactive elements such as uranium or plutonium to create explosions equal to the force of thousands of pounds of regular explosives.
1313. Hiroshima, Nagasaki
First and second cities to be hit by atomic bombs, they were bombed after Japan refused to surrender and accept the Potsdam Declaration. Hiroshima was bombed on August 6, 1945 and Nagasaki was bombed on August 9, 1945.
1314. Yalta Conference
February, 1945 - Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met at Yalta to make final war plans, arrange the post-war fate of Germany, and discuss the proposal for creation of the United Nations as a successor to the League of Nations. They announced the decision to divide Germany into three post-war zones of occupation, although a fourth zone was later created for France. Russia also agreed to enter the war against Japan, in exchange for the Kuril Islands and half of the Sakhalin Peninsula.
1315. Potsdam Conference
July 26, 1945 - Allied leaders Truman, Stalin and Churchill met in Germany to set up zones of control and to inform the Japanese that if