Timeline: Key events of 1945

The U.S. ground crew of the Enola Gay, led by pilot Paul W. Tibbets (center), made history by dropping an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

Credit: U.S. ARMY / AP

Credit: U.S. ARMY / AP

The U.S. ground crew of the Enola Gay, led by pilot Paul W. Tibbets (center), made history by dropping an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.



30: American soldiers turn back German troops in Europe, winning the Battle of the Bulge.


7-12: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin meet at the Yalta Conference.

19: After 72 days of shelling the island, U.S. Marines land on Iwo Jima. The intense fighting lasted a month.

23: The flag is raised on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima; the photo of this is one of the most famous of the 20th century.


3: The U.S. Army liberates Manila in the Philippines.

7: U.S. troops cross the Rhine River at Remagen and enter Germany.


1: The battle to take Okinawa commences. The Allies want Okinawa as a base for the expected invasion of Japan.

12: President Roosevelt dies. Harry S. Truman becomes president.

16: The Russians launch their final offensive, encircling Berlin. They arrive in the city April 26.

28: Italian leader Benito Mussolini is captured while trying to escape. He and his mistress Clara Petacci are shot and hanged in Milan the next day.

29: Dachau concentration camp is liberated by the U.S. Army.

30: German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva Braun commit suicide. Joseph Goebbels is appointed Reich Chancellor and Grand Admiral Karl Donitz is appointed Reich President.


1: Goebbels and his wife poison their six children and commit suicide.

2: The Battle of Berlin ends.

7: Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies in Reims, France, at 2:41 a.m.

8: V-E Day, Victory in Europe: The cease fire takes effect at one minute past midnight.

9: Germany surrenders to the Soviets.

23: Heinrich Himmler, head of the notorious SS, dies of suicide via cyanide pill.


5: The Allies agree to divide Germany into four areas of control (American, British, French and Soviet).

11: Schiermonnikoog, a Dutch island, is the last part of Europe freed by Allied troops.

21: The defeat of the Japanese on Okinawa is complete.


4: General Douglas MacArthur announces that the Philippines has been liberated.

10: U.S. Navy aircraft participate in attacks on Tokyo for the first time.

14: Italy declares war on Japan.

16: U.S. conducts the Trinity test at Alamogordo, N.M., the first test of a nuclear weapon.

26: Allied leaders meet in Potsdam, Germany, to send an ultimatum to Japan. Japanese military leaders ruling the government issue no surrender.


6: Enola Gay drops the first atomic bomb, nicknamed "Little Boy," on Hiroshima.

8: Soviet Union declares war on Japan, invades Manchuria.

9: Bockscar drops the second atomic bomb, "Fat Man," on Nagasaki.

14: Japan agrees to unconditional surrender.

30: Occupation of Japan begins.

31: General MacArthur takes over command of the Japanese government in Tokyo.


2: V-J Day, victory in Japan: Japan formally surrenders aboard USS Missouri, ending World War II.