LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

To help you understand the events of World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor, we’ve formatted these timelines in columns. For each year or month, you can view events in Europe and North Africa, in Asia and the Pacific, and in the United States side by side. Photographs and maps are included.

Because the timelines are quite large, you’ll need to open them in a new window.


During 1942, the British and Americans fought the Germans and Italians in North Africa, while the Soviets fought to repel a German invasion. In the Pacific, the Allies stopped the Japanese advance.

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By late spring the Allies had taken Tunisia in North Africa, from which they launched an invasion of Italy. The USSR turned back the German tide in the east. The U.S. and allies recaptured the first of the Pacific islands taken by the Japanese.

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By 1944 the tide had turned decisively in the Allies’ favor. Allied troops captured Rome, invaded France on two fronts, and by year’s end had taken most of France and Italy. The Soviets drove the German armies out of the USSR and began an invasion of Eastern Europe. Allied navies in the Pacific continued recapturing islands from Japan and began attacks on the Japanese homeland.

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The Allies now invaded Germany itself, and spring of 1945 saw the final collapse of Hitler’s regime. Germany surrendered in May, and the Allies carved up the nation into occupation zones. With the capture of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, Allied forces in the Pacific could prepare an invasion of Japan. But the use of atomic weapons brought about a Japanese surrender, and the war’s end, in August.

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