Time Line

January 30, 1933- Hitler is appointed Chancellor
September 29, 1938- Munich Pact signed, giving the Sudetenland back to Germany from Czechoslovakia
August 23, 1939- Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact is signed, declaring that there will be no war between Germany and The Soviet Union-
September 3, 1939- War is declared on Germany by the allied powers
September 1, 1939- Germany uses Blitzkrieg tactics to invade Poland
June 22, 1941- Operation Barbarossa, Germany invades Russia and breaks Pact
December 7, 1941- Japan bombs the US base of Pearl Harbor
February 2, 1943- Germany is beaten by USSR in the battle at Stalingrad
June 22, 1944- D-Day, US invades Nazi Occupied France from Normandy beach
April 16, 1945- US enters Nuremberg Germany
May 8, 1945- VE day, victory over Europe day
August 6, 1945- First Atomic Bomb Dropped on Japan, over Hiroshima
August 9, 1945- Second atomic bomb dropped on Japan, over Nagasaki
September 2, 1945- VJ day, victory over Japan day
November 20, 1945- The Nuremberg Trials begin, for war crimes committed by high ranking German officers

Turning Points Descriptions

Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor was when the Japanese deliberately attacked the Unites States on December 7th, 1941. The Japanese flew planes above Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and began gunning down ships in the harbor below. The Japanese chose to target Hawaii for Pearl Harbor because it was where the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet was based. The US Navy’s Pacific Fleet was a major threat because this was the location where the U.S. was able to launch major naval operations from. The US Navy’s Pacific Fleet and all their military ships were also conveniently located in one location, which made the decision to attack Pearl Harbor an easy decision for Japan. The Japanese thought that if they could come out victorious from an attack on the American’s that it would lead to conquest of the Pacific for them.

Pearl Harbor was a huge turning point in the war. Pearl Harbor was a major turning point because after the attack on the American by the Japanese the United States made the decision to join the Allied forces in the war. This is a huge factor to the war because if the United States had not entered the war that soon the outcome of World War II may have been different.

The attack on Pearl Harbor also affected the goals of many countries. The people of the United States for one had been supporters of the isolation theory and wanted to stay out of foreign affairs until after Pearl Harbor. The goal of the people in America changed to pro war and changed to wanting victory over Japan. The goals of Britain also changed when they declared war on Japan shortly after the United States. Germany and Italy did not have a goal of fighting and defeating the United States until after Pearl Harbor as well. Germany and Italy both declared war on the United States.

Hiroshima is a city in Japan which is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the western region of the largest island of Japan. The bombing of Hiroshima by the United States happened on August 6, 1889 at 8:15 am. Harry S. Truman was the president of the US at the time and made the orders for the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The atomic bomb was known as “The Little Boy” because of its size and shape. This was the first atomic bomb to be used as a weapon. The bomb was dropped to try to force Japan to surrender to the Allies after Japan had ignored the statement the US had asked it to sign stating that they would surrender. The bomb caused between 90,000–166,000 deaths of the people living in Hiroshima. It is estimated that 60% died from flash or flame burns, 30% from falling debris and 10% from other causes of the atomic bomb. The bomb had a radius of total destruction of one mile with resulting affects across 4.4 miles.

The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was a huge turning point in the war for many reasons. The bomb completely destroyed the city of Hiroshima and changed the course of the war by showing all countries that the United States was capable of mass destruction. The atomic bomb made Japan think about surrendering, but they did not end up surrendering until after the US dropped a second atomic bomb.

The goals of the Soviets changed shortly after the dropping of the atomic bomb because they joined the forces against Japan. They joined the Allied forces because Germany had invaded Russia after they had before had an agreement with Germany to not invade each other. This changed the goals of the U.S.S.R. to more or less on the side of Germany to against Germany and Japan. The dropping of this first atomic bomb ultimately led to the end of the war, so it could be considered the greatest turning point in World War II.

D-Day is the military code word for the day of a huge operation and is commonly used in the military today. The actual D-Day is a day when the US, Britain, and the U.S.S.R. invaded the north beaches of France to attack Germany. This invasion consisted of two steps, the air invasion which commenced at midnight as well as the amphibious invasion which began at 6:30 am. The purpose of D-Day was to make the war a two front war because it had previously only been a single front war within Russia. Russia was struggling to hold back the German forces in their homeland and needed the aid of their allies. D-Day was and continues to be the largest amphibious military attack of all time; over 5,000 ships were used.

D-Day was a turning point in the war because it changed many countries goals in the war. The U.S.S.R. changed its military tactics from defensive to offensive. The Russians were able to push forward due to the high numbers of causalities of German troops. The Russians along with the help from their allies were able to push Germany out of Russia which led to V-E Day, or victory in Europe day. On V-E Day the Germans were defeated in Europe and successfully pushed out of Russia.

The goals of Germany also changed after D-Day. Germany had to quickly turn on its heels and begin defending itself from the two front war without help from its allies. The Italians had already surrendered to the Japanese and were too far away to help the Germans. The Germans had to spread out their number of troops and supplies instead of focusing on one location, which made their military easier to attack and conquer.

Primary Sources

Pearl Harbor
"Franklin D. Roosevelt's Message on War Against Japan." American Decades CD-ROM. Gale Research, 1998. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

This is a speech made by Franklin D. Roosevelt declaring war upon Japan. It takes place on December 8th 1941. In this speech he speaks about Pearl Harbor, and the attack that had just happened. He declares that the United States is going to war with Japan. This breaks the United State's isolationist regime and changes the United States economy to a pro war economy. Had Franklin D. Roosevelt not made this speech and not gone to war with Japan the United States could have been taken over by the Japanese and the outcome of the war would have been a lot different than history shows it today.

United States War Department. "Statement of the Secretary of War, August 6, 1945". Reprinted at http://www.whistlestop.org/study_collections/bomb/small/mb11.htm. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

This is a statement by the secretary of war, given on August 6th of 1945, speaking about the bombing of Hiroshima. He explains why it was necessary and why the decision was made to drop the bombs. He also goes on to explain how powerful the bomb is and how no one on earth has seen the likes of its destruction before. Had "The Little Boy" not been dropped, other countries could have potentially gained the ability to make such a bomb and use it on us, not knowing the effects of its destructive force.

Unknown. "Planning D-Day, Declassified Documents, February 1944". Public Record Office PREM 3/336/5; PREM 3/339/1. Microform Source: Primary Source Microfilm, Churchill at War. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

This document shows the planning of an operation that would later be known as D-Day. Within it, it has the explanation of a year of planning and training to invade a Northern beach in France in Normandy, called Omaha beach. The Invasion was an amphibious one, meaning it went from the sea to land, with all terrain vehicles being used to transport the soldiers onto the beach. This source played a role because if D-Day had not happened Germany could have continued conquering Europe and may have never been stopped.

Visual Aids

Pearl Harbor

The USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This surprise attack prompted the U.S. Congress to declare war on Japan, and the United States entered World War II the next day. Pearl Harbor was the worst naval disaster in American history, with more than 2,000 casualties, dozens of aircraft destroyed and 21 ships damaged or destroyed.

National Archives. Attack on Pearl Harbor: The USS Shaw Explodes. 0. Photograph. ABC CLIO: World History Database, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.


Japanese soldier walks through a leveled area in the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 11, 1945.

National Archives. Aftermath of Hiroshima. 1945. Photograph. ABC-CILO: World History Database, Hiroshima, Japan.


U.S. soldiers land on the coast of France under heavy Nazi machine-gun fire on June 6, 1944 during D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy.

National Archives. D-Day (Battle of Normandy). 0. Photograph. ABC-CLIO: World History Database, Normandy, France.


Pearl Harbor
“Map of Japanese occupied Islands” Online Image. PBS.org. February 28th 2010. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pacific/maps/maps_01.html


Hiroshima Damage Map
“Hiroshima Extent of Fire and Limits of Blast Damage” Online Image. Wikimedia.org. February 28th 2010. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/Hiroshima_Damage_Map.gif


D Day Map
“Normandy Invasion- June 6, 1944” Online Image. Britanica.com. February 28th 2010. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic-art/428201/40775/Map-of-Omaha-Beach-on-D-Day-June-6-1944


All photographs are cited below the picture
Maps: All maps are cited below the map

"Hitler Becomes Chancellor." The History Place. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2010. <http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/h-chancl.htm>.

"Invasion of Poland, Fall 1939." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2010. <http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?ModuleId=10005070>.

"Munich Agreement." Spartacus Educational - Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2010. <http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWmunich.htm>.

"Operation Barbarossa." History Learning Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2010. <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/operation_barbarossa.htm>.

Rosenberg, Jennifer. "The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact - The 1939 Agreement Between Hitler and Stalin." 20th Century History. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2010. <http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldwarii/a/nonaggression.htm>.