Timeline of World War II (1944)
This is a timeline of events that occurred during 1944 in World War II. 3: Major Gregory Pappy Boyington, the USMC fighter ace, was shot down after downing the last 3 of his 26 victories, would spend the next 20 months in Japanese POW Camps. 4: The 1st Ukrainian Front of the Red Army enters Poland. 9: British forces take Maungdaw, Burma, a critical port for Allied supplies. 11: Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister and Mussolini's son-in-law, is executed by Mussolini's revived Fascist government sympathizers. 12: The SS United Victory, the first Victory ship, is launched. 16: General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in London, returning from a week of rest and planning in Washington, D. C. and assumed command of the European Theater by General Orders No. 4. His new title was Commanding General, U. S. Forces, European Theater of Operations. 17: The first Battle of Monte Cassino begins when the British X Corps attacks along the Garigliano river at the western end of the German Gustav Line. 19: Red Army troops push westward toward the Baltic countries.: British Operation Outward accidentally claims lives in Sweden by knocking out lighting and causing a train crash.
20: The Royal Air Force drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin.: The U. S. Army 36th Infantry Division, in Italy, suffers heavy losses. 22: Allies begin Operation Shingle, the landing at Anzio, commanded by American Major General John P. Lucas; the Allies hope to break the stalemate in south Italy, but they are unable to break out of the beachhead and the line holds until late May. The minesweeper USS Portent, commanded by Lt. H. C. Plummer, sank southeast of Anzio, Italy. 23: The British destroyer HMS Janus is sunk off Anzio. 24: The Allied forces have a major setback on the Gari River. 24: In German-occupied Belgium, the Social Pact, detailing plans for post-war social reform, is secretly signed. 27: The Siege of Leningrad ended after 872 days, as Soviet forces forced the Germans to withdraw. Some 2 million died of starvation and disease. 28: The Russian Army completes encirclement of two German Army corps at the Korsun pocket, south of Kiev. Two-thirds of the Germans escape in the breakout next month with the loss of most heavy equipment.
30: The Japanese kill 44 suspected spies in the Homfreyganj massacre.: At Anzio, Italy the disastrous Battle of Cisterna took place, as MG John P. Lucas sent Darby's Rangers to begin the breakout from the beachhead. One of the four battalions in the action returned with only 6 of 767 men, the rest killed, wounded or captured.: The Brazzaville Conference begins in French Equatorial Africa. During the conference, the French Committee of National Liberation agrees to major reforms to the French colonial empire.: U. S. Navy shelling and carrier bombing began in the Marshall Islands, preliminary to invasions the following day. 31: Operation Flintlock began, as American forces land on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands. United States troops invade Majuro, Marshall Islands. 1: U. S. Marines mop up on Namur in the northern part of the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands. 2: The Narva front near the east border of Estonia is formed between the Soviet and German forces.: Germans defeat American troops in the Battle of Cisterna near Anzio.
3: American planes bomb Eniwetok in the Marshalls to be a major B-29 base. 4: Kwajalein, the world's largest atoll and a major Japanese naval base, is secured. 5: The American Navy bombards the Kuril Islands, northernmost in the Japanese homelands. 7: In a radio interview, the last Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Uluots, as acting Head of State, supports mobilisation. 8: The plan for the invasion of France, Operation Overlord, is confirmed. 10: Winston Churchill urges Harold Alexander to order the Anzio generals to show more aggression. 11: German forces sent to relieve the Korsun pocket in Ukraine are now only 10 miles away. 14: The Russian 374th Rifle Regiment forms a bridgehead on the western shore of Lake Peipus. The Mereküla Landing Operation of the special unit of the Soviet Baltic Sea Fleet in the rear of the Germans at the Narva front at Mereküla is resisted.: The underground organisation, the National Committee of the Republic of Estonia, is formed in Tallinn.: Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force headquarters are established in Britain by U.
S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower: An anti-Japanese revolt on Java occurs. 15: The second Battle of Monte Cassino begins with the destruction of the historic Benedictine monastery on Monte Cassino by Allied bombing. The Allies believed the grounds were used as an observation post by the Germans.: The Soviet bridgehead on the west coast of Lake Peipus is annihilated.: Soviet Leningrad Front initiates the Narva Offensive, February 15–28. 16: Germans launch a major counter-attack at Anzio, threatening the American beachhead.: Germans, with Panzer forces leading, fail to break out of the Korsun pocket.: Diplomats from the USSR and Finland meet to sign an armistice. 17: American Marines land on Eniwetok. 18: The light cruiser HMS Penelope is torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Anzio with a loss of 415 crew.: American naval air raid takes place on the Truk islands, a major Japanese naval base, but they will be one of the bypassed fortresses of the Japanese outer defence ring. 19: Leipzig, Germany is bombed for two straight nights.
This marks the beginning of a "Big Week" bombing campaign against German industrial cities by Allied bombers. 20: A colonial military garrison in Luluabourg in the Belgian Congo mutinies, killing three. 22: John P. Lucas is replaced as commander of the U. S. VI Corps by Major General Lucian Truscott at Anzio. 23
Events preceding World War II in Europe
The events preceding World War II in Europe are tied to the rise of fascism and communism. World War II is viewed as having its roots in the aftermath of World War I, in which the German Empire under Wilhelm II, with its Central Powers, was defeated, chiefly by the United Kingdom and the United States; the victors blamed Germany for the war and all resulting damages. France had, in 1871, suffered a defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, demanded compensation for financial devastation during the First World War, which ensured that the various peace treaties the Treaty of Versailles would impose tough financial war reparations and restrictions on Germany in the aftermath of World War I; the British naval blockade of Germany was not lifted until the treaty was signed at the end of June 1919. After several liberal governments failed to rein in these threats, the fascists had increased their public profile by visible punishment expeditions to crush the socialist threat, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy invited Benito Mussolini to form a government on 29 October 1922.
The fascists maintained an armed paramilitary wing, which they employed to fight anarchists and socialists. Within a few years, Mussolini had consolidated dictatorial power and Italy became a police state. On 7 January 1935, he and French Foreign Minister Pierre Laval signed the Franco-Italian Agreement, giving him a free hand in the Abyssinia Crisis with Ethiopia, in return for an alliance against Hitler. There was little international protest, he sent large forces into Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, the two Italian colonies that bordered Ethiopia. Britain failed. Britain declared an arms embargo on both Italy and Ethiopia, but cleared its warships from the Mediterranean, further allowing Italy unhindered access. Shortly after the League of Nations exonerated both parties in the Walwal incident, Italy attacked Ethiopia, resulting in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Shortly after Italy conquered Ethiopia, the Spanish Civil War began, seen by many as a proving ground for World War II, Germany provided troops and other aid to Francisco Franco's nationalists.
Italy provided troops. On 7 April 1939, Italy invaded Albania. After a short campaign Albania joined Italy in a personal union; the Nazi Party, led by Adolf Hitler, blamed Germany's ruined economy on the harshness of the Versailles Treaty, on faults of democracy, on the stab-in-the-back legend. In Germany, as in post-Austro-Hungarian Austria, citizens recalled the pre-war years under autocratic rule as prosperous but the post-war years under weak democratic rule as chaotic and economically disastrous; the situation was further aggravated by the worldwide economic depression that followed the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Left- and right-wing anti-democratic parties in the Reichstag—the German parliament—obstructed parliamentary work, while different cabinets resorted to government by Article 48 of the Weimar constitution; this enabled Cabinet to bypass the Parliament. While many states refused to become involved in the Spanish Civil War, notably Britain and France, troops were sent by both Hitler and Mussolini to aid the Spanish Nationalists, which included those with fascist leanings.
It would prove to be a precursor to many of the tactics and methods employed in the Second World War, such as the Bombing of Guernica, which aimed to see how effective bombing of civilian areas could be. Spain was non-belligerent during World War II—although Spanish volunteers fought in Russia—but the civil war division of fascism versus democracy and communism was repeated. Meanwhile, in Germany, once political consolidation—Gleichschaltung—was in place, the Nazis turned their attention to foreign policy with several daring acts. On 16 March 1935, Hitler ignored the Versailles Treaty and ordered Germany to re-arm, reintroducing military conscription; the treaty had limited the German Reichswehr to 100,000 men with few arms. These steps produced nothing more than official protests from France. Many Britons felt the restrictions placed on Germany in Versailles had been too harsh, they believed that Hitler's aim was to undo the extremes of the treaty, not to go beyond that; this sentiment was underscored by the signing of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, which authorized Germany to build a fleet one third the size of the Royal Navy.
Hitler moved troops into the Rhineland on 7 March 1936. But, as before, Hitler's defiance was met with inaction, despite Poland's proposal to put the Franco-Polish Military Alliance into action. In 1936, Hitler demanded a private meeting with Arnold J. Toynbee, a British historian, philosopher of history, research professor of International History at the London School of Economics and the University of London and author of numerous books, he was visiting Berlin at the time to address the Nazi Law Society. Toynbee accepted. In the meeting, Hitler emphasized his limited expansionist aim of building a greater German nation, his desire for British understanding and cooperation. Toynbee was convinced of Hitler's sincerity, endorsed Hitler's message in a confidential memorandum for the British prime minister and foreign secretary; the first non-violent German conquest was Austria. After Italy had joined Germany in the Anti-Comintern Pact removing the main obstacle of an Anschluss of Austria, Germany announced the annexation on 12 March 1938, making it the province Gau Ostmark of what was now Greater Germany.
Timeline of the Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development project that produced the first atomic bombs during World War II. It was led by the United States with the support of Canada. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army Corps of Engineers; the Army component of the project was designated the Manhattan District. Along the way, the project absorbed Tube Alloys; the Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939, but grew to employ more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion. Over 90% of the cost was for building factories and producing the fissionable materials, with less than 10% for development and production of the weapons. Two types of atomic bombs were developed during the war. A simple gun-type fission weapon was made using uranium-235, an isotope that makes up only 0.7 percent of natural uranium. Since it is chemically identical to the most common isotope, uranium-238, has the same mass, it proved difficult to separate. Three methods were employed for uranium enrichment: electromagnetic and thermal.
Most of this work was performed at Tennessee. In parallel with the work on uranium was an effort to produce plutonium. Reactors were constructed at Oak Ridge and Hanford, Washington, in which uranium was irradiated and transmuted into plutonium; the plutonium was chemically separated from the uranium. The gun-type design proved impractical to use with plutonium so a more complex implosion-type nuclear weapon was developed in a concerted design and construction effort at the project's principal research and design laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico; the following is a timeline of the Manhattan Project. It includes a number of events prior to the official formation of the Manhattan Project, a number of events after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, until the Manhattan Project was formally replaced by the Atomic Energy Commission in 1947. August 2: Albert Einstein signs the letter, authored by physicist Leó Szilárd and addressed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, advising him to fund research into the possibility of using nuclear fission as a weapon as Nazi Germany may be conducting such research.
September 3: Great Britain and France declare war on Nazi Germany in response to its invasion of Poland, beginning World War II. October 11: Economist Alexander Sachs meets with President Roosevelt and delivers the Einstein–Szilárd letter. Roosevelt authorizes the creation of the Advisory Committee on Uranium. October 21: First meeting of the Advisory Committee on Uranium, headed by Lyman Briggs of the National Bureau of Standards. $6,000 is budgeted for neutron experiments. March 2: John R. Dunning's team at Columbia University verifies Niels Bohr's hypothesis that uranium 235 is responsible for fission by slow neutrons. March: University of Birmingham-based scientists Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls author the Frisch–Peierls memorandum, calculate that an atomic bomb might need as little as 1 pound of enriched uranium to work; the memorandum is given to Mark Oliphant. April 10: MAUD Committee established by Tizard to investigate feasibility of an atomic bomb. May 21: George Kistiakowsky suggests using gaseous diffusion as a means of isotope separation.
June 12: Roosevelt creates the National Defense Research Committee under Vannevar Bush, which absorbs the Uranium Committee. September 6: Bush tells Briggs that NDRC will provide $40,000 for the uranium project. February 25: Conclusive discovery of plutonium by Glenn Seaborg and Arthur Wahl. May 17: A report by Arthur Compton and the National Academy of Sciences is issued which finds favorable the prospects of developing nuclear power production for military use. June 28: Roosevelt creates the Office of Scientific Research and Development under Vannevar Bush with the signing of Executive Order 8807. OSRD absorbs the Uranium Committee. James B. Conant succeeds Bush as the head of NDRC. July 2: The MAUD Committee chooses James Chadwick to write the second draft of its report on the design and costs of developing a bomb. July 15: The MAUD Committee issues final detailed technical report on design and costs to develop a bomb. Advance copy sent to Vannevar Bush who decides to wait for official version before taking any action.
August: Mark Oliphant travels to USA to urge development of a bomb rather than power production. September 3: British Chiefs of Staff Committee approve nuclear weapons project. October 3: Official copy of MAUD Report reaches Bush. October 9: Bush takes MAUD Report to Roosevelt, who approves Project to confirm MAUD's findings. Roosevelt asks Bush to draft a letter so that the British government could be approached "at the top." December 6: Bush holds a meeting to organize an accelerated research project, still managed by Arthur Compton. Harold Urey is assigned to develop research into gaseous diffusion as a uranium enrichment method, while Ernest O. Lawrence is assigned to investigate electromagnetic separation methods. Compton puts the case for plutonium before Conant. December 7: The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor; the United States and Great Britain issue a formal declaration of war against Japan the next day. December 11: The same day after Germany and Italy declares war on the United States, the United States declares war on Germany and Italy.
December 18: First meeting of the OSRD sponsored S-1 Section, dedicated to developing nuclear weapons. January 19: Roosevelt formally authorizes the atomic bomb project. January 24: Compton decides to centralize plutonium work at the University of Chic
Declarations of war during World War II
This is a timeline of formal declarations of War during World War II. A declaration of war is a formal act; the declaration is an act of delivering a performative speech or the presentation of a signed document by an authorized party of a national government in order to create a state of war between two or more sovereign states. The official international protocol for declaring war was defined in The Hague Peace Conference of 1907. For the diplomatic maneuvering behind these events, which led to hostilities between nations during World War II, see the article entitled Diplomatic history of World War II. Below is a table showing the outbreak of wars between nations which occurred during World War II. Indicated are the dates; the table shows both the "Initiator Nation" and the nation at which the aggression was aimed, or "Targeted Nation". Events listed include those in which there were simple diplomatic breaking of relations that did not involve any physical attack, as well as those involving overt declarations or acts of aggression.
In rare cases, war between two nations occurred twice, with an intermittent period of peace. The list here does not include peace periods of any armistice. Table Legend: Concerning Declaration of War: A = Attack without prior, formal declaration of war. Harman, Nicholas. Dunkirk: the Necessary Myth. Jove. ISBN 978-0340517857. German White Book. All World Wars. Hitler, Adolph; the Great Tragedy: Germany's Declaration of War against the United States of America. ISBN 978-1300127703. Torrie, Julia S.. "For Their Own Good": Civilian Evacuations in Germany and France, 1939–1945. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1845457259
Invasion of Poland
The Invasion of Poland, known in Poland as the September Campaign or the 1939 Defensive War, in Germany as the Poland Campaign, was an invasion of Poland by Germany that marked the beginning of World War II. The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union; the Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese Battles of Khalkhin Gol in the east on 16 September. The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty. German forces invaded Poland from the north and west the morning after the Gleiwitz incident. Slovak military forces advanced alongside the Germans in northern Slovakia; as the Wehrmacht advanced, Polish forces withdrew from their forward bases of operation close to the Polish–German border to more established defense lines to the east.
After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, the Germans gained an undisputed advantage. Polish forces withdrew to the southeast where they prepared for a long defence of the Romanian Bridgehead and awaited expected support and relief from France and the United Kingdom. While those two countries had pacts with Poland and had declared war on Germany on 3 September, in the end their aid to Poland was limited. On 17 September, the Soviet Red Army invaded Eastern Poland, the territory that fell into the Soviet "sphere of influence" according to the secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Facing a second front, the Polish government concluded the defence of the Romanian Bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered an emergency evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania. On 6 October, following the Polish defeat at the Battle of Kock and Soviet forces gained full control over Poland; the success of the invasion marked the end of the Second Polish Republic, though Poland never formally surrendered.
On 8 October, after an initial period of military administration, Germany directly annexed western Poland and the former Free City of Danzig and placed the remaining block of territory under the administration of the newly established General Government. The Soviet Union incorporated its newly acquired areas into its constituent Belarusian and Ukrainian republics, started a campaign of Sovietization. In the aftermath of the invasion, a collective of underground resistance organizations formed the Polish Underground State within the territory of the former Polish state. Many of the military exiles that managed to escape Poland subsequently joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West, an armed force loyal to the Polish government-in-exile. On 30 January 1933, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, under its leader Adolf Hitler, came to power in Germany. While the Weimar Republic had long sought to annex territories belonging to Poland, it was Hitler's own idea and not a realization of Weimar plans to invade and partition Poland, annex Bohemia and Austria, create satellite or puppet states economically subordinate to Germany.
As part of this long-term policy, Hitler at first pursued a policy of rapprochement with Poland, trying to improve opinion in Germany, culminating in the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934. Earlier, Hitler's foreign policy worked to weaken ties between Poland and France, attempted to manoeuvre Poland into the Anti-Comintern Pact, forming a cooperative front against the Soviet Union. Poland would be granted territory to its northeast in Ukraine and Belarus if it agreed to wage war against the Soviet Union, but the concessions the Poles were expected to make meant that their homeland would become dependent on Germany, functioning as little more than a client state; the Poles feared that their independence would be threatened altogether. How can they demand the rights of independent states?"The population of the Free City of Danzig was in favour of annexation by Germany, as were many of the ethnic German inhabitants of the Polish territory that separated the German exclave of East Prussia from the rest of the Reich.
The so-called Polish Corridor constituted land long disputed by Poland and Germany, inhabited by a Polish majority. The Corridor had become a part of Poland after the Treaty of Versailles. Many Germans wanted the urban port city of Danzig and its environs to be reincorporated into Germany. Danzig city had a German majority, had been separated from Germany after Versailles and made into the nominally independent Free City. Hitler sought to use this as casus belli, a reason for war, reverse the post-1918 territorial losses, on many occasions had appealed to German nationalism, promising to "liberate" the German minority still in the Corridor, as well as Danzig; the invasion was referred to by Germany as the 1939 Defensive War since Hitler proclaimed that Poland had attacked Germany and that "Germans in Poland are persecuted with a bloody terror and are driven from their homes. The series of border violations, which are unbearable to a great power, prove that the Poles no longer are willing to respect the German frontier."Poland participated with Germany in the partition of Czechoslovakia that followed the Munich Agreement, although they were not part of the agreement.
It coerced Czechoslovakia to surrender the region of Český Těšín by issuing an ultimatum to that effect
Timeline of the United Kingdom home front during World War II
This is a Timeline of the United Kingdom home front during World War II covering Britain 1939–45. For a brief narrative see United Kingdom home front during World War II, as well as History of Scotland#Second World War 1939-45 and History of Northern Ireland#Second World War. For the military story see Military history of the United Kingdom during World War II for foreign affairs, Diplomatic history of World War II. For the government see Timeline of the first premiership of Winston Churchill. For a narrative history and bibliography of the home front see United Kingdom home front during World War II. 3 June 1939 The Military Training Act, Britain's first peacetime draft, comes into force. All men aged 20-21 are now liable to call-up for four years military service as'Militiamen'.24 August 1939 Given the worsening situation in Europe, Parliament is recalled and enacts the Emergency Powers Act 1939, granting the government special legislative powers for the duration of the crisis. Army reservists are called up.
Civil Defence workers are put on alert. 25 August 1939 The National Defence Companies are mobilised to protect "vulnerable points".30 August 1939 The Fleet proceeds to its war stations. The Royal Navy is much stronger than Germany's, it has eight battleships versus zero for Germany. The Blackout begins; the British Army is mobilized.2 September 1939 Under intense criticism from the House, Neville Chamberlain abandons an offer to negotiate peace terms between Germany and Poland and agrees to present an ultimatum to Hitler.3 September 1939 Shortly after 11:00 Chamberlain announces to the nation that his ultimatum has expired and that Britain is at war with Germany. Twenty minutes the first air raid sirens are sounded in London, they are a false alarm. Chamberlain reforms his Government, creating a small War Cabinet which includes Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty; the National Service Act is passed. All men aged 18-41 are now liable for conscription. 7 September 1939 The National Registration Act is passed, introducing identity cards.23 September 1939 Petrol rationing introduced.27 September 1939 The first war tax is revealed by the Cabinet, including a significant increase in income taxes.1 October 1939 Call-Up Proclamation: all men aged 20-21 who have not done so must apply for registration with the military authorities.6 October 1939 With the end of formal Polish resistance the Phoney War begins.
There was little military action, although the Allies began economic warfare, shut down the German surface raiders. They created elaborate plans for numerous large-scale operations designed to swiftly and decisively cripple the German war effort; these included opening a French-British front in the Balkans. Only the Norway plan came to fruition, it was too little too late in April 1940. November 1939 London schools start to reopen because of evacuee children returning to the capital. January 1940 35% of London schoolchildren had returned from evacuation.8 January 1940 First food rationing introduced. May to June 1940 Further evacuation of 160,000 children from London and relocation of children, settled near vulnerable coastal areas. Winston Churchill gives a series of famous speeches in Parliament: "Blood, toil and sweat", "We shall fight on the beaches" and "This was their finest hour."7 May 1940 The debate on the recent debacle in Norway leads to Chamberlain's resignation.10 May 1940 Germany invades France and the Low Countries, ending the Phony War.
Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister and forms an all-party coalition government.12 May 1940 Internment of all German or Austrian males aged between 16 and 60 begins, starting with those living nearest to the south and east coasts. 14 May 1940 In a BBC radio broadcast Anthony Eden calls for the creation of the Local Defence Volunteers militia - renamed on 23 July the Home Guard.22 May 1940 The Emergency Powers Act 1940 is passed, granting the government more authority to control persons and property for the duration of the war.10 June 1940 Italy declares war on Britain. Italian men aged 17 to 60 are interned. Large mobs attack Italian businesses and families in London, Belfast, Cardiff and Glasgow.19 - 28 June 1940 25,000 Channel Island refugees arrive in England.30 June 1940 German occupation of the Channel Islands begins. July 1940 A further 60,000 schoolchildren evacuated from London and the Home Counties in the following 12 months.3 July 1940 Cardiff is bombed for the first time.6 July 1940 Plymouth is bombed for the first time.9 July 1940 Official start date of the Battle of Britain.10 July 1940 Introduction of Defence Regulation 58AA allowing the Minister of Labour to ban strike action and force compulsory arbitration.
No strikes are called by any trade union during the war.
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945. It began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a battle; some sources in the modern People's Republic of China date the beginning of the war to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. China fought Japan with aid from the United States. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the war merged with other conflicts of World War II as a major sector known as the China Burma India Theater; some scholars consider the start of the full-scale Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 to have been the beginning of World War II. The Second Sino-Japanese War was the largest Asian war in the 20th century, it accounted for the majority of civilian and military casualties in the Pacific War, with between 10 and 25 million Chinese civilians and over 4 million Chinese and Japanese military personnel dying from war-related violence and other causes.
The war was the result of a decades-long Japanese imperialist policy to expand its influence politically and militarily in order to secure access to raw material reserves and labor. The period after World War I brought about increasing stress on the Japanese polity. Leftists sought universal suffrage and greater rights for workers. Increasing textile production from Chinese mills was adversely affecting Japanese production; the Great Depression brought about a large slowdown in exports. All of this contributed to militant nationalism, culminating in the rise to power of a militarist fascist faction; this faction was led at its height by the Hideki Tojo cabinet of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association under edict from Emperor Hirohito. In 1931, the Mukden Incident helped spark the Japanese invasion of Manchuria; the Chinese were defeated and Japan created a new puppet state, Manchukuo. This view has been adopted by the PRC government. From 1931 to 1937, China and Japan continued to skirmish in small, localized engagements, so-called "incidents".
The Japanese scored major victories, capturing both Shanghai and the Chinese capital of Nanjing in 1937. After failing to stop the Japanese in the Battle of Wuhan, the Chinese central government was relocated to Chongqing in the Chinese interior. By 1939, after Chinese victories in Changsha and Guangxi, with Japan's lines of communications stretched deep into the Chinese interior, the war reached a stalemate; the Japanese were unable to defeat the Chinese communist forces in Shaanxi, which waged a campaign of sabotage and guerrilla warfare against the invaders. While Japan ruled the large cities, they lacked sufficient manpower to control China's vast countryside. During this time, Chinese communist forces launched a counter offensive in Central China while Chinese nationalist forces launched a large scale winter offensive. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the following day the United States declared war on Japan; the United States began to aid China by airlifting material over the Himalayas after the Allied defeat in Burma that closed the Burma Road.
In 1944 Japan launched Operation Ichi-Go, that conquered Henan and Changsha. However, this failed to bring about the surrender of Chinese forces. In 1945, the Chinese Expeditionary Force resumed its advance in Burma and completed the Ledo Road linking India to China. At the same time, China launched large counteroffensives in South China and retook West Hunan and Guangxi. Despite continuing to occupy part of China's territory, Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945, to Allied forces following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet invasion of Japanese-held Manchuria; the remaining Japanese occupation forces formally surrendered on September 9, 1945, with the following International Military Tribunal for the Far East convened on April 29, 1946. At the outcome of the Cairo Conference of November 22–26, 1943, the Allies of World War II decided to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan by restoring all the territories that Japan annexed from China, including Manchuria, Taiwan/Formosa, the Pescadores, to China, to expel Japan from the Korean Peninsula.
China was recognized as one of the Big Four of the Allies during the war and became one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. In China, the war is most known as the "War of Resistance against Japan", shortened to the "Resistance against Japan" or the "War of Resistance", it was called the "Eight Years' War of Resistance", but in 2017 the Chinese Ministry of Education issued a directive stating that textbooks were to refer to the war as the "Fourteen Years' War of Resistance", reflecting a focus on the broader conflict with Japan going back to 1931. It is referred to as part of the "Global Anti-Fascist War", how World War II is perceived by the Communist Party of China and the PRC government. In Japan, the name "Japan–China War" is most used because of its perceived objectivity; when the invasion of China proper began in earnest in July 1937 near Beijing, the government of Japan used "The North China Incident", with the outbreak of the Battle of Shanghai the following month, it was changed to "The China Incident"