Ad*Access Timeline: 1941-1945

International Affairs

  • May 27, 1941. Unlimited National Emergency declared in the U.S. after Germany invades Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete.
  • June 22, 1941. Germany invades the Soviet Union.
  • December 7, 1941. Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The U.S. officially enters World War II.
  • 1942. Battles rage in the Pacific Ocean.
  • November 7, 1942. U.S. forces land in North Africa.
  • July 19, 1943. Rome is bombed by the Allies. It had previously been spared because of its religious significance.
  • September 3, 1943. Italy is invaded by the Allies. On September 9, Italy surrenders but German forces in the country continue to fight.
  • June 6, 1944. D-Day. The invasion of Normandy by the Allies.
  • August 25, 1944. Paris is liberated.
  • December 16, 1944. Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive of WWII.
  • May 7, 1945. Germany surrenders to the Allies.
  • August 6 1945. Hiroshima, Japan is destroyed by the first atomic bomb used in a war.
  • August 14, 1945. Japan surrenders.

U.S. Politics & Government

  • 1942. Sugar, gasoline, and coffee are rationed.
  • 1942. Sales of new cars and trucks are banned.
  • 1943. Meat, fat, and cheese are rationed. Shoes are rationed to three pairs per person per year. Canned goods are rationed.
  • April 7, 1943. Essential workers are frozen in their jobs by the federal government.
  • 1943. Salvage drives produce 255,513 tons of tin cans, 43,919 tons of fat, 6 million tons of waste paper and more than 26 million tons of iron and steel scrap collected for use in essential industries.
  • May 3, 1944. Meat rationing ends
  • June 22, 1944. Servicemen's Readjustment Act, known as the GI Bill of Rights, is passed.
  • January 15, 1945. A nationwide dim-out is ordered to conserve fuel.
  • April 12, 1945. President Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, at the age of 63. Vice President Harry Truman becomes President.
  • April 30, 1945. Sugar rations are cut by 25% as reserves near empty.

Companies, Inventions, Discoveries & Technology

  • During WWII Lucky Strike cigarette ads change their theme to "Lucky Strike Green has gone to War" and change their packages from green to white ink in an effort to "save green ink" for the war cause.
  • 1941. Penicillin is mass produced.
  • April 11, 1941. Ford signs its first contract with a labor union.
  • June 27, 1945. Commercial television comes closer to reality when the FCC allocates 13 channels for the new medium.

Humanities and The Arts, Entertainment & Sports

  • 1941. Edward Hopper paints "Nighthawks."
  • 1942. "White Christmas" and "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" are popular songs.
  • January 9, 1942. Joe Louis successfully defends his heavyweight boxing title for the 20th time.
  • 1943. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is published.
  • 1945. Fashion magazine Elle is founded.
  • 1945. Black Boy by Richard Wright is published.


  • Without federal control, railroads, during each year of WWII, surpass the amount of freight moved during WWI, their previous peak of capacity. They did this with fewer cars, locomotives and employees.
  • 1945. George Gallup conducts a poll, including the questions: "Do you know what television is?" and "Have you ever seen a television in operation?"

For an additional timeline covering Home and Battle Front action during the war, see the World War Two Timeline page.
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