A Chronology of the Third Reich (1919-1945)
1919: September Hitler joins an obscure fringe group, the DAP (German Workers' Party).
1923: November 8-9 Hitler leads the abortive Beer Hall Putsch (coup d'état) in Munich.
1923-1924: In prison for high treason, Hitler authors Mein Kampf (My Struggle).
1933: January 30 President Hindenburg, under the sway of the ultra-conservatives, appoints Hitler as Chancellor.
1933: March to January, 1934 Period of Gleichschaltung (co-ordination under Nazi control) of most aspects of German society
1933: April Official boycott of Jewish shops
1933: October Germany quits the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations.
1934: January 26 Germany signs a ten-year treaty of non-aggression with Poland.
1934: June 30 Night of the Long Knives (the alleged threat of a "second Revolution" is ended, the power of the SA destroyed, the regular army placated.)
1935: June 18 Anglo-German Naval Convention signals Britain's unwillingness to defend the Versailles settlement.
1935: September 15 Promulgation of the Nuremberg Laws relegates Jews to a separate second-class status in Germany, prohibits intermarriage and sexual relations with Germans
1936: March 7 German military re-occupation of the Rhineland successfully challenges France's willingness to act in defense of the Versailles settlement.
1936 Germany and Italy intervene in the Spanish Civil War.
1937: November 5 Hitler reveals his long-range "plans" to the Reich leadership (Hossbach Memorandum).
1938: March 13 Anschluss: Austria is annexed to the "Greater German Reich."
1938: August Decree requiring all Jews to adopt the first name "Israel" or "Sarah"
1938: September 30 Munich Conference: Britain and France grant Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland to Hitler to avoid war; Hitler gives Chamberlain his personal word on future cooperation (the height of the policy of Appeasement).
1938: November 9-10 Reichskristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass): German authorities orchestrate a nationwide pogrom against Germany's Jewish population.
1939: January 30 In a speech to the Reichstag, Hitler predicts that a war in Europe would lead to "the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe."
1939: March 15 Hitler's forces invade "rump" Czecho-Slovakia in violation of Hitler's pledges to Chamberlain.
1939: March 31 Formal Anglo-French guarantees are presented to Poland.
1939: August 23 Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact (& secret protocol dividing eastern Europe into spheres of influence) is signed in Moscow.
1939: August 31 Hitler gives final orders for the invasion of Poland.
1939: September 1 German invasion of Poland (In response, Britain & France declare war on Germany and begin the Sitzkrieg in the west; in six weeks, Poland falls--no effective outside aid is rendered.)
1939: October Hitler signs an order authorizing Operation T-4, the killing of Germans with physical and mental handicaps. The gassing techniques developed during the course of T-4 are later used in the death camps in Poland.
1940: May 10 Blitzkrieg on France, Belgium, and Holland launched.
1940: June 22 Fall of France; German forces occupy northern and western France; collaborationist Vichy government set up in south-eastern France.
1940: September Goering's Luftwaffe fails to bring Britain to her knees (Battle of Britain).
1941: May 20 Walter Schellenberg of the RSHA tells the German military commander in France that further Jewish emigration should be prevented in view of transportation problems and the fact that a "Final Solution [Endlösung] of the Jewish question" is foreseeable.
1941: June 22 German invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa); Hitler declares a Vernichtungskrieg (War of Annihilation); behind the front, special killing squads (Einsatzgruppen) begin the mass murder of Jews and Soviet officials.
1941: mid-July At a meeting in Berlin, Himmler reveals the plan for the Final Solution to his subordinate, Höss, and puts him in charge of developing a large-scale killing center at Auschwitz.
1941: July 31 The formal order for the planning of a coordinated Final Solution of the Jewish problem throughout Nazi-occupied Europe, already drafted by Eichmann, is signed by Goering.
1941: September The efficacy of Zyklon B (prussic acid) for gassing humans is tested on Russian POWs at Auschwitz. General deportation of German Jews begins.
1941: October 23 Gestapo Chief Mueller disseminates Himmler's order blocking further Jewish emigration from Nazi-controlled areas of Europe in preparation for the Final Solution.
1941: November 18 After a personal meeting with Himmler on November 15, Reichminister Rosenberg of the Ostministerium tells German journalists in confidence that the Final Solution, consisting of the "biological extermination of all Jews in Europe," has begun.
1941: December 7 Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbor--the US finds itself at war with both Japan and Germany.
1941: December 8 Gassing of Jews begins at Chelmno (Kulmhof). Other death camps come "on line" later: Belzec (March 1942); Sobibor (April-May 1942); Treblinka (July 1942)
1942: January 20 The Wannsee Conference is held in Berlin to coordinate the Final Solution; Reinhard Heydrich, subordinate of Himmler and head of the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt) presides. Eichmann takes official notes at the meeting which survive as evidence.
1942: July 17-18 Himmler, on his second visit to Auschwitz, personally witnesses killing procedures using Zyklon B.
1942: August to Jan. 31, 1943 Battle of Stalingrad
1944: June 6 D-Day (Allied landings on the French coast at Normandy)
1944: July 20 Failed attempt by German conservatives to overthrow the Nazi government and assassinate Hitler (who survives the bomb blast relatively unhurt)
1944: August 25 Liberation of Paris by Free French, US, and British forces
1944: December to Jan., 1945 Battle of the Bulge: last major attempt to turn back the Allied advance in the west
1945: January 27 Red Army liberates Auschwitz, finds convincing evidence of SS atrocities and of the Holocaust.
1945: February Yalta Conference (Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin plan the post-war future of Germany and the rest of Europe.)
1945: April 14 British army liberates Belsen; mounds of corpses have to be buried by bulldozer.
1945: April 25 American and Soviet forces meet at Torgau on the Elbe: Hitler's collapsing Reich is cut in two.
1945: April 30 Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide in the Berlin bunker.
1945: May 2 German forces in Berlin surrender to the Red Army.
1945: May 7 Unconditional surrender of all German forces.
(adapted from Links for Students of History and the Social Sciences.)