Annotated Chronology

of Military Events

1997 Copyright. Richard R. Orsinger

Last updated May 2, 1998

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09 04 1900 Geneva Convention (III) on Maritime Warfare.

1900 Boxer Rebellion in China.

1902 Anglo-Japanese Alliance.

11 03 1903 After the Colombian Senate refused to ratify Hay-Heran Treaty, proponents of the Panama Canal declared Panama independent from Colombia, and supported by a US warship on 11 17 1903 the Republic of Panama signed an equivalent treaty. In 1921, the USA paid Colombia $ 25 million for the loss of Panama.

02 08 1904 Japanese start Russo-Japanese War by surprise naval attack on Port Arthur harbor, Manchuria. Japanese forces attack Manchuria through Korea. At the conclusion of the war, Japan doesn't withdraw its troops from Korea.

01 02 1905 Russian General Stosel surrenders Port Arthur to Japanese Marshall Nogi, after a 7-month siege.

1905 Irish statesman Arthur Griffith found Sinn Fein ("We ourselves"), the Irish nationalist movement.

05 27 1905 Japanese navy, under Count Togo, defeats Russian navy under Admiral Rozhdestvenski, at Tsushima, leading to treaty. First use of naval radio. In the Treaty of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Japan acquires hegemony in Southern Manchuria and Korea.

1906 Georges Sorel's essay Reflexions sur la Violence published, praising revolutionary violence.

1910 Swiss banker Jean de Block predicts trench warfare in his book The Future of Warfare. Japan formally annexes Korea, a control which persists until Japanese collapse at the end of World War II (1945).

1911 Italy declares war on Ottoman Empire.

1913 Anglo-Turkish Convention determines boundary between Iraq and Kuwait.

06 28 1914 Heir to Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, assassinated at Sarajevo, starting war between Austrian Empire and Serbia, leading to World War I.

08 03 1914 Germany declares war on France, invades Belgium. American President Woodrow Wilson declares American neutrality.

08 04 1914 In accordance with Anglo-Belgian treaties of 1839 and 1870, Great Britain declares war on Germany.

08 05 1914 Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Russia.

08 15 1914 Informal opening of the Panama Canal (cost: $ 336,650,000).

08 26 1914 In the Battle of Tannenberg, Germans decisively defeat Russian army, taking 92,000 prisoners.

09 05 1914 Great Britain, France and Russia join in the Treaty of London, barring a separate peace with the Central Powers (Germany & Austro-Hungary).

09 06 1914 Battle of the Marne, where French and British forces stop German advance and force Germans to give up some territory they had taken.

09 28 1914 Germans attack Antwerp, held by Belgian forces to the rear of the German front line.

10 __ 1914 Germans capture Antwerp, Belgium.

1914 Egypt become British protectorate.

04 22 1915 Germans use chlorine gas in attack in Ypres Salient.

06 06 1915 First German Zeppelin attack on England.

02 21 1916 German army attacks French city of Verdun, a 6-month siege. The French commander Henri Petain, successfully defends the city. Siege abandoned due to German need to transfer troops to the Battle of the Marne. Germans suffer 434,000 casualties; French 542,000.

03 09 1916 Mexican revolutionary leader Francisco "Pancho" Villa (Doroteo Arango) attacks Columbus, New Mexico. In response, US president Woodrow Wilson sends General John J. Pershing to capture Villa. Pershing fails.

05 31 1916 Battle of Jutland, largest sea battle in history (148 ships, 160,000 men), between British and German fleets, inconclusive.

07 01 1916 British forces suffer staggering losses (57,470 casualties in one day) in attack on German positions in the Battle of the Somme.

09 05 1916 British used 32 tanks in the Battle of the Somme.

1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement divides Middle East into British and French spheres of influence.

04 06 1917 In reaction to German sinking of American merchant marine ships, USA declares war on Germany, thus entering WWI. General Pershing, appointed head of the American Expeditionary Force, refuses to allow American soldiers to be used as replacements for French and British soldiers, instead maintaining them as a separate force under his command.

04 _ 1917 Germans transport Vladimir Lenin from Switzerland to Russia.

05 15 1917 Outbreak of Russian Revolution. Tsar Nicholas II abdicates throne of Russia.

06 05 1917 USA begins registering men for the military draft.

07 02 1917 Small force of Arabs led by British Captain T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) capture Akaba from the Turks, by attacking across the desert against the undefended back side of the city.

1917 British troops enter Jerusalem. Balfour Declaration in which British government announces support for creation of Jewish homeland in Palestine.

11 11 1918 Armistice signed ending WWI.

07 23 1920 Doreteo Arango (better known as Francisco "Pancho" Villa), the Mexican revolutionary, assassinated.

1921 Italian General Giulio Douhet publishes The Command of the Air, promoting strategic bombing against cities.

1922 League of Nations grants Great Britain a mandate to rule Palestine and implement the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

06 17 1925 Geneva Protocol on Poisonous Gas and Biological Weapons.

08 01 1927 30,000 communists and other dissidents of Chiang's National Revolutionary Army, in Nan-ch'ang (capitol of Kiangsi Province) revolt against the central government at Nanking. Considered to be the birth of the Red Army. Marked the beginning of the Communist Chinese armed struggle for power.

1928 Kellogg-Briande Pact reached, declaring that war would not be used as a component of national policy.

09 18 1931 Japan attacks China and captures the city of Mukden, in Manchuria.

03 23 1933 German Reichstag passes law giving Adolph Hitler dictatorial powers in Germany.

06 05 1933 United States goes off of the "gold standard."

1934 Mao Tse-tung leads the Red Army on the Long March (6,000 mi./9,656 km.) from Kiangsi to Yenan in Shensi province. According to The Red Star Over China, the force crossed 18 mountain ranges, forded 24 rivers, passed through 12 provinces, captured 62 cities, and fought through the territories of 10 hostile war lords. All the while the Red Army was chased by Nationalist forces and had to fight rear guard actions.

01 __ 1935 Mao Tse-tung gains control of the Chinese Communist Party.

1935 Italy, under Mussolini invades Ethiopia, using poisonous gas against unprotected populace.

1935 Demonstration at Daventry, England, establishes British scientist Robert Watson-Watt's belief that radar could be used to target aircraft.

07 13 1936 General Francisco Franco leads army mutiny in Morocco against Spanish government, spawning fighting in Spain which turns into the Spanish Civil War.

1936 Anglo-Egyptian treaty of mutual defense, ending British occupation of Egypt, but reserving right for British to protect the Suez Canal.

04 25 1937 German planes, assisting Franco, bomb and destroy Guernica, Spain, killing populace, including women and children. Spanish painter Pablo Picasso does memorial painting Guernica for the Spanish pavilion at the Paris Exposition.

07 07 1937 Chinese and Japanese troops engage at the Marco Polo Bridge, 10 miles from Peking.

1938 Sinn Fein merges into the Irish Republican Army.

03 1938 Germany annexes Austria.

11 10 1938 Kristallnacht. [Photo]

03 _ 1939 Germany annexes Czechoslovakia.

05 22 1939 German Chancellor Adolph Hitler and Italian leader Benito Mussolini sign a "Pact of Steel" committing Germany and Italy to a military alliance.

08 02 1939 Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, and Albert Einstein compose letter to U.S.A. President Franklin D. Roosevelt advising him of the prospect of creating a nuclear chain reaction using uranium, for the purpose of generating energy and also creating a bomb large enough to destroy a city. Einstein encouraged President Roosevelt to appoint a liaison between research physicists and government departments, to increase funding for research, and to secure a supply of uranium oar for the U.S.A.

08 23 1939 Germany and USSR sign nonaggression pact.

09 01 1939 Germany invades Poland, starting World War II.

10 11 1939 Einstein's letter delivered by Alexander Sacks to President Roosevelt.

1940 Start of siege of Malta.

04 09 1940 Germany invades Denmark and Norway.

05 10 1940?? Germany invades Luxembourg. Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Britain.

05 26 1940 Start of evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk, France.

06 09 1940 Norway falls to Germans.

06 16 1940 Petain becomes premier of France, and requests armistice with Germany.

06 22 1940 France signs armistice with Germany, at Compiegne, the site of the World War I armistice.

07 11 1940 Petain ascends to head of French government in Vichy, France.

09 __ 1940 Germany, Italy, and Japan sign Tripartite Pact (Berlin Pact), formalizing the Axis.

09 07 1940 Germans begin night bombing of London.

04 06 1941 Germany invades Yugoslavia.

08 __ 1941 Germans begin siege of Leningrad.

06 22 1941 Germany invades USSR (Operation Barbarossa).

12 07 1941 Japan attacks US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Later in day, Japan attacks US army base at ___, Phillippines.

12 08 1941 USA declares war on Japan.

12 22 1941 Japanese forces invade Phillipines at Lingayen Gulf.

02 15 1942 British Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Percival surrenders Singapore and its 130,000 soldiers to Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita, only to learn that Yamashita had less than 60,000 troops, was critically low on supplies and artillery ammunition. General Yamashita earns the name "Tiger of Malaya."

04 18 1942 16 twin-engine B-25 bombers under James H. Doolittle strike Tokyo, Japan.

05 06 1942 Major General Johathan Wainwright contacts US President Roosevelt with the news that he cannot continue to defend the Phillipine Islands against the Japanese invastion. [More].

05 07 1942 Battle of Coral Sea, where American and Japanese naval aviators each sink one enemy aircraft carrier. First naval battle between ships out of sight of one another.

06 04 1942 At Battle of Midway Island, American carrier-based bombers sink 4 Japanese aircraft carriers, costing Japan many of its best naval pilots, with American losing one carrier. End of Japanese expansion in WWII.

08 07 1942 American marines land at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.

11 02 1942 Germans under Field Marshall Erwin Rommel flee 3rd Battle of El Alemain, leaving behind 90,000 German casualties or prisoners, 500 tanks, and 400 guns.

11 08 1942 American army lands in Algeria.

01 __ 1943 Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, meet at Casablanca Conference, and determine that peace with Germany, Italy and Japan would require unconditional surrender.

02 02 1943 German 6th Army surrenders to Russians.

03 02 1943 Battle of Bismark Sea, off coast of New Guinea, where American B-25 Mitchell bombers rigged with 11 forward-facing .50-caliber machine guns, using for the first time a "skip bombing" technique, sink 13 Japanese merchant vessels and 7 Japanese destroyers, taking 15,000 Japanese lives, at a cost of American 13 dead and 12 wounded. The Battle validated the skip bombing technique, which became the primary American method of destroying convoys in the Pacific. American General MacArthur called it a "magnificant victory [which] cannot fail to go down in history as one of the most complete and annihilating combats of all time." [79 Air Force Magazine 88 - 93 (August 1996)]

04 18 1943 Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is shot down and killed by Rex T. Barber.

08 17 1943 Messina captured by Allies.

09 08 1943 Italy surrenders.

11 01 1943 U.S. President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Churchill, and Russian Marshall Joseph Stalin issue a joint statement on war crimes, indicating an intent to prosecute war criminals. The statement included the sentence: "Let those who have hitherto not imbrued their hands with innocent blood beware lest they join the ranks of the guilty, for most assuredly the three Allied Powers will pursue them to the uttermost ends of the earth and will deliver them to their accusors in order that justice may be done."

01 _ 1944 American army makes amphibious landing at Anzio and Nettuno, Italy, to circumvent German-created impasse at Monte Casino.

06 _ 1944 Germans begin using V-1 rockets to bomb England and Belgium.

06 04 1944 Allies capture Rome from German army.

06 06 1944 Allied amphibious landing in Normandy, France ("D-Day").

06 13 1944 First launch of German V-1 rocket (buzz bomb) against England.

07 18 1944 Japanese Premier Hideki Tojo's government falls.

07 20 1944 Assassination attempt on Hitler fails.

08 15 1944 Allied amphibious landing in southern France.

09 26 1944 General Tomoyuki Yamashita replaces Lieutenant General Shigenori Kuroda as commanding officer of Japan's 14th Area Army, in charge of defending the Phillipine Islands from the upcoming American invasion.

12 16 1944 German Marshal von Rundstedt breaks Allied line in Belgian Ardennes sector, beginning the Battle of the Bulge.

01 16 1945 Battle of the Bulge concluded in favor of the Allies; 77,000 Allied casualties.

02 13 1945 and 02 14 1945 British and American planes bomb Dresden, Germany.

02 17 1945 Marines land on Iwo Jima Island.

02 23 1945 Marines on Iwo Jima attain summit of Mt. Suribachi. The second flag raising is photographed by Joe Rosenthal, who garners a Pulitzer Prize.

02 04 1945 Yalta Conference, where Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin meet to plan post-war Europe and Asia.

03 07 1945 Allied armies are surprised to find a standing railroad bridge across the Rhine River at Remagen. The bridge is guarded, and once the bridge is attacked, it is exploded. The main charge fails to ignite, and the emergency charge only damages but does not destroy the bridge. Allied troops pour across until the bridge collapses on 03 17 1945.

02 13 1945 British RAF and U.S. Army Air Corps bombers alternate bombing runs on German city of Dresden--a city with arguably no strategic value. Allied High Command attributes 50,000 deaths. Local reports reach several hundred thousand deaths.

03 09 1945 General Curtis Le May, defying conventional techniques, sends 325 B-29 Superfortresses to individually and sequentially bomb Tokyo with napalm bombs so as to create a massive conflagration. That night, over 80,000 people die.

04 01 1945 US Army lands on Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands. 355 kamikaze airplane attacks sink 6 American ships.

04 16 1945 Russians under Zhukov open Battle of Berlin with massive rocket and artillery barrage on the city.

04 29 1945 American soldiers discover Dachau concentration camp, near Munich, with 39 boxcars of corpses.

04 30 1945 Hitler commits suicide in Berlin, Germany by (according to his valet Heinz Linge) shooting himself in his right temple with a 7.62mm pistol. His wife of one day, Eva Braun, commits suicide by cyanide. Recent information suggests that the Soviets keep the Hitlers' bones until they are ordered destroyed by KGB chief Yuri Andropov in 1970.

05 02 1945 Berlin falls to Russian army under Zhukov. It is announced that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson would be the United States Chief Counsel in the Nazi war crimes trial.

05 07 1945 German Marshall __ signs articles of surrender on behalf of Germany.

05 08 1945 Germany signs articles of surrender in Berlin.

__ __ 1945 London Charter sets up the International Military Tribunal, to try war criminals.

07 16 1945 World's first atomic explosion occurred at Trinity Test site in the Alamogordo Air Base, south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The bomb was based on plutonium-239.

07 17 1945 Truman, Stalin and Churchill (replaced part-way through conference by new Prime Minister Clement Atlee) meet at Potsdam Conference, and agree that Japanese surrender must be unconditional.

07 26 1945 Potsdam Declaration, in which Allies publish their demand for Japan to surrender unconditionally.

08 06 1945 Americans explode nuclear bomb ( Little Boy) over Hiroshima, Japan, instantly killing 100,000 persons. The bomb is uranium-based, and was dropped from a B-29 Stratofortress, the Enola Gay.

08 08 1945 USA, Great Britain, and USSR sign an Allied war-crimes agreement. USSR declares war against Japan.

08 09 1945 Americans explode nuclear bomb over Nagasaki, Japan. The primary target, Kohara, was clouded over. This bomb is the plutonium-based "Fat Man."

08 14 1945 Japan announces surrender by radio.

08 15 1945 Henri Petain sentenced to death for collaborating with German occupiers of France. De Gaulle commutes sentence to life imprisonment.

09 02 1945 Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs instrument of surrender aboard US Battleship Missouri, in Tokyo Bay. Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita is captured in the Phillipines.

10 29 1945 Start of war crimes trial of Japanese General Yamashita.

11 20 1945 Start of Nazi war crimes trial in Nuremburg, Germany.

12 07 1945 Military Court announces conviction of Japanese General Yamashita, and sentences him to death by hanging.

12 17 1945 U.S. Supreme Court issues stay against further proceedings in Yamashita case.

1945 Jewish population of Palestine begins armed opposition to British rule in Palestine.

1945 Arab League formed in Cairo.

01 20 1946 International Military Tribunal established in Tokyo, Japan, for the prosecution of war crimes. [Tusa, p. 204]

02 04 1946 U.S. Supreme Court announces its decision in Yamashita v. Styer, 90 L.Ed. 499 (1946), in which by vote of 6-to-2 the Court declines to interfere with the prosecution of General Yamashita.

02 23 1946 Shortly after 3:00 a.m., American military hangs General Yamashita.

04 02 1946 Japanese General Homma executed by firing squad for war crimes.

06 04 1946 Tokyo war crimes trials begin.

06 22 1946 Israeli extremists blow up British Headquarters at the King David Hotel, in Jerusalem, killing 91, including guests.

10 01 1946 International Military Tribunal announces its verdict at the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

10 16 1946 Condemned Nazis hanged one-by-one at Nuremberg, beginning at 1:11 a.m. and concluding at 2:45 a.m.

06 05 1947 U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall gave a speech at Harvard University outlining an aid program for European nations that later came to be known as "The Marshall Plan."

11 29 1947 UN adopts partition plan for division of Palestine, making Jerusalem an international city.

1948 Informal division of Korea into two zones, which occurred at the end of World War II, was formalized, with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north and the Republic of Korea in the south.

1948 Soviet Union blockades Berlin, Germany.

1948 Genocide convention.

05 14 1948 British administration of Jerusalem ends. State of Israel proclaimed at Tel Aviv. On that same day, the Arab League (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt & Iraq) attacks Israel. Jerusalem becomes a divided city.

10 30 1948 Communist Chinese defeat Nationalist Army of Chian Kai-shek at Mukden.

01 __ 1949 Communist Chinese Army occupies Peking, China.

01 __ 1949 Armistice between Arab League and Israel.

08 12 1949 Geneva Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field; Geneva Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces as Sea; Geneva Convention (III) on Prisoners of War; Geneva Convention (IV) for Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

10 01 1949 Mao Tse-tung declares establishment of the People's Republic of China.

6 25 1950 Russian-equipped North Korean Army invades South Korea, starting Korean War.

09 15 1950 American forces conduct amphibious landing at Inchon, on the west coast of Korea.

10 07 1950 Military forces under U.S. command cross into North Korea.

10 25 1950 Units of the Chinese People's Liberation Army cross the Yalu River from Manchuria into North Korea.

10 26 1950 Chinese troops invade Tibet (which had been autonomous since the fall of the Ch'ing dynasty in 1911).

11 24 1950 Battle of Hungna, where Chinese troops expel UN forces from North Korea.

07 27 1953 Armistice ends Korean War. USA losses were 54,000 dead and 103,000 wounded.

05 07 1954 French base at Dien Bien Phu falls to Vietminh army under General Vo Nguyen Giap. French pull out of Vietnam.

1956 USSR forces invade Hungary to suppress anti-Communist rebellion.

07 __ 1956 After Britain and U.S.A. withdraw financial support for the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian President Gamal Abdal Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal.

08 07 1956 Ratification of Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

10 29 1956 Israel takes Gaza Strip and Sinai.

11 __ 1956 Great Britain and France retake Suez Canal by force, using airborn troops reinforced by commandos flown in by helicopter from an aircraft carrier. United Nations brokers armistice.

1959 Fidel Castro seized control of Cuba.

10 29 1956 Israel takes Gaza Strip and Sinai.

04 17 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

08 _ 1961 East Germans erect Berlin Wall.

10 __ 1962 Chinese troops cross Himalayan frontier into India.

06 05 1967 Six Day War between Egypt, Jordan, Syria versus Israel begins as Israel raids Egyptian military targets. Israel occupies East Jerusalem , Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, and Sinai Peninsula. Israel forces closure of Suez Canal.

06 09 1967 Israeli airplanes and torpedo boats assault American ship USS Liberty, killing 34 and wounding 171 American sailors. Israel apologizes, attributing error to faulty identification and inadequate ship markings. The State of Israel pays some $ 12,889,907 in compensation. Thirty years later, the Liberty's last skipper, Capt. William L. McGonagle, holder of a Medal of Honor, rejects the official explanation of the event and calls for a complete disclosure of events.

01 30 1968 North Vietnam launches unsuccessful Tet offensive.

10 29 1956 Israel takes Gaza Strip and Sinai.

08 __ 1968 USSR invades Czechoslovakia to derail liberalization under Czech leader Alexander Dubcek.

10 06 1973 October War (Yom Kippur War) in which Egypt and Syria attack Israel. War lasts 18 days. Afterward, Arab nations impose oil embargo on U.S.A.

1974 Egypt and Israel sign agreement for disengagement of military forces.

04 18 1975 Phnom Penh, Cambodia, falls to the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge set up a government (the "Pol Pot" regime) that engages in genocidal policies leading to the death by execution or starvation of an estimated 1.7 million people, constituting 21% of Cambodia's population. [More] [Photo of Killing Fields]

1975 Algiers Accord fixes southern Iran-Iraq boundary.

06 08 1977 Protocols (I) and (II) to the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflict.

1979 Egypt and Israel sign peace treaty in Washington, D.C.

04 02 1979 During the morning, a technician in a deep underground laboratory in a secret military base called Compound 19 spilled anthrax material and, in a panic, turned on a ventilation system that sprayed anthrax germs into the outside air. The cloud of germs blew southward, over the adjacent military based Compound 32, and then across Chkalovsky neighborhood in Sverdlovsk, USSR. Although death records were confiscated by the KGB, researcher Sergei Volkov, a former environmental official in Sverdlovsk (now renamed Yekaterinburg) estimates that 1,000 people died. No children were affected. Scientists at Los Almos National Laboratory in New Mexico, USA, tested tissue from 11 victims, and identified four different strains of anthrax, suggesting an attempt to circumvent existing vaccinations.

1980 Iraq repudiates Baghdad Treaty and war begins between Iraq and Iran.

04 02 1982 Argentina invades and takes control of the Falkland Islands from Great Britain. The British are back in control by June 14, 1982.

03 _ 1983 U.S. President Ronald Reagan announces the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), to protect the USA from missile attack.

02 _ 1984 Iraq uses mustard gas and nerve gas to repel an attack by 100,000 Iranian soldiers.

1987 Palestinian uprising (intifadata) begins against Israel's occupation of West Bank and Gaza Strip.

1988 End of war between Iraq and Iran.

1990 Iraq occupies Kuwait.

1991 In Gulf War (American: Desert Storm), coalition of countries eject Iraq from Kuwait.

04 06 1994 Plane carrying Burundian President Cyprien Ntarysamira and Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and other high government officials is shot down by a surface-to-air missile while landing in Kigali, Rwanda, plunging Rwanda into genocidal slaughter between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes.

11 22 1995 ICRC begins campaign to outlaw antipersonnel mines.

05 01 98 Jean Kambanda (age 42), Prime Minister of the interim government in Rwanda pleads guilty to genocide, and agrees to testify against others before the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. [End note] It is estimated that, in the 20th Century, 170 million people have been killed by governments.

Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998 Richard R. Orsinger
Last updated May 2, 1998.