15th March 1939
Czechoslovakia surrenders after Adolf Hitler annexes the country into the Third Reich. Although the Czechs had warmly welcomed the Germans when they entered the Sudetenland months earlier, they stood silently in despair when the Nazis entered Prague.
Many historians are in agreement that if Britain and the other European powers ceased to appease Hilter and instead had taken military action against Nazi Germany during the Sudeten Crisis, the outbreak of world war could have been prevented. The military power of Germany at this point would have been overwhelmed by the standing armies of Britain and France. However, with German rearmament in full flow this imbalance was overturned by the outbreak of war some six months later.
31st August 1939
Germany's Adolf Hitler signs the order for an assault on Poland. After the Germans stage a phony raid on a Gleiwitz radio station, they blame the Polish for the "unprovoked attack."
1st September 1939
Without declaring war, Germany invades Poland. The coordinated air-and-land attack is conducted with such brutal efficiency that "blitzkrieg" becomes a feared offensive tactic.