Anti-aircraft tracers in the night sky above Yontan Airfield, Okinawa, 28 Apr 1945; US Marine Corps F4U Corsair fighters in foreground (US National Archives: 127-G-118775)
80 Years Ago—April 27, 1940: Inter-American Neutrality Committee meets in Rio de Janeiro to discuss prevention of further incidents in the Pan-American Security Zone.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 27, 1945: Anti-Nazis rise up in Munich and encourage German surrender.
US and Britain reject Heinrich Himmler’s secret armistice proposal.
Second Republic of Austria is established under acting Chancellor Karl Renner, and the Anschluss (union with Germany) is declared null and void.
Japanese begin heavy two-day air assault on shipping off Okinawa.
Italian Partisans before the Cathedral of Milan (US Army Center of Military History)
75 Years Ago—April 26, 1945: US Fifth Army takes Verona, Italy.
Italian partisans take Genoa and revolt in Milan.
British take Bremen, Germany.
RAF begins Operation Exodus, ferrying 75,000 British POWs home in Lancaster bombers in 469 flights through May 7.
As demand for meat rises in liberated Europe, US rations all meats again except mutton and raises point values for most meats. [Read more: “Make It Do: Meat and Cheese Rationing in World War II”]
African-American soldiers of the US 92nd Infantry Division entering the Galleria Giuseppe Garibaldi, Genoa, Italy, 27 Apr 1945 (US National Archives: 111-SC-337144)
US soldier 2nd Lt. William Robertson and Soviet soldier Lt. Alexander Sylvashko met near Torgau, Germany, 25 Apr 1945 (US National Archives: 111-SC-205228)
80 Years Ago—April 25, 1940: German Luftwaffe bombs RAF base on frozen Lake Lesjaskogsvatnet in Norway, destroying 13 Gladiator fighter planes and forcing withdrawal.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 25, 1945: US First Army and Soviet troops meet on the Elbe at Torgau, severing northern and southern Germany. Eisenhower will drive north and south to cut off German retreat to Denmark or the Alps and let the Soviets take Berlin as agreed.
US Eighth Air Force flies its final bombing mission of the war.
The United Nations Conference opens in San Francisco with representatives from fifty nations.
A Marine of the US 1st Marine Division pointed his Thompson submachine gun at a Japanese sniper, Okinawa, Apr-Jun 1945 (US National Archives: 127-N-123170)
80 Years Ago—April 24, 1940: Germans appoint Josef Terboven as Reich Commissar of Norway.
US Naval Attaché Lt. Cdr. Ole Hagen escorts American civilians from Oslo, Norway into neutral Sweden.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 24, 1945: On Okinawa, US Tenth Army breaches Japanese defenses at the Shuri Line, and Marines take Kakazu Ridge.
Blackout is lifted in Britain except certain coastal areas.
US Army engineers place a steel treadway bridge across the Po River (US Army Center of Military History)
80 Years Ago—April 23, 1940: About two hundred people die in a fire at the Rhythm Night Club in Natchez, Mississippi.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 23, 1945: Soviet troops enter Berlin proper.
US Fifth Army crosses the Po River in Italy and takes La Spezia.
SS troops finish executing the last twenty conspirators in the July 20 Hitler assassination attempt, including Klaus Bonhoeffer and Rüdiger Schleicher, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s brother and brother-in-law.
Soviet BM-13 Katyusha rocket launchers firing on Berlin, Germany, Apr 1945 (public domain, Russian Archives)
80 Years Ago—April 22, 1940: In Norway, British troops begin retreat at Namsos and Lillehammer.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 22, 1945: As Soviet troops enter outskirts of Berlin, Hitler vows to stay in the city.
US troops hold a victory parade in Nuremberg rally grounds (Zeppelinfeld) and blow up the swastika.
German troops in a fierce struggle against Norwegian troops in a village 40 km west of Lillehammer, Norway (German Federal Archives: Bild 183-H26353)
80 Years Ago—April 21, 1940: British and German troops engage in heavy fighting at Lillehammer, Norway.
First US military casualty of WWII—Army Air Force observer Capt. Robert Losey is killed in German bombing at Dombås, Norway.
M24 Chaffee light tank of US 1st Armored Division in Bologna, Italy, late Apr 1945 (US Army photo)
75 Years Ago—Apr. 21, 1945: US Fifth Army and Polish II Corps take Bologna, Italy.
In Italy, future senator Lt. Daniel Inouye, serving with the Japanese-American 442nd RCT, is injured in battle, loses arm, and earns Distinguished Service Cross and Bronze Star.
French take Stuttgart, Germany.
An American soldier observed the destruction of an industrial town near Nuremberg, Germany, 20 Apr 1945 (US National Archives: 208-AA-207L-1)
80 Years Ago—April 20, 1940: Hitler authorizes formation of Norwegian-Danish “Viking” SS regiment.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 20, 1945: US Seventh Army takes Nuremberg and raises American flag in the Zeppelinfeld, the famous Nazi stadium.
As Soviet artillery begins to bombard Berlin and Nazi leaders flee, Hitler—on his final birthday—divides command, with himself over the eastern front and defense of Berlin, Adm. Karl Dönitz over the western front, to be based at Flensburg, and Field Marshal Albert Kesselring over the southern front, to be based at Berchtesgaden.
Hermann Göring destroys his lavish Karinhall home, transporting art to Berchtesgaden and Unterstein.
US Army soldiers crossing the Machinato Inlet on foot bridge, Okinawa, 19 Apr 1945 (US Army photo)
80 Years Ago—April 19, 1940: First clash between British and German troops in Norway, at Verdal, north of Trondheim.
Former British ambassador to Germany Sir Nevile Henderson’s nonfiction book Failure of a Mission: Berlin 1937-1939 is published.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 19, 1945: US Tenth Army opens offensive on the Japanese Shuri Line on Okinawa, supported by one of the largest naval bombardments of the war, by US Task Forces 54 and 58.
The musical Carousel opens on Broadway.
Canadian Infantry of the Regiment de Maisonneuve, moving through Holten, the Netherlands, 9 Apr 1945 (US National Archives: 306-NT-1334B-11)
80 Years Ago—April 18, 1940: British troops land at Åndalsnes, Norway.
Gone with the Wind premieres in London’s blacked-out cinemas.
Ernie Pyle (center) talking to a Marine on Okinawa a few hours after its invasion, April 1945 (US Army Center of Military History)
75 Years Ago—Apr. 18, 1945: US First Army closes the Ruhr pocket in Germany and takes 325,000 prisoners.
Canadians reach the Zuider Zee, cutting off German 25th Army in the Netherlands.
US Third Army crosses the Czechoslovakian border.
American correspondent Ernie Pyle is killed by a Japanese sniper on the island of Ie Shima.