European Theater

Tuskegee Airmen, circa 1942-43

Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen were African American pilots, crew, and personnel associated with the Army flight training school in Tuskegee, Alabama, during World War II. The best known of these units were the 99th Pursuit (Fighter) Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, and 477th Bombardment (Composite) Group. Background Prior to the Tuskegee Airmen, no African Americans had been …Read More

Parade passes through the Arc de Triomphe on August 26, 1944, following the liberation of Paris

Liberation of Paris

On August 25, 1944, German forces surrendered Paris to Allied troops, ending four years of occupation. This day and the battles that led up to it are known as the Liberation of Paris. Background As Operation Overlord drew to an end, reclaiming Paris was not considered a main Allied objective. Hitler had threatened complete destruction …Read More

Paratroops landing in the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden in September 1944

Operation Market Garden

Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful British-American airborne invasion of the Netherlands (Holland) during World War II that lasted September 17-25, 1944. It was the largest airborne operation of the war, involving more than 34,000 airborne troops. Background Operation Market Garden was intended to advance the Allies across the Rhine River into Germany’s industrial heartland. …Read More

Men of the 1st Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment, during liberation of Rome, June 8, 1944

Liberation of Rome

On June 4, 1944, the Allies liberated Rome, Italy, from the Germans, making it the first of the Axis capitals to fall during World War II. Background Following a successful invasion of Sicily, the Allies moved on mainland Italy in September 1943, with landings on both the east and west coasts of the country. As …Read More

German forces entering Warsaw in September 1939 during Invasion of Poland

1939 Invasion of Poland

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded neighboring Poland in what is considered the opening conflict of World War II. Background In the year and a half leading up to the invasion, Adolf Hitler had been expanding Germany’s territory. On August 23, 1939, Germany signed a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union that had a secret …Read More

Operation Barbarossa

Operation Barbarossa

Operation Barbarossa was Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II. Lasting June 22 to December 5, 1941, it was a massive engagement, involving millions of troops along an 1,800-mile front. Germany’s eventual failure was a major setback for the country, as it forced them to fight a war on two fronts …Read More