By the beginning of 1944, World War II in Europe and the Pacific was turning in favor of the US and its allies.
On January 29, 1944, US Army forces land in the Admiralty Islands, about 175 northeast of Papua New Guinea.
On January 31, 1944, US Marines land on the Marshall Islands, about 1,200 miles northeast of the Solomon Islands, 1,900 miles northeast of Papua New Guinea and about 2,200 miles southwest of Hawaii.
On February 18, 1944, US navy engaged Japanese at Truk Islands, about 1,100 miles due west of the Marshall Islands.
On February 19, 1944, US Marines land on the Eniwetok Atoll, about 500 miles northwest of the Marshall Islands. Bit-by-bit, the Japanese are being pushed back.
On March 22, 1944, US forces land at Hollandia on the northern coast of then Dutch New Guinea.
On June 6, 1944, US and British forces land at Normandy, France as part of the D-Day invasion against German forces.
On June 15, 1944, US B-29 bombers based in China bomb Japan.
On June 19-20, 1944, Battle of the Philippine Sea in which the Japanese lost around 300 planes and lost 3 of their regular air craft carriers. It was a resounding victory of the US 5th Fleet.
On August 25, 1944, Allied forces liberate Paris from the Germans.
On October 20, 1944, US forces land on Leyte in the Philippines and begin the task of regaining control of the Philippines away from the Japanese.
On October 23-26, 1944, US fleet consisting of 8 fleet and 8 light carriers, 18 escort carriers, 12, battleships, 24 cruisers and 141 destroyers and destroyer escorts engaged a Japanese fleet consisting of 1 fleet and 3 light carriers, 9 battleships, 14 heavy cruisers, 6 light cruisers and over 35 destroyers and destroy escorts at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. The Battle of Leyte Gulf proved to be a humiliating lost for the Japanese who lost 4 aircraft carriers, 3 battleships, 8 cruisers, 12 destroyers and over 10,000 troops killed. The American fleet lost 1 light carrier, 2 escort carriers, 2 destroyers and 1 destroyer escort and only about 1,500 troops killed. This turned out to be the last time the Japanese Imperial Navy would mount a major operation. The America victory led to the US taking a major beachhead in the Philippines. It also helped the effort to liberate the Philippines and ended up cutting a major supply line from the Philippines to Japan.
On November 24, 1944, US began conducting B-29 bombing raids over Japan from the airbase on Tinian Island.
On December 15, 1944, US forces land on Mindoro in the Philippines.
On January 9, 1945, US forces land on the main island of Luzon, Philippines.
On February 19 – March 26, 1945, Battle of Iwo Jima.
On March 3, 1945, Japanese forces driven out of Manilla, Philippines and the capital city is secured by Allied forces.
On March 9, 1945, US starts dropping firebombs on Tokyo.
On March 21, 1945, Mandalay, Burma is liberated from the Japanese.
On April 1 – June 21, 1945, Battle of Okinawa.
On April 12, 1945, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies from a massive cerebral hemorrhage while sitting for an artist painting his portrait. Vice President Harry S. Truman is sworn in as the 33rd President of the United States.
On April 30, 1945, German Chancellor Adolph Hitler commits suicide.
On May 3, 1945, Rangoon, Burma liberated from the Japanese. Today, they are known as Yangon, Myanmar.
On May 7, 1945, Germany surrenders to Allied forces.
On June 10, 1945, Australian forces land in Borneo to fight the Japanese.
From July 17 to August 2, 1945, US President Harry, Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met at Potsdam, Germany to discuss what to do with post-war Germany. Churchill was replaced on July 26 by newly elected Prime Minister Clement Attlee. Although the three Allied leaders agreed to continue fighting a unified war in the Pacific against Japan, they bitterly disagreed on what to do with Germany. One of the results of the Potsdam Conference was the requirement that Japan agree to an unconditional surrender, but Japan refused, leaving Truman with the decisions over the next week that would change the world and end the war in the Pacific.
On June 30, 1945, Luzon, Philippines declared secure from Japanese occupation.
On August 6, 1945, US drops first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, instantly killing 80.000 and injuring another 30,000. By the end of 1945, another 60,000 people died as a result of the radioactive fallout.
Even after the devastating effects of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, the Japanese War Council continued to reject the notion of an unconditional surrender. Truman felt he had no alternative at this stage but to give the order for the dropping of a second atomic bomb on Japan.
On August 9, 1945, US drops second atomic bomb, destroying much of Nagasaki and instantly killing 70,000 people.
On this day, August 10, 1945, Japan sends a message that they are ready to discuss terms of surrender.
On August 15, 1945, Japanese Emperor Hirohito, announced that he had agreed to an unconditional surrender.
Sources for the above includes: Today, August 6, 1945: Atomic Bomb Destroys Hiroshima [VIDEO]; Today, August 9, 1945: Atomic Bomb Destroys Nagasaki [VIDEO]; Japan Accepts Potsdam Terms, Agrees to Unconditional Surrender; The Potsdam Conference, 1945; The Pacific War; World War II in Europe; World War II in the Pacific; Battle of the Philippine Sea; World War II: Battle of Leyte Gulf