Non-Fiction | 13 July 2015World War II History for Kids Share article facebook twitter google pinterest In May QEB published 50 Things You Should Know About The Second World War. Being it the 70th year since the war ended—we’re focusing on the year of 1945 with the 5 key events of the year. 5 Key Events of WWII in 1945 excerpted from 50 Things You Should Know About The Second World War 1. 1945: The year the war ended At the beginning of 1945, it was obvious that the war with Germany was in its final stages. Allied armies attacked the country from the east and from the west as they headed to the capital, Berlin. The war with Japan was a completely different situation, however, as the Japanese fiercely defended their territory. Fascinating fact: The Germans surrendered twice – in Reims, France, on 7th May and in Berlin on 8th May. Berlin 1945, cleaning up the rubble out of the city 2. The invasion of Germany The allies stood on the border of Germany at the start of 1945, the western allies by the River Rhine in the west and the Russians on the border with German Prussia in the east. Western front: After the failure of the Ardennes offensive, Germany was vulnerable in the west. On 7th March, the Americans seized an undefended bridge across the Rhine at Remagan and poured into central Germany. British and Canadian troops soon made their crossing of the river, occupying most of western Germany within a month. Eastern front: In January 1945, two vast Russian armies moved into Poland and eastern Germany on their way into Berlin. Warsaw fell to the Russians on 17th January. By 3rd February, the 1st Byelorussian Front army had crossed the River Oder, only 64 kilometers from Berlin. On 25th April, Berlin was surrounded by Russian troops. Fascinating fact: More than 2.5 million troops took part in the Russian invasion of Germany in 1945. 3. The final days and the death of Hitler With the Russian army surrounding Berlin, Hitler was trapped. He spent his last days in his underground bunker issuing orders to non-existent armies. On 29th April 1945, Adolf Hitler married his long-term girlfriend, Eva Braun. A day later, he shot himself in his underground bunker in Berlin. Fascinating fact: Hitler’s final headquarters was a Berlin bunker 8.5m below ground. On May 7, the German general Alfred Jodl unconditionally surrendered all German forces to the Allies at Reims, France. A day later, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signed a similar document with the Russians in Berlin. VE Day—Victory in Europe Day—was celebrated on May 8, 1945. 9, 1945 4. Attacking Japan In 1944-45, American troops had gained naval bases in Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Japanese garrisons defended both islands fiercely: 110,000 Japanese died on Okinawa alone before the Americans finally seized control on 30th June. At the Potsdam Conference in the ruins of Berlin on 26th July 1945, the USA, Britain, and China called for Japan to surrender or face ‘prompt and utter destruction.’ The world’s first atomic bombs, developed by British and American scientists in the Manhattan Project, were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th and 9th August. Around 240,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki alone. Fascinating fact: An atomic bomb has not been dropped since 1945. The aftermath of the Hiroshima Atomic bomb 5. Japan’s surrender After the USA dropped atomic bombs and the USSR declared war and invaded Japanese-held territory, Japan was forced to surrender. On August 28 1945, General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, began the Allied occupation of Japan. Japanese officials signed the formal Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard USS Missouri on September 2, but the war didn’t formally end until 1952. Fascinating fact: A Japanese soldier hid in the jungle for thirty years because no one told him the war was over. 50 Things You Should Know About The Second World War joins our popular title published last year on the First World War. This Fall, we’ll be publishing 50 Things You Should Know About The Human Body, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that one! Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.