Gdańsk during the 20th century

15-11-1920 - 04-06-1989

For the people of Gdańsk the end of the Second World War was not necessarily a liberation. The arrival of the Soviet Army meant first defeat and then factually a new occupation. The Poles who settled in Gdańsk after the war were not in favor of the Soviet domination. For many Poles the political consequences of the war lasted until 1989 when Poland became an independent and democratic state again.

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01-09-1939 - 07-09-1939

On 1 September 1939 the Germans attacked the Westerplatte peninsula in the port of Gdańsk. This assault marks the beginning of the Second World War. A small Polish garrison held out for seven days, bolstering the morale of the Polish people. After the war Westerplatte became a symbol of Polish resistance against the German invasion.

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Operation Fortitude South

01-12-1944 - 01-03-1944

As D-Day approached, Kent became the stage for one of the War’s greatest deception plans, Operation Fortitude South. In order to mislead the German army and conceal the real location of the Allied invasion of Western Europe, extensive military preparations were made around Dover. But it was all fake.

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06-06-1944 - 06-06-1944

6 June 1944 entered history under the now legendary name of D-Day, the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy. It was the most dramatic part of Operation Overlord, that marked the beginning of the liberation of German-occupied Western Europe.

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The Battle of Normandy

07-06-1944 - 29-08-1944

Fought between the iconic landings on 6 June 1944 and the liberation of Paris on 25 August, the Battle of Normandy is often overlooked. Yet this campaign decided the course of the war in Northwestern Europe. The losses were huge: more than 100.000 people were killed during the 80 days, 20.000 of them civilians.

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Operation Pluto

12-08-1944 - 30-05-1945

Operation Pluto (Pipelines Under The Ocean) represents one of wartime’s greatest feats of engineering. Huge pipelines were successfully developed and laid beneath the Channel between Southern England and France. Fuel could safely be transported to the troops in Europe. The pipelines contributed largely to the success of the Allied operations after August 1944.

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The Liberation of Paris

22-08-1944 - 26-08-1944

The liberation of Paris didn’t have Allied priority, but an uprising of the population against the Germans on 19 August made it necessary. Thus the 2nd French Armoured Division was send to Paris and entered the town on 24 August. On 26 August a huge triumphal parade was held on the Champs-Élysées.

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Battle of Huertgen Forest

12-09-1944 - 10-02-1945

During the autumn and winter of 1944/45, the longest battle of the Second World War on German soil took place in the Huertgen Forest. With this battle, the war precipitated by the Nazi regime returned to Germany. The battle caused numerous casualties on both sides. For the American soldiers, it’s very name – with its first syllable ‘hurt’ – became a byword for injury and death.

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Towards the German capitulation in the Netherlands

17-09-1944 - 06-05-1945

In May 1940 the Netherlands was occupied by German forces. It would take five years before they could be ousted. The final drive to liberate the whole country was launched in February 1945 after the so-called ‘Hunger Winter’ had led to 20.000 fatalities in the still occupied territory.

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Operation Market Garden

17-09-1944 - 26-09-1944

Operation Market Garden was one of the largest Allied operations of the Second World War. It aimed to secure the bridges over the rivers Maas (Meuse), Waal and Rhine in the Netherlands in order to outflank the heavy German defences of the Siegfried Line and to insure a swift advance towards Berlin.

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The Rhineland Offensive

08-02-1945 - 24-03-1945

The Allied Rhineland Offensive comprised several large-scale military operations during the last months of the Second World War in Europe. The two main objectives of these combined British, American and Canadian operations were to clear the area west of the Rhine and to accomplish the crossing of the river itself. If successful, the offensive would mean a final blow to the last German line of defense in the West.

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Battle of Berlin

16-04-1945 - 02-05-1945

The battle of Berlin was one of the last battles of the Second World War in Europe. The war that had proceeded from Berlin returned to the city. Many soldiers and civilians died in widespread house-to-house fighting.

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Victorious powers in Berlin

08-05-1945 - 02-08-1945

The Second World War in Europe ended in the spring of 1945 with the Allied victory over Nazi Germany. The fate of the German people now lay in the hands of the four victorious powers, the USA, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France. Germany and Berlin were placed under a shared four-party administration.

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Liberation of Stutthof


The concentration camp in Stutthof was initially founded to eliminate and persecute Poles. Later in the war the role of Stutthof changed as it became an integral part of the planned extermination of European Jews. Before the Soviet Army could liberate Stutthof, the surviving prisoners were send on horrible “death marches”.

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