The U.S. World War II offensive campaign against Japan in the Pacific reached a new level when the U.S. waged an air raid attack on Tokyo with incendiary bombs and killed 80,000 to 100,000 civilians. The World War II timeline below summarizes important events that occurred during the war from March 7, 1945, to March 14, 1945.
World War II Timeline: March 7-March 14
March 7: The Jewish Brigade, under the command of Brigadier General Ernest Benjamin, launches operations in Italy.
Josip Broz Tito consolidates the government of newly liberated Yugoslavia under his authority.
The Chinese 37th Division captures Lashio, Burma, the southwest terminus of the Burma Road.
March 8: Office of Strategic Services chief Allen Dulles opens cease-fire negotiations with SS commander Karl Wolff for a surrender of German forces in Italy.
More than 100 civilians die when a German V-2 rocket destroys London's Smithfield Market.
March 9-10: The deadliest air raid of the Pacific war claims the lives of 80,000 to 100,000 Japanese civilians when the U.S. attacks Tokyo with incendiary bombs.
March 10: Following the Allied breach of the Rhine, Adolf Hitler appoints Field Marshal Kesselring to replace Rundstedt as commander of German armies in the West.
Transylvania, the mountainous region in central Europe that has been occupied by Nazi Germany since early in the war, is restored to Romania.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tells a Spanish delegation that the United States will be unable to supply aid to Spain as long as Franco remains in power.
The Japanese disarm and eject Vichy authorities and establish the "Empire of Annam" in French Indochina.
March 11: An RAF raid on Essen, Germany, halts production at the Krupp Works munitions plant.
March 13: The U.S. House of Representatives reauthorizes the Lend-Lease Act for the last time.
March 14: The RAF drops the 22,000-pound "Grand Slam," the largest bomb of the war to date, on Nazi Germany's Bielefeld railway viaduct.
World War II Headlines
Below are more highlights that outline the events of World War II and show the details of American troops crossing the Rhine, as well as the American firebombing of Tokyo in March 1945.
More than 8,000 American troops cross the Rhine River in Nazi Germany: On March 7, 1945, American Lieutenant Karl Timmerman led his company of the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion to the west end of the Ludendorff Bridge near Remagen, Germany. Since this was the last bridge still spanning the Rhine, Timmerman halted and looked closely for explosives. An explosion did occur as Timmerman and his men advanced across, but, as the smoke settled, he saw that the bridge still stood. More than 8,000 Americans crossed within 24 hours, establishing the first bridgehead across the Rhine. When Adolf Hitler learned that the bridge had not been destroyed, he had four of the officers in charge of destroying it executed.
Karl Wolff negotiates surrender of German forces in northern Italy: Longtime chief of staff to Heinrich Himmler, SS-Obergruppenführer Karl Wolff negotiated the surrender of German forces in northern Italy. In March 1945, Wolff met secretly with OSS official Allen Dulles in Switzerland. Wolff tried (in vain) to bargain for the relocation of German forces in Italy to the Russian front. In 1945 and again in 1962, Wolff -- who denied any knowledge of extermination camps -- was convicted in German courts for sending 300,000 Jews to Treblinka. He served one week the first time, and half of a 15-year sentence the second time.
Americans B-29s bring death and destruction to Tokyo: Gnarled trees and blackened walls testify to the effectiveness of the B-29 incendiary raids on Tokyo. Dissatisfied with the results of high-level bombing, the 20th Bomber Command turned to low-level nighttime incendiary attacks in March 1945. The first major Tokyo raid on March 9-10 killed up to 100,000 people and destroyed more than 267,000 buildings -- about a quarter of the city's total. Over the next 10 days, B-29s torched a total of 32 square miles in Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe. Losses among the bomber crews were light. Though some American officers questioned the morality of the attacks, the prevailing view was that the raids were appropriate retribution for Japanese atrocities, would destroy enemy industry, and would demonstrate to the Japanese population that further resistance was futile.
As the Allies took control of the war, Adolf Hitler appeared in public for the last time on March 20, 1945, after issuing the "Nero Decree" the previous day. Continue to the next page for a detailed timeline on this and other important World War II events that occurred from March 14, 1945, to March 23, 1945.