World War II Timeline: April 5, 1941-April 12, 1941
The beginning of April 1941 saw Nazi Germany coming to Italy's rescue in north Africa and annihilating Yugoslavia. The World War II timeline below summarizes this and other important events from April 1941.
World War II Timeline: April 5-April 12
April 5: German General Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps and Italian forces drive eastward against Libya, forcing a British retreat.
April 6: A four-front attack overwhelms Yugoslavia, as the German army storms the country from Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Austria. Belgrade, the capital, is destroyed and thousands are killed when the Germans initiate their invasion with a Sunday attack.
Nazi Germany attacks Greece by way of Bulgaria.
April 7: London severs all ties to Budapest, as Hungary is now wholly under the influence of Nazi Germany.
April 9: Concerned that Berlin has designs on bases in Greenland, the United States obtains the rights to provide military protection to the remote but strategically located island.
In Croatia, a pro-German region of Yugoslavia, Germany and Italy create a puppet state as German troops approach the Croatian capital of Zagreb.
April 9-10: Berlin is badly damaged and the State Opera House is gutted during a large British Royal Air Force (RAF) attack on the city.
April 10: Rommel begins a siege of Allied positions at Tobruk, Libya.
The USS Niblack, a destroyer on a rescue mission off the coast of Iceland, drops depth charges near a German submarine. The incident is the first case of American hostile fire directed at a German ship.
April 12: A German panzer corps takes the Serbian capital of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, while the Croatian people of Zagreb welcome the German army invasion.
World War II Headlines
Below are more images and headlines detailing events of World War II and the Axis campaign of 1941.
German troops storm Greece: Adolf Hitler had no desire to conquer Greece in 1941. However, after Benito Mussolini's imprudent invasion of the eastern Mediterranean nation failed early in 1941, the Führer had no choice but to come to his partner's rescue. On April 6, 1941, the Germans launched their invasion of Greece from Bulgaria, which had recently joined the Axis. Pictured here are German troops crossing the Pineios River in the Greek region of Thessaly, using boats and a makeshift bridge. By May 11, mainland Greece and all of its surrounding islands except Crete were fully under Axis occupation. Some 50,000 British troops were forced to hastily evacuate Greece.
In April 1941 Rommel's Afrika Korps rolled across north Africa. Read about this and other World War II events on the timeline, next.