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Chronology 1943

Date Event Historical Background
January 1-18, 1943 Soviet Relief of Leningrad In a winter offensive, the Soviet Red Army drove westward, capturing Velikye-Luki on January 1st, near the border of the Byelorussian S.S.R. This offensive resulted in the relief of Leningrad after a 17-month siege by Axis forces.
January 11, 1943 U.S.-Chinese Extraterritoriality Treaty The U.S. and Nationalist Chinese governments signed a treaty whereby the United States gave up its extraterritorial rights in China.
January 14-24, 1943 Casablanca Conference After the Allied invasion of North Africa, President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in Casablanca for a ten-day conference. The Allied leaders announced on January 27th that the American and British chiefs-of-staff had worked out plans for an Allied offensive in 1943 designed to achieve the "unconditional surrender" of the Axis powers. The two leaders agreed in principle in the establishment of a Second Front, but did not determine a location for the offensive. The Americans supported an invasion of Europe on the French coast while the British advocated an assault against Italy and the Balkans. General Henri Giraud and General Charles De Gaulle also attended the meeting, although the relationship between General Giraud and General De Gaulle and the Free French remained undefined.
January 16, 1943 Iraqi Declaration of War on the Axis Powers The new Iraqi government declared war on Germany, Italy, and Japan.
January 20, 1943 Chilean Severence of Relations with the Axis Powers The Chilean government severed diplomatic relations with Germany and Japan.
January 23-October 3, 1943 Allied New Guinea Offensive After intense ground fighting in Papua, Japanese forces evacuated the area on January 23rd. The Allies struck a serious blow to the Japanese military effort when Allied planes sank 12 Japanese troop ships and ten warships in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea on March 2nd-3rd. By September 16th, American forces, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, captured Lae and the airfield at Salamaua in New Guinea. The Allies continued their attack on the island, as Australian troops seized Finschhafen on October 3rd.
January 24, 1943 Fall of Tripoli to the British The British 8th Army captured Tripoli, forcing Axis forces to continue their retreat westward into Tunisia.
January 29, 1943 U.S. State Visit to Brazil President Franklin Roosevelt conducted a state visit to Brazil to meet with President Getulio Vargas. The two leaders met on board a U.S. destroyer off Natal, Brazil and announced their joint determination to safeguard the sea lanes of the Atlantic Ocean.
February 2, 1943 Soviet Relief of Stalingrad After encircling 22 German and Axis divisions in Stalingrad in November 1942, the Red Army won a critical victory when the surviving 80,000 Axis troops surrendered the city.
February 7, 1943 Appointment of Eisenhower as North African Theater Commander The Roosevelt administration announced the appointment of Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower as the commander of Allied operations in North Africa.
February 8-March 12, 1943 Soviet Winter Offensive in Southern Russia Flushed with success at Stalingrad, the Red Army advanced west capturing Kursk on February 8th, Belgorod on February 9th, Rostov on February 14th, Kharkov on February 16th, Rzhev on March 3rd, and Vyasma on March 12th into the eastern Ukraine. The Germans and their allies lost over 500,000 men in three months of winter combat.
February 14-23, 1943 Battle of Kasserine Pass The Germans rushed reinforcements to the Afrika Korps in Tunisia in an attempt to defend the last Axis stronghold in North Africa. American forces attempted to gain Kasserine Pass on February 14th, but were defeated by a strong German defense. The Germans retained control of the pass for five days before the American forces finally dislodged the Axis units, containing the German offensive by February 23rd.
March 12, 1943 Extension of Lend Lease The U.S. Congress voted to extend the Lend-Lease program for another twelve months to support the Allied war effort.
March 15, 1943 Free French Government in North Africa General Henri Giraud, the head of the French government in French North Africa, declared that all legislation passed by the Vichy French government since 1940 was null and void, restored representative government, and that France would regain the right to self-determination after the victory over the Germans.
March 15-March 21, 1943 German Spring Offensive in Southern Russia The Wehrmacht launched a counter-offensive in the eastern Ukraine, regaining Kharkov on March 15th and Belgorod on March 21st. This attack blunted the Soviet Spring Offensive temporarily and stabilized the lines on the Eastern Front. Despite these Axis successes, the Red Army pushed the Germans and their allies from the Don River halfway to the Dnieper River.
March 16, 1943 U.S. Planning for Peace Several U.S. Senators began a bipartisan movement to commit the Senate to participation in a post-war international organization. These internationalists were determined to avoid the problems President Woodrow Wilson encountered at the end of World War I by actively engaging the U.S. in the United Nations Organization.
March 17, 1943 North Atlantic U-Boot Plan The American, British, and Canadian governments issued an announcement declaring that the three governments were in agreement regarding the most effective method of eliminating the German U-boot menace to Atlantic convoys.
March 19-May 12, 1943 Allied Offensive in Tunisia In a pincer movement with the American Second Army advancing from the west and the British Eighth Army attacking from the east, the Allies bottled the Afrika Korps and the Italians in Tunisia. American forces from Algeria captured El Guettar on March 19th. British forces broke through the Mareth Line on March 30th and linked with advancing U.S. units near Gabes on April 8th. The combined Anglo-American forces seized Tunis and Bizerte on May 7th, stranding the Axis forces. On May 12th, 250,000 Axis troops in Tunisia surrendered at Cape Bon, ending the Italo-German threat to the Suez Canal and the Italian dream of an African empire. The Axis lost 950,000 men in North Africa as well as 8,000 aircraft, and 2.4 million tons of shipping.
March 22, 1943 Churchill's New Concert of Nations Plan British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called for a plan to establish a New Concert of Nations in Europe and Asia after the end of World War II.
March 24-August 15, 1943 Allied Aleutian Offensive The U.S. Navy defeated Japanese naval forces off the Komandorski Islands in the western Aleutians on March 24th, which paved the way for the American recapture of the Aleutians. On May 11th, U.S. troops landed on Attu and secured the island by June 3rd. U.S. and Canadian units landed on Kiska on August 15th, but the Japanese garrison had already evacuated the island.
April 21, 1943 U.S. State Visit to Mexico President Franklin Roosevelt conducted a state visit to Mexico to meet with President Avila Camacho. The two leaders expressed the good relations which existed between the two American republics as an example of the Good Neighbor Policy.
April 27, 1943 Soviets Severance of Relations with the London Poles The Soviet government cut off diplomatic ties with the Polish government-in-exile in London. The next day, the Soviets explained that Moscow had suspended relations with the Poles and had not severed relations. This marked the beginning of a rocky relationship between the London Poles and the Soviets, who favored a Communist Polish government.
May 6,1943 Soviet Support for a Strong Poland Marshal Josef Stalin of the Soviet Union declared that the Soviets planned to maintain friendly relations with a strong, independent Poland after the war.
May 12-25, 1943 Anglo-American/Trident Conference Prime Minister Winston Churchill traveled to Washington, DC for a conference with President Franklin Roosevelt to discuss wartime strategy with the Chiefs of Staff and military commanders. The two leaders agreed to prepare for a Second Front in Europe, demanded by the Soviets, and considered the problems of a global war. They set May 1, 1944 as the date for the Normandy invasion. To prepare for the assault against Festunf Europa, both leaders agreed that it was critical for the Allies to seize the Azores, unless the Portuguese government could be persuaded through negotiation to grant the Allies the use of the bases on the islands. They agreed that the next step in the war was the invasion of Sicily and Italy. Prime Minister Churchill assured the U.S. Congress that Britain would fight with the United States against Japan until the end of the war.
May 18-June 3, 1943 United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture Delegates met at the United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture in Hot Springs, Virginia and established the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
May 23, 1943 Dissolution of the Third International Communist delegates from around the world met in Moscow and dissolved the Third International, an organization formed in Russia in 1919 to propagate Communist ideals in other countries and to direct Communist organizations overseas. Communist parties in other countries would henceforth be autonomous from Soviet influence and direction.
May 31, 1943 Formation of the French Provisional Government-in-Exile The Free French organized the French Committee of National Liberation in Algiers on May 31st, which included General Charles De Gaulle and General Henri Giraud as co-presidents. On June 2nd, the committee became the French Provisional Government-in-Exile and promised to provide full French support for the defeat of the Axis powers.
June 30-December 26, 1943 Allied South Pacific Offensive U.S. troops landed on Rendova Island on June 30th in New Georgia. In a series of naval battles, beginning with the Battle of Kula Gulf on July 6th, the U.S. Navy gained control of the waters of the central Solomon Islands. The Japanese base at Munda on New Georgia Island fell to the Allies on August 7th. U.S. Marines landed at Bougainville on November 1st in the northern Solomon Islands. The Japanese attempted to mount a counter-offensive in the South Pacific, but at the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, off Bougainville, on November 2nd, the Allies soundly defeated the Japanese. As a result, the Allies were able to cut off Japanese supply lines to their fortress at Rabaul, isolating the remaining Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands and securing the flanks for an American invasion of the Philippines. U.S. forces conducted amphibious assaults at Arawe on December 15th and at Cape Gloucester on December 26th in New Britain.
July 1943 Second Regional Tax Conference The League of Nations hosted a conference on tax policy in Latin America in Mexico City.
July 5, 1943 Cession of Malay States to Thailand The Japanese government announced that it had approved the cession of six of the Malay states to Thailand. The Thais received an additional 74,770 square miles of land and a population of 2.9 million people.
July 5-August 5, 1943 German Summer Offensive in Southern Russia The Wehrmacht attempted to resume their offensive in July in the Kursk region in a massive tank battle, massing 260 divisions on the Eastern Front. The Axis regained Orel and Belgorod but were checked after a week's fighting. The Germans discovered that the Soviets had concentrated 275 divisions in the region in preparation for a major battle. The U.S. and Britain had significantly augmented Soviet forces for the summer campaign. The U.S. sent 4,100 aircraft, 138,000 motor vehicles, steel, and industrial machinery for Soviet arms plants. Simultaneously, Anglo-American strategic bombing devastated German industry which significantly reduced German aircraft and tank production. As a result, the Germans lost air superiority on the Eastern Front.
July 10-August 17, 1943 Allied Invasion of Sicily American, British, and Canadian forces from North Africa, under the command of General Dwight Eisenhower, mounted a mass amphibious assault on Sicily. Over 2,500 Allied ships participated in the invasion, landing over 160,000 troops on the southern coast of Sicily on July 10th. On July 14th, the Allies captured Port Augusta and by July 22nd, half of the island was under Allied occupation. The Allies seized Palermo on July 24th and Messina fell to American forces on August 17th. Italian resistance collapsed the next day, completing the Allied occupation. The Axis lost 167,000 men and almost 1,700 aircraft in the campaign. The occupation of Sicily and North Africa gave Allies control over the Mediterranean.
July 26, 1943 Resignation of Mussolini The loss of North Africa and the successful Allied invasion of Sicily forced Premier Benito Mussolini to resign from office. Premier Mussolini and his cabinet were immediately placed under arrest by the new government led by Marshal Pietro Badoglio.
July 28, 1943 Dissolution of Fascism in Italy The new Italian premier, Marshal Pietro Badoglio, announced that Italy was no longer a Fascist state and began secret armistice negotiations with the Allied powers.
August 5-December 31, 1943 Great Soviet Summer Offensive A major Red Army counter-offensive in southern Russia and the Ukraine forced a major Axis retreat on the Eastern Front. The Soviets recaptured Orel and Belgorod on August 5th, and the Russians broadened their offensive operations, capturing Kharkov again on August 23rd. In the south, the Red Army took Tanganrog on August 30th, while recapturing Bryansk on September 17th and Smolensk on September 25th in the center of the Eastern Front. By October, the Red Army reached the Dnieper River at several points and captured Kiev on November 6th. The Soviets ended the year with a victory at Zhitomir on December 31st.
August 11-25, 1943 First Quebec/Quadrant Conference Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt, accompanied by large staffs of advisors, met in Quebec City, to plan for the Second Front in Europe and war aims of the United Nations. The leaders reaffirmed the May 1, 1944 date of the Normandy invasion, which would be supplemented by landings in southern France. The American, British, Canadian, and Soviet governments recognized the Free Committee of National Liberation as the administrative government of North Africa and French overseas territories which acknowledged the committee's authority. American and British naval representatives were able to report that the Allies had achieved progress in curbing the German U-boot menace in the Battle of the Atlantic. Allied ship losses fell by 50 percent in the first six months of 1943 in relation to the last six months of 1942 and only 25 percent of losses from January to June 1942. In addition, the leaders reached an agreement on expanding military operations in the Far East. They established a Southeast Asia Command to supervise operations against Burma. The recall of the Soviet ambassador to Washington and the absence of a Soviet representative at the conference led to speculation of a rift between the Big Three.
August 25-December 21, 1943 Allied Offensive in Southeast Asia Lord Louis Mountbatten became the Supreme Allied Commander in Southeast Asia on August 25th, as the Allies launched an offensive from India into Burma. U.S. General Stilwell began his offensive in northern Burma on December 21st to regain control of the Burma Road to resupply the Chinese.
August 29, 1943 Death of King Boris III of Bulgaria King Boris III of Bulgaria died suddenly, probably the result of a German assassination. He was succeeded by his six-year old son, Simeon II.
August 29, 1943 Scuttling of the Danish Fleet When the Germans attempted to seize the Danish fleet in the navy yard in Copenhagen, the Danish crews scuttled 29 of the 48 warships at anchor. Thirteen smaller warships escaped to Sweden and only six Danish ships were captured by the Germans.
September 3-October 14, 1943 Allied Invasion of Southern Italy The British Eighth Army crossed the Straits of Messina in an amphibious invasion of southern Italy on September 3rd. This marked the first successful amphibious invasion of continental Europe in World War II. The U.S. Fifth Army conducted an amphibious assault at Salerno, 30 miles south of Naples, on September 9th. German resistance in Salerno ended by September 18th and the Allied forces moved north, capturing Naples on October 1st. The Allies crossed the Volturno River by October 14th and established control over southern Italy.
September 3, 1943 Italian Armistice The Badoglio government signed an armistice in Algiers, ending hostilities between the Anglo-American and Italian forces.
September 9, 1943 Italian Surrender Marshal Pietro Badoglio and his cabinet formally accepted the Allies' terms of surrender, publicly announced as an unconditional surrender, as drawn up by the American, British, and Soviet governments. German troops immediately seized control of the Italian mainland, determined to mount a vigorous defense against the Allied offensive.
September 9, 1943 New Bulgarian Government With the death of King Boris III, the Bulgarian parliament approved a Council of Regency composed of Prince Cyril (Simeon II's uncle), Bogdan Philov (a Bulgarian statesman), and General Nokola Michov.
September 9, 1943 Iranian Declaration of War against Germany The new Iranian government declared war against Germany.
September 9-October 1, 1943 Fall of Naples After landing near Salerno on September 9th, American troops advanced north and captured Naples on October 1st. Winter weather, the mountainous countryside, and stiff German resistance halted the Allied advance at line south of Cassino.
September 11, 1943 German Occupation of Italy Upon learning that the Badoglio government had surrendered to the Allies, German forces seized control of the major Italian cities in central and northern Italy including Rome, Milan, Trieste, Genoa, Bologna, Verona, and Cremona.
September 11, 1943 Free French Occupation of Corsica Free French troops landed on Corsica and gained control over the island. Italian forces, loyal to Marshal Pietro Badoglio, accepted the Allied surrender terms and took control of Sardinia.
September 12, 1943 Surrender of Italian Fleet to the Allies Most of the Italian fleet escaped from Italian ports and surrendered to Allied forces in response to Marshal Pietro Badoglio's acceptance of the Allied terms.
September 12, 1943 Rescue of Mussolini German paratroopers conducted a daring raid to rescue Benito Mussolini from Italian imprisonment to restore Il Duce to power.
September 13, 1943 Chiang Elected President of China General Chiang Kai-shek was elected President of the Republic of China by the Central Executive Committee. The committee permitted President Chiang to keep his post as Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese army. As soon as the war was over, the Central Executive Committee pledged that democratic, responsible government would be established in China.
September 14, 1943 Iran Admitted to the United Nations As a new member of the Allied powers, Iran joined the United Nations.
September 15, 1943 Establishment of the Socialist Republic of Italy Restored to power, Premier Benito Mussolini announced the establishment of a Republican Fascist Party and the Socialist Republic of Italy in the northern part of the country, still under German control.
September 21-November 5, 1943 Fulbright-Connally Resolution On September 21st, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Fulbright Resolution. Representative J.W. Fulbright (Arkansas) called for the creation of an international organization with the power to establish and maintain a just and lasting peace. The resolution also included U.S. participation in this organization through the constitutional process. Senator Tom Connally (Texas) introduced a similar resolution in the Senate, which passed on November 5th, with the stipulation that any treaty drafted to achieve these goals would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate.
October 9, 1943 Yugoslav Partisan Offensive against the Germans With the Italian surrender to the Allies, the Germans occupied former Italian positions in the Balkans. Marshal Tito (Josip Broz) led Yugoslav guerilla forces against German troops outside of Trieste.
October 12, 1943 Azores Island Treaty with Portugal Despite the country's official neutrality, the government of Portugal extended the British the right to use military bases in the Azores for air and naval patrols. The privilege extended to American warships and aircraft. This agreement provided the Americans and British with a vital base in the Atlantic to protect convoys and greatly reduced the area in which German U-boots could effectively operate.
October 13, 1943 Italian Declaration of War against Germany The Badoglio government declared war against Germany.
October 19-30, 1943 Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers The first Allied three-power meeting was held in Moscow and included Secretary of State Cordell Hull, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, and Soviet Foreign Minister V.M. Molotov, as well as American, British, and Soviet military officials. Tensions arose over the status of the Polish government-in-exile in London, which the Soviets refused to recognize. Hull and Eden promised the Soviets that preparations for a Second Front were underway and Premier Josef Stalin issued an unconditional pledge that the Soviets would enter the war against the Japanese after Germany's defeat. The conferees established the European Advisory Commission to begin planning a post-war policy for Germany. At the end of the conference, the delegates issued the Moscow Declaration, which called for the establishment of a general international organization composed of sovereign states to maintain international peace and security.
November 9, 1943 Organization of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Representatives of 44 countries met in Atlantic City, New Jersey to define and organize the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) as a first step towards post-war reconstruction of Europe and the Far East. The organization was created to aid countries who had been subjugated by the Axis powers. A director general, responsible to a central committee composed of representatives from the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and China, would exercise control over the agency. Herbert Lehman, former governor of New York, became the first director general of UNRRA. The central committee reported to a council composed of one representative from each member state. The representatives established an annual budget and all member states made contributions based on a scale. UNRRA officials would work with military commanders in war zones to execute the plans of the United Nations. UNRRA also had the legal authority to acquire, hold, and convey property, to negotiate contracts, and to accept obligations. The goal of the UNRRA staff was to become an international civil service.
November 10, 1943 Allied Control Commission for Italy With Allied control of southern Italy, the Americans and British established the Allied Control Commission for Italy as a military occupation government.
November 11, 1943 Proclamation of Lebanese Independence French authorities arrested the Lebanese president, Sheikh Beshara al-Khour, and his cabinet after the Lebanese Chamber of Deputies proclaimed the independence of the republic. The arrests resulted in strikes and rioting across the country and the French released the prisoners on November 22nd.
November 21-24, 1943 U.S. Central Pacific Offensive U.S. forces, under the command of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, had the responsibility of securing the Solomons, the Gilberts, the Marshalls, the Marianas, and the Bonin Islands in an island-hopping strategy designed to secure air bases within striking range of the Japanese Home Islands. American forces landed on Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert Islands on November 21st. The Americans encountered heavily fortified Japanese positions on Tarawa and did not secure the island until November 24th.
November 22-26, 1943 First Cairo Conference President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Generalissimo Chang Kai-shek met in Cairo to discuss war strategy in the Far East. They outlined their war plans in the Cairo Declaration, which was published on December 1st.
November 27, 1943 Lebanese Independence In light of the political unrest in Lebanon, the French Committee for National Liberation accorded independence to the republic of Lebanon. All of the powers exercised by the French government under the terms of the mandate to the Lebanese and Syrian governments were transferred to Beirut.
November 28-December 2, 1943 Teheran Conference President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Premier Josef Stalin met in Teheran for a series of talks on wartime strategy and post-war planning. This was the first time the three leaders of the Allied forces met with each other to negotiate war plans. The Big Three announced that they had coordinated their war plans and reached complete agreement on the scope and planning of military operations. The Western Allies detailed the invasion of Normandy and the supporting invasion of southern France and the Soviets coordinated the timing of their offensive against Germany. Premier Stalin again affirmed his promise to enter the war against Japan once the war in Europe was over. Plans for the proposed United Nations were also discussed during the conference. On December 1st, the leaders issued a declaration pledging economic aid to Iran during and after the war and divided occupation duties. Soviet troops guarded the region north of Teheran, British forces occupied southern Iran, and U.S. units patrolled supply routes.
December 1, 1943 Cairo Declaration After meeting in Cairo, President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and President Chiang Kai-shek announced their common plans for the Pacific War in the Cairo Declaration. The three leaders indicated their joint determination to force the Japanese to surrender unconditionally and had no desire for territorial expansion; Japan would be deprived of all its Pacific Island possessions obtained since 1914; all Chinese territory seized by the Japanese, including Manchuria, Taiwan/Formosa, and the Pescadores, would be restored to China; and that Korea would become a free and independent nation in due course.
December 4-6, 1943 Second Cairo Conference President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Turkish President Ismet Inonu met in Cairo to discuss Eastern Mediterranean issues. At this meeting, the British and Turks affirmed their alliance and acknowledged the friendship between Turkey, Britain, the U.S., and the Soviet Union. Although Prime Minister Churchill continued to urge the priority of a Mediterranean strategy against the Germans, the two leaders confirmed the appointment of General Dwight Eisenhower to command the Normandy invasion.
December 20, 1943 Allied Aid to Tito The American and British governments decided to provide military aid to Marshal Tito and the Yugoslav partisans.

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