World War II in Ukraine:

Chronology of the War in Ukraine

Andrew Gregorovich

Chronology of the War in Ukraine

The Heart of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine burning during World War II. The view is west from the Dnipro (Dnieper) River. Bottom right is the St. Vladimir monument on the river bank and top left above the smoke is the bell tower of St. Sophia Cathedral, the Mother Church of Ukraine.


March 15. Carpatho-Ukraine declares its independence from Czechoslovakia as German troops occupy Bohemia and Moravia.

March 16. Hungarian troops occupy Carpatho-Ukraine with Germany's approval.

August 23. Molotov and Ribbentrop sign the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.

August 27. Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists 2nd Congress elects Andrew Melnyk leader.

September 1. Germany invades Poland and two days later Britain and France declare war on Germany.

September 10. All of western Poland is under German occupation. Canada declares war on Germany.

September 17. USSR invades Poland from the east and most Ukrainian populated territory to the Ukrainian SSR.

October 8. Germany incorporates western Poland into Germany and on October 12 Western Ukraine as the General Government.

November 1. USSR officially approves annexation of Western Ukraine.


February 10. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists divides into two wings OUN (M) led by Andrew Melnyk and a new wing, OUN (B) led by Stepan Bandera.

April 15. Ukrainian Central Committee is established in Cracow with Dr. V. Kubiyovych as head to represent Ukrainians in the General Government.

June 27. USSR invades Romania to incorporate the Ukrainian populated northern Bukovina and Bessarabia into the USSR.


January 1. Population of Ukraine (Ukrainian SSR): 41,900,000.

May. Germans establish Nachtigall and Roland military units with Ukrainians.

June 22. Operation Barbarossa. Germany invades the western borders of the Ukrainian SSR and the Belorussian SSR. The German army has 3.5 million soldiers in 190 divisions. The powerful Ukrainian T-34 tank surprises the German Panzers. The NKVD massacres over 19,000 Ukrainian political prisoners in Lviv and other West Ukrainian cities before retreating.

June 30. Germans capture Lviv. Ukrainian state proclaimed in Lviv by Yaroslav Stetsko and OUN(B).

July 9. Bandera-Stetsko Ukrainian government dispersed and arrested by the Germans.

July. Germans capture Berdichev July 15; Bila Tserkva July 18; Nova Ukraina July 25; Kirovohrad July 30

July. German Einsatzgruppen C and D killing units start operating on Ukrainian territory killing Jews and later Ukrainians.

July 12. Germans arrest Ukrainians in Stetsko government. Bandera, Stetsko and others are taken as prisoners to Sachsenhausen Prison in Germany.

August 20. Erich Koch (1896-1986), rabidly anti-Ukrainian, is appointed by Hitler the Reichskommissar of the central and eastern part of Ukraine, Reichskommissariat Ukraine.

Summer. Germans start mass executions of Ukrainians. Ukrainian guerillas led by T. Borovets-Bulba start struggle against Soviet army and later become nucleus of UPA.

September. Germans start campaign to execute Ukrainian nationalists in OUN. Ukrainian guerillas start struggle against German army.

September 11. Ukrainian newspaper, Ukrainske Slovo, edited by Ivan Rohach, starts publishing in Kiev, is suppressed on December 12 and its entire staff executed by the Germans in Babyn Yar.

September 19. Germans occupy Kiev. Occupation lasts 778 days. Kiev's population in 1940 was 900,000 and in 1945 only 186,000.

September 26. 665,000 Soviet troops in 5 armies surrender in the Battle of Kiev to the Germans, the largest army to surrender in all history. Germans also capture 886 tanks, 3,718 cannon.

September 29-30. German Einsatzgruppen execute 33,771 Jews in Babyn Yar, Kiev. About 150,000 Ukrainians and others are later executed here.

October 12. Western Ukraine and Poland are included in the General Government of Germany.

October 16. Odessa occupied by Axis troops after 73 days.

October 24. Kharkiv captured by German troops.

November. A total of over 3.8 million Soviet soldiers surrendered to the German forces, between June 22 and November 30.

December 7. Pearl Harbour destroyed by Japanese. USA declares war on Japan and Germany.


January. Germans start campaign to attract workers from Ukraine for German war industries but few volunteer. In the Spring Germans start to transport forcibly Ukrainian Ostarbeiter as slave labor for Germany totaling at least 2.3 million or 2.5 million Ukrainians out of 3 million.

January 20. Wannsee Conference confirms the "Final solution" of the Jewish question.

February 9. Poetess Olena Teliha, editor Ivan Rohach and the entire staff of Ukrainske Slovo newspaper, the Mayor of Kiev and many other Ukrainians shot by Germans at Babyn Yar, Kiev. Germans start pro-Russian orientation in Ukraine.

July 4. Sevastopol in Crimea finally taken by German troops after 250 day siege. The Germans held it for only four days under Soviet seige in 1944.

July 16. Hitler moves his headquarters from Prussia to Ukraine at the Wehrwolf Lair near Vinnitsya and stays until September 27. He returns again in 1943.

July 28. Stalin Order No. 227 called for the execution of Soviet Army men as "traitors" who were cowards (captured) and also all officers who retreated without orders.

August 9. Ukrainian soccer team Kiev Dynamo (Start) in its fifth victorious game defeats German Flakelf team and is executed at Babyn Yar.

August 23. "The last cavalry charge in history". The Italian Army's Savoy Cavalry with 600 men under Colonel Bettoni charges with sabers and grenades and routs a Soviet unit of 2,000 men on the south-eastern edge of Ukraine near Krasnodon (?) or Izbuzhensk (?).

October 14. UPA Ukrainian Insurgent Army established and fights against both Germany and the USSR.


January 31. German troops in Stalingrad surrender.

April 28. Galicia Division officially announced, recruited and trained in Fall and Winter.

July 5. At the Battle of Kursk, on northeastern border of Ukraine, is site of the greatest tank battle in history where German forces are defeated.

August 12. Kharkiv captured by Soviet army.

October 14. Zaporizhia captured by USSR

October 25. Dnipropetrovsk captured by Soviet troops.

November 6. Kiev, capital of Ukraine, taken by Soviet troops.


January 24-Feb. 17. Battle of Korsun-Shevchenkivsky where 93,000 German troops killed or captured by Ukrainian Front Armies 1 and 2.

February. Start of Soviet army campaign to eliminate German occupation of Ukraine. Soviet army captures Lutsk and Rivne (Erich Koch's capital) Feb. 5; Kherson March 13; Vinnytsia (and Hitler's Headquarters) March 20; Proskuriv March 25; Mykolaiv March 28; Chernivtsi March 30; Odessa April 10; Simferopil April 13; Ternopil April 15; Sevastopol May 9; Lviv and Stanislaviv July 27; Drohobych August 6; Izmail August 25; Uzhhorod October 24.

May 18. Ukrainians in Polish Army of Anders help win the Battle of Monte Cassino (Italy) and some are buried in the "Polish" Cemetary of Cassino.

June 22. Stalin's Secret document No. 078/42, over the signatures of NKVD chief Beria, Marshal Zhukov and Federov proposes exile to Siberia of "all Ukrainians who had lived under the German occupation". Since all Ukraine was under German occupation this effectively meant every Ukrainian could be exiled except those who had escaped to Russia in 1941. Krushchev in his Secret Speech condemned Stalin for this decree.

July-August. Western Ukraine taken by Soviet army.

July 17-22. Galicia Division defeated at the Battle of Brody. About 3,000 retreat and 37,000 lost.

July 27. Lviv captured by Soviet troops,

October 10. Odessa abandoned by German army.

October 14. German occupation of Ukrainian territory ends after 1,871 days.

November 1. Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky of the Ukrainian Catholic Church dies in Lviv. He had saved hundreds of Jews in the war.

November 26. Congress in Mukachevo votes to join Carpatho-Ukrainian (Ruthenia) to Ukraine. On June 29, 1945, Czechoslovakia ceded Carpatho-Ukraine and it becomes Zakarpatska Province in the Ukrainian SSR.


February 4-11. Yalta Conference in Crimea [Ukraine] of "Big Three," Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, plan conclusion of war and post-war Europe. One secret provision is forced repatriation of Soviet citizens to USSR.

March 17. Ukrainian National Committee is founded. The Ukrainian National Army under General Pavlo Shandruk is established.

April 27. Galicia Division transferred to General Pavlo Shandruk's Ukrainian National Army and is renamed 1st Ukrainian Division. On May 6 it surrenders to British.

April 30. Hitler commits suicide in his Berlin bunker.

May 8. Victory in Europe V-E Day.

May 9. Prague captured from Germans: Soviet Victory Day.

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Copyright © 1995 Andrew Gregorovich

Reprinted from FORUM Ukrainian Review No. 92, Spring 1995

since March 1st 1997