1945 marked the end of World War II and the fall of Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan. The year saw the death of many leaders during the second world war as well such as FDR and Adolf Hitler. It was also the only year in which nuclear weapons have been used in combat.
January 18 – The Holocaust: The SS begins the evacuation of Auschwitz concentration camp. Nearly 60,000 prisoners, mostly Jews, are forced to march to other locations in Germany; as many as 15,000 die. The 7,000 too sick to move are left without supplies being distributed.
January 21–22 (night) – At the Grünhagen railroad station, located in East Prussia at this date, two trains, heading for Elbing, collide. At dawn the station is reached by Soviet Army infantry and tanks which destroy the station, killing between 140 to 150 people.
February 8 – The Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, championed by charismatic native leader Elizabeth Peratrovich, is passed by the territorial Senate, after the legislature defeated a previous bill in 1943.
The capital of the Philippines, Manila, is liberated by combined American and Filipino ground troops. American and Filipino troops enter Intramuros.
The German garrison in Poznań capitulates to Red Army and Polish troops.
Bombing of Pforzheim: The heaviest of a series of bombing raids on Pforzheim, Germany by Allied aircraft is carried out by the British Royal Air Force. As many as 17,600 people, or 31.4% of the town's population, are killed in the raid and about 83% of the town's buildings destroyed, two-thirds of its complete area and between 80 and 100% of the inner city.
February 28 – In Bucharest, a violent demonstration takes place, during which the Bolşevic group opens fire on the army and protesters. In response, Andrei Y. Vishinsky, USSR vice commissioner of foreign affairs and president of the Allied Control Commission for Romania, travels to Bucharest to compel Nicolae Rădescu to resign as premier.
Japanese battleship Yamato and nine other warships take part in Operation Ten-Go, a suicide attack on Allied forces engaged in the Battle of Okinawa. Yamato is sunk by U.S. Navy aircraft in the East China Sea 200 miles (320 km) north of Okinawa with the loss of 2,055 of 2,332 crew, together with five other Japanese warships.
Adolf Hitler privately concedes defeat in his underground Berlin bunker, after learning Felix Steiner cannot mobilize enough men to launch a counterattack on the Soviet Union which has just broken through Germany.
The bodies of Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, are hung by their heels in the public square of Milan Piazzale Loreto, following their execution by Italian partisans after an attempt to flee the country.
Canadian soldiers liberate the city of Amsterdam from Nazi occupation.
A Japanese fire balloon kills six people, Elsie Mitchell and five children, near Bly, Oregon, when it explodes as they drag it from the woods. These are the only people killed by an enemy attack on the American mainland during WWII.
At 02:41, General Alfred Jodl signs the unconditional German Instrument of Surrender in SHAEF HQ at Reims, France, to end Germany's participation in the war. Surrender is effective on May 8 at 23:01 hours Central European Time (00:01 hours May 9 German Summer Time).
Numerous RAF Lancasters land in Germany to repatriate British prisoners of war. Some 4,500 ex-POWs are flown back to Great Britain over the next 24 hours.
May 28 – U.S.-born Irish-raised William Joyce ("Lord Haw-Haw") is captured on the German border. He is later charged in London with high treason for his English-language wartime broadcasts from German radio, convicted, and then hanged in January 1946.
The 1945 United Kingdom general election is held, though some constituencies delay their polls for local holiday reasons. Counting of votes and declaration of results are delayed until July 26 to allow for voting by the large number of service personnel still overseas.
August 7 – U.S. President Harry Truman announces the successful atomic bombing of Hiroshima, while he is returning from the Potsdam Conference aboard the U.S. Navy heavy cruiser USS Augusta(CA-31), in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Russian code clerk Igor Gouzenko comes forward with numerous documents, implicating the Soviet Union in many spy rings in North America, both in the United States and in Canada.
September 8 – U.S. troops occupy southern Korea, while the Soviet Union occupies the north, with the dividing line being the 38th parallel of latitude. This arrangement proves to be the indirect beginning of a divided Korea, which will lead to the Korean War in 1950.
Assembly of the world's first general purpose electronic computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator Analyzer and Computer (ENIAC), is completed in the United States, covering 1,800 square feet (170 m2) of floor space, and the first set of calculations is run on it.
^"Central Europe Campaign – 522nd Field Artillery Battalion". Retrieved January 12, 2015. Jewish prisoners from the outer Dachau camps were marched to Dachau, and then 70 miles south. Many of the Jewish marchers weighed less than 80 pounds. Shivering in their tattered striped uniforms, the "skeletons" marched 10 to 15 hours a day, passing more than a dozen Bavarian towns. If they stopped or fell behind, the SS guards shot them and left their corpses along the road.
^Angier, R. B.; Boothe, J. H.; Hutchings, B. L.; Mowat, J. H.; Semb, J.; Stokstad, E. L. R.; Subbarow, Y.; Waller, C. W.; Cosulich, D. B.; Fahrenbach, M. J.; Hultquist, M. E.; Kuh, E.; Northey, E. H.; Seeger, D. R.; Sickels, J. P.; Smith Jr, J. M. (1945). "Synthesis of a Compound Identical with the L. Casei Factor Isolated from Liver". Science. 102 (2644): 227–28. Bibcode:1945Sci...102..227A. doi:10.1126/science.102.2644.227. PMID17778509.