The Liberation War of Bangladesh had been started on March 26, 1971 and has ended on December 16, 1971. Some of the major events of the war are listed in the timeline below.
Events before the war
- March 1: General Yahya Khan calls off the session of National Council to be held on March 3 in a radio address.
- March 7: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – leader of Awami League party that had won a landslide victory in East Pakistan in the Federal Elections in 1970, but never been granted authority – announces to a jubilant crowd at the Dhaka Race Course ground, “The struggle this time is the struggle for our emancipation! The struggle this time is the struggle for independence!”.
- March 9: Workers of Chittagong port refuse to unload weapons from the ship ‘Swat’.
- March 10: Expatriate Bengali students demonstrate in front of the United Nations Headquarters and calls for UN intervention to put an end to violence on Bengali people.
- March 16: Yahya Khan starts negotiation with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
- March 19: Nearly 50 people die as Pakistan Army opens fire on demonstrators at Jaydevpur.
- March 24: Pakistan Army opens fire on Bengali demonstrators in Syedpur, Rangpur and Chittagong. More than a thousand people are killed.
Events during the war
- March 31: Kushtia resistance begins.
- March 27: Independence of Bangladesh is again declared by Maj. Ziaur Rahman on behalf of Father of the Nation Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
- March 26: At 1.15 AM, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is arrested by the Pakistani 3 commando unit. Independence of Bangladesh is declared by Father of the nation BongoBondhu Sheikh Mujibiur Rahman few minutes before he was arrested by Pakistani occupation army. At 2.30 pm Independence of Bangladesh was declared by Awami league leader of Chittagong M. A. Hannan on behalf of Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from Kalurghat. This is Bangladesh’s official Independence Day.
- March 25: Pakistan Army starts Operation Searchlight in Dhaka and rest of the country, attacking general civilians, political activists, students, and Bengali members of armed forces and police.
- April 2: Jinjira massacre.
- April 6: The Blood Telegram
- April 11: Radio address by Tajuddin Ahmad, the Prime Minister.
- April 10: A provisional Bangladesh government-in-exile is formed.
- April 12: M. A. G. Osmani takes up the command of Bangladesh Armed Forces.
- April 17: A provisional government-in-exile took oath in Baidyanathtala (now called Mujibnagar) in Meherpur District.
- April 18: Battle of Daruin, Comilla and Battle of Rangamati-Mahalchari waterway, Chittagong Hill Tracts.
- April 24: Formation of Bangladesh Action Committee at Coventry, UK by non-resident Bangladeshis.
- April 28: Tajuddin pleas for arms aid to neighbors.
- May 5: Gopalpur massacre.
- May 15: Indian army starts aiding Mukti Bahini.
- May 20:The Chuknagar massacre takes place at Khulna where the Pakistan army kills nearly 10 thousand people.
- May 24: Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra finds home in Kolkata.
- July 11–17: Sector Commanders Conference 1971.
- August 1: The Concert for Bangladesh in Madison Square Garden, New York by George Harrison and friends.
- August 16: Operation Jackpot, Bangladesh naval commando operation.
- August 20: Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman’s attempt to defect by hijacking a fighter.
- August 30: Pakistan Army crackdown on Dhaka guerrillas.
- September 5: Battle of Goahati, Jessore.
- September 28: Bangladesh Air Force starts functioning.
- October 13: Dhaka guerrillas kill Abdul Monem Khan, governor of East Pakistan.
- October 28: Battle of Dhalai Outpost, Srimongol.
- October 31 to November 3: Battle of Dhalai: Indian attack from Tripura into East Pakistan to stop Pakistani cross-border shelling.
- November 9: Six small ships constitute the first fleet of Bangladesh Navy.
- November 16: Battle of Ajmiriganj, an 18-hour encounter between Mukti Bahini and Pakistan army. A famous freedom fighter, Jagatyoti Das, is martyred.
- November 20 to November 21: Battle of Garibpur: Indian attack in Boyra salient in East Pakistan
- November 21: Bangladesh Armed Forces is formed.
- November 22 to December 13, and sporadic fighting to December 16: Battle of Hilli: Indian attack on Bogra in East Pakistan.
- December 3: Bangladesh Air Force destroys Pakistani oil depots. Pakistani air attacks on India result in India declaring war on Pakistan.
- December 4 : Battle of Longewala; Indians stop a Pakistani invasion directed at Jaisalmer.
- December 5 : Battle of Basantar; Indians attack and take over Pakistani territory opposite Jammu.
- December 6: Bhutan becomes the first country to recognize Bangladesh after India. Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra becomes Bangladesh Betar.
- December 7: Liberation of Jessore, Sylhet and Moulovi Bazar.
- December 8: Operation Python: Indian naval attack on Karachi, West Pakistan.
- December 9: Battle of Kushtia: Indian attack from West Bengal into East Pakistan. Chandpur and Daudkandi liberated.
- December 10: Liberation of Laksham. Two Bangladeshi ships sunk mistakenly by Indian air attack.
- December 11: Liberation of Hilli, Mymenshingh, Kushtia and Noakhali. USS Enterprise is deployed by the USA in the Bay of Bengal to intimidate Indian Navy.
- December 13: Soviet Navy deploys a group of warships to counter USS Enterprise.
- December 14: Selective genocide of Bengali nationalist intellectuals. Liberation of Bogra.
- December 16: End of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Mitro Bahini takes Dhaka. East Pakistan Army surrenders to Mitro Bahini represented by Jagjit Singh Aurora of the Indian Army faction of the military coalition.
- December 22: The provisional government of Bangladesh arrives in Dhaka from exile.