Archive for WWII History
Today in World War II History. On these pages you will find of some of the most important events that shaped World War 2.
An armistice is signed between France and Italy at Villa Indusa near Rome.
China protests to France over closure of Indo-Chinese border; Japanese request closure of Burma Road controlled by Britain and used to supply Chinese forces.
House of Commons votes for Â£1,000 million war credit as war expenditure now exceeds Â£10,250,000 per day.
Germans sweep west into Lithuania and White Russia, taking Vilna and Kaunas. Hungary breaks off diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
President Franklin Roosevelt pledges all possible support to the Soviet Union.
Major General Eisenhower is appointed commander of all US troops in Europe.
The German, Italian and Croatian forces in Yugoslavia, begin another offensive against Tito’s partisan army.
The RAF launches its third 1,000 bomber raid, this time on Bremen. The Luftwaffe launches the first in a series of night raids against Birmingham.
The Germans advance into Egypt as the British retreat continues. Sollum and Sidi Barrani are evacuated by the Eighth Army.
The RAF conducts a heavy raid on Elberfeld in the Ruhr.
The Russians report major advances against Army Group Centre. Hitler orders all but one of the five German divisions of the 53rd Corps that are encircled at Vitebsk to fight their way out.
A Great Victory Parade in Moscow’s Red Square, sees Zhukov takes the salute in Stalin’s presence.
The German advance continues down west coast of France. Pierre Laval is appointed as Vice-Premier, while de Gaulle is cashiered by Weygand for announcing the formation of French National Committee in London. First British commando raid on France is made at Le Touquet. Hitler makes a brief sightseeing visit to Paris. Driving through nearly empty streets, he makes a special point of viewing Napoleon’s tomb, ending his tour at the Eiffel tower.
US Under-Secretary of State, backs Churchill’s aid-for-Russia policy.
The Red Army launches an armored counter-attack near Tilsit in Lithuania, but this is repulsed with heavy losses. German forces cross the River Bug, bypassing Brest-Litovsk from the North and South and penetrating 50 miles into Russian occupied Poland. Slovakia declares war on the Soviet Union.
The Russians withdraw to the South side of Sevastopol’s bay, preserving their front, as the bombardment and German attacks increase.
German advanced elements reach the Egyptian border. Rommel signals Kesselring for permission to continue the advance in to Egypt, pointing out that at Tobruk his forces has captured large quantities of fuel and supplies.
A coal strike is Appalachia is finally settled. President Roosevelt warns the miners that if they strike again, he will draft them into the army so that they will be forced to work.
Eden tells the Commons ‘ the facts’ about the killing of 50 ‘escaping’ RAF officers at Stalag Luft III, saying ‘These prisoners of war were murdered’.
Generaloberst Dietl, C-in-C of 20th Gebirgs Army on the Arctic front in northern Finland, is killed in an air crash.
In one of the largest air strikes of the war, the U.S. Fifteenth Air Force sends 761 bombers against the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania.
The San Francisco Conference Co-ordination Committee, completes the text of the UN Charter.
Second London County Council evacuation scheme completed, with 100,000 children moved to the West Country and Wales.
Germans troops cross the River Loire in strength as an armistice between France and Germany is signed at Compiegne. Its terms are read out loud to the French delegation by Generaloberst Keitel and provide for the occupation of the entire Channel and Atlantic coastlines, all major industrial areas, Alsace-Lorraine is to be returned to Germany. Most of southern France will remain unoccupied, with a French administrative centre at Vichy. The French Army and Navy is to be demobilized and disarmed and France is to bear the cost of the German occupation. All French prisoners of war are to remain in Germany until a peace treaty is signed.
French representatives fly to Rome to negotiate with Mussolini.
Italians bomb Alexandria, Egypt.
Marshal PÃ©tain closes Indochina route to China. Churchill closes Burma Road to avoid war with Japan.
Just after midnight the Red Army is given orders to come to combat readiness, although they were still not allowed to occupy battle positions. At 3:15am, Operation ‘Barbarossa’ (MAP) begins with German and Axis forces comprising 183 divisions (3,500,000 men), 3,350 tanks, 7,184 guns and 1,945 aircraft launching the biggest military operation in history on an 1,800-mile front from ‘Finland to the Black Sea’. Three Army Groups supported by powerful Panzer armies and Luftwaffe bomber fleets, Army Group South (von Rundstedt) with Panzer Group 1 (von Kleist), Army Group Centre (von Bock) with Panzer Groups 2 (Guderian) and 3 (Hoth), and Army Group North (von Leeb) with Panzer Group 4 (Hoepner), go into action against 132 Soviet divisions (2,500,000 men), 20,000 tanks and 7,700 aircraft. The overall objective of the campaign is to destroy the Soviet forces in western Russia by the Autumn and to occupy the European part of the Soviet Union up to the line Archangel – Urals – Volga – Astrakhan. By the end of the first day, the Luftwaffe had destroyed 800 Soviet aircraft on the ground at 60 airfields and 400 in the air. The Red Army along the border seemed unprepared for the assault and offered only limited resistance, which allows the Panzer divisions to advance up to 50 miles and maul 12 Soviet divisions.
Churchill calls the German invasion of Russia, ‘the fourth turning point of the war’ and offers to give whatever help we can.
Italy declares war on Soviet Union. Romanians enter Bessarabia to regain it. Slovakia severs diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
Japan proposes 120-day plan to conquer South by March 1942.
A Japanese submarine shells Fort Stevens at the mouth of the Columbia River.
President Roosevelt signs the GI Bill of Rights which promises generous benefits for returning US servicemen.
Allied planes drop 1,100 tons of bombs on Cherbourg.
An all-out ground attack begins against Cherbourg.
The communist organized sabotage group BOPA, attacks the Danish arms factory “Riffelsyndikatet” (“the Rifle Syndicate”) in Copenhagen.
The Russian summer offensive, operation ‘Bagration’ begins against Army Group Centre in Byelorussia with assaults by the Soviet 1st Baltic, 3rd Belorussian 2nd and 1st Belorussian Fronts against Army Group Centre on a 450 mile front between Polotsk and Bobruysk. Soviet forces amount to 124 divisions, 1,200,000 men, 5,200 tanks, 30,000 guns and 6,000 aircraft. Against this, the German can field just 63 divisions, including 900 tanks and 10,000 guns. The Luftwaffe launches a surprise night raid (60 aircraft) on the US 8th Air Force’s shuttle base at Poltava in the Ukraine, destroying 44 B-17s and 500,000 gallons of fuel.
The British 2nd Division and 5th Indian Division meet on the Kohima-Imphal road, which is now completely clear of Japanese, lifting the 88-day siege of Imphal. The ‘Chindits’ begin an offensive on Mogaung in northern Burma.
Japanese resistance ends on Okinawa as the U.S. Tenth Army completes its capture.
Franco-German armistice negotiations begin at Compiegne, during which Hitler informs the French representatives of his terms in the same railway carriage as the German surrender was signed in 1918. Hitler issues a proclamation announcing the end of the war in the West and orders flags to be flown throughout Germany for ten days.
Hitler orders German subs not to attack US warships.
Prime Minister Churchill comments on the possibility of an alliance with the Soviet Union: “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”
British forces occupy Damascus, while another British column invades Syria from Iraq.
The Luftwaffe carries out a night raid against Southampton.
German infantry and combat engineers of 11th Army are gaining ground slowly in their assault on Sevastopol, but the ferocious Russian defense at Sevastopol forces Adolf Hitler do something he doesn’t like to do, namely delay the German Summer offensive.
General Erwin Rommel captures the port city of Tobruk in North Africa. The Germans capture 32,000 prisoners, 2,000 tons of fuel, 5,000 tons of food and 2,000 vehicles.
The RAF launches a heavy raid on Krefeld in the Ruhr, but lose 44 aircraft.
Allies advance to New Georgia, Solomon Islands.
The US 8th Air Force carries out raids on Berlin and the synthetic fuel plants at Leuna-Merseburg, which then continue on to Russia.
A further Russians assault against the Finns opens in eastern Karelia. The Red Army begins an offensive between lakes Ladoga and Onega on the northern front.
Organized resistance on Okinawa ends after 82 days of the bloodiest fighting in the Pacific, during which 98,654 Japanese have been killed and 6,922 captured. U.S. loses were 6,990 killed and 29,598 wounded.
FDR appoints former Republicans to counter isolationists:
- Henry Stimson as Secretary of Army
- Frank Knox as Secretary of Navy
- They join Hull, Morgenthau, and Hopkins as the “war cabinet”
Both Houses of Parliament meet in secret session to discuss Home Defense.
German troops capture Lyons and the vital port of Brest in Brittany. French envoys drive behind German lines to receive armistice terms. Italian forces begins an offensive along the Riviera coast into France.
The RAF bomb Rouen airfield.
The German heavy cruiser Gneisenau is damaged by a torpedo from the British submarine Clyde.
President Roosevelt, in a message to Congress, denounces the sinking of the American merchant ship Robin Moor by U-69 as ‘an act of piracy’.
The U.S. Army Air Forces is established, replacing the Army Air Corps.
Fort Lenin in Sevastopol falls to the Germans.
Declaring that “icicles sprouted in Hell today,” the director of the Erie Railroad announces the company will pay its shareholders a dividend for the first time in seventy years. The fifty-cents-a-share payoff is possible largely because of profits earned from transporting troops and war material.
The RAF institutes ‘shuttle bombing’ runs, with planes leaving England, bombing Germany, reloading in North Africa, bombing Italy and the returning to England begin, with 60 RAF bombers attacking the radar works at Friedrichshafen.
The British announce a five-day U-boat attack on the Atlantic convoys and claim that 97% of ships survived.
U.S. troops attack the outer defenses of Cherbourg.
Eighth Army take Perugia as its advance North continues.
The Red Army captures Viipuri on the Soviet-Finnish border.
The Japanese retreat from Imphal in Manipur towards the Burmese frontier.
Vice Admiral Marc Mitchner, commander of the U.S. Task Force 58, orders all lights on his ships turned on to help guide his carrier-based pilots back from the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The greatest aircraft carrier duel.
Australians troops land at Lutong on Sarawak and gain 25 miles to the Seria oilfields