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.

1939
On the 21st anniversary of Czech independence, celebrations become mass protests. A young medical student, Jan Opletal, is fatally wounded.

1940
Ministry of Health announces evacuation of 489,000 more children from London area.

Laval becomes Foreign Minister of Vichy government.

Italy attacks Greece after Greek rejection of three-hour ultimatum; Churchill promises ‘all the help in our power’. Hitler and Mussolini meet at Florence.

Cameron is replaced by Fadden as leader of the Australian Country Party.

1941
President Roosevelt approves the appropriation by Congress of an additional $6 billion in Lend-Lease aid to Britain and the Soviet Union.

1942
The first transport from Theresienstadt arrives at Auschwitz.

1944
The Germans begin to withdraw into Walcheren.

Orders are given by the Germans and Quisling regime to evacuate the entire population of Finnmark east of Lyngen, and all houses and installations are to be destroyed. More than 10,000 houses are burnt, and 40-45,000 people are forced southwards. About 25,000 manage to hide, or escape during the operation.

The Germans begin to evacuate Albania.

The Red Army’s advance into the Goldap area of East Prussia is brought to a standstill by the tenacious resistance of 4th Army.

The last train transport of Jews to Auschwitz are gassed. These are 2,000 Jews from Theresienstad.

The first B-29 Superfortress bomber mission flies from the airfields in the Mariana Islands in a strike against the Japanese base at Truk.

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1941
In a broadcast to the nation on Navy Day, President Franklin Roosevelt declares: “America has been attacked, the shooting has started.” He does not ask for full-scale war yet, realizing that many Americans are not yet ready for such a step.

The Russians launch numerous counter-attacks around Moscow in an attempt to halt the German advance. 11th Army forces a breakthrough at Perekop, thus opening the gate to the Crimean peninsula.

1942
Wolfpack ‘Battleaxe’ attacks Convoy SL-125 (37 ships) which is sailing from Sierra Leone to the UK. The attack begins off the northwest coast of  Africa, not far from Gibraltar and continues until the 31st October 1942. During this time 12 merchants (80,005 gross tons) are sunk and 7 damaged. While the battle rages, the allies re-route all convoys associated with the ‘Torch’ landings in North Africa.

The Soviet 37th Army is defeated in Caucasus.

During the Second Battle of El Alamein, a counter-attack by the 21st Panzer-Division to push the attacking British forces back into the German minefields fails, costing them 50 Panzer’s. This leaves the axis forces with just 81 operational tanks.

United States destroyers sink the damaged carrier USS Hornet to prevent her from falling into the hands of approaching Japanese ships. The Hornet has been in operation for only 371 days.

1943
Montgomery resumes the offensive operations in Italy.

Field Marshal Von Kluge is invalided from command of Army Group Centre as result of a car crash.

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1939
Forced labor decree issued for Polish Jews aged 14 to 60.

1940
London has longest air raid to date as a Catholic orphanage is among the buildings hit. British claim 41 German planes shot down in the past week against 21 British. The total German losses over Britain since the war began are put at a staggering 2,762 against Britain’s 780.

Ministry of Food subsidises fish and chip shops to encourage potato consumption.

The Italians protest to the Greeks about their ‘non-neutral’ attitude towards Italy.

1942
850 Jews are arrested in Norway.

The Eighth Army begins re-grouping its divisions at El Alamein for the final breakout.

Battle of Santa Cruz, with US forces attacking the large Japanese supporting fleet near Guadalcanal and shooting down 100 aircraft, damaging two carriers, a battleship and three cruisers. U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Hornet is heavily damaged during the Battle of Santa Cruz.

The USS South Dakota knocks down twenty-six Japanese planes during the Battle of Santa Cruz, setting the record for the most enemy planes downed in one day.

1943
The RAF launches a heavy night raid against Stuttgart, while the US 8th Air Force, in its greatest effort to date, delivers a devastating daylight attack on Bremen.

A hospital ship arrives in Liverpool with 790 wounded POW’s aboard, repatriated from Germany.

A feint landing on Choisseul in the Solomon’s is conducted by US forces. Meanwhile Treasury Island is occupied.

Emperor Hirohito states his country’s situation is now “truly grave.”

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1939
U-boats sink four more British ships.

1942
Germans capture two more streets in Stalingrad with severe losses. The last German offensive in the Caucasus begins.

Montgomery switches the attack to the North. Rommel breaks off his sick leave to take charge of the critical situation in which the axis forces now find themselves.

1943
The Japanese open the infamous Burma to Siam railway, which was built with forced British and commonwealth POW labor.

1944
Russians troops take the German base of Kirkenes in Norway.

The Red Army completes its capture of Transylvania in northwestern Romania.

The Japanese are defeated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the world’s largest sea engagement. From this point on, the depleted Japanese Navy increasingly resorts to the suicidal attacks of Kamikaze fighters. By the end of the war, Japan will have sent an estimated 2,257 aircraft. “The only weapon I feared in the war,” Adm. Halsey will say later.

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1938
In a move that increases tensions between the United States and Japan, the USS President Coolidge is forced to unload nearly $3 million worth of gold and silver before it is allowed to leave the Japanese controlled port of Shanghai.

1940
British Summer Time to be continued throughout winter.

Hitler meets Petain at Montoire, which leads ‘to agreement in principle of collaboration’, but Petain rejects the idea of a Franco-German military alliance.

1941
The Ukrainian city of Kharkov falls to the German 6th and 17th Armies of Army Group South.

1942
U-boat control in France creates wolfpack ‘Battleaxe’. This will operate in the North Atlantic until it is disbanded on the 1st November 1942 and will include at one time or another U-134, U-203, U-409, U-509, U-510, U-572, U-604 and U-659.

The land battle begins in earnest around Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, with the elite Japanese 2nd Division being wiped out.

1943
An E-boat attack on a convoy off the Norfolk coast result in four E-boats being sunk and one British trawler.

The Red Army achieves a breakthrough on the Dnieper river and captures Melitopol.

1944
The aircraft carrier USS Princeton is sunk by a single Japanese plane during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

1945
Vidkun Quisling, Norway’s wartime minister president, is executed by firing squad for collaboration with the Nazis.

The United Nations formally comes into being with twenty-nine ratifications having been received.

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