1939 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini sign “Pact of Steel” forming the Axis powers.
1940 British cipher experts at Bletchley Park break the Luftwaffe Enigma code.
Britain officially rejects Hitler’s “peace offer.”
Britain establishes Special Operations Executive (SOE) under Hugh Dalton to support resistance groups in Nazi-occupied Europe.
The XIX Panzerkorps (Guderian) strikes from Abbeville toward Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk along the Channel coast.
New Japanese cabinet formed with Prince Fumimaro Konoe as Prime Minister.
1941 Himmler establishes Norwegian SS on German lines.
British blockade of Vichy France made complete.
Heavy German air attacks on Crete sink the cruisers Fiji, Gloucester and the destroyer Greyhound. The BattleshipsÂ Warspite and Valiant are damaged, but the Royal Navy breaks up German supply convoy.
Fierce fighting continues as British troops begin to pull back from Maleme airfield towards Suda Bay in order toÂ regroup and protect their main point of supply.
British forces capture the last Italian stronghold in southern Abyssinia.
1942 The 6th Army and Kleist’s Panzer’s meets thereby pinching of the Russian salient Southeast of Kharkov.
In US, gasoline rationing coupons are issued in 17 Eastern states and rationing begins
Japanese take Buna and Giruwa, New Guinea, beginning battle for Kokoda Trail.
1943 US Seventh Army takes Palermo, Sicily without opposition.
The Battle of Kursk ends after Hitler withdraws troops to reinforce Sicily.
1944 German SS troops destroy town of St. Gingolph, France.
1945 Montgomery is appointed as C-in-C of the British force of occupation in Germany and a British member of the allied control commission.
‘Sugar Loaf Hill’ on Okinawa is finally taken by U.S. troops after changing hands 11 times in the last few days.
First US troops transferred from Europe arrive in the Philippines.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 12 WWII Today: November 17 WWII Today: November 21
1940 Czech government-in-exile established in London under Dr. Benes.
Hitler orders preliminary planning for invasion of Russia.
Romania forced by Germany to give Dobruja province to Bulgaria.
1941 FDR asks Congress to extend the draft.
US starts national aluminum salvage drive.
France accepts Japan’s demand for military control of Indochina.
In occupied Poland near Lublin, Majdanek concentration camp becomes operational.
Luftwaffe begins assault on Moscow with an air raid at night.
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania join the Soviet Union under duress.
1942 US losses since the war began are reported at 44,143 killed, wounded and missing.
Japanese invade Papua New Guinea, landing Buna and Gona, push south toward Port Moresby.
1943 US destroyers Monaghan and Aylwin bombard Kiska in the Aleutians unopposed.
1944 Some of the German defenders of the Brody Pocket reach German lines.
Hitler gives permission to retreat from the Narva River to the Tannenberg defence line in the Sinimäed hills 20 km West from Narva.
At 1 a.m., Hitler gave a speech over the radio to prove to the German people that he was still alive. He declared that the conspirators would be “exterminated quite mercilessly
U.S. Marines land on Guam, establishing beach-heads up to a mile inland. The island is back under US control by August 10, but snipers continue to attack long after the war ends. The last Japanese soldier on the island does not surrender until the 1970s.
Harry S. Truman was nominated to be President Roosevelt’s running mate at the Democratic National Convention.
1945 Six truckloads of art stolen by the Nazis is returned to Florence, Italy.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: November 20 WWII Today: November 23 Words at War: The Silence of the Sea
1940 Luftwaffe night-fighters (Me 110s) first shoot down a British plane.
President Roosevelt signs the ‘Two Ocean Navy Expansion Act’. This was the first step in preparing America for war against either Germany or Japan, or both.
British claim 40 Luftwaffe planes down in a week; British civilian casualty figures for last month announced: 336 killed, 476 seriously injured.
German aircraft sink destroyer Brazen off Dover.
1941 Stalin appoints himself Defense Commissar.
USSR resumes diplomatic relations with German occupied countries.
Stalin declares himself Soviet Defense Commissar.
Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow, formerly an enemy of the state, makes radio broadcast urging resistance to Nazi invasion.
1942 The U.S. Army Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) begins its first training class at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
Mussolini temporarily abandons his ‘Victory March on Cairo’ and returns to Rome.
The Russians recapture the bridgehead at Voronezh on the Don.
The Headquarters of MacArthur’s southwest Pacific theatre moves from Melbourne to Brisbane.
US forms First Special Service Force (FSSF) under Col. Robert Frederick as a commando unit with both US & Canadian troops.
1943 The Italians surrender to U.S. forces en masse in western Sicily.
The Canadians start to push around Mt. Etna as Catania drive falters.
HMAS Hobart is put out of action by a torpedo attack from a Japanese submarine west of New Hebrides.
Soviets order all partisans in German-occupied Europe to attack rail lines.
1944 Adolf Hitler suffers only minor cuts when a bomb explodes in the office of his Wolf’s Lair fortress. The bomb has been planted by Lieutenant Colonel Count Claus von Stauffenberg, who is caught and executed in under twenty four hours.
Heavy rain for next two days ends operation ‘Goodwood’ after 413 British tanks are lost.
French troops begin their withdrawal from the Italian front, ready for the invasion of Southern France.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Amazing B-17 Survival Story Words at War: Escape from Tojo WWII Today: July 2
1940 General Sir Alan Brooke takes over from Ironside as C-in-C, Home Forces. Ironside becomes a Field Marshal.
Hitler makes triumphant speech to Reichstag: accuses Allies of war mongering and appeals ‘for the last time to reason’.
The Italian Cruiser, Bartolomeo Colleoni is sunk off Cape Spada, near Crete by HMAS Sydney.
1941 BBC announces the ‘V Army’, the resistance movement in Occupied Europe.
George Armstrong executed at Wandsworth prison for spying.
Hitler issues Directive No.33. This states that Moscow is no longer the priority, but that once the Smolensk pocket has been reduced, then Army Group Centre is to hand over Panzer Group 3 to Army Group North and Panzer Group 2 to Army Group South. This will enable the flanks to be secured by capturing Leningrad in the North and overrunning the Ukraine in the South.
1942 German U-boats are withdrawn from positions off the U.S. Atlantic coast due to effective American anti-submarine countermeasures.
Himmler orders Operation Reinhard, mass deportations of Jews in Poland to extermination camps.
Japanese invasion fleet leaves Rabaul for Buna, New Guinea.
1943 USAAF planes bomb Rome for the first time, using carefully drawn maps in an attempt to avoid hitting the city’s numerous historic churches. The effort is deemed nearly perfect; only one church is damaged, Basilica at San Lorenzo.
1944 The British 3rd Division is repulsed from Emiville four times as the Canadians clear the southern suburbs of Caen. The British 11th Armoured Division takes Bras and Hubert-Follie.
The U.S. 34th Division captures Livorno on the Italian coast.
The Russians claim to have crossed into Latvia.
U.S. Marines invade Guam in the Marianas.
1945 Lt. General James Doolittle establishes the US Eighth Air Force on Okinawa, having transferred from England.
Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Words at War: What to Do With Germany WWII Today: March 14 WWII Today: May 6
1940 Prince Konoye forms new Japanese Cabinet with Army and Navy nominees.
1941 The Japanese foreign minister, Yosuke Matsuoka is replaced by a moderate. New Japanese Cabinet has four generals and three admirals.
US Army Air Force opens bases in Iceland to patrol convoy routes in North Atlantic.
US Secretary of Navy Frank Knox approves plan to build 100 destroyer escorts for Britain.
1942 The German Me-262, the first jet-propelled aircraft to fly in combat, makes its first flight.
Hitler changes his mind and orders Army Group B to resume its offensive towards Stalingrad. However, as almost all the German Army had be transferred to Army Group A, the advance was left to Paulus’s 6th Army which had been reinforced by a panzer and an infantry Corps. The remaining panzers with Army Group A were ordered to thrust south over the lower Don on a broad front.
1943 The U.S. Navy airship K-74 is shot down by anti-aircraft fire from a German U-boat.
The Germans say Cologne is in a state of chaos after allied raids.
1944 4,500 Allied aircraft pound the German positions with 7,000 tons of bombs.
The U.S. XIX Corps capture St. Lo, but has suffered 6,000 casualties since the 11th July. Montgomery launches Operation ‘Goodwood’ 40 miles east of Caen. However, VIII Corps is stopped with loss of 200 tanks and 1,500 men after the ‘death ride of the armored divisions’, which also destroys 109 Panzer’s.
The Polish II Corps takes Antona in Italy.
U.S. troops capture Saint-Lo, France, ending the battle of the hedgerows.
The First Belorussian front attacks, with six armies and 1,600 aircraft from Kovel across the Bug towards Lublin.
Buffeted by more than two years of military and naval defeats, Gen. Hideki Tojo is forced to resign his offices of prime minister, war minister and chief of the Imperial General Staff. While Tojo’s removal strengthens somewhat the elements of the Japanese government inclined to seek peace, Tokyo’s official policy of fighting to the end remains unchanged.
1945 Honda’s attempt to break out in Burma begins in earnest.
Allied carrier planes hit Japanese naval forces in Tokyo Bay, sinking 12 ships and damaging nine, including the battleship Nagato.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Words at War: Ten Escape From Tojo WWII Today: September 30 WWII Today: June 18
1940 The German Army presents its plan for the invasion of Britain. Six divisions are to land between Ramsgate and Bexhill in the southeast corner of England, four will land between Brighton and the Isle of Wight and three on the Dorset coast. Two Airborne division’s will also be deployed, with follow up forces including six Panzer and three Motorised divisions.
The first anti-Jewish measures are taken in Vichy France.
Under extreme diplomatic pressure, Britain agrees to close the Burma Road, a vital supply route for the Chinese army.
1941 FDR wants to double the 7 night baseball games to keep war workers on the job.
In Finland the old 1939 border is crossed by Finnish forces at KÃ¤snÃ¤selkÃ¤.
1942 Italians repulse British attack at Miteirya Ridge at El Alamein.
Himmler visits Auschwitz-Birkenau for two days, inspecting all ongoing construction and expansion, then observes the extermination process from start to finish as two trainloads of Jews arrive from Holland. Kommandant Hess is then promoted. Construction includes four large gas chamber/crematories.
1943 An allied military government (Amgot) is set up in Sicily.
1944 Two ammunition-laden transport ships explode whilst docked at Port Chicago, California. 320 sailors and other military personnel are killed in what is the worst stateside disaster of the war. Most of the sailors were African-Americans, who had received no training in ammunition handling. Many of the survivors refused to load any more ships until proper safety procedures were put in place. The so-called “Port Chicago Mutiny” resulted in numerous court martials and imprisonments, but the publicity surrounding the event led directly to the end of racially segregated assignments in the Navy two years later.
Rommel is severely wounded by a Spitfire attack after his inspection of defenses Southeast of Caen.
The Germans say they will hold Baltic States ‘at all costs’, as the Russian advance approaches the Latvian border.
Admiral Shimada, the Japanese Navy Minister is sacked, Nomura takes over.
1945 President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill began meeting at Potsdam in the final Allied summit of World War II.
Take a look at these other WWII Posts:Words at War: Battle Report: Pearl Harbor To Coral Sea WWII Today: May 24 Words at War: Your School Your Children
1940 Hitler issues Directive No.16, orders for the planning of ‘Operation Sealion‘, the invasion of Britain. Twenty divisions are earmarked for the invasion, but the Luftwaffe must gain air superiority first. All plans are to be ready by mid-August.
Destroyer Imogen sinks in Pentland Firth after collision in fog by the British light cruiser HMS Glasgow.
Japanese Cabinet resigns under army pressure.
Vichy France revokes citizenship of naturalized Jewish citizens.
1941 Army Group South traps 20 Russians divisions in a pocket at Uman.
Vichy France bans Jews from practicing as lawyers.
Lt. Yakov Dzhugashvili, Stalin’s son, is taken prisoner by Germans—he will die as POW in April 1943.
1942 Nazi’s round up 2,887 Jews of Paris are rounded up and sent to Drancy Internment Camp at the Vélodrome d’Hiver for deportation to concentration camps.
US Navy forms Task Force 61, Solomons Expeditionary Force, under Vice Adm. Frank Fletcher, and Task Force 63 over all Allied land-based planes in Southwest Pacific, under Rear Adm. John McCain.
1943 Canadians forces take Caltagirone, 40 miles inland from Syracuse. The Americans take Agringento, before beginning their drive for Palermo. The British finally secure Primosole bridge and Montgomery advances on Catania.
t Kursk, Russia, Germans halt offensive on Hitler’s order.
Theophil Wurm, bishop of Württemburg, writes Hitler to protest deaths in camps.
1944 The Brody pocket begins to form in the northern Ukraine, trapping 40,000 German troops.
The Eighth Army captures Arezzo and reaches the Arno river.
Sixth Army Group (US Seventh Army & French First Army) formed under Lt. Gen. Jacob Devers for Operation Anvil, the invasion of Southern France (later named Operation Dragoon).
Lt. Cdr. Goodwin of New Zealand escapes Japanese POW camp in Hong Kong, swims to mainland China, the only man to escape from Hong Kong.
1945 At 5.30 am, the first atomic bomb is exploded at a test site in Los Alamos, USA.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: November 23 WWII Today: November 22 WWII Today: September 13
1940 Unemployment in Britain up 60,431 in June to 827,266, but still down half a million on June 1939. Home Office bans fireworks, kite and balloon flying.
RAF reduces pilot training from three months to one month.
The rector of Old Bolingbroke, England, is sentenced to 4 weeks prison for ringing a church bell. Britain bans fireworks, kites, and balloons.
1941 British MAUD report recommends low yield U-235 bombs by 1943.
British forces enter Beirut.
Double agent Juan Garcia (“Garbo”), working for Britain, sends his first fake communiqué to Berlin.
Germans encircle 300,000 Soviets in Smolensk pocket, which delays the drive on Moscow.
US extends Security Zone from 26˚ W to 22˚ W, including Iceland within western hemisphere defense zone.
A US airbase is established at Argentia in Newfoundland.
1942 Final losses for convoy PQ-17 are 24 ships sunk for 141,721 tons. 8 ships were sunk by the Luftwaffe, 7 by U-boats and another 9 were combined Luftwaffe/U-boat kills. The loss of material was likewise very heavy with 210 aircraft, 430 tanks, 3350 lorries, and 99,316 tons of general cargo going to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. The Germans lost only 5 planes and no U-boats.
The Germans take Boguchar and Millerovo, less than 200 miles from Stalingrad. However, they have only capturedÂ 80,000 Russian’s since the 28th June.
New Zealander troops attack ‘Kidney’ Ridge in three days of fighting, which costs Rommel 2,600 prisoners and 115 guns captured.
The first supply flight from India to China over the ‘Hump’ is flown.
1944 Two Soviet armies from Crimea join the Baltic front so that it can continue its offensive. Russian tank penetrations are only 25 miles from Lvov.
1945 The U.S. Third Fleet shells the steel center on Hokkaido Island in the Japanese homeland. It is reported that 108,000 tons of shipping has been sunk in last two days attacks.
The Australians take Prince Alexander Range in Borneo after an eight-week struggle.
Italy declares war on Japan.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 16 WWII Today: November 16 WWII Today: June 1
1940 Bastille Day in France declared ‘day of meditation’, de Gaulle and Free French lay wreaths at Cenotaph in London.
Churchill broadcasts that Hitler must recast his invasion plans.
British commandos launch a raid against Guernsey in the Channel Islands, with negligible results.
A force of German bombers attacks Suez, Egypt, from bases in Crete.
1941 Believing the campaign in the East soon to be concluded in Germany’s favor, Hitler orders the German war industry to shift production away from guns and armored vehicles to U-boats and planes.
Army Group North is now only 80 miles from Leningrad.
An armistice is signed at Acre between Vichy and British/Free French forces. This requires all French material to be handed over to the British and gives the Vichy French the choice of joining the Free French or returning to France. Most opt for the latter. During the campaign the Vichy French suffered 3,350 killed or wounded, while the
British and Free French lost about 2,400 men.
1942 A program in occupied France begins. In 3 days 15,000-18,000 Jews are arrested and sent to concentration camps.
Beginning of deportation of Dutch Jews to Auschwitz.
Final losses for PQ17 are 24 out of 35 ships sunk.
The advance by Army Group A towards Rostov continues against minimal Soviet resistance.
A British attack against axis positions to the South of El Alamein is repulsed.
1943 RAF Coastal Command begins daily patrols over the Bay of Biscay with aircraft equipped with new detection devices
to locate and destroy German U-boats leaving and entering their bases on the French coast.
Joining in the counter-offensive by the Central, Bryansk and Western Fronts, the Soviet Voronezh Front launches
attacks against the 4th Panzer Army and Army Detachment Kempf in the southern sector of the Kursk salient.
British and German paratroops fight for key Primosole bridge in Sicily.
1944 Hitler leaves Berchtesgaden for the last time.
A new Russian offensive begins in the northern Ukraine opens with massive support from the Red Air Force and gains up to 10 miles and recaptures Pinsk.
1945 The first Bastille Day for five years is celebrated enthusiastically by the French.
The U.S. Third Fleet shells Kamaishi, 275 miles north of Tokyo.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 1 WWII Today: May 18 WWII Today: December 17