What Happened in December 1939

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 SS-Fuhrer Himmler begins deportation of Polish Jews
  • Dec 2 British Imperial Airways & British Airways merge to form BOAC
  • Dec 2 NY's La Guardia Airport began operations as an airliner from Chicago lands, 1 minute after midnight
  • Dec 3 Dmitri Shostakovich's 6th Symphony premieres
  • Dec 6 5th Heisman Trophy Award: Nile Kinnick, Iowa (HB)
  • Dec 6 Cole Porter's musical "Du Barry was a Lady" premieres in NYC

Hall of fameHall of Fame

Dec 7 Lou Gehrig, 36, is elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame

Baseball Player Lou Gehrig
Baseball Player
Lou Gehrig
  • Dec 7 William Walton's violinist concert premieres in Cleveland
  • Dec 9 27th Grey Cup: Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeats Ottawa Rough Riders, 8-7
  • Dec 9 Russian air raid on Helsinki
  • Dec 9 1940 NFL Draft: George Cafego from University of Tennessee first pick by Chicago Cardinals
  • Dec 10 Green Bay Packers win NFL championship, beat NY Giants 27-0
  • Dec 10 KNVB celebrates 50th anniversary
  • Dec 11 New anti-Jewish measures proclaimed in Poland
  • Dec 12 Russ Indigirka capsizes in blizzard off Japanese coast; 750 die
  • Dec 13 Battle of the River Plate - 3 British cruisers vs German pocket battleship Graf Spee
  • Dec 14 Soviet Union attacks Finland-League of Nations drops Soviet Union
  • Dec 15 "Gone With the Wind" premieres in Atlanta
  • Dec 15 1st commercial manufacture of nylon yarn, Seaford, Delaware
  • Dec 15 Snip departs for 1st flight to Paramaribo/Curacao

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 16 Bradman scores 251* SA v NSW, 271 minutes, 38 fours 2 sixes

Cricket Legend Donald Bradman
Cricket Legend
Donald Bradman
  • Dec 17 German pocket battleship Graf Spee scuttled by its crew off Uruguay
  • Dec 18 Finnish army recaptures Agläjärvi
  • Dec 19 Russian air & ground attack against Finnish positions near Summa
  • Dec 20 Radio Australia begins overseas shortwave service

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 21 Hitler named Adolf Eichmann leader of "Referat IV B"

Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
  • Dec 22 125 die in train wreck at Magdeburg Germany
  • Dec 22 Bradman scores 138 in South Australia's 7-821 v Queensland
  • Dec 22 Finnish counter offensive at Petsamo
  • Dec 22 99 die in 2nd wreck at Friedrichshafen Germany
  • Dec 23 Finnish counter offensive at Summa
  • Dec 23 South Australia score 7-821 against Queensland
  • Dec 24 World War II: Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas Eve appeal for peace.
  • Dec 25 Grimmett & Ward rip through Qld except Bill Brown (156)
  • Dec 25 Montgomery Ward introduces Rudolph the 9th reindeer
  • Dec 26 Earthquake in East Anatolia Turkey
  • Dec 26 Mine strikes in Borinage Brussels
  • Dec 27 1st American skimobiles (North Conway, NH)
  • Dec 27 Between 20,000 & 40,000 die in magnitude 8 quake in Erzincam Turkey
  • Dec 29 First flight of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber prototype
  • Dec 30 Bradman scores 267 SA v Vic, world record 34th double cricket century
  • Dec 30 O'Reilly takes 14-45 (8-23 & 6-22) as NSW crush Qld in 2 days

Film release premierFilm Release

Dec 30 "Of Mice and Men", starring Burgess Meredith as George, Lon Chaney Jr. as Lennie, is released

  • Dec 31 Dutch national debt hits ƒ4,218,553,180.99

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 1 Dianne Lennon, singer (Lennon Sisters), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Dec 1 Lee Buck Trevino, PGA golfer (US Open 1968, 71), born in Dallas, Texas
  • Dec 2 Yael Dayan, Israeli writer and politician
  • Dec 2 Harry Reid, American politician
  • Dec 2 Francis Fox, Canadian politician, member of the Senate
  • Dec 5 Frederik van Rossum, composer
  • Dec 5 Horst Bastian, German writer and screenwriter, born in Exin (d. 1986)
  • Dec 6 Tomés Svoboda, Czech composer (Etude), born in Paris, France
  • Dec 8 James Galway, Belfast Ireland, flutist (18k gold flute, Royal Phil)
  • Dec 8 Jerry Butler, Sunflower Miss, rock vocalist (Never Give You Up)
  • Dec 8 Lynn Wilson, contractor/multi-millionaire
  • Dec 9 Patrician Stephens Due, Quincy, Florida, African-American civil rights activist (FAMU jail-in), (d. 2012)
  • Dec 10 Barry Cunliffe, English university professor
  • Dec 11 David Gates, rock vocalist (Bread-Baby I'm A Want You), born in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Dec 11 Thomas McGuane, US, writer (Colf Feet, Tom Horn, Missouri Breaks)
  • Dec 11 Tom Hayden, American civil rights and antiwar activist and politician (Rep-D-Ca), born in Royal Oak, Michigan (d. 2016)
  • Dec 13 Clive Brain, educationalist
  • Dec 14 Ernie [Ernest] Davis, American football player 1st African American to win Heisman Trophy (1961)
  • Dec 14 Marilyn Cooper, American actress (Broadway Bound, Survivors), born in NYC, New York
  • Dec 15 Cindy Birdsong, rock vocalist (Labelle-Rainbow, Supremes), born in Camden, New Jersey
  • Dec 15 Nicolaus A Huber, composer
  • Dec 17 Eddie Kendricks, Alabama, American singer-songwriter (The Temptations-My Girl, Boogie Down)
  • Dec 17 James Booker, R&B musician (Gonzo), born in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Dec 17 Novella Nelson, American actress (Nellie Cole-Chiefs), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Dec 17 Charles V. Bush, African-American pioneer (1st African-American US Air Force Academy Graduate and US Supreme Court Page), (d. 2012)
  • Dec 18 Christoffel "Stoffel" van de Merwe, South African minister of Education
  • Dec 18 Henrica M L "Wiesje" Backer, Dutch dancer/actress/playwright
  • Dec 18 Michael J Moorcock, England, sci-fi author (Alien Heat, Bull & Spear)
  • Dec 18 Sandro Lopopolia, Italy, lightweight boxer (Olympic-Silver-1960)
  • Dec 18 Harold E. Varmus, American scientist, Nobel laureate
  • Dec 20 Agatha N "Kim" Weston, US gospel/singer (It Takes Two)
  • Dec 20 Dianne Arndt, artist/photographer
  • Dec 20 Klaus Schweizer, composer
  • Dec 20 Kathryn Joosten, Eustis, Florida, actress (Desperate Housewives), (d. 2012)
  • Dec 21 Lloyd Axworthy, Canadian politician
  • Dec 22 James Gurley, American musician
  • Dec 23 Johnny Kidd, [Frederick Heath], rocker (Johnny Kidd & Pirates), born in London, England
  • Dec 25 Bob James, American smooth jazz musician, born in Marshall, Missouri
  • Dec 25 Christopher Wates, English real estate developer/multi-millionaire
  • Dec 26 Lynn Martin, US secretary of Labor (1991-93)
  • Dec 26 [Harvey] Phil Spector, record producer (Wall of Sound)
  • Dec 27 John Amos, actor (Good Times, Coming to America), born in Newark, New Jersey
  • Dec 28 Philip Anschutz, American businessman
  • Dec 29 Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, president of Maldives (1978- )
  • Dec 29 Ed Bruce, Keiser Arkansas, country singer
  • Dec 30 Doeke Eisma, sociologist/Dutch MP (D66)
  • Dec 30 Glenda Adams, Australian author (d. 2007)
  • Dec 31 Afaq Hussain, cricketer (Pakistani off-spinner in 2 Tests 1961-64)
  • Dec 31 Willye White, US long jumper (Oly-silver-56, appeared in 5 Olympics)

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 1 Max Fiedler, German composer, dies at 79
  • Dec 8 Ernest Schelling, composer, dies at 63
  • Dec 10 Wilhelm Grosz, composer, dies at 45
  • Dec 12 Douglas Fairbanks, actor (The Mark of Zorro, 3 Musketeers, Robin Hood), dies at 56
  • Dec 15 Tom McKibbin, cricketer (5 Tests for Aust 1895-1898, 17 wkts), dies
  • Dec 18 Matthew Brown, Journalist, dies at 51
  • Dec 19 Eric Fogg, English composer, dies under a train at 36
  • Dec 19 Karl Wagenfeld, Low German writer (Lucifer, Death & Devil), dies at 70
  • Dec 19 Willem Benoy, Flemish actor/director (The White), dies at 57
  • Dec 20 Hans Langsdorff, German capt (Graaf Spee), commits suicide
  • Dec 22 Ma Rainey, "Mother of the Blues", US blues singer/composer, dies at 53
  • Dec 23 Anthony H G Fokker, Dutch airplane builder (Spider), dies at 49