What Happened in May 1940

Historical Events

  • May 1 140 Palestinian Jews die as German planes bomb their ship
  • May 1 The 1940 Olympics are cancelled
  • May 4 21 "not neutral" nazis & communists arrested in Netherlands
  • May 4 66th Kentucky Derby: Carroll Bierman aboard Gallahadion wins in 2:05
  • May 5 Norwegian government in exile forms in London

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 6 Pulitzer prize awarded to John Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath)

  • May 10 British Local Defence Volunteers forms (later renamed the Home Guard)
  • May 10 Dutch torpedo boat Johan van Galen sinks
  • May 10 Dutch-Indies Gov Van Starkenborch proclaims end to state of siege
  • May 10 French marines stationed on Aruba
  • May 10 French troops arrive in Zealand/Brabant Netherlands
  • May 10 Nazi armies attack Netherlands, Belgium & Luxembourg

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 10 Winston Churchill succeeds Neville Chamberlain as British Prime Minister

Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
British Prime Minister
Neville Chamberlain
  • May 10 World War II: The first German bombs of the war fall on England at Chilham and Petham, in Kent.
  • May 11 65th Preakness: Fred A Smith aboard Bimelech wins in 1:58.6
  • May 11 NY World's Fair reopens
  • May 12 French marines occupy St Maarten
  • May 12 German tanks conquer Moerdijkbrug
  • May 12 Nazi blitzkrieg conquest of France began by crossing Muese River
  • May 13 British bomb factory at Breda
  • May 13 Winston Churchill says I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears & sweat
  • May 13 Dutch Queen Wilhelmina flees to England
  • May 13 German breakthrough at Grebbelinie
  • May 14 Admiral Johannes Furstner, Royal Dutch Navy, departs to England
  • May 14 Boston's Jimmie Foxx HR goes over Comiskey Park's left field roof
  • May 14 German breakthrough at Sedan
  • May 14 Lord Beaverbrook appointed British minister of aircraft production
  • May 14 Nazis bomb Rotterdam (600-900 dead), Netherlands surrenders to Germany
  • May 15 German armoured division moves into Northern France
  • May 15 German troops occupy Amsterdam, Gen Winkelman surrenders
  • May 15 Nazis capture General Dutch Persbureau (ANP)
  • May 15 USS Sailfish (SS-192) recomisioned, origionaly the Squalus.
  • May 15 McDonald's opens its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California.
  • May 16 Nazis forbid non-professional auto workers
  • May 16 British Premier Winston Churchill returns to London from Paris
  • May 17 Germany occupies Brussels, Belgium & begins invasion of France
  • May 17 Nazis bombs Middelburg/B IJzerdrat begins illegal defiance
  • May 18 German troops conquer Brussels
  • May 19 Amsterdam time becomes MET (Middle European Time)
  • May 19 French counter attack at Pronne under Gen De Gaulle
  • May 20 German General Guderian's tanks reach the English Channel (British expeditionary army)
  • May 20 Soccer team HZVV forms in Hoogeveen
  • May 20 Trailing 7-1 in 9th to Pitts, Phils win 8-7
  • May 21 AVRO-chairman Willem Vogt fires all Jewish employees
  • May 21 Allied counter attack at Atrecht, northern France
  • May 21 Reynaud forms French government
  • May 22 Dutch Premier De Geer begins working with nazis
  • May 22 UK Premier Winston Churchill flies to Paris to decide with General Maxime Weygand a strategy to save the city
  • May 23 1st great dogfight between Spitfires and Luftwaffe
  • May 24 1st night game at NY's Polo Grounds (Giants 8, Braves 1)
  • May 24 1st night game at St Louis Sportsman Park (Indians 3, Browns 2)
  • May 24 Dutch Queen Wilhelmina speaks on BBC radio
  • May 24 Dutch army demobilizes
  • May 24 German tanks reach Atrecht France

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 24 Hitler affirms Gen von Rundstedts "Stopbevel"

Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
  • May 24 NY Giants rip Boston Bees 8-1 in 1st night game at Polo Grounds
  • May 25 German troops conquer Boulogne
  • May 25 Golden Gate International Exposition reopens

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 26 1st successful helicopter flight in US: Vought-Sikorsky US-300 designed by Igor Sikorsky

Aviator Igor Sikorsky
Igor Sikorsky
  • May 27 British and Allied forces begin the evacuation of Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo) during WWII
  • May 27 World War II: In the Le Paradis massacre, 97 soldiers from a Royal Norfolk Regiment unit are shot after surrendering to German troops.
  • May 28 Belgium surrenders to Germany, King Leopold III gives himself up
  • May 28 British-French troops capture Narvik, Norway

Music releaseMusic Premiere

May 28 Irving Berlin's musical "Louisiana Purchase" premieres in NYC

Composer and Lyricist Irving Berlin
Composer and Lyricist
Irving Berlin
  • May 29 Adolf Kiefer swims world record 100 yards backstroke (58.8 sec)
  • May 29 Arthur Seyss-Inquart installed as Reich commissar of The Hague, Netherlands
  • May 29 In WW II, Germans capture Ostend & Ypres in Belgium & Lille in France
  • May 30 Indianapolis 500: Wilbur Shaw wins in 4:22:31.201 (183.911 km/h)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 31 Major General Bernard Montgomery leaves Dunkirk

British WWII Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
British WWII Field Marshal
Bernard Montgomery
  • May 31 Winston Churchill flies to Paris to meet with French Marshal Philippe P├ętain who announces he is willing to make a separate peace with Germany

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Elsa Peretti, Italian jewelry designer
  • May 2 Bryan Davis, cricketer (bro of Charlie WI batsman v Australia 1965)
  • May 2 Sari van Heemskerck Pillis-Duvekot, Dutch MP (VVD)
  • May 3 Konrad "Conny" Plank, German record producer and musician
  • May 3 Clemens Westerhof, Dutch football manager
  • May 3 David Koch, American businesman and philanthropist (Koch Industries), - 6th= richest person in the world (2015), born in Wichita, Kansas
  • May 4 Dick Curl, Chester Pa, offensive coordinator coach (Barcelona Dragons)
  • May 4 Robin Cook, American novelist
  • May 5 Lance Henriksen, actor (Aliens, Pumpkinhead, Knights, Hard Target)
  • May 6 Henry Habibe, Arubian poet (Kerensentenchi)
  • May 6 Murray Sidlin, American conductor (National Symphony 1973-77), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • May 7 Armando Krieger, composer
  • May 7 John Irvin, actor (Moment in Time)
  • May 7 Angela Carter, English novelist and journalist (d. 1992)
  • May 7 Jim Connors, American Radio personality, born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (d. 1987)
  • May 8 James Blyth, CEO (Boots)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 8 Peter Benchley, novelist (Jaws, The Deep), born in NYC, New York (d. 2006)

Jaws Novelist Peter Benchley
Jaws Novelist
Peter Benchley
  • May 8 Ricky Nelson, NJ, rock star (Hello Mary Lou, It's Late, Garden Party)
  • May 8 Irwin Cotler, Canadian politician
  • May 8 Toni Tennille, American singer
  • May 9 Dick Morrissey, saxophonist
  • May 9 James L Brooks, producer/director (Broadcast News, Taxi, Critic)
  • May 10 Wayne Dyer, American psychologist and author (Universe Within You) (d. 2015)
  • May 10 Arthur Alexander, US singer/songwriter (Lonely Just Like Me)
  • May 10 Taurean Blacque, actor (Neal Washington-Hill Street Blues), born in Newark, New Jersey
  • May 10 Bill Cash, British politician (C, born in London
  • May 10 Wayne A. Downing, retired United States Army general
  • May 11 Ronald Anthony Pellegrino, composer
  • May 11 Juan Downey, Chilean video artist (d. 1993)
  • May 12 Norman Whitfield, American songwriter and producer for Motown (I Heard It Through the Grapevine), born in New York City
  • May 13 Bruce Chatwin, England, writer (On the Black Hill)
  • May 13 Richard Brooks, singer (Impressions)
  • May 14 Chay Blyth, English sailor (Alone in Order to the World)
  • May 14 Troy Shondell, American singer
  • May 14 'H'. Jones, British Soldier (VC recipient) (d. 1982)
  • May 15 Beth Stone, LPGA golfer
  • May 15 Paul Rudd, actor (Conn Yankee in King Arthur's Court), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • May 16 Gareth Roberts, chancellor (Sheffield University)
  • May 17 Alan Kay, American computer scientist
  • May 18 A Marshall Stoneham, FRS, physicist
  • May 18 Pat Trimborn, cricket pace bowler (South African in 4 Tests 1966-70)
  • May 19 Carlos Diegues, actor (Xica)
  • May 19 Frank Lorenzo, airline executive (Continental, Texas Air, Eastern)
  • May 19 Joan Staley, playmate (Nov, 1958)
  • May 19 Mickey Newbury, rocker
  • May 19 Jan Janssen, Dutch cyclist
  • May 20 Sadaharu Oh, of Yomiuri Giants (Japan), hit 868 career HR
  • May 20 Shorty Long, soul singer/pianist (Here Comes the Judge)
  • May 20 Stan Mikita, NHL center (led NHL in scoring 4 times)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 21 Tony Sheridan, English singer-songwriter and guitarist, born in Norwich, England (d. 2013)

Singer-Songwriter and and Guitarist Tony Sheridan
Singer-Songwriter and and Guitarist
Tony Sheridan
  • May 22 Bernard Shaw, news correspondant (CBS, CNN)
  • May 22 Erapalli Prasanna, cricketer (one of India's big four spinners)
  • May 22 Michael Sarrazin, actor (Seduction, They Shoot Horses Don't They)
  • May 24 Joseph Brodsky, USSR, author (Less than 1, Nobel 1987)
  • May 26 Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, French Canadian politician
  • May 26 Levon Helm, Elaine Arkansas, American musician (The Band), (d. 2012)
  • May 27 Rene Koering, composer
  • May 28 Betty Shabazz, educator/talk show hostess/widow (Malcolm X)
  • May 28 Hans Dulfer, tenor saxophonist/director (Paradiso)
  • May 28 Thomas E Petri, (Rep-R-WI, 1979- )
  • May 28 Maeve Binchy [Snell], Dalkey, Ireland, novelist (Light a Penny Candle), (d. 2012)
  • May 29 Farooq Leghari, President of Pakistan
  • May 30 David Ackroyd, actor (I Come in Peace, Memories of Me), born in Orange, New Jersey
  • May 31 Augie Mayer, rocker (Sir Douglas Quintet)
  • May 31 Elfi Mikesch, cinematographer (Erotique, Out of America, Malina)
  • May 31 Gilbert Shelton, American underground comics illustrator

Famous Weddings

HeartWedding of Interest

May 5 Actress Mary Martin (26) weds producer Richard Halliday (35)

Actress Mary Martin
Mary Martin

HeartWedding of Interest

May 25 MLB outfielder Stan Musial (19) weds his high school sweetheart Lillian Labash in Daytona Beach

MLB Legend Stan Musial
MLB Legend
Stan Musial

Famous Deaths

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 3 Henry Ossian Flipper, American soldier, former slave and first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, dies at 84

Soldier and Former Slave Henry Ossian Flipper
Soldier and Former Slave
Henry Ossian Flipper
  • May 7 George Lansbury, Labour Party Leader (b. 1859)
  • May 10 Euphemia "Phemia" Molkenboer, Dutch author/poster artist, dies at 56
  • May 14 Eddy [Charles E] du Platform, writer/poet, dies
  • May 14 Emma Goldman, US anarchists/feminist/author (Living My Life), dies
  • May 14 Jacob van Gelderen, economist/sociologist/SDAP-2nd-Chamber, dies at 49
  • May 14 Menno ter Braak, Dutch writer (Forum, New Elite), suicide at 38
  • May 15 Joseph Limburg, liberal 2nd-Member of parliament (1905-19), dies at 75
  • May 15 Willem A Bonger, Dutch criminologist (Race & Crime), suicide at 63
  • May 20 Amar Singh, cricketer (of pneumonia Indian pace bowler 1932-36), dies
  • May 20 Joris [Georges] van Severen, Flem fascist/Member of parliament, dies
  • May 23 Andrej N Rimski-Korssakov, Russian musicologist/son of Nikolai, dies
  • May 23 Paul Nizan, French journalist/writer (Ce Soir/Aden Arabia), dies at 35
  • May 25 Joe De Grasse, American film director (b. 1873)
  • May 28 Randle Ayrton, actor (Manx Man), dies at 70
  • May 28 Theodor Streicher, composer, dies at 65
  • May 28 Walter Connolly, actor (It Happened One Night, Good Earth), dies at 53
  • May 28 Friedrich Karl von Hessen (b. 1868)
  • May 30 Y de Smit-Rog, oldest citizen of Netherlands, dies at 104