Events in History in 1939

Events 1 - 200 of 314

  • Jan 1 Sydney, Australia, swelters in 45 ˚C (113 ˚F) heat, a record for the city.
  • Jan 3 Gene Cox becomes 1st girl page in US House of Representatives
  • Jan 4 Frieda Wunderlich elected 1st woman dean of a US graduate school

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 4 Hermann Goering appoints Reinhard Heydrich head of Jewish Emigration

Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich
Nazi leader
Reinhard Heydrich
Nazi Politician Hermann Goering
Nazi Politician
Hermann Goering
  • Jan 7 US worker's union leader Tom Mooney freed (jailed since 1916)
  • Jan 13 Belgian premier signs Burgos Treaty for trade relations with Franco
  • Jan 13 The Black Friday bush fires burn 20,000 square kilometres of land in Australia, claiming the lives of 71 people.
  • Jan 14 All commercial ferry services between San Francisco and East Bay end
  • Jan 14 Norway claims Queen Maud Land in Antarctica
  • Jan 15 Municipal Railway & Market St RR begin service to Transbay Terminal
  • Jan 16 Daily newspaper comic strip "Superman" debuts
  • Jan 16 The IRA begins a bombing campaign in England
  • Jan 17 Ed Barrow is elected Yankee president succeeding deceased J Ruppert
  • Jan 19 Ernest Hausen of Wisconsin sets chicken-plucking record-4.4 sec
  • Jan 20 Charles Ives' 1st Sonata "Concord" premieres

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 21 George Kaufman & Moss Hart's "American Way" premieres in NYC

Playwright Moss Hart
Playwright
Moss Hart
  • Jan 21 US female Figure Skating championship won by Joan Tozzer
  • Jan 21 US male Figure Skating championship won by Robin Lee
  • Jan 22 Aquatic Park, near Fisherman's Wharf, SF, is dedicated
  • Jan 24 30,000 killed by earthquake in Concepcion Chile
  • Jan 24 Spanish government moves to Figueras
  • Jan 25 Earthquake hits Chillan Chile, 10,000 killed

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 25 1st nuclear fission experiment (splitting of a uranium atom) in the US, in basement of Pupin Hall, Columbia University by a team including Enrico Fermi

Father of the Atomic Bomb Enrico Fermi
Father of the Atomic Bomb
Enrico Fermi
  • Jan 26 Federal Hall National Monument established
  • Jan 26 Filming begins on "Gone With the Wind"

Victory in battleVictory in Battle

Jan 26 Franco conquers Barcelona

Spanish Dictator and General Francisco Franco
Spanish Dictator and General
Francisco Franco
  • Jan 27 First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 30 Hitler threatens the Jews during his speech to the German Reichstag (Parliament)

Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
  • Jan 30 Heavy after shocks destroy some of Chile
  • Feb 4 Glenn Cunningham (top miler) says 4-min mile beyond human effort
  • Feb 6 Spanish government flees to France
  • Feb 9 Belgian Spaak government falls
  • Feb 15 German battleship Bismarck was launched
  • Feb 15 Lillian Hellman's "Little Foxes" premieres in NYC
  • Feb 18 Golden Gate International Exposition opens on Treasure Island
  • Feb 21 Belgian government of Pierlot forms
  • Feb 22 Netherlands recognizes Franco regime in Spain
  • Feb 25 1st Anderson bomb shelter in Britain erected in an Islington garden
  • Feb 27 Belgian government of Pierlot falls
  • Feb 27 Borley Rectory, "the most haunted house in England", destroyed in a fire
  • Feb 27 France recognizes Franco's regime in Spain
  • Feb 27 Supreme Court outlaws sit-down strikes
  • Feb 28 Great Britain recognizes Franco regime in Spain
  • Feb 28 The first issue of Serbian weekly magazine Politikin zabavnik is published.
  • Feb 28 The erroneous word "Dord" is discovered in the Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.
  • Mar 1 Japanese Imperial Army ammunition dump exploded at Hirakata, Osaka, Japan, killing 94.
  • Mar 2 Eugenio Pacelli chosen as Pope Pius XII
  • Mar 2 Massachusetts Legislature votes to ratify the US Bill of Rights - 147 years late

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 3 Mahatma Gandhi begins a fast in Mumbai (Bombay) to protest against autocratic rule in India

Pacifist and Spiritual Leader Mahatma Gandhi
Pacifist and Spiritual Leader
Mahatma Gandhi
  • Mar 7 Glamour magazine begins publishing
  • Mar 7 Guy Lombardo & Royal Canadians 1st record "Auld Lang Syne"
  • Mar 8 Lenore Coffee & William Joyce Cowan's "Family Portrait" premieres
  • Mar 10 17 villages damaged by hailstones in Hyderabad, India
  • Mar 12 Pope Pius XII crowned in Vatican ceremonies
  • Mar 14 England draw with South Africa at Durban on the 10th day
  • Mar 14 Nazi Germany dissolves Republic of Czechoslovakia
  • Mar 15 Hitler occupies Bohemia & Moravia (Czechoslovakia); Slovakia independent
  • Mar 16 Germany occupies Czechoslovakia
  • Mar 16 Hungary annexes republic of Karpato-Ukraine
  • Mar 17 Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945): The Battle of Nanchang between the Kuomintang and the Japanese breaks out.
  • Mar 20 7,000 Jews flee German occupied Memel Lithuania
  • Mar 21 Nazi Germany demands the return of Gdansk (Danzig) from Poland
  • Mar 22 Lithuania forced to give Memel territory to Germany
  • Mar 25 Billboard Magazine introduces hillbilly (country) music chart
  • Mar 28 Dutch hunter shoots down British bombers
  • Mar 28 Philip Barry's "Philadelphia Story" premieres in NYC
  • Mar 28 Spanish Civil War ends, Madrid falls to Francisco Franco
  • Mar 30 The Heinkel He 100 fighter sets the world airspeed record of 463 mph.
  • Mar 30 First flight of the Australian C.A.C. CA-16 Wirraway military aircraft
  • Mar 31 Britain & France agree to support Poland if invaded by Germany
  • Apr 1 US recognizes Franco government in Spain at end of Spanish civil war. Pope Pius XII congratulates Generalissimo Franco's victory in Spain
  • Apr 4 Faisal II ascends to throne of Iraq
  • Apr 5 Membership of Hitler Youth becomes obligatory
  • Apr 6 Great Britain & Poland sign military pact
  • Apr 6 US & UK agree on joint control of Canton & Enderbury Is (Pacific)
  • Apr 7 Italy invades Albania
  • Apr 8 King Zog I of Albania flees
  • Apr 10 Colijn's Dutch government opens camp Westerbork for German Jews
  • Apr 10 Grens mobilization due to Italian invasion in Albania
  • Apr 11 Hungary leaves League of Nations
  • Apr 13 W Saroyan's "My Heart's in the Highlands" premieres in NYC
  • Apr 13 The Hindustani Lal Sena (Indian Red Army) is formed and vows to engage in armed struggle against the British.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 14 John Steinbeck novel "The Grapes of Wrath" published

  • Apr 15 Albert Lebrun elected president of France

AgreementTreaty of Interest

Apr 16 Stalin requests British, French & Russian anti-nazi pact

Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin
Soviet General Secretary
Joseph Stalin
  • Apr 17 Stalin signs British-France-Russian anti-Nazi pact
  • Apr 18 Franz von Papen becomes German ambassador in Turkey
  • Apr 18 Hubert Pierlot forms Belgian government
  • Apr 19 Connecticut finally approves Bill of Rights (148 years late)
  • Apr 23 1st performance of Béla Bartok's 2nd Concerto for violin
  • Apr 28 Hitler claims German-Polish non-attack treaty still in effect
  • Apr 29 Whitestone Bridge connecting the New York boroughs of Bronx & Queens opens
  • Apr 30 New York World's Fair opens
  • Apr 30 Tropicana ballet of Havana, Cuba, forms
  • May 1 Pulitzer Prize awarded to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Yearling)
  • May 3 The All India Forward Bloc is formed by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • May 5 Flash floods kill 75 in Northeast Kentucky
  • May 6 1st performance of Honegger/Claudel's "Jeanne d'Arc Ouch B-cher"
  • May 7 Germany and Italy announce an alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis
  • May 13 SS St Louis departs Hamburg with 937 Jews fugitives
  • May 14 Lina Medina becomes the world's youngest confirmed mother in medical history at the age of five.
  • May 16 1st AL night game, Philadelphia Shribe Park (Indians 8, Athletics 3 in 10)
  • May 16 Food stamps are 1st issued
  • May 19 Churchill signs British-Russian anti-Nazi pact
  • May 20 "3 Little Fishies" by Kay Kyser swam to #1
  • May 20 1st regular transatlantic airmail (Pan Am: NY to Marsseille France)

AgreementTreaty of Interest

May 22 Adolf Hitler & Benito Mussolini sign "Pact of Steel"

Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini
Italian Dictator
Benito Mussolini
Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
  • May 23 British parliament plans to make Palestine independent by 1949
  • May 23 Dmitri Shostakovitch appointed professor at conservatory of Leningrad
  • May 23 Hitler proclaims he wants to move into Poland
  • May 23 Submarine USS Squalus sinks in the Gulf of Maine, drowning 26, 33 remaining crew rescued from a depth of 243 ft (74 m) by divers using newly developed heliox air systems (divers later awarded the Medal of Honor)
  • Jun 1 British submarine "Thetis" sinks in Liverpool Bay with all 99 aboard
  • Jun 1 Retired German Col-gen Gerd von Runstedt returns to service
  • Jun 6 NY supreme court justice J F Crater legally declared dead

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 7 George VI & Elizabeth become the 1st king & queen of Britain to visit USA

King of Great Britain George VI
King of Great Britain
George VI

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 11 King & Queen of England taste 1st "hot dogs" at FDR's party

32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt
32nd US President
Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Jun 17 Last public guillotining in France. Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, is guillotined in Versailles outside the prison Saint-Pierre
  • Jun 20 Test flight of 1st rocket plane using liquid propellants
  • Jun 22 Princes (future Queen) Elizabeth meets future husband Prince Philip of Greece (Midshipman Mountbatten, RN)
  • Jun 23 France turns over Sanjak of Alexandretta (Hatay) to Turkey
  • Jun 23 US Congress establishes US Coast Guard Reserve (renamed US Coast Guard Auxiliary 1941) as uniformed volunteer units supporting the Coast Guard
  • Jun 24 Pan Am's 1st US to England flight
  • Jun 27 1st night game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium (Indians 5, Tigers 0)
  • Jun 28 Pan Am opens southern route transatlantic air service (Dixie Clipper)
  • Jun 28 Yanks hit 13 HRs, sweep A's 23-2 & 10-0
  • Jun 29 4th Dutch government of Colijn falls
  • Jun 29 Dixie Clipper completes 1st commercial plane flight to Europe
  • Jun 30 Heinkel He 176 rocket plane flies for 1st time, at Peenemunde
  • Jul 3 Ernst Heinkel demonstrates 800 kph (500 mph) rocket plane to Hitler
  • Jul 6 German Nazis close last Jewish enterprises
  • Jul 15 Clara Adams (NYC) is 1st woman to complete round world flight
  • Jul 19 Dr Roy P Scholz is 1st surgeon to use fiberglass sutures
  • Jul 22 Jane Bolin becomes the 1st African American female judge (NY)
  • Jul 25 5th & last Dutch government of Colijn, forms
  • Jul 28 5th Dutch government of Colijn falls
  • Aug 2 Hatch Act prohibits political activity by federal workers
  • Aug 3 Jean Genet's "Ondine" premieres in Paris

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 7 Millionaire Howard Hughes is presented with a Congressional Gold Medal

Aviator and Businessman Howard Hughes
Aviator and Businessman
Howard Hughes
  • Aug 10 2nd Dutch De Geer government forms (1st with Social Democrats)
  • Aug 11 Sergei Rachmaninov's last appearance in Europe
  • Aug 13 Yankees set AL shutout margin with 21-0 victory over A's
  • Aug 13 Sabotage suspected in crash of 'City of San Francisco'
  • Aug 15 13 Stukas dive into the ground during a disastrous air-practice at Neuhammer. No survivors.
  • Aug 19 37.6 cm rainfall at Tuckerton, NJ (state record)
  • Aug 20 1st black bowling league formed (National Bowling Assoc)
  • Aug 20 Russian offensive under General Zjoekov against Japanese invasion in Mongolia
  • Aug 22 Dutch border guards take positions for German invasion
  • Aug 22 Premier De Geer recalls Dutch holidaymakers in Black Forest
  • Aug 23 John Cobb (Britain) drives 365.85 MPH (593.48 KPH) at Bonneville Flats

AgreementTreaty of Interest

Aug 23 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact: USSR & Germany sign a non-agression pact

Foreign Minister of the German Reich Joachim von Ribbentrop
Foreign Minister of the German Reich
Joachim von Ribbentrop
Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
  • Aug 24 Germany & USSR sign 10-year non-aggression pact
  • Aug 26 Belgium mobilizes
  • Aug 26 Croatia gets autonomous status
  • Aug 27 Erich Warsitz in a Heinkel He-178 makes the 1st manned jet-propelled flight
  • Aug 27 Nazi Germany demands Danzig & Polish corridor
  • Aug 27 Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands receives German ambassador Grave Zech

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 28 Gen Bernard Montgomery ("Monty") becomes commander of 3rd "Iron" Infantry division

British WWII Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
British WWII Field Marshal
Bernard Montgomery
  • Aug 28 Netherland mobilizes
  • Aug 29 Chaim Weizmann informs England that Palestine Jews will fight in WW II
  • Aug 30 General Reijnders appointed supreme commander of Dutch army
  • Aug 30 Isoroku Yamamoto appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese fleet
  • Aug 30 Poland mobilizes
  • Aug 31 Japanese invasion army driven out of Mongolia
  • Aug 31 Staged "Polish" assault on radio station in Gleiwitz
  • Sep 1 Hitler orders extermination of mentally ill
  • Sep 1 Physical Review publishes 1st paper to deal with "black holes"
  • Sep 1 Switzerland proclaims neutrality
  • Sep 1 World War II starts as Germany invades Poland by attacking the Free City of Danzig

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 1 Gen George Marshall sworn in as the United States Army Chief of Staff

Military Leader George Marshall
Military Leader
George Marshall
  • Sep 1 The Wound Badge for Wehrmacht, SS, Kriegsmarine, and Luftwaffe soldiers is instituted. The final version of the Iron Cross was also instituted on this date.
  • Sep 1 Switzerland mobilizes its forces and the Swiss Parliament elects Henri Guisan to head the Swiss Army (an event that can happen only during war or mobilization).
  • Sep 3 German submarine U-30, commanded by Oberleutnant Fritz-Julius Lemp, sinks British passenger ship SS Athenia; 117 people die, among them 28 Americans
  • Sep 3 World War II: Britain declares war on Germany after invasion of Poland. France follows 6 hours later quickly joined by Australia, New Zealand, South Africa & Canada
  • Sep 3 Mitford sister and Nazi sympathizer Unity Mitford attempts suicide after Britain declares war on Germany, bullet lodged in her brain eventually kills her in 1948
  • Sep 4 Dutch 2nd Chamber affirms Neth's in a State of War
  • Sep 4 German troops move into Danzig
  • Sep 4 Netherlands & Belgium declare neutrality
  • Sep 4 Mir, a Nazi ghetto in occupied Poland, is exterminated
  • Sep 4 RAF bombs Wilhelmshafen
  • Sep 5 FDR declares US neutrality at start of WW II in Europe
  • Sep 5 New Zealand Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage declares New Zealand's support for Britain in the war with Germany; Savage famously told the nation 'where she goes, we go. Where she stands,we stand'

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 5 J. B. M. Hertzog resigns as South African Prime Minister after losing a vote in parliament on neutrality in WWII

South African Premier J. B. M. Hertzog
South African Premier
J. B. M. Hertzog
  • Sep 6 1st German air attack on Great Britain in WW II
  • Sep 6 South Africa declares war on Nazi-Germany
  • Sep 6 World War II: The Battle of Barking Creek.
  • Sep 7 Radio NY Worldwide-WRUL begins radio transmission
  • Sep 8 FDR declares "limited national emergency" due to war in Europe
  • Sep 8 Gen Von Reichenau's panzer division reaches suburbs of Warsaw
  • Sep 9 Nazi army reaches Warsaw

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 10 Canada, under the leadership of Mackenzie King, declares war on Germany

10th Prime Minister of Canada Mackenzie King
10th Prime Minister of Canada
Mackenzie King
  • Sep 11 Battle of Kutno-pocket: Germans advance to Warsaw
  • Sep 11 British submarine Triton torpedoes British submarine Oxley
  • Sep 11 Iraq and Saudi Arabia declare war on Nazi Germany

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 14 World’s 1st practical helicopter, the VS-300 designed by Igor Sikorsky takes (tethered) flight in Stratford, Connecticut

Aviator Igor Sikorsky
Aviator
Igor Sikorsky
  • Sep 14 British fleet attacks German U-39 boat

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 14 First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill visits Scapa Flow, Orkney

Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill
  • Sep 17 German U-29 sinks British aircraft carrier Courageous, 519 die
  • Sep 17 Poland's President Ignacy Mościck and Prime Minister Felicjan Sławoj Składkowski flee to Romania
  • Sep 17 Soviet Union invades Eastern Poland, taking 217,000 Poles prisoner
  • Sep 17 Taisto Mäki becomes the first man to run the 10,000 metres in under 30 minutes, in a time of 29:52.6