- Apr 28 1st commercial flight across Pacific operated by Pan Am
- May 3 Margaret Mitchell wins Pulitzer Prize for "Gone With the Wind"
- Jul 7 Japanese and Chinese troops clash at the Marco Polo Bridge, beginning of Second Sino-Japanese War
- Jul 30 Russian Politburo issues NKVD Order no. 00447, to repress former kulak and anti-soviets, 269,100 to be arrested, 76,000 to be shot. Part of the Great Purge.
- Aug 13 Second Sino-Japanese War: Japanese forces begin the Battle of Shanghai, a conflict that will last 3 months and involve 1 million troops
- Nov 5 Adolf Hitler informs his military leaders in a secret meeting of his intentions of going to war
- Aug 11 "The Life of Emile Zola" directed by William Dieterle and starring Paul Muni premieres in New York (Best Picture 1938)
- Sep 21 J. R. R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' is published by George Allen and Unwin in London
- Dec 21 The first full-length animated feature film and the earliest in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", premieres at the Carthay Circle Theatre
The world's first emergency call telephone service is launched in London using the number 999
On June 30, 1937
Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe attempt to escape from American federal prison Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay; neither is ever seen again.
On December 16, 1937