On This Day

What Happened in August 1939

Historical Events

  • Aug 2 Hatch Act prohibits political activity by federal workers
  • Aug 3 Jean Genet's "Ondine" premieres in Paris
  • Aug 6 1st broadcast of "Dinah Shore Show" on NBC-radio

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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 8 7th Venice Film Festival opens with a United States boycott due to Benito Mussolini's Fascist Italian regime

Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini
Italian Dictator
Benito Mussolini
  • 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 14 1st night games at Comiskey Park (White Sox 5, Browns 2)
  • Aug 15 First night game at baseball's Comiskey Park, Sox beat Browns 5-2
  • Aug 15 13 Stukas dive into the ground during a disastrous air-practice at Neuhammer. No survivors.

Film PremierThe Wizard of Oz

Aug 15 "The Wizard of Oz", American musical fantasy film directed by Victor Fleming and King Vidor, premieres at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, starring Judy Garland (Dorothy), Ray Bolger (Scarecrow), Jack Haley (Tin Man), Bert Lahr (Cowardly Lion), Frank Morgan (Wizard), Billie Burke (Glinda), and Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch)
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Publicity still of the Wizard of Oz, showing the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Cowardly Lion
Publicity still of the Wizard of Oz, showing the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Cowardly Lion
  • Aug 17 "The Wizard of Oz" opens at Loews Capitol Theatre in NY
  • 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 Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agree the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact and secretly divide Poland between themselves, setting the stage for World War II

Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov
Soviet Foreign Minister
Vyacheslav Molotov
Foreign Minister of the German Reich Joachim von Ribbentrop
Foreign Minister of the German Reich
Joachim von Ribbentrop
  • Aug 24 Germany & USSR sign 10-year non-aggression pact
  • Aug 26 1st major league baseball telecast on W2XBS- Cincinnati Reds defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn
  • 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 28 Sammy Fain and Jack Yellen's musical "George White's Scandals" premieres
  • Aug 28 Journalist Care Hollingworth observes the “large numbers of troops, literally hundreds of tanks, armored cars and field guns” Germany had aligned along the Polish border. Three days later, Hitler invades Poland and WWII begins.
  • Aug 29 Chaim Weizmann informs England that Palestine Jews will fight in WW II
  • Aug 30 6th NFL Chicago All-Star Game: NY Giants 9, All-Stars 0 (81,456)
  • Aug 30 General Reijnders appointed supreme commander of Dutch army

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 30 Isoroku Yamamoto appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese fleet

WWII Admiral who Led the Attack on Pearl Harbor Isoroku Yamamoto
WWII Admiral who Led the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Isoroku Yamamoto
  • Aug 30 NY Yankee Atley Donald pitches a baseball a record 94.7 mph (152 kph)
  • Aug 30 Poland mobilizes
  • Aug 31 Japanese invasion army driven out of Mongolia
  • Aug 31 Staged "Polish" assault on radio station in Gleiwitz

Famous Birthdays

  • Aug 1 Robert James Waller, American author (Bridges of Madison County), born in Charles City, Iowa (d. 2017)
  • Aug 1 Stephen Sykes, Church of England bishop, born in Bristol, England (d. 2014)
  • Aug 2 Wes Craven, American film director (Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 2015)
  • Aug 2 Benjamin Barber, American political theorist (Jihad vs. McWorld), born in Manhattan, New York (d. 2017)
  • Aug 4 Frankie Ford [Frank Guzzo], rock vocalist (Sea Cruise), born in Gretna, Louisiana, (d. 2015)
  • Aug 4 Frank Vincent, American actor (The Sopranos), born in North Adams, Massachusetts (d. 2017)
  • Aug 5 Irene, Princess of Netherlands
  • Aug 6 William "Sonny" Sanders, American singer (Rayber Voices)
  • Aug 7 Verna Bloom, American actress (After Hours, Badge 373), born in Lynn, Massachusetts (d. 2019)
  • Aug 7 Anjanette Comer, American actress (Baby, Lepke), born in Dawson, Texas
  • Aug 8 Philip E Baisley, Augusta Va, singer (Statler Bros-Class of '57)
  • Aug 8 Viorica Viscopoleanu, Romanian athlete (Olympic gold, long jump 1968), born in Storozhynets, Romania
  • Aug 8 William Alden Hibbard, composer
  • Aug 8 Alexander Watson, American ambassador and diplomat
  • Aug 9 Billy Henderson, American singer (The Spinners-That's What Girls Are Made For), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2007)
  • Aug 9 Claude Osteen, American baseball pitcher (Cincinnati Reds), born in Caney Spring, Tennessee
  • Aug 9 Max Neuhaus, American percussionist and composer (sound sculptures), born in Beaumont, Texas (d. 2009)
  • Aug 9 Tony Budge, English contractor/tank maker/multi-millionaire
  • Aug 9 Brito [Hércules de Brito Ruas], Brazilian footballer, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Aug 10 Charles Rose, (Rep-D-North Carolina, 1973- )
  • Aug 10 Kate O'Mara, Leicaster England, actress (Caress Morell-Dynasty, AbFab)
  • Aug 11 Attila Bozay, composer
  • Aug 11 Ronnie Dawson, American rockabilly performer (d. 2003)
  • Aug 12 Pam Ryan-Kilborn, Australia, hurdler (Olympic silver 1968)
  • Aug 12 Roy Romanow, Canadian politician
  • Aug 12 Sushil Koirala, Nepalese politician, Prime Minister of Nepal (2014-2015), born in Biratnagar, Morang (d. 2016)
  • Aug 12 George Hamilton, American actor (Love at First Bite), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Aug 13 Saul Steinberg, American businessman, founder of Leasco and CEO of Reliance Insurance Company, born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2012)
  • Aug 15 Herman Onno C. R. Ruding, Dutch Financial minister (CDA) and Director of Amrobank
  • Aug 15 Herman van Keeken, Dutch singer (Daddy don't run so fast), born in Hilversum, Netherlands (d. 1995)
  • Aug 16 Eric Weissberg, American singer and musician (Duelling Banjos), born in New York (d. 2020)
  • Aug 16 Carol Shelley, actress (Gwendolyn Pidgeon-Odd Couple), born in London, England
  • Aug 16 Valeri V Ryumin, cosmonaut (Soyuz 25, 32)
  • Aug 16 Wim Meijer, Dutch politician (PvdA)
  • Aug 16 Sir Trevor Mcdonald, Trinidadian-born British television newsreader
  • Aug 17 Luther Allison, Mayflower Ark, rock guitarist (Bad News is Coming)
  • Aug 17 Anthony Valentine, British actor (Colditz), born in Blackburn, Lancashire (d. 2015)
  • Aug 18 Joe Azcue, Cuban baseball player, born in Cienfuegos, Cuba
  • Aug 18 Johnny Preston, American singer (Running Bear), born in Port Arthur, Texas (d. 2011)
  • Aug 18 Molly Bee, American actress (Pinky Lee Show), born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (d. 2009)
  • Aug 18 Harald Heide-Steen Jr., Norwegian actor and comedian, born in Oslo, Norway (d. 2008)
  • Aug 18 Robert Horton, British businessman and CEO (BP), born in London, England (d. 2011)
  • Aug 19 [Peter] Ginger Baker, English drummer (Cream), born in London, England (d. 2019)
  • Aug 20 Fernando Poe Jr., Filipino actor and politician (2004 presidential candidate), born in Manila, Commonwealth of the Philippines (d. 2004)
  • Aug 21 Ernie Maresca, American singer and songwriter (Runaround Sue, Wanderer), born in The Bronx, New York (d. 2015)
  • Aug 21 Clarence Williams III, American actor (Mod Squad, 52 Pick Up, Purple Rain), born in NYC, New York
  • Aug 21 Harold Reid, American singer (Statler Brothers), born in Staunton, Virginia (d. 2020)
  • Aug 21 James Burton, American guitarist, born in Dubberly, Louisiana
  • Aug 21 Festus Mogae, 3rd President of Botswana (1998-2008), born in Serowe, Bechuanaland, Botswana
  • Aug 22 Candido Lima, Portuguese composer, born in Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Person of interestCarl Yastrzemski

Aug 22 Carl Yastrzemski, American Baseball Hall of Fame left fielder, 1st baseman (18-time MLB All Star), born in Southampton, New York

MLB Outfielder Carl Yastrzemski
MLB Outfielder
Carl Yastrzemski
  • Aug 22 Valerie Harper, American actress (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda), born in Suffern, New York
  • Aug 23 Charles Wardle, British Member of Parliament for Bexhill and Battle
  • Aug 23 Ronnie A. Casseres, minister of Dutch Antilles, born in Curaçao
  • Aug 25 John Badham, English-born American director (Dracula, Short Circuit), born in Luton, England
  • Aug 25 Liselot Beekmeyer, Dutch actress (Issue Blum), born in Schiedam, Netherlands
  • Aug 26 Fred Milano, American doo-wop singer (Dion & The Belmonts), born in The Bronx, New York (d. 2012)

Person of interestJorge Paulo Lemann

Aug 26 Jorge Paulo Lemann, Swiss-Brazilian investor, born in Rio de Janeiro

Investor and Beer Mogul Jorge Paulo Lemann
Investor and Beer Mogul
Jorge Paulo Lemann
  • Aug 27 Edward Patten, American soul singer (Gladys Knight & the Pips), born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 2005)
  • Aug 28 [Catherine] Cassie Mackin, American newswoman (NBC TV) and 1st woman to regularly anchor an evening network newscast alone, born in Baltimore, Maryland (d. 1982)
  • Aug 28 Clem Cattini, English rock drummer (the Tornados), born in London
  • Aug 30 Elizabeth Ashley, American actress (Coma, Evening Shade), born in Ocala, Florida
  • Aug 30 John Peel, English DJ and Broadcaster (BBC Radio 1), born in Heswell, Merseyside (d. 2004)
  • Aug 31 Jerry Allison, Hillsboro Tx, rock drummer (Buddy Holly & Crickets)
  • Aug 31 Jim McCrary, American photographer (album covers such as Tapestry, Ticket to Ride), born in Los Angeles (d. 2012)

Famous Weddings


LoveWedding of Interest

Aug 4 Philosopher of communication theory Marshall McLuhan (28) weds teacher and aspiring actress Corinne Lewis (27)

Philosopher of Communication Theory Marshall McLuhan
Philosopher of Communication Theory
Marshall McLuhan

LoveWedding of Interest

Aug 14 "A Star Is Born" actress Janet Gaynor (32) weds MGM costume designer Adrian (36)

Actress Janet Gaynor
Actress
Janet Gaynor

LoveWedding of Interest

Aug 20 "Rebecca" actress Joan Fontaine (21) weds actor Brian Aherne (37)

Actress Joan Fontaine
Actress
Joan Fontaine

Famous Deaths

  • Aug 2 Harvey Spencer Lewis, American Rosicrucian author and mystic, dies at 55
  • Aug 3 Eugust Enna, composer, dies at 80
  • Aug 11 Jean Bugatti, Italian automobile designer (b. 1909)
  • Aug 16 Ron Oxenham, cricketer (7 Tests for Australia, 14 wickets), dies
  • Aug 19 Johannes Marinus Meulenhoff, Dutch publisher, dies at 70
  • Aug 23 Sidney Coe Howard, American playwright (Silver Cord, Pulitzer 1925), dies at 48
  • Aug 24 W H Moule, cricketer (Australia v England 1880)/High Court judge, dies
  • Aug 25 Babe Siebert, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1904)