What Happened in September 1939

Historical Events

Historic Event

Sep 1 Adolf Hitler orders extermination of mentally ill through the "T4 Euthanasia Program," arguing that wartime "was the best time for the elimination of the incurably ill"

Historic Event

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

Historic Event

Sep 1 In the "scoop of the century," Telegraph journalist Clare Hollingworth becomes the first to report the outbreak of World War II

  • Sep 1 Last day of 1st-class cricket in England before the declaration of war against Germany; great slow left-armer Hedley Verity finishes with amazing figures of 7 for 9 v Sussex to give Yorkshire the County Championship
  • Sep 1 Scientific journal "Physical Review" publishes 1st paper to deal with "black holes"
  • 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 1 Switzerland proclaims neutrality at the outbreak of WWII
  • 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 World War II starts when Germany invades Poland by attacking the Free City of Danzig
  • 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 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 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 4 Dutch Second Chamber affirms the Netherlands is in a State of War with Germany
  • Sep 4 German troops move into Danzig
  • Sep 4 Mir, a Nazi ghetto in occupied Poland, is exterminated
  • Sep 4 Netherlands & Belgium declare neutrality
  • Sep 4 RAF bombs Wilhelmshafen, Germany

Historic Event

Sep 4 Surgeon Archibald McIndoe sets up new Centre for Plastic and Jaw Surgery at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, England to treat injured airmen

Historic Event

Sep 5 FDR declares US neutrality at start of WW II in Europe

  • Sep 5 International Lawn Tennis Challenge, Haverford, PA: John Bromwich beats American Frank Parker 6-0, 6-3, 6-1 to give Australia the title, 3-2

Historic Event

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

Historic Event

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'

  • 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 General Von Reichenau's panzer division reaches suburbs of Warsaw

Sports History

Sep 8 Indians Bob Feller, 20, is youngest pitcher to win 20 games

  • Sep 8 Yanks beat Red Sox 4-1 in 7, game called because of lightning
  • Sep 9 Nazi army reaches Warsaw

Declaration of War

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

  • 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
  • Sep 14 British fleet attacks German U-39 boat

Historic Event

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

Historic Event

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

  • Sep 16 NY Yankees clinch their 11th & 4th successive pennant
  • 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 allowing Germans to advance West, taking 217,000 Poles prisoner, without a formal declaration of war
  • Sep 17 Taisto Mäki of Finland becomes first man to run 10,000 metres in under 30 minutes, in a time of 29:52.6 in Helsinki

US Men's Tennis Open

Sep 17 US National Championship Men's Tennis, Forest Hills, NY: Reigning Wimbledon champion Bobby Riggs beats fellow American Welby van Horn 6-4, 6-2, 6-4

US Open Women's Tennis

Sep 17 US National Championship Women's Tennis, Forest Hills, NY: Dual champion Alice Marble beats Helen Jacobs 6-0, 8-10, 6-4

  • Sep 18 Polish government of Moscicki flees to Romania

Historic Event

Sep 18 William Joyce's first Nazi propaganda broadcast

  • Sep 19 British Expeditionary Force reaches France
  • Sep 19 Lord Haw-Haw (William Joyce) becomes radio host of Reichsrundfunk Berlin
  • Sep 19 Wehrmacht (German regular army) murders 100 Jews in Lukov Poland
  • Sep 20 British navy captures German U-27 boat

Boxing Title Fight

Sep 20 Joe Louis puts Bob Pastor down 5 times before an 11th round KO at Briggs Stadium, Detroit in his 8th heavyweight boxing title defence

Meeting of Interest

Sep 21 Reinhard Heydrich meets in Berlin to discuss final solution of Jews

  • Sep 23 Cookie Lavagetto goes 6 for 6-Dodgers get 27 hits & beat Phillies 22-4
  • Sep 25 Andorra and Germany sign a treaty ending World War I, as Versailles Peace Treaty forgot to include Andorra
  • Sep 25 German Luftwaffe strikes Warsaw with (fire)bombs
  • Sep 26 German seaplane shoots KLM-aircraft (1 killed)
  • Sep 27 Warsaw surrenders to Germans after 19 days of resistance
  • Sep 27 White Sox host 1st "day-night" doubleheader, lose twice to Cleveland, 5-2 & 7-5
  • Sep 28 Estonia accepts Soviet military bases
  • Sep 28 Final broadcast of The Fleischmann Hour was heard on radio

Treaty of Interest

Sep 28 German-Soviet Frontier Treaty is signed by Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov; redraws German and Soviet spheres of influence in central Europe and transfers most of Lithuania to the USSR

  • Sep 30 Britain first evacuates citizens in anticipation of war.
  • Sep 30 Chicago pitcher Clint Brown sets MLB record with his 61st relief appearance as White Sox beat St. Louis Browns, 7-5
  • Sep 30 Germany & Russia agree to partition Poland
  • Sep 30 In the first televised college football game, Fordham beats Waynesburg, 34-7 at Randalls Island, NY

Famous Birthdays

  • Sep 1 Heinrich Messner, Austrian downhill skier (winner first ever World Cup slalom; Olympic bronze 1968, 72), born in Obernberg am Brenner, Austria
  • Sep 1 Lily Tomlin, American Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winning comedienne, actress, and writer (Laugh-In; 9 to 5; The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe; All Of Me), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • Sep 2 Bobby Purify [Dickey], American soul singer ("I'm Your Puppet"), born in Tallahassee, Florida (d. 2011)
  • Sep 2 Sam Gooden, American soul vocalist (The Impressions - "People Get Ready"; "It's All Right"), born in Chattanooga, Tennessee (d. 2022)
  • Sep 3 Jo Ann Castle [Zering], American "Queen of the Honky-Tonk Piano", and accordionist (The Lawrence Welk Show, 1959-69), born in Bakersfield, California
  • Sep 5 Claudette Colvin, American civil rights activist who was arrested at age 15 for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman on a crowded, segregated bus (nine months before Rosa Parks), born in Montgomery, Alabama, born in Montgomery, Alabama [1]
  • Sep 5 Clay Regazzoni, Swiss Formula One driver, born in Mendrisio, Switzerland (d. 2006)
  • Sep 5 Donna Anderson [Knaflich], American actress (On the Beach), born in Gunnison, Gunnison County Colorado
  • Sep 5 George Lazenby, Australian actor (OHMSS-James Bond), born in Goulburn, Australia
  • Sep 5 John Stewart, American singer (Kingston Trio, 1961-67), and songwriter ("Daydream Believer"), born in San Diego, California
  • Sep 6 Dan Cragg, American soldier and author, born in Rochester, New York
  • Sep 6 David Allan Coe, American country musician ("Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile"; Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy), born in Akron, Ohio
  • Sep 6 Susumu Tonegawa, Japanese molecular biologist (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1987), born in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
  • Sep 7 Stanley David Griggs, American astronaut (STS 51-D), STS 33), born in Portland, Oregon (d. 1989)
  • Sep 7 [Benjamin] Latimore, American blues singer and piano player ("Let's Straighten It Out"), born in Charleston, Tennessee
  • Sep 8 Carsten Keller, German field hockey player (Olympic gold 1972), born in Berlin
  • Sep 8 Guitar Shorty [David William Kearney], American blues-rock guitarist, singer and songwriter (You Don't Treat Me Right), born in Houston, Texas (d. 2020) [some sources cite Loughman, Florida]
  • Sep 9 Howard "Buck" McKeon, (Rep-R-California 1993-2015), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Sep 10 Artie Tripp, American rock percussionist (Mothers Of Invention; Captain Beefheart's Magic Band), and chiropractor, born in Athens, Ohio
  • Sep 10 Cynthia Lennon (née Powell), first wife of Beatle John Lennon (1962-68), and mother of singer, photographer, activist Julian Lennon, born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England (d. 2015)
  • Sep 10 Elisabeth Chojnacka, Polish harpsichordist, with works dedicated to her by over 80 composers, born in Warsaw, Poland (d. 2017)
  • Sep 10 Greg Mullavey, American actor (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman - "Tom Hartman"; Rituals - "Eddie Gallagher"), born in Buffalo, New York
  • Sep 10 Mother Flawless Sabrina [Jack Doroshow], American LGBT activist, drag queen and pioneer for transgender people and drag queens, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 2017)
  • Sep 10 Topham Brinton, British carpet magnate and multi-millionaire (d. 2001)
  • Sep 11 Charles Geschke, American computer scientist, inventor and businessman (co-founder of Adobe Systems), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 2021)
  • Sep 12 Henry Waxman, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Sep 12 Phillip Ramey, American composer, born in Elmhurst, Illinois
  • Sep 13 Bill Janklow, American politician and four-term Governor of South Dakota (Republican: 1979-87, 1995-2003), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2012)
  • Sep 13 Elaine Delmar (neé Hutchinson), British jazz and cabaret singer and stage actress, born in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, England [some sources cite birthday as 9/01]
  • Sep 13 Gene Page, American arranger and composer (Righteous Brothers; Marvin Gaye; Whitney Houston), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 1998)
  • Sep 13 Larry Speakes, Acting White House Press Secretary under President Ronald Reagan, born in Cleveland, Mississippi (d. 2014)
  • Sep 13 Richard Kiel, American actor (So Fine, Jaws-Moonraker, Skidoo), born in Detroit, Michigan, (d. 2014)
  • Sep 14 Cornelius "Nini" Harp, American doo-wop singer (The Marcels - "Blue Moon"), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 2013)
  • Sep 14 Guy Webster, American celebrity portrait photographer, album cover artist (The Byrds; The Mamas & the Papas; Taj Mahal; Rolling Stones), and educator, born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2019)
  • Sep 14 Piet Stoffelen, Dutch ambassador and MP (PvdA), born in Oldenzaal, Netherlands (d. 2011)
  • Sep 15 Breyten Breytenbach, South African poet and painter, born in Bonnievale, South Africa
  • Sep 15 Jim Kimsey, American co-founder of AOL, born in Washington, D.C. (d. 2016)
  • Sep 17 David Souter, American retired 107th Supreme Court Justice (1990-2009), born in Melrose, Massachusetts
  • Sep 17 Joseph Mosikili, American-born South African broadway actor and singer, born in Amarillo, Texas
  • Sep 17 Lamonte McLemore, American champagne soul vocalist (5th Dimension, 1966-2006 - "Up, Up and Away"; "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In"), born in St Louis, Missouri
  • Sep 17 Shelby Flint, American singer-songwriter ("Angel on My Shoulder"; "Cast Your Fate to the Wind"), born in North Hollywood, California
  • Sep 18 Bob Whittaker, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Kansas), born in Eureka, Kansas
  • Sep 18 Jorge Sampaio, 18th President of Portugal (Socialist Party: 1996-2006), born in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Sep 18 Naresh Sohal, Indian composer, born in Punjab, India
  • Sep 20 Robert L. Gerry III, American businessman and petroleum industry executive, born in New York
  • Sep 20 Ryszard Grzegorczyk, Polish soccer midfielder (23 caps; Polonia Bytom, RC Lens), born in Bytom, Poland (d. 2021)
  • Sep 21 Trevor James Hold, British composer, writer, and musicologist (John Clare Songbook), born in Northampton, England (d. 2004)
  • Sep 22 Gilbert E. Patterson, American minister and presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ (d. 2007)
  • Sep 22 Junko Tabei, Japanese mountain-climber, 1st woman to climb Mount Everest, born in Miharu (d. 2016)
  • Sep 22 Mike Sullivan, American politician (Gov-Wyoming 1987-95), born in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Sep 22 Timothy Wirth, American politician (Rep-D-CO, 1975-87), President of United Nations Foundation, born in Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Sep 23 Henry Blofeld, English cricket commentator
  • Sep 23 Janusz Gajos, Polish actor
  • Sep 23 Roy Buchanan, American blues guitarist, born in Ozark, Arkansas (d. 1988)
  • Sep 24 Sonny Turner, American singer (The Platters, 1959-70 - "With This Ring", The Metrotones), born in Fairmont, West Virginia
  • Sep 25 "Sweet Joe" Russell, American a cappella singer (The Persuasions - "Slip Sliding Away"), born in Henderson, North Carolina (d. 2012)
  • Sep 25 David S. Mann, American Democratic politician (Vice Mayor of Cincinnati), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Sep 25 Feroz Khan, Indian actor, producer and director (known as Clint Eastwood of Bollywood), born in Bangalore, Kingdom of Mysore, British India (d. 2009)
  • Sep 25 Leon Brittan, British politician, Home Secretary and member of the European Commission, born in London (d. 2015)
  • Sep 26 Judith Appelbaum, American magazine & newspaper editor and educator, born in New York (d. 2018)
  • Sep 26 Ricky Tomlinson, English actor and comedian (Mike Bassett: England Manager), born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England
  • Sep 27 Carol Lynn Pearson, American poet and writer
  • Sep 27 Jim Ross Lightfoot, American politician (Rep-R-Iowa, 1985-97), born in Sioux City, Iowa

Kathy Whitworth

Sep 27 Kathy Whitworth, American golfer (7-time LPGA Player of Year, 6 major titles, record 88 LPGA Tour wins), born in Monahans, Texas

  • Sep 27 Nicholas Haslam, English interior designer, born in Amersham
  • Sep 28 Rudolph Walker, Trinidadian-born British actor
  • Sep 28 Stuart Kauffman, American theoretical biologist (Origins of Order)
  • Sep 29 Eberhard Koellner, German cosmonaut (Soyuz 31 backup), born in German DR
  • Sep 29 Jim Baxter, Scottish footballer (d. 2001)
  • Sep 29 Larry Linville, American actor (M*A*S*H, 1972-77 - "Major Frank Burns"), born in Ojai California (d. 2000)
  • Sep 29 Molly Haskell, American film critic, born in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Sep 29 Tommy Boyce, American songwriter (with Bobby Hart: The Monkees - "Last Train to Clarksville"; (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"), and singer (Boyce & Hart - "I Winder What She's Doing Tonight"), born in Charlottesville, Virginia (d. 1994)
  • Sep 30 Len Cariou, Canadian actor (Sweeney Todd), born in Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Sep 30 Piet Blauw, Dutch politician (VVD)

Famous Weddings

William Golding

Sep 30 Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding (28) weds analytic chemist Ann Brookfield

Famous Deaths

  • Sep 5 Cornelis J "Cor" van Ast, Dutch actor and director (Ghost Hotel, Two Boys), dies at 67
  • Sep 6 Arthur Rackham, English book illustrator (Grimm's Fairy Tales, Rip van Winkle), dies of cancer at 71
  • Sep 7 Kyoka Izumi, Japanese novelist (b. 1873)
  • Sep 13 Eugene Foss, American politician (45th Governor of Massachusetts), dies at 80
  • Sep 17 Ethel M. Dell, English author (Storm Drift), dies at 58
  • Sep 18 Gwen John, Welsh painter, dies at 63
  • Sep 18 Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Polish writer, painter, and photographer (b. 1885)
  • Sep 20 Paul Bruchési, French Canadian Catholic archbishop of Montreal, dies at 83
  • Sep 21 Armand Călinescu, Prime Minister of Romania, assassinated by the iron guard at 46

Sigmund Freud

Sep 23 Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and creator of psychoanalysis, dies at 83

  • Sep 24 Carl Laemmle, German-born American film producer (Universal Pictures), dies of cardiovascular disease at 72
  • Sep 28 Felicjan Szopski, Polish composer, dies at 74
  • Sep 29 Samuel Dickstein, Polish mathematician, dies in WWII bombing at 88