On This Day

What Happened on September 1, 1939

Historical Events

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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"

Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Military Leader George Marshall
Military Leader
George Marshall

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Journalist Clare Hollingworth
Clare Hollingworth
  • 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
  • Physical Review publishes 1st paper to deal with "black holes"
  • 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)
  • Switzerland proclaims neutrality at the outbreak of WWII
  • 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
  • World War II starts when Germany invades Poland by attacking the Free City of Danzig

Famous Birthdays

  • Heinrich Messner, Austrian downhill skier (winner first ever World Cup slalom; Olympic bronze 1968, 72), born in Obernberg am Brenner, Austria
  • Lily Tomlin, American comedienne and actress (9 to 5, Laugh-in, All of Me), born in Detroit, Michigan
1939 Highlights

About September 1, 1939

Day of the Week: Friday
How Long Ago? 81 years, 2 months and 25 days
Leap Year: No

Generation Silent Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Rabbit
Star Sign: Virgo