What Happened in December 1941

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 British cruiser HMS Dorsetshire forces crew of German submarine supply ship MV Python to scuttle vessel in the South Atlantic 1,150 miles west of South Africa

Declaration of War

Dec 1 Japanese Emperor Hirohito signs declaration of war

  • Dec 1 US Civil Air Patrol (CAP) organizes

Historic Event

Dec 2 American mobster Louis Buchalter is sentenced to death along with his lieutenants Emanuel Weiss and Louis Capone

  • Dec 2 Largest roller skating rink (outside of NYC) opens in Peekskill, New York

Sports History

Dec 2 New York Giants name Mel Ott as player-manager; replaces another future Baseball Hall of Famer Bill Terry, who heads Giants' farm system

  • Dec 2 US Naval Intelligence ceases bugging Japanese consul

Historic Event

Dec 3 Adolf Hitler views Poltava, Ukraine

  • Dec 4 Nazi ordinance places Jews of Poland outside protection of courts
  • Dec 5 "Sullivan's Travels", directed by Preston Sturges and starring Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake, is released
  • Dec 5 Football Writers Association of America organized
  • Dec 5 Patrick Hamilton's "Angel Street" premieres in NYC
  • Dec 5 Sister Elizabeth Kenny new treatment for infantile paralysis approved
  • Dec 5 Soviet anti-offensive in Moscow drives out Nazi army
  • Dec 5 US aircraft carrier Lexington and 5 heavy cruisers leave Pearl Harbor
  • Dec 6 Dutch & British pilots see Japanese invasion fleet at Singapore
  • Dec 6 NYC Council agrees to build Idlewild (Kennedy) Airport in Queens
  • Dec 7 1st Japanese midget submarine (No. 20) attacked by a US ship (USS Ward)
  • Dec 7 Australian bombers land on Timor/Ambon
  • Dec 7 German siege of Tobruk ends after 8 months
  • Dec 7 Imperial Japanese Navy with 353 planes attack the US fleet at Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hawaii, killing 2,403 people
  • Dec 7 Nacht & Nebel Erlass, resistance fighter sent to concentration camps
  • Dec 8 Chełmno extermination camp opens, 50 kilometres from Łódź, Poland
  • Dec 8 London: Dutch government-in-exile declares war on Japan
  • Dec 8 Russian 16th army recaptures Krijukovo
  • Dec 8 San Francisco 1st blackout, at 6:15 PM
  • Dec 8 US and Britain declare war on Japan, US enters World War II
  • Dec 9 1st US WW II bombing mission in Far East, Luzon, Philippines

Historic Event

Dec 9 300 Montgomery, San Francisco opens as new Bank of America HQ

  • Dec 9 7th Heisman Trophy Award: Bruce Smith, Minnesota (HB)
  • Dec 9 Adolf Hitler orders US ships to be torpedoed
  • Dec 9 China declares war on Japan, Germany & Italy
  • Dec 9 Citizen Register reports "Hostile planes reported nearing Westchester"
  • Dec 10 British battleship Prince of Wales and battlecruiser Repulse (Force Z) sunk following Japanese aerial attacks off Malaya. 840 men die
  • Dec 10 Japanese troops landed on northern Luzon in the Philippines
  • Dec 10 Japanese troops overrun Guam

Sports History

Dec 11 Australian state cricket associations, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales decide at meetings with new Prime Minister John Curtin to abandon all interstate first class matches for the duration of WWII

  • Dec 11 Dutch government in London declares war on Italy
  • Dec 11 Germany & Italy declare war on USA
  • Dec 11 Japanese attack Wake Island (only failed WW II-landing)
  • Dec 11 Japanese occupy Guam
  • Dec 11 NY Giants acquire future Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman Johnny Mize from Cardinals for 3 players & $50,000
  • Dec 12 European reservists on Java mobilize
  • Dec 12 German occupying army do a house search in Paris looking for Jews
  • Dec 12 Soviet 20th army recaptures Soljetsjnogorsk
  • Dec 13 German occupiers forbid National Front and Netherland Union
  • Dec 13 Lawine battlers destroy Haaraz, Peru; about 3,000 die
  • Dec 14 1st NFL division playoff, Bears beat Packers 33-14
  • Dec 14 Japan and Thailand sign a treaty of alliance

Historic Event

Dec 14 Premier Winston Churchill travels to US on board HMS Duke of York

  • Dec 14 U-557 torpedoes British cruiser Galatea
  • Dec 15 Gas/electrical use restricted in Holland
  • Dec 15 German submarine U-127 sinks

Historic Event

Dec 15 Nazis transfers 100 Czech citizens, Heinrich Himmler falls faint

  • Dec 15 North Africa: allied assault up Italians Gazala-posing
  • Dec 15 The American Federation of Labor adopts a no-strike policy in war industries.
  • Dec 15 USS Swordfish becomes 1st US sub to sink a Japanese ship
  • Dec 16 Sarawak occupied by Japanese forces
  • Dec 17 Dutch & Australian troops land on Portuguese Timor
  • Dec 17 German submarine U-31 sunk

Historic Event

Dec 17 German troops led by Erwin Rommel begin retreating in North Africa

  • Dec 17 World War II: Beginning of the Siege of Sebastopol.
  • Dec 18 44 surviving crewmen of German U-434 surrender to the HMS Blankney after scuttling their wounded submarine. Two are lost.
  • Dec 18 Japanese troops land on Hong Kong
  • Dec 19 Adolf Hitler takes complete command of German Army
  • Dec 19 German submarine U-574 sinks
  • Dec 19 US Office of Censorship created to control info pertaining to WW II
  • Dec 20 Free France under adm Muselier occupies St-Pierre et Miquelon
  • Dec 20 Japanese troops land on Mindanao, Philippines
  • Dec 20 World War II: First battle of the American Volunteer Group, better known as the "Flying Tigers" in Kunming, China.
  • Dec 21 Chicago Bears Ray McLean makes last NFL drop kick for an extra point
  • Dec 21 David Diamond's 1st Symphony premieres
  • Dec 21 German submarine U-567 sinks

NFL Championship

Dec 21 National Football League Championship, Wrigley Field, Chicago: Chicago Bears beat New York Giants, 37-9; first team in NFL championship game era (since 1933) to win consecutive titles; Bears 5th title overall

  • Dec 22 1942 NFL Draft: Bill Dudley from University of Virginia first pick by Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Dec 22 Japan's invasion leader lands on Luzon, Philippines

Historic Event

Dec 22 Tito establishes 1st Proletarian Brigade in Yugoslavia

  • Dec 22 Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C. for a wartime conference
  • Dec 23 American forces on Wake Island surrender to Japanese
  • Dec 23 British troops overrun Benghazi, Libya
  • Dec 23 Japan begins assault on Rangoon, Burma
  • Dec 24 First ships of admiral Nagumo's Pearl Harbor fleet return to Japan
  • Dec 25 Japan announces surrender of British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong
  • Dec 25 Japanese aircraft carriers Akagi/Kagu back in Kure, Japan
  • Dec 26 Winston Churchill becomes first British Prime Minister to address a joint meeting of the US Congress, warning that Axis would "stop at nothing"

Music History

Dec 27 Dmitri Shostakovich completes his 7th Symphony in Siberia

  • Dec 27 Japan bombs Manila even though it was declared an "open city"
  • Dec 28 State of siege goes into effect in Bohemia and Moravia

The Taming of Winston Churchill

Dec 30 In an emotional speech to the Canadian Parliament Winston Churchill states Britain will never surrender to "Hitler and his Nazi gang" and that "they have asked for total war. Let us make sure they get it". Afterwards Yousef Karsh captures him in his famous photograph, "The Roaring Lion".

  • Dec 30 Nazis require Dutch physicians to join Nazi organization
  • Dec 31 Young Park (2) in the Bronx named in honor of Samuel Young

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 2 Mike England, Welsh soccer defender and manager (44 caps, Tottenham Hotspur; mgr Wales), born in Holywell, Flintshire, Wales
  • Dec 2 Paul Ching Wu Chu, Chinese-American physicist (superconductivity), born in Changsha, Hunan, China
  • Dec 2 Sugar Ramos [Ultiminio Ramos], Cuban-Mexican boxer (World Featherweight champion 1963-64), born in Matanzas, Cuba (d. 2017)
  • Dec 2 Tom McGuiness, British rocker (The Blues Band), born in Wimbledon, London, England
  • Dec 4 Humberto Solás, Cuban film director and writer (Lucia), born in Havana, Cuba (d. 2008)
  • Dec 4 Marty Riessen, American tennis player (9 x Grand Slam doubles titles; world #3 doubles 1980; world #8 singles 1971), born in Hinsdale, Illinois
  • Dec 4 Raul Blanco, Argentine-Australian soccer coach (Australia 1996-97), born in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Dec 6 Helen Cornelius, American country singer (Nashville on the Road), born in Monroe City, Missouri
  • Dec 6 John Nelson, American conductor (Berlioz's Les Troyens), born in San José, Costa Rica
  • Dec 6 Richard Speck, American mass murderer (raped and killed 8 student nurses in 1966), born in Kirkwood, Illinois (d. 1991)
  • Dec 8 Albert J Evenhuis, Dutch undersecretary of Economic (VVD)
  • Dec 8 Ed Brinkman, American baseball player
  • Dec 8 Geoff Hurst, cricketer (Essex 1962, better known as soccer immortal)
  • Dec 8 Randall "Duke" Cunningham, US Navy fighter pilot and Congressman
  • Dec 9 Beau Bridges, American actor (Hotel New Hampshire, 5th Musketeer), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Dec 9 Dan Hicks, American singer and songwriter (Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks), born in Little Rock, Arkansas (d. 2016)
  • Dec 10 Chad Stuart, English rock vocalist and guitarist (Chad & Jeremy), born in Windermere, Cumberland, England
  • Dec 10 Fionnula Flanagan, Irish actress (Rich Man Poor Man), born in Dublin, Ireland
  • Dec 10 Jeff Jones, Welsh cricket fast bowler (15 Tests England, 44 wickets), born in Dafen, Carmarthenshire, Wales
  • Dec 10 Kyu Sakamoto, Japanese singer (Sukiaki), and actor, born in Kawasaki (d. 1985)
  • Dec 10 Peter Michael Goetz, American actor (Jumping Jack Flash, King Kong Lives), born in Buffalo, New York
  • Dec 10 Peter Sarstedt, British pop-folk singer-songwriter and guitarist ("Where Do You Go To (My Lovely?"; "I Am A Cathedral"), born in New Delhi, British India (d. 2017)
  • Dec 10 Ralph Tavares, Cape Verdean-American R&B and soul singer (Tavares - "Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel"), born in Providence, Rhode Island (d. 2021)
  • Dec 10 Tommy Kirk, American actor (Old Yeller), born in Louisville, Kentucky (d. 2021)
  • Dec 10 Tommy Rettig, American actor (Jeff's Collie, Lassie), born in Queens, New York (d. 1996)
  • Dec 11 Max Baucus, American politician (11th United States Ambassador to China), born in Helena, Montana
  • Dec 11 Rogier van Otterloo, Dutch composer and conductor, born in Bilthoven, Netherlands (d. 1988)
  • Dec 12 Liesbeth List, Dutch actress and vocalist (Theodorakis), born in Bandoeng, Dutch East Indies
  • Dec 12 Nikolai Osyanin, Russian soccer striker (3 caps; PFC Krylia Sovetov Kuibyshev, FC Spartak Moscow), born in Sobolevskoye, Russia (d. 2022)
  • Dec 12 Terry Kirkman, American rock vocalist and keyboardist (Association - "Windy"), born in Salina, Kansas
  • Dec 12 Tim Hauser, American jazz singer (Manhattan Transfer - "Boy From New York City"), born in Troy, New York, (d. 2014)
  • Dec 13 Anouska Hempel, British actress (Tiffany Jones), born in Wellington, New Zealand
  • Dec 13 John Davidson, American TV host (Hollywood Squares, That's Incredible), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 13 Robert Covington, American drummer and singer, born in Yazoo City, Mississippi (d. 1996)
  • Dec 14 Barry Hadlee, New Zealand cricket batsman (brother of Richard & Dayle; 2 ODIs NZ World Cup 1975; Canterbury), born in Christchurch, Canterbury
  • Dec 14 Ellen Willis, American journalist and feminist, born in NYC, New York (d. 2006)
  • Dec 15 Geoffrey Davies, English actor (Doctor at Sea, Doctor on the Go), born in Leeds, England
  • Dec 16 Lesley Stahl, newscaster/correspondent (CBS)
  • Dec 16 Vittorio Mezzogiorno, Italian actor (Cafe Express, Octopus), born in Cercola, Italy (d. 1994)
  • Dec 17 David A. Gall, Canadian thoroughbred Hall of Fame jockey (US Champion Jockey by wins 1979, 81; first to ride 8 winners on single US race card), born in Rose Valley, Saskatchewan (d. 2021)
  • Dec 18 Jan Kowalczyk, Polish equestrian rider (Olympics gold show jumping individual; silver team 1980), born in Drogomyśl, Poland (d. 2020)
  • Dec 18 Sam Andrew, American musician (Big Brother and the Holding Company), born in Okinawa, Japan (d. 2015)
  • Dec 18 Wadada Leo Smith, American trumpeter and composer ("Divine Love"), born in Leland, Mississippi
  • Dec 18 William, English Prince of Gloucester and grandson of George V, born in Hadley Common, England (d. 1972)
  • Dec 19 Maurice White, singer-songwriter (Earth, Wind & Fire), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2016)
  • Dec 20 Frank Creton, Suriname/Neth painter
  • Dec 23 Serge Reding, Belgian weightlifter, born in Auderghem, Belgium (d. 1975)
  • Dec 23 Tim Hardin, American singer ("If I Were A Carpenter"; "Black Sheep Boy"; "Reason to Believe"), born in Eugene, Oregon (d. 1980)
  • Dec 24 John Levene, British actor, born in Salisbury, United Kingdom
  • Dec 25 Don Pullen, pianist/composer
  • Dec 25 Lex Hixon, religious teacher/author
  • Dec 25 Ronald Perera, composer
  • Dec 25 Ronnie Cuber, American jazz saxophonist, born in NYC, New York
  • Dec 26 Daniel Schmid, actor and director (Paloma, Violanta, Hecate, Amateurs)
  • Dec 27 Charlie Dog, Warner Bros. cartoon character created by Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett (Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series), first debuts in "Porky's Pooch"
  • Dec 27 Leslie Maguire, British rock pianist (Gerry & the Pacemakers - "Ferry Cross the Mersey"), born in Wallasey, United Kingdom
  • Dec 27 Mike Pinder, British keyboard player and Mellotron pioneer (Moody Blues - "Nights in White Satin"), born in Birmingham, England
  • Dec 28 Bob Seidemann, American photographer and album cover artist (Blind Faith; Jerry Garcia), born in New York City (d. 2017)
  • Dec 28 Don Francisco [Mario Kreutzberger], Chilean TV variety show host (Sábado Gigante, 1962-2015), born in Talca, Chile
  • Dec 28 Intikhab Alam, Pakistan cricket leg-spinner (1959-77)
  • Dec 29 Ray Thomas, English rock vocalist and flautist (Moody Blues - "Legend Of A Mind"), born in Stourport-on-Severn, United Kingdom (d. 2018)
  • Dec 30 Mel Renfro, American football player
  • Dec 31 Milkha Singh, Indian cricketer (brother of Kripal Singh India batsman in 4 Tests), born in Madras, India (d. 2017)
  • Dec 31 Sarah Miles, English actress (Ryan's Hope, Big Sleep, Venom), born in Essex
  • Dec 31 Sir Alex Ferguson, Scottish football manager, born in Glasgow, United Kingdom

Famous Weddings

Milton Berle

Dec 4 Entertainer Milton Berle (33) marries actress Joyce Matthews (21) for the first time (divorced 1947, remarried 1949)

  • Dec 6 King Leopold of Belgium marries Lilian Baels

Ella Fitzgerald

Dec 26 Jazz musician Ella Fitzgerald (24) weds convicted drug dealer Benny Kornegay; annulled 1943

Maureen O'Hara

Dec 29 Actress Maureen O'Hara (21) marries second husband director Will Price (28) (divorced 1953)

  • Dec 30 Al Capone's son Sonny marries in Miami Beach

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 1 Alva B. Adams, American politician (U.S. Senator from Colorado, 1933-41), dies at 66
  • Dec 1 Horace Chapman, South African cricket all-rounder (2 Tests), dies at 51
  • Dec 3 Christian Sinding, Norwegian composer (Frühlingsrauschen - Rustle of Spring), dies at 85
  • Dec 3 Pavel Filonov, Russian painter (b. 1883)
  • Dec 5 Amrita Sher-Gil, Hungarian-Indian painter described as the “Indian Frida Kahlo" and "one of the greatest avant-garde women artists of the early 20th century," dies of complications from a failed abortion at 28
  • Dec 6 Oskar Ernst Bernhardt, German author (In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message), dies at 66
  • Dec 7 Cecil Forsyth, English composer, dies at 71
  • Dec 7 Franklin Van Valkenburgh, United States Navy, Medal of Honor recipient, killed in Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (b. 1888)
  • Dec 7 Herbert C. Jones, United States Navy, Medal of Honor recipient, killed in Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (b. 1918)
  • Dec 7 Iida, Japanese pilot/lt, dies in battle at 28
  • Dec 7 Mervyn S. Bennion, United States Navy Captain, Medal of Honor recipient, killed in Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (b. 1887)
  • Dec 7 Thomas J. Reeves, United States Navy, Medal of Honor recipient, killed in Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (b. 1895)
  • Dec 9 Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Russian writer and philosopher (b. 1865)
  • Dec 9 Leonard "Leo" Polak, Dutch philosopher, dies in Sachsenhausen at 61
  • Dec 10 Colin Kelly, American B-17 Flying Fortress pilot and 1st US air hero during WW II, killed in action at 26 after ordering his crew to bail out shortly before his bomber exploded
  • Dec 11 Charles Émile Picard, French mathematician, died at 85
  • Dec 11 John Gillespie Magee, Jr., American poet and aviator (b. 1922)
  • Dec 12 Cesar Basa, Philippine Air Force and World War II hero (b. 1915)
  • Dec 19 L M Dovator, Russian general, dies in battle
  • Dec 20 Igor Severyanin, Russian poet (b. 1887)
  • Dec 21 Peetie Wheatstraw [William Bunch], American blues singer, songwriter, and piano player, dies on his 39th birthday when the car in which he was a passenger met a freight train
  • Dec 22 Leopoldo Mugnone, Italian opera composer and conductor, dies at 83
  • Dec 24 Siegfried Alkan, German composer, dies at 83
  • Dec 30 El Lissitzky, Russian artist and architect (b. 1890)
  • Dec 31 Sigwart Aspestrand, Norwegian composer, dies at 85