On This Day

Historical Events in August 1939

  • Aug 2 Hatch Act prohibits political activity by federal workers

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 3 Jean Genet's "Ondine" premieres in Paris

Novelist and Playwright Jean Genet
Novelist and Playwright
Jean Genet

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 6 1st broadcast of "Dinah Shore Show" on NBC-radio

Singer, Actress and TV Personality Dinah Shore
Singer, Actress and TV Personality
Dinah Shore

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 First night MLB game in the City of Chicago is played at Comiskey Park; White Sox beat St. Louis Browns, 5-2
  • 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
Learn More
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 27 Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands receives German ambassador Grave Zech

Queen of the Netherlands Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
Queen of the Netherlands
Wilhelmina of the Netherlands

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