On This Day

Historical Events in 1939 (Part 2)

Events 201 - 400 of 432

  • Jul 19 Dr Roy P Scholz is 1st surgeon to use fiberglass sutures
  • Jul 22 Jane Bolin becomes the 1st African American female judge in New York
  • Jul 25 5th and last Dutch government of Colijn, forms
  • Jul 25 New York Yankees starting pitcher Atley Donald sets American League rookie record for consecutive wins; beats St. Louis Browns 5-1 for his 12th straight victory
  • Jul 26 Yankee catcher Bill Dickey hits 3 consecutive HRs
  • Jul 28 5th Dutch government of Colijn falls
  • Jul 30 Tour de France: Sylvère Maes of Belgium wins his 3rd title from Frenchman René Vietto
  • Aug 2 US Hatch Act prohibits political activity by federal workers

Historic Event

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

Radio Premiere

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

Historic Event

Aug 7 Millionaire Howard Hughes is presented with a Congressional Gold Medal

Venice Film Festival

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

  • Aug 10 2nd Dutch De Geer government forms (1st with Social Democrats)
  • Aug 11 Sergei Rachmaninov's last appearance in Europe
  • Aug 12 Sabotage suspected in 'City of San Francisco' train crash which derails near Harney, Nevada, killing 24
  • Aug 13 Yankees set AL shutout margin with 21-0 victory over A's
  • 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.

The 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)

Music Premiere

Aug 17 Musical film "The Wizard of Oz", starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, and Jack Haley opens at Loews Capitol Theatre, NYC

  • 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

Treaty 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

  • 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

Historic Event

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

Historic Event

Aug 28 Gen Bernard Montgomery ("Monty") becomes commander of 3rd "Iron" Infantry division

  • 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.

Historic Event

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

Appointment of Interest

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

  • 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

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"

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

Historic Event

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

  • 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 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)

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 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 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 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 4 Dutch Second Chamber affirms the Netherlands is in a State of War with Germany
  • Sep 4 German troops move into Danzig
  • Sep 4 Netherlands & Belgium declare neutrality
  • Sep 4 Mir, a Nazi ghetto in occupied Poland, is exterminated
  • 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

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'

Historic Event

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

  • 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
  • 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

Historic Event

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

  • Sep 14 British fleet attacks German U-39 boat

Historic Event

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

  • 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 German Luftwaffe strikes Warsaw with (fire)bombs
  • Sep 25 Andorra and Germany sign a treaty ending World War I, as Versailles Peace Treaty forgot to include Andorra
  • 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 In the first televised college football game, Fordham beats Waynesburg, 34-7 at Randalls Island, NY
  • Sep 30 Germany & Russia agree to partition Poland
  • 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 Britain first evacuates citizens in anticipation of war.
  • Oct 1 Winston Churchill calls Russia a "riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma"
  • Oct 1 After a one-month Siege of Warsaw, hostile forces entered the city.
  • Oct 3 Lemmer-Urk Dike closes
  • Oct 4 Last Polish troops surrender
  • Oct 6 Adolf Hitler denies he intends to go to war against France and Britain
  • Oct 6 Adolf Hitler announces plans to regulate Jewish problem
  • Oct 6 Last Polish army is defeated in World War II.
  • Oct 8 Germany annexes Western Poland
  • Oct 8 Baseball World Series: NY Yankees beat Cincinnati Reds, 7-3 at Crosley Field for 4-0 sweep; Yankees 4th straight WS title

Historic Event

Oct 11 Albert Einstein informs FDR of the possibilities of an atomic bomb

  • Oct 11 Bucky Harris signs to manage Washington again

Theater Premiere

Oct 11 Samson Raphaelson's play "Skylark" starring Gertrude Lawrence premieres in NYC

  • Oct 11 NAACP organized Legal Defense & Education Fund
  • Oct 14 BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) formed
  • Oct 14 German U-47 sinks British battleship HMS Royal Oak, 833 killed
  • Oct 15 LaGuardia Airport opens in NYC
  • Oct 15 Yeshiva of Mir closes after 124 years
  • Oct 16 Sugar rationing begins in Netherlands

Music History

Oct 16 George Kaufman and Moss Hart's comedy "The Man Who Came to Dinner" opens at the Music Box Theatre, NYC; runs for 739 performances

Film Release

Oct 17 "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur, is released

Music Premiere

Oct 18 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's musical "Too Many Girls" premieres in NYC

Historic Event

Oct 19 Hermann Goering begins plunder through Nazi's occupied areas

Music History

Oct 20 "All the Things You Are" recorded by Tommy Dorsey Orchestra

Catholic Encyclical

Oct 20 Pope Pius XII publishes his 1st encyclical Summi pontificatus

  • Oct 22 NBC becomes first network to televise a pro football game; Brooklyn Dodgers beat Philadelphia Eagles, 23-14 at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field

Music Recording

Oct 24 Benny Goodman records "Let's Dance"

  • Oct 24 Nylon stockings go on sale for first time (Wilmington, Delaware)
  • Oct 25 William Saroyan's "Time of Your Life" premieres in NYC
  • Oct 26 Polish Jews forced into obligatory work service
  • Oct 28 Anti-German demonstrations and strikes in Czechoslovakia
  • Oct 28 Spitfire shoots German Heinkel-111 down above Scotland
  • Oct 29 Golden Gate International Exposition closes (1st closure)
  • Oct 29 NHL Babe Seibert Memorial Game: All-Stars beat Montreal 5-3
  • Oct 30 USSR & Germany agree on partitioning Poland, Adolf Hitler deports Jews
  • Oct 30 German U boat fails on attack of English battleship Nelson with Winston Churchill, Dudley Pound & Charles Forbes aboard
  • Nov 1 First animal conceived by artificial insemination (rabbit) displayed
  • Nov 1 First jet plane, Heinkel He 178, demonstrated to German Air Ministry
  • Nov 1 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Sertum laetitiae
  • Nov 3 Clare Booth's "Margin for Error" premieres in NYC
  • Nov 4 First air conditioned automobile (Packard) exhibited, Chicago, Illinois
  • Nov 4 US allows "cash & carry" arms sales during WW II
  • Nov 6 WGY-TV (Schenectady, NY), 1st commercial TV station, begins service
  • Nov 6 WRGB TV channel 6 in Schenectady-Alby-Troy, NY (CBS) 1st broadcast
  • Nov 6 World War II: 'Sonderaktion Krakau' - a Nazi operation against academics, with 184 professors arrested in Krakow and deported
  • Nov 8 Failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler in Burgerbraukeller, Munich
  • Nov 8 H Lindsay & R Crouse's play "Life with Father" premieres in NYC

Film Premiere

Nov 9 Romantic comedy film "Ninotchka" directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Greta Garbo premieres

  • Nov 9 Nobel Prize for physics awarded to American Ernest Lawrence for his invention of the cyclotron
  • Nov 9 Venlo-incident: German Abwehr kills 2 British agents

Music History

Nov 11 Kate Smith first sings Irving Berlin's "God Bless America"

  • Nov 12 Jews in Lodz, Poland, ordered to wear a yellow star of David
  • Nov 14 Oil refinery fire kills 500 & destroys Lagunillas, Venezuela
  • Nov 15 Anti-German demonstrations in Czechoslovakia
  • Nov 15 FDR lays cornerstone of Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • Nov 15 Nazis begin mass murder of Warsaw Jews
  • Nov 15 The first unemployment compensation law, under the Social Security Act, that of the District of Columbia, was approved for grants by the Social Security Board

Historic Event

Nov 16 Al Capone freed from Alcatraz jail

  • Nov 16 German U-boat torpedoes tanker Sliedrecht near Ireland
  • Nov 17 German U-boat torpedoes passenger ship

Music History

Nov 17 Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's "Very Warm for May" premieres in NYC

  • Nov 17 The Rome-Rio de Janeiro air connection created
  • Nov 18 Dutch KNSM passenger ship Simón Bolívar hits German mine, 86 die
  • Nov 18 The Irish Republican Army explodes three bombs in Piccadilly Circus
  • Nov 19 Don Lash wins 6th straight AAU cross-country 10K championship
  • Nov 19 Comic superheroes Flash (as Jay Garrick) and Hawkman (Carter Hall) first appear in "Flash Comics No. 1" published by DC

Historic Siege

Nov 22 Bugsy Siegel, Whitey Krakower, Frankie Carbo and Albert Tannenbaum kill Harry "Big Greenie" Greenberg outside his apartment after Greenberg had threatened to become a police informant

Historic Event

Nov 23 Nazi Governor of Poland Hans Frank requires Jewish Poles above the age of 11 years to wear a blue Star of David

  • Nov 26 4 soviet soldiers killed on Finnish-Russian border

Theater Premiere

Nov 27 Maxwell Anderson's play "Key Largo" premieres in NYC

  • Nov 28 Hans Frank, Nazi Governor-General of Poland, organizes Judenrat
  • Nov 28 Soviet government revokes Russian-Finnish non-aggression treaty
  • Nov 29 Cor Klint swims world record 200 m backstroke (2:38.8)
  • Nov 29 USSR drops diplomatic relations with Finland
  • Nov 30 Paul Osborn's "Mornings at 7" premieres in NYC
  • Nov 30 USSR invades Finland, bombs Helsinki

Appointment of Interest

Nov 30 Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim appointed Commander-in-Chief of all Finnish armed services as Soviet forces invade

Historic Event

Dec 1 SS-Fuhrer Himmler begins deportation of Polish Jews

  • Dec 2 British Imperial Airways & British Airways merge to form BOAC
  • Dec 2 NY's La Guardia Airport began operations as an airliner from Chicago lands, 1 minute after midnight

Music Premiere

Dec 3 Dmitri Shostakovich's 6th Symphony premieres

  • Dec 6 5th Heisman Trophy Award: Nile Kinnick, Iowa (HB)

Music Premiere

Dec 6 Cole Porter's musical "Du Barry Was A Lady" opens at 46th Street Theatre, NYC; runs 408 performances

Hall of Fame

Dec 7 Lou Gehrig, 36, is elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame

  • Dec 7 William Walton's violinist concert premieres in Cleveland
  • Dec 9 CFL Grey Cup, Landsdowne Park, Ottawa: Winnipeg Blue Bombers claim 2nd title; defeat Ottawa Rough Riders, 8-7
  • Dec 9 Russian air raid on Helsinki