Historical Events in May 1940

  • May 1 140 Palestinian Jews die as German planes bomb their ship
  • May 1 Summer Olympics (scheduled for Helsinki) are cancelled by the Finnish OC because of WWII
  • May 4 21 "not neutral" Nazis & communists arrested in Netherlands
  • May 4 66th Kentucky Derby: Carroll Bierman aboard Gallahadion wins in 2:05
  • May 5 Norwegian government-in-exile forms in London

Historic Event

May 6 Pulitzer prize awarded to John Steinbeck for "The Grapes of Wrath"

  • May 10 Dutch-Indies Governor Van Starkenborch proclaims end to state of siege
  • May 10 World War II: Nazi Germany invades the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France
  • May 10 World War II: The first German bombs of the war fall on England at Chilham and Petham, in Kent
  • May 11 65th Preakness: Fred A Smith aboard Bimelech wins in 1:58.6
  • May 11 NY World's Fair reopens
  • May 12 French marines occupy St Maarten
  • May 12 German tanks conquer Moerdijk bridges, Netherlands
  • May 12 Nazi blitzkrieg and conquest of France begins with the crossing of the Muese River
  • May 13 British bomb factory at Breda, Netherlands
  • May 13 German breakthrough at Grebbelinie
  • May 13 Winston Churchill says "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat" in his first speech as Prime Minister to British House of Commons
  • May 14 Admiral Johannes Furstner, Royal Dutch Navy, departs to England

Sports History

May 14 Boston's Jimmie Foxx HR goes over Comiskey Park's left field roof

  • May 14 British Local Defence Volunteers forms, an armed citizen militia designed to support the British Army during the Second World War. It is later renamed the Home Guard.
  • May 14 German breakthrough at Sedan
  • May 14 Lord Beaverbrook appointed British minister of aircraft production
  • May 14 Nazis bomb Rotterdam (600-900 dead), Netherlands surrenders to Germany
  • May 15 German armoured division moves into Northern France
  • May 15 German troops occupy Amsterdam, General Winkelman surrenders
  • May 15 Nazis capture General Dutch Persbureau (ANP)
  • May 15 Richard and Maurice McDonald open the 1st McDonald's restaurant in San Bernardino, California
  • May 15 USS Sailfish (SS-192) recommissioned, originally the Squalus
  • May 16 British Premier Winston Churchill returns to London from Paris
  • May 16 Nazis forbid non-professional auto workers
  • May 17 Germany occupies Brussels, Belgium and begins invasion of France
  • May 17 Nazis bombs Middelburg/B IJzerdrat begins illegal defiance
  • May 18 WWII: German troops conquer Antwerp, Belgium
  • May 19 Amsterdam time becomes MET (Middle European Time)

Historic Event

May 19 French counter attack at Pronne under General Charles de Gaulle

  • May 20 German General Guderian's tanks reach the English Channel (British expeditionary army)
  • May 20 Soccer team HZVV forms in Hoogeveen
  • May 20 Trailing 7-1 in 9th to Pitts, Phils win 8-7
  • May 21 Allied counter attack at Atrecht, northern France
  • May 21 AVRO-chairman Willem Vogt fires all Jewish employees
  • May 21 Paul Reynaud forms French government
  • May 22 Dutch Premier De Geer begins working with Nazis
  • May 22 UK Premier Winston Churchill flies to Paris to decide with General Maxime Weygand a strategy to save the city
  • May 23 1st great dogfight between Spitfires and Luftwaffe
  • May 24 1st night game at St Louis Sportsman Park (Indians 3, Browns 2)

Historic Event

May 24 Adolf Hitler affirms General von Rundstedts "Stopbevel"

  • May 24 Dutch army demobilizes
  • May 24 Dutch Queen Wilhelmina speaks on BBC radio
  • May 24 German tanks reach Atrecht, France
  • May 24 NY Giants swat Boston Bees, 8-1, in 1st night game at Polo Grounds, NYC
  • May 25 German troops conquer Boulogne
  • May 25 Golden Gate International Exposition reopens

Historic Event

May 26 1st successful helicopter flight in US: Vought-Sikorsky US-300 designed by Igor Sikorsky

Miracle of Dunkirk

May 27 British and Allied forces begin the evacuation of Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo) during WWII

  • May 27 World War II: In the Le Paradis massacre, 97 soldiers from a Royal Norfolk Regiment unit are shot after surrendering to German troops
  • May 28 Belgium surrenders to Germany, King Leopold III gives himself up
  • May 28 British-French troops capture Narvik, Norway

Music Premiere

May 28 Irving Berlin's musical "Louisiana Purchase", satirizing Huey Long's political power, opens at The Imperial Theatre, NYC; runs for 444 performances

  • May 29 Adolf Kiefer swims world record 100 yards backstroke (58.8 sec)
  • May 29 Arthur Seyss-Inquart installed as Reich commissar of The Hague, Netherlands
  • May 29 In WWII, Germans capture Ostend & Ypres in Belgium and Lille in France
  • May 30 Indianapolis 500: Wilbur Shaw drives same Maserati 8CTF he had driven to victory in 1939; first driver in the history to win at Indy in consecutive years

Historic Event

May 31 Major General Bernard Montgomery leaves Dunkirk

  • May 31 Winston Churchill flies to Paris to meet with French Marshal Philippe P├ętain who announces he is willing to make a separate peace with Germany