On This Day

August 1939 in History

Events in History

  • Aug 2 US 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 7 Millionaire Howard Hughes is presented with a Congressional Gold Medal

Aviator and Businessman Howard Hughes
Aviator and Businessman
Howard Hughes
  • 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 15 13 Stukas dive into the ground during a disastrous air-practice at Neuhammer. No survivors.
  • 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 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 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 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 Poland mobilizes
  • Aug 31 Japanese invasion army driven out of Mongolia
  • Aug 31 Staged "Polish" assault on radio station in Gleiwitz

Birthdays in History

  • Aug 1 Robert James Waller, American author (Bridges of Madison County), born in Charles City, Iowa (d. 2017)
  • Aug 1 Stephen Sykes, Church of England bishop, born in Bristol, England (d. 2014)
  • Aug 2 Benjamin Barber, American political theorist (Jihad vs. McWorld), born in Manhattan, New York (d. 2017)
  • Aug 5 Irene, Princess of Netherlands, born at Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, Netherlands
  • Aug 8 Alexander Watson, American ambassador and diplomat
  • Aug 9 Tony Budge, English contractor/tank maker/multi-millionaire
  • Aug 10 Charles Rose, (Rep-D-North Carolina, 1973- )
  • Aug 12 Roy Romanow, Canadian politician
  • Aug 12 Sushil Koirala, Nepalese politician, Prime Minister of Nepal (2014-2015), born in Biratnagar, Morang (d. 2016)
  • Aug 13 Saul Steinberg, American businessman, founder of Leasco and CEO of Reliance Insurance Company, born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2012)
  • Aug 15 Herman Onno C. R. Ruding, Dutch Financial minister (CDA) and Director of Amrobank
  • Aug 16 Valeri V Ryumin, cosmonaut (Soyuz 25, 32)
  • Aug 16 Wim Meijer, Dutch politician (PvdA)
  • Aug 16 Sir Trevor Mcdonald, Trinidadian-born British television newsreader
  • Aug 18 Robert Horton, British businessman and CEO (BP), born in London, England (d. 2011)
  • Aug 21 Festus Mogae, 3rd President of Botswana (1998-2008), born in Serowe, Bechuanaland, Botswana
  • Aug 23 Charles Wardle, British Member of Parliament for Bexhill and Battle
  • Aug 23 Ronnie A. Casseres, minister of Dutch Antilles, born in Curaçao
  • Aug 25 John Badham, English-born American director (Dracula, Short Circuit), born in Luton, England

Person of interestJorge Paulo Lemann

Aug 26 Jorge Paulo Lemann, Swiss-Brazilian investor, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Investor and Beer Mogul Jorge Paulo Lemann
Investor and Beer Mogul
Jorge Paulo Lemann

Deaths in History

  • Aug 2 Harvey Spencer Lewis, American Rosicrucian author and mystic, dies at 55
  • Aug 11 Jean Bugatti, Italian automobile designer (b. 1909)
  • Aug 19 Johannes Marinus Meulenhoff, Dutch publisher, dies at 70
  • Aug 23 Sidney Coe Howard, American playwright (Silver Cord, Pulitzer 1925), dies at 48