On This Day

December 1939 in History

Events in History

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
  • Dec 9 Russian air raid on Helsinki
  • Dec 10 KNVB celebrates 50th anniversary
  • Dec 12 Russ Indigirka capsizes in blizzard off Japanese coast; 750 die
  • Dec 13 Battle of the River Plate - 3 British cruisers vs German pocket battleship Graf Spee
  • Dec 14 Soviet Union attacks Finland-League of Nations drops Soviet Union
  • Dec 15 1st commercial manufacture of nylon yarn in Seaford, Delaware
  • Dec 15 Dutch airplane the 'Snip' rFokker F.XVIII)departs for 1st flight to Paramaribo and Curacao
  • Dec 17 German pocket battleship Graf Spee scuttled by its crew off Uruguay
  • Dec 18 Finnish army recaptures Agläjärvi
  • Dec 19 Russian air & ground attack against Finnish positions near Summa
  • Dec 20 Radio Australia begins overseas shortwave service

Appointment of Interest

Dec 21 Adolf Hitler names Adolf Eichmann leader of "Referat IV B", responsible for evictions and Jewish immigration

  • Dec 22 Genthin, Germany rail disaster - 186 die in train wreck as an express has a rear-end collision with a train stopped at the station
  • Dec 22 Finnish counter offensive at Petsamo
  • Dec 22 Freight train and passenger train head-on collision kills 101 at Markdorf, Germany
  • Dec 23 Finnish counter offensive at Summa
  • Dec 23 South Australia score 7-821 against Queensland

Historic Event

Dec 24 World War II: Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas Eve appeal for peace.

  • Dec 25 Grimmett & Ward rip through Qld except Bill Brown (156)
  • Dec 25 Montgomery Ward introduces Rudolph the 9th red-nosed reindeer
  • Dec 26 Earthquake in East Anatolia Turkey
  • Dec 26 Mine strikes in Borinage Brussels
  • Dec 27 1st American skimobiles (North Conway, NH)
  • Dec 27 Between 20,000 and 40,000 die in magnitude 8 earthquake in Erzincam, Turkey
  • Dec 29 First flight of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber prototype
  • Dec 30 O'Reilly takes 14-45 (8-23 & 6-22) as NSW crush Qld in 2 days
  • Dec 31 Dutch national debt hits ƒ4,218,553,180.99

Birthdays in History

  • Dec 2 Yael Dayan, Israeli writer and politician, born in Nahalal, Israel
  • Dec 2 Harry Reid, American attorney and politician (U.S. Senator from Nevada 1987-2017), born in Searchlight, Nevada
  • Dec 2 Francis Fox, Canadian politician (member of the Senate of Canada), born in Montreal, Quebec
  • Dec 5 Jack Whitten, American abstract painter, born in Bessemer, Alabama (d. 2018)
  • Dec 8 Lynn Wilson, contractor and multi-millionaire
  • Dec 9 Patricia Stephens Due, African-American civil rights activist (FAMU jail-in), born in Quincy, Florida (d. 2012)
  • Dec 10 Barry Cunliffe, English archaeologist and university professor, born in Portsmouth, England
  • Dec 11 Thomas McGuane, American writer (Colf Feet, Tom Horn, Missouri Breaks), born in Wyandotte, Michigan
  • Dec 11 Tom Hayden, American civil rights and antiwar activist and politician (Rep-D-Ca), born in Royal Oak, Michigan (d. 2016)
  • Dec 17 Charles V. Bush, African-American pioneer (1st African-American US Air Force Academy Graduate and US Supreme Court Page), (d. 2012)
  • Dec 18 Christoffel "Stoffel" van de Merwe, South African minister of Education
  • Dec 18 Michael J Moorcock, England, sci-fi author (Alien Heat, Bull & Spear)
  • Dec 18 Harold E. Varmus, American scientist, Nobel laureate
  • Dec 20 Dianne Arndt, artist/photographer
  • Dec 21 Lloyd Axworthy, Canadian politician, born in North Battleford, Canada
  • Dec 25 Christopher Wates, English real estate developer/multi-millionaire
  • Dec 26 Lynn Martin, American politician, (Secretary of Labor, 1991-93; US Congress, 1981-91) born in Evanston, Illinois
  • Dec 28 Philip Anschutz, American businessman
  • Dec 29 Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Maldivian politician & Islamic scholar, born in Malé, Maldives
  • Dec 30 Doeke Eisma, Dutch sociologist and politician (D66)
  • Dec 30 Glenda Adams, Australian author (d. 2007)
  • Dec 31 Hugh Lewin, South African anti-apartheid activist and writer (Bandiet: Seven Years in a South African Prison), born in Lydenburg, South Africa (d. 2019)

Deaths in History

  • Dec 18 Matthew Brown, Journalist, dies at 51
  • Dec 19 Karl Wagenfeld, Low German writer (Lucifer, Death & Devil), dies at 70
  • Dec 20 Hans Langsdorff, German capt (Graaf Spee), commits suicide
  • Dec 23 Anthony H. G. Fokker, Dutch airplane builder (Spider), dies at 49