On This Day

Year 1940 in History

Events in History

  • Feb 27 Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discover carbon-14 (radiocarbon dating) at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley, California
  • Mar 18 Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler meet at Brenner Pass where the Italian dictator agrees he will, in due course, join Germany's impending war effort in the west
  • May 10 Winston Churchill succeeds Neville Chamberlain as British Prime Minister
  • May 12 Nazi blitzkrieg and conquest of France begins with the crossing of the Muese River
  • 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 15 Richard and Maurice McDonald open the 1st McDonald's restaurant in San Bernardino, California
  • May 27 British and Allied forces begin the evacuation of Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo) during WWII
  • Jun 4 British complete the "Miracle of Dunkirk" by evacuating 338,226 allied troops from France via a flotilla of over 800 vessels including Royal Navy destroyers, merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft and even lifeboats
  • Jun 14 Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp opens in Nazi controlled Poland with Polish POWs, later expanded to include civilian Jews and gypsies (approx. 3 million would die within its walls)
  • Jun 15 World War II: France surrenders to NAZI Germany, German troops occupy Paris
  • Jun 18 Winston Churchill's "this was their finest hour" speech urging perseverance during Battle of Britain delivered to British House of Commons
  • Jul 10 Battle of Britain begins as Nazi forces attack shipping convoys in the English Channel
  • Jul 16 Adolf Hitler orders preparations for the invasion of Britain (Operation Sealion)
  • Aug 18 Battle of Britain: The air battle known as "The Hardest Day" occurs; Luftwaffe lose approximately 69 aircraft and the RAF lose 68 in one of the largest ever air battles
  • Sep 7 Beginning of The Blitz as the German Luftwaffe bomb London for the 1st of 57 consecutive nights losing 41 bombers as the Nazis prepare to invade Britain
  • Sep 12 Four teens, following their dog down a hole near Lascaux, France discover 17,000 year old drawings now known as the Lascaux Cave Paintings
  • Sep 15 Battle of Britain Day: climax of the Battle of Britain, tide begins to turn as the Royal Air Force repulses a major Luftwaffe attack, losing 29 aircraft to the Germans' 57-61
  • Sep 17 Adolf Hitler indefinitely postpones Operation Sealion, the planned German invasion of Great Britain
  • More Events in History

Historical Marriages

  • Jan 1 68th Prime Minister of UK Harold Wilson (23) weds poet Mary Baldwin (23) in the chapel of Mansfield College, Oxford
  • Jan 2 Archibald Campbell Mzoliza Jordan, Xhosa writer, linguist and academic and outspoken critic of the South African National Party government's Bantu Education policy, marries Priscilla Phyllis Ntantla.
  • Feb 18 Molecular biologist Francis Crick (23) weds Ruth Doreen Dodd; divorce 1947

Historical Divorces


More Weddings & Divorces in History