May 1940 in History

Events in History

  • May 1 140 Palestinian Jews die as German planes bomb their ship
  • May 4 21 "not neutral" Nazis & communists arrested in Netherlands
  • 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 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
  • 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 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

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 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
  • 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

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

Birthdays in History

  • May 1 Elsa Peretti, Italian jewelry designer
  • May 2 Sari van Heemskerck Pillis-Duvekot, Dutch governor and politician (VVD), born in Goes, Netherlands
  • May 3 David Koch, American businessman and philanthropist (Koch Industries billionaire), born in Wichita, Kansas
  • May 4 Robin Cook, American physician and novelist, born in NYC, New York
  • May 6 Henry Habibe, Arubian poet (Kerensentenchi), born in Aruba
  • May 7 Angela Carter, English novelist (Magic Toyshop) and journalist, born in Eastbourne, England (d. 1992)
  • May 7 Jim Connors, American Radio personality, born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (d. 1987)
  • May 8 Irwin Cotler, Canadian politician (Attorney General of Canada 2003-6), born in Montreal, Quebec
  • May 8 James Blyth, Baron Blyth of Rowington, British businessman (CEO of Boots)

Peter BenchleyPeter Benchley (1940-2006)

May 8 American novelist (Jaws, The Deep), born in NYC, New York

  • May 10 Bill Cash, British politician (C), born in London
  • May 10 Wayne A. Downing, retired United States Army general
  • May 10 Wayne Dyer, American psychologist and author (Your Erroneous Zones; Universe Within You), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2015)
  • May 13 Bruce Chatwin, English travel writer and novelist (In Patagonia, On the Black Hill), born in Sheffield, England (d. 1989)
  • May 14 'H'. Jones, British Soldier (VC recipient) (d. 1982)
  • May 14 Chay Blyth, English sailor (Alone in Order to the World)
  • May 16 Gareth Roberts, chancellor (Sheffield University)

Alan KayAlan Kay (82 years old)

May 17 American computer scientist (GUI design and object-oriented programming), born in Springfield, Massachusetts

  • May 18 Marshall Stoneham, British physicist, born inn Barrow-in-Furness, England (d. 2011)
  • May 19 Frank Lorenzo, airline executive (Continental, Texas Air, Eastern)
  • May 20 Sadaharu Oh, of Yomiuri Giants (Japan), hit 868 career HR
  • May 24 Joseph Brodsky, Russian-American poet and writer (Less than One, Nobel 1987), born in Leningrad, RSFSR, Soviet Union (d. 1996)
  • May 26 Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, French Canadian politician

Betty ShabazzBetty Shabazz (1940-1997)

May 28 American educator and civil rights activist who was the widow of Malcolm X, born in Pinehurst, Georgia

  • May 28 Maeve Binchy [Snell], Irish novelist (Light a Penny Candle), born in Dalkey, Ireland (d. 2012)
  • May 28 Tom Petri, American politician (Rep-R-WI, 1979-2015), born in Marinette, Wisconsin
  • May 29 Farooq Leghari, 8th President of Pakistan (1993-97), born in Choti Zareen, British India (d. 2010)
  • May 31 Gilbert Shelton, American underground comics illustrator

Deaths in History

Henry Ossian FlipperHenry Ossian Flipper (1856-1940)

May 3 American soldier, former slave and first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, dies at 84

  • May 7 George Lansbury, British politician, Labour Party Leader and pacifist, dies at 81
  • May 10 Euphemia "Phemia" Molkenboer, Dutch author/poster artist, dies at 56
  • May 14 Eddy [Charles E] du Platform, writer/poet, dies
  • May 14 Edgar du Perron, Dutch author and poet (Land of Origin), dies at 40
  • May 14 Emma Goldman, American anarchist and author (Living My Life), dies at 70
  • May 14 Jacob van Gelderen, economist/sociologist/SDAP-2nd-Chamber, dies at 49
  • May 14 Menno ter Braak, Dutch writer (Forum, New Elite), suicide at 38
  • May 14 Willem Johannes Leyds, Dutch-South Africa lawyer and diplomat (State Secretary of the South African Republic), dies at 81
  • May 15 Joseph Limburg, Dutch lawyer and politician, dies at 73
  • May 15 Willem Adriaan Bonger, Dutch criminologist (Race & Crime), suicide at 63
  • May 20 Joris van Severen, Flemish politician and founder of the Alliance of Dietsche National Solidarists, dies at 45
  • May 20 Verner von Heidenstam, Swedish poet and novelist (Charles Men, Nobel 1916), dies at 80
  • May 23 Paul Nizan, French journalist/writer (Ce Soir/Aden Arabia), dies at 35
  • May 28 Friedrich Karl von Hessen (b. 1868)
  • May 30 Y de Smit-Rog, oldest citizen of Netherlands, dies at 104