On This Day

September 1940 in History

Events in History

  • Sep 2 Great Smoky Mountains National Park dedicated
  • Sep 3 39.4 cm rainfall at Sapulpa, Oklahoma (state record)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 3 Adolf Hitler orders an invasion of Great Britain for Sept 21 (Operation Seelöwe/Sealion)

Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
  • Sep 3 Dutch government in exile of Gerbrandy forms in London
  • Sep 3 Sicherheits police bans Free masons, Rotary & Red Cross
  • Sep 3 US gives Britain 50 destroyers in exchange for Newfoundland base lease
  • Sep 4 Gerbrandy becomes premier of Dutch government in exile
  • Sep 4 Nazi collaborator Mussert puts the fate of Netherlands in Hitler's hands
  • Sep 6 Crown prince Michael succeeds Carol II as king of Romania
  • Sep 6 Generalissimo Gamelin arrested in France

'Hitler Will Have to Break Us or Lose the War''Hitler Will Have to Break Us or Lose the War'

Sep 7 Beginning of the Blitz: the German Luftwaffe bomb London for 1st of 57 consecutive nights as the Nazis prepare to invade Britain

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Buckingham Palace is bombed. Churchill, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth inspect the damage. Photo: NPA Rota
Buckingham Palace is bombed. Churchill, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth inspect the damage. Photo: NPA Rota
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  • Sep 7 Luftwaffe loses 41 bombers above England
  • Sep 7 Treaty of Craiova: Romania loses Southern Dobrudja to Bulgaria.
  • Sep 9 28 German aircraft shot down above England
  • Sep 10 Buckingham Palace hit by German bomb
  • Sep 11 -12] Buckingham Palace damaged by German bombs

  • Sep 11 54th US Postmaster General: Frank C Walker of Pa takes office
  • Sep 11 Anton Mussert establishes Dutch SS
  • Sep 11 Hitler begins operation Seelöwe (Sealion - aborted invasion England)
  • Sep 11 George Stibitz pioneers the first remote operation of a computer.
  • Sep 12 49 die & 200 injured when Hercules Powder Co plant explodes (NJ)
  • Sep 12 Italian troops enter Egypt

Dog Unearths Cave of AntiquityDog Unearths Cave of Antiquity

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

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Marcel Ravidat, second from left in beret, with his friends at the cave entrance in 1940
Marcel Ravidat, second from left in beret, with his friends at the cave entrance in 1940
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  • Sep 13 Buckingham Palace damaged by German bombs
  • Sep 13 Italian troops under Marshal Graziani attack Egypt
  • Sep 14 US Congress passes 1st peace-time conscription bill (draft law)
  • Sep 14 German bomb hits shelter in Chelsea; hundreds die

Victory in battleVictory in Battle

Sep 15 UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill visits Royal Air Force 11th Fighter Group on what would be the fiercest day of the Battle of Britain

Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 16 FDR signs Selective Training & Service Act (1st peacetime draft)

32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt
32nd US President
Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Sep 16 Luftwaffe attacks central London
  • Sep 16 Samuel T Rayburn of Texas elected speaker of US House of Representatives
  • Sep 16 St Louis Browns Johnny Lucadello is 2nd to HR from each side of plate
  • Sep 17 Nazis deprive Jews of possessions
  • Sep 17 Adolf Hitler indefinitely postpones Operation Sealion, the planned German invasion of Great Britain
  • Sep 18 19 German aircraft shot down above England

  • Sep 18 Elmer Harris' "Johnny Belinda" premieres in NYC
  • Sep 18 Italian troops conquer Sidi Barrani
  • Sep 19 Nazi decree forbids gentile woman to work in Jewish homes

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 19 Witold Pilecki is voluntarily captured and sent to Auschwitz in order to smuggle out information and start a resistance

Polish Resistance Fighter Witold Pilecki
Polish Resistance Fighter
Witold Pilecki
  • Sep 23 -27] French/British assault on French fleet in Dakar, flees
  • Sep 23 Dutch nazi collaborator Mussert's 1st meeting with Adolf Hitler

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 23 Dutch artist Piet Mondrian leaves Europe for New York, where he lives for the rest of his life

Abstract Painter Piet Mondrian
Abstract Painter
Piet Mondrian
  • Sep 24 Jimmy Foxx hits his 500th career HR
  • Sep 24 Luftwaffe bombs Spitfire factory in Southampton

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 25 German High Commissioner in Norway sets up Vidkun Quisling government

Prime Minister of Norway and Nazi Collaborator Vidkun Quisling
Prime Minister of Norway and Nazi Collaborator
Vidkun Quisling
  • Sep 26 Luftwaffe bombs Spitfire factory in Woolston, Southampton for second time, 30 killed
  • Sep 26 Japanese troops attack French Indo-China
  • Sep 27 55 German aircraft shot down above England
  • Sep 27 Black leaders protest discrimination in US armed forces
  • Sep 27 Floyd Giebells, 1st game, 2-0 pennant clinching beating Bob Feller
  • Sep 27 Nazi Germany, Italy & Japan sign 10 year formal alliance (Axis)
  • Sep 28 Michigan's Tom Harmon runs 72, 86 & 94 yard touchdowns
  • Sep 28 Nazi occupiers present "New Dutch Culture" in German
  • Sep 28 Bud Brennan, a fan at Memorial Stadium, races out of stands & attempts to tackle Tom Harmon at 3-yard line, Harmon easily evades Brennan
  • Sep 29 "Double or Nothing", a radio quiz show, 1st heard on Mutual Radio Net
  • Sep 29 "Strike Up the Band" opens

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 29 1st US merchant ship "Booker T. Washington" commanded by a black captain (Hugh Mulzac), launched at Wilmington Delaware

Education Pioneer Booker T. Washington
Education Pioneer
Booker T. Washington
  • Sep 30 47 German aircraft shot down above England

Birthdays in History

  • Sep 3 Eduardo Galeano, Uruguayan journalist and writer, born in Montevideo
  • Sep 7 Dario Argento, Italian director (Creepers, Deep Red, Tenebrae), born in Rome, Italy
  • Sep 7 Abdurrahman Wahid, 4th President of Indonesia, born in Denanyar, East Java, Dutch East Indies (d. 2009)
  • Sep 8 Quentin L. Cook, American lawyer and religious leader (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), born in Logan, Utah
  • Sep 11 Theodore Olson, 42nd Solicitor General of the United States, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Sep 11 Robert Palmer, American businessman and last CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation
  • Sep 11 Tom Gallagher, American diplomat, gay activist, and 1st Foreign Service officer to publicly come out in 1976, born in Manhattan, New York (d. 2018)
  • Sep 12 Roger K. Crouch, American astronaut (STS 83, 94), born in Jamestown, Tennessee
  • Sep 12 Stephen Solarz, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York), born in NYC, New York (d. 2010)
  • Sep 13 Óscar Arias Sánchez, 40th & 45th President of Costa Rica (Nobel Peace Prize 1987), born in Heredia, Costa Rica
  • Sep 14 Leo Ferrier, Surinamese writer (Atman), born in Paramaribo, Suriname
  • Sep 15 Norman [Richard] Spinrad, American sci-fi author (Child of Fortune)
  • Sep 17 Jan Eliasson, Swedish diplomat (4th Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations), born in Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Sep 20 Joe DioGuardi, American accountant and politician (Rep-R-NY, 1985-89), born in NYC, New York
  • Sep 21 Hermann Knoflacher, Austrian civil engineer, born in Villach, Austria
  • Sep 22 Li Zhensheng, Chinese photographer during the Cultural Revolution, born in Dalian, China (d. 2020)
  • Sep 23 Michel Temer [Michel Miguel Elias Temer Lulia], Brazilian lawyer and 37th President of Brazil (2016-18), born in Tietê, Brazil
  • Sep 24 Yves Navarre, French writer (Le Jardin d'acclimatation), born in Condom, France (d. 1994)
  • Sep 25 Timothy Severin, British author and explorer, born in Assam, British India
  • Sep 28 Alekander Sergeyevich Ivanchenkov, USSR, cosmonaut (Soyuz 29/31, T-6)
  • Sep 28 Aleksandr Y Kalery, Russian cosmonaut
  • Sep 28 George Greenstein, author (Secret of a Jewish Baker)
  • Sep 29 Jimmy Knapp, trade unionist

Deaths in History


Person of interestLillian Wald

Sep 1 Lillian Wald, American pioneering nurse and social activist who started American community nursing with the Henry Street Settlement in NYC, dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at 73

Nurse and Social Activist Lillian Wald
Nurse and Social Activist
Lillian Wald
  • Sep 3 Vilhelm Ekelund, Swedish poet and writer (Hafvets Stjorna), dies at 59
  • Sep 7 Edmund Rumpler, Austria auto/airplane builder, dies
  • Sep 15 Dick Ket, Dutch painter and cartoonist, dies at 37
  • Sep 26 Walter Benjamin, writer, dies at 48
  • Sep 26 William Henry Davies, Welsh poet (Autobiography of a Super Tramp), dies at 69
  • Sep 27 Walter Benjamin, German/French literature critic/writer, dies at 48
  • Sep 27 Julius Wagner-Jauregg, Austrian neuroscientist, Nobel laureate (b. 1857)