On This Day

Events in History in 1940

Events 1 - 200 of 417

  • Jan 3 WPG-AM in Atlantic City NJ consolidates with WBIL & WOV as "new" WOV
  • Jan 5 FCC hears 1st transmission of FM radio with clear, static-free signal
  • Jan 5 Finnish offensive at Suomossalmi against Russia
  • Jan 6 Mass execution of Poles, committed by Germans in the city of Poznań, Warthegau.
  • Jan 7 Winter War: The Finish 9th Division defeats the Soviet forces on the Raate-Suomussalmi road despite being significantly outnumbered
  • Jan 8 Britain's 1st WW II rationing (bacon, butter & sugar)
  • Jan 9 2 German officers make emergency landing in Belgium
  • Jan 9 J Thurber & E Nugent's "Male Animal" premieres in NYC
  • Jan 11 Sergei Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo & Juliet" premieres in Leningrad
  • Jan 12 World War II: Soviets bombs cities in Finland.
  • Jan 15 German U-Boot torpedoes Dutch merchant ship Arendskerk (Eagle's Church)
  • Jan 21 Foreign correspondents in Netherlands subjected to censorship
  • Jan 25 Nazi decrees establishment of Jewish ghetto in Lodz Poland
  • Jan 26 Nazis forbid Polish Jews to travel on trains
  • Jan 27 -17°F (-27°C), CCC Camp F-16, Georgia (state record)
  • Jan 30 Benjamin Britten's "Lesson Illuminations" premieres in London

  • Jan 30 Cor Jongert wins 6th Dutch 11 Cities Skating Race
  • Jan 30 Hassett's second 122 of the game for Vic can't stop a NSW win
  • Jan 31 C Turney & J Horwin's "My Dear Children" premieres in NYC
  • Feb 1 Soviet Union begins new offensive against Finland
  • Feb 5 General Winckelman replaces Gen Reijnders as Dutch supreme commander
  • Feb 8 Lodtz, 1st large ghetto established by Nazis in Poland
  • Feb 10 US female Figure Skating championship won by Joan Tozzer
  • Feb 10 US male Figure Skating championship won by Eugene Turner
  • Feb 14 British merchant vessel fleet is armed
  • Feb 16 British search plane finds German supply ship Altmark, used to accommodate allied sailors from vessels sunk by the Graf Spee off Norway
  • Feb 17 Altmark Incident: Crew of the British destroyer "Cossack" board German "Altmark" in Jøssingfjord, Norway, releasing 299 British prisoners after hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets and the last recorded Royal Naval action with cutlass
  • Feb 22 Finnish troops vacate Koivisto island
  • Feb 22 German air force sinks 2 German destroyers, killing 578
  • Feb 23 Russian troops conquer Lasi Island
  • Feb 24 Frances Langford records "When You Wish Upon a Star"
  • Feb 26 US Air Defense Command forms at Mitchel Field, LI, NY
  • Feb 27 Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discover carbon-14 (radiocarbon dating) at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley, California
  • Feb 28 Richard Wright's "Native Son" published
  • Feb 28 US population at 131,669,275 (12,865,518 African American (9.8%))
  • Feb 29 Frederic from G & S "Pirates of Penzance" finally released by pirate

  • Feb 29 Finland initiates Winter War peace negotiations
  • Mar 1 Richard Wright's novel "Native Son" is published
  • Mar 2 Soviet armies conquer Tuppura Island, Finland
  • Mar 2 Beaten by a nose in both the 1937 and 1938 Santa Anita Handicaps, Seabiscuit finally wins the Big 'Cap in his final race; retires the leading money-winning horse in the world
  • Mar 6 1st US telecast from an airplane, NYC
  • Mar 12 Finland signs the Moscow Peace Treaty in Moscow, surrendering to Russia and ceding 11% of their pre-WWII territory, ending the "Winter War"
  • Mar 13 Finland-Russian cease fire signed, the Winter War ends. Finland gives up Karelische
  • Mar 14 27 killed, 15 injured when truck full of migrant workers collides with a train outside McAllen, Texas

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 15 Hermann Goering says 100-200 church bells enough for Germany, smelt the rest

Nazi Politician Hermann Goering
Nazi Politician
Hermann Goering
  • Mar 16 German air raid on British fleet base Scapa Flow

AgreementAgreement of Interest

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

Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini
Italian Dictator
Benito Mussolini
Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
  • Mar 19 Failed British air raid on German base at Sylt

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 19 French government of Édouard Daladier falls

Prime Minister of France Édouard Daladier
Prime Minister of France
Édouard Daladier
  • Mar 20 Paul Reynoud becomes French premier
  • Mar 23 All-India-Muslim League calls for a Muslim homeland
  • Mar 23 The Lahore Resolution (Qarardad-e-Pakistan or the then Qarardad-e-Lahore) is put forward at the Annual General Convention of the All India Muslim League.

Music releaseTheater Premiere

Mar 26 "The Fifth Column", a play by Ernest Hemingway and adapted by Benjamin Glazer premieres in NYC courtesy of the Theater Guild

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

Mar 27 Peter Fraser becomes Prime Minister of New Zealand after the death of his predecessor Michael Joeseph Savage from cancer

New Zealand Prime Minister Peter Fraser
New Zealand Prime Minister
Peter Fraser
  • Mar 28 Construction begins of the exhibition center to host the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair
  • Mar 31 Karelo-Finnish SSR becomes 12th Soviet republic (until 1956)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 1 Filipino President Quezon officially authorizes the printing and publication of the grammar and dictionary prepared by the Institute of the National Language.

2nd President of the Philippines Manuel L. Quezon
2nd President of the Philippines
Manuel L. Quezon
  • Apr 4 R Rodgers/Lorenz Hart's "Higher & Higher" premieres in NYC

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 7 US Post Office issues first postage stamp of African American educator Booker T. Washington

Education Pioneer Booker T. Washington
Education Pioneer
Booker T. Washington
  • Apr 8 German battle cruisers sink British aircraft carrier Glorious
  • Apr 9 German cruiser Blucher torpedoed and capsizes in Oslofjord, 1,000 die
  • Apr 9 Nazi Germany invades Denmark and Norway, and Denmark surrenders after a six-hour battle
  • Apr 10 Vidkun Quisling forms Norwegian "national government"
  • Apr 12 Italy annexes Albania
  • Apr 13 Second battle of Narvik; 3 German destroyers and one U-boat sunk by the Royal Navy, 5 more German destroyers scuttled.
  • Apr 14 Allied troops land in Norway
  • Apr 14 RCA demonstrated its new electron microscope in Philadelphia
  • Apr 15 British troops land at Narvik, Norway
  • Apr 16 Cleveland Indian Bob Feller hurls an opening day no-hitter vs Chic, 1-0
  • Apr 19 "Lake Shore Ltd" derails speed killing 34 near Little Falls, New York
  • Apr 19 Dutch prime minister De Geer declares state of siege
  • Apr 20 1st electron microscope demonstrated (RCA), Philadelphia, Pa
  • Apr 22 Rear Admiral Joseph Taussig testifies before US Senate Naval Affairs Committee that war with Japan is inevitable

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 27 Himmler orders establishment of Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Leading Nazi and Reichsführer of the SS Heinrich Himmler
Leading Nazi and Reichsführer of the SS
Heinrich Himmler
  • Apr 28 SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) Rudolf Höss (not Hess, different Nazi) becomes commandant of concentration camp Auschwitz
  • Apr 29 Norwegian King Haakon & government flee to Britain
  • Apr 29 Robert Sherwood's play "There Shall be No Night" premieres in NYC
  • Apr 30 Air New Zealand then known as TEAL makes its inaugural flight with a flight from Auckland to Sydney. Later becomes 1st airline in the world to boil hot water in-flight to offer customers hot tea and coffee.
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 10 Winston Churchill succeeds Neville Chamberlain as British Prime Minister

Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
British Prime Minister
Neville Chamberlain
  • 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 Moerdijkbrug
  • 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 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 13 Dutch Queen Wilhelmina flees to England
  • May 13 German breakthrough at Grebbelinie
  • 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 Admiral Johannes Furstner, Royal Dutch Navy, departs to England
  • May 14 Boston's Jimmie Foxx HR goes over Comiskey Park's left field roof
  • 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 USS Sailfish (SS-192) recommissioned, originally the Squalus
  • May 15 Richard and Maurice McDonald open the 1st McDonald's restaurant in San Bernardino, California
  • May 16 Nazis forbid non-professional auto workers
  • May 16 British Premier Winston Churchill returns to London from Paris
  • May 17 Germany occupies Brussels, Belgium and begins invasion of France
  • May 17 Nazis bombs Middelburg/B IJzerdrat begins illegal defiance
  • May 18 German troops conquer Brussels
  • May 19 Amsterdam time becomes MET (Middle European Time)
  • May 19 French counter attack at Pronne under Gen 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 AVRO-chairman Willem Vogt fires all Jewish employees
  • May 21 Allied counter attack at Atrecht, northern France
  • May 21 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
  • May 24 Dutch Queen Wilhelmina speaks on BBC radio

  • May 24 Dutch army demobilizes
  • May 24 German tanks reach Atrecht, France

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 24 Adolf Hitler affirms General von Rundstedts "Stopbevel"

Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
  • May 25 German troops conquer Boulogne
  • May 25 Golden Gate International Exposition reopens

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 26 1st successful helicopter flight in US: Vought-Sikorsky US-300 designed by Igor Sikorsky

Aviator Igor Sikorsky
Aviator
Igor Sikorsky
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 31 Major General Bernard Montgomery leaves Dunkirk

British WWII Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
British WWII Field Marshal
Bernard Montgomery
  • May 31 Winston Churchill flies to Paris to meet with French Marshal Philippe Pétain who announces he is willing to make a separate peace with Germany
  • Jun 1 Coffee & tea rationed in Holland
  • Jun 1 Major General Bernard Montgomery returns to London
  • Jun 1 Nazi occupiers kick Jews out of Dutch air guard
  • Jun 2 Heavy German bombing on Dunkirk beach
  • Jun 3 Last British and French troops evacuated from Dunkirk
  • 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 4 Winston Churchill's speech "We shall fight on the seas and oceans"
  • Jun 5 A synthetic rubber tire exhibited in Akron, Ohio by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
  • Jun 5 American Negro Theater organizes
  • Jun 5 Battle of France begins in WW II
  • Jun 5 General Von Bock starts a German offensive in the Somme

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 5 General Charles de Gaulle becomes French junior minister of Defense

French President Charles de Gaulle
French President
Charles de Gaulle
  • Jun 5 Governor of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles refuse entry to Jewish refugees
  • Jun 5 Netherlands rations petroleum
  • Jun 7 British/French troops evacuate Narvik
  • Jun 8 Discovery of element 93, neptunium, announced

  • Jun 8 Last British troops leave Narvik, Norway
  • Jun 9 General Charles de Gaulle's 1st meeting with Winston Churchill
  • Jun 10 French government moves to Bordeaux
  • Jun 10 German "Dutch" Q-ship Atlantis sinks Norwegian tanker
  • Jun 10 German 5th Armoured division occupies Rouen
  • Jun 10 Italy declares war on France and Great Britain as part of its Axis alliance with Nazi Germany
  • Jun 10 Norway surrenders to Nazi Germany after 62 days of fighting
  • Jun 10 Canada declares war on Italy.
  • Jun 11 Italy declares war on Allies
  • Jun 11 British Premier Winston Churchill flies to Orleans
  • Jun 11 World War II: British forces bomb Genoa and Turin in Italy
  • Jun 11 World War II: First attack of the Italian Air force on the island of Malta
  • Jun 13 Paris evacuates before German advance
  • Jun 14 German forces enter Paris during WWII
  • Jun 14 Auschwitz concentration camp opens in Nazi controlled Poland with Polish POWs (approx. 3 million would die within its walls)
  • Jun 14 German U-47 sinks airship Balmoral
  • Jun 15 38 Italian Fiat bombers bomb Luc-en-Province
  • Jun 15 Bread & flour rationed in Holland
  • Jun 15 World War II: France surrenders to NAZI Germany, German troops occupy Paris
  • Jun 15 Soviet Army occupies Lithuania
  • Jun 16 Communist government installed in Lithuania
  • Jun 16 General De Gaulle arrives in Bordeaux
  • Jun 17 France asks Germany for terms of surrender in WW II
  • Jun 17 General De Gaulle departs Bordeaux for London
  • Jun 17 Germany occupiers ration bread in Holland
  • Jun 17 USSR occupies Estonia
  • Jun 17 World War II: sinking of the RMS Lancastria by the Luftwaffe near Saint-Nazaire, France
  • Jun 18 German occupiers slaughter cattle, pigs and chickens
  • Jun 18 Winston Churchill's "this was their finest hour" speech urging perseverance during Battle of Britain delivered to British House of Commons

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 19 German 7th Armoured division under command of Rommel occupies Cherbourg

German WWII Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
German WWII Field Marshal
Erwin Rommel

  • Jun 19 Hermann Goering orders seizure of Dutch horses, car, buses and ships
  • Jun 21 German occupiers disband Dutch States-General/Council of State
  • Jun 21 The first successful west-to-east navigation of Northwest Passage begins at Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Jun 22 France surrenders to Nazi Germany, with the northern half of the country occupied and the south established as the Nazi client state Vichy France
  • Jun 22 SS rounds up 31 German/Polish/Dutch Jews in Roermond, Netherlands
  • Jun 22 About 10,000 Afrikaner women march to the union buildings in protest of South Africa's involvement in WWII
  • Jun 23 Marcel Louette seeks opposition group "White Brigade" on Antwerp
  • Jun 23 RAF bombs Schiphol, Netherlands
  • Jun 23 After conquering France, Adolf Hitler visits Paris and views the Eiffel Tower and the grave of Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Jun 24 France signs an armistice with Italy during WW II
  • Jun 26 End of USSR experimental calendar; Gregorian readopted 6/27
  • Jun 27 Soviet Army attacks Romania

Gregory Conquers Julius CaesarGregory Conquers Julius Caesar

Jun 27 USSR returns to Gregorian calendar
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Pope Gregory XIII with the calendar that was to make his name
Pope Gregory XIII with the calendar that was to make his name
  • Jun 28 "Quiz Kids?" premieres on radio
  • Jun 28 Romania cedes Bessarabia to Soviet Union
  • Jun 29 Anjer (Carnation) Day-anniversary of Prince Bernhard
  • Jun 29 US passes Alien Registration Act requiring Aliens to register
  • Jun 30 US Fish and Wildlife Service forms
  • Jun 30 German troops begin the invasion of the undefended Channel Islands