1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913 | 1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919
1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929
1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939
1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949

1 Jan 1939
  • Strasbourg was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Friedrich Christiansen was promoted to the rank of General der Flieger. [Main Article | CPC]
2 Jan 1939
  • The British Chief of Naval Staff called for a suitable coastal escort vessel capable of being fitted for minesweeping. [Main Article | AC]
3 Jan 1939

United States
  • The Hepburn Board of the US Navy submitted a request to the US Congress for the expansion to Midway, Wake, Johnston, and Palmyra Atolls in the Pacific Ocean. [CPC]
4 Jan 1939
  • Borjas Blancas, Spain was captured by Spanish Nationalist forces during the eastward Republican retreat towards Barcelona, causing the retreat to become a rout. [Main Article | AC, CPC]
Spain
  • Walter Grabmann shot down an I-15 fighter over Spain. [Main Article | CPC]
5 Jan 1939
  • Kiichiro Hiranuma became the 35th Prime Minister of Japan. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler met Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck at Berchtesgaden in southern Germany and, in a friendly manner, mentioned that Danzig was German, and it was in his interest to one day see it return within German borders. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Jan 1939
Japanese Prime Minister Kiichiro Hiranuma with members of his cabinet, 5 Jan 1939; note Minister-without-Portfolio Konoe, Interior Minister Kido, Naval Minister Yonai, and War Minister Itagaki
6 Jan 1939

Photo(s) dated 6 Jan 1939
Battleship Washington under construction, Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, United States, 6 Jan 1939
7 Jan 1939
  • Scharnhorst was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China during the day. [Main Article | CPC]
8 Jan 1939

Photo(s) dated 8 Jan 1939
Captured Chinese Panzer I Ausf A tanks on display in Tokyo, Japan, 8-15 Jan 1939
9 Jan 1939

Libya
  • Italian Royal Decree No. 70 was issued to make Italian Libya within the metropolitan territory of Italy, thus lifting the region's status from a mere colony to a part of the Italian Empire. [CPC]
10 Jan 1939
  • Fuciliere was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China during the day. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Jan 1939

United Kingdom
  • The British Air Ministry announced the formation of the RAF Auxiliary Air Force Reserve. [AC]
United States Photo(s) dated 12 Jan 1939
Vatican Apostolic Nuncio to Germany Cesare Orsenigo speaking with Joachim von Ribbentrop, Berlin, Germany, 12 Jan 1939; note Adolf Hitler in background
13 Jan 1939
  • US Marine units under Brigadier General Richard P. Williams began its participation in US Navy's Fleet Exercise No. 5 in the Caribbean Sea. [CPC]
France
  • Jean Decoux was named the commander of naval forces in the Far East. [Main Article | CPC]
14 Jan 1939
  • Tarragon, Spain surrendered to Spanish Nationalist forces. [Main Article | AC]
15 Jan 1939
  • In the Soviet Union, the Regime introduced the compulsory "Labour Book" for all workers, in which were inscribed details of all the jobs that the worker had held and any infraction of discipline, punishments and reprimands. No worker could change employment without written permission from his Plant Director in the Labour Book. [AC]
16 Jan 1939

Sweden
  • Austrian physicists Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch successfully achieved nuclear fission in an experiment in Sweden. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Jan 1939
View of North Carolina
17 Jan 1939

France
  • The French battleship Richelieu was launched at Brest, France. [Main Article | AC]
21 Jan 1939

Germany
  • Czechoslovakian foreign minister visited Adolf Hitler in Berlin, Germany; Hitler demanded Czechoslovakia to decrease the size of its military, to hand over a large portion of its gold reserves to be stored in Germany, and to begin excluding Jews in society. [Main Article | CPC]
22 Jan 1939

Photo(s) dated 22 Jan 1939
Close-up of a German Nazi Party SA insignia, 22 Jan 1939
24 Jan 1939
  • Spanish Nationalist forces were within three miles of Barcelona, Spain. At this point the Spanish Republican government, led by Dr. Juan Negrín, fled to Girona, Catalonia, Spain. The Republican troops in Barcelona continued to maintain a token resistance. [Main Article | AC]
Germany
  • Germany established the National Central Office for Jewish Emigration with branch offices in Vienna and Prague. [Main Article | CPC]
Spain
  • The Legionnaires of the Moroccan Corps stormed the imposing rock citadel of Montjuich overlooking Barcelona, Spain, freeing 1,200 Political prisoners who had miraculously escaped execution. [AC]
25 Jan 1939
  • British destroyer HMS Mashona (L59) was commissioned into service with Commander P. A. McLaughlin in command. [AC]
United States
  • Uranium atom was split for the first time at Columbia University in the United States. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The US Army Air Corps announced a new competition for a new fighter design. The requirements were 310-370 miles per hour top speed, 15,000 feet ceiling, and 2 hours endurance at cruise speed. The firm Curtiss-Wright would ultimate win the competition with the P-40 design. [Main Article | CPC]
26 Jan 1939
  • President Franklin Roosevelt approved atomic research efforts in the US. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop arrived in Warsaw, Poland and spoke to Polish leaders regarding the German wish to annex Danzig and to have Poland sign the Anti-Comintern Pact. [Main Article | CPC]
Spain
  • Nationalist forces occupied Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Jan 1939
  • The Lockheed XP-38 fighter made its maiden flight. The flight lasted just 24 minutes but the prototype was damaged on landing. [Main Article | AC]
  • Britain and France pledged a £8,000,000 loan and a £4,000,000 gift for Czechoslovakia in an attempt to save the country from falling apart. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered Plan Z, the expansion of the German Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt approved the sale of military aircraft to France. [Main Article | CPC]
29 Jan 1939
  • The NA-40 prototype aircraft took its first flight; it was judged underpowered and unstable. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Jan 1939

Germany
  • In a Reichstag speech, Adolf Hitler spoke of German-Polish peace and warned that if the "international Jewish financiers" threatened the world with another war, he would embark on eliminating the Jews to rid the world of this threat. [Main Article | TH]
  • Josias was awarded the Golden Party Badge. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The British Admiralty published its war plans for the Royal Navy. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Jan 1939
Submarine tender Tsurugizaki off Tateyama, Japan, 30 Jan 1939; she was later converted to become light carrier Shoho
31 Jan 1939
  • German SS leader Reinhard Heydrich ordered that Jews can only be released from protective custody if they present documents for emigration, and that Jews who were being committed to a concentration camp a second time would be committed to concentration camps for life. [Main Article | CPC]
1 Feb 1939
  • Georg von Bismarck was promoted to the rank of Oberst. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Lieutenant Commander Wilhelm Fröhlich took command of U-36. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Granatiere was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
2 Feb 1939
  • Polish submarine Orzel was commissioned into service with the Polish Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
Hungary
  • Hungary broke relations with the Soviet Union. [CPC]
4 Feb 1939 United States
  • Hammann was launched at Kearny, New Jersey, United States, sponsored by Miss Lillian Hammann, daughter of Ensign Charles Hammann. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 4 Feb 1939
FT-17, Panzer I Ausf. A, T-26, and Vickers 6-ton Type B tanks, captured in China, on display at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Japan, Feb 1939
5 Feb 1939
  • Spanish Nationalist troops captured Gerona, Spain. [Main Article | AC]
7 Feb 1939
8 Feb 1939
  • The United Kingdom and France inquired Germany on why no German guarantee of Czechoslovakian sovereignty has been signed as agreed upon in the Munich Agreement. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 8 Feb 1939
Chinese ambassador Chen, Rosenberg, Italian professor Manacorda, Frank, German official Hierl, Czechoslovakian ambassador Mastny, Danish envoy Zahle, Berlin, Germany, 8 Feb 1939
9 Feb 1939

China
  • The Japanese 5th Fleet arrived off Qinghai Bay, Hainan island in southern China some time between 2300 hours and the end of the day. [Main Article | CPC]
10 Feb 1939
  • Pope Pius XI of the State of Vatican City passed away. [AC]
China
  • Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces troops landed at Haikou, Hainan island in southern China. [Main Article | CPC]
11 Feb 1939

China
  • Japanese troops landed at Sanya on the southern coast of Hainan island in southern China. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • A Lockheed XP-38 prototype aircraft from California to New York in the United States in 7 hours and 2 minutes. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Feb 1939

Germany
  • Slovakian nationalist leader Vojtech Tuka met with Adolf Hitler in Berlin, Germany, seeking support for Slovakian independence. Hitler answered in the affirmative. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Feb 1939

Photo(s) dated 13 Feb 1939
Gertrud Scholtz-Klink, Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Heß, Baldur von Schirach, and Artur Axmann at a Hitler Youth rally, Berlin, Germany, 13 Feb 1939; Himmler
14 Feb 1939

Photo(s) dated 14 Feb 1939
Launching of the Bismarck, Hamburg, Germany, 14 Feb 1939Bismarck immediate after her launch, Hamburg, Germany, 14 Feb 1939
15 Feb 1939
  • France ordered 100 DB-7 medium bombers from the Douglas Aircraft Company of the United States. [Main Article | CPC]
16 Feb 1939
  • Pál Teleki became the Prime Minister of Hungary. [Main Article | CPC]
17 Feb 1939
19 Feb 1939
  • A trade agreement was signed between the Soviet Union and Poland in an attempt to strengthen Poland as a buffer against Germany. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 19 Feb 1939
Japanese troops on Hainan, China, 19 Feb 1939
20 Feb 1939
  • 40 Soviet volunteer and Chinese Air Force fighters intercepted 30 Japanese bombers near Lanzhou, Gansu, China, shooting down 9 Japanese bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Feb 1939
  • Battleship King George V was launched. [Main Article | CPC]
23 Feb 1939
  • A group of fighters flown by Soviet volunteers intercepted 57 Japanese bombers near Lanzhou, Gansu, China, shooting down 6 Japanese bombers and turning back the rest of the formation. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Feb 1939
USS Yorktown anchored off Gonaives, Haiti following Fleet Problem XX, 23 Feb 1939
24 Feb 1939

Photo(s) dated 24 Feb 1939
Scott and other officers, Rio de Janeiro, 24 Feb 1939
27 Feb 1939
  • The British Admiralty approved William Reed's sketch design for a coastal escort vessel requested during the previous month. [Main Article | AC]
  • The British and French governments recognised General Francisco Franco's regime in Spain. [Main Article | AC]
28 Feb 1939
  • Manuel Azaña resigned from the post of President of the Republic of Spain. [Main Article | AC]
  • Germany responded to the British and French inquiry of 8 Feb 1939 regarding why Germany had not yet guaranteed Czechoslovakian sovereignty, noting that Germany must "await first a clarification of the internal development of Czechoslovakia". [Main Article | CPC]
1 Mar 1939
  • British destroyer HMS Matabele (L26) was commissioned into service with Commander G. K. Whitmy-Smith in command. [AC]
United States
  • The keel of submarine Tautog was laid down at Groton, Connecticut, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
2 Mar 1939

Canada
  • A Hurricane fighter was sent to Canada in preparation for license production. [Main Article | CPC]
Vatican City
  • Eugenio Pacelli became the head of the Catholic Church; he took on the papal name Pius XII. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 2 Mar 1939
German light cruiser Köln as photographed by a RAF aircraft from Thorney Island in Southern England, United Kingdom, 2 Mar 1939
3 Mar 1939
  • USS Astoria departed Culebra, Puerto Rico. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Mar 1939
  • The failure of Dr. Negrin's Communist Government to sue for peace resulted in a civil war within a civil war on the streets of Madrid, Spain. The National Defence Council, led by Colonel Casada, triumphed in the struggle for control of the Republic and tried to negotiate peace terms with General Franco. In the meantime Dr. Negrin, accompanied by his Cabinet and Russian advisers, flew out of Madrid to safety. [Main Article | AC]
  • Corazziere was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
5 Mar 1939

Photo(s) dated 5 Mar 1939
Émile Bertin at Casablanca, Morocco, 5 Mar 1939
6 Mar 1939
  • Czechoslovakian President Emil Hácha dismissed the Ruthenian government in an attempt to quell nationalist sentiments that was breaking apart his country. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Mar 1939
  • Czechoslovakian President Emil Hácha suspended Jozef Tiso's Slovakian government and placed Slovakia under martial law. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chen Changjie was named the deputy commander of the 13th Army while still retaining command of the 61st Corps. [Main Article | CPC]
10 Mar 1939
  • British destroyer HMS Tartar (F43) was commissioned into service with Captain G. H. Warner in command. [AC]
  • Czechoslovakian President Emil Hácha ordered the arrest of Slovakian political leader Jozef Tiso. [Main Article | CPC]
11 Mar 1939
  • In response to Czechoslovakian President Emil Hácha's sudden moves to consolidate power within Czechoslovakia, thus threatening German attempts to divide the nation, Adolf Hitler issued a ultimatum for Czechoslovakia to hand over Bohemia and Moravia, moving up the German schedule for the occupation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia. At 2200 hours, Austrian Nazi leader Arthur Seyß-Inquart visited Slovakian leaders, demanding them to proclaim independence immediately, otherwise Germany would no longer support their movement. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Mar 1939
  • German leaders demanded Slovakian leader Jozef Tiso to visit Berlin, Germany, where he was told to declare Slovakian independence immediately otherwise Germany would withdraw its support for such a movement. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese troops began advancing from Hubei Province, China toward Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Mar 1939
  • At 1900 hours, Adolf Hitler once again demanded Jozef Tiso to declare Slovakian independence from Czechoslovakia; meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop presented him reports of Hungarian troop movements on its border, hinting that Hungary, friendly to Germany, was ready to strike should the negotiations in Berlin, Germany fail. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Throughout Germany, the Gestapo raided the offices of the patriotic Pan-German League. A number of its leaders were arrested, their offices sealed and the League compelled to close. [AC]
Germany
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was promoted to the rank of Fahnenjunker. [Main Article | CPC]
14 Mar 1939
  • The Martin Maryland medium bomber took its first flight. Built to a USAAC specification, the Maryland was only ever employed by France and Britain. It would be the first US supplied bomber to be used by the RAF in North Africa. [Main Article | AC]
  • Slovakia and Ruthenia declared independence from Czechoslovakia; as Czechoslovakia had fallen into pieces, the United Kingdom and France considered it to be the evidence that Czechoslovakia no longer existed as a nation, thus they no longer had any alliance obligations to the now defunct nation. During the day, Czechoslovakian President Emil Hácha traveled by train to Berlin, Germany to conduct last-minute negotiations with Adolf Hitler to save his country. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Mar 1939
  • Erwin Rommel was made the commanding officer of Hitler's headquarters during Hitler's visit of the recently annexed Czechoslovakia. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • At 0115 hours, Czechoslovakian President Emil Hácha met with Adolf Hitler, who was accompanied by Wilhelm Keitel, Hermann Göring, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and Theodor Morell, in Berlin, Germany. Hitler threatened Hácha that German forces were poised to invade Czechoslovakia at 0600 hours, so it was up to Hácha to either agree to a peaceful occupation or face a destructive invasion. At 0215 hours, Hitler left the conference room, and Göring and Ribbentrop continued to threaten Hácha with, among other things, the bombing of Prague. Hácha fainted twice during the negotiations, and both times were revived by injections by Dr. Morell. Hácha gave in at 0355 hours, and German troops marched across the borders at 0600 hours unopposed. In the evening, Adolf Hitler entered Prague in a grand parade. During the day in eastern Czechoslovakia, Hungarian forces marched into Ruthenia, ending the one-day-old nation of Capatho-Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Mar 1939
Czechoslovakian President Emil Hácha meeting with German leader Adolf Hitler, Berlin, Germany, 15 Mar 1939
16 Mar 1939
  • In eastern Czechoslovakia, Slovakian leader Jozef Tiso sent a telegram, originally authored by Hermann Göring, to ask for German troops to enter Slovakian borders. In western Czechoslovakia, Germany declared the formation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, with Konstantin von Neurath as the German Protector, immediately enacting anti-Semitic laws. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Mar 1939
Adolf Hitler at Prague Castle, Prague, Czechoslovakia, 16 Mar 1939German troops marching on Prague Castle grounds, Prague, Czechoslovakia, 16 Mar 1939, photo 1 of 2German troops marching on Prague Castle grounds, Prague, Czechoslovakia, 16 Mar 1939, photo 2 of 2
17 Mar 1939
  • Portugal and Spain signed a treaty of friendship and non-aggression. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British Field Marshal Lord Gort told Secretary of State Hore-Belisha that "It would be murder to send our Field Force overseas to fight against a First-class power". [AC]
18 Mar 1939
  • Spain and Portugal entered into a non-aggression pact. [CPC]
Austria
  • While in Vienna in German-occupied Austria, Adolf Hitler approved the formation of a German protectorate in Slovakia. Elsewhere, France, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union lodged official protests regarding the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • A group of Japanese troops boarded barges at Xingzi, Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province, China, sailed south 10 kilometers on the Yangtze River, and disembarked to attack Chinese positions at Wucheng. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • In Russia, the "Industry of Socialism" Exhibition finally opened, sixteen months behind schedule, having finally satisfied the censors that the pictures displayed proved that life had got better in Russia since the removal of the Tsars. [AC]
  • At the 18th Party Congress, Joseph Stalin declared that the western aggressor states of United Kingdom and France were pushing Germany toward Eastern Europe, thus provoking an eventual war between Germany and the Soviet Union, a venture that he did not wish to embark the Soviet Union upon. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Astoria departed Annapolis, Maryland, United States with the ashes of Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Saito on board. [Main Article | CPC]
19 Mar 1939
  • Fleet Exercise No. 5 in the Caribbean Sea, participated by US Navy and US Marine Corps personnel, drew to a close. [CPC]
  • British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Lord Halifax explained to the Soviet ambassador in the United Kingdom that the reason for the rejection for Joseph Stalin's call for a multi-power conference to contain Germany was due to the lack of available personnel to embark on these negotiations. [Main Article | CPC]
20 Mar 1939
  • German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop demanded Memel from Lithuania. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • The German expedition team consisting of Ernst Schäfer, Bruno Beger, Karl Wienert, Ernst Krause, and others departed Lhasa, Tibet. They studied Tibetan culture, measured the physical traits of 376 people, and took over 40,000 photographs. [CPC]
  • Chinese troops repulsed a Japanese attack across the Xiushui River near Wucheng, Jiangxi Province, China; Chinese defenders reported that the Japanese were mixing chemical weapons among traditional artillery shells. To the west of Nanchang, the primary objective, Japanese troops reached the Ganjiang Bridge. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Mar 1939
  • Édouard Daladier resigned as the French Prime Minister. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German heavy cruiser Deutschland set sail for Memel, Lithuania. Meanwhile, Germany demanded Lithuania to sent representatives to the warship on the following day to sign Memel over to Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Dong Zhao was relieved of his position and the commander of the 28th Division so he could focus on his corps-level command. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese 6th Division crossed the Xuishui River west of Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province, China and marched toward Wuning. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • French President Albert Lebrun visited London, England, United Kingdom. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain attempted to persuade Lebrun to enter into a British-French-Polish alliance to contain Germany; a similar proposal was also sent to the Polish leadership via the British ambassador in Warsaw, Poland, but the Polish responded coolly. On the same day, in Berlin, Germany, German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop expressed that if Poland continued to not agree with German demands for Danzig and if Poland continued to resist signing the Anti-Comintern Pact, then the present German-Polish friendship would deteriorate. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Mar 1939
Commander Ernest G. Small of US Navy Destroyer Division Three with captains of his ships, aboard Porter, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 21 Mar 1939
22 Mar 1939
  • Lithuanian representatives boarded German heavy cruiser Deutschland to negotiate for Memel as Germany demanded, but they resisted signing away the territory. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Poland requested consultations with United Kingdom and France regarding German demands for Danzig. United Kingdom and France expressed willingness to go further than mere consultation and suggested a formal treaty. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Republic Aviation Company's AP-4 prototype aircraft was destroyed by an accidental in-flight engine fire; the pilot was able to bail out to safety. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese troops attacked Fengxin County, Jiangxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
23 Mar 1939
  • Erwin Rommel returned to his position as the commanding officer of the military academy at Wiener Neustadt in southern Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • At dawn, the largest bombardment of the Second Sino-Japanese War was commenced on Chinese positions at Wucheng near the Xiushui River in Jiangxi Province, China where Japanese troops were held down by Chinese defenses since 18 Mar 1939; this bombardment would continue until 26 Mar 1939. Nearby, Japanese troops captured Fengxin County and Anyi County. [Main Article | CPC]
Czechoslovakia
  • The Slovak-Hungarian War, also known as the Little War, began. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vojtech Tuka signed the official document in Berlin, Germany that declared Slovakia as an independent nation under German protection. [Main Article | CPC]
Lithuania
  • The Lithuanian representatives aboard German heavy cruiser Deutschland gave in to German demands, signing the city of Klaipeda, Lithuania, known as Memel in German, to Germany in the early hours of the day. In the afternoon, Adolf Hitler visited the newly gained territory. [Main Article | CPC]
24 Mar 1939
  • Slovakian forces counterattacked the Hungarian invaders, pushing Hungarian troops nearly to the Okna River. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer Yukikaze was launched. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Yosuke Matsuoka stepped down as the President of the South Manchuria Railway. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Takuichi Ohmura was named the President of the South Manchuria Railway. [CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler returned from recently annexed Memel to Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • USS Astoria departed the Panama Canal Zone. [Main Article | CPC]
25 Mar 1939
  • British cruiser HMS Phoebe was launched by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Govan, Scotland, United Kingdom. [AC]
  • Lanciere was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Slovakian forces resumed their counterattack against the invading Hungarian forces. Hungarian aircraft raided the Slovakian airfield at Spisská Nová Ves, killing 13. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German intelligence chief Wilhelm Canaris reported to Adolf Hitler that his agents had detected Polish troop movements on the Polish border with Danzig. Hitler met with Army chief Walther von Brauchitsch regarding this latest development in his attempt to acquire Danzig. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese troops defeated the Chinese 102nd Division west of Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
26 Mar 1939
  • Slovakian forces gathered on the Hungarian border in preparation of a renewed counteroffensive, planning on pushing into Hungary if possible. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese troops captured Wucheng, Jiangxi Province, China. To the southwest, Japanese troops reached the west gate of the primary objective, Nanchang, and began the assault. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Mar 1939

China
  • Japanese 101st Division captured Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Mar 1939
  • Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck met with the German Ambassador in Poland that any further demand on Danzig by Germany might result in war between Poland and Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • While the Japanese 101st Division secured Nanchang in Jiangxi Province, China, the 106th Division at Fengxin prepared for an additional offensive whose target was to be Chinese positions further west or the town of Gao'an. [Main Article | CPC]
Spain
  • Francisco Franco's Nationalist forces occupied Madrid, Spain and declared victory in the Spanish Civil War. [Main Article | TH]
29 Mar 1939
  • British destroyer HMS Punjabi (F21) was commissioned into service with Commander J. T. Lean in command. [AC]
China
  • Japanese 6th Division captured Wuning, Jiangxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Spain
  • The besieged Republican garrison in Valencia, Spain surrender to the Nationalists, ending all hostilities in the country. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 29 Mar 1939
USS Minneapolis firing her 8-in main guns during gunnery practice, 29 Mar 1939
30 Mar 1939
  • British Ambassador in Poland Howard Kennard offered Poland a British-French-Polish agreement in which the three countries would mutually guarantee each others' borders; this agreement arose from the build-up of tension between Germany and Poland over Danzig. The Soviet Union was purposely excluded from the negotiations per Polish demands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German pilot Hans Dieterie flew the Heinkel He 100 V8 at 463.82 mph to set a new world air speed record. [AC]
  • Japanese troops occupied the Spratly Islands (Japanese: Shinnan Shoto) in the South China Sea. They were to be administered by Japanese authorities in Taiwan. The Japanese Navy would soon built a seaplane base and a submarine base on the island of Itu Aba (Japanese: Nagashima). [CPC]
31 Mar 1939
  • The fighting between Slovakia and Hungary largely ceased. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain noted that the United Kingdom and France would guarantee Polish borders, with military force if necessary. [Main Article | CPC]
1 Apr 1939
  • Grossadmiral Tirpitz's daughter Frau von Hassel christened the battleship named after her father. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Bersagliere was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • At the launching ceremony of German battleship Tirpitz, Adolf Hitler gave a fiery speech that was so extreme that it was decided at the last minute that it would not be broadcast to foreign nations in fear of talks of war provocation. The broadcast to the United States was cut off halfway, leading to false rumors that Adolf Hitler was assassinated amidst the speech. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Prototype A6M Zero fighter took its maiden flight at Kagamigahara airfield, Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The order for the future battleship Alabama was issued. [Main Article | CPC]
2 Apr 1939

China
  • Japanese troops captured Gao'an, Jiangxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Apr 1939
  • The US Congress granted US$300,000,000 for the purchase of 3,200 new military aircraft over the next two years. [AC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler, on his own authority, ordered the armed forces to prepare "Case White" for the invasion and occupation of the whole of Poland later in the summer. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 3 Apr 1939
XF4F-3 prototype Wildcat in flight, 3 Apr 1939
4 Apr 1939
  • Tatsuta Maru arrived at Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • USS Astoria arrived at Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Spanish Nationalist air ace Garcia Morato (with 40 kills during the Civil War) was killed when his Fiat CR32 Chirri aircraft crashed, due to engine failure, whilst performing for a newsreel take. [AC]
China
  • Japanese troops occupied the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. They were to be declared a Japanese protectorate. [CPC]
  • Curtiss-Wright test pilot Bob Fausel, flying the CW-21 prototype fighter, claimed one Japanese bomber shot down over China. [Main Article | CPC]
Czechoslovakia
  • Slovakia and Hungary signed a peace treaty, ending the Slovak-Hungarian War (Little War). [Main Article | CPC]
6 Apr 1939

United Kingdom
  • The 30 Mar 1939 British-French-Polish agreement to mutually guarantee each others' borders was signed into a formal treaty in London, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 6 Apr 1939
M2A3 light tank on parade during the Army Day Parade, Washington, DC, United States, 6 Apr 1939
7 Apr 1939
  • Spain officially signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, joining Germany, Italy, and Japan. [Main Article | AC]
Albania Photo(s) dated 7 Apr 1939
Italian troops marching into Durrës, Albania, 7 Apr 1939
10 Apr 1939
  • German Gestapo report published on this date noted that, between 1933 and 1939, a total of 162,734 prisoners were placed in protective custody, of which most of them were categorized as political prisoners. [CPC]
United States
  • USS Skipjack arrived at New London, Connecticut, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
11 Apr 1939

United States
  • The NA-40B prototype aircraft was destroyed in a crash during testing at Wright Field, Ohio, United States. The entire crew survived the crash. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 11 Apr 1939
Italian military trucks in Albania, Apr 1939
12 Apr 1939

Photo(s) dated 12 Apr 1939
Aerial view of carrier Enterprise underway, 12 Apr 1939Three Albanian soldiers in a northern Albanian town, Apr 1939Italian troops disembarking at an Albanian port, Apr 1939
13 Apr 1939
  • Cruiser Köln began training in the North Atlantic. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet ambassador Maxim Litvinov brought offers to London, England, United Kingdom and Paris, France seeking a military alliance between Britain, France, and the Soviet Union to counter potential German military aggression against Poland or Romania. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Apr 1939
Galeazzo Ciano touring recently conquered Albania, Apr 1939
14 Apr 1939

United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt wrote to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in attempt to maintain peace, asking them to guarantee the borders of 31 countries for at least 10 years. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Apr 1939
  • The British and French responded negatively to the Soviet offer of alliance to protect Poland and Romania, noting that they would only engage in an alliance only for the protection of the three nations in question. [CPC]
Italy
  • Hermann Göring arrived in Rome, Italy to meet with Benito Mussolini. [Main Article | CPC]
16 Apr 1939

Italy
  • Hermann Göring met with Benito Mussolini in Rome, Italy. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The Soviet ambassador in Britain made the final attempt to form some kind of alliance between the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union to contain German aggression. [CPC]
17 Apr 1939
  • Germany sent out messages to 30 of the 31 countries named by US President Roosevelt on 14 Apr 1939 (the exception being Poland), asking them whether they felt threatened by Germany. Many countries responded in the negative, while the others were coaxed into responding in the negative. [CPC]
  • USS Astoria arrived at Yokohama, Japan and disembarked the ashes of Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Saito. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chiang Kaishek cabled Bai Chongxi his plans for a counter offensive toward Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China, which was to be launched on 21 or 22 Apr 1939. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Apr 1939

Czechoslovakia
19 Apr 1939

Photo(s) dated 19 Apr 1939
Porter off Yorktown, Virginia, United States, 19 Apr 1939Albanian refugees, Kukës County, Albania, 19 Apr 1939
20 Apr 1939
  • Alpino was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Italian Ambassador in Berlin, Germany, Attalico, sent a message to Rome, Italy, noting that war between Germany and Poland seemed imminent. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Apr 1939
  • The US Marine Corps' Division of Operations and Training was renamed the Division of Plans and Policies. [CPC]
China
  • Chinese 3rd and 9th War Areas attacked toward Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China, engaging Japanese troops at Fengxin and Gao'an. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Apr 1939
German Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, German Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, Lithuanian General Stasys Rastykis, Hans von Tschammer und Osten, and others at Hotel Kaiserhof in celebration of Adolf Hitler
23 Apr 1939

China
  • 16th Division, 79th Division, and 5th Reserve Division of Chinese 32th Army crossed the Fu River near Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
25 Apr 1939

China
  • The Chinese counter offensive toward Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China reached the outskirts of the city. [Main Article | CPC]
26 Apr 1939
  • USS Astoria departed Yokohama, Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Troops of the Chinese 3rd and 9th War Areas breached into southern Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt captured the world air speed record with a specially prepared Me 209 (later named Me 109R by Nazi propaganda agents) aircraft. The aircraft reached a speed of 469.22 miles per hour, just beating the record set by the Heinkel He H00-V8. [AC, CPC]
United States
  • The US Army Air Corps placed an order for 524 P-40 fighters; it was the largest contract to date at the value of US$13,000,000. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Apr 1939
  • The British government introduced a national conscription policy for 20 and 21-year-old males. [CPC]
  • The British Air Ministry awarded the largest-ever order for a US-built fighter aircraft with an order for 524 Tomahawk fighters. [Main Article | AC]
China
  • Japanese troops counterattacked against the Chinese offensive at Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China, engaging in combat south and southeast of the city. [Main Article | CPC]
Czechoslovakia
  • Alois Eliás was named the prime minister of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. [CPC]
Russia
  • Viktor Abakumov was named the head of the UNKVD Directorate of Rostov Oblast, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 27 Apr 1939
Akagi in Sukumo Bay, Shikoku, Japan, 27 Apr 1939Kirishima and Akagi in Tsukumo Bay, Japan, 27 Apr 1939
28 Apr 1939

China
  • General Duan Lang ordered his Chinese 79th Division to disengage south of Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China after suffering high casualties during a Japanese counterattack. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • In a two-hour speech to the German Reichstag which was widely broadcast around the world, Adolf Hitler repudiated the Anglo-German Naval Agreement and expressed the wish to annex Danzig. In regards to the recent British-Polish treaty, Hitler claimed that it broke the terms of the 1934 German-Polish non-aggression treaty, thus the 1934 agreement was now void; he was, however, willing to negotiate a new one with Poland. Finally, addressing US President Franklin Roosevelt's letter of 14 Apr 1939, in which Roosevelt requested Germany to guarantee the borders of 31 nations, Hitler noted the result of the subsequent survey that revealed most of the nations (Poland excluded) responded they were not at all threatened by Germany. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Apr 1939
Carrier Hiryu running speed trials off Tateyama, Chiba, Japan, 28 Apr 1939
29 Apr 1939
  • Admiral Hipper was commissioned into German Navy service. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • USS Astoria arrived at Shanghai, China. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Apr 1939

Germany
  • Germany passed laws in preparation to move Jewish families into buildings reserved for Jewish residences. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt's address at the opening ceremonies of the New York World's Fair was broadcast on television, making him the first US President to appear in this medium. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Apr 1939
Ellet anchored off New York City, 30 Apr 1939
1 May 1939
  • US Marine Corps aviation units Aircraft One and Aircraft Two were renamed 1st and 2nd Marine Aircraft Group, respectively. [CPC]
China
  • Admiral Harry E. Yarnell visited USS Astoria in the morning; in the afternoon, the cruiser departed Shanghai, China for Hong Kong. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chiang Kaishek ordered Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China to be taken back by 5 May 1939. He also relieved General Duan Lan of his duties for ordering his 79th Division to fall back, while General He Ping, who had also fallen back with his Chinese 16th Division, was told to redeem himself. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing was formed with two groups; Major General Wilhelm S¸ssmann was named its first commanding officer. [CPC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was promoted to the rank of Fahnenjunker-Gefreiter. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the Post Office of Rhinebeck, New York, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
2 May 1939

China
  • Chinese troops launched a second counterattack on Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China, but all conquered positions would be retaken by the Japanese by the end of the day. [Main Article | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • USS Enterprise departed the Panama Canal Zone for California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Benjamin Kelsey was promoted to the rank of captain. [Main Article | CPC]
3 May 1939
  • Molotov replaced Litvinov as the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Fighters of the Chinese 4th Air Group intercepted 54 Japanese bombers en route to attack Chongqing, China, shooting down 7 Japanese bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
4 May 1939
  • Werner Mölders was awarded the Medalla de la Campaña and Medalla Militar by Spain. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Chinese troops attacked Japanese positions at Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 27 Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China in the evening. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 4 May 1939
Italian troops in Spain, 4 Mar 1939
5 May 1939
  • Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck spoke to the Polish Parliament, noting that the German-Polish relationship was rapidly deteriorating due to Germany's bullying tactics. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Troops of the Chinese 26th Division broke through to the Xinlong airfield at Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China, destroying three Japanese aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Capitaine de vaisseau Rouyer was named the commanding officer of Jeanne d'Arc. [Main Article | CPC]
6 May 1939
  • Ascari was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano met with his German counterpart Joachim von Ribbentrop in Milan, Italy, where Ciano informed Ribbentrop that Italy would not be ready for war for another three years. Ribbentrop noted the comment, and informed Ciano that Adolf Hitler did not yet have any plans for war. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Upon learning from Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano, who had met German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop earlier on that day, that Adolf Hitler did not wish to launch a war in the foreseeable future, Benito Mussolini eagerly ordered Ciano to engage in talks for a military alliance between the two countries. [Main Article | CPC]
7 May 1939
  • German Generals Rundstedt, Manstein, and other General Staff members presented to Hitler an invasion plan for Danzig and Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese troops captured Suizhou and Zaoyang in Hubei Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The French ambassador in Berlin, Germany dispatched a warning to French leadership of deteriorating German-Polish relations. [Main Article | CPC]
8 May 1939
  • The United Kingdom rejected what would be the last Soviet request to form a British-French-Soviet pact to contain German aggression. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • The Japanese advance in Hubei Province, China was briefly halted by a counterattack conducted by 31st Army Group of the Chinese 5th War Area and the 2nd Army Group of the Chinese 1st War Area. [Main Article | CPC]
9 May 1939

China
  • Chinese leadership called off the offensive toward Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The French ambassador in Berlin, Germany dispatched another warning to French leadership, noting that he had reasons to believe that Adolf Hitler was presenting or was about to present a plan to Joseph Stalin for the partition of Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
11 May 1939
  • The US Navy placed an order for the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver carrier-borne dive-bomber. [Main Article | AC]
China
  • Small Mongolian and Manchukuo cavalry units clashed near the village of Nomonhan in the border region. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A Chinese man shot a Japanese citizen on Gulangyu island, an international settlement off Xiamen, China, giving the Japanese to dispatch a Special Naval Landing Force detachment near Gulangyu. [CPC]
  • American gunboat USS Asheville departed Gulangyu island, an international settlement off Xiamen, China. [CPC]
12 May 1939

French Indochina
  • Jean Decoux entered his office as the commander of naval forces in the Far East. [Main Article | CPC]
13 May 1939

China
  • American destroyer USS Bulmer arrived at Gulangyu island, an international settlement off Xiamen, China in response to the arrival of a Japanese Special Naval Landing Force detachment nearby. [CPC]
  • Mongolian cavalry forces occupied the area near Nomonhan, Mongolia Area, China. [Main Article]
14 May 1939

China
  • Two regiments of Japanese 23rd Division drove off Mongolian troops in the Nomonhan area in the Mongolia Area of China. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 14 May 1939
Quincy passed through the Strait of Magellan, 14 May 1939Quincy and Tuscaloosa near Strait of Magellan, 14 May 1939
15 May 1939

China
  • Japanese troops in Hubei Province, China began to falter from the Chinese counteroffensive which began a week prior. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Ravensbrück Concentration Camp for women was established in Germany. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
16 May 1939
  • Cruiser Köln completed training in the North Atlantic. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Admiral Erich Raeder presented to Adolf Hitler German Navy's plan for conducting war against Poland in the Baltic Sea and against Britain and France in the Atlantic Ocean. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • HMS Birmingham arrived at Gulangyu island, an international settlement off Xiamen, China in response to the arrival of a Japanese Special Naval Landing Force detachment nearby. She disembarked a contingent of sailors and marines. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Marblehead arrived at Gulangyu island, an international settlement off Xiamen, China in response to the arrival of a Japanese Special Naval Landing Force detachment nearby. She disembarked a contingent of US Marines. [Main Article | CPC]
18 May 1939

Germany
  • A degree from Adolf Hitler permitted Heinrich Himmler to call up older men on the outbreak of war to replace the permanent units of concentration camp guards. This would allow the younger men to be drafted into the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiments of a new SS Division, to be called Totenkopf. [Main Article | AC]
19 May 1939
  • St. Louis was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Chinese troops captured Zaoyang, Hubei Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 19 May 1939
King George VI of the United Kingdom at the Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 19 May 1939
20 May 1939
21 May 1939
  • USS Astoria arrived at Guam, Mariana Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
22 May 1939

China
  • Myoko, flagship of Vice Admiral Koichi Shiozawa of Japanese Navy 5th Fleet, arrived in Xiamen, China in response to recent British, French, and American troop arrivals in the international zone. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Germany
  • Italy and Germany signed the "Pact of Steel" in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | TH]
23 May 1939
  • Adolf Hitler held a long speech before his top military commanders, starting by noting Danzig as a means to engage Poland in a war to gain Lebensraum ("living space") for the German people, and then digressing to note the possibility of war with Britain and France, the need to occupy the Low Countries for their airfields, and strategies for a war in western Europe and the Atlantic. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Soviet Air Force transferred 35 I-15bis fighters from the 22nd Fighter Aviation Regiment (IAP) to the Russian-Mongolian border area. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Chinese troops captured Suixian, Hubei Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Squalus sank off the Isles of Shoals in northeastern United States due to the failure of the main induction valves, which flooded the aft portions of the ship. 26 were killed from drowning, 33 were rescued. [Main Article | CPC]
24 May 1939

United Kingdom
  • The British Fleet Air Arm was transferred from the Royal Air Force to Admiralty control and renamed as the Air Branch of the Royal Navy. [AC]
25 May 1939

China
  • 26 Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China in the evening; six Chinese fighters intercepted them over the junction of Jialing River and Yangtze River and claimed two bombers shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • USS Skipjack transited the Panama Canal. [Main Article | CPC]
26 May 1939
  • Chen Changjie was named the commanding officer of the 6th Army. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • HMS Birmingham departed Xiamen, China with Vice Admiral Percy Noble aboard. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 26 May 1939
SA-Obergruppenführer Dietrich von Jagow congratulating Hans Lammers for LammersRear Admiral Russell Willson relieving Rear Admiral Chester Nimitz as Commander US Navy Battleship Division One aboard USS Arizona, San Pedro, California, United States, 26 May 1939
27 May 1939
  • USS Arizona became the flagship of Battleship Division 1's Rear Admiral Russell Wilson. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain finally agreed to hold a talk with the Soviet Union. Later on the same day, British and French ambassadors in Moscow, Russia presented a draft agreement for Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov to review, who received the wording coolly. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The United States Navy Fleet Auxiliary USS Dixie was launched at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard in Camden, New Jersey, United States. Under the command of Lieutenant Commander G. H. Bahn she would spend the war employed as a destroyer tender in the Pacific, and later earned five battle stars during the Korean War. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 27 May 1939
Adolf Hitler shaking Hans Lammers
28 May 1939

China
  • A combined Soviet and Mongolian force, having surrounded a two-regiment Japanese force near Nomonhan in Mongolia Area of China days earlier, wiped out the Japanese. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The Italian Foreign Minister Count Ciano visited Berlin, Germany where he was given a great reception in his honour by Hitler. [Main Article | AC]
29 May 1939
  • USS Astoria discontinued the search for the missing adventurer Richard Halliburton. [Main Article | CPC]
30 May 1939

Photo(s) dated 30 May 1939
The chief shipbuilders of carrier Shokaku posing with the hull of the ship two days prior to launching, Yokosuka, Japan, 30 May 1939
31 May 1939
  • Vyacheslav Molotov gave his first speech as the Soviet foreign minister before the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union. He called for the Soviet Union to guarantee the borders of neighboring countries in Eastern Europe as means to contain German aggression, but at the same time, friendly relations should be maintained with Germany and Italy as commercial agreements with them were still of interest to the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
1 Jun 1939
  • The Japanese Navy deployed a new code, later to be named JN-25 by Allied code breakers. [CPC]
  • The Focke-Wulf Fw-190 fighter made its maiden flight at Bremen, Germany. The aircraft displayed excellent handling characteristics and was highly maneuverable but suffered from engine overheating problems which required the fitting on a redesigned engine cowling to overcome. [Main Article | AC]
Japan
  • Kiyoshi Ito joined the Yokosuka Naval Air Group. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Jun 1939
Launching of Shokaku from the second construction slip of Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Japan, 1430 hours on 1 Jun 1939
2 Jun 1939

United States
  • USS Skipjack arrived at San Diego, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Jun 1939

Photo(s) dated 3 Jun 1939
High school teacher Koichiro Toyama toasted by former students including War Minister Seishiro Itagaki (first from left) and Naval Minister Mitsumasa Yonai (first on right), Tokyo, Japan, 3 Jun 1939
5 Jun 1939

China
  • Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China for three hours during the day; 4,400 people died of asphyxiation in a collapsed air raid tunnel during this bombing. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Corps commander Lieutenant General Georgy Zhukov arrived in the Mongolia Area of China, bringing reinforcement of armored cars, light tanks, and aircraft. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
6 Jun 1939
  • Werner Mölders was awarded the German Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords and Diamonds. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Korvettenkapitän Hans-Georg von Friedeburg was named the commanding officer of U-27, replacing Korvettenkapitän Johannes Franz. [Main Article | CPC]
7 Jun 1939

Germany
  • In the German capital of Berlin, Germany signed separate non-aggression pacts with Latvia and Estonia. The documents were signed for Germany by Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop; Foreign Minister Vilhelms Munters signed for Latvia, and Foreign Minister Karl Selter signed for Estonia. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 7 Jun 1939
German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop signing non-aggression treaties with his Latvian and Estonian counterparts Vilhelms Munters and Karl Selter, Berlin, Germany, 7 Jun 1939German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Estonian Foreign Minister Karl Selter, Berlin, Germany, 7 Jun 1939
10 Jun 1939

Photo(s) dated 10 Jun 1939
King George VI of the United Kingdom and President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States during the King’s visit to the Roosevelt home in Hyde Park, New York, United States, Jun 10, 1939, the day before the famous hot dog picnic.First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, King George VI, Mrs. Sara Roosevelt, Queen Elizabeth, and President Franklin Roosevelt during the King’s visit to the Roosevelt home in Hyde Park, New York, United States, Jun 10, 1939.
13 Jun 1939
  • Stanley Page Moseley was named the commanding officer of USS Pollack. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The US Navy carrier USS Saratoga completed a two day trial of underway refueling tests with the fleet tanker Kanawha. These sea replenishment techniques greatly extended the range of the US carrier force and proved invaluable for later operations in the Pacific War. [Main Article | AC]
14 Jun 1939
  • The United Kingdom dispatched a relatively low-level diplomat to engage in talks with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov instead of sending Lord Halifax. Molotov took this as a sign that Britain was not seriously interested in forming friendly relations with the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese blockaded the British concession in Tianjin, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The German elite infantry regiment Grossdeutschland was created. The 1st Battalion was made up from elements from the Wach Regiment (the Berlin ceremonial Guard Regiment) and consisted of three rifle companies, a machine gun company and a heavy weapons company. The 2nd Battalion was formed from men from the 92nd Infantry Regiment (with the same organisation as the 1st Battalion). The 3rd and 4th Battalions were formed from men from the Infantry Instruction Regiment (the 3rd with a similar organisation as the 1st, the 4th comprised a light infantry gun company, an anti-tank company and a heavy infantry gun company). In Jul 1940 a fifth Battalion was added to the establishment made up of a motor cycle company, and one company each of pioneers, signals and anti-aircraft. [AC]
15 Jun 1939
  • The German Army presented a plan to Adolf Hitler for the invasion of Poland, with much of the strategy focusing on concentrated surprise attacks to quickly eliminate Polish opposition. [Main Article | CPC]
Ireland
  • Irish Prime Minister Eamon de Valera declared the IRA (of which he and many of his cabinet had been members in former times) to be an unlawful organisation. [AC]
16 Jun 1939
  • Captain A. R. M. Bridge suceeded Captain Clement Moody as the commanding officer of HMS Eagle. [Main Article | CPC]
19 Jun 1939
  • The German Army reported that thus far 168 officers had been infiltrated into Danzig in prepration of action. [Main Article | CPC]
23 Jun 1939
  • Martin Bormann issued a secret order to the German Minister of Education to suppress Divinity Schools. [CPC]
  • Pope Pius XII reached an agreement with Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas for Brazil to issue 3,000 visas to allow non-Aryan Catholics, some of whom were Jews recently converted to Catholicism to escape prosecution, to travel to Brazil. Ultimately, however, only under 1,000 visas would be issued. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The country of Siam was officially renamed Thailand. [CPC]
  • Hermann Göring headed up the Reich Defense Council in Germany to plan for total mobilization of the country for war. Minister of Economics Walther Funk offered the idea of using future prisoners of war as forced laborers, while SS chief Heinrich Himmler offered his prisoners in concentration camps for the same propose. [Main Article | CPC]
26 Jun 1939
  • German Gestapo ordered all Czechs who were deemed unwilling to work, politically active, or deemed to have anti-German beliefs were to be placed in concentration camps. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The British Royal Navy and the British Foreign Office reported that Britain could only break the Japanese blockade on the British concession in Tianjin, China by deploying warships to the area. However, given the current tensions with Germany, such a deployment would not be advisable. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Jun 1939

China
  • Aircraft of Japanese Army 2nd Air Brigade attacked the Soviet airfield at Tamsagbulag, Mongolia Area, China. Both sides lost several aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Jun 1939
  • The German ambassador in Moscow, Russia met with a very friendly Vyacheslav Molotov. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The British Womens Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) was formed. [AC]
29 Jun 1939
  • Adolf Hitler suddenly ordered a pause to Soviet-German trade talks for unknown reason. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Jun 1939
  • The active duty strength of the US Marine Corps was reported to be 1,380 officers and 16,052 enlisted men for a total of 19,432. [CPC]
United States
  • The US 1st Marine Brigade was activated at Quantico, Virginia, United States, supported by the 1st Marine Aircraft Group. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The 2nd Marine Brigade was activated at San Diego, California, United States, supported by the 2nd Marine Aircraft Group. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Jun 1939
Mugford underway, 30 Jun 1939
1 Jul 1939
  • The US Lighthouse Service, founded in 1789, was incorporated into the US Coast Guard service as a result of the Presidential Reorganization Plan No II. [AC]
  • An order was issued for the building of a battleship that would later be named USS Iowa. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was promoted to the rank of Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier. [Main Article | CPC]
2 Jul 1939

China
  • Crown Prince Yi Un inspected troops in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The southern prong of the Japanese offensive in Mongolia Area of China commenced. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 2 Jul 1939
SOC-1 Seagull in flight, 2 Jul 1939
5 Jul 1939 China
  • Georgy Zhukov's counterattack forced the northern prong of the Japanese offensive to retreat across river Khalkhin Gol in Mongolia Area of China. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
United States
  • The keel of the battleship USS South Dakota (BB-57) was laid down at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard in Camden, New Jersey, United States. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Jul 1939
Carrier Hiryu shortly after commissioning at Yokosuka, Japan, 5 Jul 1939
6 Jul 1939
  • The last remaining Jewish enterprises in Germany were closed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Edinburgh was commissioned into service and was assigned to the 18th Cruiser Squadron of the Home Fleet of the British Royal Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 6 Jul 1939
Sims off the Kennebec River, Maine, United States during her trials, 6 July 1939, photo 1 of 3; note flag of shipbuilder Bath Iron WorksSims off the Kennebec River, Maine, United States during her trials, 6 July 1939, photo 2 of 3Sims off the Kennebec River, Maine, United States during her trials, 6 July 1939, photo 3 of 3
8 Jul 1939

Germany
  • Korvettenkapitän Johannes Franz was named the commanding officer of U-27, replacing Korvettenkapitän Hans-Georg von Friedeburg. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Jul 1939

China
  • A Soviet counterattack defeated the southern prong of the Japanese offensive in the Mongolia Area of China. [Main Article | CPC]
11 Jul 1939

China
  • 27 Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China; eight Chinese I-15bis fighters rose to intercept. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Jul 1939

United States
  • The stern of the sunken USS Squalus was briefly raised in the Isles of Shoals off northeastern United States, but the wreck would slip under the surface again. [Main Article | CPC]
14 Jul 1939
  • Royal Romanian Air Force began operating the German-built He 112 fighters. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 14 Jul 1939
Japanese heavy cruiser Takao on a trial run off Tateyama, Tokyo Bay, 14 Jul 1939
15 Jul 1939
  • German submarine U-42 was commissioned into service. [CPC]
17 Jul 1939
  • Bristol Beaufighter multi-role aircraft took its first flight. [Main Article | AC]
  • British destroyer Havant was launched. [CPC]
  • American destroyer Grayson was laid down. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Submarine USS Spearfish was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Jul 1939
  • British light cruiser Kenya was launched at the Stephen Shipyard at Govan on the River Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • British light cruiser Nigeria was launched. [CPC]
  • British anti-aircraft cruiser Dido was launched. [CPC]
  • The Soviet Union proposed a trade agreement to Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
19 Jul 1939

United Kingdom
  • British light cruiser HMS Mauritius was launched at the Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • HMS Mauritius was launched at Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The keel of submarine Tuna was laid down. [Main Article | CPC]
20 Jul 1939
  • The United Kingdom limited Jewish immigration to Palestine. [CPC]
  • The keel of British light cruiser HMS Uganda was laid down. [CPC]
Danzig
  • 2,000 Nazi Party members arrived in the Free City of Danzig from Germany. [CPC]
United States
  • The keel of battleship Massachusetts was laid down by the Bethlehem Steel Company in Quincy, Massachusetts, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Jul 1939
  • British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax wrote to British Ambassador to Poland Clifford Norton, asking him to expressed to the Polish government the British desire for Poland to refrain from acting defiantly to recent German threats. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMS Windermere was launched. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Jul 1939
XF4F-3 prototype Wildcat in flight, 21 Jul 1939
22 Jul 1939
  • Soviet newspapers announced that the Soviet Union and Germany had resumed trade agreement talks. [Main Article | CPC]
23 Jul 1939
  • Alerted that Germany and the Soviet Union were engaged in talks once again, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain began preparations to engage with the Soviets as well. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese artillery bombarded Soviet positions at the Kawatama Bridge in Mongolia Area of China while infantry units launched small scale attacks. [Main Article | CPC]
24 Jul 1939
  • Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov met with British and French representatives to work out a potential agreement against Germany; the plan Molotov proposed was similar to the 1914 alliance in an attempt to contain the German Empire. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Pál Teleki informed Germany and Italy that should a war broke out between Germany and Poland, Hungary would not participate in a joint invasion; German leader Adolf Hitler would soon intimidate Teleki to retract the statement. On the same day, Italian leader Benito Mussolini warned Hitler that should war break out due to the Polish-German tension, Italy would come to Germany's help, but Mussolini believed it would not be a simple Polish-German War, but rather, other nations such as the United Kingdom and France would be dragged in, leading to another great war. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China; one of the I-15bis fighters of Chinese 21st Pursuit Squadron which rose to intercept claimed one bomber shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese artillery bombarded Soviet positions at the Kawatama Bridge in Mongolia Area of China while infantry units launched small scale attacks. [Main Article | CPC]
25 Jul 1939
  • The prototype Avro Manchester made its first flight. Although it served with eight Bomber Command Squadrons, the Manchester suffered from persistent engine problems and was withdrawn from service in 1942. [Main Article | AC]
  • The British Admiralty placed an order for 26 Flower-class corvettes under the 1939-40 Naval Estimates. [Main Article | AC]
China
  • Japanese 64th Infantry Regiment and 72nd Infantry Regiment launched a failed main attack on Soviet forces defending the Kawatama Bridge in Mongolia Area of China. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The British Royal Navy issued an order to Henry Robb, Limited of Leith, Scotland, United Kingdom for the contruction of a corvette which would later be named Dianthus. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Jul 1939
Adm Thomas Hart relieved Harry Yarnell aboard Augusta, off Shanghai, China, 25 Jul 1939
26 Jul 1939

Czechoslovakia
  • Adolf Eichmann was placed in charge of the Prague branch office of the German National Central Office in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, responsible for deportation of Jews. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Low level German and Soviet diplomats had a friendly dinner together in Berlin, Germany, their discussions lasting a little after midnight. They concluded that a treaty between Germany and Soviet would mean peace in Eastern Europe, and that the Soviet Union should be aware of the United Kingdom, whose aggressiveness would undoubtedly drag the Soviet Union into a war should the two countries sign any military agreement with each other. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Jul 1939
  • B-23 Dragon aircraft took its maiden flight. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Jul 1939

United Kingdom
  • The German embassy in London, England, United Kingdom reported to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, Germany that the British was attempting to start talks with the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
29 Jul 1939

Ukraine
  • Pavel Sukhoi was named the Chief Designer of aircraft factory number 135 in Kharkov, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Jul 1939
  • British Prime Minister Chamberlain wrote in regards to the German oppression of Jews "[n]o doubt Jews aren't a lovable people, I don't care about them myself. But that is not sufficient to explain the pogram." [Main Article | CPC]
31 Jul 1939
  • Neville Chamberlain spoke before the House of Commons of the British Parliament, noting that he was engaging in talks with the Soviet Union as a means to contain German aggression. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Repair ship Akashi was completed and placed on the reserve list. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
1 Aug 1939
  • Erwin Rommel was promoted to the rank of Generalmajor. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Sims was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Crown Prince Yi Un was made the commanding officer of the Japanese 2nd Brigade. [Main Article | CPC]
Australia
  • Edmund Herring was promoted to the rank of temporary colonel and was given command of the Australian 3rd Division Artillery. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • The Chinese 18th Squadron was relocated to Chongqing, China. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German Ambassador to Britain Herbert von Dirksen reported to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, Germany that the British-Soviet talks did not seem to be proceeding well. [Main Article | CPC]
2 Aug 1939

Japan
  • Prince Morihiro was transferred back to Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • In a letter written by Leó Szilárd and signed by Albert Einstein, the two physicists urged US President Franklin Roosevelt to allocate funding for atomic weapons research. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Aug 1939
  • 30 Soviet-built I-16 fighters were delivered to the Chinese Air Force. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vyacheslav Molotov informed Joseph Stalin that Germany was requesting the Soviet Union to engage in talks over the future of Eastern Europe. While he did request permission to speak to the Germans on this topic, he expressed skeptism as Germany was concurrently pushing Poland to sign the Anti-Comintern Pact. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Aug 1939
  • Polish customs officials on the Danzig border began carrying arms, which alerted the Germans. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The German expedition team consisting of Ernst Schäfer, Bruno Beger, Karl Wienert, Ernst Krause, and others, having departed Lhasa, Tibet in Aug 1939, arrived in Berlin, Germany. [CPC]
5 Aug 1939
  • Belfast was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The United Kingdom and France dispatched a joint delegation by passenger ship to the Soviet Union for talks. The ship was not scheduled to arrive at Leningrad, Russia until 11 Aug. It was unknown why the delegation traveled by ship rather than by air, which would be much faster. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US Navy awarded a US$15,505,000 contract to build a new naval air facilities in Hawaii, Midway, Johnston, and Palmyra Islands. [CPC]
7 Aug 1939
  • A group of British businessmen met with Hermann Göring in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, warning him that British public sentiment would not allow another act of appeasement, and that the public would push the British government to declare war on Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The United States Congress authorized the establishment of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. [CPC]
9 Aug 1939
  • Germany sent a message to Poland noting that its uncooperativeness to work with Germany, ie. its refusal of German demands to annex Danzig, might lead to war, and Germany would not hold the responsibility for starting an armed conflict. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Aug 1939
Émile Bertin underway, 9 Aug 1939
10 Aug 1939
  • Reinhard Heydrich ordered SS Officer Alfred Naujocks to fake an attack on a radio station near Gleiwitz, Germany, which was on the border with Poland. "Practical proof is needed for these attacks of the Poles for the foreign press as well as German propaganda", said Heydrich, according to Naujocks. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Poland responded to Germany's message from the previous day, noting that should a war between the two nations start, it would be German aggression that started it, and Poland could not be blamed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Léon Henri Charles Cayla was named the Governor-General of French West Africa. [CPC]
Italy
  • Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano departed Rome, Italy for Salzburg in southern Germany (occupied Austria) to meet with his German counterpart Joachim von Ribbentrop. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • P-39 Airacobra fighter entered production with a US Army order for 80 aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
11 Aug 1939
  • German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop met with Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano at Salzburg, Germany (occupied Austria), during which he said that "we want war". [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Hammann was commissioned into service under the command of Lieutenant Commander Arnold E. True. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Aug 1939
  • Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano met with German leader Adolf Hitler and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. During the meeting, upon hearing Hitler's hypothesis that Britain and France could not go into a war for Poland, Ciano expressed doubts and that it was his belief that Europe would be engulf in a general war should German and Poland become entangled in a war. As he realized Hitler was set on going to war with Poland, Ciano expressed Italian unpreparedness for conflict. Ribbentrop responded by saying Germany did not need Italy's military assistance. Ciano, skeptical, noted that time would tell whether that was true. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Soviet Union expressed to Germany that it was willing to host a visit by a high-level German diplomat in Moscow, Russia for talks. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light carrier Hosho was designated a training carrier. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Malaya and Singapore
  • HMS Eagle began her refitting work at Singapore. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Aug 1939
  • U-36 departed Kiel, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • As Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano departed Germany after the completion of a meeting with German leader Adolf Hitler and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, he was told not to make any public announcements. Germany, however, would violate this agreement within hours, releasing a statement that Italy completely agreed with Germany's plans for the near future; this statement was false as Ciano had serious concerns regarding Hitler's determination to go to war with Poland. [CPC]
14 Aug 1939
  • Germany sent a message to its embassy in Moscow, Russia, ordering the ambassador to push Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to make a quick decision on the future of Soviet-German relationship. In Russia, the British-French delegation negotiated with Kliment Voroshilov for a potential treaty to contain German aggression; Voroshilov wanted the western powers to convince Poland to agree to allow Soviet troops to move into Polish territory to counterattack a potential German invasion, but the British and the French knew it was something the Polish leadership was adamantly against. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler announced to his top military commanders that Germany was to enter in a war with Poland at the end of Aug 1939, and that the United Kingdom and France would not enter the fray, especially if Poland could be decisively wiped out in a week or two. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Aug 1939
  • Germany secretly canceled the upcoming annual Nazi Party rally in Nürnberg, Germany due to the planned war. [CPC]
  • German Ambassador to the Soviet Union Friedrich-Werner von der Schulenburg read a mesage from German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop to Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov regarding Germany's request to send a high-level diplomat to Soviet Union for talks. Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier ordered his representatives in Russia to quickly conclude the negotiations with the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • Italy mobilized the "San Marco" naval infantry battalion. [CPC]
16 Aug 1939
  • The US Ambassador in Moscow, Russia warned Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov that the United States believed Germany would betray the Soviet Union even if the two country engaged in an alliance. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Skipjack arrived at San Diego, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
17 Aug 1939
  • The Germany military was ordered to supply the SS organization with 150 Polish Army uniforms. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American diplomat Sumner Welles warned the British that the Soviet Union was likely to make an offer to Germany. In the evening, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov contacted Germany in response to the 15 Aug 1939 request for a meeting; he noted skepticism due to the Anti-Comintern Pact backed by Germany, but also noted happily that, unlike Britain, Germany was willing to send a high-level diplomat. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 17 Aug 1939
Portrait of a Japanese family which had gathered to bid farewell for a family member who was joining the army, Suwa, Nagano, Japan, 17 Aug 1939
18 Aug 1939
  • Romania placed an additional order to purchase 6 more German He 112 fighters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop pushed for his visit to the Soviet Union, offering Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov favorable terms in terms of spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union's negotiation with the western powers stalled again as Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck continued to resist allowing Soviet entry into Polish territory even in the face of a German invasion. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Prince Hiroyasu's wife Tsuneko Tokugawa passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
19 Aug 1939
  • Sir Malcolm Campbell set a new World Water Speed Record on Coniston waters in England, United Kingdom with a recorded speed of 141 miles per hour. [AC]
  • The German Navy ordered 21 submarines and two capital ships to prepare for sailing at any given time. The captains of Admiral Graf Spee and Deutschland received orders to go to Brazilian and North Atlantic waters, respectively. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • At 1910 hours, Berlin, Germany received the official response from the Soviet Union, via the German embassy in Moscow, Russia, for Joachim von Ribbentrop's visit; the proposed date of the conference was set for 26 Aug, but Ribbentrop would soon attempt to move up the date of the meeting. Shortly before Berlin received the message, Joseph Stalin announced to the Politburo his intention to befriend Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
20 Aug 1939
  • German leader Adolf Hitler personally asked Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to move up the date for the meeting of the respective foreign ministers, preferably to 22 Aug or 23 Aug from the originally-proposed 26 Aug. Meanwhile, Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck formally rejected British and French request for Poland to allow Soviet troops to enter Poland in case of a German invasion. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Georgy Zhukov commenced a large-scale surprise offensive against Japanese forces in the Mongolia Area of China. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
  • The British turned over four Chinese nationals to the Japanese despite protest from the Chinese government. The four men had been accused of killing a pro-Japanese Chinese collaborationist. The four Chinese accused would soon be executed by the Japanese. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Aug 1939
Gauleiter Erich Koch, Govt Secretary Landfried, Govt Secretary Pfundtner, and Danzig Senate President Arthur Greiser inspecting a model of Königsberg while visting that German city, 20 Aug 1939
21 Aug 1939
  • French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier ordered his representatives in Russia to speed up negotiations with the Soviet Union; since Poland would not agree to Soviet troops within its borders, the French representatives were given the authority to accept a miltiary treaty excluding Poland. Soviet representative Kliment Voroshilov noted to the British and the French that if Poland was unwilling to allow Soviet troops to cross its borders, then there was little point for the Soviet Union to be a part of this military alliance. At 2100 hours, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin responded to the request from German leader Adolf Hitler to move the date of the meeting between the respective foreign ministers to 22 or 23 Aug 1939; with the two sides having agreed on a draft of a German-Soviet non-aggression agreement, the radio in Berlin, Germany interrupted a musical program to announce the upcoming signing of such a treaty between the two countries. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • German warship Admiral Graf Spee and her tanker Altmark departed Germany on a raiding mission against British shipping. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Aug 1939
Camp for female members of the Nazi Party, Nürnberg, Germany, late Aug 1939, photo 1 of 2Camp for female members of the Nazi Party, Nürnberg, Germany, late Aug 1939, photo 2 of 2
22 Aug 1939
  • With a non-aggression pact nearly secured with the Soviet Union, German leader Adolf Hitler ordered the Polish invasion to commence on 26 Aug 1939. He told his top military commanders to be brutal and show no compassion in the upcoming war. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler said that even though he was important for Germany, but he could be killed by anybody at any time. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop and the German delegation departed Berlin, Germany aboard two Condor aircraft for Königsberg, East Prussia, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Georg von Küchler was named the commanding officer of 3rd Army. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 22 Aug 1939
Nazi Party female labor service camp, Nürnberg, Germany, late Aug 1939
23 Aug 1939
  • Albert Forster became the State President of the Free City of Danzig. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop and the German delegation arrived aboard two Condor aircraft at Moscow, Russia and met Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov in two sessions, with the second session going late into the night and resulting in the signing of the German-Soviet non-aggression pact. It eliminated the possibility of Soviet Union allying with the western powers; in addition, a secret clause effectively set the plans for a partition of Poland. [Main Article | TH]
  • Italy sent a message to Germany noting that when the two nations negotiated the Pact of Steel, article 3, which obliged one nation to go to join in any war the other nation engaged in, the two had the understanding that Italy would not be ready for war until 1943. Should Germany invade Poland before 1942, Italy would not be ready. [Main Article | CPC]
  • France partially mobilized its military to bolster its border defenses. [CPC]
Danzig
  • Albert Forster was appointed by the German government as the State President of the Free City of Danzig. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Erwin Rommel was promoted to the rank of major general and was posted to the Staff of the Adolf Hitler's Headquarters, to be responsible again for Hitler's safety. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
  • U-27 departed Wilhelmshaven, Germany for her first and only war patrol. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Captain F. E. P. Hutton was named the commanding officer of HMS Hermes, relieving Captain G. Fraser. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Aug 1939
Molotov signing the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, Moscow, Russia, 23 Aug 1939; Shaposhnikov, Ribbentrop, and Stalin in back rowRibbentrop signing the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, Moscow, Russia, 23 Aug 1939, photo 1 of 3; Shaposhnikov, Molotov, and Stalin in back rowRibbentrop signing the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, Moscow, Russia, 23 Aug 1939, photo 2 of 3; Molotov and Stalin in back rowRibbentrop signing the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, Moscow, Russia, 23 Aug 1939, photo 3 of 3; Boris Shaposhnikov and Joseph Stalin in back row
See all photos dated 23 Aug 1939
24 Aug 1939
  • The French Army called up its reserves. [CPC]
Germany
  • German warship Deutschland departed Germany on a raiding mission against British shipping. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Berlin, Germany, journalist William Shirer noted in his diary "it looks like war" based on his observations throughout the day. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The British and the French delegation in Soviet Union requested further meetings with Kliment Voroshilov, who was slow to respond. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom enacted emergency powers and partially mobilized the British military in preparation of war with Germany. Among the forces mobilized was the troops of General Pile's Air Defence of Great Britain (ADGB). [AC]
  • HMS Hermes was recommissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
25 Aug 1939

China
  • Soviet forces linked up at Nomonhan, Mongolia Area, China, enveloping Japanese 23rd Infantry Division. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • In the morning, Adolf Hitler sent a message to Benito Mussolini, noting that the reason why Italy was not informed of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was because Hitler had not imagined the negotiations would conclude so quickly. He also revealed to him that war was to commence soon, but failed to let him know that the planned invasion date was on the following day. Later on the same day, however, Hitler hesitated in the face of the Anglo-Polish mutual defense agreement; he would quickly decide to postpone the invasion date. Meanwhile, in Berlin, Germany, journalist William Shirer noted in his diary that war seems to be imminent. [Main Article | AC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop arrived in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Kliment Voroshilov rejected the request from the British and French delegation, noting that since Germany and the Soviet Union had just signed a non-aggression pact, a military treaty with the western powers was no longer possible. In light of this new development, a renewed mutual defense agreement was signed between the United Kingdom and Poland. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt wrote to Adolf Hitler in an attempt to maintain peace. [Main Article | CPC]
26 Aug 1939
  • Benito Mussolini sent Adolf Hitler a message noting that Italy would offer political and economic aid if Germany chose to go to war with Poland, but Italy was in no position to offer military assistance. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Some German units ordered to lead the invasion of Poland, originally planned for this date, did not receive the message that the invasion had been postponed in the previous evening and crossed the borders, attacking Polish defenses with rifles, machine guns, and grenades; they would be withdrawn back into Germany within hours. Because Poland had experienced so much German provocation in the past few days, Polish leadership brushed off the attacks as another series of provocation, despite having reports that the attacks wore regular uniforms. In the late afternoon, Adolf Hitler set the new invasion date at 1 Sep 1939. [Main Article | CPC]
  • French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier sent a message to German leader Adolf Hitler, noting that while France desired peace, it would fight for Poland should it be invaded. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German ambassadors in Belgium and the Netherlands informed each of the two countries that Germany was friendly to them during the current political tensions. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • A Japanese attack failed to break the Soviet envelopment at Nomonhan, Mongolia Area, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • German Navy ordered all German merchant ships to sail for the nearest German port. [CPC]
  • The German Foreign Minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, handed the British Ambassador, Sir Neville Henderson, a list of terms that would allegedly ensure peace. These terms stipulated that Danzig would be returned to Germany, there would be a plebiscite in the Polish Corridor based on 1919 residency and there would also be an exchange of minority populations between Poland and Germany. The British thought these were fair demands and so the Polish Ambassador Józef Lipski went to see Ribbentrop, but was thrown out when he revealed that he did not have the power to sign the agreement. Germany then announced that Poland had refused its fair demands. [Main Article | AC]
United Kingdom
  • 70% of Britain's Air Defences forces were now deployed, which effectively meant that 900 guns and 3,000 searchlights were ready for action. [AC]
27 Aug 1939
  • Germany publicly announced that the annual Nazi Party rally in Nürnberg, Germany and the upcoming Tannenberg memorial event were both canceled. Additionally, the government announced the start of food, footwear, textile, and coal rations. [CPC]
  • German leader Adolf Hitler responded to the message from French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier from the previous day, noting that Germany had no intention of fighting France, so if France was to attack Germany due to the German-Poland situation, it would be a war initiated by France, and Germany could not be faulted for such a conflict; additionally, Hitler stressed that Germany had no territorial demands on the German-French border. Meanwhile, Hermann Göring's friend Birger Dahlerus, a Swedish national, attempted a parallel route to negotiate for peace. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler responded to Benito Mussolini's message from the previous day, noting that he accepted Italy's inability to participate in direct fighting should a German-Polish war broke out, but he would very much appreciate political (by means of threatening to entering the war, thus tying down French troops on the French-Italian border) and economic (by offering Italian workers for German industry and agriculture) support. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese 23rd Infantry Division attempted and failed to break out of the encircled village of Nomonhan, Mongolia Area, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • German Air Force Captain Erich Warsitz successfully took the prototype He 178 jet aircraft into the air, thus making it the first aircraft to fly using a turbojet engine. The test flight was conducted out of Rostock-Marienehe Airfield on the Baltic Sea coast. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Helena was launched at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, sponsored by Ms. Elinor Carlyle Gudger, granddaughter of Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Aug 1939

Germany
  • Citizens in Berlin, Germany observed troops moving toward the east. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Karl Wiligut was officially placed on the SS retired list; in actuality he had been pushed out of his office since Feb 1939. [Main Article | CPC]
29 Aug 1939
  • Through the Swedish businessman Birger Dahlerus, Germany expressed that Germany only desired Danzig and a small section of the Polish Corridor, while a plebiscite should be held in the near future to determine the fate of the remainder of the Polish Corridor. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler summoned the three leading representatives of the German armed forces, Walther von Brauchitsch, Hermann Göring, and Erich Raeder together with senior Army commanders to his mountain villa at Obersalzberg in southern Germany, where he announced the details of the recently-signed Soviet-German non-aggression pact, the plan to isolate and destroy Poland, and the formation of a buffer state in conquered Poland against the Soviet Union. [Main Article | AC]
Poland
  • A Polish destroyer squadron was evacuated to the United Kingdom as the invasion from Germany seemed imminent. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Georgy Zhukov was made a Hero of the Soviet Union for the first time and was awarded the Order of Lenin for the second time. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 29 Aug 1939
Polish destroyers Grom and Burza during Operation Peking, viewed from destroyer Błyskawica, circa 29 Aug-1 Sep 1939
30 Aug 1939
  • Poland refused to dispatch a delegation to Germany to negotiate over the topics of Danzig and the Polish Corridor. Polish Commander-in-Chief, Marshal of Poland, Edward Rydz-Smigly ordered the mobilization of the army. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
Japan
  • Isoroku Yamamoto was appointed the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet by Navy Minister Mitsumasa Yonai. [Main Article | CPC]
31 Aug 1939
  • The formal order for the German invasion of Poland was given; specific instructions were made for German troops on the western border to avoid conflict with the United Kingdom, France, and the Low Countries. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler offered the United Kingdom that Germany would not risk war if Poland was willing to turn over Danzig and a small section of the Polish Corridor, and that Poland was to allow a plebiscite for the remainder of the Polish Corridor in the near future; British Ambassador in Germany Nevile Henderson expressed that the United Kingdom, while desiring peace, could not sacrifice Poland to achieve that goal. Meanwhile, Henderson continued to press Poland to send a delegation to Germany in a last attempt to negotiate peace over Danzig and the Polish Corridor. When Polish Ambassador in Germany Józef Lipski attempted to send Henderson's message to Poland later in the evening, he found that Germany had cut telephone and telegraph communications to Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Italy, Galeazzo Ciano sent the United Kingdom and France a secret message noting that Italy would not fight should Germany start a war over Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese 23rd Infantry Division was effectively wiped out at Nomonhan, Mongolia Area, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • German official Hermann Göring hosted British Ambassador Nevile Henderson and Swedish businessman Birger Dahlerus at his home in Berlin, Germany for tea between 1700 and 1900 hours, during which the latter two made a last attempt to broker peace. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Evacuation order for London civilians orders given by the United Kingdom Ministry of Health, to be executed on the next day, with special note stressing that it did not necessarily meant war was inevitable. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 31 Aug 1939
Soviet map of Battle of Khalkhin Gol, 20-31 Aug 1939Admiral Yamamoto at Tokyo Station, Tokyo, Japan en route to take command of the Combined Fleet, 31 Aug 1939
1 Sep 1939
  • Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden all proclaimed their neutrality in the European War; Germany pledged to respect Norway's and Sweden's sovereignty. [TH]
  • 12 Swordfish torpedo bombers of 814 Naval Air Squadron landed aboard HMS Hermes to join her air crew. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • France mobilized its military. [TH]
Germany
  • Germany placed a curfew on German Jews: 9pm in the summer, 8pm in the winter. [Main Article | CPC]
  • As the Free City of Danzig ceased to exist, Gauleiter Albert Forster's title of State President of the Free City of Danzig was abolished. He would soon be named the Gauleiter and Reichstatthalter of Danzig-West Prussia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler authorized Reichsleiter Bouhler and Dr. Brandt to "grant merciful deaths" for the mentally ill and those who were suffering from incurable diseases. This was the beginning of Action T4 euthanasia program. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Reinhard Heydrich presided a meeting attended by the heads of Security Police and Commanders of Special Units, during which the deportation of the "remaining 30,000 Gypsies" from Germany to the soon-to-be-conquered territory of Poland was ordered. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Iron Cross awards were established in Germany as an award for those who displayed bravery in combat or in command of military personnel. Four grades were specified: Iron Cross 2nd Class, Iron Cross 1st Class, Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, and the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross. [CPC]
Italy
  • Britain and France turned to Italy in response to his proposal to revamp the conditions of the Versailles Treaty rather than declaring war on Germany. Meanwhile, Italy declared itself a non-belligerent nation in the European War. [TH]
  • Adolf Hitler relieved Italy from having to fight in the war against Poland and possibly with the western powers in writing, asking only for political and economic support. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Using the staged Gleiwitz radio station attack as an excuse, Germany declared war on Poland. Meanwhile, the radio station in Minsk, Byelorussia increased the frequency of station identification and extended its playing time in an attempt to help German aviators navigate. Among the opening acts of the European War, the German Luftwaffe bombed the town of Wielu in Poland, causing 1,200 civilian casualties. [Main Article | TH, AC]
  • Over Warsaw, Poland, Oberst Walter Grabmann's Messerchmitt Bf 110 squadron (I.(Z)/Lg.1) led by Hauptmann Schleit, shot down five Polish PZL P.11 fighters whilst escorting the Heinkel He 111P bombers of II/KG.1. He sustained wounds as one of the P.11 fighters damaged his Bf 110 fighter. [Main Article | AC, CPC]
Russia
  • Moscow City Party Committee secretary Semyon Korytny was executed for the crime of having married the sister of military leader Iona Yakir, a perceived enemy of Joseph Stalin. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • General mobilisation began in the United Kingdom. On the civilian front, three million women and children were evacuated from London and other large cities, though most of these will return when the anticipated air raids do not materialise. Also, Air Raid Precautions were introduced and a blackout enforced from sunset to sunrise. [TH]
United States
  • Henry Arnold submitted a report on the organization of US Army air units and recommendations on doctrine to US Army Chief of Staff George Marshall. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Sep 1939
German troops removing a gate at the Polish border checkpoint at Zoppot-Gdingen Street in Danzig, 1 Sep 1939, photo 1 of 2German troops removing a gate at the Polish border checkpoint at Zoppot-Gdingen Street in Danzig, 1 Sep 1939, photo 2 of 2German troops removing the Polish emblem from the wall of a post office in Danzig, 1 Sep 1939German troops escorting the fighters who had surrendered at the Danzig post office, 1 Sep 1939
See all photos dated 1 Sep 1939
2 Sep 1939
  • The Germans began the construction of Stutthof Concentration Camp with labor of 65,000 Polish Christians. [Main Article | CPC]
Danzig
  • Germany annexed the Free City of Danzig. Adolf Hitler advised the United Kingdom and France that he would withdraw from Poland if allowed to keep Danzig and the Polish corridor. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Italy
  • Benito Mussolini continued to urge peace between Germany, United Kingdom, and France, without any success. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom passed the National Service Act. [TH]
  • During the day, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier issued a joint ultimatum to Germany, demanding the withdraw of troops from Poland within 12 hours. During the late hours of the night, Chamberlain attempted to convince Dalalier to carry out the threat from the earlier ultimatum by declaring war on Germany early in the next morning. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
  • The Times Literary Supplement reported that the copy of the Magna Carta owned by the Lincoln Cathedral of England, United Kingdom, currently on display at the 1939 New York World's Fair, would remain in the United States under the care of the Library of Congress for the duration of the war. It would be stored at Fort Knox until its return to Lincoln in 1944. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 2 Sep 1939
Sailors inspected damage on Schleswig-Holstein caused by Polish coastal batteries of Hel Penninsula, Sep 1939German women living in Poland giving bread to German soldiers, Poland, 2 Sep 1939German soldiers carrying MG34 machine guns, Poland, Sep 1939
3 Sep 1939

Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-30 torpedoed British passenger liner Athenia in the Atlantic Ocean. [Main Article | CPC]
Austria
  • Otto Skorzeny was sent home from Trost Barracks, Vienna, Austria despite the outbreak of war due to the lack of instructors to train new recruits. [Main Article | CPC]
Belgium
  • The government of Belgium announced their neutral stance in the European War. [CPC]
Germany
  • At 0900 hours, British Ambassador in Germany Nevile Henderson delivered the British declaration of war to German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, effective at 1100 hours; British Commonwealth nations of New Zealand and Australia followed suit. France would also declare war later on this day, effective at 1700 hours. In the afternoon, Adolf Hitler issued an order to his generals, again stressing that German troops must not attack British and French positions. Finally, Hitler also sent a message to the Soviet Union, asking the Soviets to jointly invade Poland. [Main Article | TH]
  • German government issued orders that executions by members of the SS were to be carried out in concentration camps, effective 20 Sep 1939. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first RAF operation flight over Germany was a reconnaissance mission, but later in the night RAF bombers would conduct a leaflet raid. [TH]
  • Adolf Hitler departed Berlin, Germany for the Eastern Front. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • 55 Polish peasants at Truskolasy, Poland were executed. [TH]
United Kingdom
  • British General Edmund Ironside became the Chief of the Imperial Staff. [CPC]
  • British Member of Parliament Winston Churchill became the First Lord of the Admiralty, a post he had held during the Great War. [Main Article | AC]
  • The British government announced the immediate closure of all theatres, cinemas, music halls and other places of public entertainment. Football matches and other events likely to be attended by large crowds were banned, as was the blowing of whistles or sounding of horns. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 3 Sep 1939
Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies announcing the start of the European War, Sep 1939Demonstration in Warsaw, Poland in support of the British declaration of war on Germany, 3 Sep 1939German Panzer I, Panzer II, and SdKfz. 251 vehicles in Poland, circa 3 Sep 1939; the officer in the SdKfz. 251 halftrack vehicle might be Heinz Guderian
4 Sep 1939

Germany
  • Adolf Hitler forbade any further attacks on passenger ships. [Main Article | AC]
  • 30 RAF bombers attacked the German Navy at Wilhelmshaven, Cuxhaven, and Shillig Roads in Germany. Seven of thirty aircraft were shot down and the handful of bombs that hit their targets failed to explode. No.107 Squadron from Wattisham lost four out of five Blenheim bombers, which was the RAF's first fatalities. [Main Article | TH]
  • In Germany, a War Economy Decree was published which laid down guidelines for the rapid mobilization of civilian resources and the conversion of the economy to war. [AC]
Poland
  • Germans executed 1000 Poles near Bydgoszcz, including a number of Boy Scouts. [TH]
United Kingdom
  • Alan Turing reported to Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • United States increased patrols on its east coast. [CPC]
5 Sep 1939
  • France aimed limited offensive at Saarbrücken. [TH]
  • In a private conversation, Franz Halder and Walther von Brauchitsch both agreed that the war against Poland was effectively won. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • An Avro Anson aircraft of No. 500 Squadron RAF made the first attack of the war on an enemy submarine. [Main Article | AC]
Germany
  • Heinz Guderian was awarded Clasp to his Iron Cross Second Class. [Main Article | AC]
Poland
  • German Army units crossed the Vistula River in Poland. Meanwhile, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov responded to the German invitation to jointly invade Poland in the positive, but noted that the Soviet forces would need several days to prepare; he also warned the Germans not to cross the previously agreed upon line separating German and Soviet spheres of influence. [Main Article | TH]
  • Wolfgang Falck shot down one Polish two-seater aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
South Africa
  • Jan Smuts became the 4th Prime Minister of South Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The United States publicly declared neutrality in the war. [TH]
  • Franklin Roosevelt put the arms embargo in place in response to the start of the European War as required by law, but he would soon approach the United States Congress in attempt to remove the ban. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Sep 1939
A lone horse wondering a recent battlefield, Poland, Sep 1939German motorized troops traveling on muddy road in Poland, Sep 1939A girl holding her dog in a devastated neighborhood in Warsaw, Poland, 5 Sep 1939City of Wielun, Poland damaged after German aerial bombing, Sep 1939
6 Sep 1939

Egypt
  • Garland arrived at Alexandria, Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • German troops captured the Upper Silesian industrial area in Poland. [Main Article | TH]
South Africa
  • South Africa declared war on Germany after tough Cabinet battle. [TH]
United Kingdom
  • German aircraft attacked Great Britain for the first time. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first Royal Air Force fighter pilot to be killed during the war lost his life when two Hurricane fighters were shot down in error by two Spitfire fighters. [AC]
7 Sep 1939

China
  • General Yoshijiro Umezu succeeded General Kenkichi Ueda as the Governor-General of Kwantung Leased Territory in northeastern China. Jo Iimura was named Umezu's chief of staff. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Kenkichi Ueda stepped down as the commander of the Kwantung Army in northeastern China and was attached to the Army General Staff. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • French Army entered the Saarland region of Germany, but made no move on the Westwall. [TH]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered Erich Raeder to hold back German Navy from attacking British and French vessels. [Main Article | CPC]
Korea
  • Lieutenant General Yakutaira Kato was named the chief of staff of the Japanese Chosen Army in occupied Korea. [CPC]
Poland United Kingdom
  • The BBC began broadcasts in Polish. [TH]
  • King George VI of the United Kingdom provided approval to the National Registration Bill, which gave control of labor to the government as well as requiring identity cards for citizens. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 7 Sep 1939
German soldiers at the Westerplatte, Danzig, 7 Sep 1939
8 Sep 1939
  • Werner Mölders crash landed his fighter aircraft after developing engine trouble; his back was injured, which kept him out of action for 11 days. [Main Article | CPC]
Danzig
  • Polish defenders at Westerplatte, Danzig surrendered. [Main Article | TH]
Poland
  • German troops burned 200 Jews alive in a synagogue and executed 30 Jews in the public square in Bedzin, Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Arthur Greiser was named the head of the military government in Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German troops neared the suburbs of Warsaw, and the Polish government evacuated to Lublin. [Main Article | TH]
Russia
  • Lavrentiy Beria organized two NKVD operational groups, to be based in Kiev in Ukraine and Minsk in Byelorussia, for near-future deployment to eastern Poland to arrest resistance elements. The two groups in Ukraine and Byelorussia were led by Ivan Serov and Lavrentiy Tsanava, respectively. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt declared a limited state of emergency. One of his orders of the day was to increase the US Marine Corps enlisted strength to be increased from 18,325 to 25,000, partially to be achieved by authorizing the recall of officers and men from the Marine Corps retired lists. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 8 Sep 1939
Aerial view of a Polish city through the gunner
9 Sep 1939

France
  • British Expeditionary Forces (BEF) began landing in France. [TH]
Germany
  • German Gestapo ordered all misbehaving Polish citizens to be arrested and placed in Dachau Concentration Camp in southern Germany. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Poland
  • Battle of the Bzura, also known as Battle of Kutno to the Germans, began; it was to become the largest battle in the Poland campaign. Elsewhere, German forces captured Lodz and Radom. South of Radom, Stuka dive-bombers of Colonel Gunter Schwarzkopff's St.G.77 finished off the great Polish attempt to cross the Vistula River, crushing the last pockets of resistance in conjunction with tanks; "Wherever they went", reported one Stuka pilot after the action, "we came across throngs of Polish troops, against which our 110-lb fragmentation bombs were deadly. After that we went almost down to the deck firing our machine guns. The confusion was indescribable." At Warsaw, German attempts to enter the city were repulsed. In Moscow, Russia, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov informed the German ambassador that Soviet forces would be ready to attack Poland within a few days. [Main Article | TH, AC]
United Kingdom
  • British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's cabinet planned for a 3-year war. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt began recalling military servicemen who were on retired lists. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Vultee Model 48 Vanguard aircraft took its first flight. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Sep 1939
German aerial bombs straddling a road in Poland, Sep 1939Maximilian von Weichs inspecting troops during a parade, Lodz, Poland, 9 Sep 1939
10 Sep 1939

Atlantic Ocean
  • HMS Oxley became the first Royal Navy submarine to be lost in the war when she was either torpedoed or rammed in error off the Norwegian coast by another Royal Navy submarine. Only two of the fifty-three crew survived. [AC]
Canada
  • Canada declared war on Germany. [TH]
Ceylon
  • HMS Eagle arrived at Colombo, Ceylon. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Soviet ambassador to Poland Nikolai Szaranow was recalled from Warsaw. [TH]
  • SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Fritz von Roettig became the first German general to die in World War II when he was killed in Action at Opoczno, Poland at about 1415 hours. [Main Article | AC]
  • German troops made a breakthrough near Kutno and Sandomierz in Poland. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • The Battle of the Atlantic officially began. On the very same day, the British Admiralty began organizing a convoy system. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Sep 1939
German troops engaging in street fighting in a Polish town, Sep 1939German Heinkel He 111 aircraft bombing Warsaw, Poland, Sep 1939German troops forcing entry into a building, Western Poland, Sep 1939Polish family huddling before the Opera House in Warsaw, Poland, Sep 1939
See all photos dated 10 Sep 1939
11 Sep 1939
  • British submarine Triton tropedoed and sank British submarine Oxley by mistake. [CPC]
Germany
  • Georg von Küchler was awarded Clasp 2nd Class to his Iron Cross. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Wolfgang Falck shot down two Polish aircraft, a bomber and a reconnaissance aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Germany. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Air Vice Marshal Arthur Harris assumed command of British Royal Air Force Bomber Command's Lincolnshire-based No. 5 Group with his headquarters at St. Vincent's House in Grantham. No. 5 Group was the sole operator of the Handley-Page Hampden bomber with six Hampden squadrons available at the outbreak of war - Nos. 44 and 50 Squadrons based at Waddington, 49 and 83 Squadrons based at Scampton, and 61 and 144 Squadrons at Hemswell. Harris would command the group for fourteen months before being appointed G. O. C. Bomber Command on 22 Feb 1942. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt wrote to Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain, encouraging them to communicate with him personally, ie. bypass the official diplomatic channels. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 11 Sep 1939
Polish civilian victims as the result of German aerial bombing, Poland, Sep 1939Polish civilians escaping from German troops, Poland, Sep 1939Polish civilians salvaging items from a pile of rubble that used to be their homes, Warsaw, Poland, Sep 1939; note boy with caged canaryWilhelm Keitel in a staff car, Lodz, Poland, Sep 1939
See all photos dated 11 Sep 1939
12 Sep 1939
  • Neville Chamberlain and Édouard Daladier convened an Anglo-French Supreme War Council, during which the French called off their offensive in the Saar region after an advance of only five miles. [TH]
Photo(s) dated 12 Sep 1939
Polish volunteer firefighters watching German aircraft in the sky, Warsaw, Poland, Sep 1939German Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers flying over German troops, Poland, Sep 1939
13 Sep 1939

Atlantic Ocean
  • U-27 sank British trawler Davara 39 kilometers (24 miles or 21 nautical miles) northwest of Tory Island, Ireland at 0255 hours. The 12 survivors were rescued by merchant ship Willowpool. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
China
  • Yasuji Okamura moved his command center for Japanese 11th Army to Xianning, Hubei Province, China in preparation for the upcoming attack on Changsha in the neighboring Hunan Province. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Heinz Guderian was awarded Clasp to his Iron Cross First Class. [Main Article | AC]
  • Karl von Le Suire was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class and Iron Cross 1st Class. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • The 60,000 survivors in the Radom Pocket in Poland surrendered. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • The US Navy ordered the recommission of 40 destroyers from the reserve fleet. [CPC]
  • The wreck of USS Squalus was raised in the Isles of Shoals off northeastern United States and towed to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, United States for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Sep 1939
A formation of German Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers over Poland, Sep 1939German officers Keitel, Reichenau, Daluege, and Bodenschatz in Poland, 13 Sep 1939Ten-year-old Polish girl Kazimiera Mika mourning the death of her sister, caused by strafing German aircraft, near Warsaw, Poland, 13 Sep 1939Photographer Julien Bryan comforting ten-year-old Polish girl Kazimiera Mika whose sister had just been killed by strafing German aircraft, near Warsaw, Poland, 13 Sep 1939
14 Sep 1939

Atlantic Ocean
  • The new aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, was operating west of the Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom when lookouts spotted the tracks of torpedoes passing astern. Her escorting destroyers counter-attacked and sank the German submarine U-39. [Main Article | AC]
  • German submarine U-39 attacked HMS Ark Royal; the torpedoes swam straight at the carrier but they prematurely detonated. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese 106th Division under Lieutenant General Ryotaro Nakai engaged with Chinese 184th Division near Fengxin County, Jiangxi Province China. [CPC]
United States
  • The world's first production helicopter, the Sikorsky VS-300, made its maiden flight. Sikorsky would go on to equip military units in both Britain and the US. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 14 Sep 1939
Polish Bofors anti-aircraft gun abandoned after the column was attacked by German aircraft, Battle of Bzura, Poland, Sep 1939Aerial view of destroyed buildings between Zielna and Marszalkowska Streets in Warsaw, Poland, Sep 1939
15 Sep 1939
  • The first Atlantic convoy set sail from Jamaica for Britain. [AC]
  • Richard O'Connor was Mentioned in Despatches. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese 101st Division under Lieutenant General Masatoshi Saito engaged in Chinese troops near Mount Lianhua near Gao'an, Jiangxi Province, China, capturing the city shortly after. [CPC]
Poland
  • German troops captured Gdynia, Poland. Meanwhile, Polish troops failed to break out of the Kutno Pocket. At Warsaw, with it surrounded by German troops, the Polish Army was ordered to the Romanian border to hold out until the Allies arrive; the Romanian government offered asylum to all Polish civilians who could make it across the border; Polish military personnel who crossed the border, however, would be interned. In Berlin, Germany, German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop asked the Soviet Union for a definite date and time when Soviet forces would attack Poland. [Main Article | TH]
Russia
  • Soviet Union and Japan signed a ceasefire in Moscow, Russia, ending the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Sep 1939
Wreckage of PZL.37B bomber, Sep 1939Aerial view of Warsaw, Poland, Sep 1939, photo 1 of 3; note columns of smoke from firesAerial view of Warsaw, Poland, Sep 1939, photo 2 of 3; note columns of smoke from firesAerial view of Fort II of the Warsaw Fortress (Wawrzyszew), Poland, Sep 1939
See all photos dated 15 Sep 1939
16 Sep 1939

Atlantic Ocean
  • In the first German submarine attack on an Atlantic convoy the merchantman Aviemore was sunk off Land's End, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | AC]
  • U-27 attacked British trawler Rudyard Kipling 190 kilometers (120 miles or 100 nautical miles) west of Ireland at 0353 hours. The crew of U-27 boarded Rudyard Kipling and destroyed the ship with scuttling charges. U-27 rescued the survivors, gave them food and warm clothing, and sent them off in lifeboats. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
Poland
  • Polish troops counterattacked, destroying 22 tanks of Leibstandarte SS "Adolf Hitler" regiment. Elsewhere in Poland, German troops captured Brest-Litovsk. In Moscow, Russia, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov proposed that the Soviet Union would enter the war with the reason of protection of Ukrainians and Byelorussians; Germany complained that it singled out Germany as the lone aggressor. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Polish general Józef Kustron was killed in the village of Ulazow, Poland; he was the second general-rank officer to be killed in action during the European War. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Sep 1939
Horses employed by the German Army towing a 7.5 cm le.IG 18 infantry gun, Poland, Sep 1939The grain silo at the intersection of Bema and Pradzynskiego Streets burning, Warsaw, Poland, Sep 1939
17 Sep 1939

Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-29 torpedoed British carrier HMS Courageous off Ireland. Courageous sank in 20 minutes, taking down 518 of the crew of 1,200, including the captain. [Main Article | AC]
  • German submarine U-29 sank British carrier Courageous southwest of Ireland, killing 500. [CPC]
China
  • Japanese 101st Division (Lieutenant General Masatoshi Saito) and 106th Division (Lieutenant General Ryotaro Nakai), having recently captured strategic locations in Jiangxi Province, China as a preparation, began marching toward Changsha in the neighboring Hunan Province. Meanwhile, 3rd Division (Lieutenant General Shinichi Fujita), 6th Division (Lieutenant General Shiro Inaba), 13th Division (General Shizuichi Tanaka), and 33rd Division (Lieutenant General Shigetaro Amakasu) attacked targets in northern Hunan Province. In support of this attack, Japanese Navy's China Area Fleet dispatched 13th Gunboat Unit of 11th Battle Squadron, Shanghai Special Naval Landing Force, and 4th Guard Unit. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Friedrich Ruge was awarded clasp to his Iron Cross 2nd Class medal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler arrived in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Garland suffered an accidental detonation of her own depth charges while underway in the Mediterranean Sea, badly damaging the aft end. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • In Poland, German troops captured Kutno west of Warsaw. East of Warsaw, Heinz Guderian's XIX Panzerkorps of Army Group North made contact with XXII Panzerkorps of Army Group South, just to the south of Brest-Litovsk; virtually the whole Polish Army (or what remained of it) was now trapped within a gigantic double pincer. In Russia, Joseph Stalin declared that the government of Poland no longer existed, thus all treaties between the two states were no longer valid; Soviet troops poured across the border to join Germany in the invasion, ostensibly to protect Ukrainian and Byelorussian interests from potential German aggression. [Main Article | TH, AC]
Romania
  • In Romania, the Polish government was interned after attempting to obtain asylum. On the same day, one hundred Polish Air Force planes, as well as 50 civilian aircraft, flew to safety in Romania; many of the escaping airmen would eventually make their way to Britain to continue the fight. [AC]
Russia
  • Lavrentiy Beria, head of the Soviet NKVD, established the Directorate for Prisoners of War and Interned Persons (UPVI), which would run camps for 240,000 Polish prisoners of war in the near future. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
United States
  • US aviator Charles Lindbergh made an address over radio against any American intervention in the European War. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 17 Sep 1939
HMS Courageous sunk by torpedoes, 17 Sep 1939Residents of West Byelorussia, Poland welcoming Soviet invaders, Sep 1939Soviet forces crossing the Polish border, 17 Sep 1939Firefighting in the ball room of the Royal Castle, Warsaw, Poland, 17 Sep 1939
See all photos dated 17 Sep 1939
18 Sep 1939
  • When the British merchant ship Kensington Court was torpedoed 70 miles of the Isles of Scilly west of the southwestern tip of England, United Kingdom, two patrolling Sunderland aircraft had the entire crew of thirty-four personnel back on dry land within an hour of the vessel sinking. [Main Article | AC]
  • Aircraft from HMS Hermes located a German submarine escorted by destroyers Isis and Imogen; the subsequent attack was ineffective. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Captain Max Burke DeMott was named the commanding officer of USS Helena, relieving Lieutenant Commander Donald Hendry Johnston. [Main Article | CPC]
Albania
  • Italy organized the Milizia Fascista Albanese (Albanian Fascist Militia) in occupied Albania. [CPC]
Danzig
  • Adolf Hitler arrived in Danzig; he would remain in the region for the next week, staying at the Casino Hotel in Zoppot. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Polish cipher experts fled tp Paris, France with vital knowledge of the German Enigma code which they would later give to the British. Thanks to the Poles, codebreaking became a powerful weapon in the Allied armoury. [Main Article | AC]
Libya
  • Italy deployed four Blackshirt divisions to Libya. [CPC]
Poland
  • A Soviet-German joint victory parade was held in Brest-Litovsk in Eastern Poland. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • USS Helena was commissioned into service with Captain Max B. Demott in command. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 Sep 1939
Slovakian General Ferdinand Catlos speaking with German General Erwin Engelbrecht, circa Sep 1939USS Helena
19 Sep 1939

China
  • En route toward Changsha, Hunan Province, China, Japanese troops used poison gas against Chinese defensive positions along the Sinchiang River. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Zang Shiyi was captured by Japanese troops in Liaoning Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chinese forces recaptured Cunqianjie near Gao'an, Jiangxi Province, China. [CPC]
Czechoslovakia
  • Germans put down a rebellion in Czechoslovakia. [TH]
Danzig
  • Adolf Hitler entered Danzig and again proposed a peace with Britain and France, provided Germany was allowed to retain the territory that Germany had already seized. He also referred to "weapons with which we ourselves can not be attacked", which led to speculation that Germany is developing secret weapons. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
France
  • Commander of the British Expeditionary Force Lord Gort arrived in France. [Main Article | CPC]
French Indochina
  • While flying a reconnaissance missiong in a unarmed Polish aircraft, Josef Frantisek attacked advancing German columns by throwing hand grenades from the cockpit near Kamionka Strumilowa, Poland (now Kamianka-Buzka, Ukraine). [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The construction of Graf Zeppelin was halted temporarily as Erich Raeder and Hermann Göring competed for resources. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • West of Warsaw, Poland, at the bend of the Vistula River, German troops imprisoned 170,000 Polish troops as they surrendered. [Main Article | TH]
  • The German Army told the SS organization to hold off the rounding up and mass murder of Polish Jews until Dec 1939 when the Army would be out of the area. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The first official British casualty list was published to the public. [TH]
20 Sep 1939
  • Werner Mölders scored his first kill of the European War; the victim was a P-36 fighter. For this victory, he was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Blücher was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-27 was sunk by destroyers HMS Fortune and HMS Forester off Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • U-27 was sunk by British destroyers HMS Fortune and HMS Faulknor west of Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
French Indochina
  • Josef Frantisek was shot down near Zloczów, Poland (now Zolochiv, Ukraine) but escaped unharmed. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The RAF and Luftwaffe clashed for the first time over the Westwall, the German defensive line on the border with France. The British lost two aircraft, the Germans one. [AC]
  • Georg von Bismarck was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • German General Johannes Blaskowitz noted in his order of the day that, at the Battle of the Bzura in Poland, also known as Battle of Kutno to the Germans, his troops was fighting "in one of the biggest and most destructive battles of all times." Elsewhere, German troops withdrew to the agreed demarcation line in Poland, with Soviet forces moving in behind them. Finally, also on this day, the remaining Polish garrison in Grodno managed to kill 800 Soviet troops and at least 10 tanks. [Main Article | TH]
United States Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1939
Polish policemen and civilians, captured by Russian troops, marching in a column, Sep 1939Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler, Erwin Rommel, and Walter von Reichenau in Poland, Sep 1939
21 Sep 1939

Poland
  • 60,000 survivors of the Polish Southern Army surrendered at Tomaszov and Zamosz, Poland. [Main Article | TH]
  • Reinhard Heydrich authorized the formation of Jewish ghettos in Poland, each governed by a Judenrat (Jewish Council); the ghettos were to be formed in large Polish cities with access to major railroads. He also authorized the formation of Einsatzgruppen. [Main Article | CPC]
Romania
  • Romanian Prime Minister Armand Calinescu was assassinated by fascists for his sympathetic treatment of Poles. [AC]
United States
  • President Franklin Roosevelt told the US Congress that the United States should relax its neutrality laws to enable its arms manufacturers to sell to belligerent countries. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Sep 1939
A damaged Polish armored train captured by German Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler regiment, near Blonie, Poland, Sep 1939
22 Sep 1939

China
  • Chinese forces recaptured Gao'an, Jiangxi Province, China. [CPC]
Germany
  • Georg von Küchler was awarded Clasp 1st Class to his Iron Cross. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Battle of the Bzura, also known as Battle of Kutno to the Germans, ended in Polish defeat; it was the largest battle of the Polish campaign during which more than 18,000 Polish troops and about 8,000 German troops were killed. At Lvov, over 210,000 Poles surrender to the Soviets, but at the Battle of Kodziowce the Soviets suffered heavy casualties. Also on this day, the Soviet NKVD began gathering Polish officers for deportation. [Main Article | TH]
  • Former German Army Commander-in-Chief Werner von Fritsch was mortally wounded by a Polish bullet whilst on a tour of inspection at Praga, Warsaw, Poland. [Main Article | AC]
Romania
  • Josef Frantisek and his Polish Air Force squadron were evacuated to Romania. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Petrol rationing was introduced in Britain. Cars were restricted to 20 gallons per month. [AC]
United States
  • Chief of Naval Operations Harold Stark ordered US Navy Scouting Force (under Adolphus Andrews) to move from California, United States to Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 22 Sep 1939
German Army Lieutenant General Heinz Guderian and Russian Army Brigadier General Semyon Krivoshein during the victory parade in Brest, Poland, 22 Sep 1939, photo 1 of 2German Army Lieutenant General Heinz Guderian and Russian Army Brigadier General Semyon Krivoshein during the victory parade in Brest, Poland, 22 Sep 1939, photo 2 of 2Polish civilians arrested by German troops during the invasion, Sep 1939
23 Sep 1939

China
  • In Hunan Province, China, Japanese Army 6th Division crossed the Sinchiang River at dawn, followed by a similar crossing by another division at 0620 hours at Yingtian (now Miluo). Also on the same day, naval vessels landed Japanese Navy Shanghai Special Naval Landing Force and Japanese Army 3rd Division east of the city of Changsha. Surrounded on three sides, Chinese troops fell back to prevent encirclement, opening the way to Changsha. [Main Article | CPC]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • Émile Bertin embarked 57 tons of Polish gold at Syria-Lebanon. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • German police began confiscating radios from Jews. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop expressed approval for the Soviet proposal on the partition of Poland. Meanwhile, at Krasnobrod, Poland, three squadrons of the Nowgrodek Cavalry Brigade attacked and surprised the German 8th Infantry Division which had entrenched on a hill. The German made a disorderly retreat to a nearby town, hotly pursued by the Polish cavalry. Despite heavy losses from machine-gun fire the Poles secured the town, capturing the German divisional headquarters including General Rudolf Koch-Erpach and about 100 other German soldiers. In addition forty Polish prisoners were freed. During the action Lieutenant Tadeusz Gerlecki, commanding the second squadron, defeated a German cavalry unit - one of the last battles in military history between opposing cavalry. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Sep 1939
Wilhelm Gustloff, as a hospital ship, at Danzig, 23 Sep 1939Members of a Polish Army anti-aircraft crew posing with their Ckm wz.30 machine gun, Warsaw, Sep 1939
24 Sep 1939

Germany
  • Limited food rationing began in Germany. [TH]
Poland
  • German Einsatzgruppen murdered 800 members of Polish intelligentsia at Bydgoszcz, Poland. [Main Article | TH]
Russia
  • The Soviet Union gave an ultimatum to the Estonian Foreign Minister in Moscow, Russia, demanding land to build a Soviet minitary base in Estonia. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill noted that the past three weeks since the European War had begun had been the longest he had ever lived. [Main Article | CPC]
25 Sep 1939
  • Artillery duels took place on the Western Front of the European War. [TH]
Germany
  • Germany introduced food rationing. [AC]
  • Franz Halder noted in his diary that he believed Adolf Hitler was ready to plan a war with France and Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler arrived in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Kichisaburo Nomura was named the Foreign Minister in Prime Minister Nobuyuki Abe's cabinet. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Warsaw, Poland suffered heavy Luftwaffe bombing and artillery bombardment as Adolf Hitler arrived to observe the attack. To the east, Soviet troops captured Bialystok, Poland. Meanwhile, Joseph Stalin proposed to the Germans that the Soviet Union would take Lithuania which was previously within the German sphere of influence; in exchange, the Soviets would give the portions of Poland near Warsaw which were previously within the Soviet sphere of influence but had already been overrun by German troops. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Sep 1939
German Bf 109B fighters on an airfield, Poland, Sep 1939Aerial view of Warsaw, Poland, 25 Sep 1939; note Vistula River in the center of the photoRefugees returning to Warsaw, Poland, Sep 1939
26 Sep 1939
  • Three Skua aircraft of 803 Naval Air Squadron of HMS Ark Royal were collectively credited with the first confirmed British kill (a Do 18 flying boat) against Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders was relieved of his duty as the commanding officer of 1./JG 53 as he was named the commanding officer of III./JG 53. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Former German Army Commander-in-Chief Werner von Fritsch was buried in Berlin, Germany. Neither Adolf Hitler, nor Joachim von Ribbertrop, nor Heinrich Himmler attended the ceremonial state funeral. [Main Article | AC]
Poland
  • Armia Krajowa, or Polish Home Army, was established in Warsaw, Poland. [TH]
27 Sep 1939
  • Sir John Simon’s first war budget for Britain called for income tax to increase from 5 shillings and 6 pence per pound to 7 shillings and 6 pence per pound. [AC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered to his top military leaders to begin planning for a war in the west, with a target launch date of 12 Nov 1939. The generals would complain that the date was too soon. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • The Polish government in exile was established in Paris, France. [TH]
Germany
  • Reinhard Heydrich was appointed the head of Reichssicherheitshauptamt. [Main Article | TH]
  • Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany was temporarily closed until 18 Feb 1940 for use of training SS units; prisoners of Dachau were sent to Mauthausen Concentration Camp. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Poland
  • Warsaw, Poland fell to the Germans after two weeks of siege. Near Grabowiec, Soviets executed 150 Polish policemen. [Main Article | TH]
  • Representatives of the German Gestapo organization and the Soviet NKVD organization met at Bugiem, Poland (now Brest, Belarus) to coordinate the suppression of Polish resistance efforts. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Sep 1939
  • At Brest-Litovsk, Germans and Soviets signed the agreement denoting their common border in Poland. [Main Article | TH]
Estonia
  • Estonia and the Soviet Union signed a 10-year mutual assistance pact which allowed Soviet troops to be stationed in Estonia. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Vsevolod Merkulov sent his superiors in Moscow, Russia a report, noting his NKVD Operational Group No. 1 had arrested 923 Polish officers, policemen, land owners, Ukrainian nationalists, etc. in eastern Poland. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
Russia
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop arrived in Moscow, Russia, where would announce jointly with the Soviets an attempt to negotiate for peace with the western powers; should Britain and France reject this peace offer, Germany then could not be blamed for the aggression, he reasoned. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Sep 1939
German troops marched through Warsaw, Sep 1939German General Blaskowitz accepting the surrender of Polish troops at the Skoda factory building in Warsaw, Poland, 28 Sep 1939Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop shaking hands, Moscow, Russia, 28 Sep 1939Map attached to the German-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Demarcation of 28 Sep 1939; note signatures of Joseph Stalin and Joachim von Ribbentro
29 Sep 1939
  • Russia signed pacts with Estonia and Finland. [AC]
China
  • Japanese troops reached the outskirts of Changsha, Hunan Province, China; the Japanese had thus far suffered 40,000 casualties on this assault. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler issued a repatriation order for the 86,000 ethnic Germans living in Estonia and Latvia, knowing that the Soviet Union would soon demand the Baltic States. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • With the formal surrender of Poland, including the last 35,000 besieged troops in Modlin, the Germany and Soviet Union finished dividing up Poland. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • Joseph Rochefort was ordered to transfer to heavy cruiser Indianapolis currently based out of San Pedro, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 29 Sep 1939
German and Soviet officers shaking hands, Poland, late Sep 1939German troops inspecting Soviet BA-10 armored cars in Lublin, Poland, Sep 1939, photo 1 of 2German troops inspecting Soviet BA-10 armored cars in Lublin, Poland, Sep 1939, photo 2 of 2
30 Sep 1939

France
  • French forces on the French-German border fell back to the Maginot Line in anticipation of a German invasion. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Reinhard Heydrich became the leader of new Reich Main Security Office, RSHA. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Deaths in automobile accidents in Britain at night in the month of Sep 1939 increased from 617 in the previous month to 1,130; night time blackout was blamed. [CPC]
United States
  • Joseph Rochefort reported to heavy cruiser Indianapolis at San Pedro, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Sep 1939
Pile of Polish rifles collected by German troops, Warsaw, Poland, Sep 1939German and Russian officers meeting during the invasion of Poland, late Sep 1939A Soviet bunker destroyed by Slovakian troops, Poland, late Sep 1939
1 Oct 1939

China
  • Japanese 6th Division began to fall back from Changsha, Hunan Province, China across the Laodao River. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The German euthanasia program began on the ill and feeble. [Main Article | TH]
  • Georg von Bismarck was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Galland was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class medal and was promoted to the rank of Hauptmann. [Main Article | AC, CPC]
  • Galeazzo Ciano met with Adolf Hitler in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British men between the ages of 20-22 became eligible for conscription. [TH]
  • Rawalpindi was commissioned into British Royal Navy service. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Oct 1939
Japanese and Soviet officers at the armistice meeting, Mongolia Area, China, 1 Oct 1939; seated were Major General Tetsukuma Fujimoto and Mikhail Ivanovich Potapov
2 Oct 1939
  • Searaven was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Friedrich Ruge was awarded clasp to his Iron Cross 1st Class medal. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 2 Oct 1939
Arthur Greiser in Posen, Wartheland, Germany (now Poznań, Poland) shortly after German conquest, 2 Oct 1939Rundstedt and Blaskowitz reviewing the German victory parade before the opera house in Warsaw, Poland, 2 Oct 1939
3 Oct 1939
  • The Declaration of Panama, signed by the United States and several countries in the Americas, was established. It established a zone of neutrality within 300 to 1,000 nautical miles of the coast of the Americas. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Seeing that the Japanese assault on Changsha, Hunan Province, China was beginning to falter, an order for general counter offensive was given. Chinese troops pushed Japanese troops to Jinjing and Fulinpu, while Chinese aircraft bombed the Japanese airfield at Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Hans Frank ordered a "ruthless exploitation" of occupied Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 3 Oct 1939
German troops inspecting Soviet BA-10 armored cars in Lublin, Poland, 3 Oct 1939
4 Oct 1939

China
  • Chinese troops captured Miluo and Xinshi near Changsha, Hunan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
5 Oct 1939
  • Franklin Roosevelt spoke to Winston Churchill for the first time over the telephone. Roosevelt, who initiated the call, engaged Churchill in a discussion on the German attempt to attack American shipping as an attempt to sabotage British-American relations; such an effort would later found to be a mere rumor. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Eagle made rendezvous with light cruiser Liverpool. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • In a downed aircraft, Chinese troops discovered General Yasuji Okamura's order calling off the offensive on Changsha, Hunan Province, China. Nearby, Chinese 23rd Division attacked a Japanese Navy anchorage at Yingtian (now Miluo), damaging several vessels. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • US Navy formed the Hawaiian Detachment and based it at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joseph Rochefort arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii with the US Navy Scouting Force. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Latvia
  • Soviet Union forced Latvia to agree to allow Red Navy units to base in her Baltic harbors. [Main Article | TH]
Poland
  • Hitler visited Warsaw, Poland and held a victory parade. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 5 Oct 1939
Adolf Hitler at a German military parade in Warsaw, Poland, 5 Oct 1939
6 Oct 1939

Australia
  • Edmund Herring was named the commanding officer of Royal Artillery units within 6th Division of Second Australian Imperial Force; the appointment was made by Major General Thomas Blamey. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese troops called off the attack on Changsha, Hunan Province, China after suffering heavy casualties. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • In a speech at the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany, Adolf Hitler noted that he did not wish to wage war against France and the United Kingdom, and it would not be worth the blood of British, French, and German soldiers for Poland, since it was created unjustly by the Versailles Treaty. He proposed a multi-power conference to achieve peace. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • The final Polish forces surrendered near Kock and Lublin after fighting both Germans and Soviets. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 6 Oct 1939
Sealion off Provincetown, Massachusetts, during trials, 6 Oct 1939Adolf Hitler giving a speech to the Reichstag, Berlin, Germany, 6 Oct 1939; also present: Göring, Heß, Ribbentrop, Raeder, Frick, Goebbels, Neurath, Frank, Lammers, Seyß-Inquart, Keitel
7 Oct 1939

Atlantic Ocean
  • HMS Hermes made rendezvous with French battleship Strasbourg in the Atlantic Ocean. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier rejected Adolf Hitler's proposal for a multi-power conference for peace on the previous day. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler appointed Heinrich Himmler as Reich Commissar for the protection of the German Race and issued a decree empowering Himmler to deport all Jews from Greater Germany to the east, where they would be resettled together with almost 2 million Polish Jews now under German rule. [Main Article | AC]
  • The German Army reported to Adolf Hitler that there was a general shortage of steel, ammunition, and other war materials necessary to wage war against Britain and France. [Main Article | CPC]
8 Oct 1939
  • Cruiser Köln began in a raid in the North Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • A RAF reconnaissance plane shot down a German flying boat conducting reconnaissance over the North Sea. [TH]
China
  • Chinese 195th Division pursued the retreating Japanese troops in the Miluo River and Sinchiang River region in Hunan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • The first Jewish ghetto was established in Piotrkow, Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The prototype of the Percival Proctor, designed to British Air Ministry Specification 20/38 for a communications and radio training aircraft, made its maiden flight. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 8 Oct 1939
USS Enterprise in the Pacific Ocean, en route to Pearl Harbor in US Territory of Hawaii, 8 Oct 1939
9 Oct 1939
  • British Prime Minister Chamberlain announced a committee of ministers to coordinate the war time economy. [Main Article | CPC]
Finland Photo(s) dated 9 Oct 1939
Finnish diplomats Väinö Tanner and J. K. Paasikivi at the rail station in Helsinki, Finland, departing for the Soviet Union in an attempt to avoid war, 9 Oct 1939Finnish Prime Minister A. K. Kajander, Parliament Speaker Väinö Hakkila, and Alli Paasikivi seeing Juho Kusti Paasikivi off to Russia for negotiations, Helsinki, Finland, 9 Oct 1939
10 Oct 1939
  • The first deportation of Austrian and Czechoslovakian Jews into concentration camps in Poland took place. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erich Raeder informed Adolf Hitler the strategic importance of Norway to the German Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The highly successful Empire Air Training Scheme was set up to train Australian, Canadian and New Zealand aircrew. [AC]
China
  • Chinese troops recaptured all territory in Hubei, Hunan, and Jiangxi Provinces in China that the Japanese had captured as part of the recently-failed advance on Changsha, Hunan. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler announced the victorious end to the Polish campaign and called on France and England to end hostilities, which was ignored by both governments. [Main Article | TH]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered the invasion of the Low Countries and France, but without a specific start date. [Main Article | TH]
Japan
  • Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki was named the chief of staff of Admiral Shigetaro Shimada at Kure Naval District, Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
Lithuania
  • Soviet Union forced an agreement on Lithuania allowing Red Army bases in that country. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom removed 303 sacks of letters destined for the United States from the freighter Black Gull to censor any potential intelligence useful for the Axis. [CPC]
11 Oct 1939

Germany
  • The radio station in Berlin, Germany reported the false rumor of the fall of the British government, and that the new government was to offer Germany peace terms. "Old women in the vegetable markets tossed their cabbages into the air, wrecked their stands in sheer joy and made for the nearest pub to toast the peace", reported journalist William Shirer. [CPC]
  • Wilhelm von Leeb wrote a note to Walther von Brauchitsch and other German Army leaders, noting that Germany should not invade neutral Belgium due to moral reasons. [CPC]
Russia
  • Russia demanded from Finland rights to establish airfields on Finnish territory as well as ceding of large amounts of Finnish soil; Finland rejected the demands. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • Leó Szilárd and Albert Einstein's letter (sent on 2 Aug 1939) reached Franklin Roosevelt, who agreed to establish a committee for the research of nuclear energy as a weapon. This led to Roosevelt's decision to establish the Uranium Advisory Committee shortly after. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt sent a cable to Soviet President Mikhail Kalinin, asking the Soviet Union to de-escalate the tension with Finland. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 11 Oct 1939
Gauleiter Arthur Greiser at his desk, Posen, Wartheland, Germany (now Poznań, Poland), 11 Oct 1939
12 Oct 1939
  • Finland and Russia were deadlock in negotiations. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-48 sank French tanker Emile Miguet and British freighter Heronspool. [Main Article | CPC]
  • First deportation of Jews from Austria and the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia to Poland took place. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Fedor von Bock was appointed the commanding officer of the German Army Group B (Heeresgruppe B). [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Hans Frank is appointed Gauleiter of the General Government in occupied Poland. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain rejected Adolf Hitler's proposal for a multi-power conference for peace made on 6 Oct 1939. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Oct 1939
  • General Wilhelm List was named the commanding officer of the German 12th Army. [Main Article | CPC]
  • With the offer for peace rejected by the French on 7 Oct and by the British on 12 Oct, Germany announced that the western powers desired war, and Germany could not be blamed for military action on the German-French border. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German pocket battleship Deutschland sank Norwegian freighter Lorentz W. Hansen 420 miles east of Newfoundland. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Oct 1939
Finnish troops posing with anti-aircraft machine guns at a railyard in Helsinki, Finland, 13 Oct 1939
14 Oct 1939
  • Chuichi Nagumo was placed on a committee studying capital ship bridge design. [Main Article | CPC]
French West Africa
  • Dupleix arrived at Dakar, French West Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German submarine U-47 penetrated defenses and entered Scapa Flow in Scotland, United Kingdom and sank British battleship HMS Royal Oak, killing 833 out of a crew of 1,257. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
United States
  • USS Helena departed New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States for her sea trials and shakedown cruise. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Oct 1939
  • German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee refueled from tanker Altmark. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Walter Krupinski began flight training. [Main Article | CPC]
16 Oct 1939
  • Carrier USS Ranger and cruiser USS San Francisco were dispatched by US Navy to locate the German tanker recently departed from Mexico to supply German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee. [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Duguay-Trouin intercepted German merchant ship Halle 320 kilometers southwest of Dakar, French West Africa; Halle was scuttled by her own crew to prevent capture. [Main Article | CPC]
French West Africa
  • HMS Hermes arrived at Dakar, French West Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Grand Admiral Erich Raeder announced Adolf Hitler's orders that "all merchant ships definitely recognized as enemy can be torpedoed without warning." [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British Royal Navy Commander R. F. Jolly, despite being seriously wounded by an air attack by a German Junkers Ju 88 bomber in the Firth of Forth, Scotland, United Kingdom, steadfastly refused medical treatment or requests that he left the bridge of HMS Mohawk until some eighty minutes later when he had finally brought his damaged destroyer into the safety at Rosyth. Taken ashore he lived on for another five hours before his death in hospital at South Queensferry, Scotland. For his heroism Commander Jolly was awarded, a week later, with a posthumous Empire Gallantry Medal (later replaced by a George Cross, a decoration only second in precedence to the Victoria Cross). [AC]
  • HMS Edinburgh was slightly damaged by German aircraft while in the Firth of Forth, Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Oct 1939
Finnish diplomats Aarno Yrjö-Koskinen, Juho Kusti Paasikivi, Johan Nykopp, and Aladár Paasonen arriving in Moscow, Russia for negotiations, 16 Oct 1939
17 Oct 1939
  • Tribune was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Germans forced back French troops in Saarland, Germany. [TH]
  • Reinhard Heydrich ordered all Gypsy populations to cease travelling or face a concentration camp. [Main Article | Event | AC]
  • The Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich issued the "Decree relating to a special Jurisdiction in Penal Matters for members of the SS and for members of Police Groups on Special Tasks" which, in effect, was to free the armed SS from the legal jurisdiction of the Wehrmacht. [AC]
United Kingdom
  • German aircraft attacked the British naval base at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom, damaging the training ship HMS Iron Duke. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Oct 1939
  • Germany and Soviet Union conducted a prisoner exchange. [TH]
  • The heads of state of Finland, Norway, and Sweden met to discuss the tension between Finland and the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Germany sent a message to Sweden noting that Germany would remain neutral should war break out between Finland and the Soviet Union, advising Sweden to do the same. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Dutch liner Simon Bolivar struck a German magnetic mine in the English Channel 10 miles east of Harwich, England, United Kingdom at 1030 hours; the mine was laid in this shipping lane without warning on the previous day; 86 were killed. The Netherlands made an official protest to Germany regarding this violation in international shipping law. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British armed merchant cruiser HMS California stopped and captured German merchant ship Borkum in the Denmark Strait. [CPC]
China
  • Representatives from Britain, Japan, and the United States reached an agreement regarding to the presence of troops of all three powers in and near the Gulangyu island international zone near Xiamen, China since May 1939; all three pledged to withdraw troops from the international zone and to suppress anti-Japanese activities in the international zone. [CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler ordered the German military to plan for the invasion of the Soviet Union, using Poland as a staging point. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Jews in Wloclawek, Poland were forced to wear the Star of David. On the same day, the first Jewish ghetto was established in Lublin, Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • General Johannes Blaskowitz sent a message to Adolf Hitler, complaining of SS atrocities in Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt banned any American port from taking in any foreign combat submarines. [Main Article | CPC]
19 Oct 1939

Pacific Ocean
  • American gunboat Erie arrived off Manzanillo, Mexico on neutrality patrol to monitor movements of German freighter Havelland. [CPC]
Poland
  • Western Poland was incorporated into the Großdeutsches Reich, but not Germany itself, as the General Government. [TH, CPC]
20 Oct 1939
  • Soviet Union and Finland both mobilized their military. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Maximilian von Weichs was made the commanding officer of German 2nd Army. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • The German-captured US freighter City of Flint arrived in neutral Norway. The Norwegians refused entry and told the German prize crew that they have 24 hours to leave. [AC]
21 Oct 1939
  • Arthur Greiser was named the Gauleiter of Reichsgau Posen. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Nobutake Kondo was named the deputy commander of the Navy General Staff. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • British light cruiser HMS Orion and Canadian destroyer HMCS Saguenay located German tanker Emmy Friedrich in the Yucatán Channel, and began to move to intercept. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • General Erich von Manstein, Chief of Staff of Army Group A, obtained a copy of Plan Yellow whilst passing through Berlin, Germany on his way to set up Army Group A Headquarters at Koblenz. He found little to admire in the plan, considering it to be too much like the strategy of 1914, and even predicting that the advance would bog down at the same place – on the Somme River in France. [Main Article | AC]
Poland
  • Germans began deporting Poles from Poznan to make the province "Germanic". [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • The Uranium Advisory Committee in the United States, headed by Lyman Briggs of the National Bureau of Standards, met for the first time. The committee had a budget of US$6,000 at this time. [Main Article | CPC]
22 Oct 1939
  • American freighters Endicott and West Gambo were detained by France; portions of their cargo were deemed contraband and confiscated. [CPC]
  • Gallup revealed the results of an American public opinion poll, revealing that while 95% of the US population was against participating in the war, 62% agreed that the US should aid the Allies in other ways, largely by means of supplying weapons, steel, and the likes. [CPC]
  • Joseph Goebbels publicly accused Winston Churchill of ordering the passenger liner Athenia attacked so that he could blame Germany and persuade the United States to join the Allies. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Western Byelorussia, Western Ukraine, and the Soviet-occupied areas of Poland held elections. [TH]
  • Polish currency was replaced with Soviet rubles, Polish Industries moved into Russia, and the Soviet Union began phasing out Polish education, language, and religion. [TH]
23 Oct 1939
  • British light cruiser HMS Orion and Canadian destroyer HMCS Saguenay intercepted German tanker Emmy Friedrich; Emmy Friedrich's crew scuttled the ship to avoid capture. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Edinburgh departed Rosyth, Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Oct 1939
Scharnhorst and U-47 at Kiel, Germany, 23 Oct 1939
24 Oct 1939
  • German submarine U-37 sank British steamships Menin Ridge by torpedoes and Ledbury by gunfire off Gibraltar. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German RSHA organization noted that generally no prisoners would be released from protective custody during the war. [CPC]
Danzig
  • German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop delivered a speech in Danzig in which he accused the British government of preparing for a war with Germany for the past few years. [Main Article | CPC]
25 Oct 1939
  • French cruiser Dupleix, destroyer Le Fantasque, and destroyer Le Terrible attacked and captured German freighter Santa Fé west of French West Africa. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
French West Africa
  • HMS Hermes departed Dakar, French West Africa as a part of Force X patrolling Atlantic waters for German raiders. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Mitsubishi delivered the second Zero fighter prototype to the Japanese Navy for testing. [Main Article | CPC]
26 Oct 1939

Czechoslovakia
  • Jozef Tiso was declared the President of Slovakia. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • German authoriities decreed that Polish Jews between the age of 14 and 60 were to be conscripted as forced laborers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Arthur Greiser became the administrator of Reichsgau Posen in occupied Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 26 Oct 1939
Hitler Youth members at the inauguration of Gauleiter Arthur Greiser and Minister Wilhelm Frick, Posen, Germany, Oct 1939Hitler Youth members marching during the inauguration of Arthur Greiser and Wilhelm Frick, Posen, Germany, Oct 1939
27 Oct 1939

Germany
  • Heinz Guderian was awarded the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross. [Main Article | AC]
Gibraltar
  • The US Consul at Gibraltar met with British authorities to protest the detention of American merchant ships by the United Kingdom. [CPC]
28 Oct 1939

Atlantic Ocean
  • German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee received fuel from and transferred British prisoners to tanker Altmark near Tristan de Cunha in the South Atlantic. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
Hawaii
29 Oct 1939

Germany
  • During the German planning for future invasion in Western Europe, the Netherlands was briefly dropped as a target. [Main Article | CPC]
Latvia
  • Soviet troops began occupying bases in Latvia while preparing for war with Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The first German aircraft to be shot down in Britain, a He 111 bomber, crashed near Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland, United Kingdom. The kill was claimed by No. 602 and No. 603 Squadrons RAF. Two members of the crew of four survived the crash and were captured. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Oct 1939

Atlantic Ocean
  • Leutnant Wilhem Zahn in German submarine U-56 fired three torpedoes at the battleship HMS Nelson off the Orkney Islands in Scotland, United Kingdom. Two of the torpedoes hit home but fortunately both proved to be duds. [AC]
Russia
  • An act was signed in Moscow, Russia which formally annexed occupied Polish territories. [Main Article | CPC]
31 Oct 1939

Germany
  • The commanding officer of the German Wehrkreis IV district in Dresden, Germany gave the order to convert Colditz Castle to a prisoner of war camp named Offizierslager IV-C, or Oflag IV-C for short. [CPC]
Russia
  • Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet Foreign Minister, gloated over the dissolution of Poland, "ugly offspring of the Versailles Treaty", by the combined Soviet-German attack. He also accused the British of aggressive acts. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • The British Royal Navy was mobilized. [TH]
  • The keel of Dianthus was laid down by Henry Robb, Limited of Leith, Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 31 Oct 1939
Vyacheslav Molotov addressing the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, Moscow, Russia, 31 Oct 1939; note Joseph Stalin in background
1 Nov 1939

Austria
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille reported to Jagdfliegerschule 5 in Schwechat, Austria for training and was given the rank of Fähnrich. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Heinkel demonstrated the first jet aircraft He 178 to the German Air Ministry, but the German officials were not impressed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German military complained that the Soviet Union purchases too much war materials from Germany, which was hampering with the German ability to prepare for a war against France; it was acknowledged, however, the import of Soviet oil was vital. [CPC]
  • Georg von Küchler was named the commanding officer of 11th Army. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Photo(s) dated 1 Nov 1939
Front view of the He 178 prototype aircraft, date unknown
2 Nov 1939

Germany
  • The first transport of Polish women arrived at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp in Germany. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Poland
  • Joseph Goebbels visited Lodz, Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 2 Nov 1939
View from Hotel Polonia in central Warsaw at the corner of Jerusalem Avenues and Poznańska Street, Poland, 2 Nov 1939
3 Nov 1939

Germany
  • Franz Halder sent a message to Ludwig Beck telling him to be ready to move against Adolf Hitler on or shortly after 5 Nov 1939, which was the date the plans for the invasion of France, was supposed to be made known to top German military leaders. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • Hunted by Royal Navy destroyers, the German-captured US freighter City of Flint entered the harbour of Haugesund, Norway where she was boarded and seized by sailors from the Norwegian minesweeper Tryggvason. [AC]
United Kingdom
  • The British government reduced the nightly blackout regulations by an hour. [CPC]
United States
  • The Cash and Carry clause was introduced in US Statute of Neutrality. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 3 Nov 1939
Greiser speaking at the first Nazi rally in Posen, Germany (Poznan, occupied Poland) after German conquest, 3 Nov 1939
4 Nov 1939

United Kingdom
  • Colonel Stewart Menzies became head of British intelligence agency MI6 when Rear Admiral Hugh Sinclair died of cancer. [TH]
United States
  • The Neutrality Act of 1939, which repealed the arms embargo of 1937, became a law in the United States. It allowed the US to sell arms to the Allies. [CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 4 Nov 1939
Greiser at the inauguration ceremony as the Gauleiter of Reichsgau Posen, 4 Nov 1939, photo 1 of 4; Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick and Artillery General Walter Petzel also presentGreiser at the inauguration ceremony as the Gauleiter of Reichsgau Posen, 4 Nov 1939, photo 2 of 4; Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick also presentGreiser at the inauguration ceremony as the Gauleiter of Reichsgau Posen, 4 Nov 1939, photo 3 of 4; Wilhelm Koppe also presentGreiser at the inauguration ceremony as the Gauleiter of Reichsgau Posen, 4 Nov 1939, photo 4 of 4; Wilhelm Koppe also present
5 Nov 1939

Germany
  • A plot to arrest or even kill Adolf Hitler, hatched by of his most senior military staff, collapsed. Led by General Franz Halder, the architect of the invasion of Poland, many Generals were appalled by Hitler's plans to continue the conflict by invading Belgium and the Netherlands and feared that the adventure would founder in another Great War quagmire. Walther von Brauchitsch, who met with Hitler and was supposed to be the one to issue the order for his arrest, got cold feet and lost the opportunity to prevent Hitler from plunging Europe into another World War. However one of the conspirators, Colonel Hans Oster of German Military Intelligence, tipped off the Dutch and Belgians about Hitler's invasion intentions. [Main Article | AC]
Japan
  • Shigeru Fukudome was named the chief of staff of the Japanese Navy Combined Fleet. [Main Article | CPC]
6 Nov 1939

Atlantic Ocean
  • With her German prize crew interned by the Norwegians, the captured US freighter City of Flint was handed back to her Master, Captain Gainard, and sailed under ballast to return to the United States. [AC]
Poland
  • German occupation forces in Poland arrested the professors of University of Krakow. [CPC]
7 Nov 1939
  • Belgium and Dutch Crowns stated their neutrality and offer to act as negotiators for peace, which was rejected by Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. [TH]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler postponed the decision for the western invasion; the next date of decision was to be 9 Nov 1939. [Main Article | TH]
  • Hermann Göring met with American journalists at the Soviet embassy in Berlin, Germany and mocked the quality and quantity of the US-built aircraft that would soon arrive in Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German plans for the Western Offensive were passed to the Czechoslovakian government-in-exile in Britain by a double agent. [Main Article | TH]
8 Nov 1939

Belgium
  • Belgian King Leopold III revealed to Dutch Queen Wilhelmina that Belgium was aware of a German plan to invade the Low Countries, and it could be launched as soon as within a few days. [Main Article | CPC]
Finland
  • Finland refused a Russian demand for territorial exchange. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • An assassination attempt on Hitler by German carpenter Georg Elser failed at the annual commemoration of the Beer Hall Putsch in München, Germany. Ostensibly, Hitler and other top Nazi leaders escaped death because Hitler had ended his speech early and left the building eight minutes before the bomb planted by Elser detonated (which killed 8 and wounded 65). In actuality, however, it had been planned by Hitler to elevate his own standing in Germany and to create a situation where he could blame the western powers for an assassination attempt. [Main Article | TH]
Poland
  • Hans Frank was appointed the head of General Government in Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Nov 1939
  • Adolf Hitler again postponed the invasion of France; the next date for decision was to be 13 Nov 1939 for a possible invasion date of 19 Nov 1939. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German newspapers noted that the attempted assassination on Adolf Hitler which took place on the previous day in Munich, Germany was the work of British secret service agents. In actuality, it was a plot by Hitler to elevate his own standing. [CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler issued directive No. 9 which called for German aircraft and submarines to attack British shipping and port facilities. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • In Moscow, Russia at 1800 hours, Finnish diplomats Paasikivi and Tanner met with Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov in the final attempt to avoid war. They did not reach an agreeable conclusion. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Joseph Rochefort was evaluated for promotion, but a promotion was not granted; it was speculated that he had made too many political enemies. [Main Article | CPC]
10 Nov 1939
  • The Dutch Army canceled leave and reinforced border defenses. [CPC]
France
  • British Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs Anthony Eden met with French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier and Commander-in-Chief General Maurice Gamelin in Paris, France, joined by representatives from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India. [Main Article | CPC]
11 Nov 1939

Czechoslovakia
  • The funeral of Czech student Jan Opletal, killed earlier during the Czech independence celebrations, turned into a demonstration, which was crushed by German troops. Czech universities were closed; 1,200 students are sent to camps, and 9 are sentenced to death. [TH]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler attended the funeral of those killed in the staged 8 Nov 1939 assassination attempt in München, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In a broadcast message to the nation, Queen Elizabeth called on English women to participate in the war effort. [TH]
12 Nov 1939
  • German submarine U-41 sank British trawler Cresswell by gunfire off the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0700 hours; 6 were killed, 8 survived and rescued by U-41. At 1000 hours, U-41 struck agin, sinking Norwegian tanker Arne Kjøde; 34 survived in 2 lifeboats, but one of them would soon capsize, killing 5. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British and French governments politely rejected the offer from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and King Leopold of Belgium to mediate toward the end of the war. [CPC]
13 Nov 1939
  • King Carol of Romania offered to mediate peace between Germany and the western powers. [CPC]
  • German destroyers Z20, Z18, Z19, and Z21 mined the mouth of the River Thames in southern England, United Kingdom before dawn. At 0526 hours, British cruiser HMS Adventure hit one of the mines and was damaged, killing 23. At 0820 hours, British destroyer Blanche also hit one of the mines and was badly damaged, killing 1 and wounding 12; as Blanche sank while under tow by tugboat Fabia, she became the first British destroyer lost to enemy action in WW2. [CPC]
  • Finnish diplomats Paasikivi and Tanner departed Moscow, Russia after all negotiation attempts failed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler again postponed the invasion of France; the next date for decision was to be 22 Nov 1939. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Prince Nagahisa's daughter Princess Hatsuko was born. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German bombers struck the Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom but did little damage. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 13 Nov 1939
Light cruiser Jintsu during post-modernization trials, Kure, Japan, 13 Nov 1939
14 Nov 1939
  • Theodor Eicke was named the commander of all SS Death's Head units; Richard Glucks was to take over Eicke's former position as the inspector of concentration camps. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Netherlands was added back to the German invasion plan for Western Europe as the Luftwaffe stressed the importance of having airfields in the Netherlands. [Main Article | CPC]
Austria
  • In Vienna, Austria detachments of the SS-Verfügungstruppe placed stocks of hand grenades at Jewish synagogues preparatory to setting fire to the buildings. [AC]
Japan
  • Kenkichi Ueda was dismissed from the Army General Staff. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Nov 1939
  • Anticipating Adolf Hitler's wishes, Erich Raeder asked his staff officers to evaluate the possibility of an invasion of Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Repair ship Akashi was assigned to the Combined Fleet. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Koichi Shiozawa was promtoed to the rank of admiral. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chuichi Nagumo was promoted to the rank of vice admiral. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Vice Admiral Boshiro Hosogaya succeeded Vice Admiral Ichiro Sato as the commanding officer of the Ryojun Military Port (previously known as Port Arthur; now Lushunkou, Liaoning Province, China), Kwantung Leased Territory in northeastern China. Rear Admiral Isamu Takeda was named Hosogaya's chief of staff. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Korea
  • Vice Admiral Tamotsu Takama was named the chief of staff of Chinkai Guard District in southern Korea. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Jews living in Reichsgau Wartheland (former Polish territory, annexed into Germany) began to be deported into the General Government region of former Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
Taiwan
  • Vice Admiral Ibo Takahashi was named the commanding officer of the Mako naval port at Pescadores islands, Taiwan. Rear Admiral Akira Matsuzaki was named his Chief of Staff. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Raizo Tanaka stepped down as the Chief of Staff of the Mako naval port at Pescadores islands, Taiwan. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Squalus was decommissioned from service at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Nov 1939
Italian battleship Impero being preparing for launching, Genoa, Italy, 15 Nov 1939The Launching of Italian battleship Impero, Genoa, Italy, 15 Nov 1939
16 Nov 1939
  • In Egypt, Major General Michael O'Mare Creagh replaced Major General P. C. S. "Hobo" Hobart as GOC of the Mobile Division (Later 7th Armoured). [AC]
17 Nov 1939
  • Supreme Allied War Council approved a plan for British and French war production. [TH]
  • Plans were made for British and French troops to move into Belgium to counter a possible German invasion, but reconnaissance parties were denied entry into Belgium to avoid provoking Germany. [TH]
  • U-36 set sail for Basis Nord, a secret base on the Kola Peninsula in northern Russia provided by the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese troops landed at Fangcheng and Beihai in Guangxi Province, China. [CPC]
Czechoslovakia
  • Massive Czech student uprising resulted in executions of 9 student leaders, the closing of Czech colleges and universities, and the movement of over 1,000 students to concentration camps. [Main Article | TH]
19 Nov 1939
  • The Heinkel He 177, the German Luftwaffe's only real heavy bomber of the war, took its first flight. [Main Article | AC]
China
  • Japanese troops overran the Xiaodong defensive line in Guangxi Province, China, advancing toward Nanning. [CPC]
20 Nov 1939
  • German submarine U-33 sank three small British trawlers (Thomas Hankins at 1030 hours, Delphine at 1600 hours, and Sea Sweeper at 1700 hours) off Tory Island, Ireland. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The US Navy Chief of Naval Operations ordered the Commandant of the US Marine Corps Fourteenth Naval District to plan a Marine garrison at Midway. [CPC]
21 Nov 1939
  • Lufthansa's Do 18F flying boat, upgraded with BMW 132N radial engines and redesignated Do 18L, took its first flight after the upgrade work. After two days of testing, it was found that the BMW engine suffered overheating problems. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heinrich Himmler announced that the United Kingdom was responsible for the 8 Nov 1939 attempt on Adolf Hitler's life. Two British agents were kidnapped in the Netherlands several days prior, who were blamed for plotting the attack. The attack, however, was actually planned by the Germans as means to raise Hitler's standing within Germany. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom declared an embargo on Germany, seizing all goods in the UK en route to Germany. [TH]
22 Nov 1939
  • Overnight, German aircraft dropped magnetic mines in River Thames in southern England, United Kingdom, but at least one fell in nearby mud and was observed by the British. [Main Article | CPC]
23 Nov 1939
  • RAF claimed seven Luftwaffe aircraft over France. [TH]
  • Rawalpindi stumbled upon German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. When asked to abandon ship, Captain Edward Kennedy turned toward the German ships in an attempt to get into range of her 6-inch guns. She was to be sunk by the German 11-inch guns before she could get close enough. [Main Article | AC]
  • Adolf Hitler gathered the top German leaders and lectured them on his vision for the future of Germany, which involved an invasion of France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In an aerial battle over the French border, Leutnant Werner Methfessel became the Luftwaffe's first Bf 110 fighter pilot ace (although the veracity of his claim remained in some doubt). [Main Article | AC]
Poland
  • All Jews above the age of 10 in the General Government in German-occupied Poland were required to wear the Star of David. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Britain recovered a magnetic mine from muddy fields near River Thames in southern England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
24 Nov 1939
  • Gestapo executed 120 Czech students accused of participating in an anti-Nazi conspiracy. [CPC]
China
  • Japanese 5th Division captured Nanning, Guangxi Province, China. [CPC]
25 Nov 1939
  • German submarine U-28 sank British merchant ship Royston Grange of Allied convoy SL-8B 50 miles southwest of Land's End, England, United Kingdom at 1319 hours. Between 2200 hours and midnight, German submarine U-43 attacked and sank British ship Uskmouth 120 miles northwest of Cape Finisterre, Spain with gunfire and torpedoes; 2 were killed, 22 survived and rescued by Italian merchant ship Juventus. [Main Article | CPC]
26 Nov 1939
  • Soviet troops fired 7 mortar shells into a field near the village of Mainila, Russia at 1430 hours, claiming the Finnish Army was responsible for the attack. At 2100 hours, the Soviets issued the demand to Finnish ambassador Yrjo-Koskinen for the Finnish Army to move back 20 to 25 kilometers from the border. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 26 Nov 1939
Lord Gort and Lieutenant General Pownall study a map at GHQ in the Chateau at Harbarcq, France, 26 Nov 1939
27 Nov 1939
  • Sealion (Sargo-class) was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Finland sent Soviet Union a message noting that the Finnish Army had not fired any shots into Soviet territory. In response to the Soviet request on the previous day for Finnish troops to fall back 20 to 25 kilometers from the border, Finland suggested Soviet troops to do the same. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 damaged Swedish tanker Gustaf E. Reuter near Fair Isle northwest of Scotland, United Kingdom; 1 was killed, 32 survived. An attempt to tow Gustaf E. Reuter to port failed overnight, causing her to finally sink. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader made his first solo flight since his 1931 air accident that cost him both of his legs. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Nov 1939
  • The Soviet Union tore up the Soviet-Finnish non-aggression pact, noting that Finland had committed an act of aggression for the shelling of Mainila, Russia two days prior. Finland presented a witness, a Finnish border guard, who saw that it was the Soviets who fired the mortar rounds. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Royal Navy trawler HMS Kingston Beryl scuttled the stern section of Swedish tanker Gustaf E. Reuter in the North Sea. Gustaf E. Reuter had been attacked by German submarine U-48 on the previous day, and the bow section had sunk overnight during an unsuccessful towing attempt. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Nov 1939
Head of the United States Library of Congress Archibald MacLeish and British Ambassador Lord Lothian posing in front of the Magna Carta, Washington, DC, United States, 28 Nov 1939
29 Nov 1939
  • British destroyers HMS Kingston, HMS Icarus, and HMS Kashmir forced German submarine U-35 to surface and surrender in the North Sea with depth charges. U-35's crew scuttled the submarine to prevent capture. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Finnish diplomats in Moscow, Russia made the final pleas to avoid war. At midnight, Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov ordered the invasion to commence. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Residents of Soviet-occupied Poland had Soviet citizenship forced on them. [TH]
30 Nov 1939

Finland
  • 21 Soviet divisions crossed the border into Finland at 0800 hours after about one hour of artillery bombardment, starting what was to be known as the Winter War. Soviet aircraft bombed Helsinki. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 30 Nov 1939
Japanese heavy cruiser Atago at the Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, 30 Nov 1939A building in Helsinki, Finland on fire from aerial bombing, 30 Nov 1939Civilian wounded by aerial bombing, Lönnrothkatu Street, Helsinki, Finland, 30 Nov 1939Finnish civilians escaping from a building damaged by aerial bombing, Lönnrothkatu Street, Helsinki, Finland, 30 Nov 1939
See all photos dated 30 Nov 1939
1 Dec 1939
  • Otto Kuusinen was made head of the puppet government forming in Moscow for Finland. [TH]
  • Firefight between Finnish coastal batteries at Russaro and the Soviet cruiser Kirov and her destroyer screen; Kirov and one of her destroyers were damaged. [Main Article | TH]
  • Chinese 3rd Army Group cut the Lung'hai Railway line at several locations and attacked highways, both actions interrupted Japanese logistics. Meanwhile, troops of the Chinese 81st Division attacked the cities of Kaifeng and Lanfeng. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Germany, Ernst Udet was appointed Director General of Air Force Equipment (Generalluftzeugmeister). [AC]
Germany
  • The third group of the German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing was established. [CPC]
  • The title "Waffen-SS" became official. This organisation embraced the SS Verfugungs Division, the Liebstandarte, the SS Totenkopf Division, the SS Polizei Division, the SS Junkerschulen (training schools), together with their training and replacement units. Service in these formations would count as active military duty. [AC]
Japan
  • Tenryu was assigned to Maizuru Naval District, Japan for service as a guard ship and training vessel for the Japanese Navy Engineering Academy. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Kenkichi Ueda was forced into the reserve. [Main Article | CPC]
Taiwan
  • Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima was named the commanding officer of the Taiwan Army. [Main Article | CPC]
2 Dec 1939 Photo(s) dated 2 Dec 1939
Russian T-26 light tanks and T-20 Komsomolets armored tractors advancing into Finland during the Winter War, 2 Dec 1939Finnish civilians in a bomb shelter, Helsinki, Finland, 2 Dec 1939T-26 light tanks and GAZ-A trucks of Soviet 7th Army, Finland, 2 Dec 1939Finnish troops leaving the Suvilathi power station outside Helsinki, Finland, 2 Dec 1939; note smoke rising from the sabotaged equipment
See all photos dated 2 Dec 1939
3 Dec 1939
4 Dec 1939
  • En route to Basis Nord in northern Russia, U-36 was sunk by British submarine HMS Salmon with the loss of all hands. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • King George VI arrived in France to inspect British Army and RAF units and to view the French Maginot Line. [Main Article | Facility | AC]
French Morocco
  • Lorraine departed Casablanca, French Morocco. [Main Article | CPC]
5 Dec 1939

Finland
  • Heavy fighting took place between Soviet Army and Finnish Army in the Karelia region in southern Finland. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Dec 1939
Japanese battleship Hiei undergoing a full power trial off Tsukuge Bay, Japan, 5 Dec 1939
6 Dec 1939
  • Finns held off heavy Soviet attacks on the Mannerheim Line, inflicting heavy casualties. [Main Article | TH]
  • First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill honored the officers and crew of Rawalpindi, "[w]hose glorious fight against overwhelming odds deserves the respect and honour of the House [of Commons] and of the nation". [Main Article | AC]
7 Dec 1939
  • England and France pledged support to Finland, but an inability to follow through left the promises rather empty. [TH]
  • Soviet 9th Army attacked in central Karelia, Finland. [Main Article | TH]
Italy
  • Italy publicly reaffirmed neutrality in the war. [TH]
8 Dec 1939
  • Belgian ship Louis Scheid ran aground and broke up in front of the Thurlestone Golf Club, Warren Point, Devon, England, United Kingdom before dawn. During the day, German submarine U-48 sank the ship Brandon of Allied convoy OB-48 at 1155 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Dec 1939
  • German merchant freighter Kurmark, acquired by the German Navy in the fall of 1939, was commissioned into service as auxiliary cruiser Orion. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 27-year-old Corporal Thomas Priday, while leading a patrol near Metz, France, became the first British soldier to be killed in the European War. He was killed by friendly fire. [AC]
  • German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee sailed toward the River Plate estuary on the border of Uruguay and Argentina to attack a reported convoy departing from Montevideo, Uruguay. Meanwhile, Royal Navy Force G (light cruisers HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles, soon to be joined by heavy cruiser HMS Exeter) was already en route toward the area in search of Admiral Graf Spee. [Main Article | CPC]
10 Dec 1939
  • Chinese troops launched an attack on Henglingguan Pass south of Jiangxian in northern China; the Japanese troops at the strong point would be driven off by the month's end. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet 7th Army, while attacking Finnish defense fortifications, received flanking fire from coastal batteries on the island of Saarenpää; in response, Soviet battleship Oktjabrskaja Revolutsija bombarded the island, but failed to hit the batteries due to heavy fog. In the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia, Soviet submarines sank three ships going in and out of Finnish ports; two of them actually flew German flags. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Dec 1939
Bismarck fitting out at Hamburg, Germany, 10-15 Dec 1939, photo 1 of 4Bismarck fitting out at Hamburg, Germany, 10-15 Dec 1939, photo 2 of 4Installing 15-inch gun turrets onto the Bismarck, Hamburg, Germany, 10-15 Dec 1939Installing 5.9-inch guns onto the Bismarck, Hamburg, Germany, 10-15 Dec 1939
See all photos dated 10 Dec 1939
11 Dec 1939
  • Soviet 163rd Division was held by Finnish defenses north of Lake Piispajarvi in Finland, while Soviet 81st and 759th Regiments were likewise bogged down by Finnish border police forces to the south at Suomussalmi, a road junction village. Lightly-armed troops of the Finnish 27th Regiment, on skis, launched an attack on the Soviet supply line along the Raate Road in an attempt to isolate Soviet troops at Suomussalmi. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank Greek freighter Garoufalia off Norway; 4 were killed, 25 survived. [CPC]
  • Vidkun Quisling met with Erich Raeder in Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 11 Dec 1939
Finnish Foreign Minister Rudolf Holsti speaking at the League of Nations General Assembly, protesting the Soviet invasion, Geneva, Switzerland, 11 Dec 1939King George VI of the United Kingdom aboard HMS Codrington at Boulogne-sur-Mer, France while visiting the British Expeditionary Force, 11 Dec 1939
12 Dec 1939
  • Cruiser Köln and other warships screened minelayers during a mining mission. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler postponed the decision to invade France to 27 Dec 1939; if he was to launch the attack, the date of action was to be 1 Jan 1940. Since the decision was to be made after Christmas, he permitted the granting of Christmas leave. [Main Article | CPC]
Finland
  • Soviets suffered heavy casualties near Tolvajärvi, Finland as Finnish troops wiped out two Soviet divisions. [Main Article | TH]
13 Dec 1939
  • At the Battle of the River Plate, three British cruisers damaged German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, forcing her enter the neutral port of Montevideo for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In China, troops of the Chinese 47th Corps captured the Taihang Mountain and cut the Taosin Railway by taking the stations at Poshan and Changkou. Chinese troops launched an offensive in eastern Shanxi Province in China, nearly encircling the Japanese 36th Division. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Cruiser Köln returned from screening mission for minelayers. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Dec 1939
Admiral Graf Spee anchored off Montevideo, Uruguay, circa 13-16 Dec 1939, photo 1 of 2Admiral Graf Spee anchored off Montevideo, Uruguay, circa 13-16 Dec 1939, photo 2 of 2Admiral Graf SpeeAdmiral Graf Spee
See all photos dated 13 Dec 1939
14 Dec 1939
  • Finnish fortress at Uto was attacked by two Soviet destroyers; one of the Soviet destroyers was lost. Meanwhile, League of Nations ejected Soviet Union because of aggression against Finland. [Main Article | TH]
  • 12 British Wellington bombers of No. 99 Squadron attacked a German convoy north of Wilhelmshaven, Germany during daylight. Within 30 minutes of the attack, six of them were lost to flak and German fighters, including two that collided in mid-air during the fight. [CPC]
Germany
  • Vidkun Quisling met with Adolf Hitler in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Mexico
  • German freighter Arauca and passenger liner Columbus departed from Veracruz, Mexico, and were immediately followed by American destroyers. [CPC]
15 Dec 1939
  • Red Army assaulted Taipale, Finland. Meanwhile, the Finnish government decided to bring fallen Finnish soldiers of the Winter War to their home towns for burial. [Main Article | TH]
  • 5,000 Japanese troops launched a counter-attack against recent Chinese offensives in northern China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erich Raeder suggested that the pocket battleship Lützow and the blueprints for the Bismarck-class battleships could be made available for sale to the Soviet Union if the Soviet Union was willing to pay a good price. [Main Article | CPC]
16 Dec 1939

China
  • In China, troops of the Chinese 81st Division captured the city of Kaifeng in Henan Province, while troops of the Chinese 5th Division began to advance toward Kunlun Pass, Guangxi Province in southern China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Vidkun Quisling met with Adolf Hitler in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" received the order to relocate from Stuggart, Germany to Jever, Germany. [CPC]
17 Dec 1939
  • Soviet Army assaulted Summa, Finland. [Main Article | TH]
  • Admiral Graf Spee was scuttled by her own crew at Montevideo, Uruguay. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" was operational at Jever, Germany. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 17 Dec 1939
Admiral Graf Spee burning at River Plate, 17 Dec 1939Finnish soldier dragging a box of ammunition on the eastern side of the Kollaa River, Russia, 17 Dec 1939Soviet T-26 tank at the Kollaa River in northern Russia, 17 Dec 1939
18 Dec 1939
  • 24 British Wellington bombers were launched to attack German shipping during daylight; only 22 flew to the target area because 2 developed technical problems shortly after takeoff. Flak quickly broke up the bomber formation, then the German Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighters that came to the ships' defense shot down 12 of the 22 bombers. German pilots claimed 34 kills for the loss of 2 fighters during combat and another crashed at landing; the German Air Ministry confirmed only 26. British pilots also overestimated their kills, claiming 13 definite and 12 probable. [CPC]
  • Soviet 273rd Infantry regiment retreated in the face of attacks from Finnish 40th Infantry Regiment. [Main Article | TH]
  • The first Canadian troops arrived in Britain. [CPC]
China
  • Chinese troops captured Longhua, near Yicheng, Hubei Province, China. To the south, Chinese 5th Division captured Kunlunguan Pass in Guangxi Province. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Vidkun Quisling met with Adolf Hitler in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Lavrentiy Beria ordered first mass deportation of Poles to Soviet Union. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • The first Canadian troops arrived in England, United Kingdom. [TH]
Photo(s) dated 18 Dec 1939
Chinese troops at Kunlunguan Pass, Guangxi Province, 18 Dec 1939German troops executing Polish civilians at Bochnia, near Kraków, Poland, 18 Dec 1939
19 Dec 1939
  • In their attack on Summa, the Soviet Army lost 20 of 100 tanks. [Main Article | TH]
  • Hans Langsdorff passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British light cruiser HMS Orion intercepted German freighter Arauca off Miami, Florida, United States; the German crew sailed into Port Everglades, Florida to avoid capture as the United States was still a neutral nation. [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • HMS Hyperion intercepted German passenger liner Columbus 450 miles east of Cape May, New Jersey, United States; Columbus' crew scuttled the ship to prevent capture. [CPC]
China
  • Japanese troops captured Kunlun Pass 59 kilometers northeast of Nanning, Guangxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
20 Dec 1939 Photo(s) dated 20 Dec 1939
Former US President Herbert Hoover, Dr. van Loon, and Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia raising funds for Finland for the Winter War, New York, New York, United States, 20 Dec 1939
21 Dec 1939
  • Between 0725 and 1016 hours, German submarine U-21 sank two neutral Swedish ships Mars and SS Carl Henckel with one torpedo each. The German submarine did not pick up any survivors; only 8 out of the 36 floating in the water survived until when help arrived on the next day. [CPC]
  • Russia celebrated Joseph Stalin's 60th official birthday. His actual birthday is 18 Dec 1878, but was changed to 21 Dec 1879 after he came to power in 1922. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet 122nd Division was halted at the villages of Pelkosenniemi and Kemijärvi in Lapland, Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Finnish General Hugo Österman presented a plan for counterattack to Field Marshal Mannerheim; the plan was prepared by Österman's subordinate General Harald Öhqvist of the II Corps. [CPC]
  • The British RAF Bomber Command issued Operational Instruction 21, which in part noted the following that reflected the reluctance to end daylight bombing missions despite of the heavy losses sustained thus far: "With the intention of combining useful training and operations, sweeps will continue to be carried out.... If enemy aircraft are encountered, gunners will be able to practise shooting at real targets instead of drogues." [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Dec 1939
Funeral procession of Captain Hans Langsdorff, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 21 Dec 1939Finnish Army Colonel Hjalmar Siilasvuo receiving a briefing during the Battle of Suomussalmi, Finland, Dec 1939-Jan 1940
22 Dec 1939
  • Werner Mölders and Hans von Hahn became the first German fighter pilots to shoot down British Hurricane fighters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class medal. [Main Article | CPC]
Finland
  • Finnish Army Group Talvela overran Soviet 75th division in hand to hand combat at Ägläjärvi (Russian: Yaglyayarvi) on the Karelian Isthmus. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Field Marshal Mannerheim of Finland authorized to launch the offensive planned by Generals Österman and Öhqvist presented to him on the previous day. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • US Navy awarded a US$7,000,000 contract to build two new graving docks at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii; the future Dock No. 2 was to be large enough to hold a battleship, while Dock No. 3 was to be made for destroyers and submarines. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Helena arrived at Annapolis, Maryland, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 22 Dec 1939
Certificate showing Stalin as a honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union, issued on 22 Dec 1939, as seen in the Ogonyok magazine dated 15 Mar 1953
23 Dec 1939
  • German SS organization decreed that Polish workers who left their workplace without permission were to be arrested and sent to concentration camps. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British Military Intelligence Section 9 (MI9) was established under the command of Major Norman Crockatt. It was charged with aiding resistance fighters in enemy occupied territory and recovering Allied troops, including downed airmen and prisoners of war. [AC]
Finland
  • At 0630 hours, 4 Finnish divisions counterattacked on a 28-mile front on the west side of the Karelian Isthmus, trying to trap resting Soviet forces in a massive encirclement; without support of anti-tank weapons or artillery pieces, it was repulsed by tanks; Finnish General Öhqvist called off the attack at 1440 hours after suffering 1,300 casualties. Meanwhile, Captain Mäkinen's 2 machine gun companies in the Finnish 9th Division attacked forward elements of the Soviet 44th Division, tying down the entire column of 15,000 troops and equipment. [Main Article | CPC]
Ireland
  • An IRA gang stole the Irish Army's entire reserve of small arms ammunition - more than one million rounds - from an ammunition fort in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Most of it was recovered over the following days. [AC]
24 Dec 1939

Finland
  • Finnish Army Group Talvela pushed Soviet 75th and 139th Divisions back across the Russian border. Meanwhile, Soviet 163rd Division tried unsuccessfully to break out of Suomussalmi, Finland; the Soviet 44th Division failed to move in to provide support for the 163rd Division. [Main Article | CPC]
Vatican City
  • Pope Pius XII made a Christmas Eve appeal for peace. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 24 Dec 1939
Soviet T-26 light tanks in Finland, 1939Finnish Army Lieutenant Aarne Juutilainen and his company holding a Christmas service near the Kollaa River, Finland, 24 Dec 1939Finnish-American volunteer fighters arriving in Finland aboard passenger ship Gripsholm, 24 Dec 1939
25 Dec 1939
  • The Red Army resumed attacking the Taipale sector in Finland between 0500 and 0700 hours; spearheaded by the Soviet 4th Rifle Division across the frozen Suvanto River, the offensive initially gained three bridgeheads, but heavy Finnish artillery would push Soviet forces back across the river at two spots. Elsewhere, the trapped Soviet 163rd division attempted another break-out at Suomussalmi but it was repulsed; Soviet 44th Division continued to move toward Suomussalmi, but it was largely pinned down on the Raate Road. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Dec 1939
Christmas aboard Scharnhorst, Dec 1939Soviet T-20 tractors in Finland, 1939
26 Dec 1939
  • The first Royal Australian Air Force personnel arrived by boat at Pembroke, Wales, United Kingdom for anti-submarine duty in Sunderland flying boats with No. 10 Squadron. [Main Article | TH]
Finland
  • Finnish 9th Division received artillery support and began bombarding the Soviet 163rd Division trapped in Suomussalmi, Finland. Elsewhere in the Taipale sector, Finnish and Soviet troops fought near the village of Kelja at the Suvanto River; Finnish artillery and batteries at Kekinniemi fort stopped Russian advances, but two Finnish attempts at advancing were similarly stopped. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Dec 1939
  • In Finland, Soviet 4th Division rushed several groups of men across the frozen Suvanto River in the darkness to reinforce the bridgehead on the far bank, but the attempts were detected by Finnish forces, which attacked them with artillery and machine guns, killing many; after dawn, Finnish forces successfully eliminated all Soviet bridgeheads on the Finnish side of the Suvanto River, ending the Battle of Kelja by 1800 hours. Elsewhere, in Suomussalmi, Finnish 9th division, supported by the newly-arrived four 1902 76-millimeter cannon and two Bofors 37-millimeter anti-tank guns, began to assault the encircled Soviet 163rd Division. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The keel for future submarine Gar was laid down. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler postponed the decision to invade France to a later date. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Helena departed Annapolis, Maryland, United States for South America; she arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, United States later on the same day. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 27 Dec 1939
Submarine GarElectric Boat Company workers laying the keel of future submarine Gar, Groton, Connecticut, United States, 1000 hours on 27 Dec 1939
28 Dec 1939
  • Joseph Stalin ordered the Soviet troops in Finland to hold position as his generals worked on a new offensive plan against the surprisingly resilient Finnish defenses. The Soviet troops enveloped within Finnish lines was thus abandoned and left to be eliminated by the Finnish forces. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German submarine U-30 sank British submarine trawler HMS Barbara Robertson in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0400 hours, killing 1; the German submarine radioed Swedish merchant ship Hispania to pick up the survivors. Later on the same day, at 1545 hours, she spotted and damaged British battleship HMS Barham with one torpedo, killing 4; she was chased off by destroyers HMS Isis and HMS Nubian. [CPC]
  • The British Ministry of Food announced that sugar would be rationed from 8 Jan 1940 and meat from a date still to be fixed. The Minister of Food William Morrison said this would release foreign exchange and provide shipping space for the importation of armaments and raw materials. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Dec 1939
Finnish troops gathering captured Soviet weapons, Taipale, Finland, circa 27-28 Dec 1939
29 Dec 1939

Finland
  • Soviet 163rd Division, trapped in the Finnish village of Suomussalmi for the past 22 days, began evacuating on an ice road over Lake Kiantajärvi; troops of the Finnish 9th Division attacked the rearguard. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russia, Stalin endorsed Chief of Staff Shaposhnikov's plan for a major attack on Finnish forces on the Karelian Isthmus; Semyon Timoshenko volunteered to lead the offensive as the disgraced Kirill Meretskov was demoted to the commander of the Soviet 7th Army. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Dec 1939
  • Remnants of the Soviet 163rd Division was destroyed by the Finnish 9th Division at Suomussalmi as it attempted to retreat over the frozen Lake Kiantajärvi. [Main Article | TH]
31 Dec 1939
  • German submarine U-32 sank Norwegian ship Luna at 0947 hours with one torpedo. [CPC]
China
  • Chinese declared victory at Kunlun Pass 59 kilometers northeast of Nanning, Guangxi Province, China, although the remnants of Japanese troops trapped in the region would not capitulate until mid-Jan 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
Finland
  • Finnish 9th Division secured the village of Suomussalmi after four days of heavy fighting, capturing 625 rifles, 33 light machine guns, 19 medium and heavy machine guns, 2 anti-aircraft machine guns, 12 anti-tank guns, 27 field and anti-aircraft guns, 26 tanks, 2 armored cars, 350 horses, 181 trucks, 11 tractors, 26 field kitchens, 800,000 rounds of 7.62mm rifle ammunition, 9,000 artillery shells, a field hospital, and a bakery. Elsewhere, Finnish scouts found troops of the Soviet 44th Division stationary along a 30-kilometer stretch of the Raate Road, including a large concentration of dug-in tanks and artillery. Finnish Army Colonel Siilasvuo received the intelligence and decided to prepare a strike at this concentration. [Main Article | TH]
Russia
  • Boris Shaposhnikov was awarded his first Order of Lenin. [Main Article | CPC]

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis




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