21 Aug 1897
21 Aug 1914
  • Erwin Rommel saw his first WW1 action in the Meuse Valley on the Western Front. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The First British troops in action were C Squadron, 4th Dragoon Guards who clashed with a German cyclist/cavalry patrol in the village of Soignies, France. Corporal Thomas of that squadron was credited with firing the first British shot in anger of the war. [CPC]
21 Aug 1915
21 Aug 1921

United States
  • USS Arizona arrived at San Diego, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Aug 1929

Photo(s) dated 21 Aug 1929
Oklahoma off the Philadelphia Navy Yard after modernization, 21 Aug 1929
21 Aug 1930
  • Princess Margaret (later Countess of Snowdon) was born at Glamis Castle, Scotland, United Kingdom. [AC]
21 Aug 1938

  • Japanese 10th Division captured Luoshan, Hubei Province and Xinzi, Jiangxi Province in China. [Main Article | CPC]
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]
  • German warship Admiral Graf Spee and her tanker Altmark departed Germany on a raiding mission against British shipping. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Aug 1940
  • Joseph Stalin's political enemy Leon Trotsky died of severe brain damage as the result of the previous day's assassination attempt by undercover NKVD agent Ramón Mercader. [CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: Bad weather prevented large formations of bombers from forming, so the German Luftwaffe dispatched only small one- to two-aircraft raids against coastal Britain. On this day, 1 Hurricane fighter was shot down, 2 RAF personnel were killed on the ground, and 40 RAF personnel were wounded; 4 civilians were killed, and 178 were wounded; several merchant ships were damaged or sunk. On the German side, 13 bombers were shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Widder sank British collier Anglo Saxon 1,000 miles west of Africa. Survivors in lifeboats were machine gunned. In total, 34 crew members were killed. 7 survivors got away in a lifeboat, but would not reach land, Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, 2,500 miles away, for 71 days; by that time, only 2 were still alive. One of the survivors, Able Seaman Robert Tapscott, would later provide testimony to convict Captain Ruckteschell of Widder as a war criminal. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Dandolo damaged Dutch tanker Hermes 200 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright arrived at Pará, Brazil. [CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Do 17 aircraft off Great Yarmouth, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Iride, with four manned torpedoes on board intended for an attack on British ships in Alexandria in Egypt, was sunk by British torpedo bombers in the Gulf of Bomba off Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom House of Commons authorized foreign troops of occupied nations to conduct training in Britain under their own flags. [TH]
21 Aug 1941
  • Hitlers ordered that the Russian city of Leningrad was to be besieged, not captured. [Main Article | TH]
  • Japanese aircraft sank Chinese gunboats Jiangxi and Jiangkun at Bazhong, Sichuan Province, China. [CPC]
  • A German naval cadet became the first victim of French Resistance, shot in a Metro station in Paris, France. Over 150 Parisians were shot in reprisal. [Main Article | TH]
  • Adolf Hitler directed the transfer of units away from the Moscow, Russia area in order to bolster the siege on Leningrad (aiming for the linking up with Finnish forces) and the battles in Ukraine (aiming for the oil fields in the Caucasus region). [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first Allied Arictic convoy, codenamed Dervish, set sail from Hvalfjörður, Iceland for Arhangelsk, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Aug 1942
  • Kiyono Ichiki passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Gar ended her third war patrol. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer Yuzuki arrived at Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein was awarded the German Cross in Gold. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-506 sank British ship City of Wellington 100 miles southwest of Freetown, British West Africa at 2243 hours; 7 were killed, 66 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Tambor sank Japanese collier Shinsei Maru No. 6 off Ponape, Senyavin Islands, Caroline Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
Australian New Guinea
  • 14 Zero fighters of Japanese 6th Air Group arrived at Lakunai airfield near Rabaul, New Britain. [CPC]
Australian Papua
  • Japanese 41st Infantry Regiment landed at Buna, Australian Papua; to the southeast, Australian 18th Infantry Brigade landed on the coast of Milne Bay. [Main Article | CPC]
British Western Pacific Territories
  • The first major assault by Japanese troops on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands by Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki and his 770 men commenced at about 0000 hours with poor intelligence that led him to severely underestimate American strength. At 0130 hours, a wave of 100 Japanese troops rushed across the river, supported by machine guns and mortar fire, only to be mowed down at the line manned by 2,500 Marines. At 0230 hours, another wave of 150 to 200 Japanese rushed again, suffering similar fates. A third wave attacked at 0500 hours, again suffering near 100% casualty rate. At 0700 hours, US 1st Marine Regiment counterattacked supported by light tanks and aircraft, enveloping and destroying the remnants of 2nd Battalion of Japanese 28th Infantry Regiment. The Battle of the Tenaru (Ilu) River ended with the Japanese suffering 740 killed (including Ichiki) and 15 captured; the Americans suffered 44 killed. During the day, men of the 2nd Battalion of the US 5th Regiment arrived at Guadalcanal from Tulagi as reinforcements. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille departed Rome, Italy for Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Aug 1942
German troops inspecting a British Daimler Scout Car captured during the failed raid on Dieppe, France, late Aug 1942USS Saratoga (left), USS Atlanta (right), and other warships off Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, 21 Aug 1942USS Washington off New York, New York, United States, 21 Aug 1942; note OS2U floatplane astern
21 Aug 1943
  • The I. G. Farben factory in Oppau, Germany increased the minimum requirement of work for forced laborers to 67 hours per week. [CPC]
  • Claude Auchinleck compromised in regards to Orde Wingate's demands, offering to provide him with five brigades (Wingate had wanted eight) for operations in Burma. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-354 pursued an Allied convoy off northern Russia to no success. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Bluefish arrived at Brisbane, Australia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Hoe departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii for her second war patrol. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Barbers Point Naval Air Station: More of Air Group 9 departed. Part of Air Group 5 departed. Part of Air Group 23 departed. [Main Article | DS]
  • George Patton apologized to Private Paul Bennett whom he slapped at the 93rd Evacuation Hospital for accused cowardice. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The authorities at the Birkenau women's camp at Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland selected 498 Jewish women considered unable to work for the gas chamber; 438 of them were Greeks. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Erich von Manstein authorized the retreat from Kharkov, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Aug 1944
  • USS Tang attacked a Japanese cargo ship with three torpedoes without success. [Main Article | CPC]
  • With Kriegsmarine support, the Germans opened a coastal corridor to German Armeegruppe Nord, but Hitler refused to authorize their withdrawal. [Main Article | TH]
  • HMS Orchis (Lieutenant Commander B. Harris) was mined and beached off Juno beach, Normandy, France. [AC]
  • USS Guitarro attacked a Japanese convoy off Luzon, Philippine Islands and sank cargo ship Uga Maru, hitting her with two of the four torpedoes fired. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Ray damaged a Japanese transport in the Philippine Islands, hitting her with 1 of 4 torpedoes fired. [Main Article | CPC]
  • French First Army enveloped Toulon, France. [Main Article | Facility | TH]
  • US Third Army reached Reims and Troyes southeast of Paris, France. [Main Article | TH]
  • James Johnson shot down two German Fw 190 fighters near Paris, France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Segundo departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii for her first war patrol. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • USS Harder assisted her wolfpack in the attack of a Japanese convoy off Palawan Bay, Mindoro, Philippine Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet 6th Guards Mechanized Corps separated German 6.Armee from the Romanian 3rd Army in northeastern Romania; as the Germans under Generaloberst Johannes Frießner fell back, Romanian troops began to refuse orders from German officers to engage the Soviets. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
United States
  • The US 15th Army was activated at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, United States by a transfer of a group of personnel from the US 4th Army. No general officer was included in the transfer. Major General John P. Lucas was commanding general designate of the new 15th Army in addition to his other duties. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Aug 1944
General Charles de Gaulle talking with General Dwight Eisenhower during an inspection of US troops at EisenhowerUS Army Lieutenant General Omar Bradley in his jeep near his headquarters at Granville, France, 21 Aug 1944USS South Dakota in Puget Sound, Washington, United States, 21 Aug 1944, photo 1 of 3; portside viewUSS South Dakota in Puget Sound, Washington, United States, 21 Aug 1944, photo 2 of 3; head-on view
See all photos dated 21 Aug 1944
21 Aug 1945
  • US President Harry Truman canceled all contracts under the Lend-Lease Act. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first major Japanese surrender ceremony in China took place at the Zhijiang Airfield in Zhijiang County, Hunan Province at 1600 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Xiao Yisu accepted the Japanese surrender at Zhijiang, Hunan Province, China, and for the following two weeks prepared for the main surrender to be taken place in the capital of Nanjing. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Missouri dispatched a 200-men party to USS Iowa for temporary duty with the initial occupation force for Tokyo, Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Oka Prisoners of War Camp in northern Taiwan was closed. [CPC]
United States
  • At Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States, American physicist Harry Daghlian, Jr. of the Manhattan Project accidentally dropped a tungsten carbide brick onto a plutonium bomb core and received a fatal dose of 510 rems of radiation. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Aug 1945
Lieutenant General Xiao Yisu speaking with the local Japanese surrender delegation, Zhijiang, Hunan Province, China, 21 Aug 1945
21 Aug 1954

  • Capitaine de vaisseau Quérangal des Essarts was named the commanding officer of Jeanne d'Arc. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Aug 1959

United States
  • Daniel Inouye became a representative in the United States Congress for the state of Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Aug 1965

United States
  • USS Wasp hosted 12 United States Congressmen. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Aug 1986

  • The General Government Building in Seoul, Korea became the home of the National Museum of Korea. [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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"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."

James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945