31 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-13 torpedoed and sank Norwegian steamer Start about halfway between Stavanger, Norway and Aberdeen, Scotland, killing the entire crew of 16. Start was carrying coal from Sunderland, northern England. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-21 fired two torpedoes at Danish ship Vidar, but both malfunctioned. A third torpedoed, however, struck Vidar 25 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland, killing 16 and rendering her dead in the water. Danish steamer Disko rescued 18 survivors while surviving a hit from another malfunctioning torpedo from U-21. Vidar would remain afloat until the next day. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Soviet forces gathered in the Summa sector in the Karelian Isthmus now grew to the size of 12 divisions and 400 heavy artillery pieces. ww2dbase [The Winter War | CPC]
  • Desperately short of aircraft, the British made a secret approach to Italy (not yet in the war) to buy fighters. The deal was later vetoed by Germany. ww2dbase [AC]
  • Sir John Simon of Britain announced that food subsidies were running at £1,000,000 per week. ww2dbase [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • HMS Acasta escorted HMS light cruiser Ajax into Plymouth, England, United Kingdom as Ajax returned from her engagement with German heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee in the South Atlantic. ww2dbase [Acasta | Plymouth, England | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 31 Jan 1940
Frozen dead Russian soldier in Finland, 31 Jan 1940

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

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"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935

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