17 Jun 1940
  • Soviet troops entered Latvia and Lithuania without little resistance. In Estonia, although a Signal Battalion would resist in Tallinn until 21 Jun, the government, along with the Army and the Estonian Defence League militia organization, surrendered to Soviet occupation. NKO Commissar Semyon Timoshenko ordered the disbanding of the military organizations of the Baltic States, leaving the task of border protection to NKVD troops. In North America, the United States refused to recognize the Soviet occupation of the two Baltic countries. ww2dbase [Annexation of the Baltic States | CPC]
  • Winston Churchill announced to the British people that the United Kingdom would continue to fight until Adolf Hitler was removed from power. ww2dbase [Winston Churchill | CPC]
  • British unemployment figure decreased by 114,000 in May 1940 to a new low of 767,000. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-46 sank Greek ship Elpis 250 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain; the entire crew of 28 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • French Minister for Foreign Affairs Paul Baudouin privately informed Deputy US Ambassador to France Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr., that the French fleet "would never be surrendered to Germany". ww2dbase [Paul Baudouin | CPC]
  • US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold R. Stark asked for US$4,000,000,000 to construct a "Two-Ocean Navy". ww2dbase [Two-Ocean Navy Act | Harold Stark | CPC]
  • Heavy cruiser USS Quincy departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for Montevideo, Uruguay. ww2dbase [Quincy (New Orleans-class) | CPC]
  • The deposed German Emperor Wilhelm II sent a congratulatory telegram to Adolf Hitler regarding the victory over France. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov sent German Ambassador Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg a message of congratulations for the successful German conquest of France. ww2dbase [Vyacheslav Molotov | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • The 1,147-ton Norwegian merchant steamer Komet, built in 1912 by Laxevaags of Bergen as the Norwegian cargo steamer Pluto for B.Stolt-Nielsen of Haugesund and renamed Charles Schiaffino in 1921 and Komet in 1924, was bombed and sunk by German aircraft in the English Channel near Caen, France. Two of her crew were killed in the attack. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | English Channel | HM]
  • Prime Minister Philippe PĂ©tain ordered the French Army to stop fighting and sued for an honorable peace as the Germans crossed the Loire River near Orleans, France. Taking advantage of the initial demoralizing effect and confusion this caused, the German 7th Panzer Division under Erwin Rommel advanced 125 miles toward Cherbourg; to the east, tanks under Heinz Guderian reached the Swiss border at Pontalier, encircling 17 French divisions on the Maginot Line. Meanwhile, the Allied evacuation operation, Operation Ariel, continued in Cherbourg, Saint-Malo, Brest, and Saint-Nazaire. At Saint-Malo, private vessels of the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club of Jersey arrived to assist with the evacuations. In the Loire estuary near Saint-Nazaire, British passenger liner Lancastria, with 4,000 to 9,000 British civilians and military personnel on board, was sunk by three bombs by Ju 88 aircraft, causing about 3,000 deaths; it was the worst maritime loss in British history. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | TH, CPC]
  • The 7,405-ton British cargo/passenger ship Teiresias, built in 1914 by Hawthorn Leslie & Co. and owned by Blue Funnel Line, on voyage from Avonmouth, England, United Kingdom to Quiberon Bay, France in ballast, was sunk in an air raid by German bombers, off Saint-Nazaire, France. There was 1 casualty. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | HM]
  • Civilian contractors began expanding Puunene Airport on Maui, US Territory of Hawaii for US Navy use. ww2dbase [Puunene, Maui | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • The French sloop La Curieuse forced the Italian Marcello-class submarine Andrea Provana to surface off the coast of Oran, Algeria and then sank it by ramming; all 62 Italian submariners were killed. The French vessel also sustained heavy damage on her stem. This was the first Italian submarine to be sunk by the French Navy. ww2dbase [HM]
  • Morosini sighted a Spanish ship in the western Mediterranean Sea. ww2dbase [Morosini | CPC]

17 Jun 1940 Interactive Map

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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"Since peace is now beyond hope, we can but fight to the end."

Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937

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