20 Jun 1940
  • German battlecruiser Gneisenau and heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper departed Trondheim, Norway for operations near Iceland as a diversion for battleship Scharnhorst's cruise to Kiel, Germany for repairs. British submarine HMS Clyde detected Gneisenau and hit her with a torpedo 80 miles northwest of Trondheim and forced her to return for repairs. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • German battlecruiser Gneisenau and heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper departed Trondheim, Norway for operations near Iceland as a diversion for battleship Scharnhorst's cruise to Kiel, Germany for repairs. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Quincy reached Montevideo, Uruguay, as part of the American effort to counteract German propaganda in Latin America. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer USS O'Brien reached Buenos Aires, Argentina. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light cruiser Voroshilov was commissioned into service. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Although the French had already reached out to Rome for peace, the Italians were determined to capture French territory in order to bargain for colonial holdings in North Africa; 32 divisions organized in 2 armies stood ready on the Italian-French border. Meanwhile, German troops captured Brest and Lyons. 9,000 Polish soldiers fighting in France were evacuated from Bayonne aboard the Polish ships Batory and Sobieksi. Also on this date, British RAF bombers attacked the German-controlled airfield at Rouen, France. ww2dbase [Main Article | TH]
  • The British Parliament met in a secret joint session to discuss the defense against a potential German invasion. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Five weeks after the German conquest of the Netherlands, Dutch civilians began to be conscripted as forced laborers. During the war, 431,500 Dutch civilians would meet this fate. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarines U-30, U-38, U-48, and U-122 each sank a merchant vessel in the waters surrounding the United Kingdom and in the Bay of Biscay. In total, 61 were killed and 68 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Bureau of Ships was established in the United States with Rear Admiral Samuel M. Robinson as its chief; this new bureau replaced the former Bureau of Construction and Repair and the former Bureau of Engineering. Also, Office of Undersecretary of the Navy was created in the United States for duration of national emergency. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Vichy France opened northern Indochina to Japanese military mission and supporting troops. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • French fighter pilot James Denis commandeered a F.222 bomber, took on 19 passengers, and flew from France to Britain, where the group would later join the Free French Air Force. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Robert von Greim was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht radio report. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light cruiser USS Phoenix departed Lahaina, Maui, US Territory of Hawaii for the Panama Canal Zone. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • After sundown and into the next date, Lorraine bombarded Italian positions at Bardia, Libya. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer USS Herbert departed Lisbon, Portugal for French Morocco. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Lavrentiy Beria sent Joseph Stalin a list containing names of 232 Soviet prisoners of war returned by Finland and recommended everyone on the list to be executed; in fact, 158 of them had already been killed. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • American cruiser USS Vincennes and destroyers USS Truxton and USS Simpson arrived at New York, New York, United States with 200 tons of gold from the French reserves. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt nominated two well-known Republicans with pronounced pro-Ally sympathies, Henry Stimson and Frank Knox, to be Secretaries for War and the Navy respectively. ww2dbase [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Jun 1940
The Gantry Crane over the Pearl Harbor drydocks under construction, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 20 Jun 1940.

20 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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Famous WW2 Quote
"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