Century 20 4 th. Decade
Century  20 1931-1940


Jan 2  In the US, the stock market's Dow Jones Industrial Average closes the day at 169. It will close the year at 77.9, less than half today's values.

Jan 5  Hjalmar Schacht, recent president of Germany's central bank, the Reichsbank, meets with Hitler and is impressed by Hitler's eloquence and the strength of his convictions. He will telephone politicians, urging that Hitler's political party, the National Socialists, be included in a coalition government.

Jan 11  In the US analysts are looking at previous economic crises and predicting a rapid recovery. An editorial in the New York Times claims that the worst is over and, with weaknesses having been squeezed out of the economy, a slow but sure recovery is imminent.

Jan 24  The League of Nations rebukes Poland for the mistreatment of a German minority in Upper Silesia.

Jan 26  In India, Britain releases Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other Congress Party members from prison.

Feb 1  The Hoover administration has added 245 agents to help deport 500,000 foreign-borns, to rid the country of agrarian protesters, subversives, communists and Mexicans, to improve Hoover's popularity and as one remedy for the Depression. (Wikipedia.) Law-abiding and hardworking Mexicans, men and women, well settled in the United States are rounded up with their children in police operations and dumped in Mexico. In Los Angeles County a Citizens Committee for Coordination for Unemployment Relief warns of 400,000 "deportable aliens," declaring: "We need their jobs for needy citizens." California will offer an apology in 2005, considered meaningless.

Feb 4  Stalin delivers his speech on industrialization. "To slacken the tempo," he says, "would mean falling behind. And those who fall behind get beaten."

Feb 9  President Hoover opposes a bill that would allow veterans to borrow against a pension fund. He calls the legislation a "breach of fundamental principle."

Feb 20  The Republican dominated US Congress gives California the approval it needs to start building a bridge from San Francisco to Oakland.

Mar 3  A legislative attempt to create a federal unemployment insurance program is rejected. President Hoover signs legislation that makes "The Star-Spangled Banner" the national anthem.

Mar 5  The British viceroy of India and Mohandas Gandhi sign an agreement that civil disobedience is discontinued, political prisoners are to be released, and the salt tax lifted.

Mar 16  In India a peaceful protest march by 250 Muslims is fired upon. Three demonstrators are killed on the spot. It will be known as the Kanpur Massacre.

Mar 17  Nevada legalizes gambling.

Mar 20  In the US a new Congress is seated. In the November elections the Republicans lost 52 seats in the House and 8 in the Senate, but they still lead in both bodies, 218 to 216 and 48 to 47, with one senate seat belonging to a member of the Farmer-Labor Party.

Mar 23  Britain hangs three revolutionaries fighting for India's independence: Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. They believed that violence was more effective than Gandhi's non-violence. They were charged with killing a British police officer.

Apr 6  A trial begins in Alabama for nine blacks, the Scottsboro Boys, accused of raping two white women, while riding on the freight train.

Apr 14  Elections have given anti-monarchists a majority in parliament. A republican government is formed, and King Alphonso flees to France.

May 1  In New York City, the 1-year and 45-day construction of 102-story Empire State Building has been completed, and the building is dedicated.

May 4  Speaking in private to Nazi party members, Hitler says, "We can achieve something only by fanaticism."

May 11  Credit Anstalt, Austria's biggest bank, declares bankruptcy.

Jun 17  Ho Chi Minh is in exile in Hong Kong, organizing against French rule in his Vietnam. British authorities imprison him.

Jun 20  President Hoover proposes that payments of all inter-governmental war debts and reparations be held up for one year in order to give European countries a "breathing spell."

Jun 24  Germany and the Soviet Union renew their Nonaggression Pact of 1926.

July  Farmers are getting less for their crops because demand has decreased - people having less money to buy. Farmers are getting the lowest price for their wheat crop since 1895. Many people are not eating enough.

Jul 16 Flooding begins in China that will last months, to be called the deadliest natural disaster. Many will die and tens of millions will be homeless.
Jul 14-15   German banking suffers from the banking disaster in Austria. German banks are suffering from too little cash. Money has been fleeing to safety abroad. Mistrust of banks has been growing. A run on banks has begun. The government stops the run by closing down all banking for two days. The Bank of England rescues German banking. The French are alarmed and withdraw their gold from Britain.

Jul 26  With the powers of God in mind, a Christian "restorationist" movement in the US changes from calling itself The Bible Students and adopts the name Jehovah's Witnesses.

Aug 1 In the Soviet Union the collectivization program continues. Fifty-eight percent of farmer holdings are collectivized compared to 24 percent at the first of the year. Peasants are resisting, and they and their families are being rounded up and sent into exile. Such families are to number around 300,000 for the year.

Aug 24-25  Because of the financial crisis, Britain's Labour government resigns.

Sep 18  From their base in Manchuria, where they had been stationed to protect Japanese industries, Japanese army officers send their troops on an offensive. Within three months, with support from common Japanese, Japanese troops will advance throughout Manchuria. It is a rude shock to the world, including China's neighbor, the Soviet Union. Some will describe this as the beginning of World War II.

Sep 21 The Bank of England quits the gold standard. Britain's currency, the pound, will no longer be backed by gold. Britain's gold supply had been dwindling and Britain had been suffering from a trade imbalance, and, on the gold standard, countries with little gold had difficulty buying British goods. Creating a cheaper pound should make British goods more competitive on the world market and as a result thre can be more business done with other countries. Most of the world's gold supply has been in the United States. The severe imbalance in gold distribution combined with a gold standard of monetary exchange has been inhibiting world trade, along with high tariff barriers.

Oct 9  In the US deflation, not inflation, is a problem. High interest rates will be a tool used to end inflation. The Federal Reserve Board raises interest rates in order to end more withdrawals of funds and gold from the US by Europeans. Rather than contribute to economic recovery, higher interest rates will make borrowing money more difficult. It contributes to bank failures, and, during October, 522 commercial banks will close their doors. The money supply declines and a decline in output and prices will become more virulent.

Oct 10  Adolf Hitler meets President Hindenburg for the first time. Hindenburg does not like Hitler but he dislikes Social Democrats more. To prevent them from forming a government in Germany's parliamentary system, he is considering adding the Nazi party to an anti-left anti-Marxist, coalition.

Oct 17  In the US, Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion.

Oct 25   In New York the George Washington Bridge is dedicated and opens for traffic.

Oct 27  In Britain a national coalition government drawn from all political parties forms under the previous prime minister, Ramsey MacDonald. The bulk of the Labour party does not follow MacDonald into the coalition government.

Nov 20  AT&T begins its teletype service.

Nov 29 The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany holds that it is impossible to defeat fascism without first defeating the Social Democrats. Comintern policy has denounced the Social Democrats as "social fascists." The Social Democrats are under attack by Hitler and his party for being Marxists and traitors. And the Social Democrats are seeking an anti-fascist alliance.

Dec 8  President Hoover delivers his State of the Union message. He says "...we find fundamental national gains even amid depression. In meeting the problems of this difficult period, we have witnessed a remarkable development of the sense of cooperation in the community. For the first time in the history of our major economic depressions there has been a notable absence of public disorders and industrial conflict. Above all there is an enlargement of social and spiritual responsibility among the people. The strains and stresses upon business have resulted in closer application, in saner policies, and in better methods."

Dec 11  The British parliament makes Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland and Ireland "fully independent dominions equal in status to but closely associated with the mother country" and part of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Dec 13  Japan goes off the gold standard.

Dec 28  In Italy a new law requires school teachers and college professors to take an oath of allegiance to Mussolini's fascist state. In the US, Time magazine writes that In the past week 1,138 of Italy's 1,225 school teachers and college professors have done so." Only twelve professors in all of Italy refuse to do so.

Jan 7  In response to Japan's military expansion in Manchuria, the US Secretary of State declares the Stimson Doctrine: the non-recognition of territorial changes executed by force.

Jan 8  The principle leader of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, forbids church remarriage of a divorced person.

Jan 28  Japan lands troops at Shanghai on January 28 in response to expressions of hostility by Chinese citizens there. They challenge a Chinese army unit in the vicinity. And a Japanese aircraft carrier shells Chinese targets in support of its troops. Fighting extends into February.

Jan 1-31 Stalin's Five-Year Plan ends this year. The Soviet government is rationing food in cities and has been requisitioning food for export to pay for the industrialization. Peasants hostile to the collectivization program have been burning their crops, destroying their tools and their livestock. Famine exists. It will be estimated that during this year a million peasants die.

Feb 2  A general disarmament convention begins in Geneva. It will last into 1934 and become bogged down over the difference between offensive and defensive weapons.

Feb 2  The Reconstruction Finance Corporation, chartered by the Hoover administration, begins its operation. It is to give $2 billion in aid to state and local governments and make loans to banks, railroads, farm mortgage associations, and other businesses, but it fails to distribute much of its funds.

Feb 25  Adolf Hitler obtains German citizenship by naturalization, opening the opportunity for him to run in the 1932 election for Reichspräsident.

Mar 2  A fascist movement, dedicated to outlawing Communists, takes over the town of Mantsala, not far from Helsinki. The coup fails. The fascists will call for and receive protection of rights guaranteed them by Finland's constitution, which they hope to destroy.

Mar 2  Chinese forces withdraw from the Shanghai area.

Mar 7  In Dearborn, Michigan, four people are killed when police fire upon 3,000 unemployed autoworkers marching outside the Ford automobile factory.

Mar-Apr  In an interview with a German journalist, Emil Ludwig, Mussolini says, "Yes" [a dictator can be loved] "provided that the masses fear him at the same time. The crowd loves strong men. The crowd is like a woman. " According to Ludwig he later adds: "For me the masses are nothing but a herd of sheep, so long as they are unorganized. I am nowise antagonistic to them. All that I deny is that they are capable of ruling themselves. "

Apr 10  Hindenburg wins re-election as Germany's president with the support of moderates who vote for him in an effort to defeat Hitler.

May 15  Japanese troops leave Shanghai. Chiang Kai-shek will now begin the first phase of his fourth "Communist suppression" expedition near the northern border of Hunan Province in the south.

May 15  In Japan, naval officers, army cades and right-wing civilians attempt to overthrow the government. They assassinate Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi. They also wanted to kill his guest, Charlie Chaplin, but they failed. During their trial they will proclaim their loyalty to the Emperor, arouse patriotic sympathies and receive light sentences.

May 29  The first of approximately 15,000 unemployed veterans arrive in Washington, D.C. demanding full payment of the bonus promised them for serving in the World War.

Jun 1  German chancellor Heinrich Brüning resigns. President Hindenburg asks fellow monarchist Franz von Papen to form a new government. Papen will have little support in parliament or from the public. A crisis in who is to be chancellor is in the making.

Jun 4  Unhappiness with the economy inspires Chile's Air Force, led by Commodore Grove, to overthrow a democratically elected government. A Socialist Republic is proclaimed. Executive power is vested in a junta that includes representation from the other military services.
Jun 6  Congress and the Hoover administration create the nation's first gas tax.

Jun 15  The Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay begins over a largely uninhabited region, the Gran Chaco, that was never clearly a part of either country but is now believed to have oil. The war will last three years.

Jul 6  Antonio de Oliveira Salazar becomes prime minister of Portugal. He is a defender of the Catholic Chuch and has the backing of monarchists. He tends toward authoritarianism and will be in power for the next 36 years.

Jul 8  The Dow Jones Industrial Average bounces off its lowest level: 41.22.

Jul 17  In Altona, a communist suburb of Hamburg, 6,000 Nazis march. A Communist on a rooftop fires into the Nazis, and Nazis shoot back. Eighteen are killed. Street fighting follows in Berlin, Cologne and Munich.

Jul 28  The veterans in Washington, now known as the Bonus Army, have been camping in a park near the capital. Attorney General Mitchell orders the Washington police to evacuate them. The veterans resist and the police fire upon them, killing two. President Hoover then orders the army to effect the evacuation.

Jul 31  This July, Stalin was describing talk of starvation as an excuse for laziness by the peasants who didn't want to work and laziness by those who didn't want too discipline them. He was blaming the famine not on his own policy but on betrayal by the Ukrainian communist party, a matter of implementation rather his collectivization as a concept. Stalin saw a plot by Ukrainian party members directed against him personally, and he expressed fear that, "we could lose the Ukraine." (Bloodlands, by Timothy Snyder, p 37)

Sepr 23  The Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd is renamed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Oct 3  Iraq leaves behind rule by Britain, under a League of Nations mandate, and becomes nominally independent and a League member. Its chief of state is King Faisal, a British creation and looked upon by many in Iraq as a foreigner. Faisal will continue to avoid defying the British.

Oct 25  Mussolini promises to remain as Italy's dictator for 30 years.

Nov 7  The space comic strip, Buck Rogers, begun in 1929, graduates to radio.

Nov 8  In the US presidential election, the Democrat, New York's governor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, receives 57.4 percent of the vote and defeats the incumbent, Herbert Hoover. Hoover wins Maine and Pennsylvania. Socialist Norman Thomas receives 2.2 percent and 8.5 votes for every 1 vote for William Z. Foster, Communist Party candidate. The Democrats become the majority party in Congress: 60-35 in the Senate, 310-113 in the House. The Republicans will not have their comeback until 1952.

Nov 21  German president Hindenburg begins negotiations with Adolf Hitler about the formation of a new government.

Dec 21  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are together for the first time in their movie "Flying Down to Rio."

Dec 31  Attacks by Chinese guerrilla forces against the Japanese in various areas of Manchuria have subsided. Japan's is now focusing on bringing the province of Jehol, just north of the Great Wall, under its control.

Jan 5  In California, construction of the Golden Gate Bridge begins.

Jan 28  Some Muslims in India have joined together to work for independence and separation. The word Pakistan comes into being.

Jan 30  Adolf Hitler begins his first government service as the Germany's Reichskanzier (chancellor or prime minister), appointed by President Hindenburg. Many expect him to start fixing Germany's problems.

Jan 30  In the United States, another to be known for fixing people's troubles, the Lone Ranger, begins his program on radio.

Feb 1  Chancellor Hitler delivers his "Proclamation" to the German Nation." It begins: "More than fourteen years have passed since the unhappy day when the German people, blinded by promises from foes at home and abroad, lost touch with honor and freedom, thereby losing all." Well into his speech he says that, "Communism with its method of madness is making a powerful and insidious attack upon our dismayed and shattered nation." He promises to end the nation's economic distress and attendant personal miseries, and ends: "May God Almighty give our work His blessing, strengthen our purpose, and endow us with wisdom and the trust of our people, for we are fighting not for ourselves but for Germany."

Feb 9  At Oxford University, with World War I in mind, students debate the resolution that "this House will in no circumstance fight for king and country." The resolution passes. A similar sentiment is prevalent at US universities.

Feb 27-28  Germany's parliament building, the Reichstag, is set afire. The fire is described as the work of Communists trying to overthrow the government. The public accepts the explanation. An emergency decree is passed, nullifying some rights of all German citizens and allowing their "preventive detainment." Communist Party leaders are arrested.

Mar 4  To a gathering at the Berlin Sportspalace, Hitler associates Marxism with the mass starvation in the Ukraine, and he associates Marxism with both communists and Germany's Social Democrats, blurring over the differences between these two groups, while communists were avoiding an alliance with the Social Democrats and calling them frauds and "social fascists." Stalin is on a similar tack, lumping his political opponents into a single group he calls "fascists."

Mar 4  Franklin Roosevelt takes office.

Mar 5  Roosevelt closes banks for a few days in order to stop "heavy and unwarranted withdrawals of gold and currency" and to stop "increasingly extensive speculative activity." Other issues are involved. Roosevelt is beginning his move against deflation.

Mar 5  In Germany, elections for parliament are held. Hitler's party wins 43.9 percent rather than the more than 50 percent that Hitler was expecting. He is forced to maintain a coalition with the German National People's Party. The Nazis begin a boycott of Jewish businesses throughout Germany.

Mar 12  President Roosevelt delivers his first "fireside chat." He begins: "I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking." He goes on to say, "Some of our bankers had shown themselves either incompetent or dishonest in their handling of the people's funds. They had used the money entrusted to them in speculations and unwise loans."

Mar 15  The Dow Jones Industrial Average rises from 53.84 to 62.10, a gain of 15.34 percent. This will be the Dow's largest one-day percentage gain.

Mar ??  Critics on the right worried that Roosevelt was a Communist, a socialist or the tool of a Jewish conspiracy. Critics on the left complained his policies didn't go far enough. Some of Roosevelt's opponents didn't stop at talk. Though it's barely remembered today, there was a genuine conspiracy to overthrow the president.

Mar 20  Heinrich Himmler, Hitler's SS paramilitary leader, opens the first Nazi concentration camp, at Dachau.
Mar 23  Chancellor Hitler has moved for a vote in the Reichstag that allows him to make laws without consulting the Reichstag - the Enabling Act. He describes the German people as having been a victim of fourteen years of treason while under the Social Democrats and his party, the National Socialists as also having been victimized. He claims that the Social Democrats allowed Germany to be dictated to by foreign powers. He ends his speech saying that "the first and foremost task of the Government to bring about inner consensus with his aims... The rights of the Churches will not be curtailed and their position vis-à-vis the State will not be altered." Support for the Enabling Act is given by the Centre Party, and the previous jailing of Communist delegates allows Hitler the two-thirds majority he needs for passage. The Enabling Act passes, and President Hindenburg on this same day, signs it into law.

Mar 27  Japan's military expansion in Manchuria has been condemned in the League of Nations. Forty-four nations in the League's assembly have moved to penalize Japan by not recognizing its territory in Manchuria: Manchuokuo. Japan announces its intent to withdraw from the League of Nations.

Mar 31  The world's economic crisis is accompanied by a temporary end to Uruguay's democracy. Gabriel Terra, president since 1931, dissolves parliament and begins ruling by decree. The constitution is abrogated, newspapers are censored and university professors are jailed or put in isolation on an island, the “Isla de Flores.”

Apr 5  President Roosevelt declares a national emergency and issues Executive Order 6102, making it illegal for US citizens to own gold.

Apr 7  In the United States, beer that is no more than 3.2 percent alcohol is made legal again.

Apr 19  The United States officially abandons the gold standard of exchange - except for a few gold coins. The move allows the government more flexibility in adjusting the money supply.

Jul 1  What began as suppression of communists is being extended to other political opponents of the Nazis. By now in Germany it is illegal to belong to any political party other han the Nazis. Germany is becoming a single-party state. Germany's communist party is not allowed the 81 seats it has won in elections. (Bloodlands, p 63)

Jul 20  The Vatican signs a concordant with the new German government. Pope Pius XI, who dislikes fascism, sees Germany as a bulwark against Communism which he believes is the greatest danger to civilization.

Sep 8 King Faisal, of the Hashim (Hashimite) family, friend of the British and ruler of Iraq, dies of a heart attack while in Switzerland. He is to be succeeded by his son, Faisal II.

Oct 8  In Germany, Ewald Banse, a school teacher, has written a book that describes the League of Nations as having forbidden biological warfare. But, Banse asserts, with national survival at stake "every method is permissible." The German government is concerned about Germany's image abroad, bans the book and orders all copies confiscated. (Human Smoke, p. 44-45.)

Oct 14  Germany announces its withdrawal from the League of Nations.

Oct 17  Albert Einstein arrives in the United States as a refugee from Germany.

Oct 17  Hitler assures the US ambassador that attacks on Americans for not giving the Hitler salute would end attacks by young toughs who might not have recognized the Americans as foreigners.

October  In Egypt, the "Young Egypt" (Misr al-Fatah) paramilitary movement begins, modeled after Hitler's National Socialists, with Green (for Islam) shirts, the Roman (Nazi) salute and translations of Nazi slogans. Its leader is Ahmed Husayn. Two fifteen-year-old members are Gamal Abdel-Nasser and Anwar Sadat.

Nov 8  Roosevelt unveils the Civil Works Administration, an organization designed to create jobs for more than 4 million of the unemployed, which will pump more money into the economy.

Nov 11-13  The prairie grasses that had previously held the soil have been replaced by plowing. Winds blow dry topsoil across the Dakotas, Oklahoma, Kansas and nearby states in what for the year is a series of dust storms.

Dec 19  Rains have been continuous for days, and the great Los Angeles flood is on its way, to be sung about by Woody Guthrie. Thunder rocks the Los Angeles area, and lightning marks a signicant event. Margaret Smitha, 24, native Californian, bookkeeper at Van Ausdall motors, near the corner of Santa Monica and Doheny boulevards in West Hollywood, wife of Carl Smitha, auto mechanic at Van Ausdall Motors, gives birth to a boy they name Frank.

Dec 31  This year "some two hundred thousand Germans were locked up, most of them men seen as left-wing opponents of the regime ... most of these peple were released after short periods" - a strategy of intimidation. (Bloodlands, p 63)

Dec 31  This year in the Ukrainian Soviet Republic, "a few tens of thousands of city dwellers actually died of starvation ... the result of Stalin's First Five-Year Plan ... He had trasnformed the market into the plan, farmers into slaves, and the wastes of Siberia and Kazakhstan into a chain of concentration camps." (Bloodlands, p 23-24)

Jan 7  In Germany, Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch communist charged with having set the Reichstage fire, is executed in Germany.

Jan 26  Hitler's government signs a ten-year non-aggession pact with Poland.

Jan 26  In New York City's Harlem district the Apollo Theater opens.

Feb 6  Rightists riot in Paris and other French cities in an attempt to overthrow a leftist coalition government. A political crisis follows.

Feb 9  In France, a new government is formed by a conservative: Gaston Doumergue.

Feb 12-16   The Austrian government issues a decree dissolving all political parties except for Chancellor Dollfuss' Fatherland Front. The government conducts a series of raids against the Social Democrats and the labor movement. They resist in four days of civil war and are crushed. The religiously pious chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuss, establishes a dictatorship.

Feb 16  Britain and the Soviet Union agree to promote trade between their countries.

Feb 23  In Nicaragua, Sandino returns for new talks. Upon leaving the presidential palace he is gunned down by the National Guard, led by Anastasio Somoza.

Feb 24  Nicaragua's National Guard attacks Sandinista cooperative farms and massacres their inhabitants.

Mar 1  In Japanese-ruled Manchukuo, Pu-Yi, the last of the Qing dynasty, is crowned monarch.

Mar 16  In Morocco, French forces crush three weeks of revolt by Berbers.

Apr 4  The Soviet Union fears a resurgent Germany. It extends its non-aggression pact with Poland and is beginning a massive armament program.

Apr 7  The Soviet Union and Finland renew their non-aggression pact for another ten years. This month the Finnish government outlaws civilians wearing uniforms and political emblems.

Apr 9-12  In the US there are more dust storms.

Apr 21-24  Dust is blown from the Dakotas to eastern Tennessee.

Apr 22  At the Little Bohemia Lodge, near Mercer Wisconsin, the FBI mistakenly shoot a local resident and two Civilian Conservation Corps workers. This alerts John Dillinger and his gang, and they escape, shooting as they go.

May 1  Austria negotiates a concordat with the Vatican which gives the Church in Austria wide powers over education.
May 1-31  The Dutch parliament grants the government emergency powers to regulate trade and industry and to control the activities of extremist political movements. The government prohibits National Socialists (Nazis), Revolutionary Socialists and Socialists from holding political office. Despite these measures, the National Socialists will continued to increase in number.

May 9  A strike by longshoremen begins in San Francisco. It will shut down US ports along the Pacific coast and frustrate businesses that want their goods moved. The Longshoremen want a six-hour day and a hiring hall to replace the company-operated waterfront hall.

May 11-12  More dust storms in the US West, the most severe to date. An estimated 350 million tons of topsoil is blown to the east coast.

May 23 In the Soviet Union, a fear of Germany and fascism is followed by an article in Pravda that signals switch to working with other parties, including Social Democrats, a new position for the Communist International that will be known as the United Front. The Soviet Union is posturing as a defender of European civilization, and fascism is characterised as a corruption of dying capitalism.

Jun 14-15  Adolf Hitler makes a state visit to Italy, intending to create closer relations between himself and Mussolini.

Jun 18 The French begin airline service between their colony Algeria and Brazzaville in the French Congo.

Jun 30 to Jul 1  Hitler sends Göring and Himmler's SS against Ernst Röhm and his lieutenants - leaders of the Nazi Party's 2.5 million paramilitary "Brown Shirts." They are executed, and the opportunity is taken to murder some old enemies of Hitler's movement. Total killed is 116.

Jul 2  Röhm had been Hitler's close friend and associate in the 1920s. Hitler wants respectabiity and to bury homosexuality. He pretends to be shocked at Röhm's homosexuality. President Hindenburg has been told of different motivations. He publicly thanks Hitler for his "determined action and gallant personal intervention which have nipped treason in the bud and rescued the German people from great danger."

July  Regarding recent killings In Germany, DorothyThompson is to say: "I never met anyone in Germany, except a few intellectuals, who minded that these people did not have a trial. It was a though they had forgotten that there ever had been such a thing as law." (Hitlerland, by Andrew Nagorski, p.166)

Jul 5  The Longshoremen's strike on the Pacific coast has what is called "Bloody Thursday." A policeman fires a shotgun, killing a striking seaman and a strike sympathizer. The stike will go on for weeks. Teamsters are hurting and their leadership wants the Longshoremen to compromise, otherwise, they warn, the Teamsters will send their men as strikebreakers.

Jul 10  The French open a 300-mile rail line that connects Brazzaville to the Atlantic coast at Pointe Noire. Construction involved forced labor for ten years that killed nearly ten thousand.

Jul 22  In Chicago, the FBI kills John Dillinger after he leaves a movie theatre.

Jul 28  Speaking in Honolulu, President Roosevelt describes the build up of military forces there as "an instrument of continuing peace." In Japan, General Kunishiga Tanaka describes it as "insolent behavior" worthy of suspicion. (Human Smoke, p. 51.)

Aug 2  President Hindenburg dies. Adolf Hitler becomes head of state as well as chancellor. Not caring for democracy Hitler doesn't want the title "president." He accepts that title "Leader" (Führer).

Aug 8  Germany's armed forces swear a personal oath of loyalty not to the state but to Adolf Hitler.

Oct 16  Under pressure of Chiang Kai-shek's forces, Communists begin a "Long March" that will take them across 6,000 miles, 18 mountain ranges and 24 rivers before they reach a safe haven in the northwestern province of Shensi.

Oct 22  Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, 30, who escaped with Dillinger from the Little Bohemia Lodge and killed a lawman in the process, is killed by FBI agents near East Liverpool, Ohio.

Dec 1  In the Soviet Union, Politburo member Sergei Kirov is shot and killed at the Communist Party headquarters in Leningrad. Decades later, Stalin will be thought to have ordered the murder.

Dec 5  In Turkey, a constitutional amendment gives women the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

Dec 8  Mail service by air begins between England and Australia.

Dec 19  The Japanese government renounces naval limitations agreed to in the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930.

Dec 31  By now in Italy, all elementary school teachers must wear the black shirt of the fascist party whenever they are in school.

Jan 1  Italy joins two of its colonies, Tripoli and Cyrenaica, into what will be known as Libya.

Jan 1  By now, unemployment in the United States has fallen from its high of around 25 percent down to around 17 percent, but it is more than three times Sweden's and still a long way from its 1929 level of 3.2 percent. Since 1932, farm income has increased by more than 50 percent.

Jan 11  Amelia Earhart flies solo from Honolulu to Oakland, California, in 17 hours and 7 minutes.

Jan 13  A plebiscite is held in Germany's coal producing region, Saarland, which has been under League of Nations jurisdiction. The results show that 90.3 percent of those voting wish to rejoin Germany.

Jan 16  The FBI kills Fred and "Ma" Barker. The myth is to prevail that "Ma" Barker, an elderly grandmother, was the mastermind and an active member of the Barker gang criminal activities. The FBI is to report that she died with a Thompson machine gun at her side, to justify the FBI killing her in a shootout.

Jan 20  The Soviet Union signs a secret accord with Japan, recognizing Japan's control over the South Manchurian Railway (which links to Liaodong Peninsula) and Japan's recognition of full Soviet authority over the Chinese Eastern Railway (which links to Vladivostok). The Revolution's leaders had promised the world never to engage in secret diplomacy.

Jan 28  Iceland becomes the first country to legalize abortion on medical grounds.

Feb 10 Hitler describes the Soviet Union as a menace to peace.

Feb 22  In the US, civilian aircraft are prohibited from flying over the White House.

Feb 26  The Soviet Union is doesn't want in hostile Japan to its east while facing fascist Germany to its west. The Soviet Union's ambassador to China secretly recognizes the validity of Japan's 1915 Twenty-One Demands on China, an anathema to the Chinese.

Mar 1  Saarland officially rejoins Germany. Hitler has announced that Germany has no more territorial claims against France (in other words no claim on Alsace and Lorraine) and he has spoken of the Saarland as a decisive step on the road to gradual reconciliation among First World War belligerents.

Mar 10  Hitler in recent days has said that the British should get used to dealing with Germany on an equal footing. Hermann Göring (Goering), Minister of Aviation, announces the existence of an air force, a German violation of the Versailles Treaty.

March  The National Council of Jewish Women in New York City describe Hitler as a "world menace."

Mar 13  President Roosevelt grants Pan Am Airways permission to build runways on the islands of Wake, Midway and Guam. Japanese military analysts complain.

Mar 16   The Versailles Treaty allows Germany to have no more than 100,000 men under arms. Adolf Hitler orders conscription for all able-bodied men reaching the age 19, violating the Versailles Treaty.
Mar 21  Persia is renamed Iran.

April 1  Near the Aleutian and Midway islands, the US is holding naval exercises called Fleet Problem V - a simulated response to an attack on the Hawaiian Islands - with 160 warships and 450 aircraft. An American peace group, The Fellowship of Reconciliation, sends a letter to the Japanese people and a copy to Roosevelt saying they are opposed to these maneuvers. The Japanese admiralty complains about the maneuvers. "That's too damn bad," says Admiral Standley, Chief of Naval Operations. (Human Smoke, p 54-55.)

Apr 14  In the American West, dust storms have been occurring occasionally since November 1933. Today a dust storm covering eastern New Mexico and Colorado, and western Oklahoma, turns day into night.

May 2  With Hitler's Germany in mind, the Soviet Union and France sign a treaty promising to join the other should either be the victim of unprovoked aggression.

May 6  Democrats in Congress and President Roosevelt create the Works Progress Administration (WPA), an economic stimulus program that is to continue until 1943. It is to cost billions and to employ millions. Conservatives dislike the spending and refer to WPA project inefficiency as "We Poke Along."   Some conservatives describe Roosevelt as taking the US down the road to Communism.

May 24  The first night-time Major League Baseball game is played - between the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies.

May 27  A conservative US Supreme Court declares the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional.

Jun 10   Three years of war between Bolivia and Paraguay ends. The settlement is to Paraguay's advantage. Paraguay gets control over most of the Gran Chaco, which does not have the oil it was thought to have. Paraguay has suffered 43,000 casualties, Bolivia 57,000. A final treaty clearly marking the boundaries between the two countries will not be signed until April 28, 2009.

Jun 18  Britain and Germany sign an agreement that allows the German navy to be 35 percent the size of Britain's in naval tonnage.

Aug 14   President Roosevelt signs into law the Social Security Act. Up to now children were obliged to support their elderly parents.

Aug 20  The Seventh Comintern Congress ends and confirms Stalin's change in strategy. The Comintern demands that member communist parties to drop attacks on Social Democrats and other reformists and forge antifascist coalitions.

Sep 8  Carl Weiss murders Louisiana's Senator Huey Long.

Sep 13  Howard Hughes sets an airspeed record of 352 miles (566 kilometers) per hour.

Sep 15  The Nuremberg Laws go into effect in Germany. Jews are denied the rights of German citizenship. Marriage and extramarital relations between Jews and "Aryans" are prohibited.

Sep 30  President Roosevelt dedicates Boulder (Hoover) Dam.

Oct 2-3  Mussolini's Italian army invades Ethiopia. The League of Nations declares Italy to be in violation of the League's sanctions against aggression.  Time magazine will describe the invasion as a "civilizing mission" and ridicule the Ethiopians.

Oct 25  About 20,000 survivors of the Long March arrive at Yenan, in the far north of China, where they are able to recuperate. The Communist Party has been reduced to about 40,000, and Mao Zedung has emerged at the top of the Party's leadership.

Nov 1  New York's governor, Herbert Lehman, asks President Roosevelt to increase the immigration quota for Jews. Roosevelt says there is no quota specifically for Jews. The request is denied.

Nov 3  Non-secret balloting run by a military regime in Greece produces 95 percent in favor of restoring Greece's monarchy. Time magazine will write that a voter "could drop into the ballot box a blue vote for [King] George II and please General George Kondylis... or one could cast a red ballot for the Republic and get roughed up."

Nov 14  A general in Britain allows Stanley Baldwin to return as prime minister. His Conservative Party has a large but reduced majority.

Nov 22  Pan Am begins airmail service from San Francisco to Manila. The plane is a Martin M-130 flying boat with a wingspan of 130 feet, the largest aircraft in world service.

Nov 25  George II, who had been living in London, returns to Greece.

Dec 9  At Tiananmen Square, students and others protest Chiang Kai-shek's continued “nonresistance” against the Japanese. City police use violence to suppress the students, turning fire hoses on them in the near-freezing weather. The demonstration inspires anti-Japanese resistance groups to sprout up around elsewhere in China.

Dec 27  Mao Zedong issues the Wayaobu Manifesto, calling for a National United Front against Japanese imperialism.

Dec 31  Soviet manufacturing is more than five times what it was in Russia in 1913. Russia's world share in manufacturing is 13 percent, compared to 33 percent for the United States. Germany is third at 11 percent.

Dec 31  A best-selling book by Walter Millis, Road to War, has been giving people a new vision about World War I. Some in the US are saying that Americans had been "saps" or "suckers."

Jan 1  Sweden has recovered from the Depression. Its industrial production has risen 50 percent above what it had been in 1929, and unemployment has returned to 5 percent. Unemployment in the US is around 15 percent, about half what it was in 1932.

Jan 1  Britain's King George V dies. His eldest son, Prince Edward of York and Cornwall, succeeds him, becoming Edward VIII, King of Great Britain, Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India.

Feb 16  An election gives rise to a "Popular Front" government in Spain, ending two years of rule by a coalition of center and rightist parties. Peasants will take this as a signal to seize land. Strikes will erupt against employers. Anarchists will begin setting fire to churches, monasteries and the homes and offices of capitalists. Armed robberies against common people will skyrocket in Barcelona.

Feb 26  In Japan, a cabal of junior military officers believes that the government is inadequate in meeting what they perceive to be the threat from the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States. While believing they are being loyal to the emperor, they lead 1,500 men in a murderous attempt to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Keisuke Okada.

Feb 29  In Japan the coup has failed. Emperor Hirohito orders the Army to arrest 123 coup conspirators. Nineteen of them will be executed in July.

Mar 1  In the US, construction of Hoover Dam is completed.

Mar 7  In violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany reoccupies its Rhineland, Hitler believing that France and Britain will not oppose his move militarily.

Mar 9  Japan's pro-democracy prime minister, Okada Keisuke, a former admiral, steps down and is replaced by Koki Hirota, who is weaker in standing up to the military.

Mar 12  Winston Churchill is upset about the Rhineland. In Britain's House of Commons he speaks of danger to parliamentary nations from heavily armed dictatorships. He complains that the spirit of the British people is being tamed and cowed "with peace films, anti-recruiting propaganda and resistance to defense measures." Churchill is denounced as a scaremonger and warmonger.

Mar 12  Communists outside the Soviet Union are fixated on attempts that have been made to destroy the Soviet Revolution. Harry Pollitt, General Secretary of Britain's Communist Party, says that "the trials in Moscow represent a new triumph in the history of progress."

Apr 19  Arabs in Palestine rebel against British colonialism and the increase in Jewish immigration. They kill nine Jews in Jaffa. Jewish homes are set afire, shops looted and orchards destroyed. Struggling for independence, the Arabs stage strikes, boycotts and demonstrations. Trying to maintain order, British soldiers kill more than 140 Muslims. The rebellion will last to November and cause the British to adjust their policy regarding Jewish immigration to Palestine.

May 5  Italy's invasion of Ethiopia has been underway since October. Italian forces have been using mustard gas in artillery shells and bombs. They take Ethiopia's capital city, Addis Ababa. Haile Selassi goes into exile.

May 7  Italy annexes Ethiopia.

May 9  Italy unites Eritrea, Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland into what it calls Italian East Africa.

Jun 19  Max Schmeling knocks out Joe Louis in the twelfth round of their heavyweight boxing match at Yankee Stadium in New York City. In Germany people are ecstatic. German-Americans in New York City march arm-in-arm.

Jun 27  The Soviet government issues a decree prohibiting abortions. The government increases financial help to mothers and to families with multiple children. And It expands the availability of obstetrical services and childcare facilities.

Jul 17  General Manuel Goded Llopis and General Francisco Franco begin a rebellion against Spain's "Popular Front" government. The rebels gain the support of Germany and Italy.

Aug 1  The Summer Olympics open in Berlin.

Aug 3  At the Berlin Olympics, Jesse Owens, a black man from the United States, upsets Hitler by winning the 100-meter dash.

Aug 8  France closes its border with Spain.
Aug 19  In Spain, members of the fascist group "Escuadra Negra" kidnap the poet Garcia Lorca and force him to dig his own grave. They execute him. Later they will say they did so because he was a homosexual.

Aug 20  In the Soviet Union, a show trial begins for sixteen accused of being members of a "Trotskyite" terrorist conspiracy. The accused include two former high-ranking Bolsheviks, Kamenev and Zinoviev. The trial is to be described by Arthur Koestler in his famous novel Darkness at Noon.

Aug 25  The sixteen on trial in the Soviet Union have been sentenced and are shot. Trotsky has been sentenced to death in absentia.

Sep 29  In Spain, Franco is given the title "Generalissimo" by his colleagues.

Oct 27  In Madrid, Spain's republican government receives its first shipment of Soviet tanks.

Nov 5  Italy's Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pius XII, visits President Roosevelt and says "The great danger in America is that it will go communist." He adds: "Mr. President, you simply do not understand the terrible importance of the communist movement." Roosevelt responds,"You just don't understand the American people". (David I Kertzer, The Pope and Mussolini, p 250.)

Nov 12  In California, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opens to traffic.

Nov 25  The Abraham Lincoln Brigade sails from New York City on its way to Spain to join other "international brigades" attempting to defend Spain's leftist government.

Nov 26  Germany and Japan sign an "anti-Comintern Pact" directed against the Communist International (the Comintern) and the Soviet Union.

Dec 5  A new Soviet constitution goes into effect, to be known as the Stalin Constitution. It repeals restrictions on voting, adds universal direct suffrage and the right to work, rest and leisure. It guarantees health protection, care in old age, housing and education benefits. The constitution is largely the brainchild of Stalin's Bolshevik comrade, Nikolai Bukharin.

Dec 11  Edward VIII has abdicated. He becomes the Duke of Windsor and is succeeded by George VI.

Dec 12  In China, the deputy commander-in-chief of Chiang Kai-shek's armies takes him prisoner. Chiang is told to direct the country's energies toward fighting the Japanese and to stop his war against the country's Communists. Chiang agrees and is released. Japan accuses the Soviet Union of having instigated the kidnapping.

Dec 29  The United Auto Workers begin their sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan.

Lan Ping, the future Madam Mao
Jan 1  Anastasio Somoza García becomes President of Nicaragua. He was head of the National Guard during the February 23, 1934 murder of the revolutionary leader, Sandino.

Jan 13  Nationalists in Poland have rioted, beating up Jews. In parliament, Colonel Meidzinski says there would be no problem if Poland had only 50,000 Jews but, he complains, "there are 3,000,000." The question arises where to send the Jews. (Nicholson Baker, Human Smoke, p. 66)

Jan 16  Mussolini has asked a German journalist how Hitler is and then speaks of communism as threatening to destroy Europe. He describes democracies as "propagators of the communist bacillus." He adds that "Democracies are sand, shifting sand... Only Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany can save Europe." (David I Kertzer, The Pope and Mussolini, p 257-58.)

Jan 23  In the Soviet Union, 17 Bolsheviks are among those on trial accused of participating in a plot led by Leon Trotsky to overthrow the Stalin regime and to assassinate its leaders.

Jan 30  Hitler formally withdraws Germany from the Versailles Treaty. This includes Germany no longer making reparation payments. He demands a return of Germany's colonies.

Jan 31  In the Soviet Union, 31 accused of Trotskyism are executed.

Feb 8  In Spain, Franco's troops capture Malaga.

Feb 11  In the US, a sit-down strike ends with General Motors recognizing the United Automobile Workers Union.

Mar 19  Pope Pius XI publishes an encyclical titled Divini Redemptoris, condemning atheistic Communism.

Mar 21  Britain's Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin says, "I know some of you think I should speak more roughly to Hitler than I do, but have you reflected that the reply to a stiff letter might be a bomb on your breakfast tables?"

Apr 1  The city of Aden, in Yemen, on the shore of the Arabian Sea near the mouth of the Red Sea, becomes a British crown colony.

Apr 26  Germany and Italy are allied with Franco and the fascists in Spain. German and Italian airplanes bomb the city of Guernica, killing more than 1,600.

May 6  The German zeplin Hindenburg bursts into flames when landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

May 8  In Barcelona, six days of warfare among leftists has occurred, provoked by Stalin despite Popular Front rhetoric about pluralism. What will be called "Barcelona May Days" will be described by the socialist George Orwell in his book Homage to Catalonia. Orwell has been with the POUM, a leftist party closer to Trotsky than to Stalin. Spain's leftist government, beholden to the Soviet Union for support, will ban the POUM. Orwell will have to run for his life and will be opposed to Stalinism, expressed in his two books 1984 and Animal Farm.

May 27  In California, the Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic.

May 28  In Britain, Neville Chamberlain becomes prime minister.

Jun 3  The Duke of Windsor, Prince Edward, former King Edward VIII, marries Wallis Simpson.

Jul 2  Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappear over New Guinea.

Jul 4  At an International Writers Congress in Paris, Ernest Hemmingway says that fascist states "cannot produce good writers." Fascism, he says, "is a lie told by bullies." At this congress, Langston Hughes says, “We are the people who have long known in actual practice the meaning of the word Fascism… Yes, we Negroes in America do not have to be told what Fascism is in action. We know. Its theories of Nordic supremacy and economic suppression have long been realities to us.”

Jul 7  In China, the Battle of Lugou Bridge begins. It's between Japanese occupation forces and the Chinese and begins what will be called the Sino-Japanese War.

Jul 22  The US Senate puts an end to President Roosevelt's proposal to add more justices to the Supreme Court.

Aug 5  Japan's government expresses concern that 182 US airmen are to fly warplanes in China.

Aug 5  Stalin's regime begins periodic campaigns that will be called the Great Purge and will kill more than 724,000 Soviet citizens deemed enemies of the state and the Soviet revolution. This involves what the Hitler regime is not yet doing: shooting people. An on-going search for enemies includes Polish people suspected of belonging to an anti-Soviet conspiracy called the Polish Military Organization. Attachment to Polish culture or to Roman Catholicism have become grounds for suspicion. A method used by the NKVD (Soviet police) against the Polish plot and network of spies will be torture of an individual in front of a group of suspects. When the victim confesses the others will then be asked to confess. (Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands, p 95.)
Aug 12  In China, Chiang Kai-shek's government orders a general offensive against the Japanese.

Aug 14  China's 87th division, with a nascent airforce, attacks Japanese military positions around Shanghai.

Aug 21  Japan's war with China has encouraged China to sign a military pact with the Soviet Union. China's Communist Party senses a new lease on life.

Aug 26  The Japanese are bombing targets in Shanghai. They attack a car carrying Britain's ambassador.

Aug 28  Japan erects a naval blockade against Chinese ships going to and from Chinese ports. Japan says that "peaceful commerce carried on by third powers will be fully respected."

Aug 30  Chinese aircraft mistakingly attack the USS President Hoover. One US crewman is killed and several passengers and crew are injured.

Oct 5  With Japan and Italy in mind, President Roosevelt calls for an international "quarantine of the aggressor nations." American isolationists complain that distinguishing between "peace-loving" and "warlike" nations is not neutrality but taking sides.

Oct 6  The League of Nations condemns Japan's actions in China.

Oct 10  Winston Churchill writes: "It would be a dangerous folly for the British people to underrate the enduring position in world-history which Mussolini will hold, or the amazing qualities of courage, comprehension, self-control and perseverance which he exemplifies." (Nicholson Baker, Human Smoke, p. 73.)

Nov 5  In Spain near León, Franco's forces execute perhaps as many as 35,000.

Nov 6  Italy joins the Anti-Comintern Pact, created by Germany and Japan in 1936.

Nov 9  Japanese troops take Shanghai.

Nov 10  In Brazil, Getúlio Vargas has been speaking of the dangers of Communism. He begins his dictatorship, proclaiming the creation of a New State (Estado Novo).

Nov 17  As a diplomat for the new government of Neville Chamberlain, Lord Halifax visits Herman Goering in Germany. Halifax also visits Hitler, who pledges his support of the British empire. Hitler offers advice on how to deal with those in India seeking independence. Kill Gandhi, he advises, and, if that is not enough, kill the other leaders too. Lord Halifax's friend, Henry Cannon, will report that Halifax "likes all of the Nazi leaders, including Goebbels." Cannon reports that Halifax "thinks the regime absolutely fantastic."

Dec 7  Japanese troops are at Nanjing's outer defenses.

Dec 11  Italy withdraws from the League of Nations.

Dec 12  Japanese aircraft attack the USS Panay, a gunboat that is motoring on the Yangzi River, away from Nanjing. Three are killed and 43 sailors and 5 civilians wounded. The Japanese claim that the US flag was not seen. They agree to pay an indemnity. In the US, public opinion becomes more hostile toward the Japanese.

Dec 12  The New York Times reports:, "When during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War (October 1935 to May 1936), the League accused Benito Mussolini's soldiers of targeting Red Cross medical tents, Mussolini responded that Ethiopians were not fully human, therefore the human rights laws did not apply."

Dec 13  Nanjing falls to the Japanese, with Chinese soldiers fleeing from the city or rushing to change into civilian clothes.

Dec 21  Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature-length animated cartoon, becomes a smash hit.

Dec 29  Ireland's Constitution, adopted by plebiscite, goes into effect. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy. It bans divorce but guarantees certain fundamental rights.


Jan 21  Alexander Cuza, a minister in the Romanian government, speaking to a reporter for the New York Times, says that Jews must leave Romania, that it is for the world to find a residence for the world's Jews and that "Madagascar seems a suitable spot." (Nicholson Baker, Human Smoke, p 79.)

Feb 4  Adolf Hitler makes himself High Commander (Oberkommando) of Germany's armed forces.

Feb14  Responding to events in the Far East in recent years, Britain has speeded construction of its naval base at Singapore. The base is now operational.

Feb16  In France, Trotsky and his supporters are organizing the "Fourth International" as a rival to Stalin's Comintern, which has been pejoratively described as not having as its purpose the overthrow of capitalism. Leon Trotsky's son, Leon Sedov, dies mysteriously in Paris. Some believe that he has been murdered by an agent of Stalin.

Feb 20  Britain's foreign minister, Anthony Eden, considers Mussolini an unreliable gangster. He dislikes his government sending Lord Halifax on diplomatic missions abroad in his place. Eden resigns and is succeeded by Halifax, who is to be associated with the government's policy of appeasement.

Mar 3  While searching for water, United States geologists in Saudi Arabia find a lot of oil.

Mar 12  Mussolini is grateful for Hitler's support concerning his invasion of Ethiopia. He has agreed to give Hitler a free hand in Austria. German troops roll into that country.

Mar 13  Germany annexes Austria.

Mar 15  The Soviet Union announces that the ranking old Bolshevik, Nikholai Bukharin, has been executed. Across the Soviet Union, many thousands are being arrested and held incommunicado, charged with being enemies of the people.

Mar 18  Mexico nationalizes all foreign-owned oil properties.

Apr 1  Japan passes the National General Mobilization Law. All aspects of Japanese life are to be arranged for the sake of military efficiency.

Apr 1-30  In the US, the Socialist Party announces that Roosevelt liberalism is "a prelude to war." Socialist Party leader, Norman Thomas, claims that staying out of war is the best way of avoiding fascism in the United States. The executive council of the American Federation of Labor announces its opposition to any step that might lead to war. The Catholic Press Association speaks of its opposition to foreign "entanglements." Bernard Baruch, Jewish financier and friend of President Roosevelt, proposes Africa as a place to send European refugees.

May 14  Chile withdraws from the League of Nations.

May 20  Germans in Czechoslovakia's Sudentenland are clamoring for German rule, and Hitler is supporting them. Czechoslovakia orders partial mobilization of its armed forces along the German border.

May 20  China sends two B-10 bombers to Nagasaki, Japan. The planes drop leaflets and return.

May 25  In Spain, Italian planes bomb the city of Alicante, killing more than 300 civilians.

May 30  Hitler tells his generals that it is his "unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future."

Jun 5  In Germany, an edict proclaims that Jewish doctors are to treat only Jewish patients.

Jun 12-18  In Germany and Austria, people considered gypsies are rounded up, beaten and imprisoned.

Jun 20   Roosevelt's ambassador to Germany, Hugh R Wilson, says to Sumner Welles: "Twenty years ago we tried to save the world and now look at it. If we tried to save the world again, it would be just as bad at the end of the conflict. The older I get the deeper my conviction that we have nothing to gain by entereing a European conflict, and indeed everything to lose." (Andrew Nagorski, Hitlerland, p. 237)

Jun 22  Heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis knocks out Max Schmeling in the first round of their rematch at Yankee Stadium in New York City.

Jun 30  In the US, Action Comics has begun publication. It presents a new fantasy hero, Superman.

Jul 2  In Austria, nearly 40,000 Jews are taken into "protective custody."

Jul 12  In Turkey, for months war has been raging between government forces and Kurds, who have been complaining about discrimination and injustices. In Dersim province, in the middle of eastern Turkey, the Turks attack the Kurds with a ferocity that some will claim to be genocide.

Jul 14  The fascist regime in Italy publishes an anti-semeitic Manifesto of Race. A Jesuit paper, Catholic Civilization (La Civiltà cattolica) informs its readers. The paper has already warned that Jews could never be loyal to the country in which they live and that Jews were behind both Bolshevism and Freemasonry. Pope Pius XI is displeased by Mussolini letting himself be influenced by Hitler. The pope has a draft prepared stating his hope that "Mussolini would not go beyond what Christian charity allowed." (David I Kertzer's words, The Pope and Mussolini, p 303.) Fascists will be outraged by the pope's criticism of Mussolini's racial campaign.

Jul 15  For one week, delegates from 32 nations have met in France - the Évian Conference - to find locations for Jewish refugees. The conference closes without success. A German newspaper gloats: "Jews For Sale - Who Wants Them? No One." (Nicholson Baker, p 89.)

Jul 21  The German government passes legislation that requires Jews to carry identity cards.

Jul 31  Recently in India near Afghanistan, the British have bombed a "troublesome" tribe. Pilots have orders to bomb people in a group of ten or more after giving warning. One pilot, Geoffrey Tuttle, finds a group of nine, considers their number close enough to ten and, in his words, he is to say that he "blew them up." (Nicholson Baker,p. 85.)

Aug 18  Hitler's military chief of staff, General Beck, is opposed to going to war over the Sudetenland. He resigns.

Aug 31  With others, General Beck is planning coup against Hitler. They think Hitler is unbalanced.

Sep 1  Italy's new racial laws revoke the citizenship granted since 1919 to foreign born Jews, and all Jews not citizens are ordered to leave the country within six months. Jewish teachers from elementary schools to the universities are fired. Jewish children are not to attend public schools at any level. Jews are defined as anyone born of the "Jewish race" whatever their claims of believing in a religion other than Judaism. (Mussolini told the journalist Emil Ludwig back in 1928, before Hitler was an influence, that he didn't believe Jews were a race.)

Sep 27  In Germany, Jews are prohibited from practicing law.

Sep 29  Responding to Hitler's demand for the annexation of the Sudetenland, British and French leaders meet Hitler, at Munich. Mussolini is there. Neville Chamberlain agrees to give Germany the Sudetenland. He returns to Britain and declares "Peace In Our Time." General Halder, one of the German generals plotting a coup, believes that the best chance for overthrowing Hitler is lost.

Oct 1  German troops march into the Sudetenland.

Oct 2  In Palestine, Arabs inflitrate a Jewish settlement, Kiryat Shmuel, and according to a British report they "systematically execute" nineteen Jews, including women and children. It is to be known as the Tiberias massacre.

Oct 5  Edvard Beneš, president of Czechoslovakia, resigns. He will soon go into exile in England. Czechoslovakia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has passed into the hands of Dr. Frantisek Chvalkovsky, said to be a believer in fascism.

Oct 12  After months of bombing, Japanese troops occupy the southern port city of Canton (Guangzhou), hoping to cut China off from the rest of the world.

Oct 16  Winston Churchill, in a broadcast address to the United States, condemns the Munich Agreement as a defeat and calls upon America and Western Europe to prepare for armed resistance against Hitler.

Oct 20  Complying with Hitler's policy, Czechoslovakia outlaws the Communist Party and begins persecuting Jews.

Oct 24  The United States establishes a federal minimum wage law.

Oct 30  Orson Welles's radio adaptation of "The War of the Worlds" is broadcast, causing panic in various parts of the United States.

Oct 27-28  In Germany, police round up about 12,000 Polish Jews. At the border with Poland the Jews are ordered to walk into Poland. Those who cannot walk are beaten. (Nicholson Baker, p 95.)

Oct 31  Expulsions of Jews has begun in Czechoslovakia.

Nov 3  In Japan, Prime Minister Konoe proposes a New Order for East Asia. Trade is to be mainly between Japan and China, while nations such as the United States, Britain, Germany and France will be allowed to continue to function in China but will have to settle for leftovers.

Nov 6  In a speech to 100,000 Nazis, Hitler calls Churchill a warmonger.

Nov 7  In Paris, an angry young Jew shoots a German diplomat, Ernst vom Rath, who happens to dislike Hitler and is not similarly anti-Semitic.
Lan Ping, the future Madam Mao
Lan Ping, the future Madam Mao

Nov 9  Vom Rath dies of his wounds. In response, Kristallnacht (night of broken glass) begins as Nazi troops and sympathizers loot and burn Jewish businesses. 7,500 Jewish businesses are destroyed, 267 synagogues burned, 91 Jews killed and at least 25,000 Jews arrested. In Britain, newspapers and the public turn against Germany. In the United States a Gallop Poll is to record 94 percent disapproval of "Nazi treatment of Jews."

Nov 15  The Ministry of Education in Germany issues an ordinance barring all Jewish children from attending school. A correspondent for The Manchester Guardian writes that at the British and US consulates in Berlin, despairing Jews are "begging for visas." (Nicholas Baker, p. 102)

Nov 21  Hitler orders the release of several hundred Jews from concentration camps. In Britain, Prime Minister Chamberlain announces that "His Majesty's government has been greatly impressed by the urgency of the problem." He speaks of the possibility of Jews finding refuge in Tanganyika and British Guiana.

Nov 25  Stalin has decided that his police, the NKVD, has been extreme in recent months, during the "Great Purge" which has killed more than 724,000 Soviet citizens. The head of the NKVD since 1936, Nikolai Yezhov, submits his resignation. He is replaced by Lavrentry Beria. Yezhov will be executed in 1940.

Dec 31  Lan Ping, 24, has left her stage name and her career as an actor. She has journeyed to Yennan to study Marxism-Leninism. Her new names will be Jiang Qing and Madam Mao.

Lise Meitner
Lise Meitner

Jan 6  Lise Meitner, a Jewish woman originally from Vienna, in exile in Sweden, publishes her discovery of nuclear fission, otherwise known as atom splitting.

Jan 15  Gestapo leader Reinhard Heydrich sets up the Reich Bureau for Jewish Emigration to speed up the expulsion of Jews.

Jan 30  Hitler, speaking at the Reichstag, says that if the "international Jewish financiers" succeed in plunging the world again into another world war, the result will be the "annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe." Reichstag delegates enthusiastically applaud.

Feb 27  Britain and France recognize the Franco regime as Spain's government.

Mar 2  Cardinal Pacelli is selected to succeed Pope Pius XI. He takes the name Pius XII.

Mar 14  Encouraged by Germany, Slovakia declares independence. The Czechs agree to German demands and make the rest of what had been Czechoslovakia, Bohemia and Moravia, a German protectorate.

Mar 15  The German army enters Prague peacefully. Czechoslovakia ceases to exist. The government of Neville Chamberlain is outraged by Hitler having ignored his promise at Munich to respect what remained of Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain now believes that Hitler's word is worthless.

Mar 23  Hitler considers Germany's great challenge to be toward the east. Germans in the city of Memel have been demonstrating their desire to be again a part of Germany. Lithuania has given Memel back to Germany. Hitler makes a triumphant entry into the city, greeted by joyous German crowds.

Mar 28  Franco's forces conquer Spain's capital city, Madrid.

Mar 31  Britain and France sign a treaty with Poland, promising to help defend Poland's western border.

Apr 1  The last of Spain's Republican army surrenders.

Apr 3  Hitler sends a directive to his senior military commanders, demanding that Operation White, the invasion of Poland, be ready for action by 1 September 1939.

Apr 7  To capture some of the glory that he sees in Hitler taking Prague, Mussolini invades and occupies Albania. The king of Albania, Zog the First, is unwilling to become a puppet. He and his family flee to Greece.

Apr 11  In accord with German opinion, Hungary leaves the League of Nations.

Apr 25  A child-refugee bill is making its way through Congress. Its goal is to enable 20,000 German Jewish refugee children to enter the US over a two-year period. Someone from the Allied Patriotic Societies adds his voice to a growing opposition. He complains of immigrants trying "to run the country on different lines from those laid down by the old stock." (Nicholson Baker, Human Smoke, p 120.)

May 7  Spain leaves the League of Nations.

May 17  Britain produces a White Paper on British rule in Palestine. It prohibits Jews from buying more land outside their existing settlements and limits Jews to no more than one-third of the population.

May 20  Italy and Germany begin to withdraw troops from Spain. Germany had around 10,000 military men in Spain.

May 22  Germany and Italy conclude a military and political alliance, the "Pact of Steel."

Jun 2  President Roosevelt chooses not to support the child-refugee bill.

Jun 4  The power of Jewish financiers that Hitler talks about seems to be waning. The SS St. Louis is denied permission to land in Florida after already having been turned away from Cuba. The ship is carrying 907 Jewish refugees and will return to Europe. Most of them will die in concentration camps.

Jun 24  Siam changes its name to Thailand, which means "Free Land."

Jun 29  A referendum orchestrated by French and Turkish authorities results in Turkey annexing Hatay, including the city of Antakya (Antioch). Syrians, ruled by the French, dislike the annexation.

Jul 6  In Germany, the last Jewish enterprises are shut down.

Jul 10  Pope Pius XII reverses Pius XI's ban on Catholic participation in the racist rightwing Action Français. This anger's France's government and some of France's Catholic clergymen.

Jul 18  A Japanese diplomat, Chiune Sugihara, stationed in Lithuania is aware of the danger faced by Poles, including Jews. He will soon start surreptitiously helping people with transit visas across the Soviet Union to
Japan. It will be estimated that he saved several thousand lives.

Jul 23  Mohandas Gandhi writes a letter to Hitler telling him he is "the one person in the world who can prevent a war which may reduce humanity to the savage state." He ends the letter with "your sincere friend."

Jul 28  Ten days of fierce fighting ends between Soviet and Japanese forces along the border between the Soviet Union and Manchuria. The Japanese declare their own casualties as 18,000 dead and wounded.

Jul 30  Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain writes to his sister and describes Germans as jealous of the Jews because Jews are clever. He writes that Jews "aren't a lovable people" and adds that he doesn't "care for them" but sees no reason for a pogrom. (Nicholson Baker, p 128)

Aug 2  Albert Einstein writes President Franklin Roosevelt about developing the Atomic Bomb using Uranium.

Aug 22  At his mountain retreat, Hitler says to his military commanders that it is time for war and to attack Poland. Germany must strike or be destroyed, he says. "We can only hold out for a few more years." None of the commanders complain, but some wonder about Hitler's mental condition. One finds Hitler's bragging repulsive and complains about Hitler making a "leap into the dark." (Nicholson Baker, p129)

Aug 23  To help him prepare for an invasion of Poland, Hitler settles affairs with the Soviet Union. He offers the Soviet Union territory that had been a part of tsarist Russia's empire and territory that Poland had taken during Russia's civil war - territory east of the Curzon Line. The Soviet Union wants some security vis-à-vis Germany and agrees to give Germany a free hand in Poland west of the Curzon Line. It is to be known as the Hitler-Stalin pact. The pact confuses some of Stalin's comrades in various countries, oriented as the have been to struggle against fascism as they great evil. But Stalin is equating fascism with capitalism, and agreement with capitalist powers is for him an acceptable expedient prior to capitalism's eventual collapse.

Aug 23  Hitler's government names Albert Forster Gauleiter of the Free City of Danzig, A German battleship is on its way to the city. Germans are told that Danzig  is officially German.

Aug 27  A German, Erich Warsitz, flies the first turbine-equipped jet aircraft, the Heinkel He 178.

Aug 30  Poland begins mobilization to defend itself from an attack by Germany.

Sep 1  Hitler believes that Britain and France will not go to war. He invades Poland. He says, "Our opponents are poor creatures. I saw them at Munich."

Sep 2  Off the coast at Tel Aviv, a British patrol boat fires at an old ship carrying more than 1,000 Jewish refugees. Two are killed. Some make it ashore and merge with the Jewish population. Some refugees are captured and put in prison.

Sep 3  Britain and France declare war on Germany, and they are joined by India and New Zealand. The British are not yet ready to make war on Germany, and the French sit on their border rather than invade Germany.

Sep 5  The United States declares its neutrality regarding war in Europe.

Sep 6  The French government begins rounding up German citizens.

Sep 15  The Soviet Union and Japan sign a peace treaty.

Sep 17  In accord with his agreement with Hitler, Stalin invades Poland, planning to establish rule in an area that before 1921 was considered by the Soviet Union to be a part of the Soviet Union. Distressed Poles retreating eastward away from the invading Germans hope at first that the Soviet troops are on their way to helping them against the Germans.

Oct 6  Poland has not surrendered, but the fighting between Germany and Poland has stopped, with the German army (the Wehrmacht) triumphant. The Germans are establishing their civilian occupation authorities, and the German army will continue to kill Poles in repraisal actions.

Oct 19  In Germany, a rightwing opponent of Hitler, Ulrich von Hassell, writes in his diary that Germany's good name is being disgraced.

Oct 24  In the state of Delaware, nylon stockings appear on the market for the first time.

Nov 4  With the outbreak of war in Europe, public opinion has changed in the United States. Americans would like to help Britain. Congress amends the Neutrality Act, allowing supplies to be sold to belligerents.

Nov 30  A border dispute between the Soviet Union and Finland erupts into what will be called the Winter War.

Dec 14  The League of Nations expels the Soviet Union for attacking Finland.

Dec 15  The movie Gone with the Wind premieres in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dec 25  In his Christmas message, Pius XII outlines a five-point program for peace: rights for small nations; the protection of minorities; economic co-operation; disarmament; religion as the only true guarantee of a "just and lasting" peace.

Jan 8  A Finnish force destroys the Russian 44th Assault Division, ending the Battle of Suomussalami. The Soviet force was larger but poorly equipped and lacked winter camouflage clothing. Finnish troops often intercepted Soviet communications, which relied on standard phone lines.

Feb 3  In the Soviet Union, Nicholai Yezhov, former head of the NKVD, is tried in the office of the present head of the NKVD, Navrenty Beria. Beria advises Yezhov to confess to a plot to kill Stalin. Yezhov refuses as a matter of honor.

Feb 4  Yeshov is shot.

Feb-Mar  The accord between Hitler and Stalin is functioning. Stalin's NKVD has over 82,000 of Poland's former policemen and soldiers imprisoned in camps in Poland run by the NKVD. The inmates are allowed to write letters to their familes, and this allows the NKVD to know where those families are.

Mar 5  NKVD chief Lavrentiy Beria, proposes the execution of all captive members of the Polish Officer Corps. The proposal is approved and signed by members of the Politburo, including Stalin. This is the beginning of what will be known as the Katyn massacre. The Stalin regime considers the Poles as a potential danger. Family members of the captives will also be rounded up to eliminate potential enemies.

Mar 12  The Soviet Union and Finland sign a peace treaty in Moscow, ending the Winter War.

Mar 22  In Paris, Paul Reynaud becomes prime minister with support from the Left.

Mar 27  Heinrich Himmler orders construction of the Auschwitz concentration camp, near the city of Krakow in Poland.

Apr 5  Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, says in private, "Till now we have succeeded in leaving the enemy in the dark concerning Germany's real goals, just as before 1932 our domestic foes never saw where we were going or that our oath of legality was just a trick... They could have suppressed us. They could have arrested a couple of us in 1925 and that would have been that, the end. No, they let us through the danger zone. That's exactly how it was in foreign policy, too... In 1933 a French premier ought to have said (and if I had been the French premier I would have said it): 'The new Reich Chancellor [Hitler] is the man who wrote Mein Kampf, which says this and that. This man cannot be tolerated in our vicinity. Either he disappears or we march!' But they didn't do it. They left us alone and let us slip through the risky zone, and we were able to sail around all dangerous reefs. And when we were done, and well armed, better than they, then they started the war!"

Apr 9  Britain has started laying mines along Norway's coastal waters. Germany invades Norway, as planned, to keep the British from disrupting the coastal supply line from Sweden. Germany takes control also of the land between it and Norway: Denmark.

Apr 17  Germany begins the first transport of "gypsies" in Poland to concentration camps there. Some are sterilized and will be forced to work in Germany's arms industry.

Apr 22  The British bomb German-occupied Oslo, Norway.

Apr 25  The German high command issues its "third and final warning:" either Britain will stop its "aerial warfare against undefended places" or Germany will retaliate.

May 1  The US Navy has moved the base of its Pacific Ocean fleet from San Diego to its naval base at Pearl Harbor, in the Hawaiian Islands - closer to Japan. Admiral Yamamoto Isoruku, commander of Japan's Combined Fleet, describes the move as "tantamount to a dagger pointed at our throat."

May 10  Winston Churchill replaces Nivelle Chamberlain as prime minister. Britain invades Iceland. Hitler sends his armies into Belgium and Holland.

May 15  One hundred British bombers fly night-time raids against various German cities. The German high command describes the bombers as killing civilians and damaging nothing of military significance. (Human Smoke, p. 182)

May 26  The British begin evacuating troops from Dunkirk, in Belgium.
May 27  The New York Times reports that Britain has rounded up several thousand German and Austrian women, many of whom have been working as servants. (Human Smoke, p. 189)

Jun 5  Hitler sends his armies into France.

Jun 10  German forces have driven British forces from Norway. Norway's government gives up the struggle against the German invasion. It capitulates. But Norway's armed forces will continue to fight the German occupation.

Jun 10  Italy declares war on France and Britain. Norway surrenders to German forces. In England, authorities begin rounding up Italians and Germans, including recently arrived Jews from Dachau prison. (Human Smoke, p. 195-96)

Jun 14  German troops march into Paris.

Jun 15-16  Under the auspices of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, Soviet troops invade Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In a few days "popular front" governments will be established. Under Soviet surveillance, the new governments will arrange rigged elections for new "people's assemblies." Voters will be presented with a single list, and no opposition movements will be allowed to file.

Jun 17  France's Paul Reynaud has refused to sign a peace agreement with Germany and resigns as prime minister. He is replaced by the old hero of the 1914-19 war, General Philippe Petain, who asks Germany for peace terms.

Jun 22  Germany and France agree to peace and friendship. German forces are to remain in France along the coast of the English channel.

Jun 24  Italy signs a peace agreement with France.

Jul 3  The French fleet, anchored in the Algerian ports of Oran and Mers-el-Kebir, refuse an offer by the British to join the British navy. The British sink the fleet.

Jul 4  France breaks diplomatic relations with Britain.

Jul 19  In a public address, Hitler outlines his peace offer to Britain. He says he sees "no reason why the war must go on." He adds that, "A great empire will be destroyed, a world empire which it was never my intention to destroy or damage." He says that the "continuation of this war will only end with the complete destruction of one of the two warring parties. Mr. Churchill may believe that this will be Germany. I know it will be England."

Jul 21  The Soviet Union annexes Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, proclaiming them to be Soviet Socialist Republics.

Jul 25  President Roosevelt orders a partial trade embargo on aviation fuel, lubricants and high-grade scrap metal to Japan.

Aug 3  In Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, "people's assemblies" have passed by resolutions to join the Soviet Union. Latvia becomes a Soviet Socialist Republic today, Lithuania on the 5th and Estonia on the 9th. .

Aug 8  The Germans begin sending an armada of airplanes against Britain. Their targets are radar stations and forward fighter-plane air bases.

Aug 11  In a conversation at a rifle range, Prime Minister Churchill talks of the best method of killing Germans. He says that soft-nose bullets are best. Churchill's son, Randolph, points out that such bullets are not legal in war. Churchill responds that he does not see why he should have mercy on Germans when they would have none for him. (Human Smoke, p. 219)

Aug 21  Leon Trotsky has been living in Mexico. He is murdered by a Soviet agent.

Sep 4  Hitler threatens to obliterate (ausradieren) British cities if British bombing runs against Germany do not stop.

Sep 16  Because Germany has failed to destroy Britain's air power, Hitler drops his plan for a cross-channel invasion of Britain.

Sep 26  Japan's parliament has declared a holy war against China, and Japan has launched a new offensive in China. Hostility toward Japan has increased in the United States. The US imposes a total embargo on all shipments of scrap metal to Japan.

Sep 27  Germany, Italy and Japan sign Tripartite Pact.

Oct 16  President Roosevelt announces the opening of registration for the draft.

Oct 28  Mussolini invades Greece without warning Hitler, retaliating for Hitler not warning him of his invasions. Britain sends a naval force against the Italians.

Oct 31  In Germany, the government has decreed that Jews and Aryans must be segregated in air-raid shelters.

Nov 5  President Roosevelt is re-elected for a third term.

Nov 7  The New York Times reports that 10,000 Jews have been deported from Germany to France. It is part of Germany's plan to send Jews from Germany to Madagascar. French authorities express their intention to send the deportees there as soon as the sea routes reopen.

Nov 14  Around 500 German aircraft attack the English city of Coventry, a raid that lasts more than 10 hours. Reports describe 4,330 homes destroyed and three-quarters of Coventry's factories damaged.

Nov 16  The British are responding to the bombing of Coventry. More than 200 British aircraft are bombing Hamburg on two successive nights.

Nov 20  Hungary, Romania and Slovakia join an alliance with Germany and Italy.

Nov 25  The British put "illegal" Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria onto a ship, the Patria, in port at Haifa, Palestine. The Jewish paramilitary group, Haganah, blows a hole in the hull of the ship to keep it from leaving. The Patria sinks and more than 250 people die. The survivors are take to a British prison. (Human Smoke, p. 257)

Nov 29  In a radio address, President Roosevelt declares that the United States must become "the great arsenal of democracy."

Nov 30  By now, the Greeks have pushed the Italians back to Albania.

Nov 30  In Britain, a poll by the British Institute of Public Opinion describes 46 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving of bombing civilians in Germany. Eight percent were not sure. (Human Smoke, p. 249)

Dec 9  The British launch an offensive against Italy in North Africa.

Dec 13  British forces enter Italy's colony, Libya.

Dec 20  China's government charges Japan with having released plague germs over three cities. Japan denies the charges and accuses China of putting cholera germs in wells to infect Japanese forces.

Dec 21  The Roosevelt administration refuses a French request for help with Jewish emigration.

Dec 30  The German air force (Luftwaffe) has just bombed London, creating 1,500 fires. Britain's government lifts censorship for US reporters in hope of encouraging a US entry into the war. Prime Minister Churchill approves retaliatory bombing.

Dec 31  Spending is lifting the United States out of the depression. Millions are going to work in what is called the defense industry.

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