20 4 th. Decade
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
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
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
Apr 14 Elections have given anti-monarchists a majority in
parliament. A republican government is formed, and King Alphonso flees
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Oct 25 Mussolini promises to remain as Italy's dictator for
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
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
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
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
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
Apr 5 President Roosevelt declares a national emergency and
issues Executive Order 6102, making it illegal for US citizens to own
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
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
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
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
Feb 6 Rightists riot in Paris and other French cities in an
attempt to overthrow a leftist coalition government. A political crisis
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
Apr 4 The Soviet Union fears a resurgent Germany. It extends
its non-aggression pact with Poland and is beginning a massive armament
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
May 27 In California, the Golden Gate Bridge opens to
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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,
Jun 22 Heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis knocks out Max
Schmeling in the first round of their rematch at Yankee Stadium in New
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
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.
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
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
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
Oct 30 Orson Welles's radio adaptation of "The War of the
Worlds" is broadcast, causing panic in various parts of the United
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
Nov 7 In Paris, an angry young Jew shoots a German diplomat,
Ernst vom Rath, who happens to dislike Hitler and is not similarly
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sep 5 The United States declares its neutrality regarding war
Sep 6 The French government begins rounding up German
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
Oct 19 In Germany, a rightwing opponent of Hitler, Ulrich von
Hassell, writes in his diary that Germany's good name is being
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
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
Dec 15 The movie Gone with the Wind premieres in Atlanta,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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