20 5 th. Decade
Century c 20
Jan 19 The British attack Italy's forces in Eritrea.
Jan 22 The British and Australians have driven Italian forces
from Egypt, and across the Egypt-Libya border, on the coast, they win
against the Italians at Tobruk.
Jan 22 - 23 Anti-Jewish violence in Romania leaves 120 Jews
dead in the streets. Jews are hunted by armed gangs. Some flee to
Jan 23 Charles Lindbergh testifies before the US Congress and
recommends that the US establish a neutrality pact with Hitler.
Jan 27 The US Ambassador to Japan, Joseph Grew, cables the US
State Department that he has learned of a plan by the Japanese to
attack Pearl Harbor should Japan and the US go to war.
Jan 31 In Baghdad, in response to British victories against
Italian forces, the nationalistic, anti-British and pro-German prime
minister, Sayyad Rashid Ali al-Gillani, resigns under pressure from the
regent to the five-year-old king, Faisal II.
Feb 10 Britain breaks relations with Romania.
Feb19-22 The British have been bombing Germany. The Germans
bomb Britain. Reported British dead: 230.
Feb 25 Joseph Goebbels writes in his diary: "Cables from the
USA to the short-wave service are generally very positive. My work is
also greatly respected there. America does not consist entirely of Jews
and plutocrats. It is just that they can shout the loudest."
Feb 26 Against the Italians, British troops take Somalia and
Feb 27 The French regime at Vichy makes religious education
in school mandatory.
Feb 27 Jewish musicians in Berlin perform Gustav Mahler's
Mar 1 - 5 Bulgaria joins the
German-Italian-Hungarian-Romanian alliance and in return is promised
most of Thrace and Macedonia as well as parts of eastern Serbia. German
troops enter Bulgaria welcomed. The Soviet Union, despite its pact with
Hitler, denounces Bulgaria's move. Britain severs relations with
Mar 4 Hitler invites Yugoslavia's Prince Paul to take his
share in the "New World Order." Prince Paul gathers from Hitler's
comments that Germany will invade the Soviet Union. He will tell his
brother-in-law, the king of Greece, who will tell the British.
Mar 7 Five thousand British soldiers land in Greece. Joseph
Goebbels writes in his diary: "The Pope and his cardinals are praying
for peace. Too late. The game must be played to its conclusion."
Mar 7 A leader of India's independence movement,
Subhash Chandra Bose, a believer in socialist authoritarianism, has
escaped British authority and fled to Germany. British authorities
secretly order his assassination.
Mar 11 Roosevelt signs the Lend Lease Act, enabling him to
send war materials, including ships, to those nations at war.
Mar 25 Yugoslavia joins the German-Italian-Hungarian-Romanian
Mar 26- 27 A coup in Belgrade, Yugoslavia brings to power a
regime hostile to Germany and Italy. People in Belgrade celebrate with
the slogan "Rather death than slavery."
Mar 30 Hitler tells his generals that Communism is criminal
and requires extermination of Bolshevik commissars and the Communist
intelligencia. The war against the Soviet Union, he says, will be
different from what it was in the West, and it is no job for the
April 1 The Iraqi army surrounds the royal palace in Baghdad.
Royalty escape toward Amman in Transjordan. At stake for the Germans is
access to Iraqi oil, promised by the former prime minister, Gillani.
The British still have a few hundred troops in Iraq.
Apr 3 In Baghdad, Gillani and four army generals take power.
Demonstrators loot the property and beat Jews in the cities of Mosul,
Kirkuk, Irbil, Basrah, Amara and Fallujah. In Baghdad the killing of
Jews takes place.
Apr 3 Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill warns Stalin
of German plans to invade.
Apr 4 President Roosevelt allows the British Navy to repair
and refuel its ships in the United States, and he notifies the British
that he is extending the US defense zone eastward as far as Iceland and
to the western coast of Africa.
Apr 5 The Soviet Union signs a treaty of friendship with the
new anti-fascist regime in Yugoslavia.
Apr 6 To secure his southern front, Hitler sends troops to
Greece and Yugoslavia. Italian and Albanian forces join in the invasion
of Yugoslavia. Bulgaria joins in the invasion of Greece, toward
occupation of the Khalkidhiki Peninsula. German planes bomb
Apr 7 Hitler postpones his invasion of the Soviet Union five
weeks, to June 22.
Apr 10 An independent Croatia is declared, led by Ante
Pavelic and approved by Hitler. Serbs, gypsies and Communists in
Croatia are threatened. The Catholic Church in Croatia begins to compel
the country's Serbs of the Orthodox faith to convert to Catholicism.
Apr 10 Goebbels writes in his diary: "With the fall of
Yugoslavia, we shall also take possession of enormous potential sources
of raw materials. Particularly copper, which we could do with."
Apr 13 The peace agreement between Japan and the Soviet Union
goes into effect.
Apr 14 German troops, led by Erwin Rommel, have been in North
Africa for a month. They attack the British and Australians at Tobruk.
Apr 14 The British are still in Egypt, and they warn that if
Cairo is bombed their air force will attack Rome.
Apr 20 Goebbels delivers an "Our Hitler" speech on Hitler's
We Germans ... have been formed by our age, and we in turn are forming
it. It will be the task of later generations to evaluate it properly
and to determine what is really admirable and what is simply normal.
Future generations will surely envy the fact that we have lived a life
of struggle, that we had the good fortune to have political passion ...
a new world is now being born...[Hitler has ] forged the path and
showed the way, giving meaning, content, and direction to our age. We
are experiencing the greatest miracle that history offers: a genius is
building a new world.
Apr 21-28. Greece and its army surrenders to Germany. German
tanks enter Athens. British troops evacuate and some are forced to
surrender. Goebbels writes in his diary: Hearst [William Randolph] has launched a swinging attack on Churchill
as a warmonger. Things are still seesawing in the United States. But we
are not inactive in this respect.
Apr 30 An Iraqi force moves to the edge of the
British air base at Habbaniya and warns the British to keep their
planes on the ground.
Apr 30 In Croatia, persons of Aryan descent are prohibited
association with Jews.
May 2 - 6 British planes take off from the Habbaniya air base
and rout the Iraqi force. The British land a division of Indian troops
at Basra, which heads toward Baghdad.
May 10 From Greece, German airplanes begin to strike against
the British in Iraq, and German planes destroy the House of Commons in
May 14 In Paris, 3,600 Jews are arrested. In a radio
broadcast the leader of Vichy France's armed forces claims that only
within the confines of the German Third Reich can France thrive.
May 14 At Glina, in Croatia, hundreds of Serbs attend an
obligatory service of thanksgiving for the fascist state of Croatia.
The two who can present certificates of conversion are released. The
rest are slaughtered.
May 20 Britain's war in East Africa ends with an Italian
Jun 1-2 British forces enter Baghdad and reinstate King
Faisal's regent. Violence against Jews erupts in Iraq. Some Moslems
open their homes, feed and protect Jews.
Jun 4 Germany bombs the port at Alexandria, Egypt. Egypt's
cabinet resigns. The Republic of Croatia orders all Jews to wear a star.
Jun 8 The British and Free French attack French forces in
Syria. Britain offers Syria independence.
Jun 12 In London a declaration of unity and sense of purpose
is signed by Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the Union of South
Africa. Also signing are governments-in-exile: Belgium, Czechoslovakia,
Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Yugoslavia.
Signing for a "Free France" is Charles de Gaulle. It is the beginning
of what will become the United Nations.
Jun 14 The Soviet Union begins deportations to
Siberia from Estonia (around 10,000 persons), Latvia (15,000) and
Jun 14 Joseph Goebbels writes in his diary that Hitler,
looking forward to his invasion of the Soviet Union, says "And victory
is right, moral and necessary. And once we have won, who is going to
question our methods?"
Jun 18 Germany and Turkey sign a Treaty of Friendship.
Jun 22 Soviet intelligence has doubted that the Germans would
soon invade. The German military facing east has not been equipped for
the coming winter. But today a massive military operation against the
Soviet Union begins. Hitler describes the invasion as
preemptive, that he is invading the Soviet Union because it was
planning to invade Germany. Stalin had amassed a military force facing
Germany that did not appear defensive in character, and although Stalin
was not planning to attack Germany both Hitler and Stalin have a
kill-or-be-killed view of political survival. Stalin believes
eventually will have to destroy capitalist-fascist Germany. Hitler's
view includes struggle between races. Hitler sees his invasion as an
expansion of Germanic superiority over the weak and inferior Slavs.
Jun 22 Germany occupies Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
Jun 24 President Roosevelt pledges support to the Soviet
Union in what it will call the Great Patriotic War.
Jun 24 The entire Jewish male population of Gorzhdy,
Lithuania is exterminated.
Jun 25 The uneasy peace between Finland and the Soviet Union
since March 1940 has ended. Finland sends troops into the Karelia, an
area with some Finnish population that has been disputed by Finland and
Russia. Sweden's government is to allow German troops to cross Sweden
Jun 27 Hungary declares war on the Soviet Union.
Jun 30 A shaken and depressed Stalin has withdrawn to his
country dacha, expecting to be ousted from power because of his
failures. A few Politburo members arrive. Stalin asks why they have
come and they announce their proposal to set up a "Supreme Defense
Council" with Stalin as chairman. Stalin agrees and pulls himself
Jul 2 Germany, Italy and their allies recognize Japan's
puppet government of China. China breaks diplomatic relations with
Germany and Italy.
Jul 5 Peru, with one of the strongest armies in South
America, invades Ecuador.
Jul 14 Lithuanian Jews, said to number 6,000, are
Jul 21 In Poland, the Majdanek concentration camp opens.
Jul 25 The US government freezes Japanese assets in the
Jul 27 The German army enters Ukraine.
Jul 28 The Japanese extend their occupation across the whole
of Indochina, as agreed to by the government in Vichy, France.
Jul 30 Fighting between Peru and Ecuador ends in an
armistice. Peru holds Ecuador's El Oro province and eastern tropical
forest territory held by Ecuador since the 1830s.
Aug 5- 7 Thousands of Jews in Romania are abducted or rounded
up and killed.
Aug 14 Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt meet
at an anchorage in New Foundland and create the "Atlantic
Charter." The Charter expresses "the right of all peoples to
choose the form of government under which they will live."
Sep 1 In Germany the government's euthanasia program - the
killing of mentally handicapped adults and children - is officially
ended due to widespread protest, begun by a Catholic bishop.
Sep 3 At their Auschwitz One facility in Poland, Germany's SS
conduct poison gas tests, killing 600 Soviet prisoners of war.
Sep 4 The Germans begin to bombard Leningrad with artillery
Sep 6 Emperor Hirohito of Japan gives his approval "with
misgivings" to simultaneous efforts to negotiate peace with the US and
to prepare for an attack if the efforts failed.
Sep 7 The Finns, advancing southward toward Leningrad, stop
at the old border between Finland and the Soviet Union, and they refuse
a German request to bomb Leningrad. The Germans will be unable to
approach Stalingrad from the north.
Sep 8 The Germans stop ten miles from Leningrad (St.
Petersburg). They start to besiege the city, severing its last land
connection. Shelling creates 178 fires in the city.
Sep 11 President Roosevelt, in response to submarine attacks
on US ships, orders any German ship found in American waters to be sunk
Sep 11 Charles Lindbergh, speaking for the America First
Committee, blames "the British, the Jewish [sic] and the Roosevelt
administration" for trying to draw the United States into World War II.
Sep 19 In Germany, Jews are ordered to wear a yellow star
describing them as "Jew." German troops enter Kiev, the capital of
Ukraine, and they are welcomed by some who hope for independence from
the Soviet Union.
Sep 24 In London, governments-in-exile - Belgium,
Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland,
Yugoslavia -- join with the Soviet Union and Charles de
Gaulle of the Free French to proclaim adherence to principles of the
Atlantic Charter. Hitler sees the alliance as an international Jewish
conspiracy and looks forward to his Final Solution to the "Jewish
Sep 28 In Kiev, Soviet agents (NKVD members) have been
blowing up German targets. The Germans decide it is the work of the
Jews. All Jews in the city of Kiev and its vicinity are ordered to
report at 8 o'clock the following morning and to bring with them
documents, money, valuables, warm clothes and underwear.
Sep 29 In Kiev tens of thousands of Jews arrive for what they
expect is deportration - some early to be sure for a seat on the train.
They are herded into a nearby Jewish cemetery through a narrow corridor
of enraged German soldiers, machine gunned, their bodies buried in a
ravine known as Babi Yar.
Oct 3 Adolf Hitler declares that Russia is "broken" and will
"never rise again." In Paris, six synagogues are blown up.
Oct 9 Roosevelt requests congressional approval for arming US
Oct 12 Moscow is partially
Oct 16 France's head of state, Marshall Petain, orders the
arrest of former prime ministers Daladier, Blum, and Reynaud. Jews in
Germany are beginning to be deported to Jewish ghettos in Lodz, Riga
Oct 18 Emperor Hirohito elevates General Hideki Tojo, Japan's
War Minister, to head Japan's government. Prime Minister Tojo
represents the rightist true-believers in Japan's aggressive
Oct 22- 23 Odessa, on the Black Sea in the south of Ukraine,
has had a Jewish population of around 180,000. Invading Romanian troops
target the Jews. Some Jews are shot. Many are burned to death in a
public square or in warehouses that were locked shut. The dead will be
described as between 25,000 and 34,000.
Oct 23 Germany's Jews are no longer allowed to emigrate.
Nov 7 Stalin appears in Red Square for the traditional
commemoration of the Bolshevik Revolution. Parading troops head for the
nearby front against the Germans. The British continue their year-long
air raids against Germany. They bomb Berlin, Mannheim and Ruhrgebied.
Nov 28 A Japanese fleet of warships sails from Hiroshima Bay
heading for the Hawaiian Islands.
Dec 1 Emperor Hirohito signs the decision by the Ruling
Council of Japan to wage war against the United States, Britain and the
Dec 6 Germans near Moscow are exhausted and without proper
winter clothing in unusually cold weather. Soviet forces attack. The
German line in front of Moscow disintegrates. Thousands are taken
Dec 6 Britain and Canada declare war on Finland.
Dec 6 Admiral Kimmel in Hawaii discusses with two
operations officers whether they should recall liberty parties, put
everyone on alert and send the entire fleet out to sea in silence after
dark. The two operations officers object. They agree to follow the
orders of Admiral Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, that nothing be
done to alarm the people of Honolulu.
Dec 7 Airplanes from Japanese aircraft carriers strike at US
military installations at Pearl Harbor and Kaneohe Bay on the island of
Oahu. The Japanese bomb the US military at Clark Field in the
Philippines. Most US aircraft are destroyed on the ground. General
MacArthur is dismayed and wonders whether Germans were flying the
Dec 8 The Japanese move against the British and Commonwealth
force at Hong Kong.
Dec 11 Germany and Italy join their ally the Japanese and
declare war against the United States. Hitler describes himself as
having wanted peace with Britain, as defending European civilization
and Roosevelt as aiming at "an unlimited world dictatorship."
Dec 12 Goebbels writes in his diary: "With respect of the
Jewish Question, the Führer [Hitler] has decided to make a clean sweep.
He prophesied to the Jews that if they again brought about a world war,
they would live to see their annihilation in it. That wasn't just a
catch-word. The world war is here, and the annihilation of the Jews
must be the necessary consequence."
Dec 12 The British are defeated at the Battle of Jitra in
Malaya and are retreating southward toward Singapore.
Dec 13 Bulgaria and Hungary join in declaring war against the
Dec 20 Japanese troops land on Mindanao, in the Philippines.
Dec 25 At Hong Kong, the British surrender.
Dec 29 Soviet troops re-take Kerch and Feodosiya in the
Crimea. The Japanese bomb Rangoon, Burma, knocking out the main railway
station, wharfs, and warehouses with lend-lease supplies intended for
Dec 30 Gandhi resigns from India's Congress Party because of
its support for the British and US war effort.
Dec 31 Leningrad enters its 112th day of being cut off by the
Germans. It is extremely cold by Leningrad standards, with fuel for
heating scarce. There is a bread ration of 110 grams (4 ounces) per day
per person. Three to four thousand people are dying each day in
Leningrad from starvation.
Jan 2 Japan captures Manila.
Jan 4 The Red Army is counterattacking and retakes Kaluga
about 100 kilometers southwest of Moscow.
Jan 11 Japan declares war against the Netherlands and lands
forces in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and Borneo. Japan lands
forces on New Guinea, threatening Australia.
Jan 18 The Red Army cuts the main supply route for the German
2nd and 10th Corps at Demyansk, about 100 miles south of Leningrad,
forcing the Luftwaffe to begin flying in supplies.
Jan 19 Japan invades Burma. Second Generation Japanese
members of Hawaii's National Guard are discharged and classified as
Jan 21 In Libya, Germans under the command of Erwin Rommel
start a drive to push the British eastward toward Egypt and the Suez
Jan 23 On the US mainland, Japanese-Americans are segregated
out of US Army units.
Jan 25 Fuel supply ends for Leningrad's last operating power
station. Young volunteers forming a chain must haul water from the Neva
River for the bakeries making what bread they can for the city's
starving inhabitants. With no place for warmth, crows, gulls and
pigeons have disappeared. Sparrows and starlings have starved and some
have been seen dropping like stones, freezing to death in flight across
the Neva. What is bad for the birds is bad for people. People are
eating their pets. Evidence of cannibalism has appeared.
Feb 2 Many in Egypt, including its king, Farouk, look forward
to Germany driving out the British. The British surround Farouk's
palace with tanks and force the king to appoint Nahas Pasha prime
minister of Egypt.
Feb 2 A column in the Los Angeles Times argues that a
Japanese-American "almost inevitably ... grows up to be a Japanese, not
Feb 3 At West Hollywood Grammar School, in California, there
are children from the hills above Sunset Boulevard, including Beverly
Hills, and there are children from the community of adobe homes with
dirt floors just below Santa Monica Boulevard, next to the streetcar
barns. The children I knew didn't think anything about economic status.
Being friendly and doing well on the playground is what mattered. It
did not registered that friends, Sanchez and Enriquita, were living in
a house with a dirt floor. I had never been there. We were not that
close. It did not register either that the Japanese gardener on our
block was no longer around.
Feb 8 Japan lands a force at Singapore.
Feb 16 In Tokyo, Prime Minister Tojo describes a "new order
of coexistence" for East Asia.
Feb 18 Japan lands troops on the island of Bali.
Feb 23 A Japanese submarine shells an oil refinery
near Santa Barbara, California, causing little damage.
Feb 26 The German physicist Werner Heisenberg informs the
Hitler regime about a new wonder weapon (Wunderwaffen) -an atomic
Feb 28 Japan lands troops on Java.
Mar 2 The western halves of California, Oregon and Washington
and the southern third of Arizona are designated as military areas.
Mar 7 Japanese troops land in New Guinea.
Mar 8 The Japanese have taken control of the Dutch East
Indies (Indonesia). They announce a new era of peace and prosperity and
the closing of all banks and European schools. Dutch males are put into
Mar 17 General Douglas MacArthur arrives in Australia, from
Mar 21 Jews are removed from their ghetto in Lublin, Poland,
and sent to extermination camps.
Mar 23 The US government begins moving Japanese-Americans to
internment camps from war zone areas on the Pacific Coast, but not from
the Territory of Hawaii, where they are more numerous.
Mar 27 The deportation of Jews from France to the
extermination camp at Auschwitz, in Poland, begins. From elsewhere in
Europe, since February, box cars carrying Jews have been arriving at
Auschwitz. The Jews there are sixty percent of the prison population.
Mar 28 Subhash Chandra Bose was disappointed by Hitler and
critical of Hitler's treatment of Jews and invasion of the Soviet
Union. On a submarine, Bose has journeyed to Japan, and, in Tokyo, Bose
calls for the creation of an army for the liberation of India.
Mar 31 A campaign to free Leningrad has failed, with an
official death toll of 20,000. Soviet officials are ashamed of events
regarding Leningrad and of all failures. Some claim that the death toll
was as high as 300,000.
Apr 9 Russian troops attack at Kerch on the eastern edge of
the Crimean Peninsula.
Apr 10 The 65-mile Bataan Death March begins.
Apr 18 Sixteen small bomber aircraft from a US aircraft
carrier strike Tokyo and other cities, doing little material damage,
but it gives Americans a couple of days with something to cheer about.
Apr 27 In Belgium, Jews are ordered to wear stars.
May 1 Heavy fighting also continues around Leningrad.
May 1 Daily air battles around Port Moresby, in New Guinea
just north of Australia, have reduced the Australian air squadron there
to just three airworthy machines.
May 6 A force of about 1,000 Filipinos and Americans on the
island fortress of Corregidor Island, in Manila Bay, surrender to the
May 8 A seven-day naval battle in the Coral Sea is somewhat
of a draw, except that it averts a seaborne invasion near Port Moresby.
May 8 Rather than Moscow, Hitler aims to secure the oil
fields and passes in the Caucasus region of the Soviet Union. A part of
this southern strategy is to take the port of Sevastopol in the Crimea.
His commander on the Eastern Front, Halder, dislikes Hitler's new
offensive, questioning the wisdom of such a deep penetration into
May 12 A German U-boat sinks an American cargo ship at the
mouth of Mississippi River.
May 12 The Soviet Army launches an assault to take back the
city of Kharkov, about 640 kilometers (400 miles) west of Stalingrad.
May 12 1,500 Jews are gassed at Auschwitz.
May 14 British troops retreating from Burma reach
May 15 Gasoline rationing begins in 17 states in the United
May 20 Japan has finished its conquest of Burma.
May 20 The Germans have eliminated the Soviet army in the
Crimea. Around 170,000 Russians have been taken prisoner.
May 29 Germans have encircled the Kharkov region of
the Soviet Union. The Red Army has lost over 250,000 men including many
Jun 1 The Unites States begins sending Lend-Lease materials
to the Soviet Union.
Jun 2 Two Czech commandos, who have parachuted into their
homeland, wound Germany's governor in Prague, Reinhard Heydrich.
Jun 4-7 The Battle of Midway, a clear sign of progress for
the US in the first year of their war. Japanese have attempted to lure
the US naval fleet into a trap in order to eliminate US aircraft
carriers and naval supremacy in the Pacific. And they planned to push
their defense perimeter farther eastward across the Pacific - a step
toward invading the Hawaiian Islands. Superior intelligence sources
have given the United States an advantage. The US outmaneuvers the
Japanese and wins the Battle of Midway, permanently damaging the
striking power of Japan's navy. From now on the US Navy will be on the
offensive in the Pacific.
Jun 7 Japan invades Attu and Kiska islands in the Aleutians.
Jun 10 Reinhard Heydrich dies of his wounds. The Germans
retaliate by massacring 173 male residents of Lidice.
Jun 11 Germans court-martial their army captain, Michael
Kitzelmann, winner of an Iron Cross Second Class for bravery. To his
fellow officers he has called those Germans committing atrocities
"criminals." He is shot by a firing squad.
Jun 12 In Amsterdam, Anne Frank receives a diary as a present
for her thirteenth birthday.
Jun 21 A Japanese submarine lobs 17 shells at Fort Stevens,
Oregon, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. No damage
done. No return fire.
Jun 21 Rommel defeats the British at Tobruk and races into
Egypt. The war between Germany and the Soviet Union enters its second
year. The Soviet Union will lose 8.7 million military personnel in the
war, which is to last 46 months. This is more than 6,200 lost per day.
The Germans would lose 2,415,690 military men against the Soviet Union
- an average of about 1, 700 per day.
Jun 22 Germans begin "resettling" Jews from the Warsaw ghetto
(a walled Jewish community equivalent to 11 kilometers or 7 miles
square). Anyone trying to leave the ghetto or refusing resettlement is
to be shot. Exempt are those Jews working for German
institutions and companies.
Jul 1 In the Crimea, German troops capture the naval base and
port city of Sevastopol.
Jul 13 At Rovno, in the Polish Ukraine, Germans execute 5,000
Jews. At Josefov, in Poland, Germans shoot 1,500 Jews.
Jul 15 The Burma Road to China having been cut, US transport
planes make their first flight of supplies from India, across high
mountains, "the hump," to China.
Jul 16 A half-dozen German Catholic church leaders protest.
In Paris, French police gather 12,887 and send them to the Drancy
Internment Camp outside the city. Jews from the Netherlands are being
sent to their deaths.
Jul 18 A German jet-propelled aircraft makes its first flight.
Jul 21 The Japanese begin landing a force of 8,000 men in New
Guinea, at Buna, a hundred miles northeast of Port Moresby. Fighting by
Australians to stop Japan's advance toward Port Moresby begins.
Jul 24 In southern Russia, Germans capture Rostov-on-Don,
clearing their way to the Caucasus.
Jul 27 The British have stopped Rommel's drive to the Suez
Canal - the 1st Battle of Alamein - about 100 miles short of
Alexandria, Egypt. Rommel will not occupy the grand suite reserved for
him at Cairo's famous Shepherd's Hotel.
Jul 28-31 Germans kill an estimated 10,000 Jews in Minsk,
Aug 3 The filming of "Casablanca" with Ingrid
Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, is finished.
Aug 4 The first train load of Jews from Belgium departs for
Aug 7 The Nazi 36th Police Battalion, made up of ethnic
Estonians, massacre some 2,500 Jews at Novogrudok, Byelorussia.
Aug 7 United States Marines land on Guadalcanal, the first US
amphibious landing of the war.
Aug 8 With the Japanese at India's border, Britain has
attempted to negotiate with India's leaders. Mahatma Gandhi has asked
all Indians to be ready to sacrifice their life for freedom from
British rule, to "do or die, " and he has asked the British to "quit
India." The All-India Congress agrees with the "quit India" declaration
and demands complete independence for India immediately.
Aug 9 The British imprison Gandhi and fifty members of the
All-India Congress, including Jawaharlal Nehru. The British declare all
Congress Committees illegal.
Aug 10-11 Following a minor fight between rival gangs of
Chicanos, thirty-four members of the "38th Street Gang" are arrested. A
young Mexican national, José Diaz, is found dead, evidence
eventually suggesting that his death is not related to the gang fight.
In Los Angeles newspapers, Diaz's death is associated with a crime wave
by "Mexican Goon Squads" and "Pachuko Killers." Police respond by
rounding up and incarcerating around 600 "Zoot Suiter" Mexicans,
charging them with suspicion of assault or suspicion of robbery. Some
support the round up as necessary for national security, claiming that
the "zoot-suiters" are a pro-fascist "fifth column" within the United
Aug 11 Vichy government official Pierre Laval publicly
declares that "the hour of liberation for France is the hour when
Germany wins the war."
Aug 13 The "Quit India" movement begins, with calls for
boycotting British goods and disassociation with British factories,
public services and other programs. Demonstrations and labor strikes
against the British break out across India.
Aug 13 Walt Disney's animated feature "Bambi" premiers at
Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Aug 22 Brazil declares war on Germany and Italy.
Aug 23 On this warm day In southern Russia, by the Volga
River, Germans begin to assault the major Soviet industrial city of
Aug 26 In Vichy France, 7000 Jews are rounded up.
Aug 26 A Russian offensive west of Moscow has pushed the
Germans back 15-20 miles.
Aug 26 Japanese troops land at Milne Bay in New Guinea.
Aug 31 The British army under General Bernard Law Montgomery
defeats Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps in the Battle of Alam
Halfa in Egypt.
Aug Colonel Anwar Sadat, 24, has been dismissed from Egypt's
army and imprisoned by the British for plotting with the Germans.
Sep 1 The German army has reached as far south as Mozdok,
about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Groznyy, at the edge of
the Caucasus Mountains - one richest petroleum-producing areas of the
Sep 4 Soviet planes bomb Budapest, the first air raid on
Sep 9 A Japanese float plane, launched from a submarine,
drops incendiary bombs on a US forest near Brookings, Oregon. The
forests fail to ignite. Blackout drills are stepped-up along the the US
Sep 23 The Russians launch a counter-offensive at Stalingrad.
For Germany the tide of war now turns to defeat.
Sep -- More than 400 villagers die of bubonic plague in China's eastern
Zhejiang province after Japanese warplanes drop "germ" bombs.
Sep -- In Albania the Communist Party organizes a National Liberation
Movement as a popular front resistance organization.
Oct -- Conducting war against the Soviet Union was not the snap Hitler
had imagined. Germany has discovered a great need of additional labor
power. The country's number two, Hermann Georing, issues a directive
that rather than executing hostile Belarussian men they are to be sent
as forced laborers to Germany. The policy of exterminating all Jews has
been amended for the same reason.
Oct 23 At El Alamein, in Egypt, the British begin an
offensive with perhaps the greatest artillery barrage since World War I.
Oct 27 In Starachowice, Poland, Germans separate weak Jews
from the strong. The strong are sent to work and the weak are sent to
the extermination camp at Treblinka.
Oct 29 The Alaska highway is completed. Nazis murder some
16,000 Jews in the Soviet city of Pinsk.
Oct Captain E Duran Ayres, chief of the Foreign Relations
Bureau of the Los Angeles sheriff's office, submits to a committee of
the Grand Jury a report that describes Mexicans as essentially
Orientals and therefore with less regard for human life than Europeans.
Mexicans, he claims, have inherited "naturally violent" tendencies from
Mexico's "bloodthirsty Aztecs." The Aztecs, he observes, tore
out the hearts of their victims with stone knives. Mexicans, he adds,
have "a desire to use a knife or some lethal weapon." They have a
desire to kill or at least to "let blood." In Los Angeles the
"Sleeply Lagoon" trial begins. Twenty-four are charged with the murder
of José Diaz. The actor Anthony Quinn helps organize a defense
Nov 4 The British offensive at El Alamein ends after thirteen
days - a major victory for British forces commanded by Field Marshal
Bernard Montgomery. German forces under Erwin Rommel retreats
during the night, eastward to Tunesia's highlands.
Nov 8 United States and British forces, under the command of
General Eisenhower, land at Casablanca, in the French colony of
Morocco. The British land at Oran and British and Americans land at
Algiers in the French colony of Algeria, at the rear of Rommel's army
in Tunisia. Resistance to the invasion is light despite General
Eisenhower having estimated a less than 50 percent chance of success.
Vichy France breaks diplomatic relations with the United States. In a
Munich beer hall, Hitler proclaims the fall of Stalingrad.
Nov 11 In response to the Anglo-American landings in Morocco
and Algeria, German troops are being flown from Sicily to Tunsia.
Germans and Italians move to take control of what had been unoccupied
France. Montgomery's army has moved from Egypt into eastern Libya and
retake Tobruk. Also on this day, 745 French Jews are deported to
Nov 13-15 A series of combined air and sea engagements
produce losses for both sides. Japan navy gives up trying to send
reinforcements to Guadalcanal and the army gives up hope of retaking
the island. US killed in action in and around Guadalcanal at this point
is close to 1,500.
Nov 14 Last Vichy French troops in Algeria
surrender. In Operation Torch the United States Army has lost 526
killed, 837 wounded and 41 missing.
Nov 19 The Red Army opens its winter offensive with a pincer
movement around the German army at Stalingrad. They overrun and scatter
the Romanian 3rd and 4th Army.
Nov 29 Germans begin in earnest an attempt to deliver
supplies to over 200,000 men trapped at Stalingrad.
Dec 1 In the United States, nationwide gasoline rationing
Dec 2 At the University of Chicago, Enrico Fermi and others
initiate a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
Dec 10 With torpedoes, the Italian navy sinks four supply
ships in the port of Algiers. Montgomery's army, after a rest and
refitting, starts to advance westward across Libya.
Dec 12 In the United States, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI restarts
its file on Charlie Chaplin, which describes Chaplin as wanting more
help for the Soviet Union's war effort and tolerance and understanding
for its Communist system.
Dec 16 Mussolini believes that a two-front war is not
winnable and sends an envoy to Hitler to discuss a possible peace
settlement with the Soviet Union. Soviet forces overrun Italian and
Roman troops at the River Don, about 160 kilometers (100 miles)
northwest of Stalingrad. Along the southern front in Russia, Germans
forces are spread thin and without reserves for adequate backup
Dec 16 The deportation of persons of mixed "Gypsy blood" from
Germany to Auschwitz begins.
Dec 17 Britain's foreign secretary, Anthony Eden, tells the
House of Commons about Germany's policy of exterminating Jews. He reads
a United Nations (Allied) declaration condemning the policy "in the
strongest possible terms." Members of the House rise for a minute of
silence in sympathy with the victims.
Dec 21 British troops re-enter Burma.
Dec 25 Pope Pius XII issues an encyclical vaguely critical of
Germany but with no explicit mention of Jews. It is the position of the
Holy Sea in the interest of remaining neutral regarding the war not to
mention particular atrocities. The Pope's message is that Jesus
"promises mercy, love, and peace" to the countless who have been
suffering "in the tempestuous strife and hate of our stormy days."
Dec 30 Five thousand screaming girls shout "Frankie!
Frankie!" when Frank Sinatra appears with Benny Goodman's band at New
York's Paramount Theater.
Dec 31 Germany's attempt to send supplies to Stalingrad is
failing. Soviet anti-aircraft fire and fighter plane interceptions are
downing German transport aircraft. Only ten percent of the needed
supplies are being delivered.
Jan 1 In the Caucasus region, Germany's 1st Panzer Army
retreats to avoid a cut off by Soviet forces from the northeast.
Jan 4 Seven Soviet armies launch "Operation Ring," against
the Germans at Stalingrad. It should be obvious to Hitler that he had
grossly underestimated the Soviet Union's ability to defend itself. The
German army still has a lot of power, but all that Hitler can hope for
is the spending of a vast amount of money and men in continuing to
occupy the Soviet Union. Finland's government already sees Germany as
losing the war and is interested in getting out as soon as it can.
Jan 18 A six-day offensive, Operation Spark (Iskra),
establishes a land bridge to Leningrad.
Jan 18 People in Warsaw's Jewish Ghetto rise up and try to
Jan 19 Romania's foreign minister, Mihai Antonrscu, asks
Mussolini to start negotiations with the Allies.
Jan 20 Chile's government sees the handwriting on the wall.
It severs diplomatic relations with Germany, Italy and Japan.
Jan 21 Italian occupation authorities on French territory
refuse to deport Jews.
Jan 23 World War II: British forces capture Tripoli from the
Jan 24 Roosevelt, Churchill and two French leaders, Henri
Giraud and Charles DeGaulle conclude a ten-day meeting at Casablanca
and decide that the war must end with unconditional surrender of enemy
Jan 24 Hitler orders troops at Stalingrad to fight to the
Jan 27 The United States makes its first bombing raid on
Berlin without British bombers.
Jan 28 Japan's Prime Minister Tojo tells parliament of his
government's intention to recognize the independence of Burma and the
Philippines and to aid India in its liberation from British rule.
Jan 30 The British bomb Berlin in daylight for the first time.
Jan 31 German troops at Stalingrad surrender, including their
commander, Field Marshal Paulus and 16 other generals. The Soviet
offensive in the southern region, begun on December 17 and known as
"Little Saturn," ends. Since December 11, Italy has suffered 84,830
Feb 1 Wanting to make their government in Norway appear more
Norwegian, Germany's authority in Norway appoints the unpopular fascist
leader, Vidkun Quisling, prime minister.
Feb 3 Hitler's government cannot hide its defeat at
Stalingrad. German radio announces three days of mourning for the
German troops who died there. A government directive orders journalists
to put a special spin on the loss. Rather than the result of Hitler's
mistakes, the defeat at Stalingrad is described "as an example of the
highest heroism and complete willingness to sacrifice for the victory
of the German people."
Feb 7 Across the land bridge to Leningrad, within range of
Germany artillery, a Soviet train arrives at a bomb-damaged station in
Leningrad. People weakened by hunger and hardship are jubilant over the
Feb 8 Japan ends its three-day evacuation of Guadacanal.
Feb 16 Three students paint with tar on a university building
and other buildings in Munich, the words "Freedom" and "Down with
Hitler." Some copycat signs are posted by others elsewhere in the city.
Feb 17 Dutch churches protest persecution of Jews.
Feb 20 In the United States, studio executives agree to allow
the Office of War Information to censor movies.
Feb 22 In Munich, five students and a professor have been
reported by those viewing their graffiti and leaflet-making as treason,
and on this day the six are beheaded.
Mar 2 Germany begins to transport Dutch Jews to the Sobibor
Mar 5 The Japanese have decided to take 100,000 troops from
China and Japan and put them on New Guinea. At the five-day Battle of
the Bismarck Sea, north of New Guinea, much of Japan's navy is
destroyed. According to the Australians, 2,890 Japanese soldiers and
sailors have been killed. About 800 Japanese soldiers make it to New
Mar 13 Plans by army officers to assassinate Hitler when he
visits army headquarters at Smolensk fail. Hitler has arrived with too
many SS body guards. During Hitler's return trip by air, a bomb in a
package fails to explode.
Apr 12 The Germans announce their discovery of a grave in
Katyn forest containing the bodies of some 4,100 murdered Polish
Apr 19 Germans launch a large-scale attack on Jews fighting
street by street in the Warsaw ghetto.
May 13 British and US forces defeat the German and Italian
forces in North Africa.
May 15 The uprising since January in Warsaw's Jewish ghetto
Jun 21 The war between Germany and the Soviet Union is two
Jul 5-12 Against the Red Army at Kursk, the Germans strike
back with their last major offensive on their Eastern Front. The battle
is the largest armored engagement of all time. The Soviet position
consists of numerous lines of trenches 95 miles deep. They have some
1,300,000 men, 3,600 tanks, 20,000 artillery pieces and 2,400 aircraft.
The Germans have some 2,700 tanks and assault guns, 1,800 aircraft and
800,000 men. The Germans lose between 50,000 and 57,000 men. Russian
casualty figures are a mystery, perhaps around 96,000. The Russians
win. The war between Germany and Russia is fairly well decided.
Jul 8 The Gestapo has captured a French resistance leader, Jean Moulin.
He refuses to disclose the identities of other resistance members and
is tortured to death.
Jul 10 British and US forces land on on the southeast coast
Jul 11 The Germans begin to evacuate Sicily.
Jul 19 Mussolini believes that he needs Germany's protection.
He visits Hitler and approves of Germany taking military control over
Italy. The US airforce bombs Rome.
Jul 25-26 Mussolini's fascist colleagues have turned against
him and speak with king Emanuel III. With this support, the king has
had Mussolini arrested. A new government is formed, headed by the
conservative military leader, Marshal Pietro Badoglio.
Jul 27-28 Bombing with explosives and incendiaries at Hamburg
creates many little fires that unite into a firestorm that kills
30,482, including 5,586 children.
Jul 31 Hitler is still holding on to his siege of Leningrad.
For July, casualties from shelling the city add up to 210 killed, and
Aug 6 Sweden cancels its agreement with Germany about the passage of
German soldiers and war material across Sweden to and from Norway.
Aug 6 The former Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini,
has been working with the Germans in the creation of an army of about
20,000 Bosnian Muslims. Heinrich Himmler, leader of Hitler's SS, writes
of these Muslims having "come to us out of hatred for the common
Aug 17 Germany's evacuation of Sicily is complete.
Sep 3 In secret with the Allies, the government of Pietro
Badoglio signs an unconditional armistice. British and Canadian troops
cross from Sicily to Italy at Calabria.
Sep 8 In a radio broadcast, Prime Minister Badoglio announces
that hostilities against the Anglo-American forces will cease, wherever
they may be. German radio speaks of "treacherous intrigue
which for weeks had been enacted by an Italian clique, serfs to Jews
and alien to their own people." German forces take over the north and
disarm Italian ground units.
Sep 9 US and British forces land at the Gulf of Salerno, just
south of Naples, in southern Italy.
Sep 11 German forces occupy Rome.
Sep 12 Germans rescue Mussolini from his prison in the
Abruzzi mountains. Germans begin an attack against the Allied forces
Oct 1 British and US forces have pushed northward to Naples.
Oct 1 In China's north, Mao Zedong, guerrilla leader against the
Japanese, calls for a reduction in rents. The Communists have been
appealing to and organizing peasants and spreading their influence.
Meanwhile, government forces under Chiang Kai-shek are angering
peasants with dire taxation and price increases that will amount to a
multiple of 250 between 1942 and 1944.
Oct 13 Prime Minister Badoglio tells General Eisenhower that
"His Majesty the King of Italy has declared war on Germany."
Oct 14 The US Air Force bombs ball-bearing factories at
Schweinfurt. Sixty of its aircraft are shot down, 599 airmen killed and
Oct 25 The Japanese open the railway from Burma to Siam,
built with British and Commonwealth prisoner-of-war labor.
Nov 3 London says that Finland is an Axis power and the
principle of unconditional surrender applies also to Finland.
Nov 5 Prime Minister Tojo, like his ally Adolf Hitler, is
engaged in wishful thinking. He speaks to foreign dignitaries at the
Greater East Asia Conference, in Tokyo, and states that "The countries
of Greater East Asia will cultivate friendly relations with all the
countries of the world, and work for the abolition of racial
discrimination, the promotion of cultural intercourse and the opening
of resources throughout the world, and contribute thereby to the
progress of mankind."
Nov 6 The Soviet army has been pushing the Germans back in
the Ukraine and has taken Kiev.
Nov 10 Ambassador Litvinov says in Moscow that the principle
of unconditional surrender does not include Finland.
Nov 10 The destroyer USS Spence attempts to rescue four
Japanese in a raft. With his pistol a Japanese officer kills the other
three and then himself.
Nov 20-23 A US force consisting of 17 aircraft carriers, 12
battleships, 8 heavy and 4 light cruisers, 66 destroyers and 36
transports, carrying 35,000 US Marines and part of the Army's 27th
Infantry Division, attack the atoll (24 little islands) of Tarawa. It
is a point in a drive northward toward Japan. The US loses more than
1,000 killed and 2,200 wounded. The Japanese lose 4,690 killed. On the
Japanese side, only 110 survive.
Nov 22-26 President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and
Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek meet in Cairo, Egypt. They agree that
Japan will be "stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has
seized or occupied since the beginning of the First World War in 1914,"
and that "all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such
as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the
Republic of China."
Dec 4 Josip Broz Tito, guerrilla war leader and Communist,
proclaims a provisional democratic Yugoslav government.
Dec 24 General Eisenhower is made supreme commander of the
Allied invasion of western Europe.
Dec 30 Subhash Chandra Bose has announced in Japanese
occupied Singapore the creation of a liberated Indian government in
exile. The Japanese have given him nominal rule on the Andaman islands
(between Burma and India) and there, at Port Blair, Bose raises the
flag of Indian independence.
Jan 1 DNA, the nucleic acid that contains genetic instructions involved
in the development and functioning of all known living organisms, is
discovered by Oswald Avery (1877-1955), a Canadian born medical
researcher, working in New York City.
Jan 18 The Soviet Army is driving the Germans back from around
Leningrad. The siege of Leningrad is lifted. Around 830,000 civilians
have died at Leningrad since the siege began in late 1941.
Jan 20 US Secretary of War Henry Stimson announces that
Japanese-Americans are eligible for the draft.
Jan 22 British and US forces, totaling 36,000 soldiers and
3,200 vehicles, land on the beaches around Anzio - about 60 kilometers
south of Rome. They meet little resistance. Thirteen of the
invading force are killed and 97 wounded. They take 200 German
Jan 26 After several days of fighting in the mountains of
Papua New Guinea, the Australians have won a major battle, sending the
Japanese in retreat.
Feb 3 The Germans have sent troops against the Allies around
Anzio. Hard fighting there begins.
Feb 14 On the island of Java some Indonesians revolt against
Feb 26 In a six-week campaign moving in the
direction of Estonia, the Red Army has destroyed three German
divisions, routed 17 other German divisions, captured 189 tanks and
1800 artillery pieces, and guerrilla forces have killed more than
21,500 Germans soldiers and derailed 136 military trains.
Mar 1 Amin Al-Husseini, in one of his many broadcasts from
Berlin, heard in much of the Arab world, tells Muslim SS soldiers:
"Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, History and
Religion. This saves your honor. God is with you."
Mar 12 Britain prohibits travel to Ireland following
accusations that Ireland, a proclaimed neutral in the war, is
collaborating with Germany.
Mar 19 Hitler sends troops into Hungary to defend his Eastern
Front against the Red Army.
Mar 22 Japan is not succeeding well in defending territory
that it already holds, but it tries to extend its power farther in
Asia. It sends an army on a march from Burma to a new objective: Delhi,
Mar 24 Roosevelt warns Hungary to refrain from anti-Jewish
Mar 27 In Kaunas, Lithuania's second largest city, about
1,800 people in a Jewish ghetto, mostly elderly and children, have been
dragged from their homes and murdered. Also killed are 40 officers of
the Jewish police for having given aid to the Jewish underground in the
ghetto. Less than 18,000 persons remain in the ghetto.
Apr 2 Field Marshall Erich von Manstein has been advocating
tactical withdrawals to shorter and more defensible lines while Hitler
has been insisting on "standing fast." Hitler replaces Manstein with a
more compliant commander.
Apr 14 The first Jews from Athens, numbering about 5,200,
arrive at Auschwitz.
Apr 16 Hungary's government begins registering Jews and
confiscating their property.
May 6 Gandhi's health has been deteriorating. The British
release him from prison.
May 16 The first of 180,000 Hungarian Jews arrive at
May 18 Stalin has accused Tatars of having collaborated with
the Germans. He begins to expel more than 200,000 of them from the
May 19 The Germans transport 245 "gypsies" from the city of
Westerbork, in the Netherlands, to Auschwitz.
May 31 The Japanese have made it no deeper into India than 70
kilometers - in Nagaland. They are without supplies and
starving. Their commander begins to retreat without permission from a
superior commander to his rear, who has ordered him to hold his
Jun 6 D-Day. From England 50,000 British, Canadian and US
troops land on the beaches of Normandy. The hardest going is at "Omaha
Beach," where about 1000 are killed, mostly in earlier hours. It is the
largest amphibious landing ever. Allied bombing has helped by limiting
supplies to the Germans.
Jun 7 Pesident Roosevelt tells Polish exile leader Stanislaw
Mikolajczyk: "Stalin doesn't intend to take freedom from Poland. He
wouldn't dare do that because he knows that the Unied States govenment
stands solidly behind you." (Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain, p21)
Jun 12 Approximately 40,000 Polish children, ages ten to
fourteen, are being taken from concentration camps to Germany for slave
Jun 13 From France, Germany begins to send V1 rockets to
London, daily. An average of 75 people per day will be killed during
Jun 15 US Marines make it ashore at Saipan and suffer 2,000
casualties. The fight for Saipan begins - about 20,000 US forces
against 30,000 Japanese troops.
Jun 18 The Japanese are on the offensive in central China,
eager to push back US airforce bases. They overrun Changsha.
Jun 22 The Soviet Union begins a summer offensive, "Operation
Bagration," at the middle of its line, opposite 34 German divisions.
The Russian offensive has 200 divisions, 2.3 million soldiers, almost
6,000 tanks and massed artillery.
Jun 29 The Allies are well established on the ground in
Normandy. Hitler fires Field Marshal Rommel and Field Marshal von
Rundstedt for suggesting that Germany should sue for peace.
Jul 7 The Soviet army is approaching, and Hungary's ruler,
Admiral Horthy, halts the deportation of Jews.
Jul 20 An attempt by German Army officers to
assassinate Hitler fails.
Jul 22 Representatives from the 44 Allied nations sign an
agreement at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The agreement creates the
World Bank and International Monetary Fund. It creates what will be the
"pegged rate" currency system for international monetary exchanges. The
dollar is to be the reserve currency, capable of conversion to gold.
Jul 22 Japan's government cannot hide the loss of Saipan.
Public sentiment and the outrage of fervent patriots force Prime
Minister Tojo to resign.
Jul 23 The Red Army liberates inmates of the Majdanek
concentration camp in Poland, near Lublin.
Jul 24 US forces land at Tinian, 5 kilometers southwest of
Saipan. Napalm is used for the first time. Tinian is suitable for a
bomber airbase within range of Japan.
Aug 1 The Red Army is about 50 kilometers east of Warsaw and
coming to a halt after a 900-kilometer (562-mile) advance since June
22. The Polish government-in-exile in London, with whom Stalin has
severed relations, has ordered an uprising in Warsaw, and underground
members of their Polish Home Army in Warsaw begin to attack the Germans.
Aug 4 Anne Frank and family are arrested by the Gestapo in
Aug 8 Eight German army officers are hanged, with piano wire,
for their part in the attempted assassination of Hitler on June 20.
Aug 10 US troops have completed their victory over the
Japanese on the island of Guam, south of Saipan and Tinian.
Aug 23 King Michael of Romania orders his forces to stop
fighting the Allies.
Aug 25 The German in command of Paris, Dietrich von Choltitz,
disobeys Hitler's order to destroy the city. He surrenders Paris to de
Gualle's Free French.
Aug 28 On the 28th day of the Warsaw uprising, Polish
resistance fighters are forced by German air power and artillery fire
to take cover in the city's sewers.
Aug 29 Slovak troops, numbering about 60,000, have turned
against the pro-German government of Jozef Tiso. Germany occupies
Slovakia. The deportation of Jews from Slovakia begins again.
Aug 31 Soviet troops overrun the capital of Romania:
Sep 6 Bulgaria declares war on Germany.
Sep 8 The Red Army enters Bulgaria unopposed. The
Bulgarians are friendly in keeping with their history of Russian
relations with Bulgarians, especially in 1878 when Bulgarians won
freedom from Turkish rule.
Sep 8 Germans can no longer launch their V1 rockets from
France. They now have a longer range rocket, the V2, which they launch
from the Netherlands. Hitler has hoped that his rockets will turn the
war around for Germany.
Sep 9 Finland and the Soviet Union sign a
preliminary peace agreement. The borders of 1940 are reestablished.
Finland agrees to expel all German troops from its territory, to
abolish various rightwing political organizations, to give legal status
to its Communist Party, to a restriction of the size of its armed
forces and to hold war crimes trials.
Sep 11 US troops cross Germany's western border. The Allies
are only 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the German city of Darmstadt.
There, Britain's airforce creates another firestorm. The number of
German military personnel who die is 936. Prisoners of war who die
number 368. Also killed are 492 foreigners doing forced labor.
Identifiable German civilians who die number 1,766 men, 2,742 women and
2,129 children. Those who die and are not identifiable will be
estimated as roughly 6,000. Nothing is accomplished that would speed
the end of the war.
Sep 17 Paratroops and gliders land behind the German line in
the Netherlands, in operation "Market Garden," the largest of airborne
operations, consisting of US, British and Polish troops. It is hoped
that by taking key bridges the Allies will be in Berlin before the end
of the year.
Sep 27 Thousands of British troops are killed trying to
capture the Arnhem Bridge that crosses the Rhine River in the
Netherlands. The Germans hold to a new line in the Netherlands,
frustrating operation Market Garden.
Sep 28 Yugoslavia's partisan leader, Josip Broz
Tito, agrees to the Soviet army entering Yugoslavia temporarily.
Oct 1 The Soviet army pushes into Yugoslavia.
Oct 2 In Warsaw, the last of the Polish Home Army
surrenders to the Germans. The uprising has proven to be poor judgment
by the London based Polish government in exile. The uprising has
suffered from a lack of cooperation by Stalin, who preferred his own
Poles to that of the London government in exile. 150,000 Poles have
died and 26,999 Germans. The Germans are evacuating and destroying the
city in accordance with Hitler's orders. It will be January before
Soviet troops arrive.
Oct 4 British troops land at Crete and in Greece.
An anti-fascist partisan army, the ELAM, led by Communists, controls
much of Greece's countryside. ELAM soldiers number about 50,000.
Oct 10 Churchill is in Moscow and without a representative of
the United States present he makes a secret agreement with Stalin
concerning spheres of influence. Stalin stays with his old policy of
getting along with the capitalist West rather than pursuing revolution.
He cedes interest in Italy to Britain. From Churchill he receives 90
percent interest in Romanian affairs and he gives Britain 90 percent
interest in Greece. They split Yugoslavia fifty-fifty.
Oct 14 British troops enter Athens and land on the Island of
Corfu. Communist Party leadership in Greece have been advised by Moscow
not to precipitate a crisis that would risk Stalin's post-war
objectives of cooperation with the Western powers. Greece's Communist
Party leadership is ready to accept membership in a liberal coalition
government, led by George Papendreou.
Oct 14 Field Marshall Rommel is suspected of complicity with
the attempted assassination of June 20. Because of Rommel's popularity
with the German people, Hitler gives Rommel the option of committing
suicide with cyanide or facing a humiliating trial and the murder of
his family and staff. Rommel dies by suicide.
Oct 15-17 In a radio broadcast, Hungary's ruler, Horthy, asks for a
non-aggression treaty with the Soviet Union. He is seized by German
commandos. The German army occupies Budapest. Count Szalasi becomes
prime minister. Adolf Eichmann arrives in Budapest and orders 50,000
able-bodied Jews to be marched to Germany, on foot, to serve as
Oct 16 The Red Army is at Germany's eastern border in East
Oct 18 General Joseph Stillwell has been leading the US
effort to help the Chinese fight the Japanese. He has been urging
reforms by Chiang. Stillwell has wanted a united front against the
Japanese while Chiang has seen the Communists as more of a threat than
the Japanese. Chiang dislikes Stillwell. Roosevelt replaces Stillwell.
Oct 19 The Germans evacuate Belgrade.
Oct 20 The Soviet army enters Belgrade.
Oct 25 The Japanese are outgunned in the Pacific and are
losing their war, but rather than starting to bargain with the United
States, today, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Japanese resort to
its first kamikaze ("divine wind") suicide airplane attacks against US
Oct 27 U.S.
submarine Kingfish (SS-234) sinks the Japanese landing ship T-138 and
army cargo vessel Tokai Maru No.4, 30 miles north-northeast of Iwo Jima.
Oct 28 In an agreement signed in Moscow by the Soviet Union,
Britain and the United States, Bulgaria accepts an armistice, agreeing
to sever relations with Germany and to withdrawal from Greece.
Nov 3 The pro-German government of Hungary flees.
Nov 7 Roosevelt has done something Hitler does not have to
do. He has stood for election, and he wins a fourth four-year term.
Nov 20 Hitler retreats from his East Prussian headquarters to
a bunker below the "Reichskanzlei" in Berlin.
Nov 24 From the Island of Tinian, approximately 100 B29
bombers journey 1550 miles for their first raid on Tokyo. Sixteen bombs
hit their target: a factory. The Japanese capture the city of Nanning
in south-central China.
Nov 25 In the Philippines the Japanese are resorting to a
god-is-on-their-side strategy. They believe Japan was saved by a divine
wind (kami-kaze) from a Mongol invasion in 1281. The Japanese believe
that they will be saved again. Their pilots launch suicide - kamikaze -
attacks against the US Navy in the Philippines, damaging four aircraft
carriers, two battleships, two cruisers and two destroyers.
Nov 29 The last German troops are withdrawn from Albania. The
Communist leader of Albania's coalition partisan movement, Enver Hoxha,
a former school teacher, has taken control of Albania.
Dec 12 In Greece, the Communist dominated partisan army has
balked at giving up its weapons, fearing that it would leave them
vulnerable to rightist militias. Fighting has erupted. The left takes
control of Athens and the nearby port of Piraeus.
Dec 16 Hitler launches an offensive against the US forces in
Belgium - called Operation Watch on the Rhine by Germans and Battle of
the Bulge by Americans. Hitler hopes it will defeat four Allied armies
and result in the US and Britain negotiating a settlement in his favor.
Dec 24 The British have flown in a force from Italy, which
has regained control of Athens. Churchill flies into Athens but fails
to persuade the ELAS to stop fighting.
Dec 25 The first goal of Operation Watch on the Rhine has
been the port city of Antwerp. The German offensive toward Antwerp has
been halted more than 100 kilometers short of the city.
Dec 29 A top secret German report describes Allied bombing as
having destroyed telephone usage and roads and railways in the Saar
region, making impossible the re-routing of supply trains.
Dec 31 The British bomb the Gestapo headquarters in Oslo, Norway. They
destroy half of the building, but the results do not add up to a
success. There is the usual collateral damage, including a bomb
striking a tram filled with people. All but four are killed.
Jan 5 In the liberated city of Lublin, Polish Communists have
created a provisional government. The Soviet Union announces
recognition of that government. Stalin is hostile to the London Poles
and wants a friendly government in Poland. Churchill cables Stalin and
Jan 11 The Soviet Army enters Warsaw.
Jan 12 The Soviet Army resumes its offensive - 180 divisions
against 75 German divisions. Hitler has 28 other divisions defending
his front in Hungary. Hitler orders sixteen divisions in the West to
Jan 12 In a conversation at a private party a 27-year-old
nurse, Gertrude Seele, expressed dislike for Hitler's regime. Someone
reported her, and it was been learned that she had helped some Jews.
She was imprisoned, and, on this day, she is executed.
Jan 18 With the Red Army approaching, a German order is given
to evacuate slave laborers and inmates in the Auschwitz area to points
farther west. Marching on foot in freezing weather, anyone who does not
keep up is shot.
Jan 20 Soviet troops are pushing into East Prussia. More than
2 million Germans from East Prussia are fleeing westward.
Jan 26 Soviet troops enter Auschwitz.
Jan 30 In a raid behind Japanese lines on the Island of
Luzon, 100 US soldiers and more than 400 Filipino guerrillas rescue 531
American prisoners of war. One US soldier and 26 guerrillas die.
Feb 2 Ecuador announces that it is at war with Japan.
Feb 3 The US Army is converging on Manila from three
directions and has pushed into the northern outskirts of the city. The
battle for Manila begins.
Feb 3-11 Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt meet at Yalta and
firm up agreements, including a coalition government for Poland. Stalin
speaks of continuing good relations but warns that after the war will
come a difficult time when they will be divided by "diverse interests."
Feb 7 Paraguay declares war on Germany and Japan.
Feb 12 Peru announces it is at war with Germany and Japan.
Feb 13 The Soviet army drives German forces from Budapest.
Feb 13 British bombers make two raids against railway yards
at Dresden. A firestorm results that burns eleven squared miles of the
city. The city has been filled with people fleeing from the advancing
Feb 14 Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru join the United
Feb 15 Dresden is still burning. The US Airforce joins in
bombing the city, believing that more havoc will be created by hitting
the city when firefighting equipment is in the streets. Dresden is to
burn for five more days. The identifiable dead number 39,773. The
unidentifiable are 20,000 or more.
Feb 15 Venezuela and Uruguay declare war on Germany and Japan.
Feb 17 In Manila, Japanese troops are holding 5,000 Filipinos
hostage. Japanese troops release their frustration and anger against
civilians. A young Japanese soldier writes in his diary of the killing
of "several thousand ... young and old, men and women."
Feb 19 Two divisions of U.S Marines land at Iwo Jima, a small
island with an airfield closer to Japan than Tinian Island.
Feb 23 On Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi, Marines and a Navy
Corpsman raise the US flag.
Feb 24 The Prime Minister of Egypt, Ahmed Pasha, announces
that Egypt has declared war on Germany and Japan. Later on this day he
Feb 26 Egypt's parliament approves the declarations of war.
Feb A Russian artillery officer at the front in eastern
Germany, Captain Alexander Solzhenitsyn, has been arrested for a
deprecatory remark about Stalin in a letter to a friend.
Mar 1 Iran and Saudi Arabia declare war on Japan.
Mar 3 The battle for Manila ends. There, approximately
100,000 Filipinos have died. The US Army has lost 1,010 dead, the
Japanese about 16,000.
Mar 3 Finland declares war on Germany retroactive to Sept 15,
Mar 6 King Michael of Romania gives power to a coalition
government dominated by the National Democratic Front and Romanian
Mar 7 Romania declares war on Japan.
Mar 8 In Yugoslavia, Josip Tito creates a federal republic.
He is premier.
Mar 9 The dropping of tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo
begins. A firestorm consumes oxygen and suffocates thousands.
Liquid glass rolls down streets. As many 120,000 die. Perhaps as many
Mar 16 The last of the Japanese resistance on Iwo Jima ends.
Of the 22,000 Japanese fighting men on the Island only 1,083 survive.
The US Marines have lost 6,891.
Mar 23 US, British and Canadian forces have crossed
the Rhine River.
Mar 28 Churchill sends a memorandum to Air Marshall Arthur
Harris saying that "It seems to me that the moment has come when the
question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing
the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed."
Apr 1 The US Army and Navy land 50,000 troops on an
eight-mile beachhead at Okinawa - a part of Japanese homeland - against
about 100,000 Japanese troops.
Apr 4 A provisional government for Czechoslovakia is
established in the eastern Slovak town of Kosice, cleared of Germans by
the Soviet Army. Eduard Benes, a liberal, is the provisional
government's president. A leader of the Czech Social Democrats is prime
minister. Communists dominate the Ministry of Interior Affairs.
Apr 5 The Soviet Union ends its neutrality pact with Japan.
Apr 11 Hitler's Gestapo telephones the Buchenwald
concentration camp and says that it is coming to blow up the camp and
its inmates. Camp administrators have already fled. An inmate answers
the phone and, pretending to be an administrator, says not to bother,
that it has already been done. The Gestapo does not arrive. A few hours
later the US 3rd Army arrives.
Apr 11 Chile declares war on Japan.
Apr 12 President Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorage.
Apr 13 The Soviet army takes Vienna.
Apr 15 British troops liberate Bergen-Belsen concentration
camp. They are shocked by what they find.
Apr 15 Since early February the Allies have bombed Berlin
eighty-three times. Berliners are living without water and electricity
and with little food. The bombs are accomplishing little strategically
but making rubble bounce, killing more civilians and killing Allied
airmen. In Berlin people joke about Hitler having promised that under
his administration they would eventually not recognize their city.
Apr 25 US and Soviet troops meet at the Elbe River.
Apr 28 Benito Mussolini has been fleeing northward toward
Germany and is caught by Italian partisans. Mussolini is reported to
have said he is sorry just before he is shot. At an Esso gas station In
Milan, the bodies of Mussolini, his mistress and some other leading
fascists are hung by their heels, on display as executed criminals.
Apr 30 Hitler has written his will and testament. He names
the head of his armed forces, Admiral Donitz, chief of state and
apologizes for nothing. All failure he sees as the work of others. He
May 1 Joseph Goebbel's commits suicide, taking with him his
wife Magda, six children and dogs.
May 2 In Berlin, soldiers place the Soviet flag over the
parliament building. The Soviet Union announces the fall of Berlin.
May 8 Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allied
forces. The Soviet army enters Prague.
May 9 In Prague the usual civility of the Czech people has
broken down. A public announcement calls for "Death to Germans." A week
of revenge begins. A former mistress to a German officer is murdered in
the street. German-speaking civilians, male and female, are brutalized
and some others killed. Taking advantage of the rampage, some engage in
rape and thievery.
May 23 In western Germany, Heinrich Himmler has been found by
the British. While in custody he commits suicide with a hidden vial of
May 29 In Damascus, French troops have fired upon people
demonstrating against their presence, and this creates more anger and
Jun 4 Amid famine in northern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh's Viet
Minh establishes a provisional government in a region free of Japanese
in northern Vietnam. It abolishes the "corvee" (forced labor) and
begins distribution of French owned lands to peasants. It begins
literacy programs and the training of local militia.
Jun 21 After three months and 21 days, the fighting on
Okinawa ends. US Army, Navy and Marines dead or missing are 18,900. At
least 150,000 Japanese civilians have died - about one-third of the
population - many by suicide. About 100,000 Japanese soldiers have
died, many by suicide. 7,000 were taken alive.
Jun 22 Emperor Hirohito tells his ministers that he desires
concrete plans to end the war.
Jun 26 At San Francisco, 50 nations sign the United Nations
Jul 16 In New Mexico, the first atomic bomb is successfully
Jul 17 Stalin has just reaffirmed his commitment to have the
Soviet Union enter the war against Japan on August 15. Truman writes in
his diary: "Fini Japs when that comes about."
Jul 21 Since July 17, Stalin, Churchill and President Truman
have been attending the Potsdam Conference, not far from Berlin. Truman
approves use of the atomic bomb against
Jul 25 The Japanese have been talking to Soviet officials
regarding an end to the war. The United States has been intercepting
messages between Tokyo and Japan's representatives in Moscow, and US
leaders are aware that Japan realizes that the war for them is lost.
The Japanese consider the "formality of unconditional surrender" an
Jul 26 Britain's Labour Party has won elections in a
landslide, Clement Attlee replaces Winston Churchill as Prime Minister.
Jul 27 From Potsdam, Truman cables the Japanese and warns of
"utter devastation of the Japanese homeland" unless Japan surrenders
Aug 6 The Japanese have not accepted Truman's demand for
unconditional surrender, and rather than wait patiently for the
Japanese to change their mind, the US military has been waiting for
good weather. The military has participated in choosing Hiroshima as
the target, and there the United States drops its atomic bomb.
Aug 8 The Soviet Union declares war on Japan.
Aug 9 The United States drops its second demonstration bomb,
Aug 15 Japan surrenders. Emperor Hirohito breaks the news of
surrender to the Japanese people.
Aug 15 Japan's governor, General Abe, transfers power to a
Korean Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence. Koreans
are jubilant, believing that Korea is an independent nation again.
Aug 17 Sukarno reads his declaration of independence for
Aug 22 Stalin announces his treaty with the government of
Chiang Kai-shek. He orders Mao to dissolve his army and work for Chiang
Aug 22 Near Tokyo, a revolt by diehard soldiers has been
quelled. Japan's military high command, following the will of Emperor
Hirohito, has established calm and order.
Aug 24 The Soviet forces have entered Pyongyang in northern
Korea, in agreement with the Allies at the Potsdam Conference. They are
rounding up Japanese forces, some of whom are coming south from
Aug 25 Saigon comes under the control of the Communist Viet
Minh. Vietnam's Emperor Bao Dai follows Ho Chi Minh's advice and
Aug 28 In agreement with the Japanese, an advance
party of 150 US experts and engineers and 38 combat troops arrive at
Atsugi airbase near Tokyo.
Aug 30 The US 11th Airborne arrives at Atsugi airbase on
transport planes. General MacArthur arrives in the afternoon. The 11th
Airborne band plays "Ruffles and Flourishes." A motorcade takes him to
his temporary headquarters. Japanese soldiers line the route, their
backs facing the motorcade - a gesture of respect and also a security
Sep 2 Ho Chi Minh declares Vietnam's Independence. Bao Dai
has agreed to be "supreme advisor" to the new Communist government in
Sep 2 On board the USS Missouri, in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese
sign the instrument of surrender.
Sep 3 Japanese authorities learn of US plans to put Japan
under military governance - contrary to the Potsdam agreement, which
declared the right of Japan's government to continue to exist. Japanese
authorities fear losing credibility with the Japanese people. MacArthur
listens and agrees to rescind rule by military governance. He agrees to
keep Japan's paramount social and political institutions in place. The
occupation is to be seen as background and secondary. In the US,
authorities are to see MacArthur's authority in Japan as "indirect
Sep 7 General MacArthur assumes power over the southern half
of the Korean peninisula. He delegates that authority of US Lieutenant
General John R. Hodge.
Sep 8 The US military is welcomed at the Port of Inchon, near
Seoul, by a delegation of Japan's military.
Sep 8 British troops parachute into Jakarta's Kemayoran
Airport. Japan's military begins surrendering to Australian forces.
Sep 9 In Seoul the US military accepts the surrender of the
Japanese. It frees English and Australians prisoners of war. It
establishes a US military government south of the 38th parallel.
Koreans are hostile and frequently violent toward those among them who
had collaborated with the Japanese, but the US general in charge, John
R. Hodge, includes those who had collaborated with the Japanese in his
Korean administration and police. Many Koreans see the
Americans as occupiers.
Sep 13 British forces arrive in Saigon for the expressed
purpose of disarming the Japanese there.
Sep15 The freeing of Dutch prisoners in Indonesia begins.
Sep 22 In Saigon 1,400 French soldiers and some of the 20,000
or so French civilians there, attack the Viet Minh and kill civilians,
including children. A French struggle for control of Vietnam begins.
Oct 9 The British arrange for the transport of additional
French troops to Indochina, including Vietnam, and agree to turn over
responsibilities there to the French.
Oct 15 Poland becomes the 51st member of the United Nations.
Oct 24 In Norway, Quisling has been convicted of treason and
Nov 10 The government of Enver Hoxha in Albania is recognized
by Western Powers.
Nov 11 Yugoslavia's population has more than a 90 percent
voter turn-out, and it gives overwhelming support to the popular front
government of Josip Tito.
Nov 20 In Nuremberg Germany, war crimes trials begin.
Dec 4 US Senator James O. Eastland joins others in helping
alarm the Russians about opinion in the United States. He speaks of
"Mongolian hordes stalking the streets of Western civilization as
conquerors." He adds that the American people "must realize that Russia
is a predatory, aggressor nation, and that today she follows the same
fateful road of conquest and aggression with which Adolf Hitler set the
world on fire."
Dec 29 The US and the Soviet Union have agreed to the
formation of a provisional government for a united and independent
Korea. With Britain they have agreed to "trusteeship" for Korea not to
exceed five years. In Korea news of the trusteeship is greeting with
disappointment, anger and violence.
Dec 1-31 Australians are turning over areas in Indonesia to
Jan 1 MacArthur's command in Japan has ordered the Shinto
religion disestablished. Emperor Hirohito issues a law denying that he
is descended from Japan's sun goddess - a tenet of Shintoism.
Jan 11 In Albania, Communists have emerged triumphant and
eager to suppress those who supported fascism and Germany. They have
imprisoned thousands, and in elections they have bullied opposition
politicians. The new national assembly abolishes the Albanian monarchy
and creates a People's Republic.
Jan 19 The U.N. Security Council hears its first complaint.
It is made by Iran against the Soviet Union for interfering in its
internal affairs and refusing to remove Soviet troops from Iranian
Jan 22 President Truman creates the Central Intelligence
Feb 14 Juan Peron is elected president of Argentina.
Feb 14 Britain's Labour government nationalizes the Bank of
Mar 5 Winston Churchill, no longer prime minister, makes a
speech in Fulton Missouri about an "iron curtain" having descended
across the continent of Europe. He says: "We understand the Russian
need to be secure on her western frontiers by the removal of all
possibility of German aggression. We welcome Russia to her rightful
place among the leading nations of the world. We welcome her flag upon
the seas. Above all, we welcome constant, frequent and growing contacts
between the Russian people and our own people on both sides of the
Mar 14 Stalin's tells people in the Soviet Union that, "In
substance, Mr. Churchill now stands in the position of a firebrand of
Mar 14 According to publicity, a rocket launched from the
United States goes through the earth's atmosphere and coasts to a
distance of 80 kilometers. It is said to have been capable of taking 11
kilograms (24.2 pounds) to an altititude of 30 kilometers and was
powered by a liquid propellant engine.
Mar 31 Greece's government has invited observers and experts
to supervise elections. Election results give a majority to the
Populist Party, which supports the monarchy.
Apr 1 The Allied occupation of Indochina is officially ended.
The United States recognizes Indochina, including Vietnam, as under
Apr 5 The first issue brought to the UN Security Council is
resolved. The Soviet Union agrees to withdraw army units from Iranian
Azerbaijan in exchange for reforms in the region and the establishment
of a Soviet-Iranian oil company.
Apr 10 Elections in Japan include women voting for the first
Apr 14 In China, the truce between Chiang's government and
the Communists, brokered by US Secretary of State General George C.
Marshall, breaks down.
Apr 17 Negotiations in the UN Security Council have led to a
simultaneous withdrawal of British and French forces and authority from
Syria and Lebanon. Syria, already a member of the United Nations, is
recognized as independent.
May 9 The last Soviet troops leave Iran.
May 20 Britain's Labour government nationalizes
May 26 Communists win 38 percent of the votes and the most
seats in parliamentary elections held in Czechoslovakia. They become
one-third of the cabinet of a new coalition government headed by
Klement Gottwald, a Communist, with Eduard Benes, a liberal, continuing
Jun 1 The United States tests a 20-kiloton atomic bomb near
Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Jun 1 Ho Chi Minh has been in France trying to negotiate
independence and an avoidance of war. The French high commissioner for
Indochina aggravates the Vietnamese by proclaiming a French-controlled
government for the southern half of Vietnam.
Jun 2 Women vote for the first time in Italy.
Jun 3 In France, moderates win 161 seats in parliament. The
Communists win 145 seats.
Jun 29 The British in Palestine, in what they call Operation
Agatha, arrest around 2,700 Jews they believe to be waging war against
Jul 4 With a plan in place since 1934, the US grants the
Jul 5 Bikinis go on sale in Paris.
Jul 22 In response to Operation Agatha, members of a militant
Zionist group, the Irgun, bomb British headquarters at the King David
Hotel in Jerusalem. The blast kills 28 Brits, 41 Arabs, 17 Jews, 5
others and injures 45 others.
Aug 16-19 In Calcutta, during a day of demonstrations for a
separate state, Muslims attack Hindus. In response, Hindus rampage
against Muslims across much of India. An estimated 3,000 Hindus and
7,000 Muslims are killed. Sikhs and Buddhists are also killed.
Sep 2 In agreement with the British, Nehru forms an interim
government to organize the transition to independence for India.
Sep 19 Wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill, gives his
United States of Europe speech. Kansas does not go to war with Nebraska
over disputes, and Churchill does not want more wars to develop in
Sep 27 In Greece, King George II returns from exile in
Britain. In the mountainous north, bordering Yugoslavia and Bulgaria,
Communists continue to wage war against the government in Athens. A
delegation of British Laborites are writing a report critical of the
right-wing government of Constantino Tsaldaris of the Populist Party.
Leftists and people opposed to monarchy are being dismissed from
government jobs and jobs in the private sector. Rightwing death squads
are assassinating people.
Sep 30 In the US zone of occupation in Korea, unhappiness
abounds with a shortage of rice and its rising price. In more than a
hundred cities, towns and villages are demonstrations, riots, assaults
on police stations and mobs murdering policemen. The rioting will last
into November, with US troops involved in restoring order while
leftists, labor unionists and Communists strike back against what they
see as an attempt to crush them.
Oct 15 Hermann Göring (Goering) poisons himself hours before
he is scheduled to be hanged.
Oct 27 In elections in Bulgaria, Communists receive a
majority of the votes and 277 seats in the 465-seat National Assembly.
An additional 87 seats go to those in coalition with them.
Oct 28 In an interview, Stalin says that the Soviet Union
remains interested in a loan from the United States, that US-Soviet
tensions have not grown and that the presence of the US fleet in the
Mediterranean is of no interest to the Soviet Union.
Nov 5 In the United States, meat shortages, economic
difficulties and labor unrest help the Republican Party win majorities
in the Senate and the House and for the first time since 1930. The
Republican Richard Nixon wins a congressional seat after accusing the
incumbent, Jerry Voorhis, of being soft on Communism. Another
Republican, Joseph McCarthy, wins a senate seat, campaigning with
exaggerated stories about his military service in the Pacific. He also
speaks of being for "world cooperation" that would "bring peace not
only for us but for all countries of the world."
Nov 6 In Britain, the National Health Service Act is
established, providing free and fully comprehensive health service for
Nov 19 In Romania, a Communist-led coalition wins a general
election with 79.9 percent of the votes cast. The United States and
Britain denounce the election as undemocratic.
Nov 21 In Bulgaria, Georgi Dimitrov, a well known
anti-fascist and Stalinist who, back in 1933, had been arrested by the
Germans for complicity in setting the Reichstag fire, is elected prime
Nov 23 War between the Viet Minh (an acronymn meaning Vietnam
Independence League) and the French has intensified. French warships
bombard Haiphong, killing around 6,000. The French expect to take care
of the Viet Minh in eight days or so.
Nov 25 In Romania, the coalition dominated by Communists
acquires an almost 85 percent majority in parliament.
Dec 1 Romania's King Michael opens the newly elected
parliament. In his speech he affirms Romania's Soviet-oriented foreign
policy and reports that the National Bank will be state run.
Dec 28 Josef Bogmar, Hungarian Minister of Information,
announces that "many persons" have been arrested in a purge of
discontented Hungarian politicians.
Dec 31 In the Philippines, Luis Turac, who led the Hukbalahap
guerrilla war against Japan's occupation forces, has not been allowed
to take the congressional seat he won in the July elections.
Dec 31 President Truman announces that "we, together with the
other United Nations, set about building a world in which justice shall
replace force." He adds: "Now, Therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President
of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the cessation of
hostilities of World War II, effective twelve o'clock noon."
Jan 17 A harsh winter is aggravating Europe. There
is economic stagnation, inflation, hunger and political unrest.
Churchill is visiting the United States as a private citizen and asks
the United States for help in policing Europe. Doing so is too much of
a financial burden for Britain.
Jan 17 A US military unit has been in China to disarm the
Japanese. The court martial of a US Marine begins, accused of raping a
Peiping (Beijing) university student. The rape has touched off
monstrous demonstrations across China against the US military presence,
targeting China's government for allowing foreign troops on Chinese
territory. The Pentagon believes that US forces are no longer needed in
China. The Marines will be out by the end of May.
Jan 19 In Poland, a coalition dominated by the Communist
Party wins 80 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections. Stalin is
succeeding for the time being in having a friendly Poland between the
Soviet Union and Germany.
Jan 21 The Soviet Union asks the UN Security Council to look
into Britain's interventions in Greece and Indonesia.
Jan 28 Unhappy with the recent elections in Poland, the
United States charges that the Provisional Government of Poland has
"failed to carry out its solemn pledges" to conduct free and
untrammeled elections as called for in the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements.
Feb 17 The US begins Voice of America radio transmissions
into the Soviet Union, viewed by Russians as hostility.
Feb 28 Chiang Kai-shek, China's anti-Communist ruler, sends
soldiers against rioting Taiwanese. Between 18,000 and 28,000 will be
said to have been massacred. Many Taiwanese disappear.
Mar 12 To a joint session of Congress, President Truman
proclaims what will become known as the Truman Doctrine. The US is to
aide Greece and Turkey, to support "free peoples to work out their own
destinies in their own way." A few conservatives are opposed. One
Congressman complains about do-gooders getting "us all broke."
Mar 19 Chiang Kai-shek's troops take control of Yenan, which
had been a base for China's Communist Party. Chiang has created a
National Assembly that the Communists think is bogus in that it does
not have representation for those who side with them rather than with
Mar 21 President Truman sees fears of a Communist takeover or influence
on the US government as ridiculous, but he is responding to public
pressure. He institutes a program of loyalty oaths for federal
Mar 29 A nationalist group in Madagascar rises against French
rule. The revolt spreads quickly, with some expecting help from the
Apr 3 In the US, the Attorney General's List of Subversive
Organizations is created under President Truman's Executive Order 9835.
Among those on the list are 71 organizations and 11 schools viewed as
"adjuncts of the Communist Party." Also on the list are the Ku Klux
Klan and a patriotic society for Japanese veterans of the
Apr 15 Jackie Robinson begins playing baseball, at first
base, for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Apr 16 With "enemies" in mind the phrase "Cold War" is
invented. In his home state of South Carolina, Bernard Baruch,
multimillionaire financier and adviser to presidents, says "Let us not
be deceived. We are today in the midst of a Cold War. Our enemies are
to be found abroad and at home. Let us never forget this." Some in the
US would think of Russia and communists as intent on destroying the US
or at least intent on helping Americans change their way of life. Some
others would think it a mistake to consider philosophical or political
adversaries as enemies and that the "Cold War" was fiction.
Apr 18 Father Josef Tiso, wartime "leader" in Slovakia, is
Apr 22 In a game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the
Philadelphia Phillies, players for the Phillies shout continual abuse
at Jackie Robinson, calling him "nigger" and advising him to go back to
Jun 5 A few people in the US are concerned that hardship in
Europe will bolster Marxist arguments and add to the appeal of
Communism. At Harvard University, the US Secretary of State, George C.
Marshall, outlines an economic recovery plan for Europe. He speaks of
the need to protect political stability and peace. "Our policy, he
says, "is directed not against any country or doctrine but against
hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos."
Jun 30 In China, the Communists have begun mobile warfare
against Chiang's government. They have crossed the Yellow River,
recruiting people as they advance.
Jul 3 Stalin is hostile toward the Marshall Plan - not yet
approved by the US Congress. He accuses the Western powers of seeking
to divide Europe into two hostile camps.
Jul 11 A Czech delegation returns from Moscow and announces
that the decision to receive Marshall Plan assistance has been
Aug 14 Pakistan splits from India and gains independence from
the British Empire.
Aug 15 India gains independence from the British Empire.
Sep 7 Stalin is worried about economic recovery in that part
of Germany occupied by Britain, France and the United States. He
proclaims that "imperialists want war."
Sep 9 In Argentina, women receive the right to vote
Sep 12 In Haifa, Palestine, a labor leader, Sami Taha, is
Sep 13 Thousands of Arab workers form a funeral procession
for Sami Taha. British authorities detain two Jewish women regarding
Sep 16 Arab League Secretary Azzam Pasha rejects a
Jewish plan for partition, saying. "Nations never concede, they fight."
About the Jews fighting for partition he says "We shall try to defeat
you. I am not sure we'll succeed, but we'll try. We were able to drive
out the Crusaders, but on the other hand we lost Spain and Persia. It
may be that we shall lose Palestine. But it's too late to talk of
Sep 19 The rightist Jewish guerrilla fighters, the Irgun,
bomb a police station in Haifa, killing four British policemen, four
Arab policemen, two Arab civilians and wound 46 others.
Sep 30 In the United States around 14,000 television sets are
in use, and the World Series is televised for the first time.
Oct 16 Britain urges the United Nations to begin
creating a suitable authority to replace the British administration of
Oct 27 Film stars who belong to the Committee for the First
Amendment arrive in Washington D.C. They include John Huston, William
Wyler, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Danny Kaye and Gene Kelly. They
are unhappy with the committee's investigation of communism in the film
industry. They are for letting artists work free of government
interference. Danny Kaye claims that the motion picture industry has
not been putting propaganda into its work. Gene Kelly follows, saying:
"As Mr. Kaye has remarked, its pretty hard to find any propaganda in
Nov 29 By a narrow margin, the United Nations General
Assembly passes a resolution for the partition of Palestine. The Soviet
Union and Truman administration have voted in favor. The resolution
calls for Jerusalem to be under international control.
Dec 9 France has been paralyzed by a general
strike, said to have been a Communist Party bid for power. The strike
is considered a failure and called off.
Dec 16 William Shockley, at Bell Laboratories, invents the
transistor, destined to replace glass tubes in electrical equipment.
Dec 25 The French have not yet completely suppressed the
revolt in Madagascar. Around 60,000 people have died. Europeans and
those friendly toward the French have been attacked and killed.
Dec 27 Greece's pro-monarchist government outlaws the
country's Communist Party.
Dec 30 In Communist dominated Romania, King Michael,
great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, is forced to abdicate.
Jan 1 Britain nationalizes its railways. Palestinian
militants attack and surround the Jewish quarter in Jerusalem. And Jews
carry out a series of raids as reprisals for the massacre of forty-one
Jews in Haifa.
Jan 2 Jews call upon the United Nations to restore order in
Jan 4 Burma gains independence from Britain.
Jan 5 In Britain, the BBC begins its Television Newsreel.
Jan 10 In Cairo, Egypt, police search fifty houses and hotels
for Jews suspected of subversive activities. Among those arrested,
young girls who had been raising funds for the Zionist cause.
Jan 12 General MacArthur is reported to favor an early
withdrawal of all outside military troops from Korea.
Jan 17 The Netherlands has not accepted Indonesia's claim of
independence. The Netherlands still wants to hang on to its East Indies
colony. But it agrees to a truce with the Indonesian republicans.
Jan 18 The United Nations Commission on Korea remains hopeful
that the Soviet Government will allow it to oversee free elections in
both the Soviet and US zones in Korea.
Jan 30 Mahatma Gandhi has been supporting peace between
Hindus and Muslims. On his way to a prayer meeting he is shot dead by a
Hindu who sees him as weakening India.
Feb 1 The Soviet Union begins to jam Voice of America
Feb 4 Ceylon, to be named Sri Lanka, acquires independence
and is to be a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Feb 6 The Russian newspaper Trud claims that the United
States is planning war.
Feb 8 North Korea announces the creation and activation of
its own army.
Feb 8 In Czechoslovakia the Communist party intends to speed
up socialism. In cooperation with the General Confederation of Labor
and left-wing Social Democrats they are preparing measures to
nationalize apartment houses, office buildings and department stores.
Feb 13 Czechoslovakia's parliament passes a resolution
demanding a report from the Minister of the Interior - a Communist - on
the misuse of the police for political purposes.
Feb 15 The second most powerful Communist in Czechoslovakia,
Antonio Zapotocky, declares in a speech: "Away with parliament if it
will not fulfill the program of the General Confederation of Labor."
Feb 18 The Czechoslovak Communist Party announces that
certain measures will be taken to safeguard the republic. It summons
members and sympathizers to be ready for action.
Feb 19 Czechoslovakia's Communist labor leadership is putting
through resolutions demanding that the Government nationalize every
industry in the foreign and wholesale trades with more than fifty
Feb 20 In Czechoslovakia, the ruling coalition breaks apart.
Non-Communist ministers resign, hoping to force an early election.
Feb 25 Czechoslovakia's Interior Minister (the state's top
cop and a communist) puts his police around all government buildings.
Feb 25 Czechoslovakia's communist prime minister, Klement
Gottwald, orders "action committees" to take authority in Prague and
throughout the country. The liberal Eduard Benes remains as president,
but powerless. He does not want a civil war.
Mar 6 In the Philippines, Luis Turak and other alleged
leaders of the Hukbalahap rebellion are declared outlaws. Men hired by
landlords and military and police have retaliated indiscriminately
against peasants - mostly tenant farmers. Those fighting "subversion"
have burned villages, killed and created more sympathy for the
Hukbalahap rebellion, which claims to be fighting for land reform and
against feudal conditions.
Mar 10 Jan Masaryk, Czechoslovakia's liberal nationalist
leader and foreign minister, is found dead, dressed in his pajamas, in
the courtyard of the Foreign Ministry below his bathroom window.
Mar 17 President Truman speaks to a joint session of
Congress, blames the Soviet Union for the Communist take over in
Czechoslovakia and calls on Congress to pass the Marshall Plan and to
enact a universal military training and a Selective Service bill.
Apr 3 Republicans in Congress have been opposing the Marshall
Plan, complaining about throwing billions of dollars into "a bottomless
pit of wasteful altruism." But the Communist coup in
Czechoslovakia has turned them around, and they help approve the $5.3
billion for the plan.
Apr 7 The United Nations establishes the World Health
Apr 8 President Truman orders the withdrawal of US troops in
Korea - to be completed in 1949.
Apr 9 A member of the US State Department, Joseph Jacobs,
complains of the Soviet Union's opposition to elections for the whole
Apr 9 The Irgun and Stern Gang have been attacking at the
town of Dier Yassin in an effort to break through Arab forces and reach
Jerusalem, where the food shortage in the Jewish quarter is dire. An
Arab account is to tell of 250 villagers, - old men, women and children
being massacred. A Jewish account, by Menachem Begin, head of the Irgun
from 1944 to 1948, is to tell of civilians failing to heed warnings by
loudspeakers that heavy bombardment is about to begin.
Apr 12 In Italy a one-hour work stoppage ordered by the
Communist dominated General Confederation of Labor is considered only
30 percent successful.
Apr 17 In Europe, sixteen nations join in the Marshall Plan's
economic cooperation organization. Not joining are Czechoslovakia,
Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Albania. Finland also does not
join, to avoid antagonizing the Soviet Union.
Apr 20 Italian-Americans, including Frank Sinatra, have tried
to help defeat communism in Italy by broadcasts selling the American
way-of-life. Money from the United States has been given to the
Christian Democratic Party's candidate, Alcide de Gasperi. Election
results give a big win to the Christian Democrats. The Vatican is
pleased by what it sees as a defeat for atheistic communism. In the
United States those fearing communism are relieved.
Apr 22 In Korea, Communists are leading a drive to force the
U.N. Commission to abandon observation of the elections to be held in
the US zone. Attacks are being made on elections officials. A report
claims such attacks have caused twenty deaths since the closing of
registration on April 8.
Apr 22 In a furious battle, the liberal Zionist militia, the
Haganah, takes control of Haifa, Palestine's only deep-water port.
Apr 23 Germans and Japanese are banned from playing tennis at
May 1 Kim Il-sung defies the United Nations, sealing his
border with southern Korea and claims jurisdiction over all of Korea.
May 1 In the United States, in the May edition of the
Communist monthly, Max Weiss writes that the Soviet Union has "the most
advanced democracy the world has known."
May 2 A war is raging on the island of Cheju, 65 miles off
the southern coast of Korea where, according to reports, bands of
Communists are terrorizing the island's 276,000 inhabitants.
May 10 More than 85 per cent of the voters in South
Korea's 8,000,000 eligible voters cast a ballot in the United
May 14 A national council, "representing the Jewish people in
Palestine and the Zionist movement" meets and states that "by virtue of
a resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations," it
establishes the state that is to be called Israel.
May 15 Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi
Arabia go to war against the declared creation of Israel. The
1,700 residents of Jewish Quarter in Jersualem is bombarded by
May 17 In Oregon, the first-ever radio debate between presidential
candidates takes place, between Harold Stassen and John Dewey. Stassen
is by reputation more liberal than Dewey, but he argues in favor of
outlawing the US Communist Party. Dewey favors civil rights for
everyone and argues against it, saying "you can't shoot an idea with a
May 28 In Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter, the Arab Legion takes
as prisoners all males between the ages of 16 and 50 -
Jun 7 President Eduard Benes of Czechoslovaka cites poor
health and resigns. Klement Gottwald, the prime minister, is to replace
Jun 18 Malaya's Communists, who had been granted legal status
for their fight against the Japanese, have decided on guerrilla warfare
and a Communist revolution. Communist guerrillas have killed three
rubber plantation workers, and Britain declares a state of emergency to
deal with the insurgents.
Jun 18 In their sectors in Germany, the US, Britain and
France cooperate in replacing occupation currency with the Deutsche
Jun 24 The Soviet Union is unhappy with the policies toward
Germany by the US Britain and France. It cuts rail and road routes to
the Western held sectors of Berlin deep inside the Soviet zone of
occupation - East Germany. The Berlin Blockade begins.
Jun 25 The daily flights and transport of goods to West
Berlin have started. The airlift is to last more than a year.
Jun 28 Stalin is trying to tighten his influence in East
Europe by combating nationalistic independence among Communists. At a
meeting of his Cominform organization, held in Romania, the
Yugoslavs are charged with nationalism and warned that their
independent-mindedness has put Yugoslavia on a path back to bourgeois
capitalism. The Yugoslav Communist Party is expelled from the
Jul 5 Britain launches in National Health Service.
Jul 12 South Korea creates a constitution.
Jul 15 In Italy an attempt to assassinate Palmiro Togliatti,
general secretary of Italy's Communist Party, incites strikes across
Jul 20 President Truman begins military conscription.
Jul 20 The US federal government indicts each of the twelve
members of the governing board of the Communist Party USA, charging
them with advocating "destruction of the government of the United
States by force and violence."
Jul 29 From London, the BBC televises the summer Olympic
Jul 31 Yugoslavia has ended its support of the Greek rebels.
Aug 15 The Republic of Korea (South Korea) declares its existence.
Aug 15 In the United States, CBS-TV begins a 15-minute
Aug 19 In Berlin, Soviet troops fire upon Germans demonstrating against
Sep 8 North Korea has countered developments in South Korea
with single slate elections, their own constitution and, on this day,
the constitution is validated and the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea officially proclaimed.
Sep 17 In downtown Jerusalem, members of the Stern Gang
assassinate Count Foke Bernadotte, a Swedish UN mediator in Palestine,
in retaliation for Bernadotte having proposed an Arab administration
for Jerusalem. The assassination outrages Ben-Gurion and most other
Sep 21 Making speeches from the back of his train, President
Truman, in Ogden Utah, says, "It was due to the plans and policies of
the Democratic administrations to develop the western resources for the
benefit of the western people themselves, not for the benefit of the
few bloodsuckers who have offices in Wall Street."
Sep 24 Bulgaria has complained about United States opposition
to Bulgaria becoming a member state of the United Nations. The United
States, in turn, condemns those in power in Bulgaria for having
obliterated Bulgarian democracy.
Nov 1 In China, a Communist army captures the main city in
Manchuria, Mukden. They are capturing vast quantities of arms and
ammunition and using weaponry given to Chiang Kai-shek by the United
Nov 2 President Truman defeats Thomas Dewey and wins
re-election, without much ado between the two about the Cold War. The
Progressive Party candidate, Henry Wallace, who campaigned against
hostility toward the Soviet Union, wins only 2.4 percent of the vote.
The Dixiecrat candidate, Governor J. Strom Thurmond, wins slightly more
votes than Wallace while carrying four states: Louisiana, Mississippi,
Alabama and his home state, South Carolina. Most people have merely
read about the campaigns in the newspapers. Television was is still
Nov 3 In the US, polling organizations are embarrassed and
apologetic about their methods. They predicted that Dewey would win.
Nov 12 The war crimes tribunal in Tokyo sentences seven
Japanese to death, including Hideki Tojo.
Nov 17 The UN General assembly passes a resolution condemning
the practice by the Communist side in Greece's civil war. The
Communists have been removing children from their parents and sending
them to neighboring Communist countries. The resolution demands return
of the children.
Nov 23 A land reform bill has angered Venezuela's landowners,
and advocacy of a reduced military budget has upset military officers.
A military coup ousts President Romulo Betancourt. Betancourt's
democratic government is replaced by a three-man junta, one of whom is
Perez Jimenez, who had been unhappy with his rank of major. They
describe their coup as "a democratic necessity in the face of Communist
influence." Betancourt's political party is declared illegal.
The new regime puts 4,000 opponents in prison, disbands congress and
begins censoring newspapers.
Nov 29 The cool-headed English diplomat Harold Nicolson
writes in his dairy about Russia preparing for a "final battle for
world mastery and that once she has enough bombs she will destroy
Western Europe, occupy Asia, and have a final death struggle with
America." He writes there is a chance that the danger will pass and
that peace will be maintained and adds: "I admit that it is a frail
chance - not one in ninety."
Dec 10 The United Nations General Assembly adopts a Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.
Dec 10 Alarmed by the success of the Communists in China,
Britain begins consulting quietly with various governments in southeast
Asia concerning a program of protection from the spread of Communism.
Dec 11 After six months of stalemate in talks between the
Dutch and Indonesians, the Dutch have broken off negotiations and
announced their intention of setting up a government in the East Indies.
Dec 19 Talks have broken down and the Dutch have started its
second military offensive in Indonesia, including bombing the capital
of the Indonesian republic, Jakarta, and taking Sukarno and other
leading Indonesians prisoner. In the United Nations is outrage, and
various Asian countries begin a boycott against the Dutch.
Dec 22 The United States demands that the Netherlands stop
its "police action" in Indonesia and release the Indonesian leaders it
has taken prisoner.
Dec 26 Expecting trouble, Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary has
written a note claiming that he has not been involved in any conspiracy
and that any confession he might make will be the result of duress. On
this day, Mindszenty is arrested and accused of treason, conspiracy and
offenses against current laws.
Dec 26 The last Soviet troops leave North Korea.
Dec 28 A member of the Muslim Brotherhood assassinates
Egypt's Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi.
Dec 31 Egypt bans the Muslim Brotherhood, but many are
already out of Egypt, in Transjordan, where they are engaged in
hostilities against Israel.
Jan 1 Japan is still under Allied (SCAP) military occupation.
Japan's stock market prices have doubled in one year, and Japan's food
situation has improved, but not enough for the US to discontinue food
aid. It is costly being both humanitarian and a conqueror. Aid to Japan
is costing the United States more than $1 million per day. The US wants
Japan to develop foreign trade so that it can buy its own food. Many
Japanese, meanwhile, are again visiting their Shinto shrines.
Jan 10 In China, morale is low among Chiang Kai-shek's
troops. 300,000 of them surrender to the Communist army.
Jan 10 In the US, music on seven-inch vinyl disks hits the
market. The disk plays at 45 rpm and replaces breakable 78 rpm records
that had been around since 1910.
Jan 21 George C. Marshall retires. Dean Acheson replaces him
as secretary of state.
Jan 22 In China, the advancing Communist army is replacing
Chiang Kai-shek's authority in Beijing.
Jan 24 MacArthur does not fear a Communist takeover in Japan.
Japanese Communists have been allowed to run in the nation's general
election. The Democratic Liberal Party candidates (conservatives) win a
majority of the votes. The Communists increase their seats from 4 to
35, out of 466 seats in Japan's lower legislative house.
Feb 8 In Hungary, Cardinal Mindszenty is sentenced to life
imprisonment for treason. He has "confessed" his guilt. More people are
convinced of the evil nature of "Communist" regimes.
Feb 12 The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Banna, now
back in Cairo, is shot and left to bleed to death on the floor of a
hospital. His killer is unknown but many suspect an Egyptian government
Feb 24 Israel signs an armistice with Egypt, seen by the
Egyptians as merely ending military hostilities. The Israelis, on the
other hand, want it to represent a permanent settlement. Egypt keeps
control over the Gaza Strip and is not to allow Arabs there Egyptian
citizenship or to migrate to Egypt.
Mar 1 In an interview in Tokyo, General MacArthur speaks of
the Pacific Ocean as having become an Anglo-Saxon lake. He describes a
line of defense for the US running from the Philippines, north through
Okinawa and other Ryukyo islands, through Japan and the Aleutian
Islands to Alaska. Dean Acheson is to agree with this assessment
without thought of abandoning South Korea.
Mar 1 Nine months since his second and last fight with Jersey
Joe Walcot, Joe Louis announces his retirement from boxing.
Mar 7 In Moscow, while talking to Stalin, North Korea's Kim
Il Sung says he believes "the situation" makes it necessary and
possible to liberate South Korea. Stalin disagrees and cites the
USSR-USA agreement on the 38th parallel as dividing Korea and the
possibility of an American intervention against a move by Kim's forces
into the south.
Mar 23 Israel signs an armistice with Lebanon.
Mar 24 The academy award for best picture in 1948 goes to
"Treasure of Sierra Madre."
Mar 25 The Soviet Union is conducting a program of
deportations, said to number 92,000 people, from Estonia,
Latvia and Lithuania to remote areas of the Soviet Union.
Mar 28 United States Secretary of Defense James Forrestal is
mentally ill and resigns.
Apr 3 Israel signs an armistice with Syria and with
Apr 4 The North Atlantic Treaty is signed by Belgium, Canada,
Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States. It is the first
peacetime military alliance for the United States.
Apr 11 The defeat of Arab forces by Israelis has shaken
confidence in Syria's parliamentary democracy. A Syrian general, Husni
al-Zaim, seizes power in a bloodless coup and temporarily imprisons
Syria's president, Shukri al-Kuwatli. The coup has been carried out, it
would be said, with discrete backing from the US embassy in Damascus,
which did not plan the coup, or pay for it, but al-Zaim, it would be
said, has promised the Americans to sign a peace treaty with Israel.
Apr 22 William F. Knowland, Republican from California, is
concerned about the advancing Communist army in China, and in a speech
in the Senate he accuses Secretary of State Dean Acheson of having
"pulled the rug out from under" Chiang Kai-shek's government, and he
demands an investigation. Events in China, meanwhile, are being driven
by the hearts and minds of the Chinese, and there is widespread dislike
for Chiang kai-shek's regime, and China's Communist forces are
benefiting from it.
Apr 24 Communist troops have crossed that Yangtze River and
take over what had been Chiang's capital city: Nanking. The Communists
begin pushing toward Shanghai.
Apr 28 Speaking to the American Newspaper Publishers
Association, former President Herbert Hoover calls for expelling
Communist countries from the United Nations. His speech is greeted with
"thunderous, almost impassioned ovation."
Apr 29 In the United States, George F. Kennan is concerned
about public opinion. A critic of Soviet policies and an architect of
the US policy of "containing" the Soviet Union, he draws from his
experience as a diplomat in the Soviet Union and states publicly that
the Russians are not an enemy of the American people, that they still
believe in "decency, honesty, kindliness, and loyalty in the relations
May 11 Israel becomes the 59th member state in the United
May 11 The Kingdom of Siam becomes the Kingdom of Thailand.
May 12 The Soviet Union responds to futility and lifts its
blockade of Berlin.
May 22 James Forrestal, Secretary of Defense to March 28, is
found dead on a third-floor roof below the 16th-floor kitchen across
the hall from his room.
May 23 In West Germany, military occupation by the US,
Britain and France ends. The Federal Republic of Germany is
established. Austria remains under Allied occupation.
May 23 The first computer that has a stored program within it
- with lists of instructions and memory - begins operation at Cambridge
University in Britain. The computer can both calculate and control the
sequence of calculations at electronic speed. It's a glorified
Jun 2 In what will now be called Jordan, King Abdullah has
dropped the name Transjordan.
Jun 3 Israel is reported to be bargaining with Egypt
regarding acquisition of the Gaza Strip and its absorption of Arabs
Jun 5 The Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, has
finished talks with the ruler of Syria, General Zaim. The Mufti's
Palestinian regiment is to be attached to the Syrian Army.
Jun 5 The General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party,
Matyas Rokosi, has denounced "chauvinism" and "cosmopolitanism" among
Hungarian Communists and has begun a purge of people within the Party.
Jun 8 George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is
published. It's about Britain becoming super-Stalinist. It's about a
political party driven by its desire for power. It allows only its own
interpretations of history. Thought Crimes, Big Brother, Double Think,
News-Speak and Room 101 are phrases from the book that will be
Jun 15 In Hungary, it is officially declared that the high
ranking Communists, Laszlo Rajk and Tibor Szonyi, have been expelled
from the Party because they are "spies and Trotskyist agents of foreign
and imperialist powers." Rokosi has seen Rajk as a rival and as
Jun 29 The last US troops withdraw from South Korea.
Jul 4 In the US the Department of Classroom Teachers,
representing 350,000 teachers, unanimously opposes loyalty
Jul 15 President Truman establishes a national housing
policy, providing federal aid to slum clearance programs and low-cost
Jul 20 Iraq has withdrawn its troops from Palestine and
leaves Jordan in possession of much on the west bank of the Jordan
River - the West Bank. Israel controls western Jerusalem and Jordan
controls the rest of Jerusalem.
Jul 27 The first production passenger jet airliner, the de
Havilland Comet, makes its maiden flight. The plane is British.
Jul 29 Under economic and diplomatic pressure from the United
States, the Netherlands government agrees with Indonesian leaders to a
Aug 5 In Ecuador an earthquake of only 6.75 on the Richter
scale destroys 50 towns and kills about 6,000 people.
Aug 5 In the United States, Secretary of State Dean Acheson
proclaims that the failures of the Chinese National Government "...do
not stem from any inadequacy of American aid. Our military observers on
the spot have reported that the Nationalist armies did not lose a
single battle during the crucial year of 1948 through lack of arms or
Aug 6 In Damascus, Syria, a synagogue is bombed and six or
seven persons killed and twenty-seven injured. The bombing is believed
to be a demonstration against peace negotiations with Israel conducted
by the United Nations.
Aug 8 For the last two years India has been handling Bhutan's
foreign affairs, a task it was given by the British. Today, Bhutan
becomes completely independent.
Aug 14 Syria's new ruler, Husni al-Zaim, has made enemies by
proposing to give women the vote and allowing them freedom from wearing
the veil, by raising taxes, signing a cease-fire with Israel and by
associating with US oil companies in the building of a Trans-Arabian
pipeline. He is overthrown by his military colleagues, and he and his
prime minister, Muhsen al-Barazi, are shot dead.
Aug 28 The last significant area held by Greece's leftist
guerrillas is taken by the government in Athens.
Aug 29 The Soviet Union tests an atomic bomb.
Sep 1 In the last twelve years in Britain the divorce rate
has increased tenfold.
Sep 4 It's Labor Day. Near Peekskill, New York, a pro-union
celebration and concert to benefit the Civil Rights Congress is taking
place. Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger sing. The local American Legion,
Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Jewish and Catholic veterans' groups had
urged people to demonstrate against the gathering, believing they were
defending the American way. Robeson had said, "It's America. I have a
right to sing. I'm going to sing." Instead of tolerating the freedom of
their fellow citizens to assemble peaceably, the mob blocked the
roadway. They shouted "nigger bastards" and "Jew bastards". Later they
attacked concert-goers physically. When Pete Seeger and his family left
at the end of the concert they passed through a hail of rocks and a
chorus of "Go back to Russia! Kikes! Nigger-lovers!" (Seeger describes
the event.) Soviet news sources used the event to publicize their view
of life in the United States.
Sep 11 Stalin orders his embassy in North Korea to examine
the military, political and international aspects of a possible
invasion by North Korea into South Korea.
Sep 13 The Soviet Union vetoes United Nations membership for
Ceylon, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Jordan and Portugal.
Sep 15 The Yugoslav government has denounced the coming trial
of Laszlo Rack in Hungary as a hoax aimed against Yugoslavia, and it
accuses the Soviet Union of spurring the trial.
Sep 16 The trial against Rajk and seven other defendants
opens. Rajk names Cardinal Mindszenty, now in prison, as the leader of
a Vatican scheme to help him take over the Hungarian Government by
inciting anti-government riots to coincide with a coup. In the Soviet
Union, The Soviet press describes Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia as on
trial in Hungary as well as Laszlo Rajk.
Sep 17 In the treason trial in Hungary, Winston Churchill is
named as one of the plotters, among Americans and the Yugoslavs in a
scheme to seize power in the Balkans.
Sep 22 In court, all eight defendants in the Hungarian
treason trial confess their guilt.
Sep 23 President Truman tells the people of the United States
of the Soviet Union having tested an atom bomb.
Sep 24 Laszlo Rajk and co-defendants are sentenced to death.
Sep 29 The Soviet Union announces that it has formally
denounced its treaty of friendship, mutual assistance and post-war
cooperation with Yugoslavia.
Sep 30 Hungary renounces its 1947 treaty of treaty of
friendship and mutual assistance with Yugoslavia.
Oct 1 At Tiananmen Square, standing before 300,000 people,
Mao Zedong, in a high-pitched voice, declares the founding of the
People's Republic of China. In the United Nations, a representative of
Chiang Kai-shek's "nationalist" Chinese complains that if the
Communists in China win a "full victory," they will send men and arms
and imperil a half-dozen neighboring states.
Oct 7 The Soviet Union's zone of occupation in East Germany
is officially proclaimed as an independent state: Democratic Republic
Oct 15 Laszlo Rajk is hanged.
Laszlo Rajk is hanged
László Rajk was accused of being a "Titoist Spy",
Nov 2 The Netherlands officially recognizes the end of its
colonialism in Indonesia. "Unconditionally and irrevocably" it
recognizes Indonesia as a federation of autonomous states. The Dutch
did not recognize, however, Indonesia's claim to the western half of
New Guinea, known also as West Irian.
Dec 8 From China, anti-Communist forces have finished their
evacuation to Taiwan. Most Taiwanese consider themselves Taiwanese
rather than Chinese and they resent the invasion, dictatorial
impositions, bullying and thievery of the invading Chinese.
Dec 14 Stalin has been putting pressure on the Bulgarian
Communist Party, and other East European Communist parties, to adhere
to the Soviet way of looking at things. Traicho Kostov, who helped lead
the Communist Party in Bulgaria in 1944, has not followed the Stalin
line closely enough. He has been forced from power by Bulgarian
Stalinists, and on this day he is shot.
Dec 16 Sukarno is elected President of the Republic of
Dec 17 Burma recognizes the People's Republic of China.
Dec 30 India recognizes the People's Republic of China.
Jan 6 Britain recognizes the People's Republic of China.
Jan 9 Israel recognizes the People's Republic of China.
Jan 11 President Truman announces a program to develop the
Jan 13 Finland opens diplomatic relations with the People's
Republic of China.
Jan 13 The Soviet Union's representative to the United
Nations announces that the Soviet Union will not recognize the legality
of Security Council actions until Chiang Kai-shek's representative on
the Security Council is removed. The Soviet representative walks out of
the United Nations, removing for the time being the Soviet Union's veto
power on the Security Council.
Jan 23 Israel makes formal its claim of Jerusalem as its
Feb 1 On Taiwan, Chiang Kai-shek is re-elected president of
what he still calls the Republic of China.
Feb 4 In Vietnam the French have invited Emperor Bao Dai back
to Vietnam and given him the titles of premier and emperor, hoping to
take nationalist sentiment away from Ho Chi Minh. President
Truman approves recognition of Bao Dai's government and aid to the
French in their war against the Viet Minh.
Feb 7 In a hospital in Rome, the Swedish actress Ingrid
Bergman has given birth to boy. The father is Roberto Rossellini. For
years Bergman had been alienated from her Swedish husband, and
Rossellini was separated from his wife. Many in the United States are
outraged. Theatres in various cities in the United States refuse to run
the film Stromboli, a film written and directed by Rossellini, starring
Feb 9 Speaking to a Republican Women's club in the
state of West Virginia, Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin claims that
among those in the US State Department are 205 Communists.
Feb 14 The Soviet Union and People's Republic of China sign a
treaty of mutual defense.
Feb 14 The politically conservative Winston Churchill, more
than one year from returning as Britain's prime minister, calls for
more talks with the Soviet Union - a position to be opposed by some
anti-Communists in the United States. Churchill says, "It is not easy
to see how things could be worsened by a parley at the summit."
Climbing Mt. Everest is on the minds of people, and Churchill coins
"summit" to describe talks among world leaders.
Mar 1&2 In England, Klaus Fuchs, a 39 year-old
theoretical physicist who has worked at Los Alamos, New Mexico, on
top-secret atom bomb projects, is convicted and sentenced to 14 years
in prison -- the maximum sentence for passing military
secrets to a friendly nation: the Soviet Union.
Northgate Shopping Mall, Seattle
Mar 7 The Soviet government denies that Klaus Fuchs has
served the Soviet Union as a spy.
Mar 20 Poland's government confiscates church property.
Mar 31 In the Philippines, the Huks now number around 15,000
fighters and perhaps 150,000 collaborators. They have launched an
offensive: five simultaneous attacks in five provinces near Manila.
Apr 21 In Seattle the Northgate shopping mall opens,
beginning a new trend in the United States. Use of the automobile and
the need to park is making shopping on main streets difficult. Modern
shopping malls with huge parking lots will start to take customers away
from main street.
Apr 27 The West Bank formally becomes a part of Jordan, and
Britain formally recognizes Israel.
Kim il-Sung, the father of
North Korea posing for his subjects
Apr 27 South Africa's parliament passes the Group Areas Act,
which assigns races to different residential and business sections in
Apr 30 North Korea's Kim Il Sung has spent almost all of
April in the Soviet Union.
May 1 In the People's Republic of China a marriage law is
promulgated that abolishes marriage practices such as bigamy,
concubinage, childbrides and the superiority of males over females.
Marriages are to be based on the free choice of partners.
May 9 France's foreign minister, Robert Schuman, proposes
some economic integration for Europe - joint management of the coal and
steel industries of France and West Germany. It is the beginning of
what in 1992 will become the European Union.
Jun 17 US Secretary of State Dean Acheson has sent John
Foster Dulles to South Korea. Dulles visits the 38th parallel and
speaks of his country's determination to stand by South Korea.
Jun 25 With Russian tanks and other Russian military
equipment, North Korea chooses to storm into South Korea. The Korean
Jun 27 The Soviet Union is still vacating its representation
on the U.N. Security Council, and without its veto there the Security
Council condemns North Korea's invasion and moves to create a force to
Korea. The Security Council asks the US to appoint a
supreme commander for the U.N. force.
Jun 28 The North Koreans capture Seoul.
Jun 29 Eighteen B-26 bomber aircraft strike against the North
Korea's airfield near Pyongyang.
Jun 30? Truman has been getting advice on whether to go to
Congress for approval to intervene in Korea. His Secretary of State,
Dean Acheson, says that seeking a war resolution from Congress would be
unnecessary. Acheson tells Truman he should act on his constitutional
authority as Commander in Chief. Truman agrees. He doesn't want to set
a precedent that would make it more difficult for future presidents to
deal with emergencies. (David McCullough, Truman, p 789)
Jul 3-4 The aircraft carriers USS Valley Forge and the
British carrier, HMS Triumph, send aircraft against various airbases in
Jul 20 US ground forces have been rushed to Korea from Japan.
They are overrun and decimated about 150 kilometers south of Seoul.
Amercans are giving advice to President Truman, as follows: "We demand
that you stop merdering Americn boys and Korean peope ... We have
nothing to do with Korea. These people are capable of settling their
own affairs." Concerning a nuclear bomb, one writes: "You did it once
before. Drop one over the Kremlin and get it over with." (Quotes from
David McCullough, p 791)
Aug 22 North Korea claims that air raids on Pyongyang and
five other cities between July 2 and August 3 have killed
Aug 23 Rosselini and Bergman are now married, but, in the US
Senate, Rosselini is described as a fascist libertine, and the motion
picture industry is warned that the Senate objects to movies made by
Communists, Nazis and Fascists.
Sep 1 North Korea's forces are stalled at what has become
known as the Pusan Perimeter, defended by US and South Korean troops.
Sep 15 Allied troops land at Inchon, near Seoul, behind enemy lines.
Sep 22 Truman vetoes the Internal Security Act (also known as
the McCarran-Wood Act), saying it would "betray our finest traditions"
and "curb the simple expression of opinion."
Sep 23 Congress overrides Truman's veto, the Macarn-Wood Act
Sep 28 A report by the CIA holds claims that China has missed
its opportunity to intervene.
Oct 3 North Korea has asked China to send troops into Korea.
China fears what it sees as aggressive US imperialism. China warns
the world-at-large that if the United States crosses the 38th
parallel China will intervene.
Chinese Troops, October 25, skirmishing near the Yalu River
Oct 12 The CIA argues that intervention by China is unlikely
because it would jeopardize China's domestic program and economy.
Secretary of State Dean Acheson believes China's statement is a bluff
and that the US should show no "hesitation or timidity."
Oct 15 The commander of the U.N. forces in Korea, Douglas
MacArthur, and President Truman meet on Wake Island. MacArthur asks
permission to pursue North Korea's military into North Korea. Truman
does not want the war to spread to China and asks MacArthur about the
chances of China coming into the war should U.N. forces move into North
Korea. "Very little," replies MacArthur. "If the Chinese tried to get
down to Pyongyang there would be the greatest slaughter."
Nov 1 Indonesia becomes a member of the United Nations.
Nov 1 In Washington D.C., a couple of Puerto Ricans favoring
independence attempt to assassinate President Truman.
Nov 8 Congressman Richard (Dick) Nixon, running for
a seat in the US Senate, wins against Helen Gahagan Douglas, whom he
has described as pink (almost communist) while she has coined the
phrase "Tricky Dick."
Nov 15 The US has been attacking Chinese airbases in
Manchuria. Air battles have been taking place, and Mao thanks Stalin
for the heroism of Soviet pilots.
Nov 17 A US army regiment reaches the town of Hyesan on the
Yalu River. Korea's border with China.
Nov 20 A field ambulance and surgical unit from India joins
the U.N. forces in Korea.
Nov 21 Egypt has demanded that Britain remove its troops from
the Suez Canal Zone. The treaty by which Britain is there is not due to
expire until 1956, and Britain's foreign secretary
proclaims that Britain will not begin leaving until then.
Nov 22 Anti-British riots erupt in Egypt.
Nov 23 In Korea, a battalion of Dutch troops joins 11,000
troops from Britain and 1,000 from Australia.
Chinese forces begin crossing into Korea in large numbers.
In Egypt's parliament a demand is made for closer ties with Communist
regimes, including the recognition of Communist China, as pressure for
a British evacuation of the Suez Canal.
The US Army arrives back at the 38th Parallel, covering 120 miles
southward in ten days. The Chinese drive is weakened because of their
slow supply system, the Chinese moving by foot, oxcart, pack horse and
camel. In below freezing weather, the US Marines have walked
out of the mountains in North Korea (from the "frozen Chosin"
reservoir), reaching the port of Hungnan , where they are picked up by
the US Navy.
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