title
macrohistory & world timeline

1938

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 13  Germany annexes Austria.

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

Mar 18  Mexico nationalizes all foreign-owned oil properties.

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

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

May 14  Chile withdraws from the League of Nations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct 1  German troops march into the Sudetenland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct 31  Expulsions of Jews has begun in Czechoslovakia.

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

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

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

Photo of Lan Ping

Lan Ping, the future Madam Mao

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

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

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

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

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

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