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1941

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 Palestine.

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 invade Ethiopia.

Feb 27  The French regime at Vichy makes religious education in school mandatory.

Feb 27  Jewish musicians in Berlin perform Gustav Mahler's Second Symphony.

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 Bulgaria.

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 alliance. 

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 military courts.

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 Belgrade.

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 fifty-second birthday:

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 London.

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 surrender.

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 Lithuania (18,000).

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 into Finland.

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 together.

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 exterminated.

Jul 21  In Poland, the Majdanek concentration camp opens.

Jul 25  The US government freezes Japanese assets in the United States.

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 shells.

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 on sight.

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 problem."

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 merchant ships.

Oct 12  Moscow is partially evacuated.    

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 and Minsk.

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 imperialism.

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 Netherlands.

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 prisoner.

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 Japanese planes.

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 United States.

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 China.

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.

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Copyright © 2005-2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.