I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at July – September 1940 in this post.
A Timeline of WWII, Summer 1940
July 1, 1940
German U-boats attacked merchant ships in the Atlantic. The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of WWII, lasting from 1939 to 1945.
The French government of Prime Minister Marshal Philippe Pétain moved to Vichy, France.
July 5, 1940
Great Britain and the French Vichy government broke off diplomatic relations.
July 10, 1940
The Battle of Britain began. After the fall of France, the German Luftwaffe (Air Force) conducted unremitting and highly destructive air raids over Britain from July through September 1940. The British Royal Air Force (RAF) successfully defended Great Britain in what has been described as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces.
July 14-15, 1940
The Soviet Union engineered a Communist coup d’états in the Baltic States after their June occupation.
July 17, 1940
The first French anti-Jewish laws were decreed by Vichy government Prime Minister Marshal Philippe Pétain. The laws were not mandated by Germany. They affected metropolitan France and its overseas territories. The measures designated Jews as a lower class and deprived them of citizenship and a right to hold public office. Many Jews were first confined to the Drancy Internment Camp before being deported for extermination in Nazi concentration camps.
July 23, 1940
Per the Soviet-German non-aggression agreement (also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) of August 23, 1939, the Soviet Union officially absorbed Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
August 3-6, 1940
The Soviet Union annexed the Baltic States as Soviet Republics after their June occupation.
August 3-19, 1940
The Italians occupied British Somaliland in East Africa.
August 8, 1940
Romania introduced anti-Jewish measures restricting education and employment, then later began “Romanianization” of Jewish businesses.
August 13, 1940
The German bombing of British airfields began. Eagle Day (Adlertag) was the first day of Operation Eagle Attack (Unternehmen Adlerangriff), the codename for the Nazi Luftwaffe operation to destroy the British Royal Air Force. It was an attempt to gain air superiority in preparation for the invasion of Britain by sea, code named Operation Sea Lion. The main target was RAF Fighter Command. The attack caused significant damage and casualties on the ground, but did not cause enough damage to the British Fighter Command’s ability to defend British air space.
August 15, 1940
Air battles and daylight raids over Britain continued.
Franz Rademacher, head of the Jewish Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ordered Adolf Eichmann to start the resettlement of a million Jews per year for four years to Madagascar as a police state under the SS. The “Madagascar Plan” project was later abandoned.
August 17, 1940
Hitler declared a blockade of the British Isles.
August 23/24, 1940
The first German air raids began on Central London.
August 25/26, 1940
In retaliation of the air raids on London, the first British RAF air raid on Berlin was carried out.
August 30, 1940
The Second Vienna Award was the second territorial dispute arbitrated by Germany and Italy. It assigned the territory of North Transylvania from Romania to Hungary. Losing North Transylvania forced Romanian King Carol to abdicate the throne to his son, Michael, and brought the dictatorship of Fascist General Ion Antonescu and his Iron Guards to power.
September 4, 1940
The America First Committee was established with the goal of keeping the United States out of WWII. Aviator Charles Lindberg was one of the most famous of it’s 800,000 members. The committee was disbanded four days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
September 7, 1940
The German Blitz against Great Britain began when the Luftwaffe began targeting civilian rather than British military targets.
September 13, 1940
Italian forces invaded British-controlled Egypt from Italian-controlled Libya.
September 15, 1940
The Blitz continued with German air raids on London, Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool and Manchester.
September 16, 1940
The United States military conscription bill passed and the first U.S. peacetime draft was enacted.
September 27, 1940
Germany, Italy, and Japan signed the Tripartite (Axis) Pact, an economic and military alliance. The “Axis powers” formally took the name after the Tripartite Pact was signed.
This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:
The History Place:
The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.
Most recent post from the series:
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019