I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at April – June 1941 in this post.
A Timeline of WWII, Spring 1941
April 3, 1941
A pro-Axis regime was set up in Iraq.
April 6, 1941 – June 1941
Germany and Bulgaria invaded Greece (Greece’s Jewish population was 77,000) in support of the Italians. Resistance in Greece ceased in early June 1941.
The Axis powers of Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria invaded Yugoslavia (Yogoslavia’s Jewish population was 75,000).
April 9, 1941
The Danish ambassador to the United States, Henrik Kauffmann, against the instructions of his government, signed an executive agreement with US Secretary of State Cordell Hull, which allowed the presence of American troops in Greenland and made it a de facto United States protectorate.
April 10, 1941
The leaders of the terrorist Ustasa, or Ustashe, movement proclaimed the so-called Independent State of Croatia. Germany and Italy immediately recognized the new state which included the province of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Ustasa was a Croatian fascist, racist, ultra-nationalist and terrorist organization whose members murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, and Roma as well as political dissidents in Yugoslavia during World War II.
April 14, 1941
German General Erwin Rommel, known as the Desert Fox, attacked the port of Tobruk in Libya.
April 16, 1941
The first American “Lend-Lease” food aid shipments arrived in Britain.
April 17, 1941
Yugoslavia surrendered to the Nazis following the April 6 invasion.
April 27, 1941
German troops occupied Athens as Greece surrendered to the Nazis.
May 1, 1941
The German attack on Tobruk was repulsed.
May 10, 1941
Adolf Hitler’s Deputy Führer Rudolph Hess flew from Augsburg, Germany to Scotland in an unauthorized solo attempt to persuade Britain to stop the war with Germany. He was confined until the end of the war, when he was brought to trial as a war criminal at Nuremberg.
May 10/11, 1941
The Germans heavily bombed London and the British bombed Hamburg.
May 14, 1941
Thirty-six hundred Jews were arrested in Paris by the occupying Nazi Gestapo.
May 15, 1941
The British counter-attack in Egypt known as Operation Brevity began.
May 16, 1941
French Marshal Philippe Petain approved collaboration with Adolf Hitler during a radio broadcast.
May 20, 1941
German paratroopers invaded Crete, Greece’s largest island.
May 24, 1941
The German battleship Bismarck sank the British battleship HMS Hood, resulting in the death of 1,500 of its crew.
May 27, 1941
British Navy warships sank the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic. The German death toll was more than 2,000.
June 1, 1941
British forces evacuated Crete. Final figures for the British were 16,500 killed, wounded or captured, while the Germans lost about 6,200.
Nazi SS Einsatzgruppen (Action Groups) began a campaign of mass murder of Jews throughout eastern Poland.
June 4, 1941
A pro-Allied government was installed in Iraq after Britain again assumed control at the end of May.
June 8, 1941
The Allies invaded Syria and Lebanon.
June 14, 1941
The United States froze German and Italian assets in America.
June 15, 1941
Croatia formally joined the Axis powers.
June 22, 1941 – November 1941
The Nazis invaded Soviet Russia (the Russian Jewish population was 3 million). This massive invasion was called Operation Barbarossa, and with the German and other Axis forces except Bulgaria, comprised 183 divisions (3,500,000 men), 3,350 tanks, and 1,945 aircraft. It was the biggest military operation in history on an 1,800-mile front. Finland aided the Axis in the invasion (they were seeking redress for their territorial losses in the armistice concluding the Winter War), however, Finland was never truly a member of the Axis powers as it never signed the Tripartite Pact.
The Germans quickly overran the Baltic States and, joined by the Finns, lay siege to Leningrad (St. Petersburg) by September. In the center, the Germans captured Smolensk in early August and drove on Moscow by October. In the south, German and Romanian troops captured Kiev (Kyiv) in September and captured Rostov on the Don River in November.
SS Einsatzgruppen (Action Groups), tasked with identifying, concentrating, and killing Jews by RSHA Chief Reinhard Heydrich, followed the frontline troops of the German armies into the Soviet Union, killing Soviet Jews in mass shootings.
June 25, 1941
In the US, under pressure from civil rights activists, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, which banned discrimination in hiring in defense factories and established the Fair Employment Practices Committee. Hiring and workplace discrimination against African Americans continued despite the order.
June 28, 1941
The Germans captured Minsk.
June 29/30, 1941
Romanian troops conducted a pogrom (an organized massacre or slaughter of a particular ethnic group) against Jews in the town of Jassy, killing 10,000.
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