I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at October – December 1943 in this post.
A Timeline of WWII, Fall 1943
The Danish Underground movement transported over 7,200 Danish Jews to safety in Sweden by sea.
October 1, 1943
The Allies entered Naples, Italy.
October 4, 1943
Heinrich Himmler, who was appointed chief of the German Police (SS) in 1936, delivered a speech about the “Final Solution” to SS Group leaders at Posen, saying in part,
…It is one of those things which is easy to say. ‘The Jewish race is to be exterminated,’ says every party member. ‘That’s clear, it’s part of our program, elimination of the Jews, extermination, right, we’ll do it.’ And then they all come along, the eighty million good Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. Of course the others are swine, but this one is a first-class Jew. Of all those who talk like this, not one has watched, not one has stood up to it. Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand. To have gone through this and yet – apart from a few exceptions, examples of human weakness – to have remained decent fellows, this is what has made us hard.
We have taken from them what wealth they had. I have issued a strict order, which SS-Obergruppenführer Pohl has carried out, that this wealth should, as a matter of course, be handed over to the Reich without reserve.
We had the moral right, we had the duty to our people, to destroy this people which wanted to destroy us. Altogether, however, we can say that we have fulfilled this most difficult duty for the love of our people. And our spirit, our soul, our character has not suffered injury from it.
October 7, 1943
The Japanese executed approximately one hundred American POW’s on Wake Island.
October 13, 1943
Italy declared war on Germany.
October 14, 1943
Jews and Soviet POW’s broke out of the Sobibor extermination camp. At the time, three hundred made it into the woods, but only fifty of those would survive. Afterwards, exterminations at Sobibor ceased, but over 250,000 had already been murdered. All traces of the camp were removed and trees were planted.
The second American air raid on Schweinfurt was carried out at the culmination of seven days of intense Allied bombing. More than 3,000 Airmen took part in 8th AF Mission 115/384th Bomb Group Mission 32. The mission, also known as Black Thursday, was to destroy Schweinfurt’s ball bearings factory.
According to the Mission Comments on 384thBombGroup.com,
The 384th Bombardment Group (H) put up three squadrons on today’s mission. However, six aircraft aborted, reducing the number that bombed the primary target. A further six aircraft were knocked out by enemy action. An all-too-familiar situation faced the returning crews – bad weather over East Anglia. Three Aircraft were lost when the crews, unable to locate a suitable place to land in England, bailed out and abandoned them, while most of the remainder landed at other airfields.
October 16, 1943
Jews were rounded up in Rome, Italy, with over one thousand sent to Auschwitz.
October 25, 1943
The Japanese opened the Burma-Siam railway, also known as the Death Railway. It was 258 miles (415 km) long and ran between Ban Pong, Thailand and Thanbyuzayat, Burma. It was built to support the Japanese Empire forces in the Burma Campaign of WWII. The railroad was built with Southeast Asian civilian laborers and about 61,000 forced Allied POW laborers. It was called the Death Railway because about 90,000 civilian and 12,000 Allied prisoner laborers died during the construction.
October 26, 1943
Japanese Emperor Hirohito stated that the United States was “rising from its defeat” at the beginning of the war and that Japan’s military situation was now “truly grave.”
The Riga, Latvia Ghetto was liquidated.
The U.S. Congress held hearings regarding the U.S. State Department’s inaction regarding European Jews despite the many reports of mass extermination.
November 1, 1943
U.S. Marines invaded Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.
November 1-2, 1943
A naval battle (which was a result of Allied landings on Bougainville), called the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, also known as Operation Cherry Blossom, was fought near the island of Bougainville in Empress Augusta Bay in the Soloman Islands.
November 3-4, 1943
The Nazis (the SS, the Order Police battalions, and the Ukrainian Sonderdienst) murdered 42,000 to 43,000 Jews at the Majdanek, Poniatowa and Trawniki concentration camps in occupied Poland during Operation Harvest Festival.
November 4, 1943
The Nazi newspaper, Der Stürmer, published by Julius Streicher, reported,
It is actually true that the Jews have, so to speak, disappeared from Europe and that the Jewish ‘Reservoir of the East’ from which the Jewish pestilence has for centuries beset the peoples of Europe has ceased to exist. But the Führer of the German people at the beginning of the war prophesied what has now come to pass.
The U.S. began to manufacture plutonium at a reactor facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
November 6, 1943
Soviet troops recaptured Kiev in the Ukraine.
November 11, 1943
Auschwitz Kommandant Rudolf Höss was promoted to chief inspector of concentration camps. The new Kommandant, Arthur Liebehenschel, divided up the Auschwitz complex of over 30 sub-camps into three main sections.
November 15, 1943
Nazi SS Chief Heinrich Himmler ordered all Roma people (often referred to as Gypsies) in Germany to be deported to concentration or death camps.
November 18/19, 1943
The first British Bomber Command air raid in the Battle of Berlin was carried out overnight. The RAF attacked Berlin with 440 Avro Lancaster heavy bombers and four de Havilland Mosquitos. Due to heavy cloud cover the damage was not severe.
November 20, 1943
U.S. troops invaded Makin and Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.
November 22 – 26, 1943
American President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Churchill, and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek met in Eqypt for the Cairo Conference to discuss strategy for the Burma front. They outlined the Allied position against Japan and announced that all areas seized by Japan since 1894 would be returned to the former owners.
November 23, 1943
Japanese resistance ended on Makin and Tarawa.
November 28 – December 1, 1943
The Big Three – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Union leader Josef Stalin – met at the Tehran Conference in Tehran, Iran. Topics during the four-day conference included:
- Confirmation of the decision for the U.S. and Britain to invade Western Europe (a “Second Front”) in the Spring of 1944
- Plans for the invasion of Southern France
- A promise by Stalin to join in the war against Japan when Germany was defeated
December 2, 1943
The first transport of Jews from Vienna arrived at Auschwitz.
December 12, 1943
Adolf Hitler sent Nazi General Erwin Rommel (the “Desert Fox”) to mobilize forces along the French coast at Normandy to defend against the anticipated Allied invasion.
December 15, 1943
American troops landed on the Arawe Peninsula of New Britain in the Solomon Islands.
December 16, 1943
The chief surgeon at Auschwitz reported the completion of 106 castration operations.
December 17, 1943
President Roosevelt signed the Magnuson Act in gratitude for Chinese assistance in the Pacific Theater. The Magnuson Act repealed the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and allowed for limited Chinese immigration to the United States.
December 24, 1943
Allied commanders of the “Second Front” were announced: American General Dwight D. Eisenhower as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force and British General Sir Bernard Montgomery as the Commander-in-Chief of the 21st Army Group.
December 24-26, 1943
The Soviets launched offensives on the Ukrainian front.
December 26, 1943
1st Division Marines invaded Cape Gloucester in a full Allied assault on New Britain in the Solomon Islands.
This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:
The History Place:
Most recent post from the series:
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020