The Arrowhead Club

Home » Posts tagged 'WWII Timeline 1939'

Tag Archives: WWII Timeline 1939

WWII Timeline – Fall 1939

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at October – December 1939 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Fall 1939

October 1939

In October of 1939 in Germany, Adolf Hitler ordered widespread “mercy killings” by gassings of the sick and disabled. Code named “Aktion T4,” an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 Germans were murdered under this action during the next two years. It was a euthanasia program with the goal to eliminate “life unworthy of life.” The first focus was on newborn babies and very young children.

The Reich Health Ministry required midwives and doctors to fill out a questionnaire and register children up to the age of three who were deemed to be mentally retarded or physically deformed. Three medical experts reviewed the questionnaires, and without examining the children or any of their other medical records, decided whether each child would be allowed to live.

All three experts had to agree for a child to be transferred to the “Children’s Specialty Department” where those deemed mentally retarded or physically deformed would be euthanized by injection or allowed to gradually starve to death. If the decision was not unanimous, the child would be observed until a unanimous decision could be reached.

The program soon expanded to include older disabled children and adults. A decree directly from Hitler, back dated to September 1, increased

the authority of certain physicians to be designated by name in such manner that persons who, according to human judgment, are incurable can, upon a most careful diagnosis of their condition of sickness, be accorded a mercy death.

The euthanasia program was expanded further with the questionnaires used in mental institutions, hospitals, and other institutions for the chronically ill. Patients suffering from a host of diseases and conditions, and those who had been housed in institutions continuously for five or more years, or were judged criminally insane fell under the program’s guidelines. Also those who were not German citizens or were not of German or related blood, including Jews, Negroes, and Gypsies were included.

Eventually the program was headed by SS man Christian Wirth and six killing centers were established, including a well known psychiatric clinic at Hadamar and a former prison at Brandenburg, where the first Nazi experimental gassings took place. These served as training centers for the SS, and the technical knowledge and experience was used to create the extermination camps at Auschwitz, Treblinka and other concentration camps in Hitler’s goal to wipe out the entire Jewish population of Europe.

October 5, 1939

In September, more than 500,000 Polish troops fought the Nazis. Most were taken prisoner, but 100,000 died fighting or fled Poland. On this date, the remainder of the Polish army surrendered to Nazi Germany.

October 6, 1939

Hitler declared victory over Poland and accused Poland of initiating hostilities.

Hitler called for peace with Britain and France and insisted he had no ambitions towards them or Belgium, Holland, and several others.

Hitler issued a proclamation on the isolation of Jews.

October 9, 1939

Hitler issued orders for the creation of an invasion plan of France and the Low Countries, after calling for peace only three days earlier.

The German battleship Deutschland captured the American cargo ship City of Flint, which was carrying farming supplies to England.

October 12, 1939

The Nazis began the consolidation of Jews in Germany’s occupied territory. Jews were evacuated from Vienna. Austrian and Czechoslovakian Jews were sent to Poland.

October 14, 1939

A German U-boat (submarine) torpedoed and sank Britain’s HMS Royal Oak battleship while it was anchored in Scapa Flow (a body of water in the Orkney Islands, Scotland), killing 883.

October 21, 1939

The United States budgeted $6,000 for atomic experiments.

October 26, 1939

Hans Frank was appointed Nazi Gauleiter (Governor General) of Poland.

A forced labor decree was issued for all Polish Jews from age fourteen to sixty.

October 28, 1939

An amendment to the US Neutrality Act allowing the sale of arms to besieged allies passed the US Senate.

November 1, 1939

Western Poland officially became part of the German Reich. (Date alternately reported as October 19, 1939).

November 3, 1939

Eastern Poland officially became part of the Soviet Union.

November 4, 1939

The amendment to the US Neutrality Act, passed by the US Senate on October 28, cleared the US House of Representatives and was signed by President Roosevelt. It required that arms were not transported by American ships.

Jews in Warsaw were all moved into a ghetto.

November 8, 1939

In a Munich beer hall, at the annual meeting of the veterans of the 1923 Nazi Putsch, a concealed bomb exploded, killing nine. It was an assassination attempt against Hitler, but he had left the beer hall twenty minutes earlier.

November 23, 1939

All Jews over age ten living in Nazi-occupied Poland were ordered to wear yellow stars symbolizing the Star of David.

November 28, 1939

The Australian government agreed to send troops to Europe.

November 30, 1939

The Soviet Union invaded Finland, initiating the “Winter War.”

December 1939

Adolf Eichmann took over Section IV B4 of the Gestapo, dealing solely with Jewish affairs and evacuations. (See link below to Eichmann biography).

December 14, 1939

The League of Nations expelled the Soviet Union following its aggression against Finland.

December 17, 1939

The British Royal Navy engaged the German warship Graf Spee off the coast of Uruguay. After a particularly long battle, the captain of the damaged Graf Spee scuttled her near Montevideo.

December 18, 1939

Canada sent more than 7,000 troops to Britain to assist the Allies and the first of them arrived in Britain on this date.

December 24, 1939

Pope Pius XII made a Christmas appeal for peace.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

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.

The History Place Biography of Adolf Eichmann

Most recent post from the series:

Summer 1939

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019

WWII Timeline – Summer 1939

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at July – September 1939 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Summer 1939

July 4, 1939

German Jews were denied the right to hold government jobs.

July 9, 1939

British Parliament member Winston Churchill called for a British-Russian alliance when he realized that Britain could not defend Poland against Nazi aggression on their own. Stalin declined.

July 21, 1939

Adolf Eichmann was appointed director of the Prague Office of Jewish Emigration.

July 26, 1939

US Secretary of State Cordell Hull informed the ambassador of Japan that the US would not extend the 1911 commercial treaty between them.

August 1939

The Nazi SS dressed one hundred fifty (150) concentration camp prisoners in Polish army uniforms and then shot them. They planted the bodies as evidence of Polish aggression at the German border. Hitler used the ruse as a pretext for war.

August 1, 1939
The President of the German Lottery forbid the sale of lottery tickets to Jews.

August 2, 1939

Physicist Albert Einstein, a German Jew who had emigrated to the United States in 1932, sent a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt explaining that scientists had discovered how to create a nuclear chain reaction and warning that Germany might develop a nuclear weapon.

August 4, 1939

General Francisco Franco established authoritarian rule in Spain, calling himself El Caudillo (The Leader). He would answer only “to God and to history.”

August 12, 1939

Military representatives from France and Britain met with those of the Soviet Union in Moscow to discuss an alliance. However, Russia preferred an agreement with Germany.

Italian foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano informed Hitler that it would take two years before the Italian military could be rebuilt in order to fight alongside Germany.

August 20 – 31, 1939

The Soviets attacked the Japanese army along Mongolia’s Khalka River. Seventeen thousand (17,000) Soviets were killed, but forty-five thousand (45,000) Japanese soldiers died.

August 22, 1939

In a speech to his military leadership at Obersalzberg, Adolf Hitler said he intended to,

Kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of the Polish race or language.

August 23, 1939

Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a nonaggression agreement known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and a secret codicil dividing eastern Europe into “spheres of influence.” This facilitated Germany invading Poland from the west and the Soviet Union invading from the east.

August 25, 1939

Britain and Poland signed a Mutual Assistance Treaty.

August 31, 1939

Britain mobilized their fleet and civilian evacuations began from London.

In another of Hitler’s ruses as a pretext to war, German operatives broadcast a message to Poles from a seized radio station in Gleiwitz, Germany. They were urged to attack Germans and the operation worked, which gave the impression that insurgents were attacking Germans.

September 1939

Julius Streicher published this quotation in the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer,

The Jewish people ought to be exterminated root and branch. Then the plague of pests would have disappeared in Poland at one stroke.

September 1, 1939

The Nazis invaded Poland, which had the largest Jewish population in Europe, 3.35 million, initiating World War II in Europe.

General mobilization was declared in Britain and France.

Jews in Germany were forbidden to be outdoors after 8 p.m. in winter and 9 p.m. in summer.

September 2, 1939

Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Germany to withdraw their troops from Poland within 12 hours or find themselves at war with Britain and France.  The German Luftwaffe (air force) raided Warsaw, Poland.

September 3, 1939

Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand declared war on Germany.

British Parliament member Winston Churchill is named First Lord of the Admiralty.

A German U-boat submarine torpedoed a British passenger ship named the Athenia traveling from England to Canada. One hundred eighteen (118) of the fourteen hundred (1400) civilians aboard were killed.

George Edwin Farrar turned eighteen years old on this day.

September 4, 1939

The British RAF (Royal Air Force) attacked German Navy vessels for the first time. Only eight of the twenty-nine bombers hit German naval bases. Ten of the RAF bombers got lost, seven were shot down, one attacked neutral Denmark, and three attacked one of Britain’s own ships.

The land connection between East Prussia and the Reich that had been severed with the 1919 Treaty of Versailles was reestablished by the German army and Warsaw was cut off.

General Francisco Franco publicly declared neutrality, but offered his support to the Axis powers.

September 5, 1939

The United States proclaimed its neutrality.

German troops crossed the Vistula River in Poland and occupied the city of Kraków.

September 7, 1939

The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) began daily radio broadcasts in Polish.

September 9, 1939

Advance elements of the British Expeditionary Force (the BEF, or British Army in western Europe during WWII) arrived in France.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s cabinet planned for a three year war with Nazi Germany.

September 10, 1939

Canada declared war on Germany.

The Battle of the Atlantic began. It was the longest running battle of WWII and did not end until Germany surrendered to the Allies in May 1945.

September 14, 1939

British destroyers sank a German U-boat submarine through the use of depth charges. It was the first German ship lost in the war.

September 17, 1939

Soviets troops invaded eastern Poland, supposedly to protect Poland’s Byelorussian and Ukrainian populations.

The British navy lost its first ship of the war, the Courageous, when it was sunk by a U-boat off the coast of Ireland. Five hundred died.

The war in Europe split Americans. Non-interventionists did not want to get involved in the war. Interventionists, concerned about German invasion, did. Non-interventionists included former President Herbert Hoover, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Henry Ford, and many U.S. senators and congressmen. American aviation hero Charles A. Lindbergh was another non-interventionist and on this date, Lindbergh made his first anti-intervention radio speech.

September 18, 1939

The Wehrmacht army of Nazi Germany and Soviet Red Army staged a joint parade in Brest-Litovsk, Poland.

Members of the Polish Cipher Bureau escaped from Poland with two German Enigma code machines. They arrived in Paris on October 1.

September 19, 1939

The first British casualty list of the war was published.

September 20, 1939

The first air battle of the war between the German Luftwaffe and British RAF occurred over the border between Germany and France. The RAF lost two aircraft and the Luftwaffe lost one.

September 21, 1939

SS leader Reinhard Heydrich issued orders to special SS action squads (Einsatzgruppen) in Poland that Jews were to be gathered into ghettos near railroads for the future “final goal.”

September 22, 1939

Germany and Russia agreed on the division of Poland.

Two hundred seventeen thousand (217,000) Polish troops surrendered to the Soviet Red Army at Lvov (L’viv) in southeastern Poland. There were 200,000 Jews in Lvov at the time, 100,000 of which were refuges from German-occupied Poland.

Britain began gas rationing due to war shortages.

September 23, 1939

German Jews were forbidden to own wireless radios.

September 24, 1939

German Special Task Force troops executed eight hundred (800) Polish intellectuals.

Small scale food rationing, bread and flour, was introduced in Germany.

September 25, 1939

The German Luftwaffe bombed Warsaw with four hundred (420) aircraft. Civilian deaths in Warsaw reached forty thousand (40,000).

September 27, 1939

Warsaw surrendered to the Nazis and the exiled Polish government set up in Paris.

Himmler’s second in command of the SS, Reinhard Heydrich, was put in charge of the new Reich Main Security Office (RSHA). The RSHA combined the SS Security Service (SD), the Secret State Police (Gestapo), the Criminal Police (Kripo), and the foreign intelligence service into one huge centralized organization. In WWII, it was the RSHA that terrorized all of Europe and performed mass murder on a scale unprecedented in human history.

September 29, 1939

The Nazis and Soviets divided Poland between them. Over two million Jews resided in Nazi controlled areas, and 1.3 million in the Soviet controlled areas.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

Antisemitic Legislation 1933 – 1939

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Albert Einstein History

Most recent post from the series:

Spring 1939

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019

WWII Timeline – Spring 1939

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at April – June 1939 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Spring 1939

April 1, 1939

General Francisco Franco declared the Spanish Civil War officially over.

April 3, 1939

The Nazis complete their war plan for the invasion of Poland. It is scheduled to be implemented on September 1.

April 7–15, 1939

Fascist Italy invaded and annexed Albania.

April 11, 1939

Hungary withdrew from the League of Nations.

April 13, 1939

France and Britain pledged to support Greece and Romania in the event of an attack.

April 19, 1939

After Slovakia proclaimed its independence in March 1939 under the protection of Nazi Germany, it passed its own version of the Nuremberg Laws, with first restrictions excluding Jews from the military and government positions.

April 28, 1939

Poland negotiated an alliance with Britain when Hitler announced he would no longer honor the nonaggression pact of 1934 between Germany and Poland.

April 30, 1939

Jews lost their rights as tenants and were relocated into communal Jewish houses.

May 1939

A German ship named the St. Louis, with 930 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany aboard, set sail from Hamburg on May 13 heading to Havana, Cuba. Instead of regular visas, the Cuban director general had granted all passengers landing certificates. During the voyage, the pro-fascist government of Cuba invalidated the landing certificates and when the St. Louis arrived in Havana on May 27, only twenty-two (22) of the 930 passengers were allowed to enter Cuba.

Then-Cuban President Federico Laredo Bru forced the ship to leave Havana with more than 900 Jews remaining on board. The United States also refused entry to the Jews aboard the St. Louis and on June 6, the ship returned to Europe.

On the St. Louis’s return to Europe, Great Britain took in 287 of the refugees, Belgium took in 214, France took in 224, and the Netherlands took in 181. As the Nazis invaded Western Europe, the refugees to Belgium, France, and the Netherlands became victims of the Nazi’s Final Solution.

May 3, 1939

Persecution of Hungarian Jews began with a series of laws restricting their civil liberties.

May 17, 1939

Germany offered a nonaggression pact to Norway, Sweden, and Finland, but it was rejected.

May 22, 1939

Representatives of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler signed the ‘Pact of Steel’ treaty with Mussolini’s foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano of Italy.

May 27, 1939

In a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State, advised them to end the arms embargo provision of the US Neutrality Act.

May 31, 1939

Germany signed a nonaggression pact with Denmark.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

Antisemitic Legislation 1933 – 1939

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Most recent post from the series:

Winter 1939

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019

WWII Timeline – Winter 1939

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at January – March 1939 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Winter 1939

By January 1, 1939

In January 1933, around 522,000 Jews lived in Germany. After the Nazis took power and implemented their antisemitic ideology and policies, Jews fled the nation. Almost sixty percent emigrated during the first six years of the Nazi dictatorship. In 1939, around 234,000 Jews remained in Germany.

January 5, 1939

Hitler pressured Poland to return the port of Gdansk (Danzig in German) to Germany.

January 12, 1939

American President Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his $552 million dollar defense plan in a speech before Congress.

January 24, 1939

Hermann Göring ordered SS leader Reinhard Heydrich to speed up the emigration of Jews and established the National Central Office for Jewish Emigration.

Reinhard Heydrich was second to Heinrich Himmler in the Nazi SS and he was credited as the principle planner of the Final Solution. His Nazi nickname was The Blond Beast and others called him Hangman Heydrich. He was described as a “cold, calculating manipulator,” being without human compassion, and was known for his insatiable greed for power.

But rumors surfaced about possible Jewish ancestry on Heydrich’s father’s side of his family. His grandmother’s second marriage, after the birth of Heydrich’s father, was to a man with a Jewish sounding name. Heydrich’s enemies within the Nazi Party spread the rumor, of which both Hitler and Himmler became aware.

Himmler considered ousting Heydrich from the SS. But Hitler had a long private meeting with Heydrich and afterward described Heydrich as

a highly gifted but also very dangerous man, whose gifts the movement had to retain…extremely useful; for he would eternally be grateful to us that we had kept him and not expelled him and would obey blindly.

January 26, 1939

Nationalist troops seized Barcelona, Spain.

January 30, 1939

Adolf Hitler appeared before the Nazi Reichstag (Parliament) on the sixth anniversary of his coming to power. In a speech commemorating the event, he made a public threat against the Jews.

In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet, and have usually been ridiculed for it. During the time of my struggle for power it was in the first instance only the Jewish race that received my prophecies with laughter when I said that I would one day take over the leadership of the State, and with it that of the whole nation, and that I would then among other things settle the Jewish problem. Their laughter was uproarious, but I think that for some time now they have been laughing on the other side of their face. Today I will once more be a prophet: if the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevizing of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!

February 9, 1939

Senator Robert Wagner of New York and Representative Edith Rogers of Massachusetts introduced the Wagner-Rogers bill. It was designed to allow the entry of 20,000 refugee children under the age of fifteen from the Greater German Reich into the United States over a two year period. The bill died in committee in the summer of 1939.

February 21, 1939

In the Decree concerning the Surrender of Precious Metals and Stones in Jewish Ownership, the Nazis forced Jews to hand over all gold and silver items, diamonds, and other valuables to the state without compensation.

February 27, 1939

France and Great Britain recognized the Franco government of Spain.

March 14–15, 1939
The Slovaks declared their independence and formed the Slovak Republic. German troops occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia (Bohemia and Moravia) in violation of the Munich agreement, forming a Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. At the time the Jewish population of Czechoslovakia was 350,000.

March 17, 1939

President Roosevelt emphasized the importance of amending the U.S. Neutrality Act. He lobbied Congress to have the cash-and-carry provision regarding arms trade renewed. He was denied his request and the provision lapsed.  The mandatory arms embargo outlined in the act remained in place. Roosevelt prevailed later in the year, and on November 4, the Neutrality Act of 1939 was passed, which allowed for arms trade with belligerent nations (Great Britain and France) on a cash-and-carry basis.

March 22, 1939

Germany coerced Lithuania to return the Memel District to Germany.

March 25, 1939

When Poland would not subordinate their country to Germany, Hitler directed his generals to develop plans for war.

March 28, 1939

General Francisco Franco captured Madrid, which gave the Nationalists a victory and ended the Spanish Civil War. Franco later pledged support to Hitler and Mussolini, but refused to enter WWII. He maintained token neutrality throughout the war. Francisco Franco went on to lead Spain until his death in 1975.

March 29, 1939

In response to Hitler’s January 5 pressure on Poland to return the port of Gdansk (Danzig in German) to Germany, Warsaw announced that the Polish army would retaliate against any attempt to take it.

March 31, 1939
France and Great Britain stepped up to help Poland and guaranteed the integrity of the borders of the Polish state.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

Antisemitic Legislation 1933 – 1939

Anti-Jewish Legislation in Prewar Germany

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Wikipedia – History of the Jews in Germany

Reinhard Heydrich – The History Place

Hitler’s January 30, 1939 Reichstag Speech – The History Place

Wikipedia – Neutrality Acts of the 1930’s

Most recent post from the series:

Fall 1938

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019