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WWII Timeline – Fall 1941

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at October – December 1941 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Fall 1941

October 1941

Thirty-five thousand Jews from Odessa, Ukraine were shot and killed.

October 2, 1941

The main German drive on Moscow, called Operation Typhoon, began.

October 16, 1941

German forces took Odessa, Ukraine.

October 23, 1941

The Nazis forbid further emigration of Jews from the Reich.

October 24, 1941

German forces took Kharkov, Ukraine.

October 30, 1941

German forces reached Sevastopol, Ukraine on the Crimean Peninsula.

November 1941

SS Einsatzgruppe (Action Group) B reported a tally of 45,476 Jews killed.

November 11, 1941

German forces capture Yalta, Ukraine on the south coast of the Crimean Peninsula.

November 13, 1941

The British aircraft carrier Ark Royal was sunk off Gibraltar by a German U-boat.

November 17, 1941

Japan demanded that the U.S. lift its trade embargo.

November 20, 1941

German forces took Soviet Rostov.

November 24, 1941

German authorities established the camp-ghetto Theresienstadt in the garrison town of Terezin in the German-controlled Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Theresienstadt existed for three and a half years, until May 9, 1945. Neither exactly a ghetto nor strictly a concentration camp, Theresienstadt was an assembly camp and a concentration camp, and had recognizable features of both ghettos and concentration camps. It was a unique facility that served as a tool of deception for propaganda purposes for the Germans.

November 25, 1941

Adolf Hitler met Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in Berlin. They agreed on the need for the destruction of the Jews.

November 27, 1941

Soviet troops took Rostov back.

November 30, 1941

A mass shooting of Latvian and German Jews occurred near Riga, Latvia.

December 4, 1941

The temperature fell to -30°F (-34°C) on the Russian Front.

December 5, 1941

The German attack on Moscow was abandoned.

December 6, 1941

The Soviet Army launched a major counter-offensive around Moscow and drove the German forces from the Moscow suburbs.

U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt made a final appeal to the Emperor of Japan for peace. There was no reply.

Later in the day, the U.S. code-breaking service in Washington, D.C. intercepted a fourteen-part Japanese message and deciphered the first thirteen parts. The deciphered messages were passed on to the President and Secretary of State. The Americans believed a Japanese attack was imminent, but believed it most likely to occur somewhere in Southeast Asia.

December 7, 1941

The attack on Pearl Harbor, the date which will live in infamy…

Japanese naval and air forces attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The Japanese also attacked the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, Malaya, Thailand, Shanghai and Midway.

The last part of the fourteen-part Japanese message reached Washington in the morning and was decoded by 9 a.m. Washington time. It stated that diplomatic relations with the U.S. were to be broken off. About an hour later, another Japanese message was intercepted. It instructed the Japanese embassy to deliver the main message to the Americans at 1 p.m.

The Americans realized the stated time corresponded with early morning in Pearl Harbor, several hours behind Washington. The U.S. War Department issued an alert, but used commercial telegraph as radio contact with Hawaii was down. Delays prevented the alert from arriving at headquarters in Oahu until noon Hawaii time, four hours after the attack had already begun.

The Japanese attack force, under the command of Japanese Admiral Nagumo, consisted of six aircraft carriers with four hundred twenty three planes.

At 6 a.m., one hundred eighty-three planes took off from the Japanese carriers located two hundred thirty miles north of Oahu for their target, the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, in the first wave of the attack.

At 7:02 a.m., two Army operators at Oahu’s northern shore radar station detected the Japanese planes approaching. They contacted a junior officer who disregarded their reports, believing they were American B-17 planes which were expected in from the U.S. west coast.

A future airman of the 384th Bomb Group, Robert Thacker, was piloting one of those American B-17’s flying into Hickam Field that morning. His account may be viewed in this video.

At 7:15 a.m., a second Japanese attack wave of one hundred sixty-seven planes took off from the Japanese carriers and headed for Pearl Harbor.

At 7:53 a.m., the first Japanese assault wave arrived at Pearl Harbor.

The first attack wave targeted airfields and battleships. The second wave targeted other ships and shipyard facilities. The air raid lasted almost two hours, until 9:45 a.m.

American losses included:

  • Two thousand three hundred thirty-five servicemen killed, including eleven hundred four men aboard the battleship USS Arizona.
  • Sixty-eight civilians killed.
  • Eleven hundred seventy-eight wounded.
  • Eight battleships damaged, with five sunk.
  • Three light cruisers lost.
  • Three destroyers lost.
  • Three smaller vessels lost.
  • One hundred eighty-eight aircraft lost.

Japanese losses included:

  • Twenty-seven planes.
  • Five midget submarines.

The prime target of the Japanese, the three U.S. Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers Lexington, Enterprise, and Saratoga, escaped damage because they were not in port at the time of the attack. Base fuel tanks also escaped damage.

At 2:30 p.m. (Washington time), Japanese diplomats presented their war message to Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, at the same time Hull was reading the first reports of the air raid at Pearl Harbor.

Public radio bulletins interrupted Sunday afternoon radio programs to inform the American people of the attack.

Navy Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Army Lt. General Walter C. Short, senior commanders at Pearl Harbor, were relieved of their duties following the attack. Subsequent investigations faulted both for failing to adopt adequate defense measures.

Note: The U.S. annexed Hawaii in 1898 and it became a U.S. Territory in 1900. Hawaii did not become a U.S. state until 1959.

Adolf Hitler’s Night and Fog decree

In Germany, on December 7, 1941, Adolf Hitler issued “Nacht und Nebel” – the Night and Fog Decree.

The previous Nazi policy meant to undermine Underground activities was to take hostages, but the method was unsuccessful. Now those suspected of underground activities would simply vanish without a trace, into the night and fog.

SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler issued the following instructions to the Gestapo,

After lengthy consideration, it is the will of the Führer that the measures taken against those who are guilty of offenses against the Reich or against the occupation forces in occupied areas should be altered. The Führer is of the opinion that in such cases penal servitude or even a hard labor sentence for life will be regarded as a sign of weakness. An effective and lasting deterrent can be achieved only by the death penalty or by taking measures which will leave the family and the population uncertain as to the fate of the offender. Deportation to Germany serves this purpose.

German Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel also issued a letter stating,

Efficient and enduring intimidation can only be achieved either by capital punishment or by measures by which the relatives of the criminals do not know the fate of the criminal…The prisoners are, in future, to be transported to Germany secretly, and further treatment of the offenders will take place here; these measures will have a deterrent effect because: A. The prisoners will vanish without a trace. B. No information may be given as to their whereabouts or their fate.

Victims were primarily from France, Belgium and Holland. Arrested in the middle of the night, they would be secreted away to far away prisons where they would be questioned and tortured. If they survived, they would be placed in the concentration camps of Natzweiler or Gross-Rosen.

December 8, 1941

The United States and Great Britain declared war on Japan.

The United States entered World War II and President Roosevelt delivered a speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in which he described the previous day as “a date which will live in infamy…”

Japanese troops landed in the Philippines, French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), and British Singapore.

The Chelmno extermination camp became operational in occupied Poland near Lodz. Jews taken to Chelmno were placed in mobile gas vans and driven to a burial place. Carbon monoxide fed from the engine exhaust into the sealed rear compartment killed them. The first victims included 5,000 Roma (Gypsies) who had been deported from the Reich.

December 9, 1941

China declared war on Japan.

December 10, 1941

Japanese forces invaded the Philippines and seized Guam.

December 11, 1941

Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.

Hours later, President Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany saying,

Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty and civilization.

The U.S. entered the war in Europe.

Japanese forces invaded Burma.

December 12, 1941

The ship Struma, carrying 769 Jews, left Romania for Palestine. British authorities later denied permission for the passengers to disembark. (In February 1942, it sailed back into the Black Sea where it was intercepted by a Russian submarine and sunk as an “enemy target.”)

December 15, 1941

The first Japanese merchant ship was sunk by a U.S. submarine.

December 16, 1941

Japanese forces invaded British Borneo.

German General Erwin Rommel began a retreat to El Agheila in North Africa.

During a cabinet meeting, Hans Frank, Gauleiter (Governor General) of Poland, stated,

Gentlemen, I must ask you to rid yourselves of all feeling of pity. We must annihilate the Jews wherever we find them and wherever it is possible in order to maintain there the structure of the Reich as a whole…

December 17, 1941

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz became Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

December 18, 1941

Japanese forces invaded Hong Kong.

December 19, 1941

Adolf Hitler took complete control of the German Army.

December 22, 1941

Japanese forces invaded Luzon in the Philippines.

December 23, 1941

In the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur began a withdrawal from Manila to Bataan.

Japanese forces took Wake Island.

December 25, 1941

The British surrendered at Hong Kong.

December 26, 1941

Manila was declared an open city.

December 27, 1941

The Japanese bombed Manila.

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.

Most recent post from the series:

Summer 1941

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019

WWII Timeline – Summer 1941

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at July – September 1941 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Summer 1941

Summer 1941

Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS (Schutzstaffel), was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and was a main architect of the Holocaust. In the Summer of 1941, he summoned Auschwitz Kommandant Rudolf Höss to Berlin to inform him,

The Führer has ordered the Final Solution of the Jewish question. We, the SS, have to carry out this order…I have therefore chosen Auschwitz for this purpose.

July 1941

As the German Army advanced, SS Einsatzgruppen (Action Groups) followed behind and carried out mass murder of Jews in seized lands.

Jewish Ghettos were established at Kovno, Minsk, Vitebsk and Zhitomer.

The government of Vichy France seized Jewish owned property.

July 3, 1941

German Army Group Centre (a strategic German Army Group that was created on June 22, 1941 as one of three German Army formations assigned to the invasion of the Soviet Union) eradicated the Bialystok pocket capturing 290,000 Soviet prisoners, 2,500 tanks, and 1,500 guns.

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin called for the “scorched earth” policy (a military strategy of burning or destroying crops or other resources that might be of use to an invading enemy force) to slow down the German armies.

July 10, 1941

The Germans crossed the River Dnieper in the Ukraine.

July 12, 1941

A mutual assistance agreement was reached between the British and the Soviets.

July 14, 1941

The British occupied Syria.

July 17, 1941

Alfred Rosenberg, a Baltic German who has been described as a Nazi racial ‘philosopher’, theorist, and influential ideologue of the Nazi Party, was appointed Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories to administer territories seized from the Soviet Union.

July 21, 1941

Majdanek concentration camp in occupied Poland near Lublin became operational.

July 25 – 26, 1941

Thirty-eight hundred Jews were killed during a pogrom (an organized massacre or slaughter of a particular ethnic group) by Lithuanians in Kovno.

July 26, 1941

The United States froze Japanese assets in America and suspended diplomatic relations.

July 31, 1941

Nazi Party leader Hermann Göring ordered SS leader Reinhard Heydrich to begin preparations for the Final Solution, a “general solution of the Jewish question” in conquered territories.

The Final Solution Order from Hermann Göring to Reinhard Heydrich

Berlin, July 31, 1941

To Gruppenführer Heydrich:

Supplementing the task assigned to you by the decree of January 24, 1939, to solve the Jewish problem by means of emigration and evacuation in the best possible way according to present conditions, I hereby charge you to carry out preparations as regards organizational, financial, and material matters for a total solution (Gesamtlösung) of the Jewish question in all the territories of Europe under German occupation.

Where the competency of other central organizations touches on this matter, these organizations are to collaborate.

I charge you further to submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution (Endlösung) of the Jewish question.

Göring

August 1941

Jews in Romania were forced into Transnistria, a thin strip of land wedged between Moldova and Ukraine. By December, 70,000 perished.

Jewish ghettos were established at Bialystok and Lvov.

August 1, 1941

The U.S. announced an oil embargo against “aggressor states.”

August 3, 1941

Catholic Bishop Clemens von Galen, in a sermon delivered in Münster Cathedral, called the Nazi euthanasia program “plain murder.” In publicly condemning the program, von Galen urged German Catholics to

withdraw ourselves and our faithful from their [Nazi] influence so that we may not be contaminated by their thinking and their ungodly behavior.

The sermon so affected Nazi leadership that as a result, on August 23, Adolf Hitler suspended Aktion T4, which had already accounted for nearly a hundred thousand deaths.

Regardless, the Nazi euthanasia program continued, but without widespread gassings. Instead, drugs and starvation were used, and doctors were encouraged to decide in favor of death whenever euthanasia was being considered.

Nazi retaliation against the Bishop was carried out by beheading three parish priests who had distributed his sermon. The Bishop was left unharmed to avoid making him into a martyr.

August 9 – 12, 1941

The Atlantic Conference took place aboard a warship off the coast of Newfoundland. The conference resulted in the Atlantic Charter, a joint proclamation by American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in which they declared they were together fighting the Axis powers to

ensure life, liberty, independence and religious freedom and to preserve the rights of man and justice.

The charter served as the foundation for the later establishment of the United Nations, and set forth several principles for the nations of the world, including the renunciation of all aggression, right to self-govern, access to raw materials, freedom from want and fear, freedom of the seas, and disarmament of aggressor nations.

August 15, 1941

German authorities sealed off the Kovno Ghetto, with approximately 30,000 Jewish inhabitants inside. It was in an area of small primitive houses and no running water and was overcrowded, enclosed by barbed wire, and closely guarded.

August 20, 1941

German authorities opened a Jewish internment and transit camp for foreign Jews in France in Drancy, France, a northeastern suburb of Paris. The SS eventually deports Jews captured in France from Drancy to Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Sobibor killing center.

August 26, 1941

The Hungarian Army rounded up 18,000 Jews at Kamenets-Podolsk.

September 1, 1941

The Nazis ordered German Jews to wear yellow stars, the “Jewish badge.” Reinhard Heydrich decreed that all Jews over six years of age in the Reich, Alsace, Bohemia-Moravia and the German–annexed territory of western Poland (called the Warthegau), were to wear the yellow Star of David on their outer clothing in public at all times.  The word “Jew” was to be inscribed inside the star in German or the local language. The badge was used not only to stigmatize and humiliate Jews, but also to segregate them, to watch and control their movements, and to prepare them for deportation.

September 3, 1941

The first experimental use of the gas chambers at Auschwitz occurred with the first test of Zyklon-B gas on the concentration camp’s prisoners, Jews and Russian POWs.

September 6, 1941

The Vilna Ghetto was established with 40,000 Jews.

September 8, 1941

The Nazi siege of Leningrad began. It would last nearly 900 days and claim the lives of 800,000 civilians.

September 11, 1941

Aviator Charles Lindbergh, a member of the America First Committee, delivered a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, in which he blamed the deepening US involvement in WWII on Britain, the Roosevelt administration, and Jews.

September 12, 1941

Days after the start of the Nazi siege of Leningrad, the first snow of the season was reported on the Russian Front.

September 17, 1941

The general deportation of German Jews began.

In the German Bavarian city of Wuerzburg (or Würzburg), Jews were taken by police officials into the Platzscher Garten hotel. In one room, luggage was inspected by Gestapo officials and all valuables were confiscated before it was taken to a collecting area, where it was to then be taken to the deportation train. However, the deportees never saw their luggage again.

In another room, deportees surrendered all personal papers showing ownership of securities and property, and were left only with identification cards, watches, and wedding rings.

In the last room, deportees underwent body searches for concealed valuables and gold fillings were removed from their teeth. Their identification cards were stamped “evakuiert” [deported].

An SS detachment took control of the deportees until they left for the railway station. Jewish ordners (simply defined as one who keeps order or a security person) organized the deportees into groups to march through the city and board the trains. The group first traveled to Nuremberg, where it joined a larger Judentransport departing for ghettos and concentration camps in the East.

September 19, 1941

Almost three months after the initial German attack on Kiev, the capital of Soviet Ukraine, Germans forces took Kiev and 600,000 Soviet prisoners.

Jews comprised about twenty percent of Kiev’s population before the war with about 160,000 Jews residing in the city. One hundred thousand fled ahead of the German occupation.

Soviet military engineers set off two major explosions at the beginning of the occupation which destroyed part of Kiev’s city center and the German headquarters. The Nazis used this event as an excuse to murder the remaining Jews in Kiev ten days later.

September 27 – 28, 1941

Twenty-three thousand Jews were killed at Kamenets-Podolsk in the Ukraine.

September 29 – 30, 1941

Nazi SS Einsatzgruppen (Action Groups) and German police and auxiliary units murdered 33,771 Jews at Babi Yar, a ravine northwest of Kiev over two days.

In the following months, the Nazis killed thousands more Jews at Babi Yar, as well as non-Jews including Roma (Gypsies), Communists, and Soviet prisoners of war.

The location is known as one of the largest individual mass murder locations during World War II, with the total people murdered at Babi Yar estimated to be 100,000.

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, Excerpt of the sermon by Catholic Cardinal Clemens von Galen

The History Place, Atlantic Charter

Charles Lindbergh Speech in Des Moines, Iowa

Most recent post from the series:

Spring 1941

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019

WWII Timeline – Spring 1941

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.

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.

Wikipedia Ustashe

Wikipedia Greenland in WWII

Most recent post from the series:

Winter 1941

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019

WWII Timeline – Winter 1941

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at January – March 1941 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Winter 1941

1941

Hans Frank, appointed Gauleiter (Governor General) of Poland in October 1939, remarked,

I ask nothing of the Jews except that they should disappear.

January 1941

The antisemitic newspaper, Der Stürmer, published by prominent member of the Nazi party, Julius Streicher, proclaimed,

Now judgment has begun and it will reach its conclusion only when knowledge of the Jews has been erased from the earth.

A pogrom (an organized massacre or slaughter of a particular ethnic group) in Romania resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 Jews.

January 9, 1941

A prototype of the British RAF Avro Lancaster aircraft made its maiden voyage. Dad’s POW roommate in Stalag Luft IV, Lawrence Newbold, was a wireless (radio) operator on a Lancaster crew that flew out of RAF Skellingthope.

January 22, 1941

Tobruk, Libya in North Africa fell to British and Commonwealth (Australian) troops.

January 27, 1941

The American Ambassador in Tokyo, Japan, Joseph Grew, secretly cabled Washington that Japan military forces planned a surprise mass attack at Pearl Harbor in case of ‘trouble’ with the United States. His later account said,

There is a lot of talk around town to the effect that the Japanese in case of a break with the United States, are planning to go all out in a surprise mass attack on Pearl Harbor. Of course I informed our Government.

Admiral Harold R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, and Admiral Husband Kimmel, Commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, were both provided with the report, but both discounted it.

February 1941

The Nazis sent the Afrika Korps reinforcements to North Africa.

February 7, 1941

British troops seized Beda Fomm, Libya.

February 11, 1941

British forces advanced into Italian-controlled Somaliland in East Africa.

February 12, 1941

Nazi General Erwin Rommel and the Afrika Korps arrived in Tripoli, North Africa.

February 22, 1941

Four hundred thirty Jewish hostages were deported from Amsterdam after a Dutch Nazi was killed by Jews.

February 26, 1941

American scientists Joseph W. Kennedy, Glenn T. Seaborg, Edward M. McMillan, and Arthur C. Wohl of the University of California, Berkley, discovered plutonium-239, which is a uranium isotope critical in the development of nuclear weapons. [Note: Plutonium (specifically, plutonium-238) was first produced and isolated on December 14, 1940.]

March 1941

Adolf Hitler’s Commissar Order to his generals authorized execution of those suspected of being Communist officials in territories about to be seized from Soviet Russia. The order stated,

The war against Russia cannot be fought in knightly fashion. The struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be waged with unprecedented, unmerciful, and unrelenting hardness. All officers will have to get rid of any old fashioned ideas they may have. I realize that the necessity for conducting such warfare is beyond the comprehension of you generals, but I must insist that my orders be followed without complaint. The commissars hold views directly opposite to those of National Socialism. Hence these commissars must be eliminated. Any German soldier who breaks international law will be pardoned. Russia did not take part in the Hague Convention and, therefore, has no rights under it.

March 1, 1941

King Boris III of Bulgaria signed the Tripartite pact and joined the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.

During his first visit to Auschwitz, Heinrich Himmler ordered Kommandant Rudolf Höss to begin massive expansion, which included building a new compound nearby at Birkenau that could hold 100,000 prisoners.

March 2, 1941

The Nazis occupied Bulgaria with its Jewish population of 50,000.

March 3 – 20, 1941

German authorities announced, established, and sealed the Krakow Ghetto in Krakow, Poland. Between 15,000 and 20,000 Jews were forced to live within the ghetto boundaries, which were enclosed by barbed-wire fences and a stone wall.

March 7, 1941

British forces arrived in Greece.

German Jews were ordered into forced labor.

March 11, 1941

President Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act. It permitted him to

sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of, to any such government [whose defense the President deemed vital to the defense of the United States] any defense article.

March 13, 1941

Glasgow, Scotland was hit by its first significant air raid of WWII when more than two hundred Luftwaffe aircraft bombed the area in the Clydebank Blitz overnight in an attempt to destroy naval, shipbuilding and munitions targets. The attack continued a second night on March 14.

March 25, 1941

Yugoslavia signed the Tripartite pact and joined the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria.

March 26, 1941

The German Army High Command gave approval to RSHA (the Reich Main Security Office or Reichssicherheitshauptamt, which was one of Heinrich Himmler’s organizations) and its original chief Reinhard Heydrich on the tasks of SS murder squads (Einsatzgruppen)  in occupied Poland.

March 27, 1941

A coup in Yugoslavia overthrew the pro-Axis government.

March 29, 1941

A ‘Commissariat’ (a military department for the supply of food and equipment) for Jewish Affairs was set up in Vichy, France.

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.

Wikipedia, Lend-Lease Act

Wikipedia, Avro Lancaster

Wikipedia, Joseph Grew

Most recent post from the series:

Fall 1940

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019