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WWII Timeline – Fall 1942

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at October – December 1942 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Fall 1942

October 5, 1942

In the Ukraine, two employees of a German construction firm accidentally came across an execution squad killing Jews from the Ukraine’s small town of Dubno. One, an engineer named Hermann Graebe, gave an eyewitness account of the executions. (See link to The History Place article in Sources at the bottom of this page for Graebe’s account).

October 11/12, 1942

Cruisers and destroyers of the U.S. Navy were victorious over the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Battle of Cape Esperance, also known as the Second Battle (or Sea Battle) of Savo Island, off Guadalcanal.

October 12-14, 1942

On October 12 at the Mizocz Ghetto in the Ukraine, the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police and the German police prepared to liquidate the ghetto. The 1,700 Jews of Mizocz fought back and half of them were able to escape or hide during the two-day uprising. On October 14, those recaptured were taken to a ravine and shot.

October 13, 1942

The 164th Infantry Regiment, the first of the U.S. Army troops, landed on Guadalcanal.

October 14/15, 1942

Overnight, Japanese warships bombed Henderson Field on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The next morning they sent troops ashore.

October 18, 1942

Hitler issued the Commando Order through the High Command of the German Armed Forces, an order to execute all captured British commandos.

October 22, 1942

The Nazi SS suppressed a Jewish revolt at Sachsenhausen (Oranienburg) of those about to be sent to Auschwitz.

October 23, 1942

The Second Battle of El Alamein began.

October 23–24, 1942

British troops were victorious over the Germans and Italians at El Alamein in Egypt. Axis forces retreated across Libya to the eastern border of Tunisia.

October 25, 1942

Deportations of Norway’s Jews to Auschwitz began.

October 26, 1942

The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Hornet was lost in the Battle of Santa Cruz off Guadalcanal between U.S. and Japanese warships.

The War Production Board gave the Manhattan Project its highest wartime priority rating.

October 28, 1942

The first SS transport from Theresienstadt Concentration/Transit Camp arrived at Auschwitz. It carried 1,866 people of which only 247, mostly men, were chosen as prisoners by the SS. The remainder (1,619) were executed in the gas chamber.

November 1942

One hundred seventy thousand Jews were killed in a mass execution near Bialystok, Poland.

November 1, 1942

The Allies broke through the Axis lines at El Alamein in “Operation Supercharge.”

November 4, 1942

Nazi troops began their retreat from El Alamein.

November 8, 1942

The U.S. invasion of North Africa known as Operation Torch began. Allied (U.S. and British) troops landed on Algerian and Moroccan beaches in French North Africa. Vichy French troops failed to defend their territory and the Allies advanced to the western border of Tunisia.

November 11, 1942

Axis (German and Italian) forces invaded unoccupied Vichy (southern) France.

November 14/15, 1942

The U.S. Navy cruiser USS Juneau was sunk by Imperial Japanese Navy warships off Guadalcanal. Five brothers, the sons of Thomas and Alleta Sullivan of Waterloo, Iowa, who served together on the Juneau, were all killed. The five Sullivan brothers were George Thomas (27), Francis Henry “Frank” (26), Joseph Eugene “Joe” (24), Madison Abel “Matt” (23), and Albert Leo “Al” (20).

November 16, 1942

Robert Oppenheimer was appointed the director of the Los Alamos, New Mexico atomic bomb facility.

November 19, 1942

Under General Zhukov, the Soviet Red Army began a counter-offensive against the Germans at Stalingrad in the USSR.

November 23/24, 1942

The Japanese attacked Darwin, Australia in an air raid.

November 23, 1942–February 2, 1943

In the Soviet counter-offensive against the Germans, Soviet troops broke through the Hungarian and Romanian lines northwest and southwest of Stalingrad. They trapped the German Sixth Army in the city. Adolf Hitler forbid the Sixth Army to retreat and they surrendered on January 30 and February 2, 1943.

November 30, 1942

The naval battle of Tassafaronga (also known as the Fourth Battle of Savo Island or the Battle of Lunga Point) took place off Guadalcanal between U.S. Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy warships. Five U.S. cruisers and four destroyers engaged eight Japanese destroyers. The U.S. sank one Japanese destroyer and the Japanese sank one U.S. cruiser and damaged three others. The rest of the Japanese ships escaped undamaged.

December 1942

After the exterminations of 600,000 Jews at the Belzec extermination camp, operations at the camp ceased and it was dismantled, plowed over, and planted.

December 2, 1942

Professor Enrico Fermi set up an atomic reactor at the University of Chicago and conducted the world’s first nuclear chain reaction test.

December 10, 1942

The first transport of Jews from Germany arrived at Auschwitz.

December 13, 1942

German General Erwin Rommel withdrew his forces from El Agheila in Libya in the Western Desert Campaign.

December 16, 1942

Soviets forces defeated Axis (Italian) troops on the River Don in the USSR.

December 17, 1942

British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden reported the mass executions of Jews by the Nazis in the British House of Commons. He said the Nazis were,

now carrying into effect Hitler’s oft repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people of Europe.

The United States then declared that the Nazi crimes would be avenged.

December 20-24, 1942

The Japanese attacked Calcutta, India in a series of air raids.

December 28, 1942

The Nazis began sterilization experiments on women at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

December 31, 1942

The German Navy and British Navy engaged in the Battle of the Barents Sea north of North Cape, Norway.

Emperor Hirohito of Japan gave his permission to Japanese troops to withdraw from Guadalcanal.

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.

German Eyewitness Account of Einsatz Executions/SS Mass Murder

Mizoch Ghetto

Theresienstadt Concentration and Transit Camp

Most recent post from the series:

Summer 1942

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

WWII Timeline – Summer 1942

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at July – September 1942 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Summer 1942

July 1-27, 1942

The First Battle of El Alamein began on July 1 and lasted through July 27. It was a battle fought in Egypt of the Western Desert Campaign between the Axis forces of Germany and Italy under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and Allied forces of Britain, British India, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand of the Eighth Army.

July 2, 1942

Berlin Jews were sent to Theresienstadt, a hybrid concentration camp and ghetto established by the SS in the town of Terezín, which was located in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

July 3, 1942

Nazi forces took Sevastopol, a port in the Crimea which was the Soviet’s main naval base on the Black Sea.

July 5, 1942

Soviet resistance in the Crimea ended.

July 6, 1942

Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family went into hiding the day after older sister Margot learned she would be deported to a Nazi work camp. The family was living in Nazi-occupied Holland, to which they had fled in 1933 to escape Nazi persecution in their native Germany. The Frank family went into hiding as the Nazis began to purge Amsterdam of its Jewish population.

July 7, 1942

Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler allowed sterilization experiments at Auschwitz.

July 9, 1942

Nazi forces began a drive toward Stalingrad in the Soviet Union.

July 14, 1942

The deportation of Dutch Jews to Auschwitz began.

July 16/17, 1942

Almost thirteen thousand Parisian Jews were sent to Drancy Internment Camp located outside Paris.

July 17/18, 1942

Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler inspected the construction and expansion of four large gas chambers and crematories at Auschwitz-Birkenau and observed the entire extermination process of two trainloads of Jews which had arrived from Holland.

July 19, 1942

Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler ordered “Operation Reinhard,” the secretive WWII German plan to exterminate German-occupied Poland’s Jews, with their mass deportation to extermination camps.

July 21, 1942

Japanese troops landed near Gona on New Guinea.

July 22, 1942

The deportation of the first Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to concentration and extermination camps, including the extermination camp of Treblinka, began. The deportation of Belgian Jews to Auschwitz also began.

The Treblinka extermination camp opened in occupied Poland, east of Warsaw. The camp had two buildings and ten gas chambers, each chamber holding 200 persons. Initially, carbon monoxide gas was piped in from engines placed outside the chamber, but was later replaced with Zyklon-B gas. The dead were burned in open pits.

August 1942

The deportation of Croatian Jews to Auschwitz began. 

August–November 1942

American troops halted the Japanese advance towards Australia at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.

August 1, 1942

As part of the U.S. effort to design an atomic bomb, the Army Corps of Engineers created the Manhattan Engineering District for the Manhattan Project. Temporary headquarters were established in the Manhattan area of New York. The project was initially named the “Development of Substitute Materials,” but the name was feared to draw attention.

Since Army Corps of Engineers districts often carried the name of the city where they were located, the project was officially named the “Manhattan District” on August 13 and informally known as the “Manhattan Engineer District” or MED. The official code name remained “Development of Substitute Materials.”

August 7, 1942

British General Bernard Montgomery took command of Eighth Army in North Africa.

The 1st Marine Division invaded Tulagi and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in the U.S.’s first amphibious landing of the Pacific War.

August 8, 1942

A day after landing, U.S. Marines took the unfinished airfield on Guadalcanal and named it Henderson Field after Midway hero Major Lofton Henderson.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower established his headquarters in the UK.

August 8/9, 1942

Overnight, eight Japanese warships sunk three U.S. Navy heavy cruisers and one destroyer and an Australian cruiser in under an hour. One more U.S. cruiser and two destroyers were damaged. Over 1,500 Allied crewmen were lost in the attack.

August 12, 1942

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, arriving in a B-24 Liberator, met with General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Premier Joseph Stalin at the Moscow Conference of 1942. Churchill intended to prove to Stalin that Great Britain was committed to winning the war as an ally of the Soviet Union.

On the first day of the assembly, Churchill said,

…we will continue, hand in hand, whatever our sufferings, whatever our toils, we will continue hand in hand, like comrades and brothers until every vestige of the Nazi regime has been beaten into the ground, until the memory only of it remains as an example and a warning for a future time.

This secret mission to Moscow by Winston Churchill to meet for the first time with Joseph Stalin and establish a personal relationship made future conferences of the wartime coalition known as the “Big Three” (the UK, US, and USSR) not only possible, but productive and successful.

August 17, 1942

The US Army Air Forces made it first attack on occupied Europe. Twelve B-17E Heavy Bombers of the 97th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force were escorted by RAF (British Royal Air Force) Spitfires against the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen-Sotteville, France. Major Paul Tibbets piloted the lead aircraft with Brigadier General Ira Eaker aboard as an observer. Six other aircraft flew a diversion mission along the French coast. The mission was deemed a success with only minor damage to two aircraft.

One hundred twenty-two U.S. Marine raiders, transported by submarine, attacked Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.

August 19, 1942

In “Operation Jubilee,” 6,100 British and Canadian troops raided the port of Dieppe on the Normandy coast of northern France. In almost ten hours, 1,380 troops were killed, 1,600 wounded, and 2,000 captured. The RAF (British Royal Air Force) lost 107 aircraft and the British Royal Navy lost one destroyer. German losses were considerable smaller with 345 dead or missing and 268 wounded. The Luftwaffe (German Air Force) lost only 40 aircraft. Civilian casualties were 48 dead and 100 wounded.

The 6th German Army began an attack on Stalingrad.

August 21, 1942

U.S. Marines repelled the first major Japanese ground attack on Guadalcanal as Japan attempts to retake the airfield on Guadalcanal.

August 23, 1942

Germany staged a massive air raid on Stalingrad.

August 24, 1942

The Japanese were defeated in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons between U.S. and Japanese aircraft carriers.

August 26-28, 1942

Seven thousand Jews were arrested in unoccupied France.

August 29, 1942

According to the Red Cross, Japan refused to allow safe passage of ships containing supplies for U.S. POWs.

August 30, 1942

U.S. Troops invaded Adak Island in the Aleutian Islands.

September 2, 1942

In the Battle of Alam el Halfa (August 30 – September 5) in Egypt, German General Erwin Rommel planned an attack on the British Eighth Army led by Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery. The British were victorious when Montgomery drove the Axis forces back and Rommel ordered a withdrawal.

September 9, 1942

At the Auschwitz concentration/extermination camp, open pit burning of bodies replaced burial.

September 9/10, 1942

In Oregon state, a Japanese floatplane bombed U.S. forests with the intent of starting a forest fire. The damage done by the “Lookout Air Raids” was minor.

September 12-14, 1942

The Allies were victorious in the Battle of Bloody Ridge on Guadalcanal (also known as the Battle of Edson’s Ridge), a land battle of the Pacific campaign between the Imperial Japanese Army and Allied ground forces, which started on September 12 and ended on September 14.

September 13, 1942

The Battle of Stalingrad began, in which the Axis powers of Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia.

September 15, 1942

The U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Wasp and destroyer USS O’Brien were sunk and the battleship USS North Carolina was damaged when they were torpedoed by a Japanese submarine near the Solomon Islands.

September 17, 1942

Colonel Leslie Groves, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officer, was assigned the command of the Manhattan Project.

September 18, 1942

Food rations were reduced for Jews in Germany.

September 21, 1942

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, a high-altitude long-range bomber, was manufactured in four main-assembly factories: two Boeing operated plants at Renton, Washington and Wichita, Kansas, a Bell Aircraft Corporation plant at Marietta, Georgia near Atlanta (“Bell-Atlanta”), and a Martin plant at Omaha, Nebraska. On September 21, the first prototype B-29 made its maiden flight from Boeing Field, Seattle.

[My Aunt Janet – my dad George Edwin Farrar’s sister – worked at Bell-Atlanta starting in March 1943.]

September 26, 1942

The Nazi SS began liquidating possessions and valuables confiscated from Jews who had been deported to the Auschwitz and Majdanek concentration and extermination camps. German currency was sent to the Reichs Bank. Foreign currency, gold, jewelry, and other valuables were sent to the SS Headquarters of the Economic Administration. Watches, clocks and pens were given to Nazi troops. Clothing was even distributed to the German public.

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 First Battle of El Alamein

Anne Frank

Manhattan Project

Moscow Conference of 1942

USAAF’s First Attack on Occupied Europe

Lookout Air Raids

Most recent post from the series:

Spring 1942

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

WWII Timeline – Spring 1942

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at April – June 1942 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Spring 1942

April 1942

The first transports of Jews arrived at the Majdanek concentration and extermination camp, which was built and operated by the SS on the outskirts of the city of Lublin in German-occupied Poland.

April 1, 1942

The internment of Japanese Americans began. 

April 3, 1942

The Japanese attacked American and Filipino troops at Bataan.

April 6, 1942

The first U.S. troops arrived in Australia.

April 9, 1942

U.S. forces on Bataan surrendered unconditionally to the Japanese.

April 10, 1942

The Bataan Death March of 60,000 to 80,000 Allied POWs (American and Filipino) began. They were forced to walk sixty to seventy miles under intense heat, with no food or water, and subjected to harsh treatment by the Japanese, to prison camps. They were divided into groups of one hundred and the march took each group about five days to complete. Many thousands perished.

April 18, 1942

Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle (later General of the United States Army Air Forces) led the first U.S. bombing attack on Japan off the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. The air raid became known as the Doolittle’s Tokyo Raid.

April 20, 1942

German Jews were banned from using public transportation.

April 23, 1942

German air raids began against cathedral cities in Britain.

April 26, 1942

The Reichstag unanimously passed a decree proclaiming Hitler “Supreme Judge of the German People.” The decree officially allowed Hitler to act outside the laws of the Reich, to override the judiciary and administration in all matters, making him the final decision-maker, with the power of life and death over every German citizen.

April 29, 1942

The Japanese took central Burma.

May 1942

The Sobibor extermination camp in German-occupied Poland became operational. It had three gas chambers initially using carbon monoxide piped in from engines, but later was switched over to Zyklon-B gas.

May 1, 1942

The Japanese occupied Mandalay in Burma.

May 3, 1942

The Japanese took Tulagi in the Solomon Islands.

May 4 – 8, 1942

A major naval battle called the “Battle of the Coral Sea” was fought between the Imperial Japanese Navy and naval and air forces of the United States and Australia. Japan claimed a tactical victory since they sunk the American aircraft carrier USS Lexington, but the Japanese were not able to seize New Guinea and isolate Australia.

The Allies won a strategic victory in the Battle of the Coral Sea. It was the first time in history that two opposing aircraft carrier forces fought only using aircraft without the opposing ships ever sighting each other.

The final resting place of the USS Lexington was found March 4, 2018, more than five hundred miles off the coast of Australia seventy-six years after it was sunk in the battle.

May 5, 1942

The Japanese prepared to invade Midway and the Aleutian Islands.

May 6, 1942

The Japanese took Corregidor Island, an island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in the Philippines, as General Jonathan M. Wainwright unconditionally surrendered all U.S. and Filipino forces in the Philippines to the Empire of Japan.

May 8, 1942

The German summer offensive began in the Crimea.

May 12, 1942

The last U.S. troop holdouts in the Philippines surrendered on Mindanao.

May 15, 1942

Gasoline rationing began in the U.S.

May 18, 1942

An article included on an inside page of the New York Times reported that Nazis had exterminated over 100,000 Jews in the Baltic states, 100,000 in Poland and twice as many in western Russia by machine gun.

May 20, 1942

The Japanese completed the capture of Burma and reached India.

May 26, 1942

German General Erwin Rommel began an offensive against the Gazala Line (west of the port of Tobruk in Libya).

May 27, 1942

Czech resistance underground agents shot Reich Protector/SS Leader Reinhard Heydrich in Prague. In retaliation, all 152 members of a student group that had displayed anti-Nazi posters in Berlin on May 18, were shot.

May 30, 1942

The British RAF (Royal Air Force) launched a thousand-bomber air raid against Cologne (Köln), Germany.

June 1942 

Gas vans were used in Riga, Latvia’s capital on the Baltic Sea. Victims were sealed inside the vans and choked to death through carbon monoxide poisoning.

June 1, 1942

The Luftwaffe (German Air Force) inflicted heavy damage on Canterbury, England.

Jews in France, Holland, Belgium, Croatia, Slovakia, and Romania were ordered to wear the yellow Star of David badge.

The mass murder of Jews by gassing began at the Auschwitz extermination camp.

June 4, 1942

Reich Protector/SS Leader Reinhard Heydrich, shot May 27 by the Czech resistance in Prague, died of his wounds.

June 4-5, 1942

The British Navy and American Navy stopped the Japanese naval advance in the central Pacific at Midway. The Allied victory was the turning point in the war in the Pacific. Squadrons of U.S. torpedo planes and dive bombers from the USS Enterprise, USS Hornet, and USS Yorktown attacked and destroyed four Japanese aircraft carriers, a cruiser, and damaged another cruiser and two destroyers. The U.S. lost the Yorktown.

June 5, 1942

The Germans overwhelmed Sevastopol, a port in the Crimea on the Black Sea, in a campaign fought by the Axis powers of Germany and Romania against the Soviet Union for control of the port.

The Nazi SS reported 97,000 persons “processed” in mobile gas vans.

June 6-7, 1942

Japanese forces invaded the Aleutian Islands of Kiska and Attu.

June 9, 1942

The Japanese postponed further plans to take Midway.

June 10, 1942

The Nazis liquidated the Czech town of Lidice as a reprisal for Reinhard Heydrich’s killing in Prague. In addition to the Gestapo and SS killings of Czech agents, resistance members, and anyone suspected of being involved in Heydrich’s death (totaling over 1000 persons), the deportation of 3000 Jews from the ghetto at Theresienstadt for extermination, and the arrest in Berlin of 500 Jews, with 152 executed as a reprisal, Hitler ordered the small Czech mining village of Lidice to be liquidated on the fake charge that it had aided Heydrich’s assassins.

All 172 men and boys over age 16 in the village were shot. The women of Lidice were deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp where most died. Ninety young children were sent to the concentration camp at Gneisenau, although some deemed to be German-looking were later taken to Nazi orphanages.

The buildings in Lidice were destroyed by explosives until the village was completely leveled and not a trace remained. The soil was planted over and the village’s name removed from all German maps.

June 11, 1942

SS leader Adolf Eichmann met with representatives from France, Belgium and Holland to coordinate deportation plans for Jews.

June 21, 1942

German General Erwin Rommel captured Tobruk in Libya.

June 25, 1942

General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in London and took control of U.S. forces in Europe.

June 28, 1942–September 1942

German troops and Axis partners fought their way into Stalingrad (Volgograd) on the Volga River in the Soviet Union by mid-September. They secured the Crimean Peninsula and made their way deep into the Caucasus, an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

June 30, 1942

German General Erwin Rommel reached El Alamein near Cairo, Egypt.

The second gas chamber at Auschwitz known as Bunker II (the white farmhouse) was made operational at Birkenau due to the arrival of a large number of Jews.

June 30 (and July 2), 1942

The New York Times reported via the London Daily Telegraph that over 1,000,000 Jews had been killed by the Nazis. The story may have been the result of information passed to London and Washington in the Summer of 1942 by Swiss representatives of the World Jewish Congress regarding information they received from a German industrialist of the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews.

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.

Bataan Death March

The Liquidation of Lidice

Nazi Germany Reichstag

USS Lexington Found

Most recent post from the series:

Winter 1942

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019

WWII Timeline – Winter 1942

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at January – March 1942 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Winter 1942

January 1942

At Auschwitz-Birkenau, mass killings of Jews by Zyklon-B pellets began in Bunker I (the red farmhouse).

Zyklon-B pellets, made of hydrocyanic acid, vaporized when exposed to air. The Nazis had discovered that the gas produced, which was originally intended for commercial use as a disinfectant and an insecticide, could be used to kill humans.

In their killing process, the Nazis forced the prisoners into air-tight chambers disguised to look like showers. They then dumped the Zyklon-B pellets into the room through special air shafts or openings in the ceiling. Upon being exposed to air, the pellets would vaporize and gave off a bitter almond odor. The prisoners would breathe the tainted air and the vapors would combine with their red blood cells, which deprived their bodies of oxygen, leading to unconsciousness and death through oxygen starvation.

The bodies were buried in mass graves in a nearby meadow.

January 1, 1942

Twenty-six allied nations signed the Declaration of the United Nations.

January 2, 1942

The Japanese captured Manila and the U.S. Naval base at Cavite.

January 5, 1942

Tire rationing began in the U.S.

January 7, 1942

The Japanese attacked Bataan in the Philippines.

January 11, 1942

The Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies and Dutch Borneo.

January 13, 1942

The Germans began a U-boat offensive along the U.S. east coast.

January 16, 1942

The Japanese invaded and began an advance into Burma.

January 18, 1942

The German, Japanese, and Italian militaries signed an agreement in Berlin.

January 19, 1942

The Japanese took North Borneo.

January 20, 1942

Heinrich Himmler’s second in command of the SS, Reinhard Heydrich, convened the Nazis’ Wannsee Conference (Wannsee was a suburb of Berlin) to coordinate the “Final Solution.” Fifteen top Nazi bureaucrats and members of the SS met to determine how the Nazis would exterminate the eleven million Jews of Europe and the Soviet Union.

Heydrich declared,

Europe would be combed of Jews from east to west.

The minutes of the meeting (read the full minutes via a link at the bottom of this post) were taken by Adolf Eichmann, but Heydrich edited them and substituted the Nazis’ coded language in reference to lethal actions against the Jews. For example,

“…eliminated by natural causes,” meant death by hard labor and starvation.

“…transported to the east,” referred to mass deportations to ghettos in occupied Poland, then on to the gas chamber.

“…treated accordingly,” referred to execution by SS firing squad or death by gas, also sometimes referred to as “special treatment” or “special actions.”

January 21, 1942

Erwin Rommel began a counter-offensive from El Agheila.

January 23, 1942

The Japanese took Rabaul on New Britain in the Solomon Islands and invaded Bougainville, the largest island.

January 26, 1942

The first American forces arrived in Great Britain.

January 27, 1942

The first Japanese warship to be destroyed by the US Navy, I-73, was sunk by a U.S. submarine, the USS Gudgeon.

January 30/31, 1942

The British withdrew into Singapore, beginning the siege of Singapore.

January 31, 1942

SS Einsatzgruppe A (a paramilitary death squad) reported a total of 229,052 Jews killed.

February 1, 1942

Mass deportations of Jews from Western Europe to Poland’s extermination camps began.

The first U.S. aircraft carrier offensive of the war occurred as the USS Yorktown and USS Enterprise conducted air raids on Japanese bases in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.

February 2, 1942

The Japanese invaded Java in the Dutch East Indies.

February 8/9, 1942

The Japanese invaded Singapore.

February 14, 1942

The Japanese invaded Sumatra in the Dutch East Indies.

February 15, 1942

The British surrendered to the Japanese at Singapore which had one million civilian inhabitants. Winston Churchill called it the “worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history” with nine thousand British, Australian, and other British Empire troops killed and 130,000 captured by the Japanese.

February 19, 1942

Japan staged their largest air raid since Pearl Harbor against Darwin, Australia.

The Japanese invaded Bali.

U.S. President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans along the West Coast.

February 20, 1942

Lt. Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare, for whom Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport was later named, became the Navy’s first flying ace when he single-handedly attacked a wave of nine Japanese heavy bombers approaching his aircraft carrier, the USS Lexington off Rabaul. He managed to shoot down five of the enemy bombers.

[Two months later, on April 21, 1942, O’Hare became the first naval recipient of WWII’s Medal of Honor. On November 26, 1943, O’Hare was killed defending the USS Enterprise. See more about Edward O’Hare via the link below].

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered General MacArthur out of the Philippines.

February 23, 1942

The first Japanese attack on the U.S. mainland occurred near Santa Barbara, California when a Japanese submarine shelled an oil refinery.

February 24, 1942

The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Enterprise attacked the Japanese on Wake Island.

February 26, 1942

The U.S.’s first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley, was sunk by Japanese bombers.

February 27 – March 1, 1942

Allied naval forces were heavily damaged by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Battle of the Java Sea, including the sinking of America’s largest warship in the Far East, the USS Houston.

March 1942

The Belzec extermination camp became operational in occupied Poland. The permanent gas chambers first had engines placed outside the chamber and carbon monoxide was piped into the chambers. Later Zyklon-B gas was used in exterminations.

March 4, 1942

Two Japanese “flying boats” bombed Pearl Harbor.

The USS Enterprise attacked Marcus Island, only a thousand miles from Japan.

March 7, 1942

The British evacuated Rangoon in Burma.

The Japanese invaded Salamaua and Lae on New Guinea.

March 8, 1942

The Dutch on Java surrendered to the Japanese.

Japanese forces captured Rangoon, evacuated by the British just the day before.

March 9, 1942

The Dutch East Indies surrendered to the Japanese.

March 11, 1942

Under orders from U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur left Corregidor in the Philippines. Left behind were 90,000 American and Filipino troops who would soon fall to the Japanese. MacArthur and his family were flown to Australia. General Jonathan Wainwright became the new U.S. senior field commander of all U.S. and Filipino forces in the Philippine Islands.

March 13, 1942

U.S. Army Air Force airmen arrived in Karachi, India as America entered the China-Burma-India theater. [George Edwin Farrar’s older brother Carroll was stationed in Burma during the war as part of the 315th Air Service Squadron].

March 17, 1942

Jews were deported from Lublin, Poland to the Belzec extermination camp. Twenty-thousand were murdered in the camp by the end of the month.

March 18, 1942

U.S. President Roosevelt appointed General Douglas MacArthur commander of the Southwest Pacific Theater.

The U.S. War Relocation Authority was established. The Authority led to nearly 120,000 Japanese-Americans and resident Japanese to be forcefully transported to ten barb-wired internment camps. Despite this, over 17,000 Japanese-Americans signed up to fight for the U.S. in World War II in Europe, including the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was the most decorated unit in U.S. history.

March 23, 1942

The Japanese invaded the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

March 24, 1942

U.S. Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz was appointed Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific theater.

March 24, 1942

The deportation of Slovak Jews to Auschwitz began.

March 27, 1942

The deportation of French Jews to Auschwitz began.

March 28, 1942

German Nazi politician Ernst Friedrich Christoph “Fritz” Sauckel was named Chief of Manpower to expedite recruitment of slave labor.

March 30, 1942

The first trainloads of Jews from Paris arrived at Auschwitz.

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: Full meeting minutes of the Wannsee Conference

Wikipedia: Edward O’Hare

Wikipedia: 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Most recent post from the series:

Fall 1941

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019

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

WWII Timeline – Fall 1940

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at October – December 1940 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Fall 1940

October 3, 1940

Vichy France passed its own version of the Nuremberg Laws against the Jews.

October 7, 1940

Nazis invaded Romania, with their Jewish population of 34,000, with the pretext of protecting its oil fields from the British.

October 12, 1940

After many previous postponements, the Germans again postponed Operation Sea Lion until Spring of 1941.

October 22, 1940

Twenty-nine thousand German Jews were deported from Baden, the Saar, and Alsace-Lorraine into Vichy France.

October 23, 1940

Spain’s Fascist leader, Francisco Franco, met with Adolf Hitler at the Hendaye Railway Station near the Spanish-French border in Hendaye, France. In the seven- to nine-hour meeting, Franco and Hitler could not come to an agreement for the conditions for Spain to join the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan. The only outcome of the meeting was the signing of a secret agreement in which Franco committed to entering the war at a future date he would choose and Hitler gave vague guarantees that Spain would receive “territories in Africa.”

October 28, 1940

Italy invaded Greece from Albania, which Mussolini justified by claiming that Greece had attacked Albania.

In Great Britain, 489,000 children were evacuated from the London area.

October 31, 1940

The Battle of Britain air war ended in defeat for Nazi Germany and proved Great Britain’s air superiority.

November 1940

The Krakow Ghetto was sealed off with 70,000 Jews inside.

November 5, 1940

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was re-elected to his third term as U.S. president.

November 11/12, 1940

The Battle of Taranto took place overnight between British naval forces and Italian naval forces. The British Royal Navy launched the first all-aircraft ship-to-ship naval attack in history using aerial torpedoes from the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious in the Mediterranean Sea against the battle fleet of the Italian Royal Navy anchored in the harbour of Taranto. The raid crippled the Italian fleet at Taranto. The Japanese noted the superiority of naval aviation over the big guns of the battleships as they planned their Pearl Harbor attack.

November 14/15, 1940

The city of Coventry, England was bombed many times during WWII, but the most devastating attacks occurred on the evening of November 14 and continued into the morning of November 15.

November 20, 1940

Hungary joined the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan.

November 22, 1940

The Greeks defeated the Italian 9th Army.

November 23, 1940

Romania joined the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, Japan, and Hungary.

November 24, 1940

Slovakia joined the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, and Romania.

December 9/10, 1940

The British began a western desert offensive in North Africa against the Italians.

December 29/30, 1940

President Roosevelt delivered his Arsenal of Democracy speech on December 29 in a radio broadcast to the United States, Europe, and Japan in which he pledged to supply Great Britain with war materials. He began his address at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time from Washington D.C.

Before his re-election, Roosevelt pledged during the campaign that America would not declare war on the Axis unless it were attacked. He held to that promise, but during his almost forty minute speech, made a case to provide military support to Great Britain and warned,

If Great Britain goes down, the Axis powers will control the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the high seas. … It is no exaggeration to say that all of us, in all the Americas, would be living at the point of a gun.

On the evening of that same day, the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) firebombed London. Keep in mind, London is five hours ahead of Washington, D.C. I don’t know what time the bombing started in London that evening, but it likely started before Roosevelt started his radio address.

It was London’s most devastating air raid of the Blitz at the hands of the Nazis and the resulting fire from approximately 100,000 bombs dropped from one hundred thirty-six German bombers became known as the Second Great Fire of London. The raid focused on a part of the city with churches, offices, warehouses, and other non-residential buildings.

Hundreds of fires burned in London, but firefighters saved much of the city from the destruction caused by the exploding bombs even as the bombs rained down all around them, and even while hindered by a water shortage. St. Paul’s Cathedral was in the midst of the smoke and flames and could not be seen well during the firefight, but in the end, when the flames died down and the smoke cleared, the cathedral still stood.

Ernie Pyle, the Pulitzer Prize–winning American journalist and war correspondent, witnessed the raid in London and wrote,

Into the dark shadowed spaces below us, while we watched, whole batches of incendiary bombs fell. We saw two dozen go off in two seconds. They flashed terrifically, then quickly simmered down to pin points of dazzling white, burning ferociously…

The greatest of all the fires was directly in front of us. Flames seemed to whip hundreds of feet into the air. Pinkish-white smoke ballooned upward in a great cloud, and out of this cloud there gradually took shape—so faintly at first that we weren’t sure we saw correctly—the gigantic dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. St Paul’s was surrounded by fire, but it came through. It stood there in its enormous proportions—growing slowly clearer and clearer, the way objects take shape at dawn. It was like a picture of some miraculous figure that appears before peace-hungry soldiers on a battlefield.

Ernie Pyle was killed by enemy fire on the island of Iejima, Japan (then called Ie Shima) during the Battle of Okinawa on April 18, 1945.

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.

Battle of Taranto

Roosevelt’s Arsenal of Democracy Speech

Roosevelt’s Arsenal of Democracy Speech

Worst Air Raid on London

Second Great Fire of London

Most recent post from the series:

Summer 1940

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019

WWII Timeline – Summer 1940

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.

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.

Madagascar Plan

Vichy anti-Jewish legislation

Adlertag

Most recent post from the series:

Spring 1940

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019