World War II Remembered


Feb. 4, 1938 - Hitler created a new command for the German army, the OKW, placing the old Wehrmacht under it as the OKH department and made himself Supreme Commander of all German armed forces.

Feb. 20, 1938 - Anthony Eden resigned as British Foreign Secretary in disapproval of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement with Italy and Germany.

March 2, 1938 - Russia's 3rd major purge trial began, and would result in the executions of 18 conspirators on March 13, including Nikolia Bukharin and Alexis Rykoff, former Russian premier. The Great Purge preoccupied Russia 1936 - 1938, left it militarily weak, unwilling and unable to help other nations resist the Anschluss.

March 3, 1938 - Floods in California leave 200,000 homeless and 144 dead; New England hurricane kills 682; tornado in Illinois destroys towns along the Mississippi river. Franco bombs Barcelona; Japan bombs Canton and Hankow in June. Soviet-Japan border war in July near Manchukuo, Mongolia, Korea, and air raid drills in Tokyo.

March 9, 1938 - Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg opposed Hitler's demand for "Auschluss" or the reunification of German speaking regions with Germany, calling instead for plebiscite. However, the plebiscite was never held. Schuschnigg resigned March 11 and was replaced by pro-Nazi Interior Minister Arthur Seyss-Inquart.

March 12, 1938 - German troops crossed the border and occupied Austria. Hitler stood in his open car in his brown storm trooper uniform as he drove into Vienna. On March 13th he proclaimed the Auschluss and declared Austria was now the Ostmark, a province of the Third Reich.

Edward R. Murrow March 13, 1938 - CBS broadcast its first "News Roundup" via shortwave radio from five European capitals, anchored by Bob Trout in New York, the start of regular daily news reports organized by Edward R. Murrow in London.

March 26, 1938 - Hermann Goering warned all Jews to leave Austria.

April 2 - Britain granted recognition to the new Austrian government; the U.S. granted recognition April 6, 1938.

April 10 - Edourd Daladier replaced Leon Blum as Prime Minister of france.

April 16 - Anglo-Italian pact granted recognition of Italian conquest of Ethiopia. April 19 - Franco's Nationalists troops defeated the Republicans and the Lincoln Battalion at Tortosa, drove to the Mediterranean at Vinaroz and isolated Barcelonea.

April 24 - Sudeten leader Konrad Henlein demanded autonomy for the German-speaking regions of Czechoslovakia. "May Crisis" in Czechoslovakia began with Prague's rejection of Henlein's demands and became ominous with the movement of German troops to the Czech border, the May 20 mobilization of 400,000 in the Czech army, Hitler's announcement of a large increase in the size of the Luftwaffe , and the increased German fortification of Siegfried Line on the French border. Fear of war caused the British and the Americans to urge Daladier not to honor the 1924 treaty of alliance with Czechoslovakia, and instead seek a negotiated settlement. The first black out test was May 16 in the U.S.

May 6 - Hitler appeared in Rome with Mussolini for a military review of Italian troops, and in a speech May 14 Mussolini promised the fascist nations would fight together against the democracies if war broke out.

May 17 - Congress passed the Naval Expansion Act to create a 2-ocean Navy.

June 8 - Aging Secretary of State Sumner Welles denounced the bombing of civilians in China and Spain, but Japan continued its attack on the city of Canton.

June 9 - Britain placed an order for 400 airplanes from the United States.

June 12 - The Chinese open dikes to flood the Yellow river in order to stop Japan's attack, but 1 million Chinese peasants die.

Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling June 22 - Joe Luis defeats Max Schmeling in Yankee Stadium before a crowd of 70,000. Won by a TKO at 2:04 in the first round: "shirt, swift, merciless, complete". FDR said - "Joe we need muscles like yours to beat Germany."

July 11 - Russian-Japanese battle on the Manchurian border until truce signed Aug. 10.

July 15 - Howard Hughes rode in a New York City ticker tape parade to the cheers of 2 million people after flying around the world in his twin-engine Lockheed Vega with a crew of four in the record time of 3 days, 19 hours, 17 minutes. On July 18, Douglas "wrong way" Corrigan crossed the Atlantic in a solo flight landing in Dublin despite a prohibition by the U.S. and Ireland, saying his compass mislead him and he thought he was flying from New York to California. He was given a ticker tape parade in Los Angeles in September.

July 30 - Lord Runciman arrived in Prague to negotiate with the Czechs and the Germans.

Aug. 12 - Hitler calls up military reserves in Germany, and began military manuevers. On Aug. 18 Japan issued a call for 1 million military recruits.

Aug. 28 - Sedeten Germans began talks with the Czech President Eduard Benes but the Czech government refused any participation.

Sept. 4 - At the dedication of a monument at the Pointe de Grave near Bordeaux where the first American's landed in WW1, William Bullitt who had been supporting the Runciman negotiations, said "if war should break out in Europe, no one could predict whether or not the United States would be drawn in." But FDR would not act on Bullitt's recommendation to support a multinational conference.

Hitler Giving Speech September 12-30 Munich Crisis

Sept. 12 - Hitler's speech demanded the Sudetenland.

Sept. 15 - Chamberlain flew to Berlin to meet with Hitler.

Sept. 18 - England and France asked Czech to give Sudeten to Hitler.

Sept. 18 - Chamberlain flew to Munich to meet with Hitler, and flew again Sept. 22, but the British Cabinet refused any partition.

Sept. 23 - The Czech army mobilized.

Sept. 25 - 20,000 in Madison Square Garden in New York demonstrated for Czech.

Sept. 29 - Chamberlain and Daladier flew to Munich to meet with Mussolini and Hitler, both accepted the partition of the Sudeten without consulting the Czechs. H. V. Kaltenborn made 102 radio broadcasts in 18 days from the CBS New York studio.

Sept. 30 - Munich Pact signed by 4 powers. Neville Chamberlain returned to England with a paper signed by Hitler promising friendship with England, and announced from 10 Downing Street, "My good friends, this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street, peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time." {Rabbi Wise in New York said it was "dishonor without peace."}

Oct. 3 - Hitler's army entered the Sudetenland, Konrad Henlein greeted Hitler in Eger, Benes resigned and was replaced by President Hacha; Poland partitioned the Teschen area from Czech, Hungary began to partition much of Ruthenia.

Oct. 9 - Hearst newsreel "First Films of Czech Surrender of Sudentenland!"

Oct. 30 - Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds caused radio panic.

Nov. 10 - Kristallnacht in Germany. The anti-Semetic campaign of Hitler that began 1933 and known today as the Holocaust rose to a new level of violence. During the action known as Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass"), over a 191 synagogues were set afire, with 76 of them destroyed. More than 7,500 Jewish businesses were looted and over 800 ruined. Almost 100 Jews were killed or seriously injured. As many as 30,000 Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. The Jewish communities of Germany assessed one billion marks to pay for the damage claims of non-Jews.

Nov. 10 - Nazi murder squads 1.4 million Jews by 1945, especially in Russia after the June 1941 invasion.

Nov. 10 - Nazi death camps, especially the six "extermination" in Poland, (ie: Auschwitz) will add at least 5 million more killings after 1942.

Nov 12 - Kate Smith introduced the song, "God Bless America", originally written 1918 by Irving Berlin but never performed in public till Kate sang it on her new radio program "Kate Smith Speaks."

Charles Lindberg Dec. 6 -

  • Franco-German friendship pact signed.
  • Made several trips to Germany in 1938.
  • Test flew German ME109 fighter.
  • Given medal from Hermann Goering Oct. 18.
  • Emphasized strength of Germany as a bulwark to communism.
  • Made secret reports to U.S. government through Truman smith, military attache in Berlin.
  • After Munich, FDR switched from Navy to Air Force as main U.S. defense.


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