366 Days

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April

News Headlines

1

JAPANESE-HELD OKINAWA UNDER U.S. ASSAULT

Aboard Admiral Spruance’s Flagship USS Indianapolis • April 1, 1945 For weeks the largest Allied fleet since Opera­tion Over­lord ten months earlier—nearly 1,500 U.S. and British vessels—fired 2.3 mil­lion shells onto Oki­na­wa, the largest island in the Ryukyu archi­pel­ago and a little more than 300 miles from Kyū­shū and Shi­ko­ku, the southernmost Japa­nese Home Islands. (Tokyo was 550 miles away.) […]

2

GERMANS MUST CHOOSE VICTORY OR DEATH

Berlin, Germany • April 2, 1945 In the spring of 1945 senior leaders of the Third Reich were growing pan­icky. In the west, Amer­i­can troops had suc­ceeded in crossing the Rhine River at Remagen 35 miles south of Cologne on March 7 and were advancing into the German heart­land. In the east, the tracks of Soviet mech­a­nized […]

3

ADM. CHESTER W. NIMITZ TO HEAD U.S. PACIFIC OPERATIONS

Washington, D.C. • April 3, 1945 On this date in 1945 the Roosevelt adminis­tra­tion appointed Gen. Douglas Mac­Arthur Com­mander-in-Chief U.S. Army Forces Pacific (AFPAC), respon­si­ble for all Army and Army Air Forces units in the Pacific Thea­ter excepting Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay’s Twen­tieth Air Force based in the Mari­anas. At the same time Adm. Chester […]

4

FORCED LABOR CAMP SHOCKS U.S. ARMY LIBERATORS

Ohrdruf, Central Germany • April 4, 1945 Over the first three weeks of April 1945, during the brutal ter­mi­nal phase of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, Allied armies dis­covered more than one hun­dred con­cen­tra­tion camps, including Buchen­wald, Nord­hausen, Flossen­buerg, and Bergen-Belsen. On this date in 1945 soldiers of Gen. George S. Patton’s Fourth Armored Divi­sion, U.S. […]

5

NAZIS ARREST OUTSPOKEN GERMAN THEOLOGIAN

Berlin, Germany • April 5, 1943 On this date in 1943 in Berlin, Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bon­hoeffer was arrested at his parents’ home by two agents of the Gestapo (Secret State Police). One of the leading Protes­tant theo­logians of the past cen­tury, Bon­hoeffer was a founding pastor of the dissi­dent Con­fessing Church (Bekennende Kirche), which […]

6

AXIS FORTUNES RECOVER IN BALKANS

Belgrade, Yugoslavia • April 6, 1941 At the tail end of February 1941 British Common­wealth forces from Nigeria captured Moga­dishu, capital of Ital­ian Somali­land (part of today’s Somalia), after Benito Mussolini’s armies had aban­doned any pre­tense of defending their East Afri­can colony. The Ital­ian colony in the Horn of Africa, which in August 1940 absorbed […]

7

REICHSTAG PASSES MORE ANTI-JEWISH LAWS

Berlin, Germany • April 7, 1933 Following his swearing in as chancellor on Janu­ary 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party began a policy of Gleich­schal­tung (synchro­ni­zation), where­by Ger­many would be thoroughly re­ordered along Nazi lines. With the Reichs­tag’s pas­sage of the En­abling Act on March 23, 1933, signed into law by German presi­dent Paul von […]

8

HITLER, MUSSOLINI CONFER AFTER STALINGRAD

Salzburg, Austria • April 8, 1943 On this date in 1943 in Salzburg, Austria, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met for the first time since the col­lapse of the Axis de­fense of Stalingrad at the end of Janu­ary. Ignoring Mus­so­li­ni’s trial bal­loon about nego­ti­a­ting a cease­fire with the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, Hitler remained con­vinced […]

9

ARMY, NAVY POW NURSES HONORED AT WHITE HOUSE

Washington, D.C. • April 9, 1983 On this date in 1983, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 31 of the 67 Army and Navy nurses who had been captured by the Japa­nese in 1942 and interned at the Santo Tomas and Los Baños intern­ment camps in the Philip­pines were honored at a White House cere­mony by Presi­dent Ronald […]

10

ROOSEVELT SENDS TROOPS TO OCCUPY GREENLAND

Washington, D.C. • April 10, 1941 On April 9, 1941, a full year after Operation Weser­uebung had brought Den­mark and Nor­way into Nazi Germany’s orbit, the Danish ambas­sador in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Hen­rik Kauff­mann, signed an execu­tive agree­ment with the U.S. Secre­tary of State, Cordell Hull, autho­rizing the U.S. to protect the remote Danish colony of […]

11

NEW HEAD TO STRENGTHEN NAZI LEBENSBORN PROGRAM

Berlin, Germany • April 11, 1940 On this date in 1940 Reichsfuerhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler, the second-most power­ful man in Nazi Germany, appointed SS-Standarten­fuehrer (Colonel) Max Soll­mann to be managing director of the Lebens­born Program (German, Lebens­born e.V), which was heavily in debt. It was Himm­ler, head of the Schutz­staffel (commonly abbre­vi­ated to SS), who founded […]

12

U.S. LEAVES CAPTURE OF BERLIN TO SOVIETS

Forward SHAEF HQ, Reims, France • April 12, 1945 On this date in 1945 President Frank­lin D. Roose­velt died in Warm Springs, Georgia, and Harry S. Tru­man became the thirty-third pre­si­dent of the United States. That same day the Supreme Com­man­der of the Allied Expedi­tionary Force, Gen. Dwight D. Eisen­hower, informed his staff that neither Amer­i­can […]

13

ADM. YAMAMOTO TO VISIT BOUGAINVILLE GARRISON

Rabaul, New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea • April 13, 1943 On this date in 1943 the headquarters of Adm. Isoroku Yama­moto on Rabaul, the impor­tant Japa­nese garri­son on New Britain Island in the Bis­marck Archi­pel­ago, sent a coded mili­tary radio signal to various Jap­anese com­mands in the Western South Pacific. The mes­sage listed the dates […]

14

U.S. TROOPS ENCIRCLE GERMAN ARMY IN RUHR POCKET

Ruhr Pocket, Northwestern Germany • April 14, 1945 In the spring of 1945 senior leaders of the Third Reich were on edge. On Germany’s Eastern Front, the tracks of Soviet mech­a­nized armor and the boots of their infan­try could be heard approaching the out­skirts of the epi­center of Nazism, Berlin. On the Western Front, ele­ments […]

15

GROUND BROKEN FOR TULE LAKE RELOCATION CENTER

Tulelake, Modoc County, California • April 15, 1942 On this date in 1942, in a remote, under­developed recla­ma­tion dis­trict roughly 35 miles south­east of Klamath Falls, Oregon, and about 10 miles from the town of Tule­lake (or Newell), the federal govern­ment began con­struc­tion of the Tule Lake Relo­ca­tion Center for persons of Japa­nese ances­try forci­bly “evacu­ated” from […]

16

SEELOW HEIGHTS NEXT-TO-LAST NAIL IN HITLER’S COFFIN

Seelow Heights, Germany • April 16, 1945 On this date in 1945 the Allies called off their strategic bombing cam­paign against Nazi Germany because most targets were already in Allied hands or, like the Reich capital, Berlin, would be soon. So on the day the aerial cam­paign stopped the Red Army unleashed a battle to […]

17

POLISH TROOPS RELIEVE NEW ZEALANDERS

Monte Cassino, Italy • April 17, 1944 On this date in 1944, 52,000 sol­diers of the untested Polish II Corps under Maj. Gen. Wladyslaw Anders quietly moved into posi­tion under the cover of dark­ness and smoke­screen. The Polish II Corps, part of Gen. Oliver Leese’s British Eighth Army, relieved the ex­hausted New Zea­land II Corps, which since […]

18

DOOLITTLE RAID PAYBACK FOR PEARL HARBOR

Aboard the USS Hornet • April 18, 1942 The Doolittle Raid—a top-secret U.S. retaliatory air­strike following the sur­prise Japa­nese bombing of Amer­i­can naval and air bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, nine­teen weeks earlier—was the country’s first joint action with the U.S. Army Air Forces and the U.S. Navy. The ground­breaking mis­sion shipped 16 North Amer­i­can B‑25B […]

19

WARSAW GHETTO RESIDENTS STAGE REVOLT

Warsaw, Occupied Poland • April 19, 1943 In October 1940, a little over a year after Nazi Germany’s conquest of its eastern neighbor Poland, German Governor-General Hans Frank estab­lished a Jewish ghetto in Poland’s capital, Warsaw, moving some 90,000 Jews from all over Poland into the ghetto. (Poland’s Jewish com­munity numbered 3.5 mil­lion at the time.) The […]

20

HITLER CELEBRATES 56TH BIRTHDAY

Berlin, Germany • April 20, 1945 On this date in 1945 a stooped, haggard, yellowish gray- and jowly-faced Adolf Hitler cele­brated his 56th birth­day in the safety of his under­ground com­mand bunker 50 ft beneath Berlin’s battered Old Reich Chan­cellery. Unlike pre­vious birth­days marked by much cere­mony and fuss, this one was all gloom and doom […]

21

ALLIES KICK OFF WESTERN NEW GUINEA CAMPAIGN

Hollandia and Aitape, Northern New Guinea • April 21–22, 1944 The Pacific War in New Guinea, the second largest island in the world after neigh­boring Aus­tra­lia, lasted from Janu­ary 1942 to several weeks past the sur­render of Japan on August 14, 1945. Japa­nese inva­ders set first foot in the Aus­tra­lian-admin­is­tered Man­dated Terri­tory of New Gui­nea, that […]

22

U.S. SCHEMES TO CAPTURE NAZI SECRETS

Wilbur Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio • April 22, 1945 During the war Allied countries were keen to gain access to the pro­ducts of Ger­man research and develop­ment. A British com­mando raid on a German radar instal­la­tion on Febru­ary 27–28, 1942, in occu­pied France con­vinced British scien­tists who ana­lyzed the radar array that it was imper­vious to […]

23

HITLER BEGS ARMY TO SAVE CAPITAL

Berlin, Germany • April 23, 1945 On this date in 1945, with most land commu­ni­ca­tions and elec­tri­cal power lines down, Adolf Hitler broad­cast on Greater German Radio the order to save his belea­guered capital. The order called for Wehr­macht forces opposing the Ameri­cans at the Elbe River to with­draw and move north to rescue ­Berlin, […]

24

GERMANY WILL SURRENDER TO WESTERN ALLIES—HIMMLER

Luebeck, Northern Germany • April 24, 1945 Reichsfuehrer-SS, Reich Minister of the Interior, Gestapo chief, and Adolf Hitler-devotee Heinrich Himmler began making clumsy attempts to secure a separate peace treaty with the Western Allies as German defenders of the Reich capital—ground zero of Nazi resis­tance—failed to push the Red Army east back across the Spree […]

25

JAPAN CONSTRUCTS GIGANTIC I-400 SUB

Kure Navy Yard, Hiroshima Bay, Japan • April 25, 1943 Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Com­bined Fleet of the Impe­rial Japa­nese Navy and the archi­tect of his coun­try’s Decem­ber 7, 1941, attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, envi­sioned a dif­fer­ent fleet of Japa­nese air­craft and ships for a second round of […]

26

PACIFIC ALLIES LAUNCH OPERATION CARTWHEEL

SWPA HQ, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia • April 26, 1943 By January 1943, as the six-month campaign for Guadal­canal in the South­west Pacific Solo­mon Islands was winding down (the Japa­nese aban­doned the island on Febru­ary 7), it became clear that the Allies lacked suffi­cient resources to swiftly dis­lodge the Japa­nese from heavily fortified Rabaul, 650 miles to the west. […]

27

NAZIS PLAN TO COLONIZE CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

Berlin, Germany • April 27, 1942 At least since the 1925 publication of Adolf Hitler’s polit­i­cal mani­festo, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), National Socialists, or Nazis for short, were openly dis­cussing various colo­ni­za­tion schemes for Cen­tral and East­ern Europe. Nazis were sure that more Lebens­raum (living space) for a popu­la­tion of 62 mil­lion peo­ple was needed if […]

28

NORMANDY INVASION DRY RUN ENDS TRAGICALLY

Slapton Sands, Devon Coast, Southwest England • April 28, 1944 Shortly after midnight on this date in 1944 German torpe­do boats (S‑boats, short for Schnell [Fast] boats) on a rou­tine patrol out of Cher­bourg in occupied France sud­denly found them­selves in the middle of Oper­a­tion (or Exer­cise) Tiger, code­named T‑4. Oper­a­tion Tiger con­sisted of a convoy […]

29

ANGLO-FRENCH-NORWEGIAN OFFENSIVE LAUNCHED

Narvik, Norway • April 29, 1940 Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, and Oslo, Norway’s capi­tal, succumbed to German in­vaders on April 9, 1940, the first day of Oper­a­tion Weser­uebung. Though planning for Weser­uebung had begun the pre­vious Decem­ber, Adolf Hitler did not order full speed ahead until British war­ships entered the terri­torial waters of neu­tral Nor­way in Febru­ary […]

30

HITLER, WIFE CREMATED AFTER SUICIDES

Berlin, Germany • April 30, 1945 Sometime after 3 p.m. on this date in 1945 Adolf Hitler, to all the world the face of unspeak­able evil, shot him­self in the right temple after he and Eva Braun, his wife of 40 hours (and near-secret mis­tress for 14 years), had poi­soned them­selves by in­gesting cya­nide. The Fuehrer’s psycho­tic […]

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