366 Days

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February

News Headlines

1

ALLIES PLOT TO OUST JAPAN FROM BURMA

New Delhi, India • February 1, 1943 On this date in 1943 in New Delhi, delegates from Great Britain, the U.S., and China opened a con­fer­ence to develop a cam­paign plan (codenamed Ana­kim) for the recon­quest of Burma (also called Myan­mar), then a British colony, and to reopen the land supply route to China. The […]

2

SOVIETS AIM TO DOMINATE EASTERN EUROPE,

Washington, D.C. • February 2, 1945 The Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) was the supreme mili­tary staff for the West­ern Allies during World War II. CCS members were drawn from the British Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee and the Amer­i­can Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and typ­i­cally met in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. On occa­sion Soviet mili­tary offi­cers […]

3

MANILA’S DELIVERANCE AT HAND

Manila, Philippines • February 3, 1945 On this date in 1945, 35,000 soldiers of the U.S. Sixth Army under Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger, sup­ported by 3,000 Filipino guerril­las, began entering Manila, capital of the Philip­pines, a U.S. Common­wealth, and soon liber­ated nearly 6,000 Allied and Fili­pino pri­soners. Some of them, like the 64 U.S. Army […]

4

HITLER TAKES HELM OF GERMAN ARMED FORCES

Berlin, Germany • February 4, 1937 On this date in 1937, in a bold, sweeping decree, Adolf Hitler assumed com­mand of the entire Ger­man armed forces, or Wehr­macht. He abol­ished the Reichs­kriegs­minis­terium (Minis­try of War), in the act liqui­dating the tra­di­tional power of the army gene­ral staff as the ulti­mate con­troller and direc­tor of Germany’s […]

5

PLEA TO RESCUE POWS IN GERMANY

Stockholm, Sweden • February 5, 1945 Within five months from the start of the German con­quest of Norway in April 1940 the first Norwe­gian poli­tical pri­soners, ini­tially Jews, com­mu­nists, and prom­i­nent poli­tical oppo­nents, were deported to Germany, first by Adolf Hitler’s Norwegian Reichs­kommisar, or Governor-General, Josef Terbo­ven, then by the Norwe­gian govern­ment of Nazi collab­o­rator […]

6

HITLER PICKS ERWIN ROMMEL TO HEAD AFRIKA KORPS

Berlin, Germany • February 6, 1941 During the German invasion of France in 1940, an am­bi­tious general named Erwin Rommel distin­guished him­self as the “lead from the front” com­mander of the 7th Pan­zer Divi­sion. Disre­garding the per­form­ance-enhancing effects of his con­sump­tion of Army-issued Pervitin, a meth­am­phet­a­mine soldiers dubbed “Panzer Schoko­lade,” Rommel was a dare­devil by […]

7

QUISLING IMPOSES DICTATORSHIP ON NORWAY

Oslo, Occupied Norway • February 7, 1942 On this date in 1942 in German-occupied Norway, Minister Presi­dent Vid­kun Quis­ling abol­ished the Nor­we­gian consti­tu­tion and estab­lished a dic­ta­tor­ship one year after as­cending to the pre­si­dency. Quis­ling had been a reserve officer in the Nor­we­gian Army and served as the Nor­we­gian Minis­ter of Defense from 1931 to […]

8

JAPANESE SURGE INTO BRITAIN’S SINGAPORE STRONGHOLD

Singapore Island, British Malaya • February 8, 1942 On this night and the next day in 1942 in British Malaya (today’s Malay­sia) Japa­nese forces surged over and soon pushed the British-led de­fenders back to the edges of the 220-sq-mile island of Singa­pore (the “Gibral­tar of the East”), nearly 600 miles from the ini­tial Japa­nese landing sites. […]

9

ADM. YAMAMOTO ORDERS AIR RAID ON DARWIN

Tokyo, Japan • February 9, 1942 On December 8, 1941, the U.S. Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan in response to the mas­sive Japan­ese attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That same Decem­ber day and the next the govern­ments of Great Britain, Canada, China, and Aus­tra­lia declared war […]

10

CARRIER FORCE SET TO CLAIM SKIES FOR U.S.

Ulithi Atoll, Western Pacific • February 10, 1945 On this date in 1945 Task Force 58 under Vice Adm. Marc “Pete” Mitscher, assigned to U.S. Adm. Raymond Spruance’s Fifth Fleet, steamed out of its anchor­age at Ulithi Atoll in the Caro­line Islands, 1,700 miles south of the main Japa­nese island of Honshū. Except for the Coral Sea […]

11

HITLER, AUSTRIAN HEAD TO CONFER

Salzburg, Austria • February 11, 1938 On this date in 1938 Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schusch­nigg arrived in Salz­burg for a quick trip over the German border to confer with Adolf Hitler at his Bava­rian Alps resi­dence above Berchtes­gaden, the Berg­hof. An Austrian native who had served as a lance cor­po­ral in the Bava­rian Army in […]

12

GERMAN MILITIA ENLISTS WOMEN RECRUITS

Berlin, Germany • February 12, 1945 On this date in 1945 German women were called up for ser­vice in the Volks­sturm (Home Guard, or national mili­tia). Adolf Hitler was playing his final card in World War II by mobi­lizing prac­ti­cally every Ger­man civil­ian for an apoc­a­lyptic defense of the Third Reich, a 20th‑century Wag­nerian Goetter­daem­merung. Nazi […]

13

HELLISH FIREBOMBING RAVAGES DRESDEN

Dresden, Germany • February 13, 1945 On this night in 1945, Fat (or Shrove) Tuesday, and over the next day, Ash Wednesday, some 1,300 Brit­ish and Amer­i­can bombers appeared over largely un­touched Dres­den in East­ern Ger­many. A city of 642,000 (1939) swelled by 300,000 ref­u­gees fleeing from fighting on the East­ern Front, Dres­den, 120 miles south […]

14

BUDAPEST GARRISON ENTERS SOVIET CAPTIVITY

Budapest, Hungary • February 14, 1945 On December 29, 1944, Soviet and Romanian troops (Romania had broken from the Axis and was now a Soviet ally) began laying siege to Buda­pest, the capi­tal of Adolf Hitler’s vas­sal state of Hun­gary. Buda­pest, split in two by the River Danube, was a city of over 800,000 resi­dents and […]

15

MONTE CASSINO ABBEY ORDERED DESTROYED

Cassino, Italy • February 15, 1944 On this date in 1944 British Gen. Harold Alexander, commander in chief of all Allied forces in the Medi­ter­ranean The­ater, ordered the aerial bombing of the his­toric Bene­dic­tine abbey towering over the town of Cas­sino on the banks of the Rapido (Gari) River in Italy. Earlier in January Brit­ish, […]

16

2ND MARINE RAIDER BATTALION ACTIVATED

Washington, D.C. • February 16, 1942 In the wake of the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on U.S. naval and army bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, President Frank­lin D. Roose­velt settled on the U.S. Marine Corps as the home for a new com­mando-type force in the mold of British special oper­a­tions forces to take the […]

17

JAPANESE TRUK TARGET OF NAVY AIR/SEA ATTACK

Task Force 58 Off Truk (Chuuk), Central Pacific • February 17, 1944 Chuuk Lagoon, known up to 1990 as Truk Lagoon, is a sheltered body of water in the Cen­tral Paci­fic north of New Guinea. Con­sisting of eleven major islands, Chuuk is part of the larger Caro­line Islands group. Truk was part of the Spanish East […]

18

JAPAN CREATES CHINESE PUPPET STATE

Hsinking (Changchun), Manchukuo • February 18, 1932 The Meiji Restoration of Imperial rule in Japan in 1868 resulted in the down­fall of that country’s power­ful mili­tary com­man­ders, the sho­guns, and the Japa­nese samu­rai war­rior class. Partly as a con­ces­sion to the samu­rai, the Japa­nese govern­ment em­barked on an aggres­sive foreign policy in Man­churia in North­eastern China […]

19

JAPANESE ON U.S. WEST COAST TO BE RELOCATED

Washington, D.C. • February 19, 1942 Seventy-nine years ago on this date in 1942, cele­brated today as the Day of Remem­brance, Presi­dent Franklin D. Roose­velt signed Execu­tive Order 9066. It autho­rized the War Depart­ment to desig­nate “mili­tary areas” in the U.S. and admit, exclude, or remove from these areas any­one whom the depart­ment felt to […]

20

“BIG WEEK” KICKS OFF IN SKIES OVER GERMANY

London, England • February 20, 1944 On this date in 1944, while Soviet armed forces were ridding their coun­try of the German Wehr­macht (German armed forces) on the East­ern Front, U.S. and British air forces embarked on Opera­tion Argu­ment in the skies over the West­ern Front. Un­of­fi­cially dubbed “Big Week,” Opera­tion Argu­ment was an inten­sive […]

21

U.S. POUNDS NUREMBERG IN FOLLOW-UP RAID

SHAEF HQ, Reims, France • February 21, 1945 On this date in 1945 U.S. fighter-bombers attacked the Berg­hof, Adolf Hitler’s three-story Alpine retreat on the 6,700‑ft Ober­salz­berg near Berchtes­gaden on the Bava­rian-Aus­trian bor­der. The Berg­hof, bought and devel­oped with proceeds from the sale of Hitler’s crack­pot poli­ti­cal testi­mony, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), served as an […]

22

WHITE ROSE SIBLINGS PUT TO DEATH

Munich, Germany • February 22, 1943 On this date in 1943 siblings Sophie (age 21) and Hans Scholl (24) and their friend Christoph Probst (24), mem­bers of the under­ground White Rose (Weisse Rose) resis­tance circle, were charged with sedition for writing, printing, and dis­tri­bu­ting anti-Nazi leaf­lets; “tried” by “Hitler’s Hanging Judge,” the noto­rious Nazi jurist […]

23

JAPANESE SUB SHELLS U.S. WEST COAST

Santa Barbara, California • February 23, 1942 Japanese submarines initiated the first shore bom­bard­ments of the war with an attack on the U.S. Navy base at John­ston Island in the Paci­fic in mid-Decem­ber 1941, just days after Japa­nese carrier-based planes had destroyed, in their sur­prise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, one-half of the United States’ […]

24

JAPANESE CAPITAL FIREBOMBED

Tokyo, Japan • February 24, 1945 The first appearance over Japan in June 1944 of the massive four-engine B‑29 bomber—with its service ceiling of 33,000 ft, an operational range of over 3,200 nau­tical miles, and a maxi­mum take­off weight of 133,500 lb—meant that the enemy’s Home Islands were squarely in the cross­hairs of the war’s dead­liest delivery sys­tem. […]

25

FIRST FLIGHT OF NAZI MONSTER TRANSPORTER

Berlin, Germany • February 25, 1941 The first flight of the German prototype Me 321 Gigant (“Giant”) took place on this date in 1941. The previous October Ger­man air­craft maker Messer­schmitt had been given just 14 days to sub­mit a pro­posal for a large-capa­city troop- and cargo-carrying glider. The proto­type glider’s maiden flight encouraged Messer­schmitt to […]

26

HITLER BECOMES GERMAN CITIZEN

Munich, Germany • February 26, 1932 On this date in 1932 in Germany, Austrian-born Adolf Hitler was granted Ger­man citi­zen­ship. A decade earlier the state­less Austrian (Hitler had formally renounced his Austrian citizen­ship in April 1925) was the unlikely leader of a fringe Populist-nationalist move­ment, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. In Novem­ber 1923 he […]

27

NORWEGIAN COMMANDOS HALT HEAVY WATER PRODUCTION

Vemork/Rjukan, German-Occupied Norway • February 27, 1943 Following Germany’s invasion of Norway in April 1940, German autho­rities took con­trol of Norsk Hydro’s Vemork hydro­elec­trical and chemi­cal plant just outs­ide Rjukan in Tele­mark County. Although the Vemork plant was orig­i­nally designed to zap descending moun­tain water with an elec­tric cur­rent (elec­trol­y­sis) to pro­duce ammo­nia for nitro­gen fer­ti­li­zer, […]

28

GERMANS ABANDON DEMYANSK POCKET

Moscow, Soviet Union • February 28, 1942 On this date in 1943 the 13-day Battle of Demyansk ended with the evac­u­a­tion of the last batch of German armed forces from the Dem­yansk sali­ent. Begin­ning the pre­vious Febru­ary 96,000 (even­tu­ally 131,000) German troops and aux­il­iary ser­vice per­son­nel forced them­selves into what was a rela­tively insig­nif­i­cant village that […]

29

MACARTHUR KICKS OFF ADMIRALTY ISLANDS CAMPAIGN

Aboard the USS Phoenix in the Southwest Pacific • February 29, 1944 The Admiralty Islands lie 200 miles northeast of large contested island of New Guinea, which itself lies 93 miles north of Australia at the narrowest point, and nearly 1,800 miles south­east of Japanese-held Philip­pines (Minda­nao). Con­sisting chiefly of the large island of Manus and the smaller […]

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