366 Days

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February

News Headlines

1

ALLIES PLOT TO RETAKE BURMA, SUPPLY CHINA BY ROAD AND AIR

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 SEEK 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 attended. […]

3

MANILA’S LIBERATION 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, and soon liber­ated nearly 6,000 Allied and Fili­pino pri­soners. Some of them, like the 64 U.S. Army nurses, were taken captive in […]

4

HITLER HEADS 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 were de­ported to Ger­many. Two years later, in Septem­ber 1943, the first depor­ta­tions of Danish pri­soners and Jews to Ger­many began after Ger­man civil and mili­tary autho­ri­ties assumed direct […]

6

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. His armored for­ma­tion was nick­named the “Ghost Divi­sion” owing to its rapid thrusts and inde­pen­dence. Adolf Hitler had more than a […]

7

QUISLING CREATES NORWEGIAN DICTATORSHIP

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 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 […]

9

HISTORIC U.S. PACIFIC VICTORY IN SOLOMONS

Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands • February 9, 1943 On this date in 1943 Guadalcanal, the largest of the nearly one thou­sand islands in the Solo­mon Islands chain, was declared secure. U.S. Marines had landed on the pre­viously obscure is­land begin­ning on August 7, 1942, in the first major offen­sive by Allied forces against Japan. Opera­tion Watch­tower, […]

10

CARRIER FORCE 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 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 stand­off (May 4–8, 1942), Mitscher had been en­gaged in […]

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, the Berg­hof. An Aus­trian native, Hitler had been granted Ger­man citizen­ship in 1932. The following Janu­ary the Nazi Party […]

12

WOMEN RECRUITED INTO GERMAN MILITIA

Berlin, Germany · February 12, 1945 On this date in 1945 German women were called up for ser­vice in the Volks­sturm (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 themes of death, […]

13

FIREBOMBING RAVAGES DRESDEN

Dresden, Germany · February 13, 1945 On this night in 1945, Shrove (or Fat) 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 was the ancient […]

14

BUDAPEST GARRISON NOW SOVIET CAPTIVES

Budapest, Hungary · February 14, 1945 On December 29, 1944, Soviet and Romanian troops (Romania 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 refu­gees, in­cluding well over 100,000 […]

15

MONTE CASSINO ABBEY ORDERED DESTROYED

Cassino, Italy · February 15, 1944 On this date in 1944 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, Ameri­can, and French […]

16

GERMANS TRY PUSHING ALLIES OFF ANZIO BEACHHEAD

Anzio, Italy • February 16, 1944 On this date in 1944, a day after the historic Bene­dictine abbey at Monte Cas­sino was bombed by Allied air­craft, the Germans launched their long-delayed counter­attack on the Allied-held beach­head at Anzio, a small Medi­ter­ranean resort and port some 35 miles south of the Ital­ian capi­tal, Rome. Just 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 […]

18

JAPAN CREATES CHINESE PUPPET STATE

Hsinking (Changchun), Manchukuo · February 18, 1932 The Meiji Restoration of Imperial rule in 1868 resulted in the down­fall of Japan’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 and on […]

19

JAPANESE TO BE MOVED FROM U.S. WEST COAST

Washington, D.C. · February 19, 1942 On this date in 1942 President Franklin D. Roose­velt signed Execu­tive Order 9066. It autho­rized the War Depart­ment to desig­nate “mili­tary areas” in the U.S. and ex­clude from them any­one whom the depart­ment felt to be a danger to the security of the nation. Although the order was care­fully […]

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 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 six-day air cam­paign […]

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 Al­pine retreat on the Ober­salz­berg near Berchtes­gaden on the Bava­rian-Aus­trian bor­der. The Berg­hof served as an out­post of Hitler’s Ber­lin chan­cel­lery, making it an ob­vious tar­get. Fur­ther north, in a less sym­bolic move, more than […]

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 and “tried” by “Hitler’s Hanging Judge,” the noto­rious Nazi […]

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 […]

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 […]

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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