366 Days

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July

News Headlines

1

STALIN TO HEAD SOVIET WAR EFFORT AGAINST GERMANY

Moscow, Soviet Union • July 1, 1941 Early in the morning of August 24, 1939, the foreign minis­ters of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a treaty of non­aggres­sion, formally known by the two signa­tories’ names—the Molotov-Ribben­trop Pact, which bore the date August 23, 1939. Neither Foreign Minis­ter Vyache­slav Molotov (who was also Soviet Premier) […]

2

U.S. MORAL EMBARGO ON EXPORTS TO JAPAN

Washington, D.C. · July 2, 1940 America responded to Japan’s invasion of China in 1937 and to the many news reports of indis­crimi­nate bombing of Chinese civil­ian tar­gets by im­posing trade restric­tions on exports to Japan. Ini­tially a procla­ma­tion by Presi­dent Franklin D. Roose­velt on June 26, 1940, it morphed into an expres­sion of national moral […]

3

LEADING SCIENTISTS URGE TRUMAN NOT TO USE A-BOMB

Chicago, Illinois • July 3, 1945 On this date in 1945 Hungarian-born physicist and inventor Leó Szilárd drafted the first of two ver­sions of a peti­tion to Presi­dent Harry S. Truman, urging him not to use the atomic bomb on Japan before that nation had been given a chance to sur­render. It was Szilárd who, […]

4

FLYING TIGERS CHENNAULT TO HEAD CHINA AIR FORCE

Washington, D.C. · July 4, 1942 On this date in 1942 Gen. Claire Lee Chennault was appointed com­mander of China Air Task Force (CATF), replacing his origi­nal (offi­cially dis­banded) com­mand, the Amer­i­can Volun­teer Group (AVG) of “Flying Tigers” fame. The AVG volun­teer group of U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine flyers had been created by Chin­ese […]

5

TANK BATTLE AT KURSK BLUNTS NAZI DRIVE

Near Kursk, Russia · July 5, 1943 On this date in 1943 Germans and Soviets unleashed the largest tank battle in his­tory, the Battle of Kursk. Following the sur­ren­der of the Ger­man Sixth Army at Stalin­grad (Janu­ary 31, 1943), Soviet advances during the first months of 1943 pushed deep into Ger­man-held terri­tory to recap­ture the […]

6

SAIPAN BANZAI CHARGE FAILS TO EVICT GIs

Saipan, Marianas, Central Pacific · July 6, 1944 The Battle of the Philippine Sea (June 19–20, 1944) was a pivotal U.S. naval victory, effec­tively elim­i­nating Japan’s ability to both con­duct large-scale carrier actions and rein­force its gar­ri­sons to the east in the Mari­anas. The most impor­tant islands in the Mari­ana chain were Guam (an Amer­i­can […]

7

ROOSEVELT SENDS TROOPS TO ICELAND, CARIBBEAN

Washington, D.C. · July 7, 1941 Long before the U.S. entered World War II, Presi­dent Franklin D. Roose­velt began unra­veling Con­gres­sional legis­la­tion that had hin­dered his aiding Great Britain and other Western demo­cra­cies in their armed con­flict with Nazi tyranny. Four suc­ces­sive Neu­trality Acts from the 1930s were un­done with “help” from two Ger­man U‑boat […]

8

B-17 BOMBER MAKES COMBAT DEBUT

London, England · July 8, 1941 On this date in 1941, five months before the United States was drawn into World War II, the Boeing B‑17 Flying For­tress was flown in com­bat for the first time, this by the Royal Air Force in an attack on the North Ger­man port of Wilhelms­haven. The first pro­duc­tion model, […]

9

JOINT U.S.-CANADIAN SPECIAL OPS FORCE ACTIVATED

Fort William Henry Harrison, Helena, Montana • July 9, 1942 On this date in 1942 the First Special Service Force was acti­vated as a joint U.S.-Cana­dian force. Regarded as parents of the U.S. Green Berets, the United States Special Opera­tions Com­mand, and the Cana­dian Special Opera­tions Forces Com­mand, these volun­teers were the shock troops of the […]

10

BATTLE OF BRITAIN: RAIN OF TERROR BEGINS

London, England · July 10, 1940 On this date in 1940, less than one month after France’s capit­ula­tion to Nazi Germany and just 10 days after the Ger­mans had seized Great Britain’s Chan­nel Islands of Jersey and Guern­sey off France’s Brit­tany coast, Luft­waffe air­craft based in France began a relent­less aerial cam­paign tar­geting the lone Euro­pean […]

11

PLOT TO KILL HITLER PUT ON HOLD

The Berghof, Bavaria, Germany • July 11, 1944 Adolf Hitler had been the target of four assassi­na­tion attempts before he became head of state in January 1933 and perhaps two dozen after­wards. On this date in 1944 Lt. Col. Claus von Stauf­fen­berg arrived at the Berg­hof on the Ober­salzberg, Hitler’s Bava­rian retreat near Berch­tes­gaden, carrying a […]

12

LEBANON, SYRIA PLUCKED FROM AXIS GRIP

Beirut, Lebanon · July 12, 1941 During their advance on the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in June 1941, the British shot down a Luft­waffe air­craft flown in support of the pro-German Iraqi govern­ment of Rashid Ali el‑Ghalani. (El‑Ghalani had led a nation­alist coup that un­seated a pro-British regime weeks before and was under­stood to be […]

13

GERMANS FACE CALAMITY AT KURSK

Kursk, Soviet Union · July 13, 1943 On this date in 1943 Operation Citadel (Zitadelle), Adolf Hitler’s gambit to retake the impor­tant Soviet rail hub of Kursk, south of Moscow, and straighten the Ger­man line on the East­ern Front failed with devas­tating losses on both sides, but espe­cially to Ger­man stra­tegic armored reserves. A day earlier […]

14

U.S. CUTS COAL LINK TO JAPAN INDUSTRY

Aboard the U.S. Carrier Shangri-La · July 14, 1945 On this date and the next in 1945, less than four months after the start of the joint U.S. air and naval effort to strangle Japa­nese mari­time traf­fic by the aerial mining of Japan’s har­bors and straits, aptly named Opera­tion Star­va­tion, Navy air groups destroyed over […]

15

USS INDIANAPOLIS LEAVES IN MYSTERY CLOAK

San Francisco, California · July 15, 1945 On this date in 1945 the USS Indianapolis, a Port­land-class crui­ser in Cali­for­nia for repairs, received orders to pick up a piece of special cargo at Hun­ters Point (prede­ces­sor name for the now-closed San Fran­cisco Naval Yard). Eleven days later, on July 26, the Indi­an­ap­olis delivered her mysteri­ous […]

16

FRENCH POLICE SWEEP PARIS OF JEWS

Paris, Occupied France · July 16, 1942 On June 22, 1940, repre­sen­tatives of Marshal Philippe Pétain, premier of the French Third Republic, signed a cease­fire with Germany, 44 days after the Wehr­macht (Ger­man armed forces) had invaded France. Early in October Pétain’s collab­o­ra­tionist Vichy govern­ment—named after the resort com­mu­ni­ty in which his admin­is­tration had settled—approved […]

17

ENGINEER ACCEPTS CHALLENGE TO DESIGN LEGENDARY JEEP

Detroit, Michigan • July 17, 1940 As war clouds gathered over Europe in the late 1930s, the U.S. Army asked Amer­i­can auto­mobile manu­fac­turers to tender sug­gestions to replace its aging light-motor vehicles, mostly motor­cycles and side­cars but also (incred­i­ble as it seems) some Ford Model Ts. As early as 1937–1938, seve­ral proto­types were pre­sented to Army […]

18

ME 262, FIRST OPERATIONAL JET FIGHTER, LIFTS OFF

Leipheim Air Base, Bavaria, Germany · July 18, 1942 In mid-April 1941 test flights began of what would become the world’s first opera­tional turbo­jet fighter, the Messer­schmitt 262 Schwalbe, or “Swal­low.” The test was really of the air­frame, because the BMW turbo­jets—primi­tive and tem­pera­mental—were no­where close to being ready for fitting. On this date, July 18, […]

19

POMP AND CEREMONY CELEBRATE FRENCH DEFEAT

Berlin, Germany · July 19, 1940 Military operations between France and the Axis powers—that is, Germany and Italy—ended on June 25, 1940. Three and a half weeks later, on this date in 1940 in Berlin, vic­to­rious Wehr­macht troops marched through the Branden­burg Gate for the first time since Kaiser Wilhelm I’s victory over France in the Franco-Prussian […]

20

VATICAN SIGNS PACT WITH NAZIS

Rome, Italy · July 20, 1933 On this date in 1933 in Rome, represen­ta­tives of German Pre­si­dent Paul von Hin­den­burg and Pope Pius XI (1922–1939), among them Vati­can Sec­re­tary of State Euge­nio Pa­celli (later Pope Pius XII), announced that a con­cor­dat (treaty) had been forged between the Holy See and the German Reich. The Reichs­kon­kor­dat was a […]

21

ITALY IN SECRET TALKS TO EXIT WAR

Lisbon, Portugal • July 21, 1943 On this date in 1943 in Lisbon, delegates of Italian King Victor Em­man­uel III met with the head of neu­tral Portu­gal to explore stra­tegies for ex­tracting Italy from the war. The Crown had begun searching for an exit as early as late 1942. After Allied landings in Axis-occu­pied North Africa […]

22

SPECIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE (SOE) CREATED

London, England · July 22, 1940 On this date in 1940 the British government created the Special Opera­tions Exec­u­tive (SOE) organi­za­tion. For security pur­poses the SOE was con­cealed behind the name “Inter-Service Research Bureau.” (At the time the SOE was variously refer­red to as “the Baker Street Irregu­lars,” “Chur­chill’s Secret Army,” or the “Minis­try of […]

23

VICHY’S PÉTAIN FACES TREASON CHARGES

Paris, France · July 23, 1945 Following the military defeat of France by Nazi Ger­many in June 1940, World War I hero Marshal Philippe Pétain pro­claimed a new French govern­ment on July 10, 1940. Pétain held the title of “Presi­dent of the Coun­cil” instead of Pre­si­dent of France. His govern­ment, which accorded him extraor­di­nary powers, was offi­cially […]

24

GOMORRAH, “FIRE TYPHOON” PUNISH HAMBURG

Hamburg, Germany · July 24, 1943 On this date in 1943, over the North German city of Ham­burg, the Royal Air Force kicked off Opera­tion Gomor­rah (July 24 to August 3, 1943). British retali­a­tion for the Luft­waffe’s fire­bombing of the medi­eval city of Coventry in the English Mid­lands, where 503 tons of explo­sives, 56 tons of incen­di­aries, […]

25

JAPAN TO WORLD: FRENCH INDOCHINA IS NOW OURS

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), French Indochina • July 25, 1941 On September 21, 1937, Japanese planes bombed the capi­tal of China, Nan­king, shortly after igniting the Second Sino-Japa­nese War. Presi­dent Franklin D. Roose­velt expressed the shock of “every civil­ized man and woman” over “the ruth­less bombing” of Chinese civil­ians. Gen­er­ally, how­ever, U.S. and Euro­pean reac­tion […]

26

U.S. MOB TRASHES NAZI FLAG, GERMAN CONSUL PROTESTS

New York City, New York • July 26, 1935 On this date in 1935 in New York Harbor, a group of anti-Nazi acti­vists boarded the German pas­senger liner Bremen, tore from the ship’s jack­stay the red, white, and black Nazi Party flag, its swas­tika embla­zoned in the center, and pitched it into the Hudson River. […]

27

HITLER REVIEWS ARMY UNITS NEAR LENINGRAD

On the Eastern Front · July 27, 1941 On this date in 1941, five weeks after the launch of Opera­tion Bar­ba­rossa, Nazi Ger­many’s sur­prise attack on the Soviet Union, Adolf Hitler paid a visit to the head­quarters of Army Group North. Led by Field Marshal Wil­helm von Leeb (1876–1956), Army Group North had begun its […]

28

U.S. NAVY IMMOBILIZES JAPANESE FLEET

Aboard the USS Shangri-La • July 28, 1945 In December 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy had the second most powerful navy in the Pacific Theater in World War II and the third largest navy in the world after the U.S. and Royal navies. During the first years of the war the Japa­nese Com­bined Fleet (Rengō Kantai), the […]

29

WARSAW UPRISING: BID TO EXPEL NAZI ENEMY

Warsaw, Occupied Poland · July 29, 1944 By July 1944 Poland had been occupied by the forces of Nazi Ger­many for close to five years and by those of the Soviet Union for con­sider­ably less. The Polish resis­tance Home Army (Armia Krajowa), which was loyal to the London-based Polish govern­ment-in-exile, had long plan­ned some form […]

30

U.S. NAVY OKAYS ATTACKS ON JUNKS, SAMPANS

U.S. Seventh Fleet HQ · July 30, 1943 During the Pacific War U.S. submarines fired some 11,000 torpe­does, sinking hun­dreds of Japa­nese war­ships and well over one thous­and mer­chant ships. The num­ber of lives lost in the latter engage­ments is esti­mated at 116,000 Japa­nese mer­chant sea­men, with 70,000 casu­al­ties the result of U.S. submarine actions. In mid-March 1942 […]

31

FRENCH FLYER SAINT-EXUPÉRY DISAPPEARS

Marseille, Occupied France • July 31, 1944 On this date in 1944 French poet, writer, and pio­neering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry vanished on a recon­nais­sance flight off the Medit­er­ranean coast near Marseille, France. Best known for his novella The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), and to a lesser extent for books about his avi­a­tion adven­tures, […]

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