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

JAPAN UNAFRAID OF WAR WITH U.S.

Tokyo, Japan • July 2, 1941 On this date in 1941, in an Im­perial Con­fer­ence of high-level Japa­nese offi­cials (Gozen Kaigi), Shōwa Emperor Hiro­hito sanctioned the mili­tary seizure of bases in the south of Vichy French Indo­china (present-day Viet­nam). It was in keeping with Japan’s so-far unsuc­cess­ful attempts to force the surrender of their Chinese […]

3

ROYAL NAVY DESTROYS FRENCH FLEET

Mers-el-Kébir, French Algeria • July 3, 1940 On June 22 and 23, 1940, representatives of the new French prime minis­ter, Marshal Philippe Pétain, signed armi­stices with emis­saries from Adolf Hitler’s Germany and Benito Musso­lini’s Italy. Article 8 of the Franco-German armi­stice permitted the defeated French nation, head­quartered after July 1 in the spa town of Vichy, to […]

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 Nation­alist […]

5

GERMANS LAUNCH OPERATION CITADEL

Near Kursk, Russia • July 5, 1943 The pivotal year of the war in Europe was 1943. Early February saw Gen. Fried­rich Paulus’ German Sixth Army, the largest army the Wehr­macht (armed forces) fielded in the war, surrender at Stalin­grad (modern-day Volgo­grad) in Southern Russia. Some 850,000 service mem­bers from German, Italian, Roma­nian, Hun­garian, and […]

6

BANZAI CHARGE FAILS TO EVICT GIs FROM SAIPAN

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 Mari­ana Islands chain. The most impor­tant islands in the Mari­anas were Guam (an […]

7

JAPANESE, CHINESE CLASH AT MARCO POLO BRIDGE

Wanping, Near Beijing, China • July 7, 1937 The major turning point that ultimately led to Japan’s disas­trous war with the United States and its Euro­pean allies in Decem­ber 1941 occurred late on this date, July 7, 1937, and into the next. Japanese and Chinese soldiers clashed at a bridge over the Yong­ding River near Wan­ping, […]

8

B-17 FLYING FORTRESS 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

RAUOL WALLENBERG TO RESCUE HUNGARY’S JEWS

Budapest, Occupied Hungary • July 9, 1944 On this date in 1944 Raoul Wallenberg, a 31-year-old bache­lor from a distin­guished Swedish family, arrived in Buda­pest, capital of Nazi-occupied Hungary. With diplo­matic accredi­ta­tion from the Swedish Minis­try of Foreign Affairs (Sweden was a neu­tral nation), Wallen­berg had been secretly recruited by the recently created (Janu­ary 22, 1944) […]

10

BATTLE OF BRITAIN: MONTHS OF TERROR BEGIN

London, England • July 10, 1940 On this date in 1940, less than one month after France’s humil­i­ating 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 occu­pied France began a relent­less aerial cam­paign tar­geting the […]

11

PÉTAIN ASSUMES NEAR-ABSOLUTE POWER IN FRANCE

Vichy, France • July 11, 1940 On July 10, 1940, the French National Assembly meeting in the munic­ipal opera house in Vichy, France, a small resort town 200 miles south of German-occupied Paris, ceded its power and author­ity to Premier Philippe Pétain, the 84‑year-old Maréchal of France and World War I hero. On this date, one day […]

12

ALLIES PLUCK LEBANON, SYRIA FROM AXIS GRIP

Beirut, Lebanon • July 12, 1941 During their advance on the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in May 1941, the British were harassed by Luft­waffe air­craft (Hein­kel bombers and Messer­schmitt fighters) flown in support of the pro-German Iraqi govern­ment of Rashid Ali al‑Gaylani. (Al‑Gaylani or El‑Ghalani had led a nation­alist coup that un­seated a pro-British regime […]

13

SOVIETS HAMMER GERMANS AT KURSK

Kursk, Soviet Union • July 13, 1943 On this date in 1943 Operation Citadel (Unternehmen Zitadelle), Adolf Hitler’s delayed 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. […]

14

U.S. SEVERS 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 ON SECRET MISSION

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

16

ACCUSED HEAR VERDICT IN MALMEDY MASSACRE TRIAL

Dachau, Germany • July 16, 1946 On this date in 1946, at the former Nazi concen­tra­tion camp in Dachau about 20 miles north­west of the Bavarian capital of Munich, a U.S. mili­tary tribu­nal con­victed all 73 men on trial in the Mal­medy Massa­cre case; 43 were sentenced to death by hanging and the rest were given long […]

17

POTSDAM CONFERENCE TO REDRAW EUROPE’S BORDERS

Berlin Suburb of Potsdam, Germany • July 17, 1945 After Nazi Germany’s fuehrer (leader) Adolf Hitler committed sui­cide on April 30, 1945; and after Hitler’s polit­ical suc­ces­sor Reich Presi­dent Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz agreed to the uncon­di­tional sur­render of all German armed forces on May 7 and 8, 1945; and after Gen. Dwight D. Eisen­hower, Supreme Com­man­der […]

18

PRIME MINISTER HIDEKI TŌJŌ SACKED

Tokyo, Japan • July 18, 1944 On this date in 1944 Prime Minister, War Minister, Home Minister, and Chief of Army General Staff Hideki Tōjō was removed from office with the blessing of Emperor Hiro­hito (post­humously referred to as Emperor Shōwa). Up until this date Tōjō had enjoyed the confi­dence of Hiro­hito. Indeed, it was […]

19

GERMANS REVEL IN FRANCE’S DEFEAT

Berlin, Germany • July 19, 1940 Military operations between France and the Axis powers—that is, Germany and Italy—ended on June 25, 1940. A week and a half earlier, on June 14, the German Wehr­macht (armed forces) marched unchal­lenged into the nearly deserted French capital of Paris under skies heavy with soot from the oil reserves the retreating […]

20

ARMY PLOT TO KILL HITLER NEARLY SUCCEEDS

Wolf’s Lair, Rastenburg, East Prussia, Germany • July 20, 1944 Adolf Hitler had been the target of four assassi­na­tion attempts before he became Germany’s head of state in January 1933 and perhaps two dozen more after­wards. On July 11, 1944, 36‑year-old Lt. Col. Claus von Stauf­fen­berg arrived at the Berg­hof on the Ober­salzberg, Hitler’s Bava­rian retreat near Berch­tes­gaden, […]

21

U.S. PUBLIC OPINION SUPPORTS SOVIET ENTRY IN PACIFIC WAR

Potsdam, Germany • July 21, 1945 The “Big Three” Allies opened their victors’ confer­ence on July 17, 1945, in an undamaged suburb 15 miles from Berlin. Two drama­tic uncon­di­tional surren­ders by the heads of Germany’s armed forces a week after the April 30 sui­cide of German dic­ta­tor Adolf Hitler had encour­aged the govern­ment heads of the U.S., Great […]

22

SPECIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE (SOE) FORMED

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’s “cloak and dagger” operations 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,” […]

23

FRENCH COURT CHARGES VICHY HEAD PÉTAIN WITH TREASON

Paris, France • July 23, 1945 Following the military defeat of France by Nazi Germany in June 1940, World War I hero Maréchal (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 […]

24

“GOMORRAH” CATASTROPHE OVER­WHELMS HAMBURGERS

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, and 127 para­chute […]

25

EISENHOWER TO PICK UP TORCH

London, England • July 25, 1942 On this date in 1942 U.S. President Franklin D. Roose­velt learned that the Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS), an amal­gam of the high-ranking mili­tary officers of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (War and Navy Depart­ments) and their British counter­parts, the British Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee, had estab­lished the […]

26

ALLIES ISSUE JAPAN SURRENDER ULTIMATUM

Potsdam, Germany • July 26, 1945 After the conclusion of the ruinous Battle of Berlin (April 16 to May 2, 1945) and the uncon­di­tional sur­ren­der of Nazi Germany (May 7 and 8, 1945), U.S. Pre­si­dent Harry S. Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin gathered at a “Big Three” victors’ conference in Potsdam. Their […]

27

HITLER REVIEWS ARMY UNITS NEAR LENINGRAD

On Germany’s 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 left his East Prussian Fuehrer Head­quarters, known as the Wolf’s Lair (Wolfs­schanze) and which had been built specif­ically for the Russian cam­paign, to pay […]

28

BOEING B-17 HEAVY BOMBER MAKES MAIDEN FLIGHT

Seattle, Washington State • July 28, 1935 On this date in 1935 a prototype four-engine bomber took off from Seattle, Washing­ton’s Boeing Field on its first flight. The plane, known simply as Model 299 among Boeing employees, bristled with machine-gun mounts in its nose, sides, top, and tail. Dubbed the “Flying For­tress,” allegedly by a […]

29

WARSAW UPRISING GOAL: EXPEL NAZI ENEMY

Warsaw, Occupied Poland • July 29, 1944 By July 1944 Poland had been occupied by the armed forces of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany for close to five years and by those of Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union for con­sider­ably less. (For nearly 2 years, from Septem­ber 1939 to June 1941 when the German Wehrmacht invaded the Soviet […]

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 […]

31

HEYDRICH TASKED WITH SOLVING “JEWISH QUESTION”

Berlin, Germany • July 31, 1941 On this date in 1941 Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering formally empowered SS-Gruppen­fuehrer Rein­hard Hey­drich to under­take “prep­a­ra­tions in organ­i­za­tional, tech­ni­cal and material respects for the com­plete solu­tion to the Jewish ques­tion in the German area of influ­ence in Europe.” At this time neither Goering, nor his boss Adolf Hitler (who […]

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