366 Days

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September

News Headlines

1

GERMAN NAVAL, LAND, AIR UNITS OVERPOWER POLISH DEFENSES

Warsaw, Poland • September 1, 1939 Eighty-two years ago World War II in Europe began on this date in 1939 in Danzig (now the present-day Polish city of Gdańsk) when the elderly German training ship Schles­wig-Hol­stein, under the guise of a cere­monial visit to the city, bom­barded Poland’s naval base in Danzig harbor. After a […]

2

BRITAIN, FRANCE STAND FIRM ON POLAND

London, England and Paris, France • September 2, 1939 Shortly after British Prime Minister Neville Cham­ber­lain and French Premier Édouard Dala­dier con­firmed for them­selves the German inva­sion of Poland on Septem­ber 1, the two leaders gave the order for gene­ral mobi­li­za­tion and evacu­a­tion of hun­dreds of thou­sands of chil­dren and mothers, tens of thou­sands of hospi­tal […]

3

BRITAIN DECLARES WAR ON GERMANY

London, England • September 3, 1939 Addressing a national audience by radio on this date in 1939, Prime Minis­ter Neville Cham­ber­lain in­toned the fol­lowing words: “This morning the British am­bas­sador in Berlin handed the German Govern­ment a final Note stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were pre­pared at once to […]

4

MULBERRY ARTIFICIAL HARBORS GET GO-AHEAD

 London, England • September 4, 1943 On this date in 1943 the British War Office and Admiralty gave the go-ahead to build two temp­o­rary port­able deep-water arti­fi­cial har­bors, one (code­named Mul­berry “A”) to be posi­tioned off Omaha Beach at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer and the second (Mulberry “B”) off Gold Beach at Arro­manches-les-Bains. The com­po­nents of both har­bors were to […]

5

BRITISH BEST ROMMEL IN BATTLE OF ALAM EL HALFA

Alam el Halfa, Egypt • September 5, 1942 The yearslong back-and-forth Western Desert Campaign (June 11, 1940 to Febru­ary 4, 1943) in the scrubby desert waste­lands of West­ern Egypt and East­ern Libya had reached a stale­mate at the end of July 1942, when both Allied and Axis sides licked their wounds in the wake of […]

6

JAPAN: WAR INEVITABLE WITHOUT U.S. CONCESSIONS

Tokyo, Japan • September 6, 1941 On this date in 1941, in an Imperial Con­fer­ence in Tokyo, Japanese mili­tary and poli­tical leaders embarked on a col­lision course with the West. It was decided that Japan would begin war pre­para­tions against the U.S., Great Britain, and the Nether­lands (all coun­tries with terri­torial claims in South­east Asia; […]

7

BRITISH KEEN TO TEST EXPERIMENTAL WEAPONS

On an English Beach • September 7, 1943 On this date in 1943, on a popular beach near a sea­side vil­lage in South­west England, the British mili­tary not so secretly tested a giant rocket-pro­pelled, explo­sive-laden con­trap­tion called the Pan­jan­drum, known also as The Great Pan­jan­drum. The highly experi­mental vehicle con­sisted of a pair of 10‑ft-high steel […]

8

ROOSEVELT DIRECTS STEPS TO IMPROVE U.S. DEFENSES

Washington, D.C. • September 8, 1939 On this date in 1939, eight days after Nazi Germany invaded neigh­boring Poland and triggered World War II in Europe, Presi­dent Franklin D. Roose­velt declared a state of “limited national emer­gency.” The procla­ma­tion directed mea­sures “for the pur­pose of strengthening our [U.S.] national defense within the limits of peace­time authori­za­tions.” […]

9

ITALIANS FORM NATIONAL LIBERATION COMMITTEE

Rome, Italy • September 9, 1943 On this date in 1943 in Italy, the Allies from their strong­holds in North Africa (since November 1942) and Sicily (since July‑August 1943) invaded the boot-shaped Ital­ian main­land at Salerno, some 170 miles south­east of Rome, Italy’s capital, with diver­sionary land­ings at Reggio di Cala­bria (Sep­tem­ber 3, 1943), which […]

10

NAZIS PASS SWEEPING RESTRICTIONS AGAINST JEWS

Nuremberg, Germany • September 10, 1935 On this date in 1935 the Nazis convened their seventh annual Party con­gress in Nurem­berg completely fixated on the charis­matic savior-figure Adolf Hitler, Germany’s chan­cellor since January 1933. The 1935 “Rally of Free­dom” (Reichs­partei­tag der Frei­heit) touted Hitler’s wildly popu­lar rein­tegra­tion of the Saar region into the German Reich […]

11

ROOSEVELT—U-BOATS ARE “RATTLESNAKES OF THE ATLANTIC”

Washington, D.C. • September 11, 1941 Starting on September 1, 1941, two years into the Battle of the Atlantic, U.S. war­ships began escorting con­voys of east­bound mer­chant­men from the North Amer­i­can coast. Con­voys departed from New­found­land, Canada, and ended in the mid-Atlantic at the Danish depend­ency of Ice­land, the half­way point to ports in the […]

12

HITLER JUBILANT AFTER MUSSOLINI’S RESCUE

Fuehrer HQ, Rastenburg, Germany • September 12, 1943 On September 11, 1943, imprisoned in the Hotel Campo Impera­tore high in the Apen­nine Moun­tains, deposed Ital­ian dic­ta­tor Benito Musso­lini learned of the terms of the Long Armi­stice the Allies had pre­sented to Marshal Pietro Badoglio’s new Italian govern­ment. (A Short Armis­tice had been signed in Sicily on […]

13

MACARTHUR OPENS FIRST GROUND OFFENSIVE AGAINST JAPAN

Southwest Pacific Area HQ, Brisbane, Australia • September 13, 1942 On May 14, 1942, after a voyage of 23 days and 9,000 miles, 12,000 men and equip­ment of the U.S. 32nd Infantry Divi­sion arrived in Aus­tralia for the pur­pose of bulking up the under­strength defenses of that country. Gen. Douglas Mac­Arthur, Allied Supreme Com­mander of all land, naval, and […]

14

NAZIS BET BIG, WIN BIG AT BALLOT BOX

Berlin, Germany • September 14, 1930 On this date in 1930 German voters went to the polls to elect a new Reichs­tag, and the results were shocking. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (National­sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter­partei, or NSDAP) was the ninth and smallest of Germany’s poli­tical parties, with but twelve mem­bers in the national parlia­ment. […]

15

U.S. MARINES DESCEND ON PELELIU

Peleliu, Palau Islands, Western Pacific Ocean • September 15, 1944 Beginning on this date in 1944 three U.S. Marine Corps infan­try regi­ments—the 1st, 5th, and 7th—of the 1st Marine Divi­sion landed on Japa­nese-held Peleliu, a 6-miles-long by 2-miles-wide speck of coral in the Pacific Ocean’s Palau Island chain. The first wave of Marines was followed less […]

16

SECOND QUEBEC CONFERENCE MAPS VICTORY OVER AXIS

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada • September 16, 1944 On this date in 1944 the four-day Second Quebec Con­fer­ence ended with mul­tiple agree­ments that shaped war-torn and post­war Europe for decades to come. Chief attendees were U.S. Pre­si­dent Frank­lin D. Roose­velt, British Prime Minis­ter Win­ston Chur­chill, and their com­bined mili­tary chiefs of staff. Also in atten­dance […]

17

U.S. NAVY OPENS ARMED GUARD TRAINING CENTER

Little Creek Naval Training Center, Virginia • September 17, 1941 On this date in 1941 the U.S. Navy created a camp for Armed Guard gun training at Little Creek, Virginia, 12 miles north­east of the huge naval com­plex at Norfolk. Few people then and even less now have ever heard of this branch of the U.S. Navy. […]

18

JAPANESE ARMY SEIZES MANCHURIA

Tokyo, Japan • September 18, 1931 The assassination of the Manchurian war­lord Zhang Zuolin in June 1928 was the first in a daisy change of major Sino-Japanese crises faced by the new Japa­nese emperor, Hiro­hito (post­humously referred to as Em­peror Shōwa), whose reign began 18 months before. Manchu­ria (some­times referred to by its histor­ical name Guan­dong) […]

19

NAZIS, SOVIETS DIVIDE POLISH SPOILS

Brest-Litovsk, Occupied Eastern Poland • September 19, 1939 Adolf Hitler’s armies stormed over Poland’s border on Septem­ber 1, 1939, in what became known as the world’s first blitz­krieg—“light­ning war.” Soviet dic­ta­tor Joseph Stalin has­tened to claim his share of the spoils under the terms of a sec­ret pro­to­col in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non­aggression Treaty signed in Mos­cow less […]

20

GERMANY TO SEND TROOPS TO AID ROMANIA

Berlin, Germany • September 20, 1940 On this date in 1940 the chief of the German high command, Field Marshal Wil­helm Kei­tel, announced that Wehr­macht troops were being dis­patched to Roma­nia “in case a war with Soviet Russia is forced upon us.” The announce­ment was Berlin’s warning shot across Moscow’s bow that the Soviets were […]

21

GERMANS SOON DOWN TO LAST BARREL OF OIL

London, England • September 21, 1944 On this date in 1944 some 147 of 154 dispatched B‑17 Flying For­tresses bombed the syn­the­tic oil plant at Ludwigs­hafen, an in­dus­trial city on the Rhine River in West-Central Germany. The sortie was one of seven (for a total of more than 1,400 B‑17s) that un­loaded high-explo­sive and incen­di­ary […]

22

JAPAN SET TO GARRISON FRENCH INDOCHINA

Vichy, France • September 22, 1940 As early as June 1940, after French resistance to the Ger­man con­quest of France crumbled, Japan made over­tures to Vichy French author­ities for per­mis­sion to sta­tion troops in French Indo­china (now Viet­nam, Laos, and Cam­bodia) and for their war­ships to take up naval sta­tions off North­ern Indo­chinese ports in […]

23

HITLER BACKS NAZI TO LEAD GERMAN LUTHERANS

Berlin, Germany • September 23, 1934 On this date in 1934 Ludwig Mueller, a crew-cut former naval chap­lain, was installed as the new Reich Bishop in a gaudy spec­ta­cle at the swas­tika-bedecked Berlin Cathe­dral. The year before, 1933, German chan­cellor Adolf Hitler had pro­posed, as part of an admin­is­tra­tive over­haul of the Ger­man Evan­geli­cal (Lutheran) […]

24

LUFTWAFFE PREPARES FINAL TERROR BOMBING OF WARSAW

Forward German HQ in Poland • September 24, 1939 On this date in 1939 in Poland, Luftwaffe chief Her­mann Goering pre­pared to send hun­dreds of air­craft to blitz Warsaw in the largest air raid ever up to that time, while German armored forces pre­pared for a ground assault on the Polish capital. At 8 a.m. the […]

25

HITLER, MUSSOLINI CONSPIRE TO END AUSTRIAN INDEPENDENCE

Munich, Germany • September 25, 1937 On this date in 1937 Italian strongman Benito Mus­so­lini paid his first visit to Germany, meeting Adolf Hitler in the Fuehrer’s pri­vate, luxurious nine-room apart­ment in Munich, 10 minutes away from the Brown House, Nazi Party national head­quarters, and the Fuehrer­bau, where Hitler had formal offices. During the visit Musso­lini […]

26

MONTGOMERY’S MARKET GARDEN GAMBLE FAILS

Berlin, Germany • September 26, 1944 On this date in 1944 the German news agency announced the surrender of 600 British troops in a small village west of Arn­hem in Holland. For days the lightly armed men of the British 1st Air­borne Divi­sion had held the north­ern end of a key bridge that crossed the […]

27

REINHARD HEYDRICH NEW CZECH MILITARY GOVERNOR

Prague, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia • September 27, 1941 On this date in 1941 SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Rein­hard Hey­drich arrived in Prague to take up his post as Acting Reich Pro­tec­tor of the Pro­tec­torate of Bohemia and Moravia. Five days later the new mili­tary governor of Czech lands Germany seized in March 1939 out­lined his hard­line […]

28

FRENCH HOSTAGES TO DIE TIT FOR TAT

Paris, Occupied France • September 28, 1941 On this date in 1941, in the wake of the first public assas­si­na­tion of a German officer in France, the German mili­tary autho­rities issued a Code of Hos­tages to the French people. Pools of French­men, whether detained by French autho­ri­ties or by the German Wehr­macht (armed forces) or […]

29

MURDER OF JEWS AT BABI YAR WITHOUT PARALLEL

Kiev, Occupied Ukraine · September 29, 1941 By the end of 1940, sixteen months after Adolf Hitler had plunged Europe into war by in­vading Poland, the num­ber of Jews killed by Nazi Ger­many approached 100,000. But in 1941 the death toll grew expo­nen­tially as mass mur­der of Jews became state policy. By the end of […]

30

GERMAN LOSSES SINCE D-DAY PUT AT ONE MILLION

SHAEF HQ, Versailles, France · September 30, 1944 On this date in 1944 staff at Gen. Dwight D. Eisen­hower’s Supreme Head­quarters Allied Expe­di­tion­ary Force (SHAEF) esti­mated that since the start of the Nor­mandy landings on D-Day, June 6, 1944, one million Ger­man soldiers had been killed, cap­tured, or taken pri­soner by Allied armed forces. By the […]

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