WORLD WAR II 1937 - 1945
20,000,000 casualties of war
- January 5 - Australians capture
- January 7 - Office of Production
Management is established.
- January 16 - Congress asked to
immediately appropriate $350 million for 200 new merchant ships by
- January 22 - Tobruk is captured by
the British and Australians.
- January 29 - U.S. and Britain
begin staff conversations in Washington to determine joint
strategy in case of U.S. involvement in the war.
- January 30 - Germany announces
that any ship bringing aid to Britain will be sunk.
- February 1 - Navy reorganizes U.S.
Fleet - Atlantic, Pacific and Asiatic Fleets. Admiral H.E. Kimmel
named Commander in Chief of Pacific Fleet, Admiral E.J. King named
Commander in Chief of Atlantic Fleet and Admiral T.C. Hart
continues as Commander in Chief of Asiatic Fleet.
- February 6 - Benghazi captured by
the British and Australians.
- February 11 - The British advance
into Italian Somaliland.
- February 12 - German General Erwin
Rommel arrives in Tripoli.
- February 14 - The first units of
Germany's Afrika Corps arrives in North Africa.
- February 15 - Naval Air Station
established at Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii.
- February 19 - Coast Guard Reserve
- February 25 - The British capture
Mogadishu in Italian Somaliland.
- March 1 - Germany occupies
Bulgaria which then joins the Axis. Support Force, Atlantic Fleet
is established for convoy protection in the north Atlantic.
- March 7 - British forces arrive in
- March 10 - France cedes territory
to Thailand and give Japan a monopoly on the Indochinese rice crop
and the right to the airport at Saigon as Japan mediates the
undeclared war between France and Indochina.
- March 11 - Lend-Lease Act.
Neutrality Act of 1939 changed to allow transfer of munitions to
- March 12 - Naval Air Station
established at Corpus Christie, Texas.
- March 25 - Yugoslavia signs the
- March 27 - U.S.-British staff
discussions end in Washington with the ABC-1 Staff Agreement. The
government of Yugoslavia is overthrown. Yugoslavia leaves the
- March 28 - Three Italian cruisers
and 2 destroyers sunk and several ships damaged by British in the
Battle of Cape Matapan.
- March 30 - U.S. seizes German,
Italian and Danish ships in U.S. ports. German Afrika Corps
begins its offensive in North Africa.
- March 31 - South Greenland Survey
Expedition arrives at Godthaab, Greenland to locate and recommend
sites for military and naval installations, and to gather
- April 3 - Pro-Axis government set
up in Iraq.
- April 4 - Benghazi captured by the
- April 6 - Germany invades
Yugoslavia and Greece. Italy declares war on Yugoslavia.
- April 7 - U.S. Naval Operating
Base established in Bermuda.
- April 9 - Agreement Relating to
the Defense of Greenland signed by the U.S. Secretary of State and
the Danish Minister to the U.S. USS North Carolina (BB-55)
commissioned in New York City.
- April 10 - USS Niblack
(DD-424) depth charges a German submarine off of Iceland in what
is believed to be the first act of war between Germany and the
U.S. Roosevelt declares the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden to no longer
be combat areas and open to U.S. shipping. Zagreb falls to the
- April 12 - Germans occupy
- April 13 - Russo-Japanese
Non-Aggression Pact signed.
- April 14 - Rommel attacks Tobruk.
- April 17 - Yugoslavia surrenders
to the Axis. The German raider Atlantis sinks the Egyptian
steamship Zamzam in the south Atlantic. One hundred and
fifty Americans are among the passengers rescued.
- April 22 - Regular Navy's
authorized enlisted strength increased to 232,000. Thessalonika
is captured by the Germans.
- April 23 - Greece and Germany sign
- April 24 - Neutrality patrol is
extended to 26 d. West Longitude.
- April 26 - Neutrality patrol is
extended to 20 d. South Latitude.
- April 27 - American-Dutch-British
Conference at Singapore ends. Germany captures Athens and Greece
- April 28 - Germans capture Sollum.
- May 1 - German attack on Tobruk is
- May 10 - Rudolph Hess flies to
Scotland. Germans heavily bomb London. The British bomb Hamburg.
- May 12 - U.S. Secretary of State
presented with Japanese peace proposal by Ambassador Nomura.
- May 15 - USS Washington
(BB-56) is commissioned at Philadelphia. The British recapture
Sollum and Halfaya.
- May 20 - Germany invades Crete
with airborne troops.
- May 21 - A German U-boat sinks the
US freighter Robin Moor.
- May 24 - The German battleship
Bismark sinks HMS Hood in the Denmark Straits. Navy
authorized for the construction or acquisition of 550,000 tons of
- May 27 - Bismark sunk by
British Navy in the north Atlantic. Roosevelt declares an
unlimited state of emergency, extends the Atlantic Neutrality
Patrol and announces the Pacific Fleet units have been transferred
to the Atlantic.
- May 31 - British forces in Crete
- June 1 - Crete surrenders to
Germany. South Greenland Patrol is established.
- June 2 - USS Long Island
(AVG-1) is commissioned as the first escort carrier at Newport
- June 4 - Pro-Allied government set
up in Iraq.
- June 6 - A bill authorized the
U.S. to requisition foreign merchant ships lying idle in U.S.
ports is signed. Naval Air Station established at Balboa, Panama
- June 8 - Allies invade Syria and
- June 12 - All members of the Naval
Reserve not in deferred status are called to active duty.
- June 14 - US freezes German and
- June 15 - Naval Air Station
established at Kodiak, Alaska.
- June 16 - U.S. State Department
request all German consulates in U.S. territory be closed.
- June 19 - Germany and Italy
request closure of U.S. consulates.
- June 21 - U.S. State Department
requests all Italian consulates in U.S. territory be closed.
- June 22 - Germans execute
Operation Barbarossa and invade Russia. Italy, Rumania, Hungary
and Slovakia declare war on Russia.
- June 25 - Finland declares war on
- June 28 - Albania declares war on
Russia. Minsk captured by the Germans.
- June 30 - France severs relations
- July 1 - North Atlantic, Southern,
Caribbean, Panama, Pacific Southern, Pacific Northern, Hawaiian,
and Philippine are established as Naval Coast Frontiers. Patrol
Wing 7 is commissioned at Argentia, Newfoundland. Northeast
Greenland Patrol organized by Coast Guard.
- July 2 - Japan recalls merchant
shipping from Atlantic Ocean and calls more than a million army
- July 3 - Stalin calls for a
scorched earth policy.
- July 7 - Roosevelt informs
congress that U.S. troops will occupy Iceland in accordance with
an executive agreement with that country. U.S. Navy to take all
steps to maintain communications between the U.S. and Iceland.
Marines under Brig. General J. Marston land at Reykjavik.
- July 8 - Patrol Wing 8
commissioned at San Diego.
- July 10 - Second Marine Air Wing
Commissioned at San Diego. The Germans cross the River Dnieper in
- July 14 - Syria occupied by the
- July 12 - Naval Research and
Development Board created. Naval Air Station established at
Quonset Point, Rhode Island. The British and Russians sign a
Mutual Assistance agreement.
- July 15 - German troops capture
- July 17 - U.S. establishes Naval
Air Station and Naval Operating Base at Argentia, Newfoundland.
- July 18 - New Japanese cabinet
formed. Vice Admiral T. Toyoda is new Foreign Minister.
- July 19 - U.S. Naval Task Force is
organized to support the defense of Iceland and escort convoys
between Iceland and the U.S.
July 26 - U.S. Army Forces, Far East is organized under Lt.
General Douglas MacArthur. Philippine military is called into
service with U.S. Army. U.S. freezes Japanese and Chinese assets
and suspends relations with Japan.
July 28 - Japan freezes U.S. assets.
July 29 - Southern Indochina occupied by Japan with permission of
July 30 - The U.S. river gunboat USS Tutuila (PR-4) is
bombed at Chunking, China by Japanese planes.
July 31 - Japan apologizes for the bombing of USS Tutuila.
Economic Defense Board created. Goring instructs Heydrich to
prepare for "the final solution."
- August 1 - Naval Operating Base is
established at Trinidad. Naval Air Station is established at
Midway Island. US announces an oil embargo against the Axis
- August 8 - A conference between
Roosevelt and the Japanese Prime Minister is suggested by the
- August 9 - The Atlantic Conference
takes place as Roosevelt meets with Churchill at Placentia Bay,
- August 12 - Roosevelt and
Churchill sign the Atlantic Charter.
- August 15 - Naval Air Station is
established at Palmyra Island and Naval Air Facility at Johnston
- August 16 - Novogrod is captured
by the Germans.
- August 17 - Prerequisites for
arranging a Pacific conference are givento Japanese Ambassador by
Roosevelt and the Secretary of State.
- August 18 - Roosevelt announces
that the U.S. is ferrying combat aircraft to the British in the
- August 25 - Iran invaded by Russia
from the north and Britain from the south.
- August 26 - Executive order
invokes the Ship Warrants Act.
- August 27 - U.S. shipments to
Vladivostok through Japanese waters protested by Japan.
- August 28 - Hostilities in Iran
cease. Supply, Priorities and Allocations Board established.
- September 1 - Responsibility for
trans-Atlantic convoys from Argentia to meridian of Iceland assume
by U.S. Navy. Denmark Strait Patrol designated. Germany orders
Jews to wear yellow stars.
- September 3 - The Germans make the
first experimental use of gas chambers at Auschwitz.
- September 4 - The destroyer USS
Greer (DD-145) is attacked but not damaged while tracking a
German U-boat 175 miles southwest of Iceland.
- September 5 - Estonia occupied by
the German Army.
- September 7 - German air attack in
the Gulf of Suez sinks the U.S. merchant ship Steel Seafarer.
- September 9 - Naval Coast Frontier
- September 11 - U.S. Navy ordered
to attack any vessel threatening U.S. shipping or ships under U.S.
- September 12 - Norwegian trawler
Buskoe, enroute to establish and service German radio
weather stations in Greenland, is seized by the Coast Guard cutter
USS Northland (PG-49) in MacKenzie Bay.
- September 15 - Siege of Leningrad
- September 17 - Eastbound British
trans-Atlantic convoy escorted for first time by U.S. Navy.
- September 19 - The Germans capture
- September 26 - U.S. Navy orders
protection of all ships engaged in commerce in U.S. defensive
water by patrolling, covering, escorting and by reporting or
destroying any German or Italian naval forces encountered.
- September 27 - The USS Patrick
Henry, the first Liberty ship, is launched at Baltimore.
- September 29 - The Germans murder
33,771 Jews at Kiev.
- October 1 - Three day conference
between U.S., Britain and Russia on aid to Russia concluded in
- October 2 - The Germans begin
Operation Typhoon, an advance on Moscow.
- October 16 - Russian government
moves to Kuibyshev. The Germans capture Odessa.
- October 17 - New Japanese
government with General Hideki Tojo as Premier. The destroyer
USS Kearny (DD-432) is torpedoed and damaged southwest of
Iceland. U.S. Navy orders all U.S. merchantment in Asiatic waters
to put in to friendly ports.
- October 19 - A German U-boat
torpedoes and sinks the U.S. merchant ship USS Lehigh off
of West Africa.
- October 20 - The aircraft carrier
USS Hornet (CV-8) is commissioned at Norfolk, Virginia.
- October 24 - Kharkov is captured
by the Germans.
- October 30 - The oiler USS
Salinas (AO-19) is torpedoed 700 miles east of Newfoundland.
There are no casualties and the ship makes port. The Germans
- October 31 - The destroyer, USS
Ruben James (DD-245) sinks after being torpedoed off of
western Iceland. First U.S. Naval vessel lost to enemy action in
World War II.
- November 1 - Department of the
Navy is given jurisdiction over the Coast Guard for the duration
of the national emergency.
- November 3 - German refusal to pay
compensation for sinking the Robin Moor is announced by the
Secretary of State. The Germans capture Kursk.
- November 6 - The cruiser USS
Omaha (CL-4) and the destroyer USS Somers (DD-381)
capture the German blockade runner Odenwald disguised as a
U.S. ship, the Willmoto.
- November 8 - Naval Operating Base
is established at Iceland.
- November 10 - First U.S.-escorted
troop convoy, with more than 20,000 British troops, departs
Halifax for the Far East.
- November 13 - A German U-boat
sinks the British Ark Royal off Gibraltar.
- November 14 - Marines are ordered
to leave Shanghai, Peiping and Tientsin, China.
- November 17 - Special Japanese
envoy, Subaro Kurusu, meets with the Secretary of State in
Washington. A Joint Resolution amends the Neutrality Act of 1939
to allow merchant ships to be armed and enter war zones.
- November 20 - Japan's final
proposal for peace in the Pacific presented by Ambassador Nomura.
- November 21 - Lend-Lease extended
- November 22 - Rostov is captured
by the Germans.
- November 23 - Under an agreement
with the Netherlands, the U.S. occupies Surinam, Dutch Guiana to
protect bauxite mines.
- November 25 - Japanese troop
transports are sighted off Formosa en route to Malaya. The
Germans attack Moscow.
- November 26 - Final proposals for
readjustments of U.S.-Japanese relations submitted to Japanese
envoys by the Secretary of State.
- November 27 - War Warning message
sent to the Commanders of the Pacific and Asiatic Fleets by Chief
of Naval Operations Admiral H.R. Stark. The Russians retake
- November 30 - U.S. proposals for
settling Far Eastern crisis rejected by Japanese Foreign Minister
- December 1 - Patrol Wing 9 is
commissioned at Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
- December 2 - First Naval Armed
Guard crew received by U.S. merchant ship Dunboyne.
- December 3 - Sagadahoc, a
U.S. merchant vessel, is torpedoed and sunk in southern Atlantic.
- December 5 - U.S. assured that
Japanese troop movements in French Indochina are only
precautionary. The Germans halt their attack on Moscow.
- December 7 - In a surpise attack
on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, a total of 360 Japanese
carrier-based aircraft from the Naval Striking Force under Vice
Admiral Nagumo sinks four battleships, 1 minelayer and 1 target
ship and damage 4 battleships, 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, 1
seaplane tender and 1 repair ship. U.S. aircraft carriers were
not present at Pearl Harbor and escaped the attack. The Navy Yard
and Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, the Naval Air Station on Ford
Island, the Naval Patrol Plane Station at Kaneohe, the Marine
Corps airfield at Ewa and Army airfields at Hickam, Wheeler and
Bellows are damaged. Naval and Army aircraft losses totaled 188.
U.S. casualties included 2,334 killed or missing and 1,347
wounded. The Japanese lost a total of 28 aircraft, 5 midget
submarines and fewer than 100 men. Also, two Japanese destroyers
bombard Midway Island. Japanese declaration of war reaches
Washington. Roosevelt orders mobilization. Japan declares war on
the US. Japan invades Siam and Malaya. Hitler issues the "Night
and Fog" decree.
- December 8 - US and Britain
declare war on Japan. Guam, Wake Island, Hong Kong, Singapore and
the Philippines are bombed by Japanese aircraft. Extensive damage
done to US Army aircraft at Clark Field on Luzon in the
Philippines. Japanese troops land on Bataan Island, north of
Luzon in the Philippines and on the east coast of the Malay
Peninsula. U.S. Marines and nationals at Shanghai and Tientsin,
China interned by the Japanese. The minesweeper USS Penguin
(AM-33) is sunk by a horizontal bomber at Guam. Striking Force,
Asiatic Fleet under Rear Admiral W.A. Glassford departs for
Madassar Strait, etherlands East Indies. The USS Wake
(PR-3), a river gunboat, surrenders to the Japanese at Shanghai
after a failed scuttling attempt. Potomac River Naval Command
and Severn River Naval Command are established with Headquarters
at Washington and Annapolis, respectively. USS President
Harrison, enroute to evacuate Marines from Chingwangtao,
China, runs aground at Sha Wai Shan, China and is captured by the
- December 9 - Bangkok occupied by
the Japanese. Japanese forces land on Tarawa and Makin in the
Gilbert Islands. China declares war on Japan, Germany and Italy.
- December 10 - Guam surrenders to
Japanese. Japanese forces land on Camiguin Island and on Luzon at
Gonzaga and Aparri. Cavite Navy Yard in the Philippines is
heavily damaged in a Japanese air attack. U.S. vessels damaged
include the destroyer USS Peary (DD-226), the submarines
USS Seadragon (SS-194) and USS Sealion (SS-195), and
the minesweeper USS Bittern (AM-36). A Japanese naval air
attack near Kuantan, Malaya sinks the British battleship HMS
Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser HMS Repulse.
U.S. carrier-based aircraft sink the Japanese submarine I-170
near the Hawaiian Islands. U.S. Army aircraft from the
Philippines sink the Japanese minesweeper No. 10 and damage
minesweeper No. 19 which is then run aground resulting in a total
- December 11 - Germany and Italy
declare war on the U.S. The U.S. declares war on Germany and
Italy. Japanese landing attempt on Wake island repulsed by U.S.
Marines. Two Japanese destroyers, the Hayate and the
Kisaragi, are sunk by Marine shore batteries and Marine
aircraft, respectively. Japanese forces land on Luzon at Legaspi.
- December 12 - Naval Air Transport
Service is established.
- December 13 - The Subic Bay area
and airfield in the Philippines are attacked by Japanese planes.
- December 14 - The Wake Island
Relief Expedition under Rear Admiral F.J. Fletcher leaves Pearl
- December 15 - Patrol Wing 10
leaves the Philippines for the Netherlands East Indies. A
Japanese submarine shells Kahului on Maui in the Hawaiian
Islands. PT-33 is damaged by grounding and sunk by U.S.
forces in the Philippines.
- December 16 - Johnston Island is
shelled by a Japanese submarine. Rommel begins his retreat to El
Agheila in North Africa.
- December 17 - Admiral H.E. Kimmel
is relieved as Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet by Rear Admiral
Chester W. Nimitz, who is given rank of Admiral. Vice Admiral W.S.
Pye named Acting Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet until Nimitz
arrives. Japanese forces land at Miri, Sarawak, Borneo.
- December 18 - First War Powers Act
passed by Congress. The U.S. State Department announces that
Rear Admiral F.J. Horne and Admiral Robert, the French High
Commissioner at Martinique in the French West Indies, have reached
an agreement neutralizing French Caribbean possessions. The
Japanese Destroyer Shinonome sunk by a mine at Miri,
- December 19 - Hitler takes
complete command of the German Army.
- December 20 - Admiral E.J. King
named Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet. Japanese land at Davao,
Mindanao in the Philippines.
- December 21 - Naval local defense
forces in the Philippines, under Rear Admiral F.W. Rockwell, move
headquarters to Corregidor.
- December 22 - U.S. troops under
Brig. General J.F. Barnes arrive at Brisbane, Australia.
Roosevelt and Churchill open discussions in Washington that lead
to the establishment of Combined Chiefs of Staff. Japanese land
in Lingayen Gulf area in the Philippines. Japanese patrol boats
No.s 32 and 33 are destroyed by Marine gunfire and deliberately
run ashore at Wake Island.
- December 23 - Wake Island
surrenders to the Japanese. U.S. Relief Expedition recalled.
U.S.-British War Council, composed of Roosevelt, Churchill and
Navy, military and civilian advisors meets for first time. A
Japanese submarine shells Palmyra Island. Japanese forces land at
Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo.
- December 24 - Japanese forces land
at Lamon Bay, Luzon in the Philippines.
- December 25 - British surrender
Hong Kong. Japanese land at Jolo in the Philippines. USS
Sealion (SS-195), damaged on December 10, is sunk by U.S.
forces. Admiral Hart turns over remaining naval forces in the
Philippines to Rear Admiral Rockwell. Admiral Hart travels by
submarine to Java to establish new Asiatic Fleet headquarters.
The British recapture Benghazi.
- December 26 - In the Philippines,
Manila is declared an open city, but Japanese bombing continues.
- December 29 - Corregidor, in the
Philippines, is bombed by Japanese aircraft. USS Canopus
(AS-9), a submarine tender, is sunk by a Japanese horizontal
bomber in the Philippines.
- December 30 - Admiral King assumes
duties as Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet.
- December 31 - Japanese submarines
shell Kauai, Maui and Hawaii. Admiral Nimitz assumes command of
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