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§Of World Interest

February 23 - Glenn T. Seaborg isolates and discovers plutonium.



January 19 – World War II: British troops attack Italian-held Eritrea.


May 5 – World War II: Emperor Haile Selassie enters Addis Ababa, which had been liberated from Italian forces; this date has been since commemorated as Liberation Day in Ethiopia.


January 21 – World War II – Battle of Tobruk: Australian and British forces attack Tobruk, Libya.

February 11 – World War II: Lieutenant-General Erwin Rommel arrives in Tripoli.

January 22 – World War II: British troops capture Tobruk from the Italians.

§North Africa

November 18 – World War II: Operation Crusader in North Africa begins



April 15 – World War II: The U.S. begins shipping Lend-Lease aid to China.

June 5 – Four thousand Chongqing residents are asphyxiated in a bomb shelter during the Bombing of Chongqing.

December 8 – World War II: China officially declares war on Japan.

December 8 – World War II: Japan launches an invasion of Hong Kong

December 25 – World War II: The British and Canadians are defeated by the Japanese at Hong Kong.

Szechuan Drought

This is the beginning of the 1941-1942 Szechuan drought that claimed the lives of at least 3 million people.


April 13 – The Soviet Union and Japan sign a neutrality pact.

July 2 – World War II: Japan calls up 1 million men for military service.

October 18 – General Hideki Tojo becomes the 40th Prime Minister of Japan.

November 17 – World War II – Attack on Pearl Harbor: Joseph Grew, the United States ambassador to Japan, cables to Washington a warning that Japan may strike suddenly and unexpectedly at any time.

November 26 – The Hull note ultimatum is delivered to Japan by the United States.

November 26 – World War II – Attack on Pearl Harbor: A fleet of 6 aircraft carriers commanded by Japanese Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo leaves Hitokapu Bay for Pearl Harbor under strict radio silence.

December 2 – World War II – Attack on Pearl Harbor: The code message "Climb Mount Niitaka" is transmitted to the Japanese task force, indicating that negotiations have broken down and that the attack is to be carried out according to plan.

December 6 – World War II – Attack on Pearl Harbor: Franklin D. Roosevelt makes a personal peace appeal to Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

§Central America


December 8 - Honduras joined the Allied Nations.



March 1 – World War II: Bulgaria signs the Tripartite Pact, thus joining the Axis powers.


February 3 – World War II: The Nazis forcibly restore Pierre Laval to office in occupied Vichy France.

August 22 – World War II – France: The German Occupation Authority announces that anyone found either working for or aiding the Free French will be sentenced to death.

August 27 – World War II – Pierre Laval is shot in an assassination attempt at Versailles, France.


May 12 – Konrad Zuse presents the Z3, the world's first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin.

July 25 – The Postal Code system was introduced for the first time in Germany.

July 31 – World War II – Holocaust: Under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Göring orders S.S. General Reinhard Heydrich to "submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question."

August 18 – Adolf Hitler orders a temporary halt to Nazi Germany's systematic euthanasia of the mentally ill and handicapped due to protests. However, graduates of the T-4 Euthanasia Program are then transferred to concentration camps, where they continue in their trade.

September 6 – Holocaust: The requirement to wear the Star of David with the word "Jew" inscribed, is extended to all Jews over the age of 6 in German-occupied areas.

December 11 – World War II: Germany declares war on the United States.

December 19 – World War II: Hitler becomes Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the German Army.


March 27 – World War II – Battle of Cape Matapan: Off the Peloponnesus coast in the Mediterranean, British naval forces defeat those of Italy, sinking 5 warships. Battle ends on March 29.

April 6 – World War II: Germany invades Greece.

April 18 – World War II: Prime Minister of Greece Alexandros Koryzis commits suicide as German troops approach Athens.

April 21 – World War II: Greece capitulates. Commonwealth troops and some elements of the Greek Army withdraw to Crete.

April 27 – World War II: German troops enter Athens.

May 20 – World War II: The Battle of Crete begins as Germany launches an airborne invasion of Crete.


December 12 – Hungary declares war on the United States.


June 22 – Italy declares war on the Soviet Union.

December 11 – Italy declares war on the United States.


July 13 – World War II: Montenegro starts the first popular uprising in Europe against the Axis Powers.


February 12 - German soldiers, assisted by Dutch police, encircled the old Jewish neighborhood and cordoned it off from the rest of the city by putting up barbed wire, opening bridges and putting in police checkpoints. This neighborhood was now forbidden for non-Jews.

February 19 - German Grüne Polizei stormed into the Koco ice-cream salon in the Van Woustraat. In the fight that ensued, several police officers were wounded. Revenge for this and other fights came in the weekend of 22–23 February, when a large scale pogrom was undertaken by the Germans. 425 Jewish men, age 20-35 were taken hostage and imprisoned in Kamp Schoorl and eventually sent to the Buchenwald and Mauthausen concentration camps, where most of them died within the year. Out of 425, only two survived.

February 25 - The February Strike, also known as the Strike of February 1941, was a general strike in the Netherlands during World War II, organized by the then-outlawed Communist Party of the Netherlands in defense of persecuted Dutch Jews and against the anti-Jewish measures and activities of the Nazis in general. Its direct causes were a series of arrests and pogroms held by the Germans in the Jewish neighborhood of Amsterdam

December 8 – World War II: The Netherlands declares war on Japan.


February 16 - The S.S. Gairsoppa, a 412-foot steel-hulled British cargo ship sank while carrying 1,203 bars of silver ($38 million in 2012 prices) recovered in 2012. The ship was sunk by a German U-boat 300 miles South of Galway Bay.


Warsaw Ghetto: Average food rations in 1941 for Jews in Warsaw were limited to 184 calories, compared to 699 calories for gentile Poles and 2,613 calories for Germans.

Unemployment was a major problem in the ghetto. Illegal workshops were created to manufacture goods to be sold illegally on the outside and raw goods were smuggled in, often by children. Hundreds of four to five year old Jewish children went across en masse to the "Aryan side," sometimes several times a day, smuggling food into the ghettos, returning with goods that often weighed more than they did. Smuggling was often the only source of subsistence for Ghetto inhabitants, who would otherwise have died of starvation.

On February 19th the Nazis ordered Polish Jews barred from using public transportation. This was also the day that the first transport of Jews to concentration camps left Plotsk, Poland.

June - German forces quickly overran the territory of Poland that the Soviet Union had annexed as part of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact. The Nazis distributed propaganda in the area claiming that Jews, having sided with the communist Soviet occupiers, are responsible for crimes committed by the Soviet Union in eastern Poland; and the SS organized special Einsatzgruppen ("task forces") to murder Jews in these areas. The small town of Wizna, for example, near Jedwabne in the northeast of Poland, saw several dozen Jewish men shot by the invading Germans under Hauptsturmfuehrer Schaper, as did other neighboring towns.

A number of people collaborating with the Soviets before Operation Barbarossa were killed by local people in the Jedwabne area during the first days of German occupation.

July 4 – The Mass murder of Polish scientists and writers is committed by German troops in the captured Polish city of Lwów.

July 10 - In the morning, by the order of mayor Karolak and German gendarmerie, a group of non-Jewish Poles from Jedwabne and its neighborhood rounded up the local Jews as well as those seeking refuge from nearby towns and villages such as Wizna and Kolno. The Jews were taken to the square in the centre of Jedwabne, where they were ordered to pluck grass; attacked and beaten. A group of about 40 Jews were forced to demolish a statue of Lenin erected by NKWD and then carry it out of town while singing Soviet songs. The local rabbi was forced to lead this procession. The group was taken to a pre-empted barn, killed and buried along with fragments of the monument, while most of the remaining Jews, estimated at around 250 to 400, including many women and children, were led to the same barn later that day, locked inside and burned alive using kerosene from the former Soviet supplies (or German gasoline, by different accounts) in the presence of eight German gendarmes shooting those trying to escape. The remains of both groups were buried in two mass graves in the barn. Exhumations led to the discovery not only of the charred bodies of the victims in two mass graves, but also of the bust of Lenin (previously assumed to be buried at a Jewish cemetery) as well as bullets that according to a 2000 statement by Leon Kieres, the chief of the IPN could have been fired from a 1941 Walther P38 type pistols. Two weapons analysis carried out by the IPN in 2001 and 2002, the second one with assistance from the German Federal Criminal Police Office in Wiesbaden came to the conclusion that "there is no evidence to support the thesis that the Jews had been fired upon at the scene of the pogrom"


June 22 – World War II: Romania declares war on the Soviet Union.

§United Kingdom

February 9 – Winston Churchill, in a worldwide broadcast, pleads with the United States to show its support by sending arms to the British: "Give us the tools, and we will finish the job."

March 17 – British Minister of Labour Ernest Bevin calls for women to fill vital jobs.

May 10 – World War II: The British House of Commons is damaged by the Luftwaffe in an air raid.

May 10 – Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland, claiming to be on a peace mission.

May 15 – The first British jet aircraft, the Gloster E.28/39, is flown.

June 22 – World War II: Winston Churchill promises all possible British assistance to the Soviet Union in a worldwide broadcast: "Any man or state who fights against Nazidom will have our aid. Any man or state who marches with Hitler is our foe."

July – The British army's Special Air Service is formed.

July 19 – World War II: A BBC broadcast by "Colonel Britton" calls on the people of occupied Europe to resist the Nazis under the slogan "V for Victory".

August – Political Warfare Executive is formed in the United Kingdom.

December 6 – World War II – The United Kingdom declares war on Finland.

December 8 – World War II: The United Kingdom declares war on Japan.

§South Wales

February 19-February 22 – World War II: Three Nights' Blitz over Swansea, South Wales: Over these 3 nights of intensive bombing, which last a total of 13 hours and 48 minutes, Swansea's town centre is almost completely obliterated by the 896 high explosive bombs employed by the Luftwaffe. A total of 397 casualties and 230 deaths are reported.


March 25 – World War II: The Kingdom of Yugoslavia joins the Axis powers in Vienna.

March 27 – World War II: An anti-Axis coup d'état in Yugoslavia forces Prince Paul into exile; 17-year-old King Peter II assumes power.

April 6 – World War II: Germany invades Yugoslavia.

April 12 – World War II: German troops enter Belgrade.

April 17 – World War II: The Yugoslav Royal Army capitulates.

June 8 – A Serbian ammunition plant explodes at Smederevo on the outskirts of Belgrade, Serbia, killing 1,500.


December 12 – World War II: India declares war on Japan.

§Middle East

§Persia (Iran)

August 25 – World War II: Operation Countenance begins with United Kingdom and Soviet forces invading Iran.

§Syria and Lebanon

June 8 – World War II: British and Free French forces invade Syria.

July 14 – World War II: Vichy France signs armistice terms, ending all fighting in Syria and Lebanon.

§North America

§United States

January 15 – John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford E. Berry describe the workings of the Atanasoff–Berry Computer in print.

January 23 – Aviator Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.

January 27 – World War II – Attack on Pearl Harbor: U.S. Ambassador to Japan Joseph C. Grew passes on to Washington a rumor overheard at a diplomatic reception about a planned surprise attack upon Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

March 1 – W47NV begins operations in Nashville, Tennessee, becoming the first FM radio station.

March 1 – Arthur L. Bristol becomes Rear Admiral for the U.S. Navy's Support Force, Atlantic Fleet.

March 17 – In Washington, D.C., the National Gallery of Art is officially opened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

March 22 – Washington's Grand Coulee Dam begins to generate electricity.

March 30 – All German, Italian, and Danish ships anchored in United States waters are taken into "protective custody".

April 23 – The America First Committee holds its first mass rally in New York City, with Charles Lindbergh as keynote speaker.

April 25 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, at his regular press conference, criticizes Charles Lindbergh by comparing him to the Copperheads of the Civil War period. In response, Lindbergh resigns his commission in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve on April 28.

May 1 – The first Defense Bonds and Defense Savings Stamps go on sale in the United States, to help fund the greatly increased production of military equipment.

May 27 – World War II: President Roosevelt proclaims an "unlimited national emergency."

June 14 – All German and Italian assets in the United States are frozen.

June 16 – All German and Italian consulates in the United States are ordered closed and their staffs to leave the country by July 10.

July 17 – Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak ends.

July 26 – World War II: In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

September 11 – World War II: Charles Lindbergh, at an America First Committee rally in Des Moines, Iowa, accuses "the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt administration" of leading the United States toward war. Widespread condemnation of Lindbergh follows.

September 14 – The State of Vermont declares war on Germany.

September 27 – The first Liberty Ship, the SS Patrick Henry, is launched at Baltimore, Maryland.

October - mid-month – First production P-38E Lightning fighter produced by Lockheed.

November 27 – A group of young men stop traffic on U.S. Highway 99 south of Yreka, California, handing out fliers proclaiming the establishment of the State of Jefferson.

December 1 – World War II: Fiorello La Guardia, Mayor of New York City and Director of the Office of Civilian Defense, signs Administrative Order 9, creating the Civil Air Patrol under the authority of the United States Army Air Force.

December 4 – The State of Jefferson is declared in Yreka, California, with judge John Childs as a governor.

December 11 – World War II: The United States declares war on Germany and Italy.

§U.S. Entertainment

May 1 – Orson Welles' film Citizen Kane premieres in New York City.

May 6 – At California's March Field, entertainer Bob Hope performs his first USO Show.

July 1 - First television ad: The watchmaker Bulova paid $9 for a placement on New York station WNBT before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The 10-second spot displayed a picture of a clock superimposed on a map of the United States, accompanied by the voice-over "America runs on Bulova time."

June 20 – Walt Disney's live-action animated feature, The Reluctant Dragon, is released.

July 19 – The first episode The Midnight Snack in which Tom and Jerry are officially named, more than a year after their first production Puss gets the boot.

§U.S. Industry

May 1 – The breakfast cereal Cheerios is introduced as CheeriOats by General Mills.

§U.S. Law

January 10 – Lend-Lease is introduced into the U.S. Congress.

January 13 – All persons born in Puerto Rico since this day are declared U.S. citizens by birth, through U.S. federal law 8 U.S.C. § 1402.

February 8 – World War II – The U.S. House of Representatives passes the Lend-Lease Act (260-165).

March 8 – World War II: The U.S. Senate passes the Lend-Lease Act (60-31).

March 11 – World War II: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Act into law, allowing American-built war supplies to be shipped to the Allies on loan.

April 28, 1941 - In Mitchell v. United States, the United States Supreme Court rules that discrimination in which a colored man who had paid a first class fare for an interstate journey was compelled to leave that car and ride in a second class car was essentially unjust, and violated the Interstate Commerce Act. The court thus overturns an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission dismissing a complaint against an interstate carrier.

§U.S. Politics

January 6 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivers his Four Freedoms Speech in the State of the Union Address.

January 20 – Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes swears in U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his third term.

February 14 – Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura begins his duties as Japanese ambassador to the United States.

December 26 – Winston Churchill becomes the first British Prime Minister to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.


§Soviet Union

April 13 – The Soviet Union and Japan sign a neutrality pact.

June 13 – TASS, the official Soviet news agency, denies reports of tension between Germany and the Soviet Union.

June 14 – Mass deportations by Soviet Union authorities take place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

June 22 – World War II: Germany attacks the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. The operation was driven by an ideological desire to conquer the Western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans, to use Slavs as a slave labor force for the Axis war-effort, and to seize the oil reserves in the Caucasus and the agricultural resources throughout the Soviet territories

July 3 – World War II: Joseph Stalin, in his first address since the German invasion, calls upon the Soviet people to carry out a "scorched earth" policy of resistance to the bitter end.

July 5 – World War II: German troops reach the Dnieper River.

August 28 – World War II: The Soviets announce the destruction of the massive Dnieper River dam at Zaporozhye, to prevent its capture by the Germans.

September 8 – World War II – The Siege of Leningrad begins: German forces begin a siege against the Soviet Union's second-largest city, Leningrad. Stalin orders the Volga Germans deported to Siberia.

September 12 – World War II: The first snowfall is reported on the Russian front.

September 22 The town of Reshetylivka in the Soviet Union is occupied by German forces.

September 29 – World War II: The Moscow Conference begins; U.S. representative Averill Harriman and British representative Lord Beaverbrook meet with Soviet foreign minister Molotov to arrange urgent assistance for Russia.

October 8 – Germany reaches the Sea of Azov with the capture of Mariupol.

October 16 – The Soviet government moves to Kuibyshev (modern Samara), but Stalin remains in Moscow.

October 30 – World War II: Franklin Delano Roosevelt approves US$1 billion in Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union.

November 6 – World War II: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin addresses the Soviet Union for only the second time during his three-decade rule (the first time was earlier that year on July 2). He states that even though 350,000 troops have been killed in German attacks so far, that the Germans have lost 4.5 million soldiers (a gross exaggeration) and that Soviet victory is near.

November 7 – World War II: The Soviet hospital Ship Armenia is sunk by German planes while evacuating refugees, wounded military and the staff of several Crimean hospitals. It is estimated that over 5,000 people die in the sinking.

November 12 – World War II: As Battle of Moscow begins, temperatures around Moscow drop to -12 °C, and the Soviet Union launches ski troops for the first time against the freezing German forces near the city.

December 6 – World War II – Soviet counterattacks begin against German troops encircling Moscow. Wehrmacht is subsequently pushed back over 200 miles.

The Valley of Geysers is discovered in Russia.


September 29 and September 30 – Holocaust: Babi Yar massacre – German troops, assisted by Ukrainian police and local collaborators, killed 33,771 Jews of Kiev, Ukraine.




April 9 – The U.S. acquires full military defense rights in Greenland.


April 10 – World War II: The U.S. destroyer Niblack, while picking up survivors from a sunken Dutch freighter, drops depth charges on a German U-Boat (the first "shot in anger" fired by America against Germany).

The Niblack escorted a task force which landed American occupation troops in Iceland. However, before the actual landings, Niblack made preliminary reconnaissance. On 10 April, as she was nearing the coast, the ship picked up three boatloads of survivors from a torpedoed merchantman. When a submarine was detected preparing to attack, the division commander, Denis L. Ryan, ordered a depth charge attack which drove off the U-boat. This bloodless battle apparently was the first action between American and German forces in World War II. On 1 July 1941, Niblack sailed from Argentina with the occupation force, arriving on 7 July.

July 7 – American forces take over the defense of Iceland from the British.

September 4 – The USS Greer becomes the first United States ship fired upon by a German submarine in the war, even though the United States is a neutral power. Tension heightens between the 2 nations as a result.

At 0840 that morning, Greer, carrying mail and passengers to Iceland, was signalled by a British plane that a German submarine had crash-dived some 10 miles (16 km) ahead. Forty minutes later the destroyer's soundman picked up U-652, and Greer began to trail the submarine. The plane, running low on fuel, dropped four depth charges at 1032 and returned to base, while Greer continued to dog the U-boat. Two hours later the German boat began a series of radical maneuvers and Greer's lookouts saw her pass about 100 yards (100 m) off. An impulse bubble at 1248 warned Greer of a torpedo, and she rang up flank speed and bore rudder hard left. Lookouts watched the torpedo pass 100 yards (100 m) astern and the warship then charged in for an attack. She laid a pattern of eight depth charges which missed, and less than two minutes later a second torpedo passed 300 yards (300 m) to port.

Greer lost sound contact during the maneuvers, and began to quarter the area in search of the U-boat. After 2 hours, she re-established sound contact and laid down a pattern of 11 depth charges before discontinuing the engagement. Greer had held the German raider in sound contact 3 hours and 28 minutes; had evaded two torpedoes fired at her; and with her 19 depth charges had become the first American ship in World War II to attack the Kriegsmarine.

When news of the attack against an American ship reached the United States, public feeling ran high. President Franklin D. Roosevelt seized this occasion to make another of his famed "fireside chats", one in which he brought America nearer to outright involvement in the European war. Declaring that Germany had been guilty of an act of piracy, President Roosevelt in effect unleashed American ships and planes for offensive action as he stated "in the waters which we deem necessary for our defense, American naval vessels and American planes will no longer wait until Axis submarines lurking under the water, or Axis raiders on the surface of the sea, strike their deadly blow—first." With this "shoot on sight order", the period of "undeclared war" in the Atlantic began.

§North Atlantic

May 9 – World War II: The German submarine U-110 is captured by the British Royal Navy. On board is the latest Enigma cryptography machine, which Allied cryptographers later use to break coded German messages.

U-110 and U-201 were attacking convoy C.B. 318 in the North Atlantic south of Iceland when a torpedo launch failure resulted in Lemp's guard being dropped. In this crisis, the escorting corvette, HMS Aubretia, had responded to U-110's attack, located her with ASDIC and dropped depth charges.

U-110 survived the attack, but was seriously damaged. After a second depth-charge attack, she surfaced, to the crew's relief, and Lemp announced "Last stop, everybody out", meaning "Abandon ship". As the crew turned out onto the U-boat's deck they came under fire from two attacking destroyers (HMS Bulldog and HMS Broadway) with casualties from gunfire and drowning. The British had believed that the German deck gun was to be used and ceased fire when they realised that the U-boat was being abandoned and the crew would surrender.

The escort commander, Captain Joe Baker-Cresswell in Bulldog, had initially made to ram, but recognising the opportunity for capture, pulled out and hove to, before strafing the submarine. Broadway also closed in, intending to prevent U-110 submerging and suffering incidental damage.

Lemp assumed that the boat, with vents open, would sink and ordered a radio operator, Heinz Wilde, to leave the codebooks and Enigma machine and get out - "The U-boat is sinking", he is reported to have said. Another radio operator recovered personal effects, ignoring the secret material.

Lemp realised that U-110 was not sinking and attempted to swim back to it to destroy the secret material. He was never seen again. He may have been shot in the water by a British sailor (as testified by a German eyewitness), but his fate is unknown. Including Lemp, 15 men were killed in the action and 32 captured.

Bulldog's crew boarded U-110 and stripped it of everything portable on the spot, including her secret documents and Enigma machine. U-110 was taken in tow back toward Britain, but sank en route to Scapa Flow.

The documents captured from U-110 helped Bletchley Park codebreakers solve Reservehandverfahren, a reserve German hand cipher.

May 24 – World War II: In the North Atlantic, the German battleship Bismarck sinks the HMS Hood, killing all but 3 crewman on what was the pride of the Royal Navy.

May 26 – World War II: In the North Atlantic, Fairey Swordfish aircraft from the carrier HMS Ark Royal fatally cripple the Bismarck in a torpedo attack.

May 27 – World War II: The Bismarck is sunk in the North Atlantic, killing 2,300.

August 24 – World War II: A Luftwaffe bomb hits an Estonian steamer with 3,500 Soviet-mobilized Estonian men on board, killing 598 of them.

§Newfoundland and Labrador

August 9 – Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill meet at Argentia, Newfoundland and Labrador. The Atlantic Charter is created as a result.


March 4 – World War II: British Commandos carry out a successful raid on the Lofoten Islands off the north coast of Norway.

September 8-9 - The Milk Strike occurred which led to massive German reprisals.

§South America

July 5 – July 31 – War is fought between Peru and Ecuador.

December 27 – British Commandos raid the Norwegian port of Vaagso, causing Hitler to reinforce the garrison and defenses, drawing vital troops away from other areas.


July 9 - Three German mine ships Tannenberg, Preussen and Hansestadt Danzig, returning home from a mine laying tour, ran into a Swedish (neutral) mine barrier and all three sunk. The mine barrier had been laid out under German recommendations

§Southeast Asia


Son of H.M. the King Norodom Suramarit was crowned king on April 23rd by the French at the age of 18. He was later to transfer reign back to his father in 1955 and then to his mother in 1960. The French thought the pudgy, giggling prince would be easy to control. They were the first of many to underestimate him, and by 1953 the French were out.


January 1 – Thailand Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram decrees January 1 as the official start of the Thai solar calendar new year (thus the previous year that began April 1 had only 9 months).


The Indochina Communist party, led by Ho Chi Minh, combines with the Nationalist party to form the Vietminh.

§South Atlantic

May 21 – World War II: 950 miles off the coast of Brazil, the freighter SS Robin Moor becomes the first United States ship sunk by a German U-boat.

§South Pacific


October 7 – John Curtin becomes the 14th Prime Minister of Australia.


February 7 – World War II – Attack on Pearl Harbor: General Walter C. Short becomes Commanding General, Hawaiian Command.

March 27 – World War II – Attack on Pearl Harbor: Japanese spy Takeo Yoshikawa arrives in Honolulu, Hawaii and begins to study the United States fleet at Pearl Harbor.

December 7 - Bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese beginning the US war in the Pacific.

December 11 – World War II: American forces repel a Japanese landing attempt at Wake Island.

December 23 – World War II: A second Japanese landing attempt on Wake Island is successful, and the American garrison surrenders after a full night and morning of fighting.


July 26 – World War II: General Douglas MacArthur is named commander of all U.S. forces in the Philippines; the Philippines Army is ordered nationalized by President Roosevelt.

December 8 – World War II: Japan launches invasions in the Philippines.

December 12 – World War II: The Kimura Detachment of the Japanese Imperial forces was occupied in Legaspi, Albay in Eastern Philippines.


December 10 – World War II: The British battleships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse are sunk by Japanese aircraft in the South China Sea north of Singapore.

§Vanuatu - Island of Tanna

On the small island of Tanna, the people living around Sulphur Bay revere a god named "Kerapenmun" associated with the extinct volcano Mount Tukosmeru. A native named Manehivi, under the alias of Jon Frum, began a cult by appearing to some people and making promises of houses, clothes, food, and transport. He promised the dawn of a new age, in which all white people, including missionaries, would leave the New Hebrides (as they were known then), and that the native Melanesians would gain access to the material wealth which white people enjoyed. For this to happen, the people of Tanna should reject all aspects of European society (money, Western education, Christianity, work on copra plantations) and return to traditional custom (or kastom).

In 1941, followers of John Frum rid themselves of their money in a frenzy of spending, left the missionary churches, schools, villages and plantations, and moved further inland to celebrate traditional custom through feasts, dances and rituals.

The movement gained traction in the 1940s when some 300,000 American troops established themselves in Vanuatu. The islanders were impressed both by the egalitarianism of the Americans and their obvious wealth and power. This led them to conflate perceived benefactors such as Uncle Sam, Santa Claus and John the Baptist into a mythic figure who would empower the island peoples by giving them cargo wealth. Followers of John Frum built symbolic landing strips to encourage American aeroplanes to land and bring them "cargo".


December 8 – World War II: Japan launches invasions in the Philippines.


  • Japanese Occupation of the Philippines (1941–1945)
  • Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945)
  • World War II (1939–1945)


  • March 30 - George Beauchamp, co-inventor of the electric guitar. He left the music business to found a fishing lure company. He died of a heart attack while deep sea fishing near Los Angeles.

June 3 - Exiled German Emperor Wilhelm II died of a pulmonary embolus in Doorn, Netherlands, aged 82


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