Eve of War 1939

Europe Aug. 29, 1939 from Time, bg
Cornwell book on Pius XII
Marian Anderson photo from LC
FDR and Henry Morgenthau Jr., 02/09/1934, NLR-PHOCO-A-8176 from NA

Jan. 2 - Time magazine pronounced Hitler Man of the Year for 1938, but for the first time did not show the face of the Man of the Year on the cover of the magazine.

Jan. 4 - FDR State of the Union speech to Congress, and Life magazine featured a low-angle photo by Thomas McAvoy of FDR as "Colossus" saving democracy for the world.

Jan. 12 - FDR speech asked $525m more for defense, especially more airplanes

Jan. 23 - Douglas DB-7 bomber crashed, injuring Frenchman on board

Jan. 28 - Enrico Fermi reported at a meeting of physicists in Washington DC that the German scientist Otto Hahn had split a synthetic ekauranium atom to release enormous energy, a vital step in the development of an atomic bomb.

Jan. 31 - FDR implied U.S. frontier was "on the Rhine" and press reports were alarming

Feb. 13 - Louis Brandeis retired from the Supreme Court, and FDR appointed William O. Douglas Mar. 20.

Feb. 20 - Fritz Kuhn and his German-American Bund held a rally of 22,000 in Madison Square Garden, denounced communists and Jews and Bernard Baruch. Hearst newsreel filmed the turbulent meeting, but the film was not released.

Feb. 27 - Neville Chamberlain was criticized by many members of the British parliament for his recognition of the Franco government in Spain - ILN front page of Mar. 4

Mar. 12 - Pius XII became Pope.

Mar. 15 - Hitler arrived in Prague and completed the occupation of the German-speaking regions (Bohemia, Moravia) of Czechoslovakia

Mar. 23 - Hitler occupied Memelland (NE Prussia ceded to Lithuania) & demanded Danzig - map

Mar. 31 - Chamberlain made an official pledge of British defense of Poland, marking the end of appeasement.

Apr. 8 - Italy invaded and occupied Albania, driving King Zog into exile in Greece.

Apr. 9 - Marian Anderson performed a free concert before 75,000 people and a radio audience of millions on Easter Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial after the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) denied her the use of their Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Hearst newsreel 10-259

Apr. 26 - FDR signed the appropriation bill that began construction of a 6000-plane Army Air Force

Apr. 30 - FDR opened the New York World's Fair that featured a World of Tomorrow in many corporate exhibits.

May 2 - Lou Gehrig ended his streak of playing in 2130 consecutive games, and told fans in Yankee Stadium July 4 that he was "the luckiest man alive."

May 15 - Hearst newsreel 10-270 of the Harlan County coal strike in Kentucky.

May 23 - the US sub Squalus sunk off New Hampshire due to the accidental opening of an air valve, causing the death of 26, but 33 others were saved by a rescue chamber lowered by divers to the escape hatch in the forward torpedo room.

June 6 - Passenger ship St. Louis, with 907 Jewish refugees began return trip to Europe after Cuba and the U.S. refused permission to dock. Hearst newsreel 10-281 of 6/26, and unreleased film 6/1/1939 .

June 8 - Royal visit of the King and Queen of England, arrived in Washington DC, visited New York World's Fair June 10, attended the "hot dog picnic" at Hyde Park June 11. Universal newsreel 5/15 from DVD51.

Aug. 2 - Einstein letter to FDR suggesting construction of the atomic bomb.

Aug. 7 - King Ibn Saud granted oil concession to Aramco.

Aug. 15 - premier of Victor Fleming's isolationist film with its theme song Over the Rainbow

Aug. 23 - Nazi-Soviet Pact - documents

<- -> | WWII Timeline start | Links | Topics | Pictures | Maps | Documents | Bibliography | revised 2/13/07 by Steven Schoenherr