January 08, 2003

Second World War Timeline

A bit more detail to the timeline of the fall of 1939. This is from the spectacular On War chronology, Bartleby's, and Paul Neumann's Second World War site.

  • Sept 1. Operation Fall Weiss: Germany invades Poland with 52 divisions, including six armoured divisions -- the first Blitzkrieg.
  • Sept 3. Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand declare war on Germany. German submarine U-30 sinks British passenger liner Athenia, without order or warning. Hitler immediately reins in the U-boats, fearing provoking the United States into joining the war as did the Lusitania case in 1917. RAF bombers drop 6 million propaganda leaflets over Germany.
  • Sept 4. British raid on German ships anchored in Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbuttel.
  • Sept 5. United States and Japan declare their neutrality in the war in Europe.
  • Sept 6. South Africa declares war. Romania asserts neutrality, breaking a defensive pact it held with Poland.
  • Sept 7. Eleven French divisions invade Saar region of Germany, against negligible opposition. They advance about 5 miles by Sept 12, approaching the German defensive Siegfried Line, but go no farther.
  • Sept 10. Canada declares war on Germany.
  • Sept 15. An armistice is signed between Japan and the USSR ending four months of skirmishing on the borders of Manchukuo (Manchuria) and Mongolia.
  • Sept 17. USSR invades Poland from the east.
  • Sept 27. Warsaw surrenders.
  • Sept 29. Germany and Russia divide Poland.
  • Oct 6. In a speech, Hitler offers "permanent peace" in return for acknowledgement of fait accompli.
  • Oct 13. After Allied rejection of peace offer, U-boats resume activities, sinking six vessels in two days.
  • Oct 14. U-47 penetrates main British naval base at Scapa Flow, and sinks battleship Royal Oak.
  • Oct 16. First German air raid on Britain.
  • Oct 17. Germans completely dislodge remains of French "offensive" from German territory. German casualties: "lost 11 aircraft and 196 killed; 356 soldiers were wounded and 144 reported missing. "
  • Nov 4. US repeals Neutrality Act, permitting the sales of arms to belligerents on "cash & carry" basis. Such arms must be ordered from private companies, paid for up front and transported to the war zone in the in ships provided by the purchaser. British naval strength means that, as is intended, only the Allies will benefit from this. Within a few days both the British and the French establish purchasing missions in Washington.
  • Nov 8. Failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler.
  • Nov 30. Russia invades Finland, attacking on three fronts.
  • Dec 14. Russia expelled from the League of Nations for aggression against Finland.
  • Dec 17. In Battle of the River Plate, three British cruisers trap pocket battleship Graf Spee in Montevideo. Her captain scuttles her to avoid capture.
As Jon said, not much more than sparring has passed between the Germans and the French or British on land, though the Battle of the Atlantic is fully underway. From September 1939 til March 1940 the Germans sank 403 Allied ships of total displacement 1,303,827 BRT. In Germany, commentators are derisively calling the defensive Allied strategy Sitzkrieg.

Posted by colin at January 8, 2003 03:08 PM
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