January 09, 2003

1939 in the United States

So, here are some American events of 1939 I've been able to piece together from the net. It's kind of random -- f'rinstance, apparently nothing happened in March -- but non-war-related history stuff is pretty sketchy out there. Ah well. If there was any major topic of discussion for the year other than concern over worsening events in Europe, these reviews don't mention it. The essential debate to have an opinion on is Isolationists vs Interventionists.


  • Jan 12. President Roosevelt asks Congress for $552 million for defence.
  • Jan 22. John Dunning splits the first uranium atom in his cyclotron at Columbia University.
  • Feb. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, published.
  • Feb 27. Sit-down strikes declared illegal by Supreme Court.
  • Apr 3. National Defense Act authorizes 6000 airplanes for the Army Air Corps and increases AAC personnel to 3200 officers and 45,000 enlisted men.
  • Apr 30. FDR speaking at NY World's Fair opening is first scheduled American television broadcast.
  • May 5. United Mine Workers force a national stoppage of soft-coal production.
  • May 10. Methodist Church reunites after 109 years of division.
  • May 20. Trans-atlantic air mail service begins.
  • Jun 6. The Wizard of Oz released.
  • Jun 10. King George VI of England visits the United States; the first European sovereign ever to do so.
  • Jun 28. The first regular transatlantic passenger air service begins when Pan American Airways (Pan Am) flies 22 passengers from Long Island to Lisbon, Portugal. The trip lasts 23 hours, 52 minutes; airfare was $375 one way or $675 round trip.
  • Jul 1. Roosevelt consolidates five existing agencies into the Federal Works Agency.
  • Aug 2. Hatch Act prohibits political activity by employees of the federal government.
  • Sep 5. United States proclaims its neutrality, following German invasion of Poland.
  • Sep 8. Roosevelt proclaims a state of "limited national emergency," citing the war in Europe. All US military forces are authorized to increase enlisted manpower strength and to recall reservists to active duty.
  • Sep 14. Igor Sikorsky flies the first mass-produced helicopters.
  • Sep 29. Fritz Kuhn, the leader of the pro-Nazi German-American Bund, is imprisoned.
  • Oct 13. Charles Lindbergh makes a controversial radio broadcast questioning Canada's right "to draw this hemisphere into a European war because they prefer the Crown of England to American independence," and calling for British and French colonies in the Caribbean to be turned over to the United States to pay war debts.
  • Oct 25. Nylon stockings are first sold in the United States.
  • Nov 4. US Neutrality Act is amended, permitting the sales of arms to belligerents on cash & carry basis.
  • Dec 8. The American government protests the British blockade of Germany.
  • Dec 10. The American government grants embattled Finland a $10 million credit for agricultural supplies, a gesture largely due to Finland being the only country to have paid war debts from the World War I to the United States.
  • Dec 15. Gone with the Wind released.
  • Dec 19.The German liner Columbus, closely trailed by the US cruiser Tuscaloosa, is scuttled some 300 miles from the American coast, to avoid capture by an approaching British destroyer. The American warship has been trailing the German liner since its departure from Vera Cruz, Mexico and has been constantly reporting the position of the Columbus by radio for any and all ships to hear. The actions taken by the USS Tuscaloosa make the official US position of neutrality highly suspect, but Berlin never protests the incident.

http://www.onwar.com/chrono/fy1939.htm http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/adaccess/timeline-1936.html
http://www.bartleby.com/67/2208.html http://xroads.virginia.edu/~1930s2/Time/frames.htm http://www.flyingclippers.com/timeline.html

Posted by colin at January 9, 2003 09:22 AM
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