CHRONOLOGY OF INTERNATIONAL EVENTS, 
1938 TO 1941



 
Click on a year or month to jump to it on the timeline.
1938
1939
1940
1941
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January January January
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February
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March March March
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April April
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May May May
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June June
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July July
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August August August
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September September September
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October October October
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November November November
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December December December


1938
  • March 12-13 - Anschluss - German union with Austria.
  • August 12 - Germany mobilizes military.
  • September 30 - Hitler is appeased by British Prime Minister Chamberlain at Munich.
  • October 15 - Sudetenland is occupied by German soldiers.  The Czech government resigns.
  • November 9-10 - The Night of Broken Glass
1939
  • January 30 - Hitler threatens the Jews during a Reichstag speech.
  • March 15-16 - Czechoslovakia taken by Germany.
  • March 28 - End of Spanish Civil War.
  • May 22 - "Pact of Steel" signed by Germany and Italy.
  • August 23 - Germany and Russia sign Nonaggression Pact.
  • August 25 - Mutual Assistance Treaty signed by Britain and Poland.
  • August 31 - British fleet is mobilized and the evacuation of civilians from London begins.
  • September 1 - Germany invades Poland.  Italy declares neutrality.  World War II officially begins.
  • September 3 - England, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany.
  • September 5 - Two Neutrality Proclamations issued by President Roosevelt. Roosevelt also orders Navy to perform a neutrality patrol to track any  belligerent naval force approaching the U.S.'s Atlantic coast or the West  Indies.  German troops cross the Vistula River in Poland.
  • September 6 - Neutrality patrol for Atlantic ocean formed under Rear Admiral A.W. Johnson, Commander Atlantic Squadron.
  • September 8 - Roosevelt declares a limited national emergency and increases  the enlisted strengths of all armed forces and authorizes retired officers, men and nurses to be recalled to active duty to the Navy and Marines.  Long range blockade of Germany announced by Allies.
  • September 10 - Canada declares war on Germany.
  • September 11 - Germany announces counter-blockade of Allies.
  • September 16 - British establish convoy system for merchant shipping.
  • September 17 - Poland invaded by Russia.
  • September 21 - Roosevelt asks for arms embargo provisions of Neutrality Act to be repealed.
  • September 27 - Warsaw surrenders.  Reinhard Heydrich named the leader of the new Reich Main Security Office (RSHA).
  • September 29 - Russia and Germany partition Poland.
  • October - Euthanasia of sick and disabled begins in Germany.
  • October 2 - Conference of Foreign Ministers of American Republics approves Act of Panama.  U.S. Navy to patrol a neutrality zone 300 miles wide.  U.S. notified by Germany the merchant ships must submit to visit and search.
  • October 8 - Assassination attempt on Hitler fails.
  • October 9 - U.S. freighter City of Flint seized as contraband carrier by Deutschland, a German armored cruiser.
  • November 4 - Neutrality Act of 1939.  Arms embargo repealed.  Roosevelt  declares area around British Isles to be a combat zone.
  • November 28 - Russia denounces 1932 Non-Aggression Pact with Finland.
  • November 30 - Finland invaded by Russia.
  • December 14 - Russia is expelled from the League of Nations.
  • December 17 - The Admiral Graf Spee, a German armored cruiser, is scuttled off of Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • December 19 - A British destroyer intercepts Columbus, a German passenger liner, 450 miles east of Cape May, New Jersey. Columbus is subsequently scuttled.
  • December 27 - U.S. protests seizure of mail to Europe by British.


1940

  • January 1 - Tenth Naval District, headquartered in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is established.
  • January 2 - Charles Edison named Secretary of the Navy.
  • January 6 - Admiral J.O. Richardson named Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.
  • January 8 - British begin rationing.
  • January 20 - Delay of American shipping at Gibraltar protested by United States.
  • January 23 - Britain and France announce that they will attack any German vessel found in the Pan-American Safety Zone.
  • January 26 - United State-Japanese Trade Treaty of 1911 expires.
  • March 3 - Russo-Finnish War ends.
  • March 12 - Finland and Russia sign peace treaty.
  • March 16 - Scapa Flow naval base near Scotland is bombed by the Germans.
  • April 2 - U.S. Fleet leaves for maneuvers near the Hawaiian Islands.
  • April 9 - Denmark and Norway invaded by Germany.
  • April 10 - Roosevelt extends maritime danger zone to Scandinavia.
  • April 25 - The carrier USS Wasp CV-7 is commissioned in Boston.
  • May 3 - Greenland asks U.S. for protection.
  • May 7 - Pacific Fleet ordered to remain indefinitely in Hawaiian waters by Roosevelt.
  • May 10 - Germany invades France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.   Neutrality act expanded to Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands by  Roosevelt.  Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Britain after Chamberlain  resigns.
  • May 11 - French and British forces land in Netherlands West Indies. Maintenance of political and economic status quo in Netherlands East Indies demanded by Japanese Foreign Minister.
  • May 14 - Netherlands surrenders to Germany.  Germany breaks through French lines at Sedan, France.
  • May 15 - Holland surrenders to Germany.
  • May 16 - Roosevelt asks for $1,182,000,000.00 in national defense funds.
  • May 17 - Plan for recommissioning 35 destroyers announced by Roosevelt.
  • May 21 - Allied armies encircled as Germans reach the English Channel at Abbevile, France.
  • May 26 - Allied evacuation at Dunkirk begins.
  • May 28 - Belgium surrenders. National Defense Advisory Committee is established.
  • June 1 - The battleship USS Washington (BB-56) is launched at  Philadelphia.
  • June 4 - Dunkirk evacuation completed.  Germans bomb Paris.
  • June 9 - Norway evacuated by Allies.
  • June 10 - Italy invades France after declaring war on France and  England.  Canada declares war on Italy.  Norway surrenders to Germany.
  • June 12 - Navy awards contracts for 22 new warships. Japan-Thailand  Non-Aggression Pact is announced.
  • June 13 - The battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55) is launched at New York Naval Yard.
  • June 14 - Germany occupies Paris. Roosevelt signs 11% Naval Expansion Act, increasing the carrier, cruiser, and submarine tonnage of the Navy by 167,000 tons, and  auxiliary shipping by 75,000 tons.
  • June 15 - An act to increase naval aviation to a strength of not more than 10,000 aircraft is approved by Roosevelt.
  • June 16 - Marshal Petain become the Prime Minister of France.
  • June 17 - France asks for armistice with Germany.  Russia occupies Latvia and Estonia.  U.S. Chief of Naval Operations asks for $4,000,000,000 for a two ocean navy.
  • June 18 - Hitler meets with Mussolini in Munich.
  • June 20 - France opens northern Indochina to the Japanese.  Under Secretary of the Navy, a new office, is established for the duration of the war.
  • June 22 - France and Germany sign armistice at Compiegne, France.  New Japanese cabinet formed.
  • June 23 - Hitler tours Paris.
  • June 24 - France and Italy sign armistice.  Britain asked by Japanese to close the Burma Road.  Charles Edison resigns as Secretary of the Navy;  Lewis Compton named acting Secretary.
  • June 25 - Hostilities cease as Franco-German armistice becomes effective.
  • June 27 - Romania cedes Bessarabia and northern Bukovina to Russia.  Roosevelt declares a national emergency.
  • June 28 - General Charles de Gaulle is recognized by the British as the Free French Leader.
  • June 30 - Germany begins occupation of the Channel Islands.
  • July 1 - Navy awards contracts for 44 vessels. Headquarters, Marine  Corps Air Wing, is established in San Diego, California.  German U-boats attack merchant ships in the Atlantic.
  • July 2 - Export Control Act is passed.
  • July 3 - British seize French naval vessels in British ports and  attack French naval vessels in Oran and Mers-el-Kebir.
  • July 5 - Roosevelt invokes Export Control Act against Japan. Vichy France breaks off diplomatic relations with Great Britain.
  • July 10 - Battle of Britain begins.
  • July 11 - Petain becomes head of the French Vichy government.  Frank Knox named Secretary of Navy.
  • July 19 - Roosevelt signs Naval Expansion Act.
  • July 23 - Soviets complete occupation of the Baltics.
  • July 30 - Conference of Foreign Ministers of the American Republics signs the Act of Havana calling for unified action.
  • August 1 - Alaskan Sector established as a military command within the Thirteenth Naval District.
  • August 3-19 - Italian troops occupy British Somaliland.
  • August 5 - U.S. and France reach Green-Slade-Robert Agreement, an understanding on the status of French warships and aircraft in the French West Indies.
  • August 13 - German bombing offensive against airfields and factories in Britain.
  • August 15 - American officers arrive in London for informal staff conversations with British officers.  Naval Air Station at Miami is established.
  • August 17 - Hitler declares a blockade of the British Isles.
  • August 18 - Permanent Joint Board for the Defense of the U.S. and Canada provided for by Ogdensburg Agreement.
  • August 22 - James Forrestal named first Under Secretary of the Navy.
  • August 23-24 - First German air raids on central London.
  • August 25-26 - First British air raids on Berlin.
  • August 27 - Roosevelt authorized to call Army Reserve and National Guard components into Federal service for 1 year.
  • August 30 - Japanese military occupation of ports, airfields and railroads in northern Indochina agreed to by France.
  • August 31 - Sixty thousand National Guardsmen called to Federal service.
  • September 3 - Destroyers for Bases agreement with Britain.  Operation Sealion, the invasion of Britain, planned by Hitler.
  • September 6 - Eight destroyers transferred to Britain.
  • September 7 - German Blitz against Britain begins.
  • September 9 - Germany warns that all ships within war zones are subject to attack, regardless of nationality.  U.S. Navy awards contracts for 210 ships, including 12 carriers and 7 battleships.
  • September 13 - Italy invades Egypt.
  • September 15 - Massive German air raids on London, Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool and Manchester.
  • September 16 - Selective Training and Service Act signed by Roosevelt.
  • September 22 - France cedes airfields and agrees to admission of Japanese troops into northern Indochina.
  • September 24 - Defense Communications Board is established.
  • September 27 - Tripartite Pact signed by Germany, Italy and Japan.
  • September 29 - U.S. Marines arrive at Midway Island to install defenses.
  • October 5 - Organized Naval Reserves placed on short notice for call to active duty.
  • October 7 - German troops enter Romania.
  • October 8 - Japan protests U.S. embargo on aviation fuel and scrap metal. U.S. citizens advised to leave the Far East.
  • October 12 - Operation Sealion postponed until spring, 1941.
  • October 15 - Naval Air Station established at Jacksonville, Florida.
  • October 16 - Sixteen million men register for the draft.
  • October 28 - Italy invades Greece.
  • October 31 - Britain occupies Crete.
  • November 1 - Naval Air Station is established at Alamed, California.
  • November 5 - Roosevelt re-elected.
  • November 8 - USS City of Rayvilles hits a German mine off Cape Otway, Australia and sinks.  Admiral Nomura named Japanese Ambassador to the U.S.
  • November 11-12 - Torpedo attack by British naval aircraft against Italian fleet at Taranto.
  • November 14 - Greeks repel Italians back into Albania.
  • November 20 - Hungary joins the Axis.
  • November 22 - Italian 9th Army defeated by Greeks.
  • November 23 - Romania joins the Axis.  Retired Admiral W.D. Leahy named  Ambassador to France.
  • November 30 - U.S. lends $50 million to China for currency stabilization, and grants an additional $50 million credit for purchase of supplies.
  • December 9-10 - The British begin the western desert offensive against the Italians in North Africa.
  • December 11 - The British capture Sidi Barrani, Egypt from the Italians.
  • December 12 - Alaskan Units of the Coast Guard establish Headquarters at  Ketchikan.
  • December 17 - Rear Admiral E.J. King named Commander Patrol Force, U.S. Fleet.  The British recapture Sollum, Egypt.
  • December 19 - Secretary of the Navy is given control and jurisdiction over the Pacific island of Palmyra.
  • December 23 - Naval Air Station established at Key West.

  • December 29-30 - Germans stage a massive air raid on London.
1941
  • January 5 - Australians capture Bardia, Libya.
  • January 7 - Office of Production Management is established.
  • January 16 - Congress asked to immediately appropriate $350 million for 200 new merchant ships by Roosevelt.
  • 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 established.
  • 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 Greece.
  • 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 Allies.
  • March 12 - Naval Air Station established at Corpus Christie, Texas.
  • March 25 - Yugoslavia signs the Tripartite Act.
  • 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 Tripartite Act.
  • 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 hydrographic information.
  • April 3 - Pro-Axis government set up in Iraq.
  • April 4 - Benghazi captured by the Germans.
  • 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 Germans.
  • April 12 - Germans occupy Belgrade.
  • 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 armistice.
  • 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 surrenders.
  • April 28 - Germans capture Sollum.
  • May 1 - German attack on Tobruk is repulsed.
  • 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 auxiliary shipping.
  • 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 are defeated.
  • 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 News, Virginia.
  • 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 Canal Zone.
  • June 8 - Allies invade Syria and Lebanon.
  • June 12 - All members of the Naval Reserve not in deferred status are called to active duty.
  • June 14 - US freezes German and Italian assets.
  • 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 Russia.
  • June 28 - Albania declares war on Russia.  Minsk captured by the Germans.
  • June 30 - France severs relations with Russia.
  • 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 conscripts.
  • 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 the Ukraine.
  • July 14 - Syria occupied by the British.
  • 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 Smolensk.
  • 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 French. 
  • 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 states.
  • August 8 - A conference between Roosevelt and the Japanese Prime Minister is suggested by the Japanese Ambassador.
  • August 9 - The Atlantic Conference takes place as Roosevelt meets with Churchill at Placentia Bay, Argentia, Newfoundland.
  • 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 Island.
  • 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 Near East.
  • 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 Forces formed.
  • September 11 - U.S. Navy ordered to attack any vessel threatening U.S. shipping or ships under U.S. escort.
  • 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 begins.
  • September 17 - Eastbound British trans-Atlantic convoy escorted for first time by U.S. Navy.
  • September 19 - The Germans capture Kiev.
  • 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 Moscow.
  • 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 reach Sevastopol.
  • 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 to Iceland.
  • 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 Rostov.
  • November 30 - U.S. proposals for settling Far Eastern crisis rejected by Japanese Foreign Minister Tojo.
  • 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 Japanese.
  • 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 loss.
  • 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 Harbor.
  • 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, Borneo.
  • 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 Pacific Fleet.



Historical Timeline compiled from the timelines available at the website America at War.