August 1939

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13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31
Aug-39 Neutral
ClassGreat BritainUSAJapan Germany France Italy Soviet Union Argentina Brazil ChileColumbiaPeruCanada Australia
Battleship 12 15 9 5 5 2 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0
Fleet Carrier 4 5 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Light Carrier 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Heavy Cruiser 12 19 11 1 7 7 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Light Cruiser 38 17 19 5 12 14 3 1 2 0 0 0 0 4
Destroyer 147 114 113 31 67 96 39 16 7 8 2 2 6 5
Submarine 57 56 56 52 77 97 167 3 4 9 0 4 0 0
Escort Carrier 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Escorts 39 0 7 10 29 36 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Other 5 0 0 2 0 0 0 6 0 3 0 0 0 0

 

Neutral
ClassNew ZealandNetherlands Norway DenmarkSweden Poland Portugal Spain YugoslaviaGreeceTurkey Romania Thailand
Battleship 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Fleet Carrier 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Light Carrier 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Heavy Cruiser 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Light Cruiser 2 4 2 0 1 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0
Destroyer 0 8 10 6 14 5 5 16 8 19 4 7 10
Submarine 0 20 9 8 15 5 3 4 4 6 7 1 4
Escort Carrier 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Escorts 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 0
Other 0 0 4 2 7 0 0 0 0 4 2 0 4

 

Tuesday 01 August 1939
News

Germany forbids the sale of lottery tickets to Jews

 
Wednesday 02 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

British PM Neville Chamberlain introduces a motion to adjourn the House of Commons until the 3rd October 1939. The motion is passed by 250-132. 30 Conservative MPs including Winston Churchill opposed the motion and wanted 21st August as the return date, but this amendment was defeated

News

The Einstein-Szilard Letter: A letter to American President Franklin D Roosevelt signed by Albert Einstein and written to Leo Szliard warning that Germany might develop an atomic weapon and suggesting the USA should start its own nuclear program.

Thursday 03 August 1939
Daily Report
News

Germany forbids Jews from practising medicine by nullifying their medical licences.

Friday 04 August 1939
Daily Report
News

The British International Export Corporation in Tientsin, China is attacked by a Chinese mob. Equipment and furniture were smashed and thrown into the Hai River. The British claim the attack was instigated by the Japanese.

Saturday 05 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

The Polish Government sends a note to the Nazi-controlled Free City of Danzig authorities demanding that they stop interfering with Polish customs officials along the border between Danzig and Geman East Prussia.

The United States Congress adjourns for the summer.

Sunday 06 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

Poland celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Polish Legion entering the Great War. In a speech by General Edward Rydz-Śmigły, Marshal of Poland, before 100,000 Poles that '"violence inflicted by force must be resisted by force" and that Poland's conduct with regard to Danzig "will be adjusted to the conduct of the other side."

Monday 07 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

Free City of Danzig authorities rejects earlier Polish Government demand to stop interfering with Polish customs officials along the border between Danzig and Geman East Prussia. The refuse to recognize Polish officials as supervisors of Danzig customs.

Hermann Goring and a number of British businessmen meet at the Schleswig-Holstein home of Swedish businessman and amateur diplomat Birger Dahlerus in an effort to avoid a future war. The British men attempted to persuade Goring that the British would stand by its treaty obligation to Poland if it were invaded.

Tuesday 08 August 1939
Daily Report
Military

As part of air defence tests, 1,300 warplanes fill the skies of the United Kingdom.

Wednesday 09 August 1939
Daily Report
Naval

King George VI reviews the British fleet at Weymouth Bay.

News

The Italian Government brings a law that fines anyone who moves from the countryside to an Italian city of 25,000 or above who do not already have a job offer in that city. This is seen as a measure to avoid the cities being full of people in the event of bombing.

Thursday 10 August 1939
Daily Report
News

The former Czech citizens of the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia are ordered to turn in all their guns and explosives to the authorities. Failure to do so carries a death sentence.

Friday 11 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

The beginning of a conference between German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Italian foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano at Salzburg. It is during this conference that Galeazzo Ciano realizes that the Germans are willing to risk war with Britain and France.

Military

Starting at midnight half of England went dark for 4 hours in a test to see how effective blackout could be used to shroud itself from enemy planes

Saturday 12 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Italian foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano travel to the Berghof to meet Adolf Hitler. Hitler asserts that any war with Poland would be a localized war

An Anglo-French military mission leaves for Moscow to talk to the Soviet Government about a joint alliance against Germany

Sunday 13 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

Italian foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano returns to report to the Italian leader Benito Mussolini that the Germans are determined to go to war with Poland even if it means war with Britain and France.

Monday 14 August 1939
Daily Report
Naval

German Government tells the German Navy to prepare for a possible war against Britain and France in the near future.

Tuesday 15 August 1939
Daily Report
Naval

German U-boat commander Admiral Karl Donitz receives a coded instruction he is to put all available U-boats to sea.

Military

British Indian forces arrive in Egypt to strengthen British forces in the Middle East.

Wednesday 16 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

The Anglo-French military mission arrives in Moscow to talk to the Soviet Government about a joint alliance against Germany

News

A Polish soldier was killed 20 yards inside the Free City of Danzig border. Polish sources said he had crossed over by mistake and was shot without receiving any kind of warning beforehand. In retaliation, Polish military guards were given orders to shoot on sight any German or Danzinger in Polish territory.

Thursday 17 August 1939
Daily Report
News

The German Government closes the border with Poland.

Friday 18 August 1939
Daily Report
News

The Reich Interior Ministry of the German Government orders all medical professionals to inform the authorities of any children under the age of 3 who show signs of severe mental or physical disability. This is the first step in the secret German child euthanasia programme

Saturday 19 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

The German Government receives a message from the Soviet Government that they are willing to meet German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Moscow to negotiate a possible non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union.

At a secret speech to the Soviet Politburo, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin outlines his strategy for the Soviet Union to stay out of a war between the western powers. A weakening of the western countries in a subsequent war would aid Soviet expansion in the future.

News

Italian authorities bar entry to Jews leaving Germany, Poland, Hungary or Romania.

Sunday 20 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

The German-Soviet Credit Agreement: Germany and the Soviet Union secretly agree to a trade deal in Berlin between the two countries. The Germans will trade capital goods in return for raw materials.

Adolf Hitler at the Berghof sends a personal message to Joseph Stalin that German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop should be invited to Moscow no later than 23rd August to negotiate a possible non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union.

Military

Soviet forces under the command of General Georgy Zhukov launch an all-out attack on Japanese forces at the ongoing Battle of Khalkhin Gol in Mongolia

Monday 21 August 1939
Daily Report
Naval

German warship Admiral Graf Spee departs Wilhelmshaven to be in a position to raid British commerce in case of war. Admiral Graf Spee heads for the South Atlantic.

Politics

The German-Soviet Credit Agreement: The Germany-Soviet trade deal is announced in Berlin between the two countries. The Germans will open up a credit line worth 200 million Reichsmark a year for the next 7 years to the Soviet Government. The Soviet Union will be able to buy capital goods such as factory equipment, installations, machinery and machine tools, ships, vehicles, and other means of transport. The Germans will be supplied in return with vital war supplies such as petroleum, manganese, copper, nickel, chrome, platinum, lumber and grain.

The Anglo-French military mission to Moscow fails. The sticking point was the Soviet Government demanding that Soviet forces be allowed to pass through Polish territory unhindered. Negotiations were then called off.

Tuesday 22 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

The British Parliament is summed back to London for a special session to debate events in Europe.

Military

Adolf Hitler gives a speech at the Obesalzberg to leading commanders of the German Army detailing his plans to invade Poland.

Wednesday 23 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact: Officially known as the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, is officially signed in Moscow by German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov. This Nazi-Soviet Pact would provide a guarantee of non-belligerence by each party towards the other. It also contained a secret protocol that would carve up Poland and the Baltic states between the two powers.

News

Land speed record set by British racing driver John Cobb of 369.741 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA.

Thursday 24 August 1939
Daily Report
Naval

German warship Deutschland departs Wilhelmshaven to be in a position to raid British commerce in case of war. Deutschland was sent to station in the North Atlantic, south of Greenland.

Politics

British Government passes the Emergency Power (Defence) Act 1939, giving the government broad powers in order to conduct the war effectively.

American President Roosevelt appeals to King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy to formulate proposals for a specific solution of the present crisis.

Pope Pius XII makes a radio address to the entire world pleading for peace.

Hermann Goring asks Swedish businessman and amateur diplomat Birger Dahlerus to go to London as an unofficial envoy to Britain in an effort to avoid a future war.

Military

The RAF and the Royal Air Force Reserve are merged and brought to active service

Friday 25 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

German Government cuts off all telecommunications going beyond its borders.

Adolf Hitler secretly notifies Benito Mussolini that war with Poland is imminent. Hitler orders the invasion of Poland the next day. Mussolini informs Hitler that Italy will remain neutral in a war between Germany and Poland.

Adolf Hitler summons British Ambassador to Germany Sir Neville Henderson and informs him that it is necessary to find a solution to the Polish question.

Adolf Hitler meets French Ambassador to Germany Robert Coulondre and is informed that France will come to Poland's aid if it is attacked.

The United Kingdom and Poland sign the Agreement of Mutual Assitance, formalizing Britain's declaration of support for Poland if attacked. Adolf Hitler is told by German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop of this treaty and Hitler postpones the invasion of Poland.

Swedish businessman and amateur diplomat Birger Dahlerus meets British foreign minister Lord Halifax and is thanked for his efforts, but is advised that everything possible is being done to avoid a war.

 

News

IRA bomb attack in Coventry, 5 dead, 70 injured.

The Louvre is closed to the public for repair work, but secretly treasures are packed up and transported to secret locations for safekeeping.

Saturday 26 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

Mussolini sends Hitler a long list of war materials Italy would need from Germany to join them in a future war. The list is long and cannot be met, which is what Mussolini knew when he sent it.

British Ambassador to Germany Sir Neville Henderson returns to London with Hitler's demand for the British to find a solution to the Polish question.

German Government announces rationing of shoes, textiles and certain foodstuffs. Every German must now have a rationing card in order to make any purchases.

News

The 1939 Nuremberg Nazi Party Rally scheduled to the 2nd September is postponed.

Opening of the English Football League season

Sunday 27 August 1939
Daily Report
News

Famous last international football match in Poland between Poland and Hungary. Poland wins 4-2.

Monday 28 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

British Ambassador to Germany Sir Neville Henderson flies back to Berlin with British Government's official reply to Hitler's demand for the necessary to find a solution to the Polish question. Hitler is informed that Britain is willing to the talk about his proposals, but Britain will still stand by Poland if it is attacked.

News

The border between Germany and France is closed.

Tuesday 29 August 1939
Daily Report
Naval

The Peking Plan is put into operation. Three Polish destroyers leave Poland for the United Kingdom.

Politics

Adolf Hitler replies to the British Government that he is demanding the return of the Free City of Danzig and the Polish Corridor to Germany, but he is willing to keep talks going.

Wednesday 30 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

The Polish Government orders partial mobilization of the army.

British Ambassador to Germany Sir Neville Henderson hands the British Government's reply to Hitler's demand "His Majesty's Government repeat that they reciprocate the German Government's desire for improved relations, but it will be recognised that they could not sacrifice the interests of other friends in order to obtain that improvement". Stating again that Britain will defend Polish vital interests. The reply also stated that British and German national interests are not incompatible. The note expressed "reservation in regard to the statement of the particular demands put forward" by Germany, but said that German proposals would be "fully examined" during discussions.

Thursday 31 August 1939
Daily Report
Politics

British Navy and Air Force are mobilized.

British civilians start to be evacuated from likely targets for enemy bombing. Most evacuees were school children with nearly 3 million being evacuated.

The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union ratifies the Nazi-Soviet Pact

German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop meets with Polish ambassador to Germany Jozef Lipski at the request of the ambassador. Lipski informs Ribbentrop that the Polish Government is ready to negotiate. Lipski is asked by Ribbentrop if he has been empowered to negotiate and when informed that he had not he was dismissed. When Lipski returned to the Polish Embassy he found his telephone line had been cut to Warsaw.

German radio interrupts regular programming to present the German Government's 16 points proposal to Poland. The Polish Government did not hear the proposal as all communication had been cut between the two countries.

Adolf Hitler issues Fuhrer Directive No 1: The Conduct of the War. This directive outlined the reasons for the attack on Poland. It also stated that the frontiers of neutral countries in the west will be meticulously observed and that German armed forces were forbidden from crossing the borders of the Low Countries and France without explicit orders.