75 Years Ago—May 30, 1941: German commander in Crete orders deadly reprisals for civilian resistance. In Iraq, British troops enter Baghdad.
75 Years Ago—May 29, 1941: US Army Air Corps forms the Ferrying Command. At an isolationist America First rally in Philadelphia, Charles Lindbergh controversially calls for “new leadership in America.”
75 Years Ago—May 28, 1941: British begin evacuation of Crete as Germans advance. Britain starts rationing of eggs and tightens rationing of fish and milk.
75 Years Ago—May 27, 1941: German battleship Bismarck is sunk by British battleships King George V and Rodney, and British heavy cruisers Norfolk and Dorsetshire off Ireland (115 survivors, 2106 killed). On Crete, Germans take Canea, capital of Crete, and Suda Bay. In Fireside Chat, President Roosevelt declares an unlimited national emergency, allowing more military shipments to Britain and increased patrols in Atlantic.; 65% of the nation listens to the broadcast, the largest radio audience in history to date.
75 Years Ago—May 26, 1941: On Libya-Egypt border, Rommel retakes Halfaya Pass from British. Betsy Ross’s house is donated to the city of Philadelphia.
75 Years Ago—May 25, 1941: German Admiral Raeder declares US ships escorting convoys to Britain is an act of war. In the Ganges Delta in India, a storm kills 2500.
75 Years Ago—May 24, 1941: British battlecruiser HMS Hood sunk by German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in the Denmark Strait—only 3 survive out of crew of 1416.
75 Years Ago—May 23, 1941: Off Crete, Luftwaffe sinks British destroyer Kelly under Lord Louis Mountbatten (181 killed, 297 survive including Mountbatten). Joe Louis defeats Buddy Baer to retain heavyweight boxing title.
75 Years Ago—May 22, 1941: Luftwaffe attacks British fleet off Crete in history’s first major air-sea battle, sinking British light cruisers Gloucester and Fiji, and British destroyer Greyhound.
75 Years Ago—May 21, 1941: Neutral US freighter Robin Moor is sunk by German U-boat U-69 in the South Atlantic, the first US ship sunk in the war; the crew survives but spends over 2 weeks in lifeboats. Germans attempt amphibious landings on Crete but are stopped by the Royal Navy.