Panoramic view of the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah, taken from the water tower, 14 March 1943 (US National Archives: 536975)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 31, 1940: Official end of Battle of Britain, although air raids continue. Losses so far—RAF: 828 aircraft & 1007 men; Luftwaffe: 1733 aircraft & 3893 men; British civilians: 40,000.
Antibiotic sulfaguanidine is introduced as a cure for bacterial dysentery.
75 Years Ago—Oct. 31, 1945: Relocation center for Japanese-Americans at Topaz, UT closes.
Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien, San Francisco, CA, Fleet Week, October 2014 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 30, 1940: In presidential campaign speech in Boston, President Roosevelt promises, “Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”
In a radio broadcast to France, Head of the French State Marshal Philippe Pétain advocates collaboration with Germany.
RAF Bomber Command directive shifts focus of bombing to industrial targets in highly populated areas, a step closer to area bombing.
Germans begin collecting art looted from Jewish homes and from the Louvre and other museums at the Jeu de Paume in Paris.
75 Years Ago—Oct. 30, 1945: The final Liberty Ship is delivered, the Albert M. Boe; 2711 Liberty Ships were produced during the war.
US ends shoe rationing, effective at midnight. [Read more: “Shoe Rationing in World War II”]
Movie premiere of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
First drawing of the Selective Service, 29 October 1940 (FDR Library Photo Collection)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 29, 1940: In nationally broadcast lottery, Secretary of War Henry Stimson pulls the first number for the US draft, and first 900 names are pulled, including actor James Stewart and future president John F. Kennedy. First name pulled: Yuen Chong Chan.
All Greek men 21-40 are called up into the army to combat the Italian invasion.
US Victory Loan Drive poster by Norman Rockwell, 1945
75 Years Ago—Oct. 29, 1945: US Eighth War Loan Drive (Victory Loan Drive) begins. [Read more: “World War II War Bonds”]
First ballpoint pen goes on sale in the US, sold by Reynolds for $12.50 each.
RMS Empress of Britain passing through the Saint Lawrence River near Quebec; photo taken from the Île Orléans, 10 July 1937 (Author Horace Bélinge: Creative Commons, Akera via English Wikipedia)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 28, 1940: Italians invade Greece from Albania.
Off Ireland, German U-boat U-32 sinks British troopship Empress of Britain, the largest U-boat victim of the war at 42,000 tons (45/623 killed).
Battleship USS Texas decked out for Navy Day, 27 October 1940 (US National Archives: 80-G-464121)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 27, 1940: Italy demands Greece allow Italian occupation or go to war; Greece rejects the ultimatum.
Poster for US Navy Day, Oct. 27, 1945
75 Years Ago—Oct. 27, 1945: Navy Day: US Navy displays ships in American ports, President Truman reviews fleet aboard USS Missouri in Hudson River, and Midway-class carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt is commissioned at the New York Navy Yard.
New song in Top Ten: “It’s Been a Long, Long Time.”
Pres. Harry Truman aboard USS Renshaw during Navy Day Fleet Review, New York City, 27 Oct 1945; note USS Missouri’s superstructure in background and US Navy aircraft in formation above (US Navy photo: K-15861)
“Potato Pete” poster, British, WWII (Imperial War Museum)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 26, 1940: British Ministry of Food subsidizes fish & chips shops to encourage potato consumption.
Registration for US draft is held in the Territory of Hawaii.
Maiden flight of prototype North American NA-73 Mustang (the future P-51) with an Allison engine at Mines Field, CA (now LAX).
Brig. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Sr. in France. August 8, 1944 (US National Archives: 531202)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 25, 1940: While bombing Chongqing, China, Japanese bombs almost hit US embassy and US gunboat Tutuila, causing an international incident.
Benjamin O. Davis Sr. becomes the first Black general in the US Army (father of Benjamin Davis Jr., who will lead the Tuskegee Airmen and in 1954 will become the US Air Force’s first Black general).
Victory celebration at Taipei City Hall, Taipei, Taiwan (Formosa), 25 Oct 1945 (Photo: public domain via Republic of China Ministry of the National Defense)
75 Years Ago—Oct. 25, 1945: Japanese forces on Formosa (Taiwan) surrender to Chiang Kai-shek at Taipei City.
Philippe Pétain and Adolf Hitler at Montoire, 24 October 1940 (German Federal Archive, Bild 183-H25217)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 24, 1940: Hitler meets with Marshal Philippe Pétain, Head of the French State, in Montoire, and Pétain agrees to Vichy French collaboration with Germany.
RAF night raids on Berlin and Hamburg inflict serious civilian casualties for the first time.
British Summer Time is extended year-round.
Poster commemorating the United Nations Charter
75 Years Ago—Oct. 24, 1945: United Nations officially comes into existence.
Norwegian Nazi collaborator Vidkun Quisling is executed.
Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco, Hendaye train station, France, 23 Oct 1940 (public domain via WW2 Database
80 Years Ago—Oct. 23, 1940: Hitler meets with Franco at Hendaye, France, but fails to convince him to lead Spain into the war.
Front cover of Jackie Robinson comic book (issue #5), 1951, showing Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn Dodgers cap (Library of Congress: ppmsc.00133)
75 Years Ago—Oct. 23, 1945: Jackie Robinson is signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers to play for farm club Montreal Royals; Robinson will play for Dodgers starting in 1947, breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier.
This Is the Army movie premiere at Warner’s Earle Theater in Washington, D.C., on August 12, 1943. (US National Archives: 111-SC-178981)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 22, 1940: Joseph Kennedy Sr., the isolationist US ambassador to Britain, resigns under pressure from President Roosevelt.
75 Years Ago—Oct. 22, 1945: In a press conference at Fort Snelling, MN, the Military Intelligence Service Language School and the activities of its linguists are revealed to the public for the first time.
In Hawaii, Irving Berlin’s This Is the Army is performed for the last time; Berlin donated all proceeds to the Army Emergency Relief Fund.
“Brenda Starr, Reporter,” the first comic written by a woman, moves from Sunday-only to a daily strip.