Count Helmuth von Moltke on trial in the Nazi People’s Court in Berlin, January 1945 (German Federal Archive, Bild 147-1277)
80 Years Ago—January 23, 1940: Britain and France say they will not honor 200-mile Pan-American neutrality zone and will attack German ships in that zone.
Animals in the Berlin Zoo are placed on war rations—less meat, no bananas or peanuts.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 23, 1945: US First Army retakes St. Vith in Belgium from Germans.
Nazis execute German resistance leaders Count Helmuth von Moltke (leader of the Kreisau Circle resistance group) and Erwin Planck (son of physicist Max Planck).
In the shallow harbor of Nanguan Island, China, submarine USS Barb sinks Japanese freighter Taikyu Maru; Cdr. Eugene Fluckey will receive the Medal of Honor and Barb will receive the Presidential Unit Citation.
British poster, World War II
80 Years Ago—January 22, 1940: British Ministry of Information begins censoring newsreels.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 22, 1945: Indian 20th Division takes Monywa in Burma, the last Japanese port on the Chindwin River.
Carrier USS Ticonderoga burning after being hit by two kamikazes off Luzon, 21 Jan 1945 (US Navy photo)
80 Years Ago—January 21, 1940: British light cruiser HMS Liverpool stops Japanese liner Asamu Maru off Japan and captures 21 Germans—12 naval reservists are detained, 9 civilians are released.
Off Scotland, German U-boat U-22 sinks destroyer HMS Exmouth (all 189 killed).
75 Years Ago—Jan. 21, 1945: Halsey’s US Third Fleet (Task Force 38) is attacked by kamikazes off Luzon while returning to Ulithi Atoll and carrier USS Ticonderoga is damaged (143 killed), but Task Force 38 aircraft sink 15 Japanese ships and destroy 104 aircraft.
Inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at White House, 20 Jan 1945 (Library of Congress)
80 Years Ago—January 20, 1940: Britain and France agree to send troops and supplies to aid Finland, but they will not arrive in time.
London’s coldest day since 1881—temperature dips to -20˚ F; people ice-skate on the Serpentine in Hyde Park.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 20, 1945: Hungary signs surrender to the Allies in Moscow.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated for his fourth term.
New song in the Top Ten: “Accentuate the Positive.”
German Volkssturm troops at Königsberg, Germany, Jan 1945 (German Federal Archive, Bild 183-R98401)
80 Years Ago—January 19, 1940: Isolationist leader Sen. William Borah of Idaho dies of a stroke in Washington, DC, age 74.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 19, 1945: Soviets take Lodz and Krakow in Poland, and cross Polish-Silesian border.
German Adm. Karl Dönitz cuts naval manpower to release men to the army.
US troops on hill overlooking Damortis-Rosario Road on Luzon (US Army Center of Military History)
80 Years Ago—January 18, 1940: British begin seizure and censorship of air mail passing through Bermuda.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 18, 1945: On Luzon in the Philippines, the US Sixth Army drives south from Lingayen Gulf toward Manila.
German Enigma machine (Imperial War Museum)
80 Years Ago—January 17, 1940: In Paris, Polish cryptographer Marian Rejewski breaks the German Luftwaffe Enigma code.
Raoul Wallenberg, June 1944 (public domain via Wikipedia)
75 Years Ago—Jan. 17, 1945: Soviets take Warsaw.
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews, is detained by the Soviets in Budapest, Hungary and disappears.
Nazis lead 66,000 prisoners from Auschwitz on a death march to Germany.
Japanese Prime Minister Mitsumasa Yonai reading a memo in the prime minister’s seat in the Parliament chamber, Tokyo, Japan, 2 Feb 1940 (public domain via WW2 Database)
80 Years Ago—January 16, 1940: Soviet artillery pounds Mannerheim Line near Viipuri, Finland.
Adm. Mitsumasa Yonai replaces Nobuyuki Abe as Prime Minister of Japan, but he is opposed by the pro-war military.
Men of the US 347th Infantry Regiment taking a meal break while en route to La Roche, Belgium, 13 Jan 1945 (US National Archives: 111-SC-198849)
75 Years Ago—Jan. 16, 1945: The Battle of the Bulge ends as US First and Third Armies meet in Houffalize, Belgium, cutting off the tip of the Bulge.
Two millionth American soldier lands in France.
British poster, WWII
80 Years Ago—January 15, 1940: Belgium denies British and French troops the right to cross its territory.
Britain announces twice as many people have been killed on blacked-out roads than in enemy action.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 15, 1945: Japanese launch drive toward isolated US Fourteenth Air Force bases in eastern China and toward the Hengyang-Canton railroad.
In the US, a nationwide dim-out is ordered to conserve fuel.
Colonel Dregne of the US 357th Fighter Group gives a briefing to pilots Foy, Storch and Evans at Leiston Army Air Field in England, 14 Jan 1945, showing the 54 victories earned by the group that day (later revised to 56.5 victories), and the group’s 549 total victories (Imperial War Museum, Roger Freeman Collection)
80 Years Ago—January 14, 1940: FBI raid in New York City uncovers guns, ammunition, and bomb-making material, and a plot to sabotage and overthrow the government; 17 members of the anti-Semitic “Christian Front” group are arrested (later acquitted).
British chemists (pharmacists) are granted an exemption to sugar rationing in order to coat pills.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 14, 1945: US 357th Fighter Group downs 56.5 German aircraft over Derben, Germany, the highest single day total for any US Army Air Force fighter group in WWII.
In Burma, Indian 19th Division attempts to cross the Irrawaddy River at Thabaikkyin but withdraws under fierce Japanese bayonet attack.