Lt. Gen. Simon Buckner, Jr., Maj. Gen. Lemuel Shepperd, and Brig. Gen. William Clement on Okinawa, 22 May 1945 (US Marine Corps photo)
80 Years Ago—May 24, 1940: Hitler orders panzers to halt and allow the Luftwaffe to destroy the Allies at Dunkirk.
Britain orders the withdrawal of the remaining British troops in Norway.
75 Years Ago—May 24, 1945: Japanese make a suicide attack on Okinawa, landing bombers at Yontan Airfield and destroying seven US aircraft.
British arrest German leaders Adm. Karl Dönitz, Gen. Alfred Jodl, and Reich minister Albert Speer, 23 May 1945 (German Federal Archive, Bild 146-1985-079-3)
80 Years Ago—May 23, 1940: British troops begin evacuation from port of Boulogne, France by sea.
Britain arrests British fascists, including 747 members of the British Union and its leader Sir Oswald Mosley.
75 Years Ago—May 23, 1945: German government under Adm. Karl Dönitz is dissolved, members of government and general staff are interned on liner Patria in Flensburg harbor.
German Minister of the Interior Heinrich Himmler commits suicide.
Australians secure Wewak area of New Guinea; Japanese retreat into the mountains.
German SdKfz 10/4 vehicle with a mounted 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun, France, May 1940 (German Federal Archive, Bild 101I-055-1551-10)
80 Years Ago—May 22, 1940: German panzers strike north from Abbeville, France toward Dunkirk.
British codebreakers at Bletchley Park decode new German Luftwaffe Enigma code.
Britain passes Emergency Powers Act, giving government authority over persons & property.
75 Years Ago—May 22, 1945: Due to continuing shortages, Britain cuts rations of fats, bacon, meat, and soap.
Map noting German advances in France and the Low Countries between 16 and 21 May 1940 (US Military Academy map)
80 Years Ago—May 21, 1940: British driving south from Belgium and French troops driving north attempt to link at Arras, France, but fail.
French 9th Army surrenders, along with Gen. Henri Giraud, who will escape in 1942 and lead Free French forces in North Africa.
75 Years Ago—May 21, 1945: Heinrich Himmler is arrested by the British in Bremervörde, Germany, disguised as a businessman.
Demanding full independence, Syria and Lebanon break off negotiations with France.
Humphrey Bogart marries Lauren Bacall.
German troops look out over the English Channel with the wreckage of British equipment behind them (German Federal Archive: Bild 121-0443)
80 Years Ago—May 20, 1940: German army reaches the English Channel at Abbeville, France, splitting Allied forces in two and isolating 16 French & 9 British divisions in Belgium.
In the US, the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (the White Committee) is formed by interventionist journalist William A. White.
Poster of the US Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, 1940-41
75 Years Ago—May 20, 1945: On Okinawa, US Tenth Army takes Chocolate Drop and Flattop Hills; Marines take Wana Ridge.
Japanese troops begin evacuating China to defend Japan.
“Chocolate Drop Hill” on Okinawa, 1945 (US Army Center of Military History)
Philippe Petain and Adolf Hitler, 24 October 1940 (German Federal Archive, Bild 183-H25217)
80 Years Ago—May 19, 1940: In France, Marshal Philippe Pétain is named Vice Premier, and Gen. Maxime Weygand replaces Gen. Maurice Gamelin as commander-in-chief of French forces.
British poster, WWII
75 Years Ago—May 19, 1945: Allies discontinue trans-Atlantic and Mediterranean convoys.
Thank you to all of you who participated in the V-E Day 75th Anniversary Book Giveaway! Julie Lessman and I enjoyed “meeting” all of you!
Now to announce the winners…
GRAND PRIZE (copies of Julie Lessman’s A Wing and a Prayer and Sarah Sundin’s The Land Beneath Us, a $50 Amazon gift card, and memorabilia from the National WWII Museum)…Stacey Ulferts!
SECOND PRIZE (copies of Julie Lessman’s A Wing and a Prayer and Sarah Sundin’s The Land Beneath Us)…Megan Lakner!
Winners have been notified by email.
Thank you again!
Destroyed Belgian A.C.G.1 tank, Antwerp, Belgium, 19 May 1940 (German Federal Archive, Bild 146-1971-040-60)
80 Years Ago—May 18, 1940: Germans take Antwerp, Belgium.
In a radio address, aviator and isolationist Charles Lindbergh accuses President Roosevelt of creating “a defense hysteria” and states, “If we desire peace, we have only to stop asking for war.”
US Marine running through Japanese fire at ‘Death Valley,’ Okinawa, Japan, 10 May 1945 (US National Archives: 41607-FMC)
75 Years Ago—May 18, 1945: An RAF Lancaster is the first plane in history to fly over both true and magnetic North Poles.
US Marines secure Sugar Loaf Hill on Okinawa after heavy fighting.
Ipo Dam on Luzon (US Army Center of Military History)
80 Years Ago—May 17, 1940: Germans take Brussels, Belgium.
French 4th Armored Division under Gen. Charles de Gaulle attacks the German southern flank at Laon, France, but fails.
Paris is declared a military zone, martial law is declared, and police begin carrying rifles.
Movie premiere of comedy My Favorite Wife, starring Irene Dunne & Cary Grant
75 Years Ago—May 17, 1945: On Luzon in the Philippines, US Sixth Army takes Ipo Dam intact.
National Gallery in London opens an exhibit of masterpieces returned from wartime storage.
German General Heinz Guderian and other officers in Bouillon, Belgium, 12 May 1940 (German Federal Archive, Bild 146-1980-004-32)
80 Years Ago—May 16, 1940: In Belgium, the Allies retreat behind the River Scheldt as the German 6th Army breaks the Dyle Line.
France orders Frédéric Joliot-Curie’s atomic energy team at the Collége de France to evacuate: Hans von Halban flees to Britain with crucial research papers and the heavy water supply from Norway.
President Roosevelt asks Congress for $1.2 billion for the military and calls for 50,000 planes, a 280,000-man Army, and a Two-Ocean Navy; Congress will appropriate $1.68 billion.
US Army Air Force study of damage to Nagoya, Japan done by aerial bombing on 14 and 17 May 1945 (US National Archives)
75 Years Ago—May 16, 1945: Last US B-29 Superfortress incendiary raid to Nagoya—in campaign, 12 out of 40 square miles have been burned and 4000 killed.
Off Malaya, British destroyers Saumarez, Venus, Verulam, Vigilant, and Virago sink Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro in the last classic destroyer action in history.
US Sixth Army secures Bicols region of Luzon.