First edition cover of For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, 1940 (via Wikipedia)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 21, 1940: Churchill broadcasts on BBC to France: “The morning will come, a glorious dawn. Vive la France!”
Publication of For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.
75 Years Ago—Oct. 21, 1945: Parliamentary elections are held in France, and communists & socialists win a majority; members of the Constituent Assembly are selected to draft a constitution for the Fourth Republic.
British engineers blow up U-boat pens in Hamburg, Germany.
Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 bombers of 193rd Squadron, 30th Wing, 87th Group over North Africa, 1940 to 1942 (public domain via Wikipedia)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 20, 1940: Italian aircraft bomb Cairo for the first time, also bomb US-run oil facilities in Bahrain.
75 Years Ago—Oct. 20, 1945: Movie premiere of Don’t Fence Me In, starring Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Gabby Hayes.
Council of the Junior Year Abroad is established in the US to reinstate exchange student programs in Europe.
Allied merchant ship being shelled by a German U-boat, date unknown (Imperial War Museum: MISC 51237)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 19, 1940: In 48 hours, U-boats sink 28 ships in various convoys, the worst Allied losses of the war.
A British Lysander aircraft lands near Montigny, France at night and picks up a British agent, the first of 180 such landings.
75 Years Ago—Oct. 19, 1945: British land at Semarang, Java to crush an uprising.
War Widow’s Guild of Australia is founded.
Evangelical Church in Germany issues the controversial Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt, under leadership of Martin Niemöller and others in the Confessing Church, beginning with the phrase “Through us infinite wrong was brought over many peoples and countries,” stating that although they’d opposed Nazism, they hadn’t done enough.
80 Years Ago—Oct. 18, 1940: Nazis announce death penalty for civilians in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway who harbor downed British airmen.
75 Years Ago—Oct. 18, 1945: In Argentina, Juan Perón announces his candidacy for president; he will win on 24 February 1946.
Juan Perón’s supporters demonstrating in Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires, 17 October 1945 (public domain via Wikipedia)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 17, 1940: In North Atlantic convoy SC-7, U-boats sink three Allied ships; 20 of 30 ships in the convoy will be lost in three days.
75 Years Ago—Oct. 17, 1945: Former vice president Juan Perón of Argentina is released from prison following demonstrations organized by his future wife, Eva “Evita” Duarte.
J. Robert Oppenheimer, first director of Los Alamos National Laboratory (US Department of Energy photo)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 16, 1940: “R-Day” (Registration Day): In US, all men aged 21-36 register for the draft (16 million men).
The Warsaw Ghetto is officially established with more than 35,000 Jews inside.
75 Years Ago—Oct. 16, 1945: Robert Oppenheimer resigns as director of Los Alamos facility of the Manhattan Project.
A London bus after falling into a massive bomb crater in the center of Balham High Road, London, 15 Oct 1940 (public domain via WW2 Database)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 15, 1940: Heavy Luftwaffe raid on London starts 900 fires, with raids also to Birmingham and Bristol.
Italy demobilizes 300,000 soldiers for the harvest, leaving only 100,000 for the upcoming invasion of Greece.
Movie premiere of The Great Dictator, starring Charlie Chaplin parodying Hitler.
Pierre Laval, 1931 (Bibliothèque nationale de France)
75 Years Ago—Oct. 15 1945: Former Vichy French Prime Minister Pierre Laval is executed by the French for collaborating with the Nazis.
Filipino Americans celebrating their newly gained US citizenship which they had earned fighting for the US in World War II through the Nationality Act of 1940 (via Wikimedia Creative Commons)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 14, 1940: Luftwaffe bomb falls on Balham Tube station in London, killing 66.
US passes Nationality Act of 1940 clarifying citizenship status of individuals and their children born in the US or its territories, and how citizenship can be lost, the first attempt to codify nationality and naturalization in the US since its founding.
75 Years Ago—Oct. 14, 1945: Indonesian People’s Army declares war on the Netherlands.
During independence celebration in Pyongyang, Korea, Soviet leaders introduce Kim Il-sung to a crowd of 100,000, the start of Kim Il-sung’s political career.
Hershey’s tropical chocolate bar, a heat-resistant bar designed for US military use, 1943 (Smithsonian Institute)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 13, 1940: Indian National Congress launches program of anti-war civil disobedience.
Britain’s Princess Elizabeth (age 14) makes her first radio broadcast, on BBC’s Children’s Hour, to child evacuees. [Read more: “The British Royal Family in World War II”]
Vickers Wellington Mk.I medium bomber (British government photo)
75 Years Ago—Oct. 13, 1945: Last British Vickers Wellington bomber rolls off the production line.
Milton Hershey, founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, dies in Hershey, PA, age 88.
President Harry Truman awarding the Medal of Honor on conscientious objector Desmond Doss, 12 October 1945 (US government photo)
80 Years Ago—Oct. 12, 1940: In Africa, Free French troops under Gen. Charles de Gaulle invade Vichy French-held Gabon.
First use of radar in naval combat: off Malta in Battle of Cape Pessaro, British cruiser Ajax damages Italian destroyers Artigliere and Aviere, and sinks Italian torpedo boats Ariel and Airone.
Japan establishes the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, merging all political parties into a single totalitarian ruling party.
All Japanese are required to join neighborhood associations for social control and public assistance.
75 Years Ago—Oct. 12, 1945: PFC Desmond Doss, a medic, becomes the first conscientious objector in US history to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, for saving lives at great peril on Okinawa.