Members of USS Barb’s demolition squad, Pearl Harbor, August 1945. These men went ashore at Karafuto, Japan, and planted an explosive charge that wrecked a train. This raid is represented by the train symbol in the middle bottom of the battle flag. (US Navy photo: NH 103570)
80 Years Ago—July 23, 1940: British Home Guard is officially established (formerly Local Defence Volunteers) with 1.3 million civilian volunteers to protect the home front.
Battle flag of the USS Barb in the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum at Pearl Harbor (Photo: Sarah Sundin, Nov. 2016)
75 Years Ago—July 23, 1945: Marshal Philippe Pétain goes on trial in Paris for collaborating with the Nazis; his death sentence will be commuted due to his age.
Submarine USS Barb lands 8 raiders on Karafuto (between Japan & mainland Asia), who blow up a train and escape.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe and his second cabinet at the Kantei, Tokyo, Japan, 22 Jul 1940 (public domain via Wikipedia)
80 Years Ago—July 22, 1940: Britain officially rejects Hitler’s “peace offer.”
Britain establishes Special Operations Executive (SOE) under Hugh Dalton to support resistance groups in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Prince Fumimaro Konoe becomes Prime Minister of Japan and appoints a new cabinet.
75 Years Ago—July 22, 1945: First US troops transferred from Europe arrive in the Philippines.
American trucks returning part of $500 million worth of Florentine artwork looted by Germans, Piazzo Dei Signoria, Florence, Italy, 21 Jul 1945 (US National Archives: 111-SC-210319)
80 Years Ago—July 21, 1940: Lithuanian, Estonian, and Latvian Soviet Socialist Republics are declared, as the USSR announces the results of the rigged plebiscites held in the Baltic States.
75 Years Ago—July 21, 1945: Six truckloads of art stolen by the Nazis are returned to Florence, Italy.
Largest supply operation of the war at sea: in the Pacific, US Task Group 30.8 resupplies US Task Force 38 and British Task Force 37 with 60,000 tons oil, 6000 tons ammunition, 1600 tons supplies, 99 aircraft, and 412 personnel.
Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Athletics play a 24-inning game, ending in a 1-1 tie.
Messerschmitt Me 110 night-fighter (Nachtjagdgeschwader 4), 1943 (German Federal Archive: Bild 101I-377-2801-013)
80 Years Ago—July 20, 1940: Luftwaffe night-fighters (Me 110s) first shoot down a British plane.
New Hebrides becomes the first French territory to ally with the Free French rather than Vichy.
Billboard first publishes Music Popularity Chart—“I’ll Never Smile Again” is at the top, Frank Sinatra’s first hit.
75 Years Ago—July 20, 1945: US Congress ratifies Bretton Woods Monetary Agreement.
US Eighth Army lands on and takes Balut Island at entrance to Sarangani Bay, Mindanao in the Philippines, the last US combat amphibious operation of the war.
US poster honoring Jimmy Doolittle, WWII
80 Years Ago—July 19, 1940: Germany holds a victory parade in Berlin.
Hitler appoints twelve field marshals and promotes Hermann Göring to new rank of Reichsmarschall.
Hitler orders Britain to settle for peace; BBC replies unofficially in the negative within one hour.
75 Years Ago—July 19, 1945: Lt. Gen. James Doolittle establishes the US Eighth Air Force on Okinawa, having transferred from England.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933 (US Library of Congress) and Henry A. Wallace (US Department of Agriculture)
80 Years Ago—July 18, 1940: Royal Air Force sinks German invasion barges in Rotterdam, Holland and St. Omer, France.
At Democratic convention in Chicago, Franklin Roosevelt is nominated for third term as president with vice presidential candidate Henry A. Wallace.
Strike photo taken by USS Hancock aircraft showing an attack on the Yokosuka Navy Yard, Tokyo Bay, Japan, 18 Jul 1945 (US National Museum of Naval Aviation)
75 Years Ago—July 18, 1945: US Third Fleet carrier aircraft sink Japan’s last big battleship, the Nagato, at Yokosuka naval base near Tokyo.
At Bedford Naval Magazine in Nova Scotia, explosions occur for 24 hours, but only one person is killed.
Josef Stalin, Harry Truman, and Winston Churchill at the Potsdam Conference, Germany, 17 Jul 1945 (Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum: 63-1455-26)
80 Years Ago—July 17, 1940: In England, pub owner Percy Tibble captures 4 downed German airmen with a toy pistol.
75 Years Ago—July 17, 1945: Potsdam conference begins outside Berlin—Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, and Harry Truman meet to discuss postwar Europe and the end of the war with Japan.
First joint US-British strike on Japan as British Task Force 37 and US Task Force 38 hit the Tokyo area, also the first British attack on Japan.
Atomic bomb ‘Gadget’ exploding during Operation Trinity, Alamogordo, NM, 16 Jul 1945 (US Department of Energy)
80 Years Ago—July 16, 1940: Vichy France revokes citizenship of naturalized citizens who are Jewish.
Germany deports 22,000 French from Alsace (which will be annexed to Germany) to France.
75 Years Ago—July 16, 1945: First atomic bomb is detonated at Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Insignia of the US 1st Armored Division
80 Years Ago—July 15, 1940: Democratic Party convention opens in Chicago.
RAF reduces pilot training from three months to one month.
US establishes its first armored divisions, the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions.
The rector of Old Bolingbroke, England, is sentenced to 4 weeks prison for ringing a church bell (reserved for invasion alerts).
Britain bans fireworks, kites, and balloons.
75 Years Ago—July 15, 1945: Italy declares war on Japan.
Battleship USS Indiana, battleship USS Massachusetts, and cruiser USS Quincy bombarding Kamaishi, Japan, 14 Jul 1945 (US National Archives: 80-G-K-6035)
80 Years Ago—July 14, 1940: BBC broadcasts its first live coverage of the Battle of Britain, with reporter Charles Gardner.
75 Years Ago—July 14, 1945: French celebrate first Bastille Day since 1939.
US Third Fleet warships fire directly on Japan for the first time; first shot is fired by battleship USS South Dakota.
US Task Force 38 carrier aircraft fly 1381 sorties to Hokkaido and northern Honshu, sinking 34 ships, including 7 train ferries, severing transportation between the two islands.
Movie premiere of musical Anchors Aweigh, starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Kathryn Grayson, famous for Kelly’s dance with animated mouse Jerry.