Soviet soldier with rifle and shield, Viipuri, Finland, 4 Mar 1940 (public domain via WW2 Database)
80 Years Ago—March 3, 1940: In the Soviet-Finnish war, the Soviets launch a final major offensive at Viipuri, Finland.
Maiden sail of ocean liner RMS Queen Elizabeth, from Glasgow—it was publicized that she was sailing to Southampton, leading the Luftwaffe to bomb Southampton—however, the Queen Elizabeth was bound for New York.
RMS Queen Elizabeth in New York City after World War II (public domain via State Library of Queensland)
75 Years Ago—Mar. 3, 1945: US Sixth Army secures Manila after furious house-to-house fighting; 100,000 civilians have been killed by the Japanese.
US Ninth Army and Canadian troops link between the Maas and Rhine rivers.
Map depicting the Allied advance to the Rhine River in West-Central Germany and Belgium, 8 Feb-10 Mar 1945 (US Military Academy)
75 Years Ago—March 2, 1945: US Ninth Army crosses into Germany and reaches the Rhine near Düsseldorf.
First USN R4D cargo planes land at Iwo Jima for medical air evacuation, carrying war correspondent Barbara Miller Finch of Reuters, serving as a nurse’s aide to bypass the rule banning female correspondents at the front—she is the first American woman to arrive at Iwo Jima.
The Bayeux Tapestry is returned from the Louvre to its prewar location of Hôtel du Doyen in Bayeux.
Manila Bay in February 1945 (US National Archives)
80 Years Ago—March 1, 1940: France institutes rationing: meat sold only 3 days per week, chocolate is rationed, and pastries are banned.
Native Son by Richard Wright is published.
75 Years Ago—Mar. 1, 1945: Manila Bay opens as an Allied port.
First US fighter plane makes an emergency landing on an airstrip on Iwo Jima.
US Navy Task Force 58 begins pre-invasion air strikes against Okinawa and sinks 13 ships.
Cyclotron at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Berkeley, CA in 1939; the key figures in its development and use are shown, left to right: Dr D Cooksey, Dr D Corson, Dr Ernest Lawrence, the inventor of the cyclotron; Dr R Thornton, Dr J Backus, WS Sainsbury, Dr LW Alvarez, and Dr Edwin Mattison McMillan (Science Museum London)
80 Years Ago—February 29, 1940: Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to Ernest Lawrence; ceremony held in Berkeley rather than Stockholm.
Academy Awards are held:
- Best picture of 1939—Gone with the Wind
- Best actor—Robert Donat in Goodbye, Mr. Chips
- Best actress—Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind
- Hattie McDaniel becomes the first black woman to win an Oscar (supporting actress in Gone with the Wind).
Blenheim light bomber of the RAF being towed away by horses after landing on the frozen Jukajärvi lake, near Juva village, Finland, 25 Feb 1940 (public domain via WW2 Database)
80 Years Ago—February 28, 1940: First group of British volunteers arrive in Finland, under command of Lt. Kermit Roosevelt, son of former US president Theodore Roosevelt.
US poster, WWII
75 Years Ago—Feb. 28, 1945: US Eighth Army lands unopposed on Palawan in the Philippines and takes Puerto Princesa and its airfields.
In the US a midnight curfew is placed on nightclubs, sports arenas, theaters, and bars to conserve coal—restaurants and USO clubs are exempt if alcohol is not served.
Finnish Army machine gun crew during the Winter War, 21 Feb 1940 (public domain via WW2 Database)
80 Years Ago—February 27, 1940: Soviets launch offensive toward Viipuri, Finland.
Carbon-14 is discovered by Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben at the University of California’s Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley.
US troops raise the flag on Corregidor in the Philippines, 2 March 1945 (US Army Center of Military History)
75 Years Ago—Feb. 27, 1945: Lebanon joins many other nations in last-minute declarations of war on Germany and Japan—all who join the Allies before March 1 will be invited to the upcoming United Nations conference.
US Sixth Army secures Corregidor in the Philippines.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur officially turns over the government of the Philippines to President Sergio Osmeña.
US Sixth Army troops in Manila, 1945 (US Army Center of Military History)
80 Years Ago—February 26, 1940: US War Department activates Air Defense Command under Brig. Gen. James Chaney.
75 Years Ago—Feb. 26, 1945: US Ninth Army reaches the Rhine south of Düsseldorf, Germany.
US Sixth Army begins assault on last three Japanese strongholds in Manila.
M26 Pershing heavy tank of US 9th Armored Division, near Vettweiss, Germany, Mar 1945 (US Army photo)
80 Years Ago—February 25, 1940: First Royal Canadian Air Force squadron arrives in Britain.
75 Years Ago—Feb. 25, 1945: US Fifth Fleet carrier aircraft and B-29 bombers strike Tokyo in a devastating raid.
US M26 Pershing tanks are first used in combat in Europe.
Turkey breaks neutrality and declares war on Germany and Japan.
80 Years Ago—February 24, 1940: British Summer Time begins (daylight savings time moved up for wartime).
75 Years Ago—Feb. 24, 1945: Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Maher Pasha declares war on the Axis and is immediately assassinated in the parliament chamber.
Hitler makes his last speech in the Chancellery in Berlin.
British poster, WWII (Imperial War Museum)
80 Years Ago—February 23, 1940: Britain announces wool shortage due to enthusiastic knitters knitting for the troops.
Woody Guthrie writes “This Land Is Your Land.”
Raising the US flag atop Mount Suribachi, by Joe Rosenthal, Iwo Jima, 23 Feb 1945. (US National Archives: 80-G-413988)
75 Years Ago—Feb. 23, 1945: US Marines capture Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima and raise flag; immortalized by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.
Troops of US 11th Airborne liberate 2147 POWs at Los Baños, Luzon.
In Arctic convoy RA-64, US freighter Henry Bacon shoots down 3 Luftwaffe Ju 88 bombers, a Liberty ship record, but is sunk in turn—the last Allied ship lost to German aircraft in the war.