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Today in World War II History—May 26, 1940 & 1945

British troops in a ship evacuating from Dunkirk, France, late May 1940 (US Government photo)

British troops in a ship evacuating from Dunkirk, France, late May 1940 (US Government photo)

80 Years Ago—May 26, 1940: Operation Dynamo, the evacuation at Dunkirk begins, 300,000 British and French troops will be evacuated from French beaches by everything from destroyers to civilian fishing boats, through June 4.

In Britain, Empire Day is declared a national day of prayer.

British Gen. Sir John Dill is named Chief of Imperial General Staff.

75 Years Ago—May 26, 1945: Chinese nationalists capture Nanning, cutting off Japanese forces in Indochina.

Remembering the Fallen

US poster, WWII

US poster, WWII

On Memorial Day, we remember those who gave their lives in defense of our country.

We live in freedom because they fought tyranny.
We live without fear because they faced danger.
We live in comfort because they gave up all comforts.
We live because of their sacrifices.

Let’s never take these gifts for granted. They were purchased at high cost.

Over 1 million Americans have given their lives in war (Source: English, June A., Jones, Thomas D., Scholastic Encyclopedia of the United States at War, New York NY: Scholastic Reference, 1998).

  • American Revolution: 4,435
  • War of 1812: 2,260
  • Mexican-American War: 13,283
  • Civil War: 498,332
  • Spanish-American War: 2,446
  • World War I: 116,708
  • World War II: 407,316
  • Korean War: 33.651
  • Vietnam War: 58,168
  • Gulf War: 293
  • War on Terrorism (Source: icasualties.org): 4582 in Iraq, 2448 in Afghanistan
On this Memorial Day, take a moment to remember. And take a moment to thank God for freedom and life.

Today in World War II History—May 25, 1940 & 1945

British Cruiser Mk IV tank crew repairing tank track, Blangy-sur-Ternoise, France, 26-29 May 1940 (Imperial War Museum: 2012-11-26)

British Cruiser Mk IV tank crew repairing tank track, Blangy-sur-Ternoise, France, 26-29 May 1940 (Imperial War Museum: 2012-11-26)

80 Years Ago—May 25, 1940: Germans take Boulogne, France.

British troops are ordered to retreat to Dunkirk.

First clinical use of penicillin: Howard Florey successfully treats mice.

The Golden Gate International Exposition opens on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, will run through September 29.

Aerial view of Tokyo following bombing by B-29 Superfortress bombers, night of 26 May 1945 (Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-111427)

Aerial view of Tokyo following bombing by B-29 Superfortress bombers, night of 26 May 1945 (Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-111427)

75 Years Ago—May 25, 1945: Last major US B-29 fire raid on Tokyo; in the campaign, 50% of city has been burned. Imperial Palace is hit in the B-29 raid, just missing Emperor Hirohito and his family.

Heavy kamikaze attack off of Okinawa sinks two US ships and damages eight ships.

Movie premiere of The Clock, starring Judy Garland & Robert Walker.

Today in World War II History—May 24, 1940 & 1945

Lt. Gen. Simon Buckner, Jr., Maj. Gen. Lemuel Shepperd, and Brig. Gen. William Clement on Okinawa, 22 May 1945 (US Marine Corps photo)

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.

Today in World War II History—May 23, 1940 & 1945

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)

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.

Today in World War II History—May 22, 1940 & 1945

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)

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.

Today in World War II History—May 21, 1940 & 1945

Map noting German advances in France and the Low Countries between 16 and 21 May 1940 (US Military Academy map)

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.

Today in World War II History—May 20, 1940 & 1945

German troops look out over the English Channel with the wreckage of British equipment behind them (German Federal Archive: Bild 121-0443)

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

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)

“Chocolate Drop Hill” on Okinawa, 1945 (US Army Center of Military History)

Today in World War II History—May 19, 1940 & 1945

Philippe Petain and Adolf Hitler, 24 October 1940 (German Federal Archive, Bild 183-H25217)

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

British poster, WWII

75 Years Ago—May 19, 1945: Allies discontinue trans-Atlantic and Mediterranean convoys.

V-E Day 75th Anniversary Giveaway Winners!

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!