World History 1940-1941

1940 Germany Invades Norway - German forces invaded Norway and Denmark. Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger and Naravik were rapidly taken. Navarik was retaken by a British force, but the British were soon forced to withdraw from the town.

By the end of the month, the Germans had broken the stiff Norwegian opposition, and the Norwegians were forced to surrender.
1940 German Armies Invade Netherlands, Belgium & Luxembourg-In a flanking move that made the French Maginot Line irrelevant, the Germans attacked the Low Countries. The Netherlands surrendered in four days, after massive German attacks on Rotterdam.

The Germans quickly drove into Northern France, dividing the French and British forces into two.
1940 Dunkirk Evacuated - The British successfully extricated 200,000 British and 100,000 French troops from the beaches of Dunkirk. The troops were stranded in Northern France, cut off by the sweeping German victories. The British and French troops were forced to abandon their equipment, but their soldiers were available to fight another day.
1940 Paris Falls, France Surrenders- On June 13, Paris was evacuated by French forces, in the face of advancing German forces. On the 23rd of June, France surrendered. Terms of the surrender included the disarmament of French forces and the occupation of two-thirds of France by the Germans.
1940 Battle of Britain - The Germans attempted to subdue Great Britain by utilizing air attacks. Germany attacked all major cities and military installations. Britain's preparedness, combined with the valor of its pilots and a new weapon called "radar," forced the Germans to pay a heavy price for their bombing. By the end of October, when the winter weather made the threat of invasion unlikely, the Germans had lost 2,375 planes, compared to 800 British planes lost.
1940 Italy Invades Greece - The Italians invaded Greece, expecting a quick victory. The Greeks received reinforcements from the British and planes from the Soviets. This allowed Greek forces to hold their own and attack the Italians in Albania, overruning one-quarter of the country.
1940 Taranto - The British launched an air attack on the Italian harbor at Taranto from the aircraft carrier "Illustrious." On the night of November 11, 21 British "swordfish" attacked the Italian fleet in Cavour, and badly damaged the "Littorio" and the "Caio Duilono."
1940 British Attack Italian Forces in Egypt - British troops launched a surprise attack on Italian troops which occupied parts of western Egypt. The British routed the Italians. On January 5, the Italian garrison at Bardia – with 25,000 troops – surrendered.

By the end of January, the British captured Tobruk and, in early February, captured Bengasi and liberated Ethiopia. In April, German reinforcements, under the command of General Rommel, arrived in Africa and stopped the British advance. The British were forced to withdraw.
1940 First Xerographic Machine Designed - Charles Carlson patented the first xerographic machine. The machine made copies using electric charges. Carlson sold the patent to the Haloid Company, which later changed its name to the Xerox Company.


1941 Lend-Lease Passed- With the war going badly for the British, it was clear that Great Britain would require assistance from the United States. The British were running out of money to pay for the arms they were buying. President Roosevelt, therefore, went before the country in a "Fireside Chat," in which he called for America to become an "arsenal of Democracy."

Roosevelt then introduced a bill to Congress on January 8, 1941, providing the President with the power to lend military equipment to countries that the President believed were in need.
The bill passed the House 260 to 165, and the Senate 60 to 31, with votes split primarily on party lines.

By the end of the war the United States had provided the following aid:

Great Britain...................$31 billion
Soviet Union...................$11 billion
France...............................$ 3 billion
China...............................$1.5 billion
Other European..........$ 500 million
South America.............$400 million

The amount totaled: $48,601,365,000.
1941 Battle Of Matapan - The British fleet met the Italian fleet at the battle off of Cape Matapan. The Italian Force was led by Vice Admiral Angelo Iachino, the British force was led by Admiral Cunningham. The British force included the battleships Warspite, Valiant and Barham. It also included the carrier Formidable. Cunnigham cruisers engaged part of the Italian force on March 28. In the meantime, Cunningham's main force was closing. When the British aircraft attacked, the Italians changed course and began to withdraw. Cunningham then launched successive air attacks against the Italian fleet. The Vittorio Veneto was hit and forced to slow down, but was soon making 20 knots. The cruiser Pola was seriously damaged, and two other cruisers and four destroyers were detached to escort the Pola. Cunningham's main force of battleships then struck the Italian cruiser in the middle of the night. Within three minutes, the Italian cruisers Zara and Fiume were sunk. The destroyers Affieri and Carducci soon followed. Finally, the partially disabled cruiser Pola was boarded and captured. It was the greatest British naval victory since Trafalgar.
1941 German Forces Invade Greece and Yugoslavia -The Germans invaded Yugoslavia, after a coup in Belgrade that overthrew the pro-German government and replaced it with one committed to neutrality. At the same time, the Germans invaded Greece. German troops reached Athens by April 27. Britain was able to send 48,000 of the 60,000 members of its expeditionary force to Greece.
1941 Germans Attack Crete - German paratroopers invaded Crete and were able to rout British forces on the island.
1941 German Battleship "Bismark" Sunk - The German battleship "Bismark" was sunk by the British Navy. In the first round of the fight, the British lost the battleship "Hood" and suffered the crippling of the battleship "Prince of Wales." A second British task force caught up with the "Bismark." On May 26, a plane from the "Ark Royal" attacked the "Bismark." A torpedo hit its rudder and disabled the steering. That night, battleships "Rodney" and "King George" attacked the "Bismark" with their big guns. Together with torpedos from the "Dorsetshire," they sank the "Bismark."
1941 German Forces Invade Russia -German forces invaded Russia. The Germans advanced on a 2,000 mile-long front. Together with their allies, they were able to mass 3 million troops. Initially, the Russians had 2 million troops. German troops advanced along the whole front. By September, they began laying seige to Lenningrad, and then captured Kiev. By the end of October, the Germans had reached Crimea in the south and Moscow's suburbs in the north.
1941 Atlantic Charter-President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill spent three days meeting together on board their ships at Argentina Bay, Newfoundland. The two leaders developed a close personal friendship, probably the closest between a President and any foreign leader up to that time.

While the President was meeting with Churchill, the American military staff, led by George Marshall, was meeting with the British military, discussing aid, as well as joint actions that could be taken.
1941 Pearl Harbor - The American decision to impose sanctions on Japan, in response to the Japanese invasion of Indo-China, convinced Japanese leaders that war with the United States was inevitable.
While the Japanese continued to negotiate in Washington, plans went ahead for military action. The Japanese were convinced that they could not win a war of attrition with the United States, so they planned a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, hoping that a decisive victory would be achieved, which would force the United States to negotiate. The Japanese attack was executed with precision and, despite having broken the Japanese code, the Americans at Pearl Harbor were caught unprepared, and the attack was successful.
1941 Penicillin Used To Treat a Human -(2/12/41) For the first time, penicillin was used to treat a human patient. Penicillin treated infections, and was widely used during World War II