World War Two 1940

World War Two 1940

From the start of the World War Two in September 1939, the Allies were frequently suffering defeats and losses across their territories. Sadly, the following year wasn't much better.

The year 1940 marked the start of the true assault on Europe from Adolf Hitler and the other Axis forces, resulting in the loss of the Low Countries for the Allies. The infamous events of Dunkirk were some of the most notable to take place this year, with Allied forces fleeing to the French port city by the mid-point of the year. Unfortunately, the Axis forces were too strong; by June the Allied forces had been evacuated and Dunkirk had fallen.

Eventually, Norway was also lost to the Axis, surrendering in June that year. Towards the later part of the year, Germany had secured so many victories and additional allies (in the form of Hungary and Romania) that they announced plans to invade the Soviet Union and Britain, and by September 1940 the bombings over the latter had become frequent and incredibly damaging. These events became known as the Battle of Britain, which is known as the first major military campaign fought entirely in the air.

Although 1940 was a difficult year for the Allies, there were a number of turning points for the Allied nations that would eventually have a significant impact on the outcome of the war. Such events included the election of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister of Great Britain, the re-election of President Roosevelt in the United States, and the decision of Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand to join the war.

 

See also:

1939

World War Two 1941

World War Two 1942

World War Two 1943

World War Two 1944

World War Two 1945

5 January: Leslie Hore-Belisha was dismissed as British Secretary of State for War. Some see anti-Semitic motives behind his dismissal (Hore-Belisha was Jewish).
7 January: Food rationing of basic goods such as butter, bacon and sugar began in the UK.
1 February: A major Soviet offensive against Finland began.
14 February: Britain declared merchant ships in the North Sea would be armed.
15 February: Nazi Germany stated all UK merchant ships in the North Sea would be referred to as warships.
17 February: The UK government set about evacuating 400,000 children to rural areas.
12 March: The Treaty of Moscow between the USSR and Finland ended the Winter War. To secure peace, Finland gave up large chunks of territory.
20 March: Daladier resigned as Prime Minister of France. The next day, Paul Reynaud became Prime Minister.
8 April: The Royal Navy began to lay mines in Norwegian waters.
9 April: Invasion of Denmark and Norway by Nazi Germany, ending the Phoney War. Denmark surrendered after approximately six hours.
10 May: Nazi Germany invasion of the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Belgium and France. Winston Churchill became British Prime Minister after Neville Chamberlain resigned.
11 May: Churchill allowed Bomber Command to bomb Berlin.
13 May: France was attacked at Sedan by Heinz Guderian's Panzer corps.
14 May: The Luftwaffe launched an attack on Rotterdam and were responsible for 30,000 casualties. The first Local Defence Volunteers appeal was made by the UK government (later known as the Home Guard).
15 May: The Ruhr were attacked by the RAF. The first major tank versus tank battle of World War Two happened at Philippeville. German tanks advanced 37 miles into France. The Netherlands surrendered.
18 May: The major port of Antwerp surrendered.
20 May: German tanks reached Abbeville and cut off Allied forces in northern France.
21 May: Allied forces launched a counter-offensive at Arras.
24 May: Hitler ordered a halt to the advance of German armour.
26 May: Allied forces were trapped at Dunkirk and Operation Dynamo is implemented.
28 May: Belgium surrendered.
4 June: The evacuation from Dunkirk ended.
5 June: Germany launched an attack against French forces at the Somme.
7 June: German forces advanced 37 miles into France, led by Rommel’s force.
10 June: Italy declared war on France and Britain.
13 June: Paris is occupied by Nazi Germany’s troops.
16 June: Raynaud's cabinet resigns; Phillippe Pétain becomes French premier.
17 June: Pétain issued a broadcast to the nation of France, pleaded with them to stop fighting and also asked the Germans for the terms of an armistice.
18 June: The RAF attacked Hamburg and Bremen.
20 June: Italy launched an offensive on the Alpine front.
21 June: A delegation from France met Hitler at Rethonde.
22 June: France signed an Armistice with Germany. The country was basically split in two. The Germans governed the north and the south - which would become known as Vichy France - controlled by Pétain.
24 June: France signed an armistice with Italy.
16 July: Hitler declared his plans for Operation Sealion: the invasion of the UK.
1 August: Hitler commanded the RAF to be destroyed as a precursor to the German invasion.
5 August: The start of the Battle of Britain.
13 August: This day was called ‘Adler Tag’ or 'Eagle Day'. The German Luftwaffe launched 1,485 sorties against Britain. The Luftwaffe lost 45 planes and the RAF lost 13.
15 August: Germany set up an incredible attack on Britain, with a total of 1,790 sorties. The Luftwaffe lost 75 planes and the RAF lost out on 34. The Greek cruiser "Helle" was torpedoed and sunk; the Italians looked a likely suspect.
20 August: Italy announced the full blockade of all Britain's Mediterranean and African territories.
24 August: Central London experiences its first Luftwaffe attack.
25 August: The RAF launched its first attack on Berlin.
3 September: Lend-Lease was signed.
7 September: The London Blitz began with an attack by 300 German bombers supported by 600 fighters.
13 September: Italy invaded Egypt.
15 September: The RAF supposedly shot down 183 German planes during the day - but this would very unlikely.
17 September: Hitler declared Operation Sealion would be put on hold "until further notice".
28 September: The Battle of Britain came to an end.
12 October: Operation Sealion was officially cancelled as Hitler re-focused on the USSR.
28 October: Italy attacked Greece.
11 November: The Royal Navy launched an attack the Italian fleet at Taranto and caused three battleships to be destroyed.
14 November: Coventry suffered a lot of damage thanks to a bombing raid. Its cathedral was devastated (see picture).
9 December: The British Army launched its North African campaign with Operation Compass.
The ruins of Coventry Cathedral, after the German Luftwaffe air raid, 14 November 1940
The ruins of Coventry Cathedral, after the German Luftwaffe air raid, 14 November 1940

See also: World War Two 1941

MLA Citation/Reference

"World War Two 1940". HistoryLearning.com. 2019. Web.