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October During WWII 1939-1945 Chronologically

The month of October has passed quickly and November is here. The month of October held many historical events occurring during the time of WWII. There were triumphs and there were tragedies. Below are listed some of those dates and occasions that occurred, in chronological order:

October 11, 1939 – Albert Einstein warned President Franklin D. Roosevelt that his theories could lead to Nazi Germany’s development of an atomic bomb. Einstein suggested the U.S. develop its own bomb. This resulted in the top secret “Manhattan Project.”

October 31, 1940 – The Battle of Britain concluded. Beginning on July 10, 1940, German bombers and fighters had attacked coastal targets, airfields, London and other cities, as a prelude to a Nazi invasion of England. British pilots in Spitfires and Hurricanes shot down over 1,700 German aircraft while losing 915 fighters. “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,” declared Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

October 31, 1941 – Mount Rushmore National Memorial was completed after 14 years of work. The memorial contains 60-foot-tall sculptures of the heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt – representing America’s founding, political philosophy, preservation, and expansion and conservation. Less than two months later, the Japanese would bomb Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the US would enter the war.

Mount RushmoreOctober 23, 1942 – British General Bernard Montgomery launched a major offensive against German forces under Erwin Rommel at El Alamein, Egypt.

October 4, 1943 – The Island of Corsica became the first French territory in Europe freed from Nazi control as Free French troops liberated the city of Bastia.

October 13, 1943 – Italy declared war on its former Axis partner Germany after the downfall of Mussolini and collapse of his Fascist government.

October 17-25, 1944 – The Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history, took place off the Philippine Islands, during World War II in the Pacific. The battle involved 216 U.S. warships and 64 Japanese ships and resulted in the destruction of the Japanese Navy including the Japanese Battleship Musashi, one of the largest ever built. You can read an in depth article regarding the Battle of Leyte Gulf in our newsletter from November & December 2013.

LeyteBattle of LeyteOctober 20, 1944 – During World War II in the Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur set foot on Philippine soil for the first time since his escape in 1942, fulfilling his promise, “I shall return.”

Macarthur PhillipinesOctober 21, 1944 – During World War II in Europe, American troops captured Aachen in western Germany after a week of hard fighting. It was the first large German city taken by the allies.

October 18, 1945 – The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial began with indictments against 24 former Nazi leaders including Hermann Göring and Albert Speer. The trial lasted 10 months, with delivery of the judgment completed on October 1, 1946. Twelve Nazis were sentenced to death by hanging, three to life imprisonment, four to lesser prison terms, and three were acquitted.

October 24, 1945 – The United Nations was founded.