Culture Wikia
Culture Wikia

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January 20: King Farouk


January 16: Benny Goodman in New York City

  • January 1
    • The California Golden Bears defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 1938 Rose Bowl. Final score 13-0.
    • The Company 1938 OEM Industrial Groups was officially registered.
    • The new Constitution of Estonia enters into force, ending the Era of Silence and the authoritarian regime.
    • Sir Alexander Cadogan succeeds Sir Robert Vansittart as permanent under-secretary at the British Foreign Office; Vansittart is "kicked upstairs" by being given the new and unimportant office of Chief Diplomatic Advisor to the Government.
    • The Merrie Melodies cartoon short Daffy Duck & Egghead is released, being the first cartoon to give Daffy Duck his current name, as well as his second appearance.
  • January 3 – The March of Dimes is established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
  • January 12 – The German War Minister Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg marries Eva Gruhn in Berlin; Hermann Göring is best man at the wedding.
  • January 16 – Two landmark live recordings are produced this day: the very first of Mahler's Ninth by the Vienna Philharmonic under Bruno Walter in the face of dire circumstance; and Benny Goodman and his orchestra become the first jazz musicians to headline a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
  • January 20 – King Farouk of Egypt marries Queen Farida Zulficar in Cairo.
  • January 22Thornton Wilder's play Our Town is performed for the first time anywhere in Princeton, New Jersey. It premieres in New York City on February 4.
  • January 25 – A brilliant aurora borealis described variously as "a curtain of fire" and a "huge blood-red beam of light" startles people across Europe and is visible as far south as Gibraltar.
  • January 27
    • The Niagara Bridge at Niagara Falls, New York collapses due to an ice jam.
    • German War Minister Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg resigns, following the revelation that his new wife had previously posed for pornographic photos.
  • January 28 – The first ski tow in America begins operation in Vermont.
File:Niagara Falls, New York from Skylon Tower.jpg

January 27: Niagara Bridge collapses in ice.


  • February 4
    • Adolf Hitler abolishes the War Ministry and creates the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (High Command of the Armed Forces), giving him direct control of the German military. In addition, Hitler sacks political and military leaders considered unsympathetic to his philosophy or policies. General Werner von Fritsch is forced to resign as Commander of Chief of the German Army following accusations of homosexuality, and replaced by General Walther von Brauchitsch. Foreign Minister Baron Konstantin von Neurath is sacked and replaced by Joachim von Ribbentrop.
    • Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first cel-animated feature in motion picture history, is released in the United States following a premiere the previous year.
  • February 6 – Black Sunday at Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia: 300 swimmers are dragged out to sea in 3 freak waves; 80 lifesavers save all but 5.
  • February 10Carol II of Romania takes dictatorial powers.
  • February 12 – Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg of Austria meets Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden and, under threat of invasion, is forced to yield to German demands for greater Nazi participation in the Austrian government.
  • February 14 – The British naval base at Singapore begins operations.
  • February 20 – Sir Anthony Eden resigns as British Foreign Secretary following major disagreements with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain over the best policy to follow in regards to Italy, and is succeeded by Lord Halifax.
  • February 24 – A nylon bristle toothbrush becomes the first commercial product to be made with nylon yarn.


  • March 3
    • The Santa Ana River in California spills over its banks during a rainy winter, killing 58 people in Orange County and causing trouble as far inland as Palm Springs.[1]
    • Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia.
    • Sir Nevile Henderson, British Ambassador to Germany, presents a proposal to Hitler for an international consortium to rule much of Africa (in which Germany would be assigned a leading role) in exchange for a German promise never to resort to war to change her frontiers; Hitler rejects the British offer.
  • March 12Anschluss: German troops occupy Austria; annexation is declared the following day.
  • March 14 – French Premier Léon Blum reassures the Czechoslovak government that France will honor its treaty obligations to aid Czechoslovakia in event of German invasion.
  • March 15 – Soviet Union announces officially that Nikolai Bukharin has been executed.
  • March 17 – Poland presents an ultimatum to Lithuania, to establish normal diplomatic relations that were severed over the Vilnius Region.
  • March 18
    • Mexico nationalizes all foreign-owned oil properties within its borders.
    • General Werner von Fritsch is acquitted of charges of homosexuality at his court-martial.
  • March 27
    • Italian mathematician Ettore Majorana disappears suddenly under mysterious circumstances while going by ship from Palermo to Naples.
  • March 28 – At a meeting with Hitler in Berlin Konrad Henlein is instructed to make increasing demands concerning the status of the Sudetenland but to avoid reaching an agreement with the Czechoslovak authorities.
  • March 30 – Italy's Duce Benito Mussolini is granted equal power over the Italian military to that of King Victor Emmanuel III as First Marshal of the Empire held exclusively by Victor Emmanuel and Mussolini.


  • April 10
    • Édouard Daladier becomes prime minister of France. He appoints as Foreign Minister a leading advocate of the policy of appeasement, Georges Bonnet, effectively negating Blum's reassurances of March 14.
    • In a result that astonished even Hitler, the Austrian electorate in a national referendum approved Anschluss by an overwhelming 99.73%.
  • April 16 – London and Rome sign an agreement that sees Britain recognise Italian control of Ethiopia in return for an Italian pledge to withdraw all its troops from Spain at the conclusion of the civil war there.
  • April 18 – First appearance of Superman (as a backup story), in Action Comics #1 (cover date June). The date is established in court documents released during the legal battle over the rights to Superman.
  • April 24Konstantin Päts becomes the first President of Estonia.
  • April 25Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins: The U.S. Supreme Court overturns a century of federal common law.
  • April 28 – The towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott in Massachusetts are disincorporated to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir.


  • May 5
    • The Vatican recognizes Francisco Franco's government in Spain.
    • General Ludwig Beck, Chief of the German Army's General Staff, submits a memorandum to Hitler opposing Fall Grün (Case Green), the plan for a war with Czechoslovakia, under the grounds that Germany is ill-prepared for the world war likely to result from such an attack.
  • May 12 – U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull rejects Russia's offer of a joint defence pact to counter rise of Nazi Germany.
  • May 14Chile withdraws from the League of Nations.
  • May 17Information Please debuts on NBC Radio.
  • May 19May Crisis begins when Czechoslovak intelligence receives reports of menacing German military concentrations. (It later appears the reports were false.)
  • May 20Czechoslovakia orders a partial mobilization of its armed forces along the German border.
  • May 21 – Matsuo Toi kills 30 people in a village in Okayama, Japan, in the Tsuyama massacre, the world's worst spree killing by an individual until 1982.
  • May 23 – No evidence of German troop movements against Czechoslovakia is found and May Crisis subsides. Germany is, nevertheless, perceived to have backed down in the face of Czechoslovak mobilization and international diplomatic unity but the issue of the future of the Sudetenland is far from resolved.
  • May 25
    • Spanish Civil War: Alicante is bombed by fascist rebels, resulting in 313 deaths.
    • The Soviet ambassador to the United States, A.A. Troyanovsky, declares Moscow ready to defend Czechoslovakia.
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  • May 28 – In a conference at the Reichs Chancellery, Hitler declares his decision to destroy Czechoslovakia by military force, and orders the immediate mobilization of 96 Wehrmacht divisions.
  • May 30Hitler issues a revised directive for Case Green - the invasion of Czechoslovakia - to be carried out by 1 October 1938.


  • June 11Katnip Kollege is released to theaters.
  • June 11 – Fire destroys 214 buildings in Ludza, Latvia.
  • June 15László Bíró patents the ballpoint pen in Britain.
  • June 19Italy beats Hungary 4–2 to win the 1938 World Cup.
  • June 22Heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis knocks out Max Schmeling in the first round of their rematch at Yankee Stadium in New York City.
  • June 23
    • The Civil Aeronautics Act is signed into law, forming the Civil Aeronautics Authority in the United States.
    • Marineland opens near St. Augustine, Florida.
  • June 24 – A Script error: No such module "convert". meteorite explodes about Script error: No such module "convert". above the earth near Chicora, Pennsylvania.
  • June 25 – Dr. Douglas Hyde is elected the first President of Ireland.


  • July – The Mauthausen concentration camp is built in Austria.
  • July 3
    • The steam locomotive Mallard sets the world speed record for steam by reaching 125.88 mph.
    • The last reunion of the Blue and Gray commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
  • July 5 – The Non-Intervention Committee reaches an agreement to withdraw all foreign volunteers from the Spanish Civil War. The agreement is respected by most Republican foreign volunteers, notably by those from England and the United States, but is ignored by the governments of Germany and Italy.
  • July 6 – The Evian Conference on Refugees is convened in France. No country in Europe is prepared to accept Jews fleeing persecution and the United States will only take 27,370. The prospect for European Jewry looks bleak.
  • July 14Howard Hughes sets a new record by completing a 91-hour airplane flight around the world.
  • July 18Wrong Way Corrigan takes off from New York, ostensibly heading for California. He lands in Ireland instead.
  • July 22 – Britain rejected a proposal from its ambassador in Berlin, Nevile Henderson, for a four power summit on Czechoslovakia consisting of Britain, France, Germany and the U.S.S.R. London would under no circumstances accept the U.S.S.R. as a diplomatic partner.
  • July 24 – First ascent of the Eiger north face.
  • July 28
    • A revolt against the Ioannis Metaxas dictatorship is put down in Chania, Greece.
    • Hawaii Clipper disappears with six passengers and nine crew en route from Guam to Manila.
  • July 30 – The first ever issue of The Beano is published.


  • August – In the face of overwhelming Japanese military pressure, Chiang Kai-shek withdraws his government to Chungking.
  • August 3Lord Runciman, sent by Neville Chamberlain, arrives in Prague on his Mission of mediation in the Sudetenland dispute.
  • August 6 – The Looney Tunes animated short Porky & Daffy is released.
  • August 10 – At a secret summit with his leading generals, Hitler attacks General Beck's arguments against Fall Grün, winning the majority of his senior officers over to his point of view.
  • August 18
    • The Thousand Islands Bridge, connecting the United States with Canada, is dedicated by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
    • Colonel General Ludwig Beck, convinced that Hitler's decision to attack Czechoslovakia will lead to a general European war, resigns his position as Chief of the Army General Staff in protest.
    • Ewald von Kleist-Schmenzin arrives in London looking for British support for an anti-Nazi putsch, using the looming crisis over the Sudetenland as a pretext. His private mission is dismissed by Neville Chamberlain as unimportant (Chamberlain refers to von Kleist as a "Jacobite"), but he finds a sympathetic if powerless audience in Winston Churchill.
  • August 22Civil Aeronautics Authority (independent agency).
  • August 23Hitler, hosting a dinner on board the ocean liner Patria in Kiel Bay, tells the Regent of Hungary, Admiral Horthy, that action against Czechoslovakia is imminent and that "he who wants to sit at the table must at least help in the kitchen", a reference to Horthy's designs on Carpathian Ruthenia.
  • August 27 – General Beck leaves office as Chief of the General Staff; he is replaced by General Franz Halder.
  • August 28Lord Runciman's mission to mitigate the Sudetenland crisis begins to break down. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain recalls the British Ambassador Nevile Henderson from Berlin, to instruct Henderson to set up a personal meeting between Chamberlain and Hitler.
  • August 31Winston Churchill, still believing France and Britain mean to honor their promises to defend Czechoslovakia against Nazi aggression, suggests in a personal note to Neville Chamberlain that His Majesty's Government may want to set up a broad international alliance including the United States (specifically mentioning U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as possibly receptive to the idea) and the Soviet Union.


  • September – The European crisis over German demands for annexation of the Sudeten borderland of Czechoslovakia heats up.
  • September 2 – Soviet Ambassador to Britain Ivan Maisky calls on Winston Churchill, to tell him that Soviet Foreign Commissar Maxim Litvinov has expressed to the French chargé d'affaires in Moscow that the Soviet Union is willing to fight over the territorial integrity of Czechoslovakia.
  • September 4 – During the ceremony marking the unveiling of a plaque at Pointe de Grave, France celebrating Franco-American friendship, American Ambassador William Bullitt in a speech states, "France and the United States were united in war and peace", leading to much speculation in the press that if war did break out over Czechoslovakia, then the United States would join the war on the Allied side.
  • September 5Czechoslovakian President Edvard Beneš invites mid-level representatives of the Sudeten Germans to the Hradčany palace, to tell them he will accept whatever demands they care to make, provided the Sudetenland remains part of the Republic of Czechoslovakia.
  • September 6 – What eventually proves to be the last of the "Nuremberg Rallies" begins. It draws worldwide attention because it is widely assumed Hitler, in his closing remarks, will signal whether there will be peace with or war over Czechoslovakia.
  • September 7The Times publishes a lead article which calls on Czechoslovakia to cede the Sudetenland to Germany.
  • September 9 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt disallows the popular interpretation of Bullitt's speech at a press conference at the White House. Roosevelt states it is "100% wrong" the U.S. would join a "stop-Hitler bloc" under any circumstances, and makes it quite clear that in the event of German aggression against Czechoslovakia, the U.S. would remain neutral.
  • September 10Hermann Göring, in a speech at Nuremberg, calls the Czechs a "miserable pygmy race" who are "harassing the human race." That same evening, Edvard Beneš, President of Czechoslovakia, makes a broadcast in which he appeals for calm.
  • September 12Hitler makes his much-anticipated closing address at Nuremberg, in which he vehemently attacks the Czech people and President Beneš. American news commentator Hans von Kaltenborn begins his famous marathon of broadcast bulletins over the CBS Radio Network with a summation of Hitler's address.
  • September 13 – The followers of Konrad Henlein begin an armed revolt against the Czechoslovak government in Sudetenland. Martial law is declared and after much bloodshed on both sides order is temporarily restored. Neville Chamberlain personally sends a telegram to Hitler urgently requesting that they both meet.
  • September 15Neville Chamberlain arrives in Berchtesgaden to begin negotiations with Hitler over the Sudetenland.
  • September 16Lord Runciman is recalled to London from Prague in order to brief the British government on the situation in the Sudetenland.
  • September 17Neville Chamberlain returns temporarily to London to confer with his cabinet. The U.S.S.R. Red Army masses along the Ukrainian frontier. Rumania agrees to allow Soviet soldiers free passage across her territory to defend Czechoslovakia.
  • September 18
    • During a meeting between Neville Chamberlain and the recently elected Premier of France, Édouard Daladier, and Daladier's Foreign Minister, Georges Bonnet, it becomes apparent neither the British nor the French governments are prepared to go to war over the Sudetenland. The Soviet Union declares it will come to the defence of Czechoslovakia only if France honours her commitment to defend Czechoslovak independence.
    • Mussolini makes a speech in Trieste, Italy where he indicates that Italy is supporting Germany in the Sudeten crisis.
  • September 21
    • In the early hours of the day, representatives of the French and British governments call on Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš to tell him France and Britain will not fight Hitler if he decides to annex the Sudetenland by force. Late in the afternoon the Czechoslovak government capitulates to the French and British demands.
    • Winston Churchill warns of grave consequences to European security if Czechoslovakia is partitioned. The same day, Soviet Foreign Commissar Maxim Litvinov makes a similar statement in the League of Nations.
    • The 1938 New England hurricane strikes Long Island and southern New England, killing over 300 along the Rhode Island shoreline and 600 altogether.
    • Following the capitulation of the Czech government to Germany's demands both Poland and Hungary demand slices of Czech territory where their nationals reside.
  • September 22
    • Unable to survive the previous day's capitulation to the demands of the English and French governments, Czechoslovak premier Milan Hodža resigns. General Jan Syrový takes his place.
    • Neville Chamberlain arrives in the city of Bad Godesberg for another round of talks with Hitler over the Sudetenland crisis. Hitler raises his demands to include occupation of all German Sudeten territories by October 1. That night after a telephone conference, Chamberlain reverses himself and advises the Czechoslovaks to mobilize.
    • Olsen and Johnson's musical comedy revue Hellzapoppin begins its 3-year run on Broadway.
  • September 23
    • The Czechoslovak army mobilizes.
    • As the Polish army masses along the Czech border the Soviet Union warns Poland if it crosses the Czech frontier Russia will regard the 1932 non-aggression pact between the two countries void.
  • September 24
    • Sir Eric Phipps, British Ambassador to France, reports to London, "all that is best in France is against war, almost at any price", being opposed only by a "small, but noisy and corrupt, war group". Phipps's report creates major doubts about the ability and/or willingness of France to go to war.
    • At 1:30 AM, Adolf Hitler and Neville Chamberlain conclude their talks on the Sudetenland. Chamberlain agrees to take Hitler's demands, codified in the Godesberg Memorandum, personally to the Czech Government. The Czech Government rejects the demands, as does Chamberlain's own cabinet. The French Government also initially rejects the terms and orders a partial mobilization of the French army.
  • September 26 – In a vitriolic speech at Berlin's Sportpalast, Hitler defies the world and implies war with Czechoslovakia will begin at any time.
  • September 28 – As his self-imposed October 1 deadline for occupation of the Sudetenland approaches, Adolf Hitler invites Italian Duce Benito Mussolini, French Premier Edourd Deladier, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to one last conference in Munich. The Czechs themselves are not invited.
  • September 29
    • Colonel Graham Christie, former British military attaché in Berlin, is told by Carl Friedrich Goerdeler that the mobilization of the Royal Navy has badly damaged the popularity of the Nazi regime, as the German public realizes that Fall Grün is likely to cause a world war.
    • Munich Agreement: German, Italian, British and French leaders agree to German demands regarding annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. The Czechoslovak government is largely excluded from the negotiations and is not a signatory to the agreement.
    • The Republic of Hatay is declared in Syria
  • September 30 – Neville Chamberlain returns to Britain from meeting with Adolf Hitler and declares "Peace for our time".


  • October – The Imperial Japanese Army largely overruns Canton.
  • October 1 – German troops march into the Sudetenland. The Polish government gives the Czech government an ultimatum stating that Zaolzie region must be handed over within twenty-four hours. The Czechs have little choice but to comply. Polish forces occupy Zaolzie.
  • October 2
    • Tiberias massacre: Arab raiders murder 19 Jewish immigrants.
    • Disgusted with Neville Chamberlain's conduct at Munich, Duff Cooper resigns his post as First Lord of the Admiralty. With his resignation, formal debate begins in the Parliament of the United Kingdom on the Munich Agreement, but with Chamberlain at the peak of his popularity, there can be little doubt His Majesty's Government will receive a vote of confidence.
  • October 3 – Production of the Jefferson nickel began, replacing the Buffalo nickel (last struck in April 1938). The new nickel was released on November 15, 1938.[2]
  • October 4 – The Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War begin withdrawing their foreign volunteers from combat as agreed on July 5.
  • October 5
    • Edvard Beneš, president of Czechoslovakia, resigns.
    • In Nazi Germany, Jews' passports were invalidated, and those who needed a passport for emigration purposes were given one marked with the letter J ("Jude" – "Jew").[3]
  • October 10 – The Blue Water Bridge opens, connecting Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario.
  • October 14Farah Pahlavi the widow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and as such the former Queen of Iran
  • October 16Winston Churchill, in a broadcast address to the United States, condemns the Munich Agreement as a defeat and calls upon America and western Europe to prepare for armed resistance against Hitler.
  • October 18 – The German government expels 12,000 Polish Jews living in Germany; the Polish government accepts 4,000 and refuses admittance to the remaining 8,000, who are forced to live in the no-man's land on the German-Polish frontier.
  • October 21 – In direct contravention of the recently signed Munich Agreement, Adolf Hitler circulates among his high command a secret memorandum stating that they should prepare for the "liquidation of the rest of Czechoslovakia" and the occupation of Memel.
  • October 24
    • The minimum wage is established by law in the United States.
    • French Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet carries out a major purge of the Qui d'Orsay, sacking or exiling a number of anti-appeasement officials such as Pierre Comert and René Massigli.
    • At a "friendly luncheon" in Berchtesgaden, German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop tells Józef Lipski, the Polish ambassador to Germany, that the Free City of Danzig must return to Germany, that the Germans must be given extraterritorial rights in the Polish Corridor, and that Poland must sign the Anti-Comintern Pact.
  • October 27
    • DuPont announces a name for its new synthetic yarn: "nylon".
    • Jews with Polish citizenship are evicted from Nazi Germany.[3]
  • October 30Orson Welles' radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds is broadcast, causing panic in various parts of the United States.
  • October 31Great Depression: In an effort to try restore investor confidence, the New York Stock Exchange unveils a 15-point program aimed to upgrade protection for the investing public.


File:The day after Kristallnacht.jpg

November 9-10: Night of Broken Glass.

  • November 1Horse racing: Seabiscuit defeats War Admiral by four lengths in their famous match race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
  • November 2 – Arising from The Munich Agreement Hungary is "awarded" the Felvidek region of South Slovakia and Ruthenia.
  • November 4 – At a public meeting in Epping, Winston Churchill narrowly survives an attempt by fellow Conservative and constituent Sir Colin Thornton-Kemsley to remove him from Parliament.Template:Clarify
  • November 7Ernst vom Rath, the Third Secretary at the German Embassy in Paris, is assassinated by Herschel Grynszpan.
  • November 9HolocaustKristallnacht: In Germany, the "night of broken glass" begins as Nazi activists and sympathizers loot and burn Jewish businesses (the all night affair sees 7,500 Jewish businesses destroyed, 267 synagogues burned, 91 Jews killed, and at least 25,000 Jewish men arrested).[4]
  • November 10
    • On the eve of Armistice Day, Kate Smith sings Irving Berlin's God Bless America for the first time on her weekly radio show.
    • İsmet İnönü becomes the second president of Turkey.
  • November 11Celâl Bayar forms the new government of Turkey. (10th government; Celal Bayar had served twice as a prime minister)
  • November 12 – French Finance Minister Paul Reynaud brings into effect a series of laws aiming at improving French productivity (thus aiming to undo the economic weaknesses which led to Munich), and undoes most of the economic and social laws of the Popular Front.
  • November 16
    • The first reported "attack" of the Halifax Slasher mass hysteria incident.
    • Britain formally recognised Italy's control of Ethiopia. In return Mussolini agreed to withdraw 10,000 troops from Spain.
    • LSD is first synthesized by Albert Hofmann from ergotamine at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel.[5]
  • November 18Trade union members elect John L. Lewis as the first president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
  • November 25 – French Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet informs Léon Noël, the French Ambassador to Poland, that France should find an excuse for terminating the 1921 Franco-Polish alliance.
  • November 30
    • The Czechoslovak parliament elects Emil Hácha as the new president of Czechoslovakia.
    • Benito Mussolini and his Foreign Minister Count Galeazzo Ciano order "spontaneous" demonstrations in the Italian Chamber of Deputies, demanding that France cede Tunisia, Nice, Corsica and French Somaliland to Italy. This begins an acute crisis in Franco-Italian relations that lasts until March 1939.
    • Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, leader of the Romanian fascist Iron Guard, is murdered on the orders of King Carol II. Officially, Codreanu and the 13 other Iron Guard leaders are "shot while trying to escape".
    • A general strike is called in France by the French Communist Party to protest the laws of November 12.


  • December – President Roosevelt agrees to loan $25 million to Chiang Kai-shek, cementing the Sino-American relationship and angering the Japanese government.
  • December 1 – Slovakia granted the status of an autonomous state under the Catholic priest Fr. Joseph Tiso.
  • December 6 – German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop visits Paris, where he is allegedly informed by French Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet that France now recognizes all of Eastern Europe as being in Germany's exclusive sphere of influence. Bonnet's alleged statement (Bonnet always denied making the remark) to Ribbentrop is a major factor in German policy in 1939.
  • December 11
    • Kingdom of Yugoslavia parliamentary election: The opposition gains votes but not seats.
    • Following elections in the Lithuanian city of Memel the Lithuanian Nazi party wins over 90% of the votes.
  • December 13 – The Neuengamme concentration camp opens near Hamburg.
  • December 15 – Government of the Netherlands closes its border to refugees.
  • December 16MGM releases its successful film version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. The film is originally intended to star Lionel Barrymore as Ebenezer Scrooge, but Barrymore, ill with arthritis, is replaced by Reginald Owen.
  • December 17Otto Hahn discovers the nuclear fission of Uranium, the scientific and technological basis of nuclear energy, which marks the beginning of the Atomic Age.
  • December 23 – A coelacanth, a fish thought to have been extinct, is caught off the coast of South Africa near Chalumna River.
  • December 27 – A massive avalanche of snow hits a construction worker dormitory site in Kurobe, Japan, killing 87.
  • December 30 – The ballet Romeo and Juliet with music by Prokofiev receives its first full performance at the Mahen Theatre in Brno, Czechoslovakia.

Date unknown

  • Establishment of Majlis Khuddam-ul Ahmadiyya by Khalifat-ul Masih II, Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, the second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
  • In West Java, Daeng Soetigna tunes the traditional pentatonic angklung to play the diatonic scale.
  • Adolf Hitler is Time magazine's "Man of the Year", as the most influential person of the year.
  • The Walther P38 pistol is introduced in Germany.
  • The Schomburgk's deer becomes extinct by this date.
  • Herbert E. Ives and G. R. Stilwell execute the Ives–Stilwell experiment, showing that ions radiate at frequencies affected by their motion.[6]
  • Family plots produce 22% of all Soviet agricultural produce on only 4% of all cultivated land.
  • Women are limited by law to a maximum of 10% of the better-paying jobs in industry and government in Italy.



File:President Masum in Iran.jpg

Fuad Masum

File:Busto de Juan Carlos I de España (2009).jpg

Juan Carlos I of Spain

File:Morihiro Hosokawa cropped 1 Morihiro Hosokawa 19930927.jpg

Morihiro Hosokawa


Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands

  • January 1
    • Robert Jankel, British coachbuilder (d. 2005)
    • Frank Langella, American actor
    • Fuad Masum, President of Iraq
  • January 2
    • Farouk El-Baz, Egyptian American space scientist
    • Ian Brady, British serial killer
    • Hans Herbjørnsrud, Norwegian author
    • Goh Kun, Mayor of Seoul
    • Bohumil Nemecek, Czechoslovakian Olympic boxer (d. 2010)
    • Dana Ulery, American computer scientist
  • January 5 – King Juan Carlos I of Spain
  • January 6Mario Rodríguez Cobos aka "Silo", Argentine author and spiritualist (d. 2010)
  • January 7Roland Topor, French illustrator (d. 1997)
  • January 8Bob Eubanks, American game show host
  • January 10
    • Donald Knuth, American mathematician and computer scientist
    • Willie McCovey, American baseball player
  • January 11
    • Fischer Black, American economist (d. 1995)
    • Alastair Morton, British railway executive (d. 2004)
  • January 12
    • Teresa del Conde, Mexican art critic and historian
    • Lewis Fiander, Australian actor
    • Noel McNamara, Australian justice campaigner and commentator
  • January 13
    • Paavo Heininen, Finnish composer
    • Nachi Nozawa, Japanese voice actor (d. 2010)
    • Shivkumar Sharma, Indian musician
    • Daevid Allen, Australian musician (d. 2015)
  • January 14
    • Jack Jones, American singer and actor
    • Allen Toussaint, American musician and composer (d. 2015)
    • Morihiro Hosokawa, Prime Minister of Japan
  • January 17John Bellairs, American writer (d. 1991)
  • January 18Curt Flood, American baseball player (d. 1997)
  • January 20Derek Dougan, Northern Irish footballer (d. 2007)
  • January 21Wolfman Jack, American disc-jockey and actor (d. 1995)
  • January 23Georg Baselitz, German painter and sculptor
  • January 24Gyula Torok, Hungarian Olympic boxer (d. 2014)
  • January 25
    • Etta James, American singer (d. 2012)
    • Shotaro Ishinomori, Japanese author, Father of "Henshin heroes" (d. 1998)
    • Vladimir Vysotsky, Russian singer-songwriter, poet, actor (d. 1980)
  • January 28Tomas Lindahl, Swedish biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • January 29Shuji Tsurumi, Japanese men's artistic gymnast
  • January 30Islam Karimov, President of Uzbekistan (d. 2016)
  • January 31
    • Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
    • Lynn Carlin, American actress



Mohammed Gammoudi


István Szabó


Phil Knight

  • February 1Sherman Hemsley, American comedian and actor (d. 2012)
  • February 2Max Alvis, American baseball player
  • February 4Frank J. Dodd, American businessman and politician, president of the New Jersey Senate (d. 2010)
  • February 8Prentice Gautt, American football player (d. 2005)
  • February 11
    • Bevan Congdon, New Zealand cricketer
    • Mohammed Gammoudi, Tunisian Olympic athlete
    • Simone de Oliveira, Portuguese actress and singer
  • February 12Judy Blume, American author
  • February 13Oliver Reed, English actor (d. 1999)
  • February 14Lee Chamberlin, African-American actress (d. 2014)
  • February 16
    • Barry Primus, American actor
    • John Corigliano, American composer
  • February 17Yvonne Romain, English actress
  • February 18István Szabó, Hungarian film director
  • February 19René Muñoz, Cuba-born actor, Mexico-based telenovela/film screenwriter (d. 2000)
  • February 24
    • James Farentino, American actor (d. 2012)
    • Phil Knight, American sportswear entrepreneur
  • February 25Herb Elliott, Australian runner
  • February 27Jake Thackray, English singer-songwriter (d. 2002)


File:Ricardo Lagos 2015.jpg

Ricardo Lagos Escobar

File:Nobel Laureate Sir Anthony James Leggett in 2007.jpg

Anthony James Leggett

  • March 2Ricardo Lagos Escobar, President of Chile
  • March 4
  • March 7
  • March 8Bruno Pizzul, Italian sports journalist
  • March 9Charles Siebert, American actor and director
  • March 13Erma Franklin, American singer (d. 2002)
  • March 14Eleanor Bron, English actress
  • March 17
    • Rudolf Nureyev, Russian-born dancer and choreographer (d. 1993)
    • Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, Roman Catholic prelate; Archbishop of Edinburgh
  • March 18
    • Shashi Kapoor, Indian actor, director, and producer
    • Charley Pride, American baseball player and country musician
  • March 19Joe Kapp, American football player and coach
  • March 21Fritz Pleitgen, German television journalist and author
  • March 21 – Luigi Tenco, Italian singer-songwriter (d. 1967)
  • March 23Maynard Jackson, American mayor of Atlanta, Georgia (d. 2003)
  • March 24David Irving, English historian and author
  • March 25Hoyt Axton, American country music singer-songwriter and actor (d. 1999)
  • March 26Anthony James Leggett, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • March 31Joel Godard, American announcer


File:Kofi Annan 2012 (cropped).jpg

Kofi Annan

File:Claudia Cardinale, Women's World Awards 2009 b.jpg

Claudia Cardinale

File:Nino Benvenuti.jpg

Giovanni Benvenuti

  • April 1John Quade, American actor (d. 2009)
  • April 2John Larsson, the 17th General of The Salvation Army
  • April 3Jeff Barry, American record producer and songwriter
  • April 4A. Bartlett Giamatti, American president of Yale University and baseball commissioner (d. 1989)
  • April 7
    • Jerry Brown, American politician and lawyer, Governor of California
    • Freddie Hubbard, American jazz trumpeter (d. 2008)
    • Jerre Levy, American psychologist
    • Spencer Dryden, American drummer (Jefferson Airplane) (d. 2005)
  • April 8Kofi Annan, Ghanaian Secretary-General of the United Nations, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • April 10
    • Viktor Chernomyrdin, Russian politician (d. 2010)
    • Don Meredith, American football player and broadcaster (d. 2010)
  • April 11
    • Michael Deaver, Reagan Administration Deputy White House Chief of Staff (d. 2007)
    • Kurt Moll, German bass
  • April 12Roger Caron, Canadian author
  • April 13Frederic Rzewski, American composer and pianist
  • April 15Claudia Cardinale, Tunisian-born Italian actress
  • April 17Kerry Wendell Thornley, American counterculture figure, writer and co-founder of Discordianism (d. 1998)
  • April 19Stanley Fish, American literary theorist and legal scholar
  • April 20Tamási Eszter, Hungarian TV announcer and actress (d. 1991)
  • April 22
    • Alan Bond, English-born Australian businessman (d. 2015)
    • Issey Miyake, Japanese fashion designer
    • Adam Raphael, English journalist and editor
  • April 26
    • Giovanni Benvenuti, Italian Olympic boxer
    • Duane Eddy, American musician
    • Maurice Williams, American musician
  • April 29
    • Bernard Madoff, American criminal; financial fraudster
    • Larry Niven, American author


  • May 2 – King Moshoeshoe II of Lesotho (d. 1996)
  • May 4Tyrone Davis, American singer (d. 2005)
  • May 10Henry Fambrough, American singer (The Spinners)
  • May 11Fritz-Albert Popp, German biophysicist
  • May 12Luana Anders, American actress (d. 1996)
  • May 13Francine Pascal, American novelist and playwright
  • May 17Jason Bernard, American actor (d. 1996)
  • May 22Richard Benjamin, American actor
  • May 26
    • William Bolcom, American composer and music arranger
    • Pauline Parker, New Zealand convicted murderer
    • Teresa Stratas, Canadian operatic soprano
  • May 28Jerry West, American basketball player and executive
  • May 30Eugene Belliveau, Canadian football defensive lineman
  • May 31
    • Johnny Paycheck, American country singer (d. 2003)
    • Peter Yarrow, American singer


File:BillyMills cropped.jpg

Billy Mills

  • June 1Khawar Rizvi, Pakistani Poet and Scholar (d. 1981)
  • June 5Karin Balzer, German athlete
  • June 6Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza, pretender to the Brazilian throne
  • June 7Goose Gonsoulin, American football player
  • June 8Mack Vickery, American musician (d. 2004)
  • June 12Tom Oliver, Australian actor
  • June 14Shelby Stephenson, American poet
  • June 15Billy Williams, American baseball player
  • June 16James Bolam, British actor
  • June 19
    • Wahoo McDaniel, American football player and professional wrestler (d. 2002)
    • Ian Smith, Australian actor
  • June 21Ron Ely, American actor (Tarzan)
  • June 24Abulfaz Elchibey, First democratically elected Azerbaijani president (d.2000)
  • June 30Billy Mills, American Olympic athlete



Brian Dennehy

File:Natalie Wood publicity 1963.jpg

Natalie Wood

File:Janet Reno-us-Portrait.jpg

Janet Reno

File:Al Fujimori.jpg

Alberto Fujimori

  • July 3Bolo Yeung, Hong Kong actor
  • July 4Bill Withers, American singer and songwriter
  • July 6
    • Tony Lewis, English cricketer
    • Luana Patten, American actress (d. 1996)
  • July 8Justin Leiber, American philosopher and science fiction writer.
  • July 9Brian Dennehy, American actor
  • July 10Tura Satana, Japanese-born American actress (d. 2011)
  • July 12Wieger Mensonides, Dutch swimmer
  • July 14Tommy Vig, Hungarian composer, arranger, vibraphonist
  • July 18
  • July 19Jayant Narlikar, Indian astrophysicist
  • July 20
    • Roger Hunt, English footballer
    • Dame Diana Rigg, English actress
    • Natalie Wood, American actress (d. 1981)
  • July 21Janet Reno, American lawyer (d. 2016)
  • July 23
    • Juliet Anderson, American actress (d. 2010)
    • Ronny Cox, American actor
    • Bert Newton, Australian actor and television show host
    • Götz George, German actor
  • July 24Eugene J. Martin, American painter, artist (d. 2005)
  • July 27Gary Gygax, American author and game designer (d. 2008)
  • July 28
    • Luis Aragonés, Spanish football player and manager (d. 2014)
    • Alberto Fujimori, President of Peru
  • July 29
    • Anthony Joseph Burgess, Papua New Guinean Roman Catholic bishop (d. 2013)
    • Peter Jennings, Canadian-born television news reporter (d. 2005)



Leonid Kuchma


Kenny Rogers

File:Paul Martin in 2011 crop.jpg

Paul Martin

  • August 3 – Sir Terry Wogan, Irish-British radio broadcaster and television presenter/personality (d. 2016)
  • August 8
    • Otto Rehhagel, German football player and manager
    • Connie Stevens, American actress, singer and businesswoman
  • August 9
    • Leonid Kuchma, President of Ukraine
    • Rod Laver, Australian tennis player
  • August 10Grit Boettcher, German actress
  • August 15
    • Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
    • Janusz A. Zajdel, Polish writer (d. 1985)
  • August 16Bill Masterton, Canadian hockey player (d. 1968)
  • August 19
    • Valentin Mankin, Ukrainian Soviet sailor, Olympic triple champion and silver medalist (d. 2014)
    • Diana Muldaur, American actress
  • August 20Alain Vivien, French politician
  • August 21Kenny Rogers, American country singer
  • August 22Paul Maguire, American football player
  • August 24
    • Halldór Blöndal, Icelandic politician
    • David Freiberg, American musician (Quicksilver Messenger Service and Jefferson Starship)
  • August 26Susan Harrison, American actress
  • August 28
    • Maurizio Costanzo, Italian television news reporter
    • Paul Martin, 21st Prime Minister of Canada
  • August 29Robert Rubin, American banker who served as the 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury
  • August 31Martin Bell, British journalist and politician


File:Romy Schneider 1973.jpg

Romy Schneider


File:Kuczynski Pedro Pablo (cropped).jpg

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski

File:Christopher Lloyd May 2015.jpg

Christopher Lloyd


Ralph Bakshi



Queen Sofía of Spain

File:Camorra Jean Seberg.png

Jean Seberg

File:Ted Turner LF.JPG

Ted Turner

  • November 2
    • Pat Buchanan, American political operative, journalist, pundit and one-time presidential candidate
    • David Lane, American white nationalist (d. 2007)
    • Queen Sofía of Spain
  • November 5
    • Enéas Carneiro, Brazilian politician (d. 2007)
    • Joe Dassin, French singer (d. 1980)
  • November 6
    • Mack Jones, American baseball player (d. 2004)
    • Branko Mikasinovich, Serbian-American journalist
  • November 10Michael Schultz, American film director and producer
  • November 11Ants Antson, Estonian speed skater (d. 2015)
  • November 12Benjamin Mkapa, Tanzanian president
  • November 13Jean Seberg, American actress (d. 1979)
  • November 16Robert Nozick, American philosopher (d. 2002)
  • November 17Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian folk singer
  • November 19Ted Turner, American entrepreneur
  • November 24
    • Oscar Robertson, American basketball player
    • Charles Starkweather, American spree killer (d. 1959)
  • November 26Porter J. Goss, American politician and Central Intelligence Agency director


File:Connie Francis 1961.JPG

Connie Francis

File:Peter Snell 1964.jpg

Peter Snell, 1964 Olympic gold medalist

File:Jon Voight 2011.jpg

Jon Voight

Date unknown

  • Michael Leader, British actor (d. 2016)
  • Yusuf Lodhi, Pakistani editor and cartoonist (d. 1996)
  • Neila Sathyalingam, Singaporean classical Indian dancer, choreographer and instructor



  • January 2Henry Victor Deligny, French general (b. 1855)
  • January 8
    • Johnny Gruelle, American cartoonist and children's book author (b. 1880)
    • Christian Rohlfs, German painter (b. 1849)
  • January 20Émile Cohl, French caricaturist and animator (b. 1857)
  • January 21Georges Méliès, French film director (b. 1861)
  • January 28Bernd Rosemeyer, German racing driver (b. 1909)
  • January 29Armando Palacio Valdés, Spanish writer (b. 1853)


  • February 7Harvey Firestone, American tire manufacturer (b. 1868)
  • February 10Richard A. Whiting, American composer (b. 1890)
  • February 11Kazimierz Twardowski, Polish philosopher and logician (b. 1866)
  • February 18
    • David King Udall, American politician (b. 1851)
    • Leopoldo Lugones, Argentine writer and journalist (b. 1874)
  • February 19Edmund Landau, German mathematician (b. 1877)


  • March 1Gabriele D'Annunzio, Italian writer, war hero, and politician (b. 1863)
  • March 2
    • William Blomfield, New Zealand cartoonist (b. 1866)
    • Ben Harney, American composer and pianist (b. 1871)
  • March 12Lyda Roberti, Polish actress (b. 1906)
  • March 13Clarence Darrow, American attorney (b. 1857)
  • March 15
    • Alexei Rykov, Premier of Russia and the Soviet Union (b. 1881)
    • Nikolai Bukharin, Soviet politician (b. 1888)
  • March 21Oscar Apfel, American actor and director (b. 1878)
  • March 27William Stern, German psychologist and philosopher (b. 1871)


  • April 1Louis-Henri Foreau, French painter (b. 1866)
  • April 8Joe "King" Oliver, American jazz musician (b. 1885)
  • April 12Feodor Chaliapin, Russian bass (b. 1873)
  • April 14Gillis Grafström, Swedish figure skater (b. 1893)
  • April 15César Vallejo, Peruvian poet (b. 1892)
  • April 16Steve Bloomer, English footballer (b. 1874)
  • April 21Allama Iqbal, Indian philosopher and poet (b. 1877)
  • April 25Aleksander Świętochowski, Polish writer (b. 1849)
  • April 26Edmund Husserl, Austrian philosopher (b. 1859)


File:Carl von Ossietzky.jpg

Carl von Ossietzky


File:Kirchner 1919 portrait.jpg

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

  • June 15Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, German painter (b. 1880)
  • June 26James Weldon Johnson, American author, politician, and diplomat (b. 1871)
  • June 29Frederick William Vanderbilt, American railway magnate (b. 1856)


File:Suzanne Lenglen 02.jpg

Suzanne Lenglen

  • July 4
    • Otto Bauer, Austrian Social Democratic politician (b. 1881)
    • Suzanne Lenglen, French tennis champion (b. 1899)
    • Archibald Berkeley Milne, British admiral (b. 1855)
  • July 9Benjamin N. Cardozo, United States Supreme Court Justice (b. 1870)
  • July 17Robert Wiene, German director (b. 1873)
  • July 28Yakov Alksnis, Soviet aviator and commander of Red Army Air Forces (executed) (b. 1897)


File:Robert Johnson.png

Robert Johnson



Paul Olaf Bodding

  • September 1Nikolai Bryukhanov, Soviet statesman and political figure who served as People's Commissar of Finances (b. 1878)
  • September 15Thomas Wolfe, American author (b. 1900)
  • September 17Bruno Jasieński, Polish poet (b. 1901)
  • September 19Pauline Frederick, American stage & screen actress, (b. 1883)
  • September 25Paul Olaf Bodding, Norwegian missionary to India and creator of the Santali Latin alphabet (b. 1865)
  • September 28Con Conrad, American composer (b. 1891)



Saint Faustina Kowalska

File:E. C. Segar.png

E.C. Segar


Ernst Barlach

  • October 2Alexandru Averescu, Romanian soldier and politician, former Prime Minister (b. 1859)
  • October 4José Luis Tejada Sorzano, 40th President of Bolivia (b. 1882)
  • October 5
    • Faustina Kowalska, Polish saint, the Secretary of Divine Mercy (b. 1905)
    • Albert Ranft, Swedish theatre director and actor (b 1858)
  • October 13E. C. Segar, American comics artist and creator of Popeye (b. 1894)
  • October 17Karl Kautsky, Austrian Marxist theoretician (b. 1854)
  • October 22May Irwin, Canadian actress and singer (b. 1862)
  • October 24Ernst Barlach, German sculptor and poet (b. 1870)
  • October 25Alfonsina Storni, Argentine poet (b. 1892)
  • October 27
    • Lascelles Abercrombie, English poet and critic (b. 1881)
    • Alma Gluck, American soprano (b. 1884)
  • October 28Fred Kohler, American actor (b. 1888)
  • October 30Robert Woolsey, American film comedian (b. 1888)


File:Ataturk mirror.png

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

  • November 1Charles Weeghman, American restaurateur and owner of Chicago Cubs (b. 1874)
  • November 4Samuel W. Bryant, American admiral (b. 1877)
  • November 9
    • Vasily Blyukher, Soviet military commander (b. 1889)
    • Ernst vom Rath, German diplomat (b. 1909)
  • November 10Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1st President of Turkey (b. 1881)
  • November 20Maud of Wales, queen of Haakon VII of Norway (b. 1869)
  • November 22Sahachiro Hata, Japanese bacteriologist (b. 1873)
  • November 25Otto von Lossow, Bavarian and German general (b. 1868)
  • November 30Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, Romanian fascist, leader of the Iron Guard (executed along other Guard activists) (b. 1899)


Date unknown

  • Harry Grant Dart, American cartoonist (b. 1869)

Nobel Prizes


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  2. Bowers, Q. David (2007). A Guide Book of Buffalo and Jefferson Nickels. Atlanta, Ga.: Whitman Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7948-2008-4
  3. 3.0 3.1 Nazi Germany and the Jews: 1938 – “The Fateful Year” on the Yad Vashem website
  4. It Came From Within... 71 Years Since Kristallnacht - Online exhibition from Yad Vashem, including survivor testimonies, archival footage, photos, and stories.
  5. Albert Hofmann; translated from the original German (LSD Ganz Persönlich) by J. Ott. MAPS-Volume 6, Number 69, Summer 1969.
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