1940 in Germany
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Events in the year 1940 in Germany.
Head of State
- 4 January — WWII: (Axis powers): Luftwaffe General Hermann Göring assumes control of most war industries in Germany.
- 10 January — WWII: Mechelen Incident: A German plane carrying secret plans for the invasion of western Europe makes a forced landing in Belgium, leading to mobilization of defense forces in the Low Countries.
- 16 February — WWII: Altmark Incident: The British destroyer Cossack pursues the German tanker Altmark into Jøssingfjord in southwestern Norway.
- 18 March — WWII: Axis powers: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini meet at Brenner Pass in the Alps and agree to form an alliance against France and the United Kingdom.
- 31 March — WWII: Commerce raiding hilfskreuzer Atlantis, leaves the Wadden Sea for what will become the longest warship cruise of the war. (622 days without in-port replenishment or repair)
- 9 April — WWII: Germany carries out Operation Weserübung, and invades Denmark and Norway. German forces land in several Norwegian ports and take Oslo; The Norwegian Campaign lasts two months. The Allied campaign in Norway is simultaneously commenced.
- 9 April — German invasion of Norway: German heavy cruiser Blücher is sunk by gunfire and torpedoes from the Norwegian coastal fortress Oscarsborg in the Oslofjord. Of the 2,202 German crew and troops on board, some 830 died (at least 320 of them crewmen). Most either drowned or burnt to death in the flaming oil slick surrounding the wreck.
- 20 April - on his 51st birthday, Hitler orders a new SS regiment to be set containing Norwegians and Danes as well as Germans
- 10 May — WWII: Battle of France begins – German forces invade Low Countries.
- 13 May — WWII: German armies open a 60-mile (97 km) wide breach in the Maginot Line at Sedan, France.
- 14 May — Rotterdam is subjected to savage terror bombing by the Luftwaffe; 980 are killed, and 20,000 buildings destroyed.
- 17 May — Brussels falls to German forces.
- 20 May — WWII: German forces (2nd Panzer division), under General Rudolf Veiel, reach Noyelles on the English Channel.
- 20 May — Holocaust: The Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the German concentration camps, opens in occupied Poland near the town of Oświęcim. Between May 1940 and January 1945, around 1.1 million people were killed there.
- 3 June — The Holocaust: Nazi leader Franz Rademacher proposes the Madagascar Plan according to which the Jewish population of Europe would be relocated to the island of Madagascar.
- 3 June — WWII: Paris is bombed by the Luftwaffe for the first time.
- 10 June — WWII: Norway surrenders to German forces.
- 14 June — WWII: Paris falls under German occupation.
- 15 June — WWII: Verdun falls to German forces.
- 17 June — A Luftwaffe Junkers 88 bomber sinks the British ship RMS Lancastria, which was evacuating troops from near Saint-Nazaire, France, killing some 5,800 men. (Wartime censorship prevents the story from becoming public.)
- 21 June — WWII: Vichy France and Germany sign an armistice at Compiegne, in the same wagon-lit railroad car used by Marshal Ferdinand Foch to accept the surrender of Germany in 1918.
- 23 June — WWII: German leader Adolf Hitler surveys newly defeated Paris in now occupied France.
- 30 June — WWII: German forces land in Guernsey, marking the start of the 5-year Occupation of the Channel Islands.
- 14 July — WWII: Winston Churchill, in a worldwide broadcast, proclaims the intention of Great Britain to fight alone against Germany whatever the outcome.
- 19 July — WWII: Adolf Hitler makes a peace appeal to Britain in an address to the Reichstag. Lord Halifax, British foreign minister, flatly rejects peace terms in a broadcast reply on 22 July.
- 8 August — WWII: Wilhelm Keitel signs the "Aufbau Ost" directive, which eventually leads to the invasion of the Soviet Union.
- 30 August — Second Vienna Award: Germany and Italy compel Romania to cede half of Transylvania to Hungary.
- 5 September — WWII: Commerce raiding hilfskreuzer Komet enters the Pacific Ocean via the Bering Strait after crossing the Arctic Ocean from the North Sea with the help of Soviet icebreakers Lenin, Stalin, and Kaganovich.
- 7 September — WWII: The Blitz – Germany begins to rain bombs on London (the first of 57 consecutive nights of strategic bombing).
- 27 September — WWII: Germany, Italy and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact.
- 18 October – 19 October — WWII: Thirty-two ships are sunk from Convoy SC 7 and Convoy HX 79 by the most effective wolfpack of the war including U-boat aces Kretschmer, Prien and Schepke
- 11 November — WWII: The German Hilfskreuzer (commerce raider) Atlantis captures top secret British mail, and sends it to Japan.
- 14 November — WWII: The city of Coventry, England is destroyed by 500 German Luftwaffe bombers (150,000 fire bombs, 503 tons of high explosives, and 130 parachute mines level 60,000 of the city's 75,000 buildings; 568 people are killed).
- 16 November — WWII: In response to Germany levelling Coventry 2 days before, the Royal Air Force begins to bomb Hamburg (by war's end, 50,000 Hamburg residents will have died from Allied attacks).
- 18 November — WWII: German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano meet to discuss Benito Mussolini's disastrous invasion of Greece.
- 12 December & 15 December — WWII: "Sheffield Blitz" – The City of Sheffield is badly damaged by German air-raids.
- 16 December — WWII: Operation Abigail Rachel – RAF bombing of Mannheim.
- 29 December — WWII: Luftwaffe carries out a massive incendiary bombing raid on London, starting 1,500 fires. Many famous buildings, including the Guildhall and Trinity House, are either damaged or destroyed.
4 June: German troops on parade after the surrender of Paris
British destroyers attack the German fleet during the Battle of Narvik
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- 7 March — Rudi Dutschke, German radical student leader (died 1979)
- 27 July — Pina Bausch, German choreographer (died 2009)
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- 20 March — Alfred Ploetz, German physician, biologist, and eugenicist (born 1860)
- 26 April — Carl Bosch, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (born 1874)
- Muggenthaler, August Karl (1977). German Raiders of World War II. Prentice-Hall. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-13-354027-7.
- Hooton, E.R. (2007). Luftwaffe at War: Blitzkrieg in the West. London: Chervron/Ian Allan. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-85780-272-6.
- Muggenthaler, August Karl (1977). German Raiders of World War II. Prentice-Hall. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-13-354027-7.