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|1940 by topic|
|Lists of leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Ab urbe condita||2693|
|Balinese saka calendar||1861–1862|
|British Regnal year||4 Geo. 6 – 5 Geo. 6|
|Chinese calendar||己卯年 (Earth Rabbit)|
4636 or 4576
— to —
庚辰年 (Metal Dragon)
4637 or 4577
|- Vikram Samvat||1996–1997|
|- Shaka Samvat||1861–1862|
|- Kali Yuga||5040–5041|
|Japanese calendar||Shōwa 15|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 29|
|Thai solar calendar||2482–2483|
2066 or 1685 or 913
— to —
2067 or 1686 or 914
1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1940th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 940th year of the 2nd millennium, the 40th year of the 20th century, and the 1st year of the 1940s decade.
A calendar from 1940 according to the Gregorian calendar, factoring in the dates of Easter and related holidays, cannot be used again until the year 5280.
Below, the events of World War II have the "WWII" prefix.
- January 4 – WWII: Luftwaffe Colonel Hermann Göring assumes control of most war industries in Germany.
- January 6 – WWII: Winter War – General Semyon Timoshenko takes command of all Soviet forces.
- January 7 – WWII: Winter War: Battle of Raate Road – Outnumbered Finnish troops decisively defeat Soviet forces.
- January 8
- January 9 – WWII: British submarine HMS Starfish is sunk in the Heligoland Bight.
- January 10 – 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.
- January 27 – WWII: A peace resolution introduced in the Parliament of South Africa is defeated 81–59.
- January 29 – Three gasoline-powered trains carrying factory workers crash and explode while approaching Ajikawaguchi Station, Yumesaki Line (Nishinari Line), Osaka, Japan, killing at least 181 people and injuring at least 92.
- February 2–11 – Scheduled dates for the 1940 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, cancelled in November 1939 due to WWII (originally allocated to Sapporo, Japan).
- February 1 – WWII: Winter War – Soviet forces launch a major assault on Finnish troops occupying the Karelian Isthmus.
- February 2 – Vsevolod Meyerhold is executed in the Soviet Union on charges of treason and espionage. He is cleared of all charges fifteen years later, in the first waves of de-Stalinization.
- February 16 – WWII: Altmark Incident: British destroyer HMS Cossack pursues German tanker Altmark into the neutral waters of Jøssingfjord in southwestern Norway and frees the 290 British seamen held aboard.
- February 22 – In Tibet, province of Ando, 4-year-old Tenzin Gyatso is proclaimed the tulku (rebirth) of the 13th Dalai Lama.
- February 27 – Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discover carbon-14.
- March 5 – Katyn massacre: Members of the Soviet Politburo (Joseph Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Lazar Kaganovich, Mikhail Kalinin, Kliment Voroshilov and Lavrentiy Beria) sign an order, prepared by Beria, for the execution of 25,700 Polish intelligentsia, including 14,700 Polish POWs.
- March 11 – Ed Ricketts, John Steinbeck and six others leave Monterey, California, United States, for the Gulf of California, on a marine invertebrate collecting expedition.
- March 12 – Moscow Peace Treaty: The Soviet Union and Finland sign a peace treaty in Moscow, ending the Winter War; Finns, along with the world at large, are shocked by the harsh terms.
- March 13 – Indian nationalist Udham Singh assassinates Sir Michael O'Dwyer (in revenge for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre) at Caxton Hall in London, for which he is hanged on 31 July at HM Prison Pentonville.
- March 18 – WWII: Axis powers: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini meet at Brenner Pass in the Alps. After being informed by Hitler that the Germans are ready to attack in the west, Mussolini agrees to bring Italy into the war in due course.
- March 21 – Édouard Daladier resigns as Prime Minister of France; Paul Reynaud succeeds him.
- March 23 – Pakistan Movement: The Lahore Resolution, calling for greater autonomy for what will become Pakistan in British India, is drawn up by the All-India Muslim League during a three-day general session at Iqbal Park, Lahore.
- March 30 – WWII: Former Kuomintang member and Chinese foreign minister, Wang Jingwei, announces the creation of the Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China in Nanjing.
- March 31 – WWII: Commerce raiding German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis leaves the Wadden Sea for what will become the longest warship cruise of the war (622 days without in-port replenishment or repair).
- April 3 – WWII: Operation Weserübung: German ships set out for the invasion of Norway.
- April 4 – Neville Chamberlain, UK Prime Minister, in what proves to be a tragic misjudgment, declares in a major public speech that Hitler has "missed the bus".
- April 7 – Booker T. Washington becomes the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp.
- April 8 – WWII: Operation Wilfred: The British fleet lays naval mines off the coast of neutral Norway.
- April 9 – WWII: Germany invades the neutral countries of Denmark and Norway in Operation Weserübung, opening the Norwegian Campaign. The British Royal Navy attempts to attack elements of the German fleet off Norway. Vidkun Quisling proclaims a new collaborationist regime in Norway. The German invasion of Denmark lasts for about six hours, before that country capitulates.
- April 10 – WWII: First Naval Battle of Narvik: The British Royal Navy attacks the German fleet in the Ofotfjord. At Bergen, German cruiser Königsberg is sunk by British Fleet Air Arm Blackburn Skua dive bombers, flying from RNAS Hatston in Orkney.
- April 12
- The Faroe Islands are occupied by British troops, following the German invasion of Denmark. This action is taken to avert a possible German occupation of the islands, with serious consequences for the course of the Battle of the Atlantic.
- Opening day at Jamaica Race Course features the use of parimutuel betting equipment, a departure from bookmaking heretofore used exclusively throughout New York. Other tracks in the state follow suit later in 1940.
- April 13
- April 14 – Norwegian Campaign: The first British ground forces land in Norway, at Namsos and Harstad.
- April 16 – In American baseball, the Cleveland Indians, behind Bob Feller's Opening Day no-hitter, defeat the Chicago White Sox, 1–0.
- April 23 – The Rhythm Club fire at a dance hall in Natchez, Mississippi, United States, kills 198 people.
- April 27 – Mandatory Palestine and Lebanon play an association football friendly; it is Lebanon's first official match, and Mandatory Palestine's last before they become Israel in 1948.
- May 10 – WWII:
- The Battle of France begins.
- German forces invade the Low Countries.
- The British invasion of Iceland begins.
- With the resignation of Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- May 13 – WWII:
- May 13–14 – Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and her government are evacuated to London, using the British destroyer HMS Hereward.
- May 14 – WWII:
- Rotterdam is subjected to savage terror bombing by the Luftwaffe; 980 are killed, and 20,000 buildings destroyed. General Henri Winkelman announces the surrender of the Dutch army (outside Zeeland) to German forces.
- Recruitment begins in Britain for a home defence force: the Local Defence Volunteers, later known as the Home Guard.
- May 15
- May 16 – President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt, addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress, asks for an extraordinary credit of approximately $900,000,000 to finance construction of at least 50,000 airplanes per year.
- May 17 – WWII:
- Brussels falls to German forces; the Belgian government flees to Ostend.
- Zeeland is overrun by German forces, ending the Battle of the Netherlands and beginning full German occupation of the Netherlands (Noord-Beveland surrenders on May 18, and the remaining Dutch troops are withdrawn from Zeelandic Flanders on May 19).
- May 18 – Marshal Philippe Pétain is named vice-premier of France.
- May 19 – General Maxime Weygand replaces Maurice Gamelin as commander-in-chief of all French forces.
- May 20
- WWII: German forces (2nd Panzer Division), under General Rudolf Veiel, reach Noyelles on the English Channel.
- Holocaust: The Nazi concentration camp and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the German concentration camps, opens in occupied Poland, near the town of Oświęcim. From now on until January 1945, around 1.1 million people will be killed here.
- May 22 – WWII: The Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939, giving the government full control over all persons and property.
- May 24 – WWII:
- May 25 – The Crypt of Civilization time capsule at Oglethorpe University, Brookhaven, Georgia in the United States, is sealed shut, with a projected opening date of 8113 CE.
- May 26
- May 27 – WWII: Le Paradis massacre: 97 retreating British soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment are executed by German troops of 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf after surrendering in France.
- May 28 – WWII:
- King Leopold III of Belgium orders the Belgian forces to cease fighting, ending the 18-day Battle of Belgium. Leaders of the Belgian government on French territory declare Leopold deposed.
- Land Battle of Narvik: German forces retire, giving the Allies their first victory on land in the war; however, the British have already decided to evacuate Narvik.
- Winston Churchill warns the House of Commons of the United Kingdom to "prepare itself for hard and heavy tidings."
- The Wormhoudt massacre (or Wormhout massacre) takes place with the mass murder of 80 British and French POWs by Waffen-SS soldiers from the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler during the Battle of France.
- May 29 – The Vought XF4U-1, prototype of the F4U Corsair U.S. fighter later used in WWII, makes its first flight.
- June 1 – WWII: Rear Admiral Sir W. Frederic Wake-Walker's flagship, the destroyer Keith, is sunk by Stukas at Dunkirk.
- June 3
- June 4 – WWII:
- The Dunkirk evacuation ends: The British and French navies, together with large numbers of civilian vessels from various nations, complete evacuating 300,000 troops from Dunkirk, France to England.
- Winston Churchill tells the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, "We shall not flag or fail. We shall fight on the beaches... on the landing grounds... in the fields and the streets.... We shall never surrender."
- June 7 – King Haakon VII of Norway and his government are evacuated from Tromsø to London, on HMS Devonshire.
- June 10
- Italy declares war on France and the United Kingdom.
- U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt denounces Italy's actions with his "Stab in the Back" speech during the graduation ceremonies of the University of Virginia.
- Canada declares war on Italy.
- The Norwegian Army surrenders to German forces.
- The French government flees to Tours.
- June 11 – WWII: The Western Desert Campaign opens, with British forces crossing the Frontier Wire into Italian Libya.
- June 12 – WWII: 13,000 British and French troops surrender to Major-General Erwin Rommel's 7th Panzer Division, at Saint-Valery-en-Caux.
- June 13 – WWII: Paris is declared an open city.
- June 14 – WWII:
- The French government flees to Bordeaux, and Paris falls under German occupation.
- U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Naval Expansion Act into law, which aims to increase the United States Navy's tonnage by 11%.
- A group of 728 Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first residents of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
- Soviet ultimatum to Lithuania: The Soviet Union demands that its Red Army be allowed to enter Lithuania and form a pro-Soviet puppet "People's Government of Lithuania".
- June 15 – WWII:
- June 16
- The Churchill war ministry in the United Kingdom offers a Franco-British Union (inspired by Jean Monnet) to Paul Reynaud, Prime Minister of France, in the hope of preventing France from agreeing to an armistice with Germany, but Reynaud resigns when his own cabinet refuses to accept it.
- The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is held for the first time, in Sturgis, South Dakota.
- June 17 – WWII:
- Philippe Pétain becomes Prime Minister of France, and immediately asks Germany for peace terms.
- Occupation of the Baltic states: The Soviet Union occupies Estonia and Latvia.
- Operation Aerial begins: Allied troops start to evacuate France, following Germany's takeover of Paris and most of the nation.
- RMS Lancastria, serving as a troopship, is bombed and sunk by Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 88 aircraft, while evacuating British troops and nationals from Saint-Nazaire in France, with the loss of at least 4,000 lives, the largest single UK loss in any World War II event, immediate news of which is suppressed in the British press. Destroyer HMS Beagle (H30) rescues around 600.
- June 18 – WWII:
- Winston Churchill tells the House of Commons of the United Kingdom: "The Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin... if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour."
- Appeal of 18 June: General Charles de Gaulle, de facto leader of the Free French Forces, makes his first broadcast appeal over Radio Londres from London, rallying the French Resistance, calling on all French people to continue the fight against Nazi Germany: "France has lost a battle. But France has not lost the war."
- June 20 – WWII: Evacuation of civilians from the Channel Islands to England begins.
- June 21 – WWII: The unsuccessful Italian invasion of France begins with an offensive in the Alps.
- June 22
- WWII: Second Armistice at Compiègne: The French Third Republic and Nazi Germany sign an armistice, ending the Battle of France in the Forest of Compiègne, in the same Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits railroad car used by Marshal Ferdinand Foch to conclude the Armistice with Germany in 1918. This divides France into a Zone occupée in the north and west, under the Military Administration in France (Nazi Germany), and a southern Zone libre, Vichy France.
- Albert Einstein gives a public address in the "I'm An American" series, on becoming an American citizen.
- June 23 – WWII: German leader Adolf Hitler surveys newly defeated Paris, in now-occupied France.
- June 24
- WWII: Vichy France signs armistice terms with Italy.
- WWII: Operation Fish – British Royal Navy cruiser HMS Emerald sails from Greenock (Scotland) in convoy for Halifax, Nova Scotia (arriving July 1), carrying a large part of the gold reserves of the United Kingdom and securities for safe keeping in Canada.
- United States politics: The Republican Party begins its national convention in Philadelphia, and nominates Wendell Willkie as its candidate for president.
- June 25 – WWII: After the defeat of France, Hitler plans for an invasion of Switzerland, known as Operation Tannenbaum.
- June 26 – Soviet calendar: The Soviet Union reverts to a seven-day week for all purposes.
- June 28
- June 30
- WWII: German forces land in Guernsey, marking the start of the 5-year Occupation of the Channel Islands.
- Federal government of the United States reorganisation:
- July 1 – The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge opens for business, built with an 8-foot (2.4 m) girder and 190 feet (58 m) above the water, as the third-longest suspension bridge in the world.
- July 2 – WWII: British-owned SS Arandora Star, carrying civilian internees and POWs of Italian and German origin from Liverpool to Canada, is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-47 off northwest Ireland, with the loss of around 865 lives.
- July 3 – WWII: Attack on Mers-el-Kébir: British naval units sink or seize ships of the French fleet anchored in the Algerian ports of Mers-el-Kebir and Oran, to prevent them from falling into German hands. The following day, Vichy France breaks off diplomatic relations with Britain.
- July 5 – WWII: Operation Fish – A British convoy including HMS Batory sails from Greenock (Scotland) for Halifax, Nova Scotia, carrying gold bar and other valuables worth $1.7 billion for safe keeping in Canada, the largest movement of wealth in history.
- July 6
- July 10 – WWII: The Battle of Britain begins.
- July 11
- July 14 – WWII: Winston Churchill, in a worldwide broadcast, proclaims the intention of Great Britain to fight alone against Germany whatever the outcome: "We shall seek no terms. We shall tolerate no parley. We may show mercy. We shall ask none."
- July 15 – U.S. politics: The Democratic Party begins its national convention in Chicago, and nominates Franklin D. Roosevelt for an unprecedented third term as president.
- July 19
- WWII: Battle of Cape Spada: HMAS Sydney and five destroyers sink the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni.
- WWII: Adolf Hitler makes a peace appeal to Britain, in an address to the Reichstag. BBC German-language broadcaster Sefton Delmer unofficially rejects it at once and Lord Halifax, the British foreign minister, flatly rejects peace terms in a broadcast reply on July 22.
- July 20–August 4 – Scheduled dates for the 1940 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, cancelled in November 1939 due to WWII (originally allocated to Tokyo, Japan).
- July 21
- After rigged parliamentary elections in the three occupied countries on July 14–15, the parliaments proclaim the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republics.
- The Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter aircraft enters service, so named as 1940 roughly corresponds to the year 2600 on the Japanese Imperial calendar.
- July 23 – Welles Declaration: United States Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles announces that the U.S. will not accord diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union's occupation of the Baltic states.
- July 25 – General Henri Guisan addresses the officer corps of the Swiss army at Rütli, resolving to resist any invasion of the country.
- July 27
- Eleven British nationals, including Melville James Cox, are arrested on suspicion of spying for military intelligence by the secret police in Japan. Cox commits suicide in Tokyo on July 29, according to a report by the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
- Bugs Bunny makes his debut in the Oscar-nominated cartoon short, A Wild Hare. However, it is not until 1941 that his name is adopted.
- August 1 – WWII: British submarine HMS Spearfish is sunk in the English Channel, by what is much later discovered to be a mine.
- August 3 – The Lithuanian SSR is annexed into the Soviet Union, followed by the Latvian SSR on August 5 and the Estonian SSR August 6, just seven weeks after their occupation. Ethnic Germans will be deported to Germany.
- August 3–19 – WWII: The Italian conquest of British Somaliland is completed.
- August 4 – Gen. John J. Pershing, in a nationwide radio broadcast, urges all-out aid to Britain in order to defend the Americas, while Charles Lindbergh speaks to an isolationist rally at Soldier Field in Chicago.
- August 8 – WWII: German general Wilhelm Keitel signs the "Aufbau Ost" directive, which eventually leads to the invasion of the Soviet Union.
- August 10 – WWII: British armed merchant cruiser HMS Transylvania is torpedoed off Malin Head, Ireland, by German submarine U-56.
- August 13 – WWII: The Adlertag ("Eagle Day") strike on southern England occurs, starting the rapid escalation of the Battle of Britain air offensive of the Luftwaffe against RAF Fighter Command.
- August 15 – Italy, without having declared war on Greece, sinks the Greek boat Elli (Έλλη).
- August 18
- August 20
- August 24 – Howard Florey, and a team including Ernst Chain and Norman Heatley, at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, publish their laboratory results showing the in vivo bactericidal action of penicillin. They have also purified the drug.
- August 25 – WWII: The first Bombing of Berlin is carried out, by the British Royal Air Force.
- August 26 – WWII: Chad is the first French colony to proclaim its support for the Allies.
- August 30 – Second Vienna Award: Germany and Italy compel Romania to cede half of Transylvania to Hungary.
- August 31
- September – The U.S. Army 45th Infantry Division (previously a National Guard Division in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma), is activated and ordered into federal service for one year, to engage in a training program in Ft. Sill and Louisiana, prior to serving in WWII.
- September 2 – WWII: The Destroyers for Bases Agreement between the United States and Great Britain is announced, to the effect that 50 U.S. destroyers needed for escort work will be transferred to Great Britain. In return, the United States gains 99-year leases on British bases in the North Atlantic, West Indies and Bermuda.
- September 4 – WWII: Adolf Hitler's Winterhilfe speech at the Berlin Sportpalast declares that Nazi Germany will make retaliatory night air raids on British cities and threatens invasion.
- September 5 – WWII: Commerce raiding German auxiliary cruiser 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.
- September 6 – King Carol II of Romania abdicates and is succeeded by his son Michael.
- September 7
- September 9–16 – WWII: The Italian invasion of Egypt commences from Libya, progressing only as far as Sidi Barrani.
- September 9
- September 12
- September 14 – Ip massacre: The Hungarian Army, supported by local Hungarians, kill 158 Romanian civilians in Ip, Sălaj, a village in Northern Transylvania, as part of attempts at ethnic cleansing.
- September 16 – WWII: The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 is signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt, creating the first peacetime draft in U.S. history.
- September 17 – WWII:
- September 17–18 – SS City of Benares is torpedoed by German submarine U-48 in the Atlantic, with the loss of 248 of the 406 on board, including child evacuees bound for Canada. This results in cancellation of the British Children's Overseas Reception Board's plan to relocate children overseas.
- September 20–22 – Convoy HX 72, a North Atlantic convoy of 43 ships, is attacked by a German U-boat group (wolfpack), eleven ships of 73 tons are sunk, seven during the second night of the attack by the U-100 under the command of Joachim Schepke.
- September 21 – 1940 Australian federal election: Robert Menzies' UAP/Country Coalition Government is re-elected as a minority government, narrowly defeating the Labor Party led by John Curtin. It is the last federal election to result in a minority government until 2010.
- September 22 – Japan enters French Indochina: An agreement is signed in which Japan promises to station 6,000 troops there, and limit the total number of troops that could be in the colony at any given time to 25,000. Rights are also given for three airfields.
- September 23–25 – Battle of Dakar – Naval forces of Free France and Britain fail to take the port of Dakar in French West Africa from Vichy France.
- September 25 – Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany: German Reichskommissar Josef Terboven appoints a provisional council of state from the pro-Nazi Nasjonal Samling party, under Vidkun Quisling, as a puppet government for Norway.
- September 26 – A group of Japanese officers, in violation of an agreement, signed 4 days earlier with French Indochina, take Đồng Đăng and Lam Sơn, with 40 Franco-Vietnamese troops killed and around 1,000 deserting. The same day the United States imposes a total embargo on all scrap metal shipments to Japan.
- September 27 – WWII: Germany, Italy and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact.
- September 30 (night to October 1) – Arsonists from the Hitler Youth destroy the Great Synagogue of Strasbourg.
- October 1 – The first section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the United States' first long-distance controlled-access highway, is opened.
- October 11 – Portuguese-born performer Carmen Miranda makes her American film debut in Down Argentine Way, one of the first films produced to promote the Good Neighbor policy.
- October 14 – The Balham tube station disaster in London, England, occurs during the Nazi Luftwaffe air raids on Great Britain.
- October 15 – Charlie Chaplin releases his controversial wartime satire The Great Dictator, nine months after The Three Stooges' You Nazty Spy!.
- October 16
- October 18–19 – WWII: Thirty-two ships are sunk from Convoy SC 7 and Convoy HX 79 by the most effective "wolfpack" of the war, including Otto Kretschmer, Günther Prien and Joachim Schepke.
- October 26–28 – WWII: RMS Empress of Britain, serving as a troopship under the British flag, is bombed, torpedoed and sunk off the Donegal coast, with the loss of 45 lives. At 42,348 GRT, she is the war's largest merchant ship loss.
- October 28 – WWII: Italian troops invade Greece, meeting strong resistance from Greek troops and civilians. This action signals the beginning of the Balkan Campaign.
- October 29 – The Selective Service System lottery is held in Washington, D.C..
- November – In Cambodia, the Khmer Issarak is formed to overthrow the French Army within the nation.
- November 2–8 – WWII: (Greco-Italian War): Battle of Elaia–Kalamas in Epirus: Outnumbered Greek forces repel the Italian Army.
- November 2 – German submarine U-69 is commissioned, the first Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine, which will become its most numerous class, with 568 commissioned during the War.
- November 5
- 1940 United States presidential election: Democrat incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt decisively defeats Republican challenger Wendell Willkie, and becomes the United States' first and only third-term president.
- WWII: Allied Convoy HX 84 is attacked by German cruiser Admiral Scheer in the North Atlantic; the sacrifice of escorting British armed merchant cruiser HMS Jervis Bay under Capt. Edward Fegen and SS Beaverford enables a majority of the ships (including tanker MV San Demetrio) to escape.
- November 6 – Agatha Christie's mystery novel And Then There Were None is published in book form, in the United States.
- November 7 – In Tacoma, Washington, the 600-foot (180 m)-long center span of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (known as Galloping Gertie) collapses.
- November 8 – WWII: MS City of Rayville is sunk by a naval mine off Cape Otway, Australia (the first United States Merchant Marine loss of the war).
- November 9 – Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez premieres in Barcelona, Spain.
- November 10 – 1940 Vrancea earthquake: An earthquake in Romania kills 1,000.
- November 11
- WWII: The British Royal Navy launches the first aircraft carrier strike in history, on the Italian battleship fleet anchored at Taranto Naval Base.
- WWII: German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis captures top secret British mail intended for the British Far East Command from the SS Automedon, and sends it to Japan.
- Armistice Day Blizzard: An unexpected blizzard kills 144 in the Midwestern United States.
- November 13 – The Walt Disney animated film Fantasia, the first commercial film shown in stereophonic sound, has its world premiere at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. It is the first box office failure for Disney, though it recoups its cost years later and becomes one of the most highly regarded of Disney's films.
- November 14 – WWII: Coventry Blitz: The city centre of Coventry, England is destroyed by 500 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. The city's cathedral is gutted.
- November 15 – Abbott and Costello make their film debut, in One Night in the Tropics.
- November 16
- 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).
- An unexploded pipe bomb is found in the Consolidated Edison office building (only years later is the culprit, George Metesky, apprehended).
- The Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers is founded.
- November 17 – The Tartu Art Museum is established in Tartu, Estonia.
- November 18 – WWII: German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano meet to discuss Benito Mussolini's disastrous invasion of Greece.
- November 20–24 – WWII: Hungary, Romania and Slovakia join the Axis powers.
- November 25
- Patria disaster: As British authorities attempt to deport Jewish refugees (originating from German-occupied Europe) from Mandatory Palestine to Mauritius, aboard the requisitioned emigrant liner SS Patria at Haifa, the Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah sinks the ship with a bomb, killing around 250 refugees and crew.
- The de Havilland Mosquito and Martin B-26 Marauder military aircraft both make their first flights.
- Woody Woodpecker makes his debut in the animated short, Knock Knock. It is not until 1941 that his current name is adopted.
- November 26–27 – Jilava Massacre: In Romania, coup leader General Ion Antonescu's Iron Guard arrests and executes over 60 of exiled King Carol II of Romania's aides, starting at a penitentiary near Bucharest. Among the dead is former minister and acclaimed historian Nicolae Iorga.
- November 27 – WWII: Battle of Cape Spartivento: The British Royal Navy and Italian Regia Marina battle to a draw.
- December – Timely Comics' Captain America Comics #1 (cover dated March 1941), first appearance of Captain America and Bucky, hits newsstands in the United States.
- December 1 – Manuel Ávila Camacho takes office, as President of Mexico.
- December 6 – British submarine HMS Regulus is sunk near Taranto.
- December 8 – The Chicago Bears, in what will become the most one-sided victory in National Football League history, defeat the Washington Redskins 73–0 in the 1940 NFL Championship Game.
- December 9 – WWII: Operation Compass – British forces in North Africa begin their first major offensive, with an attack on Italian forces at Sidi Barrani, Egypt.
- December 12 and December 15 – WWII: Sheffield Blitz ("Operation Crucible"): The Yorkshire city of Sheffield is badly damaged by German air-raids.
- December 14
- December 16 – WWII: Operation Abigail Rachel: The RAF bombs Mannheim.
- December 17 – President Roosevelt, at his regular press conference, first sets forth the outline of his plan to send aid to Great Britain, which will become known as Lend-Lease.
- December 23 – WWII: Winston Churchill, in a broadcast address to the people of Italy, blames Benito Mussolini for leading his nation to war against the British, contrary to Italy's historic friendship with them: "One man has arrayed the trustees and inheritors of ancient Rome upon the side of the ferocious pagan barbarians."
- December 24 – Mahatma Gandhi, Indian spiritual non-violence leader, writes his second letter to Adolf Hitler, addressing him as "My friend", and requesting him to stop the war Germany had begun.
- December 25 – The German cruiser Admiral Hipper attacks a British shipping convoy (WS 5A) en route to Sierra Leone 700 miles (1,100 km) west of Cape Finisterre in Spain. Admiral Hipper sinks one ship but has to withdraw with engine trouble.
- December 27 – The German auxiliary cruiser Komet shells and heavily damages the phosphate production facilities on Nauru while flying the Japanese flag. The bombardment lasts an hour, and it causes the loss of 13,000 tons of oil.
- December 29
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a fireside chat to the nation, declares that the United States must become "the great arsenal of democracy."
- WWII: "Second Great Fire of London": The Luftwaffe carries out a massive incendiary bombing raid, starting 1,500 fires. Many famous buildings, including the Guildhall and Trinity House, are either damaged or destroyed.
- Ansul Fire School is founded in Marinette, Wisconsin.
- In Korea, the Hunminjeongeum (1446) is discovered, explaining the basis of the Hangul alphabet.
- Walter Knott begins construction of a California ghost town replica, which soon evolves into Knott's Berry Farm.
|January · February · March · April · May · June · July · August · September · October · November · December|
- January 2
- January 3 – Thelma Schoonmaker, Algerian-born American film editor
- January 4
- January 9 – Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, Costa Rican politician, lawyer, economist and businessman
- January 14 – Julian Bond, African-American civil rights activist (d. 2015)
- January 16 – Franz Müntefering, German politician
- January 17
- January 18 – Pedro Rodríguez, Mexican racing driver (d. 1971)
- January 19 – Paolo Borsellino, Italian judge and magistrate (d. 1992)
- January 20
- January 21 – Jack Nicklaus, American golfer
- January 22 – John Hurt, English actor (d. 2017)
- January 24 – Joachim Gauck, German politician, 11th President of Germany
- January 27
- January 28 – Carlos Slim, Mexican businessman
- January 29
- February 2
- February 4 – George A. Romero, American film writer, director (d. 2017)
- February 5 – H. R. Giger, Swiss artist (d. 2014)
- February 6 – Tom Brokaw, American television journalist and author
- February 7 – Tony Tan, 7th President of Singapore
- February 9
- February 12 – Robert Saladrigas, Spanish writer, journalist and literary critic (d. 2018)
- February 15 – Hamzah Haz, Indonesian politician, 9th Vice President of Indonesia
- February 17
- February 18 – Fabrizio De André, Italian singer, songwriter (d. 1999)
- February 19 – Smokey Robinson, African-American musician
- February 20 – Jimmy Greaves, English footballer (d. 2021)
- February 21 – John Lewis, African-American politician, civil rights activist (d. 2020)
- February 23 – Peter Fonda, American actor (Easy Rider) (d. 2019)
- February 24
- February 25 – Jesús López Cobos, Spanish-born conductor (d. 2018)
- February 27 – Bill Hunter, Australian actor (d. 2011)
- February 28
- March 1
- March 2 – Billy McNeill, Scottish football player and manager (d. 2019)
- March 3
- Germán Castro Caycedo, Colombian writer, journalist
- March 4 – Vladimir Morosov, Soviet athlete
- March 5 – Anton Fliegerbauer, West German police officer (d. 1972)
- March 7
- March 9 – Raul Julia, Puerto Rican actor (d. 1994)
- March 10 – Chuck Norris, American actor, martial artist
- March 12 – Al Jarreau, African-American singer (d. 2017)
- March 13 – Candi Staton, American singer
- March 16
- March 20 – Paul Neville, Australian politician (d. 2019)
- March 21 – Solomon Burke, African-American singer, songwriter (d. 2010)
- March 22 – Haing S. Ngor, Cambodian actor (The Killing Fields) (d. 1996)
- March 25
- March 26
- March 27 – Marie Jepsen, Danish politician (d. 2018)
- March 29
- March 30 – Jerry Lucas, American professional basketball player
- March 31 – Patrick Leahy, American politician
- April 1 – Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmentalist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 2011)
- April 2
- April 4 – Robby Müller, Dutch cinematographer (d. 2018)
- April 6 – Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Mexican actor (d. 2011)
- April 8 – John Havlicek, American basketball player (d. 2019)
- April 12 – Herbie Hancock, African-American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor
- April 13
- April 14
- April 15
- April 16
- April 17 – John McCririck, English horse racing pundit (d. 2019)
- April 18
- April 19 – Reinhard Bonnke, German Pentecostal evangelist (d. 2019)
- April 20 – Pilar Miró, Spanish screenwriter and film director (d. 1997)
- April 22 – Marie-José Nat, French actress (d. 2019)
- April 23 – Danilo Astori, Uruguayan politician, 15th Vice President of Uruguay
- April 24 – Sue Grafton, American detective novelist (d. 2017)
- April 25 – Al Pacino, American actor, film director
- April 26
- April 30 – Ermindo Onega, Argentine footballer (d. 1979)
- May 1 – Elsa Peretti, Italian jewelry designer (d. 2021)
- May 2
- May 3
- May 5 – Lance Henriksen, American actor
- May 7 – Angela Carter, English author, editor (d. 1992)
- May 8
- May 9 – James L. Brooks, American film producer, writer
- May 11 – Juan Downey, Chilean-born American video artist (d. 1993)
- May 13
- May 15
- May 16 – Ole Ernst, Danish actor (d. 2013)
- May 17
- May 19 – Jan Janssen, Dutch cyclist
- May 20
- May 22 – Bernard Shaw, African-American journalist and television news reporter (d. 2022)
- May 24 – Joseph Brodsky, Russian-born poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1996)
- May 26 – Levon Helm, American musician and actor (d. 2012)
- May 27 – Sotsha Dlamini, 5th Prime Minister of Swaziland (d. 2017)
- May 29 – Farooq Leghari, 8th President of Pakistan (d. 2010)
- June 1
- June 2 – Constantine II of Greece (d. 2023)
- June 4 – Ludwig Schwarz, Austrian prelate
- June 7
- June 8 – Nancy Sinatra, American singer
- June 9 – Barry McDonald, Papua New Guinea-Australian rugby union player (d. 2020)
- June 13 – Bobby Freeman, American singer, songwriter (d. 2017)
- June 14 – Jack Bannon, American actor (d. 2017)
- June 16
- June 17
- June 18 – Phillip E. Johnson, American lawyer and author (d. 2019)
- June 20
- June 21 – Michael Ruse, British-Canadian philosopher
- June 22
- June 23
- June 24
- June 25
- June 26 – Jerry Fujio, Japanese singer, actor and tarento
- June 27 – Anil Karanjai, Indian painter of the Hungry generation movement (d. 2001)
- June 28
- June 29 – Vyacheslav Artyomov, Russian composer
- June 30 – Neelo, Indian actress
- July 1
- July 2
- July 3
- Lamar Alexander, American politician
- Fontella Bass, African-American soul singer ("Rescue Me") (d. 2012)
- Jerzy Buzek, Polish politician, 8th Prime Minister of Poland
- Jose Alberto Laboy, Puerto Rican Major League Baseball player
- Lance Larson, American competition swimmer, Olympic champion and world record-holder in four events
- Chuck Sieminski, American football player
- César Tovar, Venezuelan baseball player (d. 1994)
- Mario Zanin, Italian cyclist
- July 4
- July 5 – Reiko Kusamura, Japanese actress
- July 6
- July 7
- July 9 – Herminia Roman, Filipino politician
- July 10
- July 13
- July 15 – Johnny Seay, American country music singer (d. 2016)
- July 17 – Francisco Toledo, Mexican painter, sculptor and graphic artist (d. 2019)
- July 18
- July 19
- July 22
- July 26 – Mary Jo Kopechne, American aide to Ted Kennedy (d. 1969)
- July 27
- July 30 – Clive Sinclair, English inventor (d. 2021)
- August 1 – Ram Loevy, Israeli screenwriter, director
- August 3 – Martin Sheen, American actor, father of Charlie Sheen
- August 7
- August 8 – Dilip Sardesai, Indian cricketer (d. 2007)
- August 10 – Bobby Hatfield, American singer (The Righteous Brothers) (d. 2003)
- August 12 – Tony Allen, Nigerian Afrobeat drummer (d. 2020)
- August 13
- August 14
- August 17 – Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Malaysian politician, Chief Minister Of Sabah
- August 19
- August 20
- August 23
- August 25 – José van Dam, Belgian bass-baritone
- August 26 – Michel Micombero, 1st President of Burundi (d. 1983)
- August 27 – Sonny Sharrock, American jazz musician (d. 1994)
- August 28 – Joseph Shabalala, South African choral director (Ladysmith Black Mambazo) (d. 2020)
- August 29 – Wim Ruska, Dutch wrestler, martial artist (d. 2015)
- August 31 – Jack Thompson, Australian actor
- September 1
- September 3
- September 5 – Raquel Welch, American actress (d. 2023)
- September 6
- September 7
- September 10
- September 11
- September 12
- September 13 – Óscar Arias, Costa Rican politician, twice President of Costa Rica, Nobel Peace Prize laureate
- September 14
- September 18 – Frankie Avalon, American singer and actor
- September 19 – Paul Williams, American songwriter, singer and actor
- September 20 – Tarō Asō, 59th Prime Minister of Japan
- September 22 – Anna Karina, Danish-French actress (d. 2019)
- September 23
- September 24 – Michiko Suganuma, Urushi Japanese lacquer artist
- October 1
- October 3 – Mike Troy, American swimmer (d. 2019)
- October 4 – Ian Kiernan, Australian yachtsman (d. 2018)
- October 5 – Milena Dravić, Serbian actress (d. 2018)
- October 6 – John Warnock, American computer scientist, co-founded Adobe Inc. (d. 2023)
- October 9 – John Lennon, English musician, singer-songwriter (The Beatles) (d. 1980)
- October 13 – Pharoah Sanders, American saxophonist (d. 2022)
- October 14 – Cliff Richard, British pop musician, actor and philanthropist
- October 15 – Peter Doherty, Australian immunologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- October 16
- October 17 – Peter Stringfellow, English businessman, nightclub owner (d. 2018)
- October 18 – Győző Kulcsár, Hungarian fencer (d. 2018)
- October 19 – Sir Michael Gambon, British-Irish actor
- October 20 – Robert Pinsky, American poet, essayist, literary critic and translator, United States Poet Laureate
- October 21
- October 23 – Pelé, Brazilian footballer (d. 2022)
- October 24 – Yossi Sarid, Israeli politician (d. 2015)
- October 25
- October 27 – John Gotti, American gangster (d. 2002)
- October 28 – Jack Shepherd, English actor
- October 29
- October 30 – Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Japanese sculptor, architect (d. 2018)
- November 5 – Jaime Roldós Aguilera, 33rd President of Ecuador (1979-1981) (d. 1981)
- November 12 – Donald Wuerl, American archbishop
- November 15
- November 17 – Luke Kelly, Irish ballad singer (d. 1984)
- November 18 – Qaboos bin Said, Sultan of Oman (d. 2020)
- November 20 – Helma Sanders-Brahms, German film director (d. 2014)
- November 21 – Richard Marcinko, U.S. Navy SEAL team member, author (d. 2021)
- November 22
- November 25 – Joe Gibbs, American football coach
- November 27 – Bruce Lee, Chinese-American martial artist, actor (d. 1973)
- November 29 – Chuck Mangione, American flugelhorn player
- December 1
- December 2 – Connie Booth, British actress
- December 4 – Gary Gilmore, American murderer (d. 1977)
- December 11
- December 12
- December 19 – Phil Ochs, American protest singer (d. 1976)
- December 21 – Frank Zappa, American musician, composer and satirist (d. 1993)
- December 23
- December 24
- December 25 – Alija Behmen, Bosnian politician (d. 2018)
- December 26 – Edward C. Prescott, American economist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2022)
- December 28 – Don Francisco, Chilean-American television host
- December 29
- December 30 - James Burrows, American television director
|January · February · March · April · May · June · July · August · September · October · November · December|
- January 1 – Fusajiro Yamauchi, Japanese business executive (b. 1859)
- January 4 – Flora Finch, English-born actress, comedian (b. 1867)
- January 9 – Alex Bennett, Scottish footballer (b. 1881)
- January 15 – Kallirhoe Parren, founder of the Greek women's movement (b. 1861)
- January 18 – Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, Polish poet, writer (b. 1865)
- January 20 – Omar Bundy, U.S. Army General (b. 1861)
- January 22 – Edwin Carewe, Native American director (b. 1883)
- January 27 – Isaac Babel, Ukrainian writer (executed) (b. 1894)
- February – Zheng Pingru, Chinese spy (executed) (b. 1918)
- February 2
- February 4
- February 9 – William Dodd, American historian, diplomat (b. 1869)
- February 11
- February 15 – R. E. B. Crompton, British electrical engineer, industrialist and inventor (b. 1845)
- February 16 – Louis Dartige du Fournet, French admiral (b. 1856)
- February 26 – Michael Hainisch, 2nd President of Austria (b. 1858)
- February 27 – Peter Behrens, German architect, designer (b. 1868)
- February 29
- March 1 – A. H. Tammsaare, Estonian writer (b. 1878)
- March 5
- March 10 – Mikhail Bulgakov, Russian writer (b. 1891)
- March 16
- March 18 – Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston, British army general (b. 1864)
- March 20 – Alfred Ploetz, German physician, biologist and eugenicist (b. 1860)
- March 23 – Dimitar Stanchov, 15th Prime Minister of Bulgaria (b. 1863)
- March 24 – Thomas Adams, British urban planner (b. 1871)
- March 26 – Spyridon Louis, Greek Olympic athlete (b. 1873)
- March 27
- March 30 – Sir George Egerton, British admiral (b. 1852)
- March 31 – Tinsley Lindley, English footballer (b. 1865)
- April 1 – J. A. Hobson, English economist (b. 1858)
- April 5
- April 7 – William Faversham, English actor (b. 1868)
- April 8 – Joaquin Mir Trinxet, Spanish artist (b. 1873)
- April 9
- April 10 – Bernard Warburton-Lee, British naval officer, Victoria Cross recipient (killed in action) (b. 1895)
- April 18 – Florrie Forde, Australian-born music hall singer (b. 1875)
- April 21 – George Barnes, British Labour politician (b. 1859)
- April 26 – Carl Bosch, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1874)
- April 28 – Luisa Tetrazzini, Italian opera singer (b. 1871)
- April 30 – Henryk Dobrzański, Polish soldier, sportsman and resistance fighter (b. 1897)
- May 2 – Ernest Joyce, English explorer (b. 1875)
- May 7 – George Lansbury, British Labour politician (b. 1859)
- May 11 – Chujiro Hayashi, Japanese Reiki Master (b. 1880)
- May 14 – Emma Goldman, Lithuanian-born anarchist (b. 1869)
- May 15 – Menno ter Braak, Dutch writer (b. 1902)
- May 16 – Zhang Zizhong, general of the Chinese National Revolutionary Army (b. 1891)
- May 19 – Diego Mazquiarán, Spanish matador (b. 1895)
- May 20 – Verner von Heidenstam, Swedish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1859)
- May 24 – Louis Fles, Dutch businessman, activist and author (b. 1872)
- May 25 – Joe De Grasse, Canadian film director (b. 1873)
- May 26 – Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (b. 1906)
- May 27 – Bolesław Roja, Polish general (executed) (b. 1876)
- May 28
- May 29 – Mary Anderson, American stage actress (b. 1859)
- June 7
- June 10
- June 11 – Alfred S. Alschuler, American architect (b. 1876)
- June 13 – George Fitzmaurice, American director (b. 1885)
- June 12 - William Lashly, English sailor (b. 1867)
- June 14 – Henry W. Antheil Jr., American diplomat (b. 1912)
- June 17 – Sir Arthur Harden, English chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1865)
- June 19 – Maurice Jaubert, French composer (b. 1900)
- June 20 – Charley Chase, American comedian (b. 1893)
- June 21
- June 22
- June 15 – J. B. Johnson, American attorney and politician (b. 1868)
- June 28 – Italo Balbo, Italian Fascist leader (b. 1896)
- June 29 – Paul Klee, Swiss artist (b. 1879)
- July 1 – Ben Turpin, American actor, comedian (b. 1869)
- July 9 – Józef Biniszkiewicz, Silesian politician (b. 1875)
- July 10 – Pietro Frugoni, Italian general (b. 1851)
- July 15 – Robert Wadlow, American citizen, tallest man ever (infection) (b. 1918)
- July 28 – David W. Taylor, American naval architect (b. 1864)
- July 30 – Spencer S. Wood, United States Navy Rear Admiral (b. 1861)
- August 3
- August 4 – Joaquina Maria Mercedes Barcelo Pages, Filipino Roman Catholic nun and venerable (b. 1857)
- August 5 – Frederick Cook, American explorer (b. 1865)
- August 8 – Johnny Dodds, American jazz clarinetist (b. 1892)
- August 13
- August 16 – Henri Desgrange, French racing cyclist and founder of the Tour de France (b. 1865)
- August 18 – Walter Chrysler, American automobile pioneer (b. 1875)
- August 21 – Leon Trotsky, Russian communist revolutionary (assassinated) (b. 1879)
- August 22
- Sir Oliver Lodge, British physicist (b. 1851)
- Gerald Strickland, 1st Baron Strickland, Maltese politician, 4th Prime Minister of Malta, 23rd Governor of New South Wales, 15th Governor of Western Australia and 9th Governor of Tasmania (b. 1861)
- Mary Vaux Walcott, American artist, naturalist (b. 1860)
- August 24 – Paul Gottlieb Nipkow, German technician and inventor (b. 1860)
- August 28 – William Bowie, American geodetic engineer (b. 1872)
- August 30
- August 31 – Ernest Lundeen, American lawyer, politician (b. 1878)
- September 4 – George William de Carteret, Jerseiaise author (b. 1869)
- September 5 – Charles de Broqueville, 20th Prime Minister of Belgium (b. 1860)
- September 7 – José Félix Estigarribia, 34th President of Paraguay (b. 1888)
- September 9 - Percy Abbott, Australian politician (b. 1869)
- September 10 – Nikola Ivanov, Bulgarian general (b. 1861)
- September 20 - E. Rosa Sawtell, New Zealand artist (b. 1865)
- September 23
- September 25 – Marguerite Clark, American stage and silent film actress (b. 1883)
- September 26 – Walter Benjamin, German philosopher and cultural critic, suicide (b. 1892)
- September 27
- October 5
- October 6 – Michitarō Komatsubara, Japanese general (b. 1885)
- October 8
- October 9 – Sir Wilfred Grenfell, English medical missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador (b. 1865)
- October 10 – Berton Churchill, Canadian actor (b. 1876)
- October 12 – Tom Mix, American actor (b. 1880)
- October 15 – Lluís Companys, President of the Generalitat of Catalonia (executed) (b. 1882)
- October 17 – George Davis, American baseball player, MLB Hall of Famer (b. 1870)
- October 20 – Gunnar Asplund, Swedish architect (b. 1885)
- October 22 – Sir Charles Harington, British general (b. 1872)
- November 3 – Manuel Azaña, 55th Prime Minister of Spain, 2nd President of Spain (b. 1880)
- November 9 – Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1869)
- November 17
- November 18 – Ion Inculeț, Moldavian politician, 1st President of Moldova (b. 1884)
- November 24 – Saionji Kinmochi, Japanese prince and prime minister (b. 1849)
- November 26 – assassinations
- November 27
- December 2 – Nikolai Koltsov, Russian biologist, genetist (b. 1872)
- December 5 – Jan Kubelík, Czech violinist (b. 1880)
- December 13 – Wilfred Lucas, Canadian-born American actor (b. 1871)
- December 14 – Anton Korošec, Slovenian political leader (b. 1872)
- December 15 – Billy Hamilton, American baseball player, MLB Hall of Famer (b. 1866)
- December 16 – Eugène Dubois, Dutch paleoanthropologist, geologist (b. 1858)
- December 19 – Kyösti Kallio, Finnish farmerman, banker, 8th Prime Minister of Finland and 4th President of Finland (b. 1873)
- December 21 – F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer (b. 1896)
- December 22 – Nathanael West, American writer (b. 1903)
- December 23 – Eddie August Schneider, American aviator (b. 1911)
- December 25 – Agnes Ayres, American actress (b. 1898)
- December 26 – Daniel Frohman, American theater producer (b. 1851)
- Physics – not awarded
- Chemistry – not awarded
- Physiology or Medicine – not awarded
- Literature – not awarded
- Peace – not awarded
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