1940 in the United States
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|1940 in the United States|
48 stars (1912–59)
|Timeline of United States history|
|History of the United States (1918–45)|
Events from the year 1940 in the United States.
- 1 Incumbents
- 2 Events
- 3 Births
- 4 Deaths
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
- President: Franklin D. Roosevelt (D-New York)
- Vice President: John Nance Garner (D-Texas)
- Chief Justice: Charles Evans Hughes (New York)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: William B. Bankhead (D-Alabama) (until September 15), Sam Rayburn (D-Texas) (starting September 16)
- Senate Majority Leader: Alben W. Barkley (D-Kentucky)
- Congress: 76th
- February 7 – RKO release Walt Disney's second full-length animated film, Pinocchio.
- February 20 – Tom and Jerry make their debut in Puss Gets the Boot.
- February 27 – Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discover carbon-14.
- March – Truth or Consequences debuts on NBC Radio.
- March 2 – Cartoon character Elmer Fudd makes his debut in the animated short Elmer's Candid Camera.
- April – Dick Grayson (AKA as Robin, the Boy Wonder) first appears with Batman.
- April 1 – April Fools' Day is also the census date for the 16th U.S. Census.
- April 7 – Booker T. Washington becomes the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp.
- April 12 – Opening day at Jamaica Racetrack features the use of pari-mutuel betting equipment, a departure from bookmaking heretofore used exclusively throughout New York state. Other NY tracks follow suit later in 1940.
- April 21 – Take It or Leave It makes it debut on CBS Radio, with Bob Hawk as host.
- April 23 – A fire at the Rhythm Night Club in Natchez, Mississippi kills 198.
- May 15
- May 16 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, addressing a joint session of Congress, asks for an extraordinary credit of approximately $900 million to finance construction of at least 50,000 airplanes per year.
- May 18 – The 6.9 Mw El Centro earthquake affected California's Imperial Valley with a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme), causing nine deaths and twenty injuries. Financial losses were around $6 million. Significant damage also occurred in Mexicali, Mexico.
- May 29 – The Vought XF4U-1, prototype of the F4U Corsair U.S. fighter later used in WWII, makes its first flight.
- June 10 – 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.
- June 14 – 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%.
- June 16 – The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is held for the first time in Sturgis, South Dakota.
- June 24 – U.S. politics: The Republican Party begins its national convention in Philadelphia and nominates Wendell Willkie as its candidate for president.
- July 1 – The doomed 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 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 20 – The Arroyo Seco Parkway, one of the first freeways built in the U.S., opens to traffic, connecting downtown Los Angeles with Pasadena, California.
- July 27 – Bugs Bunny makes his debut in the Oscar-nominated cartoon short, A Wild Hare.
- 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.
- 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 1 year, to engage in a training program in Ft. Sill and Louisiana, prior to serving in World War II.
- September 2 – WWII: An agreement between America 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, America gains 99-year leases on British bases in the North Atlantic, West Indies and Bermuda.
- September 12 – The Hercules Munitions Plant in Succasunna-Kenvil, New Jersey explodes, killing 55 people.
- 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 26 – WWII: The United States imposes a total embargo on all scrap metal shipments to Japan.
- October 1 – The first section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the country's first long-distance controlled-access highway, is opened between Irwin and Carlisle.
- October 16 – The draft registration of approximately 16 million men begins in the United States.
- October 29 – The Selective Service System lottery is held in Washington, D.C..
- November 5 – U.S. presidential election, 1940: Democrat incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt defeats Republican challenger Wendell Willkie and becomes the nation's first and only third-term president.
- November 7 – In Tacoma, Washington, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (nicknamed the "Galloping Gertie") collapses in a 42-mile-per-hour (68 km/h) wind storm, causing the center span of the bridge to sway. When it collapses, a 600-foot-long (180 m) design of the center span falls 190 feet above the water, killing Tubby, a black male cocker spaniel dog.
- November 11 – Armistice Day Blizzard: An unexpected blizzard kills 144 in U.S. Midwest.
- November 12 – Case of Hansberry v. Lee, 311 U.S. 32 (1940), decided, allowing a racially restrictive covenant to be lifted.
- November 13 – Walt Disney's Fantasia is released. It is the first box office failure for Disney, though it eventually recoups its cost years later, and becomes one of the most highly regarded of Disney's films.
- November 16 – An unexploded pipe bomb is found in the Consolidated Edison office building (only years later is the culprit, George Metesky, apprehended).
- 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 17 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt, at his regular press conference, first sets forth the outline of his plan to send aid to Great Britain that will become known as Lend-Lease.
- December 29 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a fireside chat to the nation, declares that the United States must become "the great arsenal of democracy."
- December 20 – The 5.3 Mw New Hampshire earthquake shook New England with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong). This first event in a doublet earthquake was followed four days later by a 5.6 Mw shock. Total damage from the events was light.
- December 30 – California's first modern freeway, the future State Route 110, opens to traffic in Pasadena, California, as the Arroyo Seco Parkway (now the Pasadena Freeway).
- January 2 – Jim Bakker, Televangelist and former husband of Tammy Faye
- January 6 – Penny Lernoux, Journalist and author (d. 1989)
- January 14 – Julian Bond, Civil rights activist (d. 2015)
- January 20 – Carol Heiss, Figure skater
- January 21 – Jack Nicklaus, Golfer
- January 27 – James Cromwell, Actor
- January 29 – Katharine Ross, Actress
- February 3 – Fran Tarkenton, Football player
- February 4 – George A. Romero, Film writer and director
- February 6 – Tom Brokaw, Television news reporter
- February 8
- February 12 – Hank Brown, United States Senator from Colorado from 1991 till 1997.
- February 17 – Gene Pitney, Singer (d. 2006)
- February 19 – Smokey Robinson, Musician
- February 22 – Billy Name, Photographer and Warhol archivist
- February 23 – Peter Fonda, Actor
- February 24 – Pete Duel, Actor (d. 1971)
- February 25 – Ron Santo, Baseball player (d. 2010)
- February 28 – Mario Andretti, Race car driver
- March 6 – Willie Stargell, African-American baseball player (d. 2001)
- March 10
- March 12 – Al Jarreau, jazz singer (d. 2017)
- March 13 – Candi Staton, singer
- March 15 – Phil Lesh, musician (Grateful Dead)
- March 17 – Mark White, 43rd Governor of Texas from 1983 to 1987
- March 20 – Mary Ellen Mark, photographer (d. 2015)
- March 21 – Solomon Burke, singer-songwriter (d. 2010)
- March 25 – Anita Bryant, entertainer
- March 26
- March 27 – Cale Yarborough, race car driver
- March 29 – Ray Davis, musician (P-Funk) (d. 2005)
- March 31 – Patrick Leahy, U.S. Senator from Vermont from 1975
- May 10 – Wayne A. Downing, American general (d. 2007)
- June 7 – Evi Nemeth, author and engineer (died 2013)
- June 8
- June 23 – Wilma Rudolph, Track & Field Athlete and 3 Time Olympic Winner (died 1994)
- July 3 – Lamar Alexander, United States Senator from Tennessee from 2003
- July 13 – Paul Prudhomme, Louisiana Creole cuisine chef (d. 2015)
- July 29 – Betty Harris (scientist), Inventor
- August 27 – Fernest Arceneaux, Zydeco accordionist (d. 2008)
- August 28 – William Cohen, United States Senator from Maine from 1979 to 1997
- August 29 – James Brady, 17th White House Press Secretary (d. 2014)
- August 31 – Wilton Felder, African American jazz saxophonist (d. 2015)
- October 6 – Wyche Fowler, United States Senator from Georgia from 1987 till 1993.
- October 9 – Gordon J. Humphrey, United States Senator from New Hampshire from 1979 till 1990.
- October 29 – Connie Mack III, United States Senator from Florida from 1989 till 2001.
- November 11 – Barbara Boxer, United States Senator from California from 1993 till 2017
- January 4 – Flora Finch, silent film actress and comedian (born 1869 in the United Kingdom)
- January 19 – William Borah, U.S. Senator from Idaho from 1907 to 1940 (born 1865)
- February 1 – Philip Francis Nowlan, science fiction writer, creator of Buck Rogers (born 1888)
- February 4 – Samuel M. Vauclain, steam locomotive engineer (born 1856)
- February 9 – William Edward Dodd, diplomat and historian (born 1869)
- March 11 – John Monk Saunders, screenwriter (born 1897)
- July 1 – Ben Turpin, comic silent film actor (born 1869)
- July 15 – Robert Wadlow, tallest man ever (born 1918)
- July 30 – Spencer S. Wood, U.S. Navy rear admiral (born 1861)
- September 1 – Lillian Wald, nurse and humanitarian (born 1867)
- December 21 – F. Scott Fitzgerald, fiction writer, author of the novel The Great Gatsby (born 1896)
- December 22 – Nathanael West, fiction writer (born 1903)
- December 23 – Eddie August Schneider, aviator (born 1911)
- December 25 – Agnes Ayres, silent film actress (born 1898)
- December 26 – Daniel Frohman, theater producer (born 1851)
- December 31 – John T. Thompson, U.S. Army officer, inventor of the Thompson submachine gun (born 1860)
- Trossarelli, L. (2010). "the history of nylon". Club Alpino Italiano, Centro Studi Materiali e Tecniche. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
- Media related to 1940 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons