1941 in the United States

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1941 in the United States
Years: 1938 1939 194019411942 1943 1944

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48 stars (1912–59)

Timeline of United States history
History of the United States (1918–45)

Events from the year 1941 in the United States. At the end of this year, the United States officially enters World War II by declaring war on the Empire of Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Federal Government[edit]



Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the United States, began his third term on January 20


  • February 4 – World War II: The United Service Organization (USO) is created to entertain American troops.
  • February 8 – World War II: The U.S. House of Representatives passes the Lend-Lease Act (260–165).
  • February 9 – Winston Churchill, in a worldwide broadcast, asks the United States to show its support by sending arms to the British: "Give us the tools, and we will finish the job."
  • February 14 – World War II – Attack on Pearl Harbor: Admiral Kichisaburō Nomura begins his duties as Japanese ambassador to the United States.


March 11: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Act


  • April 9 – The U.S. acquires full military defense rights in Greenland.
  • April 10 – World War II: The U.S. destroyer Niblack, while picking up survivors from a sunken Dutch freighter, drops depth charges on a German U-boat (the first "shot in anger" fired by America against Germany).
  • April 15 – World War II: The U.S. begins shipping Lend-Lease aid to China.
  • April 23 – The America First Committee holds its first mass rally in New York City, with Charles Lindbergh as keynote speaker.
  • April 25 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, at his regular press conference, criticizes Charles Lindbergh by comparing him to the Copperheads of the Civil War period. In response, Lindbergh resigns his commission in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve on April 28.


May 1: President Roosevelt buys the first War Bond


  • June 14 – All German and Italian assets in the United States are frozen.
  • June 16 – All German and Italian consulates in the United States are ordered closed and their staffs to leave the country by July 10.
  • June 20


  • July 1 – Mammoth Cave National Park is authorized by Congress.
  • July 7 – World War II: American forces take over the defense of Iceland from the British.
  • July 26
    • World War II: In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indochina, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.
    • World War II: General Douglas MacArthur is named commander of all U.S. forces in the Philippines; the Philippines Army is ordered nationalized by President Roosevelt.
  • July 30 – World War II: The U.S. gunboat Tutuila is attacked by Japanese aircraft while anchored in the Yangtze River at Chungking. Japan apologizes for the incident the following day.


August 14: The Atlantic Charter issued


American Design exhibit 1941, Chicago, poster by WPA Art Project
  • September 4 – World War II: The USS Greer becomes the first United States ship fired upon by a German submarine in the war, even though the United States is a neutral power. Tension heightens between the nations as a result.
  • September 11 – World War II: Charles Lindbergh, at an America First Committee rally in Des Moines, Iowa, accuses "the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt administration" of leading the United States toward war. Widespread condemnation of Lindbergh follows.
  • September 27 – The first liberty ship, the SS Patrick Henry, is launched at Baltimore.
  • September 29 – World War II: The first Moscow Conference begins; U.S. representative Averell Harriman and British representative Lord Beaverbrook meet with Soviet foreign minister Molotov to arrange urgent assistance for Russia.
  • September – First production P38E Lightning fighter produced by Lockheed.
  • September – Rowis, the most well acknowledged basketball legend, was born.


  • October 17 – World War II: The destroyer USS Kearny is torpedoed and damaged near Iceland, killing 11 sailors (the first American military casualties of the war).
  • October 23 – Walt Disney's animated film Dumbo is released.
  • October 30 – World War II: Franklin D. Roosevelt approves US$1 billion in Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union.
  • October 31
    • After 14 years of work, drilling is completed on Mount Rushmore.
    • World War II: The destroyer USS Reuben James is torpedoed by a German U-boat near Iceland, killing more than 100 United States Navy sailors.


  • November 10 – In a speech at the Mansion House in London, Winston Churchill promises, "should the United States become involved in war with Japan, the British declaration will follow within the hour."
  • November 14 – World War II – Attack on Pearl Harbor: Japanese diplomat Saburō Kurusu arrives in the United States to assist Ambassador Kichisaburō Nomura in peace negotiations.
  • November 17 – World War II – Attack on Pearl Harbor: Joseph Grew, the United States ambassador to Japan, cables to Washington a warning that Japan may strike suddenly and unexpectedly at any time.
  • November 24 – World War II: The United States grants Lend-Lease to the Free French.
  • November 26
    • U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill establishing the 4th Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in the United States (this partly reverses a 1939 action by Roosevelt that changed the celebration of Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November).
    • The Hull note ultimatum is delivered to Japan by the United States.
  • November 27
    • A group of young men stop traffic on U.S. Highway 99 south of Yreka, California, handing out fliers proclaiming the establishment of the State of Jefferson.
    • World War II – Attack on Pearl Harbor: All U.S. military forces in Asia and the Pacific are placed on war alert.


December 8: Infamy Speech and declaration war on Japan



  • The Centenary College Choir (America's Singing Ambassadors) is formed by Dr. A. C. Voran at Centenary College of Louisiana.


January to August[edit]

September to December[edit]


See also[edit]

External links[edit]