April 1941

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The following events occurred in April 1941:

April 1, 1941 (Tuesday)[edit]

April 2, 1941 (Wednesday)[edit]

April 3, 1941 (Thursday)[edit]

April 4, 1941 (Friday)[edit]

April 5, 1941 (Saturday)[edit]

April 6, 1941 (Sunday)[edit]

April 7, 1941 (Monday)[edit]

  • Axis troops retook Derna, Libya.[5]
  • The Luftwaffe sank 12 ships in an attack on the Greek port of Piraeus.[13]
  • On Budget Day in the United Kingdom, Chancellor of the Exchequer Kingsley Wood presented an innovative plan modeled after Keynesian economics that used taxation and forced savings to attack an estimated £500 million "inflation gap". Wood increased taxes by £250 million and projected a deficit of £2.304 billion, almost identical to the previous year's deficit of £2.475 billion.[14][15] British newspaper editorials generally found the wartime sacrifices asked for in the budget to be reasonable and the stock exchange also took the news of the budget well.[16]
  • Britain severed diplomatic relations with Hungary, saying it had "become a base of operations against the Allies."[17]
  • The first night of the Belfast Blitz began.
  • British general Richard O'Connor was captured by a German reconnaissance patrol in North Africa.
  • The results of a Gallup poll were published asking Americans, "Which of these two things do you think it is more important for the United States to try to do — to keep out of the war ourselves, or to help England win, even at the risk of getting into the war?" 67% said help England, a 7 percent increase since the same question was polled three months previously.[18]

April 8, 1941 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • British forces captured the crucial port city of Massawa and completed the conquest of Italian Eritrea.[5][12]
  • Axis troops captured Mechili, Libya.[19]
  • President Roosevelt sent Peter II of Yugoslavia a message promising that "the United States will speedily furnish all material assistance possible in accordance with its existing statutes. I send Your Majesty my most earnest hopes for a successful resistance to this criminal assault upon the independence and integrity of your country."[20]
  • Born: Peggy Lennon, singer (The Lennon Sisters), in Los Angeles, California

April 9, 1941 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The Battle of Shanggao ended in Chinese victory.
  • The Battle of the Metaxas Line ended in German victory.
  • The Germans captured Thessaloniki.[21]
  • Greenland in World War II: The U.S. and Danish governments signed an agreement in which the Americans took over the defense of Greenland in exchange for the right to build air and naval bases there. The U.S. established a protectorate over Greenland the following day.[22]
  • Winston Churchill made a lengthy speech before the House of Commons reviewing the course of the war. He said in conclusion: "Once we have gained the Battle of the Atlantic and are sure of the constant flow of American supplies which are being prepared for us, then, however far Hitler may go or whatever new millions and scores of millions he may lap in misery, we who are armed with the sword of retributive justice shall be on his track."[23]
  • American battleship USS North Carolina was commissioned.
  • Born: Kay Adams, country singer, in Knox City, Texas

April 10, 1941 (Thursday)[edit]

  • The Germans captured Zagreb and the Independent State of Croatia was proclaimed.[24]
  • The Siege of Tobruk began.
  • German battleship Gneisenau was hit again in an RAF raid on Brest.[1]
  • German submarines U-401 and U-565 were commissioned.
  • The trial of Anthony and William Esposito began in New York City. The brothers faced two counts of murder for the January 14 slaying of a police officer and a holdup victim. The case was a sensation in the New York media, who dubbed the defendants the "Mad Dog" brothers because they entered an insanity defense and displayed wild behavior such as walking in and out of the courtroom like apes, howling and gnawing on their own fingers.[25][26]

April 11, 1941 (Friday)[edit]

April 12, 1941 (Saturday)[edit]

April 13, 1941 (Sunday)[edit]

  • The Battle of Ptolemaida was fought, resulting in German victory.
  • The Battle of Kleisoura Pass began.
  • Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact: Japan and the Soviet Union signed a five-year Treaty of Neutrality, pledging to remain neutral in the event of one country being attacked by a third party.[19][22] The pact also saw the Soviet Union recognize du jure Manchukuo for the first time.[30]
  • The British armed merchant cruiser Rajputana was torpedoed and sunk in the North Atlantic by German submarine U-108.
  • Pope Pius XII broadcast an Easter address asking listeners to pray for an early peace. He directed a message to the occupying powers as well, saying, "let your conscience guide you in dealing justly, humanely and providently with the peoples of occupied territories. Do not impose upon them burdens which you in similar circumstances have felt or would feel to be unjust." The pope also called for an end to attacks against civilian targets.[31][32]
  • Born: Michael Stuart Brown, geneticist and Nobel laureate, in Brooklyn, New York
  • Died: Annie Jump Cannon, 77, American astronomer

April 14, 1941 (Monday)[edit]

April 15, 1941 (Tuesday)[edit]

April 16, 1941 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The Battle of the Tarigo Convoy was fought off the Kerkennah Islands near Tunisia. The British destroyer HMS Mohawk was sunk but the Italians lost two destroyers and five cargo ships.
  • Armistice negotiations began between the Yugoslavians and the Germans.[19]
  • The British aircraft carrier HMS Furious was damaged in another day of German bombing during the Belfast Blitz.[19]
  • The entire 1st Division of the Italian 62nd Regiment was captured in a failed attack on Tobruk.[19]
  • Died: Josiah Stamp, 1st Baron Stamp, 60, English industrialist, economist and civil servant

April 17, 1941 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Yugoslavia formally surrendered to the Axis.[19]
  • The Yugoslav destroyer Zagreb was scuttled to prevent capture.
  • German submarine U-566 was commissioned.
  • Died: Sergej Mašera, 28, Yugoslav Navy officer; Milan Spasić, 31, Yugoslav Navy officer.
  • Died: Al Bowlly, famed British musician, 43. Killed by a Luftwaffe parachute mine that detonated outside his flat.

April 18, 1941 (Friday)[edit]

April 19, 1941 (Saturday)[edit]

April 20, 1941 (Sunday)[edit]

April 21, 1941 (Monday)[edit]

  • Georgios Tsolakoglou disobeyed orders from Greek high command and signed surrender papers to Sepp Dietrich in Larissa so the Greek army would not have to surrender to the Italians.[38]
  • The Royal Navy bombarded Tripoli, damaging the Italian torpedo boat Partenope and six freighters.[19]
  • Emmanouil Tsouderos became Prime Minister of Greece.
  • The Greek destroyer Thyella was bombed and sunk by the Luftwaffe off Vouliagmeni.
  • The writer Rex Stout made a speech in New York City in which he attacked the isolationist activism of Charles Lindbergh, saying, "I wish I could look you in the eye, Colonel Lindbergh, when I tell you that you simply don't know what it's all about ... A desperate war is being fought, and the winners of the war will win the oceans. No matter what we do, we shall be either one of the winners, or one of the losers; no shivering neutral will get a bite of anything but crow when the shooting stops. It would therefore seem to be plain imbecility not to go in with Britain and win."[39]

April 22, 1941 (Tuesday)[edit]

April 23, 1941 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • At Mussolini's insistence, a second Greek surrender document was signed up in Thessaloniki that included the Italians.[38]
  • King George II of Greece and the Greek government fled to Crete.[30]
  • The Greek battleship Kilkis and barracks ship Lemnos were bombed and sunk in Salamis Naval Base by the Luftwaffe.
  • The results of a Gallup poll were published asking Americans, "If it appears certain that Britain will be defeated unless we use part of our navy to protect ships going to Britain, would you favor or oppose such convoys?" 71% expressed favor, 21% were opposed and 8% expressed no opinion.[18]
  • Born: Paavo Lipponen, Prime Minister of Finland, in Turtola, Finland; Ed Stewart, broadcaster, in Exmouth, Devon, England

April 24, 1941 (Thursday)[edit]

April 25, 1941 (Friday)[edit]

  • The Battle of Thermopylae ended in German victory, although the Allies fought a successful delaying action.
  • Hitler issued Directive No. 28, Invasion of Crete.
  • During a press conference, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt seemed to compare Charles Lindbergh to Clement Vallandigham and the Copperheads of the American Civil War. Without using Lindbergh's name, Roosevelt said, "There are people in this country ... [who] say out of one side of the mouth, 'No, I don't like it, I don't like dictatorship,' and then out of the other side of the mouth, 'Well, it's going to beat democracy, it's going to defeat democracy, therefore I might just as well accept it.' Now, I don't call that good Americanism ... Well, Vallandigham, as you know, was an appeaser. He wanted to make peace from 1863 on because the North 'couldn't win.' Once upon a time there was a place called Valley Forge and there were an awful lot of appeasers that pleaded with Washington to quit, because he 'couldn't win.' Just because he 'couldn't win.' See what Tom Paine said at that time in favor of Washington keeping on fighting!"[40][41]
  • The British submarine Usk was lost in the Mediterranean, probably to a naval mine, on or sometime after this date.

April 26, 1941 (Saturday)[edit]

April 27, 1941 (Sunday)[edit]

  • German troops marched into Athens.[22]
  • Slamat disaster: The Dutch troopship Slamat and the British destroyers Diamond and Wryneck were sunk in air attacks by Stuka dive bombers.
  • Winston Churchill made a radio broadcast reporting on the war situation. "When I spoke to you early in February many people believed the Nazi boastings that the invasion of Britain was about to begin. Now it has not begun yet, and with every week that passes we grow stronger on the sea, in the air and in the number, quality, training and equipment of the great armies that now guard our island," Churchill said. Returning to the line in that February speech asking for the "tools" to "finish the job," Churchill said that "that is what it now seems the Americans are going to do. And that is why I feel a very strong conviction that though the Battle of the Atlantic will be long and hard and its issue is by no means yet determined, it has entered upon a more grim but at the same time a far more favourable phase."[42]
  • General Friedrich Paulus was dispatched to North Africa to exert some control from High Command over Erwin Rommel, who had been disregarding most orders from Berlin.[1]
  • Heinrich Himmler inspected Mauthausen concentration camp.[19]
  • Born: Lee Roy Jordan, American football player, in Excel, Alabama

April 28, 1941 (Monday)[edit]

  • The Italians began occupying the Ionian and Aegean Islands.[43]
  • Free French troops advanced into pro-Vichy French Somaliland.[30]
  • German submarine U-65 was depth charged and sunk in the North Atlantic by the British destroyer HMS Douglas.
  • Charles Lindbergh announced in a letter that he was resigning as a member of the Army Air Corps Reserve due to President Roosevelt's implied criticism of him. The U.S. War Department accepted his resignation the following day.[44]
  • Another Gallup poll result was released asking Americans, "If you were asked to vote today on the question of the United States entering the war against Germany and Italy, how would you vote — to go into the war, or to stay out of the war?" 81% said stay out, a 7 percent decrease since the same question was polled in January. Another question asked, "If it appeared certain that there was no other way to defeat Germany and Italy except for the United States to go to war against them, would you be in favor of the United States going to war?" 68% said yes, 24% said no, and 8% expressed no opinion.[18]
  • Born: Ann-Margret, actress, singer and dancer, in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, Sweden; Karl Barry Sharpless, chemist and Nobel laureate, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Iryna Zhylenko, poet, in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union (d. 2013)

April 29, 1941 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • Allied resistance ceased on the Greek mainland when 8,000 British, New Zealand, Australian, Greek and Yugoslavian troops surrendered at Kalamata.[19]
  • The British passenger ship City of Nagpur was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by the German submarine U-75.
  • German submarine U-84 was commissioned.
  • Died: Bob McCowan, 66, Australian rugby union player

April 30, 1941 (Wednesday)[edit]


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