July 1940

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The following events occurred in July 1940:

July 1, 1940 (Monday)[edit]

July 2, 1940 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • U.S. Congress enacted the Export Control Act, granting the president authority to restrict the export of goods that had military applications such as machine parts, munitions and tools.[3]
  • The passenger ship Arandora Star was heading for Canada transporting German and Italian internees and prisoners of war when she was torpedoed and sunk west of Ireland by German submarine U-47. 865 lives were lost.
  • Born: Christopher Awdry, author, in Ampfield, England

July 3, 1940 (Wednesday)[edit]

July 4, 1940 (Thursday)[edit]

July 5, 1940 (Friday)[edit]

  • Vichy France severed diplomatic relations with Britain over the attack on Mers-el-Kébir.[8]
  • Died: Carl Einstein, 55, German Jewish writer (suicide)

July 6, 1940 (Saturday)[edit]

July 7, 1940 (Sunday)[edit]

July 8, 1940 (Monday)[edit]

  • British torpedo bombers attacked the French battleship Richelieu at Dakar, inflicting damage but failing to sink their target.[2]
  • Sweden and Germany signed an agreement allowing the transit of German materiel to pass between Norway and ports in southern Sweden.[11]

July 9, 1940 (Tuesday)[edit]

July 10, 1940 (Wednesday)[edit]

July 11, 1940 (Thursday)[edit]

July 12, 1940 (Friday)[edit]

  • Pierre Laval was appointed Vice Premier of Vichy France and Marshal Pétain's successor.[8][16]

July 13, 1940 (Saturday)[edit]

July 14, 1940 (Sunday)[edit]

  • Rigged elections began in Soviet-occupied Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
  • Bastille Day in the unoccupied portion of France was observed solemnly with flags at half mast.[17]
  • General elections were held in Cuba. Fulgencio Batista was elected president.
  • Winston Churchill gave a radio address declaring that Britain would fight on alone, saying that "be the ordeal sharp or long, or both, we shall seek no terms, we shall tolerate no parley; we may show mercy-we shall ask for none."[18]

July 15, 1940 (Monday)[edit]

  • The 1940 Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago.
  • The first German air raid of the Brighton Blitz occurred.[19]
  • The results of the rigged elections in the Soviet-occupied Baltic states were announced, reporting a unanimous desire to join the Soviet Union.[20]
  • The British withdrew from Moyale.[9]
  • Alsace and Lorraine were effectively annexed by Germany. Although Germany had not formally re-annexed the old territory of Alsace-Lorraine from France in June's armistice treaty, the moving of the customs line between the two countries to the old pre-World War I frontiers effectively served as de facto annexation.[21]
  • Died: Robert Wadlow, 22, tallest person in recorded history (infection)

July 16, 1940 (Tuesday)[edit]

July 17, 1940 (Wednesday)[edit]

July 18, 1940 (Thursday)[edit]

July 19, 1940 (Friday)[edit]

  • The Field Marshal Ceremony was held at the Kroll Opera House in Berlin. Hermann Göring was promoted to Reichsmarschall.
  • Hitler made a speech to the Reichstag reviewing the course of the war and then warned, "Mr. Churchill, or perhaps others, for once believe me when I predict a great empire will be destroyed, an empire that it was never my intention to destroy or even to harm. I do realize that this struggle, if it continues, can end only with the complete annihilation of one or the other of the two adversaries. Mr. Churchill may believe this will be Germany. I know that it will be Britain." Hitler then appealed "once more to reason and common sense", saying, "I can see no reason why this war must go on." He said if Churchill brushed aside this appeal, "I shall have relieved my conscience in regard to the things to come."[26]
  • Roosevelt gave his acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention. The president listed his reasons for running again and stated, "my conscience will not let me turn my back upon a call to service. The right to make that call rests with the people, through the American method of a free election. Only the people themselves can draft a President. If such a draft should be made upon me, I say to you, in the utmost simplicity, I will, with God's help, continue to serve with the best of my ability and with the fullness of my strength."[27]
  • The Battle of Cape Spada was fought in the Mediterranean Sea, resulting in Allied victory. The Italians lost their large ship of the war, the light cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni.
  • General Sir Alan Brooke was made Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces.[1]
  • Dornier Do 17 bombers conducted a night raid on the Rolls-Royce aero engine factory at Glasgow.[25]
  • The United States enacted the Two-Ocean Navy Act.

July 20, 1940 (Saturday)[edit]

July 21, 1940 (Sunday)[edit]

July 22, 1940 (Monday)[edit]

July 23, 1940 (Tuesday)[edit]

July 24, 1940 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The French passenger liner Meknés departed Southampton for Marseilles for repatriation of the 1,277 captured French Navy sailors aboard. The ship was torpedoed in the English Channel by the German torpedo boat S-27 despite the Meknés' displays of neutrality. Four British destroyers rescued the survivors but 416 perished.[5]
  • A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted 24 members of the "I AM" Movement for mail fraud.[31]
  • German submarine U-139 was commissioned.
  • Born: Stanley Hauerwas, theologian, ethicist and public intellectual, in Dallas, Texas

July 25, 1940 (Thursday)[edit]

  • A British coal convoy took heavy losses from German dive bombers. The Admiralty ordered future convoys to take place at night as a result.[32]
  • Died: Julia Gulliver, 83, American philosopher, educator and college president

July 26, 1940 (Friday)[edit]

July 27, 1940 (Saturday)[edit]

July 28, 1940 (Sunday)[edit]

July 29, 1940 (Monday)[edit]

  • German naval command issued a memo noting that the mid-September 1940 date for an invasion of Britain as demanded by Hitler was possible, but recommended a postponement to May 1941.[5]
  • Hitler told the military commander Alfred Jodl that the planned attack on the Soviet Union in the fall of 1940 was no longer logistically feasible and that it would be postponed to spring 1941.[37]
  • Born: Bernard Lafayette, civil rights leader, in Tampa, Florida

July 30, 1940 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • 21 nations of the Americas signed the Act of Havana, providing for an emergency establishment of a provisional administration "when islands or regions of the Americas now under the possession of non-American nations are in danger of becoming the subject of barter of territory or change of sovereignty."[5]
  • Died: Spencer S. Wood, 78, American admiral

July 31, 1940 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • A conference was held at the Berghof between Hitler, Keitel, Jodl, Raeder, Brauchitsch, Halder and Puttkamer. Raeder reported that the navy would not be ready for Operation Sea Lion until mid-September, if then, so discussion turned to attacking the Soviet Union instead. Hitler believed that defeating Russia would make Germany unbeatable and force Britain to come to terms, so an invasion of the Soviet Union was set for spring 1941.[37][38]
  • The British began the action codenamed Operation Hurry, with the goal of ferrying fourteen aircraft to Malta for the garrison's defence.
  • Vichy France imposed the death penalty for all French servicemen who joined a foreign army.[1]
  • Born: Roy Walker, television personality and comedian, in Belfast, Northern Ireland


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