May 1941

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The following events occurred in May 1941:

May 1, 1941 (Thursday)[edit]

May 2, 1941 (Friday)[edit]

  • The Anglo-Iraqi War began, starting with airstrikes centred around RAF Habbaniya.
  • The Romanian government established the National Center for Romanianization, which was mainly tasked with expropriating Jewish properties and distributing them to Romanians.[5]
  • The British destroyer HMS Jersey struck a mine at Malta's Grand Harbour and sank.

May 3, 1941 (Saturday)[edit]

May 4, 1941 (Sunday)[edit]

May 5, 1941 (Monday)[edit]

May 6, 1941 (Tuesday)[edit]

May 7, 1941 (Wednesday)[edit]

May 8, 1941 (Thursday)[edit]

May 9, 1941 (Friday)[edit]

  • The Soviet Union declared that it would no longer recognize the diplomatic standing of Nazi-occupied Belgium, Norway and Yugoslavia.[6]
  • German submarine U-110 was captured in the Atlantic Ocean after being forced to surface by depth charges from British warships from convoy OB 318. The Royal Navy obtained the U-boat's code books and an entire Enigma machine.[13]
  • The Luftwaffe attempted to hit the Rolls-Royce aero engine factory in the East Midlands, but their bombs only managed to kill a few farm animals.[13]
  • The British cargo ship Empire Cloud was torpedoed and damaged on her maiden voyage by German submarine U-201 near Cape Farewell, Greenland with the loss of five crew. She would be towed, repaired and returned to service.
  • Billie Holiday recorded the classic jazz song "God Bless the Child".
  • Died: Fritz-Julius Lemp, 28, German U-boat commander (lost at sea during the capture of U-110)

May 10, 1941 (Saturday)[edit]

May 11, 1941 (Sunday)[edit]

May 12, 1941 (Monday)[edit]

  • The Nazi Party issued a press release on the subject of Rudolf Hess, claiming that he was "suffering from mental illness" and that the Führer had ordered the immediate arrest of those who helped Hess.[18]
  • Hitler abolished Rudolf Hess' post of Deputy Führer, transferred its duties to the new title of Chief of the Nazi Party Chancellory and appointed Martin Bormann to the job.
  • British MPs met for the first time in their new temporary home, the House of Lords.[9]
  • Operation Tiger was completed successfully.[13]
  • The British gunboat HMS Ladybird was bombed and sunk at Tobruk by Luftwaffe aircraft.
  • German submarine U-128 was commissioned.
  • Died: Ruth Stonehouse, 48, American actress and film director

May 13, 1941 (Tuesday)[edit]

May 14, 1941 (Wednesday)[edit]

May 15, 1941 (Thursday)[edit]

  • The British launched Operation Brevity, a limited offensive in the Egyptian and Libyan border area.
  • The British attempted to keep the Nazis guessing as to what Rudolf Hess had told them by having Labour Minister Ernest Bevin say in the government's first official statement on the matter: "I do not believe that Hitler did not know that Hess was coming to England. From my point of view Hess is a murderer. He is no man I would ever negotiate with and I don't change even for diplomatic reasons. I am not going to be deceived."[23]
  • The Greek destroyer Leon was bombed and sunk in Souda Bay by Luftwaffe aircraft.
  • Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak began inauspiciously with an RBI single off Eddie Smith in the bottom of the first inning, the New York Yankees' only run of the game as they lost to the Chicago White Sox 13-1.[24]
  • Born: Robert Kowalksi, logician and computer scientist, in Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • Died: Ulrich Grauert, 52, German Luftwaffe general (shot down near Saint-Omer)

May 16, 1941 (Friday)[edit]

May 17, 1941 (Saturday)[edit]

May 18, 1941 (Sunday)[edit]

May 19, 1941 (Monday)[edit]

May 20, 1941 (Tuesday)[edit]

May 21, 1941 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The British destroyer HMS Juno was bombed and sunk southeast of Crete by Italian aircraft.
  • The American steamship SS Robin Moor was stopped in the tropical Atlantic by the German submarine U-69. The ship's crew and passengers were allowed to board lifeboats and then the Robin Moor was torpedoed and scuttled, creating an international incident between Germany and the United States.
  • The Central Committee War Section met in Moscow. Joseph Stalin dismissed intelligence indicating a German attack on the Soviet Union was imminent, believing it was misinformation from the British trying to draw the Soviet Union into the war. When the head of Soviet intelligence argued with Stalin he was arrested and shot.[6]
  • German authorities ordered the United States to withdraw their representatives in Paris from the city by June 10.[9]
  • The Machita incident ended in southern Arizona when the elderly O'odham chief and medicine man Pia Machita was arrested for inciting his people to dodge the draft.
  • A theatre strike began in Norway as a response to the revocation of working permits for six actors who refused to perform on Nazi-controlled radio.
  • German submarine U-129 was commissioned.
  • Born: Bobby Cox, baseball player and manager, in Tulsa, Oklahoma

May 22, 1941 (Thursday)[edit]

May 23, 1941 (Friday)[edit]

  • The British destroyers Kashmir and Kelly were bombed and sunk by the Luftwaffe off Crete.
  • King George II of Greece fled to Egypt.[9]
  • Vichy Vice-Premier François Darlan made a radio broadcast to the French people denying that he was ever asked to hand over the French Navy or any colonial territory during his recent conversations with Hitler. "France freely is choosing the road she is taking," Darlan stated. "On her depends her present and her future. She will have the peace which she makes herself. She will have the place in the organization of Europe which she will have made for herself."[27]
  • Hitler issued Directive No. 30, Support of anti-British Forces in Iraq.
  • World heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis retained his title with a win over Buddy Baer by disqualification in the seventh round at Griffith Stadium in Washington.[28]

May 24, 1941 (Saturday)[edit]

May 25, 1941 (Sunday)[edit]

May 26, 1941 (Monday)[edit]

May 27, 1941 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • After taking more damage, the crippled Bismarck was scuttled to avoid being captured by the enemy.
  • The Battle of South Shanxi ended in Japanese victory.
  • In the Battle of 42nd Street, the Allies temporarily halted the German advance in Crete.
  • The Allies captured Gondar in Ethiopia to complete the elimination of the Italian Empire in East Africa.[26]
  • Operation Skorpion ended with the Germans recapturing Halfaya Pass.
  • Archibald Wavell sent a message to Churchill explaining that Crete was "no longer tenable" and that troops must be withdrawn. The Chiefs of Staff agreed and ordered evacuation.[30]
  • President Roosevelt gave a fireside chat announcing an unlimited national emergency.
  • Born: Teppo Hauta-aho, double bassist and composer, in Helsinki, Finland
  • Died: Vasil Laçi, 19, Albanian patriot who attempted to assassinate the king of Italy and the prime minister of Albania (executed); Günther Lütjens, 52, German admiral (killed in the sinking of the Bismarck)

May 28, 1941 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The Allies began to evacuate Crete.[7]
  • The British destroyer Mashona was bombed and sunk by the Luftwaffe off the coast of Galway.
  • Nazi Germany and Vichy France signed the Paris Protocols, granting the Germans military facilities in French colonies in exchange for the French receiving a reduction in the occupation costs they were obligated to pay Germany as well as the release of French prisoners of war.[31] The agreement would never be ratified.
  • Died: Dudley Joel, 37, British businessman and Member of Parliament (killed in action when the steam merchant Registan was bombed and sunk off Cape Cornwall)

May 29, 1941 (Thursday)[edit]

  • The Germans captured Chania.[9]
  • The Allied garrison at Heraklion was evacuated.[7]
  • The British destroyer HMS Hereward was bombed and sunk by the Luftwaffe in the Kasos Strait.
  • The British destroyer HMS Imperial was scuttled in the Mediterranean northeast of Bardia after being bombed and heavily damaged by Italian aircraft.
  • German submarines U-132, U-452 and U-572 were commissioned.
  • Born: Bob Simon, television correspondent, in the Bronx, New York (d. 2015)

May 30, 1941 (Friday)[edit]

May 31, 1941 (Saturday)[edit]


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  2. ^ Weller, George. "The Belgian Campaign in Ethiopia". ibiblio. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
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  4. ^ "Jury Convicts Two 'Mad Dogs' in One Minute". Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh: 13. May 2, 1941.
  5. ^ Eaton, Henry (2013). The Romanians and Onset of the Romanian Holocaust. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-8143-3856-8.
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  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "1941". MusicAndHistory. Archived from the original on August 28, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
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  9. ^ a b c d e f g Mercer, Derrik, ed. (1989). Chronicle of the 20th Century. London: Chronicle Communications Ltd. p. 548. ISBN 978-0-582-03919-3.
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  11. ^ "Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie returns to his capital". History. A&E Networks. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
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  14. ^ "Hank Greenberg". Baseball in Wartime. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  15. ^ "The Blitz - The Hardest Night". Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  16. ^ "Whirlaway's Late Rush Wins Preakness". Chicago Daily Tribune. Chicago: Chicago Daily Tribune. May 11, 1941. p. Part 2, p. 1.
  17. ^ Scheck, Raffael (2014). French Colonial Soldiers in German Captivity during World War II. Cambridge University Press. pp. 75–76. ISBN 978-1-107-05681-7.
  18. ^ Corvaja, Santi (2008). Hitler & Mussolini: The Secret Meetings. New York: Enigma Books. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-929631-42-1.
  19. ^ "Was war am 13. Mai 1941". chroniknet. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  20. ^ Geoffrey J. Giles. "Barbarossa Decree of 13 May 1941". University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
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  28. ^ "Joe Louis - Career Record". BoxRec. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  29. ^ "1941 Gallup poll results". ibiblio. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
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