November 1939

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The following events occurred in November 1939:

November 1, 1939 (Wednesday)[edit]

November 2, 1939 (Thursday)[edit]

November 3, 1939 (Friday)[edit]

  • U.S. Congress amended the Neutrality Act of 1937, repealing the embargo on arms to belligerents but placing sales on a cash and carry basis to avoid a repeat of the situation after World War I when Britain and France ran into difficulty with making their war debt payments to the United States.[3]
  • The German-controlled American freighter City of Flint entered port in Haugesund despite being ordered by its Norwegian escort, the minelayer Olav Tryggvason, not to. The German captain later told interrogators he was just following orders from his government and did not know why he was instructed to dock in Haugesund, but it was probably to get instructions from the vice consul on how and when to proceed to Germany. Norway decided to seize the freighter and return its command to the Americans, and at 23:30 a boarding party stormed the ship and removed the German prize crew.[4] The Germans were interned for violating international law, which forbade a ship from entering a neutral port without sufficient cause.[5]
  • The John Ford-directed historical film Drums Along the Mohawk starring Claudette Colbert and Henry Fonda was released.
  • The British propaganda film The Lion Has Wings, rushed through production after the outbreak of war, was released to cinemas in the United Kingdom.
  • Born: Adi Da, spiritual teacher, in New York City (d. 2008)

November 4, 1939 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The American Neutrality Law came into force, forbidding American ships and citizens from entering clearly defined war zones.[6]
  • The City of Flint sailed to Bergen with U.S. control finally restored.[4]
  • German submarine U-44 was commissioned.
  • Born: Michael Meacher, politician, in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England (d. 2015)
  • Died: Percy Douglas, 63, British naval officer

November 5, 1939 (Sunday)[edit]

November 6, 1939 (Monday)[edit]

November 7, 1939 (Tuesday)[edit]

November 8, 1939 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • 13 minutes after Hitler concluded a speech at the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich on the 16th anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch, a time bomb exploded near the speaking platform that killed 8 people. Carpenter Johann Georg Elser was arrested with incriminating documents at the Swiss border and brought back to Munich for interrogation. His attempt to assassinate Hitler would have succeeded if the Führer's annual speech had not begun 30 minutes earlier than it did in previous years.[10]
  • Born: Elizabeth Dawn, actress, in Leeds, England (d. 2017); Laila Kinnunen, singer, in Vantaa, Finland (d. 2000); Meg Wynn Owen, actress, in Wales

November 9, 1939 (Thursday)[edit]

November 10, 1939 (Friday)[edit]

November 11, 1939 (Saturday)[edit]

  • Hitler appeared unexpectedly in Munich at the funeral for the victims of the Bürgerbräukeller bombing. He stayed only a few minutes to hear Rudolf Hess deliver the eulogy and then left without speaking.[14]
  • The Nazis burned down the Ezras Israel Synagogue in Łódź.
  • Although Britain did not hold an official Armistice Day ceremony at the Whitehall Cenotaph this year, wreaths were laid on behalf of the King and Queen and people still came to leave flowers. There was no official two minutes' silence at 11 a.m. either, but Britons publicly observed it anyway.[15]
  • Queen Elizabeth made a broadcast to the women of the British Empire reminding them that in the war "we, no less than men, have real and vital work to do."[16]
  • Died: Jan Opletal, 24, Czech student (died of gunshot wound sustained during the October 28 demonstrations in Prague)

November 12, 1939 (Sunday)[edit]

  • German authorities began the deportation of Jews from Polish territories annexed by Germany to the General Government.[17]
  • France said that the Belgian and Dutch offer of mediation required Germany to repair "the injustices which force has imposed on Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland" before peace could be discussed.[9] George VI wrote a reply explaining that the "essential conditions upon which we are determined that an honorable peace must be secured have already been plainly stated", but if the Queen of the Netherlands was "able to communicate to me any proposals from Germany of such a character as to afford real prospect" of achieving Britain's aims he would "give them my most earnest consideration."[18]
  • Died: Norman Bethune, 49, Canadian physician and humanitarian

November 13, 1939 (Monday)[edit]

November 14, 1939 (Tuesday)[edit]

November 15, 1939 (Wednesday)[edit]

November 16, 1939 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Al Capone was released from federal custody after serving seven-and-a-half years of his eleven-year sentence for tax evasion. Capone was suffering heavily from paresis and upon release he immediately went to a Baltimore hospital for treatment.[25]
  • Born: Michael Billington, author and theatre critic, in Leamington Spa, England
  • Died: Pierce Butler, 73, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

November 17, 1939 (Friday)[edit]

November 18, 1939 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The Dutch liner Simon Bolivar set off two mines and sank 20 miles off Harwich, England. 86 lives were lost out of the approximately 400 on board. The British accused the Germans of laying the mines in violation of Article VIII of the 1907 Hague Conventions, which forbade using mines in circumstances likely to endanger commercial shipping.[27][28][29][30]
  • The Nazis closed all the technical schools in the former Czechoslovakia.[20]
  • Born: Margaret Atwood, novelist, poet and environmental activist, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Amanda Lear, French model, actress and singer, in either Saigon or Hong Kong; Brenda Vaccaro, actress, in Brooklyn, New York

November 19, 1939 (Sunday)[edit]

November 20, 1939 (Monday)[edit]

November 21, 1939 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • The British government declared a blockade of German exports in reprisal for numerous incidents at sea such as the sinking of the Athenia and the Simon Bolivar. "I may remind the House that in the last war, as a measure of justified reprisal for submarine attacks on merchant ships, exports of German origin or ownership were made subject to seizure on the high seas", Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain explained in the House of Commons. "The many violations of international law and the ruthless brutality of German methods have decided us to follow a similar course now, and an Order-in-Council will shortly be issued giving effect to this decision."[30]
  • The British destroyer HMS Gipsy struck a mine outside Harwich and sank with the loss of 30 crew.
  • Antanas Merkys became Prime Minister of Lithuania.
  • German submarine U-55 was commissioned.
  • Died: Émile Paul Amable Guépratte, 83, French admiral

November 22, 1939 (Wednesday)[edit]

November 23, 1939 (Thursday)[edit]

November 24, 1939 (Friday)[edit]

November 25, 1939 (Saturday)[edit]

November 26, 1939 (Sunday)[edit]

November 27, 1939 (Monday)[edit]

November 28, 1939 (Tuesday)[edit]

November 29, 1939 (Wednesday)[edit]

November 30, 1939 (Thursday)[edit]


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  2. ^ Lerski, Jerzy Han. Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966-1945. Greenwood Publishing. p. 171. ISBN 9780313260070.
  3. ^ "Chronology 1939". 2002. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Haarr, Geirr H. (2013). The Gathering Storm: The Naval War in Northern Europe September 1939 – April 1940. Seaforth Publishing. pp. 339–341. ISBN 9781848321403.
  5. ^ "New Troubles Face Flint; May Become Orphan". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 5, 1939. p. 4.
  6. ^ a b Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea, 1939–1945. London: Chatham Publishing. pp. 7, 9. ISBN 9781591141198.
  7. ^ Sobek, David (2013). The Causes of War. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780745655468.
  8. ^ Zimmerman, Joshua D. (2015). The Polish Underground and the Jews, 1939–1945. Cambridge University Press. p. 48. ISBN 9781107014268.
  9. ^ a b c "Reich Rejects Offer Of Mediation From Belgium and Holland". Brooklyn Eagle. November 14, 1939. p. 1.
  10. ^ Dash, Mike (August 18, 2011). "One Man Against Tyranny". Smithsonian. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  11. ^ Smalley, Edward (2015). The British Expeditionary Force, 1939-40. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137494214.
  12. ^ Felton, Mark (2014). Guarding Hitler: The Secret World of the Fuhrer. Pen & Sword Books. ISBN 9781473838383.
  13. ^ "Rules Students Can't Be Forces to Salute Flag". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 11, 1939. p. 8.
  14. ^ "Hitler Attends Funeral of Bomb Victims". Brooklyn Eagle. Brooklyn: 1. November 11, 1939.
  15. ^ Charman, Terry (2009). Outbreak 1939: The World Goes to War. Virgin Books. ISBN 9780753536681.
  16. ^ Creeden, Molly (February 4, 2011). "The Queen Behind The King's Speech". Vogue. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  17. ^ a b Garbarini, Alexandra (2011). Jewish Responses to Persecution. II, 1938–1940. Lanham, Maryland: AltaMira Press. pp. 552–553. ISBN 9780759120396.
  18. ^ "Up to Berlin to Make Peace Bid, Britain Asserts". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 13, 1939. pp. 1–2.
  19. ^ a b "British Military Aviation in 1939". Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  20. ^ a b c d "1939". MusicAndHistory. Archived from the original on June 5, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  21. ^ "Friday, November 14, 2014". The Korea Times. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  22. ^ Williamson, Gordon (2003). German Pocket Battleships 1939-45. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 9781841765013.
  23. ^ a b "Jan Opletal: Dying for democracy during the Occupation". Private Prague Guide. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  24. ^ "Long Beach Mayor Slain, Guard Wounded by Cop". Brooklyn Eagle. November 15, 1939. p. 1.
  25. ^ "Al Capone". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  26. ^ "Nazis Slay 9 Students in Czech Riots". Brooklyn Eagle. Brooklyn: 1. November 17, 1939.
  27. ^ "Liner Sunk By Mine; 140 Lost". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 19, 1939. p. 1.
  28. ^ "Sea Harvest Must Be Reaped". The Canberra Times. Canberra. November 22, 1939. p. 1.
  29. ^ "The Avalon Project – Laws of War: Laying of Automatic Submarine Contact Mines (Hague VIII); October 18, 1907". Yale Law School. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  30. ^ a b "German Mine-Laying (British Retaliation)". Hansard. November 21, 1939. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  31. ^ Schultz, Sigrid (November 20, 1939). "Build Barricade Around Warsaw Jewish Quarter". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 3.
  32. ^ Cramer, Richard Ben (2000). Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life. New York: Touchstone. pp. 144–145. ISBN 9780684865478.
  33. ^ Martin, Robert Stanley (May 24, 2015). "Comics By the Date: March 1906 to December 1939". The Hooded Utilitarian. Archived from the original on November 20, 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
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  35. ^ Collins, Sandra. "Tokyo/Helsinki 1940." Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement. Ed. John E. Findling and Kimberley D. Pelle. Greenwood Publishing, 2004. p. 121. ISBN 9780313322785.
  36. ^ "Finns to Russia: We'll Move Back Army If You Do". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 28, 1939. p. 1.
  37. ^ "Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor". Library of Congress. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  38. ^ "Hawkeyes Revisited: Nile Kinnick". Neal Rozendaal. December 24, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  39. ^ Blair, Casey (2000). Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939–1942. Modern Library. p. 117. ISBN 9780679640325.
  40. ^ Paczkowski, Andrzej (1998). Spring Will Be Ours: Poland and the Poles from Occupation to Freedom. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780271047539.
  41. ^ "U-boats to Bring England to Heel". The Daily Chronicles of World War II. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  42. ^ Fulton, William (November 30, 1939). "Kuhn Convicted on All Counts; Faces 30 Years". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1.
  43. ^ Trotter, William (1991). A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939–1940. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Algonquin Books. p. 272. ISBN 9781565122499.