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* January 5 - FM radio is demonstrated to the FCC for the first time.
* January 12 - World War II: Russia bombs cities in Finland.
* June 21 - France surrenders to Germany
* February 2 - Frank Sinatra debuts with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra
* February 2 - The Complex Number Calculator, a calculator for complex
arithmetic based on relays, was completed. (see History of computing).
* February 2 - The first transposons are discovered in maize (Zea mays,
aka corn) by Barbara McClintock.
* February 23 - World War II: Soviet Union troops conquer Lasi Island.
* February 29 - For her role as as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie
McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award
(Best Supporting Actress).
* March 12 - Soviet Union and Finland sign a peace treaty in Moscow
ending the Winter War. Finns, and the World opinion, shocked by the
* March 18 - World War II: Axis powers - Adolf Hitler and Benito
Mussolini meet at Brenner Pass in the Alps and agree to form an
alliance against France and the United Kingdom.
* April 7 - Booker T. Washington becomes the first African American to be
depicted on a United States postage stamp.
* April 9 - World War II: Germany invades Denmark and Norway in operation
WeserŸbung. The British campaign in Norway is simultaneously commenced.
* May 10 - World War II: Germany invades Belgium, the Netherlands, and
* May 13 - World War II: Nazi Germany's conquest of France begins as the
German army crosses the Meuse River.
* May 14 - World War II: The Dutch city of Rotterdam is bombed by the
* May 14 - World War II: The Netherlands surrender to Germany.
* May 15 - World War II: German troops occupy Amsterdam and invade
* May 15 - Nylon stockings go on sale for the first time in the United
* May 17 - World War II: Germany occupies Brussels, Belgium
* May 20 - Holocaust: The first prisoners arrive at a new concentration
camp at Auschwitz.
* May 24 - Igor Sikorsky performs the first successful single-rotor
* May 25 - World War II: The Battle of Dunkirk begins.
* May 26 - World War II: Battle of Dunkirk - In France, Allied forces
begin a massive evacuation from Dunkirk.
* May 28 - World War II: Belgium surrenders to Germany.
* July 5 - World War II: The United Kingdom and the Vichy France
government break off diplomatic relations.
* July 10 - World War II: Vichy France government established.
* July 10 - World War II: Battle of Britain - The German Luftwaffe begin
to hit British convoys in the English Channel thus starting the battle
(this start date is contested, though).
* July 14 - World War II: Andrew George Latta McNaughton takes command
7th Army Corps consisting of British, Canadian and New Zealand troops.
* August 20 - Exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is fatally
wounded in Mexico City by an assassin's ice-ax. He will die the next
* September 7 - Treaty of Craiova: Romania loses Southern Dobrudja to
* November - Franklin D. Roosevelt defeats Wendell L. Wilkie in the U.S.
* November 11 - The Royal Navy launches the first aircraft carrier strike
in history, on the Italian fleet at Taranto
* November 11 - The German Hilfskreuzer (cruiser) Atlantis captures top
secret British mail, and sends it to Japan
* December 30 - California opens its first freeway the Arroyo Seco
* Charlie Chaplin directs the film The Great Dictator in which he plays a
fascist dictator, clearly modeled on Adolf Hitler.
* The first McDonald's restaurant is founded by brothers Dick and Mac
McDonald, in San Bernardino, California.
* USSR annexes the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.
* Germany begins a bombing campaign against Britain in preparation for an
invasion, in what becomes known as the Battle of Britain.
* Guilin, China aquired current name.
* January 14 - Julian Bond, civil rights activist (cofounder of the
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, chairman of NAACP board of
* January 20 - Carol Heiss, Olympic figure skating gold medalist
* January 22 - John Hurt, actor
* February 3 - Fran Tarkenton, Football Hall of Famer
* February 4 - George Romero, horror movie writer, producer, director
* February 5 - H.R. Giger, artist
* February 6 - Tom Brokaw, news anchorman
* February 8 - Ted Koppel, journalist
* February 19 - Smokey Robinson, musician
* February 25 - Ron Santo, baseball player
* February 28 - Mario Andretti, automobile driver
* February 29 - Edward Frederick Benson, American writer
* March 7 - Rudi Dutschke, student leader (+ 1979)
* March 7 - Daniel J. Travanti, actor
* March 9 - John Cale, composer, musician
* March 9 - Raul Julia, actor (+ 1994)
* March 10 - Dean Torrence, musician ("Jan and Dean")
* March 10 - Chuck Norris, actor, martial arts practitioner
* March 12 - Al Jarreau, singer
* March 15 - Phil Lesh of The Grateful Dead
* March 16 - Bernardo Bertolucci, Italian writer and film director
* March 22 - Haing S. Ngor, actor (+ 1996)
* March 24 - Bob Mackie, costume designer
* March 30 - Astrud Gilberto, singer
* April 2 - Penelope Keith, actress
* April 16 - Queen Margaret II of Denmark
* April 25 - Al Pacino, actor
* April 26 - Giorgio Moroder, composer
* May 8 - Ricky Nelson, pop singer, (+ 1985)
* May 9 - James L. Brooks, producer, writer
* May 11 - Juan Downey, video artist (+ 1993)
* May 20 - Stan Mikita, Hockey Hall of Famer
* May 20 - Sadaharu Oh, baseball star
* June 23 - Adam Faith, English singer and actor
* June 23 - Lord Irvine of Lairg, British lawyer and Lord Chancellor
* June 23 - Wilma Rudolph, American runner
* July 7 - Ringo Starr, English drummer (Beatles)
* July 27 - Bharati Mukherjee, Indian-American novelist
* August 3 - Martin Sheen, American actor
* August 7 - Jean-Luc Dehaene, Prime Minister of Belgium
* November 27 - Bruce Lee
* October 9 - John Lennon, English musician and singer (Beatles)
* October 14 - Cliff Richard, English pop singer
* December 21 - Frank Zappa, American rock musician, composer and
* February 11 - John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, Governor-General of
* March 10 - Mikha•l Boulgakov, Russian writer
* March 16 - Selma Lagerlšf, writer
* May 25 - Joe De Grasse, pioneer Hollywood film director
* May 28 - Friedrich Karl von Hessen (*1868)
* June 10 - Marcus Mosiah Garvey, publisher, entrepreneur, black
* June 29 - Paul Klee, Swiss artist
* August 21 - Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary
* October 10 - Berton Churchill, pioneer Hollywood actor
* October 11 - Llu’s Companys, President of Catalan Generalitat, shot at
Montju•c Castle, Barcelona.
* November 9 - Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom