Return to home
1944 Jan 2,
The US under Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the War
Refugee Board to protect the endangered populations of Europe. In
June Raoul Wallenberg of Sweden was hired to head the agency’s
office in Budapest, where he arrived on July 9.
(WSJ, 2/28/09, p.A7)(Econ, 9/19/15, p.81)
1944 Jan 2, The first Atlantic
convoy that used the new antisubmarine helicopter patrol capability
sailed from New York to Liverpool, UK, with three HNS-1 helicopters.
1944 Jan 4, The British Fifth
Army attacked Monte Cassino, Italy.
1944 Jan 4, Soviet troops
crossed the former Polish border.
1944 Jan 6, Ida M. Tarbell
(b.1857), teacher, author and muckraking journalist, died in
Connecticut. She is best-known for her 1904 book “The History of the
Standard Oil Company.”
1944 Jan 6, In Italy lava began
flowing from the conelet of Mount Vesuvius. Lava flows continued
into March with several explosions thru the end of the month.
1944 Jan 7, The U.S. Air Force
announced the production of the first jet-fighter, Bell P-59
1944 Jan 8, Sir Edmund
Backhouse (b.1873), English Sinologist, died in Beijing. In 1977
Hugh Trevor-Roper authored “Hermit of Peking” an investigation into
the life of Backhouse.
(WSJ, 8/18/07, p.P9)
1944 Jan 9, Antanas Smetona
(b.1874), former 1st and 6th Lithuanian president, died in
1944 Jan 10, The GI Bill of
Rights, first proposed by the American Legion, was passed by
Congress. The Bill, more formally known as the Servicemen's
Readjustment Act of 1944, was intended to smooth demobilization for
America's almost 16 million servicemen and women. Postwar college
and vocational school attendance soared as more than 50 percent of
honorably discharged veterans took advantage of education benefits
of up to $500 a year for tuition, plus a living allowance. When they
returned home to marry and start families in record numbers,
veterans faced a severe housing shortage. The home loan provisions
of the GI Bill provided more than 2 million home loans and created a
new American landscape in the suburbs. In 1990, President George
Bush summed up the impact of the GI Bill: "The GI Bill changed the
lives of millions by replacing old roadblocks with paths of
1944 Jan 11, Jerome Morse
(d.2001 at 80), B-17 navigator, was shot down over Germany and
became a POW for 1 ½ years. In 1959 Pres. Eisenhower demonstrated
Morse’s invention of the 1st miniaturized, portable nuclear power
generator, used for space vehicles.
(SFC, 12/15/01, p.A25)
1944 Jan 11, Cracow-Plaszow
Concentration Camp was established.
1944 Jan 13, Three Reich plane
plants were wrecked; 64 U.S. aircraft were lost in an air attack in
1944 Jan 15, General Eisenhower
arrived in England.
1944 Jan 15, The U.S. Fifth
Army successfully broke the German Winter Line in Italy with the
capture of Mount Trocchio.
1944 Jan 16, Gen. Dwight D.
Eisenhower assumed supreme command of the Allied Expeditionary Force
(AP, 1/16/98)(HN, 1/16/99)
1944 Jan 16, In Leon Province,
Spain, train wrecks in the Torro Tunnel killed more than 500 people.
(AP, 2/18/04)(SFC, 6/4/98, p.A15)
1944 Jan 17, Russia rejected a
Polish proposal to negotiate a boundary dispute.
1944 Jan 18, Paul Keating was
born in Sydney, Australia. He later became the 24th Prime Minister
of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996.
1944 Jan 19, Richard [Erskine
Frere] Leakey, anthropologist, was born in Nairobi, Kenya.
1944 Jan 19, The federal
government relinquished control of the nation’s railroads after
settling a wage dispute.
1944 Jan 19, In England Helen
Duncan (1896-1956), a Scottish spiritualist in Portsmouth, was
arrested for informing an audience of the sinking of two British
warships long before the news was officially made public. She was
found guilty of witchcraft and jailed for nine months. When
re-elected in 1951, Churchill repealed the 1735 witchcraft act but
Duncan's conviction was never quashed. In 2007 her granddaughter
launched a fresh campaign to gain a posthumous pardon for Britain's
last convicted witch.
1944 Jan 20, Allied forces
began unsuccessful operations to cross the Rapido River and seize
1944 Jan 20, RAF dropped 2300
1-ton bombs on Berlin.
1944 Jan 21, Some 649 British
bombers attacked Magdeburg.
1944 Jan 21, Some 447 German
bombers attacked London.
1944 Jan 22, US troops under
Major General John P. Lucas made an amphibious landing behind German
lines at Anzio, Italy, just south of Rome. Major General Lucas
commanded Operation Shingle, a surprise landing behind German lines
in Italy. General Lucas harbored grave doubts about the chances for
success in this, the most daring operation of the Italian campaign.
The seaborne operation was planned as a way of outflanking German
strength on Italy’s Gustav Line and swiftly capturing Rome, but
almost nothing went according to plan.
(HNQ, 4/4/01)(AP, 1/22/08)
1944 Jan 23, Edvard Munch
(b.1863), Norwegian painter and hopeless alcoholic, died. His work
included “Kiss by the Window” (1892), “The Scream” (1893) and “Self
Portrait With Cigarette” (1895). He had a breakdown in 1908 and
retreated to Ekely, where he painted for his remaining years. He
left behind a collection 1,008 paintings at his estate outside Oslo.
In 2005 Sue Prideaux authored “Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream.”
(WSJ, 4/16/02, p.D7)(SSFC, 12/18/05, p.M2)(Sm,
3/06, p.60)(WSJ, 2/25/09, p.D7)
1944 Jan 26, Angela Davis,
American revolutionary and black militant, was born.
1944 Jan 27, The Soviet Union
announced the end of the deadly German siege of Leningrad, which had
lasted 880 days with 600,000 killed.
(AP, 1/27/98)(MC, 1/27/02)
1944 Jan 28, Leonard
Bernstein's "Jeremiah," premiered in Pittsburgh.
1944 Jan 28, Matthew Henson
received a joint medal from Congress as co-discoverer of the North
1944 Jan 28, 683 British
bombers attacked Berlin.
1944 Jan 28, U-271 & U-571
sank off Ireland.
1944 Jan 29, The world's
greatest warship, the Missouri, was launched.
1944 Jan 30-1944 Feb 2, At
Cisterna, Italy, some 250-300 US Rangers died as part of the battle
of Anzio. 8 rangers escaped and hundreds were captured.
1944 Jan 31, Operation Overlord
(D-Day) was postponed until June.
1944 Jan 31, During World War
II, U.S. forces under Vice Adm. Spruance began invading Kwajalein
Atoll and other parts of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
(AP, 1/31/98)(HN, 1/31/99)
1944 Jan 31, U-592 sank off
1944 Jan, Communist Partisans,
supplied with British weapons, gained control of southern Albania.
(www, Albania, 1998)
1944 Jan, In Hungary Sandor
Kepiro (1914-2011) was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his part
in the Jan, 1942, atrocities at Novi Sad, Serbia, in which 1,200
Serb and Jewish civilians were killed by Hungarian forces, who
raided Serbia in the wake of the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia. He
was freed by Hungary's fascist regime shortly after his trial and
fled to Argentina after the war. In 1946, the Communist government
of Hungary tried him again and sentenced him to 14 years in
absentia. He returned to Budapest in 1996.
1944 Jan, A number of interned
Japanese-Americans refused to be drafted unless their civil
liberties were restored. They were pardoned in 1947. In 2001 Eric L.
Muller authored "Free to Die for Their Country: the Story of
the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II."
(SFC, 10/26/01, p.A21)
1944 Feb 1, U.S. Army troops
invaded two Kwajalein Islands in the Pacific. [see Jan 31]
1944 Feb 1, Piet Mondrian
(b.1872), Dutch artist, died in NYC of pneumonia. To create an art
of harmony and order he used straight lines exclusively. "His
trademark paintings of black lines forming a grid and primary colors
are a calculated, mathematical blueprint for an organized life." A
leading abstract artist in the early half of the 20th century, Dutch
painter Piet Mondrian was also a leading proponent of De Stijl ("The
Style"). Born to an educator and amateur artist in 1872, Mondrian
pursued a career as a painter from an early age. He was influenced
by the Post-Impressionists, but gravitated towards Cubism after
seeing an exhibition of works by Picasso and others.
(Hem, Dec. 94, p.131)(WSJ, 5/25/01,
1944 Feb 2, Andrew Davis,
conductor, was born in Ashbridge, England.
1944 Feb 2, The Germans stopped
an Allied attack at Anzio, Italy.
1944 Feb 3, The United States
shelled the Japanese homeland for the first time at Kurile Islands.
1944 Feb 4, Jean Anouilh's
"Antigone," premiered in Paris.
1944 Feb 4, The Japanese
attacked the Indian Seventh Army in Burma.
1944 Feb 6, Kwajalein Island in
the Central Pacific fell to U.S. Army troops.
1944 Feb 7, Bing Crosby and the
John Scott Trotter Orchestra recorded "Swinging on a Star" for Decca
Records in Los Angeles.
1944 Feb 7, The Germans
launched a [counteroffensive] second attack against the Allied
beachhead at Anzio, Italy. They hoped to push the Allies back into
(AP, 2/7/97)(HN, 2/7/99)
1944 Feb 9, Alice Walker,
Pulitzer prize winning author, was born. Her books include "The
Autobiography of Malcolm X" and "The Color Purple."
1944 Feb 9, U-734 and U-238
sank off Ireland.
1944 Feb 11, U-424 sank off
1944 Feb 12, Wendell Wilkie
entered the American presidential race against Franklin D.
1944 Feb 13, A Lithuanian Home
Army was formed under P. Plechavicius. It was disbanded May 15-21.
1944 Feb 14, Carl Bernstein,
Washington Post investigative reporter (Watergate), was born.
1944 Feb 14, An anti-Japanese
revolt took place on Java.
1944 Feb 15, American bombers
attacked the Abbey of Monte Cassino in central Italy in an effort to
neutralize it as a German observation post. In 2003 Matthew Parker
authored "Monte Cassino: The Hardest Fought Battle of World War II."
(HN, 2/15/99)(Econ, 9/20/03, p.80)
1944 Feb 15, Nathan Gordon
(1916-2008), US Navy pilot from Arkansas, and his crew made 4
separate flying boat landings to rescue a number of aviators from
B-52 bombers, which had been shot down while attacking Japanese
positions near Kavieng harbor on New Ireland Island, Papua New
Guinea. Gordon later became the longest-serving lieutenant governor
(SFC, 9/15/08, p.B8)
1944 Feb 15, 891 British
bombers attacked Berlin.
1944 Feb 16, Richard Ford,
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, was born. His work included "The
Sportswriter" and "Independence Day."
1944 Feb 17, U.S forces landed
on Eniwetok atoll in the South Pacific Marshall Islands. Battle of
Eniwetok Atoll began. US victory on Feb 22.
(HN, 2/17/99)(MC, 2/17/02)
1944 Feb 17, US began night
bombing of Truk in the Marianas Islands.
1944 Feb 17, Oil was discovered
in commercial quantities in Alabama.
1944 Feb 18, The Army, Navy and
Marines invaded Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.
1944 Feb 19, The U.S. Eighth
Air Force and Royal Air Force began "Big Week," a series of heavy
bomber attacks against German aircraft production facilities.
1944 Feb 19, U-264 sank off
1944 Feb 20, The Batman &
Robin comic strip premiered in newspapers.
1944 Feb 20, US took Eniwetok
1944 Feb 20, During World War
II, U.S. bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers
in a series of attacks that became known as "Big Week."
1944 Feb 20, A time-bomb
planted by Norwegian commando Knut Haukelid sank the Lake Tinn ferry
Hydro, which carried heavy water canisters from the Vemork plant
destined for Germany. 12 German soldiers and 14 civilian passengers
drowned. Rescuers saved 23 Norwegians and 4 Germans.
(ON, 4/07, p.5)
1944 Feb 21, Hideki Tojo became
chief of staff of the Japanese army. When the bellicose war minister
and most powerful man in Japan, Army General Hideki Tojo, became
prime minister in October 1941, there no longer was a chance of
avoiding war with Britain and the United States.
1944 Feb 22, Jonathan Demme,
film director (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia), was born in
(HN, 2/22/01)(MC, 2/22/02)
1944 Feb 23, American bombers
struck the Marianas Islands bases, only 1,300 miles from Tokyo.
1944 Feb 23, Stalin ordered the
mass deportation Caucasian Muslim nations. Chechens and Ingush to
Kazakhstan were deported for resisting Soviet rule and abetting the
Germans. "478,479 persons were evicted and loaded onto special
railway cars, including 91,250 Ingush." More than a third of the
population died before the rest were allowed to go home. Also
deported were the Karachays, Balkars, and Meskhetian Turks.
(WSJ, 9/12/02, p.A8)(WSJ, 2/23/04, p.A16)(Econ,
1944 Feb 23, Leo Hendrik
Baekeland (b.1863), Belgium-born inventor of Bakelite (1907), died
in Beacon, NY.
(SSFC, 10/24/04, Par p.5)(ON, 9/05,
1944 Feb 24, Barry Bostwick,
actor (Rocky Horror Show, Megaforce), was born in San Mateo, Ca.
1944 Feb 24, Merrill's
Marauders, a specially trained group of American soldiers, began
their ground campaign against Japan into Burma. The were led by
Brigadier General Frank Merrill (b.1903-1955), the first US infantry
combat force to fight the Japanese on the mainland of Asia.
1944 Feb 24, Col. Juan Peron,
Argentine minister of war, staged a coup.
1944 Feb 25, U.S. forces
destroyed 135 Japanese planes in Marianas and Guam.
1944 Feb 26, Sue Dauser was
appointed the 1st female US navy captain of nurse corps.
1944 Feb 29, Dorothy
Vredenburgh accepted an appointment by the Democratic National
Committee becoming the first woman secretary of a national political
party in the U.S.
1944 Feb 29, US forces caught
Japanese troops off-guard and easily took control of the Admiralty
Islands in Papua New Guinea.
1944 Feb, Denison Dam was
completed and formed Lake Texoma, one of the largest reservoirs in
the United States. Woodville, Okla., was flooded when the Red River
was dammed to form Lake Texoma.
1944 Mar 1, Roger Daltrey
Hammersmith, rocker, actor, producer (The Who-Tommy), was born in
1944 Mar 1, Massive strikes
took place in Northern Italian towns.
1944 Mar 1, U-358 sank in
1944 Mar 2, Lou Reed (Firbank)
was born. (singer, songwriter, guitarist: group: Velvet Underground;
solo: Walk on the Wild Side, Charley's Girl; I Love You Suzanne;
appeared in Paul Simon film: One Trick Pony)
(HC, Internet, 2/3/98)
1944 Mar 2, In the 16th Academy
Awards presentation moved from a banquet hall to Graumann's Chinese
Theatre in Los Angeles this night. Jennifer Jones (24) won an Oscar
for Best Actress in the film, "The Song of Bernadette". Jack Benny
was the host that year. Best film was "Casablanca," Paul Lukas won
for best actor.
(HC, Internet, 2/3/98)(SC, 3/2/02)
1944 Mar 2, In Salerno, Italy,
fumes from a locomotive stalled in a tunnel suffocated 521 people.
(SFC, 6/4/98, p.A15)(AP,
1944 Mar 3, 1st performance of
corporal Samuel Barber's 2nd Symphony.
1944 Mar 4, The U.S. declared
the non-recognition of Argentina because of their collaboration with
1944 Mar 4, Louis Buchalter,
aka Lepke, was executed at Sing Sing along with Mendy Weiss. Lepke
and fellow gangsters had dispatched Weiss in 1935 to kill Dutch
Schultz, who had planned to kill NYC prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey.
(AH, 12/02, p.4)
1944 Mar 4, A squadron of
American B-17 bombers hit Berlin for the first time during daylight
hours. Col. H. Griffin Mumford (d.2007) led a group 4-engine Flying
Fortresses over Berlin.
1944 Mar 4, Anti-German strikes
took place in North Italy.
1944 Mar 6, Dame Kiri Te
Kanawa, operatic soprano (Don Giovanni), was born in Gisborne, NZ.
(HN, 3/6/01)(MC, 3/6/02)
1944 Mar 6, US heavy bombers
hit Berlin during World War II.
1944 Mar 7, Japan began an
offensive in Burma.
1944 Mar 7, Emanuel Ringelblum
(b.1900), Jewish historian, died in the Warsaw ghetto. He is known
for his “Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto,” “Notes on the Refugees in
Zbąszyn” chronicling the deportation of Jews from the town of
Zbąszyń, and the so-called Ringelblum's Archives of the Warsaw
Ghetto. In 2009 Samuel D. Kassow authored “Who Will Write our
History? Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto.
1944 Mar 8, U.S. bombers
resumed bombing Berlin.
1944 Mar 10, The Irish refused
to oust all Axis envoys and denied the accusation of spying on
1944 Mar 12, Great Britain
barred all travel to neutral Ireland, which was suspected of
collaborating with Nazi Germany.
1944 March 15, In Algiers, the
provisional government merged the Office Français d'Information and
France-Afrique, thus forming Agence Française de Presse (AFP).
1944 Mar 15, Allied bombers
again raided German-held Monte Cassino, Italy.
1944 Mar 15, Otto von Below
(86), German commandant (WW I), died.
1944 Mar 16, A US plane named
“God Bless Our Ship” was hit by anti-aircraft fire over Berlin and
crash-landed outside the city. Lt. George Lymburn (1924-2005) was
captured and sent to Stalag Luft 1, where he was liberated by
Russian soldiers in April, 1945.
(SFC, 4/13/05, p.B7)
1944 Mar 17, Danny DeVito,
actor (Louie-Taxi, Twins), was born in Neptune, NJ. [see Nov 17]
1944 Mar 17, The United States
Eighth Air Force bombs Vienna.
1944 Mar 18, Nazi Germany
1944 Mar 18, The Russians
reached the Rumanian border in the Balkans.
1944 Mar 19, The German 352nd
Infantry Division deployed along the coast of France.
1944 Mar 19, At Cisterna,
Italy, Germans, increasingly worried about resistance, rounded up
the entire town and marched them north. Many ended in labor camps
and farms as far north as Tuscany.
1944 Mar 20, A bus fell off
bridge into Passaic River, NJ, killing 16.
1944 Mar 21, Finland rejected a
1944 Mar 22, Over 600 8th Air
Force bombers attacked Berlin.
1944 Mar 23, Nicholas Alkemade
fell 5,500 meter without a parachute and lived. [see Mar 25]
1944 Mar 23, A bomb
assassination against Southern Tirol congregation in Rome killed 33.
1944 Mar 24, 76 Allied officers
escaped Stalag Luft 3. In 1949 Paul Brickall authored "The Great
Escape." The story of Jackson Barrett Mahon (d.1999 at 78), an
American fighter pilot, and the Allied POW escape from Stalag Luft
III in Germany during WW II. The 1963 film "The Great Escape"
starred Steve McQueen, was directed by John Sturges and was based on
the true story. In 1999 Arthur A. Durand published Stalag Luft III:
The Secret Story." When the Russian Army closed in tens of thousands
of POWs were marched 240 miles south to a new camp and thousands
died in the "Black March."
(TVM, 1975, p.222)(SFC, 8/11/99, p.C5)(SFC,
12/23/99, p.A27)(SFEC, 1/2/00, BR p.1)(SFC, 1/22/03,
1944 Mar 24, 811 British
bombers attacked Berlin.
1944 Mar 24, In occupied Rome,
the Nazis executed more than 300 civilians in reprisal for an attack
by Italian partisans, who the day before killed 32  German
soldiers [policemen]. The Ardeatine Cave massacre near Rome, Italy,
took place. In retaliation to the systematic murder of Nazi officers
by the Italian underground, an SS officer ordered that 10 Italian
civilian men be shot for every Nazi officer killed. The age of the
civilians did not matter and so many teenagers and boys were among
the dead found in the caves. Argentina extradited former Nazi
officer, Erich Priebke, to Rome in 1995 to face trial for his role
in the Ardeatine Caves massacre.
(AP, 3/23/97)(WSJ, 10/3/95, p.A-21) (WSJ,
11/21/95, p.A-1)(HN, 3/24/98)
1944 Mar 24, British Major Orde
Wingate (b.1903) died along with nine others in an air crash in
northeast India. He was flying in the USAAF B-25H-1-NA Mitchell
bomber, 43-4242, of the 1st Air Commando Group. He is known for
creating special military units in Palestine in the 1930s, and in
Abyssinia, Sudan and Burma during World War II.
1944 Mar 25, RAF Sgt. Nickolas
Alkemade survived a jump from his Lancaster bomber from 18,000 feet
without a parachute. [see Mar 23]
1944 Mar 26, Diana Ross
[Earle], (Supremes, Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany), was born
1944 Mar 26, 705 British
bombers attacked Essen.
1944 Mar 27, One-thousand Jews
left Drancy, France for the Auschwitz concentration camp.
1944 Mar 27, Forty Jewish
policemen were shot in the Riga Latvia ghetto by the Gestapo.
1944 Mar 27, Thousands of Jews
were murdered in Kaunas, Lithuania.
1944 Mar 30, The U.S. fleet
attacked Palau, near the Philippines.
1944 Mar 30, Gobbledygook was
coined by US Rep. Maury Maverick, a Texas Democrat, in a memo
banning "gobbledygook language" at the Smaller War Plants
Corporation. It was a reaction to his frustration with the
"convoluted language of bureaucrats." However, the first time the
new word was seen by the average person was on May 21, 1944. That
day, he wrote a long article for the New York Times magazine,
explaining how he invented the word, and giving readers many
examples of how the new word could be used.
1944 Mar 30, 781 British
bombers attacked Nuremberg.
1944 Mar 31, Hungary ordered
all Jews to wear yellow stars.
1944 Mar, In the French Alps
town of Voiron 17 Jewish children were seized, sent to Drancy and
then to Auschwitz.
(SFC, 10/2/97, p.A9)
1944 Apr 1, Japanese troops
conquered Jessami, East-India.
1944 Apr 2, Soviet forces
entered Romania, one of Germany's allied countries.
1944 Apr 3, Tony Orlando,
singer (& Dawn-Tie a Yellow Ribbon), was born in NYC.
1944 Apr 3, The U.S. Supreme
Court ruled that black citizens are eligible to vote in all
elections, including primaries. The Smith vs. Allwright decision
ruled "white primaries" unconstitutional.
(HN, 4/3/01)(MC, 4/3/02)
1944 Apr 3, British dive
bombers attacked the battle cruiser Tirpitz.
1944 Apr 3, On Orthodox Easter
the Allied bombing of Nazi occupied Serbia resulted in the deaths of
some 4,000 Serbian civilians. An account of the raids, requested by
US Gen'l. Carl Spaatz, found that most of the bombs struck at least
600 yards from their targets.
(SFC, 4/1/99, p.A12)
1944 Apr 4, British troops
captured Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
1944 Apr 4, De Gaulle formed a
new regime in exile with communists.
1944 Apr 5, 140 Lancasters
bombed airplane manufacturer in Toulouse.
1944 Apr 6,
German trucks rolled up to the safehouse of Sabina Zlatin in
Izieu-Ain, France, and 44 children and 7 teachers including Mr.
Zlatin were arrested. The raid was ordered by Klaus Barbie, head of
the German police in Lyons.
(SFC, 9/24/96, p.B2)(MC, 4/6/02)
1944 Apr 8, Anthony Farrar
Hockley, military historian, was born.
1944 Apr 10, A US B-24
Liberator was shot down over Madang while on a bombing mission to
knockout Japanese anti-aircraft positions in Papua New Guinea. 4
members of the crew exited the plane, were captured and executed. 8
others went down with the plane. In 2014 the remains of two missing
airmen were identified using DNA and other evidence.
(SFC, 8/8/14, p.A7)
1944 Apr 10, Soviet forces
liberated Odessa from Nazis.
1944 Apr 12, Lillian Hellman's
"Searching Wind," premiered in NYC.
1944 Apr 12, The U.S. Twentieth
Air Force was activated to begin the strategic bombing of Japan.
1944 Apr 13, South Carolina
rejected black suffrage.
1944 Apr 13, Transport No. 71
departed with French Jews to Nazi Germany.
1944 Apr 14, Gen. Eisenhower
became head commander of allied air fleet.
1944 Apr 14, 1st Jews
transported from Athens arrived at Auschwitz.
1944 Apr 16, Dennis Russell
Davies, composer, was born.
1944 Apr 16, The destroyer USS
Laffey survived horrific damage from attacks by 22 Japanese aircraft
1944 Apr 16, Germany’s U-550
torpedoed the gasoline tanker SS Pan Pennsylvania, which had lagged
behind its protective convoy as it set out with 140,000 barrels of
gasoline for Great Britain. One of the tanker's three escorts, the
USS Joyce, saw it on sonar and severely damaged it by dropping depth
charges. The crew abandoned the submarine, but not before setting
off explosions to scuttle it in waters off Nantucket. On July 23,
2012, divers discovered the submarine.
1944 Apr 16, The Belgrade Zemun
airdrome was bombed by Allied forces for the 3rd day in a row. The
bombing was carried out by the 414th Bomb Squadron stationed at
(SFC, 4/1/99, p.A12)
1944 Apr 18, The ballet "Fancy
Free," with music by Leonard Bernstein premiered in NYC.
1944 Apr 22, During World War
II, U.S. forces and Allies began invading Japanese-held New Guinea
with amphibious landings near Hollandia, New Guinea.
(AP, 4/22/97)(HN, 4/22/98)
1944 Apr 22, Hitler and
Mussolini met at Obersalzburg.
1944 Apr 24, The first B-29
arrived in China, over the Hump of the Himalayas. The phrase "flying
the hump" originated during World War II when Allied transport
planes flew dangerous missions over the Himalayan Mountains in order
to provide China with supplies needed to fight the Japanese.
(HN, 4/24/98)(HNQ, 8/1/98)
1944 Apr 24, British air force
bombers hammered a former Jesuit college housing the Bavarian
Academy of Science. Anton Spitaler (1910-2003), an Arabic scholar at
the academy, later lamented the loss of a unique photo archive of
ancient manuscripts of the Quran. His story however was a lie, and
the collection survived hidden in his hands.
(WSJ, 1/12/08, p.A1)
1944 Apr 26, First B-29
attacked by Japanese fighters [in China?], one fighter shot down.
1944 Apr 27, Dr. H. Corwin
Hinshaw (d.2000) first treated 4 tuberculosis-infected guinea pigs
with the newly developed streptomycin antibiotic. The animals were
cured. Hinshaw was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1952 but the
prize went to Dr. Selman a. Waksman of Rutgers, who discovered
(SFC, 1/11/01, p.C16)
1944 April 28, Exercise "Tiger"
ended with 749 U.S. soldiers and sailors killed, when their D-Day
landing practice was attacked by German torpedo boats off the south
coast of England. The casualties were not announced until nearly two
months after the Normandy invasion. Full details were not known
(MC, 4/28/02)(AP, 4/27/04)
1944 Apr 30, Jill Clayburgh,
actress (Unmarried Woman, Semi-Tough), was born in NYC.
1944 Apr 30, The 8th and 9th US
Army Air Forces and Royal Air Force Bomber Command began to fly
sorties into France and the Low Countries in preparation for the
Allied Expeditionary Force landing on Jun 6.
(SDUT, 6/6/97, p.B9)
1944 Apr, Nancy Wake
(1912-2011), a New Zealand-born Australian, parachuted back into
France before D-Day, tasked with helping distribute weapons to
Resistance fighters. She became known as the "The White Mouse" for
her ability to evade the Germans. She and her husband had helped
Allied servicemen and Jewish refugees escape into Spain before she
took her partner's advice and fled to England in 1943.
1944 Apr-Jul, Hungarian
authorities facilitated the deportation of some 437,000 Hungarian
Jews to Auschwitz.
(SFC, 6/7/99, p.A9)(Econ, 4/24/04, p.48)
1944 Apr-Nov, In Croatia Dinko
Sakic (22) ran the Jasenovac concentration camp. In 1998 he was
indicted for crimes against humanity in the deaths of over 2,000
people 6 months after being extradited from Argentina.
(SFC, 12/15/98, p.A17)
1944 May 1, The Messerschmitt
Me 262 Sturmvogel, the 1st jet bomber, made its first flight.
(HN, 5/1/98)(MC, 5/1/02)
1944 May 3, "Meet Me in St
Louis" opened on Broadway.
1944 May 3, Wartime rationing
of most grades of meats ended in the United States.
1944 May 5, John Rhys-Davies,
actor (Sir Edward-Quest, Sliders), was born in Salisbury England.
1944 May 5, Gandhi was freed
1944 May 5, A Russian offensive
took place against Sebastopol Krim.
1944 May 6, The USS Buckley, a
destroyer escort, engaged and sank the German U-66. Hand to hand
fighting broke out after the Buckley, under Lt. Cmdr. Brent Maxwell
Abel (1916-2006), rammed the submarine. When the U-boat sank 36
German sailors were rescued and taken captive.
(SFC, 1/6/06, p.B7)
1944 May 6, The Red Army
besieged and captured Sevastopol in the Crimea.
1944 May 7, There was a German
assault on Tito's hideout in Drvar, Bosnia.
1944 May 8, The first "eye
bank" was established, in New York City.
1944 May 9, Russians recaptured
Crimea by taking Sevastopol. [see May 6]
1944 May 10, Judith Jamison,
American ballerina, was born.
1944 May 11, Allied forces
launched a major offensive against German lines in Italy.
1944 May 13, Allied forces in
Italy broke through the German Gustav Line into the Liri Valley.
1944 May 14, George Lucas,
writer and director, was born in Modesto, Ca. He is best remembered
for his Star Wars trilogy.
(HN, 5/14/99)(MC, 5/14/02)
1944 May 14, The Latin trio Los
Panchos made its debut at El Teatro Hispano in NYC with Alfredo Gil
(d.1999 at 84), Jesus Navarro (Chucho), and Hernando Aviles.
(SFC, 9/17/99, p.D8)(SFC, 9/30/04, p.E14)
1944 May 14, 91 German bombers
1944 May 14, Gens Rommel,
Speidel and von Stulpnagel plotted to assassinate Hitler.
1944 May 15, Eisenhower,
Montgomery, Churchill and George VI discussed the D-Day plan.
1944 May 15, A partisan attack
on a movie theater killed 5 German soldiers in Genoa. 4 days later
SS Officer Friedrich Engel ordered the killing of 59 Italian
prisoners in reprisal. In 2002 Engel (93) was sentenced to 7 years
in prison for the order.
(SFC, 7/6/02, p.A14)(AP, 2/14/06)
1944 May 16, The 1st of over
180,000 Hungarian Jews reached Auschwitz.
1944 May 16, Max Brand,
[Frederick Schiller Faust], western author, died.
1944 May 17, General Eisenhower
set D-Day for June 5th.
1944 May 17, Polish poet Felix
Konarski (1907-1991) wrote the song “Red Poppies on Monte Cassino”
on the night before the Allied attack that crushed the German
defense at Monte Cassino. Alfred Schutz (d.1999) composed the music.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trv_4epO6vw)(SFC, 9/23/15, p.A2)
1944 May 17, D. du Toit
(Harvard College Observatory, Boyden station, Bloemfontein, South
Africa) discovered the comet, 66P/du Toit, on a photograph.
1944 May 18, The Allies in
Italy finally captured Monte Cassino, Europe's oldest Monastic
house, after a four-month struggle that claimed some 20,000 lives.
The Polish 2nd Army corps, at a staggering loss of life, captured
the convent of Monte Cassino.
(HN, 5/18/99)(AP, 5/18/02)(SC, 5/18/02)
1944 May 18, The Soviet Union
began the expulsion of more than 200,000 Tartars from Crimea. They
were accused of collaborating with the Germans. Stalin deported some
250,000 Tatars from Crimea to Uzbekistan. They did not being to
return home until the fall of the USSR.
(SC, 5/18/02)(SFC, 1/4/99, p.A8,9)
1944 May 19, The Gustav line,
the German defense line in Italy, collapsed under heavy assault by
1944 May 19, 240 gypsies were
transported to Auschwitz from Westerbork Neth.
1944 May 19, Friedrich Engel
(1909-2006), a Nazi SS officer, oversaw the massacre of 59 Italian
prisoners near Genoa. An Italian military court convicted Engel in
absentia in 1999 and sentenced him to life for war crimes connected
to a total of 246 deaths. In 2002 a German court convicted Engel of
59 counts of murder and handed him a suspended seven-year term.
1944 May 20, US Communist Party
1944 May 21, In Hawaii the tank
landing ship LST-353 exploded at West Loch while handling
ammunition. In a short space of time, six LSTs were so damaged that
they sank. Two others were severely damaged. The total casualties
from the tragedy were 163 dead and 396 injured.
1944 May 21, Mary Bourke
Robinson, first woman president of Ireland (1990-1997), was born.
1944 May 23, During World War
II, Allied forces bogged down in Anzio began a major breakout
1944 May 24, Icelandic voters
severed all ties with Denmark.
1944 May 25, Frank Oz,
puppeteer (Sesame St, Muppet Show), was born in Heresford, England.
1944 May 25, Robert Michael
Payton, pizza magnate, was born.
1944 May 25, Partisan leader
Tito escaped the Germans surrounding Bosnia.
1944 May 27, Gen. MacArthur
landed on Biak Island in New Guinea.
1944 May 27, Japanese advanced
in Hangkhou, China.
1944 May 28, Katri Vala (42),
Finnish poet, died.
1944 May 29, Helmut Berger,
actor (Ash Wednesday, Damned, Picture of Dorian Gray), was born.
1944 May 29, British troops
occupied Aprilia, Italy.
1944 May 30, In Rome the
ancient remains of Caligula’s ships, extracted from Lake Nemi, were
set ablaze and destroyed. Blame was cast on German soldiers and
(AM, 5/01, p.31)
1944 May, In Paris the play "No
Exit" by Jean-Paul Sartre was first produced. It depicts the dawning
realization by 3 people that they are in hell and are each other’s
(WSJ, 8/12/98, p.A13)
1944 May, Communists met to
organize an Albanian government; Hoxha became chairman of the
executive committee and supreme commander of the Army of National
Liberation. Enver Hoxha was the leader of the Balkan nation of
Albania from 1944 until 1983. Hoxha, leader of a national liberation
movement during Italy’s occupation of Albania in World War II, came
to power when the Communist insurgency seized control of the country
in 1944, beginning nearly 40 years of harsh Stalinist rule. Albania,
which borders on Greece and Yugoslavia, eventually broke with the
Soviet Union and later China over ideological issues and by the time
of the death of Hoxha in 1983 it had become one of the most
politically and socially isolated countries in the world.
(www, Albania, 1998)(HNQ, 1/11/00)
1944 May, During the Allied
invasion of Anzio the Germans broke secret codes and "murdered" the
allied forces. Military security began to use an electromechanical
machine known as Sigaba, whose codes were never broken.
(Wired, 10/96, p.200)
1944 May, A Budapest census
identified houses to serve as holding locations for Jews before
moving them to a planned walled ghetto in the city's seventh
district, a precursor to the intended liquidation of the capital's
200,000 Jews in Nazi death camps. In 2016 some 6,300 documents from
census were found in an apartment wall cavity.
1944 May, Laszlo Csatary was
named chief of an internment camp at a brick factory in Kosice, a
Slovakian city under Hungarian rule, from where 12,000 Jews were
deported to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps. In 1948 he was
convicted in absentia for war crimes in Czechoslovakia and sentenced
to death. He arrived in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia the
following year, became a Canadian citizen in 1955 and worked as an
art dealer in Montreal. He left Canada in 1997 and was arrested in
Hungary in 2012. In 2013 Csatary was indicted in Hungary for war
(AP, 7/18/12)(AP, 6/18/13)
1944 May-1944 Jun, At the US
Military Interrogation Center at Byron Hot Springs Hotel in
Stockton, Ca., German seaman Otto Stengel, suffering under acute
appendicitis, revealed the names of 6 fellow seaman (ages 22-26) who
participated in the murder of Vernard Drechsler, a fellow seaman
1944 May-1944 Jun, Some 425,000
Jews from Hungary were brought to the Nazi-run Auschwitz
concentration camp in Poland. At least 300,000 were almost
immediately gassed to death. In 2014 German prosecutors charged
Oskar Groening (93) with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for
serving as as SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp during this
(SFC, 9/16/14, p.A2)
1944 May-1944 Oct, About 158
trainloads of victims were brought to the Nazi-run Auschwitz
concentration camp in Poland. In 2013 a German arest warrant accused
Johann Breyer (d.2014 at 89), a resident of Pennsylvania, of 158
counts of accessory to murder, one for each trainload of victims
brought to Auschwitz while he served as a guard there.
(SFC, 7/24/14, p.A8)
1944 Jun-May, 1945, This period
of WW II was covered by historian Stephen E. Ambrose in his book
Citizen Soldiers. An audio cassette version was released in 1998.
(SFEC, 5/10/98, BR p.7)
1944 Jun 1, The British
Broadcasting Corp. broadcasted a line of poetry by the 19th century
French poet Paul Verlaine. It was a coded message intended to warn
the French resistance that the D-Day invasion was imminent, "The
long sobs of the violins of autumn."
1944 Jun 1, Gen’ls.
Montgomery, Patton, Bradley, Dempsey and Crerar met in Portsmouth.
1944 Jun 2, Marvin Hamlisch, US
composer, pianist (The Sting, Chorus Line), was born.
1944 Jun 2, Allied "shuttle
bombing" of Germany began, with bombers departing from Italy and
landing in the Soviet Union.
1944 Jun 3, Nazis pulled out of
1944 Jun 4, The U-505 became
the first enemy submarine captured by the U.S. Navy under Admiral
Dan Gallery. The keel for the U-505 was laid on June 12, 1940. It
launched from Hamburg the following year. During its career, the
U-505 gained the unwelcome but lucky distinction of being the
most heavily damaged U-boat to manage to return to port. Under the
command of Harald Lange, the boat was attacked by an American task
group led by the USS Guadalcanal. Crewmen from the destroyer escort
USS Pillsbury managed to capture the U-505 before the submariners
could in scuttle her. This represented the first time since 1815
that the US Navy captured an enemy warship on the high seas (the
capture remained a secret). After the war, Navy plans to scuttle the
U-boat in a gunnery exercise were themselves scrapped when the
president of Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry voiced
interest and a plan to use the entire submarine as part of an
exhibit. The U-505 was dedicated as a permanent exhibit and war
memorial at the museum on September 25, 1954. In 2005 a $35 million
project restored the ship and moved it to a specially constructed
(HN, 6/4/98)(HNQ, 3/29/01)(WSJ, 8/5/05, p.W2)
1944 Jun 4, The US Fifth Army
under Gen. Mark Clark, entered Rome, beginning the liberation of the
Italian capital during World War II.
(AP, 6/4/97)(Econ, 4/12/08, p.94)
1944 Jun 5, Dwight D.
Eisenhower wrote a note to be issued in case the D-Day invasion
turned out to be a failure: "Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre
area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold, and I have
withdrawn the troops." The note was [apparently misdated] dated July
(SFC, 12/31/96, p.A7)
1944 Jun 5, The first B-29
bombing raid struck the Japanese rail line in Bangkok, Thailand.
1944 Jun 5, Riccardo Zandonai
(61), composer, died.
1944 Jun 6, Theodore Roosevelt
Jr. received a congressional medal of honor.
1944 Jun 6, On D-Day Brig.
General Norman "Dutch" Cota was the first American General to step
foot on Omaha Beach. Cota, assistant commander of the 29th Infantry
Division, heroically spurred his men to cross the beach under
withering German fire. He went on to lead his infantrymen across
France to the Siegfried Line and in the battle of Hurtgen Forest and
the Battle of the Bulge.
1944 Jun 6, Cherokee tribal
members communicated via radios in their native language on the
Normandy beaches. Some 6,603 Americans were killed along the coast
of France during the D-day invasion. A total of 9,758 Allied
soldiers died during the invasion. "D-Day" by Stephen Ambrose was
published in 1994.
(SFC, 6/4/98, p.A6)(SFEC, 6/6/99, p.A22)(SFC,
5/30/00, p.A2)(WSJ, 8/20/01, p.A1)
1944 Jun 6, Danny Brotheridge,
British lieutenant, became the 1st to die during D-Day. Over the
next 10 weeks of fighting 300,000 men, women and children died in
Normandy. In 2009 Antony Beevor authored “D-Day: The Battle for
D7)(http://tinyurl.com/lvhqs7)(Econ, 5/30/09, p.84)
1944 Jun 6, The code name for
the beach used by the Canadians for the D-day invasion of Normandy
1944 Jun 6, By the end of D-Day
156,000 Allied soldiers had come ashore on the Normandy beaches with
losses of 2,500 men. By the end of the day, the Allies had
established a tenuous beachhead that would lead to an offensive that
pinned Adolf Hitler's Third Reich between two pincers--the Western
Allies and the already advancing Soviets--accelerating the end of
World War II. A million Allied troops, under the overall command of
General Dwight D. Eisenhower, moved onto five Normandy beachheads in
three weeks. Operations “Neptune” and “Overlord” put forces on the
beaches and supplies aimed at the liberation of Europe and the
conquest of Germany. Operation Overlord landed 400,000 Allied
American, British, and Canadian troops on the beaches of Normandy,
France. In addition, US and British airborne forces landed behind
the German lines and US Army Rangers scaled the cliffs at Pointe de
Hoc. More than 6,000 trucks of the Red Ball Express kept gasoline
and other vital supplies rolling in as American troops and tanks
pushed the Germans back toward their homeland.
(SDUT, 6/6/97, p.B9)(HN, 6/6/98)(HNPD,
6/6/99)(ON, 2/08, p.12)
1944 Jun 6, Rose Cecil O’Neill
(b.1874), illustrator, writer and creator of the Kewpie doll (1909),
(www.lambiek.net/oneill_rose.htm)(AH, 2/05, p.71)
1944 Jun 6, Gerrit John van de
Peat (41), artist, resistance fighter, was executed.
1944 Jun 6, Nazi troops
executed 96 prisoners by firing squad.
1944 Jun 7, Clarence White,
guitarist (The Byrds-Turn! Turn! turn!), was born.
1944 Jun 7, Italian partisans
shot at least one German soldier in a radio transmitter unit that
included Matthias Defregger. Eventually, 17 men, ranging from 17 to
65, were shot in retaliation, and much of the village of Filetto di
Camarda was burned. Defregger later became a Bishop and faced
charges in 1969 for the murders. The charges were dropped in 1970.
1944 Jun 8, Boz (William)
Scaggs (musician, singer: Lowdown, Lido Shuffle, Look What You've
Done To Me), was born.
1944 Jun 8, The 1st SS-Panzer
Korps counter attack was at Normandy.
1944 Jun 9, 99 inhabitants of
Tulle were hanged by the SS.
1944 Jun 10, The U.S. VII and V
corps, advancing from Normandy’s Utah and Omaha beaches,
respectively, linked-up and began moving inland.
1944 Jun 10, German troops of
the armored SS Division "Das Reich", as they headed toward Normandy
to combat D-Day invasion forces, slaughtered 642 men, women and
children in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, France. In 1983 a
court in East Berlin convicted Heinz Barth (1921-2007), a former SS
officer, and sentenced him to life in prison. In addition to
involvement in the massacre, East German judges also found that
Barth volunteered to participate in an execution of 92 Czech
civilians in 1942. In 1997 his sentence was commuted to probation.
1944 Jun 10, In Greece
Waffen-SS troops of the 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division
under the command of SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Lautenbach went door
to door and massacred Greek civilians as part of a 'retaliation
measure' for a partisan attack upon the unit. A total of 214 men,
women and children were killed in Distomo, a small village near
1944 Jun 11, James "Ox" D A Van
Hoften, astronaut (STS 41C, STS 51I), was born in Fresno, Calif.
1944 Jun 11, The 1st Serbian
Orthodox cathedral in US, Cathedral of St Sava, was established in
1944 Jun 11, U.C. carrier-based
planes attacked Japanese airfields on Guam, Rota, Saipan and Tinian
islands, preparing for the invasion of Saipan.
1944 Jun 13, Only one week
after the Normandy invasion, the first German V-1 buzz bomb, also
called the doodlebug (Fieseler Fi-103), was fired at London. The
first guided missile to be used in force, the V-1 was powered by a
pulse-jet engine and resembled a small aircraft. Only one of the
four missiles London saw that day caused any casualties, but a
steady stream of V-1s causing severe damage and casualties fell on
London in coming months. At times, nearly 100 bombs fell each day.
Many German buzz bombs never reached their targets because of
primitive guidance systems or because they were destroyed in flight
by anti-aircraft fire or intercepting Allied fighters.
1944 Jun 14, B-29 bombers
conducted their first raid against mainland Japan.
1944 Jun 15, American forces
began their successful invasion of Saipan during World War II.
Meanwhile, B-29 Superfortresses made their first raids on Japan.
(AP, 6/15/97)(HN, 6/15/98)
1944 Jun 17, Bill Rafferty,
comedian (Laugh-In, Real People), was born in Queens, NY.
1944 Jun 17, French troops
landed on the island of Elba in the Mediterranean.
1944 Jun 17, Iceland declared
full independence from Denmark and became a republic.
(DrEE, 1/4/97, p.4)(AP, 6/17/97)
1944 Jun 18, The U.S. First
Army broker through the German lines on the Cotentin Peninsula and
cut off the German held port of Cherbourg.
1944 Jun 19, The Battle of the
Philippine Sea (Battle of the Marianas), called the "Marianas Turkey
Shoot," began when Japanese naval forces attacked the stronger U.S.
naval forces. 280 Japanese planes were shot down by U.S. carrier-
based planes and anti-aircraft fire from U.S. ships. Americans shoot
down 220 Japanese planes while only losing 20.
(BEP, 1994)(DT, 6/19/97)(HN, 6/19/98)
1944 Jun 19, "Ace of Aces"
David McCampbell (1910-1996) and the Fabled 15 challenged 80
Japanese carrier based aircraft bearing down on an American fleet.
He shot down 7 Zeroes and the group routed the enemy fliers.
(SFC, 7/3/96, p.C4)
1944 Jun 20, The US Congress
chartered the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
1944 Jun 20, Vice Admiral Marc
Mitchner, commander of the U.S. Task Force 58, ordered all lights on
his ships turned on to help guide his carrier-based pilots back from
the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
1944 Jun 20, Nazis began mass
extermination of Jews at Auschwitz.
1944 Jun 21, Very heavy bombing
took place on Berlin.
1944 Jun 22, President
Roosevelt signed the Readjustment Act of 1944, more commonly known
as the GI Bill of Rights. It authorized a broad package of benefits
for WW II veterans.
(HN, 6/22/98)(AP, 6/22/06)
1944 Jun 22, US Pilot William
Kalan and his 9-man crew bailed out of their B-24 Liberator during a
mission over Nazi-occupied France. Kalan avoided capture and went on
to work with the French underground to harass German troops. In 2009
Kalan (91) was awarded the French Legion of Honor for his covert
(SFC, 12/30/09, p.C3)
1944 Jun 23, In one of the
largest air strikes of the war, the U.S. Fifteenth Air Force sent
761 bombers against the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania.
1944 Jun 25, British assault at
1944 Jun 25, George Herriman
(b.1880), creator of the "Krazy Kat" cartoon strip (1913-1944),
died. In 2002 Fantagraphics published "Krazy and Ignatz: The
Komplete Kat Comics 1925-1926."
(SFC, 1/18/97, p.D1)(SSFC, 3/24/02,
1944 Jun 26, The Republican
national convention opened in Chicago with a keynote speech by
California Governor Earl Warren.
1944 Jun 26, German troops near
the Italian village of Falzano di Cortona herded 11 civilians into a
barn and blew it up. Gino Massetti (15) survived and in 2008
testified in the trial of former Wehrmacht Lt. Josef Scheungraber,
the company commander accused of ordering the reprisal killings and
four others after two German soldiers were killed. In 2009
Scheungraber (90) was convicted of 10 murders and jailed for life.
(AP, 10/7/08)(AFP, 8/11/09)
1944 Jun 27, During World War
II, American forces completed their capture of the French port of
Cherbourg from the Germans.
(AP, 6/27/97)(HN, 6/27/98)
1944 Jun 28, The Republican
national convention in Chicago nominated New York Gov. Thomas E.
Dewey for president and Ohio Gov. John W. Bricker for vice
1944 Jun 29, Rommel and von
Rundstedt traveled to Berchtesgaden to confer with Hitler.
1944 Jun 29, A Russian assault
battalion opened fire on German forces on the outskirts of Bobruisk,
Belarus. As many as half of the 10,000 German soldiers were killed.
In 1962 Nikolai Litvin, a Russian soldier present that day,
completed his memoir. It was finally published in 2007 under the
title ”800 Days on the Eastern Front.”
(WSJ, 6/30/07, p.P6)
1944 Jun 30, A US B-24H bomber
nicknamed "Miss Fortune," which was returning from a mission in
Germany to its base in Italy, flew into bad weather with 3 others
and were shot down by German gunners over western Hungary. The
remains of Staff Sgt. Martin F. Troy, the tail gunner on the “Miss
Fortune,” were recovered in 2007.
1944 Jun, Members of the
Special Operations Division from Maryland’s Fort Detrick biological
weapons program conducted tests at Granite Peak, a 250-square-mile
area near the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.
(AH, 6/03, p.49)
1944 Jun, The "Kasztner Train,"
with 1,684 Jews on board, departed Budapest for the safety of
neutral Switzerland. Rudolf Kasztner's negotiations also saved
20,000 Hungarian Jews by diverting them to an Austrian labor camp
instead of a planned transfer to extermination camps. Kasztner, a
Zionist leader in Hungary, headed the Relief and Rescue Committee, a
small Jewish group that negotiated with Nazi officials to rescue
Hungarian Jews in exchange for money, goods and military equipment.
1944 Jun, German soldiers in
the Hermann Goering division, named after the head of Adolf Hitler's
air force, shot and killed more than 200 civilians and destroyed
most of the homes in the Tuscan town of Civitella to avenge a deadly
attack by partisans. In 2008 Italy's Court of Cassation ordered
Berlin to pay a total of euro1 million (US$1.3 million) to nine
family members of victims of the massacre. Germany rejected the
1944 Jul 1, Delegates from 44
countries began meeting at Bretton Woods, N.H., where they agreed to
establish the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The US
hosted an international conference at Bretton Woods, N.H., to deal
with international monetary and financial problems. The talks
resulted in the creation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and the World Bank in 1945. The Bretton Woods institutions also
include the United Nations and the General Agreement on Tariffs and
Trade, later renamed the World Trade Organization (WTO). The
agreement was a gold exchange standard and only the US was required
to convert its currency into gold at a fixed rate, and only foreign
central banks were allowed the privilege of redemption. In 1983
Michael Moffitt authored “The World’s Money: Int’l. Banking from
Bretton Woods to the Brink of Insolvency.” In 1997 Catherine
Caufield wrote "Masters of Illusion: The World Bank and the Poverty
(SFC, 1/13/98, p.A4)(WSJ, 10/15/98, p.A22)(AP,
7/1/04)(WM, 1983, p.13)
1944 Jul 1, Over 2500 were
killed in London and SE England by German flying bombs.
1944 Jul 1, Count Claus von
Stauffenberg was promoted to colonel.
1944 Jul 3, Lisa Alther,
author, was born in Kingsport, Ten. "The degree of a person's
intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting
attitudes she can bring to bear on the same topic."
1944 Jul 3, The U.S. First Army
opened a general offensive to break out of the hedgerow area of
1944 Jul 3, During World War
II, Soviet forces recaptured Minsk.
1944 Jul 4, Stanley Hiller Jr.
(1925-2006) flew his XH-44 helicopter free from its tether for the
1st time in the stadium of UC Berkeley. A public demonstration took
place in SF on Aug. 30, 1944.
1944 Jul 4, 1,100 US guns fired
4th of July salute at German lines in Normandy.
1944 Jul 4, Allied assault on
Carpiquet airport at Caen.
1944 Jul 4, Gestapo arrested
German Social Democrat Julius Leber.
1944 Jul 4, The Japanese made
their first kamikaze (god wind) attack on a US fleet near Iwo Jima.
There is little evidence that these hits were more than accidental
collisions or last-minute decisions by pilots in doomed aircraft, of
the kind likely to happen in intense sea-air battles [see Oct 21].
1944 Jul 5, The Japanese
garrison on Numfoor, New Guinea, tried to counterattack but was soon
beaten back by U.S. forces.
1944 Jul 6, Lieutenant Jackie
Robinson of the U.S. Army, while riding a civilian bus from Camp
Hood, Texas, refused to give up his seat to a white man. Lt. Jackie
Robinson was court marshaled for refusing the order of a civilian
bus driver to move to the back of the bus. He was acquitted.
(SFEC,10/19/97, BR p.14)(HN, 7/6/98)
1944 Jul 6, In Hartford, Conn.,
168 people died when fire broke out in the main tent of the Ringling
Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In 2000 Stewart O’Nan authored
"The Circus Fire: A True Story."
(AP, 7/6/04)(SFEC, 8/20/00, BR p.3)
1944 Jul 7, Bomber Command
dropped 2,572 tons of bombs on Caen, France.
1944 Jul 7, Hungary’s regent
Miklos Horthy issued an order suspending Nazi deportations of
(ON, 10/20/11, p.1)
1944 Jul 7, There was a heavy
Japanese counter offensive on Saipan.
1944 Jul 8, Japanese kamikaze
attacked US lines at Saipan.
1944 Jul 9, American forces
secured Saipan as the last Japanese defenses fell during WW II.
1944 Jul 9, Raoul Wallenberg, a
Swedish National Guardsman, arrived in Budapest to head the local
office of the US-sponsored War Refugee Board. He had been recruited
in June by a US Embassy official in Stockholm and sent to
Nazi-controlled Budapest under Swedish diplomatic cover. He used US
funds to bribe Nazi officials and saved over 20,000 Hungarian Jews
from Nazi death camps.
(SFC, 5/5/96, p.A-7)(MT, Spg. ‘99, p.18)(WSJ,
1944 Jul 10, French railway
workers called a strike in Paris.
(Econ, 9/21/13, IL p.22)
1944 Jul 12, US government
recognized the authority of General De Gaulle.
1944 Jul 12, The Theresienstadt
Family camp disbanded and some 4,000 people were executed.
1944 Jul 13, Erno Rubik,
inventor (Rubik's cube), was born in Budapest.
1944 Jul 14, In France some
100,000 people took to the streets in a mass demonstration.
(Econ, 9/21/13, IL p.22)
1944 Jul 14, SS men Heinrich
Boere and Jacobus Petrus Besteman shot and killed Dutch pharmacist
Fritz Hubert Ernst Bicknese at his home in Breda for suspected
activity in Nazi resistance. Boere was sentenced to death in
absentia by a Dutch court in 1949. This was later commuted to life
imprisonment. In 2009 Boere (88) was slated to stand trial for
murder in Germany for the execution-style killings of three Dutch
civilians during World War II. In 2010 a German court convicted
Boere (88) of murdering the three Dutch civilians. He was given the
maximum sentence of life in prison for the killings.
1944 Jul 15, In Amsterdam Anne
Frank (1929-1945) entered this in her diary: "In spite of everything
I still believe that people are really good at heart." In 1998 5
additional pages to her diary were reported. She died of typhoid in
the spring of 1945 at the Bergen-Belson concentration camp.
(AP, 8/4/98)(SFC, 8/19/98, p.A16)
1944 Jul 15, Greenwich
Observatory was damaged by German V1 rocket.
1944 Jul 16, Soviet troops
occupied Vilna, Lithuania, in their drive towards Germany.
1944 Jul 17, An explosion at
Port Chicago, now the Concord Naval Weapons Station in Ca., killed
320 seamen when a pair of ammunition ships exploded. 10,000 tons of
ammunition exploded. 202 of the victims were black enlisted men. The
Navy court-martialed 50 black sailors for refusing to go back to
work after the catastrophe. They were released from prison in 1946
with dishonorable discharges and reductions in rank. The story was
later described by Robert Allen in his 1989 "The Port Chicago
Mutiny." In 1999 Pres. Clinton issued a pardon to Freddie Meeks, one
of the last living convicted African American sailors.
(SFEC, 3/2/97, z1 p.3)(SFC, 2/24/98, p.A15)(SFC,
12/24/99, p.A1)(SSFC, 2/6/05, Par p.6)
1944 Jul 17, Field Marshall
Erwin Rommel was wounded when an Allied fighter strafes his staff
car in France.
1944 Jul 18, U.S. troops
capture Saint-Lo, France, ending the battle of the hedgerows.
1944 Jul 18, British Mosquitos
attacked Cologne and Berlin.
1944 Jul 18, Hideki Tojo was
removed as Japanese premier and war minister because of setbacks
suffered by his country in World War II.
1944 Jul 19, The Democratic
National Convention convened in Chicago with the renomination of
President Franklin D. Roosevelt considered a foregone certainty.
1944 Jul 19, Some 1,200 8th Air
Force bombers bombed targets in SW Germany. Some 500 15th Air Force
Liberators (Flying Fortresses) bombed the Munich vicinity.
1944 Jul 19, Count Claus von
Stauffenberg visited a RC church in Berlin-Dahlem.
1944 Jul 19, Carl Bock, Danish
Gestapo agent, was liquidated.
1944 Jul 19, Swedish diplomat
Raoul Wallenberg 1st met SS ober Sturmbannfuhrer Adolf Eichmann.
1944 Jul 20, President
Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented fourth term of office
at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
1944 Jul 20, US 15th Air Force
attacked Friedrichshafen and Memmingen. Flying Fortresses of US 8th
Air Force attacked Leipzig and Dessau.
1944 Jul 20, US invaded
Japanese occupied Guam. Japanese aircraft carrier Hijo was sunk by
US air attack.
1944 Jul 20, A heavy storm
hampered a British offensive at Caen.
1944 Jul 20, A branch of the
German resistance led by Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg planted
a bomb underneath the table where Hitler was standing at Hitler's
Rastenburg headquarters in East Prussia that wounded but did not
kill Hitler. This incited the Fuhrer to wipe out the Prussian
aristocracy. This is covered in Otto Friedrich's book on the Moltke
family: "Blood and Iron." [see 1800, Helmuth and/or 1840, James von
(WSJ, 11/7/95, p.A-21)(AP, 7/20/97)(HN, 7/20/98)
"In fact, although many of the
conspirators were tortured, beheaded and strangled by piano wire
hung from meat hooks... Col. Stauffenburg and three of his fellow
officers were executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the
Benderblock around midnight of that fateful day." Gen. Friedrich
Olbricht was executed along with Gen. Ludwig Beck, chief Germany
general staff. The 20th of July Special Commission of the Third
Reich was created after the July 20, 1944, assassination attempt on
Adolf Hitler to find and expose conspirators and other enemies of
the regime. Some 400 investigators employed all of the
Gestapo-designed methods of torture against enemies of the Nazis
until the end of the war. Some 5,000 Germans were executed in the
months following the assassination attempt for their part in the
conspiracy or alleged sympathy with the conspirators.
(WSJ, 11/29/95, p.A-15)(HNQ, 12/3/98)(MC,
Ludwig and Kunrat
Hammerstein-Equord participated in the plot to kill Hitler and went
into hiding when the plot failed. 4 members of the family were taken
to concentration camps, but were later freed by the allies.
(SFC, 2/5/00, p.A19)
1944 Jul 20, The death march of
1,200 Jews from Lipcani, Moldavia, began.
1944 Jul 21, Paul Wellstone,
(Sen-D-Minnesota), was born.
1944 Jul 21, The Democratic
National Convention in Chicago nominated Sen. Harry S. Truman to be
vice president. He replaced Henry Wallace. In Room 708 of the
Blackstone Hotel in Chicago Roosevelt told Truman at the convention
that he wanted him on the ticket Alben William Barkley served one
term as vice president of the U.S. under Harry Truman (1949-53).
(WSJ, 8/26/96, p.A12)(AP, 7/20/97)(WSJ, 4/27/98,
1944 Jul 21, US Army and Marine
forces landed on Guam in the Marianas during WW II.
(AP, 7/21/97)(HN, 7/21/98)
1944 Jul 21, Von Kluge warned
Hitler of the impending collapse of front in Normandy.
1944 Jul 21, Henning von
Tresckow, Gen-Maj, "July 20th plotter", committed suicide.
1944 Jul 21, Jerzy Bielecki
(23), a German-speaking Catholic Pole arrested as a resistance
fighter, walked in broad daylight down a pathway at Auschwitz,
wearing a stolen SS uniform with his Jewish sweetheart Cyla Cybulska
(1922-2002) by his side. Both managed to escape. They became
separated in 1945 and did not meet again until 1983.
1944 Jul 22, German SS officer
Siegfried Assmuss, commander of a unit of the Ukrainian Self-Defense
Legion, was killed by partisans near Chlaniow, Poland.
1944 Jul 23, Lisa Alther,
novelist (Kinflicks), was born.
1944 Jul 23, US forces invaded
1944 Jul 23, Bernard M. Cohen,
attorney, was killed at Belsen concentration camp.
1944 Jul 23, Helmuth J. von
Moltke, German earl (July 20th plotter), was executed.
1944 Jul 23, Soviet troops took
Lublin, Poland, as the German army retreated.
1944 Jul 23, A Ukrainian
Self-Defense unit, directed to "liquidate all the residents" of
Chlaniow, Poland, in a reprisal attack for the killing of German SS
officer Siegfried Assmuss, killed 44 people including women and
children. In 2013 Michael Karkoc (94), a retired Minnesota
carpenter, was named as commander of the Nazi SS-led unit in the
1944 Jul 24, Soviet forces
liberated the Majdanek concentration camp.
1944 Jul 25, Bing Crosby and
the Andrews Sisters recorded Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In" in
Los Angeles for Decca Records.
1944 Jul 25, Allied forces
begin the breakthrough of German lines in Normandy.
1944 Jul 25, The Messerschmitt
262 became the 1st jet fighter used in combat.
1944 Jul 26, The first
desegregation in the US Army.
(HFA, ‘96, p.34)
1944 Jul 26, There was a
Japanese suicide attack on US lines in Guam.
1944 Jul 27, U.S. troops
completed the liberation of Guam.
1944 Jul 29, Larry L. Hutsell,
"fact-finder extraordinaire" was born in Balboa Naval Hospital in
San Diego, Ca. Long-time retired from the auto glass replacement
industry and the Boy Scouts of America, Larry spends his days
surfing the Internet, gleaning little-known and miniscule facts from
history; the Web site “Timelines of History" has been the
beneficiary of these efforts. In his spare time Larry and his wife
Phyllis own Hutsell's Gift & Lapidary Shop in Blue Springs,
1944 Jul 29, Allied air force
bombed Germany for 6 hours.
1944 Jul 30, US 30th division
reached the suburbs of St. Lo, Normandy.
1944 Jul 31, A large number of
children were deported to Auschwitz from France by Alois Brunner,
deputy to Adolf Eichmann.
(SFC, 3/3/01, p.A10)
1944 Jul 31, Antoine de
Saint-Exupery (44), author of "The Little Prince," died in a plane
crash during reconnaissance off Marseilles. In 1949 Nelly de Vogue,
his longtime mistress, authored the 1st Exupery biography. In 2001 a
memoir by his widow, Consuelo de Saint-Exupery (d.1979) titled "The
Tale of the Rose: The Passion That Inspired the Little Prince," was
published. Saint-Exupery's plane was found in 2004.
(SFEC, 2/27/00, BR p.12)(SFEC, 5/28/00,
p.A15)(SSFC, 8/5/01, DB p.63)(SFC, 4/8/04, p.A2)
1944 Jul 31, The Soviet army
took Kovno [Kaunas], the capital of Lithuania.
1944 Jul, A small team of US
Army and intelligence personnel under Maj. Raymond Cromley embarked
for China on the top secret "Dixie Mission" to investigate Mao
Tse-tung and his insurgent Communist Party.
(WSJ, 5/30/02, p.A2)
1944 Jul, Guy Gabaldon
(1926-2006), US Marine private, talked some 800 Japanese soldiers
into surrendering and following him back to his US camp. In 1990
Gabaldon authored the memoir “Saipan: Suicide Island.” The story
became part of the 1960 film “Hell to Eternity.”
(SFC, 9/8/06, p.B9)
1944 Jul, In Virginia Irene
Morgan was jailed for refusing to give up her bus seat. A suit
followed that led to the Jun 3, 1946 Supreme Court decision that
struck down Virginia’s segregation statute on interstate buses.
(SFC, 8/4/00, p.D2)
1944 Jul, Communist forces
entered central and northern Albania.
(www, Albania, 1998)
1944 Jul, In the wake of
fighting at Vercors, France, 300 Nazi troops moved into the Catholic
village of Prelenfrey and demanded the names of Jews hiding in the
area. The soldiers at gunpoint interrogated 32 local men, but no
information was revealed.
(SFC, 6/23/96, p.T8)
1944 Jul, Operation Goodwood in
Normandy under Gen’l. Montgomery attempted to break through German
defenses. This part of the war is covered by Stephen E. Ambrose in
his 1997 book: "Citizen Soldiers," a sequel to his earlier "D-Day."
(WSJ, 12/22/97, p.A16)
1944 Aug 1, Anne Frank's last
diary entry; 3 days later she was arrested.
1944 Aug 1-1944 Oct 2, The
Warsaw Uprising was fought. The Polish underground began an uprising
against the occupying German army, as the Red Army approaches
Warsaw. The revolt lasted two months before collapsing. US Air Force
Groups dropped medicine and food to the Polish freedom fighters
under heavy fire from German fighter planes. The supply planes were
also shot at by Soviet gunners. American dead were buried in the
military cemetery at Poltava, Ukraine. The uprising ended with the
Nazis killing 250,000 people. During the 63-day uprising the
insurgents, largely ill-armed teenagers, organized a postal service
to help city residents get information to relatives. Marek Edelman
(1909-2009) was among the commanders of the uprising and managed to
survive the war.
(Civilization, July-Aug, 1995, p. 23)(AP,
8/1/97)(HN, 8/1/98)(AP, 3/6/08)(Econ, 10/10/09, p.91)
1944 Aug 2, The US 383rd
Squadron assigned to Honnington, England, executed an air raid on a
German ammunition train at Remy, France. Lt. Houston Lee Braley Jr.
was killed in his downed P-51.
(SFC, 11/11/96, p.A1,18)
1944 Aug 2, Jewish survivors of
Kovno Ghetto, Lithuania, emerged from their bunker.
1944 Aug 4, RAF pilot T. D.
Dean became the first pilot to destroy a V-1 buzz bomb when he
tipped the pilotless craft’s wing, sending it off course.
1944 Aug 4, British 8th army
reached the suburbs of Florence, Italy.
1944 Aug 4, Nazi police
raided the secret annex of a building in Amsterdam and arrested
eight people, including 15-year-old Anne Frank, whose diary became a
famous account of the Holocaust. She died at the Bergen-Belsen
concentration camp in the spring of 1945, just weeks before the camp
was liberated. Miep Gies (1909-2010), secretary to Anne’s father
Otto, collected the scattered pages of Anne’s diary and returned
them to Otto Frank after the war.
(AP, 8/4/02)(Econ, 1/30/10, p.95)
1944 Aug 4, A Halifax JP-276A
took off on its final flight from the Italian city of Brindisi
around 8 p.m., to drop weapons, ammunition and medical supplies for
resistance fighters involved in the Warsaw Uprising against the
Nazis. The plane was shot down by Poland's Nazis occupiers and
crashed near the town of Dabrowa Tarnowska, in southern Poland.
Remnants were recovered in 2006 and the remains of the crew, 5
Canadians and 2 Britons, were formally buried in 2007.
1944 Aug 6, All 1,200 Jewish
death marchers from Lipcani, Moldavia, died by this date.
1944 Aug 6, The deportation of
70,000 Jews from Lodz. Poland, to Auschwitz began.
1944 Aug 7, July 20th Plot
trial under Nazi judge Roland Freisler began in Berlin.
1944 Aug 7, German forces
launched a major counter attack against U.S. forces near Mortain,
1944 Aug 8, U.S. forces
completed the capture of the Marianas Islands.
1944 Aug 8, Erwin von Witzleben
(62), German fieldmarshal, was hanged.
1944 Aug 8, On the island of
Guam US Marine Corps patrols from the 21st Regiment discovered 45
bodies of young Chamorro men in Chagui'an, beheaded and with their
hands tied behind their backs. The site of the massacre was later
disputed as the Guam Preservation Trust moved to put the Chagui'an
Massacre site in Yigo into the National Register of Historic Places.
1944 Aug 9, Smokey Bear debuted
as spokesman for fire prevention. The image of "Smokey the Bear" was
created by an artist as the official forest-fire spokesbear. He was
named in 1945 reportedly in honor of Smokey Joe Martin, asst. chief
of the New York City Fire Dept. A real bear from a 1950 New Mexico
fire was pressed into service and lived until 1976 at the Washington
National Zoo. [see 1945]
(SFEC, 6/22/97, p.T6)(ON, 4/03, p.9)
1944 Aug 9, 258 black American
sailors based at Port Chicago, Calif., refused to load a munitions
ship following the Jul 17 explosion of another ship that killed 320
men, two-thirds of them black. The sailors were court-martialed,
fined and imprisoned for their refusal.
1944 Aug 9, The Halyard Mission
began rescuing over 500 bomber fliers shot down over Serbia. This
mission was a combined project of the American Strategic Services
(OSS - precursor of the CIA) under the command of General William J.
Donovan, Lt. George (Guv) S. Musulin, of the OSS and an American of
Serbian descent, and General Draza Mihailovich and his Serbian
chetnik freedom fighters in the former Yugoslavia. In 2007 Gregory A
Freeman authored “The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who
risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II.”
1944 Aug 10, Race riots took
place in Athens, Alabama.
1944 Aug 10, During World War
II, American forces overcame Japanese resistance on Guam.
1944 Aug 11, German troops
abandoned Florence, Italy, as Allied troops closed in on the
1944 Aug 12, Churchill and Tito
met in Naples.
1944 Aug 12, Joseph P. Kennedy
Jr., eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed
with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blew up
over England during World War II.
1944 Aug 13, In NYC Lucien Carr
stabbed to death David Kammerer following sexual advances by
Kammerer, who had been Carr's Boy Scout Scoutmaster during his
youth. Carr turned himself in and was later sentenced to 20 years,
but served only 2 years in prison at Elmira Correctional Facility in
upstate, NY. Lucien Carr later introduced Allen Ginsberg, Jack
Kerouac and William Burroughs to each other.
1944 Aug 14, The US federal
government allowed the manufacture of certain domestic appliances,
such as electric ranges and vacuum cleaners, to resume on a limited
1944 Aug 14, In Seattle, Wa., a
riot took place at Fort Lawton, following a scuffle between an
Italian prisoner and a black soldier. POW Guglielmo Olivotto was
found hanged the next day. In an ensuing trial 28 men were
convicted. In 2005 Jack Hamann and his wife Leslie authored “On
American Soil,“ which covered the riot and the subsequent events.
The convictions of the soldiers were overturned based largely on
shortcomings in the prosecution described in the book.
1944 Aug 15, Linda Ellerbee,
newscaster (Weekend, NBC Overnight), was born in Bryan, Texas.
1944 Aug 15, American, British
and French forces landed on the southern coast of France, between
Toulon and Cannes, in Operation Dragoon. The amphibious landing was
met with minimal resistance.
(AP, 8/15/97)(HN, 8/15/98)(SFC, 9/11/00, p.A22)
1944 Aug 15-16, In a secret
military trial in Arizona, 7 German seamen, aged 22-26, were
convicted in the murder of fellow seaman Vernard Drechsler. They
were sentenced to murder and were hanged at Leavenworth on Aug 25,
1944 Aug 16, US bombers of the
8th Air Force raided the oil refinery at Rositz, Germany. As of 1998
21 unexploded bombs were dug up at the site.
(WSJ, 11/24/08, p.A12)
1944 Aug 16, Chartres, France,
1944 Aug 17, The mayor of
Paris, Pierre Charles Tattinger, met with the German commander
Dietrich von Choltitz to protest the explosives being deployed
throughout the city.
1944 Aug 17, Japanese and Swiss
officials agreed to divert 40% of millions of dollars, paid by the
US and Britain for the care of prisoners of war held by the
Japanese, to pay off Japan’s debts to Swiss businesses. The other
60% was for the free disposal by the Japanese government.
(SFC, 12/1/97, p.A10)
1944 Aug 19, In an effort to
prevent a communist uprising in Paris, Charles DeGaulle began
attacking German forces all around the city.
1944 Aug 19, The last Japanese
troops were driven out of India.
1944 Aug 19, US 90th and Polish
1st Division occupied Chambois, Normandy.
1944 Aug 20, Rajiv Gandhi,
Prime Minster of India (1984-89), was born.
(HN, 8/20/98)(MC, 8/20/02)
1944 Aug 20, "Anna Lucasta,"
opened on Broadway.
1944 Aug 20, United States and
British forces closed the pincers on the German 7th Army in the
Falaise-Argentan pocket in France.
(HN, 8/20/98)(MC, 8/20/02)
1944 Aug 20, The US liberty
ship SS Richard Montgomery was wrecked off the Nore in the Thames
Estuary, with some 1500 tons of explosives. As of 2008 it continued
to be a hazard to the area.
1944 Aug 20, Gen. de Gaulle
returned to France.
1944 Aug 21, Jackie DeShannon,
singer (What the World Needs Now), was born in Hazel, Kentucky.
1944 Aug 21, The US, Britain,
the Soviet Union and China opened the Dumbarton Oaks conference in
Washington, D.C. It laid the foundation for the establishment of the
(SFEC, 6/29/97, p.T10)(AP, 8/21/07)
1944 Aug 21-1947 Jun 3, Albert
Camus edited the clandestine newspaper Combat. In 2006 his WW II
pieces, edited by Jacqueline Levi-Valensi, were published as ”Camus
(WSJ, 2/11/06, p.P10)
1944 Aug 22, Hitler ordered
Paris to be destroyed.
1944 Aug 22, In Bordeaux,
France, Heinz Stahlschmidt (d.2010 at 92), a junior officer in the
German navy, defied his superiors plans to blow up Bordeaux's port
by blowing up a munitions depot, rendering some 4,000 fuses useless
and saving the port. Heinz Stahlschmidt became a French citizen in
1947 under the name of Henri Salmide and a Knight of the French
Legion d’Honneur in September 2000.
1944 Aug 22, Last transport of
French Jews departed to Nazi Germany.
1944 Aug 23, Allied troops
captured Marseilles, France.
1944 Aug 23, General George
Leclerc's troops advanced towards Paris.
1944 Aug 23, A US B-24 crashed
into a school in Freckelton, England, and 76 were killed.
1944 Aug 23, German SS
engineers began placing explosive charges around the Eiffel Tower in
Paris. Adolf Hitler had decreed that Paris should be left a smoking
ruin, but Dietrich von Choltitz thought better of his Fuhrer's
1944 Aug 23, Romanian PM Ion
Antonescu was dismissed by King Michael, paving the way for Romania
to abandon the Axis in favor of the Allies. King Michael organized a
coup against the pro-Nazi dictator, Marshal Ion Antonescu, but was
double-crossed by Joseph Stalin and betrayed by the Allies who ceded
the country to the Russians at the Yalta summit in 1945.
(SFC, 6/27/97, p.A16)(AP, 8/23/97)
1944 Aug 24, Allied forces
1944 Aug 25, US 12th Army
Corp. reached Troyes.
1944 Aug 25, Paris, occupied
since June 1940, was liberated from German occupation by Free French
Forces under General Jacques LeClerc and his 2nd Tank division.
Although ordered by Adolf Hitler to leave Paris a smoldering ruin,
Paris' military governor Major General Dietrich von Cholitz lied to
his superiors and left the city's landmarks intact. Retreating
German troops massacred 124 of Maille's 500 residents then razed the
town, possibly in retaliation for Resistance action in the region.
(AP, 8/25/97)(HNPD, 8/25/98)(HN, 8/25/98)(AP,
1944 Aug 25, In France 11 US
planes were shot down when a squadron was overwhelmed in a dogfight
with 80 German fighters. 5 pilots survived and eluded capture. 2
pilots were captured. The remains of 3 missing were later recovered.
In 2008 the remains of Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Ray Packard were
identified and returned home.
(SSFC, 11/16/08, p.B8)
1944 Aug 25, Romania declared
war on Germany.
1944 Aug 26, US 12th Army Corps
crossed the river Seine East of Paris.
1944 Aug 26, In World War Two,
Bulgaria announced that it had withdrawn from the war and that
German troops in the country were to be disarmed.
1944 Aug 27, 200 Halifax
bombers attack oil-installations in Hamburg.
1944 Aug 28, German forces in
Toulon and Marseilles, France, surrendered to the Allies.
1944 Aug 28-1944 Sep 9, In
Italy 10 citizens from Forli were killed "without need and without
any justified motive" by a platoon led by German officer Heinrich
Nordhorn. In 2006 an Italian military tribunal convicted Nordhorn
(86) in absentia in the killings of the 10 civilians.
1944 Aug 29, 15,000 American
troops marched down the Champs Elysees in Paris as the French
capital continued to celebrate its liberation from the Nazis.
1944 Aug 29, The Slovak
National Uprising broke out against the Germans.
(SFC, 10/2/09, p.E5)
1944 Aug 30, Ploesti, the
center of the Rumanian oil industry, fell to Soviet troops.
1944 Aug 31, A US B-24-J bomber
crashed into Maoer Mountain in China after having completed its
bombing mission over the port of Takao in Taiwan. All 10 men onboard
were killed. The wreckage was not discovered until Oct, 1996.
(SFC, 1/17/97, p.A13)
1944 Aug 31, The British Eighth
Army penetrated the German Gothic Line in Italy.
1944 Aug 31, The French
provisional government moved from Algiers to Paris.
1944 Aug, Gen. Patton directed
his Third Army from Sicily to France. By March of 1945 he drove
through the German line and across the Rhine.
(WSJ, 12/8/95, p.A-14)
1944 Aug, In the weeks
following the liberation of France some 20,000 women, accused of
relations with the enemy, had their heads shaven.
(Econ, 9/21/13, IL p.22)
1944 Aug, Hungary’s regent
Miklos Horthy fired his pro-German prime minister and opened peace
talks with the Russians.
(ON, 10/20/11, p.2)
1944 Aug, Representatives of
Messerschmidt, Volkswagen AG and other companies met at a Strasbourg
hotel to discuss financing plans for the Fourth Reich.
(WSJ, 4/28/97, p.A17)
1944 Sep 1, Leonard Slatkin,
conductor, was born in LA, Calif.
1944 Sep 1, In Meximeux,
France, Lt. Col. Michael Davison (1917-2006) led a 2-day defense
against an attack by retreating German forces. In 1974 Meximeux
named its town square “Place de General Davison.”
(SFC, 9/12/06, p.B4)
1944 Sep 2, Troops of the U.S.
First Army entered Belgium.
1944 Sep 2, Navy pilot George
Herbert Walker Bush was shot down by Japanese forces as he completed
a bombing run over the Bonin Islands. Bush was rescued by the crew
of the U.S. submarine Finback; his two crew members, however, died.
1944 Sep 3, US forces entered
Belgium at Peruwelz led by reconnaissance scout James W. Carroll on
his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
(WSJ, 12/18/97, p.A1)
1944 Sep 3, The U.S. Seventh
Army captured Lyons, France. French troops liberate Lyon.
(HN, 9/3/98)(MC, 9/3/01)
1944 Sep 3, The 68th & last
transport of Dutch Jews, which included Anne Frank, left for
1944 Sep 3, A tank division of
British Guards freed Brussels.
1944 Sep 4, British troops
liberated Antwerp, Belgium.
1944 Sep 5, "Mad Tuesday"
65,000 Dutch Nazi collaborators fled to Germany.
1944 Sep 5, Germany launched
its first V-2 missile at Paris, France.
1944 Sep 5, Flight Sgt.
Maximilian Volke, a German ace pilot, took off from a northern
Italian air base with three other fighters to intercept a group of
American bombers. He was shot down by gunners in one of the US
planes. His plane and remains were found in 2007.
1944 Sep 6, During World War
II, the British government relaxed blackout restrictions and
suspended compulsory training for the Home Guard.
1944 Sep 7, Nazi SS-General
Kurt ("Panzer") Meyer took Durnal, Belgium.
1944 Sep 8, Germany's V-2
offensive against England began. The 1st V-2 rockets landed in
London & Antwerp.
(HN, 9/8/98)(MC, 9/8/01)
1944 Sep 8, Erwin von Witzleben
(62), German field marshal, was hanged.
1944 Sep 10, Thomas Allen,
British opera singer, was born.
1944 Sep 10, Lt. Gen. Frederick
Browning spoke against Montgomery: "But, sir, I think we might be
going a bridge too far."
1944 Sep 11, President
Roosevelt and British PM Winston Churchill met in Canada at the
second Quebec Conference.
1944 Sep 11, American troops
1944 Sep 12, The second Quebec
Conference opened with President Roosevelt and British Prime
Minister Winston Churchill in attendance.
1944 Sep 12, During World War
II, U.S. Army troops entered Germany for the first time, near Trier.
(AP, 9/12/97)(HN, 9/12/98)
1944 Sep 12, A US submarine
patrol that included the USS Pampanito, the Growler and the Sealion
II, came upon a Japanese convoy carrying war material. The Japanese
transport Kachidoki Maru, carrying over 900 British soldier, was
sunk by the Pampanito. Much of the convoy was sunk including most of
some 2,000 Allied prisoners of war. The subs after chasing
stragglers of the convoy returned to find 159 British and Australian
survivors clinging to wreckage [see Sep 14]. Some 1000 POWs from
Australia were on the Japanese freighter Enoura Maru sunk by the USS
Sealion. Alistair Urquhart of Scotland, a prisoner on the Kachidoki
Maru, was picked up 5 days later by a Japanese whaling ship and
taken to Japan, where he was forced to work in a coal mine.
Kachidoki Maru had been captured earlier in the war as the President
Harrison home ported in SF. The Pampanito was later berthed as a
visitor attraction in SF. In 2008 Urquhart (89) visited the
(SFC, 5/27/97, p.A17)(SFC,12/5/97, p.C3)(SFC,
1944 Sep 13, Jacqueline Bisset
(actress: Rich and Famous, The Deep, Airport, Bullitt, Wild Orchid,
Murder on the Orient Express, Choices), was born in England.
1944 Sep 13, US 28th Infantry
division opened an assault on the Siegfried line, Westwall.
1944 Sep 13, Heath Robinson
(b.1872), English cartoonist, died. He is best known for drawings of
eccentric machines and "Heath Robinson" has entered the language as
a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible
1944 Sep 14, A Category 3
hurricane, the Great Atlantic Hurricane, struck eastern New England.
Winds hit 109 MPH in Connecticut and 46 people were killed on land
and caused $100 million in damage. The storm sank 5 ships killing
(AP, 9/21/97)(WSJ, 5/31/06,
1944 Sep 14, The submarine USS
Pampanito picked up 73 allied prisoners left adrift following the
Sep 12 submarine attack on a Japanese convoy that included the
transport ship Rakuyo Maru.
(SFC, 3/18/09, p.B2)
1944 Sep 15, US troops landed
on Palau and Morotai Islands.
1944 Sep 15, British bombers
hit the German pocket battleship Tirpitz with Tallboy bombs.
1944 Sep 16, Glen Miller made
his last recording at the Abbey Road studio in London with an Allied
Forces band and Dinah Shore.
(Sky, 9/97, p.55)
1944 Sep 17, Infantry glider
troops of the 82nd Airborne Division entered Holland. British and
American airborne troops parachuted into Holland to capture the
Arnhem bridge as part of Operation Market Garden. The plan called
for the airborne troops to be relieved by British troops, but they
were left stranded and eventually surrendered to the Germans. The
1974 book by Cornelius Ryan, "A Bridge Too Far," was based on this
operation and was made into the 1977 film.
(HN, 9/17/98)(HC, 12/12/01)(AP, 9/17/06)
1944 Sep 18, British submarine
Tradewind torpedoed Junyo Maru: 5,600 killed. Tradewind, a
twin-screw Triton-class boat of the Royal Navy, attacked the
Japanese merchant ship Junyo Maru, killing an estimated 4,320
people--around 1,700 Western POWs, 500 Indonesian prisoners and
thousands of Japanese slave laborers. Tradewind’s captain, Lt. Cmdr.
S.L.C. Maydon, wasn’t aware until many years later that the ship he
had sunk had been carrying human cargo, including thousands of his
own, and Allied, troops.
(MC, 9/18/01)(HNQ, 3/7/02)
1944 Sep 19, The Luftwaffe
bombed Eindhoven: 200 killed.
1944 Sep 19, The 3-month battle
at Huertgen Forest on the Belgian-German border began. A 1998 HBO
film made a rough portrayal: "When Trumpets Fade."
1944 Sep 21, U.S. troops of the
7th Army, invading Southern France, crossed the Meuse River.
1944 Sep 21, The last British
paratroopers at bridge of Arnhem surrendered.
1944 Sep 22, The
Allies reoccupied Boulogne.
1944 Sep 22, Mark Linenthal
(1922-2010), navigator on a B-24 Liberator, was shot down on the way
back from bombing an aircraft factory in Munich. He was taken to
Stalag Luft I and remained there it was liberated by the Russians.
He later established himself as a Prof. of English at San Francisco
State Univ., where he published 2 books of poetry “Growing Light”
(1979) and “The Man I Am Watching” 1987).
(SSFC, 9/12/10, p.C1)
1944 Sep 22, Aldert Klaas
Dijkema, a Dutch resistance fighter, was executed by the Nazi Waffen
SS shortly after he was captured. In 2012 Dutch-born Siert Bruins
(91) was charged with Dijkema’s murder. In 2014 a German court
dropped the case against Bruins ruling that there are too many gaps
in the evidence to deliver a verdict.
p.A2)(SFC, 9/3/13, p.A2)(AP, 1/8/14)
1944 Sep 25, Michael Douglas,
actor (Coma, Wall St, Jewel of the Nile), was born in New Jersey.
1944 Sep 27, Aimee Semple
McPherson (b.1890), Canadian and US evangelist and faith healer,
died at age 53. In 2007 Matthew Avery Sutton authored “Aimee Semple
McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America.
(SSFC, 5/13/07, p.M4)
1944 Sep 27, Aristide Maillol,
French sculptor and graphic artist, died in car crash at 82.
1944 Sep 27, Thousands of
British troops were killed as German forces rebuffed their massive
effort to capture the Arnhem Bridge across the Rhine River in
1944 Sep 28, At the Battle of
Arnhem the Germans defeated the British airborne in Netherlands.
1944 Sep 29-1944 Oct 5, Nazi
murders took place in Marzabotto, Italy, under SS-major Reder.
Retreating Nazi troops killed some 1,000 women, children and elderly
while allegedly pursuing resistance fighters. In 2002 German Pres.
Rau apologized for the massacre. In 2007 an Italian military
tribunal gave life sentences in absentia to 10 German former SS men
for massacring about 800 Italian villagers. They had laid waste to
the villages of Marzabotto, Grizzana and Vado di Monzuno near
Bologna, as the Germans retreated before Allied troops.
1944 Sep 30, Calais was
reoccupied by Allies.
1944 Sep, The U.S. 1st Marine
Division sought to take Peleliu, to protect General Macarthur’s
eastern flank as he tried to retake the Philippines, where he had
retreated from in 1942.
1944 Sep, SS men Heinrich Boere
and an accomplice named Hendrik Kromhout shot Dutch bicycle-shop
owner Teun de Groot when he answered the doorbell at his home in the
town of Voorschoten. They then continued to the apartment of F.W.
Kusters, and forced him into their car. They drove him to another
town, stopped on the pretense of having a flat tire and shot him.
1944 Sep, Finland began
fighting Nazi Germany in the Lapland War and continued to April
1944 Oct 1, The U.S. First Army
began the siege Aachen, Germany.
1944 Oct 2, Nazi troops crushed
the 2-month-old (63 days) Warsaw Uprising, during which a
quarter-million people were killed.
1944 Oct 3, German troops
evacuated Athens, Greece.
1944 Oct 5, Joseph B "Aristide"
Maillol, French sculptor and graphic artist, died.
1944 Oct 6, Soviets marched
into Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
1944 Oct 7, Field marshal
Rommel got orders to return to Berlin.
1944 Oct 7, Jews several
hundred prisoners assigned to Crematorium IV at Auschwitz-Birkenau
rebelled after learning that they were going to be killed. During
the uprising, the prisoners killed three guards and blew up the
crematorium and adjacent gas chamber. The prisoners used explosives
smuggled into the camp by Jewish women who had been assigned to
forced labor in a nearby armaments factory. The Germans crushed the
revolt and killed almost all of the prisoners involved in the
rebellion. The Jewish women who had smuggled the explosives into the
camp were publicly hanged.
1944 Oct 8, "The Adventures of
Ozzie and Harriet" made its debut on CBS Radio on Ozzie
(1906-1975) and Harriet (1909-1994) Nelson’s ninth wedding
anniversary. In 1949 their sons David (1936-2011) and Rickie
(1940-1985) joined the cast.
(AP, 10/8/98)(SFC, 1/13/11, p.C6)
1944 Oct 10, The US took
Okinawa. [see Jun 21, 1945]
1944 Oct 12, German army
retreated from Athens.
1944 Oct 13, The US 1st army
entered Aachen, Germany.
(AP, 10/13/97)(MC, 10/13/01)
1944 Oct 13, British and Greek
advance units landed at Piraeus during World War II.
1944 Oct 13, Riga, Latvia, was
1944 Oct 14, Allied troops
landed in Corfu, Greece.
1944 Oct 14, German Field
Marshal Rommel (52), suspected of complicity in the July 20th plot
against Hitler, was visited at home by two of Hitler's staff and
given the choice of public trial or suicide by poison. He chose
suicide and it was announced that he died of wounds.
(AP, 10/14/97)(HN, 10/14/98)
1944 Oct 15, Philip Mechanicus,
journalist, was executed in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
1944 Oct 15, Hungary’s regent
Miklos Horthy announced in a radio broadcast that the German Reich
has lost the war and that he was negotiating with the Russians for
Hungarian self-determination. Nazi operatives kidnapped Horthy’s son
and forced him to abdicate and surrender to the Germans.
(ON, 10/20/11, p.2)
1944 Oct 16, In Hungary the
Horthy government fell as Adolf Eichmann returned to Budapest and
immediately ordered the resumption of the Jewish deportation
program. Ferenc Szalasi (1897-1946) became the prime minister.
1944 Oct 17 Hans Krasa,
Czech-Jewish composer, died at Auschwitz. The opera Brundibar by
Krasa was 1st performed at a Prague orphanage. It had been intended
for a 1938 government competition. It was later performed at the
Terezin concentration camp.
(WSJ, 2/7/03, p.D8)
1944 Oct 18, Katherine Kurtz,
UK sci-fi author (Deryni Rising, Saint Camber), was born.
1944 Oct 18, Lt. General Joseph
Stilwell was recalled from China by president Franklin Roosevelt.
1944 Oct 18, Soviet troops
invaded Czechoslovakia during World War II.
1944 Oct 19, The play "I
Remember Mama," by John van Druten, opened at the Music Box Theater
1944 Oct 19, The Navy announced
that black women would be allowed into Women Accepted for Volunteer
1944 Oct 19, The US Army 442nd
Regiment, composed of Japanese-Americans, fought their way into
Bruyeres, France. It included the 100th Battalion of
Japanese-Americans from Hawaii.
(SSFC, 9/11/05, p.E5)
1944 Oct 19, US forces landed
in the Philippines. [see Oct 20]
1944 Oct 20, US 1st army won
the battle of Aachen.
1944 Oct 20, Gen. Douglas
MacArthur stepped ashore on A-Day (attack day) at Leyte in the
Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he'd said, "I shall return." He
landed with Sergio Osmena, the president-in-exile, and Gen’l. Carlos
Romulo, who later served as foreign minister.
(AP, 10/20/97)(HN, 10/20/98)(SFC, 10/20/04, p.B3)
1944 Oct 20, Liquid-gas tanks
in Cleveland exploded. 135 died and 3,600 were left homeless.
1944 Oct 20, The Yugoslav
cities of Belgrade and Dubrovnik were liberated during World War II.
Russian and Yugoslavian troops were freed.
(AP, 10/20/97)(MC, 10/20/01)
1944 Oct 21, During World War
II, U.S. troops captured the German city of Aachen.
1944 Oct 21, Col. Henry Mucci
(d. 1997 at 88) led a small Ranger assault force on the Philippines
just 3 days before MacArthur made his celebrated return.
(SFC, 4/25/97, p.A26)
1944 Oct 21, The 1st kamikaze
attack took place near Leyte Island; gunners from both the flagship
of the Royal Australian Navy, HMAS Australia, and HMAS Shropshire
fired at, and reportedly hit, an unidentified Japanese aircraft. The
plane then flew away from the ships, before turning and flying into
Australia, striking the ship's superstructure above the bridge, and
spewing burning fuel and debris over a large area. A 200 kg (440
pound) bomb carried by the plane failed to explode.
1944 Oct 23, In the Philippines
the Battle of Leyte Gulf began. In 1947 C. Van Woodward authored
"The Battle of Leyte Gulf."
(AP, 10/23/97)(SFEC, 12/19/99, p.C14)
1944 Oct 23, Soviet army
1944 Oct 24, The aircraft
carrier USS Princeton was sunk by a single Japanese plane during the
Battle of Leyte Gulf.
(HN, 10/24/98)(SFC, 6/22/01, p.D5)
1944 Oct 24, The US Destroyer
Johnson DD-557 sank from Japanese fire in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Survivors were rescued 4 days later.
(SFC, 11/1/05, p.B5)
1944 Oct 24, A US air raid on
Japanese battleships and cruisers in Sibuya Sea sank the 65,000 ton
Musashi battleship. The ship lost about half of its 2,400 crew
members. In 2015 wreckage of the ship was discovered off the
Philippines by a team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
(SFC, 4/2/04, p.B7)(AP, 3/5/15)
1944 Oct 24, "Ace of Aces"
David McCampbell (1910-1996) and one other fighter faced 60 planes
approaching US forces. He shot down 9 "Zekes" and with his comrade
managed to scatter the remaining 51 planes at the battle of Leyte
(SFC, 7/3/96, p.C4)
1944 Oct 24, US submarines sank
the Japanese merchant ship Arisan Maru. The ship carried 1,800
American POWs and 1,792 of them perished.
(SSFC, 8/7/05, p.B2)
1944 Oct 25, In eastern France
near Bruyeres Sgt. Clyde Lee Choate (d.2001 at 81) destroyed a
German Mark IV tank with 2 bazooka shots while under heavy fire.
Choate was later awarded the Medal of Honor and served in the
Illinois Legislature (1947-1967). Choate gave credit for the medal
to his 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion.
(SFC, 10/18/01, p.A21)
1944 Oct 25-1944 Oct 26, The
Japanese were defeated in the Straits of Surigao in the Battle of
Leyte Gulf, the world's largest sea engagement. Japan lost 26
capital ships. From this point on, the depleted Japanese Navy
increasingly resorted to the suicidal attacks of Kamikaze fighters.
(HN, 10/25/98)(AH, 10/04, p.15)
1944 Oct 27, Tito reached free
1944 Oct 28, Dennis Franz,
actor (NYPD Blue), was born in Maywood, Ill.
1944 Oct 28, The first B-29
Superfortress bomber mission flew from the airfields in the Mariana
Islands in a strike against the Japanese base at Turk [Truk].
Oct 28, The last Nazi transport of Jews to the gas chambers of
Auschwitz-Birkenau was sent from Theresienstadt.
1944 Oct 29, The US Navy ship
Intrepid was engaged in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. African-American
petty officer Robert Jones kept his gun on a kamikaze fighter plane
flying straight at him. He survived and was awarded the Medal of
Honor in 1997.
(SFC, 5/1/97, p.A7)
1944 Oct 30, The Martha Graham
ballet "Appalachian Spring," with music by Aaron Copland, premiered
at the Library of Congress, with Graham in a leading role.
1944 Oct 30, Ahmad Chalabi,
founding head of Jordan’s Petra Bank (1977), was born in Iraq. His
family left in 1956 and he spent most of his life in the US and
Great Britain. In 1969 he received a Ph.D. in mathematics from the
Univ. of Chicago.
(Econ, 10/4/03, p.44)(WSJ, 11/7/05, p.A4)
1944 Oct 30, Anne Frank (of
Diary fame) was deported from Auschwitz to Belsen.
1944 Oct 30, Sweden announced
its intention to stay neutral and refused sanctuary in WW II.
1944 Oct 31, Kinky Friedman,
country rocker (Ride 'em Jewboy), was born in Palestine, Tx.
1944 Oct, In Croatia at the
Jasenovac camp the "autumn liquidation" began under Dinko Sakic. For
20 days the old and sick were killed and thrown into the Sava River.
(SFC, 3/23/99, p.A10)
1944 Oct, In Hungary Eduard
Benedek Brunschweiler, a Swiss representative of the International
Red Cross, took charge of the Pannonhalma Abbey and kept it under
Red Cross protection until Soviet forces expelled him in April 1945.
Some 3,000 people, mostly children, spent the end of the war in the
abbey, including dozens of Jews. In 2006 Hungarian officials
unveiled a memorial at the abbey honoring Brunschweiler.
1944 Oct, In Hungary Ferencz
Szalasi, leader of the extremist right-wing organization Arrow
Cross, was put in charge by the occupying Germans when the Hungarian
government sought an armistice with the Soviet Union.
1944 Nov 1, Gen. Patton greeted
the 761st Tank Battalion, an all black unit, near Nancy, France.
They had no day off until linking Russian allies on May 5, 1945.
(SSFC, 5/30/04, p.B4)
1944 Nov 2, Patrice Chereau,
actor (Danton) and director ("The Ring" at Bayreuth), was born.
1944 Nov 3, Pro-German
government of Hungary fled.
1944 Nov 6, British official
Lord Moyne was assassinated in Cairo, Egypt, by members of the
Zionist Stern gang (Lehi).
1944 Nov 7, President Roosevelt
won an unprecedented fourth term in office, defeating Thomas E.
(AP, 11/7/97)(HN, 11/7/98)
Nov 7, Hannah Senesh (23), Jewish poet, was executed by Nazis in
Budapest. Hannah Szenes was tortured for several months by the
Gestapo before being executed by the Nazis because she was a member
of the Jewish underground.
1944 Nov 7, Richard
Sorge and Ozaki Hozumi were hanged in Tokyo after being convicted as
spies for the Soviet Union.
1944 Nov 7, A train derailed at
Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and about 16 people died.
1944 Nov 8, In Hungary Jews
under Nazi custody and the command of Adolf Eichmann began marches
of 120 miles to the Austrian border.
(ON, 10/20/11, p.3)
1944 Nov 8, In Hungary Peter
Balazs (18) was fatally beaten to death for failing to wear a yellow
star marking him as a Jew. In 2009 Australia agreed to extradite
Charles Zentai (87) to face charges regarding the fatal beating of
Balazs. In 2012 Australia said Mr Zentai cannot be surrendered for
extradition because the offence of 'war crime' did not exist under
Hungarian law at the time of his alleged criminal conduct.
1944 Nov 9, Red Cross won the
Nobel peace prize.
1944 Nov 9, The 455-foot Red
Oak Victory ship was launched from Richmond, Ca. It was named after
an Iowa town with the highest number of casualties per capita in WW
II. The Victory ships were successors of the Liberty ships.
(SFC, 9/16/98, p.A20)
Nov 11, Private Eddie Slovik was convicted of desertion and
sentenced to death for refusing to join his unit in the European
Theater of Operations. [see Jan 31, 1945]
1944 Nov 12, U.S. fighters
wiped out a Japanese convoy near Leyte, consisting of six
destroyers, four transports, and 8,000 troops.
1944 Nov 12, The RAF sank the
German battleship Tirpitz at Troms Fjord, Norway. Great Britain so
feared the Tripitz, that any hint of its use caused escort ships to
flee their convoys.
(HN, 11/12/98)(MC, 11/12/01)
1944 Nov 14, Tommy Dorsey and
Orchestra recorded "Opus No. 1" for RCA Victor.
1944 Nov 17, Danny DeVito,
actor (Taxi, Ruthless People, Twins), was born Neptune, NJ. [see Mar
1944 Nov 20, The 1st Japanese
suicide submarine attack was at Ulithi Atoll, Carolines.
1944 Nov 24, American B-29
bombers based on Saipan attacked Tokyo in the first raid against the
Japanese capital by land-based planes.
(HN, 11/24/98)(AP, 11/24/05)
Nov 24, Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of the Auschwitz
and Birkenau crematoriums.
1944 Nov 25, Two Japanese
planes struck the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier in kamikaze attacks
that left 69 dead and 35 injured.
(WSJ, 11/8/08, p.W9)
1944 Nov 25, Baseball
commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis died at age 78.
1944 Nov 28, Rita Mae Brown,
novelist, was born.
1944 Nov 28, The MGM musical
film "Meet Me In St. Louis," starring Judy Garland, opened in NYC.
1944 Nov 28, The first Allied
supplies reached Antwerp by convoy.
1944 Nov 29, Mary Forni
(1915-2006) reported 2 unusual men on the side of a rural road near
Bar Harbor, Maine. They turned out to be Erich Gimpel, a German spy,
and William Colepaugh, an American defector, who had slipped ashore
as spies from a German U-boat. Both men were later captured, tried
and sentenced to death. Pres. Truman later pardoned them.
(SSFC, 12/24/06, p.D7)
1944 Nov 29, Johns Hopkins
hospital performed the 1st open heart surgery. A surgical fix for a
fetal heart defect, tetralogy of Fallot or blue baby syndrome, was
first performed at Johns Hopkins by surgeon Alfred Blalock and
Vivien Thomas, a black assistant who perfected the procedure. Thomas
authored an autobiography in 1985.
(BS, 5/12/01, p.1A)(MC, 11/29/01)
1944 Nov 29, Albania was
liberated from Nazi control (National Day). Germans withdrew from
Tirana and communists entered the capital. The Communists
established a provisional government with Enver Hoxha as prime
(www, Albania, 1998)(Econ, 3/22/08, p.97)(SSFC,
1944 Nov 30, A US Navy
reconnaissance plane crashed into the south face of Mount Tamalpais,
in Marin County, Ca. 8 Navy fliers were killed.
(SSFC, 11/29/09, p.A1)
1944 Nov 30, Biggest and last
British Battleship, HMS Vanguard, ran aground.
1944 Nov, Glenn Miller’s Army
band recorded a number of songs in German that were designed to be
played for enemy consumption only, "allied propaganda with a
(WSJ, 10/24/96, p.A16)
1944 Nov, Roosevelt won a
fourth term against Thomas E. Dewey. In the 1944 U.S. presidential
election between Franklin Roosevelt and Thomas Dewey, the
endorsements from more than 1,000 American newspapers were 796 for
Dewey (68.5 percent of total circulation) and 291 for Roosevelt
(17.7 percent of circulation). Roosevelt’s press support was the
lowest for a candidate since the election of 1896. Roosevelt won the
election by 3.5 million votes.
(TMC, 1994, p.1944)(HNQ, 8/25/98)
1944 Nov, An Int'l. Civil
Aviation Conference established English as the air traffic control
language. The Chicago Convention on air travel attempted to lay down
technical and legal rules for the post-war order in int’l. air
(SFC, 5/16/03, p.A25)(Econ, 10/4/03, p.66)(Econ,
1944 Nov, The allies attacked
Fort Jeanne d’Arc at Metz, France. Robert E. Gajdusek was wounded
and captured and later wrote his memoir in 1998: "Resurrection, A
(SFEC, 1/11/98, BR p.7)
1944 Dec 1, Bela Bartok's
Concerto for Orchestra, premiered.
1944 Dec 2, General Patton’s
troops entered the Saar Valley and broke through the Siegfried line.
US 95th Infantry division occupied bridge at Saar.
(HN, 12/2/98)(MC, 12/2/01)
1944 Dec 2, Filippo Tommaso
Emilio Marinetti (b.1876), Italian ideologue, poet, and editor, died
in Bellagio, Italy. He was main founder of the Futurist movement
[see 1909]. In 2006 Gunter Berghaus edited “Critical Writings by
F.T. Marinetti,” translated by Doug Thompson.
(http://tinyurl.com/y7v7f3)(SFC, 10/24/06, p.E2)
1944 Dec 3, US 5th Armour
division occupied Brandenburg, Hertzgenwald.
1944 Dec 3, A British order to
disarm caused a general strike in Greece.
1944 Dec 3, Hungarian death
march of Jews ended.
1944 Dec 6, US 95th Infantry
division reached Westwall.
1944 Dec 8, The U.S. conducted
the longest most effective air raid of the Pacific island of Iwo
1944 Dec 8, American Olivia De
Havilland won a California court of Appeal victory against Warner
Bros. She had sued the studio using a California law, which limited
the right of an employer to enforce a contract against an employee
for more than seven years.
1944 Dec 10, The US 394th
Regiment’s Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon was ordered into
the village of Lanzareth, Belgium, to fill a gap between allied
divisions along the Western front. A German counteroffensive,
launched on Dec 16, sent through Lanzareth. The platoon surrendered
after running out of ammunition. All members survived imprisonment.
In 2004 Alex Kershaw authored “The Longest Winter: The Battle of the
Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon.”
(WSJ, 12/7/04, p.D11)(SSFC, 1/2/05, p.E1)
1944 Dec 13, During World War
II, the U.S. cruiser Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese
kamikaze suicide attack that claimed 138 lives.
1944 Dec 13, US carrier planes
bombed the Japanese transport ship Oryoku Maru off of Olongapo in
the Philippines. 300 POWs were killed.
(SSFC, 8/7/05, p.B2)
1944 Dec 13, Wassily Kandinsky
(b.1866), Russian artist credited with the invention of abstract
art, died in France. He held that shapes and colors in art, like
notes in music, should represent feelings and emotions, not actual
1944 Dec 14, Congress
established the rank of General of Army, the 5-star General.
1944 Dec 14, The former NYK
liner Oryoku Maru left Manila with 1619 American POWs packed in the
holds. U.S. Navy planes from the "Hornet" attacked, causing the Hell
Ship to sink the following day. Only 200 of the men survived.
(Internet)(SSFC, 2/15/04, p.A29)
1944 Dec 15, The US Senate
approved the promotions of Henry H. Arnold, Dwight D. Eisenhower,
Douglas MacArthur and George C. Marshall to the five-star rank of
General of the Army and the nominations of William D. Leahy, Ernest
J. King and Chester W. Nimitz as Admirals of the Fleet.
1944 Dec 15, In the Philippines
the opening of the battle for Luzon started when MacArthur ordered
troops ashore on the nearby island of Mindoro.
(HN, 12/15/98)(AP, 12/15/07)
1944 Dec 15, Bandleader Glenn
Miller, a US Army major, was lost in a single-engine plane
flight over the English Channel en route to Paris. His music
included “Kalamazoo,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Tuxedo Junction,”
and “In the Mood.” Trombonist Glenn Miller boarded a single-engine
C-64 Norseman in England for a flight to France, where he was to
make arrangements for a Christmas broadcast. The plane never reached
France and no trace of it or its occupants was ever found. Iowa-born
Glenn Miller became a professional musician after graduating from
high school. By the time he volunteered for military service in
1942, the Glenn Miller Orchestra was world famous and had appeared
in two motion pictures. Miller persuaded the U.S. Army to accept his
service to "put a little more spring into the feet of our marching
men and a little more joy into their hearts." For the next 18
months, Miller's 50-member band stayed busy with morale-building
concerts and radio broadcasts. No cause has ever been established
for the loss of Miller's aircraft, but the Norseman did not have
de-icing equipment on board and it is likely that icy weather forced
the plane down in the English Channel.
(WSJ, 10/24/96, p.A16)(SFC, 1/7/97, p.A18)(AP,
1944 Dec 15, In Hungary a gold
train departed Budapest on orders from Adolf Eichmann. In May it was
intercepted by American forces in Austria. Some of the valuables
were requisitioned by US commanders and the rest was later auctioned
in NY and the proceeds given to a UN agency to help Jewish refugees.
Kenneth Alford later authored "The Spoils of World War II."
(SFC, 10/15/99, p.A18)
1944 Dec 16, The Germans
mounted a major surprise counterattack in the Ardennes Forest in
Belgium. As the center of the Allied line fell back, it created a
bulge, leading to the name--the Battle of the Bulge. Hitler hoped to
cripple the advance Allies by breaking through their lines to
destroy fuel supplies and lines of communication. The striking force
(the Fifth and Sixth Panzer Armies) amounted to 24 divisions, 10 of
them armored. The German attack achieved total surprise, but slowed
by the end of December due to German supply problems and Allied
resistance. Between January 8-16, in the face of a fierce Allied
counteroffensive, the Germans finally withdrew. By January 21, the
Germans had been pushed back to their original line, having lost
some 120,000 men in the offensive. The Allies suffered 81,000
casualties including some 19,000 Americans killed. In 1997 Charles
B. MacDonald authored “A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the
Battle of the Bulge.”
(AP, 12/16/97)(HN, 12/16/98)(HNQ, 7/11/01)(WSJ,
1944 Dec 16, US Army Lt.
Charles P. Murray Jr. (1921-2011) single-handedly overcame a force
of some 200 Germans in northeastern France. He killed at least 20
enemy soldiers and with his platoon captured 10 others before a
grenade severely injured his leg. He was later awarded the Medal of
Honor for his efforts.
(SFC, 8/17/11, p.A7)
1944 Dec 17, The U.S. Army
announced the end of its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from
the West Coast.
1944 Dec 17, The Germans
renewed their attack on the Belgian town of Losheimergraben against
the American Army during the Battle of the Bulge.
1944 Dec 18, In a pair of
rulings, the US Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of
Japanese-Americans (Korematsu v. United States), but also said
undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not continue
to be detained (Ex parte Endo).
1944 Dec 18, The US Third Fleet
encountered a typhoon near the Philippines. The naval destroyers
"Hull," "Spence" & "Monaghan" sank in the typhoon. The storm
killed 778 American sailors. 62 of 264 men on the Hull were rescued.
24 of 340 men on the Spence were rescued. 6 of 251 men on the
Monaghan survived. In 1981 C. Raymond Calhoun, the captain of the
destroyer Dewey, authored “Typhoon: The Other Enemy.”
(AH, 10/02, p.56, 60)
1944 Dec 18, The Japanese were
repelled from northern Burma by British troops.
1944 Dec 19, Richard Leakey,
anthropologist, was born.
1944 Dec 19, American troops
began pulling back from the twin Belgian cities of Krinkelt and
Rocherath in front of the advancing German Army.
1944 Dec 19, The French
newspaper Le Monde began publishing. Charles de Gaulle called for
the launch of Le Monde to replace Le Temps, which had become tainted
by collaboration with German invaders.
1944 Dec 20, Terence Rattigan’s
"O Mistress Mine" premiered in London.
1944 Dec 20, A Catholic Bishop
forbade membership in non Catholic unions.
1944 Dec 20, The Women's Air
Force Service Pilots were deactivated. Before deactivation 1,074
WASPs logged 60 million miles flying for the U.S. Army Air Forces.
1944 Dec 20, In Brazil the
Fundacao Getulio Vargas (Getulio Vargas Foundation, often
abbreviated as FGV or simply GV) was founded as an institution of
higher education. Its original goal was to train people for the
country's public- and private-sector management.
1944 Dec 20, In the Battle of
Bastogne the Nazis surrounded 101st Airborne. [see Dec 21]
1944 Dec 21, German troops
surrounded the 101st Airborne Division at the Bastogne in Belgium.
The Airborne troops were later nicknamed the "Battered Bastards of
(HN, 12/21/98)(SFC, 7/13/99, p.A19)
1944 Dec 22, During the Battle
of the Bulge, the Germans demanded the surrender of American troops
at Bastogne, Belgium; Brigadier Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe
(1898-1975) reportedly replied: "Nuts!"
(AP, 12/22/97)(HN, 12/22/98)
1944 Dec 23, General Dwight D.
Eisenhower confirmed the death sentence of Private Eddie Slovik, the
only American shot for desertion since the Civil War.
1944 Dec 23, In Belgium a US
B-26 Marauder went down while on a mission to take out a critical
rail bridge over the Moselle in Eller, Germany. William Parker Cook
(27) and his 5-man crew were among ten planes and dozens of men lost
in the mission. In 2006 aviation researchers found the crash site
near Allmuthen, Belgium. DNA evidence identified Cook and two other
(SFC, 10/20/14, p.A1)
1944 Dec 24, The SF Ballet
staged the first US full-length "Nutcracker."
(SFEC, 11/24/96, DB p.44)(SFEC, 8/17/97, DB p.37)
1944 Dec 24, Adolf Eichmann
fled Hungary to Austria as Soviet troops encircled Budapest. He left
orders for German forces to massacre all the Jews in Budapest.
German Gen. August Schmidthuber, assigned to oversee the mass
execution, cancelled the operation after receiving word from Swedish
diplomat Raoul Wallenberg that the impending carnage would mark him
as a war criminal.
(ON, 10/20/11, p.4)
1944 Dec 25, Prime Minister
Winston Churchill went to Athens to seek an end to the Greek civil
1944 Dec 26, Tennessee
Williams’ play "The Glass Menagerie" was first performed publicly,
at the Civic Theatre in Chicago.
1944 Dec 26, In the World War
II Battle of the Bulge, the embattled U.S. 101st Airborne Division
was relieved by units of the 4th Armored Division. The Battle of the
Bulge was the final major German counter-offensive of the war and
thrust deep into allied territory in N & E Belgium and
Luxembourg. US Gen Patton's tanks repulsed the Germans. Jimmy
Hendrix (19) captured 13 Germans in two 88-mm gun batteries and
rescued 3 Americans under enemy fire. Hendrix (d.2002 later awarded
the Medal of Honor.
(WUD, 1994, p.195)(SFC, 9/1/96, T3)(AP,
12/26/97)(MC, 12/26/01)(SFC, 11/21/02, p.A25)
1944 Dec 26, In Italy two
platoons of the segregated 92nd Infantry Division fought the German
14th Army at Sommocolonia. Of 70 "Buffalo Soldiers" and 25 Italian
Partisans only 18 survived. In 1977 Lt. John Fox and 6 other black
Americans were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. By the end
of the war 2,916 Buffalo soldiers fell breaking the Gothic Line.
(SFC, 7/13/00, p.A15)(Ind, 1/11/03, 5A)
1944 Dec 26, In Slovakia
American OSS personnel were captured in a surprise raid by a German
intelligence unit. Slovak agent Maria Gulovich (1921-2009) helped 2
American and 2 British agents escape. In 2002 Jim Downs authored
“World War II: OSS Tragedy in Slovakia.”
(SFC, 10/2/09, p.E5)
1944 Dec 27, General Patton’s
Third Army, spearheaded by the 4th Armored Division, relieved the
surrounded city of Bastogne in Belgium.
1944 Dec 27, Sister Sara
Salkahazi was killed by the Arrow Cross, the Hungarian allies of the
Nazis, for hiding Jews in a Budapest building used by her religious
order, the Sisters of Social Service. In 2006 she was beatified by
Pope Benedict XVI.
1944 Dec 28, The Broadway
musical "On the Town" was produced on Broadway. The music was
composed by Leonard Bernstein while Betty Comden and Adolph Green
wrote the book and lyrics. Jerome Robbins did the choreography.
(WSJ, 8/21/97, p.A12)(AP, 12/28/97)
1944 Dec 30, King George II of
Greece proclaimed a regency to rule his country, virtually
renouncing the throne.
1944 Dec, Gen’l. Dwight D.
Eisenhower invited African Americans into combat units at the Battle
of the Bulge in the Ardennes region of southern Belgium. 2,221
African Americans signed up for combat duty and gave up their
military rank to replace white casualties.
(SFC, 7/24/98, p.A2)
1944 Dec, A Communist
provisional government adopted laws allowing state regulation of
commercial enterprises, foreign and domestic trade.
(www, Albania, 1998)
1944 Dec, Carol Deutsch, Jewish
artist, perished in the Holocaust. Deutsch created illustrations of
the Bible while in hiding from the Nazis in Belgium. He was informed
upon, and died in the Buchenwald camp. After the war, his daughter
Ingrid discovered that the Nazis had confiscated their furniture and
valuables but had left behind a single item: a meticulously crafted
wooden box adorned with a Star of David and a seven-branched
menorah, containing a collection of 99 of the artist's illustrations
of biblical scenes.
1944 Odd Nerdrum, Norwegian
figurative artist, was born. He made haunting oils of eerily
(WSJ, 3/19/97, p.A16)(www.oddnerdrum.com)
1944 Juan Miro made his
(WSJ, 1/9/97, p.A8)
1944 Gorky painted his "Scent
of Apricots on the Fields." In 1995 it was sold by Sotheby’s for
(WSJ, 11/21/95, p.A-12)
1944 Georgia O’Keeffe painted
"Black Place III" and "Pelvis IV."
(SFEC, 8/10/97, p.T5)(SFEC, 9/7/97, BR p.9)
1944 Jackson Pollock painted
his semi figurative "Totem Lesson I."
(SFEC, 10/1/00, DB p.41)
1944 Mark Rothko created his
painting "Slow Swirl by the Edge of the Sea."
(SFC, 3/2/02, p.D1)
1944 Charles Norman
(1904-1996), poet and biographer, published his volume of war
poetry: "A Soldier’s Diary."
(SFC, 9/16/96, p.A15)
1944 Theodore Adorno and Max
Horkheimer authored “Dialectic of Enlightenment,” which examined the
culture that gave birth to Auschwitz. This became the founding text
of the post modern writers (pomos), later represented by
Jean-Francois Lyotard, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault and Jacques
(Econ, 12/23/06, p.106)
1944 Saul Bellow arrived on the
literary scene with his novel "Dangling Man."
(SFEC, 10/15/00, BR p.1)
1944 Argentine writer Jorge
Luis Borges published his collection of stories "Ficciones."
(WSJ, 9/21/98, p.A26)
1944 Sally Carrighar recorded
the events on a single wild spot on a single day in her book: "One
Day on Beetle Rock."
(Civil., Jul-Aug., ‘95, p.77)
1944 Violet Kazue de Cristoforo
(1917-2007), California poet, authored “Poetic Reflections of the
Tule Lake Internment Camp.” She was interned from 1942-1946.
(SFC, 10/9/07, p.B5)
1944 William T.R. Fox, a Yale
scholar, (1912-1988) authored “The Super-Powers.” He is generally
credited with coining the word “superpower” with the publication of
(WSJ, 12/29/07, p.W8)
1944 Margaret Halsey
(1911-1997) published "Some of My Best Friends are Soldiers." It was
about race relations in the US.
(SFC, 2/8/97, p.A24)
1944 Friedrich August von Hayek
(1899-1992) published "The Road to Serfdom," wherein he defended
laissez faire economics and theorized on the problems of a socialist
system. He asserted that central planning and individual freedom
could not coexist.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R20)(WSJ, 5/7/99, p.A18)(WSJ,
1944 Charles Jackson
(1903-1968), American writer, authored his novel “The Lost Weekend.”
(SSFC, 3/24/13, p.F2)
1944 The "Prospectus on
Nucleonics," also known as the Jeffries Report, from the Chicago
Metallurgical Lab addressed the "dilemma of technological progress
in a static world order" and warned that "technological advances
without moral development are catastrophic."
(SFEM, 7/30/00, p.16)
1944 Gunnar Myrdal, Swedish
sociologist hired by the Carnegie Foundation, published his work:
"An American Dilemna: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy." This
book shaped intellectual thought over the next four decades. It was
later criticized by authors Roberts and Stratton in their work: "The
new Color Line: How Quotas and Privilege Destroy Democracy."
(WSJ, 10/26/95, p.A-20)
1944 Reinhold Niebuhr
(1892-1971), US theologist, authored “The Children of Light and the
Children of Darkness,” a profound analysis of man and history.
(WSJ, 12/29/07, p.W8)
1944 The play "The Man Who Had
All the Luck," Arthur Miller's 1st play, premiered.
(SFC, 3/10/04, p.D1)
1944 Merce Cunningham, dancer
and choreographer, gave his first solo con-cert.
(SFC, 4/14/96, EM, p.14)
1944 George Balanchine created
"Dansas Concertantes" for his schoolmate Alexandra Danilova (d.1997
at 93) and Frederic Franklin, her English partner at the Ballet
Russe de Monte Carlo.
(SFC, 7/15/97, p.A18)
1944 George Balanchine cast
Maria Tallchief in the Broadway musical "Song of Norway." She
published her autobiography in 1997 with Larry Kaplan titled: "Maria
Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina." George Forrest and Robert
Wright wrote the words and music for the show.
(SFEC, 8/17/97, BR p.5)(SFC, 10/13/99, p.C2)
1944 The ballet "Fancy Free"
was composed and choreographed by Leonard Bernstein and Jerome
(WSJ, 8/21/97, p.A12)
1944 Linda Stirling (d.1997)
was signed by Republic Pictures to make serial pictures that
included "The Tiger Woman" and "Zorro’s Black Whip." She appeared in
some 2 dozen Westerns and feature films that included "The Cherokee
Flash," "The Sheriff of Cimarron," "Topeka Terror," "The Mysterious
Mr. Valentine," "The Invisible Informer," "The San Antonio Kid" and
Vigilantes of Dodge City." After her film career she taught English
literature at Glendale College for 27 years.
(SFC, 8/11/97, p.A15)
1944 Aaron Copland produced
"Appalacian Spring" and featured the old Shaker song: "Simple
(WSJ, 10/16/95, p. A-12)
1944 Roy Rogers in the film
"Hollywood Canteen" introduced the Cole Porter song "Don't Fence me
(SFC, 7/7/98, p.A2)
1944 Sir Michael Tippett,
British composer, composed his oratorio "A Child of Our Time."
(SFC, 1/10/98, p.A19)
1944 Herbert Huncke, a Times
Square street hustler, brought the word "beat" to the attention of
writer William Burroughs after introducing him to heroin. [The word
later became an ikon of the beatniks.]
(SFEC, 10/13/96, DB p.8)
1944 Stanley Kubrick (16), best
known for directing the film "2001: A Space Odyssey," began his
career as a photographer for Look magazine. Kubrick began his
photography career with Look Magazine. He sold them one of his
photographs for $25. After that he worked for the magazine as a
freelancer, until he was later hired as a staff photographer.
1944 Adam Clayton Powell
(1908-1972) was elected as a Democrat to the US House of
Representatives, representing the 22nd congressional district, which
included Harlem. He was the first black Congressman from New York,
and the first from any Northern state other than Illinois in the
1944 In NYC some 1.4 million
people gathered in Central Park to celebrate "I am an American Day."
(NG, 5/93, p.23)
1944 In the US the work force
on the assembly lines was largely female, [and made famous by] Rosie
the Riveter. [one famous poster was based on a 1945 photo]
(TMC, 1994, p.1944)
1944 Seventeen Magazine was
begun by Walter Annenberg.
(WSJ, 3/24/97, p.B1)(WSJ, 6/18/99, p.W6)
1944 In SF Thomas C. Fleming
(1907-2006) co-founded the weekly Reporter with the owner of several
underground gambling clubs. It later merged with the Sun to become
the premier African-American newspaper of SF.
(SFEC, 8/9/98, p.D5)(SFEC, 1/31/99, DB p.29)(SFC,
1944 The Big Bend National Park
(708,221 acres) in Texas was established with support of the Texas
legislature and the zeal of E.E. Townsend and A.G. Carter.
(NG, Jan, 1968, N.T. Kenney p. 107)
1944 Jeno Paulucci (b.1918),
American food entrepreneur, started his Chun King business with a
loan of $2,500. Less than 2 decades later he sold it to R. J.
Reynolds for $63 million. In 1985 he sold his Jeno pizza roll
business to General Mills for $150 million.
(SSFC, 12/24/06, p.F2)
1944 The Mai Tai was invented
at Trader Vic’s in Oakland, Ca.
(SFCM, 1/16/05, p.31)
1944 Isidore Isaac Rabi was
awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his resonance method for
recording the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei.
1944 Otto Hahn 1944 was awarded
the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on nuclear fission. During
WW II physicist Lisa Meitner (1878-1968), while in hiding from
Hitler in Sweden, analyzed and understood for its significance the
work of Hahn.
(MT, 10/94, letters, p.10)
1944 Dr. Joseph Erlanger
(b.1874) won the Nobel Prize for his work in shock therapy.
1944 Pres. Roosevelt ordered
the Army to seize the executive offices of Montgomery Ward and Co.
after Sewell Avery, chairman of Montgomery Ward, refused to comply
with a National War labor Board directive to extend a 1942 labor
contract. Avery was bodily removed along with other senior managers.
The US government took control of operations until the end of the
(SFC, 12/29/00, p.A12)(SFC, 10/4/02, p.A17)
1944 The US federal government
imposed a 30% excise tax on nightclubs that featured dancing and
forced many dancehalls to close.
(WSJ, 7/24/00, p.A24)
1944 US forces peaked with
2,372,000 personnel, nearly twice the previous year's figure.
1944 The USS John Barry, a US
military cargo ship, was torpedoed by a German submarine in the
Arabian Sea. The cargo is thought to have included $3 million silver
Saudi royal coins minted in the US and 2,000 tons of silver bullion.
The ship lies 8,500 feet below the waves some 70 miles off the Oman
coast. Around 1993 Sheik Ahmed Farid Al Aulaqui of Muscat, Oman,
purchased the salvage rights with a guarantee of 10% to the US
(WSJ, 3/9/95, p.B-1)
1944 The US submarine Scorpion
was lost with 77 crewmen. A history of the ship and its crew was in
the making by relatives in 1997.
(SFC, 6/6/97, p.A26)
1944 The US 10th Mountain
Division expelled the Nazis from the mountains of northern Italy.
(SFC, 12/13/96, p.C3)
1944 The US military Bronze
Star was created as an award to soldiers in ground combat.
(Econ, 3/29/14, p.33)
1944 Hundreds of natives died
during the US invasion of the Northern Marianas. 5,000 American
troops and 40,000 Japanese also died.
(SFEC, 3/7/99,Z1 p.4)
1944 The NAACP meeting in
Detroit held a symbolic funeral for Jim Crow.
(SFC, 7/10/07, p.A3)
1944 Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
(1906-1992) became one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark
I electro-mechanical computer. She was later credited with
popularizing the term "debugging" for fixing computer glitches,
inspired by an actual moth removed from a computer.
1944 California Indians were
awarded $17 million that was promised in treaties nearly a century
earlier. $12 million was deducted for goods and services already
(SFEC, 9/20/98, Z1 p.5)
1944 The US Navy built the
Midway Village housing complex in Daly City, Ca., next to the former
PG&E gas plant site off Bayshore Blvd. Plant residues were used
to fill the marshland of the complex site.
(SFC, 1/19/00, p.A4)(SFC, 3/2/09, p.B1)
1944 California state officials
blamed the pollution from Iron Mountain, near Redding, for killing a
third of the salmon run before they could spawn.
1944 California vintner Samuele
(WSJ, 4/16/97, p.CA1)
1944 The first female employees
as air stewardesses were selected for their looks, personality and
(SFEM, 2/13/00, p.37)
1944 Armand Hammer was granted
a unique license to produce beverage alcohol by the Roosevelt
administration due to its short wartime supply.
(SFC, 1/17/97, p.D7)
1944 The last undisputed report
of an ivory-billed woodpecker in the continental North America was
in Louisiana this year.
(Econ, 10/15/11, p.42)
1944 Dr. Norman Borlaug
(b.1914), a microbiologist on the staff of the du Pont de Nemours
Foundation, arrived in Mexico to deal with the failure of the wheat
crop caused by stem rust. In 1970 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for
developing new strains of wheat as well as systems for fertilizing
and nurturing growth.
1944 Dr. Harold N. Johnson
(1907-1996), rabies expert, traced a cattle epidemic in Mexico to
rabid vampire bats. He was bitten by a bat and became quadriplegic 5
months later. He underwent rehabilitation for 5 months and went back
(SFC, 9/10/96, p.A17)
1944 Hans Asperger, Austrian
pediatrician 1st described a syndrome (Asperger’s syndrome) that
related to autism, which was 1st described in 1943 by psychiatrist
Leo Kanner. Symptoms included problems with social interaction.
(SSFC, 2/2/03, Par p.4)
1944 The first US viral
diagnostic laboratory was established in Berkeley.
1944 Felix Nussbaum, an artist
from Osnabruck, died in Auschwitz. A museum in Osnabruck, designed
by Daniel Libeskind, was later named in his honor.
(WSJ, 10/8/98, p.A16)
1944 Al Smith (b.1873) and
Wendell Wilkie died in the same week. In 2001 Robert A. Slayton
authored "Empire Statesman," a biography of Alfred E. Smith, former
4-term governor of New York.
(TMC, 1994, p.1944)(WUD, 1994 p.1345)
1944 After the German
withdrawal from Albania, a Communist government under Enver Hoxha, a
rigid Stalinist, was established.
(Compuserve Online, Grolier’s Amer. Acad. Enc./
1944 In Argentina Juan Peron
met Eva Duarte (Evita).
1944 In Belarus Minsk was
liberated from the Nazis.
(SFC, 7/5/97, p.C2)
1944 The Vegan Society was
founded in England. Vegans generally limit their diets to
vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains.
1944 Britain’s government
decided to bulldoze the village of Heath Row to accommodate an
expansion of a nearby aerodrome.
(Econ, 7/20/13, p.51)
1944 In Cuba Ramon Grau San
Martin became president.
(SFC, 11/6/98, p.D5)
1944 Rudolf Vrba (1925-2006), a
Jew from Czechoslovakia, and Alfred Wetzler, a Hungarian Jewish
leader, escaped from the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz. They made
their way to a Czech safe house and dictated a report that became
known as the Auschwitz Protocols, a seminal Holocaust document
containing eyewitness accounts of the atrocities. In 1963 Vrba
published a memoir entitled, "I Cannot Forget," which was eventually
released in six languages.
1944 In Finland retreating
German troops burned Rovaniemi to cinders. The town was redesigned
by Alvar Aalto, Finland's patron saint of modern design.
(SFEC, 1/31/99, p.T8)
1944 Hans Fallada (1893-1947),
German writer, was confined to a psychiatric prison after taken a
shot at his wife. In 2015 his prison diary was publiched as “A
Stranger in My Own Country: The 1944 Prison Diary.”
1944 Germany fired off its V-1
and V-2 rockets at Britain. The guidance system of the V-2 rockets
was under a team headed by Wernher von Braun in Peenemunde, Germany,
to which Wilhelm Angele (1905-1996) belonged. Both scientists later
came to the US and worked for NASA.
(TMC, 1994, p.1944)(SFC, 9/2/96, p.A20)
1944 A revolution in Guatemala
occurred against the eccentric strongman Jorge Ubico.
(NG, 6/1988, p.781)(HNQ, 1/30/99)(WSJ, 3/3/99,
1944 Hungary’s Admiral Miklos
Horthy passed the 4th of four anti-Jewish laws, outlawing sexual
intercourse between Jews and non-Jews.
(Econ, 11/9/13, p.59)
1944 Some 150,000 Hungarian
troops fought under Nazi command at the Don River. The Red army
killed about 90,000 and thousands died trying to walk back to
(SFC, 8/12/00, p.A11)
1944 The Japanese shipped some
43,000 Korean workers to Sakalin Island as slave laborers for their
(SFC, 2/19/96, p.A10)
1944 The Communists regained
control of Latvia. They sent the captured members of the Latvian
Legion, who had fought under the German Waffen SS, to prison camps
(SFC, 4/798, p.A14)
1944 Vasily Kononov (21) led a
small band of pro-Soviet partisans in Latvia. He was arrested in
1998 for ordering the execution of 9 civilians in the village of
Mazie Bati, whom he suspected of pro-Nazi sympathies, but maintained
his innocence. In 2000 Latvia sentenced Kononov to 6 years in prison
but he was soon freed pending further investigation. Russian
president Vladimir Putin granted Kononov Russian citizenship.
(SFC, 4/26/00, p.A16)
1944 Irgun leader Menachem
Begin, an officer with the exiled Polish army, led some 3,500
men to fight Britain’s occupation of Palestine.
(Econ., 3/21/15, p.76)
1944 In Poland there was mass
murder at the Nazi Treblinka labor camp. In 1997 Polish guard
Bronislaw Hajda, a retired machinist in Chicago’s Schiller Park, was
convicted by a US federal judge for taking part in the mass murder.
(SFC, 4/11/97, p.A3)
1944 Wilhelm "Wilm"
Hosenfeld (1895-1952), a German officer in the Wehrmacht
stationed in Warsaw for most of the war, encountered Wladyslaw
Szpilman (1911-2000), when the musician was looking for somewhere to
hide after the city was razed in the brutal Nazi suppression of the
Warsaw Uprising. Szpilman's experiences became the basis his
autobiography and for Roman Polanski's 2002 film "The Pianist," for
which Polanski won the best director Oscar and Adrien Brody took the
best actor prize for his portrayal of Szpilman. Hosenfeld saved two
Jews from the Nazi Holocaust but he died in obscurity in a Soviet
prison after World War II.
1944 By this year 360,000 of
the 500,000 inmates of the Nazi Majdanek concentration camp in
eastern Poland had perished in the gas chambers or from brutal
treatment by the guards.
(SFC, 3/5/98, p.A14)
1944 In Rhodesia James Kapnek
donated the founding grant for the University of Rhodesia and
Nyasaland (later the Univ. of Zimbabwe).
(SFC, 7/7/98, p.A20)
1944 Ladislav Niznansky, a
Slovak army captain, at first supported a revolt against Nazi
occupation, but changed sides after he was captured. He then took
charge of the Slovak section of a Nazi unit, code-named Edelweiss,
that hunted resistance fighters and Jews. [see Dec 19, 2005]
1944 In South Africa Walter
Sisulu (1912-2003), Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo formed the ANC
(AP, 5/6/03)(SFC, 5/7/03, p.A20)
1944 Nikolai Baibakov
(1911-2008) was named Stalin's oil commissioner. He was fired in
1985 by Mikhail Gorbachev, whose economic and social reforms
preceded the Soviet collapse.
1944 The Soviet army
re-conquered Bessarabia. Only then were the two parts of present-day
Moldova joined together to form the Moldavian SSR. At the same time,
about one-third of Bessarabia, including its entire Black Sea
coastline, was incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR. The
Transdniester region, having long been part of the Russian Empire
and then the Soviet Union, remained more Russified and Sovietized
than Right-Bank Moldavia.
1944 The Soviet Union annexed
Tuva and closed the region to the outside world.
(WSJ, 4/1/06, p.A5)
1944 - 1945 May, Nazi's kept some 2000 Danish policemen in custody.
Most of them in KZ-camps, brought to Neuengamme and from there to
places as Buchenwald and Stutthof in Germany. After Danish
negotiations with the Germans the Nazi's accepted their status as
prisoners of war and 1600 came to the POW-camp at Mühlberg. Around
100 Danish policemen died in the camps.
1944-1945 The last 2 years of the Roosevelt
administration is covered in the 1998 book "The Dying President:
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1944-1945," by Robert H. Ferrell.
(WSJ, 4/27/98, p.A20)
1944-1945 This period in Italy was covered by
James Holand in his 2008 book “Italy’s Sorrow: A Year of War,
(Econ, 4/12/08, p.93)
1944-1945 The US war with Japan during this period
was covered by Max Hastings in his 2008 book “Retribution: The
Battle for Japan.”
(WSJ, 3/15/08, p.W10)
1944-1945 Bunol, Spain, 25 miles west of Valencia.
La Tomatina, the tomato throwing festival, began when some boys
tossed tomatoes during a procession in honor of the patron saint,
San Luis Bertran. The festival grew even though banned a few times
in the 50s to the purchase of $18,400 worth of tomatoes by the town
government from the Spanish province of Extremadura, 500 miles away.
(WSJ, 8/31/95, p.A-1)
1944-1945 In Vietnam 1-2 million people starved to
death during this period in large part due to policies imposed by
(Econ, 2/5/11, p.97)
1944-1946 In France Gen’l. de Gaulle took over
leadership of the government after leading the French Resistance. He
quit after 2 years for having too little power.
(WSJ, 9/3/98, p.A6)
1944-1949 The Uighers held the free Republic of
East Turkestan until Chinese Communists seized power. [see Jan 5,
1944-1952 Partisan warfare resists Soviet
occupation in Lithuania causing an estimated 40 to 60 thousand
casualties. More than 350,000 people were deported to Soviet labor
camps many of whom perished.
(Compuserve, Online Encyclopedia)
1944-1956 The French intellectuals of this period
were later discussed in the 1992 book "Past Perfect" by Tony Judt.
(WSJ, 1/28/99, p.A16)
1944-1972 Radioactive releases from the Hanford
Nuclear Reservation were the heaviest over this period. The releases
were only acknowledged in 1987.
(SFEC, 4/27/97, p.A18)
1944-1974 Thousands of people in the US were
subject to government experiments. The Defense Dept. and the Atomic
Energy Commission conducted hundreds of secret experiments. During
the 1940s 11 people were subjected to injections of plutonium and
one to uranium. In 1996 the government agreed to pay $4.8 million
for the radiation experiment. In 1999 Eileen Welsome published "The
Plutonium Files: America's Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold
(SFC, 11/20/96, p.A3)(SFEC, 10/31/99, BR
p.3)(SSFC, 10/28/01, p.A5)
1944-1983 Enver Hoxha was the leader of the Balkan
nation of Albania. Hoxha, leader of a national liberation movement
during Italy's occupation of Albania in World War II, came to power
when the Communist insurgency seized control of the country in 1944,
beginning nearly 40 years of harsh Stalinist rule. Albania, which
borders on Greece and Yugoslavia, eventually broke with the Soviet
Union and later China over ideological issues and by the time of the
death of Hoxha in 1983 it had become one of the most politically and
socially isolated countries in the world.
(SFC, 5/29/96, p.A7)(HNQ, 1/29/99)
Go to 1945