Decades: 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s - 1940s - 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s
Years: 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 - 1944 - 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
World War II
January 4 - The Battle of Monte Cassino begins.
January 17 - British forces, in Italy, cross the Garigliano River.
January 20 - The Royal Air Force drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin; the US 36th Infantry Division, in Italy, attempts to cross the Rapido River.
January 22 - Allies begin Operation Shingle, the assault on Anzio, Italy.
January 27 - The two year Siege of Leningrad is lifted.
January 29 - The Battle of Cisterna takes place.
January 30 - United States troops invade Majuro, Marshall Islands.
January 31 - American forces land on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
February 3 - United States troops capture the Marshall Islands.
February 7 - In Anzio, Italian forces launch a counteroffensive.
February 14 - Anti-Japanese revolt on Java.
February 15 - Battle of Monte Cassino - the monastery atop Monte Cassino is destroyed by Allied bombing.
February 17 - Battle of Eniwetok Atoll begins. The battle ended in an American victory on February 22.
February 20 - "Big Week" begins with American bomber raids on German aircraft manufacturing centers.
February 20 - The United States takes Eniwetok Island.
February 29 - The Admiralty Islands are invaded in the American General Douglas MacArthur-led Operation Brewer.
March 15 - Battle of Monte Cassino - Allied aircraft bomb German-held monastery and stage an assault.
March 18 - German forces occupy Hungary.
May 17 - Type IX U-boat: U-884 is launched.
May 18 - Battle of Monte Cassino - Germans evacuate Monte Cassino and Allied forces take the stronghold after a struggle that claimed 20,000 lives.
June 5 - Rome falls to the Allies, becoming the first Axis capital to fall.
June 6 - D-Day; Allied invasion of Normandy begins.
June 9 - Stalin launches an offensive against Finland with the intent of defeating Finland before pushing for Berlin.
June 25 - The Battle of Tali-Ihantala between Finnish and Soviet troops begins. Largest battle ever to be fought in the Nordic countries.
July 9 - British and Canadian forces capture Caen.
July 17 - The largest convoy of the war embarks from Halifax, Nova Scotia under Royal Canadian Navy protection.
July 18 - Hideki Tojo resigns as Prime Minister of Japan due to numerous setbacks in the war effort.
July 20 - Adolf Hitler survives an assassination attempt. See Claus von Stauffenberg
July 21 - Battle of Guam - American troops land on Guam starting the battle (ends on August 10).
July 25 - Operation Spring - One of the bloodiest days for Canadianss during the war: 18,444 casualties, including 5,021 killed.
August 12 - Allies capture Florence, Italy.
August 15 - Operation Dragoon lands Allies in southern France.
August 24 - Allies enter Paris.
September 2 - Allies liberate Brussels.
September 4 - The British 11th Armored Division liberate the city of Antwerp in Belgium.
September 8 - London is hit by a V2 rocket for the first time.
September 8 - The French town of Menton is liberated from Germany.
September 11 - Northern and southern France invasion forces link up near Dijon.
September 17 - Operation Market Garden begins.
September 19 - Armistice between Finland and Soviet Union signed. (End of the Continuation War)
September 26 - Operation Market Garden ends in a withdrawal.
October 5 - Canadian Air Force pilots shoot down the first German jet fighter over France.
October 9 - British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Union Premier Joseph Stalin begin a nine-day conference in Moscow to discuss the future of Europe.
October 14 - Given the choice between a public treason trial and a certain death by firing squad or suicide with honor, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel chooses the latter.
October 20 - Belgrade is liberated by Yugoslav Partisans and the Red Army.
October 23 - Naval Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines begins (lasts until October 26).
November 12 - The Royal Air Force launches one of the most successful precision bombing attacks of the war and sinks the German battleship Tirpitz off the coast of Norway.
November 19 - US President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces the 6th War Loan Drive, aimed at selling US$14 billion in war bonds to help pay for the war effort.
November 24 - Bombing of Tokyo - The first bombing raid against the Japanese capital of Tokyo from the east and by land was made by 88 American aircraft.
November 25 - A German V-2 rocket hits a Woolworth's store in Deptford, killing 160 shoppers.
November 26 - Gas chambers at Auschwitz and Stutthof are destroyed.
December 16 - Germany begins Ardennes offensive, later to become known as Battle of the Bulge.
December 17 - German troops carry out the Malmédy massacre.
December 24 - The Bulge reaches its deepest point at Celles.
December 26 - American troops repulse German forces at Bastogne.
November 29 - Albania is liberated from German occupation.
December 31 - Hungary declares war on Germany
January 5 - The Daily Mail becomes the first transoceanic newspaper.
March 4 - In Ossining, New York, Louis Buchalter, the leader of 1930s crime syndicate Murder, Inc, is executed at Sing Sing.
May 30 - Princess Charlotte Louise Juliette Louvet Grimaldi of Monaco, heir to the throne resigns from her rights in favor of her son Prince Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi, later reigning Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
June 17 - Iceland declares full independence from Denmark.
July 17 - Port Chicago disaster: Near the San Francisco Bay, two ships laden with ammunition for the war explode in Port Chicago, California killing 232.
August 4 - Holocaust: A tip from a Dutch informer leads the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse where they find Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family.
August 5 - Holocaust: Polish insurgents liberate a German labor camp in Warsaw, freeing 348 Jewish prisoners.
August 7 - IBM dedicates the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (known best as the Harvard Mark I).
August 9 - The United States Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council release posters featuring Smokey the Bear for the first time.
September 2 - Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family are placed on the last transport train from Westerbork to Auschwitz. They arrive three days later.
October 2 - Holocaust: Nazi troops end the Warsaw Uprising.
October 8 - The radio show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet debuts.
October 10 - Holocaust: 800 Gypsy children are systematically murdered at Auschwitz death camp.
November 7 - U.S. presidential election, 1944: Franklin D. Roosevelt wins reelection over Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey to become the only U.S. president to be elected to a fourth term.
November 22 - William Lyon Mackenzie King introduces conscription in Canada (see Conscription Crisis of 1944).
December 3 - Civil war breaks out in a newly-liberated Greece, between Communists and royalists.
December 1 - Edward Stettinius Jr becomes becomes the last United States Secretary of State of the Roosevelt administration, by filling the seat left by the Cordell Hull.
December 26 - The play The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams was first publicly performed.
December 30 - King George II of Greece declares a regency, leaving his throne vacant.
In Sweden, the law of 1864 that criminalizes homosexuality is abolished.
Swedish author of children's books Astrid Lindgren publishes her first book Pippi Longstocking.
In Sweden, Erik Wallenberg and Ruben Rausing invent a way to package milk in paper and start the company Tetra Pak.
Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)
Year in topic
1944 in film
Going My Way
1944 in literature
An American Dilemma by Gunnar Myrdal
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
1944 in music
January 18 - The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City for the first time hosts a jazz concert; the performers are Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden.
1944 in sports
Byron Nelson wins a record 11 consecutive open titles on the PGA golf tour.
1944 in television
May 22 - The FCC increases its limits for single ownership of television stations from three to five.
1944 in science
January 6 - Bonnie Franklin, actress
January 9 - Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin guitarist
January 12 - Joe Frazier, boxing champion
January 16 - Jim Stafford, singer
January 23 - Rutger Hauer, actor
January 24 - Neil Diamond, singer
January 26 - Angela Davis, feminist and activist
February 3 - Dave Davies, musician
February 5 - Michael Mann, director, writer, producer
February 5 - Al Kooper, musician
February 9 - Alice Walker, writer
February 10 - Vernor Vinge (science fiction novelist)
February 11 - Bert Greene golfer.
February 11 - Buddhadev Dasgupta, film director.
February 11 - Michael G Oxley, American politician.
February 13 - Jerry Springer, television host
February 14 - Alan Parker, director, writer
February 14 - Carl Bernstein, journalist
February 16 - Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist
February 22 - Jonathan Demme, director
February 23 - Johnny Winter, musician
March 1 - Roger Daltrey, musician ("The Who")
March 2 - Uschi Glas, actress
March 6 - Kiri Te Kanawa, opera singer
March 15 - Sly Stone, singer
March 15 - Elisabeth Plessen, writer
March 17 - John Sebastian, singer-songwriter, also a member of the Lovin' Spoonful
March 19 - Sirhan Sirhan, assassin
March 19 - Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize
March 26 - Diana Ross, singer
April 3 - Tony Orlando, musician
April 7 - Gerhard Schröder, German Bundeskanzler (chancellor) since 1998
April 11 - John Milius, director, producer, and screenwriter
May 5 - John Rhys-Davies, actor
May 8 - Gary Glitter, singer
May 9 - Richie Furay, musician ("Poco", "Buffalo Springfield")
May 10 - Jim Abrahams, director
May 13 - Armistead Maupin, author
May 14 - George Lucas, film director and producer
May 18 - Justus Frantz, pianist
May 20 - Joe Cocker, British singer
May 20 - Boudewijn de Groot, Dutch singer
May 21 - Mary Robinson, first female President of Ireland
May 25 - Frank Oz, puppeteer, director
May 28 - Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York City, 1993-2001
May 28 - Gladys Knight singer
July 21 - Paul Wellstone, U.S. Senator: a Democrat from Minnesota (+2002)
August 8 - Peter Weir, film director
August 26- His Royal Highness Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester
October 9 - John Entwistle, bassist, The Who (+2002)
October 15 - David Trimble, Ulster Unionist and Nobel Prize winner
November 12 - Al Michaels, sportscaster
November 17 - Rem Koolhaas, Dutch architect
December 7 - Daniel Chorzempa, organist
December 17 - Jack L. Chalker science fiction novelist
December 23 - Wesley Clark, US General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander
January 11 - Edgard Potier, Belgian SOE agent, executed by the Nazis
January 20 - James McKeen Cattell, first professor of psychology in U.S.
February 1 - Piet Mondriaan, Dutch painter
February 11 - Carl Meinhof, German linguist
February 11 - Ivan Sollertinski, friend of Dmitri Shostakovich
March 12 - Werner Drechsler, of U-118
March 22 - Pierre Brossolette, journalist, French Resistance fighter
March 24 - Orde Wingate, British soldier
March 28 - Rick Barry, basketball star
April 28 - Paul Poiret, French couturier
May 12 - Max Brand, author
May 12 - Q, British writer
May 16 - George Ade, author
July 6 - Andrée Borrel, SOE agent, WW II heroine executed by the Nazis
July 6 - Vera Leigh, SOE agent, WW II heroine executed by the Nazis
July 6 - Sonia Olschanezky, SOE recruit, WW II heroine executed by the Nazis
July 6 - Diana Rowden, SOE agent, WW II heroine executed by the Nazis
July 26 - Reza Pahlavi, deposed Shah of Iran
July 31 - Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French pilot and writer
August 8 - Chaim Soutine, painter
August 12 - Suzanne Spaak, Belgian heroine of WW II, executed by the Nazis
August 23 - Abdul Mejid II, Deposed Caliph of the Ottoman Empire
September 6 - Gustave Biéler, heroic SOE agent, executed by the Nazis
September 9 - Robert Benoist, Grand Prix driver/war hero, executed by the Nazis
September 11 - Madeleine Damerment, WW II heroine, executed by the Nazis
September 11 - Eliane Plewman, WW II heroine, executed by the Nazis
September 11 - Noor Inayat Khan, WW II heroine, executed by the Nazis
September 11 - Yolande Beekman, WW II heroine, executed by the Nazis
September 13 - Heath Robinson, British cartoonist and illustrator
September 14 - John Kenneth Macalister, SOE agent, executed by the Nazis
September 14 - Frank Pickersgill, SOE agent, executed by the Nazis
September 14 - Roméo Sabourin, SOE agent, executed by the Nazis
October 21 - Alois Kayser, german missionary, working in Nauru
November 2 - Thomas Midgley, chemist and inventor
November 7 - Hannah Szenes, WW II heroine, executed
December 2 - Josef Lhévinne, pianist
Physics - Isidor Isaac Rabi
Chemistry - Otto Hahn
Medicine - Joseph Erlanger, Herbert Spencer Gasser
Literature - Johannes Vilhelm Jensen
Peace - International Committee of the Red Cross.