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Destroyed forest on the Westerplatte
The attack on Poland and the Second World War begin with the German attack on the Westerplatte in Danzig .
Joachim von Ribbentrop and Josef Stalin
The German Reich and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression pact .
Soviet appeal to Polish soldiers of September 17, 1939, blaming the Polish government for the war
The Soviet Union
attacks Poland in the east of the country .
1939 in other calendars
Armenian calendar 1387/88 (turn of the year July)
Ethiopian calendar 1931/32 (September 11-12)
Baha'i calendar 95/96 (March 20/21)
Bengali solar calendar 1343/44 (beginning of April 14th or 15th)
Buddhist calendar 2482/83 (southern Buddhism); 2481/82 (alternative calculation according to Buddhas Parinirvana )
Chinese calendar 77th (78th) cycle

Year of the Earth Rabbit 己卯 ( since February 19 , before that Earth Tiger戊寅)

Chuch'e ideology (North Korea) Chuch'e 28
Chula Sakarat (Siam, Myanmar) / Dai calendar (Vietnam) 1301/02 (turn of the year April)
Dangun era (Korea) 4272/73 (October 2/3)
Iranian calendar 1317/18 (around March 21)
Islamic calendar 1357/58 (February 20-21)
Japanese calendar 昭和Shōwa 14;

Kōki 2599

Jewish calendar 5699/5700 (September 13-14)
Coptic calendar 1655/56 (September 11-12)
Malayalam calendar 1114/15
Minguo calendar (China) Year 28 of the Republic
Seleucid era Babylon: 2249/50 (turn of the year April)

Syria: 2250/51 (turn of the year October)

Suriyakati Calendar (Thai Solar Calendar) 2481/82 (April 1)
Tibetan calendar 1685
Vikram Sambat (Nepalese Calendar) 1995/96 (April)


Politics and world events

Europe before the war

The German Reich and its expansion policy
War preparations
  • January 1 : The compulsory year introduced in the previous year for unemployed, single, female young people under the age of 25 is being extended.
The territory of the Free City of Gdansk
The Bismarck was launched at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg
Division of Czechoslovakia:
1 - Sudeten German territories are attached to the German Reich (September / October 1938);
2 - Poland occupies territory in Teschen (October 1938);
3 - Hungary occupies border areas partly of Hungarian ethnicity (November 1938) and
4 - the Ruthenian-
speaking Carpathian Ukraine (March 1939);
5 - In March 1939, the “rest of the Czech Republic” is de facto annexed by Germany and declared a protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia ;
6 - of Czechoslovakia only the German satellite state Slovakia remains .
Discrimination and Oppression Policy
Ordinance on the establishment of a people's index dated April 21, 1939
Domestic politics
Spanish Civil War
The end-of-civil war document signed by Franco
Other events in Europe
  • January 1 : Philipp Etter becomes the new Federal President of Switzerland .
  • March 24th : The National Socialist Volksdeutsche movement in Liechtenstein under the leadership of the country leader Theodor Schädler tries to force the principality to join Germany. The follow-up coup failed, 36 of the over 100 coup participants flee to Feldkirch. 76 people were later questioned and around 50 were charged. For fear of German power, the leaders of the coup were released from custody in December and expelled from the country. Almost all Jews living there fled to Switzerland on the night of the Putsch, but returned in the following days. In the days after the event, the Liechtenstein Home Loyalty Association started a signature campaign to affirm Liechtenstein's independence, combined with a commitment to the Princely House and economic and political orientation towards Switzerland. This is signed by 95.4% of all eligible voters.
  • April 5 : French President Albert Lebrun is re-elected for a second term by the National Assembly.
  • June 29 : The parliament of the Hatay Republic , which has existed since September 1938 , decides to unite with Turkey. It is annexed to Turkey and - supplemented by the Turkish districts of Erzin, Dörtyol and Hassa - formed into the Turkish province of Hatay .
The Croatian bank

Second Sino-Japanese War

Other events in Asia

Shepherd and companion in Lhasa

Second World War in Europe

German and Soviet attack on Poland, September and October 1939
Polish prisoners of war of the Red Arms
Map of the Soviet offensives at the beginning of the Winter War



International treaties

Business start-ups



The eagle.svg

science and technology

Antarctic exploration


Vickers Warwick

Natural sciences


  • May 9 : The Deutschlandsender III in Herzberg (Elster) goes into operation . With an output power of 500 kW, Deutschlandsender III was one of the most powerful radio stations of its time. Its 337 meter high antenna mast was the second tallest structure in the world in 1939.


Visual arts

Exhibition poster ( Yokoyama Taikan )



Music and theater

Marian Anderson at her concert at the Lincoln Memorial



Pope Pius XII during the coronation ceremony on the Sedia gestatoria


Minor accidents are listed in the sub-articles of Catastrophe .

nature and environment


Nobel Prizes

price person country Reason for awarding the prize image
Nobel Price for physics Ernest Lawrence
United States 48United States United States "For the invention and development of the cyclotron and the results achieved with it, especially with regard to artificial radioactive elements" Ernest Lawrence
Nobel Prize in Chemistry Leopold Ružička
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland (born in Vukovar , then Austria-Hungary ) "For his work on polymethylenes and higher terpenes " Leopold Ružička
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Gerhard Domagk
Germany "For the discovery of the antibacterial effect of Prontosil "
Gerhard Domagk is forced to reject the award due to the prohibition at the time for Germans to accept the Nobel Prize. He later accepts the certificate and medal.
Gerhard Domagk
Nobel Prize in literature Frans Eemil Sillanpää
FinlandFinland Finland "For the deep understanding and the exquisite art of style, with which he describes the peasant life and the nature of his homeland in their mutual context"
Nobel Peace Prize not awarded





Ariane Mnouchkine, 1986
Lidija Skoblikova, 1967
Giovanni Trapattoni, 2013
Peter Kraus, 2006
Volker Schlöndorff, 2009
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, 1968


Francis Ford Coppola, 2007
Theodor Waigel, 2012


Ruud Lubbers, 1985
Ian McKellen


Jackie Stewart (right) with John Surtees in Zandvoort 1971


John Howard, 1997


Romano Prodi
Dagmar Koller


George McWhirter, June 2009


Ralph Lauren, 1978
John Cleese (1989)


Björn Engholm, 2010

Tina Turner (1985)


Exact date of birth unknown


January February

March April

Howard Carter (1924)

May June

July August

Anna Pappritz 1904

September October

Otto Wels
Sigmund Freud (1921)

November December

Max Hinsche
Philipp Scheidemann (1918)
Douglas Fairbanks Sr. (1921)

Exact date of death unknown

Web links

Commons : 1939  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. a b Chronicle of Naval Warfare
  2. Norman Davies : Europe at War . Nikol 2009, p. 134 f.