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Houses in London destroyed by German air raids
The German Empire begins with the Battle of Britain .
German troops at the Arc de Triomphe
German troops occupy Paris in the western campaign . The Third French Republic ends.
Opening of the mass graves by German troops, admission of a propaganda company
The Soviet Union commits
in the occupied eastern Poland
the Katyn massacre .
1940 in other calendars
Armenian calendar 1388/89 (turn of the year July)
Ethiopian calendar 1932/33 (September 10-11)
Baha'i calendar 96/97 (March 20/21)
Bengali solar calendar 1344/45 (beginning of April 14th or 15th)
Buddhist calendar 2483/84 (southern Buddhism); 2482/83 (alternative calculation according to Buddhas Parinirvana )
Chinese calendar 77th (78th) cycle

Year of the Metal Dragon庚辰 ( since February 8th , before that Earth Rabbit己卯)

Chuch'e ideology (North Korea) Chuch'e 29
Chula Sakarat (Siam, Myanmar) / Dai calendar (Vietnam) 1302/03 (turn of the year April)
Dangun era (Korea) 4273/74 (October 2/3)
Iranian calendar 1318/19 (around March 21)
Islamic calendar 1358/59 (February 9/10)
Japanese calendar 昭和Shōwa 15;

Kōki 2600

Jewish calendar 5700/5701 (October 1-2)
Coptic calendar 1656/57 (September 10-11)
Malayalam calendar 1115/16
Minguo calendar (China) Year 29 of the republic
Seleucid era Babylon: 2250/51 (turn of the year April)

Syria: 2251/52 (turn of the year October)

Suriyakati Calendar (Thai Solar Calendar) 2482/83 (April 1)
Tibetan calendar 1686
Vikram Sambat (Nepalese Calendar) 1996/97 (April)


Politics and world events

Second World War

Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland
Course of the Finnish Mannerheim Line
Part of the Mannerheim Line, in the foreground wire and stone obstacles, on the left in the background bunker
Positions of the Soviet and Finnish troops at the end of the war
  • March 13 : Finland waived in the Treaty of Moscow to Karelia , which the Socialist Karelian Bear Soviet republic is transformed. Around 420,000 people are fleeing the lost territories. Numerous strategically important islands in the Gulf of Finland and the fishing peninsula on the North Sea must also be ceded . Hanko in south-west Finland is leased to the Soviet Union as a naval base for thirty years. Finland also has to agree to a rail link between the Swedish border at Tornio and Murmanskto build and operate. In contrast to 1939, the Soviet negotiators no longer demand a military alliance.
  • Despite the victory, the poor performance of the Red Army in the winter war is perceived by other great powers and subsequently underestimated.
Poland / Baltic States
Deportation to the Litzmannstadt ghetto
Beria's execution order, p. 1
Rubble of the Chopin monument
Konstantin Päts as a prisoner in a Soviet prison
The attack on Denmark and Norway
The Altmark in early 1940 in the Norwegian Jøssingfjord
Destroyer at Columbuskaje before leaving for Norway
Weser exercise in Denmark
  • April 9th : German troops start the Weser Exercise South operation with the invasion of Denmark. The Danish army only offers partial resistance. In the evening, the country is completely occupied.
  • April 9 : German units under Eduard Dietl occupy the Norwegian port of Narvik without resistance. Trondheim and other port cities are also occupied as planned. Only in Oslo are there delays until the following day, which gives the royal family the opportunity to escape towards Tromsø with the country's entire gold reserves .
The battle for Narvik
  • April 10th : The British Navy carries out its first attack on German invading forces in the Battle of Narvik . The German Navy suffers heavy losses. On April 13th there was another battle, which again ended in defeat for the German ships.
  • April 12 : British troops occupy to Denmark belonging Faroe Islands .
  • April 14th : Allied troops begin landing near Narvik.
  • April 24th : Josef Terboven is appointed Reich Commissioner for Norway. On the same day, Norwegian troops begin to attack the German units in Narvik, which are faced with a five-fold superiority of the Allies in the following weeks.
  • April 25 : The flag of the Faroe Islands is internationally recognized by Great Britain. Since then, April 25 has been a public holiday in the Faroe Islands.
Winston Churchill as Prime Minister
Narvik on June 2nd
Western campaign and war against England
Conquest of the Netherlands and attack by the Ardennes
Dutch Defense Lines 1940
Rotterdam after the air raid
Surrender of the Netherlands by General Winkelmann
Western campaign May 21 to June 4
British troops embarked in Dunkirk arrive at Dover
German victory parade on avenue Foch in front of the Arc de Triomphe
Hitler visits Paris
Presentation of the terms of the armistice
Occupied France and the Vichy regime
Sea lion company plan
London on September 7, 1940
Pétain and Hitler in Montoire
  • October 24 : At a meeting with Hitler in Montoire , Philippe Pétain refuses to enter the war on the Axis powers and declares France's neutrality. However, he considers a collaboration with the German Reich to be necessary to ensure the supply of the population, to keep the type and extent of the material, personal and industrial exploitation of the country within limits and to achieve the repatriation of the almost two million French soldiers from German captivity .
  • October 28 : The Canadian ocean liner Empress of Britain sinks off the Irish north-west coast after being bombed by a German maritime patrol aircraft and torpedoed by a German submarine; 45 people die.
  • October 29 : Major daytime attacks on London cease, but night attacks continue.
The devastated downtown Coventry
Balkans and " Operation Barbarossa "
The war in Africa
The Mediterranean before the start of the Africa campaign
Italian pilots in Egypt
Rodolfo Graziani 1940
British Matilda II tank during Operation Compass
  • December 8 : Operation Compass , a British counter-offensive against the Italians in Egypt, begins with a series of air strikes, led by Richard O'Connor . The Western Desert Force advances over the Halfaya Pass until December 15 and can finally take Sollum and Fort Capuzzo. The rapid advance across the Libyan border is being slowed down, however, because large troops are being withdrawn for the fight in Italian East Africa .
Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Konoe cabinet
Further acts of war in Asia and Oceania
Damaged phosphate charging station on Nauru after the bombardment
  • 6. bis 8. December / December 27 : German auxiliary cruiser conduct a raid on Nauru . They sink five Allied merchant ships and severely damage the phosphate loading stations on the island. Although the loading stations and the delivery of fertilizer are of great importance to the economy for Australia and New Zealand on Nauru and Ocean Island , the islands are militarily unprotected and the attacking Germans can carry out their attacks without losses. The two attacks on Nauru are during World War IIthe most effective attacks by German auxiliary cruisers in the Pacific. Phosphate shipments to Australia, New Zealand and Japan have to be halted for a period of ten weeks after the attack.
Alliance policy


Other events in Europe

Other events worldwide

The study in which Leon Trotsky was murdered
1940 election map


  • Since the war-related shortage of raw materials made the production of Coca-Cola difficult in Germany, the German Coca-Cola chief chemist Wolfgang Schetelig in Essen developed Fanta as a substitute product, so that Coca-Cola does not have to do without business in Germany. The drink initially consists mainly of whey and apple scraps, as well as various fruit juice concentrates sourced from Italy.

science and technology

Development of the atomic bomb

  • March: The emigrated physicists Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls write the Frisch-Peierls-Memorandum at the University of Birmingham on the possibility of building a "super bomb" by using the energy released by nuclear fission. Frisch and Peierls hand the memorandum, in which they express their concern that such a weapon could be developed in Nazi Germany, under the seal of strict secrecy to their Australian colleague Mark Oliphant , who in turn forwards it to Henry Tizard , a senior air force officer .
  • April 10th : The British MAUD commission consisting of six scientists meets for the first time to discuss the possible production of an atomic bomb . At this constituent meeting, a research program on isotope separation and nuclear fission is decided.


Amenemope's gold mask
Lascaux cave painting



Teaching and Research


Visual arts


Cover picture by Pinocchio


Music and theater


Fire of the Orazio: sailors with life jackets

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


Nobel Prizes

Nobel Prizes are not awarded.






Margrethe II.
Al Pacino, 2004






Linda Gray, 2013




Frank Zappa, 1977

Exact date of birth unknown


January February

March April

Selma Lagerlöf, 1908
Carl Bosch, 1931

May June

Paul Klee, 1911

July August

Leon Trotsky (around 1929)
Paul Nipkow
Joseph John Thomson

September October

November December

Manuel Azaña

Exact date of death unknown

Web links

Commons : 1940  - Collection of Pictures, Videos and Audio Files