1939 News and Interesting History Tidbits



Spanish Civil War
Madrid, and Barcelona , Spain are now in the hands of Nationalist General Francisco Franco and the Spanish civil war ends.The Spanish Civil War began in 1936 with Rebels attempting a coup d'├ętat by parts of the army against the government.Like many modern conflicts other countries often become involved and take sides often supporting one side or the other with weapons and volunteers . The Spanish Civil War was no different with the Government in power getting the support of the Soviet Union and Mexico, and the rebels supported by Italy and Germany.The Spanish Civil War also bought out the worst in people with terrible atrocities committed on and by both sides during the war, with up to 100,000 people executed in the name of ???.








Czechoslovakia Dissolved
The independent republic of Czechoslovakia which was created in 1918 is dissolved, opening the way for Nazi occupation following the 1938 Munich Agreement.










Electricity Prices Decreasing
As the use of electricity increases the cost has come down an example below


In 1921 the cost to light a 100 watt lamp for two hours was 1 1/2 cents


In 1939 the cost to light a 100 watt lamp for two hours was 3/4 cent










SS St. Louis Jewish Refugees
937 Jewish refugees fleeing the concentration camps in Germany set sail on the SS St. Louis, from Hamburg, Germany hoping to find refuge in the America's. They are denied landing in the U.S.A., Canada and Cuba and are forced to travel back to Europe where some are given sanctuary in Great Britain, France, Belgium and Holland but many end up in the very concentration camps they were fleeing .

The trip was planned by the Nazi regime using the growing western antisemitism and surmised that these Jews, traveling on tourist visas (not immigrant visas), would not be able to visit North American Countries as tourists when in fact they were political/social refugees, the Nazi regime believed that the refusal by other countries would allow Germany to deal with it's Jewish problem as it wished with immunity.

The plight of these refugees was made into a 1976 movie "Voyage of the Damned" .










"Pact Of Steel" Signed By Germany and Italy
Pact of Steel, known formally as the Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy signed. The Pact was a declaration of continuing trust and cooperation between Germany and Italy and a joint military and economic policy.









Nazi's Regime Requires Jews to Wear the Star Of David For Identification During the Holocaust
Nazis require Jews over the age of 6 in the Reichland to wear the Star of David with the word Jude (German for Jew) inscribed For Identification During the Holocaust.








Thailand Changes Name From Siam
Thailand Changes it's Name From Siam to Thailand in 1939









The Beginning of World War II
Sep 1st, Germany attacks Poland with their strategy of Blitzkrieg, or lightning war

Sep 3rd - Sep 10th, Britain, Australia, NZ, South Africa, Canada and France declared war on Germany, following the Nazi invasion of Poland.

Sep 4th, German troops stormed into Danzig and exterminate those in the Polish ghetto of Mir

Sep 5th, The United States under FDR proclaimed its neutrality in World War II

Sep 6th, First German air attack on Great Britain takes place

Sep 14th, British fleet sink German U-39 U-boat

Sep 17th, German U-29 U-Boat sinks the British aircraft carrier Courageous.










Soviet Union Attacks Finland
Following it's attack on Poland Russia attacks Finland with 540,000 men, 2485 tanks, and 2000 guns. Finnish troops led by Field Marshall Gustaf Mannerheim over the next two weeks, resisted the invasion using forest combat to inflict heavy damage on the Russian invaders, But by March the following year due to the sheer volume of Russian Invaders the "Peace of Moscow" treaty was signed, and Finland ceded 16,000-square miles of land to the Soviet Union.









Judy Garland records "Over the Rainbow."
The part for Dorothy in the 1939 Version of The Wizard Of Oz was originally cast for "Shirley Temple" the studio would not let her do the part for the competition so Judy Garland Got the part. This was the production that launched Judy Garland into super stardom.
Judy Garland recorded "Over the Rainbow." It became known as her signature song and people would request her to sing it at appearances throughout the rest of her life.
"The Wizard of Oz" premiered in Hollywood, CA. Judy Garland became famous for the movie's song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."







Land Speed Record
John Cobb, a British businessman set a new land speed record on Utah’s Flats. His new speed was 386.85 miles per hour, which is over six miles a minute.








The Andrews Sisters Record Roll Out The barrel
"Beer Barrel Polka" was recorded in 1939 by The Andrews Sisters. The song, also known as "Roll Out the Barrel" became a popular standard during World War II and became a favorite of music lovers around the world.









Worst Drought In US History Continues
The continuing drought conditions in the North Eastern US continue and farmers are now resigned to losing much of the crop and are using the valuable water for kitchen gardens to ensure the family will have food during the long cold winter period. many wells and streams have now dried up due to the lack of rainfall br />








German Battleship Bismarck
The German Reich launches the battleship Bismarck, which was the largest battleship ever commissioned up to that date.
The Bismarck sunk the pride of the British fleet the battle cruiser HMS Hood in the Battle of Denmark Strait in May 1941, but in September after spending months trying to gain revenge The Bismarck was sunk by the British Royal Navy.








Gone With The Wind Premier
The Movie "Gone With The Wind" based on the Pulitzer Prize Book Winner in 1937 starring Vivien Leigh ( Scarlett O'Hara ), Clark Gable ( Rhett Butler ) Leslie Howard ( Ashley Wilkes ) and Olivia de Havilland ( Melanie Wilkes ) has its world premiere in Atlanta, Georgia.








Moonlight Serenade
Glen Miller records the wildly popular "Moonlight Serenade." It becomes a standard throughout the big band era and beyond.









Hourly Wage Raised to 30 cents per hour
The Federal Hourly Minimum Wage is raised $0.30 an hour








Hillbilly Music Chart
Billboard Magazine introduced the ( country music ) hillbilly music chart.
The term country music did not begin to be used until the 1940's when the earlier term hillbilly music was deemed as degrading to the style of music.









Goldfish Swallowing Fad
During a publicity stunt watched by Reporters and photographers in the Harvard Freshman Union, Freshman Lothrop Withington Jr. swallows a live Goldfish started the fad which swept across U. S. college campuses








New York's LaGuardia Airport
New York's LaGuardia Airport ( dedicated as New York Municipal Airport )located on the waterfront of Flushing Bay is opened and from the beginning proved popular with major US Airlines including Pan American Airways, American. United, Eastern Air Lines and Transcontinental & Western Air









The Boeing 314 “Clipper” flying boat
The first of the Boeing 314 “Clipper” flying boats built for Pan American World Airways, begins operations on the San Francisco to Hong Kong route which took over six days to complete. The Clippers with a cruise speed of only 188 mph were built for luxury and the seats could be converted into 36 bunks for overnight accommodation.








Poland surrenders to Germany 1939
Poland surrenders to Germany after just 26 days and 140,000 Polish troops are taken prisoner









New York World's Fair Opens
At New York World’s Fair, officially opening President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the opening day address, which was not only broadcast over radio networks but was also televised.
New York World's Fair allowed visitors to look at "The world of tomorrow." and included the General Motors exhibit was titled Futurama.
Philo T. Farnsworth premiered some of the first televisions at the fair and AT&T presented its first Picture Phone at the World's Fair.
The IBM Pavilion featured electric typewriters, and a fantastic machine called the electric calculator that used punched cards to enter the information for the computer to calculate the results.












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