Friday 20 October 1939
|Execution of Polish hostages by an SS task force in occupied Kórnik, Poland, on October 20, 1939 (Ang, Federal Archive).|
Western Front: There is Minor patrol and reconnaissance on 20 October 1939 along the length of the line, which is still waterlogged from yesterday's rains.
Battle of the Atlantic: The Germans edge toward unrestricted submarine warfare, as in World War I, with the announcement that merchant ships in convoys will be given no notice before attack as required by international law. This is a significant change in policy in just a matter of weeks.
The 926 ton Swedish freighter Gustav Adolf is stopped and disembarked by U-34 (Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Rollmann), then torpedoed. U-34 also has another success, doing the same to 2,327 ton British freighter Sea Venture. All of the crew from both ships survive.
German vessel Biscaya is captured by Royal Naval armed merchant ship Scotstoun.
The City of Flint, still travelling disguised as a Danish freighter, puts in to the Norwegian port of Tromsø. The Norwegians tell them to stop the deception and leave port by daybreak.
Pursuant to President Roosevelt's previously expressed wishes, the Commander of the US Atlantic Squadron instructs his command to use plain language when reporting suspicious contacts.
The US freighter Scanstates is released from British detention.
European Air Operations: German reconnaissance over the Firth of Forth.
Anglo/Turkish Relations: King George and the Turkish President exchange telegrams congratulating each other on the Anglo-French-Turkish Treaty of Mutual Assistance.
Holocaust: Still trying to figure out what to do with the Jews, Hitler signs a decree for the creation of a "Jewish State" in eastern Poland, centered on Lublin. It is intended to house the 3 million Jewish Poles.
Apparently in support of the Hitler decree, the Germans in Vienna deport 2,000 Jews to Lublin.
SS Einsatzgruppen execute Polish hostages in occupied Kórnik, Poland.
Australia: Prime Minister Menzies announces the restoration of compulsory military service as of 1940.
Finland: Finland has meetings to figure out a strategy toward the Soviet Union.
British Military: The War Office puts "Mein Kampf" and "The Communist Manifesto" on a "suggested reading list" for soldiers at the front - suggesting that they are about to have a lot of time on their hands.
American Homefront: The Marx Brothers film "At the Circus" opens. It introduces the classic Groucho tune "Lydia the Tattooed Lady."
|20 October 1939: Electric razors a big novelty for this holiday season. Here, factory representative J.J. Hickey demonstrates an electrical shave on Ted Budrodeen at a Mick Simmons store in Sydney.|
October 1939October 1, 1939: Occupation of Warsaw
October 2, 1939: Hel Peninsula Falls
October 3, 1939: The Diamantis Incident
October 4, 1939: Otto Kretschmer Gets Rolling
October 5, 1939: Polish Resistance Ends
October 6, 1939: Hitler Peace Effort
October 7, 1939: The British Have Arrived
October 8, 1939: First RAF Kill from UK
October 9, 1939: "City of Flint" Incident
October 10, 1939: Lithuania Under Pressure
October 11, 1939: The Atomic Age Begins
October 12, 1939: England Rejects Hitler's Peace Offer
October 13, 1939: Charles Lindbergh Speaks Out
October 14 1939: Royal Oak Sunk
October 15, 1939: Cuban Rockets
October 16, 1939: First Aircraft Shot Down Over UK
October 17, 1939: Marshall Mannerheim Returns
October 18, 1939: Prien Receives His Award
October 19, 1939: Preliminary Plan for Fall Gelb
October 20, 1939: Hitler Grapples with the Jews
October 21, 1939: Hurricanes to the Rescue!
October 22, 1939: Goebbels Lies Through His Teeth
October 23, 1939: Norway the Center of Attention
October 24, 1939: German "Justice" Gets Rolling
October 25, 1939: Handley Page Halifax Bomber First Flies
October 26, 1939: Jozef Tiso Takes Slovakia
October 27, 1939: King Leopold Stands Firm
October 28, 1939 - First Luftwaffe Raid on Great Britain
October 29, 1939: Tinkering with Fall Gelb
October 30, 1939: Defective Torpedoes
October 31, 1939: Molotov Issues an Ultimatum