Wednesday, May 18, 2016

March 18, 1940: Mussolini To Join the War

Monday 18 March 1940

18 March 1940 Hitler Mussolini
Hitler and Mussolini.
European Air Operations: KG 26 sends bombers over the North Sea on 18 March 1940, looking for targets. They find the Dutch trawler Protinus just off the Dutch coast, near Ijmuiden and bomb and strafe it. The Captain and first mate perish, and the remaining 10 crew abandon ship. They spend 6 days in the lifeboat, during which time two more crew perish, before being spotted by the British submarine HMS Unity.

A German plane crash-lands on the Danish Lolland Island. They are arrested after asking a farmer for food and interned.

German/Italian Relations: Hitler and Mussolini meet at the Brenner Pass station on the Austrian/Italian border, their first meeting since Munich. They confer in Mussolini's railway car parked in front of the frontier station for 2.5 hours.

Hitler makes it plain that he is ready to move in the West. Mussolini demurs on a request to join the war now, and suggests that Hitler wait a few months so that Italy can prepare itself, but Hitler refused to alter his plans. Mussolini promises to declare war on France "at the right time." Count Ciano confides to his diary that "The meeting is cordial, but a monologue. Hitler talks all the time, but is less agitated than usual."

18 March 1940 Hitler Mussolini Ciano
Hitler, Mussolini, and Ciano meet at the Brenner Pass, where the Italian dictator agrees to join Germany's war against France and Britain (AP photo).
Battle of the Atlantic: Convoy OA 112 departs from Southend, Convoy OB 112 departs from Liverpool, Convoy OG 22 forms off Gibraltar, Convoy HX 28 departs from Halifax.

Royal Navy: Destroyer HMS Highlander (Commander William A. Dallmeyer) is commissioned.

British Government: Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir John Simon reports that the recent offering of 3% war bonds had been oversubscribed.

Former Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who knows all the major plays on both sides, takes a cynical attitude toward the current government: "Always too late. Too late for Czechoslovakia, for Poland, now for Finland. We never save them."

US Government: Sumner Welles meets the Pope. Pope Pius XII tells him that Italian public opinion is overwhelmingly against joining the war. However, he adds that if Italy were to join, there would be no rebellions for some time.

Norway: the Norwegian government lodges an official protest in Berlin regarding the recent German air attacks on Norwegian freighter Lysaker.

French Homefront: The French newspapers sharply question Prime Minister Daladier's failure to help Finland sufficiently before it capitulated.

British Homefront: Wartime austerity is wearing off, and women's fashions become elaborate and showy to match the improving mood. In London, a woman is fined £75 for "hoarding" after buying 140 weeks' ration of sugar. She drives away from court in a Rolls-Royce.

18 March 1940 Boeing Clipper
Pan Am Boeing S-307 Clipper Flying Cloud on March 18, 1940. 

March 1940

March 1, 1940: Soviet Breakthroughs Past Viipuri
March 2, 1940: Soviets Swarm West in Finland
March 3, 1940: Soviets Across Gulf of Viipuri
March 4, 1940: USSR Apologizes to Sweden
March 5, 1940: Katyn Forest Massacre Approved
March 6, 1940: Finns Head to Moscow
March 7, 1940: The Coal Ships Affair
March 8, 1940: Peace Talks Begin in Moscow
March 9, 1940: Soviets Harden Peace Terms
March 10, 1940: Germany Draws Closer to Italy
March 11, 1940: Winter War Peace Terms Finalized
March 12, 1940: War is Over (If You Want It)
March 13, 1940: Winter War Ends
March 14, 1940: Evacuating Karelia
March 15, 1940: The Bletchley Bombe
March 16, 1940: First British Civilian Killed
March 17, 1940: Enter Dr. Todt
March 18, 1940: Mussolini To Join the War
March 19, 1940: Daladier Resigns
March 20, 1940: Soviets Occupy Hango Naval Base
March 21, 1940: Paul Reynaud Leads France
March 22, 1940: Night Fighters Arise!
March 24, 1940: French Consider Alternatives
March 25, 1940: Reynaud Proposes Action
March 26, 1940: C-46 First Flight
March 27, 1940: Himmler Authorizes Auschwitz Construction
March 28, 1940: Allies Ponder Invading Norway
March 29, 1940: Soviets Prefer Neutrality
March 30, 1940: Allied Uncertainty
March 31, 1940: The Tiger Cage


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