13 March: Finland: The ‘Winter War’ ends when the Soviet Union comes to an accommodation with Finland.

9 April: Denmark & Norway: The Nazis invade.

10 May: Holland-Belgium-France: General Guderian’s Panzers storm through Holland, Belgium and into northern France. British Expeditionary Army is rescued by a flotilla of boats at Dunkirk.

May: America: Roosevelt starts US rearmament by his request for US$1.3bn in military appropriations.

22 June: France: France surrenders to Germany.

29 June: Japan: Foreign Minister Arita announces Japan’s intention to establish a ‘bloc of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of western powers.’

10 July: Great Britain: The Battle of Britain begins.

19 July: America: The US passes the Two Oceans Act also known as the Vinson-Walsh Act which passes by 316-0 in the House of Representatives. It authorizes a US$8.55bn naval expansion including the building of 18 new fleet carriers, 7 battleships, 33 cruisers, 115 destroyers, 43 submarines and 15,000 aircraft. Funding for navy auxiliaries and munitions etc. was also provided.

23 July: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. Soviet invasion.

July: America. National Defense Act passed giving President power to put the export of essential commodities on license to enable the US to build up essential war stockpiles. Within a year 259 items were put on license.

A ban on the export from America on fuel over 87 Octane led to a 550% increase in the purchase of 86 Octane fuel which was the quality required by Japanese aero engines.

Henry Stimson, a Republican, is appointed Secretary of State for War.

September: Holland: It is demanded of the Dutch government by Japan that they should supply them with 3m tons of oil versus 1m tons previously from their wells in the Dutch East Indies.

13 September: Egypt: Italy invades Egypt.

27 September: Germany-Japan-Italy: Tripartite Pact agreed between Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito.

America: Roosevelt embargoes the sale of all types of iron and steel to Japan and agrees a US$100m loan for China.

October: Japan: Konoe, brought back as Prime Minister in June 1940 creates the Imperial Rule Assistance Association.

5 November: America: Roosevelt re-elected President for a third term.


12 November: America: Admiral Stark presents Plan Dog to Roosevelt which suggests a plan for fighting a war Japan and Germany which emphasized the importance of prioritizing Europe over Asia.

November: America: Chiang Kai-shek’s finance minister, T.V. Soong and the Kuomintang’s air force advisor, former US officer Chennault, fly to Washington to negotiate terms of a US$50m loan to buy planes and to allow recruitment of volunteers for the American Volunteer Group to fight in China. They became know as the Flying Tigers.

20-23 November: Rumania & Hungary: Join the Axis powers.

27 November: America: Admiral Nomura arrives in Washington to take up the post of Ambassador.

December: America: Roosevelt says that America must become the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ in the war in Europe.

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