1940 in Germany

Events in the year 1940 in Germany.

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  • 9 April — World War II: Germany carries out Operation Weserübung, and invades Denmark and Norway. German forces land in several Norwegian ports and take Oslo; The Norwegian Campaign lasts two months. The Allied campaign in Norway is simultaneously commenced.
  • 9 April — German invasion of Norway: German heavy cruiser Blücher is sunk by gunfire and torpedoes from the Norwegian coastal fortress Oscarsborg in the Oslofjord. Of the 2,202 German crew and troops on board, some 830 died (at least 320 of them crewmen). Most either drowned or burnt to death in the flaming oil slick surrounding the wreck.
  • 20 April - on his 51st birthday, Hitler orders a new SS regiment to be set containing Norwegians and Danes as well as Germans.




  • 14 July — World War II: Winston Churchill, in a worldwide broadcast, proclaims the intention of Great Britain to fight alone against Germany whatever the outcome.
  • 19 July — World War II: Adolf Hitler promotes 12 generals to field marshal during the 1940 Field Marshal Ceremony following the swift victory over France, and makes a peace appeal to Britain in an address to the Reichstag. Lord Halifax, British foreign minister, flatly rejects peace terms in a broadcast reply on 22 July.






  • 12 December & 15 December — World War II: "Sheffield Blitz" – The City of Sheffield is badly damaged by German air-raids.
  • 16 December — World War II: Operation Abigail RachelRAF bombing of Mannheim.
  • 29 December — World War II: Luftwaffe carries out a massive incendiary bombing raid on London, starting 1,500 fires. Many famous buildings, including the Guildhall and Trinity House, are either damaged or destroyed.
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-126-0347-09A, Paris, Deutsche Truppen am Arc de Triomphe

4 June: German troops on parade after the surrender of Paris

Battle of Narvik

British destroyers attack the German fleet during the Battle of Narvik

German cruiser Blücher sinking

9 April: the German ship "Blücher" is sunk by the Norwegian shore defences at the Battle of Drøbak Sound.

Date unknown

  • undated: In 1940, German optometrist Heinrich Wöhlk invented plastic Contact lenses.




  1. ^ Muggenthaler, August Karl (1977). German Raiders of World War II. Prentice-Hall. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-13-354027-7.
  2. ^ Hooton, E.R. (2007). Luftwaffe at War: Blitzkrieg in the West. London: Chevron/Ian Allan. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-85780-272-6.
  3. ^ http://history1900s.about.com/library/holocaust/blhitler38.htm
  4. ^ Muggenthaler, August Karl (1977). German Raiders of World War II. Prentice-Hall. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-13-354027-7.
1940 Deutsche Lufthansa Ju 90 crash

On 8 November 1940, a Deutsche Lufthansa Junkers Ju 90 passenger aircraft crashed near the municipality of Schönteichen, Germany, killing all 29 people on board.The aircraft, registered D-AVMF and named Brandenburg, was en route from the German capital Berlin to Budapest, Hungary, when ice formed on its tail, causing the airplane to lose control and crash. At the time, the accident was the worst one on German soil.

1940 Field Marshal Ceremony

The 1940 Field Marshal Ceremony refers to a promotion ceremony held at the Kroll Opera House in Berlin in which Adolf Hitler promoted twelve generals to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall ("field marshal") on 19 July 1940. It was the first occasion in World War II that Hitler appointed field marshals due to military achievements.

The prestigious rank of field marshal had been banned after the First World War. As part of German re-armament, the rank was revived. Hitler promoted twelve selected generals to field marshal during the ceremony in Berlin for their role in the swift victory in the Battle of France and to raise morale. The ceremony highlighted the power and prestige of the Wehrmacht; France was considered to have had the strongest army in Europe, yet had been humiliatingly defeated in just six weeks. The ceremony was the first time Hitler appointed field marshals due to military achievements and was celebrated like no other promotion ceremony of the war.

During the same ceremony, Göring, already Generalfeldmarschall since 1938, was promoted to the rank, newly-created especially for him, of Reichsmarschall.

A-A line

The Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line, or A-A line for short, was the military goal of Operation Barbarossa. It is also known as the Volga-Arkhangelsk line, as well as (more rarely) the Volga-Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line. It was first mentioned on 18 December 1940 in Führer Directive 21 (Fall Barbarossa) which enunciated the set goals and conditions of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, describing the attainment of the "general line Volga-Archangelsk" as its overall military objective.

Action off Lofoten

The Action off Lofoten was a naval battle fought between the German Kriegsmarine and the British Royal Navy off the southern coast of the Lofoten Islands, Norway during World War II. A German squadron under Vizeadmiral Günther Lütjens consisting of the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau met and engaged a British squadron under Admiral Sir William Whitworth consisting of the battlecruiser HMS Renown and 9 destroyers. After a short engagement, Gneisenau suffered moderate damage and the Germans withdrew.

Armistice of 22 June 1940

The Armistice of 22 June 1940 was signed at 18:36 near Compiègne, France, by officials of Nazi Germany and the French Third Republic. It did not come into effect until after midnight on 25 June.

Signatories for Germany included senior military officers like Wilhelm Keitel, the commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht (the German armed forces), while those on the French side were more junior, such as General Charles Huntziger. Following the decisive German victory in the Battle of France (10 May–21 June 1940), this armistice established a German occupation zone in Northern and Western France that encompassed all English Channel and Atlantic Ocean ports and left the remainder "free" to be governed by the French. Adolf Hitler deliberately chose Compiègne Forest as the site to sign the armistice due to its symbolic role as the site of the 1918 Armistice with Germany that signaled the end of World War I with Germany's surrender.

Aufbau Ost (1940)

Aufbau Ost (German: Buildup in the East) was the German operational code name for the mobilisation of forces before the start of Operation Barbarossa and the subsequent invasion of the Soviet Union.

On 8 August 1940 Hitler ordered Walter Warlimont, Deputy Chief of Alfred Jodl, to determine the positions of Soviet troops in the East. The appropriate directive was signed the next day by Wilhelm Keitel. It stated that due to the threat of British air attack on Eastern Germany it was necessary to use the eastern territories for drawing and preparing the new units. In compliance with the directive, the building organization of Fritz Todt started equipping the battleground while the rear organs managed the logistical support in the East. Meanwhile, preparations for adjusting the Soviet rail gauge to match the Western European were taking place.

Bombing of Freiburg on 10 May 1940

The German city of Freiburg was bombed erroneously on 10 May 1940 by the Luftwaffe, killing 57 inhabitants.


Fanta is a brand of fruit-flavored carbonated drinks created by The Coca-Cola Company and marketed globally. There are more than 100 flavours worldwide. The Fanta drink originated as a cola substitute in Nazi Germany under a World War II trade embargo for Coca-Cola ingredients in 1940.

Georgi Nadjakov

Georgi Nadjakov (also spelled Georgi Nadzhakov) (Bulgarian: Георги Наджаков) (26 December 1896 – 24 February 1981) was a Bulgarian physicist. He became a corresponding member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences (1940) in Germany, member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1945) and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1958).

Sofia University sent him to specialize in the laboratories of Paul Langevin and Marie Curie in Paris, where he investigated photoelectricity for one year.

Georgi Nadjakov experimentally investigated photoconducting properties of sulphur. He prepared the permanent photoelectret state of matter for the first time and published his paper in 1937

and 1938. He called the electret discovered by Mototaro Eguchi in 1919, thermoelectret and the electret discovered by him in 1937, photoelectret.

Photoelectrets were the most notable achievement of Georgi Nadjakov. Its practical application led to the invention of the photocopier by Chester Carlson some years later.

German declaration of war against the Netherlands

At 6:00 am (Amsterdam Time) on 10 May 1940, during the Battle of the Netherlands, the German envoy Count von Zech-Burkersroda gave the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Van Kleffens a message. It was not an actual declaration of war. The message was later interpreted by the Dutch as a declaration of war; however from the German side it was at the time seen as a mere warning, hopefully intimidating the Dutch enough to accept German military protection. At this moment the German troops had already transgressed the Dutch border.

German–Soviet Commercial Agreement (1940)

The 1940 German-Soviet Commercial Agreement (also known as Economic Agreement of February 11, 1940, Between the German Reich and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was an economic arrangement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed on February 11, 1940 by which the Soviet Union agreed in period from February 11, 1940 to February 11, 1941, in addition to the deliveries under German–Soviet Commercial Agreement, signed on August 19, 1939 deliver the commodities (oil, raw materials and grain) to the value of 420 to 430 million Reichsmarks.

A policy of the transit through Soviet territory of a third countries commodities purchased by Germany was later agreed. The countries followed up the agreement and resolved other issues with the January 10, 1941 German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement. In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union in violation of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, and all economic agreements between the two countries were ended.

Between January 1940 and date of the German invasion, the total Soviet export to Germany estimated at 597.9 million Reichsmarks. The German deliveries accounted as 437.1 million Reichsmarks. The agreements continued Nazi–Soviet economic relations and resulted in the delivery of large amounts of raw materials to Germany, including over 900,000 tons of oil, 1,600,000 tons of grain and 140,000 tons of manganese ore.

The Soviet Union received the incomplete Admiral Hipper-class naval cruiser Lützow, the plans to the battleship Bismarck, information on German naval testing, "complete machinery for a large destroyer", heavy naval guns other naval gear and samples of thirty of Germany's latest warplanes, including the Bf 109 fighters, Bf 110 fighters, Ju 88 and Do 215 bombers. The Soviet Union also received oil and electric equipment, locomotives, turbines, generators, diesel engines, ships, machine tools and samples of Germany artillery, tanks, explosives, chemical-warfare equipment and other items.The German war effort against the Soviet Union was supported by raw materials that Germany had obtained from the Soviets through the 1940 agreement. In particular, the German stocks of rubber and grain would have been insufficient to support the invasion of the USSR if the Soviets had not already exported these products to Germany.

Lossberg study

The Lossberg study was a German military plan prepared by Lieutenant Colonel Bernhard von Lossberg and developed under Alfred Jodl in OKW on September 15, 1940. Its northward direction of attack on the Soviet Union was favoured in the Barbarossa Plan, signed by Hitler. Key paragraphs:

"To conduct the operations first it's necessary to decide whether the main strike direction would be northward or southward to the Pripet Marshes

... The advantages of aiming the main strike northward are as follows:

much better concentration possibilities (railroads)

interest in inflicting a prompt defeat on Russians in Baltic states

relatively better road conditions at operational direction

cooperation possibility with XXI Group, acting from Finland

attainability of Leningrad and MoscowThe advantages of aiming the main strike southward are:

threatened area of Romania

possibility of supplying the German motorized units upon Romanian and Galician oil fields (however much worse communications after crossing the Russian border)

significance of Ukraine.Suggestion is to choose the main strike direction northwardly."

"How the cooperation of both main groups eastward from the Pripet Marshes will be organized henceforth and how the ultimate military goal will look like depends at great extent on whether the collapse of Russia after initial German successes takes place or not, and when". Similar arguments for northern direction were made on November 26 in German General Staff project.

Olivia Coolidge

Margaret Olivia Ensor Coolidge (October 16, 1908 − December 10, 2006) was a British-born American writer and educator. She published 27 books, many for young adults, including The Greek Myths (1949), her debut; The Trojan War (1952); Legends of the North (1951); Makers of the Red Revolution (1963); Men of Athens, one runner-up for the 1963 Newbery Medal; Lives of Famous Romans (1965); and biographies of Eugene O'Neill, Winston Churchill, Edith Wharton, Gandhi, and Tom Paine.

Olivia Coolidge was born in London to Sir Robert Ensor, a journalist and historian. She earned a degree in Classics and Philosophy at Somerville College, Oxford, in 1931 and a Master's degree in 1940. In Germany, England and the U.S. she taught Greek, Latin, and English. In 1946 she married Archibald C. Coolidge of Connecticut, who had four children.

Operation Spark (1940)

Operation Spark (sometimes translated as "Operation Flash") was the code name for the planned assassination of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler by the anti-Nazi conspiracy of German Army officers and political conservatives, known as the Schwarze Kapelle ("black band") during World War II. The name was coined by Major General Henning von Tresckow in 1941. He believed that because of Hitler's many successes up to that time, his personal charisma, and the oath of personal loyalty to him sworn by all German army officers, it would be impossible to overthrow Hitler and the Nazis with Hitler still alive. Hitler's death, however, would be a "spark"—a signal that it was time to launch an internal coup d'état to overthrow the Nazi regime and end the war.

By early 1943, the failure to overcome the Soviet Union, including the disastrous defeat at Stalingrad, defeats in North Africa, and increasing Allied bombing of Germany had substantially weakened many Germans' allegiance to the Nazi regime. The conspirators decided it was time for the "spark". General Friedrich Olbricht, who controlled the Ersatzheer (Replacement Army) set up a plan for Replacement Army troops to seize control of Germany after Hitler was killed. Tresckow was now serving as Chief Operations Officer of Army Group Centre (AGC) on the Eastern Front. AGC commander Günther von Kluge knew of Tresckow's activities, but did not denounce him to the Gestapo, nor participate himself. He allowed Tresckow to put several other anti-Nazi officers on the AGC staff, but he also tried to dissuade Tresckow from taking action.

Polish decrees

Polish decrees, Polish directives or decrees on Poles (German: Polen-Erlasse, Polenerlasse) were the decrees of the Nazi Germany government announced on 8 March 1940 during World War II to regulate the working and living conditions of the Polish workers (Zivilarbeiter) used during World War II as forced laborers in Germany. The regulation intentionally supported and even created anti-Polish racism and discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity and racial background.


Prinzenerlass (German: [ˈpʁɪntsn̩ʔɛɐ̯ˌlas], "princes decree", also spelled Prinzenerlaß) was the name of a decree issued in 1940 by Adolf Hitler that prohibited members of Germany's formerly reigning houses from participating in any military operations in the Wehrmacht.

Under the Weimar Republic until the Nazi seizure of power, and even until the outbreak of World War II, the members of the former German nobility continued to enjoy the rights they had prior to the abolition of the monarchy in 1918.In May 1940, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, the grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II, took part in the invasion of France. He was wounded during the fighting in Valenciennes and died in a field hospital in Nivelles on 26 May 1940. His funeral service was held at the Church of Peace, and he was buried in the Hohenzollern family mausoleum in the Antique Temple in Sanssouci Park. The service drew over 50,000 mourners. His death and the ensuing sympathy of the German public toward a member of the imperial family greatly bothered Hitler, and he began to see the Hohenzollerns as a threat to his power. Shortly afterwards, the Prinzenerlass was issued, and all members of the former German royal houses were relieved from combat duties. The decree prohibited members of Germany's formerly reigning families from actively serving in the Wehrmacht, fearing that this would increase the public's sympathy for the deposed dynasties and threaten his grip on power.

Tripartite Pact

The Tripartite Pact, also known as the Berlin Pact, was an agreement between Germany, Italy and Japan signed in Berlin on 27 September 1940 by, respectively, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Galeazzo Ciano and Saburō Kurusu. It was a defensive military alliance that was eventually joined by Hungary (20 November 1940), Romania (23 November 1940), Bulgaria (1 March 1941) and Yugoslavia (25 March 1941), as well as by the German client state of Slovakia (24 November 1940). Yugoslavia's accession provoked a coup d'état in Belgrade two days later, and Italy and Germany responded by invading Yugoslavia (with Bulgarian, Hungarian and Romanian assistance) and partitioning the country. The resulting Italo-German client state known as the Independent State of Croatia joined the pact on 15 June 1941.

The Tripartite Pact was directed primarily at the United States. Its practical effects were limited, since the Italo-German and Japanese operational theatres were on opposite sides of the world and the high contracting powers had disparate strategic interests. Some technical cooperation was carried out, and the Japanese declaration of war on the United States propelled, although it did not require, a similar declaration of war from all the other signatories of the Tripartite Pact.

XXXXVIII Panzer Corps

XXXXVIII Panzer Corps (also: XXXXVIII Army Corp or XXXXVIII. Armeekorps), was a corps-level formation of the German Army which saw extensive action on both the eastern and western fronts during World War II.

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