ww2 timeline February 1940

February 1

1. Japan announced that its military expenditures had exceeded half of its total expenditures.

2. The Soviet Union launched new large-scale attacks against Karelian Isthmus of Finland and discharged 300,000 cannonballs to the position of the Finish Army.

Summary of the day: it had been over two and a half years since Japan and China went to war. Due to delays in ending the war in China, Japan’s military spending had continued to increase. But the situation in China was worse, when China’s economy had collapsed. The day before, the Soviet built up in the front 12 division troops, hoping to launch large-scale offensives to destroy the defensive line of Finland. Although the Finnish army made its best efforts to resist, it number of armed personnel and equipment were too far less than that of the Soviet Army.

February 2

1. Several oil tankers and cargo ships of the British were sunk by submarines of Germany.

Summary of the day: Although some ships were sunk by the Germans, at this time the Allies were still able to basically control the situation at sea.

February 3

1. For the first time a German plane was shot down in England since the war started.

2. The British minesweeper HMS Sphinx was sunk by Luftwaffe with 49 people killed.

Summary of the day: the German Heinkel He 111 plane was shot down in the UK. The pilot shot down it was in love with Princess Margaret and therefore was well known in the UK. Minesweeper is a small ship, lack of air defense capabilities, easily sinking aircraft.

February 4

1. Greece, Turkey, Yugoslavia and Romania declared neutrality.

2. The Japanese army occupied the town Linhe in Suiyuan of China.

Summary of the day: The Balkan countries hoped to remain neutral in the war to avoid the war to spread to themselves. The First World War happened because of the contradictions in the Balkans and caused to the region great harm. Although the Japanese army occupied large tracts of Chinese territory, at this time was unable to end the war.

February 5

1. The Allied planned to carry out armed intervention in Scandinavia to cut off the supply of iron ore to Germany. It was expected to implement the plan on March 20.

2. The German submarine U-41 was sunk by the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Antelope.

Summary of the day: the Allies planned to send two divisions of troops to support Finland and control iron ore of neutral Sweden and ports of Norway along the way to Finland. From the Allied plan we can see that their main goal was to obtain the Swedish iron ore to cut off the supply of iron ore to Germany. If the plan was performed well, Finland could be saved. After the adaptation period early in the war, the Royal Navy began to sink some German submarines.

February 6

1. In Kuhmo in the central Finland, the 9th Division of Finland completely surrounded the Soviet’s 54th Division. The Soviet army continued heavy shelling against the positions in southern Finland but failed to achieve significant progress.

Summary of the day: although because of the huge forces put by the Soviet Union led to a difficult position of the Finnish army troops in the south, in the central and northern battlefields the Finnish army gained victories and continued to annihilate large number of Soviet troops and seized many supplies.

February 7

1. Disney’s animated film Pinocchio was released in the United States.

2. On 5 February, the assistance plan of the Allies for Finland was revealed in newspapers.

Summary of the day: the war in Europe continued every day and the United States still enjoyed a peaceful life. The Allied military confidentiality was very bad. As the action plan was exposed, the opportunity of early action was given to the opponent.

February 8

1. The Soviet Union asked for an island as a military base in the Gulf of Finland, while the Soviets still stormed the Mannerheim line of defense. But in the vicinity of Lake Ladoga, many Soviet troops were split and surrounded by the Finnish army.

2. Three Curtiss P-36 Hawk of the ROC Air Force intercepted 27 Japanese aircrafts in Yunnan. One of the Chinese planes was shot down.

Summary of the day: the Soviet army’s tactics was to launch a decisive offensive in the southern region of Finland in order to break through the Mannerheim line of defense and to achieve that Finland was unable to continue fighting. But in other areas of Finland, the Soviet troops still suffered failure. While many Soviet troops were surrounded near Lake Ladoga, but the superiors did not have the rescue plan for them, letting it run its own course. China’s war had lasted two and a half year and the resistance forces in China had been used to the limit. Like Finland, China did not have any substantive support. Both countries were forced to be involved in the war and subject to varying degrees of damages and losses.

February 9

1. German military officer Manstein was appointed commander of XXXIII Armour Corps and no longer participated in planning the invasion of Western Europe.

2. Finish Mannerheim defense began to have signs of crumble and the Finish Army failed to defeat the Soviet army’s offensive.

Summary of the day: owing to different ideas with the superior, Manstein was removed from the development work of the French invasion plans. However, the fact proved that Manstein’s plan would be very successful. Massive bombardment and ground offensive for several days resulted that the Finnish defense gradually collapsed. Because the Soviet took shelling actions around the clock, the Finnish army did not even have time to repair fortifications.

February 10

1. Germany and the Soviet Union reached a new agreement, in which the Soviet Union agreed to supply the German with food and raw materials while Germany offered the Soviet Union machinery and equipment and weaponry in exchange.

2. In the Soviet -occupied eastern Poland, a large number of local residents of Poland were exiled to Siberia.

3. Jews in German Pommern area were deported to the ghettos of the occupied Lublin of Poland.

Summary of the day: knowing that Britain and France might take actions for Finland, the Soviet Union and Germany became closer. The Friendly relation between the two countries enabled them to obtain great benefits for their own. Germany could substantially reduce the losses caused by the British and French naval blockade while the Soviet Union could take actions as it wished because Britain and France contained the Germans. In order to achieve that the residents of the occupied territories made no resistance, the Soviet Union exiled a large number of these people to Siberia. Due to the harsh conditions, a large number of people would usually die in Siberia. Meanwhile, Germany also deported its domestic Jews to the occupied territories of Poland.

February 11

1. The Soviet army successfully broke through Mannerheim defense. Finnish troops withdrew to the second channel fortifications.

Summary of the day: after 10 days of consecutive offensives, the Soviet Union with overwhelming advantage broke Mannerheim defense. Finnish army retreated. Because the war had been more than two months, Finland in shortage of resources was already close to the brink of collapse.

February 12

1. Finland sought to conclude a peace agreement with the Soviet Union.

2. Rommel was appointed to the commander of the German 7th Armored Division.

3. The German submarine U-33 and U-54 were sunk by the Allies.

Summary of the day: without any substantial assistance, Finland had to seek to negotiate with the Soviet Union. Rommel and his 7th Armored Division would have a outstanding performance in the Battle of France. The Royal Navy sank two German submarines again, which could boost Allied morale.

February 13

1. Finland requested Sweden to send troops to its aid, but Sweden rejected this proposal. The reason was that Sweden itself was facing invasion threat from Germany and the Allied.

2. The U.S. Senate approved a loan of $ 20 million to Finland, but provided that these loans should not be used to purchase military -related supplies and equipment.

Summary of the day: Finland requested its neighbor Sweden for assistance. Sweden for its own security considerations rejected. In fact, the Nordic countries, if united, could withstand almost any threat from the enemy. But at this time, fear of alien invasion resulted that Nordic countries sit by and watched their neighbors being eliminated. It was too late for the loans approved by the United States to come and it was not allowed to be used on military projects. What Finland most needed, at this time, was military support.

February 14

1. The British government called for volunteers to go to the war in Finland .

2. On the day, at least four British carriers and oil tankers were sunk.

Summary of the day: volunteers could not solve the problem of Finland. Any country was aware of this. Finland itself knew about it very well. So it had to start negotiations with the Soviet Union. Maritime transport was still very dangerous and there were many boats sunk every day.

February 15

1. The Soviet Union captured the important stronghold Summa on Mannerheim line of defense and began to break through the defense of the Finish. But on the same day, in the middle of Finland, the Finnish troops wiped out a Soviet troop and seized a number of war materials.

2. Hitler ordered the implementation of unrestricted submarine warfare.

3. On the day, four Danish cargo ships were sunk by the German navy.

Summary of the day: the Soviet troops continued to make progress in the south. They could end the war only if they won in this area. The Soviet territorial claims also focused on this region. German Navy had implemented unrestricted submarine warfare and they sunk a large number of neutral ships every day. On the day, four Danish cargo ships were sunk, which was a good proof.

February 16

1. The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Cossack rescued in the neutral Norwegian waters 303 British prisoners. The German ship Altmark delivering these prisoners before fled to the Norwegian waters because of the chase by the Royal Navy.

2. Two Swedish vessels were sunk by German submarine U-14.

Summary of the day: the German Navy often sunk a lot of civilian vessels from neutral countries, but at this time wanted to escape into a neutral country to seek asylum. Although they were neutral countries, the German Navy’s attacks were no difference. They avoided attacking ships from powerful neutral countries. Since the war, very few American ships were sunk by Germans.

February 17

1. The Finnish army retreated from Mannerheim defense.

2. Manstein directly submitted his operational plans for invasion of France to Hitler.

3. The Norwegian protested that the Royal Navy attacked German ships in their waters.

Summary of the day: the retreat of the Finnish army was just a matter of time. It was a miracle to be able to resist for nearly 80 days on this defense line that was not firm with disadvantaged troops and equipment. Because his plan was not accepted by the superior, Manstein directly presented the plan to Hitler. Hitler appreciated Manstein’s plan very much. Norway’s protests indicated the frustration of a weak country. To remain neutral during the war was not easy to achieve.

February 18

1. The Finnish army gained victory again in the north of Lake Ladoga and seized 20 Soviet tanks and 32 artilleries as well as many other weapons. But its newly formed defense line in the south was broken through by the Soviet again.

2. The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Daring was sunk by German submarines in the North Sea and 157 people died.

3. On the day, three Finnish cargo ships were sunk by the Soviet Air Force.

Summary of the day: if Finland did not have to face the overwhelming strength of the Soviet military force, the Finnish army could win. But in fact they had no choice but to face the overwhelming advantage of the Soviet Army, therefore it was impossible for them to win the war. And because there was no air cover, the transport line was subject to huge threat from the Soviet Union. Loss of a Royal Navy destroyer was not a big problem, but the huge human losses was unacceptable.

February 19

1. Hitler wanted to accelerate preparing the plan to invade Norway.

Summary of the day: Germany feared that the Allied would take actions in advance, leading German iron ore supply’s interruption. Hitler hoped to quickly control the Nordic region.

February 20

1. The German Gestapo and the Soviet NKVD officers met in the occupied area of Poland to discuss cooperation in the suppression of the Polish resistance movement.

Summary of the day: the Polish government did not surrender after the battle and many of the occupied territories spontaneously organized resistance movements. Thus, Germany and the Soviet Union reckoned it was necessary to take measures to cooperate. The approach of the Soviet Union was thorough and relatively simpler, which was to expulse and exiled those residents of the area. But Germany could not do this. They did not have areas that could be used for exiling the residents.

February 21

1. Nikolaus von Falkenhorst was appointed commander of the German invasion operation of Norway.

2. The Soviet troops began to advance to the Finnish city Viipuri .

Summary of the day: the German invasion of Norway plans had been determined and was implemented in secret. The Allies not only exposed information, but also delayed plans and worked in hesitation. The Soviet troops made great progress in the south of Finland and had advanced towards Viipuri, a big city in southern Finland.

February 22

1. The IRA detonated a bomb in London, in which 12 people were injured.

Summary of the day: owing to the problem of Ireland, the conflict between the IRA and the British government lasted for a very long time.

February 23

1. Sweden refused Britain and France to pass through its territory to aid Finland.

2. The German Navy submarine U -53 was sunk in the North Sea by Royal Navy destroyer.

Summary of the day: the reason that Sweden refused was very simple. Britain and France’s passing through may incur invasion by Germany. And Britain and France themselves were not really willing to rescue Finland. Their main purpose was to occupy the Swedish iron ore. In this case, since Sweden did not send troops to aid Finland itself, it would not allowed Britain and France to pass through to provide Finland assistance.

February 24

1. Norway, Sweden and Denmark’s foreign ministers once again announced neutrality and emphasized that they would not aid Finland and would not allow other countries to enter its territory.

2. Hitler approved the plan to invade France.

3. Four Danish fishing boats were sunk by minesweepers of a German submarine in the North Sea and the German ships deliberately did not rescue the survivors.

Summary of the day: the Nordic countries wanted to maintain their own security by maintaining neutrality, but obviously this could not be achieved, because the area was involved in the enormous benefits of the Allies and the Axis. Britain and France did not want to peace talks with Germany. Hitler hoped to launch a large-scale operation to win. Sinking of merchant ships was still relatively easier to accept, because it may cause damage to the belligerents. But it was not understandable that survivors were not rescued after the sinking. After all, they were only fishing boats from neutral countries.

February 25

1. The German submarine U-63 was sunk by the Royal Navy in the North Sea.

Summary of the day: another German submarine was sunk, which would contribute to security of merchant ships in the region.

February 26

1. The Soviet Union continued to attack the Finnish city Viipuri.

Summary of the day: the Soviet troops had victory in sight, but the Finnish still did not give up resistance.

February 27

1. Scientists at the University of California found carbon-14

2. The Soviet troops planned to surround the city of Viipuri. Finland asked for help from Sweden and Norway again, but still got a negative response.

Summary of the day: a peaceful environment can greatly enhance the development of science and technology, and war can only destroy everything about human civilization. Finland’s situation was very critical, so it asked for help to the neighbors again. But this time the neighbors themselves could hardly survive themselves, so them dared not to send military support.

February 28

1. The United States for the first time broadcasted a basketball game live on radio.

2. Britain and France proposed military aids to Finland.

Summary of the day: to compare the circumstances in the U.S. and Europe, we can easily understand why isolationism was welcomed by many people in the United States. British and French aid came too late and was not sincere. And if Britain and France acted positively without negative and conservative defense, the Battle of France would not necessarily quickly fail.

February 29

1. The Soviet Union continued to make progress in the south. In Central Finland, the Finish Army continued to destroy the surrounded Soviet army and seized some war materials.

Summary of the day: the Finnish war situation still advanced along the existing track. It seemed that defeat of Finland was inevitable.

February Summary: the most important war this month was still the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union. Although Britain and France offered assistance, action was taken extremely slowly. After the Soviet Union put into an overwhelming military force, the Finnish Mannerheim line of defense was broken through by the Soviet Union. But Finland still strongly resisted. However, this resistance would not last long, because Finland had been exhausted. It consumed all the resources it could use. Because Britain and France might pass through Norway, Sweden exposed the assistance offered to Finland, so Germany geared up the invasion plan of Norway in order to avoid the consequence that Britain and France might occupy iron ore in the Nordic region and therefore bring huge losses to the country. This month at sea fighting continued. The Allies sank several German submarines. But there were still many merchant ships that were sunk by German submarines. Fighting continued also in Chinese battlefields, but at this time the wars in Europe and in Asia were not yet completely linked.

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