U.S. Naval Chronology Of W.W.II, 1940
01/01 Mon. Tenth Naval District with headquarters in San Juan, P. R., is
01/02 Tue. Charles Edison, of New Jersey becomes Secretary of the Navy;
Mr. Edison has been Acting Secretary since the death of
Claude A. Swanson, 7 July 1939.
01/06 Sat. Adm. J. O. Richardson relieves Adm. C. C. Bloch as Commander
in Chief United States Fleet.
01/20 Sat. United States protests delay of American shipping at
01/23 Tue. Great Britain and France announce they will attack any German
vessels encountered in Pan-American Safety Zone.
01/26 Fri. United State-Japanese Trade Treaty of 1911 expires.
03/12 Tue. Russo-Finnish War ends.
04/02 Tue. United States Fleet departs West Coast for maneuvers in
Hawaiian Islands area.
04/09 Tue. Germany invades Denmark and Norway.
04/10 Wed. President, acting under the Neutrality Act of 1939, extends
maritime danger zone to include Scandinavian area.
04/25 Thu. Carrier WASP (CV-7) is commissioned at Boston, Mass.
05/03 Fri. Greenland asks for United States protection.
05/07 Tue. President orders Pacific Fleet to remain in Hawaiian waters
05/10 Fri. President orders application of Neutrality Act to Belgium,
the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
British troops land in Iceland.
Germany invades the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
The Netherlands and Belgium declare war on Germany.
05/11 Sat. British and French forces land in Curacao and Aruba,
Netherlands West Indies.
Japanese Foreign Minister demands maintenance of political
and economic status quo in Netherlands East Indies.
05/14 Tue. German troops break through French lines at Sedan, France,
and move toward English Channel.
The Netherlands Army capitulates to Germany.
05/16 Thu. President asks for national defense funds totaling
$1,182,000,000; he states that Army and Navy should be
equipped with 50,000 aircraft a year.
05/17 Fri. President announces plan for recommissioning 35 more
05/21 Tue. German troops reach English Channel at Abbeville, France:
Allied armies are encircled.
05/28 Tue. National Defense Advisory Committee is established.
Belgium surrenders to Germany.
06/01 Sat. Battleship WASHINGTON (BB-56) is launched at Philadelphia,
Pa.; first American battleship launched since WEST VIRGINIA
(BB-48), 19 November, 1921.
06/04 Tue. Evacuation of British, French, and Belgian troops from
Dunkirk, France, is completed.
06/09 Sun. Allies evacuate Norway.
06/10 Mon. Italy declares war on France and Great Britain; Italian
troops invade France.
Canada declares war on Italy.
06/12 Wed. Navy Department awards contracts for 22 new warships.
Japan-Thailand Non-Aggression Pact is announced.
06/13 Thu. Gene: USS North Carolina (BB-55) is launched at New York
Naval Yard. Although launched after her sister ship, USS
Washington (BB-56), she will be commissioned first, on 9
06/14 Fri. President signs "11% Naval Expansion Act" increasing the
carrier, cruiser, and submarine tonnage of the Navy by
167,000 tons, and auxiliary shipping by 75,000 tons.
German troops occupy Paris, France.
06/15 Sat. President approves an act to increase naval aviation to a
strength of not more than 10,000 aircraft.
06/17 Mon. Adm. H. R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, asks $4 billion
for construction of "two-ocean Navy.
Russian forces occupy Estonia and Latvia.
France sues for an armistice with Germany.
06/20 Thu. Bureau of Ships is established with Rear Adm. S. M. Robinson
as Chief; Bureau of Construction and Repair and the Bureau of
Engineering are abolished.
New office of Under Secretary of the Navy is created for
duration of emergency.
France opens northern Indochina to Japanese military mission
and supporting troops.
06/22 Sat. French-German armistice is signed at Compiegne, France.
Prince Konoye forms new Japanese Cabinet with Gen. Hideki
Tojo, Minister of War, and Yosuke Matsuoka, Minister of
06/24 Mon. Charles Edison's resignation as Secretary of the Navy is
effective; Lewis Compton becomes Acting Secretary.
France signs armistice with Italy.
Japan requests that British close Burma Road.
06/25 Tue. Naval Construction Corps is abolished. Constructors are
combined with engineers and given line officer status
designated for "Engineering Duty Only" (EDO).
French-German armistice becomes effective and hostilities
06/27 Thu. President declares a "national emergency" and invokes
Espionage Act of 1917 to exercise control over shipping
movements in territorial waters and in vicinity of Panama
Romania yields to Russian ultimatum and cedes Bessarabia and
06/30 Sun. Naval vessels on hand (all types) - 1,099.
07/01 Mon. Navy awards contracts for 44 vessels.
Headquarters, Marine Corps Air Wing, is established in San
07/02 Tue. Export Control Act is passed. The President may, whenever he
deems "necessary in the interest of national defense,"
prohibit or curtail the exportation of military equipment,
munitions, tools, materials, etc.
07/03 Wed. British attack and damage naval vessels at Oran and Mers-el-
Kebir, and seize French men-of-war in British ports.
07/05 Fri. President invokes the Export Control Act against Japan by
prohibiting exportation, without license, of strategic
minerals and chemicals, aircraft engines, parts, and
France breaks off diplomatic relations with Great Britain.
07/10 Wed. Battle of Britain begins with first concentrated air attack.
07/11 Thu. Frank Knox of Illinois takes office as Secretary of the Navy.
07/19 Fri. President signs Naval Expansion Act providing, among other
things, for 1,325,000 tons of combatant shipping, 100,000
tons of auxiliary shipping, and 15,000 aircraft; this "Two
Ocean Navy" act will expand the Fleet 70 percent.
07/26 Fri. President invokes the Export Control Act and prohibits
exportation, without license, of aviation gasoline and
certain classes of iron and steel scrap; this halts flow to
07/30 Tue. Act of Havana calling for unified action is signed by 21
nations at the Conference of Foreign Ministers of the
08/01 Thu. Navy establishes Alaskan Sector as military command within
the Thirteenth Naval District.
08/05 Mon. United States and France reach understanding relative to
status of French warships and aircraft in French West Indies
08/15 Thu. Rear Adm. R. L. Ghormley, Assistant Chief of Naval
Operations; Maj. Gen. D. C. Emmons, and Brig. Gen. G. V.
Strong, arrive in London for informal staff conversations
with British officers.
Naval Air Station, Miami, Fla., is established.
08/18 Sun. President and Prime Minister of Canada sign Ogdensburg
Agreement providing for Permanent Joint Board for the Defense
of the United States and Canada.
08/22 Thu. James Forrestal of New York becomes first Under Secretary of
08/27 Tue. President signs joint resolution authorizing him to call Army
Reserve components and National Guard into Federal service
for 1 year.
08/30 Fri. France consents to Japanese military occupation of ports,
airfields, and railroads in northern Indochina.
08/31 Sat. President calls 60,000 National Guardsmen into Federal
09/03 Tue. President announces "Destroyers for Bases" executive
agreement with Great Britain; the United States to give Great
Britain 50 destroyers in return for 99-year leases on bases
in the Bahamas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Jamaica, and
09/06 Fri. First eight destroyers are transferred to Britain under
"Destroyers for Bases" agreement.
09/09 Mon. Navy awards contracts for 210 ships including 12 aircraft
carriers and 7 battleships.
Germany warns that all ships in war zones prescribed by Axis
are subject to attack "regardless of nationality."
09/16 Mon. President signs Selective Training and Service Act.
09/22 Sun. France signs pact at Hanoi ceding airfields and agreeing to
admission of Japanese troops into northern Indochina.
09/24 Tue. Defense Communications Board is established; the Director of
Naval Communications is a member.
09/27 Fri. Germany, Italy, and Japan sign Tripartite Pact at Berlin.
09/29 Sun. Midway Detachment, Fleet Marine Force, arrives on Midway
Island to install defenses.
10/05 Sat. Secretary of the Navy places Organized Naval Reserves on
short notice for call to active duty.
10/08 Tue. Unites States advises citizens to leave the Far East.
Japan protests United States embargo on aviation gasoline and
10/15 Tue. Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Fla., is established.
10/16 Wed. Sixteen million men register for the draft under Selective
Training and Service Act.
10/22 Tue. Naval Squadron 40-T (Rear Adm. D. M. LeBreton) operating in
the western Mediterranean area, is disbanded.
10/23 Wed. Japan gives one year notice of abrogation of North Pacific
Sealing Convention of 1911.
10/28 Mon. Italy invades Greece.
10/31 Thu. British forces occupy Crete.
11/01 Fri. Atlantic Squadron renamed Patrol Force, United States Fleet.
Naval Air Station, Alameda, Calif., is established.
11/08 Fri. SS CITY OF RAYVILLE sinks after hitting a mine laid by German
raider off Cape Otway, Bass Strait, Australia; first United
States merchant vessel sunk in World War II.
Admiral Nomura is appointed Japanese Ambassador to the United
11/11 Mon. British Naval aircraft make torpedo attack against Italian
fleet at Taranto; attack continues on 12 November.
11/20 Wed. Hungary joins the Axis.
11/23 Sat. Adm. W. D. Leahy, USN (Ret.), is appointed Ambassador to
Romania joins the Axis.
11/30 Sat. United States lends $50 million to China for currency
stabilization, and grants an additional $50 million credit
for purchase of supplies.
12/01 Sun. Headquarters for Alaskan units of Coast Guard area
established at Ketchikan.
12/17 Tue. Rear Adm. E. J. King relieves Rear Adm. H. Ellis as Commander
Patrol Force, United States Fleet.
12/19 Thu. Palmyra Island, Pacific Ocean, is placed under control and
jurisdiction of Secretary of the Navy.
12/23 Mon. Naval Air Station, Key West, Fla., is established.