CBI - China: Day 77 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.
1937 — , March 18
Spain: Day 245 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War. Republican troops launch a counter-attack near Guadalajara catching the Nationalists off guard. The Republicans take Brihuega but aren't able to achieve the results intended. The Italian Blackshirt Division "Dio lo vuole" is disbanded. Later this year, the remaining two divisions of Blackshirts will disband and reorganize into three Italian-Spanish brigades.
Italy: Benito Mussolini stages a propaganda event in which he receives a ceremonial sword from Arab leaders of Italian Libya, symbolizing him as the protector of the Arab peoples.
1938 — , March 18
Spain: Day 610 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 255 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 40 of 124 of the Battle of Henan. Japanese troops capture Tengxian. The Chinese 31st Division marches off for Xucheng in the Henan Province and the Xuzhou area in the Jiangsu Province.
1939 — , March 18
Spain: Day 975 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War. Spain and Portugal enter into a non-aggression pact.
USSR: A Soviet Commissar suggests to the British Ambassador that delegates from the UK, USSR, France, Poland and Romania should meet to discuss possible action in the event of war with Germany.
USSR: Stalin declares to his Party that the United Kingdom and France are pushing Germany toward Eastern Europe, thus provoking an eventual war between Germany and the Soviet Union.
USSR: The "Industry of Socialism" Exhibition finally opens, 16 months behind schedule due to censorship. The displays are intended to prove that life is better in Russia without the Tsars.
Czechoslovakia: France, UK and USSR make official protests regarding German occupation of Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Hitler approves the formation of a German protectorate in Slovakia.
CBI - China: Day 620 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 2 of 54 of the Battle of Nanchang.
1940 — , March 18
MTO - Italy: Mussolini and Hitler meet in the Brenner Pass in northern Italy, close to the border between their two countries in their third of fourteen meetings. Mussolini agrees to enter Hitler's war at an "opportune moment."
Adolf Hitler meets the Italian leader Benito Mussolini in his railway carriage in the Brenner Pass, high in the Alps, close to the border between their two countries.
The haste with which the meeting was arranged had led Mussolini to suppose that Hitler "would soon set off the powder keg."
In the journey to the meeting, Mussolini tells his Foreign Minister, Count Galeazzo Ciano, that the Italians will not join the war until the moment that is "convenient" to them, that they will form the "left wing" of the offensive, tying up troops without actually fighting.
The 14 meetings between Hitler and Mussolini...
14 Jun 34: Venice - both are mutually unimpressed with each other
03 May 38: Rome - five days of cultural and military ceremonies
18 Mar 40: Brenner Pass - they discuss Hitler's coming powder keg
18 Jun 40: Munich - they discuss France's appeal for an armistice
04 Oct 40: Brenner Pass - they discuss the progress of the war
28 Oct 40: Florence - they discuss Italy's invasion of Greece
19 Jan 41: Berchtesgaden - Hitler offers military help in North Africa
02 Jun 41: Brenner Pass - they discuss the progress of the war
25 Aug 41: East Prussia - Mussolini visits the Wolf's Lair
28 Aug 41: Ukraine - they visit Army Group South near the Russian Front
30 Apr 42: Berchtesgaden - they discuss a Mediterranean strategy
07 Apr 43: Salzburg - they discuss how to keep Italy in the war
19 Jul 43: Feltre - their last meeting before Mussolini is ousted from power
15 Sep 43: Germany - Deposed, imprisoned and rescued, Mussolini is taken for a final visit with Hitler
ETO - Netherlands: German bombers attack the Dutch trawler PROTINUS off Ijmuiden, killing several people.
Sweden: The USSR assures Sweden of its safety after Finland's surrender.
CBI - China: Day 986 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 125 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
Day 51 of 67 of the Battle of Wuyuan.
1941 — , March 18
USA: US and Canada declare a joint defense pact, which includes cooperation in ship building efforts in the Great Lakes.
Atlantic: German 1st S-boat flotilla (with 6 motor torpedo boats) raids shipping on the east coast of England, sinking the French ship DAPHNE II off the Humber Estuary.
Atlantic: German sub U-105 attacks an Allied convoy west of Senegal, French West Africa, sinking the British ship MEDJERDA, killing the entire crew of 52 and 2 gunners.
ETO - UK: Day 194 of 258 of the Blitz.
ETO - UK: The French government-in-exile in Britain establishes a central bank.
Germany: Hitler centralizes all coal mining and coal distribution.
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Related dates (coal)...
27 Aug 39: Germany begins rationing food, footwear, textiles and coal
03 Mar 40: Italy protests UK-proposed ban on Italy importing German coal
07 Mar 40: British capture 9 Italian ships carrying German coal
09 Mar 40: Italian-Anglo agreement on importation of German coal is signed
18 Mar 41: Hitler centralizes all coal mining and coal distribution in Germany
01 Jul 41: Coal deliveries throughout Britain rationed to one ton per month
26 Aug 41: Commandos land in Norway to deny coal mines to Germans
06 Jun 42: British coal miners in Durham dissuaded from going on strike
02 Dec 43: Shortage of British coal miners forces conscription of "Bevin Boys"
23 Jun 58: Britain finally end the rationing of coal, which began 01 Jul 41
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Germany: Grand Admiral Erich Raeder urges Hitler to convince Japan to attack Singapore. Raeder also recommends Hitler should reveal his Soviet invasion plans to Japan and asks permission to start firing on US warships even if unprovoked.
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Dates related to British Malaya and Singapore...
18 Feb 41: Elements of the Australian 8th Division arrive in Singapore.
18 Mar 41: Grand Admiral Erich Raeder urges Hitler to convince Japan to attack Singapore.
28 Apr 41: Churchill issues directive stating that at present there is no need to make provisions for the defense of Malaya and Singapore.
19 Jan 42: General Wavell warns Churchill that Singapore cannot be held, but is told that no question of surrender be entertained.
22 Jan 42: Day 46 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya. Reinforcements reach Singapore with an Indian Brigade landing.
24 Jan 42: Day 48 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya. British 18th Division arrives at Singapore as reinforcements to boost its defenses.
30 Jan 42: Day 54 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya. British troops withdraw into Singapore.
30 Jan 42: Day 1 of 17 of the Battle of Singapore. The Japanese siege of British troops in Singapore begins.
14 Feb 42: Day 16 of 17 of the Battle of Singapore. Japanese soldiers advance toward the Alexandra Barracks Hospital. A British lieutenant, acting as an envoy with a white flag, approaches the Japanese forces but is killed with a bayonet. The Japanese troops enter the hospital and kill a number of patients, including those undergoing surgery at the time, along with doctors and members of the nursing staff.
15 Feb 42: Day 17 of 17 of the Battle of Singapore. 9,000 British and Australian troops have been killed, and the remaining 80,000 are taken prisoner as Japanese troops take the city, joining 50,000 taken in the earlier Malayan Campaign to be worked as slaves. It remains the largest surrender of British-led forces in history.
16 Feb 42: Australia's Prime Minister Curtin, calls the surrender of Singapore "Australia's Dunkirk."
04 Mar 42: The Australian sloop HMAS YARRA is sunk by Japanese cruisers while attempting to protect a convoy of vessels withdrawing from Singapore to Australia.
05 Sep 45: Following Japan's surrender, British land in Singapore.
MTO - Albania: RAF bombers attack at Vlorë sinking the Italian torpedo boat ALDEBARAN.
MTO - Libya: British armed boarding vessel ROSAURA, carrying Italian prisoners of war, hits a mine and sinks off Tobruk. 14 crew, 5 guards and 59 Italians are killed.
MTO - Libya: RAF Swordfish torpedo bombers attack the harbor at Tripoli.
East Africa: Day 282 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
East Africa - Eritrea: Day 42 of 56 of the Battle of Keren. Italian troops bombard Fort Dologorodoc.
CBI - China: Day 1,351 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 5 of 27 of the Battle of Shanggao.
CBI - Thailand: Day 169 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).
1942 — , March 18
USA: President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9102 establishing the War Relocation Authority (WRA), with Milton Eisenhower as director, to oversee the removal of Japanese-Americans from the west coast Military Area 1.
Headline of the San Francisco Examiner
The exact publication date of this headline not known.
Dates related to civilian internment...
12 May 40: UK begins internment of German civilians
14 Jan 42: Japanese-Canadians ordered to vacate BC
14 Jan 42: FDR orders all aliens to register with government
Rocket Man: Robert H Goddard and the Birth of the Space Age
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Russian Front - North: Day 192 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 39 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 55 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. Another attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - Center: Day 70 of 103 of the Battle of Vyazma, Russia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 70 of 103 of the Battle of Sychevsk, Russia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 16 of 49 of the Battle of Rzhev, Russia, a diversion to pull more German troops away from Moscow.
Russian Front - South: Day 140 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula. All German attacks against Sevastopol are shut down for the winter.
MTO - Italy: British submarine HMS UPHOLDER sinks the Italian submarine TRICHECO.
CBI - Burma: Day 95 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. Chinese troops ambush 200 Japanese reconnaissance troops near Pyu, killing 30.
CBI - China: Day 1,716 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 85 of 99 of the 3rd Battle of Changsha.
PTO - Borneo: Day 93 of 107 of the Battle of Borneo.
PTO - Malaya: Day 28 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
PTO - Philippines: Day 101 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines. 5th Air Force provides air support.
1943 — , March 18
ETO - France: Vichy France repeals a number of anti-Semitic laws.
ETO - Switzerland: Switzerland is warned of a seemingly impending German invasion.
ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb the Vegesack district of Bremen going after submarine yards.
Russian Front - North: Day 557 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 37 of 51 of the USSR's Operation POLAR STAR, a failed offensive north of Leningrad, hoping to take the southern shore of Lake Ladoga, Russia.
Russian Front - North: Day 318 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket, USSR lays siege to the Kholm Pocket but the Germans hold out for a about a year and a half.
Russian Front - Center: Day 17 of 30 of the 3rd Battle of Rzhev-Sychevka, Russia.
MTO - Italy: US 9th Air Force B-24s bomb the harbor at Naples.
MTO - Tunisia: Day 122 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support. Day 3 of 12 of the UK's Operation PUGILIST in southern Tunisia. US 1st Ranger Battalion captures El Guettar.
CBI - Burma: Day 88 of 104 of the 1st Battle of Arakan. US 10th Air Force provides air support. The Allies abandon their attempt to drive Japanese from Donbaik.
CBI - Burma: Day 39 of 79 of the Allied Operation LONGCLOTH. The main body of the Northern Group Chindits complete their the crossing of the Irrawaddy River.
CBI - China: Day 2,081 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO - Alaska: Day 285 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. US 11th Air Force B-24s, B-25s and P-38s bomb on Kiska Island, hitting the Main Camp area, North Head and the runway.
1944 — , March 18
ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb plants for aviation and airfields.
ETO - Germany: Day 122 of 135 of the Battle of Berlin (RAF bombing campaign). RAF bombers night bombs Hamburg and lays mines off Helgoland.
Germany: At Auschwitz, prisoner Rudolf Friemel marries forced laborer Margarita Ferrer at the camp's Registry Office. It was the only time a prisoner was allowed to marry in the camp. They had met in Spain when Rudolf Friemel, an Austrian, fought as a volunteer for the Spanish Republicans in the civil war. Friemel was executed by hanging on 30 Dec 1944 for a failed attempt to escape Auschwitz. Ferrer and their child survived the war.
Russian Front - Finland: Finland rejects the latest Soviet peace proposal.
Russian Front - North: Day 46 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops in the Baltic region go on the defensive.
Russian Front - South: Day 86 of 113 of the USSR's Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive in southwestern Ukraine.
Russian Front - South: Day 15 of 45 of the Battle of Chernovtsy, Ukraine.
Russian Front - South: Day 13 of 44 of the Battle of Snigirevka, Ukraine.
MTO - Italy: Day 1 of 6 of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Streams of fire begin shooting thousands of feet into the air, the entire top of the volcano becomes a blazing inferno, the earth steadily vibrates and the countryside is lit up for miles around.
Mount Vesuvius erupts
It was slightly less than 1,900 years after the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The eruption would cause one of the heaviest losses to any US bombardment group in World War II.
Dates related to Mother Nature...
12 Jan 40: 50 inches of frost is reported in Finland
13 Nov 41: Temperature on Russian Front drops to -80°F
18 Mar 44: Mount Vesuvius begins a six-day eruption
23 Mar 44: Mount Vesuvius' eruption slowly subsides
05 Jun 44: Rough seas in the English Channel postpone D-Day invasion
19 Jun 44: Channel storms begin, wreaking havoc on the Mulberries
23 Aug 44: B-24 crashes into school during violent thunderstorm
09 Dec 44: Patton's Weather Prayer circulated to the Third Army
05 Jun 45: 30 American ships damaged by typhoon near Okinawa
MTO - Italy: Day 62 of 123 of the Battle of Monte Cassino. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops. New Zealand troops try to take Cassino but are stopped after losing 17 tanks.
MTO - Italy: Day 57 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops.
CBI: US 14th Air Force hits targets in China and French Indochina.
CBI - Burma: Day 80 of 99 of the 2nd Battle of Arakan.
CBI - Burma: Day 14 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY. Chindit troops reach the railway at Kenu. The subsequent Battle of Pagoda Hill is characterized by savage hand-to-hand fighting that results in 23 Chindits and 42 Japanese KIA.
CBI - Burma: Day 9 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - China: Day 2,447 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
CBI - India: Day 11 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima. The Japanese continue pushing into India. The Japanese 15th Division reaches Ukhrul, about 50 miles from Imphal. Behind them, Japanese 31st Division have crosses the Chindwin River and are advancing toward India.
PTO - Japan: USS FRANKLIN arrives at Okinawa and launches air strikes against the Japanese positions.
PTO - Marshall Islands: USS IOWA bombards the Mili Atoll. She is hit by two 120mm shells from the Japanese coastal guns during the bombardment, suffering minor damage.
PTO - Marshall Islands: US 7th Air Force attacks targets in the Marshalls.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 19 of 80 of the Battle of the Admiralty Islands. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 182 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 95 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 139 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.
1945 — , March 18
ETO: Pfc Bernie Staller is killed in action in a German artillery barrage on the Siegfried Line. He and Myra Strachner, his childhood sweetheart back in New York, had exchanged almost 700 letters during the war, emblematic of the love and loss experienced by countless thousands.
Returned, Unopened - A Beautiful WWII Love Letter
YouTube video, opens in new window or tab
This 3-minute video superbly recreates and honors the love between Bernie and Myra as she reads her final letter written two months after she last heard from him and sent the day before she received word of his death.
The transcript of the video...
I was at your house tonight. They showed me some pictures of you. And this is what went through my mind. That hair is cropped close, but still curled around my finger as if I were grasping it. I kissed those lips. I've held those wrists with my fingers. My hands have been in those hands. My fingers have touched those sides and dug into those shoulders. And I know you had to be alive, because you're so alive! Someday when we have long night hours before us, I'll tell you all about this - how I felt, and what people said. Today I cried again. I found my lips forming the words. It's too hard. It's too hard. Darling, come to me in a dream tonight and tell me that you're alive and safe ... I love you 'til I die.
The family of Myra Strachner Gershkoff donated the entire collection of letters to the New York State Library in 2007. The video was produced by Jacob Stark and published on YouTube on Aug 24, 2014.
ETO - UK: German V-2 rocket hits the Speaker's Corner at the edge of Hyde Park in London.
ETO - France: Day 231 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
ETO - France: Day 185 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
ETO: Day 59 of 66 of the Battle to the Rhine. Day 13 of 20 of the Battle of Ramagen. US 3rd Army captures Boppard.
ETO - Germany: Day 12 of 46 of the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket. US 9th Air Force provides air support.
ETO - Germany: Day 27 of 36 consecutive RAF night raids on Berlin.
ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force bombs targets in Germany.
Germany: Albert Speer, sensing Hitler's wish to order the destruction of Germany to prevent Allied capture, tries to persuade Hitler not to destroy the future of Germany.
Russian Front - Finland: Day 185 of 223 of the Lapland War. Finland and Russia have joined forces to kick the Germans out of Finland's most northern province.
Russian Front - Center: Day 155 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 53 of 75 of the Battle of Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia).
Russian Front - Center: Day 6 of 10 of the Battle of Braunsberg, East Prussia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 52 of 63 of the Battle of the Heiligenbeil Pocket in East Prussia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 37 of 54 of the Battle of East Pomerania, Germany.
Russian Front - Center: Day 34 of 83 of the German Siege of Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland).
Russian Front - Center: Day 15 of 15 of the Battle of Kolberg, Germany (today Kolobrzeg, Poland). Kolberg falls to the Polish 1st Army.
Russian Front - Center: Day 4 of 17 of the USSR's Upper Silesian Offensive in Germany (today Poland).
Russian Front - South: Day 13 of 16 of the Battle of Drava (a river in Bulgaria). Germans attack the Bulgarians, hoping to distract the Soviet advance on Berlin.
Russian Front - South: Day 6 of 34 of the Battle of Vienna, Austria.
MTO - Italy: Pope Pius XII denounces Nazi German racist policies.
MTO: US 15th Air Force bombs targets in Yugoslavia, Austria and Hungary.
MTO - Italy: RAF and US Air Forces provide air support for the Allied ground units.
CBI - Burma: Day 59 of 61 of the Battles of Meiktila and Mandalay. The US 10th Air Force provides air support. Lieutenant Karamjeet Singh Judge is killed while directing the destruction of ten enemy bunkers at Myingyan. The 21-year-old Punjabi was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
CBI - Burma: Day 43 of 99 of the Battle of Pakokku and Irrawaddy River operations in central Burma. The US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - China: Day 2,812 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO - Formosa: US 5th Air Force attacks targets in Formosa.
PTO - Japan: US 20th Air Force B-29s fire bomb Nagoya, destroying over 3 square miles.
PTO - Japan: US 7th Air Force attacks targets on Chichi Jima Island.
PTO - Japan: Day 28 of 36 of the Battle of Iwo Jima. US 7th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 447 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 331 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 150 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
PTO - Philippines: Day 94 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support. Filipino guerrillas welcome the invading US troops on Panay.
PTO - Philippines: Day 9 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 1 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. 5th Air Force provides air support.
Day-By-Day listings for March 18 were last modified on Friday, February 23, 2018