Germany: Hermann Goering, as Interior Minister of Prussia, merges two police units and establishes the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei) and begins filling its ranks with Nazis, eventually totaling over 46,000. By 1936 the Gestapo will have carte blanche throughout the Reich to operate without any judicial oversight.
Karl Hermann Frank, Heinrich Himmler, Karl Wolff and Reinhard Heydrich, 29 Oct 41
Hermann Goering formally handed over control of the Gestapo to Heinrich Himmler in 1934.
The Gestapo rather quickly transformed itself from an intrusive shadowing and information gathering agency into a fearsome arm of the Nazi regime that intimidated and persecuted enemies and "undesirables" in a campaign of terror, liquidation, looting, starvation, confiscation of property and theft of cultural treasures throughout Europe.
The Gestapo had the authority to investigate cases of treason, espionage, sabotage and criminal attacks on the Nazi Party and Germany and was specifically exempted from responsibility to administrative courts, where citizens normally could sue the state to conform to laws.
A further law passed in 1936 gave the Gestapo responsibility for setting up and administering concentration camps.
The power of the Gestapo most open to misuse was called Schutzhaft - "protective custody" - a euphemism for the power to imprison people without judicial proceedings. An oddity of the system was that the prisoner had to sign his own Schutzhaftbefehl, an order declaring that the person had requested imprisonment, presumably out of fear of personal harm (which, in a way, was true).
In addition, thousands of political prisoners throughout Germany, and from 1941, throughout the occupied territories under the Night and Fog Decree simply disappeared while in Gestapo custody.
The Gestapo also maintained offices at all Nazi concentration camps, held an office on the staff of the SS and Police Leaders, and supplied personnel as needed to formations such as the Einsatzgruppen paramilitary death squads.
The term "Gestapo" has become synonymous with horror and is often used to describe excessive and abusive police force.
Spain: Day 284 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War. Operation RUGEN begins as German and Italian bombers attack the Spanish city of Guernica, killing between 200 and 1,000 civilians.
1938 — , April 26
Germany: Germany passes a law forcing all Jews to register their wealth and property valued over 5,000 Reichsmarks.
Spain: Day 649 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 294 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 79 of 124 of the Battle of Henan.
Day 34 of 39 of the Battle of Xuzhou.
1939 — , April 26
USA: President Roosevelt signs a bill to begin building a 6,000-plane Army Air Force.
Army Air Forces shoulder sleeve insignia
The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF or AAF) was the military aviation service of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force.
The AAF was a component of the United States Army, which in 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces, the Services of Supply (which in 1943 became the Army Service Forces), and the AAF. Each of these forces had a commanding general who reported directly to the Chief of Staff of the United States Army.
In its expansion during World War II, the Army Air Forces became the world's most powerful air force. From the Air Corps of 1939, with 20,000 men and 2,400 planes, to the nearly autonomous AAF of 1944, with almost 2.4 million personnel and 80,000 aircraft, it was a remarkable expansion.
CBI - China: Day 659 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 41 of 54 of the Battle of Nanchang. The Chinese 3rd and 9th Military Regions lay siege to the Japanese-occupied city.
Day 7 of 35 of the Battle of Suizao.
1940 — , April 26
Atlantic: German sub U-13 sinks the British steamer LILY, killing the entire crew of 24.
ETO - Norway: Day 18 of 63 of the Battle of Norway. RAF biplanes based at Stetnesmoen engage a group of German He-111 bombers. This uses up the last of this RAF unit's fuel and ammunition. The British decide to evacuate southern Norway.
CBI - China: Day 1,025 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 164 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
1941 — , April 26
ETO - UK: Day 233 of 258 of the Blitz.
Eastern Front: Suspecting a German invasion, the Soviets begin a creeping mobilization along their borders.
MTO - Greece: Day 21 of 25 of the Battle of Greece. As German paratroopers approach the Corinth Canal bridge, it is blown up by the Allies. At night, the Allies begin evacuating from beaches near Athens and on the Peloponnese Peninsula.
MTO - Libya: Day 17 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. German troops attack the British and Australian positions at Halfaya Pass. The Allies hold, but after dark they withdraw to Buq Buq, Egypt.
MTO - Tunisia: The British sub HMS UPHOLDER sinks the Italian ship ANTONIETTA LAURO off the Tunisian island of Kerkenah.
East Africa: Day 321 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt. The South African 1st Brigade captures Dessie, Abyssinia, taking 4,000 Italians as prisoners of war.
CBI - China: Day 1,390 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
CBI - Thailand: Day 208 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).
1942 — , April 26
Atlantic: Day 103 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
ETO - UK: The Luftwaffe bombs Bath again.
ETO - Germany: The RAF makes another heavy bombing raid on Rostok.
Germany: A new law is passed giving Hitler the right to change laws by decree without any discussion by the Reichstag. Wow!
Russian Front - North: Day 231 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 78 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 94 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. Another attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - South: Day 179 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
MTO - Malta: The British order the withdraw of their submarines based at Malta as a result of recent intense bombings and because of the mines laid by the Luftwaffe and German E-boats.
CBI - Burma: Day 134 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma.
CBI - China: Day 1,755 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO: The USS TAUTOG sinks the Japanese submarine RO-30.
PTO - Malaya: Day 67 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
PTO - Philippines: Day 140 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines.
1943 — , April 26
ETO - Germany: The RAF bombs at Duisburg.
Russian Front - North: Day 596 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 357 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
MTO - Tunisia: Day 161 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support. The Axis losses in North Africa for first three and a half months of 1943 are reported as 66,000 killed, wounded or captured.
CBI - Burma: Day 78 of 79 of the Allied Operation LONGCLOTH. US 10th Air Force provides air support. The No 5 Column of the Chindits arrives in Imphal, India, with only 95 men of their original 318-man force.
CBI - China: Day 2,120 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO - Alaska: Day 324 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. US 11th Air Force attacks targets on Kiska and Attu.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 5 of 148 of the 2nd Battle of Lae-Salamaua. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Solomon Islands: US 13th Air Force B-24s night bomb the Kahili Airfield.
1944 — , April 26
ETO - France: Pétain makes his first and only visit to Paris during the war to inspect Allied bomb damage to the city. Crowds cheer him enthusiastically, the same crowds who will cheer De Gaulle exactly four months later.
ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb industrial targets in Germany.
ETO - Germany: US 9th Air Force B-26s attack at Plattling.
Russian Front - North: Day 85 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops remain in their defensive positions.
Russian Front - South: Day 19 of 35 of the Battle of the Crimea.
Russian Front - South: Day 19 of 60 of the Battle of Romania, 1st Jassy Offensive.
MTO - Greece: Georgios Papandreou becomes the new Prime Minister of Greece after his predecessor resigned.
MTO - Italy: Day 101 of 123 of the Battle of Monte Cassino. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support. The German Gustav Line continues getting weaker.
MTO - Italy: Day 96 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 53 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY.
CBI - Burma: Day 48 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 26 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - China: Day 2,486 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 10 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
Day 10 of 39 of the Battle of Central Henan, the first offensive in Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
CBI - India: Day 50 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima. The Chindits occupy Indaw near Imphal.
PTO - Marshall Islands: US 7th Air Force bombs in the Jaluit and Wotje Atolls.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 58 of 80 of the Battle of the Admiralty Islands. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 134 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 5 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. The Australians troops occupy Alexishafen.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 178 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
1945 — , April 26
ETO - France: Day 271 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
ETO - France: Day 224 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
ETO - France: Former Vichy France leader Philippe Pétain is arrested at the Swiss border.
ETO - Germany: The garrison at Bremen surrenders to British and Canadian forces. The US 3rd Army takes Regensburg on the Danube. The Allied line now stretches from the Swiss border to Lake Constance.
ETO - Germany: US 9th Air Force light and medium bombers hit Plattling Airfield.
Germany: Hermann Goering is replaced by newly promoted Field Marshal General Ritter von Greim. In the evening, Hitler gives Hanna Reitsch a vial of poison thinking she will stay with him in the bunker.
Russian Front - Center: Day 194 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia. The Soviets capture the Baltic port of Pillau.
Russian Front - Center: Day 11 of 23 of the Battle of Settin-Rostock, both sides of the border between Germany and Poland. The Soviets capture Stettin on the river Oder (now Szczecin, Poland). Day 5 of the 11-day Battle of Bautzen.
Russian Front - Center: Day 11 of 17 of the Battle of Berlin.
Russian Front - Center: Day 73 of 83 of the German Siege of Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland). The Soviets continue with their siege.
Russian Front - Center: Day 3 of 8 of the Battle of Halbe, Germany. The German 9th Army is cut off and surrounded.
Russian Front - Center: The Soviet 2nd Ukrainian Front captures Brno in Czechoslovakia.
MTO: US 15th Air Force B-24s and B-17s attack targets in Italy and Austria.
MTO - Italy: Day 21 of 27 of Operation GRAPESHOT. US 5th Army captures Verona while Italian partisans take over Genoa and start an uprising in Milan. The Allied Air Forces provide air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 82 of 99 of the Battle of Pakokku and Irrawaddy River operations in central Burma. The Indian 17th Division reaches Daiku.
CBI - Burma: Day 2 of 12 of the Battle of Rangoon. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - China: Day 2,851 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 26 of 91 of the Battle of Zhijiang. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
Day 18 of 60 of the Battle of West Hunan (near Zhijiang).
PTO - Caroline Islands: US 7th Air Force B-24s bomb Eten Island in Truk Atoll.
PTO - Japan: Japan attempts to negotiate with the Soviet Union to maintain friendly status.
PTO - Japan: US 20th Air Force B-29s bomb airfields at Usa, Oita, Saeki, Tomitaka, Imabari, Nittagahara, Miyazaki, Kanoya, Kokubu and Miyakonojo.
PTO - Japan: Day 26 of 83 of the Battle of Okinawa.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 486 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 370 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 190 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
PTO - Philippines: Day 133 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 48 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 40 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. US 5th and 7th Air Forces provide air support.
Day-By-Day listings for April 26 were last modified on Friday, January 29, 2016