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Selected: August 23
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1936 — , August 23

  • Spain: Day 38 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1937 — , August 23

  • Spain: Day 403 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War. Near Santander, the Basque forces in the Spanish Republican army surrender.
  • CBI - China: Day 48 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 11 of 106 of the 2nd Battle of Shanghai.

1938 — , August 23

  • Germany: Adolf Hitler hosts Hungarian Regent Miklós Horthy at Kiel in an attempt to recruit him to assist in the aggression against Czechoslovakia. Hitler offers him some Czechoslovakian territory for his help.
  • Spain: Day 768 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 413 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 74 of 139 of the Battle of Wuhan.

1939 — , August 23

  • UK: The Ministry of Information begins printing the motivational "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" poster in preparation for the outbreak of war. Although 2.45 million copies will be printed, the poster will be rarely displayed publicly and will remain virtually unknown until a copy is rediscovered in 2000 at a bookshop in a small village in Northumberland. Only then will it spread worldwide to retroactively become an iconic symbol of WWII.
    Spotlight...

    KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

    Some 2,450,000 copies of the "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" poster were printed between 23 Aug 39 and 03 Sep 39, and were ready to be placed up within 24 hours of the impending outbreak of war. However, it was not sanctioned for immediate public display. It was instead decided that the poster should remain in "cold storage" until the onset of anticipated German air raids.

    Resources were then transferred to printing the two other posters in this "Home Publicity" series: "FREEDOM IS IN PERIL..." and "YOUR COURAGE..." Copies of "KEEP CALM..." were retained until April 1940, but, in light of an increasing paper shortages, stocks were pulped as part of a wider Paper Salvage campaign. All but some 17 copies were recycled and the poster slipped into obscurity.The only exception was in an October 1940 edition of the Yorkshire Post which reported the poster as hanging in a shop in Leeds.

    The poster conveyed a clear Victorian "stiff upper lip" stoicism of British self-discipline, fortitude and remaining calm in adversity. When it surfaced in 2000, it was re-issued by a number of private companies and was soon used as the decorative theme for a range of products that skyrocketed into popular culture worldwide.

    The other two "Home Publicity" posters

    A Tale of Two Posters...

    The "KEEP CALM..." poster's history is amazingly similar to that of the American "We Can Do It!" poster, which was displayed for two short weeks in February of 1943 to war production factory workers in a few plants in East Pittsburgh and the Midwest.

    It, too, was known by very few people during the war and slipped into obscurity, this one until the 1980s when it (and its public domain copyright status) resurfaced and retroactively became not only a World War II icon, but also a strong symbol of female empowerment.

    Both posters were virtually unknown until decades after the war, only to become enduring, iconic symbols of World War II.

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  • France:France partially mobilizes their military to bolster their border defenses.
  • USSR: Germany and the USSR sign a non-aggression pact in Moscow, a severe blow to the hopes of Britain, France and Poland, since one of the clauses agrees that the countries between Germany and the USSR will be split between them. It also gives Russia a free hand in the Baltic states and Bessarabia.
  • CBI - China: Day 778 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Mongolia: Day 105 of 129 of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, a border dispute between the Soviet Union and Japan.

1940 — , August 23

  • Atlantic: German sub U-37 sinks the Norwegian ship KERET 500 miles west of Ireland. In the same general area, U-37 sinks the British ship SEVERN LEIGH.
  • ETO - UK: Day 45 of 114 of the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe bombs central London for the first time during the night (actually tomorrow morning).
  • MTO - Tunisia: British destroyer HMS HOSTILE hits a mine 18 miles off Cape Bon. After the survivors are rescued, the ship is scuttled.
  • MTO - Libya: The Australian cruiser HMAS SYDNEY, Australian destroyer HMAS STUART and British destroyers HMS DIAMOND, HMS ILEX and HMS JUNO bombard the Italian seaplane base at Bomba.
  • East Africa: Day 75 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,144 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 283 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
    • Day 4 of 42 of the Hundred Regiments Offensive.

1941 — , August 23

  • Atlantic: The HMS ZINNIA is sunk by German sub U-564 off the coast of Portugal.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 56 of 142 of Operation SILVER FOX, a joint German-Finnish campaign to capture the Russian port of Murmansk in the Arctic.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 54 of 140 of Operation ARCTIC FOX, a joint German-Finnish campaign against Soviet Northern Front defenses at Salla, Finland.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 63 of 164 of the Battle of Hanko.
  • Russian Front: Day 63 of 167 of Germany's Operation BARBAROSSA, the invasion of the USSR.
  • Russian Front - North: German Army Group North continues encircling Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 7 of 23 of the Battle of Dukhovshina, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 31 of 38 of the Battle of Gomel, Belarus.
  • Russian Front - Center: Hitler rejects the advice from his Generals to attack Moscow and instead he moves even more troops to the south.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 1 of 35 of the 1st Battle of Kiev, Ukraine. German Army Groups South and Centre launch an attack on Kiev.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 16 of 70 of the Siege of Odessa, Ukraine.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 136 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk.
  • East Africa: Day 440 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,509 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1942 — , August 23

  • Russian Front - South: Day 1 of 165 of the Battle of Stalingrad. The Germans begin their attack with an air raid followed by a massive assault with tanks, but the Soviets manage to hold them off.
    Spotlight...

    Unknown cartoon depicting the plight of Stalingrad

    The Battle of Stalingrad turned the city into a landscape of apocalyptic ruin and altered the course of the war. For Germany, the Battle of Stalingrad was one of the worst defeats in its history, while for Russia it was one of its greatest victories.

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  • Russian Front - North: Day 350 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 111 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 25 of 64 of the 1st Battle of Rzhev-Sychevka, Russia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 57 of 150 of Germany's CASE BLUE. The Germans plant a Swastika flag on the top of Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in the Caucasus. This marks their deepest penetration as some of their units are ordered to go help out in Stalingrad.
  • MTO - Libya: US B-24s bomb at Tobruk.
  • East Africa: Day 111 of 186 of the Battle of Madagascar.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,874 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 101 of 124 of Japan's Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign, launched to punish anyone suspected of aiding the Doolittle raiders in China. Roughly 250,000 Chinese will be killed.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 78 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 186 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 34 of 119 of the Battle of the Kokoda Track. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 17 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal. US 5th Army Air Force provides air support.

1943 — , August 23

  • ETO - Germany: The RAF night bomb Berlin.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 715 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 476 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 50 of 50 of the Battle of Kursk, Russia. After suffering a heavy defeat, the surviving Germans pull out the area.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 7 of 48 of the Battle of Bryansk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 17 of 57 of the 2nd Battle of Smolensk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 42 of 48 of the USSR's Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive.
  • MTO - Italy: The US submarine chasers SC-694 and SC-696 are sunk by Luftwaffe JU-88s off the coast of Palermo, Sicily.
  • MTO - Italy: The Allied Air Forces attack targets at Battipaglia, Bari, and a factory near Cagliari, Sardinia.
  • CBI - Burma: US 10th Air Force B-25s knock out the Myitnge bridge.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,239 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Fighters of the Chinese Air Force intercept Japanese bombers attempting to bomb at Chongqing. This becomes Japan's last major attack on Chongqing.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 124 of 148 of the 2nd Battle of Lae-Salamaua. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 65 of 67 of the Battle of New Georgia. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 9 of 56 of the Battle of Vella Lavella. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.

1944 — , August 23

  • ETO - UK: The worst air accident in Britain during WWII occurs when a B-24 Liberator, attempting to land at Warton airbase during a violent thunderstorm, crashes into Holy Trinity School at Freckleton, Lancashire in northwestern England, killing 61 people, including 38 children, their 2 teachers, 3 aircrew, several residents and US and RAF personnel in the Sad Sack Snack Bar across the road from the school.
    Spotlight...

    The worst air accident in Britain during WWII

    Two newly refurbished B-24s, prior to delivery to the 2nd Combat Division, departed USAAF Base Air Depot 2 at Warton Aerodrome on a test flight at 10:30 am. Due to an impending violent storm, both were recalled. By the time they had returned to the vicinity of the aerodrome, however, the wind and rain had significantly reduced visibility, with wind velocities approaching 60 mph, water spouts in the Ribble Estuary and flash flooding in Southport and Blackpool.

    Many of the pilots coming to the UK commonly believed that British storms were little more than gentle showers. The investigation following the Freckleton Air Disaster recommended that all US trained pilots should be emphatically warned of the dangers of British thunderstorms.

    A memorial garden and children's playground were opened in August 1945, in memory of those lost, the money for the playground equipment having been raised by American airmen at the Warton airbase. A fund for a memorial hall was started and the hall was finally opened in September 1977. In addition to a memorial in the village churchyard, a marker was placed at the site of the accident in 2007.

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  • ETO - UK: Day 72 of 86 of the V-1 "Buzz Bomb" offensive on Britain. A German V-1 rocket kills 211 people in East Barnet, Hertfordshire.
  • ETO - France: Southeast of Paris, US troops reach Melun while French troops make it to Bordeaux. Hitler orders Paris to be destroyed, but Lt General Hans Speidel refuses to carry out the order.
  • ETO - France: The Drancy holding camp for French Jews near Paris is liberated by Allied troops.
  • ETO - France: Day 23 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 9 of 32 of Operation DRAGOON, the Allied invasion of southern France. Allied troops continue racing up the Rhone Valley.
  • ETO - Germany: The RAF makes its heaviest raid to date on Berlin.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 14 of 28 of the Battle of Tartu in southeastern Estonia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 27 of 32 of the Battle of Kaunas, Lithuania.
  • Russian Front: Day 8 of 12 of the German Operation DOPPELKOPF in Lithuania. This was mounted to restore the connection between German Army Groups North and Centre.
  • Russian Front - Center: Soviet troops keep pouring into Poland.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 4 of 10 of the Battle of Romania, 2nd Jassy Offensive. King Michael I of Romania dismisses his head of state and brings his country over to the Soviet side. Romania and Russia agree on armistice terms.
  • MTO: US 15th Air Force bombs targets in Austria and Italy.
  • MTO - Italy: Allied troops continue pressing the German line holding the Po Valley. Allied Air Forces provide air support.
  • MTO - France: US Air Forces bomb targets in southern France.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 145 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 10th and 14th Air Forces provide air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,605 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 129 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
  • PTO: The USS TANG sinks the Japanese transport TSUKUSHI MARU.
  • PTO - Caroline Islands: US planes hits targets on Ponape Island.
  • PTO - Dutch New Guinea: Day 53 of 61 of the Battle of Noemfoor. Although the island has been declared secured, bitter fighting from Japanese continues.
  • PTO - Mariana Islands: The US Navy begins a four-day bombardment on the Aguijan Islands.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 253 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 124 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 71 of 80 of the Battle of Lone Tree Hill.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 45 of 47 of the Battle of Driniumor River.

1945 — , August 23

  • Burma: The Japanese in Burma say they are now ready to surrender having "clarified the position."
  • Japan: The Japanese official casualty figures from air raids including the atomic bombs are 260,000 killed, 412,000 injured and 9.2 million homeless, along with 44 cities completely destroyed.
  • Philippines: Douglas MacArthur orders 5,000 Filipino internees in Manila freed.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,970 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 15 of 25 of the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria. The Soviet Union announces that all Japanese resistance in the Manchuria region of northeastern China has ceased. Meanwhile, Soviet troops receive the surrender of the Japanese garrison at Paramushiro in the Kurile Islands.

Day-By-Day listings for August 23 were last modified on Thursday, April 6, 2017
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