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WWII Day-By-Day
Selected: August 31
       Overview of WWII on August 31 by year...
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1929 — , August 31

  • USA: The Young Plan, which set the total WWI reparations owed by Germany at US $26,350,000,000 to be paid over a period of 58½ years, is finalized.

1935 — , August 31

  • USA: FDR signs the Neutrality Act, imposing a general embargo on trading in arms and war materials with all parties at war. It also declares that American citizens traveling on warring ships travel at their own risk.

1936 — , August 31

  • Spain: Day 46 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1937 — , August 31

  • Spain: Day 411 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 56 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 19 of 106 of the 2nd Battle of Shanghai.

1938 — , August 31

  • Spain: Day 776 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 421 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 82 of 139 of the Battle of Wuhan.

1939 — , August 31

  • UK: The Royal Navy is put on full alert and all military forces (Army and Navy) are mobilized.
  • UK: The evacuation order for London civilians is issued by the United Kingdom Ministry of Health, with a special note stressing that this does not necessarily mean that war is inevitable.
  • Germany: Hitler tells the UK that Germany will not risk war if Poland is willing to turn over Danzig and a small section of the Polish Corridor. The British Ambassador responds by saying while the United Kingdom desires peace, they will not sacrifice Poland to achieve that goal.
  • CBI - China: Day 786 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Mongolia: Day 113 of 129 of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, a border dispute between the Soviet Union and Japan.

1940 — , August 31

  • USA: President Roosevelt calls up 60,000 men of the National Guard into federal service with the US Army.
  • UK: By the end of Aug 1940, a little over 51,000 British citizens have registered as conscientious objectors.
  • Atlantic: Five British destroyers sail into German naval mines laid north of Texel, Netherlands, sinking the HMS ESK and damaging three of the others. The HMS IVANHOE will be finished off tomorrow.
  • Atlantic: German submarines attack an Allied convoy 100 miles north of Ireland. U-59 sinks the British ship BIBURY, U-38 sinks the British ship HAR ZION and U-46 sinks the Belgian passenger ship VILLE DE HASSELT.
  • ETO - UK: Day 53 of 114 of the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe bombs over a half dozen cities during the morning, RAF biggin Hill in the evening and Liverpool for the 4th consecutive night. During this past week, the Luftwaffe has lost almost 3 times as many planes as the British.
  • ETO - France: Weekly rations in Vichy France is now set at 4 oz of sugar, 6 oz of spaghetti, 1½ oz of rice and 3 oz of margarine per person.
  • ETO - Germany: The RAF bombs targets in Berlin, Cologne, Hanover and Emden.
  • East Africa: Day 83 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,152 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 291 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
    • Day 12 of 42 of the Hundred Regiments Offensive.

1941 — , August 31

  • ETO - UK: A mixed-gender anti-aircraft battery with 200 men and an equal number of women is established, with great public interest, in Richmond Park, London. These women are the first to take a combat role in Britain.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 64 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 62 of 140 of Operation ARCTIC FOX, a joint German-Finnish campaign against Soviet Northern Front defenses at Salla, Finland.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 71 of 164 of the Battle of Hanko. The Soviets continue to withdraw heading back to Leningrad.
  • Russian Front: Day 71 of 167 of Germany's Operation BARBAROSSA, the invasion of the USSR.
  • Russian Front - North: The Soviet Navy arrives in Leningrad with 28,000 soldiers and civilians evacuated from Tallinn, Estonia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 15 of 23 of the Battle of Dukhovshina, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 2 of 10 of the Battle of Yelnia, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 2 of 14 of the Battle of Roslavl-Novozybkov, Russia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 9 of 35 of the 1st Battle of Kiev, Ukraine. The German 17th Army crosses the Dnieper River southeast of Kremenchug.
  • Russian Front - South: The Germans continue building up their forces around Stalingrad.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 24 of 70 of the Siege of Odessa, Ukraine.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 144 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk.
  • Middle East: Day 7 of 24 of the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. British troops reach Hamadan, thus having secured the Persian Gulf.
  • East Africa: Day 448 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,517 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1942 — , August 31

  • Russian Front - North: Day 358 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 119 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 33 of 64 of the 1st Battle of Rzhev-Sychevka, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: The Soviet continue an offensive on the Moscow front.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 9 of 165 of the Battle of Stalingrad, the bloodiest battle in human history.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 65 of 150 of Germany's CASE BLUE.
  • MTO - Egypt: German and British tanks engage in combat near Alam el Halfa, reaching no conclusion by nightfall as the British refuse to fight in open terrain like Rommel wanted. The Germans retreat back to their starting point. US B-25s attack German vehicles behind the El Alamein battleline.
  • MTO - Libya: US B-24s bomb the harbor at Tobruk.
  • East Africa: Day 119 of 186 of the Battle of Madagascar.
  • CBI - Burma: US B-25s bomb the airfield at Myitkyina for the second consecutive day.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,882 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 109 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 86 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 194 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 42 of 119 of the Battle of the Kokoda Track. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support. The Japanese continue driving over the Owen Stanley Range toward Port Moresby.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 7 of 14 of the Battle of Milne Bay. The Australians take the offensive.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 25 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal. US 5th Army Air Force provides air support. The Japanese reinforcements who had landed last night begin an offense toward Henderson Field. Meanwhile, more US Marines arrive.

1943 — , August 31

  • Atlantic: The Japanese submarine I-8 reaches France after a marathon voyage from Penang, Malaya.
  • ETO - Germany: The RAF night bombs Berlin again.
  • ETO - France: US 8th Air Force bombs airfields and an aircraft factory.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 723 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 484 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 15 of 48 of the Battle of Bryansk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 25 of 57 of the 2nd Battle of Smolensk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 8 of 122 of the Battle of the Lower Dnieper River in Russia. The Germans begin to make limited withdrawals in the Ukraine.
  • MTO - Italy: The Allied Air Forces attack a variety of targets in Italy including Pisa and Pescara.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,247 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • US 14th Air Force attacks targets in French Indochina and China.
  • PTO - Micronesia: A US Navy carrier force bombs Marcus Island. It is the combat debut of the Grumman F6F Hellcat carrier-based fighter, which will become the US Navy's dominant fighter in the second part of WWII. For his actions in today's battles, Lt Edward "Butch" O'Hare, America's first fighter Ace of the war and first naval recipient of the Medal of Honor, will be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 132 of 148 of the 2nd Battle of Lae-Salamaua. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 17 of 56 of the Battle of Vella Lavella. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.

1944 — , August 31

  • ETO - UK: Day 80 of 86 of the V-1 "Buzz Bomb" offensive on Britain.
  • ETO - France: The British capture Amiens while the US 3rd Army reaches the Meuse River.
  • ETO - France: Day 31 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 17 of 32 of Operation DRAGOON, the Allied invasion of southern France. US and French troops continue racing up the Rhone Valley.
  • ETO - Germany: The RAF night bombs Berlin again.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 22 of 28 of the Battle of Tartu in southeastern Estonia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Soviet troops keep pouring into Poland.
  • Russian Front - South: Soviet troops capture Bucharest, the capital of Romania, and begin to round up members of the Fascist Antonescu government.
  • Russian Front - South: German troops continue withdrawing from Bulgaria.
  • MTO: US 15th Air Force bombs targets in Romania and Hungary.
  • MTO - Italy: Allied troops continue pressing the German line holding the Po Valley. Allied Air Forces provide air support. The US 5th Army crosses the Arno River in northern Italy as the British 8th Army attacks the Gothic Line.
  • MTO - France: US Air Forces bomb targets in southern France.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 153 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 10th and 14th Air Forces provide air support. The British 36th Division captures Pinbaw during a monsoon.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,613 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 137 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
  • PTO: US carrier planes(Task Force 38) begin a 3-day attack on Iwo Jima and the Bonin Island in the western Caroline Islands and Visayas Archipelago, which is the next step to the Philippines.
  • PTO - Caroline Islands: US 7th Air Force bombs on Yap and Pagan Islands.
  • PTO - Dutch New Guinea: Day 61 of 61 of the Battle of Noemfoor. All Japanese resistance comes to an end.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 261 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 132 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 79 of 80 of the Battle of Lone Tree Hill.

1945 — , August 31

  • Japan: Lt General Jonathan Wainwright, the highest-ranking American POW, is reunited with Gen Douglas MacArthur at the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama, Japan, after more than three years of brutal captivity by the Japanese.
    Spotlight...

    Wainwright (right) and MacArthur greet, August 31, 1945

    General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright greet each other at the New Grand Hotel, Yokohama, Japan, August 31, 1945, in their first meeting since they parted on Corregidor more that three years before.

    As the senior field commander of Filipino and US forces under General Douglas MacArthur, Wainwright was left to resist the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in December 1941. Allied forces had withdrawn onto the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor by January 1942, where they defended the entrance to Manila Bay. After months of gallant effort, in the interest of minimizing casualties, Wainwright surrendered to the Japanese. The brutal Bataan Death March began and for Wainwright, more than three years of captivity.

    Wainwright was held in prison camps in northern Luzon, Formosa and Liaoyuan, a county within Manchukuo until his liberation by the Red Army in August 1945. He was the highest-ranking American POW, and despite his rank, his treatment at the hands of the Japanese was not pleasant. After witnessing the Japanese surrender aboard the USS MISSOURI on 02 Sep 45, he returned to the Philippines to receive the surrender of the local Japanese commander.

    Dubbed by his men a "fighting" general who was willing to get down in the foxholes, Wainwright won the respect of all who were imprisoned with him. He agonized over his decision to surrender Corregidor throughout his captivity, feeling that he had let his country down. Upon release, the first question he asked was how people back in the US thought of him, and he was amazed when told he was considered a hero.

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  • USA: Truman writes to British Prime Minister Clement Attlee requesting that the UK accept the immigration of 100,000 European Jews into Palestine.
  • Italy: The US 12th Air Force is deactivated in Italy.
  • Pacific: The Japanese garrison at Marcus Island surrenders to the Americans.
  • Japan: Japanese submarine I-401 surrenders to USS SEGUNDO at the entrance to Tokyo Bay, Japan.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,978 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 23 of 25 of the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria.

Day-By-Day listings for August 31 were last modified on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
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