Germany: The opening ceremonies of the German Reichstag are held at the Garrison Church in Potsdam.
Germany: The Malicious Practices Act begin the mass arrests of communists and socialists.
Germany: A special court is established to handle crimes committed against the country. It is presided by three Nazi Party-affiliated judges and has no jury.
CBI - China: Day 80 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei. Japanese troops capture the Yiyuankou Pass.
1934 — , March 21
Germany: It becomes unlawful to spread malicious gossip, make defamatory remarks about political figures or the Nazi Party, or to utter remarks that may cause "foreign policy difficulties."
Germany: The Nazi regime reintroduces Sondergerichte Courts, special courts without the usual safeguards in legal procedure, to deal with political cases.
1937 — , March 21
Vatican: The Papacy's encyclical is to be read in all Catholic churches, expressing the Pope's concern over breaches in the Concordat agreement on education and religious freedoms in Germany.
Spain: Day 248 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
1938 — , March 21
Germany: The female prisoners at Moringen Concentration Camps are transferred to the Lichtenburg Concentration Camp, which is now a camp exclusively for women prisoners.
Spain: Day 613 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 258 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 43 of 124 of the Battle of Henan. The Chinese 31st Division arrives at Jiangsu Province in response to a recent Japanese attack.
1939 — , March 21
Germany: Hitler reiterates his demands to Poland insisting they return the City of Danzig and the "Polish Corridor" back to the Reich.
Germany: The heavy cruiser DEUTSCHLAND sets sail for Memel, Lithuania. Meanwhile, Germany demands that Lithuania send representatives to the warship on the following day to sign Memel over to Germany.
Spain: Day 978 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 623 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 5 of 54 of the Battle of Nanchang. Japanese troops cross the Xiushui River in Jiangxi Province.
1940 — , March 21
Atlantic: German sub U-38 sinks the neutral Danish merchant ship ALGIER 15 miles north of the Shetland Islands, Scotland. Later, U-38 torpedoes another Danish ship, CHRISTIANBORG.
ETO - France: Paul Reynaud becomes Prime Minister of France and former PM Edouard Daladier is appointed as his Minister of Defense and War.
Middle East: British and Turkish delegations meet in Syria.
CBI - China: Day 989 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 128 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
Day 54 of 67 of the Battle of Wuyuan. Chinese troops recapture Japanese-occupied Wuyuan.
1941 — , March 21
USA: The Japanese oceanliner TATSUTA MARU departs from San Francisco. Among the passengers is German Army General Werner Thiel.
Atlantic: German sub U-105 attacks an Allied convoy 500 miles west of Cap Blanc, French West Africa, sinking British ships CLAN OGILVY and JHELUM.
ETO - UK: Day 197 of 258 of the Blitz. The ports of Plymouth, Bristol and London are hit, sinking one ship at each.
MTO - Yugoslavia: Yugoslavians protest Prince Paul's pact with Hitler. More of his ministers resign in protest.
MTO: The Luftwaffe attacks an Allied convoy between Greece and Egypt, sinking the Greek ship EMBIRICOS NICOLAOS and damaging the Norwegian tanker SOLHEIM.
MTO - Libya: After a three month siege to the Italian garrison at Giarabub, the Australian troops begin a large scale assault.
East Africa: Day 285 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt. The Nigerian Brigade of British 11th African Division attacks the Italian defenses at Marda Pass in eastern Abyssinia. The Italian defenses hold off for hours before falling back after sundown.
East Africa - Eritrea: Day 45 of 56 of the Battle of Keren.
CBI - China: Day 1,354 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 8 of 27 of the Battle of Shanggao.
CBI - Thailand: Day 172 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).
1942 — , March 21
UK: The United Kingdom discusses plans for Indian independence after the war.
Atlantic: Day 67 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
U-124 sinks US tanker ESSO NASHVILLE off Wilmington, North Carolina. On the same day, U-124 also sinks US tanker ATLANTIC SUN.
Germany: Jews from the Lublin ghettos are deported to Belzec, Majdanek and other concentration camps. Hitler places Fritz Sauckel in charge of mobilizing forced laborers from all occupied territories.
Germany: Germany introduces new harsh laws against unnecessary rail travel.
Russian Front - North: Day 195 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 42 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 58 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. Another attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - Center: Day 73 of 103 of the Battle of Vyazma, Russia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 73 of 103 of the Battle of Sychevsk, Russia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 19 of 49 of the Battle of Rzhev, Russia, a diversion to pull more German troops away from Moscow.
Russian Front - South: Day 143 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
CBI - Burma: Day 98 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. The Japanese are holding most of the Burma Road in Thailand and Burma.
CBI - China: Day 1,719 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 88 of 99 of the 3rd Battle of Changsha.
PTO - Borneo: Day 96 of 107 of the Battle of Borneo.
PTO - Malaya: Day 31 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
PTO - Philippines: Day 104 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines. 5th Air Force provides air support.
1943 — , March 21
USA: Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) pilot Cornelia Fort is killed during an aircraft ferrying mission in Texas, becoming the first female pilot in American history to die in active duty. She was a civilian flight instructor in Pearl Harbor on 07 Dec 41 and was giving a flying lesson when the Japanese attack began.
Cornelia Fort with a PT-19A
The "Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron" (WAFS) would later be called the "Women Airforce Service Pilots" (WASP).
Cornelia Fort was a civilian instructor pilot at an airfield near Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when the Japanese attacked on 07 Dec 41. As depicted in a scene in the 1970 movie Tora! Tora! Tora!, it was Cornelia Fort that inadvertently encountered a wave of attacking Zeros while instructing a student pilot. She quickly landed her plane at John Rodgers civilian airport near the mouth of Pearl Harbor, but was pursued by a Zero that strafed the plane and runway as she and her student ran for cover. The airport manager was killed.
Two other civilian planes did not return that morning, both washing ashore days later, riddled with bullet holes.
Scene depicting Cornelia Fort's encounter from the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!
Many online sources credit the actress portraying the character in this film as none other than Vivian Vance, best known for her role as sidekick Ethyl Mertz in the classic TV sitcom I Love Lucy. Unfortunately, that is not true. She was played by character actress Jean "Jeff" Donnell. But she sure looked and sounded like Vivian. However, in the movie, her student Davey refers to her as "Mrs Varden" which makes the entire scene a composite characterization of Cornelia Fort's adventure that day and not a factual one.
Dates related to Women pilots in WWII...
28 Jun 39: Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force formed
11 Jan 40: Britain's Women's Section of ATA first delivery
USA: The submarine USS COD is launched. She is now permanently moored in Cleveland, Ohio, and is open to visitors.
ETO: After 4 months of public silence, Hitler makes a Hero's Day speech.
Russian Front - North: Day 560 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 40 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 321 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 20 of 30 of the 3rd Battle of Rzhev-Sychevka, Russia.
MTO - Tunisia: Day 125 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support. Day 6 of 12 of the UK's Operation PUGILIST. New Zealand troops bypass the Mareth Line and engage the surprised Germans at the Tebaga Gap.
MTO - Tunisia: Lt Col Derek Seagram is awarded posthumously the Victoria Cross for leading the New Zealand attack at the Tebaga Gap. He inspired his men by being first across the scaling ladders over the German anti-tank ditches but was mortally wounded in the fighting.
CBI - Burma: Day 91 of 104 of the 1st Battle of Arakan. US 10th Air Force provides air support. The British stop their offense in Arakan Peninsula and begin falling back to the Maungdaw-Buthidaung line.
CBI - Burma: Day 42 of 79 of the Allied Operation LONGCLOTH.
CBI - China: Day 2,084 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
CBI - Indochina: US 14th Air Force hits targets in French Indochina.
PTO - Alaska: Day 288 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. US 11th Air Force warplanes bomb Kiska Island, hitting the Main Camp area.
1944 — , March 21
ETO - UK: Day 61 of 130 of the Luftwaffe's Operation Steinbock, the last strategic air offensive on southern England that will be known as the Baby Blitz.
ETO - France: US 8th Air Force: B-24s hit V-weapon sites at Watten.
Russian Front - North: Day 49 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops in the Baltic region remain in a defensive position.
Russian Front - South: Day 89 of 113 of the USSR's Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive in southwestern Ukraine.
Russian Front - South: Day 18 of 45 of the Battle of Chernovtsy, Ukraine.
Russian Front - South: Day 16 of 44 of the Battle of Snigirevka, Ukraine.
Russian Front - South: More Romanian troops arrive in Hungary to assist in the German occupation.
MTO - Italy: Aided by Albanian partisans after months behind enemy lines, 29 flight nurses and medics from the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron who crash-land in a Douglas C-53 transport in Nazi-occupied Albania on 08 Nov 43 finally make it back to freedom.
MTO - Italy: Day 4 of 6 of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Smoke boiling from the crater into the sky can be seen for miles. Traffic in the area is impeded with increased cinders and ash.
MTO - Italy: Day 65 of 123 of the Battle of Monte Cassino. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops.
MTO - Italy: Day 60 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops.
CBI - Burma: Day 83 of 99 of the 2nd Battle of Arakan.
CBI - Burma: Day 17 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY. British Chindits troops attack Indaw.
CBI - Burma: Day 12 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - China: Day 2,450 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
CBI - India: Day 14 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima. Day 2 of 7 of the Battle of Sangshak. The Japanese beat the British troops near Ukhrul. General Wingate begins moving his HQ from Imphal to Sylhet, thus causing some confusion in the Indaw offensive.
PTO - Marshall Islands: US 7th Air Force attacks targets in the Marshalls.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 22 of 80 of the Battle of the Admiralty Islands. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 185 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 98 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 142 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
1945 — , March 21
USA - Washington: An US 4th Air Force P-63 from Walla Walla intercepts a Japanese balloon near Redmond, Washington. After a long chase that includes two refueling stops, he shoots it down near Reno, Nevada.
ETO UK: A German V-2 rocket hits the Packard factory in London, destroying it, damaging 13 factories and 662 houses. Another rocket hits Primrose Hill in St Pancras, London.
ETO - France: Day 234 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
ETO - France: Day 188 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
ETO: Day 62 of 66 of the Battle to the Rhine. Day 16 of 20 of the Battle of Ramagen. US 9th Air Force provides air support.
ETO - Germany: Day 15 of 46 of the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket. US 1st Army advances toward Siegburg.
ETO - Germany: Day 30 of 36 consecutive RAF night raids on Berlin.
ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force bombs targets in western Germany in preparation for advancing ground troops.
Russian Front - Finland: Day 188 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 158 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 56 of 75 of the Battle of Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia).
Russian Front - Center: Day 9 of 10 of the Battle of Braunsberg, East Prussia. Soviets capture Braunsberg.
Russian Front - Center: Day 55 of 63 of the Battle of the Heiligenbeil Pocket in East Prussia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 40 of 54 of the Battle of East Pomerania, Germany.
Russian Front - Center: Day 37 of 83 of the German Siege of Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland).
Russian Front - Center: Day 7 of 17 of the USSR's Upper Silesian Offensive in Germany (today Poland).
Russian Front - South: Day 16 of 16 of the Battle of Drava (a river in Bulgaria). The 1st Bulgarian Army with additional troops from Ukraine and Yugoslavia have defeated the German offensive.
Russian Front - South: Day 9 of 34 of the Battle of Vienna, Austria. Soviet troops capture Stuhlweissenburg.
MTO: US 15th Air Force bombs targets in Germany, Austria and Yugoslavia.
MTO - Italy: RAF and US Air Forces provide air support for the Allied ground units.
CBI: US 14th Air Force attacks targets in French Indochina and ships in the South China Sea.
CBI - Burma: Day 46 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 2,815 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO - Japan: The Japanese make their first operational sortie with the Yokosuka Ohka (Cherry Blossom) suicide plane. All 16 aircraft are intercepted short of target and are forced to jettison their weapons.
PTO - Japan: US 7th Air Force attacks targets on Chichi Jima Island.
PTO - Japan: Day 31 of 36 of the Battle of Iwo Jima. US 7th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 450 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 334 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 153 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
PTO - Philippines: Day 97 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 12 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 4 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. 5th Air Force provides air support.
Day-By-Day listings for March 21 were last modified on Sunday, March 21, 2021