December 1939

Dec

31

1939

Goebbels broadcasts his New Year message

“All Germans know what we are doing, and the entire German people is filled with fanatical resolve. There is no comparison here to the World War. Germany today is economically, politically, militarily and spiritually ready to respond to the attack of the enemy”

Dec

31

1939

Reflections on the end of 1939 in Britain

There are no bright lights this year, and there will be no sirens or horns sounded at midnight to-night, lest they be confused with air-raid warnings.

Dec

28

1939

No fraternisation on the Western Front

On the Rhine front a tentative attempts by the garrison of a German casemate to fraternise with French troops was interrupted by French machine gun fire.

Dec

25

1939

King George VI broadcasts to the Empire

“A new year is at hand. We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle we shall remain undaunted.”

Dec

22

1939

A cold winter arrives in Europe

The movement of ships in convoys, the laying of huge mine fields by both Britain and Germany, the sinking of ships and the widespread use of explosives to sink mines, and in the use of depth charges to seek to destroy submarines were responsible for ‘mixing up’ the warm and cold water layers of the sea.

Dec

20

1939

Captain Langsdorff commits suicide

” For a captain with a sense of honor, it goes without saying that his personal fate cannot be separated from that of his ship.”

Dec

18

1939

The Battle of the Heligoland Bight

Both sides massively over-claimed. German pilots claimed 34 Wellingtons shot down whereas only 22 Wellingtons took part in the mission (two had turned back with engine trouble). Actual RAF losses were 10 shot down, 2 ditched on the return run and 3 crash landed at base.

Dec

18

1939

Stalin’s 60th birthday telegrams

“On behalf of the working people of Finland, who are fighting shoulder to shoulder with the heroic Red Army to liberate their country from the yoke of the whiteguard hangmen and hirelings of foreign warmongers, for the victory of the independent Democratic Republic of Finland …”

Dec

17

1939

The Admiral Graf Spee is scuttled

The Graf Spee burning after being scuttled in the River Plate

Dec

16

1939

Captain Langsdorff believes he is trapped

Battle Damage to the Graf Spee

‘If a break-through would result in certain destruction of Graf Spee, without opportunity of damaging enemy, request decision on whether the ship should be scuttled in spite of insufficient depth in the estuary of the La Plata, or whether internment is to be preferred’