1940

Dec

26

1940

Hanukkah in the Warsaw ghetto

The Jewish population had been crammed into a closed ghetto since November 1940.

Hanukkah in the ghetto. Never before in Jewish Warsaw were there as many Hanukkah celebrations as in this year of the wall. But because of the sword that hovers over our heads, they are not conducted among festive crowds, publicly displaying their joy.

Dec

25

1940

A second Christmas at war

HMS Berwick, the first of the County Class Heavy Cruisers, built in 1924, seen here in a particularly striking camouflage paint.

H.M.S. Berwick reported that she had sighted an enemy 8-inch cruiser, which she engaged and drove off. Owing to low visibility the enemy was lost sight of, steering to the westward and Berwick rejoined the convoy. Berwick scored one certain hit on the raider and possibly more and received several herself, having four marines killed.

Dec

24

1940

The convoys get through

the Royal Navy was at full stretch escorting convoys

During the week ending noon Wednesday, the 25th December, 785 ships, including 145 allied and 16 neutral, were convoyed, but no ships were reported lost. Two battleships, two aircraft carriers, three cruisers, ten armed merchant cruisers, 55 destroyers, 13 sloops and 29 corvettes were employed in escort duties.

Dec

23

1940

Churchill broadcasts to the Italian people

The Italian Offensive 1940 - 1941: British troops, sitting on captured Italian motorcycles, read copies of the congratulatory telegram sent to all units after their victory by the Secretary of State for War, Mr Anthony Eden.

Your aviators have tried to cast their bombs upon London. Our armies are tearing – and will tear – your African empire to shreds and tatters. We are now only at the beginning of this sombre tale. Who can say where it will end? Presently, we shall be forced to come to much closer grips. How has all this come about, and what is it all for?

Dec

22

1940

Manchester Blitzed

A building crashes to the ground at Deansgate in the centre of Manchesteron the 22nd december 1940. Firefighters can just be discerned at the bottom right.


The following morning I cycled to work, arriving on time at 8 o’Clock and went straight to the roof to join most of the staff who had managed to get to work, enjoying the best view of the biggest fire ever seen in Manchester. Climbing on to the letter H, you could see the whole of the centre of Piccadilly ablaze from Mosely street to Portland street.

Dec

21

1940

Liverpool Blitzed

Liverpool after the raids in 1941. No city outside London suffered from the attentions of the Luftwaffe as much as Liverpool

Liverpool was probably the most important, wartime mercantile port, the destination of many convoys from America. Furthermore it was easy to locate by air, with the lights of Dublin burning across the Irish Sea. It had already received much attention from the Luftwaffe. On the night of the 28th November one direct hit on a shelter at Durning Street had killed at least 166 people…

Dec

20

1940

North African campaign boosts morale

An Italian position destroyed during Operation Compass. The military success was welcome news in Britain.

What made people happiest was the perfect timing, slickness, and coordination of the attack, showing that the bitter lessons of France and Flanders have been well and truly learned. “Speed” and “brilliance” had been ruefully looked upon as exclusively Nazi nouns for so long that it was certainly heady to find them back in the British vocabulary again.

Dec

19

1940

The Italian base at Bardia besieged

A Matilda II tank of the 7th Royal Tank Regiment in the Western Desert, 19 December 1940.

With each passing second we drew closer to the defences, and what an opportunity this was to penetrate them before the ‘gate’ was closed. I gave the order to advance with all speed and as my tank was on the road, I was soon well in the lead. We could not have been more than half a mile from the barrier when the whole desert seemed to erupt about me.

Dec

18

1940

Hitler gives the order for Barbarossa

Adolf Hitler attends a Christmas party in December 1940 with Sepp Dietrich, seated to left of micrphone, SS Obergruppenfuhrer with the Waffen SS. Ditetrich had been an early Nazi party member and had demonstrated his loyalty to Hitler with murder of SA members during the NIght of the Long Knives.

And even today the unified racial core in Germany remains the largest by far; not only in value, in itself highly significant, but also in numbers, it is the greatest. By contrast, if we compare the percentage of Lebensraum occupied by the German Volk to that of the earth as such, then we must remark that our Volk is one of the most disadvantaged peoples of the world. … In other words: the German Volk, in terms of the space it occupies, is by far the most modest there is on this earth

Dec

17

1940

Roosevelt explains the need for ‘Lend-Lease’

The United States had already agreed to supply Britain with 50 old destroyers in exchange for use of Naval bases in the Caribbean. Roosevelt's proposal now went a lot further.

Suppose my neighbor’s home catches fire, and I have a length of garden hose four or five hundred feet away. If he can take my garden hose and connect it up with his hydrant, I may help him to put out his fire. Now, what do I do? I don’t say to him before that operation, “Neighbor, my garden hose cost me $15; you have to pay me $15 for it.” What is the transaction that goes on? I don’t want $15—I want my garden hose back after the fire is over.