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Luverne, Minnesota
1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
March 19 The British drop the first bombs on German soil as the RAF hits the seaplane base at Hornum.
April 9

Germany invades Denmark and Norway with the first major airborne attacks on Allied forces.

May 10

Germany invades Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Because of the failure of his appeasement policies, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigns. Forming a coalition government, Winston Churchill replaces him. Standing alone, Churchill soon began conferring with U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt for aid to the British cause.

May 12 The Germans cross the French border.
June 4

Leaving behind weapons and supplies at Dunkirk, the British evacuate over 338,000 soldiers from France.

June 10 Italy joins the war as an ally of Germany.
June 11

Italy declares war against the Allies. Great Britain, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India and South Africa declare war on Italy. General Hering, the military governor of Paris, declares the French capital an open city to prevent its destruction.

June 14 The Germans march into Paris.
June 21

France accepts German armistice terms, establishing the Vichy Government under Marshal Petain.

July 3

A British airborne attack sinks French vessels at Oran and Mers-el-Kebir to prevent them from passing into German possession.

August 13

The Battle of Britain begins. The air war designed to destroy the RAF and ease the German invasion opens with the Luftwaffe outnumbering its opponent in operational aircraft: 2,669-to-704.

September 7

The London Blitz starts as Germany, attempting to weaken the country's resolve, bombs the British capital.

September 19

The U.S. Congress passes the Selective Service Act. It calls for the first peacetime draft in American history. To serve, men had to be five feet tall, weigh 105 pounds, have correctable vision and at least half their teeth.

September 27 Germany, Italy and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact. It recognizes their right to establish a new order in Europe and Asia.
October 16

Close to 16 million American men between the ages of 21 and 36 are required to register at one of 6,500 draft boards across the country. Nearly 50 million men would register during the war.

October 28

The Italians invade Greece.

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Before America entered the war, Britain’s Winston Churchill pressured President Roosevelt for assistance.
National Archives

Before America entered the war, Britain’s Winston Churchill pressured President Roosevelt for assistance.

The German blitzkrieg displaced many civilians, like this Belgian family, as the Nazis stormed across Europe.
Library of Congress

The German blitzkrieg displaced many civilians, like this Belgian family, as the Nazis stormed across Europe.

In Luverne, Minnesota, a family examines a list of draftees.
Rock County Star Herald

In Luverne, Minnesota, a family examines a list of draftees.