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Luverne, Minnesota
1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
January 10 The Lend-Lease program is introduced into U.S. Congress.
March 11

Despite opposition from isolationists, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease act to provide aid to Great Britain.

March 21

The first all-black unit of the U.S. Air Corps — the 99th Pursuit Squadron — is activated. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

April 13 Japan and Russia sign a neutrality pact.
May 27

On its first mission, the German battleship Bismarck is hunted down and sunk.

June 22

Unleashing its "Barbarossa" plan, Germany invades the Soviet Union without declaring war. Despite massing troops at the border, the Germans encounter little opposition. Hitler is now fighting a two-front war.

June 25

Under threat of a forced march on Washington, Roosevelt signs Executive Order 8802. It combats discrimination against blacks and women in the hiring practices of defense jobs. It is the first federal gesture toward civil rights since Reconstruction.

July 8 Germany and Italy declare the end of the Yugoslav nation.
July 12

With Luftwaffe raids, Germany hits Moscow for the first time.

August 2

The U.S. extends aid to the Soviet Union.

October 16

The Germans reach the gates of Moscow. Civilians flee the "Bolshoi Trap" amid panic and looting.

October 19

Soviet Premier Josef Stalin remains in Moscow, vowing that the city "will be defended to the last."

October 31

A German U-boat torpedoes and sinks the U.S.S. Reuben James off the Icelandic coast. It is the first U.S. Navy vessel sunk by enemy action in WWII.

November 16 Roosevelt extends Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union.
December 7

At 7:55 AM on a Sunday, hundreds of Japanese warplanes, launched from aircraft carriers far out at sea, attack the American Pacific fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, based on a plan by Isoroku Yamamoto. Eight battleships, including the U.S.S. Arizona, three light cruisers, three destroyers and four other naval vessels are either sunk or damaged. One hundred-sixty-four American aircraft, mostly on the ground, are destroyed. And 2,403 Americans are killed. On the day that President Roosevelt would call "a date which will live in infamy," the Japanese also hit Guam, Wake Island, the Philippines, Malaya and Hong Kong.

December 8

The U.S. declares war on Japan.

December 11 Germany and Italy declare war on the U.S.
December 22 As more than 40,000 Japanese troops come ashore north of Manila, American general Douglas MacArthur orders a retreat to Bataan.
December 23 Manila is declared an open city as the army departs.
Aerial of Ford Island during the attack on Pearl Harbor, taken from a Japanese plane. December 7, 1941.
Naval Historical Center

Aerial view of Ford Island during the attack on Pearl Harbor, taken from a Japanese plane. December 7, 1941.

Soviet Premier Josef Stalin watched the Nazis violate their non-aggression treaty with his country and drive deep into Russia.
National Archives

Soviet Premier Josef Stalin watched the Nazis violate their non-aggression treaty with his country and drive deep into Russia.

Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet and architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor, leans over a map.
National Archives

Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet and architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor, leans over a map.
Manila burns as the Japanese invade the Philippines in December.
National Archives

Manila burns as the Japanese invade the Philippines in December.