Skip PBS navigation bar, and jump to content.
Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS


The Film & More
Special Features
Timeline
Gallery
People & Events
Teacher's Guide

spacer above content
Timeline: Louis and Schmeling chronology

1905-1937 | 1938-2005  



1938

"Joe Kayos Max in 1st" Headline June 22: The second Louis-Schmeling fight takes place before a crowd of more than 70,000 at Yankee Stadium -- and a radio audience of 70 million. It lasts just 124 seconds; Schmeling, knocked out, is hospitalized.

1939

Joe Jacobs dies of a heart attack.

September: Germany invades Poland, and Britain and France declare war on Germany, starting World War II.

Schmeling is drafted into the German military. After cursory training, he is sent on a paratrooper mission over Crete. He will remain in the service until 1943.

1940

June: The German Army captures Paris.

1941

In a busy professional year, Joe Louis defends his title against a host of challengers, who earn the collective nickname, "The Bum of the Month Club."

December 8: The day after a devastating Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. enters World War II.

1942

Louis joins the U.S. Army, eventually attaining the rank of sergeant. His service consists primarily of exhibition matches to raise money for the armed forces and raise morale among the soldiers. Among his friends in the segregated service will be Lieutenant Jackie Robinson -- the future baseball great.

1948

Louis divorces Marva Trotter for the second and final time.

Max Schmeling retires from boxing.

1949

March: Louis retires from the ring for the first time, as undefeated champion.

1950

September: Louis comes out of retirement, in part to help pay back taxes.

1951

10/26/1951, Rocky Marciano Punching Joe Louis October 26: Rocky Marciano knocks out Louis in the 8th round; Louis retires from professional boxing for good.

1954

Schmeling and Louis reunite Schmeling comes to America and renews an acquaintance with Louis.

1955

Louis marries Rose Morgan; three years later, the marriage will be annulled.

1957

Schmeling is offered an opportunity to invest in Coca-Cola's German franchise. In this new phase of his life, he becomes a successful businessman and generous philanthropist.

1959

Louis marries his third wife, Martha Jefferson.

1960

Joe Louis is reunited with Max Schmeling on the popular American television program, "This Is Your Life."

1981

April 12: Joe Louis dies in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he worked in his later years as a casino greeter. President Ronald Reagan arranges for Louis to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Max Schmeling serves as a pall bearer.

1990

Joe Louis is inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and acknowledged as one of the 20th century's great heavyweight champions. His career record in 71 bouts was 68 wins and 3 losses, with 54 knockouts.

1992

Max Schmeling is inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, likewise one of the all-time greats, with a record of 56 wins (39 KOs), 10 losses, and 4 draws in a total of 70 bouts.

2005

February 2: Max Schmeling passes away at age 99. He is buried in Hollenstedt, near Hamburg, Germany, next to his wife of 54 years, Anny Ondra, who died in 1987.



1905-1937 | 1938-2005  

page created on 2.9.05 back to top
Site Navigation

The Fight Home | The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline
Gallery | People & Events | Teacher's Guide

American Experience | Feedback | Search | Shop | Subscribe | Web Credits

© New content 1997-2005 PBS Online / WGBH



The Fight American Experience

Exclusive Corporate Funding is provided by: