This chronology has been divided into two parts: the first covers the period between September 1931 and December 1941; the second, the years of general war, 1942, 1943 and part of 1944. Events between the Japanese aggression in Manchuria (the first breach of the Kellogg-Briand Pact) and the attack on Pearl Harbor reveal the political, economic, diplomatic, and psychological pattern which formed the background of the Second World War. The period commencing with the United States' entry into the hostilities, and more particularly that which followed the establishment of the United Nations, is marked by a somewhat different pattern. Herein can be discerned the culmination of the forces of  the preceding decade and, in addition, the joint efforts of the United Nations to win the war and to establish a just peace.

In general, only events or statements of policy of major international importance have been included in either section of this report. In addition to the obvious entries, some notations have been made of domestic developments within the United States and other nations because of their international implications. Certain items, although international in character, have been excluded on the ground that their long‑range relevance within the assumptions of this work was open to question. In same cases, items have been included which, in isolation, would seem to be of less than major importance. These have been noted, nevertheless, since even small pieces of the mosaic fre­quently indicate forcibly the general trends of the period as a whole.

Where feasible, the ostensible reason advanced for a given occurrence has been included. [1] Whenever obtainable, official sources were used for documentation. It is clear, however, that reliance upon official sources becomes increasingly difficult with the approach of immediately contemporaneous events. In those cases, therefore, where official sources were unobtainable, entries have been made either without official explanation or accompanied by secondary citation. It should be pointed out that the military entries which become increasingly prominent in Part II, are a necessary exception to this technique of documentation.

In preparing; this chronology, the following tables were consulted: "Chronology of World Events, 1932 to 1941, with Special Reference to Hitler's Activities" by I. E. Ellis, August 23, 1941 (Legislative Refer­ence Service report); "Chronology of World Events, 1931 to 1942," by A. D. Jackson, April 14, 1942 (Legislative Reference Service


[1] The obvious fact should, perhaps, be noted that the official reason given is quite often not the "real" or "actual" motive for an action.

2                                              EVENTS LEADING UP TO WORLD WAR II


report); the chronologies in The Great Powers in World Politics by F. II. Simonds and Brooks Emeny, in Europe: Versailles to Warsaw by R. S. gain, in "Chronology, March 1938 to December 1941" in The Department of State Bulletin, December 27, 1941, and in the Survey of International Affairs 1931‑1938, of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. In cases of discrepancies in dates, a not infrequent occurrence, reliance has been placed principally upon the Royal Institute work for the earlier periods and on The Department of State Bulletin for the later ones. A complete list of sources cited, together with the abbreviated, form in which they appear in the text, follows:


Belgian American Educational Foundation. The Belgian Campaign and the Surrender of the Belgian Army, May 10‑28, 1940. New York, 1940. Cited: Belgian.

Belgium. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Belgium: The Official Account of What Happened 1939‑1940. London, Evans Bros., Ltd., 1941 [?]. Cited, Belgian.

Finland. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Finland Reveals Her Secret Documents on Soviet Policy March 1940‑June 1941. New York, Wilfred Funk, Inc., 1941. Cited: Finland.

Finland: Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Finnish Blue Book, the developments of Finnish‑Soviet relations during the autumn of 1939 including the official documents and the peace treaty of March 12, 1940. New York, J. B. Lippincott Company, 1940. Cited: Finnish.

Fleming., Denna Frank. The United States and World Organization 1920-33 New York, Columbia University Press, 1938. Cited: Fleming.

France. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The French Yellow Book, diplomatic doc­uments concerning the events and negotiations which preceded the opening of hostilities between Germany on the one hand, and Poland, Great Britain, and France on the other. (1938‑1939.) Published by the authority of the French Government. London, Hutchinson and Company, Ltd., 1940 [?]. Cited: French.

Germany. Foreign Office. Documents on the Events Preceding the Outbreak of the War. New York, German Library of Information, 1940. Cited: German.

Greece. Royal Greek Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Greek White Book, diplomatic documents relating to Italy's aggression against Greece. London, Hutchinson and Company, 1942. Cited: Greek.

Gooch, R. K. The Government of England. New York, D. Van Nostrand Com­pany, Inc., 1937. Cited: Gooch.

Great Britain. Foreign Office. The British War Blue Book, miscellaneous No. 9 (1939), documents concerning German-Polish relations and the outbreak of, hostilities between Great Britain and Germany on September 3, 1939, presented by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Parliament by Command of His Majesty. New York, Farrar and Rinehart, 1939. Cited: British.

Great Britain. Parliament. Official Reports, House of Lords, House of Commons. Cited: Commons, Lords.

Great Britain. Parliament. Papers by Command. Social Insurance and Allied Services, report by Sir William Beveridge. Cmd. 6404. London, His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1942.

Great Britain. Statutory Rules and Orders.

Hitler, Adolf. My New Order, edited by Raoul de Roussy de Sales. New York, Reynal and Witch  1941.

International Conciliation, No. 354 (November 1939), and No. 357 (February 1940). New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Cited: Conciliation.

Latvian Legation. Latvia in 1939‑1942; background, Bolshevik and Nazi occupation, hopes for future. Washington, D. C., Press Bureau of the Latvian Legation, 1942. Cited: Latvia.

League of Nations. Report of the Commission of Enquiry [on Manchurian crisis], October 1, 1932. Appeal by the Chinese Government. Geneva, 1932.

League of Nations. Official Journal. Geneva, October 1933. Cited: L. N. 0. J.

Lee, Dwight E. Ten Years, the world on the way to war 1930‑1940. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1942. Cited: Lee.

The London Times.

EVENTS LEADING UP TO WORLD WAR II                                        3


The New York Times. Cited: Times.

Rice, Howard C. (compiler). France 1940‑1942: a collection of documents and bibliography. Cambridge, Mass, 1942. Cited: Rice.

Royal Institute of International Affairs. The Bulletin of International News (published fortnightly), Vols. XIX‑XX (1942‑1943). London. Cited: International News.

Royal Institute of International Affairs. Documents on International Affairs. London, Oxford University Press, 1932‑1938. Cited: Doc. Int. Affairs.

Royal Institute of International Affairs. Norway and the War; September 1939-­December 1940. London, Oxford University Press, 1941. Cited: Norway.

Royal Institute of International Affairs. Survey of International Affairs, by Arnold J. Toynbee, assisted by V. M. Boulter. London, Oxford University Press, 1932‑1938. Cited: Survey.

Simonds, Frank H. and Emeny, Brooks. The Great Powers in World Politics, international relations and economic nationalism. New York, American Book Company, 1939. Cited: Simonds, Emeny.

United States. Congress. Summary of Past Policy, and of More Immediate Events, in Relation to the Pacific Area. Message from the President of the United States transmitting a summary of the past policy of this country in relation to the Pacific area and of the more immediate events leading up to this Japanese onslaught upon our forces and territory. House Document No. 458, 77th Congress, 1st Session. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1941.

United States. Congress. Development of United States Foreign Policy, addresses and messages of Franklin D. Roosevelt compiled from official sources, in­tended to present the chronological development of the foreign policy of the United States from the announcement of the good‑neighbor policy in 1933, including the war declarations. Senate Document No. 188, 77th Congress, 2d Session. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1942. Cited: Messages.

United States. Congressional Record.

United States. Department of State. Bulletin. 1939‑1943, nine volumes, Nos. 1‑235. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1939‑1943. Cited: Bulletin.

United States, Department of State. Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States. Japan: 1931‑1941. Two volumes. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1943. Cited: Japan.

United States. Department of State. Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy 1931‑1941. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1942. Cited: Peace.

United States. Department of State. Press Releases. September 19, 1931-­June 24, 1939. Nos. 103‑508. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1931‑1939. Cited: Release.

United States. Department of State. Treaty Information Bulletin. September 30, 1931‑June 30, 1939. Nos. 24‑117. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1931‑1939. Cited: Treaty Inf.

United States. Federal Register.

United States. Statutes at Large. Cited: Stat.