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21 Jun 1941
  • Soviet military attaché to France Major General Ivan Sousloparov warned his superiors in Moscow, Russia of a potential German invasion, which Joseph Stalin immediately disregarded as British provocation. Stalin's opinion was agreed by head of Soviet State Security Lavrentiy Beria, who told Joseph Stalin that Germany would not attack the Soviet Union in 1941. Georgy Zhukov disagreed, but it would not be until 1905 hours when the military attaché to Germany Mikhail Vorontsov provided concrete evidence of German movement when Stalin and the Politburo were finally convinced to organize two new wartime fronts (rather than peacetime military districts) to prepare the defenses. By the time the telegrams were deciphered many units would already be bombed by German aircraft. Elsewhere, in the evening, Soviet Foreign Minister Vycheslav Molotov met with German Ambassador Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg and asked him regarding the rumors of invasion, which Schulenburg denied as false. Within hours, however, to Schulenburg's surprise, he would receive orders from his superiors to destroy documents, code books, ciphers, and communications equipment, and he would receive a declaration of war to be delivered to Molotov in the morning. ww2dbase [Operation Barbarossa | AC, CPC]
  • Vichy France enacted a law to exclude Jews from schools. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Free French troops captured the city of Damascus in the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon, but fighting would continue in the surrounding villages. Elsewhere in the region, at the village of Mezze, the Indian 5th Infantry Brigade surrendered to Vichy French troops after being surrounded for two days; the victorious Vichy French troops, however, would fall back toward Beirut, allowing Australian troops to capture the village later on the same day. ww2dbase [Campaigns in the Middle East | AC]
  • After dark, German bombers bombed Southampton, England, United Kingdom and dropped many naval mines in surrounding waters. The bombing caused a leak in the King George V Dry Dock, and demolished the down-line platform of the Southern Railway Central Station, blocking much rail traffic. ww2dbase [Battle of Britain | CPC]
  • In the afternoon, Adolf Hitler wrote a message to Benito Mussolini, informing him of the upcoming invasion of the Soviet Union. This message would not reach Mussolini until early in the next day, less than an hour before the operation began. ww2dbase [Adolf Hitler | CPC]
  • Soviet aircraft engineer A. M. Isayev proposed to use compressed air rather than a pump to force propellant into the rocket engine that he was developing for a new fighter design. ww2dbase [BI | CPC]
  • Over France, Oberstleutnant Adolf Galland was shot down for the first time after scoring his 68th and 69th victories, both of which were British Blenheim aircraft; the fighters that shot him down were British Spitfire fighters from No. 145 Squadron RAF; Galland crash landed his fighter in a grassy field, returned to base, and took off from another mission by the afternoon. After achieving his 70th kill in the afternoon, he was shot down again. This time he ditched the aircraft, his parachute barely opening before reaching ground, and was brought to a first aid station by French civilians using a horse-drawn cart. When he returned to base that evening, he found that he had been awarded Swords to his Knight's Cross for achieving 69 kills. ww2dbase [Adolf Galland | AC, CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Bf 109E aircraft off Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France. ww2dbase [Douglas Bader | Boulogne-sur-Mer, Nord-Pas-de-Calais | CPC]
Japan Poland
  • Semyon Timoshenko belatedly ordered the manning of fortifications along the Molotov Line in Soviet-occupied Poland, but only some would be ready for fighting when the German invasion commenced in few hours time. ww2dbase [Semyon Timoshenko | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Jun 1941
Danish woman working in a German factory, 21 Jun 1941; she could be identified as Danish by her German Army SdKfz. 251 halftrack vehicles advancing toward the Russian border, 21 Jun 1941Troops of the Indian 4th Division decorating the side of their truck with

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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Famous WW2 Quote
"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You win the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"

George Patton, 31 May 1944

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