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31 Jul 1940
  • German submarine U-99 sank British ship Jamaica Progress at 0138 hours (killing 7) and British ship Jersey City at 1324 hours (killing 2) 50 miles north of Ireland. She was attacked by depth charges by escort vessels and a bomb from a flying boat, but she was able to escape undamaged. ww2dbase [First Happy Time | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Whitshed hit a mine off Harwich, Essex, England and lost most of her bow, but she able to be towed to Harwich by the stern by destroyer HMS Wild Swan. She would remain under repair at Chatham, Kent, England until 21 Dec 1940. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin sank British ship Domingo De Larringa in the South Atlantic 1,000 miles east of Pernambuco, Brazil. 8 were killed and 30 were taken prisoner. ww2dbase [Pinguin | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Spearfish departed Rosyth, Scotland, United Kingdom to patrol off the Norwegian coast. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Heavy cruisers USS Wichita and USS Quincy arrived at Bahia, Brazil. ww2dbase [Quincy (New Orleans-class) | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler announced that he would decide whether the invasion of Britain was to take place in mid-Sep 1940 or May 1941 in a few days; the progress of the Luftwaffe campaign over Britain would be among the key factors in his decision process. ww2dbase [Adolf Hitler | CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop, upon learning that the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, was departing for the Bahamas soon, issued an order to send the British royalty another message overnight, stressing the fact that Germany was attempting to avoid armed conflict with the United Kingdom, which could be achieved with the duke was willing to assist, beginning by not departing Europe for the Bahamas. ww2dbase [Joachim von Ribbentrop | CPC]
  • Philippe Leclerc was promoted to the rank of major (Chef d'escadron). ww2dbase [Philippe Leclerc | CPC]
  • The Germans appointed a commissioner with broad powers to oversee Radio Bruxelles in Belgium. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • At Adolf Hitler's residence near Berchtesgaden, M√ľnchen-Oberbayern, Germany, German military leaders were advised of Hitler's plan to attack the Soviet Union. Hitler made it clear that an invasion of the USSR was a way of securing mastery of Europe, as the fall of the USSR would certainly force Britain to surrender. The military leaders were told to expect the invasion to start in May 1941, and would likely last about five months. ww2dbase [Operation Barbarossa | Berchtesgaden, M√ľnchen-Oberbayern | TH]
Italy Japan
  • Mitsubishi delivered the first production Zero fighter to the Japanese Navy. ww2dbase [A6M Zero | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • While German Army and Navy leadership continued to disagree over the plans for the invasion of Britain (with Admiral Erich Raeder convincing Adolf Hitler to delay the invasion until mid-Sep 1940), the Luftwaffe moved forth with its plans and began to shift the main target from English Channel shipping to RAF airfields in southern England. Although 77 RAF aircraft were destroyed and 43 were damaged (along with 67 airmen killed and 23 wounded), aircraft production during the month was greater than aircraft lost. ww2dbase [Battle of Britain | England | TH]
  • American ambassador in London, England, United Kingdom Joseph Kennedy relayed to US Secretary of State Cordell Hull another request from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill for destroyers. "If we cannot get reinforcement," Churchill noted, "the whole fate of the war may be decided by this minor and easily remediable factor." ww2dbase [Winston Churchill | London, England | CPC]
United States
  • The United States Government prohibited the export of aviation petrol outside of the American continent. ww2dbase [AC]

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
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935

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