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World War II Database

1 Dec 1941
  • Japanese luxury ocean liner Hikawa Maru entered Mitsubishi Zosen yard for conversion into a hospital ship; naval surgeon Captain Kanai Izumi took command of the ship. ww2dbase [Hikawa Maru | CPC]
  • Japanese Navy changed its communications code. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt ordered US Navy yacht Isabel and two other small vessels to be deployed off of the coast of Indochina; they were planned to be bait for the Japanese to fire the first shot, should war become unavoidable. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • American river gunboats Luzon and Oahu, submarine rescue vessel Pigeon, and minesweeper Finch set sail from China toward Philippine Islands, under the watchful eyes of a Japanese floatplane and several naval vessels. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German 15th Panzer Division practically wiped out the 20th Battalion of New Zealand 2nd Division at Belhamed, Libya, but the attack was driven off by tanks of the British 4th Armoured Brigade. ww2dbase [Operation Crusader | CPC]
  • The Japanese ambassador in Germany Hiroshi Oshima was ordered to secure Joachim von Ribbentrop's signature on a document which stated that Germany would declare war on the United States should Japan and US enter a state of war. ww2dbase [Hiroshi Oshima | CPC]
  • SS-Standartenfuhrer Jager submitted a report dated on this day, noting that his Einsatzgruppen, operating in Lithuania, had killed 99,804 Jews in that country to this date. In the same report, the detachment also under Jager sent to Minsk, Byelorussia reported killing 620 adult male, 1,285 adult female, and 1,126 children, all Jews; 19 communists were also executed in Minsk by this detachment. ww2dbase [Discovery of Concentration Camps and the Holocaust | CPC]
  • German submarine U-96, having escaped British air attacks in the Bay of Biscay, surfaced at 0445 hours and returned to France. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Three German infantry divisions and one German armored division advanced along the Minsk-Moscow highway, penetrating through the lines of the Soviet 33rd Army, capturing Naro-Fominsk 43 miles southwest of Moscow, Russia. ww2dbase [Battle of Moscow | CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Dorsetshire located German supply ship Python refueling submarines UA and U-68 in the South Atlantic 1,150 miles west of South Africa. Python was scuttled as her crew sighted Dorsetshire, but Dorsetshire backed off due to the threat of the two submarines. Two additional German submarines and four Italian submarines arrived to join UA and U-68 in rescuing Python's survivors. ww2dbase [Dorsetshire | CPC]
  • A Soviet force consisted of troop ship Maya, 3 minesweepers, 2 submarine chasters, and 1 gunboat arrived in Hanko, Finland to evacuate troops. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Destroyer Yukikaze arrived at Palau Islands. ww2dbase [Yukikaze | CPC]
  • Eduard Neumann and General der Flieger Hans Geisler awarded Hans-Joachim Marseille the German Cross in Gold. ww2dbase [Hans-Joachim Marseille | CPC]
  • US Marine Corps established a Marine Corps Air Station at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands under Lieutenant Colonel Ford O. Rogers (redesignated from Marine Corps Air Facility, Bourne Field). ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German 28th Infantry Division was relocated from the Soviet Union to France for refitting as 28th J├Ąger Division. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Kamoi, along with the rest of 24th Air Flotilla, was assigned to the 4th Fleet. ww2dbase [Kamoi | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-575 (Kapit├Ąnleutnant G├╝nther Heydemann) spotted the unescorted and unarmed 7,542-ton steam tanker Astral at 1700 hours. Astral was carrying 78,200 barrels of gasoline and kerosene. U-575 tracked Astral until 2057 hours when Heydemann discovered a painted American flag on the side of the tanker. Heydemann did not realize that fellow submarine captain Wolfgang L├╝th of U-43 had also been tracking the same American tanker. ww2dbase [U-575 | HM]
  • German submarine U-43 (Kapit├Ąnleutnant Wolfgang L├╝th) spotted the unescorted and unarmed 7,542-ton steam tanker Astral at 1700 hours. Astral was carrying 78,200 barrels of gasoline and kerosene. L├╝th did not realize that fellow submarine captain G├╝nther Heydemann of U-575 had also been tracking the same tanker. While Heydemann broke off the chase after realizing the tanker was American, L├╝th made no such discovery and continued to stalk his target, awaiting for a moment to strike. ww2dbase [U-43 | HM]
Hawaii Japan
  • Japanese Navy Destroyer Division 7 sailed from Tokyo, Japan sailed for Midway, soon to join the rest of the Midway Neutralization Unit. ww2dbase [Tokyo | CPC]
  • Repair ship Akashi departed Kure, Japan. ww2dbase [Akashi | Kure, Hiroshima | CPC]
  • At an Imperial Conference held in Tokyo, Japan, the decision was taken to go to war with the United States. According to Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, Emperor Showa, the country's devine ruler, did not utter a single word in response. ww2dbase [Showa | Tokyo | AC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Malta-based British reconnaissance aircraft spotted an Italian supply convoy traveling for North Africa. The subsequent attack 60 miles off Libya saw the sinking of tanker Iridio Mantovani (with 10,000 tons of fuel) by aircraft and the sinking of transport Adriatico by cruisers HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope. HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope were attacked by Italian destroyer Alvise Da Mosta with torpedoes and gunfire, but the British cruisers fought back, sinking the destroyer and killing 200. ww2dbase [Malta Campaign | CPC]
Philippines
  • Passenger liner President Harrison arrived at Olongapo, Philippine Islands with elements of US 4th Marine Regiment recently withdrawn from Shanghai, China; the liner departed for China later on the same day to embark the last US Marines stationed in China. ww2dbase [Olongapo, Zambales | CPC]
Taiwan
  • During this month, the Japanese Army established the Research Department within the Taiwan Army. One of the missions of this department was to develop jungle warfare tactics. ww2dbase [CPC]
United States
  • As US-Japan relations rapidly deteriorated, the Japanese Consulate General in California began to destroy its records, as did the Consulate General, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, and the Japan Institute in New York City. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Fiorello La Guardia, Mayor of New York City and Director of the Office of Civilian Defense, signed Administrative Order 9, creating the Civil Air Patrol. ww2dbase [New York | CPC]
  • As US-Japan relations rapidly deteriorated, the Japanese Consulate General in California began to destroy its records, as did the Consulate General, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, and the Japan Institute in New York City. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • US Marine Corps established a Marine Corps Air Station at Cunningham Field, Cherry Point, North Carolina, United States under Colonel Thomas J. Cushman. ww2dbase [Cherry Point, North Carolina | CPC]
  • US Marine Corps established a Marine Corps Air Station at Quantico, Virginia, United States under Major Ivan W. Miller (redesignated from Base Air Detachment 1, Marine Barracks). ww2dbase [Quantico Marine Corps Base | Quantico, Virginia | CPC]
  • The keel of submarine Harder was laid down by the Electric Boat Company at Groton, Connecticut, United States. ww2dbase [Electric Boat Company | Harder | Groton, Connecticut | CPC]
  • The fourth Yorktown (CV-10) was laid down on at Newport News, Virginia, United States by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. as Bon Homme Richard. ww2dbase [Yorktown (Essex-class) | Newport News, Virginia | DS]
  • USS New Mexico arrived at Casco Bay, Maine, United States. ww2dbase [New Mexico | Casco Bay, Maine | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Dec 1941
Citizens of Leningrad, Russia fetching water from a shell hole in Ostrovsky Square, 1 Dec 1941A German soldier being captured, near Moscow, Russia, 1 Dec 1941Soviet troops mining a railroad near Moscow, Russia, 1 Dec 1941Soviet troops guarding a wooded area outside of Moscow, Russia, 1 Dec 1941
See all photos dated 1 Dec 1941

1 Dec 1941 Interactive Map

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
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Winston Churchill, on the RAF