WW2 Chronology 1937
By the time the US entered WW2, the war had been going on for over two years and three months in Europe, five years in Africa, and ten years in China.
- Mussolini had invaded Ethiopia in 1935. Gradual encroachment into Abyssinia from Italian Somaliland led to military confrontation and conquest by Italy.
- Spanish Civil War had started 17 July 1936 with a partially successful military coup
against Second Spanish Republic and was taken over by Francisco Franco (1892-1975) as rebel, nationalist, monarchists, Falangist. Civil war lasted until 1 April 1939 with Fascists supporting Franco and Communists and International Brigades supporting the Republicans.
- Hitler sent the Condor Legion of military volunteers with air and land forces.
- Mussolini sent the Corpo Truppe Volontarie with air, land and sea forces.
- Soviet Great Purge had started to consolidate the authority of Joseph Stalin, eventually 724,00 people will be killed.
44,000 Italian army soldiers are in Spain.
7,000 German personnel were in Spain
Feb 8- Feb 27. Spanish Civil War: Falangist troops take Málaga.
Battle of Jarama attempts to isolate Madrid. Nationalist and government troops fight to a stalemate.
Mar 8-23. Battle of Guadalajara, Spain. Italian led defeat.
An independent Turkic administration was set up in Xinjiang, the far northwest province of China against pro-Soviet government.
Apr 26. Basque town of Guernica, Spain, is bombed by German planes under orders of Nationalist command.
May 1 . U.S. Neutrality Act (forbids arms exports to warring nations ie. Spanish Civil War) allows aid to China where war is not declared.
June12-19. The Battle of Bilbao is nationalist victory
June 16. Germany and Italy rejoined neutral ship patrols around Spain.
Provincial Chinese troops suffer defeat from Muslim rebels in Xinjiang.
July 2 . Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappear in Pacific in attempt to become the first woman to fly around the world.
July 7 . Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Japan's "reason" to invade China.
July 8 . Japan occupies Peking (Beijing), old and future capital of China, and Tianjin.
July 25-July 31. Battles around Beiping-Tianjin.
In August 1937, 5,000 Soviet Russian Red Army troops backed by an air unit and armoured regiment moved into Xinjiang
Aug 5 . Soviet Union commences Great Purge, to "eliminate anti-Soviet elements". Within the following year, at least 724,000 people are killed
Aug 13. Chiang Kai-shek attacks the Japanese Marines in Shanghai.
Aug 23 to Oct 26. Japanese launch amphibious landings at Jiangsu coast and the two armies fight house-to-house in Shanghai.
August. Germany tries to buy Anticosti Island in St. Lawrence (Quebec purchased in 1974).
Sep 12. China brings case against Japanese invasion to League of Nations.
Sep 20. Japanese heavy cruiser Aoba commissions - Guam, Wake Island, Rabaul, Tulagi, Coral Sea, Savo Island, Cape Esperance, Kavieng, convoy.
Sep 25. Battle of Pingxingguan - Communist Chinese National Revolutionary Army annihilates a Japanese brigade.
Sep 30. USS Yorktown (CV-5) commissions. - Coral Sea, Midway
Sep 30. Japanese heavy cruiser Kinugasa commissions - coral sea, Savo Island, Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal
Oct 4 . League of Nations makes statement that gives China "spiritual support."
Oct 5 . FDR calls for "quarantine of the aggressor nations".
Oct 5 . Hirohito removes constraints of international law on the treatment of Chinese prisoners.
Oct 15. Soviets bombed the city of Khotan, Xinjiang. where casualties numbered 2,000.
Remnants of rebel Islamic division melts through mountains into Tibet.
Oct 27 thru Nov. 11. Chinese army in Shanghai retreats towards China's capital, Nanjing.
Nov 5 . Japanese make amphibious landings to surround the Chinese troops still fighting in the Shanghai.
Nov 5 . 35,000 Republican supporters are massacred near León, in Spanish Civil War.
Nov 5 . Hitler secretly states his plans for acquiring "living space" for the German people.
Nov 6 . Italy joins the Anti-Comintern Pact.
Nov 9 . Japanese troops take Shanghai.
Nov 11. Japanese begin advance towards Nanking.
Nov 19. Wufu Line from Shanghai to Nanking is penetrated
Nov 26. Xicheng Line breached, last line before Nanking.
Dec 2 . Japanese Emperor Hirohito (April 29, 1901 - Jan 7, 1989) makes his uncle, Prince Asaka, head of Japanese invasion of Chinese capital, Nanking.
Dec, early. Japanese troops had reached the outskirts of Nanking.
Dec 8 . Inner Mongolia declares independence as Mengkiikuko, another puppet state of Japan.
Dec 11. Italy withdraws from the League of Nations.
Dec 12. Japanese orders 12 naval aircraft to attack US interests escaping from Nanking. USN river gunboat Panay with diplomats and three Standard Oil tankers evacuating employees and their families were sunk.
Dec 13. Nanjing Massacre begins. Japanese troops slaughter over 300,000 civilians and prisoners
Dec 29. IJN carrier Soryo commissioned. - Pearl, Wake, Moluccas, Darwin, Java Sea, Indian Ocean, - Midway.
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About this page: 1937 -- World War 2 started over seventy-five years ago. This a chronology of interesting events leading to that war to help in understanding the period.
Created March 13 , 2011