Calendar and Summary for May 1940  
 
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  April 1940 June 1940  
   
  Summary of Significant Events for May 1940  
   
  The British began to evacuate Allied forces from Norway.  Hegra Fortress surrendered following the Allied evacuation around Trondheim and the surrender of southern Norway.  Debate opened in British parliament on the conduct of the war and especially of the Norwegian campaign.  British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s government was sustained by a test vote of 281 to 200 in the House of Commons.  Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), the invasion of Western Europe, began as 76 German divisions crossed a 175-mile front into Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg.  Britain's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned and was replaced by Winston Churchill.  Britain occupied Iceland as a preventive measure.  The Belgian Fort Eben Emael surrendered to German infantry.  The British Air Ministry made the decision to attack purely civilian targets in Western Germany.  The French 7th Army advanced into Holland and engaged with the German advance.  German armored units entered Sedan without a fight and their armored forces reached the Meuse north of the city.  Winston Churchill made his first speech as British Prime Minister in a radio broadcast. He says, "I have nothing to offer you but blood, toil, tears and sweat."  Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch Government escaped to London.  German armor units crossed the Meuse River.  With the exception of forces in the Zeeland, the Dutch army surrendered.  French Premier Paul Reynaud phoned British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and told him, "We have been defeated; we have lost the battle."  General Heinz Guderian's panzers reached Montcornet less than 15 miles from Laon. Guderian was ordered to halt there but after vigorous complaints he was allowed another day's march. A halt order was issued to the German tank forces.  Many at the OKW (German army headquarters) cannot accept that the panzers could advance so far without exposing their flanks.  Churchill flew to Paris. In a meeting with the French commanders, Churchill asked General Maurice Gamelin, "Where is the strategic reserve?" "There is none," Gamelin replied.  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged production of 50,000 planes a year, a speedup in military manufacture and  the immediate appropriation of $896 million in military spending.  The German 6th Army entered Brussels, Belgium.  The German 18th Army captured Antwerp, Belgium.  Gamelin was removed from his post as commander of the French armed forces by Reynaud.  General Maxime Weygand was called upon to take command of the French Army.  The Germans reached the English Channel trapping much of the French Army and the British Expeditionary Force in a northern pocket.  Grand Admiral Erich Raeder mentioned to German Chancellor Adolf Hitler for the first time that it may be necessary to invade Britain.  The Allied Supreme War Council in Paris decided to end its involvement in Norway.  The order was issued to begin Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk.  King Leopold III agreed to the surrender of the Belgian army without consulting the other Allies or the Belgium government.  Because of the destroyer losses in Operation Dynamo and the demand for them in other operations the Admiralty decided that the more modern types needed to be withdrawn.  Arthur Seyss-Inquart was installed as the Reich Commissioner of the Netherlands.  In a joint address to the Congress Roosevelt stated that the recent extensive use of tanks and planes in war made it imperative that at least $1,000,000,000 more should be spent for U.S. national defense.  16 ships (63,537 tons) were sunk and 1 ship (9,494 tons) was damaged by U-boats.  
   
  Events occurring in May 1940 with no specific dates  
     
   
     
   
 

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