Abridged Encyclopedia of World War 2  
  A to Auschwitz  
   
  ABC Plans - From late January through March of 1941, while the United States was still neutral, a military staff mission from Great Britain and Canada visited Washington D.C. for secret discussions and drafted plans for cooperation between the two countries in the event that the U.S. joined the war. The main point agreed upon was that if the two powers found themselves at war with both Germany and Japan, Germany should be dealt with first. Although the ABC Plans were not a military alliance, it nevertheless signified that the United States was preparing to enter the war on the side of the Allied powers.  
   
  ABDA Command - ABDA was the name given to the ad hoc supreme command over American British Dutch Australian forces in South East Asia. Overall command was exercised by General Sir Archibald Wavell during the disastrous months of January and February 1942. The main objective of the command was to maintain control of the "Malay Barrier" running down the Malayan Peninsula, through Singapore and the southernmost islands of Dutch East Indies. The original idea was U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall’s and Wavell was supposed to report directly to the Combined Chiefs of Staff. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, however, would send him orders directly. Staff officers were delighted when ABDA was dissolved at the end of February. Although ABDA was the short-lived and it presided over one defeat after another, it did provide some useful lessons for combined Allied commands later in the war.  
   
  Abe, Koso - (1892-1947) Abe was a Japanese naval officer who rose to the rank of Vice Admiral. Abe commanded the transport division for the Port Moresby Invasion Force in the abortive Operation Mo during the Battle of the Coral Sea. From February 1942 to November 1943, Abe was commander of the 6th Base Force at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. On August 17-18, 1942, U.S. Marine commandos landed by submarine and raided Makin Island. Nine of the Marines were accidentally left behind and were captured by Japanese forces. Initially Abe planned to send the prisoners to Japan for incarceration but was advised by central military authorities in Tokyo that the new official policy was to execute all prisoners of war in the field. Abe followed these orders and the Marines were beheaded on October 16, 1942. In December 1943 Abe was Commandant of the Tateyama Naval Gunnery School in Tateyama, Chiba, Japan and in April 1945 he was transferred to serve as commander of base units at Sasebo Naval Base in Kyushu, Japan. After the war Abe was arrested and charged with war crimes and  was executed by hanging on June 19, 1947 on Guam.  
   
  Abe, Nobuyuki - (1875-1953) Abe was a Japanese military officer who rose to the rank of General. After the collapse of the Kiichiro Hiranuma cabinet Abe was appointed Prime Minister on August 30, 1939 as a compromise candidate between the moderate civilians versus the Army and the ultranationalists. During his short four month tenure, Abe sought to quickly end the Second Sino-Japanese War, and to maintain Japan's neutrality in the growing European conflict. He was also opposed to efforts by elements within the Army to form a political-military alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Abe also tried to be more accommodating with the United States and Great Britain concerning commercial rights ion China. American officials and factions within the Japanese leadership opposed Abe’s economic policies and the U.S.-Japanese treaty of commerce was allowed to lapse. Lacking in support from either the military or the political parties, Abe was replaced by Mitsumasa Yonai in January 1940. After his replacement as Prime Minister, the Army sent Abe sent as a special envoy to China to advise the Japanese-supported regime of Wang Jingwei in Nanjing, and to negotiate a treaty ensuring Japanese economic and military rights in northern China. Abe returned to Japan and joined the House of Peers in 1942, and accepted the largely ceremonial position as president of the Imperial Rule Assistance Political Association. He was appointed the 10th (and last) Governor-General of Korea in 1944 and 1945. After World War II, Abe was purged from public office, and arrested by the American occupation government. However, he was not charged with any war crimes and was soon released.  
   
  Abelson, Philip H. - (1913-2004) Abelson was an American physicist was a key contributor to the Manhattan Project during World War 2. Although he was not formally associated with the atom bomb project, the liquid thermal diffusion isotope separation technique that he invented at the Philadelphia Navy Yard was used in the S-50 plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This technique proved to be a critical step in creating the large amount of nuclear fuel required for building atomic bombs.  
   
  Abetz, Dr. H. Otto - (1903-1958) Abetz was a German intellectual to whom the Nazi Party gave the responsibility of maintaining contacts with France in 1933. He was deported from France in 1939 following allegations he had bribed two French newspaper editors to write pro-German articles. Abetz returned to Paris after the German occupation in June 1940 and in November was appointed to the German Embassy in Paris. Although Abetz was never accredited as Ambassador to France as there was never a peace treaty with Germany, he acted with the full powers of an ambassador. He was removed from his post in July 1944 by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop because of his opposition to Nazi excesses. Abetz left France in September 1944 when the German armies withdrew. In 1949 the French condemned Abetz to 20 years of hard labor but he was freed in 1954.  
   
  Abrial, Jean-Marie C. - (1879-1962) Abrial was a French Admiral at the outset of hostilities with Germany in 1939. Abrial worked in cooperation with the British troops during the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940.After the evacuation, Abrial was based in Cherbourg where, as senior officer, he was forced to surrender the port to the Germans on June 19, 1940. From July 1940 to July 1941 he served the governor general of Algeria for the Vichy regime. In November of 1942 Abrial was appointed Naval Minister. After the war Abrial was arrested and charged with collaboration. In 1946 the French High Court sentenced him to 10 years at hard labor for his Nazi collaboration. In December 1947, however, he gained provisional release, and in 1954 he was granted amnesty.  
   
  Abwehr - The Abwehr was the German military intelligence information gathering and counterespionage service for the OKW. The organization was established in 1933 in violation of the Versailles Treaty soon after the Nazis took power. Naval officer Wilhelm Canaris was named its chief in 1935. Canaris was promoted to Vice Admiral in 1936. Under Canaris’ leadership the Abwehr became an efficient organization but soon came into conflict with Reinhard Heydrich’s SD, which was responsible for providing information to the army. Heydrich became more powerful when he was placed in charge of the RSHA (Reich Main Security Office), which was responsible for the police and security operations of the Reich and Nazi Party in 1939. Tensions between the two organizations eased after Heydrich was assassinated in 1942. Although it was relatively efficient during the early years of the war it became less effective as the war went on. Much of its intelligence was deemed politically unacceptable to the German leadership and the Abwehr was in direct competition/conflict with SS. Canaris himself was a main reason for the Abwehr’s failings. Canaris had adopted a hostile attitude towards Hitler in 1938. Consequently he allowed some enemy activities to operate unimpeded and even extended protection to plotters against Hitler. After a September 1943 incident involving the "Frau Solf Tea Party,” an anti-Nazi intellectual movement in Berlin, Hitler fired Canaris as head of the Abwehr. In February 1944 Hitler signed a decree that abolished the Abwehr and its functions were taken over by the RSHA. Canaris was executed shortly before the wnd of the war as a participant of the "July 20 Plot."  
     
  Admiral Graf Spee - The armored cruiser SMS Admiral Graf Spee was one of the most famous German warships of World War 2. She was sent to the Atlantic Ocean as a commerce raider in 1939, where she sank nine Allied merchant ships. Three British and New Zealand cruisers tracked her down in December 1939 in the South Atlantic where The Battle of the River Plate ensued, during which Graf Spee was damaged. She docked for repairs in the neutral port of Montevideo, but was forced by international law to leave within 72 hours. Faced with what he believed to be overwhelming odds, the captain scuttled his ship rather than risk the lives of his crew.  
   
  Adlertag - “Adlertag” (Eagle Day) was the first day of Unternehmen Adlerangriff ("Operation Eagle Attack"), which was the codename of a German military operation by the Luftwaffe to destroy the British Royal Air Force. “Adlertag” took place on August 13, 1940 and was comprised of  1,485 plane sorties against British ports and airfields.  
   
  Afrika Korps - The German Africa Corps, or the Afrika Korps as it was popularly called, was the German expeditionary force in Libya and Tunisia during the North African Campaign of World War 2. The reputation of the Afrika Korps is synonymous with that of its first commander Erwin Rommel, who later commanded the Panzer Army Africa which evolved into the German-Italian Panzer Army and Army Group Africa, all of which Afrika Korps was a distinct and principal component. Throughout the North African campaign, the Afrika Korps fought against superior Allied forces right to the very end in May 1943 when it surrendered.  
   
  al-Gaylani, Rashid Aali - (1892-1965) al-Gaylani served as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Iraq on three occasions. He is chiefly remembered as an Arab nationalist who attempted to remove the British influence from Iraq. During his brief tenures as Prime Minister in 1940 and 1941, he attempted to negotiate settlements with the Axis powers during World War II in order to counter British influence in Iraq.  
   
  Ainsworth, Walden L. "Pug" - (1886-1960) Ainsworth was an American naval officer who rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. Ainsworth commanded destroyer and cruiser task forces in the Pacific Theater.  
   
  Alexander, Harold - (1891-1969) Alexander was a British military officer who rose to the rank of Field Marshal. In late May/early June 1942 he was involved in the successful evacuation of Allied forces from Dunlirk. In early 1942 he was placed in command of British forces in Burma and oversaw the ultimate retreat of those forces from the region. In August 1942 he was named Commander-in-Chief of Middle East Command and was in overall command of General Bernard L. Montgomery’s victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein. After the Axis forces in Tunisia surrendered in May 1943, Alexander's command became the 15th Army Group, invaded Sicily in July. During this campaign Alexander controlled two armies: Montgomery's Eighth Army and George S. Patton's Seventh United States Army. In December 1944 he became the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces Headquarters, responsible for all military operations in the Mediterranean Theatre and was promoted to the Field Marshal.  
   
  Altmark Incident - The Altmark Incident was a naval skirmish between the United Kingdom and Germany which occurred on February 16, 1940. The incident took place when sailors from the destroyer HMS Cossack boarded the German tanker Altmark in neutral Norwegian waters to free 299 British merchant sailors on board that had been picked up from ships sunk by the German pocket battleship SMS Admiral Graf Spee.  
   
  America First Committee - The America First Committee was the foremost non-interventionist pressure group against the American entry into World War 2. Peaking at 800,000 members, it was likely the largest anti-war organization in American history.[1][2] Started in 1940 it had a peak membership of approximately 800,000 members but became defunct after the attack upon Pearl Harbor in December of 1941.  
   
  Anglo French Supreme War Council - The Anglo French Supreme War Council, sometimes known as the Supreme War Council, was established to oversee joint military strategy at the start of the Second World War. Most of its deliberations took place during the period of the Phony War. The final three sessions were held in France during the German Blitzkrieg of May and June 1940.  
   
  Anschluss - Anschluss was the term used for the German annexation of Austria in 1938.  
   
  Anti-Comintern Pact - The Anti-Comintern Pact was a pact concluded between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan (later to be joined by other countries) on November 25, 1936 and was directed against the Communist International (Comintern), an organ of the Soviet Union.  
   
  Antonescu, Ion V. - (1882-1946) Antonescu was a Romanian military officer, authoritarian politician and convicted war criminal. Antonescu  was the Prime Minister and Conducator of Romania during most of World War 2. Antonescu rose to political prominence during the political crisis of 1940, and established the National Legionary State, an uneasy partnership with the Iron Guard's leader Horia Sima. After entering Romania into an alliance with Nazi Germany and the Axis he eliminated the Guard during the Legionary Rebellion of 1941. Antonescu enforced policies independently responsible for the deaths of as many as 400,000 people, most of them Bessarabian, Ukrainian and Romanian Jews. Antonescu was toppled during a coup August of 1944 Coup. After a brief detention in the Soviet Union, Antonescu was sent back to Romania, where he was tried by a special People's Tribunal and executed.  
   
  Arcadia Conference - The First Washington Conference, codenamed Arcadia, was a strategic meeting between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and their staffs. The discussions would result in a formal American commitment to the "Germany First" strategy. In addition, the United States and Britain would agree to form a Combined Chiefs of Staff as the supreme body for Allied war planning and to confer regularly in Washington. The Anglo-American allies also would agree that there should be one supreme commander directing operations in each theater.  
   
  Arita, Hachiro - (1884-1965) Arita was a Japanese politician and diplomat who served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs for three terms between 1938 and 1940. He is credited with the concept of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.  
   
  von Arnim, Hans-Jürgen B. T. - (1889-1962) von Arnim was a German military officer who rose to the rank of Colonel General (full general.) von Arnim commanded units in both the Battles for Poland and France. In November 1942 he was appointed commander of the 5th Panzer Army in North Africa. In December 1942 Adolf Hitler refused to allow Field Marshal Erwin Rommel to return to Tunisia and promoted von Arnim was to full general and made Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Africa. von Armin was captured by the British Indian Army's 4th Infantry Division on May 12, 1943.  
   
  Arnold, Henry H. "Hap" - (1886-1950) Arnold was an American military officer who rose to the rank of five-star General. Arnold was an aviation pioneer, Chief of the Air Corps (1938–1941) and the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War 2.  
   
  Asama Maru - The Asama Maru was a Japanese ocean liner. Before Japan's entry into the Second World War she was intercepted by the light cruiser HMS Liverpool 35 miles from the coast of Japan on January 21, 1940. The HMS Liverpool removed 21 of the ship's passengers believed to be survivors of the scuttled German liner Columbus. The Japanese condemned the action as an abuse of belligerent rights and formally protested the action. The incident further escalated tensions between the two countries.  
   
  Athenia - The SS Athenia was the first British ship to be sunk by Nazi Germany in World War 2. The SS Athenia was en route from Glasgow to Montreal when she was torpedoed on September 3, 1939 south of Rockall in the northern Atlantic Ocean by the submarine U-30 commanded by Oberleutnant Fritz-Julius Lemp. Lemp later claimed that the fact that he believed the SS Athenia was either a troopship, a Q-ship, or an armed merchant cruiser. Of the 1,418 aboard, 98 passengers and 19 crew members were killed of which twenty-eight of the dead were American citizens. The sinking caused dramatic publicity throughout the English-speaking world but did not lead to America’s entry into the war. German propaganda would later accuse Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, of sinking the ship to turn neutral opinion against Nazi Germany.  
   
  Atlantic Charter - The Atlantic Charter was a statement of principles issued in August 1941 by the United States and Great Britain and later agreed to by all the Allies.  The Charter stated that the ideal goals of the war were no territorial aggrandizement, no forced territorial changes, restoration of self-government, global cooperation to secure better economic and social conditions for all, freedom from fear and want, freedom of the seas, and abandonment of the use of force.  
   
  Attlee, Clement R. - (1883-1967) Attlee was a British Labour politician. Attlee joined a coalition government with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Attlee chaired the Lord President's Committee, which ran the civil side of the war while Churchill concentrated on the military situation. Attlee’s Labour Party won a national election in July of 1945 and became Prime Minister replacing Winston Churchill while the Big Three were holding the Potsdam Conference.  
   
  Attu - Attu is the westernmost and largest island in the Near Islands group of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. It was the site of the only World War 2 land battle fought on the incorporated territory of the United States. On June 7, 1942 as a separate campaign concurrent with the Japanese plan for the Battle of Midway landed on the island, Japanese forces occupied Attu without opposition. Allied operations against the Japanese position began on May 11, 1943. There was fierce and bloody fighting that culminated on May 29 with one of the largest banzai charges of the Pacific campaign that left the Japanese forces decimated. Attu was one of only two pieces of American territory that was occupied by enemy forces during the war.  
   
  Auchinleck Claude J. E. - (1884-1981), Auchinleck was a British military officer who rose to the rank of Field Marshal. In July 1941 he took over the post of Commander in Chief of the Middle East theatre. After initial successes the war in North Africa turned against the British and he was relieved of the post in 1942 during the crucial Alamein campaign. He served thereafter as Commander in Chief India.  
   
  Auschwitz - Auschwitz was network of concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich near the Polish town of Oswiecim. It was the largest of the German concentration camps and consisted of three main camps and 45 satellite camps. Auschwitz II–Birkenau was designated by the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, Germany's Minister of the Interior, as the place of the "final solution of the Jewish question in Europe". From early 1942 until late 1944, transport trains delivered Jews to the camp's gas chambers from all over German-occupied Europe. Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945. An estimated 1.3 million died at Auschwitz, around 90 percent of them Jewish.  
     
   
     
   
 

The objective of WW2Timelines.com is to provide a day by day account of the events that lead up to and were part of the greatest conflict known to mankind. There are accounts for the activities of each particular day and timelines for subjects and personalities. It is the of this website intent to provide an unbiased account of the war. Analysis, effects caused by an event, or prior or subsequent pertinent events are presented separately and indicated as text that is italicized.

 
   
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