Abridged Encyclopedia of World War 2  
  B to Byrnes  
  Bader, Douglas R. S. - (1910-1982) Bader was a Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter ace during the World War 2. After losing both his legs in an air crash in 1931, Bader reentered the RAF in November of 1939 and RAF and was accepted as a pilot. After distinguishing himself in the Battle of Britain, Bader was captured by the Germans in August 1941. . Despite his disability, Bader made a number of escape attempts and was eventually sent to the POW camp at Colditz Castle. He remained there until the camp was liberated by the First United States Army in April 1945.  
  Badoglio, Pietro - (1871-1956) Badoglio was an Italian military officer who rose to the rank Marshal of Italy. Badoglio originally opposed the Fascists and was denied positions after Benito Mussolini took power. Badoglio replaced General Emilio De Bono as head of the Ethiopian invasion force in 1935. This force was notable for its use of poison gas and bombing civilians. After initially opposing Italy’s entry into the general European war Badoglio accepted reappointment in 1940 as army chief of staff. He resigned after the Italian defeat in the invasion of Greece. On July 25, 1943 King Victor Emmanuel III removed Mussolini from power and Badoglio was named Prime Minister of Italy. Badaglio was the leader of Italy when it surrendered to the Allies on September 3, 1943 and when it declared war on Germany on October 13, 1943. Badaglio was replaced on June 9, 1944 by Ivanoe Bonomi and other committed anti-Fascists.  
  Baedeker Blitz - The Baedeker Blitz (Baedekerangriffe.) was a series of raids on British cities by the Luftwaffe and were named after the popular German tourist guidebooks and focused on the culturally rich but militarily insignificant cities of Bath, Canterbury, Exeter, Norwich, and York.  
  Balbo, Italo - (1896-1940) Balbo was an Italian Blackshirt leader ad was one of the “quadrumvirs” of the “March of Rome.” Although unsuccessful in convincing Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini from entering the general European war Balbo served as Italy's Marshal of the Air Force, Governor-General of Libya, and Commander-in-Chief of Italian North Africa. Balbo was considered the heir apparent to Mussolini. Balbo was killed on June 28, 140 by friendly fire when his plane was shot down over Tobruk, Libya by Italian anti-aircraft guns after a British air raid on the city.  
  Barry, Richard H. - (1908-1999) Barry was British regular officer who ran the operations section of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) from 1940 until 1942 when he joined General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s planning staff for Operation Torch. After that assignment he returned to the SOE and was its Chief of Staff from 1943 to 1946.  
  Bastin, Jules A. G. - (1889-1944) Bastin was an Belgian officer who as a POW during the First World War gained fame for his repeated attempts to escape, having succeeded on his tenth try. At the beginning of World War 2, he held the rank of colonel and served as Chief of Staff of the Belgian Cavalry Corps. After the invasion of Belgium by the Germans in 1940 he fled to France and joined the underground movement by taking command of the Belgian Legion. The Belgian government based in London made him the commander of all their underground military forces in December 1942. He was arrested in April 1943, released for lack of proof, and later rearrested in November 1943. He died in the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in December 1944. The Belgian government promoted him to the rank of major general posthumously in August 1946.  
  The Battle of the Barents Sea - The Battle of the Barents Sea took place north of North Cape, Norway on December 31, 1942 between German surface raiders and Royal Navy ships escorting Convoy JW-51B to the Soviet Union. The German raiders failed to inflict heavy losses on the convoy. This inability infuriated Hitler who ordered that German naval strategy would focus on the U-boat fleet. In the aftermath Admiral Erich Raeder, supreme commander of the Kriegsmarine, offered his resignation which Hitler accepted.  
  Battle of Barking Creek - The Battle of Barking Creek was a friendly fire incident that happened on September 6, 1939, resulting in the first death of a British fighter pilot in the World War 2. An error in identification in the Chain Home radar system caused RAF Spitfires from No.74 Squadron to shoot down two Hurricanes of 56 Squadron by mistake. At about the same time, ground anti-aircraft fire brought down a Blenheim of 64 Squadron. One pilot was killed.  
  The Battle of the Bismarck Sea The Battle of the Bismarck Sea took place between March 2 and March 4, 1943 in the Bismarck Sea north of the island of Papua New Guinea and south of the Bismarck Archipelago and Admiralty Islands.. During the course of the battle, aircraft of the U.S. Fifth Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force attacked a Japanese convoy that was carrying reinforcements to Lae, New Guinea. Most of the task force was destroyed and Japanese troop losses were heavy.  
  Battle of the Boffins - “Battle of the Boffins” was a term used by British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill for the scientific war that saw first one side then the other win a brief technological advantage, before the Allies took an almost unassailable lead later in the war.  
  Battle of Britain - The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War 2 air campaign waged by the German Luftwaffe (Air Force) against the United Kingdom during the summer and fall of 1940. The objective of the campaign was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force especially Fighter Command. The name derives from a famous speech delivered by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the House of Commons: "...the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin." The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces. At first coastal shipping convoys and shipping centers were the main targets until the Luftwaffe shifted its attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure. Eventually the Luftwaffe resorted to attacking areas of political significance and using terror bombing tactics. The failure of Germany to achieve its objectives of destroying Britain's air defenses, or forcing Britain to negotiate an armistice or an outright surrender, is considered its first major defeat and one of the crucial turning points in the war.  
  Battle of Bzura River - The Battle of the Bzura River was a battle during the 1939 German Invasion of Poland, fought between September 9 to September 19, 1939, between Polish and German forces. Finally, the Germans outflanked the Polish forces and took all of western Poland.  
  Battle of Cape St. George - The Battle of Cape St. George was fought between U.S. and Japanese naval forces Cape St. George, New Ireland, and Buka Island. During the battle five American destroyers intercepted five Japanese destroyers that were returning to Rabaul after landing 900 troops and supplies on Buka Island. Due to radar superiority the Americans were able to surprise the Japanese and sank three destroyers and damaged another. The battle marked the end of the Tokyo Express and the end of Japanese resistance in the Solomon Islands.  
  Battle of Gazala - The Battle of Gazala was an important battle of the Western Desert Campaign, fought around the port of Tobruk in Libya in May and June of 1942. The battle pitted the Afrika Korps commanded by the "Desert Fox" Colonel General Erwin Rommel against the British Eighth Army, commanded by Lt. General Neil Ritchie under the close supervision General Sir Claude Auchinleck. The battle ended in a resounding victory for the Rommel although at a high cost in tanks. Devoid of effective armored forces in subsequent battles, Rommel was unable to decisively defeat the Eighth Army as it retreated into Egypt and his pursuit was brought to a halt at the First battle of El Alamein.  
  Battle of Hegra Fortress - Battle of Hegra Fortress was a twenty-five day engagement in the 1940 Norwegian Campaign where a small force of Norwegian volunteers fought a superior German force. After initial fighting around the Meråker railway line, the Norwegians pulled back into Hegra Fortress and held off further German attacks before surrendering on May 5, 1940 as one of the last Norwegian units active in southern Norway.  
  Battle of the Heligoland Bight - The Battle of the Heligoland Bight took place on December 18, 1939 in German airspace as 50 German Me109 and Me110 fighters intercepted and destroyed 12 of 22 British Wellington bombers dispatched on an armed reconnaissance mission to Wilhelmshaven. Four Luftwaffe aircraft were shot down. The outcome of this air battle caused RAF Bomber Command to abandon daylight raids until April 1940.  
  Battle of the Kasserine Pass - The Battle of the Kasserine Pass was a series of engagements that took place in Tunisia in February 1943 around Kasserine Pass, a 2 mile wide gap in the Grand Dorsal chain of the Atlas Mountains. The battle was significant as it was the first large-scale meeting of American and German forces during the war. The untested and poorly-led American troops suffered heavy casualties and were pushed back over 50 miles from their initial positions before elements of the U.S. II Corps, reinforced by British reserves, rallied. In the aftermath of the battle the U.S. Army instituted sweeping changes from unit-level organization to the replacing of commanders.  
  Battle of Kolombangara - Battle of Kolombangara was a naval battle of the Pacific campaign, fought on the night of July 12/13, 1943, off Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands. An Allied force of cruisers and destroyers intercepted a A Japanese "Tokyo Express" reinforcement force. Two American cruisers were damaged and were out of action for several months along with a destroyer which never returned to action. The Japanese lost their flagship, the light cruiser IJN Jintsu, but its transport destroyers successfully landed 1,200 men at Vila.  
  Battle of Kula Gulf - The Battle of Kula Gulf was a naval engagement that took place in the early hours of July 6, 1943 between United States and Japanese ships that were attempting to reinforce Vila off the coast of Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands. The Americans lost the light cruiser USS Helena. The Japanese lost 2 destroyers with 3 other destroyers suffering damage.  
  Battle of Midway - The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War 2. Between June 4 and 7, 1942, only six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, and one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, the U.S.  Navy decisively defeated an Imperial Japanese Navy attack against Midway Atoll sinking 4 Japanese front line aircraft carriers at the loss of only one U.S. aircraft carrier. This battle inflicted irreparable damage on the Japanese fleet and marked the turning point in the Pacific Campaign.  
  Battle of Rennell Island - The Battle of Rennell Island was the last major naval engagement between the U.S. Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Guadalcanal campaign. The battle took place on January 29-30,1943. between Rennell Island and Guadalcanal in the southern Solomon Islands. In the battle, Japanese naval land-based torpedo bombers made several attacks over the two days on U.S. warships operating as a task force south of Rennell Island. The Japanese were, seeking to provide protection for the impending evacuation of Japanese forces from Guadalcanal and the Americans were protecting an Allied convoy carrying replacement troops. The Japanese sank one U.S. heavy cruiser was sunk and heavily damaged a destroyer. Partly because of the Japanese actions during the Battle of Rennel Island they were able to successfully evacuate their remaining troops from Guadalcanal by February 7, 1943.  
  Battle of the River Plate - The Battle of the River Plate took place on December 13, 1939 between the cruisers HMS Exeter, HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles and the German pocket battleship SMS Admiral Graf Spee. All four ships were damaged after a two hour battle after which the SMS Admiral Graf Spee set sail for Montevideo, Uruguay where under international law the warship would be permitted temporary neutral sanctuary in order to make quick repairs and have the wounded treated. The HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles took up positions outside the port. Captain Hans Langsdorff would scuttle the SMS Admiral Graf Spee just outside the Montevideo on December 17 and commit suicide on December 19.  
  The Battle of the Ruhr - The Battle of the Ruhr was a series of heavy raids, beginning in March 1943 and extending over five months, against the German heavy industrial areas around Essen, Duisburg, Dortmund, Wuppertal, Dusseldorf, Bochum, Oberhausen, Cologne, and Gelsenkirchen in an attempt to seriously deplete Germany’s industrial strength.  
  Battle of Savo Island - The Battle of Savo Island was the first major naval engagement of the Guadalcanal campaign, and the first of several naval battles in the straits later named Ironbottom Sound, near the island of Guadalcanal. On the night of August 8–9, 1942 Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi surprised and routed an Allied force commanded by British Rear Admiral Victor Crutchley sinking one Australian and three American cruisers, while suffering only light damage in return. Mikawa's force immediately retired following the battle without attempting to destroy the Allied transport ships supporting the landings at Guadalcanal.  
  Battle of Suomussalmi - The Battle of Suomussalmi was fought between Finnish and Soviet forces in the Winter War. The action took place from around December 7, 1939 to January 8, 1940. The outcome was a major Finnish victory against vastly superior forces.  
  Battle of Vella Gulf - The Battle of Vella Gulf was a naval battle in the Pacific Theater fought on the night of August 6–7, 1943, in Vella Gulf between Vella Lavella Island and Kolombangara Island in the Solomon Islands. This engagement was the first time that destroyers were allowed to operate independent of the cruiser force. In the battle, six American destroyers engaged a group of four enemy destroyers attempting to reinforce Japanese troops on Kolombangara. The American warships closed the Japanese undetected with the aid of radar and fired torpedoes, which sank 3 Japanese destroyers with no damage to the American ships.  
  Ba Maw - Ba Maw was a Burmese political leader who opposed bringing Burma into the war by Great Britain. He was arrested by the British for sedition on August 6, 1940 and spent over a year in jail as a political prisoner. After the Imperial Japanese Army conquered Burma and captured of Rangoon, Baw Maw was freed from prison. During the Japanese occupation of Burma, Ba Maw was asked by the Japanese to head a provisional civilian administration to manage day-to-day administrative activities subordinate to the Japanese military administration. This government, the Burmese Executive Administration, was established on August 1, 1942. When Japan granted Burma independence on August 1, 1943 Baw Maw was its first prime minister. At the end of the wae Ba Maw fled just ahead of invading British troops to Japan, where he was captured by the American occupation authorities where he was imprisoned until 1946. Baw Maw was allowed to return to Burma and after Burma became independent of Great Britain he remained active in politics.  
  Beaverbrook, William Maxwell "Max" Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook - (1879-1964) Lord Beaverbrook was a British business tycoon, politician, and radical imperialist of Canadian origin. Beaverbrook was a friend of British Prime Minister Winston and was appointed Minister of Aircraft Production from 1940 to 1941 Minister of Supply from 1941 to 1942. He was a member of the War Council from 1940 to 1942, In addition to his ministerial roles, Beaverbrook also accompanied Churchill to several wartime meetings with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was able to relate to Roosevelt in a different way to Churchill and became close to Roosevelt during these visits. In 1941 Beaverbrook headed the British delegation to Moscow with American counterpart Averell Harriman. This made Beaverbrook the first senior British politician to meet Soviet leader Joseph Stalin since Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. Much impressed by Stalin and the sacrifice of the Soviet people, he returned to London determined to persuade Churchill to launch a second front in Europe to help draw German resources away from the Eastern front to aid the Soviets. Churchill was not to be persuaded and this led Beaverbrook to resign as Minister of War Production in 1942. During the remainder of the war (1943–1945), he occupied the role of Lord Privy Seal. Beaverbrook is credited with vastly improving British aircraft production during the summer of 1940 which helped the British win the air Battle of Britain.  
  Beck, Jozef - (1894-1944) Beck was a Polish statesman, diplomat, and military officer. Beck was Poland’s Foreign Minister from 1932 to 1939 and signed the nonaggression pact with Germany in 1934. With the support of Hitler, he obtained for Poland the Teschen region of Czechoslovakia in 1938. He objected to the cession of Danzig and the Danzig corridor in 1939 which led to led to the German invasion of Poland and the start of World War 2. After the defeat of Poland he fled to Romania where he was interned by the Romanian authorities until his death in 1944.  
  Benes, Edvard - (1884-1948) Benes was a leader of the Czechoslovak independence movement and the second President of Czechoslovakia. After the Munich Agreement in 1938 Benes was forced to resign the presidency and he went into exile in London. In July of 1940 he organized the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile in London with Jan Sramek as Prime Minister and himself as President.  
  Beresford-Peirse, Noel - (1887-1953) Beresford-Peirse was a British military officer who rose to the rank of Lt. General. Beresford-Peirse was given command of the Western Desert Force (later redesignated XIII Corps in April 1941.) Beresford-Peirse later commanded the British forces in Sudan, the Indian XV Corps, and the Southern Army in India.  
  Beria, Lavrentiy P. - (1899-1953) Beria was a Georgian Soviet politician and state security administrator, and chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus (NKVD) under Joseph Stalin during World War 2.  
  Bermuda Conference - The Bermuda Conference was an international conference between the United Kingdom and the United States held between April 19 and April 29, 1943 at Hamilton, Bermuda. Discussions included the question of Jewish refugees who had been liberated by Allied forces and those who still remained Nazi-occupied Europe. The only agreement made was that the war must be won against the Nazis. The conference was considered a failure by Jewish organizations and their sympathizers.  
  Bernhardt Line - Bernhardt Line (or Reinhard Line) was a German defensive line in Italy. American forces reached reached the Bernhardt Line at the start of November 1943 and it took until mid-January 1944 for the U.S. 5th Army to fight their way to the next line of defenses - the Gustav Line. The Bernhardt was defended by XIV Panzer Corps.  
  Billotte, Gaston-Henri - (1875-1940) Billotte was a French military officer. When World War 2 broke out in September 1939 Billotte was 64 and close to retirement, but he was appointed Commander in Chief of the 1st Army Group based in northern France adjacent to the Belgian border. Billotte is remembered chiefly for his central role in the failure of the French Army to defeat the German invasion of France in May 1940. He was killed in a car accident at the height of the battle.  
  SMS Bismarck - The SMS Bismarck was the first of two Bismarck-class battleships built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War 2. The ship was named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the German unification in 1871. Along with her sister ship Tirpitz, Bismarck was the largest battleship ever built by Germany, and the heaviest built by any European power. The SMS Bismarck conducted only one offensive operation, codenamed Rheinübung, in May 1941. The ship, along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was to break out into the Atlantic Ocean and raid Allied shipping from North America to Great Britain. The two ships were detected and British naval units were deployed to block their route. At the Battle of Denmark Strait, the SMS Bismarck engaged and destroyed the battlecruiser HMS Hood and forced the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to retreat. The SMS Bismarck was hit three times and suffered an oil leak from a ruptured tank. The destruction of the HMS Hood spurred a relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy with dozens of warships involved. Two days later, while steaming for the relative safety of occupied France, Bismarck was attacked by Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and was rendered wasn’t able to  maneuver. The following morning the SMS Bismarck was destroyed by a pair of British battleships.  
  Black Thursday - “Black Thursday” is the name given by the U.S. Army Air Force to the 8th Air Force’s attack on Oct. 14, 1943, against the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt, Germany. For hundreds of miles in-bound B-17 Flying Fortresses bomber formations were attacked again and again by fighters of the Luftwaffe. The bombers were also attacked on the return trip. The 8th Air Force reported that 251 B-17s had departed on the mission, 60 had failed to return, five had crashed in England because of battle damage, 12 had to be scrapped because of crash landings or battle damage, and 121 had to be repaired before being flown again. 600 men were lost over enemy territory and there were five dead and 43 wounded fliers in the B-17s that did return.  
  Blaskowitz, Johannes A. - (1883-1948) Blaskowitz was a German general during World War II who accepted the surrender of Warsaw, Poland in September 1939. His outrage over SS atrocities in Poland led to Blaskowitz being relieved of his command in May, 1940.  
  Bletchley Park - Bletchley Park is an estate located in the town of Bletchley, in Buckinghamshire, England. Bletchley Park was the site of the Great Britain's main decryption establishment, the Government Code and Cypher School, where ciphers and codes of several Axis countries were decrypted, most importantly the ciphers generated by the German Enigma and Lorenz machines. The high-level intelligence produced at Bletchley Park, codenamed Ultra, provided crucial assistance to the Allied war effort.  
  Blitz - Blitz - The Blitz (from German, "lightning") was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Germany between September 7, 1940 and May 10, 1941 during the World War 2. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many other important military and industrial centers across were also affected.  
  Bloch, Claude C. - (1878-1967) Bloch was a U.S. Navy Admiral who served as Commander, Battle Force, U.S. Fleet (COMBATFOR) from 1937 to 1938 and Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet (CINCUS) from 1938 to 1940.  
  von Bock, Fedor - (1880-1945) von Bock was a German military officer who rose to the rank of Field Marshal during World War 2. von Bock served as the commander of Army Group North during the Invasion of Poland in 1939, commander of Army Group B during the Invasion of France in 1940, and later as the commander of Army Group Center during the attack on the Soviet Union in 1941. His final command was that of Army Group South in 1942.  
  Bohr, Niels - (1885-1962) Bohr was a Danish physicist who made fundamental contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. Bohr mentored and collaborated with many of the top physicists of the century at his institute in Copenhagen. He was part of a team of physicists working on the Manhattan Project.  
  Bonnet, Georges - (1889-1973) Bonnet was a French politician and leading figure in the Radical-Socialist Party. In 1938 Bonnet was appointed Foreign Minister under Premier Édouard Daladier. Bonnet was a staunch supporter of the Munich Agreement in 1938 and was firmly opposed to taking military action against Nazi expansion. After the fall of France Bonnet supported the Vichy government and served on the National Council, but since the council never met, Bonnet's role in Vichy was not a large one. In 1944 Bonnet left France for Switzerland, where he was to stay until March 1950. In 1953, an amnesty for those convicted of "national disgrace" allowed him to run for office again and he would again be involved in French politics.  
  Boris III - (1894-1943) Tsar Boris III was the monarch of Bulgaria at the onset of World War 2. In 1941, Boris reluctantly allied himself with the Axis Powers in an attempt to recover Macedonia from Greece and Yugoslavia. Although Bulgaria was a German ally Boris refused to permit the extradition of Bulgaria's 50,000 Jews or to declare war on the Soviet Union or send Bulgarian troops to the Eastern front. Boris III died of an apparent heart attack in 1943 and the leadership of Bulgaria became more cooperative with Germany after his death.  
  Bormann, Martin L. - (1900-1945) Bormann was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery and private secretary to Adolf Hitler after Rudolf Hess left on a failed “peace” mission to England. Bormann had Hitler's trust and gained immense power within the Third Reich by controlling access to the Führer and by regulating the activities of those closest to him.  
  Bose, Subhas Chandra - (1897-1945) Bose was an Indian revolutionary who led an Indian national political and military force against Britain and the Allied powers during World War II. Popularly known as Netaji (literally "Respected Leader"), Bose was one of the most prominent leaders in the Indian independence movement.  
  Bougainville Campaign - The Bougainville Campaign (Operation Cherry Blossom) was fought by the Allies in the South Pacific to regain control of the island of Bougainville from the Japanese forces who had occupied it in 1942. During their occupation the Japanese constructed naval aircraft bases and a naval anchorage on the island. On the nearby Treasury and Shortland Islands they built airfields, naval bases and anchorages. These bases helped protect Rabaul, the major Japanese garrison and naval base in New Guinea. The Allied campaign began on October 27, 1943 and ended on August 21, 1945 with the surrender of the Japanese.  
  Bradley, Omar N. - (1893-1981) Bradley was an American military officer who rose to the rank of General during the war. Bradley was a senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe. From the Normandy landings through the end of the war in Europe, Bradley had command of all U.S. ground forces invading Germany from the west. After the war he was the first general to be selected Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff  and the last five-star commissioned officer.  
  von Brauchitsch, Walther - (1881-1948) von Brauchitsch was a German field marshal and the Commander of the Army in the early years of World War 2.  
  von Braun, Wernher - (1912-1977) von Braun was a German-born rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and, subsequently, the United States. von Braun was responsible for the design and realization of the V-2 combat rocket and has been criticized for his role in using slave labor in the production of the V-2. At the end of the war von Braun managed to escape from the advancing Red Army in eastern Germany and surrendered to American forces in May 1945. von Braun would later become instrumental in the American space program.  
  Brenner Pass - Brenner Pass is a mountain pass through the Alps along the border between Italy and Austria. During World War 2, the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and the Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini met there several times for high level conferences. The pass was used as an escape route for some Nazis after collapse of the German government in 1945.  
  Briggs, Lyman J. - (1874-1963) Briggs was an American engineer, physicist and administrator. He was the director of the National Bureau of Standards and chairman of the Uranium Committee before America entered the World War 2.  
  British Expeditionary Force - The British Expeditionary Force or BEF was the name given to the British Forces in Europe from 1939 to 1940 during World War 2. The troops were commanded by General Lord Gort and constituted approximately 1⁄10 of the defending Allied force. The BEF was started in 1938 in readiness for a perceived threat of war after Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. The BEF was sent to France in September 1939 and deployed mainly along the Belgian/French border during the so called Phony War leading up to May 1940. The BEF did not commence hostilities until the invasion of France on May 10, 1940. The BEF sustained heavy losses during the German advance and most of the remainder (approx 198,229 men along with 139,997 French and Belgian) were evacuated from several ports along the French northern coastline in Operations Dynamo most notably from the Dunkirk region.  
  Colonel Britton - Colonel Britton was the calm, assuring voice of Britain on the BBC that broadcast to the tens of millions of people who lived in German occupied Europe. Colonel Britton led the "V-for-Victory" Campaign where the letter V was scrawled on the billboards and walls of occupied Europe or used as a hand signal. After VE-Day it was revealed that the voice was that of Douglas Ritchie who later became director of European broadcasting for the BBC.  
  Brooke, Field Marshal Sir Alan F. - (1883-1963) Brooke was a senior commander in the British Army. He was the Chief of the Imperial General Staff during World War 2, and was promoted Field Marshal in 1944. As chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Brooke was the foremost military advisor to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and in the role of coordinator of the British military efforts was an important but not always well-known contributor to the Allies' victory in 1945.  
  Brown, Jr., Wilson - (1882-1957) was an American naval officer who rose to the rank of Vice Admiral. At the onset of World War 2 Brown was placed in command of Task Force 11 based around the aircraft carrier USS Lexington. This force played a key role in the early U.S. carrier raids. Although Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest King believed that Brown was "pretty good", his deteriorating health led King to have Pacific Fleet commander Chester W. Nimitz move him back to Pearl Harbor. Brown retired in 1944 but continued to help on the war effort by becoming an advisor U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  
  Buchenwald - Buchenwald concentration camp was a German Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg (Etter Mountain) near Weimar, Germany in July 1937. It was one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil.  
  Bullitt, Jr., William C. - (1891-1967) Bullitt was the first U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, a post that he served from 1933 to 1936. In October 1936 Bullitt was appointed ambassador to France. After the German invasion of France in 1940, Bullitt fell out with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Bullitt insisted on remaining in Paris as the only ambassador of a major nation left when the Germans marched in.  
  Burk-Wadsworth Act - The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, also known as the Burk-Wadsworth Act was a U.S. law that required men between the ages of 21 and 35 to register with local draft boards. The act introduced the first peacetime conscription in United States history.  
  Burma Road - The Burma Road was a 717 mile road linking China with Burma. Its terminals are Kunming and Yunnan in China, and Lashio, Burma. The Burma Road role in World War 2 was supplying China with war material after the Japanese had captured the major Chinese ports in the late 1930s. After the Japanese overran Burma in 1942, the Allies were forced to supply Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist Chinese by air. The road was reopened to Allied traffic in January 1945.  
  Bush, Vannevar - (1890-1974) Bush was an American engineer and science administrator who as the president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington played a political role in the development of the atomic bomb as a primary organizer of the Manhattan Project.  
  Byrnes, James F. - (1882-1972) Byrnes was an American politician. Before World War 2 Byrnes served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from South Carolina and as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1943 Byrnes became head of the Office of War Mobilization. Under his leadership, the program managed newly built factories across the country which created raw materials, civilian and military production, and transportation for U.S. military persona. Byrnes is credited for providing the employment needed to officially bring an end to the Great Depression. Byrnes’ political experience and his close friendship with U.S. President Franklin S. Roosevelt Byrnes allowed him to exert influence over many facets of the war effort which were not technically under his departmental jurisdiction. Many in Congress and the press began referring to Byrnes as the "Assistant President." Byrnes was considered by many to be Roosevelt’s choice for Vice President in 1944. On July 3, 1945 U.S. President Harry S. Truman appointed Byrnes as U.S. Secretary of State. Byrnes played a major role at the Potsdam Conference, the Paris Peace Conference, and other major postwar conferences.  

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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