Abridged Encyclopedia of World War 2  
  R to Ryti  
  Raczkiewicz, Władysław - (1885 - 1947) Raczkiewicz was a Polish political figure and the first president of the Polish government in exile. Until 1945 he was the internationally recognized Polish head of state, and the Polish Government in Exile was recognized as the continuum to the Polish government of 1939.  
  Raeder, Erich J. A. - (1876 - 1960) Raeder was a German naval officer who rose to the rank of Grand Admiral before the war. Raeder led the Kriegsmarine for the first half of the war, but resigned in 1943 after the unsuccessful outcome of the Battle of the Barents Sea and was replaced by Karl Donitz. Raeder was sentenced to life in prison at the Nuremberg Trials, but was released early due to failing health.  
  RAF Bomber Command - RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces beginning in 1936. During the early months of World War 2 Bomber Command confined its attacks to military targets. Following the German Rotterdam Blitz of May 14, 1940, RAF Bomber Command was authorized to attack German targets east of the Rhine. Later in the war the RAF Bomber Command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries notably in the Ruhr valley and many German cities including Cologne and Dresden in 1945. RAF Bomber Command crews suffered extremely high casualty rates and RAF Bomber Command had 19 Victoria Cross recipients.  
  Ramsay, Captain Archibald - (1894 - 1955) Ramsay was a British Army officer who later went into politics as a Scottish Unionist Member of Parliament (MP). From the late 1930s he developed increasingly strident anti-Semitic views. In May of 1940 his involvement with a suspected spy at the United States embassy led to his internment under Defence Regulation 18B, the only British MP to suffer this fate.  
  Ramsay, Admiral Sir Bertram H. - (1883 - 1945) Ramsay was a British admiral during World War 2. As Vice-Admiral Dover he was responsible for the Dunkirk evacuation, codenamed Operation Dynamo. Working from the underground tunnels beneath Dover Castle, he and his staff worked for nine days straight to rescue 338,226 Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. Ramsay was to be appointed as Naval Force Commander for the invasion of Europe in  April of 1942, but the invasion was postponed and he was transferred to become deputy Naval commander of the Allied invasion of North Africa. During the Allied invasion of Sicily in July of 1943, Ramsay was Naval Commanding Officer, Eastern Task Force and prepared the amphibious landings. In 1944, Ramsay was appointed Naval Commander in Chief of the Allied Naval Expeditionary Force for Operation Overlord - the invasion of Normandy. On 2 January 1945, he was killed when his plane crashed on takeoff southwest of Paris while en route to a conference with General Bernard Montgomery in Brussels.  
  Rauter, Johann B. A. - (1895 - 1949) Rauter was the highest SS and Police Leader in the occupied Netherlands and therefore the leading security and police officer there during the period of 1940-1945. He reported directly to the Nazi SS-chief, Heinrich Himmler. After the war he was convicted in the Netherlands of crimes against humanity and executed by firing squad.  
  Ravensbruck - Ravensbruck was a notorious women's concentration camp during World War II, located in northern Germany, 55 miles north of Berlin. Construction of the camp began in November 1938 by SS leader Heinrich Himmler and was unusual in that it was a camp primarily for women. The camp opened in May 1939. Between 1939 and 1945, over 130,000 female prisoners passed through the Ravensbrück camp system of which between 15,000 and 32,000 of those survived.  
  Rejewski, Marian Adam - (1905 - 1980) Rejewski was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who in 1932 solved the plugboard-equipped Enigma machine, the main cipher device used by Germany. The success of Rejewski and his colleagues Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski jump-started the British reading of Enigma in World War 2 and the intelligence gathering program code-named "Ultra."  
  Rexism - Rexism was a fascist political movement in the first half of the 20th century in Belgium. The Rexist Party, officially called Rex, was founded in 1930 by Leon Degrelle, a Walloon. The name was derived from the Roman Catholic social teachings concerning Christus Rex, and it was also the title of a conservative Catholic journal. The ideology of Rexism called for the moral renewal of Belgian society in conformity with the teachings of the Church, by forming a corporatist society, and abolishing democracy.  
  Reynaud, Paul - (1878 - 1966) Reynaud was a French politician and lawyer prominent in the interwar period, noted for his stances on economic liberalism and militant opposition to Germany.  Reynaud served as the 118th Prime Minister of France from March 21, 1940 to June 16, 1940. Reynaud resigned rather than accept Germany’s armistice demands and was replaced accepted Marshal Philippe Pétain who signed the armistice on June 22, 1940.  
  von Ribbentrop, Joachim - (1893 - 1946) von Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister of Germany from 1938 until 1945. He was later hanged for war crimes after the Nuremberg Trials.  
  Richardson, James O. - (1878 - 1974) Richardson was an American admiral and Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet from January 1940 to February 1941. He was removed because of disagreements with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt about basing the fleet in Pearl Harbor. Richardson would subsequently serve as a member of the Navy General Board, and in the office of the Secretary of the Navy until to his retirement in October 1942.  
  Ritchie, Neil M. - (1897 - 1983) Ritchie was a British military officer who rose to the rank of Lt. General during the war. Ritchie was involved in the evacuation of Dunkirk. In November 1941 he was given field command of the Eighth Army in North Africa. Following the defeat of the British during the Battle of Gazala in May and June 1942 he was relieved of command. Ritchie was later appointed to command the 52nd Division in Britain and then the XII Corps during the D-Day landings and the campaign in Europe.  
  Roberts Commission (First) - The first Roberts Commission was a presidentially-appointed commission formed in December 1941, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941, to investigate and report the facts relating to the attack. The commission was headed by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Owen J. Roberts. The commission found the commanders of Pearl Harbor, Adm. Husband Kimmel and Gen. Walter Short, guilty of 'dereliction of duty'. The Commission presented their findings to the U.S. Congress on January 28, 1942.  
  Roberts Commission (Second) - The second Roberts Commission was a presidentially-appointed created to help the U.S. Army protect works of cultural value in Allied-occupied areas of Europe. The commission was headed by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Owen J. Roberts. The formal name of the commission was the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas. The commission also developed inventories of Nazi- appropriated property. Along with the U.S. Military program known as Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA), the commission worked to rescue and preserve items of cultural significance. This commission was active place from 1943 until 1946.  
  Rockwell, Francis W. - (1886 - 1979) Rockwell was an American naval officer who rose to the rank of Rear Admiral during the war. Rockwell assumed command of the 16th Naval District, consisting of the Philippine Islands in November 1941. After most of the Cavite Navy Yard facilities were destroyed he organized the withdrawal of remaining Allied naval forces and civilian ships from the Philippines in March 1942. He planned the naval transport of the invasion force for the Battle of Attu of May 1943. He returned to the Navy Department in 1943 and commanded the Atlantic Fleet's Amphibious Training Command until the end of the war.  
  Rockall - Rockall is an extremely small, uninhabited, remote rocky islet in the North Atlantic Ocean between Ireland and Iceland.  
  Rommel, Erwin - (1891 - 1944) Rommel , popularly known as the Desert Fox, was a German military commander during World War 2 who rose to the rank of Field Marshal. He distinguished himself as the commander of the 7th Panzer Division during the 1940 invasion of France. However, it was his leadership of German and Italian forces in the North African campaign that established the legend of the Desert Fox. He is considered to have been one of the most skilled commanders of desert warfare in the war. He later commanded the German forces opposing the Allied cross-channel invasion in Normandy. Late in the war, Rommel was linked to the conspiracy to kill German Chancellor Adolf Hitler. Due to his popularity, Hitler chose to eliminate him quietly. In trade for the protection of his family Rommel agreed to commit suicide.  
  Romper - A ship that had moved more than 10 nautical miles ahead of its convoy, and was unable to rejoin it.  
  Rosie the Riveter - Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories producing munitions and war supplies during World War 2. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military.  
  Roosevelt, Franklin Delano - (1882 - 1945) Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century. Often referred to by his initials, FDR, Roosevelt was the only American president elected to more than two terms. Roosevelt won his first of four presidential elections in 1932, while the United States was in the depths of the Great Depression. As global conflicts increased with the Japanese invasion of China and the aggressions of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, Roosevelt gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China and Britain, while remaining officially neutral. His goal was to make America the "Arsenal of Democracy." In March 1941, Roosevelt provided Lend-Lease aid to the countries fighting against Nazi Germany. He secured a near-unanimous declaration of war against Japan and Germany after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, calling it a "day that will live in infamy." He supervised the mobilization of the U.S. economy to support the Allied war effort and led the U.S. through most of World War II. Roosevelt died in office of a cerebral hemorrhage shortly before the war ended.  
  Rosenberg, Alfred - (1893 - 1946) Rosenberg was an early and intellectually influential member of the Nazi Party. Rosenberg  is considered one of the main authors of key Nazi ideological creeds, including its racial theory, persecution of the Jews, Lebensraum, and the abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles Following the invasion of the USSR, Rosenberg was appointed head of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories. At Nuremberg Rosenberg was tried, sentenced to death and executed by hanging as a war criminal.  
  von Rundstedt, K. R. Gerd - (1875 - 1953) von Rundstedt was a German military officer who rose to the rank of Field Marshall during World War 2. von Rundstedt held some of the highest field commands in all phases of the war. At the beginning of the World War 2 von Rundstedt returned from retirement and was given the post of Commander of the Army Group South in the Poland campaign. He maintained command of large formations during Fall Gelb (the invasion of Western Europe in 1940) and was promoted to the rank of a Field Marshall on July 19, 1940. In the Russian Campaign he commanded Army Group South, responsible for the successful encirclement of large Soviet forces in the Battle of Kiev. Due to the failure of Operation Barbarossa, he was, like many commanders, dropped by Hitler, but was recalled in 1942 to head the German Army Command in the West. He retained this command (with several interruptions) until his dismissal by Hitler in March 1945. After the war he was charged with war crimes, but never faced any trial due to his poor health. He was released from captivity in 1948.  
  Rydz-Smigły, Edward - (1886 - 1941) Rydz-Smigły was a Marshal of Poland, Polish political figure, and Commander-in-Chief of Poland's armed forces when Nazi Germany invaded in 1939I. To avoid capture by Soviet and German troops he escaped to Romania where he was interned. During his internment in Romania, Rydz-Smigły initiated the creation of the Polish underground. Rydz-Smigły would escape from Romania and join the Polish resistance movement in Warsaw as a common underground soldier. He died suddenly of heart failure at the age of 55, on December 2, 1941, only five weeks after his arrival in Warsaw.  
  Ryti, Risto H. - (1889 - 1956) Ryti was President of Finland from 1940 to 1944 serving during the Winter War, the Interim Peace, and during the Continuation War. After the war, Ryti was the main defendant in the Finnish War-responsibility trials.  

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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