January 1, 1939
Joseph Goebbels initiates a unified National Socialist radio programming schedule for the entire Reich in January 1939.
January 30, 1939
In a speech to the German parliament, Hitler declares that in the event of another world war, for which he intended to hold "International Finance Jewry" responsible, the result would not be "the Bolshevization of the earth and with that the victory of Jewry, but rather the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe."
August 28, 1939
Military censorship of German press is put in place
September 1, 1939
German armies invade Poland and the Blitzkrieg begins, followed two days later by a declaration of war on Germany by Britain and France. During 1938, leading up to the outbreak of the war, Edward R. Murrow was based in London. He stayed there when war broke out in September 1939, later providing live radio broadcasts during the height of the London Blitz. Murrow's reports, especially during the Blitz, began with what became his signature opening, "This … is London." The broadcasts electrified radio audiences as news programming never had before. Previously, war coverage had mostly been provided by newspaper reports, along with newsreels seen in movie theatres.
September 1-2, 1939
Following the attack on Poland, the "Ordinance on Extraordinary Radio Measures" prohibits Germans from listening to and disseminating information from foreign radio stations. Listening to foreign radio broadcasts becomes an offense against national security punishable with a prison term. In 1941, the punishment becomes death. All radio sets are to bear a sticker carrying a brief warning against Feindhörer ("those who listen to the enemy"), who were threatened with severe punishments. Further changes in the wake of this decree include the establishment of a secret Propaganda Ministry press conference with select journalists for rapid transmission of information. Newspapers and other publications are limited in size to 28 pages.
September 20, 1939
Jews are forced to turn in their radios to local authorities. Germany, September 23, 1939.
New Hollywood film releases are no longer shown in German cinemas
British Prime Minister Churchill's speeches during the blitz are broadcast to Britain and America
April 30, 1940
German authorities seal first major Jewish ghetto, in Lodz
All German stations are synchronized into one Reich broadcast, the uniform program of Great German Radio (news reports, Wehrmacht reports, political commentary, reportage, and music)
May 20, 1940
SS authorities establish Auschwitz concentration camp
June 10, 1940
Italy enters the war as an ally of Germany
November 15, 1940
German authorities order Warsaw ghetto to be sealed
June 22, 1941
Nazi Germany invades Soviet Union
In September 1941, the Nazi regime, at Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels's urgent request, ordered Germany's Jews over the age of 6 to sew on their clothing a yellow Star of David with the word Jude (Jew) in bold, Hebrew-like letters. The following year, the measure was introduced in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and other lands under German control.
September 3, 1941
First gassing experiments using Zyklon B at the Auschwitz concentration camp
October 23, 1941
German government forbids Jews to emigrate from greater German Reich
November 24, 1941
German authorities establish camp-ghetto Theresienstadt
December 7, 1941
Japan attacks the United States, bombing Pearl Harbor
December 8, 1941
First killing operations begin at Chelmno in occupied Poland
January 20, 1942
Plans to coordinate a Europe-wide "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" are presented during the Wannsee Conference.
February 24, 1942
Voice of America, under the U.S. Office of War Information, begins broadcasting news programs to theaters of war
July 4, 1942
German authorities begin systematically gassing Jews at the Auschwitz killing center
July 22-September 12, 1942
Deportation of approximately 265,000 Jews from Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka killing center
December 17, 1942
Allied declaration: "bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination" will "not escape retribution"
February 3, 1943
German radio reports the fall of Stalingrad
April 19-May 16, 1943
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, first armed revolt of civilians in German-occupied Europe
Raphael Lemkin coins the word "genocide"
May 15-July 9, 1944
Deportation of approximately 440,000 Jews from Hungary
June 23, 1944
Succumbing to pressure following the deportation of Danish Jews to Theresienstadt, the Germans permitted representatives from the Danish Red Cross and the International Red Cross to visit Theresienstadt in June 1944. It was all an elaborate hoax. The Germans intensified deportations from the ghetto shortly before the visit, and the ghetto itself was "beautified." Gardens were planted, houses painted, and barracks renovated. The Nazis staged social and cultural events for the visiting dignitaries. Once the visit was over, the Germans resumed deportations from Theresienstadt, which did not end until October 1944.
The Allied Control Council immediately dissolves the Nazi Party and all of its affiliated organizations and institutions and bans them from ever being revived in any form "to prevent all Nazi and militaristic activity or propaganda."
The Allied Control Council issues directives aimed at systematically purging Germany of Nazism. Libraries, bookshops, publishing houses, universities, and schools are ordered to turn over to the military authorities for destruction all materials, including slides, song books, maps, newspapers, and films, containing Nazi propaganda. (The distribution of Nazi propaganda continues to be illegal in Germany today.)
The Allies view the German educational system as one of the cornerstones of Nazi propaganda. To prevent the further corruption of German youth, they close down all German public schools, remove Nazi textbooks, and purge the teaching profession.
The Allied Control Council directs that all existing posters, statues, monuments, street signs, and emblems that glorified the Nazi Party be completely destroyed, and it outlawed the planning, design, or erection of any such objects in the future. The democratization program for Germany mandated the elimination of Nazi names from public squares, city streets, and other venues.
January 27, 1945
Soviet troops enter Auschwitz-Birkenau
February 4-11, 1945
Allied leaders meet at Yalta and discuss the postwar occupation of Germany
March 7, 1945
American forces cross the Rhine
April 12, 1945
U.S. President Roosevelt dies; Truman takes the oath of office
April 15, 1945
British troops enter Bergen-Belsen
April 23, 1945
Last issue of the Deutsche Nachrichtenblatt appears in Berlin
May 1, 1945
Hitler's Heldentod ("heroic death") is announced on radio from Berlin
May 8, 1945
Soviet forces liberate Theresienstadt
May 9, 1945
Last surviving Reich radio station (Flensberg) broadcasts news of Germany's capitulation
May 18, 1945
First provisional German government is established in the U.S. Zone of occupation
June 5, 1945
Allied four-power control council is established, headquartered in Berlin
July 16-August 2, 1945
U.S., British, and Soviet leaders meet at the Potsdam Conference
An International Military Tribunal to try major war criminals is authorized
September 2, 1945
Japan surrenders; war in Pacific ends. World War II is over
November 20, 1945
The International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg tries 21 (of 24 indicted) major Nazi German leaders on charges of crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and conspiracy to commit each of these crimes. It is the first time that international tribunals are used as a postwar mechanism for bringing national leaders to justice. The word "genocide" is included in the indictment, but as a descriptive, not legal, term. Two defendants faced the Allied prosecutors because of their propaganda activities: Hans Fritzsche and Julius Streicher. Their cases mark the first time in history that an international court prosecuted propagandists for their role in the commission of such murderous crimes.Back to Top