Year in review – 1944

The Pittsburgh Press (December 31, 1944)

1944, a year of violence



January 1:

  • Year begins with Eisenhower in England as commander of Allied invasion forces as gigantic air raids pound Hitler’s Europe.
  • Allies in Pacific fighting on newly-invaded Gilberts and New Britain.
  • Allied troops in Italy approaching Mount Cassino in drive toward Rome.
  • Soviets poised on Polish border.
  • U.S. Congress debating soldier vote law.
  • 3,000,000 U.S. fighting men overseas.
  • U.S. shipbuilding at rate of 25,000,000 tons a year.
  • U.S. plane production at rate of 9,000 planes a month.
  • U.S. war casualties total 139,752.

January 4: Soviets cross Polish border.

January 13: Allied planes bomb Bangkok.

January 18: Fourth War Loan opens with $14 billion quota.

January 19: 100,000 planes set for year’s production goal.

January 20: Russians retake Novgorod.

January 22: Allies land at Anzio.

January 27: Leningrad breaks Nazi siege; Liberia declares war on Axis.

January 29:

  • USS Missouri, most powerful warship, launched.
  • William Allen White dies.

January 30: Army releases 70 colleges from air force training.

January 31: Allies land on Roi and Kwajalein in Marshall, Jap territory.


February 4: U.S. warships shell Paramushiru.

February 8: Russians clear last Germans from Dnieper east bank.

February 9: Senate rejects food subsidy plan.

February 14: Nation’s farm income for 1943 rose to $19,009,000,000.

February 15: Allies bomb German-fortified Mount Cassino abbey.

February 16:

  • Allied fleet attacks Truk, downing 16 ships and 201 planes.
  • Roosevelt puts War Relocation Authority under Ickes.

February 22: President vetoes tax bill.

February 24:

  • MacArthur announces Allied control of Bismarck Archipelago.
  • House overrides tax veto.

February 25:

  • Senate overrides tax veto.
  • Senator Charles L. McNary dies.

February 27: Announce ship loss slashed to 1% on way to Russia.

February 29: Yanks land on Admiralty Island.


March 8: 2,000 U.S. planes attack Berlin in greatest daylight raid.

March 12: U.S. paratroops drop behind Jap lines in Burma to hold Ledo Road.

March 13: Russians take Kherson.

March 15: Congress adopts states’ rights soldier vote bill.

March 17: G.I. “Bill of Rights” voted by Senate group.

March 18: War chiefs agree to defer 40,000 key men under 26.

March 19:

  • Russians cross Dniester River.
  • Allied troops in Italy see Vesuvius in its most violent eruption in 38 years.

March 27: Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of price control, portal pay for miners.

March 29: U.S. participation in UNRRA authorized.

March 30: Russians enter Romania.

March 31: Wayne Lonergan judged guilty of second-degree murder of his wife.


April 5: Willkie leaves presidential race after defeat in Wisconsin primaries.

April 10: Russians win Odessa.

April 16: Tornado kills 40, injures 500 in Georgia, South Carolina.

April 17: Sedition trial of 30 opens.

April 18: House group drafts proposal to draft 4-Fs for war jobs.

April 19:

  • Tommy Hitchcock killed in plane crash in England.
  • House extends Lend-Lease Act for a year.

April 20: Allied carrier force attacks Sumatra.

April 22: Yanks land in northern New Guinea.

April 26: U.S. troops seize Ward’s after Avery defies Roosevelt order.

April 28: Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox dies.


May 2: U.S. ships sink 17 Jap ships, down 126 planes off Truk.

May 3: Synthetic quinine is produced, ending century search.

May 5: Tax simplification bill voted by House.

May 8:

  • Russians win Sevastopol.
  • Senate voted Lend-Lease year’s extension.

May 10: Public debt increase from $210 billion to $240 billion voted by House.

May 18:

  • Allies take Cassino
  • Yanks take Wadke Island.

May 19: James V. Forrestal takes oath as Secretary of the Navy.

May 20: Senate passes tax simplification bill.

May 22: Suspension power of OPA is upheld by Supreme Court.

May 27: Yanks invade Biak Island, in the Schoutens.


June 2:

  • U.S. bombers land in Russia, in first “shuttle” raid.
  • Nazis announce six American fliers lynched by German mob.

June 4: Rome falls to Allies.


June 12: Fifth War Loan opens, with goal of $16 billion.

June 13: House passes compromise version of “G.I. Bill of Rights.”

June 14: Yanks land on Saipan.

June 15:

  • First B-29 raid on Japan.
  • Nazis launch robot bombs on England.

June 19:

  • U.S. Task Force 58 defeats Jap fleet between Marianas and Philippines.
  • Allies occupy Elba.
  • Ralph A. Bard becomes Under Secretary of the Navy.

June 22: President signs “G.I. Bill of Rights.”

June 26: Reds take Vitebsk, Zlobin.

June 27: Allies take Cherbourg.

June 28: Republicans nominate Dewey, Bricker.

June 30: AAF terminates aircrew-training programs in 81 colleges.


July 1: World monetary conference opens.

July 3:

  • Russians retake Minsk.
  • U.S. women Marines reach 19,000 quota.

July 6:

  • Circus fire in Hartford, Connecticut, cost 146 lives.
  • 66 miners die in Ohio pit fire.

July 8: Caen, Saipan fall to Allies.

July 11: Roosevelt announces fourth-term candidacy.**

July 16: Russian take Grodno.

July 18:

  • Allies take Saint-Lô, Leghorn.
  • 350 die in West Coast munitions ship’s explosion.

July 19: Allies take Livorno.

July 20:

  • Tojo cabinet ousted.
  • Hitler escapes bomb, “purges” German Army.

July 21: Truman named Democratic vice-presidential candidate.

July 22: 44 nations approve fund, bank pacts as world monetary parley ends.

July 23:

  • Soviets open summer offensive, take Pskov.
  • Allies land on Tinian Island.

July 24:

  • Soviets take Lublin.
  • Basil O’Connor new Red Cross head.

July 26-29: Roosevelt, MacArthur, Nimitz confer in Hawaii.

July 28: Soviets take Brest-Litovsk.

July 29:

  • Allies take Coutances.
  • B-29s bomb Jap industries in Manchuria.
  • Soviets take Kaunas.

July 30: Allies invade Sansapor, 600 miles from the Philippines.

July 31: Allies begin aerial blitz on Nazi supply routes and transport lines in France and Germany.


August 1:

  • Allies capture: Brécey, France – Pisa, Italy.
  • Philippine President Quezon dies.

August 2: Turkey breaks with Germany.

August 4: Allies take: Rennes, France – Florence, Italy – Myitkyina, Burma.

August 6:

  • Soviets take Drohobycz, Poland.
  • U.S., Britain agree on international oil body.

August 6-8: B-29s hit Davao, in the first attack on the Philippines since Corregidor.

August 8:

  • Soviets take Krustpils, Latvia.
  • Japs take Hengyang.

August 10:

  • Allies take Guam.
  • B-29s bomb Nagasaki, Japan.
  • B-29s destroy huge refinery on Sumatra.

August 15:

  • Allies land in southern France.
  • WPB releases hundreds of articles for civilian output.

August 17:

  • Allies take Orleans, Saint-Malo.
  • Soviets reach East Prussia.

August 21: U.S., Britain, Russia open peace talks at Dumbarton Oaks.

August 22:

  • Soviets take Iasi, Romania.
  • House votes war property surplus bill.

August 23:

  • Allies invade southern France near Bordeaux.
  • Allies take Grenoble, Marseilles.
  • Romania breaks with Axis.

August 24: Allies take Bordeaux.

August 25:

  • Allies take Paris, Cannes, Lyon.
  • Nazis flee robot bomb coast.
  • Bulgaria surrenders to Allies.
  • Romania declares war on Germany.
  • Senate votes war surplus property bill.

August 27: Allies take Toulon.

August 28:

  • Allies take Château-Thierry.
  • Soviets drive into Transylvania.

August 30: Soviets take Ploesti oil fields.


September 1:

  • Allies take Verdun, Argonne.
  • Soviets take Bucharest.
  • Bodies of 51 beheaded by Japs on Guam are found.

September 2:

  • Allies race through Alsace-Lorraine, cross Belgian frontier, take Compiègne Forest, Dieppe, Abbeville, Saint-Mihiel.
  • Allies in Italy break Gothic Line.

September 4:

  • Allies take Antwerp, Brussels.
  • Finns, Russians cease fight.
  • Dumbarton Oaks parley backs international use of force to keep peace.

September 5:

  • Russia declares war on Bulgaria.
  • Allies enter Luxembourg, Holland.

September 6:

  • Bulgaria, Russian sign armistice.
  • Soviets take Ostroleka, Poland.

September 7:

  • Soviets cross Danube into Yugoslavia.
  • Allies take Ghent, Armentières.
  • Bulgaria declares war on Germany.

September 8:

  • Soviets drive through Bulgaria to Greek frontier.
  • Allies take Liège, Metz.
  • Soviets take Varna.

September 9-12: Huge Allied task force shells Mindanao, the Philippines.

September 10: Allies shell German soil, take Luxembourg.

September 11:

  • Soviets take Krosno.
  • Roosevelt, Churchill in Quebec for 10th meeting.
  • Allies land on Halmahera Island and Palau.

September 17:

  • Allied airborne troops land behind German lines in Holland.
  • Hull pledges support to international news freedom.

September 19:

  • Allies take Eindhoven, Holland.
  • Soviets take Valga.

September 20: Allies take Boulogne, Brest.

September 20-21: U.S. Third Fleet smashes 103 Jap ships, 405 planes, in Manila assault.

September 22:

  • Allies take Rimini, Italy, sweep into Po Valley.
  • Allies enter Arnhem, Holland.
  • Soviets take Tallinn, cross Vistula.

September 24: Survey shows 6,500,000 women took jobs since Pearl Harbor.

September 25:

  • Soviets enter Hungary, Slovakia.
  • Allies win Gothic Line.

September 27: Allies invade Albania, islands of Yugoslavia.

September 29: China enters Dumbarton Oaks talks as Russian phase ends.


October 1: Allies take Calais.

October 2: Allies start offensive drive through Siegfried Line.

October 3:

  • Polish patriots give up battle inside Warsaw.
  • Germans abandon southern Greece.

October 4:

  • Soviets join Partisans in Yugoslavia.
  • World Series opens in St. Louis.
  • Al Smith dies.

October 7: Japs take Foochow.

October 8:

  • U.S. fleet shells Marcus Island.
  • Wendell Willkie dies.

October 9: St. Louis Cardinals win World Series.

October 10:

  • Allies take Corinth.
  • U.S. fleet shells Ryukyu Island.

October 12-13: Allied carrier force strikes Formosa.

October 13:

  • Greeks liberate Athens, Piraeus.
  • Soviets take Riga.

October 14: New “super-fuel” is developed for carrier-based planes.

October 15:

  • Soviets take Petsamo.
  • Rommel’s death announced.

October 18: Soviets drive into Czechoslovakia.

October 19:

  • Soviets drive into East Prussia.

October 20:

  • Allies take Aachen.
  • Soviets take Belgrade.
  • 200 die in Cleveland gas tank explosion.
  • British Eighth Army takes Cesena.

October 22-27: Allies sink 24 Jap ships, damage 33, down 150 Jap planes in air-sea battle off the Philippines.

October 25: Soviets drive into Norway.

October 28:

  • Bulgaria signs armistice.
  • Stilwell relieved of command.
  • Allies in the Philippines take Samar.


November 2:

  • Luftwaffe loses 288 planes in air battle over Merseburg.
  • Allies take Vossenack, Germeter.

November 4: Last German forces driven from Greece.

November 4-5: Allies destroy 440 Jap planes, sink or damage 30 Jap ships in Manila-Southern Luzon area.

November 5: B-29s raid Singapore.

November 7:

  • Roosevelt, Truman elected. Democrats gain in Senate and House.
  • Employees’ right to uniform vacation basis upheld by WLB.

November 9: U.S. battle casualties pass 500,000 mark.

November 11: Allies sink Jap convoy of 8,000 troops.

November 12:

  • Allies sink Nazi battleship Tirpitz.
  • Sixth War Loan drive opens with $14 billion goal.

November 15: Allies land on Mapia Island, above New Guinea.

November 16: Byrnes named Reconversion Director.

November 17: Lt. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler succeeds Gen. Stilwell as deputy commander in Southeast Asia.

November 19: Allies enter Saar Basin.

November 20:

  • Allies cross Rhine, pierce Maginot forts.
  • Allies take Metz, Belfort.

November 21: President names Nelson “personal representative” to China.

November 22: Allies drive to Roer River.

November 24: B-29s attack Tokyo for the first time.

November 27: Stettinius named Secretary of State as Hull resigns.


December 2: Allies take Antwerp.

December 5:

  • Stettinius criticizes British policy in Italy and other liberated countries.
  • Allies take Ravenna, Italy.

December 7: Mass sedition trial ends in mistrial after the death of Judge Eicher.

December 10: Allies take Ormoc.

December 11: Allies seize Sarreguemines, Haguenau.

December 12: Cold wave grips nation.

December 14: U.S. casualties for World War II rise to 562,468.

December 15: Seventh Army invades Reich. Patch’s troops cross border from Alsace.

December 16:

  • MacArthur’s forces invade Mindoro Island, 130 miles from Manila.
  • NAZIS OPEN COUNTEROFFENSIVE along 70-mile front, drive into Belgium and Luxembourg.

December 20:

  • German sweep continues.
  • Churchill admits Big Three discord in liberated Europe.

December 26:

  • Churchill, in Athens to settle civil war, escapes death plot.
  • Germans smash 11 miles with renewed force, threaten Meuse line.

December 27:

  • B-29s hammer Tokyo in fifth big-scale raid.
  • Yanks halt Meuse drive.

December 28: Army seizes Montgomery Ward & Company stores in seven cities.

December 30: Germans thrown back by Gen. Patton’s Third Army.


Here’s to the war ending in 1945