Early digital computers were electromechanical; electric switches drove mechanical relays to perform the calculation. These devices had a low operating speed and were eventually superseded by much faster all-electric computers, originally using vacuum tubes. The Z2, created by German engineer Konrad Zuse in 1939, was one of the earliest examples of an electromechanical relay computer.
When Hitler and his army chiefs asked for a pretext for the invasion of Poland in 1939, Himmler, Heydrich, and Heinrich Müller masterminded and carried out a false flag project code-named Operation Himmler. German soldiers dressed in Polish uniforms undertook border skirmishes which deceptively suggested Polish aggression against Germany. The incidents were then used in Nazi propaganda to justify the invasion of Poland, the opening event of World War II.
After some time off to recover in Zwittau, Schindler was promoted to second in command of his Abwehr unit and relocated with his wife to Ostrava, on the Czech-Polish border, in January 1939. He was involved in espionage in the months leading up to Hitler's seizure of the remainder of Czechoslovakia in March. Emilie helped him with paperwork, processing and hiding secret documents in their apartment for the Abwehr office. As Schindler frequently traveled to Poland on business, he and his 25 agents were in a position to collect information about Polish military activities and railways for the planned invasion of Poland.
When Turing returned to Cambridge, he attended lectures given in 1939 by Ludwig Wittgenstein about the foundations of mathematics. The lectures have been reconstructed verbatim, including interjections from Turing and other students, from students' notes. Turing and Wittgenstein argued and disagreed, with Turing defending formalism and Wittgenstein propounding his view that mathematics does not discover any absolute truths, but rather invents them.
From their moving to Anglet until his wife's death in 1939, Stravinsky led a double life, dividing his time between his family in Anglet, and Vera in Paris and on tour. Katya reportedly bore her husband's infidelity "with a mixture of magnanimity, bitterness, and compassion".
Hughes is commonly credited as the driving force behind the Lockheed Constellation airliner, which Hughes and Frye ordered in 1939 as a long-range replacement for TWA's fleet of Boeing 307 Stratoliners, Hughes personally financed TWA's acquisition of 40 Constellations for $18 million, the largest aircraft order in history up to that time. The Constellations were among the highest-performing commercial aircraft of the late 1940s and 1950s and allowed TWA to pioneer nonstop transcontinental service. During World War II, Hughes leveraged political connections in Washington to obtain rights for TWA to serve Europe, making it the only U.S. carrier with a combination of domestic and transatlantic routes.
In 1939, coinciding with the start of World War II, Dubos had reported the discovery of the first naturally derived antibiotic, tyrothricin, a compound of 20% gramicidin and 80% tyrocidine, from B. brevis. It was one of the first commercially manufactured antibiotics and was very effective in treating wounds and ulcers during World War II.
Kodak got into the market with the Retina I in 1934, which introduced the 135 cartridges used in all modern 35 mm cameras. Although the Retina was comparatively inexpensive, 35 mm cameras were still out of reach for most people, and roll film remained the format of choice for mass-market cameras. This changed in 1936 with the introduction of the inexpensive Argus A and to an even greater extent in 1939 with the arrival of the immensely popular Argus C3. Although the cheapest cameras still used roll film, 35 mm film had come to dominate the market by the time the C3 was discontinued in 1966.
The Black Friday bushfires of 13 January 1939, in Victoria, Australia, were among the worst natural bushfires (wildfires) in the world. Almost 20,000 km2 (4,942,000 acres, 2,000,000 ha) of land was burned, 71 people died, several towns were entirely obliterated and the Royal Commission that resulted from it led to major changes in forest management. Over 1,300 homes and 69 sawmills were burned, and 3,700 buildings were destroyed.
In 1939 that marked the transition in Nazi racial antisemitism toward genocide. To justify the murder of the Jews both to the perpetrators and to bystanders in Germany and Europe, the Nazis used not only racist arguments but also arguments derived from older negative stereotypes, including Jews as communist subversives, as war profiteers and hoarders, and as a danger to internal security because of their inherent disloyalty and opposition to Germany.
By early 1939 only Madrid and a few other areas remained under control of the government forces. On 27 February Chamberlain's Britain and Daladier's France officially recognized the Franco regime.
Only Madrid and a few other strongholds remained for the Republican forces. On 5 March 1939 the Republican army, led by the Colonel Segismundo Casado and the politician Julián Besteiro, rose against the prime minister Juan Negrín and formed the National Defence Council (Consejo Nacional de Defensa or CND) to negotiate a peace deal.
Negrín fled to France on 6 March, but the Communist troops around Madrid rose against the junta, starting a brief civil war within the civil war. Casado defeated them, and began peace negotiations with the Nationalists, but Franco refused to accept anything less than unconditional surrender.
Between 1920 and 1939, a total of 63 countries became member states of the League of Nations. The Covenant forming the League of Nations was included in the Treaty of Versailles and came into force on 10 January 1920, with the League of Nations being dissolved on 18 April 1946; its assets and responsibilities were transferred to the United Nations.
In March 1939, Germany invaded the remainder of Czechoslovakia and subsequently split it into the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and a pro-German client state, the Slovak Republic.
On 15 March 1939, in violation of the Munich accord and possibly as a result of the deepening economic crisis requiring additional assets, Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht to invade Prague, and from Prague Castle he proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate.
Victory was proclaimed on 1 April 1939, when the last of the Republican forces surrendered. On the same day, Franco placed his sword upon the altar of a church and in a vow, promised that he would never again take up his sword unless Spain itself was threatened with invasion.
Thanksgiving Day's relationship to Christmas shopping led to controversy in the 1930s. Retail stores would have liked to have a longer shopping season, but no store wanted to break with tradition and be the one to start advertising before Thanksgiving. For this reason, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a presidential proclamation proclaiming Thanksgiving to be the fourth Thursday in November rather than the last Thursday, meaning in some years one week earlier, in order to lengthen the Christmas shopping season.
In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. During the visit, the Queen and Louis Mountbatten asked Philip to escort the King's two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, who were Philip's third cousins through Queen Victoria, and second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark.
Being sick of the negative typecasting that had enveloped her throughout her American career, Wong visited Australia for more than three months in 1939. There she was the star attraction in a vaudeville show entitled 'Highlights from Hollywood' at the Tivoli Theatre in Melbourne.
From the beginning of 1939, the war entered a new phase with the unprecedented defeat of the Japanese at Battle of Suixian–Zaoyang, then 1st Battle of Changsha, Battle of South Guangxi and Battle of Zaoyi.
After the end of the war, there were harsh reprisals against Franco's former enemies. Thousands of Republicans were imprisoned and at least 30,000 executed. Other estimates of these deaths range from 50,000 to 200,000, depending on which deaths are included. Many others were put to forced labor, building railways, draining swamps, and digging canals.
In May 1939, the Duke was commissioned by NBC to give a radio broadcast (his first since abdicating) during a visit to the World War I battlefields of Verdun. In it he appealed for peace, saying "I am deeply conscious of the presence of the great company of the dead, and I am convinced that could they make their voices heard they would be with me in what I am about to say. I speak simply as a soldier of the Last War whose most earnest prayer it is that such cruel and destructive madness shall never again overtake mankind. There is no land whose people want war." The broadcast was heard across the world by millions.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Archibald MacLeish as his successor. Occupying the post from 1939 to 1944 during the height of World War II. MacLeish became the most visible librarian of Congress in the library's history. MacLeish encouraged librarians to oppose totalitarianism on behalf of democracy; dedicated the South Reading Room of the Adams Building to Thomas Jefferson, commissioning artist Ezra Winter to paint four themed murals for the room; and established a "democracy alcove" in the Main Reading Room of the Jefferson Building for important documents such as the Declaration, Constitution and The Federalist Papers.
After the July 1939 Warsaw meeting at which the Polish Cipher Bureau had provided the British and French with the details of the wiring of Enigma rotors and their method of decrypting Enigma code messages, Turing and Knox started to work on a less fragile approach to the problem. Their approach was more general, using crib-based decryption for which he produced the functional specification of the bombe (an improvement of the Polish Bomba).
In 1939, the first commercial pressure cookers were released onto the market, mostly designed for steaming vegetables. And as Sanders was not was unhappy with the 35 minutes it took to prepare his chicken, he bought one of the pressure cookers and modified it into a pressure fryer, which he then used to fry chicken. The new method reduced production time to be comparable with deep frying, while, in the opinion of Sanders, retaining the quality of pan-fried chicken.
The situation reached a general crisis in late August as German troops continued to mobilize against the Polish border. On 23 August, when tripartite negotiations about a military alliance between France, the United Kingdom and Soviet Union stalled, the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Germany. The Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those two powers to divide-up Poland between them.
The German army, the Wehrmacht, was accompanied by seven SS Einsatzgruppen ("special task forces") and an Einsatzkommando, numbering altogether 3,000 men, whose role was to deal with "all anti-German elements in the hostile country behind the troops in combat". Most of the Einsatzgruppen commanders were professionals; 15 of the 25 leaders had PhDs.
On 29 August, Hitler demanded that a Polish plenipotentiary immediately travel to Berlin to negotiate the handover of Danzig, and to allow a plebiscite in the Polish Corridor in which the German minority would vote on secession.
On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded western Poland under the pretext of having been denied claims to the Free City of Danzig and the right to extraterritorial roads across the Polish Corridor, which Germany had ceded under the Versailles Treaty.
In 1939 Kennedy toured Europe, the Soviet Union, the Balkans, and the Middle East in preparation for his Harvard senior honors thesis. He then went to Czechoslovakia and Germany before returning to London on September 1, 1939, the day that Germany invaded Polandto mark the beginning of World War II.
When Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, triggering a declaration of war from France and the UK, it gained control of an additional two million Jews, reduced to around 1.7 – 1.8 million in the German zone when the Soviet Union invaded from the east on 17 September.
Despite the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939, the widowed Stravinsky sailed (alone) for the United States at the end of the month, arriving in New York City and thence to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to fulfill his engagement at Harvard.
On 2 September 1939 (the day after the start of the war), Goebbels and the Council of Ministers proclaimed it illegal to listen to foreign radio stations. Disseminating news from foreign broadcasts could result in the death penalty.
On 3 September 1939, the day Britain declared war on Germany, Chamberlain reappointed Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty and he joined Chamberlain's war cabinet. Churchill later claimed that the Board of the Admiralty sent a signal to the Fleet: "Winston is back".
The United Kingdom responded with an ultimatum to Germany to cease military operations, and on 3 September, after the ultimatum was ignored, France and Britain, along with their empires, declared war on Germany. The alliance provided no direct military support to Poland, outside of a cautious French probe into the Saarland.
The German Volksgrenadier units each had a battalion of bicycle infantry attached. The Invasion of Poland saw many bicycle-riding scouts in use, with each bicycle company using 196 bicycles and 1 motorcycle. By September 1939, there were 41 bicycle companies mobilized.
The Polish counter offensive to the west halted the German advance for several days, but it was outflanked and encircled by the Wehrmacht. The Battle of the Bzura fought between 9 and 19 September 1939, It began as a Polish counter-offensive, but ended with German victory, German forces took all of western Poland.
On the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, the Duke and Duchess were brought back to Britain by Louis Mountbatten on board HMS Kelly, and Edward, although an honorary field marshal, was made a major-general attached to the British Military Mission in France.
At the outbreak of World War II, Margaret and her sister were at Birkhall, on the Balmoral Castle estate, where they stayed until Christmas 1939, enduring nights so cold that drinking water in carafes by their bedside froze.
In November 1939, the United States was taking measures to assist China and the Western Allies, and amended the Neutrality Act to allow "cash and carry" purchases by the Allies. Cash and carry was a policy by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced at a joint session of the United States Congress on September 21, 1939, subsequent to the outbreak of war in Europe. It replaced the Neutrality Acts of 1937, by which belligerents could purchase only nonmilitary goods from the United States as long as the recipients paid immediately in cash and assumed all risk in transportation using their own ships.
According to a letter dated 21 September 1939 from SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA or Reich Security Head Office), to the Einsatzgruppen, each ghetto had to be run by a Judenrat, or "Jewish Council of Elders", to consist of 24 male Jews with local influence.
In September 1939, Britain entered the Second World War. Lord Hailsham suggested that Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret should be evacuated to Canada to avoid the frequent aerial bombing. This was rejected by their mother. The princesses stayed at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, until Christmas.
The Soviet Union forced the Baltic countries—Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the states that were in the Soviet "sphere of influence" under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact—to sign "mutual assistance pacts" that stipulated stationing Soviet troops in these countries.
On 29 September 1939, soon after the start of the Second World War, Rear Admiral John Godfrey, the Director of Naval Intelligence, circulated the Trout memo, a paper that compared the deception of an enemy in wartime to fly fishing.
Schindler first arrived in Kraków in October 1939, on Abwehr business, and took an apartment the following month. Emilie maintained the apartment in Ostrava and visited Oskar in Kraków at least once a week. In November 1939, he contacted interior decorator Mila Pfefferberg to decorate his new apartment. Her son, Leopold "Poldek" Pfefferberg, soon became one of his contacts for black-market trading. They eventually became lifelong friends.
On 6 October, Hitler made a public peace overture to the United Kingdom and France but said that the future of Poland was to be determined exclusively by Germany and the Soviet Union. The proposal was rejected, and Hitler ordered an immediate offensive against France, which would be postponed until the spring of 1940 due to bad weather.
In October 1939 Hitler signed a "euthanasia decree" backdated to 1 September 1939 that authorized Reichsleiter Philipp Bouhler, the chief of Hitler's Chancellery, and Karl Brandt, Hitler's personal physician, to carry out a program of involuntary euthanasia. After the war this program came to be known as Aktion T4, named after Tiergartenstraße 4, the address of a villa in the Berlin borough of Tiergarten, where the various organizations involved were headquartered.
Also that November, Schindler was introduced to Itzhak Stern, an accountant for Schindler's fellow Abwehr agent Josef "Sepp" Aue, who had taken over Stern's formerly Jewish-owned place of employment as a Treuhander.Property belonging to Polish Jews, including their possessions, places of business, and homes were seized by the Germans beginning immediately after the invasion, and Jewish citizens were stripped of their civil rights.
Schindler showed Stern the balance sheet of a company he was thinking of acquiring, an enamelware factory called Rekord Ltd owned by a consortium of Jewish businessmen that had filed for bankruptcy earlier that year. Stern advised him that rather than running the company as a trusteeship under the auspices of the Haupttreuhandstelle Ost (Main Trustee Office for the East), he should buy or lease the business, as that would give him more freedom from the dictates of the Nazis, including the freedom to hire more Jews.
With the financial backing of several Jewish investors, including one of the owners, Abraham Bankier, Schindler signed an informal lease agreement on the factory on 13 November 1939 and formalized the arrangement on 15 January 1940. He renamed it Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik (German Enamelware Factory) or DEF, and it soon became known by the nickname "Emalia". He initially acquired a staff of seven Jewish workers (including Abraham Bankier, who helped him manage the company) and 250 non-Jewish Poles.