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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On 4 September 1939, the day after the UK declared war on Germany, Turing reported to Bletchley Park, the wartime station of GC&CS. Specifying the bombe was the first of five major cryptanalytical advances that Turing made during the war. The others were: deducing the indicator procedure used by the German navy; developing a statistical procedure for making much more efficient use of the bombes dubbed Banburismus; developing a procedure for working out the cam settings of the wheels of the Lorenz (Tunny) dubbed Turingery and, towards the end of the war, the development of a portable secure voice scrambler at Hanslope Park that was codenamed, Delilah.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On 18 November 1939, during the early months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, Oskar Schindler was first introduced to Stern, who was then working as 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 (trustee). Schindler showed Stern the balance sheet of a company he was thinking of acquiring, an enamelware manufacturer called Rekord Ltd owned by a consortium of Jewish businessmen (including Abraham Bankier) 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 directly, as that would give him more freedom from the dictates of the Nazis, including the freedom to hire more Jews.