1940-1949 Timeline


Feb. 2, 1940: Hattie McDaniel becomes the first black woman to win an Oscar when she is honored for her supporting-actress role in "Gone With the Wind."

July 27, 1940: That wascally wabbit, Bugs Bunny, makes his cartoon debut.


Jan. 14, 1941: Westfield Village, Fort Wayne's first public-housing project, opened on a 15-acre site north of Taylor Street near Rockhill Park. A two-bedroom apartment in the 120-unit complex operated by the 3-year-old Fort Wayne Public Housing Authority rented for $12.50 a month. For another $1, you could get a three-bedroom apartment. The units were torn down in 1974.

Oct. 3, 1941: Charles Lindbergh told 10,000 people crammed into and around an America First Committee rally at the Gospel Temple that President Franklin Roosevelt was "drawing dictatorial power into his hands" in an attempt to condition the United States for war.

Nov. 1, 1941: The Mount Rushmore Monument is completed.

Dec. 6, 1941: Baer Field becomes a live Army base with the arrival of 31 P-39 Airocobra fighter planes. Within days, as many as 100 of the planes were stationed there.

Dec. 7, 1941: The Japanese attack America's naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. FDR calls it "the day of infamy;" Congress declares war on Japan.

Dec. 11, 1941: Germany and Italy declare war on the United States – dooming Hitler's Third Reich to eventual extinction.


Jan. 16, 1942: Actress and Fort Wayne native Carole Lombard is killed while flying home to California after a war-bond rally in Indianapolis.

April 18, 1942: Sixteen Army B-25 bombers led by Col. James Doolittle lumber off the deck of the U.S.S. Hornet in a surprise attack against Tokyo.

May 14, 1942: Yielding to public pressure, Fort Wayne's Park Commissioners renamed the Japanese Gardens in West Swinney Park in honor of former Park Superintendent Adolph Jaenicke.

June 4, 1942: The decisive battle of the Pacific theater, the Battle of Midway, begins. During the three-day battle that followed, the Japanese lost four aircraft carriers and 200 planes.


Aug. 2, 1943: PT 109, captained by future president John F. Kennedy, is rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer while on patrol in the South Pacific.

Nov. 26, 1943: "Casablanca" premieres in the United States.


Feb. 2, 1944: Wilhelmina Haaga, 37, is beaten and dies days later, becoming the first of five women to be attacked and murdered in a little more than one year. Franklin Click later confessed to killing Haaga and others and was electrocuted on Dec. 31, 1950 — 30 minutes after claiming his innocence.

Feb. 4, 1944: Meeting at Yalta, a Black Sea resort in the Crimea, Roosevelt, Soviet Premier Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill agree on a plan to divide Europe after the war.

March 27, 1944: Capt. Walker A. "Bud" Mahurin of Fort Wayne, an Army ace with 21 "kills" to his credit, is shot down over France by German fighters. He is rescued by the French underground and later adds two Japanese planes to his total.

June 6, 1944: Allied forces land on the beaches of Normandy, France, to begin the liberation of Europe.

Dec. 24, 1944: Big-band leader Glenn Miller dies when his plane disappears after taking off from England.


April 18, 1945: Hoosier-born war correspondent Ernie Pyle is killed by a Japanese sniper.

April 12, 1945: FDR dies and Vice President Harry Truman assumes the presidency.

April 30, 1945: Adolf Hitler kills himself in his underground bunker in Berlin.

May 7, 1945: German Chief of Staff Col. Gen. Alfred Jodl surrenders, ending the war in Europe.

Aug. 6, 1945: A B-29 named "Enola Gay" drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. A similar bomb is dropped on Nagasaki three days later. Japan agrees to end the war on Aug. 14.

Sept. 2, 1945: Aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japanese officials sign a document of unconditonal surrender, officially ending the war in the Pacific.

Oct. 24, 1945: The United Nations Charter, drafted in San Francisco in April by representatives of 50 countries, goes into effect – creating an organization intended to prevent future wars.


March 5, 1946: Speaking at Fulton, Mo., Churchill warns that a communist "Iron Curtain" is descending across Europe. Two years later, the Soviet Union declares a "Cold War" by blockading West Berlin.


Oct. 6, 1947: For the first time, a World Series game is broadcast on television. The New York Yankees won the series, defeating the Brooklyn Dodgers four games to three.

Nov. 5, 1947: Even though the federal government would pay all but $4.08 million of the $27 million total, Fort Wayne voters rejected construction of the proposed Anthony Wayne Parkway.


Aug. 30, 1949: Look magazine proclaims Fort Wayne "America's Happiest Town."

Oct. 1, 1949: Mao Tse-Tung establishes the communist People's Republic of China after defeating nationalist forces led by Chiang Kai-shek.

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