World War II events following the invasion of Normandy included the Allied bombing of Cherbourg, France, and a heavy blow to the Japanese in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The timeline that follows summarizes these and other events of the latter part of June 1944.
World War II Timeline: June 14-June 29
June 14: Free French leader General Charles de Gaulle returns to France some four years after the Nazi occupation sent him into exile.
June 15: Operating out of Chinese bases, American B-29 long-range bombers attack the Japanese island of Kyushu, damaging a steel plant that is a key supplier for the imperial war effort.
June 19-20: The U.S. Navy deals a heavy blow to the Japanese, and their naval air fleet in particular, in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. U.S. losses are relatively small, while the incapacitated Japanese fleet is forced to retreat to Okinawa.
June 22: The Allies bomb the French city of Cherbourg after a warning, delivered a day prior to the occupying German force, is met with silence.
President Roosevelt signs the GI Bill of Rights, a wide-ranging veterans benefits package that will become the catalyst for the "American dream" ideal of the 1950s.
Keeping an eye on the postwar prize, the Soviets establish a puppet Communist government in Chelm, Poland. The new body is called the Polish Committee of National Liberation.
June 27: The U.S. Army occupies the French city of Cherbourg two days after naval bombardments and street fighting began to engulf the city.
June 28: Philippe Henriot, the Vichy minister of information who was known as "the French Goebbels," is murdered in his bed by members of the French Resistance.
June 29: In a meeting with his top commanders at Berchtesgaden, Hitler refuses to listen to their bleak reports on the state of the war. They leave enthused by his comments.
World War II Headlines
Making the news in June 1944 were the Battle of the Philippines, the American GI Bill, and more. Read summaries of these noteworthy events below.
Americans cripple Japanese carrier forces during the Battle of the Philippine Sea: U.S. airman Ronald "Rip" Gift celebrates his survival following a night landing on the USS Monterey during the two-day Battle of the Philippine Sea (June 19-20, 1944). The "Get the carriers" exhortation on the ready room blackboard reflects the emphasis placed on aircraft carriers as priority targets. By mid-1944, U.S. carrier task forces were prowling the seas, striking enemy targets at will. By contrast, the Japanese navy was steadily weakening. Losses of Japanese carriers, aircraft, and pilots during the Battle of the Philippine Sea were the final blows to Japanese hopes for naval dominance.
Congress passes the GI Bill: in June 1944, the U.S. Congress passed the Servicemen's Readjustment Act, more popularly known as the GI Bill of Rights. The House of Representatives had attempted to scale down the bill's provisions, but after much negotiation, the House finally passed it almost intact. The act was signed into law by President Roosevelt on June 22. Two of its major provisions were low-interest home loans and educational benefits. The home loans, utilized by 2.4 million returning veterans, would help to develop America's suburban landscape and personal wealth. The educational provision would give colleges the financial boost to expand programs and enrollment. By 1951, 2.3 million GIs would attend colleges and universities of their choice, 3.5 million would receive educational training, and 3.4 million would take part in on-the-job training.
British children traumatized by bombing raids over London: British youngsters were traumatized by bombing raids, separation from their families, and the deaths of parents. Some children were killed or wounded. "We sat there listening to German planes coming over the shelter on their way to London and we then had to stay there until they came back," Margaret Hoffman later wrote about the 1944 air strikes.
This article's timelines, headlines, and photos detail the World War II events of January 1944-June 1944, providing a comprehensive overview of preparations for -- and the execution of -- the seminal D-Day invasion.
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS:John S. D. Eisenhower, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Richard Overy Ph.D., David J. A. Stone, Wim Coleman, Martin F. Graham, James H. Hallas, Mark Johnston Ph.D., Christy Nadalin M.A., Pat Perrin, Peter Stanley Ph.D.