The Allies began bold attacks on Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe and on German positions in Italy in January 1944. Read the following World War II timeline to discover more wartime events in early 1944.
World War II Timeline: January 11-January 27
January 11: Operation Pointblank, a direct Allied attack on the Luftwaffe, kicks off with a series of bombing raids against German aeronautic facilities.
January 14: The Allies bomb the Axis-aligned Bulgarian capital of Sofia.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt warns Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek that the United States will withhold lend-lease assistance if the Chinese do not send additional troops to the front. Chiang will reply by demanding a $1 billion loan in exchange for continued collaboration.
January 17: The British government denies an unfounded accusation in the Soviet media that it is negotiating peace with the Nazis.
Supreme Allied Commander Eisenhower taps General Omar Bradley to lead the U.S. First Army.
January 22: The Allies mount a massive surprise attack on German positions in south-central Italy, landing a 37,000-man force on the coast at Anzio.
January 24: Following Adolf Hitler's orders to hold it to the death, German forces harden their positions along the Gustav Line.
January 26: In a report detailing their "investigation" of the Katyn massacre, Soviet authorities issue a denial and blame the Germans. However, Katyn will prove to be one atrocity not attributable to the Nazis.
January 27: After 872 days, the siege of Leningrad finally ends. Close to a million Soviets died, mostly from starvation and bombings.
Winston Churchill directs the British bomber command to prioritize the support of partisan guerrillas in occupied Europe, along with the destruction of the Axis war machine.
The U.S. government publishes a report detailing the horrors of the Bataan death march.
World War II Headlines
The Manhattan Project dominated World War II history in early 1944. For details, see the headlines below.
U.S. brigadier general Leslie Groves leads the Manhattan Project: U.S. brigadier general Leslie Groves named the Manhattan Project and was a driving force behind the creation of the first atomic bomb. He chose the sites for research and materials production and put physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer in charge of the scientific laboratory. Groves was intelligent and highly organized, and although his arrogance offended some scientists, he worked well with Oppenheimer. Groves maintained high security at the Los Alamos, New Mexico, facility, having mail censored, long-distance calls monitored, travel restricted to within 100 miles, and contact with those on the outside limited.
American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer directs Los Alamos team assigned to the Manhattan Project: The presence of brilliant American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer attracted scientists from all over the world to the remote New Mexican desert to work on the Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer directed the scientific team headquartered at Los Alamos. Although he suffered from periods of depression, he personally helped resolve or control conflicts that inevitably rose among the diverse international group. He, like most Los Alamos scientists, was dedicated to ending war for all time. After atomic bombs were used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Oppenheimer was appalled at the civilian deaths. Following the war, as chief advisor of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, he lobbied for the international control of atomic energy.
In January and February 1944, the United States attacked Frankfurt, Nazi Germany, and a Japanese island. Learn more about these and other operations in the next section.
For more timelines and information on World War II events, see: