World War II Timeline: October 20, 1944-October 30, 1944
In October of 1944, Allied troops landed in the Philippines and the first Kamikaze pilot crashes into the USS Denver. The detailed World War II timeline below summarizes these and other events in October 1944.
World War II Timeline: October 20-October 30
October 20: American troops land on the island of Leyte in the Philippines and fulfill General MacArthur's promise to return to liberate the islands from the Japanese.
October 21: Aachen becomes the first German city to fall to the Allies, as desperately weakened German forces surrender.
October 23: Philippines president Sergio Osmena is restored to office.
October 23-26: The Japanese navy suffers a resounding defeat as American forces dominate in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The crowning loss for the Japanese is their super-battleship Musashi, which capsizes and sinks, costing the lives of more than 1,000 sailors.
October 25: SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler orders the destruction of the macabre Jewish skull collection at Berlin's so-called "Anatomical Institute."
Since it is no longer a member of the enemy Axis, Italy's diplomatic ties to the Allies are restored.
October 28: The Allies penetrate deep into Nazi German territory on General Eisenhower's orders.
U.S. major general Albert Wedemeyer replaces General Joseph Stilwell as commander in the Chinese theater. This comes 10 days after Stilwell is removed at the request of Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek.
The Soviets assume control of the Bulgarian armed forces, as Bulgaria capitulates to Russia.
The German army quits the small Adriatic nation of Albania.
The first of the soon-to-be-legendary kamikaze pilots commits suicide as he crashes his plane on the deck of the USS Denver.
World War II Headlines
See the headlines below for more World War II events during 1944, including the enlisting of Jewish soldiers into the British army.
Casualties high for both U.S. and Nazi Germany at Aachen: For seven days, fighting had raged from building to building and room to room, with enemy snipers on rooftops picking off scores of U.S. soldiers. While American tanks struggled through debris-strewn streets to dislodge defenders, German soldiers and civilians took to cellars and sewers. This strategically unimportant city cost each side some 5,000 casualties, however, the U.S. was victorious and about 5,600 Germans were taken prisoner.
Jewish soldiers join the British army: In May 1939, Great Britain decided to limit Jewish immigration into the British mandate of Palestine. This policy increased tensions between Zionists (Jews who strove for a Jewish homeland in Palestine) and Britain throughout World War II. However, faced with the hideous threat of Nazi Germany, thousands of Palestinian Jews -- such as the ones seen here -- volunteered for the British Army. That army's 5,000-member Jewish Brigade was created in September 1944. The British trained Jewish fighters in sabotage, demolition, and guerrilla warfare -- techniques that, ironically, proved vital to the postwar Zionist resistance against British occupation.
Germans plan the Ardennes campaign: Hitler pored over plans for Nazi Germany's Ardennes campaign with staff members Reich Marshal Hermann Goring, Head of Security Police in France Helmut Knochen, two unidentified officials, and Chief of the Army General Staff Heinz Guderian. Hitler's irrational hope for the Ardennes attack, code-named Wacht am Rhein (Watch on the Rhine), was to seize the Belgian port of Antwerp (denying this vital port to the Allies) and to demoralize Britain and the U.S. into making peace separately from the Soviet Union. In an ideal outcome, Hitler would be free to shift forces to slow or halt the Soviet Union advance.
See the next section for a detailed World War II timeline of events in November 1944, including the destruction of the Nazi battleship Tirpitz.