1940 History Events: What Happened in 1940

A year earlier, the Second World War had begun. There is now a series of UK Ministry of Information posters titled Careless Talk Costs Lives. At the Otto Kallir Gallery in New York City, Grandma Moses’ show titled ‘What a Farm Wife Painted’ premiered.

On June 14, German forces seized Paris as the battle went on. That night, the Germans enforced an 8 p.m. curfew on Parisians. A significant portion of the city’s population had already evacuated before the German tanks stormed the French capital. Germany and Italy’s assets were frozen by the United States of America. Arrested and interrogated by German authorities, as well as spies dispatched into the city. The Germans flew a giant swastika over Paris during their occupation of the city.

Despite the horrors of World War II, life went on. Four teens from Montignac, France, found the Lascaux cave paintings on September 12th. More than 600 drawings and paintings from the Upper Paleolithic period, most of which represent animals, are among the oldest art forms ever discovered. A grotto 16 feet high and 66 feet wide houses the paintings. Around 1500 carvings can be seen in the caverns.

Bruce Lee was born on November 27 in San Francisco, California, making him one of the greatest performers and martial artists of all time. Less than a year after their departure, the Lees made their way back to Hong Kong. Bruce Lee began his acting career as a young actor and went on to star in over two dozen films until his death. The Wing Chun style of Kung Fu and dance were two of Bruce Lee’s favourite subjects of study. A few years later, Bruce Lee went to the United States and opened a martial arts school in Seattle, where he also taught martial arts to Steve McQueen, a famed actor. The Second Globe War was still raging when 1940 rolled around, and the world was in its worst hours. Also this year, female workers increased from 27% to 37% and one in every four married women were employed.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1940.


(February 07, 1940)
Pinocchio, a Disney animated picture, had its global debut and went on to become one of the studio's most adored classics, noted for its stunning animation and fascinating tale.


(February 29, 1940)
Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in Gone with the Wind (1939).

(May 15, 1940)
The first McDonald's restaurant is opened by Richard and Maurice McDonald.

(June 04, 1940)
The departure of Allied forces trapped at Dunkirk, France, was completed on this day during World War II, following a tremendous rescue effort that involved civilian boats; more than 300,000 soldiers were saved.

(June 14, 1940)
On this day in 1940, the first convoy of Polish political prisoners arrived at Auschwitz, Nazi Germany's greatest concentration, extermination, and slave-labor camp, where over one million people were killed.


(July 20, 1940)
The first freeway to open in California is the Arroyo Seco Parkway.

(August 15, 1940)
In peacetime, an Italian submarine torpedoes and sinks the Greek cruiser Elli in Tinos harbour, marking the most significant Italian provocation before to the October commencement of the Greco-Italian War.

(August 20, 1940)
Ramón Mercader mortally wounds exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky with an ice axe in Mexico City. He passes away the next day.

(September 12, 1940)
Four teenagers from Montignac, France, discovered the Lascaux cave, which features some of the most amazing artwork from the prehistoric era. photo source:


(November 13, 1940)
Fantasia, an animated picture, had its first public showing, and it quickly became one of Disney's most divisive works, mocked for its foreboding and praised for its astonishing visual brilliance. photo source:

Written by James

James has always been intrigued by dinosaurs, the universe, technology, and animals. With a Bachelor of Computer Science and years of writing expertise, he joined World Amazing Facts in 2021 as a staff writer.

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1939 History Events: What Happened in 1939

1941 History Events: What Happened in 1941