Britain's Countdown to War

The following table is a timeline of National and International events leading up to the start of WW2. Events that are underlined link to further details.

Date Event
3rd November 1918 The Kiel Mutiny which leads to the abdication of the German Kaiser.
11th November 1918 The First World War ends. Germany, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire are defeated.
December 1918 France and Britain begin to divide the bulk of the Ottoman Empire between them.
5th June 1919 The German Workers Party formed, (DAP).
28th June 1919 The Treaty of Versailles signed by members of a new German republican government and the Allied Powers. It imposes war reparations on Germany for being the aggressor. German territory is also transferred to the Allies, notably Alsace-Lorraine to France.
August 1919 A new German constitution is agreed at Weimar. Not all German politicians vote for it.
12th December 1919 Adolf Hitler joins the German Workers Party.
24th February 1920 The DAP changes its name to the National Socialist German Workers Party. (NAZI).
Spring 1921 German resentment at paying reparations of 132 billion marks in gold leads to the London Schedule of Payment.
29th July 1921 Adolf Hitler becomes leader of the Nazi Party.
1922 The Irish Free State is established.
18th October 1922 The British Broadcasting Company is established.
November 1922 Germany defaults on its reparation payments to The Allies.
February 1923 Lack of reparation payments causes France to occupy The Ruhr in order to confiscate goods. The Weimar Government advises Ruhr workers to offer passive resistance in return for which the German Government will pay their wages. However this did not stop the French shooting at German steelworkers at the Krupps Foundry, 132 workers died and the removal of approxiamately 150,000 workers from the area.
Spring 1923 In order to pay the wages of the Ruhr workers the Weimar Government printed more money.
Autumn 1923 Hyperinflation established as a result in the German economy. A loaf of bread which cost 250 marks in January 1923 cost 200,000 million marks by November 1923.
8th November 1923 Widespread social unrest caused by hyper inflation is illustrated by the attempted coup on the Bavarian Government in Munich. (The Bier Keller Putsch). Hitler is arrested.
26th February 1924 At his trial Hitler is sentenced to 5 years in prison. He only serves 10 months. Whilst imprisoned he writes Mein Kampf.
June 1924 The Dawes Plan is signed giving long term loans to Germany so that it may pay its reparations to France.
15th June 1924 Political turmoil in France allows Edouard Herriot of the French Radical Socialist Party to become French prime minister.
May 1926 The General Strike in Britain.
December 1926 Membership of the Hitler Youth Movement compulsory for all boys.
1st January 1927 The British Broadcasting Corporation is set up by Royal Charter with the stated aim of 'acting as trustee for the national interest'. Its motto is, 'Nation shall speak unto nation'.
20th August 1927 The first of the annual Nuremburg rallies held by the Nazis.
Summer 1928 The USA overtakes Britain as the world's leading industrial power.
Spring 1929 The Great Depression begins. In Germanysupport for the Nazis increases considerably.
Summer 1929 Construction of the Maginot Line begins as an attempt by France to deter any future invasion by Germany.
September 1930 The Nazi Party gains 18.3% of the vote in the Reichstag elections to become the second largest party.
September 1931 Britain comes off the Gold Standard.
July 1932 The Nazis gain 37.4% of the votes in the Reichstag to become the largest party.
30th January 1933 Hitler is appointed Chancellor by President Hindenburg.
3rd February 1933 At a rally Hitler defines German foreign policy as the need to find additional living space for Aryan Germans.
27th February 1933 The Reichstag is set on fire, blamed on the second largest political party, the Communists. They are therefore banned. The Nazis now have a clear majority in government.
5th March 1933 New elections held at which the Nazi Party gain 44% of the vote.
23rd March 1933 The Enabling Act empowers Hitler to make laws without first consulting the Reichstag for a period of 4 years.
26th April 1933 The Gestapo is formed and the Nazis takeover local government.
2nd May 1933 Trade unions are banned.
10th May 1933 25,000 German books are burned encouraged by Josef Goebbels, head of propaganda.
14th July 1933 All political parties except the Nazis are banned.
October 1933 Germany withdraws from the League of Nations.
30th June 1934 The Night of the Long Knives in Germany in which the Storm Troopers SA section of the Nazi Party which wanted the Party to follow more socialist principles was banned, 150 members of the Storm Troopers were executed.
2nd August 1934 The German President Hindenburg dies, Hitler combines the post of President and Chancellor demanding to be called The Führer.
2nd September 1934 In a speech Hitler defines a woman's role stating that her world should be her husband her family and her home.
26th February 1935 Goering establishes the Luftwaffe, in defiance of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
March 1935 Hitler announces conscription in order to increase the size of the army.
15th September 1935 The Nuremburg Laws define German citizenship, relationships between Jews and Aryans banned.
5th March 1936 The maiden flight of the Supermarine Spitfire.
7th March 1936 Reoccupation of the Rhineland.
3rd May 1936 Leon Blum becomes French Prime Minister at the head of a largely socialist coalition. This unleashes a huge wave of strikes shutting down French industry.
July 1936 Start of the Spanish Civil War.
1st August 1936 The Berlin Olympics.
25th October 1936 Axis alliance concluded between Germany and Italy.
2nd November 1936 The BBC begins transmitting the world's first high definition television service from Alexandra Palace in north London. A new TV could be bought for between 80 and 125 guineas (£84-£131.25).
26th November 1936 Anti-Comitern Pact concluded between Germany and Japan.
1937 Air Raid Wardens Service set up.
May 1937 Basque children evacuated to destinations including the UK to escape the Spanish Civil War. Some refugees sent to Hoxne.
June 1937 In France the Leon Blum coalition ends with economic disarray - high unemployment, a huge government deficit and the Franc is devalued.
26th October 1937 As a result of impoverished finances and social strife at home and in its colonies France decides to follow an appeasement policy first with the Italians and then with the Germans.
1938 Women's Voluntary Service set up.
1st January 1938 French railways brought under government control with creation of SNCF.
12th March 1938 Anschluss, Germany invades Austria.
13th March 1938 Austria and Germany were unified.
10th April 1938 Daladier becomes French Prime Minister. He refuses to declare war on Germany without British support as part of his appeasement policy.
16th April 1938 Britain recognises Italy's claim over Ethiopia in return for Italian troops leaving Spain.
Summer 1938 The Government Evacuation Scheme was developed.
3rd July 1938 The world speed record for a steam locomotive is set by Mallard, reaching 126 mph.
9th July 1938 Gas masks are issued to the British civilian population.
4th August 1938 The first Spitfires are delivered to the RAF.
28th September 1938 Respirators issued by Air Raid Wardens at St. Edmund's Hall, Hoxne.
30th September 1938 The Munich Agreement. The Allies agree Germany can have the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia in return for peace.
29th October 1938 City Hall, Norwich opened. Built in the art deco style.
9th November 1938 Kristallnacht. Jewish shops and synagogues are destroyed in Germany, many Jews rounded up.
25th November 1938 Georges Bonnet, the French Foreign Minister, informs the French Ambassador in Warsaw that France should find an excuse for terminating the Franco-Polish Alliance set up in 1921.
30th November 1938 French general strike.
30th November 1938 Mussolini demands that France cedes Tunisia, Nice, Corsica and French Somaliland to Italy.
December 1938 The House of Common announced that in the event of war a National Register would be taken.
1st December 1938 The first Kindertransport from Berlin begin arriving in London.
2nd December 1938 The first Kindertransport party of nearly 200 children arrive in Harwich.
16th December 1938 Aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal is launched at Birkenhead.
4th February 1939 The IRA bombs two London Underground stations. 7 injured.
25th February 1939 The first Anderson shelter is built in London. The Government started distributing Anderson Shelters. They were free to people who earned below £5 per week. Others could buy them for £7.
1st March 1939 Britain issues a statement guaranteeing Polish independence. The Anglo-Polish Common Defence Pact establishing mutual military assistance if either country was attacked by another European country.
15th March 1939 Hitler invades the whole of Czechoslovakia defying Britain and France.
4th April 1939 The Royal Armoured Corps is formed.
27th April 1939 Conscription for men aged 20 and 21 to undergo six months military training is introduced.
1st June 1939 Submarine HMS Thetis sinks in Liverpool Bay killing 99 men.
July 1939 ARP Practice at Stradbroke where Henry Charles Hawes died.
1st July 1939 End of the Spanish Civil War.
15th August 1939 The first personnel of the Government Code and Cypher School move to Bletchley Park.
23rd August 1939 The removal of paintings from the National Gallery in London to Wales begins.
23rd August 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact agreed to divide Poland between Germany and the USSR.
24th August 1939 Civil Defence workers put on alert.
24th August 1939 The Emergency (Defence) Powers Act gives full authority to defence regulations.
24th August 1939 Army reservists called up.
24th August 1939 Parliament recalled.
25th August 1939 An IRA bomb kills 5 people in Coventry.
September 1939 One and a half million Anderson shelters have been put up in gardens.
1st September 1939 In Britain 'Operation Piper' begins evacuating children from London and other major cities.
1st September 1939 The British army is mobilised.
1st September 1939 The BBC television shuts down at 12.35pm.
1st September 1939 Hitler invades Poland: the Poles are quickly defeated.
1st September 1939 Blackout is imposed across the UK.
1st September 1939 The BBC Home Service begins broadcasting.
3rd September 1939 Britain and France declare war on Germany.