World War 2 (WW2) grasped the headlines for the start of the 1940's:
World War 2 - 1940 -1945, Hitler's Nazi Party and Fascism deliver death and destruction across Europe.
Pearl Harbor - 1941, the Japanese join the War with a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
Milan, Italy - 1942, November 7th in the middle of a brutal war, Fausto Coppi became an instant hero when he broke the World Hour Record at Vigorelli Velodrome in Milan.
D-Day - 1944, the allies begin the campaign to stop Hitler in Europe.
Leaders - 1945, Hitler commits suicide on April 30th and Mussolini is captured and executed on April 28th .
Surrender - 1945, Germany surrenders unconditionally on May 7th .
Atomic Bomb - 1945, the first atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 th and a second on Nagasaki on Aug. 9th .
Surrender - Japan surrenders on August 14th .
Notable Deaths -
1940, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896-1940, author of The Great Gatsby .
1940, * Father of the Tour de France: Henri Desgrange, 1865-1940, founder of the Tour de France and publisher of the French sports newspaper L'Auto.
1941, * Tour de France Champion: Henri Cornet, 1884-1941, Tour de France champion in 1904. He is the youngest TdF champion on record.
1941, Lou Gehrig, NY Yankees, played in a record 2,130 straight baseball games.
1942, Carole Lombard, 1908-1942, American actress, died in a plane crash while returning from a war bond rally.
1943, George Washington Carver, 1860-1943, Black American botanist, who introduced crop rotation to the southern US.
1944, Glenn Miller, 1904-1944, Swing bandleader, whose plane crashed over the English Channel during the war.
1945, Franklin Deleno Roosevelt, 1882-1945, polio stricken President of the Untied States.