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  World History timeline
1939 September 4
Narrative history in HistoryWorld     
Jan Smuts defeats J.B.M. Hertzog in a vote on neutrality, and takes Hertzog's place as South African premier       
1939 September 4
Narrative history in HistoryWorld    
Jan Smuts brings South Africa into the war in support of Britain      
1939 September 17
Narrative history in HistoryWorld     
A German U-boat sinks the British aircraft carrier Courageous off the coast of Ireland       
1939 September 19
Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark jointly declare their neutrality     
1939 September 27
Narrative history in HistoryWorld    
Warsaw falls, after a brave resistance, whereupon Germany and Russia carve up Poland      
1939 September
Nazi murder squads (Einsatzgruppen) kill Poland's elite      
1939 October 14
Narrative history in HistoryWorld     
A German U-boat sinks the British battleship Royal Oak at anchor in Scapa Flow       
1939 November
Adolf Hitler orders the 'mercy killing' of all those with specified categories of infirmity, beginning with newborn babies and young children      
1939 November 30
Soviet troops cross the borders of Finland, beginning the brief Russo-Finnish War, in keeping with the secret protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact      
1939 December
Phoney War, Bore War, drôle de guerre and Sitzkrieg are comments on the lack of military action from any side so far      
1939 December 6-22
The Finns win spectacular victories in counter-attacks against the Russian invaders, destroying four Soviet divisions      
1939 December 13
The German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee is scuttled after a battle with Allied ships near the river Plate       
1939 December 14
The USSR is expelled from the League of Nations because of the Soviet invasion of Finland       
T.S. Eliot gives cats a poetic character in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats       
American Ballet Theatre, directed by Lucia Chase and Richard Pleasant, begins its first season in New York        
English potter Bernard Leach publishes an influential manual, A Potter's Book       
Mohammed Ali Jinnah puts forward the concept of independent Muslim states within India      
Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen design an 'organic chair' for mass production in moulded plywood and aluminium       
Narrative history in HistoryWorld   
The Conservative Colorados recover power in Paraguay and reimpose military rule