1938 saw a world on the edge of war once again. World War II was to begin in 1939, so it is no surprise that most of the major events of 1938 involve events that led up to that war.
In February, Adolf Hitler abolished the old German War Ministry and established the High Command of the Armed Forces in its stead. This allowed him to take direct control of the German military. Hitler continued to move quickly. Just the following month, German troops occupied Austria and annexation was officially declared. Austria was now officially a part of Hitler’s Third Reich. Also in March, Hitler’s counterpart in Italy, Benito Mussolini also took greater control of his country’s military. Mussolini was declared First Marshal of the Empire, on equal footing with Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel III, who had not yet abdicated his throne.
Tensions were very high in 1938 between Germany and Czechoslovakia over the Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia that held a high concentration of ethnic Germans. Hitler wanted the territory to be ceded to Germany, using the poor surrender terms of World War I to justify Germany’s claim to the territory. The Sudetenland had been part of Austria until the end of the First World War. After coming to the brink of war, the Sudetenland was ceded to Germany at the Munich Agreement. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain headed the negotiations, and at the conclusion of the talks he tragically and ironically declared “Peace for our time.”
Significant steps were also taken this year toward the Nazi Holocaust. In October, Jewish passports were invalidated in Germany. Those Jews who needed a passport for the purposes of emigration were given passports with the letter “J” (“Jude” or “Jew”) marked on them. On November 9, the infamous Kristallnacht occurred, during which Nazi activists looted and burned thousands of Jewish businesses and places of worship.
Discover how USA looked like in 1938
Have a look at the old newspapers from 1938 and get them!
Which were the most popular movies released this year ?
Directed by: Edmund Goulding
Starring: Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, David Niven, Donald Crisp
Country: United States
Directed by: Edwin L. Marin
Starring: Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, Terry Kilburn
Directed by: Michael Curtiz
Starring: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, May Whitty
Which were the top popular names given to babies born in 1938 in the USA ?
Click on the dates below to find out what the world looked like in each day of 1938