UNITED STATES: The Government invokes the Kellogg-Briand Pact because of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria after Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain had done so. This Pact between the U.S. and other countries provided for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy and was signed at Paris on 27 August 1928. (Jack McKillop)
CHINA: Just over a year after the start of the Long March, the Chinese Communists, lead by Mao Zedong, arrive in Shensi Province in northwest China with 4,000 survivors and sets up Chinese Communist headquarters. The epic flight from Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces lasted 368 days and covered 6,000 miles (9 656 kilometers). The Long March began on October 16, 1934, q.v. (Jack McKillop)
CZECHOSLOVAKIA: The Czecho-Slovak government, renamed after Slovakian autonomy and federal reorganization, makes the Communist Party illegal. This policy reflects German influence on the new state and soon leads the government to adopt anti-Jewish legislation. (Jack McKillop)
October 20th, 1939 (FRIDAY)UNITED KINGDOM: German aircraft perform a reconnaissance of the Firth of Forth.
Corvette HMS Asphodel laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
The U.S. freighter SS Scanstates, detained at Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland, by British authorities since 14 October, is released. (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: U-507, U-508, U-509, U-510, U-511, U-512 ordered. (Dave Shirlaw)
VATICAN CITY: The new Pope Pius XII issues an encyclical, "Summi Pontificatus" which begs for peace, expressly rejecting Nazism, and directly mentioning the Jews. Pius states that in the Catholic Church there is: "..neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision" - a clear rejection of Nazi racial tenets. " This encyclical," wrote Heinrich Müller, Gestapo chief, "..is directed exclusively against Germany, both in ideology and in regard to the German-Polish dispute. How dangerous it is for our foreign relations as well as our domestic affairs is beyond dispute." (Russell Folsom)(273, pp.73)
U.S.S.R.: Soviet submarine SC-424 rammed and sunk by Soviet fishing trawler RT-43 at the entrance of Kola Bay. 10 crewman (another source says 7) survived, including the commander. She sank in 3 minutes to a depth of 250 meters. (Dave Shirlaw)
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA: Smuts pledges South African assistance if needed to British colonies in southern Africa, but restricts service outside the Union to volunteers.
AUSTRALIA: While announcing compulsory military training, Mr. Robert Menzies, the Prime Minister, states categorically that "It must be made clear that there is no obligation for service abroad, except in the case of a volunteer for such service."
U.S.A.: Destroyers USS Lansdale, Madison, O'Brien and Walke launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
U-34 sank SS Sea Venture and
Gustaf Adolf. After sinking the steamer Gustaf Adolf,
U-34 towed the ship's lifeboats
for three hours until a Norwegian ship came in sight and could rescue the
survivors. (Dave Shirlaw)
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