October 20th, 1939UNITED KINGDOM: German aircraft perform a reconnaissance of the Firth of Forth.
Corvette HMS Asphodel laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
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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