World War II Day by Day: March 1940

The German Army conquered much of Western Europe in 1940 in a series of spectacular Blitzkrieg victories. German armor and aircraft attacked and defeated a succession of Allied armies in Scandinavia, France, and the Low Countries. Germany’s defeat in an aerial battle over Britain, however, saved that nation from any invasion. Britain’s survival now depended on North American aid. Meanwhile, the war widened, with Italian offensives in Africa and the Balkans.

11 March

Eastern Front, Finland

The Treaty of Moscow between Finland and the Soviet Union is agreed after the Red Army makes hard-won gains.

Although Allied help to the nation is negligible, the Finnish Army has not capitulated. Finland retains its independence but has to surrender the Karelian Isthmus and Hangö - 10 percent of its territory. Campaign losses: 200,000 Soviet troops and 25,000 Finns.

20 March

Politics, France

Prime Minister Edouard Daladier resigns after criticism of his failure to take the initiative to support Finland and thereby redirect the war away from France. Paul Reynaud succeeds Daladier on March 21.

28 March

Politics, Allies

Britain and France agree not to make any separate peace treaties. From April 5 they plan to mine Norwegian waters to force Nazi ships carrying Swedish iron ore into the open seas and expose them to naval attack. The minelaying is deferred to April 8. This is too late to prevent the Nazi invasion planned for the 9th.