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Chronology 1937
   

Date Event Historical Background
January 1937 Venezuelan Congressional Elections Venezuela held elections for one-third of the seats in Congress, which resulted in a decisive victory for the parties on the Left.
January 1937 Rumor of German Forces in Spanish Morocco Despite German government assurances, tensions arose in Spanish Morocco upon the unsubstantiated news of the landing of German forces in the colony. There was, however, little doubt that German technicians were fortifying military positions and exploiting mining operations in Spanish Morocco.
January 1937 End of Arab Boycott of Peel Commission The Arabs refused to assist the Peel Commission, which the British government had dispatched to Palestine to investigate the political situation in Palestine, until the commission had concluded its evidence collection in January. The British instructed the commission to determine a future course of action for the mandate.
January-February 1937 Provincial Assembly Elections in India In accordance with the Act of India Government Act of 1935, the government held provincial assembly elections across India. The All-India Congress, a party composed chiefly of Hindus and demanding complete independence from Britain, was the best-organized political machine and they won an absolute majority in six provinces and a plurality in three other provinces. Since the party sought the abrogation of the new constitution and the convocation of an Indian constituent assembly, the leaders had to decide whether to press ahead with their original agenda or to weld the power they had gained in the elections.
January 2, 1937 Anglo-Italian Mediterranean Treaty The British and Italian governments agreed to mutually respect each other's interests and rights in the Mediterranean and the maintenance of Spanish independence and integrity. The British government hoped to end tensions in the Mediterranean region as Germany was emerging as a greater threat to European security than Italy. Despite this treaty, the Italians continued to support the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War and the British were unable to prevent military supplies from reaching the belligerents. The British sought to use the non-intervention agreements as a means to prevent the expansion of the Spanish Civil War into a general war, but the Italians flagrantly violated this principle.
January 4, 1937 Restoration of the Lebanese Constitution The French government restored the Lebanese constitution, after it had been suspended for a number of years.
January 6, 1937 U.S. Ban on Arms Shipments to Spain The U.S. Neutrality Acts of 1935 and 1936 applied to wars between nations and did not extend to civil wars. As a result, Congress passed a joint resolution forbidding the export of munitions to both the Nationalist and Republican forces in Spain. Under this act, the Roosevelt administration embargoed arms sales to both sides, a policy which undermined the Loyalist war effort (the Nationalists received large quantities of munitions from the Italians and the Germans).
January 7, 1937 Polish-Danzig Agreement With growing tensions between Germany and Poland over the future of Danzig, the Polish government attempted to avoid a conflict by negotiating an agreement with the Free State government.
January 13, 1937 British Military Mission to Egypt The British sent a military mission to Egypt to advise the Egyptian government on the development of an army. The Egyptians introduced universal military training in 1938.
January 15, 1937 Soviet Adoption of New Constitution The Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted the Constitution of 1936 as the new fundamental law of the land.
January 15, 1937 Amnesty for Austrian National Socialists The Schuschnigg government announced a general amnesty for National Socialists who had participated in the attempted coup against the government. The Austrian government offered amnesty to improve relations with the German government.
January 21-27, 1937 Ninety-Sixth League Council Session The League of Nations Council held its ninety-sixth session in Geneva.
January 23-30, 1937 Soviet Show Trials The Soviet government began a new round of political trials, placing Georgei Piatkov, Karl Radek, and other Bolshevik leaders in the docket. Most were found guilty and thirteen received death sentences. A number of "purges" followed throughout the year and extended beyond the administration, eventually including the military and the diplomatic corps. The Communist Party appointed political commissars to watch over military commands.
January 24, 1937 Bulgarian-Yugoslav Treaty of Friendship The Bulgarian and Yugoslav governments signed a Treaty of Friendship and Perpetual Peace which ended a long period of antagonism between the two kingdoms. This pact opened the door for the Bulgarians to establish closer relations with the other Balkan powers.
January 24, 1937 Franco-Turkish Agreement on Alexandretta In light of long-standing Turkish claims on the Sanjak of Alexandretta and the French government's desire to improve relations with countries in the Balkan regions, the French and Turkish governments agreed to take steps to solve the Alexandretta issue. The agreement lasted until December when the Turkish government issues a new set of demands regarding the Sanjak.
January 28, 1937 Nationalist-Communist Chinese Understanding Negotiations between the Shaanxi (Shensi) government and the Nanjing (Nanking) government led to an agreement which ended the Nationalist Chinese anti-Communist campaign. Both the Nationalist and Communist Chinese recognized that Japan was a greater threat to the country and agreed to place their differences in abeyance.
February 2-15, 1937 Conference of Central Authorities of Far Eastern Countries on the Traffic of Women In an effort to reduce the traffic of women in the Far East, the League of Nations held a second conference in Bandoeng in the Dutch East Indies.
February 7-10, 1937 International Conference for the Adoption of a Convention Concerning the Status of German Refugees As the number of German refugees increased, the League of Nations sponsored a second conference in Geneva to draft a convention to provide German ex-patriates with a legal status.
February 4, 1937 Venezuelan Communist Crackdown In spite of the election victory of the Left in the Venezuelan Congress, the government arrested many of the leaders of leftist parties, including newly elected congressmen, on the charge of Communism. Most of the leaders were exiled and many radical organizations were dissolved.
February 8, 1937 Spanish Nationalists Capture of Malaga The Spanish Nationalists captured the key city of Malaga, with Italian military support, but were unable to cut the road between Madrid and Valencia. This lifeline allowed the Loyalists to keep fighting in defense of Madrid.
February 14, 1937 Austrian Support for Hapsburg Restoration Premier Kurt Schuschnigg announced his right to decide on the question of a Hapsburg restoration in Austria and indicated that he supported this policy. The German government opposed such a move and National Socialist demonstrations erupted across Austria in response. Schuschnigg's position was undermined by the Rome-Berlin Axis and Italian preoccupation with the Spanish Civil War. As a result, he did not take action to restore the Hapsburg throne.
February 15, 1937 Finnish National Elections The Agrarian Party, led by Kyosti Kallio, won the Finnish national elections with the support of the Social Democrats. President Kallio formed a coalition government, composed of Agrarians, Socialists, and National Progressives. This government was hostile to the reactionary and fascist parties and strove to establish even closer relations with the Scandinavian countries.
February 15-18, 1937 Balkan Conference in Athens Delegates of the Balkan League met in Athens to coordinate foreign policy strategies in light of the growing power of Germany and the threat to the region.
February 19, 1937 Assassination Attempt of Italian Viceroy in East Africa The Ethiopians attempted to assassinate the Italian viceroy, General Rudolfo Graziani, in Addis Ababa. The viceroy and a number of his staff were wounded in the grenade attack which led to wholesale arrests and executions in the capital. The Italian response was designed to intimidate the Ethiopian population.
February 20, 1937 Paraguayan Withdrawal from League In response to the country's losses in the Chaco War and international pressure, the Paraguayan government gave notice that it planned to withdraw from the League of Nations.
February 21, 1937 Capture of Ethiopian Resistance Leader by the Italians The Italians captured the primary leader of the Ethiopian resistance, Ras Desta Demtu, after a battle outside of Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian leader was executed on February 24th.
February 27, 1937 French Defense Plan The French government passed a new defense plan designed to bolster the national defense system. Under the new plan, the Schneider-Creusot factory was nationalized and the Maginot Line, which protected France's border with Germany, was extended.
March 1937 French Social Reform Holiday The Popular Front government of Premier Leon Blum announced a "breathing spell" in the implementation of social reforms in France. The government sought to assure capitalist groups and to float a huge defense loan.
March 1937 Bolivian Nationalization of U.S. Oil Companies In an effort to restimulate the Bolivian economy, the military junta, under Tejada Sorzano, established a monopoly over the petroleum industry and confiscated the holdings of the Standard Oil Company, a U.S. multinational corporation. As a result of opposition to his policies, army officers forced President Sorzano out of office on July 14th.
March 1937 Republican Uprising in Spanish Morocco While Spanish Morocco was a Nationalist stronghold during the Spanish Civil War, Loyalists staged an uprising in support of the Republic in the colony. General Francisco Franco's forces put down the revolt quickly.
March 1, 1937 Establishment of Camp of National Unity in Poland Colonel Adam Koc organized the Camp of National Unity, an all-embracing coalition of political organizations which supported the Polish government. The organization's goals included maintenance of the 1935 constitution, popular support for the army to protect the republic, anti-Communism, land reform for the peasants, and Polonization of minority groups. In response to this effort, workers and peasants formed the Workers', Peasants' and Intellectual's Group, opposed to Koc's nationalist goals. Peasant strikes spread across the country and the government responded with bloodshed.
March 2, 1937 Mexican Government Control of Oil Resources President Lazaro Cardenas of Mexico announced that the government would assume control over the country's oil resources. This marked the beginning of deteriorating relations with the U.S. over Mexican natural resource policy.
March 5, 1937 National Socialist Plot in Hungary Revealed The Hungarian government exposed a National Socialist plot and arrested Ferenc Szalasi and other National Socialist leaders. The Hungarian government, however, treated the National Socialists very mildly because the National Socialists had an effective political weapon against the government, the promise of land reform and relief for agricultural workers. The government resorted to more strenuous methods to repress agitation but without success.
March 9-15, 1937 International Conference Regarding Searches The League of Nations held a conference in Cairo to discuss international search and inspection issues.
March 16, 1937 Italian State Visit to Libya Premier Benito Mussolini conducted an official visit to the Italian colony of Libya where he declared his interest and friendship for Muslims around the world. He permitted the Arabs to hail him as the protector of Islam and accepted the sword of Islam. This announcement challenged Anglo-French dominance over the Arab states and they accused the Italians of passing subversive propaganda in North Africa, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria.
March 18, 1937 Spanish Loyalist Victory at Brihuega The Spanish Loyalists defeated Italian forces at Brihuega and captured a military stockpile. Unable to break the Loyalist defense lines around Madrid, the Nationalists moved their offensive operations to the north and concentrated on Bilbao.
March 18, 1937 All-India Congress Meeting in Delhi At the party congress meeting in Delhi, the moderate faction of the All-India Party, which supported cooperation with the British government, defeated the extremists, led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who called for a socialist and nationalist policy. The moderates, however, demanded assurances from the provincial governors that they would not use their emergency powers to frustrate their programs. The British government refused to bind itself to a violation of the new constitution and the All-India Party refused to form a new administration.
March 19, 1937 Vatican Encyclical against Communism Pope Pius IX again condemned Communism in a papal encyclical aimed primarily at the Soviets and their campaign against religion.
March 25, 1937 Italo-Yugoslav Non-Aggression and Neutrality Pact The Italian and Yugoslav governments signed a five-year non-aggression and neutrality agreement in Belgrade. The Yugoslav government agreed to recognize the Italian occupation of Ethiopia; in return, the Italian government agreed to permit language and school concessions for the Yugoslav minority and made significant trade concessions to the Yugoslavs. The two states also guaranteed the existing frontiers in eastern Europe and the maintenance of the status quo in the Adriatic region. The agreement ended a period of intense friction between the two states and provided Premier Milan Stoyadinovich's goal of creating a middle position between the French and the Italians. Through this agreement, the Italians alienated the Hungarians and, as a result, the Hungarians moved closer to the Austrians.
April 1937 Portuguese Accept British Border Patrols In an effort to cut off military supplies to the Nationalists, the British government finally persuaded the Portuguese government to permit the British to station patrols on the border with Spain. By this time, General Francisco Franco's forces began to receive military supplies through northern Spanish ports and Portugal was no longer a critical staging area. The British had to conduct a balanced approach towards Portugal since that country became strategically important to traffic between Britain and Africa.
April 1937 Yemen Ratification of Saudi-Iraqi Non-Aggression Pact The Yemeni government agreed to adhere to the Saudi-Iraqi Treaty of Non-Aggression and Arab Brotherhood of April 1936. The adherence of Yemen reflected the Pan-Arab goals and future establishment of an Arab federation.
April 1, 1937 Government of India Act Enacted The British plan for the new administration of India went into effect, which established the All-India Federation and a central legislature, greater autonomy for provincial governments, new relations between with the British Raj, and the separation of Burma and Aden from Indian administration. The refusal of the All-India Party, which dominated the January-February elections, to form an administration resulted in political deadlock.
April 2, 1937 Prohibition of Foreign Political Activity in Southwest Africa The Union of South Africa government issued a decree prohibiting political activity by foreigners, including non-naturalized German residents, in Southwest Africa. The German government strongly protested this action unsuccessfully.
April 5-May 6, 1937 International Sugar Conference In an effort to prevent the further decline of world sugar prices due to overproduction, the League of Nations held a conference in London to address this agricultural problem.
April 12-May 8, 1937 Montreux Conference on the Egyptian Capitulations Countries enjoying capitulary rights in Egypt met at the Conference of Montreux. The delegates agreed to abolish the capitulations, with the exception of the maintenance of mixed courts (for twelve years) and the extension of their authority to criminal cases (previously handled by consular courts). This agreement further promoted Egyptian sovereignty.
April 14, 1937 Joint Preparatory Commission on Philippine Affairs President Franklin Roosevelt appointed the Joint Preparatory Commission on Philippine Affairs to recommend a program of economic adjustment as the Philippines moved towards independence. The islands received a number of tariff preferences in the United States and the sudden imposition of high tariff rates after independence would have a drastic economic impact on the Philippines.
April 14-June 15, 1937 Imperial Conference in London Representatives of the dominions and colonies of the British Commonwealth met in London to address the problems of the global depression as well as international political tensions. The dominions of the British empire moved for the separation of the League of Nations Covenant from the World War I peace treaties.
April 22, 1937 Austrian State Visit to Italy Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg conducted a state visit to Venice to meet with Premier Benito Mussolini. Premier Mussolini warned the Austrians that they could not count on the Italians to provide them with armed support against Germany. Like the Germans, the Italians opposed a Hapsburg restoration in Austria and a proposed Austro-Czechoslovak alliance. Premier Mussolini recommended that Chancellor Schuschnigg should reach an understanding with Chancellor Adolf Hitler and accept National Socialists into the Austrian government. Upon returning home, Chancellor Schuschnigg redoubled his efforts to negotiate an alliance with Czechoslovakia and the Little Entente, but found little support from the French and their allies. This policy, instead, led to further alienation with the Germans and strengthened the demands of the Nationalist Socialists and Pan-Germans in Austria.
April 23, 1937 Canadian Automobile Strike A series of strikes led by the CIO spread across the United States in the automobile and steel industries in 1937. The CIO demanded that General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ontario recognize the local branch of N.A.W.A., an affiliate of the CIO. When General Motors refused, the workers commenced a sit-down strike. On April 23rd, the prime minister of Ontario intervened, denounced the CIO, and announced a wage and working conditions agreement with auto workers but withheld recognition of the N.A.W.A.
April 24, 1937 Belgium Withdrawal from the Locarno Pact Given the Belgian government's neutrality policy, the British and French governments released Belgium from its security obligations to defend the borders of Western Europe through the Locarno Treaty.
April 26, 1937 British Concessions to All-India Party To end the political deadlock, the British government gave assurances that provincial governors would not use their power to interfere in government policy. This action persuaded the moderate faction of the All-India Party to cooperate with the British and they set up All-India governments in seven provinces. Once in power, the All-India Party leadership released many political prisoners and restored civil liberties. The government then turned to social and agrarian reforms for India. The war in China and Japanese imperial designs also convinced British and Indian leaders that cooperation and cordiality was essential.
April 27, 1937 Spanish Nationalist Destruction of Guernica The Spanish Nationalist air force destroyed the city of Guernica, which heralded the future air war over much of Europe in the Second World War.
May 1, 1937 U.S. Neutrality Act of 1937 The United States Congress passed the Neutrality Act of 1937, which reaffirmed and enlarged the Neutrality Acts of August 1935 and February 1936. These laws were designed to keep the United States out of another global conflict. Under the 1937 act, whenever the president proclaimed a state of war outside of the Americas, U.S. firms would be prohibited from exporting arms and munitions to the belligerents for a period of up to two years. Certain materials, as designated by the president, could be sold on a cash basis before the goods could leave the U.S. and had to be transported on foreign ships. All other trade with the combatants was subject to the cash restriction, but might be carried on American ships. The act also prohibited American citizens from traveling on belligerent ships and barred loans to nations at war.
May 3-July 9, 1937 Fortieth Session of the Permanent Court of International Justice The Permanent Court of International Justice held its fortieth session in the Hague.
May 15-17, 1937 Muslim Insurrection in Southern Albania A Muslim insurrection broke out in southern Albania after the Albanian government issued a decree prohibiting the veiling of women. The revolt reflected a larger protest movement which opposed King Zog's dictatorial rule.
May 17, 1937 New Republican Government in Spain The Spanish Loyalists set up a new government under Juan Negrin, who represented the Socialists but included members of other Left parties in his new ministry, with the exception of the Anarcho-Syndicalists. The new cabinet argued that they had to win the civil war before the social revolution could be furthered in Spain.
May 24-29, 1937 Ninety-Seventh League Council Session The League of Nations Council held its ninety-seventh session in Geneva.
May 26, 1937 Dutch National Elections The Liberal Democratic Party made major gains in the Dutch national elections, while the National Socialists suffered some major losses.
May 26-27, 1937 Special Session of League Assembly/Egyptian Admission The League of Nations formally admitted Egypt into the organization at a special session.
May 26, 1937 Resumption of Relations between Bolivia and Paraguay After fighting the Chaco War, the governments of Bolivia and Paraguay restored full diplomatic relations.
May 28, 1937 Chamberlain New British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain became the new prime minister of Britain upon the retirement of Stanley Baldwin. Prime Minister Chamberlain inherited a dangerous European situation and he employed a foreign policy which became known as the "Policy of Appeasement." Prime Minister Chamberlain reasoned that to obtain peace, the British government had to actively work to achieve it, even if that meant considerable concessions. As a result, Prime Minister Chamberlain was willing to reach agreements with Germany and Italy to avoid a European conflict.
May 28, 1937 Trade Pact of Oslo Signatories Delegates of the Low Countries and Scandinavia met in The Hague to sign a new trade agreement to promote economic relations between the signatory states.
May 29, 1937 Fundamental Law for Sanjak of Alexandretta Based on an appeal from Turkey, the League of Nations adopted a fundamental law for the Sanjak of Alexandretta, drawn up by neutral experts and approved by the French and Turkish governments. Over 40 percent of the population of the sanjak was Turkish and the Franco-Turkish Agreement of 1921 established a special regime for the region. Tensions in the sanjak became acute after the signing of the Franco-Syrian Treaty of 1936, which prepared for Syrian independence. Despite the new agreement, which called for demilitarization, autonomy, and special rights for Turks in the sanjak, disorders continued in Alexandretta.
May 31, 1937 German Warships Bombard Spanish City In response to a Republican air attack on the German battleship "Deutschland," four German warships bombarded the Loyalist controlled city of Almeria.
June 3-23, 1937 Twenty-Third Session of the International Labor Conference The International Labor Organization (BIT) held its twenty-third session in Geneva, under the chairmanship of Mr. Lemass (Irish Free State). The delegates addressed the issue of the number of hours of work in the textile industry, minimum age for child labor in industrial work, minimum age for child labor in non-industrial employment, and safety provisions in the construction industry.
June 12, 1937 Soviet Purge of the Russian Army In a secret court martial, Soviet Marshal Michael Tukhachevski and seven other generals were found guilty of mounting a conspiracy against the government in collaboration with the Germans and the Japanese. They were summarily executed. The trials followed the "suicide" of Marshal Ian Gararnik on May 31st. Additional purges eliminated Trotskyists and other political threats to the Stalin regime. These executions led to considerable international protest and undermined the Soviet Union's prestige in international affairs.
June 15, 1937 Swiss Recognition of Italian Occupation of Ethiopia Although the Swiss government partially participated in the economic sanctions against Italy in response to the Ethiopian crisis, the government decided to recognize the Italian conquest. Fascist aspirations for incorporation of the Italian-speaking cantons of Switzerland, the conclusion of the Rome-Berlin Axis, and the collapse of the League of Nation's collective security system persuaded the Swiss to avoid tensions with the Italians.
June 18, 1937 Spanish Nationalists Capture of Bilbao After weeks of heavy fighting and relentless air bombardment, the Spanish Nationalists captured Bilbao. With the loss of this key city, Basque resistance collapsed and the Nationalists advanced towards Santander.
June 23, 1937 Germans and Italians Withdrawal from Spanish Neutrality Patrol The German and Italian governments withdrew their warships from the neutrality patrols off the Spanish coast in protest to secure satisfaction for the Republican attack on the German battleship "Deutschland." In response to acute international tensions, the French government considered opening their border to supply the Republicans, but the British government pressured the French from following through with that plan. In the meantime, "piracy" became rampant in the Western Mediterranean as mysterious submarines attacked British ships. In response, the British government convoked the Nyon Conference and with French support, to organize a new and drastic anti-piracy policy.
June 28-July 3, 1937 Tenth Session of the International Studies Conference To promote the science of international relations, the League of Nations sponsored a conference in Geneva.
July-August 1937 Kurdish Insurrection in Syria In light of Franco-Syrian Treaty of 1936 which granted autonomy to several Syrian states, the Kurds in northeastern Syria mounted an insurrection, demanding autonomy and separate status. The French crushed the insurrection through air power.
July 5-9, 1937 Second General Conference of National Commissions for Intellectual Cooperation To promote the protection of intellectual property rights, the League of Nations held a second conference in Paris.
July 7, 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident/Beginning of the Sino-Japanese War During night maneuvers, Japanese troops clashed with Chinese forces at Lukouchiao, near Beijing. The fighting quickly spread to other parts of China, which reflected Japanese preparations for a general war with China. The Japanese government did not declare war against China for technical reasons of international law. The British government avoided challenging the Japanese invasion of China even though strategic British interests were at stake. The Chamberlain government refused to intervene even when the British ambassador was wounded in a Japanese air attack on the British residence. The British cooperated with the U.S. and French governments in protesting the Japanese attack and violation of Western interests, but the British were too focused on events in Europe to counter the Japanese.
July 8, 1937 Publication of Peel Report on Palestine The Peel Commission recommended the end of the Palestine mandate and its division into separate Arab and Jewish states; the commissioners concluded that the Arabs and Jews would not be able to settle their differences. Under the scheme, Palestine would be divided into three new admininstrative units. A Jewish state, consisting of one-third of the mandate, would include the coastal region from the northern boundary with Syria, south to Jaffia and would consist of 300,000 Jews and 290, 000 Arabs (most of the land would be held by Arabs). The British would maintain a mandate over Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and a corridor to the sea along the railway line between Jaffia and Jerusalem. The remainder of the Palestine mandate would be an Arab state and united with Transjordan. Although accepted by the World Zionist Congress, the British Parliament refused to commit the government to this plan and Arab and Jewish criticism forced the British government to reconsider the scheme.
July 9, 1937 Formation of the Oriental Entente The governments of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan signed a non-aggression pact in Teheran, which established an Islamic entente to counter international tensions. This Islamic front offered the participating states an effective deterrent to the imperialistic designs of the European powers in the Middle East. The agreement secured the Asiatic region of Turkey as the Balkan Pact protected European Turkey (Thrace). Turkey was recognized as the crucial force for peace in Eastern Europe and its prestige bolstered this Asiatic pact.
July 9, 1937 Pitman Act-Chinese Currency The U.S. Congress passed the Pitman Act which permitted the United States Treasury to exchange Chinese silver dollars for American gold. This exchange provided the Chinese government with greater access to foreign credit which allowed the Chinese army to purchase critical military supplies.
July 17, 1937 Naval Agreements Signed Both the Anglo-Russian Naval Agreement and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement were signed in an attempt to establish naval parity and prevent the outbreak of a major war.
July 20-28, 1937 International Conference for Higher Education The League of Nations hosted a conference on Paris to promote higher education.
July 25, 1937 Cuban Three-Year Economic Plan The Cuban government announced a Three-Year Economic Plan, designed to establish state control over the sugar and mining industries, the reorganization of agricultural schools, and land redistribution.
July 28, 1937 Japanese Capture of Beijing Japanese troops wrested control of the ancient Chinese capital of Beijing (Peking) from Nationalist forces.
July 29, 1937 Japanese Capture of Tianjan Invading Japanese forces seized the strategic port of Tianjan (Tientsin) from Nationalist Chinese forces. The Japanese then used Tianjan as a base of operations for a North China Campaign.
August 2, 1937 World Zionist Congress Adoption of Peel Plan The World Zionist Congress adopted the Peel Commission report and its plan for a partition of Palestine into three separate states, conditional on revisions that would favor Jewish settlers. A minority of delegates voted against the Peel plan and non-Zionist Jewish opinion around the world denounced the scheme as a violation of the Balfour Declaration.
August 3-13, 1937 Conference on Rural Hygiene in Far Eastern Countries To promote health care in rural areas of the Far East, the League of Nations sponsored a conference in Bandoeng in the Dutch East Indies on this issue.
August 6, 1937 U.S.-Russian Trade Agreement The U.S. and Soviet governments signed an economic agreement designed to promote trade between the two countries.
August 8-November 9, 1937 Japanese Shanghai Campaign The killing of two Japanese marines at a Chinese military airfield near Shanghai resulted in a Japanese invasion of the port. The Japanese navy landed a force on August 11th, which soon found itself facing a vastly larger Chinese army. Dogged resistance by the Chinese forced the Japanese to dispatch an army to Shanghai. After heavy fighting, the Japanese dislodged the Chinese from the city (November 8th).
August 10, 1937 El Salvador Withdrawal from the League The government of El Salvador announced that the government withdrew from the League of Nations.
August 11, 1937 Kurdish Assassination of Iraqi General A Kurd assassinated General Bakr Sidqi, a prominent Pan-Arab proponent and leader of the military coup in October 1936. The Iraqis formed a new Pan-Arab cabinet, which became an active defender of Palestinian Arabs and a major force behind Arab solidarity.
August 12, 1937 Spanish Republicans Control of Catalan Government The Spanish Republics took over control of the Catalan government in preparation for a move of the Loyalist government to Barcelona.
August 15, 1937 Rowell Commission and the Canadian Constitution Prime Minister Mackenzie King of Canada appointed a royal commission (the Rowell Commission) to study the process of amending the British North America Act. The Canadian government sought to revise to the constitution in light of several court decisions which nullified federal social and economic legislation designed to address the problems of the Depression. King charged the commission to consider economic and financial relations between the federal and provincial governments, but the commissioners were free to investigate all aspects of the Canadian federation.
August 23, 1937 League Acceptance of Peel Commission Report The League of Nations Mandate Commission, and later the Assembly, accepted the Peel Commission report in principle as a viable solution for tensions in the Palestine mandate.
August 25, 1937 Japanese Naval Blockade of South China The Japanese government proclaimed a naval blockade over the southern Chinese coast.
August 27, 1937 Vatican Recognition of Spanish Nationalist Government Pope Pius IX, in response to the anti-clericalism of the Republican government, supported General Francisco Franco and formally recognized the Nationalist government in Spain.
August 29, 1937 Chinese-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact The Nationalist Chinese government and the Soviet government signed a non-aggression treaty. Both countries recognized the threat of Japanese expansion in the Far East.
August 30, 1937 Reorganization of the British Army The British Parliament passed several bills to reorganize British army service.
September 1937 New German Party in Southwest Africa In response to the South African's attempt to eliminate foreign political activity in the Southwest Africa mandate, the Germans established a new German Party to replace the outlawed German Bund.
September-October 1937 Nationalist Uprising in French Morocco After a nationalist uprising began in French Morocco, the French government immediately rushed in troops and aircraft to the protectorate and wiped out the rebellion. The French arrested a number of nationalist leaders. The government also appointed Albert Sarrault, a leading colonial administrator, to lead a new Commission of Coordination for North Africa; the goal of this organization was to strengthen France's position in North Africa.
September 3-November 9, 1937 Japanese Northern China Campaign Japanese forces advanced rapidly through northern China, without meeting much resistance from the Chinese. The Japanese rapidly gained control of Zhangjiakou (Kalgan) (September 3rd), Baoding (Paoting) (September 24th), Shihchiachuang (October 10th), Kueisui (October 14th), and Taiyuan (Yang-ku) (November 9th). By November, the Chinese lines began to firm with better organization and slowed down the Japanese advance. Chinese troops faced the Japanese invaders with inadequate arms and equipment throughout the campaign.
September 5, 1937 Japanese Naval Blockade of China The Japanese government extended the naval blockade to include the entire Chinese coastline with the exceptions of Qingdao (Tsingtao), Hong Kong, Macau, and Guangzhou (Canton). These ports were not blockaded out of consideration for foreign powers with treaty rights to these ports.
September 8, 1937 Pan-Arab Congress at Bludan Over 400 non-official delegates from all of the Arab states met at the Pan-Arab Congress at Bludan in Syria to address the mounting crisis in Palestine. The representatives voted overwhelming to reject the Peel Commission report and the proposed partition of Palestine. The Arabs responded to the Peel report with a list of demands: termination of the British mandate and the establishment of an independent state in alliance with Britain; abandonment of a Jewish national home and end to Jewish immigration; guaranteed minority status for Jews within the Arab state; and the unreserved rejection of the partition plan. The Pan-Arab Congress established a permanent executive to support Palestinian Arabs economically and to conduct extensive propaganda. The congress also called for the boycott of Jewish goods and businesses and planned to extend the boycott to British goods. Syria emerged as the center of the insurgency in Palestine and actively supported the Arab revolt.
September 10-14, 1937 Nyon Conference Delegates met in Nyon to address the problems of piracy in the Mediterranean linked to the Spanish Civil War. Nine countries signed an agreement to establish a system of patrol zones, although the British and French assumed most of the maritime responsibilities. The Italians attempted to undermine this agreement and belatedly agreed to participate in the patrols.
September 10-16, 1937 Ninety-Eighth League Council Session The League of Nations Council held its ninety-eighth session in Geneva.
September 13-October 6, 1937 Eighteenth League Assembly Session The League of Nations Assembly held its eighteenth session in Geneva.
September 14, 1937 Death of Masaryk Former Czechoslovak president Thomas Masaryk died, which led to a period of national mourning. He was considered the father of the Czechoslovak republic.
September 14, 1937 U.S. Ban on Arms Shipments to China and Japan Although President Franklin Roosevelt was loathe to invoke the Neutrality Act of 1937, because it would have worked against the Chinese, the administration did forbid the transportation of munitions to both China and Japan on U.S. government ships. President Roosevelt also warned private American shippers that they operated in the Far Eastern war zone at their own risk. The Japanese, with a considerably larger merchant fleet, benefited from this policy.
September 20-November 6, 1937 Forty-First Session of the Permanent Court of International Justice The Permanent Court of International Justice held its forty-first session in the Hague.
September 25-28, 1937 Italian State Visit to Germany Premier Benito Mussolini conducted a state visit to Berlin where the German and Italian governments reaffirmed the goals of the Rome-Berlin Axis.
September 26, 1937 Assassination of British Commissioner for Galilee Yelland Andrews, the British District Commissioner for Galilee, was murdered which represented the apex of the great Arab Insurrection in Palestine.
September 27, 1937 International Conference of Labor Statisticians To standardize labor statistics collection around the world, the International Labor Organization (BIT) held a conference in Geneva.
September 29-October 5, 1937 Ninety-Ninth League Council Session The League of Nations Council held its ninety-ninth session in Geneva.
October 1937 Establishment of Japanese Cabinet Advisory Council The Japanese government established a Cabinet Advisory Council to help coordinate the war effort in China.
October 1937 Dominican-Haiti Immigration Crisis A major crisis emerged between the Dominican Republic and Haiti when Dominican authorities drove a large number of Haitian immigrants back over the border of the two countries, killing a number of Haitians in the process. The Haitian government, under Stenio Vincent, responded with a series of protests and demands for reparations from the Dominican Republic. However, President Vincent wanted to avoid war and called for a peaceful resolution based on the American conciliation treaties. The U.S., Mexican, and Cuban governments sent representatives to investigate the incident, which led to an agreement in January 1938.
October 1, 1937 British Arrest of Arab High Committee in Palestine In response to the assassination of the British Commissioner for Galilee, the British government arrested the members of the Arab High Commission and deported most of them to the Seychelles. By expelling the Arab leadership, the British hoped to restore order in the mandate.
October 5, 1937 Roosevelt's Quarantine Speech Contrary to isolationist feelings in the United States, President Franklin Roosevelt called for an international quarantine of aggressors as the only means to preserve global peace. There was a strong isolationist backlash against this policy as the president recognized that he had outpaced public opinion. His speech, however, encouraged a widespread American boycott against Japanese products.
October 5-6, 1937 League Condemnation of Japan The League of Nations and the U.S. government condemned Japan's attack on China. As a result of this action, the Chinese could purchase military aircraft and import large quantities of munitions to support their war effort against the Japanese.
October 6, 1937 New Opposition Political Party in Yugoslavia The opposition political parties in Yugoslavia closed ranks and formed the Agrarian-Democratic Party. This organization was composed of Croat and Serb democrats and demanded the immediate end of the dictatorship, under Milan Stoyadinovich, and the restoration of democratic government. The growth of the political opposition forced Premier Stoyadinovich to redouble his efforts to win the Croat nationalists, but his efforts proved unsuccessful.
October 11, 1937 Political Coalition to Restore the Hapsburgs in Hungary The Agrarian Party joined with the Legitimists to form a new political bloc for the restoration of the Hapsburg monarchy as the best means to block fascist elements in Hungary. Even the Social Democrats considered a Hapsburg restoration as a viable option to stop the National Socialists.
October 13, 1937 German Guarantee of Belgian Integrity The German government sent a note to the Belgian government, promising that as long as the Belgians abstained from military action against Germany, the German government would guarantee the inviolability and integrity of Belgium. The Belgian government considered this note a victory for their policy of neutrality.
October 15, 1937 Renewal of Italo-Yemeni Treaty The Italian and Yemeni governments agreed to renew their 1926 treaty for a period of 25 years. The Imam of Yemen occupied a strategic point in the Red Sea and strove to maintain his independence between Saudi Arabia, Britain, France, and Italy.
October 16, 1937 Demand for German Autonomy in Sudetenland The Czechoslovak police violently suppressed a meeting of the Sudete German Party at Teplitz. The leader of the Sudete National Socialist Party, Konrad Henlein, protested against the government's brutal attack and demanded complete autonomy for the 3.5 million Germans in Czechoslovakia.
October 16, 1937 Hungarian National Socialist Party Established Several fascist organizations united to form the Hungarian National Socialist Party, under the leadership of Ferenc Szalasi. This new political party strongly supported the Hungarian regent, Admiral Nicolas Horthy, and called for his candidacy to the throne. Admiral Horthy rejected these efforts.
October 16, 1937 Palestinian Arab Leader Escape to Syria Haj Amin el Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the most influential leader in the Arab Revolt, took refuge in a mosque when the British government cracked down on the leaders of the Arab High Commission. The mufti escaped capture and fled to Syria, where he set up headquarters to maintain the insurgency. As a result, the more radical members (terrorists) gained control over the movement and expanded the fighting.
October 21, 1937 Spanish Nationalist Victory at Gijon Nationalist forces finally succeeded in capturing Gijon and Oviedo, victories which broke Republican resistance in the Asturias and completed their conquest of northwestern Spain.
October 28, 1937 Spanish Republican Government Transfer to Barcelona The Spanish Republican government moved from Valencia to Barcelona to a more secure base of operations.
November 1937 Royal Rhodesia Commission A royal commission visited Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland to investigate the possibility of establishing a closer political and economic union between the three colonies.
November 1937 Establishment of Japanese Imperial Headquarters To prosecute the war in China, the Japanese government created an Imperial Headquarters to centralize the war effort in the hands of military and naval commanders, acting under the direct authority of Emperor Hirohito.
November 1, 1937 Mexican Nationalization of Petroleum The Cardenas government announced the nationalization of the sub-soil rights of the country, which included the nationalization of the petroleum holdings of the Standard Oil Company, a U.S. multinational corporation. This policy marked a new series of conflict with foreign governments, especially the United States and Britain. The Mexican federal labor board ordered American and British oil companies to increase worker wages by one-third, a demand the companies declared to be impossible.
November 1-16, 1937 International Conference for the Repression of Terrorism In an effort to suppress terrorism, the League of Nations sponsored a conference in Geneva on this issue.
November 3-24, 1937 Nine Power Conference in Brussels The signatory states of the Nine-Power Pact, with the exception of Japan, met in Brussels to begin negotiations to end the war in China. Without Japanese participation, the talks collapsed.
November 6, 1937 Italian Support for Anti-Communist Pact The Italian government officially adhered to the anti-Communist pact, already signed by the German and Japanese governments. Under this agreement, the Italian government recognized the Japanese occupation of Manchukuo. This expansion of the pact reflected a new coalition of revisionist states, united to upset the World War I peace treaties and the status quo.
November 10, 1937 New Brazilian Constitution After months of heated debate regarding the presidential succession, President Getulio Vargas proclaimed a new constitution for Brazil. Under the new constitution, the president received full dictatorial powers and established a corporative economic system, directed by a national economic council. While President Vargas argued that the new regime was not fascist, there was not much difference between theory and practice.
November 11, 1937 Special Military Courts in Palestine In an effort to control terrorist attacks in Palestine, the British commissioner set up special military courts to try suspected terrorists. Anyone caught carrying firearms or bombs could be sentenced to death by these courts.
November 14, 1937 Czechoslovak Cancellation of Elections In response to the political tensions following the suppression of a Sudete German Party meeting, the Czechoslovak government postponed national elections and forbid political meetings. The situation developed into crisis proportions between the German and Czechoslovak governments.
November 14, 1937 Arab-Jewish Fighting in Jerusalem Violence escalated in Palestine to the point of pitched battles in Jerusalem between Arab and Jewish forces. The British expanded their efforts to restore security in the Palestine mandate.
November 17-21, 1937 British Official Visit to Germany Lord Halifax, a member of the British cabinet, traveled to Germany to meet with Chancellor Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden to determine German objectives, and, if possible, to negotiate a peaceful settlement. Lord Halifax returned to Britain deeply impressed with the magnitude of the German foreign policy program, especially in terms of German goals in central and eastern Europe. This visit marked the first step of Chamberlain's appeasement policy and was designed to draw out an official German statements on their foreign policy aims.
November 18, 1937 Discovery of Royalist Plot in France The French government uncovered a plot by the Cagoulards (Hooded Ones) to overthrow the French republic and to restore the monarchy. The Cagoulards were a terrorist group associated with a larger revolutionary (fascist) organization. The government discovered secret plans, fortified dugouts, and caches of weapons and ammunition.
November 20, 1937 Japanese Yangtze Campaign After the fall of Shanghai (November 9th), the Japanese continued their advance westward and captured Suzhou (Soochow) on November 20th. The Japanese then mounted a vigorous campaign up the Yangtze River towards central China. Japanese air attacks on Chinese cities outraged world opinion.
November 20, 1937 Chinese Establishment of Capital at Chungking In light of the rapid Japanese advances in north and central China, the Nationalist Chinese government moved their capital from Nanjing (Nanking) to Chongqing (Chungking), although executive power was temporarily based at Hankou (Hankow).
November 22-27, 1937 Conference of Directors of Institutes and Schools of European Medical Schools To foster medical school education in Europe, the League of Nations held a conference in Geneva.
November 23, 1937 Danubian Pact Renewed The governments of Austria, Hungary, and Italy agreed to extend their defensive treaty until June 30, 1938 as a means to deter German expansion in central Europe.
November 24, 1937 New German Minister of Economics Walter Funk replaced Dr. Hjalmar Schacht as the German Minister of Economics, although Schacht remained the director of the Reichsbank. Director Schacht was the mastermind behind the roaring German economy and he bolstered German trade through a series of barter agreements with Balkan and Middle Eastern countries. From a National Socialist ideological perspective, however, Director Schacht did not meet the same standards as Minister Funk.
November 28, 1937 Nationalist Blockade of Spain General Francisco Franco proclaimed a naval blockade of the entire Spanish coast, with Nationalist naval forces using Majorca as their base of operations.
December 1-17, 1937 French Official Visit to Eastern Europe Yvon Delbos, the French Foreign Minister, conducted official visits to France's allies in Eastern Europe (Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia) to reinvigorate the French alliance system and preempt any German expansion efforts in the region. Few of the eastern European governments proved ready to take a strong stand against the German government. The Polish and Yugoslav governments planned to maintain a free hand in the conduct of their foreign policies.
December 5, 1937 Spanish Republican Offensive at Teruel Spanish Republican forces began a counter-offensive around Teruel, an operation which forced the Nationalists to transfer military forces from their campaign in the northeast.
December 7, 1937 Swiss Recognition of Romansch as National Language In an effort to renew support those cantons most exposed to Italian expansionist designs, the Swiss government announced that Romansch would serve as Switzerland's fourth national language (with German, French, and Italian).
December 7, 1937 Beginning of the Alexandretta Crisis In response to the continuing crisis in the Sanjak of Alexandretta, the Turkish government renounced the Treaty of Friendship of May 1926 with Syria and threatened war. The French government immediately sent a military mission to Ankara to defuse the situation. This led to a series of negotiations over the future of the sanjak.
December 10, 1937 Hapsburg Property Restored The Austrian government restored the property of the Hapsburg family as a step towards the restoration of the Hapsburg monarchy.
December 11, 1937 Italian Withdrawal from the League The Italian government officially withdrew from the League of Nations, a move that reflected the country's revisionist foreign policy.
December 12, 1937 Panay Incident A Japanese air attack on U.S. and British warships on the Yangtze River near Nanjing (Nanking) resulted in the loss of the American gunboat, "U.S.S. Panay." Two Americans were killed and 30 wounded. This attack resulted in acute tensions between the U.S. and Japanese governments. The Roosevelt administration eventually accepted the Japanese explanation and apology for the attack, but Japanese forces continued to violate foreign property and rights in China and evaded protests from the U.S., British, and French governments. The volatile situation in Europe allowed the Japanese to conduct an aggression foreign policy in China without fear of serious intervention from the Western powers.
December 13, 1937 Fall of Nanjing After heavy fighting, the Japanese occupied Nanjing (Nanking) and Japanese soldiers committed horrible atrocities against the Chinese civilians (known as the "Rape of Nanking"). The Chinese forces had conducted an orderly retreat and denied the Japanese an overwhelming victory. After six months of fighting, the Chinese demonstrated a high degree of moral unity between the Chinese people. All of the Chinese factions, including the Communists, followed the orders of the Nationalist government. Chiang Kai-shek clearly had popular support and announced that he would not make any compromises with the Japanese which would result in the loss of Chinese territory or independence.
December 14, 1937 Japanese Apologies for Panay Attack The Roosevelt administration demanded formal apologies, reparations, and guarantees against future Japanese attacks against U.S. ships on Chinese waters. The Japanese government formally apologized and gave the necessary assurances the same day. On December 25th, Secretary of State Cordell Hull acknowledged the Japanese reply.
December 16, 1937 Italian Withdrawal from the ILO In keeping with the Italian government's withdrawal from international commitments, such as the League of Nations, the Italians also withdrew from the International Labor Organization.
December 16, 1937 Franco-Syrian Convention The French and Syrian governments signed an agreement which outlined the political relationships between the two states.
December 19, 1937 Spanish Republican Capture of Teruel The Spanish Republicans succeeded in wresting Teruel from the Insurgents. The lack of military supplies and equipment, however, prevented the Republicans from sustaining their offensive, which ground to a halt.
December 21, 1937 Romanian National Elections The Liberal government unexpectedly fell in Romania in national elections, and the prime minister, George Tartatarescu resigned on December 26th.
December 24-27, 1937 Japanese Capture Hangzhou and Jinan The Japanese captured two major cities in central China; Hangzhou (Hangchow) fell on December 24th and Jinan (Tsinan) surrendered to the Japanese on December 27th.
December 28, 1937 King Carol Appointment of Right Wing Government in Romania In a surprise move, King Carol of Romania appointed Octavian Goga prime minister. He led the National Christian Party, which received only ten percent of the votes in the national election. Premier Goga represented a coalition of reactionary parties, which included the Christian League and a wing of the Peasant's Party. The new prime minister immediately enacted a series of anti-Semitic laws, including prohibitions against Jews owning land, depriving Jews naturalized after 1920 of their citizenship, and barring Jews from professions. Simultaneously, Premier Goga worked to establish a dictatorship by sending his party's troops into localities across the kingdom.
December 30, 1937 King Farouk of Egypt Dismissal of Wafd Government King Farouk of Egypt dismissed the Wafd government, under Nahas Pasha, after considerable political friction and appointed Mohammad Mahmud Pasha, leader of the Liberal Constitutional Party, as the new premier. The Wafd Party, which was based on Anglo-Egyptian antagonism, began to disintegrate after Britain agreed to withdraw from Egypt. Opposition to former Premier Nahas led to the withdrawal of a number of political leaders and the party fell into disorganization.

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Blandine Blukacz-Louisfert, Chief, UNOG Registry, Records and Archives Unit, United Nations