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- April 1 - The Second Encirclement Campaign against the Communist Party of China is launched by the Kuomintang government, to destroy the Communist forces in Jiangxi Province.
- April 15 - End of the Castellammarese War. Salvatore Maranzano becomes capo de tutti capi of the American Mafia.
- September 3 - The 1931 Yugoslav Constitution is adopted by the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, ending the 6 January Dictatorship of King Alexander I.
- September 16 - End of the Pacification of Libya.
- September 18 - The Mukden Incident: Imperial Japan stages a bomb blast close to a railway line owned by Japan's South Manchuria Railway near Mukden, blaming the incident on Chinese dissidents as a pretext for invading Manchuria.
- October 17 - Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion in Chicago.
- November 7 - Mao Zedong proclaims the formation of the Chinese Soviet Republic.
- December 12 - Serial killer Harry Powers is found guilty of four murders and is sentenced to death.
- Unknown - The Irgun is founded.
- January 24 - Roy Bryant
- January 27 - Ronald "Buster" Edwards
- March 9 - León Febres Cordero
- May 13 - Jim Jones
- September 26 - Kenneth Parnell
- December 11 - Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
- Janruary 22 - Sam Cooke
- January 12 - Raymond Gunn
- September 16 - Omar al-Mukhtar