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- January 4 - Hermann Göring assumes control of most war industries in Germany.
- March 13 - End of the Winter War.
- March 13 - Former Lieutenant Governor of Punjab Michael O'Dwyer is assassinated in Caxton Hall, Westminster, England by the Indian revolutionary Udham Singh.
- March 30 - Wang Jingwei declares the Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China to be the legitimate Chinese state, and pledges its allegiance to the Empire of Japan.
- April to May - The Katyn Massacre is perpetrated by the NKVD.
- April 9 - The Nazi Party launches Operation Weserübung, invading Denmark and Norway. Vidkun Quisling proclaims a new collaborationist regime in Norway.
- May 20 - Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp is opened in occupied Poland, near the town of Oświęcim.
- May 23 - The British Union of Fascists is dissolved.
- June 14 - Francisco Franco orders an occupation of the Tangier International Zone.
- July 10 - The French Constitutional Law of 1940 is passed, establishing Vichy France as a client state of Nazi Germany. Philippe Pétain is named Chief of State and is given dictatorial powers.
- August 21 - Leon Trotsky is assassinated in Mexico City by NKVD agent Ramón Mercader, acting on orders from Joseph Stalin.
- September 7 - Beginning of the Blitz.
- September 9 - African-American man Austin Callaway is lynched by a gang of six white supremacists in LaGrange, Georgia.
- September 14 - Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard declare the formation of the National Legionary State to govern Romania, and allign themselves with the Axis Powers.
- September 22 - Imperial Japan begins an invasion of French Indochina.
- September 30 - A gang of Hitler Youth members burn down the Great Synagogue of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France.
- October 10 - Fulgencio Batista is elected President of Cuba.
- October 12 - The Taisei Yokusankai is founded.
- October 23 - Adolf Hitler meets with Francisco Franco to discuss a possible alliance with Spain.
- October 28 - Benito Mussolini launches an invasion of Greece.
- January 1 - Clifford Olson
- January 12 - Bob Hewitt
- February 2 - Delwar Hossain Sayeedi
- February 16 - Kim Jong-il
- June 7 - Samuel Little
- June 16 - Neil Goldschmidt
- July 6 - Nursultan Nazarbayev
- July 15 - Ronald Gene Simmons Sr.
- August 26 - Michel Micombero
- September 10 - Robert Anthony Buell
- September 23 - Michel Temer
- September 27 - Lawrence Bittaker
- October 27 - John Gotti
- November 23 - Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr.
- Unknown - Ali Hassan Salameh
- September 6 - Hugo Spadafora
- October 8 - John Lennon
- February 4 - Nikolai Yezhov & Mikhail Frinovsky
- August 3 - Vladimir Jabotinsky
- August 21 - Leon Trotsky
- September 23 - Robert Hichens
- November 17 - Eric Gill
- March 30 - Michael O'Dwyer
- July 6 - Jack Avery
- September 9 - Austin Callaway