Children's Encyclopedia Selection. Related subjects: World War II; Years
|Centuries:||19th century - 20th century - 21st century|
|Decades:||1910s 1920s 1930s - 1940s - 1950s 1960s 1970s|
|Years:||1937 1938 1939 - 1940 - 1941 1942 1943|
Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar.
Events of 1940
- 4 January - WWII: Axis powers - Luftwaffe General Hermann Goering assumes control of all war industries in Germany.
- 6 January - WWII: Winter War - General Semyon Timoshenko takes command of all Russian forces.
- 8 January - WWII: Winter War - Russian 44th Assault Division destroyed by Finnish forces in Battle of Suomussalmi.
- 26 January - Australia - Brisbane swelters through its hottest day ever, 43.2 degrees Celsius (109.76 Fahrenheit).
- 27 January - WWII: South Africa - A peace resolution introduced in Parliament is defeated by 81 votes to 59.
- 29 January - Three gasoline multiple units carrying factory workers crash and explode while approaching Ajikawaguchi station, Yumesaki Line ( Nishinari Line), Osaka, Japan, killing at least 181 people and injuring at least 92.
- 1 February - WWII: Winter War - Russian forces launch major assault on Finnish troops which occupy the Karelian Isthmus.
- 7 February - RKO releases Walt Disney's second full-length animated film, Pinocchio.
- 16 February - WWII: In the Altmark Incident British destroyer Cossack pursues German tanker Altmark into Jøssingfjord in southwestern Norway.
- 27 February - Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered carbon-14
- 2 March - Elmer Fudd makes his debut in the short Elmer's Candid Camera.
- 3 March - In Sweden, a time bomb destroys the office of Norrskenflamman newspaper of Swedish communists - 5 dead.
- 5 March- Members of Soviet politburo: Stalin, Molotov, Lazar Kaganovich, Mikhail Kalinin, Kliment Voroshilov and Lavrenty Beria, signed an order, prepared by Beria, for the execution of 25,700 Polish intelligentsia, including 14,700 Polish POWs. The action is known as the Katyn massacre.
- 12 March - Soviet Union and Finland sign a peace treaty in Moscow ending the Winter War. Finns, along with the world at large, were shocked by the harsh terms.
- 18 March - WWII: Axis powers - Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini meet at Brenner Pass in the Alps and agree to form an alliance against France and the United Kingdom.
- 21 March - Édouard Daladier resigns as prime minister of France. He is replaced by Paul Reynaud.
- 23 March - The Pakistan Resolution is rallied by the All-India Muslim League: Muslims from every corner of India meet up around Iqbal Park, Lahore (now in modern-day Pakistan).
- 5 April - Neville Chamberlain, in what will prove to be a tragic lapse of judgment, declares in a major public speech that Hitler has "missed the bus".
- 7 April - Booker T. Washington becomes the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp.
- 9 April - WWII: Germany invades Denmark and Norway in operation Weserübung. The British campaign in Norway is simultaneously commenced.
- 12 April - The Faroe Islands were occupied by British troops following the invasion of Denmark by Nazi Germany. This action was taken to avert a possible German occupation of the islands, which would have had very grave consequences for the course of the Battle of the Atlantic.
- 15 April - Opening day at Jamaica Racetrack features the use of pari-mutuel betting equipment, a departure from bookmaking heretofore used exclusively throughout New York state. Other NY tracks follow suit later in 1940.
- 21 April - Take It or Leave It makes it debut on CBS Radio, with Bob Hawk as host.
- 23 April - Rhythm Night Club burns in Natchez, Mississippi: 198 dead.
- 10 May - WWII:
- 13 May
- 14 May
- 15 May
- WWII: Dutch army surrenders.
- 16 May - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, addressing a joint session of Congress, asks for an extraordinary credit of approximately $900 million to finance construction of at least 50,000 airplanes per year.
- 17 May - Brussels falls to German forces; Belgian government flees to Ostend.
- 18 May - Marshal Henri Petain named vice-premier of France.
- 19 May - General Maxime Weygand replaces Maurice Gamelin as commander-in-chief of all French forces.
- 20 May - WWII: German forces, under General Erwin Rommel, reach the English Channel. Holocaust: concentration and death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau opens in Poland.
- 22 May - WWII: British Parliament passes Emergency Powers Act giving the government full control over all persons and property.
- 26 May - WWII: Dunkirk evacuation of British Expeditionary Force starts.
- 28 May
- 29 May - First flight of the Vought XF4U-1, the prototype of the F4U Corsair U.S. fighter later used in WWII.
- 3 June
- 4 June
- 9 June - WWII: The British Commandos are created.
- 10 June - WWII
- Italy declares war on France and the United Kingdom.
- U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt denounces Italy's actions with "Stab in the Back" speech from the graduation ceremonies of the University of Virginia.
- Canada declares war on Italy.
- Norway surrenders to German forces.
- French government flees to Tours.
- 12 June - WWII: 13,000 British and French troops surrender to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel at St. Valery-en-Caux.
- 13 June - WWII: Paris is declared an open city.
- 14 June - WWII:
- French government flees to Bordeaux.
- Paris falls under German occupation.
- U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Naval Expansion Act into law which aims to increase the United States Navy's tonnage by 11 %.
- A group of 728 Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first residents of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
- 15 June - WWII: Verdun falls to German forces.
- 16 June : The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is held for the first time in Sturgis, South Dakota.
- 17 June
- Philippe Petain becomes Prime Minister of France and immediately asks Germany for peace terms.
- Soviet Army enters Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia.
- Operation Ariel begins - Allied troops start to evacuate France, following Germany's takeover of Paris and most of the nation.
- Luftwaffe Junkers 88 bomber sinks British ship RMS Lancastria, that was evacuating troops from near Saint-Nazaire, France. Death toll is over 2500. Wartime censorship prevents the story going public.
- 18 June
- Winston Churchill speaks to the House of Commons: "... the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin."
- General Charles de Gaulle broadcasts from London, calling on all French people to continue the fight against Nazi Germany: "France has lost a battle. But France has not lost the war."
- 21 June - WWII: Vichy France and Germany sign armistice at Compiegne in the same wagon-lit railroad car used by Marshal Ferdinand Foch to accept the surrender of Germany in 1918.
- 23 June - WWII: German leader Adolf Hitler surveys newly defeated Paris in now occupied France.
- 24 June
- 28 June - General Charles DeGaulle is officially recognized by Britain as "Leader of all Free Frenchmen, wherever they may be."
- 30 June - WWII: German forces land in Guernsey marking the start of the 5-year Occupation of the Channel Islands.
- 1 July The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened for traffic and is build with 8-foot girder and is 190 feet above the water. The bridge opened as the third longest suspension bridge in the world.
- 3 July - WWII: British naval units sink or seize ships of the French fleet anchored in the Algerian ports of Oran and Mers-el-Kebir. The following day, Vichy France breaks off diplomatic relations with Britain.
- 10 July - WWII: Vichy France begins with a constitutional law where only 80 members of the parliament voted against.
- 15 July - U.S. politics: Democratic Party begins its national convention in Chicago and nominates Franklin D. Roosevelt for an unprecedented third term as president.
- 19 July - WWII: Adolf Hitler makes peace appeal to Britain in an address to the Reichstag. Lord Halifax, British foreign minister, flatly rejects peace terms in a broadcast reply on 22 July.
- 21 July - Estonian SSR, Latvian SSR and Lithuanian SSR are proclaimed.
- 3 August - Lithuanian SSR, Latvian SSR ( 5 August) and Estonian SSR ( 6 August) are incorporated into the Soviet Union.
- 4 August - Gen. John J. Pershing, in a nationwide radio broadcast, urges all-out aid to Britain in order to defend the Americas, while Charles Lindbergh speaks to an isolationist rally at Soldier Field in Chicago.
- 8 August - Wilhelm Keitel signs the " Aufbau Ost" directive.
- 20 August
- 26 August - Chad is the first French colony to proclaim its support for the Allies.
- September - U.S. Army 45th Infantry Division (previously a National Guard Division in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma), activated and ordered into federal service for one year to engage in a training program in Ft. Sill and Louisiana prior to serving in World War II.
- 2 September - WWII: Agreement between America and Great Britain announced to the effect that fifty U.S. destroyers needed for escort work would be transferred to Great Britain. In return, America gained 99-year leases on British bases in the North Atlantic, West Indies and Bermuda.
- 7 September
- 12 September
- 16 September - WWII: Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt, creating the first peacetime draft in U.S. history.
- 26 September - WWII: U.S. imposes a total embargo on all shipments of scrap metal to Japan.
- 27 September - WWII: Germany, Italy and Japan sign Tripartite Pact.
- 16 October - Draft registration of approximately 16 million men begins in the United States.
- 28 October - WWII: Italian troops invaded Greece meeting strong resistance from Greek troops and civilians. This action signals the beginning of the Balkans Campaign.
- 29 October - Selective Service System lottery held in Washington, D.C..
- 5 November - U.S. presidential election, 1940: Democrat incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt defeats Republican challenger Wendell Willkie and becomes the United States' first third-term president.
- 7 November - In Tacoma, Washington, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (known as Galloping Gertie) collapsed in a 42-mile per hour wind storm causing the center span of the bridge to sway. When it collapsed, a 600 foot-long design of the centre span fell 190 feet above the water killing Tubby, a black male cocker spaniel dog.
- 9 November - Premiere of Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez in Barcelona, Spain.
- 10 November - Earthquake in Bucharest, Romania - 1,000 dead.
- 11 November - WWII:
- 13 November - Walt Disney's Fantasia is released. It is the first box office failure for Disney, though it will eventually recoup its cost years later, and become one of the most highly regarded of Disney's films.
- 14 November - WWII: In England, the city of Coventry is destroyed by 500 German Luftwaffe bombers (150,000 fire bombs, 503 tons of high explosives, 130 parachute mines leveled 60,000 of the city's 75,000 buildings; 568 people were killed).
- 16 November
- WWII: In response to Germany leveling Coventry two days before, the Royal Air Force begins to bomb Hamburg (by war's end, 50,000 Hamburg residents died from Allied attacks).
- Unexploded pipe bomb found in Consolidated Edison office building. (Only years later is the culprit, George Metesky, apprehended.)
- The Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers is founded.
- 18 November - WWII: German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano meet to discuss Benito Mussolini's disastrous invasion of Greece.
- 20 November - WWII: Hungary, Romania and Slovakia join the Axis Powers.
- 27 November
- 1 December - Manuel Ávila Camacho takes office as President of Mexico.
- 8 December - The Chicago Bears, in what will become the most one-sided victory in National Football League history, defeat the Washington Redskins 73-0 in the 1940 NFL Championship Game.
- 12 December & 15 December - WWII: The " Sheffield Blitz". The City of Sheffield is badly damaged by German air-raids.
- 14 December - Plutonium first isolated chemically in the laboratory.
- 23 December - Winston Churchill, in a broadcast address to the people of Italy, squarely blames Benito Mussolini for leading his nation to war against the British contrary to Italy's historic friendship with them.
- 26 December - The film version of The Philadelphia Story, starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart and Ruth Hussey, premieres at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
- 29 December
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a fireside chat to the nation, declares that the United States must become, "... the great arsenal of democracy."
- WWII: "Second Great Fire of London"; Luftwaffe carries out massive incendiary bombing raid starting 1500 fires. Many famous buildings, including the Guildhall and Trinity House, are either damaged or destroyed.
- 30 December - California's first modern freeway, the future State Route 110, is opened to traffic in Pasadena, California, as the Arroyo Seco Parkway. It is now called the Pasadena Freeway.
- Guilin, China, acquires the current name.
- Tibet, province of Amdo: five-year-old Tenzin Gyatso was proclaimed the tulku ( rebirth) of the thirteenth Dalai Lama.
- Korea The Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye (1446) was discovered, explaining the basis of Hangul.
- Truth or Consequences debuts on NBC Radio.
|Ab urbe condita||2693|
|Bahá'í calendar||96 – 97|
|Byzantine calendar||7448 – 7449|
|Chinese calendar|| 己卯年十一月廿二日
— to —庚辰年十二月初三日
|Coptic calendar||1656 – 1657|
|Ethiopian calendar||1932 – 1933|
|Hebrew calendar||5700 – 5701|
|- Vikram Samvat||1995 – 1996|
|- Shaka Samvat||1862 – 1863|
|- Kali Yuga||5041 – 5042|
|Iranian calendar||1318 – 1319|
|Islamic calendar||1358 – 1359|
|Japanese calendar|| Shōwa 15
|Thai solar calendar||2483|
- 4 January- Brian David Josephson, Welsh physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
- Gao Xingjian, Chinese-born writer, Nobel Prize laureate
- 6 January - Penny Lernoux, American journalist and author (d. 1989)
- 9 January - Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, a Costa Rican politician, lawyer, economist, and businessman.
- 14 January - Julian Bond, American civil rights activist
- 19 January - Mike Reid, English actor (d. 2007)
- 20 January - Carol Heiss, American figure skater
- 21 January - Jack Nicklaus, American golfer
- 22 January - John Hurt, English actor
- 27 January - James Cromwell, American actor
- 31 January - Kitch Christie, South African rugby coach (d. 1998)
- 2 February - David Jason, English actor
- 3 February - Fran Tarkenton, American football player
- 4 February - George Romero, American film writer, producer, and director
- 5 February - H.R. Giger, Swiss artist
- 6 February
- Tom Brokaw, American television news reporter
- Jimmy Tarbuck, English comedian
- 8 February
- Ted Koppel, American journalist
- Joe South, American singer and songwriter
- 9 February - J. M. Coetzee, South African writer, Nobel Prize laureate
- 12 February - Richard Lynch, American actor
- 17 February - Gene Pitney, American singer (d. 2006)
- 19 February - Smokey Robinson, American musician
- 20 February - Jimmy Greaves, English footballer
- 21 February - James Wong, Hong Kong composer (d. 2004)
- 22 February
- Johnson Mlambo, South African politician
- Billy Name, American photographer and Warhol archivist
- 23 February - Peter Fonda, American actor
- 24 February - Denis Law, Scottish footballer
- 25 February - Ron Santo, American baseball player
- 28 February - Mario Andretti, American race car driver
- 3 March - Germán Castro Caycedo, Colombian writer and journalist
- 3 March - Owen Spencer-Thomas, English broadcaster, journalist and clergyman
- 6 March - Willie Stargell, baseball player (d. 2001)
- 7 March - Rudi Dutschke, German student leader (d. 1979)
- 9 March - Raúl Juliá, Puerto Rican actor (d. 1994)
- 10 March - Chuck Norris, American actor and martial artist
- 12 March - Al Jarreau, American singer
- 15 March - Phil Lesh, American musician ( Grateful Dead)
- 16 March
- Bernardo Bertolucci, Italian writer and film director
- Jan Pronk, Dutch politician and diplomat
- 17 March - Mark White, Governor of Texas
- 22 March - Haing S. Ngor, Cambodian actor (d. 1996)
- 25 March - Anita Bryant, American entertainer
- 26 March -
- James Caan, American actor
- Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
- 27 March
- Austin Pendleton, American actor
- Cale Yarborough, American race car driver
- 29 March - Ray Davis, American musician ( P-Funk)
- 30 March - Astrud Gilberto, Brazilian-born singer
- 1 April - Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmentalist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
- 2 April - Penelope Keith, English actress
- 12 April
- Herbie Hancock, American musician
- John Hagee, American televangelist
- 16 April - Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
- 18 April - Joseph L. Goldstein, American scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- 25 April - Al Pacino, American actor
- 26 April - Giorgio Moroder, Italian film composer
- 1 May - Elsa Peretti, Italian jewelry designer
- 7 May - Jim Connors, Legendary Radio personality (d. 1987)
- 8 May
- 8 May - Toni Tennille, American singer
- 9 May - James L. Brooks, American film producer and writer
- 11 May - Juan Downey, Chilean-born video artist (d. 1993)
- 14 May - 'H'. Jones, British soldier (VC recipient) (d. 1982)
- 15 May - Don Nelson, American basketball player and coach
- 17 May
- Alan Kay, American computer scientist
- Reynato Puno, Filipino Supreme Court Chief Justice
- 18 May - Lenny Lipton, American inventor
- 20 May
- Stan Mikita, Slovakian-born hockey player
- Sadaharu Oh, Japanese baseball player
- 22 May - Bernard Shaw, American journalist and television news reporter
- 24 May - Joseph Brodsky, Russian-born poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1996)
- 29 May - Farooq Leghari, President of Pakistan
- 1 June - René Auberjonois, American actor
- 2 June - King Constantine II of Greece
- 4 June - Ludwig Schwarz, Austrian bishop
- 6 June - Richard Paul, American actor (d. 1998)
- 7 June - Tom Jones, Welsh singer
- 8 June - Carole Ann Ford, British actress
- 8 June - Nancy Sinatra, American singer
- 16 June - Neil Goldschmidt, Governor of Oregon
- 17 June - George Akerlof, American economist, Nobel Prize laureate
- 20 June - John Mahoney, English-born actor
- 21 June - Mariette Hartley, American actress
- 22 June
- Abbas Kiarostami, Iranian film director, screenwriter, and film producer
- Esther Rantzen, British broadcaster
- 23 June
- 25 June - A.J. Quinnell, English writer (d. 2005)
- 29 June - Vyacheslav Artyomov, Russian composer
- 3 July - César Tovar, Venezuelan Major League Baseball player (d. 1994)
- 7 July - Ringo Starr, British drummer (The Beatles)
- 10 July
- Gene Alley, baseball player
- Tom Farmer, Scottish entrepreneur
- Helen Donath, American soprano
- 13 July - Patrick Stewart, English actor
- 17 July
- Tim Brooke-Taylor, English comedian
- Verne Lundquist, American sportscaster
- 18 July
- Joe Torre, baseball player and manager
- James Brolin, American actor and director
- 22 July
- George Clinton, American musician
- Alex Trebek, Canadian game show host
- 24 July - Stanley Hauerwas, American theologian
- 26 July - Mary Jo Kopechne, American aide to Ted Kennedy (d. 1969)
- 27 July - Bharati Mukherjee, Indian-born novelist
- 31 July - Roy Walker, comedian and TV presenter of ITV's Catchphrase (1986-1999)
- 3 August - Martin Sheen, American actor
- 7 August - Jean-Luc Dehaene, Prime Minister of Belgium
- 8 August - Dilip Sardesai, former Indian Test cricketer (d. 2007)
- 9 August - Beverlee McKinsey, American actress
- 10 August - Bobby Hatfield, American singer ( Righteous Brothers) (d. 2003)
- 19 August - Jill St. John, American actress
- 20 August
- Musa Geshaev, Chechen poet and historian
- Rubén Hinojosa, American politician
- 22 August - Valerie Harper, American actress
- 25 August - José Van Dam, Belgian bass-baritone
- 28 August - Tom Baker, American actor (d. 1982)
- 29 August
- Johnny Paris, American musician ( Johnny and the Hurricanes) (d. 2006)
- Bennie Maupin, American musician
- 5 September - Raquel Welch, American actress
- 10 September - David Mann, American artist (d. 2004)
- 12 September
- Skip Hinnant, American actor
- Mickey Lolich, baseball player
- 13 September - Óscar Arias, Costa Rican politician, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
- 14 September - Larry Brown, American basketball coach
- 23 September - Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, Iranian traditional singer and undisputed Master
- 24 September - Michiko Suganuma, Urushi japanese lacquer artist
- 9 October - John Lennon, British musician and singer (The Beatles) (d. 1980)
- 13 October - Pharoah Sanders, American saxophonist
- 14 October - Cliff Richard, English singer
- 15 October - Peter Doherty, Australian immunologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- 19 October - Michael Gambon, Irish actor
- 20 October - Robert Pinsky, Poet Laureate of the United States
- 21 October
- Manfred Mann ( Manfred Lubowitz), South African musician ( Manfred Mann bands)
- Geoffrey Boycott, English cricketer
- 23 October - Pelé, Brazilian footballer
- 25 October - Bobby Knight, American basketball coach
- 27 October - John Gotti, American gangster (d. 2002)
- 1 November - Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, Chief Justice of India
- 15 November - Sam Waterston, American actor
- 15 November - Roberto Cavalli, Itallian Designer
- 17 November - Luke Kelly,Irish Ballad Singer from The Dubliners
- 21 November - Richard Marcinko, U.S. Navy SEAL team member and author
- 25 November - Joe Gibbs, American football coach
- 27 November - Bruce Lee, Chinese American martial artist and actor (d. 1973)
- 29 November - Chuck Mangione, famous American flugelhorn player
- 1 December - Richard Pryor, American actor and comedian (d. 2005)
- 4 December - Freddy Cannon, American singer
- 4 December - Gary Gilmore, American murderer (d. 1977)
- 5 December - Peter Pohl, Swedish writer
- 12 December
- Sharad Pawar, Indian politician
- Dionne Warwick, American singer
- 21 December - Frank Zappa, American musician, composer, and satirist (d. 1993)
- 22 December - Noel Jones, British ambassador to Kazakhstan (d. 1995)
- 23 December - Jorma Kaukonen, American musician ( Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna)
- 23 December - Robert Labine, former mayor of old city of Gatineau, Quebec
- 26 December - Edward C. Prescott, American economist, Nobel Prize laureate
- Seamus Deane, Irish poet and novelist
- António Roseiro Founder and President of VITAE
January - June
- 4 January - Flora Finch, English-born actress and comedian (b. 1869)
- 18 January - Kazimierz Tetmajer, Polish poet and writer (b. 1865)
- 27 January - Isaac Babel, Ukrainian writer (b. 1894)
- Fusajiro Yamauchi, Japanese business executive
- 1 February - Philip Francis Nowlan, science fiction writer, creator of Buck Rogers character (b. 1888)
- 11 February - John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada (b. 1875)
- 26 February - Michael Hainisch, second President of Austria (b. 1858)
- 29 February - Edward Frederic Benson, English writer
- 5 March - Cai Yuanpei, Chinese edjaucator (b. 1868)
- 10 March - Mikhaïl Boulgakov, Russian writer (b. 1891)
- 16 March - Selma Lagerlöf, Swedish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1858)
- 20 March - Alfred Ploetz, German physician, biologist, and eugenicist (b. 1860)
- 26 March - Spiridon Louis, Greek runner (b. 1873)
- 27 March - Michael Joseph Savage, Prime Minister of New Zealand (b. 1872)
- 31 March - Tinsley Lindley, English footballer (b. 1865)
- 1 April - John A. Hobson, English economist (b. 1858).
- 26 April - Carl Bosch, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1874)
- 14 May - Emma Goldman, Lithuanian-born anarchist (b. 1869)
- 15 May - Menno ter Braak, Dutch writer (b. 1902)
- 20 May - Verner von Heidenstam, Swedish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1859)
- 25 May - Joe De Grasse, Canadian film director (b. 1873)
- 28 May - Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse (b. 1868)
- 10 June - Marcus Garvey, Jamaican-born publisher, entrepreneur, and black nationalist (b. 1887)
- 11 June - Alfred S. Alschuler, American architect (b. 1876)
- 17 June - Arthur Harden, English chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1865)
- 21 June - Smedley Butler, U.S. general (b. 1881)
- 29 June - Paul Klee, Swiss artist (b. 1879)
July - December
- 4 July - Robert Pershing Wadlow, tallest man ever (infection) (b. 1918)
- 8 August - Johnny Dodds, American jazz clarinetist (b. 1892)
- 18 August - Walter Chrysler, American automobile pioneer (b. 1875)
- 21 August - Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary (b. 1879)
- 21 August - Hermann Obrecht, Swiss Federal Councillor (b. 1882)
- 22 August - Mary Vaux Walcott, American artist and naturalist (b. 1860)
- 30 August - J.J. Thomson, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1856)
- 5 September - Charles de Broqueville, Prime Minister of Belgium (b. 1860)
- 27 September - Julius Wagner-Jauregg, Austrian neuroscientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1857)
- 5 October - Ballington Booth, American co-founder of Volunteers of America (b. 1857)
- 9 October - Wilfred Grenfell, English medical missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador (b. 1865)
- 10 October - Berton Churchill, Canadian actor (b. 1876)
- 9 November - Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1869)
- 9 November - John Henry Kirby, Texas legislator and American businessman (b. 1860)
- 17 November - Eric Gill, British sculptor and writer (b. 1882)
- 17 November - Raymond Pearl, American biologist (b. 1879)
- 5 December - Jan Kubelík, Czech violinist (b. 1880)
- 15 December or 16 December - Billy Hamilton, Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder (b. 1866)
- 19 December - Kyösti Kallio, President of Finland (b. 1873)
- 21 December - F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer (b. 1896)
- 25 December - Agnes Ayres, American actress (b. 1898)
- Physics - not awarded
- Chemistry - not awarded
- Physiology or Medicine - not awarded
- Literature - not awarded
- Peace - not awarded
- List of ship launches in 1940
- List of ship commissionings in 1940
- List of ship decommissionings in 1940
- List of shipwrecks in 1940