Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century
Decades: 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s - 1940s - 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s
Years: 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 - 1944 - 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
World War II
- January 4 - The Battle of Monte Cassino begins.
- January 17 - British forces, in Italy, cross the Garigliano River.
- January 20 - The Royal Air Force drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin; the US 36th Infantry Division, in Italy, attempts to cross the Rapido River.
- January 22 - Allies begin Operation Shingle, the assault on Anzio[?], Italy.
- January 27 - The two year Siege of Leningrad[?] is lifted.
- January 29 - The Battle of Cisterna takes place.
- January 30 - United States troops invade Majuro, Marshall Islands.
- January 31 - American forces land on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
- February 3 - United States troops capture the Marshall Islands.
- February 7 - In Anzio[?], Italian forces launch a counteroffensive.
- February 14 - Anti-Japanese revolt on Java.
- February 15 - Battle of Monte Cassino - the monastery atop Monte Cassino is destroyed by Allied bombing.
- February 17 - Battle of Eniwetok Atoll[?] begins. The battle ended in an American victory on February 22.
- February 20 - "Big Week" begins with American bomber raids on German aircraft manufacturing centers.
- February 20 - The United States takes Eniwetok Island.
- February 29 - The Admiralty Islands are invaded in the American General Douglas MacArthur-led Operation Brewer[?].
- March 15 - Battle of Monte Cassino - Allied aircraft bomb German-held monastery and stage an assault.
- March 18 - German forces occupy Hungary.
- May 17 - Type IX U-boat: U-884[?] is launched.
- May 18 - Battle of Monte Cassino - Germans evacuate Monte Cassino and Allied forces take the stronghold after a struggle that claimed 20,000 lives.
- June 5 - Rome falls to the Allies, becoming the first Axis capital to fall.
- June 6 - D-Day; Allied invasion of Normandy begins.
- In Sweden, the law of 1864 that criminalizes homosexuality is abolished.
- Swedish author of children's books Astrid Lindgren publishes her first book Pippi Longstocking.
- In Sweden, Erik Wallenberg and Ruben Rausing invent a way to package milk in paper and start the company Tetra Pak.
Art, Culture & Fashion
- January 6 - Bonnie Franklin[?], actress
- January 12 - Joe Frazier, boxing champion
- January 16 - Jim Stafford[?], singer
- January 23 - Rutger Hauer, actor
- January 24 - Neil Diamond, singer
- January 26 - Angela Davis, feminist and activist
- February 3 - Dave Davies[?], musician
- February 5 - Michael Mann, director, writer, producer
- February 5 - Al Kooper[?], musician
- February 9 - Alice Walker, writer
- February 10 - Vernor Vinge (science fiction novelist)
- February 11 - Bert Greene[?] golfer.
- February 11 - Buddhadev Dasgupta[?], film director.
- February 11 - Michael G Oxley[?], American politician.
- February 13 - Jerry Springer, television host
- February 14 - Alan Parker[?], director, writer
- February 14 - Carl Bernstein[?], journalist
- February 16 - Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist
- February 22 - Jonathan Demme, director
- February 23 - Johnny Winter[?], musician
- March 1 - Roger Daltrey, musician ("The Who")
- March 6 - Kiri Te Kanawa[?], opera singer
- March 15 - Sly Stone, singer
- March 15 - Elisabeth Plessen[?], writer
- March 17 - John Sebastian, singer-songwriter, also a member of the Lovin' Spoonful
- March 19 - Sirhan Sirhan, assassin
- March 26 - Diana Ross, singer
- April 3 - Tony Orlando[?], musician
- April 7 - Gerhard Schröder, German Bundeskanzler (chancellor) since 1998
- May 5 - John Rhys-Davies, actor
- May 8 - Gary Glitter, singer
- May 9 - Richie Furay, musician ("Poco[?]", "Buffalo Springfield")
- May 10 - Jim Abrahams[?], director
- May 13 - Armistead Maupin, author
- May 14 - George Lucas, film director and producer
- May 18 - Justus Frantz[?], pianist
- May 20 - Joe Cocker, British singer
- May 20 - Boudewijn de Groot[?], Dutch singer
- May 25 - Frank Oz, puppeteer, director
- May 28 - Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York City, 1993-2001
- May 28 - Gladys Knight singer
- July 21 - Paul Wellstone, U.S. Senator: A Democrat from Minnesota
- August 8 - Peter Weir, film director
- October 9 - John Entwistle, bassist, The Who
- October 15 - David Trimble, Ulster Unionist and Nobel Prize winner
- December 17 - Jack L. Chalker science fiction novelist
- Rem Koolhaas, Dutch architect
- February 11 - Carl Meinhof, German linguist
- February 11 - Ivan Sollertinski[?], friend of Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich[?].
- March 12 - Werner Drechsler[?], of U-118[?]
- March 24 - Orde Wingate[?], British soldier
- March 28 - Rick Barry[?], basketball star
- May 12 - Max Brand[?], author
- May 12 - Q, British writer
- May 16 - George Ade[?], author
- July 31 - Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French pilot and writer
- August 8 - Chaim Soutine, painter
- November 2 - Thomas Midgley, chemist and inventor
- Heath Robinson, British cartoonist and illustrator