What Happened on September 1?

  • The Nazis invaded Poland, starting World War II. (1939) The Germans started bombing the capital city of Warsaw with no warning and no declaration of war. The attack prompted a global battle that lasted until 1945.

  • The first underground railway in the US opened in Boston, Massachusetts. (1897) The Tremont Street Subway carried more than 100,000 passengers on a short 3.5-minute underground trip on the first day of operation. The subway tunnels gradually were expanded, connecting more and more parts of the city. The Tremont Street Subway now is a National Historic Landmark.

  • A wartime order to detain Japanese and Japanese-Americans was upheld in Sacramento, California. (1942) More than 110,000 Japanese and Japanese-American people were held captive in "War Relocation Camps" after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Most of the people detained — more than 60 percent — were citizens of the United States.

  • Alexander Graham Bell hired the world's first female telephone operator. (1878) Bell recruited Emma Nut to work for the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company — she worked a 54-hour week for $10 US Dollars (USD) per month. Initially, the telephone companies hired young boys as operators, but had to discontinue the practice because the boys showed a lack of responsibility and played too many pranks.

  • The first Japanese player joined Major League Baseball. (1964) Masanori Murakami pitched for the San Francisco Giants until 1966, when he returned home to play baseball in Japan.

  • A Russian fighter jet shot down a Boeing 747 passenger plane, killing 269 people. (1983) The Korean Airlines plane had errantly entered Soviet airspace on its way to Seoul from New York. When the fighter pilots were unable to establish communication with the Korean Airlines pilots, they shot down the plane.

  • A world-record flight time between New York City and London, England was set. (1974) The SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 plane completed the flight in 1 hour, 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds, setting a record that lasted over 35 years.

  • The world's first science fiction movie, A Trip to the Moon debuted in France. (1902) The silent film was 14 minutes long and used advanced animation techniques for its time.

  • Hinckley, Minnesota, burned to the ground in the "Great Hinckley Fire." (1894) The forest fire, which was caused by a drought, killed more than 400 people. In total, more than 300,000 acres (about 1,214 square kilometers) of land burned, causing more than $25 million USD in damage.

  • An earthquake hit Japan, killing more than 150,000 people. (1923) The magnitude 7.9 "Great Kanto earthquake" destroyed Tokyo and Yokohama, causing more than $1 billion USD in damage.

Discussion Comments


September 1, 1996, was the first NFL game of Baltimore Ravens and I was there. They played against Oakland Raiders and won. The score was 17-14. It was an exciting game at the Memorial Stadium in Maryland. Unfortunately, they didn't win the games after that from what I remember.


@anon222586-- This page is about September 1. There is another page about events that took place on September 17. Just put "what happened on September 17" in the search box to find it.

But to answer your question, September 17, 1939 was the start of World War II. The Soviets invaded Poland on that day.


I find it hilarious that young boys weren't hired as telephone operators because they played pranks and were irresponsible. This just goes to show that women have always been a very significant workforce. Women work just as hard as men and they act more professionally and responsibly than men in many cases.


What happened on September 17 1939?

Does anyone remember this significant date?

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