CANADA: John C. Garand, firearms engineer, is born in St-Rémi, Quebec. Garand invented the M1 semiautomatic rifle, used by the U.S. infantry in World War II and the Korean War. (Tom Hickcox)
AUSTRALIA: The Federation of the six colonies is achieved after a decade of planning, consultation and voting, and the Commonwealth of Australia is born as a Dominion of the British Empire.
GERMANY: The government initiates a program to develop a 4,000-aircraft Luftwaffe within two years.
All Jewish holidays are removed from official German calendars.
U.S.A.: Heavy rain which began on 30 December leads to flooding in the Los Angeles Basin area of California. Flooding claims the lives of at least 45 persons. Walls of water and debris up to 10 feet (3 meters) high are noted in some canyon areas. Rainfall totals ranged up to 16.29 inches (41,38 centimetres) at Azusa, with 8.26 inches (20,98 centimetres) are reported in Downtown Los Angeles.
INTERNATIONAL: International naval limitations set by the London and Washington Naval Treaties officially expire, which ends warship construction restrictions and the maintenance of the status quo in fortifications in the Pacific. There have been rumours since 1932 that the Japanese are building fortifications and submarine bases in their Pacific mandate territories. On 17 December 1920 the Council of the League of Nations confirmed a mandate for the former German Islands north of the equator to Japan, to be administered in accordance with Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. These islands were located in the Caroline, Ladrone, Mariana, and Marshall Islands. After 1935, both Australia and New Zealand expanded their coastal defences and the U.S. government planned a series of fortifications from the Alaskan coast and Aleutian Islands to Midway Island, Guam, and Samoa.
January 1st, 1939 (SUNDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force is re-designated as a fighter squadron but equipped with Hawker Hinds.
GERMANY: The Fallschirm-Infanterie Battalion (army paratroopers) are officially transferred to the Luftwaffe as the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Parachute Regiment, II/FJR 1.
Identity card laws are brought in. All Jews are required to wear badges identifying themselves as such. Jewish shopkeepers and artisans are banned from any commercial activity from today. Jews are also banned from working with non-Jewish Germans.
U.S.A.: The army officially changes to a 12 man squad from the 8 man squad. (Chuck Baisden, Gordon Rottman)
Top of Page