- February 11 - Bill Lawry, Australian cricket player.
- February 11 - Lodewijk Boer, Dutch violinist/playwright.
- February 11 - Marilyn Butler, Rector of Exeter College, Oxford University.
- February 11 - Peter Lashley, West Indies cricket player.
- February 11 - A sit-down strike ends when General Motors recognises the United Automobile Workers Union
- World War II starts in Asia with invasions by Japan
- Koh-i-Noor diamond last known to be worn in public
- May 6 - In United States, the German airship Hindenburg bursts into flame when mooring to a mast in Lakehurst.
- Physics - Clinton Joseph Davisson, George Paget Thomson
- Chemistry - Walter Norman Haworth, Paul Karrer
- Medicine - Albert von Szent-Györgyi Nagyrapolt
- Literature - Roger Martin du Gard
- Peace - Viscount Cecil of Chelwood (Lord Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne Cecil)