- June 6: D-Day; Allied invasion of Normandy begins.
- June 9: Stalin launches an offensive against Finland with the intent of defeating Finland before pushing for Berlin.
- June 17: Iceland declares full independence from Denmark.
- July - Finland beats off the Soviet attack, but loses territory. (End of Continuation War)
- In Sweden, the law of 1864 that criminalizes homosexuality is abolished.
- Swedish childrens books author Astrid Lindgren publishes her first book Pippi Longstocking
- In Sweden, Erik Wallenberg and Ruben Rausing invents a way to package milk in paper and starts the company Tetra Pak.
- 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.
- May 14 - George Lucas, film director and producer
- May 20: Joe Cocker, British singer
- May 20: Boudewijn de Groot, Dutch singer
- December 17 - Jack L. Chalker science fiction novelist
- Rem Koolhaas, Dutch architect
- February 11 - Ivan Sollertinski, friend of Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich.
- Carl Meinhof, German linguist
- Heath Robinson, British cartoonist and illustrator
- Physics - Isidor Isaac Rabi
- Chemistry - Otto Hahn
- Medicine - Joseph Erlanger, Herbert Spencer Gasser
- Literature - Johannes Vilhelm Jensen
- Peace - International Committee of the Red Cross.