|Centuries:||19th century – 20th century – 21st century|
|Decades:||1900s 1910s 1920s – 1930s – 1940s 1950s 1960s|
|Years:||1934 1935 1936 – 1937 – 1938 1939 1940|
- American Ballet Theatre founded
- January 1 – Anastasio Somoza becomes President of Nicaragua
- January 11 – The first issue of Look magazine goes on sale in the United States.
- January 19 – Howard Hughes sets a new air record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.
- January 23 – In Moscow, 17 leading Communists go on trial accused of participating in a plot led by Leon Trotsky to overthrow Joseph Stalin's regime and assassinate its leaders.
- January 31 – Ohio River floods
- January 31 – 31 people executed in the Soviet Union for "Trotskyism"
- March 18 – 300 students and teachers die after an exploson is a caused by a gas leak at the New London school in Texas.
- May 7 – the German zeppelin (airship) LZ 129 Hindenburg catches fire, while trying to land in New Jersey.
- October - Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina orders the execution of the Haitian population living within its borderlands with Haiti, resulting in the Parsley Massacre.
- January 8 - Shirley Bassey, Welsh singer
- January 30 - Vanessa Redgrave, English actress
- February 21 - King Harald V of Norway
- March 20 – Jerry Reed, American musician (d. 2008)
- April 6 – Billy Dee Williams, American actor
- April 28 - Saddam Hussein, Iraqi leader (d. 2006)
- July 18 – Hunter S. Thompson, American writer and journalist (d. 2005)
- December 21 – Jane Fonda, American actress
- December 30 - Gordon Banks, English footballer
- December 31 - Anthony Hopkins, Welsh actor
- "Sweet Leilani" – by Harry Owens, from the movie Waikiki Wedding, won the Academy Award for the best song.