U-Boat off New York Coast
"I saw Long Island, the coast and all the lights and motor cars..." - Kapitainleutnant Reinhard Hardegen of the U-123 sailing undetected off the coast of Long Island in January 1942. Reinhard Hardegen died June 19 at age 105. What follows is a summary of Reinhard Hardegen's career culled from the truly excellent website uboat.net. Captain of the U-147 and U-123 German U-Boats, Reinhard Hardegen was credited with sinking 22 ships weighing 115,656 gross registered tons (GRT) in the Atlantic Ocean from 1940-1942. Hardegen is best known for his striking success in 1942 during Operation Drumbeat (Unternehmen Paukenschlag) off the East Coast of America. On his first Drumbeat patrol in January 1942 he sank nine ships (53,173 GRT) over a two-week period. On his return to base at Lorient France, Hardegen received a telegram from the U-Boat forces commander Grossadmiral Karl Dönitz: An den Paukenschläger Hardegen. Bravo! Gut gepaukt! Dönitz (For the drum beater Hardegen. Bravo! Good beating!) During his second Drumbeat patrol March-May 1942, Hardegen sank ten ships (57,170 GRT). In January 1942 Hardegen received Germany's highest military honor the Knight's Cross (Ritterkreuz). In May 1942 oak leaves were added to his Ritterkreuz. Plagued with some chronic medical problems, Hardegen retired from active combat in July 1942 and became a U-Boat instructor in Gotenhafen Germany. In 1943 he became chief of U-Boat training at the torpedo school in Mürwik Germany. In 1945 he became a batallion commander in the 2nd Naval Infantry Division. At the end of WWII, Hardegen was briefly a POW in British captivity before returning home to Bremen Germany in November 1946. Subsequently he became a successful oil trader and parliamentary representative for 20 years. Perhaps most important, Reinhard Hardegen has become a symbol of the noble enemy warrior, revered by U-Boat enthusiasts the world over. As an American author of history-inspired fiction, I find myself a bit conflicted. I understand the mystique and charisma of the U-Boat saga that today is almost mythologized. Yet I also realize that U-Boats were powerful killing machines responsible for the death of many Allied sailors. Indeed, Reinhard Hardegen seems to have been a noble warrior who was not averse (contrary to Kriegsmarine orders) to aiding the survival of enemy sailors after he sank their ships. And he was a patriot (albeit apparently not a Nazi sympathizer) who fought valiantly for his country. ___________________
Mexican-Americans in WWII
Ethnic and racial discrimination in WWII-era America was a powerful social force. Just as the civil rights of African-Americans were restricted in the South, similar discrimination weighed heavily against many "Tejanos" of Mexican descent in the Southwest. Breaking through the dark force of ethnic discrimination takes a lot of effort. This is why I have chosen Ramón Morales y García, a young Tejano who rises by his own academic and athletic prowess to become a United Sates Army Air Force B-25 pilot in my novel The Osprey and the Sea Wolf ~ The Battle of the Atlantic 1942. Excerpt from The Osprey and the Sea Wolf ~ The Battle of the Atlantic 1942 Shortly after midnight, Bam! Bam! Bam! Ramón was wrested from deep, dreamless sleep by pounding like a sledgehammer on a steel door. “Alert, sirs!” An airman called out. “Report to the ready room.” “We’re on our way!” Ramón shouted as he threw off the covers and jumped out of bed before he was fully awake. Fumbling in the dark, a stream of excitement surged through his body, clearing the fog of sleep and focusing his mind. Erik snapped on the overhead light and they both dressed quickly. Moonlight filtering through a cloud bank cast flickering shadows against the wall as they clambered down the stairwell to Base Ops. A musty odor of mold and cigarette smoke pervaded the air in the ready room where the major on duty wasted no time. “A blimp has picked up a U-Boat on radar,” he said, handing Ramón a yellow sheet of paper with a decoded Morse message from the naval air station. 031542 2350 hrs. TO: USAAF JAX From: NAS JAX At 2345 NZNO2 blimp sighted U-Boat on attack course six nautical miles south of unescorted northbound freighter. Lat 31 deg 3 min 29 sec N. Long 80 deg 16 min 25 sec W. Navy PBY and Coast Guard cutter dispatched. Request assistance. The major pointed to a red pin already placed on the wall map of the Atlantic coast. “It’s about 48 nautical miles off the coast, 72 from here. The blimp has orders to continue tracking but avoid engagement. Good hunting, boys.” _________________ Many Mexican-Americans served America with honor and valor during WWII. ________________
Wolves at the Doorstep 1942
Somewhere between the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Bataan death march and the fierce fighting on Guadalcanal, many of us seem to have forgotten one of the most important American theaters in early WWII - The Battle of the Western Atlantic. In 1942, German U-Boats sent over 300 merchant ships and 5000 seamen to the bottom of the ocean off the coast of North America. Fighting In the Western Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, Allied forces ultimately prevailed, thereby preserving the vital supply line of war materials to a besieged Great Britain. "The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril." - Winston Churchill: The Second World War, Volume 2, 1949. In this history-inspired novel about 1942, a seasoned U-boat commander and a young Mexican-American B-25 pilot engage in a deadly dance of war at sea and struggle with issues of love, honor, betrayal and racism on their respective home fronts. The Osprey and the Sea Wolf ~ The Battle of the Atlantic 1942 will be released on the 4th of July.
US Military Personnel WWII
I began writing an author's note for my soon-to-be-released novel The Osprey and the Sea Wolf ~ The Battle of the Atlantic 1942: The first six months of 1942 were dark for America. Imperial Japanese forces ran amok across the Pacific. The Axis powers had swept through Europe to the English Channel. America had to step up. Wartime industry went into high gear. Millions of civilians were inducted into the military. I wondered: how many were actually inducted in 1942 - so I looked it up and will share it with you - US MILITARY PERSONNEL (1939-1945) Year Army Navy Marines Coast Guard Total 1939 189,839 125,202 19,432 334,473 1940 269,023 160,997 28,345 458,365 1941 1,462,315 284,427 54,359 1,801,101 1942 3,075,608 640,570 142,613 56,716* 3,915,507 1943 6,994,472 1,741,750 308,523 151,167 9,195,912 1944 7,994,750 2,981,365 475,604 171,749 11,623,468 1945 8,267,958 3,380,817 474,680 85,783 12,209,238 *Coast Guard listed only as wartime strength
Q Ship vs U-Boat
U-Boat ace Reinhard Hardegen (white hat) tells of U-123 ENCOUNTER WITH A Q SHIP in March 1942 Q-ships were heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks that gave Q-ships the chance to open fire and sink them. After the U-123 sank the U.S. Q ship USS ATTIK, these stealthy ships were no longer effectively deployed in WWII. Without the element of surprise, the Q ship had become an anachronism. Excerpt from my upcoming book - The Osprey & the Sea Wolf ~ The Battle of the Atlantic 1942 Almost abeam, with the freighter’s course unchanged, Rainer initiated the attack. “Forward torpedo room. Target angle 090. Enemy speed seven knots. Range 2000 meters. Depth three meters. Fire one. Los!” Rainer focused his binoculars on the target as Vogel timed the torpedo run. At 165 seconds a flash of orange light erupted from the foredeck of the freighter. Five seconds later—voompff! The deep, muffled sound of an explosion swept across the water and the freighter began to list. “Place two torpedoes on standby, ready to fire,” Rainer ordered. “Ahead one third.” At 800 meters, Rainer was able to read markings on the freighter’s stern that were illuminated by flames. “The Melinda out of Galveston Texas,” he said to Vogel. “I see no unusual superstructures or windows, Kaleun,” Vogel said. “Gut. Aber vorsicht! Let’s approach with caution.” Funkmaat Stein reported intercepting an SSS signal sent from the burning ship: Melinda under torpedo attack. Burning forward. Require assistance. 700 meters from the burning ship, Rainer and Vogel watched from the bridge as a lifeboat was lowered into the water from the stricken freighter and a dozen crewmen clambered aboard. “They’re abandoning ship,” Rainer said. “We’ll wait until they’re clear, then move in for a broadside shot. Come right to 020. All ahead one third. Ready deck gun for attack.” As Wolf’s gun crew assembled on the foredeck, Rainer prepared for a broadside Fangschuss. At 650 meters, squinting into the darkness, he felt a vague tingling sensation in his shoulders. Why haven’t they launched another lifeboat? Bam! Clang! Heavy steel bulkheads along the side of the listing freighter flew open and slammed against the sides of the ship. Kawuum! A four-inch deck gun within the dark hold of the freighter fired a shell that landed 100 meters short of the U-023. Rat-a-tat-tat. Orange-tipped tracer bullets erupted from two Browning machine guns like yellow jackets swarming from a disrupted nest. Although the deck gun fusillade continued to fall short, the machine guns raked the deck and bridge of the U-023. One of Wolf’s gun crew, mortally wounded, fell into the sea. “Hard to starboard! All ahead full!” Rainer shouted. As the cannon fire inched closer and machine gun bullets ricocheted off the deck, the U-023 gradually pulled out of target range. ”Tauchen!” Rainer ordered. Vogel sounded the dive alarm. Ahooga ahooga! (actually, it was a bell - see comment below) ... U-123 Kriegstagebuch (log book) for 8th War...
Hitler’s Normal Voice
Adolf Hitler speaking with Carl Gustaf Mannerheim on a private train in Finland in 1942. So accustomed to the usual ranting nature of Adolf Hitler's speeches, we find it difficult to imagine his normal conversational tone. This is purported to be the only known recording of Hitler’s usual speaking voice. Source: The Only Known Recording of Hitler's Normal Speaking Voice, As He talks to Finnish General Mannerheim Here is the voice we are are accustomed to hearing:
Censorship WWII USA
This 1944 U.S. Army instructional film about censorship incorporates the humor, sexuality and racism of the time. During the war, U.S. government control of the news by the Office of War Information was comprehensive. All correspondence between active duty military personnel and civilians was censored. Additionally, all major news organizations (radio, newspapers and newsreels) voluntarily adopted a code that promoted patriotism and ensured that dispatches from the front accentuated the positive. Prior to the advent of television, which brought the visual horror of war into America homes each evening, the media presentation of WWII was carefully managed to maintain popular support for the war. Consequently, many disturbing aspects of WWII were hidden from American public view.
Blue Star in the Window
The blue star flag, designed during WWI by U.S. Army Captain Robert Queissner, became the unofficial symbol of a child in service. In January 1942, a newspaper article by Army Captain George Maines requested information regarding children serving in the armed forces – more than 1000 mothers responded. In February 1942, the Blue Star Mothers of America was founded in Michigan. Chapters were quickly formed in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Oregon, Iowa, Washington, California, Pennsylvania, and New York. Each blue star on the flag represents a service member in active duty. A gold star is displayed if a service member is killed in action or dies in service.
The Brian Sisters Samhain, celebrated by ancient Celts on October 31st marked the beginning of the cold and bleak part of the year, often associated with death. The Catholic Church later transformed Samhain into a religious event known as All Hallows Eve (the evening before All Saints' Day). Many European immigrants to America believed that wearing a mask on All Hallows Eve might prevent ghosts from recognizing them. And bowls of food were placed on doorsteps to satisfy ghosts that might otherwise enter a home. The blending of European and Native American beliefs resulted in the uniquely American holiday of Halloween. The first American Halloween celebrations included public events created in honor of the harvest. By mid-19th century, the celebration involved spending the night with friends, dancing, singing, telling spooky stories and reading fortunes. Trick-or-treating became popular in the 1920s. When sugar rationing began in WWII, trick-or-treating was no longer fashionable and town parades and parties (popular in the 1930s) were scaled back. Nevertheless, Halloween antics continued during WWII on the American home front. With both mothers and fathers spending more time out of the home with war work, supervision of children and teenagers was often diminished. The result was widespread fear of juvenile delinquency, drug use and criminal behavior. Ordinary Halloween vandalism now seemed a more serious crime and the younger generation was thought to be out of control. Many communities cancelled Halloween activities in 1942. But others sought to entice would-be delinquents off the streets with costume parties, dances, and other supervised activities - Halloween vandalism fell off in 1942, and after the war, neighborhoods trick-or-treating became the norm.
Navajo Code Talkers
The U.S. deployed Cherokee and Choctaw Indians as code talkers during WWI. During WWII, other Native Americans, including Lakota, Meskwaki, and Comanche and Basque speakers, were also used. A team of German anthropologists tried to learn Native American languages before the war, but the task proved too difficult. Nevertheless, aware of the German effort, the U.S. Army did not implement a large-scale code talker program in the European Theater of WWII. In the Pacific Theater, however, Navajo code talkers were used extensively. Even among its closest Southwest relatives, the dialects and complex grammar of the unwritten Navajo language makes it virtually undecipherable to anyone without extensive exposure and training. To conserve time, some military terms and concepts were given uniquely descriptive names in Navajo (e.g., “shark” referred to a destroyer). Code talkers memorized terms in a codebook that was never taken into the field (uninitiated Navajo speakers were unable to comprehend these messages). Navajo code talkers continued to be deployed through the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Navajo code talking remains the only spoken military code that has never been deciphered.
In 1917 the U.S. government issued Liberty Bonds to raise money for its involvement in WWI. After the war, these bonds were sold as Baby bonds. In the summer of 1940, with Fascist gains in the European war, discrete preparations for possible U.S. involvement in the war were begun. The US Treasury began marketing the previously successful baby bonds as Series E defense bonds. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, their name was changed to War Bonds.
Built from October 1942 to October 1943 under horrific conditions by ~200 000 Asians laborers and >60 000 Allied POWs, the Thai Burma railway was over 400 kilometers long. Once completed, the Japanese planned to use it to attack the British in India, and roads and airfields used by the Allies to supply China over the Himalayan Mountains. > 12 000 Allied prisoners (~2700 Australians), an estimated 75-100,000 coerced Asian laborers (Rõmusha) and 1000 Japanese died during the construction of the railway. The terrible ordeal was depicted in the movie The Bridge over the River Kwai and many books including the recent winner of the Man Booker prize The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.
Naming of the Parts
Henry Reed (1914-1986) was a British poet, translator, radio dramatist and journalist. Lessons of the War, published in 1942, was a collection of three poems parodying WWII British army basic training, which had a shortage of equipment at that time. The poem describes a British sergeant-instructor delivering a lecture to his green recruits on the various parts of a rifle. Lessons of the War To Alan Michell Vixi duellis nuper idoneus Et militavi non sine gloria Enough duels recently qualified They fought not without glory NAMING OF PARTS To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday, We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning, We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day, To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens, And to-day we have naming of parts. This is the lower sling swivel. And this Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see, When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel, Which in your case you have not got. The branches Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures, Which in our case we have not got. This is the safety-catch, which is always released With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see Any of them using their finger. And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers: They call it easing the Spring. They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt, And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance, Which in our case we have not got; and the almond blossom Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards, For to-day we have naming of parts.
Angel of Death
Born in 1911, Josef Mengele earned an M.D. and Ph.D. in physical anthropology from the University of Munich in 1935. In 1937, at the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt, he became the assistant of Dr. Otmar von Verschuer, a leading scientific figure widely known for his research with twins. In 1940, Mengele served in the medical service of the Waffen-SS on the Eastern front. Wounded in January 1943, he returned to Germany and began work at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (KWI) for Anthropology, Human Genetics, and Eugenics in Berlin, under the direction of his former mentor Dr. von Verschuer. In April 1943, he was promoted to SS captain and transferred to the Auschwitz concentration camp in May 1943. As an SS officer officer and physician at the death camp, Mengele joined a team of doctors who selected victims for the gas chamber or deadly human experiments. Mengele's own ghastly experiments focused primarily on twins. Mengele left Auschwitz in January 1945, avoiding the arrival of the Russian army. In the immediate postwar period he was briefly in US custody, but unrecognized as a war criminal, he was quickly released. From the summer 1945 until spring 1949, he worked with false identification papers as a farmhand in Bavaria. Thereafter, his prosperous family helped him emigrate to Argentina. When the International Military Tribunal issued a warrant for his extradition in 1960, Mengele moved to Paraguay and then to Brazil where he lived near Sao Pãolo for the rest of his life. He reportedly suffered a stroke while swimming at a vacation resort in Brazil in 1979 and drowned. He was buried near Sao Pãolo under the name “Wolfgang Gerhard.”
Morris “Moe” Berg was an amazing character. Fluent in several languages, he reportedly read ten newspapers a day and was a successful contestant on the radio quiz show Information, Please. After graduation from Princeton University and Columbia Law School, Berg played 15 seasons in the major leagues as a backup catcher. Upon completion of his professional baseball career, he worked for the Office of Inter-American Affairs on assignment in the Caribbean and South America in 1942-43. In 1943 Berg joined the Office of Strategic Services as a Paramilitary Operations Officer. In the fall of 1943, he parachuted into Yugoslavia to evaluate resistance groups operating against the Nazis. In late 1943, Berg was assigned to an OSS operation interviewing Italian physicists to see what they knew about Nazi nuclear weapons research. In December 1944, Berg was assigned to attend a lecture in Zurich by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg with orders to kill Heisenberg if convinced the Germans were close to developing an atomic bomb. Deciding the Germans were not close, Berg returned to the United States and resigned from the Strategic Services Unit in April 1945. Awarded the Medal of Freedom on October 1945, Berg rejected the award (though his sister later accepted it on his behalf after his death).
United Nations WWII
A lot of people seem surprised to hear that the term "United Nations," coined by FDR, was used during WWII. President Franklin Roosevelt first coined the term "United Nations" to describe the Allied countries in WWII. On New Year's Day 1942, FDR, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain, Maxim Litvinov of the USSR and T. V. Soong of China, signed the United Nations Declaration. On the next day, the representatives of twenty-two other nations added their signatures. By March 1945, 21 additional states had signed.
U.S. Submarines – Pacific WWII
Although the U. S. Navy had 68 submarines in the Pacific at the start of the Pacific War, they sank only 93,300 tons of Japanese shipping. This was < 10% of what 100 operational German U-boats sank in the same period. Initially, U.S. submarine operations were hindered by the loss of bases in the Philippines and a doctrine that concentrated on heavy enemy warships rather than merchant ships. In 1943, smaller U.S. submarine were gradually replaced by the larger Gato, Balao, and Tench classes. Additionally, SJ surface search radar installation further enhanced U.S. submarine effectiveness. SJ radar provided information regarding direction, distance, surface contacts and low-flying aircraft. Because the Japanese navy failed to organize transports and cargo vessels into convoys, Japan's merchant shipping losses totaled 1,668,000 tons in 1943 (1.34 million by U.S. submarines).
Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians Chorus and Band was formed in 1918 at Pennsylvania State University. While the 1925 song Collegiate was probably their best known song, other novelty songs were I've Never Seen a Straight Banana and I Wonder How I Look When I'm Asleep. By the end of the 1920s, Fred Waring and his Philadelphians was one of Victor Talking Machine Company's best-selling orchestras. The group had a successful radio show, but ceased recording until 1942 during WWII. Thereafter, they continued to be popular on radio. From 1948 to 1954 The Fred Waring Show, sponsored by General Electric, appeared weekly on CBS Television until Fred Waring's death in 1984.
Die Weisse Rose
The White Rose (die Weiße Rose) was a resistance group in Nazi Germany established in June 1942. Led by a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich, the group distributed anonymous leaflets and painted graffiti opposed to the Nazi regime. Arrested by the Gestapo in February 1943, members of the group were tried by the Volksgerichtshof and sentenced to death or imprisonment. Two films have been made about these events: Die Weiße Rose and Sophie Scholl – The Final Days
Die Große Liebe
Die große Liebe (The Great Love), which premiered in 1942, became the most commercially successful film in the history of the Nazi Germany. From the film's musical score: "Davon geht die Welt nicht unter" and "Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder gescheh'n" became big hits. The plot: Paul, a Luftwaffe fighter pilot stationed in North Africa, flies to Berlin to deliver a report and is given a day's leave. At a cabaret, he sees the popular Danish singer Hanna and falls in love. After the performance, he accompanies her home and they are forced to take cover in an air raid shelter. After spending the night spent together, Hanna says she loves him, but he must return to the front. Although a series of miscommunications and missed opportunities keeps them apart, their bond grows. Paul asks Hanna to marry him but is called to duty on the night before the wedding. Hanna then leaves for Rome for a guest appearance. Paul manages to get leave, but the wedding is again postponed because Paul feels he is needed at the front. There is an argument and Paul thinks he's has lost Hanna forever. When the war in Russia breaks out in 1941, Paul is sent to the Eastern Front. After he is wounded, Hanna comes to the hospital and agrees to marry him. In the finale, confident in the future, Paul and Hanna look skywards as squadrons of German bombers fly by.
The Last Cavalry Charge
After infantry and chariots, cavalry formed some of the oldest military units in history. With lightning speed, mounted warriors often proved key to victory in many major battles. Although this advantage was mostly lost with the introduction of firearms and mechanized vehicles, WWII saw the last deployment of cavalry. In 1939 Poland launched a number of unsuccessful cavalry attacks against invading German panzer units. In August 1942, the Italian Savoy Cavalry , flanking the German offensive near Stalingrad, encountered a Red Army rear guard of 2000 men. Four squadrons of 150 Italian troopers moved toward the 812 Siberian Infantry Regiment in a walk, then charged directly into the superior Russian force with a ferocious saber attack. With the Siberian defense in complete disarray, the Savoy Cavalry dismounted and engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. With a loss of 40 men, the Italians killed 150 Russians and captured 500.
American Music WWII
Unlike songs popular in America during WWI , many WWII songs focused more on romance and strength instead of patriotism. Particularly popular, were singers included Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, the Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby. Listen on YouTube to these popular songs often played on the radio: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Shoo Shoo Baby I'm Making Believe I'll Be Seeing You I'll Be Home for Christmas. Listen on YouTube to popular songs that made fun of the Axis Powers: We'll Knock the Japs Right into the Laps of the Nazis Yankee Doodle Ain't Doodlin' Now You're a sap Mr. Jap Der Fuehrer's Face Listen to a WWII jukebox:
Leningrad 7th Symphony
In the summer of 1941, shortly after the German army began the long siege of his city Leningrad, the Soviet Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich began work on his Seventh Symphony. After composing several movements, Shostakovich and his family, along with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, were evacuated. The city of Leningrad then endured a terrible 900-day siege that resulted in starvation and death of half a million civilians. Upon completion, the Seventh Symphony was performed in Moscow, London, and New York City, but not Leningrad where most remaining musicians had fled or perished. Heroically, an orchestra was assembled in Leningrad and the symphony's score was flown in over German lines. Suffering from hunger and exposure (three musicians reportedly died during this time), the makeshift orchestra doggedly rehearsed the symphony. Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony was performed in Leningrad on August 9, 1942, a date on which Hitler had predicted the fall of the city. Read more: Interview: Brian Moynahan, Author Of 'Leningrad: Siege And Symphony' : NPR Notes on ShostakovichSymphony No. 7
During WWII German radio hosted the Wünschkonzert für die Wehrmacht, playing music requested by German soldiers. The 1940 motion picture Wünschkonzert , seen by over 20 milllion viewers, used a blend of fiction, newsreel and documentary footage to tell the classic story of lovers separated during wartime. The Plot: A Luftwaffe pilot returning from a secret mission with the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War is unable to find the beloved he'd met in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Three years later, now serving in the Luftwaffe during WWII, he sends a message to the Wünschkonzert program requesting the Olympic anthem be played for her. After hearing it, she finds him again and they are reunited. The film, produced by Ufa-Film Gbmh (Ufi), Germany’ state-production film company, was reportedly inspired by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Film footage includes Adolf Hitler arriving at the Olympic Games, Spanish Civil War newsreels, and a montage of soldiers listening to the Wünschkonzert. Musical interludes featured popular German stars Marika Rökk, Paul Hörbiger, and Heinz Rühmann.
Racism in America
Racism was firmly rooted in WWII America. Japanese-American citizens living on the West Coast were detained Acceptance of European Jews fleeing the Nazis was strongly resisted Racial discrimination against Blacks and Hispanics was common Although American Blacks served in their country's military, their units were segregated and their duties more often than not menial While military operations in the Pacific War were fought on a smaller scale than in the European theater, visceral hatred of the enemy, ferocity of fighting and atrocities committed appeared to have been much greater in the Pacific
A short snorter is a bank note signed by flyers traveling together. When later challenged, the recipient is required to produce the short snorter or buy the challenger a drink. The tradition, believed to have originated with Alaskan bush pilots in the 1920s, was popular among American military flyers during World War II.
This 1943 U.S. Army instructional film, made with Hollywood animators and the voice of Mel Blanc as Private Snafu , provides interesting insight into possible concerns of overseas American troops. During WWII, the government rationed foods including sugar, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, coffee, meat and canned goods. American families were encouraged to can their own vegetables in order to save commercial canned goods for the troops. Additionally, with a shortage of labor and transportation, limited amounts of fruits and vegetables made it to market. With ~ 20 million patriotic citizens planting gardens to provide their own fruits and vegetables, "Victory Gardens" made a significant difference in the war effort.
Starting in June 1942, the Leigh Light, a powerful (22 million candela) carbon arc searchlight, 24 inches in diameter, was installed on many RAF Coastal Command patrol bombers, to enhance attacks on U-boats recharging their batteries on the surface at night. Using ASV (Air-to-Surface Vessel) radar, the bombers turned on the searchlight during their final approach to U-Boats on the surface. The light was so successful that for a time U-Boats began charging their batteries during the daytime, when they could see approaching aircraft. Germany soon introduced the Metox radar warning receiver which provided early warning that an ASV radar equipped aircraft was approaching. Able to detect radar emissions at a greater range than the aircraft radar could detect vessels, the U-boat often had enough warning to dive. What followed was a chess match as each side developed new equipment only to be countered by the other.
Jazz in the Third Reich
Jazz music, very popular in the Weimar Republic, came under attack from right wing conservatives in the Third Reich. Despite efforts to eliminate fremdländisch (alien) music by Hitler and his followers, jazz survived early efforts at prohibition. Popular demand for syncopated music by civilians and soldiers on leave from the front resulted in an upswing in Jazz and swing dancing during the early years of the successful German Blitzkrieg (Lightning war). Nevertheless, in January 1942, all public and private dance events were prohibited. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels’ February 1943 proclamation of 'total war' signaled the end for most of the venues used by swing bands, which eventually effected jazz as well. But Nazi response to jazz oscillated between prohibition for ideological reasons, and toleration for economic considerations. The Nazi government never decreed a nationwide ban on jazz, nor issue any corresponding law.
In early 1942, due to an insufficient labor force, the USA was experiencing a shortage of food and other goods. As a temporary solution, the U.S. and Mexico devised an agreement to import Mexican laborers into the USA through the Bracero program (someone who works using his arms). Throughout WWII, train loads of Mexican workers streamed into the U.S. to work on farms and railroads. Although the initial Bracero agreement expired in 1947, the program was continued in agriculture under a variety of laws and agreements between the U.S. and Mexico until its formal end in 1964.
In 1941, Congress chartered the USO (United Service Organizations) to provide programs, services and live entertainment to United States troops and their families. Not an official government agency, the USO relied on private contributions, goods and services from corporate and individual donors. Working in partnership with the Department of Defense, the USO tried to provide a "home away from home" for U.S. servicemen and women. Throughout the war, nearly 1.5 million Americans volunteered their services to the USO. Expressing their patriotism, many Hollywood entertainers and celebrities (e.g., Bob Hope) volunteered to perform for troops in camp shows in military bases at home and overseas, sometimes under hazardous conditions.
America Steps Up
By the end of 1942, the USA had begun to tool up, flex its industrial might and prove itself in battle against war-seasoned Axis enemies. June 4–7 – The United States Navy defeated an Imperial Japanese fleet in the Battle of the Midway Atoll. July 4 – The US 8th Air Force flew its first mission in Europe with borrowed British planes; six aircraft went out; three came back. July 19 – In response to U.S. implementation of a convoy system, Grossadmiral Karl Dönitz ordered his last U-boats to withdraw from their East Coast USA positions. November 8 – In Operation Torch, U.S. and British forces landed in French North Africa. November 15 – The Battle of Guadalcanal ended with heavy American losses, but American control of the island.
Third Reich Falters
Until the winter of 1942-1943, the German army was victorious in an almost unbroken chain of battlefield successes. All of Europe lay under German domination. However, after a successful advance into Russia in the summer of 1942, Soviet forces halted the Wehrmacht in the horrific battle of Stalingrad. After this defeat, German troops began a bitter retreat westward that culminated in Nazi Germany's surrender three years later.
In early 1942, an Imperial Japanese military juggernaut rolled across the southern Pacific, sweeping Western imperialist powers away. Here are three major reasons for Japanese success in early 1942: Western powers were simultaneously weakened by civil war (China), independence movements (most prominently in India), the Great Depression (Western Europe) and direct attack from Nazi Germany (France & Netherlands). Japan promised independence for Western-colonized countries (Burma, Malaya and the Philippines). Well-trained, experienced and highly motivated Japanese forces were masterful in the element of surprise. For example, within a time frame of several hours, Japan attacked the Malay peninsula, Pearl Harbor, Guam and Philippines. However, by mid-1942, a turning point at the Battle of Midway curtailed its offensive campaign and Japan spent the remaining three years of the war defending the shrinking perimeter of its empire.
Censorship – USA
We were all a part of the War Effort. We went along with it, and not only that, we abetted it. Gradually it became a part of all of us that the truth about anything was automatically secret and that to trifle with it was to interfere with the War Effort. By this I don't mean that the correspondents were liars ... [but] it is in the things not mentioned that the untruth lies. - John Steinbeck, Once There Was a War (1958). Voluntary censorship by the American press began before the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Government control of the news was comprehensive. and all news about the war had to pass through the Office of War Information (OWI). A “Code of Wartime Practices for the American Press,” issued in January 1942 prescribed strict instructions on proper handling of news. This code was voluntarily adopted by all of the major news organizations and members of the press accredited by the armed forces during the war. Government reliance on a reporter’s patriotism ensured that front line dispatches placed the Allies in a favorable light.
In 1937, Ronald Wilson Reagan, who had just begun his Hollywood film career, enlisted in the Army as a Second Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps. Ordered to active duty in April 1942, he was found to have visual problems and was classified for limited service only with exclusion from overseas duty. His first assignment was liaison officer of the Port and Transportation Office in San Francisco, California. He was transferred to the Army Air Force in May 1942 and assigned to AAF Public Relations and subsequently to the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California. In January 1943, Reagan was promoted to First Lieutenant and sent to the Provisional Task Force Show Unit of This Is The Army at Burbank, California. Following this duty, he returned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit, and in July 1943 was promoted to Captain. In January 1944, Captain Reagan was ordered to temporary duty in New York City to participate in the opening of the sixth War Loan Drive. In November 1944, he was assigned to the 18th AAF Base Unit, Culver City, California, where he remained until the end of the war. By the end of the war, his units had produced ~ 400 training films for the Army Air Forces. Source: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
Hedy Lamar – Beautiful Inventor
Hedy Lamar (1914-2000) was beautiful, bold and inventive. An Austrian actress who emigrated to the U.S. and became a movie star, she was also an inventor. At the beginning of WWII, with the aid of composer George Anthell, she proposed a method to prevent the Germans from jamming Allied radio communications. Although her proposed spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology was not adopted by the U.S. military until the 1960s, her theory was eventually instrumental in the development of Wi-Fi, CDMA and Bluetooth technology.
Mutilation of Dead Japanese Soldiers
Despite official prohibition by the U.S. military, some American servicemen mutilated the bodies of dead Japanese soldiers throughout the Pacific campaign. Body parts (mostly skulls and teeth) were often kept as “souvenirs.” Early on, this grisly practice was openly reported in U.S. magazines and newspapers with apparently little public condemnation. Even FDR was said to have accepted a letter opener made from a human arm bone, although he subsequently ordered its proper burial. Throughout most of the Pacific War, U.S. Military attempts to enforce a ban on the practice were spotty at best. Finally, with the publication of this photograph by Life Magazine on May 22, 1944, the level of public condemnation precipitated more stringent action. A young woman pens a thank you note as she gazes at a Japanese skull sent to her from her boyfriend serving in New Guinea. (May 22, 1944, issue of LIFE, p. 35.) In June 1944 the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General issued a memorandum stating “such atrocious and brutal policies,” in addition to being repugnant, were also violations of the laws of war, and the 1929 Geneva Convention on the Sick and Wounded.
Not Firing at the Enemy?
Did the majority of U.S. riflemen in WWII deliberately not fire at the enemy? A controversial study by Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall, based on interviews with thousands of soldiers in more than 400 infantry companies immediately after they had been in close combat with German or Japanese troops, concluded that only 15-20% of the men actually fired at the enemy. Some analysts of these WWII reports suggest that key weapons, such as flame-throwers and machine guns were usually fired. But the majority of individual riflemen, when left on their own, appeared to have been unable or unwilling to kill. Marshall's study has been criticized for design flaws and even data amplification or outright fabrication. Several other studies, however, have added some support to Marshall's findings. - A questionnaire distributed in the 1860s to French officers by the military theorist Ardant duPicq concluded that firing harmlessly into the air was a common tendency of soldiers in combat. - A 1986 study by the British Defense Operational Analysis Establishment’s field studies division that examined the killing effectiveness of military units in more than 100 19th- and 20th-century battles discovered that the killing potential was much greater than actual historical casualty rates. The researchers concluded that “unwillingness to take part [in combat] was the main factor.” But it seems that Americans in Vietnam had little hesitation to engage the enemy. Marshall himself conducted research similar to his WWII studies and concluded that much had changed since earlier conflicts with close to 100% of American infantrymen engaging the enemy during firefights in Vietnam. It seems likely that human beings are not natural killers of their fellow man. Maybe it takes increasingly effective tactical and impersonal mechanisms of warfare to compel the individual foot soldier to overcome this natural resistance and kill another human being, defined as his enemy.
What to Do in a Gas Attack
Poison gas was used in WWI with terrible effect. However, both sides developed sophisticated gas masks and protective clothing that essentially negated the strategic importance of chemical weapons. After WWI some claimed that chemical weapons would be useful in successive wars. Mustard gas was used by the Italians in their campaign in Abyssinia from 1935 to 1936. Imperial Japan used chemical weapons in its China campaign. At the start of WWII, both the Allies and Axis powers had vast stockpiles of poison gas - therefore, its use was a very real fear. In Britain, civilians were issued with gas masks and drills became a routine. But chemical warfare never became a major issue in WWII. One theory why gas attacks were not deployed is that, by the 1940s, all warring nations had the technology necessary to produce various forms of poison gas. Since similar counter attacks would undoubtably follow an attack with gas, there was no tactical advantage to the use of this dreadful weapon.
Gene Autry – USAAF
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVCjMTf0GYs GeneAutry.com - Gene Autry: Flight Officer. In July 1942, during a live broadcast of his radio show Melody Ranch, singing cowboy movie star Gene Autry was inducted into the Army Air Forces as a Technical Sergeant. Already holding a private pilot's license, Autry was eventually accepted for flight training and earned his service pilot wings in 1944. Assigned to the 91st Ferrying Squadron of the 555th Army Air Base Unit, Air Transport Command at Love Field, Texas, he served as a Flight Officer until October 1945. At the end of the war, Autry transferred to Special Services and travelled with a USO troupe to the South Pacific. Gene Autry was honorably discharged from the service in 1946.
Japanese Empire Peak
In 1942, apparently underestimating Allied strength and the time necessary to launch successful counteroffensives, Imperial Japan planned redeployment in China, stabilization in the southern regions of its occupied territory and preparation of the outer perimeter defenses. New air bases were established in Indochina, Thailand, Burma and Malaya. New offensive operations were initiated in New Guinea and the Aleutians and the defense of Guadalcanal was vigorously pursued. With the tremendous losses of carriers and aircraft at the Battle of Midway, the Imperial Japanese Navy lost its former mastery of the Pacific. In February 1943, Japan abandoned Guadalcanal after five months of intense fighting. In May 1943 the Japanese ended their occupation of the Aleutian Islands as U.S. forces captured Attu. During the subsequent bloody years of the Pacific War, the Empire of Japan defended its shrinking perimeter.
Over 2.5 million African-American men registered for the WWII draft, and many Black women also volunteered. In 1941 the U.S. military had < 4,000 African Americans on duty (including only twelve officers). All-white draft boards commonly avoided registering Black Americans until pressure from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People induced President Roosevelt to mandate enlistment of Blacks according to their percentage in the population (10.6%). The figure was never achieved, but African Americans, serving in their country's racially-segregated armed forces numbered >1.2 million by 1945. Most African Americans serving at the beginning of WWII were assigned to non-combat units and relegated to service duties, such as supply, maintenance and transportation. By the end of the war, however, troop losses forced the military to begin using more Blacks as infantrymen, pilots, tankers, medics, and officers. On D-Day, the First Army on Omaha and Utah Beaches included about 1,700 African American troops. The all-Black 761st Tank Battalion, fighting through France with Patton’s Third Army, captured 30 major towns in France, Belgium, and Germany. The Army Air Force established several African American fighter and bomber groups including the famous “Tuskegee Airmen” of the 332nd Fighter Group who flew ground support missions over Anzio and escorted bombers on missions over Southern Italy.
Greater East Asian Co-operation
The Declaration for Greater East Asian Co-operation was an elementary school pamphlet published in Japanese colonies and occupied territories in 1942. With reference to Confucian benevolence, colorful illustrations of the Japanese Empire's multi-cultural aspects were intended to convey the Empire's noble mission: uniting fellow Asians under the leadership of the Japanese "big brother" to be free of Western imperialism.
Gee was the code name given to a hyperbolic navigation system introduced by the RAF in 1942. Based on the difference in timing between the reception of two signals, Gee produced a "fix" on a target as far away as 350 miles, with accuracy > several hundred feet. For night-time bombing of German cities, Gee was accurate enough to be used as an aiming reference without the need of a bombsight. Although German jamming of Gee signals eventually reduced its efficacy, the RAF continued to use Gee as a navigational aid throughout the war.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xj_9sXa4wU Louis Armstrong (1901-1971), known as Satchmo (perhaps because he had a "satchel mouth") became prominent in the 1920s as an American jazz trumpeter, gravelly-voiced jazz and scat singer. With charismatic stage presence and musical skill, Armstrong was influential in the development of improvisational jazz. During his career, Armstrong played in more than 20 movies.
Japanese POW Camps
Unloading the sick & dead from up country; Wikimedia Commons At the beginning of WWII, thousands of Americans, British, Dutch and Australians were captured as Japanese forces swept across the South Pacific. More than 140,000 Caucasian prisoners (~ 27,000 Americans) were held in POW camps in Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and other Japanese-occupied countries. Most of these POWs lived on a starvation diet and were forced to perform slave labor in mines, fields, shipyards and factories. Allied POW doctors were provided with few medical supplies to deal with the tropical diseases and injuries. Most prisoners of Japan died from starvation, overwork, punishment or disease. Death rates in Japanese POW camps were reportedly ~ 27% (compared with ~4% in German POW camps). Not a signatory of the Geneva Conventions that defined the basic human rights of wartime prisoners, Imperial Japan devised its own harsh, and frequently brutal, regulations for dealing with enemy prisoners . Discipline was arbitrary and abuse was often extreme. POWs were required to learn Japanese, and those who failed to understand commands were often beaten. Those who attempted escape were routinely executed before the other POWs. It is interesting that before the rise of 20th century Japanese militarists, POWs were apparently treated well in Japan. Why were Imperial Japanese forces so brutal with their captured enemies in WWII? Was it lack of moral and ethical leadership? Did they believe that those who surrendered (rather than be killed) were disgraced and not worthy of humane treatment?
It’s Everybody’s War
With patriotic music and narration by Henry Fonda, this short subject about the home front in 1942 is fascinating. The Pearl Harbor attack was "stab in the back by an enemy we had tried to help." The fall of Corregidor brought the grim reality of war to America. Now it was time for every citizen to step up, work overtime, give to scrap drives, conserve valuable resources and support our boys overseas.
This 1942 Bugs Bunny cartoon plug for War Bonds also embeds blackface comedy (still deemed politically "OK" at the time). For most of 1942, the war was not going well for the USA. It is likely that an American theater audience singing the national anthem at the end of the short subject didn't seem so corny at the time.
In late 1918, American engineers designed a prototype rocket-powered, recoilless weapon; but with war ending, further development was postponed. In late 1942, the Rocket Launcher, M1A1 was introduced as an anti-tank weapon. The hand-held weapon fired high explosive anti-tank warheads against armored vehicles, machine gun nests and fortified bunkers at ranges exceeding that of hand-thrown grenades. The weapon, widely employed by the U.S. Army, soon became known as a bazooka, presumably because of its vague resemblance to a musical instrument. When captured American bazookas fell into their hands early in late 1942, German scientists reverse-engineered a model with a larger warhead that was called Panzerschreck (Tank terror). A bazooka fire team was often exposed while aiming and a large back blast and smoke trail further identified their position. As a result, casualties among team members were extremely high. Despite the introduction of the more powerful M9 bazooka in late 1943, the weapon became less effective in the European campaign toward the end of WWII as thicker cast iron-plated tanks were introduced by Germany. In the Pacific War, the bazooka was effective against small Japanese concrete bunkers and pill boxes, but less so against coconut and sand emplacements. Additionally, the battery-operated firing circuit was easily damaged during rough handling, and rocket motors often failed with high temperatures and exposure to, moisture, salt air, or humidity.
Scrap Metal Drives
https://youtu.be/CaD161ENVl0 During WWII, massive amounts of metal were required for weapons production (the manufacture of one tank required 18 tons of metal; one of the navy’s biggest ships took 900 tons). During the war, all metal products (necessary for weapons production) were rationed. Grease was saved. Scrap paper was used for packing equipment and weapons. In 1943, because copper was vital to war production, pennies were minted from zinc-coated steel. In addition to rationing, government campaigns promoted reusing vital materials. Communities across the USA held paper drives, rubber drives, and scrap metal drives. Children went door to door in their neighborhoods and a strong sense of community and patriotism prevailed.
In August 1942, the Quartermaster Corps established five dog training centers. Initially, the newly-established K-9 Corps accepted many different breeds of dogs, but by 1944 only German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Belgian Sheep Dogs, Siberian huskies, farm collies, Eskimo dogs, and Malamutes were accepted for training. Approximately 8,000/18,000 applicant dogs failed entrance exams due to problems such as excitability when exposed to noise or gunfire, disease, poor sense of smell, and unsuitable temperament. Normal training time was eight to twelve weeks. After "basic military training,” dogs were assigned to specialized training programs to prepare for duty as: sentries, scout or patrol dogs, messengers, or mine dogs. Of the fifteen dog platoons organized by the Quartermaster Corps, seven served in Europe and eight in the Pacific. It was claimed that the Japanese never ambushed or made a surprise attack on a patrol led by a K-9 Corps dog. Unfortunately, attempts to train dogs to locate casualties on the battlefield had to be abandoned because the dogs couldn’t reliably distinguish between men who were not wounded, those with wounds, or those who’d died. Today, the U.S. military has about 2,800 active-duty dogs deployed around the world, with roughly 600 in Afghanistan and Iraq.
During WWII, mail, invaluable to the morale of American troops overseas, took up valuable cargo space. In June 1942, the U.S. Postal Service developed a 7 x 9 1/8" paper and envelope Vmail form. Letters written on the standardized form were first censored, then transformed into thumbnail-sized negative microfilm images. Upon arrival at their overseas destination, the negatives were enlarged to 60% of their original size and printed. According to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, 37 mail bags required to carry 150,000 one-page letters could be replaced by a single mail sack, reducing the weight of the mail from 2,575 to 45 pounds.
In 1942 the British Royal Navy introduced a new forward-throwing anti-submarine weapon to supplement the depth charge. Nicknamed the hedgehog after its configuration of small spiked fittings mounted on a mortar bomb, the Hedgehog exploded on contact, rather than at a certain time or depth. The hedgehog was soon adopted successfully by the US Navy and used throughout WWII. The US Navy subsequently produced a rocket version of the Hedgehog called the Mousetrap. Hedgehog projectiles had a diameter of 7 inches and weighed 65 lbs. with an explosive charge of 35 lbs. of Torpex. Sinking speed was ~23 feet per second. The projectiles were angled to give a circular pattern 40 yards in diameter about 200 yards ahead of a stationary ship. Advantages of the hedgehog were: 1. They only exploded if they hit something, so the firing ship could make a swift follow-up attack 2. Unsuccessful attacks did not disturb the water, so ASDIC/Sonar performance was not affected 3. With a higher sinking rate than conventional depth charges, the hedgehog sped up follow-up attacks. Source: http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WAMBR_ASW.htm
U-Boats Off America
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZL7-nclmO0 In January 1942 five German Type IX U-boats, essentially unmolested by U.S. air and naval forces who were unprepared for anti-submarine warfare, began hunting merchant ships off the east coast of North America. Many of their brazen attacks were on the surface and close to shore. Throughout 1942, successive waves of Type IX and Type VII submarines (eventually refueled at sea by Type XIV "milk cow" tanker submarines) sank more than 310 U.S. ships off the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. In mid-1942, with improved training, equipment and the institution of an interlocking convoy system off the American coast and in the Caribbean Sea, the number of successful U-boat attacks dropped off in those areas. The main focus of U-boats attacks then shifted to the North Atlantic convoy system. http://www.usmm.org/eastgulf.html
During the 1942 National Football League season (the league's 23rd year), the rosters of many teams were depleted by players enlisting for military service. On December 13, 1942, the Chicago Bears (11–0) beat the Washington Redskins (10-1) by a score of 10-6 in the championship game in Washington D.C.
Propaganda – Japan & USA
Although German Nazis claimed “Aryan” superiority, the European campaign of WWII was a battle between predominantly Caucasian enemies. In the Pacific War, however, the conflict was imbued with powerful racism on both sides. One’s own nation was always perceived to be civilized, while the enemy was depicted as barbaric, demonic or even sub-human. Vengeance, possibly bolstered by existing prejudices, was a powerful motivating factor for many Americans following the Pearl Harbor attack of December 1941. Admiral William Halsey, Commander of Allied South Pacific forces, coined the infamous slogan "Kill Japs, kill Japs and kill more Japs." Japanese were often depicted as reptiles or rodents and frequently referred to as the “yellow peril" or “yellow monkeys.” Imperial Japan claimed that it was a virtuous, big brother liberating Asian nations from white imperialism and leading them into the light of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere . White westerners were rich, arrogant colonists who subjugated native people while they plundered resources and lived lavishly. Similar to American propaganda, the Japanese often depicted their Caucasian enemies as hairy, demonic creatures. Read more about WWII Propaganda: Japan , USA
Home Front Oregon
August 1942 In the first six months of 1942, Japanese forces, seasoned by a decade of war in China, swept across the Western Pacific. In Oregon, Coast Guard patrols and barbed wire fences criss-crossed ocean beaches. Reeling, the American military regrouped as war production ramped up. In June, the tide began to turn with a decisive American naval victory at Midway. In August, U.S. Marines landed on Guadalcanal, the first stepping stone back toward the Japanese homeland. The subsequent ferocious campaign in mosquito-infested jungles lasted six months. On the home front, all that was known came from censored news reports and hearsay. ______________________________________ Wrapped in a blanket around her bathrobe, Katie leaned back in the Adirondack chair and looked up at the towering Douglas fir silhouetted against the first morning light. Circling her fingers around her warm coffee mug, she pressed it against her swollen belly and listened to the sounds of daybreak. The distant rumble of the ocean, doves cooing somewhere down the empty street, raucous crows calling to one another from the treetops. Then a buzz above her head, a feisty hummingbird’s warning to keep away from the bright red lanterns dangling from its home in the fuchsia at the corner of the house. Looking down at the back porch railing, Katie smiled to herself. The spider web she’d swept away yesterday morning had reappeared, glistening with morning dew. Such persistence deserves respect. I'll leave him alone. A squirrel scampered up a slender pine just as Katie felt another movement inside her. Eight months. Just one more to go. She closed her eyes for a moment. If Billy were only here. With the first rifle report, Billy threw himself into the sharp kunai grass covering the hillside. Damn. There’s a hell of a lot more Nips on this island than they told us. Katie liked being the first one up in the morning. Silent moments when she could be alone with her own thoughts. Soon her mother-in-law Alice would be up brewing fresh coffee for her husband to sip in his old Ford coupe as he drove to his job at the creamery. The radio would come alive in the kitchen as Alice bustled about washing dishes and straightening things up. Swing music, quiz shows and silly interludes would be interrupted almost hourly by ominous war bulletins. It was a loving household, and Katie appreciated the warm reception she’d received when Billy deployed. They were of solid stock, Billy’s parents. Hard-working, patriotic and religious without being overbearing. A lot different than her parents had been during her childhood in Seattle. But time spent alone was invaluable and she sought it out. Treading softly on the creaky cedar planks, she slipped back into the house, dressed quickly and stepped out onto the gravel road that led to the beach. Cradling his M1 Garand in one hand, Billy crouched low and brushed a mosquito from his forehead. The gauze bandage on his arm was soaked in...
Adolf Hitler Speech
..."We know today that in the years 1935 and 1936, the decision for war had already been made in England, France, and especially in America, by the influential Jewish circles and by the political leaders in bondage to them...Today, we see the interplay of the Jewish wire-pullers, who are spread over the whole world. Through a joint attack by a conspiracy which united democracy and Bolshevism in a community of interests, they hoped to be able to destroy all of Europe. via Full text of "Adolf Hitler Collection Of Speeches 1922 1945".
Attracted to the Impressionists' (e.g., Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet) emphasis on light and thematic treatment of architecture and nature, Edward Hopper abandoned his previous work that emulated the dark interiors of the old European masters (e.g., Francisco Goya, Caravaggio, El Greco, Diego Velazquez) to begin painting with light and quick strokes. Hopper's famous 1942 painting Nighthawks, created during the dark, early days of U.S. involvement in WWII, has often been interpreted as representative of the feelings of many Americans during this period. In a year when many young men were sent off to the armed services, and the entire country was caught up in the war effort, a feeling of loneliness was not uncommon.
The Light of Asia
At war, Japan required large amounts of petroleum, scrap iron, and other raw materials. While 55 percent of its oil came from the USA, Indonesia supplied 25%. After the German occupation of Holland, Japan demanded vital natural resources, especially oil from the Netherlands East Indies. The Indies government stalled negotiations and joined the USA in an embargo on oil and other exports to Japan in the summer of 1941. But after Japanese victories at Singapore and the Battle of the Java Sea, the Netherlands Indies government surrendered on March 9, 1942. Because Dutch colonial rule was resented, many Indonesians were initially in favor of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere with Japan as the focal point. However, the subsequent Japanese occupation proved to be brutal. Military police terrorized civilians, food and other vital necessities were confiscated and ~4 million-Indonesians were forced into manual labor on economic development and defense construction projects. In 1942, rejecting criticism of the "ABCD powers" (America, Britain, China & Dutch), Japan proclaimed itself the leader, protector and light of Asia.” (The use of the term "light of Asia" no doubt was chosen to imply high ideals similar to Gautama Buddha as described in the 1879 narrative poem The Light of Asia: The Great Renunciation by Edwin Arnold.
Although Latin America was producing bumper coffee crops, military demands on shipping and the prioritization of U.S. military personnel brought about rationing at home. Although sugar rationing had begun in May, coffee wasn't rationed until November 1942. For family members older than 15 years, Stamps #19-28 were each designated for one pound of coffee during a specified five-week period. The stamps expired at the end of the period and could not be accumulated. see: Under His Wings: Make It Do - Coffee Rationing in World War II.
From the South
The original 1942 version of this popular Japanese song by movie star and singer Junko Mihara (1920-1959) apparently* included references to the war and the State Shintō Religion. Re-recorded in 1947, it excluded these references. *Unfortunately, not speaking Japanese, I must say "apparently." Also there is some conflicting opinion regarding whether the title of the song refers to "to the South" or "from the South." Comments by Japanese speakers would be most welcome.
War Comes to America
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPLFgY8aNAs This final film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight WWII propaganda series (released June 1945) presents an idealized version of American history. In the film, 22 immigrant nationalities (19 European) are praised for inventiveness, economic abundance, and social ideals.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7UtX80rJ1Q The Roots of Japanese Anime -- Until the End of WWII - YouTube. Japanese filmmakers first experimented with the animation techniques (also pioneered in France, Germany, USA & Russia) in the early 20th century. By the 1930s anime, typically aimed at adults as well as children, was well established in Japan. In this selection, the 1942 anime clip (1:03) features bear-like aviators with rising sun banners attacking a "Red demon enemy" battleship.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLQwphwP0ys Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid had its world premiere in November 1942. In a love triangle in Vichy-controlled Casablanca, an American expatriate must choose between his love for a woman and helping her Czech husband escape from Morocco to continue his fight against the Nazis. Casablanca won 1943 academy awards for best picture, actor, director and screenplay. Steeped in a moody, suspenseful atmosphere, with memorable music and characters, Casablanca has been hailed as one of the all-time great American films.
Operation Torch was the first joint military operation planned by Great Britain and the USA. In November 1942 ~ 850 U.S., British, and Allied warships (the largest invasion force in the war up to that date), commanded by General Dwight Eisenhower, landed at Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers in an attempt to wrest North Africa from the Vichy French. After several days of fighting, the Vichy French forces surrendered and the Allies advanced eastward against Italian and German forces in Libya and Tunisia. With victory in North Africa, the Allies hoped to gain control of the Mediterranean Sea, then invade Sicily, mainland Italy and the “soft underbelly” of Europe. read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Torch
Boy & Girl Scouts
During WWII the Boy Scouts of America operated a messenger service for the Office of Civilian Defense (OCD), distributed posters for the Office of war Information, collected aluminum and books and planted trees. Girl Scouts (including many Japanese-American girls in internment camps) were also active on the home front. When sales of Girl Scout Cookies were stopped due to rationing, the girls sold calendars, war bonds, conducted scrap drives, collected clothing for war refugees, worked as farm aides and cultivated Victory Gardens.
No New American Cars
On January 1, 1942, all sales of American cars were frozen by the government’s Office of Production Management as auto plants began swiftly converting to military-only production of arms, munitions, trucks, tanks and planes. In April 1942 the Automotive Council for War Production was formed to facilitate the sharing of resources, expertise, and manpower in defense production contracting. By December 1942, Detroit had become the "Arsenal of Democracy" and didn't resume civilian production of automobiles until the war ended in 1945. .
▶ Avenge Pearl Harbor
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dpkh52XChX0 The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor elicited a strong reaction from the American public, up until then still divided about neutrality in the war raging around the world. This 1942 government film emphasized "vengeance" against Japan for the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Cocoanut Grove Fire
The Boston Cocoanut Grove club, thriving during Prohibition in the late 1920's, faded in popularity during the 1930's. But with the onset of WWII, it became very popular once again. The club's basement contained the Melody Lounge, while the first floor had a large dining area and ballroom with a bandstand and several bars. On Thanksgiving weekend 1942, as many fans celebrated a Holy Cross football upset over Boston College, the Cocoanut Grove was packed with 1000 people. When a busboy in the basement lounge lit a match, trying to locate the socket of a light bulb that may have been unscrewed by a patron wanting more intimacy with his date, some decorations and a palm tree burst into flames. Bartenders tried to extinguish the fire with water and seltzer bottles, but were were unsuccessful and soon a fireball of flaming toxic gas raced across the room toward the stairs. A wild panic ensued and the emergency exit door at the top of the stairs wouldn't open. The fireball flew up the stairs and burst into the foyer near the main entrance. Crying "Fire!", customers rushed toward the exit, but after a few people successfully exited, the revolving door became jammed with the crush of panicked patrons. 492 people were killed in the fire. Among the dead were 51 servicemen and two WAVES. Military police, Red Cross workers, and Civil Defense personnel participated in the rescue efforts. After the Coconut Grove disaster, significant changes were made in building codes and in fire ordnances—e.g., requirements for outward swinging doors, alternate exits to revolving doors, and emergency exit lighting.
Wikimedia Commons In 1940, Thomas Mann, the exiled German winner of the 1929 Nobel Prize for Literature , began recording 5-8 minute monthly radio broadcasts via BBC long-wave radio under the title “Deutsche Hörer!” ("German Listeners!”). After the RAF firebombing of his beloved hometown Lübeck in March 1942, Mann spoke about the attack in a BBC Broadcast: "...Now the time nears and is already here, when Germany must sob about its own sufferings, and this cause for sobbing will increase while a world which did not want such service to humanity , and was not prepared for it, adapts itself to its task of defense and becomes the apprentice who surpasses the master. Did Germany believe that it would never have to pay for the misdeeds which its leap in barbarism enabled it to commit? It has barely begun to pay - over the Channel and in Russia. Also, what the Royal Air Force has accomplished so far in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Essen, Hamburg and other cities is only a beginning. Hitler is boasting that his Reich is ready for ten, even twenty years of war. I assume that you Germans have your own ideas about that - for example, that after a fraction of this time no stone will stand on top of another in Germany."
Tokyo Rose was a generic name given by Allied troops in the Pacific War to several English-speaking female broadcasters from Japan. Intended to undermine the morale of Allied listeners, Tokyo Rose often delivered news scripts in a playful, sexy, tongue-in-cheek fashion. Many apocryphal stories circulated that she could accurately name units and individual servicemen, but none of these stories were ever substantiated. The most famous Tokyo Rose, Iva Toguri was a native to Los Angeles who was stranded in Japan when the war broke out. After the war, Toguri was convicted by the Allies of being one of the war’s most notorious enemy propagandists and served 11 years in prison. Later evidence, however, showed that she actually was not a Japanese sympathizer and had tried to indicate disbelief and irony in her English-language broadcasts from Imperial Japan. Twenty years after her release from prison Toguri received an official presidential pardon for her role in the war.
LIFE was published weekly from 1883-1972, originally as a humor and general interest magazine similar to the British PUCK magazine. When Henry Luce (founder of TIME magazine in 1923) bought LIFE in 1936, he changed its focus to weekly news with an emphasis on photojournalism. With condensed text captions for ~50 pages of photographs, the magazine printed on heavily coated paper, sold for 10 cents in 1936. LIFE went on to dominate the photojournalism market for the next 40 years, at one point selling more than 13.5 million copies a week.
Hand Over Heart
Francis Bellamy, the Christian socialist minister who composed the United States Pledge of Allegiance in 1892 also devised a hand salute to accompany the pledge. During the 1920-30s Italian fascists and German Nazis adopted a similar salute derived from the Roman salute. On December 22, 1942 the U.S. Congress amended the Flag Code, and the Bellamy salute was officially replaced by the hand-over-heart salute .
1942 – Japanese Film (2005)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLKyOLBMedI This looks interesting ... I wish it were available on Netflix! Description of the film from an AsianWiki review: The year is 1942. The setting – Malaya. Sgt. Yasuo Fuji, a war cameraman, is huddled in a trench, waiting to film the Japanese 6th Army cross the Slim River on its way south to Kuala Lumpur. An enemy mortar shell lands in the trench and, in a heartbeat, Sgt. Fujii is running through the jungle for his life. Armed with nothing except his 8mm camera, the young soldier soon hooks up with remnants of the scattered 6th Army. Immediately, they sense that something is amiss. All their maps are wrong. Then, the radio malfunctions, Sgt. Fujii starts sighting mysterious figures through the viewfinder of his 8mm camera. And then, a female ghost singing an eerie song starts haunting the five men....
Abbott & Costello
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg Comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello teamed up in 1936. During the next few years, they performed on the burlesque circuit, perfecting their routines such as their famous baseball sketch “Who’s on First? In many ways, Abbott & Costello's straight man and funny man stand-up routine was similar to traditional Japanese Manzai. After the "First Lady of Radio" singer Kate Smith booked them on her show in 1938, they became nationally famous. In 1939, they appeared in the Broadway revue Streets of Paris with the Vaudevillian comic Bobby Clark. In 1940 Abbott and Costello appeared in supporting roles in their first movie for Universal Studios, One Night in the Tropics, and in 1941 they starred in the first feature film Buck Privates.
Battle of the Kokoda Track
This is a powerful emotional clip from the Australian film Kokoda. The Battle of the Kokoda Track was a savage military campaign fought from July to November 1942. Occupation of Port Moresby New Guinea would have provided Japan a springboard for the invasion of Australia. The heroic campaign, fought mostly by Australians, prevented Papua New Guinea from falling to the Japanese during the darkest days of World War II.
The Slugger Enlists
Rated 1A for the draft in 1942, superstar Red Socks slugger Ted Williams appealed his draft status. He was subsequently re-rated 3A (as the sole supporter of his mother). However, criticism from fans and the press drove him to reconsider and he enlisted in the Naval Reserve in May 1942. Williams served as an F4U Corsair fighter plane instructor at the NAS Pensacola. During the course of his naval aviation training, Williams played on several baseball teams organized at the various bases, most notably the Chapel Hill (NC) Cloudbusters. Williams was in Pearl Harbor awaiting orders to join the Fleet when the War in the Pacific ended. Released from active duty on January 12, 1946, he resumed his professional baseball career. In the 1946 season with the Red Sox, he hit .342, 38 homers, and 123 RBIs and appeared in the 1946 World Series (losing to the St. Louis Cardinals).
2nd Battle of El Alamein
The First Battle of El Alamein in July 1942 ended in a stalemate which halted the German advance in Egypt. The Second Battle of El Alamein resulted in a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of WWII. The British 8th Army, under the command of Lt. General Bernard Montgomery, defeated Field Marshall Irwin Rommel's Afrika Korps and essentially ended a serious threat to the Suez Canal and access to Middle Eastern oil fields. Perhaps as important, this decisive victory raised morale at a point when little was going well for the Allies.
Drive the Japs from the Aleutians!
Archives, U.S. Government c. 1942-43. In June 1942, during the Battle of Midway, a Japanese carrier force staged a diversionary attack on Dutch Harbor. American aircraft carriers, however, were not diverted from Midway where they obtained a decisive U.S. naval victory. Unopposed Japanese forces then occupied Agattu, Kiska and Attu islands. Although fierce Arctic storms and fog around the islands made any attempt to use the Aleutians as a bridge to the Alaskan coast difficult, occupation of the western Aleutians brought several theoretical advantages to Japan: the possibility of a gradual incursion onto the North American continent, a threat to vital shipping lanes between the Pacific Northwest and the USSR, and protection of the airspace over the home islands of Japan from U.S. bombing. Shortly after landing, the Japanese withdrew from Agattu and began building airstrips on Kiska. American troops built air bases on the island of Adak about 210 miles east of Kiska, and occupied the island of Amchitka about 60 miles east of Kiska. While public opinion in the USA was strongly in favor of retaking the Aleutians as soon as possible, operations in the Central Pacific were of higher priority and American efforts to recapture Kiska and Attu would not develop for months.
To Parents in Wartime
The United States Children's Bureau, created in 1912, was the first national governmental office in the world focusing solely on the well-being of children and their mothers. Throughout WWII, the Children's Bureau promoted the well-being of American children by developing day care standards for children of working mothers and a campaign to meet children's physical and emotional needs during wartime. The Children's Bureau also worked with the U.S. Committee for the Care of European Children to maintain a central register of unaccompanied refugees arriving in the United States, overseeing their placement with agencies and foster families and establishing standards for their care. In 1946, the Children's Bureau was folded into the Social Security Administration. In 1963, it moved to the Social Security Administration's newly created Welfare Administration. Finally, in 1969 it was moved to a new Office of Child Development within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
1942 German Films Title Director Cast Genre Notes 5 June Fritz Kirchhoff Carl Raddatz, Joachim Brennecke War Banned by Joseph Goebbels in November 1942 for unspecified reasons. Andreas Schlüter Herbert Maisch A film about the sculptor Andreas Schlüter; subliminal Nazi propaganda throughout. Attack on Baku Fritz Kirchhoff Willy Fritsch, René Deltgen Thriller Anschlag auf Baku; anti-British propaganda. Beloved World Emil Burri Brigitte Horney, Willy Fritsch Musical/Comedy Berlin-Wie Es War Berlin the Way it Was; 87 min documentary about pre-war Berlin Boote mit Flügeln Nicholas Kaufmann Documentary 14 min documentary Diesel Gerhard Lamprecht Willy Birgel, Hilde Weissner Biopic Die Entlassung Wolfgang Liebeneiner The Dismissal; Sequel to Bismarck(1940); features Emil Jannings GPU Karl Ritter Anti-Communism propaganda. Die goldene Stadt Veit Harlan The Golden City; in Agfacolor Der Große König Veit Harlan Historical Drama The Great King; historical drama about King Frederick the Great of Prussia Die Große Liebe Rolf Hansen The Great Love; featuring Zarah Leander; highest grossing film of the Third Reich. Himmelhunde Roger von Norman Sky Dogs; about a young glider pilot who becomes a military pilot; targeted toward youths. Kleine Residenz Hans H. Zerlett Männer, Meer und Stürme. Ein Film von der Romantik und dem Leben an Bord eines Segelschiffes Heinrich Hauser and Hubert Schonger Men, Sea and Storm: A Film of the Romance and the Life Onboard a Segelship; 18 min documentary aboutKriegsmarine Rembrandt Hans Steinhoff Rund um die Freiheitsstatue 15-minute Anti-American propaganda film. aka Round the Statue of Liberty,Corruption of America Die Sache mit Styx Karl Anton Die See ruft Hans Fritz Köllner Documentary Sprung in den Feind Wilhelm Stöppler 22-minute propaganda film, showing the invasion of the Netherlands. The bridge of Moerdijk is taken with Fallschirmjäger. Das Tapfere Schneiderlein Hubert Schonger The Thing About Styx Karl Anton Laura Solari, Viktor de Kowa Comedy/Crime We Make Music Helmut Käutner Ilse Werner, Viktor de Kowa Musical comedy Wiener Blut Willi Forst Viennese Blood Zwei in einer großen Stadt Volker von Zollende Two in a Big City List of German films of 1933–45 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLvX-erABqY In the midst of dark days for Americans in early WWII, Walt Disney released this animated film starring Bambi, a white-tailed deer, his parents (the Great Prince of the forest and his unnamed mother), his friends Thumper (a pink-nosed rabbit), Flower (a skunk) and his childhood friend and future mate, Faline.
Doolittle Raiders Executed
Library of Congress After the Doolittle Bombing Raid on Tokyo in April 1942, eight Americans captured by the Japanese were imprisoned in Shanghai. In October 1942, the Japanese radio broadcast that two crews of the Tokyo Raid had been tried and sentenced to death, but many of the death sentences had been commuted to life imprisonment. Names of the airmen were not released at the time. After the war, the War Crimes Trial held at Shanghai revealed that two of ten American crewmen had died when two B-25s ditched off the coast of China. The other eight were captured by the Japanese and subjected to torture, a starvation diet and deplorable conditions. On Aug. 28, 1942, three of the airmen accused of strafing Japanese civilians were given a summary trial by Japanese officers and executed by firing squad. The four Japanese officers tried for their war crimes against the eight Tokyo Raiders were found guilty. Three were sentenced to hard labor for five years and the fourth to a nine year sentence. The Airmen: Lt. Dean E. Hallmark - Pilot - Executed by Japanese Oct. 15, 1942 Lt. William G. Farrow - Pilot - Executed by Japanese Oct. 15, 1942 Sgt. Harold A. Spatz - Engineer/Gunner - Executed by Japanese Oct. 15, 1942 Lt. Robert J. Meder - Co-pilot - Died in Japanese - P.O.W. Camp - Dec. 1, 1943 Lt. Robert L. Hite - Co-pilot - Japanese P.O.W. 3 and 1/2 years Lt. Chase J. Nielsen - Navigator - Japanese P.O.W. 3 and 1/2 years Lt. George Barr - Navigator - Japanese P.O.W. 3 and 1/2 years Cpl. Jacob D. DeShazer - Bombardier - Japanese P.O.W. 3 and 1/2 years
In the summer of 1942, with Russia suffering the brunt of the European war, there was immense pressure on Great Britain to mount an offensive operation on the Western front. A plan (Operation Jubilee) was developed to raid the German held French port of Dieppe on the channel coast and hold it for at least two tides in order to exact maximal destruction before withdrawing. The large division-size raid was intended to provide the Allies with experience in conducting an amphibious assault on a defended coast. "Don't worry men, it'll be a piece of cake!" Canadian Major-General "Ham" Roberts declared while briefing his officers on the eve of the raid in August 1942. Unfortunately, a number of factors resulted into a virtual Allied massacre: poor intelligence regarding German defenses, early detection by German naval vessels, 100-200 foot cliffs above the landing zones, lack of air cover, a breeze that blew away smoke cover and fierce German opposition. Almost 4,000 Canadian and British troops were killed, wounded or taken prisoner.
Battle of the Atlantic
Named the "Battle of the Atlantic,” by Winston Churchill, the course of the WWII six-year U-boat campaign changed constantly, with one side or the other gaining advantage, as each side developed new weapons, tactics, counter-measures and equipment. By the end of 1942, the Allies were gradually gaining the upper hand. When the U.S. finally instituted a convoy system in mid-1942, losses to U-boats were markedly reduced and the “second happy time” along the Eastern seaboard of America came to an end. In July 1942 Admiral Karl Dönitz ordered the withdrawal of all U-boats from the United States Atlantic coast and shifted attention back to the North Atlantic. There wolf packs of 10-15 U-boats began attacking multiple convoy routes in mid-Atlantic “air gaps” where convoys lacked aircraft support. In the fall of 1942, convoy losses sharply increased. But so did U-boat losses. While just 21 U-boats were lost in the first half of 1942, 60 went down in August-September 1942 - one for every 10 merchant ships sunk.
WAVES of the Navy, There's a ship sailing down the bay. And she won't slip into port again Until that Victory Day. Carry on for that gallant ship And for every hero brave Who will find ashore, his man-sized chore Was done by a Navy WAVE. WAVES official song Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service = WAVES Although many women had served in the U.S. Navy during WWI, very few remained on active duty when the USA became involved in WWII. In July 1942 the U.S. Navy began accepting a large number of enlisted women, as well as female Commissioned Officers to supervise them. Unlike the original Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) which served with the Army, not in it, the WAVES were officially part of the U.S. Navy and received the same pay and military discipline as the USN men. Also unlike the WAAC, the WAVES did not accept African-American women into the division until 1944. Women in the WAAC achieved similar status as WAVES in July 1943 with the creation of the Women's Army Corps (WAC). By 1943, there were 27,000 WAVES. Although many did clerical work, some served in the fields of aviation, medicine, communications, intelligence, storekeeping, science and technology. Initially, WAVES could not serve aboard combat ships or aircraft, and were restricted to duty in the continental United States. In the late stages of WWII World War II, they served in some U.S. possessions and Hawaii. Although the word "emergency" implied that women would serve only under the unusual circumstances of WWII, women gained permanent status in all armed services of the United States in 1948 .
Australians Repel Japanese in New Guinea
In August 1942, a battalion of Japanese naval troops attacked the Allied airfields at Milne Bay on the eastern tip of New Guinea. Unbeknownst to the Japanese, the Allies, forewarned by code-breaking intelligence from Ultra, had heavily reinforced the garrison. Despite an initial setback when Allied aircraft destroyed some of its landing craft, the Japanese advanced swiftly toward the airfields. Australian Militia in the first line of defense were losing ground until the veteran Second Australian Imperial Force (with close air support) engaged in the battle. Outnumbered, with a shortage of supplies and heavy casualties, the Japanese withdrew their forces in early September 1942. The Battle of Milne Bay was the first time that Allied troops decisively defeated Japanese land forces in the Pacific War.
Japan Firebombs Oregon Forest
On September 9, 1942, a Yokosuka E14Y floatplane, launched from the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-25, dropped two incendiary bombs on the forest near Brookings, Oregon. Although the Japanese intended to start a forest fire, wet weather and alert fire lookouts limited the minimal damage. I described the launch of the floatplane in my historical fiction novel Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War: Tanaka descended into the submarine and shortly emerged on the foredeck through a hatch. He pulled on his leather flying cap, pushed the goggles onto his forehead and stepped into the pilot's seat in front of his observer. He revved the engine several times, pulled his goggles down over his eyes and saluted the bridge. With a sharp crack and a whoosh, the E14Y airplane was catapulted off the bow of the submarine with its small engine wide open. It flew barely above the water for several minutes, then climbed slowly to an altitude of 150 meters. Soon it reached its maximum speed of 210 kilometers per hour. Isamu and the Commander trained their binoculars on the airplane as it headed toward the flashing beacon of Cape Blanco. The drone of the 340-horsepower, nine-cylinder engine faded away before the plane flew completely out of sight. Isamu pondered the mission. Revenge for the Doolittle raid? Perhaps that was an honorable motive. Yet he felt little of the emotion that Tanaka had expressed. On the other hand, he felt proud of the intricate technology that had produced this submersible aircraft and launching mechanism. Quite ingenious. And to strike a real blow, however psychological, against the enemy's homeland was rather exciting. He was proud to be on the I-25.
Women’s Army Corps
Before WWII, the concept of women in uniform (other than nurses) was not well accepted by the U.S. public, Army or the Navy. However, facing a two front war, military & political leaders, and eventually the public, came to the realization that women were an important resource for both industrial and military sectors. Modeled after comparable British units, the U.S. Women's Army Corps (WAC) was created in July 1942. >150,000 women served in the WAC during WWII. The average WAC officer candidate was 25 years old, had attended college, and was working as an office administrator, executive secretary, or teacher. The average WAAC auxiliary (enlisted person) was slightly younger, with a high school education and less work experience. Black women officer candidates (with similar educational and work experience as whites) attended the same classes and mess hall, but were placed in a separate platoon and provided segregated post facilities such as service clubs, theaters, and beauty shops. WACs were assigned duties such as: weather observers and forecasters, cryptographers, radio operators and repairmen, sheet metal workers, parachute riggers, link trainer instructors, bombsight maintenance specialists, aerial photograph analysts, and control tower operators. They computed the velocity of bullets, measured bomb fragments, mixed gunpowder, and loaded shells. Others worked as draftsmen, mechanics, and electricians, and some received training in ordnance engineering. While most WACs served stateside, some went to various places around the world, including Europe, North Africa, and New Guinea. WACs landed on Normandy Beach just a few weeks after the initial invasion.
Brazil Declares War on Axis
Under the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas, Brazil remained neutral in the early months of WWII. Then, due to repeated U-boat attacks on Brazilian ships between February and August, the government of Brazil declared war against Germany and Italy in August 1942. Brazil went on to play a major role in defense of the hemisphere from Axis powers. With the understanding that they would be turned over to Brazil at war's end, several U.S. airfields were constructed on Brazilian soil. The largest U.S. airbase on foreign soil was built at Natal and the U.S. Navy Fourth Fleet sailed out of Recife. The Brazilian Navy also initiated effective anti-submarine patrols in the South and Central Atlantic Ocean. After losing nine U-boats off the Brazilian coast in 1943, German submarines were ordered to avoid the area. In 1944, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force and several Air Force groups were sent to join the U.S. Fifth Army in Italy. Although others declared war on the Axis powers, Brazil was the only South American country to send its military into battle overseas in WWII.
The journalist Richard Tregaskis defined the meaning of the phrase "embedded correspondent" with this classic account of the initial phase of the battle of Guadalcanal . " ...While the firing continued and I could hear the occasional impact of a bullet hitting a nearby tree or snapping off a twig, I debated whether it would be wiser to stay in my exposed spot or to run for a better 'ole and risk being hit by a sniper and route. I was still debating the question when I heard a bullet whirr very close to my left shoulder, heard it thud into the ground and then heard the crack of the rifle which had fired. That was bad. Two Marines on the ground 10 or 15 feet ahead of me turned and looked to see if I had been hit. They had evidently heard the bullet passing. That made up my mind. I jumped up and dashed for a big bush. I found it well populated with ants which crawled up my trousers legs, but such annoyances are secondary now." - Guadalcanal Diary
Battle of Guadalcanal
In August 1942, U. S. Marines landed on Guadalcanal, the first stepping stone back toward the Japanese homeland. The bloody campaign, with three major battles on land and seven at sea, lasted six months. The Navy lost so many personnel that they ceased reporting actual numbers to the news media. U.S. Marines battled in dense jungles, swamps, intense heat, mosquitoes, malaria and dengue against a battle-hardened foe determined not to give up the island. At night, hundreds of sake-stoked Japanese soldiers charged out of the jungle screaming Banzai into the blazing rifles and machine guns of Marines dug into the sand. In the morning, corpses lay stacked against the wire. On the home front, all that was known came from censored news reports and hearsay. Read More: Guadalcanal Campaign
A few hours after leaving for a routine anti-submarine patrol out of San Francisco in August 1942, the U.S. Navy blimp L-8 drifted back empty. An hour into the patrol the pilot had radioed that they were about to examine an oil slick on the ocean. When it landed, rescuers found the gondola door propped open and the engine set on idle. Two life jackets were missing, but the pilot and co-pilot were never found. Read more: http://www.check-six.com/Crash_Sites/L-8_crash_site.htm
M1 Garands & Cigarettes
During WWII the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company ran a series of advertisements with unsubstantiated claims that Camel cigarettes had the best taste and throat comfort. This ad suggests that Camels were also the favorite of the soldier who fires the M1 Garand. It almost seems healthy and patriotic for female "soldiers in overalls" working in "split-second time" just like men in battle, to smoke Camels.
The Mask of Nippon
Racial stereotypes predominated in Allied propaganda about Imperial Japan. This rather heavy-handed propaganda film was part of the National Film Board of Canada's 1942 World in Action series. Modeled after the popular American March of Time newsreels it was distributed by United Artists.
World At War
This fascinating propaganda film by the Office of War Information was apparently finished just before the Battle of Midway in June 1942. It was a time when the Allies were losing all across the globe. The film is 43 min. - bit long for this blog, but quite worth it to get a sense of the events leading up to American involvement in WWII and the mood at the time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKXHqrKPZUE#t=461
At the beginning of WWII there was widespread consensus that a deliberate attack on civilians was immoral and against international law. Initial Royal Air Force attempts to execute precision daylight bombing against German targets and minimize civilian casualties proved relatively ineffective and very costly in loss of aircraft and crews. In February 1942, after Arthur "Bomber" Harris assumed leadership of British Bomber Command, RAF tactics changed. Attacks were now focused on the enemy civilian population with the intention of breaking morale. After the USA entered WWII, the United States Army Air Force initially insisted on daylight precision bombing missions. In July 1942, the USAAF 8th Air Force carried out the first U.S. bombing mission in occupied Europe against a railroad yard in France. The daylight mission with B-17 flying fortresses was successful in hitting military targets without significant civilian casualties. There were no aircraft losses. This early success strengthened the American position on daylight precision bombing. For a while, the RAF area bombed at night and the USAAF carried out daylight precision bombing. Gradually, the USAAF position weakened as daylight raids, without the protection of long-range fighter escorts, led to staggering losses. Soon the USAAF joined the RAF in nighttime area bombing aimed at civilian populations. Germany and Japan also bombed civilians in WWII, but on a much smaller scale than Great Britain and the USA. Whether civilian bombing was an effective Allied strategy or not is still debated. Many (including Winston Churchill, an early proponent) came to question its value and morality. Many feel that German civilian resolve was actually strengthened by civilian bombing. Imperial Japan, clearly having lost the war, would not surrender until two large cities were destroyed by atomic bombs. How does one draw the line between necessity and atrocity?
Sleepy Lagoon Murder
In 1942, many white citizens of California, stoked by media reports of a "Mexican crime wave," expressed racial animosity against the Mexican-American community. When José Gallardo Diaz was found dying on a road near a local swimming hole (known as the Sleepy Lagoon) on the morning of August 2, 1942, Los Angeles newspaper reports of this "Sleepy Lagoon murder" implied that his killing was related to Pachuco gang acivity. Although his autopsy showed that Díaz was intoxicated and suffered blunt head trauma compatible with being hit by a car, 25 members of the "38th Street gang" were arrested for alleged murder. A subsequent media campaign calling for action against "zoot suiters" led to a police roundup of 600 Latinos who were charged with suspicion of assault, armed robbery, and related offenses; 175 were eventually held for various crimes. .
During the German 1942 summer offensive (Operation Braunschweig) Hitler outlined new goals with the Führer Directive No. 45 of July 23, 1942. Here is an excerpt: The task of Army Group B is, as previously laid down, to develop the Don defenses and, by a thrust forward to Stalingrad, to smash the enemy forces concentrated there, to occupy the town, and to block the land communications between the Don and the Volga, as well as the Don itself. Closely connected with this, fast-moving forces will advance along the Volga with the task of thrusting through to Astrakhan and blocking the main course of the Volga in the same way. These operations by Army Group B will be known by the cover name "Heron". Security: Most Secret.
Ernest Taylor "Ernie" Pyle was a roving correspondent who reported from Europe and the Pacific theaters during WWII. Writing wartime columns from the perspective of the common GI, Pyle was enormously popular in WWII USA and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944. In April 1945 Pyle was killed on an island near Okinawa when his jeep came under Japanese machine gun fire. _______________________ Excerpt from The Death of Captain Waskow AT THE FRONT LINES IN ITALY, January 10, 1944 "...This one is Captain Waskow," one of them said quietly. Two men unlashed his body from the mule and lifted it off and laid it in the shadow beside the low stone wall. Other men took the other bodies off. Finally there were five lying end to end in a long row, alongside the road. You don’t cover up dead men in the combat zone. They just lie there in the shadows until somebody else comes after them. The unburdened mules moved off to their olive orchard. The men in the road seemed reluctant to leave. They stood around, and gradually one by one I could sense them moving close to Capt. Waskow’s body. Not so much to look, I think, as to say something in finality to him, and to themselves. I stood close by and I could hear. One soldier came and looked down, and he said out loud, "God damn it." That’s all he said, and then he walked away. Another one came. He said, "God damn it to hell anyway." He looked down for a few last moments, and then he turned and left. Another man came; I think he was an officer. It was hard to tell officers from men in the half light, for all were bearded and grimy dirty. The man looked down into the dead captain’s face, and then he spoke directly to him, as though he were alive. He said: "I’m sorry, old man." Then a soldier came and stood beside the officer, and bent over, and he too spoke to his dead captain, not in a whisper but awfully tenderly, and he said: "I sure am sorry, sir." Then the first man squatted down, and he reached down and took the dead hand, and he sat there for a full five minutes, holding the dead hand in his own and looking intently into the dead face, and he never uttered a sound all the time he sat there. And finally he put the hand down, and then reached up and gently straightened the points of the captain’s shirt collar, and then he sort of rearranged the tattered edges of his uniform around the wound. And then he got up and walked away down the road in the moonlight, all alone. After that the rest of us went back into the cowshed, leaving the five dead men lying in a line, end to end, in the shadow of the low stone wall. We lay down on the straw in the cowshed, and pretty soon we were all...
Japanese in New Guinea
Occupation of Port Moresby New Guinea would have provided Japan a springboard for the invasion of Australia. In early 1942, after establishing a base at Rabaul, New Britain, Japan began landing troops on the north coast of New Guinea. In July, after plans for a direct naval attack on Port Moresby were disrupted by the Battle of the Coral Sea, Japanese troops landed along New Guinea's northeast coast with a plan to advance south over the Owen Stanley Range and seize Port Moresby. Pressing inland , they soon captured the airfield at Kokoda from an undermanned Australian force after heavy fighting.
Wehrmacht Officer Who Condemned Atrocities Executed
Lt. Michael Kitzelmann was a Wehrmacht company commander at twenty-four and recipient of the Iron Cross 2nd Class for bravery and the Wound Badge in Gold for seven stays in field hospitals. A devout Catholic born in Bavaria, Kitzelmann witnessed atrocities committed by the Einsatzgruppen (SS and Security Police killing squads) against the Russian population and Jews. Shocked, he began to openly criticize the war and criminal Nazi activities. Kitzelmann was denounced by a comrade as he lay wounded in a hospital, court-martialed and executed in June 1942.
Awakening the Sleeping Giant
After the Pearl Harbor attack, it has often been claimed that its chief architect Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-chief of Imperial Japan's Combined Fleet during World War II, uttered: "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."Yamamoto studied at Harvard University (1919–1921) and was twice posted as a naval attaché in Washington, D.C. before the war. Fluent in English, he traveled extensively in the USA, studying customs and business practices. Yamamoto was no doubt familiar with potential American industrial might, and might well have had these thoughts.However, there is no reliable documentation that he ever actually said this. Nevertheless, that appears to be exactly what happened after mid-1942.
First Battle of El Alamein
The war was not going well for the Allies in the summer of 1942. The German Operation Barbarossa had advanced well into Russia and U-boats in the Western Atlantic were highly successful in preventing war materials from America from reaching Europe. Germany seemed to be in control of the Atlantic Ocean and Western Europe. Control of El Alamein, in the North African desert 150 miles west of Cairo, was vital for the protection of the Suez Canal. If taken by General Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, the canal would give Germany a major psychological victory and close access to Middle Eastern oil. In July 1942, the First Battle of El Alamein pitted Rommel's tank corps (Panzerarmee Afrika) against the British Eighth Army (Britain, India, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand) commanded by General Claude Auchinleck. The battle, ending in a stalemate, nevertheless prevented a major advance of Axis forces into Egypt. But Axis presence near El Alamein remained an ominous threat to the Suez Canal and it was clear that a Second Battle of El Alamein was looming.
Bangka Island Massacre
In February 1942 the cruise ship Vyner Brooke, carrying many injured servicemen and 64 Australian nurses was sunk by Japanese aircraft. Eleven nurses were lost in the attack, but the rest reached shore at Japanese-occupied Bangka Island, in the Dutch East Indies. The ship's officer and a small group of women and children went to the Japanese authorities to surrender while the nurses set up a shelter to care for the wounded. A contingent of Japanese soldiers returned, herded all ambulatory wounded away and shot them. A Japanese officer then ordered the remaining 22 nurses and one civilian woman to walk into the surf where they were machine-gunned. All but one nurse were killed. Wounded soldiers left on stretchers were then bayoneted and killed. The wounded nurse Vivian Bullwinkel washed up on the beach and was left for dead. She evaded capture for 10 days, but was eventually caught and imprisoned. Surviving the war, she testified at a war crimes trial in Tokyo in 1947.
This 1942 film depicts an American aircraft accurately bombing a U-boat off the Atlantic Coast. In reality, US anti-submarine tactics at this point in the war were dismal. Hundreds of merchant ships were sunk by an extremely effective U-Boat fleet in in the Battle of the Atlantic during the first half of 1942 before appropriate state-of-the-art US equipment was available and techniques such as depth charging (not bombing as shown in the film), convoy escorts, coordinated and sustained air and sea search and destroy operations were implemented.
Office of Strategic Services
In 1941 US intelligence was gathered on an ad-hoc basis by the State, Treasury, Navy, and War Departments without coordination or central control. For the first half of 1942, most military intelligence came from the UK. In July 1941 FDR appointed Colonel William J. Donovan as the "Co-ordinator of Information" and asked him to develop an intelligence service based on the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Special Operations Executive. In June 1942, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the US WWII predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was established by presidential order to collect and analyze strategic information required by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and conduct special operations (including propaganda, subversion and post-war planning) not assigned to other agencies. During the War, the OSS supplied policy makers with facts and estimates, but never had jurisdiction over all foreign intelligence activities. The FBI retained responsibility for intelligence work in Latin America, and the Army and Navy continued to develop and rely on their own sources of intelligence. For the duration of WWII, the OSS conducted multiple activities and missions, including espionage, sabotage, propaganda, organizing and coordinating European resistance groups and training anti-Japanese guerrillas.
Japanese View – Battle of Midway
Excerpts from The Japanese Story of the Battle of Midway Official Japanese action report of this engagement (A Translation) Office of Naval Intelligence, United States Navy June 1947 Existing Conditions and Trends Subsequent to the beating he received in the Coral Sea on 7-8 May, the enemy was temporarily subdued, but by the end of May -- by the time the Fleet was about to sortie from Hashira Jima -- the enemy again began to show considerable life in all areas, particularly in the Australia area. Situation in the Midway Area: Midway acts as a sentry for Hawaii. Its importance was further enhanced after the loss of Wake and it was apparent that the enemy was expediting the reinforcing of its defensive installations, its air base facilities, and other military installations as well as the personnel. General Situation at Conclusion of Operations and the Commander's Estimate Concerning It Exceptional fighting was shown by all forces and all ships participating in this operation, and because of it, severe damages were inflicted on the enemy. At the same time, our losses numbered four carriers and the occupation of Midway was not carried out. The enemy, however, having lost two of their powerful carriers and many of his air personnel, would undoubtedly be unable to effect any large-scale operation in the near future. It is believed that the enemy will surely strike back at some time, and every precaution should be taken against this. Through this operation, there are some vital lessons learned in aircraft carrier warfare, which should be kept alive. These include such items as the reinforcements of searches for the enemy, flexibility of assembling and dispersing, and the speedy take-offs of friendly aircraft when the enemy is sighted. Recognition of Meritorius Actions 1. The men of the plane units which succeeded in severely damaging enemy military installations on Sand and Eastern Islands in spite of persistent enemy fighters and vicious AA fire, are highly commended. 2. The action of the men of CarDiv 2 (less the Soryu), in succeeding to sink (or severely damage) two of the new and powerful enemy carriers in spite of the fact that the enemy had gained control of the air, must be commended highly. These men well represented our entire forces. The men of the Hiryu air unit (including 1st class P.O. (Air) Yamamoto from the Kaga and 3rd class P.O. (Air) Bando also from the Kaga) who sacrificed themselves by flying into territory which meant sure death and carried out "body crash" tactics, is particularly cited as being exceptional even in the traditionally glorious history of the Imperial Navy.
United We Stand
In July 1942, seven months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 500 magazines nationwide featured the American flag on their covers. Adopting the slogan "United We Stand," American publications displayed the American flag to promote national unity, rally support for the war, and celebrate Independence Day.
Herroic Torpedo Bombers at Midway
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiGqhbvSpG8 At 06:20 on June 4. 1942, Japanese carrier aircraft bombed and heavily damaged the U.S. base at Midway. However, American bombers were still able to refuel and attack the Japanese invasion force, and most of Midway's land-based defenses were intact. Having taken off prior to the Japanese attack, American bombers based on Midway made several attacks on the Japanese carrier fleet. At 07:15, Admiral Chuichi Nagumo ordered his reserve planes to be re-armed with contact-fused general purpose bombs for use against land targets. At 07:40 a Japanese scout plane reported a large American naval force of uncertain composition to the east. Admiral Nagumo reversed his order to re-arm the bombers and demanded information regarding the composition of the American force. However, Nagumo's opportunity to attack the American ships was now limited by the imminent return of his Midway strike force that needed to land promptly or ditch into the sea. Additionally, constant flight deck activity associated with combat air patrol operations gave Nagumo no opportunity to position his reserve planes on the flight deck for launching. US Navy Admiral Raymond Spruance, judging the need for an immediate attack urgent, launched several uncoordinated groups of fighters, bombers, and torpedo bombers toward the target. But the American carrier aircraft had difficulty locating the Japanese carriers. On incorrect headings and low on fuel, many turned back or ditched in the sea. Torpedo Squadron VT-8 from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, led by LTC John C. Waldron, broke formation and followed the correct heading. Waldron’s Grumman F-4 Wildcat fighter escorts, low on fuel had to turn back, leaving Squadron VT-8’s obsolete, slow, under-armed Douglas TBD Devastators unescorted. At 0920 Waldron's squadron sighted the enemy carriers and began the attack, followed by Torpedo Squadron VT-6 led by LTC Eugene E. Lindsey and VT-3 led by LTC Lance E. Massey from the USS Enterprise, also without fighter escort. A few TBD Devastators managed to fly close enough to their targets to drop torpedoes and strafe the enemy ships, forcing the Japanese carriers to make sharp evasive maneuvers. But all of their torpedoes either missed or failed to explode. Without fighter escort, all fifteen TBD Devastators of VT-8, 10/14 of VT-6 and 10/12 of VT-3 were shot down by Japanese Mitsubishi A6M2 Zeros without being able to inflict any damage. Lacrimosa - Requiem Mass in D minor (K. 626) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart The tragic loss of these torpedo squadrons without any hits, nevertheless achieved three important results that facilitated the subsequent successful American air attack on the Japanese carriers: Japanese carriers were thrown off balance, preventing them from launching an effective counterstrike Japanese combat air patrols were pulled out of position Many Japanese Zeros ran low on ammunition and fuel
Battle of Midway Island
On June 4, 1942 the US Navy turned the tide of the Pacific War against the previously all-powerful Imperial Japanese fleet. With information gained from cracking the Japanese PURPLE code, the U.S. Navy was lying in wait when the Japanese initiated their attack on Midway Island with the intention to surprise and destroy the US aircraft carriers that had escaped the attack on Pearl Harbor. In a relatively short air battle between aircraft carriers, the Imperial Japanese Navy lost the aircraft carriers Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, and Hiryu, the heavy cruiser Mikuma, 322 aircraft and over five thousand sailors. Although the US Navy lost 147 aircraft (including the tragic loss of 35/41 obsolete Douglas TBD ‘Devastator’ torpedo bombers) and 300 seamen in the battle, only one aircraft carrier, the Yorktown, was sunk by the Japanese. This resounding victory at Midway seriously diminished the power of the Imperial Japanese Navy and moved the Allies into an unrelenting offensive position for the duration of the Pacific War.
Japan Attacks Oregon
In the late evening of June 21, 1942, the I-25, a 2,369 ton, 354 ft long B1-class submarine with a range of 14,000 nautical miles and a maximum surface speed of 23.5 knots (submerged, 8 knots), used a screen of fishing boats to avoid minefields at the Columbia River bar and cruised off Fort Stevens, Oregon. The I-25 fired 17 rounds of its 14 cm (5.5 inch) deck gun at the shore without taking aim at any clear target. Fort Stevens' searchlights were turned on briefly, then doused. Perhaps because the submarine was considered out of range or due to fear of giving away the exact location of the fort, U.S. artillerymen never received permission to return fire with their 10-inch disappearing guns. The I-25's shells fell harmlessly in the sand and scrub brush near the fort's Battery Russell. A baseball backstop and a power line were damaged, and one soldier cut his head in a fall while rushing to his battle station. At about midnight, firing ceased and the submarine departed. The attack of the I-25 may have been conceived as retaliation for the April Doolittle raid on Tokyo. Although it caused no significant physical damage, it did serve to heighten civilian anxiety regarding a possible Japanese invasion of the West Coast USA. See a fictionalized description in my book: Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War
~33 Allied Ships Sunk/Week
Charts via American Merchant Marine in World War 2 The majority of Allied losses were to U-Boats in the Atlantic. Although Germany was highly successful in the first part of the war, Imperial Japan never pursued an active campaign against shipping in the Pacific. The overseas transportation of war materials and men by the U.S. Merchant Marine in WWII was key to Allied victory. 1 in 26 mariners serving aboard merchant ships in World WWII died in the line of duty, the greatest percentage of war-related deaths in all U.S. services. Because of wartime censorship, newspapers reported essentially the same story each week: "Two medium-sized Allied ships sunk in the Atlantic." In reality, the average for 1942 was 33 Allied ships sunk each week.
Produce Now for Victory!
Excerpt from War facts: a handbook for speakers on war production was published in 1942 by the Office for Emergency Management, an office established by administrative order, May 25, 1940 to assist the President in clearing information on defense measures. It maintained liaison with national defense agencies and coordinated the national defense program.
Operation Pastorius was a failed German military intelligence (Abwehr) mission intended to sabotage the American war effort and demoralize the civilian population. The Abwehr recruited eight German residents (two were US citizens) who had once lived in the United States and trained them in the manufacture and use of explosives, incendiaries and delayed timing devices. On the night of June 12, 1942, the submarine U-202 disembarked four of the saboteurs at Amagansett, Long Island New York. After burying their uniforms and explosives in the sand, one of the members George John Dasch was discovered by an unarmed Coast Guardsman whom he threatened and bribed with $260 to remain silent. After the Coastguardsman reported the encounter, an armed patrol arrived too late to catch the Germans, who had taken a train to Manhattan. When the saboteurs' buried equipment was found, the FBI initiated a manhunt. On June 6, U-584 landed the other four-member German team at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. After changing into civilian clothes, they boarded trains to Chicago and Cincinnati. The two teams planned to meet on July 4 in Cincinnati to coordinate their operations. Realizing that the mission was compromised by the encounter with the Coast Guard, and disliking Nazism, Dasch and another team member Ernst Burger (an American citizen) secretly decided to defect to the United States. Dasch took a train to Washington. D.C. and turned himself in at FBI headquarters. Within two weeks, Burger and the other six team members were arrested. On August 1, 1942, a specially-convened military tribunal found all eight defendants guilty of espionage and sentenced them to death. Because the information they provided enabled the capture of the other Operation Pastorius team members, FDR commuted Burger's sentence to life imprisonment and Dasch's to 30 years. The others were executed. The only other WWII German sabotage mission to the USA occurred in November 1944 when the U-1230, dropped two spies off the coast of Maine to gather intelligence and sabotage the Manhattan Project and munition factories. Both men were swiftly captured by the FBI and received prison sentences rather than execution. Read more: uboat.net - U-boat Operations - German saboteur landings in June 1942.
Hollywood and the War Effort
Although the USA was in an extremely perilous position early in the war, many civilians and young military recruits held uninformed, isolationist or indifferent opinions about the Axis threat. In 1942, realizing what a powerfully motivating film German director Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will was, the successful American director Frank Capra (It Happened One Night) enlisted in the U.S. Army to make propaganda films. Other prominent Hollywood film directors who soon enlisted included John Ford (The Grapes of Wrath), William Wyler (Jezebel), John Houston (The Maltese Falcon) and George Stevens (Woman of the Year). Why We Fight was a series of seven US government documentary films directed by Frank Capra with the intention of motivating Americans for the war effort. Read the recent novel: Five Came Back: the Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris
High Tides Uncover Japanese Dead
Over two dozen deceased Japanese soldiers have been unearthed from their graves. The culprit is not some run-of-the-mill grave robber, but the ocean itself. The remains were buried near the coast of the Marshall Islands, and high tides washed over them revealing their skeletons. All of the graves were from the Second World War, and this is the first major disturbance since the Japanese soldiers were first buried there decades ago. via: warhistoryonline.com
Reinhard Heydrich Assassinated
Obergruppenführer Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich, was the founder of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), an intelligence agency charged with eliminating resistance to the Nazi Party by arrests, deportations, and killings. He had also been chairman of the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, which formalized plans for the final solution - deportation and extermination of all Jews in German-occupied territory. Additionally, Heydrich was directly responsible for the Einsatzgruppen special forces that travelled in the wake of the German armies killing Jews and others deemed undesirable by the regime. Placed in charge of the Reich Main Security Office (including the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD) of Bohemia and Moravia (now in the Czech Republic), Heydrich began eliminating Nazi opposition by suppressing Czech culture and deporting resistance members. Heydrich was attacked in Prague on May 27, 1942 by a British-trained team of Czech and Slovak soldiers and died from his injuries a week later. Nazi intelligence reportedly linked the assassins to the villages of Lidice and Ležáky. In retaliation for Heydrich's assassination, both villages were destroyed and most citizens executed. Some women and children were deported and later killed in concentration camps.
I just returned from a trip to northern Germany doing research for a historical fiction novel I am writing about anti-submarine warfare in 1942. I was seeking backstory information for one of my characters, a U-boat Kapitänleutnant from Lübeck in Schleswig Holstein. While at sea off the East Coast USA, his hometown was firebombed by the RAF. Last week, on a drizzly Sunday afternoon, three churches in the Lübeck Stadtmitte joined together in a "progressive" concert. My wife and I blended in with a crowd of middle-aged local citizens who walked from one church to the other, listening to organ, trumpet, flute and choral music echoing through the sanctuaries up into the the vaulted stone ceilings. Mesmerized, I imagined myself there in 1942 on the Saturday evening before Palm Sunday, the traditional time when adolescents were being confirmed into their Protestant faith. Around 1030 that March evening, 200 RAF bombers came, using the tall tower of the Marienkirche as a landmark. Its huge bell came crashing down, then partially melted in the ensuing firestorm. The raid left 301 people dead, three missing and 783 injured. More than 15,000 people lost their homes.
Attu Japanese Diary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7yUkvursgo This video is about Paul Nabuo Tatsuguchi, a graduate of the 7th Day Adventist Pacific Union College who studied at the College of Medical Evangelists (now known as Loma Linda University). After graduation, he returned to Tokyo to practice medicine at the Tokyo Adventist Sanitarium, but was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army in 1941 and sent to the Japanese occupied Aleutian Islands in late 1942. The United States Army initiated the Battle of Attu to retake the island in May 1943. Throughout the battle, Tatsuguchi kept a diary , recording events and his difficulty caring for wounded Japanese soldiers in a field hospital. Tatsuguchi was killed on the battle's final day after the remaining Japanese conducted one last, suicidal charge against the American forces.
Japan Invades Aleutian Islands
In 1942, U.S. Army units in Alaska totalled < 2300 men. Remote, sparsely-populated and infamous for harsh weather, the 1200 mile Aleutian Island chain appeared to have little military or strategic value. However, perhaps to divert attention from imminent operations at Midway Island or to prevent invasion of homeland Japan via the Aleutians, Japanese airplanes attacked Dutch Harbor (site of two American military bases) on June 3-4. On June 6-7, Japanese infantry invaded Kiska and Attu Islands and established garrisons. Kiska and Attu were the only actual U.S. soil Japan would occupy during the Pacific War. Americans were shocked that Japanese troops had actually seized U.S. soil, and many feared it was the first step toward an attack against mainland Alaska or the Pacific Northwest. Initially, their hands full with attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, American military planners considered action against the Japanese garrisons at Attu and Kiska a low priority. In May 1943, U.S. troops retook Attu and three months later reclaimed Kiska. Aleutian military operations provided valuable experience that would prove useful in the subsequent “island-hopping” battles across the Pacific Ocean. via Aleutian Islands Campaign - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Mexico Declares War
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afrOsaJCGm4 In the decade before WWII, Mexico was chaotic and unstable. The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) which caused widespread destruction and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives was followed by several violent uprisings against the new government (Cristero War from 1926-1929). Then, during the Great Depression, the Mexican economy suffered badly. In 1934 the reformer Lázaro Cárdenas del Rio took power and helped Mexico move toward a more stable, productive nation. Cárdenas kept Mexico neutral as conflict grew in Europe, even though Nazi and American agents vied for an alliance with Mexico. Although great outcry arose when Cárdenas nationalized Mexico's vast oil reserves, with war clouds on the horizon, the U.S. Government and private interests were forced to accept it. At the start of the war in Europe, the Mexican Communist Party supported Germany while the 1939 German-Soviet Non-Agression Pact was still in place. However, once Germany invaded the USSR, Mexican Communists switched allegiance to the Allies. At the other end of the political spectrum, a group of extremely conservative Catholics formed the Unión Nacional Sinarquista in opposition to Cardenas and supportive of the Axis powers. Additionally, historical grievances with the USA ( loss of Texas and American southwest territories, U.S. intervention during the revolution and multiple incursions into Mexican territory) caused great resentment and distrust of the USA. Many Mexicans were ambivalent as to whether they should join the Axis cause against their historical U.S. antagonist, or remain neutral (thereby not providing an excuse for another U.S. invasion). In 1940, Mexico elected the conservative (PRI- Revolutionary Party) presidential candidate Manuel Ávila Camacho who pursued a course of detente with the U.S. Although there was much initial dissent in Mexico with this policy, once Germany attacked the USSR (and Mexican Communists switched allegiance to the Allies) support for Ávila's policies grew. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mexico was one of the first countries to pledge support and aid, and they severed all diplomatic ties with the Axis powers. US capital began to flow into Mexico for industry supporting military needs. The U.S. bought Mexican oil and sent technicians to enhance Mexican mining of metals needed for wartime production (e.g., mercury, zinc,copper). Mexican armed forces were supplied with US weapons and training. When German U-boats sank two Mexican tankers, the Potrero del Llano on 14 May and Faja de Oro on 21 May , sixteen Mexicans died. On May 21, 1942 Mexico declared war on Germany.
1000 Bomber Strike on Köln
Cologne Germany (Köln) was bombed in 262 separate air raids during WWII, but Operation Millenium, the RAF attack on May 30 1942, was the first Allied "bomber stream" raid with > 1,000 aircraft. With over two thousand separate fires started by the raid, only Köln's wide streets and the action of German fire fighters prevented the fires from combining into a firestorm. 411 civilians and 58 military died in the raid. 5,027 people were listed as injured and 45,132 as "bombed out". The RAF lost 43 aircraft.
Battle of Kharkov
(The battle took place in the small orange area with two arrows in the area of Ukraine) The Soviet winter counteroffensive of 1941-42 succeeded in preventing the Germans from taking Moscow. Exhausted, both sides paused. Then Joseph Stalin, convinced that the German offensive would soon collapse, decided to launch a new spring offensive on the Eastern Front. The May 1942 attack at Kharkov was an initial success, but ferocious Wehrmacht fighting, the arrival of the Luftwaffe and Soviet errors turned the battle into a debacle for the Russian forces. Read more: Second Battle of Kharkov - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Japanese Invasion of USA Possible?
Daily Mail, U.K. In order to secure needed natural resources, Imperial Japan attempted to establish a Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere with Japanese control. The U.S. Navy (and to a lesser extent, Royal Navy) were a threat to the development of this plan. The December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor might be viewed as a logical attempt to neutralize this perceived threat. In early 1942 many Americans believed that Japan was planning an attack on West Coast military targets such as the port facilities, military equipment and aircraft manufacturing plants of San Diego, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. But an attack on the continental United States would have been logistically next to impossible. An invasion force large enough to occupy West Coast cities would have required massive logistical support. A general military concept is that a small invasion force can travel long distances, but transporting and supplying a large force can only be completed with proximity to the point of attack (e.g. England to Normandy or Okinawa to Japan). Likewise, in order to carry out simple raids raids (without landing large invasion forces) on the West Coast, Japan would have needed to occupy Pearl Harbor. But Hawaii was not invaded at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack because the Japanese lacked the logistical capability to do so, and because the USA still had substantial forces in the western Pacific. Nevertheless, in early 1942 many West Coast citizens (and officials who should have known better) had a level of concern regarding Japanese attack that bordered on hysteria. Read more opinion regarding the possibility of a Japanese Invasion of our West Coast USA in 1942 Mainland Invasion of the U.S. The Axis Plan to Invade America in 1942 Invasion U.S.A. – The Various Plans to Conquer America
Battle of the Coral Sea
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj-bAJgwej4#t=91 In early May 1942, Japanese forces invaded and occupied Port Moresby in New Guinea and Tulagi in the southeastern Solomon Islands. From May 4-8, 1942 the Imperial Japanese Navy engaged in a major aircraft battle with naval and air forces of the United States and Australia. The resulting Battle of the Coral Sea was the first time that enemy aircraft carriers engaged each other (although ships on neither side actually sighted or fired directly upon the other). Although Japanese aircraft sank more Allied ships than vice versa, overall, the Battle of the Coral Sea marked the first reversal of Japanese advances in the Pacific War and is regarded as a strategic victory for the Allies. Perhaps most importantly, the Japanese fleet carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku were seriously damaged and would be unable to participate in the upcoming June Battle of Midway.
The war reached North America in January 1942 with the beginning of Paukenschlag (Operation Drumbeat) orchestrated by Vice Admiral Karl Dönitz. Most American naval resources at the time were involved in North Atlantic convoys and the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts were unprepared for defense against U-boat attacks. Along the coast, ships sailed with no convoy protection, and civilian reluctance to conform with (initially) voluntary blackouts kept shore lights burning and ships silhouetted as easy targets for U-boats. During the first 6 months of 1942 U-boats sank or damaged hundreds of ships. More American seamen died in these attacks than were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. This fascinating book relates the events occurring during the desperate first half of 1942 through the eyes of a U-boat commander and a U.S. Army Air Force bomber pilot.
Ration Book USA
When the USA entered the war, the economy switched over to an emphasis on military production with consumer goods a low priority. The U.S. Office of Price Administration (OPA) froze prices on most everyday goods (e.g., gasoline, tires, sugar, meat, silk, shoes, nylon). In May 1942, war ration books and tokens were issued to each family, prescribing the amount an individual could purchase. Read this interesting post: Rationing on the US Homefront during WW II.
U-Boat Sunk Off Cape Hatteras
The German U-85 was sunk with all hands on 14 April off the United States coast near Cape Hatteras by gunfire from the American destroyer USS Roper. The U-85 was was the first German U-boat loss of "Operation Drumbeat" (Paukenschlag), off the eastern seaboard of the United States.
Maximal Japanese Advances
Wikimedia Commons By the end of May 1942, Imperial Japan had expanded its occupied territories westward to the border of India, south to New Guinea (but short of Australia), east to the Midway Islands and north to Manchuria and the Kamchatka peninsula of the USSR. This was to be the full extent of Japanese domination in WWII and the beginning of a defensive battle to protect the territory taken and, ultimately, the homeland of Japan itself.
After the RAF attack on the lovely medieval city of Lübeck in March 1942, the Germans launched a campaign of air raids on historic British towns listed in the popular Baedeker travel guide. Included as targets were Canterbury, Exeter, Bath, Norwich, and York. The Nazi propagandist Baron Gustav Braun von Sturm declared, "We shall go out and bomb every building in Britain marked with three stars in the Baedeker guide."
FDR Fireside Chat
"It is nearly five months since we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. ...American warships are now in combat in the North and South Atlantic, in the Arctic, in the Mediterranean, in the Indian Ocean, and in the North and South Pacific. American troops have taken stations in South America, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, the Near East, the Middle East and the Far East, the continent of Australia, and many islands of the Pacific. American war planes, manned by Americans, are flying in actual combat over all the continents and all the oceans. ...Our soldiers and sailors are members of well-disciplined units. But they are still and forever individuals—free individuals. They are farmers, and workers, businessmen, professional men, artists, clerks. They are the United States of America. That is why they fight. We too are the United States of America. That is why we must work and sacrifice. It is for them. It is for us. It is for victory." Franklin D. Roosevelt: Fireside Chat - April 28, 1942
Japanese Hell Ships
In May 1942 Japanese "Hell Ships" began transferring Allied prisoners of war to Japan. With conditions not unlike those of the infamous Bataan death march, prisoners were often packed into stuffy cargo holds with little food or water. Many POWs died of thirst, dehydration, asphyxiation and starvation on the long the trip to Japan that might take weeks. Unfortunately, >20,000 POWs also died at sea when the unmarked Hell Ships were attacked by Allied submarines and airplanes. Although Allied commanders often knew of the presence of POWs on these ships through radio interception and code breaking, attacks were not aborted. Some critics maintain that the interdiction of critical supplies for Japan's war machine was the highest priority at the time - perhaps higher than sparing POW lives.
Goebbels on Food Rationing
Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels wrote a weekly column in the newspaper Das Reich. In March 1942, he alerted the German public to a pending cut in food rationing. Goebbels stated that food shortage resulted from two years of bad harvests, military food requirements and the influx of many foreign workers. With food rationing already very tight, it was reported that the general public was shocked, but in favor of harsh actions against the black market. On the other hand, many were apparently not convinced of Goebbels’ claims that things were as bad or worse in England.
▶A Letter From Bataan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=VbVCuZQ9F9g In this film, made as a "Victory short" by Paramount Pictures in collaboration with the U.S. Office of War Information, a mother receives a letter from a soldier who was killed in action at Bataan. As the mother reads the letter aloud on the front porch to the rest of family, the ghost of the dead soldier elaborates, commenting on the sacrifices that need to made to provide essential materials and food for soldiers overseas.
Bataan Death March
On April 9, 1942, after a three-month battle, more than 11,000 American and 66,000 Filipino soldiers surrendered to the Japanese on the Bataan peninsula in central Luzon, Philippines. Starving and stricken with malaria, beriberi or dysentery, they never saw the reinforcements that their departing General MacArthur had assured them were on the way. The Japanese military, seeking to move American and Filipino soldiers out of Bataan quickly so they could launch immediate attacks on Corregidor, began an 80-mile forced march of the prisoners. The Japanese were unprepared for the number of prisoners captured, and had no organized plan to give them food or water. Guarded by Japanese soldiers who despised soldiers who chose to surrender instead of fighting to death, the POWs on the march suffered horrendous abuse, outright murder and a high rate of death from thirst, starvation and exhaustion. The exact number of deaths has never been established, but a conservative estimate is approximately 6,000 Filipinos and 650 Americans. In response to American outrage, Japanese authorities at the time claimed the humanely-treated prisoners died because American commanders didn't surrender until their men were on the verge of death. In 1945, General Masaharu Homma , who maintained ignorance of the high death toll on the march until two months after the event, was found guilty of war crimes and executed in 1946.
Q-Ship vs U-Boat
USS Atik was a heavily armed merchant ship with concealed weaponry (a Q ship) that was designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. The Atik had a crew of 141 men and an armament of four 100 mm naval guns, eight machine guns and six K-guns (depth charge projectors). At 7:30 PM on March 27, 1942 the U-123 , under the command of Kapitänleutnant Reinhard Hardegen , firing from a surfaced position, struck the Atik with a torpedo on the port side. On fire, and starting to list, the Atik's captain, Lieutenant Commander Harry Lynnwood, lured the U-boat within range of his guns was by ordering a lifeboat lowered on the starboard side. When U-123 maneuvered alongside, the Atik opened fire with all of her guns and depth charges. The bridge of the U-123 was slightly damaged and one German sailor was mortally wounded. Hardegen ordered his deck gun into action and fled out of Atik's range before diving. At 9:29 pm the submerged U-123 struck the Atik with another torpedo. At 10:27 PM, as the Atik's crew began evacuating their ship, the U-123 surfaced again. At 10:50 pm the Atik exploded and then a gale blew in, killing all of the 141 American sailors.
Doolittle Raid on Tokyo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHnwxRfzR2A In April 1942, sixteen twin-engine B-25 Mitchell bombers, launched from the aircraft carrier Hornet, attacked Japan. The daring raid, led by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, designed to boost American morale after the Pearl Harbor attack, also demonstrated the feasibility of launching bombers from an aircraft carrier. Despite the enthusiastic report in this video, the raid actually caused little material damage, with strikes only to non-military targets or complete misses. It was, however, a propaganda victory and cast doubt in the mind's of Japanese citizens regarding the ability of their military to defend their home islands. After the attack, Japan also withdrew its aircraft carriers from the Indian Ocean to protect the homeland. Fifteen of the B-25s reached China; one landed in the Soviet Union. All but three of the crew survived. Eight were captured by the Japanese Army in China and three were executed. The crew of the B-25 that landed at Vladivostok was interned for more than a year in the Soviet Union. Fourteen crews, except for one crewman, returned either to the United States or to American forces.
America Journalist a Japanese Agent ?
Ralph Townsend worked as a journalist in San Francisco and taught English at Columbia University before joining the U.S. Foreign Service in 1930. His controversial 1933 book Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China was critical of Chinese society and supportive of Japan’s policies in the region. His 1936 book Asia Answers, which condemned American “pro-Communist liberals,” described Japan as a bulwark of capitalism in Asia. After returning to the USA from a trip to Japan in 1937, Townsend was vociferous in his attempts to promote American non-intervention in both Europe and Asia. In addition to lectures and radio addresses, he published pamphlets with titles such as The High Cost of Hate, America Has No Enemies In Asia, There Is No Halfway Neutrality and Seeking Foreign Trouble. In 1940 Townsend became an active member of America First Committee and began writing for its unofficial voice, the isolationist magazine Scribner’s Commentator. After discovering he had received payments from the Japanese Committee on Trade and Information, the FBI arrested Townsend in January 1941. While admitting he accepted money from the Japanese as payment for the bulk sale of his pamphlets, Townsend denied being a Japanese agent and claimed he was a victim of political persecution. In June 1942 he was sentenced to 8 - 24 months in prison. In July 1942, while still imprisoned, Townsend and 27 other Americans were charged under the Smith and Espionage Acts of participation in a Nazi conspiracy to publish seditious literature designed to undermine the morale of the U.S. military. These charges were felt to be dubious by many members of Congress and the indictments were delayed several times. When the third indictment was begun in January 1943, Townsend’s name was dropped from the list. After release from prison, no further action was taken against him.
In 1934 Karl Friedrich Stellbrink was appointed to the Luther Church in Lübeck. Although an early member of the National Socialist German Worker's Party (NSDAP), he became disenchanted with the party when it began to profess anti-Church attitudes. In 1936 he was expelled from the NSDAP and by the beginning of WWII he was a vocal opponent of National Socialism. In 1941 Stellbrink developed an ecumenical relationship with Johannes Prassek and Hermann Lange, Catholic priests from the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Lübeck. Together, the protestant clergyman and Catholic priests led critical discussions with young Christians regarding the Nazi regime and the war. Stellbrink and the two priests were arrested in the spring of 1942 and sentenced to death by the Volksgerichtshof (People’s Court) in the “Lübeck Christians Martyr's’ Trial” and executed in Hamburg in November 1943.
Rabaul – Fortress in the Solomons
After Germany's defeat in WWI, Australia occupied New Guinea with Rabaul as its administrative capitol. In January 1942, intending to separate Australia from U.S. forces by occupying New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Japan seized Rabaul and transformed into a mighty military fortress. Miles of tunnels were dug for shelter from air attacks and barracks and support facilities were constructed to accommodate up to 110,000 Japanese troops by 1943. Almost impregnable, the Allies chose to cut the base off from its supplies (Rings around Rabaul) rather than directly attack it. Rabaul remained in Japanese control until the end of the war.
German Nuclear Weapon Development
In 1927, the German theoretical physicist Werner Karl Heisenberg published his famous paper regarding the uncertainty principle . In 1932 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for the his role in creating the field of quantum mechanics. In 1939, shortly after the discovery of nuclear fission, Heisenberg became a principal scientist in the German nuclear energy project known as the Uranverein (Uranium Club). In February 1942, he proposed acquiring energy from nuclear fission to Reich officials. Subsequently, the Uranium Club became the Reich Research Council with emphasis on the development of nuclear weapons. Heisenberg maintained that a nuclear bomb could be built by 1945 if significant funding and priority were given to the project. In June 1942, Hitler reorganized the Reich Research Council under Reich Marshall Hermann Göring as the Reich Ministry for Armament and Ammunition.
Japanese Attack on Santa Barbara
Before the war, Commander Kozo Nishino of the imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-17 commanded a merchant ship which had transported oil from the Ellwood Oil Field in Santa Barbara, California to Japan. On February 23, 1942, the I-17 carried out the first attack against the U.S. mainland by directing cannon fire at a large aviation fuel tank just beyond the beach at Santa Barbara. Shells struck a pier, derrick and a pump house. Several shells also landed on a nearby ranch, but no one was injured. After several witnesses reported "suspicious light signals" being sent to shore from the departing submarine, a blackout was called by civil defense authorities. A day later the infamous charade known as the "Battle of Los Angeles" took place. A
Nazi Concentration Camps
Auschwitz 1942; Wikimedia Commons Beginning in 1939, small groups, targeted for political or racial reasons as dangerous to Nazi Germany, were murdered in German concentration camps. During 1939–1942, as Germany occupied most of Europe, the SS established new concentration camps for increasing numbers of political prisoners, resistance groups, and groups deemed racially inferior, such as Jews and Gypsies. In January 1942, the Wannsee Conference, held by the SS-Reich Main Security Office in a Berlin suburb, completed plans for implementation of the "final solution" in which most of the Jews of German-occupied Europe would be deported to Poland and exterminated. Auschwitz - Wikimedia
Blackouts and Dimouts
Along the west coast USA during the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the fear of a Japanese air attack on coastal cities was palpable. Civil defense efforts mandated completely extinguishing lights with blackouts or minimizing outdoor lighting (including upwardly directed/reflected light) with dimouts. Dark curtains were drawn across windows and the upper half of automobile headlights were painted black to prevent upwardly-directed light. Civilian adherence to blackout orders on both coasts was mixed, with frequent complaints that blackouts effected businesses and tourism. This was particularly problematic along the east coast in the first half of 1942 where coastal lights actually enabled U-boats to readily identify silhouetted targets. Following disastrous shipping losses, government regulation of night time lighting along the Atlantic Ocean was finally tightened.
Japanese-American Teachers Forced to Resign
In February 1942, pressured by the press and a petition circulated by a group of white mothers, the Seattle School Board forced the resignation of 27 employees who were American citizens of Japanese ancestry. The dismissed teachers, at the insistence of James Sakamoto, the editor of the Japanese American Courier signed a letter containing the following: "We do not take this action in any spirit of defeat, but believe we can by our resignations demonstrate beyond dispute that we have the best interest of the school system at heart. We take this step to prove our loyalty to the school system and the United States by not becoming a contributing factor to dissension and disunity when national unity in spirit and deed is vitally necessary to the defense of and complete victory for America..."
RAF Bombs Lübeck
In 1942, under the leadership of Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, the British Royal Air Force decided to intensify bombing of German cities in an attempt to undermine civilian morale. The medieval Hanseatic League city of Lübeck was chosen first because of its ready accessibility on the North Sea and its many timbered buildings that would allow the RAF to test new incendiary bombs (similar to those used by the Luftwaffe against cities such as Coventry during the 1940 Blitz of England. Although of some importance as a harbor on the North Sea, Lübeck was mainly a cultural center and was only lightly defended. The March 28, 1942 raid on the night before Easter Sunday created a firestorm that destroyed many buildings in the historic center of the city. 301 people were reported dead, three missing and 783 injured. More than 15,000 people lost their homes. Soon, the Germans would respond with retaliatory raids on English cities chosen from the pages of the 1937 German book Baedecker's Great Britain.
There Was a Father
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROV_GqMpbJ0#t=2 This lovely, gentle film by Yasujiro Ozu was released in the spring of 1942. A widowed teacher tries to do the right thing for his son. After a student drowns on an school outing, he quits teaching, enrolls his son in a boarding school and takes a factory job in Tokyo. Years later, the son, now a school teacher in a rural community, visits his father and muses that he might quit his job and come to Tokyo. The father rebukes him for thinking of shirking his duty. In the end, the son remains loyal. Although the war is hardly mentioned, the exemplary self-sacrifice of the characters was well received by government censors and the film was approved.
U.S. War Time = Daylight Saving Time
Daylight Saving Time (advancing the clock one hour in springtime) was instituted in the U.S. and in many European countries during WWI, but was unpopular in the USA and repealed in 1918. In February 1942, in an effort to better utilize daylight hours and conserve energy, the law was re-instituted in the USA.
Fireside Chat on Washington’s Birthday
"This war is a new kind of war. It is different from all other wars of the past, not only in its methods and weapons but also in its geography. It is warfare in terms of every continent, every island, every sea, every air lane in the world. That is the reason why I have asked you to take out and spread before you a map of the whole earth, and to follow with me the references which I shall make to the world-encircling battle lines of this war." via Franklin D. Roosevelt: Fireside Chat.
Before the Nazis invaded Russia, a small mixed chorus called the Almanac Singers was using its talents to criticize conscription — already enacted by Congress. One of its songs had as its theme the vicious isolationist catchphrase, "Plow under every fourth American boy." Another referred to the Selective Service Act as "that goddamned bill." Last Saturday at the premiere of the government's morale broadcast, "This Is War", the Almanac Singers, now all-out for democracy and conscription, sang a number called "Round and Round Hitler's Grave. - New York Post February 17, 1942. In 1940, Millard Lampell, Lee Hays, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger formed an anti-war, anti-racism and pro-union singing group known as the Almanac Singers. As members of an American Popular Front (composed of liberals, leftists and Communists) they put aside their pacifist sentiments to join the fight against fascism. Pete Seeger died on January 27, 2014.
Japan Attacks Darwin Australia
https://youtu.be/OzCb86C2O0s On February 19, 1942 Japanese bombers attacked Darwin Australia. Although the main attack was on the harbor, a second wave struck many city buildings and killed ~243 people. Many Australians thought the bombing raid was a prelude to a Japanese invasion and its psychological impact exceeded its military significance.
The War at Sea
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=8NnGSafE7dQ#t=433 Kajiro Yamamoto's 1942 film Hawai Mare oki kaisen (The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya) reproduced the attack on Pearl Harbor with a miniature scale model. The special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya would later be involved in the creation of the extremely popular Godzilla films and the Ultraman TV series.
The Battle of L.A.
The Battle of Los Angeles – Santa Monica/Culver City On the morning of February 25, 1942 searchlights scanned the sky and air raid sirens wailed as anti-aircraft batteries in Inglewood, Santa Monica and other south bay Los Angeles locations opened fire on unidentified objects. Falling shrapnel and unexploded shells struck sidewalks, driveways and several homes. A blackout was ordered and civilians were told to stay indoors. Five deaths were reported in the area due to traffic accidents and heart attacks. No aircraft were ever identified.
Fear of West Coast Invasion
Shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, Japanese submarines began attacks on merchant ships off the U.S. West Coast. The American public's fear of an imminent Japanese invasion was palpable. Rumors of Japanese invasion fleets, troop landings, air attacks and secret Japanese air bases in California and Mexico were rampant. Although the logistical feasibility of an attack on the coast was negligible, Japan did subsequently invade the Aleutians, and the threat of a naval defeat was a distinct possibility.
Over 1500 Italian Americans designated "enemy aliens" by the FBI were arrested in WWII. About 250 of these were interned for up to two years in military camps in Montana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. In October 1942, after strong protests by Italian-American trade unions, labor councils and a sympathetic press, 600,000 unnaturalized Italians living in the United States were freed from the stigma of being alien enemies. They were now allowed to travel freely, own cameras and firearms, and were not required to carry ID cards. After Italy's surrender in September 1943, most of the remaining Italian American internees were released. The Italian Historical Society of America website describes the internment of Italian Americans in WWII.
At the outbreak of WWII, unlike the smaller population of Japanese Americans, the very large German American population made mass detention unfeasible. However, under the authority of the Alien Enemies Act of 1798, German enemy aliens, immigrants, visitors and a small number of naturalized or native-born German-American citizens were interned. German citizens in coastal areas were evicted on an individual basis. A total of 11,507 Germans and German-Americans were interned during the war, far less than the 110,000 Japanese-Americans interned. Also, over 4,500 ethnic Germans in fifteen Latin American countries suspected of subversive activities by the FBI were extradited and detained in the U.S. U.S. government WWII policies led to internment, repatriation and exchange of civilians of German ethnicity.
Japanese American Relocation
In February 1942 FDR signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the military to “prescribe military areas . . . from which any or all persons may be excluded... for protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities." As a result of this order ~110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of them born in the USA, were sent to camps in desolate Western locations. Although described as a precaution against espionage and sabotage, the implementation of this executive reflected strong anti-Japanese sentiments. In a 1943 report, Gen. John DeWitt, head of the Western Defense Command, stated that “racial characteristics” of Japanese Americans predisposed them to assist the invasion, and that it was “impossible” to distinguish loyal from disloyal Japanese American citizens, if there were any.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=s1u-GdEyfvQ On February 15, 1942, after only a week of fighting, Singapore, the British “Gibraltar of the East,” fell to the Japanese. The capitulation of ~ 80,000 British, Indian and Australian troops was the largest surrender in British military history.
Carole Lombard was a popular American actor, known for her screwball comedy roles. In January 1942, returning from a war bond rally, she was killed in an airplane crash. This vulgar, but interesting clip of out-takes from the 1936 film My Man Godfrey shows the swearing and common vernacular of the time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAP4qU4wJ8E#t=5
Wartime Rationing Begins in USA
In January 1942, the first consumer items to be rationed by the Office of Price Administration were tires. At the same time, the War Production Board ordered the temporary end of all civilian automobile sales. By February 1942, only certain professions, such as doctors and clergymen, qualified to purchase the remaining inventory of new automobiles. Automobile factories ceased the manufacture of all civilian models by early February 1942 and converted to producing tanks, aircraft, weapons, and other military products. Typewriters were rationed in March, and bicycles in May.
U-Boat Operation Drumbeat
After Germany declared war on the USA, Admiral Karl Dönitz diverted increasing numbers of U-boats from the North Atlantic to the American East Coast. The first U-boat attacks of Operation Drumbeat (Paukenschlag) commenced on January 13, 1942. Inexperienced in modern naval war off its own coast, the USA was slow to develop effective anti-submarine warfare (ASW) techniques. Black-outs were not enforced and there were insufficient resources for convoys (which had proved effective in British ASW in the North Atlantic). Additionally, it appears that advice from experienced British experts was either rejected or ignored. The U-boats had an enormously successful campaign they called die fröhliche Zeit (happy time) for most of 1942. U.S. Ships Sunk or Damaged on East Coast of U.S, and Gulf of Mexico During World War II East coast of U.S. 1941 (2 ships) East coast of U.S. 1942 (121 ships) Gulf of Mexico 1942 (42 ships) East coast of U.S. 1943 (22 ships) Gulf of Mexico 1943 (4 ships) East coast of U.S. 1944 (11 ships) East coast of U.S. 1945 (16 ships)
Army Nurse Corps
The Army Nurse Corps had fewer than 1,000 nurses on December 7, 1941 Six months after the Pearl Harbor attack, there were 12,000 nurses on duty in the Army Nurse Corps. Few of them had previous military experience, and the majority were unfamiliar with Army methods and protocol. In July 1943 the Army instituted a four-week training course for all newly commissioned nurses. Training stressed military organization and customs; field sanitation; and defense against air, chemical, and mechanized attack. From July 1943 through September 1945, approximately 27,330 nurses graduated from fifteen Army training centers. In addition, special training programs were developed for nurse anesthetists and psychiatric nurses who were in increasing demand. via The Army Nurse Corps.
Why Didn’t John Wayne Serve in WWII?
John Wayne acted in thirteen movies during WWII. At the time of Pearl Harbor, he was 34 years old and married with 4 children. While many established actors such as Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, and Clark Gable served on active duty, Wayne never did. Viewing Hollywood films as important to the war effort, California draft boards often gave actors deferments. Wayne obtained 3-A status, "deferred for [family] dependency reasons." In 1944, Wayne was reclassified as 2-A - "deferred in support of national interest." A month later the Selective Service Board reclassified him 1-A, but his studio appealed and he retained 2-A status until the end of the war. The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 instituted national conscription in peacetime, requiring registration of all men between 21 and 45, with selection for one year's service by a national lottery. The term of service was extended by one year in August 1941. After Pearl Harbor the term of service was extended for the duration of the war plus six months and required all men 18 to 64 years of age to register. In the massive draft of World War II, 50 million men from 18 to 45 were registered, 36 million classified, and 10 million inducted. What would happen if the United States returned to a draft?