“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
During WWII, ~350,000 women served in the U.S. Armed Forces at home and abroad. Additionally, with many men leaving to enlist in the armed forces, the female percentage of the U.S. workforce increased from 27% in 1940 to 37% in 1945 when ~25% of married women worked outside the home.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 somewhat crude cartoon is worth watching to catch the feeling of Americans in the early stages of our involvement in WWII.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
In the history-inspired novel I am currently writing, Kapitänleutnant Reinhard Hardegen is the role model for my German U-Boat commander protagonist.
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 Antheil, 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
How different is our enemy? Many German Christmas-time customs are familiar to Americans.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Tender, sad, raw, lyrical, dramatic – I believe this film adaptation of James Jones‘ 1962 novel is the best WWII movie I have ever seen.
…”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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
This U.S. War Department training film uses racial stereotypes and suggests that Japanese aviation technology is merely a copy of more advanced Western aircraft.
Yankee Doodle Dandy, starring James Cagney, was a 1942 American musical biography of the great American entertainer George M. Cohan. The film won the 1943 Academy Awards for best leading actor, best music, scoring and sound recording.
This propaganda film with former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew narrating, was produced in 1942 by the U.S. Navy.
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 […]
German proficiency is not necessary to understand this newsreel of German troops on the winter front, British & American POWS, and German families at home at Christmas 1942.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
This 1942 Popeye cartoon exhibits many of the racial stereotypes that pervaded American perceptions of the Pacific War. It appears now the entire clip is banned from YouTube. Here is an excerpt:
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
During WWII in the USA, moviegoers could see twice-weekly newsreels produced by five major film companies to accompany the feature film.
Die Deutsche Wochenschau (German Weekly Review) was a weekly newsreel shown in German movie theaters throughout the war. Here victories on the eastern front, the Mediterranean and Atlantic are lauded.
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 […]
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 […]
Population of Major Combatants in 1942 USA 134,859,553 Great Britain 48,400,000 Australia 7,137,000 Canada 11,825,500 China 527,456,000 Russia 112,000,000 ———————————- Germany 72,620,000 Italy 45,387,000 Imperial Japan 72,300,000
A fascinating portrait of Berlin in Summer 1942. You don’t have to understand the German narrative to get it.
Movie star Veronica Lake was known for her sexy peek-a-boo hair style. Here she shows how to be safe in wartime.
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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; […]
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.
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
via Battlefield S4/E5 – The Battle of Guadalcanal – YouTube. This excellent 1 -1/2 hr. documentary is very much worth watching if you have the time.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Japanese propaganda posters and leaflets often characterized Allied leaders as demonic.
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.
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 […]
Watch these “bad girls” learn a lesson about patriotism and war time rationing. This is a great example of wartime government/film industry public service films.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
(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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
The fictional “Riverdale” teenagers Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie and Jughead, reportedly based on real people John L. Goldwater met in his travels through the Midwest, who debuted in the winter of 1942, are still being read today.
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 […]
The Imperial Japanese Navy was was the third largest navy in the world at the start of WWII. During the first years of the war the Imperial Japanese Navy dominated the Western Pacific.
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 […]
This 1942 U.S. propaganda film attempts to show the military and public why the USA became engaged in a world war against the Axis powers.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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. […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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.
Creating a neologism from the words saboteur and an ethnic slur for Japanese, the 1942 Famous Studios cartoon “Japoteurs” was typical of American propaganda during World War II.
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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) […]
Fearing a Japanese attack on the West Coast, the Rose Bowl (traditionally in Pasadena, CA) was played in Durham, N.C. on January 1, 1942. Duke lost to Oregon State, 20-16.
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 […]
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 […]
In July 1941, the Nationalist Chinese government severed diplomatic relations with Germany, Italy, and the other Axis Powers in support of the Allied war effort.