An RAF Mothers WWII Diary Blog - November 1940-December 1941 - Anticipation and Alarms
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Keith Thibodeaux rated it liked it Aug 25, Because, while the extra time aided Britain, allowing for development of the Hurricane and Spitfire planes that defeated the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain two years later, the French army was stronger in relation to Germany in than they were two years later and Germany was able to recruit even more soldiers from the areas it conquered after Meanwhile, his son John got around a medical disqualification and went on to command a PT patrol torpedo boat in the Pacific, bolstering his future political opportunities.
With the Nazi-Soviet Pact of , Hitler was just stalling, giving his military time to catch its breath and grow stronger after taking Czechoslovakia and Austria. Hitler hoped to divide the USSR and acquire the oil fields of the Caucasus , in the southern part of the country. Of course, Stalin could argue that the Western Allies had tried to do the same to him at Munich in In his Obersalzberg Speech on the eve of the battle, Hitler laid out his ruthless ambition to expand German territory:.
Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality.
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Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter—with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness—for the present only in the East—with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language.
Only thus shall we gain the living space Lebensraum which we need. Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians? The Jewish child on the left is in the Warsaw Ghetto, where Germans rounded up almost the entire population and sent them to camps. Germany and Japan reinforced each other because Japan coveted the European-held colonies of Asia. When Germany revved its war engine again in May , they had an easier time invading France than they had in The city was largely on fire, with its fuel tanks exploded, but German forces halted outside Dunkirk hoping their Luftwaffe Stuka dive-bombers could finish the job.
Anticipating the upcoming Battle of Britain and seemingly willing to cut some losses, Churchill also refused to expose too many Royal Navy ships to U-boat attacks and mines to rescue the trapped forces. Within a matter of months, outnumbered, outgunned Nazis controlled two-thirds of France, setting up a collaborative government in the town of Vichy. Free French forces left the country to fight another day, while uncooperative citizens formed an underground resistance to courageously pester Nazis as best they could through railroad sabotage, car bombings, assassinations, etc.
Espionage became an important part of the war effort and the SOE often used unlikely agents as spies because they were less visible and likely to attract attention. One of their most important radio operators working behind German lines in France, for instance, was Noor Inayat Khan , daughter of a Parisian Sufi instructor. She won the George Cross, the highest civilian wartime honor in the United Kingdom.
The average life expectancy of radio operators behind enemy lines was six weeks and Khan died at Dachau concentration camp after relaying important messages for two years, refusing to relinquish details about her network even when tortured by interrogators. American-born jazz singer Josephine Baker was another unlikely spy working in Vichy France.
She relayed information in invisible ink on her sheet music and her profession offered a convenient cover for moving around the country. With Germany occupying most of France, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, and southeastern Europe after the Battle of Greece in April , they now controlled nearly the entire continent. Aircraft Spotter in London, St. The bombings were supposed to set the stage for a land invasion called Operation Sea Lion. Putnam Imperial War Museum. However, the British proved their superiority in manufacturing quantity. German engineering set the pace, but they valued quality over quantity whereas the RAF ramped up production, replacing their lost planes.
Spitfires were the fastest planes in Europe at the time, with their Rolls-Royce engines stronger than the Messerschmitts that had to slow down to escort Stuka dive-bombers, mitigating their advantage in terms of maneuverability. They only had ten minutes of combat to spare over England or risk ditching at sea. German pilot diaries written from their base in northern France indicate these trips back and forth grew wearisome as they feared going to their watery graves in the bottom of the Channel.
The Luftwaffe never eliminated enough British planes on the ground the way they had in short order against Poland in The Brits flew pilots from other occupied countries along with their own, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, the U.
The Germans underestimated their capacity to damage the radar stations because they mistakenly thought most of them were underground. The British had a horrifying, if brief, preview in World War I when giant German Zeppelins hovered over London dropping incendiary bombs, but they thwarted those attacks by blowing up the helium balloons. Unlike Paris or Berlin, London had a vulnerable approach from the English Channel by enemy pilots who merely had to follow the Thames River west a few miles inland. Eventually, the British built offshore radar-operated anti-aircraft batteries in the Thames Estuary and North Sea to block that route, some of which are still standing and hosted pirate radio in the s when the government limited airwaves to classical music.
According to one theory, the original German plan was strategic infrastructure bombing only, but one pilot accidentally dropped his payload on citizens in London. Churchill retaliated by bombing Berlin, leading to the harsher Blitz against Britain. Brits also got moral support over the airwaves.
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Lewis broadcast a series of Christian apologetics later compiled in Mere Christianity — still widely read in theology seminars and Sunday schools. The king and prime minister rallied the country politically. Churchill symbolized fortitude and resilience at a vulnerable time. Pilots had the most critical and dangerous high-profile job but many Brits, male and female and young and old, pitched in. Many women worked in munitions and building planes.
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Just to keep their chins up, the Ministry of Defense made posters to boost morale in the event of German occupation. Hitler finally gave up and decided to attack England with rockets launched from France as he focused his efforts on invading the USSR. Frustrated at their inability to defeat Britain through the air, Germany turned east and invaded the Soviet Union in June Operation Barbarossa , dishonoring the Nazi-Soviet Pact of Hitler had planned this all along, but only after defeating Britain first. Interwar America Winston Churchill desperately sought an American alliance. Despite its large German-American population, few Americans sided with Germany.
The Bund ran 25 summer camps where young Nazis could hunt and fish and, similar to the German Lebensborn , blonde teenagers were encouraged to mate with each other. Also, some American companies did business with the German Reich e. Hollywood, likewise, was hesitant at first to disrupt one of their best overseas markets.
MGM usually screened their movies with Nazi leaders to make sure they were acceptable. They squelched a handful of informative documentaries. Comedian Charlie Chaplin, who was born the same week as Hitler in and had a similar mustache, loathed Nazis all along, and the feeling was mutual.
Chaplin, in turn, brilliantly lampooned Hitler in The Great Dictator , that he even courageously hoped to debut in Berlin. But not all Americans approved of such provocative propaganda. Joseph Kennedy, Sr. In his opinion, Jewish Americans like the Warners were conspiring to lure the U. In , they even went so far as to outlaw American aid to any allies at war, with the third round of the Neutrality Acts. Various American groups opposed intervention, including most conservatives, Southern and Midwestern farmers, and liberal student peace activists at Ivy League schools who espoused strength at home but no help for allies overseas.
Offshoot groups of mothers with black veils lobbied congressmen to stay out of European affairs, with some yelling at them in the Capitol hallways and even spitting in their faces. America First spun war hawks as a conspiracy of Jews, liberals Roosevelts , and British. After all, the U. Many WWI veterans e.
Disney opposed any foreign intervention whatsoever. Some bars near military bases banned soldiers. Generals testified on Capitol Hill in mufti civilian clothes to avoid provoking pacifist congressmen. Contrast either of those last two points with today, when merely walking through an airport in uniform can elicit a spontaneous round of applause. Hitler appreciated America for many reasons, including its natural resources, industrial strength, and racism. He thought the hardiest type of Germans were the very ones who emigrated and helped settle America.
Against the wishes of the Pentagon, who feared the president would get impeached if the ploy failed, FDR maneuvered around the Neutrality Acts by sending Britain destroyers in exchange for little-used bases and with programs called Lend-Lease and Cash-And-Carry. FDR likened the program to lending a garden hose to a neighbor to put out a fire. When the neighbor was finished they could return it and, if it was damaged, they could compensate; in the meantime, the important thing was dousing the flames.
Britain, meanwhile, handed over eight of its North Atlantic and Caribbean bases to the U.
That was a big concession for Winston Churchill because, according to some, it accelerated the ultimate collapse of Britain as the leading world economic power. As we saw at the top of the chapter, the U. The Special Relationship between Britain and the U. Actors like Laurence Olivier promoted Lend Lease while radio and school curriculums taught Britons about American life, history, art, and popular music folk, blues, and jazz , avoiding topics like the Neutrality Act and labor strikes that interfered with weapons production.
Atlantic Convoy Routes, ca. Not only did the British make generous economic concessions to the U. Already, the year before , the Americans, British, and Canadians agreed to develop an atomic bomb with the Manhattan Project, hoping to beat Germany to the punch. Finally, the Neutrality Act evaporated altogether as the U. Even before the U. German U-boats were under strict orders to not fire on American naval ships so as to not entice the U.
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Still, the U. They were shipping Britain actual fire-hoses and extending aid generally. FDR was slowly and deftly drawing the U. During the campaign he promised the public that, despite Lend-Lease, no American boys would fight overseas as they had in the Great War. FDR also poached key hawks from a Republican Party divided between hawks and isolationists, preparing to assemble a bipartisan wartime cabinet for his third term.
FDR also accepted American responsibility for protecting or trying to protect the shipping lanes between North America and Iceland, taking some pressure off the Royal Navy. Months before direct involvement, the U. Back To Asia Meanwhile, the U. But the lobbies that stood to gain selling oil and metal to Japan were still dictating American policy, even as the U. During the Moscow Trials of concerning a Trotskyist plot to overthrow Joseph Stalin, it came to light that Japan was working with the rebels and hoped to sign an oil deal with the new Russian leaders.
That would relieve them of their dependence on American oil and allow them to stockpile reserves in the event of a future U. They either had to give up their imperial ambitions and retreat or go for broke and try to knock the U. He had studied and worked in the U. Japan resolved to deliver a preemptive knockout blow to the U. Of course, before we declare TR too much of a Nostradamus on this score, we should note that Pearl Harbor was the main American naval base in the Pacific.
Led by Admiral Harry Yarnell , the Navy ran their own mock raid on Pearl Harbor in on a Sunday morning, no less with biplanes taking off from aircraft carriers and dropping flares and flour sacks. In fact, Warner Brothers was shooting a movie called Across the Pacific about a fictional Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the fall of that they moved to the Panama Canal when the real attack occurred on December 7th. Navy and the American people…to such an extent that it cannot be recovered.
Alas, is that fate? Instead, six Japanese carriers were steaming toward Hawaii in an amazing feat of logistics. Sailing thousands of miles over rough seas, they had to refuel three times from supply tankers without breaking radio silence.
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As a decoy, Japanese diplomats flew to Washington to discuss a potential withdrawal from China. In Hawaii, Japanese tourists had gone up in planes and taken pictures of how the U. Navy arranged its boats and planes, huddled together for protection, so as to make them easier to guard. Unfortunately, that arrangement only made them more vulnerable to being destroyed in rapid succession. While U. The Japanese even positioned their boats in the same place and followed his route of flying in from the northern part of Oahu on a Sunday morning. On their way to Pearl Harbor, Japanese pilots were falsely told the U.
Ballentine Papers. Radar operators also picked up some signals but radar was new at the time and their commanders wrote off the signals as American boats and planes arriving from the mainland. Hundreds of sailors jumped off their boats into the harbor but much of it was covered with burning oil. The USS Oklahoma capsized, trapping its men underneath as water seeped into the compartments. When rescue workers cut through the hull later that night, their torches consumed what little oxygen was left.
When Hawaiians rushed to the bases to offer assistance, many were killed in an unfortunate case of misidentification and friendly fire. And they missed the repair depots that the Navy used to fix damaged ships. In fact, all the American ships damaged at Pearl Harbor were in service at the end of the war except the Arizona , Oklahoma , and Utah , whereas all the Japanese ships in the attack were sunk during the war.
For he hath offended my little ones, In their innocent happy play. But leave to Me the Vengeance, It is mine, I will repay. He planted them all in a garden fair, Where flows the River of Life. Where no storms come near, or death or fear, They will wait for those they left, And will welcome them in at the garden gate, United for evermore. Bombing at Noon of School at Lewisham. No Comments. Posted in Poems.