11 December 1943

11 December 1943

11 December 1943

December 1943

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War in the Air

Eighth Air Force Heavy Bomber Mission No. 151: 583 aircraft sent to attack industrial areas at Emden. 17 aircraft lost.



International Notes

From Fourth International, vol.4 No.11, December 1943, p.351.
Transcribed, marked up & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.

England

More News About Split in Glasgow CP

The split in the ranks of the Communist Party in Glasgow continue to grow. To the already reported developments a recent letter from a British Trotskyist adds the following:

“The latest bombshell for the Stalinists on the Clyde is that the Convenor of Shop Stewards in one of the largest factories in the area – a Communist Party member of some years standing – has publicly broken with Stalinism at a meeting of the workers in the plant.

“His resignation has not been accepted by the Stalinists on the ground that he had been operating under the pressure of the Trotskyist controlled Clyde Workers’ Committee! He has been followed by others. This is only the beginning. In London the crack is also beginning to appear.”

Militants Study Trotsky’s Books

The Case of Leon Trotsky is one of the books which are now playing an important role in the political education of those English militants who are moving away from the CP and towards the program of revolutionary socialism.

One Clyde militant writes:

“I have read the Case of Leon Trotsky twice, and not only is it an eye-opener but a complete re-education .

“Trotsky’s analysis of the world position is indubitably the dialectical and historical truth and is amazingly simple to grasp in comparison with the tortuous so-called policy of the so-called Communist Party. His summary on his own behalf is really the finest possible survey of the history of the world during the last twenty-five years – the world as a worker should see it.

“Prior to this it has always been my opinion that only a world war could give us the revolutionary situation on a large enough scale to be successful. Clearly, an extension of the struggle in Spain by the French proletariat – backed and guided by the Comintern, in a Bolshevik manner – could have dispensed with the capitalist war, and under favorable circumstances made use of the general European revolutionary situation to sovietize Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. The fresh revolutionary leadership of these countries would have rendered the bureaucratic leadership sterile and expedited the political revolution in the Soviet Union.

“The other major point is the criminal policy of ‘Popular Front’ as compared to the united front of all progressive proletarian and intellectual, petty bourgeois organizations, at least so long as we are going on the same road . ”

Mission To Moscow

A London letter supplies the information that early in August the Davies-Warner Brothers whitewash film, Mission To Moscow, was released in the provinces after a few weeks’ run at two London movie houses. Apparently the film proved as much of a box office flop in England as it did in the USA.

English Trotskyists, picketing the film, on the very first weekend “sold 7,000 penny supplements exposing the film.”

The English intellectuals and “left-wingers” have maintained a disgraceful silence. “Only the Glasgow Forward,” writes our correspondent, “and the Tribune were at all critical among the socialist press – the latter barely so.”

The New Leader, organ of the British ILP carried a review which contrived to omit any mention of the attack and frame-up against Trotsky and Trotskyism.

A protest by English Trotskyists to Fenner Brockway, leader of the ILP, elicited the following reply:

“I note what you say about Mission To Moscow. You will appreciate that I can’t hold myself in any way responsible to you for the contents of the New Leader, but as a matter of fact we are arranging to review the film Mission To Moscow more fully when it is generally released.”

The Davies film has done something unintended and unforeseen by its sponsors: it has revived interest in the Moscow Frameup Trials in England. The WIL group decided to publish 10,000 copies of Leon Trotsky’s I Stake My Life, together with a summary of the report of the Dewey Commission.

This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Trotskism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.


Born This Day In History 11th December

Celebrating Birthday's Today
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
Born: 11th December 1918 Kislovodsk, Russian SFSR
Died: August 3rd, 2008 Moscow, Russia
Known For :
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn is best known and remembered as a novelist, and historian who made the world aware of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system in his books "The Gulag Archipelago" and "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich". In 1970 Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and shortly after in 1974 he was exiled from the Soviet Union. Following his exile he lived first in West Germany then Switzerland, He then moved to the United States where he lived for the next 20 years where hew continued his writing working on his cyclical history of the Russian Revolution of 1917, The Red Wheel. Surprisingly among other things, he also condemned materialism in modern western culture, but did admire the political liberty which was one of the enduring strengths of western democratic societies. Following the return of his Soviet citizenship in 1994 he moved back to Moscow where he lived until his death in 2008.

Christina Onassis
Born: 11th December 1950 New York City, New York
Died: 19th November 1988 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Known For : The extrememly rich daughter of Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis and Athina Livanos. She was the apple of her fathers eye and he had the Christina O one of the world's longest private yachts at 325 feet 3 inches named after her. Following the death of her father she successfully ran the Onassis shipping empire after her father's death. What may not be as well known was she hated Jacqueline Kennedy believing her to be a gold digger only interested in her family's money.


May 5th, 1957 is a Sunday. It is the 125th day of the year, and in the 18th week of the year (assuming each week starts on a Monday), or the 2nd quarter of the year. There are 31 days in this month. 1957 is not a leap year, so there are 365 days in this year. The short form for this date is 5/5/1957.

This site provides an online date calculator to help you find the difference in the number of days between any two calendar dates. Simply enter the start and end date to calculate the duration of any event. You can also use this tool to determine how many days have passed since your birthday, or measure the amount of time until your baby's due date. The calculations use the Gregorian calendar, which was created in 1582 and later adopted in 1752 by Britain and the eastern part of what is now the United States. For best results, use dates after 1752 or verify any data if you are doing genealogy research. Historical calendars have many variations, including the ancient Roman calendar and the Julian calendar. Leap years are used to match the calendar year with the astronomical year. If you're trying to figure out the date that occurs in X days from today, switch to the Days From Now calculator instead.


11 December 1943 - History

Episode Two: &ldquoWhen Things Get Tough&rdquo
January 1943 - December 1943

To liberate German-occupied Europe, the Allies started by invading Africa in November 1942, fighting the Germans in French Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. As the German and Italian armies retreated eastward, the Allies gained a launching pad for their invasion of Sicily and then Italy. By September 1943, the U.S. Fifth Army had landed at Salerno, just south of Naples, and after initial heavy resistance, the Americans moved inland to join British forces.


"They invited all of the troops—American British, French—to march in full uniform."

"Yesterday German planes bombed the rear command post hitting two fellows in headquarters company."

"I avoided looking at the dead GI that I passed on the way to the slit trench."

"And the Germans wired back, 'Do you realize you're gassing us?'"

"There was rumor that we were going home but General Terry Allen made a speech. "

"I'm proud of one thing . I didn't lose any lives."

"It's hard to work on a piece of equipment when you're being shot at."

"You're happy you're home, but you're sad for your brother and your friends that you left over there . "

"On my 16th mission, May 11th, 1943, my luck almost ran out. Catania, Sicily, was the target."

". he said, ‘Lieutenant, we don't make mistakes.’ And I said, ‘Thank you, sir.’"


The 11 Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in History

History has seen some monstrous eruptions of volcanoes, from Mount Pinatubo's weather-cooling burp to the explosion of Mt. Tambora, one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago.

The power of such eruptions is measured using the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) a classification system developed in the 1980 that's somewhat akin to the magnitude scale for earthquakes. The scale goes from 1 to 8, and each succeeding VEI is 10 times greater than the last.

There haven't been any VEI-8 volcanoes in the last 10,000 years, but human history has seen some powerful and devastating eruptions. Because it's extremely difficult for scientists to be able to rank the strength of eruptions in the same VEI category, here we present the 10 most powerful volcanoes within the last 4,000 years (within human records) first in order of strength, then within each category, in chronological order.

But let's start with a supervolcano eruption surprisingly close to home, registering a magnitude-8, from our distant past.

1. Yellowstone eruption, 640,000 years ago (VEI 8)

The entire Yellowstone National Park is an active volcano rumbling beneath visitors' feet. And it has erupted with magnificent strength: Three magnitude-8 eruptions rocked the area as far back as 2.1 million years ago, again 1.2 million years ago and most recently 640,000 years ago. "Together, the three catastrophic eruptions expelled enough ash and lava to fill the Grand Canyon," according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In fact, scientists discovered a humongous blob of magma stored beneath Yellowstone, a blob that if released could fill the Grand Canyon 11 times over, the researchers reported on April 23, 2013, in the journal Science.

The latest of the trio of supervolcano eruptions created the park's huge crater, measuring 30 by 45 miles across (48 by 72 kilometers).

The chance of such a supervolcano eruption happening today is about one in 700,000 every year, Robert Smith, a seismologist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, told Live Science previously.

2. Huaynaputina, 1600 (VEI 6)

This peak was the site of South America's largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. The explosion sent mudflows as far as the Pacific Ocean, 75 miles (120 km) away, and appears to have affected the global climate. The summers following the 1600 eruption were some of the coldest in 500 years. Ash from the explosion buried a 20-square-mile (50-square-km) area to the mountain's west, which remains blanketed to this day.

Although Huaynaputina, in Peru, is a lofty 16,000 feet (4,850 meters), it's somewhat sneaky as volcanoes go. It stands along the edge of a deep canyon, and its peak doesn't have the dramatic silhouette often associated with volcanoes.

The 1600 cataclysm damaged the nearby cities of Arequipa and Moquengua, which only fully recovered more than a century later.

3. Krakatoa, 1883 (VEI 6)

The rumblings that preceded the final eruption of Krakatoa (also spelled Krakatau) in the weeks and months of the summer of 1883 finally climaxed with a massive explosion on April 26-27. The explosive eruption of this stratovolcano, situated along a volcanic island arc at the subduction zone of the Indo-Australian plate, ejected huge amounts of rock, ash and pumice and was heard thousands of miles away.

The explosion also created a tsunami, whose maximum wave heights reached 140 feet (40 meters) and killed about 34,000 people. Tidal gauges more than 7,000 miles (11,000 km) away on the Arabian Peninsula even registered the increase in wave heights.

While the island that once hosted Krakatoa was completely destroyed in the eruption, new eruptions beginning in December 1927 built the Anak Krakatau ("Child of Krakatau") cone in the center of the caldera produced by the 1883 eruption. Anak Krakatau sporadically comes to life, building a new island in the shadow of its parent.

4. Santa Maria Volcano, 1902 (VEI 6)

The Santa Maria eruption in 1902 was one of the largest eruptions of the 20th century. The violent explosion in Guatemala came after the volcano had remained silent for roughly 500 years, and left a large crater, nearly a mile (1.5 km) across, on the mountain's southwest flank.

The symmetrical, tree-covered volcano is part of a chain of stratovolcanoes that rises along Guatemala's Pacific coastal plain. It has experienced continuous activity since its last blast, a VEI 3, which occurred in 1922. In 1929, Santa Maria spewed forth a a pyroclastic flow (a fast-moving wall of scalding gas and pulverized rock), which claimed hundreds of lives and may have killed as many as 5,000 people.

5. Novarupta, 1912 (VEI 6)

The eruption of Novarupta one of a chain of volcanoes on the Alaska Peninsula, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, was the largest volcanic blast of the 20th century. The powerful eruption sent 3 cubic miles (12.5 cubic km) of magma and ash into the air, which fell to cover an area of 3,000 square miles (7,800 square km) in ash more than a foot deep.

6. Mount Pinatubo, 1991 (VEI 6)

A stratovolcano located in a chain of volcanoes in Luzon, Philippines, created along a subduction zone, the cataclysmic eruption of Pinatubo was a classic explosive eruption.

The eruption ejected more than 1 cubic mile (5 cubic kilometers) of material into the air and created a column of ash that rose up 22 miles (35 km) in the atmosphere. Ash fell across the countryside, even piling up so much that some roofs collapsed under the weight.

The blast also spewed millions of tons of sulfur dioxide and other particles into the air, which were spread around the world by air currents and caused global temperatures to drop by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.5 degree Celsius) over the course of the following year.

7. Ambrym Island, 50 AD (VEI 6 +)

The 257-square-mile (665-square-km) volcanic island, part of the Republic of Vanuatu, a tiny nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, witnessed one of the most impressive eruptions in history, one that sent a wave of scalding ash and dust down the mountain and formed a caldera 7.5 miles (12 km) wide.

The volcano has continued to be one of the most active in the world. It has erupted close to 50 times since 1774, and has proved a dangerous neighbor for the local population. In 1894, six people were killed by volcanic bombs and four people were overtaken by lava flows, and in 1979, acid rainfall caused by the volcano burned some inhabitants.

8. Ilopango Volcano, 450 AD (VEI 6 +)

Although this mountain in central El Salvador, just a few miles east of the capital city San Salvador, has experienced only two eruptions in its history, the first known eruption was a doozy. It blanketed much of central and western El Salvador with pumice and ash, and destroyed early Mayan cities, forcing inhabitants to flee.

Trade routes were disrupted, and the centers of Mayan civilization shifted from the highland areas of El Salvador to lowland areas to the north and in Guatemala.

The summit's caldera is now home to one of El Salvador's largest lakes.

9. Mount Thera, approx. 1610 B.C. (VEI 7)

Geologists think that the Aegean Islands volcano Thera exploded with the energy of several hundred atomic bombs in a fraction of a second. Though there are no written records of the eruption, geologists think it could be the strongest explosion ever witnessed.

The island that hosted the volcano, Santorini (part of an archipelago of volcanic islands in Greece), had been home to members of the Minoan civilization, though there are some indications that the inhabitants of the island suspected the volcano was going to blow its top and evacuated. But though those residents might have escaped, there is cause to speculate that the volcano severely disrupted the culture, with tsunamis and temperature declines caused by the massive amounts of sulfur dioxide it spewed into the atmosphere that altered the climate.

10. Changbaishan Volcano, 1000 AD (VEI 7)

Also known as the Baitoushan Volcano, the eruption spewed volcanic material as far away as northern Japan, a distance of approximately 750 miles (1,200 kilometers). The eruption also created a large caldera nearly 3 miles (4.5 km) across and a half-mile (nearly 1 km) deep at the mountain's summit. It is now filled with the waters of Lake Tianchi, or Sky Lake, a popular tourist destination both for its natural beauty and alleged sightings of unidentified creatures living in its depths.

Located on the border of China and North Korea, the mountain last erupted in 1702, and geologists consider it to be dormant. Gas emissions were reported from the summit and nearby hot springs in 1994, but no evidence of renewed activity of the volcano was observed.

11. Mt. Tambora, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia - 1815 VEI 7

The explosion of Mount Tambora is the largest ever recorded by humans, ranking a 7 (or "super-colossal") on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, the second-highest rating in the index. The volcano, which is still active, is one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago.

The eruption reached its peak in April 1815, when it exploded so loudly that it was heard on Sumatra Island, more than 1,200 miles (1,930 km) away. The death toll from the eruption was estimated at 71,000 people, and clouds of heavy ash descended on many far-away islands.


11 December 1943 - History

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AHC: Allied victory by December 1943

1) As long as the Germans are stopped somewhere in France before remaining French industrial/military capacity gets too weak to stabilize the front long term, it's possible, moreso if the US somehow enters the war early (which is however pretty hard). Most plausible.

2) After that, it's really difficult to achieve on the Western side because victory is dependent on being able to land in France and outmatching the Germans sufficiently to get victory in time. That's not something the British can really do on their own, even with a more effective/earlier rearmament (that you need to keep low enough to not get back to 1) ). It's probably too late if you land in Spring/Summer 1943, and too hard in 1941 (even 42). You would probably need to avoid Italian and Japanese entry into the war, and/or get an early American entry. Very implausible.

3) On the Soviet side, you'd probably need to avoid a lot of the surrenders/encirclements AND stop the Germans before they force you to move a lot of the factories back. It might then be possible to win by December 1943. Implausible because of all the problems the Soviets had.

Cryhavoc101

POD: Have France not lose in 1940 - perhaps events in the late 1930s results in a improved rearmament of France (as well as the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands)

Have Hitler back down at Munich in the face of an in stringent France

Hitler running out of time then has to move on Poland and / or Czechoslovakia in order to maintain power in 39.

A more 'chad' France invades Germany when it does so and while Poland falls pretty much as OTL - maybe a bit longer as no Pz35s and 38s and forces needed to be maintained on the Czechoslovakian boarder - France occupies much more of Germany threatening the Ruhr

In early 1940 Germany launches its campaign in the West - Invading the Netherlands, Belgium and attempting to Kick the French out of Germany as well as invading Czechoslovakia (a Slovakian 'uprising' slightly hamstrings the Czechoslovakians who find themselves attacked from all sides)

Belgium joins the '2nd Entente' earlier allowing for the BEF and French forces to reinforce them allowing the Dyle plan to effectively take place with several months available to dig in and sort out planning and logistics etc.

Realising that they are going to be attacked the Netherlands also joins at the 11th hour and BEF / French forces take up positions along the Peel line allowing Dutch forces to concentrate further north.

Despite this the Northern Netherlands is largely overrun in the first month, French forces in Germany are almost completed pushed back into France but Belgium holds as does much of the Peel line defences.

But the next few months is something of a stalemate with ammo expenditure being far higher on all sides than anticipated and losses in all the air forces nearly crippling

Only in Czechoslovakia does the German Army enjoy success with the majority of the country overrun by July

What is telling in this time is the ability of the French and British industries to replace aircraft and vehicle losses - outbuilding the Germans over 3:1 in aircraft by the end of the Summer and 4:1 in AFVs

July 1940 is a high water mark for the Germans and the year ends with little change to the frontlines

(Italy so far keeps its neck wound in except for a short war with Greece)

Note ITTL there is no invasion of Belgium or Norway which results in an effective blockade of iron ore from Narvik in the winter months by the Royal Navy. There is no Japanese occupation of FIC as the French are still in the game!

And as such no US sanctions.

The Spring of 1941 sees the BEF now 32 Divisions Strong plus 8 Commonwealth Divisions launch its invasion of occupied Netherlands

The offensive while largely failing in its objectives in the face of then better German leadership does tie down significant mobile elements of the Heer and 2 months later a major French attack restores much of the area they had previously occupied in Germany once again threatening the Ruhr valley.

A gradual build up of Russian forces in Poland following Russia's expensive defeat of Finland over the winter does not go unnoticed, nor does a smaller but similar build up of forces on the Italian boarder with 'Germany' also not go unnoticed (nor Mussolini getting more 'chummy' with the 2nd Entente and agreeing to cut off trade etc with the Germans)

Most of the rest of the year sees increasingly desperate battles as the Heer spread far too thin with increasing numbers of 'fronts' fends off a series of 2nd Entente Offensives

By the end of the year the joke in the Heer is that aircraft can be identified as following - British Aircraft are black, French ones are Blue and German ones are invisible (such are the losses sustained)

This is not strictly fair to the Luftwaffe which would fight very hard to the end but was increasingly hamstrung by heavy losses in the first 2 years of the war and the inability of the then aircraft industry to replace losses and the ability to train enough pilots.

The British in particular are now reaping the benefit of the 'PLAN' which is now providing sufficient pilots to more than replace losses and the now mature Shadow scheme producing more than enough aircraft for not just their own RAF but also the Netherlands and Belgium airforces.

French production while still not as mature is boosted by the seriously ramping up of US production providing 1000s of aircraft - mostly to the French - by the end of the year.

Notable is the number of US 'volunteers' now serving in the Entente forces (mostly the French armed forces)

This sees the Entente outnumbering the Luftwaffe by almost 5:1 in front line Aircraft

This year sees 3 serious attempts on Hitler's life - the last of which seriously injures him and results in a major witch hunt / purge among the Heers Officer class forcing many senior German officers to go into hiding (guilty or not).

This would have serious repercussions going into 1942.

A Christmas offensive sees a major German armoured force trying to punch through the Peel line towards Antwerp that ultimately fails with the 2nd Australian Imperial Corps making a bit of a legend for itself in the process.

Even if it does get somewhat overblown by Australians even to this day

The Entente does not appreciate it at the time but the land and air offensive has all but exhausted what was left of the German Reserves and the planned Spring offensive - a 2nd attempt to liberate the Netherlands is far more successful this time round. especially after the Frisian Islands are recaptured.

Offensives by the Entente from Belgium, the Peel line and the French occupied Germany locations during the summer overrun the Ruhr and by Autumn the German front line is effectively a line from Bremen to Munich where the Entente having outrun its logistics and many Armys having suffered heavy losses in urban fighting pause.

Some one in the German Elite finally manages to bump off Hitler in Oct 42 - 3 days after the USA officially declared war and 1 day after Italy joined the Entente and after a week of very confused inter faction fighting the 'plotters' largely manage to wrest control of Germany from the Nazis and immediately seek a ceasefire

Initially their terms are quite frankly ridiculous and the Entente keeps on fighting into Nov with the Italians invading in what was Austria.

In the East it is clear that Stalin seeing the war coming to a conclusion seeks to take advantage and Nov sees several clashes on the internal Polish border

Fearing that this is a prelude to an attack the German Junta starts asking for more reasonable terms and the Entente leaders fearing the same agree to an 'Armistice'

While the war does not officially end until March 1943 (with Germany having to accept quite severe terms) apart from some skirmishes fighting ends in Nov 42.

Western Poland is formed at the same time with French, British, Netherland and US troops (who began arriving in numbers in 43) guaranteeing its independence, but Eastern Poland, the Baltic States and Finland remaining a puppet of the USSR into the 70s.

Czechoslovakia is restored (later breaking up into the Czech rep and Slovakian Rep in 1955) as is Austria with some border changes to address local concerns.

In the East Japan who (it can now be revealed today) had been making plans to take advantage of the 'European war' suddenly finds itself in 1943 under the baleful gaze of 5 Empires each with a resurgent industry 4 of them providing China with a staggering amount of arms and equipment as well as 'volunteers'.

Japan starts to make plans to wind down its war with China down and the Japanese are effectively ejected from mainland china by 1947 following several periods of peace, crippling sanctions and several equally staggering defeats by the NRA with the KMT gaining full and complete control over China having crushed the Communists during the same period.


Dec.16, 1943: Oh Be Joyful Tyler goes into the giving advice business but he's not doing it for nothing

The fellow who is free from dope the fellow who never uses tea, coffee, sugar, salt, milk, tobacco, alcoholic liquor or eats dead animals the fellow, in short, who has driven the same Morgan horse from New Hampshire to California, using four different wagons and six mates and stayed overnight and at dinner with 200 ranchers, is going into the advice business.

For the sum of one dollar, Oh Be Joyful Tyler, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, who is all the things mentioned above, will dispense valuable advice on any subject. He says so on a card in fact, on 10,000 cards, printed blue on one side and red on the other. So far he’s gotten only 10 cards back, but he sees something in this volume of return which is somewhat obscure to the layman and plans to have another 10,000 printed immediately.

Oh Be Joyful views the whole project with an ethereal non-commercial air which makes the dollar seem quite incidental. After all, he points out, most of us fail to keep in touch with friends we meet on trains, busses, airplanes and Morgan horses. But if you have a card to leave with them, the friendship can be preserved.

Oh Be says one man wanted to preserve their friendship but apparently wanted to preserve it at the bargain rates by sending two questions and only one dollar. Oh Be immediately thought out the answer to one of the questions and sent it off with the companionable footnote that as soon as the second dollar arrived, he would be delighted to answer the second question. As yet, the friendship isn’t any riper.

To help him out with his answers, Oh Be is interested in finding a wife who can take shorthand in the dark — he does his best thinking in bed, but finds it annoying to have to turn on the light every time he wants to record a thought hot off the cerebrum. That isn’t all he wants in a wife, but it will do as a basis for further negotiation.

Oh Be is reluctant to reveal what questions or answers he has dealt with to date for fear the questioner will go away owing him a dollar, but he will give 35-cent hints for free, such as the fact that one person has asked him what he should look for in a mate and another how to make money on the stock market. He answered both. For two bucks you can find out how.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.


11 December 1943 - History

D ecember seventh, 1941: the surprise was complete. The attacking planes came in two waves the first hit its target at 7:53 AM, the second at 8:55. By 9:55 it was all over. By 1:00 PM the carriers that launched the planes from 274 miles off the coast of Oahu were heading back to Japan.

Poster commemorating
the attack, 1942
Behind them they left chaos, 2,403 dead, 188 destroyed planes and a crippled Pacific Fleet that included 8 damaged or destroyed battleships. In one stroke the Japanese action silenced the debate that had divided Americans ever since the German defeat of France left England alone in the fight against the Nazi terror.

Approximately three hours later, Japanese planes began a day-long attack on American facilities in the Philippines. (Because the islands are located across the International Dateline, the local Philippine time was just after 5 AM on December 8.) Farther to the west, the Japanese struck at Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand in a coordinated attempt to use surprise in order inflict as much damage as quickly as possible to strategic targets.

Although stunned by the attack at Pearl Harbor, the Pacific Fleet's aircraft carriers, submarines and, most importantly, its fuel oil storage facilities emerged unscathed. These assets formed the foundation for the American response that led to victory at the Battle of Midway the following June and ultimately to the total destruction of the Japanese Empire four years later.

The battleships moored along "Battleship Row" are the primary target of the attack's first wave. Ten minutes after the beginning of the attack a bomb crashes through the Arizona's two armored decks igniting its magazine. The explosion rips the ship's sides open like a tin can starting a fire that engulfs the entire ship. Within minutes she sinks to the bottom taking 1,300 lives with her. The sunken ship remains as a memorial to those who sacrificed their lives during the attack. Marine Corporal E.C. Nightingale was aboard the Arizona that fateful Sunday morning:

"We stood around awaiting orders of some kind. General Quarters sounded and I started for my battle station in secondary aft. As I passed through casement nine I noted the gun was manned and being trained out. The men seemed extremely calm and collected. I reached the boat deck and our anti-aircraft guns were in full action, firing very rapidly. I was about three quarters of the way to the first platform on the mast when it seemed as though a bomb struck our quarterdeck. I could hear shrapnel or fragments whistling past me. As

A captured Japanese photo shows
Battleship Row under attack.
Hickam Field burns in the distance
soon as I reached the first platform, I saw Second Lieutenant Simonson lying on his back with blood on his shirt front. I bent over him and taking him by the shoulders asked if there was anything I could do. He was dead, or so nearly so that speech was impossible. Seeing there was nothing I could do for the Lieutenant, I continued to my battle station.

"When I arrived in secondary aft I reported to Major Shapley that Mr. Simonson had been hit and there was nothing to be done for him. There was a lot of talking going on and I shouted for silence which came immediately. I had only been there a short time when a terrible explosion caused the ship to shake violently. I looked at the boat deck and everything seemed aflame forward of the mainmast. I reported to the Major that the ship was aflame, which was rather needless, and after looking about, the Major ordered us to leave.

"I was the last man to leave secondary aft because I looked around and there was no one left. I followed the Major down the port side of the tripod mast. The railings, as we ascended, were very hot and as we reached the boat deck I noted that it was torn up and burned. The bodies of the dead were thick, and badly burned men were heading for the quarterdeck, only to fall apparently dead or badly wounded. The Major and I went between No. 3 and No. 4 turret to the starboard side and found Lieutenant Commander Fuqua ordering the men over the side and assisting the wounded. He seemed exceptionally calm and the Major stopped and they talked for a moment. Charred bodies were everywhere.

"I made my way to the quay and started to remove my shoes when I suddenly found myself in the water. I think the concussion of a bomb threw me in. I started swimming for the pipe line which was about one hundred and fifty feet away. I was about half way when my strength gave out entirely. My clothes and shocked

The USS Shaw explodes
condition sapped my strength, and I was about to go under when Major Shapley started to swim by, and seeing my distress, grasped my shirt and told me to hang to his shoulders while he swam in.

"We were perhaps twenty-five feet from the pipe line when the Major's strength gave out and I saw he was floundering, so I loosened my grip on him and told him to make it alone. He stopped and grabbed me by the shirt and refused to let go. I would have drowned but for the Major. We finally reached the beach where a marine directed us to a bomb shelter, where I was given dry clothes and a place to rest."

References:
Lord, Walter, Day of Infamy (1957), Prange, Gordon, At Dawn We Slept (1981), Wallin, VAdm. Homer N. Pearl Harbor: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal (1968).


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