1941

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The Palace of Westminster is "Blown to Smithereens"

"We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us."
-- Winston Churchill on the plans to rebuild the House of Commons. [1]

Well... it hasn't entirely been blown to smithereens. Much of the Palace can be saved but not all of it. The House of Commons and Westminster Hall have been hit hard during the German bombing raid. Three people have been killed and two incendiary bombs have hit. This forces the firefighters to make a choice because they cannot save both the House of Commons (completed almost 90 years ago) and Westminster Hall (completed over 800 years ago). The decision makes itself. They will rebuild the House of Commons a few years later while restoring the major elements of the original design. [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is difficult to convey in words what the British people were going through night after night during the Blitz. (The V-1 and V-2 rockets didn't come online for another 3 years.) The air raid siren would sound, and people would head for the shelters or the underground (subway). None of it would matter if you got a direct hit, so you waited to see if you would live or die. Those people were tough, but frankly... what choice did they have? For a better idea of what they went through, I suggest reading the science fiction novels "Blackout" and "All Clear" by Connie Willis. Time-traveling historians are trapped in London during the Blitz and during the evacuation of Dunkirk. There was a lot more going on inside of people than that "stiff upper lip" stuff. Connie Willis interviewed people who went through the Blitz and many of their personalities appear within "Blackout" and "All Clear". [5] [6]

Negotiating for Peace while Preparing for War

"We'd rather not fight at all. We think we should try our best to negotiate, and only when we're pushed to the edge shall we fight."
-- Japanese General Sugiyama, attempting to convince the Emperor of his plan to win a war with the USA.

Most people in the United States anticipate a war with Germany. Most Japanese anticipate a war with the United States, primarily because the Japanese media is state-controlled, and they have blamed the United States for the poor economic state of Japan. In some ways the USA is to blame, but the Japanese media has done its job too well. The US ambassador is now carrying a six-shooter. (He feels a little foolish, but he can sense the danger.) The Emperor has endorsed preparations for war while negotiating for peace, but he CLEARLY WANTS PEACE. However, when a nation is preparing for war, the tempo of activity increases. These changes are easily seen from a hotel window or merchant ship. While the diplomats negotiate, it seems as if Japan is drawing its sword. Also there is a lot of confusion in the translation of Japanese into English which make the Japanese diplomats sound like liars. That is why FDR has rebuffed SOME of Japan's proposals. However, to Japan, FDR's response looks like economic war. FDR doesn't realize it, but Japan has set a deadline on negotiations, and the time is up. [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It sounds like a Tom Clancy novel where the foolish politicians are telling their fellows, "Don't worry. We can always pull back the troops!" But there is a momentum to war that pulls everyone forward. I have tried not to excuse the Japanese. Nor do I want to portray them as the "Yellow Peril". They are adults. They decided to move into China and Vietnam, placing themselves in opposition to the United States. They knew what that meant for a future conflict. They placed their military on a hair-trigger. When you do that, it is your responsibility to let the other guy know that you are going to shoot him if this little talk doesn't turn out OK. When the war was over, the Japanese people were mortified and angry at what the military had put them through.... the ones that had survived, anyway. [8]

Learning More about the Holocaust

I suggest watching the movie "Shoah" (1985) by Claude Lanzmann. The movie has no terrible scenes of suffering. No marching Nazis. No piles of shoes or eyeglasses or hair. It is a simple interview film. Lanzmann traveled Europe asking questions and filming the answers. No accusations. Simple questions like, "What did you see, hear, smell?" "Did you know any Jews?" "What did they tell you was going on?" "Where did the Jews live?" "Where did they go?" The answers are simple and often devastating. You look in their eyes and you can feel what they feel. Many are glad to talk, but then the conversation suddenly turns, and you realize it could happen again... at least with these people. It is not over. [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I have avoided detailing what has been happening during the Holocaust in this history segment, just as I've avoided a lot of detail with many subjects. This is not a history podcast, but there are lessons to learn, not from the truly evil because those people are too easily dismissed. It is more important to understand the average person. A lot of the systems that we thought would keep us safe failed us. Science failed us in eugenics. Religion failed us when it was subverted by government. Those are the lessons for me... to use science for good, but not make science my God. To use government for good, but not too good. And to use my religion to help me find God, but not allow the clergy to become my only path to God.

World War 2 in Review

  • A rumor about Japan's plan to attack Pearl Harbor is going around.: Washington D.C. is notified. [10]
  • "Give us the tools, and we will finish the job." -- Winston Churchill to the United States.
  • The USA "lends/leases" ships to Britian: More "lending" than leasing. [11]
  • Manhattan Project: Plutonium is discovered!. They are going to need it. [12]
  • The "Rats of Tobruk" hold against Rommel.: The Nazis call the Australians "Rats" and the Australians like the name! [13]
  • Quisling becomes Premier of Norway and a Nazi collaborator: Thus the word "quisling" enters the English language. [14]
  • The USA rounds up 100,000 Japanese-Americans.: (Are we at war with Japan?) [15]
  • Bob Hope performs his first USO Show: (Are we at war?).
  • A German U-boat is captured with an intact Enigma cypher machine!.
  • Deputy Fürer Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland on a mission of peace.: But he has no diplomatic power. [16]
  • Hitler launches "Operation Barbarossa" against the Soviets: The Barbarossa myth has Germany returning to its ancient glory.
  • Ho Chi Minh enters an alliance to throw off Vietnam's oppressors.: So it begins.
  • FDR declares an "unlimited national emergency"... "within the limits of peacetime authorizations": What?. [17]
  • Hitler asks for a "Final Solution" to the Jewish question.: He is asking by what method should he murder all the Jews?
  • Zyklon B is used at Auschwitz to gas the Soviet prisoners.: First they came for the socialists...
  • Nazis and Ukrainian collaborators murder 33,000 Jews.: The Jews believed they were being relocated. [18]
  • The Lockheed P-38E Lightning rolls off the line..
  • The second warning message of a coming attack by Japan.: It is November 17th, but this is not the only indicator.
  • FDR declares financial war on Japan.: He knows that the Japanese are going to strike but not where. [19]
  • Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Hawaii!: The attack is directed by a battleship commander, so he hits the soon-to-be obsolete battleships first. (This is a critical error.)
  • "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." -- FDR to a Joint session of Congress, December 8th. [20]
  • IT'S WAR!
  • Japanese subs fire on American shipping along the West Coast.. The Japanese submarine scare is on. [21]

Notable Births

  • In Politics (All Living): Bernie Sanders, Dick and Lynne Cheney, and Jesse Jackson. [22]
  • Richard Dawkins (Living): evolutionary biologist and critic of religion. [22]
  • Charles Whitman: University of Texas Clock Tower sniper. (He had a brain tumor.) [22]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- In Music (All Living): Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, and Joan Baez. [22]
  • -- More in Music (All Living): Paul Simon, and Art Garfunkel. [22]
  • -- Yet More in Music (All Living): Helen Reddy and Tom Fogerty. [23]

**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

This Year in Film

  • Sergeant York: #1 grossing film. [24]
  • The 47 Ronin: (Japan) War-motivating film. [24]
  • Dumbo: (animated) A sub-plot to the movie "1941" starring Jim Belushi. [24] [25]

This Year in Music

  • Chattanooga Choo Choo: The Glenn Miller Band. [26]
  • God Bless the Child: Billie Holiday. [26]
  • Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy: The Andrew Sisters. (Recorded a year before the USA entered the War. Hmmm.) [26] [27]

In Other News

  • Cheerios in introduced.. [28]
  • Commercial television begins: The FCC approves NBC to run commercials. The first is for Bulova watches. [28]
  • The first programmable computer is on display: The Z4 is as big as a raft. No relation to Zilog's Z80 series. [28] [29] [30]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1941, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Winston Churchill - Wikiquote. en.wikiquote.org (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”
  2. Palace of Westminster: Recent history - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 March 2015. “The worst raid took place in the night of 10/11 May 1941, when the Palace took at least twelve hits and three people were killed. An incendiary bomb hit the chamber of the House of Commons and set it on fire; another set the roof of Westminster Hall alight. The firefighters could not save both, and a decision was taken to try to rescue the Hall.”
  3. Andrew Keen. The Internet Is Not the Anwer. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 9780802123138. “And yet it was Churchill who, to inaugurate the reconstructed British House of Commons after it had been, as he put it, "blown to smithereens" in May 1941 by bombs dropped from German aircraft, originally said in October 1941 that "we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us."” 
  4. We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.. Wikiquote (October 28, 1943). Retrieved on 8 March 2015. “Speech to the House of Commons (October 28, 1943), on plans for the rebuilding of the Chamber (destroyed by an enemy bomb May 10, 1941), in Never Give In! : The best of Winston Churchill's Speeches (2003), Hyperion, p. 358 ISBN 1401300561
  5. Connie Willis. Blackout. Spectra. ISBN 9780345519832. 
  6. Connie Willis. All Clear. Spectra. ISBN 9780553807677. 
  7. Toland, John Willard. Rising Sun: Volume 1, the Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945, The. Random House. 
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: My remarks come from my reading of John Toland's Rising Sun. I read both volumes and loved them, but they are from the 1970s so I tried reading a modern history book on the war with Japan. I was dissatisfied and a little uncomfortable with the critical nature of the narrative. Whether they realized it or not they were taking a "Yellow Peril" perspective to the Japanese. While I have no love for the Japanese nationals of those days, I am only willing to blame individuals for their crimes and not condemn an entire people.
  9. Claude Lanzmann - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “Claude Lanzmann (born 27 November 1925) is a French filmmaker known for the Holocaust documentary film Shoah (1985).”
  10. Joseph Grew - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 29 January 2017. “On January 27, 1941, Grew secretly cabled the United States with information gathered from Ricardo Rivera Screiber, Peruvian Minister to Japan, that 'Japan military forces planned a surprise mass attack at Pearl Harbor in case of 'trouble' with the United States', information that was declassified twelve years later.”
  11. Lend-Lease - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 29 January 2017. “a program under which the United States supplied Free France, the United Kingdom, the Republic of China, and later the Soviet Union and other Allied nations with food, oil, and materiel between 1941 and August 1945. This included warships and warplanes, along with other weaponry. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941 and ended in September 1945. In general the aid was free, although some hardware (such as ships) were returned after the war.”
  12. Glenn T. Seaborg - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 29 January 2017. “originally as part of the Manhattan Project where he developed the extraction process used to isolate the plutonium fuel for the second atomic bomb.”
  13. The Rats of Tobruk - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “In what proved to be a propaganda mis-step, Lord Haw-Haw derisively referred to the Garrison as 'poor desert rats of Tobruk' during radio broadcasts.”
  14. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 518-519. 
  15. George Takei - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “In 1942, the Takei family was forced to live in the converted horse stables of Santa Anita Park before being sent to the Rohwer War Relocation Center for internment in Rohwer, Arkansas.”
  16. Rudolf Hess - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “Before his departure from Germany, Hess had given his adjutant, Karlheinz Pintsch, a letter addressed to Hitler that detailed his intentions to open peace negotiations with the British. Pintsch delivered the letter to Hitler at the Berghof around noon on 11 May.[70] Albert Speer later said Hitler described Hess's departure as one of the worst personal blows of his life, as he considered it a personal betrayal.”
  17. PROCLAMATION OF UNLIMITED NATIONAL EMERGENCY. ibiblio.org (1997). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “WHEREAS on September 8, 1939 because of the outbreak of war in Europe a proclamation was issued declaring a limited national emergency and directing measures 'for the purpose of strengthening our national defense within the limits of peacetime authorizations'...”
  18. Babi Yar - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “Once undressed, they were led into the ravine which was about 150 metres long and 30 metres wide and a good 15 metres deep … When they reached the bottom of the ravine they were seized by members of the Schutzpolizei and made to lie down on top of Jews who had already been shot … The corpses were literally in layers. A police marksman came along and shot each Jew in the neck with a submachine gun … I saw these marksmen stand on layers of corpses and shoot one after the other … The marksman would walk across the bodies of the executed Jews to the next Jew, who had meanwhile lain down, and shoot him.”
  19. Hull note - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “By November 26, top American officials at the White House, State, Navy and War departments knew that Japan was moving invasion forces toward Thailand. They also knew that the Japanese foreign ministry had put an absolute deadline on negotiations of November 29 because 'after that things are automatically going to happen.' The Americans were convinced that war would start in a matter of days, probably with a surprise Japanese attack. No one knew where the strike would be.”
  20. The University of Oklahoma College of Law: A Chronology of US Historical Documents: Franklin D. Roosevelt's Infamy Speech (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
  21. Japanese Submarines Prowl the U.S. Pacific Coastline in 1941 - HistoryNet (2006). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “On board Emidio, radioman Foote, who had quickly jury-rigged another antenna, was just preparing to send a second SOS when the torpedo hit. Undaunted by the blast, the dutiful wireless operator tapped out his SOS, added the words 'Torpedoed in the stern,’ then calmly made his way to the main deck and jumped overboard.”
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 1941 Births - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  23. 1941 Births - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 1941 in film - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 27 January 2017.
  25. 1941 (1979) - IMDb. Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.”
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 1941 in music - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  27. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “The song was written by Don Raye and Hughie Prince, and was recorded at Decca's Hollywood studios on January 2, 1941, nearly a year before the United States entered World War II but after the start of a peacetime draft to expand the armed forces in anticipation of American involvement.”
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 1941 - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  29. Zilog - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “Zilog, Inc., previously known as ZiLOG, is an American manufacturer of 8-bit and 16-bit microcontrollers. Its most famous product is the Z80 series, 8-bit microprocessors that were compatible with the Intel 8080 but less expensive to use. The Z80 was widely used during the 1980s in many popular home computers such as the TRS-80 and the ZX81. Both 16- and 32-bit processors were also produced by the company, but these did not see widespread use. From the 1990s the company focused primarily on the microcontroller market.”
  30. Konrad Zuse - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “His greatest achievement was the world's first programmable computer; the functional program-controlled Turing-complete Z3 became operational in May 1941. Thanks to this machine and its predecessors, Zuse has often been regarded as the inventor of the modern computer.”

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