1942

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Thirty Seconds over Tokyo: The Doolittle Raid

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, FDR wants a little payback... a "sneak attack" on Tokyo, but Army bombers can't reach that far, unless the B-25 is launched off the deck of an aircraft carrier! This is a CRAZY idea, and Colonel Doolittle is just the guy to do it. So, with several B-25s lashed to the deck of the USS Hornet Doolittle's team sets out to do the impossible. The Japanese pick up radio transmissions and deduce that the US Navy is coming to bomb Japan. They expect an attack from 400 miles out which is the maximum for carrier planes, but B-25s can launch from 500 miles out! Then two Japanese patrol boats spot the task force, so the B-25's launch immediately... 650 miles out. On that Saturday afternoon, Doolittle and his raiders hit Tokyo. There is virtually no opposition. The damage to Tokyo is insignificant, but the damage to Japanese morale is tremendous. The Home Islands are believed to be untouchable. The Japanese decide to hit Midway Island where they believe the bombers are coming from. This is a major error. They will have their heads handed to them at Midway later this year. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Japan's leadership had been arguing about their next move when Doolittle's raid came barrelling through. Trying to take Midway was not a dumb idea. It was a risky idea. And when you take risks, sometimes you win, but often you lose. During the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, a Syrian tanker broke through the defense lines. The road to Tel Aviv seemed like a clear shot, but he was sure there must be an ambush waiting for him around the turn in the road. So he returned to the battle. The problem was... there was no ambush. The road was clear all the way to Tel Aviv! It is easy to "armchair quarterback" a war after the fact, so... from my armchair position... the Japanese should have stuck with their original plan to squeeze Australia by taking Samoa, New Caledonia and Fiji while leaving Midway Island for later... if ever. [3] [4]

The Battle for Los Angeles and Our Humanity

War hysteria is rising along the West Coast of the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Eleanor Roosevelt has come to visit Los Angeles and spoken to the Mayor, describing the devastation after the Japan's attacks. The Mayor calls for the rounding up of these Asian aliens who might act as a fifth column should the Japan invade California. Then an oil field just outside of Santa Barbara is shelled by a Japanese submarine. West Coast shipping is attacked and the voices defending Japanese-Americans go silent. Two nights later the military warn Los Angeles officials of the approach of enemy air craft. Search lights pierce the sky. There is something up there! Anti-aircraft guns try to shoot it down, whatever it is. Maybe it is a weather balloon. We will never know. The Battle of Los Angeles is over. The Japanese-round up is in full swing, and a 5-year-old boy named George Takai will be forced to sleep in a horse stall at the Santa Anita Race track until other arrangements can be made. His family will be transferred to a concentration camp in Arkansas. [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Of course, we know George Takai as the famous Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, but he has taken other acting roles, such as the controversial Twilight Zone episode, "The Encounter". It is 20 years after Pearl Harbor. An ex-serviceman is cleaning out his attic when he comes across a Japanese souvenir from World War 2, a samurai sword that he took from a Japanese officer... that he murdered. He was told by his officers, "It is Okinawa. No prisoners. They are just apes". Then a Japanese-American comes by, looking for work. It is Arthur "Taro" Takamori. Arthur picks up the sword and reads "The sword will avenge me." Soon these two are filled with remorse, confusion and anger. Arthur reveals that his own father was spying for Japan. It is rough dialogue to hear... even after all these years. It aired originally in 1964 and has been withheld from re-airing until the 2016 Twilight Zone Marathon. I watched it. It still hurts. [8] [9]

Notable Births

  • In Politics... (All Living): Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman, and Michael Bloomberg. [10]
  • Stephen Hawking (Living): Physicist, author of "A Brief History of Time". [10]
  • Charlie Rose (Living): Interviewer and news reader. [10]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Michael Crichton: Author of "Andromeda Strain", "Jurassic Park" and "State of Fear". [10]
  • -- Harrison Ford (Living): Hans Solo in Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. [11]
  • -- Paul McCartney (Living): The Beatles. [10]
  • -- Barbra Streisand (Living): Singer/actor in Funny Girl, Hello Dolly, and Yentl. [10]
  • -- Madeline Kahn: Comedian/actress in What's Up Doc?, Young Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles. [10]

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

This Year in Film

  • Bambi: (animated) Things end badly. [12]
  • Holiday Inn: Bing Crosby sings (I'm dreaming of a...) "White Christmas". [12]

This Year in Music

  • White Christmas: Sung by Bing Crosby from the movie "Holiday Inn". [13]
  • Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree: The Andrew Sisters (a war tune). [13]
  • Der Fuehrer's Face: A Spike Jones comedy tune ([Click here]). Disney will release a propaganda cartoon of the same name featuring Donald Duck ([Click here]). The cartoon is blatantly racist, so adjust your expectations accordingly. [13] [14] [15] [16]

In Other News

  • The Aqua-Lung is developed: by Jacques Cousteau and Émile Gagnan. [17] [18] [19]
  • DDT is first used as a pesticide. [17]
  • Daylight saving time is now in effect!: I've fallen behind or broken a spring. How does that go? [17]

World War 2 in Review

January

  • Captain Wendell Fertig (Army Corp of Engineeers, Reserve) remains in Manila as his family evacuates to the USA. [20]
  • Japan invades the Dutch East Indies, Kuala Lumpur, Burma, Singapore, Java, and Rangoon. [17]
  • American forces arrive in Europe. [17]

February

  • FDR establishes "exclusionary zones".... for Japanese-Americans on the West Coast, and Germans and Italians on the East Coast. [17]
  • A Japanese submarine shells a Santa Barbara oil field.: This attack becomes the comedic subject of the movie "1941". [17] [21]
  • The Voice of America begins broadcasting. [17]

March

  • Major Wendell Fertig destroys supplies to deny them to the enemy as US troops retreat toward Baatan. He drives his brand new Dodge into Manila Bay. [20]
  • U.S. General Douglas MacArthur evacuates from the Philippines. "I shall return." [17]
  • The Belzec extermination camp opens. Nearly 500,000 people (mostly Jews) will be murdered there this year. [17]

April

  • The Sobibór and Treblinka 2 extermination camps open. Over 1,000,000 people (mostly Jews) will be murdered there in the next year and a half. [17]
  • Bataan falls. The Bataan Death March begins. [17]
  • The Doolittle Raid over Tokyo is a tactically insignificant raid that will cause the Japanese to adjust their war plan. (This is a significant Japanese error.) [17]

May

  • Lt. Colonel Wendell Fertig avoids capture and heads for the jungle. [17]
  • Actress Lucille Ball claims that Japanese spies are sending secret radio messages that she can hear through her dental work. (Mythbusters says "No way.") [22] [23]
  • The Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACs) is created. [17]

June

  • The Battle of Midway: The Japanese get their heads handed to them. (It will make a great movie.) [17] [24]
  • Japan invades the Aleutians. (American soil!) [17]
  • Anne Frank makes the first entry in her new diary. She is 13. [17]
  • Heisenberg's nuclear pile explodes. A new design for the Nazi nuclear bomb will be required.... and they have one.

July

  • Anne Frank goes into hiding in an attic above her father's office. [17]
  • WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) is established. [17]

August

  • Guadalcanal: U.S. Navy and Marines make their amphibious assault on the island. [17]
  • Six German saboteurs are executed in Washington D.C. for their role in Operation Pastorius. [17] [25]

September

  • Brigadier General Wendell Fertig organizes the Filipino guerilla fighters. The Filipinos call him Tatay, meaning "Father". (He is no general. I'm not even sure he is a colonel, but he is going to do a terrific job in the Philippines: the right man, in the right place, at the right time.) [20]
  • The Japanese bomb Oregon. A small float plane drops a few incendiary bombs, but this is a 1st for the continental US.) [17]

October

  • German U-Boats are running wild. [17]

November

  • Battle of Stalingrad: Soviet forces counterattack and surround the German Army. [17]

December

  • Gasoline rationing begins in the USA. [17]
  • Manhattan Project: Enrico Fermi initiates a nuclear chain reaction at the University of Chicago. Several men are ready to smother the nuclear pile before it takes out 1/3rd of the University and the surrounding neighborhood. (Those were the days, eh?) [17]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1942, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Toland, John Willard. Rising Sun: Volume 1, the Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945, The. Random House, 380-387. 
  2. Doolittle Raid - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 31 January 2017. “The raid caused negligible material damage to Japan, but it achieved its goal of raising American morale and casting doubt in Japan on the ability of its military leaders to defend their home islands. It also contributed to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's decision to attack Midway Island in the Central Pacific—an attack that turned into a decisive strategic defeat of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) by the U.S. Navy in the Battle of Midway. Doolittle, who initially believed that the loss of all his aircraft would lead to his court-martial, received the Medal of Honor and was promoted two steps to brigadier general.”
  3. Six-Day War - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 31 January 2017. “These attacks were repulsed with the loss of twenty soldiers and seven tanks. An Israeli officer was also killed. But a broader Syrian offensive quickly failed. Syrian reserve units were broken up by Israeli air attacks, and several tanks were reported to have sunk in the Jordan River.”
  4. Alex Shrugged notes: The story is from memory of an interview I viewed on TV regarding the 6-day war. An Israeli tanker also broke through the lines, turned around and shot Syrian tanks from behind... proving nothing except that weird things happen in battle.
  5. Unidentified flying object - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Battle of Los Angeles - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Arthur C. Verge (August 1994). [Stable URL: http://www.austinlibrary.com:2138/stable/3640968 "Impact of the Second World War on Los Angeles, The"]. Pacific Historical Review (University of California Press) 63 (3). Stable URL: http://www.austinlibrary.com:2138/stable/3640968. 
  8. George Takei - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 31 January 2017. “Takei subsequently appeared alongside such actors as Frank Sinatra in Never So Few (uncredited), Richard Burton in Ice Palace, Jeffrey Hunter in Hell to Eternity, Alec Guinness in A Majority of One, James Caan in Red Line 7000 and Cary Grant in Walk, Don't Run. He featured in a lead role in 'The Encounter' (1964), an episode of The Twilight Zone in which he played the guilt-ridden son of a traitor who signaled Japanese pilots during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.”
  9. The Encounter (Twilight Zone) - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 31 January 2017. “'The Encounter' is episode 151 of the American television series The Twilight Zone. First broadcast on May 1, 1964, its racial overtones caused it to be withheld from syndication in the U.S. On January 3, 2016, the episode was finally reaired as part of Syfy's annual Twilight Zone New's Year Eve marathon.”
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 1942 Births - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  11. 1942 Births - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  12. 12.0 12.1 1942 in film - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 27 January 2017.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 1942 in music - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  14. Der Fuehrer's Face - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017. “a 1943 American animated anti-Nazi propaganda short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released in 1943 by RKO Radio Pictures. The cartoon, which features Donald Duck in a nightmare setting working at a factory in Nazi Germany, was made in an effort to sell war bonds and is an example of American propaganda during World War II.”
  15. Spike Jones Der Fuehrer's Face - YouTube. youtube.com (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  16. Donald Duck 1943 Der Fuehrer´s Face - YouTube. youtube.com (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  17. 17.00 17.01 17.02 17.03 17.04 17.05 17.06 17.07 17.08 17.09 17.10 17.11 17.12 17.13 17.14 17.15 17.16 17.17 17.18 17.19 17.20 17.21 17.22 17.23 17.24 17.25 17.26 1942 - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  18. Aqualung. YouTube.com (2015). Retrieved on 31 March 2015.
  19. Aqua-lung - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 31 March 2015. “The Aqua-Lung was invented in Paris during the winter of 1942--1943 by two Frenchmen; the engineer Émile Gagnan and Naval Lieutenant ('lieutenant de vaisseau') Jacques Cousteau.”
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Wendell Fertig - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 31 January 2017.
  21. 1942 Shelling of California Coastline Stirred Conspiracy Fears : History: Submarine's attack did little damage. But it whipped up support for Japanese-American internment.. Associated Press (LA Times) (March 1, 1992). Retrieved on 31 January 2017. “The family scrambled outside their home in coastal Winchester Canyon and peered out at the dusk-shrouded Pacific of Feb. 23, 1942. Bright flashes could be seen near an oil field on the shore. A few were followed by 'an eerie whistling and caterwauling,' Hollister said. 'It was a sickening sound.'”
  22. Lucille Ball's Fillings (UNDETERMINED) : snopes.com. snopes.com (2017). Retrieved on 31 January 2017. “All of a sudden, my mouth started jumping. It wasn't music this time, it was Morse code. It started softly, and then de-de-de-de-de-de. As soon as it started fading, I stopped the car and then started backing up until it was coming in full strength. DE-DE-DE-DE-DE-DE DE-DE-DE-DE! I tell you, I got the hell out of there real quick. The next day I told the MGM Security Office about it, and they called the FBI or something, and sure enough, they found an underground Japanese radio station. It was somebody's gardener, but sure enough, they were spies.”
  23. That time Lucille Ball picked up spy communications through her dental work - Altered Dimensions Paranormal. altereddimensions.net (2017). Retrieved on 31 January 2017. “About a week after her first incident, Lucy was driving home from MGM Studios (along a different route) when her mouth started 'jumping'. She immediately recognized that the sound was not music, but rather, Morse code. As she continued down the road, the sound began to fade.”
  24. Midway (1976) - IMDb (2017). Retrieved on 31 January 2017. “A dramatization of the battle that was widely heralded as a turning point of the Pacific Theatre of World War II.”
  25. Operation Pastorius - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 31 January 2017. “Their mission was to stage sabotage attacks on American economic targets: hydroelectric plants at Niagara Falls; the Aluminum Company of America's plants in Illinois, Tennessee, and New York; locks on the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky; the Horseshoe Curve, a crucial railroad pass near Altoona, Pennsylvania, as well as the Pennsylvania Railroad's repair shops at Altoona;[5] a cryolite plant in Philadelphia; Hell Gate Bridge in New York; and Pennsylvania Station in Newark, New Jersey. The agents were also instructed to spread a wave of terror by planting explosives on bridges, railroad stations, water facilities, Jewish-owned businesses, and public places. They were given counterfeit birth certificates, Social Security Cards, draft deferment cards, nearly $175,000 in American money, and driver's licenses, and put aboard two U-boats to land on the east coast of the U.S.”

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