Saturday, May 30, 2015

Failed Attempt to Return Japanese Photos-- Part 2": Rising Sun Flags and Hachimaki

Bob Brown discovered a war artifacts repatriation program that the Japanese government has instituted to return items such as the photos to Japanese families.  He went to the Japanese Consulate General in Chicago who said tat he would make copies and let brown keep the originals, but Bob said to keep them.  If no one claimed them, perhaps they could be put into a museum or something like that.

He sought more information on the program and from the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C., learned that they didn't know when the artifact return program had started or how successful it had been.  They only had numbers from 2003 tp 2-13 when there were nearly 2600 inquiries like Brown's, and of those just over 1,000 artifacts had been identified and returned to their families.

The most common souvenirs are Japanese Rising Sun flags which were carried into battle by most soldiers.  Other popular ones were the stylized ceremonial headbands known as "hachimaki" that many wore.

Conciliation.  --GreGen

Friday, May 29, 2015

Failed Attempt to Return Ten Photographs-- Part 1

From the May 22, 2015, Chicago Tribune "WWII photos give a glimpse of soldiers' sacrifice" by Bob Brown.

There were ten of them, black-and-white and sepia-toned photographs "of bare-chested young soldiers or groups of uniformed m,en who answered the call of duty for the country they loved in the early 1940s."

Most of them never made it home and were likely killed on some Pacific island.  Some of the estimated 2 million who died during World War II.

And, they weren't Americans.  They were our opponents, the Japanese.

These photos have been in Mr. Brown's family for 70 years, ever after his father, John Brown, who had joined the Marines as an underage 17-year-old in January 1942, little more than a month after Pearl Harbor.  he ended up fighting in battles in the Solomon and Marshall islands..  He took the photos as souvenirs.

Bob brown didn't know about the photos until after his father died 21 years ago and he got them.  He put them away in a book and didn't think about them until about a year ago when he came across them again.

A Piece of History.  --GreGen

Thursday, May 28, 2015

31,000 Evacuated in Germany After World War II Bomb Found

From the May 20, 2015, Chicago Tribune.

About 31,000 residents in the northern Germany city of Hanover are being temporarily forced to evacuate their homes after construction crews found an unexploded 550-pound World War II bomb under a former high school.

The bomb was discovered May 19th afternoon during work to tear down the former school building.  Experts decided, based upon its condition, the bomb needed to be immediately defused and removed.  It is believed to be an American bomb.

Hanover is about 125 miles west of Berlin.  It was a regular target during the war and, on one 1943 raid, some 261,000 bombs were dropped on the city.  (That seems like a real lot of bombs to be dropped in one raid.  Perhaps they are referring to the number of pounds of bombs dropped.)

Now, even 70 years after the war, bombs are still regularly found in German cities, especially during construction projects.  It is believed that anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 unexploded bombs still remain undiscovered.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

USS Indianapolis Survivors Attend Last Big Reunion Back in 2013-- Part 2

The Indianapolis was on the secret mission that delivered the components of the atom bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.  As such, it sailed alone and whereabouts were not generally known.  It was sunk by a Japanese submarine and the survivors of the sinking floated for five days until they were accidentally found.

At least 880 men died on the ship, the Navy's worst-ever at sea loss of life.  An estimated 900 went into the Pacific and just 317 survived the five day ordeal.

Edgar Harrell, 89, from Clarksville, Tennessee, was one of only two Marines to survive the sinking.

Clarence Hershberger, 87, of DeLeon Springs, Florida, hadn't planned on attending until the last minute.

Besides the survivors, another 250 friends and relatives were also in attendance in Indianapolis.


USS Indianapolis Survivors Attend Last Big Reunion Back in 2013-- Part 1

From the August 2, 2013, San Jose (Ca) Mercury News."

Even more poignant to me since I was just in Indianapolis and there were those pictures of the ship on the wall of the Speedway American Legion Post 500 wall.

More than a dozen of the aging vets were in Indianapolis, part of a dwindling number.  Of the 317 who survived the July 1945 sinking, only 38 are still alive in their late 80s early 90s.  They survived floating in shark-infested waters for 5 horrendous days.

Harold Bray, 86, of Benicia, California and 14 others decided this would be the last big one.  Future ones would be smaller and less frequent because of their poor health.  "We decided to stay together until the last guy's standing," said the chairman of the USS Indianapolis Survivors Organization.

The Indy was half way between Guam and the Philippines on July 30, 1945, after having delivered a top secret cargo tree days earlier.  That cargo was Uranium 235 and the other components of the atom bomb that the Enola Gay dropped on Hiroshima.

This was a secret mission and the ship was sailing alone.

--A Huge Tragedy.  --GreGen

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An Indy 500 Connection to the War-- Part 2

The Flyover back in 2013 consisted of six World War II-era vintage warbirds.  One was a North American B-25 Mitchell bomber, the ones used by Doolittle's Raiders.  The other five were North American T-6 Texan trainer aircraft, the plane so many of our pilots trained on for the war.  They were supplied by the Cincinnati Warbirds FAA Squadron 18 and Tri-State Warbird Museum.

No Indy 500s were held 1942-1945 because of the war.

At this year's beginning ceremony, a World War II veteran turned the "Spirit of 45" over to the younger veterans.

Everything about the Indy 500 says memorial Day.

--Remembering and Thanking.  --GreGen

A World War II Failure Becomes a Popular Kids' Toy

Don't fear failure!  While experimenting in search of a rubber alternative during World War II, the General Electric Company invented a stretchy, bouncing putty.

Kids and older kids like me, real old, today refer to it as Silly Putty.

Till Mom Threw It Away.  --GreGen

Monday, May 25, 2015

An Indy 500 Connection to the War-- Part 1

Of course,today is Memorial Day, a day to honor all of our veterans.  And, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing surely does its part to honor our country's defenders.  Right before this year's race yesterday, there was a ceremony where a World War II veteran turned what is called the "Spirit of Forty-Five" over to the new generation of warriors.

I, myself, just got back from three nights at the Indy 500.

The Speedway (Indiana) American Legion Post 500 (great post number for this place located right across the street from the Speedway) has pictures and tributes to the USS Indianapolis, whose loss was so a tragedy near the end of the war.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Here's My Thought on Johnson's Silver Star

General Douglas MacArthur was always one to play politics, especially should it advance his career.  And, getting a Congressman a medal surely wouldn't hurt that.

I think Lt. Robert R. Hatch probably had orders to return to base in the event any enemy planes were spotted.  It sure wouldn't do to have the life of a Congressman ended under your orders.

Unfortunately, Lt. hatch was killed a short time later, so we will never know what he had to say about it.

Johnson got his Silver Star and MacArthur had a valuable ally in Congress.


LBJ's Silver Star: The Mission That Never Was-- Part 2

"His gallant action enabled him to obtain and return with valuable information."

LBJ's biographer, in his book "Means of Ascent" takes umbrage at Johnson's receiving his nation's third-highest combat medal for what amounted to taking an airplane ride and spending a few minutes under fire.

The fact is that LBJ never got within sight of Japanese forces.  His mission, like so much of his life, was a lie.

If Johnson received a Silver Star for simply riding along on the plane, shouldn't the crew, which included Lt. Robert R. Hatch, pilot, also have received the award?


LBJ's Silver Star: The Mission That Never Was-- Part 1


Lt. Cmdr. Lyndon B. Johnson, Texas Congressman temporarily serving in the U.S. Navy, received the nation's third highest combat decoration for a 1942 fact-finding mission.  He was so proud of that Silver Star that he wore a silver lapel pin for the rest of his life.

But, did he really deserve it?

It was issued by General Douglas MacArthur's chief of staff and reads in part: "While on a  mission obtaining information in the Southwest Pacific Area, Lt.Cmdr. Johnson, in order to obtain personal knowledge of combat conditions, volunteered as an observer on a hazardous aerial combat mission over hostile positions in New Guinea.  (The plane was piloted by Robert R. Hatch of Goldsboro, N.C.)

"As our planes neared the target area, they were intercepted by eight hostile fighters.  When, at this time, the plane in which Lt.Cmdr. Johnson was an observer developed mechanical trouble and was forced to turn back alone, presenting a favorable target to the enemy fighters, he evidenced coolness in spite of the hazard involved.

More to Come.  --GreGen

Two Who Died on the USS Benjamin Franklin and on the USS Arizona

ROBERT E. ABELL JR.  On te list of deaths on the USS Benjamin Franklin (CV-13).  Many were killed when the kamikazes hit the ship on March 19, 1945.  he is listed on the Benjamin Franklin site as KIA.  Son of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Abell of Chester, S.C..

CLAUDE HERBERT HOLLAND  Seaman 2c, killed on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941.

WILLIAM Z. HOLLAND  I also came across this man's name and mention that he was at Pearl Harbor that day but evidently not killed.   He was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Milford Holland of Kenly, N.C..


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Deaths: Sheldon Sternberg: Ran best's Kosher Sausage Co. and Participated in Operation Chowhound

From the April 13, 2015, Chicago Tribune "WWII navigator ran Best's sausage" by Lee V. Gaines.

SHELDON STERNBERG, 92   (1923-April 9, 2015)

He started working for his wife's family's company Best's Kosher Sausage Co. in Chicago soon after returning from World War II.

The company was founded in Cincinnati in 1886 and later served hot dogs at Wrigley Field and other landmark Chicago venues.  He was president when the company was sold to Sara Lee in 1993

While a sophomore at DePaul University in 1942, he, at age 19, enlisted in the Army Air Force and joined the 390th Bombardment Squadron and was sent to Europe where he served as a navigator on bombing missions.

Starting in March 1945 Mr. Steinbberg was on w=eight bombing missions over Germany.  A few weeks after that, in May 1945, he was in Operation Chowhound, a series of humanitarian missions including food drops over the Netherlands to assist starving civilians. He remembered looking down and seeing the Ditch had written "Thank you, boys" in tulips.

More to Come.  --GreGen

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

V-E Day in Chicago-- Part 10: "Where Is the Joy, the Ecstasy We Visioned?"

But, even with all the relief over the end of the fighting in Europe, there still loomed Japan and even though American victory by now was fairly-well guaranteed, bit at what cost?  Most figured it would be high as the Japanese were preparing to fight to the last person.  However, no one knew about the secret weapon that the United States had developed that ended the war in the Pacific just three months later.

A reader captured the nation's sentiment in the Tribune's popular "In the Wake of the News" column.  First he asked, "Today the headlines read as we long visioned ... but what is the strange something that is missing?  What is the heaviness that still remains, where is the joy, the ecstasy we visioned?"

And, he gave the answer:  "it is that thru each mind flickers ...  White crosses in those far off lonely islands, gleaming in the moonlight, row on row."

And, of course, there were all those white crosses in Europe as well.


V-E Day in Chicago-- Part 9: "On Second Base"

A Chicago Cubs official said: "The unconditional defeat of Germany has put out armies on second base.  One more hit against the Japs and we can send all the boys home."

Yet, for some families, the end of the war would be bittersweet, a son or father would never come home.  Others would return with medals and wounded.

Former North Park College teacher, Captain Elem "who lost his leg while helping a wounded soldier from a mine strewn field, has been awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and a citation of merit."

Tribune war correspondent Robert Cromie reported from another troop ship: "One youngster just released from a German prison camp was taken suddenly ill half-way across with spinal meningitis.  He died not long after crying through the delirium which made him think he was once more in Nazi hands: 'I knew I was never really going to be liberated.'"

Cromie was later hired by WGN radio to tell Chicagoans about the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps which had just been liberated.


V-E Day in Chicago-- Part 8: Lots of Happy Folks

The Tribune photo at the top of the Chicago Flashback page shows a large crowd of smiling and laughing celebrants showing their reaction to the end of the war  Of interest, most of them were wearing suits and hats.

Many are holding extra editions of papers.

EXTRA:  Germany Surrenders

Nazis Surrender

Allies Make It Official: V-E.


Cause for Celebration!!  --GreGen

Monday, May 18, 2015

V-E Day Arrives-- Part 7: Welcome News

May 8th, the Tribune's big headline said simply "V-E Day - Today!

This news was greeted with smiles and the city's mood was definitely upbeat.  The paper's society columnist reported that after years of austerity, "Next Winter's debut Parties Expected to Be More Festive."

The editorial board assured readers that there could be "Prosperity Without war."  Kind a frightening thing to say to my thinking.  The first Sunday after V-E day, the paper reported the city's highways were crowded after years of gas rationing and tire shortages.

Families of servicemen in Europe were especially happy as there would be no more fighting there, but in the back of their minds was still the impending invasion of Japan which would doubtless result in thousands of American deaths and casualties.


V-E Day in Chicago-- Part 6: Newspaper Headlines

May 3rd Chicago Tribune front page headlines:


Berlin Falls to Russians; 70,000 Captured

French Hedge on Giving U.S. Pacific Bases

Truman Asks 7 Billion Cut In war Budget

Goebbels Also Dies, Chief Aid Says; Nazi Capital Won in 12 Day Battle

May 8 Chicago Tribune headlines.


Chicago Turns to next Step: lick the Japs

Big 3 Proclaim Victory at 8 A.M.;  Unconditional Surrender Signed

Truman to Address Nation by Radio This Morning

AP Tells How It gave The World Historic Story

Britain to celebrate With Two Day Holiday


V-E Day in Chicago-- Part 5: Fears and Optimism as End Nears

There were definitely anxieties fostered by V-E Day and the coming of V-J Day.  The Chicago Tribune ran articles alternating between pessimistic to cautiously optimistic peace prospects.

The president of Borg-Warner, a major defense contractor told the Tribune: "The gradual transition to peacetime production after V-E Day will be the most difficult period we have yet faced.  Secretary of State Edward Stettinius reminded farmers of what happened after World War I when the market for wheat nosedived and thousands of farmers lost their homes and farms.

Tribune front page headlines:


Munish Falls; Patton Frees 27,000 Captives

Mussolini Shot and Dumped in a Public Square

Capture Nazi Party's Beer Hall Shrine

The last headline might be of interest.  I imagine it is where Hitler's Beer Hall Putch took place.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

V-E Day in Chicago- Part 4: Coming Out of the Great Depression

When the war vegan in 1939, the United States was deep into the Great depression.  For a decade the American economy was in bad shape with nearly a quarter of the people unemployed.  President Roosevelt's New Deal programs brought some hope, then Europe went to war.

The United States first began to aid beleaguered Great Britain, then turned to itself to rearm and prepare for war.  Even before Pearl Harbor, out military was being built up and our factories began turning out amazing amounts of war munitions.  Jobs were now plentiful, if not in factories, definitely in the military.

Now, with the end of the war looming, the prospect of millions of ex-servicemen suddenly returning and competing for jobs made many wonder if victory was going to set the stage for another depression.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Operation Faust: Feeding the Dutch at End of War

From the Free Library.

Operation Faust was the "massive ground delivery of food" to the Dutch population at the end of World War II in Europe.  It went along with Operations Manna and Chowhound.

Trucks of the RCASC (Royal Canadian Army Service Corps) were used starting 2 May 1945 and by May 3, there were 30 vehicles crossing the truce lines every 30 minutes.  Twelve transport platoons (8 Canadian and 4 British) were involved with 360 vehicles delivering 1000 tons of supplies each day until May 10.

This food was delivered to a roadside dump in "No man's Land" between the towns of Wageningen and Rhenen.  Sadly, the actual distribution of the food did not begin until May 10th.


The German Role in Operations Manna and Chowhound-- Part 2: Seyss-Inquart's Plan Didn't Work

Continued from may 5, 2015 entry.

It was suspected that the big reason the Nazi Governor of the Netherlands, Arthur Seyss-Inquart was so agreeable to the airdrop was that he was hoping to get some credit against his policies as the war was winding down in Europe with : Germany going to be on the losing side.

If it was the case, it didn't work.

He was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity for the deportation of Jews and shooting of hostages.  (Was he the person in charge when Anne Frank was arrested and sent to the concentration camp?)

He was put on trial in Nuremburg, found guilty and sentenced to death.  Execution was by hanging in Nuremburg on October 16, 1946.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

V-E Day in Chicago Cause for Celebration and Worry-- Part 3: Not As Big a Celebration

Surprisingly, however, the mood on State Street, where it was figured the biggest celebration would take place, was quite subdued.  "It was a street of families -- men and women and their children plodding up and down," a Tribune reporter observed on May 8.

Though thousands of people milled about, it was not a joyous riot.  "As the hours wore on, the spontaneous good fellowship, the dancing in the street of Nov. 11, 1918, never materialized."  On that occasion, a million people had poured into Chicago's Loop to celebrate the end of World War I, and the authorities were expecting a similar crowd to mark the end of World War II in Europe.

However, the war continued on in the Pacific with thousands more deaths expected with the planned invasion of Japan.


V-E day in Chicago Cause for Celebration and Worry-- Part 2

Many of the city's wartime plants and factories stopped their machines so workers could hear President Harry Truman's announcement of Germany's surrender on the radio.  At the corner of Washington and Wabash, a well-dressed man invited a passing sailor to lunch, saying, "I just wanted to say 'thanks' some way to the guys who are fighting."

On the West Side of the city, a candle-maker prepared to light an 18-foot-tall, red, white and blue candle he had started making when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.

The city stationed 800 police officers downtown, mobilized the entire fire department and even prohibited sales of liquor.  Stores were closed and windows boarded up along State Street.  Even bowling alleys were closed.  All this in fear that the celebration might get out of hand.

One incident where exuberance got out of hand was when the manager of the Liberty Inn shot off a revolver inside his Clark Street tavern.  In penance, he promised a judge he would donate $10 to the Chicago serviceman's center.  Lake Forest cops arrested five New Trier High School students who were celebrating by breaking streetlights.

Cause for a Celebration, Though.  --GreGen

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

V-E Day in Chicago Cause for Celebration and Worry-- Part 1

From the May 10, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback" by Ron Grossman.

The war against Germany was ending, but only very, very slowly.  Everyone knew it.  V-E day, Victory in Europe, was coming, but when.  then came a week of really bug headlines: April 30 was the death of Benito Mussolini; on May 2, the death of Adolf Hitler, May 3rd the Soviet Union taking Berlin.

The Chicago Tribune observed, "World War II European phase is not ending in a single, clear cut surrender like World War I, but is rushing toward its close in a series of smashing climaxes."

V-E day finally did arrive on May 8th, 70 years ago.  Chicagoans celebrated in their own ways, but with the knowledge that the war still continued in the Pacific, although clearly won there as well by this time.  And, there were uncertainties about what the post-war world would be like.

But, At Least Part of the War Was Over.  --GreGen

Samuel Hurd, Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies in 2013

From the April 4, 2013, Downey Patriot by Henry Veneracion.

Died at age 91.  A Downey resident since 1960.  from a Dec. 2012 article about him.

Mr. Hurd was a cook attached to Battery F, 251st Coast Artillery as part of the California National Guard permanently stationed at Camp Malakole, a couple miles north of Barber's Point, Oahu.

Enlisted in the Army at age 18 to avoid the draft and because of it was able to opt for an anti-aircraft unit.

he worked at a mess hall on Ford Island.  he said that on December 7, 1941, nearly 90% of base personnel were on leave.  That morning three of his buddies rented an airplane for sightseeing.  As soon as they took off, they spotted seven Japanese Zer who shot them down.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

V-E Day Memories Fly in Europe-- Part 4: The Spoilsport

Marie-Jeanne Delannoy was then 20 and studying for her teaching certificate in the small town of Macon, 250 miles southwest of Paris, when news of the victory reached the students at 8 a.m.

The young women declared "school's out."  They rushed for the exit and a rendezvous to dance the day away with the local college boys -- only to find that the director had locked them inside the building.  At noon, when the cafeteria served spinach, they went on  a hunger strike.

The director finally gave in and afternoon classes were canceled. and they were allowed out for a walk -- topped by a round of lemonade for everyone.  This was "the victory celebration, she recalled.  The next day, we got back to work."


Monday, May 11, 2015

V-E Day Memories Fly in France-- Part 3: Celebrating, Then Theft

On May 5, 1945Robert Lion received orders to report to the French Air Force headquarters on May 9 to begin training as a translator.  Lion had been born on Metz, on the French-German border was was fluent in German.

But, trains were not then running in Germany so he stuffed a dagger of the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) in his backpack and hitched a ride to Paris.  (He said he used that dagger for many years as a letter opener.)  He arrived in Paris on May 8, just in time to join the huge crowds in their revelries.

"But our festive mood got spoiled," he said.  "We had parked our jeep in front of the 1st French Army EM Club for dinner.  When we came out, there was no more jeep.  My friend had forgotten to remove the distributor cap from the engine -- a routine anti-theft procedure."

His buddy had to go back and report the heist to his superiors.  In the meantime, Lion continued to party until time to report to his translation course.

Happy Days.  --GreGen

British Admiral Who Won the Battle of Atlantic Honored

From the April 14, 2014, BBC News Northwest Wales "War hero Admiral Sir Max Horton is commemorated" by Neil Prior.

A plaque was unveiled in Anglesey for the man who developed the tactics used to defeat the German U-boats during the 1942-1944 Battle of the Atlantic.

Max Horton's family bought a hotel by the water in Rhosneigr in North Wales.  He joined the Royal Navy at age 15 in 1898 and by the age of 30 had a fleet of submarines and had earned the Distinguished Service Order with two bars.

Churchill turned to him when the Battle of the Atlantic appeared to be lost.  During the winter of 1942-1943, the German U-boats were sinking an average of four merchant ships a day and at one point Britain was within three weeks of running out of food.

Horton revolutionized tactics for convoy protection from strictly defending the ships to the offensive.  He took the battle to the U-boats.  In other words, they were now seeking out the submarines and destroying them.

This caused merchant ship losses to initially go up but losses to U-boats reached such levels that the Germans were forced to withdraw them from the North Atlantic.

A Man I Had Never Heard Of Before This.  --GreGen

Saturday, May 9, 2015

V-E Day memories Fly in France-- Part 2

Another observance takes place in Grenoble, in the Alps near the Swiss border where a 10-kilometer race takes runners past sites related to the French resistance.

Our ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, has been quite busy making the rounds of commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and last year's 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.  About ten days ago, she visited Natzweiler-Struthof, the only Nazi concentration camp on French soil.

Some people in France don't want to talk about the events 70 years ago, but others are more than happy to do so.

Robert Lion, then 22, was in a communications unit on the northern shore of Lake Constance in a town called Uberlingen on May 5, 1945.

"The war seemed almost over, and we could take it easy after the hectic days of moving behind the lines from Alsace across the Rhine through the mountains and forests of 'Schwarzwald,'" he said, referring to the Black Forest region in southwestern Germany.

Drawing to a Close in Europe.  --GreGen

Friday, May 8, 2015

V-E day Celebrated Today-- Part 2

Even though the surrender was signed on May 7, 1945, it was celebrated on May 8, 1945.


V-E Day Memories Fly in France-- Part 1

From the May 7, 2015 USA Today by Bill Hinchberger.

French President Francois Hollande will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier at the base of the Arc de Triomphe on Friday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe.  Ninety-year-old veteran Rene Roche plans to be there.

Roche was a 20-year-old sergeant stationed in the southern German town of Constance when the war ended.  He remembers, "The war was over.  I was just happy to be able to get out of there."

In Reims, France, U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley will make an appearance.  This is where German General Gustav Jodl signed an unconditional surrender on May 7, 1945.  This was the eve of the victory announcement.  The building was a red schoolhouse used by U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower as his headquarters.


War Posters: "The Seeds of Victory"

From Smithsonian Military Posters Calendar for May 2015.

The poster shows Lady Liberty walking through a plowed field throwing out seed and reads "The Seeds of Victory Insure the Fruits of Peace. Write to the National War Garden Commission- Washington, D.C. for free books on gardening, canning & drying.  "Victory Gardens Help the Hungry."  Charles Lathrop Pack, President.

The text reads The Seeds of Victory / James Montgomery Flagg, National War Garden Commission, 1919.

The National War Garden Commission encouraged Americans to plant home gardens to meet the war's increased demand on agriculture.  Home gardens used land not previously farmed, while reducing the need for the heavily-burdened transportation systems to ship crops intended for home consumption.

Feed the Folks.  --GreGen

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The 70th Anniversary of VE Day Today

Seventy years ago today, the Germans surrendered to the Allies, ending the European Theater of the war.  I will write more about it tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The German Role in Operations Manna and Chowhound- Part 1

From the 2-20-15 History Reader Blog by Stephen Dando-Collins.

The Nazi governor of the Netherlands, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, decided to cooperate with the Allies in the food drops most likely, with the war winding down and Germany's loss coming quickly, to avoid possible war crime trials.  He called in Dutch resistance leaders and put forth the Allied proposal to feed the Dutch people.

This was strictly against Hitler's orders.

The agreement meant that the 120,000 German troops in the Netherlands wouldn't fire on the low-flying Allied bombers.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Operations Manna and Chowhound-- Part 3


These were humanitarian missions carried out by the Allies near the end of the War in Europe to save the Dutch people from starvation.

The Germans started cutting food shipments to the Netherlands in retribution to Allied air strikes during their Operation Market Garden in September 1944.  Then came one of the coldest winters in European history which is now referred to in the Netherlands as "The Hunger Winter."

In April 1945, the Dutch Royal family appealed to the Allies for relief for their country.

The RAF flew Lancaster bombers at low altitudes to drop the food.


Operations Manna, Chowhound and Faust-- Part 2

These took place 70 years ago in the Netherlands.

Operation Chowhound involved the U.S. Army Third Air Division which flew 2,268 sorties and delivered by airdrop some 4,000 tons of food to the starving Dutch.

The Germans did not fire on the Allied planes, but three were lost anyway.  Two collided and one had an engine fire.  However, some planes had bullet holes in then (they were flying low) so in some cases German soldiers obviously took pot shots at the planes.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Operations Manna, Chowhound and Faust-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Operation Manna was undertaken by the RAF and RCAF (Canadian) from 29 April to 7 May 1945.  Operation Chowhound was carried out by the United States Army Air Force 1-8 May 1945.  Altogether, some 11,000 tons of food was dropped over unliberated western Netherlands which was starving because of reasons listed  yesterday.

Even more impressive was the fact that the operations were allowed to proceed with the permission of the occupying German Army.

In addition, Operation Faust was launched 2 May, where 200 Allied trucks began delivering food to the town of Rhenen which was behind German lines.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Bread From Heaven Saves Dutch Lives 70 Years Ago

From the May 2, 2015, Independent "Bread from heaven: Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions.

Things were getting bad  for the Dutch people as World War II drew to a close.  They had already endured the Hongerwinter 1944-1945, one of the coldest-ever in European history.  On top of that, the Nazis had a ban on food entering the Netherlands and a scorched earth policy as the Germans retreated.  Things were getting seriously hungry.

It is estimated that 20,000 Dutch died from hunger.  In many instances, they resorted to eating tulip bulbs.

Over a ten-day period, the RAF began dropping some 7,030 tons of food from their bombers starting 29 April 1945.  Then the Americans launched Operation Chowhound on May 1st and dropped another 4150 tons before Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945.

The two operations are said to have saved 3.5 million lives.

A big thank you is being planned in the Netherlands.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Death of Norman Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter at 92

From the April 23, 2015, USA Today "Model for Norman Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter painting dies" by Melanie Eversley.

Mary Doyle Keefe, 92, the overall clad, sandwich eating gal with a rivet gun on her lap featured in the May 1943 Saturday Evening Post cover, is no longer doing her thing for the war effort.

She grew up in Vermont and was a friend of Rockwell who posed twice for the painting because she was wearing a white blouse in the first effort which was deemed inappropriate for the subject.

This was not the same woman as the one who was shown flexing her muscles in the poster that was so often seen back then and even today.