Categorized | Carousel, Historical, Looking Back

This Week in World War II: 75 Years Ago

Former President Herbert Hoover said in 1941 that the U.S. should stay out of the European conflict. Photo: clipart.com

Former President Herbert Hoover said in 1941 that the U.S. should stay out of the European conflict. Photo: clipart.com

By: Phil Kohn. Dedicated to the memory of his father, GM3 Walter Kohn, U.S. Navy Armed Guard, USNR, and all men and women who have answered the country’s call in time of need. Phil can be contacted at ww2remembered@yahoo.com.

After sinking two ships of a westbound convoy south of Greenland, the German submarine U-110 on May 9, 1941, is forced to surface after a depth-charge attack by the convoy’s escorts, whereupon it is captured and boarded. Onboard is the latest version of the Enigma cryptography machine. Through the entire course of the war, the Germans never learn that U-110 has been captured and remain unaware that the Allies possess one of its Enigma machines. In the Mediterranean, a vessel of the British “Operation Tiger” convoy hits a mine and sinks.

On May 10, in a bizarre incident, Rudolf Hess — deputy head of the Nazi Party and second in line after Göring as heir to Hitler, essentially the third-most-powerful man in Germany — flies solo from Germany in a fighter plane and parachutes into Scotland on a self-assigned mission “to arrange peace talks” with the British. Instead, Hess is immediately arrested. When Hitler learns what has occurred, he disavows the mission, strips Hess of all titles and responsibilities and orders him shot on sight if he ever returns to Germany. Later that night, 507 German bombers attack London, damaging much of the city, including the House of Commons. Over 1,400 people are killed and an area of over 700 acres is set afire. In Belgium, the “Strike of the 100,000” begins. The action — an eight-day work stoppage by industrial workers demanding higher wages — is also an act of passive resistance against the German occupation. To end the walkout, the Germans agree to a substantial wage increase of over 8%.

In the U.S. on May 11, former president Herbert Hoover states his belief that the U.S should stay out of the European conflict. On a number of previous occasions, Hoover has declared that it is wiser for the nation to devote itself to building up its own defenses, forging a “Fortress America” that could repel any attack on the Americas.

In Berlin on May 12, engineer Konrad Zuse unveils the Z3, the world’s first programmable, fully automatic digital computer. The machine is the product of a secret project of the German government. The same day, all the ships of Great Britain’s “Operation Tiger” convoy — save the one sunk by a mine — reach Alexandria, Egypt, delivering 243 tanks to replace 57 that had been lost, as well as 43 Hawker Hurricane fighter planes.

On May 13, in Berlin, Martin Bormann — a Nazi Party member since 1927, and personal secretary to Rudolf Hess since 1933 — is tapped to fill the position formerly held by Hess, being given the title of Nazi Party chancellor. In a radio broadcast from Baghdad, Muhammad Amin al-Husayni, the strongly anti-Zionist Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who has been exiled from Palestine, makes a call for all Islamic countries to join in Iraq’s fight against Great Britain.

Gen. Archibald Wavell, British Middle East Commander, launches an operation on May 14 to take the Halfaya Pass, on the Egyptian-Libyan border. The idea is to gain ground leading to more-open areas of the Cyrenaica Plateau. Intercepted German communications have convinced Winston Churchill in London that Rommel’s forces are weak and overextended. In the eastern Mediterranean, there are heavy German air raids over the island of Crete. The goal is to demoralize the Allied troops and to compel the RAF to withdraw its few planes from the island. In Paris, the first mass roundup of Jews takes place. Over 3,700 foreign Jews are arrested when they report for a check of their status by police. They are sent to two French internment camps.

On May 15, the first British aircraft propelled by a jet engine — the Gloster E.28/39 — takes to the air. From Tokyo, Richard Sorge, a Soviet intelligence agent, sends word to Stalin of an impending attack by Germany on the Soviet Union, but cannot provide a date. Stalin rejects the information as an attempt to alienate the Soviet and German governments and force the U.S.S.R. into the war.

Comments are closed.

Browse Current Issue - Click Here

Perth Amboy Calendar

MON. Jan 22
• City Council, Caucus,
4:30 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

WED. Jan 24
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

THURS. Jan 25
• Historic Preservation Commission
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

MON. Jan 29
• Special Public Meeting, RE: Discussion of Rezoning Ordinance
6 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

 

Stay informed! Attend public meetings. All are welcome!

South Amboy Calendar

WED. Jan. 31
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

WED. Feb. 7
• City Council, Business,
6 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

Stay informed! Attend public meetings. All are welcome!