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This Week in World War II: 75 Years Ago

Joseph Goebbels announced in 1941 that thousands of mothers and children had been moved to the countryside to keep them safer. Wikipedia.

Joseph Goebbels announced in 1941 that thousands of mothers and children had been moved to the countryside to keep them safer. Wikipedia. Click to enlarge.

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.

On October 3, 1941, Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi urges his followers to begin passive resistance to British rule in India. In Berlin, Hitler, in a speech, says: “This enemy [the U.S.S.R.] has already been broken and will never rise again!” Also from Berlin, Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels announces that 1.5 million children and 150,000 mothers have been relocated from German cities to safer areas in the countryside. On the Eastern Front, German forces capture Orel, about 218 miles southwest of Moscow. In New York City, director John Huston’s motion picture “The Maltese Falcon” premieres. The film stars Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet and Humphrey Bogart, as private eye Sam Spade.

German panzers are breaking through outer Soviet defenses around Moscow by October 4. Large numbers of Soviet troops are in danger of being encircled.

Louis Brandeis, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, dies on October 5 at the age of 84. Brandeis had been the first Jew appointed to the Supreme Court, by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. During the night, British aircraft raid Tripoli, Libya.

Soviet positions around Moscow are deteriorating on October 6, with large pockets of Red Army troops being encircled. Gen. Ewald von Kleist’s right wing of Army Group South traps more than 100,000 Soviet soldiers. In Berlin, procedures for the mass deportations of Jews from Greater Germany to eastern concentration camps are established.

On October 7 John Curtin becomes the 14th prime minister of Australia, succeeding Arthur Fadden.

With the capture of Mariupol on October 8, elements of German Army Group South reach the Sea of Azov, in southern Ukraine, However, the German advance begins to bog down — literally — as heavy rains turn roads into muddy morasses. In China, after a month of fighting and suffering almost 7,000 casualties, the Japanese pull back from their attempt to take Changsha, the capital of Hunan province.

In Washington, President Roosevelt on October 9 asks Congress for permission to arm U.S. merchant ships and to repeal parts of the Neutrality Act of 1937 that forbid American ships from carrying goods to belligerents in combat zones.

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