America at war! (1941– ) (Part 1)

The battlefronts in the Far East –

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1. White arrows show Jap threats as British hold off foe west of Moulmein, Burma.
2. U.S. planes raid Jap bases in Malaya as Singapore awaits ground attack.
3. Japs heavily air raid Soerabaja, Java, biggest Dutch base, and other Java towns.
4. U.S. Army plans sink two more Jap transports, down 9 more planes in Makassar Strait.
5. MacArthur’s forces smash two more Jap landing attempts behind lines.
6. Port Moresby, 400 miles from Australia, raided in new attacks in New Guinea.
7. Australia suspends air mail service, holds test blackout in Sydney area.

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Island capital off Australia raided

Melbourne, Australia –
Japanese aircraft raided Port Moresby, capital of Papua Island, early today, dropping six bombs which killed one person and injured three others. Port Moresby is 330 miles off the northern tip of Australia.

First U.S. general wounded

Washington –
The first general officer to be wounded in action since the United States entered the war was revealed today to be Brig. Gen. Clinton A. Pierce. He suffered slight wounds in recent fighting in the Philippines, Gen. Douglas MacArthur reported. Gen. Pierce is one of the colonels in Gen. MacArthur’s forces who was promoted to brigadier general last week.

Aid to Singapore pledged

Canberra, Australia –
Army Minister Francis Forde messaged the defenders of Singapore today that:

Everything in our power is being done to insure that the greatest degree of help will reach you with all possible speed. It will come as a stream swelling to flood.

Adm. Leahy confers with Pétain

Vichy, France – (delayed by censor)
U.S. Ambassador Adm. Francis Leahy, accompanied by Embassy Counsellor Pinckney Tuck, conferred at the Hotel Du Parc today with Chief of State Marshal Henri Pétain.

Japs lose division in Malaya, Chinese say

Chungking, China –
A Chinese military spokesman, quoting intelligence reports, said today that the entire Japanese 18th Division was annihilated in Malaya. More than 10,000 urns bearing the ashes of Jap dead have reached Saigon, Indochina, during the past week, the spokesman said.

Britain, Ethiopia signs treaty

London, England –
Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden told Commons today that as British-Ethiopian treaty was signed at Addis Ababa Jan. 31 under which a British military mission will aid in reorganizing Ethiopian Armed Forces. The treaty, to run for two years, provides that British troops will garrison Ethiopia. Mr. Eden said the Ethiopian Army will be equipped with material captured from the Italians.

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Barkley urges Senators to be tough-skinned

All must take responsibility for Pearl Harbor, he says in debate

Washington, Feb. 3 (UP) –
After a debate on where the responsibility for Pearl Harbor should rest and whether Guam, now in Japanese hands, should have been fortified, the Senate today heard Democratic Leader Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky urge his colleagues to meet criticism with “tough skins.”

The discussion grew out of a speech by Senator Harry S. Truman (D-MO), who defended Senator Burton K. Wheeler (D-MT) against charges which he said had been made over the radio that Senator Wheeler blocked wiretapping legislation.

Mr. Barkley said he had not previously heard or read of any such charges, and added.

Not cause of disaster

Certainly nobody is stupid enough to think the failure of Congress to pass wiretapping legislation was what caused Pearl Harbor.

Senator Barkley said he believed:

We have all got to take some measure of responsibility for the disaster at Pearl Harbor.

…but Chairman David I. Walsh (D-MA) of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee questioned the statement.

Mr. Barkley said:

I had in mind the smugness of the American people. For instance, I think Guam should have been fortified.

Senator Walsh said:

So do I.

…adding it should be pointed out that the Navy never asked for fortification, but merely for improvement of harbor facilities. The House defeated the plan, 205–106, three years ago.

Congress unfairly blamed

Mr. Walsh said he did not believe it was fair to lay on Congress the blame for lack of action to prevent “what happened.”

Mr. Walsh said:

Congress doesn’t manage or control the actions of the Navy. I think we ought to be careful in accepting any responsibility.

Senator Millard E. Tydings (D-MD) recalled he had suggested that the Naval Affairs Committee authorize improvements at Guam if Japan refused to permit the United States to inspect the Mariana and other Western Pacific islands, mandated to Japan under an agreement that they would not be fortified.

Senator Bennett C. Clark (D-MO) commented:

No amount of fortification at Guam would have substituted for the fundamental lack of alertness at Pearl Harbor.

Senate cooperation cited

Senator Tydings said that if the nation can learn any lesson from Guam, it should be that we ought to put our possessions:

…in a military position to defend themselves.

Mr. Barkley said that regardless of conflicting views before the Pearl Harbor attack Dec. 7, every member of the Senate had cooperated “completely, fully and promptly,” in war legislation.

Senator Barkley said:

I hope that those who speak over the radio and write columns and who enjoy the patronage of the public will keep in mind that it is important for Congress to march forward, shoulder-to-shoulder, without recriminations.

I hope Senators will not take too serious these little pinpricks. The American people are fundamentally sound.

Male jury selected for espionage cases

New York, Feb. 3 (UP) –
An all-man jury was selected today to try seven persons, including one woman, on charges of conspiracy to violate the espionage laws.

It was the first spy trial since the United States entered the war, but because the defendants committed the alleged crimes before war was declared, they face a maximum of 20 years in prison, instead of the firing squad.

The alleged mastermind of the ring is Kurt Frederick Ludwig, arrest last August in Seattle, while he was fleeing. Ludwig, the government charges, turned over the information he gathered to another defendant, Paul T. Borchardt, 56, former major in the German Army.

Ship strikers waver under U.S. pressure

End of independent union walkout on coast is believed near

Seattle, Wash., Feb. 3 (UP) –
Government-encouraged defections within the ranks of independent welders undermined the Puget Sound Shipyard strike today and forced union leaders to draft “new strategy” in their jurisdictional dispute with the American Federation of Labor.

The striking United Welders, Cutters and Helpers Union (independent) refused to indicate whether it would call off its four-day walkout in the face of new demands from the War Production Board, Maritime Commission, Army and Navy, who joined in denouncing the strike. Union leaders said they were forced to follow a new program but they refused to reveal its details.

Statements conflict

Strikers met to consider the government demands last night after Sheldon G. Knutson, secretary of the union, estimated that only about 30% of the union’s membership had remained on strike.

Charles Brinkerhoff, secretary of the local at Tacoma, however, asserted that only 40 workers reported yesterday at the Tacoma plant of the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co. He said they included 31, imported from Portland, Ore., schools, who were:

…so incompetent they are doing more damage than good.

R. J. Lamont, president of the Seattle-Tacoma Co., said the AFL Boilermakers Union was providing men to fill the strikers’ jobs and that in “the Seattle picture as a whole” 95% of the men were working. Five other Puget Sound shipyards involved in the walkout.

Union shifts policy

Mr. Lamont said the strike was “definitely finished” at Seattle and that the situation was “rapidly improving” at Tacoma. The independent union claimed a membership of 1,100 at Tacoma and of 1,600 at Seattle.

A company spokesman said only 30 of a crew of 400 on the night shift at Seattle were missing.

After last night’s meeting, Mr. Knutson said the union was:

…forced in all future business to follow an entirely new program.

He said:

We are launching a new strategy to prove our point on the discriminations and intimidations on the part of the AFL.

The four government agencies at Washington issued a statement urging the welders to resume work and:

…repudiate the leadership which has encouraged a reckless disregard of the needs of the country.

Government statement

The statement said the welders had a right to belong to a union of their own choice but that there was no jurisdiction for trying to break the agreement of a:

…duly recognized bargaining agency by the means they have employed.

No employee was forced to join more than one union, it said.

AFL metal trades crafts have closed shop agreements with the shipyards. Welders complained they were forced to belong to more than one union and established the independent group when they were denied the right to organize an autonomous group within the AFL.

Oil fields enlist women firefighters

Gladewater, Tex. (UP) –
A women’s firefighting brigade is being organized to prevent flames from destroying the East axes oil field in case of incendiary bombing.

Fire Chief O. B. Davis of Gladewater said protection of the world’s largest oil-producing area would be left largely to the housewives.

This system, said Davis, was used successfully in London during the fire raids and will be used in this rich oil production center.

He commented:

You’d think they’d have a high-powered formula for putting out fire bombs. But they don’t. The formula is sand.

If bombing raids become imminent, Davis said, each housewife will be asked to keep on hand a supply of dry sand.

Editorial: They remember Pearl Harbor

To the public, the Pacific Fleet’s attack on Japanese bases in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands is welcome evidence that our sea forces are able to take the offensive. To the strategists, it is a forerunner of more ambitious action in the future against the enemy’s outer defense screen.

This was not a major engagement. Its purpose was to feel out enemy strength, and to destroy as many bases and craft as possible in a hit-and-run process.

It was successful. The reconnaissance was completed. Jap losses were heavy, and American light. Fortunately for the enemy, no capital ships were found at or near the bases, or they probably would have been added to the toll of auxiliary ships and planes destroyed.

The importance of the Marshalls, which Japan heavily fortified as a mandate power, and the Gilberts, which she captured from the British in December, is obvious. They serve as a barrier between our Hawaiian-based fleet and the Southwest Pacific war zone, and as bases against the American-Australian supply line.

From these Marshall bases, Japan launched the surprise assault on Pearl Harbor, Midway and Wake with aircraft carriers, long-range bombers and submarines. They are 2,200 miles from Pearl Harbor, or almost halfway to the great Dutch Indies base of Amboina now threatened by the Japanese. They are less than 700 miles south of our lost Wake.

Therefore, the safety of Hawaii, the recapture of Wake, the protection of our lifeline to the Indies, to Singapore and eventually to the Philippines, all would be greatly facilitated by our seizure of these enemy lines.

If Adm. Nimitz’s destructive raids are merely the prelude to bigger action – as the Japanese fear and Americans hope – the enemy now faces the difficult choice of defending those crippled bases with inferior forces, or shifting some Japanese strength from the long Burma-Singapore-Philippine-Indies battle line. Either way, the Allies should profit.

That, of course, is the supreme advantage of offensive over defensive strategy. Virtually all of Japan’s extraordinary victories to date, extending over many thousands of miles, are due to her offensive advantage and our defensive disadvantage. Japan never can be stopped or turned back by defensive action, however heroic. Only counteroffensives against her dangerously lengthened lines can lick her.

So even more gratifying than the immediate result of the Pacific Fleet’s first major action is its promise of more offensives to come.


Ferguson: Morale and mending

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

I never did think men would like women messing around in their wars. From several talks with those who direct state councils of defense and sundry other civilian organizations, I find the hunch was correct.

I sense signs of what may soon become open revolt. Subtle criticisms of women creep into masculine conversations and bode no good for females who hanker to put on pants and get into the fighting.

One says:

I’m having the damnedest time with the women volunteers.

…just like that and right out loud.

Most of them want to roll bandages, wade knee-deep in blood and drive ambulances. I hope the government lifts the priority on needles pretty soon, so some of these gals can do a little mending at home and also a little more mending for the reclamation work that is bound to come on uniforms, bedding and clothing for hospitals and soldiers.

While the papers report all kinds of new jobs for girls and the pictures show them toiling at strange tasks, there is a tendency to classify us as defenders of morale, and I’m for it.

We may be good pinch hitters and welders, truck drivers and machine operators, but I feel the nation can’t take much of that sort of stuff from its women and keep its values straight.

There are plenty of jobs for us. But, as in times of peace, they must be jobs for which we are naturally fitted. Occupational maladjustment is one of the fundamental sources of human misery, according to the psychologists. So a pretty good slogan for the girls, even now, would be:

Morale, morale and mending.

If we look after those, we’ll be doing a worthwhile job for Uncle Sam!

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U.S. War Department (February 4, 1942)

Communiqué No. 91

Philippine Theater.
During the night of February 3, elements of the 16th (Kimura) Division made a local attack on our left flank in Bataan. The attack was sharply repulsed.

Our troops continued to mop up tattered remnants of the Japanese who had previously landed on the west coast or who had infiltrated behind our lines. These enemy troops were from the Tatori group and Kimura Division and were found in isolated pockets. No reinforcements were able to reach them. The enemy had attempted to supply them intermittently with food and ammunition dropped by parachute. However, most of these supplies fell into our hands.

Japanese prisoners of war expressed great surprise at the humane treatment they re receiving at our hands. They said they had been told that we would execute all prisoners.

On our right, there was little activity during the past 24 hours.

Enemy activity over our lines was limited to a few sporadic bombing attacks which did no damage.

Dutch East Indies.
A delayed report advised that seven U.S. Army bombers of the Flying Fortress type attacked Japanese shipping at Balikpapan, Borneo, on February 2. Two enemy transports were sunk and a third, which was hit repeatedly, was probably sunk. All of our planes returned to their base undamaged. It is believed that this attack is the one mentioned in Gen. Wavell’s communiqué of yesterday.

There is nothing to report from other areas.

The Pittsburgh Press (February 4, 1942)

Draft officials say –
If your wife can work, you may get call

Government would assist in partial support of dependents

Thousands of married men whose wives are capable of “working for a living” likely will be called into the Army after Congress enacts a government “relief bill” for draft dependents. Selective Service officials announced today.

Although emphasizing that men with families would in all likelihood remain in Class 3-A for some, authorities in Washington pointed out that a bill already pending before Congress would free for service:

  1. Men with wives who are partly supporting themselves or who are physically able to get jobs and support themselves with government aid.

  2. Men, both married and unmarried, whose dependents could support themselves with their own income, plus a maximum of $30 a month from the government and the soldier under a joint relief plan.

  3. Men supporting parents or relatives who could get along on a reduced income.

  4. Men who might hold deferments on the basis of court-ordered alimony payments.

Hits many in area

The plan, which Brig. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, national draft chief, outlined to a House investigating committee late yesterday, would hit hard at the estimated 100,000 men now holding 3-A deferments in Allegheny County.

In Washington, however, draft officials reiterated that the bulk of the 3-A men – whether the law is passed or not – will probably not be touched this year because estimates show the Army can reach its goal of 3,600,000 by next Jan. 1 by calling up, first of all, the 1-A men in the present lists and those who will become available following the next registration Feb. 16.

New list to be called

That many of those between 20 and 44, inclusive, will be called to service soon after they register was indicated by General Hershey, who told the committee that men from this group:

…will be inducted in the near future.

Older men, he said, will be given “less physically exacting jobs” by the Army.

Orders have gone out to local boards here, it was revealed, to clean up their present lists of all 1-A men by April to be ready, to handle classification of the new registrants as soon as possible thereafter.

In order to “clear the decks” for this mass induction, State Selective Service headquarters at Harrisburg today advised local boards they need…

Day-night battle –
MacArthur’s men beat off new attack

Sailors, Marines bolster Luzon Army; Jap warship torpedoed in bay
By Everett R. Holles, United Press staff writer

Washington, Feb. 4 –
American and Filipino troops, who are being aided by a battalion of U.S. Marines and bluejackets, have “sharply repulsed” renewed Jap attacks along the west coast of Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines, it was announced today.

Striking back against relentless Jap efforts to drive his forces from the island of Luzon and back upon Fort Corregidor in Manila Bay, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was said in a war communiqué to be mopping up “tattered remnants” of crack Jap troops in the jungle-like regions of lower Bataan.

The 200-500 men of the U.S. naval battalion were believed to be evacuated from Olongapo or Cavite bases. With announcement of their arrival on Bataan, the Navy also disclosed that a motor torpedo boat (mosquito boat) had torpedoed a Jap warship in Manila Bay and escaped and revealed that the Navy had lost its first tanker, the 5,400-ton Neches, by enemy submarine action. 56 men were believed lost on the tanker.

Main blows on left flank

The War Department communiqué, indicating a constant day-and-night battle on Bataan, reported that the main Jap blows were being directed against General MacArthur’s left flank – near the west coast where repeated enemy landing attempts have been shattered by shellfire and aerial bombings.

The communiqué, citing a “delayed report,” said that seven huge U.S. Army Flying Fortresses attacking Jap shipping Monday in the Dutch Borneo oil port of Balikpapan sank two and probably three enemy transports.

These sinkings, it was added, were believed to be those reported yesterday in a communiqué of General Sir Archibald Wavell, Supreme Commander of the United Nations forces in the Far East.

Mop up Jap troops

On General MacArthur’s left flank on the lower Bataan Peninsula units of the 16th Jap Kimura Division launched a night attack last night but were hurled back decisively, it was stated.

The communiqué reported:

Our troops continued to mop up tattered remnants of the Japanese who had previously landed on the west coast or who had infiltrated behind our lines. These enemy troops were from the Tatori group and Kimura Division and were found in isolated pockets. No reinforcements were able to reach them. The enemy had attempted to supply them intermittently with food and ammunition dropped by parachute. However, most of these supplies fell into our hands.

Chrysler to build plane engine plant

Chicago, Feb. 4 (UP) –
Lt. Gen. William Knudsen announced today that a contract had been awarded the Chrysler Motor Corp. for construction of a $100-million bomber engine plant at Chicago.

General Knudsen said construction would start immediately and the plant “probably will be in operation” in nine months. The plant will turn out Wright 12-cylinder air-cooled engines, which General Knudsen described as “the biggest motors we have.” He estimated that 25,000 persons would be employed. The Chrysler plant would be the third large engine-producing factory in the Chicago area. Buick recently out into operation a $41-million plant, and Studebaker has had a smaller plant in operation several months.

Wake up, Americans!

Wishful thinkers in United States still looking at war through rose-colored glasses, Britons charge
By William H. Stoneman

London, Feb. 4 –
Reports reaching London from the United States create the impression that the American people are looking at the war through rose-colored glasses and are in danger of falling victims to the same type of wishful thinking which was Britain’s curse during the early part of the war.

One observer reported on his recent return from the United States:

The American people are looking forward to a long, hard war but their idea of a long, hard war is one punctuated by a steady succession of smashing victories for the United States and its Allies. The people themselves prefer to buy newspapers and listen to radio programs which have the rosiest news.

The picture, as seen from London, is certainly far grimmer than the one which summaries of some American sources indicate.

This seems to apply to Singapore, which is believed here to be fighting a desperate and almost hopeless battle; to General Douglas MacArthur, whose position in the Philippines is regarded as more hopeless; to Libya, and even to the Battle of the Atlantic.

The American attitude toward the Battle of the Atlantic is regarded as significant of a very natural tendency to wish away hardboiled, unpleasant facts.

According to reports reaching London, this crucial and very real battle on America’s doorstep has not aroused anywhere near as much thought or emotion as the unreal prospect of smashing air attacks on American coastal cities. The impression here is that U-boat activity along American coasts has been very fierce and is bound to increase in ferocity during coming months.

16th ship torpedoed by German U-boat

Lewes, Del., Feb. 4 (UP) –
The 3,598-ton United Fruit Co. freighter, San Gil, was torpedoed and sunk last night by an enemy submarine off the Maryland coast, killing two members of its crew, survivors disclosed on arriving here today. Four other members of the 41-man crew were injured.

The San Gil was the 16th vessel attacked by German U-boats since they began their recent raiding in coastal waters from Nova Scotia to Florida. 15 of the ships were sunk, and only the tanker, Malay, succeeded in reaching port.

The San Gil survivors, who spent seven hours in the open lifeboat, were picked up by a Coast Guard cutter.

The ship was of Panamanian registration.

Henry McLemore’s viewpoint –
Lipstick invades the aviation industry, and slacks for women become a major problem of war

By Henry McLemore

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Los Angeles, Calif. –
Aviation in California has a new problem.

It’s not tricycle landing gears, pitch propellers, firepower or rationed rubber. No, its new problem is an old one, and involves what Kipling once foolishly described as:

…a rag, a bone, and a hank of hair.

You’re right, folks, it’s the gals. Blue-eyed gals and skinny gals. Red-headed gals and oversized gals. Serious gals and flighty gals. All sizes and all sorts of gals.

Since the attack on Pearl Harbor, California’s major airplane factories have employed thousands of women workers. There is scarcely a plant that doesn’t have a powder room, or where the rouge and lipstick don’t stand on equal terms with the cut-plug and the briar pipe.

The girls are doing a magnificent job. They have proved they are worth the 60¢ and 75¢ an hour that they receive for helping in the assembling of bombers and fighters and trainers.

Clothes are problem

On the more monotonous jobs – you know., the kind where, for hour after hour, you tuck a little bit of wire here, you twist a bolt here, you pat something down here – they have shown themselves more efficient than men.

But the girls have produced a few headaches, just as girls have always done since Eve was determined to keep the doctor away with a bite into that forbidden Winesap.

Clothes have been a great problem. When the plants were first opened to women workers, the gals arrived on the job wearing any and everything. They came in voile creations, dotted swiss jobs, crepe print numbers, tailored suits, Mother Hubbards, boudoir aprons, slacks, shorts and almost everything else that you can find in a girl’s wardrobe.

Now they wear slacks

Tough foremen threw up their hands in horror. Hard-bitten machinists quivered and shook at the sight. Overalled mechanics muttered oaths that all but started the motors of nearby planes.

The girls were told that they must report in slacks; that to allow them to frisk around in billowing skirts would endanger their lives.

No one really knew the variety of slacks that are worn until the girls started showing up for work in their slacks.

The cute girl workers, the pretty ones, and the well – well, the well-built ones – took to slacks that were more appropriate for the first line of a Broadway chorus than an airplane factory. Quite a rumpus was raised when the foreman of one factory rebelled against a worker wearing trousers and halter outfits. He demanded that she cover up some of the exposed sections of her anatomy.

It’s men who change

The girls said okay, she would, but not until the men in the shop abandoned the habit of working without shirts. This developed into quite a battle. The men said that they had been working without shirts for years and they would be blankety-blank if any gal could come in and dictate how they should dress.

You know who won, don’t you, or aren’t you married?

What the airplane factories want is a standardized girl worker. Ones that are too pretty upset the place. As a matter of fact, the ones that are too lonely and look too well in a sweater, say, are not employed. It has been found that this type upsets the production of a plant.

Standardization fails

It seems that no matter how patriotic a workman is, how interested he is in his work, he simply can’t help being more interested in a delicious little thing in a sunsuit than he is in a bomber.

The thousands and thousands of women workers are determined not to lose their femininity. A Los Angeles department store, in polling them to ascertain a market for their merchandise, found that the girls wanted only one kind of clothes – the frilliest, fluffiest stuff that could be stitched up by hand or machine.

I’m afraid that, war or no war, women are not going to be standardized.

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Nazis want more help from Italy

Stockholm, Feb. 4 –
The Berlin correspondent of the Stockholm newspaper Social-Demokraten today characterized Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring’s Rome visit as an attempt to induce Italy to increase her war effort for the spring campaign.

U.S. envoy to Spain called home

Madrid, Feb. 4 –
American Ambassador Alexander W. Weddell has been summoned to Washington “for consultation,” it was made known today.

Malay evacuees reach Australia

Canberra, Feb. 4 –
Between 1,500 and 2,000 women and children evacuated from the Malay Peninsula have reached Australia. The Commonwealth has arranged with the various state governments to place them in homes and institutions. Many were Chinese.

Argentina keeps men in service

Buenos Aires, Feb. 4 –
Acting President Ramón S. Castillo announced after a cabinet meeting today that Argentina’s 1920 class of conscripts would be retained in service “indefinitely.”

The battlefronts in the Far East –

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1. U.S. and British planes blast Jap invaders near Moulmein, Burma.
2. Foe believed massing invasion boats as Singapore’s guns roar.
3. Dutch reveal heavy damage in Jap raid on Soerabaja, main Allied naval base.
4. U.S., Dutch warcraft hunt invasion craft in Makassar; stars indicate Jap bases believed used in Java raid.
5. Marines, sailors reinforce MacArthur; Mosquito boat torpedoes Jap warship in Manila Bay.
6. Dutch resist in “see-saw” battle at Amboina; Jap planes raid Dutch Timor.
7. Jap planes again raid Port Moresby; Aussie fliers attack ships at Rabaul.

The Philippines front –

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1. MacArthur’s forces beat off new attack.
2. U.S. Mosquito boat torpedoes Jap warship in Manila Bay.
3. U.S. Marine, sailor reinforcements come from either evacuated base.

Maj. Williams: Roberts Report

By Al Williams

Japan must be bombed to defeat.

Pearl Harbor is the most humiliating disaster – military and naval – ever suffered by American Armed Forces. And the Roberts Board of Inquiry report on that disaster – a whitewashing vindication of brass hatism does not meet the full needs.

That report told us little we didn’t know or sense as soon as the military and naval success of the Japs against Pearl Harbor was flashed to the American people. We knew that the local commanders – one general and one admiral – had been asleep on their jobs, like sentries asleep on posts.

It’s true that the Roberts Report told us a lot of harassing and almost unbelievable things about how frightfully delinquent and unprepared the Army and Navy were to meet the potentialities of modern war. The Roberts Report told us of anti-submarine and anti-tornado nets across the entrance to Pearl Harbor that had left open. It told us of the inexplicable delay of about one hour and 25 minutes between the destruction of a Jap submarine in the inshore coastal waters of Hawaii before a general “alert” was sounded.

Insufficient forces

In brush-odd paragraphs, it told us:

…there was a deficiency in the provision of materiel [guns, planes, anti-air detection machinery] for the Hawaiian area.

It relates how:

The fleet… was not charged with the defense of Pearl Harbor…


…insufficient forces were available to maintain all the defenses on a war footing for extended periods of time [five-day war?].

Unfortunately, the Japs planned a seven-day-a-week war.

It continues:

The national situation permitted only a partial filling of these requirements.

The report states that the Secretaries of the Army and Navy and their staffs communicated with one another and supplied all the files of correspondence to the Roberts Board; that all kinds of general recommendations from Washington had been sent to local Army and Navy forces in the Hawaiian area (without one check up to see if those recommendations ha been received, much less acted upon). It states that Secretary Knox had written a warning that the Japs might attack Pearl Harbor – by air – recommending:

…the revision of joint defense plans with special emphasis on the coordination of Army and Navy operations against surprise aircraft raids.

(There is no evidence that the Secretary followed up this correspondence to see what had been done about revising the Army and Navy joint defense against surprise aircraft attacks).

The report tells how one warning after another out of Washington had supplied information pointing to the likelihood of Jap attacks against the Philippines, Trai, the Kra Isthmus or possible Borneo. This is complete evidence that the High Command in Washington was all set for the old type of warfare. The deep-seated, stubborn opposition of the Navy and Army High Command to aviation – except as in an auxiliary capacity to land and sea forces – which is well known to the American public, all this led to the statement:

Without exception, they [the local commanders] believed that the chance of such a raid while the Pacific Fleet was based upon Pearl Harbor were practically nil.

Brass hats make mistake

There’s the real key to the Jap surprise at Pearl Harbor. The local commanders, Army and Navy, reflecting what the brass hats had so long thought and planned, just didn’t believe the Japs, or anyone else, would date to attack a base defended by a fleet. Yet British, Nazi and Italian airpower had attacked and destroyed sea power bases in Europe. That was all different – that couldn’t happen in Hawaii!

What the Roberts Report didn’t tell us is that plans for joint coordination of the Army and Navy are formulated by the General Board in Washington, composed of high-ranking Army and Navy officers.

Failure and lack of coordination of the Hawaiian Army and Navy forces was the real reason for the Pearl Harbor disaster. Oh, certainly, the local commanders “slept.” But didn’t the Army and Navy General Board in Washington sleep, too?

One general and one admiral are the goats. Of course they were guilty, but these two men are the products of a system. And it is the system which licked us at Pearl Harbor.

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U.S. War Department (February 5, 1942)

Communiqué No. 92

Philippine Theater.
There was a lull in the Battle of Bataan during the past 24 hours. Combat was limited to relative minor patrol actions, which lacked the savage character of the fighting which has been almost continuous during the past two weeks. The Japanese troops confronting our right sector are under the command of Lt. Gen. Akira Nara, and those facing our left are under Lt. Gen. Naoki Kimura. There was no marked activity in either sector.

Dutch East Indies.
Over Java, a small formation of U.S. Army P-40 fighting planes encountered a greatly superior force of Japanese bombers, escorted by pursuit aircraft. In the ensuing combat, one enemy bomber and one enemy pursuit plane were shot down. One of our planes is missing.

There is nothing to report from other areas.

The Pittsburgh Press (February 5, 1942)

First Lady’s protégé gets defense job

Dancer to receive $4,600 as child supervisor; fund probe asked

Washington, Feb. 5 –
A dancer-protégé of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, assistant director of the Office of Civilian Defense, has plucked a $4,600-a-year job in the OCD.

The dancer, Mayris Chaney, has been named head of children’s activities in the Physical Fitness Division. She will report to the First Lady.

OCD officials did not disclose the specific duties of Miss Chaney, who introduced the “Eleanor Glide” at a White House dance several years ago in honor of the First Lady.

Another friend of Mrs. Roosevelt, Joseph Lash, American Youth leader who has been under fire of the Dies Committee for past affiliation with communist-dominated organizations, is serving as an unpaid member of the OCD Youth Advisory Council.

On the Congressional front, an inquiry into OCD expenditures was demanded by Rep. Leland Ford (R-CA) after learning of Miss Chaney’s appointment.

Fund probe urged

Mr. Ford issued a statement asking the House Appropriations Committee to look into OCD sending. He did not criticize Miss Chaney specifically but said he had decided to ask for the inquiry after the disclosure that she had been appointed.

Mr. Ford first became annoyed with the OCD when Melvyn Douglas, movie star, was named to the post of director of the Arts Council of the agency information section at the rate of about $22 for each day that he works.

Mr. Ford said in his statement:

The whole thing behind these playboys goes back to the philosophy that this is a Roman holiday to be paid for by the government.

First Lady heads division

These people haven’t realized yet what war really means.

In the reorganization of the OCD being made by James M. Landis, on leave from his position as dean of the…