Heating Up The South Pacific – May 21, 1942

The lull broke.

The lull broke.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – News Of The World – May 21, 1942 – NBC Blue Network – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

News for this May 21st in 1942 had much to do with the anticipated events taking place in the Southwest Pacific. Since there had been a lull in activity the previous few days,  the allies were eyeing a number of scenarios as to where the Japanese would attack next. It was widely felt Japan would aim their sights at one of four place – China, Russia, India or Australia.

By May 21st it was apparent the next intended target was Australia, as activity was heating up around Timor and Port Moresby. It was suspected the Japanese were planning an invasion of Australia at some point as supply ships were spotted heading in the direction of Timor. Allied bombers attacked the Japanese naval and air bases at Koepang and Dili, while Japanese concentrated on unsuccessful raids over Port Moresby.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic – grumblings from Parliament over Prime Minister Churchill‘s handling of the war so far. The political squabbles came in the form of back-bench Conservatives who felt Churchill wasn’t doing the job, a view not shared by members of the Labour party. The debate was over Churchill spending too much time on War strategy and not enough time on domestic issues and that Churchill needed to be separated from the Military aspect of the war. A view also not shared with the public, who felt the psychological health of the country was much better on this day than it was a few weeks earlier, when Singapore fell to the Japanese. And because of that, public opinion was in support of the Churchill government which they felt was aimed at taking an offensive position sometime soon, with an eventual invasion of the Continent in the offing.

Friction between Italy and Germany over Greece was being felt all over Athens. Many in Italy were feeling their alignment with Germany was a mistake and that they found themselves on the losing side. Italian troops were expressing sympathy to the Greek citizens, while German troops showed contempt for their Italian counterparts.

All telephone communication between Stockholm and Berlin was cut off, and many speculated this meant something big was in the offing. Later, it was resumed but many felt it was only temporary and that communications would be cut again as this was a standard M.O. for the Germans whenever something of big military or political import was on the horizon, or when there was a piece of news the Germans didn’t want for public consumption.

On Capitol Hill the subject of rationing was on the front burner. Sugar rationing was being revised with allowed amounts increased for canning and preserves. The Gas rationing question was still being argued. Sightseeing buses were officially banned for the duration, saving a considerable amount of rubber for tires. The only bus service to be made available was for school children, war workers and war essentials.

And that’s what went on, this 21st day of May in 1942 as reported by News Of The World from the Blue Network of NBC Radio.

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