332 Days And Counting – July 31, 1940
332 days since the outbreak of War in Europe. 332 days and the signs were all pointing to an imminent invasion of Britain by Germany. Reports from the occupied countries told of mass German Army troop and equipment movements and increased activity around the English Channel. Air raids over Britain were increasing in number and intensity – depending on who was reporting. Britain claimed the raids were slight and did little damage. Germany claimed the raids were huge and did a lot of damage. The truth was probably somewhere in the middle. Meanwhile, the matter of British subjects being detained in Japan brought a letter of protest from the British government to the Japanese Embassy in London earlier this day. Some 11 British subjects were being detained in Tokyo on a number of charges. At the time of the broadcast, 2 had been released, but there was a further arrest. No word of charges, but Berlin was hinting it was spying.
The war of Propaganda continued – with Germany accusing Britain of attacking civilian targets in raids, threatening to cut off food to France via the blockade and training civilians to take part in home defense. The German Ministry of Information and Enlightenment published a book purporting to show how Britain had failed in its mission of spreading real Democracy throughout the world. It was made up of carefully selected quotations from such British luminaries as Lloyd George, George Bernard Shaw, Ramsay MacDonald, Gen. Booth of The Salvation Army and many others.
From Washington came word that the Capitol was sweltering in its thirteenth day of a heat wave – and it was becoming the most important news in the city. Close behind, was word that mobilization of some 320,000 members of the National Guard and Officers Reserve were being called to active duty for a years training. This, in lieu of instating a Draft, as many felt conscription in Peace Time should never be enacted and resistance to considering it was rising. A proposal to actively promote volunteering for the Armed Forces was suggested as a more plausible way of getting around the issue. The issue of conscription, many felt, came too near to marking the Democratic Party as a War Party; the same label the Republicans tried to pin on it in the last election.
And that’s a small slice of what went on this last day of July in 1940 – 75 years ago, as reported by The Blue Network’s News Of the World.