‘This Is Serious Business’ – December 10, 1941
December 10, 1941 – the war had entered its 2nd official day, the 3rd since the attack on Pearl Harbor. In that short amount of time, America became fixated with regular, almost constant news reports, the constant need to be informed what was happening. Since December 8th, networks instituted a policy of regular bulletins at the beginning of each program, or at the beginning of each hour. It would become a regular feature ever since; five minutes of news – longer for programs devoted to wrap-ups of the day.
Thus the beginning of what would eventually become the 24-hour news cycle.
And on this day, the fear and anxiety over being plunged into total War was starting to settle in. Reports of losses at sea, of Japanese advances in the Pacific including an invasion of the Philippines, of the sinking of two notable British Naval vessels; one battleship, the HMS Prince of Wales and the other, the battle-cruiser HMS Repulse, and on December 10th at 8:30 am, reports of suspicious air activity over New York City and the subsequent blackout prompted a 26 minute air-raid, which all contributed to the heightened tension and nerves spread over the country.
Meanwhile, a meeting between the State Department and the Foreign Ministers of all 21 American republics was called in order to organize the entire Western hemisphere for defense against Japan and the Axis. The call for Defense was made in accordance with the reciprocal assistance and cooperation pledge adopted during the Havana Conference of July 1940.
On other war fronts – reports from Moscow indicated the German drive to Sebastopol had failed with some 15,000 German casualties as the result. The report went on to state the Germans had lost over 150 tanks, 131 planes and more than 70 guns during 30 days of attacks.
Japanese radio monitors indicated reports the official spokesman for the Japanese Navy issued a warning to Japan, saying they must be prepared for a 10 year war.
And word from Vatican City indicated Pope Pius 12 would be making a world wide address on Christmas Eve and that the Pontiff was going to give a Christmas blessing to the entire world at the end of the broadcast.
All that, and so much more for this very confusing and anxiety-ridden December 10th in 1941 as reported by NBC News.