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June 30, 1940 – The news was ominous and hardly upbeat. France had surrendered to Germany only days earlier. Word from Berlin was, the anticipated invasion of Britain could happen within days or weeks. Britons were expecting the worst and were preparing for it. The very young and the very old were transported safely out of immediate danger, and those left at home were enlisted in a variety of war effort services – from Defense plants and fire fighting to the Home guard. The German press amped up the propaganda, portraying England as too weak and ineffectual to mount a reasonable defense – that the skies would be wiped clean of British planes, since the Luftwaffe was superior in number. Germany would overrun Britain. And from the looks and sounds of it, it was inevitable.
So reports from various capitols of the world spoke of preparations and just how much aid was going to be sent to Britain, in light of the circumstances. Reports from Rome talked about the untimely death of Marshal Italo Balbo, the Governor General of Libya, while on an inspection trip of fighting in the region. Balbo, and his crew found themselves in the middle of intense fighting around Tobruk. Despite the fact that the plane Balbo was in wasn’t outfitted for battle, and that his plane was carrying more than the normal number of crew members, Balbo wanted a better look at the fighting going on below. His plane suddenly burst into flames and plunged to the ground, presumably from anti-aircraft fire. All members of the flight were killed.
In Rome, the news was taken with somber sadness – Mussolini declared June 30th be a memorial day in perpetuity for Marshal Balbo and thousands turned out for the funeral. Balbo was something of a national hero and his death shocked Italians.
From Berlin, came reports of continued cooperation between Germany and the Soviet Union – trade agreements were drawn up with several East European countries. Also from Berlin was a report that drivers in Germany after July 1st were no longer permitted to drive their cars without insurance. For all the talk of war, there was still the day-to-day mundane to consider.
From London came word by way of informed circles that an all-out invasion of Britain would likely take place on or around July 9th and that Britain was predicted to capitulate by August 15th.
The world held its collective breath.
And that’s just a small portion of the news that went on, this June 30, 1940 as reported by The NBC Blue Network News Of The World.