January 13, 1942 – The View From Batavia
January 13, 1942 – Beginning with news from Batavia and the war as it was taking shape in the Pacific. Despite cautiously upbeat reports, the underlying news was the Japanese were making huge gains all through the area between Japan and Australia and things were not looking good for the allies.
On several fronts, the Japanese were inching towards taking over the Dutch East Indies, with attacks on Batavia increasing. Likewise with Singapore along with attention slowly turning towards The Philippines. Despite news of counterattacks via Dutch Air Force planes, the news on the ground gave a portrayal of vastly outnumbered garrisons, attempting to stave off the enemy until reinforcements would arrive. Trouble was, Allied reinforcements were stretched thin, and the situation in Singapore wasn’t looking hopeful.
On other fronts – The Russians were reported to have reoccupied at least eleven towns during fierce fighting which claimed at least 2,000 Germans killed or wounded along an unspecified section of the Eastern Front. In contrast, Berlin Radio reported that German troops killed some 219 Russians and captured 93 others in raids east of Kharkov, an industrial city in the Donets basin, 400 miles south of Moscow. The German communique also contained the first mention of German offensive action along the Southern sector.
On the Home Front – From Capitol came word that Loan Administrator Jesse Jones had approved the dispersal of some $400 Million of RFC cash to various oil, rubber and chemical companies for the express purpose of furthering development of synthetic rubber, which according to industry sources, was ready for mass production, if they could get sufficient funds to gear into production. It was estimated that, once production got started, this synthetic rubber would comprise 2/3 of Americas need for rubber by the middle of 1943, or 18 months by Jesse Jones estimate. This was huge news to millions of American car owners and businesses, who thought up to a few weeks earlier, that there wouldn’t be any more rubber for tires. The $400 million program was designed to produce an estimated five times as much rubber as the Axis powers could get a year. The price of this new rubber was thought to be some .10 more per pound than the natural rubber price, but there were an overwhelming number of people gladly willing to pay the extra if it meant getting a new tire.
And that’s a small fraction of what went on this January 13, 1942, as it was broadcast by News Of The World via The Blue Network of NBC.