March 10, 1940 – A Sunday and a pause on the battlefield, and an appreciation of what will soon be Spring in Europe. On this day in Berlin, the streets were adorned with festive attire. For the first time since the Polish campaign, Swastika’s fluttered from the roofs of many houses and buildings, while faithful Berliners and ardent Nazis streamed out of their homes, heading to Unter den Linden to take part in the pilgrimage to the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier memorial to take part in the War Memorial Day observances. Greeted by the fanatic shouts and spontaneous bursts of heils, Adolf Hitler, surrounded by representatives of the Army and Nazi Party, stepped up to the podium to deliver an address to the massive crowd. The short, but passionately spoken address could be best summed up in his last sentence in which he said “This War, bursting on the great German Reich by the Capitalistic powers of France and England, will be the most glorious victory in German history”. The observance/celebration also marked the 5th anniversary of Germany’s re-armament program, the glorification of the Reich’s military power on land air and on the seas. A great exhibition of war trophies of past campaigns had been set up for the crowds to admire and stare at. But the business of war continued, no matter the day or the celebration. As communiqués reported; lively artillery activities along with Western Front. In an aerial combat between 10 French and 7 German pursuit planes, one French plane was shot down. The communiqué went on to claim that Germany so far during the past six months of the war, had sunk a total of 36 tankers with a tonnage of 331,000 tons, of which England alone lost 32 tankers, with a total tonnage of 230,000 tons. It was pointed out that the figure represented 10% of the British Tanker fleet.
Other news regarding Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop‘s visit to Rome and the solidarity of the Rome-Berlin Axis was emphasized and commented on. Ribbentrop held a meeting with Mussolini earlier in the morning, and that he conferred with him for over an hour and a quarter. Nothing was disclosed as to the discussions of the meeting.
Signs of arbitration and mediation of the Russian/Finnish conflict were taking place the previous few days. Berlin papers were speculating the Finland was backing down on the fight against the Russian invasion. It was learned that the Finnish minister of Foreign Affairs had stated that the Finnish Government has taken up contact with the Soviet government. And at the moment conferences were being held to discuss the probability of a Peace settlement for Finland.
All that and a lot more for this otherwise low-key almost Spring Sunday, March 10th 1940 as reported by NBC Afternoon Reports and Observations.