March 20, 1942. News for this day was a mixed bag of hopefulness and dread. The hopeful news came in the form of General Douglas MacArthur who had managed to relocate his headquarters to Australia after an evacuation from The Philippines was ordered by the President. The dread came from fears that Australia was now on Japan‘s map of upcoming invasions and its defense was crucial if this war was going to be fought and won by the Allies. On this day, crowds were gathered at the train station in Melbourne in anticipation of the arrival of Gen. MacArthur.
Meanwhile, on the Eastern front – the Russian offensive was mounting in intensity; all the way from the slush-packed delta of the River Don up to the frozen fields around Leningrad.
In London, the British were devising a new scheme to get news broadcast to the Nazi-occupied countries in Europe. Since jamming of radio signals was making it impossible to broadcast conventionally, the British were now planning on delivering the news to those countries via Morse Code. Seems radio broadcasts of the human voice could be jammed, but not code signals. So news bulletins were going to be sent out in Morse code and in German, French and English beginning this day.
Back home – April 6th was going to be designated Army Day by President Roosevelt. At a news conference, the President expressed concern there would be shortages of labor, coming the following Fall – in the meantime, men from the age of 45-65 were urged to register so that information about skilled workers could be shifted to Defense work when the need arose. It was also disclosed that by January 1943, women would constitute 1/3 of the 15 million war workers needed at that time.
And that’s just a sample of the news that made up this March 20th in 1942, as presented by Alka-Seltzer’s News Of The World.