March 28, 1941 – A day for celebrating in Britain and a day of coups and overthrows in the Balkans. From Eritrea in Eastern Africa came word that the British had captured the town of Keren, and were forcing the Italian Army to retreat.
News of the victory brought a pre-war celebration throughout London as the streets jammed with people cheering what was considered a first real Allied Victory in the War, now 537 days old. Clubs were crowded, Piccadilly Circus had what many observed, was their first pre-War traffic jam.
But in spite of the British victories in East Africa, news of the coup in Yugoslavia was taking its place on the front pages of British newspapers. In Yugoslavia, the general sentiment was that Hitler had been out-blitzed. The experiences of the previous war gave the Germans a healthy respect for the Serbs. And in view of their intense nationalism and fighting qualities, it was considered strange that Hitler used the same methods to strangle them as he had with other countries. The British Press felt that Von Ribbentrop badly played his hand. He was dealing men who could not bind the stubborn will of the Yugoslav people. The only way out of the predicament, the British Press went on the speculate, was the use of brute force. And word of German troop movements in Southern Bulgaria towards Yugoslavia spelled out that this was exactly the case. Observers said Von Ribbentrop was demanding an explanation of the change of government as well as asking King Peter about the meaning of the Yugoslav army’s mobilization and movement to defensive positions. The wives and children of German officials in Belgrade were packed into the German legation which was strongly guarded. Prince Paul was reported to have quietly escaped and was rumored to be heading to the Greek frontier, although there was no definite news. More important developments were expected to take place during the upcoming 48 hours.
And that’s just a small slice of what went on, this rather busy news day of March 28, 1941 as reported by NBC Radio’s News Of The World.