June 29, 1939 – A day of moving quickly. As grain fields were ripening in Central Europe, many secretly feared that, once the harvest was accomplished, the Rome-Berlin Axis would go into action and war would break out. Because of that, Britain moved to consolidate alliances and defenses in what were characterized as “hurry up” moves by the Admiralty and Foreign office. The Admiralty announced that the Summer program of the Navy would be moved up a whole month; officers and men were to be given their customary leaves in July. The fleet would then sail for maneuvers in the North Sea in August, rather than September. The Foreign Office was reported to be sending new instructions to Moscow in order to speed closing of the Anglo-French-Soviet non-aggression Pact.
Meanwhile, the scene unfolding in Shanghai China gave a clearer picture of what Japan’s motives were in that region. One was the Japanese Navy’s intention to blockade the entire China coast by closing Fuzhou and Wenzhou; the last important ports remaining in Chinese government hands. The other was the entry of the Tokyo government in negotiations for settlement of the two-week old blockade dispute with the British at Tianjin. Officials confirmed reports of the coming attacks on the two central China ports by warning all Foreign consulates to withdraw their warships by noon the upcoming Thursday. The British consulate promptly rejected the demand, saying that the warning would not release the Japanese from responsibility for any damage to British vessels. The British Consul General in Shanghai also informed the Japanese that British warships would be dispatched to Shantou to break the blockade of Foreign shipping at the South China port.
Despite all that, all outwardly appearances was Europe in the middle of a peaceful summer – if only for a few more weeks.
And that’s some of what happened, this June 29, 1939 as reported by Frank Singiser and The News from Mutual.