January 14, 1942 – Malaya: “Worse News Is Expected Before It Becomes Better” – Holding Out Hope For Singapore

January 1942 - Malaya - George Rodger, Photo
Situation in Malaya and Singapore – newspapers using words like Retreat for the first time.(Photo: George Rodger)

January 14, 1942 – News Of The World – NBC Red Network – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

January 14, 1942 – Very little news coming from Batavia regarding the situation in Malaya and Singapore. And what news there was only went from bad to worse. Even the British press, who avoided using certain words in newspaper headlines were now using “retreat” to describe the situation. Many in Britain felt the allies would successfully defeat the Axis, but at what cost. No one had the answer. But the situation at hand was of the most concern. Observers felt if the Allies could hold Singapore long enough to get substantial reinforcements, it could turn the tide – and holding Singapore was crucial, because losing it meant the Japanese had free access to the Indian Ocean to stage raids on allied shipping and that the German assault on Malta was timed to coincide with the loss of Singapore. And that would mean Allied supply lines would effectively be closed to Allied shipping and would make the Indian Ocean far more important to the allies.

And if the news from Malaya wasn’t enough, word from London came of the increased effort to stamp out the Black Market in Britain. Since most foods available are being strictly rationed and other non-rationed foods are scarce, it has created a boom for racketeers who, even in wartime were experiencing a huge boost in profits. So the government and the press were working overtime to expose every new trick and every new arrest in connection with Black Market activity. Also looming high were incidents of price gouging on the parts of retailers. But the prevailing opinion was that most people were honest, but that some were willing to pay exorbitant prices for what they wanted.

And late word from Mexico City that all German diplomatic and counsellor representatives in Mexico have been rounded up and interned. And the Mexican government ordered the Japanese Defense Minister and his staff to stay in their ligation building. Both German and Japanese Embassy Staff were expected to be taken to the main diplomatic internment area in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia where Axis diplomats in Washington had been confined.

And that’s just a small portion of the news as it was given by NBC’s Red Network on January 14, 1942.

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