January 26, 1942 – Alka-Seltzer News Of The World – NBC – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
January 26, 1942 – The first bit of good news about the war, as reports came in that U.S. troops had run the German U-Boat gauntlet and arrived safely in Belfast Ireland. The first contingent of several thousand American troops were warmly greeted and the Ulster band played “Marching Through Georgia”. Some of the women in the crowd remarked they thought Americans were taller – and a few of the more cynical muttered “over-paid, over-sexed and over here”. Still, sighs of relief all around as the troops marched down the gangplank.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific – reports of a major Naval battle brewing in the Pacific were coming in. The First Battle of Balikpapan took place on 23–25 January 1942, off the major oil producing town and port of Balikpapan, on Borneo, in the Netherlands East Indies. After capturing mostly destroyed oilfields at Tarakan, Japanese forces send an ultimatum to the Dutch that they will be executed if they destroy the oilfields there, to no avail. After destroying the oilfields, Dutch forces retreated inland, taking up positions in and around Samarinda II Airfield, while the Japanese landed and seized the also destroyed refineries. Shortly thereafter, an American naval task force arrived and ambushed the invasion convoy, sinking multiple transport ships but ultimately failing to stop Japan from swiftly occupying Balikpapan.
Back in the States – A report from the Dies Committee on the background from the Pearl Harbor attack was getting ready to surface. Preliminary reports told of a concerted effort by Japanese espionage teams working in and around the Pearl Harbor area and gathering a considerable amount of information as much as a year before the deadly attack. But their presence at the time was so innocuous that Washington thought nothing of their actions and played down any potential fears as a way of tapping down on potential bad relations with Japan while aiding China in their war against Japan.
And that’s just a small slice of what happened, this 26th of January 1942 as presented by Alka-Seltzer’s News Of The World for NBC.
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