Manila: Last Ditch Efforts – Fading Hopes – January 2, 1942
– Blue Network News Of The World – January 2, 1942 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection. –
As war swept over the world, and battles raged from the South Pacific to the outskirts of Moscow, news was pessimistic but clinging on to hope.
With news from the Pacific that U.S. and Filipino troops were engaged in a last-ditch effort to prevent the fall of Manila, hope was fading the Allies would succeed in turning back waves of advancing Japanese. By the time the second newscast on this day was broadcast, word reached New York that Manila had, in fact fallen.
Elsewhere in the Pacific, considerable help was reported to be on the way to Malaya. What exactly that help was, wasn’t clear, but new Commander in Chief of British forces General Pownall said he was determined to fight for every inch of Malaysian ground down the Malay peninsula. In China, intense fighting was going on in the Hunan Province capital of Changsha. In Batavia, reports that three Japanese planes bombed the coast of Sumatra. Casualty figures from the first mass air raid on Rangoon were released and the number was over 1,000. Casualty reports on a second raid were reported as negligible.
Meanwhile, in Europe – assessments of the two recent British raids on the continent indicated Germany’s lack of sufficient planes to repel an attack. Sources said Hitler doesn’t have enough fighters and bombers to guard the stretch of coastline from the Arctic Ocean to Spain. Free French reactions to Marshall Petain’s speech of the previous evening gave observers the impression Petain was a dispirited man, expecting the occupied portion of France to be liberated in the foreseeable future. The London Times was quoted as saying some of Petain’s colleagues in the Vichy government were beginning to doubt whether a German victory was probable. That fact, and public opinion were factors, some felt, in preventing Admiral Darlan from handing over African bases to Germany. The Times went on to say that German leaders were pressing Vichy to send a naval expedition out as a way to engage Allied navies. Other press reports from London summed up Vichy’s position as favoring a victory by the Germans, saying that if the Germans win, all will be well. They also said that if the Allies win, French liberties will be restored anyway.
Back home – word of a blackout on private automobile manufacturing starting January 31st was the latest in wartime measures for the U.S. – fears that some 200,000 auto workers would be laid off for some six months was countered by President Roosevelt, who said the lay-off period would only be for two months, while the auto industry re-tooled for wartime production. Further fears were spreading that the government would begin a process of commandeering private cars for government use. But those were only rumors.
All that, and so much more on this January 2nd in 1942 as presented by News Of The World and News Of The World: Night Edition.
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