Monthly Archives: July 2009

WW2DB 7000th Photo Contest

What will be the 7000th photo be of over at my friend C. Peter Chen’s WW2DB site? You can win a month’s free advertising to your favorite WWII related website if you guess correctly!

Here is the WW2DB Photo Gallery.

To enter your guess, visit the discussion on Facebook here.

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Posted by on July 28, 2009 in Media, News, Other

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Bugs Bunny War Bond Drive WW2 Cartoon

Bugs Bunny War Bond Drive WWII Cartoon

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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Media, Other

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World War II History for July 24

Today in WWII History

World War II History for July 24

1941 - Vichy France grants Japan bases in its Indochina colonies.

Japan invaded China by moving through Southeast Asia, an area that France had long occupied. France had “agreed” to the occupation under Petain’s puppet government.

1943 - Operation Gomorrah is launched.

On this day in 1943, British bombers raid Hamburg, Germany, by night in Operation Gomorrah, while Americans bomb it by day in its own “Blitz Week.”

Britain had suffered the deaths of 167 civilians as a result of German bombing raids in July. Now the tables were going to turn. The evening of July 24 saw British aircraft drop 2,300 tons of incendiary bombs on Hamburg in just a few hours. The explosive power was the equivalent of what German bombers had dropped on London in their five most destructive raids. More than 1,500 German civilians were killed in that first British raid.

Britain lost only 12 aircraft in this raid (791 flew), thanks to a new radar-jamming device called “Window,” which consisted of strips of aluminum foil dropped by the bombers en route to their target. These Window strips confused German radar, which mistook the strips for dozens and dozens of aircraft, diverting them from the trajectory of the actual bombers.

Lancaster dropping Window
An Avro Lancaster dropping Window (the crescent-shaped white cloud on the left of the picture) from within the accompanying bomber stream.

WWII Radar towers
WWII Radar Station

To make matters worse for Germany, the U.S. Eighth Air Force began a more comprehensive bombing run of northern Germany, which included two raids on Hamburg during daylight hours.

British attacks on Hamburg continued until November of that year. Although the percentage of British bombers lost increased with each raid as the Germans became more adept at distinguishing between Window diversions and actual bombers, Operation Gomorrah proved devastating to Hamburg-not to mention German morale. When it was over, 17,000 bomber sorties dropped more than 9,000 tons of explosives, killing more than 30,000 people and destroying 280,000 buildings, including industrial and munitions plants. The effect on Hitler, too, was significant. He refused to visit the burned-out cities, as the ruins bespoke nothing but the end of the war for him. Diary entries of high German officials from this period describe a similar despair, as they sought to come to terms with defeat. [1]

[1] “Operation Gomorrah is launched,”, (accessed Jul 24, 2009).

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World War II History for July 22

Today in WWII History

World War II History for July 22

1942 - Deportations from Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka begin

Deportations to Treblinka
Deportations to Treblinka

On this day in 1942, the systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto begins, as thousands are rounded up daily and transported to a newly constructed concentration/extermination camp at Treblinka, in Poland.

On July 17, Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazi SS, arrived at Auschwitz, the concentration camp in eastern Poland, in time to watch the arrival of more than 2,000 Dutch Jews and the gassing of almost 500 of them, mostly the elderly, sick, and very young. The next day, Himmler promoted the camp commandant, Rudolph Hoess, to SS major and ordered that the Warsaw ghetto, (the Jewish quarter constructed by the Nazis upon the occupation of Poland, enclosed first by barbed wire and then by brick walls), be depopulated-a “total cleansing,” as he described it and the inhabitants transported to what was to become a second extermination camp constructed at the railway village of Treblinka, 62 miles northeast of Warsaw.

Within the first seven weeks of Himmler’s order, more than 250,000 Jews were taken to Treblinka by rail and gassed to death, marking the largest single act of destruction of any population group, Jewish or non-Jewish, civilian or military, in the war. Upon arrival at “T. II,” as this second camp at Treblinka was called, prisoners were separated by sex, stripped, and marched into what were described as “bathhouses,” but were in fact gas chambers. T.II’s first commandant was Dr. Irmfried Eberl, age 32, the man who had headed up the euthanasia program of 1940 and had much experience with the gassing of victims, especially children. He compelled several hundred Ukrainian and about 1,500 Jewish prisoners to assist him. They removed gold teeth from victims before hauling the bodies to mass graves. Eberl was relieved of his duties for “inefficiency.” It seems that he and his workers could not remove the corpses quickly enough, and panic was occurring within the railway cars of newly arrived prisoners.

By the end of the war, between 700,000 and 900,000 would die at either Treblinka I or II. Hoess was tried and sentenced to death by the Nuremberg Tribunal. He was hanged in 1947. [1]

1943 - American forces led by Gen. George S. Patton captured Palermo, Sicily.

[1] “Deportations from Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka begin,”, (accessed Jul 22, 2009).

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Posted by on July 22, 2009 in Europe Theater, Ground, Today


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Wendell Willkie Audio Clip

Audio Clip: 1941-07-23 Wendell Willkie Calls For End Of US Isolationism

Wendell Willkie (February 18, 1892 – October 8, 1944) was a corporate lawyer in the United States and was the Republican Party nominee for the 1940 presidential election, although he had never previously had an elected political office.

Although Willkie won more votes in the 1940 presidential election (22.3 million votes) than any previous Republican candidate, he lost the popular vote 27 million to 22 million and the Electoral College vote to Franklin D. Roosevelt by an extremely wide margin: 449 to 82, carrying ten states.

Wendell Willkie Campaign Poster
Wendell Willkie Campaign Poster
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World War II History for July 20

Audio Clip: 1944-07-21 RRG Adolf Hitler – On July 20th Assassination Attempt

Today in WWII History

World War II History for July 20

1942 - The first detachment of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, (WACS) began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

1942 - An Act of Congress (Public Law 671 – 77th Congress, Chapter 508, 2d Session) established the Legion of Merit Medal.

1944 - Operation Valkyrie – An attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler failed. The bomb exploded at Hitler’s Rastenburg headquarters. Hitler was only wounded.

Thirty six year-old Stauffenberg’s final attempt occured on July 20, 1944. Four days earlier, the attempt was decided upon during a meeting at his residence at No. 8 Tristanstrasse, Wansee. Himmler or no Himmler, the attempt must go ahead, come what may. At 12.00pm Stauffenberg and General Fromm report to Field Marshal Keitel’s office for a briefing before entering the conference room. At 12.37pm, Stauffenberg pushes his briefcase containing the bomb, under the map table, then leaves the room on the pretext of making a telephone call. The officer who took his place noticed the briefcase and with his foot pushed it further under the table. At 12.42pm, the bomb explodes. By this time Stauffenberg is on his way back to Berlin. At 6.28pm a radio broadcast from Wolf’s Lair reports that Hitler is alive but only slightly wounded. Later that night, at 12.30am, Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators, Haeften, Olbricht and Mertz, are arrested and executed by firing squad in the inner courtyard of the Bendlerstrasse Headquarters.

THE BOMB PLOT AT HITLER’S HQ. The personnel as at 12.30pm on July 20, 1944. (See the following list.)

Adolf Hitler
General Heusinger
Luftwaffe General Korten (Died of wounds)
Colonel Brandt (Died of wounds)
Luftwaffe General Bodenschatz (Severely wounded)
General Schnunt (Died of wounds)
Lt.Colonel Borgman (Severely wounded)
Rear Admiral Von Puttkamer
Stenographer Berger (Killed on the spot)
Naval Captain Assmann
General Scherff
General Buhle 1
Rear Admiral Voss
SS Group Leader Fegelein
Colonel Von Bellow
SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Gunsche
Stenographer Hagen
Lt.Colonel Von John (Adjutant to Keitel)
Major Buchs (Adjutant to Jodl)
Lt.Colonel Weizenegger
Min.Counsellor Von Sonnleithner
General Warlimont (Concussion)
General Jodl (Lightly wounded)
Field Marshal Keitel

Starring Tom Cruise, VALKYRIE, is the true story of the assassination plot against Adolf Hitler that took place on July 20, 1944 and which was led by, among others, German staff officer Klaus Von Stauffenberg (whom Cruise portrays). Now available on DVD – see the events for yourself!

[1] Assassination Attempts on Hitler’s Life — 1

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Operation Aerial

Operation Ariel aka Operation Aerial

17 June 1940 – Operation Ariel begins: Allied troops start to evacuate France, following Germany’s takeover of Paris and most of the nation.

Smaller-scale counterpart to Operation Dynamo and designed to remove by sea all British troops in north-west France, largely from the ports of Cherbourg, St Malo, Brest, St Nazaire and La Pallice (16/24 June 1940). Admiral Sir William James, the Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth, was controller of the evacuations from Cherbourg and St Malo, while the others came under the command of Admiral Sir M. Dunbar-Nasmith, Commander-in-Chief Western Approaches. At Cherbourg some 30,630 men of the 52nd Div and Norman Force were lifted between 16 and 18 June; at St Malo 21,474 men of the 1st Canadian Div and other units were picked up between 16 and 18 June; at Brest some 32,584 soldiers and airmen were rescued between 17 and 18 June; at St Nazaire the total was 57,235 troops (including a number from Nantes) evacuated between 16 and 20 June; and at La Pallice 2,303 British and a large number of Polish troops were brought out between 17 and 20 June. Another 19,000 or so troops, most of them Polish, were lifted from ports in the southern half of the French Atlantic coast. At the same time it was decided to evacuate as many as possible from the Channel Islands, and between 19 and 24 June some 22,656 British citizens were removed from these islands, which must inevitably fall to the Germans after the capture of France.

The only major loss during the evacuation from western France was off St Nazaire. Liner Lancastria was bombed and sunk with the death of nearly 3,000 men.

Photo Gallery of the Lancastria

HMT Lancastria Sinking
Hundreds of men can be seen clinging to the upturned hull. For most there was no means of escape. Upturned lifeboats can be seen to the left of the picture again with men clinging on and around them hundreds of heads are floating in the water. One survivor can be seen swimming towards the HMS Highlander from where this picture was taken by Frank Clements. To the right of the sinking Lancastria a becalmed area of sea marks the oil slick from the ship’s ruptured tanks. The Germans were continuing their attack when this image was taken, strafing men in the water. The time is approximately 4.05pm, Monday 17th June 1940.

Survivors of the HMT Lancastria

Lancastria survivors – Tired, weary and covered in oil from Lancastria’s tanks. This shot shows survivors aboard the destroyer HMS Highlander, taken by Frank Clements. The survivor standing with the white blanket round his shoulders, behind the man with the cigarette in his mouth, has been identified as Donald Charles Bruce of the RASC. He later took part in the D-Day landings.

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You Do Your Worst — And We Will Do Our Best

You Do Your Worst — And We Will Do Our Best (+ Audio)

A tonic for today by Winston Churchill – Speech – House of Commons, July 14, 1941

The impressive and inspiring spectacle we have witnessed displays the vigour and efficiency of the civil defence forces. They have grown up in the stress of emergency. They have been shaped and tempered by the fire of the enemy, and we saw them all, in their many grades and classe – the wardens, the rescue and first-aid parties, the casualty services, the decontamination squads, the fire services, the report and control centre staffs, the highways and public utility services, the messengers, the police. No one could but feel how great a people, how great a nation we have the honour to belong to. How complex, sensitive, and resilient is the society we have evolved over the centuries, and how capable of withstanding the most unexpected strain.

I must, however, admit that when the storm broke in September, I was for several weeks very anxious about the result. Sometimes the gas failed; sometimes the electricity. There were grievous complaints about the shelters and about conditions in them. Water was cut off, railways were cut or broken, large districts were destroyed, thousands were killed, and many more thousands were wounded. But there was one thing about which there was never any doubt. The courage, the unconquerable grit and stamina of our people, showed itself from the very outset. Without that all would have failed. Upon that rock, all stood unshakable. All the public services were carried on, and all the intricate arrangements, far-reaching details, involving the daily lives of so many millions, were carried out, improvised, elaborated, and perfected in the very teeth of the cruel and devastating storm.

We have to ask ourselves this question: Will the bombing attacks come back again? We have proceeded on the assumption that they will. Many new arrangements are being contrived as a result of the hard experience through which we have passed and the many mistakes which no doubt we have made – for success is the result of making many mistakes and learning from experience. If the lull is to end, if the storm is to renew itself, we will be ready, will will not flinch, we can take it again.

We ask no favours of the enemy. We seek from them no compunction. On the contrary, if tonight our people were asked to cast their vote whether a convention should be entered into to stop the bombing of cities, the overwhelming majority would cry, “No, we will mete out to them the measure, and more than the measure, that they have meted out to us.” The people with one voice would say: “You have committed every crime under the sun. Where you have been the least resisted there you have been the most brutal. It was you who began the indiscriminate bombing. We will have no truce or parley with you, or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst – and we will do our best.” Perhaps it may be our turn soon; perhaps it may be our turn now.

We live in a terrible epoch of the human story, but we believe there is a broad and sure justice running through its theme. It is time that the enemy should be made to suffer in their own homelands something of the torment they have let loose upon their neighbours and upon the world. We believe it to be in our power to keep this process going, on a steadily rising tide, month after month, year after year, until they are either extirpated by us or, better still, torn to pieces by their own people.

It is for this reason that I must ask you to be prepared for vehement counter-action by the enemy. Our methods of dealing with them have steadily improved. They no longer relish their trips to our shores. I do not know why they do not come, but it is certainly not because they have begun to love us more. It may be because they are saving up, but even if that be so, the very fact that they have to save up should give us confidence by revealing the truth of our steady advance from an almost unarmed position to superiority. But all engaged in our defense forces must prepare themselves for further heavy assaults. Your organization, your vigilance, your devotion to duty, your zeal for the cause must be raised to the highest intensity.

We do not expect to hit without being hit back, and we intend with every week that passes to hit harder. Prepare yourselves, then, my friends and comrades, for this renewal of your exertions. We shall never turn from our purpose, however sombre the road, however grievous the cost, because we know that out of this time of trial and tribulation will be born a new freedom and glory for all mankind.

More Winston Churchill Speeches:
4 Jun 1940 – Winston Churchill – Speech – “We Shall Fight on the Beaches”
14 Jul 1941 – Winston Churchill – Speech – War of the Unknown Warriors

[1] You Do Your Worst — And We Will Do Our Best (Text)

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War of the Unknown Warriors

War of the Unknown Warriors (+ Audio)

Winston Churchill – Speech – BBC Broadcast, London, July 14, 1940

During June and early July, the German Air Force was regrouped to open the vital first stage of “Operation Sea Lion” (the invasion of Britain) by destroying the Royal Air Force. The Battle of Britain began on July 10.

During the last fortnight the British Navy, in addition to blockading what is left of the German Fleet and chasing the Italian Fleet, has had imposed upon it the sad duty of putting effectually out of action for the duration of the war the capital ships of the French Navy. These, under the Armistice terms, signed in the railway coach at Compiegne, would have been placed within the power of Nazi Germany. The transference of these ships to Hitler would have endangered the security of both Great Britain and the United States. We therefore had no choice but to act as we did, and to act forthwith. Our painful task is now complete. Although the unfinished battleship, the Jean Bart, still rests in a Moroccan harbor and there are a number of French warships at Toulon and in various French ports all over the world, these are not in a condition or of a character to derange our preponderance of naval power. As long, therefore, as they make no attempt to return to ports controlled by Germany or Italy, we shall not molest them in any way. That melancholy phase in our relations with France has, so far as we are concerned, come to an end.

Let us think rather of the future. Today is the fourteenth of July, the national festival of France. A year ago in Paris I watched the stately parade down the Champs Elysees of the French Army and the French empire. Who can foresee what the course of other years will bring? Faith is given to us to help and comfort us when we stand in awe before the unfurling scroll of human destiny. And I proclaim my faith that some of us will live to see a fourteenth of July when a liberated France will once again rejoice in her greatness and in her glory, and once again stand forward as the champion of the freedom and the rights of man. When the day dawns, as dawn it will, the soul of France will turn with comprehension and with kindness to those Frenchmen and Frenchwomen, wherever they may be, who in the darkest hour did not despair of the Republic.

In the meantime, we shall not waste our breath nor cumber our thought with reproaches. When you have a friend and comrade at whose side you have faced tremendous struggles, and your friend is smitten down by a stunning blow, it may be necessary to make sure that the weapon that has fallen from his hands shall not be added to the resources of your common enemy. But you need not bear malice because of your friend’s cries of delirium and gestures of agony. You must not add to his pain; you must work for his recovery. The association of interest between Britain and France remains. The cause remains. Duty inescapable remains. So long as our pathway to victory is not impeded, we are ready to discharge such offices of good will toward the French Government as may be possible, and to foster the trade and help the administration of those parts of the great French Empire which are now cut off from captive France, but which maintain their freedom. Subject to the iron demands of the war which we are now waging against Hitler and all his works, we shall try so to conduct ourselves that every true French heart will beat and glow at the way we carry on the struggle; and that not only France, but all the oppressed countries in Europe may feel that each British victory is a step towards the liberation of the Continent from the foulest thralldom into which it has ever been cast.

All goes to show that the war will be long and hard. No one can tell where it will spread. One thing is certain: the peoples of Europe will not be ruled for long by the Nazi Gestapo, nor will the world yield itself to Hitler’s gospel of hatred, appetite and domination.

And now it has come to us to stand alone in the breach, and face the worst that the tyrant’s might and enmity can do. Bearing ourselves humbly before God, but conscious that we serve an unfolding purpose, we are ready to defend our native land against the invasion by which it is threatened. We are fighting by ourselves alone; but we are not fighting for ourselves alone. Here in this strong City of Refuge which enshrines the title-deeds of human progress and is of deep consequence to Christian civilization; here, girt about by the seas and oceans where the Navy reigns; shielded from above by the prowess and devotion of our airmen-we await undismayed the impending assault. Perhaps it will come tonight. Perhaps it will come next week. Perhaps it will never come. We must show ourselves equally capable of meeting a sudden violent shock or-what is perhaps a harder test-a prolonged vigil. But be the ordeal sharp or long, or both, we shall seek no terms, we shall tolerate no parley; we may show mercy-we shall ask for none.

I can easily understand how sympathetic onlookers across the Atlantic, or anxious friends in the yet-unravished countries of Europe, who cannot measure our resources or our resolve, may have feared for our survival when they saw so many States and kingdoms torn to pieces in a few weeks or even days by the monstrous force of the Nazi war machine. But Hitler has not yet been withstood by a great nation with a will power the equal of his own. Many of these countries have been poisoned by intrigue before they were struck down by violence. They have been rotted from within before they were smitten from without. How else can you explain what has happened to France?-to the French Army, to the French people, to the leaders of the French people?

But here, in our Island, we are in good health and in good heart. We have seen how Hitler prepared in scientific detail the plans for destroying the neighbor countries

of Germany. He had his plans for Poland and his plans for Norway. He had his plans for Denmark. He had his plans all worked out for the doom of the peaceful, trustful Dutch; and, of course, for the Belgians. We have seen how the French were undermined and overthrown. We may therefore be sure that there is a plan-perhaps built up over years-for destroying Great Britain, which after all has the honor to be his main and foremost enemy. All I can say is that any plan for invading Britain which Hitler made two months ago must have had to be entirely recast in order to meet our new position. Two months ago-nay, one month ago-our first and main effort was to keep our best Army in France. All our regular troops, all our output of munitions, and a very large part of our Air Force, had to be sent to France and maintained in action there. But now we have it all at home. Never before in the last war-or in this-have we had in this Island an Army comparable in quality, equipment or numbers to that which stands here on guard tonight. We have a million and a half men in the British Army under arms tonight, and every week of June and July has seen their organization, their defenses and their striking power advance by leaps and bounds. No praise is too high for the officers and men-aye, and civilians-who have made this immense transformation in so short a time. Behind these soldiers of the regular Army, as a means of destruction for parachutists, air-borne invaders, and any traitors that may be found in our midst (but I do not believe there are many-woe betide them, they will get short shrift)-behind the regular Army we have more than a million of the Local Defense Volunteers, or, as they are much better called, the “Home Guard.” These officers and men, a large proportion of whom have been through the last war, have the strongest desire to attack and come to close quarters with the enemy wherever he may appear. Should the invader come to Britain, there will be no placid lying down of the people in submission before him, as we have seen, alas, in other countries. We shall defend every village, every town, and every city. The vast mass of London itself, fought street by street, could easily devour an entire hostile army; and we would rather see London laid in ruins and ashes than that it should be tamely and abjectly enslaved. I am bound to state these facts, because it is necessary to inform our people of our intentions, and thus to reassure them.

This has been a great week for the Royal Air Force, and for the Fighter Command. They have shot down more than five to one of the German aircraft which have tried to molest our convoys in the Channel, or have ventured to cross the British coast line. These are, of course, only the preliminary encounters to the great air battles which lie ahead. But I know of no reason why we should be discontented with the results so far achieved; although, of course, we hope to improve upon them as the fighting becomes more widespread and comes more inland. Around all lies the power of the Royal Navy. With over a thousand armed ships under the White Ensign, patrolling the seas, the Navy, which is capable of transferring its force very readily to the protection of any part of the British Empire which may be threatened, is capable also of keeping open communication with the New World, from whom, as the struggle deepens, increasing aid will come. Is it not remarkable that after ten months of unlimited U-boat and air attack upon our commerce, our food reserves are higher than they have ever been, and we have a substantially larger tonnage under our own flag, apart from great numbers of foreign ships in our control, than we had at the beginning of the war? Why do I dwell on all this? Not, surely, to induce any slackening of effort or vigilance. On the contrary. These must be redoubled, and we must prepare not only for the summer, but for the winter; not only for 1941, but for 1942; when the war will, I trust, take a different form from the defensive, in which it has hitherto been bound. I dwell on these elements in our strength, on these resources which we have mobilized and control-I dwell on them because it is right to show that the good cause can command the means of survival; and that while we toil through the dark valley we can see the sunlight on the uplands beyond.

I stand at the head of a Government representing all Parties in the State-all creeds, all classes, every recognizable section of opinion. We are ranged beneath the Crown of our ancient monarchy. We are supported by a free Parliament and a free Press; but there is one bond which unites us all and sustains us in the public regard-namely (as is increasingly becoming known), that we are prepared to proceed to all extremities, to endure them and to enforce them; that is our bond of union in His Majesty’s Government tonight. Thus only, in times like these, can nations preserve their freedom; and thus only can they uphold the cause entrusted to their care.

But all depends now upon the whole life-strength of the British race in every part of the world and of all our associated peoples and of all our well-wishers in every land, doing their utmost night and day, giving all, daring all, enduring all-to the utmost-to the end. This is no war of chieftains or of princes, of dynasties or national ambition; it is a war of peoples and of causes. There are vast numbers, not only in this Island but in every land, who will render faithful service in this war, but whose names will never be known, whose deeds will never be recorded. This is a War of the Unknown Warriors; but let all strive without failing in faith or in duty, and the dark curse of Hitler will be lifted from our age.

More Winston Churchill Speeches:
4 Jun 1940 – Winston Churchill – Speech – “We Shall Fight on the Beaches”

[1] War of the Unknown Warriors (Text)

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Posted by on July 14, 2009 in Europe Theater, Facts, Media, News, Podcast, Today

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World War II History for July 14

Audio: General Charles de Gaulle urges America to Join the Allies (14 July 1941)

Charles de Gaulle 1942

A 1942 WWII photo portrait of General Charles de Gaulle of the Free French Forces and first president of the Fifth Republic serving from 1958 to 1969.

Today in WWII History

World War II History for July 14

14 July 1933 - All German political parties except the Nazi Party were outlawed.

14 July 1940 - British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivers War of the Unknown Warriors BBC Broadcast in London. [1]

14 July 1941 - A force of German Ju-88 bombers attacked Suez, Egypt, from bases in Crete.

14 July 1941 - Vichy French Foreign Legionaries signed an armistice in Damascus, which allowed them to join the Free French Foreign Legion.

14 July 1941 - Free French General Charles de Gaulle urges America to Join the Allies.

14 July 1941 - British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivers You Do Your Worst — And We Will Do Our Best speech to the House of Commons. [1]

14 July 1945 - American battleships and cruisers bombarded the Japanese home islands for the first time.

[1] Selected Speeches of Winston Churchill –

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