The story

5 June 1943

5 June 1943


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5 June 1943

June

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War at Sea

German submarine U-217 sunk with all hands in the North Atlantic

North Africa

USAAF aircraft from North Africa bomb Spezia, Italy

Allied ships and aircraft attack Pantelleria



File #1020: "Coastal Patrol Circular No. 54 June 5, 1943.pdf"

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1988 CD Cassette Boom Box

You can listen to up to 16 tracks in any order, or repeat your favorite song with the CD play on this boom box. Automatic music sensor moves forward or back to the next selection. Five-band graphic equalizer.

1953 USA Fireworks Explosions

1953 : An Alco Fireworks and Specialty Company warehouse and factory exploded killing four people in Houston, Texas. Over 400,000 pounds of fireworks exploded in the factory which in addition to the deaths injured 73 people. The cause of the explosion was said to be due to a general manager hammering nails into a display.

1956 USA Elvis Presley

1956 : Elvis Presley introduces his new single, "Hound Dog," on The Milton Berle Show. and scandalized the audience with his suggestive hip gyrations.

1963 England Profumo Affair

1963 : British Secretary of War John Profumo resigns following revelations that he had lied to the House of Commons about his sexual affair with Christine Keeler, who was also involved with Yevgeny "Eugene" Ivanov, a Soviet naval attache who some suspected was a spy.

1968 US Senator Robert Kennedy Assassinated

1968 : Senator Robert Kennedy is assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the California presidential primary, he died the following day on June 6th.

1974 Switzerland Peace Deal Golan Heights

1974 : Israel and Syria signed a disengagement agreement in regards to their conflict in Golan Heights. They agreed to begin pulling back forces within a day of the agreement. They also agreed to exchange prisoners of war. The United States Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger negotiated the deal.

Born This Day In History 5th June

Celebrating Birthday Today

Born: Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, June 5th, 1956, Seattle, Washington

Known For : Kenny G is won of the most successful international musicians, a best-selling artist with over 75 million record sales worldwide. He began playing the saxophone at the age of 10 and played music professionally while at University for various bands. In 1982 he got his big break and was signed to Arista Records and released his first solo album. Throughout his career he has worked with top artists including Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion, Smokey Robinson, Natalie Cole, and many others. He has also worked on several soundtracks including The Bodyguard. He has been nominated for 15 Grammy Awards and has won one in 1994 for his instrumental "Forever in Love."

1981 USA AIDS

1981 : The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report announcing that cases of rare pneumonia were found among five homosexual men in Los Angeles, California which was later identified as the Aids Virus.

1989 Poland Solidarity

1989 : Solidarity who are anti-communist party in Poland, looks set to claim success in the country's elections. Due to the conditions set by the controlling communist party in Poland the communists will still remain in control, as the opposition has been allowed to contest only one third of the seats.

1998 USA GM Strikes

1998 : A strike begins at a Detroit GM car parts factory which closed five assembly plants and idled workers nationwide lasting for seven weeks.

1998 Ethiopia / Eritrea Border Fighting

1998 : The border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea continues to escalate following fighting with heavy artillery, mortars and small arms across a broad valley in the mountainous Alitena region both countries have now begun launching air raids against the other's territory.

2000 Indonesia Earthquake Sumatra

2000 : An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale has struck the western island of Sumatra leaving many dead and buried and hundreds of buildings down, the airport is now closed and electricity and water supplies to the area have been cut.

Born This Day In History 5th June

Celebrating Birthdays Today

Princess Astrid of Belgium

Born: June 5th, 1962, Brussels, Belgium

Known For : The daughter of Albert II of Belgium, she has studied in Holland, Switzerland and the United States. She married to the Archduke of Austria-Este in 1984 and was chairwoman of the Belgian Red Cross from 1994 to 2007. She was heavily involved in the research and treatment they provide. She is also a colonel in the Belgian Army's Medical Unit. The Belgian royal family are descended from the House of Saxe-Coburg Gotha and have used the family name of de België, de Belgique or von Belgien since the First World War. She is addressed as 'Your Imperial and Royal Highness. '

2002 USA Elizabeth Smart

2002 : Elizabeth Smart a 14 yr old girl is kidnapped from her bedroom in her family's Salt Lake City home. She was found alive on March 12th, 2003 in Sandy, Utah, just a few from her home. She had been kidnapped by Brian David Mitchell who had been a handyman the family had employed for one day the previous year. Brian David Mitchell and his accomplice are declared mentally incompetent to stand trial and are currently held in the Utah State Hospital (mental health institution).

2003 Qatar Bush Assures US Troops

2003 : While visiting US troops in the Gulf Emirate of Qatar, President George Bush has assured the troops that Iraq has large numbers of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). His speech was in answer to critics who are now saying evidence about WMD's was distorted and the public has been misled on issues that helped define why America invaded Iraq.

2005 Women Appointed to Council in Kuwait

2005 : Two women, Fatima al-Sabah and Fawzia al-Bahr, were appointed to Kuwait's municipal council, the first time in its history. The council mainly focused on civic planning, including roads and public services, and the appointment was hailed as a gain for women's rights in the country.

2008 France Yves Saint Laurent Funeral Held

2008 : The funeral for fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent was held in Paris as hundreds of admirers and colleagues mourned the designer's death. Saint Laurent died at the age of seventy-one from a brain tumor earlier in the week and was survived by his ninety-five year old mother. The designer became famous for creating fashions that better reflected women's shifting roles in society with such classics as a women's tuxedo and suits.

2008 India National Protests Over Gas Price Increases

2008 : Following an increase of 10% in the cost of natural gas and petrol, communist and opposition parties in India are holding nationwide strikes involving shops, airports, markets, schools and colleges closed. India is already suffering with much higher inflation and consumers feel this will make matters worse.

1950s Prices including inflation prices for homes, wages, etc.

Baby Boomers raise families following 20 years of unrest (Great Depression and World War II) the peak of the Baby Boomer Years

Includes Music, Fashion, Prices, News for each Year, Popular Culture, Technology and More.

2010 Ohio Girl Wins National Spelling Bee

2010 : Fourteen year old Anamika Veeramani from Ohio won the National Spelling Bee in the United States. The talented teenager collected a forty thousand dollar prize for correctly spelling the word stromuhr, a medical term.

2011 Chain of Volcanoes Erupts in Chile

2011 : An active chain of volcanoes in Southern Chile began erupting, spewing plumes of smoke and ash into the air and forcing the evacuation of residents in the area. Before the Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle range began erupting, there were several small earthquakes recorded around the area, and authorities issued a red alert for residents in the area. The chain had not experienced a serious eruption on this scale since 1960.

2012 Governor Recall Election Takes Place in Wisconsin

2012 : A recall election in the state of Wisconsin took place as incumbent Republican Scott Walker faced off against Democrat mayor of Milwaukee Tom Barrett. Walker survived the vote which many observers thought of as a key test for the November presidential elections.

2013 Pakistan Prime Minister Approved

2013 : Nawaz Sharif was approved as prime minister by Pakistan's parliament after winning a surprising majority in the country's recent elections. This would be Sharif's third term, the first such instance in the country.


This day in history, June 18: Sally K. Ride becomes America’s first woman in space

Today is Friday, June 18, the 169th day of 2021. There are 196 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 18, 1983, astronaut Sally K. Ride became America’s first woman in space as she and four colleagues blasted off aboard the space shuttle Challenger on a six-day mission.

In 1778, American forces entered Philadelphia as the British withdrew during the Revolutionary War.

In 1812, the War of 1812 began as the United States Congress approved, and President James Madison signed, a declaration of war against Britain.

In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte met defeat at Waterloo as British and Prussian troops defeated the French in Belgium.

In 1873, suffragist Susan B. Anthony was found guilty by a judge in Canandaigua, New York, of breaking the law by casting a vote in the 1872 presidential election. (The judge fined Anthony $100, but she never paid the penalty.)

In 1940, during World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill urged his countrymen to conduct themselves in a manner that would prompt future generations to say, “This was their finest hour.” Charles de Gaulle delivered a speech on the BBC in which he rallied his countrymen after the fall of France to Nazi Germany.

In 1953, a U.S. Air Force Douglas C-124 Globemaster II crashed near Tokyo, killing all 129 people on board. Egypt’s 148-year-old Muhammad Ali Dynasty came to an end with the overthrow of the monarchy and the proclamation of a republic.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Japanese Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda spoke to each other by telephone as they inaugurated the first trans-Pacific cable completed by AT&T between Japan and Hawaii.

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter and Soviet President Leonid I. Brezhnev signed the SALT II strategic arms limitation treaty in Vienna.

In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Georgia v. McCollum, ruled that criminal defendants could not use race as a basis for excluding potential jurors from their trials.

In 2003, baseball Hall-of-Famer Larry Doby, who broke the American League’s color barrier in 1947, died in Montclair, N.J., at age 79.

In 2010, death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner died in a barrage of bullets as Utah carried out its first firing squad execution in 14 years. (Gardner had been sentenced to death for fatally shooting attorney Michael Burdell during a failed escape attempt from a Salt Lake City courthouse.)

In 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he was directing the Pentagon to create the “Space Force” as an independent service branch. Troubled rapper-singer XXXTentacion (ex ex ex ten-ta-see-YAWN’) was shot and killed in Florida in what police called an apparent robbery attempt.

Ten years ago: President Hamid Karzai acknowledged that the U.S. and Afghan governments had held talks with Taliban emissaries in a bid to end the nation’s nearly 10-year war. Yelena Bonner, 88, a Russian rights activist and widow of Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, died in Boston. Clarence Clemons, the saxophone player for the E Street Band who was one of the key influences in Bruce Springsteen’s life and music, died in Florida at age 69.

Five years ago: With California’s Yosemite Falls as a backdrop, President Barack Obama said climate change was already damaging America’s national parks, with rising temperatures causing Yosemite’s meadows to dry out and raising the prospect of a glacier preserve without its glaciers someday. During an appearance in Las Vegas, Donald Trump railed against efforts by some frustrated Republicans planning a last-ditch effort to try to thwart him from becoming the party’s nominee, and threatened to stop fundraising if Republicans didn’t rally around him.

One year ago: The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end legal protections for 650,000 young immigrants. Atlanta police officers called out sick to protest the filing of murder charges against Garrett Rolfe, a white officer, in the shooting of a Black man, Rayshard Brooks. The mayor of Columbus, Ohio, said a statue of Christopher Columbus would be removed from the city that was named after him. Portraits honoring four former House speakers who served in the Confederacy were removed from the U.S. Capitol. The abandoned bus that was central to the book and movie “Into the Wild” was removed by helicopter from the Alaska wilderness it had become a lure for dangerous pilgrimages. Dame Vera Lynn, who serenated British troops during World War II with sentimental favorites “We’ll Meet Again” and “The White Cliffs of Dover,” died at the age of 103.

Today’s birthdays: Former Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is 84. Sir Paul McCartney is 79. Actor Constance McCashin is 74. Actor Linda Thorson is 74. Former Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., is 71. Actor Isabella Rossellini is 69. Actor Carol Kane is 69. Actor Brian Benben is 65. Actor Andrea Evans is 64. Rock singer Alison Moyet is 60. Rock musician Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses) is 58. Figure skater Kurt Browning is 55. Country singer-musician Tim Hunt is 54. R&B singer Nathan Morris (Boyz II Men) is 50. Actor Mara Hobel is 50. Singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne is 48. Rapper Silkk the Shocker is 46. Actor Alana de la Garza is 45. Country singer Blake Shelton is 45. Rock musician Steven Chen (Airborne Toxic Event) is 43. Actor David Giuntoli is 41. Drummer Josh Dun (Twenty One Pilots) is 33. Actor Renee Olstead is 32. Actor Jacob Anderson is 31. Actor Willa Holland is 30.

Journalism, it’s often said, is the first-draft of history. Check back each day for what’s new … and old.


“Daring, unconventional and brilliant.”

In March 1944, the American commander of the 5th Army, Lieutenant General Mark Clark, began his advance on Rome. He chose not to take the most obvious approach, which would have been to surround the German soldiers who had already started retreating from the south.

Instead, he chose to strike out from the Anzio beachhead. This tactic was not just unconventional – it actually went against the orders of General Sir Harold Alexander, the British officer in overall charge of the operation. However, the approach proved to be effective and, in the end, the Allied armies met with little resistance from the German occupiers, who were scattered around the city and had already begun their withdrawal.

One of the most valued aspects of Clark’s direct approach was that it not only proved to be successful, but it also resulted in the city being liberated with very little damage.

Although Clark’s campaign would later be described by the eminent American military historian Carlo D’Este as “as stupid as it was insubordinate”, at the time it was considered to be a great triumph. The American Military authorities, in a broadcast from London shortly after the event, described the campaign as “daring, unconventional and brilliant.”

The people of Rome had been told to stay indoors and on the first day of the campaign they followed orders. However, by the second day, it was clear that victory was in sight and the people thronged the street to welcome the advancing Allied Troops, cheering, singing and throwing bunches of flowers at the army vehicles as they arrived.

Realizing that the battle to maintain its grip on the Italian capital was lost, Hitler ordered his troops to withdraw from the city in the early hours of the following morning.

Italian Defence Lines. By Stephen Kirrage – CC BY-SA 3.0


Forgotten history: Detroit's 1943 race riot broke out 75 years ago today

Last year, Detroit abounded with memories of the city during the tumultuous summer of 1967. Call it “the riot” or “the rebellion” as you prefer, but you must agree that the event was scrutinized as never before, the subject of a surge of articles, books, panel discussions, guided tours, museum exhibitions – even a bona fide Hollywood movie. The retrospective sometimes probed the boundaries of good taste, at times feeling like a gala event. But the best of it invited us to look past some of the traditional narratives about “the riots” and see things from another point of view.

Those myths clearly still loom large in metro Detroit, where many still believe the city's white flight officially kicked off at 9125 12th Street on July 23, 1967. Last year's long look back gave many people a chance to challenge that mythology, laying out the factual conditions that led inexorably to the disorder: grinding poverty, discrimination, and police brutality. Presenters took care to explain that you don't have to agree with arson or looting to understand what stoked the anger that inspired such acts. And if a year's worth of effort was able to dispel a myth or two in our deeply divided metropolis, we should be grateful that the occasion was exploited so thoughtfully and fruitfully.

Today, however, as we mark 75 years since the 1943 Detroit race riot, we wonder if maybe we might have devoted a bit more energy this year to remembering that episode. In a way, it's very much the same old story you've heard a thousand times before. It takes place while the country is at war. Riots in Detroit prompt local officials to request military intervention. The president declares Detroit to be under martial law and military vehicles roll down the city's streets in an occupation that lasts weeks.

But the war was against the Axis Powers, the president was FDR, and the majority of the rioters were white.

Related The summer of ’43

Back then, Detroit was the Arsenal of Democracy, the fourth-largest U.S. city, with almost 2 million people from all over the world crowded cheek-to-jowl into a city designed for a much smaller population. Thanks to the military draft, the factories, which had converted to making tanks, bombs, and armaments, had an insatiable appetite for workers. Luckily, people poured in from the South looking for prosperity, though they found to their dismay that Detroit was a jam-packed city facing a severe housing shortage. It was worst of all for black newcomers: Given Detroit's rigid segregation, Detroit's black east side was already overcrowded. Those racial boundaries would buckle and sometimes burst as an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Southern blacks arrived in the 41 months preceding June 1943.

Anxieties and hopes ran high all over Detroit. If many black Detroiters seemed more militant during the early 1940s, it's because they were. Many of them took the wartime propaganda at its word, embracing a “Double V” campaign of victory against fascism abroad and against racism at home. They had advocates at the NAACP, including future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who investigated cases of discrimination, or incidents of police brutality, which abounded in Detroit. The civil rights movement, most often considered a 1950s phenomenon, got off to a head start in Motown.

Among Detroit's white reactionaries, a kind of panic had set in, as they had just watched interracial labor unions win a five-year war with Detroit's automakers. Anxieties about integration often drove white workers and homeowners into the arms of demagogues. It didn't help that Detroit had long been a recruiting ground for the Ku Klux Klan and the lesser-known Black Legion. Or that radio listeners tuned in to hear the anti-Semitic broadcasts of Father Charles Coughlin of Royal Oak, or the tent revival-style sermons of Southern fundamentalist J. Frank Norris. Least of all that many newcomers were Southern hillbillies who'd always viewed white supremacy as 100 percent Americanism.

This simmering conflict erupted in hundreds of flashpoints across metro Detroit, ranging from individual scuffles on streetcars to massive hate strikes when black workers were promoted, or even small-scale riots, as when black residents moved into the Sojourner Truth housing projects in 1942. In truth, the Detroit riot was only one of a series of riots that swept through the country in 1943, from New York to Los Angeles. But it was the worst of them all, and the one that had been most widely predicted.

The riot began on Belle Isle on a hot summer Sunday. Tens of thousands of Detroiters, black and white, had sought relief from temperatures that had, by mid-afternoon, soared to 91 degrees. As the sun began to set, and as crowds jammed the Belle Isle Bridge headed home, a fight broke out between whites and blacks. Soon, hundreds of white sailors were running in to join it from the nearby naval armory, touching off a fracas that soon spread across Gabriel Richard Park. It took several hours for police to restore order.

But the evening's upheaval would flare up again almost immediately, driven by pernicious rumors spread by provocateurs throughout the city. White people heard that blacks had killed white sailors, or attacked a white woman. In a crowded black nightclub, a report that whites had beaten a black woman and thrown her baby off the bridge caused pandemonium. The false news did its dirty work quickly. By the early hours of the morning, on the all-black east side, mobs were shattering storefronts and attacking hapless white motorists. On Woodward Avenue, young whites accosted and attacked black patrons leaving the city's all-night movie theaters.

The Detroit Police Department sprang into action. It sent dozens of cars, cruisers, and wagons into the east side for an almost-24-hour spree of collective punishment. Michigan Chronicle editor Louis E. Martin grimly surmised that the department's riot plan was for “police to swarm into the area occupied by Negroes, disarm the residents and then proceed to outdo the Gestapo in killings and brutalities." Shouting racial epithets, beating up innocent pedestrians – including at least one man in uniform – police not only shot blacks in the back, they sprayed whole buildings with automatic gunfire. After a police beating, one black victim asked police to be taken to a hospital. “Niggers don't need doctors,” the cop told him.

Meanwhile, on Woodward Avenue and downtown, most police winked at the growing crowds of white marauders, who by morning had graduated to attacking unsuspecting blacks venturing onto the city's shared main thoroughfare. By noon they were pulling black straphangers off streetcars and bashing them into unconsciousness. Black motorists were snatched from their cars by white mobs, their cars turned over and burned in the middle of the street.

  • Image use courtesy of Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University
  • Detroit firefighters respond to a car fire on Woodward Avenue.

Some police were decent enough, and did what they could to quell white violence and protect black Detroiters. And many Detroiters, white and black, took the risk of wading into the violence across the color line to rescue victims from certain death. But there were not enough of them to stop the situation from spiraling out of control.

City and state officials were little help. Detroit's playboy mayor, Edward J. Jeffries Jr., largely frittered the day away in meeting rooms, either waffling on whether to call in the U.S. Army or, along with Gov. Harry Kelly, trying to hammer out a “modified martial law” that wouldn't supersede city and state functions. These talks continued all afternoon, into the evening, until almost nightfall, even as they were interrupted by white mobs rampaging on the street below.

By evening, those throngs were 10,000 strong, with some of the worst violence between Mack and downtown. That's where crowds were bold enough to begin challenging the one thing Detroit's police believed worth defending: the color line at John R Street. Great masses of people spilled up and down John R, swelling around Watson Street and Edmund Place. Through it all, police used nothing stronger than tear gas on the crowds. But when blacks gathered behind them in defiance of the white rioters, police turned and shot at them.

Balked by police, the crowd pushed down John R. One eyewitness said a police officer led them down Brush Street, closer to the heart of Detroit's downtown black business district. At Adelaide Street, they set a house on fire. At Vernor Highway, they threw bricks at black apartment houses and shouted epithets. Just down the block, police exchanged gunfire with a black attacker outside the Vernor Highway Hotel. That's when the law enforcement massed at the corner of Brush and Vernor trained its spotlights on the hotel, shot it full of tear gas, and sprayed the building with 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Police then cleared the building, and stole cash, liquor, and other valuables from the residents while they were detained on the sidewalk.

As the violence reached this climax, the mayor and governor had finally found conditions agreeable to a declaration of martial law, and the U.S. Army arrived and largely ended the bloodshed by calmly but firmly pushing white and black rioters off main roads without firing a shot. By 11 p.m., Woodward Avenue had been cleared at bayonet-point, and the city was restored to relative order by 2 a.m.

The riot had raged for almost 24 hours, claiming millions of dollars in damages, hundreds injured, and 34 dead – as well as 1 million man-hours of lost industrial production. But it took its most brutal toll on black Detroiters. Not only did white gangsters probe their neighborhood from both sides all day long, the city's police treated it as a free-fire zone. Of 25 blacks killed, 18 were shot by police, many in the back while fleeing, or for making an insulting remark – or for nothing at all. Police arrested more than four times as many blacks as whites, though blacks were just 10 percent of the population.

When confronted with demands for an independent grand jury to investigate the riot, Detroit's white leadership, conservative and liberal, closed ranks. The blame for the riot lay, they said, with aggressive black leaders and the troublemakers at the NAACP.

Detroit Police Commissioner John H. Witherspoon said it only made sense that police arrested so many blacks, since he said they were responsible for 71 percent of the crime in the city. “If the NAACP would devote the same amount of time to educating its people to be good citizens and respect the law as they devote to alleged charges of discrimination and police brutality," he said, "they would be a helpful organization instead of a detrimental one.”

This consensus satisfied anxious white homeowners, the police, and helped win Mayor Jeffries another term, freezing out the candidate supported by labor and black leaders. Meanwhile, police repeatedly failed to apprehend many of the white rioters caught in the act by newspaper photographers.

  • Unidentified clipping, 1943 riot folder, Burton Collection, Detroit Public Library
  • White rioters swagger over their black victims in front of a gas station at Erskine and Woodward in this newspaper photograph.

Yes, it appeared that many things were up for grabs in wartime Detroit, but the color line wasn't going to be one of them. The outcome cemented race relations in Detroit for another generation. Members of Detroit City Council would speak approvingly of segregation into the 1960s. The outcome also meant no reformers would tamper with the Detroit Police Department whose officers had conducted themselves like gangsters.

The aftermath also dealt a serious blow to black hopes for interracial fellowship. It's no coincidence that, after the race riot, black nationalism in Detroit enjoyed a resurgence that lasted into the 1960s. Michigan Chronicle editor Louis E. Martin diagnosed the situation in the riot's wake, writing: “We better be frank about this. The race riot and all that have gone before have made my people more nationalistic and more chauvinistic and anti-white than they ever were before. Even those of us who were half-liberal and were willing to believe in the possibilities of improving race relations have begun to doubt – and worse, they have given up hope.”

The feeling of settling in for a long and unfair peace seemed to motivate one Detroiter who wrote to Mayor Jeffries, “The thing that amazes me is why the Detroit Police was so quick on the trigger in the colored neighborhood and was so dumb and helpless when Negroes' cars were being burned out from under them. … I once was proud of the city officers but from now on I'm teaching my kids their real purposes toward our race. I think some of them are rotten through and through. . ”

It would be easy to merely suggest that the 1943 riot planted the seeds of what happened in 1967. In fact, the narrative of post-1967 Detroit – that Detroit finally elected a mayor who could reform the mostly white police force and make it more representative of the city – offers a tempting fable of good old American redemption.

But there's something about the 1943 riot that, in all its ugliness, is profoundly American. Yes, it's short on redemption, and it embodies the worst of who we are. It casts members of the Greatest Generation as the villains of the story. It complicates the mythology of World War II as an unblemished fight against white supremacy. It amply illustrates longstanding and often dismissed fears of police brutality among African Americans. And it offers an exceptionally revealing look at white violence in the American Midwest, especially among police.

Yet that's precisely why it should be remembered. As a sage once said, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

Given how few know what happened 75 years ago today, that's a terrifying prospect.

Michael Jackman is working on a book about the 1943 Detroit race riot.

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U.S. Navy Aircraft History

One of the useful aspects of the Vought F4U Corsair's long career is that it can be used to illustrate three decades of U.S. Navy color schemes and markings. With the exception of two schemes, one arguably and the other definitely experimental, it lasted from the "yellow" wings of biplanes of the 1930s through to the change to gull gray and white in the mid 1950s.

n.b. Federal Standard 595 was first issued in March 1956 to provide a reference for "Colors Used in Government Procurement." The colors are identified by five-digit numbers but no names. Before that, there was Federal Specification TT-C-595 issued in January 1950 that identified colors by four-digit numbers. It was preceded by an Army/Navy Aeronautics Bulletins that identified colors by three digit numbers and names. For some, this will be a gross oversimplification of aircraft color specification history but it's not my specialty.

The XF4U-1 flew for the first time on 29 May 1940. In conformance with the exterior color scheme at the time, metal surfaces were painted with aluminized lacquer and fabric surfaces were finished with alumininized dope except for the upper surface of the wings (including the ailerons), which was painted Orange Yellow so an airplane could be easily spotted if ditched in the ocean. (It would float because like most Navy airplanes of the era, it was equipped with flotation bags in the wing.)

Note that the national insignia is a blue circle with a white star encompassing a red circle and that the propeller tip has bands of blue, yellow, and red.

The first scheme that the F4U missed (the first production airplane did not fly until mid 1942 and the prototype doesn't appear to have been repainted) was an overall Light Gray scheme with white markings that marked the prewar change to low visibility in early 1941 as illustrated by this Grumman F4F Wildcat. It also added the national insignia to the sides of the fuselage and removed it from the upper right and lower left wings.

In January 1943, the U.S. Navy released a specification that replaced the simple Blue Gray over Light Gray camouflage scheme scheme with a complex one that employed counter-shading and counter-shadowing. Four colors were used: Semigloss Sea Blue on upper surfaces, non-specular Sea Blue on the wing leading edges, non-specular Intermediate Blue Sides, and non-specular Insignia White on the lower surfaces. Four-place national insignia were again decreed on 1 February 1943 in order to further minimize the likelihood of confusion with Japanese six-place markings.

It took some time for the Navy to repaint delivered aircraft and probably a month or more for the contractors to develop and switch over to color schemes in accordance with the specification. For example, VF-17, which was working up for combat, was still flying Corsairs in two-tone gray scheme with six-place national insignia when carrier qualifying aboard Charger in March 1943.

(National Archives 80-G-205087 via Jim Sullivan)

The addition of white bars with a red surround of the national insignia was decreed on 28 June 1943. At least one VF-17 F4U-1 received the change in time to participate in the pilot qualifications and proficiency operations on Bunker Hill in July.

This VF-17 Corsair, BuNo 17640, is marked with 1 and "Big Hog" for the squadron commander, Tom Blackburn, who is fourth from the left. (The dark patches behind the "1" are reportedly repairs of bullet holes made when one of his pilots mistook his airplane for a Japanese fighter.)

The complex multi-color scheme was eventually replaced by an overall gloss Sea Blue one by a directive issued on 26 June 1944.

(F4U-1D on Essex July 1945 via Jim Sullivan)

This provided a direct comparison of the Sea Blue and Insignia Blue, although neither may be accurately represented here.

(Photo provided by Jim Sullivan.)

The Corsair lasted long enough in service, as the AU-1 attack version, to be repainted light gull gray (36440) and white in accordance with the change introduced on 23 February 1955. This one was assigned to Aircraft Engineer Squadron-12 at Quantico, Virginia, circa 1957, to provide training for air-to-ground controllers.


‘I Will Fight to the Last’: WWII Japanese Soldier Diary, June 1943

If we can only crush Guadalcanal, the enemy at Rendova will be automatically annihilated

From MHQ, Spring 2005

During World War II, United States military restrictions prohibited American servicemen from keeping personal journals. Those who did, such as marine Eugene B. Sledge, author of With the Old Breed, and sailor James J. Fahey, who wrote Pacific War Diary, 1942–1945, hid their notes in Bibles or similar personal effects. Japan’s military, in contrast, evidently had no such restriction, and Allied forces during their advance across the Pacific found many Japanese diaries, which often provided rich intelligence.

What follows are excerpts from the diary of Probational Officer Toshihiro Oura, who was posted near the Munda Point airfield on the southwest tip of New Georgia. His journal was translated in 1943 by Dye Ogata and Frank Sanwo, nisei interpreters with the intelligence section of the U.S. Army’s 37th Infantry Division. Oura was a platoon leader in the Imperial Japanese Army’s 15th Antiaircraft Field Defense Unit, which was commanded by Colonel Shunichi Shiroto. It was equipped with 25mm and 40mm antiaircraft and antitank automatic cannons.

In June 1943, about five months after America’s final victory at Guadalcanal, U.S. forces continued their advance through the Solomon Islands by commencing operations against Japanese-held New Georgia. A major goal of the campaign was the capture of the airfield at Munda Point. On June 30, American troops landed on Rendova Island, about eight miles southeast of Munda. Several days later, two regiments of the 43rd Infantry Division began landing at Zanana, on New Georgia, about eight miles east of Munda. (U.S. forces had already come ashore at the southeast tip of the island and would soon land on its northern shore.) American commanders quickly deployed artillery on Rendova and the nearby channel islands with which to support their westward drive to capture Munda Point.

June 29: I wonder if they will come today. Last night it drizzled and there was a breeze, making me feel rather uncomfortable. When I awoke at 4 this morning, rain clouds filled the sky but there was still a breeze. The swell of the sea was higher than usual. However, the clouds seem to be breaking.

I have become used to combat, and I have no fear. In yesterday’s raid our air force suffered no losses, while nine enemy planes were confirmed as having been shot down and three others doubtful. Battle gains are positively in favor of our victory, and our belief in our invincibility is at last high.

Some doughnuts were brought to the officers’ room from the Field Defense HQ, which were made by the Nanto Detachment. They were awfully small ones, but I think each one of us had 20 or so. Whether they were actually tasty or not didn’t make much difference because of our craving for sweets. Each one was a treasure in itself. While eating the doughnuts, I lay down in the sand, and I pulled out the handbook my father had bought for me and which was now all in pieces from a bomb fragment. As I looked at the map of my homeland, which was dear to me, I thought I would like to go to a hot spring with my parents when I get home.

I thought of going there, and here. This map of the homeland, when back home, would be of no use other than for traveling. Right now, it has spiritual meaning rather than a material value: a meaning that is 10 times its value by making me happy and by consoling me.

June 30: At last, the final decisive battle has come. I will relate briefly the progress since last night.
Last night, at 7:10 Kolombangara received naval gunfire. At 8, a blue signal flare from Rendova went up. I saw four enemy warships. At 4:10 this morning rain clouds hovered over us. At Rendova four cruisers, two destroyers, two transports, and countless boats appeared. The enemy fired lightly and the shore batteries replied fiercely. Our guns and air power seemed weak. The enemy used countless numbers of boats and landed on Rendova. At 8 a.m. our planes finally came.
At 8:30 the warships withdrew. About 20 planes kept watch from the sky at all times. There were no friendly planes above. Early in the morning we fired 30 rounds at enemy ships at a distance of 8,500 meters. At daylight there was naval gunfire and a daylight enemy landing.

At 2 p.m., some planes came from the west (Rabaul), I believe, because about 30 medium attack planes are sure a sight. We are moved to tears and waved our hands, saying, “We’re counting on you we’re counting on you.” A report soon came in that [enemy] transports and warships had been sunk. At 2:30 a large formation of 70 planes raided our positions with immense bombs, but no direct hits were scored.

July 1: We received heavy shelling from naval vessels. There was a new attack on Rendova by enemy forces. The report of destroyers shelling Rendova was received, and conjectures of all sorts were exchanged. Only a few enemy night fighters appeared, and they only circled the coast from time to time. Rain clouds fell about us and at times when we were doing shelter work, we couldn’t see. We transported ammunition, and when we completed the work, it was 2:30 a.m.

All through the night the enemy’s boats moved about. There were no landings, but at dawn (4 a.m.) there were already four enemy warships in nearby waters. At 4:40 enemy fighter planes appeared. After that 20 to 30 enemy fighter planes constantly flew overhead. About every hour the type of planes changed. At 9:30 a friendly carrier-based fighter [a Mitsubishi A6M-series “Zero”] appeared. Two destroyers were bombed, and one destroyer gave forth bellows of smoke just in front of our positions. At times, the proportion was four Curtisses [P-40s] to one Zero. Gun reports could be heard from all directions, and there was a roar of friendly light bombers. I filled my stomach with hardtack, and at 7 a.m. we finally finished our fatigue work.

July 2: Because of rain, I got into an air raid shelter and took a nap, getting soaking wet. At 10 a.m. there’s supposed to be a raid on enemy positions by our fighter planes and heavy bombers. Up until now there has not been any telephone liaison because an order came from the Field Defense HQ for the 2nd Platoon to evacuate after the 1st Platoon had completed preparations for firing.

At 8 a.m. we received naval gunfire from one enemy cruiser. I was scared to death. I stooped over to take a smoke when the shells came. I suppose there will be another naval shelling tonight. If there were only some of our air forces there, the warships would soon be put out of action. When 10 rolled around, friendly planes did not appear as expected.

A report has been received that the enemy was affecting simultaneous landings at Lae, New Guinea, and Arundel. The telegraph was interfered with, and we could not reach the Eighth Area Army [the Japanese army command responsible for the Solomons, headquartered on Rabaul]. We heard that the Eighth Area Army has reinforced nearby units to full strength and has already turned the offensive. Don’t the superdreadnoughts, Yamato and Musashi, ever move?

Heavy naval shelling continues. At 1:20 p.m. I heard what I thought was the shelling of several ships: It turned out to be friendly bombers. The roar was terrific. To those without binoculars, these were identified as Boeing [B-17s]. I wonder how they felt about these supposed 30 “Boeings” with fighter planes until they were informed they were friendly. What they thought to be an enemy formation were new-model heavy [Mitsubishi G4M2 “Betty”] bombers.

July 3: What kind of operation could our troops be planning? Everything is as the enemy wishes it. Today, again no friendly planes appeared. Not even a boat came. Since the enemy landed, four days have passed, and it must be about time they have completed their positions and general preparations.
If we are going to fight, now is the time—come and get us. I pray that our movements begin an hour sooner or even a day sooner. If it were now, we could beat them. However, we are outnumbered 10 to 1, and our materiel and provisions are limited. If [we] would only sacrifice a little and pound them on Rendova with the air force and naval shelling, it would be all right. But the way things are going right now, we’re just waiting to be struck by the enemy.

July 4: At 6 last evening, we received a report that the enemy is on the nearest island about 1,000 meters south of our positions, so we fired with 25mm naval guns with instantaneous fuses. The guns were located 300 meters north of our positions. The shells passed over [our] positions. We cautioned everyone because they were instantaneous fuses. The enemy did not return the fire.

Last night it rained heavily. Covering my head and crouching, I slept in the corner of the shelter. It was a big storm, and there was terrific thunder from the direction of Rendova, but it was better than being shelled. Everyone got soaking wet, but nobody said a word. Sleeping on the ground at night and cooling the stomach caused everyone to get diarrhea. We sized up the healthy men, but there were some like Corporal Nishimura, who had developed a fever of 42 degrees Celsius [107.6 degrees Farenheit]. Last night, we got wet, too, and I believe it is because of this that our bodies are filthy and our buttocks seem like they were affected by poison oak. It affects our arms and legs.

Noon: The sergeant and I ate in the shelter and we were talking of the landing of 3,000 infantrymen tomorrow night when the descent of a shell interrupted us. Suddenly a bomber formation appeared from the south. I thought we were going to get it again, but they turned out to be friendly. After a short time I heard explosions from the direction of Rendova. Out of our 16 medium attack planes, six were shot down by Curtiss planes. [All 16 Japanese bombers attacking Rendova on July 4, 1943, were destroyed, 12 by U.S. Marine antiaircraft fire.]

July 5: Last night’s report was that an enemy force had landed at North Munda, just east of Aidawa [the Japanese name for the Barike River, nearly four miles east of Munda Field]. Kolombangara was shelled by naval fire. Last night, because of poor visibility, both sides ceased firing. They don’t fire howitzers after dark because the flame gives away their position.

July 6: There is a little mountain artillery fire from our side. We could hear the sound of the enemy’s boats, but aside from that, everything was normal. The report this morning is that a battalion of mountain artillery and two battalions of infantry have landed for guard duty. At 5 a.m. there was the sound of bombs bursting around North Munda. This more than likely is the landing of friendly troops and of our transports being attacked.

Because of the rain, day after day, and the lack of time for things to dry out, the moldy, sharp odor is terrific. Everything is soaking wet.
Private Ota is an orderly because Iwasato is sick.

He used to live with his mother, who is his only living relative. He had supported her by working at a factory. Because he was called up, his 64-year-old mother had to go to work. If they only knew back there that he had come to the front, possibly some help would come from the factory, but he never knew where he would land, and he finally came here. When they talk of conditions back home, they say he turns to tears. I feel sorry for him.

July 7: The shelling stopped last night. There were no enemy planes either. I came out, and for the first time in some time, I felt like a human being. After it got dark, the quarter moon was to my west at the height of 20 degrees. First it dropped and then it appeared overhead. If this moon gets round, I bet that the battle will also get more violent.

Yesterday, we were supposed to shell the enemy positions, but it was called off. If we were to do this kind of thing at night, one can never tell what sort of a shelling we would receive because they can see everything from the hills of Rendova. I prayed that the shells wouldn’t fit well, but they did. I’m almost positive now that they’ll come to order us to fire.

We certainly must not have control of the skies. Our forces must still be mustering warships and transports. They must be using our air force for that purpose. This morning’s shelling commenced at 8. I went about unconcerned, lying down when some shells burst 30 to 40 meters away from me, which caused me to jump out of my breeches. I don’t exactly appreciate this shelling.

Sergeant Major Ishirane, who had gone to Shortland [Island], returned last night. He brought some stationery and some cigarettes. Second Platoon Lieutenant Obazaki, who was supposed to take up duties here, also arrived. According to what they say, there is an order that two more probational officers are to be assigned to the 21st Company, but they are being trained at Rabaul at the present.

During the afternoon, a transport laden with AA guns entered Rendova. During the evening, our seaplanes bombed the enemy [naval] base at Rendova. I could see the firing of the enemy AA guns and their searchlights well. From that action, I judge that there must be six or eight guns.

Three thousand men [Japanese reinforcements] have already landed on Kolombangara. Only 800 men landed at Munda last night because of the shortage of boats. The enemy also landed at two different points, and right now, our forces are attacking the enemy.

July 8: Last evening, I received my first and possibly last mail from home. It appeared that they haven’t received my letters yet and are somewhat doubtful as to whether I’m still alive or not. They learned that I was on New Georgia. They will really worry if the news of the enemy landing on New Georgia is announced in the newspapers.

Father repeated in his letter that I must fight to the last as an honorable warrior. I will fight to the last, always for the emperor. I will show them that we will fight to the last. March 6: “There is nothing quite so doubtful as to whether life or death be with one, yet we write at random like searching and traversing a battlefield.” March 31: “Pray for cherished glory.” My aged father wrote on April 12: “Even though your soul should remain in the South Sea Islands, follow the will of Heaven.”

Hardly any correspondence of the entire company was more than my own. The men came up and said, “Sir, it really turned out to be a great mistake to send the sergeant major to Shortland, since it turned out to be all for your good.” Everyone laughed. It’s all because of my father’s thoughtfulness.

July 9: The artillery barrage started at 2 a.m. There were great numbers of tracer shells, which made it like day. However, the tracer shells went overhead and did not hit within the positions. At 5, the firing ceased.

During this shelling, 2nd Lt. Imura (a graduate of Naseda University), who was attached to the searchlight battalion, and one other soldier were killed by a direct hit. Many officers of my immediate acquaintance were dying right alongside. When the shelling ceased, three Zero planes came over to reconnoiter and then returned. At 7:30 a.m., about 50 Grummans [TBFs] came over. Since our positions could be clearly seen from Rendova, we could not fire. I was really fed up when the order came from the Field Defense HQ to fire.

Our CO began to feel sympathy toward the men. He couldn’t figure out any way to fire that wasn’t to our disadvantage. After he laughingly said, “I would like to die now after seeing the action of our troops,” he continued by saying that he would leave all the decisions up to the platoon leaders. He showed a sense of sympathy and never came out with an order to fire.

If our operations would only start, I would fire again and again, even though our positions would be exposed and we in turn would be fired upon. As it is now, we are being fired upon, and we have not returned fire. Enemy planes are constantly overhead, so I can’t even take a step outside of our shelters. If we were to fire now, they would concentrate their fire on us, and our emplacements would be leveled. And then all of us would be annihilated together. We shall fight. Right now, living is more important. In the last stages of this battle, if we can stop the tanks from coming in from the south, then we can die laughing.

July 10: My, the shelling is fierce, but aside from a little scare, the results have been nil. But still, if [a shell] were to hit our shelter, we’re goners. All of the personnel, wearing steel helmets within the shelters, waited quietly for action. The heat in the shelter was like that of a cellar, and the unpleasant odor drifted about. It is suicidal to go to the latrine. I put on my helmet, and after I had made complete preparations, I took off for the bomb crater, which was in front of me. While I was defecating, six or seven shells fell, so I took off and came back.

At 3:30 p.m., the shelling ceased. The artillery’s accuracy has become a real thing. We never can tell when we are to die. Oh, God! I would like to die after seeing the action of our invincible imperial forces. After looking at a dud, I can see that the enemy’s artillery is 150mm [155mm, actually].

July 11: The 13th Infantry Regiment, which was scheduled to land last night, did so at Bairoko Harbor. We are about to take the initiative. At 7:40 a.m. 45 carrier-based Grummans appeared. Aside from a close hit, all of the rest of the bombs were dropped elsewhere. During the afternoon for about 21⁄2 hours, concentrated fire rained on us. The enemy has fired at least 2,000 rounds today. Some hit within five meters of my shelter. At this rate, day after tomorrow, I’ll be a goner. The enemy is firing about 20 rounds at a time. Regardless of what shelter I may be in, at the present rate, it will be of no avail. One of our precious guns was lost in today’s bombing.

July 12: Last evening, I was watching the shelling and some fell within three meters of the positions. It is really a mystery why there have not been any personnel losses up until now. Right now, I am lying on my side, facing Rendova, with the acting operator, 1st Class Pvt. Tomioka, but today or sometime tomorrow I guess we’ll be hit. If our last gun were to be destroyed, then our company would become a labor outfit.

Since our mission is that of a tank destroyer unit, we couldn’t very well stay hidden. We went out to take a peep to the south several times. Fortunately, there were no tanks. When the shelling ceased, we were on the verge of collapse from fatigue and lack of sleep.

At 7 a.m. about 40 Douglas [SBD] bombers effected a general bombing. After about 8:50, we had a concentration of fire on our positions. The 4th Squad’s gun was knocked out. One [shell] burst south and to one side of our shelter, and this made several marks on the aiming apparatus and the barrel. The ammunition was set afire. Demolition shells must be good only for things above ground level because, queer as it may seem, the personnel are still intact. This winds up things for this 3rd Platoon leader with the loss of three guns. Losing the guns puts a sense of guilt on me, yet the personnel are intact. There is nothing for us to do but to feel fortunate in the midst of all the bad luck. From now on, we are a labor company.

July 13: All the personnel assembled where the Field Defense HQ was located, in the midst of shelling, after having come through the dark jungle and over muddy paths. We dug dugouts in the empty area. After getting wet from the evening dew, we lay down. The distance we traveled really was hard going, so much that it hardly can be expressed.

Sergeant Takagi died last night in the naval shelling. The dead already amounted to 6 to 7 men. Lance Corporal Ito and four men, who were handling rations, are missing.
I must say that there is close cooperation between [the enemy’s] air, land, and naval forces. Our forces have not carried out a large-scale bombing they haven’t shelled Rendova with a single battleship, nor have they given the army any heavy artillery pieces.

What do you call this? How could such action be called modern war? I keenly feel the poor liaison of the Japanese forces and the weakness of our military strength. My! This is really disheartening. We haven’t been fighting, merely dying in the midst of bombs and shelling.

However, the Japanese forces couldn’t let the enemy have his own way we must look forward with expectations that something will be done. Probational Officer Oura [the author] has been ordered to be the rifle platoon leader. Probational Officer Takagi has been ordered to be the CO of the 41st Battalion. We are to provide defense and security against the enemy, who is penetrating into the area of North Munda. The organization is now 27 men and a company of three squads. We are to make it impossible for an advance and attack to be made from any direction.

July 14: Several enemy planes came over early this morning and circled at a low altitude to our rear. After every reconnoitering, shelling would follow. We are doing our best camouflaging right now. Evidently we haven’t been exposed, because shells are landing 300 meters to our left and right. The sick, with 2nd Lt. Hattori, are to return from the 41st Battalion sometime today. I am supposed to be in charge of them, and they are to be the 2nd Platoon. I am also to be in command of the rifle platoon.
We rested at battalion headquarters for a little while when the order came for us to wait at the former positions, so we returned. Shells were falling, and there were patients being carried in on stretchers while fighters hovered over us in plain daylight. It was so bad, I can’t go on talking about it.

At 11 a.m., the order came for Probational Officer Oura and six men to go to the east lookout post, another new position for the Field Defense HQ 2nd Lt. Imura was killed and a total of four wounded today. I immediately departed in the rain, and I stumbled time and time again while going through the jungle. On my way, I stopped at Field Defense HQ and received orders. I took command of 12 men, including the medical unit. As usual, shelling was concentrated on the pom-pom gun positions. The sounds of the explosions and the concussions were terrific. I lay down in the canvas shelter unconcerned.

July 15: I picked Lance Cpl. Sugiyama, Wakita, Shimura, Muramatsu, and Ota, the six best men. Tomorrow, Corporal Takahashi and his five men will come and then we will have a strength of 12 men. We are going to start installing a 10cm gun. This east lookout post is the eye of all the forces in Munda.

I set up binoculars and observed the enemy positions. The U.S. flag could be seen fluttering on PT-boats. A destroyer, which had been camouflaged, was at anchor. You could call [the scene] a war movie or perhaps a “Newsweek” movie [a Japanese equivalent of Movietone or Paramount newsreels]. At any rate, it is interesting to an outsider. The moving boats and bursting shells looked as if you could almost grab them.

This morning’s shelling was a shelling of all shellings. By 7 they had already fired 1,000 rounds into the vicinity of the Kawai Detachment’s positions. Lance Corporal Sugiyama was struck. I believe it will take him about a month and a half to recover.

Shells are hitting close by right now, so we can’t go outside. The offending odor of perspiration in the dugout is unbearable. The place where we stand guard has already become the death ground of two men. No one back home would ever think that we are living in a crater. I am taking the place of 2nd Lt. Imura. It is really smelly. They said that they hadn’t found the two legs of the men yet. Four-engine Consolidated bombers [B-24s] fly around at low altitude. I can see plainly through my binoculars two men looking this way from the window to the rear of the insignia.

July 17: I had to lie down inside the narrow dugout because close hits were bursting in great numbers. Present strength is the CO and 13 men.
From 3 p.m., the 41st Battalion fired their AA guns against artillery positions at Roviana for about one hour. One shell made a direct hit but only after many unsuccessful efforts.

July 18: It rained heavily last night. The sound of explosions is terrific. Anticipating a landing by the enemy between tonight and dawn, we guarded more closely. I held the binoculars from 3 to 6:30 a.m., when it was pretty certain that it was safe. I could not sleep on account of the rain and telephone calls that came from Field Defense HQ and the 41st Battalion, and my fatigue mounted. I inquired about a shell that burst nearby this morning.

I hear the enemy is increasingly concentrating his troops on Guadalcanal for a new offensive. However, we must not complain because our navy and our air force might be striking at Guadalcanal. If we can only crush Guadalcanal, the enemy at Rendova will be automatically annihilated.

July 19: Last night’s shelling was terrific. This concentration of fire is just over our dugout. Since it has only one entrance, the air is stuffy, and the sounds of the explosions cause ringing in our ears. It is really more than I can bear. The men were scared, and they all ran into my dugout. I had to take them out mercilessly and assign them to other dugouts. There were nine men in the dugout, and if it were to receive a direct hit, the entire personnel would be buried alive.

July 20: According to a report, our infantry has completely encircled the enemy at Aidawa and has cut off his ammo supplies. A general offensive is to start within a few days.

At 2 p.m., some 20 bombers came over and dropped a string of huge bombs. Compared to artillery shelling, it is much louder. The concussion is terrific. The navy gun below the east lookout post has already been fired upon with about 1,000 shells, but it is still firing. It’s a wonder they are still living. It is so hard to believe that they can endure so long. They are showing us vividly the spirit of the Imperial navy.

July 21: All night long, there were reports of small arms and artillery firing. I heard two wild dogs barking in the distance I wonder what they could be eating. Huge shells burst at the base of the east lookout post with great violence. Isn’t there any other place for them to fire at? In the midst of all the noise, I still slept well. I have come to a point where I have developed a belief that I will not be struck by a shell. The first thing I’m grateful for is my wellbeing and three meals a day, each consisting of a bowl and a half of rice. All three meals are very appetizing. My health seems to give me a continuous source of vigor. To be able to eat a heavy meal during the rain of continuous shells is one thing I have looked forward to.

At 8 a.m. we received concentrated shellings of several hundred rounds. The second tent was thrown helter-skelter, and the first tent received a large hole. The siren shed and the tent where the CO had been staying were destroyed. The lower dugout received a direct hit, but there were no casualties. Huge trees, which had stood for so many years, and others, were knocked down. Consequently, there was hardly any vegetation to be seen in the direction of the east lookout post. I lay flat along the edge of the dugout for 20 minutes, thinking this was our end, but there were no casualties.

July 22: Last evening, what appeared to be a friendly medium attack plane bombed Aidawa and Rendova twice. The constant increase of AA guns over Rendova has made it difficult for our planes. The number of shells their AA guns and ours shoot is quite different. It really is a barrage, and they make it so you can’t get in. The difference between the enemy’s firing and ours is that their searchlight units and guns work separately. Even if our planes do not get in the rays of the searchlights, several thousand shells set up a barrage around the area.

At 8 a.m., carrier-based bombers bombed several places. Most of the bombing was on the troops in the rear, and they strafed them heavily. To the south of the east lookout post, our navy pom-poms are firing away. If I am to die, there is nothing I can do about it, so I just lay in my dugout, smoking a cigarette and listening to the wild American-made music of “rat-tat-tat” and “boom-boom-boom.”

Just think: I haven’t washed my body or my face nor have I brushed my teeth for a month already. One of my upper front teeth has been broken off. My body smells like that of a wild dog.

At 2 p.m., I received such fierce shelling that I finally had to dispatch Corporal Takahashi to ask Captain Kobayashi as to our future dispositions. They must have gone crazy in the Aidawa area because they are shelling there for all they are worth. From the way it sounds, it seems like a wild man beating a drum. Since last night, Superior Pvt. Makita has been with me in my dugout. They fired several hundred rounds while we both lay flat on the edge of the dugout. I used a life preserver for a pillow and a blanket to cover myself. My ears rang as a shell burst one meter to the left and in front of the guard post, and I was covered with coral. I thought that I was really a goner this time, but I was saved.

Only by staying in the dugout can I say that I’m still alive. The drum in front of the dugout is full of holes. A piece of shrapnel hit my back, and I thought I was finished. Mysteriously, there were no deaths. We had to do away with a standing guard. We’re just leaving everything open to the enemy. Oh, friendly forces! Please come to our aid! Show them the might of the Japanese army.

July 23: Battle Situation: Nothing aside from annihilation. No cooperation from the navy. If I were to compare the complete cooperation of the enemy, it would be like the war of a child with an adult. Our mountain artillery positions were knocked to pieces by enemy tanks. We are encircled, so they say, and about to be overrun. Consequently, all we can do is to guard our present positions.

As things are now, even if our air and naval forces [give] battle, we could not regain the lost ground. Great numbers of enemy planes are constantly up in the sky. In front of the island, camouflaged destroyers and PT-boats swarm in and out. What in the world could our forces at Rabaul or the staff of Imperial headquarters be doing? Where have our air forces and battleships gone? Are we to lose? Why don’t they start operations? We are positively fighting to win, but we have no weapons. We stand with rifles and bayonets to meet the enemy’s aircraft, battleships, and medium artillery. To be told we must win is absolutely beyond reason.

The Japanese army is still depending on the hand-to-hand fighting of the Meiji era, while the enemy is using highly developed scientific weapons. Thinking it over, however, this poorly armed force of ours has not been overcome, and we are still guarding this island. But this is no time for praise. If [our] forces don’t move, this island will soon be taken. If we, as well as the enemy, were to fight to the end with all available weapons, then I would be willing to give up, whether we win, lose, be injured or be killed. But in a war like this, where we are like a baby’s neck in the hands of an adult, even if I die, it will be a hateful death. How regretful! My most regretful thought is my grudge toward the forces in the rear and my increasing hatred toward the Operational Staff.

In the rear, they think that it is all for the benefit of our country. In short, as present conditions are, it is a defeat. However, a Japanese officer will always believe, until the very last, that there will be movements of our air and naval forces.

There are signs that I am contracting malaria again.

This was Oura’s last entry. His fate is unknown, but given the few prisoners taken and the relative handful of Japanese who escaped from New Georgia, it is unlikely that he survived. Six days after Oura’s final entry, the battered and depleted Japanese forces began withdrawing to Kolombangara and adjacent islands, and Munda airfield fell on August 5, 1943. For the victorious Americans, some two weeks of mopping-up operations remained before New Georgia was deemed secure.

Jack H. McCall Jr. writes from Marietta, Georgia. He thanks Joseph Pratl and the late Frank Bellis for providing the copy of the 37th Division’s translation of Toshihiro Oura’s diary from which this abridgement was made, and Dye Ogata for his verification of its authenticity.


The Forgotten History of Father's Day

Father’s Day was not immediately accepted when it was proposed, and it did not become a national holiday in the U.S. until 1972 during President Richard Nixon’s administration. Why was it a hotly contested debate? Read the forgotten history behind Father’s Day.

With America’s history, you might think that a holiday recognizing men would be perfectly acceptable. After all, men dominated American society in the early 20th century. In addition, a “Father’s Day” or day that recognizes the role of fathers in the family is an ancient tradition. In history books, there is mention of a Southern European tradition dating back to 1508.

Certainly, in modern days, we do not give Father’s Day a second thought. It’s been almost 50 years since President Richard Nixon’s administration declared the third Sunday in June a day to recognize and honor the role of fathers in society (that occurred in 1972).

Father’s Day Controversy

Interestingly, Father’s Day was not immediately accepted when it was proposed. Why not?

Mother’s Day came first (it was officially recognized in 1914), so men in the early 1900s associated such a tribute to women and found the idea too effeminate to their liking. To be fair, Mother’s Day was couched in terms of femininity. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson called Mother’s Day a way to recognize “that tender, gentle army—the mothers of America.”

Men viewed the idea of Father’s Day as similar to Mother’s Day, which was popular with florists for fathers it didn’t have the same sentimental appeal. As one historian writes, they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products—often paid for by the father himself.”

Also, according to Lawrence R. Samuel, the author of American Fatherhood: A Cultural History, men had a different role in the family during the first half of that century. It was patriarchal, so they felt that a special day to exalt fatherhood was a rather silly idea, when it was mothers who were underappreciated.

However, that sentiment changed over time for several reasons.

The Women Behind Father’s Day

Grace Golden Clayton

The first known Father’s Day service occurred in Fairmont, West Virginia, on July 5, 1908, after hundreds of men died in the worst mining accident in U.S. history.

Grace Golden Clayton, the daughter of a dedicated minister, proposed a service to honor all fathers, especially those who had died. However, the observance did not become an annual event, and it was not promoted very few people outside of the local area knew about it. Meanwhile, across the entire country, another woman was inspired to honor fathers …

Sonora Smart Dodd

In 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, was inspired by Anna Jarvis and the idea of Mother’s Day. Her father, William Jackson Smart, a farmer and Civil War veteran, was also a single parent who raised Sonora and her five brothers by himself, after his wife Ellen died giving birth to their youngest child in 1898. While attending a Mother’s Day church service in 1909, Sonora, then 27 years old, came up with the idea.

Within a few months, Sonora had convinced the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA to set aside a Sunday in June to celebrate fathers. She proposed June 5, her father’s birthday, but the ministers chose the third Sunday in June so that they would have more time after Mother’s Day (the second Sunday in May) to prepare their sermons. Thus, on June 19, 1910, the first Father’s Day events commenced: Sonora delivered presents to handicapped fathers, boys from the YMCA decorated their lapels with fresh-cut roses (red for living fathers, white for the deceased), and the city’s ministers devoted their homilies to fatherhood.

Becoming a National Holiday

The widely publicized events in Spokane struck a chord that reached all the way to Washington, D.C., and Sonora’s celebration put the idea on the path to becoming a national holiday. However, the holiday did not catch on right away, perhaps due to the perceived parallels with Mother’s Day.

  • In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson and his family personally observed the day.
  • Eight years later, President Calvin Coolidge signed a resolution in favor of Father’s Day “to establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”
  • In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order that the holiday be celebrated on the third Sunday in June.
  • Under President Richard Nixon, in 1972, Congress passed an act officially making Father’s Day a national holiday. (Six years later, Sonora died at age 96.)

Commercialism and the Economy

Two economic events pushed Father’s Day forward:

  1. The Great Depression. With so many people pinching their pennies, the economy needed reasons for people to spend money. Father’s Day was promoted by struggling stores as an occasion to get fathers some of the clothing and material goods they needed. It was a way to invite people to get Dad the necktie or pair of socks that he probably would not buy for himself.
  2. World War II . Men were on the front lines. The desire to support American troops and the war effort provided another reason to support and show appreciation for dads.

The Changing Role of Fathers

The idea of fatherhood changed as well. It’s not viewed as the “feminine model” with flowers, but it has become more of a day that celebrates what Dad likes to do, whether it’s going fishing or flying or go-carting! It focuses on the larger roles that dads play with their children.

Partly, this change is due to the way society has evolved. There are no longer huge armies of workers toiling away in industrial factories, while women spend hours handstitching and handwashing the family’s clothes. The modern role of father has changed so that mothers and fathers are partners, each taking more responsibility within family life.

Fathers are now seen as significant influences on children we know from many studies what happens when a father figure is lacking. In a sense, today Father’s Day helps to demonstrate the importance and value of fatherhood—and the gifts beyond material goods that a father bestows on his children and family. See 5 important ways fathers impact child development.

Different Days for Different Dads

North America is not the only place where Father’s Day is celebrated, of course:

  • In traditionally Catholic countries such as Spain and Portugal, Father’s Day is observed on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph.
  • The Taiwanese celebrate Father’s Day on August 8—the eighth day of the eighth month—because the Mandarin Chinese word for eight sounds like the word for “Papa.”
  • In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on former King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday, December 5.

Father’s Day Fun

What will you do to honor your father? It’s usually a great time to be outdoors whether camping, fishing, grilling, or stargazing! We have lots of ideas as well as quotes for your Father’s Day card.

For lots of ideas to celebrate dad, click here for our Father’s Day page!


Utah Beach

The 4th Infantry Division was assigned to take UTAH Beach. In contrast with OMAHA Beach, the 4th Division's landing went smoothly. The first wave landed 2,000 yards south of the planned beach--one of the Allies' more fortuitous opportunities on D-Day. The original beach was heavily defended in comparison to the light resistance and few fixed defenses encountered on the new beach. After a personal reconnaissance, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who accompanied the first wave, decided to exploit the opportunity and altered the original plan. He ordered that landing craft carrying the successive assault waves land reinforcements, equipment and supplies to capitalize on the first wave's success. Within hours, the beachhead was secured and the 4th Division started inland to contact the airborne divisions scattered across its front.

As in the OMAHA zone, at day's end the UTAH Beach forces had not gained all of their planned objectives. However, a lodgement was secured, and, most important, once again the American soldier's resourcefulness and initiative had rescued the operation from floundering along the Normandy coast.


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