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9 March 1942

9 March 1942



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9 March 1942

March 1942

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Far East

General Yamashita appointed Commander-in-Chief in the Philippines

The Government of the Dutch East Indies capitulates



March 9, 1942 The Alcan Highway

Discussions of a road to Alaska began as early as 1865, when Western Union contemplated plans to install a telegraph wire from the United States to Siberia. The idea picked up steam with the proliferation of automobiles in the 1920s, but it was a hard sell for Canadian authorities. Such a road would necessarily have to pass through their territory, but the Canadian government felt the project would have little impact, benefiting no more than a few thousand people in the Yukon.

Guam and Wake Island fell to the Japanese in the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, making it clear that parts of the Pacific coast were vulnerable, and changing priorities for both the United States and Canada.

The Alaska Territory was particularly vulnerable. The Aleutian Island chain was only 750 miles from the nearest Japanese base, and there were only 12 medium bombers, 20 pursuit planes, and fewer than 22,000 troops in the entire territory. An area four times the size of Texas.

Colonel Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., the officer in charge of the Alaska Defense Command, made the point succinctly. “If the Japanese come here, I can’t defend Alaska. I don’t have the resources.”

The US Army approved construction of the Alaska Highway in February, the project receiving the blessing of the Congress and President Roosevelt within the week. Canada agreed to allow the project, provided that the US pay the full cost, and that the roadway and all facilities be turned over to Canadian authorities at the end of the war.

Construction began on March 9 as trains moved hundreds of pieces of construction equipment to Dawson Creek, the last stop on the Northern Alberta Railway. At the other end, 10,670 American troops arrived in Alaska that spring, to begin what their officers called “the biggest and hardest job since the Panama Canal.”

In between lay over 1,500 miles of unmapped, inhospitable wilderness.

The project got a real sense of urgency in June, when Japanese forces landed on the islands of Kiska and Attu, in the Aleutian chain. Adding to the urgency was the fact that there is no more than an eight month construction window, before the return of the deadly Alaskan winter. Construction began at both ends and the middle at once, with nothing but the most rudimentary engineering sketches.

A route through the Rockies hadn’t even been identified yet.

Radios didn’t work across the mountains and there were only erratic mail and passenger runs on the Yukon Southern airline, what the locals called the “Yukon Seldom”. It was faster for construction battalions at Dawson Creek, Delta Junction and Whitehorse to talk to each other through military officials in Washington, DC.

Moving men to their assigned locations was one thing. Moving 11,000 pieces of construction equipment, to say nothing of the supplies needed by man and machine, was another.

Tent pegs were useless in the permafrost, but the body heat of sleeping soldiers meant they woke up in mud.

Partially thawed lakes meant that supply planes could use neither pontoon nor ski, as Black flies swarmed the troops by day, and bears raided camps by night, looking for food.
Engines had to run around the clock, because it was impossible to restart them in the cold.
Engineers waded up to their chests as they built pontoons across freezing lakes, battling mosquitoes in the mud and the moss laden arctic bog. Ground which had been frozen for thousands of years was scraped bare and exposed to sunlight, creating a deadly layer of muddy quicksand in which bulldozers wallowed in what otherwise seemed like stable roadbed.

On October 25, Refines Sims Jr. of Philadelphia, with the all-black 97th Engineers was driving a bulldozer 20 miles east of the Alaska-Yukon line, when the trees in front of him toppled to the ground. He slammed his machine into reverse as a second bulldozer came into view, driven by Kennedy Texas Private Alfred Jalufka. North had met south, and the two men jumped off their machines, grinning. Their triumphant handshake was photographed by a fellow soldier and published in newspapers across the country, becoming an unintended first step toward desegregating the US military.

They celebrated the route’s completion at Soldier’s Summit on November 21, 1942, though the “highway” remained unusable by most vehicles until 1943.

I remember hearing an interview about this story, back in the eighties. An Inuit elder was recounting his memories about growing up in a world as it had existed for a thousand years, without so much as an idea of internal combustion. He spoke of the day when he first heard the sound of an engine, and went out to see a giant bulldozer making its way over the permafrost. The bulldozer was being driven by a black soldier, probably one of the 97th Engineers Battalion soldiers. “It turned out”, he said, “that the first white person I ever saw, was a black man”.


March 9, 1942 Alcan

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor it was never more clear. The Pacific coast was vulnerable to foreign attack.

Discussions concerning a road to Alaska began as early as 1865, when Western Union contemplated plans to install a telegraph wire from the United States to Siberia. The concept picked up steam with the proliferation of automobiles in the 1920s but the idea was a hard sell for Canadian authorities. Such a road would necessarily pass through their territory, and the Canadian government believed the project would have little impact, benefiting no more than a few thousand people in the Yukon.

As the first wave of Japanese aircraft descended to the final attack on Pearl Harbor, a force of some 5,900 soldiers and marines under Lieutenant General Tomitarō Horii invaded the American garrison on Guam, some 4,000 miles to the west. American forces on Wake Island held out a bit longer but, by the 23rd it was over.

Priorities were changing for both the United States, and Canada. It was never more clear that the Pacific coast, was vulnerable to foreign attack.

The Alaska Territory was particularly exposed. Situated only 750 miles from the nearest Japanese base, the Aleutian Island chain had but 12 medium bombers, 20 pursuit planes and fewer than 22,000 troops to defend an area four times the size of Texas.

Colonel Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., son of the Confederate commander who famously received Ulysses S. Grant’s “Unconditional Surrender” ultimatum at Fort Donelson (“I propose to move immediately, upon your works”), was in charge of the Alaska Defense Command. Buckner made his made point, succinctly. “If the Japanese come here, I can’t defend Alaska. I don’t have the resources.”

The Army approved construction of the Alaska Highway in February 1942, the project receiving the blessings of Congress and President Roosevelt within the week. Canada agreed to allow the project, provided that the United States pay the full cost, and the roadway and other facilities be turned over to Canadian authorities at the end of the war.

Construction began on March 9 as trains moved hundreds of pieces of construction equipment to Dawson Creek, the last stop on the Northern Alberta Railway. At the other end, 10,670 American troops arrived in Alaska that spring, to begin what their officers called “the biggest and hardest job since the Panama Canal.”

Dawson Creek, 1942

In-between lay over 1,500 miles of unmapped, hostile, wilderness.

Construction began at both ends and the middle at once, with nothing but the most rudimentary engineering sketches. A route through the Rocky Mountains had yet to be identified.

Radios of the age didn’t work across the Rockies, and the mail was erratic. The only passenger service available was run by the Yukon Southern airline, a run which locals called the “Yukon Seldom”. For construction battalions at Dawson Creek, Delta Junction and Whitehorse, it was faster to talk to each other through military officials in Washington, DC.

Tent pegs were useless in the permafrost, while the body heat of sleeping soldiers meant waking up in mud. Partially thawed lakes meant that supply planes could use neither pontoon nor ski, as Black flies swarmed the troops by day. Hungry bears raided camps at night, looking for food.

Engines had to run around the clock, as it was impossible to restart them in the cold. Engineers waded up to their chests building pontoons across freezing lakes, battling mosquitoes in the mud and the moss laden arctic bog. Ground which had been frozen for thousands of years was scraped bare and exposed to sunlight, creating a deadly layer of muddy quicksand in which bulldozers sank in what seemed like stable roadbed.

That October, Refines Sims Jr. of Philadelphia, with the all-black 97th Engineers, was driving a bulldozer 20 miles east of the Alaska-Yukon line when the trees in front of him toppled to the ground. Sims slammed his machine into reverse as a second bulldozer came into view, driven by Kennedy, Texas Private Alfred Jalufka. North had met south, and the two men jumped off their machines, grinning. Their triumphant handshake was photographed by a fellow soldier and published in newspapers across the country, becoming an unintended first step toward desegregating the US military.

A gathering at Soldier’s Summit on November 21, 1942 celebrated “completion” of the route, though the “highway” remained impassable for most vehicles, until 1943. NPR ran an interview about this story sometime in the eighties, in which an Inupiaq elder was recounting his memories. He had grown up in a world as it existed for hundreds of years, without so much as an idea of internal combustion. He spoke of the day that he first heard the sound of an engine, and went out to see a giant bulldozer making its way over the permafrost. The bulldozer was being driven by a black operator, probably one of the 97th Engineers Battalion soldiers. The old man’s comment, as best I can remember it, was a classic. “It turned out”, he said, “that the first white person I ever saw, was a black man”.


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Australian Naval History Podcasts
This podcast series examines Australia’s Naval history, featuring a variety of naval history experts from the Naval Studies Group and elsewhere.
Produced by the Naval Studies Group in conjunction with the Submarine Institute of Australia, the Australian Naval Institute, Naval Historical Society and the RAN Seapower Centre

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Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories.
These recordings can be accessed through Apple iTunes or for Android users, Stitcher.


War Labor Boards Couldn’t Prevent Wave of Strikes

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 10, 9 March 1942, p.ق.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

When America entered the First World War, the government did not try to prohibit strikes, as the British did. It profited from the British experience, which showed that rather than stopping strikes, the anti-strike legislation gave added importance to those strikes that took place.

America’s policy was to recognize that unions did exist and to attempt to buy them off by including labor representatives in the war councils. But this step could not silence the rank and file, which felt the pressure of the-rising cost of living.

Even before the U.S. was officially at war, Samuel Gompers, president of the AFL, was appointed to the advisory commission of the Council of National Defense, when it was first organized in October 1916.

The appointment was viewed openly as a bridle on labor. All the dollar-a-year men were open in their contempt of the labor representatives and cynically termed Gompers’ appointment as a “sagacious example.” Similarly, when the War Industries Board was organized in July 1917 and Hugh Frayne, organizer for the AFL, was appointed to a post on that board, G.B. Clarkson, who was associated with the Council of National Defense, said that, “strictly speaking, Frayne was not on the board to represent labor, hut to manage it . ” This was particularly meaningful with reference to that board, on which sat the best representatives of American industry, like Rockefeller, Guggenheim, etc.
 

Critical of Gompers

Despite this attitude on the part of industry, Gompers sought to rally American labor for the impending war. For this purpose he called a conference of the executive council of the AFL which claimed to speak for millions of Americans. But the conference declaration which supported the war did not go unchallenged. Criticism of the resolution was widespread. This critical response on the part of the ranks of labor corroborated a conviction on the part of the government and industrial circles that labor was not enthusiastically behind the war.

The Council for National Defense, in April 1917, immediately upon the declaration of war, called upon labor and employers to maintain the status quo. This was asking the impossible, since prices were soaring and wages had to be brought up to meet them. It became evident that labor intended to try to make wages meet the rise in the cost of living regardless of the positions held by their “representatives,” which buckled under as each crucial issue arose.

The first contest came over the closed shop. Gompers and Secretary of War Baker had reached an agreement in June 1917 for the supply of skilled labor to the building of cantonments. The legal expert of the Council for National Defense discovered that the contract contained the possibility of a closed shop interpretation. This was an impossible situation! And of course, Gompers, whose consent was sought for the inclusion of an open shop clause, swallowed hard, registered his protest and then gave in.

The governmental departments soon discovered that, “Gompers, having had his say, which had been written into the record, became amenable to the appeals of reasonable men.”

The War Labor Board was created, remained the chief mediation body by proclamation in April 1918 and to the end of the war.
 

Causes of Strikes

The original commission appointed by President Wilson to investigate the causes for the strikes had recommended “the elimination to the utmost practical extent of all profiteering during the period of the war as a prerequisite to the best morale in industry.” But the War Conference Board in its report did not mention this profit-elimination phase of the report. It did, however, recommend the adoption of a fixed minimum wage. The WCB made several other proposals: (1) give workers right, to organize in trade unions and bargain collectively (2) give employers the right to organize and bargain collectively (as if they needed permission!) (3) employers were not to discharge workers for membership in trade unions or for LEGITIMATE trade union activity. (Who was to define “legitimate” they did not say.) But the fourth point virtually nullified points one and three. The board in one breath (points one and three) granted labor the right to organize for collective bargaining and then in point four prohibited workers from urging other workers to join their union.

On the basis of these findings the permanent war board was born. It was a foregone conclusion that on the basis of such a policy it would conduct itself as it did.

All of the boards, no matter what their “front,” and some of them had liberals and labor people on them to make them more palatable to labor, had one purpose: to keep labor in its place. This meant no strikes, no organizing of labor during the war, maintenance of the status quo – or freezing of wages, compulsory arbitration or the “cooling off” period, and all the reactionary measures we hear spoken of today.

In the next article we will deal with the employers’ open shop offensive after the peace of 1918, which sought to take advantage of Gompers’ attitude of “going along” with the government during the war. We will see that labor erred in not fighting harder and in not understanding that the repressive measures of the war would be turned into open warfare against labor in an effort to break the backbone of the trade union and socialist movements that arose from the slaughter of 1914󈝾.


Background

The Japanese landed 43,000 troops on the main Philippine island of Luzon on December 22, 1941. American and Filipino troops, under General Douglas MacArthur, retreated to the Bataan peninsula, where they resisted the Japanese for months, enduring starvation, disease, and exhaustion in addition to the fighting.

Finally, on April 9, 1942, Major General Edward King surrendered all 76,000 American and Filipino troops under his command to the Japanese. The prisoners of war were divided by the Japanese into groups of 100 to begin the journey to the POW camps at Camp O’Donnell.


National K9 Veterans Day

National K9 Veterans Day, March 13, is a day set aside to honor commemorate the service and sacrifices of American military and working dogs throughout history.

It was on March 13, 1942, that the Army began training for its new War Dog Program, also known as the "K-9 Corps," according to American Humane, marking the first time that dogs were officially a part of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The rest, as they say, is history. Officially a part of the service of not, the dogs of war span centuries and include such heroes as Sgt. Stubby, the original war dog, Chips, the most decorated dog in World War II and Lex, who retired with his fallen owners family and Cairo, the Navy SEAL working dog on the bin Laden raid.

Today's military dogs are valued as important members of their military units and even have their own retirement ceremonies, awards and medals and memorial services.


Sweetwater Reporter (Sweetwater, Tex.), Vol. 45, Ed. 1 Monday, March 9, 1942

Daily newspaper from Sweetwater, Texas that includes local, state and national news along with advertising.

Physical Description

six pages : ill. page 21 x 16 in. Digitized from 35 mm. microfilm.

Creation Information

Creator: Unknown. March 9, 1942.

Context

This newspaper is part of the collection entitled: Texas Digital Newspaper Program and was provided by the Sweetwater/Nolan County City-County Library to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 12 times. More information about this issue can be viewed below.

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this newspaper or its content.

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Check out our Resources for Educators Site! We've identified this newspaper as a primary source within our collections. Researchers, educators, and students may find this issue useful in their work.

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Sweetwater/Nolan County City-County Library

The Library was established in 1907 and seeks to provide a secure and dynamic environment for learning to the community with access to informational, recreational, and educational resources. Through a combination of technology and traditional library services, the Library aims to adequately serve all citizens of Nolan County.


Typical Squadron History

Like the Navy, the Marine Corps constantly shuffled men and reorganized squadrons. But there was a general pattern. A squadron would be organized at a stateside Marine Air Base - maybe Ewa, Cherry Point, or El Centro. After spending a few months there learning its equipment and assignment, it would go overseas for its first six-week combat tour. Following a short period of R&R, the squadron (less any casualties or men transferred out) would return to a rear area base, say Efate or Espiritu Santo to integrate the new men and perhaps learn new techniques or equipment. Then it would embark on a second six-week combat tour. After another R&R, replacements would come in, and the squadron would fly a third combat tour. But any one pilot was only obligated to fly two combat tours fliers on the sick or injured list during the first or second tours would fly the third tour.

At the completion of the third combat tour, i.e after about 8 months of front line service, the squadron would be broken up. The combat veterans would return to the Z.I. (Zone of the Interior, i.e. the United States) for training, staff, or test duty. The free squadron number would be recycled. A new group of men would comprise the new squadron, and they would repeat the process.

As sketched out here, this was general pattern the demands of the war frequently interrupted or altered this.

The following information was summarized from Robert Sherrod's excellent History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II. Any errors or over-simplifications are my mistakes, not the author's.


March 9th, 1942 is a Monday. It is the 68th day of the year, and in the 11th week of the year (assuming each week starts on a Monday), or the 1st quarter of the year. There are 31 days in this month. 1942 is not a leap year, so there are 365 days in this year. The short form for this date used in the United States is 3/9/1942, and almost everywhere else in the world it's 9/3/1942.

This site provides an online date calculator to help you find the difference in the number of days between any two calendar dates. Simply enter the start and end date to calculate the duration of any event. You can also use this tool to determine how many days have passed since your birthday, or measure the amount of time until your baby's due date. The calculations use the Gregorian calendar, which was created in 1582 and later adopted in 1752 by Britain and the eastern part of what is now the United States. For best results, use dates after 1752 or verify any data if you are doing genealogy research. Historical calendars have many variations, including the ancient Roman calendar and the Julian calendar. Leap years are used to match the calendar year with the astronomical year. If you're trying to figure out the date that occurs in X days from today, switch to the Days From Now calculator instead.


Watch the video: 1942. Серия 9 2011 (August 2022).