Island Dweller writes in to reference our exploration of FDRs military aims. As usual, ID has some very interesting information:
Most dread and awful majesty:
I have read with great interest of your find of the newspaper you uncovered during your recent subterranean renovation. This piece was most enlightening. You see, it brought back memories that had lain dormant in your minion’s (somewhat addled) mind for a long time, placed there by his father when he was but a young stripling.
You see, I had an excellent source for information such as you uncovered as my own father had lived through those times and told me of them. I recall asking of him once about why he was in the US Army in January, 1941. He told me he had been paying attention to all the news, both in print and in newsreels, about both the gradual rearming that had been occurring in this country, and what was happening overseas – in particular, in Europe and not the Far East – and was convinced there would be American involvement in that war soon. He therefore decided to enter the Army (even though not a citizen yet) and be able to choose his branch of service before he was drafted and assigned to one he might not want to be a part of. Surprisingly, he chose a combat arm. Since the Field Artillery billets were full at his time of enlistment, he chose the Coast Artillery Corps. This ultimately gave him an 11 months’ head start on everyone else when Pearl Harbor occurred. It paid off.
FDR seems to have had the Navy the most involved of all the services in an undeclared war in the Atlantic and around Europe before our entry into WWII. We were supplying many combat aircraft to Great Britain and a lesser extent to the French well before Pearl Harbor – so much so that Hap Arnold, Chief of the Army Air Forces, had complained that aircraft production for those two allies had crowded out AAF production and was causing his service’s expansion to fall behind schedule. Most Americans have not heard of what amounted to an undeclared naval war in the Atlantic between the US and Germany, for many months prior to Pearl Harbor. This would include the submarine attack on the USS Greer in September 1941 and the sinking by submarine torpedoes of the destroyer USS Reuben James on October 31, 1941. Neither of these attacks would have happened if the US ships were not actively involved in escorting convoys bound for Great Britain from the US, and attacking Germany submarines – which initially did not fire back – while doing so. Our Navy took the convoys as far as Iceland where they were picked up by Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy escorts and shepherded the rest of the way to Britain. Our destroyers actually attacked German submarines they detected – an act of war – on the orders of the President. US Marines had occupied Iceland in July, 1941 to relieve British units there for combat duty elsewhere – an act in direct furtherance of the British war effort. The US Navy conducted air patrols out of Iceland over convoy routes in the North Atlantic – well away from American coastal waters. It is not generally known the Royal Air Force Coastal Command PBY Catalina that eventually relocated the German battleship Bismarck, after it had savaged the Royal Navy in the North Atlantic, had as its co-pilot a US Navy officer who was, therefore, engaging in direct combat against Nazi Germany in May, 1941. There was a lot of combat activity by American naval forces in the North Atlantic prior to WWII, all illegal and worthy of intense scrutiny by the media. What’s surprising is how little attention was paid by Roosevelt to the Far East and the Japanese – despite their having sunk the gunboat USS Panay on December 12, 1937, and many warlike acts committed by Japan in that theater before Pearl Harbor.
By the way – that aircraft plant was built by Douglas Aircraft near what is now Midway Airport to produce primarily transport aircraft for the armed services, most C-47s and, later, C-54s – that were widely used in WWII in all theaters.
That is a most interesting story about your father; the Czar has heard that people considered pre-joining to get a better assignment, but this is the first confirmed case.
Your review of American involvement in World War II prior to December, 1941, barely scratches the surface, of course. Indeed, one of the more fascinating pieces of that period is the dangerous, insane, impressive, chilling, and incredible feats performed by Americans secretly (or not-so-secretly) helping our soon-to-be allies.
Also, many thanks on your sidebar about the C-47! The Czar had no thought of even looking that tidbit up, but look at you!
The luxiously appointed ScottO also has something to say.
Most Gracious Majesty,
When I first read the title of this post, my first thought was, “The Czar took his family bowling!
But when I saw your penultimate remark, I had thought your link would be to a photo of the Venus de Milo. Then I remembered that she is a Greek statue, “rescued” by the French.
How upsetting that the actual story was about actual human remains! Well, mildly annoying, anyway.
Have the Gormogons cloned Galileo yet?
As ever your minion,
We both have met him, actually, although independently; it is safe to say that we have differing opinions about the man. Volgi thought he was an all right kind of guy, The Czar, on the other hand, found Galileo an arrogant SOB who smelled rather odd. Hard to say: the Volgi met Galileo later in the guys life, whereas we met Galileo while he was still bedding anything that moved and throwing up on the weekends. Seems unlikely he got less cranky with age, but Volgi has a calming effect on a lot of people.
Did you know Galileo played the lute? He was pretty good, actually, and the Czar was impressed by his skillseven though he was clearly doing it to get some chicks all mushy. Also, he invented a telescope.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.