WW II INFO
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British Islands Occupied by Germany
June 1940. Winston Churchill is about to make a decision that will send a cold shiver through the whole population of Jersey. The Nazis are knocking on the back door of Britain and Jersey will not be defended.
The British never attempted to recapture the Channel Islands. Nor did Britain mount a defense of the islands when German forces set out to capture them after occupying France, just 14 miles across the channel.
By the end of the month St. Helier harbour and La Rocque are bombed by German planes. They needn't have bothered. The islanders fly white flags from their homes and within days the island is lost. British troops, military equipment and any islanders who wanted to leave will be evacuated by ship but out of 23,000 islanders who registered nearly three quarters of them bravely change their minds and decide to stick it out under German occupation.
The Channel Islands become the only part of Britain to fall into the hands of the Germans during World War ll. For five years Hitler has a free reign to fortify Jersey with massive gun emplacements, build a huge network of defensive beach walls and bunkers and construct an underground hospital with beds for 500 casualties.
It left Hitler smiling and Churchill nursing a bad case of "black dog." Liberation finally came on May 9 th 1945 with the arrival of two Royal Navy destroyers, an event that is enthusiastically celebrated every year by Jersey residents and no wonder. Life was hard under the Germans and many residents died from starvation. They tried to live off the land by making tea and soup from acorns, pea pods, brambles and potato peelings. Bitterness, hatred and distrust ran through the islanders like a disease and all British-born residents were deported to Germany. Informants were rife, women, known as "Jerry-Bags," fraternised with the soldiers. Then, towards the end of the occupation, came a glimmer of hope. Red Cross food parcels made it to the island and saved many more lives and the islanders realised that they had not been completely abandoned.
Life in occupied Jersey was not easy. Food was scarce, with meat rarely available and fishing prohibited. Liquor and cigarettes could be had only on the Black Market. Soap was a Iuxury, toothpaste non-existent. The coal necessary for heating and electricity was in very short supply.
Residents were required to stay indoors at night and use no electricity during those hours. All private cars and trucks were seized. Radios were banned. Newspapers were heavily censored and filled with Nazi propaganda. Jews could not engage in trade. People were deported to German concentration camps for such "political crimes" as listening to BBC newscasts or in retaliation for particular actions by British troops against German forces elsewhere.
Although there was some resistance, including sabotage, islanders had no real choice but to try to live with their occupiers. Their daily dilemma is simply illustrated in an exhibit that features life-sized dummies of German soldiers, smiling faces projected on video monitors mounted on their shoulders. They utter friendly greetings, speak of "your nice house" and ask, "Would you wash my clothes?"
The occupation saw about 8,000 islanders evacuated, 1,200 islanders deported to camps in Germany and over 300 islanders being sentenced to the prison and concentration camps of mainland Europe. 20 died as a result. The islanders endured near-starvation in the winter of 1944-45, after it had been cut off from German-occupied Europe by Allied forces advancing from the Normandy beachheads, avoided only by the arrival of the Red Cross supply ship Vega in December 1944. Liberation Day - May 9th is marked as a public holiday. The Channel Islands were the only British soil occupied by German troops in World War II.
The event which has had the most far reaching effect on Jersey in modern times, is the growth of the finance industry in the island from the 1960s onwards.
AFTER THE PEARL HARBOR ATTACK: Though at war, the United States and Japan negotiated a plan for the repatriation of their diplomats. In July 1942, Grew and 1,450 other American and foreign citizens went via steamship from Tokyo to Lourenço Marques in Portuguese East Africa (now Maputo, Mozambique) aboard the Japanese liner Asama Maru and her backup, the Italian liner Conte Verde. The Japanese Ambassador to the United States, Kichisaburo Nomura, along with 1,096 other Japanese citizens, steamed from New York City to Lourenço Marques on board the Gripsholm, an ocean liner registered in Sweden. On July 22, the exchange of personnel took place, and then the Gripsholm steamed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and thence to New Jersey
THE ATOMIC BOMB ISSUE: Grew wrote in 1942 that while he expected Nazi Germany to collapse as the German Empire had in 1918, he did not expect the Japanese Empire to do so:
I know Japan; I lived there for ten years. I know the Japanese intimately. The Japanese will not crack. They will not crack morally or psychologically or economically, even when eventual defeat stares them in the face. They will pull in their belts another notch, reduce their rations from a bowl to a half bowl of rice, and fight to the bitter end. Only by utter physical destruction or utter exhaustion of their men and materials can they be defeated.THE POTSDAM DECLARATION: The original language of the Proclamation would have increased the chances for Japanese surrender as it allowed the Japanese government to maintain its emperor as a "constitutional monarchy". President Harry S. Truman, who was influenced by Secretary of State James Byrnes during the trip via warship to Europe for the Potsdam Conference, changed the language of the surrender demand. Grew knew how important the emperor was to the Japanese people and believed that the condition could have led to Japanese surrender without using the atomic bombs. Grew stated, "If surrender could have been brought about in May 1945 or even in June or July before the entrance of Soviet Russia into the war and the use of the atomic bomb, the world would have been the gainer."
[From: www.kwanah.com/txmilmus/lostbattalion/nagatomo.htm ]
In 1931, the Japanese occupied the Chinese province of Manchuria transforming it into a Japanese puppet state. It was the first step in Japan's drive to control all of China. Six years would elapse before the Japanese took the next step in their plan of conquest.
In early July 1937, Japanese and Chinese troops clashed in Peking in an incident at the Marco Polo Bridge. Using this as justification, the Japanese launched a full-blown assault on the city at the end of the month utilizing massed infantry, tanks and airstrikes. It did not take long for the city and the surrounding area to fall to the Japanese.
The population of Nanking was subjected to an uncontrolled butchery that came to be known as "the Rape of Nanking." As the Japanese army poured into the city, fleeing residents were shot or bayoneted. Thousand of suspected members of the Chinese Army who had shed their uniforms for civilian clothing, were apprehended, their hands tied behind their backs and led en mass to killing fields where they were shot, beheaded, used for bayonet practice or killed in some other gruesome manner before being dumped into mass graves. Thousands of others were buried while still alive. Rape was rampant as thousands of women were repeatedly forced into brutal sex and often murdered once the lust of their attackers had been satisfied. The carnage lasted for six weeks and took an estimated 40,000 lives.
[John Rabe was a German businessman who had resided in China since 1908. He represented the China branch of the Siemens Company and lived in Nanking at the time of the Japanese invasion. As the Japanese approached, he joined other foreign nationals in establishing a “Safety Zone” within the city that would harbor only civilians and unarmed soldiers. It was hoped that, devoid of combatants, the Japanese would spare the Safety Zone.
John Rabe kept a diary of his experiences. We join his story on the day that the Japanese enter the city and he accompanies other members of the Safety Committee in a tour of the Safety Zone:]
"December 13, 1937
Three of us committee members drive out to military hospitals that have been opened in the Foreign Ministry, the War Ministry, and the Railway Ministry, and are quickly convinced of the miserable conditions in these hospitals, whose doctors and nurses simply ran away when the shelling got too heavy, leaving the sick behind with nobody to care for them. . .
The dead and wounded lie side by side in the driveway leading up to the Foreign Ministry. The garden, like the rest of Chung Shan Lu, is strewn with pieces of cast-off military equipment. At the entrance is a wheelbarrrow containing a formless mass, ostensibly a corpse, but the feet show signs of life.
It is not until we tour the city that we learn the extent of the destruction. We come across corpses every 100 to 200 yards. The bodies of civilians that I examined had bullet holes in their backs. These people had presumably been fleeing and were shot from behind.
The Japanese march through the city in groups of ten to twenty soldiers and loot the shops. If I had not seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it. They smash open windows and doors and take whatever they like. Allegedly because they're short of rations. I watched with my own eyes as they looted the cafe of our German baker Herr Kiessling. Hempel's hotel was broken into as well, as was almost every shop on Chung Shang and Taiping Road. Some Japanese soldiers dragged their booty away in crates, others requisitioned rickshas to transport their stolen goods to safety.
...Forster (Ernest Forster, an American theologian) surprises some Japanese soldiers who are about to steal his bicycle but vamoose when they spot us. We stop a Japanese patrol, and point out to them that this is American property and ask them to order the looters to leave. They simply smile and leave us standing there.
We run across a group of 200 Chinese workers whom Japanese soldiers have picked up off the streets of the Safety Zone, and after having been tied up, are now being driven out of the city. All protests are in vain.
Of the perhaps one thousand disarmed soldiers that we had quartered at the Ministry of Justice, between 400 and 500 were driven from it with their hands tied. We assume they were shot since we later heard several salvos of machine-gun fire. These events have left us frozen with horror.
...Mr. Han says that three young girls of about 14 or 15 have been dragged from a house in our neighborhood. Doctor Bates reports that even in the Safety Zone refugees in various houses have been robbed of their few paltry possessions. At various times troops of Japanese soldiers enter my private residence as well, but when I arrive and hold my swastika armband under their noses, they leave. There's no love for the American flag. A car belonging to Mr. Sone, one of our committee members, had its American flag ripped off and was then stolen.
All the shelling and bombing we have thus far experienced are nothing in comparison to the terror that we are going through now: There is not a single shop outside our Zone that has not been looted, and now pillaging, rape, murder, and mayhem are occurring inside the Zone as well. There is not a vacant house, whether with or without a foreign flag, that has not been broken into and looted.
...No Chinese even dares set foot outside his house! When the gates to my garden are opened to let my car leave the ground… women and children on the street outside kneel and bang their heads against the ground, pleading to be allowed to camp on my garden grounds. You simply cannot conceive of the misery.
It may be that the disarmed Chinese will be forced to do the job before .. they're killed. We Europeans are all paralyzed with horror. There are executions everywhere, some are being carried out with machine guns outside the barracks of the War Ministry.
...As I write this, the fists of Japanese soldiers are hammering at the back gate to the garden. Since my boys don't open up, heads appear along the top of the wall. When I suddenly show up with my flashlight, they beat a hasty retreat. We open the main gate and walk after them a little distance until they vanish in the dark narrow streets, where assorted bodies have been lying in the gutter for three days now. Makes you shudder in revulsion.
All the women and children, their eyes big with terror, are sitting on the grass in the garden, pressed closely together, in part to keep warm, in part to give each other courage. Their one hope is that I, the 'foreign devil' will drive these evil spirits away."
Nowhere did the expected "pockets of resistance" develop. The Japs quit as unanimously as they had fought. Did they all suddenly realize the hopelessness of the struggle? Or all bow to the will of the Emperor? Or all share a hope of their power's revival? Anyway, they quit.
At Wake, Redemption. When the Stars & Stripes went up on Wake Island (see cut), the U.S. redeemed the second territory (after Guam) to be occupied by a foreign foe since 1814.
The Japs had eaten all the island's gooney birds, and most of its rats. Everywhere were relics of Major James ("Send us more Japs") Devereux's stand: U.S. ammunition was stacked in neat piles; rusted machinery was everywhere.
At Singapore, Threat. The British made the Japs sweep Singapore's streets, just as the Japs had done to British prisoners in 1942. The point was not childish retribution, but restoration of British "face" with the natives.
The Japs retreated over the Johore causeway over which they had entered the supposedly impregnable fortress city. Lieut. General Seishiro Itagaki told the Sultan of Johore: "We hope the peace will last 20 years. Then we will be back again."*
At Nanking, Doubt. At his Nanking headquarters, General Yasuji Okamura surrendered 1,000,000 Jap troops in China to General Ho Ying-chin.
There were no crowds, no cheers, no bunting in Nanking. Food was plentiful, shops were full of goods, but the people were lifeless.
Explained one Nanking citizen: "The truth is that we have all been puppets, more or less. We have held jobs under the puppet government, or we have done business with the Japanese. After eight years you get used to it. This is our city. What will happen to us now that you have come back?" But in Shanghai, Joy! The war's orphans, the men from the gorges of the Salween and the mountain bivouacs of Central China, came to Shanghai, which greeted liberation as no city in the world had greeted it.
The laughter of yeh chi ("wild chickens") rang through every thick-carpeted hotel corridor. The steaks were thick and plentiful. Real Scotch (not Australian) whiskey flowed. Hotel beds had spring mattresses and clean white sheets.
By changing U.S. dollars to Chungking dollars to Nanking dollars to Japanese yen, the fabulously inflated prices unreasonably became reasonable (steaks 50¢, silk nightgowns $3). For 15 incredible days the celebration throbbed—firecrackers and kisses, music and laughter. British and U.S. soldiers were surrounded by "saltwater plums" (sailors' girls) from Szechwan Road, and by delicate Eurasian women, warm Russians, big-eyed Hungarians.
Chinese soldiers of the Ninety-fourth Army, the men who halted the last Japanese drive in southeastern China last spring, arrived wearing shabby yellow uniforms and straw sandals. They stared at silken gowns and leather shoes.
They were bewildered when the crowds cheered them. The men of the Ninety-fourth had never heard cheers before.
Japanese soldiers, allowed to keep their arms until sufficient Chinese forces arrived in the city that the Japanese had possessed but never won, stared blankly at the joyous finale as the curtain, ruffled by Shanghai's breezes, came down upon their empire.
November 10, 2002, South Bend Tribune
In the summer of 1943, 27-year-old Pvt. Charles H. Kuhl was in Gen. George S. Patton's Seventh Army, which was engaged in an arduous, month-long campaign to seize control of Sicily from the Germans and Italians. The Allies took Sicily, but only after Axis forces successfully withdrew to the Italian mainland. The campaign frustrated Patton, and he wrote he was eager "to get out of this infernal island."
On the afternoon of Aug. 3, Patton made one of his frequent hospital visits, this time to the 15th Evacuation Hospital near Nicosia.
In a 1970 interview withthe South Bend Tribune, Kuhl remembered that when Patton entered the hospital tent, "all the soldiers jumped to attention except me. I was suffering from battle fatigue and just didn't know what to do."
After asking each soldier what his injury was, Patton questioned Kuhl about why he had not stood and saluted. Kuhl told The Tribune, "I told him my nerves were shot and, of course, I didn't feel like getting up to salute him."
The furious general began swearing at Kuhl, calling him a coward and ordering him to leave the hospital tent. The frightened Kuhl did not move, which only further enraged Patton. Patton then slapped Kuhl's face with a glove, raised him to his feet by the collar of his shirt and pushed him out of the tent with a final "kick in the rear." Patton ordered the private to return to his unit and told the doctors not to readmit him to the hospital.
Kuhl fled from the tent and hid until Patton left the hospital. Kuhl then returned and was admitted for acute anxiety, chronic diarrhea, malaria and a high fever. Two days later, Patton ordered that Seventh Army soldiers alleging shell shock not be admitted to hospitals and that those who refused to fight would be court-martialed "for cowardice in the face of the enemy."
The slapping incident soon became widely known in Sicily, but it wasn't until later in the year that it got back to the States. Since striking an enlisted man was a court-martial offense, Gen. Eisenhower, Patton's senior commander, needed to punish Patton without causing a stir back home. He feared that such a backlash would result in losing a general whom he felt was crucial to the war effort.
Eisenhower strongly censured him, saying he could not condone brutality or uncontrollable temper in front of the enlisted men. Eisenhower ordered Patton to publicly apologize for his actions. On Aug. 22, Patton summoned all of the Seventh Army to Palermo to publicly apologize for his actions.
Patton also personally apologized to Kuhl. He told the private that his slapping and verbal abuse were intended to motivate Kuhl to fight, out of anger towards Patton. He admitted that he had used the wrong psychology and asked Kuhl to shake his hand in forgiveness. An observer noted that Kuhl grinned enthusiastically and shook Patton's hand.
The slapping incident likely cost Patton command of the American ground forces during Operation Overlord, the invasion of France in 1944. Patton died in December 1945 from injuries suffered in an automobile accident in Luxembourg. Charles Kuhl returned to the Michiana area and worked at Bendix. He died in Mishawaka on Jan. 31, 1971.