Headlines of 1943



From: Oxsan
Date: 04 Jun 2002
Time: 16:24:05

I graduated from high school in 1943. Yesterday, I bought a book called, 1943 Time Capsule. I thought that I would share with you a few of the news items that caught my attention that year of my graduation. Remember WW II was in full swing. FDR was president. Pius XII was Pope.

Safer Back Home?

Time magazine announced on August 15 that since Pearl Harbor a total of 22,500 war workers had been killed in the US by auto accidents. Over the same period the US had suffered a total of 16,913 dead on the battlefronts worldwide.

Labor Leader Testifies Before Congress

Salty John L. Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers appeared before the Truman Committee under subpoena to probe his statements to the press that he was considering a strike of coal workers. He was first asked if he was behind recent heavy absenteeism in the coal miner’s units. Lewis replied, “ I have been told that absenteeism is much higher in Congress than it is in industry. I notice that absenteeism prevails on this committee this morning” Lewis was asked if he agreed that wage increases in the Coal industry would lead to a “cycle of inflation”. Lewis quipped that he would not agree, but that he expected a cycle of inflation because Congress negligently increased commodity prices to improve the profits of corporations. Maine’s Senator Ralph Brewster pointed out that there was, after all, an excess-profits tax on corporations and that Senator Brewster hoped the rich would not get richer from the war. Lewis shot back, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.” Lewis was a very colorful speaker.

Congressional Vote Kills FDR Veto

On July 5 FDR received his worst defeat ever. Congress had passed a law banning strikes in war essential and basic industries. FDR after some hesitation had vetoed the bill with the remark that he trusted in the patriotism and good sense of the US proletariat. Congress was incensed and after passing the bill by a narrow margin they passed it over FDR’s veto by a healthy margin. This was done in the Senate within 15 minutes of the arrival of the veto. The House struck down the veto the next day.

Zero Hour

Shortly after passage of the strike ban John L. Lewis announced that surely the coal miners would observe the law and would not strike but that effective the first of the month the coal miners “would not trespass upon the mine owners property or allow others to do so until they had a satisfactory contract settlement”.


On Feb 1 the German Luftwaffe conducted a heavy daylight raid on London at exactly noon. A Captain Schumann of the Luftwaffe announced on the German radio that he had lead the raid that visibility was perfect and that “we dropped every bomb right where we wanted to drop it”. The British announced that one of the bombs hit a four story school house and that the bomb penetrated and exploded in the school cafeteria on the first floor killing six teachers and 42 students age 6 to 16. The Germans had stated that the bombing was in retaliation for the bombing of Berlin a few days before.

Italy Surrenders!

On Sept 20th Italy surrendered to the Allies and Rome was declared an open city.


On Sept 21 Congress announced that over 2,000,000 Polish Jews had been killed by the Nazis and that there was growing evidence that Jews were being systematically killed in Germany and other occupied countries. It was the first authoritative news the citizens of the US had of the Holocaust.

The RAJ Has Failed!

On Oct 18 it was announced that over 100 people per day were starving to death in Calcutta and more than 100,000 people were homeless, unemployed and starving there. The liberal “New Statesman and Nation” printed an article, which said “ The British Raj has failed in a major test.”

On Second Thought

New York Archbishop Spellman returned from a world wide jaunt and said in an article he wrote for “Colliers” magazine concerning Generalissimo Franco that “My impression of him are in accordance with his reputation as a sincere, serious and intelligent man …Whatever general criticism of General Franco has been made I cannot doubt that he is a man loyal to his God, devoted to his country’s welfare and definitely willing to sacrifice himself to any extent for his country’s welfare.” This fulsome praise of the fascist leader caused widespread criticism of Spellman in the US.


On 1 Feb the first anti-biotic was released for civilian use in the U.S. Thirty shots of penicillin were used in New York Emergency rooms that day.

Bertrand Russell Fired!

Bertrand Russell was dismissed from his appointment as Professor of Philosophy at College of the City of New York for telling his students that he thought that “childless trial marriages “ would be a good and healthy thing for the youth of America. Since Russell had a five year “unconditional” contract for $8000 per year he sued and settled the suit for $20,000 lump sum.

So that is the kind of things we fretted about in 1943.