Date: 04 Jun 2002
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
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 miners 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. Maines 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.
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 FDRs 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.
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
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
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 countrys welfare and definitely willing
to sacrifice himself to any extent for his countrys 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 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
So that is the kind
of things we fretted about in 1943.