Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Historic Moments: Saturday, 18 February 1939

This is part of a (hopefully daily) series detailing in real time World War II, American culture during the war and usually small town life. For information, please see this post, and this one.

Today's random newspaper pick is the Arizona Republic, coming out of Phoenix. The headline is: 
Roosevelt on planes to France.ABOARD ROOSEVELT TRAIN, En Route to Key West, Feb. 17 - President Roosevelt today defended the sale of American military planes to France as 100 per cent [sic] legal and asserted the whole government had facilitated the transaction... 
Testimony made public by the [senate military committee] also disclosed that when Secretary Morgenthau was asked why the treasury procurement division was asked to co-operate with the French mission seeking planes he replied this was done at the request of the President. [sic]
Remember that yesterday we read that there was some discussion on creating legislation to stop Roosevelt from selling planes to France, for its defense against totalitarian government? Well, now opponents have graduated from creating legislation to simply calling it "illegal and costly".

There are some "defense and foreign policy developments" outlined, as well. Though complicated, simply put there is a schism in the administration right now. Besides yesterday's issue with the Treasury Department heads, now there is dissent from the War Department, who believe that selling planes to France is against policy. The chief of the US Army Air Service (remember that the Air Force and the Army were not yet separated at that time) "was against permitting [pro-sale mission members] to inspect planes being developed under general war department specifications."

This was all outlined in testimony, but it listed these plans:
  1. A favorable report by the house naval affairs committee on a bill authorizing $52,000,000 for new air and submarine bases at Guam and 10 other Pacific and Atlantic points. 
  2. Introduction of a bill.... calling for co-ordination of army, navy, and air corps activities under a single department of national defense. 
  3. Proposals in both house and senate that the United States take possession of the Soviet-held Wrangel Island, near Alaska, for use as a "stopping place" in the chain of American air-defense stations. 
  4. Announcement of extended field maneuvers in the East by the First. U. S. Army this summer. Approximately 67,000 men till participate in the concentration.
Less dropped.It goes on to fill in the gaps, in greater detail. The planes in question were made by Douglas. The mission members were indeed foreign and were supposed to be allowed to inspect the planes comma "less secret accessories." However, in an suspicious twist of fate, in their efforts to hurriedly transcribe the order, the word less was actually dropped. The interpretation of course was to assume that they were to let them inspect the planes 'with' secrets.

That actually really doesn't make any sense. I would never interpret it at all. I would call someone about the order saying it didn't make sense, but this captain stupidly added his own judgmental word.

A lot of the same stories from yesterday are listed here but none offer new news. This was common because not all newspapers were published daily.
War End Is Asked By Azana 
Britain, France Push Peace Parleys 
PARIS, Feb. 17. - Manuel Azana, president of government of Spain, who has pleaded the futility of further resistance to Insurgent Generalissimo Francisco Franco, was reported tonight to have demanded that his government make peace on any terms... 
Spanish civil war and plane sales. Informed diplomatic quarters said both Britain and France actively were pushing peace negotiations at Franco's capital, Burgos. "The moment as come to end the tragic and useless blood bath with the help of France and Britain," [Azana] was quoted as having [said].
Kidnaper [sic] news.The next article requires a little background. On the 28th of May in 1938 in Princeton, FL, a five-year-old boy by the name of James "Skeegie" Bailey Cash Jr. was kidnapped. The kidnapper, Franklin Pierce McCall, said he placed handkerchiefs over the eyes and mouth of the boy, picked him up and carried him to his home, that was about 15 minutes away. He claims the boy suffocated during the kidnapping, but he believed him to be alive. This is odd because he still tried to ransom him, which sounds very much like he killed the boy beforehand, but of course no one really knows.

His ransom demand was for $10,000, which was paid (obviously) not knowing the boy was already dead. The FBI joined the hunt and soon the man was caught. I won't get into all the details. If interested you are welcome to search to read about it. However, the news of this day is about to bring the entire ordeal to a close, at least in a criminal sense. I'm sure the family never recovered from it and I'm also sure we'll hear more about him in the coming days.

6k farm loans.
On soil erosion. Though the Dust Bowl is winding down, there is still a farming shortage. The following headline tells the main story. They say that the average dollar amounts in loans were between $3k and $4k. They also say, "The [Farm Credit Administration] is authorized to make loans to individual farmers running up to 75 per cent of the normal value of property, but not exceeding $7,500."

Grocery Sales (Pay'n Takit)
(note that my personal fav is the 48 lbs. of flour)
    The Boston Store (women's clothing)
  • Glen Oaks Green Beans, No. 2 cans, 25¢/4 cans
  • Harvest Blossom Flour, 29¢/10 lbs. , 53¢/24 lbs., 98¢/48 lbs.
  • Calavos Avocados, 19¢/4 ea.
  • Webster's Butter 29¢/lb.
  • Gem Nut Margarine, 10¢/lb.
  • Western Longhorn Cheese, 18¢/lb.
  • Country Sausage, 14¢/lb.
  • Bacon 29¢/lb.
  • Mission Bell Toilet Soap, 9¢/2 cakes
  • Ivory Soap Flakes, 9¢/sm. pkg, 22¢/lg. pkg.

Women's Clothing Sales (The Boston Store)
  • Tuxedo, collarless, boxy-styled coats, $18.75
  • Lingerie or blouses $1.98
  • Suit, $10.95
  • Shoes, $6 and $6.75.
  • Valley Lumber Feed and Seed's gas, 17¢ (doesn't specify if it's by the gallon or not)
Map of Japanese invasion of China.Japan continues its invasion of China, which is interesting since that blurb above mentions how American forces are being built up in the Pacific. The winds of war are in the air. We still have a couple of years yet, but events are unfolding that we know are a prelude to that war.

This map though is interesting. Though the headline is about the new road, and the road is highlighted in the map (the squiggly line in the southwestern part of the map), the map is also of the current situation. I also think it's really creative. Notice how the Japanese occupied areas are sunbeams, as in the rising sun?
There is more later on about the occupation. The USS John D Edwards reported via Hong Kong what a Mrs. David Tappan, a Presbyterian missionary in  Kiungchow wrote eight days ago. She said they awoke "to the sound of bombs exploding, planes whirring and machine guns rattling. This soon had us huddling behind the stoutes of walls." She goes on to explain how the Hong Kong radio began broadcasting, warning everyone that Hainan. She says that there were calvary horses and tanks rolling in as well as heavily armed foot soldiers. The locals, who taken by complete surprise, were panic stricken and started flooding into the missions for safety. 

She says that though there was not a lot of bloodshed, save the heavy casualties a bus who accidentally came into the line of fire, the Japanese were pillaging the towns. She says "many of the poorest Chinese were stripped of all they owned."

Many Chinese were begging for American flags, which of course they didn't have, to raise in order to save themselves. Americans were treated with care and in fact, the Japanese posted "keep out" signs on buildings where Americans could be found, for their troops. 

The military also said that they spoke to the Japanese and received assurances that Americans would "be respected and protected," but also the Japanese would provide food supplies for Americans if there was trouble getting them in. 

There are small tidbits of news. One is a single sentence paragraph which says, "Britain may grant a subsidy of $5 an acre to barley growers." There is no explanation or anything. That is all it says. 

A man who translated the Bible into Chinese has died. It doesn't say if this man is the first man ever to do it, but it took him nine years to complete it. He was Rev. Dr. Spencer Lewis, was 85, died in Chentu, China. The announcement was made by the Methodist Board of Foreign Missions.

Funny stories.The funniest article of the day is the one to the right, but it's only funny if he wasn't hurt, and this doesn't say. The other question is, how on earth did that happen? The pants must've been made of some seriously flimsy cloth.

The Saturday edition in most papers, at least in the south and apparently Arizona in 1939, outlines local churches, their services and events for the coming week and so forth. They usually have several inspirational articles as well as news on important missionaries or evangelists passing through.

Christians against alcohol.One article sticks out today and it is apparently a weekly (obviously syndicated) column titled "Weekly Sunday School Lesson" by William E. Gilroy, D. D., Editor of Advance. Today's topic is "Beverage Alcohol And Its Social Perils" [sic]. It calls prohibition a "noble experiment". It lists reasons it is perilous such as auto drunk driving accidents and the possibility of locomotive drunk operating accidents. He cites two articles from his local paper that involved a drunken brawl where a man was stabbed, and an unfaithful wife whose actions were a result of the drink.

Grand Cafe adLocal Events
  • Barker's Bakery is having an open house from 3p-8p where you can "Come see how the bread, rolls, cakes, and pastries you enjoy so much are made. We will have music and refreshments will be served." They sell French pastries for 10¢ among many other items listed.
  • Old Timers Dance, tonight 35¢, Wed. 25¢; music by Clay Ramsey and the Old Timers.
  • The Redwood Inn presents Jean and Jeanne in a tap, song and comedy floor show with Tom Dix and his band, no cost is listed.
  • Airdome Dancing tonight, the dancing is free but admission is 35¢ and no liquor sold.
  • Paul's Paddock Cocktail Lounge has "Adrian at the Hammond Electric organ and his singing waiters to entertain you." Cocktails 25¢ daily 4p-6p, daily music 8p-1a and they must have a short radio show because it says "Listen in KTAR every Sat. 5:45 to 6 P. M." [sic]
Movie theaters.In Movie Theaters
  • Honolulu starring Eleanor Powell, Robert Young, George Burns, Gracie Allen and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson (Jack Benny's Rochester); feature comes with novelty, cartoons and news.
  • St. Louis Blues with Dorothy Lamour and Lloyd Nolan; feature comes with "Smashing the Spy Ring", color cartoon and news. 

Radio programs coming on tonight are the Rainbow Room Orchestra on NBC (if I'm not mistaken, I believe this show was airing when NBC had its first Pearl Harbor announcement, but I may be wrong on that) and Americans at Work episode "Silversmiths", on CBS.

SeabiscuitTy CobbIn sports, the New York Yankees signed 8 players, one of which was notable Charles "Red" Ruffing. Baseball Hall of Famer George Sisler has a son who just signed onto the St. Louis Cardinals by the name of Dick Sisler. Like his father, he could pitch but will be 3rd baseman.

Polo seems popular. The season begins in Los Angeles and it ends with the international Westchester Cup on Long Island. They note that British have not won the cup since the inception the "World War in 1914". Also opening their polo season is the University of Arizona team.

Interesting one-liner comic strip.It's now been a little over 9 years since the 'crash of '29'. Add to that, hoards of farmers continue to flee the plains due to sweeping losses caused by infertile land. At present, homelessness is a major problem. The public is not quick to be friendly to them, either. Many of the homeless were indeed innocent, but like today, many simply did not want to work (I have a relative that prefers to be homeless, rather than work; said person said it straight out). This illustrates that ideology.

In case you cannot read it, the line reads, "Life has been good to me . . . once in Pittsbugh I was offered a job but outside of that I've met with nothing but kindness."
Westinghouse financials.

Financial headlines include"Market Loses Rallying Urge As Many Traders Cash Profits", "Flour Buying Boosts Wheat" and "Butcher Cows Turn Weaker".

Southern Pacific Railway's January gross income was $15,766,513, that's up from $15,153,654 in January 1938. AT&T (Am Tel. & Tel.) closed at slightly above 157 (I cannot read the fraction).

New houses for sale.In the Classifieds:
  • Note: There were no 'help wanted ads'.
  • Unfurnished house for rent: Country home, close in, 6 rooms, 2 car garage,$30/mo.
  • Apartment for rent, 3 room, 1 bath, water paid, $20/mo.
  • Used car for sale, 1938 Graham 4-dr. Sedan, trunk, supercharger, overdrive, 8k miles, $895.
  • Used car for sale, 1939 Ford (3) Coupes [sic], $65
  • An odd personals: "Desire for alcohol removed. 4-2940"
  • Licensed bus rides, All American Bus Lines to Chicago $27.60 to New York $36.80, free meals.
Final thoughts, one not so good....

1938 book bestsellers.Most ads newspaper. Anti-Semitic organizations, sadly.

Enjoy your afternoon and evening, everyone!


Images and articles from this newspaper were generously provided by the totally awesome I am not affiliated them with them in any way, just a very happy subscriber. Should you decide to subscribe, please let them know magnoliasouth sent you. No, I get nothing for it, I just want them to know. :)

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