A SUNDAY IN DECEMBER : CHAPTER 1 : An Age of Innocence
Lights out, radios silenced, two carriers and their escorts slipped through the night, hiding in squalls and dark clouds. Before dawn, they struck.
Fighters snarled across the decks, then scout/attack aircraft, then dive bombers, then torpedo planes. Flashing blue flames, they banked to the southwest toward Oahu. It was a Sunday, and all of Hawaii slept.
Below lay Pearl Harbor.
The fighters dove first. They demolished aircraft on the ground, knocked out guns and pinned officers and men inside their barracks. Then came the bombers and torpedo planes. They sank every battleship and cruiser in the harbor. “Everything went beautifully and according to plan,” an officer wrote afterward. “Our squadrons struck their targets shortly after it got light, taking them all by complete surprise.”
The date was Sunday, the seventh. But the month was February. And the year was 1932. The attacking carriers were the Saratoga and the Lexington. The fighters were Boeing-built U.S. F-4Bs. And the dive bombers were BM-1s. The sneak attack was commanded by Rear Adm. Harry E. Yarnell of the U.S. Navy.
It was just an exercise.
Some think it was distinctly edifying to the Japanese, who nine years and 10 months later executed what Arthur Radford, a young lieutenant commander and an aide to Yarnell, calls “almost a perfect duplicate.” To Americans, however, the exercise was hardly edifying enough. Incredibly, the United States never woke up to the fact that Pearl Harbor--and, therefore, America itself--was vulnerable.
In 1932, Radford says, when Yarnell crept up on Hawaii and launched his planes, the exercise was “pretty well publicized.” But Americans paid little attention. The nation was in a seminal transition. Provincial, self-indulgent and distracted by the Great Depression, America was struggling to reawaken to the world.
For most of two decades before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, America slept. When fighting in Europe ended in 1918, it had hung a “Do Not Disturb” sign on its door--and it was not about to take it down. Many Americans, says historian Alan Brinkley, “believed that American involvement in World War I had been a terrible mistake, that it had been the result of a plot by munitions makers, or by international bankers, or by the English--and that the United States had somehow been tricked into getting involved, that it had been a war that had solved nothing (and) from which the United States had gained nothing.” The lesson, Brinkley says, was not to get involved again.
So America did not. It repudiated the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the war--and rejected with it the League of Nations. To be a great power, said opponents of the league, America must be the master of its destiny: It must make no commitments that might in any way impede its own freedom of action--especially the freedom to ignore much of what was going on outside its borders.
Communications from the league went unanswered. The United States would not even join the World Court. The important things were peace and prosperity, to get back the good old days--to “return,” President Warren G. Harding said, “to normalcy.” This was a pleasant prospect--one endorsed wholeheartedly by Americans almost everywhere, much to the exclusion of virtually everything else.
Edward Bliss, who would become a correspondent and report World War II on CBS Radio, was 12 years old when Harding succeeded Woodrow Wilson. Like everyone, Bliss had no more taste for war. He clerked at Western Union in Oberlin, Ohio. “The kids (at Oberlin College) had jalopies for a time,” he recalls. “Then they (the college) ruled that they couldn’t (have them). All of a sudden this little town of 5,000 had 30 or 40 jalopies on the market. I bought one for $15 when I was 13. And I drove it. There were no driver’s licenses. I think that was (because of) the farm lobby. You see the young kids on the farms driving the produce in pickup trucks. The jalopy was really something. It was a 1912 Ford that had no body. Gasoline was 18 cents a gallon or something like that. You grabbed the wheel and sat on the gas tank. In those days, the tank was under the front seat. You sat on the tank and hung on.”
A flivver, it was called.
To hell with the rest of the world. This was the Roaring ‘20s, the decade of the flivver. And the flapper. Bobbed hair. Turned-up nose, turned-down hose. The fox trot, the lame duck, the grizzly bear, the black bottom, the Charleston.
“If you knew Suzie. . . .”
Clara Bow. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda. One day in 1927, a young man named Charles Lindbergh climbed into his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, and took off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island. He flew east, alone, over the Atlantic to Paris. It had never been done before--and he was a hero.
This was the decade of Paul Whiteman and George Gershwin, who offered what they called “jazz.” Lillian Ascher loved it. Barely 20 at the time, she lived in Chicago. She was 5-feet-2, wore her blond hair in a bob and liked to go dancing on the municipal pier at Lake Michigan. “We’d take the street car and ride down there,” she remembers. “We’d go like on a Friday. We’d go with our mothers. My girlfriend her mother, and I had my mother. We’d sit them down in a chair. And we’d go to the other end of the auditorium, where all the boys would come to ask you to dance. And we just had a great time. We’d have an ice cream soda at intermission. The boys would buy a roll of tickets, so they could dance all evening. They had wonderful orchestras. Couples would get on the floor and start waltzing. Others would step back and let them have the floor. There would be three or four couples of wonderful dancers. It was just a joy to watch them. We’d get home about 11 or so.”
Meanwhile, Bix Beiderbecke and Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong blew their horns in the gin mills and the whorehouses of America and gave birth to what would become real jazz--and the nation’s proudest contribution to music. This was the proud decade, too, when Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs, boxer Gene Tunney defeated Jack Dempsey, dramatist Eugene O’Neill won three Pulitzer Prizes and Greta Garbo and Rudolph Valentino and an impish little comic named Charlie Chaplin became legends.
So did Burma Shave signs.
And Prohibition. And with it bootlegging and Al Capone.
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were tried for the slaying of a shoe-factory paymaster and electrocuted--less, it seemed, because of any evidence than because they were foreigners and radicals. Atty. Gen. A. Mitchell Palmer conducted illegal raids that rounded up thousands of aliens in what was called the Red Scare.
ISOLATIONIST TO THE CORE
In America--preoccupied with itself and isolationist to the core--it was not easy to be from somewhere else. America’s myopia shaped its immigration laws. The Immigration Act of 1924 excluded all Japanese. Other nations had quotas allowing 100 to 200 immigrants each year. That was all Japan wanted, too, since this would have placed it on a par with the “white” nations of Europe. But no. The “yellow peril” would be banned entirely.
Y. Fred Fujikawa was born in San Francisco of Japanese parents who had made it into the United States before the exclusion. His birthday was July 4. But it made little difference. Fred was treated badly. He attended high school in San Pedro. “Tough town,” he remembers. “It was mostly racial. They used to call us ‘skibbies.’ And those were fighting words. And they would say, ‘Japs, go home!’ ”
Clifford Uyeda was an American, too. He grew up in Tacoma, Wash., where he graduated from high school in 1936. “Our parents,” Uyeda says, “remember when they couldn’t walk down the street because people would throw rocks at them.” In the summer, his white friends went to a neighborhood swimming pool. But Clifford Uyeda was banned. “You’re Asian,” a guard told him.
In 1929, prosperity collapsed.
On Oct. 29, which came to be called Black Tuesday, stock markets in New York suffered their worst losses in history. By November, stock values had plunged by some $30 billion. And now the United States of America, which had turned almost entirely inward, began a free fall into an economic horror the likes of which were hardly imaginable.
By 1932, industrial production had decreased by half. People out of work numbered between 13 million and 15 million--or a record 25% of the labor force. For those who still worked, blue-collar pay was down 60% and white-collar pay 40%. A million people wandered around homeless. During Herbert Hoover’s last calendar year as President, more than 20,000 people committed suicide. And on Hoover’s last day in office, U.S. banks tumbled into a heap. His name became an integral part of the vocabulary of an era. There were Hoovervilles--packing-crate villages; Hoover blankets--old newspapers; Hoover flags--pockets turned inside out; Hoover hogs--jack rabbits cooked for dinner.
“It seemed hopeless,” says historian James P. Shenton. “There was no solution. Things only got worse.” By Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fourth month in office, investors had lost $74 billion, more than 5,000 banks had failed, and 86,000 businesses had gone broke. During his first year as President, 273,000 families had been evicted from their homes.
Now more people were leaving America than wanted to enter--including 350 a day who asked the Soviet Union if they could settle there. Farmers lost hundreds of thousands of acres to foreclosure. A quarter of the state of Mississippi went on the auction block. Men in the state of Washington set forest fires so they would be hired to put them out. During a run on a bank, a Bronx woman rented her baby for 25 cents to other women who used the child for sympathy as they pleaded their way to the front of the line.
“You learned to pay for a nickel cup of coffee, to ask for another cup of hot water free, and, by mixing the hot water with the ketchup on the counter, to make a kind of tomato soup,” says historian William Manchester. “In winter, you stuffed newspapers under your shirt to ward off the cold; if you knew you would be standing for hours outside an employment office, you wrapped burlap bags around your legs and tied them in place.”
The 1930s Depression, says writer Studs Terkel, who lived through it, “may have been the most revelatory period in our century. We discovered that we were not an invulnerable country. You know, the frontier spirit--it turned out to be a lot of shit.”
And then it got even worse. After months of drought, on Armistice Day in 1933 a great dust storm began blowing across South Dakota. By noon it had grown so dark it might as well have been midnight. “Men were literally vomiting dirt,” Manchester says. And the rains did not come. Slowly, large portions of the Middle West began blowing away. And still the rains did not come. The dust blew in 1934. And it blew in 1935.
The “Dust Bowl,” as the ravaged land came to be known, grew until it embraced 756 counties in 19 states. “For three weeks,” Manchester says, “Oklahoma street lights were on day and night.” Farmers abandoned the land, and a great westward migration began. In its own fearsome way, the drought compounded the Depression and created a particularly pathetic huddle of victims: the Okies.
“The typical American situation was: This is a country without Social Security. This is a country without unemployment insurance. This is a country without medical insurance. This is a country without old-age pensions. This is a country which in large measure had always assumed that you provide for age by saving,” says Shenton, the historian. “The thing which was particularly demoralizing was that this was concurrent with the collapse of the banking system, which meant people who had done exactly what they were supposed to do--which was to save--suddenly were confronted with the realization that what they had saved wasn’t there. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. wasn’t in existence, which meant that when a bank failed, literally your savings disappeared.”
The Depression sharpened racism to an excruciating point. Clifford Uyeda says he and other nonwhites became scapegoats for America’s problems. At the same time, Japanese-Americans had plenty of survival problems of their own.
“The farmers used to raise cabbages, put them into a lettuce crate, bring them all the way into town and sell them,” Uyeda remembers. “You know what they were selling those crates of lettuce for? Twenty-five cents a crate. I remember when tomatoes during the height of the season used to be 25 cents a crate. Orange crates used to be filled with spinach, and the entire crate used to sell for 25 cents. Imagine raising the thing, harvesting the thing, then bringing it all the way into town and be able to sell (it) for only 25 cents.”
FDR’s approach was brazen. On his inauguration day, he clasped his hands over his head like a champion. Crippled by polio, he rolled his wheelchair into the Oval Office, shouted for aides, called a special session of Congress, sent an emergency banking bill to Capitol Hill and began a 100-day frenzy of legislation and executive orders. He called it the New Deal.
“Take a method and try it,” he told his Cabinet. “If it fails, try another. But above all, try something.” One of his first commands was: Do not cut off anybody who telephones the White House asking for help--and find someone in the Administration to provide the help, whatever it is. Roosevelt was absolutely serious: There were to be no exceptions, no fumbles. And it brought him what Manchester calls the most remarkable correspondence in presidential history. For example:
“Dear Mr. President:
“This is just to tell you that everything is all right now. The man you sent found our house all right, and we went down to the bank with him and the mortgage can go on for a while longer. You remember I wrote you about losing the furniture too. Well, your man got it back for us. I never heard of a President like you.”
Nor had anyone else, Manchester says.
His results were remarkable: an alphabet soup of programs and agencies--all designed to build a recovery. The National Recovery Administration (NRA). It regulated wages, working hours and, indirectly, prices. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It put 2.5 million men to work for $30 a month planting trees, digging drainage ditches, building firebreaks, clearing beaches. The Public Works Administration (PWA). It put millions more to work building federal projects: the Lincoln Tunnel under the Hudson River; the gold depository at Ft. Knox, Ky.; the Boulder Dam on the Colorado River; a mental hospital in Camarillo, Calif.; a pavilion in Huntington Beach, Calif.; a water storage facility in Sacramento. The Works Progress Administration (WPA). It put thousands of writers, artists, actors and musicians to work, including John Steinbeck, who earned $94.90 a month taking a dog census in Monterey, Calif., before he wrote “The Grapes of Wrath"--about Okies making a new life in California. Others were Saul Bellow, Nelson Algren, Jack Conroy--and Studs Terkel.
Harold Hicks went to work at a CCC camp in Big Sur. Money for college was out of the question. He and his brother had attended high school in hand-me-downs. Harold quit as a junior. When he joined the CCC, he fought fires, built ranger stations and cut trails. He got paid 35 cents an hour. “I thought Roosevelt was a great man,” he declares, without reservation or qualification. “He put beans and bread on the table.”
As important as what FDR did, perhaps, was his way of doing it. He gave economic recovery his personal touch. To do this he used America’s ubiquitous new medium: radio.
AIRWAVES OVER AMERICA
Popular radio was born on Nov. 2, 1920, in a shack on top of a six-story building in East Pittsburgh, Pa. The shack, says J. Fred MacDonald, curator emeritus of Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications, contained a 100-watt transmitter belonging to radio station KDKA--which on that day broadcast President Harding’s election. Within two years, there were 550 stations across the nation, and Americans had purchased 1.5 million radio sets. Every weekday between 7 and 7:15 p.m., all of the United States stopped dead in its tracks, and everyone--including FDR--listened to Amos ‘n’ Andy. Like other vaudevillians, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, both white, had taken blackface off the stage and put it on the air.
They were followed by others from vaudeville: Kate Smith, Bing Crosby, the Marx Brothers, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Jack Benny and Fred Allen. There were dramas, children’s serials, classical music, discussion programs, amateur shows--like Major Bowes, who gave the world Frank Sinatra. Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen made his wooden dummy, Charlie McCarthy, so believable that Winston Churchill tried one day to shake its hand. In a battle of wits, W. C. Fields once threatened McCarthy on the air: “Go ‘way--or I’ll sic a woodpecker on you.”
There were the Lone Ranger and his sidekick, Tonto; Sergeant Preston and his wonder-dog, Yukon King: “On, King! On, you huskies.” At 5 each evening, Uncle Don was the man who youngsters everywhere listened to breathlessly--until, recalls historian James Shenton, “that fatal day when Uncle Don thought he was off the air, and he said: ‘I hope that’ll hold you, you little bastards.’ ”
Uncle Don got fired.
“Radio tended to create a much more sophisticated form of entertainment, because you had to imagine the scene,” Shenton says. “The classic example was Jack Benny, who was supposed to be the stingiest man in the world. There’s this scene where he’s supposedly walking down a dark street, and suddenly a thief jumps out in front of him and says, ‘Your money or your life!’
“There’s utter silence.
“You visualize Benny looking at this. You first hear a titter, and a growing laughter, and then a hysterical guffawing on the part of the (studio) audience.
“Then finally you hear the thief saying, ‘Well?’
“Then Benny says, ‘I’m thinking. I’m thinking.’ ”
Instead of a wealthy comedian in a radio studio, listeners imagined a skinflint curmudgeon in a dark alley. Similarly, when FDR went on radio for the first time in 1933, he told Harry Butcher, the CBS manager in Washington, that he wanted people to visualize him as a man in his own home talking to his neighbors--and not as the President in the White House addressing the nation.
Butcher suggested calling the program a “fireside chat.” And so, says William Manchester, “it was christened.”
FDR took pains to be plain-spoken. “His voice was essentially reassuring, almost tranquilizing,” Shenton remembers. “It was a voice which promised you that, no matter how bad things were, by pulling together we would somehow come out of it together and alive. Sunday evenings at 7 o’clock, at supper time, Roosevelt would come into your living room, or your kitchen, or your dining room, or wherever you were having your supper; and he would almost sound like he was a guest. He was there talking to you, more or less as a conversation, attempting to explain the complexity of problems. And it was immensely reassuring.”
Less reassuring were Japan’s conquest of Manchuria; Germany’s move to rearm; the rise of Adolf Hitler; Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia, which lay astride Italy’s coastal colonies in Africa; Germany’s occupation of the Rhineland; Japanese aggression in China; the Austrian Anschluss , and finally a war scare that ended with the Munich Conference, which partitioned Czechoslovakia to appease Der Fuehrer-- and stirred America enough, a study showed, to be one of the underlying causes for panic that Halloween when Orson Welles narrated a radio play adapted from H. G. Wells’ novel, “War of the Worlds.”
Martians had landed in New Jersey, Welles announced, and were devastating the countryside with death rays. Listeners across the nation flew into hysteria. Mobs, screaming in fear, took to the streets. Governors stammered that they had not declared martial law. Drivers fled everywhere, jamming roads. Sobbing families crowded into churches, begging forgiveness. One woman in Pittsburgh was stopped just in time as she tried to take poison. She screamed: “I’d rather die this way.”
To Lillian Ascher, who by now was 38 and married and living in Los Angeles, the Welles broadcast was terrifying--in sharp contrast to dancing on the Chicago municipal pier. “I was scared to pieces,” she says. She and her husband fled to the San Fernando Valley, where they stayed with her sister. “We thought it would be safer out there than downtown. It was real. He made it too real.”
THE BLITZKRIEG BEGINS
While FDR struggled with economic recovery, something he never entirely achieved before the onset of World War II, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg began. Now the voices of war--Edward R. Murrow in London, William L. Shirer in Prague anV. Kaltenborn in New York--overwhelmed the country club voices of rear-guard protest against Roosevelt’s alphabet programs.
But still America slept--paralyzed by its economic distress and mesmerized by the Nye Committee, headed by Sen. Gerald Prentice Nye (R-N.D.), which cautioned that arms merchants and Wall Street bankers had a way of sucking the world into war. Congress passed neutrality acts forbidding the sale of war materiel to belligerents.
When, in the course of Japan’s war against China, Mitsubishi warplanes sank three Standard Oil tankers and the U.S. Navy gunboat Panay on the Yangtze River--an international waterway--then strafed their lifeboats, killing three Americans and gravely wounding 11 others, nobody but the U.S. ambassador to Tokyo, Joseph C. Grew, remembered the Maine. And nobody, not even Grew, did anything about it. Some later thought the sinking of the Panay might have been a test of U.S. nerve. “If so,” Manchester says, “the attackers had reason to be pleased.”
Any presidential move abroad, Manchester says, provoked outcries from senators such as Burton K. Wheeler, Hiram Johnson, William E. Borah and Arthur H. Vandenberg, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee--and from a public figure second only to FDR himself: Charles A. Lindbergh.
Poland fell. And still America slept. Pollster Elmo Roper found that nearly 68% of the people wanted no part of war. “I have been struck, most of all,” wrote correspondent Ernie Pyle from San Francisco, “with the average man’s apparent placidity.”
Mr. Average was still distracted--with reason. There was Mae West. And Walt Disney. And Andy Hardy--who was making Mickey Rooney the nation’s top box office attraction. “Gone with the Wind” was premiering in Atlanta. Jazz had blossomed into Benny Goodman swing--and before long there were others with big bands: Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington.
The Charleston had matured, if that is the right word, into the jitterbug. And as Nazis marched, Americans danced to a hit tune called “Three Little Fishies.” The New York World’s Fair opened, and everyone watched Elsie, the Borden cow, and 149 of her sisters get milked on a merry-go-round. J. Edgar Hoover was a hero. His G-men had made him famous by nailing John Dillinger, “Baby Face” Nelson, “Pretty Boy” Floyd, “Machine Gun” Kelly and “Ma” Barker.
Flash Gordon was a hero, too--in comic strips. He did battle with Ming the Merciless, who had almond eyes and yellow skin. But Ming was on another planet.
Then Denmark fell. Norway. Holland. Belgium. America was beginning to stir, but it would take the fall of France to push the U.S budget for rearmament from $2 billion to $10.5 billion. And now came the Battle of Britain. Americans told poll takers that they favored aid for the British. At first, they meant “short of war.” But after seeing London in flames on every front page, 60% favored helping Britain “even at the risk of getting into war ourselves.”
The New York Times began calling Charles Lindbergh “a blind young man.” Charlotte, N.C., changed the name of Lindbergh Drive to Avon Terrace. Although the Committee to Defend America First, an isolationist group, signed up more than 60,000 members, including Henry Ford, Joseph P. Kennedy and John Foster Dulles, the rival Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies signed up thousands of others, including Lindbergh’s mother-in-law.
FDR asked Congress for a lend-lease program to loan Britain arms. Congress approved. FDR asked for a selective service system. Congress approved. But America had slept so long, the draftees were forced to train with broomsticks and cardboard boxes marked “tank.”
Like Rip Van Winkle, the nation tried hard to shake off its slumber. FDR asked for and got a billion dollars for a two-ocean navy. He asked for and got millions more--to build 50,000 planes a year.
But building airplanes took people. Ernie Pyle began writing about a new kind of migration to California: Aviation Okies. And the work took time. Red, white and blue banners hung over assembly lines and bore an ominous warning: “Time Is Short.”
Enrico Fermi thought it was too late. Three years before, he had left Fascist Italy to receive the Nobel Prize in Stockholm for his work with neutrons--and canceled his return ticket. From Sweden, he had flown to New York. Now he was a professor of physics at Columbia University and part of America’s team working to split the atom. He and his wife, Laura, lived in Leonia, N.J. They felt certain that Hitler would gain a final victory in Europe and that Germany would come to dominate America.
To the Fermis, two things seemed important: First, if America went to war, it would freeze the assets of enemy aliens. (They tiptoed into their basement, dug a hole under their coal bin and hid their money.) Second, if America fell under German control, the Fermis would flee. (With neighbors, a theoretical physicist and a chemist, they planned to sail to a desert island--in the Pacific.)
Like many Americans, Laura Fermi later wrote, “We overlooked the Japanese.”
America’s experience with Japan was scant enough--and mostly negative: Japan was refusing to end its occupation of China. It had signed a Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy. Otherwise, Japan was known only as a place where the United States sent its scrap iron--and got shoddy goods in return. “Made in Japan” meant poor quality.
“There was little Asian influence upon American life apart from imported goods,” says historian Akira Iriye. “Mostly porcelain, tea, silk and cheap toys.”
American attention was focused on Europe. On Sunday, June 22, 1941, Hitler had invaded the Soviet Union. And now, in August, Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met secretly on American and British ships in Placentia Bay off the coast of Newfoundland. The President was under intense pressure from both isolationists and interventionists. He promised Churchill to “wage war but not declare it,” the British prime minister said later, and to look for an incident to justify hostilities.
German submarines torpedoed two U.S. destroyers, the Kearney and the Reuben James, killing more than 100 sailors. It looked like the casus belli would come in the Atlantic. No one paid much attention to the Pacific--except Americans on the West Coast. Manchester cites a poll showing they were not much interested in Germany--but approved going to war with the Japanese anytime.
Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, was bitter cold in New Jersey. James Shenton, who would become an acclaimed historian of American culture, had a high school assignment that involved listening to a piece of music that would be played on radio by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. His brother wanted to listen to football. They reached an agreement: James would listen to the Philharmonic at 2:30 p.m., and his brother would switch to the football game after half an hour. Shenton sprawled on the floor in front of the family’s old Majestic, ready to make notes on the music. “It hadn’t been on more than a minute or two when they interrupted and said, ‘Urgent bulletin! The Japanese are attacking Pearl Harbor. The American fleet is under direct assault.’
“Then there was this confusion, almost like people were trying to put their heads together to figure out what was going on. They went back to the Philharmonic, and at that point someone went to the microphone (in the symphony hall) and announced what was happening. And I heard something which was absolutely astonishing. For a brief moment there was a pause, and the orchestra burst out into the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’ And for the first time I heard Americans actually sing the song.
“We were now thoroughly conscious of the fact that something immense was happening to our lives. I suddenly found myself aware of something absolutely phenomenal--that I was listening to my future. The next day when I went to school, at 12 noon we were assembled in the auditorium, and the principal told us we were to hear Mr. Roosevelt’s speech asking for a declaration of war. We knew that the air raid alarm was the factory whistles blowing, and suddenly the factory whistles started to blow as the speech was ending.
“The principal went up and said there was a possibility that German troops were landing on the Jersey coast, and he then said: ‘Go home and die patriotically with your families.’ ”
A Note on Language
For reasons of historical accuracy, the term Japs appears in this special section of World Report, even though it has long been The Times’ policy to avoid such pejorative racial terms.