by Fern Underwood, editor

In 2005, as I began the 10th book of life stories, I anticipated it would be like previous ones ­ histories of local people who consider themselves ordinary but all of whom have stories to tell of success and failure, heartache and joy - wonderful stories! I was spurred on by the death of a local lady, Jane Houston, who left a large bequest to the city. However, she had been gone from the community for 15 to 20 years, had no local relatives and the funeral directors had little personal information from which to produce an obituary. What a tragedy to have no recorded evidence of her having been a vital part of the community!

One of the first interviews for this book was with a veteran of World War II, and as he was searching his mind for a detail, he remarked that, after all, he was trying to remember something that happened 60 years ago. Suddenly the project took on another purpose! Yes, the war's end was in 1945. This is the 60th year anniversary! World War II veterans are 80 years old or more, and statistically are dying at the rate of 1500 to 1800 a day. Their stories must be recorded now, or they will be lost forever! That would be an additional focus for the 2005 book!

With that resolve, my education began. I was humbled to realize how much we owe these veterans for the freedom they protected for us, and how humiliating to become aware of my total ignorance as the fellows talked about Utah and Omaha Beach, the Battle of the Bulge, Bay of Pigs, and all the rest. I lived during that time! How was it possible those are names I only vaguely remember having heard?  I knew nothing of their significance.

As I mentioned this to friends, they reminded me that times were different then. Mail and news reports were censored. Many veterans, when they returned, wanted to forget rather than remember. They chose not to talk about their experiences. Some now want their families to know, and the more I listened to and wrote their stories, the more I wanted to know. Slowly, but with increasing urgency, my desire grew to learn - not only what happened, but the reason why it all came about. I was able to find a chronology of those years, which has been helpful.

As with individuals, everything is a consequence of prior decisions and circumstances.  The conclusion of World War I had left a legacy throughout Europe.  Thirty million casualties occurred during what was to be "the war to end all wars." The victorious Allies' losses totaled over five million dead and close to thirteen million wounded.  Those are not "statistics!" They are people! Empires had fallen - Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Turkey.

Many who have shared their stories in Recipes for Living recalled the Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s as life-changing, but it was not exclusively American. It was a world-wide Depression, and new concepts arose as solutions to the situation- Communism, Fascism, and Socialism. Ruthless, power-obsessed men emerged- Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini, to name the most familiar. The whole of Europe and the northern countries of Africa were affected.

Although it is impossible to imagine the mind-set of people under subjection, I have had brief introductions to it: A Palestinian friend in Israel telling of the atrocities to which she, her friends, and family have been subjected, concluding with, "We live one day at a time." My friend Adam who lived under Communist domination in Poland - a time of such deprivation that they eagerly anticipated the coming of the Germans, only to witness and suffer undreamed of cruelty. Adam was conscripted into the Russian Army and was spared being a front line target when the atomic bomb was dropped. During the ten years when I traveled with Bishop Rueben and Beverly Job to Indonesia, India, and other-where, I saw countries which had, prior to 1945, been possessions of empires which had stripped them of their wealth to the point of prying the precious gems from the walls the Red Fort and Taj Mahal. These are the crown jewels of England.

From a packet of materials from Dr. Thomas Lower, is this quote from a summary by Herschel W. Peterson, ''No one ever really wins a war with the loss of lives, the destruction of homes and cities. Such a waste of the youth of all involved. War is an evil thing that should never happen again and yet it has." Information supplied by Rev. Hugh Stone, pastor of the United Methodist Church bears out that statement:

A group of academics and historians has compiled this startling information: Since 3600 B.C., the world has known only 292 years of peace! During this period there have been 14,351 wars large and small, in which 3.64 billion people have been killed. The value of the property destroyed is equal to a golden belt around the world 97.2 miles wide and 33 feet thick. Since 650 B.C., there have also been 1,656 arms races, only 16 of which have not ended in war. The remainder ended in the economic collapse of the countries involved.

The Determined Conquest of the World
The purpose of the following is not to document but to show results of the greed for power.


Sept.1: German forces attacked Poland by land, sea, and air. No declaration of war had been made, but WWII had begun.

Sept.3: Britain and France declare war on Germany, followed by Canada on Sept. 5.

Sept. 17: Soviet Invasion of Poland.

Sept. 21: 600,000 Jews transported to central Poland and concentrated in ghettoes.

Sept. 27: Hitler announces intention to attack France November 12.

Oct. 6: Last remnants of Polish Army surren­ der to Germans.

Campaign losses: German: 10,572 dead, 30,322 wounded; Soviet: 734 dead; Polish: 50,000 dead, 750,000 POWs to Germany,
217,000 to USSR. 105,000 escaped.

Nov. 15: Japanese have taken all China's seaports.

Nov. 25: Germans lay mines inside Sweden's territorial waters.

Nov. 30: Russia invades Finland; Dec. 1: Helsinki bombed. In 1939 Field Marshall Mannerheim was recalled from retirement to defend Finland against Russia.

Dec. 25: Bombing of Finnish towns and villages, railways attacked.

Dec. 31: Britain and France declare assistance to Finland.



Jan. 7: 400,000 Finnish civilians evacuated from battle areas.

Jan. 29: German aircraft attack British merchant ships in the North Sea.

Feb. 7: Irish passenger-mail ship sunk by mine in Irish Sea.

Feb. 8: Forbach Woods incident in which 2 French soldiers capture German patrol.

Feb. 11: German-Soviet trade agreement - wheat, cotton, oil in exchange for military equipment and latest in machinery.

Feb. 13: German blockade runner discovered near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Feb. 16: Norway protests British violation of her neutrality.

Feb. 18: German infantry detachment raids French outpost.

Feb. 25: First squadron of Royal Canadian Air Force reaches Britain.

Mar. 13: In Finland, cease-fire on all fronts. Field Marshal Mannerheim: "A severe peace cedes to Russia nearly all the battlefields we have drenched with our blood."

Soviet-Finnish losses: Finns 24,923 dead, 43,557 wounded. Soviet: perhaps 200,000 dead.

Mar. 14: Evacuation of 470,000 people from lost territories commences.

Mar. 17: Mussolini declares readiness to join war against Britain and France "at the decisive hour."

Apr. 3: First German Norway invasion ships sail.

Apr. 4: RAF bombers attack German destroyers. Herman Goering, who organized the Gestapo and ordered the first concentration camps built, broadcast: "Germany will strike a defensive blow against Britain and France and create the world's greatest empire."

Apr. 9: Germany invades Norway and Denmark Apr. 10: Battle of Narvik in northern Norway. Germans landed by sea Apr. 9, British force landed nearby Apr. 15, but was not trained to operate in snow. (Finally captured the town on May 28) ...First major warship sunk by dive bombing.

Apr. 15: King Haakon of Norway denounced "Blitzkrieg," German swift military campaign.

Apr. 18: Norway declares war on Germany. Apr. 29: German units commit violent acts against unarmed  and innocent Norwegian civilians.

May 7: German motorized column heading for Ardennes Forest NE France, SE Belgium, and Luxembourg.

May 8: German High Command gives order for invasion of Belgium.

May 10: Germany invades Holland, Belgium, and Luxemburg; Churchill becomes England's Prime Minister. Announces: the new government policy is to wage war; its aim is victory.

May 15: RAF Bomber command begins air offensive against Germany.

May 17: German aircraft commence mine laying operation outside French channel ports.

May 18: Germans raid French seaport, Dieppe, on the English channel.

May 19: RAF bomb oil installations in NW Germany.

May 24: Air raid in England. Civilians killed.

May 26: Dunkirk, seaport on north coast of France, evacuated.

May 28: Unconditional surrender of Belgium army.

May 31: Japanese High Command announces its intention to bomb the capital of Chungking.

June 4: Germans capture Dunkirk. 40,000 French prisoners taken. USA pledges moral support and material help, no military support.

June 17: Soviet forces occupy Estonia and Latvia.

June 22: France makes concessions and signs armistice with Germany. Germany celebrates (June 25) with Hitler announcing the "end of the war in the West and the most glorious victory of all time." France had been the strongest military power in the world on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918. French losses: 84,000-92,000 dead; 200,000-250,000 wounded; 1,900,000 POWs.

June 28: Italian forces attack British garrison on Kenya-Ethiopian border in Africa.

July 10, Day 1 of Battle of Britain. Air raids begin and continue almost daily.

July 16: Hitler prepares for seaborne invasion of England. Under Japanese pressure, Britain agrees to close China's supply route, the Burma Road, for three months.

Aug. 17: Germany declares blockade. All ships, Allied and neutral, in British waters, are to be sunk on sight.

Aug. 20: Italian Navy to carry out blockade of British possessions: Gibraltar, Malta, & Suez. Japanese bombing raid on Chungking.

Sept. 4: Speaking in Berlin, Hitler threatens to invade Britain and raze their cities by bombing

Sept. 5: Mines laid in Straits of Dover, between England and France.

Sept. 7: (Day 60) Battle of London begins in answer to RAP attacks on Berlin. The British name- "the Blitz" -with the exception of 10 nights, continued until Nov. 12. Londoners seek shelter in underground stations. The entire Blitz - Sept. 1940 to May 1941. Blitz cost 40,000 British Civilians killed (half of them in London) 46,000 seriously injured, over 1, 000,000 houses destroyed or damaged.

Sept. 9: Italian bombers raid Tel-Aviv, city in west central Israel. Leaflets dropped promising freedom for Palestinian Arabs.

Sept. 10: Italy prepares for invasion of Greece. Germany begins planning for invasion of USSR (Russia)

Sept. 13: Italy invades Egypt.

Sept. 17: Liner sunk carrying 102 children to Canada under the Children Overseas Reception Board scheme. The operation ceased Oct. 2. (Sept. 29 a Mother and Child evacuation scheme instituted.)

Sept. 27: Germany, Italy, and Japan make alliance in Berlin for military, political, economic support.

Oct. 15: Over 16,000,000 men in U.S. register in the draft.

Oct. 25: Surprise raid on a Scotland airfield. Oct. 28: Italy invades Greece.

Nov. 14: Coventry Blitz. (From a visit there.) This was to be the first demonstration of the ability to obliterate a city in one night. Citizens knew of the plan and hid out in the hills. Their prayer was that their cathedral be spared and were jubilant the following morning to find it standing. However, the bombs dropped were incendiary and the cathedral was gutted.

Nov. 30: Treaty between Japan and puppet Central Government of China.

Dec. 7: First 24-hour period without raids on Britain since Aug. 7. RAF night raid on Dusseldorf, a port city on the Rhine in west Germany.

Dec. 8: 14 hour incendiary raid on London. RAF attack on Italian airfields and Libya (Africa) landing grounds.

Dec. 9: First British offensive in western desert (Egypt).

Dec. 18: British submarine sunk by Italian torpedo boat. Hitler prepares to invade Russia.

Dec. 20-22: Night raids on Liverpool and Manchester.

Dec. 31: RAF raids Cologne, Rotterdam, bridge over Rhine, and on Jan. 1, Bremen.


Jan. 2-3: 100 German bombers raid Cardiff. Cathedral badly damaged.

Jan. 10: RAF daylight raid over France. In Britain, incendiaries dropped on Portsmouth, on the 13th on Plymouth. Night raids on Glasgow and Clydeside (Scotland) Mar. 13-15

Jan. 21: Rumania pogrom against Jews.

Mar. 1: RAF bombers raid Cologne. Bulgaria joins the Axis (alliance of Germany, Italy and Japan).

Mar. 11: Roosevelt signs bill which enables supplying all Britain’s arms requirements.

Mar. 12: First of ten heavy raids on Berlin during 1941 by RAF.

Mar. 19: Heaviest night raid on London since Dec. 1940.

Mar. 25: Yugoslavia allied herself with Axis. Mar. 27: Hitler issues order Yugoslavia is to be “beaten down as quickly as possible. Belgrade to be destroyed from the air." Mar. 30: 65 Axis ships seized in US ports.

Apr. 4: Japanese Foreign Minister, Matsuoka, and Hitler discuss possibility of Japanese attack on Singapore and prospect of war with USA.

Apr. 6: German invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece. Luftwaffe destroys Belgrade (Yugoslavia).

Apr. 7: Heavy night raids on Kiel shipyards by RAF; on Apr. 9, night raid on Berlin.

Apr. 8: Second Blitz on Coventry.

Apr. 13: First siege of Tobruk, Libyan port, North Africa. Russo-Japanese non-aggression pact signed.

Apr. 15: Heavy night raid on Belfast (Ireland).

Apr. 16: Massive night raids on London. Total 14 bombers lost.

Apr. 20: Greek army in Albania surrenders. (Balkan Peninsula.) German aircraft raid Athens (Greece).

Apr. 22: Soviet protest to Germany over viola­ tions of Soviet airspace by reconnaissance aircraft.

Apr. 26-27: German paratroops capture Corinth. Germans enter Athens.

May 1-3: First of eight consecutive night raids on Liverpool.

May 10: Climax of Blitz in night raid of London. Heavy night raid of Hamburg.

May 11: Germans complete occupation of Aegean Island.

May 13: RAF receives confirmation that German aircraft are operating over Iraq.

May 16: Night Blitz on British cities end. British losses Sept. '40-May '41: 39,678 dead, 46,119 injured.

May 20: German Airborne invasion of Crete. May26: German troops take over Crete capital. Crete losses: Allied excluding Greek) 1,742 dead; 1,737 wounded; 11,835 POWs; Germans 3,985 dead or missing; 2,131 wounded.

May27: Roosevelt declares national emergency to place country on war footing.

June 8: Invasion of Syria and Lebanon by British Commonwealth and Free French forces.

June 11: RAF begins series of 20 consecutive night raids on the Ruhr, the Rhineland, Hamburg, and Bremen.

June 22: German invades Russia, declares war on USSR followed by Italy, Rumania, Finland, and Hungary.

July 2: Stalin broadcasts “Scorched Earth" policy. "We must not leave a single kilogram of grain or a single liter of petrol to the enemy. It is necessary to create in invaded areas conditions unbearable to the enemy." He referred to "our patriotic war against...Fascism."

July 5: RAF raids target railways and power stations.

July 7: US Marines land in Iceland to relieve British garrison.

July 10: US Navy warns that entrance to San Francisco harbor has been mined. (From early July to early August, the main activity is concentrated on conquering Russia, which continues throughout 1941.)

July 26: All Japanese assets in USA and UK frozen.

July 30: 17 Japanese "fishing boats" each equipped with radio transmitters and cameras and carrying a reserve officer of the Imperial Japanese Navy are detained off Hawaii.

Aug. 8-13: Japanese air raids on Chungking. Aug. 12: Atlantic Charter in which Churchill and Roosevelt issue a joint statement of their war and peace aims. fu US, a bill extending period of military service from 12 to 30 months narrowly passed House of Representatives.

Aug. 26: Japan protests to USSR about passage of American war supplies through Vladivostok.

Oct. 16: Prince Konoye, Japanese premier, resigns after Cabinet divides over negotiations with USA. General Hideki Tojo becomes Prime Minister and forms cabinet - Most hated and feared Japanese leader of WWII.

Nov. 10: Japanese aggression against USA considered possible. Churchill announces, in that event, Britain and USA will form common front.

Nov. 14: Token contingents of US Marines to be withdrawn from Peking, Tientsin and Shanghai.

Dec. 6: Roosevelt makes personal appeal for peace to Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

DECEMBER 7, 1941

Americans old enough to recall the day, probably remember precisely where they were when news came that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Statistically, 350 bombers, torpedo planes, and Zero fighters in two waves from six carriers attacked the fleet. Loss of life and material was horrendous. This began the war told about in some of the following stories.




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Last Revised November 23, 2012