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  • New U. S. in 1942 History Book

    I just finished reading an interesting new book (copyright 2020) I'd commend to anyone:

    The Year of Peril: America in 1942, by University of Kentucky American History Professor Tracy Campbell. This is the Professor Campbell's third American History book and it is excellent; well-researched and heavily annotated.

    In the year following Pearl Harbor, it was obvious The United States of America was ill-prepared to wage war against anybody. Indeed, as Professor Campbell points out, our Armed Forces strength as late as 1939 was ranked 19th in the world, smaller than the armies of Switzerland or Portugal.

    Campbell documents The U.S. having only 187,886 troops in 8 divisions in 1939, whereas Hitler had 3.7 million troops in 103 divisions...and The Imperial Japanese Army had 1.7 million. In 1940, the German Luftwaffe had some 25,000 planes versus only 2,665 aircraft in the U. S. Army Air Corps. No wonder the Axis powers were so aggressive.

    So as 1942 unfolded, there was no certainty The U.S. would (or could) win a war on one front, much less two simultaneously. Of course, there was a certain (thankfully low) percentage of Americans who thought Roosevelt should "Neville Chamberlain" with Hitler, employing the dead-end tactic of trying to appease a hungry alligator and in the end, succeeding only in having him eat you last. Much as I've never been a fan of FDR, I'll give credit where due for his handling the crisis; he sure had a lot of balls to keep in the air, navigating that precarious year.

    Again, a good read. Highly recommended for anyone interested in history....and I suppose all of us here are to one extent or another or we'd all be driving Toyota Camrys less than five years old...and our "collector" car would be a 100,000-mile Hyundai beater, "collecting" miles on the winter salt.

    ( As an aside, the book gave me a new appreciation of my parents' wedding day; February 25, 1943. Here they were with Dad home on a five-day leave from the Army Air Corps, getting married and starting life together against the backdrop of which I just read; 1942. YIKES; what a time...such a contrast with people's perceived "hardships" today...as if they had any idea...) BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

  • #2
    And the U.S. emerged from that war as the mightiest nation on Earth; for good or for ill.
    No one today would settle for the extreme measures it took to get there in basically four short years.
    Roosevelt increased the U.S. debt by 1,048%! And by 1944 anyone netting $200,000 a year was paying 94% of it to the IRS in income taxes. And that was still in addition to the increased debt!

    Being the greatest in the world takes more than just wishes and dreams. Perhaps that's when the phrase "tax and spend" came in to parlance.
    "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

    Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    '33 Rockne 10,
    '51 Commander Starlight,
    '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
    '56 Sky Hawk

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    • #3
      My late wife was an avid student of WWII. I once asked her why she drove a Honda (considering Japan's egregious attack on Hawai'i). Her answer was that she considered Japanese cars to be "war reparations."
      -Dwight

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      • #4
        I am a student of WWII, particularly the Pacific theater. As such, I will not knowingly buy anything associated with Mitsubishi.

        Mitsubishi heavy industries used allied prisoners of war as slave labor in their steel plants. They starved and worked them to death and when they died, the Japanese worked the survivors harder.

        The Japanese military were fanatical, abusive, single-minded, sadistic and cruel. They dragged their citizens into the struggle as well.

        If the Japanese had won, we would all be slaves - or dead.

        This lesson of WWII should be clear; never allow the military to run the country. The military, much as we need them and love them, should always be subject to the will of the people and the elected civilian government.
        RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

        17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
        10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
        10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
        4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
        5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
        56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
        60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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        • #5
          Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
          I am a student of WWII, particularly the Pacific theater. As such, I will not knowingly buy anything associated with Mitsubishi.

          Mitsubishi heavy industries used allied prisoners of war as slave labor in their steel plants. They starved and worked them to death and when they died, the Japanese worked the survivors harder.

          The Japanese military were fanatical, abusive, single-minded, sadistic and cruel. They dragged their citizens into the struggle as well.

          If the Japanese had won, we would all be slaves - or dead.

          This lesson of WWII should be clear; never allow the military to run the country. The military, much as we need them and love them, should always be subject to the will of the people and the elected civilian government.
          My dad felt the same way, Roy. He was also an Army Air Corps veteran. He was upset when he found out that his 1983 Plymouth Reliant station wagon had the 2.6 liter Mitsubishi 4 cylinder engine in it,

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rockne10 View Post
            Roosevelt increased the U.S. debt by 1,048%! And by 1944 anyone netting $200,000 a year was paying 94% of it to the IRS in income taxes. And that was still in addition to the increased debt!
            FWIW, that $200,000 is equivalent to over $3,000,000 today.
            78 Avanti RQB 2792
            64 Avanti R1 R5408
            63 Avanti R1 R4551
            63 Avanti R1 R2281
            62 GT Hawk V15949
            56 GH 6032504
            56 GH 6032588
            55 Speedster 7160047
            55 Speedster 7165279

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            • #7
              The United States has ALWAYS been willing trade blood for time. The Armed Forces are immediatly gutted after every war...

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              • #8
                My dad graduated from high school in 1942 and shortly there after was in Rhode island for Navy boot camp , He is 96 now and he can't believe some of the stuff that is going on in the world today , Ed

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                • #9
                  The outcome of the War was a real question for a while. Knowing what happens to women when a Country is invaded, my Grandfather cautioned my Grandmother and my Mother that he was prepared to shoot them, and himself, to spare them from the atrocity. They lived on the East Coast so it was a possibility. He was 60 is 1941 and his three sons would all soon be in the Military, two Marines and one in the Air Corps. Mom was the baby of the family at 11 years old. People on the homefront knew how dire the situation was.
                  Last edited by qsanford; 02-27-2021, 07:28 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks Bob! I just finished The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson which tracks Churchill from 1940 through 1941 which I found excellent. I think I'll take your advice and get The Year of Peril ! Should be an interesting followup.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 64studeavanti View Post

                      FWIW, that $200,000 is equivalent to over $3,000,000 today.
                      With extensively more deductions and less than one-third the tax rate.

                      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                      '33 Rockne 10,
                      '51 Commander Starlight,
                      '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
                      '56 Sky Hawk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        At the Indianapolis WWII Roundtable which I am (still) a member of, we had a speaker that was a bomber pilot over Germany. He said that his B-24 was hit in the wing with flak, but it did NOT explode. After they returned to England, the "bomb Squad" removed the shell. Inside the shell was a note that read, "This is what you get with slave labor" Somebody did NOT install the explosives in the shell, only damage was a hole in the wing.
                        I have heard similar stories from other speakers we had.

                        Jim
                        "We can't all be Heroes, Some us just need to stand on the curb and clap as they go by" Will Rogers

                        We will provide the curb for you to stand on and clap!


                        Indy Honor Flight www.IndyHonorFlight.org

                        As of Veterans Day 2017, IHF has flown 2,450 WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans to Washington DC at NO charge! to see
                        their Memorials!

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                        • #13
                          It took me well into adulthood to come to the sobering conclusion that that fanatical behavior only happened one decade before I was born, not hundreds of years ago.
                          Bill Pressler
                          Kent, OH
                          (formerly Greenville, PA)
                          Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
                          Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
                          1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
                          1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
                          All are in Australia now

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bill Pressler View Post
                            It took me well into adulthood to come to the sobering conclusion that that fanatical behavior only happened one decade before I was born, not hundreds of years ago.
                            Or maybe just this year.
                            American iron, real old school
                            With two tone paint, it sure is cool

                            Its got 8 cylinders and uses them all
                            With an overdrive that just won't stall

                            With a 4 barrel carb and dual exhausts
                            With 4.23 gears it can really get lost

                            Its got safety belts and I ain't scared
                            The brakes are good and the tires are fair.

                            Tried to sell her, but got no taker
                            I"ll just keep driving my Studebaker

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                            • #15
                              I can't compare anything I'm familiar with this year, to what was happening in western Europe and Japan in the forties. Just MHO.
                              Bill Pressler
                              Kent, OH
                              (formerly Greenville, PA)
                              Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
                              Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
                              1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
                              1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
                              All are in Australia now

                              Comment

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