World War II As It Happened
A MaritimeQuest Daily Event Special Presentation
Thursday, October 5, 1939
Day 35

October 5, 1939: Front page of the Nottingham Journal, Nottingham, England.

Note the story in column 1: "Parents To Contribute To Up-Keep"
(Click on the image for a readable version.)


October 5, 1939: Front page of the Arizona Independent Republic, Phoenix, Arizona.

Note the story in column 5: "U.S. Ships Warned From Danger Zones"
(Many younger readers may not be aware of how vital ships were in the Second World War. Merchant ships (cargo ships, freighters, tankers and passenger ships) were the only source of moving large quantities of raw materials, goods, food, fuel, people and everything else a country needed to survive. At that time all trade between nations overseas was done with ships. Much like today, ships still move the vast majority of goods and materials between overseas nations.

Large cargo aircraft, such as they were, could only move a very small quantity of goods and at this period of time no aircraft could make trans-Atlantic crossings without refueling en route. Jet aircraft did not exist so ships were the only way to move anything in large quantities, including people. To island nations like England and Japan, ships were the lifeline. Without ships those nations would have collapsed within months. Ships were equally important to the U.S.A. and Germany for the same reason. This is why so much attention is paid to ships in the press of the time and why so much energy went into sinking them.)

Also note the story in column 7: "Chinese Halt Japan Drive"
(Click on the image for a readable version.)


October 5, 1939: Front page of Het Volksdagblad, Amsterdam, Holland.
(Click on the image for a readable version.)


October 5, 1939: Front page of The Brisbane Telegraph, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
(Click on the image for a readable version.)


October 5, 1939: Front page of The Evening Telegraph, Dundee, Scotland.

Note the story: "No "Q" Boats In Action"
(Q-Boats were normal cargo ships which had been armed and were disguised to trap and attack U-boats in the Great War. They were moderately successful and used by both the British and Americans. They were not employed as much in the Second World War, but they did exist. To the best of my knowledge this story is true, I am not aware of any Q-boats that were in operation at this period of time. However many British cargo ships were armed and also had orders to attack and ram U-boats.)
(Click on the image for a readable version.)


October 5, 1939: Front page of The Hammond Times, Hammond, Indiana.
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October 5, 1939: Front page of the Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
(Click on the image for a readable version.)


October 5, 1939: Front page of the Somerset Daily American, Somerset, Pennsylvania.

Note the headline: "Soviet Rules Baltic"
(At this period of time the Soviet Union was pressuring almost all of her surrounding states into a "pact" which provided "mutual protection" but in reality was just Stalin's way of occupying these states, rather than a forceful invasion.)

Also note the story in column 4: "Japs Give Up Changsha"
(The Japanese had been fighting in China and Manchuria since 1933.)
(Click on the image for a readable version.)


October 5, 1939: While this is not a front page, this story by H. R. Knickerbocker is very profound. Knickerbocker, who was denounced by the German press (See Hamburger Neueste Zeitung,Sept. 25, 1939) almost appears to have inside information on Hitler's plans. Hitler, at the time, was already planning the invasion of Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and France for the exact reasons stated in the article and he would indeed attack through Belgium on May 10, 1940.

The only obvious objective he missed was to obtain ports with easy access to the North Atlantic through the Bay of Biscay. At this period of time U-boats and German surface ships had to go through the North Sea then around the northern tip of Scotland, where the British had a powerful naval base at Scapa Flow. Then through the Faroe Passage or even through the Denmark Strait in order to get into the Atlantic. This was a long and dangerous voyage for any German ship or submarine. The British maintained constant surface and air patrols to locate enemy ships and submarines sailing through these waters. It also diminished the effective time that a ship or submarine could operate. The combat voyage was shortened even more by the fact that they had to traverse the same course to return home.)
(Click on the image for a readable version.)


October 5, 1939: Front page of the Briesetal-Bote, Birkenwerder, Germany.
(Click on the image for a readable version.)

1. U-Boote sollen gerammt werden.
(U-boats should be rammed.)

2. Reichstag am Freitag.
Reichstag on Friday.)

3. 72 Dampfer in vier Tagen eingeholt.
(72 steamships caught in 4 days.)

4. USA fürchtet Handelsverluste.
(USA fears loss of trade.)


October 5, 1939: Front page of Hamburger Neueste Zeitung, Altona, Hamburg, Germany.
(Click on the image for a readable version.)

1. Freund und Feind in Erwartung der Führerrede.
(Friends and enemies wait in anticipation of the Führer's speech.)

2. USA Kampf um den Grad des Risikos. Flugzeuge könnten die Rückkehr einer Hilfsarmee abscheniden.
(USA struggles with the degree of risk. Aircraft could cut off the return of the auxiliary army.)

3. Die Beschlüsse der Panamakonferenz.
(The decisions of the Panama Conference.)