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Today in World War II History—December 7, 1939 & 1944

Soviet T-26 light tanks and T-20 Komsomolets armored tractors advancing into Finland during the Winter War, 2 Dec 1939 (public domain via WW2 Database)

Soviet T-26 light tanks and T-20 Komsomolets armored tractors advancing into Finland during the Winter War, 2 Dec 1939 (public domain via WW2 Database)

80 Years Ago—December 7, 1939: In Soviet-Finnish war, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Italy declare neutrality.

Lou Gehrig is elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame; at 36, he is the youngest player honored to that date.

The number three gun of the destroyer USS Ward and her crew, credited with firing the first shot at Pearl Harbor (US Navy photo)

The number three gun of the destroyer USS Ward and her crew, credited with firing the first shot at Pearl Harbor (US Navy photo)

75 Years Ago—Dec. 7, 1944: At Ormoc Bay on Leyte, destroyer USS Ward is damaged by a kamikaze; exactly three years earlier, USS Ward fired the first shots during the attack on Pearl Harbor—she is scuttled by destroyer USS O’Brien under the command of William Outerbridge, who had commanded the Ward on Dec. 7, 1941. (Read more: “Remember Pearl Harbor—The US Navy’s Role at Pearl Harbor”).

Nazi women’s leader Gertrud Scholtz-Klink asks all German women over 18 to volunteer to serve in the armed services to release men to the front.

USS Ward on fire after being struck by a Japanese kamikaze in Ormoc Bay, Philippines, 7 Dec 1944, three years to the day after she fired the first US shot of the Pacific War (US Navy photo 80-G-270773)

USS Ward on fire after being struck by a Japanese kamikaze in Ormoc Bay, Philippines, 7 Dec 1944, three years to the day after she fired the first US shot of the Pacific War (US Navy photo 80-G-270773)

Today in World War II History—December 6, 1939 & 1944

Lt. Col. James Earl Rudder, commander of US 2nd Ranger Battalion, on Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, 7 June 1944 (Texas A&M Cushing Library)

Lt. Col. James Earl Rudder, commander of US 2nd Ranger Battalion, on Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, 7 June 1944 (Texas A&M Cushing Library)

80 Years Ago—December 6, 1939: Musical Du Barry Was a Lady premieres on Broadway, featuring hit songs “Give Him the Ooh-La-La” and “Well, Did You Evah!”

75 Years Ago—Dec. 6, 1944: Col. James Earl Rudder leaves command of the legendary US 2nd Ranger Battalion, which had taken Pointe du Hoc on D-day, and takes command of the 109th Infantry Regiment.

Above the Fold, by Rachel Scott McDaniel

In 1922, Elissa Tillman is tired of serving as a secretary at her father’s newspaper, the Pittsburgh Review, and she’s tired of only having articles published under a male pen name. Finally, she believes she has a crack at a big scoop – until she discovers her father has hired a new reporter and assigned him the story. To make things worse, the new reporter is Cole Parker, Elissa’s childhood friend and the old flame who broke her heart several years earlier.

Cole’s plans to make it big in New York City have died, but he holds out hope for a second chance back in Pittsburgh – and to make things up to Elissa. However, Elissa is determined to thwart both plans. When a millionaire inventor, Cole’s one-time mentor, is murdered, Mr. Tillman stakes out a competition for Cole and Elissa to write the best article about the news story. Cole and Elissa may find themselves in danger – from the murderers, from demons of the past, and from their own bruised hearts.

What a blast! In Above the Fold, the Roaring Twenties in Pittsburgh comes to life, from the sooty streets to the speakeasies to the raucous world of journalism. Both Cole and Elissa are appealing – strong and sassy, but deeply vulnerable – and their romance is swoon-worthy. Rachel Scott McDaniel‘s debut novel will keep you flipping pages to the end!

Today in World War II History—December 5, 1939 & 1944

Patrol of the 307th Infantry at a river crossing near Camp Downes in the approach to Ormoc, Leyte (US Army Center of Military History)

Patrol of the 307th Infantry at a river crossing near Camp Downes in the approach to Ormoc, Leyte (US Army Center of Military History)

80 Years Ago—December 5, 1939: Fritz Kuhn, leader of the pro-Nazi German-American Bund, is convicted of embezzlement of Bund funds and is sent to Sing Sing; Gerhard Kunze replaces him over the Bund.

75 Years Ago—December 5, 1944: US launches final offensive on Leyte in the Philippines, driving into the Ormoc Valley.

Victory ship SS Red Oak Victory is commissioned into the US Navy as an ammunition ship at Richmond, CA (currently at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, Richmond, CA).

Sarah Sundin on board SS Red Oak Victory at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, Richmond, CA, May 2014 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

Sarah Sundin on board SS Red Oak Victory at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, Richmond, CA, May 2014 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

Today in World War II History—December 4, 1939 & 1944

Vehicular treadway ferry over the Saar River in US 358th Infantry Regiment zone, Dec 1944 (US Army photo)

Vehicular treadway ferry over the Saar River in US 358th Infantry Regiment zone, Dec 1944 (US Army photo)

80 Years Ago—December 4, 1939: Carl Sandburg’s book Abraham Lincoln: The War Years is published.

75 Years Ago—Dec. 4, 1944: US Third Army crosses the Saar River at Saarlautern, Germany.

Italian partisans liberate Ravenna in first major partisan attack in Italy.

Wings Like a Dove, by Camille Eide

Wings Like a Dove, by Camille EideIn 1933, Polish Jew Anna Leibowicz has found refuge in New York City. But when she becomes pregnant, her mother’s shame leads Anna to run away in search of their long-lost father, rumored to be living in Chicago. Soon she’s penniless and hungry and stranded in Indiana.

Anna stumbles upon six orphaned boys who have found their own refuge in the home of Thomas Chandler, who teaches them carpentry in his shop. Thomas opens his home to Anna as well – just temporarily, Anna insists. The boys work their way into her heart, especially mute African-American Samuel.

But the town itself proves to be no refuge. The Ku Klux Klan is powerful, and Samuel is targeted. And when Anna’s ethnicity – and then her pregnancy – are revealed, Thomas’s home and makeshift family are threatened from every side.

Can Anna and Thomas save the home and the children – and themselves? And can an entire town possibly throw off the shackles of hatred?

Both gorgeous and harrowing, Wings Like a Dove shows the dangers of allowing hatred and racism to grow in a community – and the importance of standing up for right, even when it’s dangerous. Anna, Thomas, and Samuel are lovely characters full of depth and strength, and Thomas shows the beauty of faith in action. With a poignant romance, the story satisfies on every level. Camille Eide has penned another memorable novel. Don’t miss it!

Today in World War II History—December 3, 1939 & 1944

The 1,154-ft ft bridge across the Chindwin River in Burma as it neared completion; this would be the longest Bailey Bridge ever, 2 Dec 1944. (Imperial War Museum)

The 1,154-ft ft bridge across the Chindwin River in Burma as it neared completion; this would be the longest Bailey Bridge ever, 2 Dec 1944. (Imperial War Museum)

80 Years Ago—December 3, 1939: As Soviets advance in Finland, Finnish troops drop back to the Mannerheim Line.

RAF Wellington accidentally drops bombs on Helgoland Bight in Germany, the first British bombs on German soil in WWII, but no damage is done.

75 Years Ago—Dec. 3, 1944: Civil war breaks out in Greece between communists and royalists.

British Eighth Army opens drive for Bologna, Italy.

British begin major offensive in Burma, with the Indian 20th Division crossing the Chindwin River at Kalewa.

Col. Elliott Roosevelt, son of the president, marries actress Faye Emerson.

Today in World War II History—December 2, 1939 & 1944

Poster for the planned 1940 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Poster for the planned 1940 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

80 Years Ago—December 2, 1939: 1940 Summer Olympic Games—originally scheduled to be held in Tokyo, and then changed to Helsinki, Finland—are cancelled due to the war.

New York Municipal Airport (later named LaGuardia) opens for traffic.

75 Years Ago—Dec. 2, 1944: Army-Navy football game is played at Baltimore’s Municipal Stadium with proceeds going to war bonds; Army wins 23-7.

New song in Top Ten—“Don’t Fence Me In.”

Today in World War II History—December 1, 1939 & 1944

Edward Stettinius, 1941 (Library of Congress)

Edward Stettinius, 1941 (Library of Congress)

80 Years Ago—December 1, 1939: After previous day’s Soviet invasion of Finland, Risto Ryti replaces Aimo Cajander as Prime Minister of Finland.

First Canadian troop convoy (TC-1) sails from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Britain with 7400 men.

75 Years Ago—Dec. 1, 1944: Edward Stettinius becomes US Secretary of State after Cordell Hull’s resignation.

Today in World War II History—November 30, 1939 & 1944

Burning building in Helsinki, Finland after Soviet bombing, 30 November 1939 (public domain via WW2 Database)

Burning building in Helsinki, Finland after Soviet bombing, 30 November 1939 (public domain via WW2 Database)

80 Years Ago—November 30, 1939: Soviet Army invades Finland, beginning the Winter War.

75 Years Ago—Nov. 30, 1944: Poland puts Nazi commandant and guards from Majdanek concentration camp on trial.

HMS Vanguard is launched at Clydebank, Scotland, the world’s last battleship to be launched (she will not see service in WWII).