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Today in World War II History—May 15, 1940 & 1945

Wartime B.F. Goodrich ad about the requisition of nylon by the US government, which started in 1942

Wartime B.F. Goodrich ad about the requisition of nylon by the US government, which started in 1942

80 Years Ago—May 15, 1940: At Gembloux, Belgium, Germans lose 250 tanks to French artillery, but the French are forced to fall back as Belgian troops retreat.

Britain reduces weekly butter ration from 8 ounces to 4 ounces per person.

The McDonald brothers open McDonald’s Bar-B-Que in San Bernardino, CA, the precursor of the fast food restaurant.

In the US, nylon stockings first go on the market, made by DuPont. [Read more: Stocking Shortages in World War II]

75 Years Ago—May 15, 1945: Turning point in China—Chinese troops have Japanese forces in full retreat; by the end of the month, the Japanese will be pushed north of the Yellow River.

Today in World War II History—May 14, 1940 & 1945

Destruction in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, late May 1940. (US National Archives: 208-PR-10L-3)

Destruction in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, late May 1940. (US National Archives: 208-PR-10L-3)

80 Years Ago—May 14, 1940: The Netherlands surrenders to Germany after the Luftwaffe bombs Rotterdam and Utrecht.

From Sedan, France, German tanks under Gen. Heinz Guderian drive west to trap Allied forces in Belgium.

Britain forms Local Defence Volunteers (later called the Home Guard); more than 250,000 men aged 17-65 enroll in the first 24 hours.

Poster for US Seventh War Loan, 14 May-30 June 1945

Poster for US Seventh War Loan, 14 May-30 June 1945

75 Years Ago—May 14, 1945: US Seventh War Loan starts. [Read more: World War II War Bonds]

Today in World War II History—May 13, 1940 & 1945

German troops crossing the Meuse River in a rubber raft, near Aiglemont, France, 14 May 1940 (German Federal Archive, Bild 146-1971-088-63)

German troops crossing the Meuse River in a rubber raft, near Aiglemont, France, 14 May 1940 (German Federal Archive, Bild 146-1971-088-63)

80 Years Ago—May 13, 1940: In main attack in France, German troops cross the Meuse at Sedan to trap Allies in the Low Countries.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill states, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat” in his first parliamentary speech as prime minister.

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, her family, and her government flee to Britain.

Soviet T-34 tank in Prague, Czechoslovakia, May 1945 (public domain via WW2 Database)

Soviet T-34 tank in Prague, Czechoslovakia, May 1945 (public domain via WW2 Database)

75 Years Ago—May 13, 1945: US Fast Carrier Task Force (TF 58) begins raids on Kyushu, Japan, destroying the last of its airfields.

Soviets crush last pockets of German resistance in Czechoslovakia.

Today in World War II History—May 12, 1940 & 1945

German tank in the Ardennes, Belgium, May 1940 (German Federal Archives: Bild 1011-382-0248-33A)

German tank in the Ardennes, Belgium, May 1940 (German Federal Archives: Bild 1011-382-0248-33A)

80 Years Ago—May 12, 1940: First tank battle on the western front—at Hannut, Belgium, French tanks destroy large number of German tanks.

German troops enter France via the Ardennes Forest, reaching the Meuse River at Sedan, Monthermé, and Dinant.

Britain begins internment of male German and Austrian nationals ages 16-60 in military areas (eastern & southern coasts).

75 Years Ago—May 12, 1945: British troops return to Jersey in the Channel Islands.

Gen. George Patton launches Operation Cowboy, rescuing 1200 horses, including 375 Lipizzans, from Soviet slaughter in Czechoslovakia.

New song in the Top Ten: “Sentimental Journey.”

Spring Cleaning Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to all of you who entered the Spring Cleaning Giveaway! I’m happy to say I’ve found homes for all the books! And here are the winners…

  1. Blue Skies Tomorrow large-print edition – Kara AND Alyssa Tillett
  2. The Land Beneath Us CD audio book – Amy with the “perky” email address
  3. With Every Letter CD audio book – Natalya Lakhno
  4. The Sky Above Us large-print edition – Lori Smanski
  5. Wings of Glory Portuguese edition – Mimi
  6. Wings of Glory Dutch edition – Kim Peterson
  7. Wings of Glory German edition – Jennifer Hibdon

All winners will be notified by email – so check your inboxes! Thank you again! 

Today in World War II History—May 11, 1940 & 1945

Belgian girls give flowers to British troops riding a Norton motorcycle combination in Herseaux, as the BEF crosses the border into Belgium, 10 May 1940 (Imperial War Museum: F 4344)

Belgian girls give flowers to British troops riding a Norton motorcycle combination in Herseaux, as the BEF crosses the border into Belgium, 10 May 1940 (Imperial War Museum: F 4344)

80 Years Ago—May 11, 1940: Germans complete occupation of Luxembourg.

British & French armies join Belgians on River Dyle in Belgium.

Switzerland mobilizes its army, while Swiss citizens living on the German border flee.

British & French land in Dutch West Indies (Aruba & Curaçao) to protect oil installations; US President Roosevelt states these actions do not violate the Monroe Doctrine.

1940 New York World’s Fair opens with theme “The World of Tomorrow.”

Poster for 1940 World’s Fair, New York City

Poster for 1940 World’s Fair, New York City

75 Years Ago—May 11, 1945: Australians launch offensive on Wewak, the last Japanese stronghold on New Guinea, taking Wewak, its airfield, and the last Japanese port in New Guinea.

US Tenth Army and Marines launch offensive on Shuri Line of Okinawa.

Today in World War II History—May 10, 1940 & 1945

A Dutch family in a devastated town after the German invasion, May 1940 (public domain via WW2 Database)

A Dutch family in a devastated town after the German invasion, May 1940 (public domain via WW2 Database)

80 Years Ago—May 10, 1940: Germany invades the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

German troops land at Belgian Fort Eben Emael in the first use of glider-borne troops in history.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigns and is replaced by Winston Churchill.

German troops waiting to cross the River Maas in Maastricht, the Netherands, 10 May 1940 (German Federal Archive: Bild 146-1981-064-18A)

German troops waiting to cross the River Maas in Maastricht, the Netherands, 10 May 1940 (German Federal Archive: Bild 146-1981-064-18A)

75 Years Ago—May 10, 1945: German forces on the Channel Islands officially surrender.

US War Production Board lifts ban on producing 73 consumer items.

Today in World War II History—May 9, 1940 & 1945

Victory celebration at Red Square, Moscow, USSR, 9 May 1945 (public domain via WW2 Database)

Victory celebration at Red Square, Moscow, USSR, 9 May 1945 (public domain via WW2 Database)

80 Years Ago—May 9, 1940: In Nazi-occupied Poland, Jews are banned from parks, museums, restaurants, trains, and from land ownership.

French scientist Maurice Ponte flies one of his improved cavity magnetrons to Britain, which will lead to British E1189, essential for radar.

75 Years Ago—May 9, 1945: V-E (Victory in Europe) Day is celebrated by the USSR.

Germans capitulate to Czech Partisans in Prague.

Today in World War II History—May 8, 1940 & 1945

Churchill waving to crowds at Whitehall, London, on the day the war with Germany was won, 8 May 1945 (Imperial War Museum: 4700-37 H 41849)

Churchill waving to crowds at Whitehall, London, on the day the war with Germany was won, 8 May 1945 (Imperial War Museum: 4700-37 H 41849)

80 Years Ago—May 8, 1940: British Labour Party calls for vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s government.

Gen. Semyon Timoshenko replaces Marshal Kliment Voroshilov as Soviet defense commissar.

Ground crew on a RAF Bomber Command station in Britain return the ‘V for Victory’ sign to a neighboring searchlight crew. Silhouetted is the nose of a Lancaster bomber. (Imperial War Museum)

Ground crew on a RAF Bomber Command station in Britain return the ‘V for Victory’ sign to a neighboring searchlight crew. Silhouetted is the nose of a Lancaster bomber. (Imperial War Museum)

75 Years Ago—May 8, 1945: V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day)—the US and the western Allies celebrate as the German surrender becomes official.

Off Bergen, Norway, an RAF Catalina sinks U-320, the last German U-boat sunk in the war.

US troops and Monuments Men discover art stash at Altaussee, Austria, saved by Austrian civilians.

US secures Leyte in the Philippines.

V-E Day 75th Anniversary Giveaway!

Today is the 75th Anniversary of V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day), which marked the end of World War II in Europe, on May 8, 1945. To celebrate, author Julie Lessman and I are teaming up with an amazing giveaway! Julie and I both have recent releases of novels set during World War II.

Prizes:

GRAND PRIZE: signed paperback copies of Julie Lessman’s A Wing and a Prayer and Sarah Sundin’s The Land Beneath Us (winner may also choose a CD audio version of my book or an early copy of my 2021 release), a $50 Amazon gift card, and memorabilia from the incredible National WWII Museum Store, including V-for-Victory earrings, Women of WWII sticky notes, and a Women of WWII zipper pouch!

SECOND PRIZE: A paperback copy of A Wing and a Prayer (or an e-copy of both A Wing and a Prayer and Julie’s award-winning Isle of Hope series in e-book) AND a paperback copy of The Land Beneath Us (winner may also choose a CD audio version of my book or an early copy of my 2021 release).

How to Enter:

To enter to win the GRAND PRIZE, read the posts on Julie’s blog and mine (see below) for clues to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the blog. Additional optional Rafflecopter points can be earned by following Julie and me on various social media sites (per the Rafflecopter options) and by watching our Facebook Live videos (links and times below). Note: both videos will be available for viewing at any time after they go live. 

SARAH SUNDIN’S FACEBOOK LIVE VIDEO

May 8, 2020 at 9 am Pacific Time/noon Eastern

JULIE LESSMAN’S FACEBOOK LIVE VIDEO

May 8, 2020 at 8:30 am Pacific Time/11:30 am Eastern

To enter to win the SECOND PRIZE, go to the Facebook Live video links above and leave a comment on both Julie’s video AND mine.

Giveaway Details:

Giveaway runs May 8-16, 2020. US mailing addresses only, please for the paperbacks and the grand prize – but international addresses are eligible for Julie’s e-book. Winners will be notified by email.

Victory in Europe

Since Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, the free world had been longing for this day. On May 8, 1945, it came. Victory in Europe Day.

For years, the Allied forces had been pushing back Hitler’s armies. On April 29, German forces in Italy and Austria officially surrendered, effective May 2. On April 30, Hitler committed suicide. On May 4, German forces in northwest Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands surrendered, effective May 5. And finally on May 7, Germany officially surrendered, in Reims, France, effective May 8. The western Allies proclaimed May 8 to be V-E Day. The Soviets demanded a second surrender ceremony in Berlin on May 8 and celebrated V-E Day on May 9.

ColGen Alfred Jodl signing the documents of Germany’s surrender, Reims, France, 7 May 1945. (US Army Signal Corps photo)

ColGen Alfred Jodl signing the documents of Germany’s surrender, Reims, France, 7 May 1945. (US Army Signal Corps photo)

For the Allies, V-E Day was a day of celebration. Spontaneous parties and conga lines and parades broke out in cities throughout Britain and France and Canada and the USA. People went to church and prayed. American Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and the new president, Harry Truman, addressed the nation. To read text from their speeches, please see this excellent post on V-E Day on the US Army Center of Military History website.

A jubilant American airman hugging an English woman at Piccadilly Circus, London, England, celebrating Germany's unconditional surrender, 7 May 1945 (US National Archives: 111-SC-205398)

A jubilant American airman hugging an English woman at Piccadilly Circus, London, England, celebrating Germany’s unconditional surrender, 7 May 1945 (US National Archives: 111-SC-205398)

US Army personnel on top of l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France watching the celebration in the streets over the war in Europe coming to an end, 8 May 1945 (public domain via WW2 Database)

US Army personnel on top of l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France watching the celebration in the streets over the war in Europe coming to an end, 8 May 1945 (public domain via WW2 Database)

In London, the Royal Family and Prime Minister Winston Churchill appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace before a jubilant crowd. Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, with permission from their parents, anonymously joined the rejoicing crowds in London, “swept along on a tide of happiness and relief.”

Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill, King George VI, and Princess Margaret on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, 8 May 1945 (US Army photo)

Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill, King George VI, and Princess Margaret on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, 8 May 1945 (US Army photo)

But V-E Day was also a day of solemn remembrance. Tens of millions had been killed in battle. More tens of millions had been murdered and starved in concentration camps. And tens of thousands had perished as civilian casualties of bombing. Many of Europe’s great cities lay in heaps of rubble.

On Okinawa, men of the US 77th Infantry Division listen to the radio report of Germany’s surrender on May 8, 1945. One minute after this photo was taken, they returned to their combat posts. US forces on Okinawa celebrated V-E Day by training every ship and shore battery on a Japanese target and firing one shell simultaneously and precisely at midnight. (US National Archives: FA 41224- FA)

On Okinawa, men of the US 77th Infantry Division listen to the radio report of Germany’s surrender on May 8, 1945. One minute after this photo was taken, they returned to their combat posts. US forces on Okinawa celebrated V-E Day by training every ship and shore battery on a Japanese target and firing one shell simultaneously and precisely at midnight. (US National Archives: FA 41224- FA)

And World War II was far from over. In the Pacific, Allied forces were still fighting the Japanese in the East Indies, in the Philippines, in China, and on Okinawa. US forces on Okinawa commemorated V-E Day by simultaneously firing artillery and naval shells at midnight. Then they got back to the battle. V-J Day (Victory in Japan Day) wouldn’t arrive for three more months, on August 15, 1945, with the official end of World War II on September 2, 1945, six years and one day after it had begun.

But for now, the free world rejoiced, and rightly so. Hitler and the Nazis had been defeated, and democracy would return to western Europe. They deserved to celebrate.

Ground crew on a RAF Bomber Command station in Britain return the ‘V for Victory’ sign to a neighboring searchlight crew. Silhouetted is the nose of a Lancaster bomber. (Imperial War Museum)

Ground crew on a RAF Bomber Command station in Britain return the ‘V for Victory’ sign to a neighboring searchlight crew. Silhouetted is the nose of a Lancaster bomber. (Imperial War Museum)

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY:

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