75 Years Ago—Apr. 13, 1943: President Franklin Roosevelt dedicates the Jefferson Memorial on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth—the original statue is made of plaster and painted bronze due to wartime restrictions on metal. Roosevelt proclaims, “Today in the midst of a great war for freedom, we dedicate a shrine to freedom.”
75 Years Ago—Apr. 12, 1943: US Second War Loan Drive begins, centered around Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms posters.
Hitler appoints influential Martin Bormann as Secretary to the Führer.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 11, 1943: German Gen. Rudolf Schmidt is relieved of command of Second Panzer Army when his brother is arrested by the Gestapo.
US II Corps takes Kairouan, Tunisia, and its airfield.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 10, 1943: US Twelfth Air Force B-17s sink Italian heavy cruiser Trieste at La Maddalena, Sardinia.
British Eighth Army takes port of Sfax, Tunisia.
US Department of Agriculture establishes Women’s Land Army: during WWII, 1.5 million women from non-farming backgrounds will serve on farms.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 9, 1943: US II Corps and British First Army take Fondouk Pass in Tunisia with heavy casualties.
US Navy reestablishes rank of Commodore.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 8, 1943: To prevent inflation, President Roosevelt freezes wages, prices of items affecting cost of living, and prices of utilities.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 7, 1943: Allied forces link in Tunisia: US II Corps driving east from Algeria and British Eighth Army driving west from Egypt meet at Sedkret en Noual.
Marine pilot Lt. James Swett shoots down seven Japanese planes on his first mission over Guadalcanal—the highest score yet by a US pilot on a single mission; he will receive the Medal of Honor for this.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 6, 1943: Battle of Wadi Akarit: Montgomery’s British Eighth Army breaks through German lines south of Sfax, Tunisia.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is published in French and English in the US; the classic children’s book will be published in France after liberation.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 5, 1943: Germans arrest Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his brother-in-law, resistance member Hans von Dohnányi.
US Twelfth Air Force begins Operation Flax to destroy German air transport to Tunisia, will destroy about 200 planes in the air and on the ground in next 3 weeks.
Off Russell Island in the Pacific, destroyer USS O’Bannon sinks Japanese sub RO-34. After finding the sub too close to lower the destroyer’s guns, the sailors throw potatoes; the Japanese are so preoccupied with getting rid of the spuds that the O’Bannon is able to maneuver into range.
75 Years Ago—Apr. 4, 1943: Mrs. Thomas Sullivan christens destroyer USS The Sullivans in honor of her five sons killed in the sinking of light cruiser USS Juneau in November 1942.
US II Corps takes Hill 369 near El Guettar, Tunisia, after a long battle.
Twelve US & Filipino POWs escape from Davao Penal Colony on Mindanao, the only large-scale escape in the Pacific war; 11 survive and bring word of the Bataan Death March.