7 November 1942

7 November 1942

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7 November 1942

War in the Air

Eighth Air Force Heavy Bomber Mission No. 16: 68 aircraft dispatched to attack U-boat base at Brest. 34 attack the target, no aircraft lost.


General Giraud is rescued from France by a submarine and taken to Gibraltar

Operation Torch - WW2 Timeline (November 8th - 10th, 1942)

In their boldest move yet, the Allies planned out the invasion of North Africa through Operation Torch. With the Americans now onboard, the British had some substantial new-blood to reinforce their war-weary legs. The combined invasion force - numbering some 102 naval vessels - would be comprised of the U.S. Western Task Force, the U.S. Central Task Force and a combined U.S./British Eastern Task Force. Each task force would yield between 23,000 and 39,000 troops for the all-out invasion of North Africa - the first step required in retaking Europe proper.

Though many U.S. generals preferred an all-out invasion of the European mainland, American President Franklin Roosevelt trusted his counterpart, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in establishing a second front across Northern Africa first. The move, if successful, would contain German expansion in Europe, block vital shipping lanes to Axis forces in the Mediterranean, and provide the Allies with a jumping-off point into the inevitable invasion of Italy en route to Berlin.

On November 8th, 1942, the landings took place while being supported by air power. Despite the thinking on the Allies part that the French of North Africa would greet them as liberators, pockets of Vichy French soldiers battled it out as hard-core enemies aligned with the Axis. In other places, fighting was not in the cards as areas fell without so much as a shot being fired. The invasions also marked the formal entry of famous American General George S. Patton into the war.

As news of the invasion spread, German General Irwin Rommel - fresh off of his defeat at El Alamein - diverted his Panzer forces to the West. In Germany, Hitler was so enraged by the success of the Allied invasion over his Vichy French allies that he ordered his forces to take the south of France under his control (to this point, Southern France was under the management of Vichy French forces loyal to Hitler's Germany). At the news of this, most all Vichy French forces in North Africa officially surrendered to Allied forces.

For a bulk of the invasion, progress proved relatively steady as strategic routes, cities, and critical airfields all fell under Allied control within time. It was not until the arrival of a more stout German defense that the Allied push became bogged down by November 30th.

The German defense would remain in place into 1943 though the damage to the Axis hold on North Africa was all but done.

There are a total of (21) Operation Torch - WW2 Timeline (November 8th - 10th, 1942) events in the Second World War timeline database. Entries are listed below by date-of-occurrence ascending (first-to-last). Other leading and trailing events may also be included for perspective.

Tuesday, September 1st - September 30th, 1942

The month is spent ironing out plans for the Allied invasion of German-occupied North Africa.

Saturday, November 7th, 1942

Three Allied task forces - the US Western, Central and the British Eastern - approach the coast of North Africa.

The Allied invasion forces reach North African shores.

The US Western and Central task forces tangle with Vichy French opposition.

At Oran, French coastal guns destroya US transport with 200 soldiers aboard.

French General Mast surrenders to the British Eastern Task Force.

The first French cease-fires begin to ring out across Algeria and Morocco.

US forces tangle with a suprisingly stout French defense. It was believed that the two country's histories would have brought France to surrender rather than fight a former ally.

Wednesday, November 11th, 1942

The British Eastern Task force capture the strategic airfield at Djidjelli via Bougie from Algiers.

Wednesday, November 11th, 1942

French Admiral Jean Francios Darlan joins French General Alphonse Juin in calling an all-out cease fire for French forces throughout Africa.

Thursday, November 12th, 1942

German paratroopers move into the area near the airfield at Bone.

Thursday, November 12th, 1942

British paratroopers land near Bone and take the nearby airfield.

Thursday, November 12th, 1942

German paratrooper forces attack the British paratroopers near Bone but are repelled.

Sunday, November 15th, 1942

American paratroopers land at the airfield near Youks les Bains

Monday, November 16th, 1942

British paratroopers land and capture the airfield at Soul el Arba.

Monday, November 16th, 1942

Allied forces begin their move into German-held Tunisia.

Tuesday, November 17th, 1942

Wednesday, November 18th, 1942

The Allies take Sidi Nsir.

Friday, November 20th, 1942

The Allied assault on the strategic city of Medjez el Bab begins.

Thursday, November 26th, 1942

Medjez el Bab falls to the Allies.

Monday, November 30th, 1942

Despite the consistent progression throughout North Africa, the Allied invasion offensive grounds to a halt in the face of growing German resistance at key junctions. The total liberation of North Africa will have to wait.

7 November 1942 - History

A Note on Copyright

  • Schools, libraries, and museums are free to make and keep copies for in-house educational use or nonpermanent loan/circulation . in gratitude for the fine education and research assistance I have always received from such institutions.
  • An individual is free to make one personal copy of Battles for Alamein for his/her own personal use.
  • All other rights -- including publishing rights -- are reserved to me.

Battles for Alamein: July-November 1942 is dedicated to .
A. Our British, Commonwealth, Free French, and other Allied servicemen who handed the Nazis their first defeat in North Africa, in 1942
B. My children Rebecca, Robert, Rohan, and Johanna, in the hope that they may never have to go through a world war. C. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who was my hero when I was in high school and going to West Point (for one semester) and who was forced by Hitler to commit suicide.

The more we learn about the Second World War, the better our chances that it will be the LAST world war. (LRC)

A Request: If you do assemble and play this free game of mine, PLEASE let me know at [email protected] what you think of it and whether, after more than a couple games, you think one side or the other has an advantage. Thanks!

    These will probably be revised from time to time. I'm posting their date on them. The 24Oct42 historical setup has now been added to XV.D. SOMETIME, I must clean the rules up from all the ASCII noise. .
  • 2 map sections large enough for unit pieces to be printed on large European A3 size sheets.
  • The Scenarios:
  • Game design and African campaign history .txt file from 1st Alamein's original lcoat tripod webpage.

More comments by myself and others about the game can be read on Talk Consimworld Com now and BoardGameGeek.

November 23rd, 1991 is a Saturday. It is the 327th day of the year, and in the 47th week of the year (assuming each week starts on a Monday), or the 4th quarter of the year. There are 30 days in this month. 1991 is not a leap year, so there are 365 days in this year. The short form for this date used in the United States is 11/23/1991, and almost everywhere else in the world it's 23/11/1991.

This site provides an online date calculator to help you find the difference in the number of days between any two calendar dates. Simply enter the start and end date to calculate the duration of any event. You can also use this tool to determine how many days have passed since your birthday, or measure the amount of time until your baby's due date. The calculations use the Gregorian calendar, which was created in 1582 and later adopted in 1752 by Britain and the eastern part of what is now the United States. For best results, use dates after 1752 or verify any data if you are doing genealogy research. Historical calendars have many variations, including the ancient Roman calendar and the Julian calendar. Leap years are used to match the calendar year with the astronomical year. If you're trying to figure out the date that occurs in X days from today, switch to the Days From Now calculator instead.


Dunham was born on November 29, 1942, at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, Kansas, [7] the only child of Madelyn Lee Payne and Stanley Armour Dunham. [8] She was of predominantly English ancestry, with some Scottish, Welsh, Irish, German and Swiss. [9] Wild Bill Hickok is her sixth cousin, five times removed. [10] Ancestry.com announced on July 30, 2012, after using a combination of old documents and yDNA analysis, that Dunham's mother was descended from John Punch, an enslaved African man who lived in seventeenth-century colonial Virginia. [11] [12]

Her parents were born in Kansas and met in Wichita, where they married on May 5, 1940. [13] After the attack on Pearl Harbor, her father joined the United States Army and her mother worked at a Boeing plant in Wichita. [14] According to Dunham, she was named after her father because he wanted a son, though her relatives doubt this story and her maternal uncle recalled that her mother named Dunham after her favorite actress Bette Davis' character in the film In This Our Life because she thought Stanley, as a girl's name, sounded sophisticated. [15] As a child and teenager she was known as Stanley. [2] Other children teased her about her name but she used it through high school, "apologizing for it each time she introduced herself in a new town". [16] By the time Dunham began attending college, she was known by her middle name, Ann, instead. [2] After World War II, Dunham's family moved from Wichita to California while her father attended the University of California, Berkeley. In 1948, they moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma, and from there to Vernon, Texas, and then to El Dorado, Kansas. [17] In 1955, the family moved to Seattle, Washington, where her father was employed as a furniture salesman and her mother worked as vice president of a bank. They lived in an apartment complex in the Wedgwood neighborhood where she attended Nathan Eckstein Junior High School. [18]

In 1956, Dunham's family moved to Mercer Island, an Eastside suburb of Seattle. Dunham's parents wanted their 13-year-old daughter to attend the newly opened Mercer Island High School. [6] At the school, teachers Val Foubert and Jim Wichterman taught the importance of challenging social norms and questioning authority to the young Dunham, and she took the lessons to heart: "She felt she didn't need to date or marry or have children." One classmate remembered her as "intellectually way more mature than we were and a little bit ahead of her time, in an off-center way", [6] and a high school friend described her as knowledgeable and progressive: "If you were concerned about something going wrong in the world, Stanley would know about it first. We were liberals before we knew what liberals were." Another called her "the original feminist". [6] She went through high school "reading beatnik poets and French existentialists". [19]

On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state to be admitted into the Union. Dunham's parents sought business opportunities in the new state, and after graduating from high school in 1960, Dunham and her family moved to Honolulu. Dunham enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

First marriage Edit

While attending a Russian language class, Dunham met Barack Obama Sr., the school's first African student. [20] [21] At the age of 23, Obama Sr. had come to Hawaii to pursue his education, leaving behind a pregnant wife and infant son in his home town of Nyang'oma Kogelo in Kenya. Dunham and Obama Sr. were married on the Hawaiian island of Maui on February 2, 1961, despite parental opposition from both families. [6] [22] Dunham was three months pregnant. [6] [16] Obama Sr. eventually informed Dunham about his first marriage in Kenya but claimed he was divorced. Years later she discovered this was false. [21] Obama Sr.'s first wife, Kezia, later said she had granted her consent for him to marry a second wife in keeping with Luo customs. [23]

On August 4, 1961, at the age of 18, Dunham gave birth to her first child, Barack Obama. [24] Friends in the state of Washington recall her visiting with her month-old baby in 1961. [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] She studied at the University of Washington from September 1961 to June 1962, and lived as a single mother in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle with her son while her husband continued his studies in Hawaii. [18] [26] [30] [31] [32] When Obama Sr. graduated from the University of Hawaii in June 1962, he was offered a scholarship to study in New York City, [33] but declined it, preferring to attend the more prestigious Harvard University. [22] He left for Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he began graduate study at Harvard in the fall of 1962. [21] Dunham returned to Honolulu and resumed her undergraduate education at the University of Hawaii with the spring semester in January 1963. During this time, her parents helped her raise the young Barack. Dunham filed for divorce in January 1964, which Obama Sr. did not contest. [16] In December 1964, Obama Sr. married Ruth Baker, a Jewish American of Lithuanian heritage they were separated in 1971 and divorced in 1973 after having two sons. In 1965, Obama Sr. received a MA in economics from Harvard. [34] In 1971, he stayed in Hawaii for a month and visited his 10 year old son Barack. [ citation needed ] In 1982, Obama Sr. was killed in a car accident. [35]

Second marriage Edit

It was at the East–West Center that Dunham met Lolo Soetoro, [36] a Javanese [4] surveyor who had come to Honolulu in September 1962 on an East–West Center grant to study geography at the University of Hawaii. Soetoro graduated from the University of Hawaii with an MA in geography in June 1964. In 1965, Soetoro and Dunham were married in Hawaii, and in 1966, Soetoro returned to Indonesia. Dunham graduated from the University of Hawaii with a B.A. in anthropology on August 6, 1967, and moved in October the same year with her six-year-old son to Jakarta, Indonesia, to rejoin her husband. [37]

In Indonesia, Soetoro worked first as a low-paid topographical surveyor for the Indonesian government, and later in the government relations office of Union Oil Company. [21] [38] The family first lived at 16 Kyai Haji Ramli Tengah Street in a newly built neighborhood in the Menteng Dalam administrative village of the Tebet subdistrict in South Jakarta for two and a half years, with her son attending the nearby Indonesian-language Santo Fransiskus Asisi (St. Francis of Assisi) Catholic School for 1st, 2nd, and part of 3rd grade, then in 1970 moved two miles north to 22 Taman Amir Hamzah Street in the Matraman Dalam neighborhood in the Pegangsaan administrative village of the Menteng subdistrict in Central Jakarta, with her son attending the Indonesian-language government-run Besuki School one and half miles east in the exclusive Menteng administrative village of the Menteng subdistrict for part of 3rd grade and for 4th grade. [39] [40] On August 15, 1970, Soetoro and Dunham had a daughter, Maya Kassandra Soetoro. [13]

In Indonesia, Dunham enriched her son's education with correspondence courses in English, recordings of Mahalia Jackson, and speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. In 1971, she sent the young Obama back to Hawaii to attend Punahou School starting in 5th grade rather than having him stay in Indonesia with her. [37] Madelyn Dunham's job at the Bank of Hawaii, where she had worked her way up over a decade from clerk to becoming one of its first two female vice presidents in 1970, helped pay the steep tuition, [41] with some assistance from a scholarship. [42]

A year later, in August 1972, Dunham and her daughter moved back to Hawaii to rejoin her son and begin graduate study in anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Dunham's graduate work was supported by an Asia Foundation grant from August 1972 to July 1973 and by an East–West Center Technology and Development Institute grant from August 1973 to December 1978. [43]

Dunham completed her coursework at the University of Hawaii for an M.A. in anthropology in December 1974, [4] and after having spent three years in Hawaii, Dunham, accompanied by her daughter Maya, returned to Indonesia in 1975 to do anthropological field work. [43] [44] Her son chose not to go with them back to Indonesia, preferring to finish high school at Punahou School in Honolulu while living with his grandparents. [45] Lolo Soetoro and Dunham divorced on November 5, 1980 Lolo Soetoro married Erna Kustina in 1980 and had two children, a son, Yusuf Aji Soetoro (born 1981), and daughter, Rahayu Nurmaida Soetoro (born 1987). Lolo Soetoro died, age 52, on March 2, 1987, due to liver failure. [46]

Dunham was not estranged from either ex-husband and encouraged her children to feel connected to their fathers. [47]

From January 1968 to December 1969, Dunham taught English and was an assistant director of the Lembaga Persahabatan Indonesia Amerika (LIA)–the Indonesia-America Friendship Institute at 9 Teuku Umar Street in the Gondangdia administrative village of the Menteng subdistrict in Central Jakarta–which was subsidized by the United States government. [43] From January 1970 to August 1972, Dunham taught English and was a department head and a director of the Lembaga Pendidikan dan Pengembangan Manajemen (LPPM)–the Institute of Management Education and Development at 9 Menteng Raya Street in the Kebon Sirih administrative village of the Menteng subdistrict in Central Jakarta. [43]

From 1968 to 1972, Dunham was a co-founder and active member of the Ganesha Volunteers (Indonesian Heritage Society) at the National Museum in Jakarta. [43] [48] From 1972 to 1975, Dunham was crafts instructor (in weaving, batik, and dye) at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. [43]

Dunham then had a career in rural development, championing women's work and microcredit for the world's poor and worked with leaders from organizations supporting Indonesian human rights, women's rights, and grass-roots development. [37]

In March 1977, Dunham, under the supervision of agricultural economics professor Leon A. Mears, developed and taught a short lecture course at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Indonesia (FEUI) in Jakarta for staff members of BAPPENAS (Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional)—the Indonesian National Development Planning Agency. [43]

From June 1977 through September 1978, Dunham carried out research on village industries in the Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (DIY)—the Yogyakarta Special Region within Central Java in Indonesia under a student grant from the East–West Center. [49] As a weaver herself, Dunham was interested in village industries, and moved to Yogyakarta City, the center of Javanese handicrafts. [44] [50]

In May and June 1978, Dunham was a short-term consultant in the office of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Jakarta, writing recommendations on village industries and other non-agricultural enterprises for the Indonesian government's third five-year development plan (REPELITA III). [43] [49]

From October 1978 to December 1980, Dunham was a rural industries consultant in Central Java on the Indonesian Ministry of Industry's Provincial Development Program (PDP I), funded by USAID in Jakarta and implemented through Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI). [43] [49]

From January 1981 to November 1984, Dunham was the program officer for women and employment in the Ford Foundation's Southeast Asia regional office in Jakarta. [43] [49] While at the Ford Foundation, she developed a model of microfinance which is now the standard in Indonesia, a country that is a world leader in micro-credit systems. [51] Peter Geithner, father of Tim Geithner (who later became U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in her son's administration), was head of the foundation's Asia grant-making at that time. [52]

From May to November 1986 and from August to November 1987, Dunham was a cottage industries development consultant for the Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan (ADBP) under the Gujranwala Integrated Rural Development Project (GADP). [43] [49] The credit component of the project was implemented in the Gujranwala district of the Punjab province of Pakistan with funding from the Asian Development Bank and IFAD, with the credit component implemented through Louis Berger International, Inc. [43] [49] Dunham worked closely with the Lahore office of the Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC). [43] [49]

From January 1988 to 1995, Dunham was a consultant and research coordinator for Indonesia's oldest bank, Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) in Jakarta, with her work funded by USAID and the World Bank. [43] [49] In March 1993, Dunham was a research and policy coordinator for Women's World Banking (WWB) in New York. [43] She helped WWB manage the Expert Group Meeting on Women and Finance in New York in January 1994, and helped the WWB take prominent roles in the UN's Fourth World Conference on Women held September 4–15, 1995 in Beijing, and in the UN regional conferences and NGO forums that preceded it. [43]

On August 9, 1992, she was awarded PhD in anthropology from the University of Hawaii, under the supervision of Prof. Alice G. Dewey, with a 1,043-page dissertation [53] titled Peasant blacksmithing in Indonesia: surviving and thriving against all odds. [54] Anthropologist Michael Dove described the dissertation as "a classic, in-depth, on-the-ground anthropological study of a 1,200-year-old industry". [55] According to Dove, Dunham's dissertation challenged popular perceptions regarding economically and politically marginalized groups, and countered the notions that the roots of poverty lie with the poor themselves and that cultural differences are responsible for the gap between less-developed countries and the industrialized West. [55] According to Dove, Dunham

found that the villagers she studied in Central Java had many of the same economic needs, beliefs and aspirations as the most capitalist of Westerners. Village craftsmen were "keenly interested in profits", she wrote, and entrepreneurship was "in plentiful supply in rural Indonesia", having been "part of the traditional culture" there for a millennium.

Based on these observations, Dr. Soetoro concluded that underdevelopment in these communities resulted from a scarcity of capital, the allocation of which was a matter of politics, not culture. Antipoverty programs that ignored this reality had the potential, perversely, of exacerbating inequality because they would only reinforce the power of elites. As she wrote in her dissertation, "many government programs inadvertently foster stratification by channeling resources through village officials", who then used the money to strengthen their own status further. [55]

Dunham produced a large amount of professional papers that are held in collections of the National Anthropological Archives (NAA). Her daughter donated a collection of them that is categorized as the S. Ann Dunham papers, 1965-2013. This collection contains case studies, correspondence, field notebooks, lectures, photographs, reports, research files, research proposals, surveys, and floppy disks documenting her dissertation research on blacksmithing, as well as her professional work as a consultant for organizations such as the Ford Foundation and the Bank Raykat Indonesia (BRI). They are housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Her field notes have been digitized and, in 2020, Smithsonian Magazine noted that an effort had been established for a project to transcribe them. [56] Public participation in the transcription project was announced at the same time.

In late 1994, Dunham was living and working in Indonesia. One night, during dinner at a friend's house in Jakarta, she experienced stomach pain. A visit to a local physician led to an initial diagnosis of indigestion. [16] Dunham returned to the United States in early 1995 and was examined at the Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and diagnosed with uterine cancer. By this time, the cancer had spread to her ovaries. [21] She moved back to Hawaii to live near her widowed mother and died on November 7, 1995, 22 days short of her 53rd birthday. [57] [58] [37] [59] [60] Following a memorial service at the University of Hawaii, Obama and his sister spread their mother's ashes in the Pacific Ocean at Lanai Lookout on the south side of Oahu. [37] Obama scattered the ashes of his grandmother Madelyn Dunham in the same spot on December 23, 2008, weeks after his election to the presidency. [61]

Obama talked about Dunham's death in a 30-second campaign advertisement ("Mother") arguing for health care reform. The ad featured a photograph of Dunham holding a young Obama in her arms as Obama talks about her last days worrying about expensive medical bills. [60] The topic also came up in a 2007 speech in Santa Barbara: [60]

I remember my mother. She was 52 years old when she died of ovarian cancer, and you know what she was thinking about in the last months of her life? She wasn't thinking about getting well. She wasn't thinking about coming to terms with her own mortality. She had been diagnosed just as she was transitioning between jobs. And she wasn't sure whether insurance was going to cover the medical expenses because they might consider this a preexisting condition. I remember just being heartbroken, seeing her struggle through the paperwork and the medical bills and the insurance forms. So, I have seen what it's like when somebody you love is suffering because of a broken health care system. And it's wrong. It's not who we are as a people. [60]

Dunham's employer-provided health insurance covered most of the costs of her medical treatment, leaving her to pay the deductible and uncovered expenses, which came to several hundred dollars per month. [62] Her employer-provided disability insurance denied her claims for uncovered expenses because the insurance company said her cancer was a preexisting condition. [62]

In September 2008, the University of Hawaii at Mānoa held a symposium about Dunham. [63] In December 2009, Duke University Press published a version of Dunham's dissertation titled Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia. The book was revised and edited by Dunham's graduate advisor, Alice G. Dewey, and Nancy I. Cooper. Dunham's daughter, Maya Soetoro-Ng, wrote the foreword for the book. In his afterword, Boston University anthropologist Robert W. Hefner describes Dunham's research as "prescient" and her legacy as "relevant today for anthropology, Indonesian studies, and engaged scholarship". [64] The book was launched at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Philadelphia with a special Presidential Panel on Dunham's work The 2009 meeting was taped by C-SPAN. [65]

In 2009, an exhibition of Dunham's Javanese batik textile collection (A Lady Found a Culture in its Cloth: Barack Obama's Mother and Indonesian Batiks) toured six museums in the United States, finishing the tour at the Textile Museum of Washington, D.C., in August. [66] Early in her life, Dunham explored her interest in the textile arts as a weaver, creating wall hangings for her own enjoyment. After moving to Indonesia, she was attracted to the striking textile art of the batik and began to collect a variety of different fabrics. [67]

In December 2010 Dunham was awarded the Bintang Jasa Utama, Indonesia's highest civilian award the Bintang Jasa is awarded at three levels, and is presented to those individuals who have made notable civic and cultural contributions. [68]

A lengthy major biography of Dunham by former New York Times reporter Janny Scott, titled A Singular Woman, was published in 2011.

The University of Hawaii Foundation has established the Ann Dunham Soetoro Endowment, which supports a faculty position housed in the Anthropology Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and the Ann Dunham Soetoro Graduate Fellowships, providing funding for students associated with the East–West Center (EWC) in Honolulu, Hawaii. [5]

In 2010 the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship was established for young women graduating from Mercer Island High School, Ann's alma mater. In its first six years the scholarship fund has awarded eleven college scholarships. [69]

On January 1, 2012, President Obama and his family visited an exhibition of his mother's anthropological work on display at the East–West Center. [70]

Filmmaker Vivian Norris's feature length biographical film of Ann Dunham entitled Obama Mama (La mère d'Obama-French title) premiered on May 31, 2014, as part of the 40th annual Seattle International Film Festival, not far from where Dunham grew up on Mercer Island. [71]

In his 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama wrote, "My mother's confidence in needlepoint virtues depended on a faith I didn't possess. In a land [Indonesia] where fatalism remained a necessary tool for enduring hardship . she was a lonely witness for secular humanism, a soldier for New Deal, Peace Corps, position-paper liberalism." [72] In his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope Obama wrote, "I was not raised in a religious household . My mother's own experiences . only reinforced this inherited skepticism. Her memories of the Christians who populated her youth were not fond ones . And yet for all her professed secularism, my mother was in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I've ever known." [73] "Religion for her was "just one of the many ways—and not necessarily the best way—that man attempted to control the unknowable and understand the deeper truths about our lives," Obama wrote: [74]

She felt that somehow, wandering through uncharted territory, we might stumble upon something that will, in an instant, seem to represent who we are at the core. That was very much her philosophy of life—to not be limited by fear or narrow definitions, to not build walls around ourselves and to do our best to find kinship and beauty in unexpected places.
—Maya Soetoro-Ng [37]

Dunham's best friend in high school, Maxine Box, said that Dunham "touted herself as an atheist, and it was something she'd read about and could argue. She was always challenging and arguing and comparing. She was already thinking about things that the rest of us hadn't." [6] [75] On the other hand, Dunham's daughter, Maya Soetoro-Ng, when asked later if her mother was an atheist, said, "I wouldn't have called her an atheist. She was an agnostic. She basically gave us all the good books—the Bible, the Hindu Upanishads and the Buddhist scripture, the Tao Te Ching—and wanted us to recognize that everyone has something beautiful to contribute." [36] "Jesus, she felt, was a wonderful example. But she felt that a lot of Christians behaved in un-Christian ways." [74]

In a 2007 speech, Obama contrasted the beliefs of his mother to those of her parents, and commented on her spirituality and skepticism: "My mother, whose parents were nonpracticing Baptists and Methodists, was one of the most spiritual souls I ever knew. But she had a healthy skepticism of religion as an institution." [16]

Obama also described his own beliefs in relation to the religious upbringing of his mother and father:

My father was from Kenya and a lot of people in his village were Muslim. He didn't practice Islam. Truth is he wasn't very religious. He met my mother. My mother was a Christian from Kansas, and they married and then divorced. I was raised by my mother. So, I've always been a Christian. The only connection I've had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father's side came from that country. But I've never practiced Islam. [76]

  • Dunham, S Ann (1982). Civil rights of working Indonesian women. OCLC428080409.
  • Dunham, S Ann (1982). The effects of industrialization on women workers in Indonesia. OCLC428078083.
  • Dunham, S Ann (1982). Women's work in village industries on Java. OCLC663711102.
  • Dunham, S Ann (1983). Women's economic activities in North Coast fishing communities: background for a proposal from PPA. OCLC428080414.
  • Dunham, S Ann Haryanto, Roes (1990). BRI Briefing Booklet: KUPEDES Development Impact Survey. Jakarta: Bank Rakyat Indonesia.
  • Dunham, S Ann (1992). Peasant blacksmithing in Indonesia : surviving against all odds (Thesis). Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. 608906279, 607863728, 221709485.
  • Dunham, S Ann Liputo, Yuliani Prabantoro, Andityas (2008). Pendekar-pendekar besi Nusantara : kajian antropologi tentang pandai besi tradisional di Indonesia [Nusantara iron warriors: an anthropological study of traditional blacksmiths in Indonesia] (in Indonesian). Bandung, Indonesia: Mizan. ISBN9789794335345 . OCLC778260082.
  • Dunham, S Ann (2010) [2009]. Dewey, Alice G Cooper, Nancy I (eds.). Surviving against the odds : village industry in Indonesia. Foreword by Maya Soetoro-Ng afterword by Robert W. Hefner. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ISBN9780822346876 . 492379459, 652066335.
  • Dunham, S Ann Ghildyal, Anita (2012). Ann Dunham's legacy : a collection of Indonesian batik. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. ISBN9789834469672 . OCLC809731662.

Anyone writing about Dunham's life must address the question of what to call her. She was Stanley Ann Dunham at birth and Stanley Ann as a child, but dropped the Stanley upon graduating from high school. She was Ann Dunham, then Ann Obama, then Ann Soetoro until her second divorce. Then she kept her husband's name but modernized the spelling to Sutoro. In the early 1980s, she was Ann Sutoro, Ann Dunham Sutoro, S. Ann Dunham Sutoro. In conversation, Indonesians who worked with her in the late 1980s and early 1990s referred to her as Ann Dunham, putting the emphasis on the second syllable of the surname. Toward the end of her life, she signed her dissertation S. Ann Dunham and official correspondence (Stanley) Ann Dunham.

p. 363 :
modernized the spelling: The spelling of certain Indonesian words changed after Indonesia gained its independence from the Dutch in 1949, and again under a 1972 agreement between Indonesia and Malaysia. Names containing oe. are now often spelled with a u. However, older spellings are still used in some personal names. After her divorce from Lolo Soetoro, Ann Dunham kept his last name for a number of years while she was still working in Indonesia, but she changed the spelling to Sutoro. Their daughter, Maya Soetoro-Ng, chose to keep the traditional spelling of her Indonesian surname.

  • "Spotlight on Alumni: EWC Alumna Ann Dunham— Mother to President Obama and Champion of Women's Rights and Economic Justice". Honolulu, HI: East–West Center. December 9, 2008. Archived from the original on October 12, 2012 . Retrieved March 9, 2013 .
  • Smolenyak, Megan (May 9, 2011). "Tracing Barack Obama's Roots to Moneygall". The Huffington Post . Retrieved May 19, 2011 .
  • Rising, David Noelting, Christoph (Associated Press) (June 4, 2009). "Researchers: Obama has German roots". USAToday.com . Retrieved May 13, 2010 . CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  • Hutton, Brian Nickerson, Matthew (May 3, 2007). "For sure, Obama's South Side Irish One of his roots traces back to small village" (paid archive) . Chicago Sun-Times. Press Association of Ireland. p. 3 . Retrieved November 24, 2008 .
  • Jordon, Mary (May 13, 2007). "Tiny Irish village is latest place to claim Obama as its own". The Washington Post. p. A14 . Retrieved May 13, 2007 .
  • David Williamson (July 5, 2008). "Wales link in US presidential candidate's past". www.walesonline.co.uk. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011 . Retrieved April 30, 2011 .

A woman named Stanley: "Madelyn thought that was the height of sophistication!" recalled her brother Charles Payne, and the notion of giving her baby girl that name took hold. The coincidence that her husband was also Stanley only deepened the association.

Mary Toutonghi . recalls as best she can the dates she baby sat Barack as her daughter was 18 months old and was born in July of 1959 and that would have placed the months of babysitting Barack in January and February of 1962 . Anna was taking night classes at the University of Washington, and according to the University of Washington's registrar's office her major was listed as history. She was enrolled at the University of Washington in the fall of 1961, took a full course load in the spring of 1962 and had her transcript transferred to the University of Hawaii in the fall of 1962. Along with the Seattle Polk Directory, Marc Leavipp of the University of Washington Registrar's office confirms 516 13th Ave. E. was the address Ann Dunham had given upon registering at the University.

Actually I had hoped to move to Jogja at midyear, but was unable to win a contract release from my old school in Jakarta (they sponsored me via an Asia Foundation grant for my first two years in Hawaii). As it turns out, however, I had plenty to do to keep me busy in W. Java, and was able to carry out reasonably complete surveys of 3 village areas within radius of Jakarta.

At present I am staying with my mother-in-law on the corner of Taman Sari inside the Benteng, but according to old law foreigners are not allowed to live inside the Benteng. I had to get a special dispensation from the kraton on the grounds that I am "djaga-ing" my mother-in-law (she is 76 and strong as a horse but manages to look nice and frail). In June I am having Barry come over for the summer, however, and will probably need to find another place, since I don't think I can stretch an excuse and say we are both needed to djaga my mother-in-law.


Diplomatic background

War between Japan and the United States had been a possibility that each nation had been aware of, and planned for, since the 1920s. Japan had been wary of American territorial and military expansion in the Pacific and Asia since the late 1890s, followed by the annexation of islands, such as Hawaii and the Philippines, which they felt were close to or within their sphere of influence. [23] [24] [25] [26]

Although Japan had begun to take a hostile policy against the United States after the rejection of the Racial Equality Proposal, [27] the relationship between the two countries was cordial enough that they remained trading partners. [28] [29] [30] Tensions did not seriously grow until Japan's invasion of Manchuria in 1931. Over the next decade, Japan expanded into China, leading to the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Japan spent considerable effort trying to isolate China and endeavored to secure enough independent resources to attain victory on the mainland. The "Southern Operation" was designed to assist these efforts. [24] [31]

Starting in December 1937, events such as the Japanese attack on USS Panay, the Allison incident, and the Nanking Massacre swung Western public opinion sharply against Japan. The U.S. unsuccessfully proposed a joint action with the British to blockade Japan. [32] In 1938, following an appeal by President Roosevelt, U.S. companies stopped providing Japan with implements of war. [33]

In 1940, Japan invaded French Indochina, attempting to stymie the flow of supplies reaching China. The United States halted shipments of airplanes, parts, machine tools, and aviation gasoline to Japan, which the latter perceived as an unfriendly act. [nb 6] The United States did not stop oil exports, however, partly because of the prevailing sentiment in Washington that given Japanese dependence on American oil, such an action was likely to be considered an extreme provocation. [23] [30] [34]

In mid-1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the Pacific Fleet from San Diego to Hawaii. [35] He also ordered a military buildup in the Philippines, taking both actions in the hope of discouraging Japanese aggression in the Far East. Because the Japanese high command was (mistakenly) certain any attack on the United Kingdom's Southeast Asian colonies, including Singapore, [36] would bring the U.S. into the war, a devastating preventive strike appeared to be the only way to prevent American naval interference. [37] An invasion of the Philippines was also considered necessary by Japanese war planners. The U.S. War Plan Orange had envisioned defending the Philippines with an elite force of 40,000 men this option was never implemented due to opposition from Douglas MacArthur, who felt he would need a force ten times that size. [ citation needed ] By 1941, U.S. planners expected to abandon the Philippines at the outbreak of war. Late that year, Admiral Thomas C. Hart, commander of the Asiatic Fleet, was given orders to that effect. [38]

The U.S. finally ceased oil exports to Japan in July 1941, following the seizure of French Indochina after the Fall of France, in part because of new American restrictions on domestic oil consumption. [39] Because of this decision, Japan proceeded with plans to take the oil-rich Dutch East Indies. [nb 7] On August 17, Roosevelt warned Japan that America was prepared to take opposing steps if "neighboring countries" were attacked. [41] The Japanese were faced with a dilemma—either withdraw from China and lose face or seize new sources of raw materials in the resource-rich European colonies of Southeast Asia. [ citation needed ]

Japan and the U.S. engaged in negotiations during 1941, attempting to improve relations. In the course of these negotiations, Japan offered to withdraw from most of China and Indochina after making peace with the Nationalist government. It also proposed to adopt an independent interpretation of the Tripartite Pact and to refrain from trade discrimination, provided all other nations reciprocated. Washington rejected these proposals. Japanese Prime Minister Konoye then offered to meet with Roosevelt, but Roosevelt insisted on reaching an agreement before any meeting. [42] The U.S. ambassador to Japan repeatedly urged Roosevelt to accept the meeting, warning that it was the only way to preserve the conciliatory Konoye government and peace in the Pacific. [43] However, his recommendation was not acted upon. The Konoye government collapsed the following month when the Japanese military rejected a withdrawal of all troops from China. [44]

Japan's final proposal, delivered on November 20, offered to withdraw from southern Indochina and to refrain from attacks in Southeast Asia, so long as the United States, United Kingdom, and Netherlands supplied one million U.S. gallons (3.8 million liters) of aviation fuel, lifted their sanctions against Japan, and ceased aid to China., [45] [44] The American counter-proposal of November 26 (November 27 in Japan), the Hull note, required Japan completely evacuate China without conditions and conclude non-aggression pacts with Pacific powers. On November 26 in Japan, the day before the note's delivery, the Japanese task force left port for Pearl Harbor. [ citation needed ]

The Japanese intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the United States Pacific Fleet from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. [15] Additionally, from the Japanese viewpoint, it was seen as a preemptive strike "before the oil gauge ran empty." [23]

Military planning

Preliminary planning for an attack on Pearl Harbor to protect the move into the "Southern Resource Area" (the Japanese term for the Dutch East Indies and Southeast Asia generally) had begun very early in 1941 under the auspices of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, then commanding Japan's Combined Fleet. [46] He won assent to formal planning and training for an attack from the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff only after much contention with Naval Headquarters, including a threat to resign his command. [47] Full-scale planning was underway by early spring 1941, primarily by Rear Admiral Ryūnosuke Kusaka, with assistance from Captain Minoru Genda and Yamamoto's Deputy Chief of Staff, Captain Kameto Kuroshima. [48] The planners studied the 1940 British air attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto intensively. [nb 8] [nb 9]

Over the next several months, pilots were trained, equipment was adapted, and intelligence was collected. Despite these preparations, Emperor Hirohito did not approve the attack plan until November 5, after the third of four Imperial Conferences called to consider the matter. [51] Final authorization was not given by the emperor until December 1, after a majority of Japanese leaders advised him the "Hull Note" would "destroy the fruits of the China incident, endanger Manchukuo and undermine Japanese control of Korea". [52]

By late 1941, many observers believed that hostilities between the U.S. and Japan were imminent. A Gallup poll just before the attack on Pearl Harbor found that 52% of Americans expected war with Japan, 27% did not, and 21% had no opinion. [53] While U.S. Pacific bases and facilities had been placed on alert on many occasions, U.S. officials doubted Pearl Harbor would be the first target instead, they expected the Philippines would be attacked first. This presumption was due to the threat that the air bases throughout the country and the naval base at Manila posed to sea lanes, as well as to the shipment of supplies to Japan from territory to the south. [54] They also incorrectly believed that Japan was not capable of mounting more than one major naval operation at a time. [55]


The Japanese attack had several major aims. First, it intended to destroy important American fleet units, thereby preventing the Pacific Fleet from interfering with the Japanese conquest of the Dutch East Indies and Malaya and enabling Japan to conquer Southeast Asia without interference. Second, it was hoped to buy time for Japan to consolidate its position and increase its naval strength before shipbuilding authorized by the 1940 Vinson-Walsh Act erased any chance of victory. [56] [57] Third, to deliver a blow to America's ability to mobilize its forces in the Pacific, battleships were chosen as the main targets, since they were the prestige ships of any navy at the time. [56] Finally, it was hoped that the attack would undermine American morale such that the U.S. government would drop its demands contrary to Japanese interests and would seek a compromise peace with Japan. [58] [59]

Striking the Pacific Fleet at anchor in Pearl Harbor carried two distinct disadvantages: the targeted ships would be in very shallow water, so it would be relatively easy to salvage and possibly repair them, and most of the crews would survive the attack since many would be on shore leave or would be rescued from the harbor. A further important disadvantage was the absence from Pearl Harbor of all three of the U.S. Pacific Fleet's aircraft carriers (Enterprise, Lexington, and Saratoga). IJN top command was attached to Admiral Mahan's "decisive battle" doctrine, especially that of destroying the maximum number of battleships. Despite these concerns, Yamamoto decided to press ahead. [60] [ page needed ]

Japanese confidence in their ability to achieve a short, victorious war also meant other targets in the harbor, especially the navy yard, oil tank farms, and submarine base, were ignored, since—by their thinking—the war would be over before the influence of these facilities would be felt. [61]

November 27, 1942 Scuttled

While many considered the Vichy government to be a puppet state, the officers and men of the French fleet had no love for their German occupiers. This was a French fleet and would remain so if they could help it, even if they had to sink it to the bottom of the ocean.

The Battle of France began on May 10, 1940, with the German invasion of France and the Low Countries of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. By the end of May, German Panzers had hurled the shattered remnants of the allied armies into the sea, at a place called Dunkirk.

The speed and ferocity of the German Blitzkrieg left the French people in shock in the wake of their June surrender. All those years their government had told them, that the strength of the French army combined with the Maginot line, was more than enough to counter German aggression.

France had fallen in six weeks.

Germany installed a Nazi-approved French government in the south of France, headed by WW1 hero Henri Pétain. Though mostly toothless, the self-described “French state” in Vichy was left relatively free to run its own affairs, compared with the Nazi occupied regions to the west and north.

That changed in November 1942, with the joint British/American invasion of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. At the time, the north African provinces were nominally under the control of the Vichy regime. Hitler gave orders for the immediate occupation of all of France.

With the armistice of June 1940, much of the French naval fleet was confined to the Mediterranean port of Toulon. Confined but not disarmed, and the French fleet possessed some of the most advanced naval technologies of the age, enough to shift the balance of military power in the Mediterranean.

While many considered the Vichy government to be a puppet state, the officers and men of the French fleet had no love for their German occupiers. This was a French fleet and would remain so if they could help it, even if they had to sink it to the bottom of the ocean.

In November 1942, the Nazi government came to take control of that fleet. The motorized 7 th Panzer column of German tanks, armored cars and armored personnel carriers descended on Toulon with an SS motorcycle battalion, taking over port defenses to either side of the harbor. German officers entered fleet headquarters and arrested French officers, but not before word of what was happening was relayed to French Admiral Jean de Laborde, aboard the flagship Strasbourg.

The order went out across the base at Toulon. Prepare to scuttle the fleet, and resist the advance of German troops, by any means necessary.

The German column approached the main gate to the harbor facility in the small hours of November 27, demanding access. ‘Of course,’ smiled the French guard. ‘Do you have your access paperwork?’

Under orders to take the harbor without bloodshed, the Nazi commander was dismayed. Was he being denied access by this, his defeated adversary? Minutes seemed like hours in the tense wrangling which followed. Germans gesticulated and argued with French guards, who stalled and prevaricated at the closed gate.

The Germans produced documentation, only to be thanked, asked to wait, and left standing at the gate.

Meanwhile, thousands of French seamen worked in grim silence throughout the early morning hours, preparing to scuttle their own fleet. Valves and watertight doors were opened, incendiary and demolition charges were prepared and placed.

Finally, the Panzer column could be stalled no more. German tanks rumbled through the main gate at 5:25am, even as the order to scuttle passed throughout the fleet. Dull explosions sounded across the harbor, as fighting broke out between the German column, and French sailors pouring out of their ships in the early dawn light. Lead German tanks broke for the Strasbourg, even now pouring greasy, black smoke from its superstructure, as she settled to the bottom.

The Germans could only look on, helpless, as a dying fleet escaped their grasp. In the end, 3 battleships, 7 cruisers, 15 destroyers, 13 torpedo boats, 6 sloops, 12 submarines, 9 patrol boats, 19 auxiliary ships, 28 tugs, 4 cranes and a school ship, were destroyed. 39 smaller vessels of negligible military value fell into German hands along with twelve fleet vessels, all of them damaged.

The fires would burn, for weeks. The harbor at Toulon would remain fouled and polluted, for years.

The French Navy lost 12 men killed and 26 wounded on that day, 75 years ago, today. The loss to the Nazi war effort, is incalculable. How many lives could have been lost can never be known, had Nazi Germany come into possession of all that naval power. But for the bravery of a vanquished, but still unbeaten, foe.

The 11 most significant battles of the Second World War

Second World War battles took place across the globe some lasting days, others months or even years. But which are the most significant? Here, Professor Evan Mawdsley from the University of Glasgow lists the battles that had the most impact upon later military and political events, and indeed the outcome of the war itself

This competition is now closed

Published: August 28, 2019 at 9:00 am

A ‘battle’ is defined here as an event occurring in a particular place and over a relatively short time-span the shortest of these battles lasted 90 minutes, the longest three months. Indeed, the ‘battle of the Atlantic’ was extremely significant, but it was not a battle: instead, it was a six-year series of battles, none of which was – in itself – decisive. The same is true of the five-year Allied bomber offensive.

Looking at the war in terms of ‘battles’ tends to increase the apparent importance of the Russians they fought more battles, and destroyed most of German army. For me the European war was inherently more significant in military and strategic terms than the Asia-Pacific war (this was also the view of the British, American and Soviet war leaders).

Had Hitler knocked Britain or the USSR out of the war he would have made the Third Reich a real ‘world power’, and German-dominated Europe would have been unassailable. In contrast Japan, at that time a second-rate regional power, could not have been a global military threat on its own.

Furthermore, ‘most significant’ is not the same as ‘most decisive’, ‘biggest’, ‘greatest’, ‘bloodiest’, ‘most skillful’ or ‘most successful’. Instead, ‘significant’ means that the battle had a major effect on later military and political events, if not the final outcome of the war.

If I had been able to choose 15 significant battles I might have added Wavell’s first Libyan offensive (December 1940), the battle of Smolensk (1941), the invasion of Sicily (1943), the air-land-sea battle of the Mariana Islands (1944) and the Vistula-Oder Operation (1945).

France, May 1940

The rapid and unexpected conquest of the Low Countries and northern France in four weeks was the supreme example of German mastery of mobile warfare. It was also the war’s most significant battle.

The back of the French army was broken. Hitler would gain control over western Europe (and Fascist Italy entered the war). Everything else in 1940–45 was a consequence of this victory. The German blunder of allowing the British Expeditionary Force to escape through Dunkirk was also significant Britain would remain a threat, and Hitler’s victory was incomplete. But Stalin’s hope for a long mutually destructive war between the capitalist powers was undone Russia itself was now threatened.

Battle of Britain, August–September 1940

The Luftwaffe mounted mass daytime raids against RAF bases and later London, hoping to gain air superiority and force Britain to make peace – preparations for invasion began.

Britain possessed a radar-controlled air defence system and a powerful Royal Navy. Public morale did not crack, high German losses forced a change in mid-September to sporadic and less effective night bombing, and the arrival of autumn weather made invasion impractical.

The battle demonstrated to Germany (and the USA) that Britain could not be easily knocked out of the war. The Americans sent help Hitler decided that he needed to invade the USSR.

Operation Barbarossa, June–July 1941

Hitler’s surprise attack on the USSR was the most devastating victory of the whole war as a battle it covered the largest area. The Wehrmacht’s first objective was achieved: the rapid destruction the Red Army in western Russia.

Operation Barbarossa did not achieve the larger goal of overthrowing the Soviet system and occupying all European Russia. Nevertheless, the catastrophe eventually forced the defenders to fall back 600 miles, to the outskirts of Leningrad and Moscow. The Red Army had to be rebuilt it would not drive the occupiers out of the USSR until the autumn of 1944.

Moscow, December 1941

The successful Red Army surprise counter-offensive in front of Moscow, which began on 5 December, was the second most significant battle of the entire war.

The Russians would have bad defeats later, and the Germans would suffer much greater losses at Stalingrad in 1942–43. But the setback at Moscow meant that the Blitzkrieg strategy of Hitler and his generals had failed the USSR would not be knocked out of the war in just a few months.

The northern and central parts of the Soviet front now held firm. And the Third Reich could not win a war of attrition.

Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941

The fighting lasted only 90 minutes and was very one-sided, but this was undoubtedly a major battle – six aircraft carriers with more than 400 planes attacked the main American naval base.

Crippling the enemy battleship fleet allowed Japan to overrun south-east Asia without interference. But the ‘Day of Infamy’ threw a hitherto cautious American public whole-heartedly behind war with Japan and Germany – although early preoccupation with Pacific defence delayed the sending of American forces to Europe.

Fierce anti-Japanese sentiment also led to a readiness to use firebombing and nuclear weapons three years later.

Midway, June 1942

The Japanese Fleet put to sea to threaten Midway Island (northwest of Hawaii), hoping to lure the Americans to destruction. In reality it was the Japanese who were ambushed, losing four of their best carriers.

Of all 10 battles listed here, this one really could have gone either way, although the outcome was not entirely ‘miraculous’. The Midway victory allowed the Americans to take the strategic initiative in the South Pacific. It would be a year and a half before an American offensive directly across the Central Pacific began, but the Japanese had not had time to fortify their island defence line.

Operation ‘Torch’, November 1942

The Allied landings in Morocco and Algeria were an easy battle: Vichy French troops were the original opponent, and they quickly changed sides. But ‘Torch’ was the first successful strategic offensive, and American troops crossed the Atlantic for the first time.

Victory in Tunisia, the invasion of Sicily and the Italian surrender followed. But ‘Torch’ and the Mediterranean strategy, urged by the British and accepted by Roosevelt, meant ultimately that there would be no cross-Channel landing in 1943.

The battle of Alamein, fought later that November, was much bloodier and a decisive British victory, but ‘Torch’ had a deeper significance.

Stalingrad, November 1942 to January 1943

The three-month battle is often seen to be the war’s turning point. After Stalingrad the Wehrmacht would make no further advances in the USSR. The mid-November 1942 mobile operation to cut off the city demonstrated for the first time the skill of the rebuilt Red Army.

The capitulation of the Sixth Army in the Stalingrad pocket on 31 January was the first major German surrender. Both the German leadership and the population of occupied Europe realised the significance of what had happened: the Third Reich was now on the defensive.

Briansk-Orel/Belgorod-Kharkov, July-August 1943

The Battle of Kursk (July 1943) is commonly regarded as one of the three great Soviet victories, and the first achieved in the summer (unlike Moscow and Stalingrad).

Hitler’s offensive against the Kursk salient (Operation ‘Citadel’) was indeed halted, but it had had only limited objectives, and the Soviets suffered higher losses. More significant were the counter-offensives that followed ‘Citadel’: north of Kursk (Briansk/Orel – Operation ‘Kutuzov’) and south of it (Belgorod/Kharkov – Operation ‘Polkovodets Rumiantsev’).

The Red Army took and held the initiative along the whole southern front. Its advance to the Dnepr River and across the western Ukraine to the pre-war border would then continue without significant pause until February 1944.

Normandy, June–July 1944

To many people in the UK, D-Day (6 June) and the following six weeks of fighting in Normandy is the most obvious ‘significant battle’: it allowed the rapid liberation of western Europe.

The technical complexities of putting huge, largely untried armies across the Channel and supplying them there were very great. The Germans thought that they had a good chance to repel any invasion.

After D-Day Hitler chose to mount a stubborn defence of the Normandy region, and when the main American breakout came, in late July, the burned-out defending forces had no option but to beat a rapid retreat to the German border.

Operation ‘Bagration’, June–July 1944

The Soviet offensive in Belorussia, three weeks after D-Day, was bigger than the battle of Normandy.

Surprised by the location of the attack, the Germans were then overwhelmed by the pace and uninterrupted nature of the advance – within six weeks an entire army group had been destroyed, most of Soviet territory had been liberated, and spearhead units had advanced as far as central Poland. The pressure of ‘Bagration’ aided the British-American advance from Normandy.

The greater significance of the offensive (coupled with the defection of Romania in August) was that the Red Army would end the war in control of all Eastern Europe.

Evan Mawdsley is Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in history at the University of Glasgow. His publications include December 1941: Twelve Days That Began a World War (Yale University Press, 2011) and World War II: A New History (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

To read more about Second World War battles, click here.

This article was first published by History Extra in 2014

The War in North Africa, 1942-1943

The following is an excerpt from "An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943" by Rick Atkinson. Published by Henry Holt, October 2002.

[The publisher sent me a review copy of this book and it's terrific. It's the most engaging World War II history I've read in years. I'll be looking forward to the two forthcoming books in Atkinson's "Liberation Trilogy." --Chris Whitten, Webmaster.]

An Army at Dawn: Prologue

Twenty-seven acres of headstones fill the American military cemetery at Carthage, Tunisia. There are no obelisks, no tombs, no ostentatious monuments, just 2,841 bone-white marble markers, two feet high and arrayed in ranks as straight as gunshots. Only the chiseled names and dates of death suggest singularity. Four sets of brothers lie side by side. Some 240 stones are inscribed with the thirteen of the saddest words in our language: "Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God." A long limestone wall contains the names of another 3,724 men still missing, and a benediction: "Into Thy hands, O Lord."

This is an ancient place, built on the ruins of Roman Carthage and a stone's throw from the even older Punic city. It is incomparably serene. The scents of eucalyptus and of the briny Mediterranean barely two miles away carry on the morning air, and the African light is flat and shimmering, as if worked by a silversmith. Tunisian lovers stroll hand in hand across the kikuyu grass or sit on benches in the bowers, framed by orangeberry and scarlet hibiscus. Cypress and Russian olive trees ring the yard, with scattered acacia and Aleppo pine and Jerusalem thorn. A carillon plays hymns on the hour, and the chimes sometimes mingle with a muezzin's call to prayer from a nearby minaret. Another wall is inscribed with the battles where these boys died in 1942 and 1943 -- Casablanca, Algiers, Oran, Kasserine, El Guettar, Sidi Nsir, Bizerte -- along with a line from Shelley's "Adonais": "He has outsoared the shadow of our night."

In the tradition of government-issue graves, the stones are devoid of epitaphs, parting endearments, even dates of birth. But visitors familiar with the American and British invasion of North Africa in November 1942, and the subsequent seven-month struggle to expel the Axis powers there, can make reasonable conjectures. We can surmise that Willett H. Wallace, a private first class in the 26th Infantry Regiment who died on November 9, 1942, was killed at St. Cloud, Algeria, during the three days of hard fighting against, improbably, the French. Ward H. Osmun and his brother Wilbur W., both privates from New Jersey in the 18th Infantry and both killed on Christmas Eve 1942, surely died in the brutal battle of Longstop Hill, where the initial Allied drive in Tunisia was stopped -- for more than five months, as it turned out -- within sight of Tunis. Ignatius Glovach, a private first class in the 701st Tank Destroyer Battalion who died on Valentine's Day, 1943, certainly was killed in the opening hours of the great German counteroffensive known as the battle of Kasserine Pass. And Jacob Feinstein, a sergeant from Maryland in the 135th Infantry who died on April 29, 1943, no doubt passed during the epic battle for Hill 609, where the American Army came of age.

A visit to the Tunisian battlefields tells a bit more. For more than half a century, time and weather have purified the ground at El Guettar and Kasserine and Longstop. But the slit trenches remain, and rusty C-ration cans, and shell fragments scattered like seed corn. The lay of the land also remains -- the vulnerable low ground, the superior high ground: incessant reminders of how, in battle, topography is fate.

Yet even when the choreography of armies is understood, or the movement of this battalion or that rifle squad, we crave intimate detail, of individual men in individual foxholes. Where, precisely, was Private Anthony N. Marfione when he died on December 24, 1942? What were the last conscious thoughts of Lieutenant Hill P. Cooper before he left this earth on April 9, 1943? Was Sergeant Harry K. Midkiff alone when he crossed over on November 25, 1942, or did some good soul squeeze his hand and caress his forehead?

The dead resist such intimacy. The closer we try to approach, the farther they draw back, like rainbows or mirages. They have outsoared the shadow of our night, to reside in the wild uplands of the past. History can take us there, almost. Their diaries and letters, their official reports and unofficial chronicles -- including documents that, until now, have been hidden from view since the war -- reveal many moments of exquisite clarity over a distance of sixty years. Memory, too, has transcendent power, even as we swiftly move toward the day when not a single participant remains alive to tell his tale, and the epic of World War II forever slips into national mythology. The author's task is to authenticate: to warrant that history and memory give integrity to the story, to aver that all this really happened.

But the final few steps must be the reader's. For among mortal powers, only imagination can bring back the dead.

No twenty-first-century reader can understand the ultimate triumph of the Allied powers in World War II in 1945 without a grasp of the large drama that unfolded in North Africa in 1942 and 1943. The liberation of western Europe is a triptych, each panels informing the others: first, North Africa then, Italy and finally the invasion of Normandy and the subsequent campaigns across France, the Low Countries, and Germany.

From a distance of sixty years, we can see that North Africa was a pivot point in American history, the place where the United States began to act like a great power -- militarily, diplomatically, strategically, tactically. Along with Stalingrad and Midway, North Africa is where the Axis enemy forever lost the initiative in World War II. It is where Great Britain slipped into the role of junior partner in the Anglo-American alliance, and where the United States first emerged as the dominant force it would remain into the next millennium.

None of it was inevitable -- not the individual deaths, nor the ultimate Allied victory, nor eventual American hegemony. History, like particular fates, hung in the balance, waiting to be tipped.

Measured by the proportions of the later war -- of Normandy or the Bulge -- the first engagements in North Africa were tiny, skirmishes between platoons and companies involving at most a few hundred men. Within six months, the campaign metastasized to battles between army groups comprising hundreds of thousands of soldiers that scale persisted for the duration. North Africa gave the European war its immense canvas and implied -- through 70,000 Allied killed, wounded, and missing -- the casualties to come.

No large operation in World War II surpassed the invasion of North Africa in complexity, daring, risk, or -- as the official U.S. Army Air Force history concludes -- "the degree of strategic surprise achieved." Moreover, this was the first campaign undertaken by the Anglo-American alliance North Africa defined the coalition and its strategic course, prescribing how and where the Allies would fight for the rest of the war.

North Africa established the patterns and motifs of the next two years, including the tension between coalition unity and disunity. Here were staged the first substantial tests of Allied landpower against Axis landpower, and the initial clashes between American troops and German troops. Like the first battles in virtually every American war, this campaign revealed a nation and an army unready to fight and unsure of their martial skills, yet willful and inventive enough finally to prevail.

North Africa is where the prodigious weight of American industrial might began to tell, where brute strength emerged as the most conspicuous feature of the Allied arsenal -- although not, as some historians suggest, its only redeeming feature. Here the Americans in particular first recognized, viscerally, the importance of generalship and audacity, guile and celerity, initiative and tenacity.

North Africa is where the the Allies agreed on unconditional surrender as the only circumstance under which the war could end.

It is where the controversial strategy of first contesting the Axis in a peripheral theater -- the Mediterranean -- was effected at the expense of an immediate assault on northwest Europe, with the campaigns in Sicily, Italy, and southern France following in train.

It is where Allied soldiers figured out, tactically, how to destroy Germans where the fable of the Third Reich's invincibility dissolved where, as one senior German general later acknowledged, many Axis soldiers lost confidence in their commanders and "were no longer willing to fight to the last man."

It is where most of the West's great battle captains emerged, including men whose names would remain familiar generations later -- Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Montgomery, Rommel -- and others who deserve rescue from obscurity. It is where the truth of William Tecumseh Sherman's postulate on command was reaffirmed: "There is a soul to an army as well as to the individual man, and no general can accomplish the full work of his army unless he commands the soul of his men, as well as their bodies and legs." Here men capable of such leadership stepped forward, and those incapable fell by the wayside.

North Africa is where American soldiers became killing mad, where the hard truth about combat was first revealed to many. "It is a very, very horrible war, dirty and dishonest, not at all that glamour war that we read about in the hometown papers," one soldier wrote his mother in Ohio. "For myself and the other men here, we will show no mercy. We have seen too much for that." The correspondent Ernie Pyle noted a "new professional outlook, where killing is a craft." North Africa is where irony and skepticism, the twin lenses of modern consciousness, began refracting the experiences of countless ordinary soldiers. "The last war was a war to end war. This war's to start 'em up again," said a British Tommy, thus perfectly capturing the ironic spirit that flowered in North Africa.

Sixty years after the invasion of North Africa, a gauzy mythology has settled over World War II and its warriors. The veterans are lionized as "the Greatest Generation," an accolade none sought and many dismiss as twaddle. They are condemned to sentimental hagiography, in which all the brothers are valiant and all the sisters virtuous. The brave and the virtuous appear throughout the North African campaign, to be sure, but so do the cowardly, the venal, and the fools. The ugliness common in later campaigns also appears in North Africa: the murder and rape of civilians the killing of prisoners the falsification of body counts.

It was a time of cunning and miscalculation, of sacrifice and self-indulgence, of ambiguity, of love, of malice and mass murder. There were heroes, but it was not an age of heroes as clean and lifeless as alabaster at Carthage, demigods and poltroons lie side by side.

The United States would send sixty-one combat divisions into Europe, nearly 2 million soldiers. These were the first. We can fairly surmise that not a single man interred at Carthage cemetery sensed on September 1, 1939, that he would find an African grave. Yet it was with the invasion of Poland on that date that the road to North Africa began, and it is then and there that our story must begin.

Copyright © 2002 Rick Atkinson. All rights reserved. Converted for the Web with the permission of Henry Holt and Company.

7 November 1942 - History


"Old Ironsides"

(Updated 5-9-08)

The 1st Armored Division, nicknamed "Old Ironsides," is the oldest and most recognizable armor division in the United States Army. It was the first armored division to see combat in World War II. Although currently home based in Wiesbaden, Germany, the 1st Armor Division is scheduled to move to Fort Bliss, Texas.

As part of the mechanization of the U.S. Army and the buildup for WWII, cavalry and reconnaissance units were brought together to form the 1st Armored Division at Fort Knox, Kentucky on July 15, 1940. Major General Bruce R. Magruder was the Division's first commander, serving in that capacity from July 1940 until March of 1942. General Magruder is also responsible for the Division's famous nickname. In 1941, General George S. Patton Jr. had just named his 2nd Armored Division "Hell on Wheels." The 1st Armored Division needed a nickname too, so General Magruder held a contest to find a suitable name. Approximately two hundred names were submitted including "Fire and Brimstone" and "Kentucky Wonders." The General chose to study them over the weekend but none of the suggestions appealed to him. It happened that General Magruder had just bought a painting of the U.S.S. Constitution during a drive for funds for the preservation of that famous fighting ship, which is nicknamed "Old Ironsides." General Magruder was impressed with the parallel between the development of the tank and the Navy's "Old Ironsides" spirit of daring and durability. He decided the 1st Armored Division should also be named "Old Ironsides."

The 1st Armored Division boarded the Queen Mary at the New York Port of Embarkation, Brooklyn Army Terminal on May 11, 1942. Five days later the soldiers of the Division landed in Northern Ireland and trained on the moors. On October 29, 1942 Old Ironsides moved to England to depart for North Africa.

The 1st Armored Division's first contact with an enemy was as part of the Allied invasion of North Africa, Operation Torch on November 8, 1942. The Allies did receive unexpected, and heavy, resistance from Vichy-French units however the invasion forces suppressed all resistance in the beachhead area within three days. Old Ironsides then advanced toward Tunisia. The soldiers of the Division learned hard lessons about armored warfare and the harsh conditions of North Africa.

In January of 1943 Old Ironsides was part of II Corps and received the mission of defending central Tunisia against an Axis counterattack. In February the 1st Armored Division met with a superior German armored force at Kasserine Pass. The Division sustained heavy losses in personnel and equipment, and was forced to withdraw. Old Ironsides was battered, but kept in mind its lessons learned. The Germans outran their supply lines and faced determined Allied resistance. After three more months of hard fighting, the Allies could finally claim victory in North Africa. Old Ironsides was reorganized in French Morocco then moved to Naples, Italy on October 28, 1943 to support the Allied effort there.

As part of General Mark Clark's U.S. Fifth Army, the 1st Armored Division took part in the attack on the infamous Winter Line in November of 1943. Old Ironsides then flanked the Axis forces in the landings at Anzio and moved on to participate in the liberation of Rome on June 4, 1944. The 1st Armored Division continued to serve in the Italian Campaign until German forces in Italy surrendered on May 2, 1945. In June of 1945, Old Ironsides was moved to Germany as part of the U.S. Army occupation forces.

In the drawdown of forces after WWII, the 1st Armored Division was deactivated on April 25, 1946. With the success of the Russian made T-34 tank by the enemy at the outset of the Korean War in 1950, there was a renewed enthusiasm for armored forces in the U.S. Army. As part of the new buildup of forces, Old Ironsides was re-activated on March 7, 1951 at Fort Hood, Texas and was the first U.S. Army unit to field the new M48 Patton tank.

Although the 1st Armored Division did not participate as a division in the Vietnam War, two of their subordinate units did. Company A, 501st Aviation and 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry served with distinction. Both units earned Presidential Unit Citations and 1-1 Cavalry received tow Valorous Unit Awards and three Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry. Neither unit was officially detached from the 1st Armored Division. Veterans of both units may wear the Old Ironsides as a combat patch. Also, in 1967 three Old Ironsides infantry battalions were formed into the 198th Infantry Brigade and deployed to Vietnam. Two of those battalions, 1-6th Infantry and 1-52nd Infantry, were returned to the 1st Armored Division.

As Vietnam wound down, the United States turned its attention back to the Cold War in Europe. The 1st Armored Division was moved to Germany in 1971, home based in the West German city of Ansbach. The Division remained in Germany for the next twenty years as part of the American forces committed to a NATO defense of Europe.

In November of 1990, Old Ironsides was alerted for deployment to the Middle East in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In less than two months the Division moved 17,400 soldiers and 7.050 pieces of equipment by rail, sea, and air to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield. On February 24, 1991, the 1st Armored Division crossed into Iraq to begin Operation Desert Storm as the leading unit in VII Corps' main flanking attack. Its mission was to destroy the elite Iraqi Republican Guards Divisions. In an 89-hour blitz across the desert, Old Ironsides traveled through 250 kilometers of enemy territory. They destroyed 768 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery pieces. The 1st Armored Division also captured 1,064 prisoners of war. Old Ironsides returned to Ansbach, Germany on May 8, 1991. Their triumph was celebrated by a visit from the Vice President of the United States and participation in victory parades in Washington D.C. and New York City.

The 1st Armored Division was called to serve once again, this time in the Balkans. Old Ironsides was ordered to Bosnia-Herzegovina and part of Operation Joint Endeavor on December 14, 1995. Task Force Eagle assumed control of its area of responsibility during a ceremony with United Nations forces at Eagle Base in Tuzla on December 20th. After the historic bridging of the Sava River on December 31, 1995, the Old Ironsides Division and its supporting elements from the U.S. V Corps were joined by forces from twelve other nations. A brigade of Russians was part of this force. American and Russian soldiers working together to keep the peace was a true sign that the Cold War was at an end. Task Force Eagle enforced the cease fire, supervised the marking of boundaries and the zone of separation between the former warring factions, enforced withdrawal of the combatants, and the movement of the heavy weapons to designated storage sites. Task Force Eagle also supported the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's efforts to administer the country's first ever democratic national elections. The 1st Armored Division was relieved by the 1st Infantry Division and returned to Germany in November of 1996.

In 1999, Old Ironsides was deployed again. This time 1st Armored Division was supporting Operations Allied Force and Joint Guardian. Operation Allied Force took Old Ironsides soldiers to Albania in response to the ethnic cleansing and fighting there. Operation Joint Guardian was to uphold the United Nations Security Council resolution to bring peace back to the Kosovo region.

The 1st Armored Division began its participation in the global war on terrorism when it received deployment orders to the U.S. Central Command on March 4, 2003. By April 15th Old Ironsides was moving out to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. During their 15-month deployment, Task Force 1st Armored Division was the largest division-based task force in U.S. Army history. Units serving with the Task Force included brigade-sized elements from the 82nd Airborne Division, the 3rd Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 124th Infantry Battalion, the 18th and 89th Military Police Brigades and the 168th MP Battalion. At its height, more than 39,000 soldiers were part of Task Force 1st Armored Division. The Division took responsibility for Baghdad in April of 2003. Old Ironsides was scheduled to return to Germany in April of 2004, but their tour was extended by three months in order to defeat a Shia militia led by Moqtada Al Sadr.

The Division's 3rd Brigade was deployed to Iraq once again for Operation Iraqi Freedom III in January of 2005, this after only eight months at home. They were attached to the 3rd Infantry Division as part of Task Force Baghdad. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT) deployed to Kuwait in November 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom IV. Old Ironsides' 1st Brigade deployed again to Iraq in January 2006.

In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission determined that the 1st Armored Division should leave their home bases in Germany and move to Fort Bliss, Texas. There they will gain a 4th and 5th Brigade Combat Team. This move and reorganization will take place between 2008 and 2011.

Like their naval namesake, the 1st Armored Division carries with it the traditions and military values for which Old Ironsides has been known for over half a century. They also are the standing armor division of the United States Army, on the cutting edge of technology and tactics, who remain relentlessly strong today. Both active soldiers and veterans are proud to wear the 1st Armored Division patch and say, "I was with Old Ironsides."

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