Narvik – II

Lead:  In the Spring of 1940 the town of Narvik on the northwest coast of Norway was the scene of one of the first naval battles of World War II.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The combination of geography and strategic importance conspired to prevent Norway from maintaining its neutrality in the early months of World War II. Germany needed the Swedish iron ore that was shipped through Narvik during the winter months. When it became apparent that Britain was going to intervene, Hitler ordered the invasion of Norway.

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Narvik – Part I

Lead:  High on the shoulders of the Scandinavian land mass is the small sub-arctic town of Narvik, Norway. In the early days of World War II, Narvik was a strategic target of the British and the Germans.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Until the spring of 1940, Norway had hoped to preserve its neutrality, but it was soon apparent that geography would bring that dream to grief. The coast of Norway was too important for the Germans to let it fall into allied hands. Much of German iron ore came from mines in northern Sweden. During most of the year the ore was shipped through the Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic Sea, but in winter the Gulf froze and the ore was sent overland to the port of Narvik on the Atlantic coast of Norway and from there through the Leads, a narrow waterway between the mainland and a series of barrier island just off the coast.

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Surplus Wars II

Lead: Faced with mountains of surplus war matériel after World War II, the U.S. government had to figure a way to get rid of the stuff.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Everything from toothpaste to fully-equipped Sherman tanks lay in storage depots from Germany to remote islands in the South Pacific. Of first concern to the American public was to get the boys home. Politicians and leaders were under constant pressure to demobilize the troops, and at first little thought was given to the millions of tons of supplies with which the war had been won. In the rush to feed, house, clothe, and arm 15 million active duty personnel, few plans had been laid dispose of the matériel they had used in the fight.

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Surplus Wars I

Lead: To get a victory in World War II, the United States sacrificed the lives of nearly a quarter of a million of its sons and daughters, but at the Japanese surrender the war against a huge collection of surplus stuff had just gotten started.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the summer of 1940 the German war machine was nearly everywhere triumphant when Prime Minister Churchill of Britain began to warn that his country could no longer comply with the U.S. law requiring cash payment for arms purchases. To rectify this problem, President Franklin Roosevelt suggested the idea of Lend-Lease and began sending ancient naval destroyers to the beleaguered and isolated British. This was just a small component of the preparations the administration was making for war. Long before Pearl Harbor, the United States was gearing up for the greatest conflict in its history. In purely economic terms, it was a war that was to consume three times the gross national product of 1940 or in excess of three trillion 1997 dollars as adjusted for inflation.

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Rosie the Riveter

Lead: During World War II, women entered the work place in unprecedented numbers. Magazines, newspapers, radio and movies gave them a symbol: Rosie the Riveter.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: For generations American women had been told their place was in the home. If a man’s wife or daughter brought home a paycheck it was thought the man was somehow a failure. That had to change if the allies were going to meet the threat of Japan and Germany. World War II more than any before it was a battle of production. The Axis powers had a ten-year head start on producing weaponry and had increased their advantage with allied losses at Dunkirk and Pearl Harbor. Victory would go to the side which produced the most airplanes, battleships, guns and ammunition.

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The U.S. and the Holocaust II

 

Lead: The enormity of the Holocaust only became clear after the war. Yet, Allied leaders knew that to stop it, they had to destroy the Nazis.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After the beginning of World War II, the Jews remaining in Europe were unable to escape. They were caught, and many millions would soon become victims of the grim German death nightmare. It was an instrument so indomitable that even as Hitler was taking the coward’s way out in his suicide bunker, his disciples were still hard at work operating the killing machine.

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The U.S. and the Holocaust I

Lead: During the horrific 12 years of the Third Reich, millions of Jews were murdered. Could the United States have done more to stop it?

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It is hard to reject the judgment of Winston Churchill that the Holocaust “was probably the greatest and most terrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world.” Faced with such gratuitous, monumental evil, one is tempted to wonder if the forces of moral decency could not have done more to prevent this genocidal slaughter.

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Juan Garcia (Garbo), WWII Spy I

Lead: In July 1941, Spaniard Juan Pujol Garcia, operating out of Lisbon and then London under the codename “Garbo,” began his career as a double agent for the Allies.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Juan Pujol Garcia believed that Franco’s fascist rule would bring Spain to ruin and that an Allied victory was the only means of deposing him. At first Garcia offered his services to British intelligence and was rejected, so he turned to the German Embassy in Madrid, where he was signed up by the Abwehr, the German military intelligence organization.

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