World War II in the News
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World War II on US soil

World War II on American soil - Attacks and incidents.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: US home front, Nazi spies in America, U.S. Rangers, WWII-era Footages, Vintage Warbirds.

FDR ordered American military forces to shoot on sight months before Pearl Harbor
In 1941: Fighting the Shadow War: A Divided America in a World at War, historian Marc Wortman depicts how President Franklin Roosevelt led America into war long before Pearl Harbor while the nation remained deeply divided over its role in World War II. By September 1941, American `Neutrality Patrol` ships were sailing deep within Hitler`s declared Atlantic Ocean combat zone. Violent confrontation between the U.S. and Germany was inevitable. The first shots of the `undeclared war` were fired on September 4, 1941.
(thedailybeast.com)

Conflict-Series: A highly rated strategy game series for Android
If you love classic PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, Invasion of Poland 1939, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, the Battle of Bulge, and the Battle of Berlin 1945. In addition there are American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War scenarios available.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store)

On February 20, 1939 American Nazis staged a huge rally at Madison Square Garden in support of Adolf Hitler
On February 20, 1939, the eve of World War II, American Nazis and fascist sympathizers staged a huge rally at Madison Square Garden in support of Hitler. The building was covered in symbols of the Third Reich and the stage was adorned with a giant picture of George Washington, `the original American Nazi`. The rally was for the German-American Bund party, established by the racist German-born American Fritz Julius Kuhn. The Bund Party was to be Hitler`s `Fifth Column` and encourage U.S. politicians not to intervene with the war in Europe. Officials with MSG later said they had instructed organizers not to cover the arena in Swastikas, but the Nazis didn`t get the memo. A banner was hung from the rafters that read `Stop Jewish Domination of Christians.`
(ampthemag.com)

Attack on Kiska: Untouched Relics from a Baffling WWII Battle
Kiska Island, in the Aleutians far west of Alaska, is also the site of a deadly World War II battle in which only one side fought. In the early hours of June 7, 1942, 1,200 Japanese soldiers stormed the island. They didn`t have a lot of overpowering to do: Just 10 Americans were living on the island, operating a weather station. After killing two of the Americans and sending the other eight to Japan as POWs, the Japanese settled into Kiska and stayed for more than a year, carving out tunnels, building machine gun bunkers, and even planting gardens. With no Americans left on the island, the U.S. Army was not concerned about civilian casualties launching a series of bombing campaigns.
(slate.com)

5 Attacks on U.S. soil during the Second World War
(2) The Bombing of Ellwood Oil Field. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, a contingent of Japanese submarines was dispatched east to patrol the California coastline. On Feb 23, 1942, the Japanese submarine I-17 slinked into a channel near Ellwood Oil Field, outside of Santa Barbara. The submarine lobbed 16 shells at Ellwood Beach from its lone deck gun before submerging and fleeing to the open ocean. (3) The Bombing of Fort Stevens and the Lookout Air Raids. The only attack on a mainland American military site during WWII occurred on June 21, 1942, on the Oregon coastline. After trailing American fishing vessels to bypass minefields, the Japanese submarine I-25 made its way to the mouth of the Columbia River. It surfaced near Fort Stevens, an antiquated Army base dating back to the Civil War. Just before midnight, I-25 used its 140-mm deck gun to fire 17 shells at the fort.
(history.com)

City of Goleta in California recalls the Japanese submarine attack of 1942
Seventy years ago, a Japanese submarine bombed an oil field along the Ellwood coast, near Goleta. The incident marked the first foreign act of aggression on the U.S during the Second World War. It happened on the night of February 23rd, 1942. It was the first direct attack on American mainland by an enemy power since the War of 1812. Recently city leaders acknowledged the anniversary of this historic attack by creating a new sign at the site in remembrance.
(keyt.com)

Two films and one documentary to explore The Battle Of Los Angeles
On March 11, 2011 and March 15, 2011, two very different Hollywood sci-fi films will tackle the mysterious battle which took place over Los Angeles on February 25, 1942. "Battle: Los Angeles" is a big 100 million dollar production while "Battle Of Los Angeles" is more of a class B film. Additionally, a documentary film - "The Battle of Los Angeles" by Jose Escamillas - will be released soon, but unfortunately it seems to be a bit biased production.

Over a million people watched as the U.S. military fired 1,440 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition at something that hovered over Culver City California for more than an hour and a half. Explanations offered by both eyewitnesses and authorities vary greatly, covering everything from weather balloons and wartime nervousness to mystery airplanes and UFOs.

(benzinga.com)

A tour of San Francisco Bay`s hidden fox holes, trenches and military fortifications
San Francisco was once America`s most important Pacific coast port, which explains why the Presidio is filled with trenches and fox holes. "This is the best preserved WW2 landscape in the lower 48 states," states Stephen Haller, a National Park Service historian. The gun nests were dug into rocky substrate, which explains why they have remained in good shape all these decades.
(cnet.com)

Operation Pastorius, Me 264 Amerika bomber, V2 rockets from U-boats and other Nazi plans to attack New York
Nazi strategists created several plans to hit New York even before the war. In 1937, during a visit to Messerschmitt factories Hitler was showed the prototype of a 4-engine long-range bomber, the Me 264, which was being designed to be able to reach America`s East Coast. Hitler liked the idea of an "Amerika bomber" - but Willy Messerschmitt had shown him a model that wasn`t capable of flight in order to win a contract. During the war the army research center at Peenemünde designed 82 feet long A-9/A-10 rocket capable to trans-Atlantic flight, and toyed with the idea of u-boats pulling containers holding V2 rockets to the East Coast.
(spiegel.de)

"War in Florida Waters 1942-1943, Eyes of the Home Skies" -exhibit a tribute to Civilian Air Patrol
Danger was visible in the early days of the American involvement in WWII, when Nazi u-boats were sinking ships within sight of Palm Beach. "We would be having lunch, and we could look out the window and watch our ships burning," Janet Reynolds recalled. The US lacked the resources to protect shipping lanes and to fill the gap the government used civilian pilots to patrol the coast in their own small planes. Over 90 men and women served in the Civilian Air Patrol`s Coastal Patrol 3, and their story is told in "War in Florida Waters 1942-1943" exhibit at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum.
(palmbeachdailynews.com)

The U.S. West Coast was bombed by aircraft on Dec. 10, 1944
While much of Asia and Europe was in ruins after the aerial bombings of World War II, the U.S. West Coast never saw much damage. Sure, the Japanese sent balloon bombs that started a few fires, and a submarine fired some shells into the oil fields near Santa Barbara and farther up the coast. But there was one U.S. city that was the site of an World War II bombing attack. Sort of. On Dec. 10, 1944 the safety of the American homefront was disrupted when 5 bombs crashed into a Pomona. George P. Hiett was working at his dining room table when he stepped away to talk to his wife. Moments later a "bomb" fell through the roof onto the table.
(sgvtribune.com)

The Great Los Angeles Air Raid Mystery - What happened over L.A. in 1942
What showed up on military radar screens on Feb. 24, 1942, causing a blackout and an 1-hour anti-aircraft barrage? Could it have been enemy aircraft? Was it a weather balloon, or UFO? "What have we learned? Not much," said Steve Nelson, curator of the Fort MacArthur Museum. --- On Feb. 25, radar picked up an unidentified target 120 miles from L.A. and at 2:15 a.m. anti-aircraft gun batteries were alarmed. The number and type of aircraft seen varied from 0 to 220 and from airplanes to balloons to a blimp. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson said that 15 aircrafts had flown over LA. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox said that is was a false alarm.
(dailybreeze)

Japanese invasion of Alaska - Red, White, Black & Blue documentary
"That thing shouldn`t be here," Bill Jones says about the Japanese monument on the tundra of Attu, one of Alaska`s Aleutian Islands. His voice cracks as he recalls fighting Japanese soldiers in this forgotten World War II wasteland. "It doesn`t belong on Attu. It doesn`t belong on Engineer Hill." Red, White, Black & Blue documentary by Matt Radecki tells the story of the little-known Japanese invasion of Alaska and the battle to take it back. "The U.S. and Canadian govts didn`t want to panic the population, so they kept it a secret. The unintended result is that it`s really remained an unknown story," Putnam says.
(documentaryfilms.net)

It was American sailboats against German U-boats in World War II   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Sending sailboats out to fight U-boats: those early days of U.S. involvement in WWII were desperate times. Rufus `Bud` Smith commanded 25 U-boat-hunting yachts of the Third Naval District. Similar groups operated elsewhere, perhaps 100 yachts were involved along the U.S coast. In 1942, U-boats found lightly defended hunting grounds off the U.S. coasts. The yachts had been volunteered for military service by their owners, crews were temporary U.S. Coast Guard reservists. The yachts, painted Navy grey with white numbers forward, didn`t sink any U-boats. They did serve as deterrents. They could approach U-boats and report their positions by radio.
(galvestondailynews)

War on American Soil - Paper balloon bombers of World War II
Even before the war the US was infiltrated by German and Japanese spy networks, but more damage came from German U-boats, which raised havoc with American ships off the East Coast. On the west coast the Japanese attempted to build upon their Pearl Harbor gains with submarine shelling attacks on California targets: One Japanese sub succeeded in assembling a small float plane off the California coast, which dropped incendiary bombs. Then Japan invaded the Aleutian Island of Attu in Alaska in 1942. And From the fall of 1944 to the spring of 1945 9,000 unmanned balloons carrying bombs were launched from Japan to US.
(mccookgazette)

Documentary: Hitler`s War on America - America Bomber
In this German documentary - a must-see for all armchair war buffs - Adolf Hitler`s desire to strike at the heart of America is detailed by interviews and an array of archival footage, much of it in colour. As far back as 1937 Hitler was shown a full-scale mock-up of an aircraft that could take the war to the US. Like many Messerschmitt designs, the ME 264 (America Bomber) was way ahead of its time. The dream was big, the logistics a nightmare but Hitler`s determination was unbounded. When the bomber became hobbled with problems, he brought in a host of Plan Bs, like the use of seaplane bomber, a mid-air refuelling and the invasion of Iceland to use it as an air base.
(theage)

Book on the history of the Horseshoe Curve and Nazi sabotage plot
"The Horseshoe Curve: Sabotage and Subversion in the Railroad City" by Dennis P. McIlnay tells the story of the 3 inter-connected events in American history: (1) the Nazi plot to destroy the Horseshoe Curve, the Mecca of American railroading. (2) the FBI’s search of the homes of 225 Altoonans as alien enemies - suspected Nazi sympathizers - on July 1, 1942 as a result of the Nazi sabotage plot against the Horseshoe Curve. (3) the drama of founding the building the Horseshoe Curve. The Nazi plot to destroy the Horseshoe Curve was a mission that Adolf Hitler himself conceived. Had the Nazis succeeded they could have crippled the American war machine.
(sevenoakspress.com)

Oregon under attack: In 1942 Japanese submarine fired at Fort Stevens   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In 1942 Bill Holman, 7, and his brother Jack, 6, watched the night sky explode in flashes of light, but they didn`t know enough to be frightened. It wasn`t until their parents came that the boys learned those flashes were 17 rounds being fired at Fort Stevens from a Japanese I-25 submarine. It was the only foreign shelling of a military base on the U.S. mainland during WWII. Parents packed as they waited for the evacuation they feared might come. "This occurred just a little while after Japan had invaded the Aleutian Islands. ...so everyone along here thought it was not out of the realm of possibility that there could be a Japanese invasion."
(oregonlive)

The Aleutian Islands - Japanese bombed parts of the western US   (Article no longer available from the original source)
"A lot of them killed themselves with hand grenades. They would take it, hold it to their stomachs, prime it, then blow themselves up," said Marlin Kocher - a soldier when he was assigned to the Aleutian Islands. The people who killed themselves were Japanese soldiers, warriors who preferred death to a dishonorable surrender. "Out of the entire Japanese contingent, only 12 were left alive and captured." Little is known about the battles waged on this strategically important chain of islands. "The government didn`t want it advertised, but the Japanese bombed parts of the western US from planes based at Attu."
(gmtoday)

Japanese balloon bombs and counteract unit - Untold WWII story   (Article no longer available from the original source)
John Edward Salyer fought a secret enemy - one much of the nation knew nothing about until well after World War Two had ended. Japan launched over 9,000 high altitude balloons, each outfitted with a set of anti-personnel and incendiary bombs, to be carried by the jet stream over the North American continent. Salyer became part of the top-secret program to counteract the threat. He was given a new codebook before each flight, with which he could transmit the location of each found balloon - often discovered above 30,000 feet, out of range of the B-24 guns, so he would call in jet fighters.
(lompocrecord)

World War II veteran heard Japanese sub attack Washington   (Article no longer available from the original source)
June 21, 1942, a Japanese submarine surfaced off in the mouth of the Columbia River and fired 8 shells at a coastal battery. A member of a Coastal Artillery unit, Paul Johnston, counted the explosions as each shell landed. He and his fellow battery mates had that submarine in their sights. But they never fired. "We alerted headquarters at Fort Stevens across the river, but the order to fire never came. We had 108-pound, armor-piercing shells but we never got to use them. So the submarine got away." The reason, he soon discovered, was that the unit`s commanding officer, a colonel, took too long to get dressed.
(mansfieldnewsjournal)

Demonizing Japan as a blood-thirsty, war-hungry nation
A few days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Nakahara family awaited Admiral Nomura. But the admiral sent a telegram: "Sorry, cannot meet you for dinner. Regret unable to eat samma." As reports streamed in on destruction in Pearl Harbor, newsreels began to demonize Japan as a blood-thirsty, war-hungry nation. The FBI intercepted the telegram and deemed the word "samma" to be treasonous. On Dec 7 Seiichi Nakahara was arrested. Family believe that he was tortured: When he arrived home he could no longer talk. His body was emaciated, his sharp mind had declined dramatically. Laying lifelessly he died just days after his release.
(ohmynews)

West Coast trenches and fortifications to stop Japanese invasion
The Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, produced devastation in Hawaii -- and panic on the West Coast. Anything seemed possible. The attack had come out of the sky without warning. What if Pearl Harbor was only the first target? What if the Japanese navy was off California ready to strike? On the night of Dec. 7, the Army assigned every available soldier at the Presidio of San Francisco to get to work digging slit trenches and field fortifications to stop a Japanese invasion. Trenches were dug on the bluffs above the Golden Gate. Machine guns were sited to cover Baker Beach on the western edge of the city.
(sfgate)

Under Attack: World War II Balloon Bombs Dropped on U.S.   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In one of the best-kept secrets of WWII, bombs were dropped on the mainland U.S., by Japanese hydrogen balloons. The federal government enlisted the help of media in keeping quiet about the shrapnel-filled balloon bombs. According to declassified documents, 9,000 balloons were sent, beginning in late 1944. Most didn`t survive the 3-4 day journey but 285 did reach the U.S. At least 22 reached California and 40 dropped in Oregon. Most were found in the Northwest but at least one was recovered as far east as Michigan. After the war, newsreel film taken on the island of Honshu, one of 3 secret launch sites in Japan, described the balloon bomb attack.
(kxtv)

Secret Nazi Weather Station in Newfoundland
The U-537 made the only armed German landing on North American soil in WWII. U-537 left Kiel, Germany on September 18, 1943. The boat went on patrol in the western North Atlantic under Kptlt. Peter Schrewe. Its task was to set up an automatic weather station on the coast of Labrador. The station was a secret known only by a handful German seamen and scientists. The story became known in the late 1970s, when an retired engineer found photographs of one weather station and a U-boat that did not fit in with the installations he had previously been able to identify.
(uboat-net)

8 Nazi spies in the US during the summer of 1942   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Transported by submarine, eight Nazi spies swept across the United States in the summer of 1942, targeting a series of rail lines, water channels and factories. The nearly successful guerilla attacks of 1942 have become a modern day obsession for Richard Cylinder. The FBI said the grandiose plans nearly succeeded, but a turncoat German agent George John Dasch sold his countrymen in exchange for a reprieve from execution. On the morning of June 17, 1942, Nazi spy Dasch placed a call from his Washington, D.C., hotel room to FBI headquarters, relealing the plot.
(phillyburbs)

Japanese Bomb the West Coast   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Most Americans probably believe that continental United States has never been bombed. A floatplane launched from an Imperial Japanese Navy submarine dropped its bombs in September 1942--the first time the continental United States was bombed from the air. The IJN began experimenting with aircraft-carrying submarines in 1925. By the time of Pearl Harbor, 11 of its submarines were equipped to carry, launch, and recover one specially configured floatplane. Most of those early boats were classified as scouting submarines, B1 Type, of the I-15 class.
(about)

Japanese Fugo Bombing Balloons on American Soil
In Nov 1944, the Japanese began launching bomb-carrying balloons, which travelled across the Pacific Ocean to North America. It was hoped that the balloons would start forest fires and cause general panic. The payload consisted of 36 sand-filled paper bags for use as ballast, 4 incendiary bombs and 1 33-pound anti-personnel bomb. Tragic event occurred on May 5, 1945. A woman and 5 children were killed in a remote area near Bly, Oregon, after they found a downed balloon with a bomb still attached, and one of them moved the bomb, causing it to explode. These deaths were the only known fatalities on the US mainland from enemy attack during World War II.
(stelzriede)


See also:
US home front
Nazi spies in America
U.S. Rangers
WWII-era Footages
Vintage Warbirds.