25 February 1942

25 February 1942

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Australian Naval History on 25 February 1942

HMAS KUTTABUL, a former Sydney Harbour ferry, was commissioned as an accommodation vessel.

HM Submarine P38 was sunk by the Italian torpedo boats, CIRCE and USODIMARE, off Tunisia. The First Lieutenant of P38 was Australian LEUT S. A. Pigeon, RNR, who entered the Royal Australian Naval College in 1926, but did not graduate. Pigeon went to sea in the sailing barque VIKING, was a crewman of the Antarctic exploration ship Discovery, and saw action in the Spanish Civil War in the Merchant Service. He was MID in 1940 for service in HMS SUNFISH, (submarine), and was the first Australian RNR officer to be so honoured.

HMAS PERTH, (cruiser), with HM Ships EXETER, ELECTRA, ENCOUNTER, JUPITER, left Tanjong Priok for Sourabaya, to pursue a large convoy which had been sighted 320 kms to the northeast. HMAS HOBART, (cruiser), would have joined in, but was unable to be refuelled in time.

The ABDA was command was dissolved, and command was taken over by the original Dutch organization, with CDRE John Collins, RAN, in command of all British naval forces in the area.

The Battle of Los Angeles, February 25, 1942

In the predawn hours of February 25, 1942, anti-aircraft artillery and giant spotlights lit up the night sky over Southern California. The soldiers manning those anti-aircraft batteries were shooting at an object none of them could identify so began the Battle of Los Angeles. To this day, no solid evidence has been found to explain what so many people claimed they saw that night.

Early 1942 was a dark time for the United States and the allies. The three months between the attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941 and the end of February, 1942 brought the reality of the Second World War home to the American people, and that reality showed the United States was losing ground. In the Philippines, American and Filipino troops were barely holding on at Bataan and Corregidor the Pacific Fleet was not strong enough to affect a rescue or even a re-supply mission. Less than two weeks before the events of February 25th, the British had surrendered Singapore to the Japanese after six days of fighting it was arguably the Empire’s greatest military defeat. And as if to add insult to injury, on February 23rd a Japanese submarine surfaced off the coast of California near Santa Barbara and shelled an oil refinery. Even though the damage was superficial, it made many Californians believe that an invasion of the mainland was only a matter of time.

Local police and Army units began receiving reports of unidentified objects over Los Angeles late in the evening of February 24th. At 2:25AM on the 25th, air raid sirens sounded all over the city and surrounding communities as a blackout was ordered. Air raid wardens moved through the streets, making sure lights were either turned off or covered. At 3:16AM, the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade began firing at an object or objects moving over Santa Monica towards Long Beach. The unit kept up firing until the all-clear was sounded at 7:20AM. They used over 1,400 shells in their attempt to bring down whatever was flying over the metro Los Angeles area.

What people observed that morning depends on the witness. Some reported seeing silver planes flying in a “V” formation the number of aircraft seen ranged from nine to more than twenty-five. Others saw a single, large object in the searchlights, with several people claiming that the anti-aircraft fire hit the unidentified craft several times. By morning, the object was gone and three civilians were dead from friendly fire.

As the story of the strange incident spread on February 25th, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox released a statement during a press conference in which he said that the entire episode was a “false alarm” brought on by a nervous populace and trigger-happy gunners. The Office of Air Force History added these details to the story during a 1983 summary of the day:

“ At the same conference he admitted that attacks were always possible and indicated that vital industries located along the coast ought to be moved inland. The Army had a hard time making up its mind on the cause of the alert. A report to Washington, made by the Western Defense Command shortly after the raid had ended, indicated that the credibility of reports of an attack had begun to be shaken before the blackout was lifted. This message predicted that developments would prove “that most previous reports had been greatly exaggerated.” The Fourth Air Force had indicated its belief that there were no planes over Los Angeles. But the Army did not publish these initial conclusions. Instead, it waited a day, until after a thorough examination of witnesses had been finished. On the basis of these hearings, local commanders altered their verdict and indicated a belief that from one to five unidentified airplanes had been over Los Angeles. Secretary Stimson announced this conclusion as the War Department version of the incident, and he advanced two theories to account for the mysterious craft: either they were commercial planes operated by an enemy from secret fields in California or Mexico, or they were light planes launched from Japanese submarines. In either case, the enemy’s purpose must have been to locate anti-aircraft defenses in the area or to deliver a blow at civilian morale.”

Interestingly enough, the Japanese had the ability to launch scout planes from some of their submarines and did fly at least one over Seattle later in the year. But post-war searches of Japanese records show that no such flights were made over Los Angeles during the time in question.

Modern theories point to that favorite standby of UFO debunkers, the weather balloon. There were meteorological balloons in use over Southern California at that time, but one has to wonder how a thin-skinned balloon could have survived an anti-aircraft barrage like the one launched that night.

As memories fade and those who witnessed the mysterious craft become fewer in number, it becomes more and more likely that we will never know what exactly triggered the events of that February.

24 February 1942

A false alarm led to an anti-aircraft barrage that lasted into the early hours of February 25 for what became known as the Battle of Los Angeles.

A remarkable series of false alarms and errors, most likely brought on by widespread “war nerves”, began in California on this day in 1942, resulting in an incident which became known as The Battle of Los Angeles. Rumours of an air raid on the city and the heightened state of readiness – just three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor provoked America’s entrance into World War II – led to reports of an enemy attack and an hour of anti-aircraft bombardment into the night sky.The day before, the Californian coast had been fired upon by a Japanese submarine near Ellwood, the first shelling of the North American mainland in the war. Though minimal damage was caused, the bombardment was widely reported, causing some panic which led hundreds to flee the area.

Despite rumours of a cover-up, no proof could be found that any attack had taken place. A stray weather balloon was blamed for the start of the bombardment, with confusion exacerbated by anti-aircraft shell bursts, caught in searchlights, being mistaken for enemy planes.

The H-SU Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 25, No. 19, Ed. 1, Saturday, February 21, 1942

Weekly student newspaper from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas that includes local, state and campus news along with advertising.

Physical Description

four pages : illus. page 23 x 15 in. Digitized from 35 mm. microfilm.

Creation Information

Creator: Unknown. February 21, 1942.


This newspaper is part of the collection entitled: Texas Digital Newspaper Program and was provided by the Hardin-Simmons University Library to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 41 times. More information about this issue can be viewed below.

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this newspaper or its content.




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Hardin-Simmons University Library

The Richardson and Smith libraries at this private Baptist university in Abilene provide materials necessary to support the research of students and faculty. They provide books, federal documents, maps, scores, recordings, and periodicals which are on open shelves and readily accessible to all.

Borger Daily Herald (Borger, Tex.), Vol. 16, No. 82, Ed. 1 Wednesday, February 25, 1942

Daily newspaper from Borger, Texas that includes local, state, and national news along with extensive advertising.

Physical Description

six pages : ill. page 22 x 18 in. Digitized from 35 mm. microfilm.

Creation Information


This newspaper is part of the collection entitled: Texas Digital Newspaper Program and was provided by the Hutchinson County Library, Borger Branch to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 39 times. More information about this issue can be viewed below.

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this newspaper or its content.




Check out our Resources for Educators Site! We've identified this newspaper as a primary source within our collections. Researchers, educators, and students may find this issue useful in their work.

Provided By

Hutchinson County Library, Borger Branch

The Hutchinson County Library strives to provide services on a fair and equitable basis to all individuals and groups in the community. It aims to be a source of lifelong learning to help meet the need for information and answers to general questions from all walks of life. It also contains the Hutchinson County Genealogical Society.

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1. The chief unit of the Turkish Navy today is the battle-cruiser Yavuz (ex-German Goeben), 23,100 tons, refitted in 1931 and 1938. According to Jane's Fighting Ships (1940 ed.) there are also 2 obsolete light cruisers 4 destroyers built in 1931 8 submarines including 2 mine layers 5 surface mine layers 2 light gunboats 2 yachts 3 motor torpedo boats and 6 small miscellaneous vessels.

2. The original tribe when it first entered Asia Minor under Ertoghrul is estimated to have numbered between 2,000 and 4,000 souls. From Ertoghrul's son Osman they acquired the name of Ottomans or Osmanlis (followers of Osman).

3. Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy, “Turkey” (Revised and edited by Archibald Cary Coolidge, Ph.D. and W. Harold Claflin, M.A. New York, 1907), page 101.

4. The entire garrison at the beginning of the siege amounted to approximately 9,200 fighting men including 700 Knights.

Digital Proceedings content made possible by a gift from CAPT Roger Ekman, USN (Ret.)

25 February 1942 - History

However the Territory was not undefended. It became a huge armed base from which countless long range bomber sorties were flown.

It became a major port for the navy, both for re-supply and repairs, and a major base for the Australian army. Darwin was the home base for the commando units which operated behind the Japanese lines.

On 19 February 1942 war came to Australia for the first time since white settlement.

After the first attack, which had done most of its damage in the town and the harbour, a second wave swept in just before midday and concentrated on the airfield .

But the level of panic among servicemen was deplorable. During the bombing numerous servicemen deserted their posts and took to the road with the civilians. In the town, once the fires had been stopped and the dead and injured attended to, a mood of relief was apparent. Drunken Provost Corps troops took advantage of the swift desertion of the town by looting shops left behind by civilian proprietors.

Affirmative Action History

Related Links

Blacks have a 375-year history on this continent: 245 involving slavery, 100 involving discrimination, and only 30 involving anything else.
? Historian Roger Wilkins

Perhaps the most important lesson I've learned is that there are no airtight, completely coherent, unassailable, and holistic answers on the question of affirmative action
? John Bunzel, president of San Jose State Univ.

In its tumultuoushistory, affirmative action has been both praised and pilloried as an answer to racial inequality. The term "affirmative action" was first introduced by President Kennedy in 1961 as a method of redressing discrimination that had persisted in spite of civil rights laws and constitutional guarantees. It was developed and enforced for the first time by President Johnson. "This is the next and more profound stage of the battle for civil rights," Johnson asserted. "We seek? not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result."

A Temporary Measure to Level the Playing Field

Focusing in particular on education and jobs, affirmative action policies required that active measures be taken to ensure that blacks and other minorities enjoyed the same opportunities for promotions, salary increases, career advancement, school admissions, scholarships, and financial aid that had been the nearly exclusive province of whites. From the outset, affirmative action was envisioned as a temporary remedy that would end once there was a "level playing field" for all Americans.

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

By the late '70s, however, the policy faced backlash epitomized by the famous Bakke case in 1978. Allan Bakke, a white man, had been rejected two years in a row by a medical school that had accepted less-qualified applicants-the schoolreserved 16 out of 100 places for students from marginalized groups. The Supreme Court outlawed inflexible quota systems in affirmative action programs, which in this case had likely violated the 14th amendment. In the same ruling, however, the Court upheld the legality of affirmative action in the abstract, as "the attainment of a diverse student body. clearly is a constitutionally permissible goal for an institution of higher education" and previous civil rights cases allowed for institutions to use whatever means available to achieve goals of diversity. Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 312 (1978).

The Supreme Court: Wary of "Abstractions Going Wrong"

The Supreme Court justices have been divided in their opinions in affirmative action cases, partially because of opposing political ideologies. The Court has approached most of the cases in a piecemeal fashion, focusing on narrow aspects of policy rather than grappling with the whole.

Even in Bakke-the closest thing to a landmark affirmative action case-the Court was split 5-4, and the judges' various opinions were far more nuanced than most glosses of the case indicate. Sandra Day O'Connor, was often characterized in her time as the pivotal judge in such cases because she straddled conservative and liberal views about affirmative action. She was described by University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein as "nervous about rules and abstractions going wrong. She's very alert to the need for the Court to depend on the details of each case."

Landmark Ruling Buttresses Affirmative Action

But in a landmark 2003 case involving the University of Michigan's affirmative action policies-one of the most important rulings on the issue in twenty-five years-the Supreme Court decisively upheld the right of affirmative action in higher education. Two cases, first tried in federal courts in 2000 and 2001, were involved: the University of Michigan's undergraduate program (Gratz v. Bollinger) and its law school (Grutter v. Bollinger). The Supreme Court (5-4) upheld the University of Michigan Law School's policy, ruling that race can be one of many factors considered by colleges when selecting their students because it furthers "a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body." The Supreme Court, however, ruled (6-3) that the more formulaic approach of the University of Michigan's undergraduate admissions program, which uses a point system that rate students and awards additional points to minorities, had to be modified. The undergraduate program, unlike the law school's, did not provide the "individualized consideration" of applicants deemed necessary in previous Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action.

In the Michigan cases, the Supreme Court ruled that although affirmative action was no longer justified as a way of redressing past oppression and injustice, it promoted a "compelling state interest" in diversity at all levels of society. A record number of "friend-of-court" briefs were filed in support of Michigan's affirmative action case by hundreds of organizations representing academia, business, labor unions, and the military, arguing the benefits of broad racial representation. As Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the majority, "In order to cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary that the path to leadership be visibly open to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity."

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Watch the video: Η μάχη του Στάλινγκραντ 1942-1943 (July 2022).


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