Today, 67 years ago — V

My copy of Friday’s paper is incomplete, but here are some of the news reported:
  • Japanese troop transports en route to New Guinea have been sunk with horrendous losses of life in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. [To make sure that no Japanese soldiers would get to their destination, US ships were ordered to machine-gun survivors in the water.]
  • The thaw is turning the Eastern front to mud. German troops are encircling a Soviet army near Charkov, but Soviet forces are pushing back the Germans along the front from Ilmen to Orel. British commentators see this as a sign of the Germans pulling back forces in order to prepare for an Anglo-American invasion.
  • Hard fighting continues in Tunisia.
  • Both British night bombers and US day bombers have bombed German targets the previous day.
  • While the German bomb raid against London was very limited, 178 people were killed when a woman stumbled in the stairs to an air raid shelter and the crowd rushing in from the street fell over her.
  • Sweden harbours some 13000 refugees, of which 9000 from Norway.
  • Professor Linkomies has managed to form a new Finnish government, which is presented. [This government would make several peace offers towards the Soviet Union during the following year, but Soviet counterdemands were deemed unacceptable.] Foreign editor Johannnes Wickman analyses the political situation Finland has ended up in, rather critically. Having aligned with Nazi Germany is not an optimal choice.
  • The tradition of called-up conscripts turning up dead drunk must stop.
  • Zarah Leander’s Berlin house has been bombed and she moves back to her manor in Sweden.
  • Nancy and Sluggo continue their metall collecting—even in the haunted house. The mountain lion turns on King’s would-be saviour, a shot is fired…
  • LM Ericsson’s burglar alarms automatically call the police.

A reaction I've had when reading these old papers is that news travelled surprisingly fast—reports from the other end of the Earth are there in the next day’s paper, implying that transoceanic phone cables remain active in spite of the war or that news bureaus have access to radio communications. Very little effort is spent on layout: the news items wrap around the ads, necessitating a search for where on the page a broken column continues, with no visual indication thereof. Many articles are pseudonymous, even though most readers presumably know who’s behind the signature.

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