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Jul 16

Japan’s cabinet resigns, World War II week by week

Telegram-Tribune July 16, 1941

Ominous news from Japan, the cabinet resigned and was expected to be replaced with leaders who favored war. Potential targets of future aggression were listed as Russia, French Indochina and Siam.

The German invasion of Russia continued. Maps would introduce readers to far off cities with strange names like Smolensk.

President Franklin Roosevelt was walking the line between isolationists who wanted to keep America out of the wars and preparing the nation for what had become a perilous future. Senators grilled U.S. Navy brass about depth charges dropped in the Atlantic. Testimony by Navy Secretary Frank Knox revealed destroyers were only "warning" German submarines. Meanwhile the military was dealing with a problem that vexed leaders as far back as General George Washington during the Revolution. Armies needed manpower signed up for longer terms and without geographical restrictions on their use. Stop loss orders are not unique to our era.

Plans to build what would become Vandenberg Air Force Base were announced July 12.. The facility would first come to be known as Camp Cook and would cover 40,000 acres between the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria rivers. Construction budget was $22,800,000 and was expected to be the biggest national defense project in the region. Three camps with a total population of 70,000 was in the plans. The next generation of military planners would discover the real estate was the perfect pad for launching rockets into a polar orbit.

Camp San Luis hosted war games involving 8,000 troops shivering in the fog as they fought the "Battle of Chorro Valley."

A July 12, 1941 UP story contains an example of institutional racism common at the time, Kharaiti Ram Samaras, 37, a research student at University of California filed a lawsuit challenging a supreme court ruling from 1923 which excluded Hindus from American citizenship. Samras was denied naturalization by a federal judge in 1940 who ruled only white persons or those of African birth or ancestry were eligible for citizenship.

Records were made to be broken.
Except this one.
Never is a long time, but to give a sense of baseball perspective, when Joe DiMaggio did it only four other men in the history of Major League Baseball had 40 game hitting streaks.
Only Pete Rose has done it since. No one had ever hit in 50+ games before or since.
DiMaggio had a good day at the plate, day after day, in an era where air-conditioning was almost nonexistent and teams traveled by train. He was playing for a team in a pennant race that everyone wanted to beat. Granted modern players face more fresh relief pitching and night games but they also are better conditioned, have more complete scouting, video tape to study. Many other records have been demolished in my lifetime. Home runs, stolen bases, even Cal Ripkin broke the other "unbreakable" baseball record, consecutive games played.
To have this level of concentration, consistency and excellence is a thing of wonder.
In the midst of relentless news of war this one ray of optimism was allowed an inch or two on the front page.

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