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Oct 23

Japan rift widens-World War II week by week

Japanese rift widens with United States, Telegram-Tribune October 16, 1941.

As October wound down the trumpets of war sounded louder on two fronts for America.

October 16 — United Press reported that Premier Prince Fumimaro Konoye resigned his government when he failed to negotiate peace with the United States. A strong military government was expected to take over. President Roosevelt canceled his scheduled meetings and consulted with State Department, military and naval advisers. The fear was that the Axis alliance would block shipments to the Siberian Soviet port of Vladivostok.

In San Luis Obispo County farmers were asked to sign pledges to produce "food for defense". The goal was to increase production for five commodities, milk, eggs, hogs, farm gardens, cattle.
A USO building was authorized in San Luis Obispo on the Court school property, the building was expected to cost $75,000 and will include an auditorium, soda fountain, lounge room, two or three club rooms and living quarters and offices for building administrators.
Morro Bay would see $2,091,000 authorized by the house rivers and harbors committee in Washington D.C. The harbor was expected to accommodate vessels up to cruiser size after dredging and breakwater work was completed.
Several Veteran's organizations planned a luncheon to honor draftees due to leave town via Greyhound bus for the induction station in Los Angeles. It was expected that 50 men from the region would leave in the 17th draft call. A report released that morning said that 53 men would be selected from San Luis Obispo and 26 from Paso Robles in the next round.

October 17 — Though not yet officially at war, America suffered what some call the first military casualties of World War II. (This overlooks the five deaths in the 1937 bombing incident on the U.S.S. Panay by the Japanese in China.) A German U-Boat torpedoed the U.S.S. Kearny, a destroyer on convoy duty south west of American defended Iceland. Eleven sailors were killed.
General Eiki Tojo (later spelling would be Hideki Tojo) formed a new government in Japan. A naval spokesman warned that peace talks were over and that the Japanese Navy was "itching for action."

Conflicting reports had the Nazi army as close as 37 miles from the Soviet Capital. Fighting raged street by street as time was running out for the season's offensive operations.
The first snow at the gates of Moscow had melted turning roads to mud. Russian winter, the bane of Napoleon's invasion over a century earlier, would now enter the fray.

In other news on the front page, four hundred truck drivers and carryall operators walked off the job at Camp Cooke (later Vandenberg AFB). The workers had been putting in 60 hours a week and wanted over a dollar an hour more in pay. They claimed the contractor had promised a raise and had failed to follow through. About 3,000 men in total were working on base construction.

Airplane beacons went into operation at San Luis Obispo, one of 15 from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Lastly a Nipomo veteran celebrated his 99th birthday. He had only retired from working four years earlier. The Civil War made the U.S. a smaller place and many, like J.H. Bouchard, traveled west after the conflict. He had been in the 55th Illinois Volunteers during Sherman's march to the sea. Like many he was familiar with the Gettysburg Address. He had seen it delivered for the for first time, by Abraham Lincoln.

U.S.S. Kearny Torpedoed, Telegram-Tribune October 17, 1941

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