Joseph Stalin called on his troops to fight to the death.
The Soviet troops were not cowards but their leadership was still earning the trust of a suspicious dictator. It took painful experience to learn how to counter the mechanized lightning warfare unleashed by the German Wehrmacht.
Stalin’s own son Yakov Dzhugashvili had been a prisoner of war for a year. The young artillery regiment lieutenant had been captured July 16, 1941 less than a month from the start of the Nazi invasion.
The son would despair when he heard his father quoted in news reports as saying “There are no prisoners of war, there are only traitors.”
Yakov would die, flinging himself upon the POW camp’s electric fence on April 15, 1943.
The dictator’s son had found out his father had ordered the massacre of 15,000 Poles at Katyn in 1940 when the Poland was carved up by the then German and Russian allies.
Yakov had made friends with Polish POWs and had made two abortive escape attempts with them.
Stalin had authorized Soviet Military Intelligence to make rescue attempts in 1942 but nothing came of it.
In news 70 years ago from the Central Coast, juvenile delinquency cases were on the rise. The county probation office was recording three and a half times the number of cases as the year before. Alcohol, malicious mischief and minor girls involved in sex cases all were issues. The county was undergoing a rapid influx of new residents and soldiers were filling huge new training camps.
Included in this report is the story of the California Lettuce Growers association, in Guadalupe, who attempted to replace Japanese workers with child labor. The Japanese had endured forced relocation to internment camps away from the coast.
The association was surprised to find that the untrained and inexperienced teens cost two and a half times more per box of lettuce.
The probation department suggested that a full time, year round recreation program help keep young people busy in a positive way.