Different Forms Of Power Projection

The Soviet Union made its first noticeable attempt at territorial expansion. A group was landed by aeroplane on the pack ice at the North Pole where they proceeded to erect a Soviet flag and a portrait of Stalin. This gave concrete substance to a decree of 1926 claiming the region in the abstract. Four scientists were left behind to spend a year at a newly built base, conducting experiments. Of course, the drift of the ice meant that they would have travelled some distance from the Pole over that period. Moscow was not distracted from the normal conduct of business by these excitements and a further 43 Trotskyites were shot in the Soviet Far East for their activities in wrecking the railways.

Belgium was wracked by controversy over an issue that followed the sharp divide between its two linguistic communities that is as bad today as it was then. A bill was presented before parliament granting amnesty to 300 or so citizens sentenced for treason under the German occupation during the First World War. 90% of these came from the Flemish (Dutch) speaking community and the campaign to pass the bill had distinct sectarian overtones. The vote had already been postponed once and large numbers had taken to the streets in demonstrations both for and against.

King George VI reviewed the Royal Navy fleet in impressive array at Spithead. The evening was somewhat spoiled by the BBC’s radio commentator, Lt.-Cmdr. Thomas Woodroffe. He had met some old shipmates in the wardroom of Nelson and celebrated appropriately, but to an extent that was all too evident to his listeners. He kept informing them that the “Fleet is all lit up” in increasingly slurred tones with the additional information that this was being done by “fairy lamps.” The spectacle was so magical that he declared that the fleet was in "fairy land" and when the illuminations were switched off claimed that it had disappeared entirely. He was briefly suspended by the BBC.


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