Eighty years ago Lindbergh's call for the US to stay out of Europe's war is undercut by the German navy and Detroit isolationists
Colonel Lindbergh spoke at a huge America First rally in Madison Square Gardens to call for the US to abstain from involvement in the European war. His speech was practically a direct attack on the President. He called for "integrity" in national leadership and claimed that the US was being taken towards war by "dictatorship and subterfuge." Without specifically blaming Jews, his comment "there is no danger to this nation from without...our only danger lies from within" left little doubt that his views were unchanged from his infamous speech at Des Moines two months before. Lindbergh gave a further clue to his sympathies with a Nazi salute that belied his claim not to support the Hitler regime. It was also noticeable that the audience included many overt Nazi supporters.
The day afterwards the German navy did its bit to undermine Lindbergh's call. A U boat sank the USN destroyer Reuben James in the Atlantic as it was dropping depth charges in dfence of a convoy. She was the first American warship to be sunk in the war and two-thirds of the 159 men aboard died.
American isolationists too handed a gift to supporters of intervention when they pelted the British ambassador Lord Halifax with eggs in Detroit. This provided an astute British publicist with the opportunity to fabricate a riposte by the peer to his attackers to the effect that they were fortunate compared to the British who had to make do with one egg per week and were grateful for even that. It received wide publicity.
The German thrust into the Crimean peninsula overcame Soviet restistance and reached Sebastopol, which was well-fortified and manned. They had little option but to mount a siege. The port would give them practical control over the Black Sea and deny the Red Army a potential base for counter-attack. As with the siege of Leningrad to the North though, the potential gain from taking the city had to weighed against a major commitment of forces, which would be unavailable to to support the main drive into the Soviet land mass.
The Germans disclosed that the Soviets were successfully detonating large mines left whilst they were retreating. One of the most effective of these had destroyed what had become the Axis headquarters in Odessa, killing 67 including the Rumania military commandant. The attack was blamed on Jews and helped unleash the largest massace yet. An estimated 28,000 to 35,000 Jews were killed in the space of a few days.
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