8 January 1943
Von Paulus turns down Soviet surrender terms at Stalingrad.
8 January 1943 - History
20th November 1940
An Army Air Corps directive orders the formation (on paper) of 35 new combat groups. 15 of these are Pursuit Groups. The 56th Pursuit Group is allocated the 61st, 62nd and 63rd Pursuit Squadrons.
14th January 1941
The 56th Pursuit Group is activated when 3 officers and 150 enlisted are ordered to report to the National Guard armoury in Savanna Georgia.
6th May 1941
The new Republic P-47 Thunderbolt makes its maiden flight.
Late May 1941
The 56th Fighter Group moves to Charlotte, North Carolina. Major Davis Graves takes command of the group.
The Army Air Corps becomes the Army Air Force. The 56th Fighter Group receives its first aircraft. 10 well worn Curtiss P-36s followed later in the month by three equally worn Bell YP-39 Airacobras.
To aid the 56th's effectiveness in a series of US Army exercises, the group receives its first new aircraft in the form of 10 Bell P-39s.
7th December 1941
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour earlier in the day, Major Graves warns the groups' personnel to be ready to move at short notice.
10th December 1941
In order to provide air cover along the Atlantic coast of North and South Carolina, the 56th Group is split into three sections. The group HQ and 61st FS move to Charleston. 62nd and 63rd squadrons move to Wilmington and Myrtle Beach respectively.
Late December 1941
A selection of aircraft are allocated to the group. These include Seversky P-35s, Curtiss P-36s and Republic P-43s. Along with these new aircraft more worn P-39s and P-40s are delivered. Captain Richard Games and Captain Loren McCollum are tasked with checking out newly arrived pilots on the various types of aircraft arriving. This takes place at Wilmington. The 56th's aircraft at this time would later be described by one squadron's Engineering Officer as “an assortment of junk”
The anniversary of the group's activation sees a move to the New York area where the 56th is to provide air cover for the city.
Group HQ is set up at the National Guard armoury at Teaneck, New Jersey. 62nd FS make their new home at Bendix Airport, New Jersey. The 61st FS moves to Bridgeport Municipal Airport, Connecticut while the 63rd FS sets up its operations at a new airfield adjacent to the Republic aircraft factory at Farmingdale on Long Island.
Pilots begin to train on the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, which the 56th is expected to become the standard aircraft for the group in the months ahead.
Lt Hubert Zemke arrives at 56th Group HQ in Teaneck. After serving in both Britain and Russia assisting the respective air forces in operating the Curtiss P-40, Lt Zemke is surprised to find that he has been assigned the post of “Group G-4, Assistant Material Officer”. It becomes obvious that production of the P-38 Lightning at that time cannot meet demand and the three squadrons start to re-equip with the Curtiss P-40F. The first production P-47B's are produced by the Republic facility at Farmingdale. Being based so close to the factory the 56th Fighter Group is an obvious choice to be equipped with the new fighter.
15th May 1942
The Army Air Corps “Pursuit” groups are re-designated “Fighter” Groups. Squadron designations follow suite.
26th May 1942
The first Thunderbolt is received by the Army Air Force, and the 63rd FS becomes the first fighter squadron to fly the new fighter. The 56th becomes the service troubleshooter for the P-47.
The 62nd Fighter Squadron moves to Newark Municipal Airport. Operations Officer Lieutenant Robert Knowle becomes the first fatality on the 21st June. The suspected cause of the crash is ballooning of the fabric covered control services and production of these areas switches to metal covered elevators and rudders.
On the 25th Lt Colonel Graves bales out of a P-47B after the turbo-supercharger disintegrates and the aircraft catches fire.
Major organisational changes take place. The Headquarters Squadron is disbanded and Group HQ joins the 61st FS at Bridgeport.
Lt Col John Crosthwaite takes over command of the group when Lt Col Graves leaves to take command of the New York Air Defense Wing. The 62nd Fighter Squadron moves to Bradley Field due to the runway at Newark being deemed too short for safe operation of the P-47.
The decision is taken by Army Air Force Command to prepare the 56th Fighter Group for service overseas. The 63rd FS moves to Bridgeport and joins Group Headquarters and the 61st FS. Hubert Zemke becomes the new Group Commander. A few of the new P-47C's are received by the group.
On November 13th 63rd FS pilots Roger Dyer and Harold Comstock are tasked with checking out a new type of radio mast due to structural failures of the original type during high speed dives. From 35,000 feet and flying at over 400 mph the pair dive the P-47s and almost immediately both aircraft's control surfaces become jammed due to the effects of compressibility on the airframe. It's only when the aircraft reach the thicker air at lower altitude that the pilots are able to attain normal control of the aircraft. During the dives the cockpit speed indicators had shown a maximum speed of 725 mph. Faster than the speed of sound! While in reality the actual speed was probably more in the region of 500mph the Republic press office take full advantage of the opportunity to declare that the P-47 Thunderbolt had broken the sound barrier.
On Thanksgiving Day the 56th Fighter Group is alerted for movement overseas.
The 56th Fighter Group is ordered to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey to be ready for the move overseas.
Around the same time the 33rd Service Group also move to the camp.
6th January 1943
The 56th Fighter Group personnel are amongst almost 12,000 troops packed on the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth which has been pressed into service as a high speed troop transport ship. Members of the 33rd Service group are also aboard.
12th January 1943
After six days at sea the Queen Elizabeth docks at Gourock in Scotland.
13th January 1943
The 56th Fighter Group arrives at RAF King's Cliffe in Northamptonshire. Due to insufficient accommodation being available the 63rd FS is allocated barrack space at nearby RAF Wittering.
25th January 1943
The first P-47C Thunderbolts arrive at King's Cliffe.
More P-47s arrive throughout the month. Col Zemke is asked if he would take on an American officer who has been flying combat missions with a RAF Spitfire squadron. Captain F. Gabreski arrives at King's Cliffe on the 27th. Arrangements are made for the 56th to undertake gunnery practice on RAF ranges. Seven P-47s are temporarily based at Lanbedr in Wales. Goxhill and Matlaske in the east of England are also used.
10th March 1943
The P-47 Thunderbolt flies its first operational mission with the 4th FG. American and British media visit King's Cliffe to see the new fighter for themselves.
29th March 1943
The Duke and Duchess Of Gloucester visit King's Cliffe.
Around this time white recognition bands are ordered to be painted around the P-47's cowling, rudder, and elevators to avoid the Thunderbolts being mistaken for the only other radial engined fighter in Europe, the German FW190. The three squadrons are allocated code letters. The 61st is HV, 62nd LM, and the 63rd UN.
5th April 1943
The 56th move again. This time to Horsham St Faith near Norwich. For the first time since the early days at Charlotte, all three squadrons are now based on the same airfield.
8th April 1943
The first operational flight takes place when the 56th provided a flight of four aircraft in a combined operation fighter sweep with the 4th and 78th group. Pilots are Hubert Zemke, David Schilling, John McClure and Eugene O'Neill.
13th April 1943
The 56th FG flies its first operational mission. A Rodeo (Fighter sweep) of the St Omer area.
29th April 1943
The group meets enemy aircraft for the first time and sustains its first casualties. Lt Winston Garth and Cpt John McClure of the 62nd FS are forced to bale out and become the groups first prisoners of war.
4th May 1943
The group flies its first RAMROD. (Bomber escort) covering B-17s on a mission to Antwerp.
8th May 1943
Lt Col Zemke is promoted to full Colonel.
9th June 1943
61st FS commander Loren McCollom takes up the newly created position of Flying Executive Officer. Col Zemke makes Cpt Francis Gabreski the new squadron commander, deeming him more suitable to take command than the deputy commander due to his earlier combat experience with the RAF.
12th June 1943
Walter Cook (62nd FS) shoots down an Fw190 to record the groups first enemy aircraft confirmed destroyed.
26th June 1943
The group stages to Manston for a Ramrod to Villecoublay and is bounced by Fw190s of JG26. Four P-47s are shot down and ten more damaged. In addition to this another pilot is forced to bail out after damaged sustained makes a safe landing impossible. After being blown out over the sea in his parachute Lt Ralph Johnson is quickly picked up by a civilian fishing boat and returns to Horsham. All four pilots shot down are later found to have been killed.
During the action earlier that day, Lt Gerry Johnson spots a single P-47 flying straight and level being chased by two Fw190s, one of which is covering the other as it fires on the Thunderbolt. Diving down to engage, Johnson opens fire on the Fw190 attacking the P-47 which is still taking no evasive action.
The enemy aircraft explodes under the Thunderbolt's fire and Johnson sees the P-47 which it was attacking continuing to fly straight and level in the direction of Manston, before the turns and attempts to locate the second Fw190. Upon landing at Manston himself, Johnson finds another of the group's Johnsons, Lt Robert Johnson, telling how a chivalrous German pilot, after continually attacking his already battle-damaged aircraft, had flown alongside and saluted him before turning away. Not wanting to “spoil his glory” (Gerald Johnson's words in his book “Called To Command”) Gerry Johnson says nothing at the time. The story of Robert Johnson and Half Pint has since gone down in 56th FG history, helped most likely due to the account of the incident in Bob Johnson's book “Thunderbolt”, written in the 1950s with Martin Caidin. Charles Clamp and Robert Johnson become the 56th's first recipients of the Purple Heart.
Later in the month the group receives orders to prepare to move again.
8th Air Force Fighter Command tasks the group with responsibility for the air defence of the US airfields in the area. One squadron at a time operates from RAF Fighter Command airfields in Kent while undergoing training for this. The 61st is the first to spend a week on this duty starting on 6th July.
8th July 1943
The group moves from the comforts of the prewar buildings at Horsham to the new, and still unfinished Station 365 at Halesworth, Suffolk. The enterprising 62nd FS commander David Schilling takes possession of the abandoned High Trees farmhouse and turns it into the squadron headquarters. It soon becomes known as Schilling's Acres. Nearby Holton Hall, which has been standing empty, becomes the Officers Quarters.
19th July 1943
The groups first DFC is awarded to Col. Zemke.
20th July 1943
The 8th Air Force's “Top Brass” visit Halesworth. General Hoyt, Colonel Auton, Major Burley and Captain Rathbone preside over the first presentation of combat awards to the group.
29th July 1943
America's top scoring fighter ace of WW1, Cpt Eddie Rickenbacker visits Halesworth and addresses the gathered personnel.
12th August 1943
Todays Ramrod to Gelsenkircken sees the first use of drop tanks by the 56th Fighter Group. 200 gallon “ferry tanks” are used. The tanks prove to be unstable and due to their inability to be pressurised are of no use at high altitude.
17th August 1943
During the second mission of the day, supporting the B-17's returning from the epic Schweinfurt/Regensburg mission, the 56th is able to fly further into occupied Europe than before and surprise the German fighters. In the ensuing battle the 56th claims 17-1-9 (later ammended). 12 pilots claim victories and 3 of the 56th pilots are lost. One of the German pilots killed that day is the commanding officer of II/JG26, Major Ferdinand “Wutz” Galland.
18th August 1943
Loren McCollum is transferred to the 353rd FG and assumes command. David Schilling takes over as Deputy CO of the 56th and Cpt Horace Craig moves up to become 62nd FS Commander.
19th August 1943
Captain Gerald Johnson destroys an Fw190 to become the group's first ace (later disputed in a reassessment of combat claims)
23rd August 1943
Schilling leads the group for the first time. Today's mission is recorded as being the last using the 200 gal “Bathtub” tanks.
25th August 1943
Work commences on the installation of fusalage shackles on the P-47s to enable the use of pressurised 75 gallon drop tanks.
17th September 1943
Eighth Air Force Commander Ira C Eaker visits Halesworth. News reporters interview Cpt Gerald Johnson for an article on Fighter Aces.
30th September 1943
Maj Phillip Tukey is transferred to 8th Fighter Command as Operations Officer. Cpt Sylvester Burke assumes command of the 63rd FS.
1st October 1943
Walker Mahurin and Frank McCauley become the groups first recipients of the Silver Star.
2nd October 1943
“Hub” Zemke scores his 5th victory to become an Ace.
4th October 1943
The group flies then longest mission yet flown by Thunderbolts when it escorts bombers on a raid on Frankfurt. Group claims are 15-2-1.
10th October 1943
Schilling scores his 5th victory to join the ranks of 8th Air Force Aces.
15th October 1943
Glen Schiltz of the 63rd FS receives the first DSC awarded to a member of the 56th.
16th October 1943
Col Zemke is award the British DFC.
29th October 1943
Col Zemke temporarily hands command of the group to Col Robert Landry when he returns to the USA for a lecture tour. During preparations for this Zemke had convinced 8th Air Force command that a documentary film would be a better aid in understanding how fighter missions were operated. The resulting film was called “Ramrod To Emden” and today provides a great insight into the 56th at that time.
5th November 1943
The group scores 6-0-3 during a Ramrod to Munster and becomes the first group to score 100 victories.
7th November 1943
Robert Sheehan of the 63rd FS fails to return from the mission today. He evades capture and later becomes the group's first pilot to successfully return to the UK.
21st November 1943
HQ 56th FG and 33rd Service Group combine to form Station Headquarters.
25th November 1943
The group flies its first fighter-bomber mission using 500lb bombs.
26th November 1943
On a Ramrod to Bremen the 56th uses the 108 Gall drop tanks for the first time. With a score of 23-3-9 the 56th sets a new ETO record. Prior to take off, Lt Christensen's pet cat “Sinbad” was found in the parachute store. As the pilots attempted to chase him out, he jumped from parachute to parachute. On return from the mission it was discovered that every pilot whose parachute Sinbad had settled on scored a victory that day. After that day, Sinbad moved into the parachute store, with Schilling supplying a comfortable pillow and a saucer of milk.
29th November 1943
Cpt Gerald Johnson is temporarily transferred to the recently arrived 365th Fighter Group to assist in the group's entry into combat.
December 11th 1943
Another high scoring day for the 56th with claims of 17-0-6. During this month P-47s begin to be flown to Wattisham to have the new paddle blade propellors fitted.
4th January 1944
Today's Ramrod was the first mission when all of the groups P-47Ds used the paddleblade propellers.
11th January 1944
For the first time the 56th puts up an A and B group on a single mission.
12th January 1944
A first anniversary of the 56th Fighter Group's arrival in the ETO.
13th January 1944
Major James Stewart takes command of the 61st FS
19th January 1944
Col Zemke returns to Halesworth and resumes command of the group. During his absence the group had been offered the new P-51 Mustang but Col Landry refused, prefering to continue to use the P-47. A decision no doubt influenced by Schilling.
20th January 1944
Maj. Gabreski becomes Deputy Flying Executive and Operations Officer.
24th January 1944
A new tactic is tried by the 8th and the 56th flies its first “Bouncing Squadron” Mission.
25th January 1944
After being shot down on November 7th 1943, Robert Sheehan returns to the ETO.
30th January 1944
On todays Ramrod mission the group files claims of 16-1-6 and scores its 200th victory which it dedicates to President Roosevelt on his birthday.
3rd February 1944
Horace Craig becomes the first pilot in the 56th to complete his 200 hour tour of duty.
9th February 1944
Leroy Schreiber takes command of the 62nd FS.
11th February 1944
The new commander of the 8th Air Force, General James Doolittle lifts all restrictions on ground strafing. The pilots were now free to look for targets of opportunity after being released from their bomber escort, a move that was very popular on all levels. The same day Col Zemke opens the group's strafing account destroying an Me109 on the ground.
15th February 1944
In another first for the 56th, the group adopts coloured cowlings on its P-47's. Using the old squadron colours from 1942 the 61st FS cowlings are painted red, 62nd yellow, and 63rd blue. A few weeks later, the red cowling would be adopted by the group as a whole with the squadron colours moving to the rudders, the exception to this being the 63rd FS who didn't adopt the coloured rudder until later in the summer.
19th February 1944
Maj Gerald Johnson returns to Halesworth from the 365th FG and takes command of the 63rd FS. Maj Burke is transferred to 2nd Bomb Division Headquarters.
20th February 1944
The Ramrod to Leipzig today sees the first use of the new 150 Gal drop tanks by the 56th.
22nd February 1944
The 61st FS becomes the first squadron in the ETO to score 100 victories. Up until the middle of this month the 56th had been known as Zemke's Avengers. During the later half of February the “Stars And Stripe” journalists coined the phrase “Zemke's Wolfpack” by which the 56th will be forever known.
4th March 1944
The 8th launches it first mission against the Berlin. Today's attempt was largely abortive.
6th March 1944
The bombers raided Berlin and todays raid produced the largest air battle yet seen over Europe. 81 fighters were claimed by the American fighter groups. 11 of these were credited to the 56th.
8th March 1944
Target Berlin once again and the 56th sets another record with claims of 27-2-9 air and 2-2-5 ground, passing the 300 destroyed mark. Walker “Bud” Mahurin becomes the top scoring ace in the ETO. The 56th loses 5 pilots today. 3 are killed and 2 become prisoners of war.
14th March 1944
“Brass Hats Day” at Halesworth when the top USAAF officers visit. Lt Gen Spaatz, Lt Gen Doolittle, Maj Gen Kepner and Brig Gen Auton are in attendance, and Col Zemke is awarded the DSC.
15th March 1944
Robert S Johnson overtakes Mahurin to become the leading ace in the ETO and is promoted to Captain.
22nd March 1944
For the first time the 56th is able to dispatch A, B, and C Groups for today's Ramrod-Berlin.
27th March 1944
A bad day for the 56th when two of its leading Aces are among the four pilots who fail to return from todays mission. Walker Mahurin is shot down by the rear gunner of the Dornier he is attacking. Gerry Johnson was hit while strafing and bellylanded his P-47. While attempting to land and pick Johnson up, his wingman Lt Everett hit a tree and damaged his P-47 so badly that he crashed into the sea off the coast of France and was killed. While Gerry Johnson and the fourth pilot lost that day, James Fields became POW's. “Bud” Mahurin evaded capture and returned to the UK some weeks later.
29th March 1944
2 B-24s collide during their group formation and crash at Henham, a few miles from the 56th's base at Halesworth. During rescue operations the bomb load of one Liberator explodes and 6 men from the airfield are killed. Among them are 62nd FS ace Stanley “Fats” Morrill and enlisted man Benny Cala. Also lost are Sgt Joseph Trembly of the 33rd Service Group, Lyle Densmore and Richard Weigland of the 2010th FF/Plt and one member of the 1181st MP unit, Tennys Wilcox.
5th April 1944
Today saw the first strafing sweep of enemy airfields but no claims were made.
13th April 1944
Major Gabreski takes command of the 61st FS. James Stewart is transferred to 8th Fighter Command.
15th April 1944
Despite scoring 17 kills during todays mission it was a bad day for the group when the 62nd lost its popular commander Maj Leroy Schreiber. Charles Harrison and Dick Mudge also failed to return with Mudge becoming a POW. Maj Lucian Dade is transferred from Group Headquarters to take over command of the 62nd FS.
18th April 1944
The last mission flown from Halesworth.
Lt Col Schilling led A group and B group was led by Maj Lamb. Upon breaking escort both groups landed at the 56ths new base. Station 150 at Boxted, Essex.
24th April 1944
After breaking escort from the bombers the 56th strafe Thalheim airfield resulting in claims for 14-0-15 (ground)
27th April 1944
Today sees the first recorded mission under the RAF Type 16 radar control.
28th April 1944
The first dive bombing mission sees 24 P-47s each carrying twelve 20 pound M41 fragmentation bombs and depositing them on an unidentified airfield near Paris due to the primary target of Orleans/Bricy airfield being covered by cloud.
During April a ground officer of the 56th became an “Ace”, on paper at least. The group's Air Inspector, Maj Wilbur Watson had begun collecting the thirteenth kill from the group's top scoring pilots. This unusual practice had started when Robert Johnson had donated his thirteenth kill to the “desk weenie”. Lt Col Schilling donated his thirteenth and so did Maj Gabreski and Cpt Joe Powers. When Col Zemke destroyed four enemy aircraft on April 15th he in turn donated his 13th kill and Watson became the group's “Desk Ace”.
Around this time the amount of pilots finishing their tours led to an acute shortage of pilots amongst
some of longer serving Fighter Groups. More Polish pilots were persuaded to join up with the Polish contingent
in the 61st FS and volunteers were sought from 8th Bomber Command with six of these coming to the 56th at Boxted.
Captains Robert Johnson and Joe Powers were moved from the 61st to the 62nd FS
to boost the gap left by pilots returning the USA.
5th May 1944
Walker Mahurin visits Boxted after evading capture when shot down in March. He later returns to combat in the Pacific theatre.
8th May 1944
Robert S Johnson scores two victories today and beats Eddie Rickenbackers WW1 score of 26 to become the highest scoring pilot in the ETO with 27 confirmed kills.
12th May 1944
Today's mission sees the 56th sweeping ahead of the bombers instead of the usual closer support in an attempt to disrupt the Luftwaffe fighters forming up for their preferred head on attacks. Known as the “Zemke Fan” the new tactic results in claims of 18-2-2. Lt Robert “Shorty” Rankin scores 5 victories and the 56th passes the 400 destroyed mark.
16th May 1944
The 56th Fighter Group is awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its performance in combat during the period 20th February to 9th March 1944. The first three P-47D-25s arrive at Boxted. The new Thunderbolt features a “bubble” canopy giving much better
all round visibilty than the original “Razorback”, and larger fuel capacity. The first of the new “Superbolts” goes to Hub Zemke, with the others being allocated to Gabreski and Dade.
19th May 1944
The Ramrod to Brunswick sees the debut of the new “Bubbletop” P-47 with the 56th.
22nd May 1944
A mission to Hassalt in Holland sees the 56ths first attempt at “glide bombing”. 24 P-47s carrying 46 500lb bombs between them attacked a railway bridge from varying heights and dive angles.
27th May 1944
Maj Robert Lamb finishes his tour of duty and Capt Donald Goodfleisch takes command of the 63rd FS.
30th May 1944
Flying a glass fronted P-38 “droopsnoot” Lighting fitted with a Norden bombsight and Lt Ezzel of the 20th BG as bombardier Col Zemke leads 24 Thunderbolts on a bombing mission. 16 of the P-47s carry 1000lb bombs under the fusalage while the remaining 8 fly top cover. The rail bridge at Chantilly is destroyed.
31st May 1944
Armed with 500lb bombs the P-47s of the 56th carry out another “Droopsnoot” mission led by Col Zemke. The target today is an airfield at Gutersloh which is attacked with excellent results. In a further attempt to ease the dearth of experienced pilots due to so many finishing their 200 hour tours the duration is increased by 15 missions.
5th June 1944
The group's aircraft are ordered to be painted with 18 inch wide black and white bands around the rear fuselage and on the top and bottom surfaces of the wings. Nobody is allowed to enter the base at Boxted and any visitors are detained.
6th June 1944
The 56th flies eight missions in support of the Allied invasion. First take off is at 03.36hrs
7th June 1944
The 56th flies another 8 missions today and claims 12-1-4. 5 pilots fail return. Two of these, W. McClure and E. Bennett of the 62nd FS evade capture.
Throughout the month the 56th flies extensively in support of the Allied invasion forces. A combination of the type of mission flown, mostly dive bombing attacks, and bad weather over the continent, coupled with the Allied supremacy over the area keeps air kills by the 56th lower than might have been expected during this period of action.
4th July 1944
The 56th celebrates Independence Day by becoming the first fighter group to pass the 500 destroyed mark.
Francis “Gabby” Gabreski destroys an Me 109 bringing his score to 28 confirmed kills making him the top scoring fighter pilot in the ETO.
7th July 1944
Capt Fred Christensen scores 6 victories in one day. All the aircraft shot down are JU52 Transports.
17th July 1944
On his return from leave Joseph Egan begins his second tour and takes over command of the 63rd FS. Only two days later he is killed in action. Harold “Bunny” Comstock takes over command of the squadron.
20th July 1944
With his bags packed Francis Gabreski is due to leave Boxted, along with James Carter and begin his leave in the USA. The day's mission, a Ramrod to Russelsheim appeals to Gabreski and he decides to fly one more mission. His 166th. After leaving the bombers the 61st FS seek out targets of opportunity and strafe Bassinheim airfield. Streaking low across the airfield Gabreski gets just a little too low and hits the ground with his propeller which results in having to make a belly landing just outside the airfield perimeter.
After a short period on the run Gabreski is captured and spends the remainder of hostilities in a POW camp. Gordon Baker takes over command of the 61st FS.
25th July 1944
Another “droopsnoot” mission with Schilling leading 35 P-47's and Col Zemke flying the P-38 the group take off at 18.20. Each P-47 carries a 150Gal drop tank filled with oil, with the targets including a fuel dump at Fournival. The group is warned of an impending attack and jettisons the tanks. When the attack fails to materialise they content themselves with strafing the original targets.
Zemke's P-38 is hit by flak over Montdidier and he returns to Boxted minus the starboard propeller. On landing the P-38s brakes fail and Zemke ends the mission in a field at the end of the runway.
The month's missions continue to consist mainly of dive bombing and strafing in support of the Allied invasion.
11th August 1944
Gen Griswold at 8th Fighter Command informs Col Zemke that he wants Lt Col Schilling to take over command of the latest fighter group to arrive in the ETO. The 479th FG based at Wattisham and flying P-38s who had just lost their commanding officer over France. When informed of this, Schilling's reaction was most unfavourable and he is reported as having expressed his feelings on the matter with a succession of expletives. Nobody in the 56th was more surprised than Schilling when Zemke, having predicted Schilling's reaction and already having made the decision in his own mind, announced “Ok Dave, You take the 56th and I'll take the 479th!” After receiving official approval from 8th Fighter Command, Zemke addresses personnel in the Number 1 hangar at Boxted before leaving for Wattisham.
12th August 1944
Lt Col David C Schilling takes command of the 56th Fighter Group, leading his first mission as Group Commander at 04.46 on a dive bombing mission against the marshalling yards at Charleville.
13th August 1944
Lucian Dade becomes the new Deputy Group CO. Mike Quirk takes command of the 62nd FS.
15th August 1944
Col Schilling leads the group in their first use of wing mounted M10 rocket launchers. The target is marshalling yards at Braine-le Compe. Two of the P-47s were fitted with the rockets while the rest carried a mixture of 250lb bombs, 500lb bombs and 260lb fragmentation bombs.
17th August 1944
M10 rockets were again used by some aircraft in another raid on railway related targets. Results were inconclusive regarding accuracy and the rocket tubes were found to affect drag and stability on the aircraft.
31st August 1944
Seven V1 Doodlebugs pass over or near Boxted with one exploding less than two miles away and having the audacity to interrupt a talk being given outside number 2 hangar by Lt Col Schilling!
Dive bombing and strafing continue to form the vast majority of missions flown by the group culminating in missions supporting Operation Market Garden. During the previous few weeks two enterprising 41st Service Squadron S/Sgt's, Thurman Schreel and Charles Taylor, had been working in their spare time converting a War Weary P-47D-11 into a two seater. Christened "Category E", the "Doublebolt" as it was also known makes its first flight on September 10th with Lt.Col Schilling at the controls. Its main use is as a liaison aircraft and some groundcrew also take the opportunity to experience a flight in a Thunderbolt.
17th September 1944
The target today was the marshalling yard at Amersfoort couple with Flak-Busting in support of the Airborne Operations. Over the target Lt Col Schilling was hit by flak but managed to get back to Boxted in his damaged P-47 “Hairless Joe” and crash landed when the starboard undercarriage leg folded.
18th September 1944
Flak Busting-Holland - the costliest mission in the history of the 56th Fighter Group. Sixteen pilots failed to return. Of the returning P-47s, 15 had suffered battle damage. Of the sixteen pilots who didnt return, 8 had bailed out or force landed in Allied held territory, 3 were wounded and returned to the USA, 1 was killed when belly landing his stricken P-47, another was known to have become a POW and 3 were posted missing. 3 of the 56th pilots, G.Stevens E. Raymond and T. Edwards lost their lives that day. For this mission the 56th Fighter Group was awarded its second Distinguished Unit Citation.
From 22nd September the groups missions for the rest of the month consisted of Rodeos and Ramrods. There are not thought to have been any complaints from the 56th pilots.
26th September 1944
Lucian Dade returns to the USA on compassionate leave and Maj Baker takes over as Group Flying Executive Officer. Donovan Smith assumes command of the 61st FS.
Octobers missions continued as Septembers ended with all but two of the missions flown that month being Ramrods.
25th October 1944
During the Ramrod to Gelsenkirchen Major L Smith, leading the group is reported to have used the 62nd FS as flak decoy for the bombers.
1st November 1944
The start of the month sees the 56th claiming their first victory against the new German Me262 Jet. The “kill” was shared between the 56th and 352nd Fighter Groups.
More Ramrod missions continued throughout November along with a small number of strafing/dive bombing missions. The end of the month saw the British MEW (Micro Early Warning) system moved to the continent and the 56th found itself flying more missions under MEW control in an attempt to seek out and destroy the Luftwaffe.
All the missions flown this month by the 56th were under MEW control.
2nd December 1944
The fighters of the 8th claim 32 enemy aircraft shot down with the 56th accounting for 11 of these.
4th December 1944
After a succession of vectors onto friendly aircraft by MEW control,the 56th strafes the airfield at Neuberg resulting in claims of 14-1-12 (ground). However the biggest adversary the 56th faced this day was the weather. By 22.10, when the first report was sent to Wing HQ, of the 49 aircraft despatched by the 56th that day, 4 were early returns and 21 had not yet returned. While it was known that some of these had landed at Allied bases on the continent to refuel, 9 were later found to be wrecked through bail outs or crash landings. The only casualty that day was Maj Hall, who was injured when landing in his parachute in Brittany. It took four days for all the pilots to return to Boxted with the exception of Hall who was in hospital in France.
23rd December 1944
A historic day for the 56th and Col Schilling. Anticipating that the break in the weather would encourage the Luftwaffe to be up in force supporting the German counter offensive, the 56th, under MEW control, was over the Bonn area. After spotting no less than three German formations Schilling asked MEW control why they hadn't spotted them he was told “Don't worry, stay on original vector for bigger game at 22'000 to 23'000 feet”. The “bigger game” turned out to be two huge formations of Fw190s, estimated to be around 250 in total. Outnumbered by five to one, but with the advantage of height and surprise, Schilling ordered the 61st and 63rd squadrons to attack one formation while he led the 62nd to hit the second formation. In the battle that ensued, ranging from
26'000 feet to ground level, the 56th destroyed 32 fighters confirmed, one probable and fourteen damaged. At the briefing before the mission Schilling had informed the pilots that the 56th had been responsible for 25% of the 8th Air Force victories. On this day however, the 56th accounted for over 50% of the enemy aircraft to fall that day. They not only created another group record but took the 56th's total to well over 800 aircraft destroyed. 3 of the 56th's pilots failed to return and two of these were killed. Schilling destroyed 5 enemy aircraft in this action and was awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Distinguished Service Cross and a commendation for “outstanding heroism and splendid leadership.” Later that day Schilling attended a party at a Colchester Officer's Club for children whose fathers were prisoners of war. and played Santa Claus.
30th December 1944
Maj Harold Comstock led his 130th and final mission of his second tour although he retained command of the 63rd FS for another three weeks.
3rd January 1945
The 56th begins to receive the new P-47M model. The 56th is the only group to fly the M model operationally and the group's individuality is furthered by each squadron adopting a unique paint scheme for its aircraft. The 61st FS aircraft wore all black upper surfaces, the 62nd FS aircraft took on a green/grey disruptive pattern while the 63rd FS also decided on a disruptive pattern using two shades of blue. All the aircraft retain unpainted lower surfaces.
5th January 1945
The group's first high level bombing mission under MEW control. Flying the last mission of his second tour today is 61st FS commander Donovan Smith. James Carter takes over and becomes the last combat commander of the 61st FS. Today's mission also turns out to be Col Schilling's last combat flight.
6th January 1945
Celebrations at Boxted mark the 2nd anniversary of the group's arrival in the ETO.
10th January 1945
A heavy overnight snowfall causes problems at many of the 8th's airfields which will hamper operations over the next few days. Despite the weather 900 heavy bombers are able to carry out their missions.
14th January 1945
In clear skies over Europe the depleted Luftwaffe comes up to take on the “Mighty Eighth”. Seven of the “heavies” are lost and 5 more damaged to badly to be repaired. 293 others receive varying degrees of damage. The bombers' claims today are 31-9-7 while the fighter groups combined total is 155-0-25. The 56th accounts for 19-2-1 on its mission today which also sees the first mission to feature the new P-47M. Capt Williamson is the 56th's top scorer today with 5 confirmed, taking his total to 15.5. He would later be awarded the DSC for this mission.
20th January 1945
Paul Conger takes command of the 63rd FS.
26th January 1945
More changes in the command structure as Felix Williamson assumes command of the 62nd FS. Leslie Smith moves up to Deputy Group CO. Biggest change in the 56th is Col Schilling's transfer to the 65th Fighter Wing.
27th January 1945
Lucian Dade becomes the new 56th Fighter Group Commanding Officer.
During January the 61st FS becomes the first of the group's squadrons to convert to the P-47M. Engine and ignition problems begin to plague the new fighter, preventing the 61st from flying any missions in the M during January and early February. Having transferred out its old D models, the 61st was reliant on using P-47Ds from the other two squadrons. The workload for the ground crews at this time was particularly heavy, especially for the 62nd and 63rd squadrons.
3rd February 1945
The 62nd FS begins to convert to the P-47M but unlike the 61st it retains some of its D models.
9th February 1945
Inspection of a P-47M which is crash landed by George Bradley after an engine failure reveals the cause as another case of a cracked ignition harness, and replacement of the existing harnesses with a new neoprene cased one commences. The fault was very similar to what had been experienced over two years before with the earlier P-47 types.
17th February 1945
The 63rd FS starts its own conversion to the P-47M and also retains many of its P-47Ds while the group continues to experience trouble with the new arrivals.
26th February 1945
More engine problems with the P-47M, traced to split poppet valve diaphragms in the Bendix carburettors, lead to all 67 of the aircraft currently at Boxted being grounded. Engineers from Bendix are able to manufacture replacement gaskets using British materials and all aircraft were modified with 24 hours. The group's operations were affected by the P-47M's unreliablity and most of the 14 missions flown that month were only 2 squadron missions using the 62nd and 63rd squadrons P-47 Ds. A frustrating time for all, although by the end of the month it is believed that all the problems with the new model have been overcome and the last P-47Ds are withdrawn from Boxted.
4th March 1945
For the first time the 62nd FS fields an all P-47M formation for today's Ramrod-Aschaffenberg. However, 6 of its 14 aircraft experience engine problems, mostly involving loss of power, and return early.
5th March 1945
Today's area support over the Hamburg area sees all three squadrons airborne on a mission for the first time in a month. 51 P-47s leave Boxted and 5 abort with engine problems.
11th March 1945
2nd Lt Frank Aheron, flying the P-47M which had originally been claimed by Col Schilling as his personal aircraft in January, is killed during a training flight. Piston failure is found to be the cause.
12th March 1945
Another oil loss related engine failure causes 2nd Lt Alfred Bolender to make an emergency landing in Belgium.
13th March 1945
61st FS pilots Luther Hines and Richard Tuttle are killed following a collision during a training flight.
14th March 1945
2nd Lt Earl Townsends P-47M develops an oil leak during today's Ramrod. While returning to Boxted the aircraft's engine fails while still over the North Sea and while bailing out 2nd Lt Townsend is believed to have struck the aircraft's tail and is killed.
15th March 1945
Another engine failure results in the death of 63rd FS's Lt Willard Scherz.
16th March 1945
Once again all the P-47Ms are grounded.
War Weary P-51 Mustangs are sent to Boxted. Pilots reluctantly begin transition training while ground crews, Republic technicians, engineers from Pratt and Whitney and 8th Air Force Technical staff renew their efforts to solve the problems with the P-47M.
One crew chief notices that it's becoming easier to pull the propeller of his assigned P-47M through, and compression tests are conducted with telling results.
A stripped down engine revealed that rust was present on the iron piston rings and that on engines with low compression readings oil was being pumped up the breather line increasing the pressure and causing failures. The cause of the rust being traced to inadequate protection against the salt water atmosphere of the Atlantic crossings. It was decided to change all engines in P-47Ms with less than 50 hours engine time and over three quarters of the group's aircraft received new engines.
9 days after the group was taken off operations, the P-47M's problems were finally resolved and the group returned to operational duty on March 25th. Much to the ground crews', and many of the pilots' relief, the Mustangs left Boxted. The Wolfpack was back in business!
The first week of April sees the 56th back on familiar duties escorting bombers.
4th April 1945
After combat during the Ramrod-Perleberg, Lt Edmond Ellis and Lt Charles Raymond land at the recently occupied airfield of Euskirchen to refuel. This was the first intentional landing by Wolfpack's pilots on German soil.
9th April 1945
After being fitted with airbourne radar the group's "Doublebolt" sees a return to operations with Lucian Dade in the pilot's seat.
The radar fails to operate correctly and the mission is uneventful.
10th April 1945
Maj James Carter leads the 56th on a Fighter Sweep in the Berlin area and strafes a selection of airfields. Werder airfield is the hardest hit with between 25 and 30 Luftwaffe aircraft left in flames after the P-47s strafing runs. Total claims by the 56th for the day are 2-0-1 air and 45.5-0.53 ground.
13th April 1945
The second anniversary of the group's first combat mission sees the 56th head out over Europe on its 458th combat mission. A Freelance mission finds Eggebeck airfield in Denmark occupied by approximately 175-200 enemy aircraft. Strafing attacks over the next 70 minutes by the 63rd FS followed by the 62nd and 61st result in claims of 95-0-95 with the loss of only one pilot, Lt W. Hoffman of the 63rd FS.
“King Of The Strafers” that day is Lt Randel Murphy of the 63rd FS who sets a new ETO record with 10 confirmed ground kills and 5 damaged. When the 56th left the area smoke from around 100 fires had risen to nearly 1000ft.
2 years after beginning operations the 56th saw its total of enemy aircraft destroyed pass the magic 1000 mark, and dedicated its achievement to President Roosevelt who had passed away the day before.
21st April 1945
A group heads for the Saltzburg area on a Ramrod and when the bombers abort join up with the B group on a Freelance Mission in the vicinity of Munich. The mission is uneventful and the last P-47 lands at Boxted at 14.35 bringing the 56th Fighter Group's last combat mission of WW2 to a close.
25th April 1945
The 8th Air Force flies its last mission of the war.
1st May 1945
1st Lt Zychowski is killed during a training accident near Tiverton in Devon.
8th May 1945
V-E Day. The end of the war in Europe.
Group Chaplains lead the 56th Fighter Groups personnel in prayer and Lt Col Dade reads congratulatory speeches. The enlisted men celebrate that night with free beer in the “Little Wheels” club.
The “Points System” comes into effect and having been overseas since January 1943 many of the original members of the 56th are on their way back to the USA before the month ends. In late May the group is alerted for a possible move to Augsberg Germany for Occupation Duties which is later cancelled.
A 63rd FS P-47M is specially painted for a USAAF Exposition in Paris. The aircraft proudly displays the legend, "Zemkes Wolfpack. 56th Fighter Group. Over 1000 E.A Destroyed". Following his release from captivity Col. Zemke happens to be in Paris at the time, and is "surprised - and greatly moved" to discover that the P-47 on display carries this tribute.
Lt Col Dade is transferred to a staff position in Paris and Lt Col Donald Renwick becomes the Commanding Officer of the 56th Fighter Group.
1st August 1945
An Open Day is held at Boxted for members of the local population to see what had been happening in their Parish.
14th August 1945
Following the dropping of the Atomic bombs, Japan surrenders. 14th August is declared V-J Day. The war is over.
9th September 1945
The 56th is officially transferred to Little Walden.
14th September 1945
The last P-47s leave Boxted and are flown to Speke, Liverpool to await scrapping.
15th September 1945
The last personnel leave Boxted and the airfield is returned to RAF control.
11th October 1945
The last of the officers and enlisted men board the Cunard Liner Queen Mary and head across the Atlantic for home.
18th October 1945
At 23.59 the 56th Fighter Group and its associated support units are inactivated.
DESCENDANTS OF WWII RANGERS, INC
The 1st Ranger Battalion had more than proven their value in the war effort with the well executed surprise night landing at Arzew, North Africa. Preparations were in progress to initiate the creation of a 2nd Ranger Battalion. This decision-making activity was taking shape in England within the Headquarters European Theater (ETOUSA).
At this time the Rangers were staying in the beach huts, or vacation villas of sorts, near Arzew. The villas had marble floors where the Rangers slept for a good long time after their successful mission in Arzew, on those hard stone floors. They spent their days and nights training, doing speedmarches, calisthenics, cliff climbing and yet more amphibious landing exercises. Based on their targeted training, they felt there was a specific mission in the works for them, but were unaware of what that might be. This was the life of all World War II Rangers, never knowing when, or where they would be called to action.
1st Ranger Battalion, Company "B" Arzew 1942
Photo courtesy Ranger Bill Arimond 1st/3rd Ranger Battalions
1st Ranger Battalion, Company "D" Arzew December 1942
Photo courtesy Ranger Gino Mercuriali 1st Ranger Battalion
1st Ranger Battalion, Company "F" Arzew 1942
Photo courtesy Ranger Donald Frederick 1st/4th Ranger Battalions
Rangers and Arabs in North Africa
Photo courtesy Ranger Donald Frederick 1st/4th Ranger Battalions
Finally, after a long stay in the villas along the coast near Arzew, the orders came to attack an island near Sicily on New Year’s Eve. They were loaded into boats, and in route to their mission, when a storm came up making it impossible for the coxswain to maneuver the landing craft onto the shores. This mission would have secured the island in true Ranger fashion, where they would have attacked by surprise in the dead of night, greatly reducing the number of civilian lives lost. But, due to the high seas from the storm, their mission was aborted. Instead, the island was bombed, which resulted in a high cost of civilian lives.
This is noted here to stress the significance of future Ranger missions where they would spearhead an invasion, or raid by night in a complete surprise attack, securing seaports, airports, and towns. Only then, would the supporting troops and machinery land to maintain these areas. The element of surprise executed by the Rangers often resulted in surrenders and fewer lives lost. It also eliminated civilians, caught in a fierce battle, from losing their lives.
1st Rangers, led by Darby, who secured the gun battery high above the port of Arzew
Note the ships in the background holding troops who landed only after the Rangers secured the area
Photo courtesy Ranger Donald Frederick 1st/4th Ranger Battalions
The Rangers still credit their many successes to this day, to their commanders, and the expert training they received. It was the preparedness they gained from the endless training that enabled them to go in as a small band and secure large areas where they were almost always outnumbered by the enemy. The element of surprise eliminated the loss of lives and allowed them to secure an area in record time, often before the enemy knew what had hit them.
The 1st Ranger Battalion welcomed replacements. They had been isolated from the general population and with the new 100, or so replacements, came flu’s and illnesses they hadn’t been exposed to. So, at this time, the original 1st Rangers spent some time sick with colds and flu's that came in with the new Rangers.
References: Rangers in World War II, by Robert W. Black, 1st Battalion Rangers who were there.
4. Liberia (1943-present)
Pre-Crisis Phase (May 4, 1943-April 13, 1979): William V. S. Tubman of the True Whig Party (TWP) was elected to an eight-year term as president on May 4, 1943, and he was inaugurated as the 18th president of Liberia on January 3, 1944. Amendments to the Constitution were approved in a referendum held on May 4, 1943. Vice-President Clarence L. Simpson led a five-member delegation to the United Nations Conference in San Francisco in May and June 1945. Liberia celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding on July 26, 1947. In early 1950, the government proclaimed a state of emergency in the town of Harbel as a result of labor unrest by workers at the 80,000-acre Firestone Rubber Company plantation beginning in December 1949. President Tubman sent troops to Harbel after riots broke out at the plantation on February 4, 1950. On January 11, 1951, the governments of Liberia and the U.S. signed an agreement to provide a U.S. Military Training Mission in Liberia. The U.S. Military Training Mission, consisting of several U.S. military personnel, arrived in Monrovia on August 27, 1951. President Tubman was re-elected on May 1, 1951, and he was inaugurated for second term in January 1952.
William R. Tolbert of the TWP was elected as vice-president. Americo-Liberian women and indigenous Liberians who owned property were allowed to vote for the first time in the 1951 elections. Previously, only the male descendants of Americo-Liberians had the right to vote. The Liberia government entered a mutual defense agreement with the U.S. government on November 19, 1951. President Tubman was re-elected with 99.5 percent of the vote on May 3, 1955, and he was inaugurated for a third term in January 1956. Amendments to the Constitution were approved in a referendum held on May 3, 1955. President Tubman survived an attempted assassination in Monrovia on June 22, 1955. Thirty members of the Independent True Whig and Reformation Party, including former Solicitor-General Raymond J. Horace, were arrested and imprisoned for their involvement in the attempted assassination. One of the individuals involved in the assassination plot, former Minister of the Interior Samuel David Coleman, was killed along with his son Joseph S. Othello Coleman, during an arrest attempt on June 27, 1955. Two government security personnel were also killed on June 27, 1955. The U.S. government deployed a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), consisting of 17 military personnel, in Liberia in 1956. President Tubman was re-elected with more than 99 percent of the vote on May 5, 1959, and he was inaugurated for a fourth term in January 1960. The governments of Liberia and the U.S. signed a military defense agreement on July 8, 1959. In September 1961, President Tubman declared a state of emergency to deal with a general strike and riots. On February 5, 1963, Colonel David Y. Thompson, commander of the Liberian national guard, was arrested along with four other individuals for plotting to assassinate President Tubman. President Tubman was re-elected without opposition on May 7, 1963, and he was inaugurated for a fifth term on January 4, 1964. In July 1965, Raymond J. Horace and three other individuals involved in the 1955 attempted assassination of President Tubman were released from prison. As a result of labor unrest, President Tubman was granted emergency powers by the parliament for twelve months beginning on February 9, 1966 (the emergency powers were extended for another twelve months in 1967). President Tubman began a two-month leave of absence in Switzerland on August 7, 1966. James Bass, secretary-general of the Liberian Congress of Industrial Organizations (LCIO) was arrested for sedition and imprisoned on November 25, 1966. James Bass, secretary-general of the LCIO, was released from prison on February 10, 1967. Legislative elections were held on May 2, 1967, and the TWP won 52 out of 52 seats in the House of Representatives. President Tubman was re-elected without opposition on May 2, 1967, and he was inaugurated for a sixth term in January 1968. Henry Fahnbulleth, former Liberian ambassador to Kenya and Tunisia, was convicted of treason and sentence to 20 years in prison in August 1968. Legislative elections were held on May 4, 1971, and the TWP won 52 out of 52 seats in the House of Representatives. President Tubman was re-elected without opposition on May 4, 1971. President Tubman died in London, England on July 23, 1971, and Vice-President William R. Tolbert Jr. became provisional president on July 23, 1971. William Tolbert was inaugurated as the 19th president of Liberia on January 3, 1972. Amendments to the Constitution, including lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, were approved in a referendum held on April 4, 1972. On March 15, 1973, former Assistant Defense Minister for Coast Guard Affairs, Prince N. A. Browne, and two other individuals were arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Tolbert and overthrow the government. Legislative elections were held on October 7, 1975, and the TWP won 71 out of 71 seats in the House of Representatives. President Tolbert was re-elected without opposition on October 7, 1975, and he was inaugurated for an eight-year term on January 5, 1976. An amendment to the Constitution imposing presidential term limits was approved in a referendum held on October 7, 1975. Vice-President James E. Green died on July 22, 1977, and he was succeeded by Bennin D. Warner of the TWP in August 1977. The governments of Liberia and Guinea signed a non-aggression and mutual defense treaty on January 23, 1979.
Crisis Phase (April 14, 1979-December 23, 1989): The Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) headed by Gabriel B. Matthews organized a demonstration against the government in Monrovia on April 14, 1979. President Sekou Toure of Guinea offered to assist the government, and President Tolbert accepted the offer. Government troops and 100 Guinean troops suppressed the demonstration on April 14-15, 1979, resulting in the deaths of at least 40 individuals. The parliament granted President Tolbert emergency powers for twelve months. Guinean troops withdrew from the country on May 15, 1979. Gabriel B. Matthews founded the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) in December 1979. President Tolbert was killed during a military coup led by Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe, a member of the Krahn ethnic group, on April 12, 1980. More than 25 individuals were killed during the military coup. The People’s Redemption Council (PRC) headed by Sergeant Doe took control of the government on April 12, 1980. The Libyan government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the PRC on April 13, 1980. The PRC executed four individuals on April 17, 1980, and executed 13 individuals on April 22, 1980. The PRC declared martial law, and suspended the constitution on April 25, 1980. The U.S. government provided military assistance to the PRC from 1980 to 1989, and mobilized naval ships and troops in the area in support of President Samuel Doe between April 1, 1981 and May 10, 1981. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion on May 29-30, 1981, and thirteen military personnel were executed for their involvement in the military rebellion. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion led by Major General Thomas Weh Syen on August 8-10, 1981. On August 14, 1981, Major General Weh Syen and four other members of the PRC were executed for their involvement in the military rebellion. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion on November 21, 1983, and 13 individuals were sentenced to death for their involvement in the military rebellion on April 5, 1984. President Doe repealed the death sentences for 10 of the 13 individuals on April 7, 1984. A new constitution was approved in a national referendum held on July 3, 1984. The PRC was formally dissolved on July 21, 1984, and the ban on political party activity was lifted on July 26, 1984. The government suppressed a rebellion on August 19, 1984. Government troops suppressed demonstrations in Monrovia on August 22, 1984, resulting in the deaths of 16 individuals. President Doe survived an attempted assassination on April 1, 1985, and Lt. Colonel Moses Flanzamaton was executed for his involvement in the attempted assassination on April 7, 1985. Legislative elections were held on October 15, 1985, and the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) won 51 out of 64 seats in the House of Representatives. The Liberian Action Party (LAP) won eight seats in the House of Representatives. Samuel Doe of the NDPL was elected president with 51% of the vote on October 15, 1985, and he was inaugurated as president on January 6, 1986. Opposition political parties claimed election fraud. Brig.-General Thomas Quiwonkpa led an unsuccessful military rebellion against the government on November 12-15, 1985, resulting in the deaths of more than 500 individuals. The Liberian Action Party (LAP), Liberian Unification Party (LUP), and Unity Party (UP) formed a political coalition against the government on March 16, 1986. In August 1986, the government lifted the ban on the United People’s Party (UPP) led by former Foreign Minister Gabriel B. Matthews. The government suppressed a military rebellion led by General Nicholas Podier on July 13, 1988, resulting in the deaths of ten individuals.
Conflict Phase (December 24, 1989-August 17, 1996): The National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), which consisted largely of Gio and Mano tribesmen led by Charles Taylor, launched a rebellion against the government beginning on December 24, 1989. The governments of Bulgaria and Libya provided military assistance (weapons and ammunition) to the NPFL. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) established the Standing Mediation Committee (SMC) consisting of representatives from Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo on April 15, 1990. In what was referred to as Operation Sharp Edge, U.S. military personnel evacuated 61 Americans and 12 other individuals from the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia and from the town of Brewerville on August 5, 1990. On August 24, 1990, ECOWAS deployed the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG-Liberia) to monitor the cessation of military hostilities to provide security for the government to restore law and order and to assist with the demobilization/disarmament process. ECOMOG consisted of some 13,500 troops from 13 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda) commanded by Major-General Joshua Nimyel Dogonyaro of Nigeria. President Doe was captured and killed by a dissident faction of the NPFL headed by Prince Yormie Johnson on September 9-10, 1990. Assistant Secretary of State Herman Cohen of the US mediated a temporary ceasefire agreement between the parties on September 18-22, 1990. Amos Claudius Sawyer served as President of the Interim Government of National Unity from November 22, 1990 to March 7, 1994. On November 28, 1990, the political factions signed an ECOWAS-mediated ceasefire agreement in Bamako, Mali, and the political factions signed another ECOWAS-mediated ceasefire agreement in Banjul, Gambia on December 21, 1990. Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) established a mission to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians beginning in 1990. Some 400,000 individuals fled as refugees to neighboring countries in 1990. ECOWAS-SMC mediated a ceasefire agreement on October 30, 1991, but military hostilities resumed on November 5, 1991. NPFL rebels launched a military offensive against government troops and ECOMOG peacekeeping troops in Monrovia on October 15, 1992. The ECOWAS imposed economic sanctions (ban on exports) and military sanctions (arms embargo) against the NPFL on October 20, 1992. The UN Security Council imposed military sanctions (arms embargo) against the parties on November 19, 1992. The UN secretary-general appointed Trevor Livingston of Jamaica as special representative for Liberia in November 1992. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) established a mission to provide humanitarian assistance to Liberian refugees in the Ivory Coast and Guinean in 1992. Some 600 individuals were killed in an attack near Harbel on June 6, 1993. The UN Security Council condemned the attack on June 7, 1993. The UN secretary-general appointed a three-member commission of inquiry (Egypt, Kenya, and US) to investigate the massacre at Harbel. The UN commission of inquiry issued a report on September 10, 1993, which placed the responsibility for the Harbel massacre on the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). The parties signed a ceasefire agreement mediated by the UN, Organization of African Unity (OAU), and ECOWAS in Cotonou, Benin on July 25, 1993. The ceasefire went into effect on August 1, 1993. On September 22, 1993, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) to monitor the ceasefire to assist with provision of humanitarian assistance and to monitor the disengagement/disarmament of the NPFL. At its maximum, the military component of UNOMIL consisted of 303 military observers from 22 countries commanded by Major-General Daniel Ishmael Opande of Kenya (October 1993-May 1995), Major-General Mahmoud Talha of Egypt (December 1995-June 1996), Colonel David Magomere of Kenya (June 1996-December 1996), and Major-General Sikander Shami of Pakistan (December 1996-September 1997). On August 7, 1993, the UN secretary-general appointed a three-member commission of inquiry (Egypt, Kenya, US) to investigate human rights abuses. The UN commission of inquiry issued a report on September 10, 1993. David Donald Kpormakpor served as the first Chairman of the Council of State from March 7, 1994 to September 1, 1995. The rival political factions resumed military hostilities in May 1994. The UN Security Council appealed for a ceasefire on May 23, 1994. President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, Chairman of the ECOWAS, mediated negotiations in Akosombo, Ghana on September 6-12, 1994. Representatives of the three largest factions in Liberia, including Lt. General Hezekiah Bowen (AFL), Charles Taylor (NPFL), and Alhaji Kromah (ULIMO), signed the Akosombo Agreement (supplement to the Cotonou Accord) on September 12, 1994. Among other provisions, the agreement provided for an immediate ceasefire. President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, chair of ECOWAS, mediated negotiations between representatives of all seven Liberian factions in Accra, Ghana from November 21 to December 21, 1994. The parties signed a ceasefire agreement in Accra on December 21, 1994. Anthony Nyakyi of Tanzania served as special representative of the UN secretary-general from December 1994 to April 1997. ECOWAS-SMC and Nigeria mediated the signing of the Abuja Agreement by six Liberian factions on August 19, 1995, and the Liberia National Transition Government (LNTG) was established in Monrovia on September 1, 1995. Wilton Gbakolo Sengbe Sankawulo served as Chairman of the Council of State in the LNTG from September 1, 1995 to September 3, 1996. Several thousand individuals were killed during clashes between April 6 and August 17, 1996. The UN Security Council appealed for a ceasefire on May 6, 1996. The factions signed the ECOWAS-mediated Supplement to the Abuja Accord on August 17, 1996, resulting in an immediate cessation of military hostilities. Some 200,000 individuals were killed, and some 750,000 individuals were displaced during the conflict. Some 700 ECOWAS personnel were killed during the conflict.
Post-Conflict Phase (August 18, 1996-April 19, 1999): Ruth Sando Perry was appointed as Chairperson of the Council of State in the Liberian National Transitional Government (LNTG) on September 3, 1996. Some 21 civilians were massacred in Sinje on September 28, 1996. Some eleven individuals were massacred in Bloun on December 7, 1996. Tuliameni Kalomoh of Namibia served as special representative of the UN secretary-general from April to September 1997. Legislative elections were held on July 19, 1997, and the National Patriotic Party (NPP) won 49 out of 64 seats in the House of Representatives. The Unity Party (UP) won seven seats in the House of Representatives, and the All-Liberia Coalition Party (ALCOP) won three seats in the House of Representatives. Charles Taylor was elected president with 75 percent of the vote on July 19, 1997. UNOMIL-electoral unit deployed some 300 observers to monitor the elections beginning on April 15, 1997. The European Union (EU), OAU, and ECOWAS sent 30 observers to monitor the elections. The Carter Center (CC) sent 40 observers headed by Jimmy Carter of the U.S. and Nicephore Soglo of Benin to monitor the elections from June 26 to July 21, 1997. ECOWAS lifted sanctions against the government on September 1, 1997. UNOMIL was disbanded on September 30, 1997. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan established the United Nations Peace-Building Support Office in Liberia (UNPSOL) on November 1, 1997. UNPSOL consisted of seven personnel headed by Felix Cyril Downes-Thomas of Gambia. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) established a mission to provide repatriation assistance to Liberian refugees in December 1997. Samuel Saye Dokie, an opposition politician, was murdered along with two other individuals in Bong County on December 4, 1997. One individual was killed in political violence in Monrovia on December 16, 1997. ECOMOG-Liberia was disbanded on February 2, 1998, but some 5,000 ECOWAS military personnel remained in the country to train the government’s security forces and to maintain order beginning on February 3, 1998. Government troops clashed with supporters of General Roosevelt Johnson in Monrovia on September 18-20, 1998, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,000 individuals. The UNHCR assisted with the repatriation of 80,000 refugees in 1998.
Conflict Phase (April 20, 1999-June 17, 2003): The Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) was established by Liberian refugees in opposition to the government, and LURD rebels launched an insurgency against the government on April 20, 1999. Some 100 individuals were massacred in Nikagabozu, Lofa County on August 11, 1999. Some 20 civilians were killed in Swen, Bomi County on October 10, 1999. Some 50,000 individuals were displaced from their homes in 1999. ECOWAS withdrew its remaining military personnel from the country on October 23, 1999. Government troops and LURD rebels clashed near the town of Voinjama on July 8-31, 2000, resulting in the deaths of 47 rebels and 12 government soldiers. President Charles Taylor declared a state-of-emergency in northern Liberia on July 19, 2000. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided humanitarian assistance to displaced individuals beginning on September 21, 2000. LURD rebels attacked the village of Zorzor in October 2000. Some 50,000 individuals were displaced from their homes in northern Liberia in 2000. The UN Security Council lifted military sanctions (arms embargo) against Liberia on March 7, 2001. Government troops killed some 200 civilians between April and July 2001. The UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions (travel ban and ban on rough diamond exports) and military sanctions (arms embargo) against the Liberian government on May 7, 2001. EU foreign ministers imposed military sanctions (arms embargo) against the government and rebels on May 7, 2001. Government troops clashed with LURD rebels in Zorzor district in northern Liberia on May 31-June 1, 2001. Government troops and LURD rebels clashed in northern Liberia on December 1-2, 2001, resulting in the deaths of five government soldiers and 35 rebels. Government troops and LURD rebels clashed near Foya on December 6, 2001, resulting in the deaths of 28 rebels. LURD rebels attacked the town of Kley on February 7, 2002. President Taylor declared a state-of-emergency on February 8, 2002. LURD rebels attacked the Todee military base on April 2, 2002. LURD rebels attacked the town of Kakata on April 3, 2002, resulting in the deaths of three individuals. LURD rebels attacked the town of Tubmanburg on April 4, 2002. Tiawon Gongloe, a human rights lawyer, was arrested by government police on April 24, 2002. On May 1, 2002, the EU condemned the government for the torture of Tiawon Gongloe while in police custody. Government troops and LURD rebels clashed near the town of Gbarnga on May 9-16, 2002, resulting in the deaths of 100 rebels. United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned LURD rebels on May 15, 2002. ECOWAS appealed for a ceasefire between government troops and LURD rebels on May 20, 2002. Government troops recaptured the town from LURD rebels on Tubmanburg on July 19, 2002, resulting in the deaths of some 100 rebels. Government troops recaptured the town of Voinjama from LURD rebels on August 13, 2002. Government troops recaptured the town of Bopolu from LURD rebels on September 11, 2002. The government lifted the state-of-emergency on September 14, 2002. Government troops and rebels clashed near the town of Zorzor on December 7, 2002. The ECOWAS appointed Abdulsalami Abubakar of Nigeria as mediator on May 6, 2003. Representatives of the government, LURD, and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) signed an ECOWAS-mediated ceasefire agreement in Accra, Ghana on June 17, 2003. Some 50,000 individuals were killed, and some 250,000 individuals were displaced during the conflict.
Post-Conflict Phase (June 18, 2003-January 22, 2018): On July 8, 2003, UN Secretary-General appointed Jacques Paul Klein of the U.S. as UN Special Representative for Liberia. On July 25, 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush ordered the deployment of U.S. military personnel off the coast of Liberia in support of the deployment of ECOWAS peacekeeping troops in Liberia. On August 1, 2003, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1497, which authorized the establishment of a multinational force to support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement. The ECOWAS appointed Ambassador Francis Blain of Gambia as Special Envoy to Liberia on August 4, 2003. On August 4, 2003, the ECOWAS deployed the ECOWAS Mission in Liberia (ECOMIL) to maintain law and order to monitor the ceasefire agreement to monitor disengagement, disarmament, and demobilization programs and to protect the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The ECOMIL consisted of 3,556 peacekeeping troops from eight countries (Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Benin, and Togo) commanded by General Festus Okonkwo of Nigeria. On August 14, 2003, the U.S. government deployed 4,350 military personnel (Joint Task Force-Liberia) in support of UN and ECOWAS efforts to restore law and order in Liberia as well as to provide humanitarian assistance in the country. President Taylor resigned from office, and Vice President Moses Blah took office as president on August 11, 2003. Representatives of the government, LURD, and MODEL signed an ECOWAS-mediated peace agreement in Accra, Ghana on August 18, 2003. Some 26 individuals were killed in Bong County by supporters of President Charles Taylor between September 8-20, 2003. On September 19, 2003, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1509, which provided for the establishment of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to monitor the ceasefire, to monitor the disengagement of military forces, and to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance. At its maximum, the military component of UNMIL consisted of 15,000 peacekeeping troops and 250 military observers commanded by Lt. General Daniel Opande of Kenya (October 2003-December 2004), Lt. General Joseph Owonibi of Nigeria (January 2005-December 2005), Lt. General Chikadibia Obiakor of Nigeria (December 2005-October 2008), Lt. General A. T. M. Zahirul Alam of Bangladesh (October 2008-October 2009), Lt. General Sikander Afzal of Pakistan (October 2009-November 2010), Major General Muhammad Khalid of Pakistan (November 2010-November 2012), and Major General Leonard M. Ngondi of Kenya (November 2012-present). UNMIL, which was deployed on October 1, 2003, also included some 1,795 civilian police personnel. ECOMIL was disbanded, and U.S. military personnel (Joint Task Force-Liberia) withdrew from Liberia on September 30, 2003. Four ECOMIL personnel were killed during the mission. Some 13 individuals were killed in political violence in Monrovia on October 2, 2003. LURD rebels killed some 26 individuals in Bomi County between October 11-26, 2003. Charles Gyude Bryant was sworn in as interim president and head of a power-sharing government on October 14, 2003. On February 10, 2004, the Council of the EU imposed military sanctions (arms embargo) against the Liberian government and opposition groups. On April 29, 2004, the Council of the EU imposed economic sanctions (assets freeze) against the Liberian government and opposition groups. On July 22, 2004, the U.S. government imposes economic sanctions against former President Charles Taylor, as well as his family members, former senior government officials, and other associates. Some 16 individuals were killed in political violence in Monrovia on October 28-31, 2004. On October 31, 2004, Alpha Oumar Konare, Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, condemned the violence in Monrovia. The parliament established the ten-member Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in May 2005. The TRC was responsible for investigating and reporting on gross human rights violations that occurred in Liberia from January 1979 to October 2003. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Alan Doss of Britain as UN Special Representative for Liberia beginning on August 15, 2005. Legislative elections were held on October 11, 2005, and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) won 15 out of 64 seats in the House of Representatives. The Liberty Party (LP) won nine seats, the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia (CTL) won eight seats, and the Unity Party (UP) won eight seats in the House of Representatives. The EU sent 10 election experts, 20 long-term observers, and 40 short-term observers headed by Max van den Berg of the Netherlands to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from September 9 to November 27, 2005. ECOWAS sent 47 observers headed by E. M. Debrah from Ghana to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from October 7 to November 12, 2005. The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Carter Center (CC) sent 40 observers to jointly monitor the first round of the presidential election and legislative elections from October 5 to October 13, 2005. The International Republican Institute (IRI) sent observers to monitor the presidential and legislative elections. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the UP was elected president with 59 percent of the vote in the second round of the presidential election held on November 8, 2005, and she was inaugurated as president on January 16, 2006. The African Union (AU) sent observers headed by Elie-Victor Essomba Tsoungui of Cameroon to monitor the second round of the presidential election from November 4 to November 9, 2005. The NDI and CC sent 28 observers to monitor the second round of the presidential election from November 4 to November 10, 2005. The U.S. government provided military assistance (50 military advisers) to the Liberia government beginning in 2006. President Johnson-Sirleaf established the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission on February 21, 2006. On June 13, 2006, the UN Security Council conditionally lifted military sanctions (arms embargo) against the Liberian government. The EU lifted military sanctions (arms embargo) against the Liberian government in June 2006. On June 20, 2006, the UN Security Council lifted economic sanctions (ban on timber sales) against the Liberian government. The EU suspended economic sanctions (ban on timber sales) against the Liberian government on July 24, 2006, and the EU lifted economic sanctions (ban on timber sales) against the Liberian government on December 11, 2006. On April 27, 2007, the UN Security Council lifted economic sanctions (ban on rough diamond exports) against the Liberian government. The EU lifted economic sanctions (ban on rough diamond exports) against the Liberian government on June 25, 2007. On July 19, 2007, the government arrested five individuals, including former Speaker of the House of Representatives George Koukou, for involvement in an alleged coup attempt. Ellen Margrethe Løj of Denmark replaced Alan Goss of Britain as UN Special Representative for Liberia on January 1, 2008. On February 12, 2008, the Council of the EU imposed economic sanctions (travel restrictions) and military sanctions (arms embargo) against opposition groups. The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) issued its final report on July 1, 2009. The report recommended that more than 50 individuals, including President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, be banned from holding public office for a period of thirty years. On January 25, 2010, President Johnson-Sirleaf announced that she intended to run for a second term. Four individuals were killed in inter-communal violence in Lofa County on February 26, 2010. On May 27, 2010, seven opposition political parties, including the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Liberia National Union (LNU), announced the formation of a “Grand Coalition” to challenge President Johnson-Sirleaf’s Unity Party (UP) in the 2011 elections. In January 2011, the Liberia Supreme Court ruled that the TRC recommendation that more than 50 individuals, including President Johnson-Sirleaf, be banned from holding office for 30 years to be unconstitutional. An amendment to the Constitution changing the voting system for legislative elections (from a two-round majority system to a single-round plurality system) was approved in a referendum held on August 23, 2011. The CDC had called for a boycott of the referendum. Legislative elections were held on October 11, 2011, and the UP won 24 out of 73 seats in the House of Representatives. The CDC won 11 seats in the House of Representatives. President Johnson-Sirleaf of the Unity Party was re-elected with 91 percent of the vote in the second round of the presidential election held on November 8, 2011. President Johnson-Sirleaf had won 44 percent of the vote in the first round of the presidential election held on October 11, 2011. Claiming election fraud, Winston Tubman of the CDC announced a boycott of the second round of the presidential election on November 4, 2011. Two individuals were killed during clashed between government police and CDC protesters in Sinkor on November 7, 2011. The African Union (AU) sent 20 observers headed by Dr. Speciosa Wandira Kaizibwe of Uganda to monitor the legislative and presidential elections from October 5 to October 12, 2011. ECOWAS sent 150 observers headed by Attahiru Jega of Nigeria to monitor the first and second rounds of the presidential election, as well as the legislative elections, on October 11 and November 8, 2011. The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) sent 18 observers to monitor the elections on October 6-14, 2011. The Carter Center (CC) sent 50 to 55 short-term and long-term observers headed by Dr. Yakuba Gowon of Nigeria to monitor the elections from September 2011 to November 2011. Ellen Margrethe Løj of Denmark completed her assignment as UN Special Representative to Liberia on January 31, 2012. On April 26, 2012, former President Charles Taylor was found guilty by the Special Court for Sierra Leone of “aiding and abetting” war crimes during the Sierra Leone civil war. On April 27, 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Karin Landgren of Sweden as Head of UNMIL and UN Special Representative for Liberia. On May 30, 2012, former President Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. On July 11, 2012, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf rejected accusations of nepotism. On July 26, 2012, the UN Security Council lifted economic sanctions (asset freezes and travel bans) against 17 Liberians linked to former President Charles Taylor. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf suspended her son, Charles Sirleaf as Deputy Governor of the Liberian Central Bank on August 21, 2012. On October 8, 2012, Leymah Gbowee, head of Liberia’s Peace and Reconciliation Commission (PRC), resigned her position after criticizing the government of corruption and nepotism. On January 22, 2013, former President Charles Taylor formally appealed his conviction by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. On July 8, 2013, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf dismissed Auditor-General Robert Kilby in a crackdown on public corruption. Robert Sirleaf, son of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, resigned as Chairman of the state oil company, National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), on September 17, 2013. Former President Charles Taylor’s conviction by the Special Court for Sierra Leone was upheld on September 26, 2013, and he was transferred to a prison in the United Kingdom to begin serving his 50-year prison sentence on October 15, 2013. UNMIL consisted of 4,308 troops, 113 military observers, 1,417 civilian police personnel, and 397 international civilian staff personnel on December 31, 2014. On August 12, 2015, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Farid Zarif of Afghanistan as Head of UNMIL and UN Special Representative for Liberia. The UN Security Council renewed military sanctions (arms embargo) against non-governmental groups for an additional nine months on September 2, 2015. The UN Security Council also lifted economic sanctions (assets freeze and travel restrictions) against former President Charles Taylor (including family members and associates). On October 5, 2015, the EU lifted economic sanctions (assets freeze and travel restrictions) against former President Charles Taylor (including family members and associates). On November 12, 2015, the U.S. government lifted economic sanctions (assets freeze and travel restrictions) against former President Charles Taylor, his family members, and other associates. UNMIL consisted of 3,306 troops, 95 military advisers, 1,318 civilian police personnel, and 358 international civilian personnel on December 31, 2015. The UN Security Council lifted military sanctions (arms embargo) against Liberia on May 25, 2016. UNMIL consisted of 404 troops, 13 military advisers, 309 civilian police personnel, and 249 international civilian personnel on June 30, 2017. UNMIL fatalities included 138 military personnel (137 troops and one military observer), 21 civilian police personnel, and nine international civilian staff personnel as of June 30, 2017. Presidential and legislative elections were held on October 10, 2017. The CDC won 21 out of 73 seats, and the United Party (UP) won 20 seats out of 73 seats in the House of Representatives. George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) was elected president with 62 percent of the vote in the second round of the presidential election held on December 26, 2017. The African Union (AU) sent eight long-term observers and 36 short-term observers from 25 countries to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from September 6 to October 11, 2017. The European Union (EU) sent 20 long-term observers and 34 short-term observers from 29 countries led by Maria Arena of Belgium to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from September 1, 2017 to January 2018. The Carter Center (CC) sent six long-term observers and 50 short-term observers to monitor the presidential and legislative elections. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sent 21 short-term observers and 50 long-term observers led by former President John Mahama of Ghana to monitor the presidential run-off election from September 16 to October 16, 2017. George Weah was sworn in as president on January 22, 2018.
Post-Crisis Phase (January 23, 2018-present): UNMIL was disbanded on March 30, 2018.
[Sources: Africa Research Bulletin (ARB), April 1-30, 1979, May 1-31, 1979, April 1-30, 1980, August 1-31, 1981, December 15, 1980, February 15, 1986, August 15, 1988 African Union (AU) press release, October 31, 2004 African Union (AU) statement, November 9, 2005, October 12, 2011 Agence France-Presse (AFP), December 12, 2001, March 20, 2002, June 13, 2002 Associated Press (AP), January 25, 1998, January 30, 1998, June 1, 2001, September 14, 2002, December 9, 2002, February 1, 2003, February 14, 2003, June 20, 2003, July 8, 2003, August 18, 2003 Bercovitch and Jackson, 1997, 244-245 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), May 4, 2001, January 29, 2002, February 4, 2002, March 5, 2002, March 19, 2002, March 21, 2002, March 28, 2002, April 4, 2002, April 22, 2002, July 21, 2002, July 22, 2003, August 19, 2003, August 25, 2003, September 19, 2003, October 14, 2003, October 31, 2004, November 1, 2004, October 11, 2005, October 16, 2005, October 17, 2005, November 7, 2005, November 9, 2005, November 10, 2005, November 11, 2005, November 23, 2005, January 16, 2006, February 21, 2006, March 29, 2006, October 10, 2006, April 27, 2007, September 21, 2007, August 23, 2011, October 11, 2011, October 15, 2011, November 5, 2011, November 8, 2011, November 11, 2011, April 26, 2012, May 30, 2012, July 26, 2012, August 21, 2012, January 22, 2013, September 26, 2013, October 15, 2013, November 12, 2015, October 10, 2017, October 16, 2017, November 1, 2017, December 27, 2017, December 28, 2017, December 29, 2017, January 22, 2018, March 30, 2018 Carter Center (CC), November 1, 2011 Clodfelter, 1992, 1030-1031 Daily Trust (Abuja), May 20, 2002 Degenhardt, 1988, 223-224 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) press release, June 27, 2003, August 4, 2003 European Union (EU) statement, October 13, 2003 Facts on File, June 2-8, 1966, December 31, 2001 Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), January 31, 1994 Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), U.S. Department of State, The Near East and Africa, 1950, 1951 Human Rights Watch (HRW) press release, April 26, 2002 International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) press release, September 28, 2000 Jessup, 1998, 424-426 Keesing’s Record of World Events, January 15-22, 1972, November 10-16, 1975, July 20, 1979, August 15, 1980, January 15, 1982, February 1986, September 1990, July 1993, August 1995, July 1997 Langer, 1972, 1265-1266 New York Times (NYT), June 16, 1990, July 21, 2002, June 18, 2003, July 20, 2003, August 8, 2003, August 12, 2003, August 21, 2003, October 3, 2003, October 15, 2003, November 7, 2011, May 25, 2016 Panafrican News Agency (PANA), July 20, 1997, August 2, 2000 Reuters, July 24, 1999, October 22, 1999, August 1, 2000, December 3, 2001, December 6, 2001, December 28, 2001, August 15, 2002, February 4, 2003, March 4, 2003, March 30, 2003, April 19, 2003, May 6, 2003, June 4, 2003, June 12, 2003, June 13, 2003, June 14, 2003, June 16, 2003, June 17, 2003, June 18, 2003, June 26, 2003, June 30, 2003, July 27, 2003, July 28, 2003, July 29, 2003, August 4, 2003, August 11, 2003, August 18, 2003, November 12, 2011, April 26, 2012, June 27, 2012, July 11, 2012, October 8, 2012, January 22, 2013, July 8, 2013, August 18, 2013, September 17, 2013, September 26, 2013, October 10, 2013, November 12, 2015 The News (Monrovia), May 1, 2002, May 16, 2002, May 20, 2002, August 15, 2002, February 5, 2003 Tillema, 1991, 67 United Nations (UN) press release, April 27, 2007, April 27, 2012, August 12, 2015, September 2, 2015 United Nations Security Council (UNSC) press release, May 6, 1996 U.S. Committee on Refugees (USCR) report, January 2001 U.S. Department of State press release, October 1, 2003 Voice of America (VOA), June 26, 2006, April 27, 2007, July 2, 2009, January 25, 2010, May 27, 2010, October 16, 2011, January 15, 2013, September 3, 2015, November 12, 2015, November 13, 2015, January 6, 2016, January 20, 2016, May 25, 2016 Washington Post (WP), August 6, 1990 Weisburd, 1997, 204-206.]
Adeleke, Ademola. 1995. “The Politics and Diplomacy of Peacekeeping in West Africa: The ECOWAS Operation in Liberia.” Journal of Modern African Studies 33 (no.4): 569-593.
Olonisakin, Funmi. 1996. “UN Co-operation with Regional Organizations in Peacekeeping: The Experience of ECOMOG and UNOMIL in Liberia.” International Peacekeeping 3 (Autumn): 33-51.
March 8th, 1943 is a Monday. It is the 67th day of the year, and in the 10th week of the year (assuming each week starts on a Monday), or the 1st quarter of the year. There are 31 days in this month. 1943 is not a leap year, so there are 365 days in this year. The short form for this date used in the United States is 3/8/1943, and almost everywhere else in the world it's 8/3/1943.
This site provides an online date calculator to help you find the difference in the number of days between any two calendar dates. Simply enter the start and end date to calculate the duration of any event. You can also use this tool to determine how many days have passed since your birthday, or measure the amount of time until your baby's due date. The calculations use the Gregorian calendar, which was created in 1582 and later adopted in 1752 by Britain and the eastern part of what is now the United States. For best results, use dates after 1752 or verify any data if you are doing genealogy research. Historical calendars have many variations, including the ancient Roman calendar and the Julian calendar. Leap years are used to match the calendar year with the astronomical year. If you're trying to figure out the date that occurs in X days from today, switch to the Days From Now calculator instead.
January 7th, 2006 is a Saturday. It is the 7th day of the year, and in the 1st week of the year (assuming each week starts on a Monday), or the 1st quarter of the year. There are 31 days in this month. 2006 is not a leap year, so there are 365 days in this year. The short form for this date used in the United States is 1/7/2006, and almost everywhere else in the world it's 7/1/2006.
This site provides an online date calculator to help you find the difference in the number of days between any two calendar dates. Simply enter the start and end date to calculate the duration of any event. You can also use this tool to determine how many days have passed since your birthday, or measure the amount of time until your baby's due date. The calculations use the Gregorian calendar, which was created in 1582 and later adopted in 1752 by Britain and the eastern part of what is now the United States. For best results, use dates after 1752 or verify any data if you are doing genealogy research. Historical calendars have many variations, including the ancient Roman calendar and the Julian calendar. Leap years are used to match the calendar year with the astronomical year. If you're trying to figure out the date that occurs in X days from today, switch to the Days From Now calculator instead.
Jan Karski was born Jan Kozielewski on 24 June 1914 in Łódź, [a] Poland.  Karski was born on St John's Day, and named Jan (the Polish equivalent of John), following the Polish custom of naming children after the saint(s) of their birthday. His baptismal record—in error—listed 24 April as his birthdate, as Karski explained later in interviews on several occasions (see Waldemar Piasecki's biography of Karski, One Life, as well as published interviews with his family). 
Karski had several brothers and one sister. The children were raised as Catholics and Karski remained a Catholic throughout his life. His father died when he was young, and the family struggled financially. Karski grew up in a multi-cultural neighborhood, where a majority of the populace was Jewish.
After military training at the school for mounted artillery officers in Włodzimierz Wołyński, he graduated with a First in the Class of 1936 and was ordered to the 5th Regiment of Mounted Artillery, the same unit where Colonel Józef Beck, later Poland's Foreign Affairs Minister, served.
Karski completed his diplomatic apprenticeship between 1935 and 1938 at various posts in Romania (twice), Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, and went on to join the diplomatic service. After completing and gaining a First in Grand Diplomatic Practice, on 1 January 1939 he started work in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the Polish September Campaign, Kozielewski's 5th Regiment was part of the Kraków Cavalry Brigade, under General Zygmunt Piasecki, a unit of the Armia Kraków defending the area between Zabkowice and Częstochowa. After the Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski on 10 September 1939, some units, including Kozielewski's 1st Battery, 5th Regiment, tried to reach Hungary, but were captured by the Red Army between 17 and 20 September. Kozielewski was held prisoner in the Kozielszczyna camp (presently in Ukraine). He successfully concealed his true rank of second lieutenant and, after a uniform exchange, was identified by the NKVD commander as a private. He was transferred to the Germans as a person born in Łódź, which was incorporated into the Third Reich, and thus escaped the Katyn massacre of Polish officers by the Soviets. 
In November 1939 Karski was among POWs on a train bound for a POW camp in the General Government zone, a part of Poland that had not been fully incorporated into The Third Reich. He escaped and made his way to Warsaw. There he joined the SZP (Służba Zwycięstwu Polski)—the first resistance movement in occupied Europe, organized by General Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski, the predecessor to ZWZ, later the Home Army (AK).
About that time Kozielewski adopted the nom de guerre, Jan Karski, which he later made his legal name. Other names used by him during World War II included Piasecki, Kwaśniewski, Znamierowski, Kruszewski, Kucharski, and Witold. In January 1940 Karski began to organize courier missions to transport dispatches from the Polish underground to the Polish government-in-exile, then based in Paris. As a courier, Karski made several secret trips between France, Britain, and Poland. During one such mission in July 1940, he was arrested by the Gestapo in the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. Tortured, he was transported to a hospital in Nowy Sącz, from which he was smuggled out with the help of Józef Cyrankiewicz. After a short period of rehabilitation, he returned to active service in the Information and Propaganda Bureau of the headquarters of the Polish Home Army. [ citation needed ]
In 1942, Karski was selected by Cyryl Ratajski, the Polish Government Delegate's Office at Home, to undertake a secret mission to see prime minister Władysław Sikorski in London. Karski was to contact Sikorski, as well as various other Polish politicians, and brief them on Nazi atrocities in occupied Poland. In order to gather evidence, Karski met Bund activist Leon Feiner. He was twice smuggled by the Jewish underground into the Warsaw Ghetto in order to directly observe what was happening to Polish Jews. 
My job was just to walk. And observe. And remember. The odour. The children. Dirty. Lying. I saw a man standing with blank eyes. I asked the guide: what is he doing? The guide whispered: “He’s just dying”. I remember degradation, starvation and dead bodies lying on the street. We were walking the streets and my guide kept repeating: “Look at it, remember, remember” And I did remember. The dirty streets. The stench. Everywhere. Suffocating. Nervousness. 
Disguised as an Estonian camp guard,  he visited what he thought was Bełżec death camp. It appears that Karski in fact witnessed a Durchgangslager ('transit camp') for Bełżec in the town of Izbica Lubelska, midway between Lublin and Bełżec.  Many historians have accepted this interpretation, as did Karski himself. 
Reporting Nazi atrocities to the Western Allies
Starting in 1940,  Karski reported to the Polish, British, and US governments on the situation in Poland, especially on the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Nazi extermination of Polish Jews. He smuggled out of Poland microfilm with further information from the underground movement on the extermination of European Jews in German-occupied Poland. His reports were transcribed and translated by Walentyna Stocker, the personal secretary and interpreter for Sikorski.  Based on Karski's microfilm, Polish Foreign Minister Count Edward Raczyński provided the Allies with one of the earliest and most accurate accounts of the Nazi Holocaust. Raczyński's Note, addressed to the governments of the United Nations on 10 December 1942, was later published along with other documents in a widely distributed leaflet entitled The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland. 
Karski met with Polish politicians in exile including the prime minister, as well as members of political parties such as the Socialist Party, National Party, Labor Party, People's Party, Jewish Bund and Poalei Zion. He also spoke to the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, giving a detailed account of what he had seen in Warsaw and Bełżec.
Karski also traveled to the United States, where on 28 July 1943 he met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Oval Office, the first eyewitness to tell Roosevelt of the situation in Poland and the Jewish Holocaust.  Roosevelt asked no questions about the Jews.  Karski met with many other government and civic leaders in the United States, including Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, Cordell Hull, William Joseph Donovan, and Rabbi Stephen Wise. Karski presented his report to media, bishops of various denominations (including Cardinal Samuel Stritch), members of the Hollywood film industry and artists, but without result, as most people could not comprehend the scale of extermination that he recounted.    But Karski's accounts of the problems of stateless people and their vulnerability to murder helped inspire the formation of the War Refugee Board,  changing US governmental policy from neutrality to support for war refugees and civilians in Europe,  and after the war, inspiring the creation of the Office of High Commissioner for Refugees. [ citation needed ]
In 1944, Karski published Courier from Poland: The Story of a Secret State (a selection was featured in Collier's magazine six weeks before the book's publication).   He related his experiences in wartime Poland. The book sold more than 400,000 copies through the end of World War II. A film adaptation was planned but never realized. 
According to historian Adam Puławski, Karski's main mission as a courier was to alert the government-in-exile of the conflicts within Polish underground movements. He discussed the Warsaw Ghetto liquidation as part of that account, almost incidentally.  Without diminishing Karski's contributions, Puławski notes that facts about the Holocaust were available to the Allies for at least a year and half before Karski met with Roosevelt, thus to say that his mission was primarily to report on the Holocaust is in error. 
At war's end, Karski remained in the United States in Washington, D.C. He began graduate studies at Georgetown University, receiving his PhD in 1952.  In 1954, Karski became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Karski taught Eastern European affairs, comparative government, and international affairs at Georgetown University for 40 years. Among his students was Bill Clinton (Class of 1968). In 1985, he published the academic study The Great Powers and Poland, based on research during a Fulbright fellowship in 1974 to his native Poland.
Karski's 1942 report on the Holocaust and the London Polish government's appeal to the United Nations were briefly recounted by Walter Laqueur in his history The Terrible Secret: Suppression of the Truth about Hitler's Final Solution (1980).
Karski did not speak publicly about his wartime mission until 1981, when he was invited by activist Elie Wiesel to serve as keynote speaker at the International Liberators Conference in Washington, D.C. 
French film-maker Claude Lanzmann had interviewed Karski at length in 1978, as part of his preparation for his documentary Shoah, but the film was not released until 1985. Lanzmann had asked participants not to make other public statements during that time, but Karski got a release for the conference.  The nine-and-a-half hour film included a total of 40 minutes of testimony by Karski, an excerpt from the first of two days of Lanzmann interviewing Karski.  It ends with Karski saying that he made his report to leaders.  Lanzman later said that, on the second day of interviews, Karski recounted in detail his meetings with Roosevelt and other high US officials. Lanzman said that the tone and style of Karski's second interview was so different, and the interview so long, that it did not fit with his vision of the film and was thus not used.  Unhappy with how he was presented in the film, Karski published an article, later a book, Shoah, a Biased Vision of the Holocaust (1987), in the French journal Kultura. He argued for another documentary to include his missing testimony and also to show more of the help given to Jews by many Poles (some are now recognized by Israel as the Polish Righteous among the Nations).  
Following the fall of communism in Poland in 1989, Karski's wartime role was officially acknowledged by the new government. He was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, the highest Polish civil decoration, and the Order Virtuti Militari, the highest military decoration awarded for bravery in combat.
In 1994, E. Thomas Wood and Stanisław M. Jankowski published a biography, Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust. They noted that Karski had urged production of another documentary to correct what he thought was the bias in Lanzmann's Shoah. [ citation needed ]
During an interview with Hannah Rosen in 1995, Karski discussed the Allies' failure to rescue most of the Jews from mass murder:
It was easy for the Nazis to kill Jews, because they did it. The Allies considered it impossible and too costly to rescue the Jews, because they didn't do it. The Jews were abandoned by all governments, church hierarchies and societies, but thousands of Jews survived because thousands of individuals in Poland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Holland helped to save Jews. Now, every government and church says, "We tried to help the Jews", because they are ashamed, they want to keep their reputations. They didn't help, because six million Jews perished, but those in the government, in the churches they survived. No one did enough. 
The documentary film My Mission (1997), directed by Waldemar Piasecki and Michal Fajbusiewicz, presented the full details of Karski's wartime mission. In 1999, Piasecki published Tajne Panstwo (Secret State, edited and adapted from Karski's wartime book), which became a bestseller. In the same year, the Museum of the City of Łódź opened "Jan Karski's Room", displaying memorabilia, documents, and decorations, all organized under Karski's supervision.
In 2010, French author Yannick Haenel published a novel Jan Karski, drawn from the courier's World War II activities and memoir. Haenel also added a third part in which he inserted his own views into Karski's "character", particularly in his approach to Karski's meeting with President Roosevelt and other US leaders. Claude Lanzmann criticized the author strongly and argued that Haenel ignored important historic elements of the time. Haenel said that was part of his freedom in fiction.  
In response, Lanzmann released the second half of his interview with Karski as a 49-minute documentary in 2010, edited and entitled The Karski Report, also on ARTE.   It is mostly about Karski's meeting with President Roosevelt and other American leaders. Karski had met with Chief Justice Felix Frankfurter, who said: "I did not say that he was lying, I said that I could not believe him. There is a difference." As The Guardian said, "Human inability to believe in the intolerable is what The Karski Report is about. At the start of the film, Lanzmann quotes the French philosopher Raymond Aron, who, when asked about the Holocaust, said: "I knew, but I didn't believe it, and because I didn't believe it, I didn't know." 
Karski's wartime book was re-published posthumously by Georgetown University Press as My Report to the World: The Story of a Secret State (2013).  A Tribute to Jan Karski panel discussion was held at the university that year in conjunction with the book's release. It featured a discussion of Karski's legacy by School of Foreign Service Dean Carol Lancaster, Georgetown University Board Chair Paul Tagliabue, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Polish Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf, and Rabbi Harold S. White. 
Karski had several siblings, mostly brothers: Marian, Boguslaw, Cyjrian, Edmund, Stefan, and Uzef and a sister Laura.
Karski's eldest brother, Marian Kozielewski (b. 1898), reached the rank of colonel in the military and was also considered a hero in World War II. He had been arrested by the Germans in Warsaw in 1940 and was among Catholic Poles who survived being imprisoned as political prisoners at Auschwitz concentration camp. After being released in 1941, he returned to Warsaw and joined the resistance. The Kozielewski brothers admired Jozef Pilsudski and members of the "forgotten army", who had suffered many deeply personal wounds. After the war Marian emigrated initially to Canada, where he married. He struggled as a refugee, holding low-level jobs after settling in Washington, D.C., in 1960 near his brother Jan. Marian Kozielewski committed suicide there in 1964 and is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
In 1965, Karski married Pola Nireńska, a 54-year-old Polish Jew who was a dancer and choreographer. (With the exception of her parents, who had emigrated to Israel in 1939 shortly before the Nazi invasion of Poland, all of her family died in the Holocaust.) She committed suicide in 1992.
Karski died of unspecified heart and kidney disease in Washington, D.C., in 2000. He died at Georgetown University Hospital.  He was interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, next to the graves of his wife, Pola Nirenska, and brother Marian. He and Pola had no children.
On 2 June 1982, Yad Vashem recognised Jan Karski as Righteous Among the Nations.  A tree bearing a memorial plaque in his name was planted that same year at Yad Vashem's Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations in Jerusalem.
In 1991, Karski was awarded the Wallenberg Medal of the University of Michigan. Statues honoring Karski have been placed in New York City at the corner of 37th Street and Madison Avenue (renamed as "Jan Karski Corner")  and on the grounds of Georgetown University  in Washington, DC.  Additional benches, which were made by the Kraków-based sculptor Karol Badyna, are located in Kielce, Łódź, and Warsaw in Poland, and on the campus of Tel Aviv University in Israel. The talking Karski bench in Warsaw near the Museum of the History of Polish Jews has a button to activate a short talk by Karski about the war. Georgetown University, Oregon State University, Baltimore Hebrew College, Warsaw University, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, and the University of Łódź all awarded Karski honorary doctorates.
In 1994, Karski was made an honorary citizen of Israel in honor of his efforts on behalf of Polish Jews during the Holocaust. Karski was nominated for the Nobel Prize and formally recognized by the UN General Assembly shortly before his death.
Shortly after his death, the Jan Karski Society was established, initiated by his close friend, collaborator and biographer, Professor Waldemar Piasecki. The society preserves his legacy and administers the Jan Karski Eagle Award, which he had established in 2000. The list of laureates includes: Elie Wiesel, Shimon Peres, Lech Walesa, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Bronislaw Geremek, Jacek Kuron, Adam Michnik, Karol Modzelewski, Oriana Fallaci, Dagoberto Valdés Hernández, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Tygodnik Powszechny magazine, the Hoover Institution, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
In April 2011, the Jan Karski US Centennial Campaign was created to increase interest in the life and legacy of the late Polish diplomat, as the centennial year of his birth in 2014 approached. The US campaign, headed by Polish-American author Wanda Urbanska, worked in partnership with the International Legacy Program at the Polish History Museum in Warsaw, under the direction of Ewa Wierzynska. Polish Consul General Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka hosted a gala kickoff dinner in New York City on 30 May, consisting of representatives from Georgetown University, and the Polish Catholic and Jewish groups who comprised the steering committee.
The campaign group was seeking to obtain the Presidential Medal of Freedom for Karski in advance of his anniversary. In addition, they wanted to promote educational activities, including workshops, artistic performances, and a reprint of his 1944 book, Story of a Secret State. In December 2011, the support of 68 US Representatives and 12 US Senators was obtained and a supporting nomination for the medal was submitted to the White House.  On 23 April 2012, US President Barack Obama announced that Karski would receive the country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  The medal was awarded posthumously by President Obama on 29 May 2012 and presented to Adam Daniel Rotfeld, the former Foreign Minister of Poland and himself a Jewish Holocaust survivor.  Jan Karski's family was not invited to the presentation ceremony, which they strongly protested. The medal, along with other honors given to Karski, is on display at the "Karski office" in Łódź Museum. This is in accordance with the wishes of his surviving family, led by his niece and goddaughter Dr. Kozielewska-Trzaska.
A controversy erupted when a misspoken word in Barack Obama's Presidential Medal of Freedom speech came to be known as Gafa Obamy or 'Obama's gaffe',  when the president referred to "a Polish death camp" instead of "a death camp in Poland" when talking of the Nazi German transit death camp that Karski had visited. "Polish death camps" is a term often used to refer to Nazi concentration camps in Poland, as opposed to (as may be implied) Polish concentration camps. The terms "Polish death camp" or "Polish concentration camp" reportedly originated with ex-Nazis working for the West German secret services. Historian Leszek Pietrzak explains the propaganda strategies from the 1950s.  President Obama later characterized his term as a misstatement and his characterization was accepted by Polish President Bronisław Komorowski. 
In November 2012, having met its major goals, the Jan Karski US Centennial Campaign was succeeded by the Jan Karski Educational Foundation, which continues to promote Karski's legacy and values, particularly to young people from middle school through college age. The president of the foundation is Polish-American author Wanda Urbanska.  The foundation sponsored three major conferences about Karski in his centennial birth year, at Georgetown University in Washington, at Loyola University in Chicago, and in Warsaw.
In early February 2014, the Jan Karski Society and the Karski family appealed to President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski to posthumously promote Jan Karski to the rank of brigadier general in recognition of his contribution to the war effort as well as all couriers and emissaries of underground Polish state. The appeal received no response for a year. Member of the Polish parliament Professor Tadeusz Iwinski recently openly criticized the president of Poland for inaction on Karski's behalf. [ citation needed ]
On 24 June 2014, the "Jan Karski Mission Accomplished" Conference took place in Lublin under the patronage of Professor Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Poland (1995–2005), Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, and Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland.
Former Foreign Minister of Poland Władysław Bartoszewski, in his speech at the ceremony of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, 27 January 2005, said: "The Polish resistance movement kept informing and alerting the free world to the situation. In the last quarter of 1942, thanks to the Polish emissary Jan Karski and his mission, and also by other means, the Governments of the United Kingdom and of the United States were well informed about what was going on in Auschwitz-Birkenau." 
A full-length play on Karski's life and mission, Coming to See Aunt Sophie (2014), written by Arthur Feinsod, was produced in Germany and Poland. An English translation was produced in Bloomington, Indiana at the Jewish Theatre in June 2015, and in Australia in August of that year.
A new play, My Report to the World, written by Clark Young and Derek Goldman, premiered at Georgetown University during the conference honoring Karski's centennial year. It starred Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn as Karski. It was performed in Warsaw before being produced in New York in July 2015 Strathairn played in the Karski role in all productions. Goldman directed the play in both Washington, DC, and New York. The July performances were presented in partnership with The Museum of Jewish Heritage, The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University, Bisno Productions, and the Jan Karski Educational Foundation.
- "Polish Death Camp." Collier's, 14 October 1944, pp. 18–19, 60–61.
- Courier from Poland: The Story of a Secret State, Boston 1944 (Polish edition: Tajne państwo: opowieść o polskim Podziemiu, Warszawa 1999).
- Wielkie mocarstwa wobec Polski: 1919–1945 od Wersalu do Jałty. wyd. I krajowe Warszawa 1992, Wyd. PIWISBN83-06-02162-2
- Tajna dyplomacja Churchilla i Roosevelta w sprawie Polski: 1940–1945.
- Polska powinna stać się pomostem między narodami Europy Zachodniej i jej wschodnimi sąsiadami, Łódź 1997.
- Jan Karski (2001). Story of a Secret State. Simon Publications. p. 391. ISBN1-931541-39-6 .
- E. Thomas Wood & Stanisław M. Jankowski (1994). Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust. John Wiley & Sons Inc. page 316 0-471-01856-2
- J. Korczak, Misja ostatniej nadziei, Warszawa 1992.
- E. T. Wood, Karski: opowieść o emisariuszu, Kraków 1996.
- J. Korczak, Karski, Warszawa 2001.
- S. M. Jankowski, Karski: raporty tajnego emisariusza, Poznań 2009.
- Henry R. Lew, Lion Hearts Hybrid Publishers, Melbourne, Australia 2012.
- ^ abc Karski's date of birth is sometimes given as 24 April 1914, based on his baptismal records in Russian and subsequently shown on his official birth certificate. 24 June was confirmed by Karski's family lawyer, Dr. Wieslawa Kozielewska-Trzaska, by Karski's niece and god-daughter, and by the Jan Karski Society, an organization established shortly after his death to preserve his legacy. It is the date Karski himself used on handwritten documents, including several diplomatic dossiers at the League of Nations. 
24 April was the birth date shown on both the diploma for Karski's master's degree (awarded in 1935) and his certificate from the Artillery Reserve Officer Cadet School (awarded in 1936).  Some Karski tribute organizations also recognize 24 April as his birth date, as does the Google Cultural Institute's documentation, Museum of Polish History, and the Museum of the City of Łódź, to which Karski left his papers, awards and artwork. The Polish PWN Encyclopedia recognizes 24 April as his birth date. 
In March 2014, the United States Senate adopted a resolution honoring Karski on the centennial of his birth, 24 April 2014. The resolution was withdrawn and revised to recognize Karski on 24 June 2014, according to the Polish Press Agency.  The Polish Senate did the same, according to the office of Bogdan Borusewicz.
8 January 1943 - History
In 1901, Englishman Sam Atkinson purchased the island as free-hold owner. He established a coconut palm plantation harvesting copra that eventually encompassed a total of 307 acres. When Sam Atkinson died in 1931, his wife Edith continued to manage the plantation to was less profitable due to the Great Depression and drop in the price of copra as a commodity. In early 1942, the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP) government ordered all Europeans evacuated from the Solomons Islands. Edith left the plantation and released the laborers, she hurriedly departed by boat then aboard a ship to Australia. Although she hoped to return quickly, she remained in Australia until the end of World War II.
On November 3, 1942 the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), 18th Construction Battalion landed on Ballale Island to begin building an airfield with a contingent of 370 personnel later augmented by local people augmented by 517 British Prisoners Of War (British POWs) were transported to Ballale Island as laborers.
The Japanese built a single runway that spanned the length of the island oriented roughly northeast to southwest surfaced with crushed coral. Since most of the island was planted with rows of coconut palms, the palm trees were simply cut down at the base and the logs removed. Drainage ditches from the plantation were expanded to remove rain water from rain storms. By January 1943, the runway was completed. Taxiway loops and plus revetments (entaigo) for fighters and bombers were added to each side of the runway. Landing mat were added to taxiways and revetments and to provide extra traction in wet areas.
The Japanese code named Ballale Island and Ballale Airfield with the three letter signifier "RXZ". On January 9, 1943 the first aircraft to land on the new runway was G3M2 Nell piloted by Iwasaki. During 1943, Ballale Airfield was further developed and used as a forward airfield for Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) bombers and fighters. Later, Ballale Airfield was also used by Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) fighters and bombers.
Ballale Airfield and the garrison defending Ballale Island were both Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) personnel. The construction and anti-aircraft defenses were Navy personnel.
Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) units based at Ballale
2nd Carrier Division (Vice-Admiral Kakuji Kakuda) HQ Rabaul forward base Ballale for missions over Guadalcanal
Zuiho Sentouki-tai (18 x A6M Zero detachment) I-Operation on April 6, 1943 Rabaul
Hiyo Sentouki-tai (A6M Zero detachment) I-Operation April 7, 1943 Rabaul
204 Kokutai (A6M Zero detachment)
251 Kokutai (J1N1 Irving detachment) June 30, 1943–October 12, 1943
702 Kokutai (G4M1 Betty detachment) middle May 1943 - June 30, 1943 Vunakanau
705 Kokutai (G4M1 Betty detachment)
Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) units based at Ballale
11th Sentai (Ki-43-I Oscar detachment) January 27, 1943 raid to Guadalcanal
Japanese base defense units
18th Construction Battalion November 3, 1942–January 1943
6th Kure Chinjufu (3 x 12cm Naval Guns: Talahashi Group, Kanehara Group)
7th Yokosuka Chinjufu Miyake (4 x 7cm anti-aircraft guns)
13th Anti-Aircraft Group (Imoo Group)
British Prisoner Of War (POWs)
A contingent of 517 British Prisoners Of War (British POWs) that surrendered in February 1942 in Singapore detained at Changi POW Camp then shipped to Rabaul were transported to Ballale where they performed manual labor for the Japanese without medicine and were forbidden from digging air raid shelters. Many died from harsh treatment or during Allied bombing raids. The remainder were all killed around March 1943 when the airfield was completed and Japanese feared an Allied landing in the area. In addition, Chinese and Solomon Islander from the surrounding area labored for the Japanese on Ballale.
Height of Ballale
The height of Ballale Airfield was during early 943, when it was used for bombers and fighter detachments (Southern Area Fleet Nanha Momen Kantai). During early April 1943 during Operation I-Go, Allied intelligence reported 95 aircraft on the island on April 6, 1943. Also on May 13, intelligence observed 96 fighters and one bomber, according to USMC records.
Destination Admiral Yamamoto Never Reached
After Operation I-Go, Admiral Yamamoto and his staff planned to inspect forward airfields to boost morale and praise the Army-Navy cooperation. On April 18, 1943 at 6:00am, two bombers: G4M1 Betty 2656 and G4M1 Tail 326 took off from Lakunai Airfield near Rabaul on a flight scheduled to arrive at Ballale Airfield at 8:00am. Instead, both bombers were shot down by P-38 Lightnings. G4M1 Betty 2656 with Admiral Yamamoto aboard was shot down over Bougainville. The other G4M1 Tail 326 with Admiral Ugaki aboard was shot down in the sea off Moila Point on Bougainville.
Allied Aerial Assault
Discovered by the Allies in the middle of January 1943, hundreds of bombing missions and fighter sweeps targeted the airfield. After the November 1, 1944 U.S. amphibious landing at Torokina on Bougainville, Ballale was was bypassed and left to 'wither on a vine'.
Tom Blackburn in VF-17 The Jolly Rogers recalls the accuracy of AA:
"Dubbed 'Ballale Postgraduate School for Frustrated Anti-Aircraft gunners'. On the way home from missions we would strafe Ballale. I was never convinced that we did enough damage to warrant the risks, but I am certain our on going efforts inflicted psychological damage. Still I am not sure that it was worth the deaths sustained at the hands of their anti-aircraft gunners."
By the middle 1943, the Japanese feared an American invasion of the island, due to increased bombing raids and sea bombardments. Around the middle of 1943, the remaining Solomon Islander laborers were sent away, and the Japanese executed the remaining British POWs. They buried their bodies in a mass grave, so as not to attract attention from cremation smoke. Later garrisons were made to believe or lied, saying they believed the graves were Japanese.
By the middle of October 1943, Ballale Airfield was neutralized as a forward airfield by American bombing and strafing and the remaining aircraft in flyable condition were withdrawn northward. Although neutralized as an active airfield, anti-aircraft guns were still a threat.
Cut off from resupply or reinforcement, the remaining garrison began cultivate crops to sustain themselves. Some Japanese attempted to swim northward on empty fuel drums to join Japanese forces on southern Bougainville. At the end of the Pacific War, the island's garrison was 480 Japanese defenders manning the remaining guns (321 from the 6th Kure SNLF and 159 from the 7th Yokosuka SNLF).
On November 10, 1945 the first Allied troops to visit the island were elements of the Australian Army 7 Infantry Battalion. The landing party included Lt. General V. A. H. Sturdee (1st Army) and Brigadier A. W. Potts (23 Infantry Brigade). Ashore, the Australians immediately located the bodies of 57 prisoners killed on the island, and buried in shallow trenches. An atrocities commission was carried out on the island, that eventually led to the discovery of a mass grave of 436 bodies were exhumed with artifacts identifying them as British artillerymen, brought to Ballale from Singapore, where they surrendered in February 1942. They were re-interred in individual graves at the Bomama War Cemetery near Port Moresby, PNG. The remainder of the 517 British POWs have never been found.
Repair by British Government
After the war, the strip was abandoned until 1973 when it was reopened by a grant from the British Colonial government. School children from the nearby Nila Catholic church were used to first clear the runway of bush and move live ordinance. Later, British engineers completed the work, and built a small terminal at the southern end of the strip and dock (now broken) for small boats.
Michael Claringbould visited Ballale in 1977:
"The Japanese workshops still had tools hanging on the walls. Bulldozers, steamrollers, aircraft everywhere, you would not have believed it - frozen in time."
Allan Dickes (grandson of Sam Atkinson) recalls:
"The most ironic memento of failed imperial ambition was a 'Betty" bomber on whose canopy a ficus had seeded, Its roots had wrapped around the fuselage and now lift the plane skyward once again! Nearby is the up tilted carcass of a 'Zero'. Half the fuselage is buried by soil thrown up by a nearby crater, the 'Rising Sun' emblem, still faintly discernible, is neatly bisected by the soil. The sun had surely set on that one!"
Ballalae Airport is in limited use today by Solomon Airlines with bi-weekly flights providing air service to the Shortland area. Airport codes: IATA: BAS, ICAO: AGGE. The runway is 5' above sea level. Aside from passengers on the bi-weekly flights, no one lives on Ballale, and the rest of the island has reverted to dense jungle. Full of swamp and dense jungle, Ballale is notorious for scrub typhus, and other varieties of insects, diseases and dangers. Two anthologist that stayed overnight on the island, and died soon afterwards from the tropical aliments. Others report strange rashes, bites and infections from insects of the island.
On April 2, 2007, an 8.1 earthquake caused a tsunami tidal wave that impacted many areas of Western Province. Ballale Island's northeastern coast was hit by a tidal wave of undetermined size or strength that knocked over trees. caused flooding and impacted several wrecks in that portion of the island.
Mass Grave of British POW & Memorial
When Australian forces arrived on the island in November 1945, 436 bodies were exhumed with artifacts that identified them as British artillerymen. They were exhumed and temporarily buried at the nearest Allied War Cemetery at Torokina. Later, they were permanently re-interred at Bomama War Cemetery outside Port Moresby, and are also memorialized on MIA Tablets at Singapore. In July 2003, relatives of the POWs visited the island and erected a memorial to them next to the terminal.
List of British Prisoners Killed on Ballale
Are you a relative? Contact Us to add name
Aircraft Salvaged from Ballale
Robert Diemert 1968, Patrick Murphy 1990s, Craig Turner 2005 and Warbird Restoration Pty Ltd 2018
Broken Wings of Ballale - The Tragic Salvage History of the Last Undisturbed World War II Airfield
D3A2 Val Manufacture Number 3178
Salvaged by Robert Diemert in 1968, restored to flying condition in storage at Planes of Fame
A6M2 Zero Manufacture Number 5356 Tail EII-102
Salvaged by Robert Diemert in 1968 restored to fly with the CAF
A6M2 Zero Manufacture Number 5450 Tail EII-140
Salvaged by Robert Diemert in 1968 static restored at NMNA
A6M3 Model 22 Zero
Remained in situ possibly parts salvaged in 1968 rest salvaged by Craig Turner November 6, 2007
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
January 18, 1943 Chickenfeed
The United States Supreme Court, apparently afraid of President Roosevelt and his aggressive and illegal “court packing” scheme, ruled against the farmer. Ever since, what you don’t do can be argued in a court of law to impact interstate conditions, putting what you didn’t do under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
Get it? Neither do I, but I digress.
The first bread slicer was invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, in 1912. The idea was unpopular among bakers, who feared that pre-sliced bread would go stale faster, leading to spoiled inventory and dissatisfied customers.
The project almost ended in a fire in 1917, when a fire destroyed the prototype along with the blueprints. Rohwedder soldiered on. By 1927, he had scraped up enough financing to rebuild his bread slicer.
Frank Bench, a personal friend of the inventor, was the first to install the machine. The first pre-sliced loaf was sold in July of the following year. Customers loved the convenience and Bench’s bread sales shot through the roof.
Sliced bread became a national hit when the Continental Baking Company, then-owner of the “Wonder Bread” brand, began using a modified version of Rowhedder’s machine in 1930. Sliced bread was here to stay. Sort of.
These were the early days of the Great Depression. Nine million savings accounts were wiped out in the first three years. Federal agricultural officials conceived the hare brained idea that artificially introduced scarcity would raise prices and therefore wages, in the agricultural sector. No fewer than six million hogs were destroyed in 1933, alone. Not harvested, just destroyed and thrown away at a time when a 22.9% unemployment led the way to widespread malnutrition and hunger.
470,000 cattle were shot in Nebraska alone. Vast quantities of milk were poured down sewers, and whole cotton fields, plowed under.
US unemployment, 1920-
Whether because of or despite government policies, unemployment dropped from 25% to 9% during Roosevelt’s first time (1933 – ), then more than doubled to 19%, in 1938.
Claude R. Wickard
The “Second New Deal” saw a blizzard of social welfare programs, all but crowding out the productive bits of the economy. The Great Depression not so much as ended but paused, with the onset of WW2.
US entry into WW2 was in its second year in 1943 when Claude Wickard, head of the War Foods Administration and Secretary of Agriculture, had the hare brained idea of banning sliced bread.
Mr. Wickard was no stranger to hare brained ideas it is he who lends his name to the landmark Supreme Court case Wickard v. Filburn.
Speaking of hare brained ideas. The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 limited the area that farmers could devote to wheat production, in an effort to stabilize the price of wheat. Ohio farmer Roscoe Filburn was producing more than his allotment, and the federal government ordered him to destroy the surplus and pay a fine, even though his “surplus” was being consumed on the farm by the Filburn family, and their chickens.
Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution includes the “Commerce Clause”, permitting the Congress “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes”. That’s it.
The Federal District Court sided with the farmer, but the Federal government appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that, by withholding his surplus from the interstate wheat market, Filburn was effecting prices and therefore fell under federal government jurisdiction under the commerce clause.
The United States Supreme Court, apparently afraid of President Roosevelt and his aggressive and illegal “court packing” scheme, ruled against the farmer. Ever since, what you don’t do can be argued in a court of law to impact interstate conditions, putting what you didn’t do under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
Get it? Neither do I, but I digress.
Back to Mr. Wickard, who enacted his ban against sliced bread and put it into effect on January 18, 1943. The push-back, as you might guess, was immediate and vehement. One woman took up her pen, and wrote to the New York Times: “I should like to let you know how important sliced bread is to the morale and saneness of a household. My husband and four children are all in a rush during and after breakfast. Without ready-sliced bread I must do the slicing for toast—two pieces for each one—that’s ten. For their lunches I must cut by hand at least twenty slices, for two sandwiches apiece. Afterward I make my own toast. Twenty-two slices of bread to be cut in a hurry!”
The stated reasons for the ban never did make sense. At various times, Wickard claimed that it was to conserve wax paper, wheat or steel, but one reason was goofier than the one before. According to the War Production Board, most bakeries had plenty of wax paper supplies on hand, even if they didn’t buy any. Furthermore, the federal government had a billion bushels of wheat stockpiled at the time, about two years’ supply, and the amount of steel saved by not making bread slicers has got to be marginal, at best.
The ban was rescinded on March 8, 1943, and pre-sliced bread was once again available to the federal government and its subjects. There’s no telling who first used the expression “the greatest thing since sliced bread”, but a reasonable guess may be made as to why.
8 January 1943 - History
The winner is listed first, in CAPITAL letters.
For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
Heaven Can Wait (1943)
The Human Comedy (1943)
In Which We Serve (1942, UK)
Madame Curie (1943)
The More the Merrier (1943)
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
The Song of Bernadette (1943)
Watch on the Rhine (1943)
PAUL LUKAS in "Watch on the Rhine", Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca", Gary Cooper in "For Whom the Bell Tolls", Walter Pidgeon in "Madame Curie", Mickey Rooney in "The Human Comedy"
JENNIFER JONES in "The Song of Bernadette", Jean Arthur in "The More the Merrier", Ingrid Bergman in "For Whom the Bell Tolls", Joan Fontaine in "The Constant Nymph", Greer Garson in "Madame Curie"
CHARLES COBURN in "The More the Merrier", Charles Bickford in "The Song of Bernadette", J. Carrol Naish in "Sahara", Claude Rains in "Casablanca", Akim Tamiroff in "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
KATINA PAXINOU in "For Whom the Bell Tolls", Gladys Cooper in "The Song of Bernadette", Paulette Goddard in "So Proudly We Hail!", Anne Revere in "The Song of Bernadette", Lucile Watson in "Watch on the Rhine"
MICHAEL CURTIZ for "Casablanca", Clarence Brown for "The Human Comedy", Henry King for "The Song of Bernadette", Ernst Lubitsch for "Heaven Can Wait", George Stevens for "The More the Merrier"
This was the first year that Best Supporting Actors and Actresses received full-sized Oscar statuettes, rather than miniature Oscar plaques.
Director Michael Curtiz' Casablanca (with eight nominations and three Oscar wins - Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay for Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch) - the melodramatic story of international intrigue, romance and politics in the Nazi-occupied exotic locale of French Morocco, is now considered one of filmdom's best pictures ever made. The classic masterpiece of sacrifice and comradeship deservedly won the Best Picture award for 1943, but it was a dark horse candidate. Actually, it should have competed against Mrs. Miniver (1942) (the Best Picture winner in the previous year), since it premiered in New York in November of that year. However, it didn't show in Los Angeles until its general release that January, so it competed in 1943.
With an inspired cast, As Time Goes By, a great director, and unexpected wartime publicity, the superior film told the story of an aloof American owner (Bogart) of a bar in Casablanca who rescues his old girlfriend (Bergman) and her Resistance husband (Henreid) from the clutches of Axis authorities.
During WWII's height, four of the Best Picture nominees in 1943 had war as their themes. In addition to the Best Picture winner, three of the other nine Best Picture nominees of 1943 were also war films with patriotic or sentimental themes:
- writer/co-director Noel Coward's outstanding production (with director David Lean) of the flag-waving British film In Which We Serve (with two nominations and no wins in 1943), about the lives of the crew of the torpedoed and sinking destroyer HMS Torrin during the Battle of Crete (based upon the true story of Lord Louis Mountbatten's destroyer HMS Kelly). This film had already received a Special Award in 1942 (for Coward's "outstanding production achievement")
- director Herman Shumlin's Watch on the Rhine (with four nominations and one win - Best Actor), a film adaptation of Lillian Hellman's successful stage play about anti-fascism and the pursuit of a European couple that is part of the anti-Nazi underground
- director Sam Wood's For Whom the Bell Tolls (with nine nominations and one win - Best Supporting Actress), a film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's romantic/adventure novel and the story of the romance between an American school teacher and a traumatized woman he meets in a rebel camp during the Spanish Civil War
- director Henry King's The Song of Bernadette (with twelve nominations and four wins - Best Actress, Best B/W Cinematography, Best B/W Interior Decoration, and Best Dramatic Score), the film with the most nominations for the year, based on a novel by Franz Werfel about a peasant girl who sees a vision of the Virgin Mary in a grotto at Lourdes in 1858
- director Ernst Lubitsch's romantic comedy/satire Heaven Can Wait (with three nominations and no wins) - a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) about a philandering, amorous rogue who tries to convince the Devil in Hell that he was really a good human being
- director Clarence Brown's The Human Comedy (with five nominations and one win - Best Original Story by William Saroyan) about the experiences of a small-town (California) Western Union telegram delivery boy during World War II
- director Mervyn LeRoy's film biography of the discoverer of radium, Madame Curie (with seven nominations and no wins) - both male and female leads of Best Picture nominee Madame Curie lost - they were the popular, re-teamed romantic duo Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson (the husband and wife of Mrs. Miniver)
- director George Stevens' romantic comedy about a working, female civil servant who shares a cramped apartment in war-time Washington DC with two bachelors (one old gentleman - Charles Coburn and one handsome young man - Joel McCrea) in The More the Merrier (with six nominations and one win - Best Supporting Actor)
- director William A. Wellman's western The Ox-Bow Incident (with only one nomination - Best Picture), about a mob that wrongly lynchs the wrong men, based on Walter Van Tilburg Clark's true story
Hungarian-born Paul Lukas (with his sole career nomination) won the Best Actor award - his first and only Oscar - for his role as Kurt Muller, a German engineer and anti-Nazi underground Resistance leader who flees the Nazis with wife Bette Davis to seek refuge in the US (Washington) and continue his freedom-fighting activities - until he is blackmailed - in Watch on the Rhine. Unfortunately, Humphrey Bogart (with his first of three career nominations), in his quintessential, signature role as disaffected cafe owner Rick Blaine in Casablanca lost the Oscar, but his nomination brought him recognition and status as a top actor.
The other three Best Actor nominees were:
- Gary Cooper (with his fourth nomination) as freedom fighter/war hero Robert Jordan in For Whom the Bell Tolls
- Walter Pidgeon (with his second and last unsuccessful career nomination) as co-star Greer Garson's scientist husband Pierre Curie in Madame Curie
- Mickey Rooney (with his second of four unsuccessful career nominations) as Western Union messenger Homer Macauley who delivers death telegrams during WWII in The Human Comedy
In the Best Actress race, this was the first time in six years that Bette Davis didn't receive an Oscar nomination. She had been nominated as Best Actress for six consecutive years (from 1938-1942), and had won in both 1935 and 1938.
The Best Actress winner was twenty-four year-old Jennifer Jones (with her first career nomination) as the 14 year-old, 19th century French peasant girl of Lourdes named Bernadette in an adaptation of Franz Werfel's novel The Song of Bernadette. Jones portrayed a young, saintly girl who became canonized after claiming to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary (played by Linda Darnell, Darryl Zanuck's mistress) while gathering firewood, and was inspired to dig a well at the spot. [Producer/director David O. Selznick's protege (and future wife in 1949) was, in all respects, appearing in her debut film, although she had been in a few minor low-budget pictures a few years earlier under her real name - Phyllis Isley. Jennifer Jones never won another Oscar, but she was nominated four more times in the films: Since You Went Away (1944), Love Letters (1945), Duel in the Sun (1946), and Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1955).]
The Best Actress win for Jennifer Jones also deprived other great actresses of awards:
- twenty-nine year old Ingrid Bergman, Bogart's lovely co-star in Casablanca was unacknowledged when she failed to be nominated for her role as Ilsa Lund however, she was nominated (her first career nomination) as Best Actress for her role as traumatized rape victim - a peasant girl named Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls.
- Greer Garson (with her fourth of seven Best Actress nominations - one of six nominations between 1939 and 1945) as famous scientist Madame Marie Curie who discovered radium in the fact-based biopic Madame Curie
- Joan Fontaine (the last of three nominations in the four years between 1940 and 1943) as Tessa Sanger - a young Belgian girl in love with composer/co-star Charles Boyer in director Edmund Goulding's The Constant Nymph (the film's sole nomination)
- Jean Arthur (with her sole career nomination) as career girl/government worker Connie Mulligan who shares her DC apartment with two other men in The More the Merrier. [Jean Arthur was a great screen comedienne and director Frank Capra's favorite actress - she appeared in key roles in many classics, including: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Easy Living (1937), Best Picture and Director winner You Can't Take It With You (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and Shane (1953), among others.]
In the Best Supporting Actor race, Charles Coburn (with his second nomination and sole Oscar win) won the Oscar for his role as Benjamin Dingle - an old, daffy gentleman who is a rich philanthropist/matchmaker sharing a room for rent in an apartment with Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea in the overcrowded, wartime US capital during wartime in The More the Merrier. The other four nominees were:
- Claude Rains (with his second of four unsuccessful nominations) as the suave, Casablanca police chief Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca
- Akim Tamiroff (with his second and last unsuccessful nomination) as Spanish guerrilla leader Pablo in For Whom the Bell Tolls
- Charles Bickford (with the first of three unsuccessful nominations) as local priest Peyremaie in The Song of Bernadette
- J. Carrol Naish (with his first of two unsuccessful nominations) as Italian POW Giuseppe in director Zoltan Korda's Libyan desert war film Sahara (with three nominations and no wins)
Greek actress Katina Paxinou (in her first American film and with her first and sole nomination) won the Best Supporting Actress award - her first and only Oscar - for her role as the powerful and fiery hill woman and gypsy Spanish Civil War revolutionary Pilar (Akim Tamiroff's wife in the film) who is a member of a loyalist band helped by Gary Cooper in For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Paxinou's victory defeated two co-stars of The Song of Bernadette:
- Gladys Cooper (with her second of three unsuccessful nominations) as doubting Sister Vauzous
- Anne Revere (with her first nomination) as Bernadette's poor mother Louise Soubirous
The remaining two nominees in the Best Supporting Actress category were:
- Paulette Goddard (with her sole career nomination) as WW II Army nurse in Bataan named Lt. Jean O'Doul in director Mark Sandrich's So Proudly We Hail (with four nominations and no wins)
- Lucile Watson (with her sole career nomination) as bossy Fanny Farrelly (Bette Davis' mother) in Watch on the Rhine
Max Steiner's score for the Best Picture winner, including the immortal song: "As Time Goes By," lost to Alfred Newman's Score for The Song of Bernadette. Arthur Edeson's Oscar-nominated B/W Cinematography for Casablanca was defeated by Arthur Miller for The Song of Bernadette.
Oscar Snubs and Omissions:
Although The More the Merrier had received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director (George Stevens), Best Original Story and Screenplay, and a win for Best Supporting Actor, Joel McCrea was deprived of an Oscar nomination for his crucial comic role in the film. In fact, McCrea never received an Oscar nomination.
Ironically, Ingrid Bergman was nominated (and lost) for For Whom the Bell Tolls as Gary Cooper's lover, but was un-nominated for her most famous role as beautiful and radiant Ilsa Lund, co-star Humphrey Bogart's conflicted Parisian love interest - who asked cafe pianist Sam to play "As Time Goes By," in the most famous scene in Michael Curtiz's Casablanca.
Also un-nominated was Ida Lupino's great performance in The Hard Way - the role won her the Best Actress award from the New York Film Critics. Likewise, the great silent film director Erich von Stroheim was omitted from the nominees for his role as Erwin Rommel in Billy Wilder's second film, Five Graves to Cairo. [Stroheim would have to wait seven years for his first nomination -- for his unforgettable role as Max von Mayerling in Sunset Boulevard (1950).]
The Best Picture-nominated film The Ox-Bow Incident was a deserved honor, but none of the cast, including Henry Fonda, was nominated. Ernst Lubitsch's nomination for Best Director for the Best Picture nominee Heaven Can Wait was doomed to lose. Actor Don Ameche turned in one of his best performances in the film and it was one of Lubitsch's greatest, but 20th Century-Fox was promoting The Song of Bernadette instead.
One of Hitchcock's greatest thrillers (and the director's own favorite), Shadow of a Doubt, deserved more recognition than it received - only a Best Original Screenplay nomination - snubbed were both Joseph Cotten's chilling role as dark-hearted, widow-murdering serial killer Uncle Charlie, and Teresa Wright's performance as Young Charlie (Charlie's niece). [Joseph Cotten never received an Oscar nomination, although he appeared in some of the greatest films ever made, including Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942).]
Elizabeth Taylor's second film Lassie Come Home, the first feature film to star a collie, helped to launch her career and the beloved animal series that began in 1954 - it received only one nomination - for Color Cinematography. [Lassie Come Home was followed by six sequels.] The feature film that was the directing debut of Vincente Minnelli was Cabin in the Sky - it featured an all-black cast. The film's sole un-successful nomination was for Best Song, "Happiness is a Thing Called Joe."
Other films without any nominations included Old Acquaintance (with Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins) and one of Jacques Tourneur's best horror films with producer Val Lewton: I Walked With a Zombie. Hangmen Also Die received only two nominations (for Best Song and Score).