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When did Australia declare war on Germany in WWII

When did Australia declare war on Germany in WWII

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In 1939, Australia had not ratified the 1931 Westminster Statute, and so lacked an independent foreign policy. Menzies recognised this by saying in 1939, that as Britain was at war with Germany, so Australia was at war with Germany.

In 1942, after a change of government, Australia ratified the statute, backdated to 1939.

While Australia was obviously at war with Germany from 1939, "declaration of war" implies a formality and legality: when should we consider this formal and legal process to have happened? In 1939? In 1942?

from Australia's War 1939 - 1945:

On 3 September 1939, Prime Minister Robert Gordon Menzies announced that Australia was at war with Germany:

"Fellow Australians, it is my melancholy duty to inform you officially, that in consequence of a persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war. No harder task can fall to the lot of a democratic leader than to make such an announcement."

From speech made by Prime Minister Robert Gordon Menzies, 3 September 1939

A public announcement by one's duly elected Prime Minister seems definitive to me.

Australia's Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 explicitly states that five provisions of the Westminster Act (sections two, three, four, five, and six)

are adopted and the adoption shall have effect from the third day of September, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-nine.

Sections three and four of the Westminster Act bear on the question (my emphasis):

3. It is hereby declared and enacted that the Parliament of a Dominion has full power to make laws having extra-territorial operation.
4. No Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom passed after the commencement of this Act shall extend, or be deemed to extend, to a Dominion as part of the law of that Dominion, unless it is expressly declared in that Act that that Dominion has requested, and consented to, the enactment thereof.


  • that the UK Declaration of War on Germany passed the House of Commons on Sep. 3, 1939; and
  • said date of passage is not after the commencement of this Act [effective date of Statute of Westminster 1931, being Sep. 3, 1939, as regards the Commonwealth of Australia],

it seems clear that the date of effect was deliberately chosen to ensure that Australia was legally in a formal state of declared war against Germany prior to the Westminster Adoption Act taking effect.
Update #2 This interpretation is reinforced by the signed declaration beneath the Act by the Clerk of the House of Representatives (my emphasis again):

I hereby certify that the above is a fair print of the Bill intituled "An Act to… by adopting certain Sections of the Statute of Westminster 1931, as from the Commencement of the War between His Majesty the King and Germany", which has been passed…

This combines to ensure that Menzie's broadcast declaration above (of Australia being at war with Nazi Germany) was not impeached by the retro-active application of the Westminster Adoption Act 1942.


The declaration in 1939 brought Australia, by virtue of its then status as a British dominion, into war with Germany.

Adoption of the statute of Westminster terminated Australia's status as a dominion and would have, by itself, resulted in the then newly independent Australia no longer being at war with Germany.

The backdated 1942 declaration brought the then independent nation of Australia into war with Germany.

World War II

When war came again, however, the nation’s response was firm—some 30,000 Australians died in World War II (1938–45), and 65,000 were injured. From early in the war, the Royal Australian Air Force was active in the defense of Britain. The Australian Navy operated in the Mediterranean Sea (1940–41), helping to win the Battle of Cape Matapan (March 1941). Australian troops fought in the seesaw battles of North Africa.

In mid-1941 Australians suffered heavy losses both in the Allied defeats in Greece and Crete and in the victories in the Levant. Meanwhile, the German general Erwin Rommel was scoring his greatest triumphs in North Africa. Out of these emerged the successful Allied defense of Tobruk, carried out substantially by Australians (April–December 1941), and the decisive victory at the battles of El-Alamein, in which an Australian division played a key role.

After the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (December 7, 1941), however, the focus shifted homeward. The Japanese victories of the following months more than fulfilled the fantasies that fear and hate had long prompted in Australia. On February 15, 1942, 15,000 Australians became prisoners of war when Singapore fell to Japanese forces, and four days later war came to the nation’s shores when Darwin was bombed. Then came a Japanese swing southward that by August threatened to overrun Port Moresby, New Guinea.

When Australia entered the war, compulsory military training was reintroduced by the Menzies government and commenced in January 1940. All unmarried men age 21 were required to complete three months of compulsory military training in the Citizen Military Forces (also known as the Militia). Because the Defence Act of 1903 restricted conscription to soldiers fighting on Australian land, a separate volunteer force, the 2nd Australian Imperial Force, was established to send troops to fight abroad while the Citizens Military Force defended the homeland and its territories.

In 1942 the worsening situation in the Pacific and in Southeast Asia, along with the consequent threat of a Japanese land invasion in northern Australia, caused widespread panic in Australia and led the government to take drastic measures to protect the country and its territories. John Curtin, leader of the Australian Labor Party, who had succeeded Menzies as prime minister, reversed his strong personal opposition to compulsory overseas military service to allow the government to conscript soldiers to fight the Japanese in the “South-West Pacific Area.” Enacted on February 19, 1943, the Defence (Citizen Military Forces) Act of 1943 extended the defense of Australia to include the territory of New Guinea and adjacent islands, thus allowing for the conscription of Australian troops to serve in the “South-Western Pacific Zone.”

The United States became Australia’s major ally. In a famous statement (December 1941), Prime Minister Curtin declared: “I make it quite clear that Australia looks to America, free from any pangs about our traditional links of friendship to Britain.” A sharper note of independence from Britain came when Curtin insisted (February 1942) that Australian troops recalled from the Middle East should return to Australia itself and not help in the defense of Burma (Myanmar) as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill wished. Conversely, American needs prompted total response to Curtin’s call. U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander in chief of the South-West Pacific Area, established his headquarters first in Melbourne and then in Brisbane.

The large U.S. military presence in Brisbane was not without problems. When American troops began arriving in Australia in December 1941, their presence was warmly welcomed. However, Australian attitudes toward them began to change, particularly the attitude of Australian soldiers who felt threatened by the attention Australian women showed toward the better-paid, more stylishly uniformed American soldiers. The increasing tension erupted into the “Battle of Brisbane,” two nights of large-scale rioting that took place between Australians and U.S. servicemen in Brisbane’s central business district on November 26–27, 1942. One Australian died and hundreds were wounded on both sides as a result of the violent clash.

Brisbane also figured large in an alleged defense strategy that ultimately proved to be a canard, according to which, in the event of a Japanese invasion, the northern parts of the continent beyond “the Brisbane Line” between Brisbane and Perth were to have been conceded to the enemy without resistance. Supposedly, the objective of this plan was to concentrate Australian armed forces between Brisbane and Melbourne, where most of the crucial industrial regions were located. The idea was that the sheer distance that would have to be traveled by Japanese forces to reach the Brisbane Line would be debilitating for them.

During an election campaign in October 1942, Labor minister Edward Ward accused the previous Menzies and Fadden governments of having planned this strategy, though he had no evidence to support his claims. MacArthur’s mention of the “Brisbane Line” to reporters in March 1943 sparked further public concern and controversy. A Royal Commission that operated from June to September 1943, however, determined that no such plan had ever existed as an official policy. Indeed, MacArthur decided that the best way to stop Japanese forces from advancing to Australia was to make a stand in New Guinea.

Meanwhile, on land, the fortunes of war turned against the Japanese in August–September 1942, beginning with an Allied (primarily Australian) victory at Milne Bay, New Guinea. More prolonged—and of more heroic dimension in Australian eyes—was the forcing back of the Japanese from southern New Guinea over the Kokoda Track (or Trail), along which Australian soldiers put up strong resistance against seemingly overwhelming odds. The Japanese, having failed to capture Port Moresby by sea in the Battle of the Coral Sea (May 4–8, 1942), landed in northern New Guinea at the beachheads of Gona and Buna on July 21, 1942, with the intention of taking the New Guinea capital by pushing south over the rugged Owen Stanley Range along the Kokoda Track. In a series of engagements during what proved to be a four-month campaign, Australian troops eventually forced their more powerful adversary to withdraw, retaking the Kokoda region on November 2, 1942. Their actions arguably saved Australia from Japanese invasion and, as such, formed a defining moment in Australian history. The endurance, courage, “mateship,” and never-give-up attitude the Australian soldiers displayed during the campaign fostered the so-called ANZAC legend, the tradition of the indomitable spirit of Australian troops that began with the original ANZACs in the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915 and continues today as an important element of national identity.

A long attrition of Japanese forces elsewhere in New Guinea and the islands followed the Kokoda Track Campaign, with Australia initially playing a major role and subsequently playing a role secondary to American forces. Both Australian volunteers and conscripts fought in these campaigns, the government and people having accepted the legitimacy of sending conscripts as far north as the Equator and as far west and east as the 110th and 159th meridians.

Because defeat in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway prevented Japan from continuing to supply its forces in Burma (Myanmar) by sea, the Japanese high command undertook the building of a rail line between Thailand and Burma. In addition to Asian labourers, more than 60,000 Allied prisoners of war (POWs), including about 13,000 Australians, were forced to construct the 260-mile (415-km) Burma (Thai-Burma) Railway Line. Subject to cruel punishment and torture, the POWs also suffered from disease and malnutrition. As a result, more than one-fifth of them, including more than 2,800 Australians, died during the yearlong (October 1942–October 1943) construction of the railway. The will to survive exhibited by the Australian POWs—including Lieut. Col. Ernest Edward (“Weary”) Dunlop, an army surgeon who risked his life by standing up to his Japanese captors to protect the men in his care—contributed further to the ANZAC legend.

There were more than two dozen POW camps in Australia. On August 5, 1944, one of the largest POW breakouts in history occurred at the facility in Cowra in east-central New South Wales. In the wee hours of the morning, more than 1,100 Japanese POWs staged a mass breakout, storming the barbed-wire fence surrounding the camp. More than 300 prisoners managed to escape, but within nine days all of the escapees who had not chosen to kill themselves were recaptured. In all, 231 Japanese POWs died as a result of the breakout.

The war brought some passion into domestic affairs, albeit less than in World War I. Curtin’s government exercised considerable control over the civilian population, “industrial conscription” being scarcely an exaggerated description. Overall, this was accepted—partly because of the crisis, partly because the government showed purposefulness and capacity. Curtin easily won the 1943 elections. Thereafter, his ministry and the bureaucracy gave considerable thought to postwar reconstruction, hoping to use war-developed techniques to achieve greater social justice in peace.

The war carried industrialization to a new level. The production of ammunition and other matériel (including airplanes), machine tools, and chemicals all boomed. Meanwhile, primary production lost prestige, aid, and skills, so that the 1944 output was but two-thirds that of 1939–40. Urban employment was bountiful, and concentration in the state capitals became more marked than ever. Many families had two or more income earners. Thus, affluence quickened. Federal child endowment from 1940 and rationing of scarce products helped distribute this wealth. The gross national product increased by more than one-half between 1938–39 and 1942–43 and by the end of that time was nearly triple what it had been at the end of World War I.

World War II also proved to be a significant turning point in the role of women, and the wartime efforts of various women’s groups and their volunteer service to the community were recognized and praised. More women also joined the workforce to replace men who had left for war, bringing about a significant change in the traditional role of women, who had previously remained in the home to manage domestic responsibilities and raise children. As they became more active in society, women gained respect for the vital assistance they provided to improving sectors of Australian life.

Mini Quiz

1. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared war because the Germans
a) had failed to meet the Allies
b) hadn't retreated from Poland
c) hadn't set a deadline in time

2. The Allies set a deadline soon after the Germans had
a) invaded Poland
b) elected Hitler
c) started World War 2

3. If a teacher sets a deadline for the submission of an essay, she expects her students to submit their essays
a) before the deadline
b) around the deadline
c) after the deadline

Hayworth: ‘In My History’ U.S. Didn’t Formally Declare War On Nazi Germany (VIDEO)

Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), who is challenging Sen. John McCain in the Republican primary, said that the United States did not formally declare war on Germany in World War II — at least, that’s how it went in his history.

While speaking last week to a local GOP organization in Phoenix, Hayworth was asked by an attendee about America’s failure to formally declare war in our modern conflicts. Hayworth defended the modern-day authorizations for the use of military force. “But I would also point out, that if we want to be sticklers, the war that Dwight Eisenhower led in Europe against the Third Reich was never declared by the United States Congress,” said Hayworth. “Recall, the Congress passed a war resolution against Japan. Germany declared war on us two days later. We never formally declared war on Hitler’s Germany, and yet we fought the war.”

The questioner then responded that he thought the United States did declare on Germany, and he would check it. Hayworth responded: “I think we should check it. Perhaps we made the rationalization — since there was the Axis alliance — that the attack of Japan was tantamount to the attack of the Third Reich. But as I recall in my history, Germany declared war on the United States, not vice-versa.”

In fact, the United states did declare war on Germany. The timeline goes as follows: Japan attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The United States declared war against Japan the next day, December 8, 1941. Then on December 11, 1941, Germany declared war against the United States — to which the United States immediately reciprocated by declaring war against Germany that same day.

The video of Hayworth was live-streamed by the local GOP organization. It was then captured and posted online by an anti-Hayworth tracker. We were unable to immediately reach Hayworth’s campaign for comment.

Late Update: Hayworth communications director Mark Sanders gives us this comment:

“In a give and take session with members of an audience, Congressman Hayworth was asked about the current conflicts the U.S. is engaged in. He said that the United States did not declare war on Germany during World War II, and agreed with the gentleman asking the question that additional research might be needed. Hayworth instructed his researcher to look into it and we found that on Dec. 11, 1941, Germany declared war on the United States and President Roosevelt wrote ‘I therefore request the Congress to RECOGNIZE a state of war between the United States and Germany and between the United States and Italy.'”

Congress agreed in resolving “That the state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany which has been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared.”

1939 – 1945

Mini submarine, possibly HA14, hauled from the Harbour near Bradleys Head. Courtesy Australian War Memorial

When World War I ended in 1918, it was considered the war to end all wars. People thought that after the carnage and misery of that time, war again was unthinkable and they looked to a future of peace. Yet 20 years later a more destructive war started that killed more people, caused more damage and cost more money than any other war in history.

During the 1920s a lot of Germans felt angry and bitter about what had happened to them in World War I and the treatment they received by the allied countries afterwards. Adolf Hitler was a soldier in the German Army in World War I. After the war he joined a small political group called the National Socialist Workers Party. Under Hitler’s control the group grew into a well-organised political party called the Nazi Party. In 1923 Hitler tried to take over the German Government. He failed, and spent nine months in jail where he wrote a book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). In this book, Hitler detailed his ideas on how Germany could become a strong and powerful nation again and his thoughts on ethnicity in particular the Jews.

In the early 1930s, the Great Depression hit Germany very hard. Over six million people were out of work and life was tough. Hitler promised to make things better. In 1933, the Nazi Party was voted into power and Hitler became the German leader. Within a year, Hitler had got rid of democratic government and installed himself as a dictator. He built up Germany’s army and navy and began plans to expand Germany’s boundaries. Italy too was governed by fascists under the leadership of Benito Mussolini who wanted to strengthen Italy’s power and take over more territories. In Japan, Emperor Hirohito was the head of a military government. Like Germany and Italy, Japan wanted to expand its territories. In 1937, Germany, Italy and Japan signed a treaty to support each other. Once again, as happened before World War I, countries grouped together building armies and navies to wage war.

Hitler sought to expand Germany’s boundaries to include German-speaking communities in Austria, Czechoslovakia and East Prussia (Poland). Britain and France were concerned about this, but as they did not want to start a war, they adopted a strategy of ‘appeasement’. In early 1939, Germany had invaded Austria and a portion of Czechoslovakia. Britain and France had allowed Hitler to do so if he stopped there. Hitler didn’t and invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia.

Realising that war was imminent, Britain and France warned Germany that if Poland was invaded a state of war would exist. In September 1939, Germany attacked Poland. Britain and France were now at war with Germany. Although Australia was an independent Commonwealth nation and didn’t have to declare war on Germany, a strong sense of duty to Britain and its people prevailed and Australia declared war immediately. Throughout 1940 a kind of ‘phoney war’ existed. While Australia set about conscripting and training troops, most people had lost interest in the war.

A general view of the access road separating the four compounds of the Cowra Camp. B and C compounds are on the left while A and D compounds are on the right. Courtesy Australian War Memorial

This all changed on 7 December 1941 when Japan attacked the United States Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. On the day after the attack, the United States and Britain were at war with Japan. Australia too declared war with Japan. This was a very serious step for Australia. For the first time in its history, it was in danger of invasion by a country in the Asia Pacific area.

Just as in World War I, during World War II the Australian Government passed laws that gave it much greater control over the lives of people:

Germans and Italians were interned in concentration camps
Communist and fascist organisations were banned
All media was censored
Profiteering by factory and shop owners was banned
The Government took control of all transport, banking and the docks
Conscription was introduced

An internment camp for German and Italian people was established at Holsworthy and a prisoner of war camp for Japanese people was established at Cowra. Prisoner of war camps were also established at Hay, Tatura and Leeton.

Australian interests and traditional loyalties begin to shift from Britain to the United States – especially after the surrender of the British Garrison to the Japanese at Singapore in 1942 when 13,000 Australian troops were taken prisoner. Australia also saw the influx of over 120,000 United States troops during the war. Both before and after the war, Hollywood films introduced American culture to Australian audiences. During the war, American troops introduced Australians to Coca Cola, hotdogs and American popular culture. This was a cultural turning point for Australia, resulting in the youth culture revolution of the 1950s and 1960s.

After six years of World War, Germany and Japan were defeated in 1945. After the war, many Italians and Americans returned to Australia to resume relationships and to seek a better life as many migrants before them had done.

From the Archives, 1939: Britain and Australia declare war on Germany

The dramatic announcement that Great Britain was at war was made by Mr. Chamberlain in a broadcast from Daventry station last night. This was followed by a broadcast declaration by Mr. Menzies, that Australia also was at war.

Mr. Chamberlain said no reply had been received from Herr Hitler to the ultimatum that, unless the German troops were withdrawn from Poland, a state of war would be declared.

Later the Prime Minister visited the House of Commons and informed Parliament that a state of war existed between Britain and Germany, as Germany had refused to cease hostilities in Poland.

"I hope to live to see the day," the Prime Minister added, "when Hitlerism is destroyed and liberty is restored to Europe."

RAAF pilots and crew during training at Richmond Aerodrome in 1940. Credit: The Age Archives

Long Struggle for Peace Failed

LONDON. September 3. The British Prime Minister, whose voice betrayed his deep emotion, in his broadcast to the nation said:—

"I am speaking to you in the Cabinet room of No. 10 Downing Street. This morning the British Ambassador to Berlin handed the German Government the final note, stating that unless we heard from them by 11 a.m. that Germany was prepared at once to withdraw her troops from Poland a state of war would exist between us.

"I have to tell you that no such undertaking has been received, and In consequence this country is at war with Germany. You can imagine what a bitter blow this is to me, that after all my long struggle to win peace has failed.

"Yet I cannot believe there was anything more or anything different that could have been done that would have been more successful.

Soldiers from the 9th Division returning to Australia from the Middle East in 1943. Credit: The Age Archives

"Up to the last it could have been possible to arrange a peaceful and honourable settlement between Poland and Germany," the Prime Minister continued, "but Hitler would not have it. He had evidently made up his mind to attack Poland whatever happened. He claims to have put forward reasonable proposals that were rejected by the Poles. That was untrue. They were never submitted to the Poles nor to us."

The Prime Minister added that on Thursday night Herr Hitler did not wait for comment on the alleged proposals, but marched across the Polish frontier. The use of force could only be stopped by force. Britain had a clear conscience—England had done all that any country could do to establish peace. The situation whereby the word of a country could not be trusted was intolerable.

"I know you will all play your part with calmness and courage," Mr. Chamberlain continued. "At such a moment as this, assurances of support which we have received from the Empire are sources of profound encouragement to us."

When he had finished speaking the Prime Minister said that certain announcements would be made on behalf of the Government, to which he urged the people to give their attention. The Government had made plans under which it would be possible to carry on the work of the nation in the days of stress. The people would be taking their part in the fighting services or as volunteers in one of the branches of civil defence. If so, he urged them to carry on in accordance with the instructions they had received in factories, transport, public utilities or in the public necessities of life. It was of vital importance that the people should carry on with their jobs.

Extract from The Age published on September 3, 1939. Credit: The Age Archives

"Now may God bless you all and may He defend the right," the Prime Minister concluded. "It is these things that we are fighting against—brute force, bad faith, Injustice, oppression and persecution. Against them I am certain that right will prevail."

The King and Queen listened from Buckingham Palace to the Prime Minister's broadcast. Crowds of people waited outside the palace, while millions of others listened to the broadcast from their homes.



Extract from The Age, published on September 4, 1923 Credit: The Age Archives

"It is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that, in consequence of a persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her, and that, as a result Australia is also at war." That dramatic statement was made last night by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in a national broadcast.

No harder task can fall to the lot of a democratic leader than to make such an announcement." said Mr. Menzies. “Great Britain and France with the co-operation of the British Dominions have struggled to avoid this tragedy. They have, as I firmly believe, been patient: they have kept the door of negotiation open: they have given no cause for aggression.

“But in the result their efforts have failed and we are, therefore, as a great family of nations, involved in a struggle which we must at all costs win, and I which we believe In our hearts we will win.”


For Parliament

Emergency legislation, giving the Government wide powers to deal with all situations arising in Australia, will be presented to Federal Parliament on Thursday. Federal Cabinet has been summoned to meet at 10 a.m. today, when latest reports from Europe will be considered. Ministers will leave tonight for Canberra.

Parliament, at its opening on Wednesday, will be given an opportunity of discussing the outbreak of war. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) will present a white paper to the House of Representatives, and a general debate will be opened.

The budget will be presented on Friday. It will be to the form originally contemplated, though a supplementary budget will have to be introduced within a few weeks. The votes for the fighting services will have to be increased to a new figure and a recast will probably have to be made in the case of some other departments.


Mobilising Forces

No immediate call will be made In Australia for recruits. For the time being only certain units of the militia forces will be mobilised. The Minister of Defence (Mr. Street) announced that the Navy and Air Force had been fully mobilised. There was no question immediately of calling for recruits for the army. However, it was Impossible at this stage to indicate the steps that might be necessary.

Protection Measures

Measures for the protection of the civilian population by the police, ambulance, fire brigade and hospitals are being taken under plans made by the State Emergency Council. Vital points are being guarded by police, and in case of war will be taken over by militiamen to release police for other duties.

A large number of men to supplement the present force will be sworn in as special constables. They have been selected and will be called up when legislative authority has been obtained. Aliens will have to report to the police.

The amazing story of Finland in World War II, 1939-1945

A soldier with a pack Reindeer, on slippery ice, near the tiny village of Nautsi, in northern Lapland, Finland, on October 26, 1941.

For most of Finland’s history, the country had lived on the periphery of world events, but for a few weeks during the winter of 1939-40, Finland stood at the center of the world stage. Finland’s stand against Soviet aggression aroused the world’s admiration. The Winter War, however, proved to be only a curtain- raiser for Finland’s growing entanglement in World War II.

The underlying cause of the Winter War was Soviet concern about Nazi Germany’s expansionism. With a population of only 3.5 million, Finland itself was not a threat to the Soviet Union, but its territory, located strategically near Leningrad, could be used as a base by the Germans. The Soviets initiated negotiations with Finland that ran intermittently from the spring of 1938 to the summer of 1939, but nothing was achieved.

Flamethrower in action in the woods near the village of Niinisalo, on July 1, 1942.

Finnish assurances that the country would never allow German violations of its neutrality were not accepted by the Soviets, who asked for more concrete guarantees. In particular, the Soviets sought a base on the northern shore of the Gulf of Finland, from which they could block the Gulf of Finland from hostile naval forces. The Finnish government, however, felt that accepting these terms would only lead to further, increasingly unreasonable, demands.

The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of August 1939, by bringing together these former archenemies, revolutionized European politics. The secret protocol of the pact gave the Soviet Union a sphere of influence that included Finland, the Baltic states, and parts of Eastern Europe.

When the Germans won a stunningly quick victory over Poland in September 1939, the Soviets hastened to take control in their sphere of influence. In addition to the land taken from Poland in September, the Soviets quickly turned the three Baltic states into quasi-protectorates.

Finland followed these events closely thus, when, on October 5, the Soviets invited Finland to discuss “concrete political questions”, the Finns felt that they were next on the Soviets’ agenda. Finland’s first reaction was to mobilize its field army on October 6, and on October 10 Finland’s reservists were called up in what amounted to a general mobilization. The following day the two countries began negotiations that were to last until November 8.

Pilots in flight above Jämijärvi, on July 17, 1942.

In the negotiations, the main Soviet demand was that the Finns cede small parcels of territory, including a naval base on the Gulf of Finland that the Soviets wanted to help them protect Leningrad. In exchange, the Soviets offered to cede to Finland about 8,800 square kilometers of Karelia along the Finnish border, or about twice the amount of land to be ceded by Finland.

Unlike the previous negotiations, these talks were conducted in the public eye, and the Finnish people, like the government, were almost unanimous in rejecting the Soviet proposals.

The ostensible reasons for Finland’s refusal were to protect its neutral status and to preserve its territorial integrity. In addition, moving the Finnish border on the Karelian Isthmus away from Leningrad would have given the Soviets possession of much of the line of Finnish fortifications, the loss of which would have weakened Finland’s defenses.

Underlying the hardline Finnish negotiating position was a basic mistrust of the Soviets and a feeling that the Soviet offer was merely a first step in subjugating Finland. In this suspicion of an ulterior motive, the Finns were matched by the Soviets, who believed that Finland would willingly assist Germany in a future war.

Propeller-driven snowmobile near Haapasaari, Finland. The swastika was used as the official national marking of the Finnish Air Force and Tank Corps between 1918 and 1945.

The Finnish government appears to have underestimated the Soviet determination to achieve these national security goals. The two main Finnish negotiators, Vainö Tanner and Juho Paasikivi, vainly urged the Finnish government to make more concessions, because they realized that Finland was completely isolated diplomatically and could expect no support from any quarter if events led to war. General Mannerheim also urged conciliating the Soviets, because Finland by itself could not fight the Soviet Union.

When he was ignored, he resigned from the Defense Council and as commander-in-chief, saying that he could no longer be responsible for events. Mannerheim withdrew his resignation when war broke out, however, and served ably as the Finnish military leader.

Some historians suggest that the war could have been prevented by timely Finnish concessions. It appears that both sides proceeded from a basic mistrust of the other that was compounded by mutual miscalculations and by the willingness to risk war.

Looking out toward approaching aircraft with binoculars and listening with a huge acoustic locator.

The Soviets attacked on November 30, 1939, without a declaration of war. The Soviet preparations for the offensive were not especially thorough, in part because they underestimated the Finnish capabilities for resistance, and in part because they believed that the Finnish workers would welcome the Soviets as liberators.

However, almost no Finns supported the Soviet puppet government under the veteran communist Otto Kuusinen. In addition, in one of its last significant acts, the League of Nations expelled the Soviet Union because of its unprovoked aggression against Finland.

Muzzle flashes greet enemy bombers. Picture taken during bomb attacks in April-May 1943.

The task facing the Finnish armed forces, to obstruct a vastly larger enemy along a boundary of about 1,300 kilometers, appeared impossible. Geography aided the Finns, however, because much of the northern area was a virtually impassable wilderness containing a few, easily-blocked roads, and Finland generally presented difficult terrain on which to conduct offensive operations.

Thus the Finns were able to use only light covering forces in the north and to concentrate most troops in the crucial southeastern sector, comprising the Karelian Isthmus and the area north of Lake Ladoga, that protected the isthmus from rear assault.

The position on the isthmus was strengthened considerably by the Mannerheim Line. An additional Finnish advantage lay in the Finns’ unorthodox military doctrine. They were trained in the use of small, mobile forces to strike at the flanks and the rear of road-bound enemies.

By means of the so- call motti tactic (the name is taken from the Finnish word for a cord of firewood), they sought to break invading columns into small segments, which were then destroyed piecemeal. The final advantage of the Finns was their phenomenally high morale they knew they were fighting for their national survival.

Finland’s main disadvantage lay in the glaring, fifty-to-one disparity between its population and that of the Soviet Union. The Finnish hope was to hold out until help could arrive from the West, a forlorn hope as events turned out.

62-year-old Finnish-American volunteer soldier Hyvönen going to the front, in Mikkeli, Finland, on September 4, 1941.

Most observers expected an easy Soviet victory. The Soviets simply advanced all along the front with overwhelming forces, apparently intending to occupy all of Finland. Thanks to the foresight the Soviets had shown in previous years by constructing bases and railroads near the Finnish border, they were able to commit much larger forces than the Finns had anticipated. The main Soviet assault on the Mannerheim Line was stopped, though, in December 1939.

Farther north along the line, the Finns were able to employ their motti tactics with surprising effectiveness. At the most famous of these engagements, the Battle of Suomussalmi, two Soviet divisions were virtually annihilated. By the end of December 1939, the Finns had dealt the Soviets a series of humiliating defeats.

For a few weeks, the popular imagination of the outside world was captured by the exploits of the white-clad Finnish ski troops gliding ghostlike through the dark winter forests, and in general by the brave resistance of the “land of heroes”.

Finnish tank crew, July 8, 1941.

The Soviet invasion brought the Finns together as never before. In an act that only a few years before would have been unthinkable, on Christmas Eve in December 1939, middle-class Finns placed lighted candles on the graves of Finnish Red Guards who had died in the civil war.

The magnificent courage displayed by Finnish soldiers of all political persuasions during the Winter War of 1939-40 led Mannerheim to declare afterward that May 16 would no longer be celebrated, but that another day would be chosen to commemorate “those on both sides who gave their lives on behalf of their political convictions during the period of crisis in 1918”.

The defeats and the humiliations suffered by the Soviet Union made it even more determined to win the struggle. The military command was reorganized, and it was placed under General S. K. Timoshenko. The Soviets made intensive preparations for a new offensive, assembling masses of tanks, artillery, and first-class troops.

On February 1, 1940, the Soviet offensive began, and this time it was confined to the Karelian Isthmus. Soviet tactics were simple: powerful artillery bombardments were followed by repeated frontal assaults, using masses of tanks and infantry.

The Finnish defenders were worn down by the continual attacks, the artillery, and the aerial bombardments, the cold, and the lack of relief and of replacements. On February 11, 1940, the Soviets achieved a breakthrough in the Mannerheim Line that led to a series of Finnish retreats.

By early March, the Finnish army was on the verge of total collapse. Finland was saved only by agreeing quickly to Soviet terms, which were encompassed in the Peace of Moscow, signed on March 13, 1940.

Evacuation of civilians, on July 1, 1941.

By the terms of the Peace of Moscow, Finland ceded substantial territories: land along the southeastern border approximately to the line drawn by the Peace of Uusikaupunki in 1721, including Finland’s second-largest city, Viipuri the islands in the Gulf of Finland that were the object of the negotiations in 1938-39 land in the Salla sector in northeastern Finland (near the Murmansk Railroad) Finland’s share of the Rybachiy Peninsula in the Petsamo area and the naval base at Hanko on the Gulf of Finland, which was leased for thirty years.

The ceded territories contained about one-eighth of Finland’s population virtually all of the inhabitants moved over to Finnish territory, thereby losing their homes and livelihoods.

Finland’s losses in the war were about 25,000 dead, 10,000 permanently disabled, and another 35,000 wounded, out of a population of only 3.5 million. Estimates of Soviet losses vary greatly. A subsequent Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, estimated in his memoirs that the Soviet losses were about one million men. In addition, the Soviets lost much of their military credibility.

Foreigners had observed keenly the performance of the Red Army in Finland, with the result that the military capabilities of the Soviet Union were widely discounted. Four months after the conclusion of the Winter War, Adolf Hitler decided to invade the Soviet Union, an event that historians generally consider a turning point of World War II.

Hitler’s visit to Finland. Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany, made a brief visit to Finland in June of 1942.

It is true that the Red Army had performed badly in Finland, but there had been some extenuating circumstances. The winter of 1939 to 1940 was one of the coldest winters of the century, and the Soviet troops were not trained for action under Arctic conditions.

The Soviet officer corps had been decimated by the purges of the 1930s, and the officers were intimidated by the presence of political commissars within their units.

There was, especially in the first phase of the fighting, poor coordination of the various arms (infantry, artillery, armor, aircraft), and there were deficiencies in preparation and in intelligence. In the year following the Winter War, the Soviets worked hard at correcting their weaknesses, with the result that in 1941 the Red Army was a much more effective military machine.

Anti-aircraft fire over Suomenlinna, Helsinki.

The sudden admission of defeat by the Finnish government shocked the Finnish people, who had been misled by overly optimistic government reports on the military situation however, the resilience of democratic society helped the people to absorb defeat without undergoing radical change. Instead, the Finns threw themselves into two major tasks: absorbing the 400,000 refugees from the ceded territories and rearming.

In the succeeding months, Soviet meddling in Finnish affairs and other overbearing actions indicated to the Finns a continuing Soviet desire to subjugate Finland. Among other actions, the Soviets demanded the demilitarization of the Aland Islands (not called for by the Peace of Moscow), control of the Petsamo nickel mines, and the expulsion of Vainö Tanner from the Finnish government.

More ominously, the Soviets demanded to send an unlimited number of troop trains through Finnish territory to the Soviet base at Hanko. Occurring at about the same time that the Soviets annexed the Baltic states in June and July 1940, the Finns began to fear that they would be next.

When Soviet foreign minister Viacheslav Molotov visited Berlin later that year, he admitted privately to his German hosts that the Soviets intended to crush Finland. The Finnish-Soviet Peace and Friendship Society (Suomen-Neuvostoliiton rauhan ja ystavyyden seura–SNS), a communist-front organization that quickly gained 35,000 Finnish members, conducted subversive activities in open defiance of the Finnish government.

The SNS was banned in August, thus preserving public order, but on other matters of concern to the Soviets the Finnish government was forced to make concessions. Unknown to the Soviets, however, the Finns had made an agreement with Germany in August 1940 that had stiffened their resolve.

The Soviet bombing of Helsinki, on November 30, 1939. On this day, the Soviet Union invaded Finland with 21 divisions, totaling some 450,000 troops.

Hitler soon saw the value of Finland as a staging base for his forthcoming invasion of the Soviet Union. The informal German-Finnish agreement of August 1940 was formalized in September, and it allowed Germany the right to send its troops by railroad through Finland, ostensibly to facilitate Germany’s reinforcement of its forces in northern Norway.

A further German-Finnish agreement in December 1940 led to the stationing of German troops in Finland, and in the coming months, they arrived in increasing numbers.

Although the Finnish people knew only the barest details of the agreements with Germany, they approved generally of the pro-German policy, and they were virtually unanimous in wanting to recover the ceded territories.

A wounded man is carried away after bombardment of a civilian area.

By the spring of 1941, the Finnish military had joined the German military in planning for the invasion of Russia. In mid-June the Finnish armed forces were mobilized. It was not politically expedient for the Finnish government to appear as the aggressor, however, so Finland at first took no part in the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22.

Three days later, Soviet aerial attacks against Finland gave the Finnish government the pretext needed to open hostilities, and the war was declared on June 26. Finland thus appeared to be defending itself against any act of Soviet aggression, a posture that helped unite the Finnish people for the war effort.

The Finns called this conflict the Continuation War because it was seen as a continuation of events that began with the Winter War. What began as a defensive strategy, designed to provide a German counterweight to Soviet pressure, ended as an offensive strategy, aimed at invading the Soviet Union. The Finns had been lured by the prospects of regaining their lost territories and ridding themselves of the Soviet threat.

In July 1941, the Finnish army began a major offensive on the Karelian Isthmus and north of Lake Ladoga, and by the end of August 1941, Finnish troops had reached the prewar boundaries.

By December 1941, the Finnish advance had reached the outskirts of Leningrad and the Svir River (which connects the southern ends of Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega). By the end of 1941, the front became stabilized, and the Finns did not conduct major offensive operations for the following two and one-half years.

The bombing of Helsinki. The main building of Helsinki University, on Senate Square, burns during the night.

Finland’s participation in the war brought major benefits to Germany. First, the Soviet fleet was blockaded in the Gulf of Finland, so that the Baltic was freed for training German submarine crews as well as for German shipping activities, especially the shipping of vital iron ore from northern Sweden and nickel from the Petsamo area. Second, the sixteen Finnish divisions tied down Soviet troops, put pressure on Leningrad, and cut one branch of the Murmansk Railroad. Third, Sweden was further isolated and was forced to comply with German wishes.

Despite Finland’s contributions to the German cause, the Western Allies had ambivalent feelings, torn between their residual goodwill for Finland and the need to support their vital ally, the Soviet Union. As a result, Britain declared war against Finland, but the United States did not there were no hostilities between these countries and Finland.

In the United States, Finland was highly regarded, because it had continued to make payments on its World War I debt faithfully throughout the interwar period. Finland also earned respect in the West for its refusal to allow the extension of Nazi anti-Semitic practices in Finland. Jews were not only tolerated in Finland, but Jewish refugees also were allowed asylum there. In a strange paradox, Finnish Jews fought in the Finnish army on the side of Hitler.

A street scene after enemy bomb attacks.

Finland began to seek a way out of the war after the disastrous German defeat at Stalingrad in January-February 1943. Negotiations were conducted intermittently between Finland on the one side and the Western Allies and the Soviet Union on the other, from 1943 to 1944, but no agreement was reached. As a result, in June 1944 the Soviets opened a powerful offensive against Finnish positions on the Karelian Isthmus and in the Lake Ladoga area.

On the second day of the offensive, the Soviet forces broke through Finnish lines, and in the succeeding days, they made advances that appeared to threaten the survival of Finland. The Finns were equal to the crisis, however, and with some German assistance, halted the Russians in early July, after a retreat of about one hundred kilometers that brought them to approximately the 1940 boundary. Finland had been a sideshow for the Soviets, however, and they then turned their attention to Poland and to the Balkans.

Although the Finnish front was once again stabilized, the Finns were exhausted, and they needed desperately to get out of the war. Finland’s military leader and national hero, Gustaf Mannerheim, became president, and he accepted responsibility for ending the war.

Finnish anti-aircraft crew in action in Helsinki.

In September 1944, a preliminary peace agreement was signed in Moscow between the Soviet Union and Finland. Its major terms severely limited Finish sovereignty. The borders of 1940 were reestablished, except for the Petsamo area, which was ceded to the Soviet Union. Finland was forced to expel all German troops from its territory.

The Porkkala Peninsula (southwest of Helsinki) was leased to the Soviets for fifty years, and the Soviets were given transit rights to it. Various rightist organizations were abolished, including the Civil Guard, Lotta Svard, the Patriotic People’s Movement, and the Academic Karelia Society. The Communist Party of Finland (Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue–SKP) was allowed legal status.

The size of the Finnish armed forces was restricted. Finland agreed to pay reparations to the Soviet Union. Finland agreed to hold war crimes trials. Finally, an Allied Control Commission, which was dominated by the Soviets, was established to check Finland’s adherence to the terms of the preliminary peace.

This preliminary peace treaty remained in effect until 1947 when the final Soviet-Finnish peace treaty was signed. Although Finland had been defeated for a second time, it had managed to avoid occupation by the Soviets.

Icicles hang inside a bombed-out building in Viipuri, Finland (now Vyborg, Russia).

As early as the summer of 1943, the German high command began making plans for the eventuality that Finland might conclude a separate peace with the Soviet Union. The Germans planned to withdraw forces northward in order to shield the nickel mines near Petsamo.

During the winter of 1943 to 1944, the Germans improved the roads from northern Norway to northern Finland, and they accumulated stores in that region. Thus the Germans were ready in September 1944, when Finland made peace with the Soviet Union. While German ground troops withdrew northward, the German navy mined the seaward approaches to Finland and attempted to seize Suursaari Island in the Gulf of Finland.

Fighting broke out between German and Finnish forces even before the Soviet-Finnish preliminary peace treaty was signed, and the fighting intensified thereafter, as the Finns sought to comply with the Soviet demand that all German troops be expelled from Finland.

The Finns were thus placed in a situation similar to that of the Italians and of the Romanians, who, after surrendering to the Allies, had to fight to free their lands of German forces. The Finns’ task was complicated by the Soviet stipulation that the Finnish armed forces be reduced drastically, even during the campaign against the Germans.

The capable Finnish general, Hjalmar Siilasvuo, the victor of Suomussalmi, led operations against the Germans in October and November 1944, he drove them out of most of northern Finland.

The German forces under General Lothar Rendulic took their revenge, however, by devastating large stretches of northern Finland. More than one-third of the dwellings in that area were destroyed, and the provincial capital of Rovaniemi was burned down.

In addition to the property losses, estimated as equivalent to about US$300 million (in 1945 dollars), suffered in northern Finland, about 100,000 inhabitants became refugees, a situation that added to the problems of postwar reconstruction. (After the war the Allies convicted Rendulic of war crimes, and they sentenced him to twenty years in prison.)

The last German troops were expelled in April 1945. As a final, lingering effect of the Lapland War, the Germans planted numerous mines during their retreat some of the mines were so cleverly placed that they continued to kill and maim civilians who triggered them as late as 1948.

Firing toward a Russian watchtower near Koitsanlahti.

World War II had a profound impact on Finland. Approximately 86,000 Finns died in the war–about three times the losses suffered during the civil war. In addition, about 57,000 Finns were permanently disabled, and the vast majority of the dead and the disabled were young men in their most productive years.

The war had also left 24,000 war widows 50,000 orphans and 15,000 elderly, who had lost, in the deaths of their sons, their means of support. In addition, about one-eighth of the prewar area of Finland was lost, including the Petsamo area with its valuable nickel mines.

One-half million Finns were refugees–more than 400,000 from the ceded or leased territories and about 100,000 from Lapland, where their homes had been destroyed.

Another effect of the war was the financial burden imposed by the cost of maintaining one-half million troops in the field for several years and by the requirement to pay the Soviets reparations in kind worth US$300 million (in 1938 dollars).

The Soviet lease of the Porkkala Peninsula less than twenty kilometers west of Helsinki, as a military base, was a blot on the nation’s sovereignty. Finally, an intangible, but the real, restriction was placed on Finland’s freedom of action in international affairs. Finland’s relationship with the Soviet Union was permanently altered by the war.

Despite the great losses inflicted by the war, Finland fought for and preserved its independence nevertheless, had the Soviets been vitally concerned about Finland, there is no doubt that Finnish independence would have been extinguished. Finland emerged from the war conscious of these realities and determined to establish a new and constructive relationship with the Soviet Union.

An experiment in troop transportation in cold weather.

At the Hämeenlinna war dog school.

A small rocket launched in the woods.

Street fighting in Medvezhyegorsk, Russia. The town was occupied by Finland for three years.

A dead soldier, his body frozen.

Some of an estimated 400 Russian soldiers killed in a battle, on February 1, 1940.

A dead horse lies frozen in the snow near Ruhtinaanmäki, on January 21, 1940.

A soldier shows off gas attack equipment. After 1940, Finnish forces were able to buy arms and equipment from Germany, eventually cooperating to battle the Soviets together.

Destroyed by bombing, tram lines are repaired in February of 1944.

Two girls, in ruins near Martin’s Church in Turku, Finland.

German ammunition depot explosion, February 9, 1942.

A barge lifts a wrecked locomotive.

The hospital’s bomb shelter in Mikkeli.

An explosion at a military port facility in Helsinki, on September 14, 1941.

The HNLMS Gelderland, built for the Royal Netherlands Navy, seized by the Germans in 1940 and re-named the “Niobe”, sunk by Soviet bombers in Kotka harbor, on July 16, 1944.

Aftermath of a bombing attack.

Soldiers carry a wounded man on a path.

Vyborg Cathedral, after the bombing.

Doctors perform abdominal surgery on a wounded captain.

Thirteen-year-old Veikko Rantala lies wounded in Lieksanjoki Military hospital.

Stuka dive-bombers fly over, Immola, July 2, 1944.

Nurmoila village, shortly after Russian bombers attacked.

Lunkula island, Jumitsa bay on the south side of village of Varpahainen. Helmets of dead Russians, on July 28, 1941.

4. The Russian Winter

Hitler was certain of a quick victory over the USSR, saying to his Generals “We have only to kick in the door, and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.” Since victory would be achieved before winter set in, there was no need to prepare for the Russian winter.

However, being unable to capture Moscow in the autumn of 1941 and force a Soviet surrender his troops had to face the full onslaught of arctic cold in their summer uniforms.

The Charlie Ration Cookbook: How Tabasco hot sauce became a US Military staple

Posted On January 15, 2021 02:35:00

Brig. Gen. Walter McIlhenny is one of the greatest US Marine Corps war heroes that you’ve never heard of. The World War II officer of the 1st Marine Division received the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, and two Purple Hearts during the Guadalcanal campaign. After an intense battle, he even captured the same Japanese sword he’d been struck in the helmet with. But “Tabasco Mac” is most remembered as the driving force behind bringing tiny bottles of Tabasco hot sauce to every American GI’s C rations during the Vietnam War.

In 1949, the Marine took the reins of his family’s McIlhenny Co., producer of the world-famous Tabasco red pepper hot sauce, and remained in charge until his death in 1985. The spicy empire was the brainchild of his great-grandfather, Edmund A. McIlhenny, an amateur gardener and banker. When Edmund McIlhenny returned to his home on Avery Island in the Louisiana bayou country following the American Civil War, he discovered his crops of capsicum peppers had survived. He took three basic ingredients — peppers, salt from the island’s salt mines, and vinegar — and aged them together for 30 days to create the special potion that has been admired for generations.

A Japanese soldier attacked a GI with his sword but in the heat of the moment forgot to remove the scabbard. The dented helmet and sword were donated to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans by the GI — who was Walter McIlhenny. Photo courtesy of Forgotten Weapons.

McIlhenny’s red hot pepper sauce was first bottled into discarded cologne containers and referenced informally in conversation as “That Famous Sauce Mr. McIlhenny Makes.” His first commercial pepper crop emerged in 1868, and he sent 658 bottles at $1 apiece to grocery stores around the Gulf Coast, mainly in New Orleans. Two years later, McIlhenny secured a patent for Tabasco red pepper sauce — named in honor of the Mexican state where the peppers were sourced — and added a sprinkler fitment to ensure the concentrated sauce was sprinkled and not poured.

Walter McIlhenny, the World War II Marine general, received several handwritten letters mailed from American GIs in Vietnam requesting tasty recipes. His great-grandfather’s original resolve to add flavor to the boring and monotonous diets of those in the Reconstruction South inspired him to do the same with ground troops’ C rations. The obligation to produce a fun and easy-to-follow guide led to the 1966 publication of The Charlie Ration Cookbook, or No Food Is Too Good for the Man Up Front.

The Charlie Ration Cookbook, or No Food Is Too Good for the Man Up Front was published in 1966 by the maker of Tabasco hot sauce to give Vietnam soldiers an easy-to-follow guide to spicing up their C rations. Screenshot from the book.

The camouflaged cookbook with cartoon illustrations and clever recipes inside was wrapped around a 2-ounce bottle of Tabasco and placed in a waterproof container to be shipped overseas to Vietnam. Some of the more popular and humorous recipes included Fox Hole Dinner for Two (Turkey and Chicken Poulette), Cease Fire Casserole, and Fish with Frontline Stuffing.

The recipes spoke to the grunts and were a reminder of home. “The casserole can be elegant, but as most men know, women often use it as a camouflage for a hasty meal after a long bridge game,” reads the recipe for Tin Can Casserole. “Here’s a recipe to put the Old Lady’s Bridge Casserole to shame.” The Breast of Chicken Under Bullets recipe suggests “breast of chicken under glass was never intended for areas where glass and shrapnel fly.”

A waterproof container with a Charlie Ration Cookbook and bottle of Tabasco inside. The container, sent upon request to a soldier in Vietnam, came back to the McIlhenny Co. marked “KIA” for killed in action. Screenshot via YouTube.

George Creighton, a veteran of two tours in Vietnam, put Tabasco on everything. “The rations get boring and you just need something to liven them up and Tabasco does that,” Creighton told the Baltimore Sun in 2003. He added Tabasco to his beef, to his peas, and to his spaghetti. A favorite, according to Creighton, was a mixture of water buffalo meat with C rations — “like a mulligan stew with rice and put in Tabasco sauce and add flavor to the whole mix.”

Tabasco continued the tradition into the 1980s and through Operation Desert Storm and published The Unofficial MRE Recipe Booklet providing creative alternatives for soldiers looking to please their palates. The innovative American family also collaborated with comic strip writer Mort Walker to illustrate it with the famous Beetle Bailey characters. Inside McIlhenny’s second cookbook he promised “Meals, Ready-to-Excite” with recipes of Paratrooper Pork and Beans, 40 MM Beanwiches, Chopper Chipped Beef in Cream Gravy, Ham Grenades, and Victory Pot Pie. The cookbook kept with tradition from Vietnam and came in a Tabasco quick-draw camouflaged holster with a 2-ounce bottle of Tabasco sauce.

The most famous hot sauce brand in the world is synonymous with flavorful and fun experiences for American service members from Vietnam to present day. “It’s a little touch of home in far-flung places,” said Paul McIlhenny, who was president of Tabasco from 1998 to 2012. “We want to defend the world against bland food, wherever it may be.” Thanks to Tabasco, and with help from the Charlie Ration Cookbook, GI Joe has gone gourmet.

This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.

When did Australia declare war on Germany in WWII - History

In a strict sense, Austria was not a participant in World War II because it did not formally exist when the war began with the invasion of Poland in September 1939. On an individual level, however, some 800,000 Austrians were drafted into the army (the German Wehrmacht), and another 150,000 served in the Waffen SS, an elite Nazi military unit. Austrians were integrated into German units, and no specifically Austrian military brigades were formed.

Austrians loyally supported Germany through the early years of World War II. The early German military victories and Austria's geographic location beyond the reach of Allied bombers shielded the Austrian population from the full impact of the war. Only after the German defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad in early 1943, when the course of the war increasingly turned against Germany, did popular support for the war and for the Anschluss begin to erode.

More important for Austria's future, however, was the evolution in the Allies' position on Austria. In November 1943, the foreign ministers of the Soviet Union, Britain, and the United States met and issued the Moscow Declaration. In contrast to the earlier Allied acceptance of the Anschluss, the declaration described Austria as "the first victim of Hitlerite aggression" and called for the reestablishment of an independent Austria. At the same time, however, the declaration also held Austria liable for its participation in the war, effectively giving it the status of an enemy state.

Allied advances in Italy in 1943 enabled bombers regularly to attack Austrian industrial and transportation centers. The winter of 1944-45 saw an intensification of the air campaign and steady advances toward Austria by the Soviet Union's Red Army. On March 30, 1945, the Red Army entered Austrian territory and captured Vienna on April 13. Although the Germans resisted the Soviet advances into eastern Austria, the Western Allies--the United States, Britain, and France--met minimal resistance as they advanced into the country. United States forces began entering Austria on April 30, and French and British troops soon followed. On May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally.

Watch the video: Australias Involvement in WWII - Behind the News (May 2022).


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