A series following the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. This updates the series Following the 10th Armored that I did five years ago. The beginning posts set the stage for 1944 and 1945 when he was in Europewith the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.

#13- New Year's Eve 1943

◆ December 31, 1943
◆ New Year’s Eve
◆ 75 Years Ago Today…
Hitler delivered a New Year's message to the German people admitting… that 1944 "will make heavy demands on all Germans. This vast war will approach a crisis this year. We have every confidence that we will survive." British Deputy Prime Minister Clement Attlee broadcast a New Year's Eve message of his own to the people of the United Kingdom. Attlee declared that the "hour of reckoning has come" for the Nazis but urged the British people not to be complacent, stating: "We do know that in 1944 the war will blaze up into greater intensity than ever before, and that we must be prepared to face heavier casualties.
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I hope next year will bring peace for everybody. Hope we all stay well.
— Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman

#12- Christmas 1943

◆ December 18, 1943
◆ Seventy-five years ago this week
Heinrich Himmler ordered new rules for arrest and deportation of Jews in Germany, revoking most previous exemptions for Jews who had married Gentiles. Most Jewish spouses were ordered deported to the nominally Jewish city of Theresienstadt in January, rather than immediately to concentration camps.
On the homefront, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette reported ongoing war news from both Europe and the Pacific and updated a railroad “strike” possibility from the non-operating union, including word that the government was considering taking over the railroads. Behind the headlines it was a Christmas season.

Beula sent Buddy a box on the 20th and did some sewing on the 21st.

They trimmed the Christmas tree on the 22nd and did some baking and cleaning on the 23rd.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Ruth and Fred and Carl and Mabel came around. She reported it was “awful cold.”

Letters came and went from Buddy still in Georgia.

A war-time Christmas.

#11- In the Greater War

In dealing with my father’s story of involvement in World War II, I don’t want to overlook the fact that during this time there was a lot of war happening. In 1943 the Eastern Front collapsed on the Germans, fighting was fierce in the Pacific, and Italy and Africa were centers of heavy warfare. The Germans continued their “Final Solution” when they were able. While many of the troops destined for Europe in 1944 were still in training, the war was as active as it had been. Here are some of the notable events of 1943: (Link)

◆ January 14, 1943
The Casablanca Conference between the U.S. and Britain begins. Roosevelt and Churchill agree that Germany must surrender unconditionally, and plan the Allied invasion of Sicily.

◆ January 31, 1943
Over 90,000 German troops at Stalingrad surrender to the Soviets. It is a significant turning point in the war against Germany.

◆ February 8, 1943
U.S. troops complete the capture of Guadalcanal from the Japanese .

◆ April 19, 1943
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins after German troops attempt to deport the ghetto's last surviving Jews. About 750 Jews fought back the Germans for almost a month.

◆ May 11, 1943
The Trident Conference between the U.S. and Britain begins. Roosevelt and Churchill decide to delay the Allied invasion of France and in its place plan the Allied invasion of Italy. In Alaska, U.S. troops land on Attu in the Aleutian islands to retake it from the Japanese .

◆ May 12, 1943
Axis forces in North Africa surrender.

◆ May 16, 1943
German troops crush the last resistance of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and kill thousands of Jews. The rest are sent to the Treblinka concentration camp to die.

◆ July 10, 1943
Over 160,000 Allied troops land in Sicily, beginning Operation Husky.

◆ July 25, 1943
Benito Mussolini's fascist government is overthrown in Italy. The new Italian government begins peace talks.

◆ August 15, 1943
U.S. troops retake Kiska island in the Aleutians.

◆ August 17, 1943
Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, is successfully concluded when American troops take Messina.

◆ September 3, 1943
British troops land on mainland Italy, beginning the Allied campaign in Italy. American troops land six days later. The new Italian government formally surrenders.

◆ September 10, 1943
German troops occupy Rome. Mussolini soon declares himself the head of a new fascist Italian government in German-occupied northern Italy.

◆ October 13, 1943
Italy declares war on Germany.

◆ November 20, 1943
U.S. Army troops land on Makin island in the Gilberts. The next day, U.S. Marines land on Tarawa. Within four days, both islands were secured, but at the cost of thousands of casualties.

◆ November 8, 1943
The Teheran Conference between the U.S., Britain, and the USSR begins. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin meet together for the first time.

◆ December 1, 1943
The Teheran Conference between the U.S., Britain, and the USSR is successfully concluded. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin agree that the Western Allies would invade France in June 1944 and that when it began the USSR would launch a new offensive from the east.
◆ December 5, 1943
◆ Seventy-five years ago today.
The Allies began Operation Crossbow in an all-out effort to stop Germany's V-1 rocket program. The first launch sites targeted were near Ligescourt, France, where U.S. Army Air Force B-26 bombers made an unsuccessful attempt to put a dent in the program. (Link)
◆ December 24, 1943
Dwight Eisenhower is named supreme commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces.

(Link)