History Podcasts

11 March 1941

11 March 1941

11 March 1941

March 1941


United States

Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Bill into law


Istanbul: A bomb explodes in the luggage of the British Minister to Bulgaria

A. Philip Randolph

Asa Philip Randolph [1] (April 15, 1889 – May 16, 1979) was an American labor unionist, civil rights activist, and socialist politician.

In 1925, he organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first mainly African-American labor union. In the early Civil Rights Movement and the Labor Movement, Randolph was a voice that would not be silenced. His continuous agitation with the support of fellow labor rights activists against unfair labor practices in relation to people of color eventually led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 8802 in 1941, banning discrimination in the defense industries during World War II. The group then successfully pressured President Harry S. Truman to issue Executive Order 9981 in 1948, ending segregation in the armed services.

In 1963, Randolph was the head of the March on Washington, which was organized by Bayard Rustin, at which Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech. Randolph inspired the "Freedom Budget", sometimes called the "Randolph Freedom budget", which aimed to deal with the economic problems facing the black community, it was published by the Randolph Institute in January 1967 as "A Freedom Budget for All Americans". [2]

Extended history of 11 Special Air Service (SAS) Battalion

On 21st November 1940 No 2 Commando was officially re-designated as the 11th Special Air Service (SAS) Battalion containing a Headquarters, a Parachute Wing and a Glider Wing. The men from No 2 Commando who had been attached to the Glider Training Squadron were transferred to the establishment of the new Glider Wing. Lt. Col. Ivor Jackson remained as the unit’s commanding officer.

The Battalion remained based at Knutsford in close proximity to the Central Landing Establishment at Ringway. The lack of military facilities in the area meant that The Royal George Inn on the High Street served as the Officers’ Mess. The Headquarters were located next to a fish and chip shop and parades were held in the aptly named Jail Square! All ranks were billeted in civilian households.

Prior to its re-designation the original four troops had been expanded to 450 all ranks contained in 10 troops. The additional E and F Troops were drawn from Eastern Command, G Troop from Western Command, H Troop from Northern Ireland, J Troop from Scottish Command and K Troop was from a mixed bag. The rejection rate of volunteers remained high because of jump refusals, injuries and disciplinary records. Initially the battalion retained its Commando structure of eight-man sections but this was soon increased to 10 because the numbers conformed to a Whitley aircraft ‘stick’ of parachutists.

The Battalion’s duties towards the end of 1940 and beginning of 1941 primarily consisted of performing demonstrations for the Central Landing Establishment and completing training of recent recruits. Morale was starting to drop off when in January Lt. Col. Jackson paraded the whole unit on Shaw Heath in Knutsford and asked for volunteers for a dangerous mission - everybody volunteered. The officers and men selected for the mission were formed in to X Troop.

After six weeks of rehearsals and training the first British parachute operation of the war was undertaken by 7 officers and 28 men with a raid on the Tragino Aqueduct in Italy on 10/11th February 1941. (Further information is contained in the articles on X Troop and the Tragino Raid (Operation Colossus).

The vacuum left by the loss of X Troop was quickly made up with further reinforcements from the commando centre at Achnacarry. After inspecting the latest batch of commando recruits from the Grenadier Guards, South Wales Borderers and Lancashire Fusiliers at the Castle, Colonel Jackson selected a group to join the SAS Battalion. The contingent, commanded by Major Peter Bromley Martin, which formed the 11th Troop (L Troop) consisted exclusively of Guards with the exception of Albert ‘Taffy’ Mantle. The troop also included men like Lance Corporal Cadwallader: “whose face was as wide as a Chinaman, rosy cheeks, punched nose, and fair hair” Sergeant Whitley: “just twenty years old, brisk and fresh, full of energy, who answers only with a terrific salute, ‘Sa’… ‘Sa’… ‘Sa’ ” and Guardsman Sambourne: “a gentleman, with spectacles, for enigmatic reasons in the ranks”. (See Photo of L Troop on ParaData).

In March 1941, 12 of the more advanced ex commando glider pupils were transferred to Haddenham where a flight of the Glider Training Squadron had been established (known as the Glider Exercise Flight). In April the remainder of the army glider pupils followed. Training continued predominantly on civilian gliders because there was only one Hotspur available.

Five of the first batch of army glider pilot trainees were sent back to Ringway in April when Winston Churchill visited the Central Landing Establishment to assess the progress of his developing Airborne Force. The demonstration of a mock attack on the airfield was to consist of a formation of Whitleys dropping men from the 11th SAS Battalion, with five sail planes landing in formation (flown by the ex commando pupils) and a tow past of one Hotspur glider.

Speakers had been rigged up for the visiting dignitaries to listen to proceedings which did not get off to a good start with the following exchange relayed to the visitors:

Wing Commander Norman (see photo):“Hallo formation leader are you ready to take off?”

Reply: “No, I ‘m not ready to take off - five of the blighters have fainted.”

After this rather rocky start, and the removal of the bodies from the Whitleys, the demonstration proceeded although a number of injuries were sustained by the parachutists on landing because of high winds. The sail planes reportedly landed wing tip to wing tip a short way from their illustrious spectators. A handful of obsolete aircraft, some single seat recreational gliders, and five hundred paratroops fell a long way short of the Prime Minister’s vision for his Airborne Force. Nevertheless, he was able to see the remarkable efforts achieved by these pioneers in less than a year with slender resources and poor support.

Shortly after the display to the Prime Minister a demonstration was performed for King George VI and senior military officers near Windsor. Much work was needed to persuade the opinion makers of the day, both civil and military, of the value of an Airborne Force. As a consequence demonstrations remained a significant part of the battalion’s work. At least 3 of the Whitley’s were almost permanently engaged on display work, which Group Captain Newnham likened to a “travelling circus.” The men had volunteered to get into action against the enemy and this kind of work did not go down well, sapping morale.

Further saps to morale occurred in the spring of 1941: the shortage of aircraft and the need to increase the training capacity at Ringway resulted in the introduction of the dreaded barrage balloon with an under slung cage for parachute training and practise by day and by night. It was thoroughly disliked by a lot of the men and several who had already qualified as parachutists refused to jump. All but three were returned to unit the three exceptions served periods of detention and returned to parachute duties without any problems. Not all of the battalion’s personnel disliked the balloon, some enthusiastically embraced this new facility as Arthur Kellas records: “Hibbert dumbfounded us all one night by jumping in mess kit and spurs between cocktails and dinner at the Royal George.”

In June 1941 Lt. Col. Jackson moved onto pastures new to be succeeded by Lt. Col. ‘Eric’ Down.

Up to this time the unit had been specifically trained in the tactics of a covert commando unit to operate in small modules behind enemy lines. It had developed a maverick reputation which was not well received in some quarters. Army manpower shortages and Air Ministry resistance had resulted in the home based British Airborne Force being constrained to an establishment of around 500 men. After many months of argument, the War Office and Air Ministry finally reached a consensus following Churchill’s intervention after the April display: a Joint Memorandum issued by the Chiefs of Staff in May 1941 envisaged that the battalion would be expanded into a parachute brigade with a spearhead infantry role as soon as possible. There were no firm details on how this was to be achieved but the new CO, fresh from the War Office, immediately changed the battalion’s training schedules to meet this new vision.

The new commanding officer was introduced to the men of the battalion paraded in the Jail Square. A tall balding man with a face like a well kept grave viewed his audience with grim conviction to say, “Gentleman the good times are over.” This was greeted by hissing and booing which moved him not one jot. (Being independent minded soldiers this tradition of voicing their displeasure carried over into the successor unit: the 1st Battalion also booed and hissed at Earl Mountbatten during another poorly received speech!). Down went on to outline his plan to raise the standard of the unit. The first priority would be to establish a high level of marksmanship and to this end the battalion would move to the Depot of Lancashire Fusiliers at Bury. Being extremely well looked after in civilian households, the move to army food and barracks accommodation was viewed with dismay by officers and other ranks. To make things worse it was learned that the lodging allowance to fund room and board would be significantly reduced for the duration spent away at Bury. Following heated discussion and many protestations a compromise was reached which was considered fair by the men.

The appearance and attitude of the new Commanding Officer did not enamour him with the men and they christened him “Dracula”. As Maurice Newnham recorded, it took a long time for the men to realise that “his stern and often uncompromising manner concealed a stout heart and a generous character”.

Time spent in weapon training and the rifle ranges at Bury proved the skill at arms of the unit to be well above average and would go on to improve. As did the prowess of the battalion lotharios who had been persuaded to provide them with all the comforts of bed and board. However, after several weeks they were in for a rude awakening when a totally unexpected over-night order came through that the move back to Knutsford, by way of route march, would take place early the next morning. Efforts were made to warn those contactable but quite a few were taken completely by surprise. They arrived back into barracks to find that breakfast was over and the battalion already on parade and ready to move off. The new CO was not impressed and by way of retribution the whole unit would be made to pay for misdeeds of the few. He ordered that the usual break of ten minutes in every hour would be extended to one break every two hours and the night owls were not at all popular in the ranks! Leading from the front Lt. Col. Down set a brisk pace and after a few miles over the cobbled streets of Lancashire, the resentment began to build along with a growing determination amongst the men not to let him grind them down.

There was a welcome break for lunch at Trafford Park, Manchester and the march was completely without incident and in record time. The pace had been unrelenting and on reaching Knutsford, each troop was dismissed and collapsed on the grass verges to rest. Not so Major Bromley-Martin’s guardsman of L Troop at the rear of the column: they finished the march strictly to attention with rifles at the slope and smartly halted, turned left and stood at ease. It was an impressive show and greatly appreciated by the CO who congratulated the troop commander on their performance. Needless to say this display did not go down with the rest of the audience!

The transition to a specialised infantry role called for a different type of volunteer and a number of irregular types who had formed the unit were returned to their parent Regiment or Corps. Many of the men felt the good times were over as a harsher code of discipline was introduced. The training intensified to include platoon tactics in battalion exercises in Suffolk and culminating in Norfolk with the “storming” of Norwich Castle. This was followed by manoeuvres with a Canadian Division around Redhill and Biggin Hill.

The efforts of Eric Down and Richard Gale were instrumental in saving the battalion. When the plans for a parachute brigade were announced the prevailing War Office opinion was that the battalion should be disbanded with the men dispersed across the parachute brigade or posted to other units. However Down was so successful in his transformation efforts that Gale, after inspecting the battalion in August, became an enthusiastic advocate for their retention. Gale, who was the Brigadier designate for the new brigade, argued successfully against the War Office recommendation and persuaded the Commander in Chief Home Forces that the unit should be retained.

On the 25 August 1941 the unit reorganised into a conventional headquarters and rifle company structure similar to the war establishment of an infantry battalion, albeit with lower manning levels. Prior to the reorganisation 11 SAS had consisted of some 60 subsections but the new permanent establishment structure only contained 45 subsections and significant reshuffling of personnel ensued. A fourth rifle company was temporarily established and some of the companies also carried a temporary extra platoon. The unit’s antecedents were acknowledged in the identification system used for the rifle companies – instead of the traditional ABC (adopted by the 2nd and 3rd Battalions) they were labelled as R, S, T and U. U Company disappeared once the reorganisation was completed.

On 15th September 1941 the unit name changed to the 1st Parachute Battalion of No1 Parachute Brigade and marked the “end of the beginning” for British Airborne Forces.

Compiled for ParaData by Harvey Grenville based and references from:

Hilary St. George Saunders, ‘The Red Beret’ – The Story of the Parachute Regiment 1940-1945, (1950), Michael Joseph.

Grp Cpt Maurice Newham, Prelude To Glory, (1947) Sampson Low, Marston and Co., Ltd.

Arthur Kellas, Down to Earth (1990), Pentland Press.

William F Buckingham, Paras: The Birth of British Airborne Forces from Churchill’s Raiders to 1st Parachute Brigade, (2005), Tempus Publishing.

Known issues in this update

System and user certificates might be lost when updating a device from Windows 10, version 1809 or later to a later version of Windows 10. Devices will only be impacted if they have already installed any Latest cumulative update (LCU) released September 16, 2020 or later and then proceed to update to a later version of Windows 10 from media or an installation source which does not have an LCU released October 13, 2020 or later integrated. This primarily happens when managed devices are updated using outdated bundles or media through an update management tool such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager. This might also happen when using outdated physical media or ISO images that do not have the latest updates integrated.

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We are working on a resolution and will provide updated bundles and refreshed media in the coming weeks.

When using the Microsoft Japanese Input Method Editor (IME) to enter Kanji characters in an app that automatically allows the input of Furigana characters, you might not get the correct Furigana characters. You might need to enter the Furigana characters manually.

Note The affected apps are using the ImmGetCompositionString() function.

We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.

Devices with Windows installations created from custom offline media or custom ISO image might have Microsoft Edge Legacy removed by this update, but not automatically replaced by the new Microsoft Edge. This issue is only encountered when custom offline media or ISO images are created by slipstreaming this update into the image without having first installed the standalone servicing stack update (SSU) released March 29, 2021 or later.

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To avoid this issue, be sure to first slipstream the SSU released March 29, 2021 or later into the custom offline media or ISO image before slipstreaming the LCU. To do this with the combined SSU and LCU packages now used for Windows 10, version 20H2 and Windows 10, version 2004, you will need to extract the SSU from the combined package. Use the following steps to extract the using SSU:

Extract the cab from the msu via this command line (using the package for KB5000842 as an example): expand Windows10.0-KB5000842-x64.msu /f:Windows10.0-KB5000842-x64.cab <destination path>

Extract the SSU from the previously extracted cab via this command line: expand Windows10.0-KB5000842-x64.cab /f:* <destination path>

You will then have the SSU cab, in this example named SSU-19041.903-x64.cab. Slipstream this file into your offline image first, then the LCU.

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Streaming the video or audio in a web browser or different app, instead of the app affected by this issue.

Enable Spatial sound settings by right clicking or long pressing on the volume icon in the notification area, selecting Spatial sound (Off) and selecting any of the available options.

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After installing this update or later, the news and interests button in the Windows taskbar might have blurry text on certain display configurations.

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Flashback Springfield: March 11, 1941

A look back at the news 72 years ago: Always on the floor of Myers Brothers clothing store, Albert Myers knew everyone by name and served as president of the store until his death in 1941.

This is our weekly look back at a newspaper page from a year gone by from The State Journal-Register or one of its predecessors, the Illinois State Journal and Illinois State Register. See a close-up image of this page by opening this PDF. See more historic pages on our Flashback Springfield website.

As young boys, Albert Myers and his brother Louis sold newspapers on the street corners in downtown Springfield. It was around 1870 and their hard work was noted by John W. Bunn, president of Marine Bank.

According to an oral history recorded in 1972 by Louis Myers’ son, Alan, this came back to reap benefits years later when his father and uncle Albert approached the bank for a loan. The brothers had been working as clerks in separate clothing stores in Springfield when the opportunity to buy clothier Samuel Rosenwald’s business came up. In 1886, with backing from the bank, the two men founded Myers Brothers clothing store. Their brother Julius eventually joined them and together they built a leading retailer in Illinois until Peoria-based Bergner’s acquired its eight stores in 1978.

The store was known for the personal service provided by the Myers family and their employees.
Alan Myers recalls the many times his father or uncles would open the store before or after hours to help a customer. In the late 1930s before Albert’s death, the store began taking the store to customers in the outlying communities. Using a Ford touring car, they loaded big trunks with merchandise and toured small towns.

They’d set up their trunks in a vacant store on in the back of pool rooms, catering mostly to the miners in towns like Carlinville, Bullpit, Kincaid, Pawnee and New Berlin. They would sell what they had on hand or take orders to be delivered personally or by mail.

Alan Myers says he remembers how conversation and work at the store consumed the brothers and their family’s lives. They were very different but inseparable, frugal and hard working, he said. His father was the businessman, serving as the secretary and treasurer. His uncle Julius handled the merchandise buying while Albert was a hand shaker. Always on the floor, he knew everyone by name and served as president of the store until his death.

* President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law an aid bill that eventually totaled $50 billion in material support for England and other nations allied in the defense of Europe and Asia. Known as Lend-Lease, it was a way for the United States to support allies involved in World War II, even though it wouldn’t officially join the war itself for another nine months.

1669 — Mount Etna volcano erupts in Italy, killing 15,000.

1901 —The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Baltimore Orioles manager John McGraw signed Cherokee Indian Charlie Tokohoma, who is really Charlie Grant, a second baseman for the Columbia Giants, a Chicago-based Negro League team.

1942—The first deportation train leaves Paris for the Auschewitz concentration camp in Germany.

1958 — Charles Van Doren finally loses on TV game show 󈬅.”


Starting on the night of Friday 14 March, 1941, bombs rained down onto the city from about 40 German aircraft .

First, incendiaries designed to start fires where they landed were dropped, and then high explosives as Saturday dawned.

Before the all-clear sounded at around 3am, bombs hit areas including the Town Hall, the city's museum and City Station.

Doreen Wood, who worked at the Civic Hall at the time, saw some of the aftermath of the raid.

She said: "On the morning after the blitz I was coming through town with my father and he dropped me off at Cookridge Street and there were police there. They said ' Sorry, you can't come through'.

"Eventually they let me through and I found out there'd been some bombing.

"There were some chips off the pillars on the Town Hall and we found out later the lion at the Calverly Street corner had had its eye chipped out with a blast.

"Where the bombs dropped is more or less where the inner ring road is now, if it had dropped a fraction earlier it would have wiped out the civic centre."

Other landmarks that were hit included Kirkgate Market, Quarry Hill flats, the Metropole Hotel and the post office.

Members of the Auxiliary Fire Service tackled fires in numerous incidents as thousands of fireman, wardens and ambulance crews carried out their duties during the raid.

Gas and water supplies were disrupted and over 100 houses were destroyed, with thousands more sustaining damaged.

Records show 65 people were killed.

Some long-dead Egyptians were also blown to smithereens - among the damage at the museum were fragments of ancient Egyptian mummies.

Ms Wood said: "Leeds Museum was bombed, the front of the building was damaged and had to be taken down.

"There was a mummy and we were all worried about that, and a tiger we were all thinking 'what's happened to the tiger'.

When World War II broke out in 1939, Leeds was a major manufacturing centre for textiles and clothing, and heavy engineering.

In common with many other cities a large part of the workforce was switched to war work.

The city's large clothing trade found a new occupation producing millions of uniforms.

There were many potential targets, including Kirkstall Forge, the railway marshalling yards and the Royal Ordnance Factory at Barnbow, across the city.

And there was a river snaking through the city that could have helped lead bombers in.

But Leeds suffered few raids and people speculated, possibly tongue in cheek, that the heavy cloud of industrial smog helped to 'hide' the city.

In all more than 70 people lost their lives during nine air raids on Leeds.

President’s Committee on Fair Employment Practice (FEPC)

On June 25, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, creating a Committee on Fair Employment Practices (FEPC) to investigate complaints of discrimination and take action against valid complaints in any defense industry receiving government contracts. President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 only after A. Philip Randolph, working with other civil rights activists, organized the 1941 March on Washington Movement, which threatened to bring 100,000 African Americans to the nation’s capitol to protest racial discrimination. President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 one week before the proposed March, and in return, Randolph called off the demonstration. However, Randolph continued to fight against discrimination and formed the March on Washington Movement (MOWM) to hold the FEPC accountable.

In 1943, the FEPC was strengthened with Executive Order 9346 granting the FEPC more powers to take action against discrimination by the defense industry. In response, the FEPC budget was increased and a full-time staff was hired. By the end of WWII, African Americans accounted for almost eight percent of defense-industry jobs, and the number of Black Americans working for the federal government more than tripled. While the FEPC was charged with investigating discrimination, job bias continued. Often, when African Americans were hired, they were segregated within the defense industry, paid less than their white counterparts, and restricted in their ability to join and participate in unions.

At the conclusion of the war, political leaders debated whether the FEPC should continue as a government program. The United States Congress voted against continuing the FEPC in 1946. Two bills were introduced in Congress between 1946 and 1948 calling for the establishment of a permanent FEPC. Both failed. In 1948, President Truman sent a civil rights package to Congress calling for a permanent FEPC, but Congress refused to pass it. In 1950, the House approved a permanent FEPC bill but Senators from the South filibustered and prevented the bill from passing. The FEPC was never made a permanent government agency.

Marshall Myths: “The Most Unsordid Act in History”

The phrase “the most unsordid act in history” is correctly attributed to the ever eloquent Winston Churchill, but a great deal of confusion persists about what Churchill was referring to when he bestowed this title. Sadly, those who believe that Churchill used this phrase to describe the Marshall Plan are perpetuating another Marshall myth. Tracing Churchill’s use of the phrase in his speeches reveals that it was used to describe Lend-Lease, not the Marshall Plan.

If you incorrectly attributed “the most unsordid act in history” to the Marshall Plan, don’t be too hard on yourself. A President, a prime minister, an ambassador, journalists, and countless publications have all made the same mistake.

The original misattribution of Churchill’s quote appears in the book Sketches from Life of Men I Have Known by Dean Acheson, which was published in 1960. The incorrect attribution of the quote can also be found in a February 26, 1969, oral history interview by John W. Snyder, Treasury Secretary under President Harry Truman. From these two sources the mistake of identifying the Marshall Plan as “the most unsordid act in history” has greatly multiplied and has contributed to the confusion surrounding the quote that exists today.

The earliest documented use of “the most unsordid act in history” appears in Churchill’s speech at the Mansion House in London on November 10, 1941. In the speech Churchill states, “The Lease-Lend Bill must be regarded without question as the most unsordid act in the whole of recorded history.” Churchill used this quote again when speaking in the House of Commons after President Franklin Roosevelt’s death, when he remarked, “At about that same time he devised the extraordinary measure of assistance called Lend-Lease, which will stand forth as the most unselfish and unsordid financial act of any country in all history.”

Both Lend-Lease and the Marshall Plan involved the provision of significant amounts of aid to foreign countries, so the past confusion about the Churchill quote is understandable. The original speeches in which the Churchill quote appeared leave no doubt that it was made in reference to Lend-Lease.

President Franklin Roosevelt signed Lend-Lease into law on March 11, 1941. The anniversary of the establishment of Lend-Lease seemed like the appropriate time to revisit Churchill’s statement calling it “the most unsordid act in history” in hopes of finally stopping its continued misattribution to the Marshall Plan.

How Italy Was Defeated In East Africa In 1941

In October 1935 Italian troops invaded Ethiopia – then also known as Abyssinia – forcing the country's Emperor, Haile Selassie, into exile. Ignoring protests from the League of Nations, the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini proclaimed a new Italian empire in East Africa, comprising Ethiopia and the pre-existing territories of Italian Somaliland and Eritrea.

Following early successes by Italy's ally, Germany, in the Second World War, Mussolini declared war on Britain in June 1940. This meant that British possessions in East Africa, as well as British-controlled Egypt and the vital supply route of the Suez Canal, were now threatened.

The Italians attacked border posts in Kenya and Sudan, and captured British Somaliland in August. The Italian Viceroy, the Duke of Aosta, then ordered his troops to halt, allowing the initiative to pass to the British.

General Archibald Wavell, British Commander-in-Chief Middle East, planned a three-pronged counter-offensive to dismantle Italy's East African Empire. His force was outnumbered, but he had air support from the Royal Air Force (RAF).

In January 1941 Lieutenant General William Platt led forces from Sudan into Eritrea. The Italians quickly retreated and, in March, Indian and British troops won an important victory at Keren.


Early in World War II the United States devised a plan, dubbed Lend-Lease, to assist the nations that were then fighting the Axis powers (Germany, Japan and Italy). Roosevelt began talking about the plan at a news conference on December 17, 1940, and expanded on the idea during a Fireside Chat on December 29. During the news conference, he commented:

We can be very sure that the devious diplomatic, economic, and political methods which Germany has employed toward all the countries near her would also in the future be employed in the regions to the south of us. First would come economic penetration, near economic dependence, then political immigration and political interference. After that we would see the establishment of puppet regimes under Nazi or native control, and finally the arming of those countries and their military domination by Nazis .

I believe that our people now are determined to put forth their full efforts for saving Britain and thus saving themselves from the burdens of future militarism and war and from an overturn of American life.

Watch the video: 11. März 2021 (January 2022).