Aki Solomos

Traveler, writer, reviewer, all-round observer. I like anything cool & fast, but occasionally sit at a cafe watching the world go by.

NEWS FLASH – May 13-15, 1940 – The Roving Reporter, Aki Solomos, Covering The News 75 Years Ago Today

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May 15, 1940

As trouble continues on land and sea throughout the world, your Roving Reporter brings you the news as it happens to give you folks at home the stories of the day…

‘The Netherlands Surrender’

Rotterdam after being devastated by the Luftwaffe May 14 1940

Rotterdam after being devastated by the Luftwaffe May 14 1940

With the majority of the country taken by the invading Germans, General Rudolf Schmidt threatened to bombard Rotterdam yesterday.  With minimal aerial defenses, and quickly losing ground, the Dutch garrison surrendered.  Not having received the order, the Luftwaffe went on with their mission and dropped nearly 100 tons of bombs over the city, killing over 1,000 civilians and leaving over 85,000 without homes.

At 10:15 this morning, The Netherlands official surrendered.

‘Churchill Offers Blood, Tears, And Sweat’

Despite The Netherlands surrender, the Dutch government along with Queen Wilhelmina and the Royal family arrived safely in London on the 13th.

On the same day, the new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, addressed the House of Commons with his government’s policy to wage war with the aim of victory.  His exact words were,

“I would say the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’…You ask, what is our policy? I will say, it is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us…You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. Victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory, however long and hard the road may be.  For without victory, there is no survival…and I say, “Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.”

Belgium Loses Ground, France In Panic’

German troops crosing the Meuse River by all means possible -May 14, 1940

German troops crosing the Meuse River by all means possible -May 14, 1940

In Belgium, French Light Mechanized divisions retreated after fiercely fighting German Panzer tank divisions at Tirlemont with heavy losses reported on both sides.  And although the German lost 160 tanks and the French 105, French troops fell back to Gembloux after losing at Hannut.  Near Dinant, French and Belgium forces were also forced to retreat yesterday.

On the same day, under the cover of their Luftwaffe dog fighting courageous French pilots, the attacking German forces seemingly brushed aside the French defenses, utterly destroying the 9th Army and reached the Meuse river near Sedan.

French car loaded up to evacuate Paris -May 15, 1940

French car loaded up to evacuate Paris -May 15, 1940

Yesterday, after all aerial efforts, including 150 French and British bombers, to stop the Germans from crossing, at least 3 armored divisions made it to the other side using pontoon bridges.  50 allied aircraft were lost and the bridges remained undamaged.

By this evening, French forces were in full retreat.  As a result of Hitler’s forces having broken through Sedan, thousands of French civilians began leaving Paris today in a state of panic.  Early this morning at 7:30, French Prime Minister Reynaud called the new British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to exclaim, “We are beaten. We have lost the battle!”

Winston Churchill with Joseph Kennedy in London 1940

Winston Churchill with Joseph Kennedy in London 1940

United Kingdom Asks For Help’

Yesterday, the UK Secretary of State for War called for volunteers and over 250,000 answered within 24 hours.  Meanwhile, in a meeting between Churchill and US Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, Churchill proclaimed that the United Kingdom will continue to fight from Canada if necessary even if Hitler conquers England.

And in a message Churchill sent to Roosevelt, he asked 40 to 50 warships, aircraft, and other fighting equipment, along with the US Navy itself to sail around Ireland as a show of force against Germany.

That’s all for now.  Your Roving Reporter, Aki Solomos, signing off.

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