Thursday, February 2, 2017

History: The Year is 1944

I've uploaded year 1944 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Designs that Should Work but Don't... Like Coffee Creamers and Torpedoes -- I talk about the design flaws with military hardware and how Harry Truman made his name.

Notable Births -- See Below

This Year in Film -- See Below

This Year in Music -- See Below

In Other News -- See Below

Designs that Should Work but Don't... Like Coffee Creamers and Torpedoes

There is a word used in engineering when device is thrown together using odd parts. It is called a kludge (with a long u). One expects such a device to be unreliable. There is another engineering word for a design that cannot even perform the function for which it was intended. (It is actually a series of words punctuated with rude gestures, so we'll just skip that.) A good example is the restaurant coffee creamer. It is designed to pour creamer into my coffee cup, so why does half of it spill everywhere else? Another example is the World War 2 torpedo made in the USA. Perhaps someone is being bribed back home (a real possibility) but 70% of the contact fuses on US torpedoes are failing. The design goal is that when the pointy end of the torpedo hits an enemy ship or detects metal, the torpedo should go BOOM, but instead, it breaks up and fizzles. Part of the torpedo actually floats, so once it breaks up, it becomes a flotation device! (Hey! Stop laughing!) These and other design flaws have been corrected this year, so you will see an upswing in the number of kills for US submarines, particularly the USS Tang, currently stationed in the South Pacific. About a third of Japan's hulls are going to the bottom this year... by design. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Harry Truman made a name for himself leading official investigations into the flaws in military equipment such as faulty airplane engines. An officer was taking bribes from a manufacturer. (Thank goodness that could never happen today. Cough. Cough.) Thus, Harry Truman came to the attention of the powers-that-be and replaced Henry Wallace as FDR's Vice President. FDR's health was failing so whoever had the VP slot was sure to be the next President. Wallace was thought to be soft on communism, which he was. Was Wallace a KGB agent? No, but Laurence Duggan was and so was Harry Dexter White. Wallace said that if he had become President he would have named Duggan as Secretary of State and White as the Secretary of the Treasury! (This is proof positive that God is looking out for America because apparently no one else is.) [4]

Notable Births

  • Bill Ayers (Living): Founder of the Weather Underground (not a weather site), teacher of your children, and likely ghostwriter for Barack Obama. "Guilty as sin, free as a bird." [5] [6] [7]
  • Angela Davis (Living): Communist leader, teacher of your children, and acquitted of the murder of 4 people in the Marin County courthouse shooting. (It's always nice to know that your teacher didn't actually shoot someone in the head.) [5] [8]
  • Carl Bernstein (Living): Journalist along with Bob Woodward produced evidence of the Watergate scandal that caused President Nixon to resign. [5]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Ben Stein (Living): Economist, speechwriter for Nixon and famous for the line "Bueller. Bueller" from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." . [5]
  • -- George Lucas (Living): Founder of Industrial Light & Magic. Best known for Star Wars and the Indiana Jones series. [9]
  • -- Lorne Michaels (Living): Creator of Saturday Night Live. [5]
  • -- Harold Ramis (d. 2014): "Ghostbusters", "Groundhog Day", and more comedy than you can shake a stick at. [5]
  • -- Barry White (d. 2003): This man's singing voice is responsible for more babies being born than any other man in history. [5]
  • -- And more and more and more. I can't name them all so I will leave it there.
**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

This Year in Film

  • Going My Way: Starring Bing Crosby. [10]
  • Meet Me in St. Louis: Starring Judy Garland. [10]
  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo: Starring Spencer Tracy as Lt. Col. Doolittle. [10]
  • And several others you can still see on TV, now and again. I have to stop somewhere, so I'll let it go at that.

This Year in Music

  • I'll Be Seeing You: all the old familiar places. Bing Crosby. [11]
  • Don't Fence Me In: Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters. [11]
  • Swinging on a Star: Bing Crosby. [11]
  • Bandleader, Major Glenn Miller, has died in the plane crash over the English Channel. Being too old for the service, he had volunteered to bring the Army Band into the modern age.

In Other News

  • Economist Friedrich Hayek publishes "The Road to Serfdom: It is a "must read" for... everyone, frankly. [12]
  • United Negro College Fund is incorporated: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." (It was a good idea when it first started, and for years thereafter, but they lost their way somehow.) [12]
  • Smokey Bear appears on posters for the first time.: "Only you can prevent forest fires." (Oh... so you're blaming ME?) [12]

World War 2 in Review

  • Note: About a third of Japan's hulls will be going to the bottom this year. Given that Japan has a sea-based transportation system (even domestically) this loss in capacity will be a devastating blow. [12]


  • The RAF drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin. [12]
  • The Battle of Anzio (Italy) begins. It will be an Allied victory 4 months later but 11,000 confirmed dead, 83,000 casualties, and tens of thousands missing. [12]
  • American forces land on the Japanese-held Marshall Islands. It's going to be ugly. [12]


  • American bombers hit German aircraft manufacturing centers. It's called "Big Week". (Are there any sharks involved?) [12]
  • A Jewish film director produces a Nazi propaganda film. He was promised his life in exchange, but Kurt Gerron is taken to Auschwitz and gassed. [12]


  • Joop Westerweel is shot for rescuing Jewish children. He smuggled them to Spain. [12]
  • RAF Flight Sargent Nicholas Alkemade bails out over Germany without a parachute and lives! From 12,000 feet, he hits tree branches and falls into the deep snow. [12]
  • The "Great Escape": 76 RAF POWs tunnel out of Stalag Luft 3. Only 3 make it back to the UK. 50 are executed. [12]


  • Adolf Eichmann offers "blood for goods". He will exchange Jews for supplies on the Eastern Front. [12]
  • Operation Overlord: A full-scale rehearsal of the Normandy invasion takes place. 749 American servicemen are killed just stepping off from the landing ships. [12]


  • Hitler orders "fight to the last man" in Ukraine. The German soldiers say, "I surrender" to the Soviets. Crimea is also "liberated". [12]
  • USS England sinks the sixth Japanese submarine in two weeks. This remains the record. [12]


  • Operation Overlord: The BBC transmits a coded message. The invasion of Europe is coming. [12]
  • Operation Overlord: The weather forecast is reasonable for tomorrow's Normandy landing. [12]
  • Operation Overlord: 5,000 tons of bombs drop on German gun batteries along the Normandy coast. [12]
  • Operation Overlord: US and British paratroopers are on their way for a drop behind German lines. [12]
  • Operation Overlord: It's D-Day. [12]
  • Operation Overlord: 155,000 Allied troops land on the beaches of northern France. This is the largest amphibious assault in history. [12]
  • Operation Overlord: The Allies move inland. (Sounds simple. Doesn't it? Thousands have died just getting off the boat.) [12]
  • V-1 flying bombs hit London. They are slow enough that an RAF pilot can tip a V-1 into the drink. This is like fighting a bear with a pole while balancing on a wooden fence. [12]
  • US Forces land on Saipan. Japanese nurses give hand grenades to their patients for an easy death. Civilians throw themselves off of cliffs. Japanese officers ask for their subordinates to behead them. Instead, their subordinates just shoot them. I could say more, but... no.. I can't say more. [12]
  • Soviet forces liberate Belarus. The Germans are well and truly hosed now. [12]
  • Operation Overlord: American troops enter Cherbourg, France. [12]


  • 1st Lt. Jackie Robinson refuses to step to the back of the U.S. Army bus. He will be acquitted... eventually. (He will also be a baseball player, eventually.) [12]
  • Japan's Prime Minister Tojo resigns for his failures. He will later be executed by the Allied Forces. [12]
  • Operation Valkyrie: Adolf Hitler survives an assassination attempt. Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer will be executed for his part in the plot... a few months before the end of the war. [12]


  • Anne Frank and her family are arrested. All but her father will die in the death camps. He will return, and find her diary. [12]
  • 40,000 to 50,000 Polish civilians are massacred by the SS. I mention this lest people think that only Jews are being massacred. [12]
  • Operation Overlord: The Allies enter Paris. Hitler orders that Paris be destroyed. The Germans decline to do so, and surrender. [12]


  • V-2 rockets hit London. These are much faster. The RAF pilots cannot tip these. [12]


  • Hitler accuses Rommel of conspiracy. Rommel takes his own life. [12]
  • General Douglas MacArthur returns to the Philippines. "Brigadier General" Wendell Fertig arranges for a marching band to greet him. Wendell has done very well, indeed. [12]
  • Charles de Gaulle forms a provisional government in France. [12]


  • FDR wins a fourth term! Harry S. Truman is Vice President, replacing Wallace who was soft on communism. [12]


  • Major Glenn Miller disappears in heavy fog over the English Channel. All is lost. [12]
  • Germany begins the Battle of the Bulge. It is an effort to break out of the Allied encirclement. [12]
  • George Marshall becomes the first U.S. Five-Star General. [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1944, Wikipedia.

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