Christmas trees were a dollar apiece, and Times Square was set to swing on New Year's Eve. It would be a holiday season like none other in the nation's history — December 1941, in the midst of a world at war.
Pearl Harbor Christmas
is a day-by-day account of the holiday season in 1941, from December 21st to New Year's Day. New York department stores did a brisk trade — holiday shoppers were flush with new jobs created by war contracts and shortages had yet to hit the U.S., so gifts from suits and nylon stockings to Florida oranges and remote control bomber planes were in ready supply. Like many American familes, President and Mrs. Roosevelt had a guest for the holidays — theirs was British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who risked crossing the stormy Atlantic for a week of joint press conferences, strategy sessions, and lighting the White House Christmas tree.
But while Terry and the Pirates
thwarted the Japanese in newspaper comic strips, U.S. troops faced much darker prospects in the Pacific — the Marines on Wake Island were finally overcome on December 23rd, and General Douglas MacArthur hurriedly planned his withdrawal from the Philippines. By the end of the first holiday season of World War II, an understanding had been forged between the Allies, and a nation was gathering its strength for the long war ahead.
Stanley Weintraub is a National Book Award finalist, professor emeritus of arts and humanities at Penn State University, and the author of numerous histories and biographies, including Silent Night
and 11 Days in December
. He is also the editor of a ten-volume edition on the works of George Bernard Shaw.
DVD 2011-12-01 Weintraub
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