News of the day for January 31, 1941. Greek troops advance in Albania, Italian armies retreat in Libya. Germans continue daylight raids over London. Hitler warns U.S. about intervention. Germans bomb Suez Canal. Siam (Thailand) issues demands via Japan to Vichy Government for surrender of Cambodia and one-fourth of Indo-China (Vietnam). Arguments for Foreign Aid and Lend-Lease on Capitol Hill. 520th day of War.
January 31, 2012

Italian army prisoners - rapidly losing stomach for war.

Day 520 in what would soon become World War 2, but still only "the war in Europe" this January 31st in 1941. The U.S. still had diplomatic ties as well as news bureaus in Berlin and Tokyo. But how long that was going to last was only a matter of time.

The previous night, on January 30, 1941 Adolf Hitler, during a 90 minute speech, warned the U.S. that dire consequences would arise if we continued providing aid to Britain and that the German navy would be compelled to torpedo U.S. ships entering "zones of contention" (i.e. British waters).

The threat was interestingly timed, as arguments over Lend-Lease and Foreign Aid to Britain were being argued on Capitol Hill all this week.

But the war nonetheless continued. News of continued daylight bombings of London were containing reports of indiscriminate targets being hit as the result of cloud cover and civilian casualties were on the rise.

Meanwhile, the Italian army was losing on several fronts, substantiating Prime Minister Churchill's assessment that Italy really had "no stomach for war". Greek troops were advancing in Albania, forcing the Italian army to retreat after suffering heavy losses resulting in a failed counter-attack. Likewise in Libya where British forces forced Italian abandonment of Derna and reports of large numbers of prisoners taken as the result. Italy was rapidly losing ground in Libya and in threat of losing their entire toehold in North Africa.

In Southeast Asia, Siam (now Thailand) issued surrender demands to the Vichy Government to give up French claim to Cambodia and one-fourth of Indo-China. Also stipulating that, should France give up Indo-China altogether, it had first dibs on a second province in the Indo-China territory (remember this for later reference in the 1950's). Suspicions were aroused that the Japanese were behind these negotiations as it was Tokyo who acted as buffer between Siam and the Vichy Government.

And that's how this day went in 1941, as reported by NBC and their morning as well as evening newscasts.

Day 520 indeed.

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