News on May 31, 1942 may not have seemed like it at the time, but it marked a decided change in how the war would be waged from the air.
News reports on this day told of the first massive RAF bomber raid on the German city of Cologne the night before. Some 1,000 planes, the most of any air raid, and the first of what would become a new policy of mass bombing of cities throughout Germany, left the city almost totally destroyed. Fires could be seen some 150 miles away. RAF losses were reported at 44, which was a surprisingly small number in lieu of the damage inflicted on Germany.
In other news - From Moscow came reports the Germans had claimed to retake the industrial city Kharkov and that the much anticipated Spring Offensive was underway.
Fighting around Libya was continuing with German Field Marshall Rommel aiming to take Tobruk and staging an attempt to cut off British supply lines at the Suez Canal.
From Belfast came reports that U.S. troops, isolated from news of the war were starting to pass rumors, allegedly supplied by "Lord Haw-Haw", that the war was going badly for the allies and that the need arose for some method of supplying the American troops with useful information on news of the war, rather than propaganda.
From Washington came word that the former War Production Chief during World War One, Bernard Baruch, had been tapped to repeat his performance in this war. News also came of Chinese reports that the Pearl Harbor attack was originally intended to be one of two major attacks on U.S. targets. The other being The Panama Canal. But the Japanese aircraft carrier reportedly heading to the area was sunk somewhere in the Eastern Pacific, and the raid was thwarted.
News also came of an Allied Oil Tanker was sunk in Tampico Harbor in Mexico, under suspicious circumstances. Since Mexico had declared War on the Axis a day earlier, it was widely believed this was the work of sabotage.
And that's what was going on this May 31st in 1942, as broadcast by The NBC World News Roundup.