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This Day in WWII 7 May 1940 - 1945


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FloridaCitrusCommision-May1943.jpg Florida Citrus Commission Ad - May 1943

1940: British PM Neville Chamberlain resigns.

1940: All Dutch Army leave suspended.

MariaMontez1.jpg *Maria Montez

1941: British capture U110 and its Enigma machine.

1941: The Luftwaffe launches the first of two consecutive night raids against the British port of Hull.

MariaMontez2.jpg Maria Montez

1942: Dutch Jews are forced to wear the yellow 'Star of David' badge.

1942: Vichy French resistance ends in Madagascar.

DaytonRubber-May1944.jpg Dayton Rubber Company Ad - May 1944

1942: The Battle of the Coral Sea begins, as the Japanese Striking Force (Admiral Inouye), which consists of the carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, 2 cruisers and 6 destroyers make the first strike. This is against the oiler Neosho and her escorting destroyer, which are on their way to rendezvous with Admiral Fletchers Task Force 17, which includes the carriers Yorktown and Lexington, 8 cruisers and 11 destroyers. The Neosho takes serious damage and eventually has to be scuttled. Admiral Fletcher then orders a cruiser squadron consisting of HMAS Australia, Hobart, USN Chicago and 2 destroyers to attack the Port Moresby invasion force, but this soon comes under Japanese air attack, although it did divert Japanese attention away from the American carriers. At the same time, Admiral Inouye orders the Invasion Force to turn away from the Jomard Passage until the American carriers have been dealt with. Admiral Fletcher now launched a strike from the Yorktown against what he thought was a major Japanese task force, but which turned out to be only 2 light cruisers and 2 gunboats. However, aircraft from the Lexington spotted the Japanese carrier Shoho and sank her. Later that afternoon the Japanese launched 27 aircraft against the US carrier Task Force, but they failed to locate their targets and only 6 returned safely. At midnight, Admiral Inouye decided to postpone the invasion of Port Moresby for two days.

MariaMontez3.jpg Maria Montez

1943: The last major German strongholds in North Africa--Tunis and Bizerte--fall to Allied forces.

1943: In a speech to Nazi Party Reichsleiters and Gauleiters in Berlin, Hitler says that U-boat warfare will be stepped up as the surest way to "cut the arteries of the enemy." Even as the Fuhrer speaks, however, the calamity of "Black May" for the U-boat force is unfolding in the Atlantic.

FloridaCitrusCommision-May1944.jpg Florida Citrus Commission Ad - May 1944

1944: The US 8th Air Force launches a 1,500-bomber raid against Berlin.

1944: 300,000 Japanese troops begin their preliminary moves prior to an offensive from the Canton and Hankow area in eastern China, with the aim of capturing allied airfields.

MariaMontez4.jpg Maria Montez

1945: U-2336 sinks the last allied merchant ships of the war off the Firth of Forth, these are the Norwegian vessels Sneland I and the British Avondale Park.

1945: General Böhne announces the unconditional surrender of German troops in Norway.

MariaMontez5.jpg Maria Montez

1945: The German Chief-of-Staff, General Jodl, signs Germany's unconditional surrender to the western allies and Russia at 2:41am. Operations are to cease at 1 minute after midnight (GMT) on the 8th May. General Böhne announces the unconditional surrender of German troops in Norway. British troops enter Utrecht to a tumultuous reception.

1945: The British Eighth Army crosses the Italian/Austrian border.

MariaMontez6.jpg Maria Montez

*Born María África Gracia Vidal on June 6, 1912 in Barahona, Dominican Republic, she was the second daughter of ten children born to Isidoro Gracia Garcia Vidal born in La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain and mother Regla Teresa Maria Vidal from Bani, Dominican Republic. Her father, an exporter of wood and textiles, was also the Spanish Consul to the Dominican Republic. At a young age, she taught herself to speak English. Montez was educated in a Catholic convent in her father's native Canary Islands. Maria's brothers and sister were Isidoro, Aquilino, Joaquín, David, Ada, Consuelo, Luz, Luis, Jaime and Teresita.

In 1932, she married William McFeeters, an American banker working in her seaside home town of Barahona. Her marriage lasted several years but in 1939 she ended up in New York City where her exotic looks landed her a job as a model. Determined to become a stage actress, she hired an agent and created a résumé that made her several years younger by listing her birth as 1917 in some instances and 1918 in others. Eventually she accepted an offer from Universal Pictures, making her film debut in a Johnny Mack Brown B western, "Boss of Bullion City" (1940).

Her beauty soon made her the centerpiece of Universal's Technicolor costume adventures, notably the six in which she was teamed with Jon Hall "Arabian Nights" (1942), "White Savage" (1943), "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" (1944), "Cobra Woman" (1944), "Gypsy Wildcat" (1944), and "Sudan" (1945). Montez also appeared in the Technicolor western "Pirates of Monterey" (1947) with Rod Cameron and the sepia-toned swashbuckler "The Exile" (1948), directed by Max Ophuls and starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

MariaMontez7.jpg Maria Montez

While working in Hollywood, she met and married French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont, who had to leave a few days after their wedding to serve in the Free French Forces fighting against Nazi Germany in the European Theatre of World War II. At the end of World War II, the couple had a daughter, Maria Christina (also known as Tina Aumont), born in Hollywood in 1946. They then moved to a home in Suresnes, Île-de-France in the eastern suburb of Paris under the French Fourth Republic. There, Maria Montez appeared in several films and a play written by her husband. She also wrote three books, two of which were published, as well as penning a number of poems.

The 39-year-old Montez died in Paris, France on September 7, 1951 after apparently suffering a heart attack and drowning in her bath. She was buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris where her tombstone displays her theatrical year of birth, 1918.


Measurements: 36-25-36 1/2

The international airport at Barahona, Dominican Republic, is named the Maria Montez International Airport in her honor.

ElectricBoatCompany-May1944.jpg Electric Boat Company Ad - May 1944

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