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This Day in WWII 23 August 1939 - 1945


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Johnson&JohnsonAd-August1943.jpgJohnson & Johnson Ad - August 1943


1939: Joseph Stalin and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop sign a non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Germany, freeing Hitler to invade Poland and Stalin to invade Finland.


1942: Hitlers orders that Leningrad should finally be captured after a siege which has last a year. The Luftwaffe begins a 48 hours long air raid on Stalingrad, that involves over 4,000 sorties into the city. The city erupts into a sea of flames along its 40 km length as oil storage tanks pour their flaming contents into the Volga. Thousands of civilians perish in the flames. The 6th Army punches a hole in Soviet 62nd Army's defense's as the 14th Panzer Corps crosses the Don River at Vertyachiy and reaches the Volga at Rynok, north of Stalingrad. An 8 km wide gap is torn between Vertyachiy and Peskovatka that allows the 6th Army to reach Volga. Hoths 4th Panzer Army is held up by stiff Red Army resistance south of Stalingrad at Tinguta. The Germans make further progress on the Kuban peninsula on the Black Sea. A platoon of 1st Gebirgsjäger Division hoists the Swastika flag on the top of Mt. Elbrus, the highest peak in the Caucasus. This marks the 'high water' mark in the German attempts to secure the Black Sea coastline. Matters for Army Group A were not helped by the increased priority given to Army Group B in its fight for Stalingrad.


Joan%20Fontaine1.jpg *Joan Fontaine


1943: The heaviest raid to date on Berlin, when 727 RAF bombers drop more than 1,700 tons of bombs on the City.


1943: The Soviet Steppe Front, occupies Kharkov, while the 5th Guards Tank Army beats off the consequent German counter-attack.


Joan%20Fontaine2.jpg Joan Fontaine


1944: German SS engineers begin placing explosive charges around the Eiffel Tower in Paris.


1944: U.S. armor is now at Melun, 35 miles Southeast of Paris. U.S. and Free French forces meet outside Bordeaux.


Joan%20Fontaine3.jpg Joan Fontaine


1944: A Liberator bomber crashes in a storm on a school near Preston in England, killing 38 children and 22 adults.


1944: King Michael I of Romania dismisses Marshall Antonescu, his head of state and brings his country over to the Soviet side.


ExcideBatteryAd-August1943.jpg Exide Battery Ad - August 1943


1944: U.S. destroyer and smaller naval vessels start a bombardment, repeated daily for 4 days, on Japanese installations and positions on Aguijan Island, Northern Mariana Islands.


1945: The Japanese in Burma say they are now ready to surrender having 'clarified the position'.


Joan%20Fontaine4.jpg Joan Fontaine


1945: The Japanese official casualty figures from air raids including A-bombs are 260,000 killed, 412,000 injured, 9.2 million homeless, along with 44 cities being completely wiped out.


Joan%20Fontaine5.jpg Joan Fontaine

*Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland on October 22, 1917, in Tokyo, Japan, in what was known as the International Settlement. Her father was a British patent attorney with a lucrative practice in Japan, but due to Joan and older sister Olivia de Havilland's recurring ailments the family moved to California in the hopes of improving their health. Mrs. de Havilland and the two girls settled in Saratoga while their father went back to his practice in Japan. Joan's parents did not get along well and divorced soon afterward. Mrs. de Havilland had a desire to be an actress but her dreams were curtailed when she married, but now she hoped to pass on her dream to Olivia and Joan. While Olivia pursued a stage career, Joan went back to Tokyo, where she attended the American School. In 1934 she came back to California, where her sister was already making a name for herself on the stage. Joan likewise joined a theater group in San Jose and then Los Angeles to try her luck there. After moving to L.A., Joan adopted the name of Joan Burfield because she didn't want to infringe upon Olivia, who was using the family surname. She tested at MGM and gained a small role in "No More Ladies" (1935), but she was scarcely noticed and Joan was idle for a year and a half. During this time she roomed with Olivia, who was having much more success in films. In 1937, this time calling herself Joan Fontaine, she landed a better role as Trudy Olson in "You Can't Beat Love" (1937) and then an uncredited part in "Quality Street" (1937). Although the next two years saw her in better roles, she still yearned for something better. In 1940 she garnered her first Academy Award nomination for "Rebecca" (1940). Although she thought she should have won, (she lost out to Ginger Rogers in "Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman" (1940)), she was now an established member of the Hollywood set. She would again be Oscar-nominated for her role as Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth in "Suspicion" (1941), and this time she won. Joan was making one film a year but choosing her roles well. In 1942 she starred in the well-received "This Above All" (1942). The following year she appeared in "The Constant Nymph" (1943). Once again she was nominated for the Oscar, she lost out to Jennifer Jones in "The Song of Bernadette" (1943). By now it was safe to say she was more famous than her older sister and more fine films followed. In 1948, she accepted second billing to Bing Crosby in "The Emperor Waltz" (1948). Joan took the year of 1949 off before coming back in 1950 with "September Affair" (1950) and "Born to Be Bad" (1950). In 1951 she starred in Paramount's "Darling, How Could You!" (1951), which turned out badly for both her and the studio and more weak productions followed. Absent from the big screen for a while, she took parts in television and dinner theaters. She also starred in many well-produced Broadway plays such as "Forty Carats" and "The Lion in Winter". Her last appearance on the big screen was "The Devil's Own" (1966) and her final appearance before the cameras was "Good King Wenceslas" (1994) (TV). She was, without a doubt, a lasting movie icon.

On December 15, 2013, Fontaine died in her sleep of natural causes at the age of 96 in her Carmel Highlands home.

Joan%20Fontaine6.jpg Joan Fontaine


Height: 5' 3" (1.60 m)

Worked tirelessly as a nurses' aide during WWII and made numerous appearances at the Hollywood Canteen in support of American troops.

She became an American citizen on April 23, 1943.

Took her stage name from her step-father, George Fontaine.

She is a licensed pilot, champion balloonist, expert rider, prize-winning tuna fisherman, a hole-in-one golfer, Cordon Bleu chef and licensed interior decorator.


Alfred Wright, Jr. ...(27 January 1964 - 1969) (divorced)

Collier Young ...(12 November 1952 - 3 January 1961) (divorced)

William Dozier ...(2 May 1946 - 25 January 1951) (divorced) 1 child

Brian Aherne ...(20 August 1939 - 14 June 1945) (divorced)

Became pregnant twice in 1964, at the age of 46, but miscarried both times.

Howard Hughes, who dated her sister Olivia de Havilland for awhile, proposed to Joan many times.

Her autobiography No Bed of Roses was published in 1979. Ex-husband William Dozier thought a more appropriate title should have been No Shred of Truth.

WyethAd-August1945.jpg Wyeth Ad - August 1945

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