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This Day in WWII 25 August 1939 - 1945


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Ethyl Corporation Ad - August 1944


1939: A mutual assistance treaty is signed by Poland and Britain. Mussolini complains to Hitler that he is not yet ready for war.


1940: Luftwaffe attacks continue against the RAF's airfields in southeast England. The first night-attack by RAF on Berlins industrial targets is made by 43 aircraft from RAF Bomber Command in retaliation for the accidental attack on London the night before.


1940: German U-boats sink 5 more British ships from the convoys HX-65 and HX-65A near Hebrides, Scotland.


Joan%20Crawford1.jpg *Joan Crawford


1941: Panzer Group 2, along with the 2nd Army, attack southeast from their positions around Gomel and Bryansk, in an attempt to link up with units of Army Group South and encircle Kiev. Panzer Group 1 begins a breakout towards the north from its bridgeheads across the Dnieper, with the aim of linking up with units of Army Group Centre east of Kiev. The German 6th Army engages the bulk of the Soviet forces gathered around Kiev to stop them from retreating.


1941: British and Soviet forces enter Iran, opening up a route to supply the Soviet Union.


Joan%20Crawford2.jpg Joan Crawford


1942: The 4th Panzer Army breaks off attacks south of Stalingrad. Communist Party Committee of Stalingrad proclaims a state of siege.


1942: According to some sources Japanese succeed in landing troops on Guadalcanal in the night from destroyers. Nauru, Gilbert Is. and Goodenough, off the SE coast of New Guinea are occupied by Japanese. Battle of Milne Bay, Papua, begins. Japanese Special Naval Landing Force of 1,200 men come ashore.


1942: Battle of Eastern Solomon's continues with a Japanese destroyer being sunk off Santa Isabel.


Joan%20Crawford3.jpg Joan Crawford


1943: 140 Allied fighters and 136 bombers strafe and bomb the airfield at Foggia, as part of the preparations for the invasion of the Italian mainland. Many axis aircraft are destroyed in these raids.


1943: The Russians continue their advance to the West of Kharkov.


EthylCorporationAd2-August1944.jpg Ethyl Corporation Ad - August 1944


1943: Lord Mountbatten becomes the supreme allied commander in South East Asia Command.


1943: US forces complete the capture of New Georgia in the Pacific. Japanese fall back to Francisco River where it runs into Bayern Bay on New Guinea while being pursued by Australian and American troops.



1944: Allied troops led by French General Jacques Leclerc march into Paris as the 5,000-strong German garrison surrenders.


1944: Finland enters secret negotiations with the Russians to agree a cease-fire.


1944: Russian 3rd Baltic Front reaches Tartu in Estonia. Romania declares war on Germany.


Joan%20Crawford4.jpg Joan Crawford


1945: 7 U-boat men are executed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for the murder of a fellow U-Boat man, Werner Drechsler who they had judged as a traitor.


1945: Chinese troops are reported to have entered the Republican capital of Nanking.


1945: Tokyo radio reports large numbers of people committing Hari-kiri in front of the Imperial Palace.


Joan%20Crawford5.jpg Joan Crawford

*Joan Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur on March 23, 1905 in San Antonio, Texas. She was the product of a broken home before she was born in that her parents were already separated before the birth. Her mother had trouble keeping husbands after having married three times. Joan was fond of dancing and had entered several dance contests. She wanted a career in show business because it was much more glamorous than the odd jobs she was working. One dance contest she won landed her in a chorus line. Before long, Joan found herself dancing in the big cities of the Mid-West and along the Atlantic coast. After almost two years dancing, Joan decided to take a chance and packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles, California and the movie colony of Hollywood. She felt movies might afford her a chance of fame and glory and she was determined to succeed. Not long after arriving in California, Joan got her first bit role as a showgirl in "Pretty Ladies" in 1925. Three other films quickly followed. Although the roles weren't much to speak of, Joan continued to toil away. Throughout 1927 and the first part of 1928, Joan was handed menial roles. That ended with the role of Diana Medford in "Our Dancing Daughters" (1928). The film was the one to get her elevated to star status. She had made the tough hurdle of making the "big time". Now she was faced with another. The "talkie" era was upon the movie colony and many stars of the era were suddenly worried about their futures. With silent pictures, it didn't matter what kind of voice you had, but with sound pictures it made a tremendous difference. While some stars saw their livelihood halted, Joan's strong voice enabled her to continue. Her first film with sound was in "Untamed" (1929). The film was a success and Joan's career was still in top form. As she entered the 1930s, Joan became one of the top stars in the MGM stable. Films such as "Grand Hotel" (1932), "Sadie McKee" (1934), "No More Ladies" (1935), and "Love on the Run" (1936), kept movie patrons and film executives happy. Joan was in top form.

By the time the 1940s rolled around, Joan noticed she wasn't getting the plum roles which once came her way. There were new stars in town and the public wanted to see them. She left MGM and went to rival Warner Brothers Studio where she landed the role of a lifetime. In 1945, Joan landed the lead in "Mildred Pierce" (1945), a film depicting the rise of a housewife to a successful businesswoman. The film landed Joan her first and only Oscar for Best Actress. The following year she appeared with John Garfield in the well-received "Humoresque" (1946). In 1947, Joan landed the role of Louise Graham in "Possessed" (1947). Again she was nominated for a Best Actress from the Academy, but lost to Loretta Young in "The Farmer's Daughter" (1947).

Joan%20Crawford6.jpg Joan Crawford

Joan continued to pick and choose what good roles she wanted to appear in. 1952 saw Joan nominated for a third time for her role of Myra Hudson in "Sudden Fear" (1952). This time the coveted Oscar went to Shirley Booth in "Come Back, Little Sheba" (1952). Her career slowed down tremendously after that. Movie after movie saw her relegated to menial roles, with the possible exception of 1962's "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962) with her arch-rival, Bette Davis, who she detested. By now the feud, between the two was well-known. No one is sure exactly how it started, but one time Miss Davis said of Joan, "She's slept with every male star at MGM except Lassie." In return Joan said, "I don't hate Bette Davis even though the press wants me to. I resent her. I don't see how she built a career out of a set of mannerisms, instead of real acting ability. Take away the pop eyes, the cigarette, and those funny clipped words and what have you got? She's phony, but I guess the public really likes that".

Her adopted daughter, Christina, wrote a tell-all book that did not put Joan in a flattering light called, "Mommie Dearest". Needless to say Christine was cut out of the will. Her final appearance on the silver screen was a 1970 flop called "Trog" (1970). Turning to vodka, she was not seen much afterward. Joan died from a heart attack, while also ill with pancreatic cancer on May 10, 1977 in New York City. She was 72 years old. She is interred in the same mausoleum as her MGM cohort Judy Garland in Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.


Measurements: 35-25-35 (as model 1930), 35-25 1/2-37 (precise studio stats, 1937) (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Height: 5' 5" (1.65 m)


Alfred Steele (14 January 1956 - 6 April 1959) (his death)

Phillip Terry (21 July 1942 - 25 April 1946) (divorced) 1 child

Franchot Tone (11 October 1935 - 11 April 1939) (divorced)

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (3 June 1929 - 12 May 1933) (divorced)

James Welton (1923 - 1924) (divorced)

Decided to adopt children after suffering a series of miscarriages with her husbands and being told by doctors that she would never be able to have a baby.

Each time Crawford married, she changed the name of her Brentwood estate and installed all new toilet seats.

She was so dedicated to her fans that she always personally responded to her fan mail by typing them responses on blue paper and autographing it. A great deal of her spare time and weekends were spent doing this.

After her friend Steven Spielberg hit it big, Joan sent him periodic notes of congratulations. The last one came two weeks before her death.

She taught director Steven Spielberg how to belch while filming their episode of "Night Gallery" (1970).

Cartoonist Milton Caniff claimed he created the character of "Dragon Lady" for his popular "Terry and the Pirates" comic strip, based on Joan Crawford.

She had a cleanliness obsession. She used to wash her hands every ten minutes and follow guests around her house wiping everything they touched, especially doorknobs and pieces from her china set.

She would never smoke a cigarette unless she opened the pack herself, and would never use another cigarette out of that pack if someone else had touched it.

Whenever she stayed in a hotel, no matter how good and well-reputed it was, Joan always scrubbed the bathroom herself before using it.

After hearing that a plumber had used a toilet after installing it in her Brentwood home, she immediately had the fixture and pipes ripped out and replaced.

Her cleanliness obsession lead her to prefer showers to tubs, as she abhorred sitting in her own bathwater.

Drank excessively and smoked until she began practicing Christian Science, at which time she abruptly quit doing both.

During her later years, Crawford was drinking up to a quart of vodka a day.

Her final words before dying were quoted as being "Damn it . . . Don't you dare ask God to help me." which was said to her housekeeper, who had begun to pray aloud.

EthylCorporationAd-August1945.jpg Ethyl Corporation Ad - August 1945

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