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This Day in WWII 29 March 1941 - 1945 *1936


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WesternElectric-March1943.jpgWestern Electric Ad - March 1943

 

1941: After 2 months and 14 separate meetings, the US and British staff conference ends with a basic framework for US-British co-operation should the USA be drawn in to the war. Most importantly an agreement was made that Germany should be defeated first.

 

1941: A 'Commissariat' for Jewish Affairs is set up in Vichy France.

 

MartineCarol1.jpg **Martine Carol

 

1941: The Italians spot a British convoy escorted by 4 Cruisers and 4 Destroyers and close in. The British ships lure the Italians towards the main body of the Mediterranean Fleet which includes 3 battleships and the Aircraft Carrier HMS Formidable. HMS Formidable launches aircraft which attack and hit the Italian Battleship Vittorio Veneto with a torpedo, although it manages to limp back to Taranto. Later, they also hit the Cruiser Pola which is seriously damaged. The Italians decide to withdraw and detach 2 cruisers and 4 Destroyers to assist the damaged Cruiser Pola. However, the British intercept them and sink the Cruiser Pola and its 2 escort Cruisers Zara and Fiume as well as 2 of the escorting Destroyers. British losses total just 2 aircraft.

 

MartineCarol2.jpg Martine Carol

 

1942: Escorts of the Arctic convoy PQ13, beat off a German destroyer attack, sinking Z26.

 

1942: Another sixteen Spitfires are delivered to Malta by Force H.

 

WesternElectric-March1944.jpg Western Electric Ad - March 1944

 

1942: The Australian War Cabinet implements a 'Total Denial' policy in northern Australia should the Japanese invade. This would involve the conduct of a fighting withdrawal, with the evacuation or destruction of anything left behind. Already underway was a vast migration of sheep and cattle southwards, with those taking part being nicknamed 'Overlanders'.

 

1943: Meat rationing begins in the USA and is set at 28oz per week.

 

MartineCarol3.jpg Martine Carol

 

1943: British and Indian troops begin to withdraw from Arakan in western Burma, under heavy Japanese pressure.

 

1944: The U.S. Navy bombards the Palau Islands to the East of the Philippines, destroying 150 planes, six naval vessels and 100,000 tons of shipping.

 

MartineCarol4.jpg Martine Carol

 

1945: The U.S. Seventh Army takes Mannheim and the U.S. Third Army takes Wiesbaden and Frankfurt.

 

1945: Troops of the 1st Belorussian Front finally capture the fortress town of Küstrin against desperate German resistance. The Russians seize the oilfields South of Komorn in Hungary, the last source of petroleum for the German war effort.

 

*1936: Italy firebombs the Ethiopian city of Harar.

 

MartineCarol5.jpg Martine Carol

 

**France's major sex siren of the early 50s, this lesser-remembered post-war French pastry pre-dated bombshell Brigitte Bardot by a few years but her brief reign did not compare and has not lived up to the Bardot era. The cult mystique is not there even after dying mysteriously and relatively young. Martine was born Marie-Louise Mourer on May 16, 1920 (some references indicate 1922), but little is known of her childhood. A chance meeting with comedian Andre Luguet steered her toward a career in the theatre. Trained by Rene Simon, she made her 1940 stage debut with "Phedre" billed as Maryse Arley. She subsequently caught the eye of Henri-Georges Clouzot who hired her for his film "The Cat," based on the novel by Colette, but the project was scrapped. Nevertheless, she did attract attention in the movie "Wolf Farm" (1943), which takes advantage of her photogenic beauty and ease in front of the camera despite a limited acting ability. A pin-up goddess and support actress throughout the 40s, Martine also appeared on the stage of the "Theater of the Renaissance". A torrid affair with actor Georges Marchal, who was married to actress Dany Robin at the time, ended disastrously and she attempted suicide by taking an alcohol/drug overdose and throwing herself into the Seine River. She was saved by a taxi driver who accompanied her there. Ironically, the unhappy details surrounding her suicide attempt renewed the fascination audiences had with Martine up until that time.

 

MartineCarol6.jpg Martine Carol

 

In 1950 she scored her first huge film success with the French Revolution epic Caroline Cherie (no doubt prompted by her seminude scenes and taunting, kittenish sexuality) and she was off and running at the box office. Her film romps were typically done tastefully with an erotic twinge of innocence and gentle sexuality plus an occasional bubble bath thrown in as male bait. She continued spectacularly with an array of costumed teasers such as "Adorable Creatures" (1952), "Sins of the Borgias" (1953), "Madame du Barry" (1954) and "Nana" (1954), all guided and directed by second husband Christian-Jacque, whom she married in 1954. A true feast for the eyes and one of the most beautiful actresses of her time, Martine later divorced the director due to professional conflicts and long separations. One last memorable part would come to her as the title role in Max Ophuls' "Lola Montes" (1955) portraying a circus performer who entrances all around her. By the mid 50s, Bardot had replaced Martine on the goddess pedestal and the voluptuous blonde's career went into a severe decline. Although such mature roles as Empress Josephine in "The Battle of Austerlitz" (1960) and others followed, nothing revived audience interest. Depressed, Martine turned alarmingly reclusive while a third marriage to French doctor Andre Rouveix also soured by 1962. Problems with substance abuse and a severe accident in the 60s also curtailed her career dramatically. Her last film "Hell Is Empty" was made in 1963 but not released until 1967. One last marriage to fourth husband Mike Eland, an English businessman and friend of first hubby Steve Crane, seemed hopeful, but on February 6, 1967, Martine died of cardiac arrest at age 46 in the bathroom of a hotel in Monaco Her husband discovered her. Newspapers hinted at a possible drug overdose but nothing was ever proven. She was buried in the cemetery of Cannes.

 

WesternElectric-March1945.jpg Western Electric Ad - March 1945

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