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This Day in WWII 31 August 1939 - 1945


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NashKelvinatorAd-August1943.jpgNash-Kelvinator Ad - August 1943

 

1939: Hitler receives the Polish Ambassador to Berlin, mainly to appease Mussolini, who is trying to establish a peace formula. The talks lasted no longer than a few minutes as Hitler had already made up his mind to invade Poland. Directive Number One on the Conduct of the War" declares that at 04:45 on the 1st September 1939, the German Armed Forces will invade Poland. Polish troops attack German installations along the border with Germany. However, all is not what it seems as these soldiers were actually concentration camp inmates, dressed in Polish uniforms and organised by the SS to give Hitler a pretext for invading Poland that he could show the world.

 

1939: The British fleet is put on full alert.

 

Barbara%20Britton1.jpg *Barbara Britton

 

1940: British claim 293 German aircraft shot down in the past week for loss of 113 British planes.

 

1940: Weekly rations in Vichy France now 4oz of sugar, 6oz spaghetti, 1.5oz rice and 3oz margarine per person.

 

1941: German Army Group South manages to move some of 17th Army across the Dnieper river Southeast of Kremenchuk.

 

1941: British forces reach Hamadan, Iran and have now secured the Persian Gulf and its vital oilfields.

 

Barbara%20Britton2.jpg Barbara Britton

 

1942: Rommel begins his final attempt to break through at El Alamein in the battle of Alam Halfa. However, the 15th Panzer Division fails to break through the 8th Army's lines and sustains heavy casualties losing about 30 tanks forcing the Germans to withdraw back to their start lines. (MORE INFO)

 

1942: 1,200 Japanese reinforcements landed on Guadalcanal by 'Tokyo Express'.

 

1942: The US aircraft-carrier Saratoga is attacked and damaged by a Japanese submarine near Santa Cruz.

 

Barbara%20Britton3.jpg Barbara Britton

 

1943: The RAF again pound Berlin (over 600 bombers) with more than 1,000 tons dropped, killing about 5,000 civilian's.

 

1943: Hitler allows Manstein to make limited withdrawals in Ukraine.

 

1943: The Japanese submarine I-8, reaches France after a marathon voyage from Penang in Malaya.

 

1943: A U.S. carrier task force bombs Marcus I., Micronesia.

 

ShellResearch-August1944.jpg Shell Research Ad - August 1944

 

1943: The government lifts its ban on "pleasure driving." Police had previously been able to stop cars at random and ask drivers their destination and purpose. I a patrolman wasn't happy with a driver's answer, he could confiscate the driver's gas ration stamps.

 

1944: The British 11th Armored Division captures Amiens and take the German bridge across the Somme in surprise attack. Montpellier, Beziers, Narbonne and Nice all taken. The U.S. Third Army reaches the river Meuse.

 

1944: The U.S. Fifth Army crosses the Arno while the Eighth Army attacks the Gothic Line in Italy.

 

Barbara%20Britton4.jpg Barbara Britton

 

1944: The Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front captures Bucharest, the capital of Romania and begins to round up members of the 'Fascist' Antonescu government.

 

1944: Aircraft from a U.S. carrier force (Task Force 38) commence a 3-day attack on Iwo Jima and the Bonin Island in the western Caroline's and Visayas Archipelago, which is the next step to the Philippines.

 

1945: As U.S. troops release POW's, many reports of systematic degradation are heard. Tokyo is reported as 85% bomb damaged, although this is not as bad as Berlin. Japanese garrison at Marcus Island surrenders to the Americans.

 

Barbara%20Britton5.jpg Barbara Britton

 

*Sunny and vivacious to a tee, lovely, well-coiffed Barbara Britton looked like she stepped out of magazine as she entered our homes daily as the 'Revlon Girl' on 50s and 60s TV. She sparkled with the best of them and captured that "perfect wife/perfect mother" image with, well, perfect poise and perfect grace. Co-starring opposite some of Hollywood's most durable leading men, including Randolph Scott (multiple times), Joel McCrea, Gene Autry, Jeff Chandler and John Hodiak, it's rather a shame she was rather obtusely used in Hollywood films but thankfully her beauty and glamour, if not her undeniable talent, saved the day in the end.

 

Barbara Britton was born Barbara Brantingham on September 26, 1919 Long Beach, California. Attending Polytechnic High School, she later taught Sunday school and majored in speech at Long Beach City College with the designs of becoming a speech and drama teacher. Her interest in acting, however, took hold and she began to pursue the local stage. Her own personal 'Hollywood' story unfolded when, as a Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade representative of Long Beach, she was seen on the front pages of the newspaper, scouted out and signed by Paramount movie agents.

 

Barbara debuted with "Secret of the Wastelands" (1941), a Hopalong Cassidy western. She continued in both bit parts and with modest but somewhat showy roles in such fare as "Louisiana Purchase" (1941), "Reap the Wild Wind" (1942) with John Wayne, So Proudly We Hail! (1943) and "Till We Meet Again" (1944). Underserved for most of her film career and confined as a pretty, altruistic, genteel young thing in such durable films as "The Great John L." (1945), "The Virginian" (1946), "The Return of Monte Cristo" (1946), "Albuquerque" (1948), "Champagne for Caesar" (1950) and "The Bandit Queen" (1950), Barbara wisely turned to the stage and TV in the 1950s.

 

Reportedly, due to lasting trauma which she suffered making the 1943 war picture So Proudly We Hail! (1943), she sought the help of physician and psychoanalyst, Dr. Eugene J. Czukor, in 1944. The memorable film was about a group of nurses returning from the war in the Philippines recall their experiences in combat and in love. Britton and Dr. Czukor (22 years her senior) married soon after, lasting until Britton's death 35 years later.

 

Barbara%20Britton6.jpg Barbara Britton

 

After co-starring with Richard Denning in "Mr. & Mrs. North" (1952) she became Revlon's lovely pitchwoman and remained on view for 12 years with the company. In between she appeared on the top dramatic shows of the day, and co-starring intermittently in films with "The Raiders" (1952), "Bwana Devil" (1952), "Dragonfly Squadron" (1954) and "Night Freight" (1955) before ending her film career with "The Spoilers" (1955) opposite Jeff Chandler and Rory Calhoun. She was the first actress to play Laura Petrie on television on the pilot program, Head of the Family, which was retooled and became The Dick Van Dyke Show with the role taken over by Mary Tyler Moore.

 

Various Broadway shows included "Getting Married," her debut in 1951, "Wake Up, Darling (1956), and "Thee and Me" (1965). Other stage credits in the dinner theatre and summer stock venues included "Last of the Red Hot Lovers," "Barefoot in the Park," "No, No, Nanette" and "40 Carats". More and more time was spent raising her family (her husband was a doctor and psychiatrist) and Barbara was only occasionally seen in the 1970s. Much of her work would be in regional or dinner theater productions, sometimes appearing with two of her four children in such shows as "40 Carats" and "A Roomful of Roses".

 

For many years Barbara and her husband lived in a rambling red shingled house in the Fairfield County town of Bethel, Connecticut before moving to the now antique-gallery enclave of Woodbury, Connecticut.

 

Sadly, her two younger children died while very young. Oldest daughter Christina Britton became a model, actress, operatic singer, music therapist and romance novelist while son Thedore (Ted) appeared on episodic TV and became a yoga instructor. One of Barbara's last roles was on the daytime TV-soap "One Life to Live" in 1979, a year before she died of gastric cancer in New York City, on January 17, 1980, aged 60.

 

BellTelephoneAd-August1945.jpg Bell Telephone Ad - August 1945

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