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In the southwest Pacific, Americans involved in the costly island-hopping toward the Philippines and Japan were hardly aware of the holiday. On Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, soldiers and marines were fighting the tenacious Japanese ridge by ridge. In , zinc had replaced copper in pennies, but kids expected more than the unfamiliar dull coins from Santa. Ten million evergreens went unsold. Following D-Day in June , the home front began to smell victory ahead.

That winter, the cost of Christmas trees dropped sharply. Continuing deprivations included silk for dresses, cuffs on trousers, whiskey for grownups, and bubblegum for kids.

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The Office of Price Administration announced the return of canned vegetables to the ration list, and increased restrictions on butter, sugar, and meats. From an NBC studio, Bob Hope broadcast to seamen on a Liberty ship about to weigh anchor for a Pacific destination, telling them that he knew it took courage to transport a cargo of ammunition.

Terry of the Pirates strip risked his own white Christmas by flying munitions over the icebound Himalayan Hump to China. On Christmas Eve, the general paced after dark on the veranda of an elegant house vacated by the enemy command. As he puffed on his corncob pipe, a group of GIs gathered below to sing carols in a steamy climate and setting far removed from the typical American Christmas.

Suddenly a low-flying Japanese nuisance raider buzzed over the compound. The singing abruptly stopped, and soldiers dived for the hedges. Then searchlights caught the intruder in their crossbeams and a burst of antiaircraft fire dropped it. MacArthur leaned down to thank the returning carolers, and then resumed his pacing. In the days approaching it, only the encircled and bypassed crossroads town of Bastogne stood between the Wehrmacht and the banks of the Meuse. But on December 23, the snowy skies cleared briefly, and previously grounded supporting aircraft could finally pound the enemy.


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For many beleaguered Americans it was already too late. Two regiments of the th Infantry Division and much of the 28th Infantry Division had been shattered, and thousands of GIs — those still alive — would spend a cold Christmas in windowless boxcars clattering eastward toward German prison camps. RAF bombers interdicted one train on December 25, killing sixty Americans, including two doctors.

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Survivors kept spirits up by singing carols; a fortunate few received a potato for Christmas. Undeterred by the weather, Lt.

A Wartime Christmas Carol

George S. They were still on the move on Christmas Day, when Patton jeeped among his units in the snow to ensure that, at the least, his troops got hot turkey sandwiches with gravy. It may not have been much, but it would have been a feast to POW Edward King — now in occupied China — who knew it was Christmas only because of the marks he made on a crude notebook calendar. She is married with two grown-up daughters and lives in Worthing. Average Review. Write a Review.

A Christmas Carol in Wartime

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    Then, moments later, Delia Granger, a platinum-selling and temperamental country-western singer, arrives at the terminal, Beth Connelly is costume designer, Curtis Mueller the lighting designer, and Blair Nelson the sound designer. Most character changes are effected by the addition of a cap or shawl. Though the onlooker is hard pressed to keep everything and everyone straight, the denouement s are heartfelt and rewarding.

    One returns home believing that in many ways Vogel achieved her purpose despite the not-quite-cooked musical elements here and the fact that even at two hours the piece seems weighed down by its own fascinating complexity. Your email address will not be published. Saturday, September 28, Christmas at wartime January 1, Next Post. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.