October 30, 2018




Rada Narodowa Księstwa Cieszyńskiego, the Polish national council of the territory of Cieszyn Silesia, made a declaration in "Ludi slaski!" that the territory belonged to Poland. They based their claim on ethnic factors, that the area had a Polish majority, according to the last Austrian census in 1910.  On November 1, 1918, the Czech council claimed it belonged to Czechoslovakia. (Following the end of World War I, the two new emerged states of the Second Republic of Poland and the First Czechoslovak Republic both claimed territorial rights over Cieszyn Silesia.)


The Man Who Almost Killed Churchill: The German submarine U-56 encountered the British battleship HMS Nelson, west of the Orkney Islands, in the Northern Isles of Scotland. Aboard the battleship was the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. the Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Forbes, and Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, the First Sea Lord at the time. They were aboard with the leadership of the British Navy for a conference regarding the sinking disaster of HMS Royal Oak. (caused by a U-boat attack during which 833 servicemen died.)  The U-56 fired three torpedoes which struck the hull of the Nelson, but none exploded. The U-boat's commander Wilhelm Zahn was unaware that Churchill was aboard at the time, but became known as "the man who almost killed Churchill."  (nb. The HMS Nelson was named after Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, the victor at the Battle of Trafalgar. The Nelson class battleship were unique in British construction, as they were the only ships to carry a main armament of 16 inches (406mm) guns and the only ones to carry all the main armament forward of the superstructure.)


Lend-Lease Aid for Allies:  President Franklin D. Roosevelt came up with the idea of the Lend-Lease Aid as a way to side-step the US Neutrality Act of  the 1930s as well as the American opposition to the war.  After the defeat of France in June 1940, Britain was the only country waging war against Germany and Italy, and paying for its war materiel with gold, as stipulated by the "cash and carry" program of the US Neutrality Acts. By 1941 British assets were quickly becoming depleted and desperately needed American assistance.  The Lend-Lease deal was a program in with the United States supplied Free France, the United Kingdom, the Republic of China, and later the Soviet Union and other Allied nations with food, oil, and materiel between 1941 and August 1945. This included warships and warplanes, heavy artillery, and other equipment. The policy was signed into law on March 11, 1941 and ended abruptly when the war against Japan came to an end. This aid was free for all allies, although countries were charged for goods that were still in transit when the program ended.  The total amount involved in the Lend-Lease Aid was $50.1 billion (equivalent to $681 billion today). This consisted of 11% of the total American war expenditures. Altogether,  $31.4 billion (equivalent to $427 billion today) went to the United Kingdom, $11.3 billion (equivalent to $154 billion today) to the Soviet Union, $3.2 billion (equivalent to $43.5 billion today) to Free France, $1.6 billion (equivalent to $21.7 billion today) to China, and the remaining $2.6 billion to the other Allies.  Conversely, Reverse lend-lease policies comprised services such as rent on bases used by the U.S., and totaled $7.8 billion; of this, $6.8 billion came from the British and the Commonwealth, mostly Australia and India. The terms of the agreement provided that the materiel was to be used until returned or destroyed. In practice very little equipment was in usable shape for peacetime uses. Supplies that arrived after the termination date were sold to Britain at a large discount for £1.075 billion, using long-term loans from the United States. Canada was not part of Lend Lease.


The Nazi German concentration camp at Monowitz (also called Monowitz-Buna or Auschwitz III)  began operation on October 30, 1942. It was the first concentration camp to be financed and built by private industry.  In January 1943 the ArbeitsausbildungLager (labor education camp) was transferred from the parent camp (Auschwitz)  to Monowitz.  Jewish prisoners were forced to work on the building site. The SS charged IG Farben three Reichsmarks per hour for unskilled workers, and four Reichsmarks for skilled workers.  The camp administrators expected the prisoners to work at 75 percent of the capacity of a free worker, but the inmates could only able perform at 20 to 50 percent.  The kapos constantly threatened Jewish prisoners with deportation to Birkenau's gas chambers, as a way to increase productivity.  It resulted in the rapid reduction of the prisoner population of Monowitz by about a fifth every month, but replaced with new prisoners arriving at the camp. Life expectancy of inmates at Monowitz averaged about three months.


The last victims were chosen in Auschwitz for extermination in the gas chambers on October 30, 1944. The number of Jews transported to Auschwitz was so high that the SS resorted to burning corpses in open-air pits, as well as in the crematoria. The gas chambers operated at peak capacity from April–July 1944, during the massacre of Hungary's Jews. Hungary was an ally of Germany during the war, but it had resisted turning over its Jews until Germany invaded in March.  In May, a rail spur leading directly into Birkenau was completed, to deliver the victims closer to the gas chambers. From May 14  until early July 1944, 437,000 Hungarian Jews, half of the pre-war population, were deported to Auschwitz, at a rate of 12,000 a day for much of that period.

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