United States and American History: Early 1943 & WII

About the history of the United States in 1943, the U.S. in World War II, Macarthur's strategy, the Battle of Anzio, Zoot Suit riots and riots in Detroit.


--A new form of mold, discovered on a cantaloupe in an Illinois market, yielded nearly 10 times the amount of penicillin as previous sources. It was quickly placed into mass production to alleviate the critical shortage of the antibiotic.

--MacArthur's "leapfrog" strategy went into effect. Jointly credited to the general and to Adm. Theodore Wilkinson, the plan called for the bypass of strongly-fortified enemy bases, moving around them to establish new U.S. bases closer to the Japanese homeland. The enemy bases were then to be sealed off from fresh supplies by U.S. air and sea power until they capitulated.

Jan. 14 Roosevelt met with Churchill at Casablanca, North Africa, to plan future strategy. One major decision and possibly a mistake: "Unconditional surrender" was demanded from all enemies. The no-compromise demand may have helped Hitler to persuade his troops to fight on to the end.

Jan. 22 Milestone Battle: Anzio. The amphibious landing, intended as a flanking operation for the 5th Army which was then stalled in its advance 60 mi. away, was accomplished with few casualties. But 6th Corps commander, General Lucas, had been given orders not to advance from his beachhead if it meant his troops could be cut off. His decision was to secure and consolidate his beachhead position 1st, strengthening his supply lines before moving out. He lost the element of surprise. German Field Marshal Kesselring immediately rushed up 2 full divisions to contain the invasion. Dug into the high ground of the surrounding Alban Hills, they stopped the American advance until the Cassino breakthrough in May, 3 1/2 months later.

June 5-8 A minor fight between sailors and Mexican pachucos wearing zoot suits led to the Los Angeles Zoot Suit riots in which uniformed sailors, marines, and soldiers rampaged through downtown Los Angeles, beating 1st zoot-suiters and then anyone with dark skin, including Filipinos and blacks. The police stood by and then moved in and arrested the victims. The City Council adopted a resolution declaring that the wearing of zoot suits was a misdemeanor and the rioting did not end until military authorities declared Los Angeles off limits.

June 10 W-2 Day. The Withholding Tax Act was signed. Following a Treasury suggestion, and listening to intensive lobbying from Beardsley Ruml, chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Congress provided for the "pay-as-you-go" tax. The law leveled out tax collections and drastically reduced the total number of tax-delinquent bills in 1944.

June 20 In the white section of Detroit, rumors spread quickly that a Negro had raped and killed a white woman and thrown her baby into the river. In the black section of Detroit, rumors spread that a white man had killed a Negro woman and her baby. Actually, no one had been killed or injured--yet. Only the integrated neighborhoods remained free from rioting that left 25 blacks and 9 whites dead.

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