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World begins inevitable slide into 2nd war in 1939

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World begins inevitable slide into 2nd war in 1939


An ominous story below this page 1 headline from The Ann Arbor News of June 28, 1939 recalled the opening moves of the First World War, 75 years ago this week. Most of the 1939 story was concerned with problems that led to World War II, which was then less than three months away. It said:

“Europe’s military preparations reached a new high today on the anniversary of the historic events — Sarajevo and Versailles — that started and ended the Great War.

“Today was the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria at Sarajevo and the 20th anniversary of the signing of the World War peace treaty at Versailles.

“While Japan and Britain Great Britain were formally agreeing to negotiate their grave dispute at Tientsin, the attention of European nations focused on Danzig and the Polish corridor as a result of suddenly increasing fears that Adolph Hitler would soon move to expand the northeastern frontiers of the Reich.

"Developments included:

"Action by Great Britain to increase the regular army strength by 89,000 men in addition to notifying the 406,000 men of the territorial army to be ready for a possible emergency.

"A confidential report by Premier Edouard Daladier (of France) termed the European situation to gravest in 20 years, reportedly declaring that Nazis were concentrating in Danzig for an ‘imminent’ coup...

"Although German official sources in Berlin continued to deny that Nazis were filtering into Danzig, they declared that they were confident that city would be returned to the Reich shortly, without bloodshed, because it is a German city...In other authoritative sources, and especially in Berlin, belief continued strong that in a showdown the Nazis would seek to gain their objectives through economic and moral pressure rather than risk a major war.”

Two months after that story appeared, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union formed a military alliance. On Sept. 1,1939, they invaded Poland.

□ □ □

Back home, a peaceful development that supported industrial and population growth in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area during World War II, and since, was described in another page 1 story in The News of June 28, 1939:

"Organization plans are being perfected this week for the construction of the connecting pipeline which will give Ann Arbor natural gas the middle of August, Charles B. Henderson, manager of the Ann Arbor district of the Michigan Consolidated Gas Co., announced today. Surveying of the properties over which the pipeline will be built will start next week. The gas company plans to bring natural gas to Ann Arbor from the Texas and Kansas fields through the pipeline serving Detroit, by tapping the pipeline at a point almost 10 miles east of Milan...The pipe will be laid about four feet deep...Between 150 and 175 men will be employed on the project.”


□ EDITOR’S NOTE — This weekly column recalls how prominent news from the same week of earlier years was presented by The News and its predecessors. The column originated in 1985 after The News observed the 150th anniversary of the first appearance by its earliest direct ancestor, The Michigan Argus, on Feb. 5, 1835. □

World Tense On Great War Anniversary