Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16, 1939; Graf Spee Must Sail by Sunday:

THIS WAS REPORTED TODAY, DECEMBER 16, 1939:




Destroyer Sunk,
Reds Routed,
Helsinki Claims

Defenders Report Twenty Soviet
Tanks Seized in Battle;
Minister Offers Peace to Russ

HELSINKI, Dec. 15 (AP)—The Finnish high command Friday night announced that a Russian destroyer had been sunk by coastal batteries, 20 soviet tanks captured and others destroyed and that Russian troops had been defeated in.24 hours of fighting.
While Finnish forces were reporting these setbacks to the Russian invaders,. Foreign Minister Vaino Tanner was putting the issue of continued war or peace negotiations squarely up to the soviet union government in a sudden radio speech addressed to Premier Foreign Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov.
Sinks Destroyer
He declared that the Finns are till willing to negotiate a peace but, "if Moscow's aim is conquest of the whole country, then the Finns will fight to the end."
A high command communique said coast defense batteries, during a battle in the' outer Turku Archipelago, damaged a Russian destroyer of the Gordi type so badly that it sank later in full view of a Finnish military lookout.

 

Raider Faces
Internment
As Alternative

British Massed
Off Uruguay
To Attack Foe

MONTEVIDEO, Dec. 16 (Saturday)—(AP)—Uruguay early Saturday gave the German raider Admiral Graf Spee the choice of sailing Sunday night to sea, where British warships are waiting to sink her, or accepting internment in this neutral port for the duration of the war.
The government handed its ultimatum— sail by 5 p. m. Sunday (1:30 p. m., M. S. T.) or be interned— to the commander of the crippled pocket battleship shortly after midnight.
Notified of the Uruguayan decision, German Minister Otto Langmann commented; "I shall communicate the action to my government. I have nothing more to say."
Uruguay acted promptly after an Uruguayan naval board inspected the Graf Spee at her mooring in Montevideo harbor and recommended such a step. Previously, Great Britain had made two urgent demands upon the South American country, to force the Graf Spee to sail or to intern her.





The above map illustrates conflicting British and German reports
of the big North sea air battle. London claims five
Messerschmidts were downed over Helgoland bight while
three British planes were lost. Berlin says eight English
bombers were lost near the island of Spiekerkoog and one
Messcrschmtdt was destroyed.

British Carry Fight to Foe
In North Sea Air War

London Reveals Mass Attack on Nazi
Convoy of Crippled Cruiser;
Bomb German Island "Seaplane Base

LONPON, Dec. 15 (AP)—Great Britain's fast-expanding air force was disclosed Friday night to have flown boldly to the attack in mass offensives against Germany's boasted air superiority, launching a big-scale war in the air.

With the cold and cloud-blown North sea as the battleground, the British pressed repeated waves of fast long-range planes, capable of both bombing and fighting, against the air and sea escort of a crippled German cruiser, and against nazi seaplane bases at Borkum, Sylt, and Norderney.

These continuing offensive patrols were Britain answers to persistent nazi air raids and mine-laying forays on British naval anchorages and seaplanes.

 

 

World Awaits Russ Reaction
To Branding by League

Amazing Stand of Tiny Finland .
May Limit Retaliation
By Moscow to Name-Calling

By Kirke L. Simpson
Associated Press Staff Writer
Russia is again the center of attention as the world awaits her reaction to the League of Nations action in branding her as international public enemy No. 1 for her attack on little Finland.
Not even the aftermath of the  first spectacular naval battle of the German-British-French war, or the ultimate fate of the nazi pocket battleship driven to refuge in Montevideo harbor, holds as much interest as docs the question whether the league's condemnation may widen the present European war. It is more than possible that Russian entry into the battle as a formal ally of Germany would spread the flame of war into the
Balkans, the Mediterranean, into Scandinavia and possibly even into the far east.
Reds Gall Some Names
Yet the first word from Moscow, branding the league as a tool of British imperialism, a puppet of plutocracy, does not suggest that any more formidable weapon than words is being made ready in Russia.
And developments of the Russian attack on Finland, due to the amazing stand of the Finns against seemingly impossible odds, must have convinced Moscow that it has too big a job there to risk war involvement elsewhere just now. There can be little doubt that restoration of red army  prestige in Finland is the chief immediate concern of Stalin and his advisers.
The success of Finnish resistancehas deflated it. The effect of that deflation was easily discernible in the votes of league council members who endorsed this most drastic disciplinary step ever taken by the league, ejection of a major member.
Only Nazis Back Reds
That the little nations of the Baltic, Balkan and Scandinavian groups refrained from voting did little to impair the unanimity of the Geneva verdict. Only in Germany has any approving word beensaid of the Russian attack on Finland, and Moscow cannot doubt that nazi endorsement of its course is forced as much by circumstances as was the abstention from voting of Russia's little neighbors




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