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Not-so-good old days
Seventy-two years ago, the Advertiser-Democrat reported national news that was of interest to its readers, and the developing war was on the minds of a lot of people.
From the Advertiser-Democrat of November 14, 1941, come these three items:
U-boat Offensive, Taking U.S. Ships, Real Battle On
The situation in the Atlantic Ocean requires that the people of the United States understand what has occurred between the United States and Germany to bring about the present undeclared war.
The first act of warfare in the Atlantic Ocean affecting the United States occurred in the South Atlantic on May 21, when a German submarine, after hailing the freighter, Robin Moor, flying the American flag, deliberately sank the American ship.
The people of this country knew nothing of the loss of the Robin Moor for almost a month. The survivors drifted in life boats for a long time before being rescued by two ships, one bound for South America, and the other for South Africa. The lives of those on board the Robin Moor were thus imperiled after their ship had been destroyed.
The German attack upon the Robin Moor was willful, wanton and in intentional disregard of the rights of the United States. It came two months after Congress passed the Lease-Lend Act and long before the U.S. Navy in the Atlantic received the President's "Shoot on Sight" order. The ship was in no war zone when attacked and its destruction was in violation of international law.
But a small group of immigrants and their American-born children, anxiously followed developments in another, less-well known, war between Finland and the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, when it was invaded, Finland had cast about for allies and come up with only one power that would help — Germany, a very unpopular country in the eyes of most of their fellow Americans. The Advertiser's editorial staff recognized their plight.
Whatever the motive that inspired Russia to attack Finland, the Soviet Union is paying for its mistake. It is now anxious to liquidate the Finnish situation and if this is impossible, there is the chance that the Finns will find themselves involved in hostilities with Great Britain, a former and natural friend.
Obviously, so long as Finland was engaged in recapturing territory taken from her by Russia, there was justification in Finnish action. Now, with this objective largely attained, continued Finnish participation makes the democratic nation an active ally of Germany and an impediment to the defeat of Hitler.
Again, the United States would face the choice of accepting the challenge or making an abject surrender.
We are not for war, but we do not think that it can be prevented by any policy of cowardly surrender or that the United States can secure peace by yielding its rights to arrogant aggression of nations that have the avowed purpose of attaining national ambitions by the use of force. The only choice for the United States today, in the Atlantic is to resist or surrender.
But the situation on the other side of the globe was by no means rosier.
Obviously, the Japanese are watching world events very closely and intend to alter their policy to fit any opportunity that presents itself.
That the United States will find it impossible to meet the Japanese demands is obvious to anyone who understands the curse of Japanese conduct in recent years.
The price that Japan demands for peace in the Pacific includes the abandonment of China, the recognition of Manchukuo, recognition of Japanese superior rights in the Far East, the end of encirclement and the abandonment of economic restrictions. Should the United States attempt to buy peace at this price, there is no reason to suspect that Japan would be satisfied and every reason to expect additional Japanese demands.
The war had unofficially begun. Less than a month after these items appeared, on December 8, 1941, it would become official.
As is our custom, we try to exactly reproduce the grammar, spelling, punctuation and style of the original. Commas might appear where least expected and remain absent where we’d expect them if the item was written nowadays. On the other hand, consistency was not considered of utmost importance, so variations of a spelling might appear within one story. In addition, some words were abbreviated differently than today. Where brief explanations of terms are considered necessary, they are presented in brackets  within the quote. Otherwise, explanations appear at the beginning or at the conclusion, without quotes. Parenthesis () used in a quoted passage appeared in the original.