Wednesday, July 3, 2013

An Act of War...?

American WWI Naval Memorial
Brest, France

I recently ran across a surprising World War II story with a direct connection to the Fourth of July.

If you visit Brest France today you may find an American naval memorial dedicated to those American servicemen who served in World War I (  Many US navy destroyers and their crews were engaged in anti-submarine warfare against the Kaiser's navy from 1917 to 1918.  Do not be fooled!  The monument you can see today was completed in 1958 and is a replica of the original monument.

Sixty-two years ago today the original monument, built in the late 1920's, was destroyed by the Germans on the Fourth of July in 1941.  It was replaced with a German command bunker.  In those troubled times much of France (all except Vichy) was occupied by the German army.  The Kriegsmarine was using nearby French naval bases for their U-Boat fleet.  The Luftwaffe was bombing targets in Britain from bases in France on a regular basis.  Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, had been launched just a few weeks before on June 22, 1941.

This was, of course, prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which took place on December 7 of that year and America was NOT at war with Nazi Germany.  Most Americans, led by Charles Lindbergh, opposed entry into a European war at this time.

Was this an act of war or merely a "preview of coming attractions" from the Third Reich?  In any event, it was a message most Americans at the time refused to heed.

Commander Kelly says, "Remember all those who have served and sacrificed to make this country free.  Happy Fourth of July 2013!"

You can find Commander Kelly's book America Invades
or on

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