The wagers of war: World War II week by week

Posted by David Middlecamp on January 14, 2014 

Jan. 8, 1944 Telegram-Tribune end of war contest.

TELEGRAM-TRIBUNE

From the Jan. 8, 1944, edition of the Telegram-Tribune:

Both Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Admiral Ernest King had given public predictions that the war in Europe would end in 1944.

The Telegram-Tribune jumped on the news item by sponsoring a contest with cash prizes for readers to predict V-E day in 1944.

In retrospect, the 1944 prediction was optimistic — fighting in Europe would continue into late spring 1945.

Contestants were told to write the year, month, day and hour of surrender, and comments could be included in case of tie.

First prize was a $25 U.S. War Bond.

The newspaper suggested that anyone thinking Germany would be victorious should leave the country.

It was an indication that the tide had turned, but basing a contest on life-and-death events seems to be misguided.

Bringing that point home, at the bottom of the first column is a brief item that Pvt. George Murray was reported dead in a list of 145 casualties of U.S. naval forces.

According to a May 2011 article by April Charlton in the Times Press Recorder, Murray was the first South County man to die in the war and the only one from Oceano not to return home.

The Marine private died in the battle for Tarawa island and was the son of Mr. Edith Murray.

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