Shrinking the planet with new weapons, World War II week by week

Posted by David Middlecamp on June 24, 2014 

The Telegram-Tribune of June 20, 1944 had stories about a new fairground site, and Allied advances in France toward taking the port of Cherbourg.


June 16, 1944

At the outbreak of the war America had invested little in weapons research and development compared to Axis nations. The United States had two oceans to isolate it from the troubles of Europe and Asia. When war had ended the oceans were no longer a large enough moat to protect America, and isolationism was no longer a viable political position.

Two weapons that shrunk the world were introduced 70 years ago.

Mid-June 1944 saw the public introduction of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. The bomber would be able to cover the immense distances of the Pacific Theater to attack Japan. It had a pressurized cabin and could fly at high altitude.

The Nazi forces unleashed one of their secret weapons, the forerunner of today's cruise missile. The unmanned V-1 flying bomb had stub wings and a rocket tail.

The first had been launched June 13 and soon as many as 100 per day would be launched at England. The German propaganda broadcasts called it an "anti-invasion" weapon but having lost air superiority over the homeland, on the defensive in Eastern Europe, Italy and now France, the Nazi regime needed to declare some kind of victory. Initial reports called them "Robot Planes" and "Mystery Missiles."

June 20, 1944

Back at home, the 16th District Agricultural Association was looking to buy a fair site. In fact, the property had been chosen in 1941, but with the run-up to war the project had been shelved. The State District Fair representative had approved a 12-city block section in Paso Robles.

Otto Kuehl, chairman of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, was in favor of the plan to acquire the site. The county was asked to buy four of the blocks at an approximate cost of $14,000. Paso Robles was contributing $5,000 and the remainder would be donated by the state and private individuals. The value of the land had increased with the wartime building boom.

Dance patrons at the Labor Union Hall, 1530 Monterey St. (next to today's Frank's Famous Hot Dogs), were making neighbors upset. The City Council had ruled that the establishment close at 11:30, but drunks spilling out into the neighborhood were still a problem.

Police Chief B.J. Epperly was instructed to keep a city police officer on duty Saturday nights to see that closing time was observed. Citizens had complained that officers were spending their time watching the dance and not patrolling the neighborhood. Wandering drunks, thrown out from the dance, were wandering through yards and even into houses.

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