Seventy-five years ago, December 7, 1941, the Japanese forces attacked American and British territories and possession in the Pacific, including the home base of the U. S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The next day the United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Japan. On December 11, 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, and the United States responded in kind. On December 8, 1941, newspapers across the country, including the Daily Sentinel-Ledger and Philadelphia Inquirer, reported on the Japanese’s surprise attack. The following editorial, written by Lorin D. Angevine, was on the top of the front page of the December 8th Sentinel.
WE’RE ALL IN ONE BOAT, NOW!
The United States of America is at war!
That means that every man, women and child, native-born or naturalized, is a participant. Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, rich or poor, of high or low rank, the time has come to cast aside all personal prejudices and animosities for the common cause. A treacherous enemy has stabbed us in the back. The strength of this enemy – Japan – must not be underestimated. As this newspaper remarked several days ago, Japan will be no pushover. America must be prepared for severe reverses at first for Japan has had the advantage of a surprise attack on her side. Eventually, of course, our superior navy and resources will decide the issue. But it will be no short undertaking.
Probably, before many days elapse, we also will be officially at war with Germany – and that will bring the conflict to this side of the continent. We sincerely hope that Ocean City will escape, but we must now be prepared for anything! What can you, an individual, do in Ocean City? The best way to find out is to attend the emergency Defense Council meeting in City Hall, at 8 o’clock tonight. Volunteer your services in any way that will best serve your city and country! America is solidly united, now that war is upon us. America, with the help of her allies, will win. But we must all move fast, calmly and with determination. We civilians must see to the protection of our homes. And we must reconcile ourselves to the probability that we are in a bitter war that will not be terminated quickly.
An attack by Germany, either by sea or air, was a major defense concern. The local U. S. Coast Guard station, located on the lagoon in the Gardens, kept a 24-hour watch on the Atlantic Ocean from their tower on the E. Atlantic beach. They also began opening up their old stations on 4th and 36th streets to be used for barracks for incoming officers.
Navy blimps increased their patrolling of the coast of New Jersey. Nine 250-foot-long blimps were assigned to cover the area between the Naval Air Station at Lakehurst and the Cape May Naval Base.
The December 9, 1941, Daily Sentinel-Ledger reported a lookout tower was to be built on the top of the Music Pier. It would be manned 24-hours a day by volunteers to augment the U. S. Coast Guard lookout tower. The December 22 newspaper reported the volunteer spotters of planes began their 24-hour vigil on the tower on the Music Pier. Phillip Shafto was the chief observer.
The local newspaper reported everyday how Ocean City was responding to America’s entrance into War World II under the following headlines: Ocean City Prepares To Defend Itself From Attack; Police Guard Bridges; Raid Shelters Planned; Wanted: Loan of Two Boats To Patrol Our Beachfront; Police Guard Bridges; Establish Airport Guard Here; Any Siren From Now On Will Be Warning Of An Air Raid; Evacuation Plans To Be Prepared; Moyer To Construct Experimental Craft For Navy; Schedule For Local Airplane Observers; War Restrictions Clamped On All Boats.
People, needing some relief, crowded into the Moorlyn Theatre on Friday, December 12 to watch Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Keep ‘Em Flying. It was Abbott and Costello’s third service comedy based on the peacetime draft of 1940. Keep “Em Flying followed Buck Private and In The Navy.
The first weeks of World War II, saw the people of Ocean City taking Editor Angevine’s advice and they volunteered their services so America would win the war.