April Fool’s Day in WWII

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Although the world was going through one of the darkest era’s in its existence , there was still a sense of humour prevailing. For many it was this sense of humour which was all that remained of their humanity.

Below are some examples of April Fool#s day hoaxes during WWII.

On April 1 1943

The Kingsport Times (of Kingsport, Tennessee) ran a photo on its front page of what it said was Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s “escape ship,” spotted going down the local Holston River. It said the ship had entered the Holston River by way of the Gulf of Mexico.1943rommel_lg

“ROMMEL RUNS UP REEDY CREEK — In the absence of the Tennessee State Guard from Kingsport due to training at Camp Forrest, a hurry-up call was placed today for the Piney Flats Regulars and the Bays Mountain Reserves to rush to Kingsport to prevent Field Marshal Rommel’s escape ship, seen here going down the Holston River, from using Reedy Creek as an “escape corridor.” The escape ship from Tunisia was reported to have entered the Holston River by way of the Gulf of Mexico. Now turn the paper upside down for the rest of the story.

(upside-down text:)
We’re sorry, it wasn’t Reedy Creek after all. It was salt river — and we ain’t fooling on that last — even though it is April Fool Day.”

 

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Here is what the Kingsport Times’ photographer, Ronnie Ezell, claims is the prize picture of the year (well, day anyway). He says this plane sliced the steeple at the First Presbyterian Church and despite the condition of the airplane’s wing fluttered off in the direction of Gate City. (Or maybe the photographer said he was the one who had just fluttered in from Gate City.)” [Kingsport Times (Tennessee) – Apr 1, 1942]

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“Fun-loving Americans spend about $8,000,000 a year on tricky gadgets which make good fun on April Fool’s Day. Here are a few you should watch out for this year: Plate Lifter — Your blueplate gets a bouncing wanderlust; Hot Salt — It comes out pepper; Inseparable Saucer — Sticks to cup; Tough Doughnut — A rubber sinker; Dribble Glass — April showers.” [AP Features April 1 1944]

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Radio-Craft magazine, in an article credited to Grego Banshuk, announced what it declared was “the biggest development in television up to now” — the Visie-Talkie. It was a portable television handset. In other words, a handheld videophone.

Banshuk explained that the device had been made possible by the invention of “non-scanning television” technology, which involved “thousands of fine wires… bunched very close together.”

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April Fools day pranks during WWII

Although the world was going through one of the darkest era’s in its existence , there was still a sense of humour prevailing. For many it was this sense of humour which was all that remained of their humanity.

Black Bombers    (April Fool’s Day – 1941)

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The Elkhart Daily Truth detailed a plan to create a protective air fleet for Indiana at low cost by attaching miniature, eight-ounce bombs to 25,000 crows, which would be trained to release the bombs on the enemy. The report included a photograph of one of the “Black Bombers.” The “bomb” in the picture was really a salt shaker, and the crow was stuffed.

Although the crow bombers were an April Fool’s day joke, there really was a plan developed and tested by the U.S. military during World War II to create “bat bombs” by strapping incendiary devices to bats, and then dropping the bats on Japanese cities.

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Rue Maurice Thorez    (April Fool’s Day – 1941)

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The Vichy government in France arrested 13 people on the charge of participating in a “Communist April Fool day plot” to rename streets in Marseille after the exiled Communist leader Maurice Thorez.

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The police made the arrests after finding a large quantity of signs reading “Maurice Thorez Street” (or “Rue Maurice Thorez”) designed to be placed over the regular street signs in the city.

April Fool Fun Rationed    (April Fool’s Day – 1943)

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The Associated Press reported that the Society for the Preservation of Practical Jokers had issued an advisory to its members warning them that “in view of the war’s restrictions on what some fools consider fun” practical jokers should proceed with caution “otherwise, there might be casualties.”

“Don’t put any bricks under old hats on the sidewalk, for passing pedestrians to kick. It’s sabotage— shoes are rationed.

Don’t use that old wallet-on-a-string trick. If the sucker bends over to pick it up, he may bust his suspenders. Rubber elastic is scarce.

Don’t put salt in the sugar bowl. One cup of coffee ruined by a spoonful of salt is considered grounds for justifiable homicide.

Don’t let the air out of your neighbor’s tires—unless you’ve made your will.

Don’t drain his gasoline out on the ground. Not a lawyer in the country would dare touch your case.

Don’t sneak into an Army camp with a bugle and blow reveille an hour early. Tearing you limb from limb would expend valuable military energy.

Above all, don’t jump up and surprise your acquaintances shouting: “heil Hitler!”

They may not know what day it is—and there’s enough absenteeism without taking time out to attend fools’ funerals.

P.S.—April Fool! There’s no such thing as a Society for the Preservation of Practical Jokers.”

Nazis in Times Square    (April Fool’s Day – 1944)

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“When Goebbels, Hess, Hitler and Goering, suitcases in hand, marched through Times Square in New York, pedestrians ignored them. But then, maybe it’s because on closer inspection, they look suspiciously like Alexander Pope, Victor Varconi, Robert Watson and Martin Kosleck, as they appear in the movie, ‘The Hitler Gang,’ and if you’ll look at the calendar you’ll see it’s April First.” [The Ogden Standard-Examiner – Apr 1, 1944]

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