The forgotten WWII massacre

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Although this blog is about a massacre which killed 750,000 victims within a week, not everyone reading this will be shocked about it.

At the beginning of World War II, a government pamphlet led to a massive cull of British pets. As many as 750,000 British pets were killed in just one week.

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In 1939 the British government formed the National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee (NARPAC) to decide what to do with pets before war breaks out. The committee was worried that when the government needed to ration food, pet owners would decide to split their rations with their pets or leave their pets to starve. In response to that fear, NARPAC published a pamphlet titled “Advice to Animal Owners.” The pamphlet suggested moving pets from the big cities and into the countryside. It concluded with the statement that “If you cannot place them in the care of neighbours, it really is kindest to have them destroyed.” The pamphlet also contained an advertisement for a pistol that could be used to humanely kill pets.

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The advice was printed in almost every newspaper and announced on the BBC.After war was declared on 3 September 1939, pet owners thronged to vets’ surgeries and animal homes._70434803_wj_historical_107

Animal charities, the PDSA, the RSPCA and vets were all opposed to the killing of pets and very concerned about people just dumping animals on their doorsteps at the start of the war.

 

Battersea actually advised against taking such drastic measures and the then manager Edward Healey-Tutt wrote to people asking them not to be too hasty.

In the first few days of war, PDSA hospitals and dispensaries were overwhelmed by owners bringing their pets for destruction. It was estimated that 750,000 pets were killed.

Many pet owners, after getting over the fear of bombings and lack of food, regretted killing their pets and blamed the government for starting the hysteria.

When World War II began, the United Kingdom imported two-thirds of its food, all of which had to be shipped over oceans teeming with German U-boats. The Ministry of Food did not want to risk the lives of sailors for food that would be wasted, and reducing imports also saved money for armaments. Surprisingly, 60 per cent of Britons told government pollsters that they wanted rationing to be introduced, with many believing that it would guarantee everyone a fair share of food.

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Dogs of War-Man’s best friend on duty in WWII

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Dogs are often called “Man’s best friend” which is probably more true from a Dog’s point of view then from the point of view of it’s owner.

Dogs are known to have remained loyal to their owner even after the owner has died, Regardless how you treat your dog , generally they will love you unconditionally. Even during the horrors of WWII,dogs were companions to high ranking officers and other military staff alike,and at times they would by great aides during combat. The above picture is of of Willie, Patton’s dog, taken a few days after the General’s death as preparations were made to send home his effects.

Below are some more examples of “Man’s best friend” during WWII

Willie following Patton as he enters his Headquarters at Luxembourg.

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A dog being posed by a German soldier, early 1940′s

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Below photo shows Corporal Yukio Araki (age 17 years old) holding a puppy with four other young men (age 18 and 19 years old) of the 72nd Shinbu Corps. An Asahi Shimbun cameraman took this photo on the day before the departure of the 72nd Shinbu Corps from Bansei Air Base for their kamikaze mission in Okinawa.

Kamikaze pilots posing with a puppy on the day before their suicide missions, 1945

A Yorkshire Terrier who saw action in the Pacific during World War II, Smoky was initially found in February 1944, abandoned in a foxhole in the jungles of New Guinea. The dog was included in a dozen combat missions and survived more than 150 air raids. One of Smoky’s most famous exploits was at a crucial airstrip in the Philippine Island of Luzon. The dog pulled a telegraph wire through a narrow 70-foot pipe, saving construction time and keeping workers and engineers safe from enemy fire. When not in harm’s way, Smoky entertained troops with a variety of tricks and self-taught antics. The dog died on February 21, 1957; she was 14 years old. Smoky’s exploits are chronicled in detail in the book Yorkie Doodle Dandy, written by her adoptive owner William A. Wynne.
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Chips was a Collie–German Shepherd–Siberian Husky mix who was the most decorated dog in World War II. The pooch saw action in Germany, France, North Africa, and Sicily. Among the animal’s heroic exploits are his assault on an Italian machine-gun nest and helping take 10 enemy Italian soldiers captive. Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, and Silver Star for his actions; unfortunately, the commendations were revoked as military policy at the time didn’t allow such recognition for animals. The dog returned to his home in Pleasantville, N.Y., in 1945.
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Marine Raiders take scouting and messenger dogs to the frontlines on Bougainville, late 1943.

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A March 1945 photo of members of a U.S. Marine Corps war dog platoon moving up to the front lines in Iwo Jima, Japan, during World War II.

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Rip was a stray mongrel that was adopted by air raid wardens after his home was bombed. He went on to rescue more than 100 people.

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