On this Day, June 19, 1942 – Churchill Arrives in DC to Plan Africa Invasion

Churchill FDR

1942 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington, DC, to discuss the invasion of North Africa with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The British accepted the American view that the main blow would eventually have to be delivered in western Europe, but they hesitated to commit themselves on when and where it should fall. Even at this early stage they showed a preference for peripheral campaigns to be followed by a direct attack on the enemy only after he had been seriously weakened by attrition. Such a “peripheral strategy” came naturally to British leaders. They had followed it so often in earlier wars against continental powers that it had become deeply imbedded in England’s military tradition.

Churchill and Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, from the outset stressed the advantages of a North African operation. They made much of the tonnage that would be saved by opening the Mediterranean and the likelihood that the French in North Africa, despite the fact that they were torn by dissension, would co-operate with the Allies once they landed. Thus France would be brought back into the struggle against the Axis.

While the majority of American military leaders had their doubts about the value of a North African invasion and its chances of success, President Roosevelt was attracted to the idea largely because it afforded an early opportunity to carry the war to the Germans. In his opinion, it was very important to give the people of the United States a feeling that they were at war and to impress upon the Germans that they would have to face American power on their side of the Atlantic.  Because of the interest of the two political heads, who in many matters saw eye to eye, the Combined Chiefs of Staff, without committing themselves definitely to any operation, agreed at the ARCADIA Conference to go ahead with a plan to invade North Africa.

0240 BC – Eratosthenes estimated the circumference of the Earth using two sticks.

1586 – English colonists sailed away from Roanoke Island, NC, after failing to establish England’s first permanent settlement in America.

1778 – U.S. General George Washington’s troops finally left Valley Forge after a winter of training.

1846 – The New York Knickerbocker Club played the New York Club in the first baseball game at the Elysian Field, Hoboken, NJ. It was the first organized baseball game.

1862 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln outlined his Emancipation Proclamation, which outlawed slavery in U.S. territories.

1865 – The emancipation of slaves was proclaimed in Texas.

1867 – In New York, the Belmont Stakes was run for the first time.

1903 – The young school teacher, Benito Mussolini, was placed under investigation by police in Bern, Switzerland.

1910 – The first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington.

1911 – In Pennsylvania, the first motion-picture censorship board was established.

1912 – The U.S. government established the 8-hour work day.

1933 – France granted Leon Trotsky political asylum.

1934 – The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration was established.

1934 – The U.S. Congress established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The commission was to regulate radio and TV broadcasting (later).

1939 – In Atlanta, GA, legislation was enacted that disallowed pinball machines in the city.


1942 – Norma Jeane Mortenson (Marilyn Monroe) and her 21-year-old neighbor Jimmy Dougherty were married. They were divorced in June of 1946.

1943 – Henry Kissinger became a naturalized United States citizen.

1943 – The National Football League approved the merger of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

1944 – The U.S. won the battle of the Philippine Sea against the Imperial Japanese fleet.

1951 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the Universal Military Training and Service Act, which extended Selective Service until July 1, 1955 and lowered the draft age to 18.

1958 – In Washington, DC, nine entertainers refused to answer a congressional committee’s questions on communism.

1961 – The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision in Maryland’s constitution that required state officeholders to profess a belief in God.

1964 – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the U.S. Senate.

1987 – The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Louisiana law that required that schools teach creationism.

1998 – A study released said that smoking more than doubles risks of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.

1998 – Switzerland’s three largest banks offered $600 million to settle claims they’d stolen the assets of Holocaust victims during World War II. Jewish leaders called the offer insultingly low.

2000 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a group prayer led by students at public-school football games violated the 1st Amendment’s principle that called for the separation of church and state.


Source: History.army.mil; On-This-Day.com