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1940::Reading Wartime Headlines on Granville Street in Vancouver, British Columbia

Updated: Mar 22

Viewing the Second World War from the homefront... and an odd premonition.


1940::Newsstand at the Corner of Granville and Robson Street in Vancouver, British Columbia

"1940::Newsstand at the Corner of Granville and Robson Street in Vancouver, British Columbia"

Photo: City of Vancouver Archives (AM640-S1-: CVA 260-1372) Photographer: James Crookall (1887-1960)


On May 10, 1940, despite Dutch neutrality, Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands, intending to seize total control. The Dutch, who had banned Germany from their airport just days before, had prepared themselves for any backlash. As Nazi bombers attacked Amsterdam's airport and dropped Suicide Squad paratroopers from their planes, the Allied forces met the Nazi blitzkrieg with an equally powerful defence.


1940::First Photo of Blitzkrieg Over Amsterdam Airport

"1940::First Photo of Blitzkrieg Over Amsterdam Airport"

Photo Clip: Vancouver Sun (1940)

Vancouver, British Columbia


Photographs taken at the scene were immediately sent by telephone wire from Amsterdam to London and then by radio to New York, where the Associated Press dispersed them via Wirephoto. The transmission was so fast that the photos and their story were featured in newspaper headlines on the Pacific Coast the next day.


1940::Nazi Suicide Squad Paratroopers Land at Amsterdam Airport with Machine Guns Ready

"1940::Nazi Suicide Squad Paratroopers Land at Amsterdam Airport with Machine Guns Ready"

Clip: Victoria Daily Times (1940)

Victoria, British Columbia

Artist: H. R.Grissinger (1887-1966)


Although Allied planes rallied to assist their Dutch allies, Nazi bombers had already heavily bombed Amsterdam's airport at Schiphol, closing in on their objective of seizing total control at whatever cost. This attack saw one of Nazi Germany's first uses of a Suicide Squad. Many of the squad's paratroopers, dressed in Dutch and British uniforms and believing they could fool the Allies with their disguise, were shot before they reached the ground. By the end of the day, Holland had fought off her first invasion in 145 years. Days later, however, after the bombing of Rotterdam, Dutch forces fell and surrendered to Nazi Germany.


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