GAt 3:15 a.m. on the night of February 24-25, 1942, the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade opened fire. Three quarters of an hour had fired more than 1,400 shells into the airspace over Los Angeles. A senior coastal defense officer reported the approach of “about 25 aircraft at 12,000 feet”. And the “Los Angeles Times” immediately ran the headline “Airstrike on Los Angeles”.
The incident went down in World War II history as “The Great Los Angeles Air Raid”. Since no traces of enemy aircraft could be discovered after sunrise, speculations immediately broke out. Japanese bombers, stray US machines, weather balloons or even extraterrestrial spaceships are said to have made the sky over the metropolis of the American west coast their hunting ground. For conspiracy theorists there is still no question today that this is one of the most important best documented cases of UFO sightings acted, which has been verified by numerous eyewitnesses.
It all began on December 7, 1941. On the morning of that day, the aircraft of six Japanese carriers attacked the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, without a declaration of war. One day later, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with the approval of Congress, declared war on the German Empire. In unfamiliar unity, the USA set out to avenge the “Day of Shame” (Roosevelt). But months would pass before the great power would be ready.
At first a feverish nervousness gripped the country. Saboteurs, spies and invaders were suspected everywhere. Particularly suspicious were the members of the Japanese minority, especially on the west coast, tens of thousands of whom were interned in special camps. For large cities like Los Angeles, night blackouts were ordered, which dramatically increased the number of accidents. Even unusual noises were enough to report new alleged Japanese or German attacks – Hitler had declared war on the USA on December 11, 1941.
On the evening of February 24, 1942, the air defense around Los Angeles had been put on alert. However, as no enemy bomber appeared despite concentrated reconnaissance, the alarm was lifted around 10 p.m. Until a good four hours later a radar station 120 kilometers away detected something that was interpreted as a flying object. The anti-aircraft guns were manned immediately. When the outline of an aircraft was discovered over Santa Monica at 3:06 a.m., the order to fire was given.
“The airspace over Los Angeles exploded like a volcano,” said an eyewitness. Others reported swarms of planes that thundered over the city at high altitudes or at low altitude, chasing innocent passers-by. Around four enemy planes are said to have been shot down, one is even said to have gone down at a street crossing in Hollywood.
The longer the flak batteries fired, the more excited reports came in from the entire stretch of coast, the residents of which suddenly believed they were at the front. Tracer bullets and searchlights bathed the night in a ghostly light, the noise of the guns did the rest.
When the traces of the attack were secured the morning after, it soon emerged that the alleged bomb debris was the remains of American anti-aircraft shells. The five people who did not survive the night were also not victims of Japanese low-flying aircraft, but of traffic accidents or had died of heart attacks as a result of the excitement.
US Secretary of the Navy William F. Knox spoke of a “false alarm” at a press conference, which, however, was hardly suitable to calm the mind. When he necessarily answered yes to the question of whether such attacks were even possible, other conspiracy theories sprang up. The city’s industrial facilities should be relocated from the coast to the hinterland, it said.
Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson did not speak until a day later. Up to five planes had traveled over Los Angeles for him. It would have presumably been unidentified civil aircraft or light reconnaissance aircraft from the Japanese fleet that had risen from submarines to spy on the air defense over Los Angeles. Even these remarks were hardly able to calm the mood. Angry citizens asked Stimson why the Army Air Corps interceptors did not intervene in time.
In 1983 the Office of Air Force History tried to shed light on the “Battle of Los Angeles” with a study. After that, weather balloons together with flares and flak grenades were responsible for the strange sky phenomena. This and the tense nerves (“war nerves”) of all involved would have turned a few observations or hallucinations into an air attack. After the end of the war, the Japanese military confirmed that attacks with submarine carriers against the US coast had been planned, but had not taken place in February 1942.
A case similar to the “Battle of Los Angeles” is well known in the history of science. In the summer of 1789, shortly after the storming of the Bastille in France, the news increased that the disempowered aristocrats and their allies were marching with armies on Paris. In the Limousin, it was said, the Count of Artois was advancing with an army, in Eastern France the Germans, in the Dauphiné the Savoyers. Peasants banded together and the alarm was sounded in Paris. But the enemies didn’t come, they weren’t even there. “Grande Peur” (great fear) historians have called this mass psychological phenomenon, which is fed exclusively by fear and rumors.
That the “Battle of Los Angeles” arose from these ingredients is the most likely explanation for the phenomena of the 24th and 25th. February 1942. Ufologists and other conspiracy theorists naturally see it differently. A number of allegedly secret memoranda from the leadership of the Roosevelt administration are circulating on the Internet, which are supposed to convey a completely different picture: extraterrestrial flight objects would have appeared over Los Angeles.
The “Los Angeles Times” was already involved a heavily retouched photo on this rumor. It showed a “silvery and candy-shaped” object at the intersection of several searchlights, which eventually disappeared over the Pacific. Since the turn of the millennium, documents from the holdings of the US Navy appeared in relevant forums, including a memorandum in which President Roosevelt At the end of February 1942 speaks of new “materials”, “Which are in the possession of the Army and which could be of great importance in the development of a ‘super weapon of war'”.
In his hardly legible answer, the American Chief of Staff George C. Marshall referred to “unconventional phenomena in the airspace”. From it has the American ufologist Robert Wood concluded that the recovery of extraterrestrial objects in flight in the early years of the war could explain the astonishing technological gains made by the USA after World War II.
It is not far from the appearance of an extraterrestrial flying object over Los Angeles in 1942 to the famous Roswell incident, which is said to have occurred in New Mexico only five years later, in June 1947. At that time, a UFO and its crew are said to have crashed and recovered by US troops in a secret commando company. Officially, the flying object was a weather balloon, as in Los Angeles.