1944

THE YEAR THAT ESTABLISHED THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMICAL SITUATION OF THE WORLD FOR THE REST OF THE 20TH CENTURY AND REDIRECTED IMMUNOLOGY


 

Luis Antonio Jiménez Zamudio, Francisco Javier Sánchez-García

Departamento de Inmunología

Escuela Nacional de CienciasBiológicas

InstitutoPolitécnicoNacional

Carpio y Plan de Ayala, Col. Santo Tomás, C.P.. 11340. México D.F., México.


Of course, in 1944 worldwide attention was focused on the second war. If 1945 will be much more remembered as the year when finally the war came to an end, with the surrender of Germany and Japan and the terrorific use of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the invasion of Normandy by the British, American, Canadian and other allied forces in 1944 had much more transcendence in shaping the postwar political and economicworld structure.

In 1944 the Soviet army had taken the initiative over the axis forces, overrunning them in all fronts, and eventually could have defeated them, taking full control of all of Europe. Perhaps the conflict would have been longer, with heavy losses for England as a result of the use of the V-2 bombs, which were almost ready, and atomic weapons would have been deliveredon German cities.Finally, the political equilibrium in favor of the Soviet Union wouldbe undisputed.

The second front opened in the West by the allies gave them an option in the repartition of the European territories and the establishment of the spheres of influence that we knew for most of the twentieth century, until 1989 when the Berlin wall fell down (and the 7th International Congress of Immunology was also held in Berlin).

The landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944, affirmed the confidence about the proximate end of the war and prompted the celebration of two meetings of utmost relevance for the post-war:first the Bretton Woods Conference, held 1-22 July, 1944, where the economic future of the world was set by the 44 attending countries, with the founding of the International World Bank (IWB), and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The economist Victor Urquidi actively participated in the Bretton Woods Conference as the Mexican representative. The second was the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, held 21-29 August, 1944, in which the leaders of US, UK, URSS and China defined the creation of the United Nations Organization, to replace the Nations Society and with the aim to correct the errors that the Society committed during the inter-war period.

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México had already declared a state of war against the axis since 1942. In 1944, the Mexican Air Forces were created off the Army, and the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force was commissioned to join in the Pacific combat lines under American command. The group was designed as the 201 Combat Squadron, and as such participated in the Pacific campaign during the following year until the end of war.

In México, the 1940 National Census informed of 48% illiteracy in México. To cope with the problem, Jaime Torres Bodet,then in charge of the Secretary of Education, started a Campaign against illiteracy with, among other activities, the distributionof ten million copies of the “CartillaNacional de Alfabetización 1944-1946”, which was to be translated to several indigenous languages.

In 1940, In England, Medawar (then teaching zoology in Oxford) became involved in the horrors of war when a plane crashed about 200 yards from his home. The pilot was rescued and taken to the Radcliffe Infirmary under the care of John Barnes, an Oxford colleague of Medawar, who had him visit the patient and met Harold Gillies, a plastic surgeon who attempted skin transplants without success. Medawar wrote to the War Wounds Committee of the MRC, urging them to study skin transplantation. The Committee´s answer was that he himself should apply for a grant, and sent him to work at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary Burns Unit. There he studied the fate of transplanted skin patches, taking biopsies at various times. He observed the destruction of the transplant by lymphocytes, and the accelerated destruction of a second set of implants from the original donor.

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The results are described in a 1943 article (Gibson T and Medawar PB, The fate of skin homografts in man. J Anat1943; 77:299- 314). Studies in humans were followed by a series of more detailed experiments in rabbits.

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ADDENDUM

In spite of worldwar II, life, “normal life” has to go on, and so: 

The Guardian (Friday 12 September, 2014) publishes that: Israeli intelligence veterans refuse to serve in Palestinian territories.

“Forty-three veterans of one of Israel’s most secretive military intelligence units – many of them still active reservists – have signed a public letter refusing to serve in operations involving the occupied Palestinian territories because of the widespread surveillance of innocent residents”.

“The signatories say, however, that a large part of their work was unrelated to Israel’s security or defence, but appeared designed to perpetuate the occupation by “infiltrating” and “controlling” all aspects of Palestinian life”.

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Complete article at http://issuu.com/inhoutes/docs/csa4

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