Navy adopts Mitchell as anti-sub bomber
‘Unkinkers’ sold too, but income tax filers don’t get them
By Daniel M. Kidney, Scripps-Howard staff writer
Proposal would eliminate victory levy
See happy ending for many of the war marriages
By Ruth Millett
By Ernie Pyle
John Steinbeck is a recent addition to our corps of war correspondents in the Mediterranean, as you know. He is now with the invasion forces somewhere along the Italian shores.
Some people are speaking of Steinbeck and me as competitors in the field of war columning. I’m flattered by the inference. But there is neither competition nor comparison. It would be belittling Steinbeck’s genius to compare him with any daily deadline-catcher.
I’ve always been a Steinbeck worshiper. For my money, he’s the greatest writer in the world. I think it one of literature’s losses that he never got to England during the Blitz, to record the moving spirit of that unrecapturable winter. But while he was missing that he was producing The Moon is Down, so maybe it was all right after all.
I’m glad that Steinbeck is at last with the wars. For he carries to them a delicate sympathy for mortal man’s transient nobilities and beastlinesses that I believe no other writer possesses.
Surely, we have no other writer so likely to catch on paper the inner things that most people don’t know about war – the pitiableness of bravery, the vulgarity, the grotesquely warped values, the childlike tenderness in all of us.
They meet in Africa
I met Steinbeck for the first time in Africa, just after returning from Sicily.
For some reason, I had always been afraid of Steinbeck, even while admiring him. Several times in California, I’d passed up the chance to meet him. And there in Africa, it was several days before I got up the courage to introduce myself.
And then, as so often happens in such cases, Steinbeck turned out to be human as hell, friendly, story-telly, laughy and gay. He even admits he’s awfully homesick, though he’s been gone only three months.
He is a big bruiser of a guy who belies the fine edge of sensitiveness within him. He goes around needing a haircut and with his sleeves rolled up, looking almost as unmilitary as I do.
Walk along the streets with him and you’ll find his mind constantly pierced and impressed by every little event or scene before him. Sometimes he’s serious and sometimes he’s funny and sometimes he’s sardonic. But it’s always himself; he isn’t one of those people who act.
He makes such remarks as:
There’s something about a jeep that brings out the worst in every driver.
And one day we were standing on the curb when a dirty, ragged Arab child ran up and asked for money.
Steinbeck looked down at him a long time with mock gravity, and then he said:
Do you mean to tell me that to your hopeless heritage of malnutrition, ignorance and internecine warfare, you now propose to add the degradation of charity?
The bewildered child turned and ran away.
Enjoys his own stories
If somebody tells a story Steinbeck will tell one too, and laugh at his own stories like the rest of us humans. Correspondent H. R. Knickerbocker has a good description of him. Knick says:
A lot of these celebrated writers, when you meet them, act as though they might let out some secret of their profession if they opened their mouths. But this guy Steinbeck, hell, he gives forth and keeps on giving.
I don’t know how long Steinbeck intends to stay abroad. I hope not too long. You don’t have to live with war forever to absorb its basic character. A few months will equip him with all the sight and understanding of war he needs for the production of a great book. The war is better for having him in it.
‘Maybe they’re expecting something,’ U.S. flier comments
Right can be exercised to protect nation against new war
By Marshall McNeil, Scripps-Howard staff writer
Völkischer Beobachter (September 17, 1943)
Hohe blutige Verluste der Bolschewisten – Einzelziele im Raum von London bombardiert
Von unserer Stockholmer Schriftleitung
U.S. Navy Department (September 17, 1943)
The destroyer USS ROWAN (DD-405) was sunk as the result of an underwater explosion in Italian waters on September 11, 1943.
The tug USS NAVAJO (AT-64) was sunk as the result of an underwater explosion in the South Pacific Area on September 12, 1943.
The tug USS NAUSET (AT-89) was sunk as a result of enemy action in the Mediterranean on September 9, 1943.
Next of kin of all casualties aboard the NAUSET have been notified. The next of kin of casualties aboard the ROWAN and the NAVAJO will be notified as soon as possible.
To the Congress:
During the two months’ recess of the Congress, many important events have occurred at the war fronts and at home. You return at a time when major battles in Europe and in Asia are beginning to be joined. In recent months, the main tides of conflict have been running our way – but we could not and cannot be content merely to drift with this favorable tide.
You know from the news of the past few days that every military operation entails a legitimate military risk and that occasionally we have checks to our plans – checks which necessarily involve severe losses of men and materials.
The Allied forces are now engaged in a very hard battle south of Naples. Casualties are heavy. The desperation with which the Germans are fighting reveals that they are well aware of the consequences to them of our occupation of Italy.
The Congress and the American people can rest assured that the landing on Italy is not the only landing we have in mind. That landing was planned at Casablanca. At Québec, the leaders and the military staffs of Great Britain and the United States made specific and precise plans to bring to bear further blows of equal or greater importance against Germany and Japan with definite times and places for other landings on the continent of Europe and elsewhere.
On the 10th of July, a carefully-prepared expedition landed in Sicily. In spite of heavy German opposition, it cleared this large and heavily-fortified island in 38 days.
British, Canadian, and American losses in killed, wounded, and missing in the Sicilian campaign were 31,158, of which the American forces lost 7,445. The casualties among the Italians and Germans were approximately 165,000, including 132,000 prisoners.
The unmistakably sincere welcome given to the Allied troops by the Italian people has proved conclusively that even in a country which had lived for a generation under a complete dictatorship – with all of its propaganda, censorship, and suppression of free speech and discussion – the love of liberty was unconquerable.
It has also proved conclusively that this war was not waged by the people of Italy on their own choice. All of Mussolini’s propaganda machine could not make them love Hitler or hate us. The less said about the feelings toward Mussolini, the better.
I believe that equal jubilation and enthusiasm will be shown by the people of the other nations now under the German heel when Nazi Gauleiters and native Quislings are removed through force or flight.
How different was this invading army of the Allies from the German forces that had come into Sicily, ostensibly to “protect it.” Food, clothing, cattle, medicines, and household goods had been systematically stolen from the people of Sicily, and sent north to the “master race” in Germany. Sicily, like other parts of Italy and like the other satellite and conquered nations, had been bled white by the Nazi and Fascist governments. Growers of crops were permitted to retain only a small fraction of their own produce for themselves and their families.
With the Allied armies, however, went a carefully planned organization, trained and equipped to give physical care to the local population – food, clothing, medicine. This new organization is also now in the process of restoring to the people of Sicily freedoms which, for many years, had been denied to them. I am confident that, within a year, Sicily will be once more self-supporting – and, in addition to that, once more self-respecting.
From Sicily the advance of the Allied armies has continued to the mainland. On the third day of September, they landed on the toe of the Italian peninsula. These were the first Allied troops to invade the continent of Europe in order to liberate the conquered and oppressed countries. History will always remember this day as the beginning of the answer to the prayer of the millions of liberty-loving human beings not only in these conquered lands but all over the world.
On July 25 – two weeks after our first landings in Sicily – political events in Italy startled the world. Mussolini, the incubus of Italy for a generation, the man who is more responsible for all of the sorrows of Italy than anyone, except possibly Hitler himself, was forced out of office and stripped of his power as a result of his own dismal failures, his wanton brutalities, and the overwhelming demand of the Italian people. This was the first break in Axis leadership – to be followed, we are determined, by other and similar encouraging downfalls.
But there is one thing I want to make perfectly clear: When Hitler and the Nazis go out, the Prussian military clique must go with them. The war-breeding gangs of militarists must be rooted out of Germany – and out of Japan – if we are to have any real assurance of future peace.
Early last month, the relentless application of overwhelming Allied power – particularly air and sea power – convinced the leaders of Italy that it could not continue an active part in the war. Conversations were begun by them with us. These conversations were carried on with the utmost secrecy. Therefore, much as I wished to do so, I could not communicate the facts of the case to the Congress, or the press, or to those who repeatedly expressed dismay or indignation at our apparent course in Italy. These negotiations turned out to be a complete surprise to nearly everyone, not only to the Axis but to the Italian people themselves.
I am sure that the Congress realizes that there are many situations in this war – and there will be many more to come – in which it is impossible for me to make any announcement or even to give any indication of the policy which we are following. And I ask the American people as well as the Congress to bear with me and with our Chiefs of Staff. It is difficult to remain silent when unjustified attack and criticism come from those who are not in a position to have all the facts.
But the people and the Congress can be sure that the policy which we follow is an expression of the basic democratic traditions and ideals of this Republic. We shall not be able to claim that we have gained total victory in this war if any vestige of Fascism in any of its malignant forms is permitted to survive anywhere in the world.
The armistice with Italy was signed on September 3 in Sicily, but it could not be put into effect until September 8, when we were ready to make landings in force in the Naples area. We had planned these landings some time before and were determined to go through with them, armistice or no armistice.
Italian leaders appealed to their Army and Navy to end hostilities against us. Italian soldiers, though disorganized and ill-supplied, have been fighting the Germans in many regions. In conformity with the terms of unconditional surrender, the Italian fleet has come over to our side; and it can be a powerful weapon in striking at the Nazi enemies of the Italian people.
When Hitler was forced to the conclusion that his offensive was broken, and he must go on the defensive, he started boasting that he had converted Europe into an impregnable fortress. But he neglected to provide that fortress with a roof. He also left various other vulnerable spots in the wall of the so-called fortress – which we shall point out to him in due time.
The British and American Air Forces have been bombing the roofless fortress with ever-increasing effectiveness. It is now our purpose to establish bases within bombing range of southern and eastern Germany, and to bring devastating war home to these places by day and by night as it has already been brought to western Germany.
When Britain was being subjected to mass bombing in 1940 and 1941 – when the British people, including their King and Prime Minister, were proving that Britain “could take it” – the strategists of the Royal Air Force and of our own Army Air Forces were not idle. They were studying the mistakes that Göring and his staff of Nazi terrorists were making. Those were fatal mistakes, as it turned out.
Today, we and the British are not making those mistakes. We are not bombing tenements for the sheer sadistic pleasure of killing, as the Nazis did. We are striking devastating blows at carefully-selected, clearly-identified strategic objectives – factories, shipyards, munition dumps, transportation facilities, which make it possible for the Nazis to wage war. And we are hitting these military targets and blowing them to bits.
German power can still do us great injury. But that evil power is being destroyed, surely, inexorably, day by day, and if Hitler does not know it by now, then the last trace of sanity has departed from that distorted mind.
We must remember that in any great air attack, the British and Americans lose a fairly high proportion of planes and that these losses must be made up quickly so that the weight of the bombing shall not decrease for a day in the future. In fact, a high rate of increase must be maintained according to plan – and that means constant stepping-up of our production here at home.
In the remarkable raid on the Ploești oil fields in Romania we lost 53 of our heavy bombers; and more than 500 of our finest men are missing. This may seem like a disastrously high loss, unless you figure it against the damage done to the enemy’s war power. I am certain that the German or the Japanese high commands would cheerfully sacrifice tens of thousands of men to do the same amount of damage to us, if they could. Those gallant and brilliant young Americans who raided Ploești won a smashing victory which, I believe, will contribute materially to the shortening of the war and thus save countless lives.
We shall continue to make such raids all over the territory of Germany and the satellite countries. With Italy in our hands, the distances we have to travel will be far less and the risks proportionately reduced.
We have reliable information that there is definite unrest and a growing desire for peace among the peoples of these satellite countries – Romania, Hungary, Finland, and Bulgaria. We hope that in these nations the spirit of revolt against Nazi dominance which commenced in Italy will burst into flame and become a consuming fire.
Every American is thrilled by the sledgehammer blows delivered against the Nazi aggressors by the Russian armies. This summer there has been no successful German advance against the Russians, as in 1941 and 1942. The shoe today is on the other foot – and is pinching very hard. Instead, the Russians have forced the greatest military reversal since Napoleon’s retreat in 1812.
The recapture of Kharkov, Stalino, and other strongholds by the Russians, the opening of the Ukraine and the Donets Basin, and the freeing of millions of valuable acres and hundreds of inhabited places hearten the whole world as the Russian campaign moves toward the elimination of every German from Russian soil – toward the invasion of Germany itself. It is certain that the campaign in North Africa, the occupation of Sicily, the fighting in Italy, and the compelling of large numbers of German planes to go into combat in the skies over Holland, Belgium, and France by reason of our air attacks, have given important help to the Russian armies along their advancing front from Leningrad to the Black Sea. We know, too, that we are contributing to that advance by making Germany keep many divisions in the Balkans, in southern France, and along the English Channel. I like to think that these words constitute an understatement.
Similarly, the events in the Mediterranean have a direct bearing upon the war against Japan.
When the American and British expeditionary forces first landed in North Africa last November, some people believed that we were neglecting our obligations to prosecute the war vigorously in the Pacific. Such people continually make the mistake of trying to divide the war into several watertight compartments the Western European front – the Russian front – the Burma front – the New Guinea and Solomons front, and so forth – as though all of these fronts were separate and unrelated to each other. You even hear talk of the “air war” as opposed to the “land war” or the “sea war.”
Actually, we cannot think of this as several wars. It is all one war, and it must be governed by one basic strategy.
The freeing of the Mediterranean, which we started last fall, will lead directly to the resumption of our complete control of the waters of the Eastern Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Thus, we shall be enabled to strike the Japanese on another of their highly vulnerable flanks.
As long as Italy remained in the war as our enemy – as long as the Italian fleet remained in being as a threat – a substantial part of British naval strength had to be kept locked up in the Mediterranean. Now that formidable strength is freed to proceed eastward to join in the ever-increasing attack upon the Japanese. It has not been sufficiently emphasized that the freeing of the Mediterranean is a great asset to the war in the Far East.
There has been one serious gap in the lines of our globe girdling sea power. That is the gap between northwest Australia and Ceylon. That gap can now be closed as a result of victory in the Mediterranean.
We face, in the Orient, a long and difficult fight. We must be prepared for heavy losses in winning that fight. The power of Japan will not collapse until it has been literally pounded into the dust. It would be the utmost folly for us to try to pretend otherwise.
Even so, if the future is tough for us, think what it is for Gen. Tōjō and his murderous gang. They may look to the north, to the south, to the east, or to the west. They can see closing in on them, from all directions, the forces of retribution under the Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Gen. MacArthur, Adm. Nimitz, and Adm. Lord Mountbatten.
The forces operating against Japan in the various Pacific theaters are just as much interrelated and dependent on each other as are the forces pounding against Germany in Europe.
With the new threats that we offer from the Aleutians, Japan cannot afford to devote as large a proportion of her forces to hold the lines in other areas.
Such actions as the taking of Attu and Kiska do not just happen. They are the results of careful and complete planning which was going on quietly while some of our critics were so perturbed that they had reached the verge of tears over what they called the threatened invasion of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. It was difficult for them to realize that the carefully-prepared and crucial tests in the Coral Sea and at Midway and in the Solomons rendered the Japanese toehold in the Aleutians untenable.
Japan has been hard put to it to maintain her extended lines. She had to withdraw her garrison from Kiska in the face of the oncoming American-Canadian forces because she could not maintain a steady stream of adequate reinforcements and supplies to the Aleutians.
In the Solomon Islands, with heavy fighting, we have gained so many island air bases that the threat to Australia and New Zealand across the Coral Sea has been practically dissipated. In fact, it is safe to say that our position in that area has become a threat on our part against the Japanese in the seas that lie north of the Solomons and north of New Guinea.
American, Australian, New Zealand, and Dutch forces, in a magnificent campaign in New Guinea and the Solomons, have destroyed much Japanese strength and have gained for us new bases from which to launch new offensive operations.
After a long period of defensive strategy in Burma, we are determined to take the offensive there. I am also glad to report to you that we are getting more supplies and military help to China. Almost every day word comes that a new air battle has destroyed two and three times more Japanese planes in China and Burma than we ourselves have lost. That process will continue until we are ready to strike right at the heart of Japan itself.
It goes almost without saying that when Japan surrenders, the United Nations will never again let her have authority over the islands which were mandated to her by the League of Nations. Japan obviously is not to be trusted. And the same thing holds good in the case of the vast territories which Japan has stolen from China starting long before this war began.
Since the beginning of our entrance into the war, nearly two years ago, the United Nations have continuously reduced enemy strength by a process of attrition. That means, cold-bloodedly, placing the ever-increasing resources of the Allies into deadly competition with the ever-decreasing resources of the Axis. It means the training and use of the Allied manpower – which is greater than the Axis. It means the use of our superior facilities and ability to make more munitions, and above all, aircraft, more quickly than our enemies can do.
For example, the Allies today on the European front have a definite superiority in almost all weapons of war on any and every point of the encircling line – more guns, more tanks, more planes, more trucks, more transports, more supply ships, and more warships.
In the Pacific, we have taken a steady toll of Japanese warplanes and a steady toll of Japanese ships – merchant ships and naval vessels. The odds are all in our favor – for we grow in strength and they cannot even replace all their losses. It might be called a simple mathematical progression.
However, unless we keep up and increase the tempo of our present rate of production, this greater strength in planes and guns, tanks and ships can all be lost.
Our great production program started during the darkest days of 1940. With the magnificent contribution made by American industry and American labor, it is approaching full production. Britain has already attained full production. Today, the British Empire and the United States, together, are turning out so much of every essential of war that we have definite superiority over Germany and Japan which is growing with every succeeding minute. But we have no minutes to lose.
Realization of the distances we must cover brings to mind problems that every American should realize – problems of transporting from our shores to the actual fighting areas the weapons and munitions of war which we make. Burma and China can be reached only with extraordinary difficulty. Two years ago, most of the planes we sent had to be knocked down, crated, put on board ship, transported, then uncrated and put together again in India, and from there sent up to the fighting front.
In the case of China, they had to be flown over enormous mountains. Even after they were safely delivered there, the planes had to be kept supplied with ground crews, tools, oil, gasoline, and even spare parts. Since the Japs cut the Burma Road, all these supplies have to be flown over hundreds of miles to bases which had to be built in China.
The same slow process was also the rule in the Southwest Pacific.
With the present increased range of airplanes and the establishment of additional bases, we are now flying more of them under their own power than before, but all the things that go to supply them – the gasoline, the tools, the spare parts – still have to be taken by ship to the fighting fronts all over the world. Practically every soldier and all his weapons and equipment have to go by ship. And every time a new forward move develops the whole outfit has to go by ship.
I wonder how many people realize what it means to carry on the war across the Atlantic and the Pacific and through the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, along lines of supply attacked by submarines and dive bombers at many points.
The combined operation of the British and Americans last November against Morocco and Algeria was in point of numbers the largest military movement over the longest number of miles to landings under fire that history has recorded anywhere.
The ships for such an amphibious operation cannot be loaded in the ordinary way, to be unloaded alongside a comfortable safe wharf. Most of the ships must be “combat loaded” in such a way that the troops go ashore first and are immediately followed in the proper order by guns and ammunition, tanks, trucks and food, medical equipment, and all the supplies of a modern army. Preparations must be made to conduct these landings under enemy fire, and on beaches instead of at docks. People who have seen or planned this kind of operation even over short distances do not speak glibly about landing great expeditions on a few days’ notice or on all the beaches of Europe at the same time.
The members of the Congress have undoubtedly had an opportunity to see at first hand in their own home districts some of our war factories and plants and shipyards throughout the United States which are now working at full blast turning out the greatest amount of war production in the history of the world.
In June and July, we were worried by a reduction in the rate of increase in production. Great as our production had been, we could not afford to level off. We had to continue the upward curve and not pause on any plateaus.
I am happy to report that the increase was resumed in August. In this month of September, it is even better.
For example, during the two months of the recess of the Congress our factories produced approximately 15,000 planes. There was an especially important increase in the production of heavy bombers in August. I cannot reveal the exact figures on this. They would give the enemy needed information – but no comfort. However, the total airplane production is still not good enough. We seek not only to come up to the schedule, but to surpass it.
During those same two months, American shipyards put into commission 3,200,000 tons of large merchant ships – a total of 281 ships, almost five ships a day.
Even as the actual fighting engagements in which our troops take part increase in number, it is becoming more and more evident that this is essentially a great war of production. The best way to avoid heavy casualty lists is to provide our troops with the best equipment possible – and plenty of it.
We have come a great way since this Congress first met in January of this year. But I state only a blunt fact when I tell the Congress that we are still a long, long way from ultimate victory in any major theater of the war.
First: Despite our substantial victories in the Mediterranean, we face a hard and costly fight up through Italy – and a major job of organizing our positions before we can take advantage of them.
Second: From bases in the British Isles, we must be sure that we have assembled the strength to strike not just in one direction but in many directions – by land and sea and in the air – with overwhelming forces and equipment.
Third: Although our Russian allies have made a magnificent counteroffensive, and are driving our common enemies back day by day, the Russian armies still have far to go before they get into Germany itself.
Fourth: The Japanese hold firmly established positions on an enormous front from the Kurils through the mandated islands to the Solomons and through the Netherlands East Indies to Malaysia and Burma and China. To break through this defensive ring, we must hit them and hit them hard not merely at one point but at many points, and we must keep on hitting them.
In all of history, there has never been a task so tremendous as that which we now face. We can do it – and we will do it – but we must plan and work and fight with every ounce of intelligence and energy and courage that we possess.
The Congress has reconvened at a time when we are in the midst of the Third War Loan Drive seeking to raise a sum unparalleled in history – $15 billion. This is a dramatic example of the scale on which this war still has to be fought, and presents some idea of how difficult and costly the responsible leaders of this government believe the war will be.
Nothing we can do will be more costly in lives than to adopt the attitude that the war has been won – or nearly won. That would mean a letdown in the great tempo of production which we have reached, and would mean that our men who are now fighting all over the world will not have that overwhelming superiority of power which has dealt so much death and destruction to the enemy and at the same time has saved so many American lives.
That is why I have always maintained that there is no such separate entity as the “home front.” Every day lost in turning out an airplane or a ship at home will have its direct effect upon the men now battling up the leg of Italy or in the jungles of the Southwest Pacific or in the clouds over China.
There have been complaints from some sources about the way this production and other domestic activities have been carried on. Some of these complaints of course are justified. On the other hand, some of them come from selfish people who merely do not like to give up some of their pleasures, or a part of their butter or meat or milk.
Fair-minded citizens, however, will realize that although mistakes have been made, the job that has been done in converting peacetime America to a wartime basis has been a great job and a successful one, of which all our people have good reason to be proud.
It would be nothing short of a miracle if this unprecedented job of transforming a peace-loving, unprepared industrial America into a fighting and production machine had been accomplished without some mistakes being made and some people being given cause for complaint.
The Congress is well aware of the magnitude of the undertaking, and of the many gigantic problems involved. For the Congress has been actively involved in helping to work out the solutions to these unprecedented problems.
A few facts will show how vast an enterprise this war has been – and how we are constantly increasing the tempo of our production.
The total amount spent on the war from May 1940 to date is $128,123,000,000. The bill is now running at the rate of $250,000,000 per day.
Up to September 1, 1943, among the more important items produced and delivered since the armament program started in May 1940, are the following:
Airplanes 123,000 Airplane engines 349,000 Tanks 53,000 Artillery weapons 93,000 Small arms (rifles, carbines, machine guns, etc.) 9,500,000 Small arms ammunition 25,942,000,000 rounds Trucks 1,233,000
In most instances, more than half of the above total delivered to date was produced during the first eight months of 1943:
Airplanes 52,000 Tanks 23,000 Artillery weapons 40,600 Small arms (rifles, carbines, machine guns, etc.) 4,638,000 Small arms ammunition 13,339,000,000 rounds
The number of fighting ships and auxiliaries of all kinds completed since May 1940 is 2,380 and 13,000 landing vessels.
In the two and a half years between January 1, 1941, and July 1, 1943, the power plants built for installation in Navy vessels had a horsepower equal to all the horsepower of all hydroelectric plants in the United States in January 1941.
The completions of Navy ships during the last six months were equal to completions in the entire year of 1942.
We have cut down the time required to build submarines by almost 50%.
The anti-aircraft and double-purpose guns produced by the Navy since the defense program started in May 1940, if fired all together, would throw 4,600 tons of projectiles per minute against the enemy.
The output of underwater ordnance (torpedoes, mines, and depth charges) during the first half of 1943 was equal to the total production of 1942.
During the month of August 1943, we produced almost as many torpedoes as during all of World War I.
Anyone who has had to build a single factory, tool it up, get the necessary help, set up an assembly line, produce and ship the product will have some idea of what that amount of production has meant.
We have had to raise and equip armed forces approaching 10 million men. Simultaneously, in spite of this drain on our manpower, we have had to find millions more men and millions of women to operate our war factories, arsenals, shipyards, essential civilian industries and the farms and mines of America.
There have been the problems of increasing greatly the output of our natural resources – not only for our own Army and Navy and for our civilians at home, but also for our allies and our own forces all over the world.
Since the outbreak of war in Europe, we have increased our output of petroleum by 66%. We have stepped up our bituminous coal production by 40%; chemicals by 300%; iron ore by 125%; hydroelectric power by 79%; and steel by 106%.
There were the problems of raising and distributing more food than ever before in our history – for our armed services, for our own people, and to help feed our allies.
There was the formidable problem of establishing a rationing system of the necessities of life which would be fair to all of our people.
There was the difficulty of keeping prices from skyrocketing and fighting off the serious specter of inflation.
There was the problem of transporting millions of men and hundreds of millions of tons of weapons and supplies all over our own country and also to all corners of the world. This necessitated the largest railroad and shipping operations in all history.
There were the problems involved in our vast purchases in foreign countries; in our control of foreign funds, located in this country; in our custody of alien property; in our occupation of liberated areas. There were new problems of communications, of censorship, of war information.
There was the problem of maintaining proper management labor relations; of fair treatment and just compensation to our millions of war workers; of avoiding strikes; of preventing the exploitation of workers or natural resources by those who would seek to become war profiteers and war millionaires.
There were the problems of civilian defense, of Lend-Lease, of subcontracting war contracts to smaller businesses, of building up stockpiles of strategic material whose normal sources have been seized by the enemy – such as rubber and tin.
There was the problem of providing housing for millions of new war workers all over the country.
And touching all of these, there was the great problem of raising the money to pay for all of them.
No sincere, sensible person doubts that in such an unprecedented, breathtaking enterprise, errors of honest judgment were bound to creep in, and that occasional disputes among conscientious officials were bound to occur. And if anyone thinks that we, working under our democratic system, have made major mistakes in this war, he should take a look at some of the blunders made by our enemies in the so-called “efficient” dictatorships.
Even sincere, sensible people sometimes fail to compare the handful of errors or disputes, on the one hand, with the billions of instances where the agencies of government in cooperation with each other have moved with the precision of a smoothly-working machine.
Some people, when a doughnut is placed before them, claim they can see only the hole in it. Sometimes this is an example of sheer individual pessimism; but sometimes it is caused by motives not consonant with war-winning ideals.
The American people as a whole, however, are fair-minded. They have learned to distinguish between the sensational and the factual. They know that there is no so-called “news” when things run right. They know, for example, that a few newspapers and columnists and radio commentators can make controversy create “news” which is eagerly sought by Axis propagandists in their evil work.
Obviously, we never could have produced and shipped as much as we have, we could not now be in the position we now occupy in the Mediterranean, in Italy, or in the Southwest Pacific or on the Atlantic convoy routes or in the air over Germany and France, if conditions in Washington and throughout the nation were as confused and chaotic as some people try to paint them.
We know that in any large private industrial plant doing a thousandth part of what their government in Washington is doing, there are also occasional mistakes and arguments. But this is not a good comparison. It is like comparing a motorboat with a battleship.
What I have said is not in any way an apology – it is an assertion and a boast that the American people and their government are doing an amazingly good job in carrying out a vast program which two years ago was said to be impossible of fulfillment. Luckily the American people have a sense of proportion – and a memory.
As Gen. Marshall has said, in his Biennial Report:
The development of the powerful army of today… has been dependent upon vast appropriations and the strong support of the Congress, and the cooperation of numerous government agencies.
I urge all Americans to read Gen. Marshall’s fine, soldierly record of the achievements of our Army throughout two of the most tremendous years in our history. This is a record which Americans will never forget.
As the war grows tougher and as new problems constantly arise in our domestic economy, changes in methods and changes in legislation may become necessary.
We should move for the greater economic protection of our returning men and women in the Armed Forces – and for greater educational opportunities for them. And for all our citizens we should provide a further measure of Social Security in order to protect them against certain continuing hazards of life.
All these things, as well as eventual demobilization, should be studied now and much of the necessary legislation should be enacted. I do not mean that this statement should be regarded in any way as an intimation that we are approaching the end of the war. Such an intimation could not be based either on fact or on reason. But when the war ends, we do not want to be caught again without planning or legislation, such as occurred at the end of the last war.
On all these, and on other subjects, I expect to communicate with this Congress from time to time.
In this critical period in the history of our country and of the world, we seek cooperation between the executive and the legislative branches of the government to furnish our citizens with the security of the standard of living to which their resources and their skills in management and labor entitle them in all matters which concern this nation’s welfare, present and future – and the first of such matters, obviously, is the winning of this war.
Finally, as the war progresses, we seek a national cooperation with other nations toward the end, that world aggression be ended and that fair international relationships be established on a permanent basis. The policy of the Good Neighbor has shown such success in the hemisphere of the Americas that its extension to the whole world seems to be the logical next step. In that way, we can begin to keep faith with our sons and daughters who are fighting for freedom and justice and security at home and abroad.
The Pittsburgh Press (September 17, 1943)
Yanks hurl back attacks on Salerno lines and smash inland
By Richard D. McMillan, United Press staff writer
‘Victory a long way off!’ President says in war message
By Merriman Smith, United Press staff writer
Terror by night and day, beaches where men lived only by a miracle are described
By Robert Vermillion, United Press staff writer