Editorial: Gen. Marshall’s job
Many will get small amounts; pay-go works well, officials say
By Ernie Pyle
At the frontlines in Italy – (by wireless)
Our artillerymen in the frontlines don’t try to keep themselves looking very pretty. As they say:
There ain’t nobody going to see you that amounts to a damn unless the colonel should happen to come around.
Their clothes are muddy and greasy and often torn. Some of them wear coveralls, but most of them wear regular o.d. pants, jackets and leggings.
It’s funny to see them when they’re routed out just before dawn on a firing mission. They jerk on their shoes and wade through the mud to their guns. Naturally they don’t take time to put on their leggings. Then when it gets light and the firing mission is over, they sit around scraping the mud off their shoes and putting on their leggings.
It is a very strict military regulation in the combat zones that everybody must wear leggings, but the average soldier, just like myself, is careless about it. Along this line, one of the boys said the worst trouble they had was with new officers.
One morning we were firing and one of them asked over the telephone if we had our leggings on. It made me so mad that I just called the gun out of commission while we all sat down and put on our leggings.
Baths are few
The artillerymen are also indifferent about wearing their corporal’s and sergeant’s stripes. Everybody knows everybody else in the battery so it seems a waste of time to put stripes on your ordinary work clothes.
One day while I was with them, an order came around that everybody had to get his stripes on, so all that day during the lulls, the men would be sitting around on piles of shells or water cans sewing at their shirts and jackets like a bunch of old women.
The men don’t get a chance to take a bath very often. Once in a while, the Army gets some portable showers set up in the woods a few miles away and the gunners can go a few at a time in a truck and get a bath. But most of them haven’t had a bath in more than two months now.
The other night, the battery commander, Capt. Robert Perrin of Union, South Carolina, got to arguing with one of his officers, Lt. Heath Stewart of Columbia, South Carolina, about how the home front should be conducted.
What of civilization?
Lt. Stewart said he thought labor should be drafted for the defense plants and Capt. Perrin said:
Why, that’s just what we’re fighting for, the freedom not to be drafted for labor. That’s slavery the way Germany does it. If you feel that way about it, there’s no use fighting at all.
He saw he had Lt. Stewart whipped, so then they changed to the subject of civilization.
Capt. Perrin said:
I don’t know whether we’ve advanced so much or not. Take baths, for instance. We think we’re civilized because we take so many baths at home. Well, I’ve just had my first bath today in two months and I can’t see a bit of difference in the way I feel.
Next day all the argument was relayed, as such things usually are, down to the gun pit, and the soldiers themselves got into the same discussion.
Soldiers divided 50-50
They were divided about 50-50 on whether we should draft labor or not. On the bathing question, I think they must agree with the captain, because I noticed that when the call came for the men to go on the truck to take showers nobody went.
Then I told them about my bath experience back in America. For months I had dreamed about how wonderful it would be to take a hot bath every day in a real bathtub in a warm bathroom. Yet when I got there, I found myself almost allergic to baths. I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but I don’t think I averaged more than one bath a week all the time I was home.
Pvt. Frank Helms said:
Taking baths is just a habit. If our mothers hadn’t started giving us baths when we were babies, we would never have known the difference.
So maybe what we’re fighting for is the right to be as dirty as we please. It suits me.
By Maj. Alexander P. de Seversky
After peace comes matter of real, practical truth instead of romantic reunions they expect
By Ruth Millett
Aussies on New Guinea turn Japanese retreat into a rout
By Brydon C. Taves, United Press staff writer
Marshall expected to stay as U.S. Army Chief of Staff
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer
Germans dress up in skins in effort to cut Allied communications, but are ‘too fat’
By Reynolds Packard, United Press staff writer
Yank gunners find ‘landscape shooting’ at unseen targets
By John Lardner, North American Newspaper Alliance
Völkischer Beobachter (December 24, 1943)
Von unserer Stockholmer Schriftleitung
dr. th. b. Stockholm, 23. Dezember –
Der gleiche Pessimismus, der die Stimmung und Haltung der englischen Bevölkerung um diese Jahreswende kennzeichnet, herrscht in vielleicht noch stärkerem Maße in den Vereinigten Staaten. Pessimistisch gestimmt ist die Bevölkerung der Vereinigten Staaten in erster Linie wegen der Dauer des Krieges. Nachdem man ihr monatelang vorgelogen hatte, daß die amerikanischen und englischen Truppen zu Weihnachten in Rom stehen, die Bolschewisten die ehemalige polnische Grenze erreichen und die Deutschen unter dem Schrecken des Luftterrors noch vor Jahresende zusammenbrechen würden, muß sie jetzt aus dem Munde Roosevelts vernehmen, daß auch im November nächsten Jahres noch alle amerikanischen Soldaten unter Waffen stehen würden.
Auf die Frage nämlich, wie es um das Stimmrecht der amerikanischen Soldaten bei der Präsidentenwahl stehe, erklärte er, daß nach seiner Meinung jeder Soldat sein Stimmrecht ausüben müsse, auch wenn er an der Front stehe. Die Weihnachtsbotschaft des amerikanischen Präsidenten an die Bevölkerung der Vereinigten Staaten ist also Krieg ohne Aussicht auf ein Ende.
Es ist unter diesen Umständen kein Wunder, daß das Verhältnis zwischen Roosevelt und der Bevölkerung der Vereinigten Staaten immer kühler wird, und zwischen ihm und dem Kongreß vertieft sich die Kluft, die durch die Opposition gegen seine innere und Wirtschaftspolitik entstanden war.
Es liegen jetzt Anzeichen dafür vor, daß der Kongreß auch gegen Roosevelts Außenpolitik stärkere Einwände zu machen bereit ist. Jedenfalls macht man heute bereits, wie der gutunterrichtete Vertreter von Dagens Nyheter in Neuyork meldet, Roosevelt und Hull den Vorwurf, daß sie den Kongreß nicht über die Besprechungen in Kairo und Teheran unterrichteten.
Roosevelt hatte allerdings allen Grund zum Schweigen. Denn seinen Widersachern im Kongreß mitzuteilen, daß er und Hull auf der ganzen Linie vor den Forderungen Stalins kapituliert haben, kannte kaum zur Stärkung seiner Stellung beitragen. Weniger schweigsam waren allerdings seine Begleiter. Sie haben munter aus der Kairoer und Teheraner Schule geplaudert, und das Ergebnis war, daß Washington voll von Gerüchten ist, die alle einen wahren Kern besitzen, daß nämlich von einer Harmonie zwischen den drei Mächten keine Rede sein kann und daß es auf beiden Konferenzen nicht nur zwischen den Bolschewisten und den beiden Westmächten, sondern auch zwischen England und den Vereinigten Staaten zu lebhaften Meinungsverschiedenheiten gekommen ist.
rd. Lissabon, 23. Dezember –
Eine bekannte USA-Zeitschrift veröffentlicht eine Statistik über das amerikanische Offizierskorps, aus der ein Mangel an höheren Offizieren, vor allem an Generalen, in den USA hervorgeht. Der Statistik zufolge zählte die USA-Armee mit ihren sämtlichen Reserven und den ihr angefügten militärischen Hilfsorganisationen und Einrichtungen zum 1. Oktober 1943 7,300.000 Mann, auf die 1100 Generale einschließlich sämtlicher Generalmajore und Brigadegenerale sowie der in entsprechendem Rang stehenden Verwaltungsoffiziere und Ärzte entfallen. Diese Zahl ist um das Zehnfache höher als die der im Juni 1940 im gleichen Rang stehenden Offiziere. Das Durchschnittsalter dieser Generale mit Ausnahme der bereits pensionierten, die heute wieder Dienst tun, beträgt 51 Jahre. Der jüngste amerikanische General, der Brigadegeneral Timberlake, ist 33 Jahre alt.
Eine nicht unbeträchtliche Anzahl dieser amerikanischen Generale gehört dem Reserveoffizierstand an oder ist direkt aus dem zivilen Leben im Generalsrang in das Militärverhältnis übernommen worden, so zum Beispiel der Brigadegeneral Ochs-Adler, Generaldirektor der mit Roosevelt besonders eng verbundenen New York Times.
Auch Generaldirektoren und Präsidenten verschiedener amerikanischer Luftfahrtlinien und Gesellschaftsunternehmen, so die Präsidenten der amerikanischen Telefon-Kompanie, der Western Airways, der General Motors und anderer Unternehmen, sind im Generalsrang in die Armee eingetreten und tun heute im Washingtoner Kriegsministerium oder in leitenden Armeestellen Dienst.
U.S. Navy Department (December 24, 1943)
The U.S. submarine GRAYLING (SS-209) is overdue and must be presumed to be lost.
The next of kin of personnel in the GRAYLING have been so informed.
For Immediate Release December 24, 1943
Heavy bombers of the 7th Army Air Force attacked Kwajalein Island on the morning of December 23 (West Longitude Date). Island installations were damaged and two cargo vessels anchored offshore were bombed. No enemy fighters were encountered. Anti‑aircraft fire did not damage our aircraft. On the afternoon of December 21 Army light bombers escorted by Army and Navy fighters struck shipping and shore installations at Mille. Several enemy fighters were encountered, one of which was shot down, another possibly destroyed and a third damaged. Three of our planes were slightly damaged. On the morning of December 23, 7th Army Air Force fighters and light bombers attacked Mille. Five Zeros attacked our aircraft. Two were shot down. All of our planes returned.
U.S. State Department (December 24, 1943)
Washington, December 24, 1943
Dear Mr. President, Mr. Eden has asked me to let you know that the question of Italian ships for the Russians, which was dealt with in your telegram No. 422 of December 21 to the Prime Minister,” has been considered in London in the light of the telegram which you sent to Mr. Harriman.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
There is a further point on which there appears to be some uncertainty in London. According to our record of what was said at Tehran, it seems to have been agreed there between yourself and the Prime Minister to assign “a battleship and a cruiser” for Soviet use “about the end of January,” the title of ownership to be decided upon after the surrender of Germany. The suggestion mentioned in your telegram to Mr. Harriman of handing over to the Russians a third of surrendered Italian ships appears to be a different one. (The request which the Soviet Government made at the Moscow Conference was for one battleship, one cruiser, 8 destroyers, 4 submarines and 40,000 tons of merchant shipping.)
Eden has not specifically asked me to put to you the point contained in this last paragraph, but he has put it to our Chargé d’Affaires in Moscow, who may therefore be speaking to Harriman about it.
Believe me, Dear Mr. President,
Very sincerely yours,
740.0011 EW 1939/12–2443
Ankara, December 24, 1943 Most secret
Dear Paul: The minutes of the various Anglo-American-Turkish meetings in Cairo having now been approved by the British, I enclose a set for your information and for the records of the Department. In so doing, I should make it clear that these minutes have not been shown to the Turks or the Russians and accordingly are in no sense binding on either of them. They merely reflect the composite belief of the British and ourselves as to what was said. They are, in my opinion, full and complete, subject always to the misunderstandings – great or small – that inevitably arise when the conversations are carried on in three languages, English, French and Turkish, with only two or three individuals present who speak all three languages fluently.
Subject to the foregoing qualification, but taken as a whole, I think they clearly reflect in detail the views expressed at the Conference. One point will puzzle you which George has probably already cleared up. That is the status of the Russians at the Conference. Vinogradov’s instructions were delayed in transmission and he had not received them at the time we left Ankara. Hugessen and I persuaded him to go along “as President Inönü’s guest.” On his arrival in Cairo his instructions to go to Cairo caught up with him but they failed to authorize him to participate in the Conference specifically stating that Vishinsky would represent the Russian Government. As George has doubtless explained to you, Vishinsky’s arrival in Cairo was delayed until some hours after the Conference had closed and about twelve hours after President Roosevelt and Hopkins had departed. Vishinsky telephoned me at midnight an hour or two after his arrival in Cairo and in the course of our ensuing talk convinced me – beyond a doubt – that his delay had been in no sense intentional but had resulted from his instructions arriving in Algiers a few hours after he had left there for Naples and when they finally caught up with him he left immediately for Cairo but the delay of two days prevented him from arriving there in time.
After I outlined to him what had taken place at the Conference, he seemed quite satisfied with the outcome – and what impressed me more than anything else – clearly indicated that he had not expected any commitment by the Turks to enter the war by December 31 and would not be surprised at their unwillingness to commit themselves irrevocably on February 15. I gained the impression after my talk with him that the Russians will be satisfied if the Turks enter the war at such time in the spring as may fit in with the overall Allied plans.
As you know, we returned to Ankara the next morning. I understand that Vishinsky had a long talk with Eden after our departure in the course of which Eden outlined the position to him. I have no knowledge as to the outcome of the talk between Vishinsky and Eden after my departure from Cairo but Vinogradov tells me that he has received no instructions to make any representations to the Turkish Government and so I am inclined to the view that the Russians are permitting the British to take the lead in dealing with the Turks from now on subject only to the political discussions concerning the Balkans in general and the position to be taken by Russia vis-à-vis Bulgaria should the latter declare war on Turkey, aid the Germans or permit the passage of German troops through Bulgaria.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The enclosed minutes are copy No. 8. By agreement with the British only ten copies exist of which they hold six and we hold four, each of us to assume responsibility for the utmost secrecy in respect of the copies in our possession.
With every good wish [etc.]
LAURENCE A. STEINHARDT
I have recently returned from extensive journeyings in the region of the Mediterranean and as far as the borders of Russia. I have conferred with the leaders of Britain and Russia and China on military matters of the present – especially on plans for stepping up our successful attack on our enemies as quickly as possible and from many different points of the compass.
On this Christmas Eve there are over ten million men in the Armed Forces of the United States alone. One year ago, 1,700,000 were serving overseas. Today, this figure has been more than doubled to 3,800,000 on duty overseas. And by next July 1, that number overseas will rise to over 5,000,000 men and women.
That this is truly a world war was demonstrated to me when arrangements were being made with our overseas broadcasting agencies for the time for me to speak today to our soldiers, and sailors, and marines and merchant seamen in every part of the world. In fixing the time for this broadcast, we took into consideration that at this moment here in the United States, and in the Caribbean and on the northeast coast of South America, it is afternoon. In Alaska and in Hawaii and the mid-Pacific, it is still morning. In Iceland, in Great Britain, in North Africa, in Italy and the Middle East, it is now evening.
In the Southwest Pacific, in Australia, in China and Burma and India, it is already Christmas Day. So we can correctly say that at this moment, in those Far Eastern parts where Americans are fighting, today is tomorrow.
But everywhere throughout the world – through this war that war covers the world – there is a special spirit that has warmed our hearts since our earliest childhood – a spirit that brings us close to our homes, our families, our friends and neighbors – the Christmas spirit of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” It is an unquenchable spirit.
During the past years of international gangsterism and brutal aggression in Europe and in Asia, our Christmas celebrations have been darkened with apprehension for the future. We have said “Merry Christmas – a Happy New Year,” but we have known in our hearts that the clouds which have hung over our world have prevented us from saying it with full sincerity and conviction.
But even this year, we still have much to face in the way of further suffering, and sacrifice, and personal tragedy. Our men, who have been through the fierce battles in the Solomons, and the Gilberts, and Tunisia and Italy know, from their own experience and knowledge of modern war, that many bigger and costlier battles are still to be fought.
But – on Christmas Eve this year – I can say to you that at last we may look forward into the future with real, substantial confidence that, however great the cost, “peace on earth, good will toward men” can be and will be realized and ensured. This year I can say that. Last year I could not do more than express a hope. Today I express a certainty – though the cost may be high and the time may be long.
Within the past year – within the past few weeks – history has been made, and it is far better history for the whole human race than any that we have known, or even dared to hope for, in these tragic times through which we pass.
A great beginning was made in the Moscow Conference last October by Mr. Molotov, Mr. Eden and our own Mr. Hull. There and then the way was paved for the later meetings.
At Cairo and Tehran, we devoted ourselves not only to military matters, we devoted ourselves also to consideration of the future – to plans for the kind of world which alone can justify all the sacrifices of this war.
Of course, as you all know, Mr. Churchill and I have happily met many times before, and we know and understand each other very well. Indeed, Mr. Churchill has become known and beloved by many millions of Americans, and the heartfelt prayers of all of us have been with this great citizen of the world in his recent serious illness.
The Cairo and Tehran Conferences, however, gave me my first opportunity to meet the Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-shek, and Marshal Stalin – and to sit down at the table with these unconquerable men and talk with them face to face. We had planned to talk to each other across the table at Cairo and Tehran; but we soon found that we were all on the same side of the table. We came to the conferences with faith in each other. But we needed the personal contact. And now we have supplemented faith with definite knowledge.
It was well worth traveling thousands of miles over land and sea to bring about this personal meeting, and to gain the heartening assurance that we are absolutely agreed with one another on all the major objectives – and on the military means of obtaining them.
At Cairo, Prime Minister Churchill and I spent four days with the Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-shek. It was the first time that we had an opportunity to go over the complex situation in the Far East with him personally. We were able not only to settle upon definite military strategy, but also to discuss certain long-range principles which we believe can assure peace in the Far East for many generations to come.
Those principles are as simple as they are fundamental. They involve the restoration of stolen property to its rightful owners, and the recognition of the rights of millions of people in the Far East to build up their own forms of self-government without molestation. Essential to all peace and security in the Pacific and in the rest of the world is the permanent elimination of the Empire of Japan as a potential force of aggression. Never again must our soldiers and sailors and marines – and other soldiers, sailors and marines – be compelled to fight from island to island as they are fighting so gallantly and so successfully today.
Increasingly powerful forces are now hammering at the Japanese at many points over an enormous arc which curves down through the Pacific from the Aleutians to the jungles of Burma. Our own Army and Navy, our Air Forces, the Australians and New Zealanders, the Dutch, and the British land, air and sea forces are all forming a band of steel which is slowly but surely closing in on Japan.
And on the mainland of Asia, under the Generalissimo’s leadership, the Chinese ground and air forces augmented by American air forces are playing a vital part in starting the drive which will push the invaders into the sea.
Following out the military decisions at Cairo, Gen. Marshall has just flown around the world and has had conferences with Gen. MacArthur and Adm. Nimitz – conferences which will spell plenty of bad news for the Japs in the not-too-far-distant future.
I met in the Generalissimo a man of great vision, great courage, and a remarkably keen understanding of the problems of today and tomorrow. We discussed all the manifold military plans for striking at Japan with decisive force from many directions, and I believe I can say that he returned to Chungking with the positive assurance of total victory over our common enemy. Today we and the Republic of China are closer together than ever before in deep friendship and in unity of purpose.
After the Cairo Conference, Mr. Churchill and I went by airplane to Tehran. There we met with Marshal Stalin. We talked with complete frankness on every conceivable subject connected with the winning of the war and the establishment of a durable peace after the war.
Within three days of intense and consistently amicable discussions, we agreed on every point concerned with the launching of a gigantic attack upon Germany.
The Russian Army will continue its stern offensives on Germany’s eastern front, the Allied armies in Italy and Africa will bring relentless pressure on Germany from the south, and now the encirclement will be complete as great American and British forces attack from other points of the compass.
The commander selected to lead the combined attack from these other points is Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. His performances in Africa, in Sicily and in Italy have been brilliant. He knows by practical and successful experience the way to coordinate air, sea and land power. All of these will be under his control. Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz will command the entire American strategic bombing force operating against Germany.
Gen. Eisenhower gives up his command in the Mediterranean to a British officer whose name is being announced by Mr. Churchill. We now pledge that new commander that our powerful ground, sea and air forces in the vital Mediterranean area will stand by his side until every objective in that bitter theater is attained.
Both of these new commanders will have American and British subordinate commanders whose names will be announced to the world in a few days.
During the last two days in Tehran, Marshal Stalin, Mr. Churchill and I looked ahead – ahead to the days and months and years that will follow Germany’s defeat. We were united in determination that Germany must be stripped of her military might and be given no opportunity within the foreseeable future to regain that might.
The United Nations have no intention to enslave the German people. We wish them to have a normal chance to develop, in peace, as useful and respectable members of the European family. But we most certainly emphasize that word “respectable” – for we intend to rid them once and for all of Nazism and Prussian militarism and the fantastic and disastrous notion that they constitute the “master race.”
We did discuss international relationships from the point of view of big, broad objectives, rather than details. But on the basis of what we did discuss, I can say even today that I do not think any insoluble differences will arise among Russia, Great Britain and the United States.
In these conferences, we were concerned with basic principles – principles which involve the security and the welfare and the standard of living or human beings in countries large and small.
To use an American and somewhat ungrammatical colloquialism, I may say that I “got along fine” with Marshal Stalin. He is a man who combines a tremendous, relentless determination with a stalwart good humor. I believe he is truly representative of the heart and soul of Russia; and I believe that we are going to get along very well with him and the Russian people – very well indeed.
Britain, Russia, China and the United States and their Allies represent more than three-quarters of the total population of the earth. As long as these four nations with great military power stick together in determination to keep the peace there will be no possibility of an aggressor nation arising to start another world war.
But those four powers must be united with and cooperate with the freedom-loving peoples of Europe, and Asia, and Africa and the Americas. The rights of every nation, large or small, must be respected and guarded as jealously as are the rights of every individual within our own republic.
The doctrine that the strong shall dominate the weak is the doctrine of our enemies – and we reject it.
But, at the same time, we are agreed that if force is necessary to keep international peace, international force will be applied – for as long as it may be necessary.
It has been our steady policy – and it is certainly a common-sense policy – that the right of each nation to freedom must be measured by the willingness of that nation to fight for freedom. And today we salute our unseen Allies in occupied countries – the underground resistance groups and the armies of liberation. They will provide potent forces against our enemies, when the day of the counterinvasion comes.
Through the development of science, the world has become so much smaller that we have had to discard the geographical yardsticks of the past. For instance, through our early history, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans were believed to be walls of safety for the United States. Time and distance made it physically possible, for example, for us and for the other American Republics to obtain and maintain independence against infinitely stronger powers. Until recently, very few people, even military experts, thought that the day would ever come when we might have to defend our Pacific Coast against Japanese threats of invasion.
At the outbreak of the First World War, relatively few people thought that our ships and shipping would be menaced by German submarines on the high seas or that the German militarists would ever attempt to dominate any nation outside of Central Europe.
After the Armistice in 1918, we thought and hoped that the militaristic philosophy of Germany had been crushed; and being full of the milk of human kindness we spent the next twenty years disarming, while the Germans whined so pathetically that the other nations permitted them – and even helped them – to rearm.
For too many years we lived on pious hopes that aggressor and warlike nations would learn and understand and carry out the doctrine of purely voluntary peace.
The well-intentioned but ill-fated experiments of former years did not work. It is my hope that we will not try them again. No – that is putting it too weakly – it is my intention to do all that I humanly can as President and Commander-in-Chief to see to it that these tragic mistakes shall not be made again.
There have always been cheerful idiots in this country who believed that there would be no more war for us, if everybody in America would only return into their homes and lock their front doors behind them. Assuming that their motives were of the highest, events have shown how unwilling they were to face the facts.
The overwhelming majority of all the people in the world want peace. Most of them are fighting for the attainment of peace – not just a truce, not just an armistice – but peace that is as strongly enforced and as durable as mortal man can make it. If we are willing to fight for peace now, is it not good logic that we should use force if necessary, in the future, to keep the peace?
I believe, and I think I can say, that the other three great nations who are fighting so magnificently to gain peace are in complete agreement that we must be prepared to keep the peace by force. If the people of Germany and Japan are made to realize thoroughly that the world is not going to let them break out again, it is possible, and, I hope, probable, that they will abandon the philosophy of aggression – the belief that they can gain the whole world even at the risk of losing their own souls.
I shall have more to say about the Cairo and Tehran Conferences when I make my report to the Congress in about two weeks’ time. And, on that occasion, I shall also have a great deal to say about certain conditions here at home.
But today, I wish to say that in all my travels, at home and abroad, it is the sight of our soldiers and sailors and their magnificent achievements which have given me the greatest inspiration and the greatest encouragement for the future.
To the members of our Armed Forces, to their wives, mothers and fathers, I want to affirm the great faith and confidence that we have in Gen. Marshall and in Adm. King who direct all of our armed might throughout the world. Upon them falls the responsibility of planning the strategy of determining where and when we shall fight. Both of these men have already gained high places in American history, places which will record in that history many evidences of their military genius that cannot be published today.
Some of our men overseas are now spending their third Christmas far from home. To them and to all others overseas or soon to go overseas, I can give assurance that it is the purpose of their government to win this war and to bring them home at the earliest possible time.
And we here in the United States had better be sure that when our soldiers and sailors do come home they will find an America in which they are given full opportunities for education, and rehabilitation, Social Security, and employment and business enterprise under the free American system – and that they will find a government which, by their votes as American citizens, they have had a full share in electing.
The American people have had every reason to know that this is a tough and destructive war. On my trip abroad, I talked with many military men who had faced our enemies in the field. These hard-headed realists testify to the strength and skill and resourcefulness of the enemy generals and men whom we must beat before final victory is won. The war is now reaching the stage where we shall all have to look forward to large casualty lists – dead, wounded and missing.
War entails just that. There is no easy road to victory. And the end is not yet in sight.
I have been back only for a week. It is fair that I should tell you my impression. I think I see a tendency in some of our people here to assume a quick ending of the war – that we have already gained the victory. And, perhaps as a result of this false reasoning, I think I discern an effort to resume or even encourage an outbreak of partisan thinking and talking. I hope I am wrong. For, surely, our first and most foremost tasks are all concerned with winning the war and winning a just peace that will last for generations.
The massive offensives which are in the making – both in Europe and the Far East – will require every ounce of energy and fortitude that we and our Allies can summon on the fighting fronts and in all the workshops at home. As I have said before, you cannot order up a great attack on a Monday and demand that it be delivered on Saturday.
Less than a month ago, I flew in a big Army transport plane over the little town of Bethlehem, in Palestine.
Tonight, on Christmas Eve, all men and women everywhere who love Christmas are thinking of that ancient town and of the star of faith that shone there more than nineteen centuries ago.
American boys are fighting today in snow-covered mountains, in malarial jungles, on blazing deserts, they are fighting on the far stretches of the sea and above the clouds, and fighting for the thing for which they struggle. I think it is best symbolized by the message that came out of Bethlehem.
On behalf of the American people – your own people – I send this Christmas message to you, to you who are in our Armed Forces:
In our hearts are prayers for you and for all your comrades in arms who fight to rid the world of evil.
We ask God’s blessing upon you – upon your fathers, mothers, and wives and children – all your loved ones at home.
We ask that the comfort of God’s grace shall be granted to those who are sick and wounded, and to those who are prisoners of war in the hands of the enemy, waiting for the day when they will again be free.
And we ask that God receive and cherish those who have given their lives, and that He keep them in honor and in the grateful memory of their countrymen forever.
God bless all of you who fight our battles on this Christmas Eve.
God bless us all. Keep us strong in our faith that we fight for a better day for humankind – here and everywhere.
The Pittsburgh Press (December 24, 1943)
All types of Allied warplanes follow up night RAF blow with daylight smash across English Channel
By Joseph W. Grigg, United Press staff writer
Roosevelt also reveals Briton will head troops in Mediterranean area
London, England –
Gen. Sir Henry Maitland Wilson is succeeding Gen. Dwight d. Eisenhower as Allied commander in the Mediterranean Theater. Gen. Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander, Gen. Eisenhower’s deputy commander, takes over command of the Allied armies in Italy. Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, commander of the British 8th Army, will command the British forces under Gen. Eisenhower.
Hyde Park, New York (UP) –
President Roosevelt today announced the appointment of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower as commander of the forthcoming Allied invasion of Europe.
In a Christmas Eve radio address to the nation and men of the U.S. armed services around the world, Mr. Roosevelt said as a result of the international conferences at Cairo and Tehran, Gen. Eisenhower, now Allied commander for North Africa, had been giving the task of leading the new “combined attack” against Germany.
Mr. Roosevelt, who indicated the “zero hour” was near, also revealed that U.S. Armed Forces overseas number 3,800,000 and will rise to more than five million by next July.
Gen. Eisenhower, the President said, will be succeeded in the Mediterranean by a British officer whose name will be announced by Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Gen. Eisenhower will have command of “air, sea and land power” in tackling Germany from new “points of the compass” and he will be assisted by Lt. Gen. Carl Andrew Spaatz who will command “the entire American strategic bombing force operating against Germany.”
Mr. Roosevelt, speaking from his Hyde Park home where he was spending Christmas for the first time since he entered office, reported at length on his recent overseas conferences, saying that the United States, Great Britain, China and Russia were in agreement that after the war “international force” would be used if necessary to preserve peace.
He also struck at those who see the war’s end near at hand, saying, “We shall have to look forward to large casualty lists” and that the end is “not yet in sight.”
In telling the news of Gen. Eisenhower’s new command, the President painted in general terms the plan of global battle that came out of the talks in the Middle East with Mr. Churchill, Premier Joseph Stalin and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
He said in discussing plans for Europe:
The Russian Army will continue its stern offensives on Germany’s Eastern Front, the Allied armies in Italy and Africa will bring relentless pressure on Germany from the south, and now the encirclement will be complete as great American and British forces attack from other points of the compass.
Mr. Roosevelt announced dramatically:
The commander selected to lead the combined attack from these other points is Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. His performances in Africa, in Sicily and in Italy have been brilliant. He knows by practical and successful experience the way to coordinate air, sea and land power. All of these will be under his control. Lt. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz will command the entire American strategic bombing force operating against Germany.
Gen. Spaatz now commands the U.S. strategic bombing force in the Mediterranean.
Gen. Eisenhower thus assumes the role approximate to that occupied by Marshal Ferdinand Foch, who late in World War I was appointed generalissimo of Allied forces.
The appointment left the American top command unchanged. Gen. George C. Marshall, fresh from conferences in the Pacific, remains as Army Chief of Staff in active charge of the nation’s global war plans. Adm. William D. Leahy continues as Mr. Roosevelt’s personal chief of staff.
Mr. Roosevelt promised Gen. Eisenhower’s successor in the African and Mediterranean Theater:
…that our powerful ground, sea and air forces in the vital Mediterranean area will stand by his side until every objective in that bitter theater is attained.
Hailing the Cairo and Tehran Conferences as being eminently successful, the Chief Executive said the four powers rejected the enemy doctrine “that the strong shall dominate the weak.”
But at the same time, we are agreed that if force is necessary to keep international peace, international force will be applied – for as long as it may be necessary.
Seemingly as a warning to nations that refuse to cooperate with the Allies, the President added:
It has been our steady police – and it is certainly a common-sense policy – that the right of each nation to freedom must be measure by the willingness of that nation to fight for freedom.
Mr. Roosevelt far from ignored the war in the Pacific, saying that he and Mr. Churchill had settled with the Chinese Generalissimo not only “definite military strategy,” but had also discussed “certain long-range principles which we believed can assure peace in the Far East for many generations to come.”
These principles are as simple as they are fundamental. They involve the restoration of stolen property to its rightful owners, and the recognition of the rights of millions of people in the Far East to build up their own forms of self-government without molestation.
The President emphasized that “essential to all peace and security in the Pacific and in the rest of the world is the permanent elimination of the Empire of Japan as “a potential force of aggression.”
Never again must our soldiers and sailors and marines be compelled to fight from island to island as they are fighting so gallantly and so successfully today.
The President was blunt and harsh in his treatment of “cheerful idiots in this country” who hid behind their isolationist policies, and he was plain-spoken in spiking theories of a quick victory.
The war is now reaching the stage where we shall all have to look forward to large casualty lists – dead, wounded and missing.
War entails just that. There is no easy road to victory. And the end is not yet in sight.
Back in this country only a week after five weeks overseas, the President said he found upon his return “a tendency in some of our people here to assume a quick ending of the war – that we have already gained the victory.”
And, perhaps as a result of this false reasoning, I think I discern an effort to resume or even encourage an outbreak of partisan thinking and talking. I hope I am wrong. For, surely, our first and most foremost tasks are all concerned with winning the war and winning a just peace that will last for generations.
The massive offensives which are in the making – both in Europe and the Far East – will require every ounce of energy and fortitude that we and our Allies can summon on the fighting fronts and in all the workshops at home.
Mr. Roosevelt obviously directed this passage about the need for greater effort in the “workshops at home” at strike threats for higher wages and the preoccupation of some industrialists over reconversion to peacetime production.
His demand for greater effort and his attack on those who think the war is nearly over underlined a statement made earlier this week by a high Washington official who forecast American war casualties during the next 90 days three times as great as the present total of about 131,000 for the entire war so far.
The announcement of Gen. Eisenhower’s appointment also fitted in with the prediction of tremendous casualties in the next 90 days because the Allies are apparently near the point of opening the long-awaited “second front” probably at more than one point along the coasts of Europe.
The President said he would talk more about the Cairo and Tehran Conferences when he delivers his State of the Union message to Congress in about two weeks.
And, on that occasion, I shall also have a great deal to say about certain conditions here at home.
That meant plainly that the President will again take up the cudgels publicly for support of his anti-inflation program which is now under attack from many points in Congress and out.
In disclosing the new invasion command for Gen. Eisenhower, the President did not overlook Gen. Marshall, who was reported erroneously some time ago as slated to be “global commander” of the Allies.
To the members of our Armed Forces, to their wives, mothers and fathers, I want to affirm the great faith and confidence we have in Gen. Marshall and Adm. King [U.S. Fleet commander], who direct all of our armed might throughout the world.
Upon them falls the great responsibility of planning and strategy of determining when and where we shall fight. Both of these men have already gained high places in American history, which will record many evidences of their military genius that cannot be published today.
To read Christmas Carol
When the address is over, Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt will welcome the people who live on their estate. The President will preside at a family dinner tonight and when the dishes are cleared away everyone will gather in the living room. There the President will read them Dickens’ Christmas Carol as he has done on other Christmas Eves.
For Christmas Day, the Roosevelt family had a slightly different custom from most people when it comes to opening presents. They exchange their gifts in the afternoon instead of early Christmas morning.
With seven young grandchildren in the house, however, chances are that not all gifts will remain under wraps until the afternoon ceremony around the tree in the library.
President to carve
After the gifts are opened tomorrow afternoon, the President will preside and carve at a family turkey dinner.
Mrs. Roosevelt traveled with the President from Washington. The family group assembled here included their daughter Mrs. John Boettiger and her three children, Eleanor, Curtis and Johnny; Lt. and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. and their children, Franklin D. III and Christopher; Lt. and Mrs. John A. Roosevelt with their children, Haven and Ann; Mrs. James B. Roosevelt, widow of the President’s half-brother, and two friends, Maj. Henry Hooker and Mrs. Trude Pratt.