Edson: OWI reports are dull and little use
By Peter Edson
By Mrs. Walter Ferguson
Long, long ago, Mary journeyed to Bethlehem. There was no room at the Inn. Her newborn son was cradled in a manger.
The Christmas season brings back the details of that ancient lovely story. Today thousands of mothers must think of Mary as they too cradle their newborn sons in strange and humble places. No matter how far from home the paths may lie, there lives forever in the hearts of women the desire to follow their man, and so America’s war brides are closer to the Mother of Jesus than any other generation, if experience means understanding.
Gentle Mary, who saw the star and heard the Angels’ voices, knew her hour of joy. Before her stretched years of sorrow, brought to their final frightful climax at Golgotha. On that day long ago, as she kept watch at the crucifixion of her son, perhaps she sensed that repeatedly, through the ages, women would partake of her bitter cup. It may be so. Certainly, all over the earth now women taste the fear, the grief, the horror. They give up their sons as a sacrifice for causes which seem to them scared. In war, women’s is the hardest part, just as it must have been easier for Jesus to die upon the Cross than for His Mother to stand and watch Him die. Unworthy as we are, we are united in sorrow with the Mother of Sorrows.
Families are scattered this Christmas. Empty chairs will stand at many tables. Our world is a world of apprehension and confusion.
In such a universe, Christmas can only be a yearning in the hearts of humankind. There is no peace on earth. There is only the hope of it which lives within us still, as remote as the Angels’ voices, but shining yet, clear as the Christmas star.
By Bertram Benedict, editorial research reports
This is the third Christmas during the participation of the United States in World War II. The odds are better than ever that the German phase of the war will be over by the time the fourth Christmas of American participation rolls around next year.
Our first Christmas in World War II came two and a half weeks after Pearl Harbor, and found our Armed Forces everywhere in retreat. The Japanese were advancing in the Philippines and in Borneo, and Manila was to be declared an open city to spare it further bombardment. Pearl Harbor wounded were landed in San Francisco. Hong Kong surrendered, after a 16-day siege, but the British was advancing in Northeast Africa, and the Russians had assumed their winter offensive.
Prime Minister Churchill was in Washington; he joined President Roosevelt in a Christmas Eve broadcast from the Christmas tree just outside the White House grounds.
The 1942 midterm elections were more than 10 months in the future, and the Democrats had more than twice as many seats in the Senate as the Republicans, in the House a majority of about 100. Tire sales had been stopped, prior to rationing, and golfers were buying up gold balls. Auto traffic accidents were higher than in 1940. There were about 1,650,000 in the Army.
By Christmas last year, U.S. forces were everywhere on the offensive. In North Africa, Adm. Darlan was assassinated on Christmas Eve. President Roosevelt, broadcasting from the Christmas tree in Washington, said he couldn’t conscientiously send out hope for a Merry Christmas, but at least it was a merrier one than Christmas of 1941.
On Christmas Day, the RAF bombed Germany heavily; the Nazi radio complained that this was no way to act on the day of peace on earth, goodwill toward men. The British in Africa were driving Rommel westward; the Americans were driving the Germans eastward. The Russian winter counteroffensive was rolling ahead.
In Washington, Congress was showing much interest in pay-as-you-go tax plans. The administration was reported to be opposed to subsidies to hold down food prices as too expensive; some newspapers which were to uphold the subsidy program on Christmas 1943 were denouncing it as folly on Christmas 1942. Mrs. Roosevelt paid Christmas morning visits in the slum districts of the Capital. Auto traffic accidents were only one-half those of the year before. There were about 5,350,000 in the Army.
In World War I, there was no Christmas of hostilities for the United States, for on Christmas 1917, only 165,000 American soldiers were overseas, and none was on the firing line; and by Christmas 1918, hostilities were over.
Christmas Day, 1917, fell on a “meatless Tuesday.” Two days before there had been a “lightless Sunday;” a day later there was to be a “wheatless Wednesday.” Coal for home heating was scarce. So was sugar. The cost of living was going up fast. Railroad transportation was in a tangle, and the government was preparing to take over the roads.
President Wilson, in his Christmas to the Armed Forces, said:
The nation reposes in you its full confidence that in God’s good time and with God’s blessing its troops… side by side with their gallant allies will bring victory and abiding faith to all the world.
U.S. bombers sight 20 enemy ships in lagoon
By Charles Arnot, United Press staff writer
President named as choice by eight out of ten Democrats
By George Gallup, Director, American Institute of Public Opinion
By Ernie Pyle
At the frontlines in Italy – (by wireless)
Some of you may remember my writing in the fall of 1942, from England, about the Tennessee twins Arlie and Charlie Pass.
Well, they’re in Italy, still going strong, both still driving for colonels, both still looking exactly alike. But one very special thing has happened: Arlie captured himself a German prisoner.
It seems Arlie was driving a couple of colonels up in the frontlines one day when they came to a 20mm gun sitting in the middle of the road, and beyond it was a bridge which was obviously mined.
So, the officers left Arlie in the jeep while they went ahead on foot. While they were gone, a German soldier came out of the nearby woods with his hands up. Arlie just pointed his gun at him and kept it pointed till the officers got back.
Ordinarily Charlie might be expected to feel bad about this extraordinary distinction that has come to Arlie, but I don’t think he need worry, since practically nobody can tell the boys apart. At least half of the people they meet will think Charlie was the one who captured the German. Charlie’s cue is just to keep his mouth shut and blush modestly at the proper time.
Souvenir expeditionary force
The commanding officer of this artillery regiment did what seems to me a pretty smart thing. Since most of the boys can’t get to a city to buy souvenirs, he had a Special Service officer go to Capri and buy souvenirs for anybody who wanted them.
Lt. Don H. Poston of Logan, Ohio, who used to be a theater manager in Columbus, is the Special Service officer. He was helped out by Pvt. Joe Pacucci of South Philadelphia. He lived for seven years in Naples and didn’t go to America until he was 20, so he knows all the ins and outs over here.
They made two trips to Capri, and they spent more than $3,000. They bought 700 ladies’ cigarette boxes, 500 cameo brooches, nearly 100 vivid little paintings on wood, and scores of rings, bracelets, necklaces and other gadgets. These will be wrapped individually and shipped home at the direction of the individual soldier.
Prices went up more than 100% between their first and second trips. This was partly due to inflation induced by the American soldiers’ willingness to pay practically any amount for practically anything.
As one of our gun crew remarked:
The Germans fight for glory, their cities, and their homes, and the Americans fight for souvenirs.
Lottery going strong
This regiment right now has a lottery on. The grand prize is one bottle of Coca-Cola.
It seems that a few weeks ago Sgt. Woodrow Daniel of Jacksonville, Florida, got a bottle of coke in a package from home. He toyed with the bottle a while and then decided he had a better idea than the obvious one of drinking it. He’d rattle it off and give the proceeds to some worthy cause. So, he started selling chances at two bits apiece.
From there on the thing got big. They decided to adopt an orphan with the money; the orphan to be called the child of some man in this regiment killed in combat. The recipient hasn’t been picked yet, but the money is still rolling in.
The receipts have already passed $1,000. Some soldiers are giving as high as $10 for a two-bit chance, and practically everybody throws in more than the necessary quarter.
The raffle comes off Jan. 1, and the boys hope the Coca-Cola Company will match whatever amount they raise over here. I have no doubt it will. You’ll probably be hearing about it in January.
In the meantime, I tried to find out what they had done with the one bottle of coke. All I could gather was that it’s a military secret.
Clubs, theaters, jammed to capacity; jewelry sales skyrocket
By the United Press
Exam points added for disabled, other men
Special features for ‘our boys’ provided
By Si Steinhauser
Raids cut New Britain base off from supplies
By Brydon C. Taves, United Press staff writer
U.S. Navy Department (December 25, 1943)
For Immediate Release December 25, 1943
Navy medium bombers of Fleet Air Wing Two made a low altitude attack on Nauru at dusk on Christmas Eve (East Longitude Date) setting installations on fire. One of our planes is missing.
Army Liberators of the Seventh AAF bombed Wotje on the evening of December 22 (West Longitude Date). Our planes were attacked by 35 enemy fighters, three of which were destroyed, one was probably shot down and six were damaged. Our casualties were one killed and two wounded.
Enemy bombers made five raids on Tarawa during the night of December 22 and 23, causing minor damage.
Enemy light bombers made three nuisance raids at Makin, two at night one during the day, wounding eight men. Two enemy planes were shot down by an intercepting Army fighter.
On the morning of December 24, 15 enemy fighters dropped bombs from high altitude on Makin, causing no damage.
Wilmington Morning Star (December 25, 1943)
O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels:
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.
Sing, choirs of Angels, sing in exaltation,
Sing, all ye citizens of Heaven above!
Glory to God, in the highest glory;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.
President of clan says nation should be told the facts
Chicago, Illinois –
Albert C. McArthur, president of the American Bataan Clan, today urged the full story of Bataan be told to the nation, saying “someone in Washington made a costly mistake and wants to forget all about it.” McArthur said his organization, consisting of 400 Midwesterners whose sons fought on the Bataan Peninsula, declared there existed a policy which demanded silence from those returned from the Philippines.
He cited the case of Lt. Col. William E. Dyess, Army Air Force hero of the Philippine campaign, who was killed Wednesday in a plane crash at Burbank, California. Lt. Col. Dyess escaped from a Japanese prison camp and made his way back to the United States.
McArthur said Dyess, instead of being greeted in Washington as a war hero, received a “strange reception,” and was told that he knew too much” and was cautioned against telling his story for publication.
Our thought is that Washington officials and brass hats made one big mistake at Bataan – we don’t know want – whether or not it was failure to furnish ample equipment to the boys there, but they want to forget the whole thing, and want the nation to forget Bataan. And we won’t do it.
The nucleus of the American Bataan Clan is 150 parents of Maywood boys who were in the 192nd Tank Battalion on Bataan.
McArthur’s son, Staff Sgt. Albert C. McArthur Jr., of the 192nd, died in a Japanese prison camp on June 11.
Christmas, 1943, finds us deafened by the roar of cannon, the zoom of warplanes, the cries of thousands – victims of man’s inhumanity to man.
Someday the war will end; when is known only to God. But it is true; when it does cease, we will have to reappraise human values.
We will have seen and survived the assault on civilization, and material possessions in many lands swept away by the forces of evil.
What will remain are the imperishables – things of the spirit.
We will need these things as never before.
Chief among them are faith, courage, hope.
We will need them to bind up the wounds, repair the ravages of war.
We will need them to replace with love the hatreds bred of war.
We will need them to make us realize the essential oneness of humanity.
Unless we have them, we will fail the generations to come.
These things of the spirit are not to be purchased in the marts of trade. Money cannot buy them. Yet a price must be paid.
That price consists of kneeling at the crib side of an infant. It involves the abandonment of pride – the discovery of the virtue of humility and discerning the emptiness of human values, the nothingness of human plaudits.
The powerful and the great will be making merry at the fashionable inn. The humble and contrite of spirit will be at the stable. Those at the inn will be in the company of Herod, showering him with flattery to win his favor. Those in the stable will be in company with lowly shepherds, paying homage to an infant – too busy to court the patronage of Caesar – and with wise men guided by a star, not to the inn but to a manger.
Caesar and Herod are no more. The splendor they created is gone. Their thrones art overthrown. The inn is in ruins.
The infant in the manger – the Prince of Peace – still rules. The faith, the courage, the hope he brought will triumph even in this period of global combat, if we cultivate the things of the spirit.
President Roosevelt is a little late in wishing to abandon the “New Deal” slogan and substituting “Win the War” for it. The great masses of the American people dropped “New Deal” as a shibboleth long ago.
Even when President Roosevelt’s administration was in its infancy, the Hearst newspapers started calling the “New Deal” the "Raw Deal,” which was going perhaps too far and stemmed from Randolph Hearst’s disappointment as being out of the orchard when plums were falling.
But it is also true that even then, when the NRA, which led off the assault of alphabetical monstrosities, was new, the “New Deal” was losing public confidence and but for the disturbed conditions created by the approach of war its existence probably would have been ended quickly. It has survived only, we may believe, because the bulk of American voters, in full knowledge of its shortcomings, decided in the emergency to bear the ills they had rather than fly to others they knew not of.
As for winning the war, the people at large have had no other thought since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. But why should we, a civilized and fairly intelligent people, require a slogan, anyway? Surely our purpose is too great and too well understood to require bolstering with a catchphrase.