America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

Often ‘too old’ for roles, Whorf is now ‘too young’

By Ernest Foster

Editorial: The Abbey at Monte Cassino

Editorial: Hopeful school

Editorial: It’s up to Churchill

Edson: Civilian’s tips help FBI solve espionage cases

By Peter Edson


Ferguson: War movies

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

A young air cadet from Newport, Arkansas, questions the wisdom of my criticism of grim war movies.

He says:

If you refer to the blood-and-thunder Hollywood melodramas, I agree. However, there have been excellent semi-official reels which depict battle scenes as they truly are.

If the soldier can look upon and participate in such chaos, why can’t the civilian stomach it? The people at home have failed their fighting men if they turn their faces from death and ignore their sacrifices. I say more power to official movies which bring home with force the fact that men are giving their lives for freedom.

His point is well taken, although he seems to have missed mine. What I object to about the official war picture is their presentation. They always come to us tied up with some Hollywood feature or short, which means that the audience gets a hodgepodge of the true and the false.

Duty doesn’t enter into the question. People don’t go to the movies from a sense of duty. They go to be entertained.

A poll taken recently among soldiers shows their preference for the lighter, gayer types.

There should be special programs of war pictures offered. Perhaps every adult should be required to see them, but the honest course is to separate the phony from the real. As it is, audiences are asked to skip quickly from a battle to a jitterbug contest or a Looney cartoon. It results in mental confusion. In the end, the war briefs seem as unreal as the movie plot.


Background of news –
‘Cut and dried’ convention

By Jay G. Hayden, North American Newspaper Alliance

Washington –
An outright declaration by President Roosevelt of his fourth-term candidacy scarcely could have been more conclusive of his intention than the announcement that the Democratic National Convention will open July 19 – on a Wednesday, instead of the usual Monday.

Completion within the week of a convention begun on Wednesday is possible only if its action as respects both candidates and platform is cut and dried in advance. And underlying antagonism among Democrats is so marked that it is doubtful if they could agree within a month on anything excepting the inevitability of another ride on Mr. Roosevelt’s bandwagon.

The reason for the short convention decision goes back to the period, Monday to Friday inclusive, when the Roosevelt-Wallace third-term slate was in the making. Probably Mr. Roosevelt has never spent a more irksome five days than those.

The trouble then was that while President Roosevelt clearly had the votes, James A. Farley, bitterly opposed to the third term, was still chairman of the National Committee and he had entered into a contract with Chicago hotel men to string the convention out at least until after Thursday midnight.

‘Draft’ pretense maintained

The design of Mr. Roosevelt’s managers was to keep both him and his choice for Vice President under blankets until the last possible moment, in order to give the appearance of a spontaneous draft.

In consonance with this plan, it couldn’t be admitted that there were any authorized spokesmen for Mr. Roosevelt in town. Harry Hopkins and the then Senator James F. Byrnes of South Carolina, who actually functioned in that capacity, spent their first four days in Chicago dodging newspaper reporters.

Meanwhile, the anti-Roosevelt leaders were monopolizing the headlines. Mr. Farley was holding press conferences twice daily. His strategy was to admit that the President could have the nomination if he insisted, but to point out at the same time that there were a great many Democrats, including himself, who could not stand for this desertion of the two-term tradition.

Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana coincidentally pressed his fight for an anti-war plank, until the administration leaders shut him up by accepting his prescription that:

We will not participate in foreign wars, and we will not send our Army, naval or air forces to fight in foreign lands outside the Americas, except in case of attack.

Bitter fight over Wallace

The one widely publicized variation from this anti-third-term clamor may have annoyed Mr. Roosevelt most of all. It came when a straw boss from Mayor Ed Kelly’s Chicago sewer department rigged up a microphone in the convention basement, from which he interrupted radio transmission of the formal proceedings with intermittent roars of “We want Roosevelt.”

The grand climax came when Mr. Roosevelt’s speech of acceptance, timed for the convention’s final hour, was held off until long past midnight by a bitter rebellion against the White House-chosen candidate for Vice President, Henry A. Wallace.

This year, as indicated by the short-convention announcement, no time is to be allowed for any such opposition foolishness.

President Roosevelt a year or more ago broached the idea of a short wartime campaign, brought about by postponement of presidential nominations until September or even early October. The federal ballot, proposed in the administration soldier-vote bills, fitted this idea in that it was completely devoid of names.

When the House defeated this plan and excluded voting except by names of the candidates, it became imperative that the Democratic presidential nomination be made known no later than the first day of August.

War contract cancellations hit $16 billion

Plans for closing of some munitions plants indicated

Rockefeller warns of Axis ‘last lunge’


Poll: Dewey boosts his following in New Jersey

Latest test gives him 55%; Willkie second with 21%
By George Gallup, Director, American Institute of Public Opinion

Governor Thomas E. Dewey’s Republican following in New Jersey has increased substantially in the last two months, a poll just completed there reveals.

Today he has a sizable lead over his nearest rival, Wendell Willkie. Mr. Dewey’s strength among New Jersey Republican voters stands now at 55%, as compared to 39% in December.

Mr. Willkie is second choice, with 21%, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur third, with 16%.

These are the highlights of the poll in which the Institute asked GOP voters to select their choice for the Republican presidential nomination from a list containing names most frequently mentioned by political commentators.

Here is the GOP box score in New Jersey, as of today, compared with the results of the December survey:

December 1943 Today
Dewey 39% 55%
Willkie 30% 21%
MacArthur 17% 16%
Stassen 3% 4%
Bricker 4% 3%

Mr. Dewey is more popular among New Jersey GOP voters than he is among Republican voters throughout the entire country. His national vote as of January was 42%, compared to 23% for Mr. Willkie and 18% for Gen. MacArthur.

At the same time, Mr. Dewey’s strength in New Jersey runs about parallel to his strength among Republican voters in the Mid-Atlantic states taken as a group. In this area, his strength as measured two weeks ago was 54% of the Republican vote. In the same poll, Mr. Willkie got 21%, Gen. MacArthur 16%.

Say it isn’t so!

By Maxine Garrison

Ready money on the loose again –
Miamians don’t want a second land boom, but they’re getting it

Beach hotels are changing hands, and prices on large and small homes have gone up 25% in three months

Eight Liberty ships ‘crack’ during gale

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

In Italy – (by wireless)
When I joined “X” Company, it was in one of those lulls that sometimes come in war. The company was still “in the lines,” as you say, but not actually fighting.

They had taken a town a few days before, and since then had been waiting for the next attack. We moved forward twice while I was with them, always in night marches, and on the last move the company went into battle again.

These intervals give the soldiers time to restore their gear and recuperate their spirits. Usually, they come weeks apart.

In areas recently passed over by battles, the towns have been largely evacuated – in fact, practically all of them are mere heaps of rubble from bombing and shelling – and no stores are open. There is little chance of buying wine.

But this regiment had gone sniffing into cellars in a depopulated town and turned up with all kinds of exotic liquors which they dug out of the rubble.

The result was that you could make a tour on foot of a dozen company and battalion command posts around the perimeter of the town and in nearly every one discover a shelf full of the finest stuff imaginable.

A drinker’s delight

It was ironic to walk into a half-demolished building and find a command post set up in the remaining rooms, with soldiers sitting in front of a crackling fireplace, and at 10 o’clock in the morning

Our company command post consisted of one table, one chair and one telephone, in a second-story room of a stone farmhouse. In most of these two-story farmhouses, the stairway goes up the outside. You hang blankets at the door for blackout, and burn candles.

Five platoons of the company were bivouacked in olive orchards in a circle around the farmhouse, the farthest foxhole being not more than 200 yards away.

I’ve always been struck by the works some men will put into a home as temporary as a foxhole. I’ve been with men in this company who would arrive at a new bivouac at midnight, dig a hole just big enough to sleep in the rest of the night, then work all the next day in a deep, elaborate, roofed-over foxhole, even though they knew they had to leave the same evening and never see that hole again.

Bullet-pocked trees

In the olive groves throughout this bitter Cassino area, there are pitiful testimonials to closeup warfare. In our grove, I don’t believe there was a single one of the thousands of old trees that hadn’t at least one bullet scar in it. Knocked-off branches littered the ground. Some trees were cut clear down by shells. The stone walls had shell gaps every so often, and every standing thing was bullet-pocked.

You couldn’t walk 50 feet without hitting a shell or bomb crater. Every house and shed had at least a corner knocked off.

Some soldiers were sleeping in the haymow of a stone barn. They had to get up into it via a stepladder they had pieced together, because the steps had been blown away. Between the house and the barn ran a footpath on a sort of ledge. Our men had been caught there that first night by a tank in the valley below firing at them point-blank. One soldier had been killed instantly, and as we walked along the path a few days later his steel helmet was still lying there, bloody and riddled with holes. Another soldier had a leg blown off, but lived.

The men were telling me of a replacement – a green soldier – who joined the company the day after, when this soldier’s leg was still lying in the path. The new soldier stopped and stared at it and kept on staring.

The other boys watched him from a distance. They say that when anyone came along the path the new man would move off to one side so as not to be seen. But as soon as they would pass, he would come back and star, sort of hypnotized. He never said anything about it afterwards, and nobody said anything to him. Somebody buried the leg the next day.

Pegler: Washington shenanigans

By Westbrook Pegler


Clapper: The skipper

By Raymond Clapper

The following, written by Mr. Clapper before the battle of the Marshall Islands in which he lost his life, has been forwarded by the Navy.

Aboard an aircraft carrier, somewhere in the Pacific –
It was from some of the youngsters on the forward guns that I learned about the captain of this carrier, and incidentally about the youngsters.

It was still dark. We had just put off the dawn patrol, and I had had someone point out to me the Southern Cross, which below the Equator is to amateur astronomers what the Big Dipper is north of the Equator. We were at general quarters, with all hands at battle stations. I had been on the flag bridge watching the operation, and then I went over to the forward gun platform to talk with these youngsters.

One of them, who has a wife and two children in Massachusetts, plays in the ship’s band. He and a partner had a garage until the draft took their help, whereupon they closed up and our friend joined the Navy. With him was a blond youngster who also plays in the band. He grew up in New Jersey, but has a wife and baby in Tennessee.

I asked:

How old is the baby?

“Two months and three days,” he said, which shows what kind of new father he is. He has never seen his baby. He studied music at the Juilliard School in New York.

Boys bring up subject

I didn’t bring up the matter of the skipper. They did.

I was saying how glad I was to be aboard.

One of the boys said:

We think we have the best skipper in the Navy.

The other said:

His talks to us before we go into battle are wonderful. You should have heard the talk he made to us when the ship was commissioned. He said this ship would take us right into Tokyo.

Some of these boys think it is the skill of the captain that has brought the carrier through six tough fights without a scratch.

One of them said:

You should have seen the near misses dropping around us on the Rabaul strike! They were coming down right close on one side and then on the other side, but the skipper just swung her around and we got through between them.

When I asked the captain about it, he said God was with the ship. He said you can have the best crew in the Navy, and the best ship, but you still need some luck to get through.

Skipper spurns sadism

He has had luck, and not the least of it is to have a friendly, straight-shooting personality to go with his skill. He does not go in for the bellowing, sadistic explosions affected by old-time seadogs. He commands not only the confidence of the entire personnel but its affection, to a degree I have not observed elsewhere in this war, and which officers aboard say is exceptional.

I emphasize this because the Gen. Patton incident has shaken the confidence of some parents in the way their boys are being treated by officers.

Any number of bluejackets have volunteered to me some remark or other about the skipper of this happy ship. Recently he got orders for a promotion which involves his leaving this ship, and a number of the men have gone to him to say how much they regret his leaving. Several of them have remarked to me that they are glad he is staying on through the next action with them, for they are almost superstitious about their luck with him. It is a phenomenon which gives a lift to a civilian guest aboard this ship, especially one coming out of the atmosphere of Washington.

I don’t know what the explanation is. In fact, we seldom know what makes leadership. But you always know when it is there, as every last man on this ship knows it.

Roper: Catholic soldiers support raids on monastery

By James E. Roper, United Press staff writer

Roosevelt places blame on Germany

Maj. Williams: War ‘secrets’

By Maj. Al Williams

Billy Paschal held on assault charge

Army eases on supplies for nimrods

Marine on Tarawa pops open Jap tank