America at war! (1941–) – Part 5

Editorial: Ernie Pyle and V-E Day

Ernie Pyle had some ideas about V-E Day.

His ideas, we think, are pretty much the ideas of most G.I.’s.

He wrote them long before V-E Day, which he never lived to see. He wrote them from his heart and out of the long months in which he trudged the bitter, tragic paths of war – war, which he once described as “a flat, black depression without highlights, a revulsion of the mind and an exhaustion of the spirit.”

As we mark the end of fighting in Europe and turn to the tedious, painful months of death and anguish still to come in the Pacific war, listen to Ernie’s words on V-E Day:

The end of the war will be a gigantic relief, but it cannot be a matter of hilarity for most of us. Somehow it would seem sacrilegious to sing and dance when the great day comes – there are so many who can never sing and dance again.

We have won this war because our men are brave, and because of many other things – because of Russia, and England, and the passage of time, and the gift of nature’s materials.

We did not win it because destiny created us greater than all other peoples. I hope that in victory we are more grateful than we are proud. I hope we can rejoice in victory – but humbly. The dead men would not want us to gloat.

And all of us together will have to learn how to reassemble our broken world into a pattern so firm and so fair that another great war cannot soon be possible.

These are the words of a gifted writer, a writer who knew not only the filth and dirt and numbing horror of war, but knew the innermost confidences and thoughts and hopes and fears and ideas of the men who fight wars, and die in them.

For the great numbers of us at home, who have been so jubilant over the news from Europe, those of us who have fought the war in petty inconveniences and shortages, in small and paltry sacrifices, these are good words for us to know.

Let’s keep them in our minds until V-J Day, and in our hearts forever.

Editorial: One more decoration

Editorial: Home on the range

Edson: Wilson foresaw League’s failure, daughter reveals

By Peter Edson

SAN FRANCISCO, California – Woodrow Wilson died with the understanding that it was right for the United States to stay out of the old League of Nations, in 1920. And the day before his death, he prophesied this country would join a new league of nations and that it would succeed. His daughter Eleanor Wilson McAdoo has just revealed these facts, breaking a family secret closely held for 21 years.

Mrs. McAdoo is in San Francisco in connection with her War Bond work and as a radio correspondent covering the United Nations Conference.

This story of her father’s death, making an important footnote to history and today’s big war news, has never been told before. Eleanor Wilson consents to its being told today because this seems the right moment to bridge the gap between the end of World Wars I and II; between the old League of Nations, which her father helped create, and the new United Nations organization being created at San Francisco.

Had Woodrow Wilson died as Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, at the height of his victories, the end of the League of Nations story might have been different.

The day before Woodrow Wilson died, February 3, 1924, he lay on his bed in the house on Washington’s “S” St., where the family had moved after leaving the White House in March 1921.

‘Thinking a long time’

In the room with him, watching him, was his daughter Margaret, Eleanor Wilson’s sister. The ex-President’s eyes were closed. He spoke quietly:

“It was right that the United States did not join the League of Nations.”

Startled, Margaret Wilson caught her breath, came to his bedside.

Woodrow Wilson opened his eyes and smiled. Again he spoke: “You think I’m raving, don’t you? I’m not. But I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.”

Her father had had much time to think, says Eleanor Wilson today. In Paris, he had contracted flu. Asthma had developed from that, and with it came broken sleep. The ability to sleep, to relax completely for five minutes or an hour, had been one of Woodrow Wilson’s greatest sources of strength. From a nap or a full night’s sleep, he could wake refreshed and able to cope with any new task.

But now, with one arm paralyzed and one foot dragging when he could walk, in the long days and the longer nights of wakefulness, Woodrow Wilson had done much thinking.

There was nothing the matter with his brain, Eleanor Wilson declares, and he was anything but the broken-hearted man he has been so commonly and so wrongly portrayed. But he had been thinking about his battle for a League of Nations for a long time. And now he was telling his thoughts to his daughter Margaret.

He said:

If we had joined the League when I asked for it, it would have been a great personal victory. But it would not have worked, because deep down in their hearts the American people didn’t really believe in it.

‘The time will come’

Margaret Wilson rose then and bent over her father’s bed. His eyes were clear, she told her sister Eleanor afterward, and they shone with a light as if he were happier in the assurance of what he had just said and what he was to say next:

The time will come when this country will join such a League, because it will know that it has to be. And then and then only will it work.

He laughed a little.

Eleanor Wilson recalls today:

He was really a gay soul. To us, he was never the cold, austere professor so many people have tried to make him. And he was never an egotist.

He was sincere, and he was a philosopher, and he was reverent at all times. But he had the grandest sense of humor, and that revealed itself in his last hours and his last words with Margaret on the League of Nations:

“You know,” he said, “God really does know better than I.”

Ferguson: Jobs and the future

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

Background of news –
The armistice in 1918

By Bertram Benedict

The end-of-the-war-in-Europe celebration now is like the similar celebration nearly 27 years ago in that it comes several days after a premature report of the complete German capitulation. And although in 1918 the German Armed Forces signed an armistice in one fell swoop, instead of piecemeal as now, the German delegates had gone to Marshal Foch’s headquarters several days before they signed the armistice, so that the actual signing caught no one unprepared.

In 1918, the armistice signed on November 11 meant the end of all hostilities; in 1945, the war against Japan is still with us.

The popular celebration in the United States on November 11 was less spontaneous than the premature celebration four days before. The actual one began early in the morning with the ringing of church bells and blasts of air-raid sirens. Airplanes flew over many cities. Schools let out the children, who filled the streets. The stock exchanges closed. So did the courts.

Factories and stores released their employees, many of whom formed impromptu parades, in which effigies of the Kaiser were prominent. Bunting-clad trucks roamed the streets. Theaters, food stores and saloons stayed open, and the rule against selling liquor to men in uniform was widely disregarded. At 10 o’clock in the morning, President Wilson issued an armistice proclamation.

Dancing in Paris streets

In England, King George V made a brief speech from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Prime Minister Lloyd George spoke to the people from a window of 10 Downing Street. A crowd stopped the car of Col. Winston Churchill, Minister of Munitions, and compelled him to say a few words. In Paris, there was dancing in the streets.

At one o’clock in the afternoon, President Wilson read the 35 items of the armistice terms to a joint session of Congress, after which he pronounced:

The war thus comes to an end; for, having accepted these terms of armistice, it will be impossible for the German command to renew it… The object of the war is attained… Armed imperialism is at an end; who will now seek to revive it?

Secretary of State Lansing also warned: “Before us lie new tasks and new burdens.” Sen. Borah called for an end of party politics in the “stupendous work of reconstruction ahead.”

Post-war warnings

Food Administrator Herbert Hoover warned that much food would have to be shipped to Europe to prevent famine. Secretary of the Treasury McAdoo warned that taxes would stay high. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels announced that the warship-building program would continue as planned; the Shipping Board made the same announcement for the merchant shipbuilding program,

Secretary of War Newton D. Baker said that perhaps a million of the 2,200,000 American soldiers in Europe would remain there for the task of occupation; those with the longest service would be replaced by men from home.

On the next day, the War Industries Board and the Fuel Administration lifted some of the restrictions on non-essential industry. Two days after the armistice, President W. H. Barr told the National Founders Association that the high wages, the 8-hour day, and the trade union domination of the war period would have to go if America was to prosper.

Poll: British predict long army rule over Germany

Public envisions 10-year occupation
By George Gallup, Director, American Institute of Public Opinion

Ickes will ask hard coal units to end strike

Compromise sought in contract dispute

48-hour week to be retained in war plants

Lower take-home wages hinted

AP messages to Eisenhower in premature peace case

Acme asks AP to explain stand

Official statement on secrets demanded

Herald-Tribune assails attitude of AP on story

New York Times: Kennedy broke war reporters’ oath

Medal of Honor men freed of combat duty

WASHINGTON (UP) – Soldiers recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor by their commanders will be immediately relieved from hazardous duty, the War Department announced today.

Recipients, except for Regular Army officers will be discharged from the service upon application.

The policy is applicable to 82 holders of the Medal of Honor now serving in the Army. Four others are missing in action.

Capitol lights on

WASHINGTON – Floodlights played on the U.S. Capitol dome and the Washington Monument from dusk last night until dawn today in celebration of Victory in Europe.

Millett: Housewives hold key to legal meat sales

Testimony vital in OPA cases
By Ruth Millett

Stone: Look who protest

By Walker Stone

WASHINGTON – Impressions of a civilian just returned from a tour covering the final two weeks of the European war:

Not in modern times, surely, has a nation been so utterly defeated as Germany.

Plough under the rubble of Cologne and Coblenz, sow the areas with salt, and you have Carthage all over again.

The city of Essen, home of the great Krupp works, and through the Ruhr where we drove, is an expanse of debris – shattered masonry and twisted steel girders where great industrial plants once were. Blasted homes, demolished bridges, locomotives and freight cars lying in the ditches. No vehicles are on the road, except American Army jeeps and trucks – our tanks, artillery and halftracks had long since passed on into Germany’s interior.

Wrecked equipment of the once-mighty Wehrmacht lines the roadside. Once-haughty generals, gauleiters, oberlieutenants fled or surrendered. Their demoralized troops hiding out or eating well in our prisoner-of-war camps.

How about inviting Jap generals?

It was a good idea of Gen. Eisenhower to invite groups of well-nourished and skeptical editors to come to Germany to be convinced of the atrocities in the political prisoner-slave labor camps of Buchenwald and Dachau.

It might be a better idea to invite groups of Jap generals, industrialists and political leaders to tour that devastated land and be convinced they’d better surrender unconditionally while they still have something to surrender.

Miserable people in those industrial areas – miserable but unrepentant. No sense of guilt, no sense of shame no feeling of responsibility for what Germany has brought on the world and on herself.

Only knowledge of defeat, fear of consequences, and self-pity. The unfathomable German mind claims credit to the whole people for the achievements of any one, but disavows all individual or collective blame for the acts of their organized society.**

America, they say, made a “mistake” in “interfering” with their war. But now that it is all over, ands our Army is on the scene, won’t the Americans please save the “innocent” Germans from those “awful” Russians? Yes, they would like to forget everything and start again from scratch.

Hot water, yes; windows, no

Munich, hometown of the Nazi Party, once had a population the size of Washington’s. Now it is doubtful that 10,000 sleep between sheets and with a roof overhead. There’s only one small hotel with hot water, and it has no windows.

The beer hall where the Nazi Party was born is only a shell. The beer hall of the “Putsch” blown up, rebuilt, bombed again – and down in the famous cellar is the loot of the synagogues of Europe, and the litter of mementoes of the Nazis’ years of power. A bronze bust of Horst Wessel lies dusty on the floor.

In the largest and grandest of the beer halls is a desk bearing a plaque which says it was the first desk used by Adolf Hitler. Our Army used that desk to sign the orders for the military government of Munich.

In front of Munich’s city hall, from where our Army now governs, stood a large crowd of Germans, come to petition for redress. Most of their protests were about the petty thievery of overcoats and bicycles by “displaced persons.”

DPs are the liberated slaves of Germany – Poles, Russians, French, Belgians, Dutch, Danes, Norwegians, you see plodding endlessly along every country road, on foot and on bicycles, trying to find their way back home.

We asked the protesting Germans whether they knew of the privations suffered by slaves and political prisoners at the nearby horror camp of Dachau. They pretended to know nothing about that.

We asked if they ever congregated to protest about anything while Hitler ruled.

“No. of course not – but the Americans are different!”

We asked if they thought the city of Munich could ever be rebuilt.

“Yes, if we can get the money to do it.”

“And where do you expect to get the money?”

“From America, maybe – we hope.”

Untouched in Munich is the building where Chamberlain and Daladier signed the Munich Pact. Untouched also are the two impressive monuments enclosing the iron caskets of the 16 Nazi hoodlums who were killed in the ill-fated “putsch.” It will be interesting to observe how the Germans feel about leaving those monuments standing.

Stokes: The empire forever

By Thomas L. Stokes

Othman: Ol’ Tanglefoot

By Fred Othman

WASHINGTON – V-E Day was a surprise to me. I was looking for dancing in the streets.

President Truman made the announcement. There was a whoop and a crash in the White House.

Then throughout the capital the biggest news of the generation had no more outward, superficial effect on the population than the rain that slithered down outside. Thankfulness, yes – and on with the job.

So it was at the Senate too.

For a solid hour I listened to the Senate War Investigating Committee investigate the carbon black situation. Carbon black is a kind of soot. Our current capacity is 1,104,000 tons of the stuff per year, or enough to make about all the auto tires we’ll need, the War Production Board hopes. The experts talked about carbon black and nobody jumped up or down or even mentioned the fact that there was no war in Europe.

I went over to the House (after stopping off for a porkchop lunch) and there was some oratory there under the floodlights. But it was no joyous celebration. Mostly they were talking about the hard job ahead in the Pacific. They were right, of course.

Widow Smith disappointed

Downtown the federal clerks were clerking as usual. There were a couple of streamers of sodden ticker tape hanging from a press building window. Three ladies stood in a second-floor beauty parlor around the corner and threw out torn-up bits of paper, but nobody paid them any attention.

By all outward signs it was just another May 8; a wet one at that. And it brought disappointment to the Widow Smith. Poor gal.

She’s the wife of Merriman Smith, White House correspondent of the United Press. Her husband spent so much time traveling with the late President Roosevelt that people began to call her a widow.

When President Truman went into the White House, she thought perhaps she’d get to see her husband occasionally. It was not to be. Smith soon began spending a lot of his might hours in the executive offices, waiting for peace to be announced.

The widow then began pinning her wifely hopes on V-E Day. Surely, she said, the coming of peace would let her become acquainted again with her husband. That’s what she thought.

Breaks fast at barrier

Glance back at the second paragraph of this dispatch. You’ll note a reference to a whoop and a crash. That was Smith.

His job is to get the news and deliver it in a hurry. This involves a foot race from the executive office to the White House press room when there is hot news in a presidential press conference.

Smith got away from Mr. Truman’s desk in near-record time, but at the door hit a protruding ladder left there by a photographer and tripped to the floor. Picking himself up on the bounce he kept going and threw himself into his phone booth and began dictating the story you probably read about the presidential speech on peace. It was a good story.

When he’d finished dictating, doctors took over and discovered that he’d seriously dislocated his shoulder when he hit the floor. To the hospital went Smith.

He’s resting easily at this writing. Eventually he’ll get to go home – the widow hopes.

Maj. Williams: Living in dreams

By Maj. Al Williams

Eyewitness of surrender signing –
German war chief arrogant to the end

After signature, Keitel requests 24 hours’ grace, meets rebuff
By Joseph W. Grigg Jr., United Press staff writer

MARSHAL ZHUKOV’S HQ, Berlin (UP) – The final seal was set on the German Army’s defeat and humiliation before the world when Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, titular head of the once-proud German High Command, was brought to Marshal Gregory K. Zhukov’s headquarters in the devastated German capital early this morning and signed the formal ratification of Germany’s unconditional surrender.

As one of the first two American newspapermen officially permitted to go to Berlin since the Russian occupation, I witnessed the signature in the large whitewashed hall of an army technical school in the eastern residential suburb Karlshorst, now used by Marshal Zhukov as his headquarters.

The document was more or less identical terms as that signed at Reims on Monday morning, with certain additions requested by the Russians defining more closely the surrender of German troops and equipment.

On the Allied side, it was signed by Marshal Zhukov for the Russians, and by Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur W. Tedder on behalf of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was witnessed by Gen. Carl A. Spaatz and Gen. de Lattre de Tassigny. On the German side, Keitel, as chief of the German Army, signed together with Adm. Friedeburg, commander-in-chief of the German Navy, and Col. Gen. Paul Stumpff, commander-in-chief of the Nazi Air Force.

Bars German claim

With signatures of the heads of all the German Armed Forces appended, this historic document forestalls forever any future German claim that the German Army ended the war unbeaten.

Keitel, tall haughty gray-haired figure wearing the full-dress uniform and red striped pants of a German field marshal, maintained his Prussian arrogance to the bitter end.

After his signature already had been appended to the document and while the Allied chiefs were signing, Keitel made a last-minute attempt to play for time. He beckoned the Russian interpreter to him and began haranguing him bitterly protesting there was an insufficient time to notify the forces under his command of minor modifications in the capitulation text and asking for another 24 hours’ grace before it became effective.

He could be heard clearly saying to the interpreter: “I insist you go to the colonel general – I mean Marshal Zhukov – and tell him I must demand another 24 hours’ respite.”

The interpreter hesitated and appeared uncertain what to do and finally went and consulted members of Marshal Zhukov’s staff. As no reply was conveyed back to Keitel, it appeared that the Russians ignored the request.

Drove 1,000 miles

For Marshal Zhukov the ceremony was the triumphant climax to a bitter 1,000-mile battle from the ruins of Stalingrad into the heart of devastated Berlin.

Marshal Zhukov’s headquarters were established at Karlshorst as there is not a single building in the whole fantastic nightmare of devastation of Central Berlin that could house even a company headquarters, let alone that of a great army. Keitel, too, had the final supreme humiliation of being driven in a Russian staff car to meet Marshal Zhukov through the blasted shambles of Central Berlin, which witnessed the greatest triumph of his and Hitler’s armed forces a bare 3½ years ago.

Marshal Tedder, Gen. Spaatz and other members of the SHAEF delegation left Reims yesterday morning and touched down on the airstrip at Stendal near the Elbe at 11 a.m., where a rendezvous had been made with a Russian fighter escort and a plane bringing Keitel and Friedeburg from Flensburg.

Stumpff, who once commanded the Nazi Air Force group in Norway and Finland and later had an important Western Front command, rode with Marshal Tedder from Reims. A party of eight American, British and French newsmen and broadcasters flew with Marshal Tedder.

Keitel’s plane was late for the rendezvous and it was not until 12:20 that all five planes took off again. Almost immediately they were joined by an escort of six Russian Yaks, which flew circles around the slow transports all the way into Tempelhof Airport in Berlin.

City like skeleton

As the planes circled slowly over Berlin preparing to land, the city underneath looked like an incredible Wellsian setting. Mile after mile of gaunt, roofless shells of houses stood silent and skeleton-like. There was no traffic in the streets except Russian military vehicles. Over the whole dead capital there was a thick smoke haze. Columns of smoke from buildings still burning could be seen curling lazily into the still air over the city.

The SHAEF delegation was met at the airfield by a guard of honor of a Soviet guards’ regiment with flags of the Soviet Union, United States and Britain. The party was welcomed officially by Army Gen. Ivan Sokolobsky, representing Marshal Zhukov, and a Gen. Bersarin, the Red Army’s commandant for Berlin. During the official presentation, some 60 or more Red Army cameramen and newsreelmen swarmed around the delegation.

The day was warm and sunny. The band played the three national anthems and a guard of honor carrying long bayonets fixed on their rifles gave three hurrahs and staged a formal parade.

The planes landed at 2 p.m. Immediately after the ceremony the Allied delegation and the newsmen were whisked off in a cavalcade of cars through Berlin’s devastated East End to Marshal Zhukov’s headquarters. At 4:30 p.m., Marshal Tedder, Gen. Spaatz and their staff paid a formal call on Marshal Zhukov in his office, a small, simply-furnished room with a red flag and maps as the only decorations on the wall.

In a brief informal ceremony, Marshal Tedder presented Marshal Zhukov with a silken SHAEF banner sent as a personal gift by Gen. Eisenhower. Marshal Zhukov replied with a brief speech of thanks.

Marshal Zhukov, medium-sized and stocky, with his hair close cropped and thinning on top, wore a full-dress uniform and was a dignified soldierly figure throughout. He spoke only Russian.

Confers with Tedder

Keitel and the other Germans, meanwhile, had been escorted to a nearby villa to await the capitulation document. Marshal Zhukov asked Marshal Tedder to stay behind and confer alone with him for a few minutes. The two remained closeted about a half hour while Marshal Tedder gave Marshal Zhukov the draft of the capitulation terms embodying certain changes which the Russians desired. At 5:30 p.m., they came out and Marshal Zhukov asked Marshal Tedder to give him until 8 p.m. (1 p.m. ET) to consider the exact wording.

A long wait then began. At 8 p.m. Marshal Zhukov and the SHAEF experts had not yet agreed on the terms.

Tedder was called away to confer again personally with Marshal Zhukov. It was not until shortly before midnight that the document was finally completed, typed and presented to the Germans.

At midnight, Marshal Zhukov gave word to the delegates to enter the hall for the signing.

The large whitewashed hall of the former Army Technical School was brilliantly lit with Klieg lights, spotlighting the Soviet, American, British and French flags immediately behind the chief Allied delegates. The long tables were arranged like a letter “E.” Marshal Zhukov, stern-faced, took the middle seat, with Marshal Tedder and Soviet Assistant Foreign Commissar Vyshinsky and Adm. Sir Harold Burrough, the Allied supreme naval commander, on his right, and Gen. Spaatz followed by Gen. de Tassigny, who had arrived independently, from the French First Army. Other members of the Allied delegation included American Maj. Gen. H. R. Bull, head of SHAEF G-3, and British Maj. Gen. K. W. D. Strong, head of SHAEF G-2. The newsmen were escorted by Capt. Harry Butcher, USNR; Brig. W. A. S. Turner and Col. Ernest Dupuy, of SHAEF public relations.

Calls Germans

The delegates spent several minutes posing for the Russian photographers who swarmed all over the hall. At 12:07, Marshal Zhukov rose and read the text of the capitulation document and then ordered the German delegation to be brought in.

At 12:25, Keitel walked in and was followed by Friedeburg and Stumpff. Keitel, haughty and self-possessed, his face slightly flushed, slammed his marshal’s baton down on the table and took a seat, looking straight ahead, ignoring the photographers. Once or twice, he fingered his collar and nervously wetted his lips. He was determined, however, to carry his old school Potsdam arrogance through to the bitter end.

The Germans sat at a separate table near the door with four uniformed aides and two Allied interpreters standing behind.

When he was seated Marshal Tedder arose and asked in a cold voice in English: “I ask you: Have you read this document of unconditional surrender? Are you prepared to sign it?” After the translation, Keitel picked up a copy of the document off the table and replied in harsh Prussian accent in German, “Yes, I am ready.”

Marshal Zhukov then motioned him to come over to the table. Keitel picked up his cap, his marshal’s baton and gloves and slowly and carefully inserted his monocle in his right eye, walked over and sat down to sign in a long scrawling hand the single word “Keitel.” The first signature was appended at exactly 12:15 a.m. There was a total of nine copies to sign – three each in Russian, English and German, of which the Russian and English texts were official for the record.

Marches haughtily

After signing, Keitel returned to his seat and Friedeburg and Stumpff followed immediately afterward. Marshal Zhukov, Marshal Tedder and Gens. Spaatz and Tassigny then signed. It was while this was proceeding that the incident of Keitel demanding an extra 24 hours’ grace occurred.

As the signing was completed, Marshal Zhukov rose and said coldly in Russian, “I now request the German delegation to leave the room.”

Keitel rose, snapped together the folder in which he was carrying his copy and marched out haughtily, followed by the other Germans.

The Allied leaders then shook hands all around. Later, Marshal Zhukov gave a banquet to the Allied delegation which lasted till 6 a.m., during which no less than 25 toasts were drunk. In one toast to Gen. Eisenhower, Marshal Zhukov described him as “one of the greatest generals of present times,” adding, “I want him to know how much the Soviet Army and people appreciate his tremendous achievements.”

Keitel returned to Flensburg this morning and Marshal Tedder and Gen. Spaatz to SHAEF.

Mystery of the barred door is about to be disclosed

Hitler would chew carpets if he saw French engineers prying into secrets of chalet
By Jack Fleischer, United Press staff writer

Wife chooses ‘dead’ flier – to annul second marriage