America at war! (1941–) – Part 5

G.I. commands buddies ‘quiet you guys, mom’s on the air’

Yanks in Germany hear pal’s mother broadcasting over two networks
By Si Steinhauser

Pirates score 5-3 win over Phillies

Strincevich rescued by Rescigno in 7th – Russell clouts homer
By Chester L. Smith, sports editor

Agreements must stand –
ODT: World Series, post-season bowl football contests are ‘out of question’

Leaders retain hope –
Harridge denies series canceled

155 thoroughbreds nominated –
Derby leaders set June 9 for running of American classic

Ernie Pyle V Norman

What end of war means to G.I.’s who fought it

By Ernie Pyle

This excerpt is from the final chapter in Ernie Pyle’s book, Brave Men. It tells how the late war correspondent felt about the victory he saw coming in Europe, about the unfinished war in the Pacific, and about peace.

It will seem odd when, at some given hour, the shooting stops and everything suddenly changes again. It will be odd to drive down an unknown road without that little knot of fear in your stomach; odd not to listen with animal-like alertness for the meaning of every distant sound; odd to have your spirit released from the perpetual weight that is compounded of fear and death and dirt and noise and anguish.

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.

For some of us, the war has already gone on too long. Our feelings have been wrung and drained; they cringe from the effort of coming alive again. Even the approach of the end seems to have brought little inner elation. It has brought only a tired sense of relief.

I do not pretend that my own feeling is the spirit of our armies. If it were, we probably would not have had the power to win. Most men are stronger.

Why we won

We have won because of many things. We have won partly because the enemy was weakened from our other battles. The victory here is the result of Russia, and the Western Desert, and the bombings, and the blocking of the sea. It is the result of Tunisia and Sicily and Italy; we must never forget or belittle those campaigns.

We have won because we have had magnificent top leadership, at home and in our allies and with ourselves overseas.

We won because we were audacious. One could not help but be moved by the colossus of our invasion. It was a bold and mighty thing, one of the epics of all history.

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 better 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.

Half-peace, half-war

The end of one war is a great fetter broken from around our lives. But there is still another to be broken. The Pacific war may yet be long and bloody. Nobody can foresee, but it would be disastrous to approach it with easy hopes. Our next few months at home will be torn between the new spiritual freedom of half-peace and the old grinding blur of half-war. It will be a confusing period for us.

Thousands of our men will soon be returning to you. They have been gone a long time, and they have seen and done and felt things you cannot know. They will be changed. They will have to learn how to adjust themselves to peace.

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 be possible.

Address by British Prime Minister Churchill on Five Years of War
May 13, 1945, 9:00 p.m. BDST

It was five years ago on Thursday last that His Majesty the King commissioned me to form a National Government of all parties to carry on our affairs. Five years is a long time in human life, especially when there is no remission for good conduct. However, aided by loyal and capable colleagues and sustained by the entire British nation at home and all our fighting men abroad, and with the unswerving cooperation of the Dominions far across the oceans and of our Empire in every quarter of the globe, it became clear last week that things had worked out pretty well and that the British Commonwealth and Empire stands more united and more effectively powerful than at any time in its long romantic history. Certainly, we were in a far better state to cope with the problems and perils of the future than we were five years ago.

For a while our prime enemy, our mighty enemy, Germany, overran almost all Europe. France, who bore such a frightful strain in the last great war was beaten to the ground and took some time to recover. The Low Countries, fighting to the best of their strength, were subjugated. Norway was overrun. Mussolini’s Italy stabbed us in the back when we were, as he thought, at our last gasp. But for ourselves, our lot, I mean the British Commonwealth and Empire, we were absolutely alone.

In July, August, and September, 1940, forty or fifty squadrons of British fighter aircraft broke the teeth of the German air fleet at odds of seven or eight to one in the Battle of Britain. Never before in the history of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. The name of Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding will ever be linked with this splendid event. But conjoined with the Royal Air Force lay the Royal Navy, ever ready to tear to pieces the barges, gathered from the canals of Holland and Belgium, in which an invading army could alone have been transported. I was never one to believe that the invasion of Britain would be an easy task. With the autumn storms, the immediate danger of invasion in 1940 had passed.

Then began the blitz, when Hitler said he would rub out our cities. This was borne without a word of complaint or the slightest signs of flinching, while a very large number of people-honor to them all-proved that London could take it and so could the other ravaged centers.

But the dawn of 1941 revealed us still in jeopardy. The hostile aircraft could fly across the approaches to our island, where 46,000,000 people had to import half their daily bread and all the materials they need for peace or war, from Brest to Norway in a single flight or back again, observing all the movements of our shipping in and out of the Clyde and Mersey and directing upon our convoys the large and increasing numbers of U-boats with which the enemy bespattered the Atlantic-the survivors or successors of which are now being collected in British harbors.

The sense of envelopment, which might at any moment turn to strangulation, lay heavy upon us. We had only the northwestern approach between Ulster and Scotland through which to bring in the means of life and to send out the forces of war. Owing to the action of Mr. de Valera, so much at variance with the temper and instinct of thousands of southern Irishmen, who hastened to the battlefront to prove their ancient valor, the approaches which the southern Irish ports and airfields could so easily have guarded were closed by the hostile aircraft and U-boats.

This was indeed a deadly moment in our life, and if it had not been for the loyalty and friendship of Northern Ireland we should have been forced to come to close quarters with Mr. de Valera or perish forever from the earth. However, with a restraint and poise to which, I say, history will find few parallels, we never laid a violent hand upon them, which at times would have been quite easy and quite natural, and left the de Valera Government to frolic with the German and later with the Japanese representatives to their heart’s content.

When I think of these days I think also of other episodes and personalities. I do not forget Lieutenant-Commander Esmonde, V.C., D.S.O., Lance-Corporal Keneally, V.C., Captain Fegen, V.C., and other Irish heroes that-I could easily recite, and all bitterness by Britain for the Irish race dies in my heart. I can only pray that in years which I shall not see the shame will be forgotten and the glories will endure, and that the peoples of the British Isles and of the British Commonwealth of Nations will walk together in mutual comprehension and forgiveness.

My friends, we will not forget the devotion of our merchant seamen, the vast, inventive, adaptive, all-embracing and, in the end, all-controlling power of the Royal Navy, with its ever more potent new ally, the air, which have kept the life-line open. We were able to breathe; we were able to live; we were able to strike. Dire deeds we had to do. The destruction or capture of the French fleet which, had it ever passed into German hands would, together with the Italian fleet, have perhaps enabled the German Navy to face us on the high seas. The dispatch to Wavell all round the Cape at our darkest hour, of tanks-practically all we had in the island-enabled us as far back as November, 1940, to defend Egypt against invasion and hurl back with the loss of a quarter of a million captives the Italian armies at whose tail Mussolini had planned a ride into Cairo or Alexandria.

Great anxiety was felt by President Roosevelt, and indeed by thinking men throughout the United States, about what would happen to us in the early part of 1941. This great President felt to the depth of his being that the destruction of Britain would not only be a fearful event in itself, but that it would expose to mortal danger the vast and as yet largely unarmed potentialities and future destiny of the United States.

He feared greatly that we should be invaded in that spring of 1941, and no doubt he had behind him military advice as good as any in the world, and he sent his recent Presidential opponent, Mr. Wendell Willkie, to me with a letter in which he had written in his own hand the famous lines of Longfellow, which I quoted in the House of Commons the other day:

Sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!

We were in a fairly tough condition by the early months of 1941 and felt very much better about ourselves than in the months immediately after the collapse of France. Our Dunkirk army and field force troops in Britain, almost a million strong, were nearly all equipped or re-equipped. We had ferried over the Atlantic a million rifles and a thousand cannon from the United States, with all their ammunition, since the previous June.

In our munition works, which were becoming very powerful, men and women had worked at their machines till they dropped senseless with fatigue. Nearly one million of men, growing to two millions at the peak, working all day had been formed into the Home Guard, armed at least with rifles and armed also with the spirit “Conquer or Die.”

Later in 1941, when we were still all alone, we sacrificed, to some extent unwillingly, our conquests of the winter in Cyrenaica and Libya in order to stand by Greece, and Greece will never forget how much we gave, albeit unavailingly, of the little we had. We did this for honor. We repressed the German-instigated rising in Iraq. We defended Palestine. With the assistance of General de Gaulle’s indomitable Free French we cleared Syria and the Lebanon of Vichyites and of German intrigue. And then in June, 1941, another tremendous world event occurred.

You have no doubt noticed in your reading of British history that we have sometimes had to hold out all alone, or to be the mainspring of coalitions, against a Continental tyrant or dictator for quite a long time-against the Spanish Armada, against the might of Louis XIV, when we led Europe for nearly twenty-five years under William III and Marlborough and 130 years ago, when Pitt, Wellington, and Nelson broke Napoleon, not without the assistance of the heroic Russians of 1812. In all these world wars our island kept the lead of Europe or else held out alone.

And if you hold out alone long enough there always comes a time when the tyrant makes some ghastly mistake which alters the whole balance of the struggle. On June 22, 1941, Hitler, master as he thought himself of all Europe, nay indeed soon to be, he thought, master of the world, treacherously, without warning, without the slightest provocation, hurled himself on Russia and came face to face with Marshal Stalin and the numberless millions of the Russian people. And then at the end of the year Japan struck her felon blow at the United States at Pearl Harbor, and at the same time attacked us in Malaya and at Singapore. Thereupon Hitler and Mussolini declared war on the republic of the United States.

Years have passed since then. Indeed every year seems to me almost a decade. But never since the United States entered the war have I had the slightest doubt but that we should be saved and that we had only to do our duty in order to win. We have played our part in all this process by which the evildoers have been overthrown. I hope I do not speak vain or boastful words. But from Alamein in October, 1942, through the Anglo-American invasion of North Africa, of Sicily and of-Italy, with the capture of Rome, we marched many miles and never knew defeat.

And then last year, after two years’ patient preparation and marvelous devices of amphibious warfare-in my view our scientists are not surpassed by any nation, specially when their thought is applied to naval matters-last year on June 6 we seized a carefully selected little toe of German-occupied France and poured millions in from this island and from across the Atlantic until the Seine, the Somme, and the Rhine all fell behind the advancing Anglo-American spearheads. France was liberated. She produced a fine Army of gallant men to aid her own liberation. Germany lay open.

And now from the other side, from the East, the mighty military achievements of the Russian people, always holding many more German troops on their front than we could do, rolled forward to meet us in the heart and center of Germany. At the same time in Italy Field-Marshal Alexander’s Army of so many nations, the largest part of which was British or British Empire, struck their final blow and compelled more than 1,000,000 enemy troops to surrender. This Fifteenth Army Group, as we call it, are now deep in Austria joining their right hand with the Russians and their left with the United States Armies under General Eisenhower’s command.

It happened that in three days we received the news of the unlamented departures of Mussolini and Hitler, and in three days also surrenders were made to Field-Marshal Alexander and Field-Marshal Montgomery of over 2,500,000 soldiers of this terrible warlike German Army.

I shall make it clear at this moment that we have never failed to recognize the immense superiority of the power used by the United States in the rescue of France and the defeat of Germany.

For our part we have had in action about one-third as many men as the Americans, but we have taken our full share of the fighting, as the scale of our losses shows. Our Navy has borne incomparably the heavier burden in the Atlantic Ocean, in the narrow seas and Arctic convoys to Russia, while the United States Navy has used its massive strength mainly against Japan. It is right and natural that we should extol the virtues and glorious services of our own most famous commanders, Alexander and Montgomery, neither of whom was ever defeated since they began together at Alamein, both of whom had conducted in Africa, in Italy, in Normandy and in Germany battles of the first magnitude and of decisive consequences. At the same time we know how great is our debt to the combining and unifying of the command and high strategic direction of General Eisenhower.

Here is the moment when I must pay my personal tribute to the British Chiefs of the Staff with whom I have worked in the closest intimacy throughout these hard years. There have been very few changes in this powerful and capable body of men who, sinking all Service differences and judging the problems of the war as a whole, have worked together in the closest harmony with each other. In Field-Marshal Brooke, Admiral Pound, Admiral Andrew Cunningham, and Marshal of the R.A.F. Portal a power was formed who deserved the highest honor in the direction of the whole British war strategy and its agreement with that of our Allies.

It may well be said that never have the forces of two nations fought side by side and intermingled into line of battle with so much unity, comradeship, and brotherhood as in the great Anglo-American army. Some people say, “Well, what would you expect, if both nations speak the same language and have the same outlook upon life with all its hope and glory.” Others may say, “It would be an ill day for all the world and for the pair of them if they did not go on working together and marching together and sailing together and flying together wherever something has to be done for the sake of freedom and fair play all over the world.”

There was one final danger from which the collapse of Germany has saved us. In London and the southeastern counties we have suffered for a year from various forms of flying bombs and rockets and our Air Force and our Ack-Ack Batteries have done wonders against them. In particular the Air Force, turned on in good time on what then seemed very slight and doubtful evidence, vastly hampered and vastly delayed all German preparations.

But it was only when our Armies cleaned up the coast and overran all the points of discharge, and when the Americans captured vast stores of rockets of all kinds near Leipzig, and when the preparations being made on the coasts of France and Holland could be examined in detail, that we knew how grave was the peril, not only from rockets and flying bombs but from multiple long-range artillery.

Only just in time did the Allied Armies blast the viper in his nest. Otherwise the autumn of 1944, to say nothing of 1945, might well have seen London as shattered as Berlin. For the same period the Germans had prepared a new U-boat fleet and novel tactics which, though we should have eventually destroyed them, might well have carried anti-U-boat warfare back to the high peak days of 1942. Therefore we must rejoice and give thanks not only for our preservation when we were all alone but for our timely deliverance from new suffering, new perils not easily to be measured.

I wish I could tell you tonight that all our toils and troubles were over. Then indeed I could end my five years’ service happily, and if you thought you had had enough of me and that I ought to be put out to grass, I assure you I would take it with the best of grace. But, on the contrary, I must warn you, as I did when I began this five years’ task-and no one knew then that it would last so long-that there is still a lot to do and that you must be prepared for further efforts of mind and body and further sacrifices to great causes if you are not to fall back into the rut of inertia, the confusion of aim, and the craven fear of being great. You must not weaken in any way in your alert and vigilant frame of mind, and though holiday rejoicing is necessary to the human spirit, yet it must add to the strength and resilience with which every man and woman turns again to the work they have to do, and also to the outlook and watch they have to keep on public affairs.

On the continent of Europe we have yet to make sure that the simple and honorable purposes for which we entered the war are not brushed aside or overlooked in the months following our success, and that the words freedom, democracy, and liberation are not distorted from their true meaning as we have understood them. There would be little use in punishing the Hitlerites for their crimes if law and justice did not rule, and if totalitarian or police governments were to take the place of the German invaders.

We seek nothing for ourselves. But we must make sure that those causes which we fought for find recognition at the peace table in facts as well as words, and above all we must labor that the world organization which the United Nations are creating at San Francisco, does not become an idle name; does not become a shield for the strong and a mockery for the weak. It is the victors who must search their hearts in their glowing hours and be worthy by their nobility of the immense forces that they wield.

We must never forget that beyond all lurks Japan, harassed and failing but still a people of a hundred millions, for whose warriors death has few terrors. I cannot tell you tonight how much time or what exertions will be required to compel them to make amends for their odious treachery and cruelty. We have received-like China so long undaunted-we have received horrible injuries from them ourselves, and we are bound by the ties of honor and fraternal loyalty to the United States to fight this great war at the other end of the world at their side without flagging or failing.

We must remember that Australia, New Zealand, and Canada were and are all directly menaced by this evil Power. They came to our aid in our dark times, and we must not leave unfinished any task which concerns their safety and their future. I told you hard things at the beginning of these last five years; you did not shrink, and I should be unworthy of your confidence and generosity if I did not still cry, “Forward, unflinching, unswerving, indomitable, till the whole task is done and the whole world is safe and clean.”

U.S. Navy Department (May 14, 1945)

Communiqué No. 597

The YMS-103 has been lost in the Okinawa area as the result of enemy action. The next of kin of casualties have been informed.

CINCPOA Communiqué No. 362

About 35 enemy aircraft in three groups attacked our ships off the coast of Okinawa on the evening of May 13 (East Longitude Date) causing some damage to two light units. Twenty-five of the planes were shot down, one of our destroyers accounting for eight aircraft. Early in the morning of May 14, a few planes dropped bombs ashore on Okinawa but failed to damage any installations.

On the afternoon of May 13, two rifle companies of the 96th Infantry Division reached the summit of Conical Hill, 2,500 yards east of Shuri, holding the position despite a Japanese counterattack. The 383rd Infantry Regiment of the 96th Division completed capture of the hill on May 14. Domination of this high ground permitted our left flank to advance 2,400 yards southward along the East Coast bringing Yonabaru airstrip into our possession. In other sectors of the line, advances were limited generally to 100 to 200 yards as troops of the Tenth Army met stiff opposition. The ground forces were supported by heavy gunfire from ships of the Pacific Fleet and by bombing and strafing attacks on enemy positions by carrier aircraft and planes of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Since April 1, our forces on Okinawa have captured or destroyed 388 enemy guns of 70-millimeter caliber or larger.

Several groups of enemy aircraft made a series of attacks on the Fast Carrier Task Forces of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during the morning of May 14, causing some damage to one major unit. Preliminary reports show that 21 enemy planes were shot down by combat air patrols and ships’ gunfire.

Carrier aircraft of the British Pacific Fleet bombed the airfields on Miyako in the Sakishima Group on May 12 and 13, and struck buildings, dumps and barges at Hirara Town where a large oil fire and a number of smaller fires were started. Two aircraft were destroyed on the ground during these attacks.

Search Privateers of Fleet Air Wing One sank a small oiler, a medium freighter, and a small freighter transport in the waters around Korea on May 13. A medium freighter transport was damaged and left burning. From the beginning of operations in the Okinawa Area to May 13, inclusive, search planes of this Wing have sunk 71,900 tons of enemy shipping, damaged 70,160 tons and destroyed six aircraft. The unit has suffered combat losses of three aircraft from which all personnel were rescued.

FlAirWing Eighteen aircraft damaged five small cargo ships, a lugger and a fishing craft south of Honshu on May 13. In low-level attacks along the coast of Southwestern Honshu, our search planes halted two trains with strafing and rocket attacks and damaged a number of buildings.

Fourth MarAirWing planes bombed targets in the Marshalls on May 13 and attacked military installations in the Palaus and on Yap on the following day. Search planes of FlAirWing Two continued neutralizing attacks in the Marshalls and bombed Ponape in the Carolines on May 13.

The Pittsburgh Press (May 14, 1945)

Early trials for Goering, Doenitz urged

Allies charge Himmler with mass slayings

B-29 burn Jap plane center

Fliers rain 3,500 tons on Nagoya – U.S. troops stalled on Okinawa
By the United Press

Col. Gabreski freed from Nazis

One of foremost air aces liberated

Nazi says ‘let’s shake like after football match’

Tank expert Guderian sounds off for soft peace, tells how Germany could have won
By Jack Fleischer, United Press staff writer

2 AP men sent back to U.S. because of peace ‘scoop’

SHAEF accused Kennedy of ‘deliberately’ violating trusty imposed in him

Eisenhower hits coddling of Nazis

Bans treatment as ‘friendly enemies’

Thousands hail war heroes in bond parade

City’s biggest march opens 7th Loan Drive

Gay white way

By Florence Fisher Parry

‘Average man’ is main target in loan drive

His E-bond quota is increased 25%

Bond buying shortens war, general reminds

Helen Gahagan here to speak –
Germany called indigestible lump in stomach of world

Punish al Nazis, Congresswoman says

May speed auto making –
Cutbacks give Detroit ample labor supply

Area to be put in surplus group soon

Danger spots may slow into reconversion

**Steel situation not clear to WPB*8
By Charles T. Lucey, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Perkins: War firmly establishes practice of paid vacations

82% of hourly workers get them, mostly through WLB ‘fringe’ adjustments
By Fred W. Perkins, Pittsburgh Press staff writer