The Pittsburgh Press (December 12, 1943)
Analyst says fight left in enemy must not be underestimated
By Carroll Binder
Although the conferences of the past few months – Québec, Moscow, Cairo and Tehran – have expedited as well as assured defeat of both Germany and Japan, it would be a grave mistake to underestimate the fight still left in the enemy and the enormity of the effort and the sacrifice which must yet be made to achieve victory.
The Chicago Daily News Foreign Service correspondents in all of the fighting areas were asked to estimate the duration of the war this week. The earliest that any of them believed Germany could be defeated is the summer of 1944.
Several thought it would take until autumn to defeat Germany, one until a year from now. No one believed Japan could be defeated before 1945 and one correspondent, fresh from the Battle of the Gilberts, thought it might take as long as 1949 to defeat Japan if Russia does not join in the war against Japan after Germany is defeated.
Hardest fighting ahead
Prime Minister Churchill and Prime Minister Smuts of South Africa envisaged the defeat of Germany in 1944, but warned, as did Secretary of War Stimson, that the hardest fighting of the war and the heaviest casualty lists lie ahead.
Every American would like to know the nature of the military operations agreed upon at Tehran and Cairo and no patriotic American would like the enemy to know what to prepare for.
The enemy, however, has his own ideas of what we are up to and freely tells the world what to expect.
Having no knowledge of what is actually planned and therefore being free to make deductions from published reports, I set forth some tentative impressions subject to revision in the light of fuller information.
I expect to see a large-scale winter offensive in Russia when the mud hardens and the rivers and marshes freeze in the central and southern battle zones. The Germans, however, are fighting on shortened lines and enjoy undisrupted communications lines over territory systematically damaged by the retreating Germans.
It may be assumed that the air warfare will be continued with maximum force against German industries, communications and key cities.
Rome airfields objective
We will continue to fight our way north in Italy at least until we gain mastery of the airfields beyond Rome which will enable us to bomb those portions of German-occupied Rome not easily accessible from Africa or the United Kingdom. I doubt if Italy will be one of our major military operations.
We will continue our combined air and sea warfare against the U-boat so as to keep the seas free for our ships supplying our Allies and our forces and the use of our steadily expanding naval power wherever it will do most injury to the enemy. Our merchant vessel losses from U-boats in November were lower than for any month since May 1940.
We will continue assisting the guerrillas in Yugoslavia, Greece and wherever else patriots fight the Germans so as to make the turbulent Balkans increasingly difficult for the Germans to contain.
Bulk for Partisans
Inasmuch as the Partisan forces of Yugoslavia headed by Marshal Tito (Josip Broz) and estimated by the British to number 200,000 men are putting the most formidable resistance against the Germans. Great Britain and the United States, it was officially announced this week, will give the bulk of their military assistance to the Partisans.
What military operations will be undertaken in the Balkans by British or American armies in the near future may in part be contingent on Germany’s reaction to Turkey’s public rapprochement to Great Britain and the United States this week.
On Nov. 20, I suggested that the Moscow Conference could hardly have succeeded without American and British assurances of an early attack on Germany in Western Europe. Last week, overimpressed by the possible deterrent influence upon Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill of the risks and losses inherent in an attack upon Germany in Western Europe while German morale remains strong and German capacity to resist is so great, I ventured the opinion that such an attack might not be made for “many months.”
In the light of what I have read since then, I think the Nov. 20 viewpoint was the sounder one. The invasion is likely to take place a few months hence rather than many months hence.