Editorial: 800,000 U.S. troops abroad precursors of Axis disaster (11-7-42)

Brooklyn Eagle (November 7, 1942)

Editorial: 800,000 U.S. troops abroad precursors of Axis disaster

An announcement by Gen. Marshall that American Army forces overseas now number 800,000 stimulates speculation as to military developments in 1943, which now lies only two months in the distance, and which, there is increasing reason to believe, will be the climactic year of the war. This confident expectation has its source principally in developments of the year now drawing to a close – a year which, while marked by Japan’s formal appearance as one of the working partners of the Axis alliance, has nevertheless produced evidence that Germany, the keystone of Axis strength, has lost that irresistible quality so tragically apparent in her earlier military endeavors, and from this point on will be hard-pressed to hold her gains.

This closing year, accordingly, has been one of great achievement made possible by the heroic and resourceful resistance of the Russians, by the initiative taken by the British in North Africa and by American production, which, in spite of shortcomings, has been a factor of incalculable value in sustaining military operations on all fronts. But in the coming year, Gen. Marshall’s report indicates, the role of the United States will be of an altered character, one which will involve not only the further development of the nation’s status as the arsenal of democracy but also the participation in what will probably be the final phase of the war.

The presence of 800,000 American soldiers at overseas stations cannot in itself be accepted as a sign that this country is at this hour prepared for its part in a great offensive. When the front covers a great stretch of the globe, the concentration of troops at any one point cannot be of the proportions required for decisive action. But the number is growing swiftly and within a few more months, there will be available the forces required to strike effectively in Europe and in the Pacific.

For the present, it is heartening to know that enemies, rampant when in the full flush of their power, have been stopped that they are being drained of a material measure of their strength and that their spirit, once so confident, is suffering from the deliberating effects of doubts and misgivings.

Now that three years of war have passed without the attainment of the promised victory, it seems reasonable to assume that the German mind should recall with increasing fear the many and ominous parallels between the situation today and that of 24 years ago, when, just when Hindenburg and Ludendorff seemed on the threshold of conquest, fresh young troops began to appear upon the scene as precursors of disasters.

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