Election 1944: Anti-fourth-term sentiment reflected in G.I.s’ letter (9-15-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 15, 1944)


Anti-fourth-term sentiment reflected in G.I.s’ letter

Hershey’s plan to keep Army mobilized ridiculed as his ‘latest morale booster

Washington –
Despite Democratic reports to the contrary, some overseas soldiers are not going to vote for a fourth term, Rep. John Jennings (R-TN) predicted today in making public a letter he received, ridiculing the Hershey plan to keep the Army mobilized after Germany is defeated.

The letter was dated Aug. 23 and addressed from “somewhere in Europe.” It was signed by 10 enlisted men privates, corporals and sergeants. Two are from Tennessee, one being from Mr. Jennings’ hometown of Knoxville.

The letter said:

Everywhere in the bloodstained hedgerows of France, the foxholes of Italy, the damp darkness of the jungle and in the shrapnel-torn skies of the world, tired, grim American soldiers stood up to cheer the latest morale booster of our beloved friend, Maj. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey. I quote from The Stars and Stripes of Aug. 23, 1944:

We can keep people in the Army about as cheaply as we could create an agency for them when they are out.

Right now, we think that Gen. Hershey could be voted the man with whom we should like most to share a slit-trench in the frontlines, for we believe him to be a man of vision; a man of understanding, especially of the wants, hopes and dreams of the common soldier.

It is this keen understanding, and the General’s well-known ability of expression and timing that will swing President Roosevelt back into the White House with the certain vote of every mother, father, sweetheart and wife who has a man serving overseas. That is why I urge you to support Mr. Roosevelt – he has such men around him to guide and counsel him in his moments of decision.

As you can see, I can hardly control my enthusiasm, for we love it here and will love it even more so after the war is won. We love the simple life of ease and quiet dignity, far from the clamor and turmoil of America and home.

Our only wish is that we can have an end to this dreadful talk of demobilization, that awful specter of returning home over the storm-tossed waters of the gray Atlantic. We want to stay here forever and forever among our pleasant European friends (Yeah, friends).

We are certain that none of us would ever consider returning home to America and taking work away from the poor fellows who have so nobly stood up under the strains of gasoline rationing, cuffless trousers and union scales. Never, not in a thousand years! And we know that they feel pretty much the same way about us, for they would never deprive us of the wonderful opportunity we now have here. Never, not in a thousand years would they come over here and take away our work.

They are content with their work-a-day world, and dull evenings at home with wives and children. Indeed, we are grateful to note in Fortune Magazine’s poll that some 44 percent of the folks back home have swung around to the General’s point of view and are unwilling to have us begin our reluctant trek home.

In fact, we have heard several soldiers state that they wish to have a list of those persons in that 44 percent of which Fortune Magazine writes, so that we could send them an old unexploded hand grenade or some nice unused mustard gas.