Election 1944: Letters from readers (post-convention)

Soldiers’ ballots easily obtained

To the editor: I am an American citizen residing in New York City. From time to time I pass through Washington and see a copy of The Star, my favorite paper in your city.

Recently, I have been outraged several times by the specious propaganda for the New Deal which Lowell Mellett is selling you under the guise of a column called On the Other Hand. But I have failed to protest against his absurdities, inaccuracies and sins of commission or omission.

However, I cannot let his column of August 17 pass without branding it a falsehood, when he states that: “Mr. Dewey has simply made voting so hard for any New York citizen serving his country overseas that very few of them are expected to vote.”

Ballots for the use of servicemen can be obtained with the greatest ease by any relative or friend. I sent my son one so long ago that I can’t remember even what month it was. If the serviceman doesn’t use his ballot, is that Mr. Dewey’s fault? How about the millions of citizens living in the United States who fail every election to exercise their right to vote? Is that also Dewey’s fault?

I, following my ancestors, voted the Democratic ticket year after year, but this year, as Mr. Dewey stands for most of the things which my old Democratic party used to stand for, I shall take pleasure in adding my humble ballot to the millions who once more will elect an American, and chase all the foreign political theorists of the New Deal back where they came from.


Raises question of politics

To the editor: The President’s announcement at this time that Allied troops will occupy Germany even after she surrenders unconditionally seems designed to increase the desperation of the Germans and to prolong the war. The slogan of “unconditional surrender” tends in the same direction, could it be that the New Deal is hoping to prolong the German resistance until after the election in order to insure a fourth term for Mr. Roosevelt? In the last war President Wilson offered his fourteen points and the Germans were glad to surrender as soon as they were convinced that they were losing the war. In this war politics seems to be of more importance than American lives.


Compares Dewey and Welles

To the editor: The writer thought that “Mr. Dewey and the Peace” was very well put, sanely written, without hysteria.

There is no reason for any Democrat to fly off the handle when some Republican speaks. Mr. Dewey’s well-chosen remarks of a few days ago, it would seem, are not very far from those of Sumner Welles in his “Time for Decision.”

This might be a good time for the Democrats to stand by Mr. Welles, lest the more erudite opposition, generally mentally more alert than the Democratic brethren, start standing with Mr. Welles – hand in hand!

J. G.

The Evening Star (August 24, 1944)

‘Futile’ campaign for suffrage commended by soldier

To the editor: I have never forgotten, nor do I think I ever will, your futile but stirring cartoons and editorials lamenting the politically impotent state of native Washingtonians and demanding the just rights due them under section 1 of the 14th amendment. The inclosed card merely echoes your cry.

May the future generations of our Capital city echo louder and louder the same cry until the plea becomes as overwhelming an issue to the American people as the current political controversy.

Somewhere in the Southwest Pacific

EDITOR’S NOTE: The enclosure which Cpl. Jacobs refers is his official election war ballot, futilely mailed to the “Secretary of State of the District of Columbia.”

A word to the columnists

To the editor: It is very interesting to note how many of the columnists, known to be anti-New Deal, are able to interpret with such authority the intent and meaning of New Deal policies and legislation passed by the Congress. But, when certain Government agencies make interpretations or rulings on laws passed by Congress, these same columnists take the attitude that the person responsible for the interpretation is a fool or is making the interpretation to further the administration’s chances of success in the forthcoming election. If these gentlemen did not practice this procedure so consistently, their motives might not be so apparent to American voters.


The Pittsburgh Press (August 26, 1944)

Two-party system vital to democracy

To the editor: A young man recently wrote a letter to you endorsing the CIO Political Action Committee as a fine way to elect our next President in preference to the Pew and Grundy and other kindred methods. First, as this is the young man’s first opportunity to vote for a President of the United States, he is to be commended for his interest in the coming election.

I take no issue with this young man as to whether the PAC is better or worse than any of the various ways used to finance political campaigns. As long as the American voter is free to vote for whomever he chooses and fears not intimidation or coercion from any one in making this choice, we shall continue to “elect” our President in spite of all slush fund collection methods.

But the thought occurred to me as I read the last paragraph of this young man’s letter, that the millions of young men and women voting for the first time for President are in a position never before experienced by first-time voters for this high office. We have had the same President since they were nine or 10 years of age. To them the name Roosevelt is synonymous with the word President. The only other President they can possibly recollect was a man named Hoover, and rarely do they hear anyone say a good word about him. Their task of deciding how to vote is fat more difficult than that of their elders.

So young voter, in your zeal not “to relinquish the gains amassed in the last 12 years,” be certain you do not toss away those gains of the previous 156 years. Even in 1932, we had come a good part of the way since 1776. Many of your elders, because of present individual political or financial advantages gained during the past 12 years, will be loathe to part with them and certainly can be expected to place personal again ahead of country. They know how to vote and how to tell others.

Death comes daily to many American men on all the battlefronts throughout the world. For what are they fighting and sacrificing their lives? Certainly, we shall hang our heads in shame if it is for anything less than the complete preservation of our American democracy. Not just a part of it, but all of it. For our forefathers too, deserve some credit. They fought wars, pioneered, experienced good times and bad, and worked to build a strong and secure America for their children. Under the inept tutelage of Presidents of both parties, who never served for more than eight years, America became the greatest nation on earth and the mecca of all the oppressed throughout the world.

Our two-party system is the surest way of keeping our democratic way of life. But when one-man rule becomes more powerful than either party, the balance-wheel is useless and democracy itself is threatened. America will vote again for its President in November in spite of being in the midst of a terrible war. We must make sure it really is an election and not a sham. We must keep faith with those who are fighting and dying for us. We must forget what our personal greed dictates. And we must, on election day, permit our intellects to be served by what Washington called “that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”

103 Heathmore Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

There’ll be no parole for Hitler’s gang

To the editor: The Republicans at their convention in Chicago were for a lasting peace, as were the Democrats. The men who are dighting and giving their lives are also thinking of a lasting peace. The mothers, fathers, brothers and siters are hoping and praying for it.

The best way to get it is to make Hitler and his gang pay with their lives for the thousands of our boys’ lives they are responsible for. No parole this time for that gang.

417 N Graham St., Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (August 28, 1944)

GOP forgets ‘hungry years,’ he contends

To the editor: The Republican press and the Republican soapbox orators are kept so busy defending the innocents of the Republican Party that today that party has all the symptoms of a scarecrow that has just been hit by an old-fashioned Kansas cyclone. The ideologies of the Republican spellbinders are as elusive as the winning card in a three-card monte game, and as balmy and as full of imagination as the leading character in a “nut house” mutiny.

Republican spellbinders are constantly attacking the New Deal. They seem to forget the hungry years prior to the advent of the New Deal when we had the most tragic depression this country had ever experienced – and under a Republican administration. Poverty and destitution were the uninvited guests in the homes of 40 million American citizens; a bottomless market and thousands of banks with closed doors; breadlines and soup houses were about the only enterprises open for business. And yet Republican spellbinders have the nerve to say to the American people: “Let us do it.”

Then along came the New Deal and saved our system of private enterprise, stabilized industry and finance, paralyzed the arm of poverty and strengthened the arm of plenty, fed the hungry and clothed the poor. And we have had prosperity ever since, regardless of the whining of the anti-New Dealers and Republican spellbinders.

It is quite a distance from Washington to Hawaii, but Roosevelt covered the distance with a hop, step and jump. Page Dewey.

735 N Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

Campaign poster draws protest

To the editor: On my way to work the other say I was slightly shocked at the sight of a political campaign poster which proclaimed as follows: “This is your country. Why let Sidney hillman run it? Vote for Dewey and Bricker.”

This warning brought back the memories of the 1928 campaign in which we were presented with that “grass-will-grow-in-the-streets” masterpiece. As between the two samples of political advertising. I think I prefer the 1928 installment because, although vicious, it was a direct attack, whereas the 1944 election has all the earmarks of a stab in the back. And not Mr. Hillman’s back, either.

I doubt whether Mr. Dewey was consulted on the above poster. I cannot believe that either he or the responsible Republican leaders would stoop to such cheap trickery. If, however, this is in line with the Republican campaign policy, then the poster betrays defeatism because a fighter does not usually resort to a foul if he is confident of victory.

It is not the purpose of this letter to praise or condemn Mr. Hillman and the type of organization he heads. There undoubtedly exists a difference of opinion on the role of labor in politics. But on one subject the American people are unanimous and that is in their aversion to hitting below the belt.

2108 Murray Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

Socialism theories won’t work, he says

To the editor: A number of Socialists, parlor pinks, and just plain Reds have been yelling, “Down with capitalism,” in the Letters Column.

There is only one question in my mind concerning the scheme of production for use but without any profit: How are the leaders of industry to be selected? Will they be elected or appointed? What kind of industrial efficiency would be obtained by an industrialist elected in Hague-controlled Jersey City? Or would Madame Perkins be appointed president of U.S. Steel?

Capitalism is a plan by which the industrious and diligent members of society are automatically rewarded by society, each in accordance with his just due. Capitalism supports but does not pamper the laggards. Capitalism produces greater efficiency in industry, with more and better goods for the use of all, as we all well know. Capitalism has a 150-year record of success in this country. Socialism has often been tried but always wound up as a dictatorship.

If Socialism can offer anything more than catchphrases to excuse its poor past record, let’s hear the details of the plan.

6418 Jackson St., Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (August 29, 1944)

No reason for any curb on G.I.s’ reading

To the editor: An amendment to the recent Taft-inspired law, placing restrictions on just what servicemen should read, and what movies were fit to be seen, introduced by Senators Scott W. Lucas and Theodore Green, both Democrats, leaves the constitutional rights of our servicemen just about where they were before. The amendment was signed by the President and states that servicemen may:

“Read all general publications available to civilians which are not obviously political and designed to influence the coming elections.” With the period after the word “civilians” this might have meant something.

It is also stipulated that the serviceman can see “nearly all movies.”

Anybody with enough sense to come in out of the rain realizes there should be no qualification whatever as to what our servicemen read or the kind of movie which they should see.

As I see it, the freedom of the American soldiers and sailors anywhere to read anything they please and see any picturized or physical entertainment they please, presented in a reputable manner, is bound up indirectly with the freedom of the press here at home.

Although we at present enjoy perfect freedom of the press here at home, there are powerful, subversive interests within our shores who would control the dissemination of truth by our patriotic newspapers if they could.

And if any untraveled American of high or low degree, thinks there is a similar freedom of an undiluted nature anywhere else on this troubled earth – he is very sadly misinformed.

2851 Bedford Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (August 31, 1944)

President is not a strategist, he says

To the editor: Why all this ballyhoo being put in the newspapers for President Roosevelt being Commander-in-Chief? True, he is the titular head of the armed forces but as Al Smith said, let us look at the record:

Only several times has the President assumed command of the Army or Navy. Recently he issued one of his “directives” to the Philadelphia Co. transit workers, who threatened more violence and bloodshed than had been seen in America since the Detroit race riots. Then some time ago, in the spring, he used the Army for seizure.

However, “on the other hand,” as one of your New Deal writers says, again let us look at the record – the record of the regular admirals and generals. They have done a great job of commanding in this war and should be let alone by the President. Not one of them has done anything worse than slap one soldier and the general who did that has redeemed himself many times over in France.

About this point some people would say, “Look at the social gains we’ve made in the past 12 years!” To answer this would refer them to the letter by Gaylord Yost in The Press of August 17, under the heading, “President Opposed Social Security, He Says.”

The Republican candidate for President has already pledged himself, if elected, to stay out of the planning of military strategy and command of the services.

Bedford, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (September 1, 1944)

Change in electoral votes explained

To the editor: Will you kindly clarify the electoral vote situation for me?

According to the list of states in the recent Gallup Poll in The Press, Mr. Roosevelt led in these states with these electoral votes: Florida 8, Tennessee 12, North Carolina 14, Arizona 4, New Mexico 4, California 25, Massachusetts 16, Pennsylvania 35 and Oklahoma 10.

According to The World Almanac, the electoral votes in those states should be Florida 7, Tennessee 11, North Carolina 13, Arizona 3, New Mexico 3, California 22, Massachusetts 17, Pennsylvania 36 and Oklahoma 10.

In another group of seven states in which Mr. Dewey leads, the Gallup Poll and World Almanac figures also differ.

If the World Almanac figures are correct, then the Gallup Poll should give Mr. Roosevelt a total of 281 instead of 286, and Mr. Dewey a total of 250 instead of 245.

206 Gerry Dr., Pittsburgh, PA

EDITOR’S NOTE: Both sets of figures are correct, but only the figures used by the Gallup Poll apply in the 1944 election. The latest electoral vote figures in The World Almanac are those for the 1940 election, but since then, reapportionment of the states, on the basis of the 1940 census, has changed the electoral votes in some states. Each state’s electoral vote is equal to the number of its U.S. Senators and Representatives. For example, Pennsylvania, on the basis of the 1930 census, had 34 Representatives and two Senators, hence 36 electoral votes through the 1940 election. Since the census of 1940, however, the number of Representatives was cut to 33, effective with the 1942 Congressional election. Now Pennsylvania has 35 electoral votes.

‘We must be about our country’s business’

To the editor: Let’s concede that President Roosevelt has done a swell job – and we admitted him and Mrs. Roosevelt tremendously. But we must be about our country’s business.

It’s just not a one-man job. Down through history wiser heads than ours decreed that three terms were too many. So now let us give Governor Dewey a chance to show whether “youth” or “age” has “what it takes” to carry on from here.

Party politics do not interest me. It’s the right man in the right job that counts.

1014 Manor Rd., New Kensington, PA

‘G.I. Joe may have voting relatives’

To the editor: The ban on books, newspapers, magazines and movies placed on our stalwart friend, G.I. Joe, by the senatorial clown from Ohio and his colleagues of the same political stripe is of doubtful value. Possibly a more effective measure would be to chloroform G.I. Joe’s relatives early in November and keep them “under” until the polls close.

It is conceivable that a “guy who’s smart enough to lick Hitler’s finest” may have relatives of voting age who are not so dumb as the authors of the stupid ban.

341 S Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (September 2, 1944)

Roosevelts have faith, hope and charity

To the editor: Criticize as you wish our First Lady, but her August 24 My Day column is definitely realistic as there is a God above us.

Our President and the First Lady have opposition but they also have faith, hope and charity. Their goodness shall burn in the hearts of their opposers.

8531 Frankstown Rd., Wilkinsburg, PA

‘We don’t want bank failures again’

To the editor: Now that President Roosevelt has accepted the nomination for re-election, it sure is a blessing to the working man, small business and the nation in general. We can rest assured that we are heading for a streamlined nation which will be invincible. That is what the American people want and will get under President Roosevelt.

We all know that the working man has more money today than ever, and did have more at all times under Mr. Roosevelt. We know that the national income must be kept up and this can only be done by keeping the little fellow working and money in his pocket so that he can pay taxes and live comfortable.

We don’t want bank failures again. We don’t care for bread lines. We wouldn’t want unemployment as was experienced under President Hoover. Let’s not have a repetition of it all over again. I don’t believe the people have forgotten the days before Mr. Roosevelt.

The above is food for thought now before it is too late. Let’s reelect Mr. Roosevelt because he is already tried and this is no time to experiment with old obsolete machinery which has broken down many times.

Of course, Mr. Roosevelt made mistakes. Who hasn’t? The only people who do not make mistakes are the dead ones. Mistakes will always be made, but Mr. Roosevelt certainly has to his credit a wealth of good points. Points that put this nation on its feet.

Charleroi, PA

Trade him in – but not until war’s over

To the editor: As is known, Mr. Roosevelt has held the office of President for nearly 12 years and I hope to see him serve another term. Not because I think a President should serve four terms, but since Mr. Roosevelt was in office at the beginning of the war, I think he should stay there until the end of the war, which I hope will be soon.

Mr. Roosevelt’s opponent is Mr. Dewey. I believe Mr. Dewey will make a good President in peacetime, but I think not in the time of this war. I believe that Mr. Dewey doesn’t know as much as Mr. Roosevelt does about winning this war.

I think that the office of President is similar to buying a new car, except Presidents are not bought but elected. For example: A man has a car that has gone a few hundred thousand of miles, is out of date and does not work as well as the newer models.

Mr. Roosevelt has done a great deal of traveling as President – going to conferences all over the world. He is an old man in his late sixties. I do hope that after the war, if he is still in office or when his term is up, that the people will trade him in for a new President.

1201 Pine Way, Braddock, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (September 4, 1944)

More study of history needed by many of us

To the editor: There is an amazing ignorance of history being shown in this campaign.

H. L. Pierce, after quoting an 1893 reference from an encyclopedia, says, “It was then that the panic broke.” The fact of history is that “the panic broke” in the summer of 1892 when Harrison was running for re-election. The McKinley bill has raised the tariff, but the owners of the Homestead mill tried to reduce wages 15 percent and the workers went on a strike against the reduction. The company put strike-breakers in the mill. Fearing for the safety of the strike-breakers, the company called on the Governor for protection. The Governor sent the militia, which watched the mill for several weeks.

The panic defeated Harrison and Cleveland inherited it. Secretary Foster had plates ordered for a bond issue, but when Harrison was defeated they held off and let Cleveland issue the bonds so he got the blame for the panic.

In advocating the two-term tradition Mr. Pierce said, “All our Presidents until 1940 have respected the tradition except General Grant.” The fact of history is that the majority of the Republicans set the precedent by voting for a third term in 1912, which was 28 years before 1940. Teddy Roosevelt ran for a third term as a Progressive Republican on a third party ticket.

The Republicans divided thus: Roosevelt, 4,119,507; Taft, 3,484,956. Mr. Roosevelt carried California, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Washington and had 88 electors; Mr. Taft carried Utah and Vermont and had eight electors. In Pennsylvania, the vote was: Roosevelt, 444,894; Wilson, 395,637; Taft, 273,360.

More history study is needed by many of us.

Rd 1, Ford City, PA

‘Let’s quit this yelling and striking’

To the editor: Yes, I think God must have loved America; the way this nation and her people have been protected through this terrible destruction of war so far. And how much do two-thirds of the people appreciate what has and is being done for their safety?

On Sunday morning we go to church and find half the pews empty. But go out to an amusement park, baseball game or a show – you don’t have elbow room. The people have no respect for either God or man. Then they wonder why we are in this awful war.

I certainly agree with Lt. Terry Herriott of the U.S. Army Air Corps, Pvt. Anthony Schoener of the U.S. Army, and Elaine Hobe of Verona in their letters, headed. “Man! Let’s Win It, Veteran Pleads,” “Soldier Asks Church to Insure Peace” and “He’s Still Crossing that Stream.”

To win this war, every man and woman here at home must do their part or it isn’t too late to lose. The boys on the battlefields can’t do it all. Why must these so-called men call a strike every hour in the day just because some little thing displeases them when every moment in the day some dear boy is dying or suffering the agonies of hell out on the battlefield for such stiff necks? If the soldiers were to call a sit-down strike because they didn’t like to wade through blood and mud where would we be today?

As for our good President Roosevelt ever being stuck in the middle of the stream, he has been in some pretty deep water for the past 12 years and always has come out with flying colors. He is the finest and most noble man who has ever been in the White House and I hope and pray he will be President another four years.

As for Governor Dewey, I think his hat fits a little tight now, but by November it will fit quite well.

As the wife of a soldier of World War I, who knows what our boys are going through in the battlefields, and a mother of a soldier boy in World War II, I hope there are a few Americans yet who feel as I do towards these slackers who are always calling a strike.

I say, please, as good Americans, let’s quit this yelling and striking, and work harder than ever before to supply all the needs of our soldier boys and thank God for the protection we have had and pray more and more for a speedy victory so that the boys will soon be home again.

West Monterey, PA