Two years of war (12-7-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (December 7, 1943)

Background of news –
Two years of war

By Bertram Benedict, editorial research reports

In two years of war, the United States, with its allies, has come from defeat and retreat to full victory over Italy, and to almost imminent anticipation of victory over Germany, which probably will have been achieved before this time next year. The defeat of Japan may take at least two more years.

Bernard Covit, a correspondent recently returned on the Gripsholm after almost 18 months of internment in Japan, warns the United States not to expect final victory over Japan until after three more years, possibly five – unless the Soviet Union enters the war against Japan.

Gen. Marshall, in his report on the U.S. Army from July 1, 1941, to June 30, 1943, places the high tide of Japanese conquest in the Southwest Pacific at the time of the Battle of the Coral Sea, May 7-11, 1942, five months after Pearl Harbor. Less than a month later, a Japanese advance on Midway Island was decisively thrown back. Gen. Marshall reports:

The battles of the Coral Sea and Midway restored the balance of sea power in the Pacific to the United States… The enemy offensive had definitely been checked.

U.S. gains initiative

With the landing on Guadalcanal and Florida Islands on Aug. 7, 1942 – eight months after Pearl Harbor – the United States took the offensive in the Pacific. On May 30, the British had opened their large-scale air offensive on Germany with the heavy bombardment of Cologne.

By August 1942, Rommel’s drive on Egypt had been stopped. On Oct. 23, 1942, the British 8th Army opened its decisive offensive in North Africa; from Nov. 8-11, U.S. forces, with British and Fighting French aid, opened their offensive in Northwest Africa.

Before the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the Russian armies had stopped the German invaders at Stalingrad, and had taken the offensive which still continues, and which has regained about 80% of the Russian territory occupied by the Germans since 1941.

At the time of Pearl Harbor, the Army and Navy of the United States had a strength of about 2.5 million men. Two years later, the number has increased more than fourfold, to about 10.5 million.

In two years (up to Dec. 2, 1943, not including 1,092 deaths in the recent Gilbert Islands occupation), the deaths from battle were 27,481. In the 200 days of actual combat in the 19 months of American participation in World War I, the deaths from hostilities were almost twice as great – 50,300.

One-third as many wounded

The wounded and missing in action in the first two years of the present war number 71,846 (up to Dec. 2 last, not including 2,680 wounded in the Gilberts). In the 200 days of actual combat in World War I, American wounded numbered 206,000. The Armed Forces in the present war also have had 27,642 taken prisoner.

At home, the cost of living for wage-earners rose about 15%. In food alone, the rise was about 25%.

At the time of Pearl Harbor, the national debt was $55 billion. Two years later, it is around $175 billion, over three times as high.

On Dec. 7, 1941, the national income paid out was at the annual rate of $106 billion; on Dec. 7, 1943, it was at the rate of $155 billion.

The actual cost of war operations over two years has been $127 billion, although some of the non-war expenditures has been undoubtedly due to war. The first two years in World War I cost the United States $22 billion.