03 January, 2012

03 January 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
3 January, 1945       1040

Dearest sweetheart –

I couldn’t write either you or the folks yesterday so don’t keep on the look out for a letter postmarked 2 January, dear.


I didn’t get very far that time – so I’ll try again. We were pretty busy yesterday and not only that interfered. I’m now writing this in a small room which is sleeping and living quarters for four of us and which ordinarily would be just enough for a small bedroom. We got settled here last night, amidst slippery roads, snow, sleet, ice and frost. What a war! What a war! But we’re managing one way or another and it could be worse. The turkey which we were supposed to have New Year’s – I think we’ll finally have tonite. The kitchen crew just hasn’t had time enough to get them roasted – so they’ve been lugging them along.

I wonder how the news must sound to you at home, dear. We read in the Stars and Stripes that news of the breakthrough came as a shock and that War Mobilizer Byrnes is doing this and that. Over here – we feel it’s about time. There doesn’t seem to be any doubt that things were just sliding along in the States and that a good bit of available men – just managed to stay out of the Army. The difference in Germany has been that everyone is in the Army or doing something to help the Army. That’s why Germany has managed not only to hang on – but to fight back. She has her old men and young boys holding the line in less important spots and her soldiers concentrated where they can do the most damage. This is purely my own opinion, but I think we can use a bigger Army if we hope to get anywhere. The enemy is just not going to quit – he has to be whipped and we need a lot of soldiers for that job. I suppose I sound like a gloomy gus. I don’t mean to, darling, but that’s the way it appears to me at this point.

Well – to change to a more pleasant subject, sweetheart, I got two letters from you, enfin, day before yesterday; one was written 17 Nov, and the other – my most recent from you – was dated 9 December. I also got a swell letter from Dad B and knowing he doesn’t like to write, I appreciated it all the more.

In your earlier letter – you mention Eleanor – and your inability to understand her at times. Well – first of all – I can’t defend her, if that’s the word, because I don’t know her myself well enough; I’ve been away from home too much in the last several years. I can say, though, that I’m sorry you feel the way you do about her, but that’s the way with the world, I guess. There’s no guarantee that when two people are in love – that their brothers, sisters, cousins or relatives will also be compatible or suited. It would be nice if it did work out that way, but I guess it doesn’t often, because I know a good many cases in which it doesn’t. Take Verna’s brother, for instance. As I remember him, he’s a prime ass and I believe Irv has very little use for him. Well – we’ll see how things work out. Certain it is – that with me being away – it’s not the easiest thing in the world for you – or my folks either. As a matter of fact – from here – it seems very difficult and I think that all in all, you’ve done well. Were I around to explain and clarify a good many things – I think things would be much smoother. When I get back – I’m sure I’ll be able to help.

I enjoyed your enclosed copy of an “Information Circular” – and I’ll be damned if it isn’t pretty typical. If you think you get some queer ones – you should see what we have to put up with from time to time. The trouble – more often that not – is that the people writing that stuff – haven’t the vaguest idea of what things are actually like in practice.

But talking about rotation reminds me of something. I’ve probably mentioned corresponding with a couple of fellows in Italy. One of them is an M.C. with an AA outfit. They were in the African, Sicilian and Italian campaigns and he has been overseas for 2 years . Well – he is now in the U.S. – home.

Been gone all day, sweetheart – and just finished supper. I’m kind of tired and I’ll close for now. I’ll finish the above. The M.C. was transferred to the States and went back by plane. Some new ruling in the 5th Army allows doctors over 35, with 2 yrs service overseas – to be reassigned home. Kind of lets me out, darling, but what the heck – I want to see this through – anyway.

Will try to write tomorrow, dear. Hope all is well at home. My love to the folks – and
All my everlasting love to you


about War Mobilizer Byrnes

James F. Byrnes, "War Mobilizer"

Greg mentioned that The Stars and Stripes wrote of "War Mobilizer Byrnes doing this and that" following the German breakthrough. James Francis Byrnes was born on May 2, 1882 in Charleston, South Carolina. He left school early to work, but studied law in his spare time. This "self-taught lawyer" was admitted to the bar in 1903 and entered public life as a prosecutor in South Carolina in 1908. Byrnes, a Democrat, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1911 and served there until 1925.

In 1924 he lost the Democratic primary to run for the U.S. Senate, but was elected to that body on his second try in 1930 and was subsequently re-elected in 1936. As a Senator, Byrnes helped push many of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" measures through Congress. Although he later criticized some of FDR's programs as too radical, he remained on good terms with the President and later played a large role in supporting FDR's foreign policy by helping repeal the Neutrality Act and win approval of Lend Lease.

In 1941 Byrnes was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but resigned a year later to become the Director of Economic Stabilization. With the United States deeply involved in the Second World War, his major concern was the control of domestic prices, rents, wages and services. Byrnes oversaw the economy from every angle – from regulating farm wages and food production to regulating the sale of shoes. His goal in regulating the economy was to assure that armed forces fighting abroad were sufficiently equipped. He also kept close check on those in the economy who had selfish aims in mind and sought to make great profits off the war.

As World War II escalated, Byrnes was appointed the Director of the Office of War Mobilization, developed by Congress. It was from here that policies originated and programs were planned for the war. All the war agencies which were connected with the production, procurement, transportation, and distribution of both civilian and military aspects of the war were governed by Byrnes. Because of his close involvement with President Roosevelt, he often was called the "Assistant President."

Cartoon by Willard Combes
Published 21 February 1945

Byrnes accompanied Roosevelt to the Yalta (Big Three) Conference in February 1945. In July of that year, three months after FDR's death, President Harry S. Truman named Byrnes Secretary of State he accompanied the President to the Potsdam Conference the same month.

On September 6, 1946 Byrnes held his famous "Speech of Hope" in the Staatstheater in Stuttgart, Germany. This speech repudiated the Carthaginian peace foreseen for Germany in the Morgenthau Plan, and held out for the Germans the prospect of eventual prosperity and an honorable return to the community of nations. Moreover, in the speech Byrnes committed American forces to Europe for as long as any of the other occupying powers remained in Germany. This speech set the tone of American post-war German policy.

After leaving Truman's cabinet in 1947, Byrnes served as governor of South Carolina from 1951 to 1955. James F. Byrnes died in Columbia, South Carolina on April 9, 1972.

Here is an Associated Press article published in the Nashua (New Hampshire) Telegraph on 3 January 1945


Here is a transcript of that article:
(Associated Press)

  Here, in brief, are War Mobilizer Byrne's new ideas for the home front:
  That 4-F's should be drafted for limited military service or war jobs if present manpower controls fail to do the needed job.
  That Congress should pass legislation backing up War Labor Board orders.
  That larger draft calls will have to come in the next few months; reconsideration of farm deferments may be required.
  That work of reconverting to civilian production must be shelved "until our military men tell us they have enough."
(Sterling F. Green)

  Washington, Jan 2 (AP) - Drastic manpower proposals, edging closer to the "work or fight" act which lawmakers have long avoided, were thrown today into the battle on the home front.
  Advanced by James F. Byrnes, the program would force 4-F men into war roles and put statutory teeth into manpower rules if present labor controls fail to spur the nation's ourput to eeded levels.
  The suggestions, made by Byrnes last night in his first report as director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, are still merely threats. They are, moreover, at the mercy of a Congress which has shown reluctance to interfere with a man's freedom to choose his jobs.
  But war agency officials prophesied that the whip-cracking document would add momentum to the home front effort merely be disclosing the sternness of enforcement measures which the administration is willing to support.
  Flatly predicting that larger draft calls in the next few months would aggravate the manpower shortage, Byrnes proposed stern measures for 4-Fs not doing essential work.
  He proposed that Congress make it possible to induct them all, then assign them "to do things they can do" despite their physical impairment.
  This might mean limited service in the Army, Byrnes said, or steering the inductees into jobs in critical war plants - by which means the government could see that they staryed in war work.
  Congress could decide, he said, whether the latter should stay in uniform and whether they would be working for the government or for the was contractor.
  Striking at agricultural deferments - which he said cover "the largest remainng source of young men for military service" - Byrnes said it was necessary to reconsider the standards by which youthful farmers are deferred from military duty.
  For the present, professional baseball and football need not fear a ban like that on horse racing, he indicated. But he declared bluntly that he believed medical re-examination should be given to 4-F athletes who "prove on the football field ever Sunday their physical prowess."
  He advocated that Congress at once give the War Labor Board power to make its decisions "mandatory and legally enforceable in the courts," as a means of checking work stoppages. Seizure of firms for non-compliance frequently is an inadequate remedy, he said, and imposed on government "onerous responsibilities of running private business."

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