05 July, 2012

05 July 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
5 July, 1945      835
My dearest darling –

I’ll try an early start today – before sick-call, because once I get tied up, I’m going to be busy most of the day. It seems that when we got permission to use the house we’re now in for a Dispensary, it wasn’t cleared correctly and it still belonged to a quartermaster outfit. The Colonel of the Q.M. outfit was down yesterday and told me he needed the place for some of this own men. I hadn’t made the original arrangements – so it was all a big surprise to me. Anyway, I’ll have to go down to see the town major – but I know well enough that it’s almost impossible to find billets now. The Americans have use of the quarters that were originally taken over by the Germans. We are not allowed to take anything else. Anyway, I’ll have to spend the rest of the day scouting around.

Well this Fourth of July was certainly the ‘safest and sanest’ I’ve spent in a long time – that is, if you can call being away from home ‘sane’. But it was quiet. We had breakfast later than usual and didn’t do much in the a.m. We tried playing tennis in the p.m. and found that the courts were in terrible condition – so we went to an indoor pool instead. It’s a beautiful thing – but I like outdoor swimming better. In the evening we went to see “Murder, My Sweet” – with Powell, Claire Trevor and Anne Shirley – a pretty fair story with the usual ridiculous set of explanations. But the surprise was reasonably well maintained.

Well, darling, the mail is starting to come in at last and yesterday p.m. I heard from you as of the 10, 19, and 25 June – as well as from Lil Zetlan and Dad A. Lil sent her regards – and of course tells me to hurry home and get married. Dad A told me about getting ready for the summer and his plan for closing up shop for a couple of weeks. I think it’s an excellent idea and I shall so write him. He needs a rest and that’s the only way he’ll get one in these times. In his letter he included a sort of statement of my assets (sounds business-like, that). Seriously though – I never really know how much I have in my checking account – because Dad A. keeps sending in my Coop. shares check, pays for my insurance – etc – and I draw an occasional check from here. Anyway – it’s straightened out and from what I can see – I’m satisfied we’ll have enough to get started on anyway. And that reminds me, dear – thanks for taking care of the Father’s Day gifts – and I’ll send you a money order as soon as our mail clerk will do it for me. I can’t send you a check because I can’t seem to locate my checkbook. I don’t think it’s lost – but it was misplaced when we moved from Leipzig. It’ll turn up.

Gee – just happened to think I don’t remember commenting on that note Mother B added to one of your letters some time ago. I’m glad the perfume arrived unbroken. I’ve had pretty good luck at that – because many of the fellows report the opposite. I hope she liked it. I believe I told you I got it when I was in Paris – and it was next to impossible to find perfume – that is – name perfumes. They all smell wicked to me, but anyway, it got to her and that’s what interested me mostly.

I seem to have rambled a bit today, sweetheart, and I haven’t yet told you today how much I love you and miss you. Can I possibly tell you enough times? I doubt it. When will that day come when I can tell you it every day and show you too? I’ll probably be so used to writing it – that I won’t feel right – unless I sit down, write the words and hand it to you. Oh yes? No!! Well all for now, darling, will write again tomorrow. Love to the folks and

All my sincerest love –


about the Election Loss of Winston Churchill

From BBC News comes this review of the British election of 1945:
The 1945 election marked a watershed in British history. The successful Conservative wartime leader, Sir Winston Churchill, was defeated by Clement Attlee's Labor Party. Attlee's landslide victory ushered in the welfare state and the National Health Service. The commanding heights of the British economy were nationalized. India was granted independence. Attlee's government changed the face of British society, creating a new social consensus that was to remain largely unchanged until 1979.

The national government set up by Winston Churchill in 1940 to see Britain through the Second World War came to an end on 23 May 1945. With the Allied victory in Europe only two weeks old, the Labor Party was anxious to return to politics as usual and fight a general election. Churchill was unwilling to dissolve Parliament before the close of the war in the Pacific, but he had little choice when his coalition partners made clear their intentions to go to the country as soon as possible.

The 1945 election was the first to be fought in Britain for ten years. The previous decade had seen massive change and during the war a new left-leaning consensus had gradually developed within Britain, with the Beveridge report at its heart. The report, published in December 1942, recommended a comprehensive welfare state and National Health Service. Its proposals enjoyed widespread support throughout the country but received only lukewarm support from Churchill and the Conservative Party. The nation had undergone the horrors of war and expected to enjoy the fruits of victory.

The position of the Labor Party changed dramatically during the war. Churchill had given Labor several key ministries within the national government, including the Ministry of Labor (Ernest Bevin) and the Home Office (Herbert Morrison). Clement Attlee, the Labor leader, was made Churchill's Deputy Prime Minister. The effect was to give Labor a wealth of experience in office which was to prove invaluable when the party went to the country.

Most observers, including the Soviet leader Stalin, believed the Tories would win, despite the publication of opinion polls that showed Labour six points ahead of the Conservatives. Churchill had been an incredibly popular and successful war leader and few could imagine that the electorate would turn against him. Although the Conservatives appeared to be in a very strong position as they entered the election campaign, to many voters they remained the party of appeasement, unemployment and the means test.

The Conservatives' appeal to the nation under the slogan "Vote National - Help him finish the job" was based around Churchill's personal popularity and as such found itself out of step with the public's new mood.

Churchill and Tory media mogul Lord Beaverbrook based much of their campaign rhetoric on the dangers posed to democratic institutions by Labor's proposals for a welfare state and the nationalization of key industries. Churchill even went as far as to stay that if Labor were elected it would need to "fall back on some kind of Gestapo" to implement its policies. Ironically the Conservative manifesto A Declaration of Policy to the Electors offered many policies similar to those of Labor.

Attlee leaped on Churchill's "Gestapo" remark and took the opportunity to remind voters that Churchill the wartime leader had been replaced by Churchill the leader of the Conservative Party, remarking, "I thank him for having disillusioned them so thoroughly."

The Labor manifesto, Let us Face the Future Together, offered the nation a radical departure from the past, including comprehensive social security, a national health service and the nationalization of major industries.

Polling day was 5 July 1945. When Labor's victory was announced on 26 July 1945 (three weeks after polling day to enable those overseas in the forces to vote) it took the country, Attlee included, by surprise. With 48 per cent of the vote, Labor gained a Parliamentary majority of 146 seats, the largest in post-war British history. The swing of 12 points to Labor was unprecedented (and remains a record swing at post-war elections). The vote represented more a rejection of the Conservative Party than of Winston Churchill's performance as a war-leader. (Churchill was another astounded at the result).

Many first-time voters voted Labor as did those in the forces. Labor's success was down to its ability to persuade the voters that only it was capable of building the post-war world that the majority of the population desired. Churchill's refusal to embrace the Beveridge Report whole-heartedly cost him dearly as did the public's perception that he was a "man of war" and not a suitable peacetime leader.

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