13 July, 2012

13 July 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
13 July, 1945      0915
My dearest darling Wilma –

This being Friday, the thirteenth – we anticipate a big day. As M.P.’s – we should be busy, but chiefly because it’s the day before Bastille Day. The French plan to celebrate it for the first time since 1939, and from advance notices – they expect to do the day up brown. Naturally – the 13th doesn’t bother me at all. I say “Abracadabra’ 13 times every 13 minutes – and hell, everything is O.K.

But more important than that is the fact that I received two letters from you yesterday – the later one written on 5 July – which means I actually heard from you one week after you wrote the letter. That’s good! That particular letter was a longie, too, and particularly welcome because you had heard of our eventual assignment etc. I must say again, darling, you certainly take the news of my frequent changes of missions, delays, etc. – with the greatest of calm and composure. It sure makes me feel a heck of a lot better to read that you can take it if I can. I know how damned hard it has been for you – and having been keyed up so by the radio and the papers – only to be let down again by me – must be doubly tough. Your spirit is admirable, sweetheart, and I love you for it.

It’s so aggravating for us, dear, too – to see this division or that move out – with nowhere near the time overseas that we have had. Of course – they’re going right along on to war, and every outfit that leaves here now – means that much less chance of my going. The 438th – as an outfit – definitely will not go.

Say – you’ve really got me down as “independent, self-sufficient” etc and I’m glad you think I am. But don’t think that it will be a drawback, dear. I’ve been more or less alone now for the past 8 years or so – but only because I had to be. I believe I’ve told you I didn’t like it one bit. I love companionship and that’s what I missed most of all. And I’m so damned sure, sweetheart, that in addition to being my wife – you’ll be a companion, too. And I don’t think you’ll find me too positive, dear. Naturally, although I’ve never thought about it much, I imagine I must be ‘set’ in some of my ways. That’s natural. But I think I’m malleable enough to conform to changes if some of my set ways don’t fit into the scheme of married life. Yes. I am determined, to the point of stubbornness – but my determination is to marry you, make you happy and be a successful doctor – not only financially, but in the eyes of the rest of the profession and the community. That sort of determination shouldn’t be harmful, darling. All in all, dear, I’m thoroughly convinced that we love each other and that we’ll be very very happy as man and wife. We’ve been constant and steady under trying conditions – and if we haven’t wavered – its’ a damn good sign.

And it’s time I sign off right now and do some work. One thing I’m going to try to do this morning is to contact Frank Morse by phone – if possible. I don’t want to ride down to see him and find him out. So, for now, sweetheart – so long, love to the folks – and by the way, Pete sends his best regards.
All my everlasting love –


about Cecilienhof Palace
Setting of the Potsdam Conference

Exterior of Palace, today

Interior Courtyard of Palace, today

Cecilienhof Palace, is an English Tudor-style palace in Potsdam, Germany, not far from Berlin. It was here that the Potsdam Agreement was negotiated from 17 July to 2 August 1945. The purpose of the conference was the implementation of decisions reached previously at the Yalta Conference. The U.S. was represented by President Harry S. Truman and the USSR by Premier Joseph Stalin. The United Kingdom was represented at first by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and later by the new prime minister, Clement Richard Attlee. The Potsdam Agreement settled the reconstruction of Germany, defined the borders of the entire Theater of WWII, and planned for Germany's demilitarization, reparations and the persecution of war crimes.

This Palace, as with most palaces and large homes in Potsdam, was not damaged in the war. Situated on beautiful Jungferess Lake, Cecelienhof was built by Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany for his son, Crown prince Wilhelm. The brick and oak timberframe building, including six courtyards and 55 carved brick chimney tops, should have been completed in 1915, but construction was delayed due to the outbreak of World War I. Compared to other palaces in the area, it is a bit understated. When it was built in 1917, the English Tudor style, inspired by English manor homes, was all the rage. Although Wilhelm followed his father into exile in 1918, his wife Cecilie stayed at the palace until she fled from the approaching Red Army in February 1945. Prior to the conference, redecorating was done by sections, each to the presumed likings of the intended residents.

All black and white pictures were taken on 13 July 1945

Front of Cecilienhof Palace, site of the Potsdam Conference.
British quarters were to the left.
American quarters and Truman's office were in the center.
Conference Room was to right of the long windows.
Stalin's office was right of that, in the rather dark space (above).

British Wing

Truman's study and library

Conference Room

Courtyard from Russian quarters to Conference Room

Some of the elaborate preparations made for the conference...
Delegates approached the building's main entrance
through a driveway surrounding these flower beds.

Today Cecilienhof Palace is a hotel and museum, surrounded by tidy gardens. In July of 2007, the G8 Summit was held here, adding to it's pedigree as a meeting place for world leaders.

Tidy Garden in an inner courtyard

Garden outside the Hotel Wing

Entrance to the museum with less elaborate garden, today

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