The big news here – as well as at home I imagine – is Churchill’s defeat and the demand of a Japanese surrender. The latter, with the implication that there have been official feelers, has really electrified our imaginations. Atlee’s victory over Churchill just about completes the European picture of a marked turn to the Left and as far as I can see, leaves America all alone as a somewhat middle-of-the- course Nation.
Yesterday, darling, I didn’t feel very well and I wrote you a V-mail. I don’t remember even what I wrote but I hope you couldn’t gather from it that I felt ill. Gosh. You’ll begin to think I’m a sissy! That makes the second time in six months that I’ve had a bad day – and it seemed like the same thing, too – something like ptomaine. In this case – I’m fairly certain of the source. The colonel and I were invited to dinner at Mme. Knecht’s. It was a dinner party for Mme. Pellet and Mme Francois was there also – as was Dave Ennis. We met these people originally – thru Dave and they’ve been very friendly. We arrived at 1800 and had some “apertifs” until 2000 and then we had the usual two hour French dinner of 10-12 courses. I think, dear, I’ve told you about it already – each item is served separately as a course, potatoes – meat – vegetables etc. Anyway – one of the courses must have got me – because I was ill all night. But I do heal quickly, darling, and I’m fit as a fiddle right now.
And what’s more – I got two letters from you yesterday, dear, postmarked 17 and 19 July. The first letter was written at home and you were making preparations to leave for Portland. And you had met a Dr. Goldberg over at your house. I knew him – all right – from school and he always seemed like a pretty decent fellow, but I’ll be darned if I can remember his being down to my office in Salem – although it’s possible because I was on the main street and quite a few people would drop in by pure chance. I know I never had him down for a consultation.
So you found the maps interesting, dear? They’ll be more so when I can unfold them and, referring to my “diary”, show you each one of our Command Posts across the continent. The “diary”, by the way, dear, is strictly a log of our travels and has practically no personal references; but it will probably be interesting to you. As I wrote you – I discontinued it a few weeks ago. The German Atlas is well done – and I’ll probably “dis-assemble” it and make a road map of Germany out of it. It turned out to be extremely helpful. And I will look at those maps, darling. It was an interesting and at time hazardous life we led and I won’t forget it easily. And about that candlestick – I didn’t even know that Sgt. Stillman had sent it, although he had reminded me of it for a long time. It had been kicking around in my trailer ever since our “visit” with the Rothschilds. I had never been able to complete the pair and saw no point in sending the one. I agree – it’s ornate – but as they used to say in the old country “on him it looked good”; it really looked nice in the place it came from.
It is wonderful, darling, how we often think and write the same things at approximately the same time. I’m a firm believer in the significance of the phenomenon – for to me it means that we’re constantly thinking of each other – and at about the same time – and along like lines; which proves to me that despite our separation, we’ve become very very close. And that’s what I want, sweetheart. It is just another proof, in my mind, that we love each other with a force capable of transcending mere distance.
The scrapbook – as you call it – is really a book of snapshots, I guess – dear – some good and others not so good, but I’m glad you’re keeping it and taking some pains with it, too. And I won’t tear it up.
About the Bronze Star, dear, all I wrote the folks – was that I had received it and nothing more. The official presentation – along with some other officers – is to be made next Monday, I believe, at a more or less formal parade. That’s customary in the Army. I haven’t seen the official citation myself. I’ll send you a copy when I get it. Usually, it’s a lot of hooey.
And now I must stop, sweetheart and do a little work. I love you, darling, more than you’ll ever know until I finally see you and show you. Until then, dear, interpret the written word to the utmost, because that’s certainly what I mean –
Love to the folks – and
|Violet and Clement Atlee|
On the first day of the new parliament, Labour members sang the socialist anthem the Red Flag. They held power until 1951, by which time the government had overseen the nationalization of key industries and the creation of the National Health Service.
The following was printed in The Guardian (UK) on 27 July 1945.
Britain's revulsion against Tory rule
From our political correspondent
So Mr. Churchill has not been able to save the Tory party from defeat! It has fallen as low as that. One of the half-dozen greatest leaders in war that we have produced, while at the summit of his achievement and prestige, could not induce the British people to give the Tories another lease of power. Such is their disrepute. Where, then, would they have been without him? They would have been annihilated. It would have been the debacle of 1906 over again, only worse. Most things were obscure about the election, but not this. The mass of the people palpably did not want the Tories back, but what was incalculable was whether their hostility to the Tories was stronger than their disinclination to part with Mr. Churchill.
Most people at the beginning of the election started from the assumption that the bulk of the electors were moved by a desire to keep Mr. Churchill. In the circumstances and within a few weeks of victory, what more natural assumption? Multitudes, it was felt, would cast a vote for the Tories-often a very reluctant vote-simply in order to keep Mr. Churchill at the helm. To-day's result is a drastic refutation of all such calculations.
It is almost an intimidating object lesson for Governments. The country has preferred to do without Mr. Churchill rather than have him at the price of having the Tories, too. Such an exercise of independent judgment has rarely been witnessed in a democracy, and it has been reached in the teeth of one of the most fierce and unscrupulous campaigns ever waged by the Tory party and its press, or a section of it.
Of course to-day's landslide cannot be interpreted only in terms of a negative hostility to the Tories. That is but the obverse side of the medal. The reverse is a positive shift of opinion to the Left. The Tory party is not merely condemned for its past; it is rejected because it has no message for the times.
Great Britain, like the Continent, is clearly straining after a new order. Looking back over the contest one sees now that the Tory machine more than suspected that a swing to the Left was in progress (though not to the extent disclosed to-day) and the Gestapo and savings scares and the Laski melodrama were the panicky counters to it.
Labour had been increasingly convinced that the Leftward swing was on, and in these last days, when it has been proclaiming victory, it did it with a conviction that contrasted with the uncertainty of like prophecies by the Tory Central Office. One quoted on Monday the prediction of an influential Labour man that it would be 1929 over again.
On Monday that seemed an absurd prediction, but the Labour leader who made it - he is one of the first half-dozen - was in deadly earnest. He is proved to have been a rank pessimist. The swing is probably a much vaguer movement than some Labour Left-wingers would like to think. That it is a vote for any rigorous application of Socialism is certainly not true. What is more likely is that it is prompted first by a widespread desire to give Labour a chance, as the only available alternative to the Tories, by presenting it with power as well as office; this for the first time.
Equally, it could be interpreted as a vote for bold action on reconstruction, demobilization, housing, town planning, and fuel, coupled with a willingness to accept innovating State action and planning where it can be shown to be indispensable to a successful attack on these problems. How little has the country's pulse been disturbed by Mr. Churchill's lurid variations on the Socialist theme! How little it has worried over the antique controversy Socialism versus Private Enterprise! How far Mr. Churchill ruined himself as Toryism's saviour will long be debated.
One thing admits of no doubt. He did himself probably irreparable damage by his first and last broadcast. He certainly damaged the Tory cause. Most people can testify to near-Tory acquaintances and political adherents of the "National" cause who wavered, fell away from Mr. Churchill, and voted against him in consequence of his personal handling of the election.
The Labour Government can now take up the heavy burden of office in conditions that could hardly be bettered. Its majority is not merely decisive; it is overwhelming, and it sees the Liberals virtually wiped out - the Liberals whom it has charged with responsibility for all its failures in the 1923 and 1929 Parliaments. Even its leader has gone down in defeat. It is a grim day for Liberals. Recovery, even partial, has not come, and the candid Liberal must ask whether it can ever come now.
Both the Tories and Labour, but more especially Labour, have held to the belief that the Liberal party could be eliminated in one more election under the present electoral system. Have they been proved right? But even if they had, the elimination of organised Liberalism is not the elimination of Liberalism.
Mr. Churchill lost no time in tendering his resignation to the King. It was what you would expect. He would have only one wish, to make way as expeditiously as possible for Mr. Attlee so that he could begin at once the task of forming his Government, a task, as Mr. Churchill knows better than anyone else, all the more urgent because the Potsdam Conference is waiting on the new British delegation.