Posted by Steve Pollock on Wednesday, June 28, 2017
In which we in the future answer “Letters to the Editor” of the Chicago Tribune written during the past that was called World War Two.
“Chicago, June 1. — Totay I received the shock of my life when I went to mail a package to my boy in service. I needed 20 cents in stamps and was given four 5 cent stamps with the red flag of Albania spread almost across the entire surface. Just what is this country coming to?
—Chicago Tribune, 6-June-1944, Page 10
Methinks I smells the grandmother of a future Trump supporter!
Actually, “Mrs. H.V.”, on 6-June-1944, “what this country had come to” was the liberation of the European continent from Nazism and Fascism, which it did along with 22 other nations (hence the term “Allies”) and an “associated power,” Albania, which at the time of your “Letter to the Editor” was occupied by forces of the German Wehrmacht.
By the way, Albania’s designation as an associated power was formally recognized at the 1946 Paris conference. Albania officially signed the treaty ending World War II between the “Allied and Associated Powers” and Italy in Paris, on 10 February 1947. Albania had been occupied by Fascist Italy then Germany; it was quickly subjugated to communist party rule and suffered under Enver Hoxha for the next five decades.
Finally, “what this country had come to” on D-Day 1944 was to recognize on a five-cent postage stamp that it wasn’t winning the war alone, was not in the war alone, and was not suffering in the war alone.
I hope your “boy in the service” was able to hold on to his U.S. Postal Service five-cent Albanian flag stamps. They’s probably worth some moneys today. [And thank him for his service.]
“Four More Years of War
“Mankato, Minn., June 1.—I wonder how many people now earning big money, more money thant they have ever handled before, and who will vote a certain way thinking to insure a continuation of this income, ever pause to think what another four years will bring?
“Among the many unpleasant things that are to me a foregone conclusion is that Roosevelt will drag the war out another four years. Why wouldn’t he? It is the perfect solution of unemployment, a problem he failed to solve until we managed to become embroiled in war. Another very good reason to drag it out is, that he is not restricted in war time spending.
“He has a mania for spending and giving and war allows him privileges which peace would curtail, we hope. So, I say vote for Roosevelt and draw four more years of war at least.
—Chicago Tribune, 6-June-1944, Page 10
Is that you, Erle P. Halliburton? No? Are you Fred Drumpf? Ah! I suspected so. It’s the 1944 version of a Twitter storm (ask your son, he’ll explain).
Where to start, where to start.
1. “What will another four years bring?” Oh, honey, you have no idea. You should just suspend time and stay safe and quiet in 1944, baby. You don’t really wanna know the answers to this question. Lessee. Hitler? Dead. Mussolini? Hangs lifelessly from a lamp post. Tojo? Incompletely suicides, resurrects, then is executed. Roosevelt? Dead. A National Security State is born. We have to start hand-feeding everyone in Berlin. Truman gets pissed over a negative review of one of his daughter’s piano recitals. We fuck up in Korea causing … some very bad shit to be set into perpetual motion. China turns red. Japan turns black, largely from just two very large bombs. Lots of soldiers come back from all points of the globe and take your job, discontinuing your own income.
2. “… Roosevelt will drag the war out another four years. Why wouldn’t he?” The war will continue for one year and three more months. Roosevelt won’t drag the war out because he’ll be dead in ten months.
3. “… unemployment, a problem he failed to solve …” Unemployment was nearly 25% in 1933 when Roosevelt took office; in 1941 it had fallen to 10%; and when he died in 1945, economists considered the country at “full employment,” with less than 2% of the nation’s workforce unemployed. You’re just being deliberately idiotic here, my friend.
4. “… until we managed to become embroiled in war.” The United States was not attacked by Franklin Roosevelt; war was declared by the Empire of Japan on 7-December-1941 with the launching of a surprise attack on military installations near Honolulu, Hawaii. War on the United States was declared by Germany the next day. The United States Congress “embroiled” us in the war by declaring war in Public Law 77-328, 55 STAT 795 on 8-Dec-1941. After Germany declared war on the U.S., the Congress reacted with a declaration of war on Germany in Pub. Law 77–331, Sess. 1, ch. 564, 55 Stat. 796. The “embroiling” would seem to be, then, a joint act of Japan, Germany and the United States Congress, the parties with power to declare, embroil and conduct warfare.
5. “Another very good reason to drag it out is, that he is not restricted in war time spending.” Dear “Reader,” am I to extrapolate from this sentence that you wish to conduct the most massive conflict in human history involving most of the peoples and locations of the planet, the object of certain parties (see #4 above) being to destroy the United States and dozens of other countries … that you wish to conduct this war “on the cheap”? The Congress has appropriated funds necessary to forestall the aim of aforementioned parties and it is the duty of the President to use those funds to defend the country to the utmost against, again, parties which wish us destroyed. And you’re taking exception? Oh, sweetie, wait until a certain actor whom you’ve seen in “Bedtime for Bonzo” seizes the presidency and spends over $700 a piece for hammers for the armed forces, which will partially explain trillion-dollar-deficits. Then we’ll get back to you and ask your opinion. Surely we can count on that opinion being, shall we say, apoplectic? Or is it just Mr. Roosevelt who gets under your skin? Enquiring minds wish to know.
6. “… vote for Roosevelt and draw four more years of war at least.” A vote in November 1944 six months hence will, dear “Reader,” get you nine more months, not years, of war, and just about one month of a Roosevelt fourth term.
So buck up, dear “Reader”! The end is nigh. Now go sit by the radio and let General Eisenhower entertain you with tales from a place called Omaha Beach. And then write back and tell us how much money you would have allocated to the D-Day Invasion of German-occupied Europe, the largest military invasion in human history. Give us a hint. $100,000? $200,000? Can’t wait for your fascinating reply!