Wing Commander R_. C_, D.F.C.
Isle of Axholme,
My Dear Father:
Time seems to have gotten away from us here in California, which is my way of apologising that this is so late. It would be later still if it were left to your cousin, who has been in New York for several weeks now, lately avoiding the telephone and telegraph, so that we are behind on news here. (Although it appears from the entertainment news that his main mission has been successful.) We are expecting him, and Wong Lee, in company with the westbound courier, who will turn around for Montreal without so much as a night's rest with this package, and so on to you.
You will no doubt be amused by the latest steps in Uncle's campaign for financial freedom of maneuver. You know your cousin's stubbornness and pride! Needless to say, the recent gains on the NYSE are a problem for him as Uncle's main objective is to remain free to buy what he wants to buy, although I beg you not to be so frank with the Earl. With Time trumpeting the success of Wilys-Overland, Uncle has to argue that it is all froth. Who in their right mind would put their money behind Sorensen at this point in his career? On the other hand, IBM and Honeywell are up nicely since his purchase. A stopped clock is right twice a day and all of that.
You will be pleased to know that Uncle has set his best people to work on answering the question put by the Earl. (Or, rather, that he tasked the household. But good people are we!) We came up with a curve of the discount on expected returns on housing units per year that I append. Now I have to explain why it is nonsense and should be disregarded, even though to complete it I ended up in that library in Palo Alto where one is pretty much obligated to call upon the Engineer. I must say that the more that I see of him socially, the more I fancy that I detect the man that the electorate rejected twelve years ago, matters not being eased by a lunch date with his eldest, at which fulsome were the complaints about the injustice of the Engineer's illegitimate son being to all appearances his "true" heir. What can I say? Once his grandfather decided to divert investor's money into the subterranean stream that is his little college, it could hardly emerge into the sun except to bubble up and water hidden roots, and that is all. As for favoritism, what counts for the Engineer is politics, and all of his sons, on whichever side of the blanket (how me must have struggled to do his duty!) are disappointments on that score. Imagine an actor in that office! Especially one who likes to tattle to the Feds about his enemies. You will be pleased to heart hat I held my tongue.
So: the research. "Miss V.C.," has had some practice in this matter, and was willing to be persuaded to divert herself from her little family history. (Especially as she realizes that her trip to Monterrey can only be authorized by wheedling an indulgent Uncle, and he is not around right now.) To reinforce the troops, your youngest offered his eager assistance, and we also got something out of Uncle's housekeeper, and rather more from Lieutenant A., who turns out to have some grip on staff work. (I was beginning to wonder.) More usefully, Suzie Wong is available, now that school is out. In short, we compiled what poor numbers we have, both on housing stocks and the science of "demography," put our best statistical acumen to work, and came up with a curve of discounts on expected returns on housing investments in the United Kingdom 1944--1975, although James likens it to reinforcing concrete with rust-flavored gelatin. (Because rust is iron; never mind, it is funnier when James delivers it with his best BBC pronunciation.)
Now I have to tell you why it is all rubbish, and that the Earl should disregard it and go all in for housing. The long and the short of it is that while a more careful reader would no doubt deliver more nuance, it seems to me that demographers are absolutely mad! Some of the finer details of the lunacy are rather indelicate for a letter from a daughter-in-law. I asked James to append something about "neo-Malthusianism," but he seems scarcely more comfortable talking about it with you than I! The argument, as I synthesize it, is that for a very long time, the human population of the Earth scarcely grew at all. Then, in the Great Prosperity of Ch'ien Lung-Ti, and in England as well, population began to grow quite quickly. The gentlemen scholars explained that in terms of proper rulership unlocking the fecundity of the Earth, but in England a clergyman named Malthus pronounced that it was "scientific," and a bad thing, since unchecked population growth must eventually overrun the Earth. by scientific, he vaguely meant a fedback process, although he perceived strictly negative feedback, and distinguished two kinds. These were "positive checks" by which Protestants restricted population growth through late marriages from the "negative checks" of poverty that afflicted themselves upon the superstitious poor of various places. The latter not actually being checks, as they did not work. The Reverend Malthus was no great engineer, although he is more highly regarded as an economist, and his point about "positive checks" was prescient.
Then, in the course of the Nineteenth Century, while population growth slowed under the late and vicious Ch'ing, that of England redoubled, to be followed in its turn by other Protestant nations such as Germany, but not, conspicuously, France and Ireland. So a new explanation was needed, which was generally given in terms of a fall in the death rate due to improving health. Then, about 1890, population growth in England and America began to fall, and yet a new one was required. Civilization had advanced, there had been a "demographic transition," and Malthus' positive checks were in general practice.
A farrago of arguments followed that seemed to evade this obvious point, mainly by pointing at other countries where population expansion continued, such as Germany, Italy and Japan. Population expansion happened on its own, and caused war, or migration, or poverty, or checked itself by the sufficient cause of population density itself. Races might or might not flourish in various parts of the world, and some races might be committing "racial suicide" by reducing their birth rate below the death rate. Mr. Thompson, whom Uncle ridicules, somehow came up with the argument that the Japanese were entitled to the lands of Manchuria, or of New Guinea on the other hand. (His views of whether the Japanese are best suited to Siberian or jungle airs have developed, much like civilization, over time.) The rather more obvious resort of California was ruled out by the fact that California, with thrice the land mass of Britain, was full up by his calculation of "optimum population density" at less than 6 million people! An English socialist and scientist calculated that the English are on their way to racial extinction. This is the view, refracted through the Luce press, which panicked Uncle. This reading allows that the solution is socialism. Australians think that Australia is underpopulated and needs vastly more people, but for some reason these must be only White persons. Their solution is "neo-natalist" policies to promote the native birth rate. Mr. Thompson whimsically offers the Chinese Australia, or Australia the Chinese, and an Indian replies by offering them British Columbia and California.
Is it unfair to notice that while we as a family like to complain about how unfair the Exclusion Act was, it has been a source of great profit to us? Continuing, my eyes began to roll even before I discovered the Icelandic Canadian explorer who thinks the high islands of the Arctic to be an unexploited frontier destined for populations in the millions.
|Source and Boookings|
I am sometimes inclined to roll my eyes at Uncle's belief that racial passing is the secret key to American public life. He is so smug sometimes! But when I stare into the eyes of Vijhalmur Stefansson, I ask myself, "Mad? Or insecure?"
Wait, sorry. That was from my "Neo-Malthusians and eugenicists make me uncomfortable" file. Here is Mr. Stefansson.
|Spitsbergen is the size of Ireland, Wrangel larger than Delaware. There is plenty of room for the White Race!|
So what do I discover in the end? Ecology, which is the study of living systems and their environment in their totality, and, in particular, the best explanation for what happened in the two centuries before modernity. These are, in short, a decline in the death rate and a rise in the birth rate. The former continues today, while the latter came to an end, as I say, in the 1890s. Why? Ecology speaks of the recovery of depressed populations through "storm breeding," which occurs when high mortality opens up resources for them. Applied to humans, science recapitulates the statecraft of the ancient masters. Prosperity and good rule unleashes human fecundity.
I would not be so bold as to speak of a heavenly mandate in this modern world of ours, but prosperity there certainly is. Thus, James predicts, a storm is coming. Build houses and more houses!*
GRACE. Santa Clara, 1944.
Time, 19 June 1944
Here is the problem with a weekly. The last issue of Time is cover dated 12 June, and has no invasion coverage because it covers the next week. But, looking back from this vantage, I have trouble remembering this, and when I turn to the June 19th issue, it is well on. I could clip and summarize the Chronicle, but surely they have newspapers in the north of England!
“Allied Force’s Second Enemy: The Weather” Time notes that due to rough weather, unloadings, and the invasion, have fallen behind schedule. So, too, has the expansion of the beachhead. The paper notes the general problem of the slow rate of expansion of only three miles a day, and more specifically the failure to take Cherbourg quickly. Once it is taken, there is no doubt that it will be put to work quickly, but first it must be taken. With a half-million acres of the Carentan flooded in a gigantic defensive moat, this would be hard. Meanwhile, the British and Canadian forces were to guard the American flanks by driving inland quickly to Bayeux and Caen, taking them and setting up an “immovable roadblock” against Nazi counterrattack. It is thrilling to hear that the first tank battles of the campaign have already been fought. It is all so different from the narrow bridgehead of Anzio that Uncle feared so! Unfortunately, those battles involved 21st Panzer Division holding Caen by counterattack. Times quotes “Nazi spokesmen” as saying that more would have been accomplished, but troops must be held against further Allied invasions. It also supposes that the German Air Force will finally be seen when the German counterattack begins seriously.
“Battle of the Pacific: Curtain-Raiser” “Chester W. Nimitiz’s Pacific Fleet” struck at the Marianas this week. Domei expects a major effort in the Pacific to coincide with the invasion. Major-General Willis H. Hale’s heavy bombers have been attacking the Mariannas from the Marshalls –a distance of a thousand miles! So is this the signal that the next offensive will come in on Saipan, Guam and Tinian, or is it another feint? Meanwhile, in the south, the Japanese garrison of Bougainville has settled in to farm, provoking a 13th Air Force raid on the vegetable gardens, which seems a little cruel to me, especially as, after all, many of these men are actually Koreans and Formosans. On the other hand, it makes a nice punctuation to my report! Mr. Thompson is right. All of those east Asians can hardly wait to migrate to the South Pacific and raise sweet potatoes.
“Shuttle” Time is impressed that 15th Air Force is using Russian bases. Could this be a sign of things to come?
“Up the Boot” Defeated around Rome, the Germans are retreating! Am I wrong, or isn’t that how it is supposed to work? Various Latinly famous places are mentioned, to please those who studied Latin in school. (Latin tags bad! Confucian tags good!)
“Battle of Russia: Summer Opening” “Bursting rockerst told of the reopening of the Russian front.” 8-inch guns roar in Karelia. The Swedes predict that the next three months will be crucial to Finland.
“The Other Front” An amusing cartoon is described in which a British capitalist in striped pants and a tail coat scrawls a sign on a factory wall reading, “Open a front in the East at once!” This doesn’t seem as devastating a jab to me as it must to the cartoonist.
“Summer Warmth” Moscow is currently not awful. Our correspondent is struck by racing shells and canoes on the Moscow River, but also the way that workers hurry home from the factories to “spade their victory gardens,” which strikes me as slightly ominous, all things considered. Businessman Eric Johnston continues his tour of the Soviet Union. Now, really, Mr. Johnston!
“Snubbed Again” “Touchy” French leader General Charles de Gaulle “was being most difficult when he was right.” General de Gaulle is touchy.
“The Unliberated” The French seem remarkably unenthusiastic about their German conquerors and Vichy, and appallingly happy about the prospect of being liberated. Germany and Vichy seek a solution to massive sabotage and resistance. Marshal Petain finds “occasional doses of benezedrine” a fine remedy. Berlin radio hints that raising Jacques Doriot to the presidency might be a better one. In spite of the benefits of having a million in German prisons and one and-a-half million in German labour service, accompanied by debt and inflation, the French remain unimpressed. Clearly, the solution to getting occupied France working again is arresting more people. In liberated France, a touching story of cure and schoolmaster embracing with tears of joy on the steps of the liberated cathedral of Bayeux.
“Pure of Fascism” The new Premier of Italy is Socialist Ivanoe Bonomi, 71. Various persons, including a communist and a philosopher(!) are in the cabinet. Badoglio is out.
“Sunshine and Scars”
Rome has been liberated. New York Times correspondent, Herbert Matthews, looks up an old friend, and “barelegged young women in summer prints and sportswear promenaded the Corso Umberto.” U. S. correspondents were annoyed that they had to pay $1.13 for two boiled eggs and a cup of weak tea at the Hotel Majestic, while thousands of Romans and refugees went hungry. Sugar is $10/lb, string beans $5.50/lb, rice $5/lb. (Which I think suggests that the sugar is being pilfered.) No-one has worked in months, and the scenes of atrocities are shown to correspondents.
“A Note for Voters” It is suggested that General Montgomery might run for the Liberals after the war. This seems a little silly.
“Each Man to ‘is Post” Because Britons drop their “hs!” The paper’s correspondent attents the Royal Horticultural Society’s flower show at Westminster, the debate in the Lords over the Education Bill (Lord Buckmaster wants more whippings in public schools). In other news, the Zoological Society of London is to build a new elephant house, R. W. Sorenson, M.P. (Lab.) is concerned that the new prefabs have no bomb shelters, the milk ration has been cut, boiling fowls are 25 shillings on the black market, virtually unobtainable at the controlled price, and the correspondent’s dustman is worried about his son-in-law, who is in the Royal Navy. He is also the fellow who drops his "Hs.".
“In this Fateful Hour” Germany is having rallies. We are told that the first German reaction to the invasion was elation, because a rapid victory was expected that would free the Wehrmacht to “teach the Russians the futility of further efforts to advance,” followed by a negotiated peace. “Next day, a fear began to gnaw.” General Kurt Dittmar, ‘No. 1 military commentator,’ came on air to allow that the Atlantic Wall was never meant to be impenetrable and discourage excessive optimism. Some paper whose name I am supposed to recognize informs us that if the invasion succeeds it will be the end for the Furhrer, and men 65 to 80 are now to register for emergency labor service. But the counterattack is still confidently awaited. An escaped prisoner declares that there is no vestige of a German underground, and through Switzerland word that Hitler “still ranked first in German affections.”
The paper’s detailed Normandy coverage begins with a brief overview, continues with a kicks off with a detailed story about Eisenhower (this week’s cover) and his staff and their decision to launch the invasion, extends with a brief interview with Indians in the pathfinder sections of the Parachute divisions, continues with General Montgomery’s address to thetroops and a brief account of Time correspondent William Walton’s battle jump interviews with paratroopers, ends with an amusing story of a Landing Craft (Kitchen) on its way to the beaches. Incidental is word of the promotions of Colonels Richard Saunders and Clinton Vincent to general officer’s rank, giving the Army Air Force a distinct edge on youth over the Army, never mind the Navy. (Felix likes to joke about “General Issue Earhorn, M-2, and then grimly says that it is no joke, and seems to be getting worse, not better. I had this of him a few months ago, perhaps when he had the first word of the news to come, as we shall see.) The next story, which features Ninth Air Force service chief Henry J. F. Miller’s quiet relief, demotion, and subsequent relegation to a hospital in Florida from “serious physical ailments not connected with his overseas service” makes the point even more strongly. The Army is now releasing details of Miller’s discipline for spilling crucial details of invasion timing, and of Ernest J. Dawley’s demotion, and Time notes that the Navy is solicitious with its admirals and. “Not one has been broken.” Not even the grandfather of Lieutenant A., who let so many of our ships be torpedoed. (Though honestly it sometimes seems that that is a recommendation to the family in the Engineer’s eyes.)
Which reminds me that the Top of theMark has been put out of bounds to home-stationed “Army & Navy officials” because “in the dim light bartenders had sold drinks to servicemen under 21.”
“Common Pool” From now on, Selective Service draftees will go to a common pool to be selected randomly for Army, Navy or Marines. You can either see this as long-overdue common sense, or a direct blow at the heart of the Marine Corps. Or both!
“Look at the World” The American press is quite taken with war news. It is publishing many maps in novel perspectives (notice that Fortune’s arch-cartographer, Richard Ede Harrison, has just published an atlas by this title), and also a recipe from the Pacific, a palm heart salad in vinegar.
|Sherri Lynn Woodsey, 1971 Swamp Cabbage Queen of Labelle, Florida; source, with suggested heart-of-palm salad featuring a topping of pistachio ice cream|
Various Americans have taken an apartment in Naples, enjoyed a nice, Italian-style dinner in Tripoli, bought silk stockings in stores in Panama, found the South Pacific’s weather worse than Louisiana. And, “for all U.S. soldiers everywhere, the invasion spelt HOME in big, bright letters, like the neon signs in the corner saloons.” To which they will escape the moment that they have been HOME long enough, but I suppose I shall take things one step at a time.
“In Stride” Like 135 million other Americans, the President took news of the invasion in stride. Because he is perfectly healthy. Just ask his personal physician, who has insisted four times in the last four months that the President is hale and hearty, but must stick to his new, lighter schedule, including no lunch meetings. I would be very sick indeed, sir, before I gave up lunch “meetings.”
“Prophet of Gloom” Young, curly-haired Leo Cherne, boss of the ‘Manhattan-famed’ Research Institute of America, predicts that the post war will see a depression, 19 million unemployed, big business getting bigger, small business shrinking, high taxes for the “plain citizen,” “Labor in full retreat,” greater political dissension, more pressure groups, more “government by bloc,” dangerous social cleavages between ‘ex-servicemen and civilians, white and black, Jew and gentile, business and labor,” more wars. Yes, people have saved quite a bit, but they will go on saving because of unemployment, falling incomes, high prices, and lack of demand, since everyone already has everything they need. (“Everyone-will-buy-a-helicopter” talk is nonsense.) Cassandra Cherne is particularly concerned that one fifth of American land belongs to the Federal Government, as this will lead to the end of freedom.
Though, after that, when everything is fixed, we shall reach “new levels of production.”
“Big Jim Goes” Jim Farley has broken with the President., denied any future plnas, gone off on a three-week business trip in his role as chairman of the board of Coca-Cola. Politics has been good to Mr Farley.
“Blackmail, Southern Style” If the President runs again, and keeps on advising the South on the “Negro Problem,” and nominates Henry Wallace as Vice-Presidential candidate, perhaps Southern Democratic politicians will do something drastic that will set the election on its ears!
“Eighteenth Year” Speaking of things that might happen, “North Dakota’s slick Gerald Prentice Nye” might face a real race for his seat in the Senate from various Republican alternatives. Usher Lloyd Burdick is a candidate whose weakness is that he “goes poorly in cities.” Fortunately, the CIO and the Daily Worker support him. This is all deemed to be a plot by his North Dakota colleague, William Langer, so others of Nye’s enemies in the state are backing one Lynn U. Stambaugh, a successful Fargo lawyer, thus deemed a city slicker by the average North Dakotan. I just quote what I read, here.
“Waiting on the Sky” To the disappointment of everyone who has actually talked about the subject , it looks like a bumper grain crop of 30 bushels an acre in Kansas, but they keep their hopes up with dreams of a summer deluge or 100 degree heat wave or hail. Meanwhile, actual farmers offer $7-12 per day plus room and board, and appeal for more prisoners of war to work the fields, plus day labour from the towns. Women and teen-age kids will man the roaring tractors and drive the heavy grain trucks to the elevators, even operate the combines. A “harvest army” moves north across the plains from Texas towards Kansas.
“The Avery Problem” Reading the fair copy, I see that Uncle was in “day care” form talking about the D-Day debate on the education bill in the Lords. (You may roll your eyes at your cousin’s confabulations, sir, but the children in the day care below his office stare in bafflement, then charge him with questions when he plays the same game, and his smile can be seen across the yard.) My excuse for that memory is this story about Avery Sewell’s testimony before Congress, also on D-Day. Time says that Mr. Avery put on a show as bizarre as Uncle’s imaginings, and that this is a problem for those who want to press the takeover at Montgomery-Ward as an election issue.
“Why?” Congress has extended the deadline for filing court-martial charges against Kimmel and Short. Mississippi’s Dewey Short wants immediate action, while the Administration relies on their old “military secrecy” defence. The House finds this tiresome. What military secrets could be important to “Japs huddled under bombs at Truk?” James peers over my shoulder to speculate that we have broken the Japanese codes, which would presumably be a door into the German codes. Wild speculation, he admits, because when has such a thing ever happened before? Apart from World War One and the Midway campaign? Of course, Congress knows as much about any of this as anyone. The real concern is that there will not be a court martial before November, and our last chance of winning World War II under the leadership of someone not named “Roosevelt.”
“The Vanishing Negro” Mississippi, which produces 7% of the nation’s cotton crop, is seeing “Southern whites” working in the fields, because while the state has the nation’s second largest Coloured population (the paper, of course, does not say “Coloured”) it is running short of them. In 1940, Mississippi saw whites outnumber Coloureds for the first time in a century, and an estimated half million of them have left the state since. “Many are in well-paid war jobs; some have quite domestic work to live on their dependency benefits.” A Negro paper claims hat “scores are moving away daily” because of Southern racial bigotry. Time then notes that Mississippi whites continue to “tack up bigger and bolder Jim Crow signs.” The Luce pressrelishes the situation. I am more curious about the human story behind the decline in the nation’s Coloured population shown in the 1940 census. Perhaps it is just our family’s proud record of smuggling hard-working Chinese into America’s white paradise –smuggled in so many ways—
Yale’s Professor Petrunkevitch is retiring after 34 years. He liked spiders, wrote poetry, was unpleasant about women, and is for this reason obviously national news. Chemists at North Carolina State College think that milk should be kept in the dark. U.S. plants made 100 billion units of penicillin in May, up one third from April, this is still far short of promises that all needs for penicillin would be met by January, but still enough to ship to a thousand hospitals around the country. In fact, the main reason that demand still outstrips supply is that new uses are being discovered. A story about frontline medical care notes that in WWI, 61% of those not killed outright eventually returned to duty, 64% in Africa, in about 90 days, that 70% of Russia’s wounded return to the front, and that the Army hopes to hit this mark in Normandy. I am amazed to hear that we have adopted many of the Red Army’s practices! Two researchers (John Henry Foulger and Paul E. Smith, Jr.) insist that they can detect borderline illnesses such as incipient colds with microphones strapped to the chest to record the sounds of the heart, and save sickness hours in the factories. Healthy people have heartbeats that go “bong,” while sick people have hearts that go “slush.” James comments crossly that there is a reason that these people are not saving lives at the Front.
“Little and Late” Plans for detailed press coverage of the invasion broke down because it proved hard to file stories. The courier pigeons got lost! Bert Brandt of Acme got the best story by hitching a ride back to England with his negatives. Ernie Pyle’s first filing, on the other hand, only made it back four days later. Life, on the other hand, just did a panoramic picture patching together cut-outs of ships and planes against various possible invasion beaches, and then ran the one that turned out to be right. A story about the Pope’s post-liberation press conference chivalrously notices U.P.’s “hefty Eleanor (“Pee Bee”) Packard bulging in army slacks.” Someone’s mother will have words with him when he gets back Stateside. This actually appears under “Religion.” Some have more than others.
“Candy, Tea and Vodka” “Handsome, granny Eric Jounston, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and No. 1 evangelist for free enterprise, last week continued to baffle (and please) the Russian people.” Johnston is in Russia, it is the highlight of his career so far, and he shakes hands “like a polished Wendell Willkie.” “At a luncheon on a collective fur farm he drank toasts in vodka, an hour later began yelling ‘Whoo-hoo!’” Either Times was moved to unironically compare Johnston to Willkie, and the rest of the story was written by someone else, or I can guess just who it is who is behind the ‘Johnston for President’ craze. Just a hint, dear Father-in-Law –I think it is Mr. Johnston. I know that Uncle thinks that time passed has erased the Johnstons’ debt to us for passage and his “midnight rebirth,” but I am beginning to have my doubts. This ridiculous presumption is bringing the cat out.
“By a Damsite” A story about FrankCrowe, the boss of the Shasta Dam project, who is getting rich building dams with Federal money but still hates the Administration and the “socialistic” cheap power they will produce. I am not sure what he thinks that the dam is supposed to do, but at least he hasn’t condemned irrigation and flood control in the San Joaquin Valley. Turning sheep pasture into market garden seems like a good enough idea to me!
“Argentine Corn” The United States finally acted to bridge the shortage of feed corn pending the harvest, buying 150,000 tons of Argentine corn and allocating shipping to deliver it to U.S. dairymen on the eastern seaboard.
“Colt Mystery” Somehow Colt Firearms has managed to have a losing year in the midst of the greatest ar in history. The old CEO, Samuel M. Stone, is out, and a new one, Graham H. Anthony is in amidst much poisonous finger-pointing.
“Nate the Painter” “Vat-shaped (200lb, 5’ 3”)” Nathan Schriber has a new $310,000 job, painting the new Sunflower Ordnance Plant in Kansas City, which will make a “highly explosive and highly secret new gunpowder.” Because this is the kind of work that his firm does.
“Henry’s Boy Gets a Job” Charles E. Sorensen is in at Willys-Overland. I hope I shall not have to call back any dacoits.
“Elementary Aesthetics” From a windowless suite of “ill-ventilated cubbyholes deep in the basement recesses of the massive Ministry of Information in London” came the all-night broadcasting of the invasion. Sponsored shows were cancelled (NBC carried nothing but D-Day coverage) and studio broadcasters talked their throats dry while CBS chief Paul White “plugged in his teletypewriter-lined news room to let listeners hear the buzz and bells that filled it.” Manhattan newscaster Bob Trout “was a marvel of glibness and endurance.” William Brooks of Times was a marvel of accuracy on the Blue. Portable magnetic wire records and the Navy’s film recorder brought back war reporting with a vividness never seen before. “A BBC recording caught a bargeload of British Tommies singing ‘For Me and My Gal,’ and a correspondent caught the “fateful clicks” as paratroopers did up their release belts. There was a beachhead interview with a sailor from Brooklyn, and live account of a Nazi bomber attacking a flagship in the Channel. It is hard to reproduce what we all heard in our living rooms over here for you, Sir, since I know that you were overwhelmed with strip to “fix. “
“Gloomy Debate” Harold Laski has just published Faith, Reason and Civilization, while Ludwig von Mises has written Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War. Both men think the world faces total breakdown. Mr. Laski thinks that the solution is a Marxist state that takes ove the means of production, while Mr. von Mises thinks the opposite. So, in sum, the world is on its way in a handbasket, both agree, but one man’s solution is the other man’s wide and curving path. Mr. Huxley publishes in support of Mr. Laski, and Markoosha Fisher in support of Mr. von Mises (approximately.) S. J. Perelman has a collection of columns out, often inspired by the absurdities of the magazines he reads. I suspect that he is the only one to get luncheon invitations, excepting Mrs. Fisher, who sounds amusing in small doses.
Charlie Chaplin is terrible. The sons of Eisenhower and Admiral King have both graduated from the academies and joined their fathers’ services. Charles Lindburgh, ”consulting engineer for United Aircraft ans since March 1942 a Ford special consultant with somewhat mysterious duties) at Willow Run, turned up in the Gilbert Islands, as a Navy instructor in high-altitude flying.” (I quoted the line to James to see if it sounded as fishy to him as it did to me, but he just put on a Midwestern accent and said, “Your ships can’t do it, so don’t try. Next class, please.” Aimee McPherson is recovering from tropical fever. Jeff Davis, “King of the Hobboes,” is amusing. Lana Turner threw a public temper tantrum when caught dancing at a night spot with Peter Lawford.
|Do not cross this woman|
Flight, 22 June 1944
Thrilling news of science!
“Jettery Lords” The Lords are jittery about the takeover of PowerJets, continuing the theme of “Government versus free enterprise.” Lord Strabolgi, who greets the takeover as a remedy to the problems of the old “Ring,” which occasions a scolding from Flight, which thinks that it was a fine thing. It also seems a bit more confused about how the “vengeance” robot bombs work than is Time, but is still sure that they are wasted effort.
War in the Air
The paper thinks that Germans must be feeling some despair, at least, over this latest setback of the whole invasion thing. Especially since the air raid on Gelsenkirchen met strong resistance, and the RAF is getting very tired of this nonsense, which cost 17 bombers to deluge 1400 tons of bombs on the synthetic oil plants, as well as on diversionary minelaying operations and an attack on Cologne. There is a lot of flying to be done, and it must be wearing, even without active German fighters.
Here and There
One of the first emergency air deliveries to the Normandy beachhead was more ether.
The Air League of the British Empire has put on a thrilling show in the Bristol Aeroplane Showroom in Piccadilly. Rotol shows off its new cooling fan for radial air-cooled engines. It is not just the Japanese who can imitate foreign technology now! Australia cannot begin making Lancasters until production of BEaufighters is “well under way.” Douglas has announced the DC-7. The Robin Line is the latest to apply for an air route to go with its shipping route. Petrol-engined model aeroplanes may now be flown in the north of England.
The paper’s correspondent can now sit back and reflect in more dertail. He thinks that the dropping of 5600 tons of bombs in 80000 sorties (TAAF and AEAF) and 7000 tons in 3000 sorties (8th Air Force) to isolate the Normandy battlefield is the principal contribution made by air power. The result was a “rail desert west of Paris.” 5,737 tons of bombs were dropped to break bridges. 4000 tons were dropped on coastal strong points, and 1700 sorties flown against “radio installations.” (As Uncle would say, radar is a secret this week.) The correspondent regrets that he cannot describe the large number of Tempests on show, and goes off to see forward maintenance and modification centres. Regrettably (tough he does not say so), a thousand hours must be put into making Canadian-built Lancasters ready for front line operations, though a good part of that is installing turrets, which are too draggy to be flown across the Atlantic.
Behind the Lines
The main aim of Japanese operations in China, Tokyo says, is “the destruction of the Chungking regime.” The Japanese continue to imagine themselves in the place of the Ch’ing. The German army says that artillery, not aircraft, will answer Allied air power. The fall of the Atlantic Wall is due to overwhelming Allied parachute and glider assault.
Studies in Aircraft Recognition
Today, a Kawasaki, Kawanishi T-97, Mitsubishi. None are particularly modern looking. Uncle would probably be sarcastic, but Flight is stuck with the material it has, and the actual planes seen at the front are probably older than the brand-new planes just shown at the factory.
C. B. B. W., “Lockheed Lightning (P-38/J): A Review of the Unorthodox Single-Seat American Fighter”
And then there are articles that fairly announce that a plane’s day is done. It is a very long and detailed article, with many illustrations. It is just that it is so old! It is certainly not devoid of technical interest. The final incarnation of the P-38 was an extraordinary machine, packed with automatic machinery. It James is cynical in suggesting that much of it was added to remedy the deficiencies of the original design, but as Uncle has pointed out, it is a miracle of automatic interaction that will have enormous implications in industry as machines come to do things at speeds and with precision far exceeding human performance. But we have heard it all before!
J. Elliot, “The Case for the Railways” Railway Air Services thinks that Railway Air Services used to be wonderful, and could be again.
Time, 26 June 1944
“Facts from Normandy” The Normans sold a vast quantity of provisions to the Germans, and have mixed feelings about the invasion with its attendant destruction. It is Paris that is going mad under repression. In a separate filing, Time sings a familiar refrain. This war is looking less and less like a crusade all the time. The men just want to win and go home. IN a separate filing, at the end of the first eleven days of fighting, American casualties are 3,283 dead, 12,600 wounded, no mention of missing or prisoners. Meanwhile, back from Normandy poured “15,000 prisoners wearing the Reichswehr green.” A surprising number were not even Germans. Some, strange stories related, were women, female snipers.
Washington’s position on the administration of France continues to be that something will turn up, and hopefully it won’t look like de Gaulle. Everyone else’s position is that France, and most places, don’t want to be run(?) like Washington. Where the President’s Press Secretary walked out on the White House porch to find the correspondents rocking beside the wooden Indian chief, nursing their sarsaparillas, and handed them a mimeographed sheet which revealed the President’s plan for a post war world order: something like the League of Nations, only different. More might be said after the Conventions. Or not. Depending.
Uncle would say something about Turks (and Icelanders and Belgians) being excitable at this point, following a cabinet shuffle to keep Turkey out of the war again. We have a line on the Hump, so it looks like we shan’t need the Pan-Turks much longer, and I am fine with this.
“Death to Life” The shocking case of Coloured Corporal Leroy Henry, sentenced to death by an Army court-martial in Britain for a “somewhat dubious case of rape” has been defused by General Eisenhower, who has ordered a reduction in sentence. (There is more coverage in the June 12th issue sir. Very tawdry all around. )
“Heat on a Tyrant” Time does not like Guatemala’s president, who admittedly sounds awful.
“Snafu” “London” has told Premier Bonomi has been told to put Marshal Badoglio back in his cabinet. This seems to give credibility to the Italian Communist Party, which is also buoyed up by former partisans in recently liberated areas and Allied mishandling. A “Catholic Communist” paper has sprung up in Rome. Time thinks this is amusing. Or dangerous. George Santayana gave a press conference in his rooms at Rome’s Convent of the Little Company of Mary. No-one remembers the details, but many have made this joke.
“Battle of Japan: The Beginning” B-29 Superfortresses bombed the Japanese home islands from bases in China this week. Given that all the gas and ammunition has to be flown over the Himalayas, I do not suppose that this is much more than a beginning. Father says that what the planes should really be flying is silver, so that the farmers will hoard something besides rice. This is the kind of thing that makes him pessimistic about Chiang’s chances in the long run.
“Where it Hurts” The next step in the Pacific is revealed to be Saipan, as Uncle guessed, as it is in B-29 range of the Home Islands and the Philippines.
“Mechanical Man” Admiral Raymond Ames Spruance, this week’s cover, is commander of the Fifth Fleet and of the invasion of Saipan, is a “cold, calculating, mechanical man.” No drinker, he is gunnery branch, studied electrical engineering and had dockyard assignments leading to his command assignment and victory at Midway. Even more damning than his poor taste in leading the American fleet air arm to victory in spite of not being a flyer, he did not letter at the academy! And, if you listen to some, he is far too cold to be a real leader. Because real leaders say things like “kill all Japs,” and go out with (understandable, all things considered, but still) skin ailments when they are given a chance to actually command in a real fight.
“The Admiral Shoves Off” Speaking of, Admiral Halsey has left the South Pacific to take over Third Fleet, “Which will operate the same way that the Fifth Fleet is operating under the command of Admiral Spruance.” Rumour parses this as cover for the relief of Spruance, who will be relegated to the beach on the argument that he (and his staff) will be charged with planning future operations, for which they will then be reassigned to the sea and “Third Fleet” reactivated in place of “Fifth Fleet.” By clever timing, Third Fleet will not be active until after the next campaign, and will go inactive before the tide of war reaches the Home Islands.
“Things That Go Bump” Time covers the “Vengeance Offensive.” The long-predicted self-propelled robot bombs began to fall on London this week. The gyrocompass, it is noted, can only maintain heading, and will not deal with head or side winds. A gruesome picture of two robot-bombed hospitals is provided. I suppose that this means that there are a great many hospitals around London, which is sad but unsurprising.
“An Excellent Airplane” Is the B-29. Various concrete details are provided, or repeated, and Boeing is praised for incidentals like finely-balanced controls and an “uncluttered” instrument panel. James perks up at the thought of a plane that the pilot can actually manage. So do I, for obvious reasons. I was so happy last month, when they found time to take the train to Seattle together instead of flying. Although it is not as though the trains are that much safer, these days.
General de Gaulle returned to France last week. Elsewhere the paper attempts to present his appearance in Bayeux as being met with a muted enthusiasm. This dispatch tells a different story and adds one telling note. He set up Francois Coulet and Colonel Pierre de Chevigne as administrators of liberated Normandy. No-one protested, so I suppose that that is our occupied France policy. A strange way to run a war, if you don’t mind my saying so, sir.
“X-Day is Coming” Has the nation finally reached its wartime production peak? Various signs (I imagine the editorial board of Time hovering over an Ouija board) suggest that the answer might be “yes.” The Navy is cutting back on Wildcats and small landing craft, an alumina plant is closing, as is the plant erected to make Budd planes, plus the Brewster shutdown. Manufacturing employment has been declining since November, hitting a reduction of a million workers over six months last month. Nevertheless, the peak of war production is not predicted for another three months. Bernard Baruch and Jimmy Byrnes warn of mass unemployment if Germany collapses in the fall, if Congress does not act on various plans for reconversion.
“The Shadow” Many people would vote for a Republican candidate for President if the GOP were to nominated someone “better.” The problem, of course, is that they cannot agree on what “better” looks like, but the Luce press is inclined to note the “22.7%” who want a more liberal candidate, concluding that the GOP’s problem is that voters think that they are not progressive.
“E is For Egg” A drive to increase egg production has overfulfilled, and now tractors will have to drop wagon loads of eggs into the Hudson if a press-radio campaign to persuade housewives to buy more eggs fails. Eggs not fit for human consumption are being sold to feed plants. Isn’t that going to run into a chicken-and-egg problem? I was very short with the neo-Malthusian "overpopulation" people in my header discussion, sir, and well you may wonder about the concern that "we are running out of food." It is, after all, a bit of a theme in these newsletters! Well, after this story, I am closing the book on the subject. In last week's number we read about the emergency purchase of Argentina's grain surplus precisely to provide emergency feed for East Coast farmers. This week we hear of eggs being fed right back to chickens! Is there a "food crisis?" There may well (eventually) be, but you cannot trust farm writers on the subject!
“An American Attitude” Senators CarlHatch of New Mexico and Styles Bridges have an amusing exchange about who wrecked the League of Nations, and when. Which is national news for some reason.
“Eleventh Hour” “Dapper governor Tom Dewey” is a “country squire.” That is, he is supervising work at his 300 acre farm in Pawling, New York and, to all appearances, ignoring the upcoming GOP Convention, where anything could happen! I know that I am treading on Uncle’s brand of world-weary cyncisms here. What I find interesting in this story is the description of the former New York prosecutor turned “Boy Wonder” turned Governor turned, soon, into Presidential candidate as a “country squire. “ How does a country prosecutor, even in New York, come to own a 300 acre farm in eastern New York? Shouldn’t there be at least a shadow of discretion cast over it? It’s like talking about your salary!
“I.O.U. to G.I.s” Uncle is of course deeply interested in anything to do with housing in this proposed “G.I. Bill,” which the President dusted off this week. A Government guaranteed of 50% of any loan of up to $4000 made for the purchase of a home, farm or business property, or for renovation of a property already owned! Now that is something! And there is more. A year of unemployment insurance at $20/week and a year of free college tuition, plus living expensed for the veteran and dependents, extendable to three on good grades! There is also a disability and hospital settlement, of course, and apprenticeship and vocational assistance. You can see how James comes to his “storm breeding” conclusion! I admit that these are things happening in America, not Britain. The "storm" will no doubt wax stronger over here; but on the other hand our housing stock is not being blown up.
“Lost Majority” The Democrats have lost their majority in the House for the first time since 1931 as a result of the replacement of a Democrat in Illinois’s 19th District by an unopposed Republican, Rolla C. McMillen. Meanwhile, Mr. Willkie published his own recommended platform for the GOP. He thinks that the GOP should run to the left of Mr. Roosevelt, then presumably govern to his right? Mr. Willkie, agree with him or not, has a lot of cheek!
“Food Freezers” This does not update the Fortune story, just covers “propagandist” Boyden Sparkes, who thinks that tomorrow belongs to the home freezer. That is, he is arguing for home freezers as opposed to the community walk-ins. I have to admit that the idea is attractive, and he (and Time) are perfectly correct to point to the high price of second-hand ice cream freezers. Frozen spinach might be good, too.
“Cure for Germans?” Professor Norman Maier of the University of Michigan, who, Time points out, has made his name by torturing rats into neurosis, suggests that the best cure for Germans is to not torture them with war crime proceedings, but to just keep them under the benevolent rule of military administration for ten years or so, keeping them working while waiting for the wounds to heal. This is good science, apparently, because rats do things and people fail to pick up hints consciously. Or unconsciously, if it is "H." ranting away in the Faculty Club and me, squirming and peaking at my watch. The annual AMA convention is against socialized medicine, in favour of penicillin. Radical splanchnicectomy is becoming safer and more routine. Fertility medicine is improving. Malaria treatments are improving under the impetus of military requirements. A paper about jaundiced canaries suggests that doctors have a sense of humour.
“Honour in Death” Time reports with approval the Archdiocese of Missouri’s declaration of interdict against parishioners who participate in the use of Japanese remains as military souvenirs, notably the letter-opener made of a Japanese soldier’s forearm, presented to the President by a Pennsylvania Representative.
“Take a Trip to Berlin..” The CAB published its plans for postwar international air routes. Uncle would characterise this as “more talking about talking about civil aviation.” I can see why he has grown so tired of the endless talking, but at some point, all of this will sort itself out into an enormously important peacetime industry, and some of these stories will turn out to be relevant to developments. The wearying part is that, as with the Presidential campaign, we won’t know which until it is all over, so that to be “informed,” we must read them all. Oh, well, I suppose it sells cigarettes.
“A Geologist Gets a Job” EugeneHolman, onetime Texas geologist, is to be the first geologist to be chairman of Standard Oil (NJ). He is the man who contradicted Icke’s warnings of an oil famine, saing that the nation’s oil should “last for 1000 years or more.” He will earn $100,000/year, but doesn’t think that that is much, as “you keep so little of it.” The paper notes that he will get to keep $37,000 of it, and that of his $20,000 raise, he will receive but $4000 clear. Only enough to buy a smallhouse every year, and certainly not enough to raise him into the American peerage!
“Ring-Around-a-Morgenthau” To avoid credit inflation, not a nickel of the $16 billion Fifth War Loan is permitted to be sold to commercial banks. But since about a fifth of the purchases of the last Loan were financed with bank credit, while private investors sell Treasuries to buy war bonds, with the same effect. The effect is that instead of soaking up excess buying power, the loans act in part to inflate credit. The complicating factor is that people are holding onto the money they saved by taking loans to buy Victory Bonds instead of spending it. Since the prospect of inflation is as exciting as the prospect of crop failures, Time goes on to darkly intimate that this behaviour will cease very soon now, leading to (more) inflation.
“Here to Stay” Sikorsky is making helicopters! Helicopter bus lines are coming!
“Bull Market” The invasion has succeeded and there is a buying spree of “peace stocks” on Wall Street, notably of IT&T, Packard and Wilys-Overland. James says that it is as exciting as railway stocks in the roaring forties. I think that if I knew more business history, I would be sure that my husband is saying that we should stay out of this, instead of just assuming it.
Press, Books, Film
The men of Marshall Field’s Chicago Sun are appalled at the way that other publishers get in the way of freedom of the press. “Lili Marline” is not a very impressive British documentary. A life of John Severn, “Keat’s forgotten friend” tickles Time’s fancy with the subject’s domesticity compared with his friend’s larger-than-life, well, life. (Have I mentioned that I notice a theme?) Several novels by “proletarian” authors. Peter Domanig, Victor White; The Day is Coming, William Cameron. In striking contrast, 69 year old chairman of National Steel Corporation Ernest Tener Weir celebrates the birth to his third wife, 28-year old Mary Hayward Weir, of their first son; and Mimi Chandler, starlet and daughter of Kentucky Senator A. B. “Happy” Chandler celebrates her marriage to Army Ferry Comamnd Major John Cabell, 27, cousin to novelist James Branch Cabell.
A third is from Charles Wertenbaker (see FOREIGN NEWS), chief of the TIME & LIFE staff on the beachhead in Normandy:"Your invasion team is all present or accounted for. Walton and Capa are with me, Landry is down the road. Scherschel is somewhere on the beach and Ragsdale, I hope, is on the way back to London. Byron Thomas and Bohrod are also said to be beachcombing somewhere. Reports from the second batch of correspondents arriving yesterday are that Belden and White are still held up in England."Walton, who landed with the paratroopers, is with the 82nd Airborne, which is probably the best spot here, and will stick with them. I will try to keep you covered on overall American action and am now proceeding with Capa for a closer look at the currently most active sector."Walton wants a pair of OD pants; and I want a pair of OD pants, one of my heavy shirts, some saddlesoap, a bottle of Vitamin C and a bottle of whiskey. We have plenty of brandy and Calvados."So far we have no direct word from Bob Sherrod on Saipan. Here's hoping he is not having as tough a time as he did on the beaches of Tarawa.
Flight, 29 June 1944
Is it just me, or has Flight taken on a somewhat nostalgic air of late?
Flight thinks that the vengeance rockets are a “pitiful expedient.” Something about protesting too much? Flight actually seems disappointed that the sea-fight off the Marianas was resolved by the aircraft carrriers and did not lead to a gunnery clash. At least it makes palatable the cashiering of the only American admiral to win (and win two!) air-sea battles in favour of the only one to lose two, as Uncle would say. Of course, Raymond was not, technically, cashiered. Felix says that he will just not get another chance to fight the Japanese fleet.
War in the Air
Tempests, we are allowed to say, are taking the lead in the fight against the vengeance robots. Flight explains that shooting them down in the sky is not that useful, however. It is much more productive to attack the factories, if possible, and the trains bringing them up to the front. Best of all would be to take the launching areas in the Pas de Calais. Is this why there is so much talk of another landing in that area? Never mind. The last thing we want is for your mail to be intercepted and read. I have no way of knowing how you would render "Pas de Calais" into Hakka pirate writing, but James says that it would help a reader unravel our little code. Flight thinks that the Russians are less impressed by experiments in shuttle bombing than by the Second Front, It is impressed by the attack on Cherbourg, and disappointed with the pro-Hitler weather, which slowed down supply landings. (Tommy Wong’s long-awaited V-Mail, if not passed on to you, has quite a tale to tell about that.) Flight suggests that a landing in southern France is coming.
Here and There
A picture of the new Northrop P-61, a muscled-up twin of the P-38, is shown. Itis hinted that B-29s may soon fly from England. Mr. Bowyer writes to thank Flight for its attempted support in the last number but gently correct it with the observation that there was never an aeroengine production “Ring.” The Society of British Aircraft Constructors is the only thing that looks like a “Ring,” and it is not. It is just a closed circle of private manufacturers that cooperates with the Air Force via the AID. Any firm the SBAC admits can be a member of the SBAC! Free enterprise! P-38s are now being used as high-alttiude bombers against Germany, which suggests that there might not be a better use for them. More than 1000 aircraft have been committed to the Cross-Channel Ferry.
Our correspondent flies with an RCAF Wellington squadron of Coastal Command tasked with anti E-boat work. He notes being fed twice on eggs and bacon and chips, once at the main base, once at the satellite, where the plane is bombed and gassed up for along night patrol. There are stiff winds and an icing altitude of 6000 feet, never mind that it is June, and he is provided with a pair of sheepskin-lined flying boots. The airplane must be a very new Wellington,because it is loaded down to almost 30,000lbs and flies with Hercules XVI operating Rotol adjustable props
|Photo by Martin Waligorski, link above.|
. After all the preparation and all the English food, regrettably no E-boats are found. They have not been seen very much since the big raid on Boulogne. To add action to this number, the paper throws in the 6th Airborne Divisions’s report of its assault.
Short pieces note that Switzerland has an aviation industry now, and that there have been experiments with “picking up” gliders in Normandy for a return tow to Britain.
“The Air Torpedo” Is a very full description of the vengeance robot plane. It is very definitely engineered for mass production, notably with compressed air services replacing hydraulic.
Behind the Lines
“Tin Foil” The Germans release an official statement that the aluminised foil strips used by the British to fox German radar is no longer effective because their radar has been improved. Except that it uses such loose and vague terminology that no-one who reads this number (but not others) will understand how it works. This brilliant bit of censorship will certainly keep the British from knowing how the weapon they are using works! The Germans have built a very big airfield in Norway, in case.
“Comfort in the Avro York” A portfolio of pictures reveal that the York is quite luxurious. Throw rugs over each seat suggest that “comfort” is still somewhat relative.
Studies in Aircraft Recognition
The He115 large floatplane and Arado Ar 240 twin-engined fighter bomber look quite different.
L. G. Fairhurst, “Wooden Blades: A Preview of Airscrew Requirements for Post-war Civil Air Transport” I am sure that Mr. Fairhurst means well, but any man of my household who flies on a plane with wooden airscrews had better be ready to sleep on the sofa for a very long time.
W. Nichols, “Aircraft Laminated Plastics: Development of Low-pressure Laminates:Fabric Fairings: Reinforced Floors for Transports” Low pressure laminates are cotton or paper sheets impregnated with plastic and then put into deflated molds, which are then inflated with steam. General Electric’s laboratory has been playing with these, and thinks that they can be used for all sorts of things, including low-stress components of civil aircraft. Given that use in aircraft is strictly hypothetical at this point, this is a remarkably long article for Flight. Perhaps a design analysis of the Tempest is being spiked from issue to issue? That would also account for the P-38 article in the last one.
Norman Philips thinks that the vengeance robots should be called “aerial torpedoes.” Kenneth S. Othick thinks that they are very inferior machines compared to what he would design. B. Bernard thinks that he is a very important person who can afford to write five paragraph letters that people will read to get to his point, which is that the RAF technical schools have trained “ many thousands of ” engineers in this war, and can continue to train them afterwards, whereas a proposed SBAC school cannot. My thought is that unless we find better work for them, we shall quite an excess of engineers after the war, in that case. E. C. Ferguson writes to remind us that in 1940, there was an “Air Component of the BEF” in France with four fighter sqaudrons at the beginning of hostilities, as well s the two squadrons of the Advanced Striking Force, which gets all of the press. R. Davenport will not let the idea that gunpowder, or at least “modern gunpowders” might be a better propellant than regular gasoline.
Uncle usually summarises Aero Digest here. This is, I suspect, because he finds political news amusing, and the paper tends to be hysterically anti-New Deal, which he finds even more amusing. I tend to think that that is playing with fire in our situation, that he needs to be reminded of 1919. Aero Digest is the voice of industry, and industry has nothing to say. Or, rather, there are trainers who are tired of repeating themselves
and send a piece to Aero Digest,
people who are too giddy with fatigue to realise that something is a silly idea
Advertisers of the strange and arcane
and garrulous twits set to fill out copy with denunciations of bureaucrats and praise for American planes,presumably tasks set to them so that they will not interfere with important work.