Thank you for your urgent warning. Unfortunately, the courier was held over until Tuesdasy by a squall at Kwajalein. Had it not been for Great Uncle, I am afraid that things would have gone very badly indeed.
Not that things did not go about as badly as one can imagine. Well, no, not true. Shots were fired, and it is one thing to face them yourself, and another to hear them fired at loved ones. –So I fear that I lose some perspective when I cannot push the party from my mind.
Let me back up: your ominous predictiones came true; but not in your wildest fever could you have imagined just how. It began as I was receiving the guests at 8. Miss W. was invited, as how could she not? I never expected her to appear. L.A. is far away, anthropologists not her usual company, and 8 is rather late for her to be sober these days, if the gossip magazines are to be believed. (Not that I would ever be caught dead reading those rags, she sniffed, self-righteously.)
The point, though, is not her reading material, but her escort. T. V. Soong! At my party! And in the company of Miss W., after all the things said about her by the Nationalist Press, no less, nor a bodyguard in sight. Foolish girl that I am, I took that as a sign of pacific intent, where I should have remembered that with a Soong in the house, one counts the silverware coming and going.
So there we were, our party graced by His Excellence himself. The stiffness between him and Professor L. might have been death to the party, but Professor K. engaged the Vice-President manfully over Manhattans on Californian antiquities, upon which subject he manfully held his own, teasing the Professor with hints of the origins of the Whale Man, and reading the characters on the parquet of the Hall floor to him.
And just as dinner was served, my next unexpected guest, rolled into the dining room just at the start of supper in a wheelchair, Great Uncle! I had honestly never expected to see him aware again, but there he was, eating his soup with only an occasionally guiding hand from Amy So sitting discretely behind him. I think that was the moment I began to feel my stomach. Her husband was nowhere in sight, and, as you know, Wing Chan was not brought on board as a nurse on the strength of his beside manners.
I suppose this is another revelation of the power of penicillin, in this case to break Great Uncle's lower infection, which explains, I am told, part of his dementia. Without it, he still has occasional good days. Fortunately.
Just before the soup dish was cleared, the foreman of our construction gang appeared at Soong’s elbow, quite uninvited, and, too late, I saw the trap I had fallen into. Soong did not need to bring retainers. They were already here!
My stomach dropped out until I realised that the expression forming on His Excellency’s face was anything but satisfied. And then I was called to the phone for Fanny, calling from the college to let me know that she had received my warning, and that she was sitting with the University Provost at that moment, with the twins.
I had a moment to try to form some inane comment about how I had given no warning when a fusillade of shots rang out overhead, ending in a heavy thud from above, and another, not nearly so sterile, for he came right through the bad spot on the ceiling to land on the dance floor, prostrate before the Whale Man. Not inappropriately. You will not be surprised that the first sign he gave that he was still alive was to swear in Russian. (I think. Miss v. Q. certainly answered him in Russian, saying, if I am any judge, something about staying very still on pains of receiving a discrete little automatic's worth of .22 rounds at a yard's range. It matched her purse. Very fashionable!)
Great Uncle stared ahead, only slightly smiling when the sound of the voices of your youngest, and “Miss V.C” came through the floor, the former calling for towels, the latter asking how to reload her pistol.
Then Great-Uncle began to speak.
“Welcome, everyone, to my humble home. If you do not know me, perhaps you know of me, and are not surprised to hear gunfire. If not, seek enlightenment from your companions. You will rejoice with me that tonight some Shanghai thugs bit off more than they could chew. Our carpenter friend, and our guest of honour might take a lesson alike.”
Our carpenter friend’s ambitions better not extend to getting a bonus. It’s unfortunate. They were very hard to find, and I should have questioned my luck.
Great Uncle continued. “I do not know if you are all aware of this, but this started with shots in a house, not nearly as respectable a one as this, in old Bantam long ago A shipment of country goods, bound from Shanghai to Wenchang, had somehow fetched up there. A cargo of opium had been prepared against the happy accident. Which proved a little short, some caddies being filled with sugar, and that in turn to a rather drastic settling of accounts.
"It thus became an honourable ancestor of mine’s duty to explain to a distant cousin that one did not go around shooting one’s fellow Englishmen in cold blood, even in a house of ill-repute, no matter who might have stolen from whom, or what his business partners said. Or, at least, that one does not leave witnesses behind as one departs, swaggering and drunk, into the night.
“Honourable ancestor, charmingly naïve, put a pistol with a single round on the table at the end of the interview, and retired below to await the report. Or, as it happens, the sound of boots hitting the verandah outside, and of coins, sewn into a waistcoat jingling.
“I will not venture to say how our blue-blooded murderer made his way to the harbour and a waiting ship. I think His Excellency could tell us, if perhaps he has attended to his family stories. He may not have. It was a long time ago. Although the memory of the time when your clan put a future Governor of California in its debt is perhaps not forgotten so quickly as some stories.
“I do not think he could tell you how the next thing happened, the letter from Valparaiso later that year, suggesting that there were not enough coins in that waistcoat for the young man's taste, and that he had booked passage to New York, with the thought of proceeding onwards to London if he arrived in a situation not to his liking. And so off went honourable ancestor, to England and an unlikely imposture as his own third cousin, and to arrange something in New York.
“Oh, do not look at me that way. The British remittance man is an American staple, and when the matter is more serious than gambling, wine or women, one seeks a new name, and one way of securing such a thing is to find an American family willing to add a branch to its family tree. Throw in a certain facility with accents, a little bit of travel, and America can be the land of reinvention.
“Unfortunately, his choice of destinations was California, for he was not quite ready to stand on his own, when he could continue to trade on the family’s influence. The less said about that,the better. But it is a very nice university.
“Nor was it only our influence, at least by intent. His old allies showed up, too. Well, we settled them in the end, in California at least, with knives in the dark and guns on lonely trails. Dirty, dirty business. Sometimes I wish we could have settled with the Governor, too. The state would be cleaner. The railways, perhaps, even. The vulgar business with his wife. . I will have much to answer for when I pass on."
And then he looked at Soong. "But you, Your Excellency. You walk into my house and imagine that it is not settled? Well, it was settled then, and it is settled now. I cannot now destroy your connections root and branch. There is a place prepared for your allies and your followers a little north of here, you know where. But as for you and your sisters, you will leave California.”
His Excellency blanched, even before Wong Lee appeared to escort him back to the Embassy.
And, at the door, I heard Professor K. tell Miss W., clear as day, that she could now tell people that she had met the real Fu Manchu, and, for once, I could only smile at that.
It was funny. But my party was ruined, and I think that the Government of China might be upset at us.
Flight, 3 May 1945
“Exit Goering” The Reichsmarschall leaves the scene very slightly before his air force.
“The Big Bomb” Not enough people realise that very big bombs are more than just toys for boys. They can also destroy very impressive things, with a big ka-boom! For example, “concrete strongpoints many feet thick,” while very big ka-booms right under ships can capsize them or blow their bottoms out. (What about dropping them down smokestacks?) Also, what about that V/1500? Those were the days, lads. But I’m not just reminiscing. The fact that the Lancaster is bigger than the V/1500 means that the –what?—will be bigger than the Lancaster! In conclusion, battleships and fortresses are obsolete even more now, and will be even more-more, later. Reading this brought out the fatuous in me. As you will see, I finally clued to what the paper is hinting at in the next number.
“Taking the Sword” Germany invented the concentration camp, at least in our new, improved, 99 ¾% Boer-War-free history. It will get what is coming to it. The Ruhr has been bombed, but good. It will be rebuilt with new factories. Our factories are old. The paper is sad for the future now.
War in the Air
Our bombers blew up Hitler’s chalet. This is a sign that the strategic bombing campaign is coming to a close, as we have nothing better to blow up than chalets, which is “Bomber Command’s little treat.” The Germans say that Hitler is in Berlin, so Bomber Command can’t have blown him up, but the Germans are such awful liars. But Hitler does say that Berlin and Prague are the two cities that must be held, so maybe he is at one or the other. Prague would be devilishly clever. That was why it was so clever to blow up the Skoda works. Because they are in Czechoslovakia, like Prague, and maybe Hitler. Our Spitfires are over Berlin. Many places have been taken. Berlin is surrounded. The Germans lost because they have no oil. Japan also has no oil, now that the Burma oil fields have been recaptured by Fourteenth Army. Which they never actually redeveloped, but never mind. They could have, and that’s the main thing. There is also a war going on in Italy, where partisans caught and shot Mussolini and “many” of his Fascist counsellors. He was stupid, and did not build aircraft carriers. The paper thinks that the Germans “led by Himmler,” might surrender by the time this number comes out. General Ritter von Greim is the new commander-in-chief of the “nonexistent Luftwaffe.” Father will not be impressed by the Fuehrer's judgment, although given the men Chiang gave him to work with. . . The P-47N exists, and a picture of the Me 262’s Jumo engine means that “the secret is out.”
Here and There
Antwerp has been the target of 9000 flying bombs, which have killed 3000 people. The China Clipper has been scrapped after 10 years of service, due to striking a blacked-out boat in a night landing. Lt. General Barney M. Giles has been appointed commanding general of the USAAF in the Pacific in place of Lt. General Millard R. Harmon, reported missing. He will be replaced as Army Air Force Chief of Staff by General Eaker, Eaker by Lt. General John K. Cannon. “Mobile” air bases are being established in Australia to operate Hellcats, Seafires and Fireflies following the Fleet. Brigadier H. G. Willmott, of South Africa, has replaced Air Vice-Marshal Sir Brian Baker as Senior Staff Officer, RAF Middle East. Air Commodore R.Ivelaw-Chapman has been freed from a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany after a year of captivity that began just before D-Day. He was one of the pilots forced down in Kabul during the 1919 trouble. Apparently, not enough Afghans read their Kipling. Flt Lt. Peter Kingsford Smith, nephew of “Smithy” has been awarded a DFC. Two of the Kingford-Smith siblings have their gongs, the third is suffering from sibling rivalry. Miss Pauline Gower, Senior Commander of theATA, is to marry Wing Commander William C. Fahie of Dublin. “Before the war, Miss Gower became famous throughout the country for her air circus, which she ran in association with Miss Dorothy Spicer, Britain’s first female ground engineer. Eighteen 5-ton metre gauge locomotives have been flown from America to Burma in 27 transport aircraft as an expedited delivery. Mathis has announced that it is going to begin production of its Multi, a 42-cylinder, 2300hp engine at a weight one-third of any other known engine. A six-row 7-cylinder radial, it flew 100 hours in 1939.
“Private Owner Designs” Several prize-winning entrants in a Popular Science competition for the design of a Post-war family aircraft are shown. “Private Fotheringham of the Marine Corps’” sketch of a jet-powered air-sedan won some money. Or a free subscription to Popular Science, anyway. Perhaps he can trade them for back numbers of Astounding Science Fiction.
“British Aircraft Ambassadors” Several very important British persons are off to Palm Springs, Miami Beach, and Malibu to sell –No, wait, they’re opening an office in London. With “branch offices in the main potential markets abroad.” So Palm Beach, etc.
“New Fifth Sea Lord” Tom gets the nod. How nice for him to carry the family name of a great Eighteenth Century admiral, the cheeky daughter-in-law teased, lovingly. Also in service news, the Royal Observes Corps is to stand down for a day. The paper detects a dramatic scheme for the improvement of the defence of Britain. And 49 Group RAF deserves to be famous for all of its air-ambulance work, but won’t be, because boys don’t play with ambulances. (Well, they do, because they love to drive them off imaginary cliffs and crash them into the ground far below while making siren sounds; but I doubt that that’s how 49 Group wants to be remembered. Yes, I do spend far too much time waiting in overcrowded doctor’s offices, but ever since they made Dr. Rivers a Captain and sent him off to patch up Marines, I have not been able to get a private consultation in San Jose. So it’s that or pack Fanny and the twins up to San Francisco every time one of them catches a sniffle.)
“Flying-Boat Moorings: New Saro Scheme Automatic in Action: Berthing Time Reduced to Five Minutes” Now that Arthur Gouge has solved the problem forever, the paper notices that the “ease of flying” in a flying boat ends with an interminable toot around a cold harbour in a tin can until it is time to disembark your frozen bones into a motor launch to bounce ashore through a bone-chilling late-winter San Francisco sleet. Well. Glad that’s all solved now, and I encourage other people to try out the new generation of flying boat service.
“Sunderlands’ Daring Flight” Flying boats are making frontline deliveries on Burmese rivers.
Indicator Discusses “Getting Over the Hump: The Paramount Importance of the Experimental Test Pilot’s Work: Advanced Technical and Theoretical Knowledge as a Necessity Rather than an Asset: The Scientific Pilot as the Key Man of the Immediate Future” The point is not so much to defend the necessity of test pilots as to make the point that only test pilots will be able to discover dangerous interactions at near-compressibility speeds. It is the problem of calculating effects at speeds around the local speed of sound that make the test pilot a “necessity of the immediate future.”
“Ruhr Tour: A Desert of Dust and Rubble: 540 Square Miles of Devastation” John Yoxall takes a jolly jaunt about the Ruhr, not exactly a German beauty spot before the war, as I understand it. The Ruhr, he points out, was 1000 square miles and 4 million people before the war, compared with 8 million in 640 square miles of London. Now it is a “desert of rust and rubble with just a tiny wisp of smoke or steam here and there, where a pathetic attempt is being made to get a little power going for electricity, water and suchlike. Everywhere the whole ground sparkles where myriads of piece of broken glass reflect the sun’s rays upward. .. I am told that in the farmhouses in the surrounding disctricts as many as nine and ten people are living in each room.” The Ruhr had 42 colleries, 10 synthetic oil plants and 22 marshalling yards that could handle up to 80,000 trucks per day. It produced 71% of the enemy’s coal, 61.5% of its pig iron and steel. So we had to level it with 51,000 sorties carrying 182,000 tons of bombs, once the “G. box” made area bombing and saturation bombing effective.
Is the “G. box” the ground-mapping radar, the Air Position Indicator, or still another “gen” black box?
Robert J. Nebesar, “Cargo Aircraft” Not to quote the subtitles at length, but Nebesar calculates that the greatest efficiencies are at 20—26 pounds per square feet and power loadings from 15 to 11.5lb/hp. The plane should be high-wing, with a level fuselage at truck-bed height, and the hold should be arranged to minimise changes of centre of gravity with cargo distribution somehow.
“The Yalta Air Disaster” Sir Archibald Sinclair gave a full and frank explanation of the York aircraft disaster. It was a weather diversion followed by a navigational error, which led to the plane running out of fuel near Malta. I suppose conspiracy theories are inevitable, though.
N. D. Ryder, “Only Angels May Fly: U.S. Civil Air Regulations that ‘Handcuff’ the Private Pilot” Various regulations upset N. D. Ryder.
Civil Aviation News
Colombians, Cubans, Bristolians, Scots, Ceylonese talk about talking about civil aviation. Juan Trippe doesn’t know when to shut up. BOAC has just completed its 1500th North Atlantic Return Ferry flight since taking over the service on 24 September 1941. Fourteen DC-3s have been sold to various European operators. The first advance party of the developmental flight for the London-New Zealand service arrive in Auckland, where they are met by a flock of sheep with bones in their noses doing a war dance, followed by a rugby demonstration. They were flying a Lancastrian. (The advance party, not the sheep, who will not get a look at the Lancastrian, since it belongs to Qantas, thus Australians.)
Long time reader L. Cullinan, writes to congratulate the paper on being a voice crying out in the wilderness for jets. When was this again, exactly? “A Test Pilot” thinks that Mr. Pollitt’s latest proposal is silly, and the fact that he can see it and that Mr. Pollitt cannot proves that test pilots are smarter than Mr. Pollitt. C. D. Stoltz writes something very long about safety fuels, proving that since accidents hardly ever happen, who needs safety? “Student” writes to argue that sleeve valves are so the future. I am intensely reminded of your youngest, and would very much like to hear “Student” talk about rockets to the Moon. “N.O.” writes to say that the paper is being mean to the Navy. The paper answers back by being mean to the Fleet Air Arm and arguing, again, that very big bombs can sink very big ships. Bigger bombs! Bigger ships!
The Economist, 5 May 1945
“Gangster’s End” The paper is pleased that Mussolini is dead, and probably also Hitler. Why was Doenitz appointed his replacement? To take refuge in Norway or on the submarine fleet? (Norwegian Nazi submarine pirates? Someone has been reading their pulps!) Whatever proves to be the case, the Third Reich has fallen in a “sordid welter of blood and betrayal.” “It is not the Nazi Reich that will last a thousand years, but the awful echo of its fall.” The paper thanks Churchill and the British people, and closes by saying nice things about the Confederate Army and bad things about the Duke of Marlborough.
“A New Risorgimento” The paper thinks it might be nice if the Italian government were now recognised. “It is absurd that Argentina should have a seat at the Conference in San Francisco and not the men who liberated northern Italy.” Well, the first are in practice guilty mainly of teasing the Allies, and the second would be the Lombard communists, would they not? Also, Italy is in trouble for lack of coal, so if it goes communist, it will be those miners and coal owners who are to blame. Full technical efficiency! It’s nice that General de Gaulle apparently doesn’t want to start fighting Italy any time soon.
“Education and Business” Accountants will from now on do some of their training at universities. Direct certificate boys will still leave school at 16 and qualify at 21, while university boys won’t qualify until they are nearly 24, but it is a start. The paper is pleased because the old accountancy training was, like much of British education, too practical and semi-vocational, while university education was too general and abstract, and not scientific and technical enough. The paper approves of university education but fears that parents are too quick to ask for “practical” courses of instruction. On the other hand, it quotes a very famous surgeon as saying that medical training in England is already effectively a university education, and if it is good enough for doctors, it should be good enough for accountants and such. Accountancy will be the vanguard of a new approach which perfectly unites “useful” with “general,” while still separating “educational” from “vocational.” The American system is terrible. We need to spend more money on education (now no quotes.)
“Elections in France” Will lack of coal land poor state finances lead to Communism or Boulangism? Or perhaps something in the middle?
|8mm Lebel: The point is that General Boulanger was going to lead the French Army in a war of revanche with the world's first service smokeless powder cartridge. Hey, it could have happened|
Notes of the Week
“San Francisco” The Great Powers are squabbling. Mr. Molotov is making trouble. Argentina and Poland are in dispute.
“The Electorate” The Chelmsford byelection shows that there Is a strong anti-Tory sentiment. The paper hopes that there is a countervailing pro-Churchill sentiment. Mr. Atlee is a “nobody.” The odds, silly old “polls” aside, are with Churchill. Sir Stafford gives a speech on the need for full technical efficiency. Leo Amery diagnoses trouble for the Conservatives in their last two election victories of 1924 and 1935(!) The Budget debate sees Sir John Anderson deprecate the possibility of technical or outright income tax relief. When it comes to income tax reduction, the paper believes in “stimulating consumption,” not “fiscal probity.”
Austrians and Argentinians are excitable. The price of coal is going up. Fulll technical efficiency is needed. The BBC should give into its orchestras and pay them better. The paper dislikes the new plan for the port of Cardiff. No subsidies for thee, etc. Civil Defence is being wound down. Lord Keynes has resigned the editorship and secretaryship of the Royal Economic Society. Total casualties for the V2 offensive are now published at 2754 killed, 6,253 seriously wounded, with 1050 rockets reaching this country.
“Vital Statistics for 1944” This year’s numbers continued the “favourable trend.” Infant mortality down 3 at 46, death rate down 0.2 at 11.2 per thousand, 302,046 marriages, up 6632 from 1943, when it was the lowest since 1926. The “net reproductive rate” is said to be 0.99, where 1.00 is full replacement. The paper finds this to be magic numbers, and in any case probably boosted by the Second Front and such. It predicts similarly high numbers in 1946 and 1947, followed by the death of all grass.
“Producer’s Country and the Tariff” by Our Correspondent in Colorado
Our correspondent in Colorado, last but one seen predicting the collapse of civilisation in the Rocky Mountain states due to beef prices, now warns that middle Americans will start the next world war by refusing to lower tariffs on behalf of “foreigners.” Country Gentleman has recently published an article claiming that agricultural sales are always about a seventh of the national product, going up and down with other sectors. In OiC’s reading of this article, the number is guaranteed. Spending on agricultural goods is multiplied seven times over in the other parts of the economy, so that the only way to maintain self-sustaining prosperity in the United States is with guaranteed price supports for domestic produce and swingeing tariffs on imports. For a dollar of imports sacrifices seven dollars of domestic product.
“A Guaranteed Annual Wage” is proposed. The idea emerges from the CIO’s steelworkers, who want a guaranteed annual wage from the industry. Others suggest that the only way it can work is with Government intervention.
“Another Axis” Some American columnists think that we should alleviate Russian fears that Britain, the United States and Germany are about to go in against them. Other papers, the ones which President Roosevelt liked to describe as the “Axis” papers, think that would be a swell idea. The paper singles out John O’Donnell of the New York Daily News.
“Universal Military Training” Let’s talk about. . .
“Away from Normalcy” President Truman has put Secretary Wallace in charge of disposing of surplus Government property, and in investigating the way that American patent law contributes to restraint of trade and monopolistic practices.
The World Overseas
“The Russian Budget” Numbers that do not mean very much suggest that Russia is investing in heavy industry and education rather than housing. The large family grants that were supposed to raise the Russian birth rate are to be a twentieth of the educational budget and less than one part in 40 of the industrial.
Argentines are excitable, and Ireland is to have a building programme.
“The National Finances” A special five-page report on the White Paper on the Budget. I have written a letter to the Earl with my appreciation of the White Paper. Here I will just abstract from the blizzard of numbers the observation that the whole cost of the war, which was equal to 2-and-a-half years of the national product at the 1938 level, was met 39 ¾% by increased output, 23 ½% by reduced consumption; aqnd 35% by deferred investment and drafts on capital; but in the United States, 100% of the increase came from increased output, 3% by economising on non-war Government expenditures, and 14% by deferral and draft on capital, since the war economy accommodated a 17% increase in consumer spending. This isn’t surprising given the very different states of the two economies in 1938, I suppose, but bears heavily on Uncle George’s bee-in-bonnet; increased output means, in part, improved methods. Not by any means confined to electrical engineering, of course, and one can see them in steel, even if less so than many other sectors. Still, electrical is the new industry and the one with the most potential, even compared with others with the same prospect of scientific or technical application, such as the chemical industry.
The Business World
“Double Taxation” The treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom last week that allows taxes paid in one country to be deducted from taxes due in the other is welcomed by the paper. But it doesn’t go far enough. I think. I’m not going to read this right now, because apparently I have to take down the treaty and go over it with a fine-tooth comb later.
“Electrical Engineering” You will not believe me when I say that I had taken a note under the section on national finance to talk about electrical engineering before noticing this article. Disappointingly, it is the same one that the engineering weeklies ran in 1937 and 1938, when the 1935 Censuses of Production first became available to compare with the 1924 Census. That is, before the rearmament boom even got fairly started, and never mind the war with its radars and its “G” boxes, electrical engineering was going great guns. I’m a little puzzled why so stale an article would be run, but perhaps it is a place holder for the “Victory” article.
“Politics Once More” The stock market sees Communists under the bed, sells everything, runs and hides.
“Better Export Credit Guarantees” Free trade is perfectly compatible with paying exporters to export, as long as we call it a “credit.” Credits are good things. It says so right in the name!
“Women in Engineering” The paper reports that we should not be surprised to hear that there are some. They even had a conference in Blackpool last week, where presumably the fact that they were paid 30—40% less than men in comparable positions was discussed. If married women are to continue to work, the paper points out, provision for relief from domestic responsibilities, above all care of children, will have to be made.
Aircraft are to be exported, the Nuffield Organisation is going into Australia, “unproductive industries” such as hotels and retail trade are not well treated by the new income tax bill, raising a fuss over the iudea of “unproductive” and “productive” industries. More Treasury Bills are to be released, tin production from formerly Japanese occupied areas is to be expected soon to alleviate the shortage of the metal and of dollars. Diamond prices might be up postwar, rayon prices are down, efforts to wind down the Texas Land Company continue, Maypole Dairies is going into New Zealand and Holland, American insurance companies are expected to see heavy charges from increased accidents and fires in the year ahead, and the London Dockers’ Strike turns out to have been a Communist plot.
Flight, 10 May 1945
“Victory” The charm of a weekly is that you can have your news in less than a month, although it is also a disadvantage given that you need to read –or ignore-- more. (Would you like me to do a day-by-day report on The Chronicle? I thought not.) With all the events of this last week, that is as facetious as I want to be. The paper celebrates a victory brought to us by Bomber Command, and also some other persons, worthy enough within their limits.
“High, Fast and Heavy” Bombers must get even bigger! And carry “one super-size missile” while they’re at it. I’m not sure I
–Wait. How large do you suppose that an atomical bomb would have to be? Never mind. I’m sure that you know the answer.
“What is wanted is a very small component of very large, jet-propelled bombers able to operate in the region of 50,000ft,, each carrying one 15-ton bomb.”
There you go. An atomical bomb (or “missile”) will weigh fifteen tons.
–Wait. How large do you suppose that an atomical bomb would have to be? Never mind. I’m sure that you know the answer.
“What is wanted is a very small component of very large, jet-propelled bombers able to operate in the region of 50,000ft,, each carrying one 15-ton bomb.”
There you go. An atomical bomb (or “missile”) will weigh fifteen tons.
|What this is, because I can't find anything about Red Cat (Enjoy this agreeably insane link)|
“Cargo Aircraft” The paper summarises Dr. Nesebar’s series. Arbitrarily limiting cargo aircraft in various ways, then by keeping them to a “wing loading multiplied by power loading” of 300 (It’s a law of Nature, or of Edward Warner), he concludes that wing loading must be 20—26 lb/sq ft and power loading 15 to 11.5 hp/lb. It is concluded that Mr. Shackleton knows what he is talking about (which doesn’t surprise me), and that the Bristol Freighter will probably be a success –which is more speculative, but I can hardly argue.
War in the Air
This feature doesn’t know that the war is over, but suspects that it will end soon. Also, the Germans in Italy have capitulated. Aircraft were involved. In places where there is still war, Rangoon has fallen. Almost unbelievably, the Ledo Road turns out to have been a waste of money and time. A French Air Mission is visiting Britain to look at planes and factories and suchlike. The Canadian Army sends a nice thank-you note to 84 Group RAF for dropping almost all the bombs it dropped on Germans, or at least nearer Germans than Canadians.
“The Bomber’s Record” Bomber Command takes this occasion to remind us that it was involved.
Here and There
Air Chief Marshall Harris receives the Freedom of the Borough of Honiton. Mr. C. A. Proctor retires as chief of Dunlop after 54 years of service. (The pension terms do not get really generous until year 52.) Lt. General Kumaichi Teramoto is made director of Japanese Army Aviation headquarters. General Chidlaw, AOC USAAF Mediterranean, gets a gong from General Arnold. The Air Training Corps has laid on three “interesting events” this weekend: a football match, a parade, and a boxing championship. So just in case you are in London, and bored on the weekend, because there is nothing happening in town, you can go see Air cadets parade, and possibly get the autograph of Air Marshal Sir Leslie Gossage himself! The RAeS in Glasgow, more sensibly, puts off its next debate until the 16th, when VE-Day celebrations might be winding down. The Association for Scientific Photography puts off its talks until June. The King is going to visit Cranwell, and has knighted Sir Guy Garrod. The United States Navy air strength is now gigantically enormous, reports Admiral DeWitt Ramsay to Congress, and has been “the spearhead of the naval offensive.” Congress listened, rapt, to this late-breaking intelligence. Air Commodore Whittle, not to be outdone in stating the obvious, tells us that the jet turbine will replace the piston engine, in all but light aircraft, in ten to fifteen years, but will not come into automobile engines. United Airline airliners are flying over 13 hours a day, compared with 8 hours a day before the war. To alleviate boredom and loneliness at a forward Signals Corps post in Burma, the crew of a C-47 recently dropped them a puppy in a food resupply container, but only after eliciting firm promises that the unit will take responsibility for all walks,feeding, cleaning up after, housebreaking, will get it its shots, etc. The Japanese air forces are suffering heavy casualties. America is now importing benzole from the Australian coke works in Newcastle. I’m a little less surprised than the paper is, given the amount of deadhead going back across the Pacific. It is suggested that overall aircraft production will taper off in the United States over the next several months. Liberator bomber production at Willow Run, for example, will end by August, while production of B-17s at the Lockheed and Douglas factories in Los Angeles has been halved. Uncle Henry’s proposed Pacific terminal airport on reclaimed land in the Bay gets a straight take from the paper, in contrast to Stubblefield’s ridicule. Well, semi-straight.
“Heinkel He-177: A General Survey of One of the Enemy’s Large Four-engined Heavy Bombers” Now that the war is over, there can be no harm in letting the Germans know about the classified details of the Heinkel He-177 Griff. “It smacks of a kind of precocity which one can tolerate, and, to a certain extent admire, yet remain unconvinced of its merit.” Ooh, that must smart, Doctor Ernest! The writeup is vaguely interesting, although I think I will defer comment until an Aviation writeup appears, if it does. It’s a bit of a blind alley, now, isn’t it? Although the arrangements made to put the two V-12 engines together can hardly not appear in an auto engine, I suppose, just because there are so many and they are so ingenious that someone, some time, will use them. Although the engine based on the Multis design will probably be even fancier.
E. L. Bell, “Swiss Planning: Expansion of Landing Facilities: Central International Airport” Zurich is to be the site of a Swiss “central” international airport, and it will be quite large and grand, with “3000-metre runways.” Other airports will be extended, too, as long as there is no mountain in the way, as there often are in Switzerland.
Robert S. Nebesar, “Cargo Aircraft: Part II of a Study of the Efficiencies of Various Designs: A Modified Figure of Merit” Seven pages of analysis, with many, many graphs and charts, comes to the conclusion already introduced in the Leader. In other news, G. F. Vaughn of Wright, announces a new 7-cylnder, 700hp radial for future civil applications. Because between the three specialist small aeroengine manufacturers in the United States and the existing low-power radials offered by Wright and Pratt and Whitney, there is simply not enough choice, and will not be in the five or so years it takes this engine to reach the market.
Indicator Discusses “Grading the Amateur: A Suggested Licensing Arrangement for the Private Pilot: ‘Experience Training’ in Two States: Flight Authorisation as a Means of Control and Discipline for the Inexperienced” Pilots complaining about reasonable regulations are exactly the reason we need them.
Civil Aviation News
Various services are re-established. Various countries are talking about talking about civil aviation. Argentina claims “national air sovereignty,” and Adolf Berle, of the United States, talks about “freedom of the air.”
B. Noble fears that the six-pusher layout of the Consolidated “Super-Clipper” will pose an icing problem, as de-icers will fling the ice into the whirling blades.
A. Stone (Grad., RAeS), writes to correct Mr. S. H. Prince’s calculations of likely future jet turbine fuel efficiency. Mr. L. B. Greensted, Chief Test Pilot of Rotol, writes to add his voice to the “growing weight of informed aeronautical opinion which is championing the cause of the pre-eminent established pre-war training centre. . . “ I think that he means that air transport training should be left to the experts. R. H. Henderson writes on the “Dangers of Turning.” Pointy-headed academic experts have it all wrong.
The Economist, 12 May 1945
“Ancient Sacrifice” The paper decides to celebrate VE Day with some gloom. The empty heart does not heal.
“The Russian Attitude” Is it something about the season that brings the Communists, like the ants, back under the bed in the spring?
“Back to Civilian Life” Demobilisation in 1918 was abit of a disaster. We should avoid that this time. In the meantime, as an orderly demobilisation proceeds, Army Education can be an important way of alleviating boredom. Funny that the paper should mention it… And, yes, no doubt I have distorted the point of the paper to take that jab. You try ignoring a beautiful Santa Clara Sunday afternoon to read this drivel.
“The Other War” Japan? Japan, I think. “In many ways the Japanese} political outlook could hardly be more gloomy.” I think the paper keeps its own supply of gloom on hand, in case of a break in the clouds. In this case, it gives a moment's attention to ways in which the end of the war with Japan could be protracted and unfortunate. But it could be better! It could be a Japanese paper, And have even more gloom!
Notes of the Week
“Formal Surrender” Yes, VE Day was days and days ago, but we should talk about it a bit.
“Divisions at San Francisco” But only so long as it doesn’t get in the way of talking about pest control, communists-under-the-bed department. It’s too bad that America and Russia have to be all bloc-ish, not like the Commonwealth, where New Zealand voted against Great Britain on the Argentine question. (Short summary of the Argentine question: there is disagreement over whether they are too excitable.) All the rest of the countries have been liberated. America is testy about unliberating the Pacifici Islands.
Yugoslavs, trade unionists, and liberated pre-war German activists are excitable. A map of Northern Rhodesia briefly inspired me to hope that new, excitable parts of the world had been discovered, but it turns out to be a Barclays ad. (There is still hope, in other words, that that part of the world never becomes excitable. Joke all I like about Canada and Denmark and New Zealand, I wish China were half so boring!) The Land Bill, Income Tax Act, and Emergency Powers Act are debated in the Commons. Holiday resorts might be open this year in time for summer holidays. The Forestry Commission proposes the emergency planting of 3 million acres in the next fifty years, over half in Scotland, in case another war involving a shortage of pit props comes up.
A single, out-of-place letter, entitled “Gulliver, 1945,” by “Leadenhall” appears to be a joke of some kind on the book about the giant? I do sometimes wish my education had made time for classic English novels.
The World Overseas
“Poland’s Managed Revolution” Perhaps Poles are not excitable enough? Ten million acres belonging to 7000 families have been seized and distributed to the peasants. That is 7000 1400 acre estates. It's a tribute to Nazi incompetence that anyone fought them in 1939.
“Denmark Looks Back” It turns out that Denmark was occupied by the Nazis! But it is a boring country, and no-one noticed. (Canada, I have heard, was occupied by the Ruritanians after a whirlwind 1941 campaign. The Canadian Army would have returned from Britain to liberate the country had they only heard, but they only take the British And American press, and so quite missed mention of it.)
The Business World
“Liquidation of War Contracts” Will happen.
“US War Loan Drive” The open issue of the 7th Drive begins next week. The paper reminisces about all the ways that sharp traders discovered to make a profit on the sliding-scale instruments, or some such. Eyes glazing over. For now. If, it seems, there is money to be made, I suppose I have to pay some attention. Later. (Again.)
“Fall in Equities” Not just communists, but they were definitely involved. (The arrest of the Polish representatives from London; the Russian announcement of the new Austrian government, talk of a summer General Election, the possibility of two days holidays.
British and French industrialists meet. The day of the Bank of International Settlement might be over. Details of the “Women in Engineering” survey can now be released. Only 19% were in engineering before the war, and 78% of former domestic servants want to stay in engineering. A third are married, and 79% want to stay in the business. Work hours during the war were extremely long, an average of about 50 hours a week. Women directed into the industry had a smaller wage differential to men than women in the industry from before the war, but the differential is still a serious matter. The banks are suspected of puffing up their numbers. US manufacturers are suspected of being in cartels. Talk of industrial reconversion and supplies for civilians. Total cost of a house is estimated at £335—445, with £230—280 of that going into the materials, up 70% since before the war, although the estimate (offered by Duncan Sandys) is not itemised. World oil production is up. Hydroelectric development will, it is hoped, lead to the industrialisation of the Highlands. Electro-metallurgical industries would do well. Because what else could one do with large amounts of electric power in the United Kingdom?
Aviation, May 1945
Down the Years in AVIATION’s Log
Twenty-five years ago, Congress appropriated $1,250,000 for an air-mail service NYC-Chicago-Omaha-San Francisco. Fifteen years ago, Madison Square Gardens was modified to take a gigantic Fokker F-32 in anticipation of its fourth annual air show, the US Geological Survey completed the air mapping of Alaska, the Army and Navy staged a mock air battle over New York City, the Army completes its 26 day annual air-battle maneuvers without a single casualty, a parachutist jumped with hands tied to test a new automatic chute opener, and the British Columbia government decides to use sea planes for fishery patrols. Ten years ago, the PAA Pacific Clipper makes its first trial flight to Honolulu, the airline time New York-Chicago is cut to 4hr 20 minutes, and Congress approved an additional 500 air cadets for Army and Navy.
|This to this in thirty years. That's Windows 2 to 10.|
Fortune-style photographs of editorial team members going over a Zeke 32 for the article in this number.
“Sustained Construction Activity: One Step Toward High Level Employment” High employment is a worthwhile goal sought by government, management and labour, and we cannot achieve it through panaceas, at least, without “undue sacrifice of liberties.” So we have to “dig down." Or, Junior is going to dig down, and tell us how it is to be achieved. One important way to achieve this is by levelling out construction activity between booms and busts, and this is one area where government activity can have an important effect. Also, a close study suggests that effective housing demand for 1945—9, based on the 1900—40 trend, is 3 million units per year; but if the price can be held at 1939 levels, then demand will rise to 7 million (in the 1945—9 period, I think), creating a backlog of demand which will lead to an additional 1 million starts per year through 1950—9. Holding prices down through new technology, labour cost control, fewer regulations, etc, is a worthy goal. Meanwhile, on the upside, construction “booms” can be contained financially by regulating mortgages in various ways, preventing construction “bubbles” from forming. No mention, honest-to-blue-heaven, of real estate costs. I’m not going to complain. I like being invisible while we make a lot of money, and it seems much less risky than smuggling people into the country. The question is how and when we let land to the market.
“So You’re Going to Have An Airport” As a city councillor for Coon Hollow, you should hire a smart fellow from the city who knows aviation inside and out. Seriously. He wrote "Coon Hollow."
R. F. Ahrens, Director of Personnel, United Airlines, “Veteran Re-employment Pattern Set at United Airilnes” United has a training and evaluation programme which will perfectly slot veterans into the best positions possible. It has organisational charts, but no punch cards.
James G. Ray, “Operating Considerations for Feeder Airlines: Part II of a Series” Since the paint didn’t finish drying in the last number, we’re back in this one, for more watching!
John R. West, “Where do Those Gas Tax Dollars Go: Every Place But Where They Should”
Carl Friedlander, Vice-President, Aeronca, “Let’s Be Honest With Our Customers” “Wars breed cynicism and skepticism. This is not the time (if there ever was one) to kid the public about postwar private flying.” Something about too much government, too little government, too many promises about private flying, Henry Wallace is a bad man, jobs?
Raymond Hoadley, “Industry’s Financial Position Shows Fundamental Gains” Someone’s being putting opposite cream in Ray’s morning coffee. Editor, please retitle: “Industry Financials Deceptively Positive Due to Taxes and Suchlike: Good Time to Invest in Aviation” Hoadley cannot deny that inventories are down, debt is down, cash held is ahead of taxes owed, dividends are up “a bit,” and profit margins are slimmer on record sales than any of the nation’s other great industries (Which I think is good because it shows healthy competition?)
John Foster Jr., with drawings by Chest S. Ricker, “Design Analysis of the Zeke 32 (Hamp)” The latest version of the Mitsubishi fighter is exceedlingly carefully designed for detailed weight reduction, for example in minor details such as the widespread use of lightening holes or the replacement of wire brackets with strips of shellacked paper, but also the removal of armour and self-sealing fuel tanks. In spite of this light design, structural strength compares favourably with American designs. The principal improvement in the Zeke 32 is the substitution of the Ishikawajima-built Sakae 21 engine, and a squared wing tips replacing the rounded, folding ones. The new Sakae design is a 14-cylinder, two row radial aircooled engine producing 1020hp at 2600rpm at 6400ft through a 10ft 3” constant-speed propeller that is “very, very similar to the Hamilton Standard design.” The new supercharger is a two-speed. Engine accessories are generally of sound design, but not so sturdy as the “American units whose design they follow.” The Hamp’s structure is semi-monocoque aft of the engine firewall with four longerons of “fairly heavy aluminum alloy hat-section” or channel section. Formers are lighter members, and the wing spars are bolted to the lower longerons. Aerodynamic finish is exceedingly smooth, and detailed (labour-costing) modifications reduce the needed skin strength, hence thickness. Aft section is full monocoque with 22 Z-stringers, while the tail cone is two stamped alloy sheets. Removal of the tail cone reveals the tailwheel and its retracting mechanism and shocks, the only maintenance-friendly feature noted. Flotation gear is good. An odd splice in the wing section suggests limits on either extrusion lengths or milling beds. With these splices, the two wing spars are continuous from tip to tip, as in the FW190, not a maintenance-friendly feature, again. The spars are machine to be integral to the wing surface, although it is very aerodynamically clean, again showing the “fanciful” use of fold-out handholds for deck handling that prevent the air-flow spoiling effects of permanent handling points. Ailerons are conventional, but trim tabs can only be adjusted on the ground. The landing gear retraction is a very neat design. The rudder controls are obsolete. Fuel tanks have a capacity of 134 gallons, and the tanks are not self-sealing in any way. Armament is very lightweight.
Leonard S. Meyer, Associate Director of Engineering Research, and John C. Case, Research Engineer, Plaskon Division, Libby-Owens-Ford Glass, “All Laminate Construction Bids for Aircraft Uses” The plastics/wood/paper people at Wright Field have made an acceptably strong structural testpiece out of laiminates of resin and glass cloth. As we keep being told.
K. R. Jackman, Chief Test Engineer, Consolidated Vultee. “Centralised Vs. Decentralised Aircraft Research Organisations” Who doesn’t like tables of organisation of research organisations? Who is tired of quotes of J. D. Bernal complaining about how research is organised wrong in England? Who doesn’t want to read about the evolution of the self-reported research organisation data collection effort at the west Coast Branch of the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce? Who?
N. H. Simpson, Chief Chemist, and P.R. Cutter, Research Chemist, at Consolidated Vultee Fort Worth,”Protection of Magnesium Alloys By New Anodising Process” Is there some kind of publish-or-die gladiatorial combat with dueling typewriters at Fort Worth? Anodising very thin sections of magnesium alloy to gain the greatest benefit from its lightness without risking corrosion. It involves alkali pickling, and they are testing it for reaction to heat treating and contact corrosion with other metals right now.
George H. Twenty, “Is Aircraft Stability Such a Mystery? Part II” It isn’t if you like partial differential equations, and have found a way to solve them!
“A Photo Visit in Soviet Warplane Plants” Russian planes are made in factories.
For Better Design
“Double Slotted Flaps on A-26 Give High-Efficiency Performance” The A-26 is a hot ship with reduced wing area compared to the planes which came before, and the double slots allow an A-26 at 26,000 lbs, hence 56lb/sq in wing loading, to take off in 3100ft.
“Perspective Illustrations Expedite Development and Production”
“Convair Produces RY-3 Military Transport” The transport variant of the Privateer is now available as a passenger-cargo-ambulance plane for RAF and US Navy service.
Look! Articles about airports and service bases, and a handy calculator which simplifies cruise control. M. D. Lowenstein (USNR) explains better avigation through “air analysis,” which seems to mean paying attention to the barometer, mostly.
Airliners can’t get that much faster, or wolves won’t have time to haunt stewardesses. Sideslip makes fun of Uncle Henry for his plans for a “grandiose” airport in San Francisco, which reminds Sideslips of the 5000 flying boats promised in 1942, or the Navy fighters, or the $420 helicopters more recently promised. A funny story about how a P-38 landed to rescue a man down behind German lines, and then returned to base and caused the crew chief to be upset. Sideslip makes fun of a British publication for making fun of the recent Stratoliner record transcontinental run.
“Favour Postponement of N-S Certification Question: Ask Simpler Training Procedures” Why that’s certainly a lead headline that draws my eyes! Of course, it is a story about the 12 man Nonscheduled Flying Advisory Committee considering recommending a general exemption from Regulation 292.1 for two years after the war. The CAA is beginning a civilian radar application research programme. The tower might use radar to detect failures of the instrument-flying approach method, and radar altimeters would be very useful in airliners. The story about air-laying of telephone wire is repeated.
America at War: Aviation’s Communique Number 40 Okinawa has fallen. Russia will probably enter the Pacific War. Admiral DeWitt Ramsay admits that our carrier losses have been heavy, but worth it. The Thunderbolt P-47N exists more.
The Washington Windsock
Stubblefield is reduced to a quarter column, enough to actually have enough to say to fill it. Congress should consider air-education for all; Stubbliefield notes/makes fun of the 22 civilians who asked for surplus service planes for pleasure flying; the British fleet lacks the range to fight the Japanese war, and needs to build up its capacity before participating fully in it; airplanes are either a Federal or state responsibility.
Aviation Manufacturing March production was 7,053. The apparent 12% increase over February is due to the short month and holdovers. The actual production rate of 262 a/c per day was slightly lower than in February. But poundage is up for the first time in several months. Bomber production, at 2544, was just ahead of schedule, and transports made their target, too. The Navy has placed its latest orders, hinting at a new type. For some reason, George Spratt of the Stout Research Division of Convair thinks that he can get away with pretending to have invented the Pou de Ciel.
|Source, see link above.|
The paper can’t get enough of stewardesses.
Even in its death-throes, the German industry has come up with the FW190D with Jumo 213, Dornier Do335 tandem-engine fighter, somewhat similar to the Fokker D-23, and the Arado AR-234 jet bomber. The salvage unit of the Fleet Air Arm at Scapa reports that 25% of engines and 95% of propellers can be put back into use after crashes. Norway doesn’t have a country yet, but it does now have an airline. First things first. The British are talking about talking about civil aviation much better than America.
Fortune, May 1945
The Job Before Us
The paper has noticed that the war in Europe is over. Demobilisation and reconversion are on! It reminds us that it was after the Armistice that America suffered price advances followed by the bust of 1920—22. This time, we should plan more carefully. Though there is a limit. Recently-resigned Judge Byrnes thinks that it is absurd that the Japanese war would be as demanding as fighting two wars at the same time, and thinks that we shouldn’t continue regulating industry just for the sake of regulating industry. Some public works may be in order, but pent-up private demand will drive the country forward. “We should not be stampeded into public works.” Lend-Lease, already down 25% since D-Day, will be reduced further. With record public debt, we need to be “moderate.”
“Europe: From Freedom to Want” Europe is shocked, traumatised, and needs to be fed, clothed and sheltered. Europeans feel that they have been promised relief from America, which can well afford it.
Germany has organised Europe totally for war production in vast cartels of totalitarian efficiency, etc. Then we came and, for example, destroyed (or caused to be destroyed by the Germans) 1900 bridges in France. The American Quakers have done a survey of Normandy five months after which shows many serious deficiencies, although plenty of food. Paris should be so lucky. (Although it has more shelter.) The paper claims that the Allied Munitions Import Plan failed. Allied planners blame the German “pocket” strategy of denying access to ports and the stepping-up of the Pacific campaign. Plans were for France to receive 2.2 million tons of civilian supplies, including 900,000 tons of coal by the end of 1944; the actual total was 660,00 tons, including 400,000 tons of coal. France, deprived, is not impressed. Children are hungry, people lack soap, matches. The Parisian ration for an adult is 12.5 oz bread, 9oz potatoes daily, 2.5oz fat and 7oz “meat products” per week, 10oz cheese, 9oz jam, 21oz sugar, 5oz ersatz coffee, 2 liters wine monthly. Last January, it was 1300 calories per person per day, 500 calories less than under the Germans, and a Paris with no Vaseline to treat cold-broken limbs, and no plaster to set legs broken on the icy streets. The clothes ration amounted to half a man’s suit per year, with the highest infant mortality since reliable records have been kept, and children showing alarming developmental delays on an all-starch diet. Unemployment has suddenly bloomed, and what cannot be produced cannot be sold, even on the black market. Transport is failing, and cannot supply rickety factories, and the problem will be the same in every liberated country.
“The American Dollar” The paper needs an excuse to publish a selection of election cartoons from 1892, when apparently the Democrats tried to run on something called “free silver." The paper’s point is that Mariner Eccles and Randolph Burgess recently warned that America had just hit $26 billion in circulation, $127 billion on deposit, while its all-time high 1941 gold holdings were $22 billion, now depleted. America, says “ultraconservative Foreign Commerce Weekly,” is a debtor nation due to the buildup of short-term foreign-held dollar claims. Why, if all those debts were converted into demands on gold or goods, either we would lose all our gold, or we would suffer total industrial collapse from overstretch. Meanwhile, the official cost of living is up 28.9% from August 1939 to January 1945, prices of farm land have shot up 40 to 50%, department store sales are up. A house in Surfside, Florida, which sold for $6500 in 1940 sold for $16,500 in 1944! ITT shares gained 1800% in a year! A sergeant in the Us Army wrote a high Washington official to complain that people are investing in the stock market rather than government bonds, because “inflation is a certainty.” In 1945, the Government probably spent $80 billion on the war effort, and no-one knows how much it will spend in 1946. (Because we might be at war with Japan, or no-one, or Russians, or the Moon.) “Such are the facts, or some of them.”
This apparently semi-random collection of facts is in earnest of the fear that some people have that all of this money in circulation just simply must issue in inflation very soon now. On the other hand, looking even further forward, or backwards, in the crystal ball, the (remember) postwar inflation of 1919 was followed by a terrific deflationary crash in 1920—22. That would be bad for “sound money,” too, because while the Sergeant’s bonds would increase in value, he might not have a job to return to.
All of this demands management of money, which can be by taxation, or encouraging bond sales, either of which keeps government spending from increasing the money in circulation, or by credit expansion, in which the Federal Reserve buys bonds from banks, allowing them to loan more money to keep government spending up. But this is limited by law to a proportionof the gold on hand, and people are talking about reducing this proportion, and that is what Eccles and Randolph are worried about, and here we are, back after a circular tour d’horizon, where we began. Inflation!
“Steel: Report on the War Years” The steel industry produces about 70 million tons annually, but has an overcapacity of 86 million tons, so the 400 million tons produced during the war were basically achieve without drawing in new production, by utilising the overcapacity. It would not have been possible without the open-pit Mesabi Range ore. Eighty-five percent of the steel produced during the war came form the Lake Superior iron ranges. Mesabi alone produced 75%. So while magnesium capacity is up ninety fold and aluminum up 600 percent, stell capacity has only increased by 17%-- still more than twice as much plant as the Japanese Empire reported it had. (Apparently, the Japanese were for their own sinister reasons under-reporting their steel production?) That capacity increase has a great deal to do with Uncle Henry, but there were escalating demands on steel in the early months of the war. There have been some nice new integrated plants built, but much of the new capacity is “scrambled” into existing plants.
Of 400 million tons produced, 40 million went into new construction; 40 into shipbuilding, 40 into exports, air and automotive have taken 30, railroads got 26, container industry 20, farm machinery 8.5. The rest went into machine tools, oil, gas, mining, pipelines and munitions. An attempt to allocate by priorities fell apart quickly, and Edward Stettinus was shuffled to foreign affairs. Ultimately, the steel industry outlined a Controlled Materials Plan for Donald Nelson at WPB. Quotas replaced priorities, and it worked out okay, with management still free to guide production within contract and quota limits in search of profits. Labour increased relatively little, and the steel towns are not much changed, although Coloured labour is up a bit in the north, although wthout much reclassification so that coloured labour is still confined to menial work. It is supposed, at least by one alartmist, that the Mesabi range might be out of iron ore by 1950 or 1954, and various people think that the industry feather-bedded and was inefficient, and there is some overcapacity. But if business is good postwar, steel will do well.
“Last Word in Factories” The new Consolidated-Vultee factory in Forth Worth is enormous, and windowless, because it is air-conditioned and artificially lit. The new breed of engineer-architects is working wonders.
“Los Angeles’ Little Cutters” I will not trouble you with this article about Los Angeles’ booming fashion trade.
“The Vitamin Business: ‘Damndest Racket Ever Perpetrated,’ Or Boon to the Common Man” Opinions differ!
“Stone Age Frontier: Wartime New Guinea Meets the West”
More than hundred thousand American servicemen have been in New Guinea, where they have met native New Guineans, who are primitive, Stone Age cannibals, “but do not like the flesh of the meat-eating White man so much as that of the more vegetarian black.” The importance of this fact is somewhat debatable considering that no Americans ever want to return to New Guinea in peace, or even see another palm tree. The paper supposes that New Guinea could hold many millions of people if properly developed, and had perhaps a million natives, and 6000 Whites in 1939. Perhaps Javanese will be allowed to emigrate to the Dutch part of New Guinea, but the Australians have imposed the “White Australia” policy on their (“Papuan”) half. The paper adds that the natives are “tolerated,” but no more dark-skinned folk will be allowed in. Dark-skinned New Guineans are distinct from bronze-skinned Polynesians. The natives are very wild, with homosexuality, polygamy, “faithlessness in marriage” all more tolerated.
Australian native policy also permits indentured labour on the plantations and in the mines, which is in some cases not easy to tell from slavery. In an outrageous episode in 1927, Whites in Rabaul used lashes to beat strikers back to work, defying the Australian authorities to enforce the common law. The gold mines, perhaps the most important sector in New Guinea, have been abandoned but not occupied during the war years, and the amount of gold lost to Australian soldiers mining on the side “has not been estimated.” In the long run, it is hard to believe that New Guinea could not produce more rubber, coffee, tea, tobacco, rice, hemp, and so on, than it does, and its uplands are potentially good cattle(!) country. With 150 inches of rain a year, it is also rich in untapped water power. Our author also thinks that Japan’s demands of “Asia for the Asians” have their logic in connection with the drastic underpopulation of New Guinea and other Pacific islands, which might take Japan’s overpopulation.
“The Foreign Relations Committee” Senator Tom Connally is the chairman. Here is all about him! It has a nice office. Here are pictures, with posing senators. Some senators are better than others. Isolationists are bad, for example.
The Farm Column
Ladd Haystead is impressed with the “Rotolactor” a picture of which is included, as it must be seen to be believed.
|This is a thing that existed.|
It might be the thin edge of the wedge of a new revolution in shared farming equipment which would reduce costs for farmers. It has never worked before, but the Walker-Gordon firm thinks that it can, now. Other schemes for improving farming include government. For example, Carey McWilliams of introduces a plan for encouraging the breaking up of large farms on account of their “sociological effect,” in Factories in the Field, Ill Fares the Land. Ladd goes on to talk about how small farmers don’t have enough representation in the national farming associations. Didn’t we have this exact story last year?
Will the massive pent-up demand make farmers big buyers after the war? No, it is true that their debts have never been lower and their savings and incomes have never been higher, but an “unpublicised fact” is that they have been using their wartime earnings to pay down their debts. (Even for Ladd this is incoherent.) They might choose to sit on their savings if farm prices and demand for food does not increase. Yes, yes, they might.I wonder if Ladd knows Mr. Hoadley. Probably not, as Haystead has never run him for President.
Business at War
“Cheap Tools for Good Neighbours” Charles Simmons aims to move into the German prewar Latin American market with cheap, refurbished used tools from his upstate New York works, believing that he has various advantages.
“Mr. Wallace’s Department of Commerce” The Department is very large and industrious, but Roosevelt’s Commerce Secretaries neglected their jobs, unlike the dynamic Mr. Wallace, who at least knows how to get favourable publicity. Mr Wallace intimates that with the amount of information that the Department has about American industry, it can make it much more efficient –which reads to me like the kind of thing that Mr. McGraw is reacting to in his editorials.
“Termites at the Terminals” The railroads are serving four times as many passengers with the same amount of rolling stock as before the war. An all time 1944 high of 44 million passengers was very hard to move. There is a thriving black market trade in tickets, we are told. Really?
Karl Brandt’s Reconstruction of World Agriculture gets the big review treatment in this number. A food economist at Stanford’s Food Research Institute, I at once suspect him of too-close a contact with the Engineer, and the paper does him no good in portraying him as believing that agriculture needs less protection and regimentation, not more. His book is dedicated to his teacher, Frederick Aereboe, apparently the bitter enemy of the German farming bloc, which, since it involves Prussian Junkers, simply cannot be good. I mean, if Junkers were a force for good, would they name themselves after garbage? I rest my case!
Ralph Flanders’s book on Postwar Employment and the Removal of War-time Controls apparently takes no position on whether there will be inflation or deflation after the war, or both. While I can sympathise –I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the spot!—isn’t he writing a book about this? Perhaps it is possible to plan without knowing? He does think that landlords will be displeased to hear that rent controls will probably last longer than other controls. Which we will –except for the many of us who want to sell the land. (Although I suppose that controls would discourage house-buying by making renting more affordable. But how do you rent affordable apatments that don’t exist in the first place?)
Thomas K. Finletter asks, Can Representative Government Do the Job? He thinks that what America needs now is a constitutional change to a British-style parliamentary government. The paper thinks that with “strong, imaginative leadership,” America will do just fine under its present system of government.
Fortune Press Analysis
“Negroes” Negro newspapers are like papers for White people, only they’re not. They have pictures of Negroes! And mixed-race groups! Many stories are not about Negroes, but rather about Negro-White relations. Many are critical of existing Negro-White relations. I’m not sure now long this feature will last if it doesn’t reach for something more interesting to say, and the length at which it belabours the evidence to get to the claim that southern Negroes might be more conservative than Northern does not say much for its prospects.
The Allies are trading with Sweden now, and it is helping Norway reconstruct, even before it has a country. Bombay’s stock exchange is up. Preparations are under way to resume postwar rubber production in the Dutch East Indies. Britain is taking steps to resume nylon production for the civilian market postwar. Bethelehem Steel has just regained the iron ore properties the Mexican government seized in its general appropriation of foreign-held properties.