Letters, Apr. 23, 1945

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"Give Us This Day . . ."


Last December, on the day that the Battle of the Bulge began, I picked my way over and around a sickening mass of debris in front of a devastated, still beautiful Gothic cathedral, just a half hour previously demolished by a V2, and turned into DeBoeystradt in Antwerp. I was on my way to dinner with new-made Belgian friends. . . .

Apèritifs were omitted, being unnecessary. The soup course was dispensed with, for lack of ingredients. The salad was absent, black-market prices prohibiting. The main course, occupying a pitifully small central part of the table, consisted of a medium-sized plateful of home-fried potatoes (perhaps five potatoes in all), a two-inch slice of Spam (for four people), obtained God knows where, and, through the generosity of an Allied soldier, a couple of ounces of spread-on meat. Unappetizing black bread, ungarnished even by margarine, completed not only the course, but the dinner. Coffee (2,000 francs a kilo in the black market) was not for folks whose Government-controlled monetary allotment was limited to 2,000 francs a month for all purposes.

This being a dinner for "company," my friends went at it with relish, despite rattling dishes and window panes, constantly shivered by V-2 and buzz-bomb blasts all around. Their eagerness to share their little with me did more to create the lump in my throat than did the thought of their plight.

When we cry and moan and snivel about food shortages here in America, let us for God's sake remember that people like these also pray "Give us this day our daily bread."


Ensign, U.S. Merchant Marine

Arlington, NJ.


I am an American housewife. I have lost a son in this war. And I am not going to tighten the belts of my other children to feed Europe! I find my friends, club women, etc., feel the same way.

You say (TIME, April 2): "Empty bellies sharpen memories." Do you suppose going hungry can sharpen their memories so they won't choose leaders in another 20 years who offer them conquest and riches?

I, like thousands of others, donated in the 19203 to feed starving Europe. I was a traitor to my son. Now I say, let them stand on their own feet and work out the problems they have brought upon themselves.




The food situation in Europe (TiME, April 2) presents Americans with their first real chance to prove their seriousness about the war. We had no real choice.in "giving" our men; but it is up to American public opinion to make the decision about giving some of our food—the biggest voluntary contribution we can make.

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