Letters, Oct. 1, 1945

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Hardness & Peace


No ascetic, I!

I relish, with my fellow Americans, peace's minor blessings . . . pleasure driving, prospects of T-bones and Nylons.

But my New England conscience squeaks! Are we removing wartime restrictions too fast? Are we going to wallow in plenty, while the rest of mankind eats grass? If so, we might as well prepare atomic bomb-sights for World War III.

Perhaps our leaders do not trust us plain people enough. Can it be we want to be more vigilant, more self-sacrificing, than they dare ask? Do they mistake groans and grumbles from a soft and noisy minority for a real revolt of the people against rationing and wartime controls? What do they fear? Tumbrils?

We would rather go a little shabby, a little less daintily fed, than divide the world into haves and havenots. We ask for hardness, if it means our children's peace.


Springfield, Ill.


... If we in the U.S. do not stop our reconversion to self-satisfaction, we shall lose the peace as we did after World War I. We must be willing to accept our moral responsibilities. We must feed the bodies of Europe's people or we shall never be able to feed their minds. We of the U.S. have lost our moral guts, and, unless we implement our intentions with actions, our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters have died in vain. In another future we will say, "God, help us," and we will forget to say, "For we helped ourselves." We are our brother's keeper, we can afford to be our brother's keeper, we must be our brother's keeper. . . .


Battle Creek, Mich.

Ignorant Misunderstanding


The following is an excerpt from a letter , me by my former Harvard roommate, Pfc. M. Donald Coleman:

'. . . The people here are Burgundians, beautiful, proud, strong, and quite contemptuous of the ignorant American soldier who is of the opinion that every French girl is a harlot and should be treated as such. . . . We have completely misunderstood French morals and mores and they ours. We Americans are essentially Puritans (with the connotations that term had in the '20s, that is), so completely self-righteous and yet so evil-minded, as exemplified by our running amok with all sorts of excesses when we are confronted with the essentially honest French mores. There is a great surge of opinion in the Army which is growing daily and is terribly dangerous, a hatred and contempt for our Allies, the French ('they're dirty; they'd rob ya blind') and an admiration of the Germans, coming from the superficial similarities between life in two modern industrial countries where work is a virtue and pleasure a vice. Frankly I'm very much worried about it; its potential danger in the postwar world cannot be underestimated. . . ."


New York City

Pierrette of Val D'Or


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