IT wasn't his idea to call it "Schloss de Grazia," it was theirs -- some of the men -- and no one called it that to his face, because he would have been embarrassed. Yet he earned it in a way, because he had discovered it, and they lived very well in it for as happy a three months as the Army ever afforded them, one and all. It was there that he sat down with several of the most disgruntled men and penned a stern and demanding letter to the public columns of Stars and Stripes, describing the homesickness and physical and mental infirmities of all the men who had been away from the U.S.A. for over two years and urging the High Command to Do Something about getting them back. He signed his John Hancock to it and it was sent in but never printed. Nor was he arrested for conspiracy and radical agitation. The men were glad that he penned the missive, because nobody could think of anything better to do, and this was a show of solidarity that was not to be found in the manual of arms.
He had not snatched the castle from the enemy. It was more like taking candy from a baby. Literally. He was jeeping about, applying the savoir faire of six campaigns toward seizing just the right kind of billet in view of the battles damping down, and had seen from afar this sturdy Schloss. It had been built not by some Ludwig the Mad, King of Bavaria, but by a Sigmund the Modest. Grey. Unornamented. With a plain courtyard. It fronted for a tiny village. It might have been a private school. As a matter of fact, when he entered he was met by women who seemed to be teachers, and they explained that it was being used to house children safe from the Allied bombings. They were anxious, they said, to leave for their homes, now that the bombings had stopped over Western Germany. Very good, said he, I will provide you with the trucks to bring the kinder home. Then a door was opened for him to view a room. "Heil Hitler!" cried the tots as one voice, leaping up stiffly to attention from their tiny stools. "Remarkable, " said he. "At ease." He murmured to the Matron, "I hope that you will stop all that." "Oh, yes, Herr Hauptmann," she exclaimed. And you can bet that it was their last "Heil."
He moved on Southeastward toward Munich, detouring to dip in the Ammersee en route, while his recce team captured the City's radio transmitter intact and the Völkischer Beobachter, the kingpin Nazi newspaper. On the way through the city streets, officials of the Central Police and Post Office called to them, waving, that they were surrendering here and now. Actually they should have been waving surrender leaflets, because General Patch had asked for such a leaflet just for them; this was quickly turned out by Tom Crowell and given to the Air Corps; but the aviation armorers mis-converted the incendiary shells to be employed and they failed to explode in air. No matter: mere squads and snipers were the only German fighters to stick it out and they were propelled by an internal desperation beyond any appeal.
He returned to Schloss Strassberg and, just before driving South to Italy, wrote to her on the letterhead of the Völkischer Beobachter:
Meine liebe Frau,
And why not this letterhead for the fitting end to German propaganda? Johnny Anspacher got a copy of the last book they published too, and that ironically enough was Rosenberg's Myth of the Twentieth Century, back where their propaganda started. And as the hundreds of books lay there, thousands of freed prisoners and slaves stormed over the country hooting its prostrate form and sneering at those who remained in it. The Reality of the Twentieth Century, perhaps, one might name it.
It's all about over now. With the surrender of the Southern forces and the practically complete occupation of Germany, we might as well change to that V-E mood, if we can manage it. Personally, I don't see much to be excited about. The end is duller than the gigantic battles that occurred in the middle of it. It is almost difficult to get into a discussion on Hitler's death, so uninterested is everyone. I have an intimation that the surrender of Japan will be a much more surprising affair and more deserving of thanksgiving. Truman's hint to the Japs on the occasion of the surrender in the South, the Japanese collapse in Burma, our approach to the main islands, the heavy raids, the condolences of the Japanese premier on the death of Roosevelt, and the Russian pressure in canceling the treaty and in the statements of Stalin point to a jockeying for position in the Far East for a quick conclusion of the war.
At the moment, my visual perception here sees only rain. We are housed on a hilltop which sweeps a large plain with woods, towns and a couple of factories. We have a tower that is very high and we fly the flag there at half mast. It can be seen for miles and must serve as a constant reminder to the Germans of the location of power. Our billets are very good. I found enough beds for every man, and we have central heating and even hot showers, not to mention electric lights. I have fixed up my room in a creditable manner. Next to my bed is your picture, atop a small table, and next to it is my trumpet. On the wall above the bed are three other beautiful women in small frames, Nefertiti, Veneziano's Maiden, and Kathy, with her pants showing. Below the bed is an ammunition case which I use as a foot locker and a barracks bag. There are drapes on the two big windows which look out over the countryside, there is this writing table, there are sheets on the bed, and there is the radio I am going to fix soon.
The weather here in Germany lately has been bitter. We have even had snow and sleet storms in the past few days and driving hasn't been much fun. It should pass soon, though, according to the latest local intelligence and be followed by a beautiful spell. The sun comes out, but it may disappear in a second, to be followed by cold winds, dark clouds and cold rain.
...I wanted to ask you when you think Kathy is going to be properly trained anally and otherwise. Isn't she rather elderly to be going about revealing her contempt of society in such a forthright manner?
This room would do very nicely for the two of us, I think. It is very light and we could practically look out of bed into the valley afterwards. It is clean and very large and it even has a couple of copies of the New Yorker and a book on public opinion scattered around to make it look like our customary environment. I don't think these years have made much difference. I still want pretty much what I want before and it all begins with You. I cannot visualize any ambition of mine, no matter how petty it be, without you fitting into the frame somewhere, in the center or in the corner, like Hitchcock doesn't release a picture he directs without being personally in some shot. You are in every shot I take of a future preference, your tossing about, your long legs, your ideas, your habits, and you are always photogenic.
With many a kiss to you and Kathy, I'm always
A month later, sitting at the same window, overlooking the plain that runs from Augsburg to Munich, he reads his Brother Edward's letter of chagrin. Eddie is an Air Force Private, who had hoped by then to be a fly-boy. He was griping:
Today I received a shock via the mails, which, though I can't pretend it knocked me off my pins did kinda' stun me. It was to the effect that I, poor misguided wing-happy lad, am absolutely "Shit Out of Luck" (I write it out for emphasis) as far as any aspirations for cloud-chasing are concerned. Due to the epochal collapse of Germany, there will be absolutely no more training of members for Air Combat crew. The Air Corps, with its stupendous surplus, has enough men in training now and in the air now to "keep 'em flying" for the duration. In other words, I, and thousands of other guys, will, because of our deficiency in age...
"Deficiency in Age!" He is eighteen, how deficient! The Captain, it is understandable, could hardly break into tears at someone, even his brother, missing the glamorous war. But maybe he would have occasion to help occupy the Reich. (He did.)
Meanwhile Eddie's big brother is taking matters into his own hands. The country is jumping with DP's, and just about every American unit is dealing with some of them. They are on the verge of starvation, and the Army is pouring out rations among them as fast as they can be brought in. There is the official and the informal effort, both of them large. It is no wonder, and indeed justifiable, that the million and more German prisoners coming into Allied hands from one month to the next, are not eating regularly. There is not enough to go around, unless one were to cut back on American rations, which would be ironic, considering the ancient adage that "to the victor belong the spoils;" the troops would feel badly. What commonly happened is that the individual units dished out a portion of their rations to those in want and near at hand, beginning with the half-starved Russians, Poles, French and other large groups -- we speak of hundreds of thousands of these others.
The propaganda company did more than its share, if only because they were better at it. One of the groups they adopted was found cooped up in a practically destroyed factory. I let his letter to Jill tell a story about it:
After a concerted attack on the mess sergeant today we finally had a decent meal tonight and as you can guess I suffered slightly from the consequences. So I took a walk with Lt. Constantine in the vicinity of our present bivouac, a term really too primitive to describe the houses we have taken over, and have now returned to it after having had an instructive and friendly talk with some Russian DPs (displaced personnel) we ran into. They are about all that is left of a thoroughly bombed out little factory and are waiting for something to be done about them. Tonight a group of them were whiling away time playing a game of cards - Russian bank I imagine, and I got into a limited sort of communication with a few of the others. They looked like a set of characters out of the Dance of the Red Poppy, and as might be expected, one of their number was actually formerly a ballet dancer, proof of which was soon forthcoming in the way of a pirouette and a couple of classic poses of the Ballet Russe. I gave them the latest lowdown on Shostakovich and they gave me a big mug of red wine, not very red, come to think of it, more of a vin rosette. There wasn't enough of it, however, to draw out my talents in the dance field and I gave no more than a passing thought to executing my three kicks in midair, a thing which, like that little runner of Saroyan, I am always convinced I can do until I try. The conversation then turned to the Germans and the usual maledictions were said over them. The ballet dancer and all of his troupe, musicians, dancers and director, were captured by the Germans and put to work as laborers on the usual level of brutality and starvation.
However, the main character of their DP scene became Lena of Odessa:
It started out to be a dull evening. Extrinsically, it perhaps still has been, but sensually I think it has been quite something. I must confess ab initio that I am full of Vodka like a Cossack in midwinter, and am just about ready to pour myself a cup of coffee that the unique Lena has just carried into my room.
And that is a good beginning to a story which certainly begins with Lena. It began on a bright day near here - tonight it is raining steadily and outside my room the trees bend and the mists push steadily over the valley. I had a scouting party out to find a billet for the troops who were moving into newly liberated territory. We moved into a German house late at night, told the occupants to get out in the morning, ate a good supper with some mediocre but welcome wine, and went to bed, after letting some wandering Russians in out of the cold. In the morning, I was in a hurry to leave, placing two men to guard the place. Just before I left, I noticed one of the Russians talking to a woman in Russian who was in the top floor of a house nearby. But I hadn't time to liberate every individual we met, and departed. The sergeant I left behind, it seems, then urged the Russians to kill a chicken in the yard of the nearby house, since they were famished. It took him [Sgt. Charley Wagner] some while to stir up some of their revolutionary spirit but they finally mustered up the courage and energy -- they were ridiculously weak -- to attack the coop. A square meal followed and the wine flowed freely. Suffused with the new blood, the Russians proposed more food and said that the Russian maid had indicated the cellar as an egg repository. This time the man appeared and protested, in a manner which so enraged the sergeant that he gave chase, ending up unfortunately in the arms of the MPs. But when he got back he was determined to liberate the maid, and out she came, happy and smiling. When we arrived back, she fell right in with the company and since has been most useful. She would be making a fortune in America today but here she doesn't take a cent. She isn't interested in money, she says. She comes from Odessa, is 42 years old, strong as an ox and very intelligent, although she has a block as far as learning German goes. She went to a mining school for three years and was some sort of a technical foreman until the Germans moved into Stalino one day and moved everything and everybody to Germany the next. She is a great favorite with all the men and officers and rolls right along with us wherever we go. And whenever there is civilian labor to handle, she looks as if she were addressing Cell no. 974 of the Krasnograd Soviet on a topic dear to the Party. Vigorous and emphatic are the best words for it.
Last day or so she has been unusually colorful and active, because it has been the Russian Christmas [Easter] holiday. This evening, she came in and asked me to go to a nearby DP camp for an hour or so -- she had told them she would bring me. So I donned my raincoat and we went. We had a reasonably communicable political discussion, considering the fluency of our respective German and the vodka, and then came back to where I am writing this. The Russian method of drinking vodka is completely mad. Tumblers full, and then bottoms down in one flash. The consequences can be horrible in a short time. Luckily, there was only one two-thirds liter bottle amongst the three of us drinking, and as a result I can be here to tell the tale. And more so, since I had eaten an hour before and had no appetite for the food placed before me which is counted on to absorb some of the shock. I have found, incidentally, that mirabelle, schnapps, and vodka are alike in that respect, that they go well with hearty eating, whereas whiskey stands alone for me.
This group was squatting and standing all the while near the entrance of a huge cavernous barn so crowded that it looked like the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in the triumphal scene from Aida. They were vastly curious about the American, but did not dare to press in close, so well-disciplined were they or habitually intimidated. The discipline would have come from the young man whom Lena introduced. He was thin, below medium height, but self-possessed and prompt to deal with the Captain in businesslike terms. He had around him several men and women who appeared to be a sort of staff. The Captain figured that communist party rule had been reestablished in the barnyard.
When, several days later, his men came upon a warehouse filled with shoes, the Captain remembered the mass of refugees, who would have to return to Russia and Poland unshod or in worn footgear and sent for the commissar. These are yours to distribute among your people, he said, and sent truckload upon truckload to the barn. There must have been a thousand well-shod ex-slaves the next day. A nice aspect of the project was its unsentimentality. The Captain and his men conducted themselves unaffectedly. So did the tough kids in charge of the mob. There is nothing like a war to make acts of charity global and infinite. As if to match its brutality and destruction.
One day, a protest delegation from several Polish slave workers provoked something close to brutality, or lynch justice. They had just been liberated, but the German owner of their small factory would not feed them unless they continued to work. Indignant soldiers brought them before the Captain, who called First Sergeant Jack Taubert and a couple of other men to accompany him there. They came upon the owner, a tall man in his fifties, sitting in his office. When the Polish delegates accused him of starving them, he answered them back angrily. At this Sergeant Taubert seized him and dragged him out of his chair. The man's wife came running in, having heard the commotion, exclaiming in distress, "What is the matter?! What are they doing to you?!" And the man said, "Nothing, nothing, don't worry, leave us alone, go away." So she left. And there was the Captain, with a fine excuse to proceed with the manslaughter. Yet when Taubert, death in his scowling black face, raised his fist again, the Captain said -- and he had to repeat himself, for passions were high -- "Lay off, Sergeant. Lay off!" It was the woman who did it to him. Her concern, which made her burst in upon them. And then the man's courage in ordering her to get out of the room -- knowing he would be in for worse, now, but wanting to spare her the sight. (He couldn't be so stupid as to ignore this.) "Look," said the Captain to the man, "gibt dem zu essen, or else," or words to that effect. And they left. And the Poles ate besser, viel besser.
The Captain couldn't help but wonder from time to time who was suffering worst in this hellish world at war. He had an orderly mind that liked to make lists and classify things, the more qualitative and defiant of ordinary statistics the better. Like, who was suffering then most, of all the world's people? The answers available to him at the time were almost the same as a vastly knowledgeable historian would give today after half a century -- if the historian were bold enough to speak up. The answers are not easy. Still the questions had been asked and argued on all sides from the first days of the war and were eternal subjects of discussion -- angry discussion, heated discussion, occasionally calm, almost never logical.
To give you an example: You are picked up, in the middle of the night, and shoved roughly by uniformed thugs into a truck, hearing them say, "Get in, you dirty Jew. Mach schnell!" You have been suffering fear of this moment for five months, ever since the Germans came close to your frontier. You and the rest are driven to a rail siding, forced into a crowded boxcar, ridden for two days without food or water, dumped out, driven on foot into a camp, given some soup, and after a couple of days of freezing, given soap and a towel, told to take a shower with the rest of your barrack, gassed to death, and then the rest doesn't matter to you, but merely tortures your relatives and sympathizers for long years.
Then there is this American soldier who used to be a Broadway cowboy and is caught up one morning in an Army roll-call and in six months of lacerating drill and discomfort is qualified for a ship where conditions are so bad he is reminded of the slave ships and is thankful to be dumped in a camp on the edge of a New Guinea jungle into which he enters, with others, and sets up an ammunition dump, which is missed by Japanese bombers on several harrowing occasions, but he goes on rotting here, and moves to another rotten place and finally is carried home in an even worse boat than before.
Then there is the Company Clerk in a Welsh artillery regiment with one of those resounding names that are amusing until to bear it is a death warrant. Now all this man does after ending his miserable brief career as a miner is to train doggedly and bitterly on an English swamp, then push and pull a gun piece twice across the Libyan desert, usually with a good chance of escaping or being hit, but thirsty and worn out, and then following his piece into Italy, thence to France and Germany for more of the same, finally getting into a channel steamer and getting back to his mine shaft in good time for the next strike.
And there is the Soviet officer who could speak Chinese and spent the war choosing among the dishes on a Chinese menu in his favorite restaurant in Peiping until he was imprisoned for a week from August 8 to 15. I should go on profiling a few thousands to get a sample of the whole world at war, but the job here is to set forth a list of groups, arranged in order as their modal number of members suffered the war, realizing that in each group, believe it or not, you would find some of the gayest and saddest people in the world, whatever the rating of their group: Dame Psyche and Dame Fortune can together conceive of all possible mad scenarios. So:
1. German concentration camp victims
2. Russian and German infantry and German allied troops on Eastern Front
3. Russian prisoners of Germans
4. Russian Front civilians
5. Prisoners of Japanese
6. War prisoners of Russians
7. Japanese soldiers committed to combat
8. Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims
9. Russian Front tanks and artillery
10. Luftwaffe air crews and German submarine crews
11. U.S.troops in Pacific Islands and Philippines
12. Italian troops in North Africa
13. Allied infantry, Western Front
14. Displaced persons and workers from East
15. Japanese Navy and Air Force
16. Western Front German Regimental and Divisional troops
17. Allied Western Front Tanks (and some Artillery)
18. German civilians
19. Dutch, Belgian, French, Greek, Italian civilians
20. English civilians
21. South and Southeast Asian civilians
22. American civilians
23. South Americans
24. Swedes and Swiss
A monumental research would be required in order to establish acceptable parameters for all of the above groups and the many groups that have been left out! The irregular intervals between one and the next "level of suffering," for example, constitute one of the many problems that would need to be resolved. But it would all go by the board, anyhow, because as soon as you get to discussing the definitions of the groups and the sufferings they underwent (with all the subdivisions within the groups that confuse their histories), you will commence a dialectic that is infinitely abstruse and morally relative until you will finally collapse in exhaustion -- and uncertainty. Except this: the Captain, who started this all by virtue of his over-educated sensitivity to indirect consequences and relative ethical stances, would conclude: if victory were acceptably defined, no one has ever won a war. If morals were acceptably defined and shared by all humans, all groups would suffer equally, when they were not suffering from others, for all the suffering that they were causing to be done to the others.
The moral questions of the German nation were immense and complicated. Instances come up before us. There is fat Hermann, Marshal of the German Nazi Reich Goering. He is caught up with finally by the American Seventh Army, a refugee in Austria, after giving up on Hitler in Berlin and ordering the last of the Luftwaffe to fight on the ground against the Russians who were attacking the Capital in a final assault. The Captain is informed: Goering has been taken. Do you want to see him? No. (He would admit to no morbid curiosity about the disgusting slob.) Go ahead without me. He gets two pictures, so fitting to the case: Goering is trying to squeeze his large ass into the small rear door of a sub-compact car; the second picture: Goering is standing amidst his interrogators, who are as "Jewish-looking" as the worst anti-semite would deserve; Hans Wallenberg is standing alongside Goering, scowling as only he could scowl.
What did he have to say, asked the Captain of Hans. He said that the big mistake of the Nazis was the persecution of the Jews. They laughed sardonically. Was Goering trying to please his interrogators? Or was he really expressing an opinion about anti-semitism as a tactic, never mind its morality? The Captain had given thought to this point, years before; his conclusion: if the Nazis had embraced the Jews, they never would have achieved the totalitarian state, for most Jews would have held them back; besides, the idea was an impossible contradiction: anti-semitism was of the essence of Nazism, inseparable nourishment of its cancer.
Then came a message from Dr. Robert Ley. A more villainous character would be hard to find. It was unclear for whom he meant it: to whoever was commanding his interrogators, it would appear. The Captain was the C.O. of the combat propaganda team, but the better line of command would be via Colonel Quinn. General Patch!
No. The men knew it. It was a joke for everyone. In translation it reads::
To the Commander:
I beg you to supply me with socks, underwear, shirt, handkerchief, trousers and a jacket. I have been arrested out of bed. I have not run away. I have arrived here almost naked.
With highest considerations of you,
Dr. R. Ley
Ley was a Jew-hater whose job included facilitating the holocaust. He was also a Russian-hater, believed they should be exterminated, brutalized, was overheard to order, "Get rid of those Russian prisoners." He identified himself with the program of the mass murderer, Gauleiter Koch. He was a General of the SS, SA, and top leader of other Nazi organizations, though often implicated in the in- fighting for Hitler's favor among the top Nazis. Hitler was fond of his first wife, always carrying flowers into their cozy family circle. His mistress, a ballet dancer thirty-seven years his junior, stuck by him until the end, but also gave copious information to her interrogators about him. (All American interrogators agreed: Germans, male or
female, sang like canaries under questioning.)
She, Madeleine Wanderer, and his Private Secretary, Paula Mueller, described a scheme of Dr. Ley that could have helped inspire rumors of the Redoubt. His last assignment by Der Führer was to carry on with his own scheme, the Freicorps, which he would organize and command. The Freicorps was to fight ahead of and behind the Front; it was to be composed of Schwaerme or "swarms" of nine men and one woman (a cook, a medic, and a fighter), armed with pistols and Panzerfaust, and riding bicycles. They did not get under way before the big show collapsed. The bizarre scheme tickled Captain de Grazia; it must have aroused in him memories of childhood games of war. It was a neat German version of partisans, guerrillas, "terrorists," as the Wehrmacht called them.
Another project of Ley had to do with a secret weapon that a professor was developing and that no one knew much about, save that it would work by remote control. When asked about experiments involving the weapon at Waldenburg, an adjutant of Ley said it failed: that "it would not even hurt a rabbit."
A more attractive prisoner was the movie-maker, Leni Riefenstahl, whose film of the 1936 Olympic games was regarded, because it was truly great, as a triumph of Nazi propaganda. Wallenberg and Langendorf interrogated her, and, it must be said, she won them over. All the bad that happened to her later, because her career had survived the war, was in spite of their report:
Her statements give one the impression of honesty, and the dread which she expresses about the Regime and its leaders seems sincere. It is possible that she actually was not aware of what went on. That was her sin of omission, which appears all the more serious due to the fact that she, more than any other person, had the opportunity to get to the truth. She is a product of the moral corruption which characterizes the regime. But it would be false to picture her as an ambitious female who wanted to attain fame and wealth on the NSDAP bandwagon.
What really happened, thought her interrogators, is that her admiration for Hitler closed her eyes, while his authoritative hand let her pass unscathed through the nasty struggles and back-stabbing politics inside the Regime. She could dream and live in her art. She could help Jews from time to time. She could deny, because she was en route to America, the November 1938 Crystal Night pogroms about which she was asked when she arrived by boat; when she returned to Germany, she was told that they were true, that the American newspapers had not lied, but that the perpetrators of the pogroms were being punished. She believed that the concentration camps, of which she had heard, were places of detention and punishment of criminals. And so on.
It is not at all astonishing, thinks the Captain, given what the science of public opinion has discovered time after time, that the most "obvious" of occurrences is sincerely denied by people both because they do not want to believe them and because the controls over free flow of information are always serious and in a totalitarian state practically total in effectiveness. Did not the American public, even the Roman Catholics, believe that the Germans had illegally and fully occupied the Abbey of Montecassino? Did not the powerful on-the-spot correspondent of the New York Times, later its chief, give it the headline that hundreds of German soldiers went scurrying from its premises following the Allied bombardment?
The big Nazi fish came flopping over the gunwales fleeing the Russians or were hooked aboard. Only when all was ended did the German generals surrender their troops. One exception had occurred long before, the surrender of Von Paulus of the forces in Stalingrad; they would have been shortly annihilated; still Hitler wanted to be able to say that they fought to the last man. Von Paulus denied him this political and erotic pleasure. Another case occurred in Tunis, May 12, 1943, when Jurgen von Arnim surrendered a second large army, this time to the Western Allies. A partial exception came at the end of the War in Italy where contacts had been made with Allen Dulles, an American representative in Switzerland; it appeared that the German Army there would give up days before Hitler committed suicide but when the Russians were already in the outskirts of Berlin; that is, it was practically not a separate surrender. Why did the Generals order their troops to fight to the end? They could have saved the lives of a quarter of a million men and an equal number of civilians and foreigners; they might have mollified even if slightly their conquerors. Their country, and other lands, would be less destroyed. I am speaking only of the period from January 1, 1945, even though to any rational man, half-informed, the game was up upon the loss of Stalingrad and North Africa.
1. They were not dying personally and would increase their chances of dying upon surrender ("unconditional surrender" sounded ominous in this regard). They were also "freaks," to be blunt. They saw the world as made for war Prussian-style.
2. They would be killed by the SS immediately upon giving any intimation of dealing in surrender, under orders from Hitler, and their own troops and staffs would not fight to protect them.
3. If they fought on the Eastern Front, then they hoped to resist until the Western Allies broke through and conquered the remaining portions of the Reich.
4. They were tightly controlled by Hitler's Headquarters, by the Führer himself, who "called all the shots."
5. The doctrine of unconditional surrender was taken to mean the giving over of Germany to total rapine and likely total destruction.
6. They were not contacted or subjected to psychological and propaganda pressures by their Allied counterparts in the West. American and British generals behaved like automatons; they supported psychological warfare of the Captain's kind in combat operations, but no general acquired a reputation for being cognizant of and sympathetic to the aspirations of any irresolute or resolute German general. It was against the rules for the American generals to do so; they must "stay out of politics," and fishing for a surrender would have been impossible. Just as Hitler wiped out any countervailing attitude in his generals, the Western Allies discouraged any personalism in their generals (except on silly levels of public images -- pistol-toting, Bible-spouting, etc.). Eisenhower, at SHAEF, might have effected negotiations, reporting to Churchill and Roosevelt carefully, but he was bureaucratized, a reliable foe of any extraordinary maneuvers. Alexander was a dilettante, who might have been prepared to do more except for his famed hesitancy.
7. The July 1944 attempt at Hitler's assassination by a group of highly placed and respected German officers brought the massacre of all who were suspected to have been even remotely involved. The lack of appreciation of this heroism, on the part of Allied leaders and Allied propaganda, whether East or West, discouraged all further attempts at violating the will of the Führer, even unto his last crazed hours in his Berlin bunker.
8. Death diminishes to a small matter relative to the ignominy of surrender when one has been in charge of a great army in a great cause and has ordered the death of hundreds of thousands of men; what else is left to be achieved in life?
Over two months pass, a blissful, easy time at Strassberg. In May he arranges a final trip to Paris. He is not there this time for dissipation and sex; he behaves like a proper citizen, viz.:
Jill, my Darling,
I flew in here yesterday afternoon. The day was bright and calm, and the trip was likewise. I met Martin last night after supper which I had at Pittman's hotel. Martin is in the middle of changing assignments, as who isn't. We talked with Dick Crossman & several other people for a while. C. is running for parliament in quasi- absentia. He'll probably make it, and be a damned good MP. Afterwards, Martin and I walked up to Montmartre and came back, went to his room, had a drink, and adjourned around one. Chief social event was several games on a pinball machine, but Martin didn't afford me nearly the competition you used to be. The ones at the UT [the University Tavern, 55th St. and University Ave., Chicago] were much better than these though. These paid off in slugs which of course went right back into the machine. The night clubs are closing around eleven these days. There aren't as many soldiers in town as before.
Paris is gayer than usual, since the Victory flush hasn't worn off, and many flags are still flying. I had the finest Martini with Pittman since our days together, at an outdoor café which was very peaceful, sheltered on the Faubourg St. Honoré. This morning I spent talking to people regarding our outfit and this afternoon I hope to get over to the other side of the river to see the Rodin gallery. There's a good French movie running which I hope to see also, perhaps this evening. It's called Les Enfants du Paradis, and the French claim it's the best produced in a generation. It was put out since the Liberation.
He writes a second letter the next day:
If I haven't done much in Paris, at least I can write to tell you as much. My day here has consisted until now, supper time, mainly of a luncheon with Bob Merriam and a lot of walking. After I wrote you yesterday, I visited the Rodin museum where practically all of Rodin's sculpture is housed. Don't you think that is cheating humanity? Here you come for an hour to be dazzled and stupefied by a man's genius & the rest of the time live in poverty of him. His works, or any artist's works, should be scattered over the world to be seen by everyone and at odd times. Wouldn't it be bad if all the great mountains were in only one spot. All the waterfalls spilling over each other only in Cook County, Ill., & all the palms waving in Florida? It is silly, too, to think that I enjoyed Rodin more because there was more of him there.
About his work itself, I feel that he is a painter gone wrong. His efforts to create realism of a most violent sort from marble and scenes of passionate transience ought better to have been done on canvas. There is something too eternal about rock to make it portray a moment well. "The Thinker", yes; "Balzac", yes, but many of the other groups, no, "Porte d'Enfer" no. Dostoyevsky's temperament in stone. Il ne va pas.
Perhaps my attitude here is a general one. I see that I have been growing increasingly critical of the realists and romanticists, mainly in painting and decoration. Some day I must stop and reconsider this change & try to account for it if it seems to be consistent.
My pen went dry and I have to write with the very useful pencil you sent me. Besides Bob Merriam, I've met several other U of C people here this time, Al Lepawsky, Major still, was at the mess last evening. (Bob says he's looking forward to getting to the states again & out of the army), a Col. [Charles "Chuck"] Thompson whom you don't know & I know from Washington, a man named Borgen, brother of Frank Borgen whom I knew quite well, good old Major Waples [Professor Douglas Waples] who is very much interested in forthcoming book publications in Germany, and Bob told me Hugh Cole, former history prof. is his boss in the Historical Section of headquarters here. Bob has been over here a year now, mostly with the Shaef Historical Section. He said Hart Perry is in Italy with OSS and leading the usual life of OSS there. Hart got his commission at Davis too. Deadman has been released from his PW camp near Munich. Hart's wife Beattie is a Red Cross morale builder in a hospital back home. Bob's wife, Jane Fosmer, is a WAC in an Army Separation Center from where she writes that she is getting combat fatigue second hand. That's all the gossip I can remember.
I'm going down to the bar now to have a drink before supper. I told a guy I'd meet him there.
It is early June. With Jacques Pregre, he checks in on Army HQ now at Augsburg. Pregre takes him to a house to meet a French Red Cross group handling French workers and prisoners in Germany, three men, two women, one dark, sultry, beautiful, the other ruddy, cheerful, intelligent. He is impressed by the improvement in the landscape and jealous of the Frenchmen. He has them to a dinner party at the Schloss. The French Red Cross Chef is quite jealous of the dark one, who is the sexier but not so nice or bright as the redhead.
The day following, Captain de Grazia manages to appear at the Red Cross house without Lt. Pregre. He finds the red-head there and ask for the other woman, Odette, this one being called Simone Thomas. "She is not here. Je regrette. But she is not your type anyway." " Really?" " No, I am more your type." I'll have to take your word for it, he says, will you be my guest for lunch --because he can get a free lunch at the HQ 7A Officers' Mess and they have a bar. He can describe her by means of a letter, lacking some important detail, such as her more than ample bosom and generally fine figure. It is, as I have said, early April; Spring has begun.
Lt. Lankford, Sgt. Taubert and I went for a swim yesterday with four French officers and two French girls who work on the repatriation of Frenchmen. The place was a small lake alongside the Autobahn near Augsburg. One of the girls is the mistress of the French captain. I told you about her a couple of days ago. The other girl is called Simone Thomas and is a very nice, lively girl who shares your penchant for climbing under and over things and cracking very good witticisms. She was in Germany for the last year and a half working for the French Red Cross, and graduated in literature from the Sorbonne. Her home is in Paris. She doesn't speak [much] English but speaks excellent German. The first girl, Odette, is a real minx, the kind that drunken beachcombers beat, lazy, sharp, and sexy. After the swim, Lankford went with them to their place for supper and I came back here. We had a good dinner of pork chops, potatoes, FRESH lettuce salad, and ice cream. One couldn't ask for more. At eight-thirty we showed the film To Have and To Have Not during which all the men panted lustfully at Lauren Bacall and "thrilled to the torrid romance and high adventure of the French West Indies" just as they were supposed to do. I liked especially the dialogue in the parts where it was as flat and dry as a Martini, the piano player and all the music and songs.
More detail comes in later letters, five that mention Simone over a period of two months, representing a total of twelve rendezvous. The letters of Jill in reply do not mention Simone. He believes, probably correctly, that Jill is secure enough to feel very little jealousy; she knows he will return. As for him, from time to time he wonders, but there is nothing like a pregnant woman and infant's mother to stem the flow of male suspicion.
Alfred, accent on the `frrehd', and Simone are together whenever it is discreet and convenient. She stays a couple of nights at the Schloss when the party ends late and he has drunk too much to gad about, but the place is large enough so that, in the course of gossiping about her, she might be said to have slept in another room, not that she would care. She is affectionate, willing, a luxuriant armful, not great at love-making but lovable nonetheless, always considerate, always ready to go and uncomplaining, fluent in German and pushing out a kind of English, and capable of holding her own in professional discussions of the complex state of the war and the alliances and the hereafter, of music, films and food. Were he not so hopefully and determinedly in love with his wife, and all that she represented in his past, present, and future, he would probably be molding an enduring relationship. But that is what is so good about his friendship with Simone. She makes not the slightest gesture to capture him, lets out no hint of jealousy, asks nothing of him.
The Army is redistributing its forces around Germany. Sixth Army Headquarters, his superior command, is up North now, and the Captain goes to see how his friends are doing there and to seek a few favors for his Company.
I have about three-quarters of an hour in which to write you a letter now, before I go about finding a car to take me to an airport for the return trip to Augsburg. I had meant to leave yesterday afternoon, but there were a couple of things yet to do this morning and I stayed over. It was good that I did, for Tom [Crowell], Shields and I had a fine time with two quarts of Scotch at Shields' home. Tom got in a swell mood in the afternoon and by the time we went over for supper he was irrepressible. He got up in the mess hall in front of all the staid people and let out a yell that startled them out of their wits. Then he cleared away the chairs and did a tap dance with his famous bumps. It was all in honor of his return to the old country. We continued at a more sober pace after eating a good meal and ended up at one o'clock. This morning we didn't feel badly at all considering everything, which goes to prove how good Johnny Walker is. I was sad to see him go though. He's one of the few good friends I've made overseas. I know lots of people passably well but Tom I know extremely well. Because of a jam in air transport he'll most likely ride a boat back.
Now that I'm here in the center of things, I don't know much more than if I had stayed in bed. I guess I'll be bringing the outfit up here one of these days for its final disposition. I don't like it here. Too many offices and administrative people. Life is something like YMCA life back home. I hope I won't have to stay here long when I do arrive. There is no news on going home in the immediate future. It seems from the little information in the newspapers that redeployment is proceeding more rapidly than it was originally and pessimistically scheduled. However, these troops that are going to the Pacific afterwards have first priority on transport and then the flood of 85ers will follow. I do hope to see you before September, but, if anything happens and I can't, could you wait for me until October? I am very unhappy now with this waiting, so please don't accuse me of not exhausting all possibilities of returning.
I've seen Martin Herz several times while here. In fact this letter is being written on his typewriter. He just got his orders to go to Austria, for which he has been waiting. He'll be stationed there for some time in an as yet uncertain capacity. Last evening I saw Hans Habe for a few minutes. I hadn't seen him since Italy, and he has grown a lot heavier. He was rather thin originally, you may remember. He's stationed farther north and heads up the German press section.
Constantine is around too in an administrative job. Right now he is rationing out some newly arrived liquor to the officers.
I hope I can get back in time for the big ball game tonight. We are playing the FA outfit we licked a week ago, this time on our home grounds. I ought to make it, since the plane leaves here at four-thirty and only takes an hour to get to Augsburg. That's very fast, two hundred and seventy miles, but the plane is a B-25 converted bomber and doesn't fool around much. I wish it would head West and not stop. I would be home tomorrow sometime. The company sends a car to pick me up at the airfield and that's how I get home to Strassberg. I hope there'll be some mail from you waiting for me there. It's almost three days so there should be something.
The last payday of the company comes. He sits by the winch of the half-track watching as the Pay Officer hands out the Marks of the Allied Occupation Forces. He knows every face and figure, every man, so well. He is winding down the company now. What will be their future? It is hard to picture them as individuals, out of uniform, walking down the street alone, standing in some shop or factory or service station. Strange how little the men talk of their future, nor do the officers say much: it must be because they are afraid of their future, or have forgotten what life is like at home, or are enchanted with their pleasant routines.
Every morning he gets them up and marches them up the lane to and through the village and into the woods, startling the folk and deer with their "sound-off's" and smacking of gun-butts. They have become a threat at softball to the much larger battalions of infantry and ordnance and artillery. They gobble and guzzle like Robin Hood's Merry Men. They have even staked out, a few of them, the Russian DP camp below, the camp of the shoes, for many a trim ankle points a foot well-ensconced for dancing now, and sometimes they come straggling back late at night or not at all.
"Captain, the men are complaining of crabs." Crabs! You don't say! From the camp below, I suppose. The C.O. is angry, orders the mattresses turned out, the philanderers and their clothing purged, DDT sprinkled like talcum powder, and quarantines the DP camp. The Puritans among the troop are pleased. The guards are alerted to interrogate men going and coming. Blackie is among them; like Cook, who killed a man and another time grabbed a truck on an escapade, Blackie, who almost killed the Captain, goes after the girls and violates the curfew. This is too much.
The next day, by coincidence, the French squad is at last to depart for the French First Army. Their happy time with the Americans is over. Lt. Pregre will lead them off. Blackie is pleased with his last illicit night. Not so the Captain, who orders a show- down inspection of the departing men. They stand by their packs and show what they have. This is done but rarely, and for various purposes: to recover lost or stolen objects, to discover excess gear and forbidden articles, to determine that every man's equipment is complete and in order, and so on. In the present instance, the point is at first uncertain. Lined up in the courtyard, the soldiers, at the Captain's command, drop their bags and open them for examination. The Captain passes swiftly along the line, halts at Blackie's pack. This Belgian automatic and that Italian Beretta are forbidden to an enlisted man. Sergeant, put them aside. These spoons and forks are loot, forbidden. This sweater is extra, Army property, retrieve it. O.K. Close it up! Blackie is red under his brown skin. One can only hope that he had great fun the night before. The Captain likes Blackie, a cheerful type, he'll forget it all soon.
Sadder than this morning is the day that trucks arrive at the camp below and the DP's climb into them to begin the long journey back to the Soviet Union. Promised a return to a welcoming homeland, they had learned by rumor and some reliable reporting that bad things were happening to the returnees. The American officers and men knew this even better. Here they were: prisoners of war, forced workers driven back into the Reich, and voluntary workers. Who among them had surrendered too readily, let themselves be enslaved too freely, offered their services readily to the Nazis, even helped to enslave and beat and starve their own people and people of other countries?
The Captain would have forgiven practically all of them, because they had been so severely dealt with by the Germans and by fate. It would be practically impossible and a dear waste of energies to distinguish the shades of patriotism and desertion. But he was not of the mind of Stalin; he was not of the OGPU. He was not even of the mentality of those who had managed to stay on the right side of the Front in spite of everything. For these were vengeful, too, very often.
Two million DP's were returned to the Soviet Union in the end, and a great many of these died of suffering in the camps of the Soviet Union, were sent to Siberian settlements, and some were denounced and killed outright, probably a few even by the young tough communist organizers with whom the Captain treated. And perhaps those whom they fingered were really traitors who deserved no better.
One thing the soldiers agreed upon: the sadness of parting with Lena of Odessa. The Captain got her address, "should I ever get to Odessa." Pfc. George Glade, to whom she had become a mother, was in tears. Lena was in tears. They loaded her down with gifts. They brought her in the command car down to the camp when the trucks were loading. This was what the Allied leaders had promised. Carried out to the last wave of hands as the truck drove off.
Col. Quinn of G-2 gives a party at a villa he's taken over. He is leaving for the States and the Pacific Theater. Hardly anyone is left whom the Captain knows; his friends are being fed into other jobs. He commits excesses from malaise. The morning after, he has a hangover, as he explains to "Dear Love":
With two aspirins, much fruit juice and lots of coffee, I should be able to stave off the jitters long enough to think this letter through. For once, I think I can say that summer is here to stay. For two days, it hasn't rained and the sky has been cloudless. I drove back home from Col. Quinn's party last night about two AM and all the stars were out, the road was clear and the air was cool and sweet. It was a good party, attended mostly by intelligence officers, the latest and best in the series of social events high officers give to celebrate the victory and the associations the war made. There were more American women than I've seen in a long time there, several ARC girls, one or two DP's, and four girls from a USO show that's playing in Augsburg. They all worked very hard at dancing and being amusing. A band from an engineer outfit played and an EM did magical tricks which were astounding. I sat in for several numbers with the band and enjoyed that more than anything else, although the drums were too loud and I couldn't hear the piano chords or get in any subtleties in consequence. There was lots of cognac and some vodka and vermouth to drink. I tried a vodka martini and it wasn't very good. Col. Quinn at the beginning had declared that there would be no high diving into the fish pond before midnight but even afterwards I couldn't find anyone to jump in. I was willing but I needed someone with your intrepid character and where can one find that save where you are, standing alone in a world of fuddy-duddys. I didn't miss you only then. I did also whenever a silly girl said something in character. All of them seemed nice enough but so uneducated. One would think I would have lost my discrimination by this time, but it's sharpened, if anything -- starvation not only makes a man create ideal images of food, but when he finally sees the food again he gives it a much more realistic appraisal, sees all the details he didn't see in the period of gluttony. And when finally I turned to, back here, I felt that I needed your arms to rest my face against. I could have gone to sleep beautifully, kissing them. Instead, I read a few pages of C. S. Forester's Beat to Quarters.
Simone disappears, and reappears in a couple of weeks, Lieutenant Thomas, in a chic French Army uniform. Soon enough, her uniform becomes rumpled. She's not the dressy type. She brings him a copy of Madame Bovary but the French is too difficult to hold his interest. Besides, he had read it in English translation. They go on a deer hunt. They fan out. A nice but jealous French lieutenant is next to him; he is just the type who would be good for Simone, upper class, well-educated, sensitive, he even looks like her brother, husky, blonde, and smiling; still, the Captain keeps well to the right and two paces behind the man: accidents can happen. No deer.
Right near Schloss de Grazia are deer, they practically eat out of your hand. On a solitary walk one day he decides to hunt them with just his .45 automatic, and after several futile shots concludes that the famous Colt 45 cal. Automatic is as inaccurate a weapon as was ever strapped to a man's body and impressively pulled and fired. It's a weapon that lives in myth. War is governed largely by myth, costly blunders, and unreliable history, or am I repeating myself?
At the beginning of 1945 he prepared a calculation of the cost effectiveness of his outfit. The results were highly favorable. He showed it to Roos and a couple of other men and thought of giving it to G-2, their boss, but held off. If he had recalculated now, he would have had complete accounts up to the end of this War. He might even do it for himself, for he did toy with the theory behind the system of points that was used in some part to select men for redeployment to the States.
He could commence by listing what he cost the Army overseas, assuming he would have been overseas for twenty-nine months before reaching a home port again. Then he should add what his operations cost the Army. Then he could figure what the Army had paid to win the War in Europe, and derive a ratio. Afterwards, he could set forth the value of his services and compare it with the average of the Army in the Mediterranean and European Theaters.
|Cost Item Cost (est.)|
|Wages & allowances||9,000|
|Food||2,000||Clothing (including 2 helmets)||200|
|Medical and dental care||100|
|Gasoline consumed for pleasure||20|
|Ammunition (20,000 shells)||200,000|
|Wear and Tear on cannon||20,000|
|Crews of cannon and command system||8,000|
|Personal crew rendering official services: jeep driving, etc.||5,000|
|Loud-speaker ops, crew, radio, vehicles, ammo conversion||15,000|
|Share of cost of company overhead||2,000|
|Share of casualties and disabilities (cost to government)||500|
|Share of Overhead of War (roughly equals his unit overhead and personal costs)||$ 18,900||Total||$ 269,400|
|Total of all Costs||$ 280,800|
One may proceed now to the benefits side of the cost-benefit ratio. His functions, to review them, are listed, with an estimate of his performance:
To discover useful facts for others to use in winning the war politically, psychologically and militarily.
To take custody of and operate media in freed territory.
To order the minds of liberated and occupied populations.
To lessen enemy resistance and fighting energies.
To increase enemy desertions and surrendering.
To help own friendly units understand and do their job better.
In doing above, to take care of means: To take care of the men, to take care of himself, to care for the equipment in his charge, to maintain liaison all around, to command troops.
One might hazard a dollar value for these benefits:
Worth $55,000 on basis of what is paid consultants and professors.
Worth $150,000 in fees customarily charged for such operations.
Worth $35,000 as social welfare work.
Caused to desert or surrender "beforetimes" 1500 men. This is worth $600,000,000, with the value figured by multiplying the figure of 1500 men by the total cost of the Western European and Mediterranean operations divided by the number of the enemy who were killed, disabled or captured by the First of May, that is, $400,000 per man.
Lessened resistance by average of 1% of 200,000 troops of enemy. According to the formula used above (4), the benefit here would amount to $800 millions.
Instructed many units on how to deal with enemy psychologically and increase captures or kills, and how to deal with enemy and friendly populations. Professorial fees: $25,000. Indirectly and involuntarily set up 50 enemy to be killed by using propaganda as a ruse or giving friendly troops occasion to shoot enemy trying to give up. Also captured several enemy, probably killed none by his wild shooting. Total value of item of benefits #6 = $21,200,000.
Attending to managerial functions: $60,000.
Total Value of Benefits Provided = $1,421,525,000.00
This figure may be reduced 95% by postulating that the Captain was operating in all his tasks with nineteen other hypothetical unit- persons of equal ability and achievements, and that each such unit warrants an equivalent costs-benefit assignment. (Actually we have already charged off these costs and contributions, but still, one must be scrupulous in these matters. There will be those who would calculate costs-benefits solely in shoes and time worn and shells and number fired in ratio to presumed damage done, etc., whereas total cost-benefits balancing requires the quantification of the qualitative, something done perforce, yet intuitively and badly most often.) In this case, the Captain's share of the benefits, because he must still pay up his costs, which amount to $280,800, ends up at $70,795,450.00. Not a poky contribution to the War Effort, Seventy Big Megabucks! Adjusted to today's dollar-value, that would rise to $700 Megabucks!
One could not win the War with the Captain and his kind doing more of the same jobs; up to ten larger units, such as the Seventh Army Team, might well have been fielded in the Seventh Army alone, but no more. The Seventh Army single team could also have done better work with less personnel.
Many more soldiers are needed who have a different kind of job assignment than the propaganda warrior, but a very special job; strangely, the number of these has been improperly estimated or not at all, for they are regarded as rare exceptions, to be given medals instead of being regarded as a self-selecting elite type who literally fight and win the crucial enemy engagements that form a vital part of a War. Or they are crowded into a "crack unit," called "Marines" or "parachute brigades" or "Special Forces," or "airborne divisions."
I refer to killer-soldiers or super-soldiers, Rambo, the one in thirty or forty in an infantry or tank regiment who has the opportunity, the will and the ability to close with the enemy and despatch one or more. Usually these men become casualties themselves before long, but meanwhile they seal breaks in their lines, open breaks in the enemy lines, kill their opposite numbers like Achilles does Hector and many other Trojans, create despair and fear in enemy hearts, and encourage and enable their own troops to win in the name of all.
Reducing their performance to pecuniary value gives net benefit figures on the order of $8,000,000 per super-soldier or Rambo. The location, training, and deployment among the mass army-in-action of such men should be the grand focus of theory and application in all other aspects of warfare. The bringing-out and effective employment of such men should be the greatest test of the value of an officer, not only the immediate officer of the man, but all officers, logistical, artillery, aviation, naval, and the rest.
Alongside these Rambos should be stressed the unlucky tenth in the infantry battalions who notably endure the insensate grinding boredom of training and waiting, but have also to undergo their few hours of heavy risk and terror, of danger and death, of disablement, of rotten memories that are like wounds without Purple Hearts. And all the while firing their pieces. And alongside these are to be counted the air crews, the submarine crews, and the men in the bowels of ships, who have the most similar experiences, of seemingly eternal waits and brief episodes of fight and fright.
However, back to the "crack units," these are questionable as independent forces, and should be infiltrated to each division or task force or kept in readiness for such assignment. They should not be used as the U.S.Marines were employed, as divisions in their own right. The Germans misemployed the early SS combat divisions in the same way. A crack division that loses half of its effectives is still highly effective; a regular division that incurs a 50% loss of fire- personnel becomes largely ineffective, because its Rambos now become only 3% (instead of 8% of the total assigned the job of inflicting casualties by small-arms).
An overall solution would be to place more Rambos in the regular divisions, with a special rating as, say, "Arms Specialist," and educate command and staff to ask for or respond to reinforcement or procurement needs, not simply with hardware or indiscriminate warm body requisitions, but with requests for specific numbers -- 2, 5, 8, 20, etc. -- in measure with the difficulty of the task facing the unit.
In some cases, the specialized "snipers" became such distinctive warriors.
Hardly an Allied commander appeared to appreciate this basic human conditioning of the battle, World War II style. The Soviets seemed to recognize the wisdom of restraining the formation of large elite formations in favor of a more even distribution of aggressive soldiery throughout its multitudinous divisions. The Captain thought of the basic flaw in the understanding of the elements of direct combat operations first on a visit to Quantico to see the Bill Evers' and heard of the training afforded the Marines there, and next upon hearing of the heavy German paratrooper casualties in Crete, and of course in Sicily. (I believe that a certain envy of the "gung-ho" of the Marines also made him think, "Why not us too?" meaning the Army.)
Now let us perform a mental gymnastic that he could not boast about fifty years ago. It would have brought down ridicule upon him. After all, was not the "bottom line" of warfare the killing of the enemy? I mean that he could have reversed the idea of "benefits," or, rather, doubled roughly the net profit of his operations. That is, he could count benefits from the "German" side, or from the "pacifist" position: then he would be granted the value of the hundreds of German life-equivalencies and thousands of hours of enemy suffering that he saved. No question about it, a considerable number of Germans ended World War II alive because he extricated them from it, not to mention the suffering he saved all the others who gave up a little earlier than would have been the case without him. Considering that many of these young Germans became fathers, he might as well claim to be the Godfather of quite a number of elderly and third generation Germans living today. Another 60 Megabucks should be toted on his account. He should at least be pensioned by the German government! And, please to recall the messages he was sending: unlike the enemy's messages, his were words he -- and you - - could live with for the rest of his life. Nothing to be ashamed about.
What I've been saying is an accrual of fifty years of casual amateur cogitation. The Age of Computerized Missiles has brought such a qualitative revolution, that there have become four kinds of war: the old conventional warfare of World War II, between armies whose ground battles determine victory at war, which may not occur again for a while; nuclear missile war, which would introduce, if at all, an anarchic chaotic struggle among any survivors; the punitive expedition of the Panamanian, Grenadian or Iraqi kind; and the political war, as in Vietnam and Afghanistan, with one or both armed forces working under constraints, and without sharp distinctions of friend-foe, or front-rear. No-War would be the best war, of course, but let us leave it at that.
But shouldn't I be permitted to exclaim that large-scale organized violence -- warfare, that is, is so crazy, that every effort ought always to be made to keep peoples from becoming diseased with hostility; we should strip down to our bare essentials of material goods and ethical principles in order to expend the economic and cultural resources needed to resolve conflicts between peoples.
Now to finish with World War II. July arrives at Schloss Strassberg and the Captain receives the expected formal orders to merge his troop with higher headquarters. The Information Control Command is located a few miles south of Bad Homburg and not far from Wiesbaden, at Schloss Hohenbuchau, a spa reported to be a marvel of luxury. He has not been there, but has maps and knows that its signs will be picked up as his column approaches.
With a certain sadness -- although every move is advertised as leading to home -- they ready themselves for the trek. This is their last day as a free outfit and the last move together. The courtyard echoes to a great roar as all the vehicles start up their motors. Inside, the rooms are impersonally bare, the kitchen ammoniacally clean. The American flag has been lowered and packed away. All windows and doors are closed. Schloss Strassberg belongs now to nobody and anybody; the gnomish villagers are probably crouched to spring upon it. The Captain's command car this once is last to leave. He overtakes the front of the column as it begins to make its sharp right turn. He twists his head and watches as the noses of the vehicles appear one by one, until finally the full convoy stretches out on the long descent to the plain below.