F.D.R: The Last Journey

Roosevelt, like Lincoln and Wilson, died fighting for his ideals.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated for the fourth time, in January, 1945, twelve years of guiding the country through depression and war had sapped the strength of this vital and complex man. His health, which had been a major issue in the 1944 campaign, was the constant concern of his dedicated staff. Roosevelt himself, by this time, was thinking mostly of the problems of the coming peace. Read more »

“Our German Wehrmacht Is Being Stopped By A Shadow”

The furious speaker was Field Marshal Kesselring. The time was 1944. And the “shadow” was cast by Italian partisans and a handful of brave Americans from General Bill Donovan’s O.S.S.

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The Longest Wait

The G.I.’s were far more numerous than any army that ever occupied Britain; none left so little visible trace, none so touching a legacy

A cold coming awaited Melburn Henke in all respects but one. A leaden Irish sky, damp air that mortified the flesh, a mournful horizon of rusting cranes and dilapidated warehouses, channels of gray water and drab groups of longshoremen—these made up Henke’s landscape. He was wearing a steel helmet with a shallow crown and a flat brim cocked somewhat rakishly over one eye; on his back a regulation pack sat trim and heavy, a bayonet as long as a sword strapped to it, and from his right shoulder hung an M-1 rifle no longer new.

A Fateful Friendship

Eisenhower dreamed of serving under Patton, but history reversed their roles. Their stormy association dramatically shaped the Allied assault on the Third Reich

 
They never had much in common. George Palion was a conceited, spoiled child from an extremely wealthy, snobbish family. He dressed as he pleased, said what he liked, and did as he wished, he cursed like a trooper and told off his inferiors—:ind sometimes his superiors—with profane eloquence. Although he moved easily in America’s highest society, main people, soldiers included, thought Patton vulgar. Dwight Eisenhower came from the wrong side of the tracks in a tiny midwestern town. He had to support himself while in high school by working nights in a creamery: he wanted to be well liked, and he obeyed his superiors. The only thing he did to attract attention was to do his duty quietly and efficiently.
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The Gallantry of An “Ugly Duckling”

Outgunned by the Nazi raider, the Stephen Hopkins could have struck her colors. Instead she elected to fight

Whenever an unescorted American freighter encountered strange ships in the South Atlantic in 1942, her master knew that within minutes he might face a bitter decision: to surrender and have his vessel captured—probably scuttled—or to fight and be sunk. This was the quandary of Paul Buck, captain of the Liberty Ship Stephen Hopkins , when two unidentified vessels appeared out of the morning mist at 9:35 on September 27 of that year. A smaller object, possibly a small boat, seemed to be moving in the water between them.

The Bombing of Monte Cassino

The Allied drive toward Rome had stalled. Was the destruction of a historic monastery justified in an effort to break the German line and get the campaign moving again?

Halfway between Naples and Rome, on a moiintaintop and visible for miles, stands the Benedictine abbey of Monte Cassino, serene and benign, apparently indestructible. Of cream-colored stone, its longest side extending 200 yards, four stories tall, with a thick, battlemented base and rows of cell windows, the abbey resembles a fortress. Not particularly beautiful, it is impressive because of its massive size and commanding location.Read more »

The Marianas Turkey Shoot

Japanese naval air power was wrecked at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, but, says a U. S. carrier admiral who was there, our Navy missed a chance to destroy the enemy fleet and shorten the war.

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Greetin’s, Cousin George

It was the first time in history that British sovereigns had come to see what they lost in 1776. George and Franklin, Elizabeth and Eleanor, hit it off like old friends; even Texas congressmen melted under the royal charm. Brewing was a crucial World War II alliance

A long line of nervous congressmen stood in the Capitol rotunda awaiting the arrival of someone of obviously high importance. Vice President John Nance Garner buzzed among the legislators trying to ease the tension with his famous stories. Toward the rear of the rotunda, members of the House tittered at Garner’s jokes, while sober-faced senators critically eyed the antics of the Vice President. The audience pleased him. His jokes became less appropriate, the laughs grew louder, and the senators seemed less impressed. Then Garner walked over to the door and peered down the Capitol steps.Read more »

The Place of Franklin D. Roosevelt in History

To what extent did greatness inhere in the man, and to what degree was it a product of the situation?

Seldom has an eminent man been more conscious of his place in history than was Franklin D. Roosevelt. He regarded history as an imposing drama and himself as a conspicuous actor. Again and again he carefully staged a historic scene: as when, going before Congress on December 8, 1941, to call for a recognition of war with Japan, he took pains to see that Mrs. Woodrow Wilson accompanied Mrs. Roosevelt to the Capitol, thus linking the First and Second World Wars.Read more »

“God, Please Get Us Out Of This”

A carefree Sunday lay ahead for one of the mess cooks on USS Oklahoma. His pockets jingled, and a pretty girl awaited him for a picnic on a warm, white beach. Minutes later he lay entombed at the bottom of Pearl Harbor

The world was my oyster that Sunday morning in December, 1941. I was nineteen, breakfast was over, and liberty would be starting in an hour or so. A quick look ont a second-deck porthole of our battleship, the U.S.S. Oklahoma, confirmed my feeling that this was going to be a glorious day. There were still some early morning clouds, but the sun was warm, with just a breath of trade wind ruffling the waters of the harbor.