December 31, 2016

World War III: "The Present" by Kathryn Morgan-Ryan

The Present
"He held out his own revolver to Reid. 'It is a little present to you from the Russians.'" Illustration by Louis S. Glanzman, Collier's magazine, October 27, 1951, p. 46
In 1951, Collier's magazine published a special issue entitled "Preview of the War We Do Not Want" speculating about a hypothetical World War III and what it might look like. The war begins in 1952 and ends in 1955 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, followed by a UN occupation of Russia. A number of notable figures contributed fictional reports about the war and its history, including Edward R. Murrow, Hal Boyle, Walter Reuther, Marguerite Higgins, Walter Winchell, and Arthur Koestler.

This short story by writer Kathryn Morgan-Ryan tells of two opposing commanders, Soviet General Druzhinin and American Lieutenant General Reid, who met previously at the end of World War II and are now battling each other during World War III.

From Collier's magazine, October 27, 1951, p. 46:
The Present

By Kathryn Morgan-Ryan

The commanding general of the Third Army stood before the situation map in his war room. In front of him the intelligence officer's pointer swept over the red and black unit markers.

"The Fourth Armored has just about encircled General Druzhinin's division, sir. They've left this two-mile gap open. The Reds are pouring through it and our artillery is slaughtering them."

The general nodded and turned to his aide. "The Fourth seems to be starting some sort of tradition," he said. "They met Druzhinin's men in the last war. Only then they had a party together."

"I remember hearing something about it, sir."

The general nodded. "I heard something about it myself," he said. He looked over at his chief of staff. "How soon will the first elements of the Fourth reach Druzhinin's headquarters?"

"At the rate they're going, sir, in about an hour."

The general felt for a moment that it was a war ago and that he was carrying on a conversation with G-2 in Normandy. He had been a divisional commander then, and he remembered driving into Nazi headquarters after it was encircled by his troops. He had not been so detached from the actual fighting in that war and he remembered it briefly with a certain nostalgia.

The general was known to be a sentimental man, and he was also known to be crisp, courteous and unruffled. In his military career he had acquired a polish which rendered him quite unrecognizable from that raw young man from Wyoming who had received his gold lieutenant's bars at West Point thirty-six years before. Just for a minute, as he looked about him at the faces of his officers—several of them pulled from civilian life a few years before—the general felt a great temptation to say how much he wished they could return to being civilians again. He fervently wanted a peace for all the civilians of the world, including those he now fought against. In the meantime, he had to fight his small part of the war to the best of his ability, ruthlessly and hard.

He wondered how Druzhinin was bearing up under the retreat of his armies. He guessed defeat would be hard for Druzhinin to swallow, for his fame in this war was nearly equal to Rommel's in World War II. It ought to be particularly embarrassing for Druzhinin, the general decided, in view of the fact that a war ago Druzhinin had given a party for the Fourth Armored.

Motioning his aide to follow, the general led the way outside to his trailer caravan. There he pulled a battered foot-locker from under his cot, opened it, took out a leather shoulder holster and slowly buckled it on. "Let's get out there, Jim," he said to his aide. "I want to go in with the first elements to reach Druzhinin headquarters." . . .


The old house which General Druzhinin used as headquarters was quiet now. In the room upstairs with the massive fieldstone fireplace, he heard only the crackling of the fire.

He moved over to the fire, feeling the warmth of it begin to spread through his tunic, and threw a paper back among the logs. It was the last of his war maps and he observed with satisfaction that the room was empty of anything the Americans would find of interest, except, of course, himself.

Druzhinin thought about that for a minute, and his eyes held the same bleak, remote look he had seen on the faces of his soldiers in the past twenty days of the Fourth Armored bombardment. He thought briefly of his troops, who were running now, streaming through a gap left open by the Fourth Armored, a gap he felt sure would be covered by artillery and machine guns. Some of his troops would get out, but the bulk of them would be cut down. Druzhinin thought that if he had been in command of the Americans, he would have planned it that way.

When the third World War began, Druzhinin had gone into it with his usual confidence. The Politburo had foreseen a sweeping victory and the troops were seasoned and hard. Then came a few retreats, a falling back here and there, a sabotaged train, a partisan attack, and then the bombs and atomic artillery. Druzhinin had seen the handwriting on the walls. He thought he could have stood it if the victors had been any but the Americans.

He turned quickly in the quiet room, not wanting to think about it any more, and brought a chair up to the fire. He pulled out the .38 Colt automatic from its holster, sat down in the chair, and saw the light from the fire play over the surface of the gun. With a fresh pleasure he ran his thumb over the beautifully balanced butt and he thought of a girl at an embassy reception once who had touched the gun and asked, "And this, General, where did you get this?" "From the Americans," he replied, as though it were an unvalued thing. "That was given me by the Americans." He made it sound as if the gun were awarded him at some military presentation, but it had not happened in quite that way.


Druzhinin had met the Fourth Armored before—under happier circumstances—in Austria at the end of World War II. He had halted his division at the edge of a river, and on the far side the Fourth Armored had also stopped. Druzhinin decided to give a dinner for the Americans to celebrate the link-up of their two units. On the day of the reception he lined his personal troops on the road leading to his headquarters villa. Each Russian carried a tommy gun and they formed an arch for the cavalcade of American vehicles all the way to the villa. As the Americans entered the arch, Druzhinin's men began firing. He grinned now as he recalled the sudden burst of noise which caused the American drivers to swerve their wheels.

At the meal, he gave them seventeen courses, with vodka. The Americans could not take the pace, and most of them stopped drinking after the fifth course. Only the Fourth's one-star brigadier general, a West Pointer named Reid, continued to drink with Druzhinin. The affair built up quietly into a contest between the two generals. In the end, it was Druzhinin who won.

A week earlier, his interpreter had showed him a copy of Stars and Stripes which carried a photograph of the American general receiving a special .38 Colt automatic with mother-of-pearl stars on either side of the handle. At the meal, as Druzhinin sat beside the American, he had difficulty keeping his eyes from the gun. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, and as the tension of the drinking contest increased, Druzhinin sought to hit back at this American who dared down drink for drink with him. He waited, biding his time, making small talk, and then suddenly, with a great display of largess, he pulled his own revolver from his holster and held it out to Reid. "It is a little present to you from the Russians," he said.

Along the tables, talk suddenly ceased. Druzhinin was aware that the Americans had turned in their chairs, that American and Russian faces alike wore looks of excitement. Reid put down his glass and took Druzhinin's gun. For an instant there was bewilderment on his face, and then suddenly he understood. He looked like a man on whom a joke has just been played, who is determined, in deference to good manners, to smile at himself. Then slowly he drew the Colt from his own shoulder holster and gave it to Druzhinin. "This, General, I give you in exchange." He spoke out so that everyone in the room could hear. "I would like to present it on behalf of all the Americans here."

When it was all over, Druzhinin remembered, he sat for a long time alone, thinking over the little scene. He did not see Reid again after the dinner, but he knew that for as long as they lived, two men would always remember the Austrian party.

He stared now at the dying fire. This time, he thought, when the Fourth Armored arrived it would not be for a party. However, he had no fears about the forthcoming meeting. He looked once more at the Colt. The star in the butt glinted in the firelight. Without hesitation, he raised the gun to his forehead and pulled the trigger.

When, only a short time later, they came through the door, the American general and his aide moved quickly up to Druzhinin. A staff sergeant bent over the body. "The medics won't earn any money here," he said.

Lieutenant General Reid, commander of the Third Army, reached out and took the gun from Druzhinin's clenched fingers. "Let's just call this a little present from the Russians," he said to his aide, and slipped the gun into his holster. — THE END

December 30, 2016

1928. Mussolini Rejects Democratic Rule

Mussolini Condemns Popular Sovereignty
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini speaks to a crowd at Pizza San Marco in Venice alongside a group of Black Shirts on June 15, 1934 (source)
This article is part of a series of posts on how newspapers covered the rise of fascism.

From The New York Times, March 3, 1928:
MUSSOLINI REJECTS DEMOCRATIC RULE
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Condemns Popular Sovereignty in Report Explaining New Electoral Bill
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DEFENDS RADICAL CHANGES
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Measure Gives Fascista Council Control of All Nominations to Parliament
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VOTE IS ON SLATE, NOT MAN
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Premier Denies Intention of Abolishing Chamber Entirely or Setting Up an Oligarchy

ROME, March 2 — The principles on which popular sovereignty and representative government are generally thought to rest are condemned by Premier Mussolini in a report accompanying the new Fascista electoral bill distributed in the Chamber today.

By the system he proposes geographical representation is abolished and the voter's role is confined to approving or rejecting, without possibility of choice between individual men, a list of 800 candidates for Parliament, half of them named by the Fascist Grand Council and the other half nominated by the guilds or corporations into which Fascismo has organized Italian life.

Premier Mussolini denies, however, that he aims to abolish parliament or elections altogether.

He voices sharp criticism of the electoral system existing in other countries as antiquated and unsuitable to a modern nation. The fundamental defect of most electoral systems, says the report, is that they are based on the dogma of popular sovereignty.

Holds Masses Incapable of Choice

"The error of such a conception is evident," he writes. "The masses are quite incapable of forming their own minds, much less of choosing men. Democracy, in other words, does not exist in nature. Where 100 persons gather they are fatally led by two or three individuals, who drive them according to their own interests and their own inclinations.

"The problem of government therefore cannot be solved by trusting in the illusory dogma of popular sovereignty, but it can be solved by the wise choice of a few leading spirits. If, however, the system of selection is not well organized, the unworthiest usually come to the top. To leave the choice of candidates to an electorate which is composed of an amorphous mass of heterogeneous individuals really means to abandon choice to a few intriguers."

Nor does the system of letting each party choose its own candidates, who are then submitted to the electorate, work any better, Premier Mussolini says, because the choice of candidates is assumed by political parties which often are the most unscrupulous, the least mindful of the nation's interest and the most opposed to constituted authority. Both of these systems, he holds, really took the choice of candidates out of the hands of the electorate, placing it in those of party organs.

"The dogma of popular sovereignty," he concludes, "therefore in practice is the sovereignty of small minorities composed of intriguing demagogues."

Condemns Local Representation

But the faults Premier Mussolini finds with existing electoral systems do not end here. Most of them are founded on a geographical basis, the Deputies which are sent to Parliament being representatives of their own particular town, city or region.

This, the Premier says, tends to make the legislative body too heedful of local affairs, losing sight of national affairs. He adds that fosters "churchsteeple politics" and has the drawback that a great scientist, a great writer or great artist who lives far from his home town does not have the slightest chance to enter Parliament.

"Finally," says Premier Mussolini, "all existing electoral systems neglect the reality of life which is that, isolated, individuals do not exist or have negligible value. Society is not merely a conglomeration of men, but the resultant of a series of minor groups which coexist organically. To ignore these minor groups means to have a totally false idea of social life. This is especially grave for those who seek in popular representation the perfect expression of the will of the people."

Most of the defects of the above systems are eliminated by the new Fascista proposals, Premier Mussolini goes on to say. The Fascisti candidates, he explains, will be designated by organizations representing the productive forces of Italy, thus doing away with the geographical faults of the present systems and the danger of nominations being exclusively the work of intriguing politicians.

Council Revises Nominations

These names will then be revised by the Fascista Grand Council, which, he says, eliminates any residual danger of such results, while "churchsteeple politics" renders possible the inclusion of any notable national figure which has been overlooked by the trades unions or guilds. Finally, the candidates chosen by the Grand Council will be submitted to the electorate, which can either accept or reject them. The electorate, he says, though deprived of the right to choose an individual Deputy or one who will be bound to represent local interests in Parliament, still has a check on the Government and can always show its disapproval of the Government's policies by rejecting all the candidates submitted to it.

Premier Mussolini states positively that the Fascisti have never had any idea of abolishing Parliament altogether.

"Some people may have thought," he writes, "that the logic of Fascista doctrine should finally lead to the abolition of the Chamber and all elections. This deduction, however, does not correspond to the Fascista conception of the modern State. Fascismo never intended to build up a completely autocratic regime or inaugurate a Government by police.

"On the contrary, Fascismo wishes to create a regime of authority with a strong Government possessing ample powers but founded on the masses and keeping close to the masses. No Fascisti ever dreamed of placing the government of the nation in the hands of an oligarchy.

"All who have Fascismo at heart wish instead to create a regime whose ruling class can always draw from the people the men necessary to its constant renewal.

"There is no doubt that an assembly comprised of men who, owing to their origins and the way in which they are designated, are at the same time interpreters of the interests of the groups which compose the nation and the enlightened organs of great national interests, must necessarily find a place among the constitutional organs of the State."

December 29, 2016

1968. On the Brink of War with North Korea

Washington Considers Its Options on North Korea
"The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) steams in formation with the destroyers USS Nicholas (DD-449) and USS O'Bannon (DD-450) in the Gulf of Tonkin," March 6, 1968 (source)
Bill Downs

ABC Washington

January 23, 1968

The United States undoubtedly will charge piracy on the high seas, protest and raise Cain with the North Koreans at the Panmunjom armistice commission and otherwise try to cover the embarrassment caused by the Communist boarding and capture of the USS Pueblo.

But in the meantime the Navy will be conducting a thorough behind-the-scenes investigation as to why the Navy intelligence ship put itself into a position to be taken by the North Koreans without firing a shot and without supporting American sea or air power.

The Pueblo is the second US Navy intelligence ship to get into trouble in the last eight months. Another and larger spy ship, the USS Liberty, came under fire and took heavy casualties when Israeli aircraft attacked it during the Arab-Israeli war.

Pentagon officials say this incident, as embarrassing as it is—plus the daring North Korean commando sortie into South Korea two days ago—it does not appear to presage immediate large-scale action in Korea. Not right now, at least.

This is Bill Downs reporting from the Pentagon.
________________

Bill Downs

ABC Washington

January 23, 1968 (Evening)

The questions which are plaguing official Washington tonight include: What if diplomacy fails? What if the North Korean Communist government refuses to return the USS Pueblo and its 83-man crew?

The answers and options available to President Johnson are fearful to contemplate, but the hard facts remain. The USS Pueblo and 83 Americans were taken in international waters and forced to sail into the North Korean port of Wonsan. Will the United States allow them to be held hostage?

According to government officials here, the diplomats will be given full opportunity and time to negotiate their way out of this crisis—negotiations which will not be eased by the Navy's confirmation that at least four US sailors were injured when the North Koreans captured the Pueblo.

In the meantime it's reliably reported that the USS Enterprise, the most powerful aircraft carrier in the world, has been ordered to the Sea of Japan off North Korea and now has all that Communist territory in range of her warplanes.

Other Allied naval units also are reported headed northward to the same area. Washington acted swiftly in reprisal when Communist Vietnamese torpedo boats fired on the Seventh Fleet.

Today's North Korean action is a much more serious affair.

This is Bill Downs reporting from the Pentagon.
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Bill Downs

ABC Washington

January 23, 1968 (Evening)

Here at the Pentagon, Defense officials put a lid on the building at about 6:30 p.m., which in the news business means that any further military details of the dangerous Wonsan Bay incident will have to come from somewhere else.

It also means that the international crisis precipitated by the North Korean capture of the USS Pueblo will, for the time being, remain in the hands of the State Department and the White House—and that President Johnson is moving slowly and carefully in the situation which could produce a two-front war in the Far East, and possibly lead to World War III.

After releasing the bare-bones story of the hijacking of the American intelligence ship this morning, Pentagon officials have been under wraps.

Questions which remain unanswered are manifold, including just how close to Communist territory was the Pueblo when the first North Korean gunboat challenged her? In the two hours or so that the Pueblo was under Communist guns before she was boarded, why did not American ships or aircraft from South Korea come to her aid? Why was the Pueblo captured without even her two .50 caliber machine guns being fired?

And the biggest and most melancholy question which lacks an answer: "If diplomacy fails to get the Pueblo and her 83-man crew released, can the United States avoid taking reprisals?"

The world's most powerful aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, is reliably reported to be in North Korean waters right now; the whole of Communist North Korea within range of her warplanes. Other Allied naval craft also are reported sailing to the crisis.

Meanwhile the Panmunjom conference on the 38th parallel will tackle this new Korean crisis in about two hours from now.

So, if possible, tomorrow will be a more dangerous day for world peace than today was.

This is Bill Downs in Washington for Information Reports.
________________

Bill Downs

ABC Washington

January 25, 1968

It's increasingly clear here in worried Washington that time is running out on the diplomats, and the government is turning more and more to what the military call "contingency plans."

"Contingency plans" is the Pentagon's euphemism for "what can you do by force which the State Department has been unable to do through words."

The ordering of the Navy task force to the Sea of Japan two days ago is part of a contingency plan, and for the past 36 hours the planes of the nuclear aircraft carrier Enterprise has had Communist North Korea within range of her planes.

The ordering of additional Air Force fighter-bombers to American bases in South Korea is part of a "contingency plan," although the transfer of these fighter-bombers may mean thinning out Air Force units now engaged in Vietnam.

And now there has been mention on Capitol Hill of the United States' ultimate "contingency" weapon: America's nuclear power. And it is a sad and frightening fact that, unless the Communist world relents, it may come to that.

This is Bill Downs from Washington.

December 28, 2016

1923. The New York Times on Hitler's Failed Beer Hall Putsch

"Hitler an Alien Agitator"
An NSDAP meeting in 1923 at the Munich Bürgerbräukeller, the site of the Beer Hall Putsch (Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann - source)
This article is part of a series of posts on how contemporary newspapers covered the spread of nationalism in Europe and the rises of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler prior to World War II.

From The New York Times, November 10, 1923:
HITLER AN ALIEN AGITATOR

A Sign Painter from Austria, He Built Up Bavarian Fascisti

The ease with which the Bavarian Government overcame the Fascista "putsch" goes to show that even the name of Ludendorff was not sufficient to make up for the defections of Adolph Hitler's boasted "black" battalions. They were ready, and many reports say they were as formidable as their propaganda pictured—on Sept. 27; but when, on that day, the new Dictator, von Kahr, forbade their meetings, and the promised rising of the National Socialists, as Hitler called his reactionary party, did not take place, they began to forsake the emblem of the swastika.

Adolph Hitler has had a varied, but only for the last year a particularly adventurous, career. He is not a Bavarian at all, nor even a German of Germany. He was born in a suburb of Vienna about 39 years ago and was a sign painter when the World War started, besides being a Lieutenant in the reserve. His Bavarian citizenship dates only from June 13, 1923, when he was beginning to be called "the most impressive man in Germany," having in the previous November organized the Bavarian Fascisti, with centuries, legions, etc., on the Italian model, from the National Socialists, a party he had begun to recruit from Bavarian veterans of the war as early as January, 1922, when he first came to Munich.

He served in the Austrian Army during the war, was demobilized with the rest of the troops and tried to resume his vocation of sign painting. It was soon discovered that he had a gift for demagogic oratory, was blest with limitless energy, which might prove dangerous in a country which asked nothing but to rehabilitate herself, and so he was sent as a propagandist—but under whose auspices it is not known—into the Principality of Liechtenstein, lying between Austrian Vorarlberg and the Swiss cantons of St. Gall and Graubünden, there to preach union with Austria.

When his remittances ceased to arrive from Vienna he went to Munich and there found a ready field for a political program which he presently conceived. There he played upon the Bavarians' jealousy of Prussia, which had whipped both Bavaria and Austria in the twelve-weeks war of 1866, and upon the general feeling that the Berlin Government, whatever it might call itself, was still under Communist influence, whether this influence was exercised by the profiteering industrialists or the mobs they were said to control. Also he found encouragement for his anti-Semitic sentiments, which he had cultivated both in Vienna and in Liechtenstein.

With the success of the Italian Fascista movement a year ago his organization became an established fact. It was confessedly destructive, however, whereas that in Italy was constructive. He opened headquarters in Munich, and money for his cause began to flow in. So much came—or was said to come—that his enemies began to look among the American millionaires for his backer. Although the name of Henry Ford was frequently mentioned, there is no proof that anything more was received from him than the inspiration Hitler and his friends could gain from the portrait of the American, which adorned the walls of the headquarters in Munich.

From November, 1922, until January, 1923, he made many speeches and supervised the drilling of hundreds of Bavarian youths. In January he added to his slogan, which until then had been "Down with Sovietism and Jewish domination!" the words: "Away with the French, the invaders!" In March he staged a grand mobilization of his Fascisti in the Bavarian mountains, in which, according to his propaganda circulars, 10,000 took part. There was talk then of marching on Berlin and of a triumphal march thence down the Ruhr.

The Berlin Government became alarmed in April and there were several conversations between it and the Bavarian Premier. Then the latter's Minister of Justice visited Berlin and informed the authorities of the Reich that they must not believe all that was printed in the Völkischer Beobachter, which was the paper Hitler had started in Munich, and in which he had stated on various occasions that he had trained a following of 100,000. He did have two centuries of well-uniformed, alert youngsters, who were always paraded when he was to make a speech, and last Summer his recruits may have reached the figure claimed by his paper, for he was a very popular man, and his program, in the circumstances, frequently produced the desired reaction. Just after the organization of his Fascisti he issued the proclamation:

"True socialism is the welfare of all the people, and not of one class at the expense of others. Therefore, we oppose class warfare. What is today called socialism is Marxism, and not socialism at all. Marxism kills personal initiative and tries to bring everybody to a dead level. Capitalism has its proper place in true socialism, but capitalism must be held within bounds . . . Any reports about my intention to restore monarchy and separate Bavaria from Germany are maliciously false . . . As for the monarchy, Germany has greater and graver problems than the question of the personal interests of some throne-hunter, whoever he may be."

Just after he had failed to act on Sept. 27 he had an interview published in the Corriere Italiano of Rome, in which he discourage the Italian fear that his Fascisti, when successful in Bavaria, might turn south and attempt to free the German population in the upper Adige Valley or Southern Tyrol. He also said:

"Germany at present is the scene of a struggle between two opposing forces—Nationalism and Judaeo-Marxism. If the latter conquers there will stretch from Vladivostok to the Rhine a single Semitic empire ruled from Moscow. The Reichsbank is in the hands of international Jewish finance, and any credits accorded to Germany go into the pockets of this gang."
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ITALY TAKES NEWS CALMLY

Government Not Inclined to Interfere in German Affairs

Rome, Nov. 9 — The Italian government is of the opinion that the Allies should not interfere in German movements unless they in some way violate the Treaty of Versailles. Thus Mussolini would probably resist any attempt to restore the Hohenzollern monarchy as he would any move to exploit nationalist movement sweeping over Germany further to evade payment of reparations. Until that time however the Italian foreign ministry believes that any attempt by Nationalists to seize power should be considered as purely internal German matter and therefore no concern of the Allies.

The whole of the Italian press counsels great caution in judging events in Bavaria, as their objects and their causes are not yet fully known. All newspapers, however, are unanimous in saying that the Bavarian revolt against the Berlin Government is the perfectly logical outcome of the situation in Germany. They hold that it is not remarkable that Germans should revolt against a form of government which they accepted with reluctance, now that it has proved incapable of averting the ruin of the Reich.

Other newspapers are of the opinion that present events in Germany are the direct outcome of the failure on the part of the Allies to accept President Wilson's famous fourteen points. As soon as Germany was rendered powerless the Allies, instead of keeping their word, proceeded with all possible haste to throw each one of Wilson's fourteen points overboard, they say. This, in their opinion, gives Germany just cause for dissatisfaction and lies at the root of much unrest which is disrupting the Reich at present. If President Wilson had been followed, Europe might be a different place to live in today, this argument concludes.

December 27, 2016

1948. Berlin, the "Island of Anti-Communist Opposition"

The "Divisive Election" in Greater Berlin
"East Berliners take part in a December 1948 demonstration 'for a united democratic Germany,' organized by the Soviet-influenced Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). The SED's tactics of bringing opposing political parties in line with their vision became more brutal with time" (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

December 6, 1948

More than 1,365,000 Germans in the Western sectors of Berlin today are on record as favoring the Western Power opposition to the policies of the Soviet Union. These people form the only on-the-record island of anti-Communist opposition inside the Russian orbit—one hundred miles inside the Russian zone of Germany, kept alive by the Anglo-American airlift.

With only about 150 out of 1,572 polling places to be heard from, officials show that 86.4 percent of the registered voters cast their ballots yesterday, an amazingly high figure considering that the Communist Party boycotted the elections and the Soviet military government refused to recognize them.

A study of the results reveals two paradoxical facts. The Communist campaign to keep voters away from the polls failed completely. And the left-wing Social Democratic Party won complete control of the Western city assembly. In other words, the Western Berliners moved to the left, but not to the radical.

Broken down, the Social Democrats got 64 percent of the vote. The Christian Democratic middle-of-the-road party got 20 percent, and the right-wing Liberal Democrats polled 16 percent.

Compared with the 1946 elections, the Social Democrats claim they gained votes from the Christian Democrats and from the Communists. According to German political experts, had the Communists voted yesterday, they would have polled only five to six percent of the vote, a loss of about half their strength from the elections of two years ago.

Berlin is returning to normal today, a little surprised and greatly relieved that the elections went off so quietly. The much rumored plans of a Communist-led putsch against the ballot boxes did not materialize. In fact, yesterday's Berlin elections were quieter than they would have been in any city of comparable size in America. 73 persons were arrested for trying to interfere with the elections, but by this morning all but three had been released.

The Western press this morning is jubilant. The headlines proclaim that "Communism has been defeated in Berlin."

But it's a different story in the Russian-licensed newspapers. They ignore the statistics of the election and call them "A shameless comedy . . . Terror and fear forced Western Berliners to go to the polls."

Now the city is completely and definitely split. The Berlin crisis goes into a new phase. What it will be, no one knows.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.

December 26, 2016

1943. The Bolshoi Theatre Reopens

Night at the Bolshoi
The Bolshoi Theatre in the 1930s (source)
The parentheses indicate portions that did not pass Soviet censors for military or propaganda reasons.

(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

September 25, 1943

It's difficult to tell tonight which is bigger—the news that is now happening or the news which seems about to happen.

We cannot underestimate the fall of Smolensk. Neither can we underestimate (the Red Army's march to) the Dnieper in the south.

But it would appear that even more startling successes are in store.

Moscow today is full of unconfirmed reports; (but) they're the kind of reports you like to hear. People already are talking about the possible fall of Kiev; about Russian soldiers crossing the Dnieper; about Red Army soldiers fighting on the soil of White Russia.

All of these reports are officially unconfirmed, but all of them do not seem premature.

There is other news in Moscow tonight, which to the ordinary Russian citizen is, in its way, just as stirring as the news from the front.

I have just left the Bolshoi Theatre, where a brilliant Russian opera and ballet company is giving a first night. I had to leave at the end of the second act to take this broadcast. The opera was Glinka's Ivan Susanin, formerly called "A Life for the Tsar."

This first sight was no ordinary occurrence in Russia. The Bolshoi Theatre is the "Independence Hall" of the Soviet Union. Set just off Red Square, it's one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe, fronted with tall white columns. On the square in front of the Bolshoi Theatre, many of the bloodiest encounters of the Revolution occurred between the Soviet troops and the revolutionaries.

Just before the war, the Bolshoi was closed for remodeling. Then, in the winter of 1941, a German bomb went through the roof of the theater.

However, now the famous old building has been completely restored. Stepping into the gilded, lush interior of the Bolshoi tonight was like stepping into another world. It was a first night worthy of New York or any other capital in the world.

Women who have been giving their last pair of silk stockings for months brought them out for the Bolshoi evening. There was heady perfume. Soft lights glistened on the gold epaulets of the generals. Their ladies wore good Russian silver fox furs.

The entire diplomatic community was there—representatives of the United States embassy; Australians; the British ambassador; heads of military missions—and the Japanese.

Throughout the performance, people constantly turned to look at the big box on the left hand side of the theater nearest the stage. This is the most distinguished seat in the theater.

There had been reports earlier that perhaps Mr. Stalin would come to the Bolshoi opening. However, Mr. Stalin had not shown up by the time I left the theater during the second act.

The Bolshoi Theatre stands for the best in Russian culture; (to the Russian people it stands) as a symbol of freedom, just as our Liberty Bell does.

December 24, 2016

1948. Berliners Celebrate Christmas as the Airlift Continues

Bill Downs and Larry LeSueur Reporting from Berlin
A group of children with gifts from the Berlin airlift, 1948 (Photo by Hank Walker for Life magazine - source)
Bill Downs was the CBS Berlin correspondent throughout the blockade in 1948 and 1949. During that time he received visits from CBS colleagues and fellow Murrow Boys who also made reports, including Edward R. Murrow and Larry LeSueur (then the UN correspondent), whose Berlin Christmas reports are also featured below.
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

December 19, 1948

Bisected Berlin has become so used to tension and crisis that every time there is a short period of quiet, rumors begin circulating as if to fill the vacuum.

The past few days we have been hearing whispers of a projected putsch by the Communist-led East Berlin government in which these unfounded reports say armed East sector police would march into the blockaded West sectors and take over. A number of dates have been mentioned. One rumor said the putsch would come on Christmas. Another said it would be made the first week in January when the newly elected West Berlin city assembly holds its first meeting.

So persistent were these rumors that one nervous Western sector newspaper published them as news, evoking a denial from British authorities who said there was nothing to the reports.

However, the spirit of Christmas gradually is overshadowing the spirit of crisis in this blockaded city. With the military units, clubs, and organizations staging scores of parties for German children all over the city, it is a common sight to see lines of starry-eyed kids on the street excitedly carrying toys and dolls, bundles of clothing, their mouths full of candy saved from the American rations for the occasion.

Despite the blockade, hundreds of smuggled Christmas trees have found their way into Western Berlin. There is a shortage of decorations, and sometimes when passing a church you can hear the shrill voices of children practicing carols—somehow they seem to blend nicely with the drone of the airlift planes providing a bass obbligato.

The Germans always have been sentimental over Christmas. Perhaps this season those on both sides of the invisible barrier will call a temporary, unofficial truce for the rest of the week and allow Berlin to have peace for a few days.

However, there has been no relaxation of the blockade. More East-sector police have been stationed at streets connecting the two parts of the city.

Down in Stuttgart, however, there is proof that the Christmas spirit is solidly established. American and German officials held special tree lighting ceremonies in front of the Stuttgart Opera House. For the first time since the end of the war, no policemen are being stationed at the tree to prevent the light bulbs from being stolen.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.
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Larry LeSueur

CBS Berlin

December 22, 1948

It's going to be a light Christmas here in the red-white-and-blue sector of Berlin. I said light, not white, because no snow has yet fallen to cloak the ruins of this shattered city.

At the first meeting last night of the Allied three-power Kommandatura—reconstituted without the Russians—the Americans, British, and French decided to give their sectors of Berlin a Christmas present. There'll be light all day on December 25th, instead of just for two hours in the cellars and patched-up ruins of this cheerless northern city, where even the sun shines for only a few hours a day.

Two hundred extra tons of coal will be burned for electricity on Christmas Day to illuminate the sparsely decorated Christmas trees and the Berliners' Christmas dinner of canned meat and dried potatoes. This gift of light to the loyal Berlin population represents hundreds of bags of coal flown in by the hardworking boys of the airlift. And also, every Berlin household in the Western sector will get a pint of kerosene for their lamps.

It's a funny thing about the Christmas tree situation here. There aren't enough trees in the Western sector for all the Berliners who want them. And naturally we couldn't allow space on the airlift for inedible trees. But no German family would be without one at this time.

Well aware of this, the Russians imported 350,000 Christmas trees into their sector, and lo and behold, those little trees are appearing for street corner sale in this Western sector now. The Germans are smuggling them in from the East by subway and trolley car. The Russians are so displeased that today they've announced spot checks of all subway passengers carrying food parcels or trees across the line.

Coming from Paris to Berlin as I just have is literally like going from one world to another. I never realized how far along the road to recovery France is, or what it really means for any country to be defeated and occupied.
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Larry LeSueur

CBS Berlin

December 24, 1948

Nature gave beleaguered Berlin a Christmas present today. The day dawned bright and clear, and the airlift boys are really laying it in. The heavy rumble of the aircraft fills the Berlin skies, and for the first time in weeks the shabby residents on both sides of this wrecked city can actually see the cloud-free airplanes streaming in with their heavy loads of food and fuel.

Nor is America forgetting its young citizens who make the great Berlin airlift possible—a feat which has raised American prestige sky-high all over Europe. Vice President-elect Alben Barkley is expected in Berlin tonight. Secretary of War Royall and Air Secretary Symington will also spend Christmas with the American airmen. Vice President-elect Barkley is bringing the airmen a special Christmas message from President Truman.

General Clay, after delivering a Christmas message of hope for Western Germany, has just flown up to the big air base at the other end of the line to Wiesbaden. He'll escort these dignitaries back to Berlin on the air corridor over Russian-occupied territory. And on Sunday night, over many of these CBS stations, General Clay will broadcast an exclusive interview on the past and the future of American policy in Germany.

The impersonal snow which covered the Western and Eastern sectors of Berlin alike yesterday has melted under the watery sunlight, and the gray-faced, undernourished Berliners are trudging through the ruins on their traditional Christmas Eve holiday. But the repercussions of Soviet anti-religious policy were heard here in Berlin today. Soviet authorities have announced that ten thousand German steelworkers in the Russian zone have "voluntarily" renounced the Christmas holidays to work on the two-year plan. Berliners are quipping that these workers are 98 per cent behind Marshall Sokolovsky—that is ninety per cent Marshall and eight percent behind Sokolovsky.
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Larry LeSueur

CBS Berlin

December 25, 1948

Santa Claus and his reindeer haven't got a thing on the young men of the Berlin airlift. In fact, I think the young men are working a bit harder today than old Saint Nick himself. He knocked off work last night, but all day long the lead-gray skies of Berlin have been filled with the rumble of airplane engines. You can't see the big four motored planes through the overcast, but they're streaming in, heavily-laden, into Tempelhof right now, on the most ticklish kind of blind landings.

The boys have the airlift have been grabbing their Christmas dinner on the run. This afternoon I watched them gnawing on drumsticks and gulping hot coffee while their planes were unloaded. and now that darkness has fallen over Berlin, they're still keeping them flying. Their Christmas decorations are the red, green, and yellow flares that mark the flying strips of Berlin.

I was so used to reading about that Berlin airlift in the headlines that it wasn't until I came here I realized that it's not done by push-buttons. It's just like the war, it's all very human. They're pretty young, these men of the airlift, and most of them are separated from their families in America—and they're thinking about them today, but there are no holidays for the airlift. Two million people in Western Berlin must be kept warm and fed every day, and Christmas is no exception.

It's touching, for as soon as you climb aboard an airlift plane, the pilot does what has become inevitable for Americans far from home. He reaches for his wallet and proudly shows you a picture of his wife and family, and you do the same. Sometimes the heaters don't work in the planes, and it's not warm at six thousand feet over Russian-occupied Germany. But their morale is excellent and their discipline is perfect. One and all they love to fly. The only thing that bores them is sitting on the ground waiting for the planes to be loaded and unloaded.

Yet they're only human after all, and they're glad that America has not forgotten them on this day; that big brass have come to share Christmas with them in beleaguered Berlin.

There are more top American fighters in Berlin this evening than on any day since the war ended. Vice President-elect Alben Barkley, Secretary of War Kenneth Royall, Secretary of Air Stuart Symington, and Ambassador to Moscow Bedell Smith—they had Christmas dinner with General Clay a few hours ago. And perhaps best of all, there's a corps of Rockettes and a group of top American radio entertainers.

They'll do a show in Berlin's old movie house, the Titania-Palast, while the airlift rumbles on like a railroad in the sky.

This is Larry LeSueur wishing you a Merry Christmas from Berlin.
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Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

December 27, 1948

The year-end holiday season is prompting some Berliners to take stock of this uneasy world, and this morning there is a typical comment in the British-licensed newspaper, The Telegraph, which pretty well reflects the worldwide confusion over the Berlin crisis.

The Telegraph says: "The outlook for 1949 is not very gay, but it is not hopeless. Never was the danger of war more imminent than it is now, but never was the outbreak of war less probable."

I pass along this comment to you because maybe you can find its meaning.

However, less confused is America's military governor here. General Lucius Clay last night was interviewed by my colleague, CBS UN reporter Larry LeSueur. What the general had to say is the top news in Germany today and worth summarizing.

General Clay believes that the worst is over for this winter's airlift; that there will be adequate food but that extremely cold weather will cause some suffering among blockaded Berliners. "However, I am convinced," Clay said, "that the people of Berlin have learned from experience under one totalitarian government to withstand almost any hardship rather than accept another totalitarian regime."

Clay revealed that the governments of America, France, and Britain are in substantial agreement on the duties of a Military Security Board to operate in Germany to prevent this nation from ever again becoming a military power. He opposed the creation of a German police force which might be converted into an army, and said that only time will tell whether our democratization program will succeed in killing the military spirit which has so dominated Germany in the past.

The European Recovery Program and the currency reform has had an amazing effect on German recovery, the military governor said, increasing production by fifty per cent. "But there still is a long road ahead to German self-sufficiency. German recovery still lags far behind general Western European recovery."

And about the future, General Clay had this to say to CBS:

"I think any expectation that a stable, peaceful world can result from a general peace settlement is oversimplification of the problem. While a general peace settlement has not been agreed in the broad sense of the word, we are at peace now; or, at least, we are not engaged in war." And he added, "We do not need to be plunged into war."

The American military governor said that the conditions of stability, both economic and political, which make for a long peace, are returning to Europe. "When the freedom-loving democratic countries of Western Europe are on their feet economically and able to protect their freedom, then we may expect a long peace."

About the future of Germany itself, Clay said that the future is bright for progress both politically and economically. Increasing ERP aid will stimulate production; the establishment of a Western German government will generate healthy political activity.

The statement is a significant summary of the success of American occupation policy. It also is another significant CBS News exclusive.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.
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Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

December 29, 1948

When Germany was defeated three and a half years ago, the victorious Allied powers agreed upon one thing: that never again would this nation be allowed to become strong enough to build a war machine that twice in a generation brought war to the world.

At this time there was talk of pastoralizing Germany, making her an agricultural nation; destroying all industry that might be converted to war production.

The Ruhr agreement announced yesterday shows how far this thinking has changed, with a recognizing of the important part the highly developed German heavy industry must play in the reconstruction of Western Europe.

The setting up of an international Ruhr authority changes the policy of the victors from a negative restriction to a police of positive production for peace. There will be an international policing of the Ruhr to assure that it doesn't again trend toward war production, but generally speaking the approach is one that will attempt to tie in Ruhr production with the European Recovery Plan, which eventually will relieve the American taxpayer of part of the burden now being carried under the Marshall Plan.

German reaction to the new Ruhr authority this morning is bitterly critical. Every political party, all of which appeal to the nationalism of the Germans, made statements condemning the international control of the Ruhr. Political leaders complain that the six-power agreement is "serious injury of German sovereignty," although there is at present no German government existent to claim any kind of sovereignty.

The Communists for the first time are joining the so-called Western German parties in condemning the Ruhr authority. They charge that the six-power agreement means a surrender to monopoly capitalism and American imperialism.

Probably the most important immediate effect the new Ruhr agreement will have on Western Europe will be to further emphasize the political and economic division between East and West.

The agreement makes it clear, if only by inference, that the vital coal and steel production from the Ruhr will only go to those nations "cooperating" in European recovery. This will exclude the Iron Curtain countries and further alienate the Soviet Union.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.
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Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

December 30, 1948

Christmas is over in Berlin. The holiday quiet that has marked the past week of relationships between the Eastern and Western parts of the city is drawing to an end, and the old East-West fireworks are popping again.

East Berlin police are attempting to tighten their control of goods traffic between the Soviet sector and the blockaded parts of the city, but they are having a tough time.

Sector guards are now armed and have been issued thirty rounds of ammunition. Elevated and subway guards now try to stop all passengers carrying bags and luggage. But the passengers are retaliating when they can. In one subway station yesterday, an inspector was dragged inside the train, beaten by the passengers and then kicked off at the next stop.

Stoppage of food into Western Berlin appears to be the main target of the new clampdown, although in one instance a woman was relieved of five briquettes of coal she was taking home in her handbag—proving that, as in America, one can find almost anything in a lady's pocketbook. Soviet soldiers have joined German police in some inspection points.

Wilhelm Pieck, General Secretary of the Berlin Communists and President of the so-called People's Council of East Berlin, gave a New Year's interview to the official Communist party newspaper in which he denied reports that the Communists would set up a separate East German government in 1949. He made the old charges that it was the Western Powers who split Germany and Berlin. He added that a new two-year plan for the Soviet zone would begin on January 1st.

Intelligence reports of a revival of the Polish underground—which fought so successfully against the Germans—have been received in Berlin today. These reports say that anticommunist Poles last Friday derailed the Berlin-Moscow express southeast of Warsaw. A number of people were killed—one report says eighteen—and others injured. A news blackout has stopped any direct news of the incident.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.

December 23, 2016

1966. The Senate Weighs in on the "Crisis in American Cities"

"Crisis in American Cities"
"Mayor-elect John Lindsay is flanked by TWU President Mike Quill (left) and mediation chairman Nathan Feinsinger at meeting," 1966 (source)
Bill Downs

ABC Washington

August 22, 1966

We dropped in at the Senate hearings on the "Crisis in American Cities" held on Capitol Hill today—and came away feeling like the Washington tourist caught going upstream on one of the Capital's busy one-way streets during rush hour.

"Where do you want to go?" a policeman asked.

"I don't know," said the tired traveler, "but I can't get there from here."

New York City's youthful mayor, John V. Lindsay, was today's star witness before the Senate's investigation into the "crisis in our cities." A couple of years ago while serving in Congress, Lindsay was regarded as one of the up-and-coming young hopefuls in the liberal wing of the Republican Party. He looked older today—New York politics can do that to any man—and it took Mayor Lindsay an hour and a half to read out an endless rota of problems besetting the world's largest urbanity—to give you an idea of what is not going on.

Lindsay's main point was that the migration of the population to the urban centers across the nation has so changed the character of American life that no metropolitan center in the country can handle its own problems alone; the burgeoning growth of U.S. cities is a federal problem which demands federal government aid in solving it.

Then Manhattan's mayor shook even such sophisticated urbanites as Connecticut Senator Ribicoff and New York Senator Robert Kennedy. Lindsay was asked how much federal money he would need to make O. Henry's "Baghdad on the Hudson" the kind of metropolis it should be. The mayor consulted his staff briefly and replied:

"I would say that New York City would need $50 billion over the next ten years to make it a fit and exciting place in which to live . . ." And Lindsay added, "That's the minimum figure . . ."

Fifty billion dollars is about half of the entire federal budget of last year, and about what the Defense Department spent for national defense, including the war in Vietnam.

But whether John Lindsay was exaggerating or not, he succeeded in underlining the problems which not only the mayor of New York City faces, but also the mayors of every major city in the country—more than two hundred of them.

The new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Robert Weaver, points out that seven out of every ten Americans already live in the nation's cities, and within a few years it will be eight out of ten. The people are coming together to form what sociologists call "strip cities," amalgamations of population centers whose border areas blend into each other. Weaver says there are thirteen such "strip cities," easily identifiable across the country, which contain half the population of the United States.

It is in the growing, seething, changing and demanding people living in these metropolitan areas where the American genius for self-government; where our democracy and justice is getting, and will continue to get, its greatest task. Secretary Weaver calls it the "urban frontier."

Many Americans see the racial explosions in New York's Harlem, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Omaha, and Los Angeles in the past few years as merely an extension of Southern white prejudice to the North and other parts of the country. Most white Northerners disclaim responsibility for such ethnic backwardness regarding the colored people searching for social and economic justice—and that they prove it by moving their families to safely expensive suburbs.

It could thus be said that the racial crises now disturbing America's new "urban frontier" are also the result of missed opportunity, or ignorance and unconcern of the cities. Municipal government too often has been left to the politicians or to stagnate. The lack of foresight and confusion which has resulted in the "crisis of our cities," however, cannot solely be blamed on the lack of grassroots interest in municipal government.

The other day Senator Ribicoff sought to determine how much federal money for urban renewal, transit aid, public housing, and other projects is going to American cities now this year. Attorney General Katzenbach told the Committee that $13 billion was the total. Secretary Weaver said $28 billion was going to the cities. And in a speech at Syracuse, New York, last Friday, President Johnson put the figure at "almost $30 billion."

As the Washington tourist said: "You can't get there from here," and if the problems of Urban America are not defined and tackled as soon as possible, we won't get there at all.

This is Bill Downs, substituting for Edward P. Morgan, saying good night from Washington.

December 22, 2016

1943. The Fighting Rages from Belarus to the Kuban

The Soviet Central Front Expands
Soviet soldiers fighting on the Bryansk Front in 1943 (source)
The parentheses indicate portions that did not pass Soviet censors for military or propaganda reasons.

(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

May 5, 1943

The first five days of this month are beginning to look like the start of big things in the third summer's battle season on the Russian front. Over here we get the impression that the curtain is just beginning to rise on one of the most crucial periods of world history. And today we have those offstage noises on the Soviet front which mark the beginning of this spring's big show in Russia.

Russian long range bombers have begun the overture to the impending battles on the central sector of the front. Large numbers of these heavy bombers made mass attacks on four major railroad junctions supplying the German troops on this Central Front. Three of these railroad targets were in Belorussia at the important cities of Minsk, Orsha, and Gomel. The fourth target was Bryansk. These cities were raided three nights in a row—last Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

The Russian bombs smashed railroad yards which were jammed with troops, munitions, tanks, trucks, and gasoline tank cars. This nonstop bombing of the German rear was not done just for fun. It was an attempt to stop those big Nazi reinforcements which have been reported pouring to the Russian front all this spring.

However, we can only guess as to just what is going on in the Central Front. It's different in the Kuban. A front dispatch in the newspaper Red Star this morning says for the first time that the Red Army has taken the initiative in the fighting to kick the last of the Axis out of the Northern Caucasus. It was revealed last night that the most fierce battles now are going on northeast of the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. This morning's communiqué says this fighting is still in progress. Last night Russian artillery—which ranks the best in the world—opened up the German lines. After pounding the Nazi positions located in the forests and atop hills and along the streams and ravines, Red Army infantry attacked, and presumably still is attacking.

(Last night the artillery alone accounted for four German tanks, twenty-one guns, five mortar batteries, and a company of enemy infantry wiped out.)

(Russian bombers continued night and day attacks on the German airfields in the Kuban and the Crimea.) Meanwhile, the German Luftwaffe has suffered one of its biggest defeats of the war in the air fighting over the Kuban. During the past three days 109 German planes were shot out of the air on this sector. The Soviet losses were thirty-two planes.

This was a hands-down air engagement for superiority over the Kuban front. It was, and is, a question of the best men in the best planes winning this important battle. The Russian air force was the victor, and now the Soviet planes have, like the land troops, taken the initiative.
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Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

May 10, 1943

The Russian bomber command has created a full-scale aerial front in the east which, during the past ten days, has cost Hitler's Luftwaffe over one thousand planes.

On Saturday, Russian bombers and Sturmovik planes (including many supplied under Lend-Lease by the United States) attacked a series of railroad targets in the transport spiderweb of occupied Western Russia. The attack cost the Germans seventy-five planes. As in the preceding eight days of attacks, railroad junctions, railroad yards, station warehouses, freight and passenger trains were smashed.

These Russian bomber attacks are important for two reasons. First, because it displays a new strength in this arm of the Soviet air force. In the preceding twenty-two months of war, the Russians have never been able to make such widespread, sustained attacks by heavy aircraft. It shows for the first time a new power in the Soviet aircraft industry (as well as concrete proof of American aircraft deliveries.)

The second reason that these bombing attacks are of importance is the undeniable effect such attacks must have on German plans for summer operations on the Russian front. For the past two weeks, the Russian press has been warning that the Nazi command is preparing for major activity on this front. And then the Soviet aircraft began their attacks on the supply lines of Central Russia.

Right now the German Luftwaffe is fighting a three-front aerial war. The enemy losses have been terrific in Africa and Western Europe. Down in the Kuban and other sectors of the Russian front, the Germans lost 930 planes last week. It's a strain which may well speck the Axis aircraft industry.

Russian artillery is smashing away at the semi-permanent German defense line northeast of Novorossiysk this morning. It's a process of pulverizing one pillbox after another and then sending infantry in to occupy the gap thus created. That's the way the Red Army is advancing in the Kuban today.

The Soviet forces have maintained superiority in two important fighting branches which are likely to settle the Kuban issue. The Germans have failed to capture command of the air over the battlefield. And Soviet artillery has been overwhelming in its striking power.

The Germans are trying to rush reinforcements into the Kuban to save their position there. They are using air as well as sea transport to bring in fresh men and artillery forces. The Soviet command also is throwing in new forces.

The battle now hinges on which side gets there first with the most.

However, today's Pravda throws an interesting light on this race for reinforcement. The newspaper says that the Germans already are suffering such heavy losses that they are cutting into their summer reserves.
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Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

May 11, 1943

The trigger is all cocked for the big summer offensive in the Soviet Union. The roads and plains of the western third of European Russia, which will form the battlefields of the next four month, already have dried enough to support a heavy tank.

Actually, the Soviet Air Force already has taken the initiative in the summer's air war with its hard-hitting bombings of the German communications system in occupied Russia. (This offensive already is in its eleventh day and still going strong. It's the biggest series of bombing operations ever attempted by the Red Air Force, and all reports here proclaim success. In any event) this bombing offensive is indicative of the size of the aerial punches which are going to be exchanged this summer.

The fighting that is now going on in the Kuban is the best barometer of the type of land fighting which can break out on any part of the thousand-mile Russian front at any moment. Both the Russians and the Germans during the past few weeks of fighting at the Kuban bridgehead have discovered that, no matter which side takes the offensive, the defense is going to be a little bit tougher, the resistance nailed to the last man, and the skill of the opposing armies far greater than at any time during the war.

Thus we can expect the summer's fighting in Russia to be more bitter and bloody than any that has occurred in this country thus far in the war, which means simply it will be a new high for bloodshed in the history of all wars.

The reason for this is simple. Both sides now have amassed battle experience and tasted victory. (The Germans have learned as much from the Russians as the Russians have from the Germans.)

And Germany is fighting on this front with the desperation of a nation who knows the loss of this war on her eastern front means the absolute end to everything that millions of Germans have died for since September 1939.

On the other hand, Russia too has had a taste of just what a complete German victory would mean. The people who come from occupied Russia are enough to convince her that her cause is just.

And that's the way things stand now, as both armies fret in their trenches awaiting the word to attack.
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Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

May 30, 1943

We still have no details of the fighting in the Kuban. It is likely that the Red Army again is on the march northeast of Novorossiysk where the drive two weeks ago stalled when it reached the second line of German fortifications protecting that vital Black Sea port.

The Germans are trying "artillery bombing" in this mountainous Kuban sector. A Red Army officer who recently returned from the front told me the other day that the German air command will pick out one target that Russian forces are holding and put as many as 1,200 sorties over the position in one day. For example, the Soviet troops are dug into an important height there. German antiaircraft literally try to cover this height with bomb carriers.

However, the officer pointed out that bomb craters make pretty good cover for troops undergoing concentrated aerial attack. So, in addition to giving the Red Army a pretty bad time, the Germans also give some compensation by providing a certain amount of cover and protection in the blasted earth.

At any rate, the officer said the Soviet troops still hold that height.

(The Russian air force again has taken up its aerial offensive against German transport and communications behind the German lines on the central sector of the Russian front. This offensive slackened last week, probably because of the weather. However, on Thursday and Friday night heavy Russian bombers again went out, first striking at a series of railroad junctions and supply points in the Orel-Bryansk region. Then on Friday night the Russian planes made a mass attack on the big railroad junction of Vitebsk, between Smolensk and Velikiye-Luki. Fires and heavy explosions were observed among munition dumps and fuel stores.)

(Not a single Russian plane was lost during these two operations.)

I took a trip to the outskirts of Moscow yesterday and was amazed to see the number of victory gardens which literally ring the city. I saw no less than ten thousand gardens, most of them averaging about twenty square feet. The people of Moscow have answered the call to "Dig for Victory" with the same intensity and enthusiasm that thousands of men, women, and children marched to the suburbs to dig tank traps and trenches for the city's defense during the German drive last year.

Incidentally, the civilian-built defenses still are in good shape. Wherever the spring thaw and rains have disintegrated trenches and blindages and tank traps, Red Army engineers have fixed them up. Before this war is over, I think people are going to talk about "Russian thoroughness" instead of praising this quality in the Germans.

However, the Soviet Trade Union Council this morning put a brake on the Russian civilian's enthusiasm for digging his garden. The council published a statement this morning reminding factory workers that they must not leave their work to turn over a few more spadefuls of earth or put in an extra row of carrots.

It's purely a spare-time job, these gardens, and from the number of them I saw yesterday, the crop should be a good one—and one important to the nation's food economy.

December 21, 2016

1943. Soviets Capture Enough Equipment to "Fight Four Verduns"

Massive Amount of German Armament Captured by the Red Army
Red Army soldiers firing a captured German 8.8 cm Pak 43 antitank gun (source)
(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

May 28, 1943

Foreign correspondents over here are beginning to get that strained look that you find on the faces of expectant fathers standing outside the maternity ward of any hospital. We're getting that way from waiting for the summer offensive. The feeling is like standing at the foot of a big dam—knowing the dam is going to break at any moment.

I picked up some interesting figures the other day about the German armament that the Red Army has captured. An immense amount of booty has fallen into Russian hands—booty which the Soviet command is quick to use. In this summer's fighting, the Germans are going to get a lot of bombs and shells in their necks which were made in Nazi war factories.

For example, at the first of this year in the Don bend, the Red Army captured a half million perfectly good aerial bombs. A Red Army colonel figured out that these bombs, averaging two hundred pounds each, are enough to completely smash Berlin exactly 112 times.

The Russians also captured something like 17 million artillery shells during the winter offensive. This same colonel figured that these shells are enough to drop a ton of metal on every yard of a front 250 miles long.

Compared with the last war, this is a stupendous figure. When the French were defending Verdun in 1916, they used some four million shells in the fourteen-day offensive. The Verdun fortress hurled six tons of metal on every yard of the front during the battle. With the shells that the Red Army captured this winter, it is calculated that the Russian troops could fight four Verduns.

Last winter the Russians also captured 123,000 Axis trucks. This is 6,000 more than the entire motor car production of Italy in 1938. On top of that, there are now 9,190 German tanks in Russian hands. This is enough to equip 44 Russian tank divisions.

It's something to think about when you consider the strengths of the Red Army as it prepares for its greatest test this summer, because this captured equipment is going to see plenty of action.

December 20, 2016

World War III: "Women of Russia" by Marguerite Higgins

Women of Russia
War correspondent Marguerite Higgins visiting Tokyo on July 19, 1950 while covering the Korean War for the New York Herald Tribune (AP Photo by Yuichi Ishizaki - source)
In 1951, Collier's magazine published a special issue speculating about a hypothetical World War III and what it might look like. The war begins in 1952 and ends in 1955 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, followed by a UN occupation of Russia. A number of notable figures contributed fictional reports about the war and its history, including Edward R. Murrow, Hal Boyle, Walter Reuther, and Arthur Koestler.

This piece by Marguerite Higgins, the seminal war correspondent who covered World War II, the Berlin Blockade, and the Korean War (for which she received the Pulitzer Prize for Foreign Correspondence), describes a visit to a postwar Moscow in 1960.

From Collier's magazine, October 27, 1951, pp. 35, 80-86:

Women of Russia

By Marguerite Higgins
Moscow, 1960

We bumped through the crowded, bustling streets of Moscow, past the fine new buildings sprouting everywhere out of the jagged ruins, past the jungle of debris that was once the Kremlin and then the city was behind us. Suddenly Marina Kupryanova's tough peasant fingers gripped my arm. I had found this frail old woman 50 miles from Moscow vainly searching hospitals and registration centers for her youngest and last son. Now I was driving her home.

She motioned to stop the jeep. Turning, she took a long look at the strange sky line that will one day be a new dignified Moscow again, and said: "Moscow was the beginning and the end and now it is the beginning again."

My Russian is still poor and halting. I could just barely understand Marina, but I certainly shared her sense of unreality. I had seen Moscow at the close of the war in 1955 and my last impression had been one of decay and unredeemable chaos. Now it is hard to believe that so much has been accomplished in five short years of peace. Truly it is the beginning again not only for Moscow but for the whole of Russia.

My meeting with Marina Kupryanova was lucky both from a journalistic and a human point of view. She is one of those rare persons who can answer questions in a colorful and compact manner. Such a gift is a godsend to a journalist like myself who is fighting a daily newspaper deadline, but she has proved to be much more than a speedy source of information. This tough, amazingly resilient old woman is symbolic, to me at least, of the Russian ordeal of the last 43 years.

Marina was born a peasant, saw her husband, a revolutionary, killed by the White armies. She worked in the fields as a laborer, raised a family of five sons, and survived World Wars II and III. Two of her sons died in World War II. Another was killed, along with his wife, by a direct hit on a factory in the Moscow area—in 1953. The black sheep of the family—an MVD (secret police) man—was literally torn to pieces by his own people during the uprising in Moscow a few months before the end of the war. The fifth and youngest son is still missing.

Today, Marina, like millions of other Russian women—young and old—is alone, for this is a nation terribly shorn of men. She lives now with a hundred other refugees in one of the immense rooms of the huge palace which long ago belonged to the Sheremyetyev counts in the village of Kuskovo, about six miles from Moscow. Bunks of crude splintery wood are stacked four-high around the big rectangle; smoke from a dilapidated stove clouds the room; its acrid aroma cannot smother the smell of so many unwashed human beings living in such proximity, but it is home to Marina, for she was born there, the daughter of a coachman, 73 years ago.

After the 1917 Revolution, the Soviets carefully preserved the palace and its priceless contents of tapestries, carpets, chandeliers and objets d'art, along with the lakes, parks and magnificent statuary throughout the grounds, to show the Russian people how exorbitantly the nobles of the czarist regime lived. Red placards told how this fantastic private habitat was supported by the labor of 200,000 serfs. And everywhere in Kuskovo, the visitors were greeted during Stalin's regime with the slogan: "It is the Soviets who have saved you from serfdom." Marina has an answer to that in the form of a proverb I have heard many times throughout liberated Russia: "The czars held us with chains of gold; the Soviets with chains of steel."

As we drove on toward the suburb of Kuskovo, Marina's home, my mind went back to those terrible days of 1955 when the city, without leadership of any kind other than mob rule, lay choked with rubble and death, pervaded everywhere by the stench of disease. It had not been the sudden death of atomic blitzing which had caused the worst casualties here in Moscow. It had been the ancient scourge of typhus, sweeping through the panic-stricken city in the last months of the war like the black plague of ancient times, which had taken the greatest toll.

When the war ended in 1955, I had been one of the correspondents who accompanied the elite units of United Nations troops flown in to secure the city for the arrival of UNITOC (United Nations Temporary Occupation Command).

•      •      •

To me, as we drove through the rubble of the city in convoy that crisp February morning, five years ago, there had come again the realization of the deadly sameness of war. Though we had fought this war as humanely as possible, I was filled with a bitter sense of sadness and futility; for I had seen all this before. In World War II, in Korea, and now here, on a scale much greater than anything I had seen before.

The children thronging the streets could have come straight out of scenes etched in my memory from Korea. Hundreds of them, their legs like drumsticks supporting little bellies, puffed grotesquely by hunger, swarmed around our jeeps begging, grabbing (if they had the strength) for rations and then scurrying away to devour their loot. It was usually an empty conquest, for their sick stomachs were unable to take the rich, high-caloric content of the canned goods.

In some cases, these waifs had been lost or abandoned by their parents; but the majority had been in the care of state nurseries. Most of the personnel of these nurseries fled Moscow early in the war when the Politburo and, indeed, most of the Communist hierarchy, high and low, moved the seat of government to the Urals.

That first night in Moscow, we correspondents had found—and adopted as a temporary mascot—a ragged five-year-old whom we discovered wailing in solitary sorrow on the snowy corner of a ruined street. The refugees stumbling by him in the dark were laden down with enormous bundles and were often themselves dragging a child on either hand. They were too inured to tragedy, too satiated with their own sorrows to bother with the little boy.

The scenes of death had the same awful quality of repetition. We received the full impact; until the troops arrived, there was no one with the energy, or the means, to bury the dead. The worst sight confronted us in the ruins of Severny station. There, the typhus-racked corpses of men and women had been piled up in cattle cars and left along the tracks. The bodies were frozen solid, some in attitudes of agony, some only sullen and resigned.

Most of these unfortunate creatures, we discovered, were the remnants of Moscow's political prisoners. In a last vindictive act, the Red leaders deprived these "enemies of the state" of their chances of liberation.

Despite the typhus raging in the prisons, the MVD chief, the notorious Lavrenty Beria, had given orders, prior to his own flight, for the immediate shipment of all Moscow political prisoners to Siberia. These unfortunates were never transported farther than the railway stations. It had been a completely unrealistic order; the transport system was already shattered by the daily attacks of our tactical air force upon all the main communications centers. The real irony was the fact that, had these prisoners actually reached Siberia, they might have survived in the uprisings which took place there. As it was, however, these miserable prisoners, sick and starving, had been herded into the stations, where for days they were kept locked up in the cars or in the station building, like so many beasts.

This disgusting parallel with the Nazi era was still evident several days after our arrival. At that time, bulldozers appeared—slightly more modern than those we had been forced to use at Dachau—to shovel the bodies collected from all over the city into mass graves dynamited out of the still frozen earth. Because of the overwhelming numbers, it was the only thing to do.

The pattern of previous wars applied to refugees also. Those who remember the humanity-clogged roads of World War II will have some idea of what we witnessed in 1955 in Russia. The Red dictatorship had practiced the mass deportations of peoples to a degree never before found in history; and, as a sequel, the liberation of Russia produced one of the most fantastic mass migrations of all times.

From political prisons everywhere in the Red world came Poles, Lithuanians, Finns, Germans, Czechs, Japanese, Chinese and Russians, all searching amidst the destruction for some remnants of home and family; all desperately seeking some close human contact to help them back into the almost forgotten reality beyond the barbed wires. This great search, which reached its peak in 1957, and is even now going on, was already engulfing Moscow when we reached it in those early postwar days.

Marina, in the process of bringing me up to date with the past, told me of the blood bath which Moscow experienced during the closing days of the Red regime. Just as in the 1917 Revolution, the innocent as well as the guilty died at the hands of the mob. At the state nurseries, for example, some of the personnel had remained; and even though they were not party members, they were summarily tried and shot.

•      •      •

The chaos which had reigned in Moscow was shrugged off by Marina with typical Russian stoicism.

"It is almost the same thing as in 1941, when the Nazis were approaching Moscow," Marina said. "At that time, too, the Politburo slipped out of Moscow. Only the people were left behind. Nobody bothered to evacuate us. In fact, nobody bothered to tell us officially that the government had gone. The big difference in this war was the typhus. We had small outbreaks in World War II, but nothing like this."

With the complete breakdown of all transport, citizens had tried to escape the diseased city by foot, by cart, and even by dog sled—in the very few cases where the dogs had not been eaten. In a few instances, citizens banded together to try to get the trains rolling. One group had actually managed to drive a train 12 miles westward to the first big break in the tracks.

"The panic began to ebb," Marina said, "when the United Nations began parachuting supplies. But the chaos—no water, no light—within the city continued, since all the key officials had deserted long before. The looting and the mobs were just about what you would expect."

The parachutings to which Marina referred began soon after the United Nations learned of the uprisings in the city. Huge flying boxcars flew over the snow-covered ruins of the city, dropping medicine, food and disinfectants in crates attached to brightly colored red, yellow and green silk parachutes. The tins of DDT carried instructions for the prevention of the historic scourge of the Russian people—lice. (The price of these tins skyrocketed on the black market and soon were as valuable as canned milk, cigarettes and chocolate bars.)

In Moscow, as in all Russia, the population indulged in an orgy of revenge, once it was clear that a Red comeback was impossible. According to Marina, the prime targets among women had been the wives of MVD officials and the women officials of the prisons. I personally had counted several-score naked female bodies hanging in the bombed desolation of Red Square.

The anger against the MVD women sprang not only out of hatred for the repression their positions represented, but also out of sheer envy. For the MVD families were at the top of the rigid caste system that developed in the latter days of the Soviet empire. I had already learned something about this during the early days of the Soviet occupation of East Germany and Berlin.

I remember vividly, for example, the day in 1946 that the wife of an MVD colonel came with her husband into the salon of Gehringer & Glupp, leading fashion designers of Germany, and ordered in one swoop two Persian-lamb coats, one gray and one black, one long mink with turned-back sleeves, and a fox jacket. I got myself in bad with the fashion salon by reporting this incident in a feature article. The result was that orders went out to Soviet families: they were not to venture into the Western sectors except on official business. This, of course, cut off the fashion houses from some of their best customers at a time when customers were scarce.

I remember visiting, in 1955, the apartment which had belonged to Moscow's top secret police officer. What remained of the furnishings indicated a lushness so overdone as to be ludicrous. There were quarters for servants, a luxury reserved for the Soviet hierarchy only. In the kitchen, which had otherwise been thoroughly looted, there remained in lonely splendor one of those American-made combinations of blender-mixer. It was a machine which could do almost everything except talk, if you just mastered the very simple mechanism. It had been left behind by the mob for the very good reason that, unschooled in such luxuries, they had no idea what the apparatus was for.

The second rank in the hierarchy of privileged women in Red Russia belonged to the artists. These included ballerinas, concert pianists, opera singers, actresses, painters and authors. Ballet dancers such as Ulanova and Semyonova drew as much as $800 a month—over and above their day-to-day expenses. These artists lived rent-free by courtesy of the Communist regime, and even their jewels and furs were gifts of the state. Although they were the envy of the masses, the women artists were not, as a class, harmed when the upheaval came. The Russian people retained their respect for the kulturni side of life and people of talent, even in times of crisis. But the artists did not escape robbery and looting.

The third general group was the professionals: the women doctors and lawyers, the lady scientists and engineers. These women, overworked though they were, could from time to time indulge in such luxuries as silk stockings, cosmetics and even perfume. If they were lucky, they might even be able to afford their own apartments. It would, to be sure, probably consist of only one room; but at least they could enjoy human privacy, a very rare privilege in Red Russia. Under the Reds, 60 per cent of the doctors in Russia were women. After the UN occupation began, Russian women continued to take great pride in having a profession. Indeed, because of the acute shortage of men, the number of professional women will undoubtedly continue growing for some time to come.

The lowest category in the female caste system had comprised the majority. These were the factory workers and the wives of factory workers. Families in this class lived, as a rule, eight and more to a room. Kitchens and bathrooms were shared by at least two and, more often, by five or six families. In ages, the families stretched from grandma to young babies. The lack of privacy was provocative of quarreling and bickering even for the most temperate of personalities, and Slavs, of course, are renowned for their temperament. Labor-saving devices, such as vacuum cleaners and refrigerators, were simply unheard-of among the masses.

Women at all levels of society generally held down some kind of job. Madame Molotov, the wife of the Soviet Foreign Minister, for example, was once head of the big Soviet cosmetic trust. Some women at the top of the caste system confined their activities to Communist party work or to running a household. But they were rare.

•      •      •

Women in Russia functioned as streetcar conductors, police, automobile mechanics, even as ditchdiggers. Marina told me that once, during the great famine that accompanied enforced collectivization in the early thirties (10,000,000 Russians died), she had had to substitute for a horse and draw a plow. All the horses in her area had been butchered by the hungry populace. And the Communists drafted the able-bodied—men, women and children—to serve as horsepower!

Because of long hours in the factories, women industrial workers had been forced to relegate care of their children to state nurseries. Marina claimed that it was a matter of course in a factory for the mother of a new baby to breastfeed her child while remaining at her machine. The child was "loaned" to her at specific times during the day. Thus the factory nursery system enabled the hard-driving Red regime to refuse all excuses a mother might put forward for interruption of work.

Actually, the much vaunted "equality" of Russian women amounted mainly to equal opportunity for backbreaking jobs. Russian women never held top policy-making spots in the Communist government; yet Lenin had promised that the Bolshevik Revolution would permit even a cook to run the country! The feminine sex was conspicuously absent from the Politburo.

Today the Russian females' willingness to do rough work is proving a boon to the country. The rebuilding of Moscow is being done chiefly by women. One sees them by the thousands, bandannas round their heads and rags round their feet, patiently scraping the bricks by hand, placing them in orderly piles, and sweeping away the rubble. German women were doing the same thing in Berlin in 1945.

Nobody knows at this time just how greatly the women outnumber the men in liberated Russia. United Nations experts estimate that the total Russian population fell during the third World War from 212,000,000 to 180,000,000 persons. At war's end, the experts estimated that at least 60 per cent of the adult population were women. Indeed, while this is a small point, the most popular song among the women here today is a lament for their lost menfolk, called Propavshiye, which literally translated means, "The Lost Ones." Since the occupation began, the population has increased at least 10,000,000 and, as the younger generation comes of age, the excess of women is being cut down.

•      •      •

There have been so many drastic upheavals in the family life of Russia since the 1917 Revolution that the current postwar emotional binge causes little surprise to someone like Marina. She has seen so much that she is beyond astonishment. We talked a lot about the teenagers, who, after a generation of intensive antichurch propaganda, present one of the greatest problems in Russia today.

"The attitude of the young in some areas of Russia today reminds me of the years right after the Bolshevik Revolution," Marina said. "In those days my children mocked me because I balked at the current ideas of free love. It was a time when marriage was a signature on a piece of paper and divorce could be obtained by a post card sent from one mate to the other. Abortions were officially sanctioned by the state. Even in our village they were performed by the hundreds."

According to Marina, the Soviet State in the thirties suddenly and ruthlessly reversed its attitude toward marriage and the family. The new moral code was enforced with a stringency indicative of the urgency with which the Red dictator, like the Nazi and Fascist dictators, desired an increase in the population.

By 1936, abortions became a crime punished by as many as 10 years' slave labor in such infamous camps as Karaganda in Siberia. So it turned out that many women strong enough to survive the disease and cold of the camps passed years in slavery for an act that was once official policy.

In their zeal to foster the family unit, the Reds finally made divorce virtually impossible. Still the "scientific" state made plain its purely biological—as opposed to moral—considerations. Illegitimate children were given the same treatment as others. And no stigma was attached to an unwed mother. The state wanted babies and it was pleased to get them either in or out of wedlock. But once the formalities of marriage were entered into, they could not be ruptured, lest this slow the process of procreation and inject human complexities into the controlled pattern of society which the police state had established.

This summer of 1960 has seen notable improvements. For one thing the great black markets in stockings, sugar, butter and coffee are virtually gone. Oddly enough, there is a thriving black market in one commodity: high-heeled shoes.

Russian women, whose longing for perfumes and silks has been accentuated by the drab years under Stalin, are still by no means free from austerity. Just the same, in Moscow today it is possible to find some Russian women looking just as chic as those of New York. The fashion shows which were arranged here by New York's Hattie Carnegie, France's Christian Dior and Britain's Norman Hartnell have, of course, influenced Moscow fashion. Queues of women, many miles long, waited to see the showings which were held in the Dynamo Stadium, the huge arena built in 1927, on the outskirts of the city. They were as popular as a World Series back in America. It was the first time that the average Russian woman had seen a real fashion show, and about 50,000 women attended.

As a result of these showings, the industrious Russian women set to and made (if they could not buy the reasonably priced, practical clothes which were the only types shown) dresses, suits and overcoats based on the designs they had seen. Castoff army uniforms and burlap coats suddenly appeared with a definite modern line; some even used flour bags to make quite presentable two-piece summer suits. Their owners, the women who worked at the airfield unloading the flying freight cars during the days of Operation Flour, have proved most inventive and their "Pillsbury Suits" (as they are called) are the rage.

Russian designers took the cue after the first showings and six months later put on the first all-Russian fashion exhibition (I call it the first because the average Russian woman had never been given the opportunity under the Soviets). The designs shown were not sensational, but certainly better than anything Russian women had ever been offered under the Communist regime. The stadium was used again and just as many women turned up. There was one comical aspect: instead of the light music which generally accompanies fashion shows, the Russians employed a brass band, which opened the proceedings with a roll-out-the-barrel-type popular song which has been sweeping Russia. It's called Stalin-Durak, meaning "Stalin the Fool."

Hosiery is plentiful now, but silks and satins are still rationed; foundation garments, due to an acute shortage of elastic, are also in very short supply. Such items as soap and cosmetics, which were almost impossible to obtain in the early days, are just now beginning to come on the market and at reasonable prices. One brand of lipstick, the first to be made in Russia on a mass scale since the end of the war, is selling so well that the factory where it's produced is now working a 24-hour shift. The name of this cosmetic best seller is Lyubit Vsegda (To Love Forever); this is certainly an improvement over the efforts of Soviet publicists of 15 years ago, who once named a state-produced perfume "Tractor 815."

The nonfraternization rules of World War II were never imposed here, and in the last five years hundreds of marriages have taken place between UN troops and Russian girls. Americans from Texas and the Western states particularly were enamored by the volatile Slav women; especially the high-cheekboned, blonde descendants of the Varangian (Norse) invasion of Russia. The Russian women (the troops call them "Jennies," a derivation of the Russian word Zhenshchina, meaning woman; the Russians called all UN troops "Ikies") were, for their part, at first amazed, then delighted by the deference shown to them by American males. They have never been on such privileged perches before and they are sometimes baffled by the details of their new station in society.

One day, after describing the strange but pleasant attitude of American men toward their women, Marina observed with complete lack of originality: "You American women must live like queens." It was, of course, an observation I had heard all over liberated Russia, just as I had heard it in Germany after the second World War.

•      •      •

It is truly heartening to see the Herculean efforts made by the United Nations to assist this beaten nation. Some of the suffering, it is true, has been beyond our power to alleviate. But we have always tried. I was proud to show Marina the work of the sanitation squads, the food distribution centers, the hospitals and mobile medical units. More often than not, the operating rooms were in tents; but, nonetheless, the medicines and medical instruments were there and the people were being helped.

We are, in sum, doing our best to carry out wartime promises that we are here as liberators and not as imperialist conquerors. It seemed that we learned something from our experience in Germany. And as the palace—Marina's home—came into view I could not help but think that the reason why there is little resentment toward us and why the occupation has been a success so far is simply this: we are letting the Russian people find their own paths into the future. In short, we have not tried to punish them into being democratic. — THE END