Carroll Daily Times Herald

Carroll, IA

19 Jun 1945




Visiting Congressmen and 'Experts' Irk Soldiers Who Whipped Germany

By Frank Miles
(Daily Times Herald War Correspondent)

Paris, France (IDPA) -- They say little but army officers and men, who helped win the war in Europe are irked by most of the congressmen, other government officials, representatives of civilian organizations and Pentagon experts, who have come here since May 8 - date of official announcement of German surrender.

Professional soldiers fear politicians. Most of them are wide enough to know it doesn't pay to antagonize one highly placed in Washington or in a position to arise as senator or gentleman from a state and sound off vociferously if not intelligently. A natural disposition of men in uniform is to be courteous to Americans, who arrive from home, prevents unpleasant incidents.

Most army officers, who come from war department desks to the new quiet fronts have high rank. They are heard in silence because of their insignia rather than their knowledge.

Most of the congressional visitors have had not military experience. Since they are what they are, they profess to know everything about all things.

A senator in a hotel lobby, where there were many officers, chewed gum like a flippant kid. He loudly declared that after five days in Germany he had the picture. Like most of his colleagues he had an axe to grind, motivated by what he thought the voters of his state or district might think in the next election.

The "wisdom" of some appointments to government jobs is positively staggering. A brigadier general, who arrived here, didn't know what K rations were. A colonel upon seeing barrage balloons asked if the men in them were kept up all night. Some of the officers in the military government were "qualified" from political offices -- elective or appointive -- in their home towns and districts. Because they are getting more money than they ever got before, they are willing to do anything to hold their "plums" as long as possible.

All these things have a bearing on what our government's policy should be with Germany defeated but not prostrate. Even though little more than a month has elapsed since the nazis quit, I have become convinced that we were too soft with our beaten foes and are growing softer. Army men, who would be firm, are hampered by higher influence. I charge flatly that some senators and representatives, who have been and are now here, are conjuring a threat of world communism to emerge from Russia as an alibi for their anticipation to be easy on the Germans.

I should fight with all my might any move to supplant our democracy with communism but we need have no fear of that if we utilize our natural resources for employment properly. That calls for more frank speaking by and greater understanding of authorized spokesmen of business, labor and agriculture. We need have no fear of Russia or any other nation militarily if we maintain an adequate national defense for peace insurance.

If we allow "outsiders' from congress, other Washington bodies or organizations civilians to mess up what our sincere, patriotic and heroic men have accomplished we shall go far toward making our nation helpless before another world conflagration tragedy, which will certainly come if we do not act sensibly with other peace-loving powers.

After the car in which I was being driven broke down in northeastern France, I was helped by a 751st military police company among those whose most rugged members are an Iowa farm youth, Pfc. Harold E Grage, Manilla.

Lieutenant John R. Walls, of the 344th bomb group of the Ninth air force proudly informed me that though his home is now in Minneapolis, he was born in Sioux City.

T/5 William J McDonald, Madison Wisc., whom I met at St. Mere Eglise cemetery No.1 in France, where he was on duty, was born in Hazelton.

Lieutenant Colonel Henry C. Walsh, of Burlington, born in Clinton, is in the provost division of the provost marshal's department dealing with prisoners of war in the European theater. He married an English girl in November of 1943 whom he intends to bring back to Iowa with him.

Source: Carroll Daily Times Herald, June 19, 1945

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