History of World War Two Told Through Letters
This is a sweet note from Alex aboard the S.S. Pennsylvania. He wrote it in January of 1945 but it was not postmarked until February 5th.
He writes of the news they get on the ship – but warns Sylvia not to believe everything that she hears and to have faith that he will come home soon. Oddly, he mentions that he is somewhat relieved to hear that the government is drafting 26 to 36 year old men because it lets him know that the country is still involved in the war – not forgetting the men still serving in the military. When a gentle communist man who hated serving in the war shows happiness at the drafting of other young men, we can clearly see how being at war can change your ideas and political instincts.
Finally, when Alex writes that his spirits are buoyed by the idea that Sylvia is “cheerfully” waiting for him, we see the pressure everyone was under to be optimistic. Awaiting a homecoming itself was not enough, it was as important to be cheerful about it. This is a personal application of the government propaganda for women to “Keep it short, keep it cheerful.”
At Sea. January 20 -45
We had a rough weather for a while. Now the sea is comparatively calm though there is a strong wind and snow. I am off my watch ready to take a nap for a couple of hours, but I want to write to you, so that you may hear from me, so as to bridge the distance that separates us.
Our thoughts Are full of calm and of our dear ones. Wondering when will it be all over. The news are not so bad, if only this push the Russians are making would really brake [sic] through and put an end to this war at least on this side of the Ocean. I guess the next few weeks will tell the story in full.
Of what else can I write you about? There is a lot of talk about going home. The radio had it on and that started it. It was said that the ruling is as far as the army is concerned, duration and six months. Navy and Marines there is no such ruling, and I guess they can keep us as long as they feel the need for us. I am quite sure that when the war is over, there will be rulings made for us too, there would be to [sic] much resentment at home, particularly with men who have families and have a good record of service overseas. So no matter what the politicians may say, don’t let them disturb you, I know that common sense has to prevail, particularly when so many people’s future is involved.
We also heard that their [sic] beginning to draft men 26 to 36 again. I am glad in one way, because from here it sounds to much like as if the war was over for the people in the states.
Darling, keep on writing those wonderful letters. And never tire to tell me of how much I mean to you. You are to me the dearest person in this world. The only thing that makes all this nocking [sic] around bearable is to know that you love me and are waiting for my homecoming cheerfully. That you have faith in me as I have in you. That you are taking care of our darling baby and all is well at home.
To know all this, and to hear it as often as possible is the only thing that keeps me from thinking that we are all madly insane. Because there are— that there is a good reason why we serve.
With all my love and millions of kisses to my two dearest women.