October 19, 1944
Daily Newspaper of U.S. Armed Forces in the European Theater of Operations MONDAY, Oct. 16, 1944
Home is Lights, Legs, Steaks;
Strikes, Black Markets, Too
After three years overseas, Bud Button Stars and Stripes staff writer, pulled out of the line in France on D-50 and went back to the States for 60 days of leave
and duty, travelling through New England,, the East and the South, some of the Mid-West, and talking to combat veterans from every corner of the nation
Now he is back in the ETO. Herewith a report on life back home.
By Bud Button
Stars and Stripes Staff Writer
How is it back there, back home! You get off the plane, less than hours from home, and it's the first thing folks in the ETO ask you. How is it back there? They pause a little before they say "back there" and their eyes go kind of bright and they lean forward. You've known this was coming; for 6 days you've known it and for the last 30 days you've wondered how the. Hell you were going to answer it. So you wait for the questions:
Lot of food! Steaks, huh!
There is a lot of food back home, all anyone wants. Meat is rationed, but there are steaks, and the rationing isn't pinching anyone's gut. And if your butcher doesn't heap on the measure, as most do, you can—if you are like a very, very large number of the folks back home—get any kind of meat you want on the
black market. Some canned foods are scarce, but not very as far as I could make out.
They don't have any blackout, do there Are the lights bright! Theaters' Night clubs'?
There was a so-called dimout in part(Continued on page 2) of the country for a while. It's gone now Maybe there aren't as many lights as there used to be, but it was awfully bright to eyes which have squinted through England's nights for a year 'with the Canadians and another two with the
Night clubs are roaring and from the few I was in—in New York and Washington— about one-quarter of the patrons are servicemen, mostly men stationed in
the States. Liquor has gone up in cost but you can get bourbon, rye and gin for less than $4 a 'bottle, and Scotch—good Scotch—for something more. Most bars charge half a dollar a drink for straight whiskies, 'beer is still ten cents but the glasses are smaller. Good corn is S4 a gallon in Missouri.
How are the women?
Mac, it's hard to realize how beautiful American women are "until you get back to them and -see those lovely long legs swinging down Fifth Avenue, or coming out of the Statler door, or going into the Beverly-Wiltshire. The shops don't have silk or nylon hose for them anymore, but you can get nylons on the black market for six or seven bucks a pair.
Everybody staying home, though, eh?Petrol—/ mean- gasoline—-rationed and not much driving?
Gasoline is rationed. In the East il costs 19.9 cents a gallon and twice that on the black market, where anyone can buy all he wants. Some people are staying home and some aren't. In the country lots of folk got out old buggies and horses.
What about those strikes? How come?
The government says there have been less than one per cent of the nation's workers on strike. I guess they know. Every day I was home there was strike news of some kind in the papers. Mostly it's because the workers want more money and the employers don't give it to them. 1 don't know who's to blame.
Guess with all those chocolate malted and ice cream and all that stuff you hated to come back, eh Hard to leave, eh!.
There's all the chocolate malted milk you can drink. A lot of soda fountains will sell only one pint of ice cream to a customer. I was glad to come back.
Only one pint of . . . Did you say you were glad to come back! You're nuts. Why!
This is the way it is . . .
Why the returned combat veterans Button met back home wanted to get overseas again.
Daily Newspaper of U.S. Armed Forces in the: European Theater of Operations TUESDAY, Oct. 17, 1944
'How'd You Like It Over There,'
Folks Ask—They Don't Know
This is the second article in which Bud Hutton, Stars and Stripes staff writer who spent 60 days in the U.S. after three
years overseas, reports on~how things are back there.
By Bud Button
Stars and Stripes Staff Writer
You say you asked to come back? You're glad to be here? Why? It's hard to put in words. I:'s hard to be specific. It's hard not to –exaggerate some bitterness. It's compounded of a lot of things. Maybe it's best to tell how some of the others found it, fellows who had seen combat over here and found, after they'd been home a while, that they wanted to go'back to the war. Wait a minute, first. You can't blame the folks back home because they haven't been bombed, you know. No, you can't blame them because they don't know what war's like. But you can blame them for not caring.
Tom Kelly was a technical sergeant, a gunner who finished up his tour of missions back in the early days, when there weren't any fighter escorts and losses
used to get up around five per cent a haul. He went home a year ago. The second day he was home in Boston a fellow said to him, "Boy! I'll bet you're gonna miss all that good. Scotch you got over there now you're home." A couple of weeks ago, Tom, who had been trying to get a waiver for his eyes so he could go back to the war, was in a bar in Oakland. N.J. - He got talking to some people and finally one of them said. "Well, you fellows have had a tough time all right,
but it hasn't been any picnic for us back here, either. The cost of living has gone right out of sight." Tom got his waiver last week and ought to be in the Pacific any day now.
Just an Isolated Case
Yes, but those are just isolated instances. There always have been jerks like that.
Okay, maybe Tom was just unlucky, and maybe I was just unlucky one day on the Erie ferry from New York to Jersey City when I heard one woman say to another, "You know, Ella, if this war'll just last two years more my husband and" I aren't ever going to have to worry again." And maybe I was just unlucky when I went to dinner in the home of some folks who knew I'd spent a fair share of the first 50 days of 'he invasion eating K rations; the husband, who was in the last war, said. "We're having canned pineapple tonight because you're here. You'd never know how hard it's been to get decent food back here."
In Atlantic City, on Labor Day night, Sylvester Dudek, a staff sergeant gunner who flew with the Polish Air Force and then the American, stood on the highway leading out of town and watched a procession of cars, solid without a break, pass for three hours and they were still coming when Dudek said' to hell with it and went back to the rest home there with a strained, hard look on his face.
Okay, maybe those are just isolated instances. I guess it was so with a Kid named Howard Hartney, from Tuskaloosa, Ala., a Liberator gunner, who stood outside the railroad station in' Washington and watched people going past and said with a face that was too young to be hard, but was hard, nevertheless,
"I been back three days and if the rest is like I've seen so far I'm going back to the goddam war just as soon as I can."
And maybe it's an isolated instance with a kid named Eddie Foulds; Eddie was on the New Haven, going home to Stamford, Conn. He ran into a fellow he'd
known in England, and the fellow asked him how did he like it at home. Eddie had been laughing, but then his face, straightened and he said : "All right, I guess. Good. Boy! Those milk shakes. But some of it I can't understand." He shook his head slowly and frowned, staring down at his shoes, then looked up, and his words came fast:
It's Not So Fresh
"When I got home everything was good and I didn't stop to think what anyone was saying. They were saying hello, I guess. But now it's not so fresh and I'm beginning to listen to them, and I don't always know, what they're talking about. At least I hope I don't. "They come up to you and they look at the ribbons and ask if you've been overseas, or maybe they can tell, so what's, the first thing they ask you: " 'How do you like it over there?' •
"Can you imagine that? How do I like it over there. They ask you that? Sure, I know. And there's one kind that's worse. That's the guy that comes up to
you—and mind you I don’t begrudge him the dough he's making in some defense job with nobody shooting at him ; I don't begrudge him that a bit. But anyway, he comes up to you and, the worst thing that's happened to him in the last year is maybe his butcher speaks real cross to him, and anyway he comes up and says, " 'Tough over there, eh, bud?' and he leans forward and kinda taps you on the chest and nods his head.
"Jeest!" ; Well, all right. Maybe some of It is that way. But what are you going to do about it? How is it going to be any different? And do you think it's going to do any good telling the guys who are in the war over here about it? Won't it just worry them? Isn't it bad for morale,: granting that's the way it is?
That's not so hard to answer. . . .
Daily Newspaper of U.S. Armed Forces in the European Theater of Operations WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 1944
Report From Home
Fighters Resent U.S. Attitude;
Why? Here's One Man’s Opinion
This is the third article of a report on America by Bud Hutton, Stars and Stripes staff writer who has just returned to the ETO from 60 days of leave and
duty in the U.S. which followed three years overseas with the Canadians and Americans.
By Bud Hutlon
Stars and Stripes Staff Writer
So okay, that's the way you found things back home. But do you think it’ll do any good to tell the guys here about it, and anyway, what do you coinage things back there?
Well, Time Magazine about a month ago reported on "the hard-faced young men" ^who stood on the boardwalk outside the Air Forces, rest home in Atlantic
City and waited bitterly to go back over seas. Time said they were fed up with the attitude of folks at home. Some guys overseas wrote in to demand by what right
Time had told them about those things about the lack of morale on the home front. Others wrote it made them mad.
Not the Only Worry
Well, this story is just -the way things are. And just as a precautionary note: Not everyone in America is worrying only about the paycheck. Not everyone
is uncaring about what happens.
Who? The people in the small towns, the country people?
No. Country folks are about the same as city people. They've been working very hard because of two factors: Prices are high and labor is scarce.
The folks who have relatives overseas naturally are not uncaring about the war. They have a personal stake in it. But most of them, as everyone else, seemed
to think that on the day Paris fell the whole thing was all wrapped up. They started planning celebrations for peace. They have forgotten that Nazi garrisons
still are holding out in Lorient, 500 miles behind the front, and that when the bombers go over and lose 40 or 45 planes, that's 400 or 450 American kids for whom the war is far from won.
Well, what can you do about it?
One opinion is no good. But while 1 was home I talked to a lot of folks back from overseas. What they 'thought and had to say boils down to about this,
which was published in the New York newspaper PM:
". . . we were impressed (overseas) by all the tanks and the guns and the planes and everything else that came rolling out of American production and got there so that our burial details wouldn't be so busy each time we pasted the Germans. "But just for my own dough, why the hell shouldn't the tanks and planes and guns come pouring out? The guys who have been making them weren't" doing anyone a favor by making them. They were doing their assigned jobs in the war to keep the country free. "And they were "getting paid for it and no one was shooting at them.
Weren't Shot At
"Nobody I ever knew who was getting shot at in this war was anything but glad and happy that no one at home was getting bombed or strafed. The guys who've been bombed and shot at know it's not good, and they don't want it happening to the folks back home. As a matter of fact, that's why the guys who are getting shot at are getting shot at.
"But what I've been trying ;o get at is making guns and planes and tanks isn't enough. Neither is buying War Bonds to make the world safe for democracy at
three per cent interest or whatever the rate is. My very humble personal opinion is that anyone has got to want to do those tilings; want to do them more than anything else in the world, and not think they're doing anyone a favor by it.
"My idea is that anyone has got to
want to do those things so hard that they'll never say to their kids home from the other side that they've been having a tough time with rationing, and that they've been buying War Bonds to beat hell: want to so hard they'll never have time "or a little harmless flirtation because what the hell he'll never know and it doesn't mean anything, anyway ; not really.
"Maybe it's like this: If you're in a war for conquest; if you go into it to make your lands bigger than the other guy's, then it doesn't matter how you feel.
"But if you announce that you're in a war because somebody is trying to take way the most valuable possession you have; if you declare you're in it because you want your people and all the other people of the world to be free and because you're against tyranny and prejudice and intolerance and brutality—then