Monday, June 07, 2004

"Americans are losing the victory"

Life magazine, Jan. 7, 1946:

Americans are Losing the Victory in Europe
Destitute Nations Feel That the U.S. Has Failed Them

...The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick."

A tour of the beaten-up cities of Europe six months after victory is a mighty sobering experience for anyone. Europeans, friend and foe alike, look you accusingly in the face an tell you how bitterly they are disappointed in you as an American. They cite the evolution of the word "liberation." Before the Normandy landings it meant to be freed from the tyranny of the Nazis. Now it stands in the minds of the civilians for one thing, looting...

Never has American prestige in Europe been lower. People never tire of telling you of the ignorance and rowdyism of American troops, of our misunderstanding of European conditions... They tell us that our mechanical denazification policy in German is producing results opposite to those we planned. "Have you no statesmen in America?" they ask.