May 19, 2016

1945. Bill Downs Opposes Help to Defeated Axis Countries

The Axis Annihilated in Europe
"Infantrymen of the US First Army in Belgium's Ardennes Forest as they advance to contact German forces at the start of the Battle of the Bulge." Associated Press (source)

Excerpt from the Kansas City Kansan, June 1945:



Both Were Crushed to Whip Germany and Deserve Aid in Rebuilding, C.B.S. Observer Asserts.
Msgr. Luigi Ligutti, Italian-born priest, who yesterday told members of the National Civic League that he believes the Allies should spend another dollar for every war dollar spent in destruction in the conquest of Axis countries, can have his own ideas, but C.B.S. correspondent Bill Downs, Jr., visiting in Kansas City, Kansas, thinks the priest would have a difficult time finding any backing from the Allied forces who fought the war and wrought the destruction.

Those men would be far more inclined to spend that extra dollar in rebuilding Belgium and France that they were forced to tear up in order to destroy the Axis powers, Downs believes.


Downs, who spent eighteen months in Europe, returned to the United States six weeks ago. He has been visiting at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Downs, [address], Kansas City, Kansas, and is to leave today for Washington where he will receive an assignment to the Pacific theater.

"I really want to get in on that big invasion of the Japanese mainland," he says.

It isn't that Downs really likes beachheads, although he says the one he took part in was a comparatively easy one. He landed with the British 50th Infantry Division in Normandy on D-Day. He served with British and Canadian forces on the northern sector, and in the Ardennes bulge was with the United States First Army headquarters.

Our forces found out how little they were prepared so far as winter equipment was concerned in the Battle of the Bulge, Downs said.


"It was bitter cold, and we weren't equipped with warm enough clothes or with proper camouflage," he said. "Consequently there was a rush for anything that would do for camouflage and substitute for warm clothing. The greatest casualties of the whole thing were the numbers of frozen feet."

Because evacuation of casualties from the mountainous regions in the Ardennes bulge was a difficult and slow procedure and necessitated the use of too many men, husky dog teams were flown from Alaska to the scene. The idea was a good one and would doubtless have eased the situation considerably had the weather not taken a hand.

"No sooner had the dogs and their sleds reached the bulge area than a thaw set in and their value never was proved," Downs said.

Evacuation of casualties really was a problem, according to Downs. At times it took as many as four men to remove one wounded man from the area. To facilitate matters they would put skis under litters.

"In my estimation, Germany is through waging war for a long time," Downs said. "Even if they were left alone to do what they wanted, it would take them at least twenty-five years to organize even a single industry on any scale. There just isn't anything left, at least not in the northern section."