Tuesday, September 18, 2018

April 16,1944: Viva la Resistance!

Article by Opa for the Manhattan, Kansas Newspaper: The Mercury Chronicle


Allie Can Count On Underground Movements For Help

Editor's note: Thomas Doeppner, a student at Kansas State College, was for a short time with the United Press at Amsterdam. He is a German refugee, and his interpretation of developments in the European war theater carries the weight of his internment camp experiences in Nazi Germany, as well as that of previous years of travel on the continent. The Mercury Chronicle each week brings you his interpretation of the war in Europe.

By Thomas W. Doeppner

Without any sign of fatigue or slowdown, the Russian armies are carrying on their fall-winter-spring offensive. Now, it's the Crimea that's on the road back to its people. Whether or not the German retreat in this peninsula is again a "voluntary" one, the fact remains that the Russians seem to be able to strike, and strike effectively, wherever they choose to on their 2000 mile front.

The Red armies advancing into Poland certainly never doubted that they would have to fight it out by themselves. How surprised then was their commander when suddenly, out of the forests and marshes of Poland, there appeared several hundreds of Polish soldiers, carrying their red-white banner and offering their cooperation in the fight against Germany.

Still, the Polish government in-exile in London remained non-committal toward this event which, according to Russian sources, has repeated itself several times. The London Polish government still considers Russia an enemy just as much as Germany and, therefore, is not willing to engage in any cooperation, military or political. Apparently, however, the Polish underground thinks differently.

It was assumed so far that the Polish underground, which is being supplied and fed by its London government by means of parachute loads, would operate under its direct command. Whether this new apparent independence is to be compared to an uprising is not certain; certain is, however, that the Polish underground is more likely to execute the will of the Polish people then a government which no longer has direct contact with the people.

The immediate military help which the Polish underground will give to the Russians is probably negligible. According to Polish estimates the underground has an army of approximately 50,000 to 150,000 men. Poorly equipped and scattered all over Poland, they will not be very effective as a unit compared with the dynamic Russian army. There are, however, two ways in which this action of the Polish underground will help the Allies considerably.

In the first place, it proves that the Polish people are on the Allied side. Since the Poles are fairly representative of the occupied peoples of Europe, this means that Hitler's propaganda of Quisling cooperation will no longer be very effective. Also, in the second place, it gives the Allies a preview of what might be expected from the underground movements as well as in Germany proper in case of invasion.

Poland, geographically, is very close to Germany, and therefore, relatively easy to control. The German garrison is Poland was comparatively stronger than in most other occupied countries. Concentration camps for Poles were filled; executions were daily events. In spite of all that, the Poles were able to organize an underground of such size.

If the Poles were able to do so, it is very likely that other countries were too. In that case, the Allies can just about count on the aid of underground movements in countries like Holland, Belgium, France, Denmark, etc.: undergrounds which probably will not be counted upon to do much actual fighting, but which will be very helpful in locating enemy strongholds, indicating enemy positions, and doing as much grinding damage as a group which is familiar with the territory and people is able to.

The Resistance. Everyone loves to hear about the resistance, myself included. It's the tale of the underdog, a tale of hope that small groups of people can effect change. It's also been proven to be effective over the course of history. So even though resistance is not new, and the successes are not unfathomable, it is always a toss-up which one will succeed. 

Opa begins his article with a quiet praise of the tireless Russians. He's right- they are ridiculously impressive when it comes to war. I may have mentioned the comedian Eddie Izzard's bit about the Russians, when he blitzes through history and highlights that Russia in the winter (and most seasons) is almost unbeatable. He said Napolean went in and said "it's a bit cold!" and ran out. He said Hitler ran in thinking "I've got a different idea... no it's the same idea- bad idea, bad idea!" and ran out. Russia has an unbelievably long border to protect, but with that border they have millions of soldiers (who died in greater numbers than any other country), and a crazy capacity to withstand the freezing temperatures (or at least the willingness to sacrifice soldiers to hold the freezing ground). When Opa says that Russia continues their "fall-winter-spring offensive," I think it's in awe of the length of time and weather conditions that Russia has continued to push back against the Germans. 

The Russians are now beginning to cross into new territory- occupied Polish territory. Quick critique: Opa says that Poland is geographically very close to Germany. It seems odd to say it that way when before the war, Poland was literally surrounded by German territory. At the very least he could have said Poland bordered Germany to the east. I know he knew that. Just seemed a weird choice of words. 

The Russians are getting into Poland and expecting to continue their long-haul offense on their own. Then the movie-scene image comes out: a band of hundreds come out of the woods, raggedy Polish rebels offering their help in the fight against the Nazis. The Russians are shocked and happy to see help: a sign that not everyone in Poland will be their enemy. Opa numbers the resistance in men, but he should know better. Women are fighting too- his sister is playing her part in France (not as militia- but important), as well as other family members across Europe. 

The Polish government, operating in England while their territory is under German occupation, is noncommittal to this underground movement. The Russians are the political enemy as much as Germany. When I read Opa's words that the underground seemed to disagree, I thought to myself how things are so very different when you are in the midst of it. The government cannot fathom what the Polish have experienced at the hands of the Germans. Russia may not be their best friend, but the Germans are enemy #1 for those under occupation. The Polish underground might be assisted by the official government, but when push comes to shove- they're going to do what is necessary. I hope they are rewarded for these actions. 

The fact that the existence (and cooperation) of the Polish underground somehow proves that the Polish are definitively on the side of the Allies seems to me... uninteresting. I kinda thought this was understood. Also, based on my research, every government was aware of underground movements, many even worked to provide supplies and funding. They might have been unable to assess the efficacy of such movements, and maybe that's where Opa is going with his second point. Either way, the general public may have been surprised, in awe and reassurance with the appearance of these rebels, but I am pretty sure that the governments knew a lot more about what was happening in the underground. 

Occupied Europe was definitely not chock-full of Quislings. This term I had to look up- it is a name that is synonymous with traitor, or cooperation with the occupying enemy. The name is of a Norwegian guy who earned the right to have his name used in such a way. Click the link for a brief, Britannica version of the story. I also question that in a previous article Opa mentioned how Hitler's terrible treatment of the occupied countries was a tool of fear that he used to scare the German citizens about any possible loss in the event that the occupied territories would exact harsh revenge. If that is the case, then how could there also be a fear by the Allies that the occupied territories were completely cooperative? We know that there was some cooperation, but I think it's pretty silly propaganda to believe that there was any majority cooperation. Who would believe that lie? (I have been surprised before at what people will believe.)

Opa's makes a solid point that the Polish Underground is a symbol of unbelievable strength and ability under extremely harsh conditions. Poland has Berlin in their backyard, and we know now that Poland was the location of some of the most deadly camps and harshest treatment of occupied citizens. If they can hide a militia- anyone can. Hope abounds.

And you better believe a group adept at hiding under the Nazi gaze is going to have something to offer. Even to the tireless Russians. Viva la Resistance!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

April 12, 1944: Russian Bear

Article Written by Opa for the Manhattan, Kansas Newspaper: The Mercury Chronicle


Full-Scale Bombings Bolstered German Morale to High Point

By Thomas W Doeppner

In these crucial days, which some Englishman called "five minutes before zero hour," much attention is being given to the state of mind of the German people. Their morale might make a decided difference in the upcoming fight inside Europe, especially if this fight should be carried into Germany proper. Their attitude toward the Hitler regime may decide whether the war will have to be fought to the bitter end, or whether the possibility for surrender short of ultimate defeat exists.

Swedish, Swiss, and other neutral correspondents are among the most authoritative sources of information concerning inside Germany. Much knowledge can be gained from German newspapers and German communiques themselves: the way in which they lie is an indication as to what Goebbels wants his people to believe and what he wants them to quit believing or thinking. The total picture obtained from a combination of these sources is still rather dark, but it does reveal a few interesting points.

Reports Questioned 

Apparently, the defeat in the east is hurting the German people deeper than is generally assumed. Goebbels' papers do not let a day go by without repeating the "reasons" for Russia's advance: German voluntary withdrawal in order to shorten lines and to make troops available for anti-invasion defenses. The German people do not believe this any more; the Russian advances are coming too fast and on too big a scale.

Interesting are the comments of neutral correspondents on the Germans' reactions to the fighting in Italy. Cassino, the only place in the present conflict where the Germans have gained minor victories, does not receive as much comment there as here. Germans have become skeptical as to Goebbels' reports. "If we really were victorious at Cassino," the German reader comments, "why did we not throw the Allies out of Italy?" This one incident shows that the German mind is set to take defeat. He no longer believes in the infallibility of Hitler's diplomatic and strategic powers.

Different, however, is the German's attitude toward invasion. Naturally, everybody inside Germany is nervous and jittery. Nobody will be surprised if invasion starts today. However, the Germans believe that there exists a good chance for the Nazis to throw the Allies out of Europe as fast as they come in. The German General Staff, as well as the German people, will use everything in their power to make invasion a failure. No sacrifices will be too great for them, no losses will appear too high: the Nazis know that this is their only chance to still get something out of this war, and they will use it.

Ready For Revenge

Different than first expected was the German people's reaction in the full-scale bombings. Similar to the way the population of London reacted to the Battle of Britain, the population of Hamburg, Berlin, Brunswick, and other bombed cities of Germany have become fighting mad. If the bombings did anything to German morale, they bolstered it to a degree it never before possessed. Now, the populations of cities are in the fight: they do not have much to lose anymore, but are ready for revenge. This is a rather dangerous situation which Allied military leaders are fully aware of. 

The question always arises, why the German people, only a small portion of whom are Nazis, keep backing Hitler to such an extent even now when the odds are against Germany and when defeat stands before the door. There appears to be only one answer to this: The Germans know what they are up against in case of defeat. This, by the way, also gives one of the reasons for Hitler's brutal treatment of occupied countries.

Aware of Situation

After four and five years of terror and cruel dictatorship, the populations of Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium, and a dozen other countries are full of hatred against Germany and anything connected with it. The Germans, being fully aware of this situation, will prefer sticking it out under Hitler to having the wrath of these people come down on them with full fury. Hitler, on the other hand, keeps up his cruelties because he too, is aware that it fastens his grip on the German people.

During the last few weeks and months, a change has occurred in the German morale which might be very advantageous to the Allied cause. The Germans are getting scared of the Russian bear, whose growling can be heard at Germany's eastern door. Also, the Germans are sick and tired of the war and want peace probably worse than any other people. On the other hand, if there has to be defeat for them, they much rather face and Anglo-American occupation than a Russian one, and they seem to believe that he who reaches Berlin first, will occupy Germany. If this feeling should hold, the resistance of the German people to invasion, if the first attempt to make it a failure should be unsuccessful, may become very small.

I believe we've been down this road before, but I reject the notion that Hitler was cruel to occupied nations so that the morale of fear would motivate his citizens and soldiers to stick out the fight. Hitler was cruel (and the rest of Nazi leadership) because he was a cruel person. He wasn't try to trick his people into being scared of vengeful Belgians. To say someone is cruel for political gain is missing the point that cruelty is more than just a choice, it's a mindset. Hitler and the Nazi leadership did not have the inclination to be kind and decide to be cruel for political benefit. This same argument could be used to make sense of the opposite action. If the Nazi government were kind and beneficial to their occupants- perhaps they would win them over? Perhaps there would not be a mass-effort for their freedom? It's not a solid argument either way, sorry Opa.

We start to see the war in motion in this article, the Russians on the East, the Allies still struggling in Italy and preparing for a massive invasion to the west.

I do agree with Opa's analysis that the Germans are more fearful of the Russians than the English or Americans. I think that goes for pretty much everyone at this point. I'm not sure if the race to Berlin was always a thing, or if suddenly the Russians locked eyes with the Brits and Americans and it was on. There definitely was some unspoken rule that the first one there had the most say in Germany's occupation. It seems a bit unfair since Berlin is all the way on the east side of the country. Either way, the race is on, and everyone (Germans included) is rooting against the "Russian Bear," at least in the long-run. In hindsight, it's really sad to know how this race to Berlin and division of Germany plays out. 

Opa's final analysis is a little hazy, he sort of contradicts himself in this article. The Germans are fighting mad, and they are ready for the war to be over and prefer us over the Russians. I suppose he was calling out the phases of morale, like phases of grief for the Germans. They would fight to the bitter end out of fear and vengeance, but they also would get pretty tired and be ready to give up- to the Americans- when the time comes. 

One last thought: Opa talks about his sources for this article (the German newspapers and statements from neutral countries), but he never specifically names any of them. I find this odd. I'm not sure if it's just sloppy journalism, or if it was a common practice to name things in general rather than say "the Washington Post said this..." No idea. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

April 1944, The Engineer: Here is the Explanation

Article by Opa and Irwin Hall in The Engineer publication


Highlights in Wartime Engineering

by Tom Doeppner and Irwin Hall

Temp-Turn, Ingenius Device for Our Fighting Planes

On one type of our fighting planes is a new standard installation which automatically controls the temperature of flowing air in the ducts; this new device is called the Temp-turb. The Douglas A-20 Havoc attack bombers are being equipped with this device for regulating air temperatures in cabin arming and windshield defrosting. G-E engineers who designed it say that automatic control of flowing ducted air as provided by temp-turb can also be used to advantage in conjunction with wing de-icing equipment and carburetor air intake for planes, as well as in many other ways.

The development of temp-turb is credited to J.R. Campbell, designing engineer with the Ontario Works. His pre-Pearl Harbor work on heat controls for automatic household irons led to the ingenious application of the bimetallic thermo-sensitive element used in the the irons to temp-turb: this is an excelled example of how peacetime appliance engineering has provided the background of importance wartime products which in turn may contribute to better living in the post-war world. Air conditioning and heating problems may eventually be simplified by using temp-turb.

The working principal of temp-turb is quite interesting. It develops considerable power on the windmill principle from the velocity of the air flowing through it. Its rotor, which resembles a rotating fan, has blades which change their pitch in accordance with temperature changes. When their flowing through is cooler than the desired temperature, the blades are pitched so that the rotor turns in counterclockwise direction. When flowing air is at the desired temperature which is called the control point, the blades have no pitch at all and the rotor remains motionless.

The power developed by the temp-turb is sufficient to operate valves, shutters, gates, flaps, and other mechanical devices which can control temperatures by regulating the velocity of the flowing air through the heater, by adjusting the fuel intake at the heater, or by mixing hot and cold air. An advantage of the temp-turb is that it provides a modulating adjustment rather than an on-off system. The greater the departure from the desired temperature, the more power is developed by the rotor and applied to the controls which correct the temperature. Also it requires no external source of power other than that obtained from the velocity of air moving through it.

Temp-turb is designed to operate in any weather condition ad in temperatures ranging from minus 70 degrees to plus 300 degrees Fahrenheit. On the Havoc bomber, where the temp-turb is used in conjunction with a heater in a duct which supplies warm air for cabin heating and windshield defrosting, the control point, i.e. the desired temperature in the duct, is 200 degrees F. Tests show that the control point is maintained within a range of plus or minus five degrees F, when the source of heat is close to the control assembly.

Alkyd Resin is "Oiled Silk" Alternate

Oiled silk needed as a moisture-retaining agent over wound dressings, is no longer available. To meet the requirements for such a material, the official British Pharmaceutical Codex has accepted the use of oiled artificial silk, made from rayon and impregnated with a resin of the alkyd type. According to the Pharmaceutical Journal (150:46, 1943), oiled artificial silk consists of rayon fabric woven from a 30-denier strong rayon yarn of 70 or more filaments. This yarn has not less than 100 threads in the warp and in the weft and is completely water-proofed by treatment with a plasticized synthetic resin of the type know to commerce as "glyptal". The material should be stored in a cool place.

War Invention May Provide Floating Rides for Trains and Autos

Servo-mechanism principles that enable American tanks to fire on the run with devastating effect quite possibly will provide "floating" rides is high-speed trains and other vehicles in the future. Actual development work on these applications has been started. Calculations show the the power required to stabilize the vertical movement of a railroad coach is small enough to fit into an over-night bag.

Oddly enough, the servo-mechanism to stabilize a railroad car will require about the same power and be about the same size as that required for an automobile. Here is the explanation: the equipment required depends on the weight of the object multiplied but the square of the "up-and-down bumps" of the road. The automobile is much lighter: however the vertical irregularities of the road are several times that of a railroad.

Cities of Future May Remove Refuse through Pneumatic Pipe Lines

While city planners are dreaming of post-war cities with parks in every plaza, with to helicopters on every rooftop, and housing developments in every former slum, engineers are making plans to eliminate all refuse in the towns of tomorrow. These engineers believe that the dream city of the future cannot leave the age-old problem of refuse collection and disposal unsolved.

Cities are slaves to refuse cans and surface collection vehicles. City-dwellers are inconvenienced by irregularity of collections due to man-power shortages, mechanical break downs, and weather conditions. Their health is endangered by rotting wastes; their safety is affected by storage of combustable waste; and their comfort is disturbed by flying debris, ash dust, and scattered garbage.

Post-war planners want to eliminate this problem by introducing a system which would consist of pneumatic ducts under every street of the city, with connections in every home, store, and plant. An air-lock chamber would permit the property owner to discharge ground-up wastes into the city's refuse "veins," from where they would be sucked to an incinerator which would burn the debris and produce heat and power for the community.

My two favorite parts of this article are in the last section: the scene of trash chaos, and the "here is the explanation" that is followed by a surprisingly clear explanation. I'll admit I was waiting for it to be really convoluted but it wasn't so bad.

The sweet dreams of engineers and Americans of what "post-war" life looks like is a little bittersweet for me. I'm not sure why they thought that the moment an armistice was signed that everything would magically be rainbows. It's like what parents do before their child is born, you make plans for your magical life and then the child is born, and the child makes the plans for you. 

This article, and many at this moment in time (including the education conversations), are like the Pinterest board of America. They are hopeful, dreamy, and have high expectations for what life will hold in the future. They have no idea the obstacles that will come, the fails that will happen, but their optimism will most certainly help. That might be what is our best and worst feature as Americans- our naive optimism. It carries us through though. 

PS- where the heck is my trash chute? That invention sounds awesome- why didn't it happen? I'm sure there's an explanation for that.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

April 6 & 13, 1944: Unbiased Student Opinion

Articles in the college newspaper, Kansas State Collegian, that mention Opa


Mortar Board Leads Student Discussions on KSC Curriculums

Students will have their say so next Wednesday afternoon about certain phases of post war education at K-State. A student forum on the topic "Do We Need More Culture in the Curriculum?" will be held in Recreation Center at 4:30pm under the sponsorship of Mortar Board. All students are invited to be present and participate.

Members of the panel leading the discussion will be Jean Werts, Tom Doeppner, Ann Allison, Zora Weir, Margaret Reissig and Paul Engle. They were chosen from names submitted by various campus organizations as having taken an active part on discussions on this subject within their group when Mortar Board sent out guide sheets for such a study.

President Milton S Eisenhower is anxious to have unbiased student opinion on matters concerning post-war college. For that reason this discussion is preceding the forums which will be sponsored later by YWCA and YMCA and led by outside speakers and faculty members. Mortar Board members in charge of the forum are Harriet Holt and Mary Ann Montgomery.


Eisenhower Talks On 'Changes Today' At Post War Forum

Babcock, Whitlock, Gemmell to Speak On Future Programs

"Changes Today" will be the topic of President Milton S Eisenhower's talk at the all College Forum which will open the Forum's series on "Post War Education." In his talk the President will speak of "changing concepts in a changing world." The first Forum meeting will be this evening at 7 in Recreation Center.

The next speaker of the series will be rodney W. Babcock, dean of Arts and Sciences, who will talk on "Tomorrow's Educated Man." Dean Babcock will present the question, "Are Kansas State Graduates Being Educated for Our World of Tomorrow?" He will speak next Thursday.

Comprehensive and cultural subjects will be the context of Prof. J.H. Whitlock's talk on "Post War Curricula Changes" when he speaks to the Forum April 27. Professor Whitlock is a professor in the pathology department.

In the last talk of the series Prof. George Gemmell of the home study department will discuss "The Faculty on the Grill," an insight into student-faculty relations. Prof. Gemmell will speak May 4. 

The College Forum is sponsored by the YWCA and YMCA. Maxine Smith, Cpl. H. Goodnow, Jack Lawrence, Tom Doeppner are in charge of the Forum.

So first I want to say- yes- that Eisenhower. Milton S. was Dwight D.'s little brother. Apparently the Eisenhower brothers were very proud of their middle initials. Milton S. went on to be the president of Penn State and John's Hopkins, so he was kind of a big deal. 

These two articles are reporting on the discussions that are intentionally being held at Kansas State. The articles are frustratingly vague, and perhaps that was intentional to leave room for "unbiased opinions" if that is humanly possible. 

I'm surprised that everyone is still talking about the end of the war as if it is tomorrow after the big invasion eventually takes place. Day 2 of invasion: Allied victory and Axis surrender. Maybe they weren't that naive, but it does seem early to be having these discussions. 

I'm also curious what it is about this particular war that has caused the staff and students alike to think about needs for change in the curriculum. Did the first world war not sort of knock them out of their safe towers? 

The answer must be in this vague allusion to "Culture" being included in the curriculum. Are they speaking of race relations? Cultures of Europe, Africa, and Asia? Are they talking about the tragedy that has faced the Jews in Europe? The information of concentration camps and mass killing is out there, but I'm not sure the public quite grasped (or believed) the scope of it until the Allied soldiers came upon abandoned camps full of corpses and people who might as well be corpses. What exactly is culture? And why is it now needed?

The fact remains that the world has changed and drastic change is in the near future. The faculty and staff are right to assess this change and try to adjust and educate for the future. This seems like it should always be the case, but I get that WW2 was particularly dramatic in how the world changed after. The odd thing is, those changed haven't really happened yet. These students don't know that a new world order will come of this war, that Russia will become a very real and frightening enemy (they have clues), that European boundaries will be redrawn, that the word "holocaust" will enter their vocabulary- along with a new understanding of the human ability to be cruel. 

I suppose the conversation is important, but perhaps something I'm trying to figure out is rather than ask and plan what education should look like as a reaction to change- the educational system might need to step back and look at the tools to adapt. Students don't need just to learn about other culture, they need to gain the perspective that they are a small part of a larger world that does not have them at the center. Education should foster curiosity, adaptation, problem-solving, and simply the acceptance that things will always change. Rather than be speculative of which change will require which class, perhaps we should be proactive in creating space in our education for the power of a larger perspective and skills for adaptation.

Maybe that was the goal of some of these conversations. Maybe the professors and students were trying to figure out how to process and move forward with the knowledge that the world can and will change drastically- and then do it again and again. I think much of my education has been about how to keep things the way they are by knowing the right way things have been set up. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

March 30, 1944: Ah, The French

Article by Opa in Manhattan, Kansas Paper: Mercury Chronicle


Editor's note: Thomas Doeppner, a student at Kansas State College, was for a short time with the United Press at Amsterdam. He is a German refugee, and his interpretation of developments in the European war theater carries the weight of his internment camp experiences in Nazi Germany, as well as that of previous years of travel on the continent. The Mercury Chronicle each week brings you his interpretation of the war in Europe.

By Thomas W. Doeppner

France once was a great nation, and, even though defeated on the battlefield, she still is. The circumstances under which this defeat occurred indicate her greatness. France was no longer a military nation: the French people were no longer willing to set military preparations ahead of cultural advances. That's why they were defeated, not because of corruption, and that's why their defeat itself is a sign of their greatness.

France, now, is on the verge of obtaining a new government. What kind of government to give her seems to give case for a battle not between different groups of the French people, but between Churchill and Roosevelt. Giraud, Roosevelt's protege for a long time had the upper hand in Algiers. Even though a military leader, he showed ability and judgment in setting up and maintaining civic government and civic order. He was comparatively popular among the population, both for his personality and for the fact that he escaped twice from German prison camps.

Relies on English Camp

General De Gaulle relies more on the English camp. His Free-French army was organized and maintained on British soil, with British equipment and British shillings. In case of actual battle, the Free-French are very likely going to obey by British orders. When De Gaulle came to Algiers, after months of preparatory work of reconciliation between the two French leaders, he arrived on a British warship. Soon, with American aid, the friendship between De Gaulle and Giraud had come a step closer to being a reality. 

Most people are familiar with the famous scene which was recorded in news reels: Giraud and De Gaulle shaking hands in front of a benevolent looking Roosevelt. Neither De Gaulle nor Giraud looked very happy in that picture, though.

The French National Committee of Liberation was formed. The division of authority was divided between Giraud and De Gaulle exactly in opposition to their respective abilities and experiences.

DeGaulle, experienced in guerilla warfare and in building an army from scratch, was made head of the civic government. Giraud, who, even though he was primarily a soldier, had proven himself in the field of politics and civic government, had no say in these but was made head of the military phase of the war.

Friction arose and increased. De Gaulle, for various reasons, gained the upper hand and has now de facto control over the entire French National Committee of Liberation. Militarily, his government has not proven itself yet because of lack of opportunity. Politically, it is committing one blunder after the other.

Plea For Recognition

A premature plea for recognition was the first blunder. As far as the original aim of the F.N.C.L. was concerned, it made no claim of being a substitute for a French government, but only served temporarily as a military headquarters until the French people were able to elect their own government in a constitutional way. This, at least, was the essence of De Gaulle's broadcasts to the French people. No military headquarters needs or ever before asked for recognition from other governments.

Smaller blunders in the field of foreign politics followed, including, eg., unsuccessful supposedly secret meetings with Turkish and anti-Fascist Italian circles concerning the danger of post-war Anglo-American control over the Mediterranean. Nothing aroused more suspicion and served the F.N.C.L. to a greater disadvantage. French fear about this possible Anglo-American control may be justified, but the time to act was chosen rather poorly.

Mock Trials

At present, and especially several weeks ago, De Gaulle and his newly-formed jury indulged in a series of mock trials in the Nazi style. Former Vichyites were convicted for treason. They might have been guilty of cooperating with the Vichy regime: 80 percent of the French people, however, have and now are, by force, cooperating with the Vichy government to various extents, and the prospect of facing a trial for this certainly does not aid De Gaulle in getting the French people on his side.

Typical was last week's trial of a former minor official of the Vichy government. He had succeeded in escaping from Vichy France and now found the surprise of his life when he was tried by De Gaulle's purgers and convicted to death. The ridiculous thing about this trial was that most of the jury were former Vichyites. When the death sentence was pronounced, the defender said "Quoiqu'll arrive: Viva la France." (Come what may: long live France.) These words will make somewhat of a martyr of him and will remind the French of the injustices committed in the name of their liberation.

There is still some hope that, due to America's influence, the Giraud group may come back into the picture again. For the sake of the French people as well as for the sake of a speedier victory due to the increased help of the French, the majority of whom are at heart opposed to De Gaulle, this return to the Giraud policy of more truly democratic government should be of greatest concern to all of us.

Ah, the French. 

The first thing I want to address is Opa's sweet idea that the French were defeated because they had quit building an army and focused on their cultural renewal. That's a nice thought, but I'm not so sure it has any merit. History tells me (historians- PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong) that France was actually fairly well militarized, and they were well aware of the militarization and armament of their neighbor, Germany. It seems it would have been naive for them to ignore those signs and not do any work to prepare themselves. I'm fairly certain they were as prepared as they thought they should be, and with their British and Polish allies- they thought they had safety in numbers. Their defeat was a shock to everyone, themselves included. It does not diminish France's greatness, but I don't think we need to make excuses for them. I'm not exactly sure why Opa felt the need to do that.

Opa lays out an argument that the success of France and the best option for the Allied post-war Europe is if Giraud regains control and is able to steer the new government of freed France. Even as I was reading it, I thought- gosh- I know the de Gaulle name pretty well, but vaguely know the Giraud name. That's because Giraud was not successful in the way Opa had hoped. I'm not sure that it was a complete disaster, as de Gaulle seems to have proven himself as a leader in French history. 

The unfortunate situation of the execution of the Vichy officer is sad, but I do feel that by comparison, the same argument could have been used to ask for leniency for Nazi officers. Wartime is a tricky place for justice. 

For those less historically inclined like I used to be- the "Vichyites" were people who cooperated with the Vichy government, which was the French government that cooperated with Nazi rule. For some in France, the Vichy government was the lesser of two evils, save the country by cooperating with the enemy. Otherwise everything they held dear may have been destroyed. For others, cooperation with the Vichy government was nothing but treason. The benefits of the Vichy "compromise" have been debated, and I don't feel qualified to weigh in on it.

I do feel a slightly condescending tone in this whole article. Opa pities the French, saying they are great even if they lost. It's because, bless their hearts, they were making love, not war. Then he goes on to criticize how they governed themselves, how they punished war crimes (perceived or not), and how they worked out their suspicions of post-war issues. He claims Geraud would be best for France, but what he really means is that he would be best for America. I'm sure the French loved that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

March 1944: The Engineer: Efficiency For War

Article by Opa and fellow engineer student, Irwin Hall, in monthly publication from engineering program: The Engineer 


Highlights in Wartime Engineering

By Tom Doeppner and Irwin Hall

Engineers Produce New Blower Unit for Aircraft Radio

Some time ago a little motor of ingenious design, operating on either 400 or 800 cycles at approximately 7000 r.p.m., was built by Westinghouse engineers to blow a blast of eight cubic feet of cooling air per minute through an airborne radio set. Recently aircraft radio makers wanted a motor of the same size to do the same job but to operate on 60 cycles instead of 400 or 800. This feat was accomplished by means of several neat engineering tricks, a major one being the use of a new type Torrington Fan, with many more blades of a more efficient shape than its predecessor.

Heavier Planes Force Redesign of Runway Marker Lights

Runway marker lights placed in rows along the edge of an airfield runway must not crush under the wheels of a fast landing plane - and planes are steadily becoming heavier. Less than a year ago, the impact which contact lights could withstand was increased from 16,000 lbs. to 100,000 lbs. Then even heavier planes appeared, with caterpillar treads like those of tanks instead of rubber-tired wheels, with the result that 100,000 lb. units could be crushed. Phenomenal increases in strength were necessary without any increase in dimensions, which were fixed by the fact that units must be fitted into the thousands of existing concrete emplacements lining the runways of scores of airports in this country and abroad.

Resorting to some old bridge structure manuals, Westinghouse engineers developed a new unit having a steel cap supported on a steel spider, between the fingers of which lights rays stream almost parallel to the ground. The crushing load is carried downward at an angle to the steel ring resting against the concrete of the cell. Now the markers are capable of withstanding loads of 150,000 lbs. with mild-steel spiders and when alloy steel is used the load can be increased to 200,000 lbs. or 100 tons.

Simplified Drawings for British Industries

Some British firms have to a certain extent avoided the need for intensive instruction in reading machine drawings by issuing drawings in pictorial form instead of the orthodox drafts-man's work. One firm attributes to the adoption of pictorial views of components three main advantages: (1) saving of time, (2) elimination of mistakes, and (3) soother flow of work. Since there are several thousand different components handled in the factory, and a very high proportion of recently trained labor is employed, the value of pictorial representation of machine parts has been apparent. The use of such drawings has enabled new employees, unacquainted with engineering terminology and drawings, to identify without trouble the many parts that pass through their hands. 

Drills from Needles

A British engineer who is doing sub-contract work in his private workshop had difficulty in obtaining 0.032-in. diameter twist drills required for drilling the jets of spray guns. He therefore made his own drills by heating and beating out needles which he then twisted, the eye end of each needle serving as a shank.

What Happens at 38,000 Feet

In the decompression chambers equipped for study at high altitudes, the General Electric X-Ray Corporation has take x-ray films of men theoretically flying at 38,000 feet, or more than seven miles up, for the first time in aviation research. The films, taken in the high-altitude test chamber at Northwestern University's Medical School, disclosed marked and significant changes in the heart, lungs, joints, and muscles of volunteer pilots, providing flight surgeons and research men with new clues in their battle of hazardous high-level flying dangers.

Dr. A.C. Ivy, professor of physiology, who is directing this research work at Northwestern, said that the x-ray findings so far had given his staff some very valuable information regarding various difficulties, such as bends, which pilots may encounter at this stratospheric level. He explained the scientists have known for some time that at 38,000 feet, many pilots experience pain caused by the expansion of gases within different parts of the body. This is one of the problems which physicians and researchers are trying to overcome in high-level flying.

Gases in certain body fluids have normal channels for expulsion, but particles of dissolved gases that lodge in fat tissue and the joints expand as the outside pressure decreases, and some describe the pain as more severe than rheumatism. In some cases, the gas in a pilot's stomach at 38,000 feet expands about six times normal.

Dr. Ivy expressed amazement at the size of some bubbles and air pockets which showed up on the x-ray films. One showed a large air pocket near a knee joint of one of the subjects. It was not there before or after he made his flight. What cause the pocket and why did it disappear? Physicians have known about these body changes, stemming from the decrease in pressure, but in most cases they had to make their studies under actual conditions in the high-altitude test chambers. Now that the actual evidence of certain trouble can be recorded on x-ray films, they can make their studies from them in mint detail in their own laboratories and with ample time.

The "test volunteers" are first instructed on how the x-ray pictures will be taken. Then they take the cassettes, each containing a 14 X 17 inch x-ray film, with them when they go inside the chamber. After the door is bolted and the men have put on oxygen masks, they can be seated and wait until the desired altitude is reached.

When the subject is ready for his radiograph, he steps into position infant of the x-ray tube, places the cassette to his chest, knee, or stomach, as directed. Then the operator on the outside operates the x-ray controls and timer switch to get the exposure. The films are developed immediately after the subjects "descend" to ground level.

The Engineer articles are always a fascinating snap-shot of the booming technology and research that happened during this time of great demand for engineering genius. Most of this article is touting the most recent engineering answers to increasing demands that everything be even stronger and more efficient. 

There is a part of me that wonders if I had been trained a bit differently if I would have made a good engineer. I love to make things more efficient. But perhaps that is simply because I was raised by an engineer (who was the son of an engineer). I am the queen of packing a car trunk, everything fits. I am always looking for ways to make less trips, use less gas, make the most logical sense. 

For war time, efficiency can mean the difference of defeat or victory. If all your runway lights get crushed, that's no good. If you can't load your planes or have heavier, sturdier planes- that's no good. I'll ignore the fact (as I've already lamented it) that progress seems to always come rushing in for war rather than peace. The description of the engineering tricks based on bridge building concepts made me think of when I was in a thing called Odyssey of the Mind as a kid. There were different types of tasks that a team of students would try to complete. Some were long-term tasks presented at a competition, some were presented the day of for quick-response. One specific "problem" or task was a building one. My team never chose this one and opted for the more theatrical tasks. However, I saw a team of kids build structures out of mere ounces of balsa wood sticks that carried loads of over 1000 lbs. I was absolutely amazed. It was my first introduction to the magic of engineering even if I didn't recognize it as that. So these lights that can withstand a plane landing on them without breaking because of some small structure build in and around them- it's that same problem. You have to use materials that weigh this much, fit these parameters, and can handle this much pressure. Solve. 

Despite the fact that most problems were how to be more destructive (or I guess to say it positively: how to be less destroyed)- I imagine the engineers were giddy with the challenges they faced every day. New problems to solve, and these problems directly affected the war and how well the Allied forces were prepared. For an engineer, their genius in solving these problems likely saved Allied lives. That's pretty rewarding. 

Lastly, the studies on pilots and what they endure physically was a new thing for me. I suppose if you asked if it was physically challenging I would have said yes, but I didn't realize the extent to which they pushed their bodies to the limits. 

I kinda want to be an engineer now. Is there a job market for efficient packing of the car trunk?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

March 16 & 30, 1944: Bull Sessions

Announcements in Kansas State Collegian for "Bull Sessions"


Y-Forum Renamed 'Bull Sessions'

"Bull Sessions" is the new name for the Student Forums which are held as a part of the YWCA and YMCA program.

Miss Helen Elcock will speak followed by a discussion on the subject "Norway, its people, and their place in the post-war issues."

The meeting will be tonight from 7 to 8 in Calvin Lounge.

Chairmen for this group are Maxine Smith, Tom Doeppner, and Cpl. H Goodnow.

'When Peace Comes' 'Bull Session' Topic

"When Peace Comes" will be the topic discussed when the Student Forum "Bull Session" meets on Thursday. 

Mr. William Baehr, head of the College Library, will lead the discussion which will be held in Calvin Lounge at 7:00.

Maxine Smith, Cpl. H. Goodnow, Jack Lawrence, and Tom Doeppner are in charge of the meeting.

Bull Sessions. About Peace. I'm not sure who came up with the new phrase for these hot-topic forums, but it feels a little intense to call a discussion a "Bull Session." 

I'm reminded of what we do when we have no control. We speculate to death. I'm not saying it's wrong to discuss and wonder and debate. I'm feeling the psychological weight of what it means to be a part of a world-wide disaster and have nothing tangible that you can really do. This is why war bonds and other efforts to get regular folks involved were so popular, it gave people a sense of purpose and meaning when faced with the giant conflict abroad. Opa must have felt especially helpless, with family members in war zones and concentration camps, and absolutely no power to do anything and no way of knowing what was actually happening. 

Maybe this is why Opa was involved in so many activities, he needed to move and act in any way possible to relieve that feeling of helplessness. 

I have that same sensation sometimes. I am either paralyzed by helplessness or I spin circles reading, thinking, discussing.  I might volunteer somewhere or give money to some non-profit in hopes that my action somehow put a dent in the huge conflicts that I have little control over. In the end, sometimes it all feels like Bull.