March 2014 – Letters From Readers

12/27/2013 • MH Letters

How About the Cost of Defeat?
When people read “The Cost of Victory” [by Robert M. Citino, January], they may conclude that the casualties of war make armed conflict a futile effort—the view is not worth the climb, or the outcome cannot be justified by the cost. Search the Web for “just war” conditions, which the major media seldom mention. Even better, ask the people of Europe if it would have been best if Hitler had won. Or consider asking South Koreans if the communists had won and the south was starving like North Korea is now. Or maybe ask black Americans if the Civil War should never have happened. I wonder what the early Patriots would say about the fight for independence?

There is another consideration about the loss of life. It is sad to think of the U.S. soldiers that have fallen in the global war on terror over the last 11 years (more than 6,000). However, over that time about 220,000 Americans have died in alcohol-related driving accidents that caused sadness without serving any purpose.

Gary Currall
Centerville, Ohio

Playing Games
Your quiz entitled “Slow Gunboat to China” in the War Games section of the January issue of Military History lists “San Pablo (United States),” and I presume it and the others listed are supposed to be real ships. However, my limited research leads me to the conclusion that San Pablo was a fictional boat created for the book and subsequent movie The Sand Pebbles. What gives?

David R. Denny
Johnson City, Tenn.

Editor responds: Congratulations to readers who caught our red herring in this round of War Games. Forgive us for being playful this once.

Dropping the Bomb
Compliments to Edward G. Lengel for his concise summary [“Dropping the Bomb,” Decisions, January] about President Harry Truman’s decision to drop the bomb. I was just 11 then but clearly recall the very general elation of nearly everyone. Remember, at that time the president did not know that “Bloody Joe” [Stalin] already knew of the bomb, and Soviet spies had already obtained nearly all of what they needed for the Red bomb that shocked us all several years sooner than expected.

Joseph A. Deck
Williamsville, N.Y.

Headline Power
[Re. “Headline Power,” by Rick Meyerowitz, September:] During the Christmas holidays in 1936, while our family was in New York City awaiting transport to the Panama Canal Zone aboard the U.S. Army troopship St. Mihiel, I read an article in The New York Times’ Rotogravure section about Hermann Göring and his pet lions with the headline, HERMAN GOERING GERMANY’S NO. 1 ROLY-POLY.

To show that I, a 6-year-old second grader, understood what this headline meant, I took it to my father and proudly said, “Look! This says that Hermann Göring is the fattest man in Germany!”

Colonel Edward F. Cole
(U.S. Army, Ret.)
Brooksville, Fla.

Scott’s Nemesis
I had to laugh while reading Ron Soodalter’s “The Making of Winfield Scott” [July]. Who should be Winfield Scott’s corrupt nemesis but none other than James Wilkinson, the antihero in Keith Thompson’s hilarious Scoundrel! The Secret Memoirs of General James Wilkinson—a fun read for those who miss George MacDonald Fraser and his roguish hero Harry Flashman.

Bill Cody
Camillus, N.Y.

Loyalist Exodus
Further to Thomas Allen’s article [What We Learned, “From Bennington, 1777”] in the September issue of Military History: By the end of the Revolutionary War some 70,000 Loyalists had left the new United States. The British military held New York (Manhattan) for several months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, to ensure that every last Loyalist was safely evacuated by the Royal Navy. Some 50,000 were transported to what is now the province of New Brunswick, the Caribbean colonies or back to Britain. Some 14,000 crossed the Vermont mountains and the St. Lawrence River into what is now Quebec to establish new settlements.

About 10,000 left the Mohawk and Schoharie valleys and crossed the Niagara River, settling in what was then called Upper Canada (now Ontario). Loyalist militia raiders had rescued many from abject persecution by the Patriots. Noteworthy among such raiders were Butler’s Rangers, who, allied with Indian warriors from the Iroquois Confederacy, terrorized what is now upstate New York. The Americans burned Niagara [aka Butlersburg or Newark] to the ground in late 1813, which resulted in the British the next year burning Youngstown, Black Rock and Buffalo. Niagara was rebuilt and is now called Niagara-on-the-Lake.

For some years after the Revolutionary War there was an influx to Canada of “United Empire” Loyalists—Loyalists who had tried to remain in the United States only to be driven out—and also Americans attracted to the free land offered by the Canadian government to bring in settlers. These Americans agreed to render allegiance to the crown, which resulted in conflicts for many during the War of 1812.

I enjoy every issue of your magazine and wish you every success in continuing with a great job!

Dr. David B. Clark
Barrie, Ontario

[Re. “AK-47,” by Stephan Wilkinson, September:] Interesting, isn’t it, what the Russians can come up with when the chips are down? I had six years with Uncle Sam’s Army, most of it in the infantry, and I never touched anything as sophisticated as the AK-47, which evidently became available early in World War II. More impressive, when their T-34 tanks with the 76.2mm gun failed to produce the desired results, they up-gunned it with an 85mm weapon. These were the tanks that probably entered Berlin. The question is, Why couldn’t we have had equipment like this when we needed it?

Ferdinand E. Banks
Uppsala, Sweden

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