America at War: The First Year


THIS has been a year of hope deferred, of tragedy, of the most acute danger this nation has ever faced, a year of great defeats and great victories, a year in which the United States has found its soul, mustered its strength, organized its armies, and commenced its long, hard forward march to victory. It has been a year of crisis, but of crisis met, endured and passed. It has seen, probably, the turning point of the war.

This can be said because during the past summer and fall the enemy was held in check within the bounds of Europe and within the limits of the Western Pacific. As Churchill wisely warned, the American offensive in the Solomons and the Anglo-American campaigns in North Africa are not the beginning of the end; but they may mark, as he said, "the end of the beginning." Slowly but surely the strategic initiative is shifting to the United Nations. The future will depend more upon what we do than upon what the enemy does. We can still lose the war, but if we do so it will be because of our own mistakes and weaknesses, not primarily because of the enemy's strength. For the strength of the Axis is commencing to be outmatched and the inestimable advantages of the initiative are passing to our side.

The year began in disaster. The Japanese "sneak" attack on Pearl Harbor did much more damage than was admitted at the time. The Navy's report published a year later showed that eight battleships, ten other men-of-war, a floating drydock, and some 250 Army and Navy planes, were destroyed or damaged by the Japanese carrier-based air attack. Five of the battleships, the Arizona, Oklahoma, California, Nevada and West Virginia, were sunk or beached; three other battleships, the Pennsylvania, Maryland and Tennessee, and three cruisers, the Helena, Honolulu and Raleigh, were damaged. The Arizona blew up and was a total loss; the Oklahoma and the old target ship Utah capsized and still

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