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FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: From the Archives: Dispatches: America at War

America at War: Summer 1943

Courtesy Reuters

THE summer just past marked the beginning of the decline of Axis power in Europe. President Roosevelt termed the conquest of Sicily and the opening of the Mediterranean the "beginning of the end for the Axis." . . . But only the beginning. For Germany, as autumn sets in, is still very strong. Gigantic air raids, the Russian Army and the Anglo-American campaign in the Mediterranean have weakened but have not broken her. And as the ring of retribution closes about her she is forging new political blades with which to defend herself.

Today political factors appear to be increasingly important -- perhaps even decisive -- for the outcome of the war. Nazi propaganda is emphasizing the natural lines of cleavage between the different members of the United Nations, and evidence grows that Hitler hopes by dividing his enemies to escape his looming fate. In view of this, the most urgent need is for a clearer understanding among the United States, Britain and Russia.

II

With the end of summer, outpost battles were drawing to an end in three theaters -- the Mediterranean, Western Europe and the North Pacific. In one or all of them we were preparing to assault the enemy's "main line of resistance."

The largest campaign, and the one bringing the most immediate strategical results, was in the Mediterranean. Here all three elements of American armed power -- land, sea and air -- participated as sections of an Allied Force under General Dwight D. Eisenhower in the preparations, preliminary actions and final 38 days of fighting of the Sicilian campaign. The hundreds of thousands of American boys who fought shoulder to shoulder in Sicily with British "Tommies" and Canadians from the woods and prairie provinces can lay valid claim to a good share in the glory for the overthrow of Mussolini on July 25 and for the official (though not as yet ideological) dissolution of Italian Fascism which ensued.

The conquest of Sicily was a logical continuation of the conquest of Tunisia. But

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