THE United States ended two years of war confident that the last phase of the struggle in Europe was starting. The protracted retreat of the German Army on the eastern front, the increasing tempo of Allied air raids on the Reich, the continuing failure of the German submarine war, the invasion and collapse of Italy, and particularly the Moscow conference justified that assumption. The Moscow Declaration that Britain, Russia and the United States would fight the war to unconditional surrender weakened Germany's hope of retrieving victory from defeat by political means. Specifically, the better understanding which the three Powers achieved there must have ended any idea she may have nourished that she could negotiate a separate peace with Russia. Since in addition it prepared the way for the international collaboration of the three Powers it must have dampened Germany's longer-range hopes also.
The last chapter nevertheless may be a long one. The end of the second year of war brings no evidence that Germany's military power has been broken. As Prime Minister Winston Churchill warned, the climactic year of 1944 is likely to be somber and bloody.
The great advance of the Red Armies on the eastern front was the most important event of the summer and fall of 1943, and as these lines were written it was continuing, though against stiffening opposition. Between July and late November the Russians reoccupied about 140,000 square miles of their own territory. The battle lines were approaching the pre-1939 Russian frontiers. Despite months of campaigning and great losses the Red Army evidently still possessed great offensive power.
Most of the credit for the Russian successes in the greatest campaigns in military history is Russian alone. Stalin has fashioned the Soviet states into a mighty machine for making war. The operations assigned this machine have often been prodigal in lives. But they have been effective because all the national energies of the Russian people were harnessed to a single end, and because no sacrifice was considered too
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