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

America at War: The End in Sight

A Japanese carrier and two destroyers under attack.   Wikipedia Commons

AMERICA'S third year of war closed with United States troops fighting in the Philippine Islands and along the borders of Germany. The fourth year opens with the end of the war in sight.

During the three years of global conflict the United States has transported 5,000,000 armed men overseas (up to November 1944), and has suffered 528,795 casualties.[i] We have lost a minimum of 3,750,000 gross tons of merchant shipping, but have built 45,000,000 deadweight tons; we have lost two battleships, nine carriers, nine cruisers, 50 destroyers and 32 submarines, but since 1938 we have built a fleet many times the size of the prewar Navy and larger than the combined navies of the world. We have lost 14,600 planes in combat and 17,500 through accidents in this country, but built about 232,403 planes between July 1, 1940, and September 30, 1944. Up to the end of the current fiscal year, the war will have cost the United States about 400 billion dollars in appropriations and contract authorizations.

At this great price -- and an intangible cost which is incalculable -- the United States, fighting as part of the greatest coalition in history, has achieved battle results which are still short of complete triumph but which have decided the outcome of the war. The United States has experienced great defeats but has won through to great victories. Yet the end will be as costly as the beginning, in effort and probably in lives. The campaigns may be long drawn out. The battles of ultimate decision remain to be fought.

The American armies that flowed like a surging tide across France met stiffened defenses along the German frontier during the fall months of 1944 and were handicapped by problems of supply and bad weather. The war of movement gave way to the war of position. Just as these lines are written, the difficult, bitter business of a winter offensive in western Europe is being undertaken. But in the tropical Pacific, favored by the bright suns and smiling weather of the equatorial latitudes, we have dealt heavy blows to

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