Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Somewhere in France - November 11, 1918, 10:30am (approx.)

"No, don't cheer, boys - they're dying over there..."

Gunnery Lt. Harry S. Truman,
Battery D
November 11, 1918

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, November 11, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers. Truman Papers

Somewhere in France

November 11, 1918

Dear Bess:

I knew Uncle Samuel was holding out on me when your letter came not with Boxley's and Brelsford's. Two came this morning and I am of course very happy. We are all wondering what the Hun is going to do about Marshall Foch's proposition to him. We don't care what he does. He's licked either way he goes. For my part I'd as soon be provost marshal of Cologne or Metz or Munich or Berlin as have any other job I know of now. It's a shame we can't go in and devastate Germany and cut off a few of the Dutch kids' hands and feet and scalp a few of their old men but I guess it will be better to make them work for France and Belgium for fifty years.

Their time for acceptance will be up in thirty minutes. There is a great big 155 Battery right behind me across the road that seems to want to get rid of all of its ammunition before the time is up. It has been banging away almost as fast as a 75 Battery for the last two hours. Every time one of the guns goes off it shakes my house like an earthquake.

I just got official notice that hostilities would cease at eleven o'clock. Everyone is about to have a fit. I fired 164 rounds at him before he quit this morning anyway. It seems that everyone was just about to blow up wondering if Heinie would come in. I knew that Germany could not stand the gaff. For all their preparedness and swashbuckling talk they cannot stand adversity. France was whipped for four years and never gave up and one good licking suffices for Germany. What pleases me most is the fact that I was lucky enough to take a Battery through the last drive. The Battery has shot something over ten thousand rounds at the Hun and I am sure they had a slight effect.

I am returning the enclosure from the Kansas City Post. It is a good thing I didn't censor Bill's letter or I probably would have thrown it out. It was evidently not quoted correctly even as it is. He was promoted for bravery by me but he was not mentioned in orders. Of course the remark about his captain is pleasing but there are no vacant sergeancies now so he won't get promoted for that.

It is pleasant also to hear that Mrs. Wells has adopted me as a real nephew and I shall certainly be more than pleased to call her Auntie Maud and I hope it won't be long before I can do it.

You evidently did some very excellent work as a Liberty bond saleswoman because I saw in The Stars and Stripes where some twenty-two million people bought them and that they were oversubscribed by $1 billion, which is some stunt for you to have helped pull off. I know that it had as much to do with breaking the German morale as our cannon shots had and we owe you as much for an early homecoming as we do the fighters.

Here's hoping to see you soon.

Yours always, Harry

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