April 2, 2004

Fate Up against your Will

Excerpts from Ed Sanders History of America in Verse. From 1945:

Russian & American Troops Party on the Elbe
April 25

Along the east side of the Elbe River
south of Berlin
the same day as the UN conference began in S.F.
Russian troops who had driven
ever westward since the saving of Stalingrad

met American soldiers who came from West
for jubilation, vodka and beer!
Too bad the comity didn't last

They Tell Truman about the Bomb
April 25

Secretary of War Henry Stimson
was alone that afternoon in Truman's office

Stimson was 77
and a "leading member" of
the New York Republican establishment

He'd been asked into the cabinet by Roosevelt
in July of '40
to help prepare the nation for war

In the other room, unbeknownst to Truman
was General Leslie Groves
head of the Manhattan Project
a project about which Truman knew zero

Stimson handed Truman a two-page memo he'd written.
"Beginning in four months," it read,
"we shall in all probability have completed
the most terrible weapon ever known
to human history, one bomb of
which could destroy a whole city....."

Then General Groves was brought to Truman.
He was carrying a 25 page report
on the status of the Manhattan Project.

They wanted Truman to read it and ask questions on the spot.
It wasn't going to be able to be tested till July,
said the General.

Stimson wanted to use it on Japan as soon as possible.
Ditto for the military man.
Stimson suggested that an Interim Committee be set
up to make recommendations on the A-bomb.
Truman agreed
& a few days later the Committee began to meet
though no one with power who really
opposed using the bomb at once
was allowed aboard

Mussolini Beyonded
April 28

Benito Mussolini was captured and shot on the shore of Lake Como
while trying to escape to Switzerland.

His body was taken to Milan and hung by the heels
and his mistress Claretta Petacci also
in the Piazzale Loreto
to the hate and kicks of the public

It was the same day that Hitler drew up his will and he and Eva Braun were married.

April 29
Dachau was liberated by US soldiers

horror oculorum

Liberation of Camps
Over 100 were liberated

Treblinka, Majdanek, Auschwitz, with its entrance sign:
Arbeit Macht Frei
& barracks with five tier bunks

life-forms barely alive

There were many that never really
made the headlines
such as Ohrdruf, Esterwegen, Natzweiler-Struthof

The Allies had ignored years of Jewish leaders' imprecations
to bomb the gas chambers

Hitler Dies
April 30

In the ruins of Berlin
in his bunker
Adolf shot himself

pistol in mouth
& Eva took cyanide

Their bodies were doused with gas
and burned in the garden
along with piles of documents

then May 2
Berlin fell to the Soviets


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