We Cannot Escape History

We Cannot Escape History

We Cannot Escape History

We Cannot Escape History

Excerpt

For my brother, Captain Lawson Spires Whitaker U.S.A.

You walked up the gangplank of the troopship as I would expect my brother to go. Around the corners of your mouth there was the flicker of a smile, diffident yet proud; and with the bright excitement of the eyes this shy smile lighted up your whole countenance. As I stood on the blacked-out dock it seemed to me that your face shone above the rail of the darkened liner. Yours was the eager look of a young man who has a rendezvous with destiny, whose nation in his own generation faces a situation unique in modern history.

To you the inevitability of our war was plain enough. One year before Pearl Harbor you volunteered. "Somebody's got to be willing and ready to fight," you said, "until the country as a whole wakes up and gets armed and learns how to win." You believed we could win when the other countries were going down before the Axis and when at home we heard the voices of defeatism. But you thought we would have to learn how. Western civilization failed to learn how when Genghis Khan first introduced Blitzkrieg. The Mongol Hitler carried the whole of his army on shaggy little ponies, feeding his men mare's milk and butter made from it, to avoid the impediment of baggage, so that no army learned to match the momentum of his impact. In the end no nation stood before the Mongols from the China Sea to the Danube. The offensive had gained a new speed and mobility, and civilization went down before the Western World could catch its breath. This was precisely the situation with which Hitler and the Japanese war lords confronted us when they . . .

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