Greene County residents have always been ready to support this country in times of war.
Even though Ohio was not even a Territory during the Revolutionary War, many of those gallant men who fought then moved here and then remained until the end of their lives.
During the Civil War, Greene County sent more men per capita than any other county. During World War I, many of our residents traveled hundreds of miles to the conflicts. Since that time, men and women of this county have undertaken the fight for our freedom.
After World War I it was decreed that a day should be set apart to recognize what was called “The war to end all wars”. Certainly the residents hoped that would be the last time we would go to war, but our citizens have been called up to war many times.
Armistice Day was established to honor the day and time of the signing of the peace treaty; “The elevenths hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”. Now of course, we call that Veteran’s Day to honor all the Veterans of any conflict.
In order to commemorate the valor of those fighting men and women during World War II, the Army Navy Journal published a special edition. “The United States at War December 7, 1944 – Dec. 7, 1945.
On the front cover a striking picture with a tank, battleship, airplanes in muted red with a large golden eagle superimposed. These dates are shown: Italy surrendered Sept. 8, 1943, Germany surrendered May 8, 1945, and Japan surrendered Sept. 2, 1995.
Inside are many letters and articles written by those who were in authority during the war.
In the Forward, John Callan O’Laughlin, Publisher made the following statement: “…When America was thrust into the Global War, our enemies realized her potential strength , but jeered at the notion that that strength could be transformed in time into the striking power required to overcome their formidable forces. Rude was their awakening…”
President Truman wrote in part, “The global war was won by Allied unity. We are determined that unity shall continue in order to assure enduring peace…in our case, or Armies, Fleets and Air Forces with unexcelled valor participated in crushing our foes, our farmers toiled to produce record breaking crops and our labor and management cooperated to provide the huge quantities of munitions or our fighting men and also for our Allies.”
The war efforts were under the direct supervision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – US High Command. Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, USN was Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy (the President). He stated that on January 14, 1942 the American Joint Chiefs of Staff was set up by President Roosevelt. “At first the organization consisted of the Army Chief of Staff, the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commanding General of the Army Air Forces. A secretariat and a working staff were drawn from all the services. In July of 1942 the President added his personal Chief of Staff as the senior member of the organization.
“This was the American High Command, charged by the President with the formulation of strategy, supervision of troop deployment and equipment, and genera direction of all operations against the enemy. From this body, acting as a unit, came the war orders for all the forces… the designation of objectives to be taken and the basic orders for the employment of armies, navies and air forces.”
More than 200 pages describe various aspects of WWII. “The Battle of the Atlantic” by Admiral Jonas H. Ingram, USN contains the following excerpts:
By January, 1943, the Germans were reported to have a Fleet of 400 U-Boats. Despite the destruction of hundreds of U-Boats and Nazis were able to keep up production and maintain their U-Boat Fleet at approximately this size for the duration of the war…
Only three weeks before the Germans surrendered the final blitz of a formidable pack of U- Boats whose commanding officers had orders to blanket the East Coast from Maine to Florida. Our forces were so disposed that they thwarted this attempted intensified U- Boat campaign.”
Also addressed in the publication are events surrounding the Women’s Army Corps, the Army and Navy Chaplains, various departments of the military, medical care and more. The War was Over! It was a time to celebrate and hope that World War Two would prove to be the motto of World War One. This should indeed be the “War to End All Wars!”
O’Laughlin’s closing remark is one to remember. “But, meanwhile, let America not forget the lessons of Pearl Harbor and prior wars, the lesson Washington impressed upon the infant Republic, that a proper posture of defense is essential for our security.
This week, we pause to thank all of our Veterans.
Joan Baxter is a local resident and weekly historical columnist.