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Grim Europe Faces Winter of Misery
Life Magazine ^
| January 7, 1946
| Life Magazine
Posted on 01/25/2004 8:22:20 PM PST by ambrose
The first winter of peace holds Europe in a deathly grip of cold, hunger and hopelessness. In the words of the London Sunday Observer: Europe is threatened by a catastrophe this winter which has no precedent since the Black Death of 1348.
These are still more than 25,000,000 homeless people milling about Europe. In Warsaw nearly 1,000,000 live in holes in the ground. Six million building were destroyed in Russia. Rumania has her worst drought of 50 years, and in Greece fuel supplies are terribly low because the Nazis, during their occupation, decimated the forests. In Italy the wheat harvest, which was a meager 3,450,000 tons in 1944, fell to an unendurable 1,304,000 tons in 1945. In France, food consumption per day averages 1,800 calories as compared with 3,000 calories in the U.S.
Germany is sinking even below the level of the countries she victimized. The German people are still better clothed than most of Europe because during the war they took the best of Europes clothing. But their food supply is below subsistence level. In the American zone they beg for the privilege of scraping U.S. army garbage cans. Infant mortality is already so high that a Berlin Quaker, quoted in the British press, predicted. No child born in Germany in 1945 will survive. Only half the children aged less than 3 years will survive.
On Germany, which plunged the Continent into its misery, falls the blame for its own plight and the plight of all Europe. But if this winter proves worse even than the war years, blame will fall on the victor nations. Some Europeans blame Russia for callousness to misery in eastern Europe. But some also blame America because they expected so much more from her. On the following pages the distinguished novelist John Dos Passos, who has been abroad as LIFE correspondent, reports on Europes suffering and what it means for America.
posted on 01/25/2004 8:22:20 PM PST
The more things change, the more they stay the same?
We couldn't snap our fingers and instantly rebuild a shattered Europe in 1945, and we can't snap our fingers and instantly rebuild a shattered Iraq in 2003-04. But rebuild it, we and the Iraqis will.
posted on 01/25/2004 8:24:28 PM PST
(Sherman burned Columbia to the ground Feb. 17, 1865. Can we get reparations?)
Thanks. Of course, all this is unknown even to the grandchildren of the Germans who suffered through this winter and the two following ones. The Germans, with our help, rebuilt their country brick by brick during the next fifteen or twenty years. So amazing was their succes that thee same grandchildren enjoyy such luxury that they do not wish to share it with their own children. The German race is dying out as more and more Germans spend their wealth on luxuries instead of on the future.
posted on 01/25/2004 8:40:38 PM PST
The Germans, with our help, rebuilt their country brick by brick
According to my interpreter on a few trips to Russia a few years ago, the Germans also (re)built quite a few buildings in the Soviet Union as well e.g Moscow State Univ, when I pointed out the construction dates were postwar (1946-50, something like that)he just smiled and said "We had work for the POWs to do before they went home" !
posted on 01/25/2004 9:05:14 PM PST
The Germans knocked down quite a few Russian buildings, so it is far that they should be made to rebuild some. On the other hand, the quality of construction is sometimes so poor that it is hard to think that Germans did the work. Were they made to make bricks without straw?
posted on 01/25/2004 9:10:32 PM PST
Exactly ! I suppose they could only use the materials supplied. I saw some buildings of theirs that were very well done, exteriors anyway.
posted on 01/25/2004 9:25:20 PM PST
Some things hadn't changed much, on a trip in 1994 we were looking for a building suitable for an office. We were in a gutted building, floor all cracked, poorly fitting doors etc, just crap quality and I remarked to interpreter that it was good to see old buildings being refurbished etc. He roared with laughter and said it was brand new construction LOL
posted on 01/25/2004 9:30:22 PM PST
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