Monday, May 25, 2009

Letters to Donna Reed: Hometown Girl Was Popular WWII Pinup

Here's a letter written to movie star Donna Reed, from the New York Times' story, "Dear Donna: A Pinup So Swell She Kept G.I. Mail":

Dear Donna:

Have just received your letter from the eight of December. And believe me or no, it was the first piece of mail I have received in the last two months. By the sound of your tale, life in the U.S. is not quite as fine as it used to be. But I honestly feel that it is better than eating the same 3 meals out of the same 3 c-Ration cans for a month or three.

We have been in action for some time here in North Africa, you see. Quite an interesting and heartless life at one and the same time. One thing I promise you - life on the battlefied is a wee bit different from the "movie" version. Tough and bloody and dirty as it is at times. There is none of that grim and worried feeling that is so rampant in war pictures. It's a matter-of-fact life we live and talk here. And for the first time no one has the "jitters." I hear you have done your part and done got married. Congratulations and good luck! See you in your next "pic."

Sincerely,
Norman Klinker
P.S. Can hardly wait for four years ... no "pics" here.
What a wonderful letter!

I dare say your average "Joe" on the frontlines in World War II was a better wordsmith than the average youth slacker of today!

And did you know that Donna Reed became
a '60s Vietnam antiwar activist!

Hat Tip:
Memeorandum.

9 comments:

M1 said...

...and why not also indulge us with a pinup picture?

Donald Douglas said...

I get plenty of those around here, Meatball! Don't want to go overboard.

Lew Waters said...

Many that supported WW2 fell prey to the misinformation spread around about the Viet Nam War. Former members of the Soviet KGB still refer to their infiltration and dissemination of false propaganda within the anti-war ranks as their greatest acheivment.

Opposing the war is one thing as even WW2 had it's share of protesters.

How they treated us upon return is quite another.

Donald Douglas said...

I believe it, Lou!

Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

Lew Waters, the protests were of a different nature in World War II because most of those protesters joined the war effort once we were attacked by Japan, whereas many of the protesters in Vietnam denigrated the troops and openly sympathized with the enemy.

Lew Waters said...

From what I've read, ezekiel, the main opposition to WW2 ceased once Hitler turned on the Soviet Union.

The protesters began coming more hawkish then and after Pear Harbor, pretty much silenced.

But still, with the onslaught of half-truths and lies about what we were doing in Viet Nam, many that were supporting our fight turned on the war and ended up taking it out on those of us who were there.

I believe that was what brought about the slogan "we support the Troops, but not the war" during the First Gulf War.

If you've never read it, obtain a copy of Unheralded Victory by Mark Woodruff. He gives one the best backgrounds on the lead up to the Viet Nam War dating back centuries.

Rusty Walker said...

Thank you Donald for your Johnny-on-the-Spot postings; and I’m with you Lew Waters. My brother and I were Viet Nam era vets, brother Dan, Air Traffic Controller in Thailand, and me, his younger brother at SAC Headquarters. Many Americans were swayed by the press and public opinion shifted in the middle of a war. The Domino Theory was real and a present danger that many young people and academics dismiss now; Communist domination didn’t happen (because of U.S. response) so it is a non-issue with typical Americans. Similar to post-9/11, we privileged Americans give no credit to a non-attack. What a pleasure it is on this Memorial Day to see a true patriot that may remembers the inconvenient truth that the world was under a Communist wave of domination, infiltration, and Asia was willing to sacrifice millions of what Khrushchev, Ho Chi Min and Mao agreed were expendable Vietnamese (proven after the war). God Bless our Viet Nam vets on this Memorial day, and one wonders what history would be now, were Obama or Carter to have been president during Korea, or Viet Nam, or during Iranian and North Korea nuclear capabilities…but, wait a minute…

Rusty Walker said...

Oh, I forgot...great letter, but, the lack of the sweetheart Donna Reed pin up - Donald, my man! really, we count on you for the visual!!

Anonymous said...

"From what I've read, ezekiel, the main opposition to WW2 ceased once Hitler turned on the Soviet Union."

That certainly ended the Communist opposition to the war. It is chilling in retrospect to think of what would have happened if Hitler had not turned on the Soviet Union and we had been drawn into war with the Axis anyway. But there was still isolationist opposition until Pearl Harbor. This element of the opposition to the war was strong in Midwestern towns which later produced many of the war's finest servicemen, and even its leading supporters joined the war effort.

For this reason, the early anti-World War II movement can hardly be compared to the anti-Vietnam War movement, although individually there were certainly decent people who opposed the Vietnam War. In general, though, the nature of the anti-Vietnam War movement and especially its leadership was anti-military and anti-American, as you know.