Saturday, October 24, 2009

Eisenhower Sees the Future

Near the end of World War II, General Dwight Eisenhower sent this letter to General George Marshall in Washington. In it, Eisenhower recounts visiting recently liberated concentration camps in Germany. The entire letter is beautifully, clearly written, and it includes this paragraph, startling in its prescience:
On a recent tour of the forward areas in First and Third Armies, I stopped momentarily at the salt mines to take a look at the German treasure. There is a lot of it. But the most interesting -- although horrible -- sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to "propaganda."
(Via Freddie de Boer)


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