Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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General Dwight D. Eisenhower to General George C. Marshall, 20 February 1945

By late February 1945, Eisenhower could report to Marshall in Washington that, though hampered by floods and difficulties with the French, Allied forces on the Western Front were making steady progress.

The Germans handled the Roer dams in the one way that was most detrimental to us. Rather than blow out the dams completely, they jammed the flood gates in such a way as to create flood conditions throughout the length of the Roer river and to prolong the flood period to the greatest possible extent. We have already reported that we believe we can attack on the 23rd. I sincerely hope that we will not be longer delayed. [US General John Edwin] Hull will have told you that all our preparations are made, the troops are in fine fettle and there is no question in my mind that if we get off to a good start over the river, the operations will be a complete success.

Throughout the front the German has thinned out very much indeed. If we had only a few extra divisions we could put on a very worthwhile attack anywhere between Karlsruhe and the Ardennes.

The French continue to be difficult. I must say that next to the weather I think they have caused me more trouble in this war than any other single factor. They even rank above landing craft. Right now they want three divisions released from the line to assist in the development of new divisions and to exhibit armed might throughout the countryside. Of course there is some merit in their contentions but I suspect also that they are showing a bit of pique at what they consider the slight that [Free French leader] General de Gaulle suffered in not being invited to [the Yalta Conference of Big Three Allied leaders in the] Crimea. As usual we will work out something that will cause us as little damage as possible, but the most popular note in the French press these days is expression of dissatisfaction with the Allies, including this Command, for failing to bring in more foodstuffs and rolling stock for the French, and lack of political deference to their government.

Hull has probably given you the sequence of our projected operations. If the weather improves with the advancing spring I feel that matters will work out almost exactly as projected. I get terribly impatient during periods such as we are now forced to undergo, but I never forget the situation of the German and consequently never lose my basic optimism.


Further Reading
Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, KS; printed in Joseph Patrick Hobbs, ed., Dear General: Eisenhower's Wartime Letters to Marshall (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971), 202–203. Reprinted with permission of the Eisenhower Library. .
 

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