Skip to main contentU.S. National Library of MedicineU.S. National Library of Medicine

Profiles in Science
Pinterest badge Follow Profiles in Science on Pinterest!

The Henry Swan Papers

Letter from Henry Swan to his first wife, Mary Fletcher pdf (1,450,981 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Henry Swan to his first wife, Mary Fletcher
Intending to have them published, Swan's wife had his letters transcribed as he sent them.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (1,450,981 Bytes)
1945-03-12 (March 12, 1945)
[Swan, Henry]
[Swan, Mary Fletcher]
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Exhibit Category:
Medical Training, Wartime Surgical Experiences, and Early Career, 1935-1949
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 51
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1944-1996
Folder: World War II. Letters at home, by Henry Swan II, 1944-1945
Mar. 12, 1945
I haven't written for two days, for which I can only apologize without offering reasonable excuse. Actually I have been having a very fine time, indeed, as you shall see.
Nick was out rummaging around, in and in one corner of a pile of rubble which formerly was the house of the Gestapo Chief here, he found evidence of the existence of an electric train. So, I went with him, and we resurrected all the recognizable pieces. Most of it was in excellent condition. The engine had clearly not been run for several years. After bringing it back to the room, I spent the entire afternoon taking apart the engine and repairing it. By nightfall we had it running, so we put up the track on the floor. You would have died laughing at the gang of us old men putting up track, running switches, and playing "train" all over the floor. Very entertaining. More engine trouble - second complete overhaul. The next day it took about two hours to pack it, and tomorrow it will be mailed.
You appear to be still nervous about the red flag of communist groups. You must realize that these groups are scarcely collectivist; they are left wing socialist; they do not dominate except as they are large minority groups. We do not know what their relation to the Comintern is. You are afraid they give Russia a strong influence all over Europe, "which is hardly desirable." I think you must realize that the actual fact is that Russia is the strongest nation in Europe (perhaps the world), that she has a stronghold over Europe. The situation exists. Why is it undesirable? The proof will lie in how she exerts that new found and growing influence. Perhaps in the wide-spread swing to the left, will come some escape from the hang-overs of feudalism, and perhaps national barriers and conflicts may be diminished. Who knows? Russia has given the world a superb example of national strength & unity growing in adversity. (Have we gained any?) The basic difference between Stalin mobilizing Russia in war and Hitler mobilizing Germany was that Stalin called on the people as Russians to defend their mother country, while Hitler called on Germans as party members, as national socialists, to fight. Russia was not fighting for Communism but for Russia. Hitler was fighting for the tenets of Naziism. In Russia the Communist International party is not directing the policies; in Germany, Hitler in the purge of '34, threw out the Army & the gov't by the people, and put in the SS, the Gestapo, etc. - the Party took over. Let us not foment our already deeply ingrained, and largely unfounded, distrust of Russia, until we have reason to do so. On our ability to deal practically and in faith with Russia depends the peace of the World!
You are blue about the casualties on Iwo, Darling, of course. They plastered the place first, thoroughly. But there were deeply dug, long built fortifications. No amount of artillery & bombs will dent them. They must be taken the hard way, and it costs lives! It is another foretaste of things to come in that theatre. That is why there must be no let-up in the war effort when this part is done. You have qualms about your war contribution. Darling, you must remember that you are the "man behind the man with the gun", namely, me. The situation being what it is, if you didn't take care of the household and bring up the kids. I couldn't be here. You must accept my work here as being our contribution; it is the best we can do. Your share is real, and important.
Metadata Last Modified Date:
Linked Data:
RDF/XML     JSON     JSON-LD     N3/Turtle     N-Triples