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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

As Heart and Blood - continues by Christopher Marcus


Dear sister,

It is a strange feeling to write someone whom I may never see again. It is also strange to admit to myself that because of that I feel closer to you now than I did in Tarija. We were always on good terms, you and I – and for that I am grateful. It was not that we never had an argument, we had plenty! I used to loathe the fact that you seemed to be content staying around the house, instead of running of to get married with one of father’s ‘promising young candidates’.

But I see now, here on this dreadful troop transport ship to Europe, that it was just my own loathing of myself that was a fault. I should have gone away, I should have taken a decision, but it was easier to think that there was something wrong with somebody else. It was not only you, it was everybody else. And now the decision has been taken, and I have the pains and bruises to prove it, after the dreadful training camp in Florida.

I guess it is always hard to learn how to die … Oh, don’t knit your brow too much now, we’ve spoken of this many times, after I let you in on my decision to volunteer to fight the Communist scourge. We’ve spoken of what it meant, but perhaps it is more real to you now that you have my letter in your hand and feel that I am truly far away. I assure you, as I sit here on my bunk, feeling every convulsion of the hull of the old converted liner, with all that I own consisting of a uniform and my weapon, it feels very real to me, too; in a way I never imagined.

There is a lot of talk here about what will happen once we reach Spain. I will not expect to be able to get into touch with grandfather, but I will let you know, and father of course, if it becomes possible. But I don’t even know when or where our regiment will land. We are a motley crew – all Latinos, all volunteers, from different parts of the continent; but they’ve told me that we will be mixed with the Spanish units and that the army as a whole will be under American command. And there is not much more that they want to tell us, perhaps for security reasons, perhaps out of traditions, but most likely because they don’t know.

That leaves room for rumors – and more than I care to count. Some say the Reds are almost about to break through, and that we are merely going to be cannon-fodder; that we will fight a delaying action. Others say that the Americans are preparing, secretly of course, another nuclear bomb to take out the Soviet forces in Southern France. That is the rumor I find least likely. They would have done so long ago, I believe if they were able to. Still, there are also rumors that there will be some kind of invasion soon, elsewhere in France, or possibly in Northern Europe, to open a new second front – like it happened against the Germans just a few years ago. And how do you react to all such rumors?

In the beginning I was very keen to investigate, to try to gain certainty, but no more. I cannot gain any certainty about anything, in these matters. We are told only what we need to know and we can guess about the future until we go crazy but it will not help.

We will only know what happens when we get there – to the front. Do not be too alarmed for me, dear sister. I know you were against this decision of mine, that you thought it too rash and ill-conceived but I assure you … it is the best decision of my life. And these are good men I’ve trained with. There is not a doubt in my heart that together with men like these, spirited and full of determination to see this war to an end, then the Bolsheviks to do not stand a chance. They have worn themselves out, finally, and they will not be able to fight on much longer – not with the rest of the world against them.

We will win, and I will be back soon. You will see.



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