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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Anne Hitchcock Sims


30, Grosvenor Gardens ,      

London. S.W.       

August 7th.1918.

My dear Anne,

     . . . You of course receive all of the news there is to tell concerning affairs on the Western Front. Our papers are in fact, more full of details of these operations than the papers over here. This is due to the fact that there is a great shortage of paper and they can only allow a limited number of sheets. Outside of what we see in the papers there are all sorts of opinions expressed. My friend Grasty1 is at present in a very optimistic mood. He says that the Hun is distinctly beaten and will promptly come forward for a peace drive. Many people believe that this drive will be on in a very short while; that he may do some more fighting on the Western Front to get into a more favorable position to make the peace drive, but that the High Command now see that the game is up with them and are more likely to make favorable terms now than later.

          Of course all those who are capable of straight thinking about the war, realise that we do not want any peace at all except after Germany is so thoroughly beaten that we will not need any peace conference; that all we will need to do is to tell her what she can have and she has got to take it. The danger that is feared is that when Germany makes up her mind she cannot sin she is very likely to offer terms that will be quite acceptable to the mass of the population of the individual allies but they will take no regard of her which will not care much about the present position in Russia. Such terms would be very attractive to the average man who is now war weary, although those who understand these matters better might object that to leave Germany in possession of Russia would only be to defer further hostilities for ten years or so; still an appeal to the civil population to continue the war for such an object and for the ultimate benefit of Russia, would not be very strong, particularly as there is a very lively recentment over here against the action of Russia in repudiating her debts and in making a separate peace. We can only guess what the outcome will be. Apparently, both Great Britain and France, and of course the United States, will do all they can to prevent a peace of this kind being consummated.2 . . .

     Saturday, Aug 10, 1918

My darling Nani

              This has been a very busy week and I have not had time to write you a pen letter. It is more than likely that I will have to dictate at least most of the news items I send you – but you told me you did not mind that. I write slowly and with some difficulty and could never tell you all I could dictate. This job is growing all the time[.] There are 3600 officers and about 48,000 men and nearly every steamer brings more. I cannot say that my work increases much as the staff attends to the increase and they bring me nothing they can handle themselves. . . .

     The news from the W. front is very good. Perhaps it means that the war will not last much longer. Our troops have increased the morale of the allied armies and diminished that of the enemy. . . .

Your devoted            


Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS. William S. Sims Papers, Box 10. The first part of this letter is typed; the portion dated 10 August is handwritten.

Footnote 1: Charles H. Grasty, an American correspondent for the New York Times.

Footnote 2: Although the German surrender was not unconditional and there was a peace conference, the terms of surrender were harsh and in the final peace Germany was forced to give up their holdings in Russia, though this territory was not returned to Bolshevik-run Russia. WWI Encyclopedia, Vol. 1: 126-27; Vol. 4: 1222-25.

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