Excelsior Hotel, Frankfurt, Germany
13 March 1946
Back again in Frankfurt, and tomorrow night we speed (?) by rail for Berlin. It has been delightful, during the past week, to be able to raise a finger and be immediately wafted where we wished by our Chevy sedan and its excellent corporal driver. I wish he might be continuing with us but he must be left here.
The trip was at all times interesting and at most times enjoyable and I have a vastly improved appreciation of what U.S. Military Government is doing – and attempting – to do here in southern Germany. Furthermore, I have a pretty comprehensive picture in my mind of the people with whom we’re working, the country which they must develop and reclaim, the lives they live and the homes, surroundings and conditions in and under which they live them. I shall attempt to tell of these and of our experiences in my next circular letter, so shall not take time to duplicate here, but shall simply generalize and speak of a few incidents.
The weather was generally abominable, – drizzling rain several days, fog or haze in many places where we particularly wanted clear, sparkling sunshine, and a continuously raw, though not freezing climate. Today, in Frankfurt, the sunshine has been delightful, but this morning, when we took a run 35 kilometers up the Autobahn to Bad Nauheim, it was mainly overcast and hazy. The only other clear sky we have seen was late in the afternoon as we entered and drove around Munich. That night, as Wally and I trudged to and from the movies, we saw the moon for the first time. In many places along the way we saw snow patches and among the hills of eastern Würtemberg the ground was pretty well covered – showing that we were fortunate not to have travelled a week or two earlier. Today there is a first feeling of spring in the air and on the entire route much of the agricultural land was green with the winter grain shoots. But with all its scenic deficiencies the trip was more than worth while in both a business and personal way. I expect I’ll be back over the route a number of times and should know the beauties of the country in all of their seasonal changes before I finish with this job. I don’t believe that even the clearest atmosphere would have revealed the Bavarian Alpes from the Autobahn between Stuttgart and Munich. Someday I want to wander away from the beaten path and get down in that country.
It has been interesting to clean up some geographical misconceptions I’ve had, – for instance that Ober Ammergau was in the Hartz Mountains in the heart of the Black Forest. The first is in the extreme south of Bavaria, almost on the Austrian border (U.S. Zone); (ink’s gone [Arthur changes to blue pencil]) the third is in the western Baden near the French border (French zone); and the second are between here and Berlin in Westphalia and Saxony in the Russian Zone and the northern part of the US Zone.
We had three flats on the trip, two in Munich and one this morning, otherwise the car acted nobly. I’m sold on the Reichsautobahns, beautiful dual highways which avoid all cities and from which you can see the countryside. But to see the quaint little towns one must leave the highway and take the secondary roads – which we perforce did much of the way.
I look forward to do the mail I hope to find awaiting me in Berlin. Lots of love to you all.