Major Robert F. Burns

90th Division, U.S. Army

 

War Letters from Europe

Normandy to Germany

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Letters from France

June 22, 1944
June 29, 1944
June 29, 1944 (2nd)
July 6, 1944
July 17, 1944
August 10, 1944
August 14, 1944
August 25, 1944
September 1, 1944
September 2, 1944
September 3, 1944
September 3, 1944 (2nd)
September 14, 1944
September 16, 1944
September 16, 1944 (2nd)
September 17, 1944
September 28, 1944
October 2, 1944
October 14, 1944
October 22, 1944
November 2, 1944
November 12, 1944
November 24, 1944
December 2, 1944
December 27, 1944

Letters from Luxembourg

January 9, 1945
January 16, 1945
January 20, 1945

Letter from Belgium

February 7, 1945

Letters from Germany

February 9, 1945
February 21, 1945
February 23, 1945
February 26, 1945
April 5, 1945
May 5, 1945

Letters from Czechoslovakia

May 10, 1945
May 16, 1945

Letters from Germany

May 19, 1945
May 20, 1945
May 24, 1945
June 3, 1945
June 22, 1945

Letters from France

June 30, 1945
July 3, 1945

Letters from Germany

July 14, 1945
July 27, 1945
July 30, 1945
August 3, 1945
August 14, 1945

Letters from France

August 26, 1945
August 28, 1945
August 29, 1945

Letters from Germany

September 9, 1945
September 11, 1945
September 13, 1945
September 15, 1945
September 17, 1945
September 23, 1945
September 27, 1945
October 1, 1945
October 9, 1945

Letters from France

October 13, 1945
October 15, 1945
October 22, 1945
November 5, 1945
November 17, 1945
November 17, 1945 (2nd)
November 23, 1945
November 30, 1945
December 17, 1945
December 17, 1945 (2nd)
December 18, 1945
December 26, 1945
January 2, 1946

Letters from Belgium

January 14, 1946
January 15, 1946
January 17, 1946
January 17, 1946 (2nd)

Letters from France

January 21, 1946
January 24, 1946

Czechoslovakia

May 10, 1945

Dear Pudge,

Entering Czechoslovakia was like doing France all over again. Not since Louvigny du Desert have we experienced such wild enthusiasm. There were the same girls with flowers and children waving flags while standing proudly under hurriedly lettered signs "Welcome U.S.A." (one of them said "Willcome") or "Victory, U.S.A." Even the town loafer exerted himself so far as to raise up on his elbow from his prone position on the grass outside of town to wave a dirty green handkerchief at us.

Czech partisans were everywhere with their red armbands. They bustled about trying to look important, much like the Free French.

There were celebrations in the town square - music by a Czech band and later by an American band. Many of the Czech girls are extremely pretty and some put on their gay national costume to the delight of the GI camera fans. Loudspeakers placed throughout the streets blared out announcements in polyglot tongues as well as music. With the flags (American, British, Russian and Czech) swirling everywhere from buildings and on vehicles and the constant flow of people it looks like a miniature World's Fair.

The enthusiasm of these people knows no bounds. From what I hear of those few who had to be billeted in private homes, their hosts can't do too much for them. They wake up in the morning to find their shoes shined and their hosts press upon them various scarce items of food and drink. They rush around to get hot water for baths, escort them to their room at night and probably would tuck them into bed if they would permit.

One of my sergeants, however, was disappointed in the people. He felt he had been defrauded by artists and writers who conspired to present a people who do not exist. Like every traveler, he conjured up a visualization in his mind's eye which he label "foreigner". It came as something of a shock then to find that Europeans are just people. They look and dress about as we do and were it not for their speech there would be no great difference.

Their houses and streets, though they have a distinctive flavor, are very much like ours. This town with its sun-swept streets might be like San Bernardino. This region with its rolling hills might well be one of our Western States.

 

May 16, 1945

I was on night duty when I wrote the foregoing and fell asleep and put it away. I have just now caught up with it.

Your last letter has arrived (day May 4). It reminds me that I never told you about the popcorn balls as you asked. The box which I gathered was made from "store bought" popcorn came not too long ago. They were softer than the others and not quite so crunchy. I personally like the others better but people with soft teeth prefer the latter kind. However, they are all good but it is getting much too warm for them.

I don't have much use for foodstuffs as such, but you might send some more of those caramels as somebody sent once. I also need some more film as I have about used up what came with the camera. Although Momma wrote that Marnie enclosed two boxes of film, I found only one. Incidentally, what speed is it? I have never used Du Pont film before so don't know. Haven't had a chance to have any of it developed yet. These cartridges are made for only 50 exposures (25 normal size) so I have to tear the strip in half in order to use the whole role. You might also send some 120 film if you can get it. I have another camera which takes that size.

Incidentally, you can expect packages to take quite a while to arrive. The average time is 39 days.

I never heard from the woman who called Momma. Just as well, for I couldn't have given her any information anyway.

Love,

Bob

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