The Brighter Side

Damon Runyon

Reading Eagle/August 22, 1943

When the Nazis fall, which in my opinion will be much sooner than the average person expects, the whole weight of the military and naval establishments of the United States will be shifted to the Pacific coast as a base for the great all-out assault on Japan, then the west coast will feel the rigors of war as never before.

Several millions of fighting men and their equipment will probably be moved into the coast areas, already pretty well crowded with soldiers and sailors. The western ports are our points of embarkation nearest Japan and the islands of the South Pacific. Some of them are being used to a considerable extent now, of course, but the flow is a mere trickle to the flood that is to come.

Many easterners have accused the West coast of not knowing a war is going on because of the greater use of automobiles along the coast than anywhere else, the less stringent wartime restrictions in some respects, and even the more liberal supplies of certain commodities. In general I would say the charge is unjust, but in any event a great change undoubtedly impends.

A tightening up is probably coming to the West coast that will make the regulations on the Atlantic Seaboard seem as loose as ashes. The military is quietly taking over facilities of various kinds in southern California and elsewhere along the Pacific coast that indicate preparations for a vast army. Cold storage is one of these facilities.


The European and North African campaigns that stripped the Atlantic Seaboard and the South of most of its gas will probably be duplicated in that detail on the Pacific coast before long, which will hit the civilian population of the coast right in the midriff, because this population is more dependent on automobile transportation than any other in the United States. The distances are great, the other means of transportation limited.

The rail facilities from the East and other points will be required by the military at the expense of supplies for the civilians and civilian travel. The West coast will be a great military camp subject to all the restrictive conditions of war, but if you think I am painting a dark picture of the civilian future, let me say I consider all this a bright and glowing prospect.


It will mean we are really on the move against Japan and no civilian on the Pacific coast where the understanding of the menace of the Japanese is particularly keen will kick about any inconveniences or discomforts if the purpose is the annihilation of the enemy. The civilians of the West coast feel that great offensive has been only too long delayed.

I am not in the confidence of the master minds, but I believe that the Japanese are to be blasted out of their strongholds in the same way they got there, which is to say by direct assault in overwhelming force on the sea and land and from the air. The idea that these strongholds are impregnable will undoubtedly be demonstrated a fallacy once they get the bottoms to move our men and the other necessary machinery. You may remember that Sicily was called impregnable.


I believe the Philippines will be retaken by assault as one of the first moves of the all-out sweep. There is nothing geographical or otherwise in this situation to daunt our leaders. I think Japan itself will fall to our arms under assault unless it meantime folds up.

You may say I am overly optimistic in view of the slow, painful step-by-step progress of our operations to date. But I feel we have just been sparring with them, learning their style and their strength. When we go to slugging, it will be a different story, and I have a feeling that the slugging is about to start.

(Source: Google News:,1458218&hl=en )

The works of Damon Runyon and other American journalists are now freely available at The Archive of American Journalism. Visit our bookstore for single-volume collections–-ideal for research, reference use or casual reading.