EDITOR’S NOTE: The Leader & Times is proud to launch this new series by Ananda Coleman, which will reach into the pages of Liberal’s hometown newspaper since its beginning 125 years ago. It looks at the events and stories that affected this town, its people and the times in which they lived. It will continue throughout the year as part of our 125th anniversary celebration. Enjoy.
Researched and compiled by Ananda Coleman, L&T Reporter
Millions of war refugees left without proper clothing
“Easter tranquility descends upon us amid, our wartime strife and sadness, bidding us to find hope in the story of His birth and Resurrection: inspiring us to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to a rebirth of peace, as he dedicated himself to teaching the glories of love and peace to all mankind,” said an ad in the Southwest Daily Times from local churches. Easter services where everyone who wanted to take part in them and the community’s churches were “open to everyone.”
All churches planned to especially extend their hospitality, warmth and spiritual blessings to the men and women of Liberal Army Air Field, who were stationed in the town until “peoples all over the world may again relive the story of our Lord at Easter time.”
Adolf Hitler was reported to have met with the German High Command. A Swedish dispatch announced that the high command told Hitler it was ready to negotiate an Armistice if the Nazi government would quit. “Hitler is said to have told the high command he would give up his position as leader but insisted a new ‘Fuehrer’s Council,” which would be headed by Marshal Kesselring,” the Times reported. “According to the dispatch, the high command rejected Hitler’s proposal.” Another dispatch from the same Stockholm paper said open revolt had broken out in Austria in the previous 24 hours and more than 50 Nazi party leaders and Gestapo officials had been killed. However, “all of these reports are unconfirmed,” the Times said.
“Voters will go to the polls here to elect mayor, one councilman from each of the four wards in the city, three members of the board of education, city treasurer, board of education treasurer, police judge and justice of the peace,” the Times reported. The city was also supposed to vote on whether to retain the current council form of city government or change to the commissioner-manager form. “The city shall levy an additional half mill tax for the purpose of brining manufacturing institutions here,” the Times said.
“The War Labor Board [WLB] has taken the first step to enter the soft coal wage dispute,” the United Press reported. “An official says the WLB is preparing for an order calling on miners and operators to continue operating under an extension of their existing wage contract.” The first move of the WLB was to call representatives of both the union and operators for a public hearing. This conference was called to have the two groups show cause why they should not extend the present contract. “Failure to agree to continue to work undoubtedly will lead to government seizure of the mines,” the Times speculated. “Both sides frankly are saying there’s no chance of a new contract being reached soon.”
“What can you spare that they can wear?” an ad from Duckwall’s said in the Times. “Across the barren wastes of war-torn countries, wander multitudes of dazed, destitute people. Their appalling number, in Europe alone, is 125 million, of which more than 30 million are children. They are living in the ruins of their homes. They are working in their ravaged fields. They are kept alive more by courage than food; warmed more by hope than clothing… working and waiting – even as we – for total peace.
“These men, women and children – innocent victims of Nazi oppression – have been robbed of all but life itself. During five long horror-filled years of war, the clothes on their backs have worn to pitiful shreds and rags. Production of new clothing has been impossible – so that their need will continue long after the end of hostilities.
“So scarce and scanty have their garments become that, during winter months, deaths from exposure have equalled – and in some areas even exceeded – deaths due to starvation and malnutrition.”
“Sunday was a happy occasion for Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Bunting of Liberal,” the Times reported, “for they had their two sons, both of whom have been overseas, at home together for the first time in almost five years.” However, the two boys , Capt. Harry Bunting and Lt. Bill Bunting, had the good fortune to meet while both were stationed in Africa. “Capt. Harry Bunting, the eldest son, who has been in Africa and Italy for the past two and half years, arrived in the United States about two weeks ago on leave, at the end of which time he will return to Italy,” the Times said. “Lt. Bill Bunting, the younger son, served for 14 months in Africa, Italy and India, returning to the United States during the latter part of January,” the Times said.