story which began under the heading of
Storytime: "WAR IN THE ATOMIC AGE?"
As we left off, war was fully declared, a disbeliever and heckler was shown to be a Galaxy agent, patriots were asked to contribute bandages to the survivors of the bombing of Kansas City and to show their support for the troops and their country, as a disciplined democracy, by showing no fear, speaking no fear.
I skip over the body count and the description of the devastation around Kansas City. It is a paragraph long, and not terribly engaging, involving rapid dissipation of the vapor and radiation.
However, we pick up
At sea-ports, air-ports, and space-ports the signs of warfare were not the bustle of unprecedented activity, but an amazing emptiness. These were the distributing points of offense, not the centers of defense as in the olden days. The centers of defense were all around: next door, downstairs, around the corner, but they were not manned by armies of men and women.
That signal had been flashed before the Galaxy's spokesman had completed his first broadcast.
Around the entire continent of North America that signal had caused a towering wall of invisible resistance to be magically erected. There were secret exits in that wall, through which the punitive might of the nation poured in mighty jets.
Methodically, and without haste, according to plans often rehearsed, the Army was mobilizing. The Ready Forces had been assembled and dispatched to strategical points within the hour of alarm. Mobile battalions were in their air transports which swung in thousand-mile circles awaiting the signal for departure to a tactical zone. But in the main the Army's job would not begin until the shooting was nearly over. Then it would occupy the enemy's lands and do what was necessary to eradicate forever any menace to the world's peace in those quarters.
* * * * * *
How had the defensive forces of the United States so quickly detected and destroyed the source of that first and horrifying assault upon America?
How had authorities here been able, with such all-pervading confidence, to assure the frightened populations of the threatened cities that the Galaxy's boast was an empty one?
We people of the Twenty-First Century, who look upon the savagery of our ancestors only with a certain shame, are so convinced that it was wholly criminal to employ the great forces of intellect in warfare that we are prone to forget that, so long as man armed for conquest others had to arm for defense.
It was the superior ability of the peace-loving nations to arm against aggression -- it was the margin of moral strength inspiring the United States to employ force for the preservation of peace -- that enables us of our enlightened age to enjoy the benefits of a world free from fear of war, free from the economic burden of armaments.
As we now know, the United States had a few hours of warning that the Galaxy was plotting some act of aggression. It may be that the Galaxy's advanced forces were forced to strike prematurely by learning that American suspicions were aroused. If any documentary records were made of the Galaxy's plans and subsequent actions, they were destroyed during the One Week's War. It is all academic now...
And that, kiddies, is where I will end this exerpt. In fact, unless I receive pleas to the contrary, I think I will call this the end of this story, even though there are 52 more pages told by the author. I like going out with a bang.
I'll see what worthy material I can find from my next book auction, and get back to you with it soon.