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YOUR OPINION: When we almost went to war

Dear Editor:

In the dark days of World War II, England was losing the Battle of the Atlantic. The U.S. occupied Iceland to extend cover for convoys and was using U.S. Navy ships for escort. The Germans even sank one of our destroyers, the Rueben James.

The U.S. and England wanted to use seaports on the west coast of Ireland to extend cover for the convoys. Eman DeValera, the prime minister of Ireland, was very anti-British and pro-Axis. He mobilized the Irish army to fight attempts to occupy these seaports. It was rumored that Joseph Kennedy, our ambassador to Great Britain, a staunch Irish Catholic, encouraged DeValera and had discouraged the draft in British Northern Ireland.

Hitler, flush with victory, diverted his forces to Russia and saved England. If Joe Kennedy had been vital to Hitler’s defeat of England he would have been a very likely contender for Gaulieter of England (king of England.)

Joe Kennedy was rumored to have made money bootlegging booze during prohibition. There was mob competition. It was rumored that the Purple Gang of Detroit had put a contract out on Kennedy. Kennedy is supposed to have gotten his pal Lucky Luciano to ask his pal Al Capone to ask the Purple Gang to lift the contract. Joe’s son who he made president must have done something right to require executive action which would have made it seem that it was felt he could not be handled by the usual political ways.

Lucky Luciano said I owe everything I am to my third grade teacher. She taught me organization. Lucky was a man of peace. He organized the Union Siciliano to stop mob warfare which would bring public reaction, saying there was enough to go around.

During his exile in Italy a movie producer, Martin A. Gosch, and his associate, Richard Hammer, paid Luciano $100,000 for his autobiography to be made into a movie. Lucky’s friends persuaded him not to make the movie. The Luciano writings were published by Dell titled “The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano.”

When I was young, the characters in the book were well known as Baby Ruth or Joe Dimaggio. I was best man at the wedding of a son of one of the major contenders.

I will pass on a bit of Sicilian wisdom. “Never threaten anyone just put a curse on them.” Curses seem to work and should not be used lightly.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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