U.S. News and World Report, 26 March 1948, p. 16-17


War fear is great and growing in many nations of Europe.

War is expected in a matter of months by some, within 4 or 5 years by others. War trend is running strong.

War sentiment is getting stronger in Washington. [...]

To find out what informed Europeans are thinking about war, U.S. News and World Report asked its world staff inside Europe to get off-the-record opinions from the best sources. The replies:


Chances are 50-50 that Russia will try to push ahead this year.

Norway would be first in line. Sweden would be cut off by the Russians as she was isolated by Nazis in 1940. [...]

Sweden, Norway and Denmark, all are hurrying to strengthen their defenses. [...]


There is less war feeling among informed sources in Germany than elsewhere in Europe.

Russia, it is believed here, still is wrapped up with limited objectives that Soviet leaders hope to be able to reach without war. [...]


Top Frenchmen agree war is inevitable sooner or later, possibly within six months.

War now could result from Soviet’s pushing too far too fast in efforts to prevent the United States from arming 250,000,000 Europeans against Russian expansion. [...]


Much less war scare is evident in Italy than in U.S. public opinion. Communists, campaigning for elections April 18, are following the usual line of “peace ahead,” denying war danger. Some officials believe Russia is pursuing objectives in the Far East, and will not encourage the use of force by Communists in Western Europe till war comes.

General optimism prevails for the short range. Long-range thinking is that war is inevitable within four or five years.

Majority believes Russia doesn’t want war because the United States is too strong. But it’s agreed that the next move is up to Russia. [...]


Britain’s leaders are acutely conscious of the danger that Russia may be carried away by her effort to get what she can without war. That, as the British see it, is the No. 1 danger of war now.

Feverish haste is evident on the diplomatic side. British officials are vitally interested in getting the United States to put a military guarantee of Western Europe on paper as soon as they can. [...]


Top officials in Washington do not expect war this spring, barring a sharp turn of Russian policy toward armed conflict. Informed sources, in fact, are thinking in terms of blocking a war for this year and for several years to come through preparing U.S. public opinion and U.S. defenses. [...]

Source: No author, "Is World War III At Hand?," U.S. News-World Report, March 26, 1948. Notes: pp. 16-17

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