‘Greatest Generation’ survey on race, sex and combat during World War II runs counter to its wholesome image – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-12-20 11:38:19 –


A new project at Virginia Tech presents uncensored results of dozens of investigations of services performed on soldiers during the war.

Photos by-/ OFF / AFP via Getty Images

In August 1944, an American soldier who had completed an Army investigation was asked if he had any further remarks. He did it.

“We must maintain white supremacism,” he wrote.

“I will fight as needed to prevent racial equality. I never salute the Negroid officers and receive no orders from the Negroids. I am fed up with military remedies. ..[Black soldiers] As if they were humans. The race separation must continue. “

Another soldier wrote: .. .. We need to embrace this barrier and live, fight and play separately. “

These harsh and other views from the isolated army of World War II present uncensored results of dozens of investigations of services conducted on soldiers during the war, a new project at Virginia Tech. Appears at.

Many sources have been published on the Internet for the first time, many of which go against the sound image of the “greatest generation” of war.

Raw attitudes on topics such as race, female, gender, gender, and combat are revealed on page 65,000 from an Army survey found by Virginia Tech historians at the National Archives.

Black soldiers had their own views on a man called a “cracker” in the South who could not admit that the Civil War was over. Some soldiers suspected the woman in service. Homosexual soldiers wondered why they were drafted. And some soldiers said they had been in combat for too long.

The project is called “American Soldiers During World War II” and is supported by funding from universities and the National Endowment for the Humanities and the activities of the National Archives of Japan.

It is directed by Edward JK Gitre, an assistant professor of history at Virginia Tech.

“It speaks to generations,” he said in a recent interview. “Good, bad, ugly, heroic, not heroic.”

Debuting on December 7, this website offers digitized and transcribed survey responses, as well as analytics, lists, and statistics.

The investigation guaranteed anonymity. (Approximately 500,000 military personnel were investigated, but results remain for approximately 300,000.) The investigation gave soldiers the opportunity to do beef, opine, or vent, and the Army did what the soldiers did. I was able to know what I was thinking.

For scholars, and now for the general public, they have a glimpse into the thinking of the American generation serving in the war. It lasted for America from 1941 to 1945.

Gitre said he first found the investigation at the National Archives in 2009.

“It was a surprising discovery, as much of the World War II material has been censored or written after the fact,” he said. “I quickly realized … these were never censored.”

The investigation was conducted by a wartime organization called the Army Institute in US bases and battle zones in Europe and the Pacific.

In addition to the research, Gitre’s project presents the 1941 Army Slang Glossary. It came from the Army’s public relations department and was published in the journal American Speech that year.

It was drunk to be hit and the wings heavier. Serum was an alcoholic beverage. The gas shop was a bar. The 6 and 20 Tooties were the “responsible” of the Air Corps officer candidates who returned late from vacation and deserved 6 disadvantages and 20 punishment tours.

The fact that beer contains eggs means that there are too many good ones.

Findings are often rough and jarring.

Hispanics, Jews, medical personnel, and reporters all received some criticism.

An angry soldier at the Marines’ publicity wrote, “Let’s leave a press reporter in the state.” “I’ll tell you when you’re done, and that’s all you need to know.”

Other soldiers were stranded for at least one reporter, the legendary newspaper columnist Ernie Pyle, who was killed in battle in 1945.

“Listen to Ernie Pyle,” said another man. “He’s GI Joe for us. He’s a spokesperson for all men abroad.”

Homosexual soldiers write:

“Most of us joined against our will. Things are getting harder for us because we were something we couldn’t help. Why did you introduce us in the first place? Leopards can’t change their location, but they can’t reduce their homosexual tendencies. .. .. Don’t get caught. “

Some of the toughest words came from white soldiers commenting on the quarantined army. According to a general survey, 75% of North soldiers and 85% of South soldiers believed that blacks and whites should be trained and served separately.

However, the black soldier wrote: .. .. The hatred imposed on black soldiers. “

“In all patriotic speeches … He spends his time insulting and abusing black warriors who are doing everything they can to promote war effort,” he wrote.

“Most southern whites must be afraid that the rise of the Negroids is dangerous to their long-held white supremacism,” he wrote. “For us, the saying that the house or the army is split against itself will surely collapse. Hitler knows this better than we think.”

Another black soldier said the army “smells.[and] It’s full of many “crackers” who don’t know the end of the Civil War, and from all the signs it never happens! “

And another wrote: “After the war, we are fed up with what they call the so-called white supremacism, so there will be riots after the riots … We have the right to live, work and progress like ordinary people. I want. The right to fight and die as a true American should … .. .. You can’t hold back us, try as you might. “

One research question asked if black soldiers believed they were given a fair opportunity to win the war. 54 percent answered no. Another question asked if they think white newspapers fairly report on the role of blacks in the war. 41 percent answered no.

“Some of these are really hard to read,” Gitre said.

Soldiers complained about the incompatibility of their uniforms and said they disliked classical music and “hillbilly” songs. The majority believed that men who were “cracked” in combat were neither cowards nor fake.

Some soldiers were hostile to women in the army, especially in the Women’s Army Corps, which was served by 150,000 women during the war.

“Women’s whereabouts are in the house,” wrote a soldier. “She can do more there by writing letters and doing war work than in the army … Because there are too many immoral women in service. I don’t want my sister to live with such people, nor do I want a self-respecting woman. “

Another wrote: “WACS excludes those that look like women. I never ask or advise girls to participate in such outfits. I told my girlfriend that she participated in WACS. I said I would get it done with her if there was. “

And one more: “Usually women participate in Wac for reasons other than patriotism. Most of them are sheep-dressed wolves .. .. Freed from the pride of family and relationships, she is now herself You can unleash yourself. “

Several studies were conducted on women, but not all data and records survived, Gitre said in an email. “Unfortunately, there are multiple-choice survey responses from women, as well as handwritten remarks,” he said.

The long and brutal combat tour was a serious problem.

“What I want to know is the Fifth Army fighting this whole thing … Only the war here?” Wrote one soldier who probably engaged in a fierce battle with the German army in Italy. “My clothes have been fighting for about 135 days without rest or relief. When do you feel relieved?”

Another question was why the 25th Division stayed abroad for so long that it fought in the Pacific War. The division fought fierce battles on Guadalcanal Island, New Georgia and the Philippines, killing 1,200 people and injuring 4,100 during the war.

“We are now in the jungle for 18 months. [and] It’s pretty old for us, “he writes.

Another man explained how the jungle fight hurt him.

“You will stay longer [in] fight [in] These damn jungles, you forget what you are fighting for, “he wrote.

“You forget what you were home to. .. .. You lose confidence in yourself and everyone else. .. .. You start thinking .. .. How long this lasts If I live through it, I will never get better. That is what discourages you .. .. You can’t help it. “

And a veteran of combat in Italy wrote: .. .. The campaign isn’t the only one. .. .. Every day, I see my friends injured and killed. My luck cannot last forever. “

‘Greatest Generation’ survey on race, sex and combat during World War II runs counter to its wholesome image Source link ‘Greatest Generation’ survey on race, sex and combat during World War II runs counter to its wholesome image

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