Good War ~ Studs Terkel ~ 4/99 ~ Nonfiction
sysop
April 2, 1999 - 08:11 am



WHERE WERE YOU IN WORLD WAR II?

Any discussion of the 20th century will center on this war,
Our "GOOD" WAR











Share your personal memories!

Experience Studs Terkel's Pulitzer Prize-winning
Oral History of World War II!





A "Good War because...
"It was not like other wars. It was not fratricidal. It was not, most of us profoundly believed, "imperialistic." Our enemy was, patently, obscene: the Holocaust maker. It was one war that many who would have resisted, supported enthusiastically. It was a "just" war.

OUR VETS REMEMBER(click here)


From "Over There" (click here)


"No lives were left untouched... " (click here)








Studs Terkel:
The Importance of Sharing these Memories!

"World War II is an event that changed the psyche as well as the face of the US and the world. The disremembrance of this war is becoming disturbingly profound. We seem to be suffering from a National Alzheimer's in our country. No one remembers the Great Depression anymore. Soon we will not remember World WarII. It's important for younger generations to hear the Vets' stories and learn from them.



The telling of stories, "oral history" was the only history to exist before the printing press. I try to fill the role with the tape recorder. Anything to keep these memories alive. Each memory is a precious memory. In the "Good" War, I wanted to focus on ordinary people rather than on celebrities, on ordinary people who do extraordinary things - to show what it was like for them and their families to live at that certain moment in history.



The title of this book was suggested by a World War II correspondent. It is a phrase frequently voiced by men of his and my generation, to distinguish that war from other wars. Quotation marks have been added simply because the adjective, "good" mated to the noun, "war" is so incongruous. World War II was a war that had to be, but not "good". No war is good. War is insane. By the very nature of war, you are sending out kids to kill a stranger. A stranger = an enemy. Decent kids don't know this. War was a learning experience for them. I wanted to talk to people who had been kids at the time, to hear how they first experienced war and death.



This is a memory book, rather than one of hard, precise fact. I have not changed my mind about people. All people are capable of change. As for war, there has to be another way. But what?



Like your Internet group - strangers coming together to learn more about one another. That's what it is all about to end war. Fewer strangers, fewer enemies. Keep the memory alive!"



Studs Terkel is the author of the Pulitzer-prize winning, The "Good" War, an Oral History of World War II.




Read Me for more World War II Memories

Discussion Leaders were:Joan Pearson and Robert Iadeluca


The "Good" War by Studs Terkel
7% of your purchase price will be donated to SeniorNet!



Authors who've participated in Books discussions

Joan Pearson
April 6, 1999 - 05:35 am
You will not be able to put down this book until the last page! The personal memories they evoke! All of the folks Studs Terkel interviewed in these pages were 18-19 yrs. old during the war. How old were you? I bet you remember lots more than you think after reading these oral histories. I think we all owe it to our kids and grandchildren to brush off these memories and get them down on paper. Share them with us! We'll save them for you!

Larry Hanna
April 6, 1999 - 06:37 am
Joan, I haven't read any of Studs Terkel books but it looks like this well be an interesting read. Have to admit that I am too young to have many memories of the war as wasn't born until 1941 so was blissfully oblivious to what was happening in the world. My folks speak of the difficulties encountered but I was never hungry or felt the impact of the war years.

Larry

Pat Scott
April 6, 1999 - 07:34 am
I have never read any books by this author either but will sure be happy to look at this one. I have only a few memories of the war here as I, too, was born in 1940, the year after it started, but my memories are of my uncle coming home and the welcoming in Toronto by my aunt...a scene I'll never forget.

Pat

Theresa
April 6, 1999 - 09:07 am
This is going to be exciting! I will order the book today. I was 5 years old when the war started and remember my brothers leaving, one by one, as they became old enough to go. The youngest left home at the age of 17 years to go in to the Navy. I remember my mother with a rosary in her hand nearly every minute until they came home. No matter what else she was doing, I am sure her heart and thoughts were with her 3 little boys..one in Europe and two in the Pacific. I also remember when they came home!!!!!! I look forward to the discussion!<P.Theresa

Ella Gibbons
April 6, 1999 - 10:16 am
There are many memories of WWII in my family as we were all born in the '20's or thereabouts. My husband was in the Navy on an aircraft carrier and two brother-in-laws were in the Army, one was wounded fighting in Italy. However, they got him back on his feet and he fought again.

I'll get the book, Joan, and look forward to the discussion.

Jaywalker
April 6, 1999 - 10:24 am
I lived with my family on a farm in the state of Washington in 1941. I was six years old. I have memories of that time, and the years that followed, as we also "moved to town" (Everett), and my father went to work at Payne Field. I will be interested in what everyone has to share in this discussion.

patwest
April 6, 1999 - 11:52 am
Our family was on our way home from Florida in 1941 ( in a wooden bodied Ford Station Wagon), shortly after Pearl Harbor, when the government "froze" tires. We always spent Christmas holiday camping on Daytona Beach. Of course, we had a blow-out and could not find a replacement in a small town south of Nashville. But a kind mechanic gave my Father a lift to Nashville, where he was able to buy a tire on the 'black market'. The War ended those annual visits: never made that trip again with family until '50 when 2 of us were married and there were 2 grandchildren.

There is so much to remember.. Joan Pearson always gets me thinking about memories I thought I had long discarded. I'll write more later... like trying to buy shoes, baking with honey, and first aid classes and rolling bandages, knitting scarves and mittens.

patwest
April 6, 1999 - 12:18 pm
Well, I just check my library's web site and the book is in. So I emailed them I would pick it up tomorrow.

And I can keep it 6 weeks, by renewing it for 3 weeks additional when I first take it out.

Larry Hanna
April 6, 1999 - 12:51 pm
Pat, I also was able to get this book from my library. They had three copies and two were immediately available. Since it is an older book it is not in current demand like some of the current bestsellers. I will also be able to keep the book for 6 weeks and then can probably have my wife check it out for me as long as there are no holds on it. This access to the library database is just great.

Larry

Barbara St. Aubrey
April 6, 1999 - 02:30 pm
Gosh back to a time when a vail of honor and unabashed patriotism covered the land! I was one month away from becomeing 9 when we officially entered the war with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Victory gardens; saving tin cans, aluminum foil; picking fruit because there was no farm labour; air raids in school; stamps for sugar, shoes you name it; war news on the radio; rolling bandages and making bed pads with the Girl Scouts; rectangle flags with stars in windows showing sons and husbands in the service or a gold star if someone had been killed.

WWII war was such a large part of my growing up - I will be visiting my adolescents reading Studs Terkel's book. I have never read any of his work. This is such a great opportunity, on my own I would never have thought to read Studs Terkel. How much fun, all the memories that will be shared by those of us going to Chicago.

Pat Scott
April 6, 1999 - 02:38 pm
Pat W., you spoke about "baking with honey" and that sparked a memory for me. My father was a beekeeper and all beekeepers gave 10% of their yield each fall during the war to the armed forces so that the soldiers could carry honey with them in their kits to put on wounds.

My father's eldest brother was a Seargent Major in the 48th Highlanders and he would write to Dad saying, "Keep those bees producing, Ian! We need it here." Apparently, germs don't live in honey and I remember as a child when I would fall, my mother put honey on my knee.

patwest
April 6, 1999 - 03:52 pm
Pat S... my grandmother, (grew up in south London) put molasses or sorghum on cuts. She often mixed sulphur with the molasses and in the spring we were given a tablespoon full daily. I finally got smart enough not to go visiting there in the springtime.

Ella Gibbons
April 7, 1999 - 06:59 am
The afternoon when the news came over the radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed, all the grownups were startled and discussing the news while sitting in front of the radio. I was 13 and had never heard of Pearl Harbor and kept asking where it was and was irritated that nobody would pay enough attention to me to answer my question.

Do you remember the "Pathe News" at the movies? We often went on Saturday afternoons and watched a double feature with a cartoon and the "News." That was where we saw the pictures of what was happening overseas.

robert b. iadeluca
April 7, 1999 - 06:28 pm
I remember a lot about World War II. I was in the Army from June/42 until April/46 and fought in Europe. About three years ago I had the desire to write up my childhood, thought it would be a few pages and ended up with 125 double spaced pages. This led to my writing up another chapter called War Years and I ended up with another 160 pages. I brought home a French GI bride and ended up writing about 500 pages on my marriage. It started happily, produced two children, and ended with an unhappy divorce 20 years later.

I am looking forward to sharing and reading.

Robby

Joan Grimes
April 8, 1999 - 05:30 am
I remember the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. My mother had taken my brother and me out into the woods behind our house to look for mistletoe to use in Christmas decorations. When we came back home my dad who was lways glued to the news on the radio told us that the Japan had boomed Pearl Harbor. He had been telling us for years that Japan would attack us. The iron and steel from furnaces at a closed steel mill in Birmingham had been sold to Japan several years before the attack. I remember his words that Japan would shoot that back at us one day. He was not a well educated man but kept up with current events on the radio and read every newspaper that he could get his hands on . He was always well informed on what was happening the in world. As soon as we came into the house he began showing us in the Atlas exactly where Pearl Harbor was. By the next day we knew that there were young men from our area who were on the ships that were bombed. We soon knew that some of these men had died. I was about 9 year old so the memories are vivid.

The war in Europe had been talked about constantly in our home by both my mother and dad. Dad kept up with everything that happened.I have vague memories of Dunkirk, of France falling and that sort of thing. My Dad kept up so closely on everything that happened. After Pearl harbor the memories are not vague anymore. They are very clear.

I could go on forever with memories of the war years but won't do that.

Joan

Joan Pearson
April 8, 1999 - 05:48 am
Oh my, we do have a weatlth of memories! Robert, please say you will get a copy of this book and come back and discuss it with us! Your firsthand knowledge will be invaluable! You are a treasure!

And Ella, Joan, all of you with vivid memories, yes, you too simply must come back and share in this discussion. Counting on you to make it really special!
Joan

robert b. iadeluca
April 8, 1999 - 06:07 am
Joan: OK, I'll get a copy of the book. I'm looking forward to this discussion.

Robby

robert b. iadeluca
April 8, 1999 - 06:12 am
Two additional thoughts:

1 - I'm sure there are those who went through more horrendous experiences than I did and could contribute to this. I would suggest "advertising" this new discussion group in as many other groups as possible.

2- This Senior Net is for us "elders" and we don't encourage young people to sign on. Yet I would submit that most of the young folks these days think of us as "ancient history" and not relevant. How can we pass on what we are about to discuss to these younger generations?

Robby

Cecelia Golieri
April 8, 1999 - 07:08 am
I was a kid in Brooklyn during WWII. My brother joined the navy in May '42 and immediately became my hero as he flew all over Europe..was a turret gunner then later aviation mechanic. One day all the dishes in the cabinets fell out and everything shook - weren't told it was a German submarine off Long Island and some actually landed. When a family lost a boy, they put a little flag in the window with a gold star. My dad worked in the Brooklyn navy yard. Signs in the subway would say "Keep Mum Chum, Chew Tops Gum" and "A Slip Of The Lip, Will Sink A Ship" My brother and I now live together in FL, he has a world of stories but says "I was only 17 when I enlisted and was the kid in the squadron. Those old guys are all dead now." His young friends admire the pictures I have of Sarge with all his stripes and fruit salad. cel in FL

robert b. iadeluca
April 8, 1999 - 07:12 am
Cecelia:

Those German spies landed near Southampton and actually took the Long Island Railroad to New York City before they were apprehended. But what does that have to do with the dishes in your cabinet falling out?

Robby

Cecelia Golieri
April 8, 1999 - 07:23 am
robbie, the government didn't tell us they were bombing those submarines..depth charges? There would have been mass panic and exodus to Utah if we knew what actually was going on.cel

rebecca j
April 8, 1999 - 07:52 am
HI I AM REBECCA JOHNSON MY HUSBAND BILL WAS IN THE IOIST AIRBORNE DIV AND WAS THE REC,OF TWO PURPLE HEARTS AND ONE OAK LEAF CLUSTER AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER WE HAD A BEAUTIFUL LIFE HE WORKED FOR CONRAIL IN PA, AND WE HAVE TWO SONS AND A DAUGHTER THEN THE SAD PART OF MY LIFE VCOMES LATER HE DIED LAST YEAR AND I MISS HIM SO MUCHI AM TRYING TO GO ON AND IT IS SO LONELY

Cecelia Golieri
April 8, 1999 - 08:03 am
Rebeccca, try Lifestyles Widows and Widowers..we're all there ...Yes, the old soldiers are dying one by one..got a couple still around like robbie and a friend of mine who is 88 and celebrated his 66th wedding anniversary with his Sally... they were childless married 12 years and then he came back from the army and they had 4 kids in a row....,must have been all that south pacific fruit he ate.cel

robert b. iadeluca
April 8, 1999 - 08:07 am
Rebecca: Your husband was (and is) a true hero!!! I hope you remain in this discussion group and continue to brag about him.

Cecelia: Is life passing by without my realizing it? I wasn't aware I was one of the few veterans left of World War II. I thought there were still a lot of us.

Robby

Eileen Tyrrell
April 8, 1999 - 09:35 am
I wasn't old enough to be in the war,as such, but I sure was on the receiving end. I can remember it well and inspite of friendly relations, when in the service in Germany, I saw a German plane with the cross on it, and I was really shaken because if I had a gun I would have shot the first person that came out of that plane, I still remembered, and that which I thoughy was over was just hidden until I saw that aircraft on the tarmac. It's rather frightening, if this can happen to me, I dread to think how those who really fought feel, will it ever be over?

SargeVero
April 8, 1999 - 11:48 am
My sister says this is my chance to talk. So she has to type for me I went into the USN at 17 in 1942 and wanted to be in submarines, but I had mastoid problems as a child and ended up flying. My first station was Jax NAS in FL and I loved it. Then to Hollywood,FL in 1943, then on to Natal, Brazil and then to No. Africa. I never shot anybody on the ground, just targets. The US Army shot at my plane and I still have shrappnel in my legs from where they hit my turret. After the war I flew the Berlin Air Lift and was stationed in London. The best thing about the War was that it got me out of Brooklyn and I never went back to live there. I went to Korea and flew into Vietnam before the U.S. got heavily involved. Old soldiers usually end up big liars just like fisherman so I don't want to talk about it.

Cecelia Golieri
April 8, 1999 - 12:02 pm
Yes robbie, your numbers are few. There weren't even enough able bodied WWII Vets to march in the Veteran's Day Parade here last year....don't know why they couldn't ride in a convertible but the VFW chose not to. cel

Ella Gibbons
April 8, 1999 - 07:36 pm
I know 3 able-bodied veterans, but only one of them ever talks about his WWII experiences.

Before we get Studs Terkel book, why do you suppose he called it the "Good War?" Can any war be good?

Eddie Elliott
April 8, 1999 - 11:46 pm
I ordered my copy yesterday and anxiously awaiting it. Have ALWAYS loved Studs Terkel, but have never read this one. Won't be able to offer much of my memories, as I was only 2 years old when it started and 6 when it ended. We lived in Newport News, Virginia and I do have memories of all the activity there. My grandmother lived down by the shipyards and turned her house into a boarding house. Lots of USO entertainers in and out all the time, (Red Skelton was one of them). But mama wouldn't let us visit her during that time, as she didn't like us around all the different people that were in and out.

My father was too old to be called, (I think he was too old, not sure...he told everyone he was exempted because his trade necessitated him staying at home...he was a butcher), whatever the reason, it worked out very nicely for him...he was an alcoholic, also, he was very irresponsible and a "lady's man"...claimed he was in 7th heaven with all the men gone and the ladies lonely!!! Poor mama...she worked like hell keeping us together and safe during this time. She rented out rooms in our house to older people and also cleaned and took in ironing to help. I can remember Black Outs and stomping tin cans and helping mama roll bandages for the red cross. We always had meat on the table (daddy took care of that). I remember rationing and mama upset because daddy (not needing his meat ration stamps) trading them for other ration stamps...can't remember what he got for them...whatever it was it wasn't what mama wanted...she wanted sugar and shoes for us (were they rationed?) I do remember everyone running out into the street yelling, "THE WAR IS OVER!", I remember I thought it was so wonderful that my mama was so happy...she just jumped up and down and cried and danced around in circles! It's one of the few times I saw her happy in those days.

Even though I don't have much to post about my memories of the war, I find it so interesting to hear from everyone else. Am really looking forward to it.

Ella, I think the reason it is referred to as the GOOD war, is because it was fought for a reason that everyone believed in and it brought us all together, as a country. There was pride and honor and conviction and a deep love for our country! I am probably way off base here...as I tend to agree with you...can ANY war be GOOD?! Am anxious to hear other opinions on why it was classified as, a GOOD WAR.

Really enjoying everyone's posts and looking forward to hearing everyone's discussion.

Eddie

Jeryn
April 9, 1999 - 04:56 pm
I agree with Eddie as to why it would be called the "Good War". I probably won't read this book [too much else going on in my life] but will follow the discussion with some interest as I certainly remember WWII. My father enlisted in 1940 even though he was 30 years old, married, employed, and father of a 6-yr old daughter, namely me! I think it was the towering experience of his life and he never tired of talking about it. Anyway, I have many memories of the 40s, my grade school years. More anon...

Ella Gibbons
April 9, 1999 - 05:05 pm
Hi Eddie - it is fascinating to me, also, to hear the recollections of those days. We went to an Elderhostel trip on the Chesapeake Bay and were in the Newport News area, I'm sure that was a busy place during WWII with the Navy base at Norfolk. Do you live there now and if not, do you ever go back? That was a fascinating trip as we all stayed in an old, but lovely, hotel right on the water, but the hotel was on an Army base - can't think of the name of the Fort ----Fort, something or other. I was called Ma'am all week and all those lovely young men in uniforms and saluting in the morn and evening and all sorts of fun things to watch, besides learning all about the Bay.

Oh, yes, shoes were rationed during the war. We had ration books for sugar, coffee, shoes, among other things, but nobody complained as I remember. I lived in a college town and the boys came there for educational courses of some sort and used to march down the middle of the streets to get to their housing. The townspeople were a bit taken back as they held up traffic everywhere, but you didn't complain - it was for the war effort. Everything was for the war effort! I remember some rumors about those young men being "90-day wonders" and it had something to do with sending them into battle after 3-months training, I think.

Ann and I went to a used book mall today where I got Studs Terkel's book. Looks interesting and I must call my one BIL and tell him to come out here and "listen in" - he might tell me a few things to tell all of you, if I catch him in a good mood.

robert b. iadeluca
April 9, 1999 - 05:13 pm
Ella: Explanation of a 90-day wonder.

In normal times, West Pointers graduated with the rank of second lieutenant after four years of college. When war came, there were not enough second lieutenants, so special 90-day courses were set up and after completion, the grads were now second lieutenants.

Keep in mind that all ranks obtained during the war were temporary ranks. 90-day wonders were temporary second lieutenants. West Point grads were permanent second lieutenants. West Point grads looked down on 90-day wonders as did some of the non-coms and enlisted men but an officer was an officer and had to be obeyed.

Robby

Jaywalker
April 9, 1999 - 07:35 pm
I can remember rationing, and the black-outs. The upper portion of car headlights had to be blacked out so the lights couldn't be seen from the air. We kids had can drives and newspaper drives and such. We'd pull our wagon around the neighborhood and gather up tin cans and newspapers and all sorts of scrap metal and then haul it off to the school auditorium where there would already be a mountain of scrap. We had competition between the classes in grade school to see which could bring in the most scrap.

When I was in 4th grade, we were all taught to knit so we could supply the Red Cross with 6 inch squares to make afghans. Boys and girls alike knit these squares from donated yarn. It was all 'fun' for most of us, and we felt soooo patriotic doing it.

I also remember tax tokens. I have a collection that was my mother's. Seems like I remember it took 10 tokens to equal a penny!

patwest
April 9, 1999 - 07:43 pm
And Ration books with those little red and blue stamps that would never tear right on the perforations. I wore out shoes so fast that I wore boys tennis shoes because you didn't need a shoe coupon for them. The black over the ankle kind.

Ann Alden
April 10, 1999 - 09:19 am
Okay, what about the lack of bicycles? No new ones seemed to be offered at our hardware store so my Dad purchased a used "boy's" bike for me for $10 or rather I paid with it from my newspaper route money. One day,I saw an upperclassman parking his "girl's model" in the bike racks, waited for him after school and traded him my boys'fenderless bike with no brand markings anywhere for his fendered, basketed and handle gripped Ben Hur model. Since I was only 9 or 10 at the time, my parents were astonished but his parents were thrilled.

I remember, too, the huge piles of scrap and paper behind our school and the huge clothes piles in the church basement where my brother and I played games while our parents sorted for the European refugees. And the war stamps sale every month when we lined up in the school auditorium to buy and paste them in our stamp books later to be traded for a bond.

My dad rode the streetcar to work so that he could save his gas stamps for a little travel now and then, in our '31 Model A Ford! Very little travel, up to Anderson and Kokomo to visit family and over to Union City to visit more family at the Ryan farm.

My mother learned to knit at the downtown department store and because my brother wasn't in school yet, he went along with his own knitting bag and learned also. We would all sit around knitting in the evening(it must have looked like the "home" when you walked in) but not much of what we made went anywhere except Mother's which made it to the Red Cross. She must have been making sweaters and socks but I can't picture any particular things.

I am in the middle of this book and its an eye opener.

I remember switching from playing cowboys to playing war. The boy down the street had a real helmet and when my brother asked for one, my dad fashioned one for him from a steel mixing bowl. Needless to say, this lasted about one afternoon with the kids teasing him to death!

Jaywalker
April 10, 1999 - 11:14 am
Yes! I remember buying 'savings stamps' at school and, when the books were filled, turning them in for bonds.

Ella Gibbons
April 10, 1999 - 01:28 pm
Weren't they called Liberty Bonds and isn't that what the "Stars" out in Hollywood sold all around the country?

My husband who was in the Navy on an aircraft carrier called the "Altamaha" remembers Betty Grable and Esther Williams coming on their ship when it was in port - isn't it funny - of course, they came with a band and others - but those 2 women are the only ones he must have looked at!!!

robert b. iadeluca
April 10, 1999 - 01:34 pm
Ella: Millions of servicemen had pinups of Betty Grable. What those other servicemen didn't know was that there was a special relationship between Betty and me but I didn't let on.

Robby

Ella Gibbons
April 10, 1999 - 02:23 pm
Hi Robby! Oh, come on, you can tell us now - haha Who would believe you any way? Did she stay married to Harry James the rest of her life?

Thanks for the info about the 90-day wonders, I knew it was something like that! Poor fellows being officers and not qualified and knowing it! And being looked down on by the West Pointers - it must have been humiliating to them. I wonder how many of them there were - and how they did as compared to the real Second Lieutenants.

My daughter joined the Army Reserves to make a bit of extra money while getting her PH.D. in Nursing (and I should add without telling us anything about it as we would have been against it). She joined as a 2nd Lieutenant, was activated in the Gulf War (she is with a medical unit) and is now a major - she loves the Army - says it is as if she is entering another world on those weekends and 2-weeks in the summer - and it has benefitted her in many ways. Who would have thought?

Jaywalker
April 10, 1999 - 04:48 pm
I believe they were called Liberty Bonds. Also, I can remember changing from frankfurters to "hot dogs" and from hamburgers to "victory burgers." And people had victory gardens, even in the cities.
We lived out on a farm in 1941, and I remember being told (by my slightly older brothers) that "the Japs" were everywhere -- I was terrified to walk down the path to the outhouse, because even though I had no idea what a "Jap" was, I just knew they were lurking in the bushes waiting to jump out at me! The same "fear" was there every time an airplane flew overhead. I've just read the first part of the book by Studs Terkel and I see that fear of the Japanese was pretty wide spread, and evidently promoted by the media. We didn't get a newspaper, but the radio was a very important part of our life at that time.

patwest
April 10, 1999 - 06:04 pm
I thought they were called war bonds... The Liberty bonds were those issued for WW I.

robert b. iadeluca
April 10, 1999 - 06:07 pm
Ella: I don't know the ratio but there were far more 90-day wonders than there were West Pointers. That figures because the size of the Regular Army at the start of the war wasn't anywhere near what was needed. And many, of not most, of these temporary 2nd Lieutenants did wonderfully well. They went on to become the 1st Lieutenants and Captains that helped lead us to victory.

Robby

Iowa Bill
April 11, 1999 - 09:19 pm
I was 13 when the Japs--yes, the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor. I knew where Pearl Harbor was as my oldest brother was in the Pacific on a Destroyer(#332 USS Gilmer). I was a newsboy for the Milwaukee Journal and sold many extras that afternoon and evening. People bought them up rapidly. I wanted to get into the war as soon as I reached 16*. My next oldest brother joined Navy in 1943, eventually was a gunner on a TBM torpedo bomber and fought in many sea battles from Leyte to Okinawa. He is my hero to this day. Kids* who were tall enough were getting into the service with fake parents signatures or fake birth certificates. My oldest brother's best friend who used to hang around our house during his high school days was in the 101st Airborne and was killed on D-Day. That was a shock to us as he was like part of our family. I am anxious to read Studs Terkels book.

Theresa
April 12, 1999 - 02:53 am
We lived out in the country on a small farm when my three brothers all went to war, which meant that the farm work was left to my one remaining brother and the "girls" (one sister was away at nurses training). One of our neighbors was Dick Bong. He went on to become the Ace of Aces by shooting down a huge number of Zeros. His family lived on a farm about 10 miles away from ours and he was a good friend of my oldest brother, Bob. I remember the day he was killed...it was after the war and he was flying as a test pilot in California....we went to his funeral and I remember how impressed I was with the "fly over". They dropped flowers from the plane..and my sisters (4 of them) sang. My sisters were represented by the VFW in Superior, WI, and had blue and gold outfits that they wore when they sang. They also sang at the christening of a couple of the ships that were built at the Walter Butler Shipyards in Superior. Interesting memories. I hadn't thought about that for years!

Iowa Bill
April 12, 1999 - 12:40 pm
Theresa--I sure do remember Richard Bong--Being from Wisconsin it was especially thrilling to hear your story. I also just checked out "The Good War". Sadly I notice it had last been checked out in 1990. I've read about 20 pages so far and it is really well written. In the Introduction Terkel gives a pretty good explanation why he calls it the Good War. I was astonished at the panic that took place on our west coast after Pearl Harbor. If the Japanese knew how poorly defended we were it could have been devastating. As to how we treated the Neisie's I think it is a real shame. The cash settlement can do little to make up for it. Now if only the present Japanese Government would admit to their atrocities in Korea and China!

Ella Gibbons
April 12, 1999 - 02:35 pm
Gosh, whatever the bonds were named, I remember the posters up around about buying them. And there was a big poster with an angry looking Uncle Sam pointing his finger and saying "We want you" or "I want you" or something????????

Happy to hear those 90-day wonder did all right. To this day my husband, who fought the Japs in the Pacific, will not buy anything made in Japan, even though the cars and their parts are so interchangeable today, who knows where something was put together. I understand that it is politically incorrect to use the term "Japs." Our government didn't give much thought to "after the war" when they were teaching these young men to hate, did they? And these young men saw their friends killed by the enemy.

Ann Alden
April 13, 1999 - 10:44 am
Yes, those posters were everywhere and the stars went around the country to rallies. My father-in-law was an engineer for radio staion WIRE in Indianapolis and he escorted Carol Lombard to her plane after a rally and I believe the plane crashed and she was killed. Very sad!

We also had a victory garden which was about a half acre in a huge field about 2 miles from us. We had to water by hand and my mother canned every August and September. In our neighborhood there was only one krautmaker(not those Krauts!!silly) and we all bought or harvested our cabbage and waited our turn for having it. You were only allowed so many days and then it had to be passed on to the next one on the list. Like sharing a canner.

I seem to remember my mother volunteering at the ration board where you went to get your gas cards, meat tokens and ration stamps. And also helping out at the Red Cross office. I think that was the last time we, as a country, were working together. Too bad it took a war to get us to do that and then after it was over, back to the same ol,same-ol. In fact, I think we became more separated after the war than we were before. This book really makes you think as each person's perception was very different.

gladys barry
April 13, 1999 - 11:20 am
I was 21 when the war started.we spent every night in the shelters.I was sent to a munitions factory in the heart of Manchester England. being there, and it lasted Six years,there is so much to tell ,I would need to write a book my self/it is hard to believe now what we endured the battle of Btitain,the bombs,the rationing .and I mean ``rationing the walking home when buses stopped running with the planes the sound one never forgets of planes with `` a load on~the air raid warden yelling at you to take cover,sometimes you lost all fear and just wanted to get home to loved ones.the smell of fires from burning buildings.The blessed relieve of the ``all clear~~thats just the tip of the iceburg.gladys

Ella Gibbons
April 13, 1999 - 02:09 pm
Gladys - you were there right in the thick of it! - and I'm sure there is so much you could tell us. Great Britain suffered so much! You were sent to a munitions factory to work? Where did you live while you were there, where were your folks?

Of course, since the war we have all read and heard about FDR wanting to get into it much sooner but not knowing how to convince the American people. Now, we know he was right; however, we are all wondering the same thing at the present about Kosovo and what should we be doing.

However, that is not the subject here. Ann - your stories of sauerkraut are wonderful. I've tried twice to make it and each time the stuff rots, don't know the secret! But I have tasted the kind you make in a crock and it is soooooooo good!

gladys barry
April 13, 1999 - 04:42 pm
ella I was lucky ,wasnt far from my home could travel each day.Some had to come a long way we were conscpipted in a way taken from our jobs and sent to work in war factories.We were caught napping we had no weapons to speak of ,America didnt declare war but they provided us with much needed weapons and materials.I wasnt quite sure whether to write or not didnt know whether it was a posting effort or reading cant get the hang of it just yet ,but have a lot to contribute on this subject.thanks for answering .gladysb

Joan Pearson
April 13, 1999 - 05:35 pm
Hello everyone! Have you noticed Robert Iadeluca's name in the heading. He has graciously agreed to Host this discussion. Can't say "welcome" as he is no stranger, just thank you and I know this will be very special with your natural hospitality, Robby!

Gladys, yes please come back, I know you will have many memories to make this discussion come alive. See you all here Thursday?

Theresa
April 13, 1999 - 06:43 pm
Gladys, please tell us more. I remember as a child my mother used to have us all say our prayers every night and we would pray for all of the kids in Europe who were in danger that night! Maybe our prayers helped.

robert b. iadeluca
April 14, 1999 - 04:57 am
Well, here I am, your host. I'm not quite sure how it happened. I do remember their asking me to do it and offering $10,000. That seemed too little for what I was being asked to do, I asked 20 and finally settled on 15. Whether or not I continue at this meager amount depends on the participation of all of you. If I find that I have to do all the talking, I may ask more.

Now - as to the duties of the host. You may have noticed that many of the hosts are genial people offering coffee, tea, cookies, brownies, etc. in the discussion groups. Well, forget it!! However, I am not completely selfish so I will have available for you an assortment of K-rations and C-rations. There will also be coffee (such as is found in a package in the K-ration). My "favorite" - you realize the word is relative - was the K-ration that had the cheese and cookies but let me know your preferences and I'll see what I can do. Those of you who subsisted on other kinds of foods can tell me about it and we'll work on it.

OK gang!! Let the memories pour out. If you have some comments about Studs Terkel's book, we're all here to listen. Otherwise just talk to us about what this "good war" meant in your life.

Robby

Jackie Lynch
April 14, 1999 - 06:19 am
Hi, Robby and all you folks. WWII meant big changes for my family; we moved from Mobile, Alabama, to San Jose, California in 1943. I was in the 3rd grade. In Mobile, my father worked in a ship yard, and Mother would go to pick him up after work. We two girls went along, and I got sick everytime--next door was a paint factory. The very memory of that smell can make me sick still. Mobile, in the heart of the deep, deep South, as the radio announcers always said, was strictly segregated. San Jose, on the other hand, was not. I played with children whose parents came from Italy, Mexico and Portugual. I was amazed to find that these little girls and boys were just like me, even if they did talk funny (I was accused of being an Okie for my accent) and eat funny foods. My great grandfather was an immigrant from Germany, and my father would "tease" me that Hitler would love me for my blond hair and blue eyes. My tears only made him laugh. What ambivalence he must have been feeling, a good ol' boy from the deep south, who believed in Hitler's racial purity, wanting to be a man and go fight the Germans. San Jose was a great place to grow up, and I am forever grateful that my parents moved here.

Ann Alden
April 14, 1999 - 06:27 am
In the book, one of the Andrews Sisters remarks that here in the States, the patriotism was so all pervading and that its was as if we were all holding hands. Good analogy! When she and her sisters were visiting hospitals and were asked to sing for the "severely wounded-basket cases, she calls them", I cried over her description of it all.

Gladys, you saw it all. What a terrible time for you. My husband and I visited the Museum of London in '94 and they have an extensive exhibit on WWII. When we were at St.Paul's, we went back behind the main altar to an area dedicated to the Americans who died trying to protect England. For some reason, I started to cry and couldn't stop until we left there. It was spookie!

We had a few servicemen stay with us, on their way to a new assignment. Cousins. One was taken prisoner early in the war and spent the rest of the time in a prisoner of war camp in Germany. We all thought he had died as he was listed as "MIA". It was just overwhelming to all of the family when he returned to us. Two of his sisters were in nursing school in Indy and spent weekends with us. The oldest one joined up, went into the WACS and was helping to bring the wounded out. They flew in gliders to do this. Another relative, Aunt Betty, was a public health nurse and she also joined up and ended up in Persia and Siam and then in Italy. She spoke Polish so spent lots of time talking to the wounded Polish men. They were so happy to have someone who could understand their wants and needs. She was even asked to make some kind of speech to them for what I don't know.

My dad became very depressed over being labeled 4-F as he had spinal arthritis. He tried several times to enlist. But, he was 33, married with 2 children plus not that well. I don't think he ever got over it. He died 2 years after the war was over at the age of 39. Heart attack. It just bothered him horribly that he couldn't help in the service of his country.

robert b. iadeluca
April 14, 1999 - 10:28 am
Welcome, Jackie. Your story helps to tell how the war caused so many people to move far from their original home whether they were in the service or not. Glad to see you ended up in a community that you like.

So many young people today make every effort to stay out of the service and here was your Dad, Ann, who became derpressed because he couldn't enlist. I wonder what percentage of the younger generation can understand the patriotism we felt then - as you quoted one of the Andrews Sisters, like "holding hands."

Robby

Ella Gibbons
April 14, 1999 - 11:30 am
Hi Robby and Welcome! Are you planning to organize our reading of the Terkel book, e.g. 3 chapters a week, or shall we just have a go at it at our own speed?

In the Introduction, I agree with most of what Terkel says, particularly when he says "The reason you storm the beaches is not patriotism or bravery - It's that sense of not wanting to fail your buddies." But does everyone agree that WWII changed our country in that today our military runs our foreign policy, the State Department has become the lackey of the Pentagon? I would hope not.

And speaking of rations, I'm almost sure that cigarettes were included in the soldiers' rations, weren't they? How times change, eh?

Terkel certainly got it right when he stated that the taste women got for independence during WWII was never lost and millions of American women would never be content to live as their mothers and grandmothers had lived.

I've read the first chapter, sad - but sprinkled with laughter. Am I correct that the words in italics are Terkel's"

Robby, were you in WWII and where did you serve?

Iowa Bill
April 14, 1999 - 02:53 pm
I am halfway through Terkel's interviews. What a presentation! I really appreciate seeing the war through the many diverse viewpoints. While I was in college in 1949, I worked one summer at A YMCA summer camp in Iowa. One of the cabin counselors was from the German YMCA. He was in a tank on the Russian Front and he told us many experiences he had in the Ukraine. The one I remember the most was when he was guiding his tank around a hedgerow (I thought hedgerows were only in France), while he was sitting perched on top. About 50 yards ahead of them was a Russian tank facing them with a Russian guiding it from the top. He waved at the Russian and the Russian waved back and they both reversed their tanks and went back to their own lines. This is somewhat like some of the stories in "The Good War".

Ruth Levia
April 14, 1999 - 03:41 pm
I've got my copy of The Good War from the library and have found it interesting and easy to read so far. Even though I was only 6 years old when the war started, I used to read copies of the Readers Digest near the end of the war, about the refugees who were released from the terrible camps and all the displaced persons, and I was horrified at the atrocities that went on. I'm sure we all remember exactly what we were doing when the war was ended. The joy, exultation and excitement of seeing service men and women after years of being away.

The only thing I disagree with is Page 14, Big Bill said America was the only country among the combatants in World War Two that was neither invaded nor bombed. Even though Canada is not as big as The United States, we entered the war two years earlier, sent our men to Europe and were never invaded nor bombed either.

jimd
April 14, 1999 - 05:32 pm
I do beleive that the Aluetian Islands off Alaska were attacked by the Japanese.
Attack on Dutch Harbor, June 1942.

robert b. iadeluca
April 14, 1999 - 05:34 pm
Ella: My experience in S.N. is that the participants sort of take over and I guess that's the way it should be. So would you accept our being "semi-organized?" To answer your question, I joined (was not drafted) the Army in June 10, 1942, went to Fort Dix for a short time, was then assigned to the 76th Infantry Division at Ft. Meade, was then assigned on cadre to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, where with others helped to form the 100th Division, then volunteered for overseas duty where I was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division in Europe where I was in combat until the end of the European phase of the war. I was discharged from the Army on April 9, 1946 at the very same Ft. Dix.

Robby

Pat Scott
April 14, 1999 - 08:27 pm
Wow!!

What a discussion and the actual Book Discussion hasn't even started!

Looks like this one is a winner for sure! I got the book and will read as much as possible but leaving for the Georgia Bash on Tuesday morning!!

Wish you were all coming too!

Pat

Britta
April 15, 1999 - 11:03 am
I doubt that I'm the only one in America having seen "The Good War" from the other side. I was born in Germany in 1934, so most of my young life was spent during the war. We lived in Dresden, which was firebombed just before the end of this "good war". I never thought of it in these terms. Studs Terkel writes interesting books. I read his "Working". There are two sides to everything though. Wars are never Good, especially for the children. Just look into the faces of the little ones in Yugoslavia. Leaders of countries decide to plunge nations into chaos over political issues, never mind the innocent populations that get into the way. Do these "World Leaders" really think they are doing it for the good of humanity? As long as the human race exists, human good and evil will exist. It's just the luck of the draw on which side of conflicts we are born. The world is not a peaceful place since the beginning. Brigitta Buchholz, Western North Carolina

gladys barry
April 15, 1999 - 11:03 am
Thank you all you people who remarkd on my little contribution,to this folder.so many stories it bogles the mind.to many really .gladys

gladys barry
April 15, 1999 - 11:05 am
Britta well said although I was on the other side we all suffered the same.gladys

Eddie Elliott
April 15, 1999 - 12:00 pm
Really enjoying everyones postings. Gladys, you have so much to share, keep it up. Will look forward to all the wonderful musings in here. Have just gotten the book and will take it with me to Georgia Bash. I'm going to take laptop with me and hope to look in here as often as I can...but don't know how much time I'll have, as this Bash has grown and grown (80 people) and won't have much time, 'cause want to meet everyone and 3 days will go fast!! See ya'll when I get back!

Eddie

Joan Pearson
April 15, 1999 - 01:32 pm
Britta, for all the reasons you have mentioned, those of us with the book better look real hard at the reason this is referred to as the "good war". I bet those ethnic Albanians are feeling the same as you do...whether they and their country are being bombed for their own good or not! At least know, that Studs Terkel insists that each time his title is printed, the term "Good War" be enclosed in quotation marks! We do need to talk about this title some more...those of you with the book - how does the introduction explain it?

Something just occurred to me while reading these memoirs... Studs is not one to spend time on-line, just like so many men his generation. Listen to the man:

"You're talking to a guy who's totally illiterate. I'm just learning to use the electric typewriter and I broke it, I'm very bad at it. I'm not a Luddite, but I'm close to it.

I'm in favor of refrigerators, don't get me wrong. Where else am I going to freeze my martini glass? And I'm in favor of washing machines. I don't want to see women slapping clothes against the rock. So I'm horsing around a little.

But the computer, we know, does things much quicker -- information, info-mation -- but I'm worried about one thing: the effect on the person. Even though we're in touch with other people, are we really in touch? There was a writer years ago, Wright Morris, he once said, "We're more and more into communications and less and less into communication."

So you walk into a newpaper today -- go to the city desk, you're going to visit someone -- in the old days, and I don't want to romanticize, but there was noise, there was the human voice. Today you walk in and it's silent as a tomb. And they're looking into -- terminals.

No question, advances have been made, but I think there are dangers here. One danger is to the personality. There's something impersonal.

You realize I'm exaggerating because I'm non-technological. But I do see things happening, even in comical ways. When I want to call Charlie Andrews, an old friend -- in the old days someone would say, "Charlie Andrews is not in. Can I take a message?" A human voice. Or nobody's there. OK, now it's good, you got voicemail, you get messages you never got before, but you don't hear the human voice. If you call at a business, if you want so-and-so, "Dial 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 -- " By the time I get to six, I forget who the hell I was calling or what I called about.

There is something that happens to people when they get accustomed to mechanical voices. You become mechanical. Even language may become roboticized. That's what worries me. I talk to old-time teachers -- progressive teachers. They tell me a big difference is happening in language. It's more disjointed..."
When gathering the information for this book Studs flew all over the country to interview people. And now here we are, using his book and the internet to reach people all over the world, without leaving the computer screen. How do we reach the many who participated in WWII to share their precious memories with us? Do you think that each of us "techies" could find one Vet, interview him as Studs would, and bring those memories right here? We would preserve them with the other Vets' up in the heading...did you notice that clickable? Let's get the Vets! Each one get one! These are precious memories - we can't afford to lose them to time!
And the rest of us who remember the time from a different viewpoint...like Britta, like Gladys...important to understand the whole picture. Let's get it all out! Before it is lost to the next generation! That was Studs' gift...let this site be ours!

robert b. iadeluca
April 15, 1999 - 04:40 pm
Britta: I've heard so much about the terrible fire-bombing of Dresden but I've never heard before from a person who was actually there during that awful event. If you feel up to it, please share some of your memories.

Robby

Britta
April 15, 1999 - 05:11 pm
Hi Robby! Yes I was down there, 11 years old, while the sky was lit up like with christmas trees from tracers and then the planes came and we all huddled near the coal and potatoes in the cellar. It was an awful noise, when the bombs started falling. Our house was on the outskirts of Dresden, a little village called Niedersedlitz, and we missed a direct hit, but we had structural and glass damage and it shook pretty badly. The next morning my father took me with him to look for his sister, who lived in the centre of Dresden, but we didn't get very far. The Zoo animals were all running loose and there were fleeing people and rubble all over. Then the alarms sounded again and the next raid started, this one by the US. We barely made it home. They rained liquid phosphorus on all the people and a great firestorm started. The British had come during the night, but the Americans could see all they had done. One bomber flew away from the inferno and unloaded his bombs in a straight line away from the center. He ran out of bombs a few hundred yards from our house. My father measured the distance between the craters. We were lucky. When the survivors started coming out of the city, many ended up in our house. We still had water. They stayed for as long as they had to. My father brought a llama back with him from his search for his sister. It lived in our garden for a long time. Father's sister was buried beneath her house. Everybody was in shock. I think the figure of the dead wa over 60 Thousand, because the railroad station was full of refugees from Silesia. It received a direct hit, everyone was killed. The burning of Dresden was a great loss to the whole world, because it was an art centre and no military targets were there. It was destroyed on the 13th of February 1945 in retaliation for the destruction of Coventry, England by the Germans. Now Dresden and Coventry are sister cities. There is healing, if not comprehension. I became a refugee myself. A nasty designation to hang on anyone. People are afraid of refugees because they take up space, food and jobs in the established areas. My heart bleeds for the thousands that are now in that situation. I remember everything too well. These experiences become part of the fabric that is one's life. 1990 I returned to Dresden for the first time since our flight in December 1947. I stood in front of our house and wept with nostalgia. Nothing had changed. It just had grown old, like me. Under the communist regime there was no money to fix or improve anything. It was as if the whole village had been in a long, long sleep and when they awoke, the world had changed. It is hard for them to catch up. Last year I returned again to my old hometown and was happy to see the big improvement. They are working hard to rebuild that beautiful city and in a few places it is rising again, like a phoenix out of the ashes. I prayed so hard, that there would never be another war. I guess I didn't pray hard or loud enough, but then again, 1000 years are but a blink of an eye in the eternity of God. Maybe he'll get the message eventually.

robert b. iadeluca
April 15, 1999 - 05:17 pm
Britta: Thank you so much for pouring this out. I am absolutely without words (which is unusual for me). I hope that many many people read your posting and, if they are like me, they will never forget it. How could we (the Allies) do such a thing!!!

Robby

Britta
April 15, 1999 - 05:32 pm
Robby, as long as there are human being, things like this will happen. It's a flawed invention, these human beings. We just have to learn to deal with it.

Jeryn
April 15, 1999 - 05:39 pm
Britta! Thank you from my heart for telling us your experiences of the bombing of Dresden. Such sad memories! It is man who makes war and as it seems inherent in his nature to disagree, we can only hope civilization will eventually grow beyond nature. Now, Britta, what quirk of fate brought you to North Carolina?! And if I am being too nosy, just ignore me...

It is so true that our generation, all of us, was greatly influenced by this war. Some a great deal more than others, of course. I spent my childhood moving around, being a "camp follower" as my father was transferred to this and that army base. I doubt I would ever have lived a year in Florida, a year in Oklahoma, a summer in Pennsylvania, had it not been for that war! I still tend to be a restless, rolling stone sort of character with few "old" friends! Indeed, WWII had a lasting effect on so many...

Joan, Robby, this is a super discussion! Guaranteed to hook a whole generation! I may even read the book!! [Tried Studs once; did not much like--don't even remember which book!]

Britta
April 15, 1999 - 05:52 pm
Jeryn, since you are also a Rolling Stone, you may understand my restlessness After fleeing the Russian occupation of Dresden and consequent communist regime, we ended up in Bonn on the beautiful river Rhine for 8 years. While in University, I worked at the American Express co., which was located inside the US Embassy in Bonn. There I met my future husband, who is of German descent. We travelled the world by nature of his job as a US diplomat, lived in 12 countries, and finally retired in the mountains of NC because of GOLF . His passion, I'm the gallery. We love it here, but my roots are stunted and slow growing. There's so much more world to see !!

gladys barry
April 15, 1999 - 05:56 pm
Britta thank you for your email heartfelt.robbie am quite surprised you have shown no interest at all in what I had to say .

Jeryn
April 15, 1999 - 06:06 pm
gladys! Only wish you would tell us more... you were literally on the front lines of that war, as was Britta. I'm sure Robby means no slight... Those of us who never left the U.S. have only great interest and admiration for you who lived in Europe throughout the war. Your experiences, and those of the members of the armed forces, somehow hold a depth of meaning we can only stand in awe of...

Ah Britta! Shallow roots but I hope enjoying life in beautiful North Carolina! I have just moved again [in January] and find myself rather hoping NOT to have to do it again, maybe EVER! Exciting as it is, I think I'm getting too old for all the darn work that's involved!

robert b. iadeluca
April 15, 1999 - 06:23 pm
Jeryn: You beat me to it. Tell us more, Gladys, if you would please.

Robby

Britta
April 15, 1999 - 06:31 pm
Gladys, I appreciate your responce. My English neighbor friend came over for a cuppa and we talked about the past. We had the very same experiences as children of the war, even though we were on opposite sides. The children know nothing about the bad guys and the good guys, only that war is terrifying and it hurts people. When they invented atomic weapons I thought that would be the end of wars, but now I am getting worried again.

gladys barry
April 15, 1999 - 06:39 pm
Britta nothing against you as you have proved by offering me your friendship.I am no great Scholar,brought up in the wrong generation but know a slight when I see it .the funny thing is I KNEW this would happen ,been in a few folders and seen the same thing happen ,I thank you all for your interest but couldnt feel ever to go any further on here.

Britta
April 15, 1999 - 06:57 pm
Where is the Library - and how does one get there?

Biscuit (Joan Lavelle)
April 15, 1999 - 07:16 pm
Britta--Are you looking for "Library--A Conversation Nook"? If so, click here to get there.

AdrienneJ
April 15, 1999 - 09:18 pm
GLADYS - I don't think Robby meant to slight you...and your memories certainly are of interest to many. I am younger than you, but I went through the war in England too...was evacuated away from my Mother, and separated from my sisters for most of the war...moved to about 5 different homes in different cities...a scary time for a child. I remember worrying each time I heard bombs as to what was happening to my Mother in London (my Father died in 1940).

The bombs that were the most frightening were the "doodle bugs"...You could hear them come over and when they stopped you waited for the "boom" as you knew that they were going to come down then...and it always sounded like it was just overhead even if it wasn't....War is hell...I haven't read the book but cannot imagine any war being called "The good war".

As for rationing - it wasn't just a few things like in the U.S. Everything was rationed - food, clothes etc., and our lights weren't just dimmed, during the air raids they had to be completely blacked out. You would be fined if they could see a light from your house as you had to have blackout curtains - remember Gladys?

There was so much we didn't even have...never saw a banana until after the war and now eat one a day...Like Gladys I could probably rattle on and on...but wont.

Britta - you are right - for a child - or most ordinary people - it is the politicians that decide what will be and war is awful for both sides. So is ethnic cleansing and I guess that is why we have to try and help the Albanians - even though the Serbs helped us in WWII - and they helped the Jews...but wrong is wrong.

As to the terminology "Japs" I think that is offensive in this day and age...they were our enemy as was Germany - and now we are friends. Like Russia was our ally and then they turned....it is the way of the world back to when the English and the French fought wars back in the Elizabethan days....

I think I've gone on too long....bye...

Adrienne

expow
April 15, 1999 - 09:49 pm
Funny things are almost always remembered better than bad things. For instance. I was a prisoner of war in Germany. For a year I worked as a lumberjack for the Germans. Every day while working our arbeitsfuher (work boss ) would look at his watch around noon time and announce "mit tag essen". (lunch). We would all take off inside of the guard perimeter and hide under bushes. A half hour later the work boss (Herr Kupadarek) would anounce "alles mann arbeit gehan" (back to work) No body moved. After a second announcement he would start to look for George who was our official interepreter. He would eventually find George and say "Geoorrgge, alles mann arbiten gehen" George would then have to go and find the rest of us. This took time but it happened day after day. You wonder why such a thing could happen. It wouldn't happen in a Jap prison camp. Neither would it happen if we were working for the SS. However my theory was that we had convinced theordinary Germans that we were dumb and stupid. If you can convince anybody of this you can get away with murder. We had Herr Kuspadarek sold that we were not too smart and we really didn't mean to do this every day. This is known as resistence. Hence the motto of the American Ex-Prisoneres of War- Non Solum Armes (Not By Arms Alone) One must remember, however, that they had the rifles and that we could only go so far. The trick was to know how far.

GailG
April 16, 1999 - 02:03 am
I am reading a book,"Stones from the River" which is about a small German town and the effect of the persecution of Jews on the residents of the town who had been neighbors and friends of many of the Jewish families. The book is interesting on many levels, but of interest in this discussion is the heroism and courage of many Germans who helped to hide Jews and then establish a sort of "underground railroad" to help them escape. In the midst of all this, of course, the war came to this small town and the description Britta gave of the coal cellar was just as described in the book. The author pictures the young men in their uniforms proudly going to war for the "Faterland", after some of them turned their parents or friends in for speaking disrespectfully of Hitler and the new regime. But she also talks of the caring and sharing between the older people, and how so many of them feared and hated Hitler and the Nazis and lived in fear of being arrested if they expressed their feelings. This is not about the waging of the war itself, but this puts a different face on the people on "the other side".

robert b. iadeluca
April 16, 1999 - 04:25 am
Gladys: I have no idea what I did to slight you. Please tell me so that I don't do that again to you or to anyone else.

Robby

Ann Alden
April 16, 1999 - 04:33 am
I have two good friends from Germany and find their stories of the war interesting. One was older and in a school of Fashion before the war. She remembers going to see Hitler when he was running for leader of Germany in the early 30's and how everyone there was so thrilled to have someone in power who would get them jobs and food.(Did we feel any different about Roosevelt?) Hitler closed all schools similar to hers and sent the students to learn more "useful" trades, as he put it.. My friend ended up becoming a secretary at one of the airplane factories for the duration of the war. Her father was killed early in the war, in Poland. Afterwards, she and her mother moved to Gahanna,Ohio, and she went to work for North American Aviation as a secretery to one of the bigwigs here.

My other friend remembers her mother hurrying them(her and a younger brother, probably around ages 4 and out of Munich in an old baby buggy. Pushing them along the road with many other people doing the same thing. They were trying to escape to the country, away from any of the fighting or bombing. Nothing to eat for days. Her father was killed on the eastern front in 1940. She later married an American soldier and came here.

I have never been able to abide what we did to the Japanese who were American citizens. To have been here for generations and helping to build this country and then to lose everything you have worked for, was just too much for them. And, it happened to them in Canada,also. There is a book, "Obisan" which details the lives of a Japanese family in Canada during the war. True story. Written by the Poet Laueate of Ontario, I believe. True story, and so sad! The other book that comes to mind, about the Japanese situation, is "Snow Falling on Cedars" by David Guitermann. I believe it is fiction. I was able to find two good copies in paperback of this book, on Bibliofind. Will give one to my brother for his birthday this month. He enjoys reading nonfiction the best and was around at the time of the war, also. Younger than me, by two years. I wonder what he remembers? I will quiz him next week when he is here.

My husband should be commenting here,too. He was in the Air Force during the Korean conflict and we lived at three different bases, during the early 50's. I remember being not trusted by the townfolk. They didn't want to rent to service people. We were not stable, according to them. Our lives changed too quickly for them. It took some gutsy talking, on my part, to get a man to rent us a decent apartment, off base. They also didn't understand why we were friendly with all the races, who were in the squardron with us. This was in Texas. I didn't know a thing about segregation until I moved there. Quite a shock to a Yankee! Separate restrooms, water fountains, schools and rooms in the train station,sit in the back of the bus. Of course, we had it up here, but it wasn't quite the same or maybe it was, but we didn't own up to it. I don't know!

robert b. iadeluca
April 16, 1999 - 04:41 am
Welcome to the discussion, Ann. I'm sure your comments on the Japanese-Americans will bring comments from others. Although your husband was in the Korean conflict, not World War II, he may have some interesting comparisons to make.

Robby

expow
April 16, 1999 - 06:58 am
I do not know an awful lot about the Japanese-American situation of WW-2 but I do know one story. The surgeon who did my bypass surgery is a Japanese-American of the WW-2 era. He lived on the West Coast and he had really intended to follow in his fathers footsteps and raise crops. One of his teachers thought he was too intelligent to do this and she pulled strings and got him in college.(The power of a teacher). He was into his first year of medical school when the war broke out. He, and his family were shipped to Utah (I berlieve). The only way he could get out of the camp was to get a job inland. He came to Minneapolis as a lab technician. The local doctors were so impressed with him that they insisted that he resume his medical studies at the U. of Minnesota. When he graduated as a doctor guess what? Yep, the US Army drafted him and he became a MASH surgeon in Korea. I think this is an inspirational story and I, personally, was thankful that he became a first rate heart surgeon.

Jackie Lynch
April 16, 1999 - 06:58 am
Growing up in California, I new people who were in the camps. One guy in high school, he was on the football team, had been in a camp, and we all wondered if he hated us. One former boss told me how hard it was for him as a child; the infrastructure was internal. As he was a leftie, he was physically abused for writing with his left hand. Apparently the leaders of the internees insisted on conformity. His writing now is cramped and awkward, but he did learn to do as he was told. I probably will not read this book, but I will read the discussion. (Working was an assignment in a Sociology class; one Terkel book is enough.)

Ella Gibbons
April 16, 1999 - 07:48 am
I think we all need to address what Studs Terkel said about computers as we are all users!

I printed it out, Joan, to think about it and will return with my thoughts.

Wonderful conversation (impersonal though it may be, according to Studs) and hope to read many more.

As Joan has suggested, "each one get one" - a veteran. I'll try!

To the expow - I'd like to hear more of your experiences - the dates, how captured, when released - statistics?

Want to hear more from everyone, it's fascinating to read.

Ruth Levia
April 16, 1999 - 08:27 am
Britta - thank you for telling us of your experiences during the war in Dresden. I have read about the art and what a beautiful city Dresden was, and how horrible that it was bombed when there was no military reason for it. It must have been terribly scary for a child! How sad for your father to lose his sister. Who ever wins in a war? Not women and children, and not even men.

Gladys - please tell us about your experiences. I've seen bits of it over the past couple of years, when you've mentioned something in passing, usually in the Cafe. I would like to know more. How old were you when the war started? What happed to you and your family?

Adrienne - It must have been terrible for all the little children when they were sent away from their parents for so many years, during the war. Even though it was for their own safety, can a stranger ever look after a child as well as their own parents? Please rattle on - we are all interested in what you have to say and to hear of your experiences during the war.

Gail G - I read Stones from the River too, and really learned a lot about how the Germans of all ages felt about the war and about Hitler. I found it to be quite enlightening. The Good War is interesting because it tells of the experiences of many of the soldiers. They were such young men and had to grow up so quickly - some of them never had the chance to grow up.

Ann A. - I read Snow Falling on Cedars and believe it gives a good account of how the Japanese were treated during the war. They were badly treated then, and that wasn't right but I think people were scared of whether they might feel something for their parents birth country. They were also very visible and might have been harmed by people who might have lost sons or brothers.

Expow - glad to see that at least one Japanese person was treated well during the war. Luckily, some people saw the potential he had and helped him. What a waste it would have been if he had been interred during the whole time of the war.

Ella - I can't agree with Studs Terkel's opinion of computers and how they distance people from one another. As Ginny once said, computers can bring "mind to mind" which can be better than just face to face. I think in some cases, we lose our inhibitions when we "talk" to other people through a computer. Maybe we can express ourselves even better. What do you think?

Ruth

robert b. iadeluca
April 16, 1999 - 09:20 am
EXPOW: Thank you very much for these inspirational stories. As you continue posting, would you be willing to give your own name to help personalize it more? If not, I understand. Please continue posting under whatever name. Any comments you may have regarding remarks in the book, "Good War," would also be appreciated.

Jackie: I wasn't aware of the conformity insisted upon in the internship camps. I had thought (naive me) that they had just lived there with the sole difference being that they could not leave. Thank you for sharing this important piece of information.

Ella: Thanks for trying to find a veteran who can join us here. I'm sure we are all interested in learning if veterans really consider that war a "good" one.

Ruth: You said you found "The Good War" interesting because it told of the experiences of the soldiers. What were some of the experiences that struck you more forcibly?

Robby

gladys barry
April 16, 1999 - 09:31 am
Britta to reafirm your feelings of us `little ``people on either side it seems our hearts led us ,no matter what side we were on .I lived near a local park on the main london to buxton rd.we had a gun mounted across the street we called big Bertha ,when fired it shook the houses one night during a raid a plane `german`crashed in the park regardles of planes still dropping bombs every one went out to see the parachute with the German pilate floating down.the crowd were shouting and cheering ,it brings a lump in my throat now.when he landed,the people round ,took him home for a ``cup of tea``untill the police came for him or who ever does come for them.He was just a boy scared to death.every mothers son.Gladys

Ruth Levia
April 16, 1999 - 12:03 pm
The very first story in the book A Sunday Morning by John Garcia told of a 16 year old boy who was at Pearl Harbor. After the bombing of the ships, he was asked by an officer, to go into the Pennsylvania and try to get the fires out. A bomb had penetrated the marine deck and there were three decks below. Under that was the magazines; ammunition, powder, shells, etc. He refused to go and was brought before a navy court. It was determined that he was not service personnel and could not be ordered.

Another story. A young Robert Rasmus went into combat for the first time, with his buddies in their nice clean uniforms. On the way, they passed worn out soldiers with dirty, torn and bloody uniforms whom they were replacing. Soon they started to see their first dead Americans and Germans. They passed through artillery emplacements - incessant firing. He had never seen a dead body before and it was disturbing to see so many. He had a sense of unreality, walking through quiet woods and seeing sheep grazing in the fields. Soon the sound of gunfire was heard; machine guns, rifle fire, mortar shells. They were hitting roofs of houses and barns, then the sheep. Several of the soldiers were killed. After one night of this, they fell back in their dirty, bloodied uniforms and were replaced by another group of soldiers.

These are just two of the interesting stories and they are riveting!

Gladys - I was so afraid you were going to tell us that the German pilot was beaten by the people surrounding him. How wonderful to read that you all took him to have a cup of tea!! Sometimes people tend to forget that the enemy are really just young boys, as you said, some mother's son. Please continue to tell us about your experiences Gladys!

Ruth

Lillias
April 16, 1999 - 12:06 pm
I definitely feel calling any war the good war is a misnomer, no war can possibly be good.

I was fourteen when the war started in Canada and remember the paper boys on the streets before dawn that Sept. day shouting Extra Extra Canada declares war on Germany. It was very frightening to me as I had two brothers and thought for sure they would end up fighting in the war. We had just lost our father in June of 1939 so the thought of losing my brother especially the older one was very scary. Bye the time I was 18 I had joined the Canadian Womens Army Corp. but never left Canada, neither of my brothers served as the oldest one was given an exemption as by the time he was 18 he was flying for a Canadian Airlines and was considered support for our family. My younger brother was not old enough to serve. Several of my cousins did though and my favorite was a pilot with the RAF and flew a Spit Fire, he was shot down and killed .the german pilots straffed him as he hung from his parachute totally helpless, makes one wonder about mans inhumanity to man, doesn't it.

Having lived in Canada during the entire war I never heard of any Japanese being mistreated,although I did hear of some Germans getting sent to camps as people were truly afraid of what they might do, I guess it is the nature of folks to feel anyone from a country, we are at war with could be dangerous.

Robbie I think Gladys felt you had ignored her because right after her first post Britta posted and you responded to Britta's post but not to Glady, I'm sure you didn't mean to slight her but sometimes it seems that way.

Gladys I was glad to see you posting again and I for one and there are several of us who feel the same way are very interested in your experiences during the war so please continue to post.

(((hugs))) Lillias

Ed Zivitz
April 16, 1999 - 12:14 pm
Just a reminder. U.S.A. did NOT START World War II. But we sure finished it & nobody should forget that.

robert b. iadeluca
April 16, 1999 - 12:41 pm
Lillias: Tell us about the Canadian Women's Army Corps. Just what did you do while you were in the service.

I would be interested in the responses from anyone to Joan's third question. In what ways do any of us feel that we are now still being affected by World War II.

Robby

Ella Gibbons
April 16, 1999 - 01:55 pm
Ed: My husband, who was in the Navy, says the same thing as yourself. He refuses to listen to any "sob" story; I would imagine he has plenty himself but doesn't talk about it. However, I have all the letters he wrote home to his family (I didn't know him until after the war) and I'm going to get them out and read them over. They were censored, of course, and he was never a good letter writer anyway, but I'll look them over.

One of his buddies tried some years ago to find their aircraft carrier and was told that years ago it was sold to the Japanese for scrap metal. Ironic, that! Incidentally, this same buddy (although my husband doesn't see him much) tried to get reunions started, we went to one and my husband said no more, he didn't know any of those "old men." Hahahaaaa

I read an interesting item in the paper this morning - perhaps as the century ends and all the attention to WWII, these stories are just now being told. A German soldier who had stolen a ham from a French lady during the war recently returned to that little city with a ham, but couldn't find the house, so donated it to a local old peoples' home. However the editor of the local newspaper printed the story, the lady recognized herself and the two talked on the phone to each other. A story of forgiveness.

I am having my brother-in-law, who was in the infantry, write a few short paragraphs about his experiences!

robert b. iadeluca
April 16, 1999 - 02:17 pm
Ella: That's great that you're having your brother-in-law write about his experiences!

Robby

Lillias
April 16, 1999 - 02:20 pm
Sorry Robbie I really didn't do anything worth writing about , mostly was in the office making sure supplies went where they were suppose to go and keeping inventory straight, nothing really exciting just felt it helped to free up one more man to go do the actual fighting. I did make me feel as though I was contributing my part to the effort to end the war and bring all our guys home. I'm looking forward to some of the stories from those who actually were there either as fighters or victims, I know there are a lot of stories to be told.

(((hugs)))

Lillias

robert b. iadeluca
April 16, 1999 - 02:23 pm
Lillias: Your work may not have been "exciting" but every one of us who was at the front knows that we wouldn't have been able to do a thing without all the constant solid support in the rear lines.

Robby

Lillias
April 16, 1999 - 02:28 pm
Thanks Robbie I appreciate knowing you felt that way, being an 18 year old at the time I was still too young to really understand all the terrible things that war did to many ,many folks.

My husband was in the Mariannes during the last part of the war, he was in the navy but never talks about the bad times only tells of when the USO folks would come and entertain all the service men. Of course that was all long before we met and married.

(((hugs)))

Lillias

robert b. iadeluca
April 16, 1999 - 02:32 pm
Lillias: Even if your husband talked to us about the USO entertainment, that would be of interest.

Robby

Lillias
April 16, 1999 - 02:42 pm
Robbie I couldn't get Joe on here if my life depended on it but will see what information I can pry out of him, Okay? If I get anything interesting I will post it .

(((hugs))) Lillias

robert b. iadeluca
April 16, 1999 - 02:58 pm
Lillias: Sounds great! Maybe after he says a few things the stories will begin to flow.

Robby

Ella Gibbons
April 16, 1999 - 05:08 pm
Llias: Our husbands are very much alike - mine won't have a thing to do with this computer either, but he often asks me to look up a prescription for him or see what the "thing" has to say about a particular place - interesting isn't it?

Joan, here's my reply to Mr. Terkel's view of technology:

Contrary to Mr. Terkel's assertion that computers are "mechanizing and roboticizing" communication, many people are expressing views and making friends they would otherwise never have done. Old friends are familiar to us, we know their habits, interests, thoughts; however, they teach us nothing new. As we grow older and our children leave, perhaps we move into condos or apartments, the need for new friends and new interests is imperative to our health and wellbeing. We can, of course, reach out to the community and do, but we are not as active as we once were, often unable to drive at night or widowed. This is where the computer contact begins and grows as we make new friends and explore new things together. Seniornetters are getting together in groups, by region or interest. Our spirits rise, our hearts are young again. At the tip of our fingers is knowledge about the drugs we are taking, surgeries we might be expecting , places to visit, airplane fares, travel plans - it's so very convenient. No need to stamp envelopes, we email our children, grandchildren, friends - MORE OFTEN than we used to. We are more in touch, not less, Mr. Terkel, and you really ought to give technology a try, rather than a bum rap!

Ruth Levia
April 16, 1999 - 05:41 pm
I agree Ella. Mr. Terkel really should give the computer a try - he might find he likes it and instead of isolating people as he thinks it does, the computer can bring people together.

But I understand how it might scare him. I know when I first started using one, I thought if I touched the wrong key or did something I shouldn't, the whole computer would blow up in my face. Now I know better and Mr. Terkel would find out how easy it can be, if he would try it!

Ruth

robert b. iadeluca
April 16, 1999 - 05:52 pm
In relation to Joan's question No. 3, I had asked if anyone here was affected now by the experience of World War II. Speaking for myself, I haven't had any traumatic experiences - I was able to sit through Private Ryan. But I can say that after the armistice was declared in Europe and I watched those homeless people march for miles and miles not knowing where they were going, I can not look at the current lines of homeless people in Yugoslavia without remembering the looks in the displaced people in 1945.

I can still remember the blank looks in their faces - and the children - oh, the children!! - they had no idea what was going on. They would rush up to us GIs asking for "choon gum" not knowing that we were supposed to be the enemy. And I can say without fear of anyone disagreeing with me (especially if there are any GIs reading this) that the Allied soldiers were the kindest and most generous soldiers on the face of the earth. True, we had it and could give it but we gave anything we could find in our packs - oranges, chocolate, and C-rations, even jackets which we weren't supposed to be giving away. I will never again see a truly displaced (not just homeless but displaced) person again without remembering the looks in their eyes. To be displaced means that you have lost EVERYTHING.

Robby

Jeryn
April 16, 1999 - 06:10 pm
We are really spoiled in this country. Most of us can't even imagine what it might be like to "lose everything" as Robby just described. I read of the horrors in Yugoslavia and thank my stars each and every night that I live where I do.

I should think most of us would have felt the same during WWII if we'd had the maturity to think at that time! I was just a child, grade school age; to me, it was just a bad thing that happened somewhere else, even when my father was overseas. Something all the grownups talked about whilst I played paper dolls! Unreal. I admit feeling quite relieved, though, when Daddy was finally home for good, safe and sound. I knew there was a chance he'd not return...

expow
April 16, 1999 - 06:11 pm
Robbie I agree with you completely about the displaced people. I walked 500 miles across Germany and we were starving but we just had ourselves. To see children who have lost their families and don't know where to turn breaks my heart.

robert b. iadeluca
April 16, 1999 - 06:14 pm
500 miles is a long walk, EXPOW. Where did you walk from and where did you end up?

Robby

Ella Gibbons
April 16, 1999 - 06:58 pm
Robby and expow: You are still then being affected by your experiences in WWII when you see the faces of the homeless on your TV screen - something you cannot ever forget?

A few comments on things I've learned from the first stories in Terkel's book. I didn't know there was such panic on the West Coast at that time, this was new to me - where have I been huh?

Never knew there was such a thing as a Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles? (pg.28) Is there today? If so, is there also one for all the other minority groups there?

On pg. 32 the younger generation today ask of their elders (of Japanese ancestry) "Why did you go? Why didn't you fight back?" and Peter Ota answers "Today, I would definitely resist. It was a different situation at that time." (Referring to being interred in a camp during the war).

Wonder why he thinks it would be different today? Perhaps because of all the resistance and protests against the Vietnam War? Why is the situation different today?

However, this is a sad story. We have a man who is in the war while his parents are imprisoned in a camp in America - he visits them at the camp on his furloughs. A great wrong!

In the Frank Keegan story, I'd like to know who Dennis Keegan is - apparently some one I should know? And on pg. 36 Keegan says "We had the Oriental Exclusion Act" Anyone know what this was?

Art Buchwald has some funny stories about being in the war if anyone is interested - a Yankee boy heading south for the first time to go to boot camp. He's a funny man!

Gunther
April 16, 1999 - 10:14 pm
The daily barrage of TV images of columns of deportees near Kosovo never fails to remind me that my own family was caught up in one of them in northern Germany as the Russians were rushing towards the Elbe River in an effort to wrest the most territory from their western allies. Whilst serving as a sixteen year old gunner on the eastern front in a part of what was later ceded to Poland according to Yalta and Potsdam, (the giant cement mixer for the Iron Curtain), I found myself demobilized in the middle of a huge battle near the Oder River. In one of those inexplacable orders from higher up, all surviving classmates were sent home.

Little did I know that my family, twice bombed out in Berlin, had caught the point of hundreds of thousands of East Prussian and Pomeranian refugees near the port city of Stettin. They had been settled by a surprisingly well-functioning nazi organisation into farms south of Hamburg. Thus when I got home I found the place deserted. Home was then a castle belonging to an English woman who had married a German baron in 1938 - but that's another story. I filled two suitcases with linen and jars of cherry preserves - my favorite and then, thanks to the suggestion of the ever faithful gendarme who had stayed behind to "look after things...", and who was also mayor domo of the estate - made my way towards Hamburg in an almost empty train. My papers were thoroughly inspected since I was in uniform and actually traveling away from the front, ie., in a westerly direction. The SS officer scared me into a stutter and I could hardly bring myself to explaining why I, with only a head wound (just a nick from shrapnell), but a clean bandage, was on my way to look for my family. A few hours later the train screeched to a sudden stop in Pasewalk, a place made famous by the guy who had started it all: A.Hitler. He had spent time there in an army hospital during WW.I. I quickly grabbed the heavy bags, put them on the station platform and just had time to throw myself under the carriage as an Allied fighter came screaming at the train, almost hugging the ground, and firing all his weapons. My sole protection was the six inch high steel rail. When we were whistled back into the train, I found that one of the bags had been hit by a 50 mm slug. It was all I could do to pick some of the chards of glass from among the now purple linen and wipe my hands on my uniform since there was no water in the WC.

On arrival in Hamburg I dragged the bags to a Red Cross window with a big "V" over it and stood in line with dozens of those sharing my initial. All of us were looking for loved ones and here we hoped to be directed to wherever they had been ordered to seek shelter. Suddenly an elderly lady in front of me turned and began screaming that this young man is wounded and should go to the front of the queue. One must understand that "standing in line" is one of the things one does with grace and patience, even when one's compatriots are engaged in legal killing in their "good war" for whatever ideology. People in the neighboring lines chimed in and I was forcibly shoved to the window without knowing why.

It was the cherry jam (and maybe a little bit the white bandage under my cap)! Within minutes I was on a train south, towards the Lueneburg Heath, for a reunion with a family who had already received notification that I was MIA on the Oder River on February 2, 1945. As the good son, I was mortified that all of the beautiful sheets and pillow cases I intended to bring as a surprise and reminder of the luxurious life we had once shared, had been dyed. My mother couldn't understand that such a frivolous detail should be my worry at this precious moment of reunion.

Less then three months later I was a member of the British Army, but that also is another story....

Gunther

robert b. iadeluca
April 17, 1999 - 04:33 am
Gunther: At the very moment that you, as a German soldier, were being demobilized while the Russians were rushing westward toward the Elbe River, I was in the 29th Division moving eastward toward the same river. The Americans and Russians were so close together that we could hear the Russians speaking on our "walkie-talkies." Not too much longer, we were given orders to "slow down" allowing the Russians to conquer additional territory. We didn't know it then but that was apparently a political decision and, as you say, "that is another story."

Robby

Ginny
April 17, 1999 - 06:51 am
Gunther, that was the MOST moving story, better than any book, how exciting, I felt right along with you, and Robby, at the same time YOU were approaching the Elbe, I am just humbled by your posts, and the posts of everyone here.

Studs Terkel would KILL to meet you all!

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
April 17, 1999 - 12:46 pm
Welcome to this discusssion, Ginny. I agree that many of these posts humble us. I'm looking forward to more of your comments.

Robby

Lillias
April 17, 1999 - 12:47 pm
Ella your right it is strange how are husbands want things researched here but won't touch the computer,mine says he is afraid he would mess it up for me, likely excuse right.

I have to agree with your assement of the computer age it has connected us to people all over the world, and I also think Mr Terkel needs to rethink his ideas of computers. He really ought to try it for awhile before he knocks it. Ruth good to see you here,haven't had a chance to hello to you in ages,another example of what the computer age has done for us , with out it we would never have talked at all.

Ginny I believe your right he would kill to meet some the folks that post here especially people like Gunther , that was really some story .

Gunther I for one would like to here the other story, perhaps you should write a book of your own.

(((hugs)))

Lillias

GailG
April 17, 1999 - 01:28 pm
Gunther's poignant story points up the tragedy and irony of war - ANY WAR. Young boys - Germans - sent to kill other boys - Americans, for what. In any other time they might have been friends; just as today Gunther, an ex-German soldier IS a friend! Imagine if Gunther had not survived, what a waste. And notwithstanding all of our memories, here we go again. It seems like the world has learned nothing, and again, who are the victims? People like you and me who have no voice but end up being statistics.

robert b. iadeluca
April 17, 1999 - 01:31 pm
Gail: As Joan pointed out in the question at the top, during World War II many young people had the desire to enlist and fight. Do you think the young people of today have or are about to have such motivations?Robby

Ruth Levia
April 17, 1999 - 06:02 pm
Lillias - nice to see you too!

Gunther - I really enjoyed reading the account of your experiences during the war. Please tell us about the "other story".

Gail - you are so right - the world does not seem to ever learn from experience. I feel so sad to see the Albanian refugees on TV, especially the children. Even if they can go home in the near future, what is there for them to go home to? It will take a long time to re-build all the homes, bridges and buildings that have been destroyed.

expow
April 17, 1999 - 06:37 pm
The every day kid of the WW-2 vintage had no doubts about what needed to be done to stop the Germans and the Japs from occupying more and more land. When diplomacy breaks down the only alternative is war. This was not true of the wars from Korea onward. Even then there were men willing to serve. This, I think is more of a function of being a teen ager. They think nothing vcan kill them.

Gunther
April 17, 1999 - 08:23 pm
Ruth and Lillias: This is about some of the nicer things that happened to me:

I had just been promoted and before reporting to my new assignment in Upper Silesia, an area under constant bombardment by Super Fortresses in the fall of 1944, I was given a week off to spend with my family near the Baltic port of Stettin. My mother and my four siblings had been invited to live in relative splendor in a baronial castle of an English friend after we got bombed out twice in Berlin in 1942 and then again in 43. She was married to a German colonel serving in the Afrika Korps, who was safely out of the war in a POW camp in Canada.

After dinner that first evening she told me how she had met the colonel in London before the war, oblivious to the possibility that one day she would be ruling this huge estate near the Baltic by herself. She hadn't been able to talk to anybody in her own language for several years and it was quite a while before I became conscious that my family also had a claim on some of my time.

My great love for the English language finally paid off. I had studied it harder than any other subject starting about the fifth grade. After the short leave I had quite a crush on a woman twice my age and I went to the war zone, then about to become the Eastern Front, as a flaming anglophile. I never saw her again but I found out years later from my sister, who had married a Londoner in the fifties, that Eileen had been far more than “her ladyship” of a Pomeranian estate, namely a spy for her country. She had befriended high ranking German officers and often became privy to valuable information which she relayed to London by radio.

Just after New Year’s Day 1945, the two women, with six kids between them, all between four and nine years of age, were able to escape the Soviet juggernaut as it began its bloody steam roller through the northern German plains, flattening refugee columns of thousands of Poles and Germans from the Danzig Corridor and East Prussia.

Later the communist government of the GDR confiscated all her holdings and the Soviets used the manor as a regimental HQ until the late eighties. Eileen went back to London after divorcing the father of her two boys, both of whom became officers in Her Majesty’s armed forces.

robert b. iadeluca
April 18, 1999 - 05:07 am
Gunther: Thank you so much, Gunther. You are opening our eyes (mine, at least) to a side of the war not often seen.

Robby

Kath
April 18, 1999 - 05:22 am
Gunther I watch the refugees in Albania and can relate to the children. I was a child during the war and we were always moving around. But we were fortunate that we travelled by train (packed like sardines) and still had our home to come home to. We lived close to the river Thames and bombs were dropped all around us.

robert b. iadeluca
April 18, 1999 - 05:29 am
Kath: Thank you for posting. Can you tell us a bit more about your memories as a child living in London near the Thames?

Robby

Jackie Lynch
April 18, 1999 - 07:07 am
Does anyone remember, about 15 years ago, a series on PBS about a German family in the Rhineland? It was all in German, with subtitles, except for the English speakers. They lived in a village. the farm was quite large, probably like an estate. It was so interesting. I saw it on Sunday mornings. The story followed the family over a time period that included pre-war, war, and post-war.

Ruth Levia
April 18, 1999 - 08:31 am
Jackie - I didn't see that program, but it sounds like one I would like to see.

Gunther - thanks for that fascinating account!! You really had an interesting life, and I would like to hear more.

Kath - it's so good to see you posting! It's been a while since I've seen you (guess we travel in different areas? Please tell us more about your experiences during the war. It must have been pretty scary for a little child!

Kath
April 18, 1999 - 09:26 am
Hi Ruth. I am not posting much as I am very involved with my Y2K project. Having lived through hard times I feel the need to protect my family. How is hubby doing?

gladys barry
April 18, 1999 - 10:27 am
hi Kathy at last .I have been away all weekend to a funeral have posted twice in here.Ithought the last story might have got a reply from our host this is my second attempt.I did try .Iwas told to go a head regardless ,but it is very dissapointing to try and be ignored .

robert b. iadeluca
April 18, 1999 - 10:35 am
Gladys: I see my responsibility as helping to keep the discussion going but not necessarily responding to every posting that is made. I do this because I don't believe the Discussion Leader should intrude his own personality into the discussion too much. I try to give a welcome to a first time participant, hoping you all realize that I might be away from the computer for hours. There is no way that I can respond to every posting that is made and I would appreciate everyone's understanding on this.

Personally, I am very pleased at the way this folder is going but this is because of the various stories each person is sharing, not because of my comments.

Robby

Ruth Levia
April 18, 1999 - 11:35 am
Gladys - I hope you to continue to post. We are very interested in hearing your stories!!

Kath - He could be better. Thanks for asking.

Kath
April 18, 1999 - 11:46 am
Ruth I hope he will soon be doing better. My thoughts are with you both.

Hi Bestest. I hope you are resting up for your trip. Try not to get your kn*****'s in a knot.

mayo
April 18, 1999 - 01:29 pm
iwas first female to join all-mail news staff at start pf ##WW2 in paterson n. j. wrote about brave men and women    in service. in charge of getting background for release of casuality lists .

robert b. iadeluca
April 18, 1999 - 01:34 pm
Welcome, Mayo! Journalism was a most important ingredient in World War II. I was overseas but as I understand it, the folks at home were hanging on every word (oral or written) as to what was happening in the theatres of operation. How did you go about getting the backgrounds for the casualties?

Robby

Fran Ollweiler
April 18, 1999 - 02:18 pm
Dear friends,

I read this book a long time ago. It might have been a Book of the Month Club selection. The reason I think that is because we own it, and we didn't buy books when it came out. Too busy getting the money to raise the money to buy food, clothing etc.

I was surprised on rereading the book when Studs Terkel pointed out that the title is in quotations. As if any war can be a "Good War"!! But we certainly thought so then, and I think most of us think so right now.

Other than Charles Linbergh I just never heard of any one who didn't think that after Pearl Harbor we all should help the war effort any way we could.

In December of1941 I was just 17, so felt that there wasn't much I could do. We lived in New York City where my mother was an air raid warden. I eventually worked for the Red Cross signing up blood donors, knitting "Bundles for Britain", (long wool scarves), and keeping the rationing books straight. I still have my ration book.

Speak to you soon.....Love, Fran

robert b. iadeluca
April 18, 1999 - 02:23 pm
Welcome, Fran! As you point out, we thought at that time that World War II was a "good war" but you add that "most of us think so right now." What leads you to that conclusion? Do you feel that it benefited us in any way?

Robby

Joan Pearson
April 18, 1999 - 06:56 pm
Hi there, Fran-O, so glad you found your way here and brought up the title of this book, one which Jeanne Lee aptly refers to as an oxymoron. Of course, no war is good - Studs says in the introduction to the book that the title must always appear in quotation marks for that very reason.

So why was it "good". I'll quote Studs here, for those of you who do not yet have the book.

"It was not like other wars. It was not fratricidal. It was not, most of us profoundly believed, "imperialistic." Our enemy was, patently, obscene: the Holocaust maker. It was one war that many who would have resisted, supported enthusiastically. It was a "just war."

I bet these are some of the reasons Fran says of this 'good war, "we certainly thought so then, and I think most of us think so right now." Anything else Fran?

Joan Pearson
April 18, 1999 - 07:33 pm
W0W! I think we've covered the entire introduction to the book through your posts over the past four days. The range of subject matter from all of you has been impressive, your posts riveting! I hope you stick with us for the discussion of the oral histories accumulated by Studs. Perhaps one or two a day. Will be interested to hear your comments on the histories themselves or on the events as you remember them. The book should prod those old memories into the present!

The first Book begins with Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. Joe Garcia was 16, a pipe fitter apprentice at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. What memories he has of that day! Can you imagine!!! Where were YOU that day?

Sunknow
April 18, 1999 - 11:12 pm
Yes, I remember 194l. I have not yet posted here, simply because I am so short of time right now, but have been dropping by late..very late, and reading ever word. So many of you have shared wonderful, terrible, but strong indelible memories. Some of them were all of those things at once.

I have been a News hound all of my life, and often critized for it, two or three newspapers every day, and constant TV news. I always felt a responsibility; that one must know whats happening in the world, and keep up with as much of it as possible. This is pure and simple a direct result of WWII.

My Father had been in the Peace time Army, the Calvary, and stationed at Pearl Harbor before I was born....the Islands were HIS. I was about 9 yrs old, and after that awful day in 1941, I doubt I missed a 10 pm news cast for the rest of my childhood. My mother would be fast asleep, but Dad would never sleep before the news came on at 10 pm. My sister and I shared the next room, and she would be fast alseep, but I waited and listened, just as my father did. Sometimes I would get up and go to the door, and the radio light would cast an eerie yellow light across the room. I can still hear that voice reporting the news from the war over the radio.

Dad had just gone to work for the Railroad, but he immediatly, tried to enlist...he had two problems, too old and too necessary. He spent the entire War trying to sign up and fight. Everytime he would almost get away, the Railroad would get him deferred...one night, I caught him packing a small bag, he almost made it, but by morning the RR snatched him back again. He spent the entire war on the RR, a Breakman, moving the Troops from here to there, secret schedules, never telling anyone which direction they were moving the troops.

But a few times, I would see them moving by, or would be at the Depot when the train passed, with all those young men in those mostly OD colored uniforms. At night, you couldn't see them, because the shades would be drawn to hide the light. Once I saw a load of German POWs come thru on the way to the newly opened Camp Fannin, outside of town. They looked like any other young men involved in the war, and they were far from home.

Later, after that dreadful Dec. day, I did lose someone. A young cousin that I thought was a brother came in from the CCCamp where he had been helping build the Tyler State Park...only now he, too, was wearing that OD uniform, and I remember sitting on the floor and watching him lace up those calvary boots that went all way up to his knees. He went to Europe, a kid surviving in CCC camp, and came back after the war, a Capt. with a battlefield commission. He remained in the Army, made it to Col. before the big "RIFF" came along later. He went back to being a Top M/Sgt for a couple of years but retired a Col., he had remained in the Resereves.

I had one older female cousin that was a twin, and she went trapsing off to War...the ladies in the fam. didn't think much of that idea, but she didn't bother to ask any of them before she left her twin sister at home and joined the WACS. Another cousin married a GI that was Secr. to General Kruger and followed him around thru out the war. All of them came home, we were very fortunate to get our relatives back unharmed.

I remember the rations: coffee, sugar, etal...we had blackouts at home, and bomb drills at school, and I learned every patriotic song known to man...I still know most of them. That patritism is something that never went away, the pride in country, and in each other. If only we could get that feeling back, or find a way to teach it to our grandchildren.

Theres more, but this is too long now. I will say I tried all three bookstores in Tyler, and not a book to be found. Think I'll check the library...some of you lucked out there.

Sun

robert b. iadeluca
April 19, 1999 - 05:07 am
Sun: Welcome to our group and thanks for such a wonderfully detailed memory. NO - it was not too long! It would be impossible to give such vivid descriptions as you did in just a few words. You spoke of so many different items in your posting - your father, your thoughts and actions as a child, your being a "Newshound," that it would be impossible for me at this moment to comment on them all. But I'm sure you will hear from others whose memory was jogged by your comments. Please come back again.

Robby

Ginny
April 19, 1999 - 08:54 am
Oh, golly. Oh my goodness. I just read John Garcia's essay, the first one in the book. I literally have chills all over me. Oh gosh. Don't know where to start.

Oh.

He's still haunted by the woman and baby he shot. He still has dreams. He had to drink a fifth and a half of whiskey a day in order to shoot. He hasn't drunk a drop since the war ended. He says he's not a killer but the caves grenades really bothered him a lot.

And the race thing, being called a Caucasian. And the curfew and the martial law which I suppose would be necessary to provide order.

And the soldiers alive after 18 days in the hull of the ship!!!

I really like the way Studs lets the person himself tell his story, without making judgments and interpolating his own explanations. It's living history, right there in your face. I wonder if any of these people are still alive, I would like to talk to them, too.

This is marvelous. I was 2 years old when the war ended, and, if not for this book discussion would have missed all this electrifying stuff. Gunther I saw somewhere you spoke of February 4th. I was born on February 4, 1943, and want to hear more.

I wonder, since we have John Garcia's statement about his dreams, I wonder if all wars have their hideous remembrances. I remember the Vietnam Vets and all the problems that they seemed to have when reentering and I wonder why it seemed so much harder for them? Is it the same?

What do you think of his idea of putting everybody on an island and letting the politicians fight it out? Many people here are worried about a draft in the Yugoslavia conflict, I say there will never be a draft as long as Clinton is President.

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
April 19, 1999 - 09:09 am
Ginny: You have "chills all over" you. That comment could very well encourage those folks who haven't yet read the book to do so. Not that reading terrible things is the most pleasant activity in the world but reading a book like this helps us to see our own history. Ginny, how do you equate your reaction to this book with Terkel's comment that it was a "good" war.

Robby

Fran Ollweiler
April 19, 1999 - 01:48 pm
I'd like to address the part about the Japanese Americans being treated so unfairly during World War ll. It is unbelievable to me today that more Americans from all backgrounds didn't object to their treatment.

George and I visited Manzanar a few years ago, one of the camps, and while there bought a book by one of the internees. A young woman. It was a very sad and true story.

And of course we read .......the name of the book escapes me about the Japanese on that small island off the state of Washington who were discriminated against.

It is not just man's inhumanity to man that bothers me, but the idea that the only way we know to control some maniacs plans is to kill, usually not him, but citizens of that country who are for the most parts innocents.

Ella Gibbons
April 19, 1999 - 02:32 pm
Fran - I feel compelled to respond to your post about the Japanese-Americans. How old were you during that war? There was panic in this country because Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, and where would they hit next? We were very vulnerable at that time - had virtually no defense system and, right or wrong, our government felt that the Japanese in this country might be still loyal to their prior government and could act as spies. Hindsight tells us we were wrong - it is so easy to judge now from this distance.

Ginny - I agree, these stories told by the actual soldiers, rather than by an author, are chilling and thrilling to hear all at the same time. I'm learning so much - particularly about the Russians. This is better than any fiction and some of these stories would make great movies. Wait until you read the one by Richard Prendergast!

Iowa Bill
April 19, 1999 - 03:58 pm
Ella--I remember vividly the panic about the Japanese, but the people that were moved were not even checked out by our government. I lived in Milwaukee then and there were known Nazi sympathiers (ie The "Siler Shits", "The German American Bund") There were no Internment camps set up for them. It wasn't hindsight that even when they realized the mistake they made, our government would not let the Japanese Americans go back to their homes even as early as 1942! Do you think the color of their skin had anything to do with it? No Japanese Spy was ever con-victed in our country, while hundreds of German spies were.

robert b. iadeluca
April 19, 1999 - 04:49 pm
Welcome, Fran. You say it is unbelievable that Americans didn't object to the way the Japanese-Americans were treated. Ella tells of the panic that existed in this country after Pearl Harbor was bombed. Do you think we have learned anything from that experience?

Welcome to you too, Bill. You bring up the fact that German-Americans were not interned. That goes for Italian-Americans as well. Could it be, as you say, that the color of the skin made the difference? What do the rest of you think?

Robby

Britta
April 19, 1999 - 05:37 pm
Back from Omi duty. (Omi = german for grandma) It took me a while to catch up with all the posts since Thursday, but I read them with interest and think they are better than the book. So, there were a few other people who told about their experiences on the "bad guy side". I am sure Guenther Vogel has a whole book in him. I am writing my memoirs for the grandchildren, but wonder if they'll be interested. Seems like the cyber wars are much more fun for them.

Anyway, I thought you might like to hear where I was when the war actually ended. We had been sent away from Dresden after it was bombed because Hitler the Insane had declared the city a fortress to be defended to the death. There was nothing left of it, so I think the very idea was ridiculous. My father, who had been designated" indispensable behind the lines" by the military because he was in charge of a Lithographic Factory which printed secret maps for the war, was put in charge of the Home Guard. His troops consisted of a motley crew of crippled, insane and old men. They proceeded to dig foxholes. Whatever for? Women and children were sent away. We fled to the countryside, where a man who worked our land had a farm. When the bombs started to fall there too, we all fled into the forests of Cechoslovakia. It was there, in the middle of the battlefield, that someone who had a little radio tried to tell everyone to stop shooting. The war was over, but nobody got the message. I saw people shot from low flying planes and young soldiers stand dead in their foxholes. The whole thing seems so surreal now. Well, it finally stopped I guess, and then we joined the thousands in treks homeward, just like what you see on TV now, only then nobody saw this misery in their living rooms and war remained a game little boys play. I have a hard time seeing the latest Nintendo games. It's all so stupid. Why do little males have to be indoctrinated to kill, kill, kill? Life seems to have accelerated. I still played with dolls when I was 14.

Oh well. It's probably silly to carry on so. I'm an old , well, semi-old, lady now and should really sit back and reflect with wisdom. PEACE. Britta

robert b. iadeluca
April 19, 1999 - 05:38 pm
The frontispiece of Terkel's book quotes (in part) the song by Tom Paxton:

What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?

I learned that war is not so bad

I learned about the great ones we have had

We fought in Germany and in France

And I am someday to get my chance.

Are there any of us in this discussion group who believe that the youngsters of our generation (both boy and girl) are about to get their chance to be in combat?

Robby

Ginny
April 19, 1999 - 05:45 pm
Britta, I think that all of you who have shared their thoughts here would make a grand book, and I'm so glad SeniorNet started this project and I hope these thoughts will be recorded for ever. I think a lot of people will want to read them: look at us, all these years later reading the Terkel book.

The thing that's so stunning about the Terkel book is that it's exactly as you all are sharing here, it's real people telling the stories real ways, and sometimes, as in the case of John Garcia, it's strange. He keeps laughing in strange places. Terkel has done nothing but GATHER these people together but their stories reach out over the years and grab you by the throat. It's amazing. I love what you all are doing here and will be back tomorrow, hopefully to read 100 more thoughts, some great questions have been asked, I must go read the introduction to form thoughts on the "Good" War. Wasn't it the War to End all Wars??

Do get everyone to come in, the essays are only, in our case, to draw out the marvelous stories from you all.

Ginny

Ginny
April 19, 1999 - 05:48 pm
Robby, I was writing while you were posting. I hope not. I hope not. Does everyone see this as inevitable or desirable?

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
April 19, 1999 - 05:51 pm
Ginny: According to my father, who was a totally disabled veteran of World War I, that was the one called the "war to end all wars." But it didn't happen, did it?

Robby

Lillias
April 19, 1999 - 05:52 pm
Ginny I don't think it is desirable but would almost be willing to bet that it will happen whether we like it or not,why else would our reserves be getting ready to go? Our military are frequently involved in things we would be better off staying out of. Oh well that is just my opinion for what its worth, but I do fear for all our young men and women.

(((hugs)))

Lillias

jimd
April 19, 1999 - 05:59 pm
May God Bless them all, they are allready. 1 shot down and rescued, 3 captured, and it continues. Maybe, just maybe, if the children of the politicians were required to go first, there would be no wars.

robert b. iadeluca
April 19, 1999 - 06:05 pm
Welcome, JIMD. Some of the politicians of today are the veterans of World War II. Is it your belief that they are against our entering the present conflict?

Robby

expow
April 19, 1999 - 06:11 pm
The problem is that the kids don't need to go but they all want to go because the are teen agers(most of them) and teen agers don;t think they will die, They also like adventure (most of them don't need the hub caps they steal). It is too late when they get there

Ella Gibbons
April 19, 1999 - 06:56 pm
One story in the book starts with these words:"I've lived about 38 years after the war and about twenty years before. For me, its B.W. and A.W. - before the war and after the war. I suspect there are a lot of people like me."</>

The story ends: It (WWII) has affected me in many ways ever since. I think my judgment of people is more circumspect. I know it's made me less ready to fall into the trap of judging people by their style or appearance. In a short period of time, I had the most tremendous experiences of all of life: of fear, of jubilance, of misery, of hope, of comradeship, and of the endless excitement, the theatrics of it. I honestly feel grateful for having been a witness to an event as monumental as anything in history and, in a very small way, a participant." Wonder how many veterans feel this way?

Ted R Bayes
April 19, 1999 - 08:08 pm
Robert, This is the third time I have tried to post a message here,nut each time I have canceled.

The title here is the Good War. I have a little truble with the title. There are no good wars. They are all bad wars, though we have good causes. A good cause is what we had, and our comander in chief was respected. He was even respected by his opposition. I joined the navy early.( Dec 15,1941) I did not have to Join I was working at an army air base as a flight line mechanic. The Navy needeed my skill badly, and there I was.

I do not believe I would have been quite as enthusiastic under our present administration. I would be concerned they would leave me hanging out on a limb,

I believe we have a bad war with a good cause, But I believe things have been badly mismanaged. Very poor military tatict. One might call it going off half cocked. Most everything I have read by qualified military minds say the same.

This guy looks at the gulf war, and makes the decision, If I donot succed I will have rid myself of my opposition. With my support from the Russian Republic I will get off with only my hands slaped, and live to fight another day.

The difference between all the confrontations sence WW2 is none of them have been carried to a conclusion, Even in WW2 We gave it all away at Yalta etc. This gave way to all the problems we have had sence.

The answer is was it realy a good war

Ted

P. S. Rosvelt was a sick man and made a lot of bad commitments. When Truman took overHe was like a man with a bad leg, and a broken cane.

robert b. iadeluca
April 20, 1999 - 04:58 am
Ted: I'm glad you finally posted with us. Welcome to our group. Studs Terkel, himself, as I understand it, insisted that the title be in quotes. May I quote from an introductory page: "Quotation marks have been added, not as matter of caprice or editorial comment, but simply because the adjective 'good' mated to the noun 'war' is so incongruous."

I hope you come back and share some of your Navy experiences. As you said, you enlisted early - just one week after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Jackie Lynch
April 20, 1999 - 05:51 am
The mad men, who push the world to the brink and then keep pushing - what can we do with them? Milosovic has become the "victim" of NATO. Hitler was righting wrongs done "his" country. We see the insanity, but we have no method to stop it. The memories we are sharing are so vivid; I can never again read Gladys' name, or Britta's, without remembering the dreadful events they have endured. Reading this book has made me see those personal nightmares as the pieces of history they truly are.

Joan Pearson
April 20, 1999 - 06:00 am
I can't get over the rush to enlist at this time. I don't think that ever happened again in other wars did it? I think it was the "good cause" that Ted mentions - the country seems to have been united in that belief. Were there demonstrations against our involvement in that war? At any point? How about the bombing of Hiroshima? Any regrets, demonstrations, criticism? I see that as the big difference between this war and all later ones...the united belief that this was a good cause, therefore, a "good" war... John Garcia even wrote to President Roosevelt, begging to go - into combat. Wasn't he 16 at the time?

Do I sense that there was a rush to join the navy, rather than to be drafted into the army? John Garcia and then Dennis Keegan(his memoir is available under the Excerpt button above) and others seem to indicate that.

Dennis Keegan, Major Bradley and Ron Veenker describe the bedlam, bombing and suspicion of all Japanese, including long-time Japanese-Americans at the time, especially in California I guess I can understand that after reading their memories.

I was also particularly impressed at John Garcia"s description of our sailors in Hawaii shooting their 5" guns at Japanese planes. At first it seemed so futile, but then there was the rest of his story...these guns had a 10 mile range...some shells landed in Honolulu. One killed his girlfriend as she was leaving for church.

This reminds me of all the casualties resulting from "accidents" such as this in wartime...how dangerous for everyone!

It occurs to me that the Japanese-Americans were safer in the internment camps, than if they had been mixed with the hysterical crowds, after reading these stories. Was that one of the initial reasons for rounding them up? Besides suspicion? Yes, I think it was their physical appearance that put them in danger at the time, as they were easily identifiable - in contrast to the German citizens...

Britta, please stay with us as your point of observation is invaluable!!! What do you remember of the bombing of Pearl Harbor? What was the reaction from "over there"? Ella, I believe it was you who asked what Dennis Keegan meant when he said, "we had the Oriental Exclusion Act". I found this which you might find helpful. If you scan all the way to the bottom of the article, there is another clickable to a huge site on the Japanese Internment.

Oriental Exclusion Act

expow
April 20, 1999 - 02:24 pm
Gunther, At the end of the war I was, as a prisoner of war, in a German military hospital in Schwerin. I had been wounded by a British light bomber while riding on a German train. While in the hospital I became friendly with a German soldier who had been severely wounded on the Eastern front. While my German wasn't great I had picked up enough of it while in the camps for 15 months to get along. Both my German acquaintence and I were being taken care of by a German nurse named Grete. Grete didn't make any distinction between her American patient and her German one. We got what she could give us. The only difference was I got cloth bandages that had been delivered to the hospital by the Swedish Red Cross for POW usage and my friend still had crepe paper bandages used on him. The German medical people had long since run out of cloth. Just a few days before the end of the war the German patients in the hospital were given leave to go before the Russians came in. Gunther (yes another one) and Grete left the hospital that day. Gunther was on cruthes but they managed to travel 200 miles into Hamberg. I corresponded with Gunther after the war. He never asked me for anything. Then one day I got a letter that asked for all kinds of things. This was not Gunther so I figured he had died and someone else got our address. I never answered. I just want to say that Grete, the nurse, took care of us equally and she is to be admired where ever she is

Britta
April 20, 1999 - 02:26 pm
Joan, I don't remember anything about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I was just a very little girl then. I'm sure my parents talked about it, but I can't remember what. I grew up in a very complicated household. Vati, that's German for Daddy, had joined Hitler's party in 1934 and he was enthusiastic at the time, because all the youth was organized and the thugs removed from the streets. We lived in a village right outside Dresden, away from the parades and such. My father joined the party to protect his interests since he had a factory and, but I didn't find that out until I gave birth to my first son and had him circumcised, because he was of jewish descent. They had kept it a secret because, even at a young age I was a blabbermouth and I could have had us all killed if the secret was revealed. After the war it became a mute point and I guess some guilt feelings, that we had survived and so many had perished, played a role. Only when the new grandpa saw his grandson while I was changing his diaper and he saw that I had had him circumcised, did he tell me the whole story. My mother on the other hand came from a totally different background. Her father was one of the founders of the Konsumgenossenschaft (co-op) in Germany. He was a staunch Socialist and a well known man in Cologne in politics. My mother was raised that way and I know she had a hard time during the Third Reich because she hated Hitler so and the arguments between my parents are unforgettable to me. When the war was over, we fell into Russian hands. Eisenhower was in Leipzig, just a few miles from Dresden and my parents were relieved that the Americans were coming, but then they turned around and left Saxony to the Russians. That's a whole other story! We stood it for almost 3 years and then we fled to the West. Our house and property was restored to me last year. Enough for now. I could go on for hours, but it's probably not all that interesting to most people. Please excuse my ramblings. I do tend to go on, once I start. Britta

robert b. iadeluca
April 20, 1999 - 04:40 pm
Britta: To say that your "ramblings" are "not all that interesting to most people" indicates that you have no idea how spell-binding and powerful your remarks are. Don't even consider bringing your tales to an end! Thank you so much for sharing them with us and tell us more each time the mood hits you to write.

EXPOW: Despite "man's inhumanity to man" in many areas of the world, it's wonderful to hear stories from time to time of loving kindness such as was shown by your German nurse.

Robby

Rofay
April 20, 1999 - 04:45 pm
BRITTA - Your "ramblings" were most interesting and moving. The daily fear for your parents must have been overwhelming. My worst nightmare would be to find myself in such a threatening situation.

If you would care to tell us more - I'm sure I can speak for everyone here - we would be pleased to hear from you.

robert b. iadeluca
April 20, 1999 - 04:49 pm
Rofay: I see you in so many different discussions that I'm not sure if this is your first appearance in this one or not. In any event, glad to have you as part of us.

Robby

Rofay
April 20, 1999 - 07:08 pm
ROBERT - I'm just trying to keep up with you!!! Thanks for the welcome.

AdrienneJ
April 20, 1999 - 08:30 pm
BRITTA - do continue to write - it is interesting to hear from "the other side" especially to learn that your Father was of Jewish descent.

I was also very young when the war started, and being evacuated away from family was very hard...as I think I said earlier, was in 5 different homes - one of which had one of my sisters and me for 6 weeks, during which time we had only one bath and never had our hair washed - but my sister brushed mine faithfully every day but there was no one to take care of hers...and then we were seen on the street by the lady that had originally taken us in, and she got us moved to another home.

When we were evacuated we were taken on trains out of London, with labels attached - and I remember walking down the street where we first went, and those that were willing to take children in kept their doors open - others did not. Even at 4 to 5 years old I can remember that very vividly.

Like Britta and Gladys, I could probably ramble on too...but like Gladys it seems there is more interest here in "the other side" or America than in what happened to England or other countries in Europe.

Adrienne

GailG
April 21, 1999 - 02:24 am
Someone made the statement some posts back.."when diplomacy fails, war is the next step". Not the exact words but close enough. Translation: When the diplomats with the puffed up egos and the generals with the big guns cannot successfully negotiate (get their way) they put those guns in the hands of young men and send them to kill each other. When the fighting is over the same diplomats (or others like them) and the generals make their speeches and accept their medals, while mothers grieve and we count our dead.

How do we let this happen? Because we don't say NO. We cry, we rant in anger, we commiserate, we beat our breasts. If the government can organize itself to gather together thousands up thousands of people to fight.....is it truly beyond the possibility that thousands upon thousands of mothers and fathers can rise up and say "you can't have my son; this is not acceptable....we will not allow ourselves to become "collateral damage" (the new euphemism for being "dead").

I know all the answers to this and yes, sometimes we may agree with our government and willingly fight to protect our country. But this has not been the case in any of the wars in which we have been engaged since WW II.

We tell our children, hopefully, that you can't solve problems with fighting; that you have to learn how to compromise, that violence is never the answer. So why can't we say the same thing when they are adults. Why do we acquiesce under banners of "patriotism" and "national interest"? In so many of our folders we talk about God and his love, we talk about "pro-life" and against "murdering innocent babies", we talk against the death penalty - and yet we allow war to murder our innocent grown-up babies. What would they do to us if we all said NO...lock us all up?

Robby, I apologize to you as host of this discussion for going so completely off the subject of the Good War and for climbing on a soap-box and carrying on. Once I got started the words just spilled out and I don't have the energy or memory to repeat it in a more appropriate discussion.

GailG
April 21, 1999 - 02:34 am
I am going to post in the Yugoslavia Bombing discussion some thoughts about the moral righteousness of coming to the aid of those suffering in Kosovo, which may seem to negate some of what i said above.

By the way, in a world where there is violence on one side and bombing on the other, why are we surprised at what happened in the school in Colorado?

Theresa
April 21, 1999 - 03:26 am
Adrienne--I think you are wrong about how we view your posting. I already know what was going on over here, but never have had a chance to talk to someone who was a little kid about the same age as I who lived where the bombs were actually dropping. Please continue to post. It is something that we all need to read. Thank you

Theresa

robert b. iadeluca
April 21, 1999 - 04:44 am
Adrienne: May I emphasize that we are interested in the experiences of ALL people during World War II whether you were in the United States or other nations, whether you were at that time men or women or children, whether you were in the military or not (although we are especially interested in those in the military), and no matter on which side you fought or helped.

If you click above you will be able find other discussion groups which have special interests, eg women or children. In this group we are comparing our personal memories with those expressed in Studs Terkel's book, "The Good War." We would hope that you remain here and share in those other discussion groups as well.

Gail: No apology necessary. Your comments were definitely relevant. Many of the veterans in Terkel's book gave their views as to why the war was being fought.

Robby

Joan Pearson
April 21, 1999 - 06:34 am
Adrienne, Britta, Gladys, Kath, Gunther...gee, I hope I haven't left out any of you who lived "over there" during the war and have such vivid, and painful memories of that time. You are all such an important part of the whole picture. It seems we can not mention that often enough, as you continue to comment that you feel there is no interest in your memories. Let me try to explain what is happening here.

We are discussing Studs Terkel's book, The "Good War." The book begins with memoirs of those who experienced the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the hysteria that followed, the internment of Japanese-Americans. That is why you are hearing so much discussion of these events at this time. I am going to emphasize that you are encouraged to introduce yourselves into the discussion, and where you were during the war at any time during the discussion. If you have Studs' book, you will see that it is divided into four sections - four "books". It is in Book II that you will find interviews, memories of those who endured the war in Germany, England, etc. There is where you will find what is familiar to you and the discussion here will concentrate on that.

I want to show you something we have been working on for Chapter II. It is not yet complete, but I feel it is necessary at this point to show you that we are taking your posts very seriously. This will appear up in the heading with an appropriate graphic ( as soon it's ready. I will put it up there today right now, just for you (look for it next to boogie woogie bugle boy). You must know how important your memories are to us. Again, I repeat, it is not yet complete, but I want you to see that we are working on preserving your memories in this discussion.


From "Over There"

And do drop in to the new permanent (World War II Memories).

Jeanne Lee
April 21, 1999 - 06:59 am
Please, people, don't limit your posting of memories of World War II to this discussion. It's wonderful to see you posting here, but we also have a folder dedicated particularly to this subject: World War II Memories and we need to see you there, too!

Adrienne, I suspect that the reason it appears there is more interest in the things that happened on "this side of the Atlantic" is that there are so many more of us with memories of wartime U.S. I can assure you the incidents reported by those of you who actauly spent those years in war-torn countries are of great interest to all of us - both here in this book discussion and in the "Memories" folder.

Patricia R. King
April 21, 1999 - 09:04 am
It was a good point to bring up about the link of Memories of World War II which I have posted to in the past, but in this discussion, the emphasis is on the Studs Terkel book and I think that postings here are appropriate if we read and relate to that. Because my home was on the East Coast, those questions about the Japanese are something I cannot answer. I think I was cushioned from much of that kind of reality because I was a teenager then. I only found out about them after the war. Terkel's book's title reflects the fact that patriotism then meant that if your country needed you, whether service person or civilian, you found a way to answer that call. And, it was a Good War because the sacrifices made did save civilization, as many have stated, but I am glad the point was made that so many young people were just that, so young, and those of us at home couldn't fully recognize how WWII could and did change lives in incalcuable ways. This country was never to be North, South, East, West, but a melting pot of humanity, if you will. Robert's question 6 reflects that I, for one, was impressed by how anxious (there's no other word) young men and women were to serve their country. And that has never been seen since.

As for where I was on December 7, 1941, I was at home listening to a symphony concert that Sunday when an announcer blurted out that staggering news. I immediately called my grandmother and mother into the room and we sat around the radio. My first thoughts were of my classmates. We were sophomores in high school, and at that time, most of the boys were too young, but did go into the service later on, some I suspect may have even lied about their age to join up. Now you know why I used the word "anxious."

How tragic that the world has come to face the fact that young men of the age of those who were so patriotic can now obtain guns and kill their peers and others. I am so sad. I have seen our then-innocent world now crumble into one of violence, hatred, and fear.

Pat

robert b. iadeluca
April 21, 1999 - 09:51 am
Patricia: Welcome to our group and thank you for sharing your memories. Incidentally, what you refer to as "Robert's question 6" is actually Joan Pearson's question 6. I am the Discussion Leader. I am the blustery one. Joan is the Host; the person who quietly behind the scenes is making this discussion group work. She is the one who has been reading the book in advance. She is the one who made that beautiful replica of the book cover. She is the one who compiled the six questions and will be posing further questions as we move along.

She is the one who has been compiling all the postings of the Vets and has incorporated them into the clickable "Our Vets Remember." She is the one who has been compiling all the postings of those folks who were overseas at the time and has created the new clickable "Overseas." THANK YOU, JOAN!!

So at the risk of embarrassing Joan, let's give her a big hip-hip-hooray for making this folder the success it has become. And Joan, don't you dare come back with "oh, it was nothing" because all of us here know that takes a tremendous amount of time and effort.

Robby

Eileen Megan
April 21, 1999 - 02:10 pm
I was 11 in 1941, my father went to work for the government and we lived in Chicago during the war. I traveled on a train home to Boston that was reserved for women and children, they could relax, feed their babies etc. they were going home after saying goodbye to husbands who were being shipped overseas. My older brother ran away from home 3 times to join the Navy, the first time he ran away, a sailor in Milwaukee, Michael Modrich, found him and called us. Needless to say, he had a home with us while he was still stationed at Great Lakes. I remember getting letters, was it called v-mail from him after he was sent overseas.

Eileen Megan

Joan Pearson
April 21, 1999 - 03:28 pm
Eileen Megan, your brother is another who ran away to join the Navy! V-mail! Just as so many of the young men in these early pages of Good War! Was there the same rush to join the army at this time? Our young men seem to be saying in these pages, that they wanted to join the Navy, rather than be drafted by the army.

Was it Pearl Harbor that caused the rush to join? Was that the straw that broke the camel's back, that caused us to enter the war?

In Peter Ota says some pretty interesting things...he tells us that his father wasn't angry after his confinement in the Internment camps. Was this the attitude of most of the Japanese at this time? Did they understand the suspicion? Did they actually feel safer in the camps than they would have felt in the general population. I sure wish we had some of Japanese descent here...they could probably tell us a thing or two! The next memories are from Yuriko Hohri, a young girl who lived in the camp at the Santa Anita race track in California...she talks of getting out because her family had a "sponsor" who moved the whole family to Iowa. I had never heard of sponsorship before.

Was it you, Ella who asked about the "Oriental Exclusion Act", mentioned in the early pages of the book? I found this site, which seems to be saying that there was concern about the growing numbers of Janpanese in Honolulu within the government some twenty years prior to the war. What do you make of this?

Oriental Exclusion Act


Let's read Yuriko's story for tomorrow as well as Dennis' brother, Frank's to finish up the Pearl Harbor section, ok?

ps Robby, that is so sweet...but we both know that questions are only as good as the answers and the posts to date have been supurb...and make this discussion outstanding, even if the questions are totally ignored. Also, let me add, that I get lots of help with the "production" from my friends downstairs!

Theresa
April 21, 1999 - 03:52 pm
I was intrigued by the fact that the young kids all talked about food so much! I never thought about it before, but if you were a POW, food would become awfully important....the descriptions, the cooking, the taste. I still can't get over the fact that they were all little boys.

My oldest brother was drafted as soon as the war started. My two next brothers joined the Navy...the younger one when he was 17. He tried to go ealier, but the Navy kept sending him letters that said "Men make the Navy". Finally my parents signed a permission slip for him to go. How awful that must have been! They all came home safely, but sobered by the experience! They were no longer the innocent young farm kids from northern Wisconsin.....they had seen the world.

Theresa

Britta
April 21, 1999 - 04:58 pm
I told you a little bit about me during the war, but this is about my husband. He doesn't want to talk about the war himself, so I'm telling it. Harold enlisted in the Navy before he could be drafted into the Army, like so many young men in America. When he came home from enlisting, his draft notice was on the hall table. His two brothers were already in the war. One in The Army, the other in the Army Airforce in Africa. They both had told their little brother: for God's sake, don't go in the Army! The family had only the three sons, and all three were in the war. My husband was the youngest. His brothers had no idea he had enlisted in the Navy. H. served on the President Adams, a troop carrier and he drove one of those landing crafts, that spit out the troops when the front gets lowered on the beaches. When the ship approached Guadacanal, my husband, the coxswain of a landing craft, delivered troops and supplies to the beach, when he saw a lone soldier standing on the beach. As he came closer, he recognized his brother Joe, who was looking for transportation off the island. He had had malaria three times already and had to leave. Joe had no idea that Harold was even in the military yet, and was dumbfounded to see him. They rode around most of that day on the landing craft and even went on board the attack transport, APA 19, the USS President Adams. The President Adams was one of the original Attack Transports known throughout the war as the "unholy four". The other three were the Pres. Hayes, Pres. Jackson and the Crescent City. (Harold got into it now and is dictating this to me ! *S* ) My husband and his brother made up a code that upon reading their letters, they would know where the other one was. Their reunion made the papers in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thanks to their good fortune all three brothers returned from the war safely. THE END **S** Britta and Harold B.

Ginny
April 21, 1999 - 05:03 pm
Robby, I agree totally with your opinion of Joan, she's marvelous, and one of a kind. Everything she touches turns to gold, we're lucky to have her here. This entire folder shines, with the reminiscences of those posting, and your own ability as leader, I'd say this is a grand undertaking, so proud to be a part of it, back later, running behind!

Ginny

Britta
April 21, 1999 - 05:05 pm
Joan dear, I want to thank you specifically for going to the extra trouble of making a special site for the memories "from the other side". I am humbled and gratified that there is an interest to hear the stories from across the Atlantic, and especially the former "enemies". It is cathartic to tell of these experiences, and I'm sure I don't just speak for myself. Britta

Harry632
April 21, 1999 - 05:32 pm
Oriental Exclusion Act - correct name is Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. It prohibited skilled or unskilled immigration of Chinese for 10 years. was renewed for additional 10 years in 1892 and in 1902 and in 1904 it was made "for an indefinite period",and was repealed, oddly enough, two years after Pearl Harbor at about the time that Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek and wife were frequent guests for weeks at a time, in the White House.

robert b. iadeluca
April 21, 1999 - 06:45 pm
Theresa: You hit it right on the nose when you said that "food" was the biggest item. I believe it was the British men who complained that the GIs were "over paid, over fed, over sexed, and over here." Notice that food came before sex!

Harold, glad you have joined Britta in sharing stories. What an amazing coincidence in seeing your brother! Please share some more of your memories.

Welcome, Harry632: What effect do you think the Chinese Exclusion Act on the subsequent World War II events?

AdrienneJ
April 21, 1999 - 09:01 pm
Thanks to everyone that answered my post...I have not read the book, and was just commenting on war experiences...

Robert - you are right - it was in England that they used to say the GIs were overpaid, oversexed and over here...never heard about overfed though!!

The kids used to look for GIs and ask "Got any gum, chum" and the answer was "Got a sister, mister"....

Adrienne

GingerWright
April 21, 1999 - 11:24 pm
We were in Ind when pearl Harbor, I will never forget as all were out on the streets, and all our young men signed to serve there country. My mother Agnes Wright at the time took 100% of her pay in US savings Bonds to support world war to as we had been bombed, and she wanted to spport her country, she worked at the Studebaker factory. Great Lady. Mother would be so proud that you asked and so am I,Will look for the soldier that sent her thank you to our paper and maybe he would remember. will check.

ginger

GingerWright
April 21, 1999 - 11:27 pm
I have found the letter which was in the South Bend, Tribune at South Bend, Ind. and here it is.

SOLDIER SENDS THANKS NOTE TO BOND BUYER

War bond buying by civillians is not unheeded by those in the armed forces, who are deeply appreciative of the efforts on the home front to aid in bringing victory to the United States and its allies.

That sentiment is expressed by Corp. Troy E. Hoover of the army engineering depaartment at Percy Jones General hospital, Battle Creek, Mich. to Mrs. Agnes Wright 622 W. Jefferson Boulevard, Mishawaka, Ind. who devotes 100 per cent of her pay at the Studebaker corporation automative division to the purchas of war bonds.

"While passing through South Bend I noticed the article in the paper on your turning your entire pay check into war bonds," Corp Hoover wrote.

" News like this is much more welcome to us than news of strikes. It makes us feel we really are fighting for something after all. Therefore, I cannot help but take to write this little note of thanks and appreciation for your unselfish conduct.

"Until the day when furture homes become something more than a dreams. I will say Thanks and keep it up

GingerWright
April 21, 1999 - 11:59 pm
Thank You for asking for this it bring tears to my eyes, I loved her so much she had a stroke and could not walk, talk or eat. But this wonderful lady died in her own home that when the war was over that she had purchased with those war bonds. Her stroke was feb. 28,1995 and she passed away March 18, 1997 in her home of 50 years.

ginger her daughter

GingerWright
April 22, 1999 - 12:50 am
Agnes Wright.with the house came 10 acreas of land, it was a farm, hand pump, out house,prive, etc. she bought 5 acreas on one side and then 5 aceas on the other side and divided them up into lots, and sold them, so she was enriched with every war bond she bought. She was very blessed in later years. And we remember coming in on a wing and a prayer, and all the rest of our war songs of our day. God Bless all the troups in our war today, I do support our Troups.

robert b. iadeluca
April 22, 1999 - 04:09 am
Virginia: Thank you for joining us here and for sharing. Your mother was obviously an extraordinary woman and your comments about her are a great tribute. We hope you continue to post your thoughts here in this folder but you might also be interested in clicking above and putting some of your thoughts on the Homefront folder.

Robby

Ella Gibbons
April 22, 1999 - 05:32 am
Joan -thanks for that clickable on the "Oriental Exclusion Act" which quotes from an article dated 1942 - "The 1924 testimony on the exclusion bill contains many other warnings which today seem prophetic. Senator James D. Phelan warned that Hawaiian-born Japanese would eventually control suffrage on the Islands and said the United States would not “tolerate for a minute a Japanese civil government in the Hawaiian territory ... because Hawaii is the naval key to the Pacific.” It goes on to state the Japanese workmen on the island (remember Hawaii was not a state at the time) take orders only from their own consul and from the COMMISSIONER SENT FROM JAPAN.

There were definitely indications that the Japanese were connected to their own government rather than America.

robert b. iadeluca
April 22, 1999 - 05:36 am
Ella: Based, then, on your comments regarding the Japanese in Hawaii, do you believe our government made a wise decision in interning the Japanese-Americans?

Robby

Ella Gibbons
April 22, 1999 - 06:00 am
Robby - it's difficult to judge from this distance of some 50 years. I can say I believe our government thought there was a reason; I know a Japanese submarine was sighted on the west coast of the U.S.

What do you think?

robert b. iadeluca
April 22, 1999 - 06:08 am
Ella: I lived (and still live) on the East Coast and so did not feel the hysteria that the West Coast felt. But, despite the possible danger that we ordinary citizens might not have known of, I still believe there was a heavy racial reason affecting it else why didn't we do the same thing to the German-Americans and Italian-Americans?

Robby

Ella Gibbons
April 22, 1999 - 09:42 am
Could be right, Robby, but the Germans and the Italians did not BOMB US - JAPAN DID. Difference, don't you think? Even though they committed terrible atrocities - war is hell!

I must go back to the book, I think it's in the Okinawa story that this meek little man talks about the Japanese and their way of fighting to the end and then they commit suicide instead of surrendering. My husband experienced this with the kamikaze pilots just coming straight down and hitting their ship - very difficult for the soldiers to understand.

robert b. iadeluca
April 22, 1999 - 10:03 am
Ella: You're right. The Germans and Italians didn't bomb us. That is a difference.

Those kamikaze experiences must have been terrible! If your husband is up to it, he might want to do some sharing with us.

Robby

Ella Gibbons
April 22, 1999 - 10:14 am
No, Robby, Dick won't talk about the war - and he won't come near this computer! Just every once inawhile he'll make a comment if we're seeing something that's a reminder.

My brother-in-law brought over a tape he made of his experiences in Italy. I'll listen to it soon and condense it and type it in.

robert b. iadeluca
April 22, 1999 - 10:51 am
Ella: Your husband's emotional happiness is the most important item so we understand. We'll be looking forward to hearing about your brother-in-law's experiences.

Robby

Britta
April 22, 1999 - 11:33 am
Many men who have fought in a war seem to have the same attitude : I don't want to talk about it. Are women just naturally more able to share their emotional experiences or is it some sort of code of silence that makes these Veterans shy away from talking about their wartime experiences. My husband has had terrible experiences and still has nightmares occasionally, but he shrugs them off as having nothing to do with his experiences during the war. It took many. many years of marriage before I learned about some of them. I think it would help a lot of men to "pour it all out". Maybe then they can find closure to the things they saw and did during the wartime fighting. What do you think?

Britta
April 22, 1999 - 11:37 am
Sorry about all the repetitive "experiences", - there must be a better word, or at least another one. Must look it up. Forgive me, but English is my second language after all. *S* Britta

GailG
April 22, 1999 - 01:10 pm
Britta: Just so you know, you do a lot better than many others whose first language is English. Just keep your stories coming no matter what you call them. We are all learning from you.

Eileen Megan
April 22, 1999 - 01:22 pm
There may not have been internment for Germans and Italians but one friend of mine of German descent said that during the war a lot of kids made her life miserable by calling her a "nazi" and other uncomplimentary names.

Eileen Megan

Joan Pearson
April 22, 1999 - 02:21 pm
Do you think that those who "looked" Japanese were a lot safer in the camps on the West Coast, given the hysteria at the time? Think of all those bodies they pulled out of Pearl Harbor and the rage against the Japanese bombed those ships.. Think of the rush to join the Navy to "go get em"...and the "Chinese Exclusionary Act", the concern about the growing numbers of Japanese in Hawaii..on the mainland - and their allegiance to the Japanese government - which just declared war with that bomb! I think that the young Japanese girl and her family taken to Iowa is a good example of what was going on. The paranoia was on the West Coast with the large Japanese population. It was okay in Iowa. Sort of a localized racism, Robby - understandable in context though. I can't fault those threatened at the time, but cannot forgive the confiscation of Japanese homes and land. Not one bit!

Does anyone know of internment camps elsewhere in the country?

It is my wish that some of those so affected will come forward before we are through here. Am certainly glad that Studs was able to come up with Peter Ota and Yuriko Hohri.....

Virginia, your mom gave 100% - You have a right to be so proud of her. What a legacy! I think this is a true example of the overwhelming support for the war effort back then. Does anyone remember demonstrations against the war?

Ginny
April 23, 1999 - 05:58 am
Stil thinking about the title, "The Good War." As Robby has pointed out, WWI was the War to End all Wars, WWII was "The Good War" but what of the others? Did we stop naming them? "The Korean CONFLICT," was that any less a "good war?" I'm seeing Terkel's definition at the top, the just war the hateful enemy, what of the current Balkans war? What of "Desert Storm?" Why do we have to give these catchy phrase names to things? Did Vietnam have one?

"Chemo:" little nickname for a big thing. "Desert Storm." Reports from Central Europe and Prague indicate great dissatisfaction with AMERICANS there????? Hah?? 100,000 refugees just disappear? Disappear? They were in line to leave the country and they disappear?

Is this WWII all over again? And is this one a "good" war or how is it different?

I was not born in 1941. I don't remember, obviously, the feeling prior to our involvement in WWII, is it the same now? From either side or viewpoint?

Ginny

Ann Alden
April 23, 1999 - 06:06 am
I am having a hard time deciding what to read first each day. Seems like the experiences here are as interesting and full as the book's interviews. I think that if we had taken the time to query the Japanese or to even look at their history(here in this country) we could have interned the newer(to this country) and non citizens and left the working people alone. We also should never have confiscated their homes or their businesses.The owner of a greenhouse business that we purchased our flowers from each year in California was interned with his parents and they were 4th generation citizens.But, war is insane and lots of mistakes are made. In the book,one of the later interviews with a prosecutor in the war trials alludes to the possibility of racism when it came to the Japanese.

As far as I can see, war on the planet has never ended. We called WWI, "the war to end all wars" and that was a joke. We have never stopped fighting. Look at us now! The US has been lucky in that we have never had the battles here in the states.At least, not since we finished the Civil War.

robert b. iadeluca
April 23, 1999 - 09:22 am
Ann Alden: You had direct contact with a Japanese-American who was interned and who was a 4th generation citizen. Did he ever tell you what it was like for him and his parents in the internment camp? Peter Ota in Terkel's book said: "When shame is put on you, you try to hide it. We were put into camp, we became victims, it was our fault. We hide it."

Joan Pearson
April 23, 1999 - 05:07 pm
Ginny, I can't get your Kosovo question out of my mind..."Is this WWII all over again? And is this one a "good" war or how is it different? " I know there is a difference and will attempt to put it in words.

We had a choice as to how and when to get involved in the Kosovo situation, where atrocities were being committed, (though nothing as bad as they are now, since we started the bombing!). We had no choice getting involved win World War II...not after Pearl Harbor!!!

Prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, there was much resistance to our involvement...Charles Lindbergh's "America First" movement as an example. When would we become involved? To what extent? Resistance! Then came Pearl Harbor, and there was no question about it...we were in, and it seems that everyone knew it was something we had to do! Hitler and his allies threatened our continued existence.

But this? We are already in, but there is much resistance to any more involvement. There was an article in today's Washington Post by Charles Krauthammer...I'm sure you've read many similar...the last paragraph seems relevant to our discussion here...

"This is not humanitarianism, This is cynicism: fighting not to win, not even to save, but to feel righteous.
He who does not will the means, does not will the ends. If the commander in chief does not have the courage to send soldiers to die, he has not business getting into this or any other war."

It seems to me that a united belief that a cause is enough to die for - that's what makes the difference between a "good war" and this war. Let's look at the next two kids, Robert Rasmus and Red Prendergast - that's really what they were - kids-just out of high school when they found themselves out of their home towns for the first time in their lives, "ground troops" on the battlefield...fighting for something they believed in....ready to lay down their lives...

Are we ready to do that with our own sons and daughters for this? If they came and said to you I am going to sign up for this war...or worse, I've been drafted to go to fight in Yugoslavia, would you be as overwhelmingly supportive as the parents of the young people who went into WWII?

robert b. iadeluca
April 24, 1999 - 05:13 am
I keep asking myself if the "average" American understands the meaning of "freedom." I am beginning to believe that only those who have lost or almost lost their freedom really understand it.

In Terkel's book, Yuriko Hohri tells of her being interned in a horse stable at Santa Anita. And then she shows Terkel her internee record which she had saved over the years. At the bottom of the sheet, in large print, it said: "KEEP FREEDOM IN YOUR FUTURE WITH U.S. SAVINGS BONDS." I consider that obscene!

Robby

robert b. iadeluca
April 25, 1999 - 06:42 am
Today is a historic date. On this date in 1945, the Russians and the Americans met at the Elbe River in Germany. I remember very well the Russians rushing westward toward the river with the Germans scattering before them hoping to be captured by the Americans. I remember staying in one spot near the river (we had been halted for political reasons), listening to the Russians speaking on the radio, and waiting to meet them.

I remember watching long caravans of captured German soldiers on the Autobahn being "guarded" by just one jeep in front and one jeep in back with GIs having nothing but carbines. The soldiers were so relieved that they were being captured by us rather than the Russians.

Robby

Britta
April 25, 1999 - 09:28 am
Robby, I remember the same day. We were all waiting for the Americans and heard that Eisenhower was near Leipzig, not far from Dresden - and then he turned around and left us to be conquered by the Russians. The Russians used Mongolian advance troops and gave them the freedom of the city to pillage, murder and rape for a limited time, after which they were rounded up by their Russian superiors and prevented from doing any more atrocities. The Russian soldiers and their officers on the whole treated Germans humanely, if not exactly friendly. But the worst was yet to come. The horror started when the newly empowered German communists started to seek revenge on the population, who had persecuted them during the Hitler years. The surprizing thing was, that as soon as the war had been lost, there existed not a single Nazi any more. The country went through a period of denial and shock.

I had written a few notes on the rebuilding of the cities of Germany after the war, but my computer acted up and my words are now floating around somewhere in cyberspace. I can't reconstruct my thoughts, just want to point out that West Germany was rebuilt in great part through the help of the Marshall Plan, whereas the part of Germany which fell into Russian occupation and communist leadership was neglected, impoverished and not rebuilt until the Iron Curtain came down. To this day, one can see the total destruction of Berlin and Dresden in residential areas. Of course a great effort is being made, to restore the public face of these cities as soon as possible, but the streets that are locked in a timewarp are hardly ever seen by tourists. It will take a long time yet before people who live there will have semi human living conditions. The occupants of the worst places are now refugees from other countries and North VietNam.

Ann Alden
April 26, 1999 - 08:10 am
Robbie,

I really didn't talk to this man beyond what he told us one busy day. He was as American as you or I. And so were his parents. Not right! But, we panicked and there we were!

Joan,

I had a cousin who was at Normandy Beach and many of these stories are the same as his. At the time, he told these, I thought(being muuuuuch younger) he was making it up. Couldn't believe that our soldiers were afraid. I was too young to understand war and its horrible consequences.

As to what is happening in Kosuvo, I am in agreement with Krauthammer but wish we hadn't ever entered into this mess. After reading this book, I find it so horrible that these people who run the countries use the young for cannon fodder. Its all about greed and power. At the time of WWII, I think calling it a "good war" was that it was justifiable because we had been attacked and the whole world wanted us to respond. Did you know that there is a section of Florida, down towards Miami,where they had "blackouts" and were worried about being invaded as German warships were spotted out in the Atlantic? I was just amazed when I heard this. I knew from California friends that they lived in terror of being invaded by the Japanese. We have a friend who was an air raid warden on the coast, up on the Palos Verde Penninsula.And another one, who says that there was a group of Japanese loyalists in Santa Monica and they were caught signaling ships out in the Pacific. I don't know whether any of this is true and would like to hear from anyone who knows. Makes you stop and think that we may almost have been under siege,too. We have been so lucky that the North American Continent has not been bombed except for up in the Aleutians.

robert b. iadeluca
April 26, 1999 - 08:26 am
Ann: Afraid? Were our soldiers afraid? You wouldn't believe!! There was a small (very small) percentage of soldiers who were gung-ho to kill and seemed to have no fear. But the very great majority of people in combat were terrified. Not afraid, but terrified! You hear stories of children asking: "Were you scared, Daddy?" And if he tells it like it was, he gives a solid "yes." He might not want to give the details and scare his children to death, but if he told his family that he was not afraid, he was (and you can quote me on this) a big liar. Where do you suppose Post-traumatic stress syndrome comes from - known at that time as Combat Fatigue and in World War I as Shell Shock. Oh, yes, as we consider sending our youngsters off to war, let us remind ourselves what we are sending them into.

Robby

Ginny
April 26, 1999 - 02:16 pm
You know, this book just knocks your socks off but the responses of our participants here creates a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear it from somebody who really was there, and on both sides, too.

When we read about the climbing of Everest, none of us had been there, but here we have stories Terkel would have killed to get, and I'm so grateful for each one, tho it's awfully hard to read some of the excerpts in the book.

Don't you find it kind of eerie how these people tell their stories in the book? Sort of fatalistic? And so many just freak chances, it's stunning, it's awful, really.

Imagine these two men, Rasmus and Prendergrast, meeting up on the street one day! Boggles the mind. Rasmus got the flu and he wasn't sent to the Battle of the Bulge with the 106th. Most of his buddies didn't come back. I wonder if every soldier has a similar story about luck or fate or whatever you'd call it?

I was stunned by the death of the sargeant? The smirk on the soldier's face, his threats to kill him? I thought that only happened in the movies, or Vietnam? I didn't realize it had taken place in WWII also?

And then Red Prendergrast's memories of being captured, a POW. I saw Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful twice, did any of you see it? I've heard it offended Spielberg, yet I believe here Prendergrast mentions several humorous things among the horror the starvation the awfulness of his situation. I know Benigni's own father was in the camps, and spoke to him of humor. I had never realized before the movie that Italians were also captured and sent to the camps, I should have read the book, I would have known. That movie was so hard to watch the first time, just devastating, but the second time something else came thru.

Again, Prendergrast's frostbite kept him on the train which was being strafed, it sounds like hell, it sounds like a nightmare with nowhere to turn and not at all the Patton type military movie we have come to think of as war, it's a real eyeopener, this book, and your experiences. The "friendly fire" issue of Question #2, I didn't realize that Allies had strafed allied forces, but I can see how it happened, if they were in trains or in German shirts. Gosh, it's just a hell, wasn't it?

Standing up Russian bodies for the head count to get their rations. Eating the watch dog. Gives Hogan's Heroes a whole new slant. (What did those of you who remember it think of that series)? I can't imagine how the families at home coped, worrying about their loved ones.

Why do Vets think nobody wants to hear these stories? I'm so glad we're doing this here, I sure do. Would those of you who lived thru this agree with Red Prendergrast when he says, "As I see it, at that young age, we hit the climax. Everything after that is anticlimactic."

Ginny

Joan Pearson
April 26, 1999 - 02:23 pm
Hey, Ginny, how about Robby, Rasmus and Prendergast meet on the street? How about getting Rasmus and Prendergast here to share their memories with us??? Shall I try to locate them? Wouldn't that be something? I agree with you - these GIs must understand how much we cherish them and want to hear from them!



You are a precious treasure trove of memory, Robby!. Yes, I understand that most Germans were hoping to be captured by the GIs rather than the Russians! I see from one of the memoirs "du jour" - I think it's Robert Rasmus...says the same thing...

that they (the Russians) had taken great losses, that they had "broken the back of the German army" on the eastern front and took out much of their resentment on their captives. Rasmus goes on to say that he didn't hear any "anti- Russian" talk among the Americans...but he added something else I thought interesting. He says, "I think we were realistic enough to know that if we were going to fight them (Russians), we would come out second best." They had masses of armies, and their "willingness to sacrifice millions of troops. We were aware that our leaders were sparing our lives...would try to pummel the enemy with artillery and tanks and overpower them before sending the infantry in. If that were possible."

Britta, it is fascinating that your memories are the same as these. I can't tell you how sorry I am for you and your families. And those cities, in the "timewarp" must be a constant reminder of the horror. Where were you immediately after April, 1945?

Did you read today's paper - that NATO has agreed yesterday to rebuild tomorrow what is being bombed today?

Joan Pearson
April 26, 1999 - 02:44 pm
I agree, Ann, war is senseless and self- defeating...an alternative? What should be done? What should have been done?

The Japanese signaling from Santa Monica, (if true), or even the rumor would be enough to cause widespread paranoia and hysteria and suspicion of all Japanese. I don't think this is racism, Robby, but I don't know what else to call it. You were there...where were you when Pearl Harbor was bombed? What do you remember of that day and the weeks immediately following? Did you know of the Japanese internment camps? Were you as appalled then as you are now? Were the camps anywhere else in the country - besides California and Hawaii?

You mention the fear...no, you say the soldiers in combat were terrified . the same horror Rasmus describes in his memoir in Studs' book - What touched me most in his account:

"The reason you storm the beaches is not patriotism or bravery - it's not wanting to fail your buddies.".
You know, the more I think about it, the more I think that's both bravery and patriotism!

Ginny
April 26, 1999 - 02:46 pm
YESYES!! Let's try for Prendergrast and Rasmus!! Let's invite them in to our fellowship and hear what we all have to say!

Go for it!

Ginny

Ella Gibbons
April 26, 1999 - 04:49 pm
In Rasmus' story, did you notice how often he said "Gee, I don't wanna get killed. And, Boy, this is gorgeous country." And again "the meadow is lovely." "I could almost hear this Wagnerian music." The beauty of the country and the horror of it the next moment when the shells begin. Do you think he's trying to portray his attempt to keep his mind on beauty while all around is death?

Who can tell me who "Caspar Milquetoast" was? A cartoon figure in Stars and Stripes maybe? Robby? It's familiar but it won't come to my memory?

Did you also notice that marching throuh France and into Germany, at first he felt somewhat secure with tanks, trucks, support troops, but gradually "things would thin out....it was your platoon, and then it was your squad....and you were the point man for the squad." How frightening that must have been - that feeling of being alone and the enemy ahead.

His attitude about the nuclear freeze is understandable isn't it? His life, he says, was saved by that atomic bomb on Japan - I've heard that from several former G.I.'s that were waiting to be ordered to go into Japan. Would we - or any other country that has tested the bomb and seen its potential - ever use it again do you think? How bad would it have to get before we would ever consider it?

That business about Patton - I've got to get this straightened out, because I've heard or read so many things about why we didn't go forward all the way to Berlin, but allowed the Russians to do it.

Rasmus says "Patton said we ought to keep going. To me, that was an unthinkable idea. "The Russians would have slaughtered us...."

I've always thought that it was the Allies (Eisenhower's and Montgomery's) plan not to go, but to let the Russians have the final triumph because they had lost many more lives than the allies and we had not been able to give them much help. They purposely did not allow Patton to proceed even though he wanted to - and I've also heard that it was our biggest MISTAKE in the war because allowing the Russians to take such an advantage resulted in the Communistic takeover after the peace accords.

Rasmus says "I don't think the rank of the GIs had any stomach for fighting the Russians." What do you think Robby?

robert b. iadeluca
April 26, 1999 - 05:03 pm
Ginny: There were other types of "friendly fire" (doesn't that term get you!) beside strafing. One could be hit by ones own artillery. Those of us at or near the front lines could hear the shells going over all day as each artillery (both ours and enemy) tried to hit the other artillery battalion. The sound was somewhat like a freight train going by overhead but pretty soon every GI who had been in combat for some time could discern the difference. Enemy shells heading our way were labeled "incoming mail" and our shells going over head were labeled "outgoing mail." Whenever some one shouted "incoming mail," everyone would hit the foxholes or cellars. "Outgoing mail" was a welcome sound to hear except when their range was too short and instead of going on to the enemy lines, it landed near where we were and was called by the historians "friendly fire." We called it something else not fit for family consumption.

As to "luck," I would say that the closest I came to being killed was when I wasn't even there. I was in a Regimental Headquarters Company where the communication center was located (radio switchboard, phone lines, etc.) At one point after being at the front for a while, I was granted a three-day pass to Paris. When I returned, I learned that the enemy artillery had found our communication center where ordinarily I was located. If I had been there, I wouldn't be writing this now.

Robby

robert b. iadeluca
April 26, 1999 - 05:16 pm
Ella: Caspar Milquetoast had nothing to do with GIs or Stars & Stripes or war. This was a cartoon regularly seen on the "funny pages" even before the war. Caspar was henpecked, a wimp, someone who was afraid of his own shadow. The term was regularly applied to not necessarily a coward but someone who never took the initiative about anything.

Robby

Britta
April 26, 1999 - 05:33 pm
In April / May 1945 we were hiding in the farmhouse of the man who had worked for us in our gardens. His place was in the mountains, closer to Tschechoslovakia, away from the bombings of the cities in Saxony and Thuringia. Immediately after the war had come to a close, we tried to hide from the advancing Russian troops. I had a sister who was 9 years older than me. At the time I was 10 1/2 and she was almost 20. The biggest fear was that she would fall into the hands of Russians, who were out to rape and plunder. She hid in a cemetary in an open grave, which we covered with wreaths from other graves. Every day I would go and bring her food. I was very small and young looking and nobody bothered me. On top of my sister's problem of being a beautiful young woman, she was also AWOL from the German Luftwaffe. She had been a pilot of a small reconnaissance plane and had been stationed at Cottbus. When she came on a weekend pass, my father forbid her to return to duty, as he saw that the war was in it's final days. He sent her along with my mother and me to the farmhouse to hide out. The war did indeed end a very short time after we arrived there and it was a blessing that for once my sister had listened to our father. Vati arrived by bicycle to fetch us back home and as soon as he stood the bike against the fence, a convict, still in his prison stripes, arrived and stole it and rode away. At the moment the war ended, all the prisons were opened and everyone was set free, from political prisoners to murderers. It was total chaos! There's so much more to this story, but it would fill a book and I think I'm taking up too much of this discussion already.

I do like to read everyone else's experiences too !

robert b. iadeluca
April 26, 1999 - 05:35 pm
Britta: Don't stop! Let's fill a book!

Robby

Ginny
April 26, 1999 - 05:43 pm
Let's write a book!

Ginny

Britta
April 26, 1999 - 05:52 pm
I did write the story of a terrible thing that happened to my mother during our flight. Tried my hand at putting it down like a novel. It's probably too long for this forum though. It fits in with the subject matter though. You decide.

Iowa Bill
April 26, 1999 - 05:54 pm
Robby--When you mentioned Casper Milquetoast, I remember an early war movie featuring Edward G. Robinson. he was terribly henpecked by his wife. and was a wimp. Then he got drafted. He was toughened in the Army and became a hero fighting the Japs. I'll see if I can find the title. I would like to see if I can get a video of it.

"The Good War" book led me to "The Secret War With Germany". It was one of the best written on German and British espionage. Many thousands of lives were saved as a result of allied spies.

Seeing the destruction our "fearless leader" supports via NATO in Kosovo, dare I ask the question what country is going to spend billions rebuilding this destruction?

robert b. iadeluca
April 26, 1999 - 05:57 pm
Bill: That is a profound question which probably would fit in very nicely into the discussion group on Bombing Yugoslavia.

Robby

Joan Pearson
April 26, 1999 - 07:49 pm
Britta, how long is it? Really want to hear the story, but wonder about putting it in a post form. Could we put it in an html file and then install a clickable? What form is it in right now? Do you have a saved copy?

Here's a clickable to an article from the book section in the Wash. Post...(we might be able to present your piece like this. Britta)...

I suppose these articles and book reviews are going to be jumping out at us from every direction as we become immersed in this topic!

A Good War?

expow
April 26, 1999 - 10:26 pm
Robbie-What you said about not missing freedon until you have lost it. You got that right

robert b. iadeluca
April 27, 1999 - 05:02 am
EXPOW: In relation to yours and my comment about tha attitude toward freedom, let me relate an incident to you and others --

I came back home on a Liberty Ship. They were not built for speed, neither were they built for comfort. We would stand in the prow of the ship watching it rise up on the crest of a wave. The wave would disappear leaving a space and the ship would crash downward making the whole vessel shudder throughout its length. The scuttlebutt was that the Captain told someone who told someone else that he intended to resign upon arriving at port - that he would not continue to guide a "death ship." We found it ironic that we had survived a horrible war in the name of freedodm and now might die on the way home in a ship whose name symbolized liberty.

Then the announcement came from the Captain over the public address system. We were going to land in New York Harbor. New York! America! Home! Who was the person who coined that ridiculous statement: "I hate to see a grown man cry"? Have you ever seen a thousand men cry? All at the same time? And no one ashamed? No one on that ship had been home for under two years. On that ship were men who had not seen their wives, children, family members or girl friends in that period of time. There were also men who had received "Dear John" letters letting them know that they had former wives and sweethearts and that there might be no one waiting for them. Nevertheless America would be waiting for them and for this they were grateful.

GIs gathered in knots on the deck and below talking about nothing else. Because we were landing in New York, they knew we would pass the Statue of Liberty, the emblem that symbolized all for which we had been fighting. We were going to let out a cheer such as you wouldn't believe.

The day arrived. We entered the lower harbor and faintly in the distance the Statue of Liberty could be seen. Our speed slowed and as we approached the statue, everyone (repeat everyone) gathered topside. The deck was a mass of brown uniforms, all their wearers looking in one direction. Now the moment for cheering had come. We were slowly passing under the statue.

There we were, thousands of battle-hardened, some wounded, ordinarily foul-mouthed veterans standing on the deck, looking upward - - - and not a sound. Not a sound! It was possible to hear the rush of the water past the ship. I looked around me and saw war-wrinkled faces with tears straming down them. I say "saw' but it was most difficult because of my own tears. Ever so slowly as the ship passed the statue, individual soldiers slowly drifted away to the own hammocks and into their own thoughts. No talking. Just an eerie silence as the ship moved into the mouth of the Hudson River.

Robby

Ginny
April 27, 1999 - 05:10 am
Oh Robby, chills. Thanks so much for sharing that!

Ginny

Ginny
April 27, 1999 - 05:17 am
SeniorNet is very slow this morning, I fear a crash. Copy your posts if you want to keep them, I've copied Robby's already?

Ginny

Britta
April 27, 1999 - 05:44 am
Robby, it gave me goosebumps ! Beautiful imagery of that special moment! You ARE a writer ! Britta

robert b. iadeluca
April 27, 1999 - 05:58 am
Britta: Thank you from one writer to another. But I guess the secret is that we each (and many others here) have something to write about.

Robby

May Naab
April 27, 1999 - 06:11 am
All of your stories have been heart wrenching--to say the least! I wasn`t going to read this book, but now I have to--I did get it from the library, but am thinking seriously of purchasing a copy.

robert b. iadeluca
April 27, 1999 - 06:14 am
May: Welcome to our group and I hope you will share your thoughts with us from time to time. Everyone has something to offer.

Robby

Ann Alden
April 27, 1999 - 06:58 am
MayWelcome to this incredible site!I was able to purchase two used copies from Bibliofind for a total of $6 apiece including postage. And, Ella, has her own hardback that she got for $7 at the used book shop here in Columbus.

RobbyWhat a spine tingling description of that day when you returned to America. Since we were just in that very harbour last December, I could picture the whole scene and certainly it brings tears to all who read it. Whew!

When Rasmus describes the countryside and then the battle noise and destruction, I can see why he felt schizophrenic.

And, now we are destroying similar sites in Kosuvo. Have we learned nothing from the past wars? Are we doomed to repeat and repeat the violence of war? Do we think this is the proper response? Have you been reading the rules of war, in the newspaper? Ludicrous! It sounds like a gameplan. Reminds me of when my children played D&D.Did anyone see on CSPAN over the weekend, the interview with Milosevic? Quite interesting but I did filter his comments with the reality that comes through with the other interviews that have been shown.

JoanThe book was written in 1984 so some of these older vets might not be around but I certainly think its worth checking. My sister,Mary, has a hard time reading as she is ADD so last night, she called to tell me that she has the audio tape of the book and just might get online with us when time permits as she is also getting much from it.

Ella Gibbons
April 27, 1999 - 12:34 pm
Ann - Mary coming aboard! Yeah! All of her NY buddies will say Hi and we'll all see her in Chicago!

Robby and Britta - what stories! You both bring tears! A sister hiding in an open grave for fear of being raped by the Russians and you bringing her food!!! OH!

Robby - you told that story so realistically, we could all see those men turning away silently with tears! I have now read my brother-in-law's tape he brought to me and he, too, came home on a Liberty ship and they were in terrible storms - one of the ships broke in two from the impact of the waves and all drowned. They couldn't rescue any! He tells these incidents on the tape as though he was reciting the day's weather.

And friendly fire - he tells of his wartime experiences from Africa to Italy. Every Tuesday and Thursday nights they went up the mountain paths in Italy and one night they heard a truck coming at them much too fast and it went through their line of soldiers (which were 3 abreast) and the next day they had to bury 39 of their own. They learned that the driver of the truck was British and very drunk!

Eileen Megan
April 27, 1999 - 02:09 pm
Britta, what an extraordinary story you have to tell, I hope our experts can find a way for us to read it.

Robby, you brought that scene so vividly to life, I could see it in my mind's eye, very heart-wrenching.

I am curious about what veterans really thought of Ernie Pyle, a writer who was killed during the war, he was supposed to have written very true accounts of what was happening.

Someone mentioned a cartoon and I immediately thought of Bill Mauldin's "Joe & Willie" cartoons that depicted the "dogface' soldier in a humorous way - were they popular with the real soldiers too?

Eileen Megan

GingerWright
April 27, 1999 - 07:08 pm
Robby I cannot find the home front folder. I am new to this and was sent by some one.

Joan Pearson
April 27, 1999 - 07:24 pm
Hello, Virginia! You'll laugh when you see just how easy this will be! Just go back up to the heading here on the Good War page and right under the discussion schedule you will see a red "Read ME for More World WarII Memories." Click that and you'll find a menu. Home Front is right toward the top of that list!

GailG
April 28, 1999 - 01:04 am
To all of you who have contributed so much to this discussion. I am not reading the book along with you so I cannot comment on it. However, I don't know how it can be any better or have any greater impact than the stories I have been reading here. It's truly amazing how, after so many years and so many other experiences you can relive them as though they happened yesterday. I wonder if it were up to you veterans of World War II, would we be bombing Yugoslavia and I wonder how many of those responsible for or approving of the bombing lived through the war directly.

Joan Pearson
April 28, 1999 - 04:34 am
Gail, your question is so very important. What is amazing to me is that so many of the accounts in these posts and questions you are asking are echoed in the pages of the book. In the pages describing the Japanese front which we are reading this week, I just read Peter Bezik's statement that "most Americans don't know what war really is." This man understood war and you can imagine how he felt when one son went to fight in Vietnam, the other was jailed for resisting! I too would be interested in hearing from our Vets here.

After reading these posts and the memories in Studs' oral histories, I am beginning to understand why so many of our Vets are reluctant to talk about the war and what they witnessed!

In this section of the book, Tales of the Pacific E.B. Sledge describes the "wasted lives on a muddy ridge." The Japanese theatre certainly differed from the European...a huge difference between the bloody battlefields and the savage atrocities in Japan. Am still trying to understand it!!!

Eileen Megan
April 28, 1999 - 09:35 am
In today’s Boston Herald, in Joe Fitgerald’s column there was a poignant letter from a Steve Ross of Newton who was 14 the day American troops liberated him from Dachau. He had spent five terror-filled years in a series of prison camps. This is the letter he personally sent to hundreds of soldiers who liberated the camps.

“To camp survivors, GI Joe came from heaven. You were a divine force of mercy. I always envision, in my mind, the way you were 54 years ago. I can see your faces, your helmets, your uniforms, your boots, your weapons, you looked so rough and tough, yet you showed so much empathy. You left an indelible mark on a 14-year old boy that can never be erased. You were the pride of your nation. You preserved your Republic, your civilization, your religious freedom and you set free suffering humanity. You left your homes and families and at times you were also hungry, cold and disillusioned. Yet you fought bravely and defeated the most vicious and evil empire the world has ever known. History will remember you as the heroes of the 20th century, and Iwill forever be grateful to each and every one of you”

Eileen Megan

robert b. iadeluca
April 28, 1999 - 12:44 pm
Eileen Megan; The author of the letter you quote speaks of GI Joe's empathy. We were citizen soldiers. We were not bred to kill or be killed. At the time of surrender on May 8, 1945 down through the ranks came Eisenhower's order that we were not to fraternize with the enemy. There was to be no personal contact with any German, male or female, except by those members of our Civil Government unit who spoke fluent German and who were trained to bring some sort of order to the various communities.

We gave a constant "show of force" - marching through the streets of the various town and cities, wielding our rifles and other armament and letting the populace know, in one way or another, that there were a lot of us and that we were not about to accept any resistance on anybody's part, be it male or female, adult or child. There were few males in the various communities and these were elderly.

The children were another story. We cannot say they were naive to war. They knew bombings, they knew shellings, they knew starvation, but they had also learned about GIs. Inside every hardened American solder was a soft heart and inside his pockets were oranges, chocolate, and chewing gum which, if the officers were not looking, were surreptitiously passed along to the five and six-year old tots skipping alongside the "parade", not realizing that this was supposed to be a show of force and that the chewing gum giver was an enemy.

Robby

Britta
April 28, 1999 - 02:58 pm
This story is in loving memory of my mother. It is but a fragment of the 10000 piece puzzle that is life.

My Mother's Hands

robert b. iadeluca
April 28, 1999 - 05:27 pm
Britta: That was so beautiful! I can say nothing more.

Robby

Britta
April 28, 1999 - 05:32 pm
Thank you, Robby. It is a story that I'm still wrestling with, after all those years. But don't think I'm a sad person. I have a lot of fun and a pretty good sense of humor, without which life would be too, too serious ! Brigitta

GingerWright
April 28, 1999 - 11:07 pm
Britta- What a beautiful story of your mother,she was a very special person. Your mother is proud of of your going on as mine is.

May Naab
April 29, 1999 - 05:42 am
Britta--What a beautifully written story about your mother--certainly a loving tribute to her.

robert b. iadeluca
April 29, 1999 - 08:05 am
I would suspect that there are a number of you who posted here on previous dates and are now just following the comments of others. Please continue to give us your thoughts as we move through the thread of Terkel's book.

Robby

Britta
April 29, 1999 - 10:12 am
Let me second Robby's motion. I would love to read some more about the book or other personal experiences. Britta

Ginny
April 29, 1999 - 12:54 pm
Hi, Everybody! Our Joan P called this morning and her modem is fried in a freak power surge, and she's going to be offline until she can arrange to get somebody out to fix it.

She'll be back, but wanted you all to know!

Ginny

Jaywalker
April 29, 1999 - 01:04 pm
Just what everyone needs: freakly fried modems! ô¿ô

Ella Gibbons
April 29, 1999 - 03:21 pm
Robby - Where in Germany was your unit? And were the Russians anywhere around you? I have not yet got it straight in my mind as to why exactly we let the Russians take Berlin first? Who can straighten me out?

Robby - also you said "we were not bred to kill." Yes, so true, but in reading about these soldiers in the South Pacific, can you understand, as Joan asked in Question #1 above, how our G.I.'s pulled the teeth out of dead Japs and cut off their ears. One soldier said "We were savages." Why do you think the soldiers were so different fighting the Japanese than they were the Germans?

One soldier explains it this way:

"The Japanese fought by a code they thought was right: bushido. the code of the warrior: no surrender. To be captured was a disgrace; If you tried to help one of the Japanese, he'd usually detonate a grenade and kill himself as well as you. My brother who was wounded three times in the Battle of the Bulge said when things were hopeless for the Germans, they surrendered. I have heard many guys who fought in Europe who said the Germans were damn good soldiers. We hated the hell of having to fight 'em. When they surrendered, they were guys just like us. With Japanese, it was not that way."

This is from the story by E.B. Sledge in the second chapter of the book. He goes further:

"The Germans are constantly getting thrown in their face the horrors of nazism. But who reminds the Japanese of what they did to China or what they did to the Filipinos? ......we remember Bataan."

The last story in this chapter tells of the horrors of that 60-mile death march on Bataan!

robert b. iadeluca
April 29, 1999 - 05:54 pm
Ella: I was in the 29th Infantry Division and we crossed the Rhineland eastward toward the Eastern Front. We were still some miles from the Russians who were fighting westward from the Eastern Front. We did not hear them on our radios until we were close to them. Our letting them take Berlin was a political decision made by Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin.

Yes, we were not bred to kill but one changes very quickly when it is a case of survival. I don't remember cases of pulling teeth or cutting ears. American soldiers, by and large while not necessarily polite to the prisoners, at least treated them according to the code of the Geneva Convention. Unfortunately, this did not always result in the prisoners giving us the vital information needed to capture additional troops. When this happened, we would pass the prisoners across to the French Maquis which accompanied us as we moved forward.

The Maquis were French civilians turned unofficial soldiers who, in their native France, had been part of the underground resistance through the war years. Many, if not most, of these Frenchmen had been through harrowing experiences themselves or had families who had been hurt in one form or another by the Germans. They hated the Nazis with a passion. The Geneva Convention meant little to them.

When we were unsuccessful in obtaining information from the prisoners, we moved to the other side of the field which was the "holding pen" and the Maquis moved in. In a short time we would hear screams and shortly after that an officer of the Maquis would come over to announce to us that the Germans had rconsidered and were now very willing to talk. We, the Americns, had not hurt the prisoners in any way. In war time, ethics somehow went by the board.

Robby

Ann Alden
April 30, 1999 - 05:24 am
My husband had a friend who was part of the Bataan Death March and the poor man finally ended up in the VA hospital in a ward for post traumatic syndrome. Poor guy, just couldn't make the change from war to peacetime. He did quite a few strange things at work and lost his job over it. They tried to protect him and keep him working and give him support but it just wasn't enough. He finally went into the VA hospital early in the 1960's.

Ginny
April 30, 1999 - 06:38 am
Talking of VA Hospitals, this is a little off the subject but my son has supported those projects that the hostpitalized vets do, if you know what I'm speaking of, since he was a little boy. He thinks that's a more important place to give his money than some of the other charities, is quite serious about it; has done so for years, he's 31 now.

That's only 20 pages, 59-79, but that particular topic is so hard, isn't it? Back later, I'm really glad we're reading this book.

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
April 30, 1999 - 06:58 am
Ginny: Yes, this particular section of the book, "Tales of the Pacific," is difficult because the Pacific Theater of Operations was very different from the European Theater of Operations. In the first place, it was very naval and secondly, the method of fighting was so different.

May I ask that those reading the postings in this discussion group share with us your experiences or knowledge of others' experiences whether you were with the Allies or in the Japanese forces. Let us look at this war through each others' eyes.

Robby

Britta
April 30, 1999 - 07:15 am
Has anyone seen the movie The Thin Red Line? Our son recommended it, but we haven't gone yet. It's about the war in the Pacific, experienced by some young soldiers. My husband was there, fighting, but doesn't want to see, hear or talk about it any more. He did say, that he agrees with the atomic bombing, because it saved a lot of American lives. I am of mixed opinion about that.

Eileen Megan
April 30, 1999 - 08:26 am
An old boyfriend who was a marine in the Pacific during the war described how wave after wave of marines were unloaded from PT boats (?) to capture the islands in the Pacific, it was brutal. He told me of atrocities committed by our marines but said it was in retaliation for what the Japanese did to our soldiers.

Eileen Megan

robert b. iadeluca
April 30, 1999 - 08:33 am
I would be interested in the comments of all our participants as to whether you think it is in the ability of almost everyone to act in a "cruel" way if the circumstances warrant it.

Robby

Ginny
April 30, 1999 - 08:39 am
Robby, no it's not in my nature, I could not. I do believe I could kill. If someone threatened one of my children I could shoot. But to victimize somebody just...no, I could not.

That's an excellent question.

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
April 30, 1999 - 08:49 am
Ginny: I am certainly not going to disagree with you - no one can speak for anyone else. But many a person who has felt as strongly as you do has changed when emotions (such as fear and anger) have run high. It's something to continually think about.

Robby

Britta
April 30, 1999 - 08:59 am
No, Robby, I could not be cruel either. Ginny is right, we as mothers will defend our children to the death, but to be cruel, even in the most extreme circumstances, is not in most women's natures.

robert b. iadeluca
April 30, 1999 - 09:01 am
I have paid attention to your answers and am looking forward to the comments of others.

Robby

Ann Alden
May 1, 1999 - 03:13 am
Robby

Yes, I think if I were angry enough about being treated cruely or seeing a friend or relative(especially one of my children) that I could retaliate. At least, I thought I could when I was younger. My body and spirit are not the same now. Older? Wiser? Probably a little of both. Thought I was Wonder Woman and the Avenger all wrapped up in one package when I was younger! Was always defending my little brother and sister. I know better today. Gives me a headache to contend with both sides of me!! Tee hee!

Ella Gibbons
May 1, 1999 - 07:15 am
Hi Robby:

As women, I doubt if any of us could say how we would act. I have no idea if I could be cruel. These these young men in THE GOOD WAR had no idea they could be cruel either!

Women have not ever in this country been placed in such situations where we had to defend our "buddies" and do our duty to our country. We have not been told or trained by sargents to forget about being nice and friendly, we are here to kill the enemy before they kill us.

All the men in the book say their "buddies" meant everything to them - they were their "family-away-from-home" and to protect them and themselves sometimes they had to be cruel.

robert b. iadeluca
May 1, 1999 - 10:21 am
Ella: I believe you are beginning to put yourself emotionally in our place.

Robby

Eileen Megan
May 1, 1999 - 11:12 am
Robby, I have no idea what I might be capable of given the right circumstances. Obviously I'd like to think I'd be "civilized" but one never knows for sure.

Eileen Megan

Ginny
May 1, 1999 - 03:10 pm
OK, I didn't realize that this was an issue of siding with one person or not. I will change my thoughts to read that I would hope that I would not be cruel, but I know that psychiatrists and psychologists think that anybody under any situation could and would do just about anything. Since I have not been exposed to such trauma, I can't say what I would do and therefore can only say what I hope I would do. I do hope it has not been inferred that I was not understanding of any person. I apologize, as I apparently misunderstood the question and its implications.

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
May 1, 1999 - 03:19 pm
Ginny: No apology needed. This question goes to the very core of our being, just as the experience of combat goes to the very core of our being. Those of us who read George Orwell's "1984" may remember the hero (I forget his name) who refused to say that he loved Big Brother until Big Brother learned that his greatest fear was rats and so a cage of rats was placed over his head at which point he said whatever Big Brother wanted him to say. The feelings that combat bring out may cause us to do almost anything.

Robby

Ginny
May 1, 1999 - 03:36 pm
His name was Winston, my husband's name, and Smith, not my husband's name.

I am quite struck, actually, by E.B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge's story, did any of you remark over it? I'm not as familiar with the Pacific War as I need to be, tho I have heard of, certainly, Guadalcanal and Okinawa, and had uncles in both. I was struck by so many things: the Germans, for instance, Sledge says "When they surrendered, they were guys just like us. With the Japanese, it was not that way." Is this characteristic of everyone who served in the Pacific? I can see that it was a horrendous experience, and a fearful one, too, as the Japanese seemed beyond reason. In Question # 1 at the top of the page we are again asked if we can understand the soldiers descent into horror and again we cannot unless we were there. We can SEE people like Doc Castle, who tried to stop the reaction from taking total hold, and who tried to bring humanity back into the very unhuman situation, and we wonder why them? I thought it was very striking how Sledge had to commit the casualties to memory as they were forbidden to keep diaries. It's hard to understand such terrible casualties of 100% and 140%, just mind boggling.

Ginny

Ginny
May 1, 1999 - 03:37 pm
PS: What is your reaction to the letters that Lekachman wrote about the young soldiers who had been killed in action?

Ginny

Ella Gibbons
May 1, 1999 - 04:36 pm
Without going back to the book, Ginny, I think he is the one who had to write the letters home to the parents about the deaths of their sons isn't he? And he had not even witnessed their death or any of the circumstances; I believe he said it was "creative fiction" or something like that.

Who knows how the parents felt; they never knew. Dead is dead.

Lonex
May 2, 1999 - 07:18 pm
When you get through grappling with "cruel", can someone discuss "Innocence" per Lecackman's statement? Is he talking about a National innocence? Did we ever have it or is it something we describe, in retrospect, that is characteristic of a generation that did not know the things we know now?

Ella Gibbons
May 2, 1999 - 08:40 pm
In reference to Joan's Question #2, do we believe that (WWII) was the last time Americans felt good about themselves?

Robert Lekachman, the author of this story, is now a professor of economics at the City University of New York. He makes some very good points:

(1) "Unlike Vietnam, it (WWII) wasn't just working-class kids doing the fighting. You go to college faculty clubs today and on the walls are long lists of graduates who died in the Second World War."

Where have you seen these lists in your hometown? Just about every small town in America has a list on some monument of those who fought and died in WWII.

(2)"One wonders: could Truman have unilaterally committed American troops to Korea unless there had been the lingering romance of WWII?"

What do you think? Is it the "lingering disaster" of Vietnam today that makes us all afraid of committing to another disastrous encounter overseas?

(3) "When they (veterans of WWII) meet some old buddy, they lift a glass together and talk about the old days. They felt they were more important, were better men who amounted to more than they do now. It's a precious memory."

Do all the veterans of WWII feel it a "precious memory?" In contrast, what do the veterans of Korean War, Vietnam War feel?

robert b. iadeluca
May 3, 1999 - 04:46 am
Lonex: Good to have you in our discussion. I'm sure others will comment on your question regarding "innocence" and I will give my views in a later posting.

Robby

Ann Alden
May 3, 1999 - 05:41 am
I think that "naivity" fits the country at that time better than "innocence". Described in Websters', it means it implies a lack of worldly wisdom the connotes that this is the result merely of a lack of experience. From reading about the times, we were also still trying to recover from the Depression(as was most of the world) and also just couldn't conceive of the cruelty being foisted upon the Jews in Europe and the Chinese and Phillipinos in the Pacific theatre. There is much cynicism over the fact that the war changed our economical situation. I can remember my grandparents being horrified about a remark that a young friend made concerning the fact that a war always cures the economic woes of a country.

May Naab
May 3, 1999 - 06:58 am
I agree with you, Ann. Naive describes my parents and grandparents exactly. I was in elementary school when the war broke out. I distinctly remember hearing of the attack on Pearl Harbor on the radio. My father, a Green Bay Packer fan, was listening to the game when the announcement came--it was a Sunday. I don`t remember any coversation about it at the time. I don`t really remember when the reality of the Holocaust came really clear to me. I think I was at least in my late teens or early twenties. We lived in a German community--my grandparents spoke German. I don`t remember being embarrassed about it because everyone was German. There were children in our one room school that came to school knowing no English.

Anyhow, after all these words, many people were naive--atrocities like this just didn`t happen--

Lonex
May 3, 1999 - 09:31 am
Ann and May - I like that approach, but I also wonder if we were really naive. We thought we were cool and 'with it' because we stayed on top of what was available, or happening, during that age. Fifty years from now, will that generation see the 1990's as an age of innocence because they have access to more knowledge than we have now?

Robby - For now, I don't want to read the book, but I like pondering some of the ideas that are presented here.

robert b. iadeluca
May 3, 1999 - 11:32 am
May Naab: Welcome to our group. It must have been interesting living in a community that was primarily German. Was your father in the armed forces here in America?

Robby

Ed Zivitz
May 3, 1999 - 05:58 pm
Hi: Ella: Re Post # 273:Veterans of Korea feel forgotten.



"Lingering disaster" of Vietnam is because it was a war that we did not fight to win and we probably should not have been there in the first place,but since we were there,we owed it to our fighting troops to go all out..

May: The war did end the depression and that's sad but true,can anyone imagine where we would be now if the depression still lingered?

Lonex: 50 years from now we may certainly have more information but I'm not so sure that more information means more knowledge.

robert b. iadeluca
May 3, 1999 - 06:10 pm
Ed Zivitz: Good to see you back again. Do you truly believe the Americans have forgotten the Korean War veterans?

Robby

Joan Pearson
May 3, 1999 - 08:25 pm
Lonex, so glad to have you with us. I am fascinated by the discussion of cruelty on the battlefield and "innocence", these past few days. (My "freakly fried", or boiled modem has been replaced - and upgraded, Jaywalker - Britta! Let it be known that most surge protectors are little more than "fancy power strips", says my provider.)

Robby is right, we need more input from those involved in the Japanese front. I think we were fortunate that Studs was able to contact the number that he did for his "oral histories". I think we need to learn a lot more about this too. My uncle (deceased) served in Japan. I have wonderful photographs of him...but he would never talk about it. I should call my aunt and see what she knows of that. I'm certain that we will hear more from other posters about Japan as we progress.

Your posts are really thought-provoking! These issues of cruelty, of loss of innocense play such an important part in understanding what war is all about. And to learn anything at all from history, we have to know what we are asking of our young men and women when we send them to the "arena" of war.

I think we would all like to think that we would never act savagely, beastly, cruelly, even in war...perhaps that is what is meant by "innocence"....thinking that we remain who we are, who we were brought up to be - when on the battlefield. Only those who were there can say what happens. War is hell. These vets went to hell and back. They saw hellish atrocities, unspeakable savagery...and may have responded in ways they never dreamed they would. Perhaps that's why so many can't speak about the war, or even think about it much...except in nightmares... No more innocence, never again!



The next two merchant seamen, Bill Bailey and David Milton seem to be expressing a different feeling about the A bombing of Hiroshima...other than that the "big beautiful bomb" ended the war...

I would be real interested in knowing how it was viewed both at home and in the military at the time.....

Britta
May 4, 1999 - 05:42 am
Joan, glad to see you and your new modem back safe and sound. I was away for awhile but caught up now, reading all the interesting posts. Yes, you are right, maybe some vets, my husband included, saw or did things unimaginable during the war, especially in the Pacific, which they would rather keep blocked from their memories. I did the same with some of my war ones, but found that talking it out helped me more. Everybody copes with their experiences in a different way. My husband still is of the opinion that the Atomic Bomb saved his and many other lives. I wrestle with it, because it also killed and maimed so many civilian ones. As far as cruelty is concerned, I stick with my statement, that I could not imagine myself being cruel, which I associate with being mean, to other human beings, or animals for that matter. Of course I am not a man in a battlefield situation.

robert b. iadeluca
May 4, 1999 - 05:49 am
Britta: Would you and/or your husband be willing to equate the dropping of the atom bomb to "save" people to the present use of NATO's bombing to "save" the Kosovars? I realize full well this is a deep philosophical question which is easier to ask than to answer but your thoughts and your husband's thoughts would be appreciated.

Robby

FOLEY
May 4, 1999 - 07:40 am
The young men, American, I met in Scotland during WWII were mostly hospital corpsmen and sailors.(I was a Wren in the Royal Navy) When I think back I realize how naive and uninformed the majority were. some had never left their village or hometown, some had travelled to different states. Nowadays people are much more aware of the rest of the world, thanks to cheap air travel, movies and TV. I remember a young sailor originally from Minneapolis. He loved to dance and often showed off to us in our little house by the river Clyde. Unfortunately he discovered the "fleshpots" of Glasgow, and we never saw him again!! We were also ignorant, thinking Americans were cowboys or gangsters! But we all agreed it was a war that had to be won. In England we saw every day the results of bombing civilians, maybe we thought it was time the Japanese suffered also. The sinking of our ships and the awful loss of life in the Atlantic was very upsetting. I lost friends in the RAF in the Battle of Britain, and a cousin died fighting the Germans in the last month of the war, May '45. I still bear resentment against the Germans and the Japanese but try to overcome that.

robert b. iadeluca
May 4, 1999 - 09:34 am
Foley: Welcome to our group and thank you for sharing your remembrances. Veterans who were in the Pacific Theater of Operations might not know the responsibilities of a Wren if you should want to speak a bit about that. You are so correct about our citizen servicemen being so naive, most of them not having traveled very far from home. It's also unfortunate that many of us who were overseas never went back there again and "know" foreign countries only in their war-torn condition.

This may seem like a ridiculous question but why would someone who was born and raised in England have felt resentment toward the Japanese? The Germans bombed England and I can understand your feelings in that direction but we, the Americans, were the ones who were attacked by the Japanese.

Robby

Lonex
May 4, 1999 - 11:16 am
hi Joan - Yes, 'thought provoking' is the right description. I don't want to delve into cruelty, but my perception is that it involves a premeditated desire to inflict on, and observe, the prolonged suffering of another creature; therefore, cutting off the ears of a dead enemy soldier seems more like a release of rage/grief since the victim is not suffering and the perpetrator often acts on an impulse that he later regrets/feels guilty about.

I often wonder about the word 'innocence'. It seems that journalists use it often to evoke the feeling that the subject is vulnerable and at the mercy of forces he knows little about. I don't think that our WWII generation was any more 'innocent' than were the Japanese/Germans (is that blasphemous?). We each had our own reasons for being there and knew the intent and strength of the enemy. Whatever. Those are the thoughts this discussion provoked in this old, grey head.

FOLEY
May 4, 1999 - 12:56 pm
Robby - think about the Bridge over the River Kwai...I knew several guys who were fighting in Burma...how about the atrocities in Singapore and Rangoon. We were part of the British Empire in those days and felt deeply for all those men and nurses in the Far East. When a Japanese high official was welcomed in England recently, there were protests by vets who had fought out there.

robert b. iadeluca
May 4, 1999 - 04:27 pm
Foley: Of course. I don't know where my mind was. I was thinking solely of the Pacific Naval Battles and the battles on the islands and, for some ridiculous reason had forgotten about Burma, Singapore, Rangoon, etc. My apologies to those who fought there or the families of those who fought there.

My goof should be all the more reason why we need to hear the sharings of those who have stories to tell of the war in the Far East.

Robby

Britta
May 4, 1999 - 07:49 pm
Robby, both my husband and I think it's an uneven equasion to compare the dropping of the Atomic bombs to end the war, a World War, to the bombing by the NATO alliance of Yugoslavia, which was and still is enganged in a Civil War. We agreed that the bombing made the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo worse and hastened the mass exodus of the Albanian Moslems from that region. But my husband is of the opinion, that the early intervention in this conflict with more radical military means, like the A 10 and the Helicopter Gunships which would have been able to inflict losses on Milosovich's army and not only military installations, would have been more effective. If we got involved in this war, then we should have been willing to accept casualties, or not have gone in at all, he says. Now that we're in, it has to be won. Having spent three years in Yugoslavia at the US Consulate in Zagreb, now Croatia, we had the opportunity to get to know the Serbian mentality on numerous trips to Belgrade and came to the conclusion that they are much more stubborn than the rest of the people that made up the former Yugoslavia. I'm afraid the NATO bombing only unites the people that would probably have recognized the evil in Milosevich, had no outside forces interfered. We don't think that this bombing will be effective, until almost all of Yugoslavia is destroyed which will only add to this dreadful catastrophie. Keep in mind who is going to pay for the rebuilding !!

robert b. iadeluca
May 5, 1999 - 04:31 am
Britta: Thank you so much for that sharing. I hadn't been aware that you and your husband had spent three years at the Consulate in Zagreb in Croatia and while our discussion is not about Yugoslavia, your personal experiences will help us to see the differences between a "good" war and a "bad" war. Perhaps others here will react to your last posting.

Robby

GERT
May 5, 1999 - 12:12 pm
Robby: Thanks for telling me where to reach this site. I was reading the letters, and I too have plenty of memories. As I mentioned in another site, I went to work in the Provost Marshall's Office in Northington General Hospital, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I was a legal secretary. That hospital was where a lot of boys would return to after serious injuries. Most of my lunch hour was sent visiting a lot of these boys and helping when I could. But I still can't get some of their faces out of my mind. More to personal matters, I was brought up with a cousin and people thought we were brother and sister. He had been in the Battle of the Bulge, and then was sent to Japan. I'll never forget his last letter to me where he wrote "Today is my 20th birthday, and I feel like I am 60"Needless to say, he never came back to us. To this day, I wonder why he wasn't sent home after the Battle of the Bulge. I'm sorry if I'm still a bit anti-war, anti-Japanese and becoming more of an isolationist than ever. Maybe we do need a Woman as President for a change ---that should start a bit of conversation, yes??

robert b. iadeluca
May 5, 1999 - 12:41 pm
Gert: Welcome to an old friend from another site.

Losing your cousin in that manner was so sad. After the armistice was declared in Europe, each soldier was given a number of points determined by length of time in service, length of time overseas, combat time, medals earned, etc. and those with the lesser number of points were eligible to move on to the Pacific Theater of Operations. Especially sad in his case as he had experienced the Battle of the Bulge.

Please share with us some of your memories of visiting the servicemen in the hospital.

Robby

Ken Oates
May 5, 1999 - 06:20 pm
The discussions about the book that you contributers are producing, to me, are more interesting than the book.

The stories he told were interesting, but he kept inserting (laughs} after a lot of the statements. This grated on me. I went through the whole bit in the in the Pacific jungles. None of the men I met would tell of their experinces and show humor or imbarisment. Of course, none of them would talk about it to anyone who was not there.

robert b. iadeluca
May 5, 1999 - 06:28 pm
Ken: Welcome to our discussion group. As someone who "went through the whole bit" in the Pacific Jungles, please share with us whatever you wish to share. Others of us here have seen combat whether it was in the European or Pacific Theatre of Operations and there are those who would understand.

Robby

Joan Pearson
May 6, 1999 - 10:50 am
Ken, I think Studs' book is opening up a lot of memories, sometimes painful. I don't remember the context of the inserted ("Laughs"), but don't remember any of those who were on the Japanese front laughing. Your input is very important to us...hope you'll stick around. Some specific questions need to be answered, if you would be so kind...

Girt, I bet you have something to say about the women's histories from this week's Rosie pages...were women as cynical as these ladies sound? How did women view the bombing of Hiroshima at the time?

Ann Alden
May 7, 1999 - 06:35 am
Robby

Somewhere in the book, I thought that I read that Japan was already discussing going to the arbitration table when we dropped the bomb. Am I mistaken or have you seen that quote? Also, one of the scientists on the bomb mentions that the reason we dropped two bombs was "because they were there to drop". Of course, all of us plus the people in the book are coming from our own perspective so we all see things so differently.

I talked to a lady from Russia yesterday and she says that their history books contained all the horrors of WWII including the Leningrad siege. I believe someone mentioned that the German and Japanese school history books gave WWII short shrift.

I wonder what our kids know today about WWII. Haven't seen a school book in ages. One thing I have seen lately is the ad for having a WWII Memorial built since there is not one anywhere. I believe that was mentioned on the History Channel which we watch often.

Joan, I believe that one of the interviewees mentions the fact that we knew that there was going to be a Cold War. With us and the Russians on opposite sides. And, he said, that this was before WWII ended. Wonder if that is true.

robert b. iadeluca
May 7, 1999 - 06:47 am
Ann: I am intrigued that you have been talking to a lady from Russia who had first hand account of the history books in Russia. As we all know, Russia suffered terribly from the war but we haven't had any one in this discussion group who can share from that perspective. Do you suppose, Ann, that you could be a conduit for us and pass along some of her memories to us?

Robby

Ken Oates
May 7, 1999 - 07:59 am
Robby:

As for the question of patriotism in WWII, I never met a soldier who expressed his reason for being there was patriotism. The term I would use is "honor" Most of the soldiers either got a "greetings letter from the President", informing him that he had been selected by the government to serve; or, he knew he was about to be drafted and joined a service brance fitting his own desires. The men then fought touphold their honor.

My friends and I were a good example of this. There were five of us, Louie, Chuck, Bill, Al and myself. We were always together and had been a group since the seventh grade. When the draft started we were all 21 and eligible.Bill and Al were college freshman,Louie and Chuck were working in local stores, and I was in Commercial College. None of us rushed down to the recruiting office to enlist, instead we talked it over and eaach decided to wait till the last minute before doing anything. Chuck was called up first and was pleased to find he was not exceptable because of an old football injury. Louie found he was to be drafted next so he took the examination for air cadet school and was accepted. Bill and AL got wavers because they were and joined a special Marine Corps, program. On March 17 1941 I found I was to be classified 1A so I beat it down to the recruikting office and jooned the Air Force. The point of this is that none of us had any desire to go and fight to stop the Hitler onslaught, but we felt honor bound to serve our country. All the other soldiers I talked with expressed the same convictions.

Whe Bill and Al finished college they were comissioned In the Marine Corps. Both won a silver star for bravery and the Purple Heart for injuries. Louie was commisioned in the Air Force and received the Distinguishes Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. I went eventualy to O.C.S. and comissioned in the Signal Corps. I earned no medals.

GERT
May 7, 1999 - 10:04 am
Ken: You mention that you didn't earn any medals, but you do have a bit of my heart for the way you felt about serving your country.

robert b. iadeluca
May 7, 1999 - 10:17 am
Today is an anniversary date. According to the New York Times of May 7, 1945:

Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Western Allies and the Soviet Union at 2:41 A.M. French time today (This was at 8:41 P.M. Eastern Wartime Sunday.) The surrender took place at a little red school house that is the headquarters of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The surrender, which brought the war in Europe to a formal end after five years, eight months and six days of bloodshed and destruction, was signed for Germany by Col. Gen. Gustav Jodl. General Jodl is the new Chief of Staff of the German Army . The surrender was signed for the Supreme Allied command by Lieut. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff for General Eisenhower. It was also signed by Gen. Ivan Susloparoff for the Soviet Union and by Gen. Francois Sevez for France.

General Eisenhower was not present at the signing, but immediately afterward General Jodl and his fellow delegate, Gen. Admiral Hans George Friedeburg, were received by the Supreme Commander. They were asked sternly if they understand the surrender terms imposed upon Germany and if they would be carried out by Germany. They answered Yes.

After having signed the full surrender, General Jodl said he wanted to speak and received leave to do. "With this signature," he said in soft-spoken German, "the German people and armed forces are for better or worse delivered into the victors' hands. In this war, which has lasted more than five years, both have achieved and suffered more than five years, both have achieved and suffered more than perhaps any other people in the world."

Robby

Britta
May 7, 1999 - 11:23 am
Robby, thank you for that bit of information. It filled a gap in my recollections. I remember the day very well. I was 11 1/2 years old. Time sure does fly and life changes.

robert b. iadeluca
May 7, 1999 - 11:26 am
Britta: Just what were you doing on that day and how did you spend the days following that historic date?

Robby

Britta
May 7, 1999 - 11:30 am
Robby, I described that day in an earlier post. Don't want to repeat myself and bore everyone.

robert b. iadeluca
May 7, 1999 - 11:34 am
Britta: So you did. My apologies.

Robby

Gunther
May 8, 1999 - 12:12 am
Book II. Sorry, class, I jumped ahead...

Werner Burckhardt:

I was exactly his age but lived in Berlin. Thus I was surprised to read on page 231 that at age seven he witnessed the Kristallnacht. It didn't take place until November 1938. A classmate of mine at the Halensee elementary school was anxious to show me a "secret place" just one block out of my way. The temptation to visit it raised alarm bells since I had to walk some fifteen blocks to our apartment in Charlottenburg and was expected home at the same time every day to help with the chores of taking care of four younger siblings.

Nobody refused Bernhard anything He was a bully, two years older than everybody else in class since he twice failed to be promoted to higher grades. There was no such thing as "remedial courses". His father was a rag picker and Bernie helped on weekends with collecting usable garbage, newspapers and toothpaste tubes, valuable for their tin alloy.

Before I knew it, he had dragged me to one of the apartment houses around the corner from our school. Once inside, up a flight of stairs, I suddenly found myself in a large hall. About three floors above us was a glass dome part of which was in shards. Getting used to the semi-darkness, I could make out row upon row of folding seats which had been pushed forward as though by a giant hand. I felt a cold creeping up around me yet that November afternoon had been mild.

"Is this a cinema?" I whispered.

"No, you dummkopp, do you see any curtains and a stage?" He shot back in the vernacular of a typical Berliner, which, by the way, I was not allowed to indulge in. I think it would have been considered on a par with smoking pot which would not be common for another three decades.

"This is a Jew church, we saw the SA destroy it last night!"

I turned on my heels and flew out of the place and didn't stop running till I got home to tell Mother. She said nothing - they never tell you anything when you're only ten. I felt as if I had participated in that terrible event and didn't even know it's ramifications.

I was ordered to stay home till she would come back.

Not until 1942, when we were bombed out (for the first time), did I learn that she went down to the Loewenstein & Kretzig apartment to see if the two old ladies were OK. Apart from the strange, long name we kids didn't know much about them. To us, people didn't have religions, people were either kids our age, or old. Those ladies were old and thus were treated with respect.

What I miss in the book is a post-war interview that would tell how other Germans thought about the situation of the twelve years under national socialism. I for one, as member of the Jungvolk, the juniors to the Hitler Youth, enjoyed our monthly outings to the Grunewald where we learned how NOT to light a fire, to tell north from south by the bark of the trees, how to tie mariners knots, and ah, those songs...

The one that cost me my first demerit one "duty day", always two hours on Thursdays, was sung in English, telling of all the gold to be found "on the banks of the Sacramento". Knowing my Castilian, it didn't make sense to find any riches in the "sacrament". Exactly 40 years later did I see that river, from the air, while flying from Fresno to Redding in northern California and allowed myself to irritate the pilot with humming the melody.

It was a small commuter plane...

Maybe our parents shielded us more from what was going on politically than Werner's. It wasn't until my years at an academy in Potsdam that we had a geography and history teacher who would discourage us from clicking our heels when he entered the classroom and who, in a broad Viennese accent, would greet us with "God be with you, my sons". The first time he walked in and we gave him the raised arm salute - a sign of respect to the rest of the faculty - he just smiled and nodded without returning the "honor".

Our instincts told us that we had a jewel of an educator here whose presence we looked forward to four days a week simply because he was a gentle civilian whom we rewarded with a zeal to learn which paid off handsomely in later years.

Yes, Werner, that was "our" Dr. Drude.

Let there be no doubt, May 7, 1945 was also a Day of Liberation for me.

robert b. iadeluca
May 8, 1999 - 04:09 am
No, Gunther, there can be no doubt from all that you have shared here (and thank you) that May 7th was indeed a Day of Liberation for you. Aside from the horrors you described, it was especially of interest to me that the elders protected the young ones from knowing and that to someone of your age "people didn't have religions; people were either kids or old." As I think back to my childhood, I wasn't even aware of the religion of my buddies. What happens to us as we grow older, no matter what our nationality?

Robby

patwest
May 8, 1999 - 04:16 am
Victory in Europe ... May 7, 1945 was a day of great celebration in our town.. I was a junior in high school and we paraded all over town in cars. But it was spoiled when we returned to school, to find we had all been suspended.

Our town sent a large number to the Battle of the Bulge, and we were glad the war in Europe was over.

GERT
May 8, 1999 - 05:11 am
Robby: You had asked me about my experiences when I worked at Northington General Hospital in Tuscaloosa, Alabama during the war. NGH was one the largest hospitals, because that was the landing place in the United States for the returning injured.

As I mentioned, I worked in the Provost Marshall's Office as a Legal Secretary and Assistant Secretary to the General. One of my jobs were to take the minutes for court-martials(I may be wrong with a lot of spelling,so please excuse) and I once was so engrossed in the trial, that I forgot to take down the testimony. After that, they had two of us doing that. I must have had a senior moment when I was very young.

The hospital had its own radio station and used to broadcast from a large auditorium. This was the boys favorite. They had many stars perform there, like Dennis Morgan, George Raft, Ed Wynn and Ferrenti and Teicher.

Needless to say, they came to the hospital in pretty bad shape. However, the care was so wonderful and the progress they made, in some cases, were gratifying. I would see the difference each day or so that I would visit a lot of them.

When they went to the broadcasts, some could sit up in the chairs, but many were brought in on stretchers, and just to see their faces light up when the performance was on, was worth everything. And of course, the performers would make the rounds of the hospital visiting as many boys as they could.

As I also mentioned, I liked to spend my lunch hour visiting. There were so many things to help them with --- writing letters for them, answering a lot of questions and a lot of the time, just being there. I do remember that a lot of them didn't want to talk about what happened. We didn't ask any questions ourselves, it was up to them if they felt like talking. I'm glad that I don't remember a lot of the stories they told. Also, I cannot remember if they arrived from a certain area.

Werner: Your message moved me very much.

Ann Alden
May 8, 1999 - 05:31 am
RobbyI would love to speak with this lady again but hope to only see her when she is checking my blood levels for cholesterol and coumadin levels, so if we are still here discussing this book next month, I will query her a little more.She did tell me that when she came to America,6 yrs ago, that in her English plus citizen classes, they asked everyone to write a short paper on America and at that time she saw few differences in the American people vs the Russians. But,now, she says the differences are glaring. Especially in the schools. Her opinion is that the Russians are ever seeking intellectual stimulation, always curious, always wanting to know more and the Americans are ever seeking fun! In Russia, they are teaching to their middle school students what we are teaching to our high school students. And they still insist on students learning about the literary classics. She said that even though they were not allowed to travel outside the country, they did receive information on what was going on in the world. This lady is also Jewish and really misses her country quite a lot. Thought provoking,huh? I had always heard that the Jews in Russia were treated as badly as they were in Germany. Oh, yes, this person was born after WWII, around the late 40's. I would like to spend some time with her again. I also have a young friend from Russia who has only been here 2 years, is a language specialist, has a masters' degree but works in a chiropractor's office as a receptionist. I don't know why she is not using her language skills other than that she is a new mother and likes to be home as much as possible which this job allows. But, she seems such a happy soul so who knows?

I don't seem to have too much memory of VE Day except that I always know the date since it was my brother's 8th birthday. I do remember VJ day as we given permission by my mother to go downtown with some of our neighbors and we rode around and around the circle of Indianapolis where soldiers and sailors and other citizens were jumping into the fountains and running and jumping and cheering! It was very exciting! I was ten in 1945!

Werner,what a fascinating story about Krystal Nicht(sp)? And the caring of your mother for those two ladies.I think that was part of the times in most of the world. We did have much respect and love for our older citizens and were careful of them. I think you summed it up for most of us during that time when you said that people were either kids or old.

robert b. iadeluca
May 8, 1999 - 05:39 am
Ann: Thank you for sharing those memories of your Russian friend. I know you don't want to intrude into her life but perhaps she has some thoughts concerning Russia's participation in the war. Considering how detailed your remarks were, you are a great historian yourself!

Robby

Ann Alden
May 8, 1999 - 05:46 am
You know,Robby, I don't think that I would have asked her so much if we hadn't been in the middle of this book and this discussion.

Did anyone happen to see the Rosie the Riveteer program which PBS put on about ten years ago? It was just fascinating to hear those different women's opinion of their foray into the working world in WWII and how many of them found that they could do so many things. One lady remained an iron worker for the rest of her working life. One became a riveteer in California and after the war found a job in the shipyards in Seattle but said it was very hard because of being a women. I would like to view that show again since we are discussing the women's part in the war.

Ginny
May 8, 1999 - 11:02 am
I'm really enjoying all the posts, and I wondered if you all knew about the programming on PBS coming up this month? For instance, on May 31 at 9pm "The Berlin Crisis," (this is NC PBS, you might want to check out your own schedules) will feature the Soviet surrounding of West Berlin (the Cold War) and also archival footage of the Berlin Airlift.

At 10:30 that same night they'll show "The Lost Squadron," on the efforts to recover one of a squadron of P-38 fighter planes lost during WWII.

On May 24th at 9, "Fly Girls," the largely unknown story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots features a "remarkable group of women."

On May 17th and 18th, American Experience offers a "gritty and gripping account of one of the most complex personalities of the century, the most decorated WWI officer, General Douglas MacArthur."

Ann, am going to read about Rosie the Riveter as I had heard that after the war some were reluctant to take subordinate roles again.

Ken, I saw your remarks about the laughing in the opening chapters and I was kinda set back by the laughing, too, but I told myself I wasn't there and so should have no opinion, just figured that was something everybody did. Then as I read on into the Pacific Campaign sections, I saw no laughing, and I read your post and there was no laughing, and so I got a different perspective.

I think that what Terkel did in this book was, actually, quite extraordinary: he just reported like a tape recorder, excactly what was said and the way it was said to him. Keep in mind, too, this was the 1980s before anybody else was doing it, and he did it with no editorializing nor attempt to explain and so it remains an eerie, to me, haunting voice of the past, and I really am enjoying our present voices here, it's a very moving chorus together. I think people laugh for lots of different reasons, some are embarrassed at the emotion they are revealing, some are nervous and self conscious, I bet there are a million reasons to laugh. Terkel could just as easily left that out, but he didn't, and that raises lots of questions, I'm glad you spotted that. Why do you think they did it?

I think it's great to use the points brought up in the book as springboards, now to read the Rosie, and hear of the war efforts here at home.

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
May 8, 1999 - 11:14 am
Ginny: Thank you for your "heads up" on TV programs. And a sidelight - I was always intrigued by those P38s (Lightnings) as they had two fuselages.

Now, a comment to all: I wasn't a bit bothered by those laughs in Terkel's book and thought they were most apropos. It was only when I read your comments that I realized they could be taken differently. They were what could be called sardonic laughs. In the military, especially in combat, we often laughed at things that were not in any way funny - such as: "well, we lost another ten men today." What do you do when you get news like that - break down and cry? The laughing was sort of "well we got the s*** thrown at us again, didn't we?" And please notice that in a few instances Terkel records that a person laughs and cries simultaneously. Think a bit about your own life. Haven't you at times laughed when something not at all funny happened. Multiply that a thousand times in warfare.

Robby

Britta
May 8, 1999 - 02:23 pm
Thanks for the program notes for PBS, Ginny. Did you see " America and the Holocaust" ? It was an eye opener! Wish they would rebroadcast it because I missed taping it. I think the only TV worth watching any more, is PBS ! As for "laughing" in the book, isn't there an expression "If I hadn't laughed, I would have cried." Or something like that. Laughing is often not the result of anything funny, but awkward or embarrassing, I think.

Ann Alden
May 8, 1999 - 04:38 pm
Thanks for the TV lineup for May, Ginny! I must look it up in my channel guide for here. Did you see the notice in the latest AARP paper about the WWII Memorial that they are planning to build on the mall between the Lincoln Memorial and ????? and at the end, is a notice about a site that is being put up by AARP about remembering WWII? This is just eerie! That we would choose this book and SN would open another site for just WWII and now the memorial. I am so pleased about it all and enjoying reading all of the memories. What an education for our kids this would make!

Ann Alden
May 8, 1999 - 04:50 pm
Here's that URL for the memorial info:http://www.wwiimemorial.com

Also mentioned here is:AARP Online on AOL(keyword:AARP) will host a chat,featuring WWII historian Roger Cirillo and Michail Conley of the American Battle Monuments Commission,May 20,8:30-9:30pm EDT.

Just thought y'll might be interested in this.

Marcie Schwarz
May 8, 1999 - 06:36 pm
Thanks for mentioning the WWIIMemorial.com site, Ann. Ameritech, who is the sponsor of SeniorNet's World War II Living Memorial area is also a major sponsor of the WWII Memorial that is to be built in Washington DC.

We'll be officially announcing our WWII area around Memorial Day.

We are very pleased that our books clubs selected THE GOOD WAR for discussion. This discussion is a wonderful "companion" to our WWII Memories discussions. I have been reading all of the messages as they are posted each day and I agree with those of you who have said that we certainly rival the griping and thoughtful stories in THE GOOD WAR.

SeniorNet has been in touch with the American Battle Monuments Commission and will have some information from them on our site which we are still constructing at http://www.seniornet.org/ww2.

BOBBY EDWARDS
May 8, 1999 - 08:48 pm
A few years ago, our 2 grand-daughters from Washington State came to visit us in Southern Cal. I have a personalized "Pearl Harbor Survivers"license plate. They were 14 and 16 yrs old at the time, and asked me what was "Pearl Harbor" Made me feel good all over. Not that they are to be blamed but something is lacking in our educational system. Maybe it is better that way. When "its over, its over." There is always a new war on the horizon.

Jaywalker
May 8, 1999 - 09:06 pm
I wonder if anyone happened to see Night Line (with Ted Koppel) last night. There is someone collecting letters from service personnel written from the front lines. They read several -- some written during the Civil War, and some from as recently as a week or so ago from the action in Kosovo. I couldn't help but think how closely that paralleled this book by Studs Terkel. A lot of the letters were written only days or hours before the writer was killed in action. The ultimate goal is to archive the collection for an important addendum to our history. A history of individual "human" people who shared their emotions as well as giving a glimpse into the day to day thoughts and views of whatever "conflict" they found themselves involved.

GailG
May 9, 1999 - 12:34 am
Bobby Edwards: I would not be as nonchalant as you were about your grandchildren not knowing anything about Pearl Harbor. It's part of the past true, but so is Valley Forge and Bunker Hill and Gettysburg, or maybe that is no longer a part of the history syllabus in our schools. If they weren't familiar with Pearl Harbor, did they know anything about Viet Nam or Korea?,,,,,or Hiroshima? I suppose it's very hard to squeeze the events of the last 50 or 60 years into the history classes. Just think of how much has happened since we all went to school that has to be added to the curriculum.

robert b. iadeluca
January 18, 2000 - 03:38 pm
Bobby Edwards: Welcome to our discussion group; glad to have you here. As a"Pearl Harbor Survivor" you certainly have many memories of that incident. Please share some of them with us.

Robby

robert b. iadeluca
May 9, 1999 - 04:57 am
Jaywalker: Nice to have you with us in this group. I agree with you that letters from and to servicemen are a most important part of our history. Perhaps you and others who are "lurking" may have something to share with us in this regard.

Robby

FOLEY
May 9, 1999 - 12:53 pm
I spoke on WWII and the Wrens the other day to two seventh grade classes, separately. (one had my own granddaughter, Heather, as a member, age 13) The children were well behaved and attentive. Yesterday, Heather handed me a sheet of paper on which was inscribed short notes from about a dozen of the school children. I was so thrilled and touched. All said how interesting it had been. "I know a lot more than I did before," said one girl. "I never knew about the blackouts," said another. "Thanks for telling us about the war," etc. Think it is important, especially at this time of the year with VEDay and DDay memories that we keep the young folk in mind. They really want to know.

Jaywalker
May 9, 1999 - 01:16 pm
My father enlisted during World War I and, as a member of the Army Corps of Engineers, spent time in Germany and France, and probably other places, but I don't recall if I ever heard him speak of them. He, of course, brought home several mementos of his time overseas, and we children would get them out on every occasion, to sport at school for "show and tell" or march about as some sort of patriots. We were most interested in his canteen, and gas mask, and the hard tack, metal mirror, razor, and such, as well as the several different types of caps/head gear and a belt studded with bottons off German uniforms. (I don't know anything about the story behind that one, or at least none I'd care to relate here). His Army field jacket is still in my possession, by the way.

One thing my Dad carried in his billfold - and we 'found' after his death, in 1954 - was a letter he had received from a French girl with whom he had become acquainted while stationed there. The letter was written in French, of course, and my Dad couldn't read it. He carried it for over thirty years. My mother claimed he had, in fact, found someone to translate it for him, and it was from a "very special" girl in France. Mom hadn't even known that this much handled and folded piece of paper was in Dad's billfold all those years. Obviously he got new billfolds from time to time, but this little letter was always transferred to each successively. We never knew what the letter said, but oh such fun we had speculating!

robert b. iadeluca
May 9, 1999 - 03:40 pm
Jaywalker: As you know from clicking onto "Our Vets Remember" above, I related to your father's "special friend" inasmuch as I ended up marrying a girl I met in France during the war.

Robby

GERT
May 10, 1999 - 05:33 am
Jaywalker: It was most interesting that you mentioned your father enlisting in World War 1. My father was stationed in France also, and I have a book he gave me, The Autobiograph of a Regiment, a History of the 304th Feild Artillery. The reason I have this book is because my father did so many of the illustrations in the book. He did beautiful art work. I also have a piece of paper in the book dated 24th February 1919, where he requested leave to visit someone in St. Medard, (Girconde) France. He had enlisted in April of 1918. I also have medals that he received. If you are interested, I will gladly tell you what they are. I am going to give these precious articles to my Grandchildren to have. They loved looking thru the book and seeing the sketches that their Great-Grandfather did.

Scriptor
May 10, 1999 - 10:40 am
Robby: You may not have sold any cigarettes but the Black Market in occupied Germany deserves a whole chapter in history, Between April '45 and March '46 (about the time you cme home) American GI's sent home thru Post Office money orders over 400 million dollars in excess of all pay and allowances! It took almost 4 yrs. for the occuation Americans using script (hard currency) to redeem this post office debt before currency reform blossomed into German post war prosperity. You might remember the occupation marks the army issued. A duplicate set of printing plates was given to the British & Russians. By August '45 the British switched to a hard currency script and went to their Parliment for an 80,000 pound appropiation to pay off their soldiers black marketing. We tried using currenc6 contol books until early '46 that proved wholly ineffective and didn't dare ask Congrees to pay for the army's Black Narket debt to the Post Office. The Russian paid off their troops with these marks, some for 4 yrs of service with no conversion to even one Rusian Ruble. In Berlin one could sell a $5.00 Mickey Mouse watch for $5-800.00 in these marks that the U.S. Post office accepted for dollar postal money orders.

Joan Pearson
May 10, 1999 - 10:53 am
Oh my, this is better than any history book! And Studs' book is stirring up so many memories here! This is better than oral history...this is living history. We can ask more questions of the person with the memories.

Scriptor, is this your first time with us? You are very welcome, a source of precious memories! Please stick around! I have two questions I'd like to see answered by those who remember - before the discussion is over. And then we'll do Tom Brokaw's book just in case there are still unanswered questions, okay? My questions:

* Did the average American on the home not know anything of the concentration camps as Peggy Terry says? How about the military, did they know? It seems to me that if people knew of the atrocities of the camps, that would be strong motivation to get to the end of the war...

How did folks on the homefront respond to the bombing of Hiroshima? Happy because it ended the war - or as Peggy Terry says, "horrified...a terrible thing bombing working people, women and children, not military targets?"

Scriptor
May 10, 1999 - 02:00 pm
Joan: Prior to 12/7/41 my interests? I was in college and the attack cancelled the 1/1/42 Rose Bowl Game. So, Duke invited Oregon to play at Durham. Duke lost 6-3. Been waiting all my life for someone to ask no brainer, "When was the Rose Bowl game not played in Pasadena?" As to your questions: There were some items of German Concentration camps, not atrocities, in the news but nothing of major publicity. Jewish "Ethnic Cleansing" in the main was after 1940 and this concern was only a snow flake in the blizzard of World War II news-Phoney War, neutrality, Fall of France, Battle of Britian, the draft, Pearl Harbor, etc. (Draft was renewed by ONE vote in October,'41 amidst the slogan "OHIO"(Over the Hill in October) by GI's opposed to extension. As to the Hiroshima Bomb it saved the lives of probably a million invasion casualties (mine included) and two million Japanese. The major reaction I recall was relief, not elation or horror. Hindsight is often out-of-focus.

Lonex
May 10, 1999 - 03:14 pm
Joan - I am always surprised to hear that the average American/European did not know of the concentration camps, slave-labor camps, or other atrocities, until the war was almost over. The nuns at a little convent school on Maryland's eastern shore knew about those things. As early as 1939, I remember hearing terrible descriptions of torture (as only nuns can describe) and being "encouraged" to make Novenas, offer masses, recite the rosaries, etc on the behalf of those who were persecuted by Hitler/Stalin. By '42 we knew about concentration camps and slave labor camps; later we heard rumors of the crematories. I have no idea why the nuns were privy to that information when the rest of the country was not.

I was 15 when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and was aware that people as innocent as I were killed, but I also knew of the horrendous tortures the Japanese inflicted on our soldiers so I was relieved that the war was over. Even today, I cannot get involved with the inhumanity of The Bomb without remembering the Bataan Death March and the great numbers of seaman that were eaten by sharks when one of our ships was torpedoed.

robert b. iadeluca
May 10, 1999 - 06:12 pm
Gert: I am sure we are all interested in the medals your father received. None of us, of course, wants to get into a competition as to who received what for whom but medals are an important part of the story we are all creating together.

Scriptor: I remember the Occupation Marks very well but those who were "in the know," including the Germans, wanted American dollars. While I was in the Occupation Army in the latter part of 1945, the Army sent me to Paris to be a student at the Sorbonne (Univ of Paris) and I remember the flourishing black market there too, the main area being on the sidewalk outside of Notre Dame.

Lonex: Amazing as to who knew or did not know of the concentration camps. And please remember there were many small ones as well as the notorious large ones. It was not unusual for some of the Germans after the war to tell us they knew nothing of such camps although they were situated just a few miles down the road.

Robby

Lonex
May 10, 1999 - 06:38 pm
Robby - ...but I remember reading "Out of The Night" in the Reader's Digest (1943?). It was based on a manuscript smuggled out of Germany and published in the U.S. Was I the only one to read it? A friend who visited Dachau in '94 insists they did not have ovens there, but I saw them there in '53. In '56 I lived a few blocks from a Shinto crematory in Yokohama and the odor in the wind told me it was there. For that reason, I'm really skeptical of the widespread denials about what was happening in Europe.

GERT
May 11, 1999 - 04:26 am
Robby: No intent meant for competition as far as the medals go. Just thought it would be interesting to see if anyone recognized or knew about them. The front of one says "The Great War For Civilization", and the back lists 14 countries. The front says "defensive sector" Another one states on the back "awarded in quiet honor in the Great War 1918-1919." The third was from the State of New York for service 1917-1919. Also was wondering if anyone heard of the 304th field artillery. Gert

FOLEY
May 11, 1999 - 01:34 pm
I was a student in Switzerland in the spring of 1939 when Hitler was taking over Czechoslovakia and the Rhineland. Everyone knew he was an evil man. Most of the other students in the international course at the girls' high school, Americans, Italians, Germans, English, etc. went home. I stayed until June when my parents picked me up and we drove across the continent. I had a dear friend who lodged in the same house. She was a German, half-Jewish, who studied at Lausanne university. I pleaded with her to come home with me but she was afraid for her parents and went back to Germany. I have often wondered what happened to her. In fact, I wrote a short story about her, that was printed in several local papers.

Joan Pearson
May 11, 1999 - 07:32 pm
Scriptor, I am beginning to understand how the sense of relief that the war was over overcame the horrid reality of the bombing of a community of women, children and not military targets of Hiroshima....beginning to understand.... We see a lot of talk about the war propaganda in these pages...the Japanese were painted as subhuman - responsible for so many inhuman acts...and it was a whole lot easier to think of that, than the reality of the victims. Several of the folks posting and those in the memoirs have confessed to a feeling of discomfort when they think back on it, but I can see at the time how the war-weary viewed the "big beautiful bomb" that ended it all...

Lonex, I am going to assume you know of the criticism of the Pope...was it Pius XII? He is criticized for turning from the atrocities of the war and doing nothing. I don't remember anything more. What could he have done? Did he and the clergy know of the camps? That would explain how the nuns knew and others did not, wouldn't it? Robby didn't soldiers express great shock at war's end when finding the camps...if those in command of the military had knowledge of them, you'd think they would reveal that to every single soldier! What would be the purpose of keeping such a thing secret? Did everyone believe that ethnic cleansing was going on, by rounding up and assigning captives to labor camps, but that nobody had knowledge of the gas chambers until war's end??? Such a well-kept secret and so people being killed!!!

I sense so much cynicism in these Rosie pages...perhaps I got caught up in the war propaganda put forth in Hollywood productions. I find it hard now to listen to these war brides - particularly those like Sarah Killingsworth and Dellie Hahne ("I met my future husband...didn't much care for him, but the pressure was so great to marry" and "Right after I got out, I divorced him...you weren't in love in the first place...") Tough stuff!!!

Jaywalker, images of that tattered French letter being moved from one wallet to another all those years stays with me.......

And Foley, how long is your piece about your German-Jewish friend? Do you still have it?

Lonex
May 11, 1999 - 08:50 pm
Joan - The nuns never mentioned criticism of the Pope. I read about it later, and my impression is that the criticism started after the war - maybe during/after the Nuremburg Trials? What I read was a complaint that he had not spoken out. I don't remember which Pope it was, and I don't know what he could have done either. The articles insisted that he could have put pressure on Roosevelt, or America.

Another vague memory was that there was a ship, filled with Jews escaping Europe, and no other country would accept them. I think Roosevelt got the onus on that. As I recall Vatican City was considered 'neutral' but no one was allowed out/in - sort of House arrest for the entire city. Remember Italy was controlled by Fascists and Mussolini took orders from Hitler. Also, in those days, nuns would have considered it blasphemy to criticize the Pope - and I was too young to make much of an assessment.

About 12 of the nuns had been German refugees from WWI. Some of the info _may_ have come from the Vatican, but I think most of it came from letters, that their relatives smuggled out of Germany. What keeps niggling in the back of my mind is that they were not the only European immigrants, in the U.S, who were receiving letters smuggled out by relatives who lived there. There was also a widespread underground radio network that sent messages from one country to the other and even into England - telling about the round-up of citizens and which trains they were put on.

The impression I had, when the news reported on the prison camps, was that the GIs were appalled by the inhumane_conditions_, not by the fact that the camps existed; I think there was also some info about our trying to avoid bombing the camps - that, too, could be wrong; maybe it referred to POW camps. Perhaps an airforce person could address that. I think I've emptied that pocket of memory for tonight. Hope it fills in some gaps - or gives you some ideas of what to check on.

Lonex
May 11, 1999 - 09:03 pm
Joan - Did Germany tell the world it had "workcamps" so we knew about camps, but did not know what was taking place? Am I making that up to make some sense of all this? No one could really 'prove' the torture and deaths because the bodies were disposed of right there. The persons who stoked the ovens were the next in line to hop in. Same with those who dug the trenches for mass graves. Maybe we all heard the rumors, but could not get in to find out if they were true?

Lonex
May 11, 1999 - 10:11 pm
Joan - My World Almanac shows that Pope Pius XII died in 1939. Next one listed is Pope John XXIII who died in 1958. No other info was provided. I'm guessing Pope John was the one who served (reigned?) during WWII. Maybe the people who were teaching him how to be a Pope, told him to stay out of World Affairs?

GailG
May 11, 1999 - 11:35 pm
If my memory is correct, the ship with Jewish refugees was a British ship. Roosevelt did get involved, I don't remember how or why. Maybe the ship was headed for the U.S. because I think the accusation is that Roosevelt denied the ship entry and it had to turn around and go back. Was it the same ship that finally ended up in Palestine (before it became Israel)?

Also, I think there was a play written many years ago about the role of the Vatican during the Hitler regime and the suggestion that the Vatican, at least by it silence, if not anything more active,contributed to the Nazi cause. As to what exactly could the Pope have done. Maybe just to voice opposition, which might have encouraged others to do the same. I remember during the ordeal we went through here condemning Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to death, the Pope at that time did speak out against putting them to death. It didn't help, but at least he took a public moral stand.

Ginny
May 12, 1999 - 05:00 am
Thanks, Guys, I think the presentations look marvelous on TV, (2 fuselages, Robby? I've gotta see that, having trouble visualizing it). No, Britta, the storms passed us by, but I worried about you, wasn't there one right IN your neighborhood?

I'm intrigued by something one of the women said in this section about McArthur, something about feeding his own family while the soldiers did without? Did you all catch that? In the wake of this documentary coming up on him, I'm aware of a lot of different feelings about him, and I wonder if, during the War itself, these were known, or felt?

I'm struck here by the disillusionment of many of the women, their loss of idealism. I think they sound very interesting, I'd like to meet them, wonder if they are still alive, they weren't very old then.

Yes, Joan, you've got that right, HARD stuff.

And that stuff about getting the orange all over themselves in the munitions plants, but nobody knew if it was dangerous? Gosh.

I DO remember the Arsenals in Pennsylvania. And I do remember when they closed and how many got sick working in them. Do any of you know when that last Arsenal in Pennsylvania closed? It's been in the last decade, imagine that, it's as natural to me to say "Arsenal," as it is "A&P," yet my children don't know of any arsenal in their lives.

Also one of the authors makes a very dramatic point with her statement about the "What did you do in the War, Daddy?" syndrome? I remember that statement and the upset it would engender, do you all? I know grown men and women TODAY who will seriously tell you of their father's important work for the War which kept them at home. Yet it seems the soldiers resented those people? The 4F's? Do I have that right? 4F? What does that refer to? Were those the ones who were important to the War effort or those not physically fit? They didn't explain. The author says that there was a difference between the movie and Life Magazine War and the real opinion of the soldiers and the soldiers snorted in the movies when people got a draft notice and jumped up and down with glee.

I thought these were fascinating subjects, would like to hear more on both sides about these issues.

Ginny

Joan Pearson
May 12, 1999 - 06:32 am
Just a peek in here on my way to work...Lonex, I checked my almanac too...I think the 1939 next to Pius XII indicates that was the year he became pope, rather than the year he died. He was pope from 1939-1958...19 years!

Later!!!

Joan

Lonex
May 12, 1999 - 06:50 am
Joan - Thanks. My oopsie. I still doubt he could have done much. The current Pope is the first one that has been active in World affairs (since Henry VII? (;->) and he doesn't seem to carry much weight with the non-Catholic world. Here in the Bible belt, there was lots of static, during JFKs campaign, that the Pope would interfere with our Government.

Britta
May 12, 1999 - 06:53 am
This relates to the question: How much did the people know? I have carried this story inside of me for a long time, but now it's time to tell you about Waldemar. Waldemar was a very young soldier, maybe 18 years old at the time. His company was on R&R in our little town and he was quartered in my father's factory. Since he was an aide to the commanding officer, who had become our friend, he was often at our house. We became fast friends and he confided in my mother. What he told her was a secret which he had to share with someone. It ate him up inside. It was strictly against orders to do so, but he was young and an innocent victim of the great scheme of things. : His company had been ordered to special duty in Poland. It was at the end of 1944. The war raged all around them and the first feelings of defeat had set in. They were assigned to a "concentration camp". The propaganda ministry had described these places as re-schooling centers for dissidents and work camps. This explanation was widely accepted. What Waldemar saw there and was forced to participate in sounded like a horror movie. Thousands upon thousands of people, mostly Jews, herded like cattle. Nameless, without human dignity. Their numbers overwhelming. What Hitler called " the Final Solution" was put into action. It made murderers out of young soldiers, who followed orders - or else. Waldemar and his comrades were sent to a place where the victims had to dig mass graves, stand at the rim and be gunned down. No exceptions. Men, women, babies. Bodies fell upon bodies. I can't tell you all the details. Waldemar was explicit, my mother later told me. My mother listened to all this in disbelief but knew it was true. Why didn't the world know? How could this be true and nobody cared? Before long the company returned to the battlefield at the front. Waldemar did not return alive. His commanding officer later told us the story of how he died. They were dug in and when the fighting started Waldemar jumped out of his foxhole and ran into enemy fire. My mother knew why.

Ann Alden
May 12, 1999 - 07:12 am
My gosh,Britta, what a horrible story! And the world didn't know any of this? I can remember seeing RKO or Pathe news at the movies, showing a bulldozer shoving what were supposed to dead bodies into a huge pit but I swore to my brother that I saw some of them moving. We were just horrified but didn't discuss it with anyone that I can remember. This was after the war in Europe was over. So we were 8 & 10 at the time. I wonder if my brother remembers any of this. I offered my extra copy of The Good War to him last week and he didn't seem interested. Probably too young during the war.

Another thing that frightened me for a summer was the movie, "Bataan". I saw the strung up soldiers shadowed on my bedrooom wall for months. Of course, it was the front yard tree with a street light shining through it.

I also, remember Ernie Pyle's column vividly as he was in our newspaper everyday,writing from the Pacific theatre. We were paper carriers,my brother and I, and very interested in the war.

robert b. iadeluca
May 12, 1999 - 10:43 am
Britta: What a horrible, terrible, deeply sad, depressing, moving story! I can see why he just had to share his experience with someone. Of course it was eating him out inside and that was proven later by the manner in which he died. What is it that causes many of us human beings to see or sense such activities and yet remain absolutely silent about them? Are we afraid of something? Are we in a state of denial absolutely refusing to believe what we see? Do we consider outselves on an individual basis to be devoid of any power to do anything? On a much smaller scale we see and hear about atrocities in our own nation (I don't have to remind you of them; you read the news as much as I), we think about them silently or commiserate with family and friends, but by and large we do practially nothing about them. Can all this happen again? Is it happening now?

Robby

Britta
May 12, 1999 - 11:13 am
Robby, I do not profess to be a psychologist, my knowledge comes from observance. In my opinion people shy away from action out of fear. Fear of exposure, fear of consequences, fear of the "other guy". I found myself in a situation long years ago, when I witnessed a group of teenagers shoplifting. We were on homeleave from overseas and everything in The States was still unfamiliar to me. The teenagers stared me defiantly in the face and I was frozen. I did nothing. They left the store with their loot and I stayed out of it. "Don't get involved" is all I thought. Probably the same reaction some people have when witnessing an accident.

I think the young soldier had very little choice. If he rebelled, he would lose his life on the spot. As it turned out, his conscience was stronger than his will to live. A lot of people must have known about these concentration camps, but chose not to know. I asked my father after the war and he swore that he had not known. Even though my mother believed what she had heard. Oftentimes human beings choose the path of least resistance. That's how evil gains power. It's the same everywhere. The ones who rise above it become martyrs.

robert b. iadeluca
May 12, 1999 - 11:26 am
Britta: I believe you correctly wrapped it all up in the phrase: "Don't get involved." I would guess this is happening in every community every day of the week. There are more kinds of courage than combat in a war situation.

Robby

Lonex
May 12, 1999 - 12:59 pm
Has anyone read THE GOLDEN BOUGH? Some social scientists believe we have a social memory that may inure us to such happenings. For instance, the early inhabitants of this continent found that a chunk of fish/animal tissue, planted with a grain of corn, produced larger plants. From there, some one decided that the tissue cut from a living animal, while the blood flowed, was better.

Strangers, travelers, and members of other tribes, were often kidnapped and confined like livestock, for this purpose. The people in those communities (including children)went about their business with no concern for the hapless creature who was being cut-up. The author (?) also suggested that our fear, and distrust, of strangers may have developed during that period in man's development.

In 12-14 century Japan, there was an idea of "The exquisite beauty of suffering" (my words) and wealthy, powerful men would have a prisoner brought in and subjected to indescribable torture while the mighty person meditated on the beauty of it.

Early man had feeling for his family members and clan, but the idea of compassion for all creatures is a fairly recent development - 'taught' by some religious philosophies.

robert b. iadeluca
May 12, 1999 - 01:05 pm
Was compassion shown during World War II - by either side?

Robby

FOLEY
May 12, 1999 - 05:20 pm
Jean - yes, I have my story about Doris in WordPerfect. It's very short. Not sure how I would send it over?!

robert b. iadeluca
May 12, 1999 - 05:26 pm
Foley: I'm sure someone with the technical knowledge would show you how to do it. I would like to hear your story about Doris.

Robby

robert b. iadeluca
May 12, 1999 - 05:56 pm
I am intrigued that, unless I missed it, there has not been a single Italian (not Italian-American) posting here - telling us about life in Italy during the war before the Allies arrived. I would assume that many Italians emigrated later to the U.S.

Robby

Lonex
May 13, 1999 - 01:35 am
Robby - Now that you mention it, I've never met an Italian warbride. Did we accept refugees from the Axis Powers? I know a number of German and Japanese women married GIs after the war, and came as war-brides. Some German families fled to the states between '39 and '41, but did any families (German, Italian, Japanese) come in as refugees after the war? Did we have a large Occupation Force in Italy?

robert b. iadeluca
May 13, 1999 - 07:48 am
In the process of reviewing Terkel's book we often use the term "good war" and comments have also been made about the atrocities of the Japanese. I would like to quote from an article by David Kennedy in the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly.

"On January 7, 1945, Air Force General Curtis LeMay arrived on Guam to take charge of the 21st Bomber Command. He had abandoned the idea of precision bombing in favor of terror attacks on civilians. 'I'll tell you what war is about,' he said, 'you've got to kill people, and when you've killed enough, they stop fighting.'

He deployed the new M-69 projectile, a fiendishly effficient six-pound incendiary bomblet developed by Standard Oil chemists which spewed burning gelatinized gasoline that stuck to its targets and was virtually unextingishable by conventional means. He trained his pilots in low-altitude attacks. He experimented with bombing patterns and with mixes of explosive and incendiary bomb loads. His goal was to create firestorms like the ones that had consumed Hamburg and Dresden, conflagrations so vast and intense that nothing coul survive them - thermal hurricanes that killed by suffocation as well as by heat - the flames sucked all available oxygen out of the atmosphere.

LeMay launched 334 Superfortreses from the Marianas on the night of March 9. They began to lay their clusters of M-69s over Tokyo, methodically crisscrossing the target zone to create concentric rings of fire that soon merged into a sea of flame. Rising thermal currents buffeted the mile-high B-29s and knocked them about like paper airplanes. They left behind them a million homeless Japanese and nearly 90,000 dead. The victims died from fire , axphyxiation, and falling buildings. Some boiled to death in superheated canals and ponds where they had sought refuge from the flames.

In the next five months LeMay's bombers attacked sixty-six of Japan's largest cities, destroying 43 percent of their built-up areas. They demolished the homes of more than eight million people, killed as many as 700,000, and injured perhaps one million more.. Hiroshima and Nagasaki survived to be atomic-bombed only because LeMay's superiors removed them from his target list."

So much for the good war.

Robby

Ella Gibbons
May 13, 1999 - 09:47 am
Robby - am just getting back from a trip and will continue reading the assignments above, but must comment on the Kennedy article.

I hope I'm not a complete savage but war is hell, as we've all said before. All sides want to get it over with as quickly as possible with the least amount of casualties. Do you not agree that if the Japanese had had the capability, the weapons, they would have done the same to American cities or possessions?

Did not the Germans do the same to Great Britain?

robert b. iadeluca
May 13, 1999 - 09:49 am
Ella: I assume they would have. So what makes World War II a good war.

Robby

Ella Gibbons
May 13, 1999 - 05:13 pm
Robby - You are not satisfied with the author's explanation in the book?

And over and over the soldiers are quoted as saying that it was the last time America felt good about doing the right thing. I cannot put it as well as they have, but if you have talked to friends lately they have very mixed views about our being in Yugoslavia and interfering once again in Europe where we do not belong.

Had we not "interfered" in Europe in WWII, I wonder what kind of books we would be reading now? Certainly not one like Studs Terkel's "The Good War."

Again as to your reference to our cruelty in bombing Japan, are you familiar with what the Japanese did to China before WWII?

I am not racist, we are talking here about cruelty in war - all parties involved.

In reading about the women's views, I can hardly believe some of these women's stories. Just one summation: "I don't think I'd have married so foolishly if it weren't for the war. If I hadn't married a uniform, I wouldn't marry a civilian that fast. The man was a soldier. Somebody had to marry him, and I married him. The war directly influenced the rest of my life."

Blaming the war for marrying hastily and badly! None of my acquaintances of marriageable age during the war years married so foolishly. They were not manipulated by the movies or by the "romance" of a uniform. Unbelievable.

Ella Gibbons
May 13, 1999 - 05:15 pm
I see Joan has posted some questions about these women. I'll be back to try my hand at answering them.

BOBBY EDWARDS
May 13, 1999 - 08:31 pm
Gail G. I appreciate your response, but believe me, my intention was not to be nochalant. This shows how little feeling can sometimes not be conveyed by written words. I was pissed when the grand-kids asked the question. Hope this is better.

BOBBY EDWARDS
May 13, 1999 - 08:41 pm
Walter Winchell knew about the camps and i remember his broadcasts in 1939 or around that time.

Joan Pearson
May 14, 1999 - 03:48 am
Bobby, did WW know they were death camps or just concentration camps with abominable conditions?

Britta
May 14, 1999 - 06:02 am
Has anyone seen the program on PBS not long ago about "America and the Holocaust" ? It explained a whole lot. Seems like the US knew exactly what was going on and did nothing. There were memos shown with Pres. Roosevelt's writing on it that said something like "do not act on this" (can,t remember the exact wording) There seems to have been a strong antisemitic feeling at the time in this country. The story was told of one jewish family, who tried to get reunited in America but was constantly put off by consulates in Europe, until it was too late. It was a very eye opening program and I wish PBS would rebroadcast it. It told of things that neither my husband nor I ever knew. If anyone has seen it, please respond.

Ginny
May 14, 1999 - 08:10 am
Britta, I haven't seen it but will keep my eyes open! PBS has a website too and maybe we can find when it might be coming up, it's http://www.pbs.org"> PBS

Robby, on page 136 or thereabouts there is a very fine piece by an Italian American in New York City: wish I had read this last year before we went for our First Annual Books Gathering in NYC, would have loved to have invited him along, too.

Very interesting on the Italian opinion of the war here at home.

Ginny

Ginny
May 14, 1999 - 08:13 am
PBS has a newsletter which will email you about upcoming stuff, you can get it at that site, if you like.

Ginny

Britta
May 14, 1999 - 10:49 am
I just found the web page that describes the PBS program I mentioned earlier. It is http://www.pbs.org/amex/holocaust/

There's all the information one needs, to answer the question :who knew and when?

I found it very interesting. Click on it !

Caspar
May 14, 1999 - 12:52 pm
Hi to everyone discussing this book. I have just gotten it from the library and looked up this site to see where you all were reading. So now I gotta read so I can talk. Have read other books by this authow and love his style of writing. Just everyday folks, like the rest of, talking about their lives. Be joining you soon. Caspar

Ella Gibbons
May 14, 1999 - 01:37 pm
Britta - thanks for that site. Many authors have referred to the "paper wall" in keeping Jewish refugees out of this country - a shameful episode in our history. Recently, I heard Max Frankel, chief editor of the NY TIMES for many years, now retired, speak of the attitude in this country prior to WWII. The owners of the paper were Jewish but preferred to hide that fact and would not hire Jews on the paper in any managerial positions.

Perhaps we could list as we go through this book some of the "good things" to come out of the war; heaven knows, there were enough of the bad we do not need to refer to them again.

Was just reading the Paul Pisicano story - a New York Italian. At one point he says "Staying in America was something that you did to make money. You didn't stay in America to lead a good life. Nobody ever confused America with leading the good life."

However, after the war he says "We went to college. Our whole neighborhood became professionals. All the guys whose mothers spoke Italian, every one of 'em is an engineer or a pharmacist.........Now we're solid citizens."

Which brings up one good point about the war. It afforded many young men the chance to get a higher education on the G.I.Bill.

Britta
May 14, 1999 - 01:57 pm
You're right Ella, we have to start concentrating on the GOOD that came out of WW2. Every experience teaches lessons and it would be nice to see how our discussion turns out, if we start thinking about the GOOD. Maybe then it was a GOOD WAR after all. I didn't live in this country then but have read a lot about the post war years in America and my husband tells me about them. It seems women became more emancipated, segregation started to lose it's grip and the economy started to recover. People also became more neighborly, since they all went through the anxiety of war together. Americans are very generous and warm people generally and their relief that the war was over brought out the best in them. The music from that time and the movies tell the story too. Our family benefitted from the help America offered to the victims of the war in Europe by receiving a CARE package. I will never forget how overwhelmed with gratitude and joy we were to receive it.

Joan Pearson
May 14, 1999 - 02:43 pm
The chapter for next week, Neighborhood Boys talks a lot about the segregation, discrimination and finally, assimilation into this country. Are we ready to get into that and leave the unhappy war bride discussion for another time? I didn't read of a single happy one in Rosie...it seems they all married out of a sense of....what? Patriotism?

Will get up the heading for the next chapter right now...

Lonex
May 14, 1999 - 04:43 pm
In the 40's in Baltimore, Classified Ads often specified "Gentiles Only". I also remember seeing signs like that, but don't recall which facilities had them. I didn't think it was fair, but it's like no one even thought about it as right/wrong. My Grandmother and Uncle moved to a new neighborhood because 'too many Jews were moving in'. I just saw their complaint as part of the way they were - humorless and cranky. Now I recognize it as one of the serious prejudices that characterized many families in those years.

robert b. iadeluca
May 14, 1999 - 07:17 pm
Caspar: Welcome to our group! I'm pleased to know that you are reading the book to catch up, but wherever you are in the book, feel free to give your comments at any time.

Britta: I clicked on to the web page you gave re the Holocaust and was amazed at the various bits of info I didn't know! I didn't know the part the Treasury Dept played under Henry Morgenthau. I didn't know the part that Will Rogers played and certainly hadn't known that he committed suicide in later life. We comment now on Clinton's bad choice in the Yugoslavia situation. As we look back, how about FDR's bad choice in the Jewish situation until his hand was forced.

Robby

Lonex
May 14, 1999 - 07:38 pm
Robby - I haven't looked at that web page, but there's one glaring error; Will Rogers (and newsman Wiley Post) died in a plane crash in Barrow, Alaska (Aug.15,1935). Are we talking about the same Will Rogers?

robert b. iadeluca
May 14, 1999 - 07:40 pm
Lonex: Now that you mention it, he did die in a plane crash in Alaska. I only know of one Will Rogers. This needs to be tracked down.

Robby

Lonex
May 14, 1999 - 08:09 pm
Robby - The info on that web page should be checked out. I've seen the little Will Rogers museum in Fairbanks, and the BIG one in Fort Worth. Both have photos of Rogers and Wiley in Alaska, along with photos of the plane wreckage and the search party.

Joan Pearson
May 15, 1999 - 04:19 am
A big WELCOME, CASPAR! We look forward to your reactions to both the discussion and Studs' book!

Hi Britta! I'm really looking forward to reading the PBS site. Just tried, but got a message that the server might be down. Will try again on Sunday pm...off for a graduation weekend (the second of three this year! Will probably cry at "Pomp and Circumstance" again too...) I think it's important to know just how much people knew about those camps during the war...and to know the public reaction to the bombing of innocent people in Hiroshima...in order to really understand what happens to human response, to moral indignation... during wartime. If we don't have any historical memory of what war does to numb the collective conscience, we've learned nothing from this war and will get involved in future wars without considering this dreadful aspect! I'd like to think that we have learned the lesson ...that "all people are human beings", as Mike Royko says we learned from the war in this chapter. Perhaps this is why we react the way we are doing here right now? I hope so!

The next section, Neighborhood Boys sure fits in with the discussion of racial discrimination- I didn't realize that there was such anti-Jewish sentiment in this country too! And the "Irish need not apply!" Add this to the discrimation we find in this section against Japanese, Mexicans, blacks...and we see a country quite divided...much more so than now, we hope? The message in this chapter seems to be sounding a hopeful message - that WWII brought us together and great progress was made in this area...this would have to be one of the "Good" outcomes of the war, right?

Ella mentions Paul Pisicano and I think his memories of the Italian-American community, before and after the war is a great example of how WWII brought the Italians into the mainstream of American culture. In fact, Paul seems to feel that it wasn't a particularly "good" thing...this loss of ethnic identity! Interesting!

robert b. iadeluca
May 15, 1999 - 05:21 am
Although there was no anti-negro (which was the term used then) sentiment in combat units for the simple reason there were no blacks in combat units, there was a definite anti-Jewish sentiment. Not on the part of everyone, of course, but it was there. I vividly remember an incident at Christmas time of 1943 when we were on maneuvers in Tenessee.

I was the First Sergeant of a Regimental Headquarters Company. Our I&R (Intelligence and Reconnaissance) Sergeant was a very fine soldier named Martin Shapiro. He was also a veteran of the Spanish Civil War where he had been a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. As capable and friendly as he was, numerous members of the company disliked him solely because he was Jewish. Shortly before Christmas Day he came to me and said that he and the other Jewish fellows wanted to volunteer to handle all the necessary details on that day so that non-Jewish soldiers could really enjoy their holiday. I was convinced he was sincere and allowed them to do it. They handled everything from morning to night - guard detail, servicing the vehicles, cooking and serving the Christmas meal, KP afterward, and in general allowing the rest of the company to lounge around.

Needless to say, he and the other Jewish soldiers were looked at through different eyes from then on but it was a shame that they had to take that first move in order to receive the respect due them in the first place.

Robby

Ann Alden
May 15, 1999 - 06:03 am
But also, Robby, thank goodness they did take that first step. What a wonderful thing to do. It only takes lighting that "one little candle" for the lights to go on, doesn't it?

I am reading another book at the same time with this one, "The Greatest Generation" by Tom Brokaw and I must say that I like "The Good War" better due to the way its presented with first person quotes. Makes a much more significant impact on me. Am looking forward to reading the next chapter.

FOLEY
May 15, 1999 - 12:09 pm
Re the Jewish soldiers helping out at Christmas. Where I work as a volunteer in a local hospital, at Christmas and Easter, the Jewish volunteers always come in and work so the rest can enjoy their holidays. Maybe some of them did that during the war, we are all over 65. The first time I witnessed prejudice against the Blacks was at a USO dance in Scotland where some Southerners started to fight with a few black soldiers who had come in to the hall. It was scary. I mention it in my memoirs.

Scriptor
May 15, 1999 - 02:06 pm
Robby: No need to track down Will Rogers death. I was 14 and listening to the radio about 10:00 AM. A radio news break-in was a real novelty in 1935, as rare as a newspaper special editon. Scriptor.

robert b. iadeluca
May 15, 1999 - 02:31 pm
Scriptor: Thank you.

I'm curious, in referring to Joan's fifth question, as to everyone's reaction regarding prejudice in this nation going on while simultaneously men were dying in Europe and Asia on behalf of freedom.

Robby

Lonex
May 15, 1999 - 02:34 pm
...I forgot to mention both of the museums I visited also had yellowed newpapers, with date etc, in glass display cases. It was obviously a major news story.

Britta
May 15, 1999 - 02:46 pm
Well, I went and got the book from the local library today. Now I can maybe comment on the stories in the book, instead of telling you my own all the time. (Wait until I read it

As far as I know, the German citizens of Cincinnati Ohio, which was about everyone, were very careful to proclaim their American-ness ( ?!?) during the First WW already, lest they be discriminated against. They even renamed many streets, which had had German names. Families dropped their native tongue, and spoke English instead. This is how my husband lost his German language. He is 2nd generation American. Only now, in memory of the founding of Cincinnati by german settlers, are some of the old street signs reappearing and German heritage is again valued.

Germans seem to carry a collective guilt and are quick to assimilate themselves into the American culture, some even denying their origin and calling themselves Swiss or Austrian instead. I have come across it often. But since the German language has very distinct inflections, one can almost always tell where a certain person is from.

I have always been proud of my German heritage and tried to keep old traditions alive. But I also am guilty of not fostering the German language more in my children. Since my husband no longer speaks German, it seemed easier to speak English, which I have known since childhood. At least I was able to help with homework, once my children took German as an elective language in school. But they all have an American accent.

Ginny
May 15, 1999 - 03:22 pm
Ah, Britta, you are so right. "Austrian," my grandmother always sternly said, "Austrian!"

Ginny

Ella Gibbons
May 15, 1999 - 03:33 pm
Britta - we have a delightful German Village here in Columbus, Ohio - a MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTION for the city. All the old single family small brick houses are been remodeled (only the interior, however). They have a German Village Association which is very strong and strict as to what you can and cannot do in the village. I love going there - so delightful and there is Schiller Park nearby which has free plays in the summer - you bring a chair and watch - it's amateurish, but fun. Isn't Schiller a German name? There is also a statute of him so he must have done something there.

I didn't live in Columbus during WWII, but I imagine they stayed "close to the hearth" as they were "the enemy" at that time. However, the old prejudices seem to die out - everywhere but in the Balkans where obviously they never have!

I lived in a small town and there were only 2 Jewish families and they were part of the community - the one Jewish boy in my class became my debate partner on our debate squad and remained a friend. He is now a professor (unless retired) at Harvard and I've always been proud to have known him, such a lovely boy!

Britta
May 15, 1999 - 04:35 pm
"America" - it had a certain ring to it. A promise of a better life , equality, opportunity. The idealistic view of America as the great land of opportunity, a true mulicultural society - that's what I came to believe. The grass is always greener from the other side ! As it turned out, I found America much more complex than I had envisioned. This young country is still learning about itself . But the fundamental goodness of it's people does exist. It shows itself every time there is a crisis. The volunteerism that is so much part of the American nature, is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Sure, prejudice and discrimination still exist. Too much freedom is bad for this society also, since it's interpreted into lax discipline. But I'm an optimist and I know America will weather this period of unpopularity too. There's something about being American that rounds out the edges. I know that Germans are much more congenial here than in their own country. It's OK to be nice here!

Ella, Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet and philosopher, whose works are still taught in school. He lived 1759-1805. I used to have to recite his endless poems and still remember some. We always made up some disrespectful short versions and were chastised for it. LOL

Please forgive my straying from the course of this book .

Ella Gibbons
May 15, 1999 - 04:58 pm
Thanks Britta for enlightening me about Schiller. Always nice to learn something new for the day. I've copied Joan's questions and am going to read those stories tonight.

Lonex
May 15, 1999 - 05:40 pm
Robby - My impression is that the mentality was more on the order of they-are-not-like-us and each group tended to stay in its own circle. The white, christian group assumed it had some kind of priority, but I don't think anyone saw it as prejudice, or as depriving someone else of his/her freedom. I never knew anyone who supported the vicious killing of a member of another group, although there were occasional "hate-crimes" as there are today.

You have to project yourself back into the '40's mentality. Much of our country was rural and very few were college educated. They were good, simple people, but not inclined to think deeply. In the farmlands of Maryland, my cousins and I were the first generation to get through High School. Except for teachers, the adults I knew left school after completing 8th grade. This current generation of 6th graders can discuss social problems more intelligently than the generation that raised me. The adults in my life believed that Love-your-neighbor meant giving the hired girl the left-overs from supper and driving her home in bad weather.

Our cities were relatively small and the majority of the population was rural, like my environment. Maybe you can find info on the average education of the recruits entering WWII. It could refute my opinion here, but I don't think it will. Let me know.

GailG
May 15, 1999 - 07:22 pm
Britta: We have a lively discussion going in the "Our Religious and Cultural Heritage" folder. I think your recollection of German culture, traditions, etc. would be most welcome.

Lonex
May 15, 1999 - 10:41 pm
Robby - In Plessy vs Ferguson (1896) the Supreme Court ruled that separate-but-equal facilities, for blacks and whites, was legitimate. That was America's orientation, to the not-like-us groups, in the forties. We were not exposed to the idea segregation=prejudice until 1954.

robert b. iadeluca
May 16, 1999 - 04:24 am
We have some wonderful sociologists in this group. Britta, your description of America was most discerning. I have always believed that, in most cases, naturalized citizens (and I am native born) turn out to be better citizens because they have to make the effort to obtain America's freedom and do not have it handed it to them on a silver platter. And, Lonex, I understand what you are saying about the 40's mentality. In those days we did what nowadays would be considered "bad" but we, as a society, did not consider it bad. Life was much different.

And so, as I look back I see the military in which I served as a cross section of society as it was then. Do the rest of you see a military to which one is drafted (as in war time) better or worse than the volunteer military that we have now?

Robby

Ginny
May 16, 1999 - 04:28 am
Speaking of America, itself, I think one of the most marvelous things about it is the fact that we're all part of the "melting pot." The only native Americans are just that: Native American Indians. The rest of us had to come from somewhere. As a consequence, all of our families will have genealogical traces to several different countries, with the result, that, even in one family, like mine, you can have a signer of the Constitution, participants in every war, and a grandmother who reflects that a last name is "Austrian."

When you consider how many people there are from different places which make up just ONE family and then you consider that the entire country is made up of all these marvelously blended elements, then I can't understand north/ south, and east/ west differences. I think this new section we're reading will spark some great debates, but the country is not that old. It's not like we are talking about centuries of some sort of ethnic domination.

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
May 16, 1999 - 04:37 am
You folks are pouring out some very profound thoughts. And it's interesting that you are blending the two thoughts of the meaning of America with what has been described as a "good war." Why did we fight this war in the first place? Are we a "good" nation which was trying to fight "evil?" Were we fighting for our life? Most soldiers during the war, as you have read, did not think of this while they were on the battlefield. If there had not been a draft, would most men have enlisted? Does a "good" nation (if we are, indeed, good) fight "good" wars?

Robby

Lonex
May 16, 1999 - 07:01 am
Britta - I laughed when you wrote of your "short" versions of Schiller's poems. We did the same thing, except ours involved memorizing parts of Shakespeare. We made up parodies, mimicking the nuns.

Lonex
May 16, 1999 - 07:04 am
Robby - Who said, "There is no such thing as a good War, or a bad Peace"? One of the generals I think, maybe Patton?

robert b. iadeluca
May 16, 1999 - 07:15 am
Lonex: I have heard it before but I don't know who said it. Would you go along with the thought that World War II was not a "good war?"

Robby

Lonex
May 16, 1999 - 11:07 am
Robby - In retrospect, I'm with the guy who said there is no such thing as a good war. Terkel's "Good War" is the spirit of America that came through assorted media. We had two very charismatic orators telling us, weekly, that we were the best, the strongest, the bravest, the most noble-minded, and the most self-sacrificing, of any who walked the earth. Even now, a quotation from Roosevelt or Churchill reminds me of the pride I felt at being an American.

We had Norman Rockwell, depicting pure, benevolent, unsullied, families on magazine covers. We had gold-star mothers and Rosie the Riveter. We had wonderful, rallying, and sometimes poignant, songs to stir feelings that were never far from the surface. We had the Marine's Hymn and Air Corps song. Gen Mac Arthur was a hero; so was Colin Kelly, and Audie Murphy. We had Ernie Pyle and Bill Mauldin.

Our men were fighting EVIL forces. They were fighting the most despicable of enemies. Japanese, characterized with sneaky grins and buck teeth; and cold, domineering, goose-stepping Nazis. Our guys suffered soul-wrenching miseries in foxholes, POW camps, and on beach-heads, and still emerged in a mighty silhouette of planting the flag on Mt Suribachi.

It was a great time to be American (at least for the dominant sector). We had no faults.

Can you name any hero, quote any speech, or hum any anthem, that emerged from our to-do's in Korea or Vietnam? And did any of us feel good while those involvements raged on?

robert b. iadeluca
May 16, 1999 - 01:30 pm
Lonex: Very strongly put. I'm interested in any answer that someone might give to your final question.

Robby

Britta
May 16, 1999 - 03:32 pm
Ah, nostalgia! Lonex, your description of America is exactly what enamored many a European, who had lost all pride and patriotism after the war. I remember the upraised index finger and the Americans shouting" We are number ONE ! We are Number ONE! " Who doesn't want to belong to that? The Dollar was worth 4 Deutsche Mark! Unfortunately time has a way of taking it's toll. Nevertheless, many people here still believe in the Most Favored Nation status and are blind to the threats and competition from outside this "island". The flip side is, that if we ARE the greatest Nation on Earth, that carries responsibilities. We are setting examples for many countries to follow, which are not always desirable.

Yes, WW2, "the big one" , was a "GOOD" war. It recognized evil and destroyed it, but unfortunately too late. Had the US entered the war earlier, maybe a lot of horrible events could have been prevented. Maybe the reason Pres. Clinton agreed to the NATO attacks on Yugoslavia, is because he did not want history to repeat itself. Maybe it will take another generation to make that judgment.

"Maybe" is a word like "IF". There's no answer.

robert b. iadeluca
May 16, 1999 - 03:39 pm
Foley: In an earlier posting I spoke of my meeting a girl in France and bringing her over here as a GI Bride. This story was, of course, from my point of view as the American groom. You were a GI Bride. I'm sure many of us here would be interested in your sharing with us how you met your soon-to-be husband, what actions you had to take in order to come over here, and youf feelings as you entered this new land.

Robby

Lonex
May 16, 1999 - 03:48 pm
Robby - Well, for me, Korea draws a blank; I lost a dear friend four months after it started.

I think the Hippies, the Protestors, and the Flower-Children, felt good about their 'causes' during Vietnam, but most of us were torn up over the contradictions we had to accommodate.

Lonex
May 16, 1999 - 04:33 pm
Britta - America was not a powerful nation in '39; we were still emerging from the depression. We were not prepared for war. We had been collecting, and selling, scrap iron to the Japanese to bolster our economy. We still had soup kitchens and many were unemployed.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, we converted former CCC camps into training sites for soldiers and renovated auto plants to build Army vehicles. Many of the planes we sent to England, in '42, were old canvas-covered, open cockpits, on the order of Snoopy's? Sopwith Camel.

During the first 6-months of the war, we were pushed back on all fronts. In June '42, we defeated the Japanese in the Battle of Midway and started turning things around, but it still took 6 months for the marines to take Guadalcanal once they landed there.

We could not get a toehold in Europe. We had been at war nearly a year when Britain and the U.S. invaded North Africa. It took 8 months to roust Rommel and move on to the European continent. In July '43 the U.S, and Britain invaded Sicily.

Why didn't the U.S. do something earlier? Honey, I don't think we could have saved ourselves in '39, let alone, drive back Hitler.

Britta
May 16, 1999 - 05:08 pm
Lonex, you are a living history book! Thank you for painting arealistic picure of America in the late 30's for me. I missed that lesson, since I was too young for it then and later it was not taught to us. The rest of my "education" came from experience.

Lonex
May 16, 1999 - 06:12 pm
Britta - I was a little squirt then, too (born in 1930). Huge upheavals in my early years and I was very impressionable. Later I wanted to know about my parents' era and how the world was then so I read through their decades and my own. I've been surprised to find many of my recollections, from the thirties and forties, recorded the way I remembered them. I can't get interested in History-type texts, but tend to dig into the way people live(d) and how they relate(d) to what was happening in their lives at the time.

robert b. iadeluca
May 16, 1999 - 06:15 pm
As all of us share our experiences right here, we're recording history at this very moment, aren't we?

Robby

GailG
May 16, 1999 - 07:01 pm
Lonex: In giving your really fine description of how things were in the thirties and forties, before the "good war" you said..."the white Christian group assumed it had some kind of priority, but I don't think anyone saw it as prejudice or depriving someone else of his/her freedom."...you went on to say: "I never knew anyone who supported the vicious killing of a member of another group."

I'm sure that you are very sincere in these observations but a lot of history was omitted there. Maybe some of had enjoyed "freedom" but many of us couldn't vote unless we paid a "poll Tax", couldn't use public transportation unless we sat in a proscribed section of the bus or train; were subjected to inferior education in inferior schools, couldn't sit on juries and could not expect a fair or racially unbiased trial (many times having been accused of a horrendous crime of which we were innocent). As for not knowing anyone who supported "vicious killing of a member of another group"...there was a song titled "Strange Fruit" which referred to bodies hanging from trees, the fruit of racial prejudice that went far beyond daily insults and humiliations. The Klu Klux Klan were simple people!

Lonex, please understand that this is not an indictment of your recollection of history, or of you personally. But we in our comfortable "whiteness" sometimes tend to overlook that part of our history and much of this still went on while members of that group were voluntarily fighting and giving their lives in the "good war".

Joan Pearson
May 16, 1999 - 08:37 pm
Graduation #2 of 3 behind us! What a weekend...and no rain in spite of the predictions! This was important as the graduation took place in the football stadium. (Shelby Foote got an honorary award...I looove that man). We dragged home after 11pm, I checked phone messages, email and then came in here for a quick look at the Good War discussion to find your posts...all thirty of them!!

I am overwhelmed at your experiences, insight, your respect for others' views when they differ from your own!!! I have never learned so much about the past, or the present from any one place as I am learning here! I am honored to share the memories with the great brave men - and women - who actually fought in this war - and to be able to thank them personally! This discussion is breaking new ground. Please don't ever feel you are straying from the book ...the book serves as a skeleton...the book stimulates discussion through the memoirs presented...and your comments pick up and fill in the gaps in our understanding of what it was like back then and what it all means to us now...Thank you all for what you are doing! You dazzle

"There never was a good war or a bad peace" --Benjamin Franklin

Lonex
May 16, 1999 - 09:24 pm
Gail - I am sorry if what I wrote implied that I was speaking for all segments of America. I assumed that Robby posed the question as an invitation for responses from those of us who were willing to comment on how it was where we lived. That's what I wrote. White christians assumed priorities (means better homes, jobs, schools). We tended to stay in our own circles. I did not know where the blacks lived or shopped or went to school. I did not know anyone who supported the vicious killing of a member of another group. I can't make that different than it was.

It never occurred to me to record what I learned as we moved into the Civil Rights' era of the late '50s. I described my little corner and still believe most of rural America was like that. These are the people who didn't understand the Civil Rights' upheaval because there had been no problems in their communities. They thought the upset was caused by communist conspirators. Most of us had not been exposed to the south or to the KKK.

People who had other experiences need to record it here. I think that's what Robby wanted.

GingerWright
May 16, 1999 - 09:41 pm
We were hit at pearl harbor, thank you,That is the reason. Came to recent and will go back NOW.

GingerWright
May 16, 1999 - 10:10 pm
I am back, We all took care of AMERICA, Thank you all for what you have done. This is 1999,

GailG
May 17, 1999 - 12:03 am
Lonex; I DO understand what you were saying and I know what you were saying was true. Maybe I didn't word my comments to express that. I just wanted to point out that a lot of this stuff was going on while we were fighting the Good war for freedom. I agree that no war is a good war; the cause may be a just and good cause, but people killing people is never "good".

robert b. iadeluca
May 17, 1999 - 03:57 am
Lonex: You are right. My question was an invitation for responses from whatever background or experiences you had. Let no one here feel that they are being restricted in their thoughts. The only restriction (as I see it) is remaining within the bounds of courtesy and consideration and everyone is already automatically doing that without any caveat from me. As you indicated, many of us in that era lived in little "corners" that were rural or small townish and many whites grew up without seeing a black person. The war time military threw everyone together. The draft created a "cross-section society" living in close quarters.

Virginia: You and others often use the words "thank you" in referring not only to those who fought but those who supported the war effort in other ways. The feeling of gratitude is often there. Did that feeling of gratitude exist during and after the Korean and Vietnam conflicts?

Robby

Britta
May 17, 1999 - 06:56 am
Since Virginia started with the "Thank you's", I just want to take the opportunity to say the same sentiment to all of you for this very interesting and civilized discussion group.. I am learning so much. Having lived my life on two sides of the world and issues, it is wonderful to be part of the living history which is being presented here. I have only lived in the US for 24 years, having spent 20 years overseas as a foreign born Foreign Service Officer's wife. That was quite an adventure in itself, having to represent a country which I only knew from sporadic "homeleaves" and books. The hilarious side of that experience is another book. Anyway, I enjoy participating here and appreciate your acceptance of me and my modest input. You are quite wonderful people and my husband is getting a little jealous when I rush to my computer first thing in the morning to see what you all had to say.

So ---- THANK YOU !

robert b. iadeluca
May 17, 1999 - 12:04 pm
Britta: Could I modify the well-known phrase and say: "We have met our friend and he is us."

Robby

Britta
May 17, 1999 - 02:10 pm
Thank God for making me a girl ( even an old gal!) !! After reading in the book about some of the horrors of war you veterans have gone through, I count my blessings for being female. I never even had the ambition to be anything but a wife and mother. I did pitch in when extra money was needed for college educations, but was just as happy to relinquish my "career" and return to domesticity. That book is easy to read but hard to take in. So many fates were determined by WW2 ! There really is a book in everybody.

Referring to the treatment of German war prisoners in this country, I found this interesting fact. On a recent sojurn into the Smoky Mountains to a little town called Hot Springs, we came across pictures and stories about a POW camp of German soldiers. They built cabins, baked and cooked for the "natives", and were generally well liked. I even got the impression from all the publicly displayed chronicles in the tourist office (a railroad car!), that the little mountain hamlet was quite proud of their POW's. After the war they all returned home and with time the camp fell into disrepair and now only a cabin or two are attributed to the Germans. It is hard to think of their good treatment, while at the same time, here in the South, American citizens of dark complexion were treated as second class.

Thank goodness "Time changes all things".

Robby, you're kind. *S*

robert b. iadeluca
May 17, 1999 - 02:15 pm
While I did see combat, in no way did I experience some of the horrors that were mentioned in Terkel's book. I'm no hero! I'm just another GI who managed to make it home.

Robby

Scriptor
May 17, 1999 - 02:39 pm
On balance it might be noted that at war's end in Europe the ETO list of AWOLS and DESERTERS contained 12,000 names from Pvt. to Brig. Gen.

Ella Gibbons
May 17, 1999 - 02:55 pm
Robby: Tell us of your bride's expectations of and reality of coming to America? Do you go back often? What is your perception of French and American relations at the present time and what were they in war time?

Scriptor: What does ETO stand for?

FOLEY
May 17, 1999 - 02:59 pm
Scriptor - European Theatre of Operations...reminded me of my late husband's favorite remark - when he wanted to describe a good time, "just like high life in the ETO" he would say. As for war bride memories, will pen something tomorrow. It's 6pm, time for supper. Ciao

Scriptor
May 17, 1999 - 04:52 pm
Foley has it right. After combat in Europe, the Ike's Headquarters was changed to European Command. Does anyone remember the COGEN Club? This was the officers' club for Colonels and Generals only in the Kronberg Castle near Franfurt when the famous Kronberg jewel case occured with the theft of the Prince of Hesse's family jewels

robert b. iadeluca
May 17, 1999 - 06:13 pm
Ella: My French GI Bride passed away a number of years ago and that was after we had been divorced. She came from Brittany which was at that time a rural area in France. She was a very intelligent girl so she realized that our streets were not "paved with gold" but our personalities clashed. We were both strong-willed people. Seventeen years and two children later we separated but I still wanted the marriage to be healed. When events happen I want to know why and I look at myself as well as others. My mind went back to France. I wanted to find the "me" of that time. What was in my mind at that time? What kind of a person was I? What kind of a person was my wife? What had I seen in her? What had made her different from other girls I had known? Everyone has both positive and negative traits. Had I seen any of her negative traits? Was I blind to some of my own traits?

I decided to go back to the place of our meeting and if possible (in my mind) to the time of our first knowing each other. It was not my intention to bring my miseries of 1964 to the people I knew in France but to bring 1945 back to me. I arrived in Paris on July 15th, the day after Bastille Day. The city was extremely quiet but this was normal because at that time of the year, most Parisians have left on extended holiday. Paris looked much the same as it had in 1945 except for construction cranes all over the city. In front of my very eyes was the Paris of centuries past on its way toward looking more like America. This depressed me.

I took the train for Rennes, noticing that in the 18 years I had been gone the destruction of the rural areas had given way to reconstruction. I was trying very hard to look at the scene with 1945 eyes but there were no cows lying on their backs with their legs straight into the air, no electric lines lying across roads, and farm houses seemed in good shape.

The Rennes railroad station had been spruced up but I was able to see the broad interior area across which I had first seen that beautiful face. I immediately had a strong memory of my first view of her. Following a map I located her house where I had spent so many hours with that wonderful girl whom I was trying to conjure up in my mind while simultaneously trying to put aside thoughts of the 1964 woman in america. People I had known in 1944 were still in Rennes and I had the opportunity of meeting them again. They were most cordial. I went to see the grave of my wife's mother. I stood for a long time at the graveside asking: "Qu'est-ce qu'il est arrive entre ta fille and moi?" What happened between your daughter and me?

I took off from Paris on July 28, 1964 arriving home on the same day. As I flew back I was acutely aware that a chapter of my life had come to an end. My marriage was over.

Robby

Ella Gibbons
May 18, 1999 - 11:53 am
Robby: Did you get all the answers you wanted? Did you find an explanation as to why the marriage didn't work? It isn't easy to go back for me and it can be very painful.

In front of my very eyes was the Paris of centuries past on its way toward looking more like America. This depressed me.

I find that depressing also. Why must we export our culture in the way of fast food places and the like? It's terrible to go out of the country and see a McDonald's, very disgusting to me. However, I said that to some one and they answered that they certainly appreciated the air conditioning in there and the clean rest rooms.

Britta
May 18, 1999 - 01:08 pm
American Fast Food in Europe! It bothers us more than them, I think. All the youngsters I came in contact with thought it was "cool". English is the language of choice and France and Germany have started a counter campaign to return to the pure native tongue. You should see the placards on the advertising pillars in Berlin - all in mixed German/English. Imported expressions demand more attention and the advertising industry has taken full advantage of it, much to the dismay of the older generation. By the way, the food, like Pizza Hut pizza, McDonald's hamburgers, Kentucky Fried Chicken, all taste different from here at home. They make adjustments for the local palate. In New Zealand for instance, we rushed to the first KFC with our kids, to let them have a taste of true American Fast Food and, YUK , to us at least, the chicken was fried in mutton grease! But the Kiwis loved it! It's all what you grow up with!

You are right though, Ella, it's not very charming when you try to take a picture of an historical building and can't avoid getting the Golden Arches into the shot. I take it with a sense of humor. If the Europeans didn't want those places, they wouldn't be there.

Lonex
May 18, 1999 - 02:24 pm
Ella - It's progress. America did it first so it's called American. We, too, have lost the lovely atmosphere that our cities had 60 yrs ago...but India/Nepal could wipe out thousands of deaths per year if they learn to enjoy/expect hygienic facilities. IMO, American fast-food giants will push the populace in that direction.

Ella Gibbons
May 18, 1999 - 06:06 pm
Lonex, perhaps you are right and we can teach the world a lesson in health and cleanliness; however, I think as the third world countries become more industrialized or more prosperous (or should I say IF they do) that would have come without interference from us. Sometimes I think we interfere a bit too much, but who's to say, only the future will tell and we seniors will be gone.

That word "prosperity" has been bandied about in Terkel's book . As I remember history, while America was struggling through the depression Hitler was bringing prosperity to Germany, putting its citizens back to work and lifting the morale and dignity of the nation. Isn't that one of the factors that brought him to power and enabled Germany to industrialize and build their military to the point that they could have taken over all of Europe and beyond?

It is also true that as America geared up for the war effort, prosperity came to many who have never tasted it before in the way of employment, better housing and food. Those soldiers who survived the war lived better than they had ever dreamed due to the discipline they had endured in the service, the opportunity for education given to them and the fact they had left the old neighborhoods behind.

Remember the old song "How you gonna keep them down on the farm, after they've seen Paree." It is certainly true that prosperity brought the auto to every home and consequently we could all drive to the shopping malls and soon we all moved out of the cities to where we could have larger lawns and bigger homes.

It also isolated us from each other as front porches and neighborhoods disappeared, small grocery stores and hardware store owners were forced out of business, small town shopping districts turned into gift shops and I almost said parking meters are antiques (not quite yet!)

My question: Is prosperity good or bad?

Lonex
May 18, 1999 - 07:04 pm
Ella - I enjoy creature comforts so I tend to favor prosperity, but all I was talking about was indoor plumbing because you mentioned a woman who pointed that out as an advantage of Mac Donald's. I mentioned India & Nepal because I saw that plumbing is not in demand there. We went, by car, from Delhi to Jaipur, to Agra (India) and from Kathmandu to Pokhara (plus side trips) in Nepal. Averaged 35-mph on a good day. Many, many, many homes had TVs & antenna, but everyone bathed at a faucet in the town square and relieved themselves in ditches near the road. Flies everywhere, walking on food and babies' faces.

This is indelicate, but we wore long skirts because they were more modest at rest stops (euphemism) and we carried a small, collapsible camp shovel and TP in our daypacks. Also, many packs of baby-wipes. Homes, in the countryside, were about the size of a two-car garage, sliced across the middle, and had pull-down corrugated 'garage doors that were left open in the daytime so everything was in full view. No kitchens. Cooking & eating was done outdoors. The farms were comparatively clean, and crops were thriving, so this was not abject poverty; it was a way of life. Much more, but this doesn't relate to WWII.

If Mac Donald's develops a tasty veggie-burger, or goat/chicken burgers, there's some prime country out there that needs to see the advantages of indoor plumbing and it wont require the charity of U.S. taxpayers.

robert b. iadeluca
May 19, 1999 - 04:04 am
So are we saying that World War II was good because it brought more conveniences to more people around the world?

Robby

patwest
May 19, 1999 - 05:03 am
I wonder what some of the reaction to the MacArthur Documentary on PBS last night would be.

Lonex
May 19, 1999 - 06:08 am
Robby - IMO the War pulled us along, toward progress, a lot faster than we'd have gone on our own. The service men/women, who returned, knew how to organize, put in a good days work, and take pride in it. Nothing was impossible. When I started working in Baltimore, a co-worker, who had been in the WAVES, still polished her shoes every night. It sounds silly, but they brought back a lot of good habits and imposed them on us. Slipshod work was unacceptable, and an embarrassment. Was it like that before? I'm still with the guy who said there's no such thing as a good war, but our post-war attitudes and 'style' was a great compensation.

Lonex
May 19, 1999 - 06:39 am
Robby - Do you think our involvement in all these wars, have been a subconscious desire to get it back? (except Korea, maybe)

Ella Gibbons
May 19, 1999 - 07:49 am
Lonex - Oh, goodness, I hope not!

Pat - wish I had known about the MacArthur documentary. He's a fascinating character. My daughter had to write a paper about him for an Army course concerning a decision he made in the Korean War and I found that whole scene with Truman unbelievable.

robert b. iadeluca
May 19, 1999 - 09:50 am
Ella: What did you find unbelievable about the scene with Truman?

Robby

Barbara St. Aubrey
May 19, 1999 - 11:49 am
I've been lurking from time to time - since I was born January of '33 my association to WWII was very much the school girl crush on every man in uniform as well as, participating in the war effert from home.

I am posting now because I've learned of a huge misconception the next generation is coping under. A conversation with my daughter and her friends, all in their very early 40s and late 30s. They believe the current laurels explaining a different nation during the 1940s ment there was NO Draft, that everyone rushed forward to join-up. There were no deserters or conscientious objectors or guys that hid from the service.

I'm remembering some did rush forward and join and some joined early to avoid the Army, by joining they could go into the Navy. That there were jokes about guys hiding in the hills, mostly the hills of Kentucky and there were conscientious objectors that usually served as medics so that they did not have to carry a gun.

Yes, I think the war was a time of brave, couragous men and a country that was behind them but, it looks like the rose colored glasses about these characteristics is not putting a realistic picture out there. I would think by publicaly acknowledging that realistic picture it just makes the bravery and courage of the many, that much more valuable.

robert b. iadeluca
May 19, 1999 - 12:08 pm
Barbara:

Welcome to our group! Hope to see further postings from you. You are absolutely right. There were the gung-ho guys who enlisted right away, who rushed off to fight, and many of them were killed. But, as you say, there were many who grabbed every possibility to escape the draft. You have brought up a good point that the younger generation needs to understand that we were all human beings in the same way that our children and grand children are. The difference was the world situation.

Robby

GERT
May 19, 1999 - 12:51 pm
My feeling,regarding the boys going into the service, is that we all were a lot more patriotic in those days. After all, there wasn't a choice about going to War after Pearl Harbor, was there? I seem to be the only one on our block that puts a Flag out for the holidays, and our Memorial Day Parade gets smaller every year. And that encompasses all wars, even the one that was to end all of them. As I mentioned in a previous post, I honestly feel I am becoming more of an isolationist than I ever thought I would be.

Lonex
May 19, 1999 - 01:35 pm
Were there riots or marches? I vaguely remember Headlines on the Baltimore News Post(?) referring to Conscientious Objectors. When I asked what this meant, some old guy said, "They oughttta take them out there and shoot'em". I was startled by the anger in his voice and no one answered my question. Does anyone remember why it was a headline item and where it was happening?

robert b. iadeluca
May 19, 1999 - 01:39 pm
Lonex: In a later chapter in Terkel's book, there are some interviews of conscientious objectors.

Robby

robert b. iadeluca
May 19, 1999 - 01:53 pm
Here are some facts I received from the American Psychological Association which all of you may find of interest:

In 1994 there were nearly 8.6 million veterans 65 or older (32% of the total veteran population), about 4% of whom were women.

Because of the aging of World War II veterans, the number is expected to peak by the year 2000, whern there will be about 9.3 million elderly veterans (38% of the total veteran population). In 1996, 76% of civilian males aged 70-74 years were veterans, reflecting U.S. particicpation in World War II.

In addition to the veteran statistics above, life expectancy for women is now 80 and for men 73. I am now 78 so if you are going to post me anything, you'd better do it rapidly!

Robby

Joan Pearson
May 19, 1999 - 02:04 pm
Robby!!! Here I am as rapidly as I could get here!!! How are you feeling?

Yes, there were conscientious objectors at the time...their stories are coming up next! No, they were not looked upon very favorably! "Yellow bellies" was the usual term for them......we'll get into all that next week...

robert b. iadeluca
May 19, 1999 - 02:05 pm
Joan: What took you so long!

Robby

Lonex
May 19, 1999 - 03:47 pm
Robby - GADS! I didn't know. I read, somewhere, that old folks should not tell their ages because Ol' Nick might hear and notice he's overlooked someone. We have to use a code; like it's your thirtieth anniversary of being 48 - something like that. You're doing good. My friend is 76 and feels so bad about it she said she's stopped buying green bananas.

Have you heard that Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble are having a price war? Just On-line and involving about 70 books from the NY Times Best Sellers' List. I haven't had time to check it.

robert b. iadeluca
May 19, 1999 - 05:35 pm
Lonex: If you didn't know, it's because you haven't clicked upon my name. I thought every one knew!

Robby

FOLEY
May 19, 1999 - 05:56 pm
Robby - by some good fortune I have managed to retrieve the article in WP and conveyed it to Marcie Schwarz by e-mail. Wish I could remember how I did it. I put the story on a floppy disc and worked from that. Anyway she says she will print it sometime - that's the one about the Jewish girl in Switzerland I knew right before the war. I am sending her, by snail mail, an article called Soldier of Verdun and Memories of a War Bride, the latter are my impressions of coming to this country and how my feelings and attitudes changed.

robert b. iadeluca
May 19, 1999 - 06:00 pm
Foley: That's wonderful! I'm looking forward (and I'm sure others are too) to reading it.

Robby

Lonex
May 19, 1999 - 06:33 pm
Robby - Yes, I did click on your name so I knew you were an old, Wise One ;-} I just didn't know that guys were going down at 73. Can't we get a second opinion? Men need a Handicap to account for all those little turkeys who are shooting each other up, and rolling their pick-ups off freeway overpasses. Girls don't do things like that....and you still haven't gotten away from the (55,000) 20-somethings that went down in Vietnam.

Just found something neat in my New York Times Almanac. A white male, who was 76 yrs old in '94, has a life expectancy of another 9.1 yrs. Forget the Gladiolas, and have another beer.

robert b. iadeluca
May 19, 1999 - 06:38 pm
Lonex: Great! I'm all set to live it up for 9.1 years. Stick with me, folks!

Robby

Gunther
May 19, 1999 - 10:26 pm
Just went through some of the older posts and found this subject. Being just twenty for the 50th time but in school during the dozen unspeakable years of Hitler, I remember that Pope Pius XI had as his representative one Cardinal Eugen Pacelli in Berlin. Yes, we had religious instruction until about the "Kristall Nacht" and thus knew that Pacelli was later installed as Pius XII. He was really taken for a ride by AH in 1933 when a "Konkordat" was agreed upon assuring Pacelli's boss that if the Vatican didn't bait the brownshirts, they would leave the Catholics alone. After the signing, this was immediately disavowed by the nazis.

We were not church-going people but after my father was reported killed in action in 1942, we had a sudden visit by a Lutheran minister who tried his best to help my family. We all attended a military and state funeral with more silver and gold stripes than could have been fitted on Cleopatra. Honors up to here for a colonel who had done his duty. Only many years after the war did we find out that he had died in the KZ (German for conc. camp) in Oranienburg/Berlin. As a member of the staff of Adm. Canaris, the aging counterpart of Bill Donovan (OSS), my father was suspected of being involved with those who were plotting against the dictator (July 20,1944). Field Marshal Rommel's funeral and those of many others followd a similar pattern of deceit. In many of my studies about that era I have come across accusations that the Vatican turned a blind eye, but there are more credible reports that both Popes worked incessantly trying to ameliorate the suffering caused by the regime.

Some blame for Hitler's rise also falls on the gullible Lutherans whose prime mover, one Dr. Mueller, U-boat hero of WWI., was so taken with Hitler's ability to turn back the effects of the Treaty of Versailles, that he leant his prestige to the party - at great cost to himself when he realized the error of his ways. The actions of the Catholic Church are much more closely guarded to this day than our atomic secrets and we'll never know the truth in ten lifetimes.

To me the adjective in Stud's book refers to the righteousness of our (the Allies'!) reasons to intervene in the war, albeit belatedly.

robert b. iadeluca
May 20, 1999 - 03:38 am
Gunther: Good to see you back with us and to hear first hand some of the items which were kept so hush-hush during and even after the war. You bring up a subject which had not yet been discussed here, i.e. the internal plotting against Hitler. Any further thoughts on this topic which you can share with us?

Robby

Patricia Robinson-King
May 20, 1999 - 08:27 am
Hello again from Pat King. After an absence due to some computer problems I am back in and glad to find that the discussion on The Good War continues. I may have told you that I had purchased the book some time back, and find this renewal in discussing this book means a lot to our generation in particular. I have just finished reading the "Rosie" section, and will move on to "Neighborhood Boys" so that I can at least have something to say about that section between now Saturday. I would like to ask if anyone has suggested our reading the Tom Brokaw book. I am thinking of buying it. Pat

patwest
May 20, 1999 - 08:43 am
Barnes & Noble have the Brokaw book for 1/2 price on the Internet.

robert b. iadeluca
May 20, 1999 - 08:46 am
Welcome back, Pat! As you can see, lots of deep thought provoking discussions have been going on. Come join us.

Robby

Lonex
May 20, 1999 - 09:53 am
Gunther - Thank you so much for telling us what was happening to you/your family. Also found the information on the Pope/Cardinal expecially interesting. No wonder there are so many opposing views on who should have done what.

Joan Pearson
May 20, 1999 - 11:57 am
Thanks so much, Gunther! You are a precious source of information! Am getting the impression that there is no black or white explanation of any part of the war history...

Please stick with us.....

Yes, Pat, the plan is to move on the the Brokaw book next!!!!

Eileen Megan
May 20, 1999 - 01:12 pm
In regard to Pius XII during WWII I found quite a bit of material but will just post a small portion of what I read:

1.The foremost Jewish Scholar of the Holocaust at its height in Hungary, Jeno Levai, insisted some years ago that it was a "particularly regrettable irony that the one person in all of occupied Europe who did more than anyone else to halt the dreadful crimes and alleviate its consequences is today made the scapegoat for the failures of others." 2.The Israeli diplomat and scholar Pinchas Lapide concluded his careful review of Pius XII’s wartime activities with the following words: "The Catholic Church under the pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving lives of as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands."

Eileen Megan

Joan Pearson
May 21, 1999 - 07:41 am
Eileen, thanks for that! I think it's important that we have as much information as we can-to get closer to what really happened back then. We'll never know it all, but we can try for as many pieces of the puzzle as we can get. I think this forum is a fantastic opportunity to do just that! It's giving us the opportunity to get into the 1940 post depression mind-set and the war years.

Pat G., I look forward to your reaction to "Neighborhood Boys"...to Mike Royko & Dempsey Travis in particular. I hope some of you can find time to reread these two before we move on to "Machissmo"?- they are important, I think!

Oh, you might be interested in this...recent development in the new World War II memorial site planning scheduled for the mall in Washington DC.

World WarII Memorial

Eileen Megan
May 21, 1999 - 08:21 am
Here's a tidbit of information. In Gardner, MA 39 veterans who had left school to join the service in WWII, were honored in a ceremony and received their high school diplomas.

Eileen Megan

Ella Gibbons
May 21, 1999 - 08:49 am
In regard to Dempsey Travis' story about racism I was not altogether surprised at his statement that "the most sympathetic white men in the army were actually southerners…..I found this to be true in civilian life as well."

I worked for a time with black educated men and women who often commented that in the south you knew who you were and who "they" were, but racism was very subtle up north. It existed, however, just as strong ; it just took longer to figure it out. Some of us may never have lived in the South, but we went to movies and saw black servants and how they were treated and portrayed. Don't you remember GONE WITH THE WIND and Scarlett's black personal maid? (Wasn't her name Prissy?) Didn't Scarlett slap her at one time and threaten to give her away? Did we ever see a black person treated as an equal to the whites at the movies or anywhere else for that matter? Weren't they always portrayed as somewhat stupid, either laughing or dancing? We had integrated schools, sure, but the blacks lived in one end of town and stayed there; at school they kept to themselves.

Dempsey Travis is a real estate broker and a writer today and says "those four years in the army were the turning point in my life. I learned something about men. I learned something about racism. I learned something about values. I learned something about myself. I don't think I'd have that experience any other place or time.

Can we state that because we have integration in the armed services now, and an improvement in civilian life for blacks, that this was a good outcome of WWII?

Lonex
May 22, 1999 - 08:43 pm
Robby - Where are you? I miss your insightful comments.

GailG
May 22, 1999 - 09:53 pm
Lonex: Didn't Robby say some time ago that he was going to a conference out west somewhere, maybe Las Vegas?

Joan Pearson
May 23, 1999 - 05:27 am
Lonex, I think Gail is right, our Robby did mention that he was going to be away from Thursday until Monday. That's tomorrow! We all do miss him! I think he'll be happy to note he's been missed!

Ella, a thought-provoking post! I'll agree that great progress was made toward integration as result of WWII in that it put racism (against all peoples) on center stage, finally forcing the acknowledgement that all races are human beings first. It also planted seeds of racial equality at home in America...leading to the revolt against segregation. This revolt, whether through peaceful demonstrations or bloody riots, was to come after the war, but it was the war that served as the catalyst. This has to be counted as one of the "good" effects of the war, I think.

The last and final chapter of Book One continues with other major human issues brought into focus by this war. I've been thinking hard about why Studs included these three tales under the heading Reflections on Machismo...There's John Abbott, the Conscientious Objector; Roger Tuttrup, the kid who wasn't going anywhere with his life, who wanted to join the marines to become a man, a hero; and Ted Allenby, the closet homosexual, who joined the Marines!!! What brings them together here? What do they have in common? I can't wait to hear what you think! It is puzzling to me.

Later!
Joan

Ella Gibbons
May 23, 1999 - 07:50 am
Wondered why it's so quiet in here - Robby's gone. Hurry back, Robby, we do miss you.

Joan - sounds like some interesting stories coming up. Will be reading them.

Lonex
May 23, 1999 - 02:07 pm
Las Vegas? A convention? Yeah, sure. I bet he's out there having fun and we're not! Hmph }

Ella Gibbons
May 24, 1999 - 06:13 am
At Robby's age he is making "hay while the sun shines" - don't blame him, just envious!

These 78'ers do gad about and am happy to know that as I'm not far behind and am packing for my first trip to Europe!

Britta
May 24, 1999 - 06:41 am
After having read the stories of the "macho men", I came to the conclusion that they were all trying to prove themselves against the odds. I was especially touched by Allenby's story. He and Abbott especially seemed to be paddling against the stream. The other story doesn't strike me as so unusual. There were a lot of young guys who wanted to find out who they are and sought adventure.

Ella, where are you going in Europe? I'm sure it will be fun and exciting for you. Hope it's not on a tour that rushes you through 6 countries in 10 days. (If it's Wednesday, it must be Holland.) I always advise people to stay a few days in each place and enjoy the native people and their culture, that gives you a better impression. I love to stay off the beaten track with locals who have rooms to let. They usually are very friendly, feed you well and are very inexpensive too.

Robby sure does leave a gap, doesn't he! His remarks and questions are vital to these discussions. Hurry back Robby!

robert b. iadeluca
May 24, 1999 - 09:10 am
I thought you were all my friends. Here I am working constantly on being more humble and I come back to find that a significant number of comments are not about Terkel's interviewees but about me! That is not pointing me in the proper direction. I think Ella had the answer - not that my remarks are so insightful but that I have a big mouth and when a period of time goes without my saying anything a deafening silence occurs.

But I am glad to be back. This was the final in a series of 17 intensive workshops on the subject of Psychopharmacology held over a four year period. Those of us who completed the 300 hours in this subject were part of a "graduation" ceremony and the coordinating committee decided that the fomer locations (NYC and Los Angeles) were not glitzy enough. Each of these 17 workshops ran from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. They were extremely challenging but I enjoyed them tremendously. So most of Friday consisted of the long flight from Virginia to Las Vegas with a layover in Phonix and coming back I left Las Vegas at 11:30 p.m. last night and arrived in Baltimore 8 a.m. this morning, drove four hours from Baltimore to my house and now here I am - exhausted but immediately going to the computer. Incidentally, I didn't put a single coin in any one-arm bandit or play any of their games. Others may enjoy that but it's not me.

And now - back to the subject at hand! (Which you handled very well without me but thanks for thinking of me.)

Robby

Ella Gibbons
May 24, 1999 - 09:25 am
Welcome back, Robby! Get rested up now because we expect you to be in attendance every day.

Britta: It is an Elderhostel trip to Rome for 2 weeks and then we are going off on our own to Venice for 4 days. We love the locals and like to get off the beaten track also. Where do you find these homes to stay in while in Europe? Would love it and it's what we used to have in America when I was a child before we were saturated with motels. There would be a sign on a lawn saying "Tourist Home." I hope I'm not the only one who remembers them???

Robby, there was an article in TIME a couple of weeks ago and I quote a bit: "The notion of talking through trauma gained currency during WORLD WAR II, when soldiers were "debriefed" on the beaches of Normandy." And it goes on to talk about methods of helping traumatized victims and whether experts are handling the aftershocks of disaster wisely. According to the author of "Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People" these counselors may be doing more damage than good by forcing people to talk about how upset they are.

Where did you get your training in psychology and do you agree with the current methods?

Lonex
May 24, 1999 - 12:55 pm
Definition of Macho: Jogging home from your own vasectomy ;-}

Joan Pearson
May 24, 1999 - 01:26 pm
HAHAHAHA, oh, Lonex!!! HAHAHAHA....

WELCOME HOME, ROBBY!

That sounds like some trip! Get your rest, as Ella advises...those "Macho" guys can wait one more day.

Britta, it's funny you should mention the Time article, as I just finished reading my May AARP Bulletin and was going to add something it said about "Good Wars"...When I saw your post, I remembered something else from the same article by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.:

"There is a change. For a long time after victory, WWII seemed to slip away, almost as if there were a conspiracy of silence. Veterans rarely talked about the experience of war. Returning GIs instead picked up the broken threads of their lives...Farley Mowat, the Canadian writer, spoke for most of us when he said about the war;
'I kept the deeper agonies of it wrapped in the cotton wool of protective forgetfulness.'

And from the same article, about "the Good War", AS Jr. had this to say,

"Few thought of World War I, the "Great War", as a "Good War" No one thought of the Vietnam War as a "Good War" either...Of course no war is any good. Yet occasionally, very occasionally, a few like the American Revolution, the Civil War and the Second World War, are necessary. War remains hell, but a few wars have been driven by decent purposes and produced beneficial results. Compared to the rest, they qualify as "Good Wars." And the last "Good War," the war of 1941-1945, evidently fills some psychic void in the Amrerican soul a at the end of the 20th Century."
I think Studs would agree - how about you?

Now, about the three in Reflections on Machismo...have you read their memories yet? I'm beginning to think that the common thread of all three stories lies in their post war reflections on their own macho motives for entering the war. See if you agree.

Later!

We missed you, Dr. Robby!

Britta
May 24, 1999 - 02:40 pm
Joan dear, you give me credit where it's not due. The remarks about the TIME article came from Ella's observation. Wish I had been clever enough to read the article, but I didn't.

Ella, the out of the way places I mentioned are off the big highways, usually in little villages, with signs in the window, "Zimmer frei" in Germany, "Sobe" in yugoslavia. Don't know about Italy. You'll have a great time, I'm sure, no matter where you put your head. I enjoyed a few days in Venice in the Seventies and I Love Rome! Watch your pocket book and butt though! Italy has it's hazards! Haha!

I've always wanted to take an Elderhostel trip. Maybe some day I will. They sound fascinating and educational. I guess you'll take some sort of instruction in Rome? Have fun! When are you leaving?

Good to see you back safe and sound and not poorer from Las Vegas, Robby!

Ella Gibbons
May 24, 1999 - 04:32 pm
Sounds as though Robby kept his "purse" close, doesn't it?

Britta - you mean you would just go with no advance preparations and look for a sign in a window? How long ago was that? Is it still being done today - I'm a tad bit apprehensive of traveling like that, but if someone would point the way I might do it. Elderhostels are great - I've taken about 10-11, do one a year usually with my husband but this time with my daughter, who really is "underage" but we're not telling anybody! You do learn a lot about the culture and history of the area you happen to be in - each trip has a different theme which is described in their catalogs. Fascinating, really. Try one - you can find their catalogs in every library or there is a site here on Seniornet where people talk about their trips. Trinity College of Hartford, Connecticut is planning the agenda for this trip.

P.S. I wear a waist belt under my clothes where I keep valuables and do they really "pinch" the older women also? If they try it with my daughter, then I might get angry, but she can handle herself very well.

Lonex
May 24, 1999 - 07:02 pm
Ella - FROMMER's travel books give good information on Rooming and boarding houses, and how to get around, what to see, and what to watch out for, in a number of countries. The books run about $20, but are well worth it. They give all the info on getting around and list a wide range of places to stay/eat in different price categories. Spend some time browsing through one of the books to see if it suits you before you invest. I've had great success travelling on my own with those books. Also, in Europe, many of the train stations have a Tourist Office that has a list of rooms that take tourists.

robert b. iadeluca
May 25, 1999 - 04:33 am
Well, I got a good night's sleep and am pretty well back to thinking clearly again. And so, let's go folks! Pour out your thoughts on Terkel's book and your thoughts on World War II in general. What are your thoughts regarding some of Joan's very relevant questions? Do you think belonging to the Marines (or any other branch of the service) makes a man of a boy? And her question about homosexuality in the service - I haven't read any comments about that. What are your views toward being a Conscientious Objector during wartime? And your views toward the necessity of having a second atomic bomb exploded in Japan?

I'm sure you have lots of opinions (and possibly memories) on those subjects. And - oh yes - as a discussion leader who was also in the military I'm supposed to "run a tight ship," right? So may I suggest that we try not to wander off the theme of this discussion group (which I know from my personal experience is not easy) and stay with the World War II theme.

There are still so many memories and thoughts in our minds. Let's share them with each other.

Robby

Ann Alden
May 25, 1999 - 06:44 am
About the judging of homosexuals as security risks, that is not a new thing. My understanding is that they were blackmailable because everyone was in the closet. Not true today? Well, for the most part anyway. That we would assume that a man or woman could not act in the protection of his/her country because of his/her sexual orientation, has been found a wanting judgement! I have no problems with CO's since for the most part they were willing to put themselves on the battlefields as medics, without guns. Seems to me that is extremely brave. Anyone familiar with the southern humorist, Ludlow Porch? His comment on wars and the government was, "The government should be involved in only two things. Protecting our borders and running the post office."

Ann Alden
May 25, 1999 - 06:45 am
OH, Robby, your description of your trip made me so tired that I must go lay down and take a nap!! But, glad you are back!

robert b. iadeluca
May 25, 1999 - 06:48 am
Ann: How about those conscientious objectors who would not accept going into the service at all. How do you feel about them?

Robby

robert b. iadeluca
May 25, 1999 - 08:38 am
I remember in the sixties when people were wearing all sorts of buttons, there was one which said: "What if they gave a war and nobody came?"

Robby

Patricia Robinson-King
May 25, 1999 - 09:53 am
I am behind in my reading and will try to catch up, but the 26th is tomorrow so may have to move on to the next section and get some comments in on the sections I have managed to already read.

Thanks, Joan. Glad that the Brokaw book will be next as I have sent for it. Meantime, back to the years that changed our lives in particular as so succinctly reported by Studs Terkel. Pat

Scriptor
May 25, 1999 - 12:11 pm
All impressions and most "facts" of major historical events such as WWII should be measursed from the "point of view" or objectives of the author or reporter or story teller. WarII was ink black, redeeming white and with great areas of gray and the never known. Suggest one should try to appraise the author, reporter or penman with a question: "What part of the elephant was he feeling in giving his description, opinion or answer?"

Ella Gibbons
May 25, 1999 - 01:23 pm
Ann, I agree. Many, who for various reasons, would not kill often would act bravely on the battlefield as medics or other personnel. I'm just starting to read Abbott's story and in the first paragraph, he said "That was the most popular war we ever have had."

That's quite a statement - I looked up the word "popular" in the dictionary and it has several definitions among them being: "widely liked or appreciated" - "Of, representing, or carried on by the common people or the people at large: 'The Reformation was a popular uprising' - "Accepted by or prevalent among the people in general" - "Suited to or within the means of ordinary people," etc.

A few paragraphs down from that, Abbott tells us about the form for C.O.'s and he is shocked. So am I.

Am I reading this correctly? If you don't believe in God, you did not get a C.O. classification? How could our government ask such questions about religion? Can they still today in time of war? Could they in the era of Vietnam?

In a sense what the government is saying is that all those who do not believe in God, go kill!

Robby - is there some way we can see a C.O. form and what it looks like?

Vaguely, the term "4-F" comes to mind during WWII and if you looked healthy you didn't want to be home and be a 4-F, no matter if you were dying of cancer inside. You were ostracized in some manner.

However, it was big news to me that homosexuals were given 4-F classification if you admitted to it, which I'm sure very few did!! During the war years, I had never heard of the word homosexual or hetersexual either. We were high school age and those words were never used in young people's presence.

Joan Pearson
May 25, 1999 - 02:35 pm
Scriptor! I like your style...are you a writer? Hence the name, "Scriptor"? Yes, lots of "gray area and the never known"...I'm after what was generally known from patting over the whole elephant - and now in danger of being forgotten -

Ella, I'm understanding John Abbott saying that the Quakers...and the Brethren, the Mennonites...protested the war on religious principles, so they were classified as Conscientious Objectors...and given a 4 E classification. The draft board was trying to determine if Abbott belonged in this religious group. If he told them he did not believe in God, they'd have a hard time putting him in this category, in the camps with the religious objectors. What were some of the other classifications? We read here that 4F was the designation for homosexuals What if there existed a physical or medical handicap? What was the designation for that? 4 F too, right?

I'm guessing that since the draft board had no category for objectors like Abbott he was assigned to the 4E Classification. What would be the alternative? Jail? What do they do with those who refuse to be drafted during war time? They lock them up, right? Right?

Lonex
May 25, 1999 - 04:13 pm
I remember having to fill in a religion on nearly every application I ever filled out through the 1970's. I also recall a question as to whether one believed in a "Supreme Being" on some forms. These were invariably "civilian" type applications or registration forms. We also had to sign a Loyalty Oath well into the 70's.

I think Homosexuality was a draft exemption as late as the Vietnam War; at least I recall more than one college student claiming to have used that as an excuse for not serving. It may also have been immortalized in Arlo Guthrie's ALICE'S RESTAURANT.

Ann Alden
May 25, 1999 - 05:04 pm
I don't believe that there were that many CO's that they would be missed if they refused to serve. Maybe we haven't read to the point where the guy tells how he spent the whole war in jail because he refused to serve. And, his father didn't agree with him but agreed with his right to refuse. Does that right exist?

I was looking for the PBS program on Rosie the Riveter that I saw many years ago and came up with an interesting site named"What Did You Do In the War,Grandma?" Its worth a peek, people. Here's the clickableWhat Did You Do In The War, Grandma?

This is an oral history of Long Island women brought to us by a Brown University student project.

Caspar
May 25, 1999 - 05:49 pm
I clicked on that article and "hey" that was very interesting. Thanks Ann for telling us about that.

robert b. iadeluca
May 25, 1999 - 06:41 pm
Good to have you with us, Scriptor. Am I correct that you saw a "redeeming white" part of World War II? And, if so, what was it?

Ella: My memory tells me that WWII was, indeed, accepted by most of the people and that there was a "popular uprising" in response to our being attacked. As to your question about religion, all of us as we entered the service were asked our religion - not "did we have one" but "what was it." Our dogtags were then imprinted with P or H or C. Those fellows who weren't sure usually said "Protestant." The purpose was to be able to call the "proper" Chaplain if we suddenly had the need. In actuality, such an action was usually not possible during combat and if it appeared someone was dead or was dying, any Chaplain was called (if available.) All Chaplains were trained to be able to deal with men of all persuasions and, if I am correct, were authorized to give final rites in the name of any religion.

4-F, if I am correct (I am not an authority here), meant "not fit for active duty" for various reasons. It could be physical or mental. There were sub-divisions of this but I don't know what they were.

I don't remember anyone being refused for reasons of homosexuality. In fact, I don't remember the topic even being discussed. Everyone was in the closet in those days. As basic training progressed, we got to know (or suspect) who was homosexual but it only seemed to make a difference during training, and then to the "macho" guys. As soon as we entered combat, it became a non-issue.

Robby

Britta
May 25, 1999 - 07:00 pm
In reference to the C.O. issue, I don't have any recollection of this during the Second WW in Germany, but now, since there still is a draft in Germany, the young men have a choice to either go into the military or serve in a Social Service position. Both sons of my cousins chose the Social Service and absolved their commitment in nursing homes, hospitals and guides for handicapped people. The duration was 6 months longer than in the military, but they received the same pay and lived in government housing. Did this exist in the US during WW2? I wish it did exist here now. There's a definite need for helping hands in this field .

Scriptor
May 25, 1999 - 09:12 pm
Joan: Thought I had replied to your name inquiry, but can't find it so will refile. Not a writer. In high school each student in Latin class had to use a Roman name. The Magistra (teacher) had a list from which I selected "Scriptor" which with fond class memories I now use on the web.

Ann Alden
May 26, 1999 - 05:40 am
In reading the clickable that I put up, I found a lady pacifist which was quite interesting. She just knew from when she was a child that she didn't approve of was and joined an organization relating to this belief. She does, however, think that WWII was a necessary war.

Ella Gibbons
May 26, 1999 - 07:12 am
Joan, yes, I understand the purpose of the questions, I am still shocked that the government would ask such bald questions as "Do you believe in God?" Perhaps because for the last several decades we, as a nation, have been trying to keep church and state separate, and rightly so. As a melting pot of races and religions it is the only way we can succeed as a nation. As a reminder of what happens when we do not, look at Yugoslavia today.

It would have been better had the questionnaire just asked "On what grounds are you objecting to serve in the military?"

LONEX Are the forms you have had to fill out government forms or institutional forms of some kind? I remember years ago questions were asked such as "Are you Protestant, Catholic or Other? Are you Caucasion or Other" (usually a line after Other), but I thought those were successfully eradicated from most forms, and if the ACLU knew about them, they would have been. From my work at Ohio State University we were very careful about forms for students in relationship to religion and race.

From our puritan background, however, some references to religion linger - Presidents and juries (I think) still rest their hand on the Bible when swearing in, and in the pledge of allegiance we still say "one nation, under God"

robert b. iadeluca
May 26, 1999 - 07:24 am
As we talk about World War II, it is important, I believe, that we keep reminding ourselves of the private, innocent lives we had then and even for a short time after the war. For thirteen years (1950-63) I was a career Scout Executive with the Boy Scouts of America forming Scout troops and recruiting, training, and inspiring Scoutmasters and other volunteers. On the application forms for the adult Scouters (and I believe the Scouts, too, if memory serves correctly) there was a line where one designated one's religion. A Scoutmaster who didn't believe in God was not considered a fit man to lead boys. And remember that the 12th point of the Scout Law says: "A Scout is reverent." There was no doubt what reverent meant; it was spelled out. Nowadays we see what problems the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America is having in allowing boys who are trying to determine their own sexuality into troops.

World War II was, in my opinion, the dividing line and those of us in our generation have lived in two different times. We now question what was taken for granted in 1935.

Roby

Ella Gibbons
May 26, 1999 - 07:39 am
Robby, yes, you are so correct and insightful in stating that we question all the values we once took for granted.

Is this right or wrong? Should/can we go back to those former values?

We are struggling and floundering around in the waters - e.g. the policy of "Don't ask/don't tell" of gays in the military.

robert b. iadeluca
May 26, 1999 - 08:16 am
Ella: I guess I'm going to sound a bit philosophical here but "struggling and floundering" is the story of life. It will ever be so. But it is in floundering that we learn to swim. The only people who never make mistakes are the people who never do anything. And so is it wrong to question our values? I don't believe so. I can only speak for myself but I tend to question everything. This is a form of self-monitoring. After questionning I usually decide that I am doing the right thing 90% of the time. But I would not have realized the 10% if I had not stopped to question. And so society also questions itself - and that is good.

I believe (I told you I would be getting philosophical!) that we, as a society, are better now than before World War II. We learned the value of freedom through going through bitter times. Witness the subsequent civil rights movement, the feminist movement, homosexuals coming out of the closet - all in the name of freedom. I related in an earlier posting the experience of thousands of silent crying soldiers passing below the Statue of Liberty.

Don't get me started, Ella, I'm supposed to be the Discussion Leader!

Robby

Britta
May 26, 1999 - 09:18 am
Freedom. Is there such a thing as too much freedom? I am thinking about the youth of today, who are growing up without restrictions from home or society. Isn't there a golden middle ground somewhere? Parents are told that to punish a child is wrong and children can sue their parents. Teenagers often come across as defiant. What happened to respect for their elders or each other, for that matter? Or are the elders not worth respecting any more? I raised three children, now in their thirties and forties, and all became successful, likeable citizens, but I was home for them and did set restrictions to their "freedom" until I deemed them mature enough to make their own decisions. I know I am swimming against the stream here, but I think Freedom has become a catch-all absolution for the permissiveness in America. I don't know if a reversal of values is possible. I have never seen it happen as long as civilization exists. "You can't go home again" is the philosophy behind it, I guess. Can you imagine the Beaver with a computer on the Internet? Nah.

robert b. iadeluca
May 26, 1999 - 09:35 am
Britta: You bring up an excellent point. We must separate the term, freedom, from what used to be called license. We don't hear that term much anymore, its meaning being excessive or undue liberty. It is still used in artistic circles, eg poetic license, meaning to stray from the ordinarily expected structure. Straying in a poem is one thing but in societal actions, as you emphasize, it can lead to permissiveness. It is the root of the word "licentious" meaning unrestrained.

So again we, as a society, have that "struggling and floundering" that Ella mentioned - struggling to hold the moderation between complete permissiveness and the uttler lack of freedom that Hitler would have given us. We fought him for the right to do anything we want and now must fight ourselves to keep from doing anything we want.

Democracy -- isn't it wonderful!

Robby

Lonex
May 26, 1999 - 09:46 am
Ella - I enrolled for a few classes at LSU in '62-'63 and wrote 'Protestant' in the blank for religion; the registrar asked for a specific religion. I told her I did not belong to a church. She noticed that my husband was in service and said that the Chaplain on Post was Baptist; then she scratched out Protestant and wrote 'Baptist'.

As an 'old' college student, in the late 60's, I applied for work as a Substitute Teacher in the El Paso ISD. The application asked specifically if the applicant believed in a "Supreme/Supernatural? Being". I knew they had no right to ask and did not respond to it (just assumed the applications were leftover from another era). They didn't put me on the list and I was never called.

Lonex
May 26, 1999 - 10:05 am
Britta - My four children were aged 1-yr through 11-yrs when I started the 9-5 routine (college/work). They also turned into successful, likeable citizens and have 6 Degrees among the four of them. I have no idea how that happened, but figure it's one of those things I'm supposed to point out to save working mothers from feeling guilty about not being home with their kids. I don't think we can ever return to stay-at-home-moms as a solution to kid problems. It's time to look for other answers.

robert b. iadeluca
May 26, 1999 - 10:26 am
A trivia question related to World War II - what is the meaning of SWAK?

Robby

Jaywalker
May 26, 1999 - 10:30 am
ROBBY - I know! I know! waving my hand wildly in the air... SWAK is what was printed on the flap of envelopes sent to and from servicemen and women -- Stands for Sealed With A Kiss!!!

Now here's another one: What do the letters SNAFU stand for???

robert b. iadeluca
May 26, 1999 - 10:46 am
Jaywalker: Of course I know that one - both the original military version and the cleaned up one. But I'll leave it to someone else to answer.

Robby

Jaywalker
May 26, 1999 - 10:48 am
Good, Robby!

FOLEY
May 26, 1999 - 11:44 am
My dear father who had fought in the trenches in WWI for four years explained to me, a very new Wren, (British Navy), what it meant. I told him the Americans were using the expression. It's - situation normal, all fouled up. It wasn't until years later that my own American husband filled me on the correct term. But I think it's good whichever way. Wasn't GI once "government issue."?

Britta
May 26, 1999 - 02:07 pm
Lonex, I didn't mean to imply that children of working mothers are less successful or likeable than the ones from stay at home moms. My daughter is a very successful professional woman with two boys, and they do seem fine, but they have Dad working from home. I just lived in another time and place (mostly overseas). I'm in awe of the mothers of today, who manage to have a career and run a household and raise children and make a husband happy, all at the same time. I know you are one of them and I admire you. I don't know if I would have been as versatile. But I did raise my daughter to be more independent than me, at least I saw what the changing world demanded of women. Sorry, Robby, I can't think of a way to tie that in with the book.

Ella Gibbons
May 26, 1999 - 02:51 pm
Oh, trivia questions - fun, Robby, to be less serious once inawhile.

Lonex - I am surprised, but you are still talking 60's. Today I doubt if you see a religion question on any form that gets government money of any kind whatsoever. I hope not.

Off the subject again (I hope Joan isn't lurking around,hahaha), but I had mixed feelings about the ACLU, until I heard a speaker expound on the work of the organization for a couple of hours once, and in the audience were several Jewish people. They put him through the wringer on several instances of what seemed to them unfair practices, but at the end they were convinced that we do need freedom of religion - ALL RELIGIONS and equal rights for each, even though it means giving the KKK a special permit to march through a Jewish neighborhood - do you remember that taking place? I believe it was in Chicago.

Robby - you never commented on the psychological process of asking/demanding that victims of disaster "pour out their feelings" to a counselor. Is it a good practice? Can you distinguish whether it is or not in talking to an individual? We can say we are back on the subject again as the article I read did comment about this practice beginning with WWII soldiers.

Lonex
May 26, 1999 - 03:34 pm
BRITTA - Your Post #491 discussed too many freedoms and the disrespectful nature of today's children; then you noted that your youngsters turned out well, but you had stayed home with them. Sorry if I made the erroneous assumption that you felt this generation needs mom at home. Also, I ruled the realm; no husband since '65.

ELLA - My post #480 stated that I'd had to fill in applications through the 70's that acknowledged a religious preference or belief in God. That referred to part of the discussion on Conscientiuous Objectors; someone asked/mentioned whether they had to affirm a belief in God. The specific applications I recalled were in the sixties; there were a number of others, in the seventies, as I changed jobs a number of times to correspond with my class schedules. Sometimes worked days/class at night; sometimes worked alternate days, etc,

Robby - sorry I disrupted the War; didn't mean to start a quibble. I wont do it again.

robert b. iadeluca
May 26, 1999 - 05:01 pm
Ella: Yes, we had psychologists in the Service and they encouraged the service men to pour out their feelings. Best I could see, however, they listened to the comments and then did their best to get the guy back into active duty. One exception was what they called "Section 8" discharge These were fellows like the guy in MASH who ran around wearing women's clothing. They were always trying to get a Section 8 but it hardly ever worked.

Robby

FOLEY
May 26, 1999 - 05:35 pm
Robby - sometimes the above mentioned doctors get in trouble themselves. When I was stationed on the Firth of Clyde during the war, there was a small U.S. Navy hospital up the road from us. The naval doctors lived in a requisitioned rural hotel and Quonset huts were built on the grounds for the corpsmen and patients. I was ironing one afternoon and looked out of the window,(we faced the water and a jetty) and saw a man standing on the beach. I thought he was going to take a swim in the oily waters (lots of ships anchored out there). But it was too cold for swimming. then he began to strip down to his undershorts. Oh, dear I said he looks like Dr. so and so, the psychologist. I ran to the phone and called the hospital, and finally persuaded them I wasnt fooling. Soon a trio of brawny sailors appeared. By this time the man was swimming in the direction of the nearest merchant ship. They borrowed our rowboat and managed to haul him in and bring him back to shore. Poor man had been so desolate at being away from his wife and new baby that he had flipped his wig, so to speak, and was trying to reach a ship and stowaway. He was sent back to the States and hope all was well. Perhaps he was "putting it on" but I doubt it.

robert b. iadeluca
May 26, 1999 - 05:44 pm
Just shows that Psychologists are human, doesn't it? You realize that as I do my postings, I only present the wonderful side of me!

Robby

Ginny
May 27, 1999 - 05:54 am
I was really struck in this section by the diversity of voices and how each one had a different perspective. I like the way Terkel put them in order in the book: the juxtaposition of these particular voices seems to me to be particularly striking.

The Conscientious Objector here, tho, John H. Abbott, doesn't seem to me to actually fit the mold of a CO, or at least what I thought a CO was? Perhaps my ideas of CO's were formed in the Vietnam War.

Instead, he seems to me to be an Objector to any kind of Authority at all? Doesn't matter what? And I do note he's the son of a physician which often times leads to disaster in children, never understood why exactly. Why is that? Have seen that in many families?

Anyway, he's objecting to everything and as he rightly points out, in THAT era, when people were singing in the streets and passing out cookies, it wasn't the thing to do.

Terkel portrays him as a genial John Brown, or Ancient Mariner but doesn't say WHAT his occupation, if any, is when the book was written? Welfare? I'd like to know that, if he received government assistance after a career of bucking authority. Just for my own curiosity.

I found the Warden's attitude toward the CO's interesting? In Texas on page 171. He said that his own son was fighting the Japanese and if one hair of his head was touched "he was gonna see that we paid for it."

I find to my shock that there seem to be two standards: the intellectual ones and the emotional ones? For instance, there's lately been quite a bit of talk here anyway about what if they reinstitute the Draft. As the mother of one still eligible son, I find myself thinking that Clinton should be the last person on earth to order up a Draft, and if he did, I myself might be out there protesting and this shocks me. A lot.

I think we may have come a long way since the 1940s, and I also think that in this country we have swung back to the very kind of patriotism we had prior to WWII. The media now have the power to whip up or use information in ways that didn't exist then. I don't think this man objected conscientiously at all, he objected to everything. I would really like to know how he made his living when the book was written.

Ginny

Ann Alden
May 27, 1999 - 06:23 am
Ella

I don't think that the KKK is a religion or that they had any right to be marching in a Jewish neighborhood. And when they did, they were given the license not the freedom. I do remember that time and also remember being angry about it.

Ginny,

I had a similar reaction to that CO? in Terkel's book. To object to war as a pacifist is quite different from objecting to everything else that you don't approve of. I think that the Friends members are always against war and that is part of their religion but its hard for me to believe that this guy even had a religion. Probably objected to organized religion,from what I can glean from the written word here. If I had a son now, he would not be drafted for this Kosuvo debacle! I would buy him a ticket to some place peaceful(if there is such a place). I did not want my sons in the Vietnam mess either! Bad decisions, both wars!

robert b. iadeluca
May 27, 1999 - 06:23 am
Ginny:

Your posting was most analytic and I have a number of reactions to your thoughts but will wait (as a good Discussion Leader should!) to hear from others who I am sure will enter with their own ideas regarding Conscientious Objectors.

Robby

Theresa
May 27, 1999 - 06:53 am
Regarding Conscientious Objectors--we had occasion to meet and talk with several of them a few years ago and they said that after WWII some in their group (Friends) went to France and helped the farmers remove the unexploded shells from their fields. Now, to me, that is a true CO. They refused to fight, but not to serve.

robert b. iadeluca
May 27, 1999 - 07:41 am
Theresa:

Good to hear from you again! You are right - those are true Conscientious Objectors, aren't they? They could very well have been killed as they removed the shells. How did you happen to meet them?

Robby

Ella Gibbons
May 27, 1999 - 07:45 am
Ginny and Ann both expressed my feelings somewhat about John Abbott; however, he makes a point occasionally. He says "After the Vietnam War, people are a lot more sympathetic to noncompliance. They've mellowed. They really saw what war was like in Vetnam....it didn't make any sense. To me, neither did WWI or WWII or any other war."

Many of us feel that being in Yugoslavkia is not making sense either and we would not permit sons to register for the draft. However, Milosevic has been compared to Hitler and we didn't stop him in time to save lives; many in Congress believe we must stop Milosevic before all of Europe catches on fire. I listened to some of the debate on C-Span on a bill to cut off funds for Kosovo by October 1st. It was enlightening in that the same arguments we hear around us were echoed there.

Ann - on what grounds would you deny the KKK a permit to march peacefully? I'm interested because I listened to that debate and the ACLU won me over.

Joan Pearson
May 27, 1999 - 09:54 am
Ella, I was interested in your statement, "we would not permit our sons to register for the draft"...

Would you expand on that? John Abbott was a college student when war broke out. Had he decided to rush into service, could you have said, "I won't permit that?" If all boys were called to report to the draft board, would you have said, "I won't permit that?"

Ann would have financed a trip across our borders, rather than have her son go to war. Would he have gone if she demanded he leave the country? I think we are thinking Vietnam now, and not understanding the World War II mentality. Young men were trying to enlist, even when they were underage. There was a surge of patriotism that did not comprehend the conscientious objectors... except perhaps for the pacifist religious groups...

Were there many objectors like John Abbott? What was the law regarding his form of pacifism? We read here of one train car full, treated with disgust as "yellow"? It seems that the draft board did not have a clear plan for those like John Abbott - you were either objecting for religious principles, or you were jailed as a threat to the war effort. Am I right? Robby? Did you know of CO's like him?

So, what is the situation today. The draft is not in force, but all high school boys, once they turn 18, receive the draft form in the mail, and must fill it out and return it to the draft board in case of National emergency. Mine all did. I shivered, but it's the law. Ella??? Would you not permit it? I think that was a registration for the draft.

So what happens? If there's an emergency, the draft is reinstituted? After all this time, you do expect that the forms would look different than they did prior to WWII. I would love to know how the law reads regarding Conscientious Objectors. Do you think it is the same? Religious principles, only? How can we find out?

What if a draft becomes necessary? How do you think CO's should be handled? You seem to be saying not on religious principles...then what? The draftee simply says "I'm a pacifist, and I'm not going to serve"??? What happens to those who refuse to report to the draft board? Anything? Prison? What?

I came in here to prepare for Book II, but perhaps we should continue this chapter, Reflections on Machismo for a few more days. There are still some important issues to discuss.

Why did Studs put these three in this chapter under "Reflections on Machismo"? Do I understand you to be saying that they all three had second thoughts about fighting wars upon 'reflection' after the war?

And what was the thinking behind the second atomic bombing - of Nagasaki? Did anyone question this at the time...? Was it necessary? Was there a public outcry?

Ginny, I'll agree, the press holds frightening power over the public...just as it did during WWII. Everything is "spin"...which is why I like my news from CNN - straight-up reporting - unlike the mainstream press...

robert b. iadeluca
May 27, 1999 - 10:17 am
I didn't know any Conscientious Objectors personally but I knew the public's attitude. As I recall the law (I could be wrong), there was only one solid reason for being a C.O. and that was on the basis of religion. And even that was looked at askance by many in society, especially if one had a relative in the Service. The Quakers (Friends) had a good reputation and that was generally accepted by the public but the Friends took their vows seriously. If they didn't enlist, they were active in other ways, eg their helping those Japanese-Americans who were interned. We all read about this in Terkel's book.

I think with you, Joan, that we should hold off a bit on getting to Book II. We are on a sensitive subject at the moment and there are others who I am sure want to give their views.

Robby

Theresa
May 27, 1999 - 10:41 am
Robby--we met the C.O. couple in a strange situation. During the Gulf War our little church had a group that wanted to designate our parish as a haven for deserters. We were enraged and walked out of Mass one Sunday. Tom and I both have sons in the military and I had a nephew who was a F-4 pilot in Saudi...The priest called us and invited us to a group discussion at a "peace center". We accepted the invitation and were so upset about we left about half way through. The straw that broke the camels back was when a local psychologist said that all Sadam needed was to be understood and that it could be accomplished by setting up an intervention......I suggested that she be the one that lead the trip and we left!

The couple who run the peace center were delightful. We had a great conversation with them at lunch time and were so impressed with their attitude and their true commitment to non-violence.

robert b. iadeluca
May 27, 1999 - 11:11 am
Theresa: Even some psychologists need professional help!

Robby

Joan Pearson
May 27, 1999 - 11:22 am
Theresa, am I remembering correctly...was it you who had three brothers who went off to World War II... I can see those boys coming home, one at a time, your mother watching them from the kitchen window as they made their way home up the country path. I'm getting teary writing this, feeling (a little) what your mother must have felt as they each came home...

If this was your story, I do remember your saying wistfully, that things were never quite the same after that! It seems that WWII changed a lot of things for everyone - there is no going back to the way it used to be, is there?

Somehow, I can't imagine the draft getting reinstated without massive resistance - and not for religious principles this time... What do you think?

Ginny
May 28, 1999 - 06:00 am
For some reason I'm suddenly paying close attention to the occupations of the people interviewed. Is John Abbott the only CO interviewed in the book thus far?

Was it a rule for the CO's to have to do service? I had thought that if they were CO's they weren't thrown in prison (was that only WWII?) but were put to work doing service jobs. Was it Theresa who mentioned service?? Of course you'd have to be sure whatever they did could not harm the war effort.

I also thought religion was the only excuse: remember Cassius Clay? He's certianly a hero now. Has the country changed that much?

This next section has some amazing, and I think, untrue facts by some very highly placed people. It will be interesting to compare their thoughts to the preceeding ones.

Some people just object, period. Justice Douglas dissents. Sometimes it's the only way they can be different. Maybe they should be called "Objectors," not Conscientious Objectors.

Ginny

Ann Alden
May 28, 1999 - 07:01 am
Joan,

I didn't mean that I would not have my sons enlist during WWII because I do think it was a just war but I would have sent them somewhere else when it comes to Vietnam and Kosuvo. Neither is justifiable to me.

Ella

To me, peaceful or not, we must think of the Jewish people in that neighborhood. It was slap in the face to them. And, again, the KKK is not a religion. Well, at least, they say they are not. The things that they pulled in the Georgia when we lived there made me wonder. They are still trying to rid the world of people that they Hate. The Jews, Catholics and other races. Especially the blacks! There was a shop dedicated to the KKK right in our town and it was awful! Their newspapers were put out for everyone to read, right on the sidewalk. They were pretty hatefilled. Shocked those of us from other states where that sort of thing isn't occuring. No,peaceful or not, I would not have let them march. In my opinion, common sense and empathy for the Jews in that neighborhood should have been used in that decision. What about their rights?

robert b. iadeluca
May 28, 1999 - 10:27 am
Ann: I know I'm going to have people disagree with me but so long as they are peaceful, I would let the KKKs march. In fact, it's not a case of my "letting" them; they have this right. The Constitution gives them the right to "peaceably" assemble. I hate everything they stand for but if I began to give rights to only those with whom I agree, I am falling into their trap. As ridiculous as it may sound, I fought in World War II for the rights of KKKs (and others). The Constitution doesn't talk about "common sense" and "empathy;" it talks about rights for anyone who does not advocate violently overthrowing the government. I know this topic sounds as if we are off the subject of World War II but I don't think so.

Robby

Britta
May 28, 1999 - 11:26 am
Robby, you're going to have to explain something to me, please. We live in a very beautiful area in the mountains of North Carolina and love it here since 15 years. However (and isn't there always a caveat?) we do have some evidence of the KKK here and every so often, they march. They are despicable people in my opinion. So are the Neo Nazis. Do they even have the slightest idea what they are aspiring to? Then there are the people who flaunt their confederate flags and separationist views. It makes me ill, to see all these fanatics trying to influence and intimidate people, and unfortunately with a measure of success. Why was communism forbidden then, if all these radicals are protected by the constitution in this day and age? I'm afraid this is the outgrowth of too much freedom I lamented in an earlier post. Is EVERYTHING allowed in America? You said peaceful assembly, well, screaming, shouting and openly displaying defiance is not peaceful in my opinion. I love this country, believe me, but sometimes I get very frustrated with it's way of life.

GailG
May 28, 1999 - 11:44 am
Forgive me for going astray here as I am not even a participant in this forum. But you have been addressing an issue we have also been talking about in the "Liberals Only" folder, i.e., the "rights" of those with whom we disagree. While the Constitution may have only specified "overthrow of the government",other conditions didn't exist at that time, therefore the frame of reference was very limited. Many interpretations have been given to various ideas expressed in the Constitution and new precedents have been set. How does, for example, the 14th Amendent stack up against the "rights" of those who would continue the evils of slavery, albeit in "legal" forms...lynchings, murders, burning of entire Negro communities. Sure, the KKK and the Nazi-oriented skinhead groups have a right to assemble peacefully. But when their ultimate aim is to provoke racial hatred and actual violence, could this be interpreted as at least "undermining" the government, and don't the citizens at whom this is aimed have a "right" to protest and not permit them to march through their neighborhood, peacefully or otherwise?

Robby: We entered WW II to support our allies who were under severe attack by forces who were trampling on the rights of other countries, as well as their own citizens. I don't think there was ever a time when you were engaged in that conflict that you thought "I am here fighting for the right of the KKK to exist". While that may be an element under the broad heading of "fighting for freedom", if any GI had been asked, while the war was still being waged, why he was there, would that have been part of his answer?

Theresa
May 28, 1999 - 11:48 am
Gail--if I recall corrctly, the reason we got into WWII was that we were attacked by Japan.

Joan, yes I am the one. You have a very good memory. Both Tom and I are oh so proud of our sons for having joined the military! Our son, John, has just recently retired as a Chief in the Navy and Steve is a Captain in the Army--stationed at the pentagon (or more commonly known as the "puzzle palace". When a country needs protecting I can't think of two more qualified young men to take part in it. Our family has always been pro-military. My dad was in WWI in France and all 4 of his sons (my brothers) were in the military..two of them made careers of it. I wasn't at all worried about them when they joined.........just wrote lots of letters and met the ship every chance we could....and last summer went to Waukegon to see the retirement ceremony!

GailG
May 28, 1999 - 11:54 am
And may I add, if we were fighting for freedom, why did it take us so long to enter the war?

Eileen Megan
May 28, 1999 - 02:01 pm
This discussion of COs reminded me of the popular actor Lew Ayres who was a CO at the time - here's a write up I found : ". . . it was the role of Paul Baumer in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) that was his big break. He was profoundly affected by the anti-war message of that film, and when, in 1942, the popular star of Young Dr.Kildare (1938) and subsequent Dr. Kildare films was drafted, he was a conscientous objector. America was outraged, and theaters vowed never to show his films again, but quietly he achieved the Medical Corps status he had requested, serving as a medic under fire in the South Pacific and as a chaplain's aid in New Guinea and the Phillipines."

Eileen Megan

GERT
May 28, 1999 - 02:59 pm
With Memorial Day coming up Monday, wouldn't it be special to just remember all the boys that died in all the wars, hang our flags out with pride, and say a prayer for them!

Joan Pearson
May 28, 1999 - 03:52 pm
Girt, a lovely idea! I was just thinking of the meaning of Memorial Day. When I was a kid, there was always a parade...people (Vets?) were selling poppies to wear that day...and the date was May 30. Which is my birthday. I used to sit on my fence, wearing the colors, wearing my poppy...(or was it a carnation?), waving my flag at the parade, thinking it was all for me. One day, my father told me the reason for all the brouhaha that day.

I think we should all do as you say, Girt! But my flag will be out on Sunday AND Monday!!!

ps. You just became a member of this forum, Gail!!! WELCOME!!!

Britta
May 28, 1999 - 04:41 pm
-------- and many moooore !!!

We will hoist the flag in your honor - and all the other memorable warriors of life.

Love, Britta

GailG
May 28, 1999 - 05:14 pm
Joan: Thanks for the welcome.

Theresa: Of course, you are right about Japan. That was a whole different war....we were under attack, and our freedoms were being threatened. We were really engaged in two wars, on two fronts in two different parts of the world and I think the reasons for our involvement were different in each case. This is not meant to denigrate the role of our soldiers in the European theater. To the contrary, I honor them all and will certainly fly my flag proudly on Memorial Day.

robert b. iadeluca
May 28, 1999 - 07:11 pm
I just came home from a late appointment and now at 9:55 p.m. my time I find passionate postings all over the place! What's the matter with you folks - can't you go to one of the other forums with lighter topics and just swap a "hi" and a "how are you?" Well, OK, let's go.

Britta: "Despicable people" are entitled to be that way. That's the wonder of this great nation that our founders created. We can argue with them or walk away from them but we can't in a republic (we are not a democracy) jail them, or torture them, or kill them. They have the Constitutional right to "flaunt their views." You and I might hate the very look of their face but that paper under glass in Washington, DC says they can spout any view they wish so long as they don't advocate violent overthrow of the government. The key word is "violent." All of us every four years or less take action to overthrow the government but not in a violent way.

You asked why Communism was forbidden. To my knowledge, it never was. There were lots of riots in the streets between those who advocated it and those who didn't but "The Daily Worker" was regularly published in NYC and was protected by the First Amendment. As to your comment about "too much freedom," I participate in so many forums that I lose track of where I said something but I remember commenting somewhere about "freedom" vs "license" which is an excess of freedom. And even that is protected - witness the "adult stores" in various cities which are closed and then open again.

Gail: Lynching, murder, burning and those other items you mentioned are definitely violent and there we have illegality. As to undermining the government, here again the key word is "violent." If someone engages in Clinton bashing, he is trying to undermine the government. Only when he tries to scale the fence at the White House is he arrested. Marching is non-violent. We may protest but we may not prohibit.

Of course I didn't have thoughts like these when I was in a foxhole - that was survival time. But back in the quiet of the States, I know that this is why I was over there. In an earlier posting I related the reaction of the soldiers as they passed under the Statue of Liberty while arriving home. They weren't just glad to be "home" in the sense of house and loved ones. They were glad to be arriving at the "home" that Lady Liberty was symbolizing.

Gert and Joan: Here in the small town where I live Poppies are still sold. This morning the VFW was out in force selling them. And every holiday I put out my flag. Incidentally, it is the flag that was draped over the coffin of my father who was a totally disabled World War I veteran.

Finally, keep in mind folks, I am the person who does not like to read long postings!

Robby

Ann Alden
May 29, 1999 - 05:39 am
I still feel the way I do about the KKK and still feel that the Jewish citizens in Chicago had and have rights also. But, I do have that freedom of thought also and must say thank you to all of the VETS of all wars. Because of you, we live in a wonderful safe country.

I remember Lew Ayres and reading about his being a CO but still serving in the medical corps. He was a very brave person and so were all the CO's who served in the same capacity. No weapon except their own compassion.

Happy Memorial Day to All of You

And Happy Birthday, Joan!!!! Now we have more than one reason to display our flag!

Joan Pearson
May 29, 1999 - 05:43 am


Thanks Ann & Britta!. I'll remember that tomorrow especially!

Robby, we love to read your posts, no matter the length! Will put out our giant flag today and think of you - and your dad as I do so!

I have suddenly become aware of so many references to WWII...were they always so... ubiquitous?

This is a review of an upcoming Masterpiece theatre production which deals with children who remember war-time bombing...
A Child's View of World War II

Ella Gibbons
May 29, 1999 - 07:39 am
Robby - you have one supporter here in your views of freedom and the Constitution, which, whether we like it or not, gives ALL the freedom of speech and assembly. As you said, WHO decides those that may march and those that may speak?

The only time my speech gets violent at the government is at tax time with those onerous forms. Doesn't everybody?

Ann - wish you were with me at that seminar where the Jewish folk argued with the executive of the ACLU. I thought as you did prior to that - how dare the KKK march through Skokie, Illinois, a Jewish neighborhood, but was convinced otherwise after the debate. I think most were and at times we may not agree with the ACLU, but truly we should be thankful that such an organization exists to protect the constitution. You and I will have to discuss it next time over expresso and a danish, huh?

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOAN!

P.S. I have poppies blooming out in my flower garden - first year for them and they are magnificent, paper-thin like petals. But strangely enough, I don't remember any being sold at parades! Is that a tradition in some cities - for the poppies in Flanders Field?

Both my husband's and my father fought in WWI and I had an uncle who was shell-shocked (that's what they called it) and was an invalid afterwards until he died. Hell in the foxholes is what it was.

Scriptor
May 29, 1999 - 08:27 am
In our Memorial Day parade the oldest local veteran is honored by riding in the leading car. In my lifetime he (maybe some day she) has gone from the Civil War to Spanish-American War to World War I to WWII. (Hope WWII will have a long run). The oldest veteran in a local cemetery fought in the Revolutionary War and settled in Ohio.

robert b. iadeluca
May 29, 1999 - 08:37 am
Scriptor: In our community we also had the oldest veteran in the lead car. I don't remember any Civil War Veterans but we did have a Spanish-American war veteran ride for years. His children were in school with me. I was a trumpeter in the High School band and when we reached the cemetery it was my job to walk off into the woods and play Taps after the three volleys were fired.

Robby

Jaywalker
May 29, 1999 - 09:52 am
Memorial Day - or Decoration Day - is always May 31st (not 30th) but has in recent years come to be observed on the last Monday of May.

Scriptor
May 29, 1999 - 12:43 pm
Robby: When I was a kid (1930) I remember the Civil War veteran (over 80). He led the pararade many years. I didn't think anybody could ever be that old!

robert b. iadeluca
May 29, 1999 - 01:06 pm
Scriptor: I'm about your age so I guess there were Civil War veterans around but not in my community.

Robby

Britta
May 29, 1999 - 02:45 pm
We're off to Georgia for a few days. I'll catch up with you later. Love y'all, Britta

Joan Pearson
May 29, 1999 - 03:07 pm
Here's a real big Memorial Day production which I found while looking for something for Jaywalker. Jay, I mess up on a lot of dates, and my memory isn't what it has been, but there is one date in my life that I am certain of...and that is my birthdate, May 30 and that I grew up celebrating my birthday every year right on Memorial Day, Decoration Day, May 30!!!

Here's the colorful site I found for all of you concerning the history of Memorial Day:

May 30!

Thanks for your birthday wishes, you all!! I really got a kick out of it...and it's not even my birthday yet!!!!!!

Eileen Megan
May 29, 1999 - 03:25 pm
Today I happened to watch some of CSpan Book reviews.Several COs of WWII were recounting their experiences while imprisoned in Danbury. If it is of interest to anyone the book is "A Few Small Candles: War Resistors of WWII tell Their Story" by Larry Gara and Lenna May Gara.

You can go to Amazon.com and read the review of the book.

Eileen Megan

robert b. iadeluca
May 29, 1999 - 03:27 pm
Eileen: Thanks for letting us know about that. Such sharing is what is helping us all to see World War II from numerous perspectives.

Robby

Jaywalker
May 29, 1999 - 03:37 pm
Sorry, Joan Pearson - At least this year "the last Monday of May" falls on the 31st.

Don't forget to check in Spring Splendor for your birthday wishes tomorrow!

GERT
May 30, 1999 - 05:45 am
We have poppies given out by the Veterans every year here in New York, and just about everyone that passes takes one to wear. As I had written in previous posts, my father was in France during WW1 and I lost my cousin (20 years old) in WW11. Robby, even when you mentioned that you played taps, I felt a chill. I hope you have better turn-outs for your parades. For some reason, in the little town where I live, the crowds just seem to decrease each year. Of course, in New York City, they have quite a large one. It is so beautiful to read about your thoughts on Memorial Day, and a better-late-than never Happy Birthday, Joan.

robert b. iadeluca
May 30, 1999 - 06:29 am
Gert: Yes, the crowds at the Memorial Day parades decrease (if, indeed, there is a Memorial Day parade.) I don't know why. Decrease in patriotism? A showing of patriotism in a different manner? An anger against war? A short memory on the part of older people? a lack of memory on the part of younger people? A desire to forget? As they say now - "whatever."

Robby

patwest
May 30, 1999 - 06:45 am
Our Memorial Day Celebration has been the same for the last 50 years. In our small town of 500 they honor the WWI and WWII and Korean and Vietnam veterans.. We still have a WWI vet, Lars Olson, who is 97 and will ride in the parade from the town square out to the cemetary on the hill, about 1/2 mile.

However, that will be the only car in the parade, made up of all the other veterans, cub scouts, boy scouts, 4-H, and girl scouts.. There will be about 50 in the parade with lots of flags..

When they get to the cemetary, there will be salute with guns by the American Legion.

A festive occasion for our small town.. By the way we don't do the National Day. We have our celebration on the real day, today, May 30th.

robert b. iadeluca
May 30, 1999 - 06:53 am
On this date 41 years ago two unknown American servicemen, one of World War II and one of Korean war, were placed in Arlington National Cemetery. President Eisenhower placed Medals of Honor on the flag-covered coffins. The original inscription stated "unknown soldier" but the name of the shrine was changed to "Tomb of the Unknowns." According to the New York Times of that date, 100,000 people gathered along the funeral route and at the amphitheater.

A saluting gun battery, positioned on the grounds of the Washington Monument, began firing volleys that resounded at one-minute intervals over the entire city. Twenty jet fighters and delta-winged fighter bombers flew overhead -- one plane symbolically missing from the lead formation. A carillon commenced playing "Nearer My God to Thee," and "Rock of Ages." An Army band sounded ruffles and flourishes. The Marine Band played the National Anthem.

Major General Ryan, chief of army chaplains, delivered the invocation. The Army choir sang "American, the Beautiful" with the audience joining in. Then came a twenty-one-gun salute, five seconds betweeen rounds. Three volleys were fired and the bugler sounded "Taps." The interment flags were then presented to the President.

41 years ago today.

Robby

GailG
May 30, 1999 - 10:08 am
Robby: Amid all the services and celebrations and memories of 41 years ago, and the years before and after, I would like to join all of us Senior Netters in a personal salute to you and all the veterans of all the wars since then. I fervently hope that there will be no more wars in the future to memorialize.

GERT
May 30, 1999 - 01:02 pm
The following was in our local newspaper and thought it may be of interest to you. "After the end of World War 1, th war to end all wars, it was decided to select one body of a United States serviceman-known but to God- and inter his remains in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier -at Arlington National Cemetery. A number of bodies, all without any means of identification, were picked up from the scattered battlefields of France and shipped to a French city where three of the bodies were set aside for the final selection. An officer was blindfolded and a rose thrown by him fell on one of the unknowns-now destined to be the national shrine for what the youth of America fought and died for-to make the world safe for Democracy. The man who prepared the body of the Unknown Soldier for shipment to this country in 1921 was a resident of the Rockaways. His name is Edward J. Devine" I imagine the origination of the idea of the Unknown Soldier has been variously ascribed, but at any rate it was quickly adopted by both allied nations. Has anyone heard any stories regarding this fact?? It would be interesting!

Scriptor
May 31, 1999 - 03:08 am
Really enjoyed the CNN Pentagon parking lot interviews of some of the thousands of motorcyclists cycling to the Vietnam Memorial in re MIA's inaction. With doctors, lawyers, etc. in cycle outfits from all over the country, the typecast for "two-wheelers" also may have improved or at least altered for the better.

GERT
May 31, 1999 - 05:17 am
Did anyone happen to catch the Memorial Day Concert from Washington, D.C. last night? It was the 10th annual concert, and quite moving. We had it on PBS here in New York, Channel 13.

Ann Alden
May 31, 1999 - 06:51 am
Gert, I meant to watch that concert but my husband was deep into the Winston Cup 600 and I forgot about it. Sorry to have missed it!

On CSPAN Book TV, today, there will be a repeat of the book review that someone here mentioned. It is titled "A Few Small Candles" by Larry & Lena Gara and will be on at 12:30pm. I watched author Greg Orfalia talk about his book on his father's battalion,"Messengers of the Lost Battalion", which is the story of the 551st Paratroopers. Very moving stories. He has researched this story for 14 years. I will be reading it if our library gets it.

Our Decoration Day or Memorial Day used to start with the 6am alarm ringing for my sons who were in the local high school band(different years, separated by 9yrs). The band went to the two or three small cemeteries in our small town and played a memorial salute to the Vets from here. It was very moving and their band director always made sure that the band members understood what had happened to these Vets and why we honored them. Since we just moved back to this town last year, I was wondering yesterday if that tradition has lived on since that band director is no longer at the school and attitudes have changed so much. My youngest boy's last attendance at that ceremony was 16 years ago, just before he graduated from high school. By the way, when he bacame 18 the previous December, he did register for the draft and was very proud of himself. He is a sincere patriot of the US. And, his brother served in the USAF earlier. As did his father. During the Korean conflict. My husband was a B-29 gunner who was preparing to ship out to Japan when the Korean conflict ended. He was then retrained to be an inflight refueling specialist. Over 30 years later, he was involved in the reinventing of an inflight refueling system for the armed services. So, with the wars, conflicts and being married to an aero engineer,I am very aware of our need to defend our country.

robert b. iadeluca
May 31, 1999 - 06:55 am
Ann: If there was ever a "patriotic" family, it's yours!

Robby

Joan Pearson
May 31, 1999 - 07:19 am
A day of heightened remembrance and thanks to all of you (and yours) who put lives on the line for all of us!

" War hasn't become bloodless, of course. People are suffering and dying in the one going on now, and Americans may too, in time. But for now this conflict is remote from the everyday lives of most in this country. The stresses and hardships of the Armed Forces and their families are borne by a small part of the population. The long absences at sea, the overworked flight and carrier crews and the troops living in tents in the Balkans are all distant concerns for the great majority in this country.

That division will be reflected to some extent in today's activities: speeches, wreath-layings and parades in some places, picnics, pool parties and Memorial Day sales in many more. This doesn't mean the country's war dead are in danger of being forgotten; their families and friends will remember them for a long time to come. What does seem to be fading is a common appreciation of the example they set -- some understanding, as we celebrate by the millions each year on these perfect 80-degree afternoons in late May, of how young men full of the promise of life resolved to face the possibility that they would never see another such day."
................................ M emorial Day (Washington Post Editorial page)

In the first chapter of Book II of The "Good War", both Admiral Gene Larscave and General William Buster, high ranking officers of World War II are decidedly against the concept of sending young men to war..."old men send young men to war"..."we kill them" What does this attitude say about U S involvement in any war? What did they learn, what can we learn of the gravity and horror of war on this Memorial Day?

Joan Pearson
May 31, 1999 - 07:32 am
Scriptor, living here in the Washington area, I can tell you that the most moving event of the entire weekend is the roar of Rolling Thunder", gaining in momentum each year. No dry eyes anywhere as you become engulfed in the sound of these Viet Nam War Vets, demanding to be recognized at long last!!!

robert b. iadeluca
May 31, 1999 - 08:00 am
Joan: It was most appropriate on Memorial Day that you bring into our forum on World War II the subject of Viet Nam vets. I clicked onto the "Rolling Thunder" and although I was not able to be at the parade (if that's what one calls it,) I saw the photo and read the article and tears came to my eyes as well. I am certainly in no position to speak on behalf of all World War II vets but I believe a significant number would agree when I say to the Viet Nam Vets:

1) We thank you when you also answered your nation's call. No veteran of any particular war is any more or less patriotic than the vet of another war.

2) We thank you for reminding us that, although we fought to help preserve democracy, our way of life is tenuous, cannot be taken for granted, and must be preserved vigilantly.

3) We remember that a preponderant number of Viet Nam vets were non-white and that they fought for rights which were (and are) constantly denied them at home.

4) We remember that although the political reasons for conducting the war were not always sound that this had no connection with the valour of our "boys and girls" who deserved to have the same rousing "Welcome home!" that we received.

5) We remember and continue to benefit from the GI Bill and other vet benefits and ask ourselves if the same benefits (on the same scale) are being offered Viet Nam vets.

The common term used by soldiers addressing each other in both World War I and World War II was "buddy." Here's to you, Buddy!

Robby

Theresa
May 31, 1999 - 08:26 am
We had the honor of meeting Jan Scruggs, who was the young G.I.who was the power behind the building of the wall. He is a great guy and told us the story of how he decided that a memorial had to be put up with all the names because he was afraid they would be forgotten. He wrote a book about the building of the wall. I bought one for my brother-in-law who was in the Special Forces in Viet Nam and had Jan sign it for him. He was pretty impressed and it has become one of his most prized possessions....

Ann Alden
May 31, 1999 - 09:27 am
My sister,Mary, whom some of you have met, is married to a Viet Nam vet. He still has nightmares about it as does his twin brother. They were both in the Marines, one on the ground and one in a helicopter. They never forget what they went through as loyal citizens of this country.

Marys son, Eric, has a picture of the WALL hanging in his room and this spring when he visited us, he said that is his favorite picture and when he was visiting the WALL, he just put his hand on it and the tears welled up in his heart and eyes. He is so proud of his father!! We just can't say enough to our veterans. They have been so faithful to this country.

Scriptor
May 31, 1999 - 04:36 pm
Joan: Though out-classed with by those costly H-D's, for my reaching 80 yr adventure, I may join a NW Ohio motorcycle group for the 2000 "Rolling Thunder" on Memorial day. Even Hondas can roar!

Ann: My youngest son had much the same difficulty adjusting when he returned from Viet Nam. Fortunately, he made a long-run adjustment.

Ann Alden
June 1, 1999 - 06:32 am
When we reach the women in this book, the PBS page, American Experience, has some really interesting interviews with the former Wasp's of WWII listed under Fly Girls.

robert b. iadeluca
June 1, 1999 - 06:36 am
Ann: The women are always present as we move through the book in one way or another. Comments by women either on their views of the war or their participation in the war are most welcome!

Robby

Joan Pearson
June 1, 1999 - 07:03 am
Ann, will you take it upon yourself to note the PBS article and then insert it here next week when we get back to the women of the war? Robby is right, we are interested in all comments from women of the war at all times...but let's save other sources such as the PBS pages until we reach a related book chapter, OK?

By the way, you expressed best for all of us our thanks to the Viet Nam Vets as well as all Vets yesterday, Robby! Thank you!!!

And Scriptor!, if you do ride into town with Rolling Thunder next year, you must let me know...I'll be there with my camera ready to roll!!!!!

So, after all the memories of those who lost their lives in wartime, what are your reactions to the first chapter of BOOK II???


Both Admiral Gene Larscave and General William Buster, high ranking officers of World War II are decidedly against the concept of sending young men to war..."old men send young men to war"..."we kill them" What does this attitude say about U S involvement in any war? What makes them feel this way? Both men re-upped, and served in Viet Nam after World War II....(I think...I know they stayed in the service...)

robert b. iadeluca
June 1, 1999 - 07:25 am
And, Joan, if I may pull out another comment by Admiral Larocque that struck me and I would be interested in reactions is:

"We are unique in the world, a nation of 30,000,000 war veterans. We're the only country in the world that's been fighting a war since 1940."

Robby

Pat Scott
June 1, 1999 - 10:21 am
Robby, I would love to know what the Admiral is referring to. Is he referring to only World War II or is he referring to all of the wars since World War II?

robert b. iadeluca
June 1, 1999 - 06:00 pm
Pat: In the book Admiral Larocque said: ""We're the only country in the world that's been fighting a war since 1940. Count the wars - Korea, Vietnam - count the years."

Robby

Ginny
June 2, 1999 - 04:48 am
I stopped over that statement, too. I thought some countries (altho he should know, but that was written in the 80's) but I thought some countries had been at it continuously. Why do I think of Afghanistan or Africa? Or am I just totally wrong??

Ginny

Ann Alden
June 2, 1999 - 05:38 am
How about Yugoslavia? It does seem that many of the worlds problems center on that area? Are we doomed to war forever? I think both of these men sounded bitter and maybe its because the attitude of most people who backed WWI and WWII thought that we would have no more wars after that. But, here we are, still warring!! I read the history of oil, The Prize by Daniel Boorstein, and was amazed that most of our problems centered around the availability of OIL which is what the world runs on. And, also, greed is definitely involved plus power! I can't imagine wanting to run the world. I would just like to make sense of my own life.

Joan, I already have Fly Girls bookmarked but this morning, I looked at The Good War chapters and realized that we had already covered the women earlier.

Joan Pearson
June 2, 1999 - 05:52 am
Ginny, I don't know either, but even if true, it seems that the fighting within those countries are internal batteles over boundaries...Quite different from our involvement in fighting for the democracy in other countries...and peacekeeping in countries beyond our borders isn't it?

Oh, Ann, everything in me wants to deny that greed is enough reason to risk lives!!!!!!!!!

I think that our officers are right...since World War II, we regard ourselves as peacekeepers of the world...and think we can achieve that peace with military force.

I think it is sobering to read about Admiral Larscave"s counsel to young men to stay at home, not join the navy. Both of these men of high rank seem embittered...and anti-war, don't they? What is the message here? What are they saying about our fighting the battles of the world? They seem to be saying that the lives of our young men are too high a price to pay for military policy enforced by old men. Are they recommending that we scale back our military involvement, a more isolationalist policy?

Please don't get the impression that I am downplaying the importance of our armed forces...in any way! I am however, questioning our "habit" of becoming involved in peacekeeping with military force! Here are some questions I'm sure someone can answer:

Why did we send that second A-Bomb to Nagasaki? How long after the bombing of Hiroshima? Did the Japanese still refuse to surrender after Hiroshima?

Why did the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor in the first place? Was it a declaration of war? Did they think we would then enter the war?

How closely allied to Hitler's Germany was Japan? Did Germany know - and approve of the bombing of Pearl Harbor? Did Germany actually want us to get involved? !!!!!!!

Ann, more stories from the women of WWII are coming...save the PBS pages, okay?

robert b. iadeluca
June 2, 1999 - 11:56 am
We in the United States are blessed because we don't (in this era anyway) have to try for more territory. We have a huge land, an ocean on two sides and friendly nations on two sides. Maybe when we have a population of 500,000 and our cities are huge and we have no more agricultural land, then we may look at Canada and Mexico differently. Then greed may come into the picture.

Admiral Larocque in the book says: "Our military runs our foreign policy. The State Department simply goes around and tidies up the messes the military makes. The State Department has become the lackey of the Pentagon. Before World War Two, this never happened. You had a War Department; you had a Navy Department. World War Two changed all this."

Robby

Joan Pearson
June 3, 1999 - 05:36 am
Have you ever wondered what goes on in the minds of high-ranking career officers? Here we have two of them telling us basically that "war is hell." Now for some reason, that surprises me. Do you think they are typical - or aberrations? If those in top command (the Pentagon?) are anti-war involvement, who makes the decision to commit to war? Politicians?

I read an article today, relating to China's possession of advanced military technology (and North Korea's, Iran's, Iraq's, India's, Pakistan's...")

"...the West no longer holds a monopoly on modern military power..."
"...the West's military superiority can no longer go unquestioned"
"...any outside country must think twice about moving forces there in a crisis - or for any political purpose that crosses their interests."

The Admiral and the General tell us that World War II taught us to regard ourselves as the peacekeepers of the world, that our military might ensures world democracy. What do you think of our role in the scheme of things today?

robert b. iadeluca
June 3, 1999 - 06:15 am
Joan: I think that people like Admiral Laroque are aberrations. The higher ranks are gung-ho people. That's why they made the military their career. I was in uniform from 1942-46 and I was a civilian psychologist with the Department of the Army from 1980-89. Practically all the civilians I worked with talked and acted like high ranking officers. They couldn't control their ego. Most of them had PhDs but when they were in meetings they talked like uniformed Colonels or Generals, not like peace loving civilians. They worked on research that in the end would help kill thousands of people but this didn't seem to enter their conscious mind or if it did, didn't bother them. Remember, the Pentagon consists of civilians as well as uniformed.

It's all ego. I have a higher rank than you. I have a higher federal grade than you. I met this morning with the Secretary of -----. I spoke before Congress yesterday. These are the people that Laroque says are, in effect, telling the State Department what to do. And people at the Pentagon just LOVE euphemisms - like "collateral damage" for killing civilians or "wasting" for killing. We have armed soldiers in various places overseas and we call them "peacekeepers." For those who have read Orwell's "1984." let me say that the era of "doublespeak" is now here.

I would hope that the participants in this forum would carefully read what Admiral Laroque is saying beginning on Page 189.

Robby

Ann Alden
June 3, 1999 - 06:22 am
JoanI think that one of the scientists that Studs interviewed says that the reason we sent the second bomb was "because it was there!" Now, I certainly hope that's not true but the more I read about this and other wars the more cynical I become. Seems as if we think we have a right to tell people how to live. Is this progress? Or is this the inevitable result of civilization trying to do the best that they can do or at least thinking that they are trying.

I saw a repeat of a Press Club on CSPN on Saturday, a talk by a general and Tom Clancy. The general said that the Vietnam War was run by the White House or Congress, not the generals and that's why we were unsuccessful in it.

Ginny
June 4, 1999 - 06:24 am
Well of course, it's very difficult to discuss what Admirals and Generals think because they have a different perspective even from those in the book which surround them: a counter voice, as it were. I really like this "oral history" stuff and I do think the way the author arranged it is VERY striking and makes several points.

I've gotten a letter in the mail about "counterfactual" trends and want to quote a little of it here as it's better than anything I could have written:

"Current buzzword is 'counterfactual.' As in, what would it have been like if history had been different, someone else had won a war, no 18th amendment, etc., etc. A book discussed on CSPAN this weekend -- is Niall Ferguson's "The Pity of War, a counterfactual about what was wrong with World War I. Not only did we not learn "everything we needed to know" in kindergarten, as that man Fulghum claims, but nearly everything we learned about world history and politics in school all the way through 12th grade has turned to to be entirely wrong, apparently, or in some cases, first wrong, then right, then wrong again (as with all the stuff about how wonderful it was to have the European nations "unified" in the 19th century, but then it was bad, and now it's good again)..."

Sometimes one wonders what IS the nature of "true" experience. It really seems that, to me, at least, Studs makes the point here that the individual's experience is just as important as the official overview.

I guess this is what makes the REAL study of History, as opposed to what we were "taught" in school, so fascinating, it's the combination of facts and experiences which make up the whole. It really does live, in contrast to what I, at least, was force fed in school.

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
June 4, 1999 - 07:07 am
Ginny: I see us as making "real history" in this forum. We were the "ordinary" people during World War II. We were not Kings, Presidents, Heads of States, Prime Ministers, Generals, etc. We were the people who were living the history and now we are archiving what we lived.

Today, by the way, is the anniversary of three events. On June 4th in 1940 the Allied military evacuation from Dunkirk, France, ended. Perhaps there might be some people in the Senior Net who remember or who was part of that. How about you folks from the U.K. or France?

Also, on June 4th in 1942 the Battle of Midway began. Any Pacific Theater of Operations veterans who would like to speak to that?

And finally, on June 4th in 1944 the U.S. Fifth Army entered Rome, beginning the liberation of the Italian capital. Perhaps some memories might come forth from that.

Robby

Scriptor
June 4, 1999 - 09:26 am
Ann: I'm in the middle of the above titled Clancey book. He sees the war in VietNam doomed from the start with political considerations prevailing over sound military operations i.e. instead of attacking Russian & Chinese MiG bases being constructed in North VietNam and the installation of SAM missile sites, Washington waited hoping not to enlarge the war! The General, Chuck Horner,(then a go-go Lt. fighter pilot who served two extensive tours flying from Thailand) contrasts the VietNam failure with the Desert Storm successful operations. I don't know yet what his position is, if any, on halting short of removing Saddam.

Scriptor
June 4, 1999 - 02:21 pm
Robby: What phases of the German occupation are you interested in? i.e. dependents' housing, school system, living costs; US Constabulary, Berlin blockage, crimes, relations with German government, etc. etc. etc. Not an expert and far from an authority but do have a lot of misc. info. Scriptor.

robert b. iadeluca
June 4, 1999 - 04:28 pm
Scriptor: Please help us to understand the difference between an Occupation Army and one in combat. After the Armistice in May, 1945, the 29th Infantry Division was taken out of the Ninth Army and I found myself under British General Montgomery as part of the Occupation Army in the Bremen enclave. I was only there for a short time, however, so you can fill us all in on exactly what an Occupation Army does.

Robby

Ann Alden
June 4, 1999 - 05:35 pm
Scriptor,

I am glad to see that I am not the only one who is reading another book or books on this war. I understood what he said on Saturday but I am still befuddled by the complaints that I hear from others, that Congress was running the war, that the White House was running the war. What difference does it make since we spent many of our boys lives trying not to expand the war? Does this sound familiar? Like Kosuvo explanations today? I thought when the first few days of this debacle in Serbia were being explained, that we were back in the '60's. Scary!!! And, then, tonight, I hear that we are trying not to expand the war!! Spare me!

patwest
June 4, 1999 - 06:17 pm
"trying not to expand the war" strictly political double talk.

robert b. iadeluca
June 4, 1999 - 06:25 pm
May I suggest that as we bring up the topic of the Yugoslavia situation (which naturally is on all our minds), that in this forum we examine if it is possible to relate what is happening today to World War II times?

Robby

Scriptor
June 4, 1999 - 07:09 pm
With the defeat of Germany, the US Army of Occupation was responsible for law and order in its area (somewhat like being under martial law). Bremerhaven was an Enclave in the British Zone and Berlin was divided into four sectors. Per the Yalta Agreement the Russians kept a full third of Germany & Berlin. The British and US gave part of their third shares to the French to make a 4 power occupation. The American Zone was basically the States of Hesse, Wurtemberg-Baden under 7th US Army and Bavaria under Patten's 3rd US Army. Each Army General was Military Governor of his area and all was under Eisenhower's USFET (US Forces European Theater) From this beginning everything stayed in constant flux; from German PW's and military supplies, denazification, redeployment, controlling millions of displaced persons, war crimes, operating utilities, army dependents, ad infinitum until civilian control went under High Commissioner McCloy (State Dep't) leaving the army with just military operations. Only slivers of old hat info in this multi-volume history is within my experience. Will be glad to give any interesting info or lore I know or remember if asked.

robert b. iadeluca
June 4, 1999 - 07:13 pm
Scriptor: OK, I'll ask. Just how did we go about "denazifying?"

Robby

Scriptor
June 5, 1999 - 03:37 am
Pat: To avoid expanding the war in early VietNam operations is not my talk. Read Chancey's new book and if it's still double talk to you, that's your problem.

Robby: That's like asking a GI about operations of the Army Finance Office when all he did was get army issued local currency. I only know that all German employees in our office had been screened.

As an aside, in a way it did get Gen. Patton relieved from command and led to his death from a car accident. When asked why former Nazis were back running the Munich General Hospital and Power Plant, he said that only former Nazis who could do these jobs were left, then added something to the effect that the difference between Nazis and non-Nazis was like the difference between Democrats and Republicans! He was reassigned to the 15th Army within hours. (The 15th US Army was a paper outfit writing the history of army combat operations).

robert b. iadeluca
June 5, 1999 - 04:43 am
Scriptor: I've heard various stories about Patton but never knew about his reassignment as you described it. Would it be accurate to say, however, that as obnoxious as he was in many ways, that we needed him and others like him to win the war?

I understand what you mean by your answer regarding my question on denazifying. Can you tell us something about the method of gradually moving over control by the Occupation Army to civilian control?

Robby

robert b. iadeluca
June 5, 1999 - 07:53 am
Today is the anniversary (1940) of the beginning of the Battle of France.

It is also the anniversary (1947) of the speech given by Secretary of State George Marshall at Harvard University in which he outlined an aid program for Europe that came to be known as the Marshall Plan. What do some of you think might have happened in Europe without the Marshall Plan?

Robby

robert b. iadeluca
June 5, 1999 - 12:54 pm
Britta: Would I be correct that it was a most traumatic experience to know that your father is being investigated by an international tribunal and might possibly be found "punishable"? After all, the war was still fresh in everyone's mind with all the hate accompanying it. What kinds of punishment were being handed out?

Robby

robert b. iadeluca
June 5, 1999 - 02:05 pm
Britta: How terrible some of your memories (and maybe dreams) must be and how wonderful that a person as nice as you was able to begin a new life. I won't ask you how you escaped because perhaps it is better to keep that to yourself.

Robby

Joan Pearson
June 5, 1999 - 07:56 pm
Britta! You never cease to amaze! A shining example of the resilience of children! there his hope for those haunting faces of the children of Kosovo...and will you ever forget the faces of the children of Viet Nam? Can it be that they will recover from the horror of war as well as you did?



I was thinking of you earlier while reading John K. Galbraith's statement in the next chapter, The Bombers and the Bombed, when he says, "the bombing of Dresden was unforgivable." There is so much in this chapter it will take quite a while to sort it all out. If you have the book, I hope you will take some time to read or reread these pages. Galbraith was part of an independent civilian commission formed by President Roosevelt in 1944. Does anyone remember this commission or its rather controversial findings? It must have been quite sensational if it was publicized!

Scriptor you are a font of information on the Occupation troops! This new chapter also includes some of these American Occupation troops, described by a Japanese boy as "well fed, well dressed and healthy." My uncle was part of the Occupation army in Japan after the war. Robby, were these "fresh troops" as opposed to battle-weary soldiers? Tell more about your experience, please? How long did you stay after the war was officially over?

I can't help but think of the many years of rebuilding and peacekeeping we face in Kosovo. I can't see us leaving...ever! - considering that this war between the Albanians and Serbs has been going on for centuries...can you?

Ann Alden
June 5, 1999 - 09:24 pm
Joan, maybe Jimmy Carter and others like him, could solve the problems we have today in Serbia but we need more like him. He is getting on in years and even though he runs daily with his wife, he won't be with us forever. Just reading the memories in this book and here online, I wonder when we will see that force it not the answer. One of the previous officers was quoted as saying, "we still think that force is the answer and,in using force, we end up alienating the people we are trying to save". What is the answer here? Will we ever learn? And, I am not speaking about us, Americans, but about civilization, here on earth. We are fouling our own nest!!

GailG
June 6, 1999 - 01:14 am
I just finished watching a movie on the Bravo cable channel; the movie is "A Midnight Clear" based on a book by William Wharton. It tells the story of one unit's experiences during the last days of the war in the Ardennes Forest. There is an encounter with a small group of German soldiers who do not want to fight any longer....it is Christmas eve and the Germans and Americans tentatively start singing Christmas carols. I wonder if any of the GI's in this discussion had ever had the experience of meeting up with German soldiers on a plain human level.

robert b. iadeluca
June 6, 1999 - 04:10 am
Joan: Scriptor knows much more about Occupation Troops than I do. I was not doing that very long. I was part of the "battle weary" soldiers in the 29th Division who were in May, 1945, moved over to be under the command of British General Montgomery and became part of the Bremen-Bremerhaven enclave. Most of the time I was in the Army I was a First Sergeant (six stripes with diamond in middle) but as it was obvious the war was coming to an end, I voluntarily allowed myself to be "broken down" to a buck Sergeant (three stripes) so I could become the I&E (Information and Education) Sergeant. In the calmness and peace of occupation it was my job to create a regimental school. Doing that is a story in itself.

In November I left for Paris to attend a two-month course at the Sorbonne (University of Paris) in French Language and Civilization with the plan that I would return back to my unit. However, there was an opportunity for another two months, the 29th Division was leaving for home and I opted to remain in Paris on "detached service." My experiences in Paris are also stories in themselves. In the latter part of March I left for home with other detached soldiers and was discharged April 9, 1946.

Robby

robert b. iadeluca
June 6, 1999 - 05:51 am
Today is the anniversary of the great event - the invasion of Europe in 1944 as Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France.

Robby

Lorrie
June 6, 1999 - 08:57 am
Gail G: My father told me a story, years ago, of the American and German troops facing each other from trenches across No Man's Land, in the 1st world war. I don't know how true it is, but he said that both sides stopped firing on Christmas Eve and began singing "Silent Night" and "Stille Nacht". A famous German-American singer named Madame Schuman-Heink supposedly had sons fighting each other on both sides during that war. I also saw the Bravo movie, and liked it a lot. Lorrie

Joan Pearson
June 6, 1999 - 09:25 am
Lorrie, Gail experiences such as these are so important, making soldiers on each side realize that enemy soldiers are not monsters, as war propaganda portrayed, but human beings just like they are!

Here's an excerpt from the Washington Post as it appeared on June 6, 1944:

D-DAY

The Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II was perhaps the most important event of the century, saving Europe, and possibly the world, from Axis domination. Over 150,000 troops landed on five beachheads, opening the way for the liberation of Europe. The victory came at a tremendous cost, however, with many thousands killed and wounded. An excerpt from The Post of June 6, 1944:

Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, June 6 (AP).- Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's headquarters announced today that Allied troops began landing on the northern coast of France this morning strongly supported by naval and air forces.

Text of the communique:

Under the command of Gen. Eisenhower Allied naval forces supported by strong air forces began landing Allied armies this morning on the northern coast of France.

"Fierce fighting against Allied forces in the Caen area," 10 miles inland from the Normandy Coast and 30 air line miles southwest of La Havre, was reported by the Germans.

Caen is near the base of the Cotentin or Normandy Peninsula. Cherbourg is at the tip of the peninsula.

"Considerable parts of the parachute units on the Normandy Peninsula and on the river mouths were wiped out," Berlin said. ...

The River Vire empties into the Atlantic 30 miles southeast of Cherbourg, indicating that the reported landing was occurring all along the northern side of the Normandy Peninsula stretching along the bay of the Seine between Cherbourg and Le Havre ...

Another Berlin "flash" said the "first center of gravity is Caen," the big city at the base of the Normandy peninsula.

Caen is 120 miles west-northwest of Paris.

A second announcement by SHAEF said that "it is announced that Gen. B.L. Montgomery is in command of the army group carrying out the assault. This army group includes British, Canadian and U.S. forces."

The Allied bulletin did not say exactly where the landing was taking place, but Berlin earlier gave these details:

Allied naval forces, including heavy warships, are shelling Le Havre. "It is a terrific bombardment," Berlin said.

Allied parachute troops floating down along the Normandy coast were landing and being engaged by German shock troops.

Other Allied units were streaming ashore into Normandy from landing barges.

In a special order of the day issued to all soldiers, sailors and airmen under his command, General Eisenhower said:

"We will accept nothing except full victory."

Eisenhower told his men they were "embarking on a great crusade toward which we have striven these many months," and warned them that they were facing a tough, well-prepared enemy. ...

Huge troopship armadas slipped out of English ports in the darkness and sped toward Europe where four years ago almost to the day Britain brought back the last battle-worn defenders of Dunkerque. ...

The German radio gave the first reports of the invasion while correspondents were hurriedly summoned from bed to Supreme Press Headquarters and locked in a press conference room until the communique was released several hours after the landings were made.

It was made known at start that the supreme command felt it necessary to yield the initiative in the war of words to the Germans in order to retain the initiative on land and keep German high command in the dark as long as possible.

FOLEY
June 6, 1999 - 11:00 am
Robbie - so great to see you mentioned the 55th anniversary of D-Day. Our local newspapers didnt make much of it. Made me feel like the old Civil War veterans must have felt as they got older that noone remembered their sacrifices. My late husband to be was in the DDay offensive. I didnt hear from him until sometime in July, a heartbreaking experience waiting for the mail. My present dear friend was in the US Navy as a doctor sitting offshore waiting for casualties. he says they cared for Germans as well as Allied troops. He also says thank goodness I was in the Navy when he saw "Saving Private Ryan."

GailG
June 6, 1999 - 11:39 am
Robbie - and All: I know you don't watch much TV but sometimes it is well worth your time. This morning's CBS program "Sunday Morning" had a segment on Andrew Higgins, the man who invented and built the landing boats that were used in the D-Day invasion. Many veterans who were part of that invasion referred to him as the "man who helped win the war" since that invasion never could have taken place without the use of the "Higgins" boat and particularly the idea of the ramp which allowed the boat to go right up to land and the men could immediately get on the beach. A replica of the Higgins landing boat is being built to be exhibited in a planned National D-Day Museum. I feel so stupid for not remembering where all this is happening. Can anyone fill us in on this?

Ginny
June 6, 1999 - 04:00 pm
WASN'T that fabulous, Gail? And the original drawers of the plans and the archival footage and the actual model of the boat and the ramp! Oh it gave you chills!!

I didn't catch when the D Day Monument will be finished, anybody know? Boy, that was worth watching CBS all year for!

We need a Books Trip to Washington, DC!!

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
June 6, 1999 - 04:15 pm
The information concerning the National D-Day Monument can be found in the discussion group on Virginia - post #127.

Robby

GingerWright
June 6, 1999 - 05:16 pm
Our men and women have died to protect us and our Flag. The flag-protection amendment is poised for a vote in both the House and the Senate.

The McConnell statute provides for the punishment of anyone who "destroys or damages" a flag in three circumstances. First, it allows for the punishment of a person who "destroys or damages" a flag when such behavior is intended, and is likely to "produce imminent violence or a breach of the peace." Second, the statute allows punishment of a person who "intentionally destroys or damages" a flag belonging to the United States. Finally, it allows punishment of a person who "intentionally destroys or damages" a flag stolen from another person when that behavior occurs on federal property.


Supporters of this ammendment should contact their senators and representative, and urge them to support the measure. For lots more information on this, stop in at the brand new Patriotism discussion tomorrow....

GingerWright
June 6, 1999 - 05:26 pm
I remember when we pledged the allegience to the flag of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and had prayer in schools when I was growing up. Prayer has been taken away in our schools and the pledge of the alliance to the flag, and some ask WHAT IS wrong with our children. It is your decision. ginger

I remember COMIN IN ON A WING AND A PRAYER.



Ginger

Joan Pearson
June 7, 1999 - 11:46 am


Talk about "coming in on a wing and a prayer, Virginia!!! Wouldn't you like to hear more from those with knowledge/experience of the Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki bombing...also Dresden and Frankfurt. Both sides, "the bombers and the bombed."

I wonder what it takes to be a bomber pilot. John Ciardi tells us he was never a killer, that he did not bomb Tokyo out of patriotism, but out of loyalty to his "crew". He has some chilling things to say about his feelings when other planes went down.

My brother-in-law flew 100 bombing missions over VietNam. He won't ever talk about it, though his best friends today are fellow pilots. I wonder if they can talk about it to one another. I treasure the interviews Studs was able to get from these men, don't you?

Ray Franz
June 7, 1999 - 05:39 pm
The Higgins boat was just the tip of the iceberg. It took a mighty effort by the home front to supply the food, clothing, armament and machinery that enabled the US fighting men to win the war. The logistics of transferring this war materiel to the battle front boggles the mind, but the Quartermaster Department and our transportation industry got the job done. The U.S. simply overwhelmed the Axis with our production, even supplying our allies with much of their needed materiel.

Let us not forget the Kaiser shipyards and the Liberty ships they produced. I returned home from Europe on one of these "tubs" and it rode through the storm that almost wrecked the carrier Enterprise like a Queen Elizabeth.

There was one great good which came out of WWII, the GI Bill of Rights which educated the generation which has produced an era of progress and prosperity like no other in our history.

Sometimes I feel it is all wasted. As memories disappear, so do the people who hold them and the next war is just another peace away.

robert b. iadeluca
June 7, 1999 - 05:49 pm
Welcome to our discussion, Raymond. You bring up a good point which is that we often concentrate on the fighting man at the front and forget all the busy supply lines all the way from the United States to the front bringing ammunition, food, clothing, mail, replacement men, etc. etc. Amen also to the GI Bill of Rights which changed my life.

Do you feel that the time, money, effort, and lives spent in World War II was wasted?

Robby

Ray Franz
June 8, 1999 - 11:41 am
Robby, I do have good feelings about WWII and the expenditures of lives and money since we were attacked. I cannot generate those feelings about what we have been about since then. We simply cannot be the dispenser of freedom, democracy and justice to the entire world. Our principle effort has to be in maintaining those principles at home. If the European nations have not learned the lesson from the past and are not willing to deal with Yugoslavia in their own back yard, far be it for us to make the biggest investment and take the greatest risk. Freedom and democracy are not free and we must be vigilant on our own shores.

The sad part of these affairs is that the cost of "peace" is always far greater than the cost of the war.

Jim Olson
June 8, 1999 - 06:24 pm
I have been posting over in WWII discussion area a little.

I haven't read "The Good War" but maybe I will browse a little in the library or out at Borders over coffee next trip out there.

I don't want a aw against defacing the flag .

It always gives me a thrill when it goes by in a parade and I am reminded of what a powerful symbol it is. I winced when the old duffers carrying it in the Memorial Day parade were all out of step and slouched along bent over. But then I would not have been any better.

I guess close order drill and osteoarthritis don't go well together.

The fact that some use the flag in protest symbolically only shows what a powerful symbol it is.

Making a law about it will neither add nor detract from that power. Neither did the old men who weren't able to carry it properly.

For me the high school kids carrying it in front of their snappy marching bands with precision made up for that.

It is of no consequence to me if someone wants to unrinate on it or whatever. It will survive that and more. I just hope when they do it will be so cold their spigot freezes. But I don't want to dignify their action by passing a law against it.

The image of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi will be around long after the protest images fade into oblivion.

I did serve in the Pacific Theatre in WWII and got in at the very end of the action on Okinawa.

My war is one that is still not officially over- The Korean Police Action.

Technically that action was under the United Nations flag but the Stars and Stripes was there as well.

We even had one outfit that carried three flags- The Stars and Stripes, The UN Flag, and the Confederate flag.

They were an Alabama National Guard outfit that had been activated for the war.

They were an all white outfit (as was our Ohio gurad unit I had been assigned to as reservists called back to action). Many of the replacements coming in as the war waged on were newly integrated Black troops.

I often wonder what happened to that outfit when those replacements came in.

But there I go staring off on the wrong war.

I'll stick to the other war in upcoming posts.

Lots of flags.

I still look on that action as one of Good Wars-

robert b. iadeluca
June 8, 1999 - 06:28 pm
Jim: Welcome to our group! Even if you haven't had a chance to read "The Good War," your comments about World War II are welcomed. Please share with us your part of the action on Okinawa.

Robby

GailG
June 8, 1999 - 10:47 pm
I just finished watching "Saving Private Ryan" from the comfort of my living room chair. As most of you who have seen it know, this is not just another WW II movie. Its realism and power are overwhelming and another reminder of the tremendous sacrifices made by our men and the grateful recognition they have earned but not yet received. Tom Hanks, who played the leading role in the film, is leading the effort to support the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. and has been talking about it on the radio and TV asking for the support of all Americans.

robert b. iadeluca
June 9, 1999 - 12:18 pm
One year ago today Norway surrendered to the Nazis during World War II.

Robby

Jim Olson
June 9, 1999 - 12:54 pm
One year ago today Norway surrendered to the Nazis during World War II.

A younger friend of mine of Norwegian ancestory in the history department used to tell a story about his father.

His father had been a Nazi sympathizer in the events leading up to WWII and the early part of the war. He was anti-semetic and saw Hitler as a hero who would unite Europe into a bastion of WASPish culture.

He would come to the breakfast table every morning with some comments about how Hitler had achieved such and such a victory and how the world was getting better and better etc.

One morning his normally mild mannered father came in as usual and announced to everyone:

"Those God Dammed Nazi bastards have invaded Norway."

That was the end of any further mention of Hitler as a hero in that household.

robert b. iadeluca
June 9, 1999 - 03:46 pm
I must have been dozing when I posted #607. Shall I try again? Fifty-nine years ago today Norway surrendered to the Nazis during World War II.

Robby

GailG
June 9, 1999 - 05:43 pm
Robby: I'm glad you caught the glitch yourself, "cuz I was fixin' to ask what you've been imbibing?

Jeanne Lee
June 9, 1999 - 05:45 pm
I just thought maybe Norway was kind of slow.....

robert b. iadeluca
June 9, 1999 - 05:58 pm
Gail: I didn't. Pat W. caught it. I just wanted to see if she was attending our wonderful forum.

Robby

patwest
June 9, 1999 - 06:01 pm
Of course, I'm attending... But it seems I always say the wrong thing... Therefore I will continue to lurk..

robert b. iadeluca
June 9, 1999 - 06:07 pm
To answer one of your questions, Joan, alcoholism was not a problem in the regiment I was in for the simple reason that only the officers had access to alcohol and then very little. I remember the Christmas of 1944 when the officers in our unit gave their alcohol ration to the cooks who mixed it with powdered eggs and powdered milk and made a most delicious eggnog for everyone in the unit.

Robby

Ginny
June 10, 1999 - 04:05 am
I was startled to see John Ciardi's name in the book, is he still alive? I realize this book was written some time ago, wondered if he were still with us.

I heard Ciardi speak once and it was nothing like his prose in the book. It was focused and powerfully delivered. He's a powerful speaker, have you all heard him?

Perhaps poets think in snatches of meaning, and his prose reflects that. At any rate, his section was disjointed, I thought, and strange.

I suppose it makes quite a difference if you return as a conquering hero fighting for the right or if you return from a war in which people left the country and avoided the draft, including our own President, and returned to an unsympathetic atmosphere where you were actually looked down on. It'a s bit much to ask a man to sacrifice his years and life and then not support his efforts. Vietnam was a mess, wasn't it?

One of the reasons the Roman army was so successful initially was its practice of the dangling of rewards to the soldiers if they managed to make it thru. Likewise, I understand the same sort of thing was dangled before some of the recruits in the Civil War as well, even down to the number of acres one might expect to receive upon completion of successful military service.

I was a first year teacher in 1965. In my 8th grade English classes I had students who were three years younger than I was. Some only 2 years younger. The whispered idea was that if they could uphold their grades, they would not be drafted. I failed NO one. My call. Years later I was disappointed to meet one of my former students working in a 7-11. He had passed on to the next grade, failed, and been drafted.

One of the interesting things about the speakers in this book is their way of bringing up other issues not related directly to the war that have influenced them. I would like to know how many hours and hours of tapes Terkel took to get these excerpts and what method he used to decide what material to keep and what to throw away. It's a masterful approach.

The Ciardi excerpt speaks of PRIDE. Not patriotism, but pride. I found that interesting. He also speaks of going to funerals of old friends and thinking, "Well I outlived that old b....." He's saying, as a poet who might voice the things other people wouldn't, that...is he saying that we all react the same way, no matter who we are? That we're secretly glad it's NOT us lying there?

I will never forget at my grandmother's funeral, one of the old aunts, looking down into the coffin, said, smugly, "she doesn't look well." Maybe Ciardi is right.

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
June 10, 1999 - 06:06 am
Today is the anniversary of my enlistment into the U.S. Army. I left the advertising agency where I had been working since age 18 and at the age of 21 on this date in 1942 I raised my right hand at the Army Headquarters at Whitehall Street in Manhattan. It is hard to explain to the youth of today the feeling or pride that I and millions of others felt. I walked in at approximately 10 a.m., had my physical exam, stood with a number of others before the American flag and the recruiting officer, took the oath, and by 10:30 a.m. I was in the Army

But now an invisible transformation had taken place. I was still in the same clothes but now I was GI (Government Issue), an official member of the United States Government, responsible to its every demand, and not able to move about at my own whim. It was necessary for the officer to give us three days passes to go home and make preparations.

I put the pass in my wallet, got on the subway, and headed for the Long Island Railroad and home. The passengers on the train annoyed me. Couldn't they see that I was now a soldier? They looked at me in my civilian clothes as if I were the same peson that I been two hours before. I was almost hoping that an MP would challenge me so I could produce my pass.

Robby

Ginny
June 10, 1999 - 07:29 am
Hey, have you all seen the new issue of TIME? The June 14 issue, entitled "100 Heroes and Icons and Most Influential People of the Century." It's the Fifth in the series and the first one listed is "The American G.I." The article is written by Colin Powell. Mother Theresa, Anne Frank and Jackie Robinson, are among many other heroes, icons, and influential people listed.

Robby, what a wonderful post! You just FELT different, I think back to a remark you made earlier about how we are making history here right now and I think you're right. These sentiments are important to preserve, I just wish I knew how.

Ginny

robert b. iadeluca
June 10, 1999 - 07:42 am
Ginny: What do you mean you "wish you knew how." You are at this moment doing it!

Robby

Joan Pearson
June 10, 1999 - 08:04 am
Don't forget that everything recorded here is appearing in the World War II Memories site...will the Good War book discussion remain part of that permanent archive? I hope so!

Robby, that very real feeling of patriotism you felt as you enlisted in the "cause", remembered so clearly after all those years (and so well portrayed!) - echoes the same sentiments we are reading from all of these World War II Vets! It was a "good" cause everyone believed in - good enough to march right in and risk lives for!!!



Ginny, your teaching experience, passing kids to keep them from being drafted into the Viet Nam war, reminds me of my own. My job at that time was to fly around to different colleges, teaching a six-week study skills course to young draft-age boys(who hadn't planned on college until the war) so they wouldn't flunk out and get drafted! How very different in the World War II situation...where they were leaving school to enlist! Some even lying about their age to get in!!!

Another common thread...these World War II Vets are coming out of the war with the realization that the enemy is part of the human race - and that many innocent human beings, including the enemy, lost their lives in a horrible way. They all seem to come out with the feeling that war is not "good."

John Ciardi was another unlikely volunteer for war. but like Robby, he felt there was "cause"...'as an American I felt very strongly I did not want to be alive to se the Japanese impose surrender terms on us'

And at war's end, he concludes, 'I had a longer view. It's anyone's universe. Anyone has as good a right to it as I have. Who am I to want to go out killing people.'



I am very interested in hearing from the Vets on this one. How did your post-war feelings about war compare to what you felt when you enlisted - Compared to what we are reading here?

Ginny, John Ciardi died in 1986, two years after this book was published. Your post made me do a bit of research on his life following the war. I found reams! Will put it in another post, as there is so much...he seems to be speaking right to us, the folks in dear old Books & Lit!

Marcie Schwarz
June 10, 1999 - 08:42 am
THE GOOD WAR discussion here is an integral part of our World War II Living Memorial. It lives right along with the rest of the site.

Discussing your memories and thoughts in the context of THE GOOD WAR book is providing the opportunity to reflect at perhaps a more "integrating" level. The posts here are a wonderful supplement to the anecdotes and stories in the other World War II Memories discussions.

Thanks to all of you for participating here.

Joan Pearson
June 10, 1999 - 09:55 am
Studs, you really got around! Thank you so much for bringing John Ciardi's experience to our attention! The people you have met! Would love to meet YOU!!!

John Ciardi, American Poet

Here's a biography. If you don't have time to read it all, at least read what he was doing at the time he enlisted with the Air Force! No high school kid!!!

Although he is widely known for his translation of Dante, and his humorous children's poetry, John Ciardi is a very quotable fellow.

Some quotes from his works;"

  • You don't have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.
  • A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.
  • A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students.
  • Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves that they have a better idea.
  • There is nothing wrong with sobriety in moderation.



  • And finally, his BOOKS message...this is from an address, scroll down for Another School Year, Why?

    "When you have read a book, you have added to your human experience. Read Homer and your mind includes a piece of Homer's mind. Through books you can acquire at least fragments of the mind and experience of Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare the list is endless. For a great book is necessarily a gift: it offers you a life you have not time to live yourself, and it takes you into a world you have not time to travel in literal time. A civilized human mind is, in essence, one that contains many such lives and many such worlds. If you are too much in a hurry, or too arrogantly proud of your own limitations, to accept as a gift to your humanity some pieces of the minds of Sophocles, of Aristotle, of Chaucer and right down the scale and down the ages to Yeats, Einstein, E.B. White, and Ogden Nash then you may be protected by the laws governing manslaughter, and you may be a voting entity, but you are neither a developed human being nor a useful citizen of a democracy.

    I think it was La Rochefoucauld who said that most people would never fall in love if they hadn't read about it. He might have said that no one would ever manage to become a human if he hadn't read about it."

    FOLEY
    June 10, 1999 - 12:22 pm
    When I was growing up in England between the Wars, gin was the women's drink. Gin and lime, gin and it(alian vermouth), gin and orange, etc., and the Navy drink, pink gin, made with angostura bitters - horrible. I must thank the Americans for introducing me to Scotch when they landed in Scotland (Of course they were the only ones who could purchase it then, miaow, miaow). My future husband, a field artillery officer in France told me wonderful stories of contacting the cure or local priest of each village they were fighting through. If you made friends with them, they would always bring out some hidden bottle of calvados or brandy. My husband was a good Catholic and could speak some French so he was fine!

    Scriptor
    June 10, 1999 - 02:33 pm
    Robby: If you're a Patton admirer you might enjoy this incident I cherish: The 3rd Army QM told me that one day he was with the Patton party when they stopped on a small knoll. Patton got out of his jeep and observed a jeep bogged down in a small stream below. Five GI's were trying to free the vehicle with a Lt.(back to Patton) cussing the holy hell out of them to move the jeep. Patton walked down the hill, past the Lt. (who froze when 28 stars passed him) waded into the water, put his shoulder to the jeep and helped get it across the stream. Then he walked back thru the water, past the Lt. without a glance or a word, and returned to his party and drove off. The QM Colonel said it was the most effective repimand to an officer he ever saw administered!

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 10, 1999 - 02:48 pm
    Scriptor: I was not in Patton's outfit and never saw him but heard lots of stories about him. Whether one loved him or hated him, the fact remains that soldiers like him are the kind that win wars.

    Robby

    GingerWright
    June 10, 1999 - 02:57 pm
    Scriptor=I enjoyed Your story of Patton Thank you.

    Scriptor
    June 10, 1999 - 07:18 pm
    Robby:

    According to some info I have (no guaranty of accuracy) the 26th Infantry Division (Yankee (YD) Div) was near Martelange under the III Army Corp when Rundstedt launced the Battle of the Bulge. The III Corp was under Patton (3rd US ARMY-TUSA) from 10 October '44 to 11 Febr. '45. and again from 18 April '45 to 8 May '45. Patton may have been using you to shove Rundstedt up Montgomery's a** in all the confusion. SMILE!

    Scriptor.

    Ginny
    June 11, 1999 - 04:49 am
    Joan: thanks for that information on Ciardi! That's a great quote, going to put it up in the main heading. The War seemed to affect so many people from so many walks of life, I'm surprised at all the names in this section.

    I was really kind of surprised to read the sort of "unnecessary" remarks in the book concerning the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by no less than John Kenneth Galbraith himself, as well as other cities mentioned.

    I thought it was pretty much accepted that without the bomb the war would have been lost? And here we can see something quite different.

    I wonder how the average GI felt then and now, the average veteran? And I wonder how historians now see the dropping of those bombs? Seems like I just saw something on television about it saying the contrary, saying that, in fact, without those bombs we might have lost it all??

    I can't reconcile the two voices, the new ones in 1999 and the old ones here in the 80's.

    Which is correct?

    Ginny

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 11, 1999 - 05:11 am
    Scriptor:

    The "scuttlebutt" that we, in the 29th Div, had at the time (and scuttlebutt is all the lowly GI gets) was that the 30th Div was nearby and we had to spread out in order to allow the 30th Div to move. We spread out so much it was scary. German tanks could have driven between our individual riflemen with no trouble whatsoever but of course they didn't know that.

    This was "holiday" season and my company (Regimental Headquarters Co) was billeted in the cellar of a house. All the night chores had been done and I had cozily zipped up my sleeping bag preparing for some well earned rest. Some time during the night all of us simultaneously heard that familiar sound of tanks and we knew that our side didn't have any tanks nearby. I reached to zip open my bag and it was caught. In one continuous movement, I stood up in the bag and, with a strength I didn't know I had, rammed my elbows outward, ripping the bag open. To this day, I don't remember the details of that night which undobtedly contained firing by our cannon company. I m still here so I would assume the tanks either left or were destroyed. War has been described as long periods of boredom interrupted by brief moments of terror. This was another example of brief moments of sheer terror.

    Robby

    Jim Olson
    June 11, 1999 - 07:02 am
    Ginny,

    There is no evidence that without the bombing of Hiroshima the war would have been lost.

    That was never an issue. We would have won.

    I was scheduled to be in the third wave to hit the beaches in the invasion of Japan- third wave casualties go all the way down to less that 10 percent from a first wave rate of closer to 50.

    But we would have done it.

    It was a matter of how long it would take and how many lives (both Allied and Japanese) the bomb saved as opposed to how many it took.

    There is still a lot of debate about that and conflicting evidence.

    I met one of the science advisors to Truman who was in on the decision to drop the bomb and to drop it on Hiroshima.

    That experience haunted him the rest of his life, but he always stuck by his position to side with those advising the use of the bomb at Hirsoshima.

    He later turned away from pure science and devoted his life to humanitarian casues and education.

    Eileen Megan
    June 11, 1999 - 08:54 am
    Ginny, I remember hearing that the bomb saved many American soldiers from sure death if we had to invade Japan and that the Japanese men, women and children, would have fought us to the death rather than surrender to our forces. How true that was is a moot point now.

    Eileen Megan

    Marcie Schwarz
    June 11, 1999 - 09:25 am
    Joan, Thanks for the research that you contribute to every discussion.

    It adds another dimension to our conversations.

    Perhaps we all are not writing a "great book" here, but all those who are contributing their memories and thoughts are contributing "a piece of our mind" to the human experience.

    That is an awesome thought!

    Scriptor
    June 11, 1999 - 01:19 pm
    Robby: Last nite after returning from my son's 51st birthday party, I was reviewing some 3rd Army info when I came across Battle of the Bulge 26th Inf Div material. Thinking that was your outfit, I dashed off #626 without checking your priors. Of course, as is often my wont these days, when I write from memory only, I mada a boo boo. Sorry. Will not forget your unit again.

    The 29th Infantry Division was in the 3rd Army some time, but I don't know or remember when. I do remember your blue-white division patch. Scriptor.

    Ed Zivitz
    June 11, 1999 - 01:37 pm
    What do you think the reaction would have been if Truman did not use the bomb and we invaded Japan with huge loss of life & then after the war,it was known that we had the bomb & Truman did NOT use it........Does anyone think Truman would have been impeached for treason?

    How many 'sob sisters" actually saw combat?

    Joan Pearson
    June 11, 1999 - 02:41 pm
    Nagasaki?

    Ed, Jim? I'm still trying to understand why we used the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. How long after Hiroshima? Days? Why? Was it because there was no surrender after Hiroshima? Really?

    Ed, who are the "sob-sisters"? Those who say we needn't have used the bomb?

    Scriptor
    June 11, 1999 - 04:32 pm
    Joan:

    The best reasons I know for the second A Bomb drop is for effect in that we only had two. It made it seem we had an unlimited supply. Also, it's why I'm alive along with an estiimated one million Japanese and Americans based on the then recent Okinawa operation.

    It's great to ask "What if?" in hind sight, but suggest you do it with your life and best guess, not mine, and I say that kindly.

    Scriptor.

    GailG
    June 11, 1999 - 06:31 pm
    Joan: I couldn't believe it when I saw the name John Ciardi in this discussion; somehow, remembering his poetry and other writings I never pictured him as a soldier! I used to wait anxiously for my weekly Saturday Review to read Ciardi and John Crosby. Thank you for the link to his graduation address.

    Re the use of the second bomb, maybe even the first, does anyone remember the suggestion that in addition to saving lives, it was a warning message to the Soviet Union?

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 11, 1999 - 06:33 pm
    For a period of time after the invasion, the 29th Division, under the command of Major General Charles Gerhardt, a fighter to the core who created the division slogan "29 Let's Go!" , was assigned to surround the city of Brest. Brest was strategically important because the Nazi submarine pens were there. While the submarines were not able to leave because of the constant surveillance by the Allied air forces, neither were the ground forces able to attack them. Allied planes bombed them heavily hour after hour, day after day.

    Thousands of GIs were in the position of just lying around waiting for orders and thinking of -- you guessed it - girls. The French girls were just as eager to get close to the Americans as the GIs wanted to be close to them. In a few days the medics began to see signs of sexually transmitted disease. They reported this to General Gerhardt who "solved" this in a very military way. He had his Military Police round up a bevy of willing girls, had them examined for disease, and set up the healthy ones in an empty house. MPs kept the GIs in line as they slowly filed into the house and everyone seemed happy.

    Everyone, that is, except the 29th Division Chaplain. The scuttlebutt was that he complained bitterly to General Gerhardt who let the chaplain, only a Brigadier General, know in no uncertain terms that he, General Gerhardt, ran the division and this was the way it was going to be. The Chaplain, however, was not to be outranked and he reported this to the Corps Chaplain, a Major General. In a fairly short time the house was closed and life returned to its previous routine except that strict bed checks were now enforced.

    Robby

    Ginny
    June 12, 1999 - 05:08 am
    It's interesting the different theories even after such a relatively short time in history, on whether or not the bomb was needed, etc. I wonder if it makes a difference to your perspective whether or not you actually participated in some way.

    As I was born in 1943, I have no anecdotes and must rely on the testimony of those who were there. How lucky we are to have you in our midst!

    Jim, thanks for that, I didn't know you were there, too. I saw an interview with the pilot of the Enola Gay saying it was the right thing to do and he had no regrets.

    Yet, would you call it "revisionist" history, now claims that, contrary to the propaganda, we came, in fact, very close to losing, and that if it had not been for the bomb, we would have. Scary. And the Japanese, as one of the authors points out, were spooky: the kamikazi efforts, how CAN you stop something like that...

    Now Kosovo is about to receive in peace keepers. Do you think that the media coverage, the pressure, has caused the cessation of hostilities there?

    Is the media the new "bomb?"

    Ginny

    Ann Alden
    June 12, 1999 - 05:10 am
    When we look back to the horror that the bombing caused, its hard to justify it now. But at the time, 1945, it may well have been the only solution to end the war. And we certainly wanted to do that. I can understand what Galbreath says but he is a pacifist in his soul. Do we accept the rumors that the Japenese were already in touch with Swiss officials about a surrender? I think everyone's perception(in the book) is their own and its hard to weed out the absolute truth. Probably we should be devising ways to never let it happen again.

    Scriptor
    June 12, 1999 - 03:56 pm
    Robby: #632 recalls an aside on the 29th Inf Div patch. In 1946 while a S/Sgt before I made Tech and was discharged to serve as a Dep't. Army Civilian and lst Lt Aus Res(Jag) I went on a 10 day R&C to Switzerland with a XX Army Corp buddy. We had been together at Jos T. Robinson in Little Rock, Ark.

    With the end of WWII Switzerland starved for tourists and dollars put out the welcome mat for the US Army like an out of work whore at an Elk's convention. One nite we went to a bar in Basel. The walls were covered with every Army and Air Corp patch ever seen in Europe. The bar tender gave a free drink in return for any new service patch. 3rd Army & XX Corps were already there of course.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 12, 1999 - 04:07 pm
    I still have my blue and grey patch somewhere along with my other war time paraphernalia. The 29th Division originated out of Virginia and I am told that the colors represented a mix of the North and the South. The design is exactly like the Oriental yin and yang symbol. U.S. Route 29 on which I travel every day here in Virginia is named the 29th Infantry Division Memorial Highway.

    Robby

    Scriptor
    June 12, 1999 - 05:35 pm
    Robby: I do remember your patch was blue an gray, not blue an white and is an emblematic reconcilation of the North and South, a proud emblem.

    By the way, I recently received a report of my NSLI. Did you keep your GI Insurance? It's the only GI benefit I took advantage of. When I was discharged I used my $300.00 mustering out pay to convert my GI insurnace to a 20yr pay life back to day of Army entry for a lower premium. By the early 60's (for less than 5 grand) it was paid up and I began to receive small cash dividents. In the 70's I elected to apply all dividends to additional paid up insurance and told my wife we'd use it for a retirement trip which unfortunately was not meant to be.

    Would you believe this 10 grand policy has out run the VA computer? I now have four $2,500.00 policies (and reports)which with additional paid up insurance has a cash surrender value of almost $40,000.00! When I get to six policies, barring Y2k foul ups, I may look for a one year luxury retirement home!

    My son who served in VietNam had a government paid (vs. our NSLI pay deducted premium) insurance policy that expired on his dischage. This may have help save the US balanced budget!

    Joan Pearson
    June 12, 1999 - 08:50 pm
    Robby, Scriptor, I thought you might be interested in this site:

    29th Infantry Division

    Scriptor
    June 13, 1999 - 02:14 am
    Joan: Great site! Bet Robby already joined.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 13, 1999 - 05:32 am
    Joan: Thanks for the clickable. I wasn't aware that I had been part of the 29th because I wanted to be a leader, seek adventure, and be part of the fighting elite! Although as I look back on it I did become a leader and most certainly found adventure! At no time did I ever want to be part of the fighting elite. Just like 98% of us overseas I just wanted to get this over with and get home.

    The division had three regiments - 115th, 116th, and 175th. I was in the 175th. Although I was part of later combat, I arrived as a replacement after D-Day and escaped the terrible experiences there.

    Robby

    Jim Olson
    June 13, 1999 - 05:51 am
    Joan,

    I wasn't trying to defend the decision to drop either of the A bombs- just give some background from my experience.

    As you know there is still a great deal of controversy about whether either was needed and what the actual effects were in terms of prolonging or ending the war in the Pacific. There are even some who claim it may have come close to sabatoging a surrender effort that was in progress before the bomb was dropped.

    If someone is writing nonsene now that we would have lost the war without the bomb that just indicates the length some writers will go to get published. I don't know of an reputable historian with that view.

    On the other hand, one can make a case that without the bomb we may have lost the peace- just as the consequence of losing the battle of the Bulge on that side of the war could have resulted in a Soviet take over of all of Europe-

    To me at the time it seemed like just a normal thing to do and I was quite relieved not to have to take part in an invasion of Japan (whether that would have happened or not is moot now as someone noted).

    I did, however, at the time wonder if some demostration drop on one of the uninhabited islands would not have convinced the Japanese (and the Russians) of the force of the bomb. I didn't know at the time that we had only two bombs. But then the war ended suddenly and I felt the result justified the means.

    Whether I still feel that way or not is another issue.

    I can only note that the horror of Hiroshima even though it was not in reality equal to the horror of the fire bombing of Tokyo or Dresden has had profound historical ripples and as a kind of "bench mark" of nuclear war has served as a kind of cautionary tale to the world.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 14, 1999 - 05:50 am
    On this date 59 years ago (1940) German troops entered Paris during World War II.

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    June 14, 1999 - 06:09 am
    From the Washington Post, June 14, 1940:
    The Fall of Paris

    When German troops entered Paris during World War II, French Premier Paul Reynaud wanted to fight on, but many of his generals and cabinet officers believed theirs was a lost cause. Reynaud resigned and the new French government signed a truce with the Nazis a week after the fall of Paris. Under the terms of the armistice, Germany occupied the northern two-thirds of France and a strip along the western coast. The town of Vichy became the capital of unoccupied France, which largely cooperated with the enemy. Two years later, Germany took over all of France. Excerpts from The Post of June 14, 1940:

    By the Associated Press

    The German army is "inside the gates of Paris," Ambassador William C. Bullitt informed the State Department early today.

    "The city was quiet," Bullitt's message said. He telephoned Ambassador Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, United States envoy to the Polish government now at Tours, France. Biddle relayed the message to Washington.

    Bullitt, who has remained at his post in Paris, sent the notification at 7 p.m. Paris time, but it was nearly 1 a.m. Eastern standard time before Biddle got word to the State Department.

    Bullitt gave no indication of what he meant by "inside the gates."

    `Call to the World' By the Associated Press

    Tours, France, June 13- Premier Paul Reynaud made a "final" appeal tonight to President Roosevelt for "clouds" of aircraft and challenged Americans to "declare themselves against Nazi Germany."

    "We know what a high place ideals hold in the life of the great American people," he said in a broadcast to his country while the German invaders struck down on both sides of Paris.

    "Will they hesitate yet to declare themselves against Nazi Germany?"

    In announcing his second plea to Mr. Roosevelt for aid-the first, asking all aid short of an expeditionary force having been made public today-the premier declared:

    "It is necessary that clouds of airplanes come from across the Atlantic to crush the evil power that has descended over Europe.`

    [President Roosevelt received press and radio reports of the appeal and White House Secretary Stephen T. Early authorized this statement:

    ["The text of Premier Reynaud's statement has not yet been received here. But everything possible is being done to forward supplies to to France."

    [Beyond this statement, there was no comment.

    [It appeared to indicate, however, that Mr. Roosevelt feels the United States has gone to the aid of the Allies as far as it can under the circumstances. ...]

    "We wait with hope in our hearts," Reynaud said. ...

    "France's soul is not broken. The world must know it. Every free man must know that France's army, the vanguard of liberty, has sacrificed herself."

    He explained that his final appeal to the United States was for "all legal aid."

    "It is France's life which is at stake," the premier went on.

    "The fighting is getting more painful, but we have the right to hope that the day will approach when our cause will prevail.

    "The day will come and must come."

    Ann Alden
    June 14, 1999 - 06:24 am
    From our local newspaper

    June 14th-Flag Day

    "Please remind your readers about the 21 days from June 14(Flag Day) to July 4(Independence Day) that Congress has set aside as a period to honor America. During this period, we should display our flags and pledge allegiance every day.

    One of the ways to honor America is to help the handicapped and the aged, and encourage the young to understand the opportunities and responsibilities inherent in our constitutional system. Through such positive action during these 21 days, Americans can celebrate the Fourth of July with a feeling of accomplishment."

    Just thought this would be appropiate here as I do know that we have this freedom to honor our flag due to our Veterans who fought for this right. On our local PBS station today, they are playing many American tunes. Quite tear inducing! Things such as Grand Old Flag, American, Over There. Makes you stop and appreciate the incredible freedom that we, as Americans, have. Also, being played are people talking about their experiences during WWII. The recordings are like someone reading "The Good War" out loud. A recording named "The Victory Collection". Three CD's put together by the Smithsonian.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 14, 1999 - 06:43 am
    Ann: I am interested in your newspaper's comment about honoring America by helping the handicapped and the aged. These are worthy goals and I hope people will take action in this direction. But I would also be interested in the participants in this forum adding other ways to honor America.

    Putting it another way - why were we veterans fighting overseas in World War II?

    Robby

    Scriptor
    June 14, 1999 - 08:20 am
    June 14th is Flag Day because on this date in 1777 The Continental Congress adopted a resolution declaring the flag of US shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars in a blue field.

    The date in 1775 is also the beginning of the U.S.Army when Congress authorized the recruting of ten companies of riflemen to serve the colonies for one year.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 14, 1999 - 08:40 am
    It's also the date when President Eisenhower in 1954 signed an order adding the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Robby

    Ann Alden
    June 14, 1999 - 08:47 am
    Robby

    The whole quote was there as a letter from a gentleman--Jack Fleisher,Sports Coordinator,Honor America- to Ann Landers. Maybe, if we were helping the handicapped Veterans or the aged Veterans plus letting our young people know what the Veterans have done for us--that's what he was aiming at in his comment.

    What were you fighting for? How about to keep the freedoms that we have in America? How about to keep "bizarre ideas" like Hitler's from becoming a world reality? How about to keep the war from spreading to our continent which it had already done in the Aluetians, in Hawaii plus the Florida coast plus the California coast? Sounds like we had the Germans on one side of us and the Japanese on the other. According to some other reading that I have been doing, these things happened and I am sure that we were just trying to do the best that we could with the information that we had at the time. I think that is true for many situations in life. I am aware that many more things came into our decision making at the top but the gist of it always seems to me that we were there to stop Hitler,in Europe, and the Japanese,in the Pacific, from taking over the world.

    Joan Pearson
    June 14, 1999 - 09:24 am
    Interesting! Feeling very patriotic after reading your posts, I went out and hung the GIANT flag, (it's looking like a car dealership with all the kids' cars parked out there!)



    Before we move on from this chapter, which includes much on air warfare, I'd like to make an observation, which is probably more of a question. And Ann, your comment, "we were just trying to do the best that we could with the information that we had at the time" is very important to keep in mind as we read this chapter.

    First of all, I understand that each individual memory here is just that - one person's recollection of his/her own experience. So there is some danger in generalizing from them.

    Do I detect a negative chorus in this chapter concerning the bomber forces of this war? If so, this is in direct conflict with all my previous conceptions...have always been (and still am) in awe of the risks involved in air warfare - going down in flames, bailing out over hostile enemy territory...

    I am not referring to the a-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki here, although John K. Galbraith's report does say that peace negotiations were already underway at the time, but that Washington did not know that yet. That must have been quite a hair-raising assignment, delivering those bombs - an assignment requiring super-human nerves of steel!



    Consider Eddie Costello(where have I heard that name before?) He tells us he was on a ten-day leave, and though he had never been on a bomber plane before, he went "joy-riding", (while drunk) and "bombed the hell out of Frankfurt." Was this unheard of? Unusual, or what?

    Do we have any Vets looking in who were involved in the air? I think it's necessary to understand the air war which John K. Gallbraithdescribes as a "military dynamic which was out of control and had no relationship to military needs."

    And there is more from Gallbraith's independent civilian commission appointed by Roosevelt in 1944. He concludes:

  • "the bombing of Germany both by the British and ourselves had far less effect than thought. Gemany could have survived the bombing attacks. It was the ground troops that ended the war, with help from tactical air power,
  • the fire-bombing that leveled Japanese cities was not a decisive factor in ending the war on that front- the war in Asia was won by the hard, slow progress up from the south and across the Pacific."

  • I know, Scriptor, this was not known at the time...and these troops were out there to protect lives, win the war and go home. Still, I wonder if we have learned a "good" lesson from this. It appears to be that bombing, without the ground troops is not effective. But then, how do we explain what went on with Kosovo?

    I was sad to read Galbraith'sfinal words on this and thought of Britta in Dresden at the time:
    "All of war is cruel and unnecessary, but the bombings made this especially so. The destruction of Dresden was unforgivable. It was done very late in the war, as part of a military dynamic which was out of control and had no relationship to any military needs."

    Ok, let me have it...but take it easy on me because I'm trying to understand what these people are telling us in this chapter! How did Galbraith's report go over at the time? Or was it not widely publicized?

    FOLEY
    June 14, 1999 - 12:17 pm
    Think the most famous, or at least one of the most remembered, photos of that time, the Fall of Paris is the shot of the middle-aged man in tears standing along a street as the Germans march by. For us in the U.K. it was the start of the two toughest years in the War before the U.S. entered. We were definitely on our own -thank goodness for Churchill with his "blood, sweat and tears," and the "fight on the beaches," etc. As for the buzz bombs in 1944, my father worked in London all week, although we lived in Manchester. He said he never worried about hearing these machines come over - "it's the ones you don't hear, that kill you," he said.

    Scriptor
    June 14, 1999 - 06:00 pm
    Joan:

    Don't know what lessons, other than the horror of war, were learned from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But as to the right or wrong of the bombings, prefer to rely on the judgment of Harry Truman, an honest leader of integrity rather than hindsighters.

    As to the future, if a WWIII (God forbid) history predicts it will start as WWII ended; i.e. a rain of atomic bombs, but by ICBM's, anti-ballistic missile defenses notwithstanding. In that event would predict that need for massive ground forces will not be for invasion or defense, but rather to control unimaginable civilian riots.

    Scriptor

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 15, 1999 - 04:40 am
    On this date in 1944 American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan. Meanwhile, B-29 Superfortresses made their first raids on Japan.

    Robby

    Jim Olson
    June 15, 1999 - 04:49 am
    Robbie-

    You ask a good question

    Why were we veterans fighting in World War II?

    I am still trying to figure that one out.

    I don't think there is a simple or easy answer.

    There is a Flag Day speech type of answer and in its own way it has some validity- but it is a surface answer and there is more underneath that I know is there but haven't found.

    You had it right earlier when you noted war as long periods of boredom (or at least inaction) and short intense periods of terror.

    I think the answer to why we fought (or in some cases didn't fight) is important because it may help point to a way out of war.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 15, 1999 - 05:16 am
    Speaking as individual combat servicemen, we can say that the reason we were fighting was to stay alive, keep others from killing us, and to return home. But of course there was more to it than that, even if most of us only thought of it below the surface, if we thought of it at all. We didn't sit in wet foxholes discussing the Constitution but somehow we knew. In an earlier posting, I told in detail my experience of coming back home when thousands of battle-scarred veterans stood silently topside crying as they passed below the Statue of Liberty. At that point we knew why we had gone overseas!!

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    June 15, 1999 - 08:59 am
    Why? A very good question! Why did you all risk your lives to go to war? You say there are lots of individual reasons. Would they all fit into one of these three categories, do you think?
  • self-defense - get the enemy before he gets you
  • self-improvement/adventure - Post-depression America was not offering much opportunity
  • Patriotism - to keep the enemy from our shores
  • It seems to me that no matter why the individual enlisted, he quickly found himself part of a corps whose common goal was to destroy the enemy. The fact that you were willing to do that, to risk your lives to protect your country - that's P*A*T*R*I*O*T*I*S*M, no matter what the initial motivation!

    Here's a question for you...Had Pearl Harbor never been attacked, would we have seen such a rush to enlist? Would patriotism have reached such a unified, national, feverish pitch? Would there be hesitation to get involved in a war beyond our borders? Was there another reason for involvement...such as to come to the aid of those already in the hands of the enemy?

    Joan Pearson
    June 15, 1999 - 09:19 am
    And here's another question...
    In the process of quashing the ENEMY, was it imperative for the soldier, the bomber, everyone who had to kill - to suspend recognition of the humanity of the enemy and the many innocent lives lost on the path to his destruction? We hear so many of the Vets Studs interviewed expressing regret at the huge loss of life forty years after the war. Do you suppose that's one reason why so many Vets do not want to talk about the war after all these years?.

    I find the accounts of the children of the war-the innocents caught in the path - reassuring in some strange way. In the next section, we'll hear from children who lived in England, Japan, Germany, Russia, France and California during the war...echoing what we have been hearing from Britta, Gladys, Foley and others - the magical resilience of children. Is this the the secret, the key to the survival of mankind?

    Ann Alden
    June 15, 1999 - 06:14 pm
    Just to mention something that John Galbreath talks about, my husband, the aeronautical engineer, SAYS, that he has always heard differently about the destruction of the ball bearing factories. To begin with, it impossible to move heavy precision machinery and even a lightning strike happening next door throws them off. They are installed in concrete. How would you move them to another place after they have been bombed?

    We have friends who were on many of those bombing missions but I haven't ever heard of anyone going drunk? Can't imagine the pilot letting him on board. Did I mention that my husband was a gunner on the B-29 during the Korean conflict? He has many hours in that old tin can. Reading the Ciardi interview brought many memories back to me, because when my husband was studying to take his gunnery tests, I spent much time helping him learn all that stuff and of course, I do remeber a lot of those terms like CFC, ring gunner,the blister,tracking targets and all that stuff.

    Jim Olson
    June 16, 1999 - 04:27 am
    thousands of battle-scarred veterans stood silently topside crying as they passed below the Statue of Liberty. At that point we knew why

    Yes, right after the war I think we knew why.

    I'm not so sure now 55 years later that I know why.

    I have a Quaker friend who attended U of Minn same time I did in 41 who choose not to fight but instead participated in a number of "starvation experiments" to develop knowledge about survival skills for people in life-boats etc.

    I used to argue with him about his choice vs mine years later and how we could best prevent the next big one.

    He always knew why he had done what he did.

    I'm not so sure I know why I did.

    Ann Alden
    June 16, 1999 - 07:30 am
    I think the question is,"Isn't there another way to solve these problems?" Do we have always have to use brute force? Instead of improving our weapons, maybe we need to destroy them and improve our problem solving skills. Wouldn't you think that with all the technology growth we have had, that we could have improved our response skills,too?

    Scriptor
    June 16, 1999 - 10:58 am
    Unfortunately,if there is any lesson history teaches it's that there always has been and always will be conflicts by force because of mankind's very nature.

    From neighbors to tribes to city-states to nations to power bocks and probably between continents and beyond in the future, war can never be ruled out.

    The best advice ever given for a nation to safeguard its values and freedom came from Teddy Roosevelt, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" i.e. smile, but be prepared.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 16, 1999 - 11:05 am
    I agree with Scriptor; it's within us. Ants fight, mice fight, lizards fight, birds fight, squirrels fight, dogs fight, chimpanzees fight and yes, we fight. It's called survival. If we don't survive and reproduce, the specie (individual, tribe, nation) dies. Just think, I put on a khaki uniform and went overseas for two years to preserve the human specie!

    Robby

    ARBY-BB61
    June 16, 1999 - 06:08 pm
    Is war ever justified? Would you like to be living in a world controlled by the Nazis? Regarding Kosova, One would have to be heartless to ignore the ethic cleansing being carried on by Milosovich. The Russian s kept saying "negotiate, negotiate , and we tried hard to do so but when the other side refused all our overtures, refusing to compromise one iota we were forced to apply force in an honest effort to alleviate the killing and the suffering of innocent women and children. If we ever lose our compassion for the underdog, the world will be the worse for it.

    FOLEY
    June 16, 1999 - 06:11 pm
    I agree with Scriptor and Robby, fighting is something that cannot be denied or exterminated from the human race. We are animals just like the rest of God's creatures. I was very idealistic as a teenager in WWII, really thought that beating Hitler was the one goal in life. When that was accomplished, there would be peace forever. 50 plus years later I know that is not true. The Irish fight the Irish, the Jews fight the Arabs, Whites fight Blacks, in-laws fight in-laws, it is a perpetual errant behavior. But being still a Pollyana, I believe that Love is stronger than Hate..there is good within us also, maybe one day, long after I'm gone, there will be universal peace.

    Scriptor
    June 16, 1999 - 07:11 pm
    Man like animals does kill to eat or defend self or family, but basic similarity ends there. Animals don't kill for greed, conquests, hate and even religion. Man is far more complex, both dangerous to mankind and the world he lives in and blessed with brotherly love, loyalty, generosity and good deeds. With a paradox of a Hitler or a Mother Teressa forever possible, it's best to smile and be prepared to fight "The Good War."

    GailG
    June 16, 1999 - 09:11 pm
    Scriptor was right when he said that animals don't kill out of greed, hate, etc. They kill for survival. But when they kill, they kill one other creature, they don't invade the creature's habitat and engage in fighting and killing all members of that species. A cat will kill a bird or a mouse and proudly bring the trophy home to eat; it does not go after all the mice and birds. Man will fight man, in-laws will argue (not fight hopefully) with inlaws, neighbor will fight neighbor, that is the instinct within the human species. But to kill other young men, and their parents, and their children, in bombings and military attacks because we have to defeat a tyrant, what sense does that make. In the matter of war, I don't believe it is the instinct to fight that drives us but the fact that we are controlled by powerful individuals, who, wanting to retain or increase their power, will use "us" to defeat an enemy. Hitler was the enemy, not the German people. But we had to kill - and be killed - to defeat that one man and those who obeyed him.

    I do believe there are times when you have to fight, to defend your home - and your country - but fighting doesn't always have to mean killing. Fighting has many forms, and I have done my share for people and causes I believed in. But war - the killing of people we don't know, and being killed in return, is evil, immoral and against all the principles of humanity. I am not denigrating the belief that World War II was a just war and that good men died in a just cause. But this discussion was about the human instinct to fight and I'm taking this to another level and asking whether to fight means to kill.

    Don't we remember how we used to tell our small children that they didn't have to fight, that there were other ways to resolve problems and differences. Of course I understand the complexity of the real world and that's why I have this problem. Having said all of this, I don't know any answers.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 17, 1999 - 04:36 am
    ARBY-BB61: Good to have you with us and sharing your thoughts. Looking forward to hearing from you again.

    Gail: Yes, in many cases we taught our children not to fight but in many cases they went out and did it anyway.

    Robby

    Jim Olson
    June 17, 1999 - 07:02 am
    I'm not so sure there is an instinctive male impulse to fight or kill.

    The army did a series of interviews after the war to determine what qualities made a soldier effective so that training and selection of soldiers could be more efficient.

    After all, soldiers are a very critical ingredient of an effective fighting force. What good is it to have many of them that aren't effective as fighters?

    They found that only about 1 out of 10 individiual soldiers in the war ever fired their weapon when given the opportunity.

    I suppose there are many reasons one could speculate about- self preservation- why fire and give your position away- reluctance to kill another person.

    The much ballyhooed gun fighter of the old west and there were far fewer than our western myths count was a man who was willing to kill- that quality was much more critical than accuracy speed etc.

    The successful ones all had that quality- the willingness to kill another person. There weren't that many of them.

    The army found that soldiers fighting as part of a team did use their weapons- for example on the platoon level- the BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle teams) were much more apt to fire as were those operating machine guns, mortars, etc, that required team work.

    As an artillery forward observer in Korea I took part in an attack on a hill- the individual GI's dug in and would not advance out of their fox holes. I was standing next to the company commander and overheard all of his radio communications. The lieutenant reported back the men would neither fire nor get out of their holes and move forward. His reply was

    "Lieutenant, get your ass out of your foxhole and lead them forward."

    He turneded to me and said "There will be a lot more men alive at the end of the day if we take that hill than if we don't."

    The BAR team did fire and blew the top of the head off of a North Korean who did stick his head out of his foxhole.

    I left soon after to crouch behind a rock and did not know if the men did get out and advance or not. I remember cursing at a recoilesss rifle team that came to my position, fired and left, leaving me there to get the return fire that popped and pinged overhead, knocking small leaves and twigs from a bush beside the rock.

    As artillery observers we did, of course as a team order relaliatory fire.

    I don't think killing is natural or instinctive or inevitable.

    They found that the soldiers who did fire (as individuals) fit the profile of coming from a family with a strong father figure who often hunted with his sons and taught them to obey and shoot.

    The army never did follow up on this study and in the Vietnam war many of the soldiers did not fit that profile, and there were instances of where when ordered by an officer to move forward, they tossed a fragmentation grenade backward toward the source of the order- "fragging" after fragmentation grenades become a regular occurence in that war.

    Jim Olson
    June 17, 1999 - 07:40 am
    I wasn't able to complete my attempted revision of the last post.

    I wanted to correct some of the many spelling errors and add that soon after the incident I described I was offered a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant which I declined.

    I think if that had happened during my WWII experience I would have accepted as I eagerly applied for OCS and for the gung ho paratroopers there but was rejected because I was color blind- nobody cared in Korea what colors I could see. What a difference a war makes.

    Scriptor
    June 17, 1999 - 11:26 am
    Because individual genetic make-up and environment factors are so diverse, generalizations reflecting society as a whole can rarely be based on individual (male or female) experiences, feelings, character or relationships.

    Joan Pearson
    June 17, 1999 - 04:44 pm
    I am so impressed at the thoughtful, respectful consideration of other viewpoints being expressed here...on very higly-charged issues and, as Scriptor points out, highly subjective in nature, depending on one's experience and background...High praise to each of you!

    I'll repeat the question about Pearl Harbor...would there have been such an outburst of patriotism and rush to enlist if Pearl Harbor had not been bombed? In other words, did the urge to defend the country stem from self-preservation, self-protection? I know, it did happen and it's hard to say what "might have been", but those of you who were ready to go, before Pearl Harbor, what do you remember? Was there a strong desire to go over and subdue the enemy, liberate the oppressed?

    What did we learn from that war? Have you had a chance to read the accounts of the children who experienced the war first hand yet?. Foley believed that there would never be another war after what she had been through. These chapters tell us of children of the war who believed the same as Foley did - they grew up in France, England, , Russia, Japan and Germany.

    Consider what children learn from parents. Yasuko Kuachi in Japan and Werner Burkhardt in Germany, heard there parents saying things like war is crazy, ridiculous, stupid...and even though their countries lost the war, they were greatly relieved when it was over, happy to see the Americans enter their towns.

    I really don't hear any desire for revenge or hatred or thirst for war in listening to these young people (they were 18-19 yrs. old during the interviews. ) So, is thirst for war taught, or genetic, instinctive, or provoked? Read these kids' stories. You'll be surprised!

    Joan Pearson
    June 17, 1999 - 04:48 pm
    What did you learn in school today, dear
    little boy of mine?
    What did you learn in school today, dear
    little boy of mine?
    I learned that war is not so bad
    I learned about the great ones we have had
    We fought in Germany and in France
    And I am someday to get my chance
    That's what I learned in school today
    That's what I learned in school.

    -A song by Tom Paxton, 1962 (from the front pages of the Good War)

    Scriptor
    June 18, 1999 - 01:27 am
    Joan: Prior to Pearl Harbor the country was stongly divided between neutrality and getting involved in Europe. In college there were demonstrations against ROTC. Even the American Legion National Commander was booed at a school lecture. And would you believe that in October '41, less than two months before PH, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by ONE vote an extension of the one year draft passed after the fall of France! In fact a common slogan was "OHIO" (Over the Hill in October) by draftees whose one year service would otherwise begin to expire. That's how strong the sentiment of neutratity prevaded the country to keep out of Europe's troubles and not to repeat the folly of WWI, "The War to End Wars."

    Cash and carry armaments, 50 old destroyers traded for Caribbean bases and a modest hard fought lend-lease bill was the extent of measures to help England. The majority thought Hitler had for all practical purposes won.

    What was the effect and sentiment after Dec. 7th? As if in one voice the country was united, not to kill, destroy or conquer, but to DEFEND our independence and freedom. The only initial revenge or hate I recall was to pay the "Japs" back for their dastard attack. Also, remember that Germany and Italy declared war on us. Otherwise we would only have been at war with Japan!

    This then is that Dec. 7th Sunday -- so ordinary as I remember it until coming to my dorm room from lunch to find my roommate glued to the radio. He enlisted the next day. I waited for the draft.

    Jim Olson
    June 18, 1999 - 02:55 pm
    Yes, I think Pearl Harbor galvanized the nation into action.

    It was the particular idea of a sneak attack while the Japanese ambassadors were in Washington talking peace.

    The most dramatic story of a child during the war that I have read is the account of a seven year old girl on Okinawa as related 27 years later and still later translated and put into a children's book, but a book adults should read as well.

    It is "The Girl with the White Flag" by Tomika Higa which describes her efforts to stay alive during the battle for Okinawa where as many civilians were killed as were killed in Hirsoshima.

    The book is often used here in the states in educational units dealing with war and according to teachers who have used it is a very effective teaching tool.

    Reading it now takes me back to Okinawa in the summer of 45 as I was familiar with the same areas she describes as she wanders about the island trying to find food and shelter while bombs are falling around her- and everyone is seeking shelter in caves- she finally finds shelter with an old couple and assists them and they her. In the end the old man tells her to emerge with a white flag which she does not really understand but she does.

    The first American she meets points something at her and shoots- and she fully expects to die. It is a camera and resulting picture has become fairly famous in its own right. Many years later she was reunited with the photographer in his Texas home and he apologizes for frightening her.

    I think a new paperback edition is available now as the original 1993 book is out of print.

    Jim Olson
    June 18, 1999 - 06:39 pm
    To see the original picture of the girl with the white Flag go to

    Girl with Flag

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 19, 1999 - 04:32 am
    On this date 54 years ago (1945) millions of New Yorkers turned out to cheer Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was honored with a parade.

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    June 19, 1999 - 04:58 am
    Jim, that is a heart-breaking memory...that little girl trying to survive and make sense of the world, the war. It is important that you bring her into this particular discussion, since the "survivors" of the war that Studs interviewed, seem to have experienced some sort of childhood, even though war was going on all around them...even Yasuko Kusachi who spent her childhood in Japan! Individual experiences varied...I suspect that family stability and attitudes made the difference. As long as a child had that, she could still "play" during war. Take that away, and you have that little one wandering around with the flag...

    When I saw that song about the child looking forward to his turn to go to war, my first reaction was...an American song,written in the early 60'-pre-VietNam - an American child reading about the glories of war, watching the glorified war movies...a child who never experienced the horror of war.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 19, 1999 - 11:17 am
    Perhaps there is some kind of selective memory in children so that when they grow up any horrors of war that they had experienced (if they had) were repressed and they thought only of the "glories."

    Robby

    FOLEY
    June 19, 1999 - 11:41 am
    The wonderful song in South Pacific about children having to be taught to hate is so true. As children, my generation had to learn to sing, Land of Hope and Glory, which goes on to say, Mother of the Free, How can we extol thee....etc. wider, still and wider shall our boundaries set. God who made thee mighty make thee mightier yet...!!! or words to that effect. We British children were being told we were the best in the world. After all, we called the French, froggies, the Italians, wops, and so on. An Englishman I know told me recently that the Kosovo thing was awful but there were two sides to every question, and after all, "they are muslims." The Germans have Deutschland uber alles, and all countries have their national pride. How can we possibly merge as one happy family?

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 19, 1999 - 12:34 pm
    We can't. Look deep inside yourself. Are you willing that everyone else in the world be exactly the same level as you and you not be "just a bit better" in some little way? Who likes to look up to someone?

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    June 19, 1999 - 03:50 pm
    "Perhaps there is some kind of selective memory in children so that when they grow up any horrors of war that they had experienced (if they had) were repressed and they thought only of the "glories."
    Robby, I'd like to believe that! Where's Britta when we need her? I'm going to go over and read again the discussion, "Children of the War" and look for signs of such repression and selective memory. Do you think the little one with the flag, wandering all over Japan looking for her parents ever had a chance at a normal life? I hope so! Somehow, I can't be too optimistic and think that selective memory can compensate for her loss. I suspect that the children who "played" through the war and are able to repress bad memories are those who came out of the war with intact families. And there weren't too many of those in war-torn countries.

    GailG
    June 19, 1999 - 11:56 pm
    Robby: Everyone in the world doesn't have to be on the same level, but everyone in the world should have the same opportunities. If that were the case we should all rise or fall based on our own aspirations, efforts and achievements, not based on what others have decreed for us. I don't mind looking up to someone who has displayed courage, has struggled harder and achieved more than I, just as long as that person doesn't look down on me.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 20, 1999 - 05:44 am
    Gail: That's the ideal and would that it were so but in every single nation of the world (no exception) we can find a group which is labeled as a minority. No individual or group likes to think of themselves as at the bottom. In everyone's mind there just has to be someone who is worse or worse off. The most down-trodden poverty stricken individual "looks down" on the wealthy magnate calling attention to their snooty ways, constant divorces, etc.

    Robby

    carollee
    June 20, 1999 - 06:18 am
    Would that it could be true that we all accomplish the same things in life, but it is not so. There are and always will be minornities but we do not have to look down on them, we can teach children how to be tollerant and then and only then can we even hope for the ostrocities of war to be a thing of the past.

    My girlfriend was raised in Germany during the war, she had no choice but to salute Hitler. Her father had no choice but to join, came back very injured. Her older brother never came back; they don't even know what became of him.

    She came here when she was 21; for 16 years she could not go back. Her father died before she could go home. She received a letter etched in black -- those were dark days.

    Now for the last 10 years she was able to go home every other year to see her Mother. Her Mother died two years ago at age 96, but never stopped looking for her son to come home. That is just a taste of what she has shared with me.

    She said until you live it you just don't know....she cries for the people of Kosovo. It has brought back some horrors to her, she really hates with a vengence.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 20, 1999 - 06:25 am
    Carollee:

    Welcome to our group and thank you for sharing. Did your girl friend share with you any of her personal experiences which prevented her from going back to Germany?

    Robby

    expow
    June 20, 1999 - 07:19 am
    I was in a prison camp with a lot of Serbs. They were a fine bunch of men. You had to be careful about admiring anything they had as they would immediately give it to you. This in a prison camp where no one had anything.

    Those men are the present day grandparents of the men who are doing all those atrocities. I cannot believe that the men who were in our prison camp would not have influence over the young Serbs of today. Like in Hitlers time, a bad leader can persuade people to do a lot of nasty things. The Serbs doing the atrocities should be punished but I do not think that we should assume that all Serbs are bad. They cannot have all gone bad in one generation.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 20, 1999 - 07:25 am
    EXPOW: I am pleased to see your posting about the Serbs and have thought deeply on this subject. It's hard to believe that an entire population of one nationality would be acting that way. Yet (and I know some of my good friends of German extraction are reading this) how do we explain the level of thinking and action in Germany during the war? Was it all just Hitler and a few of his cronies?

    Robby

    AdrienneJ
    June 21, 1999 - 12:04 am
    Joan Pearson asked that I come back to this site and post some of my memories about childhood during the war...This is one of the messages I posted in the folder "Children in the War"

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Adrienne J - 10:18pm Jun 17, 1999 PST (#85 of 90) San Francisco, Ca

    KATH - I didn't actual get to run away. I was at one of the hostels I was evacuated to, and at the time didn't like macaroni and cheese, so I got the bright idea of going to the toilet and flushing it away...and they noticed that we all kept going to the toilet - so we were caught and given the "think of the starving children in Europe" story.

    Down the road from the hostel was a large house, with lovely lawn in front, so I decided that's where I'd like to live (no small house for me), so with a couple of my friends, on the way to school, we wallked up and rang the front door bell. We asked the lady if we could come and live there as we were unhappy where we were. She was very nice, said she would think about it.

    That evening she came around to the hostel - and we were watching from upstairs and scared to death of what would happen. I guess she told them what we did and we thought we would be punished, but they never even said anything to us...guess they understood how hard it was for children who were separated from their parents and siblings, and frightened by the doodle bugs etc.....

    A couple of years ago when visiting England, my sister and brother in law drove us to Welwyn Garden City where that happened and we went and looked at the different places we had stayed. I told them my story as they hadn't heard it, and sure enough, as I had said, just down the road from the hostel was a large house with a lawn and a hedge...I didn't get out of the car as didn't want people wondering why we were looking around - but in a way I'm sorry I didn't....

    Both the h ostels I was in looked so small...they were really just large houses but seemed bigger to me then - but of course I was only about 9 at the time we lived there (was 4 when the war first started - and WGC was my last city before the end of the war).

    Interesting thing is one of the girls I was in that hostel with lives near my sister and is very friendly with her -so it is a small world.

    Adrienne

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------ I can add that I will never forget the noise of the doodle bugs going over...and when they stopped you waited for them to fall as then you knew it was near you. It was a very scary time as a child and one I will never forget.

    I was one of the children that was put on a train and evacuated and the people closed their doors if they didn't want to take you in...and I was in many different homes, sometimes with my sister, mostly not, until the end of the war. I definitely think it has had an effect on the person I became.

    Adrienne

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 21, 1999 - 05:35 am
    Adrienne:

    Thank you for sharing that detailed and emotional experience with us. It helps us to round out the entire event that was called World War II. I hope you will continue to share with us.

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    June 21, 1999 - 06:40 am
    Oh Adrienne, thank you so much for sharing that! Children were evacuated on such a grand scale...the image of your being turned away from many doors in a strange place must have been devastating! At least you had your sister with you much of the time! I am hoping that you were reunited with your parents? Did you know children who were evacuated who were never able to pick up there lives at war's end? My heart goes out to you - and to all of the children presently returning to their Kosovo homes searching normalcy. I pray there isn't lasting damage!

    Foley has written a touching story of a young German-Jewish woman she knew as a teenager who went back into Nazi Germany, never to be heard from again. So strong is the desire to be with family, no matter the circumstances! I'll try to get it here before going to work. It brings to mind a statement from Marcel Ophul in this week's chapter, "A longing nostalgia for Germany is a German Jewish syndrome"...

    Foley's story
    We'll store this up in the heading under "No Lives were left untouched."

    Britta
    June 21, 1999 - 09:51 am
    Dear Joan, I'm still here, just more invisible. I have not been well for awhile, but keep reading your posts. It made me feel good that you remembered me. I am learning a lot from all of you. It's quite clear that all countries involved were deeply affected by the experience of WW2. Especially the children went through a lot, but believe me, time heals all wounds, and the mind has a wonderful ability to block unpleasant things out. Memories are a paradise from which we cannot be evicted, that's what my father said, and I know he spoke of the good ones. Life is like a trip on a moving train. So many impressions flit by and it's impossible to recall all of them at the end of the journey, but the strong ones may last and add to the fabric of ones life.

    Gunther
    June 21, 1999 - 01:26 pm
    Britta: Sorry to hear you haven't been feeling well. My own "paradise of memories" includes the many nights sitting in the basement shelter in Charlottenburg with our "above ground" play mates of the day before, hoping for additional raids towards morning because "multiples" were always followed by a day off. The bombs, naturally, always fell somewhere else, so our reasons for being together blurred into a lark.

    Once the USAF entered the picture, we were two years older and understood the serious demeanor of our elders cowering along the brick walls of the cellar. On days following air raids on our borough, we could be seen on the walk to school with our eyes glued to the sidewalk. Finding a flak shrapnell and "sharing" it in class propelled us instantly into celebrity status. Later we had a regular trade going, two small fragments for one large one - no baseball cards for us! A genuine bomb fragment entitled the finder to name his own price, but there were few "sellers". Our building was hit once in 1942 by incendiaries and then destroyed in '43 by a buzz bomb. It was the only one for blocks around - even in May 1945.

    Number 30 of Suarezstrasse is no more! Just a public phone on a pole in its place...

    FOLEY
    June 21, 1999 - 02:00 pm
    Joan - thanks so much for printing my story. It came from my heart, I had thought about it for many years . It was published in a local newspaper and everyone who read it told me how touched they were.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 22, 1999 - 05:29 am
    Today is the anniversary of an important date in my life and in the life of millions of World War II veterans. On this date in 1944 President Roosevelt signed the GI Bill of Rights, authorizing a broad package of benefits for World War II veterans. The same year of my discharge - 1946 - I entered college and the people of the United States (THANK YOU!) helped me get my B.A. in Psychology.

    Robby

    Jim Olson
    June 22, 1999 - 07:49 am
    Foley,

    That is a wonderful story you tell about your Navy experiences.

    I hope you write more and share more of your other experiences as well- how you met the man you married- etc.

    Or have you?

    If so are they online somwhere we can read them?

    FOLEY
    June 22, 1999 - 10:55 am
    Jim - I am a little bewildered about your message. didnt know I had written about the Wrens here. Yes, I did serve over three years in the Navy in Scotland at a degaussing station. I wrote and self-published my memoirs, Birds of a Feather, last year and offer it for sale when I give talks to local organizations, Barnes & Noble, seniors, etc. I know that Marcie Schwarz has a copy of it and was going to extract from it, but I havent seen it anywhere yet. Perhaps I have missed some folders. As for my husband, he died in 1990. He was a newspaperman before the war. I met him in Scotland Christmas Eve 1943. He was there for 6 weeks went south for the coming invasion, didnt see him again until July 45 when he returned from Europe to marry me in London. He was an American field artillery officer, 190th division, out of Pennsylvania.

    Jim Olson
    June 22, 1999 - 04:59 pm
    Foley

    You Wren story is on the main seniornet web site under the WWII Living Memorial Home Page where Marcie put it.

    WWII Memorial page

    She inserted a plug for your book as well.

    Look for the two articles under

    Patricia Bridgen in the navy

    Nice picture of you, too.

    It is easy to see how that Artillery officer was charmed.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 22, 1999 - 04:59 pm
    Two big events happened on this date during World War II - in 1940 Adolf Hitler gained a victory as France was forced to sign an armistice eight days after German forces overran Paris and on the same date one year later Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

    Robby

    Ray Franz
    June 22, 1999 - 05:11 pm
    For more on the GI Bill of Rights:
  • GI BILL OF RIGHTS
  • robert b. iadeluca
    June 22, 1999 - 05:29 pm
    Raymond:

    Thank you for that clickable on the GI Bill.. It brought back lots of memories to me as I am sure it will to other veterans. It was difficult for many of us returning veterans who had not only been overseas for an extended period of time but who had been through traumatic experiences. And the purpose of the GI Bill, as it stated, was "to help the members of the Armed Forces adjust to civilian life after separation from service."

    As far as the additional purposes were concerned, it certainly (as I indicated in an earlier posting) gave me a chance to get a higher education. It helped me by giving me a loan guaranty for a home. Another purpose, as stated, was to furnish unemployment pay of $20 a week for up to 52 weeks. (For you young folks, that was enough money in those days to live fairly well.) I was anxious to get back to some kind of activity - I went back for a while to the advertising agency I had left but shortly after that enrolled in college and so I didn't take part very long in the famous "52-20" club as it was labeled. I have a hunch the majority of veterans didn't go for the full year.

    Robby

    FOLEY
    June 22, 1999 - 06:03 pm
    Jim - thanks for the info. Marcie did a nice job!! Thank you very much, Marcie. I'm working on another book, The Years Between, about how and my three sisters grew up between WWI and WWII. Havent done much this year, with medical problems, granddaughter's wedding, and several high school graduations. But that's no excuse I know. Our life then was so harmonious, gentle, and sheltered, it will never come again, and my children are mystified when I tell them about it.

    Joan Pearson
    June 22, 1999 - 07:30 pm
    Thanks for the link to Foley's piece, Jim! You have a nice, friendly, readable style, Pat. I read all the way through, right down to the mailing address...Lake Hopatcong!!! I don't believe it! Do you live there? I grew up in New Jersey and summered at Lake Hopatcong...my grandmother's place was in Mt. Arlington, right up the hill from the Post Office! How long have you lived there??? What a small, small, small, small world!!!

    I hope everyone gets to read your story we have here...just click No Lives Untouched up above in the heading...with Britta's.

    Britta, be well! Your comments offer some hope for those little faces we see on TV of the Kosovar refugees! So do yours, Gunther! "...so our reasons for being together blurred into a lark." You sound like John Baker from Studs' pages - "the war was like growing up in an adventure story". I suppose you have to be quite young, as you say. Later, you realize the danger. Yet, you both sound as if you came through the experience relatively unscarred! Adrienne on the other hand, does remember the noise and the fear... perhaps because she was separated from her family, and you were not?

    Hey, Gunther - do you still have any shrapnel or bomb fragments?

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 23, 1999 - 04:13 am
    "Harmonious, gentle, and sheltered." You are right, Foley, those are the words that describe the period between the two world wars. We know now that World War I was not properly concluded and that we were already on the way to the second world war. But how could most of us "ordinary" citizens know that especially when most of us were children. My life went on smoothly and happily. I went to a school where no scandals took place and no dangers existed. The depression had not arrived and my friends had enough to eat. I took violin lessons. I was active in the Boy Scouts. I sang in the choir. Newspaper headlines were dull compared to those seen these days. Perhaps this is a lesson to "live the day to the fullest" because we never know what tomorrow may bring.

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    June 23, 1999 - 06:16 am
    Have a great day, Robby!!! You're right, we take for granted all the wonderful days we have and the freedoms we enjoy!
    Did you see those faces surrounding Clinton in Macedonia on the news last night? The little boy in his lap looked so glazed, as if in shock. I read this in today's paper from a consultant to the Red Cross on disasters:
    "Recovery from trauma generally involves three phases:
  • establishment of safety
  • remembrance and mourning of losses
  • return to everyday life"


  • Perhaps this is the secret as to why some of the surviving children of war time show such resilience!
    Here's to a swift return to everyday life for those Kosovar children and here's to our own appreciation of the everyday life we are so fortunate to enjoy!

    FOLEY
    June 23, 1999 - 07:02 am
    Joan - we moved to the Lake Hopatcong area in the early 60's when our 5 children were small. We lived first in Lake Shawnee. Apart from a three year stay in Chatham, when I worked in NYC, we have been living in this area ever after. I now have a condo in Jefferson Township.

    Did you know the post office is not used anymore. We have a brand new one on Route 15 South where I live. I love seeing the boats anchored at the marina there and the Marine Police headquarters. It is a small world! Thanks for your kudos on those extracts from my book. Pat

    Jeanne Lee
    June 23, 1999 - 03:04 pm
    I'd love a nickel for every hour we spent at Lake Hopatcong on hot steamy summer days!

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 23, 1999 - 03:12 pm
    Beginning on Page 392 of "The Good War" Joseph Small tells his story of being a black Navy enlisted man who, with hundreds of other blacks under the supervision of white officers, were loading ammunition onto ships in California when on the night of July 17, 1944 two transport vessels were torn to shreds by a gigantic explosion. 320 men, most of them black, were killed. The blast was felt as far away as Nevada. Nine pages tell the ordeal the survivors had to go through.

    This morning's news tells us about former Seaman Freddie Meeks, now 79, who is engaged in a legal battle over what he calls the "legacy of segregation." After the accident, black sailors were ordered to resume loading ammunition onto ships. Fifty refused, were court-martialed, found guilty of mutiny by an all white panel and imprisoned. Lawyers for Meeks have filed a petition for a Presidential pardon. They say the sailors, most of them teenagers, were simply afraid that they, too, would become victims of a careless Navy that used only black sailors to load munitions and gave them no training. At Port Chicago (as it was known then) white officers directed black crews and black survivors of the blast said the officers sometimes had their crews compete to see which could load explosives faster. The National Park Service which handles a memorial at that site has put out a brochure which says "In 1944 the Navy did not have a clear definition of how munitions should best be loaded."

    Said Meeks: "We did not commit mutiny, and we were charged with that because of our race." Thurgood Marshall represented the men two decades before he was named to the Supreme Court. He said: I can't understand why, whenever more than one Negro disobeys an order, it is mutiny." The 1994 Navy review did acknowledge that prejudice had influenced work assignments in World War II, when the Navy was just beginning to change its tradition of using black sailors primarily as laborers and mess attendants..

    At that time Secretary of Defense Perry said: "Sailors are required to obey the orders of their superiors, even if those orders subject them to life-threatening danger." Some veterans have said that the men had not been subjected to any greater danger than sailors and soldiers who fought in the war, and should have followed orders. Seaman Meeks said, in testimony at that time, "I will go to the front if necessary, but I am afraid to load ammunition."

    What do you folks think?

    Robby

    Beeziboy
    June 23, 1999 - 03:15 pm
    GARDENING IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC

    I was instrumental in introducing watermelons to the natives on a lonely South Pacific island during World War II. My mission was to establish a vegetable farm in the Solomons on the island of Kolumbangara for the explicit purpose of furnishing fresh garden produce for the base hospital at Munda, 5 miles away. It came about in this way: Prior to my induction into the army in 1941, I was a poultry farmer and always interested in gardening. For my basic training, I was sent to Camp Shelby, MS where I was supposed to remain for a year with the 113th Engineers. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and my army career was extended indefinitely, I had the opportunity to become an officer by going to OCS. After receiving my commission, I was sent back to Camp Shelby to help train and organize the 350th Engineer General Service Regiment. After six months of training, we departed for the South Pacific in January of 1943 and our destination was Espiritu Santos in the New Hebrides. Upon arrival, we were bivouacked in a cocoa bean plantation and I noticed the fertile dark soil where we had established our quarters and I wondered if vegetables and flowers would grow here. I requested my parents, living in Chicago, to enclose a variety of seeds in their weekly air mail letters that we exchanged. As a consequence, outside of my living quarters at every base where we were stationed, I planted a flower and vegetable garden. Being close to the equator, everything grew quickly and profusely in the warm, moist climate of the tropics. As the war progressed to the north and the Japanese were driven from the recaptured islands, our unit was ordered to Munda in the Solomon Islands. When my platoon was constructing the general’s mess hall, I noticed him puttering around a small garden. Evidently he was a garden enthusiast like myself. In the course of our conversation, I mentioned the garden that I had on Santos and how successful it was. When the army garden project was being contemplated, he remembered my interest and spoke to our colonel about it. They suggested a vegetable farm be established on the nearby island of Kolumbangara to augment the drab dehydrated menu that was served to the wounded men in the base hospital. I was asked if I would be interested in taking on the project and I accepted the challenge. After examining the records of the enlisted men in the regiment, I selected 6 men, who had prior agricultural experiences before their induction into the service, to help on the project. The British government had control of these islands and supplied 15 natives to help with the work. A request was made to the Red Cross in Australia and New Zealand for some vegetable seeds and they sent quite a variety including a bushel of field corn, watermelon, lettuce, okra, cucumbers and others I can’t remember. I obtained a small bulldozer from our motor pool and also a single bottom plow. The US Navy supplied a landing craft for transportation to Kolumbangara Island 5 miles away, an extinct volcano. The British supplied 16 male natives for the project. The natives arrived at the garden site in canoes from their village on a nearby island bringing their hand tools and we went to work. Prior to the war, this island had a coconut plantation on it and it had been confiscated by the Japanese in their bid to dominate the world. They had used the plantation as a fighter based air field to protect their main base at Munda and had cut the coconut trees flush with the ground for the landing strip. From the air, it looked like an ideal place to farm except that the trees had been planted in a checker board pattern 20 feet apart and we could plow only a ten foot strip between the stumps. It was my mission to farm this abandoned airdrome. In 3 months time fresh garden produce began flowing back to the base hospital at Munda including many watermelons and cucumbers. It was gratifying, to imagine the surprised reaction the patients in the hospital experienced, when they were served a fresh slice of ice cold watermelon with their evening meal, and also other unexpected fresh vegetables in place of the canned dehydrated food stuff that they had long been accustomed to . The native workers enjoyed the fresh watermelons as much as we did, and as they had not been familiar with this American fruit prior to the war, I demonstrated how to save the seeds and replant them. To this day I keep wondering if my watermelons are still being grown on that faraway island of Kolumbangara in the South Pacific.

    bilsab@aol.com

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 23, 1999 - 03:22 pm
    Beeziboy: Welcome to our group! What a fascinating story! I'll bet the hospital patients were really grateful. Keep posting with us.

    Robby

    Britta
    June 23, 1999 - 04:56 pm
    I think growing watermelons beats loading ammunition .

    AdrienneJ
    June 24, 1999 - 12:03 am
    ROBBY - I'm very familiar with the story of the black men that were killed in Port Chicago, and the others that were court martialed...in fact there was a movie made for TV about it....It was a dreadful situation and they were put in the position of being "expendable"...and deserve to be exonerated and given credit for theier courage in trying to stand up to the white officers that were negligent and ordering them to do this....If you ever get a chance to see the movie, do so...it is enlightening.

    Adrienne

    Joan Pearson
    June 24, 1999 - 03:57 am
    Good Morning all...and a big Welcome, Beeziboy!!!, watermelons and all! I loved your post! Please stay with us! We are starting the D-Day chapter of the book and I'm sure you have memories of that- even though you were in a different 'theater'!

    I've got to get some coffee, but will be back with some thoughts on the Port Chicago mess. Found this in a quick search:

    Port Chicago

    Ann Alden
    June 24, 1999 - 04:53 am
    Concerning the Port Chicago incident, what an awful story! I read the black sailor's story in the book but didn't understand that the US was accused of purposely exploding an atomic device as a test until I read Joan's site on the Port Chicago explosion. I can't imagine this happening or that the black men aboard were killed just to demonstrate it. There were 120 white men killed,too. What an awful accusation! But, why was the pier being filmed?? Serious claims and evidence does make one wonder.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 24, 1999 - 04:57 am
    Joan: Your clickable gave a most powerful story! I hope others are clicking in on it.

    Adrienne: What is the name of the movie about the Port Chicago story?

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 24, 1999 - 11:18 am
    On this date in 1940 France signed an armistice with Italy during World War II. Although I know it happened, I just can't imagine Italy (at least in the 20th Century) being on the opposite side from France.

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    June 24, 1999 - 11:38 am
    Wow! I don't know what to think! Was the explosion an accident, caused by ignorance of the dangers of handling the munitions...
    "But, over time, many of the men simply accommodated themselves to the work situation by discounting the risk of an explosion. Most men readily accepted the officers' assurances that the bombs could not explode because they had no detonators."
    Was that true? Weren't detonators necessary to cause an explosion of such magnitude? Or was this truly a bomb test? I simply can not believe the government would "plan" this loss of men, of any color! Would prefer to believe it was an awful accident, due to ignorance!

    We are moving into the next chapter, D-Day and All That, which brings us right to the front and the worst accounts of loss of life I've ever read! And how topical! It also includes the racial prejudice against blacks at the start of the war. If you have the book, please read Charles Gates and Timuel Black's experiences (pages 254 - 297). Studs asked Charles Gates if he experienced prejudice during the war and he answered "during the first 2-3 days - after that no time for prejudice" He rose to Captain of the "incomparable" all black 761st Tanker Battalion!
    Timuel Black describes the two different US armies - blacks had own sleeping quarters, mess, even had to go to separate towns when on leave!

    But by the end of the war, much of the stereotyping was lost (according to these accounts) and those boys like Elliot Johnson who had never met a black person before the war, came out with a different attitude and understanding. I was all set to say that improved racial relations should be classified as one of the good effects of the war.

    But Robby, you've jumped 100 pages for this example and so I'd better wait to decide whether things had improved much by the end of the war. This dreadful liberty ship explosian took place in 1944. I think this is the movie, , which Adrienne saw on TV: Mutiny

    Are there any of you who were "there" who can shed light on racial relations in 1944 or earlier? I wish we had some black soldiers here to question ...but we do have these two. Read Timuel Black's account!

    Gunther
    June 24, 1999 - 06:16 pm
    Joan: I ended up with a shoe box full but it joined those from the "big one" which destroyed our apartment building late in '42.

    As for any comrades being scarred by war experiences, I found only a few. Without exception they grew up behind the Iron Curtain where it was a crime to discuss WW.II. in any context whatsoever. Thus my surviving buddies in former East Germany, whom I found only recently, thanks to the Internet, had been so brainwashed as adults that they don't even remember the names of classmates who lost their lives when we participated in the ground war on the Russian front in January, 1945. The oldest among us was a month older than myself. He had to borrow a shaver from one of the regulars. We considered it an affectation, until he, too, was killed in action. I was sixteen on June 17, 1944 and celebrated with Christmas trees, dropped by pathfinders near our flak position outside Hamburg. Last week all I had were the real ones around my house, a darn sight less menacing, to be sure.

    AdrienneJ
    June 24, 1999 - 11:04 pm
    JOAN - thanks for the clickable...that was the program I saw, but have also seen other documentaries on TV.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 25, 1999 - 07:28 am
    On this date in 1942 some 1,000 British Royal Air Force bombers raided Bremen, Germany. A little less than three years later I was in the Army of Occupation (29th Inf Div) in the Bremen-Bremerhaven enclave which had been placed under British General Montgomery.

    Jim Olson
    June 25, 1999 - 09:31 am
    For more information on some Black troops in WWII visit the historical Museum in Fort Huachuca, Az where the 92 Inf division trained and where earlier Buffalo Soldiers were stationed.

    Many Black WAACs were also trained at the fort.

    The area around there- Sierra Vista, AZ still has a large Black population as many of the soldiers returned to live in the area.

    For more info on the 92nd go to

    The 92nd

    Ironically two major Japanese/American interment camps were located nearby- and troops recruited from the Japanes/American population also fought in Italy where the 92nd fought. They did not, however, train at Huachuca

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 25, 1999 - 10:12 am
    Jim: Thank you for that clickable on the 92nd Division - an incredible story! What is amazing me more and more as we share stories is how little each of us GIs knew about what other elements of the service were doing. Sort of like the cells in the skin of the foot having no idea that there were cells in the hand, never mind what they were doing. Sometimes as I read these stories I get the feeling tha the powers that be did not want the individual serviceman to know too much. I have no proof of this, only a feeling.

    The only time I saw blacks while I was in combat in Germany was when shower battalions came forward and later when black truck drivers came roaring down the Red Ball highway taking ammunition and other necessities to the front. They moved, let me tell you, and nothing (absolutely nothing) was allowed to get in their way. Keep these stories coming, folks, it turns out that we are learning more about our own selves.

    Robby

    FOLEY
    June 25, 1999 - 02:34 pm
    The British abolished slavery sometime in the 1850's. I was brought up to regard them as human beings as anyone else, even if we did refer to them as "picaninnies" or "n------." I first discovered the repulsion of southerners (U.S.) to blacks during the war. As a small contingent of Wrens ( we were often invited to dances at the big U.S. navy base. I was dating a sailor from N.C., as was my friend . Halfway through the dance, some black soldiers entered the hall. We immediately felt the tension. Some of the soldiers began dancing with English girls. My date came up to me, and his whole attitude was hostile - he and his mate yelled in no uncertain terms, if you dance with those n------, he shouted, we'll cut their throats and then yours! He meant it. Later there was a fight in the hall and we were bundled out a back door into the truck that had brought us over. We were terrified, and I remember thinking, well, maybe the United States is not as civilized as we had thought... I assure you I didnt date that southerner again.

    Ginny
    June 25, 1999 - 05:01 pm
    Foley, I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, ignorance and prejudice are never pretty, whether they're against religions or races or even sections of the country, there's no way to glamorize hate.

    I hope we all, in every place on the earth, have a more enlightened view of all peoples now. If not, the war was pretty much a loss regardless of who won.

    Ginny

    Ray Franz
    June 25, 1999 - 05:17 pm
    I was stationed at Camp Shelby Mississippi with the 69th Inf. Div at the time that the 442nd Combat Regiment was being trained there. This was a regiment made up of second-generation Japanese (Nesei)who had volunteered to fight for their adopted country.

    We were given special instructions as to our conduct to these "American" volunteers who were fighting for the same reason we were. It seems that intolerance and hate was a part of some of the service men and some incidents had already taken place.

    The 442nd served in the Italian campaign and was one of the most most decorated units in that campaign.

    Suntaug
    June 25, 1999 - 05:22 pm
    I started combat with the 9th Bomber Command as an aerial gunner on 'pink' B-24 Liberators from the edge of ther Sahara at Bengasi, Libya in 9/43, moved to 12th AAF inTunisia, to the 15th AAF in Italy(22 missions) and in Feb '44 to the 8th AAF in England(18 missions. Targets in the Aegean Sea(Rhodes), Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, France, Austria and Germany - even Switzerland, by mistake. My last 3 missions were on June 4, 8, 12 of 1944 - pre- and invasion missions. 3 times to Berlin - Munich, Brunswick, Augsburg, Freidrerickshafen and others. Athens, Rome and Paris(airfields) and Sofia - all capital cities of their countries. It was, up to my first mission, adventurous, exciting until I saw the first ME-109 and B-24 both go down with 'chutes all around and the flak bursts surround us and then came the dawn - they are trying to kill us! 'Nuff for now. Suntaug

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 25, 1999 - 06:54 pm
    Suntaug:

    Welcome to our group!

    Please tell this old GI foot slogger, what is a "pink" 24 Liberator. Boy, did you ever get around! While you were "visiting" Europe I was trudging along muddy roads mile by mile with an M-1 over my shoulder. Please come back and tell us more.

    Robby

    galaxias1999
    June 25, 1999 - 09:32 pm
    As a young teenage girl, I remember......

    My Father explaining to me why some mats hanging in windows had blue stars on them while others had gold........

    Muffled sobs coming from somewhere in the congregation whenever the priest read the most recent honor roll of wounded, missing & killed in action.

    Rows & rows of Navy Corsairs waiting for pickup outside the Akron Goodyear Blimp hanger. Their wings were folded over the cockpits like hands in prayer.

    My Father staring into space, his eyes misted over, everytime a new list of draftees was called up. He sat on the local draft board & knew ahead of time the fate of our local boys. If was especially hard when a young man's name from his workplace, PPG, appeared on the roster.

    Families waiting for the mailman to bring a letter from their loved ones but dreading the Western Union messenger.

    both parents dragging home from war plants...dirty, sore, hungry & bone tired. Only to get up in a few hrs. and start it all over again.

    My Father glued to the radio for war news

    Troop trains passing through town....on their way to God knows where.

    families putting their loved ones on Greyhound buses, perhaps never to see them again. The Fathers, stiff upper lips, a bear hug & handshake, the Mothers crying softly into hankys.

    wondering where all the young men had gone. As the war dragged on, it seemed only extreme youth, middle-age and oldsters remained.

    climbing up in my favorite tree & looking skyward. Please God don't let bombs fall on me.......

    I remember......boy do I remember Nancy Baughman

    AdrienneJ
    June 26, 1999 - 12:13 am
    FOLEY - sorry you had that awful experience and am glad you didn't continue to see that particular soldier.

    I ran into similar prejudice in this country when I was working with a man from W, Virginia...we were walking around an area in S.F. that I "hung around" and spoke to people I knew, including some black people..and he told me that I had to choose between them or him...I never went out with him again.

    This is only one of the instances of prejudice that I have found...and some against me because of my religion...but to me I judge a person not by the color of their skin, their religiion or sexual orientation. I judge my friends by their "inside", their heart and soul, their kindness not just to me but to others (including animals)...

    Adrienne

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 26, 1999 - 09:15 am
    Galaxias: Welcome!

    And you certainly do have a lot of memories. These are especially relevant to me because they tell me what life was like in the States while I was "doing my thing" on foreign shores. Please continue to post more of your thoughts with us.

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 26, 1999 - 11:27 am
    Excerpt from this morning's New York Times:

    In the closing days of World War II in 1945, American troops of the 90th Infantry Division entered Eichstatt, a German town. Tossing grenades as they moved down a building stairway, the soldiers found a vault containing a package marked with the wax seals of the Third Reich. Inside were four sheets of typewriten paper dated Sept. 15, 1935. the papers - the original text of the Nuremberg Laws, which legally excluded Jews from German life and were a critical step in initiating the Holocaust - were signed by Hitler and other German leaders.

    Within weeks of their discovery the papers were given to Gen. Patton who presented them to the Huntington Library in Pasadena, California, on June 11, 1945. The three Nuremberg Laws were drafted at a hastily assembled meeting of German leaders at a police station on Sept. 14, 1935, and became law the next day. The laws prohibited marriage, cohabitation and relations between "Aryans" and Jews, and define a citizen of the German Reich as being of "German blood."

    "This is not a theoretical document", said the direcctor of the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, "It's a blue print for what became the death camps." The next big step, he said, was Kristallnacht in 1938, then the wearing of yellow stars, followed by deportations and finally the camps."

    I ask the veterans and their families here - is this why American soldiers fought or was it solely because Japan attacked us?

    Robby

    Suntaug
    June 26, 1999 - 01:41 pm
    Robbie: The Sahara desert sands are reddish(pink) and so the planes were painted (camoflagued) to blend in. However, they were very outstanding in the air, especially over European targets! By the fall of '43, the planes were coming over a dark green with blueish bellies and in 1944 some came with no paint color- just silver aluminum. At 20 to 25,000 feet we were hardly visible except for contrails. YOU must have looked UP and wished you were up there? However, it was better to be down there, wishing you were up there; than up there, wishing you were down there! Suntaug

    Suntaug
    June 26, 1999 - 02:00 pm
    First and foremost, we were asked(inducted) to fight for OUR COUNTRY. Consider that if we lost, what the past century would have been under Nazi or Micado rule. We didn't know about the politics of the times or of the holocaust. We knew of atrocities but not against individual such as the Jews. I have a propoganda booklet(32 pages) that we dropped( with the bombs) over Munich on Apr. 13,'44 showing hangings, etc. in each of the countries, and of Dachau, but not of the holocaust events. No mention of the Jews - of course, it's in German and I may have missed that. I could try to E-mail a page or two to Robbie if so wished. We kept doing our 'thing' because it was expected of us. We HAD to win! Suntaug

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 26, 1999 - 02:05 pm
    Suntaug: If it's in German, it's of no help to me but there might be others in this forum who would understand it and who are inerested.

    Robby

    Britta
    June 26, 1999 - 05:06 pm
    If anyone is interested in the translation, I will be happy to provide that. I'm sure Guenther Vogel is able and willing to do it too.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 26, 1999 - 05:56 pm
    In 1942 on this date the FBI announced the capture of eight Nazi saboteurs who had been put ashore from a submarine on New York's Long Island.

    Robby

    galaxias1999
    June 27, 1999 - 01:34 am
    Robbie:

    I, too, read about the Nuremburg Laws drafted around 1935. Your question? Was this one of the reasons we went to war or just Pearl Harbor?

    To give this a thoughtful answer, I first attempted to "go back in time" to the late 30's leading up to December 7th. First of all, worldwide, instantaneous news coverage was nil. No firsthand interviews, video, etc. All the modern communication technologies we take for granted today, were yet to be invented. We had no intimate access to government leaders except what they wanted us to know. America was pacifist at the time. Roosevelt needed an excuse to get the people behind active intervention in Hitler's quest for Europe. Unfortunately, Pearl Harbor was it. Was the plight of the Jews knowledgable to the average American? No. Would we have cared enough to take action? I doubt it. Did Roosevelt know? Had to. But it was not his primary concern. England was. Control of seaports, land, raw materials,power... that is the root of all wars. People are secondary considerations. The masses compliment leaders. Without the masses, why need leaders? We are a means to the end. Keep us happy, warm & fed without too much knowledge to be dangerous. And by all means, don't rattle the cage. Cheers Nancy

    galaxias1999
    June 27, 1999 - 01:38 am
    To the question "how many dead is too many?"

    My answer would be...... if it's me, one is enough.

    Cheers Nancy

    galaxias1999
    June 27, 1999 - 01:56 am
    This country holds the biggest club in the world. Unfortunately we chose to bring it down on the heads of a little country no bigger than Maryland. Unable to defend themselves, we forced submission according to our (I mean NATO's) terms. Anointed the KLA as security supreme & effectively sent the Serbian citizens of Kosovo running for their lives. Who cares about the ethnic history of this country. Thy will be done, according to the USA.

    We have played GOD around the world in the past & slunk home to lick our wounds. The biggest & most horrific fiasco was Vietnam. We have the worst "butt-insky" syndrome I have ever seen &what thanks to we get for it? While a foot is kicking us in the ass, a hand is reaching in our pocketbook. Cheers Nancy

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 27, 1999 - 04:40 am
    Galaxias:

    Quoting you: "Control of seaports, land, raw material, power - the root of all wars."And so, to segue from there to your next theme: "We have the worse butt-insky syndrome."

    If we can draw an analogy and transfer that national personality to a personality of individuals, could we say that "our family" (nation) does things, in our opinion, the "right" way and so we want the rest of the families in our community (world) to do things the same way we do. Our parents (founders of nation) struggled to create a profitable business (U.S.A.), left us with this wealthy inheritance for which we did not have to struggle and hardly remember or care about our parents' struggles,. All we know is that we see people down the street on welfare (poor nations), blame them for their own miseries, and because of our power in our community, either hand them a dole or take it away from them, telling them that they must now do things our way (war). In the process of this we take away their house and grounds (their nation), saying we know how to better handle them, knowing within us that we will demolish their house and erect an industrial plant there.

    Our smug self-righteousness and selfishness (forgetting that the wealth - moral as well as financial - came from our parents not just our own efforts) comes to the fore never remembering that in these short 225 years we made a lot of mistakes to come to where we are.

    Does this kind of analogy as to why the U.S.A. finds itself often in war make any sense?

    Robby

    Jim Olson
    June 27, 1999 - 06:43 am
    Was it a Good War?

    Maybe as Dickens says it was The best of times and The worst of times.

    I think to many of us it was the best of times because we were at that point in our lifes.

    We had survived adolesence and were facing a brave new world where we felt we could shape not only our personal world but that other world out there.

    We had visions of making it a better world and felt we were all united in a noble cause.

    It wasn't that simple, of course, and as we look back the complexities become more evident and the optomism fades (but I hope doesn't disappear)

    One of my early wake up calls during the war happened at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, when I tranferred from Hell (Camp Hood Texas- where one could stand in mud and suffer a dust storm) to a trainee heaven of brick barracks- actual sidewalks- easily cleaned floors..

    The barracks across the street was a square block of tar paper covered shacks stuck in a muddy field and surrounded by barbed wire.

    I asked a person who had been there some time what that was all about.

    "Is that the stockade," I asked?

    "No," he answered, "That's for the Ni___r troops."

    And so it was. Black soldiers were assigned to cleaning the mule barns for the mule artillery (Sill is a artillery area). They were segregated from the rest of the camp- had their own tar paper crude PX within the compound-etc.

    Later I was to learn of the race riots that affected some northern cities as black workers came north to work in the factories.

    One group of our "Rosey the Riviters" in Detroit demanded that the men all go on strike as black women workers got to use the same toilets as Rosey.

    The men didn't strike to protect the integrity of Rosey's white behind but Detroit later did erupt into one of the worst race riots our country has ever seen in the summer of 43.

    I wondered if what I was fighting for was really what we were all fighting for.

    But I still agree with Studs that it was a good war- as wars go, and I wish they would.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 27, 1999 - 07:17 am
    Re: Jim's remarks -- was it a good war?

    What benefits did I receive?

    1 - I met the French girl I married (yes, there was a divorce many years later but there were many happy events).
    2 - I received intensive leadership training.
    3- I saw many areas of Europe that I wouldn't have seen. Demolished, yes, but the countryside was still there.
    4 - I had a chance to perfect my French by talking to the French people themselves.
    5 - I learned a lot about our own Americans who came from other areas of the nation and who were from different backgrounds.
    6 - I received four free months at the Sorbonne (Univ of Paris) studying French Language and Civilization in French under Sorbonne professors.
    7 - I gained a tremendous appreciation of America by being away from it for two years.
    8 - I received a BA in Psychology given under the GI Bill.
    9 - I bought a house under the GI Bill.

    Would I be willing to go to war again to obtain additional benefits? As they say, "are you out of your cotton-pickin' mind?"

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 27, 1999 - 07:51 am
    Excerpts from the AARP Bulletin:

    The great Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was thrice wounded in the Civil War. Two of his wounds nearly killed him. He had no romantic illusions about war. But he recognized that war has its role in the psychic economy.

    "War when you are at it," Holmes wrote, "is horrible and dull. It is only when time has passed that you see that its message was divine. Some teacher of that kind we all need. In this snug, over-safe corner of the world we need it, that we may realize that our comfortable routine is no eternal necessity of things, but merely a little space of calm in the midst of the untamed streaming of the world. Even while we think that we are egotists we are living to ends outside ourselves."

    Robby

    galaxias1999
    June 27, 1999 - 01:21 pm
    Robby:

    You & I think along the same lines but you articulate better than I. Sometimes my prose appears to be reduced to simplistic thoughts & observations. Bluntness is a personal flaw in my character which I constantly strive to keep under control. In other words, I tend to call a spade, a spade in colorful "slang".

    You are right. We Americans lavishly pour our "righteous indignation" over countries that don't live up to our own self-proclaimed standards. We completely forget this country's past history which is full of uglies, atrocities, abuse, racism and attempts at ethnic, religious cleansing. We have come a long way Baby, but by no means, have reached the pinnacle of absolute tolerance. We're just better at hiding our weaknesses. And who would dare challenge us anyway?

    Certainly I do not condon Yugoslavia's method of ethnic cleansing. But what did we accomplish by bombing them into submission? Kosovo is in such a current state of disarray our own soldiers can't distinguish the good guys from the bad. As usual, our politicans jumped from the planes but forgot to put on their parachutes.....and who will have to clean up the splatter? That's right. You, I and all our US buddies thru blood, sweat, tears and the almighty American tax dollars.

    Cheers Nancy

    Joan Pearson
    June 27, 1999 - 01:38 pm
    Wonderful, enlightening posts! We are learning more about this war from those who were there, enlarging upon the memories in "The "Good War", and those involved are learning more about what was going on than they knew at the time!

    From induction to the present, we are getting closer to the reality that was the war. Note the pattern from idealism and patriotism, then awareness of shocking realities, to the present. What did we learn from this war? Greed? Or responsibility?

  • "First and foremost, we were asked(inducted) to fight for OUR COUNTRY." Suntaug

  • We had visions of making it a better world and felt we were all united in a noble cause." Jim O.
  • "We didn't know about the politics of the times or of the holocaust. We knew of atrocities but not against individual such as the Jews."
    Suntaug
  • "It was, up to my first mission, adventurous, exciting until I saw the first ME-109 and B-24 both go down with 'chutes all around and the flak bursts surround us and then came the dawn - they are trying to kill us!" Suntaug


  • "One of the worst race riots our country has ever seen was in the summer of 43 in Detroit."
    Jim O.
  • "I wondered if what I was fighting for was really what we were all fighting for."
    Jim O.
  • " I first discovered the repulsion of southerners (U.S.) to blacks during the war.Foley
  • "I learned a lot about our own Americans who came from other areas of the nation and who were from different backgrounds."Robby
  • "We have the worst "butt-insky" syndrome I have ever seen" galaxias
    "Our smug self-righteousness and selfishness (forgetting that the wealth - moral as well as financial -came from our parents not just our own efforts) comes to the fore never remembering that in these short 225 years we made a lot of mistakes to come to where we are."Robby

    From Studs' book...D-Day...an account I can't get out of my head - this idealistic kid, trained to get the enemy - when like Suntaug, he is faced with the very real possibility that he may die, they are shooting at him!

    Elliott Johnson's story:

    In a Chinese restaurant in Portland Oregon. Someone bursts in with a portable radio. Pearl Harbor attacked! Furious...he and three friends immediately went to marine recruiting headquarters...
    Where were you when Pearl Harbor was attacked over 50 years ago? It's probably a date you will remember what you were doing for the rest of your life! Elliott Johnson's reaction and desire to serve was not motivated by anything but the desire to do something to protect his country! That's patriotism! Nothing political! No greed - no desire to extend borders or grab valuable resources and no political maneuvering...just an immediate reaction! I believe that his reaction represents the country's response. And the belief that the enemy could be stopped!

    But I can't get out of my mind the picture of this idealistic young kid on D-Day!

    "I was on an LST...300 feet long...I remember going up to the highest part of that ship and watching th panorama around me unfold. In my mind's eye, I see one of our ships take a direct hit and go up in a huge ball of flames. There were big geysers coming up where the shells were landing, and there were bodies floating, face down, face up.
    .....This...my education: recognizing our body as finite."

    And the young black kid, Timuel Black, fighting the same war, for the same country, two days later - Utah Beach:

    We're getting ready now for the main battle. It was a weird experience. Young men cryin' for their mothers...What happens when you finally get off the LST? All you know is you wade into that beach. You hear the big guns. We were direct targets..We lost a lot of fellas.

    Elliott Johnson told Studs he had only known one black person in his life back in Portland before the war. I believe that one of the real benefits, the positives - to come out of this war was the bringing together Americans of different races under the one banner. Even the ugly bias, military discrimination, prejudice! - it was finally out in the open forever - and things would never be the same again!

    I was - am - so moved by the accounts of these boys waiting to storm the beaches, watching their own take direct hits, knowing their turn is minutes away. The desperation! It's a wonder anyone made it! What an unholy sacrifice and loss of life! There's got to be another way, folks!

  • patwest
    June 27, 1999 - 07:37 pm
    Oscar has posted some nice snapshots of WW I in Photos.  I don't know if anyone is interested here. But click here for  Photos. And scroll down.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 28, 1999 - 04:36 am
    There is a connection between WWI and WWII. In the minds of many who were alive at that time, the original "Great War", the "war to end all wars" was not properly concluded. Today is the 80th anniversary (1919) of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in France. The Germans were never satisfied with that treaty nor with the way they were treated at the signing ceremony, nor the attitude toward the Germans later. Witness the difference at the end of WWII. Although the Germans were required to give an "unconditional" surrender, shortly thereafter the Marshall Plan came into existence saying symbolically that although we were against the Nazi philosophy and actions, we were not against the German people per se.

    Robby

    FOLEY
    June 28, 1999 - 11:43 am
    In the Children and the War folder, someone mentions that people were kind, didnt lock their houses, etc., during the war (this was in the U.K.) I always remember that. I would travel home from Scotland every three months on unlit and cold trains, standing in lonely railroad stations, never being afraid. Dont know if the uniform was a kind of protection. Generally a serviceman would come over and start chatting. When my train pulled in, he would say goodbye, "just wanted to see if you were alright," maybe my guardian angels! People did seem to be kinder and more helpful.

    Marcie Schwarz
    June 28, 1999 - 12:06 pm
    For those of you in the Phoenix, AZ area:
    "Net World Live," the largest AM station in the Phoenix area reaching 4 million people, airs from 7-8pm PST on 1100AM KFNX. It's a call-in show hosted by SeniorNet's executive director, Ann Wrixon.

    Robby is scheduled to be on the show on June 29 to talk about his WWII experience and involvement in our discussions here in the World War II Living Memorial.

    Ella Gibbons
    June 28, 1999 - 01:20 pm
    Robby - Good luck in the broadcast - how wonderful that you are on radio and I know people will enjoy the discussion! Tell them all about Seniornet and what fun we have in all the discussions, O.K?

    In reading these chapters I am struck by the fact that in the minds of many of the soldiers are questions that remain unanswered and will always remain so. Hanley wonders if he is cuckoo or suicidal over his guilt for being alive while his buddy died in his arms. So many wonder if it was all in vain, have we learned anything about the madness, the insanity, that is war?

    Robby - you mentioned many good things that came out of the war for you and we've all conceded, I believe, that better race relations was a good result of the war, at least, the services are integrated fully now. Any questions remaining for you?

    Johnson, and I believe one or two others, made the remark that he felt no malice toward the Germans; he realized they were fighting for their country also and were just young boys frightened of the war. Shulman relates that at first the p.o.w's he took care of were Germans and Nazis, but then he saw them as just victims - like our boys.

    However, I was surprised that two of the soldiers (Timuel Black and Alex Shulman) had no knowledge of the concentration camps until they stumbled on them; especially as Shulman was Jewish - I know that the Jewish community in America knew what was happening in Germany.

    Joan - no, I never knew that Buchenwald had been a zoo, did anyone else? I've not had the opportunity to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington yet, but it will be a tearful time if and when I do - the pictures and the stories we've all heard and seen have brought enough tears to all of us.

    Timuel Black says "On reflection, I know not all Germans did this. But my feelings were, how could they let others do it?"

    I'm reading Max Frankel's autobiography (retired chief editor of the NY Times) and he is relating their family's escape from Nazi Germany in 1940 right before Kristelnacht (sp?). They had been trying for 2 years to get out of Germany and at the last minute a chief of police arranged their visas and exit and asked that when they got to America - "Please tell them there that we are not all bad!" Evidence that some knew what was happening and that it was horrible.

    The Hanleys (both husband and wife) story was one of the saddest I have ever read - how can one read that and not cry? What a dilemma for both of them.

    Ginny
    June 28, 1999 - 02:46 pm
    Robby!! Can we get a tape of your broadcast? Do you plan to record it, or....well, you can't record it where you live? Is anybody here from Phoenix?? Can somebody record the program so we can all hear it?

    Send out an SOS to Phoenix, somebody so we can hear it, what FUN!!

    Ginny

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 28, 1999 - 05:44 pm
    Ginny:

    I am told that I will be given a tape of the broadcast but I guess Marcie will have the answers as to who else can get a tape and how.

    Robby

    GailG
    June 28, 1999 - 06:57 pm
    Robby: And to think I "knew you when..." Where are you going to be for this interview? Are they flying you to Phoenix or is this a long distance hookup? Good luck and break a leg!

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 29, 1999 - 12:45 am
    Gail: This is a small money operation. I am phoning from my own home.

    Robby

    GailG
    June 29, 1999 - 01:24 am
    In discussing the war from all angles a few words keep popping up like..."we", the "boys", the American people...but not a great deal about "them" the men (no women) who had the power to decide whether "we" should enter into the war. I am referring to the European theater; there is no question in my mind about the war with Japan. I do not believe that the motives were the same for "we" and "them". If our leaders thought this was a war to preserve our way of life why did it take so long for us to get involved. I believe "their" motive was to save England which was taking a terrible beating after Dunkirk and the bombings. Remember, we didn't jump in to save France after the fall of the Maginot Line and the German soldiers marching down the Champs Elysses. As for our soldiers, I think most were there because they were drafted, not because they wanted to fight Hitler. That came later when they were exposed to what was really going on in Europe. I don't believe Americans ran to enlist in this war the way they did after the attack on Pearl Harbor. That was an immediate threat to our country. I also think that once our boys were overseas and saw the realities of what had happened they understood how precious their own country was and the freedoms they enjoyed here (except Negroes).

    I cannot say that any war is a "good war"' just perhaps, unavoidable sometimes; but good? Not in my book. Sure, there were benefits that came out of the war; it ended the depression and unemployment and all the good things you have all mentioned. But war by its very definition is a scramble for power or gain by one nation and a defense or retaliation by the other. The people who have to fight are merely fodder, innocent young men killing innocent young men for reasons they really don't understand. Also, please understand that in no way does this diminish the courage and suffering that our men endured it is only meant to air my thoughts about the issue of "war" itself.

    GailG
    June 29, 1999 - 01:40 am
    After all the stories about the Holocaust and the concentration camps came out, we were shocked and vowed never to allow that to happen here. Last week three Jewish synagogues in Sacramento, the capital of California, were torched and destroyed. The local community did come together to show its support, but I have seen no outrage expressed anywhere else. I am not comparing this to what happened in Germany, but everything begins somewhere.

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 29, 1999 - 02:09 am
    Gail:

    You are astute. As a veteran who went through it, I would agree entirely with your post 758.

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    June 29, 1999 - 03:54 am
    I agree, Gail has put into words what I have been feeling - and again the question comes up- what would have happened if the Japanese had not attacked Pearl Harbor? Were we close to a decision to enter the war against Hitler? Certainly the rush to enlist would not have happened - we would have relied on the draft.

    Gail, your posts brings up another question concerning the number of enlistees (and draftees) for World War II - after Pearl Harbor. Has anyone seen such figures anywhere?

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 29, 1999 - 04:55 am
    Someone else may have the exact figures re drafted vs enlisted but I started right after basic training as a Company Clerk and had access to the records. The IDs of draftees began with the number "3" and those who enlisted began with "1". I can tell you that practially all of them were "3s."

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    June 29, 1999 - 05:31 am
    Hey, Robby, this will truly be an "oral history"! We have to get the text into this site! Studs would enjoy an interview with you, I am sure! Enjoy your 20 minutes of radio shine time! They couldn't have asked for a better spokesman! We're so proud of you!



    In one of this week's accounts - I think it was Elliot Johnson, he tells of sprinting down to the marine recruiting headquarters to enlist right after hearing about Pearl Harbor - only to be told by a Marine that he should step out of line because his draft notice was in the mail - (it arrived the next morning!)

    Let's read the tiny chapter, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Maxine Andrew's account, to finish up Book II, okay?

    I thought of you singing to the troops, "Number 22"...trying to hold back tears while singing to the very wounded...

    Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (click)

    "He was a famous trumpet man from out Chicago way,
    He had a boogie sound that no one else could play, He was top man at his craft.
    But then his number came up and he was called in the draft.
    He's in the army now ablowin' reveille.
    He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B."

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 29, 1999 - 05:43 am
    Joan:

    Don't compliment me too early! As you have suspected, I am a shy introvert, am already shivering in my boots, will probably freeze up, remember nothing, and instead of my 20 minutes they will have to play 20 minutes of martial airs.

    Speaking of bugler boy, I may have already mentioned this - it's hard to keep a record of what has been said - but after arriving at Ft. Dix shortly after my enlisting, they looked at my Form 20, found I could play the trumpet, and sent me home on pass to get it. For a few weeks, I had to get up earlier than the others, and march in the band back and forth in front of the barracks to waken the new recruits who weren't used to reveille. I was at Ft. Dix longer than most because of my trumpet playing ability.

    Then when I was sent to 76th Division in Ft. Meade as a new Company Clerk (because I knew how to type), the Company Commander saw my trumpet and made me company bugler. No other company in the regiment had one. As a former Scout I knew all the calls so on the trumpet I played First Call and Reveille each morning, To the Colors when the flag was raised in the morning and lowered at night, Taps at night, and other calls during the day such as Mess Call. Because I had these odd hours, I was allowed a certain flexibility and privileges others did not have.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    June 29, 1999 - 06:17 am
    Thanks Joan for the music - we "jitterbugged" to that and like tunes at sock hops in our high school during the war years - we took off our shoes and danced in the gym during lunch hours.

    Ginny
    June 29, 1999 - 09:58 am
    Robby, you are just delightful! You will be a HIT! We must hear that tape! hahahahahah Twenty minutes of martial music! hahahahahaa

    Joan thanks for the music, it's so great!

    Ginny

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 29, 1999 - 10:04 am
    Ginny: I don't know how you folks are going to be able to hear the tape. They are sending me a copy and I assume the Senior Net "powers that be" will receive copies. But then what? Can that be made audio so you can hear it on the computer? I don't know enough about the technologies.

    Robby

    Ginny
    June 29, 1999 - 10:07 am
    I don't either, Robby, but I know we want to hear that interview. Somebody write Marcie, she'll know, they have audio broadcasts that we can hear by clicking on B&N and here we have our own B&L STAR!, must hear!!

    Such excitement!

    TV is next!

    Ginny

    Ed Zivitz
    June 29, 1999 - 01:19 pm
    Gail: Re Post # 758

    I think that Germany declared war on the U.S. on Dec 8,1941,since they were allied with Japan.

    Churchill tried to get the US to enter the war on the side of Britain way before 1941...FDR knew that it would never fly with the isolationists in Congress..and also U.S.industry was not tooled up for a full scale war...but FDR was able to get the lend-lease program up and running & he knew that it was only a matter of time before we would be in another European War.

    I'm not sure if German U-Boats attacked our merchant ships in the North Atlantic,but I think that Churchill was hoping that they would & thus bring us into the war sooner.

    I think that Malthusian theory holds that all war is "good" since wars tend to reduce world overpopulation,and even Darwin wrote about the "Struggle for Existence" in quoting Malthus and the perpetual struggle for room and food.

    Does war fall into the same category as disease?

    Was WWII a "good" war? When you look at our flag flying high on July 4,and realize that the flag could have been a Nazi Swastika or a Japanese Rising Sun ,for me,there's only one answer...YES

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 29, 1999 - 02:05 pm
    Ed:

    I have often thought about war as a means of leveling out the population, in addition to famine and plague. Without leaning toward any religious reasoning, I get the feeling that nature knows what it is doing. Sort of a homeostasis. We mere mortals think we are running the show.

    Robby

    Eileen Megan
    June 29, 1999 - 04:06 pm
    Someone more literary can correct me if I"m wrong but I think Tolstoy's "War and Peace" implied that world events made someone such as Napoleon be in the right place at the right time. Events in Germany made it possible for Hitler to come to power. I'm saying this badly, but, in other words there are many wannabe Hitlers and Napoleons born but it is world events that make these men come to power and under such events war is sometimes inevitable.

    Eileen Megan

    FOLEY
    June 29, 1999 - 05:41 pm
    I tried yesterday to copy part of my late husband's letter written July 16th about DDay, but I must have taken too long because it vanished from the screen...so here goes.
    After moving into our marshalling area (Falmouth) the plan for the invasion began to shape up. Phase one was our fond farewell to home station. All communication had been frozen from about the time you received my last telegram. We broke camp in the dead of night. My unit was considerably broken up...rather somber for all of us - this farewell, as it was made quite plain to us that the next time we would see each other woud be....somewhere in France - unless.

    Our battalion is a crack outfit. It got a particularly hazardous job in the initial stages of the assault. As my job is not so vitally tied up with actual firing, I'm more of a firing data preparation expert, I was excluded from this party...we were forced to wait in the channel a day or so until the situation warranted landing. It went off without a hitch, the giant LST was going hell bent for election at about 5mph to previously selection position...

    The beach really was that crowded. I must regretfully report that there were evidences of a great and bloody struggle at the spot where we landed. All day previously we had lain offshore and watched the operations through glasses. Sort of like grandstand seats at the biggest show on earth. Only the price of admission ran sort of high. The beach was cluttered with abandoned military debris. But for every piece of equipment that had fallen because of the Boche's defenses or fire, it seemed as though three had gotten ashore and been set up for business.

    It seemed strange there were more bulldozers and road making equipment ashore than shooting pieces. All these construction engineers working with the aplomb of a chain gang..did not stay on the beach too long. following a strict path through the mine fields, my gang, survey and communications soldiers, soon contacted a battery messenger who guided up to our position. I ran into a schoolmate (from Princeton) on the beach.

    Great cries of reunion, then plenty of work. The battery had been getting some good licks in the night before but conditions under which we had been forced to set up shop were so dangerous that all efforts were being made to effect a displacement...

    And so John finished that letter. A newspaper reporter in real life, he wrote well, tongue in cheek and tried not to scare me too much. On Aug 8, on top of a very high hill in France, he wrote - Je crois que les Boches sont vaincus completement. But that was before the Battle of the Bulge!

    robert b. iadeluca
    March 31, 1999 - 04:49 pm
    Foley:

    What a well written but horrifying story - "grandstand seats at the greatest show on earth"! And he gives so much deserved credit to the construction engineers. Without them, there would have been no forward movement. Makes me think of our infantry regiment moving forward to cross some of the rivers only to find that that the combat engineers had been there already and built a bridge!

    I want to give kudos also to the "combat" MPs as differentiated from the regular MPs. The regular MPs had white markings on their helmets - the combat MPs had yellow markings. They were the ones who stood out there on the roads while the shells were falling and directed our trucks in various directions. And you had darn well better obey them or else! Not that we didn't want to - it meant our life!

    Robby

    GailG
    June 30, 1999 - 12:02 am
    Robby: Re your post 770, war can't be equated with famines or plagues. They result from natural forces; war is man made. By the way, what is a "stute"? (slyly...)

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 30, 1999 - 04:44 am
    Gail:

    A stute is something like a skance.

    Now that I got that out of the way -- you call war "man made" but that is my very point. Are famines from natural forces? One might say that a famine could have been prevented but I wonder. Sometimes yes; sometimes no. The same thing with plague. Could we have prevented AIDS? And so with war. While we may "think" that we human beings have taken certain actions causing forces on one side to start killing people on the other side, is it possible that some "natural" force has moved us toward that? Can the lemmings stop rushing into the sea? Why is it that during war time more boy babies are born than girl babies. And if the day comes that as many women will be killed in combat as men, will that change that birth phenomenon?

    I am a firm believer in cycles. We like to think that we cause financial depressions and stock market upturns but as one reads history, the cycles are evident. Is cyclic war and peace nature's way of keeping a balance? I suppose this discussion should really take place in the group discussing philosophy but if we look at it that way, is it possible that WWII was really a "good" war? Out of the Revolutionary War came a great nation. Was it a "good" war?

    Robby

    GailG
    June 30, 1999 - 06:40 am
    Robby: As usual you've made your point. Still, I'm not sure I go along with your theory completely. Maybe after breakfast!

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 30, 1999 - 09:25 am
    Gail:

    I'm not trying to make a point and I would like to hear the comments of others on this. After all, this is what we are discussing, as I see it, not just Terkel's book but also his suggestion that it was a "good" war."

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 30, 1999 - 10:52 am
    Last year on this date officials confirmed that the remains of a Vietnam War serviceman buried in the tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery were identified as those of Air Force pilot Michael J. Blassie.

    Robby

    Ed Zivitz
    June 30, 1999 - 12:26 pm
    It is the belief of many historians that the seeds for WW II were planted by WW I.

    I'm reading a new book now titled "Freedom From Fear" The American People in Depression and War,from 1929-1945. written by David Kennedy,it's a volume in the Oxford History of the United States,and I must report that it is superb in it's analysis. I recommend it very highly for anyone interested in this period of American History.

    I was fortunate enough to see Prof. Kennedy on C-span Booknotes and also saw him on C-span 2 talking about the book. One comment of his that stands out was that history should read like good literature,and this book is a great read and might be of interest to those who liked The Good War.

    FOLEY
    June 30, 1999 - 02:09 pm
    Robby - my husband was a witty Irish-American and loved to tell stories. I heard many during our life together, about throwing up in the Champs-Elysee after meeting some "limey" soldiers who plied him with spirits, of finding the local padre or monsieur le cure in the French villages, and practicing his French whereby he always managed to get a drink of vintage brandy hidden away in the cellar. Of the time the American troops were pulled back from entering Paris, so the French with DeGaulle could get the glory, of the many kisses he received from the French lasses. Also sad tales, when his best buddy was shot down while doing some artillery spotting. Pat

    Joan Pearson
    June 30, 1999 - 02:10 pm
    Foley! That letter is a treasure! Can you imagine how many similar letters are stashed away in attics...? I can't imagine receiving a letter from a husband. son, brother or beau who had made it through D-Day! I bet they all refrained from graphic descriptions of what they had just been through, just like your husband did!

    Do you remember sitting in movie theatres at home, watching the newsreels? And the daily publication of names of those who didn't make it? Our local names were read on the Post Office steps for some reason! I know many didn't make it off those beaches, but many did. I'd love to hear how they would characterize that war...and how they feel about the draft and sending young men to fight like that again....

    FOLEY
    June 30, 1999 - 05:21 pm
    Joan - I recall that names of local civilians killed in air raids the night before were posted on the doors of the municipal offices in our Manchester suburb. My other item on D-Day concerns a friend who was a doctor in the U.S. Navy. He sat offshore on Omaha Beach on that June 6, on a small ship with corpsmen, waiting for casualties. They dealt with anyone, British, American and German. Some of the Germans put up a fight not wanting to be touched, perhaps they thought they would be killed. He said the injuries were horrific, intestines opened up, young men dying before they could be treated. The only thing he says now, is thank God I was in the Navy!

    robert b. iadeluca
    June 30, 1999 - 06:13 pm
    It was on this date in 1934 that Adolph Hitler began his "blood purge" of political and military leaders in Germany. Among those killed was one-time Hitler ally Ernst Roehm, leader of the Nazi storm troopers.

    Robby

    Lou D
    July 1, 1999 - 09:56 am
    As far as the causes of war, it appears to be in our nature, as it is with many other animals. Lions make war on other lions, and on hyenas. Chimpanzees make war on other groups of chimps. Ants war with other colonies of ants. Whether these wars are territorial or conflicts with other species is a moot point. It seems to be just the nature of certain animals to go to war, and man being the most highly developed(?), he just carries things to extremes.
    A good war? The only good war belongs to those who won.

    Joan Pearson
    July 1, 1999 - 12:47 pm
    Foley, ask your Navy friend how one got to be "lucky" in the Navy or the Air Force. I would hate to be in naval warfare, ready to go down at any time, or in the air, getting shot down. It seems one would have a better chance of survival on terra firma? Tell me, was the Army the only branch which drafted it's men...and the others took only those who enlisted?

    Lou, the next pages in the book, Sudden Money deal with those who made out very well financially during the war... I'm sure they would call this one a "good war" too. I can understand after reading these pages why it's been said that Americans really don't understand war because we haven't experienced it right in our own backyards...

    Before we move on to that discussion, can anyone fill me in on the Battle of the Bulge?

    In this chapter, Joe Henley, Dr. Alex Shulman and Timuel Black regard the Battle of the Bulge- and the order to retreat - "madness." Can you explain what happened there? Was all that blood shed in vain?

    FOLEY
    July 1, 1999 - 05:36 pm
    Joan - dont know the rules in the U.S. forces. My friend was a doctor and he volunteered for the Navy as he loved sailing.. My husband was in the ROTC at Princeton and then in the Pennsylvania national guard, so was called up immediately after Pearl Harbor. He had already been on maneuvers that autumn in the deep south. He was in the Battle of the Bulge, will check his letters. He always said it was so cold and snowy in the Huertgen Forest.

    Suntaug
    July 1, 1999 - 07:19 pm
    Was drafted in Sept '42 -requested Air Force - had enough "larning' to pass tests for at least 105 points on aptitude tests - so was sent to Atlantic City for more tests -sent to radio school where I volunteered for air crew. In '42 only volunteers were accepted to fly - No more than 5' 8" -160 lbs and could pass the required physical tests to be an aerial gunner - with a 50% raise in pay for flying duty!! At that time life expectancy was 8 missions and not enough volunteers so in '43 anyone passing the physical requirements were sent to gunnery schools! It was better than being in the mud (but we did live in tents in Libya and North Africa)and you'd come out whole or not at all- most of the time.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 2, 1999 - 04:40 am
    Suntaug:

    As a former infantryman, I still would rather be in the mud than "way up there" with a life expectancy of 8 missions. I want to feel my feet on the ground even if it is oozy. Each to his own!

    Robby

    FOLEY
    July 2, 1999 - 12:39 pm
    D-Day memories

    On the most important date of the war up till then, our radio at the naval station was not working. It was only when a neighbor told us about the invasion that we knew D-Day had become. My future husband left Falmouth, England on a LST, he was in the artillery and they had to wait for two days, bouncing about on the water until they could land. In his letters, he mentioned the utter turmoil and devastation on Omaha Beach as they ploughed through to try and reach their unit. They immediately got the guns going and tried to find the Germans through the "bocage" the heavy leafed high hedges in the French lanes. My dear friend was a naval doctor on D-Day, his ship lying right offshore. They dealt with all casualties, including the Germans, and saw terrible sights, men with stomachs ripped open and dying before they could do anything to help. He always says, thank God I was in the navy! If you go to Arromanches in Normandy, you can see remains of the Bailey bridges and the breakwaters.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    FOLEY
    July 2, 1999 - 12:42 pm
    Joan, By George, I think I did it, followed your instructions. was worried about "highlight" but I hit the Block key and it did it. Thanks so much. Now if I could only do the same with my articles printed in WordPerfect.

    Joan Pearson
    July 2, 1999 - 12:54 pm
    Foley! Yes! The exact same thing with Word Perfect. HIGHLIGHT with left mouse, COPY with right mouse, bring it right here and PASTE with right mouse. Then, right before you post, put in the br in those brackets, <> every time you want the line to break and P in the brackets <> everytime you want a space between paragraphs! This is great! You have a ton of relevent information, I know!

    I'm with you, Robby! Terra Firma! Except in the Battle of the Bulge!!! Can anyone provide information about what went on there? Please?

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 2, 1999 - 01:39 pm
    I think I posted earlier that those of us in the 29th Division spread ourselves out thin so that others could change their location and "block" the Germans. But I was not in the battle itself.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 2, 1999 - 03:37 pm
    Oh, surely, some of you know the particulars!

    All I know is that it was Hitler's last desperate stance of the war and his generals, no doubt, knew if they didn't make it there, it was all over! As I understood it from the reading I've done, the allies did not expect it and it was a very costly battle for both sides. Although I think I've read or heard that we should have known as we had captured German soldiers who knew of the scheme.

    Robby - and the rest of you - what can you tell us of that battle?

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 2, 1999 - 03:56 pm
    Ella:

    You have to understand that individual GIs may have been very close to the battle and yet not know the particulars until time had past. Everything was very secret at that time.

    Most of us had radios we had liberated from houses and listened to whatever was available. This was my first experience with heavy jamming, the constant annoying warbling noise that drowned out the allied programs the enemy didn't want us or their own people to hear. Coming in loud and clear, however, was Axis Sally. Speaking perfect American-style English, she gave us the Axis propaganda, playing all our favorite Big Band music and telling us how much fun our girl friends and wives at home were having with other men. She also gave us the latest news as to troop movements, seeming to know exactly where we were located. Except for those GIs who were emotionally upset, we tended not to believe most of what she said but did enjoy her music. I learned years later that her name was Mildred Gillars and that she was a failed American acress who agreed to broadcast pro-Nazi messages over Radio Berlin.

    Every week was a replica of the previous week - that is, more boredom and more terror - until December, 1944, when word came that the Germans had broken through our lines somewhere near the 29th Division sector. Extraordinary events began to happen. We were warned that men in American uniforms speaking perfect English were not necessarily GIs. Apparently German paratroopers, fluent in American style English and wearing our uniforms, were dropping behind our lines during the night. The usual method of identification, especially at night, had been to ask for the password and then give a counter password in return. This method was no longer sufficient. If an unfamiliar face was noticed, we were to ask typical American questions, for example: What is the name of the ball field in Brooklyn and who plays there? Who did Harry James marry? Where was the Revolutionary Tea Party held? What is Old Faithful? More than one genuine GI was brought in at the point of a rifle because he didn't know the answers to questions like these.

    We hadn't yet heard the phrase, but this was the start of the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler's last gasp. It was the 30th Division, I believe, which had been fighting at our flank and it was moved over to bolster the troops defending the breakthrough. Units of the 29th were spread farther apart to cover what had previously been the 30th Division sector. Thankfully, the enemy never learned of the great distances betweeen individual 29th Division soldiers on the front line and between whom they could have driven tanks with no difficulty at all.

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 3, 1999 - 05:54 am
    John Keegan, considered one of the best military historians, describes World War II as "a great morality play, a story of good against evil which isn't true at all about the First World War." He adds: "We may not have gone into the Second World War for moral reasons, but overridingly toward the end it became a war of moral imperative."

    He is convinced that were it not for World War I, there might not have been World War II. "The First World War was a tragic and unnecessary conflict," he writes. It "ended the lives of 10 million human beings, tortured the emotional lives of millions more, destroyed the benevolent and optimistic culture of the European conflict" and led directly to World War II. "Bolshevism and Fascism would have been minor movements and Hitler might have lived out his life as a Viennese dropout."

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 3, 1999 - 06:08 am
    Robby, in the South Pacific, as you probably know, the guys had Tokoyo Rose to listen to - she did most of the same as did your Axis Sally. Didn't fool anyone, of course, but they enjoyed the music also. Did you ever hear who she was - after the war?

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 3, 1999 - 06:19 am
    Ella: Yes, I did hear but I forgot the details. I believe she, also, came to the United States.

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    July 4, 1999 - 04:23 am
    Thanks all, for those vivid first-hand accounts. I feel as if I am living through those war years- well, I actually did live through them, but had no clue as to what was going on in the world back then. Here's some more on the Battle of the Bulge.

    The next chapter, Sudden Money deals with life back here in the states while the war raged abroad. Lee Oremont tells how easy it was to make a lot of money at home; Elsie Rossio tells of her whole town of Seneca, IL - booming because of the presence of the war plant which built LSTs! I'm beginning to understand why I don't recall much hardship growing up during the war...other than the rationing, something about margerine, saving for war bond stamps...

    I'd been wondering (and feeling sort of guilty) about how my father was able to build our beautiful new house on the lake during those years...how his advertising agency could have possibly done so well to comfortabley support our large family - until I read these pages!

    And now finally I understand the repeted statements that Americans don't really understand what war is like, because we have not experienced it in our own backyards. It hasn't really touched us...unless of course, of course, we have lost someone fighting in the war! I think that's why this discussion is so important!

    I will be interested in hearing your reaction to these pages - and how your family fared at home during the war!

    Robby has just passed along this information:

    Today (Sunday, July 4th) the Michael Feldman show will be on WAMU (88.5 FM) between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. On today's show Michael will interview Studs Terkel.


    HAPPY 4th everyone - really celebrate our INDEPENDENCE!

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 4, 1999 - 04:50 am
    Joan:

    Thank you for your clickable on "Battle of the Bulge." So many memories came back and I read names of Generals I hadn't thought of for years. As was indicated, that was one of the major battles of WWII. The Germans lost it and we spent the rest of the time from Jan/45 to May/45 chasing across the Rhineland. Please keep in mind that there were still battles to be fought and that the winter was BITTERLY cold!

    Regarding the Michael Feldman show - WAMU broadcasts out of Washington, DC and the time listed is EDT.

    Robby

    Ginny
    July 5, 1999 - 07:28 am
    Well heckers, I didn't get to hear either radio broadcast and I wanted to hear both. DID Joan P attack Studs in Washington DC?? DID you all have a marvelous Fourth? At one point in the TV production from DC the announcer said, does this make you proud to be an American?

    What a question!

    It was spectacular, wasn't it? And we followed it up ourselves here with our own fireworks, which we've been doing for years. I got all teary over the DC one and all in awe over ours: you could see from far away, all the others, the booming was all around.

    My husband was of the opinion that he liked our modest one best (of course) as it reminded him more of the "rocket's red glare." There's actually one called "red rocket," which looks like a red rocket.

    As I was two years old when the war ended, I can't contribute any memories but I hope to catch up on those who did write about same in the Terkel book, and want to know:

    1. What Studs said yesterday
    2. What Robby said June 29th
    3. IF Joan P attacked Studs in person!!


    Ginny

    Ginny
    July 5, 1999 - 07:40 am
    Here's to YOU, Vets, and to All Americans!
    God Bless the USA!


    Ginny

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 5, 1999 - 07:40 am
    Ginny:

    It turned out (I didn't know this in advance and the announcement hadn't told us this) that this program was a repeat of a couple of years ago. Apparently WAMU thought it would be a good program to repeat for July 4th but Feldman interviewed Studs about one of his earlier books. From our point of view it was not of any help.

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 5, 1999 - 07:49 am
    Oh, what I said on June 29th! It was very enjoyable, Ginny, and very smooth. Ann Wrixton asked me questions primarily about my experiences in the army after the armistice had been declared on May 8, 1945. She asked me and I answered about my being at the Sorbonne and the help I received from the wife of the Paraguayan ambassador to France, about how we felt as we arrived in NYC passing under the Statue of Liberty, and the education I received under the GI Bill. I guess I have shared many of these memories here. They also asked me about how I found Senior Net and what it means to me and I let her know that it is turning out to be one of the worst experiences I have ever had and am only remaining because of the high salary I am being paid as Discussion Leader.

    I spoke for 20 minutes and, to be honest, don't remember the items I covered because they tend to mingle in my mind with items I share here. The program was taped, I will be receiving a copy and I guess copies can be obtained from Ann Wrixton or Marcie Schwarz.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 5, 1999 - 08:11 am
    Oh, Robby, you are so funny! I'd love to hear the tape, is it possible to somehow put it on SN? Other websites do such things as recording interviews. I used to have a bookmark for BOOKRADIO where I could listen to interviews by authors - haven't been there lately.

    I'm sure you were excellent in the program and wish I could have heard it.

    Ginny - it's a personal thing but couldn't listen to your clickable on that song about America. That was what everybody played during the Gulf War - where my daughter,as a nurse in a medical unit, spent six months in Saudi Arabia and I was so frightened for her and all our soldiers as we didn't know if the bombs coming were loaded with nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) warheads. The Army does things well in some respects - my daughter was amused when they were issued new camouflage (the sandy colored ones and the tan boots) outfits as they were being sent home (they were wearing their green ones all the time they were there!). As all the soldiers got off the plane and relatives were gathered, the Army had set up a loudspeaker record of that song!!!! Don't care if I never hear that one again as it will always remind me of how frightened we were at home.

    Here's a good site on the web about WWII - click on "Orphan Ann" and listen to a couple of sound bites from her broadcasts.

    WWII and Orphan Ann

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 5, 1999 - 08:20 am
    Ella:

    I suggest you ask Joan Pearson or Ginny Anderson or Marcie Schwarz or Ann Wrixton about listening to the tape. I just don't know what facilities they will set up so this can be done.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 5, 1999 - 08:24 am
    Hi Robby: I've been trying to do an URL for about l/2 hour now and can't see what I'm doing wrong! Oh, well, it may or may not work, but it was an interesting site on the web.

    Ginny
    July 5, 1999 - 08:36 am
    How about this one Ella??
    God Bless America!


    It's a shame if the beautiful God Bless the USA has become identified with unhappy memories of the Gulf War, I do seem to remember it now, played then. Yet I love the chorus:

    And I'm proud to be an American
    Where at least I know I'm free.
    And I won't
    Forget
    The men who died,
    Who gave that right to me,


    And I'll proudly
    Stand up
    Next to you
    (here I get a little foggy) And defend her, still, today.


    For there ain't no doubt
    I love this land!
    God bless the USA!


    Robby, heckers, I've been waiting with bated breath for Joan Pearson to tell us what she DID! hahahahah

    Oh you are a hoot, we must hear that tape now!!

    It IS fun here, isn't it??

    how come all of you BUT me get paid? hahahahahahah

    Ginny

    Ella Gibbons
    July 5, 1999 - 08:42 am
    Yea!!! Finally got it right!

    GOOD ONE, GINNY, ME TOO - PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!

    You're having fun now that you've learned to do a MIDI!

    I'm going to learn that too! It just takes me a year or so to learn one thing, so maybe by the next July 4th????

    Ginny
    July 5, 1999 - 08:44 am
    Ella, it's like so many other things, it SEEMS like a big deal,and it's NOT! I'll be glad to show you, there's literally nothing to it.

    Ginny

    Ella Gibbons
    July 5, 1999 - 04:17 pm
    Send me the directions, Ginny, in an email.

    In a lighter vein - read this the other day - "If it weren't for the Japanese and the Germans, we wouldn't have any good war movies."

    Lou D
    July 5, 1999 - 06:24 pm
    How's this for a "good war"! Featured on 20/20 this evening was a report on the sinking of the USS Indianapolis,and a 12 year old boy's attempt to help clear the name of Capt. Mcvay, the ship's skipper. That is the ship that was torpedoed, with the loss of over 900 men, and the Navy didn't even try to find what happened until an army pilot reported survivors in the water 4 days later! Over 600 of the men were lost while in the water after surviving the actual sinking, many by continous shark attacks.

    The captain was court-matialed and found negligent of duty, even though the commander of the sub that sank him testified that there was nothing Mcvay could have done to avoid the sub. It was obviously a Navy cover-up!

    During the war, John F. Kennedy's torpedo boat was run over by a Japanese destroyer at night! Now a destroyer is much bigger, and noisier, than a PT boat. Kennedy was hailed as a hero, yet Mcvay was court-martialed! The war was good for those with political connections, I guess, but not for most others!

    talltexan
    July 6, 1999 - 06:20 am
    I know that by "good", Mr. Terkl mean that it was a just cause and for the most part all Americans supported it. BUT there is nothing good about war. Just ask the poor service men who invaded Omaha Beach! Over two thousand men (mostly boys) were slaughtered in just a few hours. Theirs was NOT a good war.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 6, 1999 - 06:24 am
    Doug:

    Welcome to our forum! You have probably read some of the earlier postings where we discussed the Omaha Beach invasion and everyone agrees with you concerning how terrible it was.

    Please come back and share some more of your thoughts with us.

    Robby

    FOLEY
    July 6, 1999 - 10:54 am
    Lou - I'm well aware of the tragedy of that ship. A good friend in Sarasota, Harlan Twible, was a young officer on the vessel and has told me awful stories of trying to stay afloat in shark-infested waters and men dying or drowning all around him. He has met the boy who is doing such a good job of clearing the captain's name. Harlan was been asked to be an advisor on the film (or documentary) that will be shot soon. He has a screen address but dont think he's a SeniorNetter. I'll tell him about the interest being shown here.

    Joan Pearson
    July 6, 1999 - 02:43 pm
    Ella! That was a great site...I've wondered what kind of women taunted our men like that when they were most vulnerable! This comment made about Orphan Ann in the clickable you provided, explains a lot!
    Though employed to broadcast pro-japanese propaganda, her outspoken support of the Allies off-mike (while cleverly concealing it within her message and delivery on-air) resulted in numerous arguments and even fist fights at work, and continual harrasment at home and elsewhere. She literally cheered in the streets as U.S. Gen. Doolittle's Raiders flew over Tokyo, and cheered yet again when the first American B-29's appeared over Tokyo in the fall of '44 (the first one was a BR-29 reconnaissance craft named "Tokyo Rose").

    Doug, I can't let go of the image of the young soldiers on the LSTs waiting their turn to hit Omaha Beach, watching those before them take direct hit, seeing the bodies and body parts floating in the water, knowing in minutes it would be their turn! It's mind-boggling to me how any of them survived - physically and mentally!

    Yet Ray Wax one of the war survivors says in an interview with Studs Terkel this week, ""the guys came home with a good feeling they had accomplished something." Now if those who fought in the war felt this way, who are we to say otherwise?



    Foley, it would be great if you could get Harlan to shed some light on the Mcvay/Navy issue which Lou has brought to our attention. Thanks Lou! Hi!

    Ginny, (and everyone else too young to remember much about the war), can you ask family members what living in the US was like during the war? I don't remember much, but I do know we were living very comfortably, even though some things were rationed.

    We had just come through the depression, and suddenly there were all sorts of jobs for everyone. And more money that most families had in years. Prosperity as we hear from Elsie Rossio, Charles Page, Lee Oremont, Georgia Gleason in this weeks pages of Good War? Prosperity for everyone? Or just for a minority of entrepreneurial types? Did others feel a financial hardship? What of your own family?

    Lou D
    July 6, 1999 - 04:10 pm
    Regarding captain Mcvay, (I spelled his name wrong previously) anyone wishing to help clear his name should e-mail their senators and representative asking them to support SJ26 (Senate) and HJ48 (House), which are joint resolutions to set aside Mcvay's conviction.

    More information can be found at www.usindianapolis.org/main.htm. The surviving crew, to a man, support this action!

    (A bill was presented in congress last year, but got nowhere. A joint resolution has a much better chance of being enacted). I feel we, as people who lived through that period, should do this little bit to help correct a great injustice!

    Jeryn
    July 6, 1999 - 04:29 pm
    Joan P asks what was life like during WW2, especially regarding economics. I was a child but I do remember, as Mom and I moved with Daddy around the country as he was stationed here and there, she did NOT feel she had to work outside the home herself, as she had always done before--and after the war. Daddy's pay as a 2nd "Looey" must have been quite adequate; we lived well enough in rented homes off base and I don't think we, as a soldier's family were subject to rationing? I just don't remember it except at Grandma's house.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 6, 1999 - 04:46 pm
    Welcome, Jeryn! You bring another aspect to the memories of women at home during the WWII. Not every wife chose to be a "Rosie, the Riveter." Please continue to share with us and tell us about Grandma's house during the war.

    Robby

    GingerWright
    July 6, 1999 - 08:17 pm
    Ella Gibbons, Thank you for the link to Iva.

    Ginny, Thanks for God Bless America.

    Both of these things are very special to me.

    FOLEY
    July 7, 1999 - 08:11 am
    Lou D - sent a message to Harlan, and he replied today saying he would get in touch with you by e-mail. He agrees, the more people we get to write, call, e-mail the government, the better the outcome for Captain M. Hope this helps.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 7, 1999 - 11:32 am
    Foley:

    Can you tell us any more of the details of that tragedy that Harlan related to you? On the one hand, not pleasant to remember but, on the other hand, beneficial to the rest of us here and historians in the future to know the type of events that took place.

    Robby

    Eileen Megan
    July 7, 1999 - 02:13 pm
    Joan P. asked about those who prospered during WWII. I guess my Dad would qualify, he was a purchasing agent for the Navy Department during the war. We were sent out to Chicago where we lived in a hotel for 3 months since there was a housing shortage. We lived in Chi from 1942 - 1946. My parents were wined and dined by various businessmen who obviously wanted him to send business their way. I remember our getting big baskets of Washington apples, I'm sure there were other"gifts" but didn't really know about them. I know we would go home to Boston yearly, sometimes by car - Dad was able to get gas even though there was gas rationing. I attended a girl's academy, my brother Buddy ran away from home 3 times while we were there to join the Navy - finally at 17 Dad signed him up but the war was over by then.

    Eileen Megan

    Suntaug
    July 7, 1999 - 05:29 pm
    Leaflet dropped over France on June 8th, 1944. It is written in French on one side and german on the other so will have to send in two parts. DER STEIN IST IM ROLLEN - Deutsche Arbeiter! Die deuutschen Generale haben einen todlichen Schlag gegen Hitlers Macht gefuhrt -- todlich, ganz gleich, ob er von sofor-tigern Erfolg begleitet sein wird oder nicht. Ein faschistisches Regime, das einen schon verlorenen Krieg fuhrt, kann eine solche Untergrabung seiner Autoritat nicht lange uberleben. (There are five more paragraphs and end with this in large capital letters ) DIE DEUTSCHEN ARBEITER MUSSEN IHN WEITERSTOSSEN! Never had it translated. Know some French so that side I've read. Will send some of that side later, if interested.

    Joan Pearson
    July 7, 1999 - 06:01 pm
    Suntaug, I'm sure we'll get that translated in no time! Where's Britta, Gunther? I marvel every day at the power of the Internet - and SeniorNet!

    But Lou, I can't find anything at the site you give above...I was going to put it here as a clickable and come up empty handed! Will you check it and see if you can find out what I'm doing wrong?www.usindianapolis.org.

    OK, that's two more-Eileen and Jeryn who remember living fairly well here at home during the war, just like the folks in this chapter, Sudden Money. Some of you remember the rationing. My husband just told me that even that was not necessary in many cases, but was imposed to give people the feeling they were part of the war effort.. I'd like to know more about that! Will hunt around for some more information on rationing!

    I have to tell you, I am confused. Was there an economic "good time" at home during the war - for the population in general? My husband says "yes" and he knows lots about everything! I have read ahead in Good War and will go ahead and post from the next chapter tomorrow - especially John K. Galbraith's explanation about what went on here economically. I think he clears up the mystery. Have you read it?

    Later!
    Joan

    ps. Hi there, Virginia - happy to see you back!

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 7, 1999 - 06:17 pm
    Languages are no barrier to us, are they? Suntaug's posting will be translated in no time!

    Robby

    GingerWright
    July 7, 1999 - 09:38 pm
    My father was a steeple jack and my mother was with Studebaker company so there was money but could not buy sugar,gas, tires, nylons. My grandmother was a farmers wife and the sugar for canning was a problem but we made it thru and for me as a child it was ok, had to wash the dishes, take out the trash, sweep the floor and dust after school as they both worked, it taught me responsabilty which was good for me.

    Ella Gibbons
    July 8, 1999 - 10:37 am
    Storms and family things have kept me from reading the Sudden Money pages but will do so today.

    What's this, Joan, about rationing not being necessary during WWII? That is something to be explored certainly - of course, our government was engaged in propaganda so the citizenry of this country would show their "patriotism" (and there was a plentiful supply of this), but to deliberately ration goods is going a bit far, does anyone agree?

    For one thing think of the money they spent sending these ration books out to everyone - I can't remember how we got our books - can anyone? Did we apply for them somewhere?

    At the Library the other day I saw that Studs Terkel has a book on Chicago, so reserved it. Has anyone any knowledge of what it contains?

    I do hope Britta comes by and translates that German leaflet for us - I have her email address so will drop her a line.

    EM - Am I correct in assuming that your father had a civilian job in the Navy Dept? How did he get it - or in other words, what did he do before and after the war?

    Lou D
    July 8, 1999 - 02:11 pm
    Joan, it was my mistake (or terrible typing). The correct site is www.ussindianapolis.org/main.htm. I left out the second "s" in ussindianapolis! Sorry for the inconvenience! But I did get an e-mail from Harlan Twible, one of the survivors, who expressed appreciation for any help in correcting what he termed "a kangaroo court that shanghaied our captain".
    Captain Mcvay must have been a good officer to get that kind of support! I served in the Navy, and if an officer wasn't worth his salt he would never command that kind of loyalty and respect!

    Joan Pearson
    July 8, 1999 - 02:26 pm
    OK Lou here's the site. Let's see if we have it now:
    www.ussindianapolis.org

    Ella, sooo good to have you back! More on rationing tonight...running late! (What's new?)

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 8, 1999 - 02:29 pm
    Joan: I believe Lou is saying that there has to be two s's - USS stands for United States Ship.

    Robby

    Lou D
    July 8, 1999 - 03:27 pm
    Thanks, Joan, and I know that the survivors will really appreciate you and any others who will take a few minutes to help in their quest for justice!

    FOLEY
    July 8, 1999 - 05:15 pm
    Lou - glad to know my friend Harlan got in touch with you re the Indianapolis. Hope to see him in September or October when I visit my friend in Sarasota. I dont think he's ever fully recovered from being in the water so long and all the stress, had a number of heart attacks while still young, and finally had to quit his job.

    Suntaug
    July 8, 1999 - 05:19 pm
    That was the main heading of the French side of the Invasion leaflet. Wasn't one of the group from France and in the vicinity on June 6,'44? Le message suivant a ete radiodiffuse aux travailleurs etrangers en Allemagne par le Conseil International des syndicats des Mineurs, Mettallurgistes et Ouvriers du Transport. LE MOMENT QUE VOUS ATTENDEZ DEPUIS SI LONGTEMPS EST ARRIVE. Des generaux allemands ont lance un deli a la puissance d'Hitler. Une autorite rivale a la sienne a ete etablie. Le soldat allemand et le peuple allemand ont maintenant la preuve que leurs chefs militaires ont abandonne leur dernier espoir de vaincre. (3 more large paragraphs follow)-then- "Travailleurs etrangers en Allemagne! Les travailleurs de votre pays, de toute l'Europe occupee, et du monde libre comptent sur vous. Nous savons que vous ne faiillirez pas!" Finally, in french, it tells what the radio frequendies are and days for broadcasts will be for news from England.

    Joan Pearson
    July 8, 1999 - 07:19 pm
    Sun, I'll bet the German on the other side says the same as the French. Here's my best translation of the Invasion pamphlet:
    "The following message has been transmitted to foreign workers in Germany by the International Council of Mining, Metallurgists and Transport unions. THE MOMENT THAT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR SUCH A LONG TIME HAS ARRIVED.

    Some German generals have liberated themselves from Hitler's power. A rival authority has established itself. The German soldier and the German people now have the proof that their military chiefs have abandoned their last hope of conquering...

    Foreign workers in Germany! The workers from your country, from all occupied Europe and from the free world count on you. We know that you will not fail!"

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 9, 1999 - 03:30 am
    Joan: Vous avez bien fait!

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 9, 1999 - 06:50 am
    Ray Wax, the con artist of WWII, and certainly not an admirable character, implied at the beginning of his article that the army was "made up of people many of whom joined to avoid a small conviction. The judge would say, Do you want six months or a tour of the army?"

    Of course, he is very mistaken in many of his attitudes, but I do remember hearing of judges doing this at some time or other - do they still? In Columbus, Ohio where I reside there have been two instances in our daily paper lately of parents who have sent their high school-age children to a "boot camp" in another country - I believe it was Argentina, but am not sure. They felt they couldn't control the children's lives so off they packed them for discipline!

    He also stated that some American officers were saying that we ought to finish them off now and they weren't talking abou the Nazis, they were talking about the Russians and "They hated their guts. They thought they were animals. Maybe they were animals. Coming all the way from Stalingrad to Berlin, they'd been turned into animals. They were the best killers in the world."

    Did any of you encounter any Russian soldiers?

    Did they have a right to "hate" after losing 20 million (I think) soldiers fighting the Germans?

    George C. Page (pg.312) certainly benefitted from the war! Even though he was of draft age, he was exempted because the Army needed his packing houses and his ability to make frozen and dehydrated food. I was particarly interested in learning that "carrot cake" was a result of Page being stuck with a mountain of five-gallon tins of carrots and I love carrot cake!!!

    Lee Oremont (pg.314) speaks about price controls but being in high school I have no recollection of this aspect of government interference in the economy. He states "Price controls really saved us from a devastating inflation. I don't think they went up more than five percent."

    Does anyone have any comments about price controls? If it worked once why hasn't the government tried in periods of inflation - would it irk people if it was tried in peacetime?

    Joan Pearson
    July 9, 1999 - 07:59 am
    Ella, look ahead in the next chapter...John K. Galbraith, the economist extraordinaire has much to say about the price controls that were imposed in 1942 and remained in place until 1946. It's quite interesting and eye-opening! He says that without them, inflation would have doubled...even tripled!

    Eileen Megan
    July 9, 1999 - 09:03 am
    I do remember ration books and "points" - I think "points" had to do with purchases of meat - when we visited my grandmother she would send me to the store with them. I also remember bringing cans of fat to the meat store - the grease was supposed to be used for "oiling" guns etc, and the meat stores collected it. it was all supposed to be part of the war effort. I remember saving stamps and trying to fill a book with them too.

    Ella My father was a civilian. His father was the General Manager of all Wheeling Steel in Wheeling, West Virginia and my father worked as a salesman for them. I can only assume it was through his father that he got the Navy Dept.job.

    EM

    Marilyn LaRock
    July 9, 1999 - 10:12 am
    Hope everyone enjoyed the story on T.V. the other night (one of the "news" shows) about that wonderful young man on a quest for clearing Capt. McVay's name in that terrible disaster. They interviewed some "survivors" and the story tugged at my heart strings as do all stories of military occasions.... That young man's biggest desire is to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.... I hope and pray his dream is fulfilled. Best of luck in this great endeavor to all U.S.S. Indianapolis survivors and to all who will finally "rest in peace"....

    There are indeed many "good" stories from this war. I was just 11 yrs. when it all began, but I remember each day vividly. We lived on a main highway thru our town where convoys travelled day and night every day of every year. We gathered mini-loaves of bread from the local bakery from their "day old" cache and along with penny candy that we "horded" from our own allowances, we threw all of these things up into the trucks to the G.I.'s as they passed thru. My grandfather furnished the "guard" who was posted on our corner 24-hrs/day, 365 days/year, home made hot soup in winter and home made potato salad, etc., in summer...... NOTHING was too good for our G.I.'s!!

    Great days in spite of the heartache for some.... We must never, ever forget....

    Thanks for inviting me to this site Joan.... it is great!

    Ella Gibbons
    July 9, 1999 - 02:25 pm
    MARILYN -Where did you live then? Was it a small town?

    JOAN - Plan to read ahead tonight in the THE GOOD WAR book. Very interesting stories don't you agree? As are the stories we are hearing right here!

    FOLEY
    July 9, 1999 - 05:26 pm
    Ella - I met Russian sailors during the war. They had come up to Scotland to learn more about submarines. They came to the dances sponsored by the US Navy there. They loved to dance but not the fast dances. One sailor looked like Nelson Eddy, remember him, and he would come over to me, bow, take my arm and away we would go - never said anything but he could dance! Then when the jitterbugging started, he would bring me back to the other Wrens, bow again, and say in pidgin English, I no sheeterboog. As for carrot cake, I believe Mr. Page is wrong. I was at school in Lausanne Switzerland in 1939, right before the war began, and the lady of the house where I lived often made a delicious carrot cake, using also hazelnuts, so sweet you didnt need any frosting.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 9, 1999 - 06:38 pm
    I met two types of Russians during the war. One was the group of Russians that were DP's (displaced persons) who lived in Displaced Persons' camps. They had been earlier captured by the Germans and later escaped or for one reason or another were part of those many Europeans that were wandering all over the continent, having no home and not knowing where they were going. They were generally friendly folks and we managed to communicate by sign language always ending up with the word "Kaput" which people of all languages seemed to understand - Kaput meaning completely finished - so the constant term thrown about was Deutschland Kaput!

    The other type of Russian I met were the Russian soldiers near the end of the war. If the Americans came into town and needed to set up a headquarters, they would stop at the chosen house and in a generally friendly tell the occupants that they wanted this house and please be out by tomorrow. It was not unusual for Russians to come up to a chosen house, kick in the door and say: "Raus! Everybody out now!" and then take over the house and sometimes took over the daughter as well. They were often drunk while this was happening.

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 10, 1999 - 04:59 am
    On this date in 1940, the 114-day Battle of Britain began as Nazi forces began attacking southern England by air. By late October, Britain managed to repel the Luftwaffe, which suffered heavy losses. On this same date three years later, the U.S. and British forces invaded Sicily.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 10, 1999 - 12:14 pm
    Oh, how interesting all of you are!

    FOLEY-One sailor looked like Nelson Eddy, remember him, and he would come over to me, bow, take my arm and away we would go - never said anything but he could dance! Then when the jitterbugging started, he would bring me back to the other Wrens, bow again, and say in pidgin English, I no sheeterboog.

    I NO SHEETERBOOG!!! I've been laughing about the picture you stuck in my head!! Yes, of course, I remember Nelson Eddy and Jeannette McDonald! So romantic and lovely to listen to - but how strange today they would sound! Can't imagine -

    What did their uniforms look like? - The Russians that is.

    And Robby said they were drunk and mean, those that he met up! Did they drink a lot, Foley, when they were with you in Scotland?

    Is "KAPUT" Russian? Is that how it got into our language, because we all know it now?

    Have read two more chapters on price controls and the difficulties getting the country up to war production - so fascinating to read about - and very fortunately for us, we had the right president at the time! Has anyone ever heard anything bad said of Roosevelt (just forget the mistresses for now). But Kaput for now!

    FOLEY
    July 10, 1999 - 04:07 pm
    After 50 years, it's hard to remember uniforms. I seem to recall the sailors were in navy blue, of course, and the hats were different. The biggest difference between American GIs and sailors and European servicemen was ....body odor...the Americans always smelt so nice, had access to showers and talc. The poor Brits, my fellow men, wore heavy serge suits that really didnt help. As for drinking, remember I was a very innocent 19 year old sailor lass, but the American doctors stationed near us who also met the Russians told me about wild parties on board the Russian ships and how much they, the Russians, could drink, downing the vodka in one fell swoop.

    Jeanne Lee
    July 10, 1999 - 06:01 pm
    Ella - the American Movie Classics channel had a whole day of Jeanette McDonald/Nelson Eddy movies just a couple of weeks ago. As to how they would sound today? Absolutely fantastic! Much of what they sang was, I believe, Gilbert & Sulivan music - and I do mean music, not the noise you hear today. Of course, the story line was totally predictable and the acting often very melodramatic, but still it was very enjoyable.

    GingerWright
    July 10, 1999 - 08:47 pm
    Jeanne Lee, If you see it listed again please let me know as they are favorits of mine, I don't even look at the tv listings any more as things just aren't the same.

    Joan Pearson
    July 10, 1999 - 10:10 pm
    Have you seen the latest issue of the AARP publication? There's a questionnaire on the twentieth century, with some tres interesting questions...

    #1 and #3 may interest those in this discussion. I'd be intersted in your responses.

    #1 Who was the most outstanding American leader of the 20th century?

    #3. What single event most shaped the 20th century?

    Joan Pearson
    July 10, 1999 - 10:26 pm
    Ella, I read ahead too and find that this week's chapter, The Great Panjandrum (what is a panjandrum???) goes a long way towards explaining questions regarding price controls and prosperity at home during the war, mean Russians and the Cold War, FDR...and how we really got involved in the war in the first place - before Pearl Harbor!

    I think a good starting point for this discussion is Ella's question...

    "Has anyone ever heard anything bad said of Roosevelt?"
    Ask some of the New Dealers from this chapter! When did Roosevelt change from "Dr. New Deal" to "Dr. Win the War"? What persuaded him to change his direction after having just been elected on his domestic New Deal platform to alleviate the unemployment stemming from the Depression?

    GingerWright
    July 10, 1999 - 11:45 pm
    Joan P. #1 FDR

    #2 The bombing of Pear Harbor.

    Yes I have heard some things about FDR, I do not know if they are true, so I will not repeat them.

    I do not know why FDR changed unless it was because we were bombed, so will be watching for all of your replies.

    GingerWright
    July 11, 1999 - 12:48 am
    Joan P, In your Post #600 you ask if I wanted to hear both sides of the bombings? Seems some how I missed your post that day but have found it now thru search.

    I know that world war two was a very bad thing in this respect there were men on both sides did not want to kill each other but it was kill or be killed as is in any war, such as the battle of the north and south in this country, brothers against brothers that had to be very hard on the men, and so is your answer to post #600. Some day you may ask why #2 war was the good war, If so it is because of it that we now have freedom other countrys do not..If the other side had won we would not have the privilage to even discuss it openly let alone talk about it on a world wide net. I for one would not hurt anyone unless i was threatend and it was so for this country at the time of world war # 2. GOD BLESS AMERICA. ginger

    GingerWright
    July 11, 1999 - 01:31 am
    Whoops you are reading a book that I have not read and I am pouring my heart out OK I am learning and that is good and you are getting to know me.How is that? email me on my question please. I am coming out of a deep sleep due to a loss of a loved one in 1997. I will be ok soon I hope.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 11, 1999 - 05:23 am
    Joan:

    To answer your question about "single event," I would broaden it a bit more than Virginia and would call World War II the "single event that shaped 20th Century." I tend to think of things as "before the war" and "after the war." And I never specify which war. It is always THE war.

    I thought Panjandrum was a negotiating city in Korea.

    Robby

    FOLEY
    July 11, 1999 - 08:22 am
    According to Webster, word means a burlesque title of an imaginary personage in some nonsense lines by Samuel Foote 1755 - so there. a powerful personage or pretentious official. I say Churchill and World War II for the AARP questionnaire. We Brits would never have survived without him and the U.S. would have been dragged into a deeper maelstrom.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 11, 1999 - 08:52 am
    Foley:

    And yet I got the picture from talking to some British people that Churchill was not the hero to them that he was to the Americans and that they couldn't wait to get him out of public life.

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    July 11, 1999 - 09:29 am
    Foley, I'm sorry, I miscopied the AARP question - it should have said "the most outstanding American leader of the 20th c. At least you have registered your preference for the most outstanding world leader! You get another vote.

    Ginger, your true feelings come forth loud and clear. Well stated! I started a little charting below to keep track of the preferences as they come in - will work it into the heading when I get back this afternoon. Somehow I knew the feelings of this group when I first read the questionnaire. This week's chapter (The Big Panjandrum) dwells on Franklin Roosevelt before and during the war and I couldn't resist putting the question to you. It will be interesting to see the results of the AARP questionnaire to be published in September!

    What single event most shaped the 20th century?




    Pearl Harbor (1)

    World War II (2)


    Who was the most outstanding American leader of the 20th century?



    FDR (2)

    ???


    ps Robby, have you read this chapter yet? Any idea why it was so named if Panjandrum is the name of a Korean city? Perhaps the name translates into something relevent to this chapter?

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 11, 1999 - 10:04 am
    Joan:

    I tried to be funny and I failed miserably. The name of the Korean city is Panmunjom.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 11, 1999 - 02:51 pm
    Virginia- you're doing well! Stay confident in your ability to live again and enjoy life. Most of us on Seniornet have gone through losses of loved ones, it's a tie (along with our age) that makes Seniornet such a wonderful site to "hang" out in. Keep it up!

    American Leader - Rooselvelt

    Event that shaped the century - WWII

    In so many ways, too numerous to mention, WWII had an impact on the world.

    These names are familiar to me - Galbraith, Harriman - names from the past. Galbraith I believe went on to, if I'm not mistaken, be in the position that Alan Greenspan is today, didn't he? And, Harriman, the great diplomat, how many times did he run for the presidency? And his wife - books and movies about Pamela!

    Galbraith says "There has been an enormous literature on Albert Speer and the way he was presumed to have organized German production" and believes that some of the ones who organized the war production in this country have been neglected. No doubt he is right! And these men did it in the face of those business leaders who held back, who tried to stop the efforts; whereas, Albert Speer had no effective opposition, we may be sure of that!

    Marcus, in his story, relates how the young New Dealers of Rooselvelt organized to produce the needed industrial machinery for the war effort. A fascinating story!

    Those of you who are reading it, weren't you surprised by the way the Russians got cheated - neglected - by this country - I wonder if the seeds of the Cold War weren't planted by all these plans gone awry. They were supposed to be sent supplies by America and those supplies never were sent even though the White House had given them top priority! Has anyone ever read about this sabotage by our industrial leaders?

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 11, 1999 - 03:07 pm
    The more I read and the more I study, the more I become convinced that we missed opportunity after opportunity during and immediately after the war to strengthen relationships with the Russians. Granted, Stalin and his henchmen were dictators and we had to be careful just how we did it but we lost great opportunities to become friends with the Russian people. During the war we constantly emphasized that we saw a difference between the Nazi regime and the German people but we never seemed to make this differentiation regarding the Russians.

    And lo and behold, we are doing it now. Instead of cementing stronger ties with Yeltsin and pro-democratic circles in Russia, we are thinking of NATO on one side and Russia on the other. I realize that this is a forum for discussing World War II but we seem to be ignoring the lessons we should have learned at that time. World War II was, in part, created by a lack of foresight during and after World War I. Are we letting World War II also be a huge event with no meaning?

    Robby

    FOLEY
    July 11, 1999 - 04:21 pm
    Robby - I agree that Churchill was bounced out in postwar elections. A lot of the younger and poorer people thought he was too old and upperclass for them and had set ideas about the British Empire. But I still think he was the right man for the job of leading the British people during the fight of their lives. Cant imagine Chamberlain, Clement Atlee or John Major doing the same!! Of course the Iron Lady would have been a good choice...

    Scriptor
    July 12, 1999 - 05:33 am
    FDR ran his 1932 campaign against Hoover calling for reduced taxes, less spending and a balanced budget. When he entered office with the depression accelerating and the bank failures he reversed course with his New Deal alphabet measures and probably saved the country from a revolution.

    A most memorable celebration of Germany's defeat and probably the most satisfying was Prime Minister Winston Churchill peeing in the Rhine River.

    Ella Gibbons
    July 12, 1999 - 06:25 am
    Robby, not to belabor the point - but have you read other articles or books about our negligence in supporting Russia during the war. I've seen it alluded to here and there; however, if it was an important factor precluding the Cold War surely there must be some literature on the subject. From the Russian point of view?

    I do believe, as you do, we must make every effort to keep Russia and its leaders as allies and help wherever possible. I recently read that Yeltsin has invited some old friends (and not necessarily OUR friends) for visits - several were mentioned, but remember the Syrian leader for one - what is his name? Hasad?

    Will return to the book and Harriman's story shortly. What an interesting man.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 12, 1999 - 06:35 am
    Ella:

    I have not read any literature on the subject and wish I had the time to do so. It is just from decades of reading and listening to the daily news and doing some thinking on my own. Back there, we got so caught up in seeing a Communist under every bush that we neglected to think of the every-day Russian who, like us, was born, lived, loved, and died and did not hate us Americans unless he/she listened too much to the Soviet propaganda. Witness how quickly the average Russian turned back to the church and also turned to learning English where possible. I believe we are making a grave mistake if we go back to our old type of "thinking."

    Robby

    Scriptor
    July 12, 1999 - 10:19 am
    Some are very wrong about Russia in WWII and after. Was in Germany from '45 to '52. We tried to administer Germany under 4-power control, but they were only interested if we stipped western Germany as they did East Germany for reparations. We gave them duplicate plates for printing the same occupation currency. They wouldn't even tell us how much money they printed; ran off millions to pay their soldiers for all army service past and present; and wouldn't let one such mark be exchanged for Rubles by Russian soldiers returning home with results like throwing gasoline of the Black Market fire.

    We reduced our forces to an occupation Constabulary with only light armored vehicles with mission of just internal security, thus no threat to Russia. It was then Stalin gambled on the Berlin blockade and would move hundreds of Russian divisions regularly up and back on our Zone borders as decided threats able to reach Paris in a week. We had to resort to the Air Lift that surprised them with its success and convert the Army back to costly combat status.

    FRD who recognized Russia in the 30's was naive when he thought he could handle 'Uncle Joe'. His last message in April '45 was alarm over Stalin's violation of Yalta agreement to allow free Polish election. He was learning fast.

    As for war-time aid we send billions in 'lend-lease' war supplies via the dangerous Murmansk sea route in winter and opened the 2nd front. We never got a dime of return or thanks, only demands for more and criticism. They wouldn't even provide a landing site for our gas short Allied pilots to land in the East. Whatever sins we had in War-time dealing with Stalin's regime pale in comparison.

    Their WWII losses in men and destruction were humongus altho Stalin had been only too happy to take half of Poland in a deal with Hitler. They deserved each other.

    We saved their butts along with ours and were met only with Stalin's antagonism and obstruction from the moment the war was over. The Cold War didn't end until his Communism heirs fell.

    FOLEY
    July 12, 1999 - 10:27 am
    Thought I had already written that Websters says the panjandrum is a pretentious official or powerful person, first used by Mr. Foote, whoever he was, in 1755.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 12, 1999 - 10:33 am
    Sceptor:

    I use your last sentence as a key sentence: "the cold war ended as the Communism heirs fell."

    I hold no brief for any dictatorship whether Nazi, Communist, or any of the existing dictatorships in the world today. When I use the term, Russia, I refer to the land and to the people. I am not naive; I realize that governments have to deal with governments but there are other channels, eg non-governmental agencies, business corporations, private contacts, artistic channels, etc. My warning is that we not tend to look at all the terrible actions of the past which you have just enumerated and look at the tricky actions the Russian government is pulling at the moment and say: "forget about working with them." Let us remember that our government (all governments for that matter) can be and are tricky.

    Let us see what we can do (and believe it or not I am still on the subject of warfare) to strengthen people to people relationships and not say: "Oh, that's Russia."

    Robby

    Scriptor
    July 12, 1999 - 11:22 am
    Robbie: (This is becoming a dialogue, but wasn't referring to your remarks in any way in my thoughts about Stalin's Russia).

    All goverments can be tricky but good Germans and Russians have to be at least in part responsible for the Hitlers and Stalins they put in office and/or tolerate. Although I never asked, it's still strange to me that in six years in Germany I never heard a single older German admit even remotely in coversation or otherwise to being a Nazi party member or Nazi sympsthizer! You may disapprove and even detest dictators, but the issue is what an individual does when one exists or is created.

    Scriptor.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 12, 1999 - 11:34 am
    Scrptor:

    I never heard an older German admit it either. I have often wondered what we Americans would do if a dictatorial type of person promised us all the goodies we wanted. Would we put him in the White House and would we be willing to give up some of our freedoms to get those goodies?

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    July 12, 1999 - 03:26 pm
    So many enlightening posts on subjects Studs hasn't begun to address yet! I wonder if he will...we do have about 200 pages to go! A most interesting afternoon, guys!

    Foley, thanks for the definition of "panjandrum" - a pretentious official or powerful person. Now that makes sense as all the people in this chapter were in very powerful positions of responsibility. (Robby, your attempt at humor didn't fail...I did! I'm always the last person in the room to get a joke!)

    Here's what the big Panjandrum had to say about Stalin and the Russians:

    Tommy Corcoran(White House New Dealer): "The British couldn't hold Hitler. That's why we took the Russians in. No matter how bravely they handled it, there wasn't enought power left in Britain to handle Hitler, unless he were diverted by the Russians.
    Joe Kennedy used to say at that time, that the British should have made a deal to preserve their empire. Let Hitler get rid of the Russians. Let him take over Europe if he was gonna. Somehow we could have dealt with German totalitariansism in some way. We could have assassinated Hitler, but we can never do businiss with Russian totalitariansim. I was always a little afraid of Joe.
    I was always suspicious of the Russian link. I had no doubt that we'd eventually win the war, but I always wondered what the Russians were gonna do."


    Joe Marcus (New Deal economist)"Roosevelt dies. The seeds of the cold war had already been planted. Part of the Lend-Lease was supposed to go to the Russians... Five percent of machine tools were to go to the Russians under Lend-Lease. This was violated again and again... Shortly after the end of the war, the question of a loan to Russia came up. Generals and ambassadors were all sending cables...don't do it. the underlying antagonism, that these guys were bastards, that we're gonna have to tangle with'em. Oh I felt that cold war coming in my bones.

    First casualy of the cold war...the debate on foreign policy. It was eliminated. IT was simply assumed that the Soveit Union is the enemy. We knew all the answers. We were in charge."

    There's more, but dinner waits. The general feeling seems to be that FDR could have kept negotiations going (Averell Harriman). He says Stalin was afraid of Roosevelt - and his influence in the world. However, he does say "There's a myth that Roosevelt gave Stalin Eastern Europe. At Yalta...FDR was determined to stop Stalin - he thought they had an agreement on Poland. Before FDR died, he realized that Stalin had broken his agreement."


    Poland has got to be one of the reasons we broke agreements with Russia!

    Ella Gibbons
    July 12, 1999 - 04:31 pm
    Scriptor: We've never had a dictator - who can say what we would do. The American people certainly went to the streets over Vietnam and Civil Rights and had an effect on our goverment; however, it is not against the law to do so in our country. We have a guarantee of freedom of speech and assembly.

    However, in Germany I believe that Hitler was, at first, very good for the Germans; he brought Germany out of the depression, unemployment and despair they were in as a result of the punishment and debt inflicted on them after WWI. When you give people jobs, you give them hope; perhaps they had no idea of his ultimate goal. He was in power and had an army behind him before they realized what was happening.It was out of fear of reprisal that they joined the Nazi party. Do you agree?

    You fellows had an interesting chat this afternoon - I have no comment on that! I do remember young girls (my oldest sister was one of them) thinking they should marry the guy they were dating before he went overseas. Their marriage was a good one; however, I'm sure that many that rushed into it had an adjustment to make when the fellows came home - I do hate to say "IF" the fellows came home but that was a fact of the war.

    Ella Gibbons
    July 12, 1999 - 04:50 pm
    P.S. to Scriptor: We have a difference of opinion as to our aid to Russia, which could be very understandable. Joe Marcus, appointed in 1940 to head the Civilian Requirements Division (whatever that was) saw a few things going on that he believes led to the enmity of the Russians toward the allies.

    However, Averell Harriman says "Much of the aid we first gave to Russia we took away from what we promised Britain."

    It was such a huge endeavor, gearing up for war production, it is doubtful it could ever be sorted out as to where and how all those materials were shipped.

    Averell Harriman goes on to state "Our ideas and their ideas (Russian) were irreconcilable. I said we'd have to adjust our differences or else." And further, he says:

    "We have to understand them. We can't assume that they're something they're not."

    That's as true today as it was during WWII. We have to understand the differences between our people and their's, our government and their government, if we are to have peace. Democracy is not working in Russia and I wonder if it ever will. There is nothing wrong with a dictatorship if it is the right one and perhaps they need that type of government.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 12, 1999 - 05:34 pm
    In the Spring of 1945 came the news of President Roosevelt's death. Many of us cried. It was the only president that many of us had known. He became president when I was 12 years old and had been our leader throughout my growing up period. It was a sad moment.

    Robby

    Ray Franz
    July 13, 1999 - 05:54 am
    I am still amazed at the way our government was able to gear up for the production necessary to supply our ally's needs, as well as our own, in order to win the war.

    Those of us in the service were sometimes jealous of those who "enjoyed" a paycheck and the safety on the homefront production lines. However, I do not think this was all cake and ice cream. My uncle worked for Standard Oil in Wood River IL but many months of 12-hour days were spent away from his family in Baton Rouge putting a new "cat cracker" refinery on line.

    I was told that gasoline was rationed only in order to conserve rubber for the manufacture of tires for the military and not because there was a shortage of gas. The thinking was that with less gasoline there would be less driving and less of a need for tires in the civilian area.

    One thing that was demonstrated was the benefits of savings--an item brought about during wartime by the lack of product and services to spend the money on. Much of it went into savings in the form of War Bonds. Even those of us in the military put much of our small pay into bonds. When the war was over, those savings sent us into almost immediate "prosperity" compared to what we experienced in the 30's.

    Much of this war materiel was never returned to the U.S. because it cost more to haul it back than to produce more of the same. The South Pacific in particular is dotted with discarded items.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 13, 1999 - 06:09 am
    I was also one of those in the service who regularly bought War Bonds. In addition, I had an allotment sent back to my grandparents each month which helped them a lot. I had no need of money except for small amounts and so I put it to what I felt was good use. Once in combat I had absolutely no need for money at all. As a matter of fact, as any combat veteran will tell you, we didn't see a pay officer for months.

    Robby

    Ray Franz
    July 13, 1999 - 09:29 am
    When the paymaster did appear our pay was in "occupation money" or some similar "scrip" that was accepted universally. The American dollar was still accepted by any and all, just as it is today in just about every country. In some places it is preferred over the local currency.

    Scriptor
    July 13, 1999 - 11:10 am
    Ella:

    We had a dictator in 1770's and came very close to one via the elk of Huey Long, G.K.(?)Smith, Earl Browder et al in 1933-4.

    The huge costs in billions sent to Russia under lend-lease is a matter of fact and record. Hope none of your kin were on the Murmansk run.

    Understanding was not Stalin's aim. Distrust was his forte. The division on split of limited supplies with Britain was controlled by concern with keeping Russia in the war against possibility of a German-Russian settlement. Our butts of necessity came first.

    Also FDR's key man in our war-time relations with Russia was Harry Hopkins, not Harriman.

    And, for my money everything is wrong with a governmant dictarship. As Patrick Henry (even if he opposed adoption of U.S. Constitution) said, "Give Me Liberty or Give me Death".

    Raymond: The occupation mark issued in Germany until 1945-6 was not script. Early in the occupation, currency control books to send these marks home in dollars became necessary, but were very ineffective. This lasted until U.S. script was issued in dollar pay equivalivent; issued because of the Russian operation with our joint mark currency noted above. These German occupation marks remained in local economy use until German currency reform; delayed until 1949 (?) when the Army had finally repaid the US Post Office for all the Russian occupation marks sent home in GI black marketing, estimated at $400,000,000.00.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 13, 1999 - 11:28 am
    Scriptor:

    Would you give us a few more details about the Russian occupation marks sent home in GI black marketing. How did the GIs obtain them; how did that work?

    Robby

    Ray Franz
    July 13, 1999 - 12:01 pm
    I remember the attempt to control the black market activities by making it difficult the send the money back home. Some of the money came from gambling, which was prevalent with most of the units. One method was to get others to help with the transaction by sending money home for the operators who requested an IOU of lessor value than the money sent home by the other GI. What else to do except to take a chance on the honesty of others with the dishonest money. I do not recall what the limit was on these transactions.

    The GIs were heroes to the civilian population and the children were on the receiving end of chocolate, gum, soap and cigarettes for their parents or to trade for other goodies. There was a generosity with C and K rations as many of the soldiers detested them.

    Isn't it ironic that our government supplied the troops with "cancer sticks," which became more valuable than money for getting a few extras. My mother did housekeeping for a cigar maker and I received a box of cigars regularly. My popularity increased, as did my "goodies."

    In Holland we supplied the soap and our laundry and the civilians were glad to get a chance to also do their laundry. An excellent system which took the pressure of the quartermaster corps and kept us in clean clothes. Public bath houses were also available for our use.

    Suntaug
    July 13, 1999 - 12:34 pm
    Remember: Be sure to sign within the alloted area or you'd be red-lined! as I found out a couple of times. 'Combat fatigue caused this' didn't excuse the error either! My last pay just before leaving the 'Zone of Interior' was in special American Dollar bills that had a yellow seal. They were not good back in ZofI but only for outside the USA. Still have one and at the Treasury in DC, they didn't have one which was a surprise since they have one of every bill ever printed. They wanted me to send back a copy but it would cost $8.00 to make(was warned not the same size). In Egypt we used their piastres and in Tunisisa the French bills: 100 francs was equal to $2.00. They were both larger than dollar bills so had to get a wider wallet! In Italy there was script of Italian lire backed by US: 100 lire= $1.00. In our bail-out/escape kits we carried on missions we had French and German money flying from England but in the Mediterranean area it depended on the region of our mission, as to Austria,Greece,Bulgaria or Yugoslavia. I still have bills and coins of countries I was base in. Anyone ever see the yellow seal bills?

    Scriptor
    July 13, 1999 - 12:37 pm
    Raymond:

    With 400 million above appropiated army pay and allowances sent home by GI's '45-'46 how were the marks sent home in dollars redeemed? Ans. With scrip.

    Having dollar value, the occupation forces of Army and US civilians in Germany were paid in scrip with army expenses paid in marks, i.e. Small example: $100.00 scrip (dollars) was deducted from pay for house rent. The German owner received his rent in occupation marks and the Army redeemed $100.00 of its debt to the Post Office. This went on in every facit of operations; PX's, bars, travel, etc. All charges were paid in scrip, all payments of wages, sevices and supplies made in occupation marks.

    It took three years to clear the books. Then with great fanfare and credit currency reform was proclaimed and the new Germany emerged.

    P.S. Once started, this telling is hard to end. The British with a fraction of US finance size moved early and made the switch to scrip in August, 1945 and went to Parliament for an deficiency appropiation of 80,000 pounds to cover their black market currency loss. Having been trusting of the Russian and dumb, we waited too long. Can you imagine going to Congress in '46 and asking for nearly half a billion to cover GI (term here including officers of course) black marketing.

    P.S.S: While many of the million GI's from end of war until the issuance of scrip were sending home much of their pay in dollars, few, if any, of early returned combat veterans saw even a dime of such profit.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 13, 1999 - 06:47 pm
    In other words, guys, the war didn't end in May or August in 1945. The song played on!

    Robby

    Scriptor
    July 13, 1999 - 08:41 pm
    Robby: This a simplification, but it went in one of the many ways, like this: The German occupation marks issued by the Russians in the millions like I said were identical to those issued by the British and US. Some Russian issue did have a - in front of the numbers. A Russian Lt. or Sgt. was paid sometimes for up to 3 years service in say thousands of these marks he couldn't exchange for Rubles. So, he'd trade them for anything of value to take home; nylons, watches, soap, clothing etc. Example: A GI (often for a group of buddies) could get a pass to see a basketball game in Berlin and take ten $5.00 Mickey Mouse watches on arm under his shirt that a friend got in Switzerland. On the street he could sell each watch to Russian Generals on down for say $800.00 each in these marks. Then at his APO (often several) he'd (they'd) buy money orders and send the money home in dollars.

    When the Army wised up, currency control books were issued, fall '45. At the payroll line if your net was say $150.00 you got that amount in marks and an entry credit for $150.00 that the APO clerk would deduct if set home. So with no effort for a carton of smokes you got $400.00 in marks,(black market with Germans by then had become rampant) sent your $150.00 and still had beau coup marks left. But this control leaked like a sieve because in no time company non-coms had four or five currency control books. The issuance of dollar equivalent scrip put an end to this, but too late. Of course, there was a wholesale black market around all this for coffee, soap, etc. as Raymond described on a small scale.

    Robby, I really don't have extensive or expert knowledge of the full history and details of army finances and the black market in Germany, but I do have a fairly accurate memory filed with many stories and case reports in 3rd Army Hdgs, JA Section and Stars and Stripes accounts. AMEN!

    Joan Pearson
    July 14, 1999 - 03:15 am
    O Scriptor, this is so fascinating! I have been reading along, marvelling at your memory for detail after all those years, thinking how my own is fading so badly! I'm relieved that you put that little disclaimer at the end!

    Imagine what one of those little Mickey Mouse watches from Switzerland would be worth today! Although $800 (1945 dollars!) would be quite hard to beat, I do admit!



    In the book, Joseph Rauh tells of all the $$$$$$, the buying power of the returning Vets as well as the American public on the whole - and the shortage of goods. He says it was a real mess, and until the war plants could be converted, there were no building supplies. And he brings up something else that would affect the converted plants after the war.



    The last two memories in this chapter of Studs' book touch on another important outcome of the war. In June of '41, Rauh was a New Dealer in the Lend-Lease program in Washington. He says that at that time no blacks were being hired anywhere in the country in any of the defense factories going up. One night he received an order from Roosevelt to write up an executive order - Order 8802 saying that no government contractor could practice discrimination. "This was the first real executive blow for civil rights and the war caused it".(Rauh) It seems that two men, A. Philip Randolf and Walter White, the director of the NAACP, were organizing a march on Washington and Roosevelt wanted to avoid this. Roosevelt wanted national unity above everything else.

    Earl Dickerson, a black lawyer, was appointed to the first Fair Employment Practices Committee, travelled the country, visiting GM plants, Lockheed, etc. to enforce E.O. 8802. He says that Roosevelt wanted to go slowly in the move against discrimation, but that:

    "It was in World War II - because it was against Hitler - that blacks began to measure the rights they had against the rights the whites were given - and the measuring will never end until they have the rights that others have."
    We've touched upon discrimation in the Armed Forces a few times in the past in this discussion. Do any of you have any experiences where you saw it up close. I remember Foley relating the impression the American soldiers' racial prejudice made on her at the time. I gather that E.O.8802 of '42 and the Fair Practices Committee only pertained to the war plants at home, and not the Armed Forces!

    But when the black Veteran returned home, E.O.8802 was in place to assure him a job!

    Joan Pearson
    July 14, 1999 - 05:30 am
    Within 10 minutes after posting the above, I picked up the newspaper with this obit:
    Helen Forrest Dies;
    Top Vocalist in 1940s
    Segregation Foe Crossed Racial Lines

    Some lady! And don't those song titles take you back!

    Ray Franz
    July 14, 1999 - 05:35 am
    Two incidents made me aware of what a small place this world is. With the introduction of computers and the internet it has become even smaller.

    My college buddy (I was best man at his wedding) showed up on the same ship which brought me home from Europe.

    One of the members of my outfit in Europe showed up behind the Piggly Wiggly meat counter in the city where I taught HS for several years.

    Scriptor
    July 14, 1999 - 06:18 am
    Joan: Glad you find my ramblings worth reading.

    Do have one or two tales of our US black soldiers in the war you might find of interest. Knew a Capt. who comanded a transportation company of almost wholly black GI drivers. Even with many infractions he had a very low company court martial record on his efficiency report. When a driver committed a non-felony military offense,(drunk, short awol, fighting, etc)he sent him to one of two or three stockades available to his spread out operation in the Com-Z (Communications Zone) without charges. When notified he had a GI in confinement for over 30 days without charges he immediate had him picked up and returned unless he thought the soldier deserved more time in which case he sent him to stockcade B and maybe again to stockade C.

    The German frauleins loved the generous black soldiers who also told them they were the American night fighters.

    Ella Gibbons
    July 14, 1999 - 08:06 am
    Returned a couple of weeks ago from a trip to Italy and and the lire is now 1750 to $1.

    I cannot place Helen Forrest in my memory but certainly remember those songs.

    Thanks for the memories, Joan!

    Ella Gibbons
    July 14, 1999 - 08:59 am
    In tribute:

    The Man I Love

    Ella Gibbons
    July 15, 1999 - 08:01 am
    Joseph Rauh, a member of MacArthur's staff, tells a few humorous stories:

    "As we were planning to invade the Philippines, I didn't know from nothin' about how to administer civil affairs. MacArthur refused to accept any plans from Washington. A friend of mine says, "I've got it." He hands me John Hersey's book A Bell for Adano." He says, 'It's better than any War Department documents.' I read that book. I know it by heart. I can tell you about the carts and the carabao-it was the greatest thing. MacArthur's battle plan for civil affairs was all in A Bell for Adano.

    You have no idea the problems you face. One night we get an order: From now on, everybody will drive on the right side. The Philippines in one of those places where it's on the left. Try that sometime, brother, to figure out in three days how you're gonna move people from the left side to the right. Tell that Filipino guy with his carabao to go on the other side of the road."

    The lighter side of war - I'm sure you fellows have some stories to tell also.

    Joan Pearson
    July 15, 1999 - 09:25 am
    Well, what's your best guess, Ella? Did MacArthur use Bell for Adano for his inspiration and Joseph Rauh caught him on it? I wonder if he ever spoke to him about it?

    Today's the day to tack on the next short chapter,Flying High. Interestingly enough, it follows the two memories of the discrimination practices at home in the war plants and the Executive Order against it.

    Lowell Steward's story, has to make you wonder just how much progress was made during WWII to overcome the bigotry in this country. The Executive Order in "41" forbade discrimination hiring practices in war plants at home. The Fair Practices Committee was set up to enforce this order. But what was going on in the military?

    Steward starts out by saying that his war time experience was not pleasant and anti-everything he ever stood for. Growing up in LA, he had never been exposed to bigotry..until he signed up with his friends for the Air Force. His friends were enlisted right away, but he was sent to an all-segregated base in Tuskegee, Alabama.

    There was tremendous pressure from the NAACP and the black press to overcome the prevalent notion that blacks could not fly airplanes - which is why this base was established in Alabama. He tells of top-notch caliber candidates assembled there - All-star athletes, doctors, lawyers...screened and super-screened. "Unquestionably the brightest and most physically fit young blacks in the country."

    Steward became one of the Lonely Eagles of the 332nd fighter group, - so named because they were not readily accepted ...says the War Department would not allow mixing. Even tells how the white American soldiers were antagonistic to black soldiers dating black girls!!!

    He was quite confused by the fact that they were over there fighting fascism, while racism ran riot!

    He spent the war escorting long-range bombers to the front lines, protecting them from enemy attack.

    Despite his stellar war record, he returned home, highly decorated, with some savings and found that because of his color, he was unable to purchase a house, or get a job! Did I mention that he also had a college degree and teaching credentials?

    Lowell Steward concludes by saying that blacks make great strides during every war, that World War II had a tremendous impact on blacks, but that after the war, the country returned to bigotry.

    Now, I'd like to believe otherwise...that things were never the same again after the war and that Mr. Steward was not in a position to see the whole picture. What do YOU all think?

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 15, 1999 - 09:50 am
    Shortly after my discharge in April, 1945, I enrolled at Hofstra College (now University) on Long Island to work toward my Bachelors Degree. Floods of veterans enrolled and each class had as many veterans as those students just out of high school. I never thought about it before but now as I look back I don't remember seeing a single black veteran on the campus. Was it the particular area in which the college was located? Were black veterans not enrolling? Had some black veterans applied but not accepted? I wonder now what the answer is.

    Robby

    Maria Blanche
    July 15, 1999 - 11:03 am
    Here I am.

    Friends, I spilled over from the Netherlands folder.

    I hope to visit with you for awhile.

    I'm from Houston but live in New Jersey. I lost my Dentist husband 4 yrs. ago after a long illness. I trained as a Hospice nurse to care for him at home.

    My two grown children are happily married. My son and his family are in Houston and my daughter and her family live here in the Eastern Seaboard (NJ).

    When young, I worked as a civvie at a Jet training base in Texas. Then I worked for the Army Audit Agency in Los Angeles and Pasadena.

    After that I worked at an Air Force Depot in California. I found the Military life very lonely.

    Drop by the Netherlands folder (under Geographic Communties) and say "hi." That's where you'll find me.

    Hugs, Maria Blanche

    Jim Olson
    July 15, 1999 - 11:48 am
    Following the battle of Okinawa I was sent to Korea to participate in the occupation there. There was no need for my speciality of artillery observer so I was assigned as the enlisted man in charge of a field grade officers quarters which was a small traditional Japanese hotel that had been used as an R and R site for Japanese Navy officers.

    My room in the hotel adjoined the lobby with a door on the side connected to a back hall going to the kitchen and servants' quarters.

    There was a small closet size washroom in the hall that I used for shaving and taking sponge baths. It has a very small midget sized western toilet in it as well but I preferred to use the more spacious regular Japanese style public toilet room down the main corridor leading from the lobby to the first floor rooms and past a small courtyard. The fixtures consisted of flushable rimmed porcelain bowls set in and flush with the floor. One squatted over them while using them, but I found squatting easier than the contortions required to use the western one.

    They were kept very clean by the first floor cleaning maid, an attractive young Korean, who cleaned all the rooms on the first floor daily.

    Further down the hall was the central bath room. It had a huge porcelain tub about 5' by 10' and 3' deep, with sitting ledges around the side of the interior like a modern hot tub. There was a huge gargoyle on the wall above the tub with faucet handles on either side of it. When the faucets were opened a flood of water issued from the gargoyles mouth and filled the tub, a spectacular sight.

    One day soon after I got there after all of the officers (except the ranking colonel who had a room upstairs) had departed for work, I decided to have a nice soak in the tub and proceeded down the hall to the bath room.

    I noticed the maid in the hall making her rounds, going into the public toilets to scrub them but thought nothing of it.

    I was surprised to find that the tub filled very quickly with soothing hot water and I was soon soaking away, adding hot water all along to get it as hot as I could take, enjoying my first real bath for several months. On the Navy Attack Transport in a slow convoy from Hawaii to Okinawa (joining the growing invasion fleet set to invade Japan) I had acquired some insect company during the long ride. They had been discouraged by daily sun heated showers taken below 55 gallon shower drums on Okinawa, but just in case any still lingered, hidden away, I was going to drown the survivors as thoroughly as I could.

    I was blissfully soaking away when the door opened and in came the cleaning maid with her bucket and brushes. She proceeded to scrub everything in the room methodically, singing as she did, "Washee- Washee- Washee- Washee."

    Finishing the gargoyle, she started on me, and I quickly got out of the tub, grabbed a towel, and departed. The last thing I wanted was for the strict (no hanky panky in this quarters) ranking officer to find me "off limits" as it were, being scrubbed by the cleaning maid, although I'm sure that would probably have been the coup de grace for any remaining lice as she was very thorough in her work.

    My bath turned out to be the last one anyone had in the hotel bath room as the hotel boiler soon after developed leaky pipes in the heating coils that had to be welded shut, diminishing our capacity to produce hot water, creating a restricted supply of hot water- enough for normal use but not enough for the tub.

    The maid stayed with us only a short time after that so I was never again tested on my ability to resist "Washee, Washee" or any other services the maid might have been willing to offer. One of my jobs was to have all of the civilian help tested for TB and arrange for treatment (penicillin was just coming into use at the time) for those who did. If they were found to have active cases of tuberculosis they could no longer work in a residential facility where food was served. We lost the maid along with half of our staff in that way, including our excellent Chinese cook as they all tested positive on the skin test for TB (as did most of us on our return to the states).

    Sriptor,

    We were paid in some fictional currency- a Korean occupation script that could be used for money orders back home (limited amounts) or for PX purchases but was worthless to buy anything locally. One needed yen to buy from the street markets and the official exchange was 15 Yen per dolloar of script and the black market rate was around 300 yen per dollar (real dollars) or higher; and, of course, local prices were based on this rate. One could buy PX goods and barter them for Yen which helped somewhat. Syphllis was rampant and had been spread throughout the Japanese occupied territories (but not the homeland) by the Japanese army, and penicillin brought high prices but not many people had access to that commodity and most was needed to treat the GI's who were victims of this form of Hirihito's Revenge. Gonorehhea was an almost certainty for anyone who had sexual contact with the local population.

    My solution to the money problem was to collect money from the officers for their laundry in script (and send that home) and then send the laundry to a local laundry paying with Yen accumulated by barter, or bartering white gas from the cook stoves to the laundry man for laundry service.

    I suppose this is where the term "laundering money" originated.

    A high ranking officer in the the 24th Corps was notorious for having looted many precious art treasures from the Phillipines, then Okinawa and then from Korea when he got there. MacArthur who was fairly honest for all his other faults fired him (kicked upstairs to the Pentagon I think) when a reporter from Stars and Stripes (about to be rotated home and safe from reprisal) finally blew the whistle on him.

    Speaking of defective merchandise and war profiteering, we found several cartons of official Japanese Navy Condoms left at the hotel. Testing them as water baloons showed most to be defective.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 15, 1999 - 12:11 pm
    Maria:

    Welcome to our group. Hope you partcipate here often. What was it about military life that you found lonely?

    Robby

    Maria Blanche
    July 15, 1999 - 09:44 pm
    And feeling detached.

    Glad to be here. Maria Blanche

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 16, 1999 - 06:35 am
    Maria: Military life is a long string of detachments, isn't it? As a man who has gone through the experience of leaving one's family, I can understand this but I least I always knew where I was and what I was doing. It is hard for me to visualize the feelings of the woman who has no idea where he is, what he is doing, and the element of danger involved.

    Robby

    Scriptor
    July 16, 1999 - 09:11 am
    Jim Olson:

    The Finance Office in the Pacific Theater were a hell of a lot smarter than the ETO's!

    Jeanne Lee
    July 16, 1999 - 09:20 am
    Welcome, Maria - I"m glad to see you've found our RoundTables and our Books and Literature discussions. You may also be very interested in our "Memories of World War II" folder, as well as the nearly 300 other discussions. I've sent you some information that I hope will make it easier for you to find your way around and I'll be watching for you lots of other places.

    Ella Gibbons
    July 16, 1999 - 09:52 am
    The "washee, washee" story was so funny - you weren't tempted to stay in and be scrubbed even if it meant a reprimand from the officers? What a tub that must have been, sounds just lovely!

    Welcome Maria to our discussion! Tell us what you did on those jobs.

    Lorrie
    July 16, 1999 - 12:46 pm
    I just stumbled in here cruising around different folders, and I wanted to remark on the similarities that were brought out in Stud's book and the one written by Tom Brokaw. Reading both these men. I'm proud that my brothers and I are a part of that generation! Lorrie

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 16, 1999 - 01:47 pm
    Lorrie:

    Glad you "stumbled" in here. Stay around and talk with us a bit.

    Robby

    Ann Alden
    July 17, 1999 - 06:25 am
    Just reread all of JoanP's questions. One, about the Military-Industrial Complex, reminds me of what Eisenhower said in the 50's. He was of the opinion that we should be wary of the MIC and the power that it had. He did not approve of it!

    Isn't there a movie about our involvement in China before we entered into WWII? Look at what is happening now in Formosa(Taiwan?) with the Chinese wanting to take over that island and us not wanting that to happen. I looked at the maps of the China Sea and came to the conclusion that the reason China wants to control Taiwan is to control the oil reserves around the China Sea.

    I loved the "washee washee" story. Are you sure that you didn't stay just for little sponging! And the "money laundering" reference? Where did that phrase come from anyway?

    Did anyone see the biography of Henry Kaiser last week? Mentioned here in Tommy Corcoran's interview, Kaiser built the Liberty ships faster than anyone else and in the process, he decided that his people needed better health care, starting with checkups for well people. He started the Kaiser Permanente Health System just for his employees. Our first HMO? Oh, dear! <Speaking of our readying the country for war, what else should they have done? Seems that if Roosevelt knew that we would be getting into the fray, that he had get industry involved before the fact. I think this type of decision making goes on behind the scenes in all of these things. Its necessary! What if he hadn't consulted with the leaders in industry? He needed to know what could be accomplished in the building of war supplies, planes and ships.

    Did anyone hear that John Kennedy,Jr. and his wife are missing this morning? Their plane was supposed at Martha's Vineyard last night and it has disappeared. That poor family is hexed!

    Jim Olson
    July 17, 1999 - 06:29 am
    Ella,

    The penalty would not have been a mere reprimand but probably reassignemnt to a less desirable position.

    The colonel was a West pointer and very strict- and very incompetent and that is why he was always around and not given any really important assignments.

    I tried to keep him on friendly terms by buying some fresh eggs at the market and making poached eggs and toast for him which he loved.

    He was from Texas and felt that nobody from anywhere else was a real American.

    Our mess sgt, was from Texarkana which borders Texas and Arkansaw and told the Colonel he was from Texas.

    Later when the Sgt. got into some trouble for bringing prostitues into the hotel the Colonel said-

    "He was from Texarkana- I knew that SOB wasn't really from Texas."

    The Sgt. was reassigned shortly after this.

    Some of the officers did try to avoid scrutiny from the colonel by enlisting my help in smuggling in geisha through a window in a back room.

    My payment for this was often the loan of a jeep for the week-end which I used to travel around the country with my interpreter, often accompanied by the interpreter's pretty young neice, a very lovely and proper young lady- not the washee washee type.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 17, 1999 - 06:33 am
    All wars have stories of this type. We often tell these stories when we get back but refrain from talking about the killing. So Americans, whose territory is not a battlefield, do not really understand what war is really is.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 17, 1999 - 07:06 am
    Yes, we understand Robby, but even civilians cannot talk about killing all the time either. We are blessed in not having our country bombed - whether that will continue into the next milleniium we can only speculate!

    We enjoyed hearing Jim's stories - some of it reminds us of MASH episodes - or Buster Keaton movies would be more like it. I thought of him because I saw a funny little skit of his on the history channel the other day. I don't think I ever saw one of his movies - were they silent ones - if so, I'm not quite that old! Nice once inawhile to be able to say that "was before my time."

    Noticed, Jim, that you found a pretty girl to travel with! Can't resist - did you get her to scrub your back?

    Lou D
    July 17, 1999 - 07:09 am
    Robby, you should qualify that as to most Americans! Tell any combat veteran he doesn't understand what war really is, and I think he will set you straight! )

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 17, 1999 - 09:54 am
    Lou:

    I wasn't referring to combat veterans. I was referring to folks left at home. As an infantryman combat veteran myself, I obviously understand what war is.

    Robby

    FOLEY
    July 17, 1999 - 10:50 am
    Was in Vermont for the week visiting a sister in law. Saw several signs about revolutionary war battles, Saratoga Springs and Bennington, particularly. I really dont know much about that time - growing up in England, we had so much history to learn from Alfred the Great, Hengist and Horsa, etc., that by the time we reached the American Revolution, it was sort of ...oh, we lost the colonies...and that was that. Makes me wonder how much future generations will remember about our battles - with TV, radio and books, I'm hoping our descendants will do better.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 17, 1999 - 11:03 am
    Foley:

    Sort of like King George's famous remark in his diary on July 4, 1776? "Nothing much of importance happened today."

    Robby

    Pat Scott
    July 17, 1999 - 11:52 am
    Here are a couple of photos that Ann Alden, who participates here in the Books and Literature folder, sent to me. I'll let Ann tell you about them...

    They are of our Aunt Betty Penizek Cowles who passed away this summer. She was 86 years old.

    Aunt Betty was a first generation American of Polish descent. She was very proud of her service in the Army Nurse Corps during WWII. She was mostly in Persia (now Iran) where she did a lot of interpeting for the Polish troops in the hospitals there. She also spent a lot of time in North Africa, France and England.

    The reason that I sent both pictures that were taken at her funeral is the presence of her American flag (given to families of dead war veterans) plus her Volunteers pink jacket from the hospital where she volunteered right up to her death, in the upper pic. The lower one is a closeup of the first one and contains her Army Nurse Corps books. There were over 30 members of the hospital volunteer group present at her funeral.



    Photo #1


    Photo #2

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 17, 1999 - 12:02 pm
    All the time that we veterans were fightint the "good" war, another aspect of the war we haven't mentioned was taking place, usually unknown to the rest of us. Part of this tale was told in this morning's news.

    Leo Marks of London became a code maker at the age of 22 for the British Government. Churchill gave the code center on Baker Street (yes, the famous Baker Street) the mandate to "set Europe ablaze" with sabotage. Mr. Marks had a genius for his assinged task which was to make codes and also find new methods to protect agents if they were captured by the Germans. The basic code system was based on poetry with each agent choosing five words from a poem. Mr. Marks wrote many of the poems himself, leading him to say later: "I hadn't thought that writing poetry would be my contribution to Hitler's downfall."

    The series of codes were transferred to a piece of silk. Each code would be used to send only one message. Then it would be cut from the silk and burned. In this way, an agent "could not be tortured" because he would not know the actual one until he used it. Marks stated later, however, that agents were "tortured by the thousands" and that the code makers "experienced" the torture with them.

    When asked if his code work actually helped win the war, he said: "It helped preoccupy the Germans and waste their valuable time and he mentioned Operation Gift Horse, deliberately making the codes look easy to break, giving the enemy all the clues they were looking for and hoping to waste their time.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 17, 1999 - 02:46 pm
    Ann - your family, understandably, must be very proud of your Aunt Betty. She must have seen some tragic casualties during her service to the country and all those places she was sent! What an experience it must have been.

    Is there still an Army Nurse Corp during peacetime or do they just ask for volunteers during wartime?

    Incidentally, Ann, that Kaiser Permanente Health Care was (maybe still is, I don't get around SN much) offered on SN as a place for one to get information when I first found Seniornet 2-3 years ago. Wonderful service to us all. And as you said, what a man Kaiser must have been to his employees. Have never read anything about the man but I recognized the name.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 18, 1999 - 04:53 am
    On this date in 1944 Hideki Tojo was removed as Japanese premier and war minister because of setbacks suffered by his country in World War II.

    Robby

    Jim Olson
    July 18, 1999 - 05:19 am
    Ella,

    This is an addition to my prvious posts re washhee washee etc.

    Pictures of the Kiraku hotel:

    hotel

    In what proved to be a futile effort to avoid deportation, one of the Japanese local government officials who was working with the military government transition team volunteered the services of his two English speaking teen-age daughters as waitresses at the hotel. I was 19 at the time and soon became friends with the girls as they discovered I was a bashful boy and not a hairy beast.

    They came each day dressed in fine kimonos (obis tied in the back) and served at the main meal in the evening while I ate in the kitchen with the help, usually a plain oriental meal of rice and dried seaweed supplemented by canned army chow sometimes being served by Kim, a grubby little Korean street boy we had taken in as our shoe and general scrubby scrubby polished stone entrance floor boy.

    When we arrived in Seoul many Korean street boys ran in gangs throughout the seamier side of the city. There were no Japanese social services for adandoned or orphaned Korean boys and informal army policy tried to remedy this by taking many in to work at various army installations while attempting to find Korean homes for them. There were no comparable street girls.

    The dining room floor consisted of the traditional straw mats and the officers sat on the floor and were served by the girls who knelt beside them as they served the meal- poured tea- bowed and bowed etc. They were not Geisha but the grace and charm they had was very Geisha like. The officers were very disappointed when we later replaced the girls with some awkward Korean country girls fresh out of the rice paddies and completely inept at bowing and tea pouring, but very strong and helpful in carrying the "honey buckets" to empty the hotel's sewage holding tanks when the honey wagon came by each month.

    I sometimes escorted the sisters home from work to where they lived in an impressive timbered residence about a half mile up the hill. They were filled with smiles, moments of laughter, earnest talk, and unwept tears when the topic turned to Okinawa where boys they had known had died, young men who would never again be like me and enjoy hearing an occasional giggle from one or both of the girls. On one starlit night we stopped and standing closely together looked for falling stars.

    One night they invited me to a dinner at their home where I sat on the floor with the father as the girls and the mother kneeling beside us prepared the food and served it to us with all of the deference and ceremony due to our gender. I was treated to a traditional multi- course Japanese meal- I wish I could remember more of it to describe to you, the charcoal fired cooking pot, the fine china dishes, the little fish that looked at me as I ate them, the strips of beef.

    While I generally watched the father and followed his lead, I had not mastered the technique of savouring Sake but sloshed it down as if drinking beer in the PX at Fort Sill while the girls dutifully refilled my delicate little cup with warm sake. The last I remember about the meal was sig zagging later down the narrow street back to the hotel singing a popular Japanese hit tune of the day, a lilting western style love song, frightening several feral cats who were up on the wall in their nightly romantic ritual. I'm sure if the residents in the area had a choice they would have preferred the cat serenade to mine.

    I sometimes wonder what happened to the family when they returned to Japan among the last group to be deported. A few short weeks after we arrived they along with the other Japanese were herded together on the docks at Pusan and put into LSTs for the short ride back to Japan allowed only to take with them what they were wearing. I returned to Korea five years later and after a month of training in the hills of the south left Pusan in an LST headed north, landing at Inchon near Seoul, riding in a 4X4 through the ruined streets of Seoul, both hotels now rubble, and up toward the 38th and into war. I was no longer a boy but a young married man thinking now of my bride in a midwestern city far awa

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 18, 1999 - 05:32 am
    Jim:

    A very touching story! How sad that you do not know now where they are located and how wonderful that you were able to relate to the girls in a way so different from those GIs trying to demonstrate their manhood. Please continue whatever thoughts you wish to share with us.

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    July 18, 1999 - 08:01 pm
    Oh Ann, those photographs are priceless - those of your aunt in her uniform. I hope she told you stories, lots of precious stories that we are trying so hard not to lose!

    and Jim, that was such a beautifully written story! You were such a gentleman to befriend these lovely girls...I had to scroll up to the top to check your age at the time...19! 19! You make me proud of our boys over there!

    The next chapter, Up Front with Pen, Camera, and Mike is crammed full of stories that should jar your memories! These memories come from journalists, film makers...and they kept notes!!!

    Another unsettling story of racism in the military, this time it includes murder in the 369th Engineer regiment! Robby, is this the story you referred to several weeks ago? I can't understand how it remained covered up for so long....

    Alfred Duckett was a free-lance journalist during the war. He tells us something we've been hearing in these memoirs..."The military did not want blacks in combat in World War II."

    Apparently racism was widely reported in the black press. Why didn't more of you/us know about it? Or did we know about it, but not regard racism in the US as anything unusual? Come on, the murders? If you/we had heard about that, we would have reacted, wouldn't we?

    Well, we know about them now. We know that it was wrong. This national blind eye will never turn from such injustices again! Isn't that a good outcome of this war?

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 19, 1999 - 04:59 am
    No, Joan, I did not know anything about that murder. You have the answer, however, as to why nothing was done or said about "racial problems." We just didn't see anything unusual about the situation as it existed. Remember, we were the product of the early 20th Century. I don't remember any single time when one soldier in our regiment (remember we were all white) said to another: "Gee, I wonder why we don't have any negroes in our outfit." We just never thought about it. The only time when thoughts of blacks entered the scene was when the two colors were thrown together. This was usually when soldiers went to town on pass and the two were in close proximity. Then, if the occasion rose, angers would rise, usually on the part of Southern whites and Northern blacks, and fights would arise. And, as we fought across Europe, we saw only white GIs by our side and, again, the thought of racial differences was one of the last thoughts on our mind. I have written in earlier posts of Red Ball truck battalions manned by black soldiers but we saw these drivers only as they whizzed past. They were not part of our life.

    Robby

    Sliv
    July 19, 1999 - 05:45 pm
    to Joan Pearson - did I do it correctly? I sent a message - did you get it? Sylvia at Chicago Historical Society

    Ginny
    July 19, 1999 - 06:06 pm
    HELLO, SYLVIA!! and Welcome to the Books! I'm not Joan, but she has spent lots of time telling me how great you are, so I'm just thrilled to see you here, how marvelous!~!

    Now, do stay around a long time and visit our other Books folders, too, we are delighted you made it in! Joan will be thrilled as soon as she sees you.

    Welcome, welcome WELCOME!!!

    Ginny

    Ella Gibbons
    July 20, 1999 - 07:09 am
    SYLVIA - WELCOME TO BOOKS ON SENIORNET! We are so happy to have you here and click around on all our discussions - you'll find something that is of interest and just jump right in and post your view!

    Joan has asked many new questions in this chapter titled "Up Front with Pen, Camera and Mike." The first story is told by John Houseman and I've seen him on TV, but just cannot remember where - I can easily remember his face and manner of speaking. He was hired by the Office of War Information or overseas called the Voice of America. We all have heard of that but didn't know this:

    "I had been with OWI about three months when a split occurred. A strong difference of opinion. Donovan was interested in the use of the Voice of America as a weapon of war: covert operations, known as 'black radio.' He was for putting secret stations inside Germany, a spying approach. The British were very strong with black radio. They had stations all over Norway and Sweden and inside Germany.

    We were jealously a civilian operation. This led to problems. Neither the army nor the State Department was happy with our independence."

    What is amusing in his story is that fact that when the war broke out, he was still technically an enemy alien and they were not permitted near short-wave radios; however because of his radio experience and the fact that he was trilingual he was hired to broadcast.

    Wonder if the Voice of America is still being broadcast and, if so, to whom?

    I was recently in Italy and the TV in our hotel had only about 6 stations but, by far, the clearest was CNN, which was telecast in English. I thought that was odd.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 20, 1999 - 07:26 am
    I don't know if the Voice of America exists now but in those post-war years shortly after the return of the GIs, the Voice of America was interested in broadcasting human interest stories. They recorded (no tapes in those days) a half-hour interview in French of my new French war bride, Bijou, and me - how we had met, what we were doing now, etc. We sent off a letter to Bijou's family and friends letting them know of the time of the broadcast and we learned later that it was a big thrill for a score of them in France as they sat around the radio listening to Bijou's new American experiences.

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 20, 1999 - 03:03 pm
    On this date in 1942 the first detachment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), later known as WACs, began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. Two years later on this same date an attempt by a group of German officials to asssassinate Adolf Hitler failed as a bomb explosion at Hitler's Rastenburg headquarters only wounded the Nazi leader.

    Robby

    FOLEY
    July 20, 1999 - 05:59 pm
    Firsthand knowledge of the VOA. Oldest son is a seasoned radio technician there outside of Greenville, North Carolina, helping run the many programs. The text and speakers come from Washington DC but the buildings in NC transmit the messages all over the world and in many languages. It looks like the space age, lots of land with aerials of many heights sticking out of the ground. Charles told me many of the aerials are aimed at Cuba and other third world countries.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 20, 1999 - 06:01 pm
    Foley:

    Do you know if we are aiming any messages at the poor battle-scarred Balkans? And how about Africa? I realize that this question is not related to WWII but the VOA is the product of WWII, I believe, and I wondered if anything good has come out of the "good" war.

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    July 21, 1999 - 02:34 am
    Good morning everyone! Sylvia! Yes, you did indeed "do it right"! We are so happy to have you join us! Welcome!!!

    I agree, let's put VOA of our good list of World WarII! It was either John Houseman or Henry Hatfield who described the growth of VOA...first a "jealously guarded" civilian agency and "an extension of the voice of FDR", but with our War involvement, it was under military command for security reasons, and then after the war, it went under the State Department auspices. Is the right, Foley? Is it still under State?

    Did you see what Henry Hatfield had to say about Dresden? How many of those Studs interviewed have commented on that needless destruction? Can anyone speak to the reason that was done?



    This is a "hello-good-bye post" this morning...my computer went down on Monday night...and it is right now only a shadow of its former self! No sound! That's what bothers me most. No Communicator browser! No address book! No MAIL! If you've written and haven't heard back, please understand what happened. And I can't tinker with it for some time, as summer vacation beckons! I will miss you all! But really do need this vacation!!!

    Later!!!

    Joan

    Ginny
    July 21, 1999 - 04:37 am
    Joan, you go and have a ball on your vacation, don't know how you manage, computer down again. Our Joan is so dedicated to the cause that she sat up all night till 2 am and has to leave on a plane at 5:30 am, so know she will enjoy this vacation and was so excited to see Sylvia here!

    Now we wish her lots of happy relaxing times and loads of more fine posts in this discussion to come home to, this really is one of our bright lights here on SeniorNet!

    Ginny

    Ella Gibbons
    July 21, 1999 - 07:37 am
    Foley - interesting about your son and thanks for letting us know that the VOA is still operating.

    Yes, Robby, another product of WWII - a good one! We have mentioned before the integration of the armed services was a good result also of WWII.

    Did we decide that launching women into the workforce was a good thing or not? We've talked about many of the women who served either at home or in the armed services - on this subject, I'm reading a book by Lesley Stahl who was a White House press correspondent during Reagan's years (and others), and she mentions that Reagan made a comment once that unemployment was so high because women were working; implying they were taking the men's jobs. He was lambasted for that remark!!!

    A few - particularly male - friends believe the "breakup" of the family and the rise of teenage problems is the fault of women working; however I know that is way off the subject of the book and we shouldn't venture onto controversial fields.

    Ann Alden
    July 21, 1999 - 08:15 am
    In an answer to Joan's question about Dresden. I thought I read either in this book or Brokaw's that the reason given for Dresden bombing was that the Germans had war plants there. They were building parts for war supplies. But, when we bombed them, they moved those plants or the people in them to another location in the city and continued to build the parts.

    In Caniff's interview, I thought it was extremely interesting and humorous that he was able to keep one step ahead of the government when he drew Terry and the Pirates. But the FBI were suspicious anyway. I had heard the Happy Valley story somewhere else. Surprised that they let him continue.

    Bill Mauldin was interviewed during the WWII commemoration in 1994 and he just broke down and cried over the war and the injured soldiers. Very emotional interview.

    I have trouble with the black soldiers being shot for just speaking with the French girls. Racism races its ugly head once again.

    Ann Alden
    July 21, 1999 - 08:57 am
    Hey, Ella, I have heard Mr.Reagen's remark come from other men's mouths. Am related to several who still believe this. I do agree that the breakup of the family is due to both parents working but sometimes that can't be helped. It would be nice if one of them could, at least, be there when the children come in from school. Its so important. I read somewhere lately that the women actually started working out of the home in the twenties and really liked it. Whether there were children involved there, I don't know. Many of the women in California worked and really enjoyed it. I have quite a few friends who remember being latchkey kids during the depression and during the war. Probably a necessity then. Now, it seems to be the norm. The times, they are a changin!

    FOLEY
    July 21, 1999 - 11:15 am
    Will send an e-mail to my son and ask him about the Balkans and Africa, and also who runs the department now. He gave me a brochure the last time I visited but cannot find it!!

    Jim Olson
    July 21, 1999 - 11:45 am
    I've returned the book long ago to the library so don't know how relevant my remarks are.

    But I recall that the reporters for Stars and Sripes were the most diligent and the most accurate reporters.

    All of the others I ever ran across made up stuff they wanted readers to hear and read- except, of course, for Ernie Pyle.

    I've been reading We band of Angels, story of the nurses captured on Bataan and held prisoner in Manila for three years.

    There are very interesting sections about press coverage- both during their imprisionment and when they got back home.

    The press wrote what it wanted to write to please readers and completely ignorecd the actually more intesting - more human stories.

    MacArthur was a master at manipulating the press and only now are we getting the story of how really bad he was as a military person in the original defense of the Phillip

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 21, 1999 - 03:49 pm
    Ella:

    And, if you recall, the GI Bill was a good result of the war. Perhaps somewhere down the line we ought to start listing all the good things that came out of the war, and we might end up being pleasantly amazed.

    Robby

    Lou D
    July 21, 1999 - 04:02 pm
    We could list 1000 good things to come out of the war, but there still were over a quarter million young lives lost by this country, along with many millions in other countries. Perhaps overall, the balance sheet will tally, but there was still a tremendous loss to many millions of families.

    It is hard to call any war "good", regardless of the necessity for it. I doubt if the list of good things will "pleasantly" offset the loss.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 21, 1999 - 04:28 pm
    Lou:

    It's certainly hard to place a human price on the later benefits, isn't it? Do you suppose the majority of the technological and educational advances we now have would have come into being if the war had not existed?

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 21, 1999 - 05:25 pm
    LOU D.- Nothing, absolutely nothing, would be worth one of those young lives! In speaking of the "good" that possibly came out of the war, we are in no way forgetting the price that the country and the loving families endured.

    We are merely commenting on this excellent book by Mr. Terkel in which he has collected veterans' stories and preserved the history of that war for all to come. A great undertaking and one that must have required great patience on the author's part.

    It is this remembrance that Mr. Terkel wanted to preserve and if we can help by our comments and our memories, then we have done a good thing.

    Hi Ann - several of the soldiers have commented on the bombing of Dresden, but I found this site online - from the Oxford Companion of World War II (does anyone know anything about this publication?). Very interesting article!

    THE BOMBING OF DRESDEN, GERMANY

    In looking at the picture of Dresden after the bombing, I am reminded of the many remarks made here and in the book that America does not know what war is!

    Ann Alden
    July 22, 1999 - 06:57 am
    Boy,Ella, I did look up that site and read quite a bit of the other coverage using the clickables. Was not surprised at the reactions of the Canadian airmen that are quoted in the Script site concerning their activities in the bombing of the German cities. From what I read here, there were no supplies or parts factories in Dresden. So who do you believe? War is hell! From this site, I gleaned that Churchill thought that the Night Bombing(mission named THUNDERCLAP) which entailed bombing the H--- out of these cities was the only way he could win the war and prove to the Russians that the Allies were on their side. What a debacle!!

    When we were in the Air Force in Texas, the engineer on my husband's crew had been on many of the air raids on Germany. He still had nightmares about it. The description of the flights by Canadian airmen on this site fits his memories perfectly. Especially the part about the searchlights and the flak. What a nightmare!

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 22, 1999 - 01:03 pm
    Yesterday was the anniversary of American forces landing on Guam in 1944.

    Robby

    FOLEY
    July 22, 1999 - 03:43 pm
    Robby et al - talked to son Charles today. He says they are beaming messages particularly to Africa, Central and South America as well as Cuba. The program is under the State Department but with many tiers between. No broadcasting can be biased, must be truthful and impartial. If there is an editorial, preceding and after must be a message that says, views of the speakers are theirs alone. Believe there are about 59 languages used.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 22, 1999 - 04:00 pm
    Foley:

    Thank you. It's good to know that we are beaming our message all over the globe - especially if it is unbiased.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 22, 1999 - 04:03 pm
    Foley - what kind of messages? Do you know? Wouldn't be just news as every country gets news today in the Communication Age. So it isn't propaganda either about how great we are, (Haha) a democracy is! What are they broadcasting.

    Jim - I think it was you that said most reporters just made up stuff they thought the public wanted to hear? Is that true today do you think? Do you think Americans are cynical today? I've heard that so much.

    I remember, however, the censorship of the press in the Gulf War and one correspondent in this book talks about the censorship of the press during Grenada. What is right or wrong about censoring the press during wartime?

    Milton Caniff (cartoonist for Steve Canyon and Terry and the Pirates) says this:

    "I had a call from the chemical warfare department saying that if we're hit by anything, it will be by air, a fire bomb probably. A la the blitz in London. We know so little about it. Could we get together a poster on what to do in case of an air raid? I hotfooted down to Washington on the first plane I could get. The next day you couldn't get a plane. I'd left on December 7, 1941. Lotta people in Washington had expected something."

    That last sentence - has America finally decided who knew what in Washington before Pearl Harbor?

    Ann Alden
    July 23, 1999 - 09:24 am
    jim, I saw the book, We Band of Angels, at Barnes&Noble and remembered that you mentioned it. It certainly looks interesting. Will have to look it up in the library. Did you see the photos of my aunt? She went to a ceremony in D.C. for the WWII memorial for the women in the war.

    Has anyone seen the PBS-TV story of the black pilots, women and men, from Chicago who offer their services to Roosevelt after the war started? It was extremely interesting. These people learned to fly in the '30's before the war was even mentioned

    I am still amazed at Garson Kanin being told of "Overlord" a year before it happened. Does this kind of thing happen in all wars or is WWII an anomoly?

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 23, 1999 - 10:36 am
    If there are any black servicemen - pilots or otherwise - on this Senior Net, we would be most pleased to have them tell their story. It is our intention to be fair, complete, and accurate but we can only be so if participation is a cross-section of the World War II GI population. Even if you are not of color but do know some relevant stories, please share them with us.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 23, 1999 - 05:03 pm
    Ann - Is that a monument in Washington, DC for just the women in WWII? For some reason I am thinking it is a monument for ALL WOMEN who have played a part in any war.

    Haven't read the Garsin Kanin story yet - am behind.

    Robby - wish we could hear from a few black servicemen from WWII! Maybe if I get time tonight I'll do a search on the Internet, one never knows what you'll find. Must look up those divisions that are mentioned in the book - or do you know offhand?

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 23, 1999 - 05:06 pm
    Ella:

    I don't have the statistics. Please help us by looking it up.

    Robby

    FOLEY
    July 23, 1999 - 05:30 pm
    Ella - I paid $25 about two or three years ago and supposedly have a tile in the Memorial Wall, but havent been down to Washington DC to see it. It's for women who served in all wars, at least from WWI and up. I served in an allied force but they took me!

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 23, 1999 - 05:51 pm
    I was thinking just the other day that although I am a veteran of World War II, I know more World War I songs than WWII songs. I believe that is because WWII didn't have many what I would call war songs such as WWI did. Yes, we had many of the Big Band songs such as "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," "I Walk Alone," etc. but when I was a boy my father taught me many of the songs of the Doughboys. This is why I know them. We used to harmonize together and I still remember many of them.

    "The Rose of No Man's Land": There's a rose that grows in no man's land, and it's wonderful to see....it's the one red rose the soldier knows.) It's a tribute to the Red Cross nurse.
    "'Til we meet again": (Smile the while I kiss you sad adieu; when the clouds roll by I'll come to you; then the skies will seem more blue; down in lover's lane, my dearie; Wedding Bells will ring so merrily, every tear will bring a memory; so wait - and pray - each night for me. 'Til we meet again.)
    "Over There": (Over there, over there, send the word, send the word over there; that the Yanks are comin', the Yanks are comin', their drums rum-tummin' everywhere; So beware, say a prayer, send the word, send the word over there. That the Yanks are comin', the Yanks are comin', and we won't be back til it's over over there.)
    "Paree": (How ya gonna keep them down on the farm, after they've seen Paree?)
    "Tipperary": (It's a long long way to Tipperary)
    "Long long trail": (There's a long long trail awinding, into the land of my dreams, and the nightingales are singing, and a white moon beams; There's a long long night of waiting, until my dreams all come true, til that day when I'll be coming down that long long trail to you.)

    There are more and the words and melody come back as I write out the words but perhaps you understand what I mean when I don't believe WWII had songs like that.

    Robby

    FOLEY
    July 24, 1999 - 06:56 am
    Robby - how about "If you were the only girl in the world, and I were the only boy" - My father used to sing that a lot. As for Over There - in WWII the British girls loved the Yanks but the men were not so thrilled. They used to say - the GIs were "over paid, over fed, over dressed, and over sexed, and worst of all, they were "Over There"

    Ella Gibbons
    July 24, 1999 - 07:28 am
    Robby and Foley - I know those songs and remember the "overfed" remark too. When we were youngsters, that war was still fresh in the minds of Americans and, no doubt, many were still singing. My father and my husband's father was in WWI, my husband - WWII. Not very far apart.

    Two articles in this morning's paper about the war. One fellow writes that "We should set aside a day to observe a very special group of Americans: the World War II generation. A number of them are still with us, but many are dying and we should recognize them while there is still time.....They represented America at its best. It's time we let them know that." Etc.

    The other pertains to 50 veterans of the Battle of the Bulge who are corresponding via email to a researcher in Belgium. The veterans are identifying the items for this researcher, drawing up maps from their memories of where they were, etc. The researcher is amazed to look at foxholes dug by the soldiers and talks to the villagers who often have items stashed away in their homes.

    Ann Alden
    July 24, 1999 - 09:27 am
    I wonder what has brought on all of the interest in WWII lately. With the WWII Memorial going up in D.C. and many articles being written pertaining to it.

    Yes, Foley and Ella, that was a memorial to all women in the wars fought. In the picture of my aunt(the one that PatS. put up), there is to the left of her picture, a memorial program from that dedication in D.C. I can't remember when it was built or actually where. But, I do know that she was there and very proud of her participation.

    Ella, I have watched the bit on Willa Brown and the founding of the Tuscgegee(sp?) Aviation Institute. I only have half of the program taped so only get to the part about the fact that in 1936, Chicago was the United States' center for black aviation and that Willa Brown Coffey pressed for black pilots-men and women- to be made part of the civilian pilots' taining program. I believe it was 1939 when that bill was passed and Sen.Harry Truman was the person who encouraged the Congress to pass it. There were 30 pilots in Chicago,at Harlem Airport-located at 87th & Harlem Ave. Their heroine was a black lady, Bessie Coleman, who earned her pilot's license in 1922,in France and then returned to the U.S. to give air shows all over the states. She is buried in Chicago and the black population still honors her memory every year.

    About those old songs, Robby, you bring a lot memories to me with your great remembrance of all those words. My grandmother could play all of those old WWI songs on the piano(she was self taught) and did so often while we all sang along. She knew all of the words. She knew the ones that we sang for WWII,too. What about "I'll Be Seeing You" , "I"ll Be Home For Christmas" , "Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning" ,"I Saw the Harbour Lights" and "This Is The Army,Mr.Jones"? I have an old piece of music with an ad on the back for a songbook titled "Legion Airs" for $1.00. The song titles look like WWI songs. "Where Do We Go From Here", "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag", "Goodbye Broadway, Hello France" and so on and so on. Boy, don't I wish someone in my family had ordered that book. What a special book that would be to have today!

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 24, 1999 - 10:44 am
    Ann:

    I had forgotten "Pack up Your Troubles" and "Goodbye Broadway, Hello France." Thanks for reminding me. I harmonized "Pack up Your Troubles" with my father too. As I said in my earlier posting, these are more "war" songs than the songs we remember from WWII. I didn't feel I had any "war" songs I could have taught my children.

    Robby

    Britta
    July 24, 1999 - 02:08 pm
    My memories of that dreadful bombing are better left buried under the happier ones of my childhood again. I have already described the horror in this folder and think I'll let you continue to reminisce about the war from your perspective. It's sad to realize that we have not learned from history and atrocities still happen all over the world. How lucky the astronauts are, to see the world as a peaceful blue planet from a distance.

    There's a beautiful and poignant song I heard Bette Midler sing once called "From a Distance", I think it became popular during the Gulf War.

    I wish humans would learn to get along and love one another.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 24, 1999 - 02:32 pm
    Britta;

    Yes, you have already described that horror in this forum and no one would expect that you write about it again. Those who are interested can scroll back. It's time to live in the "here and now."

    Robby

    Britta
    July 24, 1999 - 06:41 pm
    Thank you Robby, for seeing my point.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 26, 1999 - 06:32 pm
    On this date in 1947, shortly after the cessation of hostilities, President Truman signed executive orders prohibiting discrimination in the U.S. armed forces and federal employment.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 27, 1999 - 05:15 pm
    I finished reading all the war correspondents stories this evening. I must have been in the mood for something to smile at (in the midst of all the stories about killing), because the one I remember was the British fellow who had come to America to go to Harvard and got drafted somehow (no explanation of this), but he was delighted about it and says he "went before a judge and forswore allegiance to any prince or potentate. I've never know a potentate. I expected not to like America. Most upper-class English people don't like America. I fell in love with it."

    Was happy he loved America. I'm dreaming of going to England and falling in love with it, will do it, too.

    Ginny
    July 28, 1999 - 04:17 am
    I wonder if one of the reasons "the upper classes" of England didn't seem to "like" America was that so many of them had to be bailed OUT of their financial dilemmas by marriage TO wealthy Americans? THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE BRITISH ARISTOCRACY makes appalling points about the truly devastating loss of lands and moneys in the hands of the British aristocrats. It's fascinating reading and the losses are truly staggering. On the one hand, you might say that they deserve to lose it if they can't use it wisely, on the other, hey, what would any of us do?

    I love all the disparate voices in the book, love how they all come together to present a very striking whole, a "good" picture of the "good" war. And I don't see HOW he could have been drafted??

    Are there instances, now I know there were in the Civil War, but are there instances of the draft in WWII of foreign civilians?

    Ginny

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 28, 1999 - 05:17 am
    Just a couple of weeks before VJ day, a U.S. bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York City's Empire State Building on this date in 1945, killing 14 people.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 28, 1999 - 07:04 am
    Ginny - thought you were leaving town? There is a book about the decline and fall of the British Aristocracy? - would make interesting reading. Can you remember any of the names of the famous old families? In various books over the years about America's wealthy, I remember that THEY WANTED THE BRITISH TITLED, so it must have been easy for the British to marry into weathly families here.

    The poor British, they lost their war with us, their empire, their fortunes, but as the song goes "There will always be an England." I'm sure of it and a good thing, too.

    Robby - what book are you getting all these facts from?

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 28, 1999 - 11:27 am
    Ella:

    That was in the New York Times.

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 30, 1999 - 07:12 am
    On this date in 1942 President Roosevelt signed a bill creating a women's auxiliary agency in the Navy known as "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service" or WAVES for short. Any memories here?

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 30, 1999 - 08:21 am
    I remember the names, Robby, WAVES, WACS - what were the airforce gals called - do you remember?

    I think I've mentioned this before, but I met a lovely lady in Dayton at the Air Force Museum there and she gave a presentation on the women who served in the Air Force during WWII. (This was an Elderhostel we attended there, great one!). She showed slides of their training and piloting airplanes from the factory where they were made to the base where they were to be used. The women tried very hard to be allowed to fly the planes to England, but were turned down every time. Good enough to fly across the country - they were - but not overseas. Might make those flyboys look bad!

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 30, 1999 - 09:20 am
    On this date in 1945, the USS Indianapolis, which had just delivered key components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb to the Pacific island of Tinian, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Only 316 out of 1,196 men survived the sinking and shark-infested waters.

    Robby

    Lou D
    July 30, 1999 - 11:23 am
    And how many Seniornetters, especially veterans, have gotten in touch with their senators and representative to help set aside Capt. McVay's udeserved court martial conviction?

    Ella Gibbons
    July 31, 1999 - 07:37 am
    Robby - this next story in the chapter titled "Crime and Punishment" is one that should appeal to you being a psychologist. Have you ever dealt with policemen? That would have to be one of the more difficult occupations in society.

    Alvin Bridges, a policeman for 32 years recalls his service in WWII:

    /Eisenhower says that's the only guy (Slovik) that was ever executed for it (desertion). That's what burns me up, when a gross of them that I know of were executed for probably more minor things than what Slovik was..........How g-d foolish it is, the war. They's no war in the world that's worth fightin' for, I don't care where it is...... Money, money is the thing that causes it all. I wouldn't be a bit surprised that the people that start wars and promote 'em are the men that make the money, make the ammunition, make the clothing and so forth......"

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 31, 1999 - 08:46 am
    Bridges was talking primarily about the situation involving black soldiers. I rarely saw a black soldier until after the Armistice and then in areas where we were on pass, eg Paris. In the time I was in the Army (June/42 to Apr/46) I only knew of one soldier going AWOL and this was here in the States before going overseas. I was First Sergeant at the time and was responsible for seeing that he got to the Court Martial and then to the stockade after he was convicted. I also visited him from time to time while he was in the stockade.

    I felt so sorry for this fellow. He didn't desert in the sentence that we think of desertion. He was just a poor peace loving homesick fellow who went on pass to see his family and took much too much time to get back to his unit. I pleaded his case to the Company Commander and he received only a company reprimand. However, he may have done this twice; I forget the details. I was a soft-hearted fellow (how I ever got to be a Top Kick is beyond me; I would swear like a trooper in front of the company) and when I visited him, he would cry. The unit ultimately moved on and he remained in the stockade so I don't know what happened to him.

    But as I say, the soldiers I was with were white and, according to tales told in Terkel's book, the percentage of black soldiers who went AWOL and were convicted compared to white was high.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    July 31, 1999 - 01:26 pm
    A soft-hearted sergeant? Truly! Never at the movies, Hahahaa.

    Did you ever hear of this Slovik case? It must have been well publicized.

    robert b. iadeluca
    July 31, 1999 - 01:29 pm
    Yes, I read about the Slovik case. I believe it was written up in a book about Eisenhower. However, I forget the details and perhaps someone else here can help us out.

    Soft-hearted Top Kick

    Jim Olson
    July 31, 1999 - 01:56 pm
    The Eddie Slovik story is told in

    Slovik Story

    The Detroits News archives referenced here is an excellent source on info for ayhting related to Detroit in WWII.

    It has excellent covereage of many aspects of WWII

    Ann Alden
    July 31, 1999 - 02:33 pm
    I do remember the Air Force women were called WAFS. Do they still exist in this world of co-edness? When we were in the Air Force, the WAFS were still around and so were the other women's services but that was in the 50's.

    I thought that the Englishman just had to pledge alegiance to the US and they took him into the American Army. Maybe he considered that "being drafted" but I also thought that he wanted to fight in our army. Right? Wrong? I must return to the book!

    Joan Pearson
    August 1, 1999 - 07:28 am
    Oh wow! What great posts! What great sites! The Dresden bombing - the Eddie Slovik site! The magic of the Internet!

    And I had such a great vacation, knowing that you were all in such good hands with Robby, Ella and Ann leading the way and keeping things going!

    I spent a good hour reading your posts and have to admit that I still don't understand the rationale behind the bombing of Dresden, although I now know a lot more about the decision. Was Dresden a key city, a major city? Britta, I understand how you feel. It is a terrible memory for you. In the next chapter, Olga Nowak, a Polish labor camp survivor tells us that it was an unbearably sad experience to return to Auschwitz years after the war, and concludes that you can't look back but must live in the future to survive. I respect your desire to remain detached from the reasons for the bombing. There is something within me that is demanding an explanation however.



    I also need to know more about the execution of so many our soldiers during the war...and the official version of only one. Is it possible that Eisenhower only knew of Eddie Slovik? From the clickable provided by Jim I read:

    He was buried in France, in a secret cemetery with 94 American soldiers executed for the crimes of rape and murder.
    Were you shocked that executions took place at all? I mean, if desertion, going AWOL was so terrible a crime, requiring a death sentence, why weren't these men sent home for a trial? What was the official report of their deaths? What were their families told?

    Many surprising incidents of POW treatment in these pages. Hope that expow will be able to share his experience with us...

    Good to be back! Looking forward to hearing from you!

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 1, 1999 - 07:38 am
    WELCOME BACK, JOAN!!

    Going AWOL did not ask for a death sentence but desertion did if the Court Martial so decided. There is the rub. Why do and did Courts Martial think a certain way? Desertion in war time, especially if on a mass scale, can mean the loss of a battle. On the other hand, this was a citizen Army made up of men who were not regular soldiers and wanted only one thing - to get home. The dilemma of the top officers was to balance the two.

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 1, 1999 - 09:47 am
    Fgordon: On my computer this site "was not found."

    Robby

    Ann Alden
    August 1, 1999 - 04:18 pm
    Welcome back, Joan P! Hope your trip was great fun? How did the wedding in the woods go? What fun that could be, if one didn't have to worry about bears!!

    This section of the book has many interesting and different stories. I particularly thought that one about the two sailors, one from US and one from Germany was very nice to read. The fact that they were each of the opinion that sailors don't care what country you are from, they will always try to rescue another sailor. And, the way they all talked to each other after the rescue of the German crew. Makes you appreciate the human race a little more.

    stantheman
    August 1, 1999 - 07:37 pm
    This may seem to be an odd approach to havoc wreaked in WW11. What made it different from world war 1, where battles were fought between armies was the discovery of oil underground and the invention of the internal combustion engine. These two events led to the creation of machines of war, like tanks, airplanes, jeeps, deisel powered ships, etc. In fact the whole outcome of the war depended on oil and its availability. Battles were often won or lost due to shortages of fuel. The next world war, if there is one will not have this problem. it will be by remote comtrol. Nuclear weapons will be launched by pushbutton. Stantheman WW 11 vet who served in the liberation of Phillipines.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 2, 1999 - 04:13 am
    Stantheman brings up a most interesting idea. Was World War II fought more over the fact that oil had been found underground and that we now had the internal combustion engine? Was this why Hitler and Tojo conquered territory? Was this why we fought them back so strongly? What are your thoughts?

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    August 2, 1999 - 05:56 am
    Good morning and WELCOME, stantheman! So happy to find you here today! Would love to hear more of your involvement in the Philippines and recollections of the war in general!

    You certainly present a novel idea. I never stopped to think of the "hardware" differences between WWI and WWII! And now you suggest the difference between WWII and future wars (I can't bring myself to say WWIII) will be "software"! Nuclear war would definitely cancel out the human contact, the interaction that we see in this chapter between the POW's and their captors. Nuclear war eliminates all chances of learning the lessons of humanity we see coming out of WWII, I think. Nuclear war is an "old men's war" - decisions made by old men to wipe out whole populations. Is that better than decisions made by old men to send young men to fight (and maybe kill) young men, I wonder?



    Ann, the camp wedding on Mt.Hood was a hoot! No fauna! An occasional chipmunk... What's more, no <<<bugs>>>!!!!

    I agree, the relationship between Hans Gobeler, the sailor on the German U-Boat and James Sanders, the flight officer who was on the USS Guadalcanal carrier that sank it - was heartening! By the way, Studs tells us that same U-boat, U-505 is in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago...in case you're in there in November!

    There are more POW experiences related here...and they all have a similar message concerning their captors and concerns about future wars... I am very interested to hear from former prisoners of war or their families to learn if they experienced the same humane treatment and personal relationships with their captors as those related in these pages...

    Ella Gibbons
    August 2, 1999 - 12:45 pm
    HI JOAN! GLAD YOU'RE BACK!

    Jim - thanks for finding that story of Slovik on the web. How pathetic in many ways. A frightened boy - one who probably if given a dishonorable discharge might have come home to a productive life with his wife.

    I know the Army cannot allow desertion, etc. It's the hellish part of the war, the young men, how to train them to kill and kill, it's very difficult for me to envision.

    Will read a few more chapters tonight - Oh, no, I won't. Want to see the History Mysteries this week on the History Channel. Sometime soon.

    FOLEY
    August 2, 1999 - 01:08 pm
    Will be away, offline, from 3rd August - 15th. Flying to Denver tomorrow with granddaughter, 13, to visit a son and family in Breckenridge. He tells me lots of rain with mud slides, whereas here in NJ we havent had any rain in two months. The leaves are already turning brown, we wont have a good autumn. Will have a lot to catch up on when I return. This month, dear Queen Mum turns 99.. and Robby will tells us it's the 54th anniversary of VJ day. I was married between VE and VJ days and was so happy my husband didnt have to go on to Japan, and I was demobbed in the September as I was now married. Still had to wait 6 months before I was allotted to a War Bride ship to bring me to this country.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 2, 1999 - 06:27 pm
    On this date in 1943 a Navy patrol torpedo boat, PT-109, commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, sank after being sheared in two by a Japanese destroyer off the Solomon Islands. Kennedy was credited with saving members of the crew.

    And you're right, Foley, I probably will!

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    August 3, 1999 - 06:12 am
    That "secret cemetery" mentioned in the Slovik article is something that should be explored. If it was secret how did the author of that article learn about it? Who else knows? Are the names of these soldiers there? How were their families notified?

    stantheman
    August 3, 1999 - 06:17 am
    What is the similarity between the morse code V (for victory) used in WW11, and a fifth of Beethoven (anyone) stantheman WW11 vet

    Joan Pearson
    August 3, 1999 - 06:42 am
    stan-the-man!!!, you are making me crazy with your riddle! You are a hoot! Stick around, we need this food for thought!

    Ella, I have searched for mention of such executions to no avail! Tommy Bridges was an MP during the war and says he was present at such executions in England...I had assumed the bodies were shipped home for burial until I read of the secret burial plot in Jim's clickable on Eddie Slovik. Maybe I'll do a search for more on Eddie this afternoon. Was he executed at home or overseas, do you remember?

    Do any of you Vets recall instances of court martials with the death penalty? For murder, I can understand. For desertion, rape, stealing government property - that seems extreme. Was this kept secret? Did the military court really have such authority to be executing enlisted men overseas? Were their families informed? 94 executions in a three year period! Quite high to go unnoticed!

    You know, I've been thinking about execution as punishment for desertion in the context of this chapter, where we read about the humane treatment shown toward our war prisoners, such as the mate on the German U-boat, Hans Gobeler. This was our enemy and he was treated well, and is living a long productive life...we see him here attending a reunion in 1982 of most of the surviving members of the crews of both vessels. And yet we executed deserters? I need to understand the thinking of the time! I do understand that desertion was a serious problem. But execution! There is a distinction between AWOL and desertion, as Robby points out, but look at Eddie! He got back late! He was AWOL, he was executed! How many others? Where can we find out?

    Foley, have a grand trip with the grands! Lucky you!

    Later!

    Joan

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 3, 1999 - 06:53 am
    Stantheman: I believe that most vets know the answer to your riddle but I'll wait to see what comes up.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    August 3, 1999 - 12:29 pm
    Joan - Slovik was executed and buried in France in this secret cemetery with 94 others also executed for other crimes. I tried looking up further information but to no avail. Interesting site is www.historynet.com.

    Thought Robby and other veterans might enjoy this site:

    Little known Facts of WWII


    It is disturbing and difficult to believe that we executed our own men and yet our P.O.W.'s were safely guarded, given food and work and even paid (albeit meagerly). Certainly in hindsight those orders of execution would have been different - I would hope, anyway, but in the heat of war perhaps the commanders felt they had little choice - war manuals possibly stipulated that for punishment? I don't know.

    Do we know how the Germans treated our guys that were captured?

    I was telling my husband the story of the navy fellow, Joseph Small, the ammunitions loader, and he remembered the incident; whether from being on the west coast himself in the navy or perhaps hearing about it later; he's rather vague. Was there a movie made of this incident? For those who do not have the book, black sailors were put to work loading explosives onto ships, and despite their concerns and protests that it was dangerous work, their officers (who were betting on whose team could load the most in a given time and, of course, not doing any work themselves) assured them the ammunition could never detonate.

    On July 17, 1944, two transport vessels loading ammunition at the Port Chicago (California) naval base on the Sacramento River were suddenly engulfed in a gigantic explosion; 200 ammunition loaders (black) were killed in the blast.

    After the docks were repaired the black sailors refused to load again; were courtmartialed, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. However, due to public outcry, their sentences were reduced to 16 months in prison.

    They were represented in the courtmartial by Thurgood Marshall, later to be appointed as a Supreme Court Justice.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 3, 1999 - 03:29 pm
    Ella: I was awestruck by the number of "lesser known tales." It's very hard to determine whether all or part of them are true. I read some of them but will have to go back to the URL.

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    August 4, 1999 - 05:48 am
    Ella! That's a great site! Will put it in the heading when I get in from work today. Check this out. I thought it was very interesting for several reasons!
    Burkett's book, written with noted Texas writer Glenna Whitley, bodes to shake up the nation's beliefs on more than the Vietnam War. Though centered on that conflict, it exposes myths about other wars that have long been accepted as gospel.



    One example is the Pvt. Eddie Slovik myth. As a result of a much-touted television movie about him a few years back, most Americans think he was the only GI executed by this nation in World War II.



    To the contrary, demonstrates Burkett, there "were almost 1,000 GIs condemned to death during World War II for atrocities against civilians and other crimes. More than 100 of them were actually executed. Most are buried in a cemetery in France. ... It's an embarrassment; it's a disgrace. It never became part of the history of World War II. But it's there, and I can prove it."



    Burkett has some other deflating facts to reveal about what many call our "last good war." Men did not "line up on Dec. 8, 1941, to enlist," he notes. "That's just a figment of Hollywood's imagination. The bulk of World War II vets didn't start coming into the service until 1943 and 1944. The draft was in place, and there were millions of guys of draft age who were exempt due to defense (industry) deferments."



    He contrasts that war - in which a surprisingly low 33 percent enlisted and 67 percent had to be drafted - with the Vietnam War, in which the figures were completely reversed with 67 percent volunteering. And even of the Vietnam draftees, he notes, 10 percent volunteered to be drafted.



    Much more upsetting to the "good war-bad war" believers are sure to be his revelations about the behavior of some of our revered troops in that former war. The 101st Airborne Division was trapped in the famous Battle of the Bulge, he says, because "everybody on their flank quit fighting. There were 20,000 GIs AWOL in Paris the day the Battle of the Bulge started."



    By contrast, he notes, "In Vietnam, we never surrendered. The concept of surrender didn't exist in Vietnam."



    DESTROYING MYTHS Burkett, the son of an Air Force colonel, is hardly likely to be accused of any lack of patriotism for such revelations. His purpose is not to belittle or demean the less-than-heroic actions of a relatively few World War II veterans. Rather, he seeks to once and for all destroy what he considers the insufferable myth of the Vietnam War being an ugly stain on our military, not in any way to be compared with those noble days of World War II.



    "The men and woman who served in Vietnam were heroes, not the victims society and the media would have us believe," the mild-mannered Burkett says with some emotion. People like me who grew up in the military, and were the sons of the World War II generation, wanted to follow in the footsteps of heroes. When we were told that because we went to Vietnam we would be relegated to second-class status, that we were unworthy, I said to myself this is just false, absolutely false. I had to do something about it."


    From this site -

    Vietnam Vet Attempts to Restore Soldiers' Valor

    Jim Olson
    August 4, 1999 - 07:46 am
    I think the major concern of many Viet Nam vets is expressed here- a feeling that their valor is somehow questioned because they fought in a relatively unpopular war.

    Some of us who are Korean vets are concerned because we feel we fought and bled in a "forgotten war."

    None of this distracts or should distract from the consideration of the actions of individual soldiers in terms of heroic actions, cowardice, stuidity, whatever.

    I think based on experience in WWII and Korea that the quality of the soldiers as a fighting unit, their valor, devotion to duty, etc. is largely a result not of support from back home or any kind of idealistic purpose, but of a feeling of unity with a fighting unit, the pride in being in an outfit, an integral part of a unit and respected by the men in the unit.

    This was made clear to me in Korea on one occasion when I was assigned as an army artillery forward observer to support a Marine unit doing a company strength patrol that involved taking a hill in no mans land as part of a probe of the lines at that time.

    The assignment was to occupy the hill briefly, see what reaction that drew, and then return to the more established lines.

    As we approached a foothill just in front of the targeted hill, I fell behind the column, resting briefly as my heavy radio pack slowed me down and I couldn't keep up with the much better conditioned Marines.

    In order to catch up I decided to detour around the side of the foothill and meet the columm as it came down on its way toward the objective. My strategy worked.

    As I rounded the hill, I encountered the Marine scout (the first man in the first squad of the first platoon.) It is the "points" function is such patrols to draw fire so the eneny position is located.

    He saw I wasn't a Marine and said" This is my job, get back where you belong."

    He didn't want a dogface to outpoint a Marine even if the dogface was there by stupidity and not valor.

    I gladly went back up the hill to meet the rest of the column and took a postion where I could direct artillery support.

    A half hour later as we advanced to the next hill I met the scout again. He was prone on the hillside several hundred yards down from where I had encountered him, with a bottle of plasma tied to his rifle now thrust into the ground, being administered to by a Marine medic. He had found the enemy and been the first casualty of the action.

    15 minutes later he was dead.

    I could never really understand why he didn't just let me go on as the "point" of the patrol and make the first contact.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 4, 1999 - 09:00 am
    I have always described myself as an "open-minded cynic." When I read some of the amazing remarks and figures cited above, part of me says: "That's pretty hard to believe" but another part of me says: "Don't be too quick to ignore it; such things are possible." I look for some kind of back-up statistic. Take the figures, for example, of their being 33% percent enlisting and 67% being drafted in World War II, gving lie to the story that so many people were rushing to the recruiting offices. You may recall in an earlier posting of mine where I stated I was for a period of time a Company Clerk and saw the records in my company and other companies. I pointed out that I and just a few others who had enlisted had numbers beginning with "1" whereas most of them had numbers beginning with "3" indicating that they were drafted. And so the 33-67 figure makes sense to me.

    War stories are easily affected by propaganda put out by the government, by rumors passed around, and by the innate desires of the population to believe "what they want to be true." I consider our discussion group on The Good War most important because it consists primarily of stories told by those who have been through it and are not affected by propaganda, rumors, and desires. It is a true historical source.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    August 4, 1999 - 10:05 am
    What fascinating information!

    Jim - you came very close there, didn't you? "Pride goeth before a fall" - an apt expression for the dead marine. You didn't have a chance to tell him you took the shorter route?

    Joan - Burkett's book, when it comes out, is certainly going to shatter myths! Particulary, the figures of 33% enlistment in WWII as compared to 67% enlistment in the Vietnam War.

    Also this - "Burkett uses no such images. He deals strictly in hard, indisputable facts. And those facts, painstakingly unearthed in years of research, demonstrate that Vietnam vets are better employed than others of their generation, are more likely to have a college education and own a home, have lower incarceration and suicide rates, and, in a revelation that's sure to shock many, have a lower drug-addiction rate. "

    No way would I have believed that from reading various reports of the media.

    Joan - how do you indent the stuff you want to quote? I'd like to be able to do that.

    Ann Alden
    August 4, 1999 - 11:02 am
    Yes, Robby, an open minded cynic is what most of us should be until we research the facts for ourselves. What a shock to read Burkett's claims here. I would be interested in reading the book when it comes out. I have always felt that our NAM vets were ill treated by the general public when they returned. I can remember my brother-in-law, a NAM Marine vet telling us of the horribleness of the war but the that the worst part was when the vets returned and were not given parades like their fathers had been after WWII. Its so sad!

    Ella Gibbons
    August 5, 1999 - 08:51 am
    Jim - we have a couple of friends who were in the Korean War and, no doubt, feel as you do. Next year, believe it or not, will be the 50th anniversary of the beginning of that war. Here is a site that may interest you.

    The Korean War

    Joan Pearson
    August 5, 1999 - 10:13 am
    Studs interviewed quite a few POWs in this chapter...Charlie Miller , US Air Force, was a POW for two years...was treated well by his German captors. And there were others. Are there any former POWs among us who can tell us if most Americans received humane treatment by the Germans?

    Jacques Raboud was a French POW and has horror stories of his treatment at the hands of the Russians - they almost killed him...he weighed 80 lbs. when liberated. Charlie Miller relates that the Germans hated the Russian POWs...and really maltreated them. He felt sorry for all of them. Erich Luth, a foreman in a German sewing-machine plant, made up of many slave laborers and prisoners of war, was interviewed by Studs - and speaks of the poorly dressed, poorly fed Russian laborers ...says the German women felt sorry for them and fed them when they could.

    I admit to being puzzled by the Russian army...didn't we read before that they were formidable - one GI went so far as to say that if the Russians fought the US, they'd win! Here they seem so pitiful. Perhaps there were such large numbers of them, that Russia could not really do much for the needs of the captives?

    But why did the Germans treat their American POWs better? DID THEY?

    Ella, there are two steps I use to copy and paste articles into a post. First ( and most important) put the word blockquote in between two brackets - <>. At the end of the article, remember to put /blockquote between <> to close it.

    Then to break it up so it doesn't all run together like one big paragraph, use br between <> and then P between <> at the end of each paragraph. I put the words, blockquote, br and P in italics here......you don't do that...Let me know how you do! It works well.

    Jim Olson
    August 5, 1999 - 10:48 am
    Ella,

    I am not one of those concerned about neglected wars or veterans of one war vs those of another etc.

    I use the phrase "forgotten war" as an illustration not as a call for recognition.

    My conclusion is that there is no good war- never has been and never will be.

    As far as I can see the only thing accomplished by a war is to sow the seeds of the next one.

    Ella Gibbons
    August 5, 1999 - 04:05 pm
    Jim - are we sowing seeds now, and, if so, how? Can we call the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf - wars? Conflicts? Is WWII truly the last great war and by that I mean a declared war?

    Joan - thanks, I went to write that in my notes and there it was staring at me - I've just never used that. Will in the future though!

    Hendie
    August 5, 1999 - 04:45 pm
    We stood in awe of this man Bader. He had lost both his legs in a flying accident before the war. After Dunkirk, he wanted to get into the RAF as a pilot but they refused him. He fought the brass at Air ministry until he finally convinced them he could handle a plane adequately with artificial limbs. What a good thing, because he became an icon of courage and determination, leading his Spitfire Squadrons during the Battle of Britain.

    Bader was later shot down over Germany. As a POW he was treated with great respect - the Germans appreciated courage, and they signalled for a new "leg" to replace the one that had been damaged in the fall from his Spit'. One was flown in and dropped by a RAF plane. No sooner did he get it than he escaped. After recapture, they finally had to take his prosthesis away to prevent him from continual attempts. Do try Web site http://www.gslink/~lee/history/bader.html for an interesting read on DOUGLAS BADER TRIPLE WAR ACE.

    Bader's spirit was a joyous source of courage and determination to us Brits in those early war years 40/41 when we stood alone, so proximally vulnarable...And I DANCED with him! ME, a rookie airwoman!! How better to get one's toes trampled!! Whereever he is I'll bet he is laughing too Jean Lee!......

    Jaywalker
    August 5, 1999 - 07:22 pm
    Well, Joan P.. I learned something new ("blockquote") pretty neat. Now I have to find some place to try it out!

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 6, 1999 - 04:29 am
    On this date 54 years ago (1945) the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing an estimated 140,000 people (both military and civilians) in the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare.

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 6, 1999 - 12:29 pm
    Hendie:

    You have shared one of those stories which ought to be told more often. Not only does it tell the bravery of someone like Bader but in telling of the Germans asking for another artificial leg, it tells of the respect a true soldier has for another soldier even if they are on opposite sides. I'll bet that your memory of dancing with Bader will remain with you for the rest of your life!

    This business of the respect that one fighting man has for another reminds me of the surrender of Gen. Lee at Appomatox. As I understand it, as the Confederate soldiers tramped by between lines of Union soldiers, the Union soldiers stood at attention and at times saluted in respect for the valor and strength the Confederates had shown for what they believed whas right.

    Please share any other stories or thoughts you may have.

    Robby

    expow
    August 6, 1999 - 01:05 pm
    Dear Joan, The treatment of POW's is a complex subject because there are so many stories. I might begin by telling you that my wife and I for the past 10 years have been transcribing POW stories into a computer. The computer disks will go to the National Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville, Georgia. The staff at the museum has gathered about 700 stories of POW's all the way from the Desert Storm POW"s to exactly 2 stories from World War 1. My wife and I have transcribed over 100 stories so I might say we have heard more POW stories than anyone else except the people who interviewed for the 700 interviews.

    Now as to treatment. First I am going to limit myself to talking about the European war. The treatment received by the POW's of the Japanese is another different strory. I have heard many stories but I was not htere so I won't comment.

    You must understand that there were two differentg wars going on in Europe. First there was the German=Russian war and then there was the German Allies war. By comparrison the German-Allies war was a gentlemans war. The Russian-German war was a war of sheer hatred. Those two countries have hated each other for many years. Therefore the treatment of each others prisoners matched the treatment of any other country any where in the world for absolute barbarism. The POW"s of the allied nations were kept in prison camps separate from the Russians. The Russian camps, from what I saw, were so bad that we as American prisoners that did not have all that mucxh would, any time we could, throw food over the fence to the Russians. I have seen wagon loads of dead Russians come out of the Russian camp. The story goes, I did not see it but I believe it, that the Germans would turn loose the war dogs into the Russian barracks but all that ever came out was the skins of the dogs, the rest were eaten. No dog could whip a bunch of hungry men The Russians treated ther German POW's just as bad. The other thing that had an affect was that the Russians did not sign the Geneva Convention as the Germans did. Strangely enough the Germans followed this convention more often than you might think they would. As far as our treatment it again varied. Ask someone who had been in the camps for a long time and you will get a different story than those who were captured from the Bulge onward. The Germans were running out of food and our fighter planes made rail transportation almost impossible. Certainly, then, the POW's of that time were not going to get fed. I, personally, worked on a forestry detail for a year and during that time was not treated badly. We got more food and got Red Cross food parcels regularly. Our guards were regulare Wehrmacht guards who were, for the most part old men or recovering wounded men. Half of them had relatives in "Zinnzinnatti" or Chicago. If you delt with the SS troops it was a different matter entirely as they would as soon shoot you as look at you. Another variable. I wound up walking 500 miles thru Germany. As we came into a village we would be sure to tell the people that we were Infantry. This was an honorable military profession that the people could understand. To the people our Air Force were Luft gangsters (air bandits) I have heard many stories of Air Force personnel being beated to death by civilians before the German Army could recue them.

    Up front I will admit I am bitter about the French Prisoners I contacted. Admittedly they were in the camps for a long time. However the French in our camp made themselves into trustees. This meant that they could go into town when they wanted to with out guards. This, in turn meant, that the guards were released to do other things such as go into combat against our buddies on the front. Never would these French bring in food for free but to sell-ah another matter. We felt that our men were dying to free France and the least these people could do is tye up guards. My wife and I have been in 50 countries but I have never set foot in France after I left it to come home.

    Does this help? Ask more questions and I will try to answer
    Good War ~ Studs Terkel ~ 4/99 ~ Nonfiction Export

    Good War ~ Studs Terkel ~ 4/99 ~ Nonfiction
    sysop
    April 2, 1999 - 08:11 am



    WHERE WERE YOU IN WORLD WAR II?

    Any discussion of the 20th century will center on this war,
    Our "GOOD" WAR











    Share your personal memories!

    Experience Studs Terkel's Pulitzer Prize-winning
    Oral History of World War II!





    A "Good War because...
    "It was not like other wars. It was not fratricidal. It was not, most of us profoundly believed, "imperialistic." Our enemy was, patently, obscene: the Holocaust maker. It was one war that many who would have resisted, supported enthusiastically. It was a "just" war.

    OUR VETS REMEMBER(click here)


    From "Over There" (click here)


    "No lives were left untouched... " (click here)








    Studs Terkel:
    The Importance of Sharing these Memories!

    "World War II is an event that changed the psyche as well as the face of the US and the world. The disremembrance of this war is becoming disturbingly profound. We seem to be suffering from a National Alzheimer's in our country. No one remembers the Great Depression anymore. Soon we will not remember World WarII. It's important for younger generations to hear the Vets' stories and learn from them.



    The telling of stories, "oral history" was the only history to exist before the printing press. I try to fill the role with the tape recorder. Anything to keep these memories alive. Each memory is a precious memory. In the "Good" War, I wanted to focus on ordinary people rather than on celebrities, on ordinary people who do extraordinary things - to show what it was like for them and their families to live at that certain moment in history.



    The title of this book was suggested by a World War II correspondent. It is a phrase frequently voiced by men of his and my generation, to distinguish that war from other wars. Quotation marks have been added simply because the adjective, "good" mated to the noun, "war" is so incongruous. World War II was a war that had to be, but not "good". No war is good. War is insane. By the very nature of war, you are sending out kids to kill a stranger. A stranger = an enemy. Decent kids don't know this. War was a learning experience for them. I wanted to talk to people who had been kids at the time, to hear how they first experienced war and death.



    This is a memory book, rather than one of hard, precise fact. I have not changed my mind about people. All people are capable of change. As for war, there has to be another way. But what?



    Like your Internet group - strangers coming together to learn more about one another. That's what it is all about to end war. Fewer strangers, fewer enemies. Keep the memory alive!"



    Studs Terkel is the author of the Pulitzer-prize winning, The "Good" War, an Oral History of World War II.




    Read Me for more World War II Memories

    Discussion Leaders were:Joan Pearson and Robert Iadeluca


    The "Good" War by Studs Terkel
    7% of your purchase price will be donated to SeniorNet!



    Authors who've participated in Books discussions

    Joan Pearson
    April 6, 1999 - 05:35 am
    You will not be able to put down this book until the last page! The personal memories they evoke! All of the folks Studs Terkel interviewed in these pages were 18-19 yrs. old during the war. How old were you? I bet you remember lots more than you think after reading these oral histories. I think we all owe it to our kids and grandchildren to brush off these memories and get them down on paper. Share them with us! We'll save them for you!

    Larry Hanna
    April 6, 1999 - 06:37 am
    Joan, I haven't read any of Studs Terkel books but it looks like this well be an interesting read. Have to admit that I am too young to have many memories of the war as wasn't born until 1941 so was blissfully oblivious to what was happening in the world. My folks speak of the difficulties encountered but I was never hungry or felt the impact of the war years.

    Larry

    Pat Scott
    April 6, 1999 - 07:34 am
    I have never read any books by this author either but will sure be happy to look at this one. I have only a few memories of the war here as I, too, was born in 1940, the year after it started, but my memories are of my uncle coming home and the welcoming in Toronto by my aunt...a scene I'll never forget.

    Pat

    Theresa
    April 6, 1999 - 09:07 am
    This is going to be exciting! I will order the book today. I was 5 years old when the war started and remember my brothers leaving, one by one, as they became old enough to go. The youngest left home at the age of 17 years to go in to the Navy. I remember my mother with a rosary in her hand nearly every minute until they came home. No matter what else she was doing, I am sure her heart and thoughts were with her 3 little boys..one in Europe and two in the Pacific. I also remember when they came home!!!!!! I look forward to the discussion!<P.Theresa

    Ella Gibbons
    April 6, 1999 - 10:16 am
    There are many memories of WWII in my family as we were all born in the '20's or thereabouts. My husband was in the Navy on an aircraft carrier and two brother-in-laws were in the Army, one was wounded fighting in Italy. However, they got him back on his feet and he fought again.

    I'll get the book, Joan, and look forward to the discussion.

    Jaywalker
    April 6, 1999 - 10:24 am
    I lived with my family on a farm in the state of Washington in 1941. I was six years old. I have memories of that time, and the years that followed, as we also "moved to town" (Everett), and my father went to work at Payne Field. I will be interested in what everyone has to share in this discussion.

    patwest
    April 6, 1999 - 11:52 am
    Our family was on our way home from Florida in 1941 ( in a wooden bodied Ford Station Wagon), shortly after Pearl Harbor, when the government "froze" tires. We always spent Christmas holiday camping on Daytona Beach. Of course, we had a blow-out and could not find a replacement in a small town south of Nashville. But a kind mechanic gave my Father a lift to Nashville, where he was able to buy a tire on the 'black market'. The War ended those annual visits: never made that trip again with family until '50 when 2 of us were married and there were 2 grandchildren.

    There is so much to remember.. Joan Pearson always gets me thinking about memories I thought I had long discarded. I'll write more later... like trying to buy shoes, baking with honey, and first aid classes and rolling bandages, knitting scarves and mittens.

    patwest
    April 6, 1999 - 12:18 pm
    Well, I just check my library's web site and the book is in. So I emailed them I would pick it up tomorrow.

    And I can keep it 6 weeks, by renewing it for 3 weeks additional when I first take it out.

    Larry Hanna
    April 6, 1999 - 12:51 pm
    Pat, I also was able to get this book from my library. They had three copies and two were immediately available. Since it is an older book it is not in current demand like some of the current bestsellers. I will also be able to keep the book for 6 weeks and then can probably have my wife check it out for me as long as there are no holds on it. This access to the library database is just great.

    Larry

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    April 6, 1999 - 02:30 pm
    Gosh back to a time when a vail of honor and unabashed patriotism covered the land! I was one month away from becomeing 9 when we officially entered the war with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Victory gardens; saving tin cans, aluminum foil; picking fruit because there was no farm labour; air raids in school; stamps for sugar, shoes you name it; war news on the radio; rolling bandages and making bed pads with the Girl Scouts; rectangle flags with stars in windows showing sons and husbands in the service or a gold star if someone had been killed.

    WWII war was such a large part of my growing up - I will be visiting my adolescents reading Studs Terkel's book. I have never read any of his work. This is such a great opportunity, on my own I would never have thought to read Studs Terkel. How much fun, all the memories that will be shared by those of us going to Chicago.

    Pat Scott
    April 6, 1999 - 02:38 pm
    Pat W., you spoke about "baking with honey" and that sparked a memory for me. My father was a beekeeper and all beekeepers gave 10% of their yield each fall during the war to the armed forces so that the soldiers could carry honey with them in their kits to put on wounds.

    My father's eldest brother was a Seargent Major in the 48th Highlanders and he would write to Dad saying, "Keep those bees producing, Ian! We need it here." Apparently, germs don't live in honey and I remember as a child when I would fall, my mother put honey on my knee.

    patwest
    April 6, 1999 - 03:52 pm
    Pat S... my grandmother, (grew up in south London) put molasses or sorghum on cuts. She often mixed sulphur with the molasses and in the spring we were given a tablespoon full daily. I finally got smart enough not to go visiting there in the springtime.

    Ella Gibbons
    April 7, 1999 - 06:59 am
    The afternoon when the news came over the radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed, all the grownups were startled and discussing the news while sitting in front of the radio. I was 13 and had never heard of Pearl Harbor and kept asking where it was and was irritated that nobody would pay enough attention to me to answer my question.

    Do you remember the "Pathe News" at the movies? We often went on Saturday afternoons and watched a double feature with a cartoon and the "News." That was where we saw the pictures of what was happening overseas.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 7, 1999 - 06:28 pm
    I remember a lot about World War II. I was in the Army from June/42 until April/46 and fought in Europe. About three years ago I had the desire to write up my childhood, thought it would be a few pages and ended up with 125 double spaced pages. This led to my writing up another chapter called War Years and I ended up with another 160 pages. I brought home a French GI bride and ended up writing about 500 pages on my marriage. It started happily, produced two children, and ended with an unhappy divorce 20 years later.

    I am looking forward to sharing and reading.

    Robby

    Joan Grimes
    April 8, 1999 - 05:30 am
    I remember the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. My mother had taken my brother and me out into the woods behind our house to look for mistletoe to use in Christmas decorations. When we came back home my dad who was lways glued to the news on the radio told us that the Japan had boomed Pearl Harbor. He had been telling us for years that Japan would attack us. The iron and steel from furnaces at a closed steel mill in Birmingham had been sold to Japan several years before the attack. I remember his words that Japan would shoot that back at us one day. He was not a well educated man but kept up with current events on the radio and read every newspaper that he could get his hands on . He was always well informed on what was happening the in world. As soon as we came into the house he began showing us in the Atlas exactly where Pearl Harbor was. By the next day we knew that there were young men from our area who were on the ships that were bombed. We soon knew that some of these men had died. I was about 9 year old so the memories are vivid.

    The war in Europe had been talked about constantly in our home by both my mother and dad. Dad kept up with everything that happened.I have vague memories of Dunkirk, of France falling and that sort of thing. My Dad kept up so closely on everything that happened. After Pearl harbor the memories are not vague anymore. They are very clear.

    I could go on forever with memories of the war years but won't do that.

    Joan

    Joan Pearson
    April 8, 1999 - 05:48 am
    Oh my, we do have a weatlth of memories! Robert, please say you will get a copy of this book and come back and discuss it with us! Your firsthand knowledge will be invaluable! You are a treasure!

    And Ella, Joan, all of you with vivid memories, yes, you too simply must come back and share in this discussion. Counting on you to make it really special!
    Joan

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 8, 1999 - 06:07 am
    Joan: OK, I'll get a copy of the book. I'm looking forward to this discussion.

    Robby

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 8, 1999 - 06:12 am
    Two additional thoughts:

    1 - I'm sure there are those who went through more horrendous experiences than I did and could contribute to this. I would suggest "advertising" this new discussion group in as many other groups as possible.

    2- This Senior Net is for us "elders" and we don't encourage young people to sign on. Yet I would submit that most of the young folks these days think of us as "ancient history" and not relevant. How can we pass on what we are about to discuss to these younger generations?

    Robby

    Cecelia Golieri
    April 8, 1999 - 07:08 am
    I was a kid in Brooklyn during WWII. My brother joined the navy in May '42 and immediately became my hero as he flew all over Europe..was a turret gunner then later aviation mechanic. One day all the dishes in the cabinets fell out and everything shook - weren't told it was a German submarine off Long Island and some actually landed. When a family lost a boy, they put a little flag in the window with a gold star. My dad worked in the Brooklyn navy yard. Signs in the subway would say "Keep Mum Chum, Chew Tops Gum" and "A Slip Of The Lip, Will Sink A Ship" My brother and I now live together in FL, he has a world of stories but says "I was only 17 when I enlisted and was the kid in the squadron. Those old guys are all dead now." His young friends admire the pictures I have of Sarge with all his stripes and fruit salad. cel in FL

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 8, 1999 - 07:12 am
    Cecelia:

    Those German spies landed near Southampton and actually took the Long Island Railroad to New York City before they were apprehended. But what does that have to do with the dishes in your cabinet falling out?

    Robby

    Cecelia Golieri
    April 8, 1999 - 07:23 am
    robbie, the government didn't tell us they were bombing those submarines..depth charges? There would have been mass panic and exodus to Utah if we knew what actually was going on.cel

    rebecca j
    April 8, 1999 - 07:52 am
    HI I AM REBECCA JOHNSON MY HUSBAND BILL WAS IN THE IOIST AIRBORNE DIV AND WAS THE REC,OF TWO PURPLE HEARTS AND ONE OAK LEAF CLUSTER AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER WE HAD A BEAUTIFUL LIFE HE WORKED FOR CONRAIL IN PA, AND WE HAVE TWO SONS AND A DAUGHTER THEN THE SAD PART OF MY LIFE VCOMES LATER HE DIED LAST YEAR AND I MISS HIM SO MUCHI AM TRYING TO GO ON AND IT IS SO LONELY

    Cecelia Golieri
    April 8, 1999 - 08:03 am
    Rebeccca, try Lifestyles Widows and Widowers..we're all there ...Yes, the old soldiers are dying one by one..got a couple still around like robbie and a friend of mine who is 88 and celebrated his 66th wedding anniversary with his Sally... they were childless married 12 years and then he came back from the army and they had 4 kids in a row....,must have been all that south pacific fruit he ate.cel

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 8, 1999 - 08:07 am
    Rebecca: Your husband was (and is) a true hero!!! I hope you remain in this discussion group and continue to brag about him.

    Cecelia: Is life passing by without my realizing it? I wasn't aware I was one of the few veterans left of World War II. I thought there were still a lot of us.

    Robby

    Eileen Tyrrell
    April 8, 1999 - 09:35 am
    I wasn't old enough to be in the war,as such, but I sure was on the receiving end. I can remember it well and inspite of friendly relations, when in the service in Germany, I saw a German plane with the cross on it, and I was really shaken because if I had a gun I would have shot the first person that came out of that plane, I still remembered, and that which I thoughy was over was just hidden until I saw that aircraft on the tarmac. It's rather frightening, if this can happen to me, I dread to think how those who really fought feel, will it ever be over?

    SargeVero
    April 8, 1999 - 11:48 am
    My sister says this is my chance to talk. So she has to type for me I went into the USN at 17 in 1942 and wanted to be in submarines, but I had mastoid problems as a child and ended up flying. My first station was Jax NAS in FL and I loved it. Then to Hollywood,FL in 1943, then on to Natal, Brazil and then to No. Africa. I never shot anybody on the ground, just targets. The US Army shot at my plane and I still have shrappnel in my legs from where they hit my turret. After the war I flew the Berlin Air Lift and was stationed in London. The best thing about the War was that it got me out of Brooklyn and I never went back to live there. I went to Korea and flew into Vietnam before the U.S. got heavily involved. Old soldiers usually end up big liars just like fisherman so I don't want to talk about it.

    Cecelia Golieri
    April 8, 1999 - 12:02 pm
    Yes robbie, your numbers are few. There weren't even enough able bodied WWII Vets to march in the Veteran's Day Parade here last year....don't know why they couldn't ride in a convertible but the VFW chose not to. cel

    Ella Gibbons
    April 8, 1999 - 07:36 pm
    I know 3 able-bodied veterans, but only one of them ever talks about his WWII experiences.

    Before we get Studs Terkel book, why do you suppose he called it the "Good War?" Can any war be good?

    Eddie Elliott
    April 8, 1999 - 11:46 pm
    I ordered my copy yesterday and anxiously awaiting it. Have ALWAYS loved Studs Terkel, but have never read this one. Won't be able to offer much of my memories, as I was only 2 years old when it started and 6 when it ended. We lived in Newport News, Virginia and I do have memories of all the activity there. My grandmother lived down by the shipyards and turned her house into a boarding house. Lots of USO entertainers in and out all the time, (Red Skelton was one of them). But mama wouldn't let us visit her during that time, as she didn't like us around all the different people that were in and out.

    My father was too old to be called, (I think he was too old, not sure...he told everyone he was exempted because his trade necessitated him staying at home...he was a butcher), whatever the reason, it worked out very nicely for him...he was an alcoholic, also, he was very irresponsible and a "lady's man"...claimed he was in 7th heaven with all the men gone and the ladies lonely!!! Poor mama...she worked like hell keeping us together and safe during this time. She rented out rooms in our house to older people and also cleaned and took in ironing to help. I can remember Black Outs and stomping tin cans and helping mama roll bandages for the red cross. We always had meat on the table (daddy took care of that). I remember rationing and mama upset because daddy (not needing his meat ration stamps) trading them for other ration stamps...can't remember what he got for them...whatever it was it wasn't what mama wanted...she wanted sugar and shoes for us (were they rationed?) I do remember everyone running out into the street yelling, "THE WAR IS OVER!", I remember I thought it was so wonderful that my mama was so happy...she just jumped up and down and cried and danced around in circles! It's one of the few times I saw her happy in those days.

    Even though I don't have much to post about my memories of the war, I find it so interesting to hear from everyone else. Am really looking forward to it.

    Ella, I think the reason it is referred to as the GOOD war, is because it was fought for a reason that everyone believed in and it brought us all together, as a country. There was pride and honor and conviction and a deep love for our country! I am probably way off base here...as I tend to agree with you...can ANY war be GOOD?! Am anxious to hear other opinions on why it was classified as, a GOOD WAR.

    Really enjoying everyone's posts and looking forward to hearing everyone's discussion.

    Eddie

    Jeryn
    April 9, 1999 - 04:56 pm
    I agree with Eddie as to why it would be called the "Good War". I probably won't read this book [too much else going on in my life] but will follow the discussion with some interest as I certainly remember WWII. My father enlisted in 1940 even though he was 30 years old, married, employed, and father of a 6-yr old daughter, namely me! I think it was the towering experience of his life and he never tired of talking about it. Anyway, I have many memories of the 40s, my grade school years. More anon...

    Ella Gibbons
    April 9, 1999 - 05:05 pm
    Hi Eddie - it is fascinating to me, also, to hear the recollections of those days. We went to an Elderhostel trip on the Chesapeake Bay and were in the Newport News area, I'm sure that was a busy place during WWII with the Navy base at Norfolk. Do you live there now and if not, do you ever go back? That was a fascinating trip as we all stayed in an old, but lovely, hotel right on the water, but the hotel was on an Army base - can't think of the name of the Fort ----Fort, something or other. I was called Ma'am all week and all those lovely young men in uniforms and saluting in the morn and evening and all sorts of fun things to watch, besides learning all about the Bay.

    Oh, yes, shoes were rationed during the war. We had ration books for sugar, coffee, shoes, among other things, but nobody complained as I remember. I lived in a college town and the boys came there for educational courses of some sort and used to march down the middle of the streets to get to their housing. The townspeople were a bit taken back as they held up traffic everywhere, but you didn't complain - it was for the war effort. Everything was for the war effort! I remember some rumors about those young men being "90-day wonders" and it had something to do with sending them into battle after 3-months training, I think.

    Ann and I went to a used book mall today where I got Studs Terkel's book. Looks interesting and I must call my one BIL and tell him to come out here and "listen in" - he might tell me a few things to tell all of you, if I catch him in a good mood.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 9, 1999 - 05:13 pm
    Ella: Explanation of a 90-day wonder.

    In normal times, West Pointers graduated with the rank of second lieutenant after four years of college. When war came, there were not enough second lieutenants, so special 90-day courses were set up and after completion, the grads were now second lieutenants.

    Keep in mind that all ranks obtained during the war were temporary ranks. 90-day wonders were temporary second lieutenants. West Point grads were permanent second lieutenants. West Point grads looked down on 90-day wonders as did some of the non-coms and enlisted men but an officer was an officer and had to be obeyed.

    Robby

    Jaywalker
    April 9, 1999 - 07:35 pm
    I can remember rationing, and the black-outs. The upper portion of car headlights had to be blacked out so the lights couldn't be seen from the air. We kids had can drives and newspaper drives and such. We'd pull our wagon around the neighborhood and gather up tin cans and newspapers and all sorts of scrap metal and then haul it off to the school auditorium where there would already be a mountain of scrap. We had competition between the classes in grade school to see which could bring in the most scrap.

    When I was in 4th grade, we were all taught to knit so we could supply the Red Cross with 6 inch squares to make afghans. Boys and girls alike knit these squares from donated yarn. It was all 'fun' for most of us, and we felt soooo patriotic doing it.

    I also remember tax tokens. I have a collection that was my mother's. Seems like I remember it took 10 tokens to equal a penny!

    patwest
    April 9, 1999 - 07:43 pm
    And Ration books with those little red and blue stamps that would never tear right on the perforations. I wore out shoes so fast that I wore boys tennis shoes because you didn't need a shoe coupon for them. The black over the ankle kind.

    Ann Alden
    April 10, 1999 - 09:19 am
    Okay, what about the lack of bicycles? No new ones seemed to be offered at our hardware store so my Dad purchased a used "boy's" bike for me for $10 or rather I paid with it from my newspaper route money. One day,I saw an upperclassman parking his "girl's model" in the bike racks, waited for him after school and traded him my boys'fenderless bike with no brand markings anywhere for his fendered, basketed and handle gripped Ben Hur model. Since I was only 9 or 10 at the time, my parents were astonished but his parents were thrilled.

    I remember, too, the huge piles of scrap and paper behind our school and the huge clothes piles in the church basement where my brother and I played games while our parents sorted for the European refugees. And the war stamps sale every month when we lined up in the school auditorium to buy and paste them in our stamp books later to be traded for a bond.

    My dad rode the streetcar to work so that he could save his gas stamps for a little travel now and then, in our '31 Model A Ford! Very little travel, up to Anderson and Kokomo to visit family and over to Union City to visit more family at the Ryan farm.

    My mother learned to knit at the downtown department store and because my brother wasn't in school yet, he went along with his own knitting bag and learned also. We would all sit around knitting in the evening(it must have looked like the "home" when you walked in) but not much of what we made went anywhere except Mother's which made it to the Red Cross. She must have been making sweaters and socks but I can't picture any particular things.

    I am in the middle of this book and its an eye opener.

    I remember switching from playing cowboys to playing war. The boy down the street had a real helmet and when my brother asked for one, my dad fashioned one for him from a steel mixing bowl. Needless to say, this lasted about one afternoon with the kids teasing him to death!

    Jaywalker
    April 10, 1999 - 11:14 am
    Yes! I remember buying 'savings stamps' at school and, when the books were filled, turning them in for bonds.

    Ella Gibbons
    April 10, 1999 - 01:28 pm
    Weren't they called Liberty Bonds and isn't that what the "Stars" out in Hollywood sold all around the country?

    My husband who was in the Navy on an aircraft carrier called the "Altamaha" remembers Betty Grable and Esther Williams coming on their ship when it was in port - isn't it funny - of course, they came with a band and others - but those 2 women are the only ones he must have looked at!!!

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 10, 1999 - 01:34 pm
    Ella: Millions of servicemen had pinups of Betty Grable. What those other servicemen didn't know was that there was a special relationship between Betty and me but I didn't let on.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    April 10, 1999 - 02:23 pm
    Hi Robby! Oh, come on, you can tell us now - haha Who would believe you any way? Did she stay married to Harry James the rest of her life?

    Thanks for the info about the 90-day wonders, I knew it was something like that! Poor fellows being officers and not qualified and knowing it! And being looked down on by the West Pointers - it must have been humiliating to them. I wonder how many of them there were - and how they did as compared to the real Second Lieutenants.

    My daughter joined the Army Reserves to make a bit of extra money while getting her PH.D. in Nursing (and I should add without telling us anything about it as we would have been against it). She joined as a 2nd Lieutenant, was activated in the Gulf War (she is with a medical unit) and is now a major - she loves the Army - says it is as if she is entering another world on those weekends and 2-weeks in the summer - and it has benefitted her in many ways. Who would have thought?

    Jaywalker
    April 10, 1999 - 04:48 pm
    I believe they were called Liberty Bonds. Also, I can remember changing from frankfurters to "hot dogs" and from hamburgers to "victory burgers." And people had victory gardens, even in the cities.
    We lived out on a farm in 1941, and I remember being told (by my slightly older brothers) that "the Japs" were everywhere -- I was terrified to walk down the path to the outhouse, because even though I had no idea what a "Jap" was, I just knew they were lurking in the bushes waiting to jump out at me! The same "fear" was there every time an airplane flew overhead. I've just read the first part of the book by Studs Terkel and I see that fear of the Japanese was pretty wide spread, and evidently promoted by the media. We didn't get a newspaper, but the radio was a very important part of our life at that time.

    patwest
    April 10, 1999 - 06:04 pm
    I thought they were called war bonds... The Liberty bonds were those issued for WW I.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 10, 1999 - 06:07 pm
    Ella: I don't know the ratio but there were far more 90-day wonders than there were West Pointers. That figures because the size of the Regular Army at the start of the war wasn't anywhere near what was needed. And many, of not most, of these temporary 2nd Lieutenants did wonderfully well. They went on to become the 1st Lieutenants and Captains that helped lead us to victory.

    Robby

    Iowa Bill
    April 11, 1999 - 09:19 pm
    I was 13 when the Japs--yes, the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor. I knew where Pearl Harbor was as my oldest brother was in the Pacific on a Destroyer(#332 USS Gilmer). I was a newsboy for the Milwaukee Journal and sold many extras that afternoon and evening. People bought them up rapidly. I wanted to get into the war as soon as I reached 16*. My next oldest brother joined Navy in 1943, eventually was a gunner on a TBM torpedo bomber and fought in many sea battles from Leyte to Okinawa. He is my hero to this day. Kids* who were tall enough were getting into the service with fake parents signatures or fake birth certificates. My oldest brother's best friend who used to hang around our house during his high school days was in the 101st Airborne and was killed on D-Day. That was a shock to us as he was like part of our family. I am anxious to read Studs Terkels book.

    Theresa
    April 12, 1999 - 02:53 am
    We lived out in the country on a small farm when my three brothers all went to war, which meant that the farm work was left to my one remaining brother and the "girls" (one sister was away at nurses training). One of our neighbors was Dick Bong. He went on to become the Ace of Aces by shooting down a huge number of Zeros. His family lived on a farm about 10 miles away from ours and he was a good friend of my oldest brother, Bob. I remember the day he was killed...it was after the war and he was flying as a test pilot in California....we went to his funeral and I remember how impressed I was with the "fly over". They dropped flowers from the plane..and my sisters (4 of them) sang. My sisters were represented by the VFW in Superior, WI, and had blue and gold outfits that they wore when they sang. They also sang at the christening of a couple of the ships that were built at the Walter Butler Shipyards in Superior. Interesting memories. I hadn't thought about that for years!

    Iowa Bill
    April 12, 1999 - 12:40 pm
    Theresa--I sure do remember Richard Bong--Being from Wisconsin it was especially thrilling to hear your story. I also just checked out "The Good War". Sadly I notice it had last been checked out in 1990. I've read about 20 pages so far and it is really well written. In the Introduction Terkel gives a pretty good explanation why he calls it the Good War. I was astonished at the panic that took place on our west coast after Pearl Harbor. If the Japanese knew how poorly defended we were it could have been devastating. As to how we treated the Neisie's I think it is a real shame. The cash settlement can do little to make up for it. Now if only the present Japanese Government would admit to their atrocities in Korea and China!

    Ella Gibbons
    April 12, 1999 - 02:35 pm
    Gosh, whatever the bonds were named, I remember the posters up around about buying them. And there was a big poster with an angry looking Uncle Sam pointing his finger and saying "We want you" or "I want you" or something????????

    Happy to hear those 90-day wonder did all right. To this day my husband, who fought the Japs in the Pacific, will not buy anything made in Japan, even though the cars and their parts are so interchangeable today, who knows where something was put together. I understand that it is politically incorrect to use the term "Japs." Our government didn't give much thought to "after the war" when they were teaching these young men to hate, did they? And these young men saw their friends killed by the enemy.

    Ann Alden
    April 13, 1999 - 10:44 am
    Yes, those posters were everywhere and the stars went around the country to rallies. My father-in-law was an engineer for radio staion WIRE in Indianapolis and he escorted Carol Lombard to her plane after a rally and I believe the plane crashed and she was killed. Very sad!

    We also had a victory garden which was about a half acre in a huge field about 2 miles from us. We had to water by hand and my mother canned every August and September. In our neighborhood there was only one krautmaker(not those Krauts!!silly) and we all bought or harvested our cabbage and waited our turn for having it. You were only allowed so many days and then it had to be passed on to the next one on the list. Like sharing a canner.

    I seem to remember my mother volunteering at the ration board where you went to get your gas cards, meat tokens and ration stamps. And also helping out at the Red Cross office. I think that was the last time we, as a country, were working together. Too bad it took a war to get us to do that and then after it was over, back to the same ol,same-ol. In fact, I think we became more separated after the war than we were before. This book really makes you think as each person's perception was very different.

    gladys barry
    April 13, 1999 - 11:20 am
    I was 21 when the war started.we spent every night in the shelters.I was sent to a munitions factory in the heart of Manchester England. being there, and it lasted Six years,there is so much to tell ,I would need to write a book my self/it is hard to believe now what we endured the battle of Btitain,the bombs,the rationing .and I mean ``rationing the walking home when buses stopped running with the planes the sound one never forgets of planes with `` a load on~the air raid warden yelling at you to take cover,sometimes you lost all fear and just wanted to get home to loved ones.the smell of fires from burning buildings.The blessed relieve of the ``all clear~~thats just the tip of the iceburg.gladys

    Ella Gibbons
    April 13, 1999 - 02:09 pm
    Gladys - you were there right in the thick of it! - and I'm sure there is so much you could tell us. Great Britain suffered so much! You were sent to a munitions factory to work? Where did you live while you were there, where were your folks?

    Of course, since the war we have all read and heard about FDR wanting to get into it much sooner but not knowing how to convince the American people. Now, we know he was right; however, we are all wondering the same thing at the present about Kosovo and what should we be doing.

    However, that is not the subject here. Ann - your stories of sauerkraut are wonderful. I've tried twice to make it and each time the stuff rots, don't know the secret! But I have tasted the kind you make in a crock and it is soooooooo good!

    gladys barry
    April 13, 1999 - 04:42 pm
    ella I was lucky ,wasnt far from my home could travel each day.Some had to come a long way we were conscpipted in a way taken from our jobs and sent to work in war factories.We were caught napping we had no weapons to speak of ,America didnt declare war but they provided us with much needed weapons and materials.I wasnt quite sure whether to write or not didnt know whether it was a posting effort or reading cant get the hang of it just yet ,but have a lot to contribute on this subject.thanks for answering .gladysb

    Joan Pearson
    April 13, 1999 - 05:35 pm
    Hello everyone! Have you noticed Robert Iadeluca's name in the heading. He has graciously agreed to Host this discussion. Can't say "welcome" as he is no stranger, just thank you and I know this will be very special with your natural hospitality, Robby!

    Gladys, yes please come back, I know you will have many memories to make this discussion come alive. See you all here Thursday?

    Theresa
    April 13, 1999 - 06:43 pm
    Gladys, please tell us more. I remember as a child my mother used to have us all say our prayers every night and we would pray for all of the kids in Europe who were in danger that night! Maybe our prayers helped.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 14, 1999 - 04:57 am
    Well, here I am, your host. I'm not quite sure how it happened. I do remember their asking me to do it and offering $10,000. That seemed too little for what I was being asked to do, I asked 20 and finally settled on 15. Whether or not I continue at this meager amount depends on the participation of all of you. If I find that I have to do all the talking, I may ask more.

    Now - as to the duties of the host. You may have noticed that many of the hosts are genial people offering coffee, tea, cookies, brownies, etc. in the discussion groups. Well, forget it!! However, I am not completely selfish so I will have available for you an assortment of K-rations and C-rations. There will also be coffee (such as is found in a package in the K-ration). My "favorite" - you realize the word is relative - was the K-ration that had the cheese and cookies but let me know your preferences and I'll see what I can do. Those of you who subsisted on other kinds of foods can tell me about it and we'll work on it.

    OK gang!! Let the memories pour out. If you have some comments about Studs Terkel's book, we're all here to listen. Otherwise just talk to us about what this "good war" meant in your life.

    Robby

    Jackie Lynch
    April 14, 1999 - 06:19 am
    Hi, Robby and all you folks. WWII meant big changes for my family; we moved from Mobile, Alabama, to San Jose, California in 1943. I was in the 3rd grade. In Mobile, my father worked in a ship yard, and Mother would go to pick him up after work. We two girls went along, and I got sick everytime--next door was a paint factory. The very memory of that smell can make me sick still. Mobile, in the heart of the deep, deep South, as the radio announcers always said, was strictly segregated. San Jose, on the other hand, was not. I played with children whose parents came from Italy, Mexico and Portugual. I was amazed to find that these little girls and boys were just like me, even if they did talk funny (I was accused of being an Okie for my accent) and eat funny foods. My great grandfather was an immigrant from Germany, and my father would "tease" me that Hitler would love me for my blond hair and blue eyes. My tears only made him laugh. What ambivalence he must have been feeling, a good ol' boy from the deep south, who believed in Hitler's racial purity, wanting to be a man and go fight the Germans. San Jose was a great place to grow up, and I am forever grateful that my parents moved here.

    Ann Alden
    April 14, 1999 - 06:27 am
    In the book, one of the Andrews Sisters remarks that here in the States, the patriotism was so all pervading and that its was as if we were all holding hands. Good analogy! When she and her sisters were visiting hospitals and were asked to sing for the "severely wounded-basket cases, she calls them", I cried over her description of it all.

    Gladys, you saw it all. What a terrible time for you. My husband and I visited the Museum of London in '94 and they have an extensive exhibit on WWII. When we were at St.Paul's, we went back behind the main altar to an area dedicated to the Americans who died trying to protect England. For some reason, I started to cry and couldn't stop until we left there. It was spookie!

    We had a few servicemen stay with us, on their way to a new assignment. Cousins. One was taken prisoner early in the war and spent the rest of the time in a prisoner of war camp in Germany. We all thought he had died as he was listed as "MIA". It was just overwhelming to all of the family when he returned to us. Two of his sisters were in nursing school in Indy and spent weekends with us. The oldest one joined up, went into the WACS and was helping to bring the wounded out. They flew in gliders to do this. Another relative, Aunt Betty, was a public health nurse and she also joined up and ended up in Persia and Siam and then in Italy. She spoke Polish so spent lots of time talking to the wounded Polish men. They were so happy to have someone who could understand their wants and needs. She was even asked to make some kind of speech to them for what I don't know.

    My dad became very depressed over being labeled 4-F as he had spinal arthritis. He tried several times to enlist. But, he was 33, married with 2 children plus not that well. I don't think he ever got over it. He died 2 years after the war was over at the age of 39. Heart attack. It just bothered him horribly that he couldn't help in the service of his country.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 14, 1999 - 10:28 am
    Welcome, Jackie. Your story helps to tell how the war caused so many people to move far from their original home whether they were in the service or not. Glad to see you ended up in a community that you like.

    So many young people today make every effort to stay out of the service and here was your Dad, Ann, who became derpressed because he couldn't enlist. I wonder what percentage of the younger generation can understand the patriotism we felt then - as you quoted one of the Andrews Sisters, like "holding hands."

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    April 14, 1999 - 11:30 am
    Hi Robby and Welcome! Are you planning to organize our reading of the Terkel book, e.g. 3 chapters a week, or shall we just have a go at it at our own speed?

    In the Introduction, I agree with most of what Terkel says, particularly when he says "The reason you storm the beaches is not patriotism or bravery - It's that sense of not wanting to fail your buddies." But does everyone agree that WWII changed our country in that today our military runs our foreign policy, the State Department has become the lackey of the Pentagon? I would hope not.

    And speaking of rations, I'm almost sure that cigarettes were included in the soldiers' rations, weren't they? How times change, eh?

    Terkel certainly got it right when he stated that the taste women got for independence during WWII was never lost and millions of American women would never be content to live as their mothers and grandmothers had lived.

    I've read the first chapter, sad - but sprinkled with laughter. Am I correct that the words in italics are Terkel's"

    Robby, were you in WWII and where did you serve?

    Iowa Bill
    April 14, 1999 - 02:53 pm
    I am halfway through Terkel's interviews. What a presentation! I really appreciate seeing the war through the many diverse viewpoints. While I was in college in 1949, I worked one summer at A YMCA summer camp in Iowa. One of the cabin counselors was from the German YMCA. He was in a tank on the Russian Front and he told us many experiences he had in the Ukraine. The one I remember the most was when he was guiding his tank around a hedgerow (I thought hedgerows were only in France), while he was sitting perched on top. About 50 yards ahead of them was a Russian tank facing them with a Russian guiding it from the top. He waved at the Russian and the Russian waved back and they both reversed their tanks and went back to their own lines. This is somewhat like some of the stories in "The Good War".

    Ruth Levia
    April 14, 1999 - 03:41 pm
    I've got my copy of The Good War from the library and have found it interesting and easy to read so far. Even though I was only 6 years old when the war started, I used to read copies of the Readers Digest near the end of the war, about the refugees who were released from the terrible camps and all the displaced persons, and I was horrified at the atrocities that went on. I'm sure we all remember exactly what we were doing when the war was ended. The joy, exultation and excitement of seeing service men and women after years of being away.

    The only thing I disagree with is Page 14, Big Bill said America was the only country among the combatants in World War Two that was neither invaded nor bombed. Even though Canada is not as big as The United States, we entered the war two years earlier, sent our men to Europe and were never invaded nor bombed either.

    jimd
    April 14, 1999 - 05:32 pm
    I do beleive that the Aluetian Islands off Alaska were attacked by the Japanese.
    Attack on Dutch Harbor, June 1942.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 14, 1999 - 05:34 pm
    Ella: My experience in S.N. is that the participants sort of take over and I guess that's the way it should be. So would you accept our being "semi-organized?" To answer your question, I joined (was not drafted) the Army in June 10, 1942, went to Fort Dix for a short time, was then assigned to the 76th Infantry Division at Ft. Meade, was then assigned on cadre to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, where with others helped to form the 100th Division, then volunteered for overseas duty where I was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division in Europe where I was in combat until the end of the European phase of the war. I was discharged from the Army on April 9, 1946 at the very same Ft. Dix.

    Robby

    Pat Scott
    April 14, 1999 - 08:27 pm
    Wow!!

    What a discussion and the actual Book Discussion hasn't even started!

    Looks like this one is a winner for sure! I got the book and will read as much as possible but leaving for the Georgia Bash on Tuesday morning!!

    Wish you were all coming too!

    Pat

    Britta
    April 15, 1999 - 11:03 am
    I doubt that I'm the only one in America having seen "The Good War" from the other side. I was born in Germany in 1934, so most of my young life was spent during the war. We lived in Dresden, which was firebombed just before the end of this "good war". I never thought of it in these terms. Studs Terkel writes interesting books. I read his "Working". There are two sides to everything though. Wars are never Good, especially for the children. Just look into the faces of the little ones in Yugoslavia. Leaders of countries decide to plunge nations into chaos over political issues, never mind the innocent populations that get into the way. Do these "World Leaders" really think they are doing it for the good of humanity? As long as the human race exists, human good and evil will exist. It's just the luck of the draw on which side of conflicts we are born. The world is not a peaceful place since the beginning. Brigitta Buchholz, Western North Carolina

    gladys barry
    April 15, 1999 - 11:03 am
    Thank you all you people who remarkd on my little contribution,to this folder.so many stories it bogles the mind.to many really .gladys

    gladys barry
    April 15, 1999 - 11:05 am
    Britta well said although I was on the other side we all suffered the same.gladys

    Eddie Elliott
    April 15, 1999 - 12:00 pm
    Really enjoying everyones postings. Gladys, you have so much to share, keep it up. Will look forward to all the wonderful musings in here. Have just gotten the book and will take it with me to Georgia Bash. I'm going to take laptop with me and hope to look in here as often as I can...but don't know how much time I'll have, as this Bash has grown and grown (80 people) and won't have much time, 'cause want to meet everyone and 3 days will go fast!! See ya'll when I get back!

    Eddie

    Joan Pearson
    April 15, 1999 - 01:32 pm
    Britta, for all the reasons you have mentioned, those of us with the book better look real hard at the reason this is referred to as the "good war". I bet those ethnic Albanians are feeling the same as you do...whether they and their country are being bombed for their own good or not! At least know, that Studs Terkel insists that each time his title is printed, the term "Good War" be enclosed in quotation marks! We do need to talk about this title some more...those of you with the book - how does the introduction explain it?

    Something just occurred to me while reading these memoirs... Studs is not one to spend time on-line, just like so many men his generation. Listen to the man:

    "You're talking to a guy who's totally illiterate. I'm just learning to use the electric typewriter and I broke it, I'm very bad at it. I'm not a Luddite, but I'm close to it.

    I'm in favor of refrigerators, don't get me wrong. Where else am I going to freeze my martini glass? And I'm in favor of washing machines. I don't want to see women slapping clothes against the rock. So I'm horsing around a little.

    But the computer, we know, does things much quicker -- information, info-mation -- but I'm worried about one thing: the effect on the person. Even though we're in touch with other people, are we really in touch? There was a writer years ago, Wright Morris, he once said, "We're more and more into communications and less and less into communication."

    So you walk into a newpaper today -- go to the city desk, you're going to visit someone -- in the old days, and I don't want to romanticize, but there was noise, there was the human voice. Today you walk in and it's silent as a tomb. And they're looking into -- terminals.

    No question, advances have been made, but I think there are dangers here. One danger is to the personality. There's something impersonal.

    You realize I'm exaggerating because I'm non-technological. But I do see things happening, even in comical ways. When I want to call Charlie Andrews, an old friend -- in the old days someone would say, "Charlie Andrews is not in. Can I take a message?" A human voice. Or nobody's there. OK, now it's good, you got voicemail, you get messages you never got before, but you don't hear the human voice. If you call at a business, if you want so-and-so, "Dial 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 -- " By the time I get to six, I forget who the hell I was calling or what I called about.

    There is something that happens to people when they get accustomed to mechanical voices. You become mechanical. Even language may become roboticized. That's what worries me. I talk to old-time teachers -- progressive teachers. They tell me a big difference is happening in language. It's more disjointed..."
    When gathering the information for this book Studs flew all over the country to interview people. And now here we are, using his book and the internet to reach people all over the world, without leaving the computer screen. How do we reach the many who participated in WWII to share their precious memories with us? Do you think that each of us "techies" could find one Vet, interview him as Studs would, and bring those memories right here? We would preserve them with the other Vets' up in the heading...did you notice that clickable? Let's get the Vets! Each one get one! These are precious memories - we can't afford to lose them to time!
    And the rest of us who remember the time from a different viewpoint...like Britta, like Gladys...important to understand the whole picture. Let's get it all out! Before it is lost to the next generation! That was Studs' gift...let this site be ours!

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 15, 1999 - 04:40 pm
    Britta: I've heard so much about the terrible fire-bombing of Dresden but I've never heard before from a person who was actually there during that awful event. If you feel up to it, please share some of your memories.

    Robby

    Britta
    April 15, 1999 - 05:11 pm
    Hi Robby! Yes I was down there, 11 years old, while the sky was lit up like with christmas trees from tracers and then the planes came and we all huddled near the coal and potatoes in the cellar. It was an awful noise, when the bombs started falling. Our house was on the outskirts of Dresden, a little village called Niedersedlitz, and we missed a direct hit, but we had structural and glass damage and it shook pretty badly. The next morning my father took me with him to look for his sister, who lived in the centre of Dresden, but we didn't get very far. The Zoo animals were all running loose and there were fleeing people and rubble all over. Then the alarms sounded again and the next raid started, this one by the US. We barely made it home. They rained liquid phosphorus on all the people and a great firestorm started. The British had come during the night, but the Americans could see all they had done. One bomber flew away from the inferno and unloaded his bombs in a straight line away from the center. He ran out of bombs a few hundred yards from our house. My father measured the distance between the craters. We were lucky. When the survivors started coming out of the city, many ended up in our house. We still had water. They stayed for as long as they had to. My father brought a llama back with him from his search for his sister. It lived in our garden for a long time. Father's sister was buried beneath her house. Everybody was in shock. I think the figure of the dead wa over 60 Thousand, because the railroad station was full of refugees from Silesia. It received a direct hit, everyone was killed. The burning of Dresden was a great loss to the whole world, because it was an art centre and no military targets were there. It was destroyed on the 13th of February 1945 in retaliation for the destruction of Coventry, England by the Germans. Now Dresden and Coventry are sister cities. There is healing, if not comprehension. I became a refugee myself. A nasty designation to hang on anyone. People are afraid of refugees because they take up space, food and jobs in the established areas. My heart bleeds for the thousands that are now in that situation. I remember everything too well. These experiences become part of the fabric that is one's life. 1990 I returned to Dresden for the first time since our flight in December 1947. I stood in front of our house and wept with nostalgia. Nothing had changed. It just had grown old, like me. Under the communist regime there was no money to fix or improve anything. It was as if the whole village had been in a long, long sleep and when they awoke, the world had changed. It is hard for them to catch up. Last year I returned again to my old hometown and was happy to see the big improvement. They are working hard to rebuild that beautiful city and in a few places it is rising again, like a phoenix out of the ashes. I prayed so hard, that there would never be another war. I guess I didn't pray hard or loud enough, but then again, 1000 years are but a blink of an eye in the eternity of God. Maybe he'll get the message eventually.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 15, 1999 - 05:17 pm
    Britta: Thank you so much for pouring this out. I am absolutely without words (which is unusual for me). I hope that many many people read your posting and, if they are like me, they will never forget it. How could we (the Allies) do such a thing!!!

    Robby

    Britta
    April 15, 1999 - 05:32 pm
    Robby, as long as there are human being, things like this will happen. It's a flawed invention, these human beings. We just have to learn to deal with it.

    Jeryn
    April 15, 1999 - 05:39 pm
    Britta! Thank you from my heart for telling us your experiences of the bombing of Dresden. Such sad memories! It is man who makes war and as it seems inherent in his nature to disagree, we can only hope civilization will eventually grow beyond nature. Now, Britta, what quirk of fate brought you to North Carolina?! And if I am being too nosy, just ignore me...

    It is so true that our generation, all of us, was greatly influenced by this war. Some a great deal more than others, of course. I spent my childhood moving around, being a "camp follower" as my father was transferred to this and that army base. I doubt I would ever have lived a year in Florida, a year in Oklahoma, a summer in Pennsylvania, had it not been for that war! I still tend to be a restless, rolling stone sort of character with few "old" friends! Indeed, WWII had a lasting effect on so many...

    Joan, Robby, this is a super discussion! Guaranteed to hook a whole generation! I may even read the book!! [Tried Studs once; did not much like--don't even remember which book!]

    Britta
    April 15, 1999 - 05:52 pm
    Jeryn, since you are also a Rolling Stone, you may understand my restlessness After fleeing the Russian occupation of Dresden and consequent communist regime, we ended up in Bonn on the beautiful river Rhine for 8 years. While in University, I worked at the American Express co., which was located inside the US Embassy in Bonn. There I met my future husband, who is of German descent. We travelled the world by nature of his job as a US diplomat, lived in 12 countries, and finally retired in the mountains of NC because of GOLF . His passion, I'm the gallery. We love it here, but my roots are stunted and slow growing. There's so much more world to see !!

    gladys barry
    April 15, 1999 - 05:56 pm
    Britta thank you for your email heartfelt.robbie am quite surprised you have shown no interest at all in what I had to say .

    Jeryn
    April 15, 1999 - 06:06 pm
    gladys! Only wish you would tell us more... you were literally on the front lines of that war, as was Britta. I'm sure Robby means no slight... Those of us who never left the U.S. have only great interest and admiration for you who lived in Europe throughout the war. Your experiences, and those of the members of the armed forces, somehow hold a depth of meaning we can only stand in awe of...

    Ah Britta! Shallow roots but I hope enjoying life in beautiful North Carolina! I have just moved again [in January] and find myself rather hoping NOT to have to do it again, maybe EVER! Exciting as it is, I think I'm getting too old for all the darn work that's involved!

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 15, 1999 - 06:23 pm
    Jeryn: You beat me to it. Tell us more, Gladys, if you would please.

    Robby

    Britta
    April 15, 1999 - 06:31 pm
    Gladys, I appreciate your responce. My English neighbor friend came over for a cuppa and we talked about the past. We had the very same experiences as children of the war, even though we were on opposite sides. The children know nothing about the bad guys and the good guys, only that war is terrifying and it hurts people. When they invented atomic weapons I thought that would be the end of wars, but now I am getting worried again.

    gladys barry
    April 15, 1999 - 06:39 pm
    Britta nothing against you as you have proved by offering me your friendship.I am no great Scholar,brought up in the wrong generation but know a slight when I see it .the funny thing is I KNEW this would happen ,been in a few folders and seen the same thing happen ,I thank you all for your interest but couldnt feel ever to go any further on here.

    Britta
    April 15, 1999 - 06:57 pm
    Where is the Library - and how does one get there?

    Biscuit (Joan Lavelle)
    April 15, 1999 - 07:16 pm
    Britta--Are you looking for "Library--A Conversation Nook"? If so, click here to get there.

    AdrienneJ
    April 15, 1999 - 09:18 pm
    GLADYS - I don't think Robby meant to slight you...and your memories certainly are of interest to many. I am younger than you, but I went through the war in England too...was evacuated away from my Mother, and separated from my sisters for most of the war...moved to about 5 different homes in different cities...a scary time for a child. I remember worrying each time I heard bombs as to what was happening to my Mother in London (my Father died in 1940).

    The bombs that were the most frightening were the "doodle bugs"...You could hear them come over and when they stopped you waited for the "boom" as you knew that they were going to come down then...and it always sounded like it was just overhead even if it wasn't....War is hell...I haven't read the book but cannot imagine any war being called "The good war".

    As for rationing - it wasn't just a few things like in the U.S. Everything was rationed - food, clothes etc., and our lights weren't just dimmed, during the air raids they had to be completely blacked out. You would be fined if they could see a light from your house as you had to have blackout curtains - remember Gladys?

    There was so much we didn't even have...never saw a banana until after the war and now eat one a day...Like Gladys I could probably rattle on and on...but wont.

    Britta - you are right - for a child - or most ordinary people - it is the politicians that decide what will be and war is awful for both sides. So is ethnic cleansing and I guess that is why we have to try and help the Albanians - even though the Serbs helped us in WWII - and they helped the Jews...but wrong is wrong.

    As to the terminology "Japs" I think that is offensive in this day and age...they were our enemy as was Germany - and now we are friends. Like Russia was our ally and then they turned....it is the way of the world back to when the English and the French fought wars back in the Elizabethan days....

    I think I've gone on too long....bye...

    Adrienne

    expow
    April 15, 1999 - 09:49 pm
    Funny things are almost always remembered better than bad things. For instance. I was a prisoner of war in Germany. For a year I worked as a lumberjack for the Germans. Every day while working our arbeitsfuher (work boss ) would look at his watch around noon time and announce "mit tag essen". (lunch). We would all take off inside of the guard perimeter and hide under bushes. A half hour later the work boss (Herr Kupadarek) would anounce "alles mann arbeit gehan" (back to work) No body moved. After a second announcement he would start to look for George who was our official interepreter. He would eventually find George and say "Geoorrgge, alles mann arbiten gehen" George would then have to go and find the rest of us. This took time but it happened day after day. You wonder why such a thing could happen. It wouldn't happen in a Jap prison camp. Neither would it happen if we were working for the SS. However my theory was that we had convinced theordinary Germans that we were dumb and stupid. If you can convince anybody of this you can get away with murder. We had Herr Kuspadarek sold that we were not too smart and we really didn't mean to do this every day. This is known as resistence. Hence the motto of the American Ex-Prisoneres of War- Non Solum Armes (Not By Arms Alone) One must remember, however, that they had the rifles and that we could only go so far. The trick was to know how far.

    GailG
    April 16, 1999 - 02:03 am
    I am reading a book,"Stones from the River" which is about a small German town and the effect of the persecution of Jews on the residents of the town who had been neighbors and friends of many of the Jewish families. The book is interesting on many levels, but of interest in this discussion is the heroism and courage of many Germans who helped to hide Jews and then establish a sort of "underground railroad" to help them escape. In the midst of all this, of course, the war came to this small town and the description Britta gave of the coal cellar was just as described in the book. The author pictures the young men in their uniforms proudly going to war for the "Faterland", after some of them turned their parents or friends in for speaking disrespectfully of Hitler and the new regime. But she also talks of the caring and sharing between the older people, and how so many of them feared and hated Hitler and the Nazis and lived in fear of being arrested if they expressed their feelings. This is not about the waging of the war itself, but this puts a different face on the people on "the other side".

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 16, 1999 - 04:25 am
    Gladys: I have no idea what I did to slight you. Please tell me so that I don't do that again to you or to anyone else.

    Robby

    Ann Alden
    April 16, 1999 - 04:33 am
    I have two good friends from Germany and find their stories of the war interesting. One was older and in a school of Fashion before the war. She remembers going to see Hitler when he was running for leader of Germany in the early 30's and how everyone there was so thrilled to have someone in power who would get them jobs and food.(Did we feel any different about Roosevelt?) Hitler closed all schools similar to hers and sent the students to learn more "useful" trades, as he put it.. My friend ended up becoming a secretary at one of the airplane factories for the duration of the war. Her father was killed early in the war, in Poland. Afterwards, she and her mother moved to Gahanna,Ohio, and she went to work for North American Aviation as a secretery to one of the bigwigs here.

    My other friend remembers her mother hurrying them(her and a younger brother, probably around ages 4 and out of Munich in an old baby buggy. Pushing them along the road with many other people doing the same thing. They were trying to escape to the country, away from any of the fighting or bombing. Nothing to eat for days. Her father was killed on the eastern front in 1940. She later married an American soldier and came here.

    I have never been able to abide what we did to the Japanese who were American citizens. To have been here for generations and helping to build this country and then to lose everything you have worked for, was just too much for them. And, it happened to them in Canada,also. There is a book, "Obisan" which details the lives of a Japanese family in Canada during the war. True story. Written by the Poet Laueate of Ontario, I believe. True story, and so sad! The other book that comes to mind, about the Japanese situation, is "Snow Falling on Cedars" by David Guitermann. I believe it is fiction. I was able to find two good copies in paperback of this book, on Bibliofind. Will give one to my brother for his birthday this month. He enjoys reading nonfiction the best and was around at the time of the war, also. Younger than me, by two years. I wonder what he remembers? I will quiz him next week when he is here.

    My husband should be commenting here,too. He was in the Air Force during the Korean conflict and we lived at three different bases, during the early 50's. I remember being not trusted by the townfolk. They didn't want to rent to service people. We were not stable, according to them. Our lives changed too quickly for them. It took some gutsy talking, on my part, to get a man to rent us a decent apartment, off base. They also didn't understand why we were friendly with all the races, who were in the squardron with us. This was in Texas. I didn't know a thing about segregation until I moved there. Quite a shock to a Yankee! Separate restrooms, water fountains, schools and rooms in the train station,sit in the back of the bus. Of course, we had it up here, but it wasn't quite the same or maybe it was, but we didn't own up to it. I don't know!

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 16, 1999 - 04:41 am
    Welcome to the discussion, Ann. I'm sure your comments on the Japanese-Americans will bring comments from others. Although your husband was in the Korean conflict, not World War II, he may have some interesting comparisons to make.

    Robby

    expow
    April 16, 1999 - 06:58 am
    I do not know an awful lot about the Japanese-American situation of WW-2 but I do know one story. The surgeon who did my bypass surgery is a Japanese-American of the WW-2 era. He lived on the West Coast and he had really intended to follow in his fathers footsteps and raise crops. One of his teachers thought he was too intelligent to do this and she pulled strings and got him in college.(The power of a teacher). He was into his first year of medical school when the war broke out. He, and his family were shipped to Utah (I berlieve). The only way he could get out of the camp was to get a job inland. He came to Minneapolis as a lab technician. The local doctors were so impressed with him that they insisted that he resume his medical studies at the U. of Minnesota. When he graduated as a doctor guess what? Yep, the US Army drafted him and he became a MASH surgeon in Korea. I think this is an inspirational story and I, personally, was thankful that he became a first rate heart surgeon.

    Jackie Lynch
    April 16, 1999 - 06:58 am
    Growing up in California, I new people who were in the camps. One guy in high school, he was on the football team, had been in a camp, and we all wondered if he hated us. One former boss told me how hard it was for him as a child; the infrastructure was internal. As he was a leftie, he was physically abused for writing with his left hand. Apparently the leaders of the internees insisted on conformity. His writing now is cramped and awkward, but he did learn to do as he was told. I probably will not read this book, but I will read the discussion. (Working was an assignment in a Sociology class; one Terkel book is enough.)

    Ella Gibbons
    April 16, 1999 - 07:48 am
    I think we all need to address what Studs Terkel said about computers as we are all users!

    I printed it out, Joan, to think about it and will return with my thoughts.

    Wonderful conversation (impersonal though it may be, according to Studs) and hope to read many more.

    As Joan has suggested, "each one get one" - a veteran. I'll try!

    To the expow - I'd like to hear more of your experiences - the dates, how captured, when released - statistics?

    Want to hear more from everyone, it's fascinating to read.

    Ruth Levia
    April 16, 1999 - 08:27 am
    Britta - thank you for telling us of your experiences during the war in Dresden. I have read about the art and what a beautiful city Dresden was, and how horrible that it was bombed when there was no military reason for it. It must have been terribly scary for a child! How sad for your father to lose his sister. Who ever wins in a war? Not women and children, and not even men.

    Gladys - please tell us about your experiences. I've seen bits of it over the past couple of years, when you've mentioned something in passing, usually in the Cafe. I would like to know more. How old were you when the war started? What happed to you and your family?

    Adrienne - It must have been terrible for all the little children when they were sent away from their parents for so many years, during the war. Even though it was for their own safety, can a stranger ever look after a child as well as their own parents? Please rattle on - we are all interested in what you have to say and to hear of your experiences during the war.

    Gail G - I read Stones from the River too, and really learned a lot about how the Germans of all ages felt about the war and about Hitler. I found it to be quite enlightening. The Good War is interesting because it tells of the experiences of many of the soldiers. They were such young men and had to grow up so quickly - some of them never had the chance to grow up.

    Ann A. - I read Snow Falling on Cedars and believe it gives a good account of how the Japanese were treated during the war. They were badly treated then, and that wasn't right but I think people were scared of whether they might feel something for their parents birth country. They were also very visible and might have been harmed by people who might have lost sons or brothers.

    Expow - glad to see that at least one Japanese person was treated well during the war. Luckily, some people saw the potential he had and helped him. What a waste it would have been if he had been interred during the whole time of the war.

    Ella - I can't agree with Studs Terkel's opinion of computers and how they distance people from one another. As Ginny once said, computers can bring "mind to mind" which can be better than just face to face. I think in some cases, we lose our inhibitions when we "talk" to other people through a computer. Maybe we can express ourselves even better. What do you think?

    Ruth

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 16, 1999 - 09:20 am
    EXPOW: Thank you very much for these inspirational stories. As you continue posting, would you be willing to give your own name to help personalize it more? If not, I understand. Please continue posting under whatever name. Any comments you may have regarding remarks in the book, "Good War," would also be appreciated.

    Jackie: I wasn't aware of the conformity insisted upon in the internship camps. I had thought (naive me) that they had just lived there with the sole difference being that they could not leave. Thank you for sharing this important piece of information.

    Ella: Thanks for trying to find a veteran who can join us here. I'm sure we are all interested in learning if veterans really consider that war a "good" one.

    Ruth: You said you found "The Good War" interesting because it told of the experiences of the soldiers. What were some of the experiences that struck you more forcibly?

    Robby

    gladys barry
    April 16, 1999 - 09:31 am
    Britta to reafirm your feelings of us `little ``people on either side it seems our hearts led us ,no matter what side we were on .I lived near a local park on the main london to buxton rd.we had a gun mounted across the street we called big Bertha ,when fired it shook the houses one night during a raid a plane `german`crashed in the park regardles of planes still dropping bombs every one went out to see the parachute with the German pilate floating down.the crowd were shouting and cheering ,it brings a lump in my throat now.when he landed,the people round ,took him home for a ``cup of tea``untill the police came for him or who ever does come for them.He was just a boy scared to death.every mothers son.Gladys

    Ruth Levia
    April 16, 1999 - 12:03 pm
    The very first story in the book A Sunday Morning by John Garcia told of a 16 year old boy who was at Pearl Harbor. After the bombing of the ships, he was asked by an officer, to go into the Pennsylvania and try to get the fires out. A bomb had penetrated the marine deck and there were three decks below. Under that was the magazines; ammunition, powder, shells, etc. He refused to go and was brought before a navy court. It was determined that he was not service personnel and could not be ordered.

    Another story. A young Robert Rasmus went into combat for the first time, with his buddies in their nice clean uniforms. On the way, they passed worn out soldiers with dirty, torn and bloody uniforms whom they were replacing. Soon they started to see their first dead Americans and Germans. They passed through artillery emplacements - incessant firing. He had never seen a dead body before and it was disturbing to see so many. He had a sense of unreality, walking through quiet woods and seeing sheep grazing in the fields. Soon the sound of gunfire was heard; machine guns, rifle fire, mortar shells. They were hitting roofs of houses and barns, then the sheep. Several of the soldiers were killed. After one night of this, they fell back in their dirty, bloodied uniforms and were replaced by another group of soldiers.

    These are just two of the interesting stories and they are riveting!

    Gladys - I was so afraid you were going to tell us that the German pilot was beaten by the people surrounding him. How wonderful to read that you all took him to have a cup of tea!! Sometimes people tend to forget that the enemy are really just young boys, as you said, some mother's son. Please continue to tell us about your experiences Gladys!

    Ruth

    Lillias
    April 16, 1999 - 12:06 pm
    I definitely feel calling any war the good war is a misnomer, no war can possibly be good.

    I was fourteen when the war started in Canada and remember the paper boys on the streets before dawn that Sept. day shouting Extra Extra Canada declares war on Germany. It was very frightening to me as I had two brothers and thought for sure they would end up fighting in the war. We had just lost our father in June of 1939 so the thought of losing my brother especially the older one was very scary. Bye the time I was 18 I had joined the Canadian Womens Army Corp. but never left Canada, neither of my brothers served as the oldest one was given an exemption as by the time he was 18 he was flying for a Canadian Airlines and was considered support for our family. My younger brother was not old enough to serve. Several of my cousins did though and my favorite was a pilot with the RAF and flew a Spit Fire, he was shot down and killed .the german pilots straffed him as he hung from his parachute totally helpless, makes one wonder about mans inhumanity to man, doesn't it.

    Having lived in Canada during the entire war I never heard of any Japanese being mistreated,although I did hear of some Germans getting sent to camps as people were truly afraid of what they might do, I guess it is the nature of folks to feel anyone from a country, we are at war with could be dangerous.

    Robbie I think Gladys felt you had ignored her because right after her first post Britta posted and you responded to Britta's post but not to Glady, I'm sure you didn't mean to slight her but sometimes it seems that way.

    Gladys I was glad to see you posting again and I for one and there are several of us who feel the same way are very interested in your experiences during the war so please continue to post.

    (((hugs))) Lillias

    Ed Zivitz
    April 16, 1999 - 12:14 pm
    Just a reminder. U.S.A. did NOT START World War II. But we sure finished it & nobody should forget that.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 16, 1999 - 12:41 pm
    Lillias: Tell us about the Canadian Women's Army Corps. Just what did you do while you were in the service.

    I would be interested in the responses from anyone to Joan's third question. In what ways do any of us feel that we are now still being affected by World War II.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    April 16, 1999 - 01:55 pm
    Ed: My husband, who was in the Navy, says the same thing as yourself. He refuses to listen to any "sob" story; I would imagine he has plenty himself but doesn't talk about it. However, I have all the letters he wrote home to his family (I didn't know him until after the war) and I'm going to get them out and read them over. They were censored, of course, and he was never a good letter writer anyway, but I'll look them over.

    One of his buddies tried some years ago to find their aircraft carrier and was told that years ago it was sold to the Japanese for scrap metal. Ironic, that! Incidentally, this same buddy (although my husband doesn't see him much) tried to get reunions started, we went to one and my husband said no more, he didn't know any of those "old men." Hahahaaaa

    I read an interesting item in the paper this morning - perhaps as the century ends and all the attention to WWII, these stories are just now being told. A German soldier who had stolen a ham from a French lady during the war recently returned to that little city with a ham, but couldn't find the house, so donated it to a local old peoples' home. However the editor of the local newspaper printed the story, the lady recognized herself and the two talked on the phone to each other. A story of forgiveness.

    I am having my brother-in-law, who was in the infantry, write a few short paragraphs about his experiences!

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 16, 1999 - 02:17 pm
    Ella: That's great that you're having your brother-in-law write about his experiences!

    Robby

    Lillias
    April 16, 1999 - 02:20 pm
    Sorry Robbie I really didn't do anything worth writing about , mostly was in the office making sure supplies went where they were suppose to go and keeping inventory straight, nothing really exciting just felt it helped to free up one more man to go do the actual fighting. I did make me feel as though I was contributing my part to the effort to end the war and bring all our guys home. I'm looking forward to some of the stories from those who actually were there either as fighters or victims, I know there are a lot of stories to be told.

    (((hugs)))

    Lillias

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 16, 1999 - 02:23 pm
    Lillias: Your work may not have been "exciting" but every one of us who was at the front knows that we wouldn't have been able to do a thing without all the constant solid support in the rear lines.

    Robby

    Lillias
    April 16, 1999 - 02:28 pm
    Thanks Robbie I appreciate knowing you felt that way, being an 18 year old at the time I was still too young to really understand all the terrible things that war did to many ,many folks.

    My husband was in the Mariannes during the last part of the war, he was in the navy but never talks about the bad times only tells of when the USO folks would come and entertain all the service men. Of course that was all long before we met and married.

    (((hugs)))

    Lillias

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 16, 1999 - 02:32 pm
    Lillias: Even if your husband talked to us about the USO entertainment, that would be of interest.

    Robby

    Lillias
    April 16, 1999 - 02:42 pm
    Robbie I couldn't get Joe on here if my life depended on it but will see what information I can pry out of him, Okay? If I get anything interesting I will post it .

    (((hugs))) Lillias

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 16, 1999 - 02:58 pm
    Lillias: Sounds great! Maybe after he says a few things the stories will begin to flow.

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    April 16, 1999 - 05:08 pm
    Llias: Our husbands are very much alike - mine won't have a thing to do with this computer either, but he often asks me to look up a prescription for him or see what the "thing" has to say about a particular place - interesting isn't it?

    Joan, here's my reply to Mr. Terkel's view of technology:

    Contrary to Mr. Terkel's assertion that computers are "mechanizing and roboticizing" communication, many people are expressing views and making friends they would otherwise never have done. Old friends are familiar to us, we know their habits, interests, thoughts; however, they teach us nothing new. As we grow older and our children leave, perhaps we move into condos or apartments, the need for new friends and new interests is imperative to our health and wellbeing. We can, of course, reach out to the community and do, but we are not as active as we once were, often unable to drive at night or widowed. This is where the computer contact begins and grows as we make new friends and explore new things together. Seniornetters are getting together in groups, by region or interest. Our spirits rise, our hearts are young again. At the tip of our fingers is knowledge about the drugs we are taking, surgeries we might be expecting , places to visit, airplane fares, travel plans - it's so very convenient. No need to stamp envelopes, we email our children, grandchildren, friends - MORE OFTEN than we used to. We are more in touch, not less, Mr. Terkel, and you really ought to give technology a try, rather than a bum rap!

    Ruth Levia
    April 16, 1999 - 05:41 pm
    I agree Ella. Mr. Terkel really should give the computer a try - he might find he likes it and instead of isolating people as he thinks it does, the computer can bring people together.

    But I understand how it might scare him. I know when I first started using one, I thought if I touched the wrong key or did something I shouldn't, the whole computer would blow up in my face. Now I know better and Mr. Terkel would find out how easy it can be, if he would try it!

    Ruth

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 16, 1999 - 05:52 pm
    In relation to Joan's question No. 3, I had asked if anyone here was affected now by the experience of World War II. Speaking for myself, I haven't had any traumatic experiences - I was able to sit through Private Ryan. But I can say that after the armistice was declared in Europe and I watched those homeless people march for miles and miles not knowing where they were going, I can not look at the current lines of homeless people in Yugoslavia without remembering the looks in the displaced people in 1945.

    I can still remember the blank looks in their faces - and the children - oh, the children!! - they had no idea what was going on. They would rush up to us GIs asking for "choon gum" not knowing that we were supposed to be the enemy. And I can say without fear of anyone disagreeing with me (especially if there are any GIs reading this) that the Allied soldiers were the kindest and most generous soldiers on the face of the earth. True, we had it and could give it but we gave anything we could find in our packs - oranges, chocolate, and C-rations, even jackets which we weren't supposed to be giving away. I will never again see a truly displaced (not just homeless but displaced) person again without remembering the looks in their eyes. To be displaced means that you have lost EVERYTHING.

    Robby

    Jeryn
    April 16, 1999 - 06:10 pm
    We are really spoiled in this country. Most of us can't even imagine what it might be like to "lose everything" as Robby just described. I read of the horrors in Yugoslavia and thank my stars each and every night that I live where I do.

    I should think most of us would have felt the same during WWII if we'd had the maturity to think at that time! I was just a child, grade school age; to me, it was just a bad thing that happened somewhere else, even when my father was overseas. Something all the grownups talked about whilst I played paper dolls! Unreal. I admit feeling quite relieved, though, when Daddy was finally home for good, safe and sound. I knew there was a chance he'd not return...

    expow
    April 16, 1999 - 06:11 pm
    Robbie I agree with you completely about the displaced people. I walked 500 miles across Germany and we were starving but we just had ourselves. To see children who have lost their families and don't know where to turn breaks my heart.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 16, 1999 - 06:14 pm
    500 miles is a long walk, EXPOW. Where did you walk from and where did you end up?

    Robby

    Ella Gibbons
    April 16, 1999 - 06:58 pm
    Robby and expow: You are still then being affected by your experiences in WWII when you see the faces of the homeless on your TV screen - something you cannot ever forget?

    A few comments on things I've learned from the first stories in Terkel's book. I didn't know there was such panic on the West Coast at that time, this was new to me - where have I been huh?

    Never knew there was such a thing as a Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles? (pg.28) Is there today? If so, is there also one for all the other minority groups there?

    On pg. 32 the younger generation today ask of their elders (of Japanese ancestry) "Why did you go? Why didn't you fight back?" and Peter Ota answers "Today, I would definitely resist. It was a different situation at that time." (Referring to being interred in a camp during the war).

    Wonder why he thinks it would be different today? Perhaps because of all the resistance and protests against the Vietnam War? Why is the situation different today?

    However, this is a sad story. We have a man who is in the war while his parents are imprisoned in a camp in America - he visits them at the camp on his furloughs. A great wrong!

    In the Frank Keegan story, I'd like to know who Dennis Keegan is - apparently some one I should know? And on pg. 36 Keegan says "We had the Oriental Exclusion Act" Anyone know what this was?

    Art Buchwald has some funny stories about being in the war if anyone is interested - a Yankee boy heading south for the first time to go to boot camp. He's a funny man!

    Gunther
    April 16, 1999 - 10:14 pm
    The daily barrage of TV images of columns of deportees near Kosovo never fails to remind me that my own family was caught up in one of them in northern Germany as the Russians were rushing towards the Elbe River in an effort to wrest the most territory from their western allies. Whilst serving as a sixteen year old gunner on the eastern front in a part of what was later ceded to Poland according to Yalta and Potsdam, (the giant cement mixer for the Iron Curtain), I found myself demobilized in the middle of a huge battle near the Oder River. In one of those inexplacable orders from higher up, all surviving classmates were sent home.

    Little did I know that my family, twice bombed out in Berlin, had caught the point of hundreds of thousands of East Prussian and Pomeranian refugees near the port city of Stettin. They had been settled by a surprisingly well-functioning nazi organisation into farms south of Hamburg. Thus when I got home I found the place deserted. Home was then a castle belonging to an English woman who had married a German baron in 1938 - but that's another story. I filled two suitcases with linen and jars of cherry preserves - my favorite and then, thanks to the suggestion of the ever faithful gendarme who had stayed behind to "look after things...", and who was also mayor domo of the estate - made my way towards Hamburg in an almost empty train. My papers were thoroughly inspected since I was in uniform and actually traveling away from the front, ie., in a westerly direction. The SS officer scared me into a stutter and I could hardly bring myself to explaining why I, with only a head wound (just a nick from shrapnell), but a clean bandage, was on my way to look for my family. A few hours later the train screeched to a sudden stop in Pasewalk, a place made famous by the guy who had started it all: A.Hitler. He had spent time there in an army hospital during WW.I. I quickly grabbed the heavy bags, put them on the station platform and just had time to throw myself under the carriage as an Allied fighter came screaming at the train, almost hugging the ground, and firing all his weapons. My sole protection was the six inch high steel rail. When we were whistled back into the train, I found that one of the bags had been hit by a 50 mm slug. It was all I could do to pick some of the chards of glass from among the now purple linen and wipe my hands on my uniform since there was no water in the WC.

    On arrival in Hamburg I dragged the bags to a Red Cross window with a big "V" over it and stood in line with dozens of those sharing my initial. All of us were looking for loved ones and here we hoped to be directed to wherever they had been ordered to seek shelter. Suddenly an elderly lady in front of me turned and began screaming that this young man is wounded and should go to the front of the queue. One must understand that "standing in line" is one of the things one does with grace and patience, even when one's compatriots are engaged in legal killing in their "good war" for whatever ideology. People in the neighboring lines chimed in and I was forcibly shoved to the window without knowing why.

    It was the cherry jam (and maybe a little bit the white bandage under my cap)! Within minutes I was on a train south, towards the Lueneburg Heath, for a reunion with a family who had already received notification that I was MIA on the Oder River on February 2, 1945. As the good son, I was mortified that all of the beautiful sheets and pillow cases I intended to bring as a surprise and reminder of the luxurious life we had once shared, had been dyed. My mother couldn't understand that such a frivolous detail should be my worry at this precious moment of reunion.

    Less then three months later I was a member of the British Army, but that also is another story....

    Gunther

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 17, 1999 - 04:33 am
    Gunther: At the very moment that you, as a German soldier, were being demobilized while the Russians were rushing westward toward the Elbe River, I was in the 29th Division moving eastward toward the same river. The Americans and Russians were so close together that we could hear the Russians speaking on our "walkie-talkies." Not too much longer, we were given orders to "slow down" allowing the Russians to conquer additional territory. We didn't know it then but that was apparently a political decision and, as you say, "that is another story."

    Robby

    Ginny
    April 17, 1999 - 06:51 am
    Gunther, that was the MOST moving story, better than any book, how exciting, I felt right along with you, and Robby, at the same time YOU were approaching the Elbe, I am just humbled by your posts, and the posts of everyone here.

    Studs Terkel would KILL to meet you all!

    Ginny

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 17, 1999 - 12:46 pm
    Welcome to this discusssion, Ginny. I agree that many of these posts humble us. I'm looking forward to more of your comments.

    Robby

    Lillias
    April 17, 1999 - 12:47 pm
    Ella your right it is strange how are husbands want things researched here but won't touch the computer,mine says he is afraid he would mess it up for me, likely excuse right.

    I have to agree with your assement of the computer age it has connected us to people all over the world, and I also think Mr Terkel needs to rethink his ideas of computers. He really ought to try it for awhile before he knocks it. Ruth good to see you here,haven't had a chance to hello to you in ages,another example of what the computer age has done for us , with out it we would never have talked at all.

    Ginny I believe your right he would kill to meet some the folks that post here especially people like Gunther , that was really some story .

    Gunther I for one would like to here the other story, perhaps you should write a book of your own.

    (((hugs)))

    Lillias

    GailG
    April 17, 1999 - 01:28 pm
    Gunther's poignant story points up the tragedy and irony of war - ANY WAR. Young boys - Germans - sent to kill other boys - Americans, for what. In any other time they might have been friends; just as today Gunther, an ex-German soldier IS a friend! Imagine if Gunther had not survived, what a waste. And notwithstanding all of our memories, here we go again. It seems like the world has learned nothing, and again, who are the victims? People like you and me who have no voice but end up being statistics.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 17, 1999 - 01:31 pm
    Gail: As Joan pointed out in the question at the top, during World War II many young people had the desire to enlist and fight. Do you think the young people of today have or are about to have such motivations?Robby

    Ruth Levia
    April 17, 1999 - 06:02 pm
    Lillias - nice to see you too!

    Gunther - I really enjoyed reading the account of your experiences during the war. Please tell us about the "other story".

    Gail - you are so right - the world does not seem to ever learn from experience. I feel so sad to see the Albanian refugees on TV, especially the children. Even if they can go home in the near future, what is there for them to go home to? It will take a long time to re-build all the homes, bridges and buildings that have been destroyed.

    expow
    April 17, 1999 - 06:37 pm
    The every day kid of the WW-2 vintage had no doubts about what needed to be done to stop the Germans and the Japs from occupying more and more land. When diplomacy breaks down the only alternative is war. This was not true of the wars from Korea onward. Even then there were men willing to serve. This, I think is more of a function of being a teen ager. They think nothing vcan kill them.

    Gunther
    April 17, 1999 - 08:23 pm
    Ruth and Lillias: This is about some of the nicer things that happened to me:

    I had just been promoted and before reporting to my new assignment in Upper Silesia, an area under constant bombardment by Super Fortresses in the fall of 1944, I was given a week off to spend with my family near the Baltic port of Stettin. My mother and my four siblings had been invited to live in relative splendor in a baronial castle of an English friend after we got bombed out twice in Berlin in 1942 and then again in 43. She was married to a German colonel serving in the Afrika Korps, who was safely out of the war in a POW camp in Canada.

    After dinner that first evening she told me how she had met the colonel in London before the war, oblivious to the possibility that one day she would be ruling this huge estate near the Baltic by herself. She hadn't been able to talk to anybody in her own language for several years and it was quite a while before I became conscious that my family also had a claim on some of my time.

    My great love for the English language finally paid off. I had studied it harder than any other subject starting about the fifth grade. After the short leave I had quite a crush on a woman twice my age and I went to the war zone, then about to become the Eastern Front, as a flaming anglophile. I never saw her again but I found out years later from my sister, who had married a Londoner in the fifties, that Eileen had been far more than “her ladyship” of a Pomeranian estate, namely a spy for her country. She had befriended high ranking German officers and often became privy to valuable information which she relayed to London by radio.

    Just after New Year’s Day 1945, the two women, with six kids between them, all between four and nine years of age, were able to escape the Soviet juggernaut as it began its bloody steam roller through the northern German plains, flattening refugee columns of thousands of Poles and Germans from the Danzig Corridor and East Prussia.

    Later the communist government of the GDR confiscated all her holdings and the Soviets used the manor as a regimental HQ until the late eighties. Eileen went back to London after divorcing the father of her two boys, both of whom became officers in Her Majesty’s armed forces.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 18, 1999 - 05:07 am
    Gunther: Thank you so much, Gunther. You are opening our eyes (mine, at least) to a side of the war not often seen.

    Robby

    Kath
    April 18, 1999 - 05:22 am
    Gunther I watch the refugees in Albania and can relate to the children. I was a child during the war and we were always moving around. But we were fortunate that we travelled by train (packed like sardines) and still had our home to come home to. We lived close to the river Thames and bombs were dropped all around us.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 18, 1999 - 05:29 am
    Kath: Thank you for posting. Can you tell us a bit more about your memories as a child living in London near the Thames?

    Robby

    Jackie Lynch
    April 18, 1999 - 07:07 am
    Does anyone remember, about 15 years ago, a series on PBS about a German family in the Rhineland? It was all in German, with subtitles, except for the English speakers. They lived in a village. the farm was quite large, probably like an estate. It was so interesting. I saw it on Sunday mornings. The story followed the family over a time period that included pre-war, war, and post-war.

    Ruth Levia
    April 18, 1999 - 08:31 am
    Jackie - I didn't see that program, but it sounds like one I would like to see.

    Gunther - thanks for that fascinating account!! You really had an interesting life, and I would like to hear more.

    Kath - it's so good to see you posting! It's been a while since I've seen you (guess we travel in different areas? Please tell us more about your experiences during the war. It must have been pretty scary for a little child!

    Kath
    April 18, 1999 - 09:26 am
    Hi Ruth. I am not posting much as I am very involved with my Y2K project. Having lived through hard times I feel the need to protect my family. How is hubby doing?

    gladys barry
    April 18, 1999 - 10:27 am
    hi Kathy at last .I have been away all weekend to a funeral have posted twice in here.Ithought the last story might have got a reply from our host this is my second attempt.I did try .Iwas told to go a head regardless ,but it is very dissapointing to try and be ignored .

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 18, 1999 - 10:35 am
    Gladys: I see my responsibility as helping to keep the discussion going but not necessarily responding to every posting that is made. I do this because I don't believe the Discussion Leader should intrude his own personality into the discussion too much. I try to give a welcome to a first time participant, hoping you all realize that I might be away from the computer for hours. There is no way that I can respond to every posting that is made and I would appreciate everyone's understanding on this.

    Personally, I am very pleased at the way this folder is going but this is because of the various stories each person is sharing, not because of my comments.

    Robby

    Ruth Levia
    April 18, 1999 - 11:35 am
    Gladys - I hope you to continue to post. We are very interested in hearing your stories!!

    Kath - He could be better. Thanks for asking.

    Kath
    April 18, 1999 - 11:46 am
    Ruth I hope he will soon be doing better. My thoughts are with you both.

    Hi Bestest. I hope you are resting up for your trip. Try not to get your kn*****'s in a knot.

    mayo
    April 18, 1999 - 01:29 pm
    iwas first female to join all-mail news staff at start pf ##WW2 in paterson n. j. wrote about brave men and women    in service. in charge of getting background for release of casuality lists .

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 18, 1999 - 01:34 pm
    Welcome, Mayo! Journalism was a most important ingredient in World War II. I was overseas but as I understand it, the folks at home were hanging on every word (oral or written) as to what was happening in the theatres of operation. How did you go about getting the backgrounds for the casualties?

    Robby

    Fran Ollweiler
    April 18, 1999 - 02:18 pm
    Dear friends,

    I read this book a long time ago. It might have been a Book of the Month Club selection. The reason I think that is because we own it, and we didn't buy books when it came out. Too busy getting the money to raise the money to buy food, clothing etc.

    I was surprised on rereading the book when Studs Terkel pointed out that the title is in quotations. As if any war can be a "Good War"!! But we certainly thought so then, and I think most of us think so right now.

    Other than Charles Linbergh I just never heard of any one who didn't think that after Pearl Harbor we all should help the war effort any way we could.

    In December of1941 I was just 17, so felt that there wasn't much I could do. We lived in New York City where my mother was an air raid warden. I eventually worked for the Red Cross signing up blood donors, knitting "Bundles for Britain", (long wool scarves), and keeping the rationing books straight. I still have my ration book.

    Speak to you soon.....Love, Fran

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 18, 1999 - 02:23 pm
    Welcome, Fran! As you point out, we thought at that time that World War II was a "good war" but you add that "most of us think so right now." What leads you to that conclusion? Do you feel that it benefited us in any way?

    Robby

    Joan Pearson
    April 18, 1999 - 06:56 pm
    Hi there, Fran-O, so glad you found your way here and brought up the title of this book, one which Jeanne Lee aptly refers to as an oxymoron. Of course, no war is good - Studs says in the introduction to the book that the title must always appear in quotation marks for that very reason.

    So why was it "good". I'll quote Studs here, for those of you who do not yet have the book.

    "It was not like other wars. It was not fratricidal. It was not, most of us profoundly believed, "imperialistic." Our enemy was, patently, obscene: the Holocaust maker. It was one war that many who would have resisted, supported enthusiastically. It was a "just war."

    I bet these are some of the reasons Fran says of this 'good war, "we certainly thought so then, and I think most of us think so right now." Anything else Fran?

    Joan Pearson
    April 18, 1999 - 07:33 pm
    W0W! I think we've covered the entire introduction to the book through your posts over the past four days. The range of subject matter from all of you has been impressive, your posts riveting! I hope you stick with us for the discussion of the oral histories accumulated by Studs. Perhaps one or two a day. Will be interested to hear your comments on the histories themselves or on the events as you remember them. The book should prod those old memories into the present!

    The first Book begins with Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. Joe Garcia was 16, a pipe fitter apprentice at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. What memories he has of that day! Can you imagine!!! Where were YOU that day?

    Sunknow
    April 18, 1999 - 11:12 pm
    Yes, I remember 194l. I have not yet posted here, simply because I am so short of time right now, but have been dropping by late..very late, and reading ever word. So many of you have shared wonderful, terrible, but strong indelible memories. Some of them were all of those things at once.

    I have been a News hound all of my life, and often critized for it, two or three newspapers every day, and constant TV news. I always felt a responsibility; that one must know whats happening in the world, and keep up with as much of it as possible. This is pure and simple a direct result of WWII.

    My Father had been in the Peace time Army, the Calvary, and stationed at Pearl Harbor before I was born....the Islands were HIS. I was about 9 yrs old, and after that awful day in 1941, I doubt I missed a 10 pm news cast for the rest of my childhood. My mother would be fast asleep, but Dad would never sleep before the news came on at 10 pm. My sister and I shared the next room, and she would be fast alseep, but I waited and listened, just as my father did. Sometimes I would get up and go to the door, and the radio light would cast an eerie yellow light across the room. I can still hear that voice reporting the news from the war over the radio.

    Dad had just gone to work for the Railroad, but he immediatly, tried to enlist...he had two problems, too old and too necessary. He spent the entire War trying to sign up and fight. Everytime he would almost get away, the Railroad would get him deferred...one night, I caught him packing a small bag, he almost made it, but by morning the RR snatched him back again. He spent the entire war on the RR, a Breakman, moving the Troops from here to there, secret schedules, never telling anyone which direction they were moving the troops.

    But a few times, I would see them moving by, or would be at the Depot when the train passed, with all those young men in those mostly OD colored uniforms. At night, you couldn't see them, because the shades would be drawn to hide the light. Once I saw a load of German POWs come thru on the way to the newly opened Camp Fannin, outside of town. They looked like any other young men involved in the war, and they were far from home.

    Later, after that dreadful Dec. day, I did lose someone. A young cousin that I thought was a brother came in from the CCCamp where he had been helping build the Tyler State Park...only now he, too, was wearing that OD uniform, and I remember sitting on the floor and watching him lace up those calvary boots that went all way up to his knees. He went to Europe, a kid surviving in CCC camp, and came back after the war, a Capt. with a battlefield commission. He remained in the Army, made it to Col. before the big "RIFF" came along later. He went back to being a Top M/Sgt for a couple of years but retired a Col., he had remained in the Resereves.

    I had one older female cousin that was a twin, and she went trapsing off to War...the ladies in the fam. didn't think much of that idea, but she didn't bother to ask any of them before she left her twin sister at home and joined the WACS. Another cousin married a GI that was Secr. to General Kruger and followed him around thru out the war. All of them came home, we were very fortunate to get our relatives back unharmed.

    I remember the rations: coffee, sugar, etal...we had blackouts at home, and bomb drills at school, and I learned every patriotic song known to man...I still know most of them. That patritism is something that never went away, the pride in country, and in each other. If only we could get that feeling back, or find a way to teach it to our grandchildren.

    Theres more, but this is too long now. I will say I tried all three bookstores in Tyler, and not a book to be found. Think I'll check the library...some of you lucked out there.

    Sun

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 19, 1999 - 05:07 am
    Sun: Welcome to our group and thanks for such a wonderfully detailed memory. NO - it was not too long! It would be impossible to give such vivid descriptions as you did in just a few words. You spoke of so many different items in your posting - your father, your thoughts and actions as a child, your being a "Newshound," that it would be impossible for me at this moment to comment on them all. But I'm sure you will hear from others whose memory was jogged by your comments. Please come back again.

    Robby

    Ginny
    April 19, 1999 - 08:54 am
    Oh, golly. Oh my goodness. I just read John Garcia's essay, the first one in the book. I literally have chills all over me. Oh gosh. Don't know where to start.

    Oh.

    He's still haunted by the woman and baby he shot. He still has dreams. He had to drink a fifth and a half of whiskey a day in order to shoot. He hasn't drunk a drop since the war ended. He says he's not a killer but the caves grenades really bothered him a lot.

    And the race thing, being called a Caucasian. And the curfew and the martial law which I suppose would be necessary to provide order.

    And the soldiers alive after 18 days in the hull of the ship!!!

    I really like the way Studs lets the person himself tell his story, without making judgments and interpolating his own explanations. It's living history, right there in your face. I wonder if any of these people are still alive, I would like to talk to them, too.

    This is marvelous. I was 2 years old when the war ended, and, if not for this book discussion would have missed all this electrifying stuff. Gunther I saw somewhere you spoke of February 4th. I was born on February 4, 1943, and want to hear more.

    I wonder, since we have John Garcia's statement about his dreams, I wonder if all wars have their hideous remembrances. I remember the Vietnam Vets and all the problems that they seemed to have when reentering and I wonder why it seemed so much harder for them? Is it the same?

    What do you think of his idea of putting everybody on an island and letting the politicians fight it out? Many people here are worried about a draft in the Yugoslavia conflict, I say there will never be a draft as long as Clinton is President.

    Ginny

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 19, 1999 - 09:09 am
    Ginny: You have "chills all over" you. That comment could very well encourage those folks who haven't yet read the book to do so. Not that reading terrible things is the most pleasant activity in the world but reading a book like this helps us to see our own history. Ginny, how do you equate your reaction to this book with Terkel's comment that it was a "good" war.

    Robby

    Fran Ollweiler
    April 19, 1999 - 01:48 pm
    I'd like to address the part about the Japanese Americans being treated so unfairly during World War ll. It is unbelievable to me today that more Americans from all backgrounds didn't object to their treatment.

    George and I visited Manzanar a few years ago, one of the camps, and while there bought a book by one of the internees. A young woman. It was a very sad and true story.

    And of course we read .......the name of the book escapes me about the Japanese on that small island off the state of Washington who were discriminated against.

    It is not just man's inhumanity to man that bothers me, but the idea that the only way we know to control some maniacs plans is to kill, usually not him, but citizens of that country who are for the most parts innocents.

    Ella Gibbons
    April 19, 1999 - 02:32 pm
    Fran - I feel compelled to respond to your post about the Japanese-Americans. How old were you during that war? There was panic in this country because Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, and where would they hit next? We were very vulnerable at that time - had virtually no defense system and, right or wrong, our government felt that the Japanese in this country might be still loyal to their prior government and could act as spies. Hindsight tells us we were wrong - it is so easy to judge now from this distance.

    Ginny - I agree, these stories told by the actual soldiers, rather than by an author, are chilling and thrilling to hear all at the same time. I'm learning so much - particularly about the Russians. This is better than any fiction and some of these stories would make great movies. Wait until you read the one by Richard Prendergast!

    Iowa Bill
    April 19, 1999 - 03:58 pm
    Ella--I remember vividly the panic about the Japanese, but the people that were moved were not even checked out by our government. I lived in Milwaukee then and there were known Nazi sympathiers (ie The "Siler Shits", "The German American Bund") There were no Internment camps set up for them. It wasn't hindsight that even when they realized the mistake they made, our government would not let the Japanese Americans go back to their homes even as early as 1942! Do you think the color of their skin had anything to do with it? No Japanese Spy was ever con-victed in our country, while hundreds of German spies were.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 19, 1999 - 04:49 pm
    Welcome, Fran. You say it is unbelievable that Americans didn't object to the way the Japanese-Americans were treated. Ella tells of the panic that existed in this country after Pearl Harbor was bombed. Do you think we have learned anything from that experience?

    Welcome to you too, Bill. You bring up the fact that German-Americans were not interned. That goes for Italian-Americans as well. Could it be, as you say, that the color of the skin made the difference? What do the rest of you think?

    Robby

    Britta
    April 19, 1999 - 05:37 pm
    Back from Omi duty. (Omi = german for grandma) It took me a while to catch up with all the posts since Thursday, but I read them with interest and think they are better than the book. So, there were a few other people who told about their experiences on the "bad guy side". I am sure Guenther Vogel has a whole book in him. I am writing my memoirs for the grandchildren, but wonder if they'll be interested. Seems like the cyber wars are much more fun for them.

    Anyway, I thought you might like to hear where I was when the war actually ended. We had been sent away from Dresden after it was bombed because Hitler the Insane had declared the city a fortress to be defended to the death. There was nothing left of it, so I think the very idea was ridiculous. My father, who had been designated" indispensable behind the lines" by the military because he was in charge of a Lithographic Factory which printed secret maps for the war, was put in charge of the Home Guard. His troops consisted of a motley crew of crippled, insane and old men. They proceeded to dig foxholes. Whatever for? Women and children were sent away. We fled to the countryside, where a man who worked our land had a farm. When the bombs started to fall there too, we all fled into the forests of Cechoslovakia. It was there, in the middle of the battlefield, that someone who had a little radio tried to tell everyone to stop shooting. The war was over, but nobody got the message. I saw people shot from low flying planes and young soldiers stand dead in their foxholes. The whole thing seems so surreal now. Well, it finally stopped I guess, and then we joined the thousands in treks homeward, just like what you see on TV now, only then nobody saw this misery in their living rooms and war remained a game little boys play. I have a hard time seeing the latest Nintendo games. It's all so stupid. Why do little males have to be indoctrinated to kill, kill, kill? Life seems to have accelerated. I still played with dolls when I was 14.

    Oh well. It's probably silly to carry on so. I'm an old , well, semi-old, lady now and should really sit back and reflect with wisdom. PEACE. Britta

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 19, 1999 - 05:38 pm
    The frontispiece of Terkel's book quotes (in part) the song by Tom Paxton:

    What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?

    I learned that war is not so bad

    I learned about the great ones we have had

    We fought in Germany and in France

    And I am someday to get my chance.

    Are there any of us in this discussion group who believe that the youngsters of our generation (both boy and girl) are about to get their chance to be in combat?

    Robby

    Ginny
    April 19, 1999 - 05:45 pm
    Britta, I think that all of you who have shared their thoughts here would make a grand book, and I'm so glad SeniorNet started this project and I hope these thoughts will be recorded for ever. I think a lot of people will want to read them: look at us, all these years later reading the Terkel book.

    The thing that's so stunning about the Terkel book is that it's exactly as you all are sharing here, it's real people telling the stories real ways, and sometimes, as in the case of John Garcia, it's strange. He keeps laughing in strange places. Terkel has done nothing but GATHER these people together but their stories reach out over the years and grab you by the throat. It's amazing. I love what you all are doing here and will be back tomorrow, hopefully to read 100 more thoughts, some great questions have been asked, I must go read the introduction to form thoughts on the "Good" War. Wasn't it the War to End all Wars??

    Do get everyone to come in, the essays are only, in our case, to draw out the marvelous stories from you all.

    Ginny

    Ginny
    April 19, 1999 - 05:48 pm
    Robby, I was writing while you were posting. I hope not. I hope not. Does everyone see this as inevitable or desirable?

    Ginny

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 19, 1999 - 05:51 pm
    Ginny: According to my father, who was a totally disabled veteran of World War I, that was the one called the "war to end all wars." But it didn't happen, did it?

    Robby

    Lillias
    April 19, 1999 - 05:52 pm
    Ginny I don't think it is desirable but would almost be willing to bet that it will happen whether we like it or not,why else would our reserves be getting ready to go? Our military are frequently involved in things we would be better off staying out of. Oh well that is just my opinion for what its worth, but I do fear for all our young men and women.

    (((hugs)))

    Lillias

    jimd
    April 19, 1999 - 05:59 pm
    May God Bless them all, they are allready. 1 shot down and rescued, 3 captured, and it continues. Maybe, just maybe, if the children of the politicians were required to go first, there would be no wars.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 19, 1999 - 06:05 pm
    Welcome, JIMD. Some of the politicians of today are the veterans of World War II. Is it your belief that they are against our entering the present conflict?

    Robby

    expow
    April 19, 1999 - 06:11 pm
    The problem is that the kids don't need to go but they all want to go because the are teen agers(most of them) and teen agers don;t think they will die, They also like adventure (most of them don't need the hub caps they steal). It is too late when they get there

    Ella Gibbons
    April 19, 1999 - 06:56 pm
    One story in the book starts with these words:"I've lived about 38 years after the war and about twenty years before. For me, its B.W. and A.W. - before the war and after the war. I suspect there are a lot of people like me."</>

    The story ends: It (WWII) has affected me in many ways ever since. I think my judgment of people is more circumspect. I know it's made me less ready to fall into the trap of judging people by their style or appearance. In a short period of time, I had the most tremendous experiences of all of life: of fear, of jubilance, of misery, of hope, of comradeship, and of the endless excitement, the theatrics of it. I honestly feel grateful for having been a witness to an event as monumental as anything in history and, in a very small way, a participant." Wonder how many veterans feel this way?

    Ted R Bayes
    April 19, 1999 - 08:08 pm
    Robert, This is the third time I have tried to post a message here,nut each time I have canceled.

    The title here is the Good War. I have a little truble with the title. There are no good wars. They are all bad wars, though we have good causes. A good cause is what we had, and our comander in chief was respected. He was even respected by his opposition. I joined the navy early.( Dec 15,1941) I did not have to Join I was working at an army air base as a flight line mechanic. The Navy needeed my skill badly, and there I was.

    I do not believe I would have been quite as enthusiastic under our present administration. I would be concerned they would leave me hanging out on a limb,

    I believe we have a bad war with a good cause, But I believe things have been badly mismanaged. Very poor military tatict. One might call it going off half cocked. Most everything I have read by qualified military minds say the same.

    This guy looks at the gulf war, and makes the decision, If I donot succed I will have rid myself of my opposition. With my support from the Russian Republic I will get off with only my hands slaped, and live to fight another day.

    The difference between all the confrontations sence WW2 is none of them have been carried to a conclusion, Even in WW2 We gave it all away at Yalta etc. This gave way to all the problems we have had sence.

    The answer is was it realy a good war

    Ted

    P. S. Rosvelt was a sick man and made a lot of bad commitments. When Truman took overHe was like a man with a bad leg, and a broken cane.

    robert b. iadeluca
    April 20, 1999 - 04:58 am
    Ted: I'm glad you finally posted with us. Welcome to our group. Studs Terkel, himself, as I understand it, insisted that the title be in quotes. May I quote from an introductory page: "Quotation marks have been added, not as matter of caprice or editorial comment, but simply because the adjective 'good' mated to the noun 'war' is so incongruous."

    I hope you come back and share some of your Navy experiences. As you said, you enlisted early - just one week after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

    Jackie Lynch
    April 20, 1999 - 05:51 am
    The mad men, who push the world to the brink and then keep pushing - what can we do with them? Milosovic has become the "victim" of NATO. Hitler was righting wrongs done "his" country. We see the insanity, but we have no method to stop it. The memories we are sharing are so vivid; I can never again read Gladys' name, or Britta's, without remembering the dreadful events they have endured. Reading this book has made me see those personal nightmares as the pieces of history they truly are.

    Joan Pearson
    April 20, 1999 - 06:00 am
    I can't get over the rush to enlist at this time. I don't think that ever happened again in other wars did it? I think it was the "good cause" that Ted mentions - the country seems to have been united in that belief. Were there demonstrations against our involvement in that war? At any point? How about the bombing of Hiroshima? Any regrets, demonstrations, criticism? I see that as the big difference between this war and all later ones...the united belief that this was a good cause, therefore, a "good" war... John Garcia even wrote to President Roosevelt, begging to go - into combat. Wasn't he 16 at the time?

    Do I sense that there was a rush to join the navy, rather than to be drafted into the army? John Garcia and then Dennis Keegan(his memoir is available under the Excerpt button above) and others seem to indicate that.

    Dennis Keegan, Major Bradley and Ron Veenker describe the bedlam, bombing and suspicion of all Japanese, including long-time Japanese-Americans at the time, especially in California I guess I can understand that after reading their memories.

    I was also particularly impressed at John Garcia"s description of our sailors in Hawaii shooting their 5" guns at Japanese planes. At first it seemed so futile, but then there was the rest of his story...these guns had a 10 mile range...some shells landed in Honolulu. One killed his girlfriend as she was leaving for church.

    This reminds me of all the casualties resulting from "accidents" such as this in wartime...how dangerous for everyone!

    It occurs to me that the Japanese-Americans were safer in the internment camps, than if they had been mixed with the hysterical crowds, after reading these stories. Was that one of the initial reasons for rounding them up? Besides suspicion? Yes, I think it was their physical appearance that put them in danger at the time, as they were easily identifiable - in contrast to the German citizens...

    Britta, please stay with us as your point of observation is invaluable!!! What do you remember of the bombing of Pearl Harbor? What was the reaction from "over there"? Ella, I believe it was you who asked what Dennis Keegan meant when he said, "we had the Oriental Exclusion Act". I found this which you might find